hello… winter…?

winter-o, winter-o, where for art thou winter-o?

it is now one month into autumn and we are still suffering through 30+ degree days and have seen barely a drop of rain. what is going on? the heat has driven us so batty that out of sheer desperation T and I decided to stay up past our bedtime (7.30pm anyone?) and go along and watch rod’s first hockey game of the season. we didn’t see too much of the game as T was more interested in exploring the arena (read: running away, trying to steal hockey sticks and pucks from the older kids and climbing on everything he could find).

it was a grand old time until one of the other kids got a hot chocolate and thatch just decided then and there that he had to have one. after raiding every nook and cranny in rod’s car we collected enough 5 cent pieces to get a cup of warm milk (or, ‘cup-a-tea’ as thatch calls it) for the boy and all was well in the world again. i even think rod managed to pull off a win too!

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diary of a renovation rookie: the bathroom, day one

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^^^thanks for the pic, roddy^^^

there is no going back from here. i knew demolition was going on in our bathroom today while i was working but I was so totally not expecting quite this level of demolition – I mean, we literally have no floor!!!!! and the room now seems so small; it is roughly 2m x 3m but when I opened the door this afternoon it seemed little more than a broom closet.

luckily for me I’m away for work for the rest of the week (glamourous meekatharra here I come) and one can hope that I ought to at least have a shower in my hotel room so it is rod who’s staying here to supervise and hold the fort who will really struggle with this lack of a bathroom – lucky the gym isn’t too far away. even thatch has put in for a temporary transfer to another office (aka nanny and nonno’s house) for the week. hopefully the worst of it will be over and the dust (oh the dust and it’s only day one) will have settled by the time we get home.

on the upside we managed to find a bath and the people were nice enough to sell us the floor stock so we can pick it up ASAP. it is costing us extra $$$$ for this bath though and now we just have to sort out the logistics of how to get a 150kg bath home. the stress never ends…

twenty four

thank goodness that last 24 hours is over. it has been just a little bit stressful to say the least. it started last night when thatcher threw a golf ball and hit me slap-bang in the middle of the forehead (hello egg), it was followed up by a call from the supplier of our bath to tell us that the bath is on back order and won’t be available until the middle of May at the earliest (our renovations start monday) so rod and i have spent all day trying to urgently source an appropriately sized and priced bath in stock somewhere in perth – a challenge easier said than done as we still haven’t managed to find one we love.

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^^^even thatcher has started to feel my stress^^^

easy carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing

what better way to start a lazy wednesday than with a little bit of baking? and with my sous chef by my side, i whipped up these quick and easy carrot cupcakes to take along to our playdate…

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Ingredients

CUPCAKES: 2/3 cup of plain wholemeal flour; 1/3 cup of caster sugar; 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate soda (I may have misread the original recipe and only put 1/4 teaspoon in – no wonder they didn’t really rise); 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 2/3 cup roughly chopped brasil nuts; 2/3 cup roughly chopped almonds; 1/3 cup coconut oil; 1 large egg; 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2/3 cup; firmly packed grated carrot; 1/4 cup well-drained crushed pineapple (in juice).
CREAM CHEESE ICING: 60g softened cream cheese; 30g softened butter; 1 cup icing sugar; 1 tsp lemon juice.Makes 10 cupcakes.
Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C if using a fan-forced oven). 2. Line or grease a 12-hole muffin tray (you will only need to use 10 holes though). 3. Sift flour, sugar, bicarbonate soda and cinnamon together in a large bowl. 4. Stir in chopped nuts and mix until well combined. 5. In a separate bowl mix together the oil, egg, vanilla extract, carrot and pineapple. 6. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until well combined (it is quite a dry mixture, but don’t worry the cupcakes will still be deliciously moist). 7. Distribute the mixture evenly between 10 muffin cases. 8. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 9. Allow the cupcakes to cool before icing. 10. To make icing mix together the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and lemon juice in an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. 11. Ice the cupcakes and enjoy!

DSC_0128  ^^our very roughly chopped nuts. i recommend leaving them quite chunky as they add a delicious textural and grown-up element to the cupcakes^^

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^^i’m not quite sure if the entire quota of nuts actually made it into the cupcakes as someone kept helping himself^^DSC_0131  ^^serious business this baking thing^^DSC_0133DSC_0135

^^the dry ingredients prior to thatcher being armed with a wooden spoon^^DSC_0138 DSC_0140 DSC_0142^^to the victor go the spoils – his favourite part of baking^^
DSC_0144^^umm, yum^^

i may have gotten distracted vacuuming the house while these were in the oven and i didn’t hear my baking alarm so they were cooked a little longer than suggested and a little crunchy around the edges, but that was not necessarily a bad thing as i love a crunchy crust on my cakes. also, the icing was a little runny so i may alter the recipe a little next time around (as well as using the recommended amount of bicarbonate soda and perhaps substituting a banana for the caster sugar).

