It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Photo by Michele Reid

Christmas decorations at Meyer.

How is it December already? Christmas has really snuck up on me this year. We’ve been super busy getting ourselves a place to call home (so excited!!!) and preparing for the arrival of our new fur-child, a gorgeous Maine Coon kitten. Hopefully her big Siberian sister will take to her quickly and we can all enjoy Christmas together.

Photo by Michele Reid

Mia playing in her favourite present, a random box, with her Santa toy.

It’s a bit difficult getting into the swing of things and doing all my Christmas crafts with it being 39 degrees Celsius today! Summer has truly arrived. I’m also busy helping with organising our office multi-cultural Happy Holidays party, so have been cutting out photo props and Santa beards to go on some paper straws (will take a photo and hopefully post them here later in the week).

I’ve managed to get most of my Christmas shopping done (that was the one department I’ve been very organised in) complete with stocking treats. I just need to get a few things for my family back home, but that’s easy enough thanks to online shopping (a lifesaver!)

I absolutely love Christmas. I think I have my parents to thank for that. It really was a magical time for me as a child. It all started with an invitation to the Noddy Party (if you’re South African and a child of the ’80s, chances are you went to at least one of these). It was organised by the local Rotary and Noddy was the main character. Ours was hosted on a farm (it’s long been sold off and is now home to lots of new houses). We would be entertained by characters on the stage which included Noddy, fairies and of course right at the end, Santa. Meanwhile, our parents would get stuck in the picnics they’ve packed and catch up with friends. You would wait and strain your ears until you hear Santa call out your name and give you a present. I always thought we were so special to get a present from Santa before Christmas!

Photo by Michele Reid

Antique German Christmas baubles from my childhood.

Another favourite was decorating the Christmas tree. Christmas smelt like tinsel to me. After a while, my grandmother gave us one of their trees (we had fake ones) and my brother and I each got to decorate our own trees! Christmas eve we always spend with my German side of the family where we got to indulge in some German Christmas treats. Naturally that meant Santa came on Christmas eve at their home. After midnight, we would head home and drive through our town’s main road which was completely decorated with Christmas lights.

My brother would usually wake me up early on Christmas morning. He would first report that Santa drank the two cold beers and biltong (cured meat) we left out for him. He would then go on to tell me how many gifts he received, how many I’ve received and what he thinks I got. Together we would rush into the lounge to open our presents before running to my parents room to show us what Santa brought us.

Later as I became part of Hubby’s family, I also got to experience some of their traditions and enjoyed delicious, lazy Christmas lunches under the big tree with their family.

Photo by Stephen Reid

Our Christmas tree.

Now that it’s just the two of us in Australia, I think I try to compensate by the amount of decorating I do. I make a delicious meal and we celebrate on Christmas eve (as that was really Christmas for me growing up), but we open our presents of Christmas day. Santa doesn’t even forget the fur-children! We also get to open our stockings (something I never had as a child but got to experience with Hubby’s side of the family). We might head off to the beach for an early morning swim and smile at the families from places like the UK enjoying the novelty of a summery Christmas. They pose with Santa hats on the beach to send back to their families who haven’t even woken up yet. It’s nice to see people create new traditions in their new home. The rest of the day is usually spent indoors with the air-conditioner on and phoning or Skyping family back home.

So, hope you get to finish all of your Christmas crafting and shopping (do share ideas with me, I love to see what everyone’s making) and get to spend some time with loved ones over the holidays!

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Springtime in Perth

Photo by Stephen Reid

Beautiful tulips

Spring is definitely when Perth is at it’s prettiest. Everything dries out in the blistering summer sun, but during spring the bush is covered with beautiful wild flowers and the grass is still nice and green.

Photo by Michele Reid

Tulips!

Photo by Stephen Reid

Photo by Michele Reid

Love the purple and white ones.

Photo by Stephen Reid

Even the bees love the tulips.

Photo by Michele Reid

More beautiful flowers at Araluen.

Photo by Michele Reid

Spring blossoms.

A must at springtime here is to visit Araluen Botanical Garden. Every spring the garden is home to thousands of beautiful tulips. Last year we went a bit late in the season and while there were still many flowers out and about, a few were starting to look a bit tired. This year I was super organised and made sure to contact them as soon as the weather became more balmy so we could see the flowers as soon as they opened.

Photo by Michele Reid

Wild flowers along the roadside.

Photo by Michele Reid

Fruit tree blossoms at Core Cider House.

Afterwards we went for a drive through the orchards and stopped for a hot chocolate at Core Cider House (the gluten free brownies are delish!) Beautiful flowers and chocolate, what more can a girl ask for?

New Beginnings

Photo by Stephen Reid

Getting all my ducks in a row.

So sorry for the radio silence, or in this case, blog silence. I haven’t forgotten about you but life doesn’t wait for me to catch up and before I knew it, it was today. Lots of things have been going on and it seems I’m set for a few new beginnings this month.

Firstly, I’m starting a new job on Monday. I’m quite excited but nervous at the same time. I get to meet new people plus this job is so close to home, I can cycle to work. At least I’m going to try to. Guess I have no more excuses not to get back on the bike.

Secondly, my running has improved quite a bit. No longer am I shuffling and walking. I went for a 40 min run on Sunday and managed to run the whole way this time. Same for my shorter runs this week! So there is hope for me that I might be able to run most of the 12km in next month’s run.

