Now, where were we? On a delightfully brisk, windy yet sunny afternoon in Bardwell Valley, we embraced and welcomed the greater majority of a very special family, Edie, Oscar and Ruth, what a beautiful sight to behold. Smiles and squeals of delight as we looked into each others eyes and held each other tight, ahhh, a sigh of relief. Edie and Poe delighted in their matching haircuts and after a gentle start, were squealing with delight as they laughed, chatted and bounced around on the trampoline. Oscar, Ilo, Ruth and I, forgo all niceties and got down to the hard stuff "How are you?", in that very special way close friends do, we had so much to catch up on. So it was until we could no longer ignore the icy wind, the setting sun and time catching up with us. Fortunately Ruth and I had hatched a plan, by pure coincidence we were both about to have our first child free night, on the same night! So we righted any possibility of a wrong by spending it together with the beautiful Jen, but more about that later.
Oh such dear, beautiful friends, they just slid right back into their easy and delightful friendship, these two together warmed by heart.
These gorgeously colourful kids caused more than a few heads to turn in town, so beautiful. We met up with Lily, Saul and Jen for a not to be missed feast at Mamak, oh my goodness, so delicious. Again, it was so easy and fun, delighted chatter and laughter echoed throughout the streets. Saul, upon seeing Poe wanted an immediate debrief on Poe's experience at Circus Oz and who his favourite people were, he then followed up with recounting a very 'amusing' game they had played last time we were down, in particular the name Poe chose to use at the time, which was quite phlegmy sounding and would encourage a slight spray of saliva when pronounced, yes hilarious.
And then home for a sleepover, cubbies were made, robbers were played, music listened to at an alarming speed, oh my goodness it nearly felt like there wasn't enough time to fit everything in.
Once the kids were asleep we had the pleasure of sitting by the gas fire, drinking some really delicious red, eating an apple tart with coconut ice-cream and enjoying being in the company of Jen and Rod, I guess for me it also felt like there wasn't enough time to fit it all in, luckily, I had one more night up my sleeve.
The next day we stopped into Potts Point, to James' parents place, which he and Manu (my beautiful brother) are housesitting. Scott and I walked into their unit and were immediately assaulted by the views, crazy city/harbour views wherever you looked, I had to avert my eyes. Above is just one of the many amazing pieces of art that decorate this space. With hungry children to feed, we whizzed down the lift to Fratelli Paradiso, it was pretty delicious, I had this gorgeous spaghetti, chilli, lemon, breadcrumb dish and shared some panzanella. Yum. Poe and Ilo after so much playing and stimulation with Lily and Saul, were not at their most relaxed, so the meal was not really savoured as it deserved. Scott and James however did managed to talk about what they needed to do the following day to finish up the filmclip they are making for The Mid North, see below for a sneak peek, it is looking so great, can't wait for it to be finished.
A little respite for me at my parents, while Scott spends a couple of days in Sydney. Here is Poe and Ilo checking out Phil's aqua culture/aquaponics set up.
As Poe, Ilo and mum were all a bit sniffly, mum suggested I do some op shopping by myself, yes, solo. So with my arm twisted firmly behind my back I did some trawling. It was an unusual experience to really get in there and dig through stuff, rather than the usual focused on stuff but aware of children approach. I ended up with a whole heap of great fabric, a Johnsons dinner ware set and my most favourite find....the beautiful Jodi and her gorgeous kids Poet and Che. Jodi is the extremely talented human behind the blog Che and Fidel, one of my most favourite blogs. Funnily enough we have met before at the very same op shop, Jodi's local. Anyway, it was so lovely to have a chat and hear more 'behind the scenes' tales about her life and especially her trip to Tasmania, can you believe she was in the warmth of the Matthew Evans kitchen, drinking delicious tea and eating delicious food, sigh. Oh and to gaze upon Che and Poet, two awesome little humans, pottering around in their second home was very sweet. Jodi, we are looking forward to having a proper catch up next time we are down, enough of this random running into each other business.
Saturday afternoon, I bid a heart wrenching farewell to Ilo, Poe, Scott and mum as I headed to Sydney (from the Coast) for a night out with Jen and Ruth, then a sunday afternoon seminar with three amazing people. I felt quite emotional heading to Sydney, I knew that Ilo would be fine/great with Scott, but it still pulled at my heart strings. I was feeling conflicted, I liked the idea of it but the reality was a bit more difficult. But I had strict instructions from Scott to enjoy myself, soak up the nourishment and love from Ruth and Jen and make sure you drink some nice wine and definitely have dessert. So, by the time I had arrived at Jens I only felt slightly displaced. It was lovely hanging out with Lily and Saul, playing ball, scaring them on the trampoline and then looking through old photo albums.
The night with Jen and Ruth was just what I needed, we went to Agape, a really delicious organic restaurant in Botany, we drank delicious wine, ate scrumptious food and we talked and talked, we talked from our hearts with years of love supporting us, a few tears were shed, but it felt so safe and so beautiful, thank you, thank you beautiful friends.
The next morning after a little sleep in, I headed over to Newtown to meet a new little human, Elsie is her name and as you can see, she is pretty sweet. Robin and Stewart are Elsie's awesome parents, she chose very well. As most of my friends have at least one child, it was lovely to bear witness to these new parents, figuring their way with so much love and adoration in their hearts. Even though Elsie was only one week old Stewart had already framed many pictures of her around the place, I couldn't believe it, super efficient and enthusiastic, oh the love.
Growing Healthy Children seminar, held by Jude Blereau (a wholefood advocate, my favourite cookbook author, I have all her cookbooks, food splattered they may be and have given her books to most of my friends, so much so that we refer to her just as Jude, an always absent friend), Holly Davis (she started Iku wholefood) and Dr Rosalba Courtney (an osteopath, naturopath and acupuncturist). Needless to say it was really great, confirming and inspiring. Jude spoke largely about the importance of organic wholefoods, less snacking for children, meeting the hunger with substantial meals, rich bone stocks, less carbohydrates and, my favourite the fact that at this stage in their lives FATS are more important than vegetables, yes you read right. These fats are essential for supporting the immune system, obviously we are talking about those beautiful fats found in organic butter, cream, sour cream and coconut. Fats help make the vitamins in vegetables more obtainable, helps to fit infections and protect and pad the organs. So go forth and put organic butter on your children's vegetables, organic cream on their breakfast and lashings of sour cream on everything.
Which brings us to Holly Davis who spoke about the wonders of Lacto-fermented probiotic foods; kefir, labne, sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough, fish sauce, raw dark chocolate and herrings, to name a few. She explained the benefits of eating such food and drinks to promoting the growth of healthy digestive flora throughout the intestine, increasing the nutritional value of foods, how the beneficial bacteria helps us absorb vitamins and minerals from other foods and quite frankly the list goes on. I have dabbled in the past with yoghurt kefir and have recently been give a kefir drink starter from Cass, I have made yoghurt before, sauerkraut with my sister but now, now I am very excited, especially with the way she simply 'lacto ferments' most vegetables with total ease.
Rosalba Courtney spoke about how childrens health problems are changing, looking at the increase in allergies, asthma, ADD and autism. From here she looked at how there is a lot of research showing that simple things can make a huge difference- being around nature, reducing exposure to chemicals, relationships, connecting with parents and the community, wholefood diet and correct breathing (ensuring that your children breathe out of their nose rather than their mouth can, along with the other factors make a huge difference).
We then shared a delicious afternoon tea, chatted with others and exchanged delight. I then set off for my parents, feeling warmed, warmed with friendships and an ignited passion. I was very excited to see my family.