Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Audrey, Eli and I went along to 'Lollipops' this morning, to meet our friend Jo and her son Max.

There's three or four of these indoor play areas across Canberra and as today was a rainy and blustery day it seemed a good place to be.

When we arrived just after 10am the place was packed with kids. Audrey and Eli were a bit overawed at first, especially as there were a lot of bigger children running around pretty much unsupervised. There are quite a few climbing areas, slides and the pièce de résistance a 'tea cup ride'.

Audrey took a little while to get settled, but Eli is a natural climber and was climbing up equipment which to be honest was far too big for him (he literally can climb before he can walk!)

The tea cup ride took Audrey's eye instantly. We haven't taken her to any fairgrounds so the ride must have seemed incredible to her 2.5 year old eyes. The centre only 'ran' the ride every 30 minutes or so, at which point it was mobbed by all of the sticky fingered kids in the place who descended on it with animated enthusiasm. Audrey wanted to go on the ride, but I don't think she appreciated that she'd have to share it with other children. She initially sat in it, then wanted out when the cup filled up with other kids.

After we watched it spin around once she was clearly hooked so the 2nd time she gleefully went in unaccompanied. Here's a clip (taken on my phone). I would have sat in the cup with her if the other lady hadn't barged me out of the way first! It's a dog eat dog world in kids indoor play areas!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Southside Farmers' Market

We often spend Sunday morning mooching around Southside Farmers' market. It's only a turnips throw from where we live and it's quite a decent indoor and outdoor market selling local produce. They also often have lots of free samples, so the kids (and us) usually enjoy plenty of free apple slices, bread, cake, olives, sausages etc.

Amy and Audrey had visited last Sunday and delightedly told us that they had found a new stall selling crêpes, and so we set off early this morning in eager anticipation of enjoying crepes for breakfast.

Alas the crepe seller had vamoosed (is that French for disappeared?) :) and so our plans were ruined.

The kids' faces dropped. We ran into a neighbour who saw our now quiet kids slumped disconsolately in the pushchair and remarked to us that 'morale looks low'. Which indeed it did.

As compensation we found sellers of Belgian hot chocolate and baklava, which seemed to appease the kids and lift the mood quite considerably.

Audrey ended our trip by singing 'have you seen the pancake man?'(to the tune of 'have you seen the muffin man') as we headed back to the car park.

Eli and Audrey enjoy the delights of hot chocolate and baklava

The reason that the interior windows of our car are smeared :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Big Submarine

Australia is full of 'big things'. If you want a full and comprehensive list you can click here. Essentially if you’ve got a café, restaurant or small town in Australia that’s not doing too well financially then you crack out the wood and papermache and build yourself a giant banana, guitar, fish, pineapple etc and the people will flock from miles around to see it.

I’ve managed to see a few ‘big things’ during my time here, but at some point will have to plan an extensive Australia-wide tour in order to see every giant lobster, strawberry and penguin that the country has to offer.

Holbrook on the Hume highway doesn’t exactly have a ‘big thing’, in its truest sense. It does have a submarine though. It’s remarkable that there’s absolute no nautical or naval link to the town at all, it just appears that the town secured a decommissioned submarine in 1995 from the Australian Royal Navy in the hope that passers by would stop off for a cup of tea rather than zoom up the Hume Highway.

I actually feel that their plan was a bit ill conceived as the town is due to be by-passed in 2012, and I'm slightly dubious about whether the sight of a grounded submarine will be enough to make people pull off the new highway. Anyway here's a picture I took on Saturday morning.

Weston Park

A nice weekend spent at the Garden Centre in Piallago and Weston Park. Despite the weather growing colder Audrey has taken to wearing her princess/ballerina dress pretty much round the clock. Here's some pics.

Audrey and Eli enjoying a black swan moment in Weston Park

Friday, May 14, 2010

When Gordon met the Queen


courtesy of this week's Private Eye magazine..

Monday, May 10, 2010

A mouse took a walk through the deep, dark wood…

So begins the Gruffalo. A book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. We were given the story-book when Audrey was really small and (the now well thumbed) copy has become a favourite of ours ever since.

I think the premise of the story is based on a Chinese fable . The book was published in the late 90s and has since grown to be a bit of a children’s phenomenon with toys, DVDs and spin-off books ('The Gruffalo’s Child' amongst many others). Nevertheless, being English it all feels a bit less cynical than Dora (born from the empire of Murdoch).

Now the stage play of the Gruffalo was in town!

Audrey and I once again went along to a theatre performance, our second theatrical outing in a month (this time to the small but trendy ‘Street Theatre’ on the West of Canberra). The Gruffalo was nearly an hour long (amazingly adapted from a book which takes about 5 minutes to read!), but all the children were engrossed throughout. It was a nice play as it was really well sung, acted and there was plenty in it for the adults as well which would have passed over children’s heads.

There was no hard sell of merchandise which was nice and no interval either in which to push plastic toys via pester power. Audrey enjoyed herself and we’ve been enacting parts of it since we got home. A big thumbs up from us both for the Gruffalo.

…A mouse found a nut, and the nut was good.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Eli on the rocking-reindeer

Eli and Audrey share a rocking-reindeer which we bought a few months ago from Ikea. It's stood for weeks in Audrey's bedroom un-played with, but for reasons known only to people under 3 it's suddenly become toy no.1 overnight.

Because we only have one between them, Eli and Audrey have to learn to take turns, a concept which sometimes proves difficult for them to understand. Yesterday I would have paid over $500 to have had a second reindeer such was the comotion that having only one caused.

The video shows Eli enjoying himself on the toy (in his pyjamas) while Audrey caused devistation to another part of the house. Remarkably he's not come un-seated yet.