Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rugby Ball.

Last night we went to the Annual Dinner Dance fundraiser for Gareth's rugby club. It was a chance to leave the kids at home, dress up and party! Oh how rare an opportunity this is in our busy lives. I made the most of it. As did everyone else there!

There was even a proposal in front of us all. I've never seen this in real life, only on tv. You can see two photos as he was on bended knee and after she accepted if you look closely to the left of the main centre image.

We came home very late, very happy and very broke!

Here's looking forward to 2012!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why I love bloggers

I absolutely love bloggers. 

I never dreamt as I began writing my own blog that it would lead me to so many other wonderful, talented, funny and amazing women. If you are reading this consider yourself part of this great collection of women.

If you're a bloke then consider yourself privileged to be looking in from the side-lines. 

Today I will give you a prime example of how blogging has enhanced my life and the lives of my kids. 

The example is Tammi

If Tammi didn't read Bianca's blog then she would not have seen Bianca's idea for chocolate marshmallow stirring sticks. Then Tammi wouldn't have blogged about her own version earlier this week. My head would not have swum with visions of making my own. I would not have run around Woolies buying a block of dark chocolate after work today and my kids would not have had fun making their own versions after they jumped off the school bus. 

Maybe if none of these blogs existed my kids would have lined up their schoolbags by the front door and done their homework and I would have made dinner and tidied up afterwards. 

Tomorrow none of us would wake to up last minute "Where is my uniform" chaos and we would eat breakfast in a spotlessly clean kitchen.

But hey, what kind of a life would that be...?!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dangerous Cliffe.

We have good friends Charles and Sue Cliffe that live in the UK. When we first emigrated to Australia they were already here on a work contract and we spent lots of weekends with them and their kids, exploring Sydney and having BBQ's. Now they have returned to the UK our contact is more sporadic. Like everyone else life is busy and the intention is there to send lots of chatty emails but reality has a way of stealing time away from you.

Recently I came upon a sign that made me laugh out loud. The friends I was with had no idea why I got my camera out to take a photo. I would love to say that this is the sign exactly as I found it but that would be a lie. Perhaps a small amount of editing went into this image to add on an extra "e"

Either way it made me laugh, it made me stop and think about Charles and Sue and it got me to send them an email. In this busy life that's always a good thing!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mexican wave.

Last night we went to Sydney to see Australia play South Africa in the first of the Tri-Nations matches.

Months ago we were offered tickets though Gareth's Rugby Club for only $20 each which is a bargain. Other club members also booked on-line using the special voucher codes and none of us knew our seating allocation until the tickets turned up in the post a few days ago.

Out of a stadium that seats 80,000 we didn't expect to manage to actually meet up on the night so imagine our surprise when one friend rang me as they were on-route and told me her seat numbers were within shouting distance of ours.

Then as we found our seats and wrapped up warm another family came and sat side by side with us, they were our South African friends Lucy and Rob! Another family from the club sat two rows in front of us. What are the chances of that in such a huge stadium!

One of the best parts of the evening (Apart from WINNING! Sorry Rob!) was when the crowd did a particularly energetic Mexican Wave. I managed to capture a part of  it on my mobile...

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Time spent sitting on a train.

Rain running down the outside of the window.
Playing with our reflections.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

The teacher was telling the kids about words with "nch" in them. The twenty-five 8 and 9 year olds put up their hands and called out lots of examples. Pinch. Crunch. Bench. Inch...

The next challenge she set them was to expand these words, Pinching, Crunched etc.

The next challenge, put them into a sentence to show that they understood the meaning. If they were unsure of the meaning she helped them look up the class dictionary.

One little boy's sentence made her stop. She read it and re-read it again. She asked the boy about it and then read it out loud to the rest of the class. She decided to write it at the top of the whiteboard as the " Quote of the day"

When the boy's Mum was helping in school one day she saw her sons name on the board and commented on it to the teacher. That's when she found out that it wasn't just the "Quote of the day"  It turns out the class didn't want to wipe it off the next day so it became "Quote of the week"  then " Quote of the month"  then  "Quote of the term"  and now as we start the third term of the year it has become a bit of a joke and looks like being the "Quote of the year"

And yes, that Mum was very proud of her boy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Young and old

My oldest girl Sian is 13 and getting more and more gorgeous everyday. As she grows up I see her change. She is getting taller and has her own taste in clothes and music. Not always the same as mine but that's normal! One thing she loves are Converse style lace up canvas shoes and boots. It surprised her to know that when I was her age I bought a pair of red Converse shoes in the market of a small French town we were travelling through on my summer holidays. I wore those shoes every day that summer until they were worn out and had to be forcibly removed from me and thrown out.

