Friday, July 21, 2017

Aunty's Day, 2017

This Sunday, 23 July is Aunties Day 2017!

It's the day that you all get the chance to tell your Aunty/ Aunties how absolutely AWESOME they are AND how much you LOVE them.  You also get the opportunity to remind them that you wouldn't be the brilliant person you are if it wasn't for them.  If you think I'm exaggerating, think about this...

If it wasn't for your crazy aunty, how would you know that you shouldn't tell your grandma her bum looks big in those jeans?!

If it wasn't for your silly aunty, who would have given you farting slime for Christmas?

If it wasn't for your rich aunty, who would have paid for you to go to soccer camp/ sponsored you in the fun run/ bought all those fundraising chocolates?

If it wasn't for your aunty, your Mum/Dad wouldn't understand that siblings can be really annoying!

If it wasn't for your aunty, you would be stuck with the cranky old lady next door as your babysitter!

If it wasn't for your aunty, your grandma wouldn't know that your favourite colour is no longer blue!

If it wasn't for your aunty, your Mum would probably be sitting in the corner of her bedroom, rocking back and forth, staring.... because she would have no one to remind her that before she had kids she was cool and interesting to other adults and she knows more about the world than her three year old.

If it wasn't for your aunty, your dad would have no idea about daughters!! Like, you think he has no idea now, but he would know even less than nothing about being a girl!

If it wasn't for your aunty, you wouldn't have a fun adult woman in your life with disposable income, a sense of humour and your art framed on her wall.

If it wasn't for your aunty, you wouldn't learn anything about your parents' past life... including when they got a nose ring, crashed a car, dated a bad boy and swore at their parents.

If it wasn't for your aunty, you would have nothing to do this Sunday!!

Go on, tell that wonderful woman that your life would be a whole lot less fun without her!

If you want more info about Aunties Day 2017, check out the article on Savvy Auntie

If you want to read more about being an Awesome Aunty, check this out.

Happy Aunties' Day!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Text Messages from my Mum

My mum is at church this morning.  I'm not because I hurt my back earlier this week.  She is one of the Sunday School leaders.  She just sent me these texts... my responses are there too. 

You would totally trust these people with your children, right?!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Lastest of the Cards

I have been busy!  Nanny was here and we were busy having fun.  Putt Putt, Cat Café, High Tea and sleepovers have been keeping us moving all the time.  I accidentally went to my specialist appointment two days early, so that ended in a busy day for no good reason.   I spent some time catching up with friends from school too.  I have been making cards and learning new techniques.  One of my aunties from interstate came to visit and shared her love of card crafting with me.  That was fun.

Here are a few photos of the latest cards I have made.

Created for a good friend of mine who is expecting a baby.
I tried a new distressing/ inking technique on the big hexagon.
I can't get through any month of the year without making at least one birthday card! One of these was for my nephew who LOVES pigs.  The other was made for my cousin who LOVES to Soccer. 

I call this Pigs in Mud!

I love my hexagon nested dies. This is the second
soccer card I have created this year!

As I was on holidays, I decided to get ahead with a series of Thank you cards.  Teacher Aide Appreciation Day is sometime soon and I want to be prepared for it.  I used a similar style as a series of cards I created in January.  Click here to see them

Inspired by this

I love the "messier" look of these cards.
The shadow is created simply by cutting the words
in both white and black card then gluing off centre.
Die cut machines make this really simple!
I bought some new crafting tools online the last few weeks.  A beautiful cat silhouette set of dies finally arrived and I made this card, just so I could play with them!

I added a sentiment in the top corner but didn't
photograph it before sealing the envelope to post it!
Silly me!
That's that then.
I would love to hear from you.  Do you have a craft that you like to do when you have time?  What is your favourite type of craft? If it's not craft, what else do you do when you have the free time?

Off I go, Lots to do!

Thursday, July 6, 2017


I threw an Art Party for my niece who turned 5 and while it certainly wasn't perfect... It was pretty close.  The birthday girl told me later that she had lots of fun and with no prompting from her parents she thanked me for her present!  She is growing up so quickly, my little artist. 

After my epic sunburn at the last outdoor party, we decided to use some portable shade covers in the yard.  It was a pain to get them erected, but it was totally worth it! I didn't even get a tan this time around.  It probably helped that it was a cloudy day, but I'm sure the shelters were a big part of it.  When you live in Australia, you can still get sunburnt on a cloudy day!

As the party was all about Art (the birthday girl LOVES painting and being creative), I went with "rainbow" for the colour palette.  This was easy and tricky all at the same time.  Have you ever tried to find a bright orange tablecloth when pastel patterns are all the rage for party themes?  Thankfully, it was easier to find all the streamers I needed.  The balloons didn't do so well in the weather either, but at the end of the day it didn't matter. 


