A year in the life 2016 #356: Christmas Day

I made a Christmas tree.

We started with the good stuff.

There was lots of food-making and preparation – after all, we ended up with 19 for lunch and another six after that.

There was chicken, and scallops and all sorts of things.

An amazing looking turkey (thanks Helen!)

A gigantic (ethical) delicious ham.

There were small people with bon bons.

An Fritha being super excited about everything.

(We had to take a selfie)

There were happy family shots.

And teenagers having fun.

And being teenagers.

Look at the food!

I mean look at it!

There was  a lot of food. But it was Christmas.

Then we still managed dessert (this is but a small selection).

Then more friends turned up with more presents and more dessert – this was my faveourite present (thanks Rachel).

So there was more eating and drinking.

And more selfies!

It was a lovely Christmas  – much love to everyone who joined us for our first Christmas in our new house. And to all those we love who couldn’t join us, we hope your Christmas was equally excellent.

2015 weeks! #50: Christmas and all that jazz

2015-12-21 13.39.03Who can resist a delicious dessert the week before Christmas? It is the time for indulgence.

Also it is definitely negroni time.

2015-12-21 19.57.50The boys, including James, who were all home this week had begun the epic job of packing up the house. Here are some of my old cassette tapes I was finally forced to part with.

2015-12-23 10.50.30Meanwhile, back at work, my staff had decided how they would deal with me spending time working from Adelaide – and RoboMelissa was born.

2015-12-23 11.39.37Because they are also lovely and know me well, they also gave me gin and flowers.

2015-12-23 14.23.07James and I went out to an “Executive” section lunch. it has been absolutely wonderful to have one EA all year, and ideal that that one person was James. He’s totally brilliant and makes me laugh and yes sometimes we get sidetracked talking about everything but we are so awesome we still get it all done.

2015-12-23 17.04.44Christmas cards from Korea are a little bit weird.

2015-12-24 09.48.52Here’s me on Christmas eve with my lovely new present from Natasha contemplating the fact that this is my last official day working in Canberra until the middle of next year. Of course, I’ll be back in the office in Canberra between now and then, but it won’t be quite the same.

2015-12-24 13.44.44Goodbye office!

2015-12-24 14.31.17And straight off to Merimbula. These boys are terribly cheeky.

2015-12-24 14.42.06Some nice clouds on the way.

While the boys were staying at Jackie’s, there wasn’t quite enough space for us, and James and I were more than happy to find ourselves an alternative. We stayed at a little way away at an old converted church. Pretty cool.

2015-12-24 18.23.31We got into Christmas Eve the right way.

Lovely to have Katie back in the country.

Then Katie and Zac stole my phone.

Pavlova for dessert.

2015-12-24 20.15.39The boys played for us.

2015-12-24 20.37.47A good start to the Christmas festivities.

2015-12-24 20.40.36Christmas morning began with breakfast and food preparation.

2015-12-25 10.23.38Then selfies and presents. I am apparently easy to buy for.

Pigs on the Christmas tree.

2015-12-25 11.48.12Then it was time for Christmas Day cricket.

2015-12-25 12.05.03We also got in a Christmas Day beach visit.

And time for champagne.

2015-12-25 16.13.48Sebastian prepared some scallops.

To the table!

And the turkey looked amazing.

2015-12-25 18.00.59Some people…

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And a lovely sunset.

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It dawned fair-ish on Boxing Day, so we went to the beach.

2015-12-26 11.10.55The skies got more threatening and we headed home – just before the torrential rain.

The rest of the afternoon was indoor activities – perfect lazy Boxing Day.

2015-12-27 09.59.42Even Ollie got in on the lazy action.

The next day was lovely weather, so we spent the morning on stand up paddle boards and kayaks and hitting the beach.

And the afternoon was kite flying. I don’t think we expected it to be quite as much fun as it was, and the conditions were perfect for it.

After dinner icecreams.

