A really simple convo starter tonight, but albeit one that all people have a definitive answer to when asked.
As every year passes I find myself appreciating the cyclic benefits of the changing seasons… especially in Melbourne where we feel the drastic elements all too strongly.
Winter with its hibernating instinct, asks us all to look within, take inventory of our lives, reflect and respond, in doing so preparing ourselves for the re-birth of…
Spring. With the promise of new opportunities, ideas bloom and spring forth in our social consciousness just as much as they do in nature, and we are treated to an abundance of promising and exciting new paths to take in our life.
The dry and humid heat of Summer allows us to relax, sit in the sun and soak in the fruits of our labour. We enjoy the days with leisure, and allow it all to boil to the surface… living life in excess, taking life by the reins and RUNNING with it.
And then Autumn. We shed the past, wash away our fears, and step away from our old habits, ridding ourselves of that which does not serve us and preparing ourselves for the self-reflection in the dark and quiet months ahead.
I’ve come to realise that there is beauty in ALL these months… yes, even Winter.
(I’ve even written a big Winter post about it, so you can be sure that will be re-shared fairly soon).
But my personal fave?
The leonine that I am… I love to bathe in the sunlight, watching the world go by, taking temporary pause and stock of my life, while simultaneously trying to be amongst every single Jungle event that season. 😂
Funnily enough, this was the only new place we dined out at, at the back end of our Barwon Heads getaway. We had returned to BeachHouse Barwon Heads, from a previous trip over, so no foodie review there, and then the following night we decided to stay in and do our own bbq while away – a very good idea.
But upon returning home via the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry, we had a little extra time on our hands, and decided to chill, hang around, and grab some lunch on what was a still and sunny February Summer’s day.
Circa seemed like the perfect choice. Both a hotel and restaurant, the seating outside was ample and in a nice and bright position, the menu looked appealing, and then there was the greenery abounding which made us feel relaxed and like we were eating in someone’s friendly and quaint backyard.
It was an order up at the counter type thing, so after perusing the menu and making selections, Hubbie went up to make our food and drink order, coming back with some necessary holiday-lunch BOOZE.
Well for him anyway. I had an OJ.
We were positioned with one of our favourite table numbers, so that was already reason enough for feel good vibes. There were other families about eating there, but it wasn’t packed, oddly enough, being a Saturday in Summer.
Soon, after several trips to the loo with baby girl (she gets slightly obsessed with new outhouses when in new places) our meals arrived.
And they looked good.
Now, seeing as the website was still in production as of this writing (and by now let’s face it they’ve probably changed their menu), I have to best describe our meals without their insider chef’s knowledge. So here goes…
I had the Chicken Curry with rice and pappadums
Hubbie had a Pulled Pork Burger with chips on the side
And baby girl had a Fish Fillet atop chips, with a side salad and tomato sauce
We were all pleasantly surprised by our meals. Hubbie loved the Pulled Pork, I was in awe of how moorish and comforting my curry was, with the oh-so-necessary and amazing addition of rice and pappadums, and baby girl happily ate away at her clean piece of fish… and when a child is catered for as well as her parents, in terms of quality pieces of food… not only is she happy, but I am too.
It was really very good. We weren’t expecting it to be horrible, but we knew being a hotel it might just be, you know, ‘casual’ lunch fare. Meanwhile the tastes were impressive and spectacular, and we immediately vowed we would we back on our next ferry ride over the Port Phillip Bay.
Food: 7.5/10. Simple, but scoring high because it was what it was, and was amazing at that. Points for that.
Coffee: N/A on this visit, we were only slightly spoilt by coffee choices back over in Barwon Heads 😉 But judging on their food, next visit, a must.
Ambience: Very casual and relaxed out there in the front yard, with the sun shining down, local folk striding by amidst out-of-towners (ahem, US) and holiday vibes just abounding. Inside there is seating but I wasn’t privy to checking that out, though on a warmer day, I reckon head out, it rules.
Staff: We didn’t actually have much to do with them, other than at ordering, and them delivering our food to us. I often bemoan the task of going up to a counter to order and pay for food, rather than receive the full table service usually afforded to more formal eateries… but having said that, in this case once you have eaten your food and are done, you can just up, and walk off! Bill has already been settled! Quick exits are sometimes necessary with unpredictable kids… and ain’t that a positive 😉
People: Locals and out-of-towners as already mentioned. Many groups. It’s a hotel, so a mix of all, though probably an older, family-friendly generation is the majority.
Price: $ 76.00 Pretty decent wrap-up. 3 meals and a few drinks. And of course since it was so tasty, worth every cent.
Advice: Sit outside on a warm day. If there is a curry on the menu and you don’t mind some heat, eat it, don’t be afraid. It is amazing.
In a nutshell: A really lovely place to dine at that is unassuming but delivers on taste. If you want to sit outside, enjoy the local surroundings and watch the world go by, then this is definitely your place.
And I mean, who wouldn’t want to enjoy some fine food and think about, I don’t know… how amazing life is?
