Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Shed

I love a shed. We have a huge shed which my partner had built after he moved to the property. The original shed was made from galvanised iron which had a dirt floor and leaked. It was spooky and so dark you couldn't even see to the back of it, like something from Wolf Creek. My partner fixed the shed before he fixed the house. When it was completed I liked it so much more than our unrenovated home (read glorified lean-to shack) that I could have quite happily slept on the shed's new concrete floor. 

When I moved permanently to the farm last year I had all of my boxes stored in the shed, my extensive wardrobe of designer clothing taking up the majority of the space. Soon after my partner developed a twitch. Every time he went into his shed he broke into a sweat and had to walk out. He has no trouble dumping his clothes on the floor before a shower and leaving them there for days, or leaving his dirty socks on the coffee table after a night watching the footy, yet he can't handle things being out of order in his shed. I feel sorry for him having so little say in the interior design of the house when we renovated, so I am happy to have him believe the shed is his domain, his man cave and place to go to think and tinker and whittle wood or whatever simple stuff men do to make them happy. 

What is it about men and their sheds? According to an online article in 'The Gurdian' UK, sheds are apparently good for men's health. Pottering around and doing odd jobs is therapeutic and completing a task gives a feeling of achievement. I have come across some online sites and organisations which fall under the umbrella of the Australian Men's Shed Movement such as The Shed Online which was created by beyondblue: the national depression initiative, The Movember Initiative and the Australian Men's Shed Association. Just like men's sheds the site provides a safe online community for men to share ideas and network and offers information about issues such as health. If a shed can get a man to call a doctor it has to be a good thing. There are others I came across in my search, all with the goal of bringing men together. Scanning the sites felt like I was walking in on some secret mens business I wasn't meant to see. 

It could be suggested that women actually need sheds more than men as a place to get away. Just quietly, I love going in there. Standing at the door looking at all the tools, the mowers and ATVs and the petrol cans, in my OCD dreams I think I would love to organize it a la the Amandas (reality tv is one of my addictions), but I also love that it smells like machinery, oil and hay. I like having to go in there for the ride on mower or to grab a shovel or a pick or something I can do something with. I think you know you are a chick who has arrived in the country when you have an affinity with a shed. 

The Shed OnlineMens ShedMen ShedsThe Guardian 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


I caught up with a girlfriend in Sydney recently and we ate at Popolo in Rushcutters Bay. Sydneysiders love a new restaurant and it is clear they love Popolo. The owners Flavio Carnevale and Fabio Dore are well known in the Italian dining scene and have created a modern Italian eatery and bar which is buzzing and has been packed every night since it opened. Attention to detail is evident - from the simple and sophisticated design, to the styling of the waitstaff to the classic menu, which is inspired by the owners' childhood favourites. I don't get out much, and could have stayed well into the night sipping on the fine red wine, enjoying the ambience. Open for breakfast soon.
50 McLachlan Avenue Rushcutters Bay www.popolo.com.au

Central Coast School of Yoga

I have practiced yoga for over 15 years and taught it when I lived in New York. It is one of the few things that really grounds me and gets me feeling balanced. Moving rural, it has been hard to find a good yoga class. I only live 40 minutes from the Mangrove Satyananda Ashram but feel that the style is too soft for me. I am not self disciplined enough to follow my Gaia yoga DVD and if I try to take myself through a practice I end up in Sivasana staring off into the paddocks. There are classes at the local community hall but the schedule does not fit my own. So after a Google search I found the Central Coast School of Yoga in Erina. If you can get past the 90s office style decor - think red brick, mismatched carpet and fluro lighting - which is difficult for an aesthete like myself, the classes are solid and have a committed following by serious yogis. They have a Hot yoga class - while it isn't Bikrim it gets a sweat going and is toasty on an early Autumn morning.
Check out their website for a class timetable. www.centralcoastyoga.com.au


Having had a baby means that my travel is closer to home these days. The thought of a long haul flight with my 8 month old freaks me out, and he is a dream child. My family have land in Vanuatu and we recently returned from a weeks vacation. A new cafe restaurant and bar has opened up in Narpo Point, a short drive from Port Vila, Efate. Literally off a dirt road, Ripples is low key and relaxed. With the Pacific Ocean lapping a few metres away it is the perfect place for lunch or dinner, lunch which becomes dinner or even a sunset cocktail or five. Owners Damien and Sally are from Mullumbimby and have built the place themselves. The fare is amazing. The menu is basic with a Pan Asian/comfort food vibe, and changes monthly. The Balinese pork is out of this world, as are the prawn and tuna skewers. Try a Caprioska or the house Ooh La La (once called Secret Women's Business until Sally shared the recipe). In house pooch India Rose will settle at your feet for any leftovers. 
Open Thursday-Sunday from 12noon. Join them on Facebook.