Saturday, May 29, 2010


We have much to celebrate. There is the wonderful double announcement from Davey and Cath in London (Trust them to wait for a romantic weekend in Paris to make it all official!), our Josh is getting back on his feet and is amazing everyone with his progress.....and it's time to celebrate Ella's third birthday with a wonderful party this morning at the Jerra Community Hall. While the rain poured and the ducks were happily puddling in the mud outside we were all warm and dry and thoroughly entertained by all the excitement of the party.

These are the among the best Mums I know, and the beautiful Elissa, who always know exactly what Ella likes.

Ella was a very sparkly birthday girl who really got into the party spirit. This is the first time she has ever agreed to be "face painted".

The jumping castle was a popular attraction with all the kids.

And even the big boys got into the skin decoration thing.

There were Twister, sack races and "stacks on" games with a parachute, that were all squealing good fun.

I was pleased to get these shots of Ella's beautiful cousins, Charlotte and Amelia.

Watching the the balloon sculptures being made was just entrancing for all the kids.

Even for the big kids at the party, Ollie and Lucinda.

We had to bring on the bling for Ella's cake. This was my best effort at representing her favourite Cinderella character in sugar and sponge cake. I must say it was a pretty hefty, dried out sponge by the time I'd cooked it for two hours in that weird shaped Dolly Vardon tin! The cupcakes were meant to be the edible component.

The cake fulfilled its function well and really impressed all the little girls (and Jeremy too for some weird reason). There was a small queue of girls who insisted that I cut them a piece of Cinderella's skirt after they'd eaten their cupcakes. I guess it was because the lavender icing was really thick.

This lovely party was a credit to Jody, who has done a wonderful job over the past 5 weeks keeping everything together for their family as Joshy has been recovering. It was so wonderful today seeing him able to walk around without his crutches!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


One of the many joys of being a grand-parent is finding ways to indulge your grand-daughter on her birthday. We took a small load of things around for Ella last Friday morning - her third birthday. She really liked her Cinderella dress up dress - it was the requisite colour and had just the right amount of spangles.

She already has a beautiful tea-set in a painted pink wooden box but we're hoping she'll eventually agree to keep this spotted china T2 set at our house for those times when she likes to make a cup of tea for me.

Josh and Jody approved of the kite and the (pink) scooter we also brought around but I think they were a bit horrified by the "glass slippers" present Rob found at Spotlight. He correctly guessed that Ella would LOVE them. The idea is she will eventually keep them at our house for short dress up games only. Josh and Jody can't wait for that to happen!

Ella's birthday party is next weekend. Over the next week I have to work out how to make her a Cinderella cake!!!

Sister visit

A visit from Ros is a great excuse to spend days doing what us girls like: lots of girl talk, laughter, attention paid to the littlies, good food, seeing our choice of movies (Robin Hood), coffee breaks and sweet treats for those of us inclined to indulge. From this photo you can see Angus is a little sick of the girl talk - while still managing to look very adorable.

While Ella just finds every moment spent with the girls utterly enjoyable.

For Ros it's a rare chance to wear scarves and some serious layers, especially last week when the temperatures started to turn quite wintry. Ros is looking fitter than ever having introduced some running into her already quite demanding morning exercise schedule. This morning she had excelled herself with a two hour run all over Queanbeyan (she was lost after heading out of Jerrabomberra). She had to be shown the way home eventually by some road workers she came across.

Ros always brings some stylish outfit for Ella that she's managed to track down (usually in Sawtell, on the Coffs Coast). We were all very excited to see Ella unwrap another Oobi creation. She couldn't cope with trying it on initially (she has a bit of a love hate relationship with wearing warm clothing at the moment) but we would have all worn it if we could.

She got there in the end; a very stylish jacket to celebrate her third birthday. Thank you Ros. We loved your visit and hope you come back again. Next time you can stay at our house where it is much harder to get lost on your morning runs.

