New Year’s Realisations

Happy New Year!

Before I post about new beginnings, resolutions and all that jazz, I would just like to briefly recount my New Year’s Eve.

Spider Boy and I had just returned from Canberra and we were both pretty tired. My offer for us to walk to the end of the street to see the 9pm fireworks, was met with a “No thanks, I don’t like crowds, and I heard on the radio there’s going to be over a million people.” Well, not in our neck of the harbour, but I was just as happy not to go anywhere.

So we settled in for an evening of fireworks and mild (very mild) entertainment on the ABC. Spider Boy was mildly amused to see Jimmy Giggle from Giggle and Hoot as one of the presenters.

After one lot of fireworks, SB went to bed. Then there was the really bad TV, while waiting for the fireworks. “Pub Trivia” on ABC, and Channel Nine trotted out You Can’t Stop the Music again (where was Richard Wilkins? Budget cuts at Nine too?)

Senorita Margarita, who has spent the past two New Year’s Eves with us, with retro music and movies, was at some kind of folk festival in Queensland called “Woodford”, or as my family members call it, “Woodstock” (Mum), “Waynestock” (me), and “That conference in Queensland” (Dad).

I amused myself with Who magazine’s annual HALF THEIR SIZE! issue with freshly-popped champagne and leftover plum pudding with brandy butter.


The cover line screamed at me excitedly, “Exclusive! Ricki-Lee tells How I lost 30kg (that last bit was in excited yellow ink) with a full length bikini shot of Ricki-Lee looking gorgeous (posing and in makeup as part of Who‘s shoot) and then a smaller paparazzi bikini shot in the corner of the 29-year-old singer looking more well-rounded, particularly around the hips, bottom and thighs. But still gorgeous.


My first thoughts were, how the hell could someone who doesn’t even look overweight in the first place (well-rounded, but not what I would call fat) lose THIRTY kilos and still be able to stand up (ie not collapsed from malnutrition)? Why does anyone, who already looks good in a bikini, need to lose 30 kilos? Maybe the before picture (taken in Bali in 2010) used was not an illustration of Ricki-Lee at 30kg heavier than the cover shot. But weight can be deceiving, and some people carry it better than others. Ricki-Lee is 180cm tall, so any excess weight can be more discreetly carried. On little 163cm me, there’s simply less surface area for the fat to hide.

I suppose I was a little confronted by the realisation that I aspire to look like the before picture. Because right now, I look fatter than Ricki-Lee’s before picture. So it just seemed silly to me that she felt she needed to lose 30kg. Maybe I’m envious. But I’m not going to get all Judgey Mcjudge about Ricki-Lee’s 30kg weight loss. It’s her choice if she just wants to eat fruit for breakfast, snack on nuts and only partake of fatty carbs once a month, in order to look model thin. I thought there was nothing wrong with the before picture though – she’s wearing a bikini (a bandeau top no less), she’s in the surf with wet hair, in Bali, living life. It’s just a different version of beauty.

The main point of the weight-loss, according to the article, is that Ricki-Lee feels so much better now. She told Who, “I completely transformed the way I used to live, and I feel amazing.” When I read the article, I realised that even though I thought she looked fine before, she didn’t feel fine.

“I was onstage performing… I was walking and singing and gasping for air. I was so unfit and so unhealthy, I’d probably just eaten two pizzas before I went on and skolled a bottle of wine. At that moment I felt like fat Elvis. I made the decision I never wanted to feel like that again.”

Ricki-Lee didn’t feel fine, she felt really bad, made the decision to change, and actually did it. And I commend her for that.

I am overweight. I look fatter than Ricki-Lee’s before picture and I don’t feel good about it. I don’t feel as good physically as I know I can, as I have in the past. I find it inspiring that Ricki-Lee made the decision to change, and actually did it. I hope I can carry this inspiration with me throughout the days, weeks and months ahead, and actually do something about my not-so-little problem.

Did you have any New Year’s Realisations?

Post-Christmas catch up

As I write this it’s the day after Boxing Day and I have a chance to catch my breath.

The lead up to Christmas had a few domestic surprises, with Spider Boy coming down with a vomiting virus two days before the big day. Our hot water tank had been broken for a few days at that point, which meant no hot water to wash all those vomitous sheets and towels. After much to-ing and fro-ing with Energy Australia, we had an 11th hour resolution on Christmas Eve.

