31 December 2010

Filling My Day With Bubbles

Come with me, forget your troubles, 
today we'll fill our life with bubbles!

There will be bubbles today and I'm fizzing with anticipation.
Firstly I intend to make the most of the blue sky and jump into the morning ocean.  
There really is something special about the rush and tingle as the cold water embraces you. 
I also love to walk through the foamy veiled edges of the waves, feeling the frothy kisses on my ankles, this will be a special start to my day.

Later, Cpt. V and I will celebrate the year-that-was and toast the year-to-come at one of our favourite restaurants.  We will be going out for lunch rather than an evening meal to avoid the throngs and I will be savouring a glass or two of my favourite bubbles

In the evening as one year passes to the next you will probably find me sound asleep after enjoying a long languorous bath of bubbles lit by candlelight. 

Simple and delicious, just the way I like it!

Wishing you a wonderful final day of 2010 and looking forward to all that we share together in the New Year,

PS If you enjoy a bubble or two of the delicious drinking kind then I'm sure you would like to meet Champagne Jayne, say hi from me!
PPS I'm also playing along with some fun here.

29 December 2010

Books to share

Twas the week after Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse, because we were all reading!

This is a quick interlude in my bloggy break to let you know what we've been reading over the last couple of days.

Cpt. V has many literary interests but does like his politics, so has been deep engrossed with John Howard's autobiography 'Lazarus Rising'.  This will sit amongst alongside the bios of many other Australian Prime Ministers and political authors.

To balance out the mix, he is looking forward to receiving Keith Richards 'Life' which is such an apt title don't you think?  I actually can't wait to get my hands on this one!

My selection has been a little lighter but no less interesting!

I found my first choice at a favourite Noosa bookstore, Embiggen on Christmas Eve whilst doing a last minute search for Cpt. V [honestly!].

As you know, I relish most things French and am a reforming Francophile.
As soon as I saw the cover, I knew that this book could be a 'goodie' and after reading both the blurb and a few random pages, it was destined to come home with me.

It has been a fascinating read so far and will no doubt wend its way to my parents after I've finished with it to give them further fuel for their long-anticipated visit to Paris in June next year.  
If you'd like to read more, click on the cover.

And finally, something to inspire us to put down the books and nourish our senses, the gorgeous Donna Hay 'Seasons' cookbook.

We are truly blessed in my corner of the world to have access to such inspiring seasonal produce and this was a most thoughtful gift from my brother and SIL this Christmastime.  It will definitely be the gift that keeps on giving!

That's it for the short-time but I have a long, long list of tomes ready and waiting including Markus Zusack's 'The Book Thief'.

OK, enough from me I'm scooting back to my cosy hammock to turn the pages,

First image found here

21 December 2010

You Are Gifted

A question or two for you.
Do you find it easier to give than receive?
If someone pays you a compliment, are you able to receive it graciously?
How readily do you seek or accept the help of another?
If there is advice being shared are you the giver or receiver?
I have long been a better giver than receiver.  In fact I am still learning to receive graciously but am pleased to say I am getting better and some of this is due to my interactions within this lovely blogging world. 
When I was little, I was taught the following rhyme, it’s a little cheesy but the sentiments are sound and we now use it as one of our ‘Grace’ cards before our evening meal.
The more you give,
The more you get.

The more you laugh,
The less you fret.

The more you do unselfishly,
The more you live abundantly.

I have received much in my first six months of blogging.  
Some gifts have been physical in the form of lovely giveaway prizes, most though have been less tangible but far more precious.  The gift of friendship has been the most surprising and wonderful.  Never did I imagine that I would meet so many like-minded people in such a short amount of time.
When I started this blog it was with the intention of creating a special space to celebrate the beautiful and unexpected finds that I uncovered in my everyday life and on the web.
The title was derived from my awe at the abundance of beautiful things, amazing people, gorgeous images and special moments that I uncovered as I meandered from one delightful blog space to another - regularly uncovering the ‘unexpected and lovely’. 
I hope that you have enjoyed your visits to my space and felt as though you may have received a little something that you could take away - an idea to try, a new word to use, an image to inspire, a different perspective perhaps.
Every time I have opened up my space and seen that someone has left a message, or that a new friend has joined in, it has brought a huge smile to my face and brightened my day immensely.  I thank each and every one of you for your generosity, kindness, insight and humour - you are my gifts [all 196 of you!!!] and I feel abundant in your company.
As I close today and for this year, I would like to share a gift that I received from my friend Jane at Planet Baby.


Jane has passed on the ‘You Are Gifted’ award which 'recognises some of the special people in Blogland who entertain, enrich, inspire and lighten our lives a little with their words each day.'