When we were walking along a local jetty this week I begged her to stop and let me take a photo of her feet with my phone. She reluctantly obliged while muttering about her mad mother.

I think there is something timeless about these young fresh shoes and the worn and aged wooden timbers of the jetty.

Kind of like my gorgeous young vibrant Sian and poor haggard me!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hunter Wetlands

If you read the recent post about Tommy the Turtle you will know that we had a really great family day out recently at the Hunter Wetlands. We had signed up for a daily "Special offer" email and one day we had the chance to buy a family entry pass to the Wetlands for $11.50. On signing up Byron had been given a $10 credit to his account so we only paid $1.50 on our credit card to buy the voucher!

We packed a picnic and rugged up warm as it was quite a chilly winters day. The cold seemed to keep the visitors away and we felt as though we had the place to ourselves.
We walked and pond dipped, ate and ran wild through the adventure playground. 
We had a snake encounter and because there were relatively few people there wanting a look my lovely Mr B and three kids had the dubious pleasure of having Basil the Diamond Python curl around their necks while his eccentric keeper talked to us about Basil and his fellow snakes.
I've never really been a snake person and really don't understand why people would chose to have them as pets in their home but dare I say it, Basil was actually verging on affectionate. Lock me up and throw away the key. The cold must have been interfering with my brain function!

Will we go back? I think it's fair to say we had good family time there and we will return. Although maybe on a slightly warmer day!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Simple fun.

The local park. You just can't beat it. You don't need to travel far. It's free. It's good for the kids. It has benches for Mums to sit back and catch up on reading their favourite blogs watch their kids!

Some of our best holiday moments are the spontaneous days where you end up at the park. Sometimes with friends, sometimes just yourselves. One day this holidays when we had finished some boring chores in the local town the kids asked if we could walk a bit further down the street. We walked passed the cafes and the shops and around the corner until there was nowhere left to go. Nowhere but the park or turn back to find the car. It was cold and brisk but the sun was shining and when Gareth and Rhiannon wanted 5 minutes playing I was happy to let them burn off some energy.

Sian and I found a sheltered bench and sat and soaked up some sunshine. Before I knew it 2 hours had passed and Sian reminded me that I had parked in a 1 hour spot. Aaargghhh! Luckily Sian is old enough to supervise her younger siblings so I ran back up the street and moved my ticket-less (Thank you God!) car into a space just beside the playground. The kids kept trying to get me to go on the playground equipment with them I kept politely declining. Who wants to be laughed and pointed at by the other sensible mums? I waited till the coast was clear and the playground was adult free and scaled up the orange spider-web pyramid to the squeals of Gareth and Rhiannon. 

Oh to be a kid with not a worry in the world. For a few sweet moments I closed my eyes and pretended I was 10 again. Eyes back open, I quickly snapped out of it and shimmied down again and returned to my normal mother pose on the bench. 

Next time I'm going to go on the swings!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Worth getting out of bed for!

Last week Byron woke with a yell. He had just remembered that a colleague was retiring. A colleague who was born in Wales and loved Welsh Baking. He had thought it would be a lovely idea to ask me to make some Welsh Cakes to bring in but had not actually told me until that moment. It was 6.30am so I cursed Byron and his lack of advance warning and shrugged on a dressing gown and headed downstairs to get baking. 

I could not find my Welsh Cake recipe anywhere. My brain hadn't caught up with my body. I turned to the world of blogging and searched a friends blog "A Welsh Girl In Australia" for a recipe she had posted in March for St Davids Day. Thank you so much Beth, you were a life saver! 

In the kitchen when I was up to my elbows in flour and butter my mobile rang. It was Byron asking me what I was doing and telling me not to worry. Too late for that I carried on. 

An hour later Byron left for work with a plate piled high with warm Welsh Cakes and left me standing in a trashed kitchen. He sent me a text later that day telling me how happy his colleague Huw looked when he saw the cakes, and the card that I had made with the recipe inside. Hearing that made me glad that I had got out of bed and made the effort. 

This week Byron sent me another text. It was a photo text showing me a beautiful flower arrangement that had been delivered to his work thanking me for the baking. Now that was completely unnecessary but definitely worth getting out of bed for!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tommy the Turtle

Here are a few photos from this weekends trip to Hunter Wetlands.

Plenty more to come but it's a busy week here on School Holidays!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Cinderella and the mice.

