My love of Italian food only came to light when I met my high school boyfriend (now husband) whose father was Italian.
Having grown up in your typical stereotype Aussie household, our meals consisted of meat and 3 Veg, and if pasta was on the menu, it was served with more of an Aussie type savoury mince, than a scrumptious ragu. God love my beautiful Mother, she was a great cook but creating flavours was not her strong point.
Marrying into a family with an Italian influence brought with it traditions and cuisines, I happily embraced.
Prosciutto, caprese salad, authentic pizzas and the unbeatable deep flavour of ragu were all introduced to me over a period of time, to which I quickly became accustomed.
My husbands Nonna Franca would create various Italian cuisine for us, but her signature dish - and our favourite - was Ravioli. Always beef ravioli and served with a side of mixed beans, broccoli and zucchini, with a pinch of garlic salt and a splash of authentic balsamic vinegar.
Something so simple tasted so delicious. Bursts of flavours with every mouthful.
Sadly Nonna Franca is now residing in "Little Italy" up above, but she didn't depart without leaving us something significant. Her Bible. Cucina Triestina.
Born in Muggia - Trieste - Northern Italy and migrating to Australia in 1995, Cucina Triestina travelled abroad by ship. This little piece of Italy resided in the family for decades to come and was used constantly as the soul of delicious family feasts that memories were made from. (and food comas)
As much as I would love to cook some of these - and I will, I am so fortunate that my very talented daughter - and even more talented Poppy John (my father-in-law), have carried on the tradition of Nonna Franca.
I am sorry I have not translated these recipes, but I guess that is half the fun.
Let me know if you make them and send through photos, I would love to see.
I think this day should receive more promotion than any election.
Suicide, depression and bullying are so prominent today, it can't be pushed under the carpet anymore.
We all know someone who has taken their own life or struggling with depression. By asking these 3 words - are you ok, you could be saving a life.
Educating and encouraging our future generation that bullying is NOT OK, and reaching out for help should not be seen as a last resort or being a failure - is paramount.
We all have the skills to listen. So please make a difference in the world - be a kind human and #readytolisten to those who need it.
Someone asked me the other day why I love living in the country.
Serenity - oh I love the seclusion. The sounds and smell of nature, camp fires in our paddock, being able to clearly see the twinkling stars and moon against the ink black sky, the strong sense of community and the fact I can sit on my back deck naked - are just to name a few.
But when I really think about it, mindfulness is something I have acquired - and love, by living surrounded by nature. You can't help but stop and take notice and live in the moment.
I only live 35 minutes out of the Brisbane CBD, in a place called Samford.
I have the best of both worlds, not to far from the city, but far enough to have my own 5 green acres of heaven.
I actually get excited when driving home. Once I am on the descent of the Samford Range and those sage green, heaven touching mountains come into view, I breathe a sigh of relief.
It's my peaceful retreat. Mother Nature is beautiful.
Our 15 years being a part of this Samford community has been so rewarding. It's a great place to raise children and our daughter Brittany has greatly benefited.
Majority of children attend the primary state school, so you become connected to everyone.
You see all those same people at the local IGA, restaurants, cafes, park and of course at the one pub in the town - The Samford Valley hotel. Built in 1915, this historic pub is the hub of the community and even through the changes over the years, has kept his warmth and character.
Community living has shown me a side of life I don't think I would of experienced in suburbia. Like-minded people who share the same values of support, spirit, encouragement and inspiration surround me.
Brittany has created beautiful childhood memories and we have all made long lasting friendships that we will treasure forever, no matter where we end up in our lives.
Although I never want to leave my haven, I know the day will come when we have to move on. But this place will always be embedded in my heart.
I am beyond grateful to be living here.
Those who know me identify me as a lover of the country whose home is decorated farmhouse style interior.
This is very true. Enter my home and this is what you will find.
However, I am also a devoted beach lover and aficionado of coastal style interior. (when your husband is an avid surfer/kitesurfer and you are at the beach every weekend, how could you not be?)
With my current interior quiet possibly being a little out of date (ok it is out of date), I have been thinking is it possible to combine both interiors - Coastal & Country - in my home without it looking mismatched?
As I always do when looking for inspiration, I turn to Instagram and Pinterest where I overwhelm myself with endless photos and desires. From here I create a vision board on Pinterest.
My next step was to find display homes that combine the two - which I did and now I am obsessed.
So it begins. Project - Hamptons meets Country French Provincial. How inviting does that sound?
I am a true believer in breathing fresh air and light into an old space.
With natural tones and dark hard wood floors already existing in my home, I now have to introduce pops of colours consisting of vanilla white, sky blue, coral, aqua and light grey to initiate the coastal feel.
I am on the look out for a mixture of fabrics (lightweight sheers) and textures and a few seaside quirky accents. If any one has any recommendations of relevant online stores, let me know.