I kept it as simple as possible (when you have a 5 year old it's more about the games and the presents).  Balloons were hung along the fence at the front of the house (rainbow of colours of course) to make it obvious where the party was going on.  When guests entered the gate they were greeted with a whiteboard resting on an easel that said "Happy Birthday" then they could go to various activity stations. 

The yard had a range of stations set out for guests to enjoy and each had a decorated sign with a cute theme name.  This allowed for about an hour of Free Play Fun.

Face Paint Parlour (obvious): check out some of our sample pictures for the kids to choose from.
Circle of Flowers
This rainbow was created with a rainbow split cake.
I seriously recommend you purchase one!

Selfie Stop (photo booth): one of our good friends is studying to be a photographer, so she brought her fancy camera and took some great photos of the kids.  The back drop was a simple curtain of coloured tablecloths.  I bought two black cardboard frames for the kids to hold up and stuck some rainbow pom poms (that I made) on the corners. I also had some glitter covered hats leis as extra props. 
This is the Pin that inspired the Photobooth I created. 

Colour My World (colouring in): I printed free colouring pages from the internet including Barbie and rainbows.
Sculpture Street  (playdough and found objects): I made three batches of this playdough recipe and divided into approximately equal portions to add colouring.  This way we had a rainbow of colours, without having too much playdough!

Click for the recipe.  I used the no-cook option.

Bubble Station (obvious): I bought bubble tubes from Kmart for $1 and taped the to the poles on the shelters that we had erected.  Grandmas helped the little ones with dipping wands into the tubes. This was inspired by this pin, pictured and linked below. 
Click for Source

Some organised activities included Pin the Ponytail on Barbie (Grandma created the poster and ponytails for this activity) and Pass the Parcel (various rainbow wrapping paper and pink/silver/ glittery paper). 
Pass the Parcel- each layer had a wrapped chocolate or wrapped lollies.
Prize in the middle was a CD case with coloured pencils and a small colouring book. 

That was basically it, for decorations.  I used a silver plastic tablecloth for the cake/gift table. The activity stations were set out on folding tables with a coloured plastic tablecloth (I used random colours so each table was different).  A few dropsheets that we have often laid out when the kids were painting were a great addition as well. 


We started with Free Play and while I planned for only 30 minutes we managed to stretch it to nearly an hour.  That's when everyone enjoyed the activity stations  mentioned above.  This worked very well for ensuring the face painting line was never too long and no one got bored while they waited for their turn.  At least one adult was stationed at each activity to help with materials and make sure none of the children were left looking lost.
When everyone had visited the face paint parlour we had a group shot at the Selfie Stop.  Guests were invited upstairs to enjoy a rainbow of fruit and some fairy bread! While they were eating, some elves (the best face painters ever) packed up the stations and set up the next two activities- Painting and Pin the Ponytail on Barbie.  The birthday girl happens to love Barbie too and originally wanted a Barbie party.  Considering that all her big brothers were attending the party we went with the art theme so everyone could enjoy themselves.  Barbie had to be included though! 
Everyone had fun painting and as they finished Grandma blindfolded them and spun them around to Pin the Ponytail on Barbie.  That was a good laugh.  Everyone trekked back upstairs when they were finished and we awarded prizes (a lucky dip of mini colouring in kits, packets of Smarties/ MnM's and mini watercolour paint palettes) to the top three "pinners" before playing pass the parcel.

We sang Happy Birthday and enjoyed a rainbow layer cake.  Guests were handed a loot bag before they left and the Birthday girl thanked them for coming to her party!  Everyone also got to take home the paintings which were dry just in time. 
Loot Bags were simple brown paper lunch bags. 
They were decorated with colourful washi tape.
Bags included Smarties, small notepads and coloured pencils.

Just a hint: It's very important when having this much activity at a party to have lots of adults on board to help out. The Grandmas were equally good at helping in the kitchen, packing away after an activity finished AND more importantly joining in with the games and fun.  I was so lucky that the BFF came along to help set up AND face paint AND clean up while I was entertaining the kids. She is beginning to become a fixture at the children's birthday parties and they love having her there! They think she's so cool. 

If you are looking for more inspiration and advice for your own Art Party check out my Pinterest Board. 

Ta ta for now!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Playing Catch Up

I know it's late and I know your life didn't end just because my blog post was a bit late.  Considering I haven't updated you on my goals since March (and it's about the half way point) we are checking in today.
This Year, 2017, I will…

Quit… eating because I’m bored, sad, angry, frustrated or confused.

I have been emotional eating the last few weeks.  Now that I'm on holidays I am starting afresh.  So far, so good. 

Eat…   three balanced meals and two snacks at least 6 days a week. 

I need to start fresh for this one too.  I was doing well.  Then, I wasn't. 

Start… exercising for 30 minutes, at least 4 times a week.

More excuses.  I went for a big walk yesterday.  That was good.  I played with a big and happy dog today.  It probably doesn't count.  Trying, trying. 

