Sunday, May 29, 2011

Backyard fun

Fourth birthday fun continued this week. We were lucky enough to be looking after Ella on Thursday morning when an interesting parcel arrived at the front door - from Sydney Clare and family. There was no time to be wasted to see what was inside.

A dress..with splashes of red (tick) with a long skirt (tick) with swirling potential (tick)...big smiles....and lots of emphatic I LOVE THIS DRESS!

Then straight to the mirror to check out its swirlability....Verdict...very swirl able...but now need urgently a pair of pretty shoes to wear with swirly skirted dress with lots of RED on it!!! "Banny (that's me) did you hear that I need a pair of pretty shoes now?"

We still had a morning's work to do: painting, water play, lots of activity on the new swing set, scootering to the park...the pretty birthday dress just had to be gently put to one side for later.

It was a beautiful clear Canberra late Autumn morning..brilliantly sunny, perfect for some backyard play on the new swing set.

Interspersed with discussions about the meaning of life (and the Rapunzel and Cinderella story), and snacks eaten picnic style on the ramp to the slippery slide.

Ella has developed quite a few strategies and theories about managing naughty Nellie the Beagle when she's playing in the back garden. Naughty Nellie is the biggest tease and likes to steal toys and jump up over people when she's excited. Ella demonstrated for me her Nellie whispering techniques and I was amazed at how effective they were. This is Ella and Nellie behaving like her submissive, sookie puppy!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ella is FOUR

Ella had some specific requests for celebrating her fourth birthday: a yum cha lunch with the all the P clan (including all the pork buns you can eat), followed by Beauty and the Beast cake and time to play with big boys O and A.

Luckily the Beast seemed to fit the bill (we managed to forget about Belle the Beauty - and we got away with it). He wasn't too scary looking and incorporated lots of liquorice and CHOCOLATE icing.


We had a very exciting diversion during the celebration. One of the street's main water pipes had sprung a leak - no doubt due to the recent spell of below freezing, overnight temperatures. So we had a small fleet of ACTEW-AGL's biggest trucks and machines on the street all afternoon, manned by a small crew of our city's finest water pipe repair technicians. Ella was so impressed by the size of the hole they had dug that she offered all the workmen a piece of her birthday cake. They seemed to be impressed by this.

The kids all enjoy "our hill", and it was a perfect afternoon for climbing the rock outcrop, playing imaginary games and pretending we were looking out over the galaxy/Sydney Harbour Bridge.

.......and finding a lady beetle to share some quality time with.

The neighbourhood tree house is a great attraction. All three kids loved making their way through the trap door down this rope ladder. A was the last to try it but then found it hard to stop..up...and down, .......up and down.

Other highlights of the fourth birthday weekend were the installation of a new timber swing set and more time with family today and fried combination noodles and spring rolls at Happy's!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Goodbye Chelsea

After our late night we had a slow start to the day, only emerging for a late lunch in the neighbourhood. We didn't want to leave New York without eating at Eataly, just 2 blocks away from where we're staying, at 23rd Street and 6th Avenue.

Eataly brings the very best of Italy to New York: we cook what we sell and we sell what we cook.......along with designer Italian cookware, wines and liquor, and cookbooks to die for. Memo to Jeremy: if you ever decide to visit New York, stay somewhere near coffee, bread, antipasto in New York, and a cool enough scene to satisfy Jeremy's high standards. The store/eatery is filled with stylish can tell by their little scarves, narrow pants and pointy toe shoes and great hair cuts.

We love our lunch: fresh anchovies on roast peppers and whole whiting in a delicious light sauce and crunchy snap peas, accompanied by a fresh white Italian wine, a Suave.

We do a bit of last minute shopping at Macy's on Herald Square then take a stroll down to the Hudson River end of 24th Street, a quiet and leafy area with beautiful pre war apartment buildings and prosperous looking brownstones. The street level of a whole block of apartments on W 24th Street has been opened up as contemporary gallery spaces - all white and minimalist and very EXPENSIVE. Chelsea is known as the art district of New York. It's been a wonderful place to stay!

We do a bit of sorting back at the apartment before heading out again to experience our last sunset in New York, this time from the Chelsea Highline Park - another favourite place for us in New York. It's not as glamorous as our vantage point from Brooklyn Bridge Park last night but strolling the Highline Park offers a more funky and thoughtful sunset experience for us.

There was a small gathering around the members of the Amateur Astronomer's Society of New York who'd set up small telescopes. The object of attention seemed to be.....

.......the half moon.

Goodbye wonderful New York.

Postcards of New York

All I'd done today was walk up to Herald Square on 34th St and Broadway/6th Ave and gaze in awe at all the goods on offer at Macy's department store, so I was looking forward to doing something really special on our second last night in New York (Monday night).

We left our apartment around 6.30pm and caught the 3 train from 23rd St down to Fulton St station and found our way to City Hall Park from where we knew the pedestrian approach to the Brooklyn Bridge. We wanted to repeat our walk over the bridge, but this time at sunset, so we could appreciate one of our favourite parts of New York at this magical time of the day.

Looking over to the Manhattan Bridge....

Over on the Brooklyn side we made our way to the Brooklyn Bridge Park from where we were able to enjoy, over the course of the next hour or so, the most wonderful light show.

As darkness fell we walked further up to the Brooklyn Promenade, making our way to Montague Street for a quick Brooklyn Lager at the Heights Cafe (the only way to grab a quick "bathroom" stop) and then on to the Court St subway, to catch an R train up to 8 St station on Broadway, near the East Village. It was after 10.00pm by now but we easily found our way to 6th St between 1st and 2nd Avenues - to the Zerza Restaurant at 308 E 6th St. We were very impressed that the almost empty (by now) restaurant was so welcoming and happy to feed us whatever we wanted. It was a Moroccan restaurant in the groovy East Village, and recommended to us by Imogen.

We loved our late meal, a meze plate to share, a lamb Berber couscous for Rob and a vegetable couscous for me, finished off with sweet (and beautiful) mint tea. We also loved our conversation with the young French girl serving us. She lives in Paris and was in NY on a 2 and 1/2 month long fashion internship (doing waitressing at night). This restaurant deserves its great reputation. I had never tasted such complex and delicate couscous flavours.

We eventually made our way back to 8 station, through the still buzzy streets of the East Village. We were tired by now so to avoid much more walking we caught an R train back to 42nd St station and then backtracked on our favourite line 1 train so we could land almost at the door of our apartment at around 12.30am.