Saturday, September 24, 2011

Historic Harrow

I loooooove visiting old homesteads and historic homes. Is that weird? I just love the mystery and romance of a bygone era, the craftsmanship of builders back then and the history of the owners and occupants of the home over the years. It's usually a combination of boom and bust, happiness and tragedy and sometimes riches to ruins and back again.

This is Harrow Homestead on the Darling Downs. I'd never heard of it, but Graham's sister Sue had been there 10 years ago, when the gardens were open, but the homestead was closed. She heard they were opening it for the Carnival of Flowers so we decided to stop in on the way back.

The Sitting Room
What a magnificent old homestead, with all the period features still intact - high ceilings, cedar wall panelling, lush pile carpet. It was built in 1860 and extensions had been added (some not very sympathetically) but it all told a story.

Like all historic homesteads, there always seems to be a tragedy. This was the death of a little boy. Didn't say much...but still such a feeling of sadness.

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

In the Champion Garden

Today I ticked off another item on my bucket list...visiting the gardens during the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers!  (Yes, I know, and that's from my OFFICIAL bucket list, I have another private one I'll never blog about!)

We've been back in Brissie for almost 10 years, and every year I say I will go and something always comes up. It took Graham's sister to get me going with the lure of...a bus tour!! Yep, it was full of old people (God love em) but it took you to 10 of the winners gardens, including the champion one.

Magnolias are one of my favourites 
I couldn't believe how much enjoyment I got from just going from garden to garden, with the town bursting with Spring colour. What was really lovely though, was the pride each of these winners had in their garden. They'd obviously put hundreds of hours into their beautiful gardens and were genuinely chuffed to have (literally) bus loads of people tromp through them. Some even had cups of tea for people.  

Mass packed cliveas, bursting with colour
Everyone on the bus was in such a happy mood . The bus driver was a jovial Italian man who gave us random tidbits of Toowoomba trivia, making the trips between each garden seem much shorter than they probably were.

Gorgeous banksia roses
The champion garden was something to behold. I think it was probably an acre just bursting with colour over various terraces. Next year I'm going to bring my Mum, she is the horticultural nut and I know she would love this.

Next on my horticultural bucket list - Floriade in Canberra, then the Chelsea Flower Show.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mango Cheeks

Mango season...means Christmas is around the corner
I had my first mango of the season today. Ohhhh and was it delicious! That heedy mango smell, that sweet, juicy first bite, with all that stickiness running down your arms. Sigh. It means summer is just around the corner.

I paid $2.95 each for these sisters. When you come from North Queensland, that's sacrilege. Where I come from, these babies fall from the trees around the town and you just need to go for a walk and find one.  You either have a tree (or trees) in your backyard, or you know someone who does. No one actually PAYS for them. Except me. Now that I'm in Brisbane.

My summer childhood was filled with mangoes, lychees, peaches, cherries and apricots. I loooove them all, but mangoes are one of my favourites.

These were delicious. But I had to share with Graham. I don't like mangoes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy 40th Malcolm!

We went to an awesome 40th birthday party on the weekend. It was in an old church hall that's also been used as a local theatre since the early 80s. It was simple and fun and reminded me of when I was a kid doing dancing lessons in the old church hall. Times were so simple back then.

The theatre part was so very authentic. The lights were rigged up to old wooden beams and there were photos of all the previous shows performed there since 1980.

They had old fashioned spit roast catering, served up in the old hall kitchen. There was loads of food that I remember from childhood Christmas parties - roast potatoes, roast chicken, lamb on a spit, potato salad...and cake served up on individual plastic plates. How very authentic! this GIANT cookie birthday cake.  Happy 40th birthday Malcolm!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homewares and Treats

How much am I loving all these homewares stores that are opening cafes as well. Shopping and it. 

I love the homewares at Lily-G, but I'm so loving the cafe inside. They're serving Blue Sky Coffee, which is divine (and local I think), but this pistachio and Lime muffin was melt in your mouth delicious.

My other favourite homewares/cafe is Hampton's Home Living. I looove that place!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lunch with my baby boy

Sometimes I feel like I live an insanely hectic life. We're always going somewhere, doing something, getting ready to go somewhere or getting ready to do something. Work, schedules, lunches.

Josh was born in Melbourne and we lived there until he was about 3 and then we moved to Sydney. I had him pretty young and I carted him everywhere. He grew up in cafes, museums, festivals, concerts, everything. And he was a good baby and good little toddler.

In the last few years he's grown up and we haven't had the time to do the stuff we used to do. So for the first weekend in what seems like months, we went to lunch.

We had sushi. Josh's choice. It's been his favourite food since he was about 2. He used to like picking all the dishes off the sushi train and dipping them in soy sauce.

Hard to believe he's 12. He still loves sushi though. Some things will never change.

Our Haus

Another weekend, another catch up with friends...another haloumi breakfast. Caught up with foodie cousin Tehana and her hubby just back from their tour of China and hankering for some Western food. I drive past Our Haus at Hawthorne every morning before work and it always looks busy. Another great Brissie cafe - food was great, service was great, coffee was great, atmosphere was great. *Smiles*.

PS: I noticed bacon and egg ice cream on the breakfast

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fabulous Finds

Sometimes you find the coolest stuff in the oddest places. We've been working on a big project now for a few months, but in the last couple of weeks we've been doing the most insane hours. 3am nights have been the norm. It's killings us, but there just doesn't seem like enough time in the day.

We actually lose track of time. Graham said, "need some dates" (the food variety, not the relationship variety), so off we went, in search of dates.  I thought it was about 8.30pm, Graham thought maybe 9pm so we were both shocked when we found out it was 11.30pm. Not much open for dates at that time of night, except the IGA at East Brisbane.

This place is open until midnight every night, stocking all your standard convenience store supplies, but also a treasure trove of ice cream!!

Look at this!! I didn't even know Maggie Beer made ice cream! This place rocks! We found our dates...and $63.95 worth of other "stuff".

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Casting Couch

Ohhhhh *want*

This is so going in my category of "things I have to have".  You can't really see the colour very well, but it's a gorgeous baby blue and the most beautiful couch ever! I went to see my Bestie Bernice in at Dumonde and ended up falling in love. She tells me it's the same company that made Big's couch in the Sex & The City 2 movie. Great. That just makes me want it more.

Hamptons Home Living

I'm loving all these homewares stores lately that have or are adding a cafe. I can't imagine anything better than browsing homeswares AND enjoying breakfast or lunch with friends. Faaaaaabulous!!!

Hamptons Home Living at Paddington is one of my favourite places for this. Gorgeous homewares, divine food and a view out the back to the city. Ahhh.

I was having lunch with my favourite Courier Mail journo, and this was my crispy corn cakes, chorizo and pepper salad, rouille and preserved lemon, without the chorizo...they substituted it with persian feta. Soo delicious. Thanks @hamptonshome.