Inspirational friends …


A while back, the gorgeous Karen from Sweet Baby Veg wrote this post about inspiration.

Well, any mention of quaint English hedgerows and I’m instantly swooning and daydreaming about Hunter boots, teeny tiny historic villages and the dishy Alastair from Escape To The Country – oooohhh! Did I write that all out loud!?!

Anyway …  it was a treat to learn more about the lady behind the wonderful words and visual food, flowers and vintage feast that is her blog, Sweet Baby Veg.

The post went on to reveal that Karen had been nominated for this:

And absolutely, rightly so!

Do yourself a favour and drop into Karen’s beautiful, inspirational blog when you can.

But then, reading on, lo and behold Karen nominated me for this award, too.

Thank-you so very much, Karen, and sorry it has taken me a while to get my act together.

So now, I think I must write about three things that have inspired me this week.

And they are:

- receiving this amazing package all the way from Cincinnati, Ohio, from another inspirational blogger, Johanna at Mrs. Walker Goes Back To School.

Just look at this cutie.

This is the cutest little knitted cat I've ever seen.

This is the cutest little knitted cat I’ve ever seen.


I love her and I have called her ...

I love her and I have called her …


Leuke Kat (which is Dutch for Cute Cat – I hope!) The lovely Johanna is Dutch.

And, as if that wasn’t enough to make me sing operatically around the mail box, illustrative artist extraordinaire Johanna also sent me an original piece of art – of me!!




Johanna's sketch of me!

Johanna’s sketch of me!

Thank-you so much, Johanna!

And, then my neighbours must have thought I had completely lost it when I was happy dancing around the mailbox as yet another package arrived from the USA.

Another kind and inspirational blogger from Big White House On The Hill sent me a beautiful card and a colourful set of handmade recycled T-shirt pot holders.

Goodness, thank-you so much!!

If you have some time up your sleeves this weekend do drop into Mrs. Walker Goes Back To School and Big White House On The Hill to be inspired by art, gorgeous pets and home decor, hard work, happy homes and plenty, plenty more.

The third and final thing that has inspired me this week is over there to the right, under the heading “My Blogging Buddies”.

All of you fellow bloggers inspire me every day and I thank-you so much.

Now, I nominate for this award:

(NB: Mrs. Walker Goes Back To School has already been nominated)

Big White House On The Hill

Bits N Pieces

Yarn Chick 40

Radish Blossoms

Anne Lawson

Please do not feel obliged to accept this award, but know that your blog is an inspiration.


A Tale Of Two Sundays


One Sunday there was a long drive to the city of Melbourne for 50th Wedding Anniversary celebrations.


Heaps of traffic, buildings, people and a big wheel kept our eyes wide open on the journey.


There were plenty of pretty things on this particular Sunday.

A bunch of roses for the couple of the day …


and a bunch of flowers decorating the ceiling of Crown Casino as an elaborate celebration of Chinese New Year.


Then there was opulence, decadence and excitement all rolled into one as we approached the entrance to the restaurant.



Did I mention decadence?

After a feast, laughs and company befitting 50 years of marriage, a short walk along the Yarra River was in order.

This rounded out a Sunday full of colour, fun, excitement, plenty of people, sunshine, non-stop sounds … and more colour …


Teddy and Tottie soaked it all up.


And then it was time to head for the hills …


And, in the blink of an eye, another Sunday arrived, which went a bit more like this …


… and this …


And after the resting was done, there was weeding, pruning, harvesting and tummy tickling to be done in The Oasis …

… until the glorious heavens opened and quenched the plants’ thirst.

Then it was off to the movies with Tottie and Teddy for popcorn, choc tops and a fun Australian family movie, Paper Planes.


To round out a relaxing, quiet Sunday, there was just enough time before dinner preparations to stash-bust some colourful, chunky wool into the beginnings  of an unusual Bavarian blanket.



If you’d like to learn how to do Bavarian stitch crochet, please click here.


Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary, The Givers


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away …



Ooooops! … I mean …

50 years ago today in a quaint little church in Victoria, Australia, an Aussie bloke (our Dad – The Male Giver) and a Scottish lass (our Mum – The Female Giver) tied the knot on a stinking hot day. (“100 degrees in the shade” was what I was told when I was growing up and I had absolutely no idea what that meant having only learnt Celsius temperatures at primary school. But from the exasperated tones of the various storytellers, I knew it must have meant: “Hot. Damned hot!”

That made it a little tricky and uncomfortable for all concerned, but particularly the bride who, to this day, doesn’t speak in fond tones about the grand event that took place on February 6th, 1965.

Did I mention it was hot … AND she was none too keen on her dress …


AND the groom and groomsmen’s pants arrived from the hirer too short (and their shoes too pointy, he, he!) …

Dad and his two older brothers

AND it was a dry wedding (no alcohol! Yikes!) – as that was the done thing back then – so some rebellious but resourceful guests were sneaking the devil’s drop into the reception in flasks – or so the legend goes!

But, you know, from my perspective sitting back (with the air conditioning on and a glass of chardonnay in my hand) and looking at the moments in time captured forever in these pictures , I think it all looked rather fabulous.

I think Mum’s dress is gorgeous and she looked beautiful.


And, despite all life has thrown at them, The Givers have reached an incredible milestone of 50 years of marriage.


Now that kind of achievement deserves nothing less than a swanky lunch in the big smoke this coming Sunday, surrounded by loved ones, with great food, chocolate fountains of every description – and even alcohol! Gasp! Oh! And I have heard it’s going to be “100 degrees in the shade” just for old time’s sake!

But in the meantime, The Crazy Dog Lady (my sister, Cole), The Mad Cat Woman (me, Dani) and our families want to congratulate you and wish you both the most magnificent 50th Wedding Anniversary in the world!



The Passage of Time


I’d like to say I’m crying, but HOWLING would be a more accurate description.

I can barely see what I’m typing but I must press on because I know writing a post about it will help.

You see, my twins, nicknamed Teddy and Tottie (the inspirations behind this very blog and the ones who seemingly started 3-year-old kindergarten last week!) have just left on the bus for their very first day of Year Seven and the start of their first year of high school!


I can’t believe it!

To use a well-worn cliche, motherhood is indeed an emotional roller coaster. Yes, for sure, but also, as with most roller coasters, the ride constantly moves forward at a pace – it can’t go backwards – and it clatters on regardless through milestone after milestone – often before you’re completely ready!

Of course, I knew the day was coming.

There’s been a big lead-up. (Recently, the non-stop tooing and froing between home and the school uniform shop has seen me become best of friends with the lady who fits and sells the uniforms AND goodness knows I’ve put enough clear contact on school books in the past week to last me a lifetime!)


… with a little help from my friends (NOT!)



But it still doesn’t soften the blow of the very first day; hugging them (while they are comforting you!); pretending you are walking back to TeddyandTottieLand when really you’ve ducked behind a bush to see how well the school bus’ brakes work; and to get a good look at the bus driver to see whether or not he looks like a homicidal maniac!

And then the bus goes …

… and it’s a slow walk back to TeddyandTottieLand with stinging tears …

I open the door …

and Jet feels my pain …


His playmates have gone for the day and he is left with his Mum and four cats!

Speaking of four cats … well their representative, Slinky, couldn’t be more relaxed about the whole situation!


“Now we’ve got her all to ourselves again, lads, and we will rightly and justly be the centre of attention!”

As sad as I feel and as quiet as the house is without Tottie and Teddy noise, I know I must try to be positive and let go a little.

Also, I know I’ve got a mountain of things I want to do with Teddy and Tottie – the blog and the Etsy shop – my other twins!

I’ve a load of lovely vintage items to photograph and list …

IMG_1945 IMG_1937

And come to think of it … TeddyandTottieLand is showing some signs of falling apart at the seams – so painting and patching is calling …

The Oasis needs constant TLC …

Jet needs walking …

the floors needs vacuumed and washed …

oooh and I’d better book dental and doctor’s appointments I’ve been putting off …

and I have to organise a mobile dinner tonight because we’ve got tennis and gymnastics …

must call The Female Traveller to make final arrangements for Cirque Du Soleil show tomorrow …

call The Givers to cry on