green acres, kangaroo valley

last winter, we had the pleasure of staying at Green Acres homestead in Kangaroo Valley in the NSW Southern Highlands. 

our little getaway group consisted of our friends King & Pete, who researched and discovered this little holiday gem, Misch our lovely, rambunctious Georgian, Skelly our passionate little pocket rocket, my bearded hubby Jay, our furry loud cavoodle Harley and I.

  

the drive from Sydney to Kangaroo Valley is simply stunning. as soon as you make it down the winding valley, the lush green valley floor opens up into kilometres of green fields spotted with grazing cows. there are crystal rivers to cross and an abundance of wildlife to spot amongst the trees (this is the place where you will see koalas in the trees!).

  

Green Acres can be booked through Stayz.com.au or directly from their website. The amount you pay depends on how many people are staying; the place sleeps 8. We used all four rooms for the 6 of us. It has a fully equipped kitchen (coffee machine, toaster, baking pans, wine glasses, etc), a spa bath, a BBQ, swimming pool, stereo with speakers throughout the house & outside, indoor fireplace, lots of couch seating, heaters in the bedrooms & all linen. 

While you should probably bring all your groceries from the city (variety is bigger & price is cheaper), the property is about 10 minutes out of the village of Kangaroo Valley, so it’s close to amenities should you forget anything.

   Kitchen

 Lounge/dining   Lounge/dining

 Dining table   Bathroom with spa overlooking the backyard

 Fireplace, TV, stereo  One of the bedrooms

*****

there is an abundance of art on the walls, all eclectic pieces that are unmatching and each tell a seperate but beautiful story. I always think that artwork tells you about its owner. This art is a little left of field, quirky and tends to insight the imagination to sexy stories of Africa. They seem well traveled. (There is a mural of a hot naked man in the bathroom which is a nice touch!)

   Artwork

 Greenacres at night

   Woodpile in the backyard

 Our dog Harley exploring

  Friendly horse on the property

*****

We arrived Friday afternoon and left on Sunday, spending the time cooking, drinking vino, talking, dancing, laughing and stargazing. 

There were some beautiful little touches left for us; fresh eggs from the nearby neighbours, a bottle of local wine & detailed instructions on how everything worked. 

We loved how secluded this place was, we didn’t feel like we needed to keep the noise down, and being pet-friendly meant we could include our little furry guy Harley.

I love this place and I can’t wait to go back!!!

food glorious food

this is what i’ve been cooking lately

  
  
roast chicken & veggies for a dinner with friends

  
lamb shanks for the cold winter nights

  
paleo big brekkie

  
mussels en provence 

  
mid-week paleo chicken fajitas 

  
weekend steak, scrambled eggs & veggies

  
buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce for footy night

  
chicken & date tagine 

 flourless, sugarless chocolate cake 

🍒🍎🍌🌽🍆🍠🍕🍔🍗🍪

have you been cooking up a storm? what’s been on your plate of late?  

a little story about a pot

i want to share a little story with you about this beautiful Balinese pot

  
it was 1998 and I had just arrived in Sydney from my hometown near Newcastle. I dropped out of uni to follow a boy who had my heart (and many years later would become my husband), to the big city. we moved in together; which at the time meant living with cousins or in a friend’s garage until we had enough money to get our own place.

taking my lunch break one day, I spotted this beautiful oversized Balinese urn in a little homewares store on Darling St in Balmain. I fell in love. It took me 3 months to pay it off and then I took it home in the front passenger seat of my car wrapped tight by the seatbelt. it was my very first homewares purchase.

it’s travelled with us to all the places we’ve lived in the last 17 years. we’ve always taken such good care of it that it’s only had a minor broken handle, which we glued back together. but over time my decor tastes have changed and tonight it found a new home.

a lovely English man, who just bought his first home with his wife and baby, came to pick it up. I feel a little sad as I write this little farewell ode to my Balinese pot, but I’m so glad it’s found a new loving home!

weeknight feeds | chicken cacciatore 

I love the simplicity of this dish; not only is it super quick and easy to make but it bursts with delicious Italian flavours!

It’s a one pan weeknight wonder! Just adjust the ingredients for however many people you’re feeding.

