As the long Summer evenings shortened into Autumn, finally tapering into dark winter nights, there was an opportunity to spend ten night's in one of Melbourne's richly historic and specialised gardens, learning about horticulture from stand out experts in their field.
As soon as one hears all about this course, its hard to "unhear" it. A fascination for three years filled with "maybe's" finally led to the opportunity to spend ten glorious golden evenings at Burnley, and I savoured every minute.
Where once a coastal town nicknamed " little piece of Cornwall" thrived and exported burnt lime to build houses in Melbourne, now lies a charming little cove with clear blue waters.
Walkerville South is a little crescent shaped piece of coast line that overlooks Wilsons Promontory, the most southernly tip of mainland Australia. There are but a few homes dotted along the cliffs and its peaceful waters are home to many seabirds, seals, and humpback whales that journey up and down the coast.
Such a small island is Ireland, after living in Australia, you can forget for a minute that it doesn't take too long before you can get anywhere really.
In Australia, walking from one town to another seems a crazy feat, but its quite possible in Co Wicklow, as you take the stunning scenic walk from Greystones Harbour in County Wicklow, along the cliff side up to Bray, which sits south of Dublin. It's a two hour, 7km walk, and on a fine day or evening, is magical!
Professional Gippsland photographer, Alison Landmeter, recently received two silver awards for her local newborn images and has now also qualified for the National Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) Awards to be held later in the year.
Oh with the bizarre return of "high summer" temperatures, and a really dry brown view of our hills to contend with (poor farmers), ice-cream making has returned to lift my spirits while in the kitchen (aircon firmly back on while cooking). When it's really hot and the long weekend seems even longer, nothing is better than indulging with a sundae that calls for a rich strawberry sauce.
It's simple, tried and tested (honestly more than a couple of times), and so delicious!
This week popular Irish band "The Corona's" played a one-off show in Sydney and announced dates for their upcoming Australian Tour in November 2018. As a Saint Patricks day celebration on the blog I revisited an article that I wrote in November 2017, when they last played at Melbourne's iconic Corner Hotel ...........
While spending a weekend recently in East Gippsland, to do something as mundane as getting the old jalopy serviced, we decided to head a further 16kms to Paynesville for the morning, only to find we had stumbled upon the "Paynesville Classic Boat Rally," completely by accident!
The rally, which only began in 2016, is a celebration of the boating history and lifestyle of the Gippsland Lakes. The town was buzzing with activity and onlookers, like ourselves, from the very early hours of the morning, right up to the boat parade at 11am, where all the local, vintage and hand built boats were paraded.
Where to take the biggest little bookworm I know in the world? To the oldest book and longest library in Dublin.
Even first thing in the morning, the line outside Trinity College in Dublin can be long (and drizzly), but thankfully there's a brilliantly placed coffee cart halfway down the line, where you can perk up and get your caffeine hit before you walk in.
The courtyard at Trinity is an experience in itself, with a beautiful kept lawn, buildings and small cobblestones to walk on, its entrance is memorable to say the least.
Like stepping back in time, its a hint of whats to come.
All the "Back to School" hype of the last couple of weeks led me back to the cookbooks and trolling the internet for some healthy style snacks for the lunch boxes. My youngest son tends to be a "grazer" so I figured some light bread style muffins filled with vegetables from the garden might be just what was needed.
As I only bake gluten free (due to my own coeliac disease, I do not need to be inhaling flour dust), I decided to give these ones a go to see how they would turn out. They came together really well and actually rose, which is rare when using gluten free flour, but I did notice that putting them in the patty papers is not effective as they stick to the side a little, and I have adjusted the recipe to reflect this.
This recipe is a great snack that can also be made using nut milks so it can be made vegan. I noticed my gluten free mayonnaise was also vegan.
Serving suggestion: They would also be nice served, cut in half with a spread on it, a little like a savoury scone.
My son loved them, a win for the lunchbox!
It's been a hot one today, the mercury hit 40 degrees (celsius), and after an intense amount of watering the outdoors everything, it was time to spend the day eating cold icy things.
Think "Baking Day" but all icy recipes!
As the dust settles after the flurry of present giving and incessant pavlova making, the turkey is (almost) all eaten, and it's finally time to sit down, we'll enjoy some quiet time here in the hills.
