Monthly Archives: December 2016

Me Time

I’m a New Year’s Resolution kind of girl. I get excited about fresh challenges and the chance to put my best foot forward. So, as this year draws to a close, I’ve chosen two goals for 2017. One will be revealed in due course (once I’ve got my head around the finer detail); the other is me time.

Some people are better than others at making room for “me time’ in their busy lives. I’ll admit that I’ve struggled to carve out those moments of freedom since becoming a mum – there always seems to be something more important to do. And that’s where I’ve been wrong. By allowing child care, household chores, and work to take precedence nearly all the time, my sense of self has definitely suffered. And I’m sure I’m not alone here.

So, recently, I’ve started to do things for me, like join a local writers’ group, or simply sit in a café and drink from a real cup rather than race away to my next destination; I’ve even ducked into a nail salon a couple of times for a pedicure, just for the sake of it. I relish these moments of me time. They help me feel good about myself. And my girls love to hear that Mummy has done something exciting and different, especially if it involves bright pink toe nails!

This month, though, I surpassed myself with an unprecedented 24 hours away from home. It all started with an invitation to a work Christmas party. In Sydney. Daddy Ickle encouraged me to go, and even suggested I spend the afternoon shopping for last minute goodies in the CBD. What a great idea, I thought. Then I thought a bit more. What if I do all my Christmas shopping another day? What if I spend the night in Sydney? So I did – both.

[View from my hotel window – 33rd floor. If you look closely enough (with a magnifying glass), you might spot the beautiful Christmas tree outside Town Hall.]

Free as a bird, I checked into my hotel and headed out into the Sydney drizzle. I skated along the paving slabs on George Street, slick with rain, dodging the chaos of umbrellas and people all the way to the Museum of Contemporary Art. Down at the harbour, ferries were zipping in and out of Circular Quay, and a mammoth cruise ship honked loudly as it farewelled the city.

I toured the MCA Collection, Today Tomorrow Yesterday, an exhibition of contemporary art by Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. The standout for me was Fiona Hall’s Manuhiri (Travellers), a driftwood installation mounted on a black background. Another highlight was Minyma Punu Kungkarangkalpa (Seven Sisters Tree Women) by Tjanpi Desert Weavers: this dance-like installation was created with rustic materials, including native grasses, wire and aviary mesh. But the real treat was having the time to explore the works at my own pace, and even read the accompanying exhibition notes as I went.

What about the party, I hear you ask? Well, that takes us to Grandma’s Bar on Clarence Street.Would you have ventured through this door? (It was open on Friday night – I returned on Saturday to take the photo.) I hovered outside, double-checked the address on my phone and then headed down into Sydney’s subterranean bar world. Grandma certainly has a weird and wonderful taste in decor (wacky wallpaper for one), but she serves up some mean cocktails. Dinner followed at Lotus in the Galeries, where I sampled some of the most delicious Chinese food I have ever tasted: jade prawn dumplings, native crystal ice plant, crispy skin duck pancakes…in the company of a beautiful team and some stubborn origami butterflies.

And, afterwards, it was just a short stagger back to my hotel for bed. At 12.30 am. Way to go! What adventures will 2017 have in store, I wonder.

Christmas Shortbread

Shortbread is a treat at any time of the year but at Christmas, with those wonderful festive shapes, it comes into its own.

You don’t need much in your pantry cupboard to whip up the most delicious buttery, crumbly biccies. Forget the rice flour, cornflour, etc. Ickle Chef and I used this shortbread recipe last weekend to make some goodies to take into preschool on her last ever day (sob). It uses just three ingredients: sugar, margarine (I substituted butter) and plain flour. Sooooo easy and child-friendly too.

Ickle is becoming a professional sous-chef these days, although I think she is aiming for the top spot. She definitely does not want my help most of the time; she can do it by herself, thank you very much. And so she can. She is a whizz with the hand beater, the rolling pin and the shape cutters. And she really focuses on those finishing touches. I may not have rice flour and cornflour in my pantry cupboard, but I possess enough multi-coloured sprinkles, silver and pearl beads, mini pink hearts and coloured sugar to stuff a small Christmas stocking.

Merry Christmas!

Pavement Graffiti

20161105_164847As you know, Ickle and Mivvy love art. I’ve written about their various creations on many occasions, and most recently here.

But I haven’t written about their passion for pavement graffiti before. Some afternoons, the little maestros take their chalks and artistic talents outside to decorate the best canvas ever. The alley between our house and next door is a welcome retreat from the sun and the perfect spot for creative activity. Sometimes the boys-next-door join in too and the mummies hang out by the rubbish bins while a rainbow of colour appears at our feet.

This weekend, Ickle and Mivvy were the only artists in residence, but this didn’t stop them from having a lot of fun.20161105_165131Hello! Anyone next door? Hello! Hello!

20161105_164813Ickle was exploring forms: parallel lines and circles in various colours. And making trails with her chalk as ants scuttled across the concrete.20161105_164946Mivvy drew a puddle of water in yellow, but was actually more interested in wandering up and down the alley.

There’s no trace of their artwork now – the recent rain has washed the chalkboard clean. Don’t you just love the transient nature of pavement graffiti?