Recipe inspired by this one from one handed cooks.

diary of a renovation rookie: planning the bathroom

just in case we didn’t already have enough on our plates between our vivacious toddler, our impending arrival, rod’s ever-more-demanding job, my job, this blog and my masters, rod and i have fallen victim to the need to ‘nest’ and decided to renovate out 100 year old cottage. we couldn’t have picked a better time for it if we tried.

initially we thought that things would start rolling ASAP and we would be moving back into our light, spacious and modern extension (with new bathroom and laundry, ahhh) in early june, giving us about a month to get organised before baby girl arrives. as all best laid plans do, this one has fallen by the wayside and i think we will be lucky to have a house free of workmen by the time we are ready to bring baby home… it really does not take much for things to be delayed by a week and a week here and there adds up to a month and we all know what is due to happen in 3.5 months!

nevermind though, it is all out of my control and i have no doubt it’ll all be worth it in the end (and luckily for us we have l’hotel de mum and dad only 30 minutes away where there is always a room for us).

so stage one of the renovations is the bathroom. our old bathroom is pretty boring, tacky, tired, basic, and any number of other adjectives (adjectives are describing words, right?). It is basically a very old inbuilt bath with chipping paint which was not so skilfully and carefully painted over with white paint by the previous owners – I question their attention to detail given the fact that there is more than just a little bit of sand painted into the bottom of the bathtub – comfy. the white paint hasn’t stopped there and the (i assume tacky green and mustard 1960s-1970s era) tiles on the floor and walls of the bathroom have also received a coat of tile paint. i do not think this product is designed for use on floor tiles as the tiles (or rather the paint) is covered in scratches which means that even 2 seconds after I have mopped the floor it looks filthy. we then have an el cheapo vanity which was no doubt thrown into the bathroom for the purpose of sale and a very basic mirror which isn’t even over the sink. sounds lovely, huh???

well, all of this is about to change, for in less than 2 weeks we get to take to this chamber of ewwww with a sledgehammer and from the rubble our bathroom butterfly shall be born. in our long and narrow bathroom (rough dimensions are 1.8m x 3.0m with a window in the middle of one long wall and a door in the middle of the other) we are planning to fit a gorgeous modern free standing bathtub, a toilet (joy, our house will finally have a second toilet), a vanity and a wet shower (as in one of those ones that is just a shower screen with no door). and the piece de resistance – the feature tile wall behind the shower and toilet. here are a few pics of what we have planned:

image^^our vanity^^

image^^our bathtub^^

20140318-194736.jpg^^our tiles: grey for the floor and three walls and white for the feature wall^^

it may have taken us a good 2 weeks of dragging thatcher around from tile shop to tile shop and bathroom shop to bathroom shop to reach this point, but im so excited to be doing this and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

white lady boy for table 225

in the painfully hip Brookfield Place lies the Asian fusion eatery known simply as the daily apple. nestled between print hall and bob’s bar it is the perfect meat in this oh so trendy nightspot sandwich.

so when we got the invitation to catch up with some dear friends of ours for some cocktails and share plates at apple daily I was super excited. dressed in my most hipster get up (or the most hipster get up you can find in maternity wear – skinny jeans, shirt buttoned up to the top and a choker necklace worn like a tie) – rod and I toddled down into the city like one of those child free and trendy couples who are seasoned participants in Friday night drinkies.

given the fact that im up the duff, i started the evening off with a refreshing citrus mocktail. rod, true to form, couldn’t be bothered to read the drinks menu and instead asked for a ‘citrus surprise’ – something alcoholic and citrusy. and my what a citrus surprise he received when he was presented with a gorgeous martini glass half full of lemony liquid and garnished with little tiny purple flowers. “your white lady boy, sir” said the waitress with a chuckle as she placed the drink down in front of him. leaving aside the name and the less-than-manly glassware, rod assures me it was a very pleasant way to start the night. ;-P

and then we got into the good stuff; the food. i think between the four of us we managed to order just about everything on the menu: saltwater duck, crispy soft-shell crab, pork rolls, mandarin duck, pork ribs, vegetable fried rice, the list goes on. by far the stand out dishes of the night were the pork ribs and soft-shell crab. i could quite happily eat these everyday for the rest of my life and never get sick of them. oh, that spicy nam jim sauce, I would put you on everything…

the atmosphere of apple daily could not be faulted either. it was vibrant and bustling and just felt full of life, but we could still easily hold a conversation without having to yell at each other across the table.

so as i sit here tonight in my pyjamas with my bowl of icecream, reminiscing about the night when I was cool and young and hip (well at least I thought I was) all I can think is that I will definitely be going back to apple daily some time soon – so long as I can find another maternity friendly hipster outfit.

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^^^who ordered the white lady boy?^^

we’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo. how about you, you, you…

in an effort to make up for my last ‘bad mummy’ visit to the zoo where i forgot to take even one photo, i came prepared this time, with the good camera and a spare battery. pity for this bad mummy that neither of the batteries had any charge whatsoever and all i could do was lug the camera around and take happy snaps with the iPhone. the animals were really putting on a show too and it was a shame i couldn’t take some better quality snaps, but alas these will have to do…


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^^the meerkats are always a favourite and today we were super lucky enough to see their new little babies^^
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^^the lion took a liking to T. luckily we were informed he had just been fed^^IMG_1872 IMG_1864 IMG_1856 IMG_1852

for those of you with a keen eye, who are thinking to yourself ‘hey, that kid is wearing two different outfits’, you are very correct. one of the best decisions i made was to invest in a one year Perth zoo friends membership which gives T and I unlimited entries to the zoo for one year for only $85. At $24.50 a pop to visit the zoo, we have made our money back in just over a month – we may even have been twice this week (hence the outfit change).

 

that’s sacrilege

what could be better than a giant blow-up Stonehenge in the middle of perth? Nothing, that’s what and as part of the perth festival 2014 that is exactly what our city got!

the weather wasn’t the greatest for it – jumping on a mound of plastic in the full sun on a 37 degree day, anyone? but it was all worth it in the end when the ice cream van rolled up…

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