Coffee Catch-Up #23

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I finished my Christmas shopping last Tuesday. What a relief. And yesterday I  finished wrapping all of the presents, which I always get excited about. Unfortunately, this year we won’t have a big Christmas tree to put them under as we are currently between trees. The one from our old house is broken from too much loving and I don’t want to buy a new one until we extend next year.  So in the interium it will be back to the small fibre optic tree that changes colours.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about how much fun the family of magpies that has taken up residence in our garden are having playing under the water sprinkler when Rod puts it on to water my garden each evening. They run around under the water in an attempt to cool off and then enjoy looking for worms in the soil. They are too quick for us however, so every time we go to take a photo they run away and play somewhere else.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that I really enjoyed flying into Sydney from Perth last week. As we flew overnight from the west coast to the east coast of Australia we saw a different flight path and to my surprise we also flew over our old suburb. I loved seeing the sunrise from the sky and an aerial view of what I think is the Parramatta River.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I made my own baked beans this week and was very pleased with how tasty they were. Motivated by having had some when we were in Perth, I was on a mission to give them a go. I have since found some other recipes so I think I might give them all a try and then rank my results. Do you have a favourite baked beans recipe you’d like to share?

If we were having coffee I would probably ask you if you want some Christmas bush. Our tree has once again produced a bumper crop and sharing it with family and friends makes it feel like an Aussie Christmas. We have 2 vases in our house, the one below in the entry to our house and one in the kitchen, the hub of the home.


If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.

Coffee Catch – Up # 19

If we were having coffee I would wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 2016 has been an amazing year and I have loved sharing it with you.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that Christmas 2016 had a green theme for our family, which was a great success. My sister who organises our family celebrations really should start a party decorating business. She does a spectacular job matching everything to the colour theme and we all help by coming dressed accordingly. It’s a special and memorable day for all who attend.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that life is getting exciting as our painter is slowly transforming our house into a home. The more work he completes the happier we are with our colour choice of grey/lavender walls and white gloss trims. Interestingly, when the family voted on next years colour theme for Christmas, they chose Gravender (a combination of grey and lavender), so we should have a head start on inspiration.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how nice it was to have Christmas bush back in our life. Our Newcastle property has an old Christmas bush tree and we have enjoyed giving some to family and friends again. Australians love Christmas bush and it helps bring the country to the city.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how much I enjoyed the preparation for Christmas this year. From the shopping to the baking I have loved the planning and execution of each task. Many of the things I now do have become my tradition but I don’t think I realised it until this year.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I would love  to see the rain falling on Ularu at present. Due to the dryness of the area, rain on the rock is a rare but spectacular event.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Let me know in the comments.

Coffee Catch-Up #18

If we were having coffee I would tell you that life has been very busy lately. I have started having a weekly in person coffee catch-up with a long time girl friend, I used to only see once a year. It’s a great way to end the week, we are having a walk and investigating the where the good coffee is around my local area.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that last weekend my husband and I  went on road trip last weekend for his birthday. The weather was really hot so although we originally planned to go into the country, we decided to stick to the coast. We went and looked at the Myall Lakes National Park. It’s an area on the mid north coast of New South Wales that I had never been to before because it’s a bit off the beaten track. It was beautiful with massive sand dunes and an amazing view of Broughton Island off the coast hiding over the hill. I’d love to return to the area when I have time to explore it further, taking a tent.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how amazed I was to see a giant eagles nest on one of the power poles heading into Forster. The first time we missed photographing it which was a shame as the eagles were sitting next to it. However, when we returned they had gone but the nest its self is still impressive.

