Friday, 28 November 2008


The first, exquisite cherries of the season. Summer is almost here.

I don't think that they are going to last very long.

What is your favourite seasonal fruit?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Illness Update

John Bull, Hospital Nurses Magazine, UK, 1950

Thank you everyone who left a comment with thoughts and prayers for my family's health. We are struggling with a very nasty gastro-intestinal bug that has worked its way through everyone apart from our eldest boy.

It began on Friday, when our littlest boy spent his day complaining of tummy ache and his evening vomiting.

On Sunday my husband and I were both very sick. I was on morning tea duty at church and had fortunately done some baking on Saturday in preparation. B staggered off to church with the food and apologies for my non-attendance while I stayed at home in bed.

By Sunday night our daughter was vomiting, and she lay pale and feverish throughout Monday and Tuesday.

Finally, at 2.30 am this morning we had a knock on our bedroom door from our 5 year old to say that his big brother, our 10 year old, had been sick all over his bed. I was up with him most of the rest of the night.

I am still feeling quite weak and headache-y, however I am grateful to be so much better. Please pray for our eldest boy who has end-of-year exams next week, that he stays well enough to do them.

Now I'd better get back to doing the mountains of laundry that have built up and cleaning the bathrooms. I'll come and visit all your blogs as soon as I possibly can.
Kate xxx

Monday, 24 November 2008

Sick Family

I have been unable to blog over the past few days because of illness in our family. We have been hit with a nasty run of gastro. I will post again as soon as I can.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Perfect Bath

Day at the Spa by Solomon
How I love to take a bath. The soap, the bubbles, the hot, hot water, all speak relaxation to me.

My perfect bath is fragrant, bubbly, and very, very full of almost-too-hot-to-bear water. The perfect accompaniment to the perfect bath is, in my opinion, a really easy-to-read novel, such as a Fannie Flagg. One just has to be careful not to drop it in, especially if it's a library book.

Unfortunately, my city is in drought and long baths are ill-advised. Even showers should be limited to 4 minutes only.

One of these days, I will live somewhere where water is bountiful, and then the bubbles and the hot, hot water will be mine once more.

Some say the only place to eat a mango is in a bath. Cleopatra is said to have bathed in asses' milk.

What is your favourite way to enjoy a bath?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Do You Still Buy Magazines?

Once upon a time I bought magazines fairly often, perhaps one or two each month. My faves were food and lifestyle magazines.

Then I discovered blogging. I found that while I enjoyed looking at the highly stylised versions of people's homes in magazines, I enjoyed looking at bloggers' real homes even more. If I am looking for a recipe and it is not in any of my cookbooks I google it. I do read the celebrity gossip while waiting at the supermarket check out, but I don't buy the magazine.

Our family does have a couple of subscriptions. We have the Weekend Financial Review delivered each Saturday, and the children are members of CSIRO's Double Helix Science Club which includes a subscription to Scientriffic and The Helix. The science club membership was a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law. We also buy the Saturday paper each week, but we don't get the daily papers delivered.

Like many others, I imagine, I have been even less likely to buy magazines since the world financial crisis hit. Aspirational mags with images of perfect homes decorated in all the latest colours do very little for me these days. Like most people we are carefully minimising unnecessary expenditure, and magazines definitely fall in that category.

It seems, though, that luxury magazine sales have been less affected by the financial crisis than mass-market mags. An article published in September in The Australian Newspaper said that:
"Sales of mass-market magazines have been buffeted this year as uncertain economic times caused consumers to cut spending. According to the AC Nielsen confidence survey, 11 per cent of Australians say they have no discretionary money to spend.

Sales of titles appearing monthly or less fell almost 5 per cent in the year to June and weekly titles were 3.4 per cent lower, according to an analysis by NDD Distribution.

Amid the red ink, however, luxury titles escaped largely unscathed. The best performing magazine of the year in percentage terms was de luxe bimonthly home bible Belle, which saw its circulation soar 19 per cent. Other upmarket glossies were also strong, such as Vogue Entertaining + Travel (up 3.6 per cent), Australian Gourmet Traveller (up 4.5 per cent) and Harper's Bazaar (up 5.3 per cent).

The stability of the luxury category tallies with research released this month by Ipsos Mendelsohn on the US magazine market, which found that the reading habits of affluent buyers were untouched by economic factors."

World stock markets have dropped significantly since September and unemployment is rising, so I expect even luxury magazine sales will eventually fall.

So, tell me, do you still buy magazines and newspapers? Or like me, have blogging, the internet and the financial crisis reduced your willingness to pay for your fashion/interiors/recipe hit?

Saturday, 15 November 2008


Jacarandas are the most regal trees,

heralding summer in their purple gowns.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

For the Love of a Pastel Kitchen

I have been having a touch of the pastels lately. Not the blues, the pastels.

It began when I saw this 1950's advertisement for the "Fabulous Foodarama from Kelvinator". New for 1956, it is "More Wonderful, More Glamourous, More Colorful..."

Why, oh why, do modern fridges come only in white or stainless steel? I want a Fabulous Foodorama with a choice of 8 decorator colors too!

When did life become so bland? When did we lose the Fifties' flair for colour in our kitchen appliances?

In our troubled times a spot of color could make all the difference to any domestic goddess's mood, don't you think?

Postscript: I have found original footage of a Foodarama TV commercial, replete with ballerinas. They don't make advertisements (or fridges) like this anymore!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Remembrance Day: Simpson and His Donkey

At 11 minutes past 11 this morning, November 11, we have a minute's silence to think about those who gave their lives for our country.

On my first Remembrance Day in Melbourne I was riding on a tram at 11 o'clock. The tram stopped at 11 past 11 and the commuters sat in silence, heads bowed for a minute, as cars whizzed past on each side.

