What’s been making me happy: December

What’s been making me happy: December

Well, here we are in the last month of a year that I think no one will forget for a very long time. The last 12 months have been incredibly testing for many and while 2020 will be farewelled with much gusto, the challenges that come with dealing with a global pandemic won’t magically disappear when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. I sincerely hope however, that we take away a few lessons from this last year: the importance of family and friends, of of fresh air and being outside, and of good health. Simple pleasures, but ones that fill your heart and head with joy.

Here’s what’s been making me smile this month…

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The Station Collective

The Station Collective

I think it’s fair to say 2020 has been a tumultuous year. Life as we know it has been turned upside down and we’ve had to confront isolation, lockdowns and uncertainty. What I love about my little part of Australia though, is despite it all, new shops, cafés and restaurants have managed to open and thrive.

One such example is The Station Collective, a beautifully appointed coffee shop with a super unique location…

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Sweet potato salad

Sweet potato salad

The festive season is upon us and in Australia that means hot days, cold drinks and lots of alfresco eating. When the weather’s warm, I crave salads – not so much the stock standard lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and carrot variety with a basic supermarket vinaigrette, rather ones with cooked vegetables and pulses, nuts, herbs and creative dressings.

This sweet potato salad was first introduced to me at a family gathering many years ago. The recipe from another family, but so impressive at its first tasting that it’s been written down and recreated by my grandmother, mother and myself ever since.

I’ve taken it to barbecues, picnics and Christmas Day celebrations and it always receives rave reviews, so if you’re after a new salad to try this summer, perhaps this is one to consider…

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What’s making me happy: November

What’s making me happy: November

November has felt particularly long. It’s been a combination of factors, namely Adam working out of town for an extended period; and a bout of sickness that saw Paul, myself and then Adam collapse in a heap all within about 24 hours of each other (I won’t elaborate, except to say family gastro is not fun!) So while I never like to wish away time, I’m rather glad to see the end of November.

Despite the challenging days, like always, there have been moments of joy – this is what’s been making me smile this month…

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Year two

Year two

This month marks Adam and my second wedding anniversary. Given the current set of circumstances we now find ourselves in, it seems so very surreal that this time two years ago we were in England, making our final preparations for the day and getting ready to welcome guests from all over the world to gather, celebrate, embrace and party all together.

Last year we didn’t worry about presents – we had a newborn, and being able to sneak off for a few hours to have dinner by ourselves while one set of grandparents babysat felt like a gift in itself. This year I suspect we’ll do something similar. Adam’s had an incredibly busy couple of weeks, including a stint working out of town, so quality time together and a nice meal out will be ample celebration.

In saying that, I read online that the traditional second anniversary gift of cotton is meant to signify comfort and strength, threads woven together much like the interconnectedness of marriage. I thought that was really lovely, and for Adam and I it felt very apt for this year of marriage…

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French toast with carameralised peaches and thyme

French toast with carameralised peaches and thyme

This recipe came about a couple of years ago, when Adam and I were gifted a huge basket of home grown peaches. The fruit had been picked a little too early and as a result the peaches never ripened properly. It felt wasteful to just toss the peaches into the green waste bin, so I decided to show them a little love.

With a little time, butter and sugar I was able to transform those peaches into something soft, sweet and syrupy. This dish has now become a well-loved favourite in our house, particularly at this time of the year when the days are long and warm and the stone fruit is abundant. The thyme seems like a slightly odd addition, but its subtle, earthy flavour works wonderfully with the sweet peaches.

This is definitely not an ‘everyday’ breakfast, rather best savoured on a slow Saturday morning, in pyjamas with a cup of coffee in hand…

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Strawberry fields forever

Strawberry fields forever

A couple of years ago a hydroponic strawberry farm popped up, right in the middle of Wagga Wagga. For one reason or another I never managed to make it onto the farm during the growing season, so when I saw an advertisement announcing the opening of the farm for the year, I made a note in my diary to schedule a visit.

Strawberries rank fairly high on my favourite fruit list, so the thought of being able to access locally grown, in-season berries was pretty sweet. And this weekend past Paul and I stopped by for a spot of strawberry picking…

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What’s making me happy: October

What’s making me happy: October

October’s felt both long and short. I’ve had a really, really busy few weeks at work which has made the time feel like it’s whizzing by. At the same time though, the entire household’s been sick which has made some days feel oh-so-drawn-out. In between it all, there’ve been some lovely moments though – here’s what’s been making me smile this month…

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Catch you next week

Catch you next week

A rather debilitating cold has taken grip of our household over the last few days, and in quick succession Adam, Paul and myself all fell foul of it. We’ve spent the last few days laying low and trying to get ourselves better for the week ahead. As a result there’s no blog post for you today.

Have a wonderful week and I look forward to catching up with you next Monday.

M. x