The Challenge

Every week, we each complete the same assigned task in our different cities and blog about it.

The tasks are creative journeys, artist dates, challenges small and large.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

frantic feb

ok so my four in feb weren't that big, well they were but they were all so urgent that accomplishing them would be impossible not to do.

Bought a car - check. It was full of sultanas and crackers by the time we got it home.

Moved into house with rental furniture - check. Real furniture arrived in the last week of feb and I have managed to unpack 218 of the 220 boxes in Luka's nap times and after 10pm at night.

Had meeting with agent, it lasted for 2 packs of sultanas. And I am finalising new tracks for my demo, I do need to schedule some thinking time other than at the traffic lights. Which lets face it traffic light thinking should be reserved for my pelvic floor exercises.

The real hooray is that i managed one swim alone! And one walk! And one alone trip to coles in the month. There has been so much adrenaline, coffee, skipped meals, getting everyone settled that I wonder if I will go up in a puff of smoke. And poof there went feb......

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two out of Four Ain't Bad...

Well, tomorrow is the last day of February. Yes, it is a bonus day, being a leap year. Nonetheless, I think I'll need more than 24 hours to get through the mammoth photo organising task that I set myself...and failed to even begin. Oh, for shame.

And I found a yoga class. I looked into it. I discussed with Angelo the possibility of me taking Monday nights to do it. Yesterday was the last Monday night in February. Another fail!

However, I did clean my car out. Yes. I even vacuumed up a party whistle in the process. The noise was hilarious! I won't go into any detail about how filthy the car is again, now that a couple of weeks have passed since the great clean-up. 

And I made ricotta cheese. It was easy and satisfying and the result was delicious. And I hope you girls were more successful at your four tasks than I. I shall now go and do a few salutes to the sun as penance for my failings.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My First Dish for February!

Yum Yum Yum....I have just this very minute polished off a bowl of my first new creation in the kitchen....well now my creation but one of Stephanie Willaton's from her wholefood book "Nourish" - Warm Beetroot and Chickpea Salad.
Now I know this may sound very plain and pedestrian but this truly was a beautiful dish with secret ingredients such as mirin, lemon rind, kale!!! Not so secret really but stuff I never use or never know how to use. Anyway....was so proud of myself that I just had to take a photo to show you ladies.
I'm off to band camp tomorrow for the weekend.....what to do with the leftovers....home delivery anyone?? Love Ruey xx

Monday, February 6, 2012

Four things...

Well... firstly my apologies, with Hannah's first cold my posting is somewhat late! Poor poppet hasn't been herself with crying, vomiting, coughing and high fevers. Both Sam and I are worried about the munchkin and my sisters advice is to "toughen up" and "this too will pass". Needless to say Hannah still continues to laugh between the tears and is crawling around exploring her new Canberra world at a fast pace!
My four -
1) Get back to YOGA (cancelled today due to Hannah's cold). I am determined to start at Belconnen's only Yoga school "POWER YOGA" (complete with chill-out room). I am getting flash backs to my rave days (but think my "chill-out" with involve me passed out in child's pose after discovering my muscles again)! Oh and after a month of indulgence at the coast I am appearing pregnant again, but no baby bump, just a "hot chips and pizza" bump...
2) Cook 2 new recepies a week. Staying with my mum I am determined to leave with an ability to cook more than "tuna pasta".
3) Organise to see 4 open houses each week. Sam and I are trying to buy a home in Canberra and finding time to get to open houses around work, Hannah and life, is proving a little challenging. However I am very keen to find our "home sweet home".
4)a Make a new friend. I have contacted the local Australian Breastfeeding group leader and will try to go to a meeting soon. But more than that I will try and put the vibe out for someone that I "click with" to share our Canberra journey.
4)b If the friend thing takes time...I will also go to a new place in Canberra. I want to explore somewhere new (like a museum, gallery etc... that I have never seen before).
Love to you all,

4 in feb

Sheeesh I am struggling with life's smaller details at the moment. My internet banking session timed out 4 times whilst I tried to make one simple payment. Hugo's dot to dot session is currently producing a question a millisecond. I am currently typing one word in between one request per child and these 4 lines have taken me 20 mins. Except I think Hugo might have mastered his alphabet in this time.
1. buy a cat.
1. Buy a CAR
2. move into house
2. source some rental furniture so we have somewhere to sit and sleep, then move into house.
3. Think about tomorrows meeting with my agent and come up with a work plan, goal setting, re-launch new demo thingo, think about somewhere to stash the kids for the meeting, and find a handbag thing that isnt a nappy bag so I look semi human.
4. go for a swim
4. Go for a swim by MYSELF!!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Four in Feb - Greer

Hi ladies,
Here we are in February. My must-dos for the month are:

1) Make cheese. Ricotta is easy, so I'll start there.
2) Clean my car. I know this seems a bit of a cheat, but I swear that thing will not get clean. If I can't do it by the end of February, I'm going to sell it and buy a bike with five-seats.
3) Do a yoga class. Just one. Perhaps more.
4) I'm typing this one really fast in case I back out because it's such a monumental task and I hardly know where to begin but if I put it here I'll have I'm going to go back through all the photos on the computer for the past 4 years, sort them out, get some printed, get those into albums and back the whole lot up to something reliable...phew!

Happy Fouring

Ruey's 4 in February

Ok....we had to challenge ourselves right??

1. COOK at least 3 new dishes in February - sweet or savoury.....
2. Get out my violin bought about 2 and a 1/2 years ago and I had exactly 15 lessons and then it stayed in the case - I am going to review my preliminary pieces at least once a week in February :)
3. Do my Reiki Meditation at least 4 times a week - Discipline here I come!!
4. Go on a date??????????????????????? Not sure how this is going to happen but I'm putting it out there....YIKES!!!

Love you gals - looking forward to hearing about the the fruits of our labours....

