Monday, 31 March 2014

I Live in A Mining Town { Could You? }

Could you live here?

Before moving here, I would have answered no. No bloody way. In fact I did discount ever living in a mining town in a handful of particularly heated conversations with my husband. But now I find myself living here so I can't quite say that anymore.

March marks nine months of living in Newman for us. And it has gone surprisingly quick. I won't lie, living here has been an adjustment. There are some BIG things I really miss about the outside world. And occasionally, you might just find me suffering a case of the Newman Blues. A slump that seems to infiltrate slowly into your psyche, leaving you feeling down and questioning what the hell you're doing living in such a place.

But ultimately, you have to make the most of your situation. And while perhaps sounding a little too similar to some older members of my family, ultimately, you just have to get on with things and make the most of what you have and where you find yourself.

Source Pinterest ie. I have no idea. Apologies if it's yours.

So where am I attempting to bloom? Newman, a place where there isn't nearly enough rain for most of the year (which can sometimes make blooming difficult). A 12 hour drive from Perth, and just over 4 hours drive from the coast. We're not near anything really (if you don't count some lovely national parks). We're in mining country. It's ridiculously hot for too long a part of the year, and it's a little red dirt dusty.

So what changed my adamant I never want to live in a mining town mind, and brought us to living in such a place, far from home? Family. My exhausted self who was tired of looking after two children on her own every second week while her husband was away working. And the fact that financially we needed me to be back at work, at least part-time, and I simply wasn't ready or willing to go back there just yet and leave our girls in daycare.

So this was the compromise. Two years in a mining town. Our rent paid for us. Utilities paid for us. A huge change in our lifestyle that allows me to continue being a stay at home Mum. While also having my husband home every night to help out with the night waking and 5pm cooking tea everybody is tired and messy hour.

It was a big choice, and one which we've chosen to look on as an adventure. We've had our down moments, but have never truly regretted moving here. While the day to day of living in such an isolated place can be difficult at times, the different experiences we've had, and the chance to bond as a family unit on an everyday basis, and for the first time, have all made this decision to move here the right one.

So what is here? Well there isn't too much in the way of shopping, eating out or any of those sorts of things in Newman. It is certainly expensive to get out of town as often as you might want to or need to for your own sanity, (if you thought Perth was expensive then you should accommodate yourself with Pilbara prices). And in all honesty there's not much to really occupy yourself with as an adult here (you either occupy yourself with your children, the gym or the pub after work hours, unless you're doing distance study or have a blog!)

But what has kept me sane, and made my days both bearable and  enjoyable has been the friends I've made since moving here. The Mum's and children who we catch up with for playdates, run into at Kindermusik, at our dancing lessons and playgroup. Who help fill the hours in our day. While some might talk of cliqueness, I've personally experienced nothing but friendliness and support since living here.

Mostly we're all in the same boat. Missing family. Missing civilisation. Sometimes not at all. Sometimes a lot. There are times you just need to have a big whinge to get over it and move on already. I'm lucky enough to be able to say that I have people I can whinge to openly, and not be judged for it. That's a good friend right there.

I know that there will be a part of me relieved to leave this town. But the longer I am here the more I realise how much I might just miss living here too. It will leave an indelible imprint on me as a person. An enjoyment of being in the outdoors (by that I don't mean our backyard or the park), and a taste for 4WD'ing and the simpler things that come with that, which weren't ever a part of who I was before moving here.

The red dirt really does start seeping it's way into your blood. It is a different land up here to the Australia that I knew previously. You can't describe it until you've been here and travelled it's gorges, rockpools and stunning coastlines.  It's undeniable, living here can be harsh and brings with it some difficulties, but it is a beautiful part of our country. In some ways, the true spirit of Australia can be felt here, more than it can in any other place I've lived or visited. While some cities might have buzz and energy, travelling this part of Australia shows you it's true heart.

I know that when we do come to leave here, that I will take many fond memories of our time here with me. Of the experiences that we shared as a family. The adventures that we had, the places we explored and the friends that we have met.

If you move here, don't spend your time sitting on the couch, in your backyard or driving around town. Get yourself a 4WD and get out there and enjoy it (never thought I'd find myself writing that in a sentence!)

We definitely won't regret our time spent living and exploring this part of the world.

Think you could live here?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

What's On Repeat This Week { Radiohead }

"music in the soul
can be heard by the Universe"

Inspired by The Lover List's Tuesday Tunes.

If you haven't visited Brooke from The Lover List, then you really should. She has a wonderful blog and great choice in music. You will be inspired and you will end up making purchases on your iTunes. Credit card be warned.

If you were lucky enough to be brought up listening to your parents music, than it really can be the soundtrack to your life's memories. Childhood car trips listening to Dad's Sultan's of Swing tape (boy was repeat an annoying thing then), Mum's car trips with Simply Red, hauling dug up armfuls of pesky ragwort up the hillside of our paddock with the No Mercy album playing loudly on the back verandah for all to hear (a good reason to dump your bundle and get back to the end of the paddock and as far away from that noise as you can). Watching Nanna dancing like she's drying herself with a towel at impromptu family ABBA dancing parties (my Uncle is married to a Swedish girl, so we can be excused over that one).

