Tag Archives: summer birthdays

T minus 10 days

6 Dec

At the risk of sounding like my mother, where has the time gone? It seems hardly any time ago that we were talking about coming to the UK for Christmas “next year” and now it is ten days until we actually land back in the Mother country! It will have been almost two and a half years since we have seen some of our friends and family so we are, undeniably excited. However, ten days before we arrive means only three short days before we actually fly and that means a sudden panic about what I need to pack, buy, sort, post and finish before we head off.

With our birthdays both happening this past week, a huge amount to do for the new business, especially prior to leaving, and trying to arrange seeing people before Christmas and buying Christmas presents in time, the past few weeks have been hectic and at times, stressful.

With so much else going on, we kept our birthdays simple and organised a picnic with just a few friends on the beach last weekend. It was a lovely day and probably the first time we have purposefully gone to the beach for the day this Spring/Summer, as well as hung out with some of our friends for a while. Having Shan’s baby there kept everyone entertained as well!

Birthday picnic

Birthday picnic

Picnic in the park

Picnic in the park

James and Ash

James and Ash

On the days themselves, we went out to one of our favourite restaurants for dinner for my birthday, followed by ice cream at our favourite gelateria (both have coincidentally just opened up shop a short walk from us near Bondi – dangerous for the wallet and the hips!)

On James’ birthday I surprised him with some cake at the beach after work but these days it’s about as exciting as it gets!

The really exciting news is that Apple have approved the app and as soon as we give the green light, it will be available for sale in the App store… I have yet to break open the bubbles because the website and back-end functionality all needs to be smooth and fully operational before we do this and there are a few adjustments that need making. To add to the drama, a few weeks a go we learnt about the Inside Bitcoin Conference, taking place in Las Vegas and decided the timing was perfect to coincide with the app being in the store and for us to start promoting. So, we are now heading to Vegas for a few days before returning to LA and jetting off to London as originally planned.

Work aside, and it has been busy for both of us, it had almost escaped our attention that it is in fact nearly Christmas. It struck me as I walked into the Westfield mall the other week and heard ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ cheerily jingle out against the other sound of the slip-slap of flip flops walking along the ground. The wreaths, however beautiful, jarr against the stark white, sunlit walls as does the juxtaposition of the Polar Bear, pointing his way toward Santa’s grotto, while all around his frosty podium the shop windows display summery brights and neon prints. I never thought I would say we are looking forward to the cold and dark but at this time of year, it just seems right!

Having said that, once night falls and the lights come on, Sydney still puts on  a good effort and we went to see the Martin Place Christmas tree in all its glory when we met up with a couple of friends for a drink last week – as you can tell from the picture, the tree was perhaps not that interesting!


Martin Place Christmas Tree

Martin Place Christmas Tree

The traditional arcades, such as The Strand arcade also look lovely at Christmas and if it wasn’t for the 27-degree sunshine, you might almost believe there was a quaint English town outside.
Strand Arcade

Strand Arcade


As I mentioned, we have been trying to fit in seeing people before we fly off, and so last weekend we drove up to see James’ dad’s cousin out in Windsor. Ibby moved a year a go and has done a huge amount of work to the house and garden, which, looks out across the flood plains of the Hawkesbury River. We also managed to catch up with her daughter, Liona who popped in for tea as well. We were particularly impressed by Ibby’s sunflowers!

The 10ft sunflower

The 10ft sunflower

Liona, Ibby and James

Liona, Ibby and James


I expect this will be the last post before we land arrive in England and this has been a bit of a rushed summary of everything that has happened over the past month. One thing I should mention, as you have probably noticed, James is sporting a little more facial hair than normal, which was his ‘Movember’ effort, seeing as they can’t have moustaches in the Navy. He reckons he is keeping it. I gave him a really nice shaving set for his birthday…



Hot town, summer in the city…

3 Dec

I’ve been baking again. (I mean this both literally and figuratively because we have been experiencing a bit of a heatwave.) This time the baking was actually for my benefit too – birthday cake! I thought it was a bit wrong to be making my own cake but I had James’ birthday as an excuse and seeing as we had a joint birthday party at the weekend, there couldn’t not be a cake!

We invited around thirty people and hired out the barbecue and pool area at the naval school where James is working. It is a fantastic setting, with views over the city and it was lovely to be able to share it with none-Navy friends, who never usually get to see what lies beyond the security gates.

Now, usually James and I, both being UK winter babies, celebrate in freezing, wet (or both) conditions so it was a real contrast when, this year, the weekend fell over one of the hottest  starts of summer in Sydney in years. While western suburbs sweltered in around 40 degrees, we were grateful for a little respite thanks to the sea breeze – and temperatures of around 34. No better weekend for a pool party than during a heatwave.

The night before I finished the cake:

Birthday cake

Then I panicked we wouldn’t have enough food:

Party food

Then I calmed down and enjoyed the day with our lovely group of friends 🙂

Aussie friends

Pool party

It was a brilliant occasion; the location was ideal, there was a really nice mix of Naval, civilian, UK and Australian and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Besides the sun, a few games of Kubb also got things a little heated:

Kubb underway

Kubb victors

We were both really touched at all the cards, gifts and food people brought and it really brought home the fact we have settled in well here and have established a good network of friends. Not only was it a good way to kick off the summer in Sydney but we also got to meet our friend’s puppy for the first time. Bert proved to be the star of the show!
Guest of honour
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