Walk through Sunday moments with me

We wake up in the middle of a cloud that has descended into the valley. Mist all around and above and below. Breakfast is out at a beautiful restaurant. Big wooden benches and a heavy-set table with views out to rain and green paddocks. 

The baby sleeps while we linger on the porch enjoying food, coffee and conversation. The air is gently filling our lungs with clean, cool breaths.

Back at home we move around the house like little dolls. One on the couch, two in the kitchen, one in the study, one on the rug. Then change positions. One sleeping lightly, one in the sun room, one kneading dough, one stoking the fire. Pizzas tonight. 

The rain clears and lets the sun steam the land and bake the verandah. Bees float around happily among the lavender buds and ants scale the little stems. It’s humid outside and puddles reflect the blue sky like mirrors.

There are so many quiet little places in a house. Spots content to stay empty and keep watch over those who wander past. The dough is rising in a warm nook. Mist is rising out of the warm hills. 

The sun is dipping down below the clouds and spilling golden light into the house. I can hear the rustle of dinner preparations. The pizzas will be ready soon. Hot coals wash waves of heat over us and scorch the pizzas in seconds. We huddle together for the last meal of the day.

The sun shines one more broad spotlight through the thick clouds lighting up a crease in the valley. The day draws to a close with a moonless sky.

We drive home along wet roads with highbeams on and yawns permeating the quiet spots in conversation. I click through photos in bed. The fan, jittering side to side, blows air gently over my bare legs as I type this last sentence and begin the upload of pictures for you to walk through below.

Hope you’ve enjoyed glimpses some Sunday moments with me.

Bloombox Lovin’: a review of my flower subscription service

Subscription services are pretty popular these days. I subscribe to podcasts, music streaming and magazines.

But did you know you can subscribe to flowers? This is apparently a thing. Fresh flowers delivered to your door regularly. I mean, what the actual heck?

I’m a big flower fan. I’m also a passionate ameteur grower (and sometimes killer *sigh*) of plants. I’m so captivated by their colours, shapes and scents. A fond memory of mine is being a kid discovering the upliftingly magical aroma of lemon-scented tea tree leaves crushed in my little palms.

Plants evoke memory in me but they can also change my experience of the present. I really think plants have a good ‘energy’. They can clean the air, make you smile (even when you don’t want to) and change the feeling in a room.

And flowers in particular are truly mesmerising if you take a closer look. Just one tulip will look different every time you see it. A thirsty tulip may be a bit wilted but stand up straight overnight in some fresh water. As it opens, you see the colour and shape change as the flower reveals itself to you one little bit at a time. A dark, firm bud becomes a carefree yawning blossom with a pale inside and perfectly formed stamen peeking out.

Can you tell I love flowers? I mean seriously. I. Love. Flowers. So it’s only natural that I love my flower subscription service, Bloombox. Hence this terribly rambly review. Wait, I haven’t reviewed Bloombox yet have I? Oh. I got stuck thinking about the gorgeous flowers lounging around my house because my delivery came this week. Oops.

Back to Bloombox. Firstly, the name always makes me think of a badass fairy carrying around a flower-covered boombox pumping Gustav Holst’s ‘The Planets’. Secondly, the name is exactly what you get – a box of gorgeous blooms.

Bloombox offers weekly, fortnightly or monthly deliveries. They’ve also recently started selling big beautiful market selections on demand so you don’t have to commit to a regular delivery.

Their boxes keep pretty cool and special flowers like tulips come sporting some nice damp oasis or a little cap of water on the bottom of the stem. My flowers sit on my doorstop for hours before I get home from my fulltime job and they’re always perfectly fine.


Now flower delivery isn’t new but the way this service works is unique. You don’t get a pre-arranged bunch of flowers that are all wrapped up and ready to plonk in a vase. Bloombox is all about creativity and value for money. All blooms come in their long original length and are separated by type. So then it’s up to you how you arrange them and in what vessel. This is the main reason I love this service – oh and the fact I always get a lovely hand written note from Mel and Phil telling me what’s inside!

  
  
I look forward to the night when I get to set up my temporary florist bench to snip and primp my flowers till I have an enviable collection of flower arrangements. This is the value for money part. I often can make up 5 or 6 vases of flowers and be able to have them all around the house. Sometimes, I just want to create one big ol glorious arrangement but it’s really up to me. The flowers are also really fresh and last a long time. I only get my box once a month and it’s not unusual for some of my lovely greenery or some tough blooms to still be going when I get my next box.

