JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017....A year in review

Here we are on New Years Eve and once again I am grateful for reaching this point.  Looking back through all my photos from 2017 I sometimes wonder whether we are ever home!  It has been a busy year.
New Year 2017 saw us on the Sunshine Coast celebrating with friends and family.  We always enjoy that and it is a great way to see in the New Year. This year we are in Toowoomba and sadly we are here for John's funeral.  John and Mum were together for 18 years so he has been like a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.
Now onto the year in review.
January we are usually sitting around waiting for the wet season to commence but we did make our way to Rex Smeal Park in Port Douglas to watch the "new Australians" become part of our community on Australia Day.

February was, for us, a relatively quiet month but a trip  to Tinnaroo Dam for a spot of Kayaking is always fun.

March was a great time to have my two sisters come for a visit.  It was wonderful to spend the time with each other even if it was only a short visit.

April is the Dirt and Dust Triathlon and my husband has competed in almost all of them.  This year we were joined by friends from Cairns.

April also saw my mother turn 80.  We celebrated with a "Girls Only" lunch and afternoon tea.

May.  It may not seem such a big deal to many folks, but we finally laid bitumen on our access road.  Why didn't we do this years ago!

June saw us travelling to PNG and Singapore with our wonderful friends.  It was a fabulous trip and memories that we will enjoy looking back on for a long time.

July saw us having friends visit and it is always a time for me to test my culinary skills.  I love good food and enjoy trying out new recipes but I am actually enjoying the cooking side less and less.  I guess it is an age thing.  These days I try to keep it simple, but there is nothing like a good cheese platter to impress the guests!

August is my birth month and this year, being my 60th, was quite a big month.  My dear friend surprised me with a beautiful birthday cake, made with her own hands.

We also spent a week in Bali for my birthday week and were joined by friends.  It was a special time with lots of eating, drinking and lots of laughs.

September our son came to visit us.  It was an opportunity to set him to work and help us with the branding.

October we sadly said our last goodbyes to Philips mother.  She would have been 82 in December and lived a very full, exciting life and always made the most of every situation.  We will miss her enthusiasm for life.

November saw us on another road trip.  Gosh I love these trips.  Everything is just so easy and I have repeatedly told Philip that I could easily live in our Camper for an extended amount of time.

November we saw John for the last time, although we did not know it at the time.  John sadly passed away on Christmas Eve.

December, with all the Christmas hype, passed very quickly.  It was the first time in our forty years of marriage that we spent Christmas alone and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

So, that's a wrap for 2017.  I wish you all peace and happiness for 2018 and god willing I will be sitting here again at the end of 2018 writing another post just like this one.  Namaste.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Thai Beef Salad

I haven't posted a recipe for quite awhile and today, while we were eating our Thai Beef Salad for lunch,  I thought I should share this truly delicious and healthy recipe.

(sourced from Paleopriness.com.au)
Beef Ingredients:
500g rump steak
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Sauce Ingredients:
2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce or amino seasoning
2-3 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 long red chilli, sliced thinly - seeds removed for a milder flavour
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
Salad Ingredients:
1 long lebanese cucumber, cut lengthways, then sliced into thin half moon shapes
1 red capsicum, sliced into 3cm thin strips
Soba noodles, cooked until just tender, then rinsed under cool water.  Drain well.
1 large bunch of fresh coriander
3 spring onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
Handful of fresh mint leaves, torn in half
1 carrot shaved into strips
Toasted Crushed Peanuts to serve

Mix the garlic with the olive oil.  Cut the steak into bite size pieces and mix with the garlicky oil.  Heat a frying pan until very hot and toss in the steak.  Cook to your liking and set aside.

Combine the fish sauce, lime juice, basil leaves, chilli, coconut sugar, soy sauce (or amino seasoning) in a bowl.  Combine the steak with the sauce and and place in the fridge to marinate at least 10 minutes.

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, cover and place in the fridge.

When you are ready to serve, pour the beef and marinade on top of the salad mixture and toss together.  Sprinkle with the peanuts.


