Today I arranged to get away from work early so I could hang with my favourite girl for the afternoon.
To the untrained eye, I was babysitting my niece, so my sister could do some stuff on her own, but really for Miss M and me, it was chance to hang out and have fun.
She’s getting so tall, she’s up to my chest already and shows no signs of slowing down. She’s funny and creative, cheeky and a little bit sneaky, traits I fully endorse.
Being with her makes me happy. It’s not what we do, it’s just being wth her that I like. I liked helping her pack a little bag of textas and paper so that she could draw while I devoured some lunch. I enjoyed walking to the coffee shop around the corner with her, and holding her arm before crossing the street. Playing a guessing game about her friends’ names.
Simple, happy stuff.
She zeroed in on the macarons in the coffee shop cabinet. We practically inhaled them. Yum!
Snakes and ladders. We had to make a die because it wasn’t in the box. I beat her fair and square!
Air hockey on the iPad.
Watching a movie together.
Emmet, you nailed it. Everything is awesome.
What I liked the most about today is that in just being together, she taught me something, and I taught her something.
She taught me that if I want my flowers to look real I should overlap the petals.
I taught her how to play Solitaire and how to draw a cube. It’s all about the three sticks, FYI.
A simple, lovely, heart filler-up of an afternoon.
Today I would like to tell you the story of how I got punched in the arm outside a James Taylor concert.
I have these wonderful friends, Bron and Craig. You know those friends that you just love – you may not see them all the time, they’re busy with their tribe of awesomely boisterous boys… those people you met way back when and just formed a love connection with… the ones that seem to truly get you and you them? You go over for pancakes and you’re still there four hours later… friends who truly listen, who encourage and believe in you…. I hope you can see your Craig and Bron in your mind’s eye.
I’ve know C & B for, gosh, decades now I guess. I actually went to high school with Craig, though he wasn’t in my year.
This story revolves around these two awesome people… we’ll get to the James Taylor bit in good time.
Let me set the scene – it’s late 2002 and I hear that JT (that’s what the fans call the ORIGINAL JT, Mr James Taylor) is touring our fair nation in February 2003. As soon as I see the ad in the paper, I tell Craig that the T-Man is coming to town. He’s pumped, and unbeknownst to me, begins to hatch a cunning plan.
A few months later, Craig calls me up and tells me that he has tickets to the concert, and I think ‘oh how lovely, a date night for Craig and Bron’, but lo and behold Craig has actually forked out for THREE tickets and tells me that they want to take me – just because, as a gift…. I told you they were quality people. Gob. Smacked. Such kindness.
There’s a catch. Craig wants to surprise Bron with the tickets, so I’m sworn to secrecy. A few months go past, and Bron begins to see more advertising for the shows, tensions rise, and I’m astounded at Craig’s ability to keep a secret from his wife without actually telling porky-pies to her.
Craig and I – the brains trust of this whole operation – concoct this fantastic ruse to get Bron into the city on the night of the concert. At the time, I had this boyfriend (the stories I could tell…) and as Craig and Bron are my super special buddies that have yet to meet him, we decide to meet for dinner at a favourite cafe by the river. But, gosh darn it if the boyfriend and I don’t have to rush off to some invented appointment, so it will have to just be an early dinner and maybe a stroll by the river for C & B. (Insert your best machiavellian. evil laugh here……)
We enjoyed dinner, they met the boyfriend, and Bron and I mourned that we weren’t seeing JT that night. I gave an Oscar worthy performance.
And just then, when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for Craig – who was kind of in the doghouse for not getting tickets before the shows sold out – the mastermind of torment (loving torment) that he is, he actually presented Bron with fake tickets to a JT-tribute concert at a dodgy suburban hotel – oh my goodness, that was a BOLD move…. she was not happy Jan!!**
The boyfriend and I made our excuses after dinner… oh what a shame we’ve got to get to this meeting, so lovely to meet you, sorry to rush off… then raced around to the Arts Centre, where the boyfriend dropped me off and I took up my pre-determined position, milling casually in the crowd. Craig somehow convinced Bron to go for a stroll, right past the concert they weren’t attending, and when Bron locked eyes on me out the front, she rushed up and punched me in the arm!
It was one of the best ruses I’ve ever been part of. Ever. And with the best people.
Once Bron got over the shock, she was ecstatic about what lay ahead… and she wasn’t the only one.
