Celebrating two years at the blog and meeting Ita Buttrose

“Why do you blog? I don’t get blogging. Why would you put your stuff out there for people to see?”

All I can say, is that … It Just Felt Right.

When I started this blog two years ago I had no plans except to use it as a creative outlet, a place away from clients’ work where I could be playful and do my own thing.

Along the way something else happened. I rediscovered my love of writing, something I had trained in but something I hadn’t done for many years.

And suddenly I had a place where I could use my words and images together.

It was a natural fit.

It. Just. Felt. Right.

And then something else started to happen. I slowly started to get to know people from all around the world with similar interests and with a similar sense of humour. And friendships blossomed. In Australia, in America, in Italy, Algeria, in Mexico and Norway! And I realised that our little corner of the world in rural Australia has its own charms and people were actually enjoying our stories about Bathurst and our various misadventures.

Last night in Sydney, publishing legend and 2013 Australian of the Year, Ita Buttrose, launched a book I designed for travel writer and photo journalist Christine Osborne.

Christine Osborne and Ita Buttrose at the launch of Travels with my Hat

Author Christine Osborne and Ita Buttrose at the launch of Travels With My Hat

Christine found me via the blog.

If I didn’t blog, I would never have met her and I would never have met Ita.

Blogging has opened up my world in ways I never saw coming.

Why do you blog?

I love making you laugh. I love it when you’re moved to tears by something I’ve written. I love sharing our here and now with you, the little roller coaster that is our life in Bathurst. This crazy roller coaster that we all ride. I love the sense of connection. Of shared moments. Even if they’re a world away.

In a busy, busy world, I am so grateful that you find your way here. And I’m so grateful for all your little comments and words of encouragement over the past two years, especially when we’ve hit life’s lows, and we’ve had our fair share of those in recent times.

Somehow, dreams seem possible here. And that’s a wonderful gift you give me.

Thank you so much.

loads of love

Marg xxx

    20 Comments

    …in which the new girl in school makes a complete dick of herself

    A few weeks back I decided to do an 8 week intensive online business/marketing course at Marie Forleo’s B-School.

    We’ve just finished Week 2.

    It’s been a bit like entering Hogwarts, sitting in the front of the boat watching the course loom up in the distance and then, when you enter Hogwarts itself, you find yourself surrounded by nearly 12,000 other students from all around the world.

    The main corridor of the Facebook Group is a riot of nervous energy, cheerleaders and bumbling newbies, with seniors hanging off to the side in their little groups – some super friendly, some super cool. Everyone, ultimately, extremely helpful and supportive.

    Imagine, if you will, beyond the main corridor are classrooms (sub-groups) for the dancers, the language coaches, the foodies, the gardeners, the life coaches, the graphic designers… you join a few of them in the hope of finding your tribe.

    Unsurprisingly I’ve gravitated towards the artists, the writers, the photographers and the travel crew but I’ve also been spending a bit of time with the design crew.

    Last night I was jumping around on Facebook, flitting from my personal profile to the groups, getting dinner, stoically suffering through Series 4 of Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey … you can see where this is going right?

    This morning I check in to see what’s going on in the design group and there, front and centre – actually, surrounded above and below with vibrant and serious design-related conversations – is a lonely status update from me…

    “Note to Julian Fellowes.
    Please kill Lady Mary off at your earliest convenience.”

    No Likes. No Comments. And surprisingly, No Shares.

    Mortified, I deleted it straight away and then fretted the morning away, thinking that was the wrong thing to do. I should have left it there and made some light-hearted comment so that the group realised it was a mistake. Too late. It’s gone. And I’m off to buy this.

    How Not to Be a Dick A guide

    Perhaps it’s my imagination but I could swear that the temperature in the design room has cooled a little. So if you don’t see me for a while, you’ll know I’ll be off in a corner somewhere, friendless and quietly hitting the books.

    Lady Mary looking dejected in Downton Abbey

    mmm … suddenly I know how you feel Mary …

    When you work by yourself, especially after nearly 10 years of doing it from home, it can be a real challenge to put yourself out there and step outside your comfort zone. The course is going to be so beneficial, not just for us but for our design clients as well. Lots of good juice. Seriously good juice. But it is a bit like being back in school. Hopefully, just as I did back in the day, I’ll find a wee gang who are happy to laugh at each other and themselves.  People who are happy to take me exactly the way I am, dicky mistakes and all. Ultimately they’re the kind of people I want to work with too…

    One other little thing that I’ve realised is that when people are new to the blog they might not get an instant sense of what it’s about so I’ve rejigged the wording on the main banner up top to try and make it a little clearer. Those of you who have been here for a while, do you think it’s on the money? I’d appreciate your feedback.

