20 things I’ve learnt from our sea-change

On this date last year I waved goodbye to our movers truck as it left Sydney to head to the Sunshine Coast and our sea-change.

The following day I flew to the Sunshine Coast to join my family – who had moved up six weeks before. That day we settled on the purchase of our home up here, and the day after that our movers arrived. Four days later we flew back to Sydney and out to Vietnam for two weeks – and ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie blew in…but that’s another story entirely.

A year on and I’m grateful for the chaotically perfect storm of circumstances that prompted our sea-change. Sure there are things that I miss – family, friends, decent dumplings, the money we were earning. I certainly don’t miss the daily commute to earn it.

There’s so much more to love up here. I love our house, I love where we live, I love the coast, I love the hinterland, I love the way that we live more simply and more seasonally. I love our life.

A year on from our sea-change, I’ve also learnt a lot about Queensland and the Sunny Coast…

1.Being a #queenslander is a thing.

2. U-turns at traffic lights are ok and indicators are optional extras.

3. The 24-7 Snakecatcher has a very active Facebook page.  Instead of those “baby on board” stickers, his vehicle has a warning about snakes being inside. How do I know that bit? My daughter parked next to one at Coles the other day.

4. When it rains, it RAINS. None of this wimpy dribbly stuff that the rest of Australia gets. We get real RAIN.

5. There really are a lot of cane toads and they really are that ugly.

6. The bugs are bigger in Queensland. Adventure Spaniel was kept out of her kennel the other night by the biggest stag beetle she’d ever seen – and it was looking at her.

7. Activewear is appropriate for most social occasions.

8. So are thongs (flip-flops or jandals…)

9. The parking is actually free. Yes, really. That means you don’t pay for it. In most places.

10. Nearly everyone came here from somewhere else. Apparently, we’re all imports – with most of us coming from Sydney, Melbourne or Auckland.

11. This state is huge and I want to see so much more of it.

12. You don’t need to leave for the airport three hours before your flight.

13. Seeing the sunrise from a Sunshine Coast beach is the best possible way to start a day.

14. Aside from the ones doing school pick-ups at those schools, 4WDs actually seem to go off-road – and have the accessories to match.

15. As well as having more acai bowls than anywhere else, the Sunshine Coast has more mobility scooters per head of population than anywhere else in Australia*. There are even designated scooter parking areas outside Woolworths.

16. Nudibranchs are a type of colourful sea-slug. Truly.

17. On the Sunshine Coast, wherever you are, you’re rarely more than 30 minutes from either the coast or the country. We can be in Mooloolaba in 10-15 minutes, or in Woombye in the same amount of time. It’s the perfect sea-change and tree-change in one.

18. I still haven’t found great dumplings. the yum cha at Maroochydore is okay, and XO at Sunshine Beach is nice, but neither do a truly great xiao long bao.

19. Dumplings are not a good reason to stay in Sydney.

20. I don’t want to live anywhere else. Of course, I still want to travel – a lot – but I travel now for different reasons.  And I look forward to coming home – to here.

*There are no real studies or statistics to support this assertion.

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishSeize the Day ProjectWrite of the Middle50 Shades of Age,  and, of course, me.


It’s a Wrap – January 14, 2018

Ok, the first weekly wrap for the year…and I have a couple of weeks to cover, so without further ado…

What I’m grateful for…

Not being in Sydney for those disgusting 40+ days. I don’t miss them at all. The weather guys have been calling it a heat wave here, but other than yesterday and today (36 today) it’s been in the early 30s.

What I’m reading…

I’m completely out of my genre comfort zone at the moment with a Jack Reacher novel – and I can’t put it down. It’s my first Lee Childs and I don’t think it will be the last…but having read it, I just don’t get the Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher thing.

What I bought…

These fabulous Turkish earrings for $8 from the Sunshine Coast Collective markets this morning.

What I blogged…

Heaps…despite being back in the corporate gig! I got up to date with all my annual goal posts. You’ll find my business plan here, my word for the year here, my wellness goals here, and my creative goals here.

For Thursday’s Lovin’ Life linky I also posted something on self-care and I popped up a recipe for corn and ginger soup…just because.

Over on the Sunny Coast site, there’s something on two new coast foodie offerings – Saltwater and Nguyen Brothers.

What was weird…

This sky last night. It preceded a cracker of a light show.

