New beginnings…


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Today I realised that I am now in my 5th year of writing this blog and in fact this very post is my 100th, yes 100th blog post!  When I began this little story all those years ago I did not know then how much I would come to love writing.  It all began with a new direction, a new yearning for a different life and at the time it was important to me to journal it and put down all my thoughts and feelings as each new chapter was written into our lives as I knew that this transition from city to country was going to be the making of us, it was going to take us from just being to really living our life on our terms and with a purpose.

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Writing this story has been  very therapeutic and relaxing  for me to do and it also stretches a little creative side of mine which does not get used in my normal working life.  As I look back to where it all began, each year that has gone by I have grown somewhat, in my thoughts, habits and philosophy of life.  The very idea of moving down by the sea was to slow down, relax more and spend more time doing the things we love.  I think as each year has gone by we have grown into this new lifestyle with more passion about where we want it to go.  For me, I am spending more of my free time learning how to grow vegetables and designing and planting a cottage garden. Someone told me last year that when children leave home, that’s when mums start planting a garden.

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I have found that the process of getting older is a whole lot of little things, such as letting go of what no longer serves, uncluttering your life, removing yourself from toxic people,saying no to things you really don’t want to be doing and being more true to yourself, or even finding yourself (or at least finding out what it is that you like to do and who with)

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So, lets do more of this shall we?

I am happy to keep on writing for as long as I get the inspiration to do so, there is always more growth, more learning and more understanding of this life we are living and every few weeks or so, I know I will still get the urge to put it all down into words 🙂

2017 in numerology terms is a number 1 year, meaning ‘A year for New Beginnings‘- its certainly turning out that way for us already.  Last week our son moved back to the city to find his way in a new career so that means a new beginning not only for him but for us too as this is the first year since before we were married that my husband and I have been living together without kids.

I am calling this new phase ‘Life after kids‘. Its only been a week by ourselves but yes, its a totally different vibe, we are not just Mum and Dad, but back to being ourselves with a lot of time on our hands which we intend to fill with planning, painting, gardening & renovating, as well as outings where we don’t have to come home or cook tea if we don’t feel like it and we are hopping on a  cruise in a few months time.  Mmmm, life has just got a little more interesting…

So, in this special 100th post about new beginnings I want to remind you to try some new things, visit some new places this year or perhaps do something new you never thought you would do like our cruise holiday, you just never know where ‘new beginnings‘ may take you or provide solace or a new perspective, just like this little blog has done for me all those years ago when mybeachretreat began…

So go on…

start planning,

you have a whole new year ahead of you…

make it a fabulous one!! 🙂

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Bring on the calm for 2017…


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I started on my bedroom today, the perfect place to rid my life of clutter I no longer need. Uncluttering is a process which if done properly creates more freedom and space in our living areas and minds, some can do it all at once but others need to do it slowly.

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I have slowly been getting rid of ‘stuff’ from our old life for a few years now but am going to ramp it up a bit this year. Today I was ruthless, out of my wardrobe I took anything I have not worn in the past 18 months given that our seasons have been a bit up and down lately, I kept the really warm coat along with the less warmer but still much needed coat. That third coat, it went.  If you still really want to treat yourself to the newest season coat next winter, knock yourself out but don’t hang it up with the other two, you seriously cannot wear three coats at once, give one away.  I used this philosophy with everything else as well, jeans, pants and yes even shoes, OMG I can hear some women scream – you mean I really don’t need 30 pairs of shoes?

Actually I must admit I have never had that many, I usually have 3 or 4 pairs for 2 seasons, hot weather and cold weather- with me its either no socks or socks end of story. The same with handbags, the most I have owned is 3 at a time and even then one is just for when I go to markets and just need to throw it over me for ease of carrying other things.  I really cannot be bothered with changing bags each day, I have too many things I like to carry with me, oils and deodorants a water bottle, plus headache tablets & tissues as well as pens and paper you never know when you might need them, sometimes a book, ipod or my kindle and of course my wallet and phone (the essentials lol).  With all that in my daily commuting bag who could possibly be bothered changing it all each day? I have often thought of uncluttering my bag and actually this is the uncluttered version but cannot get it down to anything less on a weekday.  On weekends the book, ipod or kindle comes out (they are just for my lunch breaks)…mmm…perhaps I need another post on what we girls carry in our handbags 🙂

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Its our very last week with an adult child in the home so I am using this transition to look at all the stuff we have carted from one house to another through our army postings and children become adults to our final resting place at mybeachretreat. Its time to empty those kitchen drawers full of kitchen utensils I have duplicates of and the numerous casserole dishes I have stacked in cupboards and hand a few second hands over to Matt as he walks out the door on Saturday

Then over the next few months, I intend to really clean up around here, time to empty sheds full of boxes of old reminders of what we were doing years ago, really?  Does it matter what I was doing in 1998?  I don’t even remember how old I was unless I work it out. I’m calling it ‘my Empty Nest Springclean Year’ as our son heads off to find his own balance its a great opportunity to really sort out just what we need in this place, just Bill and I, not holding on to things for the kids in case they might want them one day…

I have realised along this journey that less is definately more, without so much mess to tidy up, your space keeps clean for longer.  Now that we will be adult child free, its just the two of us, I plan to systematically go through every cupboard and drawer of this house and if its not something either my hubby or I use on a regular basis then its going. For all other thing we use once a year, such as the Christmas tree I just put away, can go out into a shed to be stored.  Anything out in that shed which has not seen the light of day for over 12 months means I do not need it and someone else just might.