Ruey xxx

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Amanda - Four in February

What a fabulous idea of Greer's - post 4 things that we've been thinking about, procrastinating about and over the next 4 weeks actually do them! My only problem is that I have a list a mile long of all these things that are swirling around in my head asking for priority but here it is - my Four in February;

1. See a movie by myself and reignite the artist date
2. Go back to yoga - beautiful yoga - its been far too long between visits
3. Create my wedding album and finish all the albums I've been working on from our overseas stint
4. Start work on my business idea - 'Vintage by Design' - vintage objects for hire for weddings, film sets, photo shoots etc. Its not a new idea and has been done before but I am forging on anyway!

Let's see where I get to by the 29th February.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

2 weeks and 3 days

It's late Ruey here - just submitting my blog assignment way after the due date but submitting nevertheless! I do believe it is 2 weeks and 3 days to Spout & Tim's wedding now and isn't it so beautiful that we are all talking about where we are at in terms of this special day and seeing each other again and celebrating your great day Spouty! I can't wait either!!
So where am I at?
Just in the last few days I have had the opportunity to start relaxing, unwinding and giving myself some attention after what has felt like being on the "rat wheel" of concert after concert after concert after student after student after student. It is always a fine balance doing what you love and it becoming a "good problem"!! But changes must be made for next year and that is what has been brewing in my head over the past few months and will continue to brew now I have some space to brew. I have realised that I err to the side of being a workaholic and that's something that requires addressing.
Changes? Well, what's making me realise my lack of going with the flow and working my arse off has been my path on the yoga mat and a reiki meditation I have recently adopted as part of my routine. These two things have naturally become the core of my life this year and have helped me, whilst being on the "rat wheel", feel more stable, stronger in myself and finally happy to let life lead me for awhile and evolve without me so fiercely controlling my destiny so much. This has led to a lot of lovely spontaneously giving 4 family members reiki treatments at a family reunion last weekend (they were queueing up!). A voice session with a friend turning into a reiki session and the friend paying me for it, another lady ringing for a "holistic" voice session and do I "do that sort of thing?" Well the answer is "Yes! I do!" So where am I at? I'm starting to go with the flow as much as possible, seeing what and who appears at my door and saying "yes" to trusting experiences, trusting others, welcoming more joy and ease and creating less drama in my life......
So I'm in this place of wondering what will happen in the near future if I do this and when I feel into it it feels good! :)
One thing I am sure is going to be great! See you there on the dance floor!
Love you gals!
Ruey xxx

The Dance...

Check in - Kate
When you become a mum, you immediately gain a whole new level of respect for your own mother. I have just spent the last two days with my mum, helping me sort and pack for our big move to Canberra.
Sam has been in Adelaide and when I went to sleep last night I could not help but smile as my little house held my mum, Hannah and I. Mother, Mother and daughter sleeping under the same roof with the rain tapping at the windows.
Mother, mother and daughter laughing together as they trip over boxes, read stories, change poo explosion nappies and sort through our lives together. Hannah with her wide eyes taking in the changes, and giggles at the "peek-a-boo" games behind boxes.
Hannah rolls quickly now, flipping so fast that one second I see her and the next she is half up the "pillow wall" created to keep her safe in the packing madness.
Oh to move with a baby....
GREER - Again, a whole new respect for you, as you move with three little ones!
And AIMS crossing the oceans again with your tribe...
What joy!
My early morning feeds in semi-darkness have been the time I have begun to write my goodbye speech to the girls at the school I say goodbye to next week.
It goes something like this...
"I have always said to the girls in my production; Give 150% onstage and if you make a mistake, make it a BIG one! The audience will not even notice. Afterwards you will hear someone say "I loved the way the 40 girls spun off the stage, but that one girl who did the split leaps in the opposite direction, WOW...She was special!"
You see girls, I am going to dance my way, somewhat unexpectedly, out of Sydney and away from this great school. I am going to commit completely, with my heart, my enthusiasm and creativity to these new steps, as a mum to my 7 month old baby girl, Hannah. So girls I say to you, find what you love doing and give it your all. Don't worry if it is completely different to everyone else, just dance with all your heart! But be ready for the dance to change sometimes when you least expect it! You will learn that there are no "mistakes" in life, just different dances to relish along the way. Thanks for your humour, team work and spirit in the drama classroom. I will always carry my time here in my heart."
What an amazing time for us all!
I cannot wait to see you all and CELEBRATE the joy of Amanda and Tim's wedding. Oh I will cry for sure...tears of joy at the beautiful bride, the nervous groom, the emotions and delight of forever and I DO!
I cannot wait!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The sound in my head is like the ululating from African women - a high-pitched, tongue-waggling OY-LOY-LOY-LOY-LOY-LOY-LOY-LOY sound. Manic. Frantic. Quickquickquickquickquick!

My house is filthy, half of its contents in boxes, great armfuls being cast off into garbage bins each day. I'm like a wheat thresher. Watch your heads!

There is so much to do in the coming weeks and when I work through it, I always land at the day before Christmas, in a new house surrounded by boxes with no ham in the fridge and no tree and no presents and I feel a bit ill. Can someone postpone Christmas till mid-January?

Already I'm exhausted all day and awake all night going through lists and plans in my head. Ironic that I was like this in the lead-up to my wedding, hey, Spoutie? Timings and contingencies and delegating. We have a holiday next week. Last thing I bloody feel like with all else going on! I found myself declaring to Angelo over lunch yesterday, in my best organising voice, "Now, on this holiday, we have to make sure we relax. RELAX, OK?" Quick, have fun!

Ironically, I'm knitting through it all. Albeit, knitting with a panicked, manic gait, but knitting nonetheless.

See you on the other side!


The reason this task is so relevant this week (or last) is that in the history of knowing the 5 of us and ten years (times 5 ) of busy lives, this feels like the the most insanely busy period of big changes we are all going through.

So where am I at????

Do you remember the Billy Joel video clip of "We didnt start the fire", well my brain swings from that to being intensely present with the kids at the moment.

