Tuesday, August 30, 2011

For the Love of White

I invested in these white lilies 10 days ago and have been waiting for them to bloom ever since.  I have struck up quite a relationship with the manager of flowers at the local Harris Farm.  When she notices me approach, she always points me in the direction of the freshest flowers with a smile.

I arranged these lilies with a shell rope in the bottom of the vase.  Not only do they look pretty, but they assist in holding the blooms in place.

So after a Tuesday tidy up, I took a few extra shots of my kitchen/ living room.   The open plan thingy works perfectly for us.  The Beach House Brats are at the stage of wanting to be with Mr Beach House and I all the time, so with this set up, I can be happily fooffing in the kitchen, whilst they are sitting at the bench doing homework or eating a snack or just telling me about their day.

Those bar stools were picked up as a temporary measure two years ago, from the school fete bric a brac stall. They are still with us and I think they are a keeper.  I love their vintage coastal feel.  I'm still yet to recover the cushions, but what with said eating of snacks, I think I'll leave it a little longer.  With Spring the school fete approaches again.  Ours is being run like a country show this year and I must say I am looking forward to it.
I am entering the cake baking competition and no doubt if I have any success, you will hear all about it.

And this is the view from my kitchen window, where I shall be partaking in said baking of cakes.  I do most of my best work looking at this view.  On a clear day I can see to Manly.  The best bit is when an ocean liner goes by....it just inspires me to keep gathering those pennies for our next travel adventure, which as you know, is one of my constant goals.
Oh and I haven't seen a whale breaching yet, but I am here often enough, so it's only a matter of time.

Have a great week people.
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bud Burst at Spring and Some Heirloom Gardening

We visited grandma yesterday for a Saturday roast.  It was an eventful trip to say the least.  The first Beach House Brat was complaining of a sore tummy, so I gave him a plastic bag in case of emergency and told him to tell me if he wanted me to stop.  He seemed to doze off so I forgot about it for most of the 45 minute trip.  But as we turned into grandma's street, said child lost the lot all over the back seat and car floor.  Not sure why he couldn't make it into the plastic bag or wait the 2.5 nano seconds until we got to grandma's, but no.  So I spent the first half of our visit disinfecting the back seat.  He is fine now....what a difference 24 little hours makes.

Anyway the day got decidedly better.  My mother's garden is definitely at it's best in Spring.  It is at the bud burst stage now and will look magical in 2 weeks, when it is in full bloom.  Gardening is a challenging past time in Australia, especially if you move away from natives, which was the trend back in the 1960'2 when my parents lovingly laid these garden beds out.  The lack of water and the searing heat in Summer kills lots of things, but after nearly 50 years of trial and error, this garden has reached it's strides.

This garden came together when no one had any money and you did it all on your own.  Not just the gardening, but the stone work, the paving and the building of all the structures.

When the sewer was put on.......That's right in those days you bought the block uncleared and unsewered.....the septic tank became a fish pond.  It is not unusual to find a black snake out here in high Summer trying to eat the frogs milling around the pond.  The snakes tend to be more scared than us though, so left alone they just go away.

But you never garden out here in Spring, Summer or Autumn without gloves and shoes.

My dad built this BBQ area and pergola out of wood sold off from the Big Dipper, when it was dismantled.  It was a very famous roller coaster at Luna Park, well known by any child growing up in Sydney in the 1970's and before .

The garden is full of potted orchards, which I hope to show you in full bloom in a couple of weeks, if the cockatoos don't get there first.  They are simply stunning.  They were obtained from neighbours, when they moved to America in the 1970's.....we got their dogs as well.

There are lots of nooks around the garden for just sitting and watching the world go by.  All a bit chippy and aged now, but still very calming for the soul.

Here's another example of my father's handy work.  A very elaborate filter box, a bush stone wall and some paved stairs.  He even built the back wash drain you can see in the far left of the shot.

