Friday, December 7, 2012

Transport... transporting...

Do you 'do' public transport?

My husband is a heavy user and would quite happily never drive again. I have never seen him huff and puff quite so much as when he heard what Maggie Thatcher had apparently said about public transport:  'A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure'.

He must have been 31 at the time.  There is some doubt that she every said it but if she had then old Mags was simply being a Tory in the 80s. It wouldn't wash now, no matter what side of the fence you sit.

Now that we're in Melbourne and I'm working, I'm back on the train.  A couple of peak hour trips put me clean off the car option.

I've reverted to my London ways. In that great heaving city there is a necessary method to train and tube travel. Regulars have their own spot marked on every platform they use. The doors open right there, the exit will be in just the right spot for that carriage. They never ever loiter on the left of the escalator.  I may not have chalked my marks on the Melbourne platforms yet but I always storm up the side of the escalator huffing at people who stop and stand on the right.

Last week a young woman clipped her nails right behind my right ear. They were her fingernails, not toes but I was utterly revolted. When I turned to frown I saw the artistically placed tatt and Hells Angels pendant and let it be.

Speaking of public transport... (this, in the news business, is known as a segue and they are often clumsy) I was idly browsing online today and stumbled upon the work of Sophie Blackall.

Her name felt terribly familiar. Of course she is the Australian illustrator of the Ivy and Bean books. But she is also a woman who can see the romance in public transport - her work is in the subway carriages of New York where she lives. And she has a lovely book which will make the best Christmas present if I can get it in time.

It's Missed Connections - drawings inspired by those classifieds ads people post in the hope of finding that mysterious stranger they saw at a party or on a train. She collected them for her blog which then became a book.

You can buy her prints on Etsy - a lovely two part present. The bear guy has become her favourite apparently.
You probably know all this but even if you do you should should really watch this video about her work.

I did because Bryan Sun told me to. He has a fabulous photo project Walking With Giants. He's been photographing artists, artistically. The Design Files told me to read his blog.  And a friend told me this week it was a pity I'd quit blogging. She won't follow me to instagram.
It's Friday, a day for doing what I'm told.

Anyway watch it. In the madness of the pre-Christmas, pre-holiday, pre-everything rush it will give you a lovely quick insight into the world of a woman who can see the joy and romance in train travel. And that is quite a feat.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Still here...

Still here and not giving up entirely... although I have been utterly rubbish at the blog caper in 2012.
I am planning a blog revamp and a life makeover to give it more time. Stay tuned.

Of course I have been doing all sorts of blog worthy things - if only I could connect the dots - my camera, computer and brain.

I've been wasting time with instagram. Actually hardly any time at all which is what makes it so attractive. It's rather fun, give it a go. If you look me up (myvillalife) you can see a myriad of flower shots.  Too many really but I have a nice flower filled walk to school each morning and no life.

For instagram you'll need an iPhone and the App.  I'm typing this up on a shiny new iPad. Aren't I a million miles from here? You couldn't ever call me an early adapter to new technology but I get there in the end.  Yes, those who know how much I like to be right can give me two fingers and say I Told You So.

When not distracting myself with tech devices (and working and mothering) I have had my head in a book. I have a new book club, Book Club Lite as it is dubbed by its new members -  but we've read books that are anything but. Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers   and The Watch Tower by Elizabeth Harrower  - one of the Text Classics I mentioned here. All That I Am waits patiently next to my bed.

Minestrone has been my drug of choice this winter. My Dad gave me his recipe. I believe Stephanie Alexander gave her recipe to him.  It requires half a gallon of olive oil, pork rind and a hunk of Parmesan. His instruction - don't skimp on the olive oil. So right. He also grows his own borlotti beans. A bowl of it is like a hot water bottle and a hug.

We have also been to Vietnam and taken incredible pictures, eaten beautiful food, crossed roads with our hearts in our mouths and discovered pool side service. I like pool side service.

My son is still the sleeping stuntman. Four going on five - many months off five but in his head he was nearly five a day after he turned four. With me?

