A year in the life 2016 #48: Friday night adventures


Kangaroo Island gin in the Botanic Gardens. Delicious in a gorgeous setting.


Learning the history of gin and tonic was a bonus.



But the gin was the star.



A stop for a drink at the Ebeneezer Place night markets.



A lovely finish to the night discovering a hidden wonder – Thrift Shop, a little cocktail bar tucked away off Waymouth Street. Serving only Australian spirits, there were some delicious cocktails on offer.



2015 weeks! #39: lots of grown up time

2015-10-05 11.31.07Public holiday Monday morning, WFTDA playoffs on the internets, some lazing about.

2015-10-05 12.48.18Followed by Monday afternoon beers at Bentspoke with a revolving array of friends. Sometimes it is nice to be child-free.

In the child-free theme, on Tuesday we went for dinner and dessert with Rachel. We rather liked trying out White Rabbit, the new dessert and cocktail venue. Much deliciousness ensued.

Wednesday it was back to training. With the all-clear on my ankle, I am keen to at least start getting back into the skating habit.

Utilising child free time to the max, it was Thursday night dinner at Pulp Kitchen. My food was lovely, but James’ was not really up to scratch, so a little disappointing.

2015-10-09 10.50.59Day off on Friday to drive to the coast and collect the boys again. James is enjoying the compulsory road trip selfie, apparently.

2015-10-09 12.16.19I hadn’t down the trip down Brown Mountain before. Some lovely rainforest.

We had a bit of beach time with the boys.

2015-10-09 16.01.01Jackie had been busy with cthulhu production.

There was some spectacular cloudage on the way home.

Saturday involved some baking.

2015-10-10 20.43.59The baking and the rest of us were then off to try champagne cocktails at Dave and Caroline’s while watching classic 1970s British comedy. There were lots of giggles – both from the champagne and the comedy.

2015-10-11 14.44.16A stop at the market after Carnage training for fish (not these ones).

2015-10-11 15.36.02With the return of warm weather, the boys (including James) have started an ongoing backyard cricket campaign – tally of wins on the kitchen blackboard.

2015-10-11 16.57.38Gin and tonic time.

2015-10-11 17.49.28And finish the week with a lovely Noons.

Gin gin gin

2015-08-23 14.35.47So what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than with a bunch of friends drinking gin and eating gin-infused or gin-appropriate foods? Really, I don’t think there is.

There was an obvious place to start…

2015-08-23 15.23.50This was a random Australian gin I had bought at the bottle shop in Berry earlier this year. Very smooth, but not very interesting with the botanicals, it did feel like we were easing our way into it.

We tried gins neat then converted to g&ts, martinis or whatever else took our fancy. As the afternoon progressed, the pours got more generous….

2015-08-23 15.03.39I think the kids were trying to escape.

2015-08-23 15.04.36Beautiful accompanying foods kept our stomachs lined – here is Rachel’s beetroot and gin cured salmon.

2015-08-23 15.44.33Staying Australian we tried Poor Tom’s – a gin I supported through Pozible. This was actually delicious – a zingy floral delight.

2015-08-23 15.50.44Sebastian alternated between chef and serveur.

2015-08-23 16.13.07We had all been hoping that the Tann’s would actually be purple, but were disappointed when we discovered it was just the bottle colouring. Nonetheless, a flavoursome gin with just a hint of sweetness at the end of the palate.

2015-08-23 16.18.30The Bulldog packed an alcoholic punch – not the most subtle of gins.

2015-08-23 16.53.58Sebastian supplied more scallops (with a little help from his father).

2015-08-23 17.29.54It was then back to Australia and Four Pillars which has become a g&t favourite for me.

2015-08-23 16.24.59We had bottles from two batches – 3 and 119 – so here Anna is sacrificing herself to science and trying both at the same time. Testing revealed that there was indeed a difference.

We moved next to the Bombay Sapphire family: the Star had quite an alcoholic fore-taste, but still was pretty easy to drink. I was surprised though that I found myself prefering the East which was peppery and delicious.

2015-08-23 17.25.37I finally made g&t cupcakes for the occasion. We’ll be making those again.

2015-08-23 19.03.50The desserts were fabulous with gin infused cheesecake, gin and lime truffles and Helen’s magnificent g&t jelly which tasted delicious and had a mesmerising wobble.

