Sunday, April 16, 2017

Stop motion

Over the past school term Abi has acquired a lot of new skills, but the one that really amazes us is her new found ability on the monkey bars..........

 .. she swings right to the end - around 3m across!

 .. swinging on one arm - while smiling - easy!
 ... having your hands shredded through hours of practice - easy!

 What a star (like her big sister)!
Good Friday was a quiet one for us... a lake walk in perfect (warm) Autumn weather, and another look at our apartment block in Campbell - now looking very close to being finished (yay).

Sunday, April 9, 2017

In Sydney again

Our last few days in Sydney have seen plenty of highs and a few lows......  but this blog focusses on the positives....   and there were indeed, plenty of those.

On the way up last Wednesday we stopped off at the Goulburn Regional Gallery and were blown away by Claire's work in her current exhibition Presence: Two Visions of a Landscape. The pic below may not be the biggest or best work in her exhibition - but I thought it looked really good beside Maxie in her perfectly coordinated outfit.
Last Thursday was a huge day for everyone (especially Maxie and Rod) but we debriefed over a fabulous lunch at Matt Moran's Chiswick at the Gallery and a few hours enjoying the Gallery (and some shoe shopping later for Maxie and me).

Friday we walked from Coogee to Bondi on one of Sydney's stunning, superlatively beautiful days, then lunch at our fave Sabbaba in Hall Street - a gorgeous day! 
Judy and Jurgen joined us in Coogee on Friday night in time for our trek to the buzzy Pool Cafe at Maroubra Beach for Saturday brunch.

I had to include this close up pic of Rob's "fully loaded breakfast burger". Just as well it's an 8 klm round trip, walking to the Pool Cafe!!
We were able to celebrate our dear friend Fiona's big zero birthday on Saturday night. We started with drinks at the spectacular rooftop bar at the Hyatt Regency, overlooking Darling Harbour. The pic below shows us just settling in at the Zephyr Bar before we worked out the complicated system for ordering a drink (it was a bit too cool for school!).

 Rob and Jurgen - looking more relaxed after the drinks were ordered!..
The pic below is of Charlotte and me admiring the sunset while talking through some of the work challenges we've shared (although she's been much braver than me!).
 James organised the most fabulous sunset in honour of Fiona's birthday.......

 .... which finished with a spectacular firework's display - as you do!
We enjoyed dinner together at Chat Thai in Campbell Street. The food is always wonderful at Amy Chanta's Chat Thai and there were queues of people waiting their turn for a table when we arrived (at the appointed hour). The city was absolutely pumping on Saturday night - a spectacle of lights, sights and sounds.

We all enjoyed a slow start this morning and a post party catch up for brunch at Barzura's at Coogee Beach. The beach looked PERFECT this morning - all sparkle and dazzle, and gently rolling surf.
We had the whole day to enjoy together today: a long lazy brunch, beach time then a beer at the Coogee Bay Hotel. Luck for us Charlotte, Fiona and James did not have to return to Melbourne until late afternoon (and they weren't looking forward to flying back through the storm fronts over SE Australia).
Happy Birthday Fiona! Thanks for sharing a perfect celebration with us. Can't wait for the next one!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

You Beaut Country

Sydney looked stunning today: 28oC of cloudless blue skies and intense light. It was beautiful in Coogee today - perfectly formed waves on the beach and crowds of happy, mellow people.

With all this perfection outside I still wanted to take an hour or so to check out the John Olson retrospective on at the Art Gallery of NSW.
This is probably his most well known work (below) - Sydney Sun (painted in 1965) - a very large work in three pieces - and so apt to see up close like this on such a spectacular Sydney day.
Olson came back to Sydney in 1960 after living in Majorca Spain for a few years. He painted "Spanish Encounter" (below) on his return. I hadn't seen this amazing work before and was struck by how much the decade younger Brett Whiteley must have been influenced by Olsen's work.
John Olsen lived at Woolloomooloo/Kings Cross then at Watson's Bay during the days it was little more than an outlying village of Sydney.  He saw all the beauty of the harbour and the brashness, the voluptuousness and the venality of the city (the Emerald City)..........
 ...... and I saw some connections of style and imagery with this early work of Claire's we have hanging on the wall in our Coogee apartment !! .........
I got back to Coogee around 5.00pm and decided I'd try to find something of John Olsen in these crowded beach scenes..... 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Ask no questions

