Happy St Patrick’s Day, everyone.

Anoher long break between posts, but all is good – just busy!

Not a huge amount to report from the last two weeks – just work, work and more work.  However, I have now made a decision to have a break from overtime until at least after Easter. I’ll re-assess then.  It will likely come to and end some time in April or May.  I am proud of myself for doing so much, but also proud of myself for stopping! This was one of very few work-free Saturdays in quite some months, and it was very enjoyable.

I had a hair appointment at 8am.  I go to a hairdresser quite a distance away, as she is very good and VERY affordable (about a third to half the price of most salons around here).  She charges $100 for cut, colour, foils, wash and blow dry.  I had not been for a bit over 3 months due to just never having the time, so my hair was looking pretty yukky! I guess $100 might sound exorbitant to some people, but many popular salons charge $200 – $300 for the same thing.  I dyed my hair myself for a long time, with $5 packet mixes, and just went for basic trims, so I have not spent a lot on my hair over the years.  However, I am now at a point where I get some grey re-growth, and I want it done properly and with colours which hide the grey until next appointment.  I’m not at the point yet where I’m ready to ‘expose myself’ on the internet, so here’s me incognito! The colours don’t really show up properly but they’re a combination of gold and copper tones, I guess.  The lighter blondey gold strands are reasonably similar to the greys that poke through!


I had the appoitment so early as we were supposed to be having lunch in an another area, miles away from the hairdresser, so I wanted to leave enough time.  We were meant to be taking my mother-in-law out for her birthday, which is tomorrow.  It was also a birthday lunch for my brother-in-law, whose birthday was yesterday.  Unfortunately it was called off as my husband has come down with a heavy cold. He has spent today in bed.  Even if he had felt up to going, he did not want to run the risk of infecting his Mum, whose health is not the best.

So, by 10am, I had a nice chunk of free time ahead of me.  I found myself at various op-shops, almost on auto-pilot!   I came home with quite a haul! I rarely have any serious buyer’s remorse after op-shopping.  Things are just so cheap, the money goes to charity, and often I then re-donate books after reading them. I enjoy op-shopping far more than normal shopping as you never know what treasures and bargains you will find.  In fact, I rarely browse around ‘normal’ shops unless I specifically need something.

Photos of my goodies are below –

I think most of the titles / authors are legible.  The one next to the New Zealand book is “Coldwater” by Mardi McConnochie.  The three in the middle, after “The Gypsy Madonna” are a little unclear.  They are: “The Speech of Angels” by Sharon Maas, “Creative Journal Writing” by Stephanie Dowrick, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith and “The Law of Dreams” by Peter Behrens.

I am trying to be quite selective in what makes its way home with me, but these were all titles I either specifically wanted to read or which just really, really appealed to me!

I have actually already read “Small Great things” but wanted a copy as I lost track of the last one (I think my Mum lent it to someone!) and it is truly one of the best books I have ever read.  When I saw a new-looking copy for $2, I grabbed it.

We don’t have any immediate plans to go to New Zealand.  We went to the South Island a few years ago and absolutely loved it.  We would like to see more of the country when we are able.  I love DK travel guides as they contain such a depth of information about a country’s history, wildlife, attractions etc, that they are enjoyable and interesting to read even if you aren’t travelling there!

The Slow Cooker book has lots of simple recipes I think I might actually make. I intend to resurrect the slow cooker as the weather gets cooler. This kind of book would be about $50 retail (nuts!) – I paid $2.

I won’t do a synopsis of each book – that’s why we have Google!

I thought about hiding the Danielle Steel, but I admit to reading and enjoying her on occasion, when I really don’t want to have to concentrate – such as when I’m unwell, or travelling…

As for the other stuff … the clear tea pot was as new in its box.  I’m taking it to work as we have recently started a communal tea table, to which people (including myself) have contributed a wide array of teas.  We are a bit short on pots, so I’m donating this.  We have a tea shop here called T2, which is very popular.  They have expanded overseas, but not widely.  If you come across a store, I HIGHLY recommend the ‘Singapore breakfast’ blend. It is delicious!