My older son is racing through books. It seems only yesterday that he was learning. We check every now and then that he is actually taking it in.  I'm thrilled that he loves reading but also annoyed that he stubbornly refuses to read any Enid Blyton.  What is it with kids these days?

As I type I'm watching the new  US HBO cable show The Newsroom. It's excellent viewing for news junkies. For washed up news EPs like yours truly it made the adrenalin pump like it used to and then a sadness settled on me with the realisation that I am washed up and will never work all hours in a frenetic New York newsroom. Ah well.

All these things probably deserve a post of their own. I have it in hand.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cushions and things...

Cushions and instagram. And I'm very pleased with both.

I finally caved in last week and uploaded the Instagram App.  It was 9pm so my first few pictures were taken in our living room.  When I gushed to my other half about the newfound joys of yet another social media app he said in a rather withering tone, "They're cushions, Ann." I fear instagram, like blogging, may pass him by.

There are plenty of other instagrammers taking pictures of their pillows and dinners and dresses and doors and I'm finding it strangely addictive. I also like the camera tools - I've already really over used the blurr button.

I have finally given in to my absolute love of blue and white. I have two new brown leather couches and a much loved but very heavy dark wooden coffee table made from factory floorboards. They will be fine one day in a fresh white room with lots of windows. In a rather badly lit living room painted rental cream it's all a little dark - the blue and white seems to lift it all a little.

I found these cushion covers on Etsy. Have you ever tried to remember where on earth you saw that Very Useful Something or Other on Etsy? Pinterest is the answer.  I have found and pinned a houseful of cushion covers for that freshly painted light white home. Now we just need to buy it.

By the way, the husband just passed the computer as I write this muttering "Cushions... again."
Thank god for the blog.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A spoonful of sugar...

It was the Cadbury creme egg that did it. An icky sugary Easter creation that sealed my resolve to walk away from the love of my life - at least for a while.

I'm talking about chocolate and more broadly sugar. Like so many others I have phased it out and two months in I'm finding life is just fine without it.

In typically dramatic fashion I decided to start suddenly on Easter Monday. I  sent all the left over Lindt goodies from the house and set about reworking my home-made muesli - toasting flaked almonds, pepitas and sunflower seeds with coconut and sesame seed without the apple juice, honey and dried fruit.

I then downloaded Sarah Wilson's e-book, read through her her blog and sifted back to find these pages from Townmouse and My Pear Tree House. Honestly when I read these at the time I paid scant attention but they stayed in the back of my mind. I then found David Gillespie's latest book buried in a pile of new releases on my desk at work.

It was the way I was feeling that spurred me into action. I was feeling rubbish in the afternoons - close to death at three o'clock with an overwhelming need to lie down. I would eat something sweet to pep me up which in turn would make me feel a little shaky.

I'm not one for diets, self-help books or advice I hear on the radio - heavens I'm the cynical one putting it on the radio...   but eventually all the 'sugar is poison' talk made it through my cynical filter.

I still don't think it is poison but I do think we eat an enormous amount of sugar without realising it.

It dawned on me that giving up sugar in most forms wouldn't trouble me too much and it hasn't. Juice, dried fruit, dessert, cakes, ice cream are not things I crave and we don't eat much processed food like bottled sauces.

Breakfast has been the hardest meal but I've adapted well to my homemade muesli mix with natural yoghurt. I also buy this fruit free muesli when I'm sick of mine.  The muffins and biscuits I bake for the kids go in their lunch boxes and not in mine.  I take cheese and almonds and grapes to snack on at work. I still eat whole fruit - it sounded mad to me to give that up.

I dropped the sugar from my tea and haven't missed it and even chocolate hasn't been too hard - although of course there's been the odd lapse!

I am still me after all - but a much less sweet version and I feel a whole lot better. I'm definitely more mindful of what I eat and how it makes me feel.

Goodness I sound almost sensible. I'm turning forty in less than a year. That could explain it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Check mate...

Sometimes I get a little distracted in the house search and spend more time pinning all sorts of beautiful spaces instead of nailing the perfect trifecta of price, location and potential.

