We love Wilsons Prom but don’t really love the campground there (so expensive and noisy!!), so when I found out there is a state campground on the coast right before the Prom (in Cape Liptrap National Park) I was super excited and booked it right away. $15/night and fire pits, hell yeah!

The campground was so lovely. Spacious and quiet, and nice and natural. It smelled like eucalyptus and you could hear birds everywhere. We even saw a couple wombats too.

The beach at Bear Gully isn’t great for swimming (it was too cold anyway) but it was excellent for walks and shell collecting. I found a lot of cool stuff to look at. Scott found a tiny golf club.

Crimson Rosella
Red Wattlebird
Hooded Dotterel/Plover
Gang-gang Cockatoo
Gang-gang Cockatoo
Juvenile Crimson Rosella
Grey Butcherbird

We saw a lot of excellent birds. Scott spent a lot of time wandering around with the camera trying to get the perfect shot. I think he got some great ones!! Once he’s gotten a picture I try to identify them with my bird app.

The wattlebirds were hard to take a picture/identify because they don’t really stay still. A friend had to help with that ID. The hooded plovers are a vulnerable species. Check out that hooked beak on the butcherbird! Excellent for snatching butterflies out of mid-air.

It was pretty cold at night time. I wish I brought more clothes and a touque. We bought wood to make a fire but the wood was so wet we couldn’t get it to burn. I can’t believe they sold it like that. Sad.

We drove into the Prom one day. We did two hikes (Millers Landing and The Drift), and had showers before going back Bear Gully.

Millers Landing is the southernmost stand of mangroves in the world and was supposed to be a bird watcher’s paradise, but all we saw were black swans.

The Drift was pretty cool. The last climb up to the dunes is pretty soft sand and steep! Scott, the King of walking, didn’t even want to finish going up! But once you’re up it becomes a lot easier to walk. Worth it for the epic pictures.

We were driving up the road from the Cape Liptrap Lighthouse and were like “What is that? A grey wombat?” and then got closer and saw it was a koala! Once he noticed us he went off the side of the road and climbed a tree, so we were able to slowly creep up and see him up close. We saw him jump from one trunk to another! I did not think he was going to stick the landing. He probably had to rest for 5 days after all that activity.

We also did a very nice hike around Sandy Point/Shallow Inlet but I guess I didn’t take any pictures other than the Hooded Plovers. We also went to Venus Bay to look around and replenish our supplies but I don’t remember anything else we did there.

Overall, a really lovely trip other than being a bit cold. I would definitely return to Bear Gully.

Way back in November 2020, after having zero covid cases for 28 days, or something like that, they finally lifted our 5km/25km radius limit and we could finally, finally get out of the city. We decided to book a little cabin in Heathcote and have a weekend away.

We tried to spend as much time outdoors as possible and ended up doing a whole bunch of very short hikes.

Trentham Falls

(Still had to wear masks everywhere.)

Bendigo Conservatory Gardens

Bendigo was quiet AF. We climbed up this tower thing where you could see out over the city. Really not much happening.

It was super hot so we stopped at a random bar for a drink. I think Scott was the only male there. Everyone looked the same.

Pink Cliffs Reserve

This place was pretty cool! I love a random geological feature!

Hanging Rock

The hike up was pretty hard with a mask on!! I was gasping for air at the top. (No picnic unfortunately.)

We had a pretty epic meal at Masons of Bendigo. We had the 6 course set menu, plus I splashed out and got the matching wines. They use lots of local ingredients. Everything was quite lovely and the service was great.

I was SO FULL and also DRUNK lol. Took me forever to fall asleep that night.

Masons of Bendigo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

OK well I didn’t blog much this year… let’s just do a quick recap of this year and move on…..

The year started off great, we moved into our own house, went camping with friends, and training was going well leading up to the first competition of the year. We had a really nice visit with Kyla and then… everything got cancelled.

Scott had to go down to reduced work hours, and I started training alone in the cold cold garage. At first lockdown was ok, we played all the board games! Cooked all the foods! Did online trivia! Watched Ben Folds live on Youtube every weekend! Life was cozy and novel. An introverts dream.

A couple of months of lockdown worked enough that they started to relax the restrictions. We had a few weeks of freedom. Scott’s work went back to normal. We saw our friends. We had family dinner. We went out for brunch. We planned some things!

Then cases started rising exponentially and they put us in a very tough lockdown, with a 5km radius restriction and only 1 hour of outside time per day. Cases went down but they kept us locked in. For literally months. It was really hard. I definitely got depressed, especially while seeing the rest of the world frolicking around restriction-free.

Finally, finally after WEEKS of zero new covid cases, they started to let us out. We could have picnics! We could travel further than 5 km! The gym reopened!!!!!!! Cases stayed down and we went back to nearly normal life! We went to Bendigo! We went camping! We don’t have to wear masks! It’s amazing!