2015-12-27 20.30.41Then, once the boys headed back to John and Jackie’s, James and I finished off the day with cocktails at Dulcie’s, a very cool little cocktail bar in an old house, named after its original inhabitant. Wonderful.


2015 weeks! #48: schemes and themes

Monday morning was all about our new house and choosing the colour scheme. I really wanted to avoid beige, so we have ended up with a whole lot of grey and silver and white. I’m pitching for red couches and possibly blinds. Apparently we got through the whole ordeal in record times – there is something useful about being decisive.

2015-12-07 20.50.03Zachary and George watching TV.

2015-12-08 10.06.53Our Division end of year morning tea was summer themed – hence the umbrellas. Or cocktail umbrellas are fun. Or something.

2015-12-08 17.48.28New t-shirt arrived. With the day I had had, it was completely apt.

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The Christmas theme continued.

Our Departmental Christmas party was cruise-themed. We went with some sort of luau idea. This is me with my boss – it may be the first time she’s been in a selfie which got posted on the internet.

The Carnage end of year get together apparently was themed Brad-drinks-too-much-while-the-rest-of-us-look-on-bemused-entertained-and-occasionally-horrified.

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I did get a lovely Christmas candle from the guys though for my team support work this year.
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Saturday we road-tripped to the Blue Mountains for a junior derby game  – last derby road trip for the year.

We had time for the three brothers to visit the Three Sisters.

And having afternoon tea beforehand.

The boys played well, Zac got to eat cake, James reffed and we all had fun.
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Jude was super-excited to get his first MVP award.

We were back in time for me to take Zac to the cricket Sunday morning. This wasn’t without some drama as one of Zac’s teammates had an absolute tantrum on the field and stormed off which was bad enough and then his mother ended up hitting him twice with the cricket bat, quite hard on the bum and i was just altogether horrified. The kid stormed off and started walking home – not close… Meanwhile Zac played really well and displayed all the right amounts of sportsmanship.2015-12-13 15.15.29

The painful and expensive task of buying new shoes for Sebastian and Jude.

Sebastian decided to experiment with cupcakes and fondant icing. Delicious experimentation.

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I made a beef bourginon variant for dinner.2015-12-13 20.13.19

And here are my lovely threesome.

Weeks! #52: work, Christmas and Adelaide

2014-12-22 12.54.10-1My Monday was not the day I expected it to be and it was crazy and long and involved doing three or four people’s jobs while preparing for a new Minister and a new Department. It was nearly 11 hours long without a break and by the end I was exhausted but had to come home and pack. And I didn’t quite manage to finish my Christmas shopping.

2014-12-23 07.34.17Despite it all, it was still Adelaide road trip day on Tuesday.

Lunch in Hay and the long and not winding road. However, we got the drive over in good time.

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Here I am facing last minute Christmas shopping on Christmas eve. James and I left the boys home and got it done with all the efficiency we could muster.

2014-12-24 16.50.55The boys were pretty happy to hang out at Lucy’s and give the pool a trial.

Christmas eve dinner was with Sam and Tracy, followed by gelato!

Christmas Day: there were presents, prawns, cooking, Dad falling asleep and of course mother’s summer pudding. It was a good day.

For Boxing Day we headed to the Henley Beach to catch up with Natasha and family. Another lovely day.

The fun didn’t stop there – it was in the pool again when we got back to Lucy’s.

My hair suffered from a bit too much sea wind.

2014-12-26 20.58.08Emilie and Zac bonded a lot during this visit. Here is Zac reading bedtime stories.

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We wandered into town for some shopping and after several days of Christmas food and BBQ had noodles for lunch.

2014-12-27 13.14.21After lunch it was off to Hazelwood Park to catch up with friends and drink champagne under the trees.


Out for Mexican for dinner. These two are troublemakers.


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Spent some time Sunday helping the cousins with lego construction…

2014-12-28 14.26.59…practising some cricket with uncle Sam and more swimming.