We're getting a feel for the areas of Melbourne we'd like to settle in. Actually it's all going to be determined by just how far I'm prepared to drive to my son's school. He and I have made friends and we're not moving far.

In fact ending 2012 without some sort of house move would be just fine, thanks.

And definitely not to an undersized and probably overpriced terrace house with a chess board in the garden - no matter how beautiful it looks. I'll just visit it on pinterest occasionally.

Image from here - while it lasts.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Farewell to summer...

Summer is well and truly done. Melbourne has been blessed by a lingering Indian summer which left us this week. The boys were swimming last weekend, now we're in winter mode.

Funny how weather dominates our conversations in all corners of the world.  I find the obsession a little tiring sometimes particularly the competitive conversations - 'hot, you don't know hot' or 'freezing? I used to walk five miles to school in the snow.' Yet here I am talking about it too.

I'm always surprised by people who don't love summer. How can you not? I want to shake them and shout a little but I know that's frowned upon in modern times. Particularly when the summer-hater is the check out chick at K-Mart. I think they'd probably call security.

I can't revel in Autumn. All that orange and brown... not my best colours.

I like Autumn when the weather's still warm. Crisp mornings and 27 degree days. And when I say crisp I mean T-shirts for school drop off at a quarter to nine.

I like Autumn when I see it in pictures on blogs from the northern hemisphere - far far from me.

Melbourne may well be the wrong place for me. But hell, I'm not moving again.

I think I might just have to stock up on the funereal Melbourne uniform of black and more black, don myself head to toe in mourning gear,  keep my head down and the heater on until the worst of it has passed.

Bring on Spring.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Late summer blast... of colour.

Colour that's courageous. Loud, clashing primary shades, neon green, orange, classic blue and yellow beachey stripes. 

It's loud, it shouts and it's happy. So happy.

Many of Melbourne's bayside beaches are lined with beach boxes. They're sought after and expensive.

I think they're fabulous.  Just like summer.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

In the pink...

A chill wind is blowing through my garden and the leaves on the silver birches are starting to turn. Oddly enough in the garden across the road the birches have completely turned already and one tree is already showing its silvery bare branches. Perhaps there is such a thing as the right side of the road.

The roses have given me so much pleasure in the past few months. The bushes in this garden are old, gnarled and woody. Our house has been rented out for fifteen years or so which probably means 15  years of neglect from tenants. Or more fairly, mistreatment by well-meaning but brown-fingered tenants like me.

I wasn't expecting much from the old dears but have been given a lot. A little dead-heading, not a lot of water and a lot of lovely soft pink blooms. Thank you summer.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday door.... and a little bit of politics...

Something a little different in the villa door world to end another busy week. Not so hip and cool this one but a beautiful shade of blue to match that stained glass.

I'm distracting myself from the 'open warfare' and 'blood letting' of the week... overused cliches but they actually do best describe Australian federal politics this week.

In my real job I do not gaze at lovely interiors and critique front doors, I dabble in the political world in as a journalist. Part of me usually loves the thrill of a political story like the Gillard and Rudd #respill.  (That's the twitter hashtag that's caught on - I like #kevenge).

As a political yarn it's a belter but I'm sick of it.  I was sick of it before it became more than just a rumour in a few weekend newspapers.

I want Labor to sort themselves out. I want the Opposition to stop sniping. I want to feel inspired, even just a little, and led by our leaders.

Anyway this is not work and I am not at work today so back to that door.

I don't want to be critical but (don't you dread sentences that begin with 'I don't want to be cruel/rude/racist?).... it needs a bigger doormat. I guess if they'd known I planned to take a picture they'd have rushed out and bought one.
If some local blogger is planning a walk-by to snap my door, please wait.

You can barely see my doormat for the  leaves, acorns and stones collected on the way home from school and discarded and webs from the army of arachnids settling in on the verandah.

I've been waiting weeks for the broom fairy to visit but I may just have to don the tutu myself. Or bribe the husband.