I promptly did three loads of washing and had a hot shower – blissful after six days of having a cold bird bath/boiling water in the kitchen jug – before doing a 3pm Christmas Eve dash to Woolworths for Christmas lunch things.

I was behind in my present wrapping again – and was up, for yet another year, till 1am Christmas morning, wrapping things. And I kept getting distracted by the Love Actually DVD I had put on. With so much of what I do, I find myself thinking, “If only I had one more day to get this done.” Maybe I could fashion some kind of solution to this as one of my many resolutions for 2015!

Christmas Day began at 5.53am with a recovered Spider Boy tearing into his presents, and the rest of the day came and went in a flurry of church, visitors, my sister’s Minchinbury sparkling wine (“because I wanted to use it up – I won it, you know”), a really bad potato salad because I forgot to buy potato salad dressing, some laughs, thoughtful gifts, a great pudding (thanks, Sis) and only a couple of very minor squabbles with family.

Yesterday, armed with 10 just-in-case vomit bags, Spider Boy and I travelled by bus to Canberra to see Spider Boy’s paternal family.

So now that we are in a more relaxed mode, I just wanted to share a few photos from the Christmas season. I know Christmas is over, but some people down here in Tuggeranong, ACT, from where I write, still have their (rather spectacular) Christmas lights up, so it still must be a little bit Christmas, right?


Spider Boy gave lunch the thumbs up. But then, he wasn’t eating the potato salad. A highlight for me, was Heston Blumenthal’s yummy pudding. Or as my aunt says, Charlton Heston’s yummy pudding.


Spider Boy and I went to the best kid’s Christmas party either of us had ever been to!


Went for a walk and snapped a few Christmas doors.



Staking our place in the Domain for Carols in the Domain.



While we were waiting for Carols to start, we ran into Santa in the Santa tent. How convenient! Saved us from lining up at Westfield.


Thank goodness for face-painters dressed as Elsa from Frozen – helping us pass the time while we wait for the Carols to start.



OK, everyone’s ready for Carols now.



Selfies with my elfies.

Thanks for reading my posts over the past year, for the likes and comments. I really appreciate it! I hope you all had a good Christmas and that you enjoy the last few days of 2014!





A rainbow of compassion after the storm.

The lead up to Christmas is always a flurry of shopping, social events and school-break-up activities. But Last Monday December 15, Sydney stood still and held it’s breath.

What I thought and felt over the next 24 hours as the Sydney siege unfolded and came to it’s brutal conclusion has been echoed in countless blogs, websites and newspapers.

By last Tuesday evening I couldn’t listen to the news coverage anymore. But I realised that as bad as I felt, it would never begin to compare to the feelings of the families and friends of the victims, barrister and mother-of-three, Katrina Dawson, and Lindt Café manager Tori Johnson, the surviving hostages, and to those who were actually in Martin Place that day. I took two Panadol and told my sick headache and my nerves to “suck it up, princess”.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird told 7.30’s Leigh Sales, last Monday was one of the most difficult days of his life. “I mean, we watched. Can you imagine what it was like to be there? Can you imagine what it’s like to be the family members of the victims? We can’t,” he said. “What words can you even offer to people who are in that situation by way of comfort?”

But Mr Baird said the families and survivors must know they are “not alone – there are millions of people across this state and country that are saying to you ‘we are right beside you’.” The many notes accompanying the thousands of floral tributes will be bound and given to the grieving families. No, it won’t bring them back, but it’s something, just to know that other people are thinking of you and your loved one who has gone.

The Sydney I know and love is generally a harmonious city, buzzing with the energy of hard-working people trying to live a good life. That’s why we were so shaken by the terror that penetrated Martin Place, a major artery of the lifeforce of this magnificent city, on an ordinary Monday morning in December. A morning coffee is so relatable, so ordinary – it could have been any one of us.

Thousands of people from all over Sydney have visited Martin Place in the past week. Premier Baird told the 7.30 program, “It’s just so beautiful down there – it’s the people, it’s the stories, it’s the families. Complete strangers, hugging in tears, putting down the flowers, reflecting on the loss, the thankfulness in some respects of the hostages that are still with us, and an overall sense in this city we will get through this.”


Journalist and former Foreign Affairs staffer Tim Mayfield writes on the Drum website that far from dividing us, this event has brought us together. Tim writes about the best way to honour the victims.  “As we mourn for the victims of this attack and their families, let us ensure that December 15 comes to be known as the day that Australia was changed for the better. The day that we chose to demonstrate to the world, and especially those that would seek to do us harm, that we are a confident, positive, outward looking people who refuse to be turned against each other in the face of adversity.”

