Thursday, 20 November 2014

Retirement Lifestyle ... this week

It's been one of those 'birthday weeks' this week, with three family members - husband, mother-in-law and grandson - celebrating birthdays within five days! One of the new luxuries of our retirement lifestyle is that now we have the time to really enjoy these occasions.

As the family's CBC aka Chief Birthday Cakemaker the task fell to me to whip up 'a birthday cake worth sharing' for the three birthday celebrants aged from 7 to 88! I chose to make a 'Chocolate Torte Los Angeles' -  a recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks 'The Gretta Anna Recipes'. Moist and calorific it got a thumbs up from everyone!

John's was one of the three birthdays to be celebrated. Neither the 7 year old nor the 88 year old, all I can say is that next year it a very big and special birthday!!! I need to start planning soon!

We decided to go out for lunch on the day and headed for the recently opened Jamie's Italian Adelaide.

Housed in the old Westpac Bank building the proportions inside are enormous! Despite this the designers have done an amazing job of creating a warm and welcoming space. I loved being able to see the food being cooked and assembled!

Choosing from the menu we were pleasantly surprised to find that prices are very reasonable.

I chose Jamie's Italian Signature Porchetta - slow-cooked free-range Australian pork belly filled with herbs, garlic and spices with fennel crackling and a watercress salad.

It was amazing! The meat was meltingly tender, the crackling perfectly crunchy and the flavourful jus - I could have eaten a bowl full as a broth!

The Birthday Boy chose the Wild Boar and Porcini Lasagne - slow-cooked wild boar, porcini,
mascarpone, herbs and wine, baked in an oozy white sauce with tomatoes and parmesan.

Expecting strong flavours the tender shredded meat filling of the lasagne was surprising mild in flavour and was complimented beautifully by the richness of the tomato and mascapone cheese sauce. Unfortunately I didn't grab a photo before before the generous serving of parmesan was sprinkled over. It was luscious!

For dessert we couldn't go past sharing a serve of the Epic Brownie - a warm fudgy brownie with amaretto icecream and caramelised amaretti popcorn. Wow!

Did we like it! It was epic!!! We almost scraped the bottom off the serving dish! And, can I tell you that the flavour and crunch of caramelised amaretti popcorn transports this dish to heavenly!

Just inside the entrance walls are flanked by two display cupboards with enticing Jamie Oliver merchandise. I have a couple of these books in my cookbook collection but hadn't seen Jamie's America or Jamie Oliver Does ... Spain, Italy, Greece, Morroco, Sweden, France. I left thinking that I must check them out!

As we left I couldn't resist taking a 'selfie' in the mirror reflection of the main doors!

So, to summarise - for the atmosphere and vibe, attentive service, wonderful food and value for money it surpassed our expectations. We gave it 10/10! It is a dining destination worth visiting!
We'll be back!

PS: The toilets - located downstairs are worth visiting! I won't spoil the surprise for you - but you'll know what I mean when you get there!

*To be clear - this is not a sponsored post. We visited as 'walk ins' on a Monday for lunch, arriving early at about 11.45am because the online lunch bookings were filled. We were welcomed and seated with only a few minutes wait. Others we know have waited patiently for long periods of time for a seat during evening service.

Jamie Oliver, you've done Adelaide proud! I 'dips my lid to you!'.



Thursday, 13 November 2014

Retirement Lifestyle ... this week

Retirement is proving to be so much fun! I particularly treasure the opportunities I am afforded to develop and explore my creativity - and learning photography has been one of those opportunities.

Imagine then, my excitement - and equal measure of terror - at being nominated to participate in a five day Black and White Photography challenge on Facebook. My blogger friend, Liz, at Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things (a wonderful blog you really must visit) extended the challenge.

On the first day I resorted to rushing outside to photograph something - anything - that would look reasonably interesting in black and white! The photograph I posted received one Like and no comments! Not an auspicious start!

Having never dabbled in this area of photography, as I embraced the challenge, I was quickly struck by how different the world looks in black and white. I have now a huge appreciation, and am in awe of, the skills and artistic 'eye' displayed by those photographers who excel in this area!

So, this week - in my retirement - I learnt that embracing a challenge, throwing caution to the wind and 'having a go' are extremely energising and liberating.

I am less hung up these days about what other people think - so here are my first black and white photos for your appraisal! They are far from perfect - but I had fun!

My Black and White Photography Challenge Gallery


My Day 1 post, these rocks in blacks and greys form the 'beach' of our garden pond.


Street art, Torquay, Victoria


These structures along the M80 Ring Road, Melbourne fascinate me - one day they are praying mantis, another two girls jiving ...  What do you see?

'Big Rig' 

The Longhorn Express photographed at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Now that's a truck!


Bushfire smoke made visibility poor travelling this day through northern New South Wales.

'Evening Storm' 

Port Macquarie


Street number photographed in rural Victoria.


How my skin feels without moisturiser these days!

'Ripples in the Sand' 

Long Beach, Coffin Bay South Australia.

'Scorched Earth 1'

Burnt bushland in the Coffin Bay National Park

'Scorched Earth 2'

Vertical view of the shot above.

'Black Magic'

A stunning viola in my garden.

'Can I Tempt You?'

Straight from the oven - a fresh scone for morning tea!

'Just a Small Serve'

Lemon Meringue Pie - yum! I must put this up on Apricot Tart soon!

'Time to Eat'

Eating outside again! I love summer!

Finally .....

'It's Five O'clock Somewhere'

Wine on the deck at Coffin Bay!

What an interesting and enjoyable experience the challenge has been! Thanks so much, Liz, for the nomination - you have sent me off on an adventure I might otherwise not have taken!

Do you have a favourite amongst these photos? I'd love to hear from you - be brave and let me know in the comments box!