It is no secret in this house that I'm a lover of music. I listen to anything. I listen to it often. And if I happen to be driving on my own sans children, I listen to it loud.  My playlist is wide and varied. I do not discriminate. You will find Enrique Iglesias, Neil Young, Pavarotti, Ministry of Sound and everything in between. 

But what I am is a repeater of music. Yes I will get to the end of my current favourite song, and I will hit that repeat button over and over again. And as often as I can get away with (surprisingly some people find this attribute annoying). Listening to my Mum's music playing over and over again while she is in the shower tells me that this might be a genetic thing ( I never need to hear Sail Away With Me by David Gray ever again in my lifetime, sorry Mum!) So I don't bother fighting this urge.

Posts like these, will be an occasional sum up of what I'm listening to on constant repeat at the moment. Whenever something makes me hit that repeat button over and over again, I promise to share it with you. Aren't you glad?

So what song inspired me to start this today. 

House of Cards by Radiohead. An oldie that I somehow missed and happened to hear only for the first time yesterday. My use of the repeat button has made up for that since then don't you worry.
You can listen to it here

This song makes me think of an old flat mate of mine, who I'm lucky enough to still call a good friend. Miss your company Kathy. Sending this one out to you with memories of laying on the couch with Bono stalking me. If I'd been there in 2007, we would definitely have listened to this while sharing one last drink before going to bed.

Love music?
Have a song or album that takes you back to another place?

Monday, 24 March 2014

Orange and Almond Syrup Cake

I've had several requests for this recipe after I used this cake in my Cup of Tea with Me Post. So here it is, and also in it's true uncropped image. Unlike the one I had to use previously. A lesson to never turn your back, however momentarily, on a delicious looking cake when you have a peckish husband roaming around the house.

Orange and Almond Syrup Cake

2 whole oranges
250g almond meal
250g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tspn baking powder

60gm freshly squeezed orange juice
80gm caster sugar
80gm citrus marmalade

Place oranges into saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer very gently, with lid closed for 45 minutes. Remove and discard water. Allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
Once oranges have cooled, remove top and bottom of oranges, and cut into pieces.
Place all cake ingredients into food processor and process until mixture resembles a smooth batter.
Pour into tin and bake 40-45 minutes.

Once cake is out of the oven you can prepare the syrup. Place orange juice, sugar and marmalade into a small saucepan and over low heat continually stir the syrup until all of the sugar is dissolved. Using a skewer, pierce cake multiple times before pouring over syrup and allow it to absorb before serving.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Returning to Work { The Paid Kind }

For the last three years, I have been lucky to be able to call myself a stay at home Mum. It has been the hardest, most exhausting, and rewarding job that I've ever had the pleasure of calling mine. At times pre-children, I had considered some of my previous bosses to be a little bit on the unreasonable and difficult side of things, but these two daughters of mine have out-matched, out-bossed and surpassed any dentist that I've ever had the displeasure at times of working with (my "real" profession is that of a dental hygienist).

Other bosses may have demanded and asked me to work faster, to clean more peoples teeth in my day, encourage patients to buy this, suggest that they may need this filling replaced. But none have ever accompanied me on my every toilet trip, sat on my lap every time I tried to eat my breakfast or lunch, ate my food right of my plate, or laid on the floor and kicked and screamed at me when they found out they couldn't have their own way. They didn't follow me around all day, assisting and micro managing me in everything that I did. They haven't woken me in the night and kept me awake for hours on end, or consistently interrupted and needed something every time I try to have a conversation with somebody else. They haven't tried to snatch my phone out of my hand mid-sentence because they want to talk to Grandma, leaving me having to walk around aimlessly (whilst talking) so that my phone is out of their reach. And no dentist has ever kept me so busy that every cup of coffee I tried to drink was lukewarm by the time I actually had the chance to sit down and enjoy it. If they had, I would have quit. One finger style.

Yes, these two little angels of mine. Sweet as they can be and as delightful as they are for most of the day, have worked me harder than anybody else has ever done previously.

I don't need a job, I already have one. And it is more than full-time. But it doesn't pay so well. And sometimes, a little break from this job, might not be such a bad thing for me. Because God knows it's hard to get a break at home. If Mum's in the house, she is always needed for something. Regardless of where I try to hide, or how boring I try to make myself seem.

So I'm returning to casual work, to have a break from what I now consider to be my "real" job, being a Mum. The fact that it pays, is an added bonus. And blissfully, it's not of the dental kind. I don't think I'm quite ready, nor have the head space for that over-scheduled, busy world just yet.

A stroke of good timing has landed me a casual job at our local visitors centre/cafe/gift shop. A chance to meet some of the relaxed holidaying folk who visit and pass through our town. A real departure from my dental background, but one I'm looking forward to. Now that I'm a Mum, I no longer feel as career orientated as I used to, and still dream (like so many of us do) of a job that I could do from home during school hours.

