People at the bakery.

I spent time today just sitting. Sitting outside on a long wooden bench seat at Suffolk Park bakery. Taking delight in a caramel latte, dressed in cut off denim shorts, a bikini top, and a chiffon kimono top (I would NEVER dress like this to go the bakery at home).

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My attire to go shopping at the bakery.

Suffolk Park is about 6km from Byron Bay. Byron is Australia’s most easterly point, so is the first place to see the sun rise. Byron is a laid back beach lifestyle with a village atmosphere and a lively local culture. Byron has the best of Australian settings including sunny subtropical climate, white sandy beaches, leading to turquoise ocean and is hugged by lush countryside and tropical hinterland. With these gorgeous conditions it is no wonder that the year ending September 2015 there was 217,100 overnight visitors to this region. With 63.9% of these visitors being between the ages of 15 and 29 and spending $105 million in overnight accommodation, with 29.2% of this money going to backpacker accommodation.

 

It seemed this arvo when I went to buy a couple of staples at the bakery the 217,000 international visitors congregated to the Suffolk Park bakery. As I was enjoying my coffee, there was a couple in their twenties, adorned in beach ware (both unquestionably blessed with beautiful genes.) sitting a little way down the bench seat eating sugary treats, the girl was trying to steal bites of partners little delicacy, he was shoving her own cream puff in her face. I don’t speak French, but the way these two were speaking it sound so romantic, (he was probably telling her to bugger off). There was a mother and small child (the mother dressed in an elegant flowing white dress and her little brown berry baby only in a cloth nappy) sitting next to me speaking, mmmm I am not sure maybe Dutch. He kept on pointing at the glass cabinet with an abundance of cream and pastry on the shelves. Being a kindred spirit in the Mumma fraternity, I think she was probably telling the little guy no. At one point a bashed up car jumped the gutter, the driver trying to park in between two other parked cars, and he clearly had zero driving skills if the scratches, and dents are any indication. They had there surfboard hanging out the back window, the car was absolutely full of bags, towels and oh god who knows what else. The passenger jumped from the car in board shorts that had seen better days and nothing else, in long strides to the pie cabinet, all the while (I think) yelling obscenities in Japanese to his kamikaze driving friend. All of this human hilarity was happening with the sounds of an Aussie baker belting out, Pinks – Raise your glass. I sat on that bench seat feeling grateful and proud to be living in such a fabulous country. A place where international visitors crave to visit. Creating a real melting pot of wonderful people, cultures and experiences for not only international visitors but also locals. Of course being summer in Australia, I got to my car where I blasted the air-conditioning, because the steering wheel was so hot I couldn’t touch it, and the seat belt burnt my bare belly (teach me for wearing a bikini top to the bakery).

I wonderful thought for this time of year: We are all different and that’s beautiful. x

Getting naked.

Ok,  there is one beach activity that I am finding fascinating while on holidays. Every day we walk over the headland to a lookout, to the right of the lookout is a gorgeous little cove that is called Kings Beach. Kings Beach is a nude beach/ clothes optional/ au naturel beach – whatever you want to call it, everyone over there is starkers.

Yesterday when we walked over the headland we passed my favourite spot, which is piece of grass covered land that is on the side of the cliff, it has tiny wooden stairs and it is the most divine place to sit and watch the power of the ocean. When passed there yesterday, a couple were making out on the side of the hill NAKED, they were covered in what looked like clay or mud NAKED and making out. My husband was mortified- “oh shit, don’t think they should be doing that” he almost screeched in my ear. Another couple walking behind us, who were about the same age as us, “oh Jesus, that’s not cool”, the guy says, as his partner has a giggle. My husband and I kept walking and headed down to the beach for a quick swim, while we were in the water, the naked couple went walking passed still naked, still covered in mud. They were having a wonderful, carefree walk along the beach, the girl was laughing and throwing her head back walking with the utmost confidence. The guy was completely at ease with walking along a public beach where everyone is clothed, at one point he did a handstand – yep naked, covered in mud handstand. The clothes optional theme continued today on the family beach where everyone wears clothes. My husband and my friend’s husband went to the beach this afternoon and came across a group of naked girls and a couple of them were doing naked yoga, child’s pose and downward facing dog – NAKED, uuummm can you imagine the visual the boys got.

