When friends drop in…

A few months ago when we moved into our new house, I declared, with sweeping gestures, that I required the deck and small yard to be Fabulous.  It must be noted I had no idea what that would look like; I just knew I’d know if it was…you know?

Sadly, I lack the skills to make that happen.  Happily, my husband – with a little help from the Boy – does not.  With a bit of creativity, not much money, and many many visits to Bunnings (during which I repeatedly, loudly sighed ‘I’m BORED’), he created a perfect Favourite Place.

It can be many things: a lazy sunny afternoon reading spot…

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…a breakfast bar with an odd metal menagerie, most of whom look suspiciously over-caffeinated…

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…an at-home campsite…

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…or the perfect place for a mellow dinner…

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It’s versatile, inviting and creative.  It’s fabulous.

Today when friends dropped in unexpectedly, it was easy to throw together a Penny Platter (you probably know this as an antipasto platter.  We name some things after my sister-in-law because, well, we can.  Also, the alliteration is appealing)…but I digress.  Back to my point:  Penny Platter, coffee, good conversation with most excellent people, hanging out on the deck.  A few delightful hours.

Favourite places can sometimes be – literally – on your doorstep.

Sunny Spring Monday in Freo

The blue spring sky called me this morning, and the coffee called me this afternoon.

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The XWray Café in Essex Street hits all the requirements of a favourite place:  great vibe, delicious food and smooth coffee.

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Freo always delivers the goods.

The Mum and I; co-ordinating our adventure…

I’m not a naturally organised person.  I am, however, a big fan of preparing (read: controlling), so when our family travels the usual pattern is for me to do the bulk of the pre-planning.

Once we’re at the airport my brain switches off.  The task of being the travel-coordinator-and-holder-of-all-knowledge transfers to my husband.  It’s up to him to remember where important documents are, what time we need to be places, what we’re doing on any given day, and where to find the good coffee.

In November I’ve been offered an opportunity to travel to the UK and Malta with my work.  After the work is complete, I’m meeting up with my mum and we’re off on a two week adventure through the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

Mum and I haven’t travelled together for over two decades.  I was seventeen and my strongest memory of that trip is of me having a tantrum in Sydney.  No idea what it was about, I just remember what I was wearing and that I had sweet hair-flicking-foot-stomping skills.

I was probably upset because I couldn’t have something my way.

According to my mother, for this upcoming trip, it’s my job to have my brain on for both the pre-planning and the execution.  She tells me I’m the coordinator.

I’m looking forward to sharing with her some of my favourite places, and exploring new favourite places together.

These places may (will) centre around coffee and I’m confident there will be no tantrums.

Because I’m the one in control.

Did I say in control?  I meant coordinating.  I’m the one coordinating.

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Perth is my holiday romance turned True Love…

I haven’t lived there for years, but deeply embedded in my psyche are a few things which are a result of growing up in South Australia. I have an unwavering affection for Fruchocs, Kitchener buns, and yiros.  I secretly blame Queensland and New South Wales for ruining the Murray-Darling basin.  Colin Thiele is my literary hero.

And I still pronounce chance ‘chahnce’, example ‘exahmple’ and transfer ‘trahnsfer’.

South Australia is like my best friend from high school; we share memories, we will always be connected, but we don’t see each other often.

I currently live in Perth (Western Australia).  I don’t love Perth like I love South Australia; my feelings are less deep-abiding-friendship and more passionate-holiday-romance.

My niece and my mother visited us last week.  We shared some of our Favourite Places and the crush I have on Perth got stronger.

Most of my Favourite Places are in Fremantle…

Theobroma Coffee Lounge (what’s not to love about good coffee and a red stiletto made from chocolate?!):

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Fremantle Markets (always good shopping, people-watching and food; including South Australian mettwurst and the glorious mystery that is fritz):

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South Beach put on some spectacular winter weather.  Hours were spent walking on rocks, digging holes, and enjoying sunshine on shoulders.

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When we ventured away from Freo, we enjoyed the always excellent beverages, creative gifts and friendly folk at Kookery in Subiaco:

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And King’s Park.  Glorious, fun, and something for everyone in any weather:

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My family make my heart smile.

When I can explore a city I love and drink good coffee while I’m with my family, life is probably as close to perfect as it can be.

I can order Fruchocs online now, so if I find yiros in Perth as good as those in Adelaide…well, there’s a chahnce I could live here happily ever after.

Shopping local and falling off bicycles

During a meandering bike ride through the narrow back streets in Fremantle, to my delight I discovered our new house is a less-than-ten-minute bike ride to Galati & Sons.

My dad owned a fruit & veg shop so I have high expectations. For years I’ve been bereft – yes, that’s right, bereft – of a local, actual fruit & veg shop (as opposed to a supermarket which has a fruit & veg section) which sells well-priced, excellent quality, fresh foods.

Note: I know I could grow stuff myself, but I’m much better at being a customer of fresh food than a creator. I like to work to my strengths.

Thankfully I am bereft no more.
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Galati’s sells more than just fruit & veg – they’ve got pasta, nuts, cheeses, coffee, salami and other associated delicious deli meats, olives, dried fruits. It is a gastronomical heaven.

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Look at me, I thought as I rode my bike home with my backpack full of produce, I’m being friendly to the environment and my body, and I’m shopping local. I am awesome.

Then I nearly fell off because the hill was steep.

That aside, I will continue to ride my bike and shop local….and one day I will overcome that hill.

It kinda sorta reminds me of France

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It’s a cold nearly-winter day in Perth.

This morning in addition to requiring caffeine, I required Feeling Like I Look Fabulous (because sometimes the best mood-enhancer – aside from coffee – is wearing The Right Outfit).

The definition of ‘the right outfit’ varies depending on my mood. It’s not an exact science; the jumble of clothes on my bedroom floor this morning is evidence of this. I ended up deciding to wear clothes I bought in Paris a few years ago…side note: every time I say a sentence involving the words ‘clothes I bought in Paris’, I fulfil one of my teenage dreams. It never gets old.

I digress.

This morning I had coffee at Ogilvie’s in Subiaco.

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Its rustic, old school decor makes me feel like I’m hanging out in an old farmhouse kitchen.

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It reminds me of a few cafes we came across in France so it seemed appropriate – while wearing my awesome French clothes – to get my Saturday caffeine and writing fix here.

Any caffeine-related Favourite Place needs a good vibe and excellent coffee. Ogilvie’s has both.

I’m feeling warm and pretty, and I’m drinking good coffee.

The world is as it should be.

No post-holiday blues…

Returning home from holidays is something I’m not usually good at.

The foot-stamping and hair-flicking tantrums at which I excelled in my teens returns (albeit slightly toned down), and I am prone to bouts of ‘It’s not fair. Why can’t holidays last forever?’. Melodrama is a hard habit to kick.

Today I realised living so close to Fremantle has taken the edge off the returning home angst.

This afternoon we had a brief outing to Theobroma and the Freo Markets.

At Theobromoa the coffee and chocolate is always smooth.

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The Freo Markets have fresh meats, fruit, vegetables & freshly made meals (from pies to paella, bhaji to bagels, haggis to hash browns), souvenirs, clothes, shoes, artwork, buskers…it always leaves me in a happy place.

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Freo is perfect antidote to the oh-that’s-right-the-holiday-is-over whining.

Our outing today was a well-timed reminder that some of my Most Favourite Places are just around the corner.