Now that's a nicer picture to leave you with than Kaptain Kruddy, Juliar and the Mad Monk.**

Happy weekend. x

*My apologies to those overseas who didn't even know people would bother fighting to be in charge of a far off land like Australia. We do have more money than Greece and a mining magnate richer than the Queen of England.

**Not my terms I'd hasten to add. Mr Rudd, Ms Gillard and Mr Abott is what I would call them - if they'd agree to come on my program.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Reading? I recommend....

The New ConfessionsTheBlueAfternoon169.jpg
Stars and Bars
An Ice-Cream WarArmadillo169.jpg
A Good Man in AfricaAny Human HeartSchool Ties

Just before I left Auckland a fellow book clubber recommended I read some William Boyd. 'William who?' was my reply. Now I know. Thank you very much Ange.

William Boyd is my new favourite author and I don't quite know how I missed him. I remember seeing many copies of his best seller Armadillo being read on the tube back at the turn of the century (1999).

Better than any best seller list was seeing what the London commuters were reading - when I first moved there it was The Beach, a few years later Harry Potter, now they're probably reading their iThings. Boo.

Anyway back to Boyd. He writes brilliantly, his characters are intriguing and (unusually for good writers) likeable.  Each of his books is also quite different so I easily read five back to back.

My favourite? Any Human Heart. Followed closely by Restless...

The best of the rest... Ordinary Thunderstorms, Brazzaville Beach, A Good Man in Africa. Oddly enough it was Armadillo I liked the least. But it was pretty good too.

Go forth and read.
Run, don't walk - as the hip young things say.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Snap, snap...

I got a new camera for Christmas and am loving it.

I thought it would make me blog more, inspire me to write but of course life is getting in the way. Life is a little like that don't you find?

It's a Lumix DMC-FZ40 -  the new version of our old camera. The zoom broke on the last one - probably through overuse as I'm always sneakily taking pictures of my children so that they don't give me ridiculous camera ready grins.

I spent the whole of last summer 'manually zooming' - walking towards the subject. Most tedious.

The new camera has a million new features I haven't quite deciphered and probably never will but I'm  delighting in its 'zoomability' and the weight of it in my hand. Like Goldilocks and those pesky chairs some cameras just feel right. *

I should add (before he does) that the husband took this photo with my new camera.
What's his is mine, right?

 *Any professional photographer who had stumbled across this blog has just spilt their short black in disgust.

**I'm time poor. This picture was ready and he owes me a lifetime of home cooked dinners.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday door, named... and my pinterest push...

Now this Friday door is a little different, a difficult door to deal with but done well.
It's awkwardly placed in a corner on the side of a house with no defined front path.

The plants and the address etched on the glass (or the sticky stuff that looks like etched glass) leave no doubt that it's the main entrance.

I very professionally blurred out the address  (is there no end to my talents?) in case you start spamming the owners with 'like' mail. One can't be too careful.

If you like it 'pin it'.

Yes I have finally joined pinterest.   I refused to listen when people told me how great it was. I thought it might just be another thing I don't want to make time for.

It's not. It is GREAT... a clever, simple, useful spot to save those pictures, products, tutorials and reviews you've read online and can never find again. I'm using it to save fabrics I might like for cushions, cushion sellers on etsy, recipes, doors, you name it.  Clearly I love it. Do it. Please.

Weirdly you need to be invited to join. Let me know and I'll invite you. Even if you don't I'll invite you. I'm a born -again pinner.  A pushy one.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Australian classics...


I am the sort of person who waits until a day or two after daylight saving shifts to change all the clocks. I need a day or two to adjust to the idea, even though it happens twice a year.

Same with a new year.

Now that it is well and truly 2012 I have updated my reading list. 2011 is still there with a few comments on the books I did get around to reading. Some good, some great, some so so. Some I couldn't finish.

Here's something to look forward to in your reading year. Text Publishing is producing 32 Australian classics in paperback form, cheap at $12.95 (cheap for an Australian book - don't get me started on book prices here).

