Let me apologise for the severe lack of ANYTHINGNESS and complete radio silence for the past month or so. The Boy and I have been holed up in the (stunning) Yarra Valley since the beginning of December (with no internet – thanks a lot Optus, you thieving bunch of shitbags), entering once again into the – makes me want to throw up just typing it – “world of work”. It’s eluded us for the past 18 months buttt with our appetites for both good food and good beer, always alongside doing cool shit, the dollaz is running out. Fast.

Our first attempt at finding a job was somewhat unsuccessful; we ended up driving about 400 kilometres and wasting about 6 days for a job which was, unsurprisingly, too good to be true (damn and blast that incredibly accurate-every-single-time saying).

On our second attempt, we struck gold.

BUT more about that later – I’d rather introduce you to our little farm family properly, another time. Watch this space.

OKAY SO this year is my first ever Christmas not to be spent at home with my family – not only that, but it’s been hitting 40 degrees here regularly for the past few weeks so, needless to say, we’re feeling distinctly un-Christmassy. It feels wrong to see flashing Christmas trees in department stores, shop windows adorned with fake snow and tinsel, inflatable Santas gracing front lawns, whilst you’re sweating buckets in flip flops and shorts.

Christmas for me is, plain and simply, about family.

Christmas Day is the one single day of the year that we all sit around a table, in our own home, together – growing up living above a pub, we’ve never had a real dining room, or dining table for that matter.. When you run a pub and essentially work 24/7, as Ma and Pa have done for the past 16 years, dinner together in front of the TV is as good as it gets.

On Christmas day, we open the pub to the public for a few hours, to see our extended family – the ragtag bunch of crazy locals who make the Duke of Wellington what it is. Niki Felton, the unnofficial third sister; Devs & Jenny (aka Jevs), true locals from day one; Brownie, Walshy and Tiny T propping up the bar and undoubtedly shouting something about jaeger bombs. Myself, Mama, Papa and the two sisters work the bar for a couple of hours, to buy everyone a drink and say thank you to everyone for another amazing year.

Then, it’s family time. The pub closes, everyone leaves and we finally get to sit around a table, in our childhood home, altogether – the Suters, Hollidges and Seddons make for a pretty damn good-looking, unruly, not to mention usually drunken, Christmas day feast. It’s a hell of a lot of fun – my family aren’t know for being particularly quiet and when we get together it’s a party. We all go completely overboard with presents, eat and drink way too much, and generally make a huge mess – we play games, we laugh, we drink and we bask in the togetherness that Christmas brings.

I love them an unreal amount. 

So it goes without saying that I’m pretty gutted to be away – but not at all disappointed with the way our Christmas day has gone. The Boy & I dedicated this year to good wine, good food and, of course, travel planning – we barbecued a ham with coca cola and pineapple, have accumulated five bottles of seriously decent wine over the past couple of months in Oz to drink today, and feel like we deserve a vacation. From our current vacation. ‘Cause it’s Christmas. And I haven’t booked a flight in more than two months which, in my eyes, is Just. Plain. Wrong.

Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas to us, let’s book a flight to somewhere vague…

Anyway, our first ever attempt at cooking a roast dinner was not altogether unsuccessful… So what, we burnt the ham a little, and the carrots were a bit overdone, and the cauliflower cheese wasn’t really in the right type of dish so was kind of just a load of cheese sauce with a little bit of cauliflower in it… It was good. Damn good.


And had it been shit? Turns out, the Boy and I kind of like each other, and would have had a ton of fun anyways.

Don’t get me wrong: I love presents, both giving and receiving. But this year has taught me that it is truly who you’re with, not what you get. Or what you eat… (Okay, it’s kind of about what you eat). (And drink).

Goodness me, that’s cheesy. I’ve clearly indulged in too much wine, and have started going all soft and soppy. Bedtime, me thinks.

Merry Christmas all – to those who are spending it with loved ones, be it friends, family, pets. And to those who, for whatever reason, weren’t able to spend it together.

Lots of love and holiday wishes from Joanne and the Boy.

j and s xmas day