The Handmade Shop in Civic has a hilarious Canberra souvenir section, with tongue-in-cheek heart-shaped lollipops that proclaim “Canberra Doesn’t Suck!” and badges that earnestly try to convince visitors how Canberra’s such a lovely place, “despite what everyone says”.

My 3 gratitudes for this week happen to be about this city once again.

1. Spring

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Canberra winters, despite what Queenslanders and Darwinians moan about, are actually delightful. Friggin’ cold, but usually sunny – and that makes a huge difference to one’s temperament. I’ve been to Melbourne in winter and while Melbourne remains my most favourite Australian city (and while I still harbour not-so-secret thoughts about moving there one day), it has miserable winters.

So here’s what Spring in Canberra can start to look like. Bursts of colour, still coolish climes, radiant sun and cloudless skies. Also, dawg-awful hayfever… but let’s just focus on the positives for now, yeah?

2. Beauty and the Beast

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Movies here cost an arm and a leg compared to Singapore, so it’s quite the treat for us when we bother making a date of it, and when they do something special like feature a Disney Princess movie every Saturday/Sunday morning for a month and a half. We only managed to catch the last one on Saturday. It was Arddun’s first time watching Beauty and the Beast, and we think she rather enjoyed herself, even though parts of it got quite intense.

We had primed her for it the whole morning. “Got a surprise for you, Arddun!” we said, as we got her dressed and into the car. “A big surprise!” And she got all excited when she realised we were going into the cinema. Job done! Such clever parenting. So we didn’t quite know how to react when Tony took her down to PappaRich for lunch after the movie, and she looked up at him while they were waiting for the table and asked, “Where’s the surprise, Daddy?”

3. That village feeling

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Today pretty much summed up how my Mother’s group has become a bit of my village. Started the morning text-chatting with Carrie and commiserating over tired pregnant bodies… Received a text this morning from Fam who told me that our husbands ended up in a work meeting together by sheer coincidence… Bumped into Allie, Alex and Liam at the library where Arddun could enjoy an impromptu story-telling session on the steps… and ended our afternoon with Sara and Co., where Arddun had a ball with Jett and wore their dogs out by endless chases.

I love that I can start and end my day with these beautiful women and their bubs, that these friendships are effortless and genuine. I love that our children are playing well together, and that Arddun has all these surrogate “aunties” she can trust. I love that I can turn up at their homes with no make-up on and lousy hair, because we all first met when our bubs were two to three months old and we were all too sleep-deprived to work out whether our T-shirts were on back to front.

Good times.

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