Thursday, February 28, 2013


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

He : is making the most of short bursts of sunlight amidst a rainy week.

She : is his shadow, and is a little lost now at  kindy. I had not realized how central to her world he was.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Birthday lingering

So, Legoman came through with the best present in the world for my birthday. Despite several of his work colleagues expressing horror that he was getting me a kitchen appliance, he knew that this pistachio beauty was what I had been hankering for. And this wasn't just any birthday. Nope, it was was one of those significant, mid life crisis associated type birthdays. You know the ones.

And goodness , I had no idea how seriously everyone else took these kind of special days. I myself still feel about twenty three, so adding a zero onto a birthday doesn't really make me feel any different but boy was I more than happy to be swept up by the momentum.

When my mum offered to take the kids for a sleepover and all the girls at work were appalled  that I planned to just stay home, the suggestions came thick and fast. So off to a hotel we went. The only other time I have stayed in a hotel in Brisbane was before my wedding twelve years ago, so it was a little bit exciting. And the views from the Sofitel elevator are pretty spectacular.

And it is within walking distance to some shops that I have not seen the inside of since before I became acquainted with maternity undies. Oh Alannah Hill, how I wish I could get a job working in your gorgeous store, to gaze on the glorious wallpaper and access the generous staff discount. Apparently, the store is due for a makeover as this usually happens every seven years but I love this one exactly as it is.

Heavily discounted sale items were purchased. So easy to do when you are shopping on your actual birthday. Without children. It was a milestone moment.

Nothing was purchased in here, but look at those lights. Crystal decanters I think? You really notice the lights everywhere when you are currently in the process of choosing some for your own renovation.

This was all followed up by dinner at a lovely french restaurant, a sleep in until eight am and a hotel buffet breakfast. With only hours to go, there was just one more child free moment to squeeze in. With birthday money to spend too.

Woolloongabba Antique Centre, how I love thee when I can wander your halls, lingering in a way that the mother of small children never, ever lingers anywhere. And when you linger longer, goodies just speak to you.

A beautiful little shelf and an old tin covered in budgies. Happy, happy, happy. And back to my children for marble cake, candles, birthday songs and homemade cards.

While my first two score hasn't turned out quite the way I had expected, it is a good feeling to take a moments pause and appreciate the experiences I have had being married, having two beautiful children and a job that I still find incredibly satisfying. And while I still feel twenty three in my heart, I know in my head that I am wiser, stronger, humbler, less judgemental and better at trusting my intuition than that young whipper snapper. Oh and I have a lot more grey hairs and need one hell of a lot less sleep. My twenty three year old self used to joke that I needed eight hours to function and ten to be a nice person. Now I just accept that being a really nice person may not be possible until the kids leave home.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


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

He : has to include the cat in every important celebration. That look on her face sums up how impressed she was at his request that ALL family members wear a party hat.

She : has to keep up with the boys and preferably beat them too, or else there could be some big tears.

The recent long pause between blog posts was spent celebrating a milestone birthday. Back soon with the details.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A hive of activity

Yep, this week it has been all stations go, go, go over here at Betsy's. We all of a sudden made the horrific and exciting realisation that it is only  a matter of weeks until the renovations start. In response, we have been a precision machine working together to ruthlessly cull the house from top to bottom. I am in charge of ebay for the easily postable and Legoman is heading up the gumtree sales for larger items. After dropping off a huge sack of parcels at the post office, a small reward was in order. Laura Ashley had these lovely hook sets for sale at half price, I think this will be for hanging up aprons in the new pantry.

Legoman has been badgering me to let him cut down this tree every day since his chainsaw arrived. I finally relented and he was a happy, happy man. This tree is right where the new double carport is going. The old carport is going to make way for a new laundry. If you fancy a new old carport, holler, this one is for sale next.

Roboboy was in heaven with all these new opportunities for critter rescue. That would be three praying mantis and one silk worm cocoon all saved from a trip to the dump and re farmed around the garden.