2015-08-23 19.29.37There was one last gin for the day – the Sipsmith which had lots of botanical deliciousness. Though, perhaps, by this time the palate wasn’t as sharp as it had started out!

A fabulous afternoon – it may have to become an annual event!

2015 weeks! #11: birthday, planes and jelly things

2015-03-23 06.58.07A surreal sight to begin the week as I fly out of a foggy Canberra morning to Sydney.

2015-03-23 12.19.17We had a day with folk from Vietnam and the Philippines to kick off our big capacity building program – helping to increase capacity in the area of industry engagement in skills development and the development of occupational standards. It was a great day and I’m looking forward to seeing how the project develops.

2015-03-23 14.45.20We got to do it from my favourite meeting room in Sydney.

The early morning meant I needed the help of fizzy caffeinated beverages and chocolate to maintain my focus for the day though.

2015-03-23 17.29.46We had an official dinner, so stayed the night in Sydney – here is the compulsory hotel window view.

I managed to get some exercise in at the pool up on the 15th floor or so. Great view while swimming.

2015-03-23 18.43.53Then one has to be enormously grateful for flattering hotel bathroom lighting at times.

2015-03-24 12.35.42Home again Tuesday, sitting in the back row of the plane. Since switching departments the travel system still hasn’t connected my frequent flier number to my bookings and so I am ending up in all sorts of odd spots on the planes.

2015-03-24 19.47.44Tuesday night scrim night!

Wednesday was my birthday, so James and I went out for breakfast together to the Cupping Room which is handily close to my new building.

2015-03-25 10.52.59The other James in my life, my friend and EA, had lovely birthday flowers for me when I actually got to work.

2015-03-25 11.23.06I also deployed my excellent new notebook that Jasmin had given me.

2015-03-25 11.27.28Zac used his fabulous new jewellery making skills (with much support and labour from Jackie) to produce an excellent birthday gift for me.

For my birthday dinner we went to Red Chilli the Sichuan hot pot restaurant in Civic and ate hot pot. It was a lot of fun.

2015-03-25 19.47.23We followed it up with dessert at Mr Frugii where the boys had a long chat about icecream flavours with the icecream maker.

2015-03-25 22.44.19

George came and sat on me to say happy birthday.

2015-03-26 18.38.25Natasha sent me a wonderful box full of fun things for my birthday.

2015-03-28 10.29.26And my mother sent me Bad Feminist to my delight.

Andrew gave me a new Arkham Horror expansion so we tried that out Thursday night and actually managed to defeat Shug Nigguroth in a straight up battle.

2015-03-27 06.38.07Friday was another dawn flight in the back row – this time to Melbourne for a day at the airport. Federalism keeps the Tullamarine Parkroyal in business I am sure.

2015-03-27 07.45.44It was actually cold enough to be the first #yourtightsatwork day for the year.

2015-03-27 12.31.46 HDRAnd I wore another birthday present – my lovely earrings from Rachel.

Saturday night was Dishonour Rollers Team Bonding night at Terror’s house. There were jelly shots and jelly beans and derby strategy talks and then the night ended with vast amounts of alcohol being drunk in the pool after midnight.

On Sunday morning, Jude, Zac, Zac’s best friend Sienna and I joined Shelby, Jo and Jo’s grandmother for some Mary Poppins action. It was well done and rather fun. I thought they did a particularly fine job with the staging of “Supercalifragilistic”. We had icecreams had half time and enjoyed it all a lot.

Afterwards the kids and I wandered up to the new LSR Manhattan and had after-show treats.

2015-03-29 16.51.43Went to assist at DHR training in the afternoon (and was very relieved that there were enough people there I didn’t need to get on skates). The way everyone worked, you couldn’t tell there had been excessive alcohol consumption the night before.

2015-03-29 18.32.05I was pleased to have a civilised hair of the dog post training though.

2015-03-29 20.37.56And then there was a lot of eating and World Cup final watching to end the week.

2015 weeks! #7: all the usual things

2015-02-23 08.30.30Zac had choir again Monday morning – this time I got organised so that I could take the long route to work after dropping him off and so went for 13 km ride after the 20 minute walk to school.

2015-02-23 12.09.39Continuing to unpack the office reveals some treasures. “Disk 4 of 5” hahahahahaaaa. It really wasn’t that long ago.

2015-02-23 18.20.11G&T time – I bought some Beefeater 24 on the way home from Thailand and am quite enjoying it in a g&t – very smooth.