  
Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • a punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup deseeded kalamata olives
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • handful fresh thyme leaves
  • sea salt & ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • flat-lead parsley

Optional:

  • couscous to serve
  • garden salad to serve

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180•C.
  • Drizzle an oven proof dish with olive oil, sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place into dish. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients in a haphazard manner
  • Cover with foil and place in oven for 40-45 mins, removing the foil for the last 10 mins.
  • Sprinkle with parsley before serving
  • Tastes best with couscous and garden salad
  • Serves 4

  

melbourne | throwback thursday

thinking of my sojourn to beautiful Melbourne in January this year. needing to book a weekend away asap!

   
                        
*all photos from my iPhone 

death & what comes next

for the few weeks after my husband’s father died, there was this overwhelming feeling of numbness. 

all these emotions were just under the surface, but I couldn’t access them, or maybe I didn’t want to.

when I admit it, Rudi has been dying for three years; his body first fighting cancer of the bowel (defeated!), then lung cancer (holding like in a stasis, not obliterated but not advancing forward) then finally after swelling & subsiding & swelling again, 11 months after the cancer invades the kidneys, he is overrun and can no longer fight back. 

Fuck cancer.

when the doctors said that his kidneys were shutting down, we flew, me a few days after my husband who was there with his sisters on a hospital bedside vigil. when I arrived 3 days before he passed, I don’t know if he knew it was me. his eyesight was very depreciated and the toxins that were building up in his body were causing hallucinations. everyone was packed into the small hospital room; Rudi’s two daughters, his niece, his two sisters who arrived from NZ, comings and goings of 6 grandkids, a son-in-law, me the daughter-in-law and his son, my husband. when we all arrived his wife ceased coming to the hospital. it caused tension but was not addressed but in the weeks after he’s passed, Jay and his sisters are no longer speaking to their mum. they are angry and don’t understand how she could stop visiting her husband in hospital. i don’t understand either, but i can imagine it would be a combination of things; acceptance of the inevitable, complete exhaustion for being the primary caregiver for years, withdrawal from being overwhelmed by so many people when she’s so used to being alone in that remote location. or maybe she’s just a terrible person. I don’t think so. I don’t know. no-one else knows the intimate details of a marriage that lasted 49 years. I don’t want to judge.

sometimes I forget that he’s gone. I see something and go to tell Jay that we should tell his dad about it. I remember just before I say something or sometimes halfway through the sentence.

these emotions are accessible through the numb surface now. it’s like a cloud of feelings. there all at once but slightly indiscernible, like you grasp onto one emotion and before you can fully feel it, it bleeds into another. a jumble of sadness, loss, anger, regret, denial, acceptance, relief. it’s almost too much to put into words.

my friend Grace has always spoken about ‘love languages'; how each of us naturally express and receive love. my love language is action. I show my love through doing things for those I love. at the farm, while my husband and sisters spent every moment, awake and asleep, next to their father, I became the General of the household. I organised people into teams for Duty; food, washing, bedding, runs to the hospital with provisions, airport run to collect family members, gardening, etc. I felt useful and in control. everything around me could fall apart but I could control something. if I could have gone into his body and cut out the cancer I would have. I still didn’t believe he would actually die. neither did Jay.

Rudi came home to die. his grandkids built a bonfire outside of his room, which he saw momentarily before his eyesight was gone completely. the night he came home, he slipped into a coma before taking his last breath two hours later. Jay was holding Rudi’s hand when his fight ended. that’s what it was; a fight that he didn’t want to give into to. three years of subpar health, but three additional years.

my husband is broken. he can’t deal with this noxious cloud of emotions. last week he was at breaking point. he’s agreed to see a councillor to discuss his feelings. he signed up to do it the 21st century way; counselling via phone & email. hey, I’m just proud and relieved that he’s seeking help. everyone deals with things differently. It breaks my heart to see him hurting so much. It breaks my heart that I can’t take care of this; that I can’t take his pain away. he’s a man of few words which especially doesn’t bode well during times of emotional turmoil. I do know that he won’t feel this raw forever. I don’t think that time heals all wounds but it definitely makes them easier to live with.

  

                                                            bonfire for Rudi

collections of earth & sea

 
 O sweet spontaneous

earth how often have
the
doting

          fingers of
purient philosophers pinched
and
poked

thee
,has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
thy

      beauty      .how
oftn have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
gods
        (but
true

to the incomparable
couch of death thy
rhythmic
lover

          thou answerest

them only with

                        spring)

e.e. cummings