    Have a great week. Hope all’s well in your part of the world.

    Marg the Friendless ;)

    x

    Get your copy of How Not to Be a Dick here and photo of the effervescent Lady Mary here

      28 Comments

      Rain washed eggplant patties with a dash of thunder…

      We had an almighty storm this afternoon.

      rain washed eggplants

      But I have a deadline for a travel writing competition tomorrow and I was on a mission to come up with a recipe.

      Nothing was going to stand in my way ;)

      exposed

      “I swear I didn’t piss myself. Suh!”

      The garden is just bursting at the moment  so I wanted to work with what we had on hand.

      basil

      There are three components to the competition. A couple of small written pieces which I’ve done.

      The third is a recipe.

      My recipe needed to channel Marcella Hazan because I am setting out to win a trip to Emilia-Romagna, her birthplace … Cesenatico on the Adriatic coast, Bologna the fat, the Morandi Museum … to walk those orchards and drink that purple wine first hand.

      basil, eggplants and dripping grapevines

      Can you imagine…

      The sun comes out

      I have a thing for purple. It’s a family joke.

      So after the deluge when the sun set the whole garden sparkling, Steve and I did a dash to the vegie patch and we loaded up with eggplants and basil and I set out to adapt a recipe of Marcella’s for Eggplant Patties with Parsley, Garlic and Parmesan.  Only I wanted to try it with basil.

      So I roasted our eggplants, rain washed, whole and untrimmed in a hot hot oven. Top rack. With a tray underneath to catch any spills. For about 40 minutes.

      eggplants cooling

      Then when they were cool enough to handle I skinned them, moozhed them up a bit and set them in a colander for 15 minutes giving them a push every so often to squeeze out more juice.

      eggplants draining

      And while that was going on I smashed up lots of fresh basil (what would amount to about 3 tablespoons worth), bashed it with salt and 2 garlic cloves – basically a pesto mix without the pine nuts and oil.

      pesto mix

      And then I mixed that with an egg, about half a cup of fresh breadcrumbs and 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Plus some freshly ground black pepper.

      breadcrumbs, egg, pesto mix and parmo

      Cut the drained eggplant very fine and mixed everything together.

      Tested for salt and pepper.

      Shaped the mix into patties (you might have to add some more breadcrumbs – I did), about 2 inches wide and 1/2 an inch thick.

      Heated some vegetable oil* (or alternative) in a shallow pan and when it was nice and hot, doused the patties in plain flour, dusted them off very gently and dropped them into the oil to brown.

      eggplant patties

      Oh, and added a dash of thunder. You can’t forget the thunder!

      In Marcella’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking she says of these … “They are floured and browned in hot oil and they taste very, very good.” 

      She doesn’t often give two ‘verys’.

      I’d add a third.

      They tasted very, very, very good.

      By this stage, the kitchen was a mess, the air was sweet, my head was full of thoughts of Italy and a trip to the bottle shop was called for.

      And look what Bathurst turned up … a rain washed eggplant sky.

      an eggplant sky

      Belissimo. x

      ______________________________________________________________

      *I have a problem with vegetable oil after becoming aware that most veg. oils are made with palm oil. 90% of orang-utans habitat has been lost to palm oil plantations so try and find a substitute if you can.

      This recipe is adapted from Marcella Hazan’s, on page 498 of the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. If you don’t own it, consider buying it. It’s amazing.

        14 Comments
        • Get new posts
          emailed to you


        • About me

          Hi I’m Margaret, a creative soul
          fuelled by wanderlust and big dreams.
          A full-time mum, wife and graphic designer
          at red moon creative.

          I live and tell stories from Bathurst, Australia, a couple of hours inland from Sydney. In 2016 my husband Steve and I are planning to blog our way around the Mediterranean. In the meantime I'm doing it virtually over on the facebook page.
          Please pop across and say hi.
          read more...

        • Archives

        • Categories

        • Unless stated all photos on destination
          here&now are my original copyrighted
          photographs. By all means blog
          my photos but please link back
          to this page. Thank you!

          site design (me) red moon creative