I’ve been laying low lately (South Australian winter + crazy work deadlines = hibernation) so the weekend adventures of my lovely friend Elizabeth have inspired this Mrs M Chats profile. Elizabeth is a born traveller (Mr M and I actually met her on the plane to Morocco) who is embracing the fine art of weekending.
Who is the real Elizabeth? I am an approaching-29-year-old Occupational Therapist by day; enthusiast of all the fine, fun and simple pleasures in life at all other possible times. I live on the beautiful beachside Le Fever Peninsula in Adelaide in my very own little place, which I adore and am super proud to claim as my own. The real me? Well, I am a bit of a creature of habit (some good and not so good ones!), easily excitable and sent into a fit of giggles; but I think this balances out my strong sense of responsibility and stubbornness at times. I love, love, love to cook food, eat food, read about food, shop for food…did I mention eating food? For me sharing meals is sharing love, friendship, harmony and care for those around you. It breaks down walls and brings people together. Only good things ever come from a good meal shared!
You’re an avid traveller – where are your top three places to visit in the world? Only three?! I’ve always had a curiosity and inquisition about other places and cultures. My earliest awareness of this growing up in a small rural town in NSW was at the annual ‘International Food Day’ (again with the food!). Each class studied a country for a term which culminated in the end of term celebration of great big feast of multinational delights. My mind was blown! Not only by the array of tasty treats but the idea that there were far flung places where things were different to what I knew, I remember becoming so captivated by the idea of cultures and my love of travel was born.
Not too long ago I discovered something I’d written in a school book from year 4; the first sentence read “in the future I want to travel to every country in the world”. Writing this I can see the Lonely Planet book on my coffee table with the title The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World and a bookshelf of dog eared travel guides. As a 10-year-old I must have known something about where I was headed.
I’ve not yet been to every country in the world, but I’ve been privileged enough to have been to a few, met wonderful people and experienced some of my most sacred and precious memories. So my top three are where I had those most memorable experiences:
- Morocco: It’s where I met Mrs (and Mr) M! Morocco was living out my childhood dream of finding a genie lamp like in Aladdin; until Mr M reminded me this was in fact set in Persia. Either way, I came home with my magic carpet and a brass genie lamp so I was chuffed.
- Turkey: I was lucky enough to visit this incredible place just before the recent unrest really kicked off. It makes me sad to see it slowly becoming more and more unattractive for tourists due to safety concerns. Without fail I was proclaiming after every meal it was the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life, and it was true. It’s a country of contrasts: rapid modern cities set against ancient history beckoning tradition to live on. Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia was the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten!
- Spain: Jamon anyone? Sun, sangria, casual lifestyle, men who know how to dress well and downright good vibes. Spain has it all. I know Mrs M also has a soft spot for this Iberian Peninsula pearl, it’s just so good! Go there.
This year, you’re travelling a little closer to home and embracing the weekend. What inspired this? Yes! Unfortunately my plan to see every country in the world is also a costly one; so to balance this I’ve decided to feed my travel bug with more local delights when a whim and a prayer just won’t get me on a plane. Also because South Australia’s a ‘heaps good’ place to be too! We’re so lucky to have so much on our back doorstep that can be explored in a weekend – either on my own or with friends. So I came up with this idea to ‘master the art of weekending’. It was inspired by the story behind the movie Julie and Julia, based on Julie Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and the idea of just throwing myself into something purely because it’s pleasurable.
What does ‘weekending’ mean to you? ‘Weekending’ is my new thing; essentially it’s making a more deliberate effort to do things on my weekends for no other reason than it brings me joy, quality time for myself or with friends, or simply because I want to…and can! For me it’s also about making the most of the opportunities being footloose and fancy free affords me in my lifestyle at the moment and embracing the spontaneity it brings without feeling guilty about doing it. I guess it’s about letting go of the ‘guilty’ part often attached to life’s pleasures.
Take us through your perfect weekend in SA: Where do you go, what do you eat, what do you see? My perfect weekend always starts with a Saturday morning plod on the beach with my three buddies. We’ve recently self-graduated from ‘shuffling’ to ‘plodding’. Someday it’ll become actual running, or maybe it won’t, but that’s not the point. It’s the friendship, encouragement, doing something good for ourselves (and the gossip/debrief) that keeps gets us up so early and sane.