I mean, what kind of awesome friends include you on a really special night like that, just because they love you? Sheesh, I don’t know how I got so lucky in the friendship stakes, and if they’d never taken me to a concert, it would make zero difference to my love for them, but wow, what a special, meaningful gift. We are BIG JT fans and they knew I’d love being there, just as much as they would. (Hey there Craig, hey Bron – I hope you read this – all these years later, again I want to say thank you. Thank you so much.)
The concert was AMAZING. We was utterly transfixed by everything Mr Taylor sang, said and played. The band was sensational, and I was blown away by JT’s long time back-up singer Mr Arnold McCuller. Wow, what a voice that man possesses! I’d go to an Arnold show anywhere, anytime. Incredible. I can still see us in the darkened concert hall… and hear the music. So special.
We had a fantastic night.
Isn’t it lovely to think back sometimes, and remember great nights spent with friends?
There are a lot of memes out there that seem to equate looking back with falling into a pit of depression over the shit in the rear-vision mirror, and I call bullshit on those. Utter bullshit. My life, and I hope your life, in retrospect, has highs and lows, and to not reminisce or look back on precious nights like this one… well that would be just awful.
Dig out a ‘Craig & Bron’ memory, share it with someone, leave it in the comments here… maybe you were the Craig or the Bron, or maybe you were the super lucky pal who got to go along for the ride.
Either way, there’s one thing I will always, always remember about that night….
Take it away James, you gorgeous man. (By the way, that’s Arnold over JT’s shoulder, in the red, with fellow vocal powerhouse David Lesley by his side.)
I’d love to hear your very own C&B stories.
Or your memories of James Taylor concerts.
How sweet it was, and is….
** Any references to levels of crankiness etc are my recollections of an event that happened over 10 years ago, written with love and respect for C&B. If the roles had been reversed, Craig would have been just as happy that his wife had bought 3 tickets, as Bron was (after the shock wore off).
Here’s how to enjoy a public holiday, Annette style.
Be greeted by the sight of hilarious bed hair upon sliding the ensuite door open.
Laugh at yourself.
Take a photo of your crazy Last of the Mohicans meets Flock of Seagulls do.
Brush your teeth. Wink and smile.
Watch an episode of The Newsroom.
Check what’s happening in social media land – like some stuff on Instagram, read some blog posts.
Enjoy the sunshine streaming through the window.
Make a cup of coffee.
Slather some crumpets with peanut butter. Demolish, with coffee.
Send an email to the person your Facebook friend just told you is running an art class tomorrow night.
Have a shower. Brush your teeth again.
Go and meet a friend for coffee at a local bakery.
Sit outside, with the breeze on your back and the sky so blue above you.
Feel happy. Be present.
Enjoy your friend’s company. Remember how long you’ve known her, and why you like her so much, as she fills you in on her life.
Wander the grocery section of the bakery with her. Tell her you gave up soft drink more than two months ago. Feel good as she turns and gives you an approving glance.
Hug her goodbye.
Walk back to your car. Notice some pretty flowers. Be a blogger…
Go to Kmart in search of work appropriate shoes/pants/cardigan/skirt.
Marvel at the ineptitude of the girl trying to reverse park into a car space right near the entrance to the shops. (She is still finalising her sixteen-point turn after I wait for someone else to leave their spot, park, lock my car, exchange pleasantries with another driver, and walk by her.)
Despair at the horribly limited choices in the plus size section of this massive store. Zero skirts, one cardigan choice (black) and two or three choices of trousers – again, black. Shrug it off.
Try things on, discard most of them.
Find shoes that seem to actually fit. Huzzah!
Go back for that cardigan, it will be fine as a layering piece.
(Thanks for the shoes and cardigan, job services provider.)
Meander home again, feeling good about seeing your friend and finding some shoes.
Get into fresh pjs. Best.
Paint. Enjoy the way the colours bleed into each other.
Watch the end of that Marilyn Monroe documentary.
Consider what to make for dinner.
Consider going to that art class tomorrow night.
Feel happy and relaxed.
Be grateful for a really laid back, enjoyable day.
Write a blog post.
What do you like to do on public holidays?
Are you a jam-all-the-things-in type or a take-it-easy type?
I was lucky enough to be invited to the Kidspot Voices Of 2014 Gala Awards, which was held at Sketch on Central Pier in Melbourne’s beautiful Docklands precinct.
Melbourne was looking glorious yesterday, we’re having a fabulously warm, sunny weekend.