It was then off to CitiZen for dinner.

Once home, time for some fun with sparklers and glow sticks.

Weeks #51: pre Christmas fun and surprises

2014-12-15 07.15.53Started the week with the peaceful scene of Lake Burley Griffin as seen from a bike. Lovely morning for it.

2014-12-15 19.09.512014-12-15 19.10.27Jude and Sebastian got into some cooking for their end-of-year celebrations at school.

2014-12-16 13.08.47Had our fifth and final visit by a Korean delegation for the year. They still give the best gifts.

2014-12-16 15.41.36-1Work was definitely getting into the Christmas spirit.

2014-12-16 21.58.17Went to Capital Carnage training Tuesday night. This was me looking a bit dishevelled afterwards.

2014-12-17 08.21.44Wednesday was a big last day: the last school day for the year, Sebastian’s last day at primary school, Zac’s last day in junior primary and the last time all three of them will be at the same school together.  Sad but exciting – another phase in our lives opens up and new things will happen. They aren’t really my little boys any more.

2014-12-17 20.49.07In Board Game Land this week it was time for some Powergrid – the Korean version which I don’t think I have played before. Was just beaten by James.

2014-12-18 10.33.39Started to see next year taking shape.

2014-12-18 14.45.22Lovely present from some of my staff (with added champagne). I think they know me.

2014-12-19 08.08.34Friday was another lake ride to start the day. Trying to get back into the rhythm of consistent exercise.

Saturday lunch was a pre Christmas celebration with Sarah and Simon and the kids and Jackie and John. Lots of opportunities for baby Isaac cuddles.

2014-12-20 15.33.37Felt rather exhausted Saturday afternoon. Coming to the end of what has been a long and stressful year, I guess it is now surprise if energy stores get depleted. Tried to nap but my brain was too busy with the thinking about all the things that still needed doing before heading to Adelaide, so this pick-me-up had suffice.

2014-12-20 18.42.26Canberra looked spectacular as we walked into town.

We stopped for dinner at the Hamlet – the pop up cluster of food vans in Lonsdale Street.

2014-12-20 20.17.45-1Then we bumped into Sean, Helen and Alice, so there was a compulsory merry-go-round ride.

And then for some fun under the Christmas lights.

2014-12-21 14.51.03On Sunday the boys’ cooking skills were out again as Jude and Zac prepared salads for our pre Christmas friends dinner.

2014-12-21 14.51.17Presents were wrapped.

2014-12-21 14.36.09And then the news of the Ministerial reshuffle came out and the shock news that I was moving Ministers and departments. Not what you want a few days before Christmas.

Anyway, some Christmas fun times were had…

…then I had to head into work for a while. Once I got back, things headed towards this very quickly…

2014-12-21 22.13.58-1And I had a whole different Monday to which to look forward!

Weeks! #50: goodbye primary school and other events

2014-12-08 20.12.52In my striving to get fit again, I went to SkateFit again Monday night after some time off. It was a lot of fun, if exhausting, and I was the two-times winner of the wheels game, maintaining the family pride.

2014-12-09 13.31.18At the hairdresser on Tuesday with work to do.

2014-12-09 14.40.09Bought myself some coloured pens – I do like to make my comments on people’s work in happy colours.

2014-12-09 18.45.43Dinner out with the family. Clearly it was a two-drinks-simultaneously type of night.

2014-12-09 22.35.48George does love to sit on me while I am watching television.

2014-12-10 06.58.30In the continuing fitness attempts – up early and riding by the lake. Always happy to see the balloons out.

2014-12-10 08.33.02We all walked to school together for the morning of Sebastian’s farewell assembly.

Goodbye primary school. At assembly the teachers all said something about each student who was leaving which was quite lovely. Then it was time for photos with friends and teachers and some cake. I only cried a little. Sebastian seems so grown up and it does seem like a long time since he was a tiny baby, but it is still hard to think of him leaving primary school and heading off to high school – is he already that old? And now we have all the teen years ahead of us. Such a transition.