If you haven’t met Jane yet then you really must visit after you’ve finished here. She has created a lovely space for you to visit which is brimful of warmth, intelligence and enthusiasm.  If you have a penchant for lovely stationery, literature and linguistics or anything French, then I’m sure, like me, you will spending lots of time with Jane and her lovely young family on Planet Baby.
So now it is my turn to ‘Pass the Parcel’ to just a handful of Blogeristas who have directly impacted upon my life in the most positive ways.

To Naomi who nurtures Seven Cherubs - here is a woman from whom I have learnt so much these past six months.  Naomi has taught me that parenting doesn’t have to be something that you muddle through [although it’s OK if you do] but can be developed as a treasured vocation.
As I’ve grappled with the challenges of being a Stepmother, she has helped me to see that there are many different ways to be a mother and even though these aren’t my own children I am parenting them.
Naomi brings such warmth, wisdom and fun to raising her seven cherubs and she shares all of this with us so generously.  She has been a great encourager of me personally and of my foundling blog and I feel truly blessed to have met her and call her friend. 
To Maxabella Loves - Here is a woman who has a killer combination of intelligence, creativity, wit and a generous heart.  
I’ve learnt much from Ms Bella and have been buoyed on more than one occasion by her encouragement, techy skills and great humour.
Her posts and comments are always thoughtful and she turns a phrase in a truly unique way.  If not for the tyranny of distance I’m sure we would enjoy a regular glass of wine together - as it is, I look forward to catching up with one of my favourite Blogeristas at her place or mine via the written word.

There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I want, including reading all of the blog posts that I subscribe to.  Someone who seems to be able to make the most of every waking second and whose posts I always read from ‘cover to cover’ is Tina from Rubies Place.  Tina not only sees potential for beauty in the most unexpected items but she has a special talent for transforming her visions into reality.  She not only does this, she generously shares how she did it so that we may be inspired to ‘have a go’ too.  Her thoughtfulness, warm character and enthusiasm are all qualities to be treasured and will ensure that she is a ‘stand out’ in her chosen vocation as a teacher.

And so to close.
A butterfly alighting on a flower just as you bend to inhale its perfume.
A blue wren darting from the undergrowth as you wander a garden path.
A friend discovered in the most unlikely of places.
All of these are gifts of serendipity and just like you my dear friend - unexpected and lovely
I wish you every happiness for a bright and loving Christmas and look forward to all that we will share together in the year to come.

* Apologies to the original 'Gifter', I've remodeled your gift a little, you see I've always wanted to open a small Tiffany blue box and this seemed like a good opportunity!

20 December 2010

A Blanket of Love and Comfort

Dear friend, please join with your fellow Blogeristas to send a thoughtful message to Jane from My Pear Tree House who has just embarked upon a journey of a lifetime.
The lovely Martha has set up a space [here] for us to leave our notes for Jane to read.

May our thoughts and prayers be a blanket of love and comfort around you at this time Sweet Jane.


Gift Wrapping - A Gift In Itself

At this time of the year it is inevitable that we will spend some time engaged in activities involving paper.
Wrapping gifts has been something that I have taken true delight in ever since I was quite young.
I love the double deliciousness of a present that has been thoughtfully & artfully wrapped.  
There is a curious reluctance that people receiving one of these gifts may experience, not wanting to unwrap a gift that is beautifully encased 'lest they 'spoil' it.

On the weekend just past, my family met for an early Christmas celebration. 
There were many thoughtfully wrapped gifts under the tree in a myriad of colours, papers, ribbons, cards and other adornments.  

My three year old niece spent lots of time idling past the tree and asking me "Flossy, which one could be mine?" She was most excited when I told her that the large white one with the blue flowers and ribbons was definitely one that Cpt. V and I were giving to her. 
Of course it wasn't the lovely wrapping that had made her jump up and down, it was the fact that there WAS a present under the tree for her AND it was a biggie!

She is such a gorgeous little girl and never ceases to amaze me with her lovely heart.  
Very happy to play Santa giving out lots of presents, we had to stop her and make her sit down to open some of her own. She helped me unwrap many of my gifts and the thing I loved was that she wasn't interested in what was on the outside, tearing and pulling at the casing, she wanted to see my reaction when I realised what was inside.

After the last of the gifts had been opened there was the inevitable mountain of paper sitting in the middle of the room and the usual dilemma of which to keep and which to toss. 

It made me wonder what paper artists like Su Blackwell would do.  Su is a  highly skilled artisan who creates the most delicate and powerful images from paper and old books. I imagine that when presented with a similar pile of paper to ours that her fingers start to twitch and her mind starts to whirl with the possibilities held within the folds of all that paper and card.

All of today's images are by the talented Sue. If you would like a respite from wrapping today, I would highly recommend spending some time with her and her most delicious paper gifts.

