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Meet New Zealand born Mom Steph living in Brisbane, Australia

Monday, 20 July 2009 by Irene Hoofs

Brisbandeview {A view of Brisbane city from the Botanical Gardens near our house}

I (Stephanie Bond) currently live in Brisbane, the third largest city in Australia (after Sydney and Melbourne) with my husband who is American, our 18 month old daughter and miniature schnauzer dog Molly. We're a bit of a gypsy family – I was born in New Zealand, brought up in Australia by an English mother and Canadian father, but my husband and I met in San Francisco, moved to New York City after we were married, then to Sydney where our daughter was born, and now currently live in Brisbane. It was in New York City that I found myself writing about what was cool on the street – trends, fashion, food, design. As we moved and our family grew, my interest in children's products and all things Australian also grew. I found myself writing about, and celebrating, Australian designers and artists, which is now my daily passion on Bondville

Cottage
LIVING IN BRISBANE
We rent a post-war cottage with a huge deck overlooking bushland in an inner city suburb of Brisbane. Most of our time is spent on the deck where we eat all meals (all year 'round) at a big 8-seater wooden table set up that my Dad made 20 years ago. Winter in Brisbane is really mild so we just turn on the table-top outdoor heater! We love the wildlife and proximity to work (only 7 min for my husband), but miss the lifestyle of being able to walk to the grocery store/deli/cafe that we had in Sydney, New York City and San Francisco.
We really love our closest neighbourhood village – Rosalie – where you can find one of Brisbane's best butchers Village Meats Rosalie (they provide the meat for Government House), great coffee at Salt, deli products, acupuncture and massage at Jacaranda Therapies, great dentist Crookes & Jenkins, a good drycleaner, a fantastic cleanskin wine store Wine Experience, and the very best gelato I have ever had at Gelateria Cremona. Nestingbirdinteriors {Nesting Bird Interiors}
My other favourite Brisbane haunts include: Biome for eco-friendly gifts, Fruity Capers in Toowong for the best fruit at reasonable prices, Nesting Bird Interiors in Woolloongabba for great homewares, many by locals; the little secret bar in the Polish Club in Milton for drinks; Piaf in South Brisbane for an inexpensive but lovely French meal; Sing's Asian Kitchen in Rosalie for great noodles at great prices; the Park Lounge at Watt modern dining, ground floor of the Powerhouse in New Farm for drinks and bar food right on the river.PoliceCitizensYoulubDAY-TO-DAY
Most days we wake to kookaburras, rainbow lorrikeets and other native birds. I like to meet with another Mum who lives near me to walk around the neighbourhood pushing our strollers before it gets too hot. By 9am we are off to the local Police Citizens Youth Club for an energetic teacher-led playgroup. There is also excellent occasional care in our area where you can book a week in advance to mind your child from 2 hours (min) to 8 hours (max) per week. Botanicalgardens We live just a few minutes' walk from a lovely park, and a few minute's drive from the Botanical Gardens where we like to watch the ducks, moor hens and ibis at the duck pond.

Koala Every week we go to a nearby pool for swimming lessons which is fairly standard for babies and toddlers in Brisbane. My mother's group meets fortnightly at one of our houses or a park, and every week we spend an afternoon at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to see all the barnyard and native animals. Lonepine {Feeding the kangaroos at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary}

WEEKENDS
Brisbane is an outdoor city, and whenever possible we pop our daughter in her sturdy backpack to hike around Mt Coot-tha, or on the front bicycle seat to bike around South Bank Parklands. When Sophie is old enough, I would like to join a Bushcare Volunteer group to help clean up the creeks and bushland in our local area. The best way to escape either rain or the heat is the airconditioned comfort of the Queensland Museum, Gallery of Modern Art, and State Library in Brisbane's Southbank. This stretch of the Brisbane River opposite the CBD  was formerly the home of World Expo '88 and is now a dedicated public space filled with families picnicking and making use of the man-made beach and waterways that are all open for swimming. 

Kangeroo {A kangaroo in my parent's backyard on the Sunshine Coast}
TRAVEL
We try to get to the US and Canada as much as possible to see family and this year they will be coming out to see us. Many of our weekends are spent on the Sunshine Coast (2 hours north of Brisbane) where my parents live. The beaches are long, beautiful and empty and with a surfer in the family, we spend a lot of time there. Peregian Beach is a great little seaside community and at Noosa you can walk through the National Park and nearly always see a koala in the trees. We have to be really careful about sun protection so our daughter has a whole selection of UV-blocking swimwear and hats. We also love exploring south of Brisbane from the Gold Coast (1 hour from Brisbane) down to Byron Bay (2 hours drive). There are so many cute little beach towns that are not yet over-developed, and a great alternative vibe in northern New South Wales. It's also really easy to get to Fiji and Bali from Brisbane, and a short plane ride to the Great Barrier Reef.

Dinneroutside {Getting ready for dinner on our deck}
COOKING
Food is really important to us, and we try to eat the freshest, in-season food that we can. There are several excellent markets on the weekends in Brisbane (West End for general food and goodies, New Farm for gourmet food, and Windsor for organic food) which is a great way to start the day. We also like to have breakfast at the cafes in nearby Paddington; there is a very strong cafe and coffee culture in Australia where nearly all coffee is based on espresso. Both my husband and I cook most nights and I have a huge collection of cook books. We do miss some food from the US; but have been able to balance the things we miss with some amazing food that is abundant here. We miss great Mexican food and Southern cooking, but enjoy the excellent Thai food and Asian ingredients here. We really miss buying Dungeness Crabs off the trawler at Half Moon Bay in California, but instead get fantastic prawns from the trawlers at the Gold Coast. And we miss the juicy rib cuts in the US, but love the excellent quality lamb in Australia.

Grandparents
PARENTS' TIME
Luckily, my parents live only 2 hours away, so when they are able to babysit, we like to have date nights. Generally this means a good movie and a huge bag of popcorn, but sometimes we find a nice place to eat out and relax. We also try to spend time with friends, learning new things...Brownowls {image by the Brown Owls crafting group}...I'm taking a photography course and have joined the Brown Owls crafting group), and my friend Kim Wallace from Udessi and I have just started a get-together in Brisbane for artists, bloggers, crafters and designers. Brisbane seems to be a pretty good place for us right now!

Stephanie {Stephanie from Bondville zooming around in a golf buggy on Hamilton Island, on the Great Barrier Reef}

..Steph Bond - Bondville..

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