An article written by Leah McLennan, was interesting to read as part of my research into why people go nude on the beach. She made some great points about Australians being more open and liberal in their attitudes to what to wear to the beach. This was compared to, up tight Americans who originate mostly from religious fanatics who left Europe hundreds of years ago because it was too liberal and the thought that nudity is sexual and sex is a sin according to the Puritans. She talks about the Greeks and Romans and their comfortable stance on nudity especially in the arts. She goes on to say, that public nudity the like of what is seen in Europe is a way for women especially to reclaim their bodies, and to develop a healthier attitude away from the “perfect” body images that are splashed all over the media.

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Reasons that people may go nude have at times been given:

  • Ecological or environmental – rapport with the natural world.
  • Health reasons — bathing in the sun, fresh air and water .Sun is a form of medicine.
  • Rapport with other humans — equality and respect. Being nude in groups makes all feel more accepted – physically, intellectually and emotionally.
  • Spirituality
  • Equality- clothes build social barriers. Social nudity leads to acceptance in spite of differences in age, body shape, fitness, and health.
  • Liberty – no one has the right to tell others or their children that they must wear clothes.

 

As part of my research for the blog, I sun baked topless up one end of the deserted beach. I wasn’t uncomfortable but I wouldn’t go swimming or walking around on a public beach topless. After reading a few articles and the reasons and etiquette of going nude, (no cameras, no staring, no sexual comments, making sure that the beach is unquestionably a nude beach before stripping). I think if you have the confidence and the desire to get your gear off at the beach more power to ya.

 

 

Review of Womankind

Here is my review of Australian Womankind magazine. At first when I picked up the magazine, the first thing that I noticed was the beautiful images. As I mentioned in my last post it takes a lot for me to part with $14.95 for a mag, so I wasn’t just looking for pretty pictures to keep me engaged. On my first flick through I found an interview. I LOVE the movie Under the Tuscan sun (the little old man that places bouquets of flowers in the wall is a darling, and he waves to her in the end. Oh I loved that). This interview is with Frances Mayes, the woman that dug up her American roots and set off to a new life in a foreign country. Can you imagine doing such a daunting, brave thing? Anyway I am rambling. This interview is what made my buy the magazine. It was not just the interview but three little words at the bottom of page 97. I seem to be drawn to similar Italian phrases at the moment. Dolce far niente – Sweet to do nothing. (This is also in another one of my blogs about Luca Spaghetti, Elizabeth Gilberts friend.)

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The concept of time, how to savour it, how to appreciate it and what we do with it, is the thread that holds this edition of the quarterly magazine together. The other articles that I immersed myself in today where; Time waits for no one, by Antonia Case. – I loved one part of it that says “Time is a great equaliser, it doesn’t stop for us, and it doesn’t stop for the rich, famous, or so-called legendary.”

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A piece of 15th century art was the focus of another interesting article. This particular piece was thought to be a sawn off lower part of a much larger piece of work painted by Vittore Carpaccio. The piece that was studied for the article was a an image of two women waiting on a balcony – titled “Courtesans on a balcony”, the symbolism in this painting, the fashion and the facial expressions had art critics thinking that this painting depicted high-class prostitutes waiting for clients. However when the top half of the piece was discovered, the exact opposite was thought of these women. This article crafted by Cate Kennedy, I found was full of layers, it spoke of art, history, and limited views on how women are perceived in society.

The last article that I had time to read today was “The house your brain built”, by Jessa Gamble. This piece in essence talks about architecture as a mood altering drug. I love when she said ” Awe is just one of the myriad emotions that architects try to elicit through planning out spaces within a structure and in the process charting and moulding the interior territory – manipulating, in other words our brains and feelings”.

The contributors for this edition of the magazine were 11 women and these women are accomplished writers. For example Cate Kennedy, the chicky who wrote about the art piece with high-class prostitutes, is the author of The World Beneath, which won the people’s choice award in the NSW premiers literary awards in 2010.

There is also a section at the back of the mag, where books and documentaries are reviewed. The “What’s on” section features information on exhibitions around Australia in Capital city art galleries eg GOMA – Brisbane, National Gallery of Australia, Sydney Opera House. The mag also runs a photography competition for amateurs and professionals alike, with their work being published in the next issue and $500.

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As I chatted about in my last post, this is a gorgeous magazine with no ads, no gossip, and no images of air brushed women. This is full of inspiring, thought provoking articles, abundant gorgeous images, information on cultural events and interesting books. Well worth the money.

photo4 Enjoying a cuppa and magazine.