Monday, 25 January 2016

52 Project: 4/52

"A portrait of my child[ren] once a week, every week in 2016"

The swing, the swing.  This thing has been hugely popular from the start, and continues to help ease us through that ratty time between dinner and bath each evening.  I remember when you were tiny and we were scared you'd fall out through one of the leg holes!

These days you squeal and clap and kick your little legs, with the breeze ruffling your little curls.  On this evening you also treated me to a game of peek-a-boo with your discarded singlet.

And, because I always get asked, the swing was a gift from my sister.  But you can find the same ones here:

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


Confession:  until quite recently I thought "dahlia" was pronounced phonetically (dah-lia), not day-lia.  But now I know why they're called (day)lias... because they take days and days to completely unfurl!  I got really excited when the flower buds on mine swelled after Christmas, and commenced daily checks on their progress.  Sometimes, many times per day.

That was several weeks ago.

Well I am thrilled to announce that the first flower is now in full bloom, with several more to follow.  

I cut the first flower the other day and brought it inside to enjoy its full feathery magnificence.  

I am just obsessed with that dreamy pink colour, especially considering that I thought this was a dark red variety.  Score!

It's safe to say that I am OFFICIALLY a dahlia addict.  I will always have these in my garden.

Stupidly I left the tag out in the weather and all the details washed away so now I don't know what the variety is.

If anyone knows, I'd be most grateful for the help identifying it!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

52 Project: 3/52

"A portrait of my child[ren] once a week, every week in 2016."

You've finally figured out how to crawl this week and you are so pleased with yourself.  The whole house is fair game and each day you explore a little further.  We still haven't baby-proofed anything but it must be done as you're surprisingly quick when you want to be.  There's not much time to get photos either - a smile for the camera and then you're off again to the next thing.

Your bottom two teeth appear to be cutting through at last, bringing the total to six - four on top and now two on the bottom.  Lots of people have commented that your "baby" face is changing and looking at these photos I can really see that it's true.

Monday, 11 January 2016

52 Project: 2/52

"A portrait of my child[ren] once a week, every week in 2016."

The 52 Project is quite simply what it sounds like above - a reminder to take a decent photo hopefully every week of the year.  I am hopeless for taking thousands of photos on my iPhone and rarely pulling out the proper camera.

I don't expect to post a photo every week - hey, I've already missed the first one! - but I hope to have a decent collection by the end of the year, and can't wait to look back on how my little dumpling will have grown.

11 January 2016, 8:43am
Bit pensive, this one.  Shortly before nap time, with your two most favourite soothers - your thumb and your beloved Bunny - and surrounded by mess since now you can crawl and reach all your toys yourself.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Walk around the garden

It is now January which means that apparently Joan turns ONE next month.  I don't want to talk about it.

So instead, let's go for a walk around the garden and look at everything else that's growing before our very eyes.

For some reason my rhubarb is always green.  I want beautiful ruby red rhubarb (even just for the alliteration opportunities) but no.  Maybe because we grow it from seed instead of crowns?  Either way, very soon I'll be stewing up the first crop and I can't wait.

Also: sage.  Can't say we use it in our cooking much, but I do love the look of it, and enjoy running my fingers over its velvety leaves.

The official vegetable garden (as opposed to the random edible plants scattered throughout the rest of the garden) has taken off, and you might say - or sing if you're me - the corn is as high as an elephant's eye... and it looks like it's climbing' clear up to the sky.  

Note the hastily installed fencing in the bottom left of this pic - turns out chickens love both corn and carrot tops.  Shocking.

I may have mentioned before that Joan loves strawberries.  I mean, LOVES strawberries.  Even now when they're in season it was getting pretty expensive so enter the backyard strawberry plantation.

It's not just strawberries - she's pretty keen on all fruits and berries.  Back when we lived in Marangaroo we planted some brambles which never really took off.  One was a thornless blackberry which we'd planted in a pot so it came with us to the new house.  It's finally fruiting!  Those warm plump berries take me straight back to my own childhood, sliding down the gullies of the Adelaide hills with my sister, picking bucketloads of blackberries.

Under the pergola everything's coming along too.  We recently bought a bromeliad which I have no clue what to do with but I just love their structural foliage and vibrant colours.