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Have a peak at this quick little video I am sure a lot of us can relate to:


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So off I went to my local Red Cross depot and handed them 3 bags of clothes which were just filling up my cupboard and not being worn. Then I came home and opened my email only to think to myself, ‘now there is a place I can really declutter‘.  Emails, how many of these do we get each day?  How many of these are we not even opening, you know the ones, that we have mindlessly subscribed to while surfing the net just to get more information and they need your email to bombard you with further advice, request, ideas or worse money. Well I unsubscribed to nearly all of them. My criteria for the ones I kept were to do with things I will be doing in my future or information I need in the near future. I can always go back to a website and subscribe again  if I think I am really missing something.

For anyone else who is interested in this exercise to unclutter their day with less bombarding of emails, here’s a few great websites with tips on how and where to begin:

Simple and Easy:

For the Tech Savy:

So with a light wardrobe and less choices, kitchen drawers with only utensils I use and thousands of unopened emails out of my life, I can see that 2017 is going to feel light and free and give me more time to spend on things which make me happy such as my new gardening hobby and beginning to plan my big trip for next year – ahhh, cant believe its actually next year now!!

The last little practice my hubby and I plan to do this year is turn off our computers and phones at least an hour before bed, plug the phones into the kitchen to charge not the bedroom and hopefully have better nights sleep this year with less white light blue screen stimuli and I can get back to some of my books…

I am intending this year

to be a whole lot calmer…

how about you?

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A new year with new beginnnings…

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Its funny life,

sometimes you just think that nothing is changing

then all of a sudden,

everything changes.

For those who have been following our journey, leaving Melbourne and setting up a new home on the Bellarine Peninsula you may recall we headed down here with the thoughts of pre-retirement even though that seemed like a blimp in the far distance, it was a very real destination I knew one day we would be discussing seriously.

So as we made plans to settle down here 4 years ago, we left one adult child in Melbourne who was ready to spread her wings while the other was unable to leave due to health challenges which then began the long search of leaving no stone unturned to find answers to improving Matt’s health.  To date, we have not found all the answers and some things will be an ongoing maintenance for life but Matt has definitely improved dramatically since we first came down here to the point where he is about to fly the coop himself in the next few weeks and start living the life he was meant to live.

I give enormous credit here to Matt who never gave up on searching for anything which could help make his life easier, pouring over forums and speaking with others who suffered the same eye issues as he did, trying numerous online help on fatigue and chronic illnesses and tried anything and everything which may have been the answer to the problems which persisted.

To say I have been fortunate to spend the last 4 years living with Matt is an understatement.  As much as I know I have helped him, he has been such a support to me too in times of doubt through me struggling with a new job and challenges I did not see coming in the first year of working down here.  He has always had my back as I have had his. Our Matt is a lot like his grandfather, quiet, unassuming and witty as hell.  He has made me laugh probably every day he has been here and to me, he is more than my son, I also regard him as one of my best friends.

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Its funny how life works, Matt was not particularly happy that he had to follow us down here – he used to call this little place ‘a hick town’ meaning it was behind the times and old fashioned, but that is what we loved about it and I knew that he would struggle for a while until he got used to it and for a while he did but without better health he was unable to move on so I used to say, that it wouldn’t always be this way, and even if he couldn’t see it, one day will come where he can walk out of here and go and design the life he wanted..

Having said that, as he was recovering from Chronic Fatigue, various eye diseases and a myriad of other issues which comes from being isolated, this little haven gave him opportunity to take care of his little niece and nephew often and watch them grow from pre-school to young children which has now forged a strong lifetime bond between the three of them, so much so it serendipitously provided him with the insight of his new career choice, childcare, which I know will be a fabulous fit for him. It was hard to watch Matt as he struggled with ill health for years to imagine we would get to this point but I kept reminding him that I was sure it was for a reason…a reason we could not see at the time…

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During the first year we were down here when Matt was at such a low point in his life. We had been door knocking on so many doctors doors who just were not helping us at all and searching for answers we needed to help get Matt’s health better.  Around that time Matt wrote a piece for my blog, which you can read here called ‘Don’t forget me’ and it told the story of a scared young twenty something who had his whole life in front of him when he was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and as his friends at the time went on to live their lives, all Matt could do was watch from a distance and couldn’t see how his life was going to begin as the health issues were so debilitating and kept him from dreaming that his life could be just like everyone else’s.  But over the past 4 years I have watched Matt step up and hang on to every bit of little energy he had and each week he got up and traveled the 3 hours to  Melbourne to keep his part time job of 12 hours a week to turn around and do the return trip back home and collapse for days on end only to do it all again the next week.