This parenting thing has left me many many times feeling out of control. But at the moment when I am with the kids (as I am 24/7, including much of the night) I feel really focussed. Is it because the glorious age of 4 has hit and it is laugh a minute with my once wildly spirited 2-3 year old. Or is it a new found inner peace with change?? Whatever it is, I am enjoying these days so much - New bikes, new teeth, scraped knees, chewing cords, less waking at night, up all night. But for some reason we are in a rhythm. Perhaps it is because we have no idea where we will be living in 6 weeks, Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sandy Beach. Who can predict what the great financial markets will do in a week, so perhaps the 4 of us are just in a rhythm of living this life as it is today, today.

And then I think about the logistics of this move and I tumble out of the present into the unknown, spending weeks of time on real estate websites, and spontaneously crying whenever I have to tell people we are leaving, blaming baby hormones still......

And then I think about Asia and this kingdom of paradox we have living amongst. Sydney feels too real life, too old life, too far away from the world. But Asia is so rife with corrupt governments and excessive capitalism and I long to bite into an apple that has only travelled 4 hours by road to get to the market. And I swing high and low from these realities. My kids are now more Honkanese than Australian, but I want them to be barefoot and salty, but I want them to be exposed to language and culture and I continue to swing........

And then I think constantly about the politics of war, this bloody war my brothers going off to fight in again. Nothing is black and white about it anymore. He told me that the word in the army is that these rouge Afghan soldiers who are shooting at our men are most likely being blackmailed by the Taliban and their families and children threatened..........and I cant fathom a world where this is possible. I swing...

So approaching mid thirties, unsure of which country I will call home in the next little while, I feel happy and ease with change and so grateful for my hub & kids. But Asia has left its mark, the world feels so much more complicated than before. So right now, where am I at..... I guess I feel like I am at the top of a mountain looking, waiting for the universe to stamp its thumbprint on me.
And can I just add how excited I am to be a part of my darling beautiful Spouty's wedding in 2 weeks and 5 days. And how when I think of her as a blushing bride I spontaneously burst into tears.....

and life is that beautiful

Monday, November 21, 2011

2 weeks and 6 days

Amanda - 'where are you at?'

2 weeks and 6 days until I am a bride. The thought makes me laugh, giggle, panic, breath a little deeper, smile from the inside out and want to cry with gratitude at the generosity and love of friends and family. As I go through the motions I would on any work day of putting together final timings for the day, making last minute phone calls to suppliers and planning our travel I have this tune in my head that keeps playing the words 'this is actually your wedding' over and over. We now have 140 people attending this beautiful day which in one moment feels insane and in another feels incredible. I feel so very humbled that so many people have chosen to say yes and not just yes but busting to celebrate with us. And then there's my divine husband to be who I am so in love with. Tim has been there every step of the way in the planning - in fact lets be honest - he's done a far better job in that department than me. You should see the wedding spreadsheet - I'm going to package it up and sell it to brides to be in future. Software for brides :)

So where I am at? I am happy, panicky, warm and fuzzy all over. I'm slightly stressed about work and what I'm leaving behind. I'm overwhelmed by what's ahead, not just the wedding but the flat renovations and the move that happens when we get back after Christmas.

Where am I at when it all boils down?

Grateful. Incredibly grateful. Thank you to my beautiful girls on this blog who I love so dearly and have been so present and there for me, not just now but since we very first met. Oh man I'm tearing up. I have so much thanks to give you girls and many. many hugs for everything you are doing for me at the moment.

LOVE YOU xoxoxo

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Where are you at girls?

Ten adventures!

Kate - My top ten...
1) Start going to yoga again
2) Meditate daily
3) Plan a family holiday to a resort where we can swim to the bar
4) Go on a romantic date with my husband
5) Plan life in a new city, look up playgroups, cafes, yoga schools
6) Look into property market...find our family home
7) Sign up to facebook and join the rest of the world!
8) Find confidence in cooking less and experiment more
9) Enjoy the daily rituals, find joy in the washing, cleaning and ordinary aspects of life
10) Absolutely embrace this new stage in our lives...Enjoy Hannah's naming day and thank all the people who have supported our new little family...Tell people I love them...drink it all in and laugh at the swooping bird, the rain or the little hiccups along the way!
11) P.S Try to not stress about move!!!! LAUGH and hassle hubby less!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Write a list of ten things you could to do. Do the last thing on the list. - Aimee

1. Think about and plan Hugo's birthday party
2. Work out how to make a double decker bus cake for party
3. Talk Hugo out of Princess cake for Party (not that I truly mind, except it is a bloody hard fiddly cake)
4. Thing of de-cluttering the growing mass of toys in the living room whilst pondering why the smaller the child the larger, no the HUGER the toys need to be
5. Call montessori schools in Sydney and beg them to consider Hugo for 2012 intake, incase we are whisked home without notice.
6. Make missed dental, physio and DR's appointments for various family members
7. file the HUGE pile of papers in the my beautiful ceramic table bowl that was not intended to be a filing in-tray.
8. Look at flights/hotels for a last minute trip to Singapore that we are trying to make happen but I never seem to really look at flights because perhaps I believe it will never really happen and thus have not put it as number ten on this list because then I would be forced to make it happen.
9. Make dinner reservations for a group dinner this weekend, even though Scott is talking about Singapore this weekend, but I know it probably wont happen so I will go ahead and put this on the to do list.
10. Get out of this chair and put the m&m's packet in the bin, drink 3 glasses of water and GO

Oh shit I just re-read this task and realised it is ten things I could do rather than the list of ultra boring tasks of things I should do.