In this thought-provoking opinion piece Michael Heyward, the head of Text Publishing, bemoans the fact that many of Australia's best literary works are now out of print - and even the entire works of some of our best authors.

He has an excellent point. I studied English Lit at school - not at university unfortunately -  and would consider myself pretty well read but many of the books and authors he mentions I haven't read or (cough) recognise.  2012 should change that.

The full list has not been released but will include Careful, He Might Hear You,  David Ireland's The Glass Canoe,  and Henry Handel Richardson's The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney.  

The scheduled release date is May. You can read more about it here on the publisher's website in the coming months.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday door, white on white on white...

A Friday door that's fresh, crisp and spells summer.  Apparently they're not having such a crisp sunny summer in Auckland where I spotted this door before we left last year.

We have summer in spades in Melbourne this month. It's been so hot that on occasion my older son wants to leave Australia. It's only 35 degrees I tell him. Toughen up, next week it could be 42.  Of course when it hits that we'll both be melting into the same greasy puddle.

It's also been a week of few words on the blog. Life is busy isn't it? I don't mean to join the competitive 'I'm busier than you are' conversations that people delight in. And I'm not importantly busy at all... not solving any Big Issues or raising seven children while working full time. Or even cleaning my house. Hell no.

I did go back to work yesterday on a public holiday - Australia Day -  and fought to get a car park among all the people gathered to celebrate their Australian-ness.

That's the trouble with journalism. We journos may be bottom feeders but we have to work on all the best days and because we're not saving lives nobody cares. That's why every summer you see those  'There Are Too Many Public Holidays' stories in your newspaper.

We whinge on hoping against hope that someone somewhere will care. Anyone?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mouse in my house...

The little guy on the right is coming to live at my place... to hang around, sniff cheese, read a little.

You can buy him here along with a lot of other pretty little critters.
Thank you Miss Jones.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Yummmm Cha

Yum Cha.

Absolutely the best family Sunday lunch option.
One eats his weight in prawn dumplings, the other waits for dessert.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Villa love...

This was my favourite Auckland house, not mine of course.

Fit for a princess, it's in one of the city's most expensive suburbs and those beautiful windows look out over the water.

When I first moved to Auckland it was a little rundown with peeling paint and a neglected garden but over the two years we were there it got a little love.

And a lot of love from me, from afar.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Simple Sunday supper

This is our simple Sunday supper of choice at the moment... a delicious tomato pasta that everyone from 2 to forty (or nearly) loves.

This makes more than enough...

Two tins of good crushed tomatoes
Olive oil - about six tablespoons
Garlic - 2/3 cloves
Vegetable stock - 250ml
Salt and Pepper
Pasta  400g of whatever you like.
Basil - if your kids eat green stuff, lucky smug you, long may it last!

Slice garlic and add to cold oil. Garlic straight into hot oil loses the subtle fragrance and becomes bitter.
Cook on a medium heat until the garlic is just starting to brown and you get that fabulous garlicky aroma.

Add the tomato and stock (tomato first as hot oil and water is not a good combination)
Season and turn up the heat and cook uncovered for ten minutes or so until the sauce has cooked down and is lumpy in the pan.  Meanwhile cook the pasta, then stir it through the sauce and serve with parmesan and fresh basil.

Delicious with crusty bread and peas - the only green thing my youngest eats with gusto. Even better in the summer with quickly qrilled prawns.

I think this started life as a Nigella recipe and has been changed a little. It's certainly not something you need to follow to the letter which surely is the point of a simple Sunday supper?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday door... from Hobart this time...

My Friday door favourites are back in 2012.... some I have found on my travels, some from my new Melbourne neighborhood and some oldies from Auckland.

This is the door of one of my favourite Hobart houses. I pass it on every trip back and always think how much I'd like to live in it.

This time when I passed with my new camera in hand it had been given a new coat of paint and some smart new pots.

I like what they've done to the place.

May your Friday the 13th pass without incident.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


We had five days away while in Hobart, a holiday within a holiday. My bright idea this year was to ask Santa for a jigsaw to puzzle over now my kids are finally old enough to know not to eat the pieces or touch the bits I've slaved over.

