Aaaaand we’re back in the room! Did ya miss us? Well, we certainly missed you – though I must admit it’s been a lovely relaxing Christmas break.
We’ve been busy planning and strategising over the first couple of weeks of 2017 but we’re back now and ready to bring you our best!
To get the ball rolling we thought it would be appropriate to bring you up to speed on what’s been going one with us. So here goes – our first IG Edition for 2017 – and it’s a pretty full one.
Let’s hope that says something for what the rest of this year has in store for us all!
Here’s to a great 2017 – Jim & Christina x
Christmas Day saw us driving all over the place – from home we sped over to Mrs Romance’s mum’s place to open presents and have a bit of breakfast.
After that we zoomed over to Mrs Romance’s sister’s in-laws’ place for Christmas lunch. And what a lunch it was!
We started off with a new punch Mrs Romance created. It’s called the Breakfast Mimosa Punch and it’s delicious! Here’s how to make it:
- 2 litres of ‘breakfast juice’ (basically orange, pineapple, banana and passionfruit)
- 1 litre of lemonade
- 8 freshly squeezed oranges
- fresh berries and mint leaves.
- For those who aren’t driving, top it up with prosecco for a bit of festive fizz!
With the table laid, we were ready to get stuck in. The kitchen smelled amazing and everyone was feeling hungry!
The roast pork was perfect. Look at that crackling!
It wouldn’t be an Aussie Christmas lunch without your own body weight in fresh prawns. I wonder if anywhere else in the world has such a fascination with having prawns at Christmas?
Finally a box of festive doughnuts appeared – and just in time: we were all feeling a bit peckish by the time!
Everything was delicious, but as usual, Mrs Romance’s mum stole the limelight with one of her superb pavlovas. It’s taken her many years, but Jeanette has managed to perfect the art to a supreme pav. How good does that look?!
After the food was all gone and most of the washing up tidied away, we lumbered back into our cars for the last leg of our journey: we were to spend Christmas night 2 and a half hours up the coast in Port Stephens. Mrs Romance and I have been coming up here for years.
Now Mrs R’s sister owns a holiday house on the beach here, so it’s become a traditional getaway spot for the family. We arrive at around dusk just in time for a stroll along this beautiful beach. Stunning, isn’t it?
And it’s even prettier in the day. Sitting on this beach waiting for dolphins to swim up (a pod came within a couple of metres of us when we were snorkelling here!) or playing with the dogs that are allowed to roam off-leash here is so lovely.
For more of our top tips for the area, check out our essential guide to Port Stephens here.
The rest of the week we spent hanging out, playing frisbee in the beach, eating, walking down the beach to town, eating, checking out the sales, eating and… oh yeah – eating!
We did get out on the water too though. Mrs Romance’s brother-in-law David has a boat and is an excellent fisherman. He took us out on a whiting expedition. By the end of the day, we’d caught enough to feed the whole family.
There’s nothing quite like freshly caught fish for dinner. Actually, the rule of thumb is to leave the fish a day before eating as it gives the muscles of the fish time to relax. The fish comes out much more tender that way.
We also got a half round of golf in while we were up in Port Stephens. The local course here is a lot of fun (by that I mean it’s bloody hard and I nearly lost my mind as many times as I lost my ball (7).
The best thing about this course is how close you can get to the local mob of kangaroos that live here. Can’t get much more Australian than that! I think I said this about 100 times this Christmas. I think it’s because I went back to the UK last year so I noticed the difference more.
By the way, if you missed it, here’s our post on why we took Christmas apart last year.
Here’s an even closer shot of the ‘roos we saw on the golf course. They didn’t seem at all bothered about us – maybe because we were careful to play round them!
Between all the eating, golfing and fishing, we also managed to beat one of the most difficult puzzles we’ve ever encountered. This 1000-piece Cinque Terre terror took the combined efforts of the whole family about 3 days to complete. Mrs Romance’s mum Jeanette and I took all the credit, of course!
If you’re ever in Port Stephens and you like oysters, one of the best things to do here is visit the oyster farm in Salamander Bay. Holbert’s farms their own oysters and shuck them on-site, so you’re pretty much guaranteed freshness and quality. There is seating here too, though it’s pretty basic. The view makes up for it though.
This is Mrs Romance’s sister Mary’s top tip and we love it! In fact you’ll see a lot of her influence throughout our essential guide to Port Stephens here!
It was a lot of fun this Christmas. And although I missed my family a lot, Mrs Romance’s folks are so lovely, it’s hard to be sad when you’re with them.
All too soon it was time for us to head back down to Sydney. It’s not too bad I suppose! And the excitement of New Year’s Eve was still to come!
To help us see in the new year, our good mate Rohan came to visit. We’ve all known each other pretty much the same amount of time – and we all met in the same little street in Paddington here in Sydney.
Now we’re all grown up and cheersing to a new year with the beautiful Sydney Harbour Bridge in view.
Before the fireworks went off, we had to make sure we were well-fed though. Mrs Romance and I had hardly eaten over the Christmas break after all!
Mrs Romance’s plattering skills are really coming on – she’s really taking her own advice on how to make the perfect platter – and mine too on making them more often!
We went down on the foreshore at Balmain to watch the fireworks. This park is usually completely empty, so it was quite strange to see this many people here. The atmosphere was great though and everyone was having such a good time.
Before we knew it, midnight had struck and the sky was lit up. It’s quite a strange perspective of the fireworks from Balmain because you’re behind the bridge. It’s still a killer view and – between you and me – a great spot to watch the show.
The crowds are much lower key, there are far fewer cops and controls here, so you feel a bit freer. Plus everyone in Balmain is friendly, and I think this somehow leaches out.
So that was it. 2016 finally done with. I know it was a tough year for many – not to mention the loss of so many celebrities and stars. Let’s hope 2017 is kinder to us all.
Here’s to a wonderful year. Cheers!
Because it’s been such a long time between chats, we’ve decided to make this week’s IG Edition 2 parts. This is the first. The next one will be coming to you in the next couple of days and will bring you right up to date with us.
In the meantime, stay safe and well, and we’ll see you again soon.
In case you missed it, here’s our last post from 2016 – it’s a wrap of our 20 most popular posts as voted by your eyeballs! There are some awesome stories we’re so grateful to be able to share with you in here, so make sure you check out what you’ve chosen to be our best yet!