Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Playing Catch Up

I know it's late and I know your life didn't end just because my blog post was a bit late.  Considering I haven't updated you on my goals since March (and it's about the half way point) we are checking in today.
This Year, 2017, I will…

Quit… eating because I’m bored, sad, angry, frustrated or confused.

I have been emotional eating the last few weeks.  Now that I'm on holidays I am starting afresh.  So far, so good. 

Eat…   three balanced meals and two snacks at least 6 days a week. 

I need to start fresh for this one too.  I was doing well.  Then, I wasn't. 

Start… exercising for 30 minutes, at least 4 times a week.

More excuses.  I went for a big walk yesterday.  That was good.  I played with a big and happy dog today.  It probably doesn't count.  Trying, trying. 

Visit… family and/or friends once a month.

Totally on track!! Woo Hoo.  This one is harder than you might think.  I find social gatherings daunting.  More than two or three people in a group and I'm done. I can't concentrate.  I feel frumpy and tired and confused.  Managing to consciously make time for connecting with others is tricky sometimes.  I am finding that (for the most part) it's worth the effort. 

Accept… that I cannot fix everything. 

I am going to give it a tick this month. There are things I can fix and I need to take control of those.  The biggest thing for me to remember that I cannot change or "fix" the past.  It doesn't matter what I do or how long I worry, I can't change it.  I have to remember that. 

See…    Melbourne in real life/ Capital Cities.

I went to Adelaide and I saw a bit more of Brisbane (yes, I know I live in Brisbane's suburbs!).  During the holidays, I am getting out and about more so I'm giving this one a tick too!

Learn… at least 12 scripture passages by heart. 

Let's See: Scripture Verses learned so far
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Psalm 23
Psalm 32:7
Colossians 1:11

I'm working on:
Psalm 32:8
Philippians 4:19 I might try to learn a larger passage from Philippians 4, but for now I'm starting with one verse. 

Therefore, I'm on track! I have found a new app to help me with this and it's awesome!

Give… to Christian Missions overseas and in Australia (12 times or once a month).

I have been continuing with my regular sponsorship of a day care centre overseas.  I am saving some money to send to an orphanage in Cambodia where my cousin is the director. 

Be…   Quiet

I have been feeling challenged in this.  I am doing it.  I am.  I need to do it more.  I almost feel like I need more than quiet.  Maybe I need silence?

Grow… spiritually by reading my Bible 5-7 times a week and attending church at least 3 times each month.

I finished the devotional book I was reading and I am now working my way through a section in an Everyday with Jesus for a year book.  Each book is divided into four, twelve week plans.  There is a Bible passage for reading, a short commentary and references for further reading (with questions).  I am finding it very useful and a little challenging.  The books I have are currently out of print, but if you are interested this website publishes a daily devotional by the same author with the same structure. I did quite a bit of research to try and improve and meet this goal.  I think I have gone backwards.  I am continuing to read and pray at least 4 times each week.  Church attendance is on track though. 

Invest… in reaching these goals.

Obviously I'm doing this.. I need to refocus. 

Love



Friday, June 16, 2017

Amidst the Party Planning

I didn't post last week because it was very busy.  Every spare minute was spent on party planning.  There was a lot of stuff that needed to be printed, cut, laminated, folded, rolled, wrapped, packed, stuck and set up.  On Tuesday night, I got a strange message from my aunty asking if we had received a message. 

The short version of the story is ... my Uncle died on Wednesday night.  He was on life support on Tuesday and they turned off the machines on Wednesday. 

I was in shock.  I was sad. I was angry.  I was lost.  I cried.  The funeral was yesterday.  We cried together and we laughed together.  It was nice to remember him. 

There is so much to tell you.  I just have no words.  This time next week, I will have finally finished the semester at school and I will be on holidays.  I hope I will have found my words.  Then, I will tell you about parties and friends and how I have reached some goals and how I haven't reached others. 

Love

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Party Central

This week our house has turned into Party Central.... and I don't mean we are entertaining friends every night, eating party food and getting no sleep.  I mean, we are planning my nephew's 10th birthday party.  He is number 6 and he LOVES Dinosaurs.  He asks lots of questions in an attempt to satisfy his curiosity and has a keen attention to detail.  Which means the Jurassic World party we are putting together has lots of elements which all need to be just so! 

Here's a 6 word story for you... There's a triceratops on my table!

In a few weeks, I will start a Party Central Series where I will give you all the info on the three parties that I have put together this year.  For now, you will have to make do with browsing through my Party Pinterest Boards.  I create a new board for every party that I plan as well as two other general "parties and events" boards where I pin things I like but might not fit with a particular party theme.  My inspiration usually comes from Pinterest... but I have a few go to websites too. 
Art/ Rainbow Party (5yo girl)
Frozen High Tea (10yo girl) - check out the blog posts here
Nerf Party (13 yo boy)
Jurassic World Party (10 yo boy)
Pretty Things for Pretty Parties (every event from Weddings to Birthdays)
Birthday Party: Plan it in a Week! (quick and easy party ideas)

That's all for now.  I'm too busy to write anymore! 

There is so much to do!!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Cards in MAY

It's been a little while since I showed you the cards that I have been making.  In fact, I have a feeling the April Card collection didn't even get published! 

While it is May, some of these cards were probably made in April and a few may even have been made in March.  Check out this Pinterest board to see the cards that inspired me while I planned and created these cards. You can also check out this one for tips and tutorials

First, we have a birthday card for my Niece's 3rd birthday. She LOVES Peter Rabbit. 





I used a window card and two different sized circle punches. 
The rectangles were cut with the Cuttlebug. 

Mothers' Day!!

