Sunday, 27 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Yes, I know it's already happened. Ours was relaxed and involved lots of presents, needless to say the boys were delighted.
Every year before Chrissie I like to take the boys for a Santa photo. Strange really as I was PETRIFIED of department store Santas when I was little.However, it does provide an interesting record of the boys at this time of year every year and the boys don't seem to be too alarmed by either Santa or clowns. This year I toyed with the idea of heading into Perth to Santaland because they have a train and you can book your time with Santa. But that didn't happen. So only a week before the big day we went to our local mall. S thought I had taken leave of my senses and that it would be crazy busy. It was a little busy but not insane. Sam, who decided he wanted to be dressed as a pirate went from pumped to trepidatious to the point where he tried to jump the rope and make a break for it.
Not even the sight of hipsters getting an ironic Santa photo and trying desperately not to smile could entice him.
So he sat on my lap but refused to acknowledge Santa. Santa was having a nice chat to Jack about Star Wars, so he didn't seem fussed.  I had a feeling that the photo would be a disaster and then we got what might be one of my favourite santa photos ever. Which is a big call I admit, but I like that I'm laughing, that Sam seems so joyful to be in the photo and that Jack looks so handsome (last year's photo of him was weird and didn't look like him). Santa, well, I think he's meditating, but who could blame him?
Oh and the little guy Sam is holding is Augie from my friend Caro's picture book called Spring.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


 On Sunday I paid money so that Jack, Sam and Scarlett could pat a sheep and was flabbergasted. It wasn't about the money or the animals. It's just, you know we lived on and near farms for the last decade and did they ever want to pat sheep? Sigh.
Don't even talk to me about rabbits...


When S and I looked at our house I noticed signs in the street announcing the upcoming 17th Annual Lasagne Bakeoff. S commented that we wouldn't be buying the house just because it was on a street that had a Lasagne Bakeoff. I scoffed 'As if!' and then we did buy it.


Ever since we moved here the thought of the bakeoff was there buzzing around in the back of my brain along with obscure facts about Hollywood movie stars and Abba lyrics. I got tips from neighbours and complete strangers offered me recipes. I thought about practising but somehow didn't get around to it. I pondered why I would need an erection for the day and as S was away where would I get one from and how would I decorate it? I heard that garnishing was important as was making sure the ragu had no lumps.

Frank's butcher shop
Frank's - a local legend
The Lasagne Loaf

the Beast

In the end I went with my usual recipe but tweaked it. On the advice of Frank the butcher I went with a veal/pork mince mix which is not what I normally use. As I made it I just had a feeling that it was not quite up to scratch, but I assembled the beast and put it in the fridge.

Not judges for the Bakeoff
 On the day the excitement was palpable as the street was closed off. People were up early claiming their spots and setting up their erections. At ten we collected our shirts and competition containers and I returned home to put the beast in the oven. We had to submit our entries by 12.30. You know how the first slice is always a bit wonky, well this time was no different so I tried again and sent Jack down the road to hand it in. There was a warming oven for Street entries and out of the street entries. There was also another category for outside the square entries and I submitted a lasagne loaf (because you know bread is my thing).

The day was very hot (not optimum Lasagne eating weather) so the boys played under a sprinkler while we waited for the verdict.
And the winner was no. 14. I didn't get to see it or taste it so I have no idea why except they started at midnight the day before the bakeoff. And the out of the square was a Banoffee Lasagne. I have no idea what that was like but I'm hoping it was cold or room temp. I'm not a fan of a hot banana (is it me or is this post very Are you being served?).
And then, even after giving half of the beast away, we still ate it for days. In fact I probably won't want to eat lasagne for another 12 months.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Someone's going to lose an eye...

Unless you live under a rock you would know there's a new Star Wars movie coming out in December. So of course Christmas presents in our house and many others are bound to have a galaxy far, far away vibe. The boys and Scarlett all got a lightsaber (or is that a lightsabre?) and costumes and immediately started duelling. Till Sam whacked someone too hard and had his confiscated. I bet that never happened to

Nearly made it

Every year with the boys I try to hold out till December before we put up the tree. Not mid December, but the first but they get excited and I always give in. With Scarlett visiting and an early exchange of presents happening, I thought it was the perfect time to put up the tree.
It's looking a little lopsided and imperfect but I'm resisting the urge to tidy it up.No perfectly decorated, colour co-ordinated trees here.


