Monday, June 29, 2015

Less than 3 days - it's Paris in July

This week marks the start of our Paris in July blogging event. Dont forget to sign in here if you haven't already... So far we have more than 20 excited participants, many of whom have already posted some of their intentions. Here are some ideas

Nari at The Novel World has posted her intentions, including the Santa Barbara French Festival. She also has a page of suggested reading.

Molly at My Cozy Book Nook will participate again and continue her weekly French Friday posts.

A Strong Belief in Wicker has already posted some memories about visiting Versailles.

Faith, Hope and Cherrytea has posted her intentions and ideas, and has set up a Paris in July Pinterest Board too. She has a collection of books including cooking books as well... as the lovely book shops!
This is her Paris in July pinterest board. Then there are her fav French movies, music, travel ideas, patisseries,and her city's own French Quarter to share during July!
New Starters: It's exciting to see we have some new people joining in this year. I love the variety that we get in this event, and the more the merrier!
A great way to get others interested is to post you're Paris in July Intentions, include one of your favourite Paris in July buttons, and link your post to this Mr Linky. Others will follow your lead and link in too.

Each week I will post a summary of the previous weeks activities, and I'll post a Mr Linky for you to link in your weekly posts (and you can always do more than one a week, just link it in so we all know you're being active).

I do randomly announce little competitions, or give away prizes for fun, creative, new, and amazing posts... so watch out!

Link your Paris in July intentions here

Friday, June 26, 2015

Buttons for Paris in July - Winners

After announcing my intention to host Paris in July 6, I then launched the Buttons competition - and it's a pretty impressive line up. Thank you to everyone who joined in. Here are the entries.......

Deb Nance from Readerbuzz
Lavender in France
Lunch in Paris
Romance under the Tower
Memories from the Louvre
Faith Hope Cherrytea
La joie de vivre!
Long Days in Paris
We Love Books
We Love Books (Red)
Lisbeth from The Content Reader
Summer Perfume
Secret Cafe

Jeanie from The Marmelade Gypsie (who didnt really enter but I entered her art)

Jeanie's Art

My Choice of Winners!

So I've taken the liberty to name each entry, I do hope the artists are not offended.

First Place:             Summer Perfume! 
Second Place:         Jeanie's Art
Third Place:            Memories from the Louvre

Lisbeth - email me your postal address and I'll send you a little gift!

Use the Buttons

I think the winning button should be used on the participating in Paris in July 6 Blogs - but I also think there are so many wonderful options - it'd be lovely to see them all used during the month.

What do you think of these options? Which one captures your Paris in July hopes? Is there one that really captures your love of Paris? drop us a line.....

Dont forget to sign in over here... if you haven't yet joined in for this years Paris in July!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Button Time 4 Paris in July

Competition Time!

Paris in July #6 needs a button. 
I'm inviting the early birds in Paris in July, to invent the button. 
There's going to be a prize, or little gift, to the one who creates a Paris in July #6 button 
that highlights what it this blogging event means. 

In the past, our buttons were created by Karen, and I've found a few for your inspiration.

Post your creations on your blog this week, and leave a comment here when you've posted your creation. I'll be ready to judge the entries Monday 23rd June, in time to announce the official Paris in July button by Sat 27th June..

The great thing about an official button, is that you can promote the event to other bloggers and on facebook and instagram with a consistent image.

I look  forward to see the offerings! (Jeanie, I expect an entry!) 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Paris in July #6

Bonjour mes amis! 
Le temps est venu pour un grand voyage!
It's Paris in July time.

Paris in July is about to enter into its 6th year and probably doesn't need too much of an introduction for many of you. For newcomers to this event - Welcome :)

The aim of the month is to celebrate our French experiences through reading, watching, listening, observing, cooking and eating all things French!  There will be no rules or targets in terms of how much you need to do or complete in order to be a part of this experience – just blog about anything French or Paris, or Paris-like, and you can join in! Some ideas might include;
  • reading a French themed book – fiction or non-fiction,
  • watching a French movie,
  • listening to French music,
  • cooking French food,
  • experiencing French, art, architecture and travel 

I hope to post regularly on a range of fun, colourful, food, film, book and other cultural highlights from Paris and France. I'm keen to bring a little bit of Paris into my Wintry July. For what ever reason you love Paris in July, join in - each week or just once - we'd love to learn about what Paris in July means to you. 

Here's the Mr Linky - you can register your interest to join in here. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

My Quinoa Salad

  If you didn't know - I love my garden!
Fresh parsley inspired this recipe
 Fresh leeks bring beautiful flavour to any dish
a touch of fresh mint.... 
Fresh Celery, trimmed

Tri coloured Quinoa
Lots of green things
Parsley, Mint, Leeks, & Celery
a special touch of red

And a final touch of salt, pepper and Lemon Scented Olive Oil

My Quinoa Salad. 

