Good news about high school application


It was all worth it.

About six weeks ago my son and I were in the midst of writing his application for high school. Well he was writing it, and I was nagging him, typing for him on the sidelines cheering him on.

Last night he got the acceptance letter saying he was in!

It was such a relief to get that good news.

Entry into high school here is automatic to a public school in your zoned area. Our zoned high school hasn’t got a good reputation and everyone I spoke to about it didn’t have anything good to say. As those years are very important in a kid’s life I didn’t want him spending them at a high school that might not suit him.

Plus there’s certain things he’s interested in and the high school he’s been accepted into perfectly suits those interests. The only thing is that to get in the student has to write their own application. He could have used another format like film or powerpoint but he chose to write.

It was like a job application and for a 12 year old to write it, is pretty full on I think. But that’s one of the reasons why this school has got a good reputation because the kids that go there want to be there. I’m sure some slip through the net but the majority are keen to be there.

I got the letter last night and took it over to after school care so he could open it. He opened it in front of everyone and thank goodness it was good news. He’s pretty resilient but it would have been hard to get bad news in public like that. He wouldn’t let me look over his shoulder but it didn’t take him look to yell and jump and announce he’d got in.

To celebrate I offered to take him out to dinner but he said he wanted fish and chips and to watch a movie. Don’t watch The Hungover Games. It’s crap! Even JJ said it was crap after we sat through it. But it’s what he wanted to do. I even cancelled pilates so I could celebrate with him. Big of me I know!

Now I’ve got a gajillion forms to fill in but I don’t care. I’m stoked.

Navigating my way to being a mum of a teenager

He’s not doing a winter sport so rather than sit around and do nothing much I thought we go geocaching. JJ suggested the Botanic Gardens so off we went on a beautiful autumn morning. I haven’t been there for a while so looked forward to having a wander around.

We parked nearby and I took some sneaky photos of JJ who has taken to being a bit camera shy. Must be a teenage boy thing as a friend’s son won’t let her take photos of him either.

On tree

I love the autumn colour. Never get sick of it. It makes the thought of winter that much more bearable.

Autumn, Botanic Park


Palm house

I didn’t know I’d taken this photo of JJ in mid-air until I saw it later. Clever me huh?

Mid air

Autumn, Botanic Park



We have a great time when we get out and do stuff like this. We even bought a blueberry bush that JJ said he would plant and look after. Our geocaching efforts were for nought as the one we could find would have meant getting his feet/shoes wet and I wouldn’t let him.

I’m finding it hard to navigate this entry into being a parent of a teenager or almost teenager. I expect him to do things like be ready for school at a certain time after having done small chores around the place like make his bed, clean his teeth without having to remind him. Then he gets annoyed when I nag him and get cross at him for not having done those things. So he’s cross with me and I’m cross with him andit gets neither of us anywhere.

What’s the answer  here? I’m sick of leaving for work in an awful mood and when I’ve said goodbye, I’m leaving now he does a last minute rush and his jobs still aren’t done.

Perhaps I need to do the family meeting thing, lay down my expectations and he can tell me his and come to some sort of agreement where there’s consequences if he doesn’t do what I expect him to do. And it’s not that much really! In a nutshell I need to set the boundaries with him. These will become so much more important as he gets older too.

He’s been away at a school camp for the last couple of nights. While I have missed him, it’s been so darn easy to get out of the house in the morning and I’m much more relaxed when I do walk out the door.

I did find this technique of teaching your kid how to say sorry and I will be able to use it when I need to say sorry to him as well. I know I’m not perfect!

Photo walk trying out the new camera

I had a lovely day last Friday. A day off loomed ahead of me and rather than do what I thought I should do I thought I’d do what I wanted to do, which was take some photos.

I contacted a friend who I met through Flickr a few years ago and have kept in touch with since – mainly online. She asked if I wanted nature or buildings? I chose buildings so off to Semaphore we went as it’s a lovely older area there.

We got lost along the way in Alberton but made it to Semaphore and really began the excursion with a tart and coffee.

I treated myself to a new camera recently – a Sony RX100 M2. Am still negotiating my way around it and this trip highlighted the fact that I should have become better acquainted with it before I went out when it was easier to access my glasses and out of the daytime glare.


I wonder what this building used to be. Its blue doors attracted me. I could hear an electrical hum behind the doors.

What's behind the blue doors?

No I didn’t break in, although I could have peeked couldn’t I?

Lock it

I tried out the very easy to use panorama feature. Well, very easy to use now that I’ve got it right. It’s a lot easier than taking multiple photos and using an app to stitch them together.

