Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Going places...

Sydney was wonderful. Shopping, wandering, chatting, laughing and lingering. Loved it.

Getting there and back was not so good.

I turned up for my flight on Thursday evening at Auckland airport to be greeted with the words. "Is that the passport you'll be travelling on?" Shiiiiiiit. I had handed over my son's passport. Mine was tucked safely in the draw at home, forty minutes drive away.

I am what I would call an experienced traveller. I travel often, probably too often. In my work days I used to do it with a couple of dozen bits of camera gear. Now as a mother I travel with two hindrances (boys) and more cases than I can carry.  I am also, at times, an idiot.

I spent the next hour perched on my suitcase hoping for sympathy while waiting for my (heroic) husband to zoom home and back. He did it in record time but I was booked on a cheap flight with the Australian budget carrier Jetstar. The girl was nice but not nice enough to let me check in 7 minutes after their check in had closed. Budget airlines you see are rigid about check in times.  It's just that usually they're late. This flight was on time.

Tears.  Husband to the rescue. I bought another flight and got to Sydney only an hour late and $300 poorer. Thank you Dear Husband.

So after a lovely weekend on Sunday night I dropped off my car at the airport and turned up to the Jetstar check-in early to head back to Auckland with the right passport. Drum roll.... FLIGHT CANCELLED.

Oh the irony. The budget airline that would not let me on a plane seven minutes late on Thursday was now telling me they would fly me home a whole 26 hours late.

Aaaaah. I rang Husband who sounded like another 26 hours as a single father might kill him. I raced through the airport to find the free internet, kicked a nine year old off it (nicely) and then raced to buy another new ticket with another airline. I got one of the last ones. I felt like a finalist in the Amazing Race.  I didn't feel so much like a winner.

Four international air tickets later, did I enjoy my weekend? Well, hell yes. But I won't be going again for a while.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Door love...

Friday and a little bit of villa love to end the week. 

A little trendier than last week... I see high heels, gin and tonics and designer furniture behind this door. No doubt dark floors and whiter than white walls.

Love that grey and black with lashings of white. The door knob is pretty 'on trend' too. 

Hell, as if I know... pass the gin will you, it's Friday after all... 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Baby steps...

Childhood is a series of milestones some big some small. Sunday was a big day. Dummy Deal day. 

We struck a deal to chuck the last dummy in the bin and then go and buy a BIG RED TRUCK (shouted excitedly every time it was mentioned). Of course it took a couple of weeks to plant the seed, then a few days to iron out the details of the plan and then jump when the moment seemed right. We've had practice - son number one swapped his dummy for a Tonka truck at the same age.

Step one. Dummy in the bin. 
Step two whizzing straight out the door with the whole family to go shopping for a BIG RED TRUCK. Only there were none... just this BIG RED MODOBIKE which he pounced on in the shop, clutched in the car all the way home, slept with on Sunday night and hasn't really looked at since.
I don't mind at all. $9.99 and another little baby step towards being a Really Big Boy.

Now I am just praying that there isn't a random dummy tucked away in a toybox... or rather praying that I find it first.

Monday, March 21, 2011


This week will end well.... in Sydney. I am off to my old home city for a weekend of dining, wandering, shopping, sipping and chatting with two of my oldest school friends. One is flying from Tasmania, the other from Queensland and we're meeting in the middle without the seven children we now have between us.  These girls can shop and I suspect I'll be left flailing in their wake... or sneaking off for a swim!

Everyone has their own list when they hit a city like Sydney. Mine is pretty firmly focused on catching up with old Sydney friends and then tripping about my old suburb Paddington and those surrounding it - Surry Hills, Woollahra and a little further away, my favourite Bronte beach.

I'm going to stop at cafes and eat at the Bourke Street Bakery - their savoury rolls are worth crossing continents for... and even their website is worth a look - it's beautiful...
We'll have cocktails and dinner on Saturday night and a quieter catch up on Friday. If I can squeeze it in then the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk or a circuit of Centenniel Park will ease the guilt - actually I don't get food guilt  - but it will clear the mind.

I'm going to shop for shoes and linger in boutiques. I'm going to try things on and get honest opinions from old friends and not miss the little boy pulling Houdini-like moves underfoot in the cubicle.

I'm going to indulge my love of battered/pre-loved/vintage bits at very unthrifted prices. I like my tatt well styled - at least when browsing. Doug up on Bourke is a goldmine of Australiana and other collectable and covetable bits. I have always had a thing for shoe lasts and wooden spools.

Ici et la oozes French vintage style with an industrial edge. They also sell the most wonderful striped fabrics, deckchairs, cushions and stools.  Tres chic.

For old times sake I'd like to pop to Paddington Market on Saturday, we used to have a hot chocolate and play on the playground most weekends - all the shoppers took up all the parking in our street, I don't miss that so much.

I'd hover over Samantha Robinson's stall eyeing off her ceramic loveliness. Now she has her own shop and exports here to NZ.
I have a couple of cups (blue and white of course) but never bought her paper thin ceramic candle holders - I just couldn't imagine them surviving all the moves we do. Perhaps one day...

I also like the look of Bison.
It's a new arrival on Oxford Street - well new to me... just up the hill from Dinosaur Designs and the sushi at Toko, the chocolates at Just William, the window at Collette Dinnigan, the cafe food at Alimentari and the walk down to Five Ways, the houses in Jersey Road and the back streets to Woollahra and genteel Queen Street with its banker wife blondes and dapper gay men in cashmere.