Believe it or not my fiddle leaf fig is still alive!  And it's even shot out a few new branches.  Looking at the photo below it's well and truly time to repot the thing though.  Its little purple friend there is a cordyline we rescued from the back garden.  It was looking very sad and tired but seems to be making a comeback.

Seeing all the frangipanis around Perth in bursting flower got me all determined that what we need out front is a frangipani.  Found a guy on Gumtree who had some very ambitious prices but once we arrived somehow ended up giving us three small ones for $5.  $5 total that is.  Two of them hadn't struck yet but are now well on their way, and the biggest one is now in the front garden and will hopefully be providing some fragrant shade within a few years' time.

I've come to realise that it's not possible to have an attractive garden without having an ugly workspace somewhere.  This is why rich people build themselves an adorable little potting shed.  Or, if you're us, one end of the pergola is given over to a plant hospital/nursery/maternity ward arrangement.

Don't worry, we're nearly finished.  The chickens are doing really well, but I'm wondering when their feathers will grow back?!  Their combs are reddening up nicely, they're laying an egg each most days like little darlings, but they still look terrible with exposed skin and patchy feathers.  They've been with us a few weeks and I probably have to be more patient (not my forte) but where are my photogenic plump chookies??

Last of all (and I forgot to take a photo) one of my dahlia plants is about to burst into flower with THREE fat buds just waiting for their moment.  You can bet that once those things pop I'll be out there with the camera to capture my triumph.

Well that's it for now.  I have to figure out how to fit Joan into this here pickling jar.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Christmas Day

I hope everyone had as nice a Christmas Day as I did.  It was pretty low key as expected but I just loved it for the fact that it was our first as a family of three.  

Although Blair and I stuck to our commitment not to buy any presents for each other - or for Joan - there did end up being a modest pile under the tree which was nice.  Those photos you see on Facebook of sliding mountains of presents taking up whole rooms make me really uncomfortable.

Modest tree, modest collection of gifts. Perfect.
The weather on Christmas Day was mercifully mild (fairly unusual for Perth, so I hear) and we started the day with bacon and eggs.  Eggs from our very own chickens of course!  They're doing really well and are still laying an egg each most days which is tremendous.

The Executive Chef oversees the breakfast preparation

Sous Chef brings everything together

Let's just look at the lovely fresh eggs and crispy bacon and avert our gaze from the grime on the front of the barbecue.

Back in April when my sister Hazel came to visit, we went to the Target outlet store and I bought a whole pile of size 00 and 0 clothing.  At the time Joan was 10 weeks old and still tiny (and SUCH hard work, my god, I wonder if I will ever look back at those months without feeling so sorry for Past Prue), and I remember holding up the size 0 t-shirts and feeling utterly confounded that she would fit into them by the end of the year.  But there was this adorable pink Christmas t-shirt which was, like, $2 (it was April after all).  And it was so on trend with the geometric pastels and the reindeer head.  So because I am always on trend, I bought it.

And here we are.  She only JUST still fit into it.

Merry Christmas, y'all.  No I WILL NOT look at the camera.
Merry Christmas Biggie Smalls, here's a pile of crunchy crackly paper.
We had a light Christmas lunch of chicken salad because we were heading over to friends' in the afternoon for a swim and mid-afternoon barbecue linner (lunch/dinner for those playing along at home).

I totally meant to get a photo of all three of us together when we were there but I forgot so all I have is this photo of Blair getting stuck into something revolting like bourbon and coke.  Bergh.

Joan NEARLY crawled while we were there but changed her mind at the last minute so that still hasn't happened yet.  When did I last update you guys on her progress?  Did I tell you that she's saying "Dada" now?

Anyway, we came back home and she went straight to bed after having had such fun with the kids, and I cleaned up inside while Blair watered the garden.

After that it was time to flop on the couch and watch some cheesy Christmas movies.  I'd found a bottle of Baileys in the liquor cupboard on Christmas Eve so some vanilla ice cream in a glass with a splash of Baileys over the top... was actually cloyingly sweet and after a few sips I poured it down the sink.

