Mother’s Day

How was your Mother’s Day?

An outdoor lunch

An outdoor lunch

I know I’m a bit behind in sharing mine but it’s been a little frantic around here.  The day after Mother’s Day, first thing in the morning I had a clinical exam, where I had to perform a number of tricks in less than 20 minutes.  I can only liken the experience to being a bit like an actor doing his best to audition for a potential role.  At the end when my assessor said, ‘That was good, no actually, that was outstanding’, I was so relieved I nearly hugged him.

A very long table

A very long table

Then last week I had five, two-hour and ten-minute exams.  By the fourth one I was dragging my feet and by the fifth one I was practically catatonic.  Especially as I believe cramming is most beneficial so was rising at 4.15am to start studying.  4.15am is also one of the rare times of the day the house is quiet!

Beetroot salad

Beetroot salad

So Semester 1 is all behind me now except for the part where on Monday I start a three-week clinical in an aged care facility.  I’ll be working every day from 7am so here’s hoping someone in the family will help the poor little guy get off to school!

Potato salad

Potato salad

But back to Mother’s Day.  Here in Sydney we have had the most wonderful autumn with really mild conditions that provided an extension to the summer of endless barbecues and outdoor entertaining.  Mother’s Day was overcast but still warm enough to continue the theme.

Spinach and pita bread salad

Spinach and toasted pita bread salad

Not everyone in our extended family could be with us on Mother’s Day but a remnant of about 18 were able to land on the doorstep of my parent’s home for an outdoor lunch.  We all brought a contribution to the meal.  I made two salads; beetroot with marinated feta, mint and caramelised walnuts, and a potato salad with organic eggs, shallots, capers, cornichons and dill.  Katie also made a salad with spinach and toasted pita bread.

Carving or 'pulling apart' the lamb

Carving or ‘pulling apart’ the lamb

Mum and Millie marinated shoulders of lamb and slow cooked them and these were served with a spiced yoghurt and mint sauce.  I also brought a kilo of sausages because why not fire up the barbecue one more time this ‘summer’.

Marinated and slow-cooked shoulders of lamb

Marinated and slow-cooked shoulders of lamb

Spiced yoghurt and mint sauce for the lamb

Spiced yoghurt and mint sauce for the lamb

For dessert, cousin Pip made two beautiful lemon tarts that were served with clotted cream.

Pip's lemon tarts

Pip’s lemon tarts

Millie brought a vegan chocolate and raspberry tart that had a cashew nut base.

Vegan chocolate and raspberry tart

Vegan chocolate and raspberry tart

And Katie’s 10-year old son who just loves to cook, made a pavlova that he served with whipped cream and a caramel sauce he had made, and he decorated it with raspberries – pretty impressive effort for a 10-year old.

Pavlova with caramel sauce

Pavlova with caramel sauce

And Elsie wasn’t forgotten as while we sat at the table, she enjoyed a couple of lamb bones.

Elsie enjoying her bone

Elsie enjoying her bone

The cousins enjoyed a swim in the pool that was warm enough – just.

Warm enough for a swim - just

Warm enough for a swim – just

And then we abruptly left so I could prepare for my exam.  On the kitchen bench at home was my gift from my three children – a slow cooker!  In the last four weeks I’ve used it often.  After taking the little guy to school I stop at the shops for the ingredients I need then come home and throw them in the slow cooker.  It has been very comforting that while studying, I’ve been able to smell that night’s meal cooking.  I’ve never owned a slow cooker before – not sure how that happened!

My Mother's Day gift!

My Mother’s Day gift!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Mother’s Day.

An outdoor lunch

An outdoor lunch


  1. Hi Charlie,

    Do you think you will practise as a nurse? I miss you as a blogger! X

    • Hi Lucy, so lovely to hear from you. At this stage I’m just taking it one semester at a time. I definitely miss blogging and the blogging community so I do hope I can, over the stages of my degree, somehow manage to juggle both. I do have some posts organised for the next few weeks.

