Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

We've had a lovely week at the Beach House.  Very little of it to do with Christmas.  Someone turned 60, so we put on a party for 80 or so guests at the yacht club.  During the speeches, I said I had something to say and that I had regretted not saying anything at his 50th, for the last 10 years.  During my speech I burst into tears........I hadn't realised I liked my husband that much.
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Under the Sea Party Decorations

I have been away from my computer all week, mainly for two reasons.  First, my son has been caught up in the whirlwind of farewell functions that a 6th grader must add to his social calendar, when he embarks on the next phase of his life journey, by leaving primary school.  As his mother, I have been involved to varying degrees.  The second was the devastating terrorism which came to town this week.  It has left me weepy and wondering how it could all come to this. One such a joyous set of events, the other being the absolute opposite of that.  We are not used to this kind of brutality as a nation in Australia, but it seems we must now brace ourselves.  I have been mourning for a loss not only of the wonderful people killed and psychologically damaged in the siege, but also for the red letter day it was.  Everything will now change here in Sydney and Australia.  Trust broken, is difficult, if not impossible to restore and we will all suffer for it, as a society.
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Walter Barda Designed Beach House in Avalon

This 3 bedroom tropical Walter Barda designed pavillion Beach House is truly magnificent.  Glass sliding doors open and disappear to create no linear distinction between the interior and the exterior of the home.
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Mango and Coconut No Bake Cheesecake

This year I will be contributing a Mango and Coconut No Bake Cheesecake to the Christmas lunch table.  The brief was to make something light for the non Christmas Pudding eaters.  It also has to travel well.  I'll keep it in the tin  and a chiller bag, for the 20 minute drive to my mother in law's house, on Christmas Day.
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Monday, December 8, 2014

Kiwi Fruit and Strawberry Christmas Tree Platter

Hello Beach Dwellers

You know that I love a healthy snack for kids, rather than a sugar laden one.  Well this year I thought I'd create a Kiwi Fruit and Strawberry Christmas Tree Platter.
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Beautiful Waterfront House in Clareville

This world class architecturally designed home, overlooks beautiful Pittwater in Clareville.  The only harbour in Sydney with no commercial shipping.  Yes that's right, it's all about pleasure.  Located on the waterfront with direct access to a sandy beach, this superbly light filled home with its own jetty and boatshed, has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathroom.  This is living at the high end and all only 1 hour from Sydney's CBD.  For all the details and to check out when she's open check this out.

Have a great weekend Beach Dwellers.

If you would like Desire Empire posts to come straight to your inbox every ten days or so, you can sign up here for my Newsletter.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

National Tree Day and My Childhood in the Aussie Bush

 This post is sponsored by Planet Ark and Toyota

Being born to conservative hippies, living on the urban fridge on Sydney's North Shore, in the late 1960's, I was educated to the value of trees very very early on.  Growing up, the Australian bush was our playground and as a child, I spent countless hours 'down the bush', making cubby houses with my school mates. 

In the early days of my life, the upper reaches of the Lane Cove River were even clean enough to swim in and picnic beside. We didn't have a beach close by and before any of the houses had pools, we had the upper reaches of the Lane Cove River. Happily, it's still there and unlike so many of Sydney's original water ways, is not just a concrete drain now. Although this area of the river has been cleaned up alot lately, forty years on, I would not swim in it these days.  Take a look. Urban development, my parents' house included, has caused it to silt up which has supported an explosion in the growth of weeds.

Lane Cove River
But it wasn't always like this.  All those years ago, our time in the Aussie bush was a wonderful combination of freedom and fun.  Once our cubbies were constructed, we would play in them and talk for hours about our plans for the future.  We even dreamed about moving in permanently.  The more sophisticated the cubbies became, with seating, tables and food stashes, the more I thought I would like to live there forever. I grew up on a cul-de-sac with substantial bushland reserves at either end of the street and playing in that bush and exploring every track in those early years, has meant the Australian Bush is now part of my DNA. Today I  love getting back down to my childhood haunts, with my own kids, whenever I can.

