Eggs

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Noah had his first real taste of boiled egg the other day. Not the mashed up stuff that I used to feed him when he was younger, but a whole, boiled egg, for his own little hands to handle and for his own little teeth to sink into. He had a bit of fun with it at first, marvelling at the shape, rolling it around his high chair table like some kind of ball. The first few attempts to bite into it, at my insistence, was met with frustration as the smoothness of the egg proved too slippery for his tiny little teeth to sink into. When, at last, he was able to make a dent, he promptly chewed on it a few times, handed the rest of the uneaten egg back to me, and spat out what had been in his mouth.

Sigh.

I will make a boiled egg lover out of him yet.

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Making Improvements

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Over here at the cafe, we’ve been busy making minor improvements–re-training our lovely team, updating our office area (my desk is a mess of papers and I’m looking forward to more storage space!), slowly getting the back room ready to open up to more seating space for customers and as a private room for larger parties. I’m enjoying scouting around for furniture to set up back there. It’s a constantly evolving space over here–which is good, as it means we’re never bored. And hopefully our customers aren’t either.

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What we’ve been up to

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Half the time it’s been showering on and off over here, so we’ve spent some indoor time mastering the art of block building and learning our alphabet. Our favourite game at the moment is to ask ‘A is for…?’ and ‘B is for…’, and for Noah to answer with words that start with that particular letter.

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We also had a breakthrough in bath time the other night. Noah used to love bath time up until a few months ago, where he would suddenly start bawling his eyes out whenever we hinted at taking him into the bathroom for a wash. He would kick, scream and try to cling on to our arms and legs as we lowered him in. The other night, bath time suddenly reverted back to a peaceful, enjoyable experience. No tears. No tantrums. And he even spent a good amount of time playing with his bath toys. Let’s hope this continues.

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Then there was coffee training to watch in on early on in the week, and the hubby was finally able to score some Korean ‘Bosam’ from a local Korean restaurant near the cafe. I’d been dying to have some for awhile now so I was pretty excited when he ordered some in for us to taste. Unfortunately, it wasn’t near as nice as what we’d had in Korea, and I only ended up eating a few pieces before giving up and trying something else.

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For the rest of this week, when the sun finally decided to come out, Noah and I spent a great deal of time outdoors, watching bees buzz by nearby plants around the house, counting birds fly by and gathering bunches of rosemary from our little garden patch.

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Awards Night

The Local Small Business Awards for 2014 came to a close last Wednesday, culminating with an award ceremony for the finalists and the announcement of winners for each category.

We had decided, this year, to enter the competition out of curiousity. I mean, we had just wrapped up our second year with the cafe, and really, it was still a work in progress. But it was time to get out there and dip our toes into the social spotlight, to see what our customers thought of us and how we would rate against more seasoned establishments.

And much to our surprise, we won!

 

 

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Part of our team that attended the ceremony : (From far left, Donico, Jeric, my brother-in-law Mark, Frances, Marife and dead centre, my sister and co-owner, Kim)

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having a little fun on camera

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A big THANK YOU to all our loyal customers, to friends and family, and most of all to the wonderful team that works with us–without them all, we would not have been able turn this dream into reality, and without them all, this reality wouldn’t be half as much fun as we’d imagined it to be.

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Mountain Views

Family trips are–well, I won’t say easier, but definitely more flexible–to organise when you work for yourself. There’s always the stress of the possibilities of what could go wrong with our other baby (the cafe) while we’re away, but if you’ve got a great team behind you (which we do), then those worries are minimised for you. 

This family trip, we decided to stay a little bit closer to home simply because we didn’t really want to do a long drive with Noah now apt to get out of his car seat when he’s bored, and since we were also bringing our dogs along…well, you can imagine what a long drive would have been like. 

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It was also a chance to prolong the cold season a little more. Unlike my sun-loving hubby, I love the cold weather and would rather be rugged up with the cold wind lightly tapping on my cheeks, than to have the hot sun prickling at my skin. I thoroughly enjoyed the crisp, cool air of the mountains during our day trips outside, and staying warm by the fireplace while listening to the howling of the wind at night, cold rain lashing at the windows of our rental cottage. 

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My favourite spot definitely had to be the Chocolate Company in Katoomba. With it’s cute little cottage-like appearance on the outside, you certainly wouldn’t be able to tell that it was some kind of shop had it not been for the little sign outside (which we almost missed on the drive!)

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Here, I managed to grab some lovely looking spreads (blackberry Jam & Hazelnut Honey) to try out at home–plus a couple of packets of on-premises made chocolate bark. Yum! 

And this pretty much summed up our entire trip–food and sightseeing, all crammed in just a couple of days.

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One of the best coffees I had during our trip–and with soy, too, which I usually don’t have. 

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The Gingerbread House turned out to be a converted church (LOVE!) with a whole Christmas theme happening inside, complete with a large Christmas tree at the front centre of the room, large armchairs and a whole heap of gingerbread men for sale. We gorged on scones, brownies and hot chocolate until our stomachs could take no more. 

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My mum and dad with Noah during our trek through Echo Point

It was a wonderful, relaxing time away and, while it’s always sad to say goodbye to these wonderful rental places we occupy during our stay, I was thoroughly happy to skip the long drive home and just be able to get back to my own bed and my own surroundings in a little over an hour. 

