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Day in the life of Kenji and Keiko-Video

I took this video quite early on after we brought Kenji home, mainly to show my mum what Kenji looked like. The classic part is at the end – as you can see, Keiko and Kenji don’t really get along. I mean, they don’t exactly hate each other, but they don’t love each other either.

It’s been 9 months since Kenji came home and they are finally starting to share the same space while eating and sharing the back of the couch together… I hope I haven’t spoken too soon, they only started doing that voluntarily in the last couple of days!!!

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Adiós Adelaide 1) Rundle Mall edition

Adelaide is the most overlooked of Australia’s principal cities. You could spend weeks in Australia and never suspect it was there, for it rarely makes the news or gets a mention in anyone’s conversation. It is to Australia essentially what Australia is to the world – a place pleasantly regarded but far away and seldom thought about. And yet it is unquestionably a lovely city. Everyone is agreed on that, including millions who have never been there. – Bill Bryson, Down Under, p.160

Since making the decision to leave this small capital of Adelaide in South Australia, I’ve decided to document places I like to visit around town and how I’ve come to enjoy my occasional outings.

The first post of this series is Rundle Mall. This is the main shopping strip in ‘town’ (not ‘city’ like one might say of the CBD in Melbourne, for example). It is located between Pulteney Street and King William Road. Like any other mall, it is free from traffic and home to many of Australia’s well-known brands such as Esprit, Sportsgirl, Cotton On, Boost Juice, Zamels, Diva, Nine West, Jurlique, Sportscraft, Witchery, Body Shop, Kikki-K and Smiggle, just to name a few that are actually located on the mall itself. Myer, David Jones, Harris Scarfe and Target also have stores here.

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Kikki-K and Smiggle are personal favourites that have only recently opened in the Mall in March 2010. It is quite astounding as I have been a fan of these stores since living in Melbourne (until 2006). These, I would dare say, are a much anticipated (and needed) addition to the mall. I always browse for fun, and I confess this is the furthest east I trek when I’m shopping. Seriously, if you are looking for cute or classy stationery pieces, these are the stores for you, located next to each other. How cute.

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What did I do before these stores came to town? Well, the furthest east I would venture was Borders, and occasionally Dymocks. I’m a member and mail-list receiver of both these stores. I LOVE BOOKS! Both stores have different stock and are worth checking out, however, Borders has the bigger floor space – and the cafe, where you can read magazines off the shelves… hard to beat, really.

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Before I go any further I should mention the various arcades within the mall. I personally don’t really shop in them but there are quite a few, including Regent Arcade, which you can see above, and Adelaide Arcade (and I guess Myer Centre and City Cross are classed as arcades too). Being from Gold Coast and Melbourne, I really don’t do closed-in spaces and shops and old facades. My opinion is that this Mall is in desperate need of an update? or upgrade? I love old buildings and architecture but it’s only beautiful if maintained immaculately. There, I’ve said it.

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Today I started snapping the pictures from the middle of the mall. The photos may appear in random order if you know these shops but when you come by car or from the uni, a good starting point is Gawler Place (where I use the carpark a lot).

Cibo Espresso is an Adelaide chain of coffee shops, dotted throughout town and its suburbs. The Mall has a tiny espresso bar, but if you are looking for a quiet sit down with a group of friends, I recommend heading East (towards Target and beyond) and keep walking a block down to Frome Street, on the corner of which is a 2-story Cibo store. The coffee here is very good and rates highly in my mind (I would say I am a fussy coffee drinker having lived in Melbourne and married to an ex-barista), as far as chain coffee stores go.

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Now a little more about the history of the Mall itself. I say ‘little bit’ because as far as I can tell, there is really only a little to say about its history. According to Wikipedia it was opened in 1976 and named after John Rundle (1791-1864), a British politician who arrived in Australia in 1840. Indisputably, the most interesting piece of history(?) regarding the Rundle Mall is that there are 6 ghosts in Regent Arcade… how bizarre.

Anyway, as you walk down the length of the mall, you will come across various sculptures. The first of these is a work called Spheres by Bert Flugelman.

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I must confess, although I have frequented this mall for 4 years I have never really warmed to these balls.

Since I have shown you a picture of these balls and David Jones in the background, I must introduce you to an underground food court located beneath the department store. The food court itself is quite dated but there is a cafe in need of special mention.

T-bar is an Adelaide owned cafe and tea retailer. They have a few shops around town too; I love this place and they have fantastic chai (syrup or leaf, they’ll always ask – I recommend syrup!). You can also have light meals here. Whenever I have to wait for my husband to finish work, I come here for a beautiful chocolate chai (served with little chocolate pellets which you mix into the drink), perhaps with a ‘bap’ or a ‘flat’ – interesting names for little buns and flat bread.

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So now back to the sculptures. The second one located in the mall, I find quite charming, Slide by John Dowie.

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The last is a set of pigs located towards the west of the mall. I have mixed feelings about them. Apparently children love them but I find them a little bit gross.

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Located near these odd looking pigs is my favourite arcade, the City Cross. Inside is a small collection of shops and a really nice food court (and the cleanest in the mall!). 2 of my favourite shops are located here, the Face Shop (cosmetics and skincare) and Fireflies [regrettably no URL] (homewares and gifts). Whenever I’m in the city I always visit them just to look around.

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I love Fireflies because they have everything from handbags and accessories to teas, home fragrances and inspirational books. The best part is that you always feel a little bit special when a sales attendant comes up and says, “Did you know you can look inside the drawers for more items?” Then you spend the next 20 minutes opening every drawer to catch a glimpse of every charming piece they have in stock. What an absolutely lovable shop!

