Yesterday morning: in a field in Wales, palms and face turned to the cushion-y golden warmth of the sun, noticing my yoga breath. The confidently green grass was as springy as a fresh sponge cake.
Same time this morning: right hand clicking through work email. Left hand frantically redialling the Australian High Commission to deal with an expired passport before an imminent family holiday.
I wish I could bottle up just a little wisp of those shiny happy times, to hold under my nose when I’m about to faint with dizziness and busy-ness …
A view enhanced by wet muddy boots.
The weekend that was
I was in Wales for a friend’s birthday. A remote farmhouse stuffed full of alarmingly smart and interesting women. There was also:
- Local bacon so delicious that it could be a ‘gateway drug’ for wavering vegetarians.
- A scramble up a small waterfall. I fell in a stream, filled my shoes with mud and admired the view.
- No WiFi or internet or mobile phone signal. No digital cave to hide in.
- All the cakes. Chocolate, carrot, red velvet. Banoffee pie for breakfast. Giant lebkuchen (German biscuit ) in the shape of a smiling woman.
- A happy mess of heritage, birthplaces, languages, work places and homes.
We don’t have much evidence that this weekend actually took place. No live-tweeting or vlogging or Insta-story. I just have an increased knowledge of precious gems, mindfulness and Dutch snacks; and continuing confusion over Welsh pronunciation.
Happy birthday E, or is that ê?
A global birthday cake. Only slightly offended that Australia got shoved off the side.
Here’s one I wrote earlier
Getting comfortable Daughter: Mum, we’re learning about life cycles at school. Me: OK. What stages are there in a life cycle? Daughter: Birth, growth, reproduction and death. Me: And what stage are you at? …
To all the ladies in the house Mother’s Day had serious expectations heaped upon it, such as handmade cards and someone else replacing the toilet paper for once. International Women’s Day? Just the same old fluff – gender parity, equal opportunities, more women in leadership, less violence blah blah…
A selection of Hong Kong holiday snaps, with side trips off to Chimelong Ocean Kingdom theme park and Macau.
Photos by me and husband. #nofilter, as they say on Instagram. I’m @alifelessdigital if you enjoy that sort of thing.
With thanks to mum and the magnificent Moks for their help and hospitality.
Here’s one I wrote earlier
Alien fruit On holiday, I like to relax. And take pictures of fruit.
The sound of one glove clapping Lost gloves.
Tiny tablets and toys It was a quiet morning at home. I was pondering the largeness of my multivitamin tablet.
Posted in Pictures, Travel
Tagged animals, apartments, china, dolphin, ferry, fish, food, holiday, holidays, hong kong, macau, photos, pictures, signs, slippers, snacks, Travel
Fresh sourdough toast with jam and ricotta has made me ponder moving back to Sydney. A fig Danish pastry has triggered layers of crispy homesickness. A pork and fennel sausage roll has almost brought me to tears.
Love is a fig danish
I have been overloading on gluten and memories at Bourke Street Bakery. I am remembering the loss of these sights and smells and sounds, at the very same time that I am soaking them up. Equal parts happiness (I’m back!) and sadness (I have to leave.)
Daily London life is so solidly full and interesting that I rarely pine for Australia. So after nearly 3 years away, this visit has been surprisingly interrupted by ‘in situ’ homesickness.
I am missing the thing as I experience it. That doesn’t make sense. But a dark chocolate and sour cherry cookie as big as my hand does. In gluten we trust.
Here’s one I wrote earlier
Where do you go when you press Home? Does your life have a ‘Home’ button? I’m back home (Sydney) after a brief visit to London (new home). My old house is empty and my new house is waiting for me.
Posted in About me, Food, Travel
Tagged australia, bakery, Bourke Street, family, home, homesick, London, pastry, Sydney, Travel
I’ve been suffering from an extreme case of blog procrastination. If this blog was a small child, well-meaning strangers would frown at its unsuitable footwear and thin arms.