Thursday, 6 November 2014

A Postcard ... from Mykonos

It's been a while since I've posted here - my apologies - but this retirement lifestyle certainly is busy! 

Planning some more overseas travel got me reminiscing about our trip to Greece and so I thought I might share some of our adventure on the beautiful island of Mykonos.

We arrived by ferry from Santorini on a beautiful May day. The harbour was glorious.

Without accomodation organised we were so fortunate to meet someone who directed us to this amazing place.

As it was just days before the opening of the summer season we paid a very reduced rate for our luxury accomodation and had the resort virtually to ourselves! It was so fabulous that we organised to stay a further two days!

The view from our terrace looking over the sea to more of those beautiful Greek islands! Those sunbeds had our name on them for several days!

We had the infinity pool to ourselves. The service was amazing - each time we used the pool a staff member rushed out with the biggest, whitest, fluffiest towels I have ever seen!

Breakfast, included in the price of the room, was a highlight of each day! It included champagne, smoked salmon and everything in between! As much as you wanted, served whenever you requested it!

We enjoyed breakfast each day served overlooking the infinity pool! I just loved these water glasses and still covet a set of my own! Does anyone know where I can get some?

A feature of any trip to Greece is the food! And any meal is nothing without traditional 'patates' - that are a bit similar to our chips. I loved that everywhere we went you could order a range of dishes to share. Every meal was a feast!

Yes, those streets in Mykonos really are narrow and windy - and those pirates in olden days would surely have got lost! It's hard to show just how narrow the streets are - so check out John's feet. This little path is as wide as two feet placed one in front of the other.

We kept stumbling across this tile which is located on one of the narrow streets between the main square on the beach front and Little Venice. After a couple of days it became a 'marker' and we knew where we were!

Beautiful little churches like this one near Little Venice are one of the features of Greece. And that sky - it must be the most beautiful blue in the world!

NB These photos were taken with my iphone 4! No filters, no tricks - this is how it was!

The Little Venice section of town is a 'must see'! The beach is a bit pebbly for suntanning on however!

No visit to Mykonos is complete without visiting the iconic windmills. Did you know that they were built by the Venetians in the 16th Century!

I found the beauty of the windmills very hard to capture in a photo on my iphone 4. I have a new appreciation of those beautiful shots taken by skilled photographers!

Beautiful Mykonos - I can't wait to visit you again!

Have you been to Mykonos? Do leave a comment - I'd love to hear of your experiences!



Sunday, 7 September 2014

Retirement Lifestyle ... this week!

We are back in beautiful Coffin Bay this week. I wish you could be here!

I discovered the Pano setting on my iPhone and was pretty pleased with this image. It is taken from the top of the Big Sand Dune on an evening walk along Long Beach.

I loved the colours of the evening sky reflected in the tidal sand flats of Long Beach.

The long and short of it! John on the dune, my shadow in the foreground.

The colours of the sky were amazing - I wish this truly captured the beauty of what we were seeing!

Spring is in the air - the bush is blooming!

The beach at Crinoline Point looking towards Yangie on the right. That's the Big Sand Dune in the centre.

You know you are in Australia when an emu and it's chicks are foraging in your backyard!

I bravely donned my bathing suit for the first time this season and caught up on some Vitamin D! The privacy screen we put on the windows really works - this is my reflection.

Have a great week wherever you are!



Saturday, 30 August 2014

Retirement lifestyle ... this week!

It's been a while since I last posted - our busy retirement lifestyle keeps getting in the way - not that I'm complaining!

So here's an update! The work on our beach house renovation continued. New carpet was laid in the bedrooms.

With the carpet laid and a lull between the next jobs John and I shifted everything back in, packed up the house we'd been renting and headed for home - and beyond - for a few days.

We organised for privacy film to be applied to the front windows in our absence. This is a 'before' shot.

Once home we headed for Melbourne for a weekend to catch up with Daniel, Amanda and Charlie. It was foggy in those Adelaide Hills as we headed east.

Charlie is growing up so quickly - he's turning 3! Where did that time go!

Back home it was Vale Park Primary School's 50th Anniversary. We felt so welcomed - and as I walked through the school I felt great pride at what we had all worked so hard to achieve there during my 13 years as Principal.

It was a special privilege to be a guest speaker at the formal celebrations! Thank you so much, Vale Park Primary School!

We returned to Coffin Bay with the trailer loaded with the floor tiles that we had chosen to lay ourselves - saving a substantial amount of money. These are a vinyl product that interlock and do not need to be glued - just perfect for our purposes.

Putting the bunk beds back together was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle! We did the first one three times before we got the ladder in the right place!

Before laying the tiles the floor needed to be leveled with that wonderous product self leveling cement. Richie, our tiler helped out. John - you will notice - is again supervising!

Sophie and David tackled laying the floor tiles - I think they are secretly practicing for 'The Block'!

Once the lines along which the tiles were to be laid had been determined the bulk of the tiles went down quickly - it was the edges and the eight doorways that took the time. We've gone for a polished concrete look.

The very last piece of tile goes in!

Going for a minimalistic look we have chosen not to have curtains, and installed only blinds. Together with the privacy film we should be able to see out without others seeing in!

We haven't had too many disasters but this was a surprise when we opened the mirrors. Replacements are on order!

There has been a problem with supply of the range hood we ordered - and the splashback can't be installed until it is fitted - so this is the new kitchen as it is at present.

We are pleased with the living space, although it too is not yet finished. A number of new furnishings are on our shopping list!

All Alex wanted for his 9th birthday was to spend it at Coffin Bay! It was fitting that the first thing I cooked in my new oven was his birthday cake!

We're working hard - but are certainly enjoying our retirement lifestyle! I can't wait to relax on the deck one day soon!