22 January 2018

Happiness every day

This year on her blog, Anita Heiss is posting about where she finds happiness every day. I've been reading her posts each day and her positivity is contagious.

Some days are merely routine, aren't they? Get out of bed, get ready for the day, deal with things as they occur, come home, go to bed. Frankly, they are the type of days I prefer. No drama, no surprises, just predictable. 

But even in these 'ordinary' days, there are moments of happiness - we just need to look for them. I've been doing this and have been writing about these moments on my Facebook page

You are invited to join me over there!

15 January 2018

My book of the month: January

In October 2016, we went to a fabulous day in the Blue Mountains to hear crime writers talk about their books. I came home with the door prize, a package of five crime novels by Candice Fox, Jaye Ford and Chris Allen. That was the first time I had heard local author Candice Fox tell her story and what a great story it was.

Since then, we've been to two other sessions to see and hear Candice again. She's a fabulously approachable person and is always ready to have a chat. I guess you could call us Candice groupies (maybe that's why she's living overseas, now? 😃)

So why did it take me so long to read one of her books?

I honestly don't know. I guess that since I had a couple of my own copies of her books on my shelves, I knew I could pick them up at any time. Library books, which provide most of my reading matter, always seemed to force themselves ahead on my reading list.

Anyway, during my summer holidays I decided it was Candice's turn and I read Hades. Wow! No wonder this book won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut novel. It has complex characters, great storylines and fabulous writing. It held my attention for the whole time I was reading it. 

The second and third books in this series are also on my shelves. It's their turns next!

You can read more about Hades on Goodreads. 

08 January 2018

Nasturtiums - shades of yellow

I like nasturtiums. They have a scrambling habit and thrive in the heat, which is something I appreciate during these oppressively hot days of summer in my garden. I'm never been fond of the bright orange and yellow-red flowers, though, so it was with great excitement that I discovered these cream ones. 

My friend Lisa has them growing in her garden and, a few years ago, she kindly ripped out a piece for me to transplant at my place. I say "ripped out" because that shows how tough they are. I came home, stuck my piece of stem in a pot, and it started growing - and flowering! - within weeks. That's a photo of my first flower above.

Last week, I found a packet of Mr Fothergill's seeds for another creamy nasturtium at the local plant centre. Called "Peach Melba" they have peachy-coloured markings in the centre. I sowed all 25 seeds this morning in my nasturtium planter box.  Stand by to see how they grow!

Have you grown nasturtiums? In case you need another reason to plant some, look at those leaves! Gorgeous, flat, veined leaves that are a delightful feature by themselves. Lovely!

01 January 2018

Happy new year!

I enjoyed a great 2017 and am looking forward to an equally wonderful 2018; I hope you are, too! Thank you to everyone who visits my blog. It's always gratifying to read your comments, so thanks for taking the time to leave a note.

25 December 2017

Three things

Holiday time! We are half way through our two weeks away from work. The best part? No schedules! It's luxurious to do what we want, whenever we want. I hope you have a chance to relax at this time of year, as well.

1. Big Bash cricket

This was our annual outing to a Big Bash game, a tradition we started last year. It was the Sydney Derby, a game between the two Sydney teams, the Thunder and the Sixers. Such a thrilling game - the result wasn't decided until the last ball of the game! It was great fun (even though we sweltered in the oppressively hot weather). Fingers crossed that next year will be cooler. 😀

2. Murder on the Orient Express

Perhaps I'm one of the few people who hasn't read Agatha Christie's classic whodunnit? This probably worked in my favour when we went to see this new movie with Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot, the famous detective. Fabulous scenery and over-the-top casting - so many top actors! 

Have you seen it? What did you think? I loved it (and didn't guess the murderer).

3. Day trip to Kiama

On a showery day, we drove south to Kiama to visit the famous blowhole. I hadn't been there since I was a child and we were fortunate to be there on a day when the wind was blowing from the right direction. 

Natural phenomena always fascinate people, don't they? There were lots of oohs and aahs when the 'whoosh' noise occurred as the water was forced through the cavity of volcanic rock. If the water spray wasn't high, we just had to wait a couple of minutes until it forced its way through again.

Kiama is a pretty seaside town and well worth a visit. The fish and chips at the wharf seafood cafe were great, too!

Are you having any holiday time? Have you had any fun excursions? I'd love to hear your stories.

11 December 2017

My book of the month: December

"Full disclosure: I am a weather tragic."
As soon as I read this first line, I knew this book was written for me.

My fascination with weather started when we lived in my childhood home. It was in an elevated position so we could see great Sydney southerly busters approaching and anticipate the coolness that was to come. I spent many hours drawing clouds with my precious pastels and consulting my father's barometer, tapping it gently and watching for the air pressure to drop.

Lawrie Zion's obsession started when he was five and he has written a fascinating and accessible book about his observations of how weather information has pervaded all our sources of news. It is thoroughly researched and documented, as befitting a Professor of Journalism (La Trobe University).

Sigh, I have found a kindred spirit who loves the Bureau of Meteorology as much as I do! 

27 November 2017

In praise of brunfelsia

I'm in favour of shrubs that simply go about their business with minimal attention from me, apart from the occasional watering if there hasn't been rain for a month or so. I'm even more fond of shrubs that live quietly in my garden for most of the year until the day they cover themselves with glorious blooms. That's why I love my brunfelsia.

You can see why this is also called 'yesterday, today and tomorrow'; the flowers bloom in a strong purple colour, then fade through lilac to white. Simply gorgeous.

My shrub is covered in flowers that contrast beautifully against the deep green foliage. Low maintenance and beautiful - what more can you want from a shrub?

(Note, all parts of brunfelsia are poisonous to dogs so take care if you have pets.)