The Downtime Agenda

0 $0 credit
  • Words — Julie Haslam
  • Images — Jenna Kensey

We visit busy journalist and TV presenter Edwina Bartholomew at her beautiful farm to talk all things downtime, jam making, music, books and travel. And we get to meet Mate, her new furry friend.

Edwina Bartholomew, going lo-fi at the farm.

How do you unwind?

Sleep is my number one way to unwind. When you get up at 3.30am each morning, it becomes a very valuable commodity.

We also recently bought and renovated a farm in country NSW. We go there every weekend we can. Our phones go straight in a wooden box and we spend the whole weekend gardening, painting, and collecting firewood at this time of year. It’s always a little bit sad when we have to get in the car and go back to the city.

I’m about to plant a veggie patch and orchard too so I see a lot of jam making in my future.

How do you feel when you don’t get enough time for yourself?

Frazzled. I lead a pretty busy life so it takes a lot for me to get to that point.

I try to just snatch downtime when I can. I buy a lot of magazines and love scrolling through Instagram as a way to switch off.

I’m also training for a 50 kilometre walk so there is a lot of walking at the moment. That is a kind of meditation for me. I’m not very good at the real kind!

What’s Sydney’s best-kept secret for downtime?

I absolutely love the Sydney Flower Markets. You have to go early to experience all the activity.

I am very much a novice when it comes to flowers but the growers are always willing to answer questions and help out.

Describe your ideal Sunday.

If we are at the farm, I wake up early and take our little cattle dog for a walk to the front fence and back. I then try to exhaust him with games, before a cup of tea and breakfast.

If we are in the city, we always have a long breakfast and read the Sunday papers from back to front.

I try to use the day to prepare for the week by shopping and cooking. If this fails, it’s takeaway for dinner!

Tell us what we’d find on your downtime playlist.

Bon Iver, Angus and Julia Stone and Buena Vista Social club.

I have also inherited a love of Johnny Cash from my fiancé. I bought him an original record from Sun Studio, Nashville a few years ago to add to the vinyl collection he inherited from his dad. We have an old record player from the 60s and play all sorts of records from Tom Jones to Nirvana. I interviewed Jimmy Barnes recently and he sent me his album on vinyl too.

It really is a wonderful way to listen to music.

What are you reading right now?

Three half-finished books. My absolute favourite book is The Secret River by Kate Grenville. She also wrote a really interesting book about the process behind her novel.

We have an entire wall of books at the farm. They are our favourites – Tim Winton, Christos Tsiolkas, Liane Moriarty, Donna Tartt. I am slowly making my way through the ones I haven’t read.

What’s your favourite movie of all time?

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We watch it every year and my siblings and I can recite all the lines.

Best holiday spot for downtime?

How much time do you have? I’ve been very lucky with my job to travel to every single corner of this country.

My absolute favourite hotel is Pumphouse Point on Lake St Clair in Tasmania. You can’t beat that location.

If you really want to feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, head to the Kimberley in WA. Every Australian should experience the Horizontal Falls. That is truly magical.

Who is your downtime partner in crime and why?

Neil and our dog, Mate. It takes three hours to drive to our farm. It would be too far for some people but we absolutely love it.

We rarely turn the radio on and just use the time to catch up.

Neil would argue we don’t have enough downtime but after over six years together, he is finally getting used to the way I love to jam pack everything in.