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Who could absolutely do with a little reward right now?

A reward to break up the "sameness" that we are all experiencing.  I am.  It’s hard to believe that the September school holidays are around the corner.  For those of you with kids at Uni, they’re only just walking onto campus now.  Crazy.

For me it’s been a strange few months, having spent most of them working outdoors with a focus on the garden and backyard due to not being allowed to go anywhere!  We got to put in our olive grove, but sadly our “mini” vineyard has not appreciated all the rain and will need lots of TLC to bring it back from its near death experience ...

But there’s nothing more rewarding for me than being out amongst nature.  I’m sure it’s what keeps my beautiful mum looking as she does.  However, not having my dad here has taken its toll.  So I’m chuffed to have finally gotten around to completing some of our projects we had talked about.  Like bottling his homemade red wine vinegar.  The taste is simply delicious!  And I’ve been making Limoncello from his old but extremely productive lemon trees – our class participants have been the lucky taste testers 😂.

Since we reopened in late July (which seems so long ago) we’ve been booked solid.  People are flocking to the Blue Mountains, understandably.  We even got snow last week which I always seem to miss by a day.  My lucky guests showed me their photos and I must say, there’s a magical feeling about seeing our backyard in white. 

These three ladies certainly felt the charm and warmth, and the value of taking time out to relax and reconnect.  They had such a laid back weekend, they decided to add one of our Italian cooking experiences to their stay.  By the time we’d finished the class and meal, they were ready to have a snooze in front of the fire.  That’s what happens in my parents’ home village – the traditional siesta.

Life is lived on a different level where they come from.  Having lived there for 6 months with my husband and young daughter a number of years ago, it was an unforgettable experience.  One that took awhile to get used to.  The essence was that each day is lived in its entirety.  There’s not a lot of forward planning.  A lot like what we’re going through now. After all it's rather risky planning too far ahead.  The positive to this is we’re living more in the moment.  Whilst there's a bit of adjustment needed, I’m sure we’re going to be better for it.

Personally I've been wanting to visit my family in Victoria for ages.  But that's out of the question.  As is seeing my girlfriend in sunny Qld ... so there’s no planning a break for me just yet, and thankfully our place is in demand, as are our cooking experiences.  And I get why. 

Everyone is needing to feel connected in a more genuine way.  Getting out beyond our own four walls – and Zoom sessions – is desirable but spending real time together is essential.  That’s where nature comes into play again. 

Last week's guests happily soaked up quiet time inside watching the snow gently fall.  And they made the most of the following morning by walking down to Minne Ha-Ha Falls.  As they said, it was good for the soul and good for the body.  That’s what I call a memorable break.

Of course we are so blessed to live in NSW, with an abundance of places to visit.  This is so the right time to explore our own state without spending a fortune – nature is free and perfect for all ages!  Regional businesses will welcome you with open arms and you will return home with your well earned reward. 

Many thanks to the following businesses and organisations helping to sell or promote our products.  Please help support these small businesses.

Photos: adorable snowman August 2020; fresh gnocchi with olive oil and fresh rosemary; the beautiful Carli and I at our gnocchi making class; our converted garage finally finished.   Middle photos: my dad Francesco's red wine organic vinegar; abundant lemons from dad's tree; limoncello served as part of our dessert.  Bottom photos: guests walk down to Minne Ha-Ha Falls waterfall; us in Sicily Italy on a trip of a lifetime; X marks the spot – for our new olive grove, sooo exciting!

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