Many others reading this who have any kind of health challenge knows that with those initial challenges giving no end in sight brings a whole new set of challenges such as depression and anxiety. Many times I could see that Matt almost couldn’t bare taking that trip to work some weeks, but I stood firm in his keeping the one contact point to the outside world so he could be with other people as the rest of his days were isolated with both Bill and I at work each day and I was so proud that he listened to me and kept putting one foot in front of the other and never gave up in trying to find help or answers to make his life less exhausting.

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After much research I worked out that Matt’s immune system had been compromised due to having glandular fever as a teen which then developed into Chronic Fatigue and as we couldn’t get any answers from mainstream medicals we began with the help of some local naturapaths and online professionals help to change what we were eating  regularly and began looking for more fresh foods and less processed foods, and slowly, very slowly we began to see Matt’s health improving to the point that he can now think of a life on his own, working in a job he will love and living life on his terms.

Well that time has finally arrived Matt and you may think its come around quickly but everything you have been doing for the past 4 years has been leading to this and I am so damn proud of you for taking this next step and only wish you the most incredible success in your chosen path.  Life is about to open up for you buddy, go and grab it with both hands!!

I used to say to Matt, this is happening for a reason, we just cannot see it right now but you have come down here to live with us to move in a different direction to the one you were on. I too have changed considerably through this journey, learning more about our medical system and how you need to push to get anywhere or don’t put up with some of the attitudes out there and use your instincts to know when to walk away and try another door.  I have also learnt a lot about mental health and illnesses you cannot always see which has given me great appreciation for all those who suffer silently with many who just don’t want to understand their plight.

I remember sitting in a doctors office one afternoon with Matt, explaining to this doctor that my son at 23 did not have a normal life due to being housebound only to be told that “he looked ok”. Sadly this was not an isolated incident.  Through the years, I researched about what we put into our bodies which lowered our immunity and let dis ease in and what we needed to do to be performing at our optimal best. This has led me to my ongoing interest in toxic free products, eating and growing organic foods and allowing less processed foods into our lives.  I know that without the journey we have been on, I may have not got so involved in my growing interest that I now have and am so pleased I want to know more. I have seen first hand through trial and error that Matt has learned what his body needs to work better and am proud that we have done that together and I believe it has established a great base for him to live a fuller life.

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So, this  New Years Eve is particularly special for us as its likely to be the last NYE spent with Matt as he heads off in a couple of weeks to see what life has in store for him so I am dedicating this one to my son as a celebration of where he has been and where he is going. Its been a long road to recovery and with the help of some very special people he will now be able to take the steps he needs to see what life has in store for him…and I for one cannot wait to see just how it all turns out…it also means a very different time is about to begin for Bill and I as it will be the first time we will be without any children living with us after 27 years!  I love new beginnings – it creates new opportunities to do things differently, change things up a bit, clear out oldness and create new ways together, so I am looking forward to that 🙂

And for each and every one of you who read my blog, and have continued again throughout this year – I am honoured that you have stayed with me and even though I may not know you all, I regard you as friends as you travel this journey with me so I wish you all the most special new year with many great opportunities which may come your way.

If you can take a chance, take it,

if something good comes your way, be grateful

and I hope that your 2017 be filled

with love and laughter.

And for my only son I love you with all my heart and am so very proud of you always and will miss you more than you will ever know but cannot wait to see how your new life will develop xx

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From our family to yours…


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Well, here we are in full blown Christmas mode for another year. For some reason I feel Christmas has come early this year and haven’t quite felt prepared for it but have spent the last two weekends getting into the spirit.

And today I was thinking about

What I love about Christmas…

Over the past few years and since I have been able to buy a few lovely decorations for my tree, I am loving the beautiful Christmas decorations you can now find. Gorgeous ornaments to place on your tree, glass baubles, whimsical and beautiful decorations you can find almost anywhere now, but particularly those in home ware stores or my favorite boutique stores.  Each year I am beginning to buy a special ornament so that eventually, I will have a lovely collection to pull out each Christmas. This year I found the most beautiful snow globe with a Santa inside giving presents to a child.  It was a reproduction of an ornament from old and looks just like it came out of the 1950’s

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I love beautifully set dinner tables at Christmas time.  My mum used to bring out her good silverware and silver candlesticks to lay on the Christmas table each year. As a young girl it was my job to polish all that silver which I did so patiently as I knew they were Mum’s pride and joy.  On Christmas Eve, she would let me unlock the crystal cabinet and carefully help her bring all her beautiful plates, white with gold trim and her crystal bowls which she would fill with nuts and lollies of all colours.  Dad would have his old records playing over and over while this very important activity was going on, getting ready for the next two days, Christmas Eve festivities with Mums side fo the family, then Christmas lunch with the eight of us, then boxing Day was when Grandma visited and we had another big lunch.

