Sunday, 22 June 2014


Simple Abundance
Simple abundance "shows you how your daily life can be an expression of your authentic self . . . as you choose the tastiest vegetables from your garden, search for treasures at markets, establish a sacred space in your home for meditation, and follow the rhythm of the seasons and the year.  Here, for the first time, the mystical alchemy of style and the spirit is celebrated.  Every day, your own true path leads you to a happier, more fulfilling and contented way  of life-the state of grace known as . . . 


Embrace its gentle lessons, savor its sublime common sense, dare to live its passionate truth, and share its extraordinary and exhilarating gift with every woman you encounter: the authentic self is the Soul made visible." (Sarah Ban Breathnach)

Sometimes we get caught up in the busyness of everyday living.
 We need time out to rekindle our flame within, before we burn out.  There isn't always the time or money to take a holiday to recharge the battery but here are some ideas that only require a few hours and can be achieved on a budget.  I would like to 
share some simple tips to help re-energize the 
soul, so that you can continue life beaming with
 enthusiasm once again when life 
becomes a challenge.

Get out into the garden!

No need to weed, just sit with a freshly brewed pot of tea or a glass of your favorite beverage and relax.  Take out a comfortable chair or if you really want to indulge, open out that banana lounge & dust off the cob webs and just sit.  No phones, mobiles or interruptions for the next hour. Listen to the birds lightly chirping in the background and breathe in that fresh air.  Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing taking in a big deep breath  through your nose and then slowly, out through your mouth. As you breathe out, feel your body relaxing, letting go of all that tension or anxiety.  Repeat this for three to six breaths or until you feel totally relaxed and your muscles are no longer tense.

Light a beautiful natural soy scented candle!

Find your favorite quiet spot in the house and light a beautiful scented candle and either sit or lie and relax.  Don't think of the things you haven't as yet completed but sit and be thankful for what you have achieved today.  While you are relaxing take a deep breath in and smell the wonderful scent of that candle.

Take a luxurious bath with beautiful scented oils, bubbles or bath bombs!

 Sit and feel the warmth of the water & relax those tense muscles.  Take a few deep breaths and smell those luxurious scents.  You will feel relaxed & it will do wonders for your skin as those beautiful oils are absorbed.  I recommend you do this at the 
end of the day with a glass of sparking & then hop 
into bed for a great nights sleep.

Indulge in reading  a good book or if you prefer, browse through your favorite magazine!

Hop into bed or lay on the couch with your feet elevated and immerse yourself in a great book or magazine, even if it's only for a few hours and if you are inclined, take a nap.  If you doze off to sleep, that's OK, your body is tired and needs the rest.

Organise a manicure, pedicure or massage! 

If you are time poor, you can usually find an hour or two spare before an appointment, after work or before picking up the children, to squeeze in some you time.  Just do it, pick up the phone and book yourself a facial, manicure, pedicure or a massage.  It will work wonders and give you a lift.  

Catch up with a friend for coffee, brunch or lunch! 

Having a good friend that understands you and that you can debrief with and share your experiences or off load your worries is a true

Take a long walk along the beach or around a park! 

While walking, listen to the sounds, breathe deeply and release any tension you may be harboring.  Feel your muscles relaxing.  No need to rush, enjoy the moment. 

Visit your favorite church, cathedral or place of worship! 

The power of prayer is an amazing way to relax
 and re-energize the soul.

Take a weekly Pilates class! 

Not only will it strengthen your core body but it will help you relax.

Do something daily to nourish your spirit!

Plant a veggie patch or herb garden and watch it grow.
Choose some beautiful produce & cook a wonderful meal for family and /or friends. 
Take an art, language or cooking class (or other class of interest that you would love but have been putting off). 
Visit a produce, vintage or craft market.
Listen to beautiful music.
Cut some flowers or herbs from your garden & arrange them in a jar or bottle. 
Give thanks for the little things - gratitude is empowering.
Smile & make others smile around you.
Laugh! Laughing not only makes you happy but releases endorphins, reducing pain and makes you feel better overall.
Remember only kindness and love matter!

Make time to discover your authentic self and live a happier and more fulfilling life!

Sunday, 15 June 2014


Winter Christmas!

When you think about Christmas in July on this side of the equator, one conjures up the cozy feeling of open fires, the smell of Christmas spices, eggnog or home made Irish cream, 
a roast or special dinner and of course, a dessert to 
share with friends or family.

 We all live busy lives and get caught up in the hustle and bustle of rushing here and there. 
We need to make time to reconnect, relax, debrief and communicate. 
Make an effort one year to organise a Winter Christmas in July with friends and family. 
It's so much fun without the stress of rushing around & shopping for gifts!

Home made Irish Whiskey
1 cup cream
1 1/2 cups Irish Whiskey (such as Jamieson's)
2 tbs Chocolate sauce
1 tin condensed milk
3 egg yolks


Mix together, refrigerate in clean, sterilised bottles
Allow to cure 24-36 hrs if you can wait that long!

stories, songs & special memories!

Friendship, food & fun
Make it happen!

Winter Christmas Menu

Pear & Sweet Potato Soup

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 red onions, finely chopped
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 pears, peeled, cored and diced or 1 large can of pears, with juice
6 -8 cups chicken broth or 6 -8 cups vegetable broth
1  cup white wine (optional)
1 -2 cup Greek yogurt, to taste
chopped fresh coriander, to garnish


Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium heat, and sauté onion for 2-3 minutes until softened but not brown.
Add the diced sweet potato and diced pear, and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
If using canned pears, only sauté the diced sweet potato at this stage and add the pears later. 
If including wine in your soup, add now.
Add the chicken broth to the pot, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, or until the sweet potato (and pears) are soft.
If using canned pears, drain these well, reserve the juice and add the pears now.
They will help to cool down the soup.
There is no need to chop the pears as the soup is about to be processed
In batches, process the chicken broth, sweet potatoes and pears until smooth in a blender or a food processor
Adjust the thickness of the soup so that it is to your liking by adding either more pears or some of the reserved pear juice 
Return the soup to the pot.