I heard US writer and inspirational speaker Mastin Kipp speaking in Sydney last week. His book Daily Love: Growing into Grace speaks about the pain of being human and how trauma can be turned into power, through grace, that higher power that shines from within us all – we just have to find it. He spoke of visiting Martin Place when he first arrived in Sydney and seeing all the flowers, the people, and how the overriding feeling there was one of love.

Sydney has shown grace in the aftermath, illustrating community spirit and harmony, with the embracing of #illridewithyou on social media. There has also been mateship, with complete strangers offering hugs to console strangers in Martin Place. This rainbow after the storm is Sydney at it’s best.

For the families and friends of the victims, especially the three children who will grow up without their mother, they have the compassion of a whole city. But they would rather just have their loved ones back. Whatever rainbows may emerge for the families of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson, this event has changed the course of their lives forever, and for the children, changed who they will become. But maybe in some small way, it will help that we remember them. The family of Katrina Dawson has said that as well as support from family and friends, “…we also feel that we have been surrounded by the warmth of a city and a nation…”

Katrina Dawson’s family has established the Katrina Dawson Foundation in her honour. It will focus on the education of women, something that was very important to her. As the Foundation’s mission statement says, “… it is our hope that out of her (Katrina’s) senseless death we will, through the opportunities the Foundation will provide, bring meaning to the lives of other amazing young women.”

Tori Johnson’s family, has also set up a website in his honour, the Tori Johnson Memorial Fund, with contributions going to Beyond Blue. A statement on the website says Tori always believed in helping others and taking a positive approach, so his family felt that Beyond Blue was a fantastic cause to support in Tori’s name.

Last Saturday evening’s Carols in the Domain was another opportunity to feel some community spirit. In a statement issued before the event, executive producer Michael Mackay, counted the Carols event amongst interfaith prayer services in Sydney and social media support as another way to bring our community together.  Mr.Mackay said of the event, attended by Premier Baird and Lindt Café staff members, “We see this as our most important Carols in the Domain ever”.

Sydney did indeed bring it’s compassion to Carols in the Domain. Over 80,000 candles were held in the air as a tribute to Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson, for the first song of the evening, You Raise Me Up. We stood united in compassion. Let’s never forget the grace Sydney has shown at this time.


Wishing everyone a peaceful Christmas.

Hot new hangout: the community garden… and cake.

Imagine suburban neighbours in straw hats, digging garden beds, sharing anecdotes and gossip over a flask of tea while swapping organic cucumbers for carrots and fresh basil for baby tomatoes? This scene is now a reality for many urban communities in Sydney, and is now on my neighbourhood’s horizon.


Our local community garden is just on the horizon.

Last Saturday our community garden officially opened in an area of fenced land between a local football club and a golf course. It was the fruition of months of hard work by a dedicated committee and team of volunteers to set up garden beds, organise composting bins, a shed, bark chips and bags of garden soil.


Some serious gardening is going to happen here…



…and here. These garden beds are made from railway sleepers.

The past few months, my mum has been to a workshop on composting and several garden meetings. I must admit I haven’t prioritised gardening in the past few months ever. I always seem to have something else to do when it’s time to learn about mulching and worms. But I am so glad something like this exists in our neighbourhood, not just for the opportunity to grow vegetables and learn about gardening,  but to harvest a sense of community. 

Despite the lack of dirt on my hands and sweat on my brow, I went to the opening to support the neighbourhood, and also because the sign said there’d be cake.


And a pretty impressive cake it was too. The “soil” on top is a crumbled up chocolate biscuit.

We were lucky enough to have Costa Georgiadis, host of ABC TV’s Gardening Australia, speak at the opening. Local school girl Verity (pictured above with Costa) baked a fabulous cake in his honour. She even made a little marzipan Costa, along with the marzipan vegetables.

Costa is a passionate advocate of community gardens as valuable neighbourhood resources: “It’s not about growing the vegetables, it’s about growing the community” said Costa. “Down the track, I see chooks and a Men’s Shed. Instead of meeting a friend down the road for coffee, bring them to the community garden.”

A sausage sizzle, raffle, flower stall, homemade cupcakes and lemonade, kids activities and a community garage sale kept over 200 people amused and well-fed on the day.