2014-12-10 17.48.51With a new hair cut, Sebastian was looking suave for his school farewell dinner (and disco!). See what I mean about looking grown up?

2014-12-10 21.16.52Notes from all his friends.

2014-12-11 10.41.33Back to normality on Thursday with a day trip to Melbourne.

2014-12-12 07.04.40And Friday morning was another morning ride – though if I’d known how blustery and slightly wet it was I probably would have stayed in bed.

2014-12-12 11.23.13For #derbyshirtfriday I got out my Victorian Vanguard t-shirt.

2014-12-12 13.29.50Friday afternoon was our branch Christmas party. I got to tell the branch how proud I was of all they have achieved this year – and have a few drinks with them plus play pool really badly.

2014-12-12 14.33.26My Secret Santa gift giver understands my priorities.

Saturday morning Zac and I headed to the Regatta Point to hang out with “Internet People” as Helen so succinctly put it. I got to meet and cuddle baby Wren and Zac got to play with lots of small people but, as always, especially enjoyed hanging out with Alice.

Saturday afternoon was the final junior derby training for the year – they got medals and the odler kids had a session long scrim. Lots of fun.

2014-12-13 17.39.30Out of tonic, so it was emergency (double) negroni time.

2014-12-13 18.13.37We went for sophisticated entrees with sashimi and seared tuna. The boys ate more of it than us.

2014-12-14 13.54.46On Sunday I finally finished Blue Mars which bring the Mars trilogy to a close. I must say it has been a bit of a long haul. They are all great and contain some really interesting political and social ideas and the depictions of the implications of settlement on Mars are insightful. But they are quite dense and often repetitive and can be quite hard going at times. I’m pleased I read them, but I am also pleased I never have to read them again.

2014-12-14 16.33.24The boys got into a bit of D&D.

2014-12-14 19.40.52And the whole family played some Munchkin.

2014-12-14 17.19.05Finally for the weekend, I did a bit of cleaning up and out of stuff, but depsite its faded-ness and that it is stretched out of shape, I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye to my Sonic Youth t-shirt from New Year’s Eve 1995.


The day really began with the watching of demonstrations of the small boys deploying their new boffer weaponry in the backyard. Santa visit = success.

2013-12-25 10.03.13Boys were also quite taken by the giant balloons in their box of treasure from Andrew who has looked after them post school all year.

We had a lovely brunch with Rachel, Jasmin, Paul and Young Andrew which included panckakes, fruit, bacon, German sausages, James’ gravlax and eggs which Rachel brought that had been freshly laid and then poached. Delicious.

2013-12-25 14.32.13Zachary was also pretty keen on the shirt he received from Natasha and made sure to wear it for the afternoon’s activities.

After watching Tomorrow When The World Began which was in Sebastian’s stocking from Father Christmas, we headed over to Jackie and John’s for presents and Christmas dinner.

There were a bunch of children – John’s grandchildren and grand niece and nephew were there so Jackie provided a post-dinner treasure hunt for giant bubble wands which lead to much delighted blowing of bubbles.

After a lovely afternoon and evening we headed home. The small boys went to bed and James and I enjoyed some Sons of Anarchy. And for those of us who had been on Designated Driver duty, there was a new bottle of Laphroaig PX to be opened.

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The week that was…Week 52: not quite the last week of the year

The week began with a lunchtime visit to Turner Primary School for the end of year assembly and to see Sebastian get inducted as vice captain. There was quite a ceremony and Sebastian was definitely as proud as proud can be.

Backyard cricket season is truly upon us. There has been a lot of cricketing in the last couple of weeks.

2013-12-16 19.49.01Tuesday night we went and checked out Jamie’s Italian with Steve. Verdict was positive, and it is very kid-friendly.