I did slave over it in between beach visits and managed to complete about an eighth of the one thousand pieces. The bright red bike was easy-ish and the straight edged outsides of course... The rest? ... well they're all muted shades of grey... 
So the pieces, the puzzle and my holiday pastime are all packed up in the box and back here next to me whispering... urging me to go away somewhere again.

I think we might need a three week holiday this time. I think that's how long a mostly grey 1000 piece puzzle takes.... listening Santa?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Hobart...

We return home to Hobart every year  - sometimes two or three times. And it is still always called home... which could perhaps have something to do with our constant moving.
This week my fellow blogger Kerry mentioned she was heading to Tasmania so I sent her some tips. They ran to two pages... poor woman!

Anyway here's my Hobart... you may agree or disagree.

Firstly Kerry is going to MONA and it seems a lot of people are heading to Hobart to do just that. Good. It's amazing. Beyond amazing. The Museum of New and Old Art. The building is amazing in itself. 
My advice? Get a ferry there. Skip the fancy restaurant, it's all fancy froth and foam. If you can afford it stay the night.
Right, to Hobart...

Hobart's waterfront
You will/should (bossy aren't I?) spend most of your Hobart time in Salamanca Place, browsing the galleries shops and drinking coffee, shopping for food and wine. All the following are on Salamanca's main strip:
- Retro Cafe has been there forever and was the first cool cafe (saw Bob Brown there this trip - does he count as at all cool? If not my Dad is always there and he's pretty cool, say hi.)
- Grape is a good bar for a nice glass of Tasmanian vino.
- Maldini is always reliable for a good breakfast, lunch or dinner. 
- Zum Cafe is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Just two (or three) doors up the hill from the Retro is Wursthaus Kitchen - a fabulous deli and butcher selling lots of very good things. Some of the same things can be found at a cheaper price but not as beautifully laid out in Fresh mini market back down on Salamanca Place next door to Knopwoods Retreat pub. 

Round the back behind Salamanca Place is the Quarry with a large fountain your kids will love. Here you will find:
Bar Celona - a very popular spot - great for an afternoon drink in the sun.  
Laundromat Cafe - across in the far corner behind the large chess board. 
The Hobart Bookshop is a favourite - excellent selection of Tasmanian books.
Rectango play each Friday evening in an even smaller quarry behind Salamanca just near the Peacock Theatre.  Great relaxed vibe, it's outside with a relaxed crowd, non-intrusive live music with kids dancing, sangria and beer available.
Walk up Kelly's Steps from Salamanca Place to Battery Point - the steps lead to Kelly Street and in turn to Hampden Road - admire the houses (and the front doors). Turn right and you'll hit Jackman and McRoss - fabulous baked goods and oh-so village cool. Turn left and find the new Jam Jar cafe down on the next corner. Wind your way through to the sunny back courtyard and it's a little bit of bookish/Melbourne-ish cool. Free wi-fi and good brownies.

Salamanca Market if you're there on a Saturday is a must (bossy again). There is lots to look at but for me it's mostly about the food.  Seek out scallop pies (opposite Knopwoods in the middle row) and tempura mushrooms (in the middle opposite Aspect Design)... if on holiday the rule is you can have both, twice. 
Kids and men love the Bratwurst sausage stall. Also excellent for hangovers. It's up the other end of the market near the Supreme Court. If you like seeds our friends run an amazing little stall called Southern Harvest Seeds - opposite the steps of the Supreme Court on the far left as you walk up.
We usually bribe the kids with a visit to the boat park at the southern end of the market - looking over the Derwent with lovely trees it's a beautiful spot to rest your feet for a moment or ten.