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and I love spending time with my family at Christmas…

So much has changed since those days..  now that my own children have grown and we have moved away, we need to make our own traditions and we are slowly working out what suits everyone.  I had moved down to mybeachretreat thinking and imagining Christmas here each year with everybody but the reality is, life is busy and full of commitments and when your children partner up, its more than likely that you have to share or create new traditions which work for everyone.

Last weekend Bill and I, our children and grandchildren all had a Christmas lunch together as on Christmas day the Grandchildren will be with their dad and Mel with her partners family so we have decided each year to do this a few weeks before the madness of Christmas is upon us and we had a beautiful day with Mel preparing her first Christmas lunch for us all and did a superb job.

Today my siblings and I gathered at a restaurant along with aunts and uncles, cousins and nieces and shared a lovely meal together.  As we all lead busy lives and all live far from each other its a very special lunch which we all treasure and value and if we all still lived in Melbourne it would be easier to meet up more but the reality of living in separate towns means that our catchups are not as often as we would like.

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With these two lunches complete, I can now begin to relax and know that after next week I get to stay at home which is what I love doing on Christmas day now since we have moved near the sea.  We open our doors to anyone in our family who wants to come down and appreciate the travel is not for everyone but are grateful to those who do make it down to share a meal with us and make it a special day.  I am looking forward to this and then being able to put my feet up for the two weeks afterwards before we begin another year.

I’m also looking forward to another new tradition we are making on Christmas Eve spending it with Bre and our Grandchildren and watching Carols by Candelight together.

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So, as this next week begins with the hurrying of late night shopping for some, carols by candlelight, wrapping up those gifts and placing them under the tree.  For all those with little ones feeling the excitement with them, putting out milk and cookies for Santa, enjoy your week and enjoy your family and festivities. I’m leaving you with my favorite Christmas Carol which always reminds me of Dad singing each Christmas Eve and each year I hear it, it always reminds me of my childhood and where I learnt what Christmas is all about.

So from our family

to yours,

have yourselves


Very Merry Christmas…


Oh Holy Night Josh Groban

November already?…


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Wow, another year nearly closing as the end of November draws near. What happened to 2016 as it flew right past us! The familiar vibe of Christmas is beginning to take shape once again and in a little over 6 weeks we will be saying farewell to another year on this earth.

Usually I would have ticked off a list of goals I wanted to achieve but as I look back on this past year I realise that I actually did slow down a lot this year. I feel this year that I didn’t rush, but sorted through a lot of things as they arose calmly while letting go of what no longer served us and that lesson gave me the clear insight of how I want to live the rest of my life…

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From that perspective, I feel that I have been more settled this year, both at work and at home.  Now 20 months into my new job, my work life has settled down enough for it not to be a day to day stress of newness,  but also now I can focus on working out what it is I really want to be doing and even if that means making a few more changes for the better, I feel confident in doing so. But generally I am enjoying the contentment we are feeling right now. Both Bill and I are noticing how familiar and easy our commutes to and from work are now and as we drive around our beautiful little community it no longer feels new, in fact it definitely feels like ‘home.

So, what did go well this year?  I know my health has improved. In fact, both mine and my husbands health have improved after his diagnosis of having had a stroke shocked us into changing our diets and begin a lifelong  journey of learning about real food. My thirst for finding good nutritional food is now a growing passion.  There is still room for improvement but we are on the right path, trying to buy local fruit and veggies and avoid less processed foods. I am absolutely loving this new path and definitely feeling the benefits. We have learnt the important lesson of the big food industries who are hell bent on hiding chemicals, carcinogens and preservatives in our foods creating illness across the globe and not blinking an eyelid. Learning about this deception has been an eyeopener and one I will continue to research and share as my passion for eating real food becomes my new way of life.  Our only way forward to protecting  our own health and the health of our children is to shop organically, buy home grown or better still as I am doing, learn to grow your own.

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I have recently found a fabulous Australian company who sources only natural & certified organic hair, beauty & healthy living products. I am one of their newest fans.  You can find them here if you are interested in taking care of your skin and health and want to reduce the chemicals entering your body. (I can swear by their deodorant, totally natural and totally amazing!)

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I have had a few bouts of vertigo this year which was a new health challenge for me.  It seems to affect me when I am feeling stressed and my shoulder and neck muscles are super tight so its been a challenge to keep this at bay but as I am learning to take better care of myself I try to notice when my body is tightening up and stretch it out before it becomes chronic which then leads to the vertigo. This is not always easy to do when weeks are busy, however,  I think this now needs to be an ongoing management promise I must make sure I keep.  I am learning to get up from my desk at work more regularly when I have been sitting too long and go out and stretch, even a couple of minutes a couple of times a day is making a difference and walking a bit more, walking is so important, particularly for those of us who sit all day long. I already know what I want to focus more on next year, gratefulness and time for me, to ensure that I do keep stresses away and take the time to meditate, breathe and have some quiet time among the rush of our modern lives.