Oh that’s right, the frame ‘circa’ their interior walls covers that TOO. 😉
Afterword: This restaurant does not operate under the name Circa anymore after some new owners took it over last year… but I sure hope they kept that curry recipe…
(Foreword: Ok… so this is awks much? This ‘reincarnation’ has since closed down, so lucky for me they didn’t see this review or else I would have felt a tad guilty… here it goes, unedited as per the day we visited):
It was a very sleepy Monday as Hubbie and I headed on down to Main Street for brekkie… after dropping off baby girl at kinder.
What? We were ALONE? This was unheard of. Sure we were on holidays, but being able to actually enjoy each other’s company, and enjoy our town at the same time, without having to herd a cheeky 4 year-old along with us, was at the time unimaginable.
But it WAS happening. We hauled our tired selves, spent from the weekend holiday-going-around, to the ‘main’ strip, and soon decided on a place where baby girl had months ago promptly sat herself down at, almost demanding she have a babycino.
The staff had been so lovely I decided I would be back. So here we now were again, at Dr Fox’s.
Why ‘Dr. Fox’?
Why, I have no idea where the name comes from. All I know is we stepped in, found a small spot inside, away from that unusually cool Summers morning in February, and I saw staring across from me this quote:
I don’t know the story Alice in Wonderland too well to know if there is a fox in it, but my investigate prowess tells me the above quote is loosely based on the quip Alice makes in the film, so…
A café where things are as they shouldn’t be, and they shouldn’t be as they are? This would be interesting.
It was very quiet. We listened to the staff talk to some other diners there who they knew, as we tried our damnest to WAKE UP.
That was done with Hubibie’s first coffee of the day…
And an OJ for me.
Ahh, tangy. Just what I needed.
It was soooo weird to be sitting there across from Hubbie, and not have a 4 year-old grabbing our attentions at every moment. The fact of it being such a still morning, meant that apart from looking at each other sleepily from across the table, the extra calm in the café, just made it odd and unnerving for us.
We wanted couple time, right? And now that we had it, we didn’t damn well know what to do with it.
But we focused our attentions on food. We ordered, and my position sitting in a booth against one wall, meant I could see half of the kitchen, and the two men in it working away.
It made me feel… awkward? I know they were making our meals, but somehow I felt I was privy to something I wasn’t meant to be looking at. I tried to look away…
But you can’t NOT think of the colour ‘red,’ when I have just told you don’t think of the colour ‘RED.’ See? Impossible.
Soon we got our meals fairly promptly.
Mine was a Vegie big brekky that had the following: 2 hash browns, spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, pumpkin, mushrooms with an additional two scrambled eggs
While Hubbie had the Big brekky – this had hash browns, chorizo, bacon, two pieces of sourdough, tomatoes, mushrooms and scrambled eggs.
If we had known how big our meals were, I wouldn’t have gotten the additional eggs on my plate and would have just eaten off Hubbie’s – as it was he could barely finish his meal! My meal was just a whole lot of everything. Sure, when you have the words “big brekky” in the title, you should expect a lot of things. It tasted good, but it was just so overwhelmingly large, and perhaps my own fault I ordered that, than something else from the menu that would have been a bit more inventive or with a different taste. It tasted good, and I appreciated the uncommon vegie brekky addition of pumpkin. But I could barely finish it.
Thank God I had no bread. Hubbie had bread, plus all that meat, and egg, and hash… woah. We were just WOAH. Definite value for money, but nothing mind-blowing either. Wondering now if it is possible to have a big brekky meal and have it be something unusual, not just a lot of stuff piled on?
I chased my brekkie and overwhelming sense of fullness down with a cappuccino, while Hubbie got yet ANOTHER strong latte (holiday hangover season).
The cap was good and gave me the boost I needed to walk up and down the Main street with Hubbie afterwards and spend $$$ 🙂
Food: 7/10. Hard to tell when it was just a lot of food on a plate, but it did taste good.
Coffee: 7/10. Woke me up and was pleasant-tasting.
Ambience: Cosy is the operative word. Super quiet. More so than the library around the corner. This was clearly because of the time of day, being an early Monday morning in February… but don’t forget it was still Summer too. Takes the folks some time to wake up down ol’ Mornington way…
Staff: There were two girls, the two chefs, and another very chatty guy, maybe the owner. They were around for us only when we needed something – you know, the basics.
People: Minimal. Two girls who knew the staff were having brekkie too. I’d say it’s a mixed bunch that comes here, as per most of the cafes on the Main strip.
Price: $64.50. Fairly reasonable for what we got.
Advice: Well firstly, it is tiny. ‘Small’ space doesn’t really explain how little it is, but with the combined outdoor and indoor areas, it equals up to much more, a necessity for an operating café. So whether you want to visit at low-peak times or call ahead, just be warned…
In a nutshell: I found that visit average, but that I base on the uninspired meals we ordered and the calm of the café. I don’t blame the café itself. I would prefer to go for a different brekkie meal next time, IF we did in fact venture out there.
My ending thought? Well in true spirit of the quote I read upon our entry into the café, it is what it isn’t, and isn’t what it is… it is ok, but I much rather prefer the Cow to the Fox. Now that’s a Main Street riddle for you. 😉
(Afterword: I have since learned that the new café operating from these premises is an improvement on the old, and it has been getting some very, very good reviews…. I will be sure to link to it here when I visit 🙂 )
It was the Australia Day weekend that had us venturing for a sea view from a café on the Esplanade. During some of Hubbie’s early morning Sunday drives where baby girl and I kept on sleeping (she doesn’t fall far from my tree) he came across Lilo several times, and seeing the amount of people bursting from the joint, decided immediately that we must go there.