And try  and keep children away from the natural peeling options available with paperbark trees. Poor, poor tree. The end was swift,  even though it looks like the trunk is bleeding. We cannot believe how much more light is coming into our bedroom with this one gone.

In a moment of sleep deprived insanity, Legoman installed a new cat door into a wall that in about seven weeks will be torn down. We have small animal issues over here. If we leave the window open so the cat can get out, we get visitors. And as they raid the cat food, they they never wake me up, only Legoman.

If we shut the house, then the cat has issues and demands to be let out at 4 am. And the sound of her claws on the front door only wakes ME  up. So every night has been an argument over whose turn it is to get up. It is ironic of course that this is when our children are finally both sleeping well at night. I won't show you the bodgy outside bit but this is just a heavenly image for us both. The cat wears a radiofrequency thingy on her collar so the door only opens for her alone.

There has been a small op shop visit of course. With mountains of stuff leaving the house, a few items back in is quite acceptable. Some new additions to my glass collection.

A stationary box full of paper and envelopes for my girl.

And a lovely little table with angled legs. I think it looks like something from the Jetsons. This is the last custard corner in the house and it glows for only a few minutes in the very early morning when the sun is at just the right angle. Every other minute it is there mocking me with the fact that it is not white.

And amidst all the chaos, a bit of birthday party planning. Roboboy wrote me up a suggested schedule for his party. So nice to see that mid way he has thoughtfully  allocated time for " chit chat for the mums" after the hosing on the trampoline and before the sausages.

Back soon to show you a nearly empty granny flat and why renovations in the nineties should have been banned.


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

He : chilling out in his "nest" made of lycra, a good place to unwind from the first two weeks of school.  So far, grade 2 has left him happy and settled, we are all slowly exhaling.

She : Playing "Go Fish" with some new alphabet cards. Breaking into song on finding the Narwhal card. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Italian Stallion or the Aussie Rogue?

image from

So, this is the freestanding oven that I had decided we would get for the new kitchen. Until I discovered that some husbands have opinions about renovations. Stubborn and contrary opinions. It seems that Legoman was not enamoured with the Smeg Italian Stallion. More specifically he had taken umbrage at the teeny knobs, the backplate, the weight of the door and the various crevices in the oven that would make it hard to clean. Myself, I was just smitten with how clean it was, the six burners and  that it was within budget.

He was determined to find an alternative that eradicated all those pesky details. And funnily enough if you stubbornly search, options start to appear. Actually just one option. The competition will henceforth known as the Aussie Rogue.

image from

Yep, it appears us Aussies have come up with a 6 burner freestanding stove with equally huge oven capacity, nicer knobs (apparently), an easy to open door and a crevice free oven cavity. Not to forget pyrolytic liners, a door that does not get hot and a fast heat up time to boot.  I could practically hear Legoman's internal ticks as he went down the list.

Now here is the problem. I am not a snob. I do not need to name drop my Italian Stallion in conversations at the polo club. My main reasons for choosing the Smeg is because it appears to be a reliable brand that has been around for a while and as a bonus I think it is pretty sexy, as stoves go.

Now the Westinghouse certainly ticks alot of boxes, is around the same price with more bang for your buck. But, this is a brand new range of ovens that have only just hit the market in the last two months. So, we would be the guinea pigs testing this new Australian designed and built oven.

Let me illustrate my concerns. These are some top Aussie contributions to the world of innovation.

We have 1. Cask Wine

Not only did we invent the wine cask but we then also felt an overwhelming need to magnify the inherent tackiness and build a giant monumental version on the roadside somewhere.

2. The Splayd

image from

A spectacular amalgamation of a knife, a fork and a spoon. The epitome of modern eating elegance.
(so perfect for shovelling in the two minute noodles in front of the telly)

3. Budgie smugglers aka Speedo swimwear

image from

Sported by our Opposition leader who apparently is not popular with the female voters, cannot think why. Suspect he is probably not popular with the budgies either.