But hooray! All the planets are aligned, the Interweb is working, and my hands are warm enough to type.
Quite a few people stumble here by searching for Lego. So to feed up my poor malnourished blog, here are some amusing Lego pictures. Does anyone ever get tired of cute Lego? Not me.
Grrrr. No idea what this Lego minifig is. Some poor man trapped in a crocodile suit?
We had a hard time trying to describe what ‘a hippy’ was to the kids.
Proof that I was in New York
I did make an ambitious claim several weeks ago that I would put up some pictures from my NY mini-break. Here they are:
The ancient Chinese culture and traditions on display in Chinatown.
The 9/11 memorial at sunset.
It’s a croissant cat!!
Central Park. It looks fake, doesn’t it? But it really was this pretty…
At The Met I found out that mid-18th century French porcelain could be terrifying.
So, the blog child-beast has been fed. And I can happily procrastinate away for another short while.
Here’s one I wrote earlier
Lego love for all the family. It really really hurts when I step on hard, sharp, pointy bits of Lego. I suffer through strange foot indentations because Lego is wonderful.
Too lazy for words. Greetings from New York. I’ve just popped over for a high-end mini-break with husband.
Posted in Arty & farty, Pictures, Travel
Tagged cat, Central Park, Chinatown, chinese, croissant, elephant, lego, minifigures, New york, photos, pictures, toys, Travel, USA
Greetings from New York. I’ve just popped over for a high-end mini-break with husband.
If I was a proper blogger, I would be photographing my food and posting pictures up with tasting notes. Or reviewing the toenail art of the woman lounging at the bar.
But the good camera is broken and we forgot to unlock our mobile phones, so we are without Wandering Web. We are officially free to just go about tourist-ing without sending out a real-life feed of NY delights.
Use the power of your mind to imagine that the following were posted over the last couple of days:
- The air is so dry, I think my eyeballs are shrinking.
- Seared octopus with Umbrian chickpeas, red onion, pickled currants. (Il Buco).
- Uptown is not necessarily uphill.
- Gold brocade skinny jeans. (Admired, but did not buy).
- Gorging ourselves on back-to-back episodes of The Newsroom.
- 9/11 Memorial was perfect. Black pools of textured water – corrugated, smooth and flowing.
- If I say “Can I eat that here, please?” he will look at me blankly and reply “To go?”
- Oooooh, my bunions are aching.
- $400 is too much for a toy baby standing reindeer. (ABC carpet and home).
This post was the blog equivalent of ‘freshening up’ a stale bread roll in a microwave. A more nutritionally-balanced post will appear when I’m back.
The fastest way to make friends is to have a brief chat, run around a park for a bit, then exchange phone numbers.This method seems to be working quite well for my son.
We’ve been in London for only a few weeks, so we don’t know a lot of people over here. While I wonder how to make connections, my son meets children in the park and asks “Can I come over to your house to play?” Simple, really… I wish I had his confident approach to networking.
I’ve been wondering who ‘my tribe’ here will be:
- Lady of leisure? One day maybe – right now, kids are eating dinner from a small rickety garden table and I’m wrestling with the new art of vacuuming stairs…
- School mum? Not yet – it’s school holidays, and I still haven’t officially heard when the kids start school.
- Art gallery fan? Perhaps, if I was without the children. I took them to the Tate Modern, and all they wanted to do was eat snacks at the cafe. I pretended that the only way to get to the cafe was via some of the exhibition rooms, just so I could trot past a few pictures. (They were asking me why it was taking so long to find the cafe.)
- Aussie expat? Not right now – I’m more interested in becoming a local, rather than celebrating the joys of distant Sydney. Plus, like a new mother, I am getting a LITTLE bit sick of advice from strangers.