Check out the lovely cards I made for my Mum, Nan and Grandma.


Obviously, this isn't your conventional Mothers' Day Card. 
But, my mum LOVES animal prints. She specifically likes
leopards, tigers, cheetahs and zebras.  She also loves the colour RED!


Nanny taught me everything she knows about being a Cat Lady!
Shelly loves to help with the cards I make for her. 
This was also made using two different circle punches and a pair of scissors. 
Once I had all the shapes it was a simply matter of layering. 

This one was for Grandma. 
I tried a new hexagon embossing folder!
The border is a striped washi tape by Scotch.
The banners are from Lawn Fawn.
The hexagon border around the flowers was part of a nested die set. 
I also tried a new stamping technique for the flowers. 
Good thing Grandma can't see too well!  ;)

The BFF was running a Mothers' Day stall and she was making cards, gift tags and other bits and pieces for the children to buy for their mothers OR the significant women in their lives.  I made some generic cards that could be given to any adult although they are probably a bit girly.  All but two of them sold.  You can probably guess which ones, although I don't actually know which ones didn't sell because they were donated and will go into the next stall.  Check this out.


Washi tape, Gold ink, Butterfly stamps,
stickers and a few encouraging stamps.  Easy!
These two cards look simple, which is what I love about them.
They actually took a long time. 
They were easy to make, but they took a long time.
I had a flower punch and used a dots embossing folder. 


This card was very easy and quick to make.
Washi tape background.
A circle punched in co-ordinating colours.
A circular stamp. 
It was so easy and quick, I made a few of them.


That's that then.
There are some more birthdays in the family and a few big events coming up that I want to tell you about.  I have some Awesome Aunty Insights to share and if I run out of things to say, Shelly will always be getting up to something! So stay tuned!

Have a great week!


Friday, May 19, 2017

My Last Day in Adelaide (Postcards from Adelaide Airport...)

Day 6, my last day in Adelaide, started early.  I got up and ate what was left of my fresh food from the central markets and packed my suitcase. Checking out of my hotel early meant that I could tick off some of the items on my Adelaide bucket list.

By the way...  My serviced apartment had a luggage storage service, that means you can check out, but leave your luggage with them while you take a last look around (or whatever) and come back to get your luggage when you're done.  When booking your accommodation, this service is usually listed along with the other facilities/ services that they offer. If it's not listed, most would probably be happy to do this for you if you ask.  I was so glad this was available. 

I hopped a bus back to the Central Market and cut through the market to get to Gouger Street and find The Mars Bar.  It's the only LGBT bar in Adelaide.  Due to the early hour, it was closed.  But that was fine, because I just love the name of the place and I wanted a photo outside.  From the outside, it was a bit of a let down.  Something tells me, it is a whole lot different at night. 
Lacey got legless at the Mars Bar!! LOL

As you can see, I snapped a few photos then meandered back towards the Market.  I took a photo of the Chinese restaurant that my Uncle had recommended... it was closed too. I grabbed a hot pastry from one of the lovely bakeries at The Central Markets. 
The Fortune Duck on Gouger St, apparently does huge serves. 
I was a bit reluctant to eat there as I knew I would end up wasting food.

I hopped on a bus back to my hotel, retrieved my luggage and had a good old chat to the concierge (before you get excited, SHE was more of a 20-something kindred spirit, as we bonded over favourite Disney movies and books).  I hopped back on the bus to the airport.  That was sad.

Adelaide Airport does its job well and is a lovely small space, in comparison to Sydney or even Brisbane.  They have a few specialty shops and restaurants.  I stopped by Smiggle to buy some pens on sale.  They have a South Australia Icons store that sells everything from Barossa Valley wine, Beerenberg Jams, Haigh's Chocolates and more.  The selection is small compared to going to the real thing, but would be a perfect place to pick up some last minute souvenirs.  I visited a specialty chocolate shop (I can't remember the name), that is quite popular in Adelaide (not Haigh's), and finally located a chocolate peanut butter truffle.  I have a friend who loves this combination, so I bought one for him.  I also had one last gelato before I boarded the plane.  It was delicious!

The flight home was uneventful.  The family greeted me at home and we had a rather noisy dinner.  Shelly planted herself squarely on my suitcase in a rather obvious protest against my leaving for so long.

Then, that was that. 

Oh Adelaide, How I miss you!

See you all next week.  When I will update you on all the goings on around here, since I arrived home.  Which was almost six weeks ago.  So sad. 




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Postcards from Adelaide: Day 5

Glenelg

Everyone says that if you are in Adelaide you have to catch the tram to Glenelg.  It turns out, you can catch the bus too.  Glenelg is all about the tourists while Henley Beach is perfect for the "local" experience.  I hopped on a tram at King William Street (at the end of Rundle Mall) and rode all the way to Glenlg.  The trip took about 30 minutes.  The Glenelg tram stop is (literally) on the beach and about a two minute walk from The Beach House. This is like an arcade or beach side carnival.  There is a ferris wheel (although it was out of order when I was there), air hockey, video and arcade games, water tube boats, a café and (the main reason I went), Putt Putt a.k.a. mini-golf. 

I had fun moving through the 18-hole course, although there were several young people playing in their swimwear and that was a sight I didn't need.  If you look beyond the course while moving through it, you can see the beautiful blue water and gorgeous white sand of the Glenelg Beach.  I also had fun taking photos of my mini travel buddies.  Ha ha... he he he!!



You can easily spend a full day in Glenelg with the beach, boardwalk shopping and dining, and special events.  On the holidays they have a moonlight cinema open on the beach.  Purchase a ticket and you can watch a new release laying on your beach towel.  I only spent the morning there as I had more things to do in the city.  By the way, there are mini-golf courses at West Beach, Victor Harbour, Semaphore and Hahndorf.  If I had more time in Adelaide I would have played on all of the courses.  At least I can add them to my list of things to do next time. 


