Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas 4

We'd all been looking forward to this Christmas celebration SO much. The London branch flew into Canberra yesterday so we all pretended today was the 25th and celebrated the whole Christmas thing all over again, but this time with ALL of Maxie and Rod's family together - just amazing!
Eddie's been to Australia before of course (in September 2011 when he was just a baby). This time with the benefit of age and experience he's really looking forward to seeing some cockatoos the most. So he was thrilled to find these cockatoo print boardshorts under the Christmas tree, from his cousins Ella and Abi.
Eddie's found two wonderful playmates here - his two big, handsome boy cousins: Ollie and Angus.
This is Ivy's first visit to Australia - and she can't decide who is her favourite big boy cousin just yet.
But she does like the selection of toys Abi left for her, as well as all the new toys under the Christmas tree.
After lunch Eddie shocked us all by voting to join the big boys (in the charge of Jeremy) to head off down the coast for the night. It's such an Australian thing to do that (he'll be ok Mummy and Daddy)!
Ivy was happy to stay behind  and catch up on some quality time with her Nanny (they'll head off to the coast in the morning).............
 .. and wear this beautiful hand made dress (exquisite work by her Nanny).


We'll be catching up with this branch of the family again, and another branch too, over the next two weeks - stay tuned!

Christmas 2 & 3

We've had one of our busiest Christmas weeks ever: dinners and drinks with various friends, a spectacular Indian themed party on Friday night, breakfast with neighbours here at Saint Germain on Saturday...... then our traditional pre-Christmas celebration at the vineyard near Murrumbateman on Saturday night..... and then actual Christmas Day of course

We took these two gorgeous young women to drinks at the Hyatt on Wednesday night, a great way to kick off a busy week of revelry.

.... and out to Murrumbateman on Saturday night........



 The vineyard looks particularly lush and beautiful at this time of day.........
Our meal was another triumph: Clyde River oysters and Riesling , slow roasted pork belly (with potatoes and cabbage) served with a very special French cider and a delicious tea smoked duck (with bok choy), followed by Anke's chocolate cake from Berrima and hand dipped chocolate strawberries - YUM! Another wonderful night at Murrumbateman!
We were lucky enough to be invited to actual Christmas day with my dear friend Irene and her family and friends.. Irene found lots of necklaces under the Christmas tree this year and wore them all for this pic......

We started with oysters and sashimi in the garden (served with a beautiful Joseph sparkling Cabernet Merlot from MacLaren Vale) before moving inside for lunch: stuffed veal roast, ham and pork, lots of vegetables and my mango salad. It was a big happy crowded table with lots of laughter and a great mix of generations .....
 Rob was best mates with Kim (two cool, old dudes) by the end of this beautiful, happy lunch.............

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Water dragons at the Gardens

There's been great excitement at the National Botanic Gardens with the opening of the new tree house for children in the paperbark forest. 

However, as far as Ella and Abi were concerned the water dragon lizards appearing at almost every turn of the water course running through the Gardens was the highlight of our visit yesterday.

Although the new architect designed tree house was "good" (but a bit too safe and unchallenging for our pair of dare devils).



 Grandpas are quite handy for removing mud from new sandals.






 But then it was back to the main game - water dragon lizard spotting.



Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas 1

We had our first Christmas celebration here at Saint Germain last Sunday. There were all the traditional elements: the Canberra clan together, a glass of Majella on entry, Christmas carols on rotation (groans from Ella), Secret Santa presents to open (yay says everyone)..........

Abi's present struck the right note: a squeaky toy for her Sniffy dog and a new food bowl for him too (apparently Paddy the dachshund gave it his seal of approval too after quite a fuss!)........
We were so lucky to have Claire and Angus with us - despite Angus's surgery a few days before......
A beautiful late lunch: turkey, ham, prawn salad and creamy potatoes, following on from Josh & Jody's yummy canapes..........
Ella was the star turn at lunch: a 20 minute tour de force of her free form social commentary complete with cockney accent - hilarious!! How does she do it?

A game in the park then icecream dessert and the rare treat of chocs and licorice allsorts: a perfect day, though somewhat tiring by the end! .............................


Sunday, December 3, 2017

6 months

We moved into Saint Germain on the 3rd June - which means we've been living here 6 months as of the 3rd December - time for a bit of a recap and reflect!
Our all time favourite feature of our apartment would have to be the view from the wall of glass windows facing north towards Mt Ainslie. In late winter - early Spring it looked like this......
 but now in very early summer it looks like this..........

We both like opening the door to our apartment and seeing this view too .................. it feels like home.


We are also happy with the way our old bits and pieces seem to work for us here in their new space .............
And we LOVE our bedroom - still a work in progress and very minimal, but calm and spacious - and this is a great view to wake up to (and always lots of bird sounds).
 Still need to hang that beautiful John Forrester-Clack work too!
 Our TV set up in the living room was always a work in progress from day 1...... 
And this is where we are up to so far (see below)... a new "The Frame" TV but still unfinished. We have a friend (furniture maker) working on a cupboard that will go below that shelf to house all the video & audio. Then it will need a rug and..................
But then there is always that view!!! We had a super moon last night on our 6 month anniversary (just for us)........

 ...... and a military fly past over the War Memorial at the base of Mt Ainslie this morning - never a dull moment!
It's taken our builders a full 6 months to rectify all our building defects (all superficial but a lot of them). We still have one thing left to do on our list but that is booked in for completion with a carpet laying company next week. That was one of the big surprises when we moved in - that there were so many little things still left unfinished. However the builders have been very diligent (if a bit slow) about doing the right thing and we're all looking forward to the end of this phase and we can start to call the building our own.

We'll have to do another recap again in June next year!