Well hello again…….

Where are your stories oceangirl, why aren’t you blogging, are you okay, Hey!, are you still around and other odd messages…..

I cannot believe my last post was June 2021! My absence it seems, has been conspicuous. I love writing my blog so I really don’t know why I haven’t blogged for such a long time. I did try. On numerous occasions. It just didn’t come. It is as simple as that. Thank you for sending your messages. I am so appreciative of your care and concern x.

Now. To the task of catching up……..

The apex of privilege is that over the past few months I have ever so slowly learnt to give myself permission to just be. To lay in bed a little longer, to leave cat hair on the couch because it is after all my dear companions home too and to watch the night sky for what seems like hours because there is no reason for me to be inside watching TV except when Gardening Australia is on ūüôā

I am no longer striving for unattainable perfection and I have set boundaries. No expectations, just gratitude.

Much has happened since my last post. There have been some life changes, good and difficult. Good people – such good people, happiness, sadness, inspired travel and more. My life is taking a gentler pace and I have let go of things that no longer serve me well.

My dear little gardening companion Zoe has passed. She made it to the wonderful age of 20 cat years. Writing of her makes my heart turn to dust but then I remind myself that the grief I have felt for Zoe Clementine is born of love. Grief can be so varied and often it is not what we expect especially when it wraps around your heart like a fist. What an honour it was to have you as a companion for just over 14 years little cat.

Zoe’s passing was gut wrenching but peaceful. Her little body was beginning to shut down and as much as it was heartbreaking, letting her go was the kindest thing. She went to sleep in my arms for the last time and for that privilege alone, I am grateful beyond words.

What a wonderful, tenacious, clever little cat she was. A great traveller and true adventurer along with being a voracious consumer of prawns. A delicate little cat with the biggest fighting spirit who adored being out in the enclosed vegie patch sunbathing regardless the temperature. Zoe was a little pocket rocket who had pretty much used up most of her 9 lives, she loved a chin rub and a gentle brushing and she loved nothing more than snuggling up. She could, when the mood took her, behave like a feline possessed, she could hold a grudge and she hated having her nail clipped. If cats had accents, Zoe’s would have certainly been French given her delicate features and jewel green eyes. She knew she was so loved and she will be missed for a very very long time……

The house is still a work in progress. More cracks appear in these old walls and the remaining ceiling of plaster and horse hair are sagging but I have a sturdy roof over my head. The garden is peaceful, lovely and continuing its transformation and the yields it offers up are fresh, nourishing and beautiful. The garden puts food on the table and fills vintage and hand-thrown pottery vases with beauty and that makes me happy.

Tom Tom and Boo (Thomas and George), those two wonderful furry beings are the best boys ever and love bugs personified, I became a vegan since my last blog post – I could never go vegan said every vegan before becoming vegan ūüôā and there has been some wonderful travel. All in all, everything is pretty okay in my little part of the world.

I don’t have it all figured out, I don’t think any of us are meant to but I noodle along regardless. Just one foot in front of the other and the path becomes more evident. I may not always know where I am going but no doubt I am getting to where I am meant to be.

None of us ever really know how the story will end but where was I in June 2021! Thats right. I was part way through writing about Robe…..x

Robe, South Australia…….

It is winter in South Australia.¬† The cats are fireside and the house smells of toasted crumpets and dark hot chocolate.¬† The garlic bulbs and brassicas have been planted and the soil kept warm with layers of pea straw.¬† The daffodils, jonquils and freesia’s are beginning to shoot and the leaves of the two year old stone fruit trees have changed colour and fallen.

The skies are deep blue and turn golden late on wintery afternoons and brilliantly star lit by night.  I feel grateful, settled, and all manner of things one hopes to feel from time to time.

As the global pandemic continues to reshape our world, overseas and interstate travel are highly improbably.¬† Because of this, I find myself enjoying more of what Australia’s newly crowned ‘most livable city’ (and state for that matter) has to offer.¬† It is no secret that although I am a born and raised Queenslander, have lived and travelled the world, I am undeniably in love with South Australia.