After a game of Putt Putt, I checked out a few shops on the boardwalk before hopping on a bus back to the city centre.  After a light breakfast in my apartment, I had quite a day of dining out.  Considering I hadn't eaten out that much, I decided to check out a few places that I'd heard were worth a visit.  The afternoon was spent just exploring and it was great!  

Adelaide Dining

St Louis Desserts- they have restaurants at Glenelg and in the city.  It was definitely worth a visit.  There was a selection of cakes, slices, gelato and made to order delights such as waffles, fondue, crepes and churros.  I had fun just reading the menu.  The range of hot and cold drinks include the humble cuppa as well as some fancy, sweet creations.  They also serve breakfast.  Check out the website (linked above) for more info.  I had the strawberry Nutella crepe, which was divine!


Peter Rabbit- is a restaurant on Hindley Street. You can visit the real live rabbits in their hutch behind the restaurant, while waiting for your order.  I had poached eggs and bacon on sourdough with avocado, which was delicious.  I would liken the experience to having lunch in Mr McGregor's garden.  The décor suited the theme which was lovely and, perhaps the best review, it was busy.  I loved the comfy couch, books and piano in the corner.  It's worth a visit and is a nice place to catch up with friends or sit alone and enjoy.  The menu included vegan options too!


Hindley St - is another dining hub.  I was told by a friend that I "had to" walk up Hindley St.  They failed to mention that the best experience would be had at night when all the clubs are open.  So, my mid-afternoon walk was exceptionally uneventful, as I walked past dozens of closed bars and night clubs.  I did happen upon a little independent book store and enjoyed reading the titles, old and new, on the shelves.  The store itself was just a wonderful place to be.  I could have spent hours there.  Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the store. 


The Bunker Sports Bar and Grill
After another day of walking far and wide, I was not in the mood for meal preparation, so went to The Bunker, which is the sports bar situated under my apartment building. The restaurant is a big space with lots of booths and dark alcoves.  You can be in the middle of the action or hide in a corner if you like.  Now I can say I have been to a sports bar.  I can't say I will do that again, but the food was yummy!


That was Day 5.  Next week, I will tell you all about my last day in Adelaide. 
Sigh... I miss it.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Postcards from Adelaide: Day 4

Day 4 was Cat Day... it was busy and relaxing.  It was exactly what I wanted and needed.  I was truly content when I finally fell into bed at the end of Day 4.  Sigh, memories of Day 4 will always make me want to return to Adelaide. 

Big Cat Interactive @ the Adelaide Zoo

All the interactive and special experiences at the Adelaide Zoo begin early in the morning, well before the zoo opens.  It was an easy walk and bus ride to the Zoo from my hotel so I was very early! We were met by a volunteer and entered the Zoo using a staff entrance.  The volunteer walked us to the Big Cat Building as she told us about the history of the Zoo and some of the buildings we were walking past. She introduced us to Matt, the Cat Zoo Keeper.  He was a really nice guy who has two cats at home and was happy to spend an hour with some crazy cat ladies. The group was made of myself and a small family (Mum, Dad and 17 year old daughter), and they allow a maximum of 6.  Four was plenty of people, in my opinion. 

We started by meeting the gorgeous tigers and hearing about the breeding program, the daily routine of the tigers and their diet.  The others in our group were able to feed the tigers a treat of lamb leg bone.  We spent about 25 minutes in the tiger building and looking into the main tiger enclosure.  The tigers at the zoo are quite old and no tiger would live so long in the wild. The eldest of the tigers takes a strong pain medication to treat arthritis.  I laughed when I realised it is the same medication I take for my chronic pain.  It was at this time the Zoo keeper revealed he takes the same allergy medication that the Zoo's panda has been prescribed.  Obviously the dose is different. 

Mudjimba, the lion top left, likes to greet keepers and guests by
standing on his hind legs and scraping the bars on the door of his enclosure. 
Top right: the lioness I got to feed. 
Bottom Right and Left: the oldest female tiger living at the zoo.

We moved into the Lions' building, next, where we met Mudjimba - a gorgeous lion, who likes to act tough.  He actually has a lot of ongoing medical conditions, which was sad to hear about.  We also met his girlfriends, a set of lioness twins who were born at another zoo.  They bully Mudjimba quite a bit.  It seems they're very catty!  LOL.  I fed a treat to one of the lionesses.  She was only interested in the food!
Meet Mudjimba.  Isn't he gorgeous.  Those eyes. 

Our volunteer escort accompanied us the whole way and took some lovely photos for me when I was busy (feeding etc).  When we finished with the Zoo keeper and seeing the cats, the volunteer took us to the Zoo Gift shop and we received a FREE water bottle with a small booklet of discount vouchers for the café, gift shops (yes, there are two) and membership.   Then, our tour was over.  I headed off to see a few of the animals - Cyrril the emu and the Meerkats, the pandas, the lemurs and more - before rushing off to Hashtag Meow. 
Cyrril the Emu


Meerkats are so CUTE!

Hashtag Meow - Cat Café

Another easy bus trip and another short walk got me to Hashtag Meow (click here for more info).  It's the only cat café in Adelaide and has been open since December 2016.  They already have 21 cats in residence and I wouldn't be surprised if they continue to grow.  All the cats have been rescued from homes where they were no longer wanted or the street after being abandoned.  Most of the cats are pure bred and absolutely gorgeous.  The owner/ manager, Amelia, is a lovely young lady and she welcomes all her guests with a smile.  She is happy to chat or leave you alone to relax in the company of the cats. She told me about all the cats and listened to my stories about Shelly and my holiday.  Most of the cats were happy to join in a game or curl up beside you for a pat or a neck scratch.  As it was a fairly quiet day (mid-week afternoon), Amelia let me stay a little longer than my allotted hour (for no extra charge) and it was really hard to leave.  I felt so at home there. 

