Posts Tagged ‘hot chocolate’

Cold weather pastimes

October 17, 2009

It’s turned cold again, which means we’ve all gone back to our winter habits. It still looks like Spring outside, but the chill is very reminiscent of winter. I’ve been hunkering down on the couch, drinking hot chocolate from my hug mug

hug mug

perfect for warming the hands as well as the insides. I’ve also been doing more knitting—I made a whole baby hat last weekend.

pumpkin

This is for Liz, whose baby shower is happening today. I know it’s not pumpkin season, but it will be by the time the little tyke is ready to wear this. Hopefully we’ll have had some warm weather by then…

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Sydney

June 26, 2009

We had a lovely time in Sydney last weekend, despite the rain. Oh the rain. How it rained. Here in Canberra we never get that sort of rain, so I’m never really prepared for it when it happens (something similar happened to us when we went to Melbourne in March).

We arrived on Friday night and checked in to our lovely hotel, cheap thanks to lastminute.com. If you haven’t discovered that site yet you are really living under a rock. The hotel had an aquarium in the floor—I could walk above the fish—which was very cool but kinda weird. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of it. We ducked out to chinatown for some dinner—if you’re in the area, do try Zilver‘s food. It’s just amazing, like no Chinese I’ve had before. And their prawn dumpling short soup is absolutely to die for.

On Saturday morning we headed to the artsy suburb of Glebe, for the very cool Glebe Markets. These markets are full of creativity, good humour and alternative style. You can get everything from vintage clothing and indie jewellery to secondhand books and international food. I love to visit every time we’re in Sydney, and my wonderful and very patient husband is happy to take me. This time, like last time, there were some amazing offerings and I came home with some beautiful and funky stuff.

leather bag, vintage shirt, monster threads tee and hoodie

peacock headband, amber ring, vintage porcelain pendant, domino pendant

The only downside was the rain. My goodness it rained. The markets are held in a schoolyard and there were puddles, and overflowing drains, and waterfalls cascading from tarps onto unsuspecting heads. We bought an extra umbrella. We sheltered under whatever cover was handy at the time. We still got wet, wet, wet. But hey, it was the Glebe markets nonetheless, and I wasn’t going to let a little rain spoil it for me. I had several stallholders ask me why I was so chirpy given the terrible weather—I had to reply that I was from out of town, and today was the only chance I would have this year at the Glebe markets, so I was going to make the most of it! But I was still relieved when we were done, and could duck across the road to the warm and dry San Churro, for Spanish hot chocolate and churros.

From there we headed back to the city, where I discovered that Morris & Sons was having a sale. I mean, who can resist half-price wool? Anyway, there are now three potential sweaters in my stash.

half price wool rocks

I also scored the coolest, most 80s-tastic sneakers on sale at Adidas:

high visibility

they’re now known as my fog shoes (as in, used for the same purpose as fog lights).

Saturday night and the reason we’d come to Sydney in the first place finally arrived. The Simon and Garfunkel concert! (really, it’s difficult to restrain myself from putting more exclamation points after that sentence). All I can say is that it was amazing to see them live, like a dream come true. I thought they would always just be one of those things I’d missed out on, like so many other events/fashions/bands/experiences, being too young. So when this opportunity came up I simply jumped at it—and I’m so glad I did.

They sang all the old songs, they told stories, they played some of their solo work, some of it accoustic and some with their very talented backing band. The venue was huge—we were up high and pretty far away—so I was glad of the large screens, the chance to really see it all happening. I was just so happy the whole time, and I feel really blessed that I had the chance to be part of it. I pulled out my record (yes, vinyl) of the Concert in Central Park yesterday, and it said on the front that that was ‘an historical event’. I think that term could easily be applied to the concert I saw last Saturday. And most importantly—Garfunkel still has the ginger ‘fro! :D

The rest of the weekend was slow and sweet after that. Sunday morning brought the sun, and a snatch of warm weather before we left Sydney (where did all that rain go?). We had brekky at a cute little place in Redfern called Strangers with Candy. Their website goes on about their great service, but for me the decor and the food were the stars. Do try it if you’re in the area—it’s a little hard to find but worth the effort. Their homemade hollandaise was the best, and lightest, I have ever tasted.