Visit… family and/or friends once a month.

Totally on track!! Woo Hoo.  This one is harder than you might think.  I find social gatherings daunting.  More than two or three people in a group and I'm done. I can't concentrate.  I feel frumpy and tired and confused.  Managing to consciously make time for connecting with others is tricky sometimes.  I am finding that (for the most part) it's worth the effort. 

Accept… that I cannot fix everything. 

I am going to give it a tick this month. There are things I can fix and I need to take control of those.  The biggest thing for me to remember that I cannot change or "fix" the past.  It doesn't matter what I do or how long I worry, I can't change it.  I have to remember that. 

See…    Melbourne in real life/ Capital Cities.

I went to Adelaide and I saw a bit more of Brisbane (yes, I know I live in Brisbane's suburbs!).  During the holidays, I am getting out and about more so I'm giving this one a tick too!

Learn… at least 12 scripture passages by heart. 

Let's See: Scripture Verses learned so far
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Psalm 23
Psalm 32:7
Colossians 1:11

I'm working on:
Psalm 32:8
Philippians 4:19 I might try to learn a larger passage from Philippians 4, but for now I'm starting with one verse. 

Therefore, I'm on track! I have found a new app to help me with this and it's awesome!

Give… to Christian Missions overseas and in Australia (12 times or once a month).

I have been continuing with my regular sponsorship of a day care centre overseas.  I am saving some money to send to an orphanage in Cambodia where my cousin is the director. 

Be…   Quiet

I have been feeling challenged in this.  I am doing it.  I am.  I need to do it more.  I almost feel like I need more than quiet.  Maybe I need silence?

Grow… spiritually by reading my Bible 5-7 times a week and attending church at least 3 times each month.

I finished the devotional book I was reading and I am now working my way through a section in an Everyday with Jesus for a year book.  Each book is divided into four, twelve week plans.  There is a Bible passage for reading, a short commentary and references for further reading (with questions).  I am finding it very useful and a little challenging.  The books I have are currently out of print, but if you are interested this website publishes a daily devotional by the same author with the same structure. I did quite a bit of research to try and improve and meet this goal.  I think I have gone backwards.  I am continuing to read and pray at least 4 times each week.  Church attendance is on track though. 

Invest… in reaching these goals.

Obviously I'm doing this.. I need to refocus. 


Friday, June 16, 2017

Amidst the Party Planning

I didn't post last week because it was very busy.  Every spare minute was spent on party planning.  There was a lot of stuff that needed to be printed, cut, laminated, folded, rolled, wrapped, packed, stuck and set up.  On Tuesday night, I got a strange message from my aunty asking if we had received a message. 

The short version of the story is ... my Uncle died on Wednesday night.  He was on life support on Tuesday and they turned off the machines on Wednesday. 

I was in shock.  I was sad. I was angry.  I was lost.  I cried.  The funeral was yesterday.  We cried together and we laughed together.  It was nice to remember him. 

There is so much to tell you.  I just have no words.  This time next week, I will have finally finished the semester at school and I will be on holidays.  I hope I will have found my words.  Then, I will tell you about parties and friends and how I have reached some goals and how I haven't reached others. 


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Party Central

This week our house has turned into Party Central.... and I don't mean we are entertaining friends every night, eating party food and getting no sleep.  I mean, we are planning my nephew's 10th birthday party.  He is number 6 and he LOVES Dinosaurs.  He asks lots of questions in an attempt to satisfy his curiosity and has a keen attention to detail.  Which means the Jurassic World party we are putting together has lots of elements which all need to be just so! 

Here's a 6 word story for you... There's a triceratops on my table!

In a few weeks, I will start a Party Central Series where I will give you all the info on the three parties that I have put together this year.  For now, you will have to make do with browsing through my Party Pinterest Boards.  I create a new board for every party that I plan as well as two other general "parties and events" boards where I pin things I like but might not fit with a particular party theme.  My inspiration usually comes from Pinterest... but I have a few go to websites too. 
Art/ Rainbow Party (5yo girl)
Frozen High Tea (10yo girl) - check out the blog posts here
Nerf Party (13 yo boy)
Jurassic World Party (10 yo boy)
Pretty Things for Pretty Parties (every event from Weddings to Birthdays)
Birthday Party: Plan it in a Week! (quick and easy party ideas)

That's all for now.  I'm too busy to write anymore! 

There is so much to do!!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Cards in MAY

It's been a little while since I showed you the cards that I have been making.  In fact, I have a feeling the April Card collection didn't even get published! 

While it is May, some of these cards were probably made in April and a few may even have been made in March.  Check out this Pinterest board to see the cards that inspired me while I planned and created these cards. You can also check out this one for tips and tutorials

First, we have a birthday card for my Niece's 3rd birthday. She LOVES Peter Rabbit. 

I used a window card and two different sized circle punches. 
The rectangles were cut with the Cuttlebug. 