OK speed list of 'coulds' - Boracay, shave head and start my post baby hair again, start spec script and stop thinking about it, learn a language, plan a campervan holiday, guitar lessons, give up chocolate for the 3/4's left of November, buy nice underwear and wean myself of the comfy postpartum versions, beg husband to switch channels from Whitney and Kevin in THE BODYGUARD.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ruey's 10 Things

1. Bake a cake
2. Go for a walk
3. Fly to France
4. Live in New York
5. Sing a song
6. Work on Spouty's wedding cabaret
7. Paint or draw a picture
8. Do my Reiki Meditation
9. Watch a movie
10. Dance in my living room.......
Well....I certainly did and still am! It's my first free weekend in ages and I decided to go beserk and jump around my living room full out with all my greatest dance moves ever. The feeling was totally shaking of the shackles of school life and enjoying the freedom!! What songs.....the first track was "Scratch My Back" by the one hit wonders "The Sharp"- sometime in the 80's. Followed by "Brass in Pocket" by the Pretenders....finishing with a bit of George Michael.....who is still playing.....and who I'm still dancing to in between writing this! Yeah baby....I've still got more dancing to do.....excuse me for a moment......!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Amanda - 10 Things I could do...

1. Actually spend some time planning this wedding thats on in just 5 weeks
2. Write to my sister to find out where she is in India and when she thinks she might be gracing us with her presence again
3. Buy my sister a birthday present
4. Pack for my work trip to Sydney tomorrow
5. Contact my real estate agent to get him onto finding tradies to renovate my apartment in a few weeks time
6. Go to the gym
7. Call Aimee to find out when she's coming home so I can plan social activities for the end of the year
8. Finish writing the paper I was meant to do yesterday
9. Mark the student papers for the teaching I did last week
10. Bugger it all and get out into our first summer day in Melbourne. 30 degrees at last!!!

Sorry, was that blog meant to be along the lines of;

1. Plan my next trip back to Europe
2. A yoga retreat
3. facial and massage
4. an all day lunch
etc etc etc

I'm saving all that up to look forward to once I'm Mrs Amanda Jacobs - Ha.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Write a list of ten things you could to do. Do the last thing on the list.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

live the life

Artist Date - Aimee

In week of sick grumpy chillen, school holidays, 5 million requests beginning with MAAAAMMMA, laryngitis for the third time in as many months and the descent of the winter smog all I managed was one glorious hour. One timely perfect hour of uninterrupted 60 minutes. I listened to music with my eyes closed and drank 3 cups of herbal tea. I listened to the sound track the film FRIDA and sat firmly amongst my imaginary dream lives. When the bliss ended I was much more equipped to get on with 'Viva-la-vida' (live the life).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stood Up

Greer - Go on an artist date

I remember well the rules of the artist date. A solo outing somewhere, anywhere, to seek inspiration, ideas, quiet reflection, energy, play.

Is it OK, then, that my artist date is this, here, now? Or, at least, it was meant to be. I'm meant to be in a bookshop (with a pot of herbal tea) rather than at my kitchen table (with a glass of red). I made the trip, I promise. Both local bookshops were open, but the cafe in one had finished serving for the night and the wine bar in the other was closed "due to unforseen circumstances." I could hardly loiter at the tables with the laptop, so home I came. 

Via the bottleshop.

I had a quick poke about, though. I like the craft shelves these days - so many more knitting books than there used to be. I'm a bit taken by the title 'Best in Show: Knit Your Own Cat'. I'll see how long I can resist before that one ends up in my shopping basket.

But if tonight's 'date' was a flop, I can happily report a solo trip to the cinema last week to see 'Eye of the Storm'. I've never read a Patrick White novel but this film was exactly how I imagine his novels to be. Stylised. Sparse. Quite beautiful. Funny-sad.

May there be more movie and bookshop/writing dates in my very near future.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Choux Choux

Greer - Try Something New

In my fantasies - or at least one of them - I'm a pastry chef. And a baker. And perhaps a chocolatier. Making the sweet stuff all day long. Pies and tarts and cakes and little French patisserie-type delights. I put it into practice as often as I can. I'm good like that. Dedicated.

And for shame...until today I have never made choux pastry, much less a profiterole.  And until today I didn't realise how bloody easy it is to do! By far the easiest type of pastry I've ever made. There was a bit of beating involved at the start, which was a nice change from all that 'don't overwork it' stuff required with shortcrust pastry. And once baked, the little puffs puffed up beautifully, even sounding hollow once tapped, just as the recipe demanded. They were deliciously moist and chewy to eat. But of course, a plain choux puff is not the most exciting thing, so what was needed was a batch of creme patissiere (or custard, for us simple folk) and some melted chocolate for dipping.

Et voila - filled profiteroles. Someone stop me, please, or there might just be a croquembouche on my kitchen bench by tomorrow morning!

Something just for me...

Try something new - Kate
What a wonderful task! My mind delights in the fantasy of all the new things I could do; go to New York, eat out at Quay restaurant, dance until the sun comes up at an exotic beach party, run naked into the water in a secluded waterfall...
My something new is simple, and new... enough...
It has been 15 months since I had my hair dyed. The regrowth is so bad that it is now only on the TIPS at the END of my Heidi Klum bob and the grey in my hair certainly "catches the light" and then some!
TOMORROW AT 8.30am, I will become a NEW WOMAN!
I am so excited it hurts...
Someone told me when you have a baby you should imagine you have 12 eggs to spread over three baskets. The baskets represent your relationship with your baby, your relationship with your husband and your relationship with yourself. When the baby is born naturally all 12 eggs are in the baby basket. Then gradually, gently and with love and time...the eggs should be redistributed over the three baskets.
My egg basket has been a little too empty for a while. But I have started meditating, going out for little adventures without my gorgeous Hannah and now the BIG ONE....
The hair colour adventure.
It will involve coffee, trashy magazines, even more pointless conversation about the trashy magazines...and not one mention of poo, breasts, sleep or solids.
My something new is something just for me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Key Lime Divine ..

try something new - Aimee

OK a few new things attempted on the weekend. Firstly entertaining at home with 2 children! I haven't done it that often, mostly because of the concern of getting number 1 to bed and being able to attend to conversation, drinks, dinner, breastfeeding etc etc

But we had a BBQ on the weekend with 2 families of friends, a whole handful of little boys, candles, torches on the trampoline, a stack of new recipes and an esky full of booze (in Asia eskys are the size of Barbie's bathtub). Sounds like it went off a treat doesnt it.....

Well it did, but this picture is of my Key Lime it turns out a lovely metaphor.