“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and why would you put treasure in landfill”, said one of the speakers.

So I can see the community garden becoming the hot new hangout in my ‘hood. Disappointingly but not surprisingly, the eye-candy neighbours I see from my living room windows did not attend the opening. Maybe their hands are full with the bonsai on their balcony.

Here are some more pictures from the day…







A final look at Verity’s cake. Because… cake! It was delicious by the way.


Do you have a community garden in your neighbourhood?

Embracing Halloween

I never use to be a fan of Halloween but when Spider Boy became old enough to enjoy it, I changed my mind.

The first two years of my new Halloween-embracing lifestyle we ventured with friends a couple of suburbs away, to a street that had a very good Halloween reputation. It was like a street festival. There was a constant stream of young people from toddlers to teens in varying states of spooky-dress. Families set up parties on their front lawns, serving lollies, cheese and crackers in between faux headstones. Someone had set up a karaoke machine on the back of a truck and there was an Aussie Idol style contest going on. It was party central.


Halloween last year: It was hard to be spooked when the spookers weren’t much more than a metre tall. Spider Boy’s in the middle, between his friends “the Magician” (bat head-boppers) and another masked ghoul.

I rejected my bah-humbug attitude to Halloween and took it for what it was – a fun evening out where kids and adults get to be creative, party and eat sugar. What’s not to like?

About the same time that Spider Boy and I started embracing Halloween, my sister Senorita Margarita developed an affection for Mexican culture and the Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. I wrote a post last year about the Senorita’s Day of the Dead birthday dinner.

Learning about the significance of this festival helped me make more sense of Halloween. I love the idea of having a special day on the calendar each year for communities to remember their loved ones that have passed, to honour them with altars and gifts of their favourite food and drink. In previous years my sister has created altars for her dearly departed including our dear grandmother (who we called “Dear” because she was such a dear) who scored Tim Tams and sherry as her altar gifts.


La Senorita in front of her altar.

This year, Senorita Margarita is at a Day of The Dead party in Melbourne, and Spider Boy and I stuck to our own suburb for trick or treating. Although there wasn’t any tricking going on,  just lots of treats!

Faces of Halloween 2014

Faces of Halloween 2014

What did you get up to on Halloween?



Trapped in a tube with breakfast radio and a jackhammer


mri scanner jackhammer


There’s nothing like being in pain to make you appreciate feeling normal. Finally, after an injury and six weeks of pain, I am better. The whole experience has been a lesson in taking better care of myself.

In the middle of August I lifted something heavy (it was the straw that broke the camel’s back) and felt a twinge in my neck and upper arm.  A couple of days later the twinge had turned into what I imagine having an axe stuck in my shoulder blade would feel like, alternating with a feeling that my arm was being pulled out of its socket, alternating with feeling like the upper right quadrant of my back was frozen. Those feelings were pretty much constant, only temporarily relieved by pressure on the area (hard to do yourself) and stretching.

My GP ordered an MRI to see what was going on.

It turns out I have some arthritis (?!) in my neck and lifting the heavy thing caused a nerve to shift and rub against a small area of “excess bone growth” on some discs in my cervical spine. Wonderful.

“Is it degenerative?” I asked my doctor about this “arthritis”.

He laughed, “Well, we’re ALL degenerating.” Comforting.

So what modern medicine miracle would cure my ailment? Time. And no heavy lifting. Ever again.

My GP predicted if I rested it, the nerve inflammation would go down in 5 to 6 weeks. And I’m thrilled to report it has. I went from constant pain in the first week, to pain most of the time, to sporadic pain, to no pain.

Doc prescribed 10 days of anti-inflammatories for the really bad pain at the beginning, but after 7 days I didn’t need them. A hot water bottle on the area and stretching provided enough relief for me to manage it.

Now I’m pain-free and so grateful, because nerve pain is a shocker.

So now, it’s time to celebrate by looking back and laughing. I now bring you 49 of the thoughts I had while having my MRI (and a cough).

1. Oh, the pain.

2. That pain has GOT to be visible on the computer screen.

3. MRI lady can see it on my face, ouch, it really hurts.

4. Now when I say having an MRI is a pain in the neck, I can mean it, literally.

5.  But hey,  now I might finally be able to get out of my gym membership.

6. I need to cough, but it’s ok, I can hold it in.

7. I am so strong.

8. So I wonder if the gym needs an actual letter from the doctor or will this MRI report do?

9. Oh who am I kidding,  it won’t make a difference – what I save in gym fees, I’ll just have to spend at the physiotherapist.

