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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What’s making me happy: January

What’s making me happy: January
“She often climbed up the hill and lay there alone for the mere pleasure of feeling the wind and of rubbing her cheeks in the grass. Generally at such times she did not think of anything, but lay immersed in an in an inarticulate well-being.” – Summer, Edith Wharton.

 Last year I started noting down every season a few things that were making me smile.  Most of the time they were little observations, kind acts or simple pleasures to do with that time of the year. I loved writing those blog posts and found the act of sitting and writing about these little things really cathartic.  It was such a good reminder, that even during what feels like a standard week/month there are moments of magic in the ever day.

So in 2019, I’m upping the ante.  Every month I’m going to stop and reflect on what’s making me smile, starting with January…

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Plum and vanilla slice

Plum and vanilla slice

A few months back I treated myself to a copy of the National Trust cookbook.  Adam and I had National Trust membership while we were living in England and I have so many fond memories of spending days exploring the Trust’s beautiful old houses and stunning gardens.

We hosted a group of friends this weekend gone for a summery barbecue and I turned to my National Trust cookbook for some seasonal inspiration when it came to dessert…

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