#564 Spa ‘me’ day

I have had the most splurgiest of splurgee splurge sessions today.

I went to the Peninsula Hot Springs.

For anyone that doesn’t know what the Peninsula Hot Springs are, they are a collection of thermal mineral waters that flow into pools and private baths in the Fingal location on the Peninsula, that make it the prime real estate of bathing, and other luxurious treatments such as massages.

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I not only bathed today. But I massaged. AND I ate.

It all started with the voucher I received from Hubbie for my birthday… last year. Yep, I am continuing my wait-’til-the-last-possible-second tradition of fulfilling a gift voucher by waiting until the last day possible to use it. And today I used it before its expiry date of tomorrow, so at least I’m being consistent.

Not due to lack of want, NO. I love the Peninsula Hot Springs. I’ve been there once before many many years ago, and now that we are locals and an approximate 30 minute drive away, I’d love to make this as common a luxurious tradition as humanly (and monetarily) possible.

For me it’s always been about the TIME. Finding time to do something for myself, and making sure baby girl is occupied or there is someone to look after her, and simultaneously trying to find ‘me’ time outside of ‘family’ time, because DON’T GET ME STARTED on Mum guilt…

So today I put Hubbie’s voucher to good use. I followed a lovely lady into a hut within the trees occupying this forest oasis, and had an hour-long Peninsula vine massage…

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Followed by a lunch in the Bath House café, where I sat unapologetically in my white robe, with only a pair of disposable knickers underneath, true story.

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Because nothing says relaxation like not removing your terry white robe to eat a very distinguished lunch menu. Tee hee hee.

And then I had about an hour to spare before kinder pick-up, so I went through the Bath House pools, intimate bathing spaces for those only 16+, and tried out some steaming hot baths, one of which was a mere 40-42 degrees Celsius.

Thin branching leaves and trees enveloped the entire Bath House area, so that it felt like a little private piece of watery heaven.

I had been all on my own, and it had been a day for me. I left feeling clear, fresh, rejuvenated, and seriously, those minerals had really changed me. They had done something to me internally, and I felt lighter for it.

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I felt all brand-new. And that is certainly something to be grateful for.

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#555 Mindful swinging at the park

Baby girl has just learnt how to swing on her own. Today was the second time she had the opportunity to practice it as we headed on over to the local park.

We had just had a babycino and cap, and a salted caramel ‘something’ to share at the nearby café, so we were properly fuelled. As we got closer to the park, I let go of her hand and said “go, run. Be free. Frolic. Be 4.”

Soon she was headed over to the swing, the place of her new-found confidence and extension of never-ending playfulness. She wanted me to give her a big push to get started, and then said “let go Mama.”

(Oh darling. I will never let go).

But then as life would have it, as our children grow up, she wanted me beside her. ( 🙂 ) She motioned to the swing beside her and told me to “sit.”

Soon we were both swinging, sometimes going back and forth simultaneously, other times in opposite directions. It was a still day, the sun sometimes coming out from behind the prevalent clouds of the day. We were silent for the longest time, going back and forth at our varying paces, and my mind wandered over to something I had read the other day.

Mindfulness. What was the quote?

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”  – Bil Keane.

The article had mentioned 7 habits to cultivating a happier life. And one of the points that had captivated me had been the act of living in the present. Not worrying about what had passed, and not stressing about what may, or may not come… but concerning oneself solely, with the NOW.

The technique mentioned was to be aware of your palms and feet, and clenching both while becoming aware of your surroundings. It said to try and concentrate on where you were, and if your mind naturally wandered, to not judge yourself too harshly, but to simply gently steer your attention back to where it needed to be.

So that’s what I did. As we swung back and forth, in the quiet of the local park, I clenched the hands that were around the swing chain, and tensed my feet below me that were swinging back and forth in my white sneakers. I observed my body in the almost-too tight swing seat, breathed in the fresh air, felt the warmth on my face, and tried to think of NOW.

A young teenager was nearby, walking home from school in their uniform, and the image before me made my mind go elsewhere. Suddenly baby girl was also a teen, and there were a multitude of concerning issues flooding my mind. How would I help her with her problems? Would she ask for help? Would she be happy? Would she like school? Would she like her Life?