This December has actually felt like a normal silly season. Even though I find it really overwhelming I’m trying to do as much as possible while we can because Covid is back in Australia (in Sydney) and we still don’t have vaccine here, and who knows what’s going to happen in January. I made a list of Freedom Goals and we just checked off the last thing last week: buy a new couch (as Rosemarie put it: “we spent so long sitting that our couch was permanently saggy so we bought a couch suitable for old age“). Can’t wait for it to arrive in 19 weeks. :/


Rosemarie’s Questions From Last Year:

PBs: snatch 46 kg -> 47 kg (in the garage, where everything feels 5 kg heavier soooo….), clean & jerk 54 kg -> 55 kg…. which is also not that big of an improvement… but I actually full-cleaned it which is a major major win. I only did one competition this year, last week, without peaking, where I did 42/44/46, and 49/52/55. That was a 3 kg snatch comp PB, a 1 kg clean & jerk comp PB, and a 4 kg total PB… my first time with a 3 digit total (101 kg). Even though my numbers barely went up, I am actually very proud of what I managed to do this year, training alone in the garage for 6 months, more than 110 sessions. I have a new coach since Lockdown 2.0 and it has been working very well. Weightlifting is really good at the moment.

Books: I read a lot this year, to try and relax before bed.

  • The Wonder – Emma Donohue – Intriguing, couldn’t wait to find out what happens, but I thought the ending was just a bit too quick and convenient imo.
  • Such A Fun Age – Kiley Reid – I really liked this book. The main character was just so chill. My favourite line was “May I please have an Uber and a snack?”
  • This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay – Silly stories about being a doctor. Amusing, sometimes gave me work flashbacks.
  • Where The Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens – Started off very heartwarming, then got more intense, I enjoyed it.
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara – One of those long books that follows a group of people for a very long time. At times very hard to read, made me feel super uncomfortable, but very good too.
  • Conversations With Friends – Sally Rooney – An interesting book about affairs.
  • The Stand – Stephen King – Extremely long, took me 3 months to finish. The first part was pretty terrible to read during a real life pandemic. Was entertaining but didn’t change my life.
  • Normal People – Sally Rooney – Someone else called it a “profoundly lonely and depressing love story” and I guess I agree with that.
  • Hotels Of North America – Rick Moody – I don’t know who recommended this to me but I thought it was annoying.
  • Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee – A memoir about an Australian lady while she worked as a judge’s associate in all sorts of horrible sexual assault cases, and then her own experience in the Australian justice system

New Board Games:

  • Wingspan – A very pretty game about birds. We love it. We just got the Oceania expansion a couple weeks ago but I haven’t had the mental energy to try it out yet!
  • Orleans + Trade & Intrigue expansion – The base game is ok but it’s much better with the expansion. Unique game with little bags of tokens. I would really like to play this with 3 or 4 players
  • Castles of Burgundy – Fun point salad game with one billion little pieces. I forget how to play every time but once you remember it’s fun again.
  • Tiny Towns – Simple strategic game, the best type! We had a lot of fun playing this with Rosemarie over video chat during lockdown.

Great New Recipes: enh I already posted about the fun things we cooked in Lockdown 1.0, and after that I got depressed and pretty much only made 10 minute simple dinners.

Adventures: ummmm… yeah not really. Everything got cancelled.


2019 Final Thoughts – 2019 was not the most exciting year of my life, but we put in a lot of good work to our future. We did the hard stuff of finding a house, working hard, saving, rehab… and very very soon we get to enjoy the benefits of that. I feel very good about 2020

LOL.

Last Years Goals:

  • More nice foods – yes, we cooked all sorts of crazy delicious things during lockdown 1.0, and also had some fantastic takeaway
  • More rehab – yes, had plenty of time for foam rolling
  • More thrift shops – nope, they were closed/I don’t go to the store ever
  • More art – yes, I did a lot of cross stitching, painting, cartooning
  • More friends – lol nope, didn’t even see my friend who lives around the corner for months because it wasn’t allowed
  • More pictures – nope, barely took any
  • Less worrying – NOPE. worried x 493879348

2020 Finals Thoughts – Super grateful that we had our own comfortable house to lockdown in. Grateful that neither of us lost our jobs. Grateful for my home gym and remote coach. Grateful that the hard work all Victorians did during the winter lockdowns paid off and we actually get to enjoy our summer Covid-free (so far). Come on vaccine. I would really like to see my family again.

Goals For Next Year:

Whatever man. Just survive.

Not sure what’s more impressive… the waterfall or my calves…

Often when I’m camping with Scott I think “This is fun, but this would be even more fun with friends.” So when our new board game friends invited us to go camping with them on Australia Day weekend I said YES!!!!

We drove up on Saturday morning stopping at Platypi Chocolate and a couple waterfalls. I really wanted to see a pink robin, which only live in certain parts of the Otways, but no luck. The waterfalls were nice though.