Today we went to see our great friends in a play in the YPT (Young Peoples Theatre)

The play was a modern twist on the fairytale "Cinderella" Sophie and Gemma played Fairies in Waiting. We were so proud of them. They have been attending rehearsals for weeks and weeks and have had daily shows during the school holidays. Some day when they are famous Hollywood actresses we will be begging them for tickets to the Oscars!

Flash photography is forbidden during the show so I just sneaked out my mobile for a couple of subtle shots.
I know I am very naughty but I will need something to sell to the tabloids for my "I knew them before they were famous" story!
See how they are already inundated with requests for autographs from their young fans. The autographs also come with a rubbing of special fairy glitter from the face make-up directly onto the fans show programs! 


Thursday, July 07, 2011

A note to say...

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Queen of Tarts

There is a lovely new cafe and bakery in our local town. Many days I have walked passed it in a hurry and just caught a glimpse of the inside as I rushed by. Now that it is the kids school holidays we are looking for things to do that help to pass the day without breaking the bank. I told the kids that one day we would get dressed up "Posh" and go to Queen of Tarts for morning tea. Today was the day!

Us girls primped and preened and I even squeezed into a skirt and high heels. Gareth reluctantly slicked a bit of gel in his hair but protested at a proper shirt and instead pulled on his Mr Dude T-shirt. You have to choose your battles as a mum, I let this one slide!

We spent ages browsing through all of the delicious looking treats.

Gareth went for "Mint to be"

Sian had a "Caramel Cheesecake"

Rhiannon had "Passion-fruit Cheesecake"

...and I had "Macadamia Caramel tart" They were all amazing, beautifully plated up and my cappuccino came with a tiny shortbread heart on the spoon. The whole bill for 4 cakes and my coffee was $20 which I thought was very reasonable, especially as we spent quite a while choosing, eating and then just sitting back chatting.

We recognised the man behind the counter as a dad from our kids school. It is so lovely to see small local business's working hard and doing well. It is so easy to just call in to the big generic Starbucks or Gloria Jeans for a caffeine refuel but it feels good to support the smaller family owned business's in our local area. I'm sure we will be back!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Cycling and a sore @&$# !

We braved the gusty wind warnings and went for a bike ride.
Some parts were blissful and effortless...
Some parts were steep and unforgiving...
But the hot chips at the end made it worth it!
Even if my posterior is a little tender today...!

Sunday, July 03, 2011


I was a "Drive-in-wanna-be" until this weekend. I had never ever been to one but it was on my bucket list. When we were asked by a group of friends to go this weekend it was too good a chance to pass up. It's winter here so we knew it was going to be really cold and we gladly accepted all nuggets of wisdom from our Aussie friends. The back of the car was stuffed with duvets, pillows, sleeping bags, woollie beanie hats, a big flask of Hot Chocolate to insulate the kids and a bottle of red wine for the grown ups!

We gathered in the local town and drove in convoy to Heddon Greta. The cars were reversed into spaces side by side. 11 kids jumped from car to car looking for one with their friends and the comfiest blankets and best snacks. The grown ups lined up camp chairs in a row in front and passed along snacks and wine glasses. Some grown ups were designated drivers (sigh) and some took full advantage of this. I'm just saying Mr B....!

The next few hours passed in a blur of Mr Poppers Penguins and Cars 2 and lots of layering up in blankets and seeing our breath fog as we laughed. I loved it. I can't believe we have been here in Australia for almost 6 years and this was our first time to take advantage of such a fun experience. This is not simply something to strike off the list of things-to-do-before-I-die. This is a repeat performance waiting to happen!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Captain Gareth!

This mornings Rugby match was an early start but only to our local grounds as the Under 10's played at home. We arrived at 8.30am and there was a heavy fog misting over the rugby grounds.

The boys ran around enjoying the spooky chill and excitedly discussing how they would use the fog to trick the opposing team and win the game with lots of unexpected trys. Gareth was chosen to be the captain today and he visibly swelled with pride. The have not had much success as a team this season and had not won any of their matches so far. Many of the boys on the other teams are physically much larger and just flatten them like steam-rollers in the tackles and scrums. Today's opponents were physically much more evenly matched and it looked like our boys had a fighting chance.

For the first time ever they scored try after try and we gloated and told anyone and everyone that it was because our boy was captain! The fog made the atmosphere magic but before long the sun shone and melted the mist away.

Gareth's team won the day 41-19 and he ran off the pitch over the moon.
Well done Captain Gar! You officially have a 100% success rate!