As I get older,

I am learning,

there is much value in quiet time

each day…

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Its also time to regenerate a new habit to take into next year or maybe its a habit I had let go of recently as doubt or worry crept in.  I have been accused a few times in my life of being ‘too cheery‘ or’too positive‘, and even though I normally laugh it off as I know its the only way forward, its hard not to get caught up in some of the negativity which infiltrates our lives on a daily basis. I have at times, particularly at work, doubted my abilities and fed into the negativity which makes you doubt yourself and give your power away, so its time to restock what I am filling my mind with and make sure I am creating a prosperous year ahead for us, one of love, abundance, joy, appreciation and laughter, for these feelings are the only ones which will propel your life forward…

Shutting out the noise…


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I am learning to weave contentment

into my life



some new habits…

In this harrowed hurried life we now live, I feel that I have forgotten how to truly connect with my inner being.  During the week I feel I am always running, racing out of bed to that alarm going off every morning, jumping straight into the shower without even 5 minutes to think about the day ahead, quickly applying my makeup while sipping my hot tea or just throwing something quick like yoghurt and chia seeds in a bowl with a cuppa before racing out the door to drive to work, race inside and be sitting at my desk by 8.30am only to race back home again when its all finished, 5 days a week. Its no wonder when the weekend arrives we are frazzled and exhausted.

Don’t get me wrong, 2 years ago I was tortuously commuting 2.5 hours a day each way to a far more stressful job and life so where I sit now is a hell of a lot better but still not quite flowing how I would like it to flow…there is always room for improvement in our lives and it begins with making small changes. I want to begin practicing these new changes and be more mindful in my mornings and evenings…

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I was watching Super Soul Sunday today, a favourite cable show of mine while having a little ‘time out’ I always take a little bit of wisdom away with me from watching this show – and today’s episode saw Oprah speaking with Arianna Huffington,  who you may know as the international founder and creator of ‘The Huffington Post.” Arianna explains that being so successful comes at a price which she writes about in her two latest books “Thrive‘ and “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming your life one night at a time”. In these books (you can read about both here) the author speaks of the price of success and the importance of redefining this within our society so that we are all not striving for an impossible lifestyle which we cannot maintain without losing ourselves. The Sleep Revolution teaches us the value of how important regular sleep is for our bodies to regenerate and heal as well as encouraging us to ‘unplug‘ occasionally in this high tech world we now live in.

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One of the tips Arianna shares of which I really want to take on board is that at some point in the evening,  select a cut off time when its time to turn off computers/laptops and phones to stop that insistent chatter in our heads and instead use the last 2 hours of your day reading, journalling or some other quiet activity and creating a little ritual to unwind before bed instead of having screens and information blaring at us right up to the point of hopping into bed.  I am quite sure that what is on there can wait another day for my attention.  Parents with school age children are most likely doing this already as a family however when you live in an adult family like I do, its much harder to be self disciplined as nobody but yourself is feeling the detrimental effects of this 24/7 tech world at our fingertips. Because everything is now so conveniently on our smartphones, it feels like they have become an added extension to our bodies.

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Its hard to believe that not that long ago I would grab a book to sit and read for hours and probably finish one each week or took time out to watch a movie, now it seems we don’t have time as we are just attached to these little mobile things as if life will pass us by if we are not checking them constantly and by the time I have finished an 8 hour day at the office plus more screen time of a night, I have looked at screens far more than I need to 😦 Admittedly my blogging is also another hobby which happens to be on a screen however with this practice, I am unloading my mind and thoughts, like journalling, just not on paper…

Body, you have my attention…

This week I suffered quite a bad attack of vertigo (the third this year) which left me feeling very uneasy within myself thinking, this is just not going away as its been on and off all year and I really need to make some changes as I do not wish to permanently have to suffer with it. So as I was being tortured at my local massage centre yesterday – only because my body had tightened up so much to release all the knots it really hurt, and made me realise that what I was doing each day is not helping my body. The way I sit all day and the way I hold my stress in my neck and back muscles needs to be released and only I can do this with regular stretching, walking, heat bags, yoga and taking better care of myself.

So, my new habit begins in about half an hour, it might take me a while to undo some of the bad habits I have formed since we all hopped on board this tech train, and even though I am not one to update to the latest phone or gizmo out there, I do spend a lot of time researching my interests online and just doing ‘stuff’ on my laptop and I use my phone far too much to check Facebook or Instagram, so I will let you know how it goes and if it actually does make a difference in my life. Perhaps by being more mindful at night, this will create a more restful sleep which will enable me to get up earlier to alleviate the rushed feeling of a morning.

Refresh your brain by stepping back and taking a moment for yourself.:

There has been much written lately on the damage that too much screen time is harming our health.  If this topic interests you, you might like to read the article below on how technology is affecting our health:

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 My vertigo symptoms are telling me I need to change something, and it all starts with little changes…so I am committing to working on this new habit. While I am computer and phone free the last hour or two before bed I can be using this time to relax, unwind, and stretch out any stresses, take a hot shower, or take the time to be grateful and think of how my new day will be like as I learn how to totally unwind at the end of each day…

Relax as day ends quote via Peace of the Beach on Facebook at

Finding joy in the ordinary…


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What makes each of us ‘Happy’?