Water tanks, a must in the hot Summer months when watering restriction come into play. And the brick paving was completed by us, the weekend before my 21st first birthday.  A sit down lunch around the pool for 75 people.  A juke box playing next to the BBQ area, which became the dance floor, made for a wonderful day and a now treasured memory.

And here's a well recovered boy being a boy, climbing a Jacaranda tree that was sown in a jam jar by his great grandma 50 years ago.  He had to resort to old fashioned pursuits, as the last computer bill at grandma's blew out due to his over use....so now he is banned from using it and has to entertain himself in other ways. He seemed to manage though!!!!

What with annoying the dogs and climbing trees, I think he had a ball.

And I love that you can bring some of the outside in.  The fragrance from these little babies was divine and always revives wonderful thoughts of Spring, which is just around the corner, as our little part of the planet awakens from its Winter slumber.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cherry Ripe Slice and a Coup at the Red Cross Shop

I am on play group morning tea tomorrow and this slice is a favourite round these parts, so I thought I'd dish it up to our little charges for a yummy treat. Actually this recipe has become a standing joke  between my girlfriend Lesley and I, and goes back to when I was attending playgroup the first time round, with my now primary schooler.

I have basically been making morning teas at this play group for the best part of 10 years and since the first time I served it, Lesley has been asking for the recipe. It's not that I haven't wanted to give it to her, but finding time to sit down and copy it was a problem at one stage and so it just never happened. Now whenever the topic of this recipe comes up, the conversation is the same, with her saying tongue in cheek, that I still haven't given her the cherry ripe recipe and me saying, I'll get it to her at some stage. And we laugh and forget about it til the next time...........So this one's for you Les!!!!!

So you will need
200g block of cooking chocolate
250g copha
3 eggs
100g glace cherries
1 cup sugar
2 cups coconut

Sorry I haven't converted the measurements, but my mother reliably informs me that 8oz is 250grams. Actually the recipe was a little all over the place saying things like, a small packet of cooking chocolate and cherries....but mum and I have been making this for years and it always works.

Grease and line a 30cm/12 inch slice tray with baking paper.  If you can make the edges of the paper reach up the sides, even better.
Melt chocolate and copha in a bain marie
Pour chocolate mixture into the slice tray and pop in the freezer for 20 minutes
Preheat a moderate oven 180 C/350 F
Combine lightly beaten eggs, chopped cherries, sugar and coconut.
Spread coconut mixture over now hardened chocolate
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Cool completely in the tin.  Cut and serve.

It's great if you can get an enthusiastic helper to beat the eggs.

Here's the finished product, laid out on a lovely white platter I found at the local charity shop yesterday.  I cannot believe what the affluent throw out.  I did a quick inventory around my living room this morning while I was thinking about it and most of it's from the local Red Cross.

Now I am off to make the next part of the morning tea.  Luckily it only happens a few times a year.  You can see from this next shot, that the pressure of feeding 30 preschoolers, is causing me to have a bad hair day.

Also I wanted to thank Jule-Ann from the Decorating Forum, for featuring my blog earlier in the week

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Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Style a Beach House in Black and White

Hi Gals
I've been trawling over French House Swap websites over the weekend, so haven't had time to do any decorating at my Beach House but I'm sure you wont mind, as this is the pinnacle of Beach House Style I do believe dear reader.  This is black and white done beautifully, or is that navy?
Find the link here if you would like to stay here on the Northern Beaches of Sydney over Christmas.  Oh and they'll even throw in a free one hour massage as well.  Frankly, I don't think I'd need it staying in a house like this.....then again!!!!!

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Beach House of the Week in Pale Blue Again and A Winner

I did a story on this beach house some months ago and it has proved to be very popular, so I thought you may like to see some more shots of this gorgeously styled abode.  This house is available to rent at Christmas time here.

And we have a winner of the beautiful hand made porcelain house number.  It's Maggie from Normandy Life
Congratulations Maggie and thank you to all those who entered.  I think its fun to give stuff away and I will be doing it again soon.

Hope you are all having a marvellous weekend.
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