Saturday, 30 July 2011

Our hearts are sad

Eady flew to Melbourne very early this morning with his sister Dordie. They heard late last night that their beloved Grandfather, Grandpa Des, had taken a turn for the worse and was not expected to live beyond the weekend. Grandpa Des has been battling lung cancer after being diagnosed a few months ago and whilst he has been fighting it with the understated yet steely strength that he is known for, it has become much a much harder fight over recent days and his health has deteriorated dramatically.

I have known Grandpa Des for close to 16 years, having fallen head over heels in love with Eady at first sight way back then and meeting his family soon after. Grandpa Des was just so lovely to me at our first meeting and made me feel like I was a very welcome addition to the clan despite the fact that Eady and I were very, very young yet extremely adamant that we were made for each other! So whilst there were a fair few cynics in the early days (understandably), we never had to justify our feelings for each other to Grandpa Des as he was able to see just how much Eady and I felt about each other despite our age and our relatively new relationship. He just accepted the whole "Cole loves Eady for ever and ever" at face value and made me feel like a Granddaughter-in-law from the very start. Therefore, it seemed only right that I call him Grandpa Des.

Unfortunately I got a call from Eady early this afternoon to confirm that Grandpa Des had passed away. My heart is sad to have lost this dignified yet warm and affectionate man with a tremendous love for his family. Sad too, for what Eady is feeling right now as his grieving begins. I really just want Eady to get back to Sydney so I can wrap him in my arms and reassure him that for as long as there is love, Grandpa Des will always remain in the hearts of all of those who loved him dearly. Me included.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Rain, Rain, go away...and you too Wiggly Worm

The rain in Sydney is wearing me down. It just won't stop and according to Tim the Channel 10 weatherman, it is likely to continue until well into next week. Shimmer, my cute-little-car, is not coping well either. There is so much water on the road that every time we drive through a puddle that is inevitably a lot bigger and deeper then it appears to be, we veer all over the road which gives us quite a fright. I end up gripping the steering wheel for the rest of the trip, praying that we get to our destination in one piece. Apart from Shimmer and I, Eady is having a tough time too. He works in the city and despite catching the bus and holding a huge kick-arse umbrella over him when he is walking, he has arrived home dripping wet the last 2 nights. His sense of humour about this is wearing decidedly thin and I fear this will not only result in major disillusionment towards the weather here but even a re-adjustment in the Melbourne vs. Sydney debate that rages within him (with Melbourne taking a convincing lead).

I am sure that the torrential rain we have had over the last week is also the reason we got a visit from Wiggly Worm last night. And I don't mean my niece, whom my Mum affectionately calls Wiggly Worm. I mean a real-life wiggly worm from the garden.

Yes, that's right, there was a worm on our cream carpet. Although the front door is only about 50cm from the worm's chosen spot, I am not sure how he could have navigated past the various implements that are in place to stop home invasions of the non-human and criminal variety. I suspect that he might well have caught a lift on Eady or I and then decided to settle in for a bit of R&R and a dose of Angry Boys on the afore-mentioned carpet. Unfortunately for him though, he was discovered before he got too comfortable. Thems the breaks worm.

Post-script: Eady is extremely concerned that by me writing a blog about a worm being found on our carpet, judgements will  be cast regarding the cleanliness (or rather the lack of), in our house. So dear readers, please let me confirm that Eady is a Type A personality who may be bordering on obsessive-compulsive regarding all things cleaning and that he lives with a wife who is petrified of clutter, mess and all kinds of bacteria especially the squiggly and spiral kinds. Therefore, the fact that a worm was found in our house is down to bad luck and not bad hygiene!

Monday, 18 July 2011

It's so warm and toasty in bed!