And so it was a Sunday. A steadily approaching 35 degree day Sunday. I had to work later in the day so this was our little venture out as a family, trying to pack in quality time before I headed off. As we were seated in the bustling café, at one end of a communal table where there was an older couple on the other end of it, something started to become apparent.
Green plants (ok duh, but stay with me).
Green cutlery holder.
Green on the walls.
And then when I looked behind me at the counter/café section there was green everywhere!
Green, was the theme.
There was a nice quirkiness to it all, not cliché or overdone or just tacky. It was kind of like your Grandma’s house, but not like your average Grandma – rather this was the cool hippie Grandma who never remarried, swings with other like-minded independent pensioners on twice yearly cruises, and out-drinks the 20 somethings at the Christmas gatherings… and goes to bed after they have fallen asleep on the couch. And she loves green because it reminds her of that time with your Grandad at the park… never mind.
That kind of Grandma.
I perused the menu and while Hubbie got his first latte of the day, I opted for a fresh
Watermelon mint and apple cold pressed juice
(See, green straw).
It was tasty, and I could have easily had another. Hubbie meanwhile had an extra strong latte, as suggested by our waitress when he asked how strong the coffees were (apparently not that strong if he had to order strength up times two).
The café was fairly busy and noisy too. You could see outside to the trees across the road, which blocked much of the view of the water, but sitting at certain vantage points right near the window would definitely give you peaks of blue and sparkling.
It was hard at times to flag people over for service, being the public holiday weekend that it was, since everyone was out to play and eat, apparently, and also being Mornington having a 50% increase in general foot traffic through the eateries there… but once that was all done and we had a little wait, our breakfasts finally arrived (we were famished by that stage):
I had the Lilo brekkie – two poached eggs on toasted sourdough, potato croquettes, Istra bacon, peperonata
Hubbie had the B.L.T. Istra bacon, cos lettuce, tomato, relish, Noisette bun, fried egg
And baby girl had Pancakes with fresh strawberries, ice cream and maple syrup, and side of strawberry jam
I really enjoyed my meal. The eggs were poached perfectly, the potato croquettes were so yum and creamy, and that combination with the peppers that tasted like the home-style ones our parents make (Hubbie agreed) was just a fanciful flavour combo. The bacon wasn’t as clean as I liked, but that’s why I have Hubbie you see, to take the fat while I keep the clean bits. It was a simple and classic dish, not too weird to put people off of the standard fare, but still interesting enough to be memorable. It was a safe kind of different.
As you can see above, there was green lettuce in Hubbie’s burger… ok I am just kidding. Obviously, it cannot be purple (actually it can, aha!) Hubbie loved his burger, and said he would get chips with it next time. Yes, next time. He had added the egg which was optional, and really I don’t know how anyone can’t when you are having brekkie. He had a side of sauce because SAUCE FANATIC, forgetting that there was already relish in the burger… oops. Never mind, two sauces makes my butcher-sauce-loving Hubbie a very happy man.
Baby girl’s pancakes looked fresh and inviting. But at the same time she was firmly not into berries then, and so all she had to indulge in were the two very small pancakes with lashings of jam that we had asked for, and the ice cream. Size was on the meagre side, as I had to give her half of my toast just to satiate her appetite.
While heading over to the toilets one of several times that visit (experimental 4 year-old, that’s why) the theme that had been so prevalent throughout the dining area only expanded…
Because along with the eclectic wall of teaspoons that decorated the area directly opposite the male and female individual toilets…
The large and spacious inside toilet also continued with the green theme! Can I say, Grandma’s old school toilet is very, very cool. A large model of a lady hung on the inside toilet door, and the green continued in fixtures and fittings, towels and posters. It was a very attractive toilet, if I DO SAY SO myself. It really was, and maybe this was part of the reason baby girl had to go like, 3 times during our visit.
We ordered coffees after our meals were done with, and not surprisingly these probably took just as long as our food to arrive, they were that busy.
Cap, latte, babycino and choc-chip cookie.
Honestly, I was surprised the cookie did not come out on a green plate. Even the choc-chips. Come on, why?! :):):)
The coffee was mild and to my liking… and now I am questioning whether they have green coffee. That would just tip me over the edge. Ok I will stop now.
It was a busy and full experience there at Lilo, and since my time with family was limited, once our bellies were full of all things good, we headed towards the counter…
Food: 8/10. It was inventive yet also traditional in that it gave you the good stuff you would come to expect of a café… and based on our second and third experiences there, we have come to learn that they are very good at balancing the right flavours within a dish. Party in your mouth. Yummo Bravo.
Coffee: 7.5/10. Mild.
Ambience: Very busy and bustly, seems a noisy place and even when there haven’t been many around things just seem to echo. Considering the tranquillity of the across-the-road views, this café seems to block out everything else.
Staff: They were very busy that day, however other times we have found them, how should I put it, hard to come by? They tend to appear on the ‘understaffed’ side, therefore ‘stressed’ side, albeit still trying their best.
