Saturday, April 26, 2014

Easter Part 2 - A visit from my favourite baby

For most of the Easter break, I was counting down the days until my sister and her family came to the mountains. We met up in Katoomba, at a specialty waffle shop on the main street (which is always so busy!) Tony and I loitered as subtly as we could to nab the only four seater table right at the front of the shop. My niece arrived fresh from her nap and in her first ever winter coat, a snow coloured quilted thing.

She seems so grown up now. At 7 months she eats solids and has an opinion on whether she wants to be standing, sitting or lying down (rarely the latter these days). Thankfully she hasn't grown out of cuddles just yet. She is very attentive and curious and sleeps far less, which means more time for hanging out, eating and reading books together.

For the day and a half that our stays overlapped (my sister stayed in the most amazing cabin in Blackheath, which was conveniently 5 minutes from where I stayed. Next time, I'm keen to stay in this treehouse!) we hung out whenever we could. We had afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast together before heading to the park before it was time for us to begin our 6 hour drive home.

Hoodies in the park! My little niece is a bit too young for chocolate, so I bought her two Easter board books, on the advice of my friend Kristy who seems to know exactly what kids like. I may have also bought her a tiny cardboard handbag containing two chocolate Lindt eggs which was really for my sister and photo opportunities ;)

I miss this little one so much! She's one of my favourite people and I hope to see her again really soon. I really loved hanging out with my sister and her husband, and we're already planning more joint holidays. I missed them as soon as we'd said goodbye! The four of us (plus bebe) get along so well and it feels like we can help a little with the baby, she gets lots and lots of attention!

Last stop - Annie's ice creamery in Bathurst on the way home! The pink and white diner had come highly recommended by two friends who visit the town often and so even though we weren't terribly hungry, we stopped in for something to eat. We tried the new Choc Banana flavour (delicious) and were very amused watching the comings and goings of the corner shop.

We watched a woman carry 4 ice creams across the road to her family waiting in the park. She had a bright green and purple cones, amongst more natural looking flavours. Inside, a family of six sat in a horseshoe booth, munching on their cones and then I saw an older woman with a double scoop in one hand and her steering wheel in the other as she made a u-turn and drove away.

Somehow, we missed a key turn off in between Cowra and Young and added an hour or so to our trip, making it home well after dark.

Easter in two parts - Part 1, up and down the mountain

Easter was spent in the Blue Mountains, in Blackheath where Tony's parents have a home. It was a full house that weekend, with Tony's brother and sister-in-law joining us. Many hot cross buns and Easter chocolates were eaten.

On most days we went for a little drive and then a walk, exploring some of the mountain towns. Leura was my favourite.

On Saturday I was up super early to catch the train to Sydney to visit a friend and her new baby. It was goosebump weather when I left and I saw lots of intriguing and hilarious things from the train on the way there and back.

I passed two green swimming pools in Wentworthville, witnessed a couple change seats three times (always instigated by the man) and as we got closer to the city, I spied a small boy in tan pants and green sunnies who raced our train by running along his platform in Newtown. We won. On the way home three different Pikachus boarded my carriage, on their way home from the Royal Easter Show. I spent the last hour of my trip back up the mountain trying to snap a photo of one of the Pikachus who was sitting in front of me, who was restless and difficult to photograph. From my seat on the second tier of the train carriage, I saw a panel van being pulled over by the cops as the sun went down, cows grazing on a soccer field in Sydney's west and a the top bunk being made up in a flat above a shop in Katoomba.

My 12 hours in Sydney was great. I had brunch with my friend, cuddled her baby, went to a zine fair, bought a book I've been hunting for a little while, picked up a special book Tony had on order at the art gallery.  There was even time for a little Japanese lunch and a last minute dash to Gelato Messina, where I deviated from my usual favourite flavours (coconut and lychee or anything with chocolate/caramel/peanut butter in it) and tried the Apple Pie, which featured giant chunks of pie crust in the gelato! It was dark by the time I made it back to Blackheath and cold once more.

Morning reading nook on Easter Sunday with city souvenirs. I bought the Seinfeld zine for Tony.

We took turns making dinner. On Saturday Tony's brother made a giant beef wellington in the shape of an Easter bun! He cut it before I could take a photo but it was delicious and packed with mushrooms. I made the trimmings for the Sunday lamb roast, garlic kale and lemon soaked potatoes. My apple crumble very nearly didn't work but it was nothing some fancy ice cream couldn't save.

And then on Monday we killed time walking the back streets of Leura, waiting for my little niece to arrive (and her parents of course). It was a perfect day for walking (nice weather and still full bellies from the night before) and the sights were beautiful and strange.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

a week in pictures

^^ wagga wagga after work.

^^ I spent the first half of my week in canberra for work. I loved this yellow chair in my hotel room and snapped this touristy pic on the way to get burgers with friends.

^^ much of this week has been powered by downton abbey.. I wasn't much into this season until I found myself 3 episodes in. I sent this pic to tony who was having a boy's night (pizza, red wine and action movies) back in wagga. I've also started reading fashion magazines again for the first time in years! so far I'm liking elle australia, it's fun and no where near as aspirational/alienating as vogue etc.

^^ the last thing I saw in canberra before driving back home, with a black sesame milk tea in hand. 

^^ an exciting package from tokyo greeted me when I got back to the office. hello sandwich and I did an impromptu mail swap. I traded a few copies of our newest national weekend newspaper and some aussie essentials like silly gorman socks and tim tams, in exchange for some cool japanese magazines and some other goodies like special sticky tape.

^^ extremely satisfying rainy day baking. I used this recipe for coconut choc chip cookies for the first time and was very happy with the results, especially how uniformly shaped the cookies were! before cooking baking we finally got to see her at the movies and had burritos for lunch. it was a perfect day.

^^ coloured lights are strung up the 1-2kms of narrandera's main street. I've actually never seen them on but I like them all the same.

^^ excellent pasta from griffith for our saturday supper. I ran a writing workshop on saturday afternoon, and brought home dinner as a souvenir. we had spaghetti calamari and gnocchi gorgonzola, and I'll be definitely making a habit of this for future trips.

^^ and finally, some apple pikelets for breakfast. tony was very proud of his photo bombing efforts. one of my favourite sunday rituals is making a hot breakfast whilst listening to sunday extra, I try to time my sleep in so I'm cooking while my favourite segments are on.

p.s - my older sister has started a new blog, the moon bunny diaries that chronicles her days as a new mum. my favourite posts so far have been confessions of a party mama (so funny), adventures in kangaroo valley (I love a road trip in pictures), wonderful (a tribute to our late aunt on the anniversary of her passing) and she's so lucky (I've so loved the experience of becoming an aunt and it was really special to read about my relationship with my niece from my sister's perspective).