I have to admit I am a little shaky on it, I was a bit frazzled watching Hugo begin a few mellays on the trampoline, all the while holding down meaningful conversation, getting kids fed and finally settled for the adults to dine..........husband emerges whilst I am squeezing in a breastfeed and nappy change between cheese plates, to announce "No GAS" in my mind I am screaming "I WILL GIVE YOU NO GAS" but I overcame it to get all the stuff on the grill on the stove.

Finally we eat, and kids are fighting over torches, oh god did Hugo start it, quick find more torch thingos, find a DVD they are interested in. Find the pie, my new thing, and in my trip from the kitchen to the table with Key Lime, I know deep down the Martha Stewart Donna Hay Jamie Oliver in me is being blended by the spinning buzz lightyear which seems to be my brain.

So in our gourmet times of 'culinary bestestness', I have resigned to fight it a little. There is grace in the humble sausage and tearing open a bag of rolls at the table. Bring back the Neapolitan ice-cream and a bit of ice magic, and with it my brain might re-emerge....then perhaps I can chat and chuckle about the wide world and the tiny world around us as easily as my folks did with a houseful of friends, kids, dogs and guinea pigs. It doesn't matter what we eat just as long as it is done with friends. And thankfully I feasted with good friends on the weekend who all seemed to enjoy the BBQless BBQ.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Formal season

Amanda - Try something new

It's formal season in Australia - year 10 and year 12 girls are replacing the stress of study with the stress of trying to find a dress that is different and something no-one else will have. I know this because my blog task of trying something new was shopping with my two future sisters in law for the first time. Not just any shopping day out but a whole afternoon of scouring every nook and cranny in Melbourne for a dress for a year 12 formal that would match the picture Amy had cut out from one of her magazines. It was so much fun! As we stood giggling at some of the options in the change rooms at Myer it dawned on me that this was actually my very first outing to look for a formal dress - growing up in a country town didn't really call for such dedication to finding the right dress. I had it easy. To look different from my colleagues all I had to do was avoid the blue chambray shirt and pearl necklace.

After a coffee to refuel Amy tried on a total of 12 dresses before calling it a day. We had found one or two potential options that needed to be tried on again the following day with a clear head. It was exhausting and exhilarating and so much more than just a shopping trip. My first outing with Amy and Natalie will be the first of many in the years to come and I feel so lucky to be adding two more sisters to the sensational one I already have in Torie. In truth a girl can never have too many sisters! As for Amy its now onto sitting her first HSC exam on Tuesday and another four weeks before she can glam up for the final formal of her school years. She will of course look gorgeous in which ever dress she chooses.

Apologies for the lack of photos - I was banned from taking them by the star of the day - this is the best I could do!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Banjaran puhleaseeee I SAID PLEASE!

Aimee -
We talk about the places we live in currently, but if you could have one day anywhere in the world,
where would you go and how would you spend your hours?

It started with this photo in Time Out Malaysia.

But it got better and better and better.......check out this place and see if you would have trouble filling in 24 hours...........oh and don't forget the winebar in the limestone caves! Oh bum, it's not really for kids............. they wouldnt be able to come................ they would have to stay at home..................without me. Yep, it would just be me and the Banjaran!

I guess Scott could come if he didnt talk too much.

Five Star

Greer - We talk about the places we live in currently, but if you could have one day anywhere in the world, where would you go and how would you spend your hours?

The name of the place is irrelevant, though I'm pretty sure it has to be a city, preferably a big bustling one. I don't care if it's in Australia or overseas, though if I've only got a day, we may as well keep it local. Sydney will do. The time of year doesn't matter, nor does the day of the week. All that matters is that the hotel is five-star, the room is well-appointed, the bed is comfortable, the bath is large and there is room service.

For my one day, anywhere in the world, I'd like it to be quiet, even silent, and I'd like other people to bring me stuff that I need. Dinner. Newspapers. Champagne. A massage, perhaps? One day (and night) within four luxurious walls, a big city pulsing beyond but me with no desire to do anything but sit, knit, read, sleep, eat, drink, watch a few DVDs, eat again, then sleep some more. 

And children aren't welcome.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A day of indulgence at home

AMANDA - We talk about the places we live in currently, but if you could have one day anywhere in the world, where would you go and how would you spend your hours?

I just printed out 999 photos of our past three years of travel through Europe. If office works had let me print more I would have got up to 1057. Tim and I have traveled to so many amazing places in the time that we’ve known each other. We have beautiful memories of drinking Sicilian coffee in the sun, climbing the snow capped Mount Etna, spending Christmas in a bell tower in Belgium, walking till our feet hurt past so many of the London icons and Paris, beautiful magical Paris. There are so many places in the world I would still love to visit but not for a while to come. The place I would love to be for one day anywhere in the world is exactly where I am right now. Sitting at my mum’s kitchen bench in Mornington listening to a mix of chaos inside and the noisy Australian birds outside who are clearly enjoying the first signs of Spring.

Mornington is a special place. Something changes in me as soon as I pass the Frankston, Home of Sandcastles sign on the Nepean Highway. I let go.

My ideal day in Mornington would start with a walk along Mills beach past the coloured bathing boxes and back. Home for breakfast and spoilt with the fresh ciabatta that Basil buys from Frank’s bakery in Main Street. Smeared with full cream butter and some Red Hill jam its one of life’s greatest pleasures.

After breakfast it would be a drive to Tyabb Packing Shed with mum. You need to see this place to believe it. It’s an old apple packing shed filled to the rafters with anything and everything from antiques to junk to treasures. Clothes, crystal, books, posters, jewellery, furniture, linen – everything. I love it.

For lunch I’d head to the Montalto vineyard and indulge in their divine organic produce with friends and family. Post lunch wines on the lawn overlooking the vines followed by a stroll through the sculpture gardens.

It’s hard to add anything other an afternoon nap to make that day any more perfect.

After all the travels and flights my one day anywhere in the world is spent at home – there is simply no where better.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles...