There’s coffee. Always coffee. Sometimes at home, sometimes I treat myself to breakfast at one of my favourite café’s in Semaphore or Largs (think: Mr Pilgrim’s, Whipped Bake Bar, Swedish Tarts, Queenies). I am a very big fan of the banana bread with bacon, ricotta and maple syrup at Rockefeller Kitchen in Largs Bay (now Ink Espresso). Sometimes I’ll go to a café in the late afternoon and read a magazine over a coffee or two. Sometimes I’ll make myself a lovely afternoon tea at home and use the china tea set and silver tea pot my grandmother gave me. She was a woman who knew how to do afternoon tea properly, and I am glad she passed this love onto me. I miss her. Afternoon tea rituals remind me of her and keep her close.
I like to pack myself some tasty treats and head off somewhere or go in search of a tasty treat. Last weekend was to Port Elliott bakery for their vanilla slice (it’s all in the custard and sugar crusted pastry base) and whale watching. I am very partial to McLaren Vale and surrounds and if I can get own to stay the night at my parent’s weekender I do. Winter is the best because Dad will light me a fire and we settle in with a beautiful bottle of red (I like ‘The Pup’ Cabernet Merlot from DogRidge Estate or cellar door-only Hugh Hamilton Wines). If he’s feeling generous he’ll share one of the sticky wines he’s got stashed away. The perfect fancy dinner will be at The Altar Bistro (27 High St, Willunga), I can highly recommend this one – the beef cheeks. Yum.
If I am staying in town, then without doubt my favourite weekending activity is to see a show at one of the many festivals (the Cabaret Festival is my favourite) followed by a dinner and drinks at one of the new bars popping up. Usually followed by a sleep in. I’ve only recently become acquainted with the pleasure that is reading the paper and have breakfast in bed on Sundays; you don’t have to be a mother on Mother’s Day to enjoy this it turns out!.
Day trips are fabulous particularly when the weather is somewhat nicer! I love trotting off to Morialta or the Marino stair walk, on occasion I’ll tackle Mt Lofty or simply go for a picnic. I got a new picnic basket for my birthday so I am looking forward to more of these in the warmer months. Weekending is also about maximising enjoyment in everyday things, like walking the dog (Lottie the Beagle) on the beach on sunny winter afternoons. If I can drag a willing companion along I will.
The weekend always ends with my weekly family dinner at Mum and Dad’s with my siblings and sibling-in-laws before we all disperse for another hectic week.
The housework can wait until one night during the week – them the perks of having a small house!
What have you discovered about your city/state along the way? I’ve discovered, or re-discovered, that Adelaide and SA has so many talented young entrepreneurs who are really hitting their stride at the moment; especially in the bars and restaurants opening up around Adelaide catering for those of us who are passed the pub crawl phase…it was fun while it lasted, don’t get me wrong, I attended my fair share! I’ve never understood why people from interstate think there’s nothing to do here, there’s always something fabulous happening or new to check out and I am falling in love with SA all over again.
Any hidden secrets you can share with Mrs M’s readers? If I told you they wouldn’t be secrets anymore hahaha. My secret to weekending I think is to read blogs (Weekend Notes, Steph in the City, Adelady, This is Radelaide, Rip it Up and Mrs M Loves of course) they have HEAPS of up to date and ‘in the know’ ideas for what to do this weekend as well as reminders of the tried and true variety. The attitude – just go with it, be spontaneous, say yes and embrace choosing weekend adventures that make you feel good just because. The world doesn’t spin off its axis if the floors don’t get mopped every once in a while; I’ve already tested this theory so I know it’s safe.
What is the next destination on your weekend bucket list? A friend and I are planning a little staycation in the Barossa Valley in August. Splashing out for a little TLC …just because we can! And that’s what it’s all about.
Of course, no ‘Mrs M Chats’ is complete without a style question. So, what’s your style tips for winter weekending in SA? Boots! And scarves. I have quite the collection of both and recently added to my growing collection of ankle boots with my very first ever pair of RM Williams suede boots. Comfortable shoes for exploring and layers for warmth are a must; wraps and ponchos are super cosy, versatile and plentiful at present. Perfect for winter weekending style. I think it’s important to wear what you feel comfortable and confident in. I am getting better at picking styles that flatter by shape and personality in preference over the latest trend. If it makes you feel good then wear it I say and weekending is all about what makes you feel good after all.
Thanks for letting us join you for a virtual weekend Elizabeth!
Love, Mrs M xx