I confess I am befuddled by Melbourne CBD’s growth in that direction… how can there be more city than there used to be? Sheesh, I feel old! I have childhood memories of going into the city for lunch at the Coles Cafeteria with my grandma, and going to the zoo on a red rattler train. I think I need a good lie down.
Anyway, I digress… nothing new there.
The first thing to do when responding to an invitation to a fancy affair is to find a great +1/date. I signed up my friend Sharon from Sharon’s Bigg Life before I even checked if she was free, and lucky for me, she ‘cleared her schedule for me’ (yes, she actually said that!).
So the day arrived, and I was in a lather – quite literally, I’m blaming menopause for that – as I tried on outfit after outfit yesterday. Wrong skirt, too much leg, not enough something, aarggh! Enough, I said. Just be yourself. After I’d piled up loads of options on my bed, I settled on some great pieces I recently snapped up at ts14plus, and teamed them with my favourite shoes, also from ts14plus. Quite the poster girl, nay brand ambassador, am I! Ha.
Off to Docklands Sharon and I went, and before you knew it, we were swanning past a talking Ford Territory and into the gorgeous event space. And what could be nicer than being greeted by Pip Lincolne? She’s so ace.
Hooray for bubbly on arrival. Name tags secured, we checked out the space.
There were maybe only three or four gents in the room – lucky them – but it was the diversity of lovely lady bloggers that really made me happy. There were tall bloggers and short bloggers, mums, non-mums (what’s the ‘correct’ term for us? Anyone?), professional bloggers, hobbyists, up-and-comers, legends, young bloggers and more *ahem* mature bloggers (I count myself in that demographic), lean bloggers and rounder bloggers (me again), extroverted bloggers who worked the room, and bloggers who you could tell were a bit more introverted (that’s me too).
The buzz in the room was great, phones were out, selfies galore were being taken and the food and wine was going down a treat.
Sharon and I had the pleasure of meeting and befriending the gorgeous Rita, who is a Canadian sweetheart/firecracker who followed true love all the way to Melbourne, via Rome. You can read about that here on Rita’s lovely blog. Hey Rita, great to meet you!
I also got talking to Quett, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Olympus booth at #pbevent earlier in the year, and faster than you could say shutter speed, he whipped out his phone and was showing me his new blog! Hooray, another convert to blogging!
Quett’s blog is called The Subconscious Manscape, and here’s his blog’s first post. I think his blog is super cool. I was telling Sharon (and anyone else who’d listen) that Quett doesn’t have blood coursing through his veins, he’s powered by liquid enthusiasm. I love that! People with light in their eyes and animation in their voices, they’re my kind of peeps (and by the way, those people can be introverts or extroverts, neither has a monopoly on passion).
It was great to meet bloggers who I’ve only communicated online with, I’m looking at you Josefa, to share squeezes and chats with some of the awesome chicks I’ve met at other events, or through Blog With Pip. I even got my smiling face on the KidspotSocial Instagram feed. Woo-hoo!
I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, the venue, the DJ (Stefanovic-esque ‘awards’ music notwithstanding), the awards, the people, and being served by friendly staff, who proffered bottles of lovely libations, and carried tray after tray of delicious morsels my way all night long. That’s the way to this blogger’s heart.
The ultimate highlight of the night was that it was about celebrating blogging in all its forms. I found it so inspiring to be in a room filled with people who share a common passion.That passion, whether we blog about style, motherhood, technology, photography, our lives or love of craft, is to get our words out there into cyberspace, hoping to find people who we can connect with, befriend, learn from, be useful to, share our observations about life with and inform and entertain. That’s the heart of blogging, plain and simple.
Well done Kidspot team! Thank you so, so much. I’m so glad that I got to be there last night.
Tell me a blog you love in the comments (not your own!). Why do you love it? How did you find it? Spill!
I’m trying something new today, in the mode of Beth from BabyMac, Naomi from NaomiLoves, and plenty of others I’m sure, and presenting for your enjoyment a bit of a photographic week in review. (You’ll notice a lack of home styling, roses, amazing camera work and puppies and small children, that’s just the way I roll!)
On Tuesday night I went over to Green Park Dining in Carlton for a bloggers’ meet-up. There are plenty of groups for all kinds of peeps on Facebook, and I’m in a few blogging groups.