People: A very mixed bag, really it is everyone in here, with a good portion of the older generation seeming to inhabit. Why of course, it is Grandma’s friends.
Price: $78.65. That included a 10% surcharge for the Australia day public holiday. Although still acceptable, based on a future review of another café we dined at where we were slogged a 15% surcharge, I have to say…
I understand that staff need to be paid extra on the public holidays, and I certainly DO NOT oppose that. But I have two questions/statements, one from me, and one from Hubbie…
There is unreservedly a greater influx of people coming in on these days, meaning more customers = extra $$$, which I argue discounts the need to charge a surcharge to cover your staffs wages.
Second, Hubbie asked: If cafes create this imposed surcharge to cover their staffs additional wages, why then don’t the shopping centres charge us extra on public holidays to cover the definite increased wages they need to pay their staff? Safeway, Coles? Do they charge us extra?
(One can argue they already do, but I mean do they charge us additionally because of this day?)
It does not make sense. Cafes, STOP doing this, it is wrong and very annoying.
Advice: Now that I’m done with my outburst… sit as close to the windows if you want a sea view. Have one of their fresh juices. Go to the loo, and just be in the moment (seriously). Also if you love carbs, the potato croquettes in the Lilo brekkie are GOOD.
In a nutshell: It’s a café with a wonderfully retro character, which follows cleverly throughout. The food is simple yet done VERY well, and when eating you can tell the chef knows what he is doing. With a beautiful locale, it is easy to see how so many flock to this eatery, both for the food, interesting and homely atmosphere, and also for the chance to peak out at the waters nearby…
I guess it is kind of appropriate that a stretch of bushes and trees watch the café from across the road. Green.
I thought it was a one-off event, back when I saw the lit-up advertising in the Summer of ’16 – ’17. There were huge bright characters and animals, but being so soon after our Sea Change move, the thought of exploring when I needed to explore rather the dozen (or 50) boxes we had still packed up in our home, was too much to bear (and we still have boxes!)
However this year, this Summer, was different. More than 1 year after moving here, when I saw the familiar lights and pretty hanging things being showcased around online and in local advertising, I knew I had to take baby girl to go and see them.
Hell, I wanted to go and see them.
Armed with my trusty Mornington Peninsula ‘Penny Saver’ book, Hubbie, baby girl and I made our way over to Fingal to see the Fantasia Light Walk display at Boneo Maze and Mini Golf.
We started our tour of the grounds via the boardwalk, that led us through native flora, fauna and light installations –
Which then led us to a Hedge Maze early on, which we weaved our way through. Surprisingly cool, a great place to hide out in on a hot Summer’s night! We headed through it easily, though with a couple of twists and turns you could find yourself looping the same path on repeat if not careful! Keep kids close, just in case. Just a small maze, nonetheless.
Back onto the boardwalk, which led us through wetlands around us, and MORE light installations.
A little House of Mirrors (or should I say, horrors) greeted us at one point, made more horrific when after viewing our reflections in the mirror, I noticed some ghost-like black and white photographs staring at us from the wall, and got baby girl the hell out of there before she could even think about starting on nightmares.
Annndddd…. another nightmare.
At a fork in the boardwalk, one path led us down a Bird Hide through which you could view birds in their natural habitat via a window-ed cottage… but the other path is the one that led us to something more exciting.
A large games area, which the beautiful boardwalk framed as it wove around the parkland, was the perfect focal point of the grounds, especially for kids. There was a vintage carousel
Giant games, including Chess, Checkers, Connect 4 and Hookey.
And lights were on display amidst the trees and gardens, shining brightly as night fell.
So much to see and do, for both kids and adults alike. And set in amongst such beautiful settings, calming nature, stunning scenery, and bright lanterns and light installations.
In fact, there was soooo much to see and do, that we didn’t get to see and do. A major feature of the park is the Mini Golf, so much so that you get a score card on the back of your map of the grounds upon entry.
Also at additional cost, is the Adventure Zone, open on school holidays and weekends, that include things like climbing walls and pedal boats.
We were only there for a short time, since I had squeezed the whole visit in. The Lantasia Light Walk at Boneo Maze ends soon, on Jan 27, and I really wanted to check it out before then, seeing as I had missed it the year before.
In turn our visit was rushed, yet really you should be spending a good several hours here, 4 at least to get your money’s worth.
And speaking of money, the Lantasia entry prices are on the ‘up’ side, as I would say in my Food Reviews… $20 for adults, and $18 for children. Just as well Hubbie got in for free with our Penny Saver voucher!
A café resides in the first half of the grounds, allowing you to enjoy yourself for a bit amidst exploring for those 4 hours or so, where you can indulge in some fine fare and drinks (licensed too, so take your glass of bubbly to the lawn and chill!)
My only gripe out of the whole evening, was that there are only one lot of toilets up in the café. Seeing as baby girl had to go tot the toilet twice, both times while we were half-way to the Games area, it was really annoying to have to turn back and walk ALL THE WAY BACK to the café, instead of keeping forward and finding, I don’t know, at least one outdoor toilet or something, somewhere,anywhere, near the Games area. It would have been so much more convenient.