After returning to Australia five and half years ago when the sub-zero temperatures of the European winter became too much to bear, we thought we would be on easy street in Sydney weather-wise. Oh how we laughed about storing our thermals indefinitely, buying a house with no built-in heating and wearing thongs instead of ugg boots in the depths of winter. With a high of 19C today which is really just a typical mid-winter day here in Sydney and an overnight low of around 9C expected tonight, it is a little bit cheeky to complain about the chill when this temperature range would constitute an average summers day in the UK. But complain I do, as it is really bloody cold now that I have officially acclimatised! So cold infact, that yesterday on my way to afternoon tea with Elle B and Lyndal (cakes, fruit platters and knitting in between a far bit of chat) I had to stop off and buy our first ever electric blanket. We trialled it last night and in the space of 24 hours, the new blanket has become an essential appliance in our house, carbon tax and carbon footprint be damned!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Daily Commute

I admit that I was pretty spoilt in my last job with regards to my daily commute. It was a grand total of 3 kms from home to work with the longest part of the drive taking place in the carpark underneath my building - my specific car spot was hidden 7 levels underground. With my new role though, I now have a commute of 20 kms each way and it involves me travelling through the Sydney Harbour Tunnel to the outer Eastern suburbs of Sydney. It is a drive that has taken me anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes each time this week and probably likely to be even longer next week when the kiddies return to school and traffic returns to normal. Still I find the drive quite soothing, it gives me time to wind down after work (or fire up for the day ahead) and sing along to my favourite 80s power ballads replaying constantly on  Bogan FM. An added bonus is that I park less then 10 metres from the front door of the building and 20 metres from my desk. I know, crazy right? Whilst I am LOVE, LOVE, LOVING the carpark situation I do acknowledge that it is only my first week of cross-country driving so it remains to be seen if my zen-like acceptance of the daily commute continues.

Today I wore my black Giallo pumps to work. They have an almond toe and are very simple in design, almost to the point of being a bit boring. To liven them up a little, I like to decorate them and make them a bit more fun. Hence the purchase of some clip-on earrings from a local antique store. I attached the earrings to the front of each shoe which adds a point of interest to my feet (and distracts from the toe cleavage that is always on display thanks to my obscenely long toes that even Eady finds freaky). The clip-ons I chose to wear today were an antique silver pair that are really quite pretty and dainty. I didn't wear any socks/stockings/tights with my shoes but compared to yesterday, it was practically a heat wave in Sydney so all was good in the World of Cole.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Thank goodness for roast chicken!

I am on a very steep learning curve at my new company and I am finding that I'm so tired by the time I get home at night that all I want to do is crawl into bed and fall asleep! So with me having used all of my energy up at work and Eady having had a day best described as annoying, I made an executive decision to buy a roast chicken for dinner to avoid either of us having to spend time in the kitchen. Of course this meant I also had to buy roast potatoes (although I am sure that "deep fried" potatoes would have been a more accurate description) and a giant bottle of Pepsi Max, neither of which are all that acceptable given that it is currently Diabetes Awareness Week across Australia. But despite exercise and healthy eating having fallen by the wayside of late, it is not all doom and gloom as I can honestly say that I am still making an effort with my work outfits...which is lucky given it is only Day 3.

Today's outfit consisted of an LK Bennett dress, a brand that is thoroughly endorsed by The Duchess (and therefore me) which was accessorised with a patent leather belt from Cue and my Bianca Spender jacket.

I have already started to think about what to wear tomorrow which is going to be a "pants" day (as per my one day pants, next day skirt rule). I haven't quite decided yet what the final outift will be but I do know one thing, it needs to be very warm to keep out the winter chill!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

No more sleeping in for Cole K

I have just finished Day 2 in my new role and although it's early days, it definitely isn't too early to say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it already! The work is incredibly interesting and I am sure will prove to be very rewarding too once I get more involved. The CEO has been really supportive and the people within the company have been very welcoming, happy to answer the multitude of questions that I have thrown at them and are so enthusiastic about the ethos and vision of the company that you can't help but get caught up in the excitement.

Yesterday though, as the sun rose on my first day, I woke up feeling more nervous then excited and wanted to choose an outfit that was easy to wear yet professional in look (primarily to reassure the CEO that he had made the right decision in hiring me!) and so decided that a dress was the best way to go. I wore my black silk Jac+Jack sleeveless dress over a long sleeved woollen jumper dress from Kookai for some extra warmth and accessorised with a vintage style brooch. I was super organised and had made myself some treats like passionfruit yoghurt, vegetable fritatta and a slice of orange and almond cake the day before which I took with me to keep my hunger at bay during the day. I also took some roast chickpeas which I found in the health food section of the supermarket and which are my new favourite snack - delicious and healthy!