Of course I will travel again when the world reopens but in the mean time, I shall continue to skulk about this beautiful and wonderous state enjoying all it has to offer.¬† Perhaps in these strange times it is more about who you are and how your life feels rather than where you are not……….

Robe Part I

Overflowing with stunning coastal beauty, Robe, located on the Limestone Coast, is one of my favorite South Australian seaside destinations.


This was a trip of crescent moons, winter blossom and dreamy old houses.  There was great coffee, mandatory coastal wanderings, rainbows and birdsong.  It was hiking on scenic tracks which hug and crisscross the beautiful shoreline and nature reserves where strong tussock grasses and native winter blooms of creams and golds flowered in breathtaking splendor.

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It was flawlessly beautiful night skies, ocean as far as the eye could see, sunsets and wide streets slick with rain where under lavender skies I searched for the end points of rainbows.

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There is an unhurried pace in Robe and a community of generational fishermen and farmers, artists, gin makers and brewers, good eateries specialising in local organic and free range produce, bakeries, an independent grocer, an op shop and a great surf shop.


Not tomorrow skinny jeans.¬† Not tomorrow……. ūüôā

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The coastline is wild, unforgiving and mostly magnificent.¬† On days, the sun was out but the air was¬† bitingly cold.¬† Early morning, and bundled up against the prevailing winds, I’d watch the sea rise and fall, always hoping to spot a whale.¬† I stood in the peace of the morning shivering to watch the waves crash against the granite headland, gulls and sea eagles overhead and searched small sandy rock pools.

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Late afternoons came and went with obelisk ocean views.

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Part II – Eat, Drink, Enjoy Robe coming soon……. x

‘Sailin’ away on the crest of a wave, it’s like magic’…….

Long Beach, South Australia…….

I miss the solitude and eternal joy the ocean brings my soul. I miss those rare and very privileged moments of just being. The white lines of salt on my skin and the way the sand and salt water stiffly curls my hair. The sound of my board on the water. That smooth whoosh, whoosh, whoosh as it cleaves on through the sea, the waves breaking over the nose, the peace and then the waiting. It is such a beautiful thing and it feels like home…….


Driving down the sandy track that is Steve Woolston Road I was after one thing.


A perfectly beautiful wave……



At 12ks long and with its powdery white sand, turquoise waters and gentle tides, the secluded Long Beach is a beautiful part of the world.

A popular haunt for local surfers you need nothing more than a little light-weight Malibu and quiet isolated spot of which there are plenty.



When first arriving there was a surf school in progress. A few foamies dotted the waves and I stood on the sand shading my eyes from the glare to watch them.



I normally photograph cats but on this trip it was dogs who were centre stage.



Happiness looks so different to dogs……..




It was late afternoon, the chop was setting in and there was a long drive home but life was swell ūüôā Farewell Long Beach until we meet again……x


Title of blog post from the lyrics of ‘Livin’ thing’, ELO.


And just like that, we are into the second week of this brand-new year.¬† I don’t follow the tradition of a resolution but there is intent ahead.

  • Making a¬†conscious investment in myself because finally, I realise I am worth it.
  • Endeavoring to do more of what I love.
  • To¬†not walk the long path I have often felt obligated to walk.
  • Allowing that space inside me to accommodate more simplicity and joy, and
  • The continued transformation of my garden and this house into my home‚Ķ..no pressure ūüėä

Captured in photos, I have just skimmed through the last 12 months.  It was at times, a sweet look back.  The cats, the ocean, local travel opportunities (those posts to come) and my garden.  Ordinary days made good.


I can’t complain of 2020.  I sincerely cannot complain when so many suffered such tragedy yet perhaps for many, that year also marked a return to home.  In a year filled with sorrow, such uncertainty, lockdowns and isolation, the need for home and family and loved ones was recognised and for me, there was also a greater appreciation of the small things.

