Happy Holidays! And a Blackened Prawn Nibbles Recipe…

Happy Holidays! And a Prawn Nibbles Recipe...

Years whizz by and I never feel as if I have much to show for the passing of time. However a quick scan of my posts for 2016 shows that I did focus on many of the things I value most last year:

Family and Friends

We bought a house and moved in. All the kids love the new house and we’re thrilled to finally have our own place again after 10 years of renting. I’ve enjoyed styling our new pad with Buddhas from India, mirror and sideboard from New Zealand and table covering from Africa.


Our oldest son turned 18 and has also completed his first year at univeristy. 18 Years After an Unplanned Pregnancy I am insanely proud of him. Next year he is planning to leave home and move to Brisbane with his girllfriend. I will miss having them both around.

I also dealt with loss this year with the unexpected and premature death of Someone Who Changed My Life. An unwanted reminder that we never know how long we’ve got on this beautiful earth.

My friend’s passing reminded me how much I love and miss my old friends in New Zealand and spurred me to visit them. I even managed to persuade an adventurous friend to join me in Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing: a Classic New Zealand Adventure. I want to see my old friends more often.

We also enjoyed some fun family holidays and weekends away, especially:

Life Long Learning

In July I graduated from university (for the third time!) with a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning. It was all covered in Blimey! I’ve been Busy…


Since qualifying and getting my teacher registration I’ve found work in local high schools as a suppy teacher and am planning to continue my studies in Guidance and Counselling for Education in 2017. I’ve been lucky to work from home for 18 years since I became a mum but I’m keen to be more involved in the local community and work with vulnerable teenagers.

As a community we also raised over US$600 (more than $800 Australian dollars) for the Lao Children’s Hospital when I tried Running a Half Marathon in Luang Prabang. It was an honor to help that community and be part of it during my visit.

Travel and Adventure

I  love mountain climbing and Dared to Hike Up Mount Barney at the beginning of the year. I’m so glad I did that!

mount barney annabel candy

Once my course was finished I was able to head off into uncharted (for me!) territory and visit the Shell Money Festival in the Solomon Islands.

I was very lucky to be invited to revist Luang Prabang: 11 Reasons You’ll Dream of it Forever and would still love to return.

I am so grateful to all the people who made these travel adventures possible including Sofitel Hotels, the airline Scoot and Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau as well as Asus who sponsored Get In the Hot Spot by commissioning a Laptop Review: Asus ZenBook Flip on the Road.

Mindfulness, Creativity and Fun

When I look back on the key values that are most important to me Mindfulness, Creativity and Fun aren’t covered. However, mindulness has been an integral part of my approach to learning, running and travel. It’s not something you do alone it just takes place alongside other activities.

Writing is my preferred creative form and I’ve written here at least once a week including a few funny stories which I still want to write more of. I’m disappointed I still haven’t turned 52 Exercises into a book. I never seem to have enough time or money for that but I know it’s because I’m not prioritising it. Certainly I am prioritising business-related and income generating activities like copywriting and website design and our business and our client’s businesses are going and growing well.

However, fun is clearly lacking in my life. All the study and work and running and parenting is so serious. I’d like to have more fun but I sometimes feel as if, in adult life, I’ve forgotten how to have fun.

This year I joined a comedy writing workshop, went to a stand up comedy act, read some funny books and watched a lot of stand up comedy on YouTube. I laughed with friends but fun still feels like something I need more of.

Or maybe I just need to accept that, for me, climbing mountains, bird spotting and learning languages are how I get my fun!

Happy Holidays!

We’ll be going camping before Christmas and, even though I’d prefer to be glamping or staying in five star luxury the kids love it and the enforced digital detox will be good for us all.

I’m not going to make plans for 2017 and burden myself with lists of things to do right now. I aim to take a break and have some fun. I hope you’ll do that too.