Smoked Trout Bon-Bons
1 packet of filo pastry
Melted butter 
1 -2 tubs smoked trout dip
Chopped dill 
Chopped chives
6 pieces of boneless mild white fish such as sea perch cut into rectangle shape
Brush four sheets of filo pastry with melted butter for each piece of fish
Place fish fillet at the the top end of filo pastry
Spread 2 heaped tbs of smoked trout dip underneath fish fillet & some on top of fillet
Sprinkle fresh dill & chives on top 
Roll fillet & pastry to get bon-bon shape
Squeeze each end to give bon-bon effect
Cook in moderate oven 170-180 degrees fan forced for approx 25-30min
 Meanwhile blanch a bunch of chives in boiling water & then rinse under cold running water & dry
Once the parcel is cooked, tie each end with a chive to give bon-bon effect
Serve on a bed of good mash potato 
Accompany with a bowl of roast vegetables or  green salad

Orange Souffles

Serves 4
5 even-sized oranges
40g butter
40g plain flour 
50g caster sugar
 3 egg whites 
Icing sugar, for dusting
Red currants to decorate

Set oven to 200 degrees C
Grate the zest from one orange, then squeeze & reserve the juice.
Cut the tops off the rest of the oranges & scoop out the flesh using a small sharp knife & a teaspoon
Squeeze the juice from the flesh and strain onto the reserved juice to make it up to 300ml
 Melt the butter in a saucepan & stir in the flour
Take off the heat and stir in the orange zest,orange juice & sugar
Return the pan to the heat & stir continuously until the mixture has boiled and thickened, then allow it to cool
Wrap the orange shells in foil & set in 4 ramekins
Whisk the egg whites until stiff then fold them into the orange sauce
Stand the ramekins in a roasting dish
Divide the mixture between the orange shells & bake for 20-25 min
Dust tops with icing sugar,decorate the serving plates with cinnamon  sticks, fresh mint
 or redcurrants if available & serve 

Check out this lovely bird tutorial

Click on the link below

Tree Trimming Tutorial
Now is a good time to start organising your Winter Christmas in July!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Tea Cosies

Homespun Tea Cosies!

tea cosy or tea warmer is a cover for a teapot, traditionally made of cloth. It insulates a teapot, keeping the contents warm.


Although the history of the tea cosy may begin when tea was introduced to Britain in the 1660s, the first documented use of a tea cosy in Britain was in 1867.

It is probably the Duchess of Bedford who, by establishing the activity of afternoon tea in 1840, would have brought the popularity of the tea cosy.

Afternoon tea was the time for networking and keeping up to date with aristocracy gossip and topical news. With all the chatter at teatime the teapot would get cold, which would have at times cut short some tea parties. And so, the tea cosy came about. 

Tea cosies then flourished during the late 19th century, 
where they appeared in many households across Britain, motivated by the obsession of decorating and covering objects characteristic of the Victorian era.

Tea cosies started to be used in North America 
in the same period. Newspapers of the time reveal that tea cosies enjoyed "a sudden and unexpected rise in public favor" among women who hosted tea parties. Newspapers of the time included advice columns on how to make one: "Some very handsome ones are made of remnants of heavy brocade, but linen is generally used, embroidered or not, according to taste, as these covers are washable. Make the covering large enough for your teapot and provide a ring at the top to lift it off with." (Wikipedia)

The Christmas Tea Cosy

The good old tea cosy has been a favourite of mine since early childhood. I remember visiting neighbours, friends & family and being fascinated by the many, different tea cosies that would adorn a beautiful hot pot of tea. The tea cosies were not only functional but were also beautifully crafted by their owners.

Mr Owl says "It's time for Tea!"

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


For the love of embroidery!

The Art of embroidery 
is relaxing and rewarding!

Embroidery is a lovely past time 
during the winter months. Sitting near the fire with a cup of tea, stitching away while you watch your project come to life with colour, form and perspective.

How therapeutic!
 This beautiful monarch butterfly doily
 is one of my opportunity shop finds that I will cherish, as it reminds me of my beloved mother. 
 The butterfly is quite unusual and the stitching so beautifully perfect.

Gorgeous threads to choose from!

I'm going butterflies!
This is a project I'm working on at the moment...

Beautiful floral designs!

 Beautiful vintage embroidery!

 Pretty bird template!

Pretty Pastels!

Lilly of the Valley arrangement with vintage floral doily adds a lovely homespun style!

 This is a beautiful book of
 The Gentle Arts of Domesticity by Jane Brocket 
including embroidery, knitting, quilting, cooking and more!



This is a great book
 if you are new to embroidery & would like to learn different stitches.  It is easy to follow & has a number of templates and stencils.

This is a beautiful
 handmade tablecloth given to my mother by her aunt which I have inherited & cherish. It was made by my great aunt in the 1950's & given to my mother as a wedding present.  
The embroidery stitches are truly sublime!

 This is a vintage record 
player friends gave us to put to good use, 
as it is missing the mechanics.  It looks gorgeous with a vase of English roses from their garden.

 A bunting made from a collection of doilies!
This was taken at one of my favourite 
Devonshire Tea rooms in Melbourne 
Jam and Cream!

Modern embroidery - Scooter Babe!

Embroidery has made a come back
 as it allows you to explore your own style and create something individual or different from the vintage designs of the past. 

An embroidered cushion 
adds a homespun look which is inviting!

Happy Hunting & Embroidering!