10.  Oh crap, I really need to cough.

11.  Gluten-free sausages? $7.99? A kilo?

12.  Oh my god those radio ads – I think I’d rather just have the banging of the MRI machine.

13. Why didn’t I choose the classical music CD?

14. Oh… wait… MRI lady’s talking to me. Thank God. Human contact.

15. So clever how she can buzz her voice in to this tube to talk to me.

16. I wonder if I’m the only woman to come in here with hairy legs?

17. It was nice of MRI lady to say “Oh well, it’s Winter.”

18. Is Winter really an excuse not to shave your legs, or was she just being nice?

19. I didn’t even THINK about the fact I’d be wearing nothing but a knee-length paper robe.

20. The man waiting in the corridor had a dressing gown on.

21. Where was my dressing gown?

22.  I can’t believe I didn’t give my hairy legs a second thought this morning.

23. So many radio ads!

24. The MRI will be over before I get any music at all.

25. Don’t cough!

26.  If I can’t cough soon, I am going to cry.

27. But I can’t ruin these pictures.

28. Suppressing a cough is just not natural.

29. I wonder if I cough during the jackhammer noises, she will have to take the images again.

30. Or does Medicare factor in coughing and other MRI-mishaps?

31. Do you pay extra for coughing?

32. Must. Not. Cough.

33. I don’t know how much longer I can hold this in.

34. This is the longest three minutes of my life.

35. Can’t hold it here it comes!

36. I know I should cover my mouth but my hand is  just not going to fit under this head-capsule.

37. Oh sweet relief!

38. This is relaxing in a strange kind of way.

39. What are THOSE noises!

40. That’s a whole new kind of stress!

41. I can feel my back fat squishing together.

42. I wonder if back fat means reduced visibility of my nerve root.

43. I need to cough again!

44. Eyes are watering. Oh, there goes a tear.

45. So when I come out of this thing my mascara will be smudged.

46. Wait, am I even wearing mascara?

47. no, thank goodness. Too early.

48. Damn breakfast radio.

49. I’m going to need a muffin after this.


Image sources:


A week in the life of Spider Boy: a journey in Tanka

I have long been a fan of Haiku, a poetry form that adheres to three lines of five, seven and five syllables.  This week, The Daily Post writing challenge has taught me about Tanka, which has two extra lines of seven syllables each! As much as I admire Haiku’s bite-sized brevity, it’s a wonderful luxury to be able to stretch out those thoughts with extra lines and syllables.

Today I have written five verses of Tanka, in an attempt to provide a snapshot of Spider Boy’s week.



His front tooth is loose

A wiggle and a grimace

When will it fall out?

Trying to eat an apple

The offending tooth stays put.


While eating hot chips

In his new karate suit

He spits out his tooth

A little lump camouflaged

by potato in his hand.


A glass by his bed

Tooth resting under water

Now in the morning

Gold coins and fairy dust

“Aarrgh! I’ve got glitter on me!”


Gap-toothed six-year-old

He holds my hand as we walk

Now at school drop-off

He drops my hand and swaps it

For playing handball with friends.


Must be child-friendly

The homework sheet warns parents

Of the song for “News”

That rules out Nirvana then

But he’s outgrown the Wiggles.






Edited highlights: skating, sledding and good craft gone bad

The school holidays are over and life is back to its routine, although I’m still working on Spider Boy getting to sleep earlier after a few late nights during the holidays. We didn’t do any “Mathletics” on the computer like we really should have, but did play Monopoly (the junior version) and there’s maths in that, right? Spider Boy is always reluctant to part with the cash to purchase property but gleefully receives the rent I pay him when I land on something he does own.

I always have such high hopes for craft projects during the holidays, but I am realising Spider Boy’s hopes for it don’t match my own. He worked with me on a foam pirate ship for about five minutes before getting frustrated with it. And it was frustrating – it was a kit from a craft store and it just didn’t work. I continued on without him trying to make it work while he did something else. Eventually I just left it – a floppy, PVA glue-smeared mess (it’s supposed to dry clear, but not really).

Made nothing from this book. Dare to dream.

Made nothing from this book. Dare to dream.

