Let’s Be Pen Pals

Hello friends,

Oh what a glorious blustery day! I hope you all had a great week and have just poured a fresh cup of tea, ready to settle in for a wee chat. My heart goes out to those who are in lockdown at the moment. I hope this post provides a few moments pleasant diversion for you. 

I have a confession to make. You know how I had a bit of a whinge last week about camping down the coast when I’ve been trying sooo hard to get my kids out west. Well, its no surprise that we didn’t make it to Broken Hill. That would have been a miracle indeed. So, I was a big girl and graciously accepted that we would only chug an hour down the road instead. Now of course as there are more lockdowns happening, I am just so grateful that we could get that far.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting much. Beaches all look the same to me and I don’t find the surrounding scrub particularly stimulating. But boy was I in for a shock! This secluded little beach was absolutely stunning! WOW! the headland was incredible, the sunsets nothing short of glorious and the walks were straight out of a picture book. Yes, I will admit it. In all humility I hereby acknowledge that beach holidays can be pleasant, even for a country girl. (Ok ok, I realise you all already knew that!!)

The best part by far was that this was our inaugural trip with a vintage caravan purchased to get our family out and about creating memories. Some of you may know that we have been doing up my darling Dorothy, a 1961 Bondwood that is seriously the cutest thing you have ever seen (more on her another time). But this van is the family van, complete with bunks for two of the kiddos and the coolest turquoise vinyl seating and retro table top.

Just to back track a little, camping is something our family hasn’t ever done much of. About twenty years ago we tried it with a gaggle of kiddies, toddlers and babies and it was hideous. Apart from having zero appropriate camping gear, thinking it would be fun to squeeze into an overcrowded caravan park full of relaxed campers who actually knew what they were doing, we cleverly managed to coincide it with an above average heat wave in the peak of Summer. We call that particular trip the ‘horror holiday from hell’ and if it wasn’t for our dear friend’s rescue, hosting us in their tiny home with fans, cool drinks and movie afternoons, we would quite possibly be permanently traumatised and still in therapy.

Camping was always simply just too hard. Add eight children into the mix and there was no way we could pull it off and live to talk about it. So, now that half our family are adults and there are no more nappies, I figured it was time to try the holiday thing again. I also realised that the only way I could do it was to do it properly, and that means I need a room. A space. A proper bed, sink, cupboards and bug proof walls. But mainly, I need to decorate it and put my personality into it. Any creative will understand the drive to express! 

 We haven’t chosen a name for our 1973 Viscount yet, but I’m thinking Maggie, or Elsie, after one of our grandmothers. I’ll keep you posted. 

And oh glory be! I underestimated just how much I would  adore having this sweet little personal expression to live in for a few days!! I loved every minute. It was nothing short of delightful for this mama bear. The kids, not so much. 

Enter ‘The Cranks’.

On the first night as we sat cosily around our little vintage camp table and chairs literally metres from the shore line, I pleasantly asked the sweet treasures to tell us all one thing they enjoyed about our day. My heart was full from the many refreshments that being in a new environment (and an adorable vintage caravan) bring, and expectations were high.

“Huh, nothing” was the first disgruntled response. Incredulous!! But when the second dear teenager responded the same way I couldn’t believe it. You’ve got to be kidding me! They had been swimming, surfing, lazing in the sun, walking, eating, exploring, scootering….how can they say nothing?! Two of the four sweeties wanted to go home the next day, and were horrified to discover that the plan was to stay three more nights.

Thats when the cranks set in.

I won’t bore you with the dialogue, but any mother of teenagers will be familiar with it I’m sure. As I watched my hopes of Broken Hill slip further and further into the dusty red sunset, I struggled to comprehend such vehement, self imposed blindness to the beauty and richness of experience right in front of their eyes. Such ingratitude! 

One observation I have made with children who grow up on the coast, is that they can become spoilt and unaware of the privilege it is to live in such a beautiful part of our country. Growing up many hours from the beach, it was always such a huge deal for us to go to the coast for a holiday. But when you live fifteen minutes from some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, I guess it’s easy to take it all for granted. Combine that with hormonal immaturity, then I guess I can see why I got that response. Well actually, no I still can’t, but in the words of an eloquent fifteen year old…whatever.

Long story short, for a few different reasons, we ended up taking the cranks home early and once they were out of the way the rest of us had a wonderful holiday together.

(disclaimer: there were other adults at home to supervise the teenagers so they were not left to their own devices, and yes, I still like my children.)

The whole time I was away, I was daydreaming about another cake road trip. With keen eyes and a renewed awakening for the beauty right in front of me, I saw potential in the scrub land and promise in the tidal puddles. I was indeed humbled by our little sojourn to the beach and want to explore the landscape that is around me once again with a rustic table and cake! 

Looking over these photos I see so much creativity in the details. A neglected wall with peeling paint, a forgotten and overgrown railway or a worn pathway through the dry grass, so much beauty in the ordinary that can captivate us if we know how to look at it. The same cake photographed in different settings, from different angles, all telling their own unique story. Somehow, I feel something new and exciting has been birthed inside my heart and imagination and all I can think of is how much I want to run and explore and do it all again!

See you next week. 

Lots of love,

Anna xx


  • This made me laugh Anna, we surely live in parallel universes, with just a few years separating us!!!!!! I am thrilled that you have found another place to explore and express your incredible creativity. Love you xxx

  • Loving your blogs Anna! So real and so full of beauty – just like you!

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