The fabulous, wine-loving Nicole from SeekingVictory organised this meet-up, and it was great to see some of my Blog With Pip pals, as well as meet some other local bloggers, and eat, drink and do what bloggers do best, talk, talk, talk! And yes, there were plenty of selfies…. you can check the happy snaps out on Instagram – #melbblogmeet.
I’ve been exploring the cafes around my new workplace, looking for the best coffee and service. I was quite surprised by this sign as I waited for my latte one morning…
I had no idea that Darth Vader was into baked goods! (Squint if you must!)
Yesterday I fulfilled an Instagram wish I posted about seven weeks ago – back then I was daydreaming about having a bit of extra cash and declared that I’d spend it on undies and coathangers. Being on unemployment benefits means there’s often not enough cash left over after rent, food, bills, to buy even simple things like these. (That’s only one of the reasons why I get a bit cranky when people go on about ‘dole bludgers’ – those people have no idea how difficult it is to keep your head above water on less than half the minimum wage!)
Joy is found in small pleasures of life just as much as it is in big things, don’t you think? A great element of this year’s enforced frugality is that I have a renewed appreciation for small things – a ripe avocado, a great cup of coffee, new coat hangers and undies!
Now that some of my days are ‘work days’ and some are ‘days off’ I think I’m going to renew my practice the meditative art of the al fresco latte.
I’m in love with the colours here, the saucer, the table, the crema. Divine! And the sky was so blue on Friday. Lucky, lucky me.
I am a huge fan of photography, and some of the images in this exhibition of Australian feminist photographers are so beautiful and arresting. It was lovely to sit in the quietness of the gallery, just drinking them in.
These are my favourites.
Amazing, don’t you think? The photographer is Anne Ferran and the images were shot in the 1980’s, using Ferran’s daughter and her friends as models.
Something about these images is so enigmatic. These are the first two of five tableau-like scenes entitled Scenes of Death of Nature.
Today I’ve been enjoying a new creative pursuit of mine, painting. I moved my little desk into the window, and enjoyed a few hours lost in colours, water effects and just being in the moment. I’m calling this one Colours No. 1.
So that’s a few of the things I’ve done this week, working, eating and drinking, socialising, painting, appreciating the sunshine and rhythm of my days.
Right off the bat, this is not a sponsored post. This is a post about a lovely lunch date I enjoyed with a friend. I may rave about her cafe… let the reader beware!
Yesterday I got to do one of my favourite things – go on a day trip! Well, it was an overnight trip actually, and stop number 1 was a lunch date with my Blog With Pip pal, Maryke. She and her husband run a fab cafe beside the seaside at Mornington (a gorgeous part of the coastline here in Victoria, Australia) so plans were made to meet there for lunch, and I set off on yet another bloggy blind-date. Exciting!
Now, these days, people often say that unless you ‘Instagram the shit of it’ things haven’t really happened. Well, I was so busy enjoying Maryke’s company that I neglected blogger rule #1 – thou shalt obsessively take selfies. Oops! You’ll see other shots on Instagram, fear not!
Maryke and I bonded during our Blog With Pip days, and since, over our shared love for the Mornington Peninsula, and we have become firm Instagram buddies.
Here’s a little insight into Maryke’s character – earlier in the year, ‘just because’ Maryke decided to send me a bulging care package, which was as much fun to unpack as any gift received on Christmas morning. What a legend! The dukkah (which she made herself!), oh my, so awesome….. and I’m still using the spices regularly. It’s truly a gift that keeps on giving. Oh, see that wee jar of tomato chutney – GAME CHANGER!
By the way, Maryke’s Instagram name is @missmarthamarthamartha and I totally recommend you follow her to see snaps of her lovely beside-the-seaside life, which she shares with her gorgeous boys and her husband Mark.
Mark & Maryke are the kind of people who have hospitality running through their veins, so their cafe by the sea – Lilo Cafe in Mornington – @lilocafe on Instagram – is a welcoming, warm, eclectic, emerald toned, light-filled yet cosy place to stop for a filling breakfast, spend a leisurely hour with a latte and the paper, or meet friends for a delicious lunch with a cheeky glass of wine. If I ever have a glass of one of the Peninsula’s many fine wines with lunch, I’m out & proud, but I know some people like to keep their pre-cocktail hour imbibing on the down-low.
Well, the weather outside was frightful, but the decor and food, delightful.
