Something I love about where I live in Melbourne is how close I am to the Dandenong Ranges.
Yesterday I had a bonus day off, so I decided to head up to one of my favourite spots in Sassafrass and enjoy some lunch.
Proserpina Bakehouse has THE most epic pizzas and pastries. I was introduced to this gorgeous Bakehouse by some dear friends and it’s now one of my go-to destinations for delicious food and coffee in the hills.
While I waited for my pizza, I grabbed my sketchbook and doodled some trees, sitting outside on a cushion lined bench. The weather was a little gloomy, which I kind of love. It makes the hills seem extra atmospheric, there was a definite hint of autumn in the air.
When I am up in what I call “yonder hills” I feel SO at home. There’s something about all those towering trees and luscious ferns that I find so peaceful and grounding.
As I finished my pizza, a little boy and his mum arrived at the cafe, parked his bike at the bench next to mine and headed towards the door to order their lunches.
On the way in, he spotted something on the ground, and crouched down to pick it up “Look mama!” he said, holding his treasure up to show her.
It was a gorgeous green acorn, a little jewel nobody had noticed. His mum told him it was an acorn and he repeated the new word, an acorn. It was such a sweet moment.
After trying to capture his beautiful blonde curls in a sketch, I headed into the cafe to warm up and select a pastry.
When in Sassafrass, right?
Heaven on a plate.
Enjoyed every bite with a second coffee, did some more sketching, and admired the huge not-red-yet-not-burgundy bunch of dahlias in the centre of the table.
Have you ever seen a dog sitting in a highchair in a cafe? I hadn’t until yesterday. It was quite something.
As I drove back down the gently winding road towards home I felt quietly revived.
Spending time under a canopy of greenery is one of my favourite things to do.
I know I am super lucky to have such a special place so close to home.
Where do you feel revived? Have you eaten any incredible pizza lately or seen a pet in an unusual place? Tell me all about it.
The holiday may be over, but the benefits are definitely not.
How I love the Mornington Peninsula, it’s been part of my life for about four decades now.
Four days in my favourite place was just heaven
I slept well, ate well, relaxed, wandered the shops, tried new cafes, read books, watched the waves roll in at various beaches, watched the sun sink into the ocean and turn the sky orange… taking these days off to recharge was so restorative.
I stayed in an AirBNB called Above Board, you should definitely check it out.
Such a great spot, just a few minutes walk from some great cafes and shops and literally as close to the beach as you can get without camping on the foreshore.
As soon as I’d lugged my suitcase up the stairs and taken some ‘in pristine condition’ photos, I hot-footed it to my favourite local cafe Pier Street Kitchen. Order the falafel, you won’t be sorry!!
One of my favourite things about visiting the Peninsula is that there’s not only plenty of natural beauty everywhere you look, but the locals who work in the many hospitality jobs are all super friendly and welcoming, whether it’s high season or not. Happy staff means happy, returning customers. Count me in!
The service and food at Merchant + Maker in nearby McCrae was definitely up to par, the waitresses were lovely, and their coffee was so good I ordered a second latte – I just go wild when I’m on holidays!! Great breakfast spot and this little place is also directly across the road from the beach.
It’s not a Peninsula holiday for me without a leisurely lap of Sorrento’s beautiful shops. The only sales assistant who ignored me after I said hello to her didn’t see any of the money I spent that day There’s always one!
I chatted about Palm Springs photography, collage and modernism with one lady in her home furnishings store, and the girls in Seed were friendly and up for a chat too.
The weather got sunnier each day I was there, so I sat on the deck of a bathing box, coffee in hand, and watched the water sparkle like Elizabeth Taylor’s bejewelled décolletage.
On my last day beside the seaside I ventured around to St Andrews Beach, on the open ocean side of the Peninsula.
To get across to St Andrews, I passed groups of sheep sitting in fields, horses grazing lazily under trees, farms with row after row of vegetables, and of course, there are vineyards. It’s not just about the beaches in this beautiful part of Victoria.
Watching the waves roll in — it’s so grounding. There’s just something about looking out to sea, knowing there are such vast expanses of water all around us that puts me in my place, in the best possible way. I am part of this incredible creation. We all are.
I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to enjoy a holiday like this, and that the sun came out and made it feel like Spring is just around the corner.