I am grateful for Thomas and George who arrived so skittish and fearful but who now are settled.  Sweet, happy, gentle and very much at home and for me, finding home in their very gentle presence. Thankful as always for little Zoe.  For a simple yet beautiful old book which arrived in the post, a blue banded bee on a sage flower, the washed denim blue of the sky, a roof over my head and home-grown food on the table, a fledgling kestrel and snow bird and good people. Small yet significant things.


Over the past few years my sadness has been vast and deep and there is nothing which can prevent you from feeling lost but life marches on with or without your consent or attendance.  You soon realise though, there is much good out there and even better reasons to move forward.

It is no secret that when I first returned to South Australia I initially found in my come back, a difficulty.  I was leaving behind much which I loved in Newcastle, and I was embarking on the unknown.  And trust me, returning somewhere whence you have been is never easy (#USA2015!!).

The house and yard were both an absolute mess.  An overwhelming chaotic muddle which stole my time, my energy, my patience and at times my sanity.  Some days, I seriously reached my quota!

I very often tend to take far too much on.  There are clearly no margins to this life and when driven by perfectionism, I forget to be kind to myself which in turn leaves me exhausted and shattered.  Yet over time, I have come to slowly love this place again.  I am starting to like the way it is turning out with the investment over the past few months of a new roof, full solar power and a reverse cycle air conditioner to replace the old swampy.

Rusted gutters along with 22 tonne of old brittle and broken terracotta tiles were removed and the house sighed with relief.  New steel beams replaced dry rotten wood, a dark colourbond tin roof chosen for a more elegant and contemporary look, the eaves and chimney painted.  No more leaks.  It looks amazing.  Best investment ever!


I adore the garden and yard now too, especially my veggie patch.¬† That ever evolving and growing space called ‘Zoe’s Patch’ after my little gardening companion and where I spend my quiet time has come so far.¬† As soon as Zoe hears the rattle of my keys in the back door she is at my feet.¬† The patch is fully enclosed and Zo loves to head out there to either sit on the sugar cane mulch or amongst the plants or perch herself upon one of the compost bins.




How it looked when I first arrived back……

And in the post came the most beautiful of surprises.  My mothers cherished book.  She and I share a love of books and many of her old childhood books display the evidence of her relationships with them. Well read and much loved, spines rebound, yellowed scotch tape and dog-eared pages and small notes.  I could not love this dear little book more.


This year is about developing roots yet still having the ability to fly.¬†¬†It is about being a warrior for and a peacemaker with the past.¬†¬†It is of simplicity and mindful resilience.¬† Hugs without restrictions or supervision and all the little things in between.¬† Nothing is out of reach……….x

Happy New Year…….please stay the f**k home!

It is almost a brand new year and as 2021 stands trembling in the wings, we will be at home indulging in an Old Fashioned…… or three.

This is a lovely cocktail. Not overly-complicated nor pretentious, yet graceful enough to celebrate with.

happy place

Nothing this year has been normal and the ending of 2020 will be no different. No tomfoolery, no hugging, no pash and dash (unless you get a contact number), no travel, no big crowds and no fire works. That’s just how it is so stay the f**k home.

Being apart does not mean we are not connected.  We will always find ways to stay connected.  Always.   We have all had our wings clipped, we have all grieved someone or something and we have all had bad days yet the weight of our grief is made more bearable in the recognition that although we have had empty bowls in front of us, we have also had the opportunity to fill them.

For me, the past few months and the past decade have been a gift regardless of what they served up. And holy cats that decade served up some shit! But for those who boldly and courageously show up despite all that has happened, you are rewarded. You do come back to life, the unbearable ache slowly eases, you begin to try again and you survive.  Things will come to you and they will come when they are good and ready.  It is all just a matter of patience and time. Just bide your time.

