lovely things

Care for a cuppa?

I’m happy to say it’s very nearly the weekend, and a lovely long one at that. Perfect for reading, and cooking soups in my slow-cooker, and day-trips. It’s chilly and a nice big breakfast and a cup of tea might be in order tomorrow, and Sunday and Monday (or dear, sorry waistline.)

If you are lucky enough to be able to wander off to regional Vic, or if you’re close by to the ‘Rat on an average day, you might like to check out this most beautiful Ballarat cafe…

Cake Bakeshop

I’m an absolute sucker for a nice looking store and this cafe absolutely fits the bill. I’m told it’s an absolute dream for those with kids, very kid-friendly with a play and drawing area. They also stock a few really lovely crafty items like twine (oh I love twine), and cute paper cups.

The clincher for me is their huge range of tea. You might remember that I’m off the coffee, and that I get bored, bored, bored with ordinary tea.  Cake has the most incredible range of T2 teas, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. Plus I’m told they have CHOC-CHIP CHAI LATTES…oh. my. god.

Photo: A. Corden for Cake

I’ve fallen in love with Cake from afar, and will be visiting their blog regularly. Rest assured, next time I’m in Ballarat I’ll be dropping by for a tea, or two, or three.

You can find Cake Bakeshop at 30 Main Rd, Ballarat, Victoria, Ph: 03 5333 3384.

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I almost fell over in a swoon when I saw this shot this afternoon – I just had to share it (click pic for bigger and better)…


I wonder what it says about me that this is pure joy? One thing’s for sure, it has inspired me to go and work on organising my own crazy bookshelves.

P.S. If you’d like to see more such wonderful Penguin images, please pop over to A Penguin a Week for pics and review of all Karyn’s most fabulous collection.

365 days, isn’t that like a whole year?

Last Sunday, I bought myself a 365 notebook from Kikki K, and to my surprise I’ve managed to write in it every day so far.  Admittedly, it’s only been a week, but for me that’s pretty impressive – I’d usually have gotten distracted by now.

The notebook is basically a journal, but a little less structured than your traditional diary.  As such, it gives you the room to record through words, pictures, photos or ‘items of note’ like ticket stubs, programs, that type of thing.

It caught my eye last year, but I’ve been talking myself out of it, as I was pretty sure it’d become another one of those things that I never get time to do. But on Mother’s Day I was feeling generous and hopeful, and thought I’d give it a try.  I really love having an excuse to write by hand, and there really is nothing like making a quick note about something new or fabulous that has happened throughout the day.

So far, I’ve included photos of me and the boys, a recipe for a new soup I tried my own way, and a program from a show.

I’m not sure if going shopping on Mother’s Day is such a great idea, as the temptation to spoil myself and buy half the shop was almost overwhelming. But, I was quite restrained and only treated myself to a couple of things. As well as the journal, I also picked up one other small thing…a lovely ball of twine! My boys thought I was quite mad, especially for how excited I got about this little ball of red and white string.  I can’t explain it really, but simple, pretty things like this make me quite happy. It’s lovely quality too, and I’m sure I’ll find many nice things to do with it.

As I said, the boys thought me a little crazy until they saw this…

I think they kind of got the idea a bit better after I’d shown them how good it could look.

I really hope that all you Mums out there were able to spoil yourself a little on your special weekend, and that that feeling hasn’t worn off yet.  I hope we can all keep trying hard to make a little time to sit and reflect each day, to write or read or fiddle with photos. As for myself, I’m going keep enjoying little things like handwriting, ticket stubs and twine.

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A little time out this afternoon

Just a quick little share for this afternoon.

I was very excited to see Sarah Wilson’s blog post today – she’s been chatting to a fav of mine, Joi Murugavell, who you might remember me raving about way back when I first started this blog. I was given an Oodlie for my birthday, and it’s one of my favourite things of 2011.

So, a little afternoon reading for you to enjoy, at Sarah’s blog.  Take a minute out to read about this great artist and entertaining Twitterer @joidesign.

Stay tuned to TBYL…
Tomorrow, a further sneak-peak at the upcoming Mt Zero Cabin 1 at the Grampians exhibition, opening 12 May 2011.  I’m also, in the next couple of days, going to feature a few events from the Bayside Literary Festival program.

And don’t forget, for a chance to win a copy of Sonya Harnett’s ‘Of a Boy’ please like and share our Facebook  page.  Full details here…

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Woah Mumma and the last hurrah

Today I’ve been officially spoilt. Brunch with my friends and family, gifts galore and a nice, slow afternoon with my boys. It’s been a wonderful weekend all up, albeit a little bittersweet at times.

Yesterday we went and bid a fond farewell to The Last Record Store in Smith Street. As mentioned in my earlier post big Al and lovely Helen are taking their bat and ball and going home, having set their mind to an old-school retirement.  To mark the closing of their store, this institution, the guys held a wonderful last hurrah with a great range of in-store performances, an amazing sale, and lots and lots of friends wandering through the door.

I myself got to catch up with some of my oldest friends so I can only imagine how many familiar faces Alex, Helen and Hannah came across throughout the day. I was thrilled to have the chance to hear Sarah Carroll and Chris Wilson perform. I was immediately and vividly reminded of the first gigs I snuck into as a kid. I must say, it was quite a trip to watch my own kids now getting into Wilson’s authentic blues. Classic, and a little bit bizarre.

Walking away after my quick visit, I had a little lump in my throat – an amazing place and even more amazing people.  All my love guys xx

And that brings us to Mother’s Day, and as I’ve said I’ve been very spoilt.  Evan obviously knows me well, his gifts suited me to a tee…a ‘Worlds Best Mum’ tea cup, a head massager and chocolates. What a clever boy, now I’ve everything I need.