Jasmin did a fabulous job or organising the giving tree at work – and everyone in the building did a fine job of donating presents.

2013-12-18 13.50.41Wednesday night, Sebastian went off to the yr5-6 end-of-year disco taking a box of Wookie Cookies he had made for supper with him.

2013-12-18 21.41.18We played Ascension instead.

2013-12-19 08.12.07Thursday morning Zac and I had our last early walk to school together for the year.

2013-12-19 08.14.56Thursday night was martini night! We went to the Ox at Kingston and took full advantage of their extensive gin list before heading to Penny University for dinner. It was good to catch up with Dave, see Caroline who I hadn’t seen since Delhi, see Anna for the first time in ages as well as Rachel, Jasmin, Young Andrew and Steve. A very enjoyable night.

On Friday we had morning tea to bid farewell to my wonderful ex-EA Krystal (now working for my boss) who is about to have a baby.

2013-12-20 10.52.08Here is a random Jude picture – school’s out!

2013-12-20 18.19.50James had been to the market so we got some lovely seafood for dinner.

2013-12-20 18.40.26Saturday morning was some casual skating at ANU.

2013-12-21 11.10.04And then it was an afternoon of Friend-mas! We ate lovely food including blinis and scallops, turkey breast and roast pork and a huge selection of desserts. It was an extremely pleasant way to spend Saturday late afternoon and evening.

It was super hot on Sunday, so it was a good day for the boys to try out their slip and slide.

George wasn’t entirely amused.

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And I was most happy with my book and a beer.

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The week that was…week 51: still sick, still busy but Christmas is coming

2013-12-09 11.56.56Whether it was trying to derby or just that my illness decided to enter a new phase, I felt absolutely terrible Monday morning and so ended up in bed for the day. Sebastian was also ill, so he took the couch while I stayed mostly in bed. With George of course.

2013-12-09 17.05.35In better news, our raspberries are being quite generous this year.

Fit enough to be walking to school again with the boys. Family walking together.

Wednesday was school concert night. It was actually better than usual this year. Zachary sang in the junior choir as well as with his class. The years 5-6 did a great compilation of songs from their years of school – the year sixes dancing with their kinder buddies for the Umbrella song made me positively teary. Also the Nelson Mandela tribute song. Maybe I am just getting soft and emotional in my old age.

2013-12-12 19.09.47On Thursday we went to Steve’s house for a BBQ. Seeing this on the fridge made me think of Jill.

Friday was our branch Christmas party. There was lots of fighting with water pistols and blowing of bubbles. I dominated on the pinball for quite some time, but then was at risk of having to give up being Branch Head when one of the guys got a gigantic hihg score. In the end, he decided it would be too hard to train me to do his job, so he’d stay where he was.

On Saturday it was Christmas afternoon tea at Jackie’s with Sarah and Simon and Imogen and Ryan. Sebastian had stayed over night at Jackie’s after she’d taken him to the cricket, and he helped her make cupcakes and shortbread. It was lovely to see them and have all the cousins play together.

2013-12-14 22.26.25Time for a bit of D&D in the evening – this is with the group (although some new members and some who have departed) that facilitated James and I originally meeting 18 or so years ago. Still going!

Sunday morning I went and got a tree and the boys helped decorate it. Yay, Christmas!

2013-12-15 19.42.05Zac constructing Lego Star Wars Advent calendar entries.

2013-12-15 17.08.46 2013-12-15 17.30.22We had our last training for the year on Sunday – it was more of a party and a free skate. Jude managed to get nearly as pink as the inside of his helmet.

2013-12-15 20.24.16I got a laminated poster of our posters for the year to say thanks for being line up manager. We are looking forward to another big year next year!

A year in the life…day 350: Christmas!


This year a few family traditions changed as we had Christmas lunch at Lucy my sister’s house rather than at my parents house. But somethings fortunately stay the same  – Mum made the delicious summer pudding for lunch.