- Digital hipster? Not any more – I had lunch in a fashionable cafe in Shoreditch last week, and I felt like Dr Who going back in time, avoiding my past-self. Casually self-important young men glanced at iPads. They wore neatly buttoned checked shirts and not-too-tight plain coloured jeans. Pretty girls in ugly glasses and Scandanavian A-line skirts flicked through magazines and tapped away on iPhones. I knew the 90s music they were playing (My Bloody Valentine; Mazzy Star), and the coffee was good, but I am now a mature-age student at the school of cool.
- Chinese immigrant? hahahaha – I have been struggling to cook edible rice in a pot (I am really missing my rice cooker!) My non-Asian husband does a much better job at it.
Maybe I should browse online for people who will overlap me in a Venn diagram of interests. Meet up instead of just emailing and admiring from a distance. Or maybe I’ll try my son’s approach?
Goodbye from the Orchard Twins
I assembled this card just before I left Sydney, and took a dodgy phone picture. The card is by ‘Art and ghosts‘ and I added the vintage Scrabble tiles.
Posted in About me, Arty & farty, London, Travel
Tagged cafe, friends, gallery, hipster, kids, London, parks, rice, scrabble, Shoreditch, tate modern, tribe
I am not part of the flying sisterhood. As the exhausted, grim-faced mother unbuckled herself and struggled to her feet yet again, I just felt sooooo pleased I wasn’t flying with a baby.
From back here, between my two TV-sedated kids, I saw her reach in to the bassinet. It looked like she was trying to stuff a boiling, seething mass of tiny arms and legs and teddies and dummies and blankets in to a shoe box. A small part of me felt sorry for her. A larger, more smug, part of me was just glad it wasn’t me…
Top tips for enjoyable flying with babies and kids:
– Leave kids behind at airport staring dumbstruck at 1 kg blocks of duty free chocolate.
– Ensure husband’s inflight TV doesn’t work so he has to hold the baby.
– Find all the sick sacks or vomit bags you can as soon as you sit down. Sometimes one is not enough.
– For several years before you fly, strictly control the amount of TV your kids are allowed to watch. Then let them loose on the plane. Yes, you can watch that film 3 times in a row!
– Replace your real baby with a life-like educational doll. Much, much more placid.
– Remember to charge the iPad fully. And stop lecturing your toddler on why they should be gentle with it. If you hand it over, it is possible that they want to bash Dora the Explorer’s head with a fork.
– For girls, try to guess which ridiculous diamond-encrusted watch mummy likes in the airline magazine.
– For boys, try to assess the relative probability of different flying-related risks on each route eg ash clouds, engine failure, computer malfunctions, pilot narcolepsy.
– Have lots of “skin to skin” time with your baby. People won’t make eye contact with you if you’re naked.
– Drop a bag of small sweets on the floor and let the kids eat as many as they can find. Sweets that roll well are more fun.
Does your life have a ‘Home’ button? I’m back home (Sydney) after a brief visit to London (new home). My old house is empty and my new house is waiting for me. I’ve never been very attached to a particular location. Home is wherever I am with my own little family.
Technology is helping to create a homesickness prevention barrier. I’ve made heartfelt promises to email, Skype, tweet and update many many people. And when I have time, I will even put pen to paper.
I am a busy body
The busier I am, the less time I have to tell people how busy I am. Twitter and Facebook are not part of my core communications strategy matrix. (Can you tell I used to work in an agency?)
Some of the things I might have mentioned if I’d been social online in the last weeks:
• Black cabs only take cash? WTF?
• I may have missed the wedding, but I do have a Catherine & William commemorative Oyster card.
• The estate agent looks young enough to be my son. His suit has too many nifty seams to be professional.
• Camden Market is horrible. Too many giant horse-themed sculptures.
• Kids would rather smash gravel with hammers than talk to me on phone.
• Want to take video of the local streets, but worried that I look creepy.
• I got little pile of crisps/ chips with my sandwich! One of the major reasons for moving to the UK…
• Have never asked to move seats on a plane because of another passenger’s smell. Until now. I was very discreet.
• First words from son upon my return: “My snot is the same colour as your top.” I did get a hug after that though.