City Cross is usually the furthest west I would walk (in my heels), but I cannot finish an article on Rundle Mall without mentioning a South Australian icon, Haigh’s Chocolates!

This particular Haigh’s store is located on the corner of the mall and King William Rd, in the building interestingly known as the Beehive Corner, originally owned by the above-mentioned John Rundle. Ironically on the other corner is Darrel Lea (which I also love, but they’re not South Australian! They’re from Sydney!). This photo is the upper half of Beehive Corner…

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The proximity of the two stores creates interesting competition, Haigh’s vs Darrel Lea – however, if you are a visitor to Adelaide, it’s a no brainer which to choose. Haigh’s are famous for their chocolate frogs! I also love the fact that every time I purchase anything, they always give me other samplers to try for free!

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Speaking from personal experience, Haigh’s taste best in ADELAIDE (i.e. better than Haigh’s in other states). If you have more time in Adelaide, you might enjoy a visit to the factory and a tour of its facilities in Greenhill Road. I did the tour and loved it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my overview of Rundle Mall! If you are a visitor looking for a particular store not mentioned in my post, why not visit the Information Booth located in the Mall towards the King William Rd end of shops? Otherwise I hope you’ve been able to find a few points of interest to keep your eye out for, next time you’re heading to Rundle Mall.

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Keiko in bed-Video

In winter, Keiko loves to sleep in our bed all day. Sometimes she will stay there on her own for hours and hours so I have to put a label on top of the doona to make sure I don’t jump on her!

One day I decided to peek underneath as her paw was poking out!

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Pricilla playing with her toy-Video

My sister sent my cats pressies for Christmas last year and my cats really love them! I took a video of Pricilla playing with the long snaky thing.

The quality of the video is not great I’m sorry, because I was trying to record & play at the same time.

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Garden Update

After I posted the pic of my mini-harvest, I gave the vege patch a little boost by spraying liquid seaweed.

The fertiliser came with a hose attachment but it was very unwieldly and I poured half the bottle onto our lawn by mistake.

What doesn’t kill you is good for you…  right??

Here’s the horta plot (I’m making a 1/4 at a time) before another harvest.

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The lonely radish (I’ve planted about 20 new radishes around that half of the vege patch.

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The lemon tree is starting to develop a flower!!!

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Finally the most exciting thing is the progress of my zucchini in a pot! My impression is that you can’t really go wrong with this hardy plant.

Zucchini is a bit of a favourite in our household so I can’t wait to harvest our very own!

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Mini harvest

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The mexican bush sage we have in our front have been blooming like crazy so I decided to put some in our hallway. They’re very interesting looking, long strands of small purple flowers.

The sketch in the background is of us on our honeymoon, we got it done near the bridge leading to the Notre Dame in Paris!

I was cleaning my vege patch and noticed that the radishes were ready to be harvested.

This was super super exciting!!!

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The radish leaves were quite spiky so we didn’t eat them but the other leaves included mustard, kale, dill, fenugreek, bok choy – all planted as mix seeds in my ‘horta’ plot.

We steamed the leaves and ate it with a splash of soy sauce.

Delicious!!!

This is the typical Pricilla pose – she loves to lie on her back

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Her paw hair needs trimming pretty soon…

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Here’s Kenji

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This face!

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So cheeky…

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Death by chocolate @ Bracegirdle’s

We received some great news re: work and so we celebrated with a decadent dessert at Bracegirdle’s!

Bracegirdle’s is a South Australian owned chocolaterie. We hadn’t been here for months as we have both been on a diet but after the good news we received, it was definitely treat time! :)

Happy Graeme:

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This is the dark hot chocolate, which I love…

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The chocolate fondue for 2. Very yummy!

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And we tried this for the first time yesterday, a short chocolate – it’s molten dark chocolate in a shot glass!!

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I was completely defeated by the amount of chocolate we attempted to consume, which is very rare for me!

What a great night out :-)

And plus I’m so proud of Graeme!!! xxxx

 

Here’s Pricilla today..

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Miss Pricilla and sprouting gardens

This is my first post since November 2009!

We adopted a new cat from RSPCA in the middle of November.
 
Meet 12 year-old Pricilla, our gorgeous long hair blue tortoiseshell!
 
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When she first came home she was a bit anxious and started out as a grumpy grandma. I got scratched heaps! We have now bonded and she loves to sleep on the bed with me while I nap during the day. She has the most beautiful sparkly eyes and she loves to play with her toys, more than our other two!

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I love to brush her, trim her paw hair (yes they are long haired between their little paw fingers!) and cut her long sharp claws.

What else have we been up to?

We started gardening as a hobby in December while Graeme was on holidays and started a veggie patch last weekend. I was very excited to see lots of sprouts coming out already!
 
Here are some photos from the front and back of our house
 
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On the back here we’ve put in some Australian natives

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Here are the two 1m x 1m veggie raised patches according to the wonderful book One Magic Square. This book introduces various plot designs for various uses, such as Salad Plot, Soup Plot, Pizza Plot and introduces the reader to the different vegetables to plant according to each plot and soil preparation methods.

I have chosen to try out the "Horta" plot (2nd pic), which is a mixture of various fast growing greens and spice seeds from my spice cupboard! According to the book this is a good plot to start with when your veggie patch is still new. I have fennel, caraway, bok choy, chinese cabbage, kale, giant red mustard, mizuna, etc. in there.

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Look how many sprouts I have and it’s only the 3rd day!
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This one is zucchini in a pot… already sprouting!

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I also have some thyme seeds sprouting indoors. I'll take some photos soon!

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