Thursday, 31 January 2013

Peacock Chair

Look what I've just acquired - a groovy Peacock Chair and no, this wasn't a recent purchase or a cheap Op Shop find. It was absolutely, 100% free of charge - courtesy of Brisbane's Kerbside Collection Scheme. These chairs can retail up to $900, so this is definitely a bargain in my book.

I spotted this chair on the side of the road during yesterday's school run and, remarkably, it happens to be in pretty good condition. Amazing what people are willing to part with.

With a coat of white paint and a round seat cushion, I'm sure I'll find a suitable place for it in the new house. Perhaps on the front verandah or in the corner of the main bedroom. And on a sunny day, I just might drag in out into the backyard and place it underneath a shady tree. But until then, it will sit in our basement.

The scroll detail!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The weekend in pictures

As we live beside the river, we had a bird's-eye view of the disaster which unfolded over the Australia Day long weekend. Fortunately the residents of Brisbane came out of this one relatively unscathed.
First the rains came ...

then the river slowly started to rise.

People began moving their possessions to higher ground.

The river at it's peak, engulfing Riverside Drive.
The clean-up remains.
Then Tuesday rolled around, and just like that, the holidays came to an abrupt end. So after a lot of preparation, and thankfully no tears, the kids were ready to start the new school year. Sure is very quiet around here minus two.

After being house bound for the entire weekend, the kids were only too happy to don their new uniforms and head off to school.

Saturday, 26 January 2013


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

Jack:  He still likes to sneak in for an early morning cuddle.
Harry:  Playing his new guitar - we had it specially strung for a lefty.
Charlie:  He has the bluest eyes and the longest eye lashes. I wish I could say he inherited them from me.
Oscar:  His love of music started long before he was born.

A small glimpse of what's been happening at our place on this very wet Australia Day long weekend.

Monday, 21 January 2013

CAUTION: Men at Work

Every so often I come across recipes for toddlers with instructions for cutting up food into "interesting" shapes and turning their meals into some kind of artwork to make them more edible (or something.) I've never bothered with this sort of thing - I'd rather food just look like food.

The other day I left Mark in charge of organising afternoon tea for the boys, which consisted of pieces of fresh fruit. But this wasn't quite what I had in mind:

Saturday, 19 January 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

Harry: Relaxed, or perhaps he's exhausted, from his early morning swim.
Jack: "What?" he turns and says after I call his name to take a photograph. He is hard to capture as he never sits still.
Charlie: Waiting patiently at the table for his breakfast.
Oscar:  Belting out a few tunes on the guitar.

Sheesh, have I got them all? Thank goodness there's only four...

Thursday, 17 January 2013

...."and the little one said"

A number of people are rather surprised to learn that we are building a 3-bedroom house. Sounds small for a family of six, doesn't it? In all honesty, one bedroom would do us for the time being - when morning comes around I often find us all in the same bed anyway. Our sleeping arrangements often form a strong resemblance to a tin of sardines.

For their relatively small size, however, they seem to take up most of the room. But annoying as it can be, I know it won't last forever - I'll miss these cute and cuddly little bodies beside me.  Do your kids like to sneak into bed with you too?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

What I get up to when the kids are asleep

We're nearing the end of the school holidays, and the one thing that has saved my sanity is the quiet time I get when the kids go down for their afternoon nap. BLISS. Luckily for me they still enjoy a midday sleep, particularly when they're worn out from our morning park or swimming sessions.

I don't get a lot of "me" time so I savour each and every minute. This hour or so gives me just enough time to do a quick tidy-up and then I usually do bit of product research, flick through a magazine or practise on my new guitar.

The Society fabric samples arrived in the mail the other day, and I attempted to pick out a favourite for our new bedding. With such a vast and gorgeous range of colours and fabrics, choosing one is going to be difficult.

Today when it came time for a coffee break, I went against the norm and made myself an affogato made with homemade vanilla ice-cream which I made in (you guessed it) the Thermomix. Is there anything this machine can't make?

combined with a blueberry friand and afternoon tea is ready to go
And speaking of colour selection, I still haven't decided what colour to paint the weatherboards on the rear extension. It looks like I'll wait until we get on-site to decide.


or Black?

Sunday, 13 January 2013


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

All: The view from my pillow on any given morning.

I've changed my mind - I'm going to link up with the 52 project. Initially I thought it would be too time consuming getting decent photos of my four boys to post every week, especially with everything else going on this year. But it's the perfect excuse to brush-up on my photography skills.

I'm starting the project with a group shot viewed through blurry eyes at the crack of dawn.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Society Bed Linen

Our current bedding is old and worn and has been drawn all over thanks to the kids, so I'm in the market for a brand new set. I have been quietly coveting the SOCIETY bedding range for some time now - their entire range is so gorgeous it's hard to pick a favourite. SOCIETY, which is an Italian company, have only one representative in Australia and unfortunately for us Queenslander's they are located in Sydney, so it's not that easy to view the range in the flesh.

Nap Rosie Design

I recently made some enquiries about the bedding in the images above,  but unfortunately it's now out of production, so I'm looking at some other designs.

We've taken the duvet off our bed for Summer, and (here's a secret) we're using a spare quilt which belongs to one of the boy's instead. The quilt is from Lakeland Design and although it's a king single it actually fits our QS bed quite nicely and it's the perfect weight for Summer. I guess it will have to do for now.