Monday, 11 December 2017

The Festive Season begins

Our first christmas party for the season was on the weekend at the Combined Club, or more affectionately known as the "Tin Shed".  The club shuts for the night so that members can enjoy canapés and half price drinks all evening.  How good is that!
Earlier I had booked us a room at Mantra Heritage right in the centre of Port Douglas because it is so much nicer if we can both enjoy a beverage or two without having to worry about the drive home.
We had never stayed at Mantra Heritage before (how did we miss this place!) and after an easy check-in process we quickly settled into our swim-out room.  The one-bedroom apartment was beautifully placed in the resort and just three rooms shared the private pool.

There was no one else in the other two swim out rooms so we had the pool to ourselves.
There is another larger pool, that was not quite in our view, and as we were sunning by the pool a young mother and her three year old daughter asked if they could swim in this pool as there was music playing in the larger pool area and the songs they were playing were never meant for young ears.  Gee people are thoughtless.  We, of course welcomed them to our private pool.  They were from Geelong and were here in Port for a week's holiday.  We talked for quite awhile before we excused ourselves to go and shower for our christmas party.
We walked the short distance to the Combined Club and made our way upstairs and made ourselves very comfortable in an outside sitting area.
The Tin Shed 

 The area was set up for four people and it wasn't long before another couple joined us.  They were from Cairns and we settled into an easy conversation.  The canapés kept coming all night and we enjoyed fish and chips (including sweet potato chips), grilled chicken and kimchee, beetroot risotto arancini balls, bruschetta and prawn balls.  There were also sweets laid out but we didn't go near them as we were content with what we had indulged in.
It wasn't a late night and we were in bed by 10.30 pm.  The room was beautifully dark and I didn't wake until 8.00 am Sunday morning!  That is a real sleep in for me.
We showered and re-packed our overnight bag and checked out of our room because we wanted to wander through the markets and then head to Hi-Tide by the Sea for breakfast.
We haven't been to the markets for many years and it was pleasing to see so many new stalls.  We stopped at the stall selling magnesium and topped up our supplies.  This lady makes all her own products and we know that they are good.

Next stall was to chose property numbers for our front gate.  Philip will attach these to a piece of perspex before attaching to our block gate.

We finally sat down to breakfast/brunch at 10.00 am at Hi-Tide.  This place has become a favourite as the food is always healthy and fresh.  I chose the seasonal greens with house smoked salmon, poached eggs and hummus washed down with a refreshing Ginger, Lime & Mint Slushy.

Philip chose the pork belly with poached eggs however he said that the pork was slightly on the dry side.

It was a lovely 24 hours and as usual we promise ourselves to do it again soon.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Have we really been on holidays?

We have been home for a week now and it feels like we have never been away.  It is amazing how we slip back into the same routines so easily.  For me, the first two days home were washing clothes and linen, cleaning the camper, more washing, more cleaning.  In between all that we made a trip to Port to shop some groceries as the cupboard was bare.  We decided to splurge on lunch as there was nothing much to eat in the fridge.  We chose Paddy Malone's as it was a terribly muggy day and it is air-conditioned.   We both chose seafood - Philip the seafood platter and I chose the fish and chips with mushy peas.  Would you check out the size of Philip's meal!  And he ate all of it!

It is very unusual for us not to have a feed of fish and chips when we are on holidays but this time, in our effort to make healthier food choices, we did not indulge even once.  After eating our meals at Paddy's we both had queasy bellies and we think that it was eating deep fried food.

This week was cattle work.  We arrived home to find our cattle being eaten alive with buffalo fly so it was a trip to Mareeba to purchase ear tags and the following day, with the help of our gardeners daughter, we tagged every single beast on the property.  It is so very satisfying to see, after just a couple of hours, that the cattle are far more contented without the flies chewing them.

I did manage to get two yoga practices in this week as well as a couple of morning walks.  Would you look at what I woke to this morning.

We had rain yesterday so it was inevitable that we would have fog this morning.