Forget your passport the next time you’re thinking about a getaway, on an island as beautiful as ours, there’s a beach just right for you out there. I’ve found mine.
PS I stumbled across another fab little cafe called Hunter after I’d been to St Andrews Beach, and guess what? More awesome falafe! A delicious end to my beachside getaway.
I am at the beginning of a much needed week off work, and there are fun plans afoot.
In a couple of days I’m off to the seaside.
There’s a sweet six year old’s birthday party to attend first, and a few household chores to do, and then I’m outta here…. see ya later suburbia.
Yes, it’s a winter break, and that’s a-okay with me.
Gimme a cosy cardigan and scarf, a blustery sea breeze and beautiful cafe to enjoy a long lunch in, and I’m all set.
I decided to take a week off about a month ago, and Air BnB came through with a fab and funky apartment on the Mornington Peninsula.
Today I spent approximately three minutes in an op-shop and I found three great books for three dollars each. Winning.
Cute apartment – check.
Books – check.
Things are coming together swimmingly (though I’m not packing my bathers).
I went back and forth about whether to splurge on a third night away, and I’m so happy I decided to book it. Thanks for helping me out with that decision Instagram pals.
Hot tip: ask nicely about a late check-out and you might get FIVE extra hours in your getaway pad. Check!
My plans are to enjoy the Peninsula’s trio of treasures – the beauty of nature, the peace and calm that being by the sea always gives me, and the gorgeous villages dotted with great local cafes and swoonworthy homewares stores. I’ll mostly be window shopping, but if I see something that catches my eye….
I’m definitely going to re-visit some favourite haunts, and I’d love to find some new favourites.
All I’ve got to do now is pack up my paints, books, cosy cardigans and slippers – I never travel without them – and tootle off down the freeway to my winter wonderland.
Oh I do love to be beside the seaside!!
I’m sure to be sharing snaps on Instagram, so you’ll basically all be coming with me. Lucky you.
If you’re a fan of the Mornington Peninsula, please leave a comment with your go-to cafes, bars, shops and seaside walks.
Ahhhh, I can feel that sea air doing me good already.
Last week I went on a much-anticipated short break to the Yarra Valley. It was heavenly to drive out of suburbia, and into a lush valley of clouds, vines and leaves, and feel utterly engulfed by nature’s wintry beauty.
My friend Rachel was my travelling companion – YAY!! She was the perfect person to have by my side last week, as enamoured with the sky as I am, which meant we both oohed and ahhed repeatedly at the amazing light show we were driving beneath.
Tarrawarra never disappoints. The setting, the weather, the golden carpet of falling leaves, and then the incredible artworks. Heaven.
Getting to spend time with my awesome online friend Rachel, in real life, and in such a beautiful setting, was wonderful.
Being out on the open road, watching the sky and the hills and the vines whizz by was magical. Taking time to pull over and snap photos as we pleased, which I know isn’t something Rach usually gets to do as she ferries kids hither and thither in Auckland was great. We were the captains of our souls, and our schedules.
Sitting together in the front bar of the Healesville Hotel, drinking Gembrook Hill sauv blanc and eating bar snacks was delicious.
Strolling, shopping, collaborating on a couple of paintings and drawings, laughing… everything we shared had my emotional tank filling, filling, filling. What a gift. We fit together well, as I think our collaboration shows, I painted, she drew, and it wouldn’t be what it is without both of us. (Just quietly, I think she’s an INCREDIBLE illustrator.)
The conversations we shared came so easily and were wide ranging, silly, sacred, intimate, and free flowing. I’m going to call those the highlight of the trip.
It feels rare to connect so deeply with someone, especially online, and to have that friendship deepen and have the ease of #pastlifetwins when we were in the same timezone; that’s something I’ll treasure as we continue as friends separated merely by geography. Geography’s got nothing on my bond with this girl! (By the way, if you don’t, you really should read her blog The Chronicles of Rach, she’s so gifted with words and has so much soul. #notsponsoredbuttotallytrue)
There’s so much that’s yet to come from that trip, for both of us.
I feel like spending time with Rach, and the long conversations we shared, really unlocked something in my soul, which has me pondering how I can more deliberately live the life I truly want to.
