Thursday, May 29, 2014

More Noosa

Did I tell you that the Noosa Lookout Resort is 249 steps above Hastings Street? I went up and down them four times on Tuesday - a great workout in this lovely patch of coastal rainforest and an excellent way of working off all those ginger and macadamia nut icecreams.

We walked north along the beach at sunset on our last night in Noosa to where the river meets the sea.

This is the third time we have stayed in Apartment 10; it's as spacious and comfortable as a house (home)..... 

............but it is the view that  does it for me every time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Noosa light

We're in Noosa for a few days, spending some time with Rob's mum - back in our favourite Apartment 10 at the Noosa Lookout Resort. This is the stunning view that greeted us yesterday evening - just another Noosa sunset and on view every evening from our balcony. 

We've had a relaxing day today - a long walk along the stunning Noosa coastline through the National Park, lunch overlooking the waves at Sunshine Beach and another walk along the boardwalk on the main beach this evening.

Not only does Noosa have stunning sunsets, beaches, national parks (with koalas), wonderful food and gorgeous sunny also has a main street full of trees festooned in fairy lights. Love Noosa! 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ella is seven

This gorgeous girl turned seven this week.  We were lucky to be invited to her girls only "craft party" on Sunday morning.

Jody had all the activities beautifully planned: making pretty headbands, paper chains, stamping, collage making, painting and drawing.  Five little girls (+ Abi of course) - all beautifully behaved, focussed, happy, inventive - more like a mellow, relaxed, creative play date than the usual frenzy of a kid's birthday party.

It meant all the adults felt very relaxed too. I could concentrate on finishing off the cupcakes...

Josh could finish off his world famous "fairy pikelets" and macarons and Jody kept us gee-ed up with cups of coffee.

The pics below are my Abi (trying to) snort lollies series....... (she resisted though - under orders!)

The cupcakes had to be handcrafted too! The girls could choose 7 lollies to decorate their own cakes - and that activity seemed to go over rather well.

But I think that in all the excitement Abi probably ended up with more than her allotted seven...

A gorgeous way to celebrate a gorgeous girl's 7th birthday.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Autumn leaves

The official start of winter is only a week or so away and our daily max is still around the 18oC - 20oC mark. The foliage on our Autumn trees is past its prime - but still a spectacular backdrop to the girls' Saturday morning garden play.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Strictly Sydney

We squeezed a lot out of our three days in Sydney.  Friday night we met up with old friends at Miro Tapas Bar in Liverpool Street, and, over a few hours did our very best to fill the quirky basement space with lots of talk and laughter (and fairly defamatory observations of our new government) over a number of glasses of very good Spanish tempranillo.

Judy and Jurgen arrived Saturday, in time to join us at the Lyric Theatre for Baz Luhrmann's long awaited stage production of "Strictly Ballroom".  We loved the 1992 film with all its overblown colour, characters and sparkle. The fact that creative expression proved the winner against those repressive, rule bound, old Aussie archetype characters was something we all found very appealing too..."a life lived in fear is a life half lived" and all that.

I don't think the musical achieves the same emotional engagement as the film but it sure is a winner in the sheer entertainment stakes. We had great seats 6 rows back from the stage, centre front, so were able to enjoy every note, every expression, every dance move, every sequin and flash of light and colour - just fantastic.

We were booked into Luke Nguyen's Red Lantern on Riley for the early dining session on Saturday night - a first visit for all of us.

We started with drinks at the classy Red Lily Cocktail Bar before being settled into our retro styled banquette seating. We felt very relaxed in the French colonial inspired setting of this small but beautifully designed space fronting Riley Street in Darlinghurst, and in the capable hands of the very well trained staff.

We took the easy way out and ordered the degustation menu - eight exquisitely prepared courses - and then dessert.  It was all superb, but probably my favourites were the roast duck served with plum sauce and Vietnamese salad and the Vietnamese fish cake served with daikon, cucumber, sweet pea puree and orange zest. The sesame and rice flour dumplings, filled with sour sop and served with black sesame ice cream was a taste sensation for dessert. 

To accompany all this Rob and Jurgen picked a lovely Bella Ridge Chenin Blanc from the Swan Valley, WA - which proved a perfect match for the menu

But my camera thought the soft rice paper rolls looked the prettiest in these low light conditions.

We started Sunday slowly, with an easy walk to South Coogee, making sure we had plenty of time to sign up for the 1.00pm guided tour of "The Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul" (Afghanistan) exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW.

It's a small exhibition but an awesome tribute to the bravery of the Museum staff who managed to hide these treasures away safely in the vaults of the presidential palace in Kabul  through the really dangerous years of the Soviet and then the Taliban insurgencies.

The objects on view span Afghan history from 2200 BC to 200AD and come from four sites. The objects from the necropolis of Tillya Tepe were the most spectacular because the chieftain and his household members were buried there with thousands of gold objects.

I loved these little gold and turquoise earrings (over 2000 years old) belonging to some lesser person in the chieftain's household. Despite appearances they're not decorated with heart motifs - they actually represent ivy leaves which at the time symbolised love (because ivy attaches and intertwines itself to things you see).

The AGNSW was buzzing on Sunday afternoon - there were children in collage workshops; there was a panel discussion happening in the entry space of the main gallery and there was this lovely drawing class happening in the 19th century Australian Art gallery - all free to participants.

But by now we were hungry again. We'd planned to take Judy and Jurgen to our fave Danjee (Korean) in Albion Place (thank you Kay and Joel) but timed it wrongly today.  We were directed instead to the Madang on Pitt Street owned and run by the same people as the newer more upmarket Danjee.

We enjoyed a great meal - more rustic than what we'd tried at Danjee but punchy with flavour and freshness as we now understand good Korean food is.  We'll make sure we visit the Madang again.

We're lucky not to have to front up to work on Mondays (unlike Jurgen) so we really appreciated a quiet night at Coogee before fronting the M5 back to Canberra this morning, late enough to miss the early morning Sydney traffic snarls. Another fantastic Sydney weekend!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Biggest mother

Autumn's really arrived now, and we had our first light frosts during the week. Abi discovered beanies..
 and refused to remove hers for at least the first 24 hours of their relationship.

Autumn brings Mother's Day too of course, and another excuse for a family gathering this afternoon.

Ella and the boys look forward to seeing each other but at the start of the gathering Ella looked somewhat doubtful about Angus taking over her rainbow band territory.

Although she did warm to the doubt impressed by Angus's serious interest and intent.

But she looked much happier to get her loom back.

Granny K was able to make the outing and seemed to really enjoyed herself. Ollie awarded her the "biggest mother" moniker, and well deserved too. She's just 10 weeks or so away from her 100th birthday and certainly the original and the oldest of all the mothers present at today's gathering.

The kids livened the party up a lot after the "craft" session was over. Jumping off this wall has been a favourite challenge for all three of them ever since they were toddlers.

While the big kids were jumping Abi was happy to boss Grandpa around - all it takes is one raised finger!

 Ollie made a raspberry cheesecake (a Nigella version) for the occasion.

It was absolutely delicious and a credit to his versatilty - but the onset of the dessert course did coincide with outbursts of heightened hilarity and extreme sports like stacks on, handstands, shrieks and giggles (and that was just the adults).  Time for the mothers (and fathers) to beat a retreat while all the kids were still in one piece and leave Maxie and Rod to mop up and recover order.

Happy Mother's Day to all our favourite mothers out there!