I took dozens of photos of the cats at Hashtag Meow.  These are just a few of them. 
I loved the kitty scratching train. The kitties loved playing on it and sleeping in it too!


The State Library of South Australia

The Mortlock Wing


The almost puurrfect day (see what I did there?!), was wrapped up with a visit to the Mortlock Wing of the State Library of South Australia. They had an exhibition of the History of Toys and Play, which was just lovely. They had toys, games, books belonging to prominent Australian families (historically).  They also had letters and diary entries of the children and adults who had owned the toys.  It was beautiful. They had some interactive exhibits for kids to enjoy as well and a guest book.  The whole thing probably only took about 40 minutes to explore but it brought back some truly fond memories for me. 

There is little I can say about the Mortlock Wing - because if I start, I won't stop! - except that it is the original building that housed the State Library Collection.  The architecture is beautiful and it now houses the original 'general collection'. The books are very old!  University students sit among the old books with their laptops and ipads.  Anyone can wander in and take a book from the shelves to read or simply smell.  It's beautiful!! I didn't get to the library until after 3pm but at 4:45pm, the security guard had to come find me and tell me it was time to go.  I could have spent another two hours there, at least.  Oh, what am I saying? I could have easily spent another day there! 
Photo from the second balcony of the Mortlock Wing.

That's one world class library ticked off my bucket list, just another hundred or so to go. 

It wasn't until this particular day that I realised how close my apartment was to the Cultural Precinct including the Library, the Art Gallery and the Museum.  It was not just Walking Distance!  It was a short walk!! Thank goodness for that, because my feet were very sore by the time I found the exit to the library. 

That was that, I meandered back to my apartment and had fruit and cheese for dinner. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Postcards from Adeliade: Day 3

I didn't achieve much on this particular day.  Perhaps it was because Tuesday was so eventful.  Perhaps it was that I finally realised I was on holidays and I was tired from real life.  Perhaps it was something I ate or something I dreamt.  Perhaps it was none of those things.  Surprisingly, Day 3 was still eventful.  The morning flew by as I prepared breakfast and did some reading about Adelaide.  Read on to find out about the second time I got lost in Adelaide. 

Day 3: The Free City Loop Bus

At around 1pm, I ventured out to the mall again and found the bus stop for the Free Loop Bus.  Adelaide has a City Connector Free Loop Service it has an clockwise and anticlockwise timetable.  Then there is an Inner City loop and a North Adelaide/ City loop.  It means that if you're willing to walk up to a kilometre you can get to almost anywhere in the city for free.  I decided that considering my slightly fragile state, I would simply ride the bus until I saw something I wanted to look at, then would get off at the next stop. 
There were a few restaurants I wanted to check out on Rundle Street and Ebenezer Place so I hopped off the bus at an Irish Pub on the corner of East Terrace and Rundle Street.  I figured I would make my way back to my apartment on foot and stop at one of the restaurants on my list.  I wandered down the street and found a lovely place called Gelatissimo, there sell a variety of beautiful Gelato and Sorbet.  I was hungry, so I decided to sample their Cookies and Cream flavour as well as the Mint Chocolate Chip. It was sooo yummy.  I had never seen a Gelatissimo store but I have since learned that they are situated in several capital cities so if you click the link above you can work out if there is one near you. 

I was very excited about visiting a restaurant called Blackwood.  The menu is described as Indigenous Fusion.  They use local, organic produce and serve award-winning gourmet meals inspired by traditional Indigenous recipes. The menu is continually evolving as meals are designed based on seasonal changes and the best produce that is available.  I had recorded the address from a dining guide and looked it up on a map.  I set off down the street looking for street numbers.  As you can imagine, only some of them were easy to locate.

I stumbled upon Ebenezer Place, which I had been told was a 'must experience' location so I turned the corner and decided to check it out.  I can see how it might be a lovely place to spend some time with friends and if you like tasting craft beer you might like to check this place out. Personally, I was a little disappointed. If I wasn't looking for somewhere specific, I would have easily found somewhere to eat and spend an hour or two reading, journaling or just people watching.  Early afternoon in the middle of the city, meant it wasn't that busy so not so many people to watch.  Back to my point.  I walked around in circles quite a few times before finding my way back onto Rundle Street.  Before you ask: No, it wasn't a windy little maze filled with little shops and cafes that all look the same.  There was not a real reason for me to get lost, I just did.  I sat for a short while, as my feet were starting to hurt.  After that, I used my phone to get directions to Blackwood from 'my current location'.  That's when I got really lost! There was no way of knowing (on this app) which way was North, which way I should walk or what 'landmarks' to look for.  So, I figured I hadn't seen the restaurant yet so I must not have passed it.  I kept walking towards my hotel and then looked up my phone again.  My new 'current location' was even further away from my 'destination' (Blackwood).  So, I stood on the corner, dumbfounded, staring at my phone.  Then, I looked in different directions up the street, then back at my phone, then back at the street, then my phone. 

I was sore, tired, and gradually feeling worse.  I decided to wander back to the hotel and stop at any café that looked appealing.  Boy, was I happy to get back to my apartment that night.  Thankfully, I found a lovely little Thai Massage Parlour that was literally a few metres from the lobby of my hotel.  I enjoyed that massage. 

