Sunday 29 January 2012

Down on the Farm

Clearview Farm

Kitty collecting eggs

I think one of the best parts of the summer holidays when you are a kid is that they seem to go on forever and by the time it is all over – you are well and truly ready to go back to school and see all your friends. At least that’s how I remember it.

In the lead up to Christmas it was all go, go, go here with birthdays, end of year performances, picnics and get togethers for everything, not to mention managing the shop, wholesale orders, online orders and markets. Phew……I am exhausted just thinking about it!

By the time it got to Christmas day – I was glad I had, had the foresight to celebrate Christmas at home – in a small way – our first Christmas in our new house. The children enjoyed lazing about all day playing with new toys and we had a lovely lunch just the four of us.
Milo collecting eggs and Kitty with a baby chick
Having been all systems go all year I really (in fact all of us) needed some time out and a good holiday was required. So I shut the shop for the whole month of January and we settled in for a well deserved rest.

First cab off the rank was a week at the beach in Warrnambool – were we lazed about building sandcastles, eating yummy cafĂ© lunches and ice creams, going to the movies and of course spent lots of time exploring all the op shops and vintage/antique shops looking for treasures. And I must say – I was pretty chuffed with my haul!

Back home again and the realities of being self employed mean’t that really even though the shop was closed there was work to be done (what’s new!). So in between days at holiday care – the kids and I tried to do lots of fun things together. Catching up with friends, going to the movies, outings to Melbourne, picnics, craft activities and of course visits to Sovereign Hill.
Going for a family walk in the third Gully

And then over the Australia Day long week-end we headed off down to Clearview Farm which Sam’s parents own in the Strzelecki Ranges down near Warragul.

We hadn’t visited for a while and I knew the kids were old enough to really enjoy it. An organic farm – with extensive apple orchards and lots of chooks – the gardens are rambling and filled with gorgeous flowers, trees and ferns.

My in-law’s Jim and Carole always cook amazing food – so a lot of eating was done, mixed in with some egg collecting, picking fruit and flowers and exploring various ‘secret’ gardens (much to Kitty’s delight). A big family walk down the third gully – walked off a little of the decadent morning tea and a few hours where Sam & I took off on our own for a lovely lunch and spot of treasure hunting whilst the kids hung out with Grandma Eggs and Poppy Apples was great.

So all in all – the summer holidays have been fun. Kitty is back to school on Thursday and The Crafty Squirrel re-opens on Friday. Preparations are well underway for my tradeshow stand in Sydney in Feb and the year is well underway!

Tuesday 3 January 2012


A special Cava tin I bought whilst in Spain

Wow! What an amazing year 2011 was! Friday 6 Jan makes it one year officially since we made the tree change to Ballarat and just over 6 months since the opening of my corner shop The Crafty Squirrel.

In the lead up to Christmas we caught up with some dear friends for a nice drinks and nibbles (as you do) and being the well-traveled lot they are the drink of the evening was Spanish Cava (Cava is Catalan for "cellar" and is produced the same way as champagne but can't be called champagne…)

Anyway…this reminded me of my fantastic trip to Spain all those years ago (before I had children) and I wined and dined my way around the country. I have always been a big fan of sparkling wine so of course Cava was often on the menu as was a selection of tapas to keep me going until I had dinner at 11pm as the Spanish like to do.

Mmm…tapas….yum….tapas….I love tapas… fact - I love any kind of eating that is made up of lots of different things – primarily eaten with your fingers. The kids and I call this kind of eating a ‘picky dinner’ because we all get to pick little bits of different things to eat. Yum!

Not long after our Cava evening – my husband Sam came home with a Christmas gift for himself – two Jamie Oliver cookbooks. One of the books is based around his interpretation of well known favourite foods of various European countries with Spain being first cab off the rank.

Jamie does...Spain, Italy, Morocco, Greece, Sweden & France
Croquetas were one of my favourite tapas – naughty, but so delicious you just can’t help yourself. Of course Jamie has a recipe which I am inspired to try myself and I know the addition of this tasty morsel in a summer ‘picky’ dinner - al fresco in our garden is definitely on the cards…along with another glass or two of Cava to wash it all down.

Here’s Cheers! Salud! Happy Summer everyone!