I suddenly realised my scattered thoughts, and ever so gently removed myself from them, taking myself back to the present.

The beautiful present. Of me and baby girl, swinging at the park, with no concerning cares in the world.

🙂

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#523 Meeting like minds

It’s been 9 months and 1 week since we moved here. A lot has changed in that time but also, very little.

On our first night we slept on solely the mattress on our bedroom floor, and I felt what was the first gust of cold seaside wind as it wafted on by from under our ensuite door.

Tonight we are freezing our arses off, because our heater has broken.

Like I said, same same. (You can be sure I’ll be damn grateful when that ancient monstrosity of a heating system is repaired).

But then, other things are beginning to change. Have changed. Hubbie found his groove, and a group of locals from the area, once he found work here. Likewise, baby girl started her first year of kinder by the beachside, and has also found little playmates here and there. They’ve both solidly positioned themselves in our new ‘hood, and meanwhile, here I am.

Here I am.

I work on the city fringe which took any meet-the-locals opportunities away from me immediately. And though I know Hubbie’s workmates, and I sometimes chat to the kinder Mums, I really wanted to find something for myself, here on my own, FOR ME.

A while back, I very accidentally stumbled across a local bloggers group on Facebook. I’d joined many local FB groups, for that whole intention: to learn, be in the know, and perhaps learn something novel, or even make new friends along the way.

I didn’t even think a group for local bloggers existed: but, so it was.

Cue today. Today I met up with some of these bloggers and their kiddies, in a post that will appear over at SmikG very soon. The kids ran amuck, while we as bloggers, positioned our cameras (who am I kidding, my phone) into every nook and cranny of the establishment we were in, taking shots here, there and everywhere. 

It was out in the open, nothing at all like any of my previous posts based on life experiences or food, or anything ever that I have written ever was.

I was OPENLY OUT as a blogger. It was fantastic. And made even more so, by meeting people, who like me, had turned online to promote a medium, for whatever art they deemed interesting to themselves: whether it was life, children, providing a service, or promoting a business, I came in, with nothing to lose, no one who knew me, and I felt as light as a feather.

Not nervous. Curious.

Not scared. Excited.

Not shy. Questioning.

Not only a blogger… but a Writer.

I loved the day, and the meeting of all of these people. I don’t know what will come of it, and how this group, or these people, will play a role in my life, or if they will play one AT ALL… but I’m excited at this new beginning our Sea change has brought us, and am hopeful that after today, many more experiences of being OUT as a Writer/Blogger, will abound.

Actually, I’m pretty damn sure this is only the beginning.

I am exceptionally grateful, indeed. 🙂

 

#497 Mt Eliza (Freezing) Farmers Market

The Mt Eliza Farmers Market occurs on the 4th Sunday of every month, and it only took 8 months after moving to the Peninsula, and diving into the depths of freezing-arse weather, to get on down there during our hibernation cold-spell.

We rugged ourselves up and headed over this morning. A $2 per adult ‘voluntary’ donation applies per entry, however there is no sign telling you you can make a choice either to, or not to. It goes to a local rotary club, so it lessens the impact of robbing you of your free will, I guess.

It was a brief and biting visit. The wintery winds steered us around quickly, but really, it isn’t much of an hour long walk unless you are of course, talking to all of the stallholders, trying all of their produce, or stopping at a nearby café, or the food and drink stalls within the market, to satiate your appetite.

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The stallholders we spoke to were lovely and friendly, providing plenty of info, and we walked away from it with a couple of little goodies:

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From top clockwise: a bag of pink lady apples from an orchard in Red Hill; organic free range eggs from Willow Zen (I have an obsession with ‘proper’ free range eggs from free range hens, and hearing that these hens have a couple of doggies guarding them from fox and coyotes, sounded about as farm-like and free as you can get); salted caramel coated popcorn from Crack[le] Corn; and finally, Manuka Honey 30+ from Pure Peninsula Honey.

I’m really curious to see how the apples taste straight from a farm, rather than a supermarket shelf. I love the idea of having produce from within the state’s region accessible for all to enjoy, and am proud and grateful to live in a part of the world where markets like this encourage and support the fact.