We stopped for lunch at Lerida Estate on the way home. I guess you could say it’s on the shores of Lake George, but that seems a bit odd since Lake George has been dry ever since I’ve lived in the area—people graze sheep and cows on it now. They make a very nice Pinot Gris there, and everything else I tasted was lovely too. I didn’t realise but apparently the area is also very big for truffles. It was truffle weekend and they had truffle-dog demonstrations and special menus. One man was buying some truffle while we were there—twenty grams cost him sixty dollars! I hope he enjoyed it.

Anyway that’s about it—sorry for foisting such a long post on you after a bit of a drought. More knitting news soon!

Exploring Cambridge

June 10, 2009

My time in Boston so far has been lovely—really chilled, and a nice change from the hectic week in Santa Fe. Of course, staying in such beautiful surroundings does help the feeling of serenity (ah, the serenity!).

On Sunday we had a pretty quiet day, as Eduard was feeling a bit under the weather. I must admit I was pretty glad to take it slowly too! It was a lovely warm, sunny day though, so we still managed to wander around Cambridge, enjoying the sun, the trees (the trees! the trees are huge!),

trees

the beautiful houses,

cambridge

and of course the gardens.

rhododendrons

It felt a bit odd walking around taking photos of people’s houses (I was worried someone would assume I was a spy, tackle me to the ground and run off with my camera, but apparently these worries were unfounded). But it was such a beautiful area that I can’t have been the first. Until now I always thought my dream house was a traditional ‘Queenslander’, but these houses are starting to make me doubtful—they’re so pretty. This is one of my favourites

yellow

(yellow with a red door—squee!) but they were all so different in colour and style

pretty tiles

and some were absolutely huge.

red

It’s perhaps a bit strange, but on my first impression of Cambridge I was reminded so much of Brisbane, a city I really love. Maybe it was the combination of sunshine and green grass? The humidity and the wooden houses with their rustic porches? Perhaps it was just a smell in the air—in any case Cambridge made me happy.

It was so lovely to have some proper summery weather and I’m not looking forward to the cold of Canberra on Friday. But of course there are many other reasons I’m looking forward to going home.

On Sunday evening we stayed in, tired after all that wandering around. I made pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil (soooo good to cook again!) and we watched some happy and comforting movies—gotta love Wallace and Gromit.

On Monday Eduard had to pop into work, so after a decent sleep-in I set off to explore downtown Cambridge, and in particular find a yarn store.

The walk to Harvard Square took about twenty minutes, but on the way I was refreshed by a cup of hot chocolate and a madeleine at Burdick’s.

chocolate

Again the walk was lovely—more big old houses, all maintained so beautifully, more huge spreading trees, and more sunshine. However I must have felt I had taken enough nosy photos of people’s houses by now, because I don’t have any photos of that walk. Though one of the streets had particular historical significance, as lots of the houses had been occupied by rich families and important people—I even found a house that was once the residence of both Washington and Longfellow, but it was closed to the public that day.

Once in Harvard Square I wandered around happily getting lost in pursuit of my yarn store. At one point I crossed the river and found I could see all the way to downtown Boston.

river

I like to think that the fact that I immediately realised I had to turn around and go back across the river is a bit irrelevant.

Eventually I found Woolcott and Co, and spent a certain time in intense but happy scrutiny of yarn.

woolcott and co

By this time I was becoming aware of the limitations of space in both my luggage and carry-on, so anything I bought had to be both unavailable in Australia, very special, and quite small. I eventually decided on three skeins—an alpaca blend sock yarn (!) that will become socks for someone special, and some ice blue wool/angora blend, which I couldn’t resist because I love bunnies. And these were very kindly wound into balls for me by the staff for no extra charge—how sweet!

all wound up

I had lunch at an Irish pub

irish stew and cider

and was then so worn out I wandered back to Eduard’s, where we spent another lazy afternoon and evening chatting, eating pasta and watching movies. Again the chillaxing was just what I needed, but we did manage to make a trip to see the sunset over a nearby ‘pond’ (more of a lake really).

lake

Such a lovely way to end the day.