Tag Archives: Tasmania

Holly loves Christmas

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A little vintage fellow on my vintage silver aluminum tree. The tree belonged to Luke’s grandparents and is treasured.

With a name like Holly, it would be most disappointing if I was one to spurn Christmas. Luckily I love Christmas! What’s not to love? Food, friends, family, holidays, summer (for us anyway!), songs about oneself decking halls, drinking wine and eating shortbread at 11am …

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Gluten-free fruit mince pies – pastry by moi, fruit mince by Mum and Laura.

Luke and I alternate Christmases between my home of Launceston, Tasmania and his home of Lismore, New South Wales. This year was a year to head south and hang with the Brackens. We took some leave from work and headed down to Tassie for 10 days. Bliss!

First off we headed to the north-west coast to visit family, and stock up on Christmas supplies. We did the obligatory pop into Ashgrove Cheese and ate all of the tasting options, twice, but gave the Raspberry Farm and Anvers Chocolates a miss this time. Most restrained of us. Mainly because we already had a house full of raspberries and chocolate treats!

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No one made Luke choose the horse’s arse over a strawberry. No one.

We also stopped at the Berry Patch and the Cherry Shed, both of which provided much amusement. And delicious berries of course.

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The giant cherries were just asking for a pin up pose!

We spent the days before Christmas, cooking, eating, napping, reading, hanging out. Perfection. Then the day was upon us!

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I bought this vintage ‘resort wear’ in Lismore last year with my Christmas money, it was begging to be worn on Christmas Day. It has pockets!  I did change out of it later in the day though in order to fit in more food …

We had a lovely relaxed approach to Christmas lunch. No turkey or overcooked carrots for us! We started with oysters, 12 natural and 12 kilpatrick, then had prawn cocktails, then amazing Tasmanian crayfish in a white wine sauce, then the spread you see below, then pavlova, then plum pudding, then we all exploded.

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Cray legs, boiled new potatoes, broccoli salad, roast chicken, broad beans, caprese salad.

Through out which, we consumed copious cocktails. We began with Santa’s Slays (rum, cranberry juice and sparkling wine), then moved onto a variety of warm weather appropriate cocktails, such as the one below.

Last time we were in Tasmania we attempted a Christmas cocktail hour but were thwarted by a lack of mixers. We only had milk, and to her credit, Laura made a good go of it, offering us a variety of milk based cocktails. However, they didn’t go down very well on a full stomach while sitting in the sun. This has now gone down in Bracken family folklore, meaning “Make me another milk based cocktail!” was an oft heard phrase.

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Laura’s fabulous invention of gin, raspberries, lime and sparkling wine. And not a drop of milk to be seen.

On Boxing Day, we packed up two cars, six people, the dog, a dozen bottles of wine, left over treats and some board games and headed to Bicheno on Tasmania’s east coast. This is a glorious part of the world, well worth a visit. Mum hired a fantastic beach house and we proceeded to rest up.

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The view from the balcony. Bliss.

At night we played cribbage, card games and Monopoly. One epic six person game went on for around 4 hours! Some of us enjoyed Monopoly more than others. It’s always more fun when you win, so Laura must of had the best time of all!

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After four days beach-side it was sadly time to head back to Melbourne to commence real life again. Luckily I had one more holiday up my sleeve before work began again, a trip with Luke’s parents down the Great Ocean Road! Which I am sure you shall hear about shortly …

I hope you all had a great Christmas, New Years Eve or just a break if neither of those float your boat. Bring on more family, good food and travels in 2013!

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Meet Mallory!

I am a cyclist. Well, cyclist might be an exaggeration, but there is no doubt that I love riding my bike.

My ride is a 1960s Malvern Star, I named her Mallory. My Dad bought her for me at an auction in Launceston for only $75. He had her cleaned up and shipped over to the Melbourne inner city where she belongs. Thanks Dad!

She came with her original owners manual in a lovely Mao inspired plastic bag, tied onto her handlebars with a rubber band.

It was hard to avoid cycling as a kid, as I grew up in Evandale, Tasmania, the home of the National Penny Farthing Championships. In 1993, my Dad won the Airport Sprint, a race where they closed down the Launceston Airport so fools on penny farthings could ride down the runway really fast. Funnily enough, they don’t race that one any more.

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Here we all are in 1994! Nice hats!

Dad is a huge cycling fan and cyclist, as a teenager I worked in a cafe and served him and his many lyrca-clad mates lattes and pastries every Saturday morning after they’d been out on a long ride. Despite being surrounded by bikes growing up, I never really rode my bike much (maybe the lycra put me off!?).

These days I ride often. I ride Mallory to work everyday, to Girl Guides when I don’t have tents to traipse about, and out and about with Luke on the weekends. I try to avoid any real traffic, and stick to the nice wide bike paths. Luckily there is plenty of those in Melbourne.


Look how fast I can ride! Wheeeeeee!

My best (and only) sister Laura bought me this book for my birthday, it is full of cycling wisdom, maps and themed trips. I’m yet to try any of the suggested outings, but have enjoyed sections such as “Never look at yourself while wearing a helmet” and “The bicycle and women’s rights”.

Winter sees me often chosing the tram over Mallory, but now that summer is here I’m looking forward to days of cycling about. Safe riding!

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