Sunday, 31 July 2016

Welcome To My August Madhouse

1. Beach boxes on the Mornington Peninsula! 

We've been at the beach this weekend for some much need 'away from it all' R&R. Or in my case R&R&R rest, relaxation, and recuperation. Don't these gorgeous beach boxes look serene and pretty? 

Take a lung full of that fresh salty air before you read on!

2. Life is busy at the moment. 

I find myself throwing all those balls I am juggling, higher and higher in a vain attempt to stop them crashing down at my feet - so far so good. If there is one thing that life has taught me, it's how to send a ball up into the stratosphere with a smile on my face and a 'see you next later' send off...

3. Has anyone noticed I've become a weekend Blogger?! 

My volunteer work with an organisation that supports over 3,000 people seeking asylum became a part-time locum role on July 1st. Which of course due to my complete incompetence at setting boundaries has become all encompassing.  There aren't enough hours in the day to do the job the way I want to do it. We do some amazing work with some incredible people and quite frankly why would you not want to give it your absolute all?

4. Meanwhile back at the ranch or mill!

It was looking like we were going to have everyone in hospital in August one way and another. Nothing too serious, just a combination of routine check-ups, to fixing a series of sporting injuries and misadventure. Not me, oh no. I'll be just the Ambo driver. 

Hmm, I might just have to stop for a coffee on the way in, tough luck if no-one else can eat or drink before their general anaesthetics... I'm going to need my sustenance for August. 

Either that, or knock me out too, and wake me up in September!

5. Hello. welcome pleased to meet you!

Plus of course into this Madhouse, we are about to welcome in three Japanese Homestay students for a couple of weeks. I love our homestay guests, but it does tend to have me operating like a full-on whirling dervish of home baked goodness and apparent serenity! 

Under normal circumstances, it takes a monumental effort to create the illusion of "Home Sweet Home." This time, I can see to pull this off, you might just find that I will be able to score an invite straight into the finals of our Australia's Got Talent TV show. 

Wish me well!

Linking with My Sunday Photo thanks to Darren at Photalife


Sunday, 24 July 2016

Birds at the beach

Surf's up!
We're slap-bang in the middle of Winter here
as these windswept birds on Sorrento surf beach show...
Hold on tight, Summer's coming!

Infact, Brisbane, Queensland had their hottest winter day for 70 years yesterday. The Sunshine Coast, only a two-hour flight away, enjoyed 31 degrees Celsius - 87°F
Beam me UP Scottie! 

Here in Melbourne 'the cold wind doth blow' and although we have not had snow, our Alpine area, only a three-hour drive from Melbourne, is having a fabulous snow season.  As they say, every cloud has a snowy lining, or something like that!

It seems like my family and friends in Europe are at last enjoying (sweltering?) with a bit of a heat-wave. But where ever you are, I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

Linking with thanks to Eileen at Saturday's Critters 

and Darren at Photalife


Monday, 18 July 2016

Magnificent Myanmar meets beautiful Bangladesh

We were given some gorgeous woven and hand stitched gifts from Bangladesh last week. 

The placemats and napkins are hand woven, the shopping bag has been hand-stiched. 
The work that has gone into these gifts is phenomenal. 
Don't you think they are beautiful? 

They were chosen for us from a shop called Aarong, a Bengali word meaning village fair. 
Aarong is a social enterprise which creates livelihoods for rural women. 
Aarong is dedicated to bringing positive change to lives of disadvantaged artisans, 
85% of whom are women
I have never been to Bangladesh, 
and I Iove having a touch of Bangladesh in our home this week! 

The nearest I have been to Bangladesh was earlier this year 
when we visited the neighbouring country of Myanmar. 
The sweet gifts reminded me of a visit we made to the lotus weavers at Inle lake.

loom at Inle Lake, Myanmar
At Inle Lake we watched women practice the age old tradition of weaving on ancient looking looms. There are many cooperatives of artisans around the lake who will welcome you into their studios.

When I admired the detailed needlework close up on the shopping bag 
and realising that each stitch of the is hand done, 
it got me thinking about the women who may have made these gifts. 
I thought they would probably love to know, how the thoughtful gift had been admired 
and looks perfectly at home on our table setting in Melbourne.

