The picture above was taken a couple of weeks ago one morning and it's the view from our balcony. I love the clear days we have and although this week has definitely brought some cooler mornings and evenings, today has been another warm way with clear blue sky. It's like Melbourne weather is still making its mind up as to what season it is.
I cannot believe so much time has gone by and that the Grand Prix is here which to me always signals the end of Summer and the start of Autumn. It seems like mere weeks ago that I finished work for Christmas break. Yes, the long awaited family trip came and went!
- Sunbathing and swimming
- At the beach
- Pony ride for Amelia
- Shopping in the CBD and around Fitzroy
- Daytime napping
- Playing hairdressers with Amelia
- Baking cakes with Amelia
- Lots of daytime drinking in pubs
- Daily ice lolly eating
- Visit to Healesville Sanctuary to see some Aussie wildlife
- At the Children's Garden in the Royal Botanical Gardens
During the day of New Year's Eve, I packed off the grown up visitors to a local day spa for some relaxing and Steve and I took Amelia for a day out. We went to the Children's Garden and she paddled in the stream as well as had a walk around the lavender maze. We had lunch at Jardin Tan there where she enjoyed fried chicken and fried rice. Truly she was so well behaved! We also had a babycino and a macaron at Zumbo's before heading home where Stef came round to see us and the grown ups returned all blissed out. In the evening we had a steamboat / hot pot party and watched Chinese movies until 2015 arrived.
We did have an incident whilst at the Children's Garden where Amelia needed a wee wee but wanted Steve to take her and he had no idea! So he carried her whilst we raced to find a toilet and luckily there was a family room so we could all troop inside including the buggy so I could do the dirty work but Steve was there so Amelia was happy!
I think another highlight was the fact that my sister I-Lin celebrated her Boxing Day birthday here and it's been so long since we've been able to do that. The other thing is Winter birthday in the UK equal Summer birthdays here which is always a change. During the day, Mum, I-Lin and I spent the morning at a day spa in the CBD and then headed into SOuth Yarra where we met up with the menfolk and Amelia and had a light lunch and cake at LuxBite.
After that the grandparents and Amelia went home and Steve, Graeme, I-Lin and I went to watch Grease followed by a late dinner at Gazi. Definitely a special day!
Whilst Graeme's parent in town we also had a superb lunch at The Commoner where we had a private dining room and had some delicious food. Other treats included afternoon tea at the Langham, lunch and cakes at LuxBite, beautiful roast chicken at the Marquis of Lorne, Zumbo cakes for my mum's birthday on New Year's Day.
It was a lot of fun catching up with the cousins but too soon it was time to say farewell to I-Lin and Graeme as they returned home via Hong Kong. It was bittersweet as I didn't want to see them go but they left us their most precious prize; Amelia stayed behind for a bit longer!
After 5 days in Sydney, the cousins, my mum and dad, Amelia, Steve and I headed back to Melbourne.
Steve and I took Amelia to Collingwood Children's Farm where she walked the whole day and stroked the ponies, sheep, cows and held a guinea pig. She was very keen on getting into the chicken coops and pig pens and kept asking why she couldn't go in!
We also took Amelia to see "The Tiger Who Came to Tea" at the Arts Centre. We weren't sure whether she'd sit through the 90 minute show as it was recommended for 3 years and up and she had just turned 2. Steve took time out of work too to join us. It actually clashed with morning nap time too but the show completely enthralled her. Although I think she was a little daunted by the human sized tiger when he turned up and she crawled into Steve's lap to watch the rest of the show. We discovered she's not really one for audience participation but watched intently and very seriously! There were tears from other children because of the loud noises and clapping but Amelia seemed to cope with that so all in all a successful morning out.
Whilst the cousins were in Melbourne they took a walking tour with Hidden Secrets and said it was fascinating. They enjoyed discovering the understated coolness of laneways and alleyways as well as delicious food from pho to Gazi to parmas and the highly recommended Marquis of Lorne roast chicken! It was wonderful to see them enjoy Melbourne and also Fitzroy and I never thought Australia would be the place to do lots of shopping but a more favourable exchange rate plus the January sales meant that many bargains were had and there was many a discussion of how they would manage to get everything home within their weight allowances. Oh the drama but it was accomplished.
Every evening I would return home and dinner would be ready and a cup of tea. Daddy Chan would wash up, clean up, make us more tea. He spent his time travelling around and he visited Port Melbourne, St Kilda and Docklands on different days on the tram with his backpack and fishing rod. He is so cute! He'd take pictures and videos using his iPad and tell us about the people he met when fishing. One morning when Dad was at Port Melbourne fishing there was a man from Taiwan who told my Dad that he'd been in Melbourne for 10 years and at his sister's restaurant. Dad told him he was off to St Kilda in the afternoon and this man decided to follow him! So here is my Dad who is a visitor in Melbourne taking a 10 year resident to experience new places!
Dad would also head to Richmond and walk up and down Victoria Street shopping for groceries so that we had fresh food for dinner. Dinner was always delicious and whilst his washing up skills are dubious; I didn't care as I enjoyed being looked after too much! And Daddy Chan also cooked for our friends too and we had a couple of occasions when Rachel and Tim came and also Ling, Stef, Noah and Bunty. Leftovers would be enjoyed by Steve and I for lunch. Biggest shock was that Steve never takes leftovers for lunch as he doesn't like reheating food at work but this food was so delicious he was first in the queue to take it to work!
During the weekends we would go grocery shopping with Dad or other activities. Two early Sunday mornings we hired a small boat and went fishing. Both trips were well worth it as we brought home snapper and flathead which Daddy cooked for dinner. It was very pleasant to spend the morning on the water. I remember the first time we did this; during the first year we were in Melbourne and we celebrated Cam's 30th birthday all organised by Karly. That trip whilst still fun wasn't quite as lucrative fishwise and I recall the huge starfish Karly caught. Starfish sashimi anyone? We also had no idea what to do when we did catch the odd little fish and were so unprepared. I remember Karly scuttling away to a corner of the small boat to avoid the moving fish exclaiming, "I didn't realise there'd be real fish when I organised this trip!"
Fishing with Daddy Chan was a different experience. He had all the gear, knew what he was doing and there were so many fish caught. Most were thrown back in for being under size. On our second trip I even held a hand reel which was small enough that I could still hold my Kindle and read. Even I caught about 4 fish using just a simple line.
We also had a day out at the tennis where we saw Serena win her match and Stan Wawrinka play on Rod Laver. We also watched the Legends game where Goran Ivanisevic and Mansour Bahrami entertained us until the sun set and it was the end of the day.
Having Daddy Chan around was a true delight and pleasure. I think he enjoyed it too. He told me on the day he departed that he left behind some Summer clothes, shoes and his fishing rod ready for his return!
On the actual day I was at work but had post work drinks with one of my oldest friends Kirsty. I met Kirsty in Hull when we both worked at EY which was our first job following university graduation so long ago! Careers and life have taken us overseas so interesting twist of destiny that we are both in Melbourne now!
Right now it's Saturday afternoon and again we're just relaxing in front of the TV. I'm trying to shake off the cloudiness of a hangover brought on by a night out with these ladies. Oh the giggles we had over bubbles and cocktails and Frangelico. The conversation did not stop and we jumped from topic to subject and back again in a desperate bid not to leave out any news!
Kim and Michelle - it was a pleasure as always.
Apparently she missed "gung gung" (grandad i.e. Daddy Chan) a lot while he was in Melbourne with me and since his return she has stuck to him like glue which I am sure he is loving! We can't wait to see her again.