6 months in Newcastle

Novocastrians

We have been living in Newcastle (Lake Macquarie) for just over 6 months now. I can’t believe it.

Sometimes it feels like we are still outsders looking in on someone elses life and then other times it feels like we have been living here for years.

We have learnt a lot these past 6 months and I’m sure that we have a lot more to learn about our new hometme city.

We have spent our weekends exploring Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Port Stephens. The beaches at Merewether, Nobbys, Bar Beach, Redhead, Dudley, Blacksmiths, Caves Beach, and Catherine Hill are all amazing. The Lake has some pretty cool swim spots too, although we haven’t explored them as much yet (and ironically so as we live in the Lake Macquarie region of Newcastle).

There are some really cool attractions around greater Newcastle. The mini trains at Edgeworth and Walka Water Works are worth a look if you have small kids. Morpeth is a cute little historic town full of things to discover. There are many, many playgrounds with different themes. With so much greenery around, it’s hard to imagine us ever runningbout of bushwalks to go on. The Gardens at Hunter Valley and Heatherbrae are gorgeous. There is so much to discover here, without a big city feel.

The wages seem to match Sydneys and the houses are better value for money. But Sydney is still only a day trip away, so you can still go to Taronga Zoo, the beautiful Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, the Rocks, Luna Park… etc without actually living in Sydney.

This move would have been all the more harder if we didn’t have the support of our family and friends. Our relationship with our family (Nana, Grampa & Co) has only gotten stronger with regular visits both ways. Our friends have also been so great regularly staying in touch, visiting or meeting us half way. It definitely would have been more lonely without them!

We have also made some fast friends up here. I think it is important to make the effort so that your new place of residence really feels like a home. For me, I work part-time in Newcastle so I get a social connection automatically through that. I also joined a Book Club which has some beautiful and friendly women. I met some of my neighbours and I also used mum meet up apps like Mush and Peanut. Playgroup has been great too.

I think Newcastle is a wonderful place to live. It is great for families and lovers of the outdoors. It has a quite city centre but it still absolutely happening. I can’t wait to see how Honeysuckle and other developments pan out. I am also looking forward to working out where to buy a place, weekends away with family and friennds, and days at home with our girls playing in backyard.

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Pottery at Workshopp Ceramics, Maryville

Just me, Novocastrians

My friend and I attended 2 x 2 hour classes at Workshopp Ceramics in Maryville. We completed the handbuilding and glazing glasses. They were $65 a pop, so not an everyday type thing but super fun as an occassional thing. Lots of married couples do it for their 9 year anniversary.

You might recall I posted after the handbuilding class about a month ago. Well I glazed my piece and the results are in, I love it! There are a bit “rustic” but not in a “I made this in high school art class” way. My friend imprinted leaves onto her plate to make a tree, it was super cool and creative!

It took almost 2 hours to mix the glazes and paint them on – I choose a white, orange and speckled green. It was harder than I thought it would be! I’d love to try a wheel class but may need to save my $$ and wait a bit or throw out hints for it as an xmas gift hehe.

These are my final pieces… now to decide where to put them!

The Pines Picnic Area: Olney State Forest

Novocastrians

Originally, we were going to go to Nelson Bay for a swim and nice bushwalk. But then the weather report changed so we adjusted our plans. At 22 degrees, today was a perfect day for a picnic in the bush followed by a bushwalk.

50ish minutes south-west of Newcastle and nestled in the Watagan Mountains is the Olney State Forest which has lots of camp grounds, picnic grounds, walking trails and 4wd tracks. We settled on The Pines Picnic Area because… well… it is absolutely stunning. The pictures below do not do it justice.

I made these amazing lemon & raspberry mini muffins which are super healthy and delicious AF (recipe here). I also made some banana bread. I packed some berries and cut up orange. Lastly, I made avo, ham and cheese sandwiches. Simple and delicious. The girls and hubby loved my picnic food! (Thankfully, because sometimes it’s a battle with little miss-almost-one).

We walked the Pines walking trail nearby which turning into a walking trail along some mini falls. It was so lush and green. And a stark contrast to all the tall pine trees at the picnic grounds. We also walked a small section of the wildflower walk.

