Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Sydney again

We had a quick trip to Sydney again.

This time we all went down as H had an interview for boarding school. It was a rushed trip, but we were lucky that we had a pupil-free day at home on Friday, so at least they didn't miss too much schoolwork.

Took a drive out to Watson's Bay for a look while we were waiting around.

I don't do a lot of city driving and I basically get to the place we stay and use public transport and walk everywhere. I am not a great driver in Sydney, so I have been practising getting around the Eastern Suburbs a bit.

 I find that I can drive across using the Cross City Tunnel, and it is pretty straightforward. But I always end up in the wrong lane coming back, and nearly taken over the harbour bridge when I do.

It must be a Derek Zoolander thing, he can't turn left, and I can't get in the right lane I need!

The Lighthouse at Watson's Bay looking from The Gap

Check this pretty house out!

This one looks out over the ocean at The Gap. Such a beautifully restored home. Some of the houses around there aren't as pretty as this one, but they all have magnificent views!

Oh yes - I'll take it!


The weather in Sydney was stunningly warm and beautiful for July. The day we left it was back to normal wintery temps.

We had one day to ourselves to do something fun for the boys, so down we went to Darling Harbour to find something to do.

Darling Harbour is probably the best place you can go in Sydney with kids. There is plenty of space for them to run around, great playgrounds and nice cafes and restaurants too. It is basically "Our park" when are there due to the close proximity of where we stay.

There is lots of free things to do that won't break the bank, so if you pack a picnic it won't cost you an arm or a leg.

I think N ran up and down into this fountain about a thousand times.

There is a great playground there which is always a hit.

Sometimes it can be pretty busy, so pick a weekday to go.

Someone is pleased about going in the people mover train!

It's an expensive novelty to go on the train, but it is worth it's weight in gold when you have tired little ones who tell you "My legs are broken" when they just can't walk anymore.

We did the Sydney Aquarium this time. Most times we go to Sydney we go and do one museum or we do a big day out like Luna Park. The rest of the time we take the boys ten pin bowling or laser skirmish. They have good stuff like that upstairs in Harbourside.

I love the Aquarium! Have been quite a few times. I went when I was a kid when it was relatively new and the boys have been a couple of times. Little N was pretty excited because he had never been there before and the sharks were top of his list.

The Dugong

Can't get over how much lettuce the dugongs were eating. They hoovered that stuff up all day, We were there for hours and they ate the whole time.

Pretty tropical fish in the Great Barrier Reef exhibition

The scary sharks

Touch pools

The touch pools are pretty good. That corkscrewy seaweedy thing in the bottom right is a shark egg!


The boys called this one the chainsaw fish.



Fish are so relaxing to look at aren't they?

We packed in some fun, some movies and coffee time. And when I am away, I don't cook. So a few nights out for dinner too. No time for shopping though!
Lovely to get away somewhere completely opposite for a change.
Back into real life now with more football, soccer and lots of work waiting for me to get stuck into.
Have you ever been to the Sydney Aquarium,?
Do you like Darling Harbour, or do you think it is too touristy?



Sunday, 14 July 2013

Zumbo goodies

I road tested Adriano Zumbo's macarons the other day. I saw a packet in the supermarket when his range for Greens first came out, so I bought the salted caramel macarons. I put the packet in the pantry and I left it there for a few months. I know macarons can be quite fiddly, so I waited until I had time in the school holidays to give it a go.

They are smaller than the macarons you see in the shops, I don't know something was amiss with my cooking, or they are actually mini-macarons.

As you can see, they turned out alright. I was really quite surprised too, because there are so many variables when making these little treats. You do have to follow the instructions carefully. I am a pretty slap-dash cook, so I watched these babies like a hawk!

I would probably give them a go again, they are something you really have to want to set the time aside for. And you will cry if they are eaten in one fell swoop, because of the many steps involved in the process. I may make them again for a special occasion, and I will do double quantities and have a production line going because they are much smaller than store bought Zumbarons.
Wedgwood Jasper Conran "Chinoiserie" entree plate and espresso mug

Really nice with a cup of Nespresso on/in my favourite china.

