Sunday, January 29, 2012

a blurry month

Hard to believe January is almost over. It's been a bit of a blur all told.

We've been house hunting for a new place to rent these past few weeks and, much as I love a sticky beak into different, interesting places, I'll be glad when we are settled in our new digs. I'm excited for a change, to try out a new suburb, a new space and especially to cook in a new kitchen!

In amongst all the property inspections and general business we have managed to grab some down time to:
catch up with our friend Sophie for afternoon tea
dance up a storm at The Whitest Boy Alive,
scoff down lamingtons on our national day off and
eat red grapes like they're going out of style.

The seedless red grapes have been a saviour this month and I can highly recommend them, whether mixed through plain yogurt, chopped up in a salad with nuts or just a handful grabbed and eaten in between paint coats on the way passed the fridge.


Monday, January 16, 2012

the island pt 3: food memories and the beauty of less

It's beginning to feel like a while ago now but whenever I look through the photos from our trip I feel myself momentarily transported back to the island.

One of the things I love most about going on holiday is that, whilst broadening your horizons, it also temporarily shrinks down your world, making you simplify and enjoy making do with less.  This is something I'm thinking a lot about at the moment as we are planning to move house in the next few months.

Some of my favourite memories from Lord Howe Island have to do with simple food, especially the meals we cobbled together from what we had bought that day from the local shop, or picked from the vegetable garden - the salads, barbeques and cheese plates we prepared for ourselves, enjoyed with many a glass of red or sparkling wine.

A salad we prepared most days, with rocket and everlasting lettuce from the veggie patch, tomatoes, walnuts, grapes and parmesan.

Cheeseplates to snack on whilst we played cards at night.

An impromptu pizza picnic with my family, overlooking the water.

Amusingly named and gut-bustingly good burgers from the local store.  Ned's was the fish burger, Future was Kristian's favourite - a burger featuring pretty much everything.

And then in a moment of unforgettable joy and simplicity we enjoyed the best meal of the trip - a spontaneous breakfast picnic at Lover's Bay overlooking the ocean, with vegemite toast, Lindt chocolate and grapes, a ring, a question and a resounding yes!

And then coffee and cake to celebrate.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the island pt 2: wildlife

One of the most wonderful things about our trip for me was becoming so much more aware of my natural surroundings. I was like a child excitedly pointing out interesting plants and spotting baby terns sitting on tree branches as we cycled past each day on our way to the beach.

A few wildlife highlights:
- making friends with our Woodhen neighbours in the back garden of our apartment
- encountering a chilled out herd of cows on a forest walk to the other side of the island
- baby bird spotting
- dodging the intricate webs of the Golden Orb spiders
- encountering a reef shark on our second day as we swam in the shallows (I far too calmly insisted it was a Kingfish until Kristian spotted fins).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

the island pt 1

It's my first week back at work so naturally I'm thinking about our holiday to Lord Howe Island and wishing myself back there.

I used to visit Lord Howe with my family a lot when I was younger but I haven't been back in a few years and the best thing about it is that it's hardly changed. It's like a small country town from the 70s but surrounded by water and with the most beautiful forests, walks, beaches and wildlife you can imagine.

Lord Howe Island also has the most fantastic place names - Hell's Gates, Kim's Lookout, Valley of the Shadows, The End of the World, to name a few. We didn't make it to many of those spots, some are virtually inaccessible without a boat, but we did hit up Blinky Beach every day that we could and the weather permitted. A few months after my 18th birthday I got caught in a rip and nearly drowned at this beach and it still inspires my fearful respect but when the weather is right, hands down it's my favourite place to swim on Earth. Kristian became a massive fan too and over the week we caught enough waves there to ever so partially digest the amazing amounts of food and wine we consumed on the trip.

And the fish, oh the fish. From the moment we landed, I was licking my chops over that first hotly anticipated plate of Kingfish - grilled with lemon and potatoes on the side, accompanied by sparkling white wine. Our family friend Ron works as a chef at one of the restaurants and one night we headed up the hill at dusk to be treated to Kingfish and Oahu, fresh caught that day.

Walking home in the pitch dark to the sounds of Muttonbirds calling to each other in plaintive tones and seeing a million stars sparkling overhead was a pretty spectacular end to the year.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

scenes from the new year

Happy 2012 to you! Hope your New Year's Eve was matched in goodness by the days that followed!
The first thing Kristian and I did on New Year's Day was to play a game of hungover celebrity heads - highly recommended!

We've had some friends Matt and Hiroko staying with us over the last few days, which has made the celebrations that much more enjoyable for us. We have snacked and chatted, drunk a medley of hilarious drinks, interpretive danced along to Kylie, watched fireworks from a nearby park, hit up DJ's for song requests, eaten late night pies and welcomed the new year with cooked breakfasts, swings in parks, picnics and drinks at dusk.

Here's to many more of these good things in the year ahead.