You can take a squiz at Bloombox for yourself. They’re over at bloomboxco.com. I will say that the price can seem a little steep but, trust me, it’s totally worth it. Having bought one-off bunches of flowers for years, I now just save my pocket money for this one monthly splurge and I’ve never regretted it! You’ll see below how much you really get for your dollars. It’s crazy.

So to wrap this up, I love being surprised each month with a new box of goodies! Some flowers are ones I’ve never seen and I love looking them up and learning more about them. I also love that some flowers that I would normally not even glance at have become my favourites. I’m able to get my hands dirty doing tactile flower ‘therapy’ after a day’s work and the results are, well, see for yourself 🙂

Heidi x

  

  

Tales of a mini break – Part 5

This post is approximately three whole months late. I am aware of this and yet I feel compelled to finish what I had started with my mini break series. This is after all the very last part.

Today was the last day of our minibreak – sad face 😦 It was a crazy weather day but we made the most of it, doing all the last-minute things we wanted to before our time was up. In the morning we visited the Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbour. This was something Mr wanted to do and I happily tagged along. Little did I know that it would be one of my favourite things we did while we were away. It was so peaceful! I loved that there was so much to look at – so many details – but when you wanted to, you could perch somewhere on a smooth rock or stone table and just soak up the calm atmosphere. I liked it so much I’m going to do a post just on the Gardens and fill it with pictures I took while we were there, yay! So that will come soon.

While we were at the gardens the weather was drizzly and humid. We were in shorts and shirts and happily snapping away in the dappled light while the rain held back. As soon as we left though, things started to get a little more hectic.

Rain was imminent and the weather man was predicting a big storm. Unfortunately, I’d taken time the night before to book a visit to the Sydney Observatory. That would be awkward if we could only see storm clouds. Nevertheless, we decided to brave it and make the most of the day we still had.

Feeling like it was the right weather for a cuppa and a scone, we headed off to a little place my mum had once taken me, called The Tea Cosy. This place is so sweet and I recommend it to everyone. They freshly bake the most gorgeous fluffy scones. You can choose from a daily selection of scones, jams and teas. We sat upstairs on the little balcony for a while until the rain convinced us to shift inside where it was warm and dry.

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It was so rainy my hair went kind of crazy and you can see here that my curls were fighting to spring out of my smoothed back ponytail. Crazy curls! It was a lovely little while sitting out there in the fresh rain-scented air though.

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After wandering through The Rocks for the rest of the afternoon, we decided on a whim to get a fancy dinner on the harbour. This turned out to be a bit of a debacle as we booked through the Italian Village and showed up in the downpour only to be told we needed to be at a restaurant down the other end of the strip (Wolfies). Very confusing but we worked it out before we were completely soaked through. Dinner was nice. It was an expensive outing but it was fun I’ll admit. We felt pretty special perched right there on the water.

PicMonkey Collage

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After dinner, the rain had eased so we went walking around the quay a little until we needed to leave for the Observatory. Here are some touristy shots I took of our stunning quay. Man, I love living in Sydney!

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The rain was gone, night had fallen and we needed to find our way up into the back of The Rocks for our Observatory tour. Even though we saw no stars, it was actually really fun and the staff were great. We spent some time learning about the universe, astronomy and Australia’s role in space exploration. Then we took a look at their recently updated planetarium – it was so cool! We also got to climb our way up into the old observatory domes and check out the two big telescopes they use. Here are a couple of shots from inside the domes. The old metal work above us was beautiful.

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After a long and crazy day, we walked back to our apartment, watched some fireworks shimmer off the Westpac building next door and then snuggled into bed.

That was our minibreak in all its parts. It was only 5 days but we made the most of it and I’d love to do it again for sure. If you’re ever stuck on where to go for a break, never forget what’s on your own doorstep. Changing your perspective for just one week could be the un-holiday you really need. We loved looking at our city from another angle. It was enlightening and some of the best fun we’d had all year. Yay for minibreaks in the city! And yay for finishing a whole series on my blog!

H x

Tales of a minibreak – Part 4

We’re waking up with plans this morning. Surry Hills is where we’re spending the day and our three spots to find are Elly’s, Bourke St Bakery and Chur Burger.

Elly Hanson is our gorgeous hairdresser. When I first met her, I realised pretty quick that she was a country girl and I promptly decided to like her a lot. Elly did the hair for my wedding and today she’ll put some colour through my hair and then give Mr the chop.

We’re ready now and on our way. We’ve taken a different route through Surry Hills today and I don’t recognize the streets. It’s such a different Surry Hills to what I know. It hits me today that this suburb is one of contradictions. Some spots are filled with government housing and others are filled with polished little cafes and hipster fare galore.