Mothers' Day!!

Check out the lovely cards I made for my Mum, Nan and Grandma.

Obviously, this isn't your conventional Mothers' Day Card. 
But, my mum LOVES animal prints. She specifically likes
leopards, tigers, cheetahs and zebras.  She also loves the colour RED!

Nanny taught me everything she knows about being a Cat Lady!
Shelly loves to help with the cards I make for her. 
This was also made using two different circle punches and a pair of scissors. 
Once I had all the shapes it was a simply matter of layering. 

This one was for Grandma. 
I tried a new hexagon embossing folder!
The border is a striped washi tape by Scotch.
The banners are from Lawn Fawn.
The hexagon border around the flowers was part of a nested die set. 
I also tried a new stamping technique for the flowers. 
Good thing Grandma can't see too well!  ;)

The BFF was running a Mothers' Day stall and she was making cards, gift tags and other bits and pieces for the children to buy for their mothers OR the significant women in their lives.  I made some generic cards that could be given to any adult although they are probably a bit girly.  All but two of them sold.  You can probably guess which ones, although I don't actually know which ones didn't sell because they were donated and will go into the next stall.  Check this out.

Washi tape, Gold ink, Butterfly stamps,
stickers and a few encouraging stamps.  Easy!
These two cards look simple, which is what I love about them.
They actually took a long time. 
They were easy to make, but they took a long time.
I had a flower punch and used a dots embossing folder. 

This card was very easy and quick to make.
Washi tape background.
A circle punched in co-ordinating colours.
A circular stamp. 
It was so easy and quick, I made a few of them.

That's that then.
There are some more birthdays in the family and a few big events coming up that I want to tell you about.  I have some Awesome Aunty Insights to share and if I run out of things to say, Shelly will always be getting up to something! So stay tuned!

Have a great week!

Friday, May 19, 2017

My Last Day in Adelaide (Postcards from Adelaide Airport...)

Day 6, my last day in Adelaide, started early.  I got up and ate what was left of my fresh food from the central markets and packed my suitcase. Checking out of my hotel early meant that I could tick off some of the items on my Adelaide bucket list.

By the way...  My serviced apartment had a luggage storage service, that means you can check out, but leave your luggage with them while you take a last look around (or whatever) and come back to get your luggage when you're done.  When booking your accommodation, this service is usually listed along with the other facilities/ services that they offer. If it's not listed, most would probably be happy to do this for you if you ask.  I was so glad this was available. 

I hopped a bus back to the Central Market and cut through the market to get to Gouger Street and find The Mars Bar.  It's the only LGBT bar in Adelaide.  Due to the early hour, it was closed.  But that was fine, because I just love the name of the place and I wanted a photo outside.  From the outside, it was a bit of a let down.  Something tells me, it is a whole lot different at night. 
Lacey got legless at the Mars Bar!! LOL

As you can see, I snapped a few photos then meandered back towards the Market.  I took a photo of the Chinese restaurant that my Uncle had recommended... it was closed too. I grabbed a hot pastry from one of the lovely bakeries at The Central Markets. 
The Fortune Duck on Gouger St, apparently does huge serves. 
I was a bit reluctant to eat there as I knew I would end up wasting food.

I hopped on a bus back to my hotel, retrieved my luggage and had a good old chat to the concierge (before you get excited, SHE was more of a 20-something kindred spirit, as we bonded over favourite Disney movies and books).  I hopped back on the bus to the airport.  That was sad.

Adelaide Airport does its job well and is a lovely small space, in comparison to Sydney or even Brisbane.  They have a few specialty shops and restaurants.  I stopped by Smiggle to buy some pens on sale.  They have a South Australia Icons store that sells everything from Barossa Valley wine, Beerenberg Jams, Haigh's Chocolates and more.  The selection is small compared to going to the real thing, but would be a perfect place to pick up some last minute souvenirs.  I visited a specialty chocolate shop (I can't remember the name), that is quite popular in Adelaide (not Haigh's), and finally located a chocolate peanut butter truffle.  I have a friend who loves this combination, so I bought one for him.  I also had one last gelato before I boarded the plane.  It was delicious!

The flight home was uneventful.  The family greeted me at home and we had a rather noisy dinner.  Shelly planted herself squarely on my suitcase in a rather obvious protest against my leaving for so long.

Then, that was that. 

Oh Adelaide, How I miss you!

See you all next week.  When I will update you on all the goings on around here, since I arrived home.  Which was almost six weeks ago.  So sad. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Postcards from Adelaide: Day 5


Everyone says that if you are in Adelaide you have to catch the tram to Glenelg.  It turns out, you can catch the bus too.  Glenelg is all about the tourists while Henley Beach is perfect for the "local" experience.  I hopped on a tram at King William Street (at the end of Rundle Mall) and rode all the way to Glenlg.  The trip took about 30 minutes.  The Glenelg tram stop is (literally) on the beach and about a two minute walk from The Beach House. This is like an arcade or beach side carnival.  There is a ferris wheel (although it was out of order when I was there), air hockey, video and arcade games, water tube boats, a café and (the main reason I went), Putt Putt a.k.a. mini-golf. 