That innocent freedom explored and developed in the rustic Aussie bush, meant we grew to love it very much.  A sign in the bush at the end of the street inwhich I grew up and where my mother still lives to this day, tells me that some of the plants in the local bush, are descended from Gondwanaland flora.  So in my book, that is an environment worth supporting and fighting for.  And fight we did.

My childhood is dotted with memories of my mum (and myself in some cases), standing in front of bulldozers a few streets away from our home, in an attempt to prevent some of the more devastating developments destroying the natural environment in suburbia at the time.  These protests were part of the green bans and protests that dotted the bushland on the urban frindges of Sydney in the 1970's.  We have a lot to thank the housewives of the 1970's for.  As we walked off to school and our fathers commuted to the city to work, the housewives, manned the barricades.  Collectively those women saved and protected so much of the remnant natural environment of Sydney, for future generations.  Those women were environmentalists before the concept became trendy and squarely planted in the political landscape, like it is today.  Some of the battles were won and sadly, some were lost. 

But as a result of my association with nature and the value it created for my childhood, if I  ever get a chance, I never ever miss an opportunity to put something back. To spread the word about how important it is to save what is left of the natural environment and to green our urban spaces, where possible and the joy that a green space can bring to a community.

So it was with great pleasure that I attended an event for Planet Ark's National Tree Day, sponsored by Toyota, earlier in the year.  It was just one day, but every day we can green our environment in some small way.

Just growing herbs on your kitchen sink, or in your garden, is a simple way to bring a little green into the world and make a contribution to greening the planet.

For Planet Ark's National Tree Day, Toyota was putting something back too.  Lets face it, most of us are addicted to our cars and that is not going to change any time soon, but greening a space however big or small, is a great way to make a contribution to a local environment and lighten our foot print on the planet.  

On the day, I arrived at this fabulous 'green' bus stop, which had been created as part of the event.

Here's a hint of how gorgeous it looked, as I stepped off the bus in the heart of Sydney.  It put a smile on my face.  The commuters didn't quite know what was happening.

and what else greeted me as I got off the bus, but a tree man and a big hug.  These days I'll take my hugs where I can get them.

The people from Planet Ark, were giving away plants to commuters and inspiring them to turn their own grey spaces green.

Check out this really cute video to see how beautiful the bus stop was and what happened next.

From there we hooked up with some kids and famous faces at a local school, to help turn a grey space green in their playground.

The effervescent Costa was onsite, to educate the kids on how best to plant their new garden.

The enthusiasm of the kids in the creation of their new garden was priceless and it took me back to those days with my friends in the bush at the end of my street.

Although we loved all that the bush had to offer, the natural environment was not an issue when I was this age and as a result, our generation has not been very kind to the trees.  Lets hope these little guys get on board and learn from great community events like these, that making a garden and greening a grey space is a great way of putting back and lessening our footprint on this fragile planet.  We are all in this together.

National Tree Day is a great community event sponsored by Toyota and Planet Ark.

If you would like Desire Empire posts to come straight to your inbox every ten days or so, you can sign up here for my Newsletter.

You can pin any of these shots by hovering over the shot and clicking on the "P".

You can also find me on
and instagram @desireempire

Today I am linked up here
With Some Grace
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Monday, December 1, 2014

The Boathouse Cafe and Bar Narrabeen

What a fabulous spot the Boathouse Cafe and Bar in Narrabeen is, to spend a day.
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Friday, November 28, 2014

The Summer House

This award winning Pavilion Style House, located on the Western Foreshore of Pittwater, is designed to take advantage of the climate.  A beautiful home, perfect for its natural environment.  Only an hours drive from Sydney and a short ferry ride from Palm Beach.  Come and find the true meaning of life in paradise.  For more details and a floor plan check this out.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Surfboard Advent Calendar and Some Glossy Mag for Desire Empire Which Flopped

Hello Beach Dwellers
What do you think of my surfboard advent calendar incarnation for 2014?
It's Christmas time and it's the best time for this blog.  I just love Christmas creativity and I always launch it with an advent calendar.
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Monday, November 24, 2014

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks with Eschallots, Rosemary and Red Wine

 Before I launch into the recipe for Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks with Eschallots, Rosemary and Red Wine. I want to share something else with you.