According to Wikipedia, “In line with the first store opening in Singapore, in 2017 T2 created Singapore Breakfast tea, evoking kaya toast with a blend of pu’er, green tea, coconut flakes and roasted rice.[27] That same year the Scots Breakfast tea was created, being a blend of a robust black tea base, oats, cocoa husks, vanilla, cinnamon and sweet caramel notes.[54] 

Well, I wasn’t aware of the Scots breakfast – that is now on the shopping list!

The little ceramic pot is lovely – it hold 2 cups and looks new. That is for my personal use.

Both tea pots have infusers, so no strainer needed.

Then there are some nice glass bowls – handy for serving,  and a little pottery ‘jug’ type thing.. I’m not sure what the right word is! A pourer? (it does not have a handle).  I love the colours and I think it would be useful for salad dressing (I make my own out of balsamic vinegar, mustard etc).

And, finally, a ‘Morley ware’ bowl with a lovely inscription about Mothers.  I intend to give it to my Mum for Mother’s Day in May, perhaps with some chocloates in.  I think she will appreciate it.

Not too much other news…  My brother arrived last night from Melbourne and I picked him up at the airport. He is staying with my parents, as is my dog! (my brother and dog love each other, so this is their bonding opportunity!). He is here for a buck’s night and coming back in 2 weeks for the wedding! It was good to see him, and my folks, last night.

The weather has turned quite a lot cooler (although, at 24C, still a heatwave to my friends and family, and everybody else, in the Northern Hemisphere!) and a bit drizzly.  It is possibly related to Cyclone Marcus hitting Darwin, to our North-East.  That is just pure speculation on my part, as it’s 4000km away and I’m not a meteorologist, but it’s possible! 🙂  Today’s swim from Fremantle (Perth’s nearby port) to Rottnest Island (which I talked about in a recent post) was cancelled due to the treacherous conditions.


A different swimming event, again to Rottnest, was cancelled 3 weeks ago due to a shark!


Such is life in Western Australia! I have far too many books to read to even think of swimming to Rottnest, so I should be ok.

Well, I’d better go and check on my poor husband and see if he wants soup / orange juice / aspirin / sympathy!   I don’t know how men survive these colds, they seem to be so much worse than ours!

Bye for now, I hope everyone is well and I hope to post again by the end of the month! 🙂




Still alive



I had just been thinking about posting something, when I got a lovely notification from a new blogger friend, saying she was missing my posts… so sweet.

It’s been business as usual, really. I’m still working a lot of overtime.  It will likely run until April or May.  This does not happen every year, so a big part of me (the ‘sensible’ part) says to take advantage of it while it is around.

However, it is taking a bit of a toll and is counter-productive in some ways as I’m so busy and tired that I grab a lot of take away coffees and lunches and snacks to get me through, wasting quite a chunk of cash every week. I still come out ahead, of course, or I would not do it.. but I think you get my point.  As well as wasting money, it’s obviously not a very healthy or balanced lifestyle to continue indefinitely.

This weekend is a long weekend and there is no overtime, so that everybody takes a proper 3 day break.  It’s quite a weird feeling having 3 days in front of me with no commitments, other than pleasant ones..

Monday is Labour Day here in Western Australia… see info below, courtesy of Wikipedia…

Labour Day in Australia is a public holiday on dates which vary between states and territories. It is the first Monday in October in the Australian Capital TerritoryNew South Wales and South Australia. In Victoria and Tasmania, it is the second Monday in March (though the latter calls it Eight Hours Day). In Western Australia, Labour Day is the first Monday in March. In the Northern Territory and Queensland it is called May Day and occurs on the first Monday in May.[2] It is on the fourth Monday of March in the territory of Christmas Island.

The first march for a nine-hour day by the labour movement occurred in Melbourne on 21 April 1856.[3] On this day stonemasons and building workers on building sites around Melbourne stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an eight-hour day. Their direct action protest was a success, and they are noted as being among the first organised workers in the world to achieve an 8-hour day, with no loss of pay.[4]

This weekend, all being well, I am catching up with two very dear friends.  On Sunday afternoon I am going to a meditation session with one friend. She has recommended this place / practice.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have a bit of trouble with meditating, and the closest I get is when I really lose myself in a piece of music, but I am willing to give it a go and I am looking forward to seeing my lovely friend.  This lady was a colleague of mine from 2004-2007. She left to pursue other things, but we stayed in touch as we have similar interests and can talk for hours.