Boneo Maze and Mini Golf
695 Limestone Road Fingal
Lantasia Light Walk runs from 7pm every night, and finishes up on Jan 27th – so get in quick!
Lantasia entry for adults is $20; children are $18
General Boneo Maze entry prices:
Adults $18; Senior/student/concession $16; Children (3-17) $15; kids under 3, Free!
Your general entry allows you unlimited Mini Golf (something I will be learning for next time!) access to games, mazes, wetlands, boardwalks, the carousel, and special workshops.
The ‘Adventure Zone’ is an extra $5 per activity/person, or $15 for unlimited wristband (go the wristband, who wants to limit themselves to ONE activity?!)
Make sure your littlies have had their bathroom break before embarking on any walks or games, especially as you head away from the café.
And give yourself a good few hours to really enjoy and explore the grounds.
Although rushed we still had fun, and further testament to this was baby girl asking me the next day to take her back to the merry-go-round. 🙂 When your kid doesn’t forget, neither do you. I will need to take her back, but there’ll be no twisting of my arm to do it either… that’ll be the job for the Mini Golf…
It hit me one Saturday morning during a work shift, as I left the warm confines of my place of employment to walk down the road and grab a coffee. Feeling that fresh air, that Winter chill on my face, reminded me of the time I felt it last year, and suddenly I was down memory lane, remembering the things about Winter you choose so hard to forget when it is done and dusted for the year.
So, then, I tried harder to remember. What fascinates me about this time of year, is that once it is upon us, it’s actually not that bad. It’s the anticipation of it – that is the shits, and one of the major factors of making the entire season that much more unbearable.
Hey, calm down… I’m not like, a ‘Winter ambassador’ or something! I am the first to put up my hand and forge ahead with the get-rid-of-Winter fan club. I wouldn’t say I HATE it, since that is a strong word, that I HATE to use (see what I did there?) but I do in fact, detest the coldest of seasons to a degree that once the longest day has come and gone in January, I am in slow grief over the gradual dissemination of Summer.
But like I said above: it ain’t too bad. I’ve been most surprised by my own attitude towards it, in finding that there are actually plenty of great things to enjoy, and celebrate, about the coldest time of the year! You don’t say!Let me hear it! Well ok then, here is my list of things to get your blood boiling…
(And don’t fret, this isn’t one of those bullshit ‘buy a really good coat and scarves’ nonsense post. We all know that we need more than layers to make up for the fact of Winter, duh).
1. But First, Coffee.
And so one of my fave coffee quotes signals the beginning of this Winter Warm-up list. When else to drink, and enjoy coffee most, than in Winter? Not only does the caffeine hit give you a burst of much needed non-hibernating energy, but it is WARM, and therefore, heats you up from the inside-out. This is a super simple and accessible way to keep you happy, buzzing and hot, ALL DAY LONG. Make it at home, or buy it out and about… really, this one is a no-brainer.
2. To café, OR, to café…
And, how to get to your hot coffee? Why, you enter a café of course. Just picture it: you are in the freezing winds, walking briskly to your café of choice so as to remove yourself from the unnerving elements, when you finally, step inside, and –
Ahhh. That moment.
You know that moment, when the feeling of cold is replaced by the scent of coffee beans, and you are away from the outdoors, but can still see everything including all the fools still stuck out in the real world? And you’re ‘in here?’ and about to get a coffee? Yeah that’s great. Café-ing it, not just for coffee, but for anything in Winter – be it brekkie, lunch or any other fare – is a beautiful way to while away the day. Choose a good one, a cosy spot, and watch the world go by… just see if you don’t feel better about Winter when you put yourself in this supreme predicament…
3. Walk This Way…
On a contradictory note, on those cold and still Wintery days, sometimes it can be somewhat, what is the word, rejuvenating! to take a nice long walk.
Yes, the air can be biting. Yes, the cold will still seep through your clothes. But there’s something about a fresh, freezing-cold walk that awakens the senses, both physical and mental, as it is often when I am walking in the cold that my creative mind is switched on. I don’t know why, but a brisk walk in Winter allows me to daydream and plan for any future blog posts (how this one came about) much more efficiently than in Summer. Maybe it’s the fact that other than getting into a heated area immediately, there is no other thought trying to take up head space like it does in Summer, where I would be planning future events and social gatherings, and the things I’ll be doing for the next 3 weekends. In Winter, it’s just Winter, and my creative thoughts are allowed to fly beside the recurring thought of ‘get inside.’
I don’t like to be in the cold, and yet a walk like this brings about a whimsical dreamlike effect to my walk, where I find myself observing, being in the moment, and smiling often. I’m not wishing myself out of this hellhole, I’m just smiling. I’m not trying to prove a point… Next.
4. Stay IN
Although I absolutely love Summer, there is one thing that gets tiring by the end of the season: the constant go-go-go. Summer makes you feel like you have to be super-efficient and on top of the world, heading to every social event, enjoying every ounce of sunshine, waking at the crack of dawn, and starting a new body-building course when you’re not preparing your new gluten-free, dairy-free, animal-free, everything of any joy or texture or enjoyment-free diet. It is FULL on.