I finally put four brown bananas to good use before they liquefied in the fruit bowl by making a banana cake. I have to say this cake was not only edible, but a great success – Thank you Women’s Weekly Classic Cakes cookbook. I froze the cake and took it to Canberra for Spider Boy’s paternal family (“I baked you a cake, sorry about the missing piece”), thus cleverly saving myself (and my mother) from the rest of it. Spider Boy claims he doesn’t like banana cake, although will inhale banana bread at cafes.


We ventured into Kathmandu for the first time ever – they were having a 60% off sale – as we had to outfit ourselves for some serious outdoor activity in our nation’s capital. Canberra welcomed us in all its wintry beauty. Brrrr. I always forget just how cold it gets there in winter. Even though I lived there for six years. This visit it was – 3 and -4 degrees celsius overnight. That’s MINUS, in case you didn’t notice the tiny minus signs there.


Wintry beauty: there’s nothing like the clear blue skies of a Canberra winter.

I was determined to get on to an ice-rink this winter (didn’t actually skate at Sydney’s Winter Festival a couple of weeks ago) so we got straight off the bus from Sydney onto the temporary outdoor rink in Canberra. Note to self – must try not to project my 1980s ice-dancing obsession onto Spider Boy. I can just hear American figure skater and 1988 Olympic champion Brian Boitano talking about “the costumes, the glamour…”.


Spider Boy got by with a little help from his hired helper, Pingu.

After a few goes around the edge of the rink with the penguin helper, Spider Boy declared, “I don’t need the penguin anymore.”


…before braving the ice alone.

That’s my boy! Blades of Glory, here we come!


Fake it till you make it.

This giant inflatable snow-globe had an attendant (unlike the one at Darling Quarter in Sydney), so for $2 we could step inside to frolic in the “snow”. We stayed in there for minutes on end and posed for many happy selfies. Goodness knows what that fake snow was made of, but the snow-globe attendant helpfully told me, “If he gets it in his mouth, tell him to spit it out.”

A couple of days later we drove to Corin Forest, about 30 minutes south of Canberra for some snow-filled fun. This was the first time Spider Boy had seen (real) snow.


Why merely throw a snow ball when you can kick-box one?

For $5 we hired a toboggan and Spider Boy was able to sled down the mountain gentle slope. “I love snow!” he said as he crashed into a bale of hay at the bottom of the run.


“Nice CAR, mate!”

Spider Boy’s favourite TV ad is the AAMI one where the young P-driver from the 80s pulls up beside his future self (as a father with a learner driver son beside him) and wants to drag race. “Nice car, Mate!”, Spider Boy now says at every opportunity with accompanying drag-race face.



Blog love: The Liebster award

I’m thrilled to say that one of the bloggers I admire, Hannah from  Popcorn and Polka Dots (formerly Put The Kettle On)  has nominated me for a blog award – the Liebster! To receive a blog award for Alexcellent is truly the icing on the cake – despite all the baking disasters I’ve blogged about!

So I would like to say a huge Thank You to Hannah for nominating me. If you don’t know Popcorn and Polka Dots yet, please do check it out.  It’s full of tales of travel, food, lifestyle and gorgeous images from the life of newly-engaged Hannah, who is settling back in to life in England with her fiancé after spending much of her youth in Canada.


Thanks Hannah!

Thanks Hannah!


Here are the rules of the Liebster Award:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog – by including it in your post and/or displaying it.
3. Answer questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Provide random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate blogs – that you feel deserve the award – who have less than 200 followers
6. Create a new list of questions for the nominated bloggers to answer.
7. List these rules in your post. Once you have written and published it, you then have to inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

Now onto the questions from Hannah for me to answer:

1. If there was a movie about your life, who would play you? I have a soft spot for Drew Barrymore.
2.  What is your favourite book and why? That’s a tough one… so many genres! I love Pride and Prejudice because it’s so beautifully written and because I love being transported to a different era where I can vicariously experience the bits I like; the art of courtship, afternoon tea in the drawing room and taking a turn about the room after needle point. I love anything by Marion Keyes because her books are funny and poignant. Also Bridget Jones Diary is a firm and sentimental favourite.
3. Where would your dream vacation be? Always Hawaii. I have been twice and I now regard it as one of my spiritual homes. If only I had an actual home there. But I also think Canada could potentially be another spiritual home. I love the spirit of Aloha, but I also love mountains, skiing, and cold weather.
4. What is your favourite season and why? Autumn. Because the trees look so pretty with their red and gold outfits on. I love that first Autumn chill in the air. When I was a child we use to get that in March. This year we just got it on June 1. Eeeeek! Climate Change!                                                                 5. If you were a super hero what power would you have? I would like the ability to freeze time. But then, I’d probably never get anything done because I’d have all the time in the world, right?
6. If you could pass a new law, what would it be? When I was 11, I wanted to be Prime Minister so I could ban computers, because, you know, “Those machines are gonna take all the jobs.” Hey, it was the 80s.
7. What is your favourite movie of 2014 so far? Frozen. I saw it with my son (Spider Boy) and ex-husband. Ex-husband and I both shed tears. Well, a tear or two. Let it GO, already!