2016-12-04 14.58.48

If we were having coffee I would tell you that preparations for Christmas are going reasonably well although it will be a much quieter affair this year as our new house is to mixed up with our renovation work to put up a proper Christmas tree with all the trimming.  My daughter has bought her first Christmas tree and put it up in our old home. It looks great. Then just to rub salt into the wound she sent me a photo of our old house covered in lights for Christmas, something I have always wanted to do. I’m so jealous, but very proud of her creativity.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how frustrated I was spending literally all day trying to get my new free 6 month subscription  to Apple music to work on my new phone.Neither Telstra nor Apple have wanted to take responsibility and I can’t believe it still isn’t fixed. The whole experience has really tested my patience but everyone who has used Apple music tells me it will be worth it. I got it to at least work around midnight, although I’m not sure if it is the correct way. Meanwhile Telstra will get back to me on Wednesday, so here’s hoping they can work out if its correct then. I’m astounded it’s this hard.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am still waiting to have my first swim of the season as every time I have been to the beach it has been too cool to swim or the beach wasn’t patrolled by life guards. I love the beach but as I am not comfortable with my ability to read the dangerous rips I won’t swim in unpatrolled waters as the power of the ocean can turn very quickly.

If we were having coffee I would ask you what is happening in your world? Its been a while so I hope life has been good to you. Let me know in the comments.


Coffee Catch-up #3

It has been over two months since our last coffee catch-up and life has been pretty busy.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I’m feeling a little confused. I began preparing this post as I usually do, by adding links to earlier posts. However, this time, with my new WordPress version the result is a little different. I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone or only blogs.  My next question is can anyone re-blog my posts now as this has been a problem in the past and it would be great to have it changed.

If we were having coffee I would tell you about Berry Christmas. My sister and her family do an excellent job of hosting the event—decorating their home in theme colours, preparing gift bags for everyone and organising and preparing food. We had a great day reconnecting as a family—sharing the joys and dealing with the dramas of the past year. Christmas is definitely my favourite holiday, although because I live in a different city south of my family on Christmas day it takes 3 hours to get there. I don’t enjoy the travel but Berry Christmas was worth it.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that over the Christmas period I was initially frustrated that my blog wasn’t working because of problems with my Jetpack. I tried to fix the problem, however when I couldn’t and Jetpack staff  where on vacation I decided to surrender to the moment and use my time more efficiently doing other things.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how much I enjoyed my husbands and my date to the city over the Christmas New Year period. We decided to catch the ferry into Sydney. The trip along the Parramatta River takes about an hour and it was a glorious day. As it had been several years since we had caught the ferry we enjoyed every moment. We then had lunch at a little pizza restaurant at the Rocks before spending the afternoon wandering around Sydney’s Botanical Gardens. We saw many places I had never been before. It was a great way to round off 2015.


If we were having coffee I would tell you how excited I was that my first sugar cookie Christmas tree worked out so well. I iced it a blue-purple to match our berry theme and at the end of the day most of it was eaten.



If we were having coffee I would tell you about the champagne fountain trial on Christmas Day. The science of what was the best way to do it kept many people entertained and in the end they were proud of their working efforts.



If we were having coffee I would tell you about the huge moon on New Years Eve that was as mesmerizing as the Sydney Fireworks. Unfortunately, I choose not to take my camera as I am not good at photographing fireworks—a rookie error I won’t make again. The fireworks were fantastic and our viewing place, a hill,  is only a 10 minute walk from my house. While we couldn’t see the fireworks coming off the bottom of the Sydney Harbour Bridge we could see the top of it through the trees. We could also see the fireworks going off up and down the Parramatta River and from the other side of Sydney. At times it was like 360 degrees of fireworks. Once the live fireworks have ended we went home to watch the taped version on television and catch the ones we missed.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how much I enjoyed the second week of my holidays being a full-time writer. I spend many hours everyday working on the last stages of editing of my book. With the amount of work I did I was hoping to finish it but no I still have work to do. It is getting exciting however, as it nears completion and the next part of its journey begins. Just when I thought I had the chapters in the right order, I decided to rearrange the early chapters again and to my surprise the order I have changed it to is my second order. I think my lesson is trust your gut.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how excited I was on Christmas Eve to win the hamper at the local bottle shop. I had gone in the draw after buying two bottles of champagne for an early family Christmas party a few days earlier. It was fun investigating my laundry basket full of goodies and deciding who to give each item to.