I am still trying to cook and eat healthy meals.  I made a huge batch of Broccoli, Kale, Couscous and Chickpea soup using a recipe that I had seen on TV, so that has been our lunch for most of this week. I serve it with a spoonful of yoghurt, parsley and a squeeze of lemon.  It is very delicious and even though soup is typically a winter meal, this one is so light and yummy that it can be made for any season of the year.  I did shake up our healthy choices (not) and made quesadilla's for a snack one night.  I had a lot of leftover bits of cheeses and some delicious homemade cucumber pickles so that is what went on the quesadilla and they were delicious with a capital "D".

Another day I made Jamie Olivers Sweet Potato Salad.  I was going to serve it is a side to some corned meat fritters but it was a meal in itself.

We have so many eggs at the moment.  My DIL loaded us up and our gardener's chooks are laying more than she can handle so I have many dozens in my fridge.  Poached eggs with avocado and Dukkah are always a good way to use a couple.  Talking about Avocado's, what is going on with them this year.  Everyone I open seems to be mostly brown on the inside.  I have tried leaving them on the bench for just 24 hours and then popping them into the fridge but nothing seems to help.  I can't wait for my own to ripen.

We had to go to Cairns yesterday to pick up some fuel and oil filters for the various machinery.  Just before we left, my phone decided to die.  I eventually got it working again, albeit - S L O W - so I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a new IphoneX.  Boy, aren't they expensive!  I hope that this will be my last phone for a long long time.  My last one lasted four years so I hope I get at least that out of this new one.  I played with it last night as it is a steep learning curve.  I love the camera and Philip was my portrait subject.  I intend to do a lot more practicing so friends.....be warned!

That's a wrap for this week.....

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig (Days 18 & 19)

The last two days of our holiday slipped quickly by.  From Mackay we were headed to Townsville where we were staying with friends (ex Julia Creek) for our last night.  The road from Mackay to Townsville is always busy but it doesn't worry us with our slower speed.  It does take a lot of stress out of the journey when you slow it down.
Our lunch stop today was at a little place called Guthalungra.  Blink and you would miss the place but it had a really lovely picnic area with one of the prettiest and cleanest toilet blocks I have seen in our travels.  We lunched and then lay down in the camper for a little nanny nap before continuing on our journey.

We stopped at Bowen at a roadside fruit stall to pick up a box of mangoes for $10 and a bag of tomatoes - about a dozen -for $5.  Bargain.

South of Bowen we made a detour into Brisk Bay.  The people who were camped beside us in Mackay said that this is where they lived and that we should go and check it out.  It is another hidden secret, and I can understand why they love living there.  As we drove slowly through there little township, if you can call it that because there were no shops of any description, the residents in their backyard watched us carefully as we drove down the streets.  They have a very strong neighbourhood watch!
Brisk Bay

Brisk Bay

Crossing the Burdekin River
We arrived into Townsville around 4.30 pm and it was great to catch up with Kevin and Karen.  They have only just moved into their home and it is truly like something out of Home Beautiful magazine.  Karen has impeccable taste in furnishings.
Kevin cooked us steaks on the BBQ while Karen prepped the vegetables.  It was a delicious meal.  We talked until well into the night and our yawning finally saw us heading off to bed.
We left them the next morning after a light breakfast as we had an appointment at 9.00 am but we will certainly catch up with each other now that we live relatively close to each other again (they were our next door neighbours in Julia Creek)
The clouds in the sky looked ominous as we drove north but didn't eventuate into anything serious, however it made for pleasant driving conditions.  We commented how lovely it is to be back in the tropics with all the vivid greens.  We ain't never going to leave the north!
We decided to take the turnoff to Mission Beach for lunch.  I had found a nice picnic spot at South Mission Beach on the Wikicamps app and it didn't disappoint.  We were parked right beside the beach and looking  out over the ocean was magnificent Dunk Island.  I wanted to go for a swim in the stinger net where we were parked but Philip was anxious to get home.   I must admit I was dragging my feet as it's been a really relaxing holiday and I know that as soon as I get home it will be work, work, work!
It was surprising and wonderful to arrive home to find that the gardener had mowed all the lawns (that isn't in her job description) and the cleaner had worked her magic and given the house a spring clean.  We are very lucky to have two such lovely women on our life!
Now, as I sit on the verandah writing this blog I wonder why I was sad at arriving home.  We live in one of the most gorgeous places in the world.  It just takes a holiday away to appreciate it.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Day 17 Rockhampton to Blacks Beach Mackay

