Sunday, December 29, 2013


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 via Che and Fidel

He : has been very hard work for about a month. We have many theories but currently we are blaming Harry Potter. 

She : is testing out her brand new paints from Santa in her brand new togs from Santa (which she proceeded to spend all Christmas day in, as you do when you are five and your bikini has a tutu).

It is with some amazement that I realise that I have come to the end of this portrait project. At the start I thought it would be highly unlikely that I would see it through. At the end, it gives me so much joy to see all these moments of my children's lives ( some highlights, many ordinary) captured in this way. Miraculously, there were only a few times where I was scraping up images at the last minute. For a variety of reasons I am unsure whether I will continue next year but I am so pleased to have committed and stuck with this project week in week out for an entire year.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wooli wanderings

If there is a long gap between posts and a complete lack of Christmas around this blog it is because just before Christmas we went on a little wander, to a lovely beachside town called Wooli. About four hours south of Brisbane, it is further than we would usually go to find the beach, but I can say it was completely worth that late night drive where we got lost because I fell asleep at a critical point in the navigation.

The town itself is tiny and built on a thin strip of land between the ocean and the river.  The scenery was spectacular.

We spent most of our time on the river side.

When the tide went out the sand felt like squishy marshmallow.

And there were masses of huge hermit crabs to collect and build a hotel for of course. This is what they look like when they are mostly inside the shell.

And mostly out of the shell. Yikes, that was not me holding by the way.

 We spent hours and hours in the golden late afternoon sun just fossicking around. The kids were in heaven. The rest of the time we were in here.

Doing crazy things like riding the dolphins down the waterslide.

We attempted mini golf but the competition and scorekeeping was way too much for one of us.

So we stuck with riding our bikes around and around the caravan park. And on the last day, the kids even went around the loop by themselves.

And then there were all the fibro shacks. One lunchtime, I strolled the tiny streets that make up this tiny town and sampled and hour of Wooli time. It was hot, still and barely a soul was stirring.

With one shop, a fish co-op and a tiny caravan park wedged between the two main streets, this is a small sleepy town. Most of the houses are fibro shacks and virtually all these shacks are either beach front or riverfront. It was basically fibro shack nirvana. They came in every colour imaginable. There was even purple but I couldn't get a pic due to a big ugly 4WD parked in the way.

We were amazed that nearly half of the town's shacks are for sale.

Several were in very original, renovators delight type states.

This one was my favourite, frangipani trees always win me over.

And I can even be quite partial to a good shed, of which there were many.

Anyway, shack ogling aside, the highlight of the trip was stumbling onto a taste of small town Christmas magic, the Aussie way. The caravan park we were staying in was also the starting point for Santa's annual sojourn down the river for Christmas carols held at the tip of the peninsula. We were all hyperventilating with excitement over spotting those six white boomers ( or kangaroos for those who have not heard this very Aussie Christmas carol).

The jolly fellow handed out sweets to all the kids before climbing on board.

Roboboy and I had decided to race Santa the 5 k's into town on our bikes. About half way, as we fly along the path running next to the river, we hear fragments of Christmas carols floating across the mangroves. It was magical, with the dusky light, the quiet streets with just the sounds of our pedals and strains of Rudolph over the lap of the water to guide us along. We did not see a single other soul the whole journey.

We arrived at the mouth of the river, to a pale sky and most of the town singing Christmas carols and waving glowsticks.

Soon, the SES marine rescue elves escorted Santa in to the shore and up the sands where he handed out more treats to the children.

 It was pure Christmas magic and we are so grateful to have been in just the right place at just the right time. Wooli, we loved you and we can't wait to come back.

(I'm presuming it's not just me who has fibro shack love, do fess up if you feel the same).

I forgot to add this before - if you want to look at some shacks to rent pop over here where many of local Wooli shacks are listed.

We stayed at the Solitary Islands Resort in a cabin opposite the pool and a massive jumping pillow as at this stage the  kids find these much more appealing than a beachfront shack. The resort is about 5k from the centre of town but there is a bike path all the way (which is almost entirely flat) and very little traffic.

Friday, December 27, 2013


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 via Che and Fidel

He : releasing all his hermit crabs from the hotel he made for them. Single file boys, all the way to the water. 

She : has no fear of small, hairy, creepy looking crabs in large shells. ( Me, I was loathe to touch).

