21 Years of Santa Photos

The year we became a family

I’ve now been taking my children to see Santa for more than two decades.  I never thought I’d spend 21 years lining up in lengthy queues with hyped-up children who couldn’t stand in line for five minutes let alone the two hours it’s often been.  I thought I would share with you the interesting and […]

The Interview Dress

The 'interview' dress

Miss Arabella came home from the interview fearing the worst.  She was applying to a university to study a combined law degree and as well as having satisfactory grades, she had to have a one-hour interview with the Dean of Law. She came home beating herself up with a long list of regrets and saying […]

Festive Fruit and Nut Cake and…Morning Drama

Festive fruit and nut cake

Do you all have morning drama?  We have it in spades. This morning Arabella had a very important interview.  She had to be in the city and ready for her appointment by 9.30am.  That shouldn’t be a challenge.  But when she woke, first she had to go out for a takeaway coffee and then she […]

The Gym Junkie

Dinner outside on the verandah

I’ve never really liked going to the gym.  But everyone else has a membership so I’ve felt I’d better get one too.  Over the years I have spent thousands on memberships where I don’t even put one foot inside the establishment that’s taking an automatic monthly direct debit straight from my bank account.  Hopeless. Swim […]

Reef Beach, Sydney

The girls love an outing

One of the best things about spending time at Oakvale is that on the neighbouring property lives two boys, both around the same age as our little guy. Alfie spends every daylight hour with them and it’s all old-fashioned fun which means being outdoors and doing things like riding dirt bikes, playing with the hose, […]

In My Kitchen, October 2014

Shore - A Shared Table

October already! In my kitchen I have quite a few new cookbooks.  The first was given to me by a friend who has a son at the Shore school, a private school for boys.  The School released a cookbook to commemorate 125 years of the school.  It’s a stunning hard-back cookbook that’s been incredibly beautifully […]

A Dud Dachshund Cake

Pretty cute

Not every day in the Hotly Spiced kitchen is a happy one.  In the lead-up to Arabella’s birthday party I set about making the cake she had requested, a dachshund.  What could go wrong! Pretty much everything. But not the baking-the-cakes part; that went very well except for being too heavy-handed with the tint.  I […]

Leaving the Teens Behind

Kick-starting the day

Over the weekend we celebrated Arabella’s birthday.  A birthday where she left her teens behind.  It struck her that she’s getting old.  ‘I’m so old, mum; I don’t want to be this old, I liked being a teenager’.  I didn’t like her being a teenager and am quite happy we’re moving on. ‘If you’re feeling […]

Parental Leave

Glazed ham

Often our weekends are taken up with children’s sports, their parties, their friends, their sleepovers; as well as their homework, assignments, projects, speeches, escapades and dramas.  But last weekend we took a break from parenting and spent time socialising and catching up with our own friends. For my mental health I needed parental leave.  Archie […]

Going to Court and Lunching in the Planning Room

Bryant Park

Today’s been one of those days.  Archie’s been summoned to Court and Alfie’s been sent to the Planning Room.  I wouldn’t mind if my boys paced themselves through their dramas but they want me living on the edge and so when a storm hits, it’s more like a hurricane where I am in the middle […]