Lesson Learned: When you're on vacation and don't feel great-

  • Either go out with a plan that has been organised down to the second and now exactly where you are going, OR don't have a plan at all OR, don't go out.  Do what feels right for you.
  • RELAX. There is nothing you HAVE to DO.
  • LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS and ENJOY whatever comes your way. 
  • Remember that you are on vacation and it's okay to just rest.
  • If you want to go somewhere specific, it's okay to spend money on a taxi (just this once) and enjoy the experience instead of getting yourself in an even bigger mess trying to save a bit of cash. You're on Vacation... you scrimped and saved you deserve this. 

That's that then. 
Next Week.... CAT DAY!! You will love this!



Friday, April 21, 2017

Postcards from Adelaide: Day 2

ay Two was a bit chilly, at a mere 10 degrees Celsius.  I even wore my hoodie for my first outing of the day! I hopped on a bus at about 8:30 am (after a lovely sleep in) and headed toward the Adelaide Central Markets.  I had a light and lovely breakfast, of banana bread and a specialty tea, at the T Bar (located at one end of the market). My minion buddies had great fun hanging out on the tea pot and my mug.  Reading the extensive menu (with more than 150 different types of tea) was a feat in itself, as I sipped my tea.  I could have stayed for much longer surrounded by novelty tea pots and many other tea leave selections that could be sampled or bought.  There was also free taste testing available of slow drip tea and coffee.  Below you can see photos of the novelty tea pots and Lacey enjoying playtime with the minions. 

Me and my Minions had tea at the T Bar

 I only had a few hours so I got moving and headed into the heart of the market.  Food was the main item on sale, but that food included freshly baked specialty breads, nuts (raw and roasted), fresh fruit and vegetables, meat (including kangaroo, crocodile and emu), sausages, sushi, cakes, cheese, crackers and more.  There were several cafes as well as market stalls. I loved looking at the fresh cut flowers.  A pop-up book store selling first edition books, rare books and just plain old books, another second hand book stall and an information desk for those visiting Adelaide. 
The First Editions Pop-Up Book Store and just a few of the first edition books on sale. 

There was a shop selling Himalyan rock salt lamps, purses, jewellery, bags, clothing and homewares that were all handmade.  The owner spends 9 months of the year travelling and buying direct from villagers in developing countries.  The craftsmanship was great to look at and I bought a few coin purses, which I intended to be gifts but I liked them so much I couldn't share.  Naughty.  I took lots of photos of the first edition books and the chocolate/ hand decorated sweets.  I tried some cheese and bought two small wedges that seemed very expensive.  I stocked up on fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, dried fruit and bread.  My haul did a great job of feeding me for lunch, dinner and a breakfast or two for the rest of the week.  I did have to buy more bread at one point, because I ate it all.  Check out these photos.
Fresh cut flowers from Central Market Flowers
Traditional hand painted Easter eggs filled with chocolate praline.

I hurried back from the markets just in time to change into a slightly cooler outfit (the weather had warmed up) and grab a quick bite (a snack bag of nuts, dried fruit and small chocolate Easter eggs) and some cheese on ciabatta toast.  I was scared that I would miss my coach tour that was leaving from a hotel up the street, but thankfully I made it. 

The coach did a circuit of Adelaide while the bus driver shared a few facts about the history of Adelaide and explained some of the monuments, architecture and city planning. Then the coach headed out of the city and toward the Adelaide Hills.  In less than 20 minutes, the road was winding around the edge of Mt Lofty and we were surprised to see the summit car park ahead of us.  We stopped off at the peak of Mt Lofty for about 10 minutes which was just long enough to take a few photos and buy a postcard or two.  Not much time to check out the gift shop, but that was okay. 
Photo I took of the view from the Mt Lofty Summit, the plaque at the look out and,
a sign at the end of the Mt Loftly Walking Trails (It is possible to walk and/ cycle along the trails to the peak).  

Back on the coach and we continued through the Adelaide Hills passing through the small town of Stirling, while our driver told us about the history of the small settlements in the hills including Hahndorf (which means Hahn's town).  It was very interesting and the scenery was amazing.  We arrived in Hahndorf about an hour after we had left the centre of Adelaide.  It was beautiful! The coach drove up the main street and beyond Hahndorf to stop off at the Beerenberg Family Farm Gift Shop.  We had the opportunity to buy freshly picked strawberries (as in the same day), home made strawberry jam, several other jams, sauces and chutneys, scented candles, bath products made from fruit and of course fruit juices and wines.  The bus driver shared his strawberries with me and they were the biggest, sweetest most delicious strawberries I have ever tasted!!! I could have eaten the whole punnet. 
Beerenberg Family Farms Gift Shop and
a Jar of their famous Strawberry Jam!

Nearly everyone bought something and we all piled back on the coach to go to our final destination, Hahndorf Inn. The tour included free beer tasting or afternoon tea (coffee/ tea and cake).  We sat at reserved tables and I joined a group of three older ladies who were friends from a craft group in Cairns (North Queensland).  We had a great chat and compared travel itineraries as we drank tea and ate warm carrot cake with fresh cream.  Then we finally had a decent amount of free time to explore the many stores on the main street and spend more money.  I was a bit disappointed as some of the stores are not open in the afternoons or mid-week.  I really would have liked to visit the puppet shop (from the outside it looked like Gepetto could be working inside with Pinnochio fetching his tools and sweeping up wood shavings).    Of course he wasn't because the Gepetto who lives in Hahndorf actually owns an Italian Restaurant.  Unfortunately that was closed too.  Treats of Hahndorf was open however, and while I was tempted to buy the whole store's fudge supply, I made do with homemade icecream intead! It was divine!! The lady who served me was lovely and was up for a chat. 