Nothing much to report today.  The road between Rockhampton and Sarina is quite boring and I remember my dad calling it the "horror stretch".  The road has improved slightly over the years, particularly when the road was moved slightly to the east.  It is a relief to the eyes to come across the ocean views at Clareview.
As we were fuelling up at Yaamba we watched this fella walking along the highway.  I have no idea what his plan was but it's a hard way to see the world.

It was, once again, a rainy day.  We have commented to each other that we have been under cloud cover almost the whole time we have been away.  One thing that is a relief though is that the temperature has warmed.  Gee we struck some cool weather.

Wickicamps has been a lifesaver on this trip and has directed us to some places that we might have bypassed.  Today, for example, we found that there was a rest area at Sarina Beach that looked inviting even though it was still drizzling.  It was a good choice and we discussed how many of these beaches there are along the east coast of Australia.  Philip recalled his mother saying that it was her dream to call in at every beach along the Queensland coast.  Well Dallas, we are working on it for you.
Sarina Beach

Another search on Wikicamps found us a really fabulous van park at Blacks Beach north of Mackay.  This has been by far and away the best park we have stayed at.  The amenities are impeccable and the sites very large shady and green.  We opted to pay the extra dollars to have an absolute beachfront site.  We did regret this however when l a storm blew in from the ocean.  It was very windy and we ended up dismantling the annex as we were frightened it may take off through the night.

Blacks Beach Mackay 

I had a an uncomfortable night as I have picked up the same bug that Philip had at Fraser Island.  It's not a bad bug but it does make you feel a bit "off".
We cooked up a roast pork belly tonight with all the vegetables and I will just have to take Philips word for it that it tasted great because I just could not stomach it.  Let's hope I feel better tomorrow as we are staying with friends tomorrow night and I don't want to pass on the bug.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Day 16 - Fraser Island to Rockhampton

Well, it's a fact, we are resort lovers.  Sure, we also enjoy our camper and will get many years of faithful service from it because where we want to travel there are no resorts, but we are definitely lovers of the finer life.
We slept in quite late and were woken by the sound of rain falling gently on the roof.  It was a very overcast day so we timed our departure from Fraser Island to perfection.
A rainy day

View from our resort room overlooking the lagoon
We had a buffet breakfast in the resort dining room and after breakfast we packed the clothes we had taken from the camper back in the camper and made our way to the vehicular ferry ramp.  We had arrived in plenty of time so we decided to do a beach walk.  Unfortunately it was cut short by another shower of rain heading our way.

The same girl that loaded us on to the ferry on the way over was also there to load us again and I'm happy to report that she was in a much better mood.  One might even say cheery!
Looking back towards Fraser Island and we timed our departure well as the rain set in
The 45 minute ferry ride seemed to take no time at all this time and by midday we had the car off the boat and pointed north.  We had thoughts of returning to the lovely beachside caravan park at Yeppoon but with all the roadworks south of Rockhampton we didn't arrive into Rocky until 5.30 pm so it would have been a very late arrival into Yeppoon.  We are staying at the same caravan park that we stayed at last year, The Parkhurst, as it is clean and the sites are large and at $25/night, very cheap.
I had pulled out some chicken kebabs at our lunch stop and I had a bag of stir-fry veggies already in the fridge so that was our dinner tonight.  Why does food cooked on the BBQ taste so much better that what it does cooked on the stovetop at home?
It is now time to lay my head down in our very comfortable camper bed and have some sweet dreams.  Although I enjoyed our night at the resor,t I love our camper bed more than any other bed I have ever slept in, and that's a big call!