 

 

 

Grateful for the little things…

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Today was a pretty hectic day –starting off with very little sleep because Noah woke up in the wee hours of the morning with a tummy ache and wouldn’t settle down for awhile again, then waking up to get straight into paperwork, then running off in the middle of the day to do shopping for the Cafe, then coming back home again to more paperwork, paying bills, supervising renovations happening at the house and tending to a fussy baby–I feel like this is the first time I’ve had to sit down and just have ‘me’ time. Still, I’m grateful that despite the heat and the running back and forth, I got to spend time with the hubby and my baby boy. I’m grateful for fifteen minute of “date time” we had over a late lunch while my grandmother watched over Noah, and I’m grateful that the moments in between all the busyness, I get treated to this:

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What are you grateful for today?

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Missing Fall…

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Right about now, in the worldwide blogging world, comes posts for celebrating the arrival of Fall (or Autumn, as we like to call it down here). This means pumpkins, Halloween, Thanksgiving, the sudden change in weather, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and what’s trending in Autumn wear.

Right now is the opposite on my side of the world. We’ve got warm weather to look forward to, longer days and warmer evenings, daydreams about different flavours of icecream to try during the next few months and packing away our winter wear.

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We’re planning out our celebrations for Halloween at the Cafe and going through our menu to see how we can incorporate the change in season in there as well for the upcoming Summer holidays. I’m torn between trying out things that automatically come to me during this time of year like Spice Pumpkin Lattes and White Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies, and going for something a little cooler and more spring-summer appropriate. I guess a part of me is still yearning for how it was back in Korea, being on par with the northern hemisphere and the changing seasons there. It was so much easier to find inspiration there when it seemed like the rest of the world (or at least the blogging world) was moving in the same direction you were.

And speaking of moving…

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My little man is slowly learning how to crawl and asserting his own claim to independence at six and a half months. I’m proud, scared and a little sad that he’s growing up so fast and taking that (small) step towards no longer needing mummy. I know I’m being crazy…I mean, he’s only six months! He has a long way to go before he’s crawling or even walking away from me. But at the same time, he’s not as dependent as what he was just a month ago either.  He’s quickly learning (and asserting) what he likes and does not like.  Early morning sunshine, his nursery rhymes on constant play and mashed up risotto for the former, and lying down, having his nappy changed and repeating songs for the latter.

At least with the changing weather, he’ll be getting a lot of sunshine from now on.

Sorting through the good & the bad

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Lately, I’ve found myself reading a lot of…well, crap. I’ve gone through one book after another and have ended up slamming them shut in disgust.

I’m not claiming to be an expert on what constitutes as a great piece of writing, but I’ve always believed that written story–whether fiction or not–should be able to take the reader on a journey, AND that the writer’s voice does not intrude on this journey.

So when a reader finds themselves constantly looking up from a book and saying to his or herself, ‘this is ludicrous’, then you have a problem.

So I was excited to receive in the mail a set of Maya Angelou’s books. I have yet to read through them but I’ve always been a big fan of her work and she’s always seemed to me a person who’s able to cut straight through the crap and get to the heart of any matter.

Plus, aren’t the covers gorgeous?  They made me smile as soon as I opened the package.

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I’ve also been taste-testing different teas from a few companies our team had met during the Sydney Fine Food Festival, trying to sort through which has the kind of taste and aesthetic we’re looking for to offer our customers at the cafe. Right now I’m leaning towards SereniTea. Their teas are in biodegradable bags and the flavours are so perfectly balanced, I actually couldn’t decide which flavour was my favourite. They all tasted that good (and I’m usually just a white tea sort of person). I still haven’t tried out Madame Flavour yet but their packaging is also very cute and they have these awesome sounding flavours like ‘Sultry Chai’ and ‘Grey De Luxe’.  I’m not a big Chai fan but if their blend can sway me, then they might just be the winner.

Will let you know :)

A Year To Look Back On…

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We’ve had our cafe now for a little more than over a year, although it does seem like a lot less than that. There’ve been many changes made and still many more to come, but we’re really excited at everything we’ve accomplished so far. 

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When we first took over, everything in the cafe was white–White walls, white tables, white chairs. We hated it. It just looked too pristine and not at all that welcoming. We wanted to build a place of community that made people feel welcome, comfortable and right at home. 

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When you’re working 12-14 hours days, seven days a week, it’s sometimes hard to see just how much has changed until you take a step back and try to look at it from a fresh pair of eyes. Working from home, I’m not always able to see the minor changes that happen at the cafe now until I go for a visit (usually on the weekends) or to attend a meeting. Then, while I’m walking towards the door, it’ll hit me–how much we’ve changed, and how far we’ve come. 

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This second year we’re planning on focusing on things that really spark our own personal passions. We’ve all got our own little projects on the side at the cafe, which will ultimately form part of the bigger picture of who we are as a business and a space for social and creative activity. I’ll be sharing bits and pieces as we go along, but if you’d like to stay up to date with what’s new with us, don’t forget to like our facebook page or join us on instagram!

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6 Months…plus 1 day

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I can’t believe it. 6 months have sped by. He gets bigger everyday and while I don’t tend to notice it as much since I’m with him everyday, there are moments–like when he sleeps or during those first few seconds of waking, or when he’s interacting with someone–that it suddenly hits me. 

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My baby’s growing up. And fast. 

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A few weeks ago, I packed his first ever pair of shoes away into his little time capsule/memory box. 

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About the same time he got his first ever hair cut (courtesy of Grandma!). I’m planning on buying a locket to store those first few locks in but for now they’re safely pressed inside a card. 

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And just a few days ago, I folded up and put away the first ever onesie I bought for him. I remember the first time he wore it in hospital and how it was waaayy too big for him then. And now I can barely squeeze an arm through. 

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So happy 6 months (and a day now) baby boy. Here’s hoping that while you may outgrow some things, that smile and your cheerful, bubbly personality continues to grow along with you, and that I get to continue spending my mornings waking up to your smiles and kisses, and my evenings hugging you close by my side. 

Love, Momma xo