Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Weekend

We enjoyed an extended Easter Break with Easter being rolled into Anzac Day. We took advantage of the extra holidays by spending days at Canberra Zoo and Tidbinbilla, (a lovely nature reserve just outside of Canberra) as well as an Easter egg hunt on Easter day at Lanyon Homestead. Here's a few pics...

A video of the playground at Tidbinbilla

Friday, April 22, 2011

Eli turns 2!

Eli turned 2 today. We can't believe our little baby boy has grown up so quickly and the time has flown by.

He's a lovely chap.

Even though he's just discovered the tantrums synonymous with the 'terrible twos' for the majority of the time he's a cuddly and affectionate little boy. While he's sometimes overshadowed by his big sister, we've watched his own personality develop and grow. He can be serious at times, but equally he has a wicked giggle and good sense of humour. Here are some pictures of his birthday. Happy Birthday Eli.

Our Holiday to Bawley Point

Bawley Point is a small village on the South Coast, 2.5 hours from Canberra. The final 40km before you reach the coast is driven along the twiddly Pacific Highway with sharp bends and steep descents. Depending on your knowledge of the road you either drive at breakneck speed or pick your way around the curves until you arrive in Batemans Bay, and from there you head north to Bawley Point.

Of historical note (and I've nicked this from Wikipedia) it was there in 1770 that Captain Cook first sighted indigenous Australians.

We had 3 nights there this week with our friends Tim and Hayley and their kids Teddy (aged 4) and Alex (7) who travelled south from Sydney. The whole of the coastal area is beautiful, with magnificent forests filled with eucalyptus which seem to touch the sky and lovely beaches which (as it was midweek and autumn) were empty.

The weather was fantastic too. We had lovely sunny days so the kids were in shorts and t-shirts and even swam in the sea (except Audrey who only opted to dip her toes in!). So it was a bit of a shock to return to Canberra today which was rather more chilly. No more shorts and t-shirts here until around November!

Rainbow Lorikeets on the balconyfun on the beach
Batemans Bay
The packed beach at Bawley Point

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lyons Easter Egg Hunt

Our neighbouring suburb, Lyons organised an Easter egg hunt this weekend. We're enjoying a period of lovely weather at the moment, so it made sense to head round the corner and look for chocolate eggs under the autumnal leaves.

The day was put on by the local Rotary club, and everything from start to finish was terrific. The children started by decorating paper bags into which they would collect the Easter eggs and then we enjoyed some games on the grass while we waited for the concealment of the eggs.

We were then arranged into rows corresponding with our childrens' ages and then we were off.

It was funny to watch Amy's competitive spirit kick in at this point.... Other people's children were bulldozed out of the way as she forged ahead, Audrey and Eli hand in hand, it was incredible to watch.

Initially our search looked bleak. The event had attracted quite a number of kids and despite Amy's heroic efforts (to beat other kids into the ground) we initially only had two small eggs to show for our endeavors. Fortunately more searching found us a respectable number and the children sat on the grass and ate their loot.

Afterwards, there was a really good sausage sizzle, face painting and a bouncey/jumping castle.

We headed off around midday, we'll definitely be back next year for more.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Today's harvest

3 pumpkins, 2 squash, 2 chillis (nice and hot) and 7 cherry tomatoes..

looking forward to the soup!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Somers come to visit!

Our friends Tam and Andy, plus their children Amélie and Félix paid a flying visit yesterday. They’re posted in Nouméa at the moment, so it’s been about 18 months since we’d last seen them.

It was really nice to catch up and the kids all ‘gelled’ remarkably quickly. Audrey loves the company of ‘big’ girls and with Amélie having recently turned 5, Audrey was overjoyed to have someone to colour with and generally dress-like-a-fairy with. Eli too found a bigger friend in Félix.

Tam and Andy had a busy schedule of visits, so we only had enough time for a speedy catch up before they had to dash to the airport, but it was lovely to see them for a short while. Here’s a couple of pics taken in our sandpit.

Comics from the UK

We're lucky to have a seemingly continuous stream of magazines, toys and gifts regularly sent to Audrey and Eli from their Grandpa and Grandma in the UK.

The latest batch was a couple of comics (Bob the Builder for Eli and Peppa Pig for Audrey). What was notable about it was the height which Eli jumped off the ground when he spotted a 'Bob Bob' comic in our letterbox. Here's a couple of pics of them enjoying their loot!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Southside Farmers' Market

On most Sundays we head off to Canberra's Southside farmers' market. It's not far from where we live and briefly it was moved to within a short walk/cycle ride. Alas it's now moved back to its original spot at the CIT campus on Hindmarsh Drive.

The market is a mix of fresh vegetables, fruit, bread, meat and the occasional oddity - macadamia sellers or avocados by the dozen brought by farmers who only make one or two weeks in a year, but have a seasonal crop. We've learned that the period around Christmas is a key time with stone fruit being in season, so tons of beautiful peaches, nectarines and cut price cherries. The kids love it, mostly because they look cute so the stall holders invariably give them a fair share of their produce. It saves us planning morning tea for them.

Last Sunday's weather was beautiful so we headed off there and enjoyed a lovely hot chocolate together with a fresh pastry. Here's a pic of the kids sharing the drink.

An occasional display of sisterly love

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A few (short) videos from our holiday in Thredbo

Paddling (in a very cold stream)

Mount Kościuszko lookout

Riding the bobsled with Eli

Watching tele in luxury!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


We've just taken a short holiday to Thredbo.

Thredbo is a ski resort in the Snowy Mountains. It's a leisurely 2 and a half hour drive from Canberra and is near to Mount Kościuszko - Australia's highest peak at 2228 metres above sea level.

We were staying in a fabulous lodge provided by the Otis Foundation - (a wonderful organisation to whom we're incredibly grateful) as a retreat. It was a beautiful place full of luxurious touches. It had 3 bathrooms a sauna, two spa baths and was in a truly breathtaking setting.

In winter months the resort bustles with throngs of skiers attracted by the snow fields, but as our autumnal trip was 'out of season' Thredbo was quiet with the visitors absent and the slopes covered in grass and alpine flowers rather than snow. Nevertheless it suited our family to have things to ourselves. Despite the absence of visitors there was still lots of things for us to see and do, and in all honesty our lodge was so lovely we could have spent all of the holiday inside.

The resort has numerous chairlifts, but only the biggest runs all year round, the 'Kosciuszko Express' which took us to the peak of the mountain overlooking the village. The kids and I also went paddling one afternoon (the water was icy cold but they were undeterred, while Amy wisely looked on)

We also went on the bobsled which races and weaves down one of the smaller slopes. The guy running the ride actually gave us a free go on account of Audrey's broad grin when we reached the bottom 'The biggest smile I've ever seen', he remarked.

We went on a lovely walk along one of the streams which feed into the Snowy River, had a couple of trips to the swimming pool and along the way had a few hot chocolates and other treats. It was a great few days and a really nice 'escape' for all of us.