  2. Me too!

  3. I’m so glad you got through everything and still had a nice mothers day!
    Keep up the great work! I’m sure at the end it will be absolutely worth everything!
    Liz xxx

  4. Congratulations on getting such a great result. I think you are amazing to be able to whip up such delicious meals given the intensity of the study programme. I’m intrigued to know what you marinated the feta in as I’ve never thought of marinading it, but love the sound of that salad. Feta goes so well with beetroot.

    • Thanks so much, Juliet. Actually…I bought the feta already marinated. It came in a jar! It was Persian feta that’s lovely and soft and it was marinated in peppercorns, bayleaves and garlic and probably a few other bits and pieces. I’m sure I could make my own!

  5. So lovely to see your post notification pop up in my email box! I have missed your posts. Well done on the exams. Better you than me. I crawl up into the fetal position when I think too hard about my organic chemistry, molecular biology and biochem exams. Never again!

    Looks like a beautiful Mother’s Day Luncheon. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  6. It’s so good to read what you have been up to Charlie. I really admire your energy….I keep thinking I’ll post, I’ll post…but my new venture takes up every remaining second of my life …or so it feels….but maybe, I can follow your footsteps and do a few things here and there to be in touch with our lovely blogging community.

  7. Oh, Charlie, we all miss you but are proud of what you are doing with your life. So nice to get an update, though, both on the family and on your studies.

  8. Congratulations on the exams, physical and otherwise. Nice gathering. So much great food.

  9. Carolyn says:

    Congratulations on doing so well Charlie, what a great comment from your assessor, am so happy for you. I too was very pleased to see your email this morning, lovely to read your post. Good luck for the rest of the year and I hope your clinical goes/went well x

  10. Love a slow cooker. I used mine for Moroccan chicken last night.
    And yes very impressive for a 10 year old.
    PS Your parent’s backyard looks stunning.

  11. PS You are very brave requalifying to nurse. Fingers crossed for good results.

  12. Lots of good things going on in your neck of the wood, Charlie. I too don’t know how you do it but yes, congratulations are in order!

    It sounds like you had a wonderful Mother’s Day gathering and that slow cooker is going to be quite the lifesaver. It really is amazing the sorts of recipes people have developed using the slow cooker. I saw a recipe just today for slow cooker corn on the cob!

    Hope all stays well by you Charlie and that we do get to “see” you every now and again:)

    Thank you so much for sharing…

  13. Belated happy Mother’s Day to you, Charlie! I’m sure you’ll be giving that slow cooker a workout with your crazy schedule. SO good to see you posting—keep up the great work with your academics!!! You’re an inspiration!!! xoxo

  14. Good luck with your exams Charlie. Yes you have been missed! I was just thinking the other day I was sad not to hear about what you’re all doing That pav looks absolutely amazing. what a clever boy Maybe with all the master chef stuff happening boys feel less embarrassed about liking to cook.

  15. Thank you for keeping us informed . . . your posts have been missed! Hope this venture will bring all the satisfaction you desire . . . Also hope Arabella is doing as well as you at Notre Dame . . .

  16. Our Autumn has been so lovely. It makes this winter seem actually bearable! And well done with the slow cooker-so many people love them!

  17. Congratulations on doing outstanding on your exam. And a belated Happy Mother’s Day! What a wonderful day with family.

    Slow cookers are fabulous!

  18. I’m so proud of you, Charlie. What you’re doing is a shedload of work and with the house and the children and family and friends, it’s no wonder you’re tired.

    Mother’s Day sounds like it was a lot of fun and it’s good you have a slow cooker so dinner is always ready even if you aren’t.