Then on Monday afternoon, I’m having a drink and seeing film with my best friend from school.  This friend was actually a year below me at school, but we both caught the same bus (the school was quite far away from where we lived).  When we met, she had just emigrated from Wales to Perth.  I had come from Scotland at age 7, so we had a little bit in common – I remember vividly that we were both mortified by some of the terminology our Mums used for everyday items.  It seems crazy now that we cared, but I guess you just want to fit in at that age.  I remember complaining to Anna that I wished my Mum would stop calling my raincoat a ‘mac’ and my umbrella a ‘brolly’ in front of my friends – how humiliating!! The film we are going to see is “Finding your feet”, a British comedy with a stellar cast. We always go to a lovely little old independent cinema – I can’t stand the big conglomerate ones!  This one is slightly cheaper – but it’s not about that.  It has character and charm, you can get a glass of wine and cheese platter etc, it has a really nice ‘vibe’ and I always look forward to it.

As well as these things, I am looking forward to just spending a bit of time pottering around and just breathing! I plan to give some thought to whether to continue the remaining overtime. If I decide to keep going, I plan to give some thought to how to manage it in a more organised and balanced way as continuing this way is not the greatest idea.

This is such a ridiculous ‘problem’ to have, when many across the world would love to just have a job!  I’m lucky I have a stable job which I’m healthy enough to perform, and all these bonus hours if I want them.  However, I’m sure you understand what I’m saying.

To finish on a completely different note, has anyone ever heard of “emotional freedom technique (EFT)” or “tapping”?  I was introduced to it years ago, and had to admit it actually worked for me straight away. Science /scepticism explains it as a placebo effect but, either way, I have found it surprisingly beneficial – I just don’t remember to do it very often! It can be used for absolutely anything that is troubling you – family and relationship issues, health issues, work issues, major or minor. The first time it was introduced to me, many years ago, I had something on my mind. I actually can’t remember what it was now, so it can’t have been life threatening, but I know at the time it was quite consuming – it might have been a problem with a friend.  After learning the tapping sequence, it was like the issue had vanished. Strange but true.  Give it a go before you rule it out 🙂

The reason I mention this is that there is a summit running online at the moment, to which I’m trying to listen each day for 10 days.  It’s one of those things where they only leave the content up for 24 hours (I think, or it may be 48) and then hope you will purchase it as you have missed some of it! I will not be purchasing it, but I am finding what I’m hearing quite interesting and beneficial so I’m trying to fit it in and take some notes…


I’m getting messages from family and friends in England and Ireland, relating to ‘Storm Emma’ and the heavy snow falls all over the land.  My photos today are of the current contrast between Perth city centre and Dublin city centre, taken by me and my cousin respectively.

I hope everyone in blog-land is well, and I will be catching up on some blog reading shortly.

Bye for now!6d247591-db10-45be-9d22-4fbd22cc57af





I have to wonder why I started a blog when life is so nuts! No posts makes for a boring blog! Oh well, here’s some waffle to fill the page…  🙂

I was pleased to see this on the local paper’s website tonight – some happy news for a change –


Roger Federer has about 31.4 million social media followers (almost as many as my blog!).  It is great that he has promoted Perth, and particularly the beautiful Rottnest Island, to the world.

Rottnest Island (known as Wadjemup to the local Noongar people, and otherwise colloquially known as ‘Rotto) is an island off the coast of Western Australia, located 18 kilometres (11 mi) west of Fremantle.  Dutch sailors landed there on several occasions during the 17th century.  The island was named by Willem de Vlamingh in 1696, who called it Rotte nest (“rat’s nest”) after the quokka population (he thought the quokkas looked like big rats).

Rottnest island is a stunning place, with world class natural beauty. Quokkas are absolutely adorable little animals.  I recall that as a child living in Scotland, when we found out we had been accepted to emigrate to Australia, my Mum started giving my brother and I ‘lessons’ on what our new life down under would be like.  She was somewhat misguided as we were instructed that we would have acres of fruit trees, and possibly our own aeroplane! I don’t know what she had been reading / viewing to form that sort of idea!  We have always lived a normal suburban life here, wonderful though it has been 🙂

I digress… one of the ‘lessons’ was about quokkas. I remember when we went to Australia House in Edinburgh for our final interview / visa collection, the official asked me (I was 7) what I was looking forward to the most about our new life in Australia.  I replied ‘seeing a quokka’.  His reply? ‘What the hell is a quokka?’…

We flew to Australia on my brother’s 6th birthday, and as a birthday treat we were allowed into the cockpit.  I still remember being amazed by all the dials and buttons, and remember the pilot pointing out the window and saying “That’s Sri Lanka”.