We managed to get a set of pictures today of progress on our unit 32 of Saint Germain at Campbell (ask no questions; you'll get no answers!). It was exciting to see a fair bit of progress since the last lot of pics we saw three months ago at Christmas.... and so far we feel pretty thrilled about everything!!! .....

..especially the view from the living room (that's Mt Ainslie in the distance)...
 and the whole apartment is airy and light - and we're also very pleased with the pale grey walls......
 .. the joinery all looks to be finished off well....

 ... and the winter garden is going to be a great space to work with!......
 The marble bench tops look beautiful....

 ..and they have even continued the marble into the small scullery room at the side of the kitchen (where the fridge and pantry are located)..
 Rob is pleased that our ensuite shower is a good size.....
..... and the builders are very excited about the Astra Walker aged brass tapware (although our apartment hasn't had its tapware installed yet).
We have a beautiful picture window in our main bedroom.... it will be a great vantage point for seeing all the Autumn colours evolve.
 This is the view from the second bedroom (below). I am no longer concerned about the impact of the roof on our view. In actuality it looks to be a fair way below us and it doesn't dominate the view anyway (phew, she says!!).  The angle of this pic below makes it look like our apartment must be built in the middle of uninhabited bushland, but just to the left of those big tall gum trees at the edge of our window view is....
 Anzac Parade, the main commemorative avenue of our Nation's capital. We will have a very pretty view at night with all the lights, and a lovely lake nearby, all the national institutions, as well as a thriving new cafe & restaurant scene close by..
With these very reassuring views of the aprtment we feel like we've had a big boost today even though we're still a way off moving in (late May - early June maybe??) 

We've had some not so good news this week about family members with health issues so this was a very happy and positive way to end our day today (may it continue!).

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lobster lunch at Rosedale

We were without Chef Jane and Louise this year for our annual lobster lunch today, but we pooled our collective talents and put on a truly fabulous feast anyway. It's actually great fun working together with dear friends and family on this - in Judy and Jurgen's cosy (but super efficient) holiday house kitchen....especially with a side of our favourite sparking Majella.
 It was all hands on deck this morning getting ready. "Setting the table" was taken very seriously by the boys and James was particularly proud of his efforts with the cumquats and foliage.

 These were my favourite canap├ęs: luscious fresh figs and a slug of Castello cheese - YUM!
 .... and prawn dumplings......
 ...and my efforts with the smoked salmon.......
 ....but did I mention the FIGS?
 ...happy girls .....
 James and Fiona looked after the Sydney rock oysters from Bernie's at Bateman's Bay; three ways - au natural, with sesame and nori and fennel and chilli - just beautiful! especially complemented by Jurgen's choice of Riesling and Hunter Valley Semillon.
 ...and then there was the  lobster......devine as usual... and bigger than ever too.....
 .. served with Judy's Dutch Cream potatoes and Maxie's roast veggie and couscous salad (thanks Donna Hay) and my green salad.
 A highlight of lunch was taking a moment to celebrate Fiona's big birthday this year and acknowledge the very special person she is in our lives...... 

Megan surpassed all expectations with her beautiful dessert cakes - a stunning hazelnut, almond pistacio plum cake with lemon drizzle...... ( served with a gorgeous Sauterne from Normandy France (and that's another story!).
 ... and this gorgeous Italian apricot Crostata (tart) .........
 ... and then after all the sumptuous feasting we take our usual stagger (walk) along beautiful Rosedale beach.

Thanks to our wonderful hosts for making this annual event the highlight of our year - and especially being able to share it the way we do with such dear friends and family.