I had fun moving through the 18-hole course, although there were several young people playing in their swimwear and that was a sight I didn't need.  If you look beyond the course while moving through it, you can see the beautiful blue water and gorgeous white sand of the Glenelg Beach.  I also had fun taking photos of my mini travel buddies.  Ha ha... he he he!!

You can easily spend a full day in Glenelg with the beach, boardwalk shopping and dining, and special events.  On the holidays they have a moonlight cinema open on the beach.  Purchase a ticket and you can watch a new release laying on your beach towel.  I only spent the morning there as I had more things to do in the city.  By the way, there are mini-golf courses at West Beach, Victor Harbour, Semaphore and Hahndorf.  If I had more time in Adelaide I would have played on all of the courses.  At least I can add them to my list of things to do next time. 

After a game of Putt Putt, I checked out a few shops on the boardwalk before hopping on a bus back to the city centre.  After a light breakfast in my apartment, I had quite a day of dining out.  Considering I hadn't eaten out that much, I decided to check out a few places that I'd heard were worth a visit.  The afternoon was spent just exploring and it was great!  

Adelaide Dining

St Louis Desserts- they have restaurants at Glenelg and in the city.  It was definitely worth a visit.  There was a selection of cakes, slices, gelato and made to order delights such as waffles, fondue, crepes and churros.  I had fun just reading the menu.  The range of hot and cold drinks include the humble cuppa as well as some fancy, sweet creations.  They also serve breakfast.  Check out the website (linked above) for more info.  I had the strawberry Nutella crepe, which was divine!

Peter Rabbit- is a restaurant on Hindley Street. You can visit the real live rabbits in their hutch behind the restaurant, while waiting for your order.  I had poached eggs and bacon on sourdough with avocado, which was delicious.  I would liken the experience to having lunch in Mr McGregor's garden.  The décor suited the theme which was lovely and, perhaps the best review, it was busy.  I loved the comfy couch, books and piano in the corner.  It's worth a visit and is a nice place to catch up with friends or sit alone and enjoy.  The menu included vegan options too!

Hindley St - is another dining hub.  I was told by a friend that I "had to" walk up Hindley St.  They failed to mention that the best experience would be had at night when all the clubs are open.  So, my mid-afternoon walk was exceptionally uneventful, as I walked past dozens of closed bars and night clubs.  I did happen upon a little independent book store and enjoyed reading the titles, old and new, on the shelves.  The store itself was just a wonderful place to be.  I could have spent hours there.  Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the store. 

The Bunker Sports Bar and Grill
After another day of walking far and wide, I was not in the mood for meal preparation, so went to The Bunker, which is the sports bar situated under my apartment building. The restaurant is a big space with lots of booths and dark alcoves.  You can be in the middle of the action or hide in a corner if you like.  Now I can say I have been to a sports bar.  I can't say I will do that again, but the food was yummy!

That was Day 5.  Next week, I will tell you all about my last day in Adelaide. 
Sigh... I miss it.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Postcards from Adelaide: Day 4

Day 4 was Cat Day... it was busy and relaxing.  It was exactly what I wanted and needed.  I was truly content when I finally fell into bed at the end of Day 4.  Sigh, memories of Day 4 will always make me want to return to Adelaide. 

Big Cat Interactive @ the Adelaide Zoo

All the interactive and special experiences at the Adelaide Zoo begin early in the morning, well before the zoo opens.  It was an easy walk and bus ride to the Zoo from my hotel so I was very early! We were met by a volunteer and entered the Zoo using a staff entrance.  The volunteer walked us to the Big Cat Building as she told us about the history of the Zoo and some of the buildings we were walking past. She introduced us to Matt, the Cat Zoo Keeper.  He was a really nice guy who has two cats at home and was happy to spend an hour with some crazy cat ladies. The group was made of myself and a small family (Mum, Dad and 17 year old daughter), and they allow a maximum of 6.  Four was plenty of people, in my opinion. 

We started by meeting the gorgeous tigers and hearing about the breeding program, the daily routine of the tigers and their diet.  The others in our group were able to feed the tigers a treat of lamb leg bone.  We spent about 25 minutes in the tiger building and looking into the main tiger enclosure.  The tigers at the zoo are quite old and no tiger would live so long in the wild. The eldest of the tigers takes a strong pain medication to treat arthritis.  I laughed when I realised it is the same medication I take for my chronic pain.  It was at this time the Zoo keeper revealed he takes the same allergy medication that the Zoo's panda has been prescribed.  Obviously the dose is different. 