My visit to Hahndorf was in the first week of April so the leaves on the red maple trees were beginning to turn from a luscious green to a rich red.  I stood on the street staring at them for quite a while and enjoyed them so much I forgot to take my own picture.  The picture I found on the internet is barely like the real thing, but it will give you an idea. 
Top left: the Hahndorf Inn from the outside. 
Top right: the inside of the Hahndorf Inn.
Bottom left: the main street of Hahndorf at the beginning of autumn. 
Bottom right: outside the store called Treats of Hahndorf where
the homemade ice cream is delicious and sugary treats will tempt you at every turn!


This lovely little village is made for tourists! There are several places to stay overnight including hotels, motor inns and bed and breakfasts.  Next time I go to South Australia I will definitely be planning to spend a night in one of these lovely places so I can soak up more of the mountain air and explore more of the historical and handmade delights Hahndorf has to offer.  There is even a mini-golf course which is so 'mini' I didn't find it until five minutes before I was supposed to be back on the coach.  Insert very sad, disappointed face here! Oh well. 

We enjoyed a leisurely drive back to the city, with a short stop on the side of the highway to see a koala resting in the eucalyptus tree... the trees line the highway and apparently there are times when you can see dozens of koalas at a time.  Clearly they don't come near the road mid-week either.

On reaching my hotel that evening, I was tired!  I prepared a light meal, wrote a post card to Nanny and headed to bed early.

So that's that then.  Day 2 in Adelaide.  Nice.

Next week I will tell you more about the free bus and getting lost in the city.  See you then.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Postcards from Adelaide Day 1

Good Morning Everyone,
Today we begin the "Postcards from..." series.  As  I explore each of the state capital cities in Australia I will share my adventures with you in this series.  Without further Adieu, let's get started at the very beginning.

Day One

Flew from direct from Brisbane to Adelaide (on Qantas Economy).   I was surprised at how difficult it was to find a direct flight. A two and a half hour flight went by quickly with the aid of a light breakfast (included in my ticket price) and a good magazine. After landing in Adelaide it was quick and easy to pick up my suitcase and walk out to the bus stop.  The only problem, I was expecting the bus stop to be bigger or more obvious or something.  Bear in mind this was public transport, not a shuttle, I was dropped off just across the road from my hotel.  The bus route (J1) stops at the airport then heads in to the city and does a circuit stopping at the nearest bus stops to most of the major hotels.  Adelaide public transport (especially around the city) is excellent and certainly designed to accommodate tourists.  The bus driver was very helpful.

Arriving at my hotel, Mansions on Pulteney (follow this link then click on Mansions to see this specific hotel), I was too early for my room so they stored my luggage for me while I went exploring.  :)
Mansions on Pulteney, 21 Pulteney St, Adelaide, Australia. 

My hotel (booked through bookings.com), is situated at one end of the Rundle Mall (the first shopping precinct of it's kind in Australia).  It's not as big as Queen St Mall in Brisbane and I suspect Melbourne could rival it easily, but it's certainly big enough and is surrounded by plenty of dining, shopping and entertainment venues, so it's worth a visit.  I wandered down the mall, listening to local buskers, taking photos of sculptures and artwork and window shopping.  Check out the famous Pigs of Rundle Mall and the Rundle Mall Fountain. 
The Rundle Mall Pigs are even listed on Trip Advisor as a Must Do in Adelaide!
Rundle Mall Fountain - matches the architecture of Adelaide Arcade (that runs off one side of the mall).

A stop off at Rundle Mall's Dymocks store to buy some new reading material then a walk through Adelaide Arcade was also in order.  The stop at Dymocks took a little while as there were two floors of books to review before settling on the two books I bought.  In Adelaide Arcade, I just had to visit "Adelaide Hatters"... I could just imagine Alice in Wonderland taking tea with the owner.  I tried on a few of the beautiful (and very expensive) hats.  No photos to share though.  I stocked up on a few postcards and stamps in the Arcade too.

I just got my bearings on Day One and when I was finally admitted to my serviced apartment I was ready for a nap.  The Rundle Mall has a Coles and a Woolworths as well as many food vendors, but today I visited Woolworths and stocked up on pre-prepared meals and some basics so I didn't need to eat out for every meal.  On Day Two, I bought more food when I visited the Central Markets.

While I said earlier that the public transport is great, it took me a while to work it all out.  On my last day in Adelaide I was still waiting at the wrong bus stop and putting my ticket in the machine the wrong way around.  Thankfully, the bus drivers were happy to help out and even picked me up at an unscheduled stop!  Locals offered to help me use the ticket machines too!

Despite the fact that Adelaide is home to more than 1.2 million people, it has a small town feel to it and I loved my daily walks (although some felt a bit long).   

On Day Two (next week)  I visited the Central Markets in the morning then spent the afternoon on a bus tour to Hahndorf. Tune in to hear all about it. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Something to Say

I'm writing this from my hotel room in Adelaide (I'm on holidays), wearing my T-shirt from the Adelaide Zoo and my PJ pants.  I've been having a marvellous time.  I will start a new series next week called "Postcards from Adelaide" where I will tell you all about the great things I have been enjoying this week.  But today, there is something much more important that I have to write about. 

I don't usually write about politics or share my political views with too many people.  I usually listen politely to what people have to say about current affairs and inwardly form my own opinion.  However, I can't stay silent on this topic.  If you don't like political stuff, maybe you should click off now and come back next week for my usual light hearted notes on life and my imagination. 