Dont you love quinoa? 
what's your favourite quinoa recipe?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Garden Thyme

My garden  in late 2014 - looking a bit tierd
Late last year I responded to an invitation from Bec at 'Think Big, Live Simply' which has resulted in some big changes for me and my garden. Bec asked if anyone wanted some help in the garden, and I said 'yes please'.

Bec, says this about herself..
One of my passions is to grow food. Another is to take photos of growing food. You’ll find lots of both things here. I want to inspire you to think about your own life, and get curious about how you can make it even better – through growing a garden or choosing to live simply, whatever this might mean for you.
 I have been following Bec for a while now, and her regular posts in my emailbox do exactly as she hopes - inspires me to think about making things better - for me and my garden.

Bec asked me lost of questions about what I like to grow, how I like to grow things, what wasn't working, what I wanted to do better and all sorts of other questions. I told her that I like to grow my own seedlings - but I wasnst having a good success rate. My seeds just weren't germinating.
My babies :)
Becs advice on growing seedlings was really helpful. Firstly she pointed me in the direction of some great books, and advised me to use proper seedling mix (I was trying to make my own). Bec also suggested 'getting your partner involved mid-week with some watering or simple compost turning will make a big different to your time as well - and never know,  you might convert him into even more of a green thumb'. So, I placed the seedlings in a sunny place by the front door. I put a waterbottle with a little watering lid near the front door. So during the week, when I am living in a different city to work, he would see the seedlings and the water bottle and water them.... it worked!

We love pesto - we love Basil - Basil loves the warmth from these rocks!
Bec made a good point - she said herbs like basil, parsley, mint, chives, spring onions and leafy greens like kale, lettuce and rocket are happy to grow in quite a bit of shade, especially if it's dappled. I was trying to grow everything in 'full sun' but was loosing good ground to the shade... by Basil is pretty happy now here in the warmth of a stone wall.

New seedlings wrapped up in their mulch.... happy mustard green
Bec reminded me about the importance of looking after my soil. She ecouraged me to get back to healthy mulching (espcially in summer). She also said 'I've already mentioned the sweet stuff.. Molasses. Its cheap and easy to use in multple ways. use it in the compost, worm farm and new veggies beds to stimulate microbial activity and healthy soil development'.
Bec mentioned the importance of using all the space in my garden - even the verticle spaces. So I found this mesh frame hidden in the shed, and gave it a new home - the beans love it!

Bec encouraged me to use pots more - and I like the colours here. These pots house my favourite herbs.
When my partner and I designed this garden we created this large entrance to the compost corner, with the runner for the wheel barrow to run up. But we dont need the full width of the steps all the time. So I put pots here. I can move them when I have large loads for the compost corner, but other times they recieve water from the auto sprinklers, and they are easy for us to access for food preparation.

Yellow Eggplant - growing in a pot that gets special attention
I decided to try growing some of the eggplants in terracotta pots because I wasnt sure how they would go through the end of summer and autumn - and I thought the terracotta would given them a little bit more heat during the change of season. It seems to have been OK as they are still producing into May.

My purple mini eggplants - happy in the back of the garden with rocks that reflect heat
Beans climbing my 'bean temple'
Guava's (like many fruits and some veggies) attract fruit fly which ruins the fruit before you can harvest it. I've found over the years, if I wrap my tree early enough, the fruit is saved. I've had a bumper crop this year - I'm stewing, bottling, jaming and pie making til the cows come home.....

I know its been a pretty photo heavy post - but here's a couple more to finish the story...

Thank you Bec.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Storm Disaster 2015

Dog bed is ravaged by winds and pot plants have hit the deck!
 I have been drafting two other posts during April, but they haven't been finalised, so I thought I'd post the reason why. I had a family wedding in Adelaide April 18th so I had a couple of days off before that and my husband and I  enjoyed a little RnR in South Australia.

However, that was the end of the RnR... we returned to NSW admist massive wind and rain storms. Our plane circling for more than an hour before getting permission to land in Sydney.

When we did finally return to home base in the Hunter Valley - we found our place had see the impacts of the winds.

Banana plants have blown over

a bed of storm  blown and torn leaves cover my lawns and meditation decks.
 But before long, we had our orange State Emergency Service (SES) uniforms on, and we were out volunteering in our community. Only to discover our blown over banana plants and pot plants were NOTHING.....

 Here, my team assess a large tree leaning on a two story home and the damage done to the roof.

 On another house, we climb up to repair the damage done by tree's to the tiles. Here's we're placing plastic over the problem area by tucking it under the stronger tiles.

Here my team are involved in ferrying isolated community members back to higher ground - which soon became nick-named "mainland".

Since Monday 20th April, We've been volunteering 8 full and long days.

The effects of the massive storm are slowly being cleaned up - while today another massive weather event hits our northern east coast capital, Brisbane. Thoughts and Prayers to everyone already affected by storms this month, and those feeling it come down on them tonight!

News links with stories of the storm are here
Newcastle Herald - the Aftermath
Sydney Morning Herald - Storm of the Century
Sky News - Devestation of the Storms