But Winter allows you to just chill. Hibernate like a bear, and in doing so, drink all the hot chocolate/tea/coffee before doing so. If there is any season where you should feel the least guilt about doing nothing, and where you should completely and utterly embrace the act of doing absolutely nothing, it is Winter. It’s okay, you will be at it again in a couple of months time…
5. Pimp up your home
But, if you absolutely HAVE to, you could always forgo sitting around and chilling on the couch, with doing something around the house. Just as our sanity and ‘me time’ gets neglected in Summer, so too does the house, and house ‘stuff.’ You know those odd jobs. The broken door handle. The 3rd light bulb that has been burnt out in the lounge room for 4 months. The pile of boxes that hasn’t been broken down into pieces. That heap of junk in your garage that you know a charity would love, but alas, Summer time.
In Winter, it is ALL possible. Case in point. We had bought new door handles from Bunnings to replace our old ones, as we wanted to spruce up the 80s-style house we had recently moved into. They remained untouched for months and months, ALL THROUGH SUMMER, and it was only when the cold hit, that Hubbie finally started replacing them.
Winter is the best time to look outward-in. Look around you and see what needs a little TLC, and then proceed accordingly. Home improvements, up-dos, renos – whatever it is, you will feel soooo much better for it, and not at all like a lazy bear once you are done.
6. Go OCD, mofos
And for those of you like me, that love to sort and clean and organise… well, what are you waiting for? Use these cold months to file away. File to your freaking hearts content. Label and shelve and box. Store those photos in chronological order, organise your home family videos, and clean up your menu folder so that you don’t have crappy old recipes in there that you won’t even sniff at again. There is no better feeling then tackling a long, put-off job, and I swear, as Winter ends and Spring begins, the sense of accomplishment you feel in knowing everything is sorted and ready for another season/year… GOLD. GO you OCD peeps, GO!
Ok, so this is kinda parent-specific. But, you don’t need to be a recently-acquired trampoline owner for a cheeky monkey princess like I have, to jump. You probably do need a child of some kind, so if you don’t have any of your own, borrow one – like you probably have a niece, or nephew, or know someone who would LOVE for you to kindly offer their brood a day out? (You will be on their Christmas card list FOREVER, I promise you).
But my point is, be childlike. Jumping is not only fun, good for you, and is healthy (hey, exercise), but it warms you up too! And if you think jumping is only for kids – 20 seconds on the thing and you will remember what a jumping extraordinaire you used to be 20 or so years ago… and then it will be the kid trying to get you off the trampoline, not you, them.
(Hubbie going wild with baby girl)
8. A good book
So, a no-brainer. Totally. But when else is it more acceptable and necessary to snuggle up with a book and lose yourself within its pages? Never, ever, EVER. Even on holiday, you should be doing things and seeing things, but at home, in Winter? Perfect reading weather.
Whether it’s at home, on your lunch break, or on the train, waiting for your doctors appointment (that brisk walk/jumping probably gave you a little cough, ahem*) or at the park while the kiddies play, there is really no better time to invest in a good book.
So a totally acceptable place to read is in bed, but if you’d rather not even do that, you can just sleep. I know this is such a ‘Duh, Fred’ point, but still, it HAS TO be said. Fred.
Sleep ’til your big hearts content. Of course this is totally dependant on whether you have a paying job or go to regular schooling (most of the Western population), but in your down time, this is a perfectly acceptable hobby. Yep. Even if you have kids that don’t let you breathe, just pull them in, throw a blanket over your heads, and once the hilarities have died down, watch them fall into a slumber. You will be there too soon, don’t worry.
Sleep on the bed, sleep on the couch… wherever you wish. Just make sure it’s comfy and inviting, there are plenty of blankets, and a real nice place to rest your head. Ahhhh.
10. Shop ’til you Drop
Let’s change tack and ramp it up a little, to my favourite past-time! Like seriously, how annoying is it in Summer, when you need some new clothes/shoes/pillows/coffee beans, and you head into the confines of a multi-level shopping centre, but it’s a stunning, and I mean STUNNING day out? You don’t want to miss out on that, and stay indoors most of the day? This is so especially true for us Melburnians, as sunshine, even in Summer of all seasons, can be soooo fleeting.
But in Winter? Hell, bring the shopping on! You won’t miss out on ANYTHING because its so cold and miserable out! YAY. Shop to your hearts content, in fact, shop for all seasons, and stay ahead of the pack.
How miserable is the above photo? Okay well it is oddly pretty in the dim light, but you know what I mean… I am not really missing out. It’s taken from my work window… do I wanna go outside? Hell no!
Work is actually not too bad, and you can almost be grateful to be in the confines of work, when it is so shit-faced outside. You will never be sad being at work during Winter, unless of course you had to get up at 5am like me, and are staring out the kitchen window at 7am thinking of Hubbie and baby girl asleep and warm in bed… damn.
TRY to be grateful for work while you can, in Winter, at the very least.
12. Let’s go to the beach
Your welcome. Ok so maybe not Summer-thumping-beach-vibes weather at the mo, but you know where I’m headed.
This may be a bit left-of-centre for some, but for me being fortunate enough to live BY the beach, not so. But either way, a trip to the beach is for most in our fair country, accessible and do-able.