And in keeping with my new-found interest in all things tea-related, the guys bought me an Takeya iced tea maker – a little out of season I know, but yummo.  Mixed berry tea over ice…nice now and it’ll be even better once summer comes around again.

To sum up, I’m very lucky.  I’ve got the best kids (in my opinion), the most amazing mother (who looks after me all the time), a stunning husband and incredible friends from now and from way back then.  *sigh*

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Who doesn’t like the Easter Bunny?

It’s been a long while since I’ve gone to see a Christmas movie, and even longer since I’ve seen an Easter one.  Hang on a minute…I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Easter movie.  In fact, I can’t think of another Easter movie, unless you count the Sunday School classics from my childhood.

So, because I needed another way to hype up the kids’ need for chocolate (not to mention my own insane hankering for eggs, eggs, eggs) I took them to see the movie Hop this morning.  I thought we’d be some of the last to see it, but apparently a lot of families have left their Easter viewing until the last minute as the cinema was pretty full.

Hop is entertaining and delivers a few laughs.  The storyline is a little bit cheesy, but it’s really fabulous to look at – as you can see from the poster, the colours used in the film are beautiful and the candy and chocolate are positively mouthwatering.  Russell Brand is great as EB and Hugh Laurie is pretty good as Easter Bunny Senior (although probably not his best work.) I wasn’t impressed with James Marsden, but the kids didn’t seem to mind his slightly hammy performance.

Although it might be a little out of date after Easter, I did notice that it is still showing for a while after the big day.

The movie was just the start of a day of nice discoveries.

Being off the coffee bean at the moment (no mean feat, believe me) I thought I’d treat myself to a new tea.  Popped into T2 and found a yummy sounding brew called Creme Brulee.  A nice change from the usual dull old tea-bags that I’ve been ‘enjoying’ since making the change from coffee to tea. I tried a cup as soon as I got home, and I’ve got to say, it’s as yummy as it sounds! With a dash of milk and some manuka honey, it’s almost a dessert.

Once I got home, I put my feet up and caught up on a few weekend magazines from The Age (I had some from last weekend to catch up on) and I came across a review for a great looking Fiction podcast from The New Yorker.  It’s a series of podcasts featuring authors reading the work of other authors, most often of their own choice. And it’s free, so bonus!  I also subscribed to their DVD of the Week podcasts as well, so I’ve got plenty of listening ahead.

So, no guesses what I’ll be doing tomorrow night.  With any luck, I’ll be eating chocolate, drinking tea and listening to Mary Gaitskill reading Vladimir Nabokov. Nice.

Happy Easter all

Nothing quite like putting the kids to work on a public holiday.   This afternoon they’ve been hard at work making Easter cards, a most lovely way to spend a bit of family time.

Wishing you all a Happy Easter, and I hope you have a chance to put your feet up and read a good book for a bit.

Cheers, Mandi J

An institution

If you’ve got a few spare minutes, can I suggest that you have a listen to Jon Faine’s radio show from a couple of days ago. Jon was lucky enough to be able to pick the brains of a great man, Alex Morton.

Brian Nankervis, Bjorn Richie Lob, Alex Morton (Samantha Stayner - ABC Local Radio)

Alex is my dear friend Hannah’s Dad, a guy who I’ve been in awe of since I was at High School.  Owner of The Last Record Store in Collingwood, Alex has been working hard to keep the dream alive. It’s fitting that he’d have a few things to say about Independent Record Store Day (Saturday last, 16 April).

You can listen to the show here…

I’m sad to say that The Last Record Store is actually closing it’s doors quite soon, but by the same token, I was happy to hear that this is NOT because of market pressure, economic changes, technology etc…It is just a change of pace for dear Alex and his lovely wife Helen. Good luck guys, and all the best for your next adventure (I hope you catch a big fish.)

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Look what I got!

Another nice second-hand book find – I’m on a roll. This time I came across some lovely things at a local garage sale, a very big fluke as I tend not to go near garage sales and the like, they’re not so good for my home de-clutter projects.

At least today I was a little sensible and left another half a dozen titles behind me, casual books that I would have quite happily taken home with me.

I’ve not read any of these Roald Dahl books, so I’m very pleased to have them in the collection.  And, I’m thrilled by the editions, the covers are classic.

Also picked up The Great Shark Hunt, by Hunter S. Thompson for a song, not to mention a near-new copy of The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco, by John Birmingham…a nice coincidence given that I finished my re-read of Falafel just a couple of days ago.  Nice how things go sometimes.

A matrimonial treat

My friend and colleague Joan very kindly shared this poem with me and gave me the okay to share it with you guys.  The poem, written by a friend is a really lovely wedding gift to Joan and her fiancé Michael.


A sleepy morning star quietly awakes to lemon stripes of dawn
The hush of distracted dreams rest on the present silent breeze
Each has a special way – born in Echuca and Dundonald
From distant horizons they meld today under a past Celtic gaze.
In Mathoura the sky is plumed with perfect cirrus chevrons
And a canvas is ready to seep in a flood of ideas and desires
Their pallet is willing with a roulette of welcome vibrant colour
The brush sings on a promise of what the land could bring.
Symbolic golden rings bind strong the essence of their family circle
A private gallery etched in the embracing suede landscape.
In time the brilliant canvas will be painted with ribbons of wheat
Sheep in ochre fields – artistic twists unravelling as time permits.
With dreams that burst from this first diamond night star
Together they create a bright tomorrow from their two yesterdays.

On its way…
Stay tuned for a bit of a blurb on kid’s film, Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga’Hoole, and in a day or so, for the more grown-up and shabby of us, a quick chat about the rememberings of share-housing.