Hanging out with Some Fun Guys

You just know I have been milking that joke (in the post title) all month, right?¬† ūüôā

I love me some nature photography.  I do not claim to be very good at it, nor do I have any fancy equipment, lenses, or even a decent camera.  Just my little iPhone with the cracked screen.  It does the job though and I get some pretty nice shots when we are out and about.  But, really, nature does all the work РI just show up and take the photos.


¬†Fungi always seems a bit magical and other-worldly, because of its weird shapes, colours and places in which it grows.¬† I would like to tell you I can identify all of these little toadstools and mushrooms but, clearly, I would be lying.¬† I have no idea if anyone of them are edible.¬† They’re just neat – that’s all I know – and, during this hike through the forest in Jarrahdale, they were in abundance.


We had to be careful where we walked, in case we squished some of the more well-camouflaged specimens, and you had to look down and up and sideways and under things and above your head because they grew in all sorts of places.


Nature is so clever and beautiful, and we should take the time to notice her work more often.¬† Not just trample all over it.¬† We need to learn to tread more softly and leave smaller footprints.¬† We miss out on so much when we don’t stop and look around every now and then and remember to be grateful and appreciative.

Thanks for stopping by – have a lovely day ūüôā










Winter is Coming (and why I’m not going to complain about it so much this year)

I hate Winter. ¬†I have said this many, many times. ¬†I hate it so much that now, when it is actually still Autumn, I am already complaining and wearing scarves and boots and generally walking around being miserable with a definite case of SAD. ¬†I hate that I have to wear trousers and jeans – ugh! ¬†I hate that my fingers ache and my nose is red and I can’t feel my toes. ¬†I hate that my hair goes from being a bit mad, to downright mental and ridiculous. ¬†I spend several months looking like a drowned, frizzy rat.

I hate that the mornings are so cold and dark, and getting up is not only miserable but confusing (Body : Why are we getting out of bed? ¬†It’s pitch black outside – surely it is not morning yet, you stupid girl!). I hate that everyone else whinges about the heat in Summer (which lasts for about three seconds, as opposed to Winter which lasts FOREVER!!!) and “enjoys” the cooler days. ¬†Bah humbug to them, I say!

But then, after the events of this week in Manchester,¬† I stopped hating Winter quite so much.¬† Because I’m sure that all of the parents that lost children in that attack would trek through snow and ice, in bare feet, carrying the weight of the world on their back, just to see their loved ones again.¬† I’m cold – they’ve lost a child.¬† There’s no contest there.¬† Teenagers and adults also lost their lives – they will never feel the sting of Winter again, never get to complain about cold feet or rain-frizzed hair, never get to snuggle up with the people they love and enjoy a hot cup of tea.

The world is so scary right now.¬† I don’t know how it will ever get better.¬† And, although we are all focused on Manchester right now, there are of course incidents like this happening all over the world, in many different countries, and we tend to become jaded and desensitised about it, especially when it isn’t happening in our own backyard.¬† People live with this kind of terror every single day, for years on end,¬†and it barely gets reported or, if it does, it comes somewhere down the list below some football team winning a championship and Taylor Swift’s latest relationship.

I don’t claim to know anything about politics, religion,¬†or world affairs, or much about anything, really.¬† I tend to not watch the news because it’s so dreadfully depressing and upsetting.¬† I find myself just NOT WANTING TO KNOW.¬† Which is bad, I know, but I feel helpless and sad and anxious when I see/hear things I can’t do anything about.¬† And nowhere feels safe anymore.¬† And I have little people in my life who are just starting out and I fear for them so much.¬† I just pray that they are the change the world needs to see.¬† I have to believe that their beautiful spirits and hearts can make things better.

I don’t know where I am going with this post.¬† My heart hurts and I am just feeling cold, inside and out, and Winter cannot be blamed this time.

Be kind to one another.  Be understanding.  Show tolerance and acceptance and empathy.  We have to stop this happening over and over again.



A Visitor at Last!