Why should you do it, you cry? Cold, winds, uninviting waters…
What do you think? I’m not telling you to jump in. No, hell no. I’m just saying that the ocean views bring about a sense of calmness, of peace, of reflection, and retrospection, and the waters don’t even have to be still and unrippled. No. They are in fact most beautiful and spectacular when they are savage, wild and unleashed, ripping against the shore or pier or rocks, and showing you the brutal nature of Mother Earth herself.
Rug up and try it. See how your mind feels afterwards.
13. Do something NEW
While you’re out and about at the beach, how’s about you keep trying new things, and enrol in a course of some kind. (Like not literally walk down the road, just think about it). Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Like maybe, learn a new language? Try your hand at some knitting? Learn how to cook like a chef? Drive a manual car? For some creative pursuits, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home – just log in and you’re connected.
Doing something you’ve been wanting to do for a while is not just fulfilling, as you are catering to yours truly, yourself, but you are putting yourself out there in a vulnerable position. Only when you are vulnerable, can you really learn anything. Since everything is on the down-low in Winter, there is no time like the present to focus in on yourself, and give something new a go. Time to study, reflect on where you want to go in life, and centre yourself both spiritually and mentally, is the perfect cold-time creative pursuit. Just try. You won’t lose a thing.
14. Cook up a storm!
While doing something new, you may want to try your hand at some new recipes.. or old, whatever tickles your fancy. But what I love about this coldest of seasons, is the deliciously warm dishes to match. Or should I say, warm you right up. Whether it be a vegetable curry
a cauliflower soup
or some yummy baked goods
there is nothing quite so inviting on a cold Winter’s night, than to indulge in warming, delicious and comforting, Winter-specific foods. Slow-cooked meals, lasagnes, roasts… the list goes on and onand on. And the upside? When you are buying Winter-y things like cauliflower for your soup, you are buying in season, so it is cheaper! Winning 🙂 Go foodie mad.
15. Catch up with some old ‘friends’
Now, I don’t mean ACTUAL friends, and boy would it be appropriate here if I actually loved the show of the same name. Instead I’m talking of your movies and your DVD box sets. Plop yourself in a comfy place, and get ‘re-acquainted.’ I feel forever-guilty whenever I sit on the couch – I always feel like I should be doing something more worthy, more important, and being a Mum makes the feelings more so. This is an activity I rarely indulge in.
But this Winter, I am really going to take it on board… and what better way to feel better about the blowing winds outside, than to be laughing/crying/hysterically shaking, over the antics of some old faves.
You don’t even have to have the DVDs. Shows like Sex and the City are on repeat on TV, there are streaming devices, and have you heard of Netflix? People even ‘download’… I’m not condoning it, I’m just saying, ok?
It’s never been easier to catch up with, or watch a brand new series to get stuck into. Need tips? Some of my old faves:
Angel. An amazing series that is 5 seasons long, and is totally worth investing your life into. Get ready to have your soul literally ripped apart, thanks Joss Whedon (no really, thank you!)
Dawson’s Creek is actually on free-to-air Go! at the moment. My face when I realised this? Bliss 🙂 I know it’s a teenage show, but it’s one of my ol’ faithfuls, and besides, the actors were probably my age when they filmed it, so….
my current must-watch on TV, Shark Tank. This is splendid in every way. Seeing the investors rip through and tear to shreds some of the up-and-coming entrepreneurs and inventors, is just brilliant. You must watch this show.
So grab a warm drink, snuggle up on the couch (child or partner is optional) and chill-ax….
16. Bust a move.
Exercise. I know I know, it’s not bikini time, and it’s probably the only time of the year when there is no pressure to be beach-ready… but it doesn’t mean you can’t devote time to yourself to be healthy.
Still not sold? You don’t even have to leave the house. There are a world of gyms, gym classes, personal trainers, and get-fit programmes out there, and there as just as many exercise DVDs! Find what tickles your fancy, and do it in the privacy of your own home.
Do as I do, and pop on some trakkies, put on that old Zumba DVD, and get dancing! Exercise gets you going and warms you up at a time when it is so easy to be sluggish and sloth-like. And you know what I was so surprised to find? Even one session a week (baby steps) has given me increased flexibility and energy to run after a certain 3 year-old rascal. True story.
17. A ‘warming’ drink
I couldn’t bulk ‘warm drinks’ with ‘coffee,’ as coffee is just too damn important to me to be watered down like that… but I conclude with the option, that if you don’t like coffee, maybe tea is more your fancy?
Or maybe a spicy chai latte can rub you totally up the right way
No? Vino? There’s nothing like a good glass of red to get the fires burning
Wanna get more creative? I give you, a combination of the last two options, Gluhwein…
Which is German Mulled Wine. It’s a whole lot of fabulous spices and wine/alcohol, warmed up, and you will create some GREAT memories in the making and drinking of it, let me assure you.
If you can’t be happy with a glass of wine/mug of tea/brew of gluhwein, while the winds are raging outside your window, well then YOU CAN’T BE SAVED!
So, how did I go? Have I given you renewed (or maybe just NEW) inspiration to totally LOVE Winter? We may be about half-way through the coldest of seasons, but living in Melbourne, we ALL KNOW it’s going to totally screw us up right up ’til November,if we’re lucky.
