August/September

August/September

It’s hard to believe the last time I wrote here was nearly two months ago, on the eve of our little family’s departure to the United Kingdom. We had the most wonderful five weeks away and it’s only really been these last few days that it’s felt like life has returned to normal. It was one of the warmest and driest summers in England on record, which was incredibly evident in the countryside around us. The long, long sunny days though felt like a treat after a very rainy winter in Australia (it’s turning into a very rainy spring too) and certainly made sightseeing and catch-ups with friends and family easy to plan.

Whilst the trip was technically holiday, it almost didn’t feel like one. As we were returning to an area where Adam and I had lived previously it really felt like we were just living back in England again. We knew the region, the roads, shops and eateries. We picked up groceries every few days, saw loved ones on multiple occasions and returned to places we love.

These were some of the highlights…

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July

July

All going to plan, Adam, Paul and myself will depart for the U.K. tomorrow. It’s been almost four years since Adam and my last visit. A pregnancy and a global pandemic thwarted previously planned trips, so to say we’re a little excited is probably an understating it. We’ll have nearly six weeks with Adam’s family in Worcestershire to reconnect and enjoy the last month or so of what’s proven so far to be exceptional English summer…

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February

February

February. The shortest month of the year. The summer’s end is near and after a particularly sticky few months, I feel ready to wave goodbye to the sun-bleached landscape, the airy cotton dresses and the constant hum of the air-conditioning. This month seems to have hit me at full force. There’ve been some particularly busy days at work, what feels like an uptick in toddler tantrums, and a late summer cold. Add to that, the devastating scenes coming out of Ukraine and the inundation happening on parts of Australia’s east coast, and I feel like I’m somewhat limping towards the end of this month, and season.

But despite that frenetic energy at times, there have also been moments of still and peace – and of new discoveries.

This is what’s caught my eye in February…

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January

January

Hello! Here we are, at the end of the first month of the year. January’s a funny one isn’t it? At times, it feels like both the longest and shortest month of year. A mix of long, languid summer days and the chaos that is getting back into the work/school/daycare routine once again.

In 2022 I’ll be doing things a little differently on the blog. I’ve used my break to have a really long think about how I want this space to look, feel and sound, so there’ll be a few changes moving forward…

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Summer salutations

Summer salutations

Well, here we are – Christmas is nigh and another year is rapidly drawing to a close. When I first started writing this blog, a little over five (!) years ago I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It started as a way to document life in a new country. Since then a lot of life has happened – marriage, a baby, a global pandemic. It’s been quite the ride and it’s been both cathartic and challenging at times to share that with you…

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What’s been making me happy: February

What’s been making me happy: February

This time last year Australia was coming to grips and saying farewell to an unforgettable summer. There’d been immense bushfires, extreme heat and huge swathes of the eastern seaboard had been shrouded in thick smoke for weeks on end. In comparison, this year has been mild, rainy and now it’s COVID-19 which is top of mind.

While we’ve still got a couple of weeks of February left, there’s already been hints of the change of season – and as many of you know, autumn is my favourite time of the year. I hate wishing away time though, so instead of looking ahead, l want to concentrate on the now, so here’s what’s been making me smile this month…

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What’s been making me happy: January

What’s been making me happy: January

Hello! It’s nice to be back writing after a slightly longer than expected break. Christmas and New Year didn’t quite pan out how I had expected, with a rather debilitating virus and a couple of cases of conjunctivitis forcing our little family into hibernation mode. Apart from hospital, doctor and pharmacy visits, we did little over the festive period apart from rest and recover. I won’t lie, it wasn’t the merriest time but we’re all happy and healthy now and for that I’m very thankful.

It’s hard to believe we’re three-quarters through the first month of the year already and I know for many – particularly those in the U.K. – it’s been a pretty tough start to 2021. Now more than ever, it feels important to celebrate and appreciate the small things in life, so on that note, this is what’s been making me smile in January…

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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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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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So long summer

So long summer

After months of fires, smoky conditions and heatwaves, I’m rather glad this summer is over.  Although it’s been a special time for catching up with friends and family, and watching my little boy grow and develop, I’m craving cooler nights, cosy days and hopefully a bit of rain.

I watched the sun set on this unforgettable season in a local park, on a picnic blanket, watching the world go by…

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