In the meantime while I'm still working on that dream, I'll happily clean, make scones, serve coffee and chat to grey nomads. All the while enjoying the chance to enjoy uninterrupted adult conversations, and hopefully a little peace and quiet from toddler banter. It doesn't read like work to me at all really.

Have you returned back to paid work?
Found it's a nice break away from home? 
Or just added to the chaos?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Doing Less and A Girls Only Picnic By the Sea Shore

A lazy weekend. One spent mostly on our own while my husband was away on a boy's camping trip. There was a time when my husband worked fly in fly out from Perth. Leaving me with our daughter, then eventually our two daughters, every second week.

Now that my youngest Jessie is older, I no longer feel daunted by caring for our two on my own. Despite this, the same old worried feelings that I often felt when my husband was working away, crept back in. What was I going to do on my lonesome to keep these two entertained? Even with a morning spent at the local pool with a friend, it left plenty of empty time to fill.

What I have learnt from similar anxious feelings like this. That when you have a strong urge to do more, often the best choice is to do less. What could have been a weekend full of outings and catch ups with friends to get us out of the house, became something completely the opposite.

We baked. We ate what we had in the fridge and cupboards. We played. I kept things simple; meals, activities and expectations of myself. I didn't rush through the household chores. I stayed in my pyjamas for longer than I would normally. We just did less.

And what I found. More calm moments. More stillness. More concentration in the girls play. Less tantrums and end of day raggedy behaviour.

It all reminds me of conversations had with my Nanna and my Mum. About times past, where not everybody drove cars, and trips out of the house with children were weekly ventures. Not daily rushed affairs to get out the door to dance lessons, play group. music and other such things. While the boredom of that type of living seems stifling to me, I can see the positives in it. More chances for children to just be. To play in their own little world. 

The truth, that sometimes that need to be social and busy, is more our own, and not our children's. Before this weekend I wouldn't have considered us to be "over-scheduled" in regards to the girls planned activities. But now I can't help but wonder if we might be. Just a little. 

Our afternoon trip to the "sea shore". Imagined and created by Amelie. A bike ride to the shops to collect food for our picnic. A rug to stop the sand from spoiling our food. Talk in hushed tones due to a nearby sleeping baby. Endless cups of tea. It was delightful.

Do you find doing less makes parenting easier?
Or are your children better when they're kept a little busy?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Oven-Baked Tuna and Tomato Risotto

With a husband away camping for a long weekend it's been just myself and the girls. I worried that the girls might have missed their Dad (he has been out of phone range, so we really haven't heard from him at all). But things have gone more smoother than I expected.

I won't say that they haven't missed him. But they have been their usual selves, playing happily together one minute and snatching toys from one another the next. All of which was a huge relief. Nothing worse than trying to calm a toddler and trying to explain the reasons why we can't call Daddy today.

So after a busy morning at the pool with friends and over tired children this afternoon, it called for a simple filling meal tonight. Our go to. One that everybody eats without complaint. 

Oven-baked Tuna and Tomato Risotto

875ml chicken stock
10g butter
2 tspns olive oil
1 medium brown onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
425g can tuna in oil, drained gently
1 cup frozen peas
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbspns lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180C, or 160C fan forced.
Bring stock to boil in medium sized saucepan. Meanwhile, melt butter with olive oil in large saucepan, cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion softens. Add rice, stir to coat in onion mixture. Stir in hot stock and tuna.
Place risotto mixture in a large shallow baking dish, cover with foil. Bake in oven, 15 min, stirring halfway through cooking time. Uncover, bake another 20 minutes. Stir in peas, top with tomatoes, bake uncovered, about 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from oven, stir in lemon juice.

Hope yours was a relaxing weekend x

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Yellow { and The Power of Colour }

My emotions became the better of me during the week. I found myself in a slump. An emotional slump. A blogging slump. I was in a mood. And a very negative one at that.

I was over the constant 40 degree heat day after day after day, over the repetitive sameness that can be living in this town at times. Over being stuck in the middle of nowhere. Annoyed that it's costing the four of us $6,000 to return home to Tasmania for Christmas. I wanted to be back in amongst civilisation. Visit the beach. Visit a trendy cafe. Be anywhere else but here.

I found myself on Pinterest one night (when I should have been in bed sleeping). Pinning wildly. Surrounded by so many beautiful and inspiring images and ideas. And I was reminded of the power of colour to lift and brighten your mood.

Yellow truly is "my" colour. I find it so uplifting and happy. You can't help but think good thoughts when you look at images such as these. They are certain to put a smile on your dial.

What I'm clearly realising, is that I need more splashes of yellow in my life and home. I've always coveted a yellow dala horse so it's probably time I tried to find one. And while I continue to try and convince my husband that we should paint our dining chairs yellow, I might just have to settle for some yellow nail polish, for now. But mostly what I need is to buy a house with stairs, because of all these images, the yellow wall papered stairs are my absolute favourite. Instant happy.

Do you have a colour?
Does it brighten your mood?

Linking up with Sonia from Life, Love and Hiccups and Maxabella Loves for their weekend rewind x
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...