Semaphore foreshore


This old fence is being held together by wire that’s been painted. It really needs to be done up as it looked as though you could push it over with your little finger. I hope nobody does.


lattice work

I’m not sure what type of bird this is, but he was just wandering the streets.

Why did the bird cross the road?

Letterboxes are fascinating. This is a homemade one for sure.


Corrugated iron

No trespassing



We arrived at the jetty at fishing o’clock. This group were just a few of the people arriving at about the same time.

Largs jetty - fishing

From Largs Pier

I thought this was a great mosaic of a merman. It wasn’t until I saw his female equivalent on the other side of the building that I realised it also symbolised who the toilets were for. I am sometimes a bit slow.


All up, we had a lovely outing punctuated with food (tarts above) and a delicious lunch at Queenies Store and we didn’t get lost on the way home.

It’s about the stories

Sun in autumn

People want to hear stories. Stories make reading more interesting. My day job involves writing for the web and a web review of our website has suggested showing rather than telling, ie use stories. Rather than tell people what a fabulous organisation we are, let’s show them.

You know how when you’re thinking about something you notice a lot more about it. Say, you’re looking to buy a certain type of car. You’ve never noticed those cars on the road before until you want one and you notice heaps of them.

So it’s happened to me with storytelling. I’ve been thinking about stories, and thinking about writing more here – I go through stages – and what do you know? I’m not alone. Let me share some other people who are also thinking about stories, or telling good ones.

Leah Peterson tells stories – hers and yours. She’s currently doing a series of interviews with bloggers. It’s interesting reading and a great way to find out about new bloggers.

Neil Kramer writes stories and he’s also just started an experiment where he chats with people and puts the transcript up on his website. I’m interested to see where this goes.

Karen Walrond tells stories and takes amazing photos. Maybe one day we will meet and she’ll take an amazing photo of me. I love how she captures portraits. She also wrote a recent post called These people are nothing like me. If you’re looking for other bloggers she’s shared some there.

Because the above three are based in the US, here are a couple of Australians who tell great stories too.

Kirsty Rice is an expat living in Qatar but she’s originally a local gal who grew up in the country like me and does a great job of sharing what it’s like to be living overseas.

Anna Spargo Ryan is originally from Adelaide (where I live) but now lives in Melbourne. She shares a lot about her life and she also includes some of her writing.

I know there’s loads of other writers out there who tell stories and do an amazing job but these are just five.

Please tell me yours.


Mother’s Day – with a silver lining


Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. What a bust. Like New Year’s Eve you build yourself up thinking it’s going to be a wonderful day and when it’s not you feel really let down.

I don’t think JJ even said happy Mother’s Day to me. I certainly didn’t get breakfast in bed and apart from a couple of good moments during the day I was glad when he finally went to bed.

I also think that Mother’s Day must be really hard for people who’ve lost their mums and for people who really want to be a mum. Like a slap in the face. Thinking like this about others certainly puts things in perspective – in retrospect.

Three days after mother’s day JJ showed me the poem he wrote for me that was still on the computer. I’ve now printed it out and put it up at work. He tells me I’m full of surprises like a treasure chest waiting to be opened. and I’m like a golden fish swimming in the ocean standing out like a colossal diamond in the room. I work in and out of the house faster than I can blink or eat cake – and some other wonderful things.

But it’s not that poem I want to share here. It’s another one he wrote at the end of last term that got read out at assembly because his teacher thought it was so good. I’ve been asking to see it since then but only just got it.

He said I can share it so here goes:

How to Treat Life

There are two ways to treat life

One with care

One with stupidity

Care comes with responsibility and compassion

You have to play sport and exercise instead of doing nothing

You also have to exercise your brain.

You need to be nice and caring for others

You have to take responsible risks

You should be open to learning

Choosing the people you can trust to help you

You strive to be someone they trust and look up to in a good way

You are to be yourself

Not the person other people want you to be

You need to stick to your dreams and accomplish them

Stupidity comes with no care or compassion

You don’t exercise yourself

You don’t exercise your brain

You treat others horribly

You don’t care about what might happen to yourself or others

You’re not open to learning

You bully others

You’re what “the cool kids” want you to be

You change what you are, but remember

You only have one life

International Blog Swap Day – Redpeffer from the UK

Today is International Blog Swap Day which means I’m hosting a UK blogger here today and she’s hosting me for the day. We’ve both written about the stages our kids are at. Read on for hers, and then click over to her blog for mine. Or read the lot linked up here.


Redpeffer I’m very excited to be writing this guest post for Jen. One of the things I have discovered about blogging is the fabulous online community that’s out there and it’s lovely to be able to expand this and meet fellow bloggers from the other side of the world. Thank you Jen for hosting my post.