So as the curtain drops on the spectacularly weird and at times frightening and uncertain 2020, I send out much love, hope and optimism for 2021. Surround yourself with good people. People who are good and who are good for your soul. These are the ones who deserve a seat at your table. Be kind, courageous and gracious.¬† Be empathic and stand up when others tell you sit down.¬† Be proud and do the things which make your heart explode with joy and walk away from those and that which destroys your happiness. Most of all, please stay the fuck home…… ūüôā x

More than just a bank…….

I drove off the Augusta Highway, over the¬†rusted rail lines then turned right into the wide main street.¬† Subjectively, I could have been in any wheat belt town in any part of South Australia but I wasn’t.¬† I was in Snowtown.


With its dark, macabre past set against the lightness of a town with snow in its name, this place will be forever remembered for the bleak, horrific and frightening ‘bodies in the barrels’ ¬†murders where eight dismembered bodies were discovered in acid filled barrels in the abandoned bank vault in the town.¬† Apart from those eight, there were also more victims making this Australia’s worst serial killing.

Snowtown is quiet.  Settled by the first pioneers around 1867 and surrounded by tall heads of golden wheat, sheep and overlooked by the wind farms atop Barunga and Hummocks Ranges, this unassuming town involuntarily wrote itself into the history books for all the wrong reasons.

 I walked Fourth Street, the main street of Snowtown on a warm October day without seeing another soul expect for a farmer driving through with his two red kelpie dogs yipping in the back of the old ute and a camper trailer which pulled up outside the public toilet block.

Not that long ago, due entirely to the notoriety of the murders, people flocked to this small country town swelling its population but those days seem to have gone.  Occasionally, a tourist drops by to photograph a building then they leave as quickly as they arrived.

No doubt this town will forever be stigmatised by those monstrous events but Snowtown is so much more.



There is the colourfully painted water tower – part of the Silo Art Trail, old buildings, ‘The Big Blade’, charming churches, a weekend community market and a beautiful rose garden where I spent much of my time.


I had been to Snowtown prior to this trip.  Back then I came to see the bank given my fascination with true Australian crime.  This time however, it was a trip to a simple place of stoic residents and community resilience.  It was the Silo Art Trail, the sweet smell of damask and drying wheat, working dogs and utes.  Most of all though, it was a reminder of gentle snowfall in a place which will never see a snowflake and that big peaceful quiet only a small country town can offer.

You cannot change or deny the past, especially a past so unavoidably real, but like Snowtown, you can manage to live with it…..


Good morning sunshine….


Catching up….

And just like that, spring has gone and in its place the season of bleached skies and scorched earth.¬† On the last day of spring, Sunday, the¬†aerial water bombers flew low continual circuits over our home as the sirens of CFS trucks wailed.¬† To the west and just beyond my neighbours natural boundary of grey mallee, stringybarks and¬†pines, verdant towering sentinels planted by the early settlers in the 1800’s, the smoke plumed.¬† This gives your stomach cause to lurch as I had not, but an hour earlier been outside preparing for this seasons bushfires.

Too soon I thought.  Too soon!  I stood on the deck and watched the planes, so low overhead I could clearly see the pilots.  I raised my hand and waved.  The pilot gave a nod and I knew from that one small gesture everything would be okay.


Of late, I wake each morning to a day of brilliant sunshine and these days often end with an unseasonable thunderstorm.   They remind of my years of living in Queensland where almost every afternoon, the humid sultry summer days of bare feet, chocolate paddle pops and mangoes gave way to an afternoon storm.   A lone storm bird would signal the tempests impending arrival as the big clouds gathered low and bruising.  They would suddenly burst with so much rain the gutters could do little to hold it.  Fat green tree frogs croaked in the down pipes, steam would rise up from the roads and the air smelt sweet and clean.    

During the last big thunderstorm here in SA, the lovely old Grevillea, planted well before we purchased this home was lost. With sadness I watched its heavy flower laden branches split and drop but in its death keel, I appreciated the shade and the joy this gnarly old tree had offered families of tiny New Holland Honeyeaters, pollinators and myself.   