Hobart City
I used to avoid the CBD on holidays home but there are now some lovely little shops worth checking out and you can do it all on foot in an hour.
Store and Co (my favourite) in Davey Street just up from the corner with Murray Street. Beautifully styled vintagey bits and bobs. I could buy the whole shop.
Ruby's Room - across the road on the opposite corner. Owner Anjanette has a fabulous eye for lovely toys and gifts. Kids of all ages love it. She's also opened a stationery shop right next door.
Love and Clutter - half a block down Murray Street on the right (sweet name and just as sweet inside)
Then traverse town (with your eyes closed) past the site of the burnt down Myer - continue down Murray St, right into Liverpool and then left into Elizabeth Street (the bottom end is the mall which like all malls should be buried under a mass of concrete). Just a block up Elizabeth Street is Ethos a cafe/tapas place which is fabulous. It's a little hidden but so worth finding. It's next to the Tasmanian Map Shop. Further up on the left is the CWA shop - quaint and no not all Tasmanians are so country... or quaint...

Dinner options on the waterfront
Maldini, Rockwall, Zum, Smolt, Monty's in the Salamanca area...
Suwan Thai in the arcade upstairs from the Retro in Salamanca 
One of our favourites is Fish Frenzy over on Elizabeth St Pier (near the ferry departure point for MONA) Casual but excellent fish and chips and scallops/oysters/calamari. Mures is an icon in the fish and chip world. Been there forever... I carried thousands of plates in its Upper Deck Restaurant in my old life.

Dinner in the city
Ethos as above and I haven't even mentioned the buzzy restaurant strip in North Hobart at the top end of Elizabeth Street at the top end of town.
Piccolo for dinner, Annapurna for Indian and the Raincheck Lounge for coffee or dinner.
Sweet Envy by day for cakes - the chef used to work in New York and for Ramsay somewhere in the world. The State Cinema for a flick.

Right then now.... out of Hobart... Driving?
Drive up Mt Wellington on a clear day - the view is astounding and it takes half an hour to get to the top (if that). A few beautiful short mountain walks you can do too.
Richmond (over the Tasman Bridge and halfway out to the airport turn off and it's about a thirty minute drive - history in abundance and charm too.... touristy but nice. Feed the ducks under Richmond Bridge.

Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula - an hour and half from Hobart. Stunning scenery, very do-able day trip and incredible history. Although when we were there last week our three year sighed dramatically and gave us grief about all the 'broken buildings' being 'booorring'....
If you don't fancy the Sydney-Hobart route there are other options...
Take the cruise to Peppermint Bay down the Channel (as we locals call the area around the narrow D'Entrecasteaux Channel that runs between Bruny Island and mainland Tasmania). The restaurant has a new chef and is getting very good press.
Bruny Island Cruises - great eco wildlife tour down to the outside of Bruny where you'll see Seals etc - can be a bit wet and wild. Might just tickle the adventurer in you. The company also runs a similar trip to Tasman Island.
Further afield - Freycinet is of course fabulous but it's not a day trip - stay at the Freycinet Lodge or in Swansea. Walk to Wineglass Bay. Go to the Friendly Beaches. Stop in Swansea and eat and browse. Swim.

I should stop now... that gives you a little bit too much to think about already. 

But take this Design Files walking guide for the city. 
And read this from The Age although I wish every review about Hobart didn't  sound so surprised that it's not some quaint town still serving devonshire teas at every opportunity.

Oh and for those still reading and hoping for some mention of Launceston? 
No idea. Last visited 15 years ago. I am Tasmanian after all.

Monday, January 9, 2012


What a lovely time we've had. The picture just about sums it up... my dear Dad pouring another drop of something rather good to share with family and friends.

We've had two weeks in Tasmania drinking, eating, wining, dining, wandering, chatting and beaching.

There was a bit of rushing of course - there always is at Christmas time. Tasmanians who live abroad  seem to head back every other Christmas rather like homing pigeons returning to the nest. The pull of an island home I suppose.

This time we took five days away from the social whirl at a beach an hour from Hobart... my husband bushwalked a little, the boys ran and ran on the sand and swam in the shallows.  I joined them in the water for quick dips (it's pretty fresh) and also read and played with my Christmas gifts - a fantastic book I finished in three days, my new camera (yippee) and a rather challenging jigsaw.

I'll tell you more about all three this week in between the washing, sorting and gradual return to real life. 2012 here I come.


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