Back to Rottnest Island… I can’t finish this post without acknowledging its sad past as an Aboriginal prison.  Between 1838 and 1931 (except for the period from 1849 to 1855) Rottnest was used as an Aboriginal prison.  Some 3,700 Aboriginal men and boys were imprisoned there during the life of the establishment.  There may be as many as 369 inmates’ graves on the island.  Work is currently in progress to acknowledge this and build a memorial.

If you ever get a chance to watch Martin Clunes’ “Islands of Australia”, one of the episodes is about Rottnest Island.

Last but not least, related to the topic of European / Aboriginal relations, I am only a few pages into my new book ‘The Lieutenant’ by Kate Grenville, and I can already tell it is going to be an amazing book… I am looking forward to having a chance to settle down with it. It’s a short book and once I get the opportunity to relax with it, I think I’ll make short work of it.  I’ll let you know!


The books are breeding

I have a slight problem.. I have an addiction to books, and not enough time to read them!

I just can’t help but get excited when I read a book review, and I have dozens of names on my ‘Goodreads’ app for future reference.  I don’t buy them all, of course, but I do order some…  If I am buying a new book (as opposed to one I find in a charity shop), I almost always buy it from bookdepository.co.uk

While I would love to support local bookshops, it is just not feasible to do so.  Books are terribly over-priced in Australia.  For example, today I received the below Kate Grenville book (pictured next to free magazine from supermarket) for $7, including postage.  This could cost up to $30 in some local bookshops. Eventually I may find it in a cheaper store like Target or Kmart, but it would still be likely to cost at least double the price of Book Depository.


I already have a Kate Grenville book, not yet read, in the book case.  It was given to me by my brother.  I found it in his apartment in Melbourne when I last visited, and he had no recollection of having seen it before!  A friend or family member must have left it behind when visiting him … it’s mine now  🙂  It is ‘The Secret river’. I am looking forward to reading both these books, both about early days of European settlement in Australia…

Below are just some of the books lying around the place!

There are books on tracing one’s family tree (I did some work on this a couple of years ago), and on Northumberland and the Border Reivers (again related to my background, on my Mum’s side).

The book called ‘Swan River letters’ is a book of transcripts and reports from early settlers of the Swan River colony in Western Australia, which were published in British and colonial newspapers.  It includes a letter from Captain James Stirling (see yesterday’s post).

There are a few biographies and autobiographies relating to various cultures and countries…

‘Working class boy’ is the story of Jimmy Barnes, a famous Australian singer who now performs solo, but was initially part of a famous band called ‘Cold Chisel’.  I believe that Jimmy is largely unknown outside Australia. He is originally from Glasgow and had a difficult childhood, but went on to achieve success in Australia after emigrating. His adult life has not been without its demons either, however. Last year I went to see a stage show by him, consisting of him talking about his life and singing his hits.  It was called ‘Working class boy’, the same as the book, and was excellent. He now has a new book out, called ‘Working class man’ and will be performing another show of the same name.  The name is based on one his biggest hits – ‘Working class man’, an absolutely iconic Aussie song.  His ‘shouting’ is not to everyone’s taste, but it is from my youth and very evocative of Aussie summers. My very favourite song of his is by Cold Chisel, called ‘Flame Trees’.


Back to books….

‘A different kind of daughter’ is about a young girl who disguised herself as a boy so that she could play squash and not be caught by the Taliban.

There are a couple of books about royalty there, some other biographies, some personal finance books and an assortment of novels, including all the Poldark series – a gift from my Mum.

Also a variety of recipe books, including Vols. 1 and 2 of ‘Farmhouse Kitchen’, produced by Yorkshire television in 1975 and 1978… very well worn and stained, especially on the page containing ‘drop scones’, which my brother and I would make almost every week in the early 80s after moving to Oz.  Drop scones are called ‘pikelets’ in Australia, but a rose by any other name… sweet memories.


