Tuesday 27 December 2016

First of the Month Fiction - January

Very short one this month - but open for the whole of Jan, until I'm back online.

Write a 100 word story exactly or one less than 30 words - add it in the comments then link your blog.

Have a great New Year, and my 2017 bring a positive change that we didn't see coming.

Mine is a quick 30:

She thought about the year that was, the decay creeping through the cracks of society. She raised her glass to the smiling faces around her. It had to be enough.

Thursday 22 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all - I hope you can enjoy the extra day before Christmas and get everything done that you need to.

Wherever you are in the world, travelling or at home, stay safe and drive carefully.

Link your Christmas posts below, First of the Month Fiction will be up next week and open for the month, and I'll see you all in February.

Sending you all tidings of comfort and joy!

Sunday 18 December 2016

This time next week...

This time next week I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas.

This time next week I hope you are cheering on the Sydney to Hobart or the Cricket.

This time next week I hope you are relaxed and enjoying your holidays.

This time next week, I hope you've seen the fabulously fun 1903 circus at the Sydney Opera House. I found this show delightful in it's appearance and imagery, as well as all the usual thrills and skills of the circus. It even engaged the teen and made them smile, so definitely a show for the whole family. (Buy tickets here - not sponsored, just thought it was so fun and charming.)
This couple just dressed up - turn of the century cosplay

Happy Christmas to you all. Stay safe, drive safely and if you're lonely or sad, speak up and reach out.

Best wishes to you all.

Linking with #FridayPhoto

Wednesday 14 December 2016

"Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart." ~ Washington Irving

I was just wondering what I would write about for this week's xmas link up as I really haven't been out and about in the shops, but rather at presentation day after presentation day and project expos and a myriad of other school enterprises.

Then I received an email from Rafiki Mwema, asking for any assistance they could get. If there is one worthwhile activity at Christmas, it is charity. Remember those less fortunate, make someone's day brighter, give money, time, help. Whatever you can. That is the spirit of Christmas.

If you can't donate or sponsor, why not purchase something from the store?

Even just like and share their Facebook page or Instagram? Maybe this is just the cause someone you know is keen to get involved in.

I know far bigger bloggers than me have promoted this cause, but I am adding my small drop in the bucket, in the hope it does eventually overflow for them. 

Give someone over the ocean and far away a merry Christmas, a safe January, a comfortable February and a year of all we take for granted.

A little house keeping. I'll be off the blog next week until Friday for the last Xmas link up for the year. I'll also get First of the Month Fiction up before the New Year, so swing back for that.

Linking with #OpenSlather

Add your xmas posts below

Monday 12 December 2016

Christmas Traditions - do you grow out of them?

A very quick question this week. My youngest and I went to see the David Jones Windows and Santa in the city. A tradition for well over a decade and a half, the eldest child no longer attends and the middle child came as a good sport but wandered around the shops while the wee one rode the train and saw Santa, the lure of fish ice cream and dinner out being his reward for joining us.

My youngest rattled off all the kids in her class that didn't believe and all the incredible things (to her) that they had said. Her mild horror was her fear for them that they'd get nothing, or sounding me out for my reaction, I was a little unsure.

As I watched her excitedly take in all the Christmas 'magic', I suddenly thought we were at an end of an era, and this was probably my last xmas with kids still touched by the beauty and wonder of it all. I was a little saddened that we would no longer make our annual pilgrimage to see the city in it's Christmas glory.

Then I asked myself, do I really do this for them or for me? Who do we make these Christmas traditions for?

With kids past believing stage, do you still carry on your Christmas traditions? I, for one, decided I would still come in to see the windows and the shop displays, even if no one was going into see Santa, and even if I went alone. 

Who have we made these Christmas traditions for? And do you stop doing them?

Linking with #Allseasons

Sunday 11 December 2016

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ― Henry James

Summer means lazy days. It means the luxury of no school. It means slip'n'slide in the backyard or driving to the pool.
Daytrips to the beach. Dinner outside.
Gin and Tonic's replace Negronis.
There are movies to watch under the stars.

Formally it heralds Christmas and all the festive celebrations. A trip to the Hunter for the Christmas Lights, dinner in town after seeing the decorations and Santa.

It means New Year's Eve and the mad panic of finding something to do or somewhere to go to watch fireworks and celebrate.

It brings the Festival of Sydney and a lot of grown up arts going with friends.

Summer is a holiday whether you go away or not. It is daytrips and exploring outer Sydney and the surrounds because we have the luxury of time.

For us, it is a change in routine that means more family time, as the outside demands vanish for awhile. 

In my head, Summer is sunshine but we know that's not true. In NSW there is just as much chance for endless torrential downpours.

Summer is hope and possibility. 
“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” ― Charles Bowden

Linking with #Allseasons

Saturday 10 December 2016

Seasonal Stress Beater

I've been under enormous pressure lately, carrying a heavy load for a few years, I may've finally hit the wall when all the end of year and xmas chaos hit home on top of the other stuff. I cancelled what would have been a lovely spa day with friends, but required a 4 hour drive out of town, and just decided I had to take some pressure off. The thought of it was just making me tired and unnecessarily stressed.
Bad photo but I like the sparkly things

I went to Flume on Friday, and had a great time, despite the teen deciding to be as unpleasant as possible and the fact that we'd been unable to get tickets on the floor. Sometimes you just have to ignore the negatives and dance with the 20 year old next to you, like a weirdo. Sorry, correction, an embarrassing old weirdo.

