This time last year I was…

… In Australia. Sydney, to be precise. I was more than likely wandering around Circular Key drinking an iced coffee, or perhaps in the Aquarium squeeing at fishies. I went over for two weeks after Adam had spent a week or two on a telescope run in Parkes. We hung around Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Have some photos from our trip…

Bird, Australia

There’s a great room in the wildlife world next to the aquarium where birds fly around and just land on you and stuff, here’s one of the prettiest! If anyone knows what breed this is, please let me know! The other birds are scurrying around our feet too. Much fun!

Koala

In wildlife world, we got to touch and have our photo taken with a Koala. I have the photo of us with one somewhere, and in true ridiculous form, there’s a Koala in the background with it’s testicles all hanging out. Nice. Anyway, Koala fur is like lambs wool.

The three sisters, blue mountains

The Blue Mountains are super pretty, you get a train from Sydney to one of the small towns/villages up there… only takes about an hour and costs around $12AU. We stayed at the YMCA in a place called Katoomba, it’s only pretty much a one street town but has a decent supermarket and booze shop :D There’s quite a lot to do in the mountains, we went to this place called Scenic world where you can go on this uber steep railway, ride across two ridges in a clear-floored machine and walk around some of the bush. Aces.

Orphan rock, the blue mountains

Scenic world, katoomba, parrots

These kids were just hanging out by the stairs at scenic world. I loved that about Australia, so many random birds flying ’round. In the middle of Sydney we saw some Cockatoos just wandering in the street!

Sydney opera house

Obligatory opera house shot, on a dull day though. Honestly, it was sunny most of the time ;) Anyway, the Opera House is pretty yellow you know, totally off-white. It’s a totally lovely walk around the botanical gardens in Sydney.

Dinosaur birds, Hyde Park, Sydney

Oh hi! I called these guys the dinosaur birds the entire time I was there. They’re freakin’ amazing, like 2ft tall and all scaley beaked. I think they’re actually an Australia White Ibis. They’re off the fuckin’ chain. Waking up from a jet lagged sleep on your first day in Australia and wandering out for food, bumping into a gang of these guys is pretty freakin’ awesome.

Sydney seal

I haven’t even shown you the bats in the botanical gardens, or mentioned going to see Coheed & Cambria. Or even visiting Bondi Beach! Another time, another time…

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The stress comes in waves

Oh, guys, seriously. One moment I’m so chilled and just psyched about moving into the new house, and the next reality hits home and I realise we move there in 1 week and there’s only half a floor (and nothing else!) in the kitchen. Cripes! I keep trying to think of it as an adventure, ya know? :)

hole in the kitchen

Honestly, though, things are progressing really well with the house. We had loads of work done this week with the heating and water system.. it’s super good now, and we have this totally cute little radiator in our small compact bathroom. I’ve been looking at new bathroom suites, I think because of the size we’re going to go for quite a compact basin, and due to the lack of storage in the bathroom we’ll be going for something that can sit on top of a vantiy unit (gotta keep the toilet rolls somewhere!). We’ve also been checking out compact toilets… we’ll see. We figure we’ll be set to put in the bathroom last, which means we have no shower :O Alas, our gym has great facilities so we won’t be at a loss.

next doors cat

This is our (current) next door neighbours cat, we will miss her! She used to come over into our garden quite a lot during the summer and I enjoyed watching her trotting around the place. She has the funniest meowowwow. Ah!

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The house – Week 3

Last week we got an epic lot of stuff done in the house. Most of the electrics were finished off, all of the walls were fully stripped and all the old skirting boards were taken off. Over this weekend I spent hours filling holes in (what will be) mine and Adam’s room, Adam sanded down the walls in there and my Dad was fitting skirting boards in the living room. Unfortunately Adam’s Dad found that two of the joists (the big long bits of wood that run from one side of the room to the other and hold up the floorboards) had rotted in the kitchen, meaning they had to be taken out. Wood arrived today for them to be replaced. It’s not so much a biggy, just quite an annoying thing to have happened. Work started today on the central heating. We’re having a new boiler placed in a new position, alongside two new radiators downstairs (kitchen and living room) and a small radiator in the bathroom. There’s lots of new piping going in too, and some other piping being rerouted and shifted around to better positions. The huge hole in the living room where the fire will live has been made even bigger, too! We bought our fire the other day (well, it’s a house warming presents from my Mum and Dad)…

1179764851-xl04m

Oo and as a note, we’re having that same green as the colour in our living room. We’ve also just ordered a black hearth and back panel for the fire area. The surround will be build by my dad, and we’ll either have plain wood (to match the sanded and laquered flooring) or plain white.

new skirting boards filled walls

Kitchen floor hole

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Renovation Progress

Hi kids, no weekly good stuff this week because.. wow… I’ve been a busy bee! Between running around organising kitchen’s, phoning plumers & electrical people during the week, this weekend has been jam packed with ripping out the house! So I gave you some very much ‘before’ photos in my last post, things have progressed slightly since then…

renovation

During the week Adam and our Dads have been ripping the place completely out. No built in wardrobes remain, most of the kitchen is gone, this weekend we got all the wall paper off… not a carpet in sight! So right now the house really is a shell, beautious!

renovation

We also found around 100kg of lead piping, so we’re totally selling that to pay for some of the decorating :D:D Luckily no scary suprises yet – apart from a massive underground storage area in the kitchen… Weird. A lucky find was that the flooring in the lounge is really decent floorboards, so instead of sticking laminate down we’re gunna sand the fuck out of it and varnish it up a treat! ♥

My little studio room was stripped today by Adam’s granddad, and it’s so much nicer already… decided on a warm yellow and red theme for that room, wizard of oz style! Think… ruby slippers on the yellow brick road. We also got all our plug sockets & new light switches marked up, my Dad’s cutting the holes out so that the electrician can do things a little faster/cheaper :D

renovation

Tomorrow we have a guy coming around to see how much the damage will be for moving the boiler, fixing the random array of copper pipes and fitting another couple of radiators. Preparing to take quite a big hit on that one :/

So, I’ll keep you updated, and you can see more/larger photos on flickr :D Also, head over to http://www.finestimaginary.com to check out the new packaging design that arrived this week.

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Recipe – Cinder Toffee

Woah guys we just made this monster of a batch of Cinder Toffee, it’s really something you should try. And super easy to boot! Following a recipe by the Goddess herself, Nigella Lawson, this recipe is so super fun to make. I’d even say it would be great to do with kids… if it didn’t involve magma hot liquid sugar…

For a batch the size that we made, which by weight is probably very little, but by volume would fill a large 1kg quality street/celebrations/rose’s tin (you know, the kind you get around this time of year!), here’s what you need to do:

Ingredients

400g of Caster sugar
8 Table spoons (or 1/2 cup, 125ml) of Golden syrup
2 Table spoons of Bicarbonate of Soda

The process of making the cinder toffee is simple.

Start off by putting your sugar and syrup in a heavy based saucepan (make sure you use an oversized one!), mix these together as best you can (it doesn’t really work when it’s cold, so it’s best to keep mixing throughout the simmering).

Place over a lowish heat, everything will melt into a lava type substance that bubbles and boils… don’t freakin’ touch this.

Ok, so when it’s all lovely and golden (think… autumn) turn off the heat.

Put the bicarb in and whisk it.

Ready? READY? It turns into a f**king sugar monster. Yeh, see now why I told you to use a huge pan? We did’t the first time we made this, resulting in loads of fun :/

Righto, now you should pour this into either a greased up tin (again, you may need a big big sized one, or two.. just have a couple ready incase).

Now leave it 1 hour-ish or until it’s gone cold and hard.

Take it out and bash it up a bit, making super sticky hands but gorgeous lumps of cindery goodness. Voila!

Cinder toffee block snapped in half

Cinder toffee block snapped in half, how cool does this look?

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