Bourke Street Bakery is our first stop and we can see it up ahead. It’s so cute sitting out on this corner on its own. You certainly can’t miss it with bunches of people shuffling in and out and round the entrance. We squeeze in and order some coffees and a danish. Our little wooden table sits in the blazing morning sun and we’re basking – as much as two people with terribly pink complexions can… We’re surrounded by an eclectic mix of locals and I don’t feel out of place.

Surry Hills feels very homely. It’s kind of like when you go to someone’s house and you walk in thinking “it really feels lived in here… in a nice way”. Surry Hills is not a cold, developed or perfect suburb. It’s got that lived-in feeling and I like it. I also like my flat white that’s just landed on the table. The Danish is perfectly delicious and Mr is in his element. I’m sure he’s looking at the mouth-watering bread in the window thinking about the baking course he wants to do.

Once we’re finished we decide to go find some shade. Here we are – a park bench safely tucked away under some big trees. We sit for ages just watching the world go by. We’re a little early for our appointments so this is perfect.

Now we’re off to Elly’s. I’m so excited to see her again and have a good yarn. Elly’s recently started working for herself and I feel so proud of her. I chat to her about how I love being loyal to great people and she is one of them. Going to the hairdresser is such a treat and it’s nice just to sit here and read while Mr is off exploring and my hair is getting prettier by the minute.

Mr’s back and we switch over. Elly is really good at men’s haircuts and Mr is soon looking dapper and more like the gentleman he is. Thanks Elly!

My new hair - don't mind the frizz from yesterday's crazy humidity...
My new hair – don’t mind the frizz from yesterday’s crazy humidity…

It’s afternoon now and we’re thinking about lunch. I’ve told Mr about Chur Burger and he seems keen so we head off to find it. Mr orders the chicken and I order the pulled pork. I can only get half way through mine but it’s really nice. Mr’s chicken is spicy and he approves. We’re sharing some sweet potato chips before we go and they’re great – they remind me of baked dinners!

Sweet potato fries YUM!
Sweet potato fries YUM!

We’re worn out now so we head back to the apartment. I’m thinking about doing a spot of shopping tonight and Mr thinks that’s a good idea.

Shopping it is and I find the most gorgeous little bedtime playsuit that is one of the softest things I’ve ever felt! I fall in love and Mr says “get it!”… So I do, even though it is very difficult to buy something pretty like that 😉

The playsuit I got. It's by Chloe & Lola :)
The playsuit I got. It’s by Chloe & Lola 🙂

All in all, it’s been a really great day and one of my favourite type of days too. We’re watching an episode of the X-Files now and soon we’ll go to bed. I’m so glad we did this. Just one more day to go and our little break will be over. I’m sad it’s nearly done but I’m glad we’ve made the absolute most of it. Huzzah for taking time out and exploring the city we live in but rarely ‘visit’.

Tales of a minibreak – Part 3

Today was a real highlight of our break so far. After grabbing a brekky wrap at the little coffee place down in Sussex Lane, we found our way to The Rocks. A walking tour was what we wanted to do and I’d hopped online over breakfast and booked two spots.

We stopped off at the ever-intriguing Museum of Contemporary Art and spent an hour there before continuing on our way.

Sally from The Rocks Walking Tours was our guide for the afternoon and she was so lovely! I was pleasantly surprised at how happy she was to accommodate everyone in our little group. She walked slower for those who were a little less mobile, she walked through the entire group showing photos so each of us could see them and she answered any questions we had with a great big smile and a lovely manner. I couldn’t speak higher of Sally and the Walking Tours group. For just $25, it was such great value and took a neat 1.5hrs to see all the behind-the-scenes spots in The Rocks. We really loved our time wandering about the historic area.

For a late lunch we found ourselves at The Fine Food Store and the food really was nice. Pity the service was a bit yucky – having never been there before, we had chosen meals from the menu but were abruptly told that it was just “whatever is in the window”. The lady serving us seemed to be having a really bad day so I chose to believe that maybe her pet had died or she’d found out some equally bad news that made her surly and abrupt. The guy I presumed to be the chef, was so lovely and took the time to help me choose something from the window, which helped make me feel more at home.

After another big day out, we took a break and then went for a swim. Dinner was made in our apartment tonight and we took great delight in setting up our simple pasta and salad meal on our little balcony, complete with a wine glass full of chilled orange juice on ice. Little moments like that remind me that you don’t need a lot of money to enjoy a ‘fancy’ meal. Moments are what you make them.