My advice to you dear reader, plan a getaway like this for yourself and that special friend you’re thinking of as you’ve read this. Find a place with big skies, and vines, and wine, pack your slippers and silly accents, your books and your craft supplies, and most importantly, upon arrival, gently unpack an open heart, and let a few days with a sister you’ve chosen fill your emotional tank.
It’s finally within sight – Christmas holidays… yaaaahhhoooooooo!!!!
Even though it has been many years (ahem, decades) since I was a school kid, I’m tempted to skip up and down the hallway today singing:
No more pencils, no more books!No more teacher’s dirty looks!
Instead, I’m going to make sure I remember to empty the office fridge, check that everything’s ship shape, flip the lights off and then drive off into the scorching afternoon heat, and into three weeks of blissful holidays. Phew!
I don’t make grand plans for time off. I know there will be lots of lazing about and doing a whole lotta not much, or a little of this and a little of that. That’s my kind of good time.
Having just said I don’t make plans, I did create this snazzy planner for my upcoming break.
There may well be more 7 and 11 days than 6, I know 13 will happen daily, and I’m hoping to roll a 4 more than once, and perhaps make 9, 8 and 5 a combo. 17 is supposed to be carrot cake, but it may end up being a pizza.
Hmm, perhaps I should create a board game?
Mostly, I’m looking forward to filling in each square as I please. Taking time to do whatever I fancy. What a treat!
Time to unwind and shake of the stress that comes with working to deadlines.
Time to sit on the couch and watch the morning light creep across my wall.
Time to draw, to sketch, to paint.
Time to blog, and to read.
Time to hop in the car and go for a no-destination-in-mind drive in the hills.
Time to sit in a café and enjoy a scrummy lunch.
Time for hanging with family and friends.
That prospect makes me toe-scrunchingly happy.
Here’s to summer holidays, to not having to set the alarm, to happily full-tummied Christmas afternoon naps, to lazy days and busy days, and to our thoughts turning to 2016, pondering what’s been and what’s to come.
Thank you for sharing 2015 with me. I’ll probably write some ponder-y posts over the next few weeks, I always find the end of the year puts me in that frame of mind.
I was awake before the alarm went off, I re-packed my suitcase and was out the door in my carefully chosen (for comfort) outfit by 8.30am, without stopping for coffee.
Uh-oh, MAJOR DELAYS on my usual freeway.
No biggie I tell myself, I’ve got plenty of time, I’ll just head over to the other freeway.
I’d love to wear a heart monitor on days like today, because though my subconscious was giving me an awesome singalong-list, I knew I had to talk myself down from getting stressed out.
The traffic was a bit shit, but not horrendous.
Singalong-list did the trick – various oldies, a run at Wannabe, a ditty I made up about ‘texting guy’ in the white ute, a few stanzas of Afternoon Delight, I kept myself entertained and smiling.
Here’s a question.
WHERE are all those hundreds and hundreds of people going at 9.30am?
Do that many people work school drop-off friendly hours?
Perhaps some of them were headed where I was, Melbourne Airport.
Oh, I haven’t told you why I packed a case yet have I?
Today was “I’m going to ProBlogger day”!!
ProBlogger is an annual conference for, you’ll never guess… bloggers. It is a top notch event, run by a fantastic team. I’ve been to my share of big events and there’s nothing like the buzz around ProBlogger.
Just me and 700 of my closest bloggy buddies, getting together at a fab hotel on the Gold Coast, for three nights of fun, and room service treats, and two days of blogging inspiration and information.
My flight was great, the gods of economy class were smiling upon me – I got a window seat with nobody next to me!
Flying is so great. It forces you to be still, in one spot.
Being up above those beautful clouds, I could stare at them forever. ☁️☁️☁️☁️☁️☁️
The fight was peppered with bloggers, a high percentage of whom were wearing stripes, and we were tweeting like nobody’s business before we disembarked.
We piled into a maxi cab and $125 later, we arrived at our beautiful resort.
A quick squiz at the room, fresh lipstick and I was into the fray!
Hellos and hugs.
“I read your blog/follow you on Instagram!” moments.
And “Is that Chantelle from FatMumSlim?” and “Isn’t that Sonia from Sonia Styling? Great hair!”
And noise. So much noise!