I then had a lazy Saturday, and my partner and I snuck out for lunch (sneaked just sounds wrong so I'll go with the  US invented word) at the FABULOUS Cairo Takeaway (81 Enmore Rd, Newtown) and then followed it up with a quick sip at Young Henry's. It was just what the doctor ordered. Or should have ordered. Maybe I'll become a doctor and write scripts with 'Take the day off' on it.

We followed that up with a trip to town for the xmas festivities, dinner at Assembly (488 Kent St, Sydney)  to test out their new award winning pizza chef (the pizzas are even better than before) and finished with the unexpected but joyous show at Uncle Tetsu's Angel Garden. A big special thanks to the charming waiter who was determined to get our balloon back from the ceiling...and did!

Having been all emotional and teary yesterday, I have awoken refreshed and hale (did you know that refers to an old person only?) and ready to pick up the load again. Sometimes, just a pause in proceedings is all you need. That day, I was really loving life again!

So if you are  feeling overwhelmed and over stressed, I'm writing you a prescription. Take 1 day off.

PS I've just asked when the show is on, I think Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights but will confirm.

Linking with #FridayPhoto

Wednesday 7 December 2016

What a cracker! #ChristmasLinkUp

Kids just love crackers, and this year there's some excellent ones to keep them entertained at the table!! I saw them at Chef & the Cook in Camperdown but you can probably source them everywhere.

Musical Crackers! Create a xylophone or whistle orchestra, complete with music to play (and even conductors baton!) 

Luxury crackers with cooking utensils in them! $69.95

Keep them busy at the table with magic tricks, origami, balloon animals or even moustaches for photo fun! $39.95.

Do you get xmas crackers for your table? What kind do you like?

Link your xmas posts.

Monday 5 December 2016

Sun is shining down

I sometimes play this song in the car as I like to sing along with it, and I've never really understood what I'm singing (as I've never really paid attention to the lyrics), but driving home I suddenly noticed one of the phrases: about it being the little things that make life worth living, not the expectations.

Isn't it funny how succinct the essence of life can be summed up? I have so many words jumbled in my head and so many ideas and I rarely get the time to pour them out in any methodical or useful manner, and in a brief line someone else can state the truth you're looking for.

In  Alain De Botton's The New: A user's manual, he talks of our focus on the news as a way to avoid introspective reflection. He also talks about how your reliance on the news varies, depending on if you see time as an arrow or a wheel. This stopped me in my tracks, as I have always seen time in a linear fashion, stretching out before me and it never occurred to me there was any other way to view it. However, if you see it as a wheel, the difficulties you face at any given time seem easier to handle as you are really only dealing with the immediate problems and joys, as the wheel turns and the next phase begins. It makes the little personal things take on a greater importance to your daily life, and the general news has less impact on your daily life.

I guess no matter what struggles we face, we need to remember the ultimate truth in that saying, from 1200 AD, that 'This too, shall pass." and just focus on those little things that make us happy, no matter how small and inconsequential they may be.

I for one, am trying to change my world view, to reinvent the wheel.

Linking up this old post because I've been thinking about what I don't like in the world at the moment, instead of what I do...#MLSTL

Sunday 4 December 2016

Merry & Bright

There is no escaping Christmas in this country. Spare a thought for the Jews and Muslims (and everyone else who doesn't recognise the holiday) who have a nonstop barrage of trees, lights and music for a good two months every time they step foot out the door.

However, for me, it's been bringing a smile to my face, and as they say in the song, it's made my days merry and bright.

We made our gingerbread houses and are beginning to festoon the house with twinkling lights...(I just need to find them from the move - they're packed in the roof somewhere).

On a different note, this has really touched me, so if you can spare a few bucks, please donate asap. I know nothing about this charity, it just popped up on my facebook. Give & Take appeal for suits for high school boys for formal (mother fleeing domestic violence)

Linking with#WordlessWednesday and #AussieWordlessWednesday

linking with #FridayPhoto

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Reindeer Games - #ChristmasLinkUp

Christmas also coincides with our long school holiday and businesses often have a shut down, so for those not going away, Christmas is a good time to play together. Santa can bring some games to ignite that family spark and get kids off the computer.

This game has 4 escape room challenges. Looks great for teenagers.  $59.95 at Big W.

This one I purchased as I thought it would be a good one for train travel (or plane travel) as you could just take the cards and timer. Educational too. I even got one for a friend who is taking the kids to Europe as I thought it would be exciting for the kids to know the attractions before they get there. $20.00 at Big W.

My daughter got this game for herself awhile back, and when we went away on mass, kids of all ages (including a few teens) were keen to play it. It's basically Russian roulette with cream in the face. Kids love to play it, and love to watch it being played. You do have to buy that whipped cream to play though, and clean up. $10 at Kmart.

This is not a new game, but it's a great game if you have little kids of different ages. Little butterflies are shot out the trunk into the air and you have to catch them in a net as they come down. $12 at Target.

 Santa will also be bringing some backyard fun in the form of totem tennis and a slip'n'slide.

Will your Santa be bringing gadget-free fun? Do you play together over the summer holidays?

Add your Xmas posts below.

Linking with #MummyMondays and off topic for #LifeThisWeek