Quite some time ago I got a couple of bird baths to hang in my garden.  I have a lot of birdlife in my neighbourhood and, with the Summers being so hot, I wanted them to have access to water.  I thought I would have lots of happy birdies availing themselves of the amenities I provided.  But no.  Not a one.  I figured maybe they just chose to turn up when I was out or at work or whatever.  As the months went by I came to the conclusion the local bird population was snubbing my water station and frequenting some other location for their hydration needs.

I didn’t take the bird baths away, but I did forget to refill them regularly (possibly the reason the birds chose to stay away). ¬†Wally, my garden Wattlebird (cranky guardian of my grevilleas) sits near them every day and watches me eat my breakfast through the window (I mean he watches through the window…I’m not eating my breakfast through a window – that would be strange). ¬†I’ve never seen him partake of any water though – even on the hottest days. ¬†He is a quite large bird though, so perhaps doesn’t feel safe perching on the swinging bird bath. ¬†He’s also quite territorial so it’s possible he has been warning all the other birds away.

My little¬†Willy Wagtail, whose melodic song means Spring is only a few short weeks away, also likes to hang out NEAR the bird baths but I haven’t seen him actually perch on them or take a drink. ¬†I think they’re just mocking me now – my water isn’t up to their standards apparently.

But, hallelujah! ¬†This morning as I ate my very late breakfast ( I slept in – it was glorious, but now I have wasting-the-day guilts) I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a bird DRINKING OUT OF THE BIRD BATH!!! ¬†A bird I had never seen before in my garden, was happily having a long drink out of my bird bath, swinging away in the breeze and enjoying a spot of sunshine (it’s been raining heavily all morning – hence the bird bath actually having water in it!). ¬†I managed to get a couple of sneaky photos of him before he noticed me, peering out of the window and doing a silent happy dance.


I think he is a Grey Butcherbird. I have seen them before, mostly down by the foreshore, but never in my garden before. ¬†I was so happy to see him! ¬†But then a bit sad because I will be moving soon and will have to start the whole wooing-birds-into-my-garden process all over again. ¬†I don’t really even HAVE a garden in my new place (if I ever actually get to settlement) so will have to put in lots of natives to attract the local bird population. ¬†A garden with no birdies is so sad!

I didn’t know a lot about Butcherbirds, so did a bit of research. ¬†I found that they have a lovely, warbling song, a bit like a magpie (listen HERE) and that they can be quite aggressive during nesting season. ¬†I also read that they “..prey on small animals, including birds, lizards and insects, as well as some fruits and seeds. Uneaten food may be stored in the fork or a branch or impaled. Grey Butcherbirds sit on an open perch searching for prey which, once sighted, they pounce on. Most mobile prey is caught on the ground, though small birds and insects may be caught in flight. Feeding normally takes place alone, in pairs or in small family groups…” (Thanks, Birdlife Australia)


He’s a handsome fellow and I’m glad he stopped by. ¬†I’m hoping he feels safe enough to come again and maybe bring a friend. ¬†Maybe sing a song or two (now that I know what I’m listening for!).

Thank YOU for dropping by, too.  My blog is a little lack-lustre these days due to being in the midst of packing boxes and house-buying dramas and just being in a general state of disarray.  Please bear with me while I muddle through my messy life.



Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder

Ah, soup. ¬†I am such a fan. ¬†It is easy to prepare, does not require difficult-to-get ingredients and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes (depending on the soup). ¬†It’s filling, without being fattening, and can be flavoured and bulked-out with just about anything you have lying around the place. ¬†Just bung it in, blend it up and hey presto! You have soup. ¬†Or some weird-flavoured water (depending on the “anything” you bunged in).

Tonight I had a hankering for corn chowder. ¬†I don’t know why. ¬†It just appeared in my brain and took hold and made me desire its smokey, corny goodness beyond all other food stuffs. ¬†I don’t make it very often. ¬†Pretty much never. ¬†The first time I ever made it was in catering class in high school. ¬†I think I have made it three times in my entire life. ¬†But it’s so yummy! ¬†And filling and satisfying and feels like a meal rather than some sort of dietary punishment. ¬†It never looks very attractive though. ¬†Corn Chowder resembles, at best, dog vomit. ¬†In fact, I hesitated when naming this blog post. ¬†I wanted to call it “Corn Chunder” but I am far too mature for such a title. ¬†I apologise if you are eating right now but, seriously, was there ever a more unattractive looking soup?