When I was in fourth grade I remembered learning about Dutch explorers discovering Rottnest island of the coast of WA and quokkas.They thought the Quokkas were giant rats (which is how the island got its name). For some reason I decided that I really, really wanted to go there and somehow never let go of the idea.
When we moved here I thought we would go immediately but with one thing and another we never got around to it. Craig and Lou and Scarlett came for a visit and Lou (bless her grant wishing socks) organised for us to go.
I didn't manage a quokka selfie as they appeared a tad camera shy but we did see some and gave them a pat (apparently you aren't supposed to).
We also explored a little and went for a swim and ate. It was an all round lovely way to spend a day and I cannot wait to go back. If only for the quokka selfie.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Wednesday Morning Milkshake club

Sam started going to daycare this year. He likes to call it preschool. He's never really been sold on teh idea and my mother suggested it's because he has too good a time with me. Hmmm.
A highlight is the wednesday morning milkshake club where we go to a cafe (usually Dolce & Salato) and Sam has a milkshake and flower biscuits and I have something like a sfogliatelle (a flaky, ricotta pastry). I started taking photos and posting them and then people started asking where the photo was if I was late. And that's how it became a thing. After a successful change in location (to the beach for an alfresco nude edition and a memorable visit back to Ajanta in Coolamon) I'm thinking we should venture further afield. Like out of Fremantle.

Wednesday Morning Milkshake Club alfresco edition

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Crabb, Sales and Helen Garnerbread

I've always been a bit of a fan of Annabel Crabb. I've really enjoyed her series Kitchen Cabinet and am addicted to the podcast she does with Leigh Sales. I adore it's funny tone, the way they tease one another and talk about books and baking.
Like any crazy person I was convinced that we would all get along swimmingly and could chat and chat and chat about our shared interests. When I saw Annabel was coming to Perth I decided that I had to go. And then I thought about taking a gift. I like to put a lot of thought into the gifts I give people. Annabel and Leigh talk about the lovely gifts they receive from listeners and so one night as I tried to get to sleep I started thinking about how Annabel and Leigh love Helen Garner and maybe I should make a gingerbread Helen.
Not all ideas that come to me at this time of night are winners but I thought I would have a crack and set about making the gingerbread then icing it with fondant. I put a little Stone in Helen's hand as a nod to her book the First Stone. 
I wrapped up one for Leigh (in bubblewrap) and one for Annabel  in cellophane and caught the train in to Perth for the lunch. Annabel was going from table to table during the meal and I was able to catch her eye and hand over the Helens. Her reaction was better than I expected and I was so chuffed. I had a pretty crap view during her talk and I didn't care.
My view - Annabel was behind the column
The next morning I got a message from my friend Sonya and immediately looked at Twitter where Annabel was talking about the garnerbread. So I replied and then Leigh joined in and S and Jack and Sam were asking me about breakfast and lunch and showers and I was thinking Ahhhh! and be quiet I'm trying to tweet!
It was very exciting. Lovely to meet someone who I thought was wonderful and find out that they actually are.


 When I was younger my family really got into Halloween and we had great parties with fun games and bad taste cake and fancy dress. Living on a farm for a while meant that trick or treating wasn't a happening thing. Here it's big, not USA-dress-your-pug-as-a-superhero-big but definitely popular. I decorated the house with a giant spider and web (some real, some fake) and a proper Jack-o-lantern. Scooping out the seeds was disgusting.
I made witches fingers from Lorraine's blog (Lorraine is like the queen of halloween) and a costume for S. We had quite a few trick or treaters who liked our treats and spider but were unsure about the devilled egg (the parents liked it).

A visitor from the east coast

 We are finding that now we are in lovely Freo that people are quite keen to visit. One such visitor arrived recently for a two week stay and whilst we normally aren't great with people who stay longer than 3 days, he was very easygoing and low maintenance. While Flat Stanley or Flat as we called him,  was here we tried to show him the sights and I think we did pretty well. We took him to the Maritime museum and Shipwreck Galleries, the Fremantle Arts Centre (where we saw a band!), Fremantle Prison, Kings Park, Perth Concert Hall, plenty of street art and of course the beach. While he was here there was a festival (there always is) and he saw a thriller flash mob and Katie Noonan. I took a lot of photos and got some funny looks and reluctantly sent him back to Wagga with a travel diary chock full of memories.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Back on the farm


Years ago, when I was probably Jack's age, my Dad took Craig and I to the powerhouse museum. The only thing I remember is going to a talk entitled the 'plastic woman'. I had envisaged someone like elastagirl, a stretchy superhero and was disappointed when faced with a static plastic dummy, even though she was see through. That is until her boobs lit up. Craig and I fell about laughing but my father was not amused. Obviously things have changed since then and Jack really enjoyed the visit. Especially the anti gravity chamber in the space exhibit. He was also quite taken with the tinsel in the Collette Dinnigan display but we scuttled away after he got busted for hiding in it. How could you not? And I was reunited with an old friend. 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Busy morning in Northbridge

Northbridge is one of our favourite places to visit. It's a little grungy but it has the best street art and the best yum cha. S and I have been working our way through all the yum cha restaurants to find the best one which has been quite frankly tough. 
Now Jack and I know Northbridge has great bakeries and barbers too. We had a very productive morning which was so satisfying. Yum cha twice in one week? Don't mind if I do.  

Jack getting the 'executive contour' treatment at Westons
Puffs and Tarts at Chu BAkery Northbridge
Dim Sum at New Moon

I think he likes his haircut (though he was more impressed with the pool table)