Friday, June 27, 2014

The Bible Garden Palm Beach

One of the great things, about living in Pittwater, is that over time you are at liberty to discover all her secrets.  Slowly but surely over the months and years, the layers unravel to reveal one of the most beautiful environs on the planet.  Sitting at that table alone the other day with nothing but my takeaway coffee and camera, as the Winter sun beat down on me, it was hard not to feel anything but great.  I thought to myself, most of the world's problems could be solved from this spot.  The beauty of this place is over whelming.

Apart from being one of the most beautiful places in Pittwater, it is also one of the best kept secrets.  Only the locals seem to know about it and although we'd like to keep it that way, it seems a shame not to share.

Known as the Bible Garden, this truly is about as close as you can get to Heaven here on earth, in terms of natural beauty anyway.  The great thing is, there is rarely anyone here and you can sit in the terraced gardens all day if you like.

There are many Christian icons evident in the garden, including a leather bound bible kept on the table in a plastic box, so it stays dry.  For the waspish Palm Beach it is probably not an unusual phenomenon, that a very kind man purchased land in 1957 and set up a Bible Garden for the public to enjoy.  We are all the beneficiaries of this thoroughly decent human being and I for one, am eternally grateful for his generosity.

The garden was originally established as a comprehensive Bible Garden encouraging 'comprehensive 
reflection of biblical meanings, as well as to serve as a collection of Holy 
Land plants.'  Many of the original plants no longer remain, but have been replaced where possible with varieties that are mentioned in the bible and that can survive in a coastal environment.

Original owner GH Robinson, toyed with the idea of calling this place the Ecumenical Garden, so as to include everyone, but he thought that was too much of a mouthful, so the Bible Garden it is. Source :The Bible Garden Plan of Management

Although a place of worship, everyone is welcome and the gardens can be hired for small functions of not more than 60 people, by contacting Pittwater Council.

The Bible Garden is a popular small wedding venue.  I say small, as there is limited parking and no toilets, nor wet weather options.

Located at 6A Mitchell Road, Palm Beach. It sure is a great place to take a coffee, or a picnic. And for once, this million dollar view is absolutely free. Even though I think you will agree, totally priceless.

For more ideas about things to see and do on Sydney's Northern Beaches go here.
That link may be of some assistance to you for the school holidays.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

A Cute Party Favor Idea for Kids

A Cute Party Favor Idea for Kids

Good morning from a brisk Sydney.  Winter is definitely go and we are all feeling it, in our ill equipped beach houses. Thank God it lasts, but 8 short weeks.

And now on to the real reason you are here. A Cute Party Favor Idea for Kids.

To say I detest the kids' party lolly bag, would not be to put too finer point on it. 
Handfuls of cheap chemical laden Chinese made confectionery, usually all eaten in one sitting on the way home from the party, just about does my head in.  You can't fight it, unless you are up for World War 4, so you have to watch, as your child almost consumes their body weight in junk.

Accordingly, it was to my great delight recently, that the smallest Beach House Brat came home from a party with an all together different idea for a party favor.  A 'make your own hot chocolate'.  When I picked her up, she was hanging around for the lolly bag, being her charming self and prompting me to ask the host for it.  In order to make a quick get away, I did and oh sweet Jesus, there wasn't one on offer.  Yay!!!!! Just this cute make your own hot chocky. Although not completely devoid of sugar, for my money it's a much better bet than the usual alternative handed out to already sugar laden kids, at the end of the party.

So we have been waiting for the right conditions to hang in front of the fire and do this for a few weeks. Global warming almost had us beaten, but when you see an opportunity, experience has taught me, you should take it.

There's a time and a place for copious hot chocolate consumption and the Winter Solstice, was it.   The excitement with which my girl unwrapped the sweet little parcel was palpable.  We found the cup contained most of what we needed to create a yummy Winter drink.  All we had to do was add some hot milk.  The real novelty in all this, was the big blob of chocolate molded to the end of the spoon. Genius!!!!!!!

Here's what you need for a:

Hot Chocolate Party Favor
Insulated cups
Good quality cooking chocolate
Bamboo spoon
Mini patty Pans
Marshmallows (optional)
Small luggage tags

Melt chocolate according to the packet directions and fill to 3/4 the required amount of patty pan cases.
Insert a spoon into each chocolate patty pan whilst chocolate is soft
Allow chocolate to set firm.
Place 'chocolate spoon' into the cups with 2 marshmallows.
Wrap with Cellophane.
Tie off with ribbon and attach luggage tags, which tell the recipient to "Add hot milk and stir"


For those of you in the Southern hemisphere, I hope you are enjoying Winter.  At least we are on the right side of the Winter solstice after 21 June.  Not long now!!!!!!