I’m Iona and I blog at where I talk about my family, our experiences and activities as well as write the odd opinion or two. I love photography and am really enjoying how blogging has helped me to improve it and inspire me to continue.

My children are now 7 and 3 and we are lucky enough to have a girl and a boy. They are my inspiration, my frustration, my love and my fear all rolled into one. I’m sure most of you if not all will recognise these emotions!


Recently, I’ve noticed my 3 year old find his voice. This is wonderful to watch as he becomes his own little person. But it comes with a caveat-he now argues, fights and bickers with his big sister. This happens increasingly more often. He wants to express his own views, yet he also idolises her and wants to copy her. This inevitably leads to tension and conflict. He becomes frustrated. And at age 3 he has yet to learn how to control or manage this without it turning into a screaming and wailing fest of epic proportions.

When the arguments happen and I haven’t been there to witness them. I then get the ‘he did that’; or ‘she did this’ scenario. Both insist they are the ones hard done by. Both want the other told off. I know I’ve been guilty of assuming it was someone’s fault or telling them both off equally because it’s just easier to manage. Then you have both of them sulking and huffing as they both feel hard done by!

And I’ve noticed my soon to be 8 year old understandably wants her own space. She doesn’t want her 3 year old little bother following her everywhere like a shadow. She need’s to have time and space for her own activities and room for her special books and toys to be just for her and not shared. I totally understand that, but it can be hard to manage on a day to day basis. As a parent I’m constantly trying to accommodate two very different types of need and struggling to find that all elusive balancing act that sometimes feels so distant to be almost impossible to reach.

And as your child gets older, their problems can’t be so easily solved with a hug or a cuddle. Obviously they still help a little, but you find yourself having more complex conversations. Often these conversations don’t have conclusions either. At almost 8, my daughter is still at the age where she expects a definitive answer for most things and I’m trying to show her that most of life isn’t that simple. And then recently I discovered that her friends have been talking about relationships, kissing and even sex. They are in Year 3 (ages 7 and 8.) That shocked me. Fortunately, she doesn’t seem terribly interested in the whole thing, but now I know she is being exposed to it all, we have to think about what to say to her and how to say it. It all feels too early, she doesn’t have enough life experience to understand much of it. Where on earth do we start? Right now I haven’t started at all and am secretly hoping it will all somehow go away and re-appear when she’s older! That’s an effective parenting strategy isn’t it?!

We are as open as we feel appropriate with both our children, but it can be tricky working out what information to share and in what way. And don’t get me started on the whole friendship/relationship thing. I just want to wrap them both up in cotton wool but of course I know that this won’t help them be happy adults. My mum always said it got harder as we got older because she couldn’t solve everything for us, and now I know exactly what she means.

Thank you for reading, and please do pop by to say hello. I can be found on Twitter @Redpeffer, and my blog will take you to all my other social media profiles from the home page.

A renewed interest in crochet

Learning crochet

I used to crochet. I used to knit. I can’t remember when I last picked up a crochet hook, but stopping knitting was a bit more recent.

So when I got invited to a Nanna Skillz event put on by Yelp, I was pretty excited. I didn’t know what to expect but it involved dressing up, food, drink, nanna skills and croquet. How could I turn it down?

The dress code was white and I have an aversion to white, or it does to me. However, digging through my wardrobe, I found I have quite a bit of cream, including a cream crochet skirt with gold sparkles – an op shop purchase – and a beautiful vintage cardigan. I also dug up a cream crochet handbag that used to be my nana’s. Very appropriate I thought.

Crochet handbag and skirt

I had to drop my son off at a birthday party at a nearby indoor bowling place dressed like this when everyone else was a lot more casual. I just don’t care anymore but I would have been quite embarrassed a few years ago. When in doubt and a little bit nervous – strut. Surprisingly my son was okay with my getup until he saw the gold sparkles in the skirt.

It was a fun Sunday afternoon. I went by myself but caught up with people I’ve met on Twitter and in real life at other events. I love that Adelaide has a great Twitter community that extends into the meeting in person. I also met a few new people.

There was plenty of food to try and drinks to be had. I tasted cheese, salami, pickles, gnocchi, icecream, beer, whiskey and cofffee – all from locals. Luckily I hadn’t had time for a decent lunch prior.

The crochet ‘stall’ consisted of a couple of crochet rugs on the ground and some very helpful and patient crocheters. And once I put my glasses on I could actually see what I was doing better.

Now of course I’m all invigorated to try out crochet again. I’ve got some hooks and wool kicking around so I just might get cracking. I’ll have to relearn some more stitches and learn how to read patterns but I’m sure I can do that.

If I get good at it I wouldn’t mind making this crochet hat or this poncho.

crochet_hat_9 Fairy-Tale-Poncho-Collage