So my photo below is another fail. ¬†I’m not even going to bother blaming it on bad lighting (even though the lighting in my kitchen is rubbish). ¬†Let’s just ignore the picture and get on with the taste. ¬†It’s yummy. ¬†Delish. Tasty.

So here’s my recipe. ¬†As always, for all my soup recipes, it is a bit approximate in terms of amounts used. ¬†Again, just bung it in.¬†I have, as is necessary for me, made this vegetarian, but substitute (if you must) real bacon etc.

Corn Chowder 

1 large onion, diced
4 rashers of vegetarian bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 potato, peeled and diced into roughly 1cm cubes
375ml can of evaporated milk + 2 canfuls of water – one mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of stock powder + one mixed with flour
2 cups frozen (or fresh) corn kernels
Chopped parsley


Saute the onion in a bit of oil (I used sunflower) in a large saucepan  until soft.
Add bacon and fry for a minute (don’t let it brown).
Add milk and extra cans of water (with stock and flour).  Bring to a gentle boil (keep your eye on it) and add potato.  Keep stirring Рthe milk can burn or boil over so keep it simmering rather than rapid boiling.  Keep stirring for about 10 minutes until potato is tender (but not super squishy).  Add corn kernels and chopped parsley.

Continue simmering for about 5 mins. ¬†Take off heat and take out a ladle or two of the chunky bits. ¬†Give the remaining soup a bit of a blend with an upright stick blender (or whatever you have). ¬†Don’t puree it until it’s smooth – this is supposed to be a chunky chowder! ¬†Add the removed ingredients back into the pot and stir. ¬†If it is too thick for your liking, you can add a half-cup of water if you wish.

Serve hot in bowls – garnish with parsley if desired.

Enjoy! ¬†(just don’t look at it and you’ll be fine) ūüôā


Small Accomplishments (Hey, I’ll take what I can get!)

Small Accomplishments (Hey, I’ll take what I can get!)

Howdy folks! ¬†It’s the start of another week and the year is just flying by. ¬†It seems that each week gets shorter and shorter and in no time at all it will be Christmas again. ¬†I had wanted to achieve so much by the middle of the year, but it is already past that and I am no closer to my goals. ¬†But, with four months until the end of the year, maybe I still have time to accomplish some things.

This weekend just gone I managed to complete one thing that had been on my to-do list since, ahem, February: I got my hair cut. ¬†I am terrible at getting regular trims – I just don’t do it. ¬†I don’t even think about it and when I do, it always seems like there is something better to spend my money on (always the cheapskate). ¬†However, this time, the slowly-spreading tide of grey in my hair made it impossible for me to ignore the chop any longer. ¬†I wanted it to be a bit shorter so it would be easier to dye (and also cheaper – God, I really AM a cheapskate!) and I had liked it last time I got it cut so I made the appointment and made the commitment to go. ¬†I coloured it as soon as I got home – the grey had to go! ¬†What do you think?


The weather has been lovely over the last few days – still cold inside but beautiful sunny weather outside. ¬†Perfect for getting the dreaded washing done (another tick on my list – there is only so much you can hang on an airer in your lounge room‚Ķsheets and towels really need a good sunny day to get dry) and for soaking up some Vitamin D. ¬†I had a delicious lunch out with my best friend and we had a nice catch-up over a cup of tea at my house. ¬†We don’t get to see each other much due to family and work commitments, so it was great to spend some time¬†together.

I managed to get a little bit of crafting done. ¬†I have some orders to get done for my lovely friend K who has always been my biggest supporter, in terms of my jewellery work. ¬†She left a bag of beads at my door a couple of weeks ago, with a list of what she wanted me to make from it, plus some instruction for fixing a couple of things for her that had broken (she will insist on wearing everything in the swimming pool or in the ocean and they don’t hold up well to that sort of activity). ¬†She’s probably reading this right now – hello K! *waves* ¬†She had bought a large turquoise bead to make a necklace for her friend with. ¬†I made this one in a similar style to one I had made for K earlier:


Next up was an “ethnic”-inspired necklace using a large, yellow Nepalese bead she had bought ages ago. ¬†I paired it with some similar amber beads and a couple of turquoise ones I bought a while back. ¬†Hope she likes it:


K had also left me some lovely red coral beads, which she wanted made into a bracelet. ¬†That was easy enough (and there’s plenty left over so I will make something else for her too‚Ķ):


I did try and make some cards much I am still struggling with that for some reason. ¬†I just can’t get my groove back, with regards to cards. ¬†I’m hoping it’s just the cold weather (I blame everything on that‚Ķ) and that when Spring comes I will be inspired and able to make some nice cards. ¬†I did complete one, but I don’t like it at all so I’m not going to show you!

Today was a work day so no crafting for me.  We had a fire drill in the afternoon which was actually pretty organised and we all got a pat on the back for doing what we were supposed to do in an emergency.  I am a deputy fire warden РI am not good at being forceful with people but everyone got out when I told them to and no one got cranky at me for sounding the air horn (bloody awful things they are!).  Other than that, an uneventful day (the kind I like!).

I did take time out to go for a walk around town in my lunch break and I just happened to find myself in an op-shop, looking for beads (like I need any more!).  
I couldn’t resist these beautiful acid-green ones:


…or these pretty little glass ones that look like ice chips :


…there was also a couple of bracelets for 50c that had some interesting beads on them:

IMG_0246 IMG_0251

My main reason for going out was to get up off my butt and get away from my desk. ¬†I am bad at taking breaks – sometimes I just eat lunch at my desk, sometimes I forget lunch altogether or have it at some ridiculous time. ¬†I am trying desperately to lose some weight and I have not been exercising at all lately. ¬†I blame it (again) on the cold weather but really I am just lazy and a bit of a hermit. ¬†I have now filled my fridge and freezer with healthy foods, lots of fruit and veggies so I have no excuse for being a heifer and snacking on “bad” things. ¬†I need to say “no thank you” to the food that is constantly being offered at work. ¬†No to the Monday chai latte from the coffee van. ¬†No to the afternoon cookie break. ¬†No to the sweets and in-between-meals snacking. ¬†Boy, that is a lot of “No’s”! ¬†I used to be a lot bigger than I am now (like, A LOT bigger) and I do not want to go down that path again. ¬†It’s so hard though and I am an emotional eater so food is a bit of a friend / enemy for me. ¬†Anyway, I am going to try hard to be good 90% of the time, with a few treats here and there, and try and walk every day. ¬†This is the plan. ¬†I have no excuse and I have given myself until the end of the year to lose 3-5kg. ¬†You are my witnesses! ¬†Be kind if I fail ūüôā

Hope you accomplished lots of what you wanted to get done today. ¬†If not, there’s always tomorrow – that “to-do” list will still be there!¬†


My Week in Pictures (July)

My Week in Pictures (July)

How did it get to be Sunday already?  Where did the week go?  Did I sleep through it?  Why am I asking so many questions?

I’ve had a busy week, despite having three days off (not due to illness or anything medical, for once. ¬†Just needed a few days off to prepare my house for rent inspection – which was cancelled! Gah! ¬†I did housework for nothing!!!) ¬†and being quite lazy and un-motivated. ¬†My desk at work had so much stuff piled up on it but the time I came back from my mini-break, that it looked as though I would be staying back every day for the next three years in order to get through it all and catch up.
But I ploughed through it on Friday and am now back to just being regular busy, instead of frenzied busy.

I did go for a couple of walks during my lunch breaks, just to force myself to get off my bottom and get some fresh air. ¬†It is not unusual for me to spend 3 or 4 hours at my desk without getting up at all and that’s pretty bad, not just for my waistline and backside but for my general health and mental state, not to mention my eyes and back. ¬†I had been told there was an op-shop down the road from our work place but had, as yet, not visited it (shame!). ¬†I toddled down there one day last week and, boy-oh-boy, had I been missing out! ¬†This place was huge with lots of lovely things to browse through. ¬†They had a huge shoe collection – check out these “classy” numbers:



