friends · gratitude · happiness

Farewell, 2011.

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instil in us.”  ~ Hal Borland

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.”  ~ Ellen Goodman

Three hundred and sixty-five days have passed us by since we waved a cheery good-bye to the old year. We promised ourselves that we would do better next year; improve our diet, exercise more, save more money, show kindness to one and all, learn to play that musical instrument, write that novel, clean out the wardrobes….etc., etc., etc….

How did you go with last year’s New Year’s Resolutions? Hmm…

If you’re anything like me, and probably the majority of the world’s population, the plans you made on New Year’s Day last year went right out the window on January 2nd!

I’ve realised the reason for my plans, or New Year’s Resolutions, all going pear-shaped so quickly ~ I make too many plans, to do too many things! (Message to Self: There are only so many hours in a day, you know!)

A few days ago I came across a quote, which for me says it all. I’d like to share it here, as it may also have the same profound impact on another person as it had on me. This New Year, this quote is my New Year’s Resolution ~

“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” ~ Denis Waitley.

Tomorrow is just another day on the calendar, yet a day of new beginnings.

As you begin the New Year of 2012, my friends, I wish you well in everything you wish to achieve in your life, good health, wonderful friends and the love of family.


Australia · gratitude · music · nostalgia · old house · son · spiritual

Capturing the Moment

Home for this eight legged fellow.

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no delay, no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”~Lord Chesterfield.

The above quote sums up an important lesson I have learned during 2011.

Web of diamonds and pearls.

With my camera at the ready, as I see a magical moment unfolding, I photograph it. It’s no use in thinking we can go back to the moment later. If we fail to seize the moment, it will be lost to us, forever.

During the year I have captured many moments in time with my camera. We are fortunate enough to live in a generation when we can click away to our hearts content, transfer the photos to our computer and edit later. No more messy and expensive film processing for us!

Most of my captured moments didn’t make it to my blog page, for no other reason than there were so many of them! What better time to share some of my year as it draws to a close.

Memories of my childhood home.


During my visit to the Blue Mountains in April this year with my youngest son, I captured days which will live in my heart forever. There are those who say you can’t return to your past. Well, I didn’t do that; I re-discovered my past surroundings, through the eyes of an adult. The home where I grew up is obviously loved by its present owner, with both the building and garden being well maintained.

A Generation Later

Watching my son ride his skate-board along the same street where I had played as a child was one of those special moments, in need of capturing in the instant of the time.

School Days

My old school, the one where I began kindergarten at the age of four, seemed to me to be captured in a time-warp. A well maintained time-warp I might add!

Echo Point, Katoomba.

The award for the most surreal moment of the year, when time literally stood still for me, happened when my boy and I visited the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains. As we headed towards the lookout, the sounds of a didgeridoo echoed throughout the expanse of the valley. If you are not familiar with the sound, I have found a sample on You Tube, which you can listen to here…

The man responsible for the Magical Sounds kindly allowed me to photograph him, then complimented my son on his choice of cap he was wearing, a glossy, purple, checkered number he had found a few days earlier!

Making memories with loved ones is really something special; seizing the moment and recognising it for what it is embeds the moment in your heart.

Treasuring the moment, and moving right along in the direction of the next memory is absolutely priceless.

Mum · nostalgia · pies · traditions

Traditions. And Mince Pies, Just Like Mum Used to Make.

Christmas Wreath

“‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,    Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”~ Clement Clark Moore.

As I hung the Christmas wreath on my front door this year, I tallied up the number of years I have done so. This will be our seventeenth Christmas in our home and we have continued our families Christmas traditions throughout the years.

Some may find family traditions boring; I find them comforting and familiar and I look forward to repeating our old traditions each year and adding new ideas into our mix of celebrations when the fancy hits us.

One tradition that my mother repeated annually was to make her famous and much-loved-by-her-family Mince Pies every year.

I have continued making mince pies myself every Christmas myself, although I have always made the pastry using butter; Mum used lard.

This year I opted for a change and made my mince pies “justa lika Mumma use to make”, (as they say in the spaghetti sauce advert, however, my Mum wasn’t Italian, so perhaps that line isn’t appropriately used in this case!)