700 ladies – okay 686 ladies and about a dozen fellas, can make a lot of noise.
Today I got to chat to bloggers I’ve never met before, and it was so great.
This weekend will be different for each person here. Some have specific networking goals or ideas in the works. Some are revelling in a break from the routines of motherhood, and catching up with remote pals.
Some have thousands and thousands and THOUSANDS of avid readers, some don’t have blogs at all yet.
Some, like me, are so-not-pro bloggers, but bloggers nonetheless.
We have all carved time out to come to the Gold Coast. We planned, saved and shuffled our day to day responsibilities.
We will share a few glasses of bubbly, laugh together and dig deep together.
We will hear from experts in our field.
We will enjoy the warm weather.
And ultimately, I know that every blogger here, no matter how ‘pro’ they are, wants to pile back into a cab on Saturday or Sunday, feeling inspired to deliver better, more creative and worthwhile content for you, the reader.
Yep, I’m here for you guys, literally.
Follow the ride on Instagram, Twitter and my Facebook page. We are using the hashtag #pbevent.
Yesterday I went on a little adventure and so, good blogger that I am. I shall now regale you with the tale.
It was a freezing cold morning in Melbourne town, the temperature had dipped below zero, and yet, when my alarm went off, I gladly threw back the covers and readied myself for an outing.
What force could draw me from my cosy, cosy bed, out into the frosty morning light?
A meet-up! I was off to meet some of the people I’d done an online course with precisely one year ago.
You won’t be shocked to hear that the course was facilitated by author, blogger, maker, doer and be-er (may not be an actual word) of all things crafty and ace, Pip Lincolne. This course was called Inspiration Information and it was a month long adventure into unlocking your creativity.
We created collages, we painted, we used pastels and pencils, we read books and watched documentaries and discovered old crochet projects. We created little studios on our dining room tables or in the living room. We talked about loads of creative people, from Patti Smith to Sister Mary Corita.
It really was inspiring and informative, every single time I logged in to the course, I was encouraged to try something new, and to disregard my inner critic’s sly words about things being childlike or wrong or not very good. Creativity is good, in and of itself. That’s what sticks with me.
We chose the NGV for our meeting place, which turned out to be absolutely perfect. Where better for a group of people who met exploring creativity, than the National Gallery of Victoria?
Tables were snagged, hugs were exchanged and we spent a couple of hours getting to know each other, face to face. Deanna organised the day, and she, Carolyn, Emily, Karen and I had a ball.
We talked about creativity, about books, about Pip (the general consensus being, we are PRO-PIP!), we talked about our families, kids, parents and parenting.
We talked about literary speed dating (who knew that was a thing?) and making space for creative pursuits.
We talked about drawing and dealing with cranky people, the tyranny of housework and being consumed by the mundane. I believe I uttered this decree: “Fuck skirting boards!”.
We talked about how creativity is part of our everyday lives.
The BEST part of the morning was how easy it was. We already knew each other from the online classroom and our Facebook group, but it was wonderful to translate that to chatting over coffees and chai teas.
As we sat chatting, I looked around at the interesting, diversely experienced women I was with, and thought about how enriched I am by the time I spend tap-tap-tapping on Facebook or here on the blog. To sign up to an online course about creativity may seem strange, but I think the old adage is true – you get out what you put in.
I am certain that each of us would say that Inspiration Information gave us amazing gifts. I wish I’d asked everyone that question now. Oh, why don’t I? Hey, if you read this girls, tell us what II meant to you in the comments please.
As we hugged and planned our next catch up, I decided to explore the gallery, as I hadn’t visited for a few years.
It was WONDERFUL.
If you’re in Victoria, or visiting, you must come. There’s so much inspiration and beauty, and diversity in the NGV collection.
Here are some of the works that caught my eye.
I lingered for a while in this space, it really is something to sit in front of a wall if works painted hundreds of years ago.
Oh, these ladies are exquisite.
This Turner stopped me in my tracks, I actually turned around and came back to it… so, so beautiful. The photo does it very little justice. So much happening in the colours and brush strokes.
This was painted in 1845. Yesterday, 170 years later, it caught my eye as I passed it and drew me in.
That’s nothing sort of incredible.
The moral of the story here… create, you never know where it might lead you, or who will be drawn in by it 170 years from now.