Sunday, June 28, 2015


These two clowns are bffs.  They've known one another since they were in Prep together, aged 4 years old and over the years they have hung together, despite CJ changing schools during primary school. now they are back together again at senior school and they spend a lot of time together.

It helps that their parents are bffs of ours too - funny that!.

Remember Miss Mary?  Yep - CJ's mother!

CJ is hanging with us during the winter break - and we celebrated his 15th birthday yesterday while his wayward parents carried on celebrating her birthday ... in Turkey ... lucky ducks.

CJ is my other son from another mother and father - and pretty much is our first born as Moo came later. (Sorry Moo - but it is what it is)!!!

We went over to Bendooley Estate for lunch yesterday to celebrate Js big day and then later that afternoon they set up their cave in the snug, ready for their marathon watching of House of Thrones.

They are still in there now - it's been a v quiet day here for me today - I've been baking and gardening and am about to get some writing done for a client.

I was looking through pics and found these of the two besties - they have had some fun together over the years.

Happy birthday CJ - can't wait to see what else you do with your life.

ANZAC Day 2013- themed cake baking which took years off my life watching them create it
- but man they did a fantastic job of this beauty!

Wood whittling April 2011 - no idea what they ended up doing with their tools but they had a ball dong this.
Shame about my kitchen knives!

Easter Show 2011 - Mary and I found the champagne and prawn bar and
were beaming happy like these two!!!!  I even bagged the prawn scraps so I could make stock later -
poor chap thought I was a breath of fresh air (OK) deluded!

Pearl Beach just after Easter 2010.  A week of hilarity complete with daily surfing up at Avoca.

While they surfed what were we to do but have a smart lunch, each and every day we were there?!
Would have been terribly rude not to.  April 2010 - fun times!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Winter in Paradise

This time last year we were over in the US spending time with friends in Chicago, The Hamptons, NYC, Cleveland and Laguna Beach.  What a fantastic holiday that was.

This year?  Exeter - and I couldn't be happier.  I love being down here anytime of the year but for some reason this late autumn/winter is even more special - the weather has been stunning so far.

Long days of winter sun and as much time as we like to potter in the garden - getting jobs down ready for spring madness.

Moo has been helping on the big jobs too, which makes it far more enjoyable when pottering about.

We spent half a day clearing a mass of weeds that had morphed out of control in the south garden nearest the gate. There is no doubt about it - there is nothing more satisfying than pulling weeds as you see all your hard work coming to fruition so quickly.  As soon as we had cleared the area Moo got to work lugging bark chips over and spreading them throughout the existing lavender, buddleias, hydrangeas and snow flakes.

Haha - one pic of me doing the last load as Moo collapsed in a heap off camera in exhaustion - he had worked hard!  The whole garden looks so much better now - tidy and happy nestled in the bark chips.

Now I am off down to the bottom meadow to lift a whole bunch of violets that are growing wildly all about the meadow as they'll be so much happier nestled up here.
I wonder if I can convince Moo to help?!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Festival of Mary

Happy birthday to one of our most gorgeous girlfriends.  (The Festival of Mary has been underway for a couple of weeks or so now - it was her husband Doug's who we celebrated with in Chicago this time last year.)

A year forward and it's Mary's turn!

We started the long weekend with an Indian inspired dinner - warming butter chicken, riata, spicy dahl and spicy basmati rice was the order of the night. We finished it all off with a frozen lemon cake - an old recipe of B's mums that has always been a favourite - and was perfect after the spice of the curry etc.

B then became the DJ and we had a dance-athon that cleared the room of the two 14 year olds.  We didn't even need to put on Rick Astley - clearly enduring their parents dancing was enough for them to call it a night!

Moo and CJ went out into the garden earlier that day to forage and came back to
create this stunning setting.

The next day saw the preparations of the long lunch unfolding. Again the boys went foraging for foliage and then crafted up this stunning setting.  We had 11 for lunch - so the table was laden.  It was such a beautiful  afternoon celebrating with new and old friends. We started out by wandering the garden drinking bubbles then after more drinks and yummy cheeses we came in and sat down to a divine lunch of very slow cooked balsamic lamb/mammoth shanks (they were massive and i cooked then for two days!), mushroom bourguignon, gratin of potato, Gruyere and thyme, winter salad of spinach, home grown peppery rocket, orange, fennel and the best Turkish feta. Desserts were by Ohn Nom Nom (vegan, raw spiced fig cheese cake and passionfruit bites) plus divine poached quinces brought by a guest and a basil, milk and lemon sorbet made by Moo.  

Delicious and divine - it was such a gorgeous way to celebrate a very special bestie's birthday.  Yes we all tumbled into bed super early on Sunday night!  

Long lunch table setting - these lads could go intro business down here!

Sadly her gorgeous daughter couldn't join us as she was busy in the city - but she crafted up this amazing raw vegan, gf, super yummy cake - which was divine.  She has started a cake business with her bestie - and their cakes and bliss balls are beyond delish.  The boys took the cake out into the garden for some arty shots - I love this one with the wheelbarrow in the background!

May the Festival continue!  Happy birthday Miss mary - you are one in the kind for sure - so glad we met up when our boys were 4 at Prep - best 11 years of memories ever!  Here's to many more!