And why cant we feel like this all the time?

I recently watched an Oprah Soul Sunday on Happiness as she chatted with Shawn Achor, a Harvard trained researcher and best selling author of Before Happiness and The Happiness Advantage.  Shawn tells us that happiness is a choice and this is what I have found to be true, that its up to us to choose happiness and joy everyday we step out into the world, which will determine how our days pan out. This is not to say that bad or upsetting things will not reach us, they still will however it is up to us how we choose to react to certain things we choose how our day will turn.

Many of us get up each morning and think our days are whatever ‘fate’ has in store for us but I have come to realise over the past decade or so that our thoughts are what create our days, our weeks and our lives.  We determine each and every day what comes into our space by what we think about all day long, and the longer you hold a thought, good or bad, the more likely it is that you are manifesting it towards you. Even when some days are not going so great or you are in a space in time just waiting for the tide to turn or perhaps in a job you really have no passion about, try to find something each day to keep you smiling. For me its my pictures on my walls at work of the places I will go when the time is right for me to fulfill those dreams, until then, they keep me focused on my dreams and keep them alive amongst an ordinary day.

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As this year is nearing its last third, I am sensing a calmer me where I am beginning to tie up all loose ends, unclutter my life just a little bit more and having decided just this week that no, I really don’t need that degree to make me or anyone else happy in my life, I feel like a huge weight has lifted from me.

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I have been sitting thinking a lot recently about what really makes me happy at this stage of my life and its truly just the simple things like spending time out and about with my hubby and together dreaming of what we want to do to our home, picking out paint colours and planning what to do next, working on my plans to travel, just hanging around at home, spending time with my books, making time for myself to develop more spiritually by making time for meditation or just regular quiet time where I can hear my thoughts without constant chatter of what I think I need to be doing. Anywhere I find harmony and peace, that’s where my happy place is found.

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My job now, is to find my ‘happy place’ more often than not by retreating each day just for 20 – 30 minutes into a silent world where I can be grateful for all the experiences, all the people in my life and remember all the love I can offer others for that is where my joy lies, not in climbing any career ladder or striving to be or have more, just finding beautiful experiences in my life and finding joy in the ordinary of day to day living…


Listen to the nudges…


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One thing I have learned in life is to ‘go with the flow’ and as long as you consistently keep your vibes up, then life will show you the way and open doors where you thought they might be closing…

I have had in my mind a particular image of my upcoming trip in 2018 always imagining myself travelling in June when the lavender is in full bloom in Southern France, however recently we have been forced to shift our goals around a little which means my travel in June has to be pushed back and I need to wait just a few more months to September/October for me to be able to take this long awaited trip.

Something told me it was time for us to see a financial adviser just to see where we were sitting currently so off we went last week and spoke of many issues but the main discussion was on Bill and his retirement plans in the next 5-10 years.  Its a bit scary when you get to a stage in your life where you are looking ahead to see how you will retire from the workforce.

There is so much I want to do in the next 5 or so years including my travel but I would like to renovate our house before we loose our double income as it will be so much harder on the one salary.

So I created a vision board this week and stuck it up where I can see it each day. My new vision board has everything I want to achieve in the next decade. I have always used them in some form or another but for the past few years I have created my vision boards on Pintrest which is a great tool to place images and ideas that you love or would like in your life.

You might wonder, do these things really work?  In my experience, they sure do!  When you place an image deep into your subconscious, the universe finds a way to bring that very thing into your reality. My new vision board is just a basic word document with beautiful pictures and inspiring words which mean something to me however these days there are plenty of fancy online versions, take a look at the links below if you are interested.  It is a well known fact that if you document or visualise your dreams and goals they will reach you quicker. Here’s an article on how they work and a few websites to help if you have ever thought of doing one yourself:

I love this!:

I have carried around with me for quite a number of years, one particular picture which I think I originally found on Pintrest and its been pinned above my head for years at my last job (as I had originally planned to go in 2016) and had made the cut to pin up at my new job.  It is a view of a beautiful Italian street which I hope to be a part of my reality on this trip.  I have looked at this picture for many years noticing the vespa and lovely cobblestone road however my eyes always were drawn to the picture I pinned next to it of the vivid purple lavender fields which I love.

After talking to my husband this week and deciding that in fact it will be September and October that I will make my journey over to France and Italy, I looked up the season out of curiosity and to my delight discovered it was Autumn which if you know me at all is my favourite time of the year and in fact flew over to the USA in 2011 to see it in all its fall glory.

The next day I walked into work and as I was taking off my coat and scarf at my desk, placing my bag under my feet and slowly turning on my computer in readiness for another day at work, my eyes slowly moved towards the myriad of scenes I have plastered on my wall to keep me inspired and invigorated at the office, and something caught my eye as I sat down and stared at the Italian pic with the vespa and cobbled stones and in that moment, it all made sense… .What do you think caught my eye in that very picture that morning?