Below is a pile of books and magazines which have somehow made their way into the bedroom…


And in the hallway is this little bookcase with old classics I was given by my great Aunt in England, and a few books that were my Mum’s at school in the 50s…


This is not all the books in the place, and does not even touch on my husband’s (mostly science and science-fiction). And this is after a book de-clutter!  Many of these books are as yet unread…

I think I need to win Lotto and quit my job  🙂

But it’s a nice problem to have!

Simple pleasures

Another busy week rushing by…

I worked overtime last night until 8pm.  I live quite close to work, in the city centre, so it doesn’t take me long to get home. I fed the hungry hound and then we went out across the road for some fresh air.  It was an absolutely beautiful evening.

Across the road is an historic precinct which has recently been re-developed into a lovely little area.  It is a pleasure to wander across there and walk / sit in an evening.

Below is St George’s Anglican Cathedral, built between 1879 and 1888. This is very old by Australian standards! Obviously this pales in comparison to the age of many buildings in Europe.  Just last year I was in, or near, many such buildings – it certainly made Perth seem very young upon my return.  Still, it is nice to have this lovely old building nearby. The lawn and volleyball net are very new.  Behind the cathedral is St George’s Terrace, Perth’s main business district.


Below is a cross from Westminster Abbey.  It was presented to the people of W.A. in 1981, by the Duke of Edinburgh, in appreciation for money raised to help fund the restoration of the Abbey. The cross is of portland stone and once stood at the highest point of the Northern front of the Abbey.

In the background is Perth Council House on St George’s Terrace.  It is always lit up at night. On Australia Day (26 January) it is lit up in green and gold. I’m actually surprised it’s not pink or red tonight, for Valentine’s Day.


Below is a statue of Captain James Stirling, founder Governor of Western Australia. You can hopefully read the plaque below.  There are various places in Perth named after Captain Stirling – Stirling St in the city, Stirling Highway (a major highway running through the western suburbs) and there is also a suburb called Stirling.

My dog is scared of this statue!




Today at work, whenever Valentine’s Day was mentioned, I proclaimed how I think it is a contrived and commercialised occasion, with which I do not bother. Tonight I may have to eat my words, as well as the below chocolate goodies!  I was touched at the thought from dear husband, but also glad it did not extend to a grossly overpriced bouquet or dinner out.  He got home earlier than usual tonight as he had been out doing field work today in the heat and was tired.  We just lay down and listened to music and chatted.  I have not seen much of him lately as he is working on a very important project, so just spending time together relaxing was lovely. He even listened to the music I wanted!  I have about 700 songs on my Spotify “favourites” play list, so obviously it is quite an eclectic mix, but he still usually whinges about most of it! Tonight he indulged me…  that’s what Valentine’s Day means to me 🙂

Chris de Burgh seemed to crop up on the playlist a lot tonight, and I was reminiscing about my obsession with  him in the 80s / 90s.  I saw him twice in England in 1992 – I spent a gap year back in my mother country between high school and University, and lived with family in Whitley Bay (near Newcastle). I worked in Marks and Spencer, made some friends, travelled a bit in Europe and travelled to see C de B at Sheffield Arena and Whitley Bay Ice Rink!  Great times!   I then saw him in 1997, at Perth Concert Hall, which is right next to Council House.


HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, and goodnight   🙂

Restoring order

After a hectic week, I woke this morning with the urge to clean and tidy.  I don’t have housekeeping routines – I just naturally keep on top of things with varying degrees of enthusiasm and energy, and it seems to work well for the most part.

The biggest issue in our place is dog hair – our dog is a hair factory who seems to operate 24/7! The best way I have found to deal with it is to use a static ‘rake’ type thing I purchased a couple of years ago at a home show.  As our entire apartment is a combination of wooden floors and tiles, it is easy to rake up the big handfuls of hair which gather under the bed and other furniture, and then just use the hand-held dust buster to vacuum up the remaining crumbs / dust etc.


I then wipe down the furniture and the floors with a natural wood cleaner which has a lovely almond scent.  It doesn’t take long for everything to be fresh and gleaming.