I was good and didn’t buy anything (mostly because I had not taken my purse with me‚Ķ) but I will return again another day! ¬†Next door was the “Book Bazaar” which was also a dangerous place to visit. ¬†Sooooo many books! ¬†Everything from craft to language books, fiction to gardening‚Ķwill be back there soon…

On my walks I took the opportunity to take a few snaps of the various pretty flowers, plants and foliage around my work.  As there is lots of bushland there are often wildflowers in bloom, but on this occasion it was mostly weeds and introduced species:


I think these flowers are African Daisies‚Ķ(but don’t quote me on that!)…


These too…


‚ĶA pretty little vignette designed by nature ūüôā


‚Ķeven weeds can be pretty‚Ķ(a type of oxalis)…


‚Ķbee butt! ¬†I can’t help myself‚Ķif you are a bee and you’re butt is poking out of a flower, watch out!
This little guy would NOT keep still, but eventually he found this Soursop (another type of oxalis) flower enticing enough to be worth lingering on…


‚Ķsoursop foliage…


…even the sky was beautiful on this day (though those clouds brought rain later on…)

The weather this week has been alternating between blue skies and sunshine (though still cold), to freakish winds and thunderstorms.  At any rate, it has been too cold for me and I long for Summer.  I am tired of dressing like I live in the Antarctic.  I feel fat and lumpy, pale, bulky and sad in the cooler months.  I wish there was a giant beanie than would not just cover my head but my entire body in wooly warmth.


I helped my brother run a stall at a local toy and collector’s fair last week. ¬†My soon-to-be-ex normally gives him a hand but was unable to, due to being¬†on holiday overseas ( will not bitch, I will not bitch) so I said I would be his assistant for the day. ¬†We did pretty well – there wasn’t a big crowd but we made steady sales (my brother sells model kits and figurines). ¬†I had dinner with my brother’s family that night and got to hang out with my little nieces and nephews, including this cutie (whose smiles and happy face is enough to cure any Winter blues I might be experiencing) :


Yesterday, I bought a couch. ¬†I went out to buy toilet paper, took a bit of a detour and bought a couch. ¬†As you do. ¬†I have been putting it off forever and I finally bit the bullet and ordered one. ¬†No photos as yet as they have to make the couch to order. ¬†I have to wait 4-6 weeks which seems like an age but I have heard that some people wait 3 months, so I won’t complain. ¬†I want my lounge room to be inviting and cosy, as well as slightly quirky and stylish. ¬†My brother and his partner were getting rid of an old mirror and I grabbed it before it got put out onto the verge collection. ¬†I’ve put it up in my lounge room behind my twiggy tree, along with my squirrel ornament and metal crow. ¬†When the tree is lit up with the tiny fairy lights I got at Christmas, and it all reflects off the mirror, it is so pretty and pleasing to the eye. ¬†Well, my eye anyway, and I guess that’s what is important.


Today I slept in (I’ve been so tired lately – I think it’s just a bit of sadness weighing me down) and then¬†faffed¬†about until mid afternoon when I went out to the movies with my friend K from work. ¬†The day was bright and crisp, with blue skies and a gentle breeze. ¬†The pretty Autumn leaves on all the trees were such gorgeous combinations of colour…


The movie we saw was the French film, “Belle & Sebastian“. ¬†So lovely. ¬†The scenery in the movie was beautiful and the story itself (though a little bit cutesy and Lassie-ish) was compelling and tear-jerking. ¬†Mind you, all the snow and ice in the movie left me feeling absolutely freezing and it was nice to get into a nice warm car and drive home to my PJs and Ugg boots ūüôā

I had some nice news this week Рmy kidney function has increased to 49%!  I am so happy about that and also grateful and surprised.  Every percent is an absolute gift.  I am still praying I get to 50% but am very content with 49!

Hope you have had a good weekend xxx


Swap Meet Sunday

Swap Meet Sunday

Brrrr‚Ķ.2 degrees? ¬†Really, Mother Nature? ¬†Really? ¬†Don’t I have enough trouble getting up already? ¬†I can’t physically¬†wear any more layers of clothing and I’ve forgotten what it is like to be able to feel my extremities. ¬†This is Australia for Goodness’ sake! ¬†Sure, it’s Winter, but really!