Myanmar women at village festival

Thank you to the women of Bangladesh
 who made these gifts and the wonderful family who purchased these ethically made handicrafts and brought them to Australia to give to us!
Our home is full of memories from various countries - is yours?

Linking with Our World Tuesday - Thank you to Lady Fi and all the hosts


Saturday, 9 July 2016

The whole world wants a piece of Paris!

Paris is the most popular tourist destination in the world. So is it any wonder that other countries try to recreate a little of the Paris magic elsewhere? Take a look at the pictures of the Eiffel Tower below. Do you notice anything strange?

The Parisian Eiffel Tower, Cotai Strip, Macau
Yes, you're right to think it looks a little different. It's the new Eiffel Tower designed to bring the glamour of Paris to China! Well if they can offer copy watches and handbags on every street corner, you wouldn't expect an Eiffel Tower replica to be too tricky to rustle up, would you? 

The above photos are a half-size Eiffel Tower, one of the new landmarks of the soon to be opened hotel for Las Vegas Sands in Macau The Parisian: 澳門巴黎人

Below is the real deal. The Eiffel Tower on the Champs de Mars, Paris. The most visited paid monument in the world. It's iconic presence wherever found, is sure to bring a little magic to that corner of the world.

The Eiffel Tower, Paris
They say 'imitation is the greatest form of flattery' so Paris should be proud! What do you think? Here is my photo from my last year's visit to Paris when I was so excited to get that first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower through the sunroof of the taxi... Sad but true, I do still feel the same way whenever I see a Kangaroo bounding through the bush here in Australia, like the Kangaroo to Australia, the Eiffel Tower is iconic France.

Eiffel Tower, Paris through taxi sunroof May 2015
So in the last few weeks, I have visited Paris in Australia, Asia, and Europe! Let me take you to where it all began: the Paris end of Whitehorse road, Balwyn, Melbourne, Australia. There is a little French bistro, Arthur Radley that we really rather like, with a sign proudly proclaiming:

'Welcome to the Paris end of Whitehorse Rd!'

Well, that was, as Dame Edna Everage, Australia's greatest living comic Queen would say rather "spooky" as I was just leaving for Paris, France!

Little did I know, it was going to be via Paris, China! We stopped off en-route to Europe for a 50th Birthday celebration. I love being back in Hong Kong, our previous family home. Macau is always interesting for me, having worked for Las Vegas Sands. At the time this was bringing Venice, complete with Grand Canals and serenading gondoliers to China, so it is no real surprise to learn that ten years on, Paris is coming to Macau!

The Parisian Eiffel Tower, Macau
Well, it is Paris, China style, they've been remarkably faithful to the original in Macau, but instead of the beautiful wrought iron lattice, they've gone for steel. The structure has had the benefit of modern engineering to ensure it stands up to the high winds of the annual typhoon season.

The 3,000 room and suite Parisian Macau is yet to be opened but the Eiffel Tower topping out festivities included a  dance-off between the French Cancan girls and a Chinese lion dance. It would have been a fascinating Easts meets West affair.

The Eiffel Tower through the gates of the Tuileries Gardens, Paris
What is the world most recognisable monument? Yes, it's the Eiffel Tower. Take these photos above and below, one little glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in the background and you know you're in Paris!  It dominates the Paris skyline. I love the fact that rest of the world also wants a piece of Paris, What do you think?!

They say a brief holiday in Paris is forever in your memory. 
Well as I've been to Paris three times recently that makes me a very lucky girl! 

Linking with thanks to Phoebe at All About France


Sunday, 3 July 2016

My Sunday Photo

I love returning home after a long trip away
It's fun to spot all the new things in the neighbourhood.
Like this brilliant Steen Jones  street art outside 
Hello Sailor cafe on Auburn Road. 

Nothin but Smooth Sailing:

We've had a big weekend in Australia because we had a 
General Election on Saturday which was far from smooth sailing 
for all the political parties as we are still waiting on the final result!

I am wishing you all 'Nothin but Smooth Sailing' this week
With Love
Linking at My Sunday Photo with thanks to Darren at Photalife

Friday, 1 July 2016

With love from Wimbledon!

Wimbledon is Wimbledon: 
This uniquely SW19 experience
has prestige, royalty, pin-striped mown lawns, 
all white tennis attire, strawberries and cream
and the world's best tennis players.