It has been a busy time with so much afoot but as summer breaks, I will endeavor to get my shitzen together to catch this blog up ūüôā ¬†There are road trips and rich offerings to write of.¬† The chasing of rainbows, a snowbird, sunrises in silent gratitude, the gift of isolation and a garden update to come.

Until then, take care.¬† Be strong, be kind, be good to yourself and be good to all others……. x

Footnote:  CFS РCountry Fire Service.  A wonderful volunteer based fire fighting service in Australia.


It’s only one straw…………said 9 million people!!

Plastic pollution Bali…..

12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in our oceans every year.


It is a frightening statistic, but even more frightening, is the fact that one million seabirds and just over 100,000  marine animals including whales, turtles, dolphins and sea lions die each year from plastic pollution and that statistic is steadily climbing.

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Something heartbreakingly difficult to witness yet which is a common sight in Bali, is to see the beaches and surrounding oceans littered with plastics.


Lazy grubby tourists are some of the worst offenders yet without a plan or the infrastructure in place to deal with this ever growing problem, Bali and its very fragile ecosystem will suffocate under plastic waste.


Drowning under plastic waste! ¬†We should be so ashamed……

Paradise is being lost under a mountain of rubbish with single use plastics – the most used yet least recycled product on the planet – the biggest contributor.


It is a sad fact but¬†nearly all of the ‘not so fantastic plastic’ ever created still exists today in some form or another even though some of it was produced almost 70 years ago.


I hate to preach but I love my oceans and my planet and both are under extreme pressure and totally dependent on us to cut down on our use of plastics.  

There are hundreds of ways to start, some extreme and some not so extreme, but taking even the smallest of steps will lead to a cleaner environment.  Things as simple as:

  • Refusing a¬†plastic straw.
  • Refusing single use plastic bags and utilising reusable bags.
  • Making compost – great for your garden and it reduces landfill.¬†
  • Avoiding extra plastic packaging on fruit and vegetables and take your own bags for bulk items.
  • Purchasing¬†a reusable water bottle and keep-cup.
  • Sorting your recyclables into glass/plastic/metal/paper.
  • And my absolute favourite……buying and donating pre-loved clothing.¬†


Australians alone use 1 billion disposable coffee cups per year with around 2,700,000 paper cups being thrown out every day…..


You can also be a kinder and more responsible traveller:    

  • DON’T LITTER…….anywhere on the earth!
  • Take your keep-cup and reusable water bottle,¬†your eco-friendly or reusable stainless straw,¬†your¬†bamboo or stainless spork.¬† They take up little to no room in your luggage.
  • Take reusable bags.
  • Reduce your waste by simply refusing the tiny toiletries in hotel rooms – always take¬†your own.

The state of the planet is our fault entirely and although at times the scale of the challenges our planet and oceans face seem overwhelming and distressing, I truly believe we can all make a difference.   

The oceans and planet don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste to perfection and shaming everyone else.¬† What they need is 9 million people doing their imperfect best in recycling and cutting down on their use of plastics.¬†


Protecting our oceans and planet is everyone’s responsibility.¬†

  • Be educated and informed.
  • Be political but use your voice constructively.
  • Volunteer for your planet through your local community – clean up days, growing native trees, regenerating bush land and sand dunes, becoming part of a food rescue charity and……
  • refuse that single use plastic straw.

The planet and our oceans will thank you ūüôā¬†


‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.¬† Its not’¬† –¬† The Lorax, Dr Seuss.

Footnote – photos of plastic pollution taken at Jimbaran, Kuta and Seminyak in Bali 2020.


Since drafting this post, South Australia has once again made history by becoming the first state in Australia to ban single use plastics.

Now I love this very progressive and beautiful state and I am so proud (and privileged) to call South Australia home.¬† SA has always led the way with a proactive approach to introducing laws to protect the environment.¬† It was the first¬†state in the nation to establish ‘the container deposit scheme’ way back in 1977 and it is also the state which banned the use of plastic bags as far back as 2009.