I have always loved whitewashed woods and I think it looks great with both country and coastal interiors. Especially against stained hardwood floors, it softens the intensity of the look. So I am on the hunt for these as well. (or maybe I could learn and do myself. There's a thought)
Check out these guys on instagram for inspiring ideas. @hamptonshomeau, @coastal_living, @countrylivingmag.
Oh and if any of you reading this have a house in the Hamptons you would like to do a 3 month house swap - let me know. That is my goal for 2020.
I wrote just the other day how I am an advocate for Pilates.
I still am - BUT - Yoga has now captivated me too.
I alway knew of Simone Warne - clearly for one reason - she was married to Shane. (the Australian Cricketer for those who don't know)
Loving Instagram as much as I love Pilates, I saw on my feed someone mentioned how mesmerising it was to watch Simone Warne do her yoga on Instagram. Yoga - Pilates, I figured they are all the same. So I searched and had a look.
They are not the same.
This woman is not only mesmerising, she is a guru of yoga. I am hooked.
If I lived in Melbourne I would be going to her classes.
Since I live in Brisbane and already spend money doing private Pilates lessons, I have decided to not pay for Yoga but follow Simone and learn from her.
I can incorporate the two until I decide if I want to pursue both.
The internet allows you to learn so much for free, so why not.
However, I can assure you, if I lived in Melbourne, I would be attending Simone's classes. I have no doubt it would be a true Yoga experience.
Follow her, you won't be disappointed. @simonecallahan
Have been very slack in my blogging over the last two weeks.
The lead up to Britt's birthday and the weekend of, seemed to take priority over everything. The festival of Brittany we called it.
Being an only child does have its benefits.
But I am back on track now.
With each post I aim to share a little bit more information about me. Don't wont to overload or bore you all at once.
Two things I get great enjoyment out of (besides my family) are Pilates and my animals. We live on acreage in Brisbane and currently I have one cow - Belted Galloway, one horse and two dogs. (border collie - Chloe & a Kelpie - Bella)
If I could have a menagerie I would. I used to have more animals but mother nature took its course. I truly believe animals bring out the best in you. Being around them gives me a sense of peace.
Now to Pilates.
I took this up 5 years ago. (and to be honest it was more of a social thing with my girlfriends as we had coffee afterwards).
I have never been an exercise lover and figured this looked easy and I would not be over exerting myself. ( I told you - anything to not exert myself).
5 years later I am it's biggest advocate. Having suffered back pain for the last 7 years I knew I had to do something otherwise I saw myself as this hunched over, withered old woman by the age of 60. (I am currently 49).
I highly recommend private lessons to kickstart your Pilates Journey - I have written an article about this in My Work.
The instructor makes all the difference, so choose a reputable Pilates Studio. I would not recommend doing a class in a gym. You will not reap the same rewards.
Pilates has given me flexibility I never knew I had. A mindfulness that I use every day and breathing techniques which have helped with my pain.
I intend to stretch all the way into old age.
Give it a go, you will thank me for it.
P:S - below is my beautiful Belted Galloway - Benjamin Button and the Stability Chair - it is part of the Pilates exercise program. Looks scary and it's not easy, but gives you the stretch of a lifetime - and last but not least my best buddies Chloe & Bella
If someone was to ask to me what are three things I could not live without - this would be my answer. Family. Girlfriends. My heat bag. (if they asked for five the next two would be wine and Mexican food. 6 would be Britt's homemade hamburgers. )
I constantly tell Brittany - my daughter, family is everything and cherish your friendships. Some girlfriends become lifelong treasures.
For Brittany's 21st there was no party as such, more so a combination of get togethers, which consisted of family, girlfriends and life long friends. It was perfect.
I have many girlfriends - from childhood, school - through to adulthood. I treasure them all. They are all significant in my life. #blessed.
I want my daughter to enjoy the same.
I love my family and my husband, but I think most women will agree, your girlfriends bring a totally different perspective to all aspects of life,
Enjoy them. Embrace them.
Today is significant for two reasons. I am writing my very first blog post and it is my only childs 21st birthday. This once little human, now mature woman - Brittany, is not only by far my greatest accomplishment, but my everything.
In all honesty I can't believe the day is here. We are a family of three and my husband Paul and I at times can't believe we created her. Perplexing. How did we create something so perfect? (ok we may be a little bias, but we are allowed to, we only have one)
I don't know about the rest of you, but I struggle to find the time to sit and read blogs, especially long posts. So you wont find those here.
What you will find is hopefully knowledge and inspiration. My two favourite things.
My posts will be a combination of day to day life (if there is something of interest to tell) as well information I am writing about, which hopefully give you new and positive insight into various topics.
I am a huge believer in authenticity - it is highly valued.