That brother of mine

It’s the 12th of Feb, and that means my brother is celebrating another successful completion of his annual trip around the sun.

We were so delighted when he arrived and evened out the number of children my parents have. We really couldn’t believe that there was a boy in our family – a trio of sisters was what that little baby joined. It’s amazing that that little baby grew into a 6″4 man, but these things do happen!

Happy Birthday to you!! Here’s to many more fabulous years!

Photo A Day Week 5


Day 5 – Water

Down at our Bay

Day 6 – Opposites

Sea and sky, boats and plane(s). On Australia Day at the harbour.

Day 7 – Card

A card from Champagne Cartel that came a little while back. Words to live by!

Day 8 – Fave Smell

That seaside smell, at Yamba of course.

Day 9 – Pet

Where would we be without our Archie Dog? He’s a delight.

Day 10 – Umbrella

This one is my favourite and my best, a Charlie and Lola-ism that has become part of our everyday. Mary Poppins memorabilia is fab!

Day 11 – Friend

When your friend becomes a published author you do have to go to her Sydney book launch. Congratulations to Carly Findlay on such a fabulous achievement!

China dreaming

Today we went over to Burwood ostensibly to purchase a music book for G, but actually to get a belly full of superior Chinese food, at the Xi’an Eatery.

A blogger I follow had done a review of this particular restaurant so I knew it should be good. Not Quite Nigella did not let me down. It was fabulous. Both my kids want to return. I count that as a win!

Burwood is full of Chinese restaurants, many with Xi’an featuring in the name. Being transported back to that particular home of lamb and cumin sticks is always a delight.

We had a great selection of food. The waitress we had was attentive and friendly, I have also had my tank filled from hearing Mandarin being spoken, then being apologised for. I love nothing more than being immersed in another language where the person for whom it is their mother tongue just ploughs through, knowing that you’ll get the gist! We were definitely the foreigners in that restaurant today.

I had to order a mango beer off the menu as it sounded tantalising. It was great.

The food was fabulous too.

After lunch T and I went around to the shopping centre where we’d parked the car, to sit and wait for the others. They needed to do some shopping.

Fortunately this coincided with a couple of dragons visiting, with their percussion entourage. Watching them go around the shopping centre, eating lettuces and lucky red envelopes, and moving to the beat of the extremely loud percussion band, was wonderful.

What Mary Read

I belong to a local book group. With this comes the reading of books that I mightn’t usually choose. These also need to be read for the second Tuesday of the month.

As mentioned before I keep a big pile of books on the hop sometimes. Having a set date to have a book read by can be a good thing.

Our “holiday read” for the February meet was from a selection of Kathy Lette books. I randomly selected “After The Blues”. “Puberty Blues” was her first book, a co-write that was written in the 70’s, about growing up on the southern beaches of Sydney at a time when girls were seen as the buyer of chiko rolls and the cheer squad on the beach for their surfer boyfriends.

This book was written two years ago, as a follow on from the first book. Set in the few years after high school, taking up where apparently the first book left off. It is an easy, amusing read, delving into the friendships and love stories of the central character and her mates. New friends, old friends, new locations and trips back to the burbs are all part of the story.

I enjoyed this romp through the early 80’s. If you are looking for a quick read then this fits the bill!

One of the best things about our Book Group is that the books are sourced by a lovely librarian at Rockdale Library. We give her a list of what we might like to read and she works it out from there.

Stay tuned for the March read in a few weeks time.

What Mary Read

My name is Mary, and my reading specialty is starting as many books as possible and having a tower not only on my bedside table, but also on the floor beside my side of the bed.

I got this book for myself for Christmas. I had seen Sofija at the Sydney Writers Festival in May, on a panel about borders and displacement. This book had been on my list since then.

It was a fabulous read. I learnt so much about the area that was Yugoslavia. Having lived through this era, on the other side of the world, and as a privileged 4th generation Australian, I really had no idea what was going on there.

Sofija moved to Australia with her family in the 80’s, abruptly moved back again before the wars of the early 90’s, and then, as they had citizenship here back they came during the unrest before the war.

I laughed, learnt and sobbed reading this book. I think being a parent sometimes puts me right into the story, more than being a daughter. Sofija has to deal with some things that you would never wish on a child. She also has a great way with words.