I felt I needed a nutrition hit today so brunch was a nutrient-dense smoothie, topped with some mint from my little balcony garden.


I then headed to my husband’s work (he’s a scientist) and spent a bit of time helping him clean and organise his lab. He is going through a particularly busy period at the moment, so I was happy to lend a hand. I came home via the shops, where I picked up a few things, and then settled down to watch a new episode of ‘Call the Midwife’ (series 7, episode 3) which had recorded while I was out.  I do enjoy that programme, although it can be harrowing viewing.

It’s interesting how a day of ‘work’ can be so restorative and make one feel energised to embark on a new, fresh week. I’m now relaxing, listening to some Spotify (I discovered the artist ‘Ashana’ today, quite by accident), but my reverie was somewhat shattered about an hour ago by a helicopter hovering round outside our apartment, accompanied by haunting music. All part and parcel of inner city living, and the current Arts festival…


The dog was a bit freaked out by this ‘art’ and is now recovering on my lap   🙂

What did you get up to over the weekend?  Whatever it was, I hope it included some special treats!

I can hear music

Over at ‘Cauldrons and Cupcakes‘, the lovely Nicole has challenged us to various activities aligning us to slowing down, being mindful, being kind to ourselves and enjoying the moment.  She reminds us to spend time on what matters – “family, friendships, fun and the priorities and projects dear to our hearts”, but also concedes that “all of this behaviour can be so very hard to embrace when we have been used to work, work, work, stress, stress, stress, busy, busy, busy”.

As you may have gleaned from my very new and young blog, this is the crux of my soul searching at this time – to find that happy and healthy balance of a busy and productive life tempered with peace, joy, tranquility, serenity, bliss and all those beautiful sounding words!  This can be elusive for many people, myself included, and the pursuit of this balance is the focus of my blogging journey.

All of the challenges Nicole has put forward are, to me, essential facets of the life I want to curate.  A number of the topics were already in my mind as areas I soon want to explore further, notably ‘nature’ and ‘scent’.  And I covered ‘number ten’ yesterday with my account of a day off from life’s normal routine and the respite this provided.

However, ‘number 7’ is my focus for today (and already was prior to reading Nicole’s post – but her posts have a habit of speaking directly to what I am already thinking about.   She is psychic, after all).  She talks about ‘re-charging the batteries’ through napping or reading, but also through music, which is what I want to touch on tonight…

I mentioned in a previous post that I have had trouble with ‘meditating’ in the past.  This has become such a loaded word, instilling pressure and trepidation and an inevitable feeling of failure when one can not simply ‘turn off’ their thoughts, a nigh-on impossible task for many.  I spoke of my preference for lying comfortably (in darkness or by candle-light), choosing a favourite oil to diffuse, breathing deeply (no specific count, but always exhaling for longer than inhaling) and allowing myself to be completely absorbed by a piece of music. The choice of music is, of course, deeply personal. But I wanted to share mine…

When I listen to this, I am absolutely mesmerised. I don’t know what it is – maybe it connects me to my Celtic ancestry – but, whatever it is, it overcomes me and I find that not only am I not thinking about work or tasks or appointments, but I’m not thinking about the ‘good’ stuff either – books or films or dinners or travels, all the things that are lovely and fun but are nevertheless stimuli and a different kind of stress.

When I listen to this, I am not thinking at all.  I just ‘am’.  I’m part of the elements – the earth, the stars, the moon, the waves.  I don’t need or want anything else.  If that’s not meditating, I don’t know what is…

As an aside, I went to see Aled a few years ago with my Mum.  Ticket sales were not as successful as first anticipated and his performance was moved to a very small venue.  It was later acknowledged in local media that his show had not been appropriately publicised and promoted, which was a shame.  However, it did mean that we were treated to an extremely enjoyable and intimate show, with Aled taking requests and chatting with the audience like we were at a dinner party. What a lovely man – he was charming throughout, even if he did have to field a few too many annoying questions about ‘Escape to the Country’.

Science confirms that humans are hard-wired to respond to music, even before birth. It touches us, heals us, calms us and is used in a myriad of therapies for young and old. It changes our brain waves, eases pain, relaxes body and mind and is universal to all human culture.

I would love to hear what song or tune is your ‘go-to’ piece, and I sincerely hope it soothes you profoundly.