I have said it before, and I intend to keep on saying it, one of the BEST things about blogging is the connections that you make. Whether that’s through an online course you might do, or a conference you may attend, or a good old Instagram crush, there are LOADS of amazing people out there, and this week I got to meet another one, hug her tight and chat with her over lunch.
I loved meeting Maryke – she was exactly who I thought she’d be from our encounters online. Generous, interesting, creative, down to earth – and we only spent 90 minutes together! And if you think I just got a free lunch and great conversation, you’d be wrong, I came away with fresh eggs, a couple of lemons (she’d seen me bemoaning a lack of lemons on Facebook), another jar of her game-changing RELISH and a gorgeous notebook.
Thank you Maryke!
So, if you’re planning on heading down Mornington way, or even if you’re not, I highly recommend that you stop in at Lilo Cafe – as well as serving excellent food and bevvies, you’re sure to enjoy Maryke’s whimsical, eclectic, upcycled styling of the space. The Lady of the Lilo will watch over you benevolently, reminding you that even if it happens to be pouring with rain, just across the road, the sea awaits.
As the clouds parted and I hugged Maryke goodbye, I felt so grateful for the ways that blogging has brought me out from behind my computer, especially when it lands me in one of my favourite parts of the world.
When was the last time you discovered a new cafe? Or made a new friend?
I’d love it if you’d share your stories, or recommendations for best latte in your ‘hood in the comments.
Tuesdays seem to be my default day for getting out of the house – sometimes I’ve got errands to run, broccoli to buy, letters to post, and sometimes I pop out, just for a change of scenery. It’s my kind of nature walk – one that happens on wheels.
Now, I’m no style blogger – far, far from it – but I’ve been thinking that I could use really a new jacket, and with my tax return burning a hole in my pocket, and the ProBlogger conference only five weeks away, I’ve been scouring online shops and asking people for recommendations.
A few style peeps that I follow on social media had mentioned Dream Diva, and so off to Bridge Road I tootled (Fun Fact – you can tootle in a Barina or a VW or a Corolla, but not in a Porsche) where I was ably assisted by two friendly fashionistas. I think one of the ladies thought I wanted to buy ALL OF THE THINGS, but I was very self-controlled and only left the shop with ONE shopping bag.
And bonus, I got a park about 12 steps from the shop door, which is some kind of Bridge Road Miracle! AND I had the exact change in my purse to pay for 1 hour of parking, which I used approximately 52 minutes of. The planets were aligned I tell ya!
I figured, seeing I was so close to town, I may as well enjoy the sunshine and keep on trucking (you can’t do that in a Porsche either), so I cruised through the city, and past one of my favourite landmarks.
Non-newsflash – I love Melbourne! So many people out and about, scurrying back to the office after a quick lunch, visiting, exploring, enjoying a sunny but chilly winter’s day.
Past the Shrine of Remembrance I tootled, and by now I was thinking about lunch, so I decided to wander some more and check out Spilt Milk Cafe, which I’ve followed on Facebook for a while, but never visited.
Spilt Milk is a nicely decked out, cosy cafe in Carnegie. There are a handful of tables inside, plus a smattering of outdoor seats (with blankets thoughtfully provided). They have a really fun menu, with dishes like badger, toucan, wombat and sparrow. True!
I settled on the zebra (minus ricotta, plus a poached egg) and enjoyed the great coffee and eavesdropping on the friendly banter of the staff, who clearly get along well and enjoy what they do.
That got me thinking about work, and the thing I miss most of all is the camaraderie you can have with your colleagues. I miss that, and a pay check, and having something (hopefully more meaningful than mundane) to do – they’re my top three, but not necessarily in that order.
Do you notice that sometimes when you’re in a cafe or shop, the attitude of the staff can really put you off ordering a second latte?
It was a pleasure to be somewhere with friendly staff, prompt service and I’ll-be-back-for-more food. If you’re around Carnegie, Spilt Milk is worth a visit.
There’s no sponsorship to mentioning them or Dream Diva – if I stumble across something I like, I’ll happily share it.
So, I tootled, I shopped, I ate my first zebra and now it’s time to pop the heater on, think about what to cook for dinner and maybe check in on a couple of my favourite blogs.
I hope your week includes jackets and landmarks and zebras – or the equivalent things that bring you happiness and a warmed belly.
Got any great local finds to share?
Where’s the best latte in your ‘hood?
Bought a great jacket lately? Maybe in a neon zebra print?
I think I’ll try the Sparrow next time I visit Spilt Milk, or maybe the Barracuda!