My Mum was a Cheshire born girl, with a Manchester born Mum whose entire family were Yorkshire born and bred. Mum’s very broad northern English accent was hard to understand at times (even for me, her own daughter!) I’m uncertain whether it is my maternal families trait, or a Yorkshire family trait, to religiously follow family traditions the way we do. Either way, it’s traditional, so we do it!

Being true to old tradition, this year I made my mince pies using lard, just as Mum always had. It’s such a simple recipe – 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 125 grams (4 oz) lard and 1/4 pint of water.

Mince Pies

In previous years I have been known to make my own fruit mince, (Mum called it “mince meat”) although this year, as time did not permit, I bought a very reliable, traditionally English brand of mince, which is almost a good as home-made.

There’s nothing like a mince pie made with pastry using lard to bring back memories of Christmases long gone, but not forgotten. And the best part of it all is that the new (old) version of lard pastry seems to be a hit with my family too!

Christmas Eve

Now, with food for tomorrow prepared, kitchen tidied, decorations hung and everyone in bed, in the words of Clement Clark Moore, I will bid you a “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Australia · desserts · recipe · summer · traditions

Time to Repost ~ Ice-Cream Christmas Pudding

Christmas is coming...

Christmas is only just over one week away (really?…what happened to 2011 !!) and with that in mind, I will be making my family favourite Ice Cream Christmas Pudding this week.

I first posted this recipe here way back in December, 2009, when my blog was a brand new baby, just starting out in the Big Wide World of the Web. In fact, it was the sixth post ever added!

Over the last two to three weeks, this post has been up there at the top of the list of most viewed posts. Time for a repost….

“Living in a warm climate at Christmas time can have some definite disadvantages, the most obvious for me being that I have never experienced a white Christmas!

However, on the bonus side, how many people  in the northern hemisphere would have ever have had the inclination to experience the pure joy of finishing off their Christmas dinner with a sumptuously divine Ice-Cream Christmas Pudding? This is but one of advantages of life in Australia!

It was only about ten years ago that I first made this summer Christmas pudding. It has become such a tradition since then that Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without it. (Mind you, I also make a traditional pudding, which can be eaten with hot custard).”

Ice-Cream Christmas Pudding

Ice Cream Christmas Pudding

1/2 cup chopped raisins

1/2 cup sultanas

1/2 cup currants

1/4 cup glacé cherries, chopped or whole

1/4 cup mixed peel

1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup brandy, rum or fruit juice

1 litre softened chocolate ice-cream

1/2 cup blanched almonds, toasted & chopped

1/2 cup cream

Thickened cream to serve

Combine all the dried fruits in a bowl, add the brandy, rum or fruit juice. Stir the liquid through the fruit & leave to stand, covered, over night. (Don’t be tempted to add extra alcohol as the pudding will not freeze successfully with any addition to the specified amount!)

The next day, mix together the soaked fruit, softened ice-cream, almonds & cream. Stir well to combine, and pour into a 5 litre pudding bowl. Cover & freeze overnight, or until required.

To remove the pudding from the bowl, immerse the bowl for a few seconds in some hot water. Turn the bowl over onto a serving plate. Serve with thickened cream or cold custard.

gratitude · happiness · inspiration · son · Tweed Valley

As the Day Winds Down…

The day is ending

I’ve been parousing my photos this afternoon, looking for a particular series taken in May of this year, to add to Facebook.

Feathers or leaves?

However…I’m easily distracted!

Instead, I have come across another series of photos, taken not so long ago, which I think are really good. Not that I’m any kind of photographic expert, but I do believe that if you see something special in a photo, chances are, someone else out there may also appreciate it.

Norfolk Pine

So, why not share?

Down the lane

My husband and son were still hard at it, killing weeds and mowing the lawn; my contribution to their efforts was to take their photo!


Don’t the leaves of the trees looks beautiful against the sky? One of my favourite photos to take is at the time of day when the sun decides to peer through the branches and leaves of the trees foliage, so sparkly and pretty.

Back now to the original task…Facebook awaits. 🙂