Mudjimba, the lion top left, likes to greet keepers and guests by
standing on his hind legs and scraping the bars on the door of his enclosure. 
Top right: the lioness I got to feed. 
Bottom Right and Left: the oldest female tiger living at the zoo.

We moved into the Lions' building, next, where we met Mudjimba - a gorgeous lion, who likes to act tough.  He actually has a lot of ongoing medical conditions, which was sad to hear about.  We also met his girlfriends, a set of lioness twins who were born at another zoo.  They bully Mudjimba quite a bit.  It seems they're very catty!  LOL.  I fed a treat to one of the lionesses.  She was only interested in the food!
Meet Mudjimba.  Isn't he gorgeous.  Those eyes. 

Our volunteer escort accompanied us the whole way and took some lovely photos for me when I was busy (feeding etc).  When we finished with the Zoo keeper and seeing the cats, the volunteer took us to the Zoo Gift shop and we received a FREE water bottle with a small booklet of discount vouchers for the café, gift shops (yes, there are two) and membership.   Then, our tour was over.  I headed off to see a few of the animals - Cyrril the emu and the Meerkats, the pandas, the lemurs and more - before rushing off to Hashtag Meow. 
Cyrril the Emu

Meerkats are so CUTE!

Hashtag Meow - Cat Café

Another easy bus trip and another short walk got me to Hashtag Meow (click here for more info).  It's the only cat café in Adelaide and has been open since December 2016.  They already have 21 cats in residence and I wouldn't be surprised if they continue to grow.  All the cats have been rescued from homes where they were no longer wanted or the street after being abandoned.  Most of the cats are pure bred and absolutely gorgeous.  The owner/ manager, Amelia, is a lovely young lady and she welcomes all her guests with a smile.  She is happy to chat or leave you alone to relax in the company of the cats. She told me about all the cats and listened to my stories about Shelly and my holiday.  Most of the cats were happy to join in a game or curl up beside you for a pat or a neck scratch.  As it was a fairly quiet day (mid-week afternoon), Amelia let me stay a little longer than my allotted hour (for no extra charge) and it was really hard to leave.  I felt so at home there. 

I took dozens of photos of the cats at Hashtag Meow.  These are just a few of them. 
I loved the kitty scratching train. The kitties loved playing on it and sleeping in it too!

The State Library of South Australia

The Mortlock Wing

The almost puurrfect day (see what I did there?!), was wrapped up with a visit to the Mortlock Wing of the State Library of South Australia. They had an exhibition of the History of Toys and Play, which was just lovely. They had toys, games, books belonging to prominent Australian families (historically).  They also had letters and diary entries of the children and adults who had owned the toys.  It was beautiful. They had some interactive exhibits for kids to enjoy as well and a guest book.  The whole thing probably only took about 40 minutes to explore but it brought back some truly fond memories for me. 

There is little I can say about the Mortlock Wing - because if I start, I won't stop! - except that it is the original building that housed the State Library Collection.  The architecture is beautiful and it now houses the original 'general collection'. The books are very old!  University students sit among the old books with their laptops and ipads.  Anyone can wander in and take a book from the shelves to read or simply smell.  It's beautiful!! I didn't get to the library until after 3pm but at 4:45pm, the security guard had to come find me and tell me it was time to go.  I could have spent another two hours there, at least.  Oh, what am I saying? I could have easily spent another day there! 
Photo from the second balcony of the Mortlock Wing.

That's one world class library ticked off my bucket list, just another hundred or so to go. 

It wasn't until this particular day that I realised how close my apartment was to the Cultural Precinct including the Library, the Art Gallery and the Museum.  It was not just Walking Distance!  It was a short walk!! Thank goodness for that, because my feet were very sore by the time I found the exit to the library. 

That was that, I meandered back to my apartment and had fruit and cheese for dinner. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Postcards from Adeliade: Day 3

I didn't achieve much on this particular day.  Perhaps it was because Tuesday was so eventful.  Perhaps it was that I finally realised I was on holidays and I was tired from real life.  Perhaps it was something I ate or something I dreamt.  Perhaps it was none of those things.  Surprisingly, Day 3 was still eventful.  The morning flew by as I prepared breakfast and did some reading about Adelaide.  Read on to find out about the second time I got lost in Adelaide. 

Day 3: The Free City Loop Bus

At around 1pm, I ventured out to the mall again and found the bus stop for the Free Loop Bus.  Adelaide has a City Connector Free Loop Service it has an clockwise and anticlockwise timetable.  Then there is an Inner City loop and a North Adelaide/ City loop.  It means that if you're willing to walk up to a kilometre you can get to almost anywhere in the city for free.  I decided that considering my slightly fragile state, I would simply ride the bus until I saw something I wanted to look at, then would get off at the next stop. 
There were a few restaurants I wanted to check out on Rundle Street and Ebenezer Place so I hopped off the bus at an Irish Pub on the corner of East Terrace and Rundle Street.  I figured I would make my way back to my apartment on foot and stop at one of the restaurants on my list.  I wandered down the street and found a lovely place called Gelatissimo, there sell a variety of beautiful Gelato and Sorbet.  I was hungry, so I decided to sample their Cookies and Cream flavour as well as the Mint Chocolate Chip. It was sooo yummy.  I had never seen a Gelatissimo store but I have since learned that they are situated in several capital cities so if you click the link above you can work out if there is one near you. 