In other Zumbo related news.....
Little F and I went to confirmation for the children in his class who were going through the process. We aren't Catholic, but we were there to support the other kids and the non Catholics did some special little jobs for the church service.
F received some rosary beads and a special certificate, He was pretty chuffed!
But he was more excited to play on the play equipment with his friends at his school in the night.
The confirmation celebration cake was made by Adriano since his nephew was one of the candidates for confirmation. So it was pretty exciting!
And there were macarons too!
So much yum!
 It was one of his famous V8 cakes. So many layers of yum!
Gorgeous cake isn't it? And the flower is white chocolate.
The macarons were caramel, raspberry and coconut. And the ones that look like they have crushed nuts on them were actually buttery popcorn flavour.
The popcorn ones were my favourites, they are to die for!
Zumbo is bringing out a new flavour of macaron soon - redskin flavour!
How I know this?
Adriano's dad said he peeled a bucket of redskins while he picked up all the goodies from his shop. Took him a long time too, as we all know how hard redskins are to peel!
I'll finish up this post with some random flowers I found in the old cottage garden. Jonquils must be the toughest bulb in the world to survive 60 years without any care. And they keep popping up every winter!
The pink cyclamen is still going strong.
The red one I bought at the same time a few months ago turned it's toes up and died for no apparent reason. So I need to find another to match this one for the other planter.
You will notice I have put a bloglovin button on my sidebar. This is so you can follow my blog when Google Reader died. I still have Google Reader on Blogger - so I don't know why it hasn't disappeared? Anyway, if you are interested in never missing another post - you can click on that button to see posts as they come in. I like bloglovin because I can find more blogs worth checking out on there. And it is easy to navigate too.
'til next time.....

Where have I been?

I have been taking a break from the blog. Not that I really wanted to, but I haven't been home much to actually blog.

The bookwork called, the accountant wanted end of year stuff, the kids had sport, sport and more sport. And I had a few trips all over the place.

It was lovely to have a few weeks off from the busy term time to just chill. I wish it were longer! We didn't do anything exciting these holidays, but I tried to catch up as much as I could before the rush again. Don't worry, I am still behind - but that is to be expected with the craziness of life with kids on a farm.

Cattle contracts, buying, selling, sorting, mustering has been happening around our traps. Along with renovating, painting, sorting out my pool problems etc.


I probably should add some pics to this post...

Trying my hand at growing a few veggies. I want to put in a veggie garden soon, but for now, I grow things in polystyrene boxes in my greenhouse.

Ear tags all written on and drying out. Ready to mark some cattle.

The show came to town and  scary masks and gun showbags were the order of the day.

Testing out the height of motorbikes on growing boys legs. The 50 is getting too small for H now!

Pony rides for the little fella, he picked this nice little black one.

Scary rides for the big fellas.

Football season is here, this is the Rugby at Moree.

We have been all over the place taking these boys to their rugby carnivals.

We have been playing League as well.

And Soccer.

Tamworth Rugby.

That was a trip and a half! I took the boys to Walgett for Soccer on a Saturday morning. We played three games each boy and then I went to Tamworth via Burren Junction, Wee Waa, Narrabri and Boggagri. We stayed in Tamworth and played three games of Rugby on Sunday (each boy). T'was a long round trip by the time we got home on Sunday night. And about 700kms on the speedo that sporting trip.

We have done Quirindi too, done lots of motels, lots of dinners out and lots of time in the car. It is insane times, but it is family time too. They are little for such a short time, so it feels worthwhile, even when everything is chaotic at the time.

We like to go "camping" which means we light a  fire 50 metres from the house and toast marshmallows in our jarmies. I don't "do" camping, so this is as close as I get to organising a camping trip.

Winter sunsets are magical!

Hungry sheep on the road. Lots of drovers about!

The rodeo came to town
Mechanical bucking bulls are always a hit.

I must confess, I had my doubts as to whether the boys should sit on this bull for a pic. The reason being that my husband's voice in my head was saying over and over again "Never trust a bull - even if they are the quietest bull on earth, hand fed and rared from a bottle".

My heart was in my mouth until they got off.

Yes, he was quiet as a mouse, probably asleep and used to people standing (yes standing) on his back for pictures. But I wonder if there will be a day when he is so sick of it he snaps, and flings someone off!

Bucking bulls in action.

Cowgirls watching the action.

There you go!

A quick catch up to what has been happening in Cattle and Cushions world. I will be blogging a lot more than I have been, that is the plan anyway!

Cheers to more blog posts!