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Beach House of the Week in Collaroy

Hello Beach Dwellers

Coming to you today from the Golden Triangle, that is the Collaroy Basin.  The beautiful Maemont is on the market and she is a real stunner.

Featuring beautiful Sydney sandstone pops, hardwood floors and plenty of room to move, this is beach side living at its best.

I am particularly in awe of the beautiful fireplace and wall panelling in the original living room.  With classic open plan design, high ceilings and the inclusion of bi fold doors, the outside has been allowed in, to create what is now a highly sort after way of living by the beach.  
Open for inspection from 12pm this Saturday, you can find more of her details here.

Have a great weekend.  I am in the market for a new lap top, so I guess that will be my focus  Apple i store here we come.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

If Your Couch Could Talk What Would it Say About You?

This Post is Sponsored by Super A-Mart

If your couch could talk what would it say about you?
Here's what it would say about me, in this century.  That I probably hang around too long, cup of tea in hand.  More in Winter than Summer, but too long all the same.  That my favourite screen is still the television, despite so many choices.  I like well constructed British or Australian dramas, which are entirely thought provoking.  I am also a very political creature, who is definitely rusted on to one political point of view, more than the other.  The couch would say that I use more than one electronic devise at once and that my kids like to sit on the couch with me and snuggle up.  They have absolutely no concept of personal space and it is not unusual, for them both to jump on me at the same time.

 More interestingly what would my couch have said about me in my single days.

That I had good taste in men. 

My couch would also observe that I entertained alot.  From dinner parties to cocktail parties, the couch was there, following proceedings.  I know everyone thinks they had great parties, but I think mine really were.  There is nothing quite like good food, good wine and good friends all in the same room.  There were even a few marriages, which had their inception out of one of my parties.  I'm not sure how those people feel about that now.

My couch would have also said that apart from throwing parties, I was not home much. When I was, I liked to talk on the phone alot, to my girlfriends, discussing our next move.

If only that couch could talk.  That couch which was front and centre in the living room of my inner city pad in my single days and then relegated to my first  new born baby's room.  It became somewhere to sit with my new bundle of joy, during those freezing lonely nights, when you are trying to work out what the hell has happened to you and how it has all come to this.  It felt like I didn't get off that couch for the first few months of my baby's life.

That couch would have recognised a big change in me.  It would have felt my angst, as I struggled with the nightmare that is breastfeeding at first........ouch.  Deliriously tired, as I rocked my baby to sleep in the middle of the night.  I still maintain that if this task was left to men, the species would have died of starvation eons ago. The couch would have seen me come to terms with the whole new born thing and slowly realise that having kids is a joy.

It's funny to think how much of my life the couch has actually been privy to.  The good, the bad and the fabulous.

If your couch could talk, what would it say about you?

Super A-Mart may be what you are looking for.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Hello from freezing Sydney town.
It sure is soup weather here right now.  I am frantically trying to lose 5kg, so I can put it all back on again in France, as I eat and drink my way around that most civilised of nations in a few months time. 
Eating soup for lunch, is how I am doing it.  

I am completely determined to lose the last 5kg of baby weight.  I know I have been talking about it for ages, but it is really happening.  I didn't have a drink over the weekend, even a little one to take the edge off.

I find if I eat no sugar, ditch the booze and eat well, the weight falls off me.  It's just that combining those three manoeuvres, can be one of the hardest things in life to pull off.


Spicy Sweet Potato Soup
Serves 4

1 large sweet potato or two smaller ones diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 onion finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic finely sliced
1 heaped teaspoon cumin
1 long chilli red or green finely diced
chilli flakes to taste (optional)
Milk (I use low fat)
Small handful Danish feta
1 tablespoon chopped parsely

Preheat the oven to 200C /390F 
Dice the sweet potato into 3cm/ 1.5 inch chunks.  Toss them in a little olive oil and bake in the oven until golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste at this stage.
Meanwhile fry the onion, garlic, chilli and cumin in a little oil, until the onion is soft.
When the sweet potato is cooked, combine it with the onion mixture and use a stick blender, or what ever kitchen  implement you have to puree the mixture.  Add milk slowly to get the right consistency of soup you like. Throw in the parsley and continue to puree.
Add more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with Danish feta and herbs.

I have had to grow to love soup.  It wasn't always a love affair, but there is a lot to be said for this type of comfort food.  In this case, I was sorry to reach the bottom of the pot, it was so good. 

The cumin really makes it kick.

If you would like to see how I lost the first 17 kilos go here and for the results go here.

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More easy and delicious recipes for busy mums, can be found here.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Christmas in July

The invitations have started to come in for Christmas in July, so I thought you might like some inspiration for your shindig,  

This is my Easy Christmas series, where you will find cute and simple budget ideas and recipes to put together.

Glazed Christmas Ham with Guinness, Pineapple Juice and Marmalade

Have a fabulous weekend and happy baking and crafting.

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