Its set in Autumn…

A Beautiful street of a small town in Italy:

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France:

Fall in Beignon, Brittany, France:

Its quite amazing really that the Universe knew that a hot European summer in June really wouldn’t have suited me…

listen to those nudges,

they are always spot on…

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30 years later…


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As a young 23 year old in 1987, I stood on a bridge in the heat of a hot European summer in the middle of Rome, closed my eyes and promised myself, that I would once again, return to those places in which I only got a minimal glimpse of but left a little piece of my heart behind and have yearned to go back for many years, this time, to stay a little longer and see a little more of both Italy and France…

Now, 30 years


half a lifetime later,

I get to plan

it all


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In just over 600 days, I will be eligible for my Long Service Leave which in Australia is a very generous reward for working with the same employer for 10 years and your reward is 13 weeks leave at full pay.   I actually have not stayed that long with any other employer as in our early marriage we moved around as an army family so its only the last decade in working at various universities I finally will be eligible in 2018. Not many generations following us stay this long in jobs so I am glad I will have made it to use especially for my trips. I know this time will fly by and be here soon enough which is why I love to plan early and spend precious time before a large trip to really work out exactly what I want and how I want to do it.


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Lately, I have been busy asking lots of questions in my spare time on Fodor’s Travel talk forums which is a wealth of information by locals who spend their time helping travellers like me navigate around their countries and plan trips of lifetimes. I have so many great tips and advice from these fellow travellers and cannot thank them enough for writing reviews and posting to questions I have asked. You can virtually find anything you want or need just at the end of your laptop.  It makes me wonder how we all got along before internet days!  I still remember sitting in a Glenroy travel agency with virtually no input into my first European trip other than selecting a Contiki tour with suitable dates, not even caring where it went or did not go. Travelling now is so much easier to navigate all the details yourself with a little help from travel agents if you still need them for advice.

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I have, through the help of those strangers above decided upon what I think will be our route and it gets me all excited just thinking about it, our travels will be across 6 weeks or so living in and crossing to and from, mainly by train:

Amalfi Coast
Lake Como
Switzerland / Austria
Amsterdam / Bruges

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So this particular post is to begin making this dream come alive by sharing it with you and also to share some wonderful sites I have stumbled across while researching my trip. I am sure to find many more before I am done, but for anyone else who is thinking of a trip to Europe and want some great advice, travel tips and tricks, here’s a peek at what I have found most helpful on my ‘information quest’ so far on what, where and how?  Please share your own stories and tips on any of the towns I am intending on visiting, its always great to hear from those who have travelled before me on what is great and not so great to do, and if you are travelling, I wish you only safe and wonderful memories which I know will hold dear for you.  Thankfully I wont have to wait another 30 years after this trip to spread my wings again, I have more plans in the next few years to go back to the US and Canada to do the West side next :).

How about you ?

where will your next trip be,

start saving now-

we were not meant to just live a small piece of our life

13 travel quotes to inspire you to hike a mountain!

20 Inspiring Quotes That Will Make You Want To Travel The World:








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On the eve of each of my children’s birthdays my mind will forever screen re-runs of every moment, every sound and every thought which ran through my mind as the most important memories of my life are played back to me. I love to indulge in these reruns to ensure I never, ever forget every second of the most important days of my life. This year is no different except that we are marking a special quarter of a century – 25 years ago tomorrow, my baby came into this world and for those interested the story goes like this…

25 years ago in country Victoria, Australia on a cold and wet afternoon at Bendigo Base Hospital a young 27 year old was lying on a gurney waiting to go into theater to give birth to her second child via Cesarean section when she felt the first contractions of her little one’s journey into life possibly set off from her nerves and anticipation of what was coming next.

As excited and nervous thoughts swirled around in her head on whether she would have another boy or if God would bless her with a daughter this time around, she was wheeled in to theatre just before 2pm, her breath shallow and a tear in her eye knowing that this was the last baby she would carry having had decided with her husband that if we were to give our children the best we could then two would be it for us.  I deliberately did not find out the sex of this child I was carrying as my heart was set on a girl after having had my firstborn, a son only 15 months earlier. Had this birth resulted in another boy, that decision above would have been turned on its head. So on that day shortly after I brought another most precious gift into this world ~ a gift which has bought me more joy and pride than I ever thought possible and hands down has been my most important role in this lifetime ~ to be a mother.

August 9th, 1991. I even got to pick the date and this date fell on a Friday so I remember thinking it would be easier for relatives to come and visit on the weekend – little did this young mum realise that after a Caesar she was in no shape for any visitors. Melissa was a ‘breech’ baby which should have warned me then, that this child would have a mind of her own…

And so ‘my Melly‘ was born at 2:10pm and taken away for me to recoup from the anesthetic.  I did not see her for a few hours after she was born.  In that time, her father named her Melissa Jane and welcomed his second daughter into the world. I recall waking up groggily and asking the nurse what did I have. She told me I had a beautiful baby girl named Melissa.  I could hardly believe it, that I had been blessed with my own daughter. I remember being all chocked up and it was a very emotional moment when I asked to see her and Melissa placed into my arms.