My usual way of coping with dressing dilemmas during the week is to alternate between pants and skirts - one day I wear pants and the next a skirt or dress and so on until casual Friday. The beauty of this method is that  that when I get up in the morning, if it is a "pants" day (or trousers for those in the Northern Hemisphere who believe that only undies are called pants), I can rule out half of my wardrobe and only have to think about outfits featuring pants. It might seem a little nuts but it does make the whole decision-making process about what to wear a little bit easier. So following this rule, I paired my See by Chloe pants and Jimmy Choos with a vintage style shirt chosen by my Grandma and purchased by my Mum a couple of years ago. As the office is a tad on the chilly side, a scoop neck woollen jumper from Glassons on top completed my office outfit.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

New Work Eve

Tomorrow morning is the first day in my new role and I have to say, I haven't been this excited about Monday to Friday time since I started Grade 3. And just like my 7 year old self, I have some new supplies to take on my first day - pink notepads, pink Hello Kitty pens, a pink drink bottle and a pink lunch box.

As Eady wisely commented, he is very unlikely to use my new lunch containers because they are hot pink. Considering he has half a Tupperware catalogue sitting in his desk drawer just waiting to be brought home, washed and put back into use, some might say that this is is mission accomplished on my part - I will always have a lunch container available now (just not a clear one!).

Two Dinners, One Dress

This weekend was a lazy one for me clothing wise in that I wore the same dress to two different dinners on the weekend. Sydney is cold, bitterly cold, so I needed to be warm. My tummy is sore, awfully sore, so I needed to be comfortable. Whilst this would ordinarily mean baggy trackie daks and a hot water bottle, I suspected that neither dinner venue would be likely to work with me on this. Therefore, my Fleur Wood woollen dress that I first blogged about here was voted as "Outfit Most Likely" for each dinner as it is warm, comfy around the tummy area and a tad more glam then my afore-mentioned outfit preference!

For Friday night, I paired my dress with a braided chocolate belt I bought on a trip to Melbourne a few years ago and my chocolate knee-high boots from Giallo.

For Saturday night, I teamed my dress with a shearling collar from County Road following some style inspiration from KittyCate's blog here, a black Mogil leather tie belt that I have owned for years and black riding boots from Duo in the UK.

On this note,  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Duo boots as they have so many different widths available that even I can find boots that perfectly fit my calves. Considering that I have reverse cankles (where my calves are so skinny they are practically the same width as my ankles and most boots make me look like I am wearing gumboots), this brand has been a blessing. Especially now that the Aussie dollar is so strong. Bingo.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Howdy Cowgirl

I have a bit of a country and western thing going on at the moment. My iPod has old school Kenny & Dolly on high rotation, I am loving the Saloon Bar at our local pub and I have started to think that line dancing classes could well be a legitimate way of getting fit. The commitment to all things western has even extended to my wardrobe by way of a checked shirt, which I wore today to meet Eady for lunch in the city. I am not usually a shirt wearer by tradition, no doubt because my essential house-keeping duties do not extend to ironing. But the beauty of this shirt is that it is best worn a little rumpled which means just wash, hang until dry and whack it in the wardrobe until it is needed. Oh yes, I do lazy well and to paraphrase Dr Phil, this shirt is an enabler.

Tonight I am making Eady and I an asian-inspired chicken dish for dinner, kind of like my own special version of Sang Choi Bow. Whilst it isn't strictly in keeping with my current cowgirl vibe, I am excited because it means I get to use my new multi-function stick blender for the first time. I did have one previously but we parted ways a couple of months back. I am what is known in the biz as a pretend chef in that I can't stand chopping, grating or slicing the old-fashioned Master Chef way and so I used my handstick nearly every time I cooked and I guess the handstick took the old adage of "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" quite literally and stopped working permanently. I finally got around to replacing it and in honour of the first use, I have chosen a dish that will allow every ingredient to be processed with the handstick. Obsessed? Well, I guess it is kind of hard to argue against based on my comments above but geez, I do love a multi-function handstick blender...

