Somewhere beyond the sea…

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And into the SeaLife Aquarium, we went on Friday so the cousins could hang together and we could check out another tourist trap. The weather turned to rain and cold so we changed our zoo plans to an indoor activity and that was the aquarium. We enjoyed our time with the family wandering through the different areas and learning about sea creatures and a lot of them were Aussies so that was fascinating. I like to go to aquariums to learn about sea creatures and this little red fella is a fiddler crab and it derives its name from the fact that one of the male’s claws, called the fiddle, is larger than the other.

The octopus was showing off its tentacles as we wandered by and this was a Maori Octopus the largest octopod in Australasia and can exceed an arm-span of three metres and a mass of 10 kilograms. I still love octopus and my favorite is the Giant Pacific Octopus that I have seen at many aquariums on the Pacific North West. We found this groovy looking prawn and the kids enjoyed coloring in Finding Dory characters to watch them appear on the wall.

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We fell in love with this guy the Boyd Forest Dragon – this relative of the dinosaurs enjoys living on the tree trunks in the Daintree rainforest up in Far North Queensland. It is such a handsome little reptile and so photogenic too!

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All of these Australian sea creatures are close to my heart – the Giant Cuttlefish being an absolutely favorite animal. Cephalopod Love. The weedy seadragon and the leafy seadragon have been successfully bred in the aquarium as these beautiful creatures are near threatened so it is important to be made aware of them to preserve their natural habitats. And of course the green tree frog their numbers have been in decline for a very long time thanks to the Cane Toad – now that is a disaster of a story!

As we wandered into Antartica for the last exhibit we found the King Penguin and the Gentoo Penguin. There were so many penguins in the exhibit and I felt a bit sorry for them due to the small exhibit wth lots of animals. The Gentoo penguins conservation status are near threatened. They are an endless little ball of black and white energy swimming around in the tank and I absolutely loved watching them dive and swim.

Soon after we played tourist we wanted some food as the aquarium food was pretty crappy – would you like fried, fried or more fried food and the only vegetarian option was hot chips! Federation Square was close by and as there was a group of us, Chocolate Buddha is a great place to eat and the kids love Japanese – win win! We saw the Melbourne bikes and the boys were enjoying seeing themselves up on the big screen at the square. The architecture here is captivating and is art in itself it truly exemplifies Melbourne in this central location. The food at Chocolate Buddha has always been very good and is presented beautifully. I enjoyed the lunch tray with grilled salmon and it was such a treat!

Saturday the 23rd marked our 10th wedding anniversary – it was so perfect that we were in Melbourne to celebrate. I asked my sister in law if the kids could have a sleep over so we could go out and spend some time together. The kids couldn’t wait to go and we were looking forward to a night out so everyone was happy. I found a vegetarian restaurant in Rose Street, Fitzroy called Transformer. This was not just any vegetarian restaurant with veggie burgers and the like – this is a place where vegetables take centre stage and the dishes are all presented in a sophisticated way. It is not often we go out and enjoy a dinner where the food is so artfully presented, so a decade of marriage is the best opportunity! The flavours of the food were combined beautifully using sweet, sour, hot, umami to perfection. The menu is seasonal so it changes with the veggies available, so the flavours really shine. The cocktail flavors were super creative, for example in the Kawaii Five-O – Green Tea Ume, Mandarin and Lemongrass Sherbet, Matcha and Lemon – all right down my alley with the citrus and tea. The desserts were just delightful in their presentation and the flavor combinations of meringue and sweet fruit flavors like freeze dried mandarin were magical. Truly this was an absolute pleasure in food experiences for us.

After our dinner at Transformer, we took a walk down Brunswick Street to see what other restaurant highlights had popped up over the last 10 years. We saw Smith and Daughters a vegan restaurant which looks like something we hope we can try before we leave in a couple of weeks. To escape the chill of the night we ended our evening at the cinema seeing the film ‘Sing Street’ and enjoyed the flashback to the 1980s. For a couple of film aficionados, this was the best way to spend our anniversary.

Sunday we enjoyed a brunch with friends who 10 years ago were at our wedding reception – it was so wonderful to spend a relaxing time with everyone and enjoy delicious food and wine. In Melbourne, this is the place to celebrate good food and forever family and friends.

 

A piece a Week – Custom order Patchwork Snakes

Last week flew by with 3 volunteer gigs for the week including my usual Arts Focus sewing volunteering with the kids at school on a Thursday morning. In the evening I wanted to give back to the place that provides me with the most amazing fabric collection – FabMo and it was so enjoyable seeing so many new faces coming through the doors. I generally take the Greeter role that involves introducing FabMo and it’s wonders to people who have appointments. Generally it is all good and I see them come out with bags full of goodies to craft with! Sharing the love of crafting is a wonderful thing!!
The last volunteer gig was for a Diwali event we had after minimum day on the Friday. It was a complete success with lots of delicious food and I helped out with Henna and was an apprentice for the day. A friend of mine did this peacock on my daughters hand. I need a bit more practice but still the kids enjoyed me drawing feathers, peacocks, birds and whatever they wanted on their hands. 
Detailed peacock made from a paisley pattern

Rangoli – folk art using colored sands

Yesterday we visited a friend at a local park that had been refurbished over the summer and found this sit upon lizard – the kids just loved it!

Enjoying a ride on a lizard

Here are the snakes that friends commissioned me to make for them – for a little baby to a Kinder child. They are enjoying the succulents that I am propagating in my garden – the drought has got me thinking about what should be in my garden and succulents are the thing! I love to grow them and the varieties are endless. I found some today that a neighbor was selling as they are moving back to Spain – what a score!!

4 snakes on the table

My favorite snake made from velvet – so soft to touch!

25 days of posts #20 Lounge Lizard

Well I am posting a day late due to my day being super busy with catching up with friends and taking the kids for a play date and then some carol singing in the cold. Last thing I was wanting to do was to sit on my computer and blog. It was a night with my knitting needles and watching Grimm – yes nothing like being a lounge lizard!

Bearded Dragon – oh you are cute!