I was thinking the other day about some of my frugal ways.  I have travel on my mind again and am wondering how I am going to manage to get back to Europe.  I need to save, save, save and as a result I did a mental note of what we already do to conserve our hard earned income.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Beach House Decor in Avalon

This beautifully light filled beach house with panoramic ocean views, has a great layout and is extremely well maintained.  With absolutely nothing to spend, install yourself here to live the fabulous beaches lifestyle.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Very Moist Chocolate Walnut Tart Recipe

Hello from the Beach House.

I've had some free time to bake this Very Moist Chocolate Walnut Tart this week.  Why?
Because I've had a boy at school camp.  Not having to drive him to extra curricular activities, has freed me up somewhat.  What a breath of fresh air that has been.

I've also been using the extra time to try and save a bit of money searching online, for cheaper text

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Milk and Soda Kiosk Whale Beach

With Summer hard on our heals and in order to bring you all the latest from paradise, I've been doing a bit of research on Northern Beaches Kid friendly cafes.
As many of these establishments are located next to the most stunning beaches and waterways in the world, I've been judging these cafes on the strength of their egg and bacon roll.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Beautiful Beach House Decor

This lovely beach house has so much going for it,  apart from the fact it is only about 100 steps from the beach.
Striking sandstone feature walls, open plan inside out living and a lovely flat backyard, make this a great northern beaches pad.  If you are a serious player, you can see more of her details here.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Blue and White Beach House Decor and My View on Cleaners

When Ray, my cleaner told me in February that he was to retire and go where all good retirees go, the North Coast, I was devastated. Of course it was an over reaction, but I have told you before how Ray saved my marriage each week and that I would spend money on a cleaner before almost anything else in the weekly budget, including food.
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Monday, November 10, 2014

Bum Balinos Cafe Bilgola Beach Sydney

I absolutely love the relaxed atmosphere of Bum Balinos Cafe and the Bilgola Beach views are to die for.  The food and coffee are not bad either. I love escaping down here for a coffee after school drop off, or early on the weekend before the crowd arrives.  Bring your cozzies and take a dip in the surf.  It's a great way to work off any calories taken on at the cafe. The whole place is magical and a visit to Bilgola Beach and Kiosk, will certainly lift your spirits.
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Lovely Beach Cottage in Palm Beach

This lovely waterfront home in Palm Beach is very private and tastefully renovated.  Designed as open plan, allowing the light to flood in, the beautiful 'Iloura' would make a fabulous first or second home. Located on a quiet street and over looking Pittwater and Ku ring gai Chase National park, this is truly living the beaches lifestyle.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

H2O Cafe Narrabeen Sydney

H2O Cafe Narrabeen Sydney

Recently I caught up with my lovely girlfriend Cath for lunch.  We normally catch up, in the school holidays with our kids, who get on like a house on fire.   Or together with a group of mutual girl friends for dinner, but we had both been away for the last school holidays and we were having withdrawals, so decided to do lunch whilst the kids were at school.
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Friday, October 31, 2014

Banana Choc Chip and Pecan Cake

Banana Choc Chip and Pecan Cake

Good Morning Beach Dwellers

So we are well and truly back into our daily routine after the big trip (sadly nothing lasts forever) and I am back in the kitchen, producing all the meals that a mum must, on a weekly basis.  Ho Hum.
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Beautiful Avalon Estate on the Market.

I must say I am rather partial to a private estate with ocean views.  This lovely 4 bedroom home is set on 1800sqm and was built c. 1948.  It has been beautifully updated and comes complete with a 12.5m heated pool and Caribbean styled cabana.  Walk to beach and village to make the most of the wonderful Northern Beaches lifestyle. For all her lovely details and to view a floor plan.  Take a look here
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