Sunshine back in the city!

I’m not sure if it’s the warmer weather or the festive season that’s making time go by so quickly these days! It feels like only yesterday we returned from our UK trip (OK so it might actually be yesterday when I finally finished all the holiday laundry!) and now it’s December already – how did that happen?!

We were driving to the beach a couple of weeks ago when Ariana blurted out “it feels like Christmas!” Both Ste and I had to ask her to repeat herself as we weren’t sure we’d heard her right but yep, apparently 30 degree heat and swimming in the sea now signifies Santa time for our British kids.

How can that be? This is only our second Christmas in Australia and I’m still mourning our old family traditions like endless family functions, drinking mulled wine by open fires, enjoying hot roast dinners and enduring cold late night shopping and yes even the snow at this time of year all of which signified the start of the season to me but it appears our kids have totally adapted to our new country a lot quicker than us! And that should be a good thing right? Surely we want them to feel at home here in Melbourne by now so why does it make me feel a bit sad? Like a huge part of our past is disappearing and the kids might never remember our world as it was.

We have lived in Australia for almost two years and it’s safe to say these 20 or so months have been the fastest of my life. It’s like I blinked and we were permanent residents of a whole new life consisting of almost everything the opposite of anything we’ve known before. But regardless of how much I might still feel like a fish out of water at times, it’s safe to say the kids are really happy here and the more time that goes by, I think they’ll find it hard to ever leave. Although we always said this time in our lives is more of an ‘adventure’ than a permanent decision, to Ariana, Kian and Kaira Melbourne is definitely their home now and as the weather warms up, it’s easier than ever to see why they love it so much.

Life in Melbourne takes on a whole new dimension in the Spring. It really is a time of stripping back the layers we’ve accumulated over the winter (which seems to last from April until November) and getting back out into the great outdoors. For us, primarily that means dusting off the plastic paraphernalia that has been dumped stored in the garage since March and hitting the beach, which still feels completely surreal to be right here on our doorstep.

What’s not to love about kicking off their shoes (if the sand isn’t too hot) and running on soft sand that cushions every fall before cooling off in the clear blue sea? The beach is a perfect place for the kids to let off steam and find a space of their own to explore either alone or with their best friends. But then again, it’s not them that have to drag a tent for shade, a cool box filled with cold drinks and sandwiches (that almost always end up full of sand), bodyboards, snorkels, towels, buckets and spades with them! Parking spaces at the beaches on the Mornington Peninsula are often quite a walk away from the beach and we’ve learned usually involve steps!

As the kids are not yet swimming unaided, we still need to keep a close eye on them in the sea. Even though we’re really lucky here in Port Phillip Bay where there’s lots of shallow water, we’re always on guard to ensure their safety. When Ste is with me, we take it in turns to watch the kids while the other attempts to sit in the sun but it never lasts long! We seem to always have one that wants to wander off into the deep blue yonder (Kian), one who’s always cold within a minute of getting wet (Kaira) and one who is always too hot (Ariana). Needless to say, we’ve prioritised swimming lessons in the new year and are looking forward to the experience being a bit more relaxing one day!

After a couple of hours, our beach time generally will come to an end and we absolutely love visiting Main Street in Mornington, particularly at the weekend. There’s so many places to eat and drink and everywhere is really child friendly so Ste and I can ply the kids with ice cream and chips while we attempt to have an uninterrupted conversation (you know like in the days we had willing babysitters!) The kids loved watching the world (and particularly the dogs) walk by outside Publican on this particular Saturday afternoon and I loved Kian’s inventive way of using chopsticks to eat his chips. Even his big sister was impressed (which doesn’t happen often!)

I love to spend time cooking Persian food at weekend, so we headed home to indulge ourselves in our favourite cuisine just before the sun started to set on another warm day. There’s no more homely or comforting smell to me than rice freshly baked with aromatic herbs along side crisp salad, marinaded yoghurt and warmed bread. It makes me so happy to watch the kids enjoy the food I grew up eating and to find something they all relish (as any parent will know) is worth it’s weight in gold! Our favourite recipes are available to download here.

It really doesn’t feel like Christmas to us yet, which Ste keeps telling me is a good thing. He doesn’t miss the media hype that would have whipped us into a shopping frenzy by now or the family gatherings that made our lives a bit too busy at times or the cold weather that meant us scraping the ice of our cars in the dark before work in the morning. I’m sure we will create new family traditions that signify the start of the festive period to us over the years if we do choose to stay in Australia and maybe then it won’t just be the kids that say “it feels like Christmas” when we’re on the way to the beach!

Love from Leyla

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