Random facts about me

1. When I was 6, I had a 12-year-old Prince Edward pegged as a future possible marriage partner for myself (that’s right, Prince William’s UNCLE  – that’s how old I am, people).

3. When I was 8 I lost consciousness (briefly) after falling off a flag pole I’d climbed (it was only half-way) at the local yacht club while my parents were lunching. Does that explain some things? Who can say?

2. When I was 11 I broke my arm going over a bike jump wearing a pair of rollerskates. They were white boot ones with red wheels, just like Olivia Newton John’s in Xanadu.

4. When I was 15, I really thought it was possible that I could marry George Michael – as a career move and because I loved him. (NB to younger readers – George was from 1980s pop duo WHAM!) So I must have a thing for pop stars and princes.

5. When I was 25, in the mid-90s, a friend of a friend invited me over to “show me the Internet”. He said perhaps I could write a gossip column online, like, you know, just publish my own content on the Internet. “No way!” I said, “That’ll never catch on… surely it wouldn’t count unless it’s done with paper and ink!” Wrong about George Michael AND the Internet.

6. When I was 27, I broke a heel chasing Keanu Reeves through the streets of Sydney’s Darlinghurst when he was in town to film the Matrix.

7. When I was 30,  I posed in my underwear for Cosmopolitan magazine for a story on how different women’s bodies can look very different even if they wear the same clothing size. My boyfriend at the time didn’t like it. He should’ve been grateful it wasn’t Ralph or FHM.


My Nominees for the Liebster Award:

I’m a Big Girl Now | This fashion blog by Wendy from Sydney, Australia is about her style journey as she puts together stylish looks for women 40+. Wendy has always been  interested in fashion but as she’s grown older has become more comfortable in her own skin. She shows that being “plus size” and over 40 doesn’t mean wearing boring clothes! Right on!

Sugar Coated | This blog by Lyne from Ottawa, Canada is sweet by name and in nature, with beautiful food photography to match.  Lyne has a real passion for baking and cooking, and the joy she gets from it is evident in the words she writes. Blog posts cover Lyne’s family baking traditions, her own creations and guest bakers. From bread to brunch, pasta to pastry and cakes to cookies, if you appreciate the heart and joy of food, you’ll love Sugar Coated.

Sweet Tea | This blog by Bec from Canberra, Australia is your one-stop shop for afternoon/high tea advice and inspiration! Bec has a vintage crockery hire business, and the blog has scrumptious recipes for slices, cakes and biscuits, venue and styling ideas as well as tips and tricks for things like “How to fill a tiered cake-stand”. If you appreciate afternoon tea and fine vintage crockery, or just want a dose of pretty, check out Sweet Tea.

Urban  Rustic | This blog by Sandy from Sydney, Australia, is a virtual emporium of beautiful, functional and well-made vintage and second-hand objects for the home.  Sandy is a designer, stylist, collector and bargain hunter. Just about everything in Sandy’s collection is available for sale or hire. Urban Rustic is lots of fun and an antidote to the mass production of chain stores.

Questions for my nominees to answer:

1. When and where in your house do you blog?

2. Describe the view from your nearest window.

3. What would be your ideal meal?

4. What’s your favourite fashion and/or decorating era and why?

5. How do you spend the first hour of a typical  day?

6. What would be your ideal way to spend a day?

7. If you could give one piece of advice to your 15-year-old self, what would it be? For example, mine would be, “You ain’t never gonna marry George Michael, so stop researching which brand of Whiskey he prefers and study for your exams instead!”

Thanks again Hannah for the nomination! Please do check out Hannah’s blog Popcorn and Polka Dots, as well as the other blogs I’ve nominated today.