But I will be doing some creative writing and thinking about what lies ahead. Whatever it may be I will be wishing for more fun adventures for all of us in the years to come and making sure the year aligns with my core values:

  • Friends and family;
  • Life Long Learning;
  • Community;
  • Travel and Adventure (this should really come first!);
  • Mindfulness;
  • Creativity;
  • Fun.

    shell money festival selfie with friend

What are your Core Values?

If you haven’t already worked out your core values that’s my challenge for you over the holiday season. See if you can pick no more than ten core values and ideally just five. Those values will then guide you in every choice you make over the coming year and make deciding if to say yes or no to an opportunity easy. 

Action step

Sounds good? Get started working out your core values by browsing the massive list of 400+ values here. Or if that’s  too overwhelming start here. You can also find our more about core values here.

You’ll probably come up with a big list to begin with which you can then whittle down. It’s hard! But it’s time well spent getting to know yourself.

Thank YOU!

Thank you so much for reading Get In the Hot Spot, for travelling along with me and for sharing your adventurous spirit.

Be well. Have fun. Travel near and far. I will be looking forward to seeing you again next year.

Happy holidays!

x Annabel

PS. As promised here’s a quick recipe for you to make for your loved ones next time you have a gathering!

Blackened Prawn Nibbles


I love nibbles, in particular anything that involves prawns. This dish is dead easy to make, can be prepared ahead of time then assembled at the last minute and it looks fancy and festive. This isn’t so much as a recipe as an idea for you to execute when you want to make a tasty treat for friends without any stress.

This recipe makes about 50 nibbles.


500g raw peeled prawns ( I used frozen Aldi prawns which only cost $12)

Cajun spice (sometimes called blackening mix for fish)

3 large telegraph cucumbers

Bunch of fresh coriander (or mint would probably work well too)


Fry the prawns for a couple of minutes mixing in about 4 teaspoons of cajun spice – or add a few teaspoons extra for an even spicier effect. The spice should coat the prawns evenly, adding a pretty red, brown and orange speckle to the pink prawn flesh.

You can also fry the prawns the day before and keep them in a tupperware overnight. If assembing everything on the day just make sure the prawns are completely cool.

Wash the cucumbers and, if you wish, peel them to create a striped effect. Or just leave the skin on for more roughage!

Now slice the cucumbers into thick slices about 0.5cm thick. You can prepare the cucumber the day before and keep it in a tupperware of water in the fridge overnight. Just drain it thoroughly before assembing everything.

To serve: Place the cucumber slices on two large trays, position a coriander leaf on top of the cucumber and a spicy prawn on top of it all.

Voila! Serve chilled with a smile and drinks.

tongariro alpine crossing 9 (2)

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  1. Seana Smith December 20, 2016 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Merry Christmas, Annabel and family, great to read your year recap… I should do one too but am having too much… fun! I’m working on mindfulness too and on just minding my own business and keeping out of other peoples’ business and relationships.

    We are down the coast for the first time in 6 months, loving being by the sea again. This year has taught me that I’m ready to get out of the suburbs, have turned back into a country mouse.

    • Annabel Candy January 11, 2017 at 9:03 am - Reply

      Hi Seana,

      Well that’s a revelation – look forward to seeing where you end up :)

  2. John Miller December 30, 2016 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel! I was expecting a recipe but I got so much more from that read.

    Anyway, I’m headed out to buy the prawns now.

  3. Jo January 17, 2017 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel, hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year. I really enjoyed reading this post and hearing what you’ve been up to. Wow, what a busy and productive year you’ve had. Such an inspiration to me. It’s amazing how our lives change and evolve over the years, and it’s a privilege being part of yours in an online way – but I hope we get to meet up again in 2017. Here’s to that and having a big dose of FUN when we do :) xoxo

  4. Debra Eve January 28, 2017 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Congrats on your graduation from uni, Annabel. That’s such an achievement, even the third time around! (Actually, even more so.) Life-long learning and adventure are two of my core values too. Haven’t stopped by in a while, but I do so enjoy your newsletter and traveling vicariously through you.

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