Homemade Hymns with Tessa

Homemade Hymns with Tessa

Ettalong is an inspiring canvas of makers and creators hailing from big cities but craving the freedom of mind to do their craft – discover our growing community of talented artists, designers, chefs and musicians.

She’s been drawn to the bright lights of London and Sydney, but singer/songwriter Tessa Thames couldn’t resist returning to her roots on the New South Wales’ Central Coast to raise her young daughter. The talented artist is one half of Microwave Jenny: the other half is her record producer, songwriter and husband Brendon Boney. They perform at festivals and venues across Australia, although lately it’s been all about enjoying their coastal home. We asked Tessa for a few verses of what she loves most about the Central Coast.

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What do you love most about the Coast?

“Other than the fact that I can wear my slippers almost anywhere, I love that it's family orientated and I don't need to make plans for my day to feel like a holiday. All I have to do is step outside.”

How has the Central Coast lifestyle influenced your music?

If it weren’t for a few teachers at my high school and their interest in my career in music, I would have never met my future husband, who is a very big part of why I continue to do music… He is also a very talented musician and songwriter. I met him at a big public school event called ‘Schools Spectacular’. I don't know if living by the ocean directly influences my style of music, but living here definitely gives me the freedom of mind I need to do what I love.

Where is your favourite place to catch new local artists live?

I love heading out to the Avoca Beachside Markets and catching awesome Central Coast musicians doing a set on the weekend.

Why did you return to the Central Coast from abroad?

We moved here because I wanted our daughter to be able to run on the beach and swim whenever she likes. Also, so I can run on the beach and swim whenever I like.

Living on the Coast has all this freedom, but still the benefit of a 45-minute train ride to Sydney. We are in the city quite a bit and it is always so nice to come home to Ettalong and breathe in the salty air and take our dog for a walk along the esplanade, and maybe even for a quick dip.

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Ettalong Beach
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The Boathouse Patonga

Where would you go for a great nightcap after a local gig? 

Our daughter comes with us for 99 percent of our gigs, so if we were to go out somewhere after it would be to The Boathouse Hotel in Patonga for a cheeky late-night pavlova on the sea.

What are your top three places for a great meal in Ettalong?

  1. Lords of Pour: great service, great food, and for constantly satisfying my chai latte and croissant needs.
  2. The Grand Pavilion: When nothing is open on a Monday night, you can always count on this place, and I would always suggest eating in.
  3. Coast 175: Go here for the best corn fritters!

Do you have a local secret you’d be willing to share?

We love our local cinema, Cinema Paradiso. It has so much character and, after a movie, there are a few hidden gem restaurants in the surrounding Galleria Ettalong for nibbles.

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Restaurants at The Galleria, Photo by Isaac Tseng
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Coast 175