Can you see why I might have reservations with this new Aussie innovation? Even though it can simultaneously cook 72 mini cupcakes. So, I want to put it out there to the rest of blogtopia, would you be a guinea pig for a new Australian designed and made product and risk it being a lemon, or would you stay loyal to a European brand known for making reliable products?

In short, should I be won over by the Aussie Rogue or the Italian Stallion?

To be fair I should add that we did also invent the cochlear implant,  the refrigerator and the pacemaker.

Can I also add, in case there was any doubt, this is not a sponsored post. It should be obvious with a blog as random as mine that this would be improbable. However if Westinghouse or Smeg wish to courier over a new oven, just let my personal assistant know the details as I will be down at the Polo club.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Finally, some kitchen plans

Countless apologies to anyone who started reading this blog two years ago thinking it was going to involve an imminent  renovation. Instead it has drifted into ten thousand other distractions while  the reality of planning and executing a  renovation with small children underfoot sank in.

I would not describe myself as a ditherer.  In fact, given that I grew up hearing my mother's plans for her house rotate through an endless cycle of adding a deck, building under and a yurt for the backyard and none of them eventuated, I am extremely intolerant of plans that never unfold.  (My mum is a Libran if that explains anything). Generally, if I am talking about doing something, then I am probably already doing it or will be staying up until midnight doing it tonight.

So, it is with much mortification that I am finally assembling a post about our new kitchen. Which better be coming soon or I will have to eat my pendant lights with the shame of it all. I do already have the pendant lights, remember, from about nine months ago.

 If you are not remotely interested in renovations, look away now. In fact pop back to this blog in about six months when it is all over because there are going to be a whole  lot  more reno related posts coming.

So, our current kitchen has pretty much no redeeming features. In fact when the kitchen designer asked which features of our current  kitchen that we wanted to retain, there was  a long, long pause and then some snorting I think.  It is small, dark, has pitiful storage, minimal bench space, decrepit appliances that are on their last legs and a view onto the carport gutter.

When we bought Betsy, I was upfront with Legoman. If we bought this house, the kitchen had a lifespan of two more years. Max. Today we are at two years, 6 months and counting. It seems I am either psychic or I have personally willed all the appliances to start failing. I think it took about a year before we were sure about leaving the kitchen in the position it is in currently. And most of this last year to agree on the layout and design. So what are we doing?

The plan is to double the size, add a massive window, remove the carport and throw in some flash new working appliances and an island bench. Here is my dodgy hand drawn version of the floor plan.

One end will look like the top photo, a walk in pantry, a white vj wall and a new fridge. This  exact Fisher and Paykel fridge in fact ( one of the details Legoman and I actually agree on).

So something like this.

Along the back wall will be a massive window above the bench and a concealed rangehood with open shelving on either side.  Much like this, but without the cupboards at either end.

Here is my version of the plan. I am embarrassed to admit how much fun I had drawing in all those teeny tiny pyrex bowls. (Slightly less fun has been had boxing up all my real life pyrex bowls ready for storage).

So, similar to this, but with a window for a splashback,

 and this is the kind of window we are envisioning, (we have found a frameless window that looks like one big panel but opens to allow cross ventilation)

We are planning Dulux vivid white vj walls, carrara marble benches and stainless steel appliances, with a feel much like this,

but with more contemporary tapware (Gessi),

and sink (Oliveri Sonnetto)

We have a kitchen company, an acceptable quote, a rough timeframe but we still need to go and choose a slab of this,

and make one last hotly disputed decision. Back soon with a whole other post on that missing appliance.......

Photo sources 1. Home Beautiful, 2. me 3. I think House and Garden, 4. Home Beautiful, 5. Heather Nette King's blog, 6. Designer Kitchens 7. House Beautiful, 8. Abey 9. Oliveri 10. No idea!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


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

He : amidst the chainsaw destruction, he is responsible for all critter rescue, this cicada was the new friend of the day

She : making friends with Willy the Wombat at our neighbour Wendy's house, her legs seem to have doubled in length recently.