In honour of Remembrance Day, I'd like to share the story of one of Australia's greatest war heroes, John Simpson Kirkpatrick.

Simpson and his donkey

Hero of ANZAC

"Twenty-two years old, English-born and a trade union activist, John Simpson Kirkpatrick was an unlikely figure to become a national hero. Having deserted from the merchant navy in 1910, he tramped around Australia and worked in a variety of jobs. He enlisted in the AIF, expecting this would give him the chance to get back to England; instead, Private Simpson found himself at ANZAC Cove on 25 April 1915, and was killed less than four weeks later.

Simpson would not have made a good peacetime soldier, and he was recklessly independent in war. Instructed to recover and help the wounded he undertook this work enthusiastically. Famously, he used a small donkey to carry men down from the front line, often exposing himself to fire. The bravery of this "man with the donkey" soon became the most prominent symbol of Australian courage and tenacity on Gallipoli.

Although Simpson carried no arms and remains an enigmatic figure, the nature of his sacrifice made a vital contribution to the story of ANZAC."
Lest we forget.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Spring Walk-By, Part Two

It is such a pleasure to walk through the Adelaide streets taking pictures of beautiful and interesting houses to share with you. I had never come across such distinctive stone houses in Sydney or Melbourne, the cities in which I have previously lived. They are as uniquely regional as the famous Queenslanders; timber houses raised up from the ground on stilts and with wide verandahs to keep them cool.

Most of the homes in my Spring Walk-By posts date from the 19th to early 20th centuries, although some are recent replicas of traditional stone houses.

There are many other pretty houses, such as the yellow cottage above with its navy trims and sweet picket fence.

This one is rather bedraggled but I photographed it for its "castle" roof line and turret. Rapunzel in suburbia?

This pointed, red-brick entry is quite distinctive.

Can you imagine sitting on this porch sipping a cool drink? I can.

This 1920's house is currently for sale, so I took the opportunity to have a sticky-beak inside. Gorgeous!

Red roses ...

... and white.

Which is your favourite house from this post and Spring Walk-By, Part One?

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Spring Walk-By, Part One

Smitten with the beautiful stone cottages and bungalows in my new city, in August I showed you the results of a "winter walk-by". The idea of a "walk-by" came from Melissa of The Inspired Room, who often conducts "drive-bys" near her home in America.

However, back in August the branches were bare and the roses were knobbly little pruned bushes. So now I would like to share the results of a "spring walk-by", as the days are longer, the trees are green, and the roses are all a-bloom.

For those familiar with Adelaide, I took these pictures in and around the St Peter's, Joslin, Royston Park and College Park areas. Today's photos are a first instalment. I'll post the remainder over the next day or two.

The pictures above and below are of the same house from different angles. I love the detail around the windows.

Not much house, but an extravagantly beautiful rose bush

Peeking through gates at roses and pretty porches

I hope you enjoyed walking with me!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Real Depression Cooking

“We do not dare to use even a little soap, when it will pay for an extra egg or a few more carrots for our children.”
An unemployed father in Oregon. c. 1930

Have you ever wondered what people really ate during the Great Depression? This series of short clips provides some answers.

Ninety-one year old Clara provides both cooking lessons and anecdotes about her Depression childhood; how they ate pasta with potatoes and one other vegetable almost every night, for example, and how she had to leave high school because there was no money for socks or stockings.

Here are episodes 1, 2 and 3. Fascinating viewing.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Making My Hallway Pretty with Roses

Hallways and other entries to our homes can very easily become cluttered with coats and schoolbags, mail and shopping. However, a pretty or striking entry can make even the humblest home inviting and welcoming.

Inspired by the roses in the leadlight windows by the front door, today I decided to beautify our entry with roses. Decorating and prettying are so much more fun than washing and cleaning, don't you think? And spring is such an easy time of year to decorate; you just go outside and cut something.
(I've gotta do something about that ugly doormat. Yuck.)

My little hall table has rose details.

I selected a rosy candlestick that once belonged to my grandmother.

And a vase filled with roses from the garden.

The little floral needlework picture was sewn by Tracy at Beyond My Picket Fence. Winning it brightened the stressful days just before we heard we were moving to Adelaide. You can see a closer picture of it here.

Spring decorating. Simple.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

An Australian Halloween

My reservations about celebrating Halloween have evaporated. Our first experience of a Halloween party was wonderful.

The party we attended was in a street that once had several American residents. They began a tradition which their neighbours now continue. A week ago everyone in the street received a letter which said:

Friday the 31st October is Halloween.

Groups of children will be visiting houses in the street "trick or treating".

If you would like to take part in the fun, place this notice on your front door or gate so the children know which houses they can visit.

Hope to see you soon.

This letter ensured that residents could choose whether to be involved, and nobody disturbed those who didn't want to participate. Some simply left bowls of lollies on their front porches for visiting children to raid, others came out to distribute them.

Here are some pictures I took along the way. As you can see, our Aussie Halloween wasn't very scary; it's hard to be scared when it's daylight savings and all the gardens are in full spring bloom!

An Aussie Jack O' Lantern made from a good old Aussie Jap pumpkin.

trick or treating

the Grim Reaper a.k.a my 10 year old son

This skull, a table centrepiece, looks like he needs dental work

last of all, my Halloween cupcakes, which went down a treat

Later in the evening, having gorged themselves on lollies, sausages, chips, cupcakes and other goodies, the children watched Harry Potter DVDs. Meanwhile, the adults enjoyed drinks, conversation, and a delicious barbecued kangaroo salad which I am dying to make myself. (I'll share the recipe when I get it and some roo fillets!)