Scott had a nice time throwing the vortex on the beach with the gang. One of the guys had a killer throw, even against the wind.

I was so impressed with everyone’s food organization. We made tacos and that was probably the trashiest meal out of everyone haha.

Many board games were played, of course. Crowd favourites were Camel Up and Wits & Wagers.

Johanna Beach is a bit rough for swimming (and it was too cold anyway), but has cool tide pools and nice sunset views!

I did not enjoy this cider. It had chunks and was still and bitter and yuck.

We all drove out to Melba Gully at night to see the glow worms. It was amazing!! There were way more glow worms there than at Lake Elizabeth. They are magical.

Plus the sky that night was one of the clearest night skies I’ve seen in my life. There was zero clouds, zero moon, and zero light pollution. AMAZING! We saw shooting stars after looking up for like 3 minutes because you could just see EVERYTHING. You could see the milky way, which I thought was amazing (although when I was talking to my astrophotographer friend back in Melbourne later he said I couldn’t even really see the milky way at this time of the year at that time. I was like DUDE WHAT WAS I LOOKING AT THEN. He said just the edge. I think the full milky way experience would make my brain explode.)

Rosemarie requested that I write about PBs, books I read, new board game reviews, and favourite recipes of 2019, so here I go…

PBs: snatch 41 kg -> 46 kg (in training), clean & jerk 49 kg -> 54 kg. The bigger accomplishment has been fixing my back enough that I can do all movements again! I think my PB potential is very good for 2020.

Books (TBH I’m not sure if I read these in 2019 or earlier but here are the last few books I read):

  • How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie – some of the chapters at the beginning were useful but then it got a bit too religious to me
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt – a long one!! About the lives of a few students. I love really long detailed books if the story/characters/world is interesting
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – again, a pretty long one about a boy who loses his mom and ends up with a priceless painting. They made a movie of it but the book is better
  • This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel – about a boy who wants to be a girl, and a family that loves her. A nice book
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – pretty much the male version of Don Tillman from the Rosie Project, entertaining
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – in my opinion it’s a corny book about racism written by a white lady for white ladies. :/ I guess that’s better than no book about racism?

New Board Games:

  • Drop It – a very simple but fun game where you try to drop pieces into the right spots to score lots of points
  • Azul – very easy game to teach people, can get brutal when you get stuck with tons of extra pieces
  • 7 Wonders Expansions – fun on the ipad but a bit too much to keep track of irl
  • 7 Wonders Duel – my very favourite two player game, I’m still not tired of it 10/10
  • Agricola All Creatures Big and Small – ok two player Agricola spin-off
  • Camel Up – fun light game, everyone loves the gimicky dice rolling pyramid and the KRAZY KAMELS
  • Jaipur – two player camel betting card game that we got for Christmas… first impressions are good, Scott likes it a lot
  • Puerto Rico – not as hard as Agricola, kinda fun that you get to do stuff even when it’s not your turn
  • Sagrada – quite simple game with NINETY dice, tricky fun
  • Terraforming Mars – very complicated game with lots of pieces, a bit hard to play well but still fun to play even when you don’t really know what’s going on

Great recipes of 2019:

Praline Almonds – I used the recipe in my ice cream book but it’s basically the same as this (except I used almonds). This was one of the craziest things I’ve ever cooked! It magically goes from a pot of watery almonds to a pot of sandy almonds to a pot of candy almonds. Sprinkled with a bit of salt… so delicious.

No Knead Bread in the cast iron pot – so easy!!! I use this recipe. I did try whole wheat once but it didn’t turn out as delicious as pure white.

Dutch Baby! – so visually spectacular, so easy! I’ve made sweet ones with fruit and ice cream toppings, and also savoury ones with smoked salmon, rocket and parmesan. This is my go-to sweet recipe.

Fish Tacos – Coles just started selling corn tortillas so we can make delicious tacos at home, like this easy Pinch of Yum recipe. I’ve made it with basa or shrimp. I love the garlicky sauce.

Adventures:

We didn’t leave the country in 2019. Actually we barely took any days off at all. The good news is we have enough holiday to go to North America in May 2020 AND possibly Fiji for our 10 (!!) year anniversary later in the year too! 2020 is gonna be gooooooood.

We did check out some new places in Victoria/Australia, here are a few highlights:

A very windy 90 Mile Beach in Gippsland.

A relaxing and fun few days of camping/day hiking at Wilson’s Prom.

On platypus watch in the Otways.

Day off at the Peninsula Hot Springs.

Whale watching on North Stradbroke Island.

Final thoughts: 2019 was not the most exciting year of my life, but we put in a lot of good work to our future. We did the hard stuff of finding a house, working hard, saving, rehab… and very very soon we get to enjoy the benefits of that. I feel very good about 2020. 

MORE: art, friends, gains, nice food, pictures

LESS: worrying, Picross