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

New Items

Today is my last Wednesday of non-work time before I start my new job next week. I didn't have many plans but was very happy to debut a couple of new items. Firstly, my new stripey tunic top which I bought when Mum and I went shopping on the weekend. It has bat wing sleeves which I am completely obsessed with right now and an asymmetric hem, longer at the back so my derriere is well and truly covered and shorter at the front (although still  long enough to be worn with leggings should I be so daring). I coupled this with a fabulous new "Congratulations on the new job" present that my Mum gave me. It is a gorgeous silver ring with a grey pearl which I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and coincidentally, matches my new top perfectly. It is such a brilliant and much appreciated gift from Mum - I will definitely be wearing it on my first day!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Girlfriends are the best!

Girlfriends really are indispensable and this was shown to me yet again when I caught up with the lovely ElleB last night for dinner at Garfish in Kiribilli, a fantastic place specialising in seafood and simple-yet-very-tantalising desserts. It wasn't our first time there so we barely had to glance at the menu, and judging by how quickly we ate our dinner, I doubt it will be our last. Although next time, Elle B may well force me to order my own dessert after seeing how quickly I scoffed the ice-cream that accompanied hers (curse of the tight pants meant I was in abstain mode and didn't order dessert but as there are no calories in other people's food, I was perfectly happy to assist ElleB instead).

ElleB and I have a number of similarities - in life, love and health and consequently she is a great source of information and someone that I like to bounce ideas off. She is very considered in the answers she gives and  I really value our chats and her advice. Amongst our discussions last night, we spoke about a decision that ElleB has recently been confronted with and what her feelings are about making this decision. It was really interesting to hear her take on it and where she is at in the decision-making process. I know that the right choice for her will become apparent soon enough although I am sending her some good vibes to help with this!

Big Changes for Cole

It might seem from my recent posts that I haven't really had time to attend to things at The Office what with all of my shopping, eating and travelling. Well, that is kind of true. You see, I have recently finished at my previous company and come Monday 11th July, will be starting a new role in a whole new industry, woo hoo!

I have been involved in science-related things since graduating from university a number of years ago. Doing this type of work has enabled me to work, travel and live around the world whilst giving me lots of opportunity to be involved in fantastic projects, work with some incredible people and gain experience in a number of different management positions. But a couple of years ago, I came to the conclusion that I really wanted to broaden my experience to other industries whilst being able to continue on the management path (including starting an MBA) but also help people in a much more direct way. After some investigation, I decided that I wanted to work for a Not-for-Profit company that would allow me to do all of this whilst utilising my prior experience and knowledge and so I set about looking for the right opportunity. It took some time but eventually the right role presented itself and following a quick but intense application and interview process, I got my dream role! I can't wait to start and whilst I know there are going to be many challenges in adapting to a new company, industry, team and role, I am really looking forward to it.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Back to Sydney

Monday morning dawned far too quickly and I found myself back on the train to Melbourne. Before heading to the airport, I caught up with the divine Miss M whom I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. We decided to have coffee and cake at my favourite patisserie, Le Petite Gateau in Little Collins Street (unfortunately it was a little too early for a burger at Cafe Vue). Miss M updated me on the most recent developments in her life since we last spoke a week ago and as always, there was lots to catch up on. Miss M has decided to leave her current job and is starting a new one in August. She has been contemplating some changes of the work variety over the last few months and it is fantastic for her that all of her plans are falling into place! Apart from that Miss M and I chatted about everything in the way we normally do, a couple of sentences on one topic, then a couple of sentences on another completely unrelated topic before switching back to the original topic. This normally continues for a couple of hours without any pausing for breath. Miss M has been known to comment that if anyone was listening in to us, they would have no idea what we were talking about, wonder how we kept track of what we are talking about and assume we were both slightly nuts (a point which we are both more then happy to concede given the evidence).