Merry Christmas all.  This is probably my last post on the blog for 2015, so thank you for so much love and support this year.  You people in my computer aren't half bad xxx

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Christmas, garden, chickens...etc

At the risk of joining a quite annoying chorus, do you guys realise that Christmas is only two weeks away??  I for one am so looking forward to it.  Because we don't do gifts it means I just get to look forward to all the festivities without the stress of buying pointless crap.

I think I've mentioned before that Blair and I are staying in Perth for Christmas, only the second time as a couple that we have ever done so.  As Joan's first ever Christmas I like the fact that she will be in her own space, happy and comfortable, and without the first clue what's going on.

I may not be buying piles of pointless crap to give other people at Christmas but I LOVE me some Christmas baking (or, let's be real, any baking) and have today started the distribution of baked goods.  Some were distributed straight into my mouth due to important quality testing requirements.

It was almost exactly a year ago that I attempted shortbread for the first time ever in this post.  Gosh that feels a long time ago - I was still at work, and we didn't even know whether Joan was a boy or girl!  I didn't especially enjoy being pregnant (going through the last trimester in the height of summer was a stupid idea) but re-reading that post and thinking back now, it really is such a special time.  Huge puffy feet and hands not included.


Choc coconut slice.  Required extensive taste testing.  Thankfully made the cut.

Shortbread.  Not my bag (HAHAHA) but Blair taste tested and confirmed sufficient quality

Blackboard-style tags?  I'm SO ON TREND

I haven't updated you guys on the house/garden for ages, after promising loads of updates.  Sozz.  Things have been progressing, albeit slowly.  The problem is that it's pretty dull for everyone if I write about plastering and painting the walls.  The garden I now realise, however, has actually come a long way since we last talked about it.  This is why I have to take lots of photos and write about it, because otherwise I forget too easily.  So here is a bit of an update.

We've got a vegetable garden going with corn and carrots (as well as the existing herb garden, and potted spinach and various berries).  We also planted some very cool pom-pom type marigolds which are a lot more fetching that the kind we normally grow from seed.  And the bees can't miss them!

Something I'm really excited about, and which was only finalised yesterday, is our chicken run!   With added chickens!  We got them as ex-layers from an egg farm in the Swan Valley who warned us that they're not guaranteed to lay an egg every day.

Because they were in some kind of horrible battery situation they're a bit sad looking with pale-pink combs and half their feathers pulled out.  They were only $10 each and I like the fact that we're going to give them the life they should have had, scratching in the dirt and eating bugs and kitchen scraps and things.  Any eggs they lay for us are just a bonus.

That being said, they've lived with us for just over 24 hours and we've already got two eggs.  Time to start hoarding egg cartons I think...

Blair's put in a lot of work in the front garden and it shows.  It's amazing what a difference even a bit of mulch makes to the look of the place.  We've also relocated some very cool Kimberley stone which was in a weird water feature/rockery out the back and used them to add interest to the front garden beds.  I love the crazy stripes and colours.

The retaining wall we built when we first arrived is now all planted out and starting to look really cool with all the different foliage colours and types.

Having always thought I don't really care for flowering plants I must say I am LOVING my marguerite and seaside daisies, and am impatiently waiting to see if my dahlias will flower.  Crossing all fingers and toes that we get some big blousy blooms on them.

This is a leptospermum which is a good native alternative to box.  It's hard to see in the photo but it has vibrant red stems which look great against the foliage

So, that's the garden right now.  I haven't shown the bits that still need work, and should probably take photos of the ugly bits so I have some "before" to compare my "afters" against.

Now!  Back to Christmas.  I did manage to control my crazy urges to buy every Christmas anything I saw in the shops, and so we have a modest but festive display.

More decorations than tree, but Blair is super proud of our living tree

I love how these jingle festively every time I open the door

Because I am SO ON TREND: garland

These are right above my kitchen sink and make me happy every time I look at their sparkly gaudiness.

Now I have a confession to make.  I did spend $250 on the hideous singing dancing Thomas Kinkade Christmas sculpture.  And it was a hideous disappointment.  I sent it back.  Discussing it later with my sister Hazel, I confessed that I want something gaudy... but well-made.  I'm not certain that such a thing exists.  But if it does, I WILL track it down and I WILL buy it.

Do you know where I can find a possibly glitter-dusted, tacky, and yet intricate and well-made Christmas ornament/scene/sculpture?