************

This week, the Seran Gas Bombing of Syrian civilians (including many children) has been shown on our news (click link to see videos of The Project: a popular news program in Australia).  In between Flooding in Queensland, Bob Hawk's Brewery, Theatre Programs and countless fluff pieces, the news has broadcast some disturbing footage of babies and children dying in the arms of their parents.  Children gasping for air, foaming at the mouth, covered in sores and open wounds - all symptoms of Seran poisoning.  This poison was released into the air by the government of Syria.  The GOVERNMENT! They did this in their fight against terrorists in their country.  This is abhorrent!  This is beyond wrong.  The government of Syria should be doing all they can to protect their citizens. 

The issue here is that Syrian refugees (and many like them) are being denied asylum in Australia.  The opinion of many (not all, but many) Australians is that anyone seeking asylum in Australia should be turned away.  The attitude of so many Australians is simply ignorant and selfish.  The complexity of granting asylum and accepting refugees into our country can not be reduced to a catchcry and I'm not going to try.  I know that there are many facets of the issue and arguments for and against.  The thing is, the country is divided and regardless of which side they sit, most people back up their opinion with one or two very simple sentences.  Most people rely on arguments about "queue jumpers", "job stealers", "community takeovers" and "terrorists". Only, the majority of  asylum seekers are people who are fleeing the horror of living in a world where even their government will kill their children for the sake of catching one terrorist! They are seeking a life where they can go to work, their children can go to school, they can go to church (or their mosque or their synagogue or their temple) and worship as they please.  More importantly, they are seeking safety. 

Australians are so very lucky.  We know what it is to be free.  We are free to choose how we spend our money and our time.  We are free to say what we think.  We are free to worship or not.  More than any of those things... we are safe.  We are safe from war, bombings, violence, extreme poverty (although there is a huge population of homeless people, they are not the ones protesting our immigration policy).  Our government is not able to gas us in our homes.  They wouldn't dare try it! We are so lucky.  We are complacent.  We are selfish. 

The word asylum means safety.  Asylum seekers are seeking a place that is safe. They want to feel safe.  Doesn't everyone have a right to feel safe? 

I'm so saddened by the images I have seen on the news today.  I'm saddened and angered by the failure of our diplomats and elected officials to sanction Syria's government for their heinous acts against their citizens. I'm disappointed in world leaders for cow towing to it's electorates and refusing to provide sanctuary to ordinary people who simply want to be safe.  More than that, I'm disappointed in my fellow Australians who think they have the right to deny sanctuary to people in need.  I'm aghast at the bigotry shown by people who are simply misinformed.  I'm disgusted by people who paint their world with the broadest of brushstrokes (making sweeping generalisations of everything from religion or culture to policy or ideas).  I can not see a future where every human living on the Earth will know what it is to be safe.  I can not see a better future and I weep for humanity. 

I know that this is a far cry from my usual storytelling, informative, picturesque, fun loving craziness.  I had to say it. I started AGT because I felt I had something important to say to the world.  Today, what I had to say was serious and sad.  I hope it was also thought-provoking. 

My Prayers are with the Parents mourning their Children, the Children mourning their Parents and All those seeking safety


Friday, March 31, 2017

Marching towards my Goals!

Considering it is the last day of March we better have a look at my progress with my 2017 goals.  Let's check these out. 

This Year, 2017, I will…

Quit… eating because I’m bored, sad, angry, frustrated or confused.

I get a giant tick for this month!   I am much more in tune with my feelings and when I go anywhere near the kitchen (or the cookie jar) I check myself for whether I'm truly hungry or just bored, sad, angry etc.... If I'm not hungry, I label the emotion and decide on an activity to help me feel better instead of eating.

Eat…   three balanced meals and two snacks at least 6 days a week. 

I am doing this 3 - 4 times a week, but certainly not 6 days! We have been having difficulty organising our grocery shopping (in between life) and that makes it hard to stick with the eating plan all the time. I need to come up with a better strategy for this one. 

Start… exercising for 30 minutes, at least 4 times a week.

UUMMM... not happening.  Need to work on this. Motivation has been difficult as I returned to work and adjusted to changing routines.  The heat and humidity have been hard to handle and I got a cold!  Excuses, Excuses. 

Visit… family and/or friends once a month.

This month I went to visit an old family friend in hospital.  I also went out for coffee with a school friend. I also had a lovely Saturday earlier this month when I visited my Uncle and Aunty on the coast. My grandparents arrived for a visit while I was there and another Aunty and Uncle came too.  That means I'm ahead of schedule with the visiting and that's good because I might need to take a month off later this year. 

Accept… that I cannot fix everything. 

This one might be going a little too well.  There are days when I have accepted my limitations so well that I'm rather resigned and unmotivated.  Not quite the point.  At work, it can be very hard to accept the problems and concerns that we face and accepting that I can't fix it all can be hard too.  I am working on it. 

See…    Melbourne in real life.

Since my "capital idea" earlier this month, the plan has changed a little.  I'm seeing Adelaide next week. Stay tuned for the details of my adventure. 

Learn… at least 12 scripture passages by heart. 

Let's See: Scripture Verses learned so far
Psalm 23
Psalm 32:7 (still working on learning Psalm 32:8)
Colossians 1:11
Therefore, I'm on track!

Give… to Christian Missions overseas and in Australia (12 times or once a month).

I donated to high school chaplaincy this week.  I'm looking into some Salvation Army orphanages and schools that I would like to support on a regular basis.  I'm also participating in TSA's Self Denial Appeal which will be mission contribution for April. 

Be…   Quiet

I'm doing well. I'm enjoying this.  Enough said.

Grow… spiritually by reading my Bible 5-7 times a week and attending church at least 3 times each month.