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Two weeks of sunshine and colour

As the Christmas break beckons, the end of kindy is finally wrapped up and all I can see is so much seasonal colour all around. The summer sun beats down and all the world is more vibrant. My fox pillow, finished just in time for Liongirl's birthday.

Colourful gifts lovingly unpacked from  the kindy bag.

Oh how I love kindy art work, although that black background did throw me as the only other black thing in this house is the TV.

Shafts of rainbow light striking perfectly placed milk glass.

Rainbow bunting glowing in the morning sun and when the poincianas are in flower, Christmas is just around the corner.

Striking pink peonies thankfully still in season in December, weeks after the wedding anniversary we both forgot.

All that remains of the poor ravaged piñata.

The treasure we will be mowing up for months or even years.

Stumbling across happy play scenes in Liongirl's room.

 Gorgeous bowls for the kindy teachers, to be filled with chocolates and wrapped in cellophane.

One of them could possibly turn up in my Santa sack, no guessing which colour.

More kindy Christmas craft, even more spectacular than the first.

I think this self portrait needs a frame, it certainly won't be used for drying the dishes.

And lastly it appear that the mermaid grotto has a squatter. This cheeky possum had sauntered in one evening through the open deck doors and had no doubt been sniffing around for treats.

Now we can bring on Christmas, I'm almost ready.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 via Che and Fidel

He : spending a hot morning at the park making his own fun racing these massive seed pods down a double slide. Of course he then snuck them both into my handbag to bring home for "research" purposes.

She : dragged the giant dolphin  over to our neighbours for a swim. She has recently clicked with her swimming and is now diving down to retrieve treasures from the very bottom.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

An under the sea mermaid birthday party

So as we recover from the Under the sea, mermaid birthday party extravaganza, it is time to share all the best bits. Let's start with the cake. This would be my absolutely most favourite cake that I have ever made for either of my children. Miss Liongirl and I had agreed on some kind of mermaid under the sea castle type cake. The details, like all my cakes, kind of came together as it was assembled and of course involved maximum colour and lolly coverage. My favourite part was the corals on either side which were made by Roboboy and I with drizzled white chocolate covered in sprinkles and set in the fridge.

 The pink gravel was a previous batch of chocolate that curdled when I added the pink food colouring. Luckily, it looked just like gravel. The turrets were made of cardboard rolls pinched from kindy with meringues on the top. I had a stash of these scallop shells collected from Currumbin beach many, many years ago and saved for a day just like this one. A lovely mum at school loaned me the Ariel figurine which was exactly the right size.

Legoman even had some great ideas for this cake and created some seaweed up the sides with lolly snakes and the spearmint leaves down the front trimmed to look a miniature kelp forest. He also helped decorate the mini cupcakes with tiny fish blowing bubbles. The fish came from Spotlight in the cake decorating section.

Best of all he was happy to step up and re create the one idea I pinched from Pinterest which was to carve this amazing watermelon shark that was a massive hit. You had to be brave to reach into his mouth to get some melon.

Like previous parties I pulled out the milk glass and an appropriate toned vintage sheet for the food table. Only this time I had a fan documenting my work.

The girls each made a mermaid crown out of cardboard, gold doily and stick on jewels and the take home boxes were treasure chests that I had lots of fun spraying gold. ( unlike house painting, spray paint is super fast and incredibly satisfying)

The cursed , never speak of it again, rainbow fish piñata ended up amazingly successful and survived two vigorous beatings from each child before he was done for. The kids had helped me glue all his crepe on the night before and aside from the glue all over the floor ( which I am still trying to remove) it was a child friendly project.

There was of course pass the parcel, musical chairs and a scavenger hunt before a good solid hosing on the trampoline of all those mermaids in their swimmers.

The rest of the magic was achieved with a large roll of plastic emblazoned with an underwater scene from the local party shop which was the only thing in the entire party that I didn't scratch up from around the house. We encircled our dining table and the kids helped me make a seaweed doorway from  crepe to turn it into a mermaid grotto.

I had also made a giant clam shell for the girls to sit on wearing a mermaid tail that I had insanely decided to sew up the night before. The rest of it was just a whole pile of fabrics from my stash that looked either like coral or the ocean. 

 Most of the girls had their photo taken as a mermaid which I will be sending on to their mums.

 This girl had a fantastic day and loved that many of her friends stayed hours past the party to just play in her room and in the mermaid grotto. She had lots of help opening all her presents and thank goodness for Nonnas who always give you exactly what you were wanting.

 Now I just need to take a few deep breaths and get cracking on Christmas.