I was very excited about visiting a restaurant called Blackwood.  The menu is described as Indigenous Fusion.  They use local, organic produce and serve award-winning gourmet meals inspired by traditional Indigenous recipes. The menu is continually evolving as meals are designed based on seasonal changes and the best produce that is available.  I had recorded the address from a dining guide and looked it up on a map.  I set off down the street looking for street numbers.  As you can imagine, only some of them were easy to locate.

I stumbled upon Ebenezer Place, which I had been told was a 'must experience' location so I turned the corner and decided to check it out.  I can see how it might be a lovely place to spend some time with friends and if you like tasting craft beer you might like to check this place out. Personally, I was a little disappointed. If I wasn't looking for somewhere specific, I would have easily found somewhere to eat and spend an hour or two reading, journaling or just people watching.  Early afternoon in the middle of the city, meant it wasn't that busy so not so many people to watch.  Back to my point.  I walked around in circles quite a few times before finding my way back onto Rundle Street.  Before you ask: No, it wasn't a windy little maze filled with little shops and cafes that all look the same.  There was not a real reason for me to get lost, I just did.  I sat for a short while, as my feet were starting to hurt.  After that, I used my phone to get directions to Blackwood from 'my current location'.  That's when I got really lost! There was no way of knowing (on this app) which way was North, which way I should walk or what 'landmarks' to look for.  So, I figured I hadn't seen the restaurant yet so I must not have passed it.  I kept walking towards my hotel and then looked up my phone again.  My new 'current location' was even further away from my 'destination' (Blackwood).  So, I stood on the corner, dumbfounded, staring at my phone.  Then, I looked in different directions up the street, then back at my phone, then back at the street, then my phone. 

I was sore, tired, and gradually feeling worse.  I decided to wander back to the hotel and stop at any café that looked appealing.  Boy, was I happy to get back to my apartment that night.  Thankfully, I found a lovely little Thai Massage Parlour that was literally a few metres from the lobby of my hotel.  I enjoyed that massage. 

Lesson Learned: When you're on vacation and don't feel great-

  • Either go out with a plan that has been organised down to the second and now exactly where you are going, OR don't have a plan at all OR, don't go out.  Do what feels right for you.
  • RELAX. There is nothing you HAVE to DO.
  • LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS and ENJOY whatever comes your way. 
  • Remember that you are on vacation and it's okay to just rest.
  • If you want to go somewhere specific, it's okay to spend money on a taxi (just this once) and enjoy the experience instead of getting yourself in an even bigger mess trying to save a bit of cash. You're on Vacation... you scrimped and saved you deserve this. 

That's that then. 
Next Week.... CAT DAY!! You will love this!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Postcards from Adelaide: Day 2

ay Two was a bit chilly, at a mere 10 degrees Celsius.  I even wore my hoodie for my first outing of the day! I hopped on a bus at about 8:30 am (after a lovely sleep in) and headed toward the Adelaide Central Markets.  I had a light and lovely breakfast, of banana bread and a specialty tea, at the T Bar (located at one end of the market). My minion buddies had great fun hanging out on the tea pot and my mug.  Reading the extensive menu (with more than 150 different types of tea) was a feat in itself, as I sipped my tea.  I could have stayed for much longer surrounded by novelty tea pots and many other tea leave selections that could be sampled or bought.  There was also free taste testing available of slow drip tea and coffee.  Below you can see photos of the novelty tea pots and Lacey enjoying playtime with the minions. 

Me and my Minions had tea at the T Bar

 I only had a few hours so I got moving and headed into the heart of the market.  Food was the main item on sale, but that food included freshly baked specialty breads, nuts (raw and roasted), fresh fruit and vegetables, meat (including kangaroo, crocodile and emu), sausages, sushi, cakes, cheese, crackers and more.  There were several cafes as well as market stalls. I loved looking at the fresh cut flowers.  A pop-up book store selling first edition books, rare books and just plain old books, another second hand book stall and an information desk for those visiting Adelaide. 
The First Editions Pop-Up Book Store and just a few of the first edition books on sale. 