After some goodies, I ran for my flight and am now at home waiting patiently to see the lovely Eady when he gets home from work. I can't wait!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

My Weekend

It has been really nice spending time with my Mum over the weekend. We did all of the usual things we do like chatting, shopping, having lunch and dinner and just taking life at a much easier pace then I do when I am in Sydney. Mum also updated me on all of the local happenings and although I haven't lived there for over half my life now(!), I still like to hear what is going on and how well everyone is doing. I got to catch-up with some of my favourite relatives like Auntie Stef and Uncle Henry who made a delicious dinner for Mum and I on Saturday night and whom we met for dinner each night I was there. For other relatives, like my wonderful grandparents, all I could do was take some flowers to the cemetery. Last April, we lost my beloved Grandma after a long illness. Being from the Ukraine, we called her Baba, which means Grandma in Ukrainian. We all miss her every day and for me, I still find it hard to believe that she isn't around anymore and find myself close to tears whenever I think about her. I guess the only consolation is that she is reunited with her husband, my Dido, who passed away 15 years ago. But I really do miss being able to visit them both and be plied with Ukrainian food of all descriptions. From the time I was little, I was always on the skinny side and Baba took this with great offence and did everything she possibly could to fatten me up. She would exclaim every time I saw her, in an accented English/Ukrainian hybrid language she developed over the years "Ah, my Cole-y, you so skinny, you like a skinny rabbit". I used to think that being compared to a rabbit was quite nice, rabbits are pretty cute after all. What I didn't realise until recently was that she was actually comparing me to a skinned rabbit not a cute and cuddly, fluffy rabbit. Bless, Baba sure knew how to tell it like it is.

Even though I have tried to make Baba's recipes, they just don't taste as good. Luckily we got to visit Baba and Dido's best friends, Mr and Mrs P, over the weekend. I have known them all my life and Baba and Dido knew them for most of theirs - they first met in a war camp in Germany back in the 1940s before meeting up again in Australia. Mrs P had done some baking in the day and I got to try it in vast quantities - sauerkraut and bacon filled pierogi. These are best described as being similiar to dim sum only made from pasta and filled with assorted stuffings like cabbage, potatoes and usually some sort of fatty, delicious meat. OMG, amazing! I told her how much I missed Baba's food and that I was so happy to be eating authentic Ukrainian food again. Mrs. P gave us lots of peierogi to take home and Mum was so concerned that I was going to wolf them all down as soon as we got back to her house that she had to remind me to "Leave some for me!". Ooops, my reputation for eating is well known in Mum's house....

Friday, 1 July 2011

Lunch in Melbourne

I decided earlier this week, on my flight home from Cairns in fact, that a weekend in Victoria was needed to catch-up with friends and family that I hadn't seen for quite a while. After reassuring Eady that I wasn't trying to avoid him after scheduling my second weekend away from him in a row and also promising him that I would limit hits on our very weary credit card (luckily he took this promise in the same vein it was made - noble yet highly unrealistic), I jumped on a flight to Melbourne earlier today. As soon as I arrived I headed straight to lunch with the tall, thin and exceedingly glamorous Brindabella. Despite making me feel like a little dumpling who is more bam then glam in the fashion stakes, Brindabella has a number of positive attributes that make a catch-up with her more then just a harsh  lesson in style for me. Firstly, her choice of venue for lunch - Cafe Vue in Little Collins Street. I had never been here before (although I have eaten at Cafe Vue in St Kilda Road which isn't quite as fabulous mainly due to the proximity of things work-related) but have heard many, many amazing reports of the city cafe and of course the original restaurant that started it all, Vue de Monde. Eady had worded me up that I must have the burger for lunch at Cafe Vue and three words into our waiter's welcome, two burgers had been ordered. OMG, let me just say it was heaven in a bun! No photos unfortunately, the burger was well and truly gone before I even thought that a photo might help to demonstrate some of the amazingness of this treat. Brindabella and I caught up on news, gossip and even had time to work through a number of solutions to the problems of the world over our long and lazy lunch. I had such a lovely time, I did wish that there wasn't quite so much time and distance between our lunches.

After our catch-up, I jumped on a country train for my next destination, Latrobe Valley, where I am spending the weekend at my Mum's house. As I was light on luggage, I decided that I could easily take Mum a flourless orange and almond cake from Le Petite Gateau. Let's just say this certainly ensured I was welcomed into Mum's house with open arms!