This post is being 'regifted' in April as part of the sparklingly fabulous Allison's 'Weekend Rewind'.
Pop on over to find out who else is not-so-secretly regifting a favourite post from the past.

15 December 2010

Word of the Week


Do you feel like your vocabulary could do with a little zhushing? Then this is the space for you!
Each week I will unearth a new word to play with.  
If you would like to join in, write a post incorporating this week's word, then come back and leave a comment with your link so that we can all read your work.
To make it easy for us to find your W.O.W word, incorporate the button into your post.  

Enjoy using your zhushed vocabulary!

[n] from Yiddish meaning a confused situation or affair;
a mess

Shemozzles they take many forms,
I've been in one or two.

I don't know how we got to this,
My brain has turned to goo!

PS Thank you to Kerri from Driftwood Interiors for inspiring this weeks' word via a lovely email that she sent. x

14 December 2010

Two for Tuesday

As Christmas approaches I thought that you may enjoy some images that are evocative of this time of year for me.  They are by the brilliant artist Daniel Gerhartz. I am absolutely smitten by his work and will feature him again in the New Year.

Today you may like to play a little game with me.
What I would like you to do, is tell me in 30 words or less how these paintings relate to each other or how they are evocative of Christmastime for you.

I look forward to reading your insights,

13 December 2010

My Oh My!

Christmas Cards - How Do You Do?

We can thank Queen Victoria for instigating the tradition of sending cards at this time of the year.
The beauty above is one of the very first and it features three scenes.  
In the centre is a party with several generations of one family enjoying some festive spirits.
Those on the left and right depict acts of charity - feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

Very few of these cards remain in existence which is a shame as there is such a lovely message and beautiful artwork contained upon this one card alone.

This year I am making all of our Christmas cards using the gorgeous bespoke stamps made for me by the wonderful artist Chantal Vincent. I will include a short note in each but we won't be sending out a 'family letter' as many of my friends do.

As I was writing the last of the cards today, I began to wonder how different people share their Christmas cheer?

What do you send to those whom you care about and do you differentiate for different people?

To read more about the very first Christmas card, click here.

12 December 2010

Food for Thought

This simple and totally delicious dish is something that Cpt. V and I are going to enjoy this week.

If the video doesn't play [which has been happening] you must, must, must go here and watch it because this is one easy and truly yummy Summertime dish!
I'm thinking it will be the perfect way to use up some of our Christmas lunch leftovers...mmmm!

10 December 2010

Gathering Gratefuls

Each week Maxabella whips around the hat for us to pop our slip of paper containing a list things that we are grateful for.

Here's my list for the second week of December.

My gorgeous Mum, Margy B - enjoying her birthday. I'm so happy that she continues to share her specialness with the world!
Sixty + and rocking the moves on and off our court - Go you good thing!

Excellent report cards - all three Gifts received pride-inducing reports for the second semester of the year.

Cpt. V starting his well-earned summer break today!
To all of you who have stopped by, commented or decided to follow along -  a sincere Thank you!
You are the sparkle that puts a tap in my toes....x

So now it's your turn.  Head on over to Maxabella's to add your own list of goodies!

Fast+Fun Friday

Blue Bauble to herself "Hmmm...I wonder what he has that I don't?"

This image titled 'Star Of The Show' is by a very clever artist Terry Border, to see more click here.
For your own regular gifts of creativity follow his blog here.

09 December 2010

The Art of Living

And so this is Christmas....

Captain V. and his three Gifts on the 'look out' for the ultimate Christmas tree.
It's hot and sandy in my corner of the world, so searching out the perfect tree is a task best done is shorts and beach clogs, I kid you not!
The tradition each year is that the children take it in turns to choose 'THE' tree.  2010 was Gift #2's turn.

There is quite a science to the choosing of the tree and when it is found there is much excitement!

Cpt. V channeling his inner-aborist.

Our Christmas tree is most gently strapped onto the 4WD before finding its way home to be decorated by three clever kids.

This year is not our turn to have the children and they went to spend their holiday time with their Mum on the weekend. The tree which they glammed up before they left is a glittering reminder of their wonderful energy and there are lots of lovely gifts beneath it waiting to be shared in the New Year!

Do you have a 'live' tree in your home or are you like my Mum who digs out the box of beautifully preserved plastic branches each year?

PS There was meant to be a final photo of the decorated tree, but my camera is having a mini-feud with my laptop and I can't upload it....yet!

PPS This post is being re-gifted for Friday's Fun here, enjoy!

07 December 2010

Two for Tuesday

A quick game for you to play today.
I have chosen two pieces of art by the talented artist, Rafal Oblinsky
What I would like you to do, is tell me in 30 words or less how they relate to your life at the moment.