Kate - One day anywhere in the world...
Oh this one is easy...or is it?
When I think of going anywhere in the world for a day my mind returns to the holiday Sam and I took to London, Paris, Venice and Rome two years ago. This was my first trip overseas (not including New Zealand, sorry if this causes offence...). I have to say that staying on the Ile Saint-Louis with Sam, I fell in love again...with him, with Parisians, with Art, with coffee, with shopping, with the Eiffel tower at night...I fell in love with Paris.
I would return to our little bedsit, complete with cheese man and chocolate croissants just downstairs. I recall our delicious coffee shop just on the corner and the red wine and cheese feasts by the Seine each night at sunset... just divine.
My perfect day would start with a chocolate croissant and coffee, then a long walk down the Seine to an Art Gallery. My favourite gallery we would visit would be the Musee-de l'Orangerie to see the eight magnificent Water Lilies by Claude Monet, which on first view brought us both to tears...such beauty and perfection. We would sit quietly for a while, breathing in the water swirls. Then lunch in a little place we stumble over, more Art in the afternoon (Musee Rodin), then shopping back on our little Ile Saint-Louis.
Dinner of cheese, baguette and red wine consumed on the banks on the Seine, then a ice cream dessert from the gelato shop on the corner.
More foie gras on baguette with sweet wine to end a perfect day back in our little apartment. I must add this trip would be all the sweeter by our squealing, squeaking, raspberry blowing Hannah. She would love the sunsets and look with awe at everything...just as she does now in our little Waitara apartment. Sometimes the magic and beauty of Paris can be found in a babies gaze at just about anything!
Ahhh Paris, I love you in the springtime, I love you in the fall, I love you in the summer...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Task # 36

We talk about the places we live in currently, but if you could have one day anywhere in the world, where would you go and how would you spend your hours?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weather Shmeather

How are you taking the change of season in your stride?

What, we've only been back here at Tale of Three for three weeks and we're already talking about the weather? Well, pardon the pun, but Sydney's climate leaves me a little cold. It's all good and well if you live the beach lifestyle, but I prefer my seasons in quadruplicate, and I don't mind if, when they change, they stay changed.

A few weeks ago, it appeared we'd bypassed spring and were already in the midst of a typical Sydney summer. It's the humidity I can't stand (which is why I wouldn't cope living over there with you, Aimee). Sydney just can't seem to do hot, or even warm, without sweat. The summer before last, heavily pregnant with twins, I watched the weather reports obsessively. Anything edging the high 20s was unbearable, and the few days that hit 40 were horrific.

Yet, for all I endure all summer long, we don't even get a decent winter to match it. I'm a knitter, for godsake. I need a climate that requires scarves and wrist-warmers and woolly hats and glorious cowls. I think I wore my boots three times this winter past, and my coat hardly got a look in.

Spring, of course, is lovely, as is autumn. But not as lovely as in the countryside where there are gardens and trees and rolling fields. And how lovely can lovely be when it only lasts three minutes before the onslaught of the awful hot or the mediocre cool?

Get me out of this city, I say, and off somewhere pastoral where there are four distinct seasons that one can plan by, grow by, cook by, knit by and live by.

Monday, October 3, 2011

these boots are made for walking.....

How are you taking the change of season in your stride? Aimee

The same as last year the mid autumn festival (mid sept) brings with it a wind that blows off the relentless, sweltering sauna of Hong Kong's summer. Now I am a sun lover, but the humidity in Asia is ....urgh utterly exhausting. It can be summed up in two words really, ankle sweat, or if you don't know that feeling, then imagine every time you step out of the house you can feel a little river running your boobs. So summer is out of my good books during these years but one of the determining factors is that I am forced to wear SHORTS day in day out for about 5 months. Now in Sydney you can get away with a summer frock, mixed up with some denim and shorts perhaps on weekends, maybe you have one or two pairs. I have about 9 pairs on my rotation, and it kills me every time I succumb to the practicality and pull them on.

Firstly, shorts are designed to draw attention to your bum, so if you are past the cut off (ie 23 years old) and would prefer to steer the attention to other regions of yourself, wearing shorts will do you no favours.

Secondly, seeings I spend so much time pushing strollers up hills, or rescuing someone from ladders at playgrounds, or running after kids that are much faster than me, the casual summer dress is rarely an option. Not forgetting the Hong Kong sand fly sees no barriers with a dress and has often ventured higher than the cloth.

So sadly shorts it is, and I am growing to loath them, I never feel nice, I always feel.........practical.

So with this mid autumn wind, I am celebrating my jeans! Yes thank you, so much more mysterious, and flippant yet full of gusto and passion. I love a pair of jeans.

Ah to be honest, we haven't yet dropped below 28 degrees, but I put on this pair the day after the typhoon this week, and whilst I endured a mild degree of ankle sweat, I pumped out a couple of rounds of hopscotch to celebrate.

This is as close as I can get to getting a photo of the welcome mid-autumn wind...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Task 35 - Always take the weather with you....

How are you taking the change of season in your stride?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Aimee - This is what I do when the kids are asleep!



Two words: pelvic floor.

Jumping for Joy!

Hi there one and all!
Well here is my very first post and how excited am I to have finally got here....a perfect idea to start me off on my first Tale of Three....or so (thanks Aimee!!) contribution let alone my very first posting on a blog of any description!
Firstly I had to work out how to obtain my first google account, sign up for the blog, borrow my cousin's iphone for the photo, learn how to save photos to my computer and now actually learn to post a story and upload a photo all in one week! Wow! Here's to the technologically challenged - well I am in my 40's (does that give me an excuse??? - probably not!)
But on to the task at hand - JUMP!! What better place to jump than outside my beloved yoga school after doing my morning practice!! YEAH!! A great way to start my day and give everyone a look at where I hang out every morning. So here are a couple of yoga school shots....Then I thought it would be fun to jump just next to my new car - just like the Toyota Ads only my car is a Citroen and he's French and his name is Pierre - and he also gives me "Oh what a feeling...." zooming around Brissy in what I feel is luxury after the cars I've driven let alone the all the public transport in the past.
Between Yoga and my car....I am blessed! Two very good reasons to jump! Ruey :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Greer - Tell us about your funniest memory in the theatre?