  19. Lovely to hear from you. The salads look really lovely and the exams sound very stressful. I hope you manage to eat well while you are having such a busy time and that you can relax a bit after the exams. The slow cooker looks like a brilliant idea for your student lifestyle

  20. What a magnificent feast you all enjoyed. Wow, what an impressive pavlova, don’t think I could even spell baking at 10 let alone make anything.
    I too have never owned a slow cooker.
    Kudos on doing so well with your studies!
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  21. Hi Charlie. as usual looks like you all did a great job on each of your dishes. You are a very busy lady but i am sure you will get lots more good results because thats just how you roll x

  22. Lovely. Looks like your day was wonderful, even though I know you did a lot of work yourself. We always do. This year was unique to me – I brought my husband home for the hospital after a hip replacement. oh well.

  23. Hi Charlie, congrats on your exams, sounds like you are doing a great job with school and holding down the fort. I admire you for what you are doing. Take care!

  24. I’m so impressed you’ve managed a post with all the work you have. When I did my post grad journalism course a couple of years ago, all I could manage was my course work and projects. Love hearing about you all. How did you never own a slow cooker? GG

  25. A slow cooker sounds like just what you need with your current hectic schedule (even better if someone else in the house uses it to cook for you!) 🙂 I’m glad you could fit some Mother’s Day celebrations around the study and that you had some nice weather before the current rain you mentioned. I love the look of that vegan chocolate tart too!

  26. So nice to get an update on how your schooling is going. It is terrific that you are doing so well but not surprising from a lady that puts so much into everything you do. Your Mother’s Day meal does sound and look delicious…I’m sure everyone really enjoyed the day.

  27. OMGggggggggosh,
    that food!
    That potato salad makes me drool)))
    Congrats on your education.
    xxxx from MN.

  28. I’m not sure how you’re keeping it all going I’m exhausted just reading about how much studying you’re doing, the pressure of exams at our age and keeping the family and home going too. I bet the kids are so proud of you – it’s lovely to have an update from you x

  29. what a lovely Mother’s Day feast! We took my mum to yum cha in Chinatown, it has become a bit of a tradition. I have no idea how you are working and studying and being a mum and cooking and shopping and blogging – you are an inspiration. And yay for slow cookers – they are the bee’s knees.

  30. I’m with everyone here…have really missed your posts! So glad that you are doing so well with the nursing degree so far. I admire you for juggling all of this. Looks like a festive and fun Mother’s Day and the slow cooker seems like a perfect gift for you right now. I’ve contemplated getting one.

  31. That sounds like a lovely Mother’s Day! Well…minus the studying for an exam. I can’t believe you had to take all of those tests in one day! I don’t think I could muster it.

    xo April

  32. Happy belated Mother’s Day, it looks like you had spectacular family time. I love that pool. The salads sound fantastic and I’m sure everyone enjoyed them. Congratulations on your exams, I am not sure I would do well after so many years of not being in school. That slow cooker is the perfect gift for you, I do hope you enjoy it.

  33. Keep up the amazing work, Charlie! You are incredible. And Happy belated Mother’s Day! That looked like quite a feast 🙂 xoxo

  34. Congratulations on passing your exams with flying colors.
    I always chopped my hard boiled eggs when making potato salad but I love your wedges of egg idea copying, hope you do not mind.

  35. Congratulations on a successful semester!!!! Wow! You all really know how to throw a Mother’s Day! What great food!!!! Sounds like a fun day.

  36. Happy Mother’s Day! Sounds like a wonderful time. I love using a slow cooker — makes things so convenient, doesn’t it? That lamb looks amazing. Glad your studies are going so well — Congrats!

  37. All my favourite salads and then I saw the lemon tart! And pavlova! Hope you had a terrific Mothers Day. May it be an even more successful Mothers Year for you too.

  38. Looks like it was a fine day!

  39. Im a little late to comment on this post, but happy Mother’s Day to you, Charlie! Seriously, where do you find the energy to be so dang awesome. You post amidst allllllllllllllll of the study and life. Wowza!

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