The list my friends goes on and on...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Door love...

Each Friday I thought I might close the door on the week (sorry) with one of the villa doors that has caught my eye in our patch of Auckland. Remember this copper door? And this rather retro number just around the corner?

I love this deep brick red door.  It's not particularly 'on trend' or even freshly painted but it looks warm and welcoming and like a family with a nice life is nestled behind it. 

The wellies seem to be a permanent fixture on these steps.  I now own a pair - and three rain jackets. Auckland is wet and Auckland soccer grounds are wet, muddy and rather miserable places for ballet flats or converse in winter. Soccer training starts next week which must mean our lovely endless summer weather will end soon. Just not this weekend please.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Adventures of a sleeping stuntman, part 316.

This is not a crime scene (apart from the offence against the Tidy Rooms Act) just my son, the sleeping stuntman at it again. I guess this time he's dreaming about firemen and heroic ladder rescues.

Every night he's not where he should be, soon he'll be sleeping in the hallway. Maybe I should just do away with the bed altogether?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Money, money...

Money is on my mind today which is unusual. As a rule I'm not that interested but it does make the world go around so I should develop a keener interest in a) making more of it and b) spending less of it.

I was interested to read a snippet online this morning about just how much money we'd now need to feel rich. Of course the best people to ask about this are the ones who are already rich.

42% (hardly a majority but never let that stand in the way of a headline) of the thousand American millionaires questioned agreed that $US7.5 is about the figure these days. Any less and I suppose they worry about where the next meal's coming from or at least the next BMW.

Righto, that's a little more than $NZ10,000,000... Time to get a job.

Or I could just email all the really generous people spamming me at the moment. I have been lucky enough to win more than £750,000 in the British PO lottery AND $500,000 in the Mega Ball promo whatever that is. Victor Hugo Bastidas just wants me to email my name address and phone number. How nice... if I were better at returning my emails I could be a quarter of my way to being rich.

Or I could develop a new business dreaming up more believable spam emails.

I am quite tempted by this little note from an admirer.

hey stranger your pitcures are stunning (seen you on that site)
im a 24 year old female just looking for some fun maybe u can
go on msn or yahoo messengiar add me and send me a line
lets talk further there in private please

Although I am firmly and quite dully attached to my husband and men in general, any 24 year old showing interest is flattering. Take what you can get I say... particularly when you're feeling about 83 on a good day.

Just a pity Connie can't spell and seems to like Generation Z text spk. I just don't think I could have an online thing with someone who might end each sentence with lol or send me a smiley face. :) Know what I mean?

Monday, March 14, 2011


This is just about a toaster. 
I hate burnt toast almost as much as I hate buttering cold toast so that window is not just cool, it's useful. Although I suppose I'd have to watch the toaster and is that a good use of my time? Does a watched toaster never toast like that whole kettle/boiling thing?

Whatever. It is so much cooler than the crumb carrier we have on our bench. Actually ours doesn't hold the crumbs, it scatters them. I want someone to make me a toaster with the cool window bit and a way of incinerating the crumbs to nothing so I never, ever have to clean them off the bench again.

Can you tell when I'm avoiding housework?

Image from here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Little things...

It's the little things that make life so much easier. Such good advice from a friend and fellow mother.* She told me once that if you find a spoon or bowl or cup that works for your child buy three so you're not always looking for it.  That explains the drawer full of plastic in my kitchen.

That's the trouble isn't it - the little things can add up to a drawer stuffed full of little things. That's why I'm usually against those kitchen gizmos that will apparently make your life easier (by skinning a mango or slicing an egg). Despite this I still have a drawer full of crap.

So what does this have to do with a batch of freshly backed biscuits, Ann?

Well, the other day in a weak moment (other women have their weak moments in shoe shops, mine come in kitchen shops) I succumbed and bought a cookie scoop, rather like this one

And you know what? It's fabulous...  go and buy one now.**

I made a choc chip biscuit recipe where the instruction was to roll into balls... I scooped instead and it took seconds and I wasn't covered in sticky dough up to my wrists. 
It was so quick and I was feeling so chuffed I made anzacs too.
Now to find the device that controls the two year old dough monster.  Luckily my 'helper' is not that heavy as he ate his body weight in biscuit dough.
*I have had an awful lot of advice from friends and fellow mothers (and dished out rather a lot myself) but not all of it is good.

**See there you go, more advice. Sorry.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

For the wall...

Simple. Gorgeous. I want one. My husband is not so keen and it is his house too. Boo.

You can buy them here. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Farewell to summer...

Summer is slipping away... and the air in Auckland is fresher again. Humidity here can over around 98 percent at the height of summer but as the temperature is rarely higher than 25 (centigrade) it's rather pleasant.

The sea has been unusually warm this year. Blame La Nina. Or thank her.
The boys have been getting braver and braver in the sea. Now the lunatic two year old thinks he can surf too thanks to a quick lesson from his grandfather. I dress them both in red rash vests (not the grandparents, the boys). It makes them so much easier to spot in the waves.

There might be a few more swims in the coming weeks before the autumnul weather sets in.

And yes I did just post this so that I can use the word autumnul. It is one of life's rather lovely words. Au-tum-nul. There, done.


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