I’ve also decided to focus more on my health and fitness levels, so have joined a group exercise class on Saturdays. I figured it’s a great way to meet more people here and get in shape at the same time. Hubby has a few sporting events he’s participating in for the rest of the year and I think that even though I will never be able to compete at the level he’s in, maybe one day I can participate in the shorter distances of some of the events. I’m already cheering him on at the events, I might as well take part.

I’m also dreaming about our dream home. I want to make sure that if we ever get the opportunity to get our own place, it’ll look the way we want to inside. At the moment we’re renting so we’re quite limited with what we can do. But it doesn’t mean I can’t plan ahead for when we get our own place or rent a bigger place. I’ve gone mad on Pintrest pinning anything home related, from plants for a garden (if we ever have one) to tea cups. I’ll share a few of my crazy ideas with you in a future blog post.

 

Some art for a change

Photo by Michele Reid

Art by Jackson Pollock

We have been very lucky here in Perth. The Art Gallery of Western Australia has teamed up with MoMA and we’ve had some spectacular exhibitions. Now I’m not an artist but have a brother and mother who are incredibly talented.  When hubby’s family came to visit end of last year, we decided to take the opportunity to see some of the world famous artists at the Picasso to Warhol art exhibition. I thought I’d share some of my favourites with you.

Photo by Michele Reid

My mom and brother loves Mondrian

Photo by Michele Reid

More Jackson Pollock

Photo by Michele Reid

Yep, you guessed it, Jackson Pollock!

Photo by Michele Reid

One of my all time favourites, Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andy Warhol

Photo by Michele Reid

Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol

Photo by Michele Reid

Self portrait – Andy Warhol

A new exhibition has opened at the gallery and I’m hoping to attend sometime soon. The museum is also having an interesting exhibition called Secrets of the Afterlife at the moment. I’m desperate to go see it. It’s the only way I can indulge my interest in ancient history at the moment. So hopefully there’ll be a few more arty / museum blog posts coming in the future.

Winter time

Photo by Michele Reid

Autumn leaves early in the morning.

Well it’s definitely winter in Perth. Icy mornings and my washing refuses to dry. My friends in the northern hemisphere are enjoying sending me photos and emails about how they’re enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather.  But winter isn’t all bad, the tree in our street put on an amazing display as the leaves changed.

It’s also a great time to indulge in some treats I won’t normally do in the warmer months. Hubby baked these delicious scones from scratch! I’m a terrible baker so I’m quite lucky to have a husband who can bake.

Photo by Michele Reid

Yummy scones with cream!

The weather really started to get cold earlier last month when we were down in Busselton for the Half Ironman. I took a few photos while we were down there.

Photo by Michele Reid

Rain coming in over the ocean at the Busselton jetty.

Photo by Michele Reid

Rain on the car window – I was taking shelter from the icy cold wind.

Photo by Michele Reid

Beautiful winter sunrise the day of the Busselton Half Ironman event. Pity it was absolutely freezing.

Exploring surrounding Perth

Last year we were lucky enough to have my mother-in-law and brother-in-law come for a short visit. They were here for two weeks. The first week we showed them in and around Perth and the second week we all flew to Sydney to visit family there. I thought I’d share some of the photo’s I took while we were exploring around Perth.

Photo by Michele Reid

Pretty cherry chocolates

Photo by Michele Reid

Don’t they just look delicious?

No visit to Perth is complete without a stop at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. As time was limited, we visited the one in the Swan Valley. They make beautiful little individual chocolates but I usually buy their chocolate buttons. They’re divine!

Photo by Michele Reid

More yummy chocolates

Photo by Michele Reid

Giant freckle chocolates

We also visited Caversham Wildlife Park. We have visited some of the other wildlife parks but not this one and we really enjoyed it. They breed white kangaroos and we even saw a mommy with a joey in her pouch. You just saw long legs sticking out! They had a wide variety of bird species found not only in WA but around Australia. Naturally my favourite were the koalas. They are just too adorable!

Photo by Michele Reid

Wallabies relaxing

Photo by Michele Reid

Super cute baby kangaroo, known as a joey

Photo by Michele Reid

One of the white kangaroos

Photo by Michele Reid

White mommy kangaroo with her joey’s legs sticking out from the pouch

Photo by Michele Reid

A Kookaburra. I love the sound they make!

Photo by Michele Reid

Beautiful Dingo

Photo by Michele Reid

Adorable koala. How can you not love them?

Photo by Michele Reid

Close up of the koala

Another stop was at The Pinnacles.  There is no agreed theory on how these were formed, but it makes for a very strange landscape. We spotted a bobtail lizards and some Galahs flying about and making a noise.

Photo by Michele Reid

The Pinnacles with dunes in the background

Photo by Michele Reid

The Pinnacles

Photo by Michele Reid

Me trying to get creative

Photo by Michele Reid

Galahs in flight

As my mother-in-law is a micro biologist, she really wanted to see the stromatolites at Lake Thetis. They’re living fossils and the ones found in this lake are about 3370 years old! It was quite windy but the view over the ocean was still beautiful.

Photo by Michele Reid

Stromatolites (the rock-like formations) in Lake Thetis

Photo by Michele Reid

Aqua water at Cervantes

I’ll be sharing some photos of our trip to Sydney soon! Stay tuned.