Her new sweet ride- It's a secondhand hiking pack for toddlers, a necessary purchase as she has outgrown the Ergo baby. For now she seems keen to sit and watch the world as we rock her up sand dunes and through the Australian bush.
Yesterday went something like this... Up before 6am, washed two loads of washing, poached pears for her and made fluffy pancakes with a delicious pear, cinnamon and currant syrup for the both of us as her papa left for work before 7am.
She painted (her tummy and legs mostly), then we walked Coco on the beach (translation: Coco watched on as Love ran into the sea and rock pools fully-clothed). We saw a friend and his two older daughters at the beach, who weren't that keen on Love demolishing their sand sculptures.
Following the beach, Coco dog didn't want to get in the car, then she hid underneath it because she didn't want to be hosed, then Love didn't want to get out of the bath until I convinced her to help me to bake a cake (or was it the other way around?).
Next, Love sat on the kitchen bench transferring almond meal into raw eggs as I tried to demonstrate 'like this, sweetheart' and encourage her to 'watch mama, Love'. Eventually the cake made it into the oven and I used two towels to wipe batter from Love's sticky fingers before I made pasta for lunch and Love enjoyed her next bath, which was necessary to remove the cake batter dreads and pasta sauce finger paint.
I put the third load of washing on as salty, wet, sand-covered ghost dog returned home, then washed the dog, greeted husband and enjoyed (two!) slices of moist orange and almond cake with half a cup of tea.
Next I continued packing in preparation for the big move. Love started to do that extra-cheeky thing she does just before she passes out so I whipped her into the backpack with the 'buh-bows' (bubbles) she requested (demanded) and hiked over the headland. She whined a little and proceeded to flick bubble mixture all over the back of my head and arms. Not to worry, I completely fudged the bubble recipe (3 parts water : 2 parts detergent : 1 part corn syrup?? I think Sesame Street lied...) then the kicking and whining stopped (she fell asleep).
Mama reheated her tea for the umpteenth time and went to bed with half-filled boxes littering the kitchen and wet washing still in the machine.
Living a blessed life by the sea. Trying to make do with the mere 24 hours in every day... #amiright?
When I first started my blog around six years ago, I imagined making it big in the food blogging world. I passionately cooked successes after failures and documented my favourite recipes on Sea and Salt to share with the world. At the time I felt trapped in a job where day after day I felt no spark but was too frightened to leave. In every spare moment I was trawling the internet, feeling inspired by Aran Goyoaga from Canelle et Vanille, Molly Wizenberg from Orangette, Ashley Rodriguez from Not Without Salt and of course, Julie Powell's expired blog The Julie/Julia Project made even more famous by a certain movie...
In retrospect, I can see how many others shared the same dream. That doesn't mean mine was any less important to me but it certainly did make me feel that this space was some how diluted in the world of food dot coms. This feeling was compounded by the reality that I tightly held my fears close and the idea of navigating out of the darkness seemed unobtainable as those fears had become so frighteningly comfortable.
I eventually did move on from that exhausting career with the support of my partner and the possibilities that fell before me seemed to awaken my silent potential. To describe that inspired feeling I would say it felt like I was more open to change, more open to love (including self-love) and open to nurturing my small ideas into something more tangible. I began to meditate, practise yoga and manifest the things I truly wanted to learn and achieve. We even started our own business, Sea and Salt Photography.
As my life has changed, so too has this space. The evolution of Sea and Salt has grown from food blog to travel blog-come-family blog and more.
What it has always been is a space to share my creative writing, thoughts and personal photographs. To date, my most viewed post is my recipe for baked camembert cheese with honey, followed closely by the posts I have shared over the years containing my most honest writings on trying to conceive, parenthood, the odd giveaway I share (funded solely by myself) and one particular creative piece I wrote about a Hendrick's gin and tonic (not surprisingly, it also contains a cocktail recipe)...
This space will continue to change as I collaborate with other creatives on a new venture to help connect with others in new and exciting ways. Sea and Salt continues to grow because I face my fears head on, I lean into them with hope and gratitude for the freedom and lessons I experience along the way. Surrender and be open to new possibilities. This is my mantra.
To those of you who have commented and visited over the years, thank you.
Thank you for the words of encouragement and support. Thank you for sharing your own stories and thank you for being here.
I was looking at some social pages of photographers I admire this evening. Tim Coulson's Facebook post struck a chord. Tim is an Australian photographer making big waves in travel, wedding and family portraits. Tonight he asked for peoples thoughts on settling down and I felt compelled to reply...
We were contemplating Tasmania for a while. My husband and I travelled there for a short time as I neared my third trimester with our daughter. We had meetings with our chosen bank for a home loan before we left. Once there, we looked at different styles of homes in different regions, from more country style stone cottages to a beautiful waterfront property near Hobart. Each time we tried to view properties, there was an unavoidable reason why it could not happen. Eventually, we came home and focussed on the short time we had remaining as a couple before we welcomed Love.
We also had similar feelings about New Zealand. We ended up purchasing a small, pre-loved house by the beach on the Mid North Coast of NSW. I grew up on the South Coast of NSW so it's a slightly different region, with so much to offer in terms of National and Marine Parks to explore and somewhere to base ourselves for the next little while...
Looking back at the things that happened, particularly the things that seemed to happen over and over again. It's enough for us to see the road blocks align, 'This might not be the right path for us right now'.
My thoughts on settling down? Not yet. Not when there are mountains to climb and cultures to experience in the furthest corners of this fine World. It will be home for now but we've already decided on our next adventure (to Nepal).
We haven't moved into our home yet, that will happen in about one month's time. The feelings I have surrounding packing and organising for basic renovations before we do move, coupled with anxiety over leaving our ocean views and juggling our very busy work schedules have culminated in me yearning for an escape. When I'm the last family member awake at night, I sometimes say to myself, 'Let's go'.
I retreat into hazy thoughts about trekking snow-covered mountains or practising yoga on a quiet beach. I think about the things we need to accomplish and the dreams I am working towards. Some of it feels like fantasy, a Walter Mitty type of alternate reality. Other times it feels very familiar and tangible.
So long as you are together, with your people, your family, your tribe- That's all that really matters.
This is a quick post to share the work of someone very near and dear to me, who enjoys cooking just as much as I do. It may have taken some time (post-pregnancy, Love's first year and then some...) but I've finally got my baking mojo back. I'm experimenting with new flavours and techniques and the best part is that I have a wee helper, who perches on my kitchen bench and is content to stir, pour and knead just about everything.
Cheeky began her YouTube channel several years ago to connect with other home cooks and in that short time, she has amassed more than 14,500 subscribers to her channel. Her followers are keen to learn new ways to prepare dishes from all over the world and to share their own recipe variations and traditions. Her videos are presented honestly from her own kitchen in a fun and informative manner. She includes reviews and tips on basic cookery and her short videos have solved a number of 'what should we have for dinner?' dilemmas around our own kitchen table.
If you've got a few moments, scroll through Cheeky's other videos for a colourful selection of over 1000 recipes, including meals adapted for a range of allergy and dietary requirements and different tastes.
If you're a busy parent and cringe at the thought of cooking due to the mess, I sincerely hope the giggles and fun help to ease the anxiety. Post-cooking bath time is always a calming way to melt the time away until your dough has rested or your cake has baked to golden perfection.