This has been such a popular article, we have re-publlished it again today as an excellent resource for planting your first sunflowers:
From one Sunflower two years ago, to now having a dedicated "Sunflower Patch", we completely understand the love affair one can have with the big bright yellow flower.
How can one not be happy when taking in the bright yellow leaves, all the different varieties and heights. Children of all ages adore them, chickens love the sunflower seeds, and even the dog likes to sit underneath them for shade.
Sunflowers are ideal for beginner gardeners, for a strong and tall flower, it needs little fuss. As its name suggest, a sunny spot is the main factor for its success with growth, and you can even grow them in pots inside if you live in a cool climate.
Undoubtably having $20 on you (or local currency equivalent) is commonsense while travelling, especially if you are on your own. Having $20 in a "just in case" fund or placed in a safe place on your body or tucked into the back of your wallet that you cannot touch for everyday purchases is certainly an unwritten "rule" for me.
The easiest cheesecake recipe you'll ever need, especially if you're in a hurry......
First published: Thursday 9th April, 2015
"Cloudehill" is a must-see for vegetable and ornamental gardeners alike. It has been created at the top of the Dandenongs where a maze of stone walls and garden rooms are set within woodlands of magnificent and historic call climate trees.
The plantings orginated in the 1920's when then owner Jim Woolrich began planting shrubs, trees, and bulbs for the cut flower market. This market garden thrived all the way through to the 1960's, then after a 20 year rest, Jeremy Francis bought the garden and began creating "Cloudehill" in 1992.
No matter what season you visit, there is something new to discover. Its design derived from Italian renaissance gardens, english craft gardens and contemporary meadow gardens. The property also now includes "Seasons" Restaurant providing fresh and local ingredients, some from the exceptional heirloom vegetable garden being grown at the rear.
Jeremy Francis and the Diggers Club have worked together to launch a new garden shop on the property so that Cloudehill can provide the Diggers wonderful seeds from heirloom varieties and as a gardening hub for ideas, plants and education.
We visited Cloudehill's Autumn Festival, when the garden was at its very peak. There was gardening workshops, passata making, and "little diggers" activities for the kids. My favourite part was the Heirloom Tomato Tasting. I have trailed many of the diggers tomatoes myself in my own garden and thought i had tasted all the best ones, but by far the standout best eating tomato (in my opinion) was one that i had never tried! It is called "COSTOLUTO GENOVESE", which is one of the oldest tomatoes derived from Pomo Doro Rosso Grosso. It was the sweetest tomato! So thats something added to my list for next summer.
A beautiful day walking the grounds, pots painted and sowed with heirloom lettuces for the kids, and a new variety of tomato to trial in the coming summer. It was a great day all round.
Diggers Shop : www.diggers.com.au
Seasons Restaurant : www.seasonsatcloudehill.com.au
Address: 89 Olinda-Monbulk Rd, Olinda Victoria, 3788 (closed Good Friday and 24-26 December only)
Have you been to Cloudehill? Tell us about it below in the comments:
Located on the southern tip of the Victorian Alps is the special little village of Walhalla. Its high up in the coolness of the mountains, and has a variety of scenic nature and village walks, some that take you high over the township.
Tasmania is a state that has much to offer visitors in the winter time. With vast world heritage listed forests it provides a wonderful escape for the nature lover. While visiting for a 10 day tour of the whole of the state, we found Tahune Airwalk, which is one of the most visited tourist attractions.
This year we are having a late season on all counts, with all our summer vegetables in the garden. I love to have a pantry full of bottles and jars for the winter, so I can literally open a jar of "sunshine" on a Winter's day and taste the garden.
This year I looked at my usual pickles recipe and decided to add to it and change it up a bit and added a few of my favourite flavours. For example instead of plain old vinegar, why not a full flavoured apple cider vinegar?
What is a Piccililli? It is a pickle of chopped vegetables, mustard, and hot spices, which is essentially what is in this recipe.
I can tell you the end result was so delicious and the kitchen was filled with these great smells of warm vinegar and spices.
Worldwide spike in social media user activity on Mondays.
(*hootsuite research stats)
Planning and Presence
Schedule posts Monday to Monday, then be present online on Mondays to interact, while you plan and schedule all your posts.
Use the day to research and add followers, interact and acknowledge new fans.