Wandering the market grounds in the Mt Eliza township on a Sunday? Yep, grateful. Yep, tick.

#485 I love Main street, and let me count the ways…

Number 1 ♥. Random babycino stopover leads to fantastic find.

After our lovely library visit only a few blocks down, we headed down the main strip where again I spied upon the gorgeous blue and green scarves with pom poms I had eyed off only an hour earlier. If I hadn’t read that book about minimising your stuff and the challenge of only having 100 personal items, I might just have gone in to purchase it. Oh well, another day.

As I then observed another shop, which through the windows looked amazing with the clothes that seemed to be yelling “SmikG! SmikG!” I turned to baby girl and said “let’s go in here honey.”

Only she was heading for the shop next door. The café next door. And she was fairly intent on one thing.

“Babycino.”

What had we created? Sure, I won’t lie, Hubbie and I are all for cafes, and got her café-savvy VERY early on in the game so we could go to them frequently, often, with no dramas or hesitations from her. But now, she had her own agendas, her own routine, her own requests. She decided, now was the time she wanted a babycino, and there was no getting around it.

I walked over hesitantly, using all manner of excuses.

“Mummy will make you one after lunch.”

“Daddy will be home for lunch soon, let’s go.”

“You need to eat lunch first honey.”

She completely ignored me and placed her library bag full of newly borrowed books on the bench beside her, as she positioned herself permanently there. A waitress from within the café came out to us, holding a bottle of water and two glasses.

“You sitting here?”

“Actually,” I started. “I’m trying to get her to keep walking with me, but I think she’s intent on a babycino.” I sighed and looked at baby girl.

“Do you want me to quickly make one?”

I hesitated for a second before looking back at the friendly waitress. “Sure.”

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And so it was, that we came to be sitting at Dr Fox’s, proverbially smelling the roses, with baby girl sniffing the sprinkled chocolate and marshmallows alongside her drink of choice.

In observing this girl of mine with a mind of her own, I discovered some other little facts. The café was open for dinner a few nights a week; a nearby board told me about their inviting new menu for the colder months; and upon paying inside, I discovered the friendly service continued, with the girl inside being as amazing as the one serving us outside had.

It was only a little place, but it had some awesome character. You don’t need a big space, to make a huge impression. They stole mine and baby girl’s heart today, and we WILL BE BACK.

And the friendly, genuine, and warm nature I’m coming across, from within many of these local cafes, shops and services… I am just loving.

LOVING. I ♥ my town.

#459 Local help

Everywhere I turned, I seemed to run into them. People at the shops, bumping into their friends. Acquaintances. People from down the road. A local they hadn’t seen in a while.

Two women stood in front of the apples talking about how it was when they ‘showed’ so early for their second child. The grocer guy sang out to his buddy stocking up corn, and they chatted loudly about people they knew from other stores.

Another older woman held her arms out in an embrace as she came across another woman, and then the woman being hugged pointed to a third woman and said “this used to be my neighbour.” I saw them picking out groceries together and helping the older woman later on.

Two old ladies stood at the entrance to the biscuit aisle, whispering lowly about God-knows-what, but their faces were so solemn I nearly hung out a second longer to catch a word or two about the latest scandal, I could only assume.

I felt a bit left out. I couldn’t just bump into someone I knew in our town. Not yet. I didn’t know anybody. Baby girl was slowly making friends at kinder – soon she would know people out and about. Hubbie was also now working locally, so he too was recognising faces here and there. I was still based out of town, WAY out of town for work, so I wasn’t really based in any such way in our new town, not yet.

Not yet. I told myself this. I told myself, as I smiled at the exchanges I came across, wishfully thinking that my time would come, and soon enough, I would be bumping into people, and saying “oh hey! How have you been?” Maybe I would talk about how the corn was in season. Or maybe I would indulge in some scandal/gossip or two.

Or maybe all of the above. If I was lucky.

And this I pondered, as I searched for fresh yeast.

It was becoming extremely difficult to find. Back where we used to live in the Northern suburbs, I knew exactly where to find, and where to go for the fiddly, specific, random items I sometimes required. Fortunately for me, where I used to buy yeast was just around the corner from me, at a continental deli in the large shopping centre in town. There were that many wogs, (ahem) Europeans there, of course they had fresh yeast for sale, frequently. It wasn’t odd to look for it.

