Australia · blessings · cakes · Changes · clouds · farewell · garden flowers · granddaughter · gratitude · In My World · memories · Mount Warning · new beginnings · new year · pets · photography · rain · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

Goodbye, 2020.

Words seem to escape me tonight. What does one say as the year 2020 draws to a close?

I could state the obvious, that this year has been an extremely difficult year for many people, but we all know that. It’s hardly a profound statement.

It has definitely been a year of change – we all know that as well.

So I will tell you all some new news, about my day filled with magical moments. 🙂

It rained overnight, washing away the dusty air in the valley. I awoke to a crystal clear – picture perfect, I would say – scene of Mount Warning.

As always, when Forrest and Brontë enjoyed some time in the sun, it was my Labrador, Brontë, who kept watch.

Raindrops from our overnight shower clung to my potted Petunias. I love these colours so much! Pink and purple flowers in my garden make my heart sing!

Inside the house, Bowie boy posed beautifully for the camera. ❤

And when my little granddaughter came to visit, she was very excited to finally try a piece of the Christmas cake she has been eyeing off every time she has visited since Christmas Day.

While I had my camera out, Aurora told her Mummy and Daddy to say “cheese,” then she took her own photo. Don’t you just love the imagination of children? And Aurora’s curls? ❤

Miss Tibbs prefers to hide when visitors arrive. I found her after my visitors had left, in her usual place on my sewing table.

Around sunset, a sudden noise alerted me to a change in the weather. It had remained sunny most of the day – the sun was still shining – but a sudden gush of rain fell from a huge unexpected cloud that had rolled in from the coast.

We had the most spectacular sunshower. I took a few photos from my veranda, as the rain really was quite heavy, and had whipped up a windy squall from the south.

So the day that began crystal-clear-perfect ended with a brilliant sunshower. Two incredibly stunning, yet totally different views of Mount Warning. What a way to end the year!

I feel a tad sorry for the year 2020. It has taken a bad rap, particularly since March. But was it the fault of the year that so many things went awry? I don’t believe it was. Every year, we experience the good and the bad situations that life offers, and we can’t claim 2020 to be all “bad” can we?

For me, 2020 was the year my grandson, Eli, was born. It is also the year I learned that I have two more grandsons on the way. The units I completed at university were two of my most enjoyable units so far, and I was graded with a high distinction for both units. I have had the opportunity to spend more time at home, therefore more time in my garden. Since July, I have blogged every day and made more friends in the blogging community.

No, 2020 wasn’t all bad, not for me at least.

As we welcome in the New Year of 2021, we are presented with a brand new opportunity to begin again, with a clean slate. No mistakes, no problems, just a choice of how we will react to the good moments, and the bad, that 2021 presents us with. ❤

cakes · daughter-in-law · flowers · son · wedding

Before The Wedding.

light magic

During the week before the wedding of my son, Adam, and his beautiful bride-to-be, Mary, the house was a virtual hive of activity. And so was the garden. Each weekend, for a few months prior to the wedding, husband had spent every weekend, often with a team of helpers, dismantling and reconstructing a large retaining wall, and relaying the paved area at the back of our house.

The party hire crew were due to arrive on the Tuesday, so the pavers all had to be fully laid by that day. When the three adjoining marquees were constructed, suddenly the garden was transformed into a beautiful wedding venue.

This was all becoming very real!


I loved the folds of white fabric, with the fairy lights shining from behind, and the chandeliers lighting the “rooms” of the marquee. The venue would offer a very romantic atmosphere for the wedding, just the way we wanted it to be.

gather round

On Thursday afternoon, our dear friend Therese arrived. She is a marriage celebrant and has known Adam for his entire life, so there would be no other person more appropriate to marry these two young people. Most of the wedding party were available for a rehearsal, and Therese had everyone organised and in their places before too long.

Miss Forry

Well, almost everyone was amicable to Therese’s organisation. Miss Forrest was just there for the hugs and pats!


And the bride, bridesmaids and maid-of-honour had spent a girls day together, which included lunch, shopping, manicure and fake tanning treatment. They all loved their nails. Champagne, anyone? 🙂

we are gathered here today

So, back to Therese having everyone organised ~ men to her left, women to her right, Mary and her step-dad in front, Adam awaiting instructions….

how we do it

Young Bailey, the pageboy, had a very important role to play, and he took his responsibilities very seriously, listening intently to everything Therese told him that he had to do. He was as pleased as punch with himself!

now listen, girls

Now girls, have we got everything right here? Who’s doing what? No, I do that! Oh, I thought she did….so what order do we stand in….?

now hold hands

Adam, hold Mary’s hands….here you will repeat after me… many words can you remember at a time….?