Where we lunched…

Secrets on the Lake at Lake Baroon – down the back of Montville. Set in a rainforest on a lake – yeah, the name was a bit of a giveaway – it was a few degrees cooler than on the flats. I think it’s to do with all of that green.

Where we breakfasted…

Ok, we’ve been eating out way too much over the past week or so.

On Friday, it was #bennybagels at Hashtag Phresh

 

Yesterday it was avo smash at Winnie in Woombye

and this morning it was pitaya bowls at Winnie’s big brother, Little Boat Espresso at Marcoola.

What’s pitaya? I’m glad you asked. Essentially it’s dragonfruit and is served much like acai is – in a sort of frozen smoothie bowl with granola, fruit (in this case mango, shredded coconut, banana, kiwi, strawberries, apple and oranges). It’s said to have much the same health benefits as acai and is rich in magnesium, antioxidants and a handful of other vitamins.

Plus, it’s PINK…in capital letters…so is yummy and pretty.

What I cooked…

Ok, I’ve been giving the cookbooks a workout of late too. I turned the fabulous corn that we got at the markets last weekend into corn and ginger soup – with more kernels in the freezer for next time. If you’re interested, the recipe is here.

I also made these super easy chocolate olive oil mousses from my new Nigella cookbook. Oh, how I like a new Nigella. I’ve made these a few times now and mucked about a bit with the salt flakes and adding orange rind. I’ve also experimented with chilli. Anyways, they’re very cute, very rich, and I’ve scheduled the recipe to post on Tuesday, but you can find the original Nigella version here.

Last night I made a batch of dragon wings with a cooling avocado dipping sauce. You can find that recipe here.

Finally, inspired by the fabulous fishcakes and aioli at Saltwater, we had salmon rissoles/fishcakes/call them what you will for lunch today. (I’ve posted my recipe for these before – you’ll find it here). I topped them with the easiest aioli recipe in the world – also from my new Nigella book. There’s none of that whisking and drizzling in of olive oil – everything just goes in the jug and is jooshed about a bit. Done.

How I moved…

Ok, there was some indulgence over the weekend, but other than that my body has been treated like a veritable temple. Seriously.

I got back into my morning walks (photographic proof is up on the Sunny Coast site), and on a couple of mornings started earlier so I could have a dip in the surf as well.

I did two sessions of strength training at the gym, and I went lap swimming for the first time in about 7 years. That 50 m pool seems so much longer than it ever used to! I managed just 10 laps – but I guess that’s a start.

What I didn’t expect…

My hair to turn green, but turn green it did from the chlorine – a very manky, mouldy looking green. I think I must not have been as blonde as I am now when last I was swimming regularly.

How was your week?

 

 

 

Sentence a day: December

It feels weird writing about December when I should be writing about 2018, but, of course, one year needs to be finished off before another can begin, so without further ado, let’s wrap December up – a month that started with more rain than I ever thought was possible to fall in a short space of time and finished with sun, sea and tequila. December, you were memorable.

If you’re interested – which of course you are – my year in review can be found here.

1.Tried out the new Asian street food place – Rice Boi – down at the Wharf. I’m in dumpling heaven…

2. Friends for dinner and a Nigella disappointment – the Italian apple cake might look ok, but isn’t a great pudding option.

3. Sarah home from Sydney – yay!

4. Deluge – we have a new water feature in the backyard. Got a walk in before it all started.

5. Sun sneaking through, but another massive storm this afternoon. Managed to get a walk in early this morning though.

Amazing light before the storm (see the frangipanis in the main shot) and an impressive sunset after.

 

6. Did some writing at The Surf Club this morning and had partition work this arvo.

7. Fabulous walk around the Headland this morning instead of over it. The Marriage Equality Act finally passed parliament – Australia, it’s about time.

 

8. Lunch at Saltwater at the Wharf – prawn roll and the best chips ever.

Eumundi Christmas markets this afternoon – pissed down and hardly any stallholders there…pretty disappointing.

as seen in Eumundi

9. Brissie for bloggers lunch – so good to meet these wonderful ladies in real life. Made it home before the biggest most intense storm we’ve had yet. Queensland is teaching me a lot about rain.