It’s hard to believe

that  was 25 years ago…

 so many chapters & memories

we have nurtured and shared together over that time…

So this special post is for you Melly

in celebration of a milestone

and in celebration

of the beautiful woman you have become!

My dearest Melly,…it was a rough start for the two of us at first.I worked out years later that you must have been lactose intolerant even though not one medical doctor picked it up. It took us 6 months & a trip up to sunny Queensland for the two of us to find a routine, contentment and sleep but I can honestly say that after we got over that little hurdle the first 5 years of your life were my absolute favourite even though I have quite a few favourite years :).

As a little girl, you would follow me around the house, a quizzical little girl, always chattering, exploring or doing something new. It was obvious from very early on I had a determined, independent and very creative little daughter.


As you grew, so did your imagination.  When you were in primary school, you spent many an hour up an old large oak tree outside of our home in Winston Road pretending you were Pocahontas and that tree was Grandmother Willow.  Sometimes I would make sandwiches and take them to you in that tree and just smile, loving your creative little spirit.

However, it wasn’t until I was called to the principals office to explain why you would draw on the toilet wall in grade 6 and listened to your reasoning so innocently ‘to make it look pretty‘ then I knew you were destined to always be an ‘artist’, it was just so natural for you to create, wherever you were, no matter what the context…

Your teenage years were a bit tougher as you developed a mind of your own at a young age and although I wanted you to become independent and self assured, between 13-16 you did keep me on my toes 🙂 You never would conform to what you perceived to be as traditional activities instead opting to always stretch the boundaries a little and finding your ‘true north‘ following your own philosophies, becoming a vegetarian, joining an all girls soccer team and paving the world in ‘your way’

I was always so proud of you when you would find something new you wanted to try, or a new road to travel, you just kept at it until you were satisfied and if not then you would try something new…this resilience and  unwavering persistence has shaped you to who you are today…


With those years behind us, you finished high school and was accepted into Monash University in Melbourne beginning an Arts Degree then later transferring to where your real passion lay, Fine Arts.  I was so proud of you that day getting into Monash, I remember being terribly sick with gastro the morning the results were released and you couldn’t come in the door but stood at the doorway jumping up and down and me so sick and thrilled at the same time but I couldn’t hug you.

I cannot wait to see

where this road takes you

amongst the

Melbourne art world and beyond…

We moved away from Melbourne around this time to start preparing the way for our retirement years. One of the hardest things I have had to do was leave you behind but you were so ready to live your own life without restrictions and I knew that it was time for you to begin planting your own dreams and living them on your terms.

So if I could have one wish come true it would be that the next 25 years move slower than the first and I know that over the next 25 years there is going to be so much more living and growing packed into it.

  I love where you are right now, happy and content and know that you are on the right path pursuing your artist journey and fueling your passion.  And one day, when you have children of your own, you will understand fully, the love that I hold for you in a very special part of my heart. But even now, with you as a ‘grown up’ one thing I know for sure is that I will always carry those special memories and moments we have shared, just the two of us and those all together as a family which live in my mind and heart forever…

Do you remember when you were a little girl and I had to leave you at kindergarten or school we would have a special ritual just between the two of us where we would touch each others hearts and imagine there was an invisible string that attached you to me.  No one but us knew it was there, shining brightly and now that we are apart, it still connects us no matter how long it has been since we’ve talked or wherever you may live over the next 25 years, that  invisible string will always connect us.

So today on your 25th journey around the sun,

I wish you more love and laughter

than you could ever need


I wanted to share

25 things

I love about you



  1. I love that you are funny, you always make me laugh, really laugh 
  2. I love that you still call me ‘Mumma’ 
  3. I love your beauty 
  4. I love your grace
  5. I love that I see your Grandmother in your eyes and high cheek bones
  6. I love that you have traits of your Nan, a softness and kind view of the world
  7. I love that you are really smart
  8. I love that you chose Art as your career
  9. I love your art and what you do
  10. I love that you are a strong woman and you know your voice
  11. I love that you have found love and it makes you grin from ear to ear talking about it
  12. I love that I can still tell you my opinion and you listen (or at least pretend to)
  13. I love that even though you sometimes think my universal theories are funny, you let me tell you them regardless
  1. I love when we can both sit with a red wine and ‘discuss life’
  2. I love your quirkiness
  1. I love your determination
  2. I love listening to your compassion and views on life
  3. I love that you use words sometimes I have never even heard of
  4. I love that you can cook really really well and make anything from nothing
  5. I love it when you visit
  6. I love when you stay a while
  1. I love that you always teach me something
  2. I love that you are not just my daughter but one of my closest friends
  3. I love that I will never ever stop loving you
  4. And I love that no matter what, you will always follow your ‘true north’ 

Melly and I

Love you to the moon and back

my gorgeous

25 year old!

With love from Mumma xx