Our suburb is full of people who came out from the Balkans, both as immigrants and as refugees. We have a little cafe that turns into a Small Bar and nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights. Club Rakia brings a bit of the Balkans night life straight to our high street, and it is fabulous. When I go there with A we people watch and drink beer. I think that Sofiya might feel a little bit at home, with the mad Balkan disco going off down the back, and the different people coming through the front door like they own the place. In a way they do.

If, like me, you lived through this tumultuous era without much idea of what was going on “Miss Ex Yugoslavia” might give you an idea of how this effected the then-Yugoslavians at home, and in their diaspora. The name itself comes from a beauty pageants that Sofija entered. Read it to find out more!

Things you need!

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of what you might just need.

Last week a wonderful parcel arrived, of beautiful things I’d ordered from Champagne Cartel way back in January when we were up the coast. You know when you see a little online sale and it plays on your mind? This was one of those. I’d seen it, looked thoroughly, noted some lovely things, and went back a few days later and added to cart!

I knew it would take a while for the parcel arrive (the women who run the site were enjoying a January break too). When the parcel arrived it was a wonderful surprise! So beautifully wrapped, I loved it before I even opened up my gifts to self!

This card was with my purchases, and I love it. I think it’s my motto for this term – and the glasses that arrived add just that to my great big drinks of water. When cocktails are required they’ll come in handy then too!

Here’s to Sass and Glamour! A wonderful combination!

A Photo a Day – Week 5

Catching up here, though miraculously I have posted every day on instagram.


Day 29 Empty

Looking into a wine bottle.

Day 30 Monochrome

Walking up the travelator in the local shopping centre.

Day 31 Morning

Second day of school, and the obligatory photo at the sign!


Day 1 Something Blue

In our dining room.

Day 2 Street Art

A favourite piece, no longer there, near A’s work.

Day 3 Carrot

That swimming cap at the Sanitarium Try-athlon at Sydney Olympic Park.

Day 4 Peek-a-boo

A Boomerang Beach sunrise from Winter 2017. I think we’re due another return visit.

新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè

Kung Hei Fat Choy too while we’re at it!

Chinese New Year always sends me straight back down memory lane, to my Year Beside Monkey. Fifteen years ago now, almost to the date, I arrived in Beijing and headed straight out to what I discovered was Nandaihe, in the southern end of the city area of Qinhuangdao. About all I knew of Qinhuangdao was that it was an ice free port. Little did I know what would be in store for me over the next twelve months.

What a year it was. So much growth and change and so many challenges faced front on.

That particular Year of the Monkey (also my zodiac year) was a fabulous one.

Here’s to a great Year of the Pig! There will be a dumpling meal soon to celebrate, I just know it!

The Growing Tree

At least once per term I take a photo of my APS child (or children!) at The Growing Tree. It’s A Particular Tree, where I often park the car when I go up to the school to drop off/ pick up said child/ren.

So it was G by herself for two years, then two with both of them. Now it’s back to one child at that school, again, being photographed at the tree.

He’s growing like topsy. He’s settling in again to the routine of being a school child after a fabulous summer. He’s funny and clever and kind. He is loving his job this year of being a Buddy to a new Kindy kid.

I think he is going to rock Year 5.

Their First Try

This morning T and G participated in the Weetbix Try-Athlon out at Olympic Park. We stayed overnight right next door, as it was a very early start.

The place was buzzing when we went across the road at 7am. So many participants checking in with their families there to cheer them along.

Firstly it was a stop at Numbering – where the kids got their bib numbers on their arms and legs. These were also on stickers for their bikes and bike hats.

Then it was into the athletics stadium, where the bikes went into the transition area, along with the change of clothes for the bike and run legs.

There was a bit of waiting around in the Village aka the retail and eating and grandstand area. It was a hot old day in Homebush.

Going into the pool viewing area was a blessed relief. Nothing like air con when looking out for your child in a sea of children in the same coloured swimming caps!

After the swim it was on the the Transition Area for the kids, a quick towel off and into their clothes for the bike leg. Bikes readied and off for that leg.

Transition again and off on the run! I was exhausted just following the kids around from pool to stadium, let alone participating. G was in the second group to head off, and T was in the last – we went back and forth!!

Both the kids did so well. They were proud of themselves, and justifiably so! It was a busy, long morning for all of us.