10. Finally got the taxes done and sent down to the accountant in Sydney. Phew.

11. Back to work – do I have to?

12. Gorgeous morning for a walk – such a pity the office is calling.

13. Kali at home delivery doggy day spa and I caught up on astro bloggy stuff.

14. Late afternoon beach swim after work – the best way to finish a working week.

15. Haircut, colour, and time in the pool to undo all the time in the hairdresser’s chair. I’m not that girl who can swim without getting my hair wet – when I’m in, I’m under.

16. Catch up with friends at Alex Surf Club and bedlam in Mooloolaba thanks to the Christmas Boat Parade.

17. Pre Christmas barbecue with friends – the first time we’ve done the entertaining numbers thing in this house – and my lemon curd pavlova is a thing of beauty.

18. Morning walk. Slow on the work front – thankfully.

19. Walk, Work, pool, work, beach – a good balance.

20. Take yesterday and repeat.

21. Drinks at The Dock

and then a Canal Christmas lights cruise to celebrate the end of the working year – what a great night.

22. Disappointing, but not unexpected, news re hubby’s contract – the project is coming to an end. Fabulous news to be going into Christmas with…not.

23. Cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking.

24. The Nice Kiwis are here – yay! Lunch at Sum Yung Guys – as good as it always is.

25. Christmas Day – full of a flamboyance of flamingoes and lots of fun.

26. Boxing Day – pool, sun, and a visitor of the serpentine variety to the backyard. I think he’s harmless – he’s certainly very pretty.

Mixed up with tequila, margaritas, and cards against humanity – plenty of laughs.

27. Brekky at The Velo Project, more pool, more sun, and some more visitors – not of the snake variety, thank goodness!

28. Sight-seeing drive through the Hinterland – plenty of others with the same idea. Lunch at the Imperial Hotel in Eumundi.

29. Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island. It’s a hot one, but the breeze on the barge and a late afternoon swim cool us down.

Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island

30. Fantabulous 4WD bus tour of Fraser. Swimming at Lake Mackenzie and Eli Creek, picture stops at the Pinnacles and the wreck of the Maheno, and a walk through the valley at Central Station. (Keep an eye out for my post…)

31. New Years Eve. Sun, storms, bush tucker and dancing. Goodbye 2017 – you’ve certainly been an adventure…which was fortunate given that adventure was my word of the year!

That’s a Wrap – December 3, 2017

Monday morning on Mooloolaba Beach

It’s December already. How did that happen? It feels as though it was only yesterday that we were all full of high hopes for 2017 and now we’re singing the another year over song already.

Anyways, let’s wrap up the week…

What frustrated me…

Rain. So much of it. And most inconveniently, at the times that I’d normally walk. Yes, I have a gym membership for just those eventualities, but a treadmill has nowhere near the meditative qualities of a walk on or by the beach. Yes, I’m spoiled already.

I did, however, get out on Monday morning – and again on Monday evening.

What made me go awwww…

Baby scrub turkeys.

There are a few of them around at the moment. Aside from the fact that they are cute, the very existence of them is a marvellous one. Scrub turkeys are interesting in that they aren’t parented at all. The eggs are laid and incubated in a mound of what is essentially temperature-controlled compost. The father builds the mound, the mother lays the eggs, and that’s pretty much the end of their involvement in the process.

The chicks hatch, climb out of the mound and start scratching about for themselves and trying to avoid their father – who doesn’t recognise them as being baby scrub turkeys. They have about a 1 in 200 chance of making it through to adulthood, so seeing them out and about is heartening.

What made me happy…

me busy writing at Chances

Seeing Mooloolaba Wharf come back to life. This place used to be a hive of activity when we first started holidaying up here almost 20 years ago, then it went into decline. Now, thanks to a far-sighted developer, it’s on the way back. Chances on the wharf has become my favourite place to write and just this week two new eateries opened up – Rice Boi, which I’ve tried and is fabulous, and Saltwater, next on my list. There’s a new bar due to launch next week and already the place has movement again.

Lotus chips at Rice Boi

Avo smash – but not as you know it…

The new vegetarian cafe Two Point Oh at the Kontiki building in Maroochydore is doing an avo smash with a difference. On a bagel is beetroot puree, with one half of the bagel topped with avo slices, the other with smashed peas, and feta is crumbled over the lot. With rocket and lemon to complete it, it’s as pretty as a picture and tastes just as good.

Also new and on my list…

Raw + Rice the Sunshine Coast’s first poke (pronounced poke-ay) bar. It’s across the road from the Surf Club at Mooloolaba, next to Acai Brothers, and I’m keen to give it a try.

