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.

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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.

Loud voices, blue skies and tall trees

The road trip sing-along is a place of no judgement.  No matter how bad, there is an unspoken agreement that everyone sounds fabulous.

Last week we road-tripped down to the amazing Karri forests in south-west Western Australia (WA).

We fired up the iPod, and – covering all decades and many genres since about 1955 – we sang loudly.  Badly.  Proudly.

Between Perth and Pemberton there are many delightful places to stop, wander, explore.  We took a vehicular stroll through dairy farms, orchards, forest, and small towns.

At Coffee O’clock we stopped in Donnybrook. The boys’ iced coffees were served in 1ltr preserving jars.  The coffee was…acceptable.

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Two hours later we arrived in Pemberton.  Well-trained by childhood road-trips, I sniffed out the bakery for lunch, then gravitated to a stall on the side of the road selling delicious locally made jams.

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Fully loaded with saturated fat and sugar, we went on to the second-highest fire lookout tree in the world; the Gloucester Tree.  This is a magnificent tree with an un-magnificent name.

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Mark has a fear of heights and no intention of ever climbing it; I’d done it before so felt no need to subject myself to the terror/exhilaration again.  Kobi climbed the tree and returned satisfied to tick that off his bucket list.

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There are several options for bushwalking and we chose a gentle 1km meander through the ancient forest.

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The drive home took us through more forest as we weaved our way back to the freeway.

It’s a great day trip.  If time permits it could be a relaxing 3 or 4 days of exploring; there’s plenty of accommodation options and an ample supply of scenery, wineries, and bakeries.

The drive lends itself to singing, warbling, crooning and even in-your-seat dancing.

That being said, my dramatic, interpretive homage to Gene Pitney’s 24 Hours from Tulsa – a favourite of my late father – may have been taking it too far.  I think even dad would have changed the song.

And told me never to do it again.

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.

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.