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New Years Fun

New Years Fun

Since having our son, we tend not to do a big New Years Eve celebration.  We find a vantage point in the neighbourhood and see the fireworks the best we can at 9pm, then go home and let the boy fall asleep watching a movie or something… this year it was Mythbusters.

New Years Day is also quiet for us, but we’ll spend it doing something together, and this year we went flying kites.

Flying Kites

Well, the boys flew kites…


I knitted on my Line Break Shawl.


We were lucky to get a public holiday on the Monday after New Years Day this year, and we had a nice sleep in, but decided the afternoon needed to be spent out of the house.  So we trudged along to the Powerhouse Museum.  We knew the Harry Potter exhibit was on, so we were prepared for some extra traffic, but we weren’t prepared for 1/3 of the museum to be taken up by it, and about 1/4 of what was left was under construction.  Then there were the ginormous queues for the exhibit!  Not just outside, either…


We did head in to the exhibit shop, however.  In search of a button, pin or patch to put on my new bag.  NOT A ONE! No “flash” of any description!  There were tees, cloaks, ties, scarves, beanies, stickers, broomsticks, jelly beans, chocolate frogs, Hedwig keychains and bookmarks galore… Rather disappointed.

Also at the museum, is the Love Lace exhibit.  I was very excited about being able to go and see it.  I have to say that overall, I was expecting something else.  Some of the pieces there had me amazed, like this metal chain piece.  I think the definition of the term “lace” was greatly stretched.  The one yarny knitted piece was stunning, but I couldn’t take a photo of it.  Not because I wasn’t allowed to, but the lighting made it too hard with the way it was displayed (too many shadows – you really had to look really closely to see the lace).


I had to take a photo of this cab.. mainly because now I can look at it and fantasise about riding in one. It’s so cool.


At the end of the day, we decided it was time to upgrade our son bag from a backpack.

He had been admiring my husband’s Bag of Holding, and my new bag (both messenger bags), and he decided he wanted a “Bag of Lightning”.  So we were off in search of said bag. But it seemed where our luck had failed on the Harry Potter bling, it was redeemed with finding a cool messenger bag for our boy. It’s about 1/3 the size of mine and polyester instead of canvas.  But it fits his medications, a sandwich and a couple of his smaller toys.  Where he used to palm off his backpack once he got sick of wearing it (or it made his back too hot), he just adores his messenger bag, and thinks it’s fun that he is old enough to have a bag just like his parents.  Now we just need to find a lightning bolt patch or badge for it.

So far, January has been fun, and I look forward to the rest of 2012 being just as wonderful!

Adventures in Boots

Adventures in Boots

Each winter I find myself fretting and wishing I had the pair of perfect boots.  Not since I was 20 have I had a pair of boots that I have just LOVED and worn to bits.  Even then, my feet ended up growing out of them first.  They were black leather, knee high, full lace up with a louis/victorian heel.  I wore them all the time!  They were my perfect boot.

Since then, I have not been able to find anything that compares.  I’ve had Dr Marten boots, which are supremely comfortable but not exactly ‘girly’.  I have cowboy boots, which are great, but don’t necessarily go with everything.  I’ve had cheap “one season only” boots because they were a good cut, but not leather, and I’ve had leather boots that I got at a good price or as part of a deal, but can’t wear for extended periods of time or when I’m walking a lot because of the high heel.

So what do I look for in a boot?  Well I do have a checklist, and if the boot doesn’t fit, I don’t wear it! (awaiting groans of bemusement at the bad pun)

  • Low, substantial heel – I have to be able to wear the boot for more than an hour, so low heels are a must.  The heel must be at least 1″ square, something that won’t have me teetering.
  • Mid-calf length – Too low and they look silly, too high and they won’t go around my rather exaggerated calf.  Mid calf seems to be a good height for me.
  • Leather – Having had synthetic boots and shoes in the past, they just don’t have the lasting power of leather.
  • Lace up – I just prefer it.  I think it has more character than zips.
  • Simple style – A lot of buckles, ruches, straps and ‘hardware’ can age the boot, style wise.
  • Rounded toe – This might seem silly, but pointy toed shoes ANNOY me.  I have a size 8 foot on a 5’2″ (158cm) body, I don’t need an extra 2″ of  apparent foot length.  Squared toes reminds me of “The Witches” by Roald Dahl, and just can’t seem to wear them without giggling.
  • Not ridiculously expensive – I don’t have a great deal of expendable income to toss around on shoes and clothes, as I prefer to spend it on technology and makeup (go figure), and I like to thrift/make/make do/mend as possible.