I do what

Got it? Got it…I’m sure you do, Adam! You do, don’t you? Of course you do!


Once the whole party had “got it”, it was time for more organising, with the big day only a few hours away.

But first, a photo of my three kids….don’t they all look happy? 😉 Get used to it kids, by the end of the wedding, your cheeks will hurt from smiling!

lots of cupcakes

The wedding day arrives, and an old school friend of husbands, who is a very talented caterer, supplied us with the most beautiful cup cakes for the occasion.


Aren’t they pretty? She had quite a large range of decorating options available, but Mary liked the butterflies the best. Husband collected the boxes of cakes on the morning of the day, and each cake was then transferred into tiny individual cake boxes.

thank you's

As a special “thank-you”, each guest would be receiving a cupcake and a jar of personalised candy.

fish bowl flowers

Our lovely florist, Lindy, arranged flowers which matched the bouquets, in fish bowls along all of the tables.

pretty tables2

Mary chose hessian runners for each table, which was also decoratively tied around each peach coloured candle.

tables ready

The tables were all set by the busy bridesmaids, chairs covered and big bows attached.


Mary even found time to help Lindy decorate the arbour, with the most beautiful array of flowers. If you missed it before, go back and have a look at the stunning flowers Mary chose, and Lindy supplied for the wedding. They were absolutely superb. I called it A Floral Extravaganza, and it really was!

And where was I whilst all of this activity took place? Taking photos of it all, of course, although the last four photos here were taken by our lovely photographer on the day, Sally, as later in the day I could be found rushing from one of the house to the other and back again, tidying, dusting vacuuming, getting myself dolled up, after which I made sure that all of the boys were in perfect order for the ceremony.

I now have so many photos of the wedding, between those I took, Sally’s photos, and those taken by other people, so I can see there will be another three posts added here, at least, before I get through them all. 🙂


Australia · autumn · cakes · happiness · son · traditions

The Sydney Royal Easter Show


Agricultural displays, painstakingly created to show off the produce of an area.

The Sydney Royal Easter Show Begins Today! And oh, how I wish I were there.

Age doesn’t matter, really it doesn’t. The buzz of the Sydney Easter Show is incomparable to any other show I’ve been to.

The Buzz of the Easter Show is not confined to the bee hives!

It’s the atmosphere, the people, the events, the rides, the show bags, the wood chopping events, the domestic and farm animals, the food, sideshow alley,  the art, the displays….

The Central District's display

Nothing ever grows old at the Sydney Show. Last Easter my youngest son Adam and I took a trip to Sydney to go to the show. For Adam, it was his first time; for me, the umpteenth time.

I fell in love with the very realistic scowl on this baby dolls face!

Rain on the day didn’t dampen my spirits, we just took an umbrella. And the simple fact that we were in Sydney was thrilling enough for Adam. He has spent so little time in this great city, which I intend rectifying over the next few years, before he becomes too mature and too cool to travel with his mum!

Here he is again with some friends.

We had planned on going back to Sydney for this year’s Easter Show, but unfortunately business commitments are keeping me tied to the Tweed area during April.

Look at the detail in the decorations on these cakes!

But I can do the next best thing, and show you some photos taken at last year’s show.

Here's the Western Districts display, featuring the Australian Coat of Arms.

The district agricultural displays are an incredible sight. I don’t think that my photos really do them justice. The amount of creativity that goes into these displays is unbelievable.

The judging of the fruit cakes is over. What a delicious job!

You will notice, however, that wood chopping photos are missing, along with the animals and the rides, all outdoor events, in fact. And my camera isn’t waterproof (remember, it was a rainy day).

The fruitiest of fruit cakes hardly have any cake to hold the fruit together!

The show bag pavilion is also noticeably missing for a different reason. Our hands were too full of show bags, and gifts we had bought to take home to the family, to be able to juggle the camera into photo taking position!

The busy bees have done their bit, and the judges results are in.

I found a very informative Wikipedia site, (link added here)which shows some of the outdoor events at the show. I was also interested to read that the show began in 1823, is the largest event in Australia, which comes as no surprise, and is the sixth largest in the world.

