Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Dear Olive,
Oh Melbourne, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. There's Smith and Daughters, Collingwood childrens farm, the NGV, the trams, my unreal friends there (who I miss!), Shane's family (wow, do they know how to cook a curry!), all the cafes, all the shopping, and all the food. The food! Even the weather was warm and sunny (it was basically exactly like Sydney). We rented a cute little apartment* in Fitzroy through airbnb, and it was non stop action for five days. And a super time was had by all.
(Clancy was sitting pretty in his new iBelieve pram - at times, so were you! We're loving having such an unreal pram to push around, amazingly it goes from stroller to bassinet in just a few clicks, so it's perfect for travelling with a young baby.)
*you've been bugging me for MONTHS to be allowed to try a donut ... imagine your delight when you discovered a bowl of them left for us by our host. Imagine my delight when, after a few bites, you declared it too sweet and horrible!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

road tripping

Dear Olive,
Shane and I and you and Clancy, strapped into the car; 1,738 kilometres of Hume highway stretching out between here and there and here again. Featuring an old crappy yet charming motel (small beds, awesome carpet) where you discovered the terrible joy of sugary cereal! in a box!, lots of stopping by the side of the road (a couple of bush poo's), lots of great music, tons of laughs, and (as expected), a fair share of whinging and crying. 
It was so much more enjoyable than I expected. I'd do it all again tomorrow, in a snap.

Friday, August 15, 2014

the floury baker

Dear Olive,
One of the loveliest things about having Shane off work right now, is the number of meals we're getting to eat together as a family. We put away our phones and toys, put on some music, and try not to pay any attention to what you are - or most likely aren't - eating. (Your currently limited eating habits, however, are a whole other story!) This week has been extra special because we've had the delicious pleasure of dining on food from The Floury Baker, an online provisions store who now offers a home delivered dinner service. What a treat it was to find such a yummy package on our doorstep Monday morning! Anna Simamora makes all the meals with seasonal, Australian grown whole foods, without any preservatives or additives. The meals are frozen, then delivered to customers doorsteps all around Sydney. Anna's a professional chef whose food philosophy really resonated with me - she's all about flavour, texture, seasonal and sustainable produce. And her meals really do taste like hearty, home cooked food - albeit, hearty home cooked food cooked by a really great cook. (She also baked Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garners wedding cake once!) 
To celebrate the opening of their home delivery dinner service, The Floury Baker is offering free shipping on all orders placed before September 8 with the code dear olive. (Get the steak and mushroom pie! And the pork ragu! Actually, get anything, it's all good.)

Monday, August 11, 2014

cottage point weekend

Dear Olive,
We had a beautiful weekend away; bushwalking, fishing off a tinnie, hanging out with mates in front of the open fire, and eating waaaay too much good food. Sadly, our friends daughter ended up in hospital so a few couldn't make it, but the rest of us soaked it up. (Thankfully, it looks like our little friend will be ok. You made her a get well card that said "Dear Quincy, I love you. Naughty pain. Love Olive".) I found such a welcome inner quiet looking out onto the river through the gums. 
I haven't been able to go near the Hawkesbury without thinking about the traditional owners of the land ever since I read The Secret River a few years ago. It tells a devastating and haunting story of the first white people in that area and it's really had a lasting impact on me. Shane and I were moved to tears when we went past red hand cave on our bush walk and saw the hand prints left by the people who lived in that beautiful and rugged place first.

Friday, August 8, 2014

weekend menu

Dear Olive,
We're going away with a bunch of friends this weekend (we're staying here - doesn't it look fabulous?). I'm looking forward to a few slow bush walks (I hope this weather holds!) and relaxing in front of the fire.  And possibly a spa. There's an allocated roster for food and we're on duty for one breakfast and one dinner. I'm thinking this lovely sounding baked fetta with walnuts and honey as a starter (or an afternoon snack) would be great. A friend made Pete Evans Balinese roast chicken and said it was the best chicken she's ever had, so I'll make that for dinner with a salad and roast potatoes. I haven't made a tarte tatin in years and I think it might be time again! Or perhaps a trusty Stephanie Alexander crumble? (I've always loved the ground ginger in her crumble topping.) I'm looking forward to enjoying a champagne, too! (For anyone interested, here's the ABA's take on drinking alcohol and breastfeeding.)
Happy weekend, friends.

Monday, August 4, 2014


Dear Olive,
I've been absent from this space (physically, and even more so, emotionally) for so long, that I barely know how to re-enter it. Do I recap the past couple of months? Or do I creep back in, acting like I never left it at all? I think I'll opt to creep back in, at least for now. (In part because, as lovely as they've been, the last few months have actually been rather boring in their repetitiveness.) 
We've just returned from a trip to Coffs to visit my Dad and my sister and her family. It was Clancys first trip away from home - it was funny to think that at the same age, you'd already been to Coffs twice, Melbourne and Byron. I was relieved to discover that Clancy's a pretty great traveller and it was a really wonderful week and a half for us all. The wifi reception at my Dads was kind of sketchy, and I used the time to switch off from most of my social media - it felt like an important break. I didn't have an iphone when you were born and having time away from it at Dads made me realise how much time I spend holding the phone, whilst also holding Clancy.
Unfortunately, we arrived home with some kind of lergy in tow, which we've all had to varying degrees over the past week. The worst hit was Shane, he's still down the poor fellow! (Even Clancy caught a slight sniffle *sob*. ) Is it just me, or are there some truly nasty bugs going round this season? (As an aside, I heard a discussion on the radio suggesting that coughing into the palms of our hands isn't a good way to prevent spreading infection because the virus can still be passed on to somebody who touches something you've touched. A better way is to cough into the crook of your arm. Interesting, no?)
Photos from a late afternoon spent wandering at jetty beach, barefooted and barelegged ... winter, what winter?

Monday, July 14, 2014


Dear Olive,
Clancy: after noticing him running his hands over the thick corduroy of the lounge, we got the poor boy a play mobile.
Olive: cosy winter snuggles in bed with Clancy, every morning.

Linking up with Jodi.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Dear Olive,
Olive: Pigtails. They really just add to your zany. (And my, I did a good job on that part, didn't I.)
Clancy: so not a newborn anymore. (*sob*)

Linking up with Jodi.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Dear Olive,
It's finally soup weather in Sydney! My gorgeous friend Ceinwen made us a sweet potato and corn soup when Clancy was born and it was so delicious that I got the recipe from her and made it yesterday. It came from one of the Moosewood cookbooks - if anyone is around my age and raised by vegetarian, hippy parents, they may remember Moosewood? The fonts and illustrations and everything about them are so nostalgic for me. One of the books is titled The Enchanted Broccoli Forest! (I'll be dusting off your Moosewood books and having a look next time I'm up there, Dad.)

Southwestern corn & sweet potato soup 
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 crushed garlic cloves (I used about 6)
1 small fresh chilli, chopped
3 cups stock (I used my chicken broth)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 medium sweet potato, diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped
3 cups corn kernels
salt & pepper to taste

a squeeze of lemon, a dollop of yoghurt, plus some coriander to serve

Basically, simmer it all up, puree half the mix, add the toppings and voila! A beautiful winter warmer.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Dear Olive,
I'm hanging on by a thread in this portrait project, and this week I'm too empty in the brain to think of captions for these ... so here they are without.
PS My friend Greer sent Clancy that pixie hat - so adorable! Check out her etsy store here.)

Joining in with Jodi.