Getting through Winter’s been hard this year.  It’s been a while since we had a break of any kind and I think regular time out is necessary to rest and re-charge.  So with that in mind, we once again decided fairly impromptu to head to the Bellarine Peninsula last weekend.  We hired a friend’s beach house in Ocean Grove and while Mr Rosanna and I have previously visited Geelong and Point Lonsdale, neither of us had ever been to Ocean Grove or the more exclusive feeling Barwon Heads – a bit like the Portsea of the west coast.

Me at Ocean Grove beach

There’s nothing quite like spending time near the water, which I find relaxing and refreshing at the same time – it’s like hitting the re-set button and I’ve needed to psyche myself up to tackle the second half of this year (and five more lectures!).  It hasn’t helped that I’ve fallen off the exercise bandwagon these past few weeks with getting tired at the end of last term followed by the school holidays.  I’m sure I’m not the only one…fullsizeoutput_37c

We headed up Friday night grabbing dinner on the road so it was lovely to wake up on a beautiful sunny Winter’s day on Saturday and head to the Bellarine Community Farmers Market which was on at Ocean Grove park.  It was relatively small but we loved the chance to buy a couple of coffees and some fresh local eggs.  I also appreciated the Happy Glamper bell tent for the kids complete with hula hoops for them to play with set up in the middle as well as the cute caravan (above) selling toasted sandwiches.

Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary

The walk along the beach in the morning was balm for the soul – the tide was right out and the very cool looking local Soul longboarders were all getting ready to head out and hit the waves.  There is a really nice sense of community at small coastal towns like Ocean Grove and I always start feeling wistful every time I visit the beach – I completely understand why people love living by the water no matter where they are in the world, even in the midst of Winter!

Looking outside – Annie’s Provedore

We ventured on by car to Barwon Heads and had lunch at Annie’s Provedore on the main strip in the village, where the food was excellent.  I had the house-made pea and ham soup and Mr R, the baked gnocchi, while the boys had house-made pies and sausage rolls which were all delicious.  The kids following up lunch with dessert, which was equally good.  The main street has some lovely shops including upmarket hippy store Ten Thousand Things, the beautifully fitted out Moss Grotto and Frith homewares and fashion.  Apparently our friends go to Barwon Heads from Ocean Grove on their bikes in the summer time because it gets incredibly crowded so it was nice to enjoy the relative quiet and space.fullsizeoutput_373


That part of the world is also a drinkers delight but we only briefly stopped in for a quick look at Oakdene Vineyards and the Flying Brick Cider Company, before heading to Japanese warehouse Kyo located in a nearby industrial estate.  Kyo is pretty mind-blowing if you’re there for a first-time visit – a sensory overload for all things Japanese, Indian and Moroccan.  I didn’t know where to look first and it took me quite a while to make my way around the whole warehouse filled to the brim with homewares, textiles, art as well as vintage indoor and outdoor furniture.  They sell direct to the public and it’s well worth a visit if you find yourself in that part of the world.  I’m not sure who owns the business but they also run surf and yoga classes.fullsizeoutput_377


Being the small world that it is, some close friends of ours happened to be in Point Lonsdale and so we ended up at the Barwon Heads Hotel  for dinner that night, which was good – I always love a nice pub meal at the local.fullsizeoutput_36d


We spent Sunday morning doing some of the Bluff circuit walk in Barwon Heads (also a good running track) saying goodbye to the beach before stopping in briefly at the Amazing Mill Market in Newcomb, Geelong.  It’s probably not as good as the Daylesford market but I still managed to find a vintage Whiting and Davis silver mesh purse and had also picked up a couple of small things at Kyo including a beautiful carved wooden crane which is now sitting on my dressing table at home.fullsizeoutput_37b


We’re now heading into the second half of Winter and I’m really looking forward to the return of Spring – bring it on.