2015-02-24 11.03.08I still love this view from our new Boardroom. Definitely a brooding sort of Canberra day.

2015-02-24 19.02.38Scrim day – here I am with pigtails in ready to go and skate around hitting people (with purpose). I don’t include an after photo – much more dishevelled.

2015-02-25 11.24.53Where do you want to be on a Wednesday night til 11pm – a Senate Committee room? No, me neither….but needs must.

2015-02-27 13.41.31The sad bit about our move to the new building is that, for energy efficiency reasons, I don’t have my own fridge any more. It is annoying from both a symbolic and practical point of view, but I also understand and I know that missing my own fridge is kind of petty. It is interesting how, as you move through your career, these symbols are really powerful motivating factors – your own office, your own fridge, your car. I remember always looking at SES cars and thinking that the day I had one, I would have made it. Admittedly, I gave up a work car and carpark for a significant pay increase, but occasionally I feel vaguely cheated (in actuality I am not remotely – economically it makes a lot more sense for me to get a pay out for my car and environmentally and for my own health it makes more sense for me to ride/walk to walk). So losing my own fridge makes me a bit sad in a way which I am entirely aware is white, rich, privilege – but I earned that fridge….Anyway, James my EA has taken to aggressively labelling my fizzy caffeinated beverages for the communal fridge and I have issued various warnings to staff that they had better keep their receipts for fizzy caffeinated beverages.

2015-02-27 15.05.28

We had a “telepresence” meeting at work with all the states and territories. I love the technology – it is like sitting across a table from someone, so much better than teleconferencing and even a step up from standard videoconferencing. I look forward to travelling less and teleprescencing more.

Friday night cricket with Zachary. My turn to score. I was super pleased that I had had a second fizzy caffeinated beverage after concentrating on a two hour teleprescence then having to concentrate on two + hours of scoring cricket.

2015-02-28 13.07.04George seems to delight in our various, strong, smells, choosing as he does to sit amongst our derby and cricket gear whenever he gets a chance. Eeew.

2015-02-28 14.55.42

Caught up with some work (as usual) at junior derby training. Jude worked pretty hard though.

2015-02-28 16.37.40Zac has now started learning the cello. He and Jude had their first go at trying to play together. It sounded better than expected.

On Sunday morning Zac had his first performance outing with the Trebles – singing for the entertainment of those doing Amy’s bike ride.

2015-03-01 10.35.11Of course, the whole thing turned into a bit of a drama as Zac managed to get glass in his bike tyre as we rode our bikes into town. Jude and I tried to go and get it fixed while Zac was singing, but of course the bike store wasn’t open for another hour. As it was, we ended up having iced chocolates while waiting for the tyre repair. Not such a bad outcome.

2015-03-01 11.36.12

2015 weeks! #4: of walks and games

2015-01-26 16.21.59One has to love a week that begins with a public holiday. After taking the boys to see Paper Planes in the morning, Zac and I made the most of the afternoon by going for a leisurely ride. Zac still isn’t super fast on the bike, but his pace suited my healing back.

2015-01-26 18.45.19I was very sad to finish my Dorothy Parker gin, but I guess it just means I have to find the time to visit New York again soon (it is nearly two years!).

2015-01-26 20.29.14It is fun now the boys are all big on the games too – we had some family Munchkin time.

2015-01-27 19.53.41Because I haven’t been able to do any vigorous exercise, I have been tracking how much I have been walking a bit more. With all the work on the Machinery of Government changes, I have spent quite a lot of time walking between Industry House on one side of town and 50 Marcus Clarke Street on the other which has kept up the step count. Some days though the level of exercise has needed a bit of a boost. While James and Sebastian went off to scrim on Tuesday night, Zac and Jude and I went for a very pleasant walk.

2015-01-27 19.54.12Here’s Zac and I together for no particular reason.

2015-01-28 19.49.38On Wednesday night we went to the grand final of the Big Bash at Manuka. Inevitably, it was completely packed. The game was a little slow at times, but the final over of two made up for it. It was a lot of fun.

I am not sure the fireworks afterwards could quite match the excitement of the final over with Brett Lee missing a hat trick on the final ball when the winning run was scored.

2015-01-28 23.01.05Another walk with the boys – this time Jude came up with the winning idea that Mr Frugii was a really awesome destination for a walk.

Friday night Firefly playing. Rachel gave us the game for Christmas and it turns out it is a lot of fun to play.