Lakeland Mini Military Quilt - is it a bit juvenile?

Here are some more images from Society:

Their bedding includes cotton/silk blends and 100% linen. I must have been living under a rock for the past 40 years, but I have never felt or slept on 100% linen sheets. That slightly crumpled look suits me to a T because I don't iron so they are perfect for me. I can tell you, however,  that a pair of 100% linen pillowcases cost around $185. Are linen sheets really worth the extra money?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Healthy Apricot Chicken Recipe

Dinner time is usually witching hour at our place. There are generally four very hungry boys desperate to eat, so to stop them from snacking (and annoying me at the same time) I find myself rushing to get their meal on the table. And when Mark is away on business, it's hard to keep them from being under my feet while I'm doing so.

As most of our meals are made from scratch, I've decided to get more organised in the kitchen. I've been making meals and freezing them for those nights where there is either a) nothing to cook, b) when Mark is away, or c) I couldn't be bothered. I'm hoping this will make my life a little easier.

I recently made this healthy version of Apricot Chicken which was so good that it's sure to be on high rotation over here while apricots are still in season. Apricot nectar, which often contains artificial colours, has been replaced with fresh apricots which I pureed in my Thermomix and I used fresh onions and chicken stock instead of the usual packet of French Onion Soup which is full of additives including MSG.

For anyone interested, here is the recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 brown onions, sliced
500g chicken breast or thigh fillets, cubed
6 apricots, stones removed and pureed
1 cup chicken stock
2 heaped tablespoons of apricot jam
cracked black pepper
coriander or parsley to garnish


  1. Heat pan over medium heat, add olive oil and sauté onions until softened.
  2. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown.
  3. Pour a little stock into the pan to deglaze and give it a good stir.
  4. Pour in the remaining stock, apricot puree, and apricot jam.
  5. Add some freshly ground black pepper and simmer until cooked through and sauce has thickened.
  6. Garnish with coriander and serve with your choice of either mashed potato, rice, pasta, quinoa or couscous and some steamed vegetables.

Oh, and I must thank Caitlin from Mother Down Under for her icy pole recipe - the kids loved them, and they are especially good in this oh so hot weather we're having at the moment.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Starting School and Cooking with Kids

Life as a stay-at-home mum of four can be extremely mundane - the endless cooking, washing, changing nappies, bathing, shopping, helping with homework and ferrying kids around is never ending. Every day is groundhog day and I often get trapped into thinking that this is the only life I will ever have. However every once in a while someone reminds me that this time won't last forever. And I guess they're right.

Ready for Prep

Harry starts school this year, which will leave me with only two at home during the day. He has been wearing his uniform around the house in anticipation of his first day - he's so excited about finally going to school with his big brother.

It still feels like yesterday that he was a baby in my arms.

As a toddler, he was always climbing into things:

And now he has taken an interest in cooking:

In fact all the boys seem to hover around me whenever I'm in the kitchen, so it's fortunate that our new kitchen will be large and offer a good circulation path - there are three access points including one directly to the outside.

Big brother Jack has developed a taste in Asian cuisine:

At 4yrs of age, he was obsessed with Asian noodle soups
It started many years ago, and not much has changed. The other day while we were out shopping, he asked if we could have noodle soup for lunch, so we grabbed all the necessary ingredients and went home to cook up a storm.

As if the soup wasn't enough, he had to make sure he looked the part eating it:

And while we're on the subject of cooking, I recently re-visted that old 80's classic, Apricot Chicken (now that's showing my age) but this time I gave it a twist. There were no packets of French Onion Soup or tins of Apricot Nectar to be seen in this meal. Now that I'm additive alert, I don't use these ingredients any more. The recipe consisted of fresh produce including organic chicken, real onions and sweet, juicy apricots. The result was so good that it got eaten before I got the chance to take a photo, however I'm definitely going to make this again while apricots are still in season. It was absolutely delish! Are there any recipes from the 80's that you still like to cook?

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Rolling Right Along

Well here we are in 2013 - Happy New Year! Hope you all had a nice break.

During most of the past year, we have been patiently waiting to get plans drawn up so we can finally build and move into our home. And now finally after many years of negotiating, we are about to start on the building work.

The past year has probably been the most physically and mentally exhausting year of my life and to be honest, I'm glad that it's over. Luckily enough it seemed to roll by rather quickly.

Raising four boys whilst living in an apartment, certainly took it's toll on me. With no family support there were times I didn't think I could carry on. And to top if off there were a number of holdups with the plans throughout the year. There were times that we seriously looked at other options like buying a house that was already renovated just so we could get out of here. I've been blaming our living arrangements for my stress and anxiety but I can now finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am absolutely certain that once we move into a house with a backyard, life will become much more enjoyable for everyone.

Christmas came and went quite quickly for us. Due to all the stresses throughout the year, we decided to keep things very simple this year and had a beachside holiday - just the six of us. Rather than the usual roast turkey with all the trimmings, lunch consisted of ham, cold seafood and salad - simple!

View from our digs

Passing ship

We were blessed with the most amazing weather, and the kids exhausted themselves each day playing on the beach, which made for heavenly sleeps for all. However, there was still time for being still:

Charlie enjoying a sweet watermelon

So now that I'm rested and rejuvenated, I'm ready to tackle 2013 head-on.