If we were having coffee I would ask you what you have done and how you have been since we last met. Let me know in the comments what you have been up to.

Coffee Catch-up

Coffee Catch-up #2

Share Your World – 2015 Week 14

What type of music relaxes you the most or do you prefer silence?

I love silence. Working in mental health I spend most of each day talking so the days  I come home to no one and can control the noise even for 15 minutes are a blessing.

Show us a two of your favorites photographs?  Explain why they are your favorite.   If you are not a photographer, think of a two favorite scenes in your life and tell us about them. 


I love this photo I took on a moving dog sled ride in Canada last year. It shows the beauty of the area and the action of the dogs as they excitedly pull our sled.

My second choice today is in contrast—it is taken on Hyam’s Beach on my birthday last year. It too was a peaceful way to spend time with nature.

012 - birthday girl getting wet feet


What is your favorite tradition? (family tradition, church tradition, whatever)

My extended family has a colour theme for Christmas every year. It is voted in by all members of the family—there are over 30 and once the colour is chosen everyone dresses in the  colour theme. No excuses.  My sister who is queen of Christmas baubles, decorates her house in the colour theme matched with contrasting silver or gold. It is a great day and some of the clothing is outstanding. This years theme is berry—any colour you can find in a berry is allowed. The photos below are from our – 50 shades of red theme – a few years ago.


If you could go back and talk to yourself at age 18 what advice would you give yourself?  Or if you are younger than 25 what words of wisdom would you like to tell yourself at age 50?

Follow your gut instincts and believe in yourself. You know what to do and your life will be a success. Accept who you are and don’t worry about if you are going to be popular or not. Your unique personality makes you popular where it counts and the rest is often fake and doesn’t matter.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week I was grateful for the inspiration on ways to move my chapters around and make them flow better.

Next week I am looking for ward to remembering 100 years of the ANZACS on Saturday.

Changing Christmas

The holiday season: can’t get enough of it, or can’t wait for it all to be over already? Has your attitude toward the end-of-year holidays changed over the years?

Christmas is a special time of year. For me, it usually involves a glass of champagne while opening presents with my family in Sydney. We all then travel to spend the rest of the day with our extended family. On occasions we are lucky enough to see all members of both sides of our family in the one day.

In Australia, Christmastime is usually hot. The question on everyone’s lips is will the bush fires stay away long enough for the volunteers to celebrate and enjoy a lunch with family and friends.

This year I get to learn about and love Christmas in a new way. All my life I have dreamt of  a white Christmas. So we have left sunny Sydney and are heading to hopefully snowy Quebec. Google tells us it is one of the few places in the world that has the best chance of snow on the ground as well as falling on Christmas day.

It will be very different for me only having my husband around on Christmas day. I will miss the rest of my family, but I am loving the build up to Christmas in Canada. Christmas traditions I am experiencing include:

  • The cold
  • The fires
  • Hot chocolate
  • Snow
  • Christmas parades
  • Ugly sweaters
  • Mulled wine
  • Hot toddies
  • Hat, gloves and coats
  • Snowmen
  • Snow shoveling
  • Snowflakes
  • Christmas markets
  • Christmas tree shopping
  • Christmas movie marathons daily
  • The smell of Christmas
  • Sugar cookies
  • Street Carolers
  • The weather report
  • Flights cancelled due to bad weather

I was surprised to see everything that I had seen on television happens in everyday life. And I love it. It’s great to see how the other half of the world lives during this special time.

148 - The Parade - Santa Arrives

St John’s Newfoundland’s Christmas Parade

I See Red

Colors can stir emotions within us, tell stories, and transform our images. Today, use one color to add life or drama to your shot.

Christmas every year in our family is colour-themed. It is a very democratic process—all family members vote, from the youngest to the oldest. My sister who organises and holds Christmas every does an amazing job.  Her decorations and year-long planning—set the scene for the celebration. It is amazing how dramatic one colour can be when up to thirty people in the room are wearing it and it is reflected everywhere—from the decorations, to the food, table presents and the gift wrap.