Got up early on this bright and sunny (but frickin’ freezing!) Sunday morning to go bargain hunting at a huge swap meet in the Northern suburb of Wanneroo. ¬†My two friends, FK and MD, asked me if I wanted to go (last night) and I thought about it for two seconds before saying an enthusiastic “Yes please!” ¬†We set off early as the real “pro” bargain hunters go at the crack of dawn and we wanted to make sure there were still treasures to be found. ¬†We rugged up (I even wore my knitted hat – that only comes out when I am beyond caring about what I look like and aiming for the prevention of frost-bite) and¬†set out into the crowds, ready to snap up some cool stuff (hopefully). ¬†We struck gold at the very first stall (always a good sign if you spend straight away) – lots of lovely plants for sale, predominantly succulents. ¬†MD and FK LOVE their succulents and so they parted ways with the cash pretty quickly. ¬†I too bought a little cactus – an adorable little guy that looked like a bunny. ¬†Had to have it. ¬†It was only $3.00. Will try not to kill it (yes, I can murder even a cactus with my black thumbs).


Further on, I picked up a lovely white geranium – have wanted one for ages but they are always so expensive. ¬†This one was just $4.00 and a good size and in great condition. ¬†Gotta find a nice spot for it to go in my garden. ¬†MD and FK bought a few more succulents to go in their respective gardens at home. ¬†FK also snagged a bright green wheelie bin that she is going to use as a compost bin on her balcony. ¬†Those bins are normally around the $20 – $30 mark. ¬†She got it for $3.00! ¬†Another stall-holder tried to buy it from her for $10.00 so he could sell it for more himself. ¬†No chance! ¬†Unfortunately, another gentleman thought it was a real bin and threw his half-eaten burger in it. ¬†Ew. ¬†He removed it again though ūüôā


MD herself also found a great bin, suitable for compost. ¬†It’s asking price was $14.00 but we haggled the guy down to $9.60. ¬†Bargain! ¬†Of course they¬†were now lugging around two big bins but it was too far to go back to put them in the car (we’d already done that with the plants). ¬†I managed to pick up an awesome spice rack for $9.00 (I should have haggled but I’m not so good at that‚Ķstill, it was a good price) which I am going to use for my beads. ¬†It’s perfect for that and fairly compact in size so will save space and free up some room in my other bead boxes and jars. ¬†It was bloody heavy though‚Ķwish I’d found it at the end of the day instead of the beginning!



I also picked up these pretty Wood & Sons “Yuan” vintage plates for $3.00 (for the three plates). ¬†Such a nice design and I love the blue. I’ve had a look around on the internet for prices for these plates and they’re going for anything from $5 to $40 per plate! ¬†Definitely got a bargain here! ¬†Doesn’t matter to me really though – I just thought they were pretty! ūüôā


FK found a watering can and paid $5.00 for it – it fitted nicely in her wheelie bin so at least she didn’t have to carry it as well. ¬†I was happy to grab some paint brushes that were being sold by the bundle – only $3.00 a bunch. ¬†The lady at that stall was eyeing off my spice rack – but I wasn’t giving it up!

MD got the biggest item of the day Рa six-seat dining setting for $130.00 including delivery!  It was a nice set Рexpandable table with good, solid chairs.  We were amazed that the stall-holder would deliver on a Sunday and only charge $20.  Crazy!  But such a bargain.  The seat cushions were a little grubby but will probably come up nice and clean again with a bit of sponging or MD could maybe re-upholster them pretty easily and cheaply.

After three hours we were pretty pooped and ready to go home for a nice hot cup of tea and to look at our purchases. ¬†Will definitely go again – maybe take Mum as she needs some new plants that won’t cost the Earth. ¬†Love a good bargain hunt and today was no disappointment in that category. ¬†The weather actually was pretty nice after the first chilly hour or so – beautiful blue skies and sunshine (although I still had a big jacket, scarf and my hat on!). ¬†A nice way to spend a few hours on a Sunday. ¬†I came home and made one card (meh‚ĶI’m still getting back into the groove with card-making) and a necklace (trying to use up my chunkier beads‚Ķ).



Hope you have had a good weekend – enjoy your week! ūüôā