So perhaps I'm stretching the definition of 'theatre' here, but I know I'm not alone when I say my thespian life began at home, with elaborately staged pantomimes, dance routines and other such extravaganzas. I had a partner in crime, my bestie Wolly, and on our regular weekend sleepovers, the writing and production of some sort of performance for our enduringly patient and supportive mothers was routine. And while we may have approached each show with all the seriousness a pair of red-headed 10-year-olds could muster, in retrospect, these are my funniest theatrical memories.

Usually a dance routine was involved. And I probably don't have to say that costumes and make-up were de rigueur. Rollerskates were ubiquitous - we raced in them, played in them, cooked in them...of course we would co-opt them into our performances, Cecil and Cecily, the rollerskating clowns, being the most memorable.

Another favourite was the Christmas pantomime, with me in Santa attire, complete with cotton wool beard. And then there was the pool spectacular. Wol was lucky enough to have a pool bang-smack in the middle of a nice flat lawn. Imagine the combined dryland/water spectaculars we choreographed there! Synchronised swimming, diving AND poolside dancing.

And while the memories are quite hazy now, I do vaguely recall a performance we put together for the primary school talent quest - me on piano, Wolly singing and...was there dancing? God help us! You'll have to jog my memory, Wol, but I'm certain we approached it with the utmost seriousness.

There have been many theatre experiences since, most amateur, many at university, some even semi-professional (didn't we make about 10 bucks each?) But these were the formative years, when the spirit of performing was moulded and nurtured. Dare I say there is evidence already growing in my four-year-old when she tells me to be quiet, she's singing and I have to listen and not join in. I only hope I can be as patient and encouraging as my mum and Mrs Wolly were.

Though photos of the above abound, I've failed to unearth them. I did, however, find this shot of my first actual stage role - The Balloon Girl in 'Gypsy, performed by the Orange Theatre Company in 1984. I was nine. I was in the opening scene, and stood on the far right of stage in a tutu with balloons pinned to me. On cue, I stepped to the right then ran off the stage, whereupon a crew member popped all of the balloons. I then sat around for two hours waiting for curtain call. Grand beginnings...


Tell us about your funniest memory in the theatre.


The five of us; Greer, Amanda, Kate, Ruani and I embarked on a creative adventure all the way back in 2003 when we wrote and devised and performed an "All Singing, All Stretching" comedy about 3 women in a yoga class. I have such happy memories of this show, strongfriendships, fearsome challenges in a new fringe culture, facing BIG fears (singing) and for the first time really finding a story that seemed to resonate with people. It was a time when lots and lots of people were trying yoga for the first time. Anyway I can talk about Downward Dog for hours, because it was such a fun FUN time in my life. We performed it firstly at Melbourne Fringe and then at Adelaide Fringe Festival, but in between we went to Woodend with it!

A little yoga studio was opening in the tiny beautiful town of Woodend and they wanted to bring our show to town for a special celebration. And the whole town it felt like turned up at the community hall that Saturday afternoon to join us. Here are some pics of us setting up! Real country hall, no lighting or sound, I think we had an electric keyboard, and that classic box pros arch.

Anyway there was a scene in the show that was very funny, it was about that taboo topic.......fanny farts! yep we went there. In fact we sang a song about them. This scene (if I do say so myself) was as shocking as it was hilarious. Such brave crusaders of women's lib we were back in the day. It always managed to break the audience and us up in laughter. But this particular performance I remember the community hall filled with happy Woodenders, were beside themselves, they were laughing so hard, I was clenching my teeth to stop from loosing it. And I remember a man in the aisle, a young trendy melbournite took off his heavy set glasses and was weeping with laughter, he wiped his face as he shook. I felt so happy to have had some part in this collective laughter. That moment, watching that man, was my funniest moment in theatre.

PS Spoutie I tried to upload the dvd but no success - I will retain my technophobe status on this one. I should put the song up, if it I had it handy......anyone??

Bursting with enthusiasm...

Kate-Tell us about your funniest moment in the theatre!
I should say this story is only funny for me in hindsight...but was hilarious at the time for the AUDIENCE!
As an acting student one is always delighted to have a lead role in a production. So when I was cast as Polly Peachum in The Beggars Opera, I was ecstatic! In one particularly dramatic number I had to fall over as I sung a top F. Quite an ask if I do say so...
I was bursting with enthusiasm on opening night and fell with such belief and energy that I somewhat lost my breath...and my top. My corset stayed put but my chest went up with the motion of the fall.
There is no glamorous way to put this...yes you guessed boob popped out.
Needless to say, I "recovered" and continued on without missing a beat. I did hear an audible gasp and giggle from the audience but, as a dedicated acting student, I continued as if this was all part of the show.
Years later on my 21st birthday teddy bear (the one people sign and write lovely and cute messages to you on) I discovered these four simple words; "I saw the nipple".
This rude comment was unsigned and I never did find out who was so bold as to state this fact on my 21st birthday bear. Obviously a titillated audience member!
As a breastfeeding mother, I am now far more casual about the reveal of the nipple/s. And yes, I am quite often "bursting with enthusiasm", nipples out in public, for a far more important reason.
Let's just say... my baby girl Hannah has never complained!
Oh yes...for privacy reasons I decided, definately no photo with this post.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Task 33

Tell us about your funniest memory in the theatre?

Day by day, coffee by coffee...