George is such a sucker for cuddles.

2015-01-30 19.53.54-1I ran out of gin (well, except for the Bombay Amber which I have decided is ideal for negronis but not as good for g&ts) so I took the chance to go Australian. Very nice.

2015-01-31 12.29.49Roller derby started with a bit of excitement for the boys as Jackie Daniels and SmartyPants were in town and took their first training session for the year.

We had to finish our Firefly game Saturday night.

2015-01-31 17.51.44And what better to accompany some misbehavin’ than a Rockford.

2015-01-31 18.45.02Sunday I took the boys to Into the Woods, then it was time to try out the new addition to the Dessert Triangle – Oliver Brown.

2015-02-01 15.03.08Finally, Sunday afternoon provided the opportunity to drop wine on the character sheet – is it a real character sheet before it has wine stains?

2015-02-01 17.46.07

2015 weeks! #3: injury and recovery (and lots of codeine)

2015-01-20 17.49.27So after a couple of weeks of getting myself focused on regular exercise and getting ready for the start of derby training, I pushed myself too hard early Monday morning and managed to do some disc damage to my lower back. I knew I’d hurt it, but I think my muscles and everything were so warmed and stretched after my cardio session (yes, what was I thinking) that it really wasn’t until the end of Monday I realised just how badly injured I was. Tuesday was physio, doctor and codeine, codeine, codeine. And working from home, although having a red hot go at resting in between emails. I tell you, skipping with a rope is clearly the wrong thing to do.

2015-01-19 22.17.51George quite liked hanging out with, or on top of, the convalescing.

2015-01-20 17.43.13

When having back problems, it is important to remember that gin is an excellent muscle relaxant.

2015-01-21 10.48.09So look, I know that going to work when I am actually injured is not an excellent idea and I know I should really just rest and all of that – but I also am in the middle of extra responsibilities and super busy times and it is amazing how much you can cope with on fizzy caffeinated beverages and super doses of codeine. Nonetheless, at times, it was clear that my resilience was rather lower when in severe pain than it is at other times.

2015-01-21 19.14.55

On Wednesday night I gritted my teeth through the pain and we played Sebastian’s D&D version of The Hunger Games. He’d had a bit of a shitty day through no fault of his own, and had done a huge amount of work on the scenario, so we spent some time playing it. He’d done a pretty good job, although there was a lot of focus on food gathering (which I guess would probably be a thing).

2015-01-21 23.45.28At least having to spend some time lying down and resting meant I did get to finish The Peripheral. I really enjoyed it – it reminded me a lot of Virtual Light, but most subtle and clever. Very easy to read and great story with some interesting political and social commentary (as always with Gibson).

2015-01-22 10.06.24Then there was the question of what, of these and other books, to read next (I chose Wolf Hall for a change of pace).

2015-01-22 12.23.31Still school holidays for the boys, and Jude took some time out with lego.

2015-01-22 17.31.19Gin, still a great muscle relaxant.

2015-01-23 11.02.43After being a little less than my most robust on Thursday at work, one of my lovely team, Wendy, brought me flowers on Friday. It is lovely that I have a team who pitches in when needed and without fuss – while I was a bit delicate, they were all willing to pick up extra things and make sure that everything kept running smoothly. With the change in Minister, there have been a few times where one area has had a huge unexpected workload, and other teams have jumped in to help. I’m really proud of my Branch and the way that they are supportive and can pull together and will find solutions that will suit everyone rather than just themselves.

2015-01-24 13.44.41There has been quite a lot of backyard cricket these holidays. The boys will pop outside for a quick round quite regularly.

2015-01-24 13.46.39

While at the Bont International, I had ordered some customised Bonts. The only problem – the sales dude forgot to write down my size. So when James got his shiny new skates, he also sent me through several pairs to size myself. Of course, the worst thing was that for most of the week I couldn’t bend over to try them on. By Saturday I was able.

2015-01-24 18.23.04My back was repaired enough by Saturday to make laksa. Delicious, delicious laksa.

While James was at training on Sunday, I took the boys to Casaurina Sands where we enjoyed some river swimming. It was quite a lovely day, and quite a strong flowing river.

2015-01-25 18.03.08Some more resting after our river adventures, finding Wolf Hall very enjoyable (and comparing the perspectives with those from the Tudors!).

2015-01-25 20.55.32To end the week, games, cheese and roller derby gossip. A most excellent combination with excellent people.