There were lots of young families with their campgrounds set up, people having campfire lunches with a smell that made your mouth water, puppies and motor bikes, and people just generally enjoying the great outdoors like us.

Lastly, I am so embarrassed and grateful to the guy who pull hubby and I out of the mud when we went exloring further afield than we should have… picture below. #santafesarenot4wds. Don’t be like us. We are silly! 🤦‍♀️

Grannies Pool: Blacksmiths Beach

Novocastrians

Another Wednesday, another afternoon at the beach. This time we went to Grannies Pool which is located right near Blacksmiths Beach.

I had never heard of Grannies Pool until I saw it on the Lake Macquarie City Council’s instagram page. It is undergoing some remediation for 2 weeks starting on 4 October. I believe they are taking some sand out of the inlet.

Anyhow, we had a lovely afternoon. The girls frolicked around in the water for a good hour. Maxine literally ran in circles for half of that. She loved running in the shallow water. Charlotte was delighted by bum scooting around the water and splashing around.

It is such a safe inlet of water. I highly recommend anyone with young kiddies check it out. It’s not too far to walk from the carpark either.

The only downside was that I found some sea lice and was bitten by tiny little flies.

Afterwards we had at the playground nearby under some shady trees and had a play on the equipment.

The girls were well and trully knackered afterwards.

A week of beautiful beaches in Lake Mac

Novocastrians

Saturday – Saturday. 3 beaches. Gorgeous weather.

Saturday, 21 Sept – Caves Beach

The amenties at this beach have been recently done up so you can wash up after… say… you and your daughter get unintentionally get dunked by a random wave when washing off. Whoops!

As foreshadowed by the name the beach has a bunch of beach caves which are fun to explore when the tides are right.

My Mum, Dad and Bro came up from Sydney so it was nice to show off a little slice of beach heaven.

We had dinner at the Caves Beach Coastal Bar & Bungalows. It was a pretty fantastic dinner, with an awesome view and play area (also on the Entertainment Book)

Wednesday, 25 September – Redhead Beach

This is our closest beach. It is a 15 minute drive as opposed to the 20 minute drive to Caves Beach. I know, how do we choose what beach to go to??!

So it was ridiculously choppy this day. Luckily we found a little channel of water to splash around in because there was no way I was letting miss 2.5 year old near the water with how choppy it was.

We stopped off at the playground nearby on the way back so Max could have a turn of the flying fox.

Saturday, 28 September – the historic Catherine Hill Bay

Just before you get to this beach is the cutest little town. I’d love to live here. It’s a 30/5 min drive south of Newcastle. 25 min drive for us.

We loved jumping around on the sand, exploring the rock pools, little beach ‘caves’ and splashing around in the shallow water. Charlie was obsessed with getting to the water.

Bring on Summer!

Pop’s Rose

Just me

Just a quick little post to share with you a picture of Pop’s rose. My mum’s mum’s Dad (in otherwords, my great-grandfather) grew these roses. He passed away about 25 years ago, but his legacy still lives on with his roses.

My mum passed the rose plant on to me through a cutting she grew in a pot. She’s definitely got a green thumb!

My first-ever rose has bloomed and it is beautiful (smells divine too!).

Home styling and the new Atwood book

Just me

I was in a bit of a crummy mood on Sunday morning. Not sure why, I just woke up out of sorts. Lucky my supportive hubby took the reigns with the kids this morning whilst I got out of my funk.

I started reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Handmaids #2) and I’m really enjoying it. I’m about a hundred pages in and can’t wait to keep reading tomorrow.

I also tried my hand at a bit of styling. I hit of beacon lighting for this gorgeous mint-green lamp. I have a bit of an obsession with mint greens lately. I want to paint the girls’ room that colour when we eventually buy a house. 🥰 I also bought this cool looking owl which smells like sandalwood and the multi-coloured vase. Oh my gosh I just love the vase. Both purchases are from tk maxx ($10 and $20, respectively). So quite reasonable prices to lift up my side table and also my mood. #itbringsmejoy

I was in a far better mood after all this and our neighbours came over for tea which was lovely. They have 2 little girls too! (How great are friendly neighbours??!).