There was a shop selling Himalyan rock salt lamps, purses, jewellery, bags, clothing and homewares that were all handmade.  The owner spends 9 months of the year travelling and buying direct from villagers in developing countries.  The craftsmanship was great to look at and I bought a few coin purses, which I intended to be gifts but I liked them so much I couldn't share.  Naughty.  I took lots of photos of the first edition books and the chocolate/ hand decorated sweets.  I tried some cheese and bought two small wedges that seemed very expensive.  I stocked up on fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, dried fruit and bread.  My haul did a great job of feeding me for lunch, dinner and a breakfast or two for the rest of the week.  I did have to buy more bread at one point, because I ate it all.  Check out these photos.
Fresh cut flowers from Central Market Flowers
Traditional hand painted Easter eggs filled with chocolate praline.

I hurried back from the markets just in time to change into a slightly cooler outfit (the weather had warmed up) and grab a quick bite (a snack bag of nuts, dried fruit and small chocolate Easter eggs) and some cheese on ciabatta toast.  I was scared that I would miss my coach tour that was leaving from a hotel up the street, but thankfully I made it. 

The coach did a circuit of Adelaide while the bus driver shared a few facts about the history of Adelaide and explained some of the monuments, architecture and city planning. Then the coach headed out of the city and toward the Adelaide Hills.  In less than 20 minutes, the road was winding around the edge of Mt Lofty and we were surprised to see the summit car park ahead of us.  We stopped off at the peak of Mt Lofty for about 10 minutes which was just long enough to take a few photos and buy a postcard or two.  Not much time to check out the gift shop, but that was okay. 
Photo I took of the view from the Mt Lofty Summit, the plaque at the look out and,
a sign at the end of the Mt Loftly Walking Trails (It is possible to walk and/ cycle along the trails to the peak).  

Back on the coach and we continued through the Adelaide Hills passing through the small town of Stirling, while our driver told us about the history of the small settlements in the hills including Hahndorf (which means Hahn's town).  It was very interesting and the scenery was amazing.  We arrived in Hahndorf about an hour after we had left the centre of Adelaide.  It was beautiful! The coach drove up the main street and beyond Hahndorf to stop off at the Beerenberg Family Farm Gift Shop.  We had the opportunity to buy freshly picked strawberries (as in the same day), home made strawberry jam, several other jams, sauces and chutneys, scented candles, bath products made from fruit and of course fruit juices and wines.  The bus driver shared his strawberries with me and they were the biggest, sweetest most delicious strawberries I have ever tasted!!! I could have eaten the whole punnet. 
Beerenberg Family Farms Gift Shop and
a Jar of their famous Strawberry Jam!

Nearly everyone bought something and we all piled back on the coach to go to our final destination, Hahndorf Inn. The tour included free beer tasting or afternoon tea (coffee/ tea and cake).  We sat at reserved tables and I joined a group of three older ladies who were friends from a craft group in Cairns (North Queensland).  We had a great chat and compared travel itineraries as we drank tea and ate warm carrot cake with fresh cream.  Then we finally had a decent amount of free time to explore the many stores on the main street and spend more money.  I was a bit disappointed as some of the stores are not open in the afternoons or mid-week.  I really would have liked to visit the puppet shop (from the outside it looked like Gepetto could be working inside with Pinnochio fetching his tools and sweeping up wood shavings).    Of course he wasn't because the Gepetto who lives in Hahndorf actually owns an Italian Restaurant.  Unfortunately that was closed too.  Treats of Hahndorf was open however, and while I was tempted to buy the whole store's fudge supply, I made do with homemade icecream intead! It was divine!! The lady who served me was lovely and was up for a chat. 

My visit to Hahndorf was in the first week of April so the leaves on the red maple trees were beginning to turn from a luscious green to a rich red.  I stood on the street staring at them for quite a while and enjoyed them so much I forgot to take my own picture.  The picture I found on the internet is barely like the real thing, but it will give you an idea. 
Top left: the Hahndorf Inn from the outside. 
Top right: the inside of the Hahndorf Inn.
Bottom left: the main street of Hahndorf at the beginning of autumn. 
Bottom right: outside the store called Treats of Hahndorf where
the homemade ice cream is delicious and sugary treats will tempt you at every turn!

This lovely little village is made for tourists! There are several places to stay overnight including hotels, motor inns and bed and breakfasts.  Next time I go to South Australia I will definitely be planning to spend a night in one of these lovely places so I can soak up more of the mountain air and explore more of the historical and handmade delights Hahndorf has to offer.  There is even a mini-golf course which is so 'mini' I didn't find it until five minutes before I was supposed to be back on the coach.  Insert very sad, disappointed face here! Oh well. 

We enjoyed a leisurely drive back to the city, with a short stop on the side of the highway to see a koala resting in the eucalyptus tree... the trees line the highway and apparently there are times when you can see dozens of koalas at a time.  Clearly they don't come near the road mid-week either.

On reaching my hotel that evening, I was tired!  I prepared a light meal, wrote a post card to Nanny and headed to bed early.

So that's that then.  Day 2 in Adelaide.  Nice.

Next week I will tell you more about the free bus and getting lost in the city.  See you then.