Looking forward to reading your responses,

05 December 2010

My Oh My!

Unexpected Visitors

Are you the consummate hostess?
Does the idea of people just 'popping in' give you pleasure? Are unexpected visitors a delight?

For me the answer to each of these would have to be 'No', 'NO', and 'NO!'
It's not that I'm an anti-social person, rather that I'm a MUCH happier hostess if guests visit on my terms.

I like to have the house properly cleaned, flowers in vases, something baked, the guest bedroom and bathroom made up, you get the idea I'm sure. 

Yes, I'm a perfectionist and this is probably one of the least savoury elements of my personality.
This peccadillo has no doubt been reinforced over many decades of living a long, long way away from my family, who would have to make a considered effort to visit me involving at least one 'warning' telephone call before they departed.
This system would give me enough time to go into a stress-induced meltdown trying to clean my home to within an inch of its life and be a bit worn out before they arrived.

Now, I live on acreage 10 minutes from 'town' and the chances of someone just popping in for a cup of tea & a chat are highly unlikely which is just how I want it because I like to spoil my guests and have everything 'just so' when I entertain.  It is a rare day when someone knocks on my front door whom I haven't invited unless of course it's the septic or waste water man and that's a whole other story!

What do you think?  Are you like me, going into a tailspin if unexpected visitors suddenly appear on your doorstep?  Or are you the wonderful person I aspire to be, greeting all and sundry with open arms and ignoring the little dust-bunnies scurrying into corners to play hide-and-seek with the cobwebs?

Image unknown - if you know the source I would appreciate receiving the link.
PS: Have just received a tip from Chantal that the image could have been taken at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi - I've had a look at the site and in addition to thinking that she is totally on the money, have now found a new thing to add to my 'Bucket List'. Thanks Chantal!

03 December 2010

Fast+Fun Friday

Kids + School Holidays = Fun?

x Felicity

Looking for some real fun? Play along here.

02 December 2010

The Art of Living

Here we go on a new adventure!
From this day forth, Thursdays in my space are going to be focussed upon 'The Art of Living'.
These posts will have a decidedly personal flavour where I will share vignettes from my everyday life.
You will see snippets of my family and my home. This beautiful corner of the world in which I live will also feature and I will share some of my creativity too.
And so to begin....

Life in 3D

Here I am with my gorgeous man, Captain Valentine.  
We are sporting our very best 3D movie glasses and have just enjoyed a brilliant night of Retro fun with the kids [also wearing similar glasses*] rocking out to, of all things, Neil Diamond and Abba!

Let me just say at the outset, lest you get the wrong impression, that this wouldn't have been my first choice of music [honestly!] but the girls are really into 'Glee' and had recently 'discovered' old school tunes via the show. They were so excited that we had a huge selection of these songs and there was much dancing, loud singing and laughing. At one stage a dodgy brown wig made it's way onto the scene so Cpt. V briefly sported a more hirsute visage!

Captain V. has recently got a bit of teasing from one of his female work colleagues who had stopped by my blog and read my pseudonym for him.  He was pretty cool with it though as he really is a very thoughtful, romantic, understanding and generously wonderful man.**

We have been together for over three years now and he has brought much richness to my life, in fact you could say that I have gone from a world of 2D living to one that is multi-faceted and at the very least 3D!

One example of this is that prior to moving in with Cpt. V's family I was a single gal living in a beautiful beachside apartment with a busy vocational life, wide circle of friends and oodles of expendable leisure time.
In the past three years I have become a StepMum to three, moved into a stunning home on acreage and have traded my full-time job for a small educational consultancy.

Without the constant love, support, patience and guidance of my wonderful man this transition could have been horrendous. As it is there are still kinks to be ironed out but we are moving forward together and I am very happy to be sharing my life with this most remarkable man of integrity and light.

We are working our way through life together hand-in-hand and for this I am eternally grateful.

And that dear friend concludes the first 'The Art of Living' segment, I hope that you have enjoyed learning a little more about my life.

A hug from me to you,

*    art installation anyone?
**  written at the risk of him receiving more drubbing

01 December 2010

Word of the Week

Do you feel like your vocabulary could do with a little zhushing? Then this is the space for you!
Each week I will unearth a new word to play with.  
If you would like to join in, write a post incorporating this week's word, then come back and leave a comment with your link so that we can all read your work.
To make it easy for us to find your W.O.W word, incorporate the button into your post.  

Enjoy using your zhushed vocabulary!

[adj] unruly; uncontrollably exuberant; wildly boisterous; difficult to control

A mighty tanty on the floor,
The sausage it was unctuous.
Little Sally had grown horns,
Her behaviour was rambunctious.

{Image inspired no doubt by a regular mealtime 'battle'!}