Even south-east Queensland has a produce display.

Adam will only be fifteen next Easter and I’m sure it won’t take too much convincing for him to head off to the Sydney Easter Show with me again. Heck, if he doesn’t want to go, I’ll go alone! 🙂



cakes · chocolate · music · nostalgia

The Icing on MacArthur Park (and My Christmas Cake!)

On Christmas Eve I iced my Christmas cake, as I am known to do every year, during one of the preceding days leading up to the big day itself.

As a general rule, the icing stays put. But not this Christmas!

The moisture in the air, due to the massive amounts of rain we have been experiencing over the last few weeks, had my chocolate icing venturing to places on my cake where chocolate icing was not intended to be!

(The humidity level has regularly hovered around 80 – 90 % for some time now.)

Immediately, I had music in my head…

“MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down…
Someone left the cake out in the rain…”

Yes, I know, my icing was sweet brown icing and no, I did not leave it out in the rain! Although it looks for all the world as if I did!

Do you remember the song, “MacArthur Park”? It was written by Jimmy Webb and recorded by actor, Richard Harris in 1968. The song became an instant one hit wonder for Harris, the actor.

I remember the song well, from listening to my mother constantly singing it around the house, whilst going about her housework! She was totally besotted by the song!

As to the actual recording of the song, even as a child I found Richard Harris’s voice haunting. Still do, for that matter.

Not that I had a clue as to what the lyrics were going on about!

It got the better of me. I had to take myself off to YouTube and find the song. Just to hear that voice again. And the orchestra. And to feel the sensation of goose bumps….

Yep, I’m my mother’s daughter. I’m besotted by that song!

I came across a few trivial facts to share with you also, just in case you’re interested in Richard Harris, or his gorgeous voice, or his acting, or that song…

Richard St. John Harris was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1930.

His movie career began in 1958 and included roles in such memorable movies as “The Guns of Navarone”, “Mutiny on the Bounty” and “Camelot”.

In 2002, Harris played his final movie role in “Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets”, as Headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore.

Unfortunately, Harris passed away just two and a half weeks before the release of the movie.

As to my not understanding the lyrics of “MacArthur Park”, apparently they are meant to symbolise the ending of a love affair!

You can watch and listen to a YouTube video here ~

to hear snippets of the song, as sung by Richard Harris, along with interjections of anecdotes about the song and Harris himself.

For an uninterrupted (shortened) version of the song, go here ~

This second link is “A Tribute to Richard Harris”. Whilst he is singing the song, various photos are flashed across the screen, of Harris as he appeared in some of his movies roles. At the end of the video, an Irish Blessing appears, reading,

“May you always find blue skies above your head,

Shamrocks beneath your feet, laughter and joy aplenty,

Kindness from all you meet,

Good friends and kin to miss you if ever you choose to roam,

And a path that’s been cleared by angels themselves

To carry you safely home”.

Isn’t that a lovely blessing?

And so ends my “Richard Harris / MacArthur Park walk down memory lane and trivia quest”.

The humidity has dropped today to around 60 %, the rain is gone and the sun is shining, but I’ll be waiting a while before I add any icing to any cakes I bake!

cakes · chocolate · cooking · recipe

Chocolate Cake ~ Vegan Style

These days, more and more people are changing their eating habits, as part of their search for a healthier lifestyle.

My own personal preference is to grow as many fruit vegetables as I can in my own back garden. So far, I have shied away from keeping my own chooks for the eggs, only because I hate the thought of the poor little hens being terrorised by snakes…we get quite a few here during the summer!

My daughter found this recipe so we would have a vegan alternative to our regular chocolate cake recipes. We do want to make our vegan and vegetarian guests feel welcome in our home!

We discovered that this cake is so delicious, there is no need at all to be a vegan to enjoy it. It’s light and fluffy and oh-so-chocolaty!

125g soft vegan margarine

1 cup castor sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

½ cup cocoa

½ cup hot water

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 cup soya milk

1 ¾ cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Cream margarine, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Blend the cocoa in the hot water and gradually add to the margarine and sugar mixture.

Add the lemon juice to the milk to sour it.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together and add it to the creamed mixture alternately with the soured milk. Mix thoroughly.

Spoon the cake mixture into a greased and paper lined 8″ cake pan and bake in a moderate oven, 180 deg. C for 30-40 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out. Allow to cool before icing.

Decorate as desired…enjoy! 🙂