Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Lost and Found

World weary, yet wise, from a life long lived.
Sporting threadbare patches from years of cradling hugs and comforting strokes when woken from bad dreams in the middle of the night.
Ears, tattered and torn, have kept many secrets whispered into them.
Silent tears absorbed by his now faded fur.
Worn seams, carefully stitched so as not to lose his fortitude… and his stuffing.
That knowing look - still there, long after the shiny twinkle has gone from his old boot button eyes.

Outgrown. Abandoned. A childhood relic, relegated to memory.
Consigned to an old hat box, placed within a wooden chest and stored in a cobwebbed corner.
Waiting. In the dark.
To one day be brought out into the light - and into the arms of another.
Touching the heart of the inner child.

Friends forever.


Introducing 'Hugo' ~ my latest creation.

More on his charming self, and others, coming up...

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Thinking of Paris

Shockingly sad news.
Our hearts go out to the victims and their loved ones.
Sending energies of healing and strength in this time of deep, dark sorrow.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

For all...

...who lost their lives.
On all sides.
In all wars.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Hope, Charity... and chocolate

This post, following on from our Alowyn Gardens visit, is a little later than promised, I’m sorry.  Christmas market season is upon me once again, and I’m swamped :)

I’m not ashamed to say that, one of my favourite films is Chocolat.

I mean, tantalising images of fine couverture chocolate and a charming French village, a wonderful cast including beautiful Binoche (in those red heels!), delightful Dench, marvellous Molina, cute Caron and generous doses of a pony-tailed, gypsy style Johnny Depp…. what’s not to like?
And if it’s just me, well, let’s just leave it at that.

Chocolate has been my weakness for as long as I can remember ~ and that’s a looong time ;)
So, seeing as we were literally next door at the gardens, we thought, why not drop in to the Yarra Valley Chocolate Factory afterwards?
But then, who really needs an excuse, right?  Anytime is chocolate time.

When we turned in the driveway and parked the car, we noticed something quite unusual – a kaleidoscope of giant jumping kangaroos in all colours of the rainbow bounding on the grassy banks, with the magnificent Yarra Valley as a back drop.

What a view for a roo or two!

Investigating further, we found that this outdoor sculptural display was called, hopforhope, a collaborative art exhibition raising funds to keep children safe from violence and bullying.  A cause that’s close to my heart.

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation has, to date, supported 1.5 million children and their families impacted by violence.  More information can be found here

The incredible, larger than life sized, kangaroos were painted/decorated by Australian artists and identities – one of them, a beautiful young lady aged eight years old, and already, an inspirational artist! 

Each roo will be auctioned off to the public and the funds will go to the Foundation. 

Winning bidders get to take their chosen roo home.
Imagine having one placed among tall grasses in an Australian native garden.

Quite a statement and conversation piece it would make.

 We marvelled at the many multi-coloured marsupials.

Look closely, and you can see a wee joey between the silvered arms of this beauty.

The public can vote for their favourite by dropping a gold coin donation in a box representing each roo.

This one below, painted by Michael Leunig, was very popular.

Leunig is an iconic Aussie cartoonist, writer, painter, philosopher, poet and cultural commentator, whose simple yet clever illustrations have captured many hearts and minds for over forty years.

After some deliberation, I found myself being drawn back time and again to this one.


Named, ‘Steampunkdaroo’, it was created by clever Melbourne artist, Joe Blanck.

This stunning rustic roo comes complete with its own “working” gauges and barometers.
If I won Lotto, it would have been my choice to bid on.
A unique sculpture, supporting a worthy cause, and installed in a natural garden setting.  Sigh, one can dream…

All that “serious” contemplation made us hungry, so we headed up to the Chocolaterie. 


Therein was a wonderland of temptation to suit all tastes.

The range was impressive – over 250 quality, luscious products!
White chocolate. Dark chocolate. Milk chocolate.
Plain or mixed with fruit or nuts, sourced from their own organic gardens.

Truffles and sauces and pralines, oh my! 


Through the large viewing windows, you can watch chocolatiers at work.

Not quite Oompa-Loompas, but experts nevertheless. I think Mr Wonka would be very pleased :)

As it was a hot day, any chocolate would have melted in the car on the way home, so we opted for a scoop of icecream.
There was a delicious array of choices. From rich, velvety, creamy concoctions to gorgeous dairy-free gelatos.

 Heaven in a cone...


So ended a wonderful day where all of our senses were treated and sated.

Next post – another trip down memory lane...

Monday, 26 October 2015

Celebrate Spring!

Returning to the present for now, yet sticking with the garden theme…

On Saturday, hubby and I headed out for a drive to the stunning Yarra Valley.
It was a pretty, softly sunny spring day – just perfect for a garden visit.

Turning into a driveway lined enticingly with gloriously red, red roses, we arrived at Alowyn Gardens – which consists of 7 acres of mixed formal and informal areas.
Within this green and floriferous haven, there are approximately 500 trees, vast organic vegetable gardens that include luscious berries, fruit trees and herbs, a nursery where one can ponder upon plant purchases, and a charming courtyard café.

The star of the garden every spring is the Japanese Wisteria arbour.

Stretching to the garden's centre, and continuing on past, it is one of Australia’s largest wisteria walks, and boasts a truly glorious display. Sadly we weren’t able to get there in time this year, but we marvelled at the deep emerald green shade the arch provides.
Hopefully next year, we’ll return when it is in its fully glory and while away time under the pendulous purple racemes – the longest has been recorded at 1.6 metres!

Since the garden’s beginnings, there has been a strong emphasis on recycling, with most of the materials gained from local sources. An intense composting system enriches the soil. All water run off is collected and returned back to the plants, and solar powered pumps run the fountains and water features.

So now, come with me as we amble through these lovely gardens, taking our time to stop and smell the many, many roses in their first flush, while I get my rose fix...

Even though romantic "old world" Pierre de Ronsard has only the subtlest of scent - and can "ball" badly after rain - he still finds a place in our hearts.

The tiered fountain is the central focal point of the garden, and many vistas lead the eye back to it.

Gates beckon us beyond them.

Meander through the beautiful birch forest.

Wander past mysterious mini monolithic meeting places.

And visit an old replica miner’s cabin, which is now home to birds of all kinds.

Happen upon cool shaded nooks that welcome weary travellers.

Watch hoverflies and bees busy themselves among bountiful blooms.

Subtle sculptural features are dotted throughout.

This is made from discarded horse shoes.

Irresistible iris flank a long pond.

Pretty parterres and productive potagers.

So many tempting paths.

 Which way now?

Rest awhile by the wetlands, and listen to the songs of the many birds who call this magical place, home.

Take a moment to appreciate the waterlilies on a small lake.

Chairs welcome the guests of a happy couple.  It’s a nice day for a white wedding…


Stop, once more, to smell the roses.

Enter the charmingly rustic, maple lined courtyard café.

 So pretty

Reminders of days gone by.

Oh my gourd!

After a coffee, saunter through the small but neat nursery.

And finally, once more outside, look up the hill...

... for a sneak peek to where we head next - which will be a unique, colourful feast for the eyes... and tummy.   To be covered in my next post, in a few days.

But for now, we leave here happy and inspired.