Postcards from Bali…….

Bali Part II – following up from the first Bali post dated May 16, 2020.

Unless I was in togs and a rashie, the order for my days in Bali were shorts paired with vintage embroidered tops and cotton tees, a pony tail and sandals.  If visiting a temple or just taking a walk through the streets of a local village I respectfully donned loose linen trousers and a long sleeved shirt but apart from that, I pretty much lived in my togs.

Some places I visited were dirty, noisy and chaotic.  Others, serene and quiet.  My skin darkened under the hot gold Indonesian sun and the days, like any good day, passed far too quickly.


Socially distant……….before there was such a thing

My Bali days were spent diving amongst brilliant coral shelves, awaiting the appearance of the elusive and gentle manta rays Рthey did not come, seeking a perfectly beautiful wave, island hopping and feeling the strong ocean currents pull at my body.  In moments such as these, I cling to a peace I could never shatter.  The ocean, without fail, continually renders me present and it allows me to discover tiny corners of my heart I do not know to exist.


Every morning, I watched the same sun rising over the same part of the ocean but always under a very different sky.  Early mornings filled with colours not expected are so good for the soul.


I rode in vessels at best not sea worthy.  On a day where the sky continually darkened, straining toward storms, the dive boat was swamped by huge ocean waves.  As the increasing swell crashed against the hull, the floor panels began to separate allowing the sea water to flood in and swirl about my ankles.  Nothing however, could have dampened my spirit for more adventure.


I often walked to temples and through markets.  I watched as small lean squirrels stole offerings left by local worshippers, butterflies beat their wings against the heavy air and I people watched.


Other days I gave myself permission to just be.  It is a rare thing for me to  relax and relax without guilt.  I read and beachcombed, I wrote a little, found joy in the mundane and drank beer on the beach when water no longer cut it.


Eat Bali – Ostentatious food and the equally annoying self professed ‘foodies’ do little for me.¬† Give me the smell of char grilling satays, sambal frying in a hot wok, the rich cloying smell of dried shrimp, the damp scent of steaming rice and the sweet aroma of bananas frying in batter any day.¬†¬†Places to eat where tiny cats mew around your legs and hawker markets where locals gather perched on low plastic stools.¬† No pretense, nothing perfectly styled, non-touristy and no fancy photos.




This is the face of someone in their happy place.¬† Please note, it is also the face toddlers make when they fart ūüôā

I tend to eat much more fruit when in Asian or Indonesian regions.  Mangosteens, snake fruit, jambu air (rose apples) and boni are readily available and great favourites of mine.


Drink Bali – An ice cold Bintang is a sure fire way to beat the heat in Bali.¬†¬†Meaning ‘star’ in Indonesian, this pale refreshing lager is available everywhere on the island.



Meeting up for cocktails Рtick.  Tea tasting Рtick.  Kopi Selem Рtick, tick, tickety tick.

k s

Stay Bali РWe stayed at the Sofitel in Nusa Dua for this Bali visit.  With its blend of French sophistication and elegant Balinese culture, dedicated and friendly staff, lush gardens and a clean private and quiet beach bordering the Indian Ocean, this is a beautiful and luxurious place to stay.  Definitely 5 star without the conceited price tag.  I highly recommend a stay.


I’m not a pool person but if I was……..

It was lovely to return to Bali after so many years.  Much has changed however there are some things which will always remain eternally Bali.  Those dramatic and dominating volcanoes, the petal offerings, the locals so beautifully radiant and generous, a spirituality and culture which is unsurpassed and that surrounding wild and unpredictable ocean.


There is much to love and some small things to loath but that is and always will be Bali…….x


Togs Рswimwear/swimmers  Rashie Рrash shirt: a shirt worn by suffers to protect against sunburn/heat rash etc.

Kopi Selem – Indonesian style coffee of course coffee grounds boiled with solid sugar.¬† Very similar to my adored¬†Turkish coffee. YUM ūüôā