Here however:

“No we don’t sell it,” said one gourmet deli cashier to me, as she genuinely looked quizzical, adding that she didn’t know where I could buy it while looking around to serve the next person and get rid of me.

“I don’t know where we get it from,” said the bakery lady who had walked out to place bread on the shelves in Woolies, implying that yes they had it, but no, they did not SELL IT.

Where was I going to get fresh yeast from? It almost seemed like I was asking for a Unicorn’s horn, or something. People looked at me like “Wowzee, geez, good luck.” I was making a bunch of bread-like cheese rolls for my parents’ upcoming anniversary, and I was going to make them tomorrow. So I needed to buy the yeast, NOW.

I decided nothing was lost by asking the cashier who had put through my items a previous time at Woolies. She seemed like a really lovely person. As she weighed my apples, I asked, “do you know where I could find fresh yeast around here?”

She thought for a moment, throwing a bit of a clueless look as so many before her had thrown when I had posed my question, and then turned to the Mum with two kids behind me who was placing her groceries on the conveyor belt, and without hesitating asked “where can you buy fresh yeast around here?”

They knew each other.

This Mum was lovely and started rattling off heaps of names. One on the Main street, and then the cashier jumped in and mentioned a grocery store in town.

“My Hubbie works there actually” I said. “I’m just waiting for him to get back to me on that.”

The Mum then remembered a gourmet/organic grocer that was a few shops down in the little centre we were in, and immediately I was like “of course!” How could I have forgotten that little unique and quirky-buys place?

I high-tailed it out of there after thanking them, and upon walking into the gourmet grocer, came across a very smiley lady at the counter.

“Do you sell fresh yeast?”

“You know who would know that? Our chef. And she so happens to be a few doors down. Follow me.”

And just like that, she left her post in the grocer store at the counter, and walked off, me following her with my trolley full of groceries, containing almost everything BUT fresh yeast. She kindly introduced me to the chef who was chatting with another shop owner, and then left to resume her post, while I asked wide-eyed “was there any fresh yeast around here?”

The chef, was super-friendly. She was surprised Woolies hadn’t just given me some, but said to try all the bakeries in the area… she mentioned the Baker’s Delight just several stores down, and Banjos on Main street, and then another fine foods deli off the Main street. She was so friendly and helpful, and placed confidence in me that I WOULD find it.

I still tentatively walked to Baker’s and when it was my turn to be served, asked all high-pitched “do you sell fresh yeast here?”

“Yeah” responded the cashier with no confusion or Unicorn horn- questioned look.

Finally!

And so, I got my damn fresh yeast. The locals had been lovely, and gone out of their way to help me, just as you would expect in a village-type seaside town.

And just as I had been wondering how long it would talk to get it, the fresh yeast came across my path quite suddenly, as it had been there in front of me, all along…

And I realised that like the yeast rising, hopefully so too would my ‘locals’ friend list also go up… much sooner than I expected.

 

#384 Beach evenings no. 1

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It was still. Not a breath of wind. Low tides, so the water was warm.

Post 6pm. Quite a number about, but as the evening wore on, the people dwindled, and looking around on this evening, post-Labour Day weekend, it was nice to know that this was all locals.

Just locals. Ahhh.

We sat on our comfy beach chairs, eating a pre-prepared pasta salad. I had it all packed up in my new Tupperware picnic basket, and it was all kept lovely and fresh.

(New Tupperware can be super-exciting).

As the night came down, the waves crashed in – not high and huge, but low, strolling in, gathering enough speed to make the kids run into the bay, screaming and squealing with laugher, jumping into them and crashing about.

I wrote her name on a raised sandbank within the water. Then Hubbie started an impromptu game, so he, baby girl and I chased each other on this ‘island,’ round and round and round, ’til we got tired.

We didn’t have to tell her the beach was closing. It grew dark. She was hungry. She confidently wrapped her beach towel around herself, dismissing my help, holding it in the middle of her chest as we walked back to the car.

Just like a regular ol’ beach gal 😉