Sunshine Coast Daily headlines…

My favourite this week was:

“Are you a proud flasher? Coast police will crack down…”

A story about…wait for it… people who flash their headlights at other cars to warn them of speed traps.

A close second was:

“Snakes on the prowl…” Actually, this one was about snakes…on the prowl…for frogs.

What I wrote…

Not very much on the manuscript until Friday. Once I hit the 50,000 word mark I also reached the wall that I’d seen looming in the distance so I put it away while I got my head around writing the scene that was blocking me. I did that on Friday. It was tough.

What I blogged…

I popped up something about what I most enjoyed about the lead up to Christmas in the UK and the five things that mean Christmas in our house. I actually got some content up on the astro site after over a month off. I also posted something on the Sunny Coast site about Rice Boi – I mentioned that it was fabulous, didn’t I?

Finally, I organised all my writing posts on this site as well. If you click on the About Writing tab you’ll see everything nicely categorised in a dropdown menu. I’ve even popped some travel links in too from And Anyways. It’s starting to look the way I wanted it all to look.

What I missed…

That should read who I missed. Miss T has been in Sydney this week staying with my parents and catching up with friends. I’ve been sending her photos of Francesca the Macarena singing Christmas flamingo most days.

Ok, that was my week…how was yours?

22 things I’ve learnt about the Sunshine Coast…

Sunshine Coast Sunrise
Sunrise over Mooloolaba Beach

Ok, so we’ve been residents on the Sunshine Coast for just over a month now (less a couple of weeks in Vietnam). We’ve settled in well and are loving it beyond words. I have a list a mile long of places to explore, but here’s what I’ve learned already:

1.Active wear is appropriate for most social occasions.

2. So are thongs (flip flops or jandals…)

3. Everyone here can tell you exactly how long it takes them to get to Sunshine Plaza and Mooloolaba Beach.

4. The parking is actually free. Yes, really. That means you don’t pay for it. In most places.

5. Nearly everyone living on the Sunshine Coast came here from somewhere else. Apparently we’re all imports – with most of us coming from Sydney, Melbourne or Auckland.

6. There really is a (closed) Facebook group called Haunted: Sunshine Coast, for, well, haunted stuff on the Sunshine Coast.

7. There really is a suburb called Bald Knob, and a beach called Dicky’s. (insert juvenile titters… I said titters)

8. Surely the Sunshine Coast has more yoga classes, new age options, and organic food places than anywhere else – on a per capita basis? (Is there a statistic on this?) And acai bowls. They’re everywhere.

9. There are more markets held each weekend on the Sunshine Coast than anywhere else in Australia – on a per capita basis. (I just made that statistic up, but it seems true).

10. The Sunshine Coast has the lowest rate of smoking than anywhere else in Queensland. (I didn’t make that one up, but read it somewhere – so it must be right.)

11. Indicators on cars seem to be optional extras.

12. You don’t need to leave for the airport three hours before your flight.

13. The sign going into Noosa that points towards Noosa, or “all other destinations” annoys every non-Noosa local. The implication, of course, being that Noosa is the only place that matters.

14. There’s a lot more to the Sunshine Coast than Noosa. I saw this really funny meme that said it all but, in the interest of not upsetting Noosa locals – not that I’ve met any yet, but I’m sure that I’ll like them when I do – I won’t re-post here.

15. There’s a lot more to the Hinterland than Maleny – but Maleny is pretty fabulous.

16. We get annoyed when people mix up Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. It’s like the Australia and Austria thing.

17. There are at least twenty coffee shops in and around Mooloolaba that apparently serve the best coffee on the coast.

18. It’s tough to get a decent dumpling – anyone who knows where the best dumplings are on the coast, please tell me…

19. Beer yoga is a thing – and it’s happening at the pub in Eumundi.

20. Public holidays are really public holidays – even Woolworths and Bunnings is closed. What’s a public holiday without a DIY project (building Australian dreams – one project at a time).

21. The Queen’s Birthday holiday is held in October – which is Labour Day for most of the rest of the country – and Labour Day is held on the first Monday in May – closer to the Queen’s actual birthday. Go figure.

22. There’s absolutely nothing better on earth than watching the sunrise from a Sunshine Coast beach. Nothing. Except maybe a sunset…

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