Wimbledon, established in 1877,  is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and they know what they’re about. They are not a Grand Slam for the masses, you will not find the party-like 'happy slam' atmosphere that you get at Melbourne Park. Tickets are hard to come by, and spectator numbers are limited. It is all about the tennis, the tradition and tough luck if you want free Wifi. (Quite right too, you're supposed to be here for the tennis!)

Five things I loved about Wimbledon:

1. The beauty of the Championships

The last time I was at Wimbledon hosting a corporate table, I remember the food we ate but have no idea who was playing!

Fast forward twenty-five years I was here for the tennis and not the food! I was expecting to be impressed by perfect grass tennis courts but the grounds at the All England  Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club were unexpectedly gorgeous. 

I’m guessing the Grounds staff at Wimbledon, who produce the best lawns in the country, are also pretty handy with the plants? It was like a mini Chelsea flower show. 

Hats off to all the gardeners. It’s sure been tricky wet gardening conditions. It’s not quite Glastonbury mud out the back at the picnic tables near Henman Hill (that shows my age doesn’t it?) but it sure was squelchy under foot. 

2. The ease of walking about

I loved how few people were there compared to Melbourne Park! 

In fact, I did have one conversation with one official asking 'is it always this quiet?!!' We agreed the atmosphere was a little flat, looking at the glum faces leaving Centre Court, but to be fair we came to the conclusion that was the whole Country not just Wimbledon crowds who were feeling hard to get Monday excited. 

'We need your Aussie Nick Kyrgios to liven it up a bit" 
"Thank you, I'm sure it won't be long" I replied! 

And true to form, by the time I'd stepped off the plane back on Aussie soil our top sports news story was:

Nick Kyrgios fined for unsportsmanlike conduct, former greats say his temper part of the package

In Australia the tournament is definately more lively, Crowds cheering and people dressed up to support their favourite players. On Heineken Saturday in 2015 over 81,000 people attended, more than double what Wimbledon gets on an average day. Indeed there were too many at the party that day, we said never again on Super Saturday! 

I'm loving the fact on Manic Monday there was no queue for strawberries, it was always easy to get a seat to eat, even the queues to watch tennis weren’t bad:

it was so civilised! 

3. Everything is well organised

If there is one thing the Brits do well it’s a queue. There were queues to get in, but with plenty of people on hand, explaining where to go and what to do. Unlike the Aussie Open staffed with young people, you got the impression most of them had been doing this and loving it, year in, year out since the Championships commenced in 1877!

Security was present but low key, although was that the army on the doors? I didn’t see any policeman walking around with massive machine guns or the police canine explosive dog team as I’d seen in France at Roland Garros. It was relaxed but orderly. 

4. Players in white

I was surprised at how different the players look in their regulation all white tennis attire, it looks fantastic. 

It's great the way the clothing sponsors will bring out a new outfit for each Grand Slam. Gone are the magenta, cerise, buttercup yellow and bold neon colour-clashing worn at the French Open. You'd be mad to wear white with all that red clay anyway, unless of course, you're sporting an Adidas Roland Garros black and white dazzle camouflage look...

The Nike lingerie dress scandal was yet to hit the headlines, but just goes to show that fashion and whether it's um ...appropriate and fit for purpose, will always make headlines.

5. Strawberries and Cream

I have to give a little shout out to the HSBC bank who are offering account holders free strawberries and cream and a postcard to send home from Centre Court With Love. I love all the freebies at the tennis, there is a lot less spectator activation in London than the other slams, but I was happy with my strawberries and cream - you see cream and the heat in Australia wouldn't mix well... I did also have strawberries and cream ice-cream which would be a hit in Melbourne!

This is my third Tennis Grand Slam of the year and I am going for the Fan Slam Wren-style. The fan slam is to be at all four Grand Slams Aussie, French, Wimbledon and the US Open. But whilst that would be great, I'm hoping to do my own version...and switch the US Open for another Country. I wonder if you can work out where I am hoping to go? Watch this space later in the year!

I hope you have enjoyed a visit with me to delightful Wimbledon! 

If you have enjoyed this post you might enjoy my other tennis posts this year: 
Anyone for Tennis? from Roland Garros
Pimp my Dog, pimp the Car from Australian Open

Have a great weekend!

Linking with thanks to Amy for Five on Friday at Love Made My Home