On my mind this week:
We’re down the coast at the moment. The Great Ocean Road to be precise. I made a decision a few weeks ago when Melbourne went into another lockdown that the only way through the uncertainty of this time in our lives is to lean into doing things however short or fleeting our freedom may be. Before this I had felt like giving up making any plans at all. Why bother? I felt like saying to no one in particular. Probably won’t happen anyway so what’s the point in trying? But as life tends to teach me over and over again, that my friend, is precisely the point. Because when you try there’s ALWAYS the possibility of failure but with it also comes the possibility of SUCCESS. What if you actually CAN? And so by some miracle we’ve found ourselves some CAN!! This week we bundled our kids in the car, loaded up on the marsh mellows, beanies and socks, gathered a glorious group of like minded pals and miraculously escaped to a caravan park by the sea.
This spot is magic. It’s winter so the beach is quiet but the sun is shining, campfire smoke spirals at dusk creating a haze across our little green valley. Cockatoos are circling, perching on branches and squawking. There’s a stream that runs through our park merrily trickling along while the kids jump on a giant rainbow trampoline pillow. Hot chocolates, beach walks, sandy feet and ocean views, we’ve walked with pink noses and run and jumped and pedalled go karts and laughed all the while full of exhaustion and joy. I’ve decided that what often makes the witching hour bearable (otherwise known as the dreaded 5pm pit of despair) is other parents to share it with and the promise of a hot dinner, a campfire and then a really killer board game with cheese, wine and/or cups of tea at the end. This week it’s been all about the board game Codenames and I am here for it. It feels really good to learn and master something new and also reignite that old competitive muscle. I love watching how each person reacts differently to the same challenge and this game is wordy and brain stretchy and full of analysis and strategy. I find the serious board games faces of VERY competitive humans endlessly endearing and hilarious.
Just in case you were thinking this all sounds way too perfect and your family holidays usually end in someone throwing a monopoly board while someone else hogs the hot water and you get sunburnt, fear not. The first day we arrived here it poured with rain and the kids were manic and ratty, high on the prospect of a week with their mates somewhere unfamiliar, nerves and enthusiasm bubbling along dangerously in equal measure. This does not always end well and for a minute I wondered if we had made the right call. A whole week in a cabin in the middle of winter? Coupled with a teething baby that wouldn’t sleep and a grumpy husband man disgruntled by the lack of wifi, I did wonder if we would be bundling ourselves early back into a car to Melbourne. But as in all things the sun came out eventually and by the second day everyone took a deep breathe, exhaled and relaxed.
We’ll take this pocket of salty air, hold hands while we cross the road and plunge our feet into the sand while we can. Life is meant to be lived and shared, like a good layered lasagne or a hot BBQ under the stars on a cold, clear night. Turns out there’s a lot of healing that can be done when you’re soaked by the ocean waves, good company, go karting and hot chocolate, even lockdown exhaustion.
Something to listen to:
A mate had a playlist on his speakers and got me on to a band called Babe Rainbow. They’re an Australian psychedelic rock band from Byron Bay, New South Wales. They formed in 2014 but I’ve fallen in love with their 60s throwback sound and surfy vibes. One of my favourites is called Peach Blossom Boogey (I mean what a name) and for some reason the song The Faraway Nearer is a goodie too. Something to do with the flute, the acoustic guitar and the dreamy beats.
A new episode of TONTS. pod this week has also dropped with the wonderful comedian Sammy P. His story will surprise you and is a grand reminder that everyone has a story to tell and you never know what is really going on for people. On Suggestible podcast this week James and I have some brilliant recommendations to stream on Netflix or Stan and make your couch surfing 'what to watch' dilemma a little bit easier.
Something to cook:
We had a few birthdays this week and so a birthday cake was necessary. Our cabin didn’t have anything resembling a whisk, a cake mixer, a sifter or really anything cake baking related so my friend made the following cake from Donna Hay which was delicious, quick and a real winner with kiddos and adults alike.
Donna Hay’s Melt and Mix Chocolate Cake
- 250 g butter melted
- 90 g (¾ cup) cocoa powder sifted
- 300 g (1 ⅓ cup) caster sugar
- 120 g (1 ½ cup) desiccated coconut
- 190 g (1 ½ cup) plain flour sifted
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 185 g (¾ cup) milk
- 3 eggs lightly whisked
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan-forced).
Grease and line a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper and set aside.
Place the butter into a microwave-safe bowl.
Melt on 50% power for 2 minutes (or until melted).
Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix until well combined.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with just a few crumbs.
Serve on it's own, decorated with brightly coloured smarties, slather with store bought chocolate frosting and rim with chocolate fingers and possibly a cheerful bit of ribbon.
Sending lots of love to you this week.
I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which I write today, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, and pay my respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.
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