Life: November

Desiring: An extended beach trip. Growing up my family used to pack up and head to Burleigh Heads for 3 weeks every Christmas holidays. We'd stay in the house my great grandfather built - which didn't have a tv - and spends our mornings at the beach, the afternoons at Tallebudgera Creek. A day or two of water skiing was the norm. This time of year and the beach are very closely intertwined for me. But these days on top of Burleigh Heads, I long for Byron Bay times - swimming in waterfalls, sunset beers at the Beachy, lazy mornings in Lennox. I want all of it. Call it a perk of marrying a Northern Rivers boy. More than once he's stopped the car in the middle of nowhere and led me to a secret swimming spot.

Loving: The Christmas decorations starting to appear everywhere. I do try and hold out until December 1, when Steve and I watch a Christmas movie, listen to carols, cook a fancy dinner and drink port while putting up the tree. But it takes all my willpower to make it that long. Plus the festivities on this instagram account isn't helping. It's one I've swooned over every day while drinking tea and blasting more carols.

Wearing: A wide brim hat, sunnies and sunscreen. Bare feet are a must. Every day. Summer has well and truly hit  in Brisbane.

Happenings: We made a short trip to Stradbroke Island at the end of November as part of my yoga teacher training retreat. I hadn't been since I was a teen, and I have to admit the focus then was more on teenage shenanigans. Who liked who etc. (Sidenote, you couldn't pay me to be that age again). Steve wasn't much better so excitement was pretty high. It's a stunning part of the world. Beaches and bush lend themselves to hikes and swims and relaxing, while barely any phone reception meant we were forced to disconnect and recharge a little. The ferry trip over was exciting for the little man. Big boat! Became a repeates refrain. We stayed near Point Lookout, and will definitely be returning soon.

Early morning hikes are worth it when views like this greet you.

Eating: Bread. Lots of it. Toast with peanut butter, honey, banana and hemp seeds has been my go to breakfast. And I'm apparently raising a toddler who thinks plain bread is the absolute bomb. I mean, a good loaf is heavenly, but c'mon kid. At least let me add a smear of avo to that slice.

Drinking: Water. Loads of it as the Brisbane weather begins to heat up. Also a lot of chamomile tea. I've been buying it in bulk from here and it's pretty damn delicious. Oh, and kombucha! And a sneaky cider in the afternoon too. 

Hearing: Music. Lots of it. Fiona Kelleher's I'm a Little Boat is on high rotation when the little man is awake, as is old school jazz. And podcasts - so many podcasts! The Slow Home podcast is a winner, and I just finished Dirty John. I wasn't sold on it to be honest. Plus I'm slowly sneaking Christmas Carols into the mix. 

Reading: I think my New Years Resolution should be to finish a book before I start the next? Ah who am I kidding, that's not going to happen. I'm currently finishing of The Wolves of Calla while also dipping into Slow and The Course of Love by Alain de Botton. Each is remarkable in its own way, but Slow is really resonating with me - especially as we head into the crazy festive season. Why put so much emphasis on STUFF? And I still love the idea of putting away all screens and reconnecting properly with your loved ones for a day or two.
Update: I finished Slow and loved it. Perhaps I'll buy a copy next year.

Watching: Well 'tis the season! I'm about to bombard my loved ones with a multitude of Christmas movies, from A Christmas Story to Elf, Die Hard to Gremlins. Plus I'm dying to see The Man Who Invented Christmas

Anticipating: Christmas. It's my favourite time of year. The decorations! The carols! The food! The celebrations! Ironically I hate consumerism - there's just so much "stuff" bandied about, most of which is forgotten about, broken or thrown out within the week. But a good afternoon with family and friends and Michael Buble crooning in the background is pretty much perfection. 

Ruminating: On how to expand my brain a bit more. A recent date night out to see Brian Cox left me speculating about how I need to feed my brain with more educational/expanding content. I'm not a scientifically-minded person - words have always been my thing - but listening to Brian Cox speak about (supposedly) fairly rudimentary physics left me grasping to comprehend what the hell was going on. To make matters worse, there were fairly young kids in the audience. I'm clinging to the hope that they also struggled. Cue a resolution to read/listen to more things that will really make me think, as opposed to the fairly light on things I've been stuck on thanks to 19 months and counting of sleep deprivation. That being said, anyone overhearing my and Steve's discussion about how time is a dimension would have been pretty amused. 

Now over to you - how has the month treated you?

Life inspired by Heidi (and in turn by Pip).


Food: a love story

Foodie breakfast heaven: Folk, Byron Bay (not the restaurant in question, but a delicious one nevertheless)

We walk into the restaurant, the scent of frying garlic wafting out to meet us makes us both stop in our tracks and comment – it just smells so good.
Within half an hour we’re seated at the table with a glass of prosecco each to ease us into the dinner. Would we go halves in pizza and pasta? Or would I have the mushroom risotto and you the spatchcock? The latter as it turns out and, as I bite in a piece of sourdough bread that I dipped in olive oil I say to you “I think I’m going to write a blog called Food: a love story”. You nod, taking another bite of bread and ask the waiter for the wine list, before saying you don't understand how people can't enjoy food. Like, really enjoy it.

But, you see it hasn’t always been this way for me. A child of the ‘80s and ‘90s I was led to believe that low fat/no fat/minimal food in general was the way to go to be healthy (read thin, not necessarily well nourished).
And then I met you and all that changed. Because you genuinely enjoyed good food. So our meals became an event in themselves - something to be prepared with enjoyment and eaten with gusto and a glass of good wine could only be an improvement to the situation. We ate real food made from real ingredients that was really delicious. 

We moved to France and couldn’t afford to buy steak, so instead stocked up on baguettes, salmon, cheese, pastries and fresh fruit and vegetables from the weekly street markets – not too shabby substitutes to be honest. And, as the weather warmed up we began to take our meals outside and have picnics by the Seine or on the rooftop of our building overlooking the Eiffel Tower. 

Then our visas ran out and reality came calling. We made our way back to Australia and learned that nothing can compare to French bread – and that you don’t serve Australian bread rolls to a Parisian (sorry again Phil!). I started to become curious about how we could use food to also nurture our health, and regularly began to spike our food with chia seeds and hemp seeds, raw cacao and coconut oil. You barely complained, unless kale was involved.

It seemed this love became central to our lives. I’d often text you "fancy a drink?" as I left the office on a Friday afternoon and would catch the train into the city and we’d head to that bar we liked and would order a whiskey drink or a gin drink, and wait to see what concoction would arrive before us before deciding which restaurant to head to. 

Markets became a weekend ritual, partly because eating coffee and breakfast in the sunshine is pretty fantastic, as is chatting to the people who grew the food you’re buying. I’d get over-excited and try to buy everything before you’d cut me off. There are only so many stone fruits a person can realistically consume, you'd argue. 

Then we decided to be grown ups and turn our duo into a trio. We were prepared for some of the life changes this would result in, but the hardest to come to terms with seemed to be the diminished opportunities to head out and try a new place to eat that we’d been told about. So we adjusted again. We replaced our dinner dates with regular Saturday night fancy dinners eaten on the couch while watching movie, or gathered around the table with friends. You spend days scouring our cookbooks looking for an exciting new recipe and I'd try to talk you out of your desire for madeleines as dessert (yes you won that argument, and yes I’m glad I baked them).

But the love story has continued. And I’m mighty glad it has because, as controversial as it may be I simply love good food. And I have you to thank for that.