So guys. Pick a point and get to it. If you think I’ve left anything out, drop me a line!
Sighted: A woman holding a Maccas bag and a takeaway coffee cup.
Hold up, what? Is this something unusual, seeing a person walk away from a takeaway restaurant with food and drink? Let me re-phrase (and re-paint the picture)…
10:40am, Nepean Highway Frankston. Grey day, the one where it is Summer but Summer rain and every other dark element has decided to reign down on us (pardon the pun). It is raining, the wind is intense, and this woman is standing at the intersection outside McDonalds waiting for the green man to appear, looking fairly calm as she is throttled by the unnatural season.
The coffee cup firmly in her hand, clearly getting soaked.
I don’t know if that says more about her coffee obsession, or the folk that frequent Frankston, but either way…
Beachcomber Café St Kilda Sea Baths, 18 Jacka Boulevard St Kilda
After our disappointing dinner at Lygon street the night before, we put the bad memories behind us, deciding to take advantage of the continuing summer weather by journeying to the beach.
St Kilda beach.
It was a weekend or two before the huge St Kilda festival, so fortunately for us it wasn’t overrun by people. As it were, it was still overrun by people when we arrived after lunch that Sunday. We found parking on the side of the road and headed on to do the walk, in between the sand and surf on one end, and an array of stylish eateries on the other.
We walked to see, and we were seen. We came across an adorable Rottweiler pup that we stopped to pat, before deciding to be the ones people watching as we stood in line at the Beachcomber Café. We had actually attempted other places, but the lines were actually ridiculous. It wasn’t the St. Kilda festival, and though it was a warm day, it was extremely windy out there near the bay. As one man walking past me observed to his friends “imagine how busy it would be if the water were actually good?”
Touche my friend.
We waited in line at the Beachcomber for about 5 minutes. There were perhaps 2-3 groups of people in front of us, but seats were found for them quickly. Obviously, the most desirable seats were those outside, looking out towards the water. And the best of the bunch was those right at the fringe of this outdoor seating, next to the enclosure that separated the café from the beach walkway.
When it came our turn to be first in line, the door man appeared, disappeared, and then came back with a whisper “did you have a booking?”
We replied no, apologetically. He skimmed the room and then said again in a low tone “there’s a table at the front over there with a reserved sign – you can take it.”
We gratefully thanked him and went on over to see that he had just given us, the best table. Prime position: outside, right next to the enclosure, perfect for people watching. What a star.
We totally hadn’t planned for this trip, seeing as we had already eaten at home. And we had actually planned for coffee… but after seeing the food and drink being delivered to other tables, we knew we had to go that step further.
As a sharing snack, we got the Turkish Bread with Trio of Dips
Hubbie got a 500ml Peroni, while I got an impressive Pina Colada, served out of a coconut no less
While baby girl carried the coffee flag for us and got a babycino
(note, no actual caffeine in there!)
The dips were really good, so incredible moorish especially considering we had already eaten. All the dips tasted great to me. We finished it off really easily between the three of us.
And my drink was strong. It was summery and everything I thought it would be served out of a coconut, but gee, it gave me a good hit.
Although it was windy it was still relaxing sitting out there, because the huge orange umbrellas covering each table shielded us, while the view before us of the people walking by and the water, gave baby girl plenty to look at and keep her busy while we enjoyed the surroundings. We chilled, orange-topped staff walked around keeping everyone happy, while amazing food and drinks were delivered to eagerly-awaiting beachgoers.
We had had a spontaneous though terrific time there. Aren’t they the best ones though? We hadn’t been prepared for a meal otherwise we would have indulged there… next time, just another reason to go back.
Food: Just based on those dips, 8/10.
Coffee: Sadly not on this occasion, but baby girl’s babycino did look lovely
Ambience: Relaxed with style… how can you be anything else when you’re by the bay?
People: It was funny to observe, but I later saw the same door man sit another family close to us near the enclosure towards the end of our experience there… coincidence, or was he pro family? Ha ha. There were generally groups of people, but there were couples and friends and just everyone wanting to get a view of the water. The only off-putting thing was the group of 30ish guys sitting on the table next to us, as I easily deciphered their guy code and heard them as they ogled women walking past. Men like that are the reason I get overly paranoid walking alone. I just didn’t like it. But, Beachcomber can’t help that unfortunately. Perves will always come to beaches, to well, perve.
Staff: Really lovely and attentive, and the door man was just my favourite there wasn’t he?
Price: Under $60 for the lot, so it was definitely St Kilda prices. I did have a rather large and impressive drink, and Hubbie’s was more than his usual standard size of beer.
Advice: Either book for front seat, beach-view dining, or come at a time of day where there may not be many people queueing up. When we arrived post 2pm, the line was getting smaller, and soon after we were seated it was non-existent. Either way, wherever you sit you will see the water, the people, and smell the fresh sea air.
In a nutshell: We all loved this place for many reasons, and all the important ones: the atmosphere, the location, the view, and the food and drinks. The current menu does not list the Turkish Bread with Dips, however I’m fairly certain that the other items on the menu should not fall short.
These people live up to their name, as they have definitely identified something of value that people will keep coming back for. Because we will.