months years I have wanted to throw a Christmas in July party. There’s just so much to love about the idea of celebrating Christmas twice a year, right?
This year we planned our housewarming to coincide with July 25th so we could have friends over both functions, and give us a solid date to have our apartment decorated by. I mean if we hadn’t I would still be complaining over the couch pillows that were discontinued weeks ago! As the date approached more and more of our friends cancelled on us (it is the sick time of year afterall) and we ended up with just a small dinner party for five – which wasn’t a bad thing at all!
Friday night I stayed up late prepping and baking so there would be less to do on Saturday. Word to the wise – never bake when you are exhausted.
That my friends is an overbaked cheesecake. I fell asleep with 5 minutes to go on the timer (I know because I set that 5 min timer) and then fell asleep, oven mitt on hand. When I woke up an hour later I was devastated that I ruined my cheesecake AND wasted graham crackers (which aren’t available Australia).
In the morning I did the “Paula Deen” taste test and determined I just wouldn’t be proud to serve a cheesecake like that so Ben (such a sweetheart) made a special trip to the store for extra cream cheese so I could make another cake.
When he got home Ben, his younger brother Alex (who was visiting from Canberra), and I went to breakfast at Three Bears Café for a bit of a power brekkie before hitting the apartment decorating/furniture building hard!
While the boys constructed our new bar for the balcony and built a grill I whipped up another cheesecake, cleaned the kitchen, and almost destroyed two pots by trying to make my mom’s Almond Rocca. It’s Ben’s favorite dessert but I haven’t figured out our stove yet, so when it heats up it happens fast and the butter has completely separated – more than once! I’ll perfect it to share, eventually!
Our guests arrived around 5:30 and by that time almost everything was complete! At least the apartment smelled beautiful with the addition of flowers and an evergreen pine scented candles. We had nibbles, spiked cider, and chatted for a bit until it was time to serve dinner.
Lasagne is our family tradition on Christmas and this recipe is a family and friend favorite – nothing but compliments on this recipe (always!) it’s one I’ll share before the holiday season if you’re interested in having it yourself. My grandma always makes an Italian salad as well so I found this recipe which I thought would be a perfect complement to the lasagne and tasted a lot like my grandmothers.
Following dinner and a few glasses of red wine, we whipped out Cards Against Humanity Australia edition (I didn’t even know they sold CAH in Australia!) with dessert. I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t know what some of the cards were since I am not Aussie – but that wasn’t the case because I won the game!
Oh, and that cheesecake, to die for! It was so smooth and creamy, and huge! I was so pleased with how this one turned out!
Sunday morning we woke up and Ben cooked us a big breakfast which we enjoyed at our new bar on the balcony!
Then we headed to Anzac Walk for a nice hike up the coast.
We noticed tons of people looking over the ledge at one point so we stopped and looked down. Swimming below us were four pods of dolphins! There must have been 30 total swimming down towards the beach, jumping and playing in the water.
After Anzac Walk we headed down to Merewether Baths (I’ll never get used to ocean water pools) and then on to Glenrock!
Glenrock is a gorgeous secluded beach that can only be accessed by walking 2km along the shoreline over rocks and through pools of water, or a much longer 11km walk through the cliffs and rocks. The walk there was stunning! If you ever come visit (me!) in Newcastle this is where I will be taking you!
After our walk Alex took a brave dive into the baths (why, I’ll never be sure of, because it’s the middle of winter and it’s freezing!) and then it was off to lunch.
We had lunch at Merewether Surfhouse which is where we bring all our visiting friends to Newcastle because the views are gorgeous!! Unfortunately this is the third mediocre meal we have had there (used to have THE best beer battered fries in Newcastle but not anymore), so Surfhouse no more – now looking for a new place to bring out of town visitors.
We dropped Alex off at the train station so he could get back to Canberra and Ben and I went home to finish party clean up, nap, and build one last piece of furniture.
We put the finishing touch on our home by hanging the quilt my mom made for us. My mom is a quilt maker, and made this one back in 2007. It’s been one of my favorites for years, and when she knew Ben and I would be moving near the beach at some point she gave this one to me for Christmas to hang in our beach home.
I cannot wait to take you on a virtual tour of our home when we finish everything.
We capped off the night with our new tradition, donuts and a movie… except this time it was donuts and Suits (Thanks Alex!) because we are hooked!
What did yall get up to on the weekend?
Have you ever found a beautiful place where you live you had no idea existed? I wanna hear about it!