Kate - Tell us about your local coffee shop, the one you end up at if you have 15 minutes to enjoy a cuppa. Be it glam or otherwise, who grinds your beans?
My Friendly Grocer... is my saviour. Since the birth of my beautiful baby girl Hannah Lorraine on the 26th April this year, I have realised the benefits of having a Friendly Grocer on the corner only 50 meters from your front door. These benefits include: orange chocolate, cake, magnums, baby nappies, vegetable rolls heated in the microwave and, of course... my daily decaf latte.
My Friendly Grocer is not glamorous, and certainly not the "place to be seen". There are no patterns on top of the cappuccinos and the blend of coffee they use is still unknown to me. However this coffee is simply... just perfect. Now let me qualify by suggesting to appreciate this coffee (as I do), to understand its absolute perfection... one must also add a large whack of sleep deprivation to the mix!
Yes, nothing tastes better after only four hours' sleep than a "Friendly Grocer coffee"!
The lovely staff at the Friendly Grocer have all been on our new family's journey with us, day by day, coffee by coffee. They looked at my husband and I with shy smiles as we patted, rocked and sung to our tiny one month old Hannah in her Hug-a-Bub carrier. They smiled as we forgot to pay, tripped over the donut table, stumbled over our order and chatted about something else to do with our baby girl's every move that day. They even smiled and were happy to witness signatures on important (but late) legal documents and they still smiled when we finally (after several months) asked what their names were.
Gradually, day by day, coffee by coffee, our Friendly Grocer has become just that. A fluoro-lit, brick shop with a damn fine take-away coffee... and a lot of heart.
Will Hannah ever remember these walks we take with our coffees in hand? First tucked up in her Baby Bjorn carrier and now in her Bugaboo pram? Often our walks are just Hannah and I alone, but when he can dad is happy to push the pram. Pa and Nana from Canberra have walked the block with a coffee and so has Granny Sue from Brisbane.
You see, we buy the coffees and do the same three blocks with our girl. I see the blossoms grow on the magnolia trees, the elderly man with his little dog who passes each day with a smile, the Chinese couple who are still laying down their driveway, the cheery black dog who greets us each day, the girl who grins at us after school as she cycles around the road on her bike and the lady who waves at us from her wheelchair in the sun across the road.
Hannah and my Friendly Grocer coffee remind me to live in the present, enjoy the ordinary moments in each day and to look out at the world which is so full of life. Even in our three circuits around the block, our little world is so rich.
So thank you my Friendly Grocer. As my little girl grows, my sleep deprivation is becoming a thing of the past.
But your coffee is still... just perfect!

Sweet lovely lovely

Greer - Tell us about your local coffee shop, the one you end up at if you have 15 mins to enjoy a cuppa. Be it glam or otherwise, who grinds your beans?

I love coffee. I LOVE IT. It is one of the pillars of my life, a cornerstone of my day, every day. While I may begin the morning with tea, things don't really get going till the first coffee. And that is usually mid-morning, it is usually a takeaway, and it is always, always, a soy latte. It occurred to me last weekend, returning from a dash up the road for a bottle of milk, a loaf of sourdough and a couple of large takeaways for the hub and I, that good coffee in a cardboard mug grabbed on the run could well be one of the hallmarks of a civilised society. For as long as that warm beverage lasts, things are rosier. Sitting in the cup holder in the car, or on the kitchen bench, or balanced in one hand while pushing a pram, that little disposable cup just makes everything better.

Nonetheless, there are still occasions when I can stop and sit to enjoy my coffee. And if the urge should take me, I have the choice of about half a dozen good cafes within easy walking distance of my front door. Lately, I've been choosing Esther's Table. This lovely corner cafe tucked away on a leafy Annandale street away from the hustle of the main drag has had a few incarnations over the years, but right now it's just right. There are striped awnings, crocheted cushions, metal chairs and a big bowl for dogs. Inside it's kid friendly, but I always sit outside. And the coffee is good, which is really all that matters.

Sorry, Aimee...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Uncle Russ - But what's in a name???

Tell us about your local coffee shop, the one you end up at if you have 15 mins to enjoy a cuppa. Be it glam or otherwise, who grinds your beans?


I love cafes and I love coffee. It’s my vice and I am committed to the addiction. Sydney, New York, LA – I have always chosen my abode for its relativity to my chosen dealer. And I have always loved were I lived because of it. In fact I would go so far as to say I love cafes the way many people love cosy little bars. When I think back of the places I have lived, I think of the local café before I remember the flat. Perhaps the love affair is pretentious but it’s an honest one. That whir of the coffee machine pressing out its creamy espresso ignites all my thoughts and hopes for the day ahead. It is also a joy I share with my husband, we are different creatures on so many levels, but we unite in the face of well ground bean. And Sydneyites (and their Melbourne cousins) are fast becoming the most discerning coffee connoisseurs in all the world. Our expectations of an excellent cup of coffee are high.

So why oh why did I end up in Hong Kong!

I am sorry Honkers but on this occasion you are found sorely lacking. And why should you be any good at coffee, you are a nation with a rich history in tea sipping, trading, healing and then you were colonized by a tea obsessed nation. The odds are steeped against you on this one. And coupled with the monopoly of Starbucks and Pacific coffee, the coffee culture here is anything but organic.

But I live on an expat island and the supply of coffee is shipped in to quench the thirst of the Europeans, Australians and Americans who demand it. But like the fake bricks on the wall of Uncle Russ’s House of coffee (one of two cafes in this community of 15 thousand) the coffee is not produced out of a love affair but rather as a sole trader to a desperate market. Do we look as desperate as the people who fell upon opium traders that built this empire? Perhaps and thus I endure day after day of burnt milky coffee - disclaimer, the Uncle Russ staff are the friendliest bunch ever.

So my current café stands alone at a bus stop and a building site, across the road are huge towers of apartments being built, and a few stray golf carts. Apologies for the photo quality, the phone sweats here too.This site is full of a vision, which will be filled by families like ours, who will bustle in here to escape the sauna outside, they will wince daily at the first sip of the day. But they will continue to come here day in and day out to pay homage to their love affair with the bean. And if I end up here long enough perhaps one day I will succumb to the coconut and green tea smoothie that is this months special promotion. The last bit of ambience I might add, is Phil Collins diamonds on the souls of my shoes, which appears to be the LONGEST song ever made?

If Greer blogs about the Bourke St Bakery right now, I am going to cry.