I did a calculation on the leave I've taken over the past couple of years and it came out at three weeks. One week was planned time off ...

I did a calculation on the leave I've taken over the past couple of years and it came out at three weeks.

Pink flowers of Australian native Christmas bush against a green bush background

One week was planned time off work and the other two were in lieu of overtime. When I crunched the numbers - while waiting for a coffee last week and pondering why I was so very tired (could I have COVID-19) - I deduced the lethargy was because in 20 months I'd had one planned week of leave. Wowsers.

Sure, I've had a day here and there to make up overtime worked but it's not the same as dedicated time to rest and recuperate. Neither's the forced staycation of COVID-19 restrictions. It's been wonderful to bookend the day with cups of tea, a potter in the garden, a walk or after-work swim, but there are still email notifications and to-do lists and priorities, projects and team members to guide through change and challenges.

With Christmas looming I found myself wishing I'd booked a couple of weeks leave. It'll be fine, the beach is a short drive away and you already live in a holiday destination, I told myself. Others need the leave more, I said. It'll be so much quieter than last year, I convinced. Others have had a much worse year, I chastised. But here I am, grateful for a handful of public holidays and ready to add a second week to a week booked for the end of February.

In the meantime, I'm still reading and making where I can, but I'll be wrapping up the writing of a blog. Like so many before me, I've made the decision to log off from this little space.

What was once a creative outlet for a busy working parent, with a supportive community of similarly time-poor creatives, home cooks, gardeners, knitters op shoppers and lovers of vintage feels now like a chore of digital marketing, channel plans and content schedules - none of which I did anyway. I've moved to the places other bloggers moved to and you'll still find me on Instagram (probably never on Tik Tok) and the blog will remain archived here: I can't bear to kill it off entirely and you never know, I may come back to it one day.

If you've stopped by, read a blog post or two, commented even, thank you. Without you the blog would never have been anything but a digital diary. For me it's been that and so much more.

To wrap up the year, and the blog, here's what I did in December.

I WENT TO... the beach, the ocean pool and nearby national parks. Thank goodness for all that lovely open space.

I OP SHOPPED... not at all. I can't even recall being in one this month.

I READ... Helena Fox's debut young adult novel How It Feels To Float. Don't let the YA genre put you off. This story captures the weight of grief and sharp light of hope that can carry one through. I also read Kate Grenville's The Lieutenant, following the story of Dawes, imagined by Grenville and based on the shards of what we know and Grenville has meticulously researched. If you've read A Room Made of Leaves, or have it on your summer reading list, this is the perfect companion read.

apricot curd, apricot jam, poached apricots, poached plums, plum sauce, pavlovas, lemon curd, ricciarelli: all the Christmas gift-giving goodies.

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