Not an impossible list… right?  Well, not really.  Most boots I try on tend to fall MAJORLY short of one or more of the points on  my list.  Ones that fit like a dream are too expensive, ones that aren’t are just not comfortable, or just aren’t what I’m looking for.  Happens EVERY year (or whenever I decide I want boots… or shoes for that matter).

This year was no different.  Having a definite idea about what I was willing to compromise on, and what I wasn’t, I set out and tried on at LEAST 12 pair of boots.  Understanding that I automatically discount knee highs and “booties” (really don’t like that name), there really wasn’t a lot left in between.  After 4 hours of disappointment and frustration, I left my boot search to a later date.

The next day I was chatting with a girlfriend online, and we were discussing boots and shoes and a Google search brought up a store that happens to be close by.  Perusing their boot category was not a waste of time at all!  Not only did it look like they had a suitable boot, they were on sale!  After ascertaining they had the right colour and size, I shot over with The Boy and my Mother-in-Law (to get a second opinion).  They colour they were was what they called “Burnished Black”, which basically meant that it looked a little vintage and faded.  To me, they just looked ashy.  So before I wore them, I gave them a good buff up with some black polish and they came up looking black and spiffy, while still retaining a vintage look.

So here they are.  My new boots!  I just love them!

My New Boots

Polly Put the Kettle On, We All Had Tea

Polly Put the Kettle On, We All Had Tea

I think anyone who has spent more than an hour with me will know that I love a good cup of tea.  I mean LOVE a GOOD cup of tea.

From the mid 1990’s we had a Coffee revolution, and everyone was going to cafe’s to sit and chat over a cappuccino or latte.  In 2000 we even got our own chain of StarBucks.  Coffee was the “hot beverage of choice”, it seemed.

Stroop Wafel and TeaBut what about the tea drinkers?  It seemed that we were doomed to over priced hot water with supermarket teabags forever.  Tea simply wasn’t “cool”, or largely seen as the beverage choice of older ladies.

Thankfully there has been a shift in the “Cafe Culture” over the last few years and tea is getting the respect and attention it deserves.  Unfortunately it has given me suppliers for my love of tea ‘accessories’ (it’s only unfortunate as I want to spend lots of money on them).  In all reality one only needs a single pot and cup to enjoy the beverage.  But where is the fun in that?  There are too many gorgeous teapots and FAR too many stunning tea cup sets.  So where is it that I get my stuff?  Apart from scoring amazing vintage finds from op shops or relatives, Tea Cup Maxwell & Williams

Flavoured Tea Picks  – Apple Pie, Blackcurrant, Chai Masala, Cream, Gingerbread, Strawberry Cream, Tea for Sunday

Flavoured Tea Picks – Blue Mountain, Choc Chip Chai, French Earl Grey, China Rose, Creme Brulee

Flavoured Tea Picks – Cafe Latte, Irish Cream, Safari

I don’t have any picks from T-Bar as it’s been 5 years since I was there, and I think their range has changed.

As you go through each companies selection, you may find that there are common flavours between a few of them.  I know that Adore and T2 share some flavours such as French Earl Grey, China Rose and Blue Mountain.

The Tea Centre and T2 have stores and cafe’s (although I prefer to call them Tea Houses) in multiple states and cities.  When I worked in the city, The Tea Centre was a regular lunchtime haunt, and I just love the vibe that the T2 Cafe in both North Ryde and Hornsby have.  The T Bar is a great little place in the middle of Adelaide’s Rundle Mall, my husband and I found it by accident when we were there in 2006.  Adore Tea is a new establishment in Nicholls, ACT, this place blows my mind a little.  They have live music every weekend, tea infused cocktails and great catering.  All four companies do mail order, but only Adore Tea have 2 cup sample satchels so you can really try before you invest.

bluewillowI have my favourite flavours and blends from each of the four companies, but one thing is always true, I like my tea hot, a little sweet and usually with milk.