My strategy of marking the calendar has worked well to help me track this.  I'm not quite up to 5 times a week.   I average 4.  That is a huge improvement from last year when it was more like once a week.  I am on track with 3 times a month for going to church.  I'm really loving attending church again.  I missed it.
I am about to finish the devotional book that I am currently using.  I haven't quite decided which one I will use next. 

Invest… in reaching these goals.

Obviously I'm doing this.. There might be a few more things I can do to invest in these better.  Something to think about. 


Friday, March 24, 2017

Today, I have a cold...

Yesterday, I woke up with a sore throat.  Today, I feel kind of horrid.  Therefore, I decided to use a writing prompt for today's blog post.  Here it is.....

I won't stand for this another moment!  I will lay down and take a nap instead!

That's that then.  See you next week.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Green for Good Luck?!




I hope you are all having a lovely Friday and a lovely St Pat's Day.  I, for one, have wonderful memories of St Patrick's Day... and not one of them involves alcohol!  Fancy that!

Although, you have to wonder if the people who organised these St Pat's Celebrations were blotto when they did it.  I will tell you why.

We basically turned into little green people who dressed in green, ate green food, drank green cordial and played games that involved green things... like.... um, lettuce?!... and then talked about a guy who lived hundreds of years ago. Coincidentally, there is no evidence that I can find (admittedly, I didn't look very hard) that Pat ever wore green or drank a whole lot of lager.  But I digress.

Not much else to say.  Well, if I did have more to say I don't remember any of it. 




Friday, March 10, 2017

A Capital Idea

A few years ago, it must have been years, because I don't remember writing it... I wrote a new bucket list. I found it recently.

One of the items on the list included a Capital Idea... I wanted to visit all the capital cities of Australia.  This is one of the reasons that my goals for this year included Seeing Melbourne IRL"  (For the less techlingo savvy of you, IRL means In Real Life).  For several reasons, that are very boring, I was actually thinking about changing my destination for the upcoming trip that I was planning (to Melbourne).
There are lots of lists like this online.. just checkout Pinterest!


I started exploring the idea of Adelaide... visiting the city of Adelaide.  I think it will be the perfect place for the type of holiday I need right now.  The thing is, I need a quiet, peaceful, but still fun, sort of holiday and I think Melbourne might be a bit too much hustle and bustle for the moment.  I will certainly go there, just not in April.  While exploring travel blogs and articles focused on Adelaide (and of course Pinterest), I also thought about Perth.  I can't decide.  I think the weather will be a big deciding factor for me. 
Don't you reckon this screams "perfect holiday for M"
Dusk at Thorngrove Manor in Adelaide

I started a new Pinterest Board this week called "Holiday Dreams"  and I'm pinning like mad.  If you check it out, or if you are a follower, you will see that there are all sorts of pins from travel tips, packing tips, day trip ideas, itineraries, activities for several Aussie cities and even a few international capitals.

So, there it is, my Capital Idea.... I want to visit capital cities- first Australia, then, the world!

I can't wait!

I forgot how much was involved in planning a getaway!  Back to the 'grindstone'. 




Thursday, March 2, 2017

Cards... The February Collection

The first half of the year is a busy time for birthdays in our family.  All of my nieces' and nephews' birthdays lie somewhere between the beginning of January and the end of June.  Therefore, I make a lot of birthday cards in the first six months of the year.  My sister's birthday, is in April and two of my grandparents have birthdays in February.  The other adults celebrate their birthdays in the second  half of the year as do many of my friends.  This means that I'm making birthday cards all year round. This year, so far, I have managed to stay well ahead of the birthday card making by starting to make cards at the beginning of the month and trying to stay at least a few weeks ahead.  I had a big card making day a few weeks ago and now I have made all the birthday cards that I will need for February birthdays AND March birthdays.  I still made each card with the specific recipient in mind.  I don't write in the cards until the actual birthday (or a few days before). 

You are probably sick of reading and just want to see the pictures.  I know I am.  Here goes. 



I created this one for my niece who is turning 5 this weekend and she loves bubbles!  This was created with one long stamp, I simply changed ink pads to colour it before printing onto the card.  The pink washi tape border was to cover up the fact that the stamp wasn't big enough to fill the whole card!   She also happens to LOVE pink so it all worked out. 


I think this card is puurrfect for a cat lady.  Hence, I made it for Nanny who taught me that every lady is happier when she owns a cat!  As you can see, Shelly was very "helpful" during the making of this card.  Hehehe. Just a side note, Poppy also had a birthday in February, but I already showed you his card because I made it in January. 

This next card was inspired by some cards posted on Make and Takes, click here to see the how to.  I saw these cards on Pinterest and there were other 'cakes made from washi tape' creations on Pinterest too.  Sweet Living included this idea in their 10 fabulous ideas for using Washi tape where they decorated plain white paper then used it to wrap a wedding gift! This card will go to my nephew for his 17th birthday at the end of March. 


Last, but certainly not least, this flower birthday card was created for my niece who turned 11 last week.  The large flowers that were layered to make the middle flower were part of a pre-cut packet I bought.  I made the smaller flowers using a small flower punch.  I layered these too and added a gem in the centre of each.  Of course the corner is just a few strips of co-ordinating washi tape.  Easy!  :) The sentiment was a mix of two "Happy Birthday" stamps.  I tried this after hearing from the BFF that it's cool to mix fonts in your sentiments now.  So, I'm very 'in' and very 'now' and I'm down with it.  Ha, Ha, Ha!


I hope your creative juices have been squeezed out or maybe you are just enjoying the pretty!  Remember you can check out my two Pinterest boards where I pin my creations as well as and lots of cards and other crafts that I see around the place and want to save for inspiration.