Sydney Zoe

Sydney Zoe's Mummy and Daddy played a crucial role in ensuring the Medibank offices had their new telephony system uploaded successfully last weekend. Zoe got to spend a weekend in Canberra keeping her Yia-Yia (grandma) entertained in and around the hotel and giving us the chance to have very special visit once all the Medibank business was finished. Unfortunately though it was a bit too late for her to have a play with her second cousin Ella.

Zoe was firing on all cylinders, eating up a storm and enjoying all the playthings we have around the house. I found her very difficult to photograph in the evening light without using my full strength flash. She moves like quicksilver.

I suspect Zoe is going to be a real character like her Daddy Spiros. I hope she torments him the same way he torments his (rather adorable) mother.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Autumn is

Late afternoon piles of rustling damp leaves, red berries blazing, washes of russet, gold and pink, contrast with citric mounds of lime green Diosma.

The piles of leaves invite exhilarating runs...

and jumps....

and soft landings.

and perfect for a warm drink and a chocolate brownie afterwards.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Things are OK

There seemed to be very few earthly delights for a week or two while we anxiously watched over Joshy in hospital after his accident at work on 20 April. We now know he is going to make a full recovery, after 5-6 weeks of very restricted movement and some physio, starting soon. He's gaining in strength and mobility rapidly now although he's feeling very frustrated and a bit stressed about things. But, miraculously, he is going to be OK!

I feel OK to blog again now, and refocus on the considerable delights in my life after this very stressful, anxious time.

Just before the accident we celebrated our annual South Coast seafood feast at Rosedale, generously hosted by Judy and Jurgen and the kids. In gloriously mellow early Autumn weather Chef Jane from Slick catering, and her offsider Louise served up their gorgeous versions of the region's best seafood: Clyde River oysters, lobster, calamari (for the kids) and blue eyed cod for Wayne (because of his need to avoid crustaceans).

It's always amazing to see the canapes emerging from the minimal Rosedale kitchen. This year we were served smoked salmon roulade, chorizo and roast tomato tartlets and cucumber cups with white bean pate and preserved lemon.

By now we are all in the mood to celebrate a wonderful lunch in wonderful company in this beautiful outdoor, Rosedale bush setting. The five kids in the party are old hands at feasting and are always a great help to Chef Jane and Louise and very interested in everything coming out of the kitchen.

Once the ice cold Majella Sparkling Shiraz is poured we know the party has begun.

First course is Clyde River oysters: natural, tomato and pomegranate, and bastourma and parsley salad (bastourma is a Turkish air dried beef fillet which has been rubbed with fenugreek, chilli and sugar)
Sitting next to Wayne I was able to find out all about the recent vintage at Murrumbateman, and the complexities of producing grapes and making high quality wines in the current economic climate. Wayne is a great story teller and I find I learn a lot while enjoying all the anecdotes in amongst more technical details. Both Jenny and Wayne ensure we enjoy and appreciate the best wines at these events.

Now the fresh half lobsters in shell with black olive cream are being served.

Louise deserves a cheer after running though the menu: chickpea and potato salad, roasted pumpkin, spinach salad with Zhoug dressing (Zhoug is a mixture of roasted spices, fresh coriander and a hint of chilli) and pickled eggplant and yoghurt and Turkish bread.

and calamari, chips and salad for the kids (their pick).

I didn't catch the dessert Bombe Alaska being flambeed this time. Chef Jane is famous for her Bombe Alaskas but this time she'd used Louise's home made fig and orange blossom ice cream as the base. It was wondrous; I had two helpings!!

We end off this amazing feast with a long beach walk at dusk and sleep deeply after all that wine and food in one of the many spare beds at Rosedale. Rob and I drove up to Sydney from Rosedale on Sunday, an easy trip along the Coast these days. We were in Sydney on the Tuesday morning when the terrible phone call about Joshy's accident came through.