Oh and also, we watched the end of JFK. Overall, I thought it was good but a little awkward. Not sure how else to describe it. It was spooky to realize that very soon it will be 50 years since Kennedy died. What a coincidence!

Here are some snaps from today…

The side of an original gas lamp. The local council has been restoring them and placing them around the area.
The side of an original gas lamp. The local council has been restoring them and placing them around the area.
An ornate grate in one of the old sandstone buildings.
An ornate grate in one of the old sandstone buildings.
I loved the mouldings around these windows.
I loved the mouldings around these windows.
One of the beautiful old buildings with original signage.
One of the beautiful old buildings with original signage.
Here, you can see the Harbour Bridge right next to one of the old store house buidlings.
Here, you can see the Harbour Bridge right next to one of the old store house buidlings.
Some of the amazing sandstone brick work created by the hands of the convicts.
Some of the amazing sandstone brick work created by the hands of the convicts.
A close up of the sandstone  mortar that was mixed with seashells to save money.
A close up of the sandstone mortar that was mixed with seashells to save money.
A modern carving into sandstone in The Rocks.
A modern carving into sandstone in The Rocks.
An old stairwell going nowhere.
An old stairwell going nowhere.
Wood meets stone.
Wood meets stone.
Always remember to look up at all the beautiful architecture!
Always remember to look up at all the beautiful architecture!
Stunning old trees growing through a walkway.
Stunning old trees growing through a walkway.

Tales of a minibreak – Part 1

The Mr and I are on a mini-break. It feels kind of sneaky because we’re on a holiday but we haven’t left the city. It’s kind of a staycation

We arrived here yesterday as weary workers in much need of a break from things. After we’d opened every cupboard and door, checked out the nooks and crannies of the place and got a bit of a happy mess going with our bags open and spilling out, we left the apartment to trundle about the city in search of Christmas decorations and other interesting things.

We lazily trekked through this side of the city, curling our way through bookstores, rain-soaked streets, a Dr Seuss exhibition and the good old ABC shop. I showed Mr the Strand Arcade and it was adorned with Christmas lights! They looked so beautiful and it was so nice to not only walk through pretty places like that but to take the time and look around, down and – most importantly – up… When you walk through the city, you do a lot of looking down and around but up? Up is where it’s at! The moody sky was framing building tops old and new. I saw strange sculptures, amazing modern architecture details and spots where old sandstone met steel and glass. It’s a whole other world up there.

After a relaxed dinner at Miss Chu’s we came back ‘home’ and, while it was still drizzling, headed down to float about in the spa for a little while. I loved the feeling of the cool air whisking up the steam around us. After we jumped out, we took a few minutes to try the sauna. No matter how old you get, it’s always fun to splash the cold water over sizzling hot rocks and watch the steam hiss up into the room. As we escaped back out into the cool, I breathed in deeply. Our mini-break had started and I was beginning to relax a little.

Rainy days

I’m getting used to the rain. It has been such a steady presence these last few days. Tomorrow will be wet too, so our weekend will see almost no sunshine.

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There’s a stillness to the days that seems to grow from the numbing rhythm the drops beat to. It’s a kind of white noise – like the air conditioner when it’s warming the house up or the radio when you’re on the highway and fall out of range.

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I feel a little impatient at the weather as it says “slow down, stay put”. I’m trying to concentrate but my mind is jumping about with thoughts of tidying, reorganising and assembly.
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An ikea flat pack leans casually on the shoe rack biding time till we take to it with an alan key… a filing cabinet sits wrapped up and waiting to be given a place in the spare room (as soon as we can reshuffle things)… two trestle table legs standing in line in the middle of the living room seem to beckon “put us in the spot you’ve planned for us”…
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The sun has set and the white noise and waiting seem very loud – it’s all I can do not to jump up and zip around like a mad woman. I need this time though, to sit and be still.

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The rain keeps drumming, the dark keeps growing, the little lights on the modem blink a little sleepily in my peripheral vision.

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When I sleep tonight I think I’ll dream of rain. Cold, soaking rain. Then I’ll wake up and realise I’m just hearing things… rainy things to be exact.

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For now, I’m just thinking about the day – moving furniture from one side of Sydney to the other, riding perched up in the big van we hired to move it, listening to the rain beat on while I edited photos, starting the day with banana pancakes, feeling the little stings of icy rain all day on my nose and hands.

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Today has been a good day. Rainy days seem to always have a funny kind of warmth in them, even though they draw a cold curtain on the sun.Branches