he was rocking a Mohawk

I could’ve been a bit miserable today. It’s my husband’s birthday, and the amazing day we’d had planned – complete with wonderful, reliable friends stepping up to collect our children from their various places of education, take them home and feed them, in order to give us more time to hang out in this long-awaited warm weather – was scuppered by work commitments. On top of that, it’s Anzac Day, which means that, celebrations (or lack thereof) with my husband aside, I’m more than a little homesick.

I salved my Aussie yearnings somewhat by baking Anzac biscuits rather than a birthday cake yesterday (yes, alright, alright, he’ll get a cake too – on the weekend, okay?) but with the sun blazing down and both of us at work – no child-free, young lovers day to enjoy, nor a game of Two-Up and far too many beers – I had to keep slapping that black dog away from my shoulder.

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And then I saw this chap. I was at Oxford Circus on my way back from work to pick up the children, and he was announcing the arrival of the next Tube service, sporting his high-vis vest, yes, but also a fantastic Mohawk and body art to rival the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I loved that we were right near Carnaby Street, loved the fact that tourists, hoping, even in the face of all of the uniformity of chains and brands, to suck up a bit of what made that area famous, would’ve relished the sight of him. I loved the way he casually reminded people to “mind the gap” as he himself slouched, one leg up, against the train carriage.

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I miss Sydney every day, but if I have to live somewhere else for now, then he, and all of the theatricality he represented – plus the lovely friends who insisted that my husband & I reschedule his not-curtailed-by-school-hours birthday mooch whenever – made me glad, and grateful, that it’s London.

there’s an abundance of berries

Oh, how I love berries. Raspberries and strawberries are my absolute faves, but I’ll never turn my nose up at a blueberry or a blackberry either. They were the one food I craved in all of my pregnancies and the one dessert that I’d struggle to give up.

Luckily, I don’t have to, since they’re one of the more acceptable fruits in paleo terms and, as one of the lowest-of-the-low when it comes to sugar content, they’re also fine for the carb conscious among us. I did give them up for a bit when I was doing the Balanced Bites sugar detox but they’re back on the menu now, albeit not with the honey and Greek yoghurt with which I used to smother them in pregnancy.

Anyway, the weather is still a bit iffy considering that it’s supposed to be Springtime but there are at least loads of berries around, and that always gladdens my heart. Today I’ve eaten them for breakfast, baked them into a cake (you can find the recipe here on this mouthwatering blog, The Italian Dish) ready for when we have guests tomorrow and given them to the children as an afternoon snack. I love the way they look in my new favourite blue bowls, which we bought for 50p each from Shiver Me Timbers in Penzance, a reclamation yard that we visit unfailingly on our annual Cornish holiday. I love the way they look, en masse, on a Central London fruit barrow. But best of all, I love the news that I got when I posted this photo on Facebook & Instagram.

Tiffany, one of my oldest and bestest friends from home (Australia), has a pathological fear and hatred of bananas. So her response to the photo was to express distaste for their presence on the barrow. But also to tell me that she is looking forward to some berry scoffage when she comes over to visit. In July!!!

Wooooooooo hoooooooo! So excited!!

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I bought a random-brand, low-cost night cream

I mean, who knows whether it will do any good. But if it doesn’t, at least I haven’t had to remortgage the house, or sell my daughter’s long, glossy hair (or soul) to acquire it.

If you’ve read this blog before, you may know that my husband’s track record, when it comes to buying gifts on his way home from overseas work trips, falls rather short of brilliant. So – “Can you get me some Creme de la Mer?” I jokingly texted, as he broke his journey home from New Zealand yesterday.

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I half expected Creme de Menthe, which, to be perfectly honest, after a few weeks of virtual sole-parenting, I’d’ve probably not turned my nose up at. 24% ABV, sure, why not?

But, bless him, he duly went to Duty Free in Dubai, picked up a 250ml pot of the stuff and took it to the register, Visa card in hand.

“I mean you did say Creme de la Mer, didn’t you?”  he asked, looking jet-laggedly incredulous tonight. “Because she said, “That’ll be 3000 and something dirham, and I handed over the card, and then I suddenly thought to ask how much it was in pounds, and it was like, £600!!!! So, you know, sorry and everything, but I put it back.”

It’s fair enough really. Although after the aforementioned weeks of sole parenting (and freezoid temperatures) I do sort of almost think that I need Creme de la Mer, if not reconstructive surgery, to render me halfway presentable again. I’m just not convinced that my budget supermarket buy is going to cut it.

On the other hand, the money I’ve saved on potions can always be put towards a personal trainer. Which is definitely what I’ll need if I so much as get started on the stash of Tim Tams – an Australian icon in the biscuity stakes and my absolute childhood favourite – that he picked up on his stopover in Melbourne. Forget the eggs this Easter – I’m going to teach my children how to do the Tim Tam Slam, which involves biting each end off your biscuit and slurping a hot drink through rapidly-disintegrating chocolatey centre. Good times!

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I looked up

I was in town today and the sun was delicious; when I lifted my face I felt warmth, actual warmth, upon it. Enough to make my spirits sing, even were it not for the fact that it’s our 8th wedding anniversary and I was making my way to the London Transport Museum (the Underground poster exhibition is fantastic, by the way) to meet my daughter and her class on a school trip.

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Walking through Piccadilly Circus this afternoon I stopped, yet again, to beam beatifically at the sky. I’m fond of the bronze horses on the corner of Haymarket; they’re one of the first landmarks that I became familiar with as a mapless (not hapless!) Aussie in London, but today, sucking up the pale rays of an awakening Spring, I saw these three figures above them. Falling, diving, leaping, floating, suspended high above the crowds, who, like me until now, probably don’t even notice them.

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I’ve googled them a bit tonight and they’re by the same artist (Rudy Weller) who did the statue of Helios and the horses beneath – and the two are also linked, as these three glinting figures are Helios’ daughters, known as The Three Graces.

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I’m no artist and I dunno whether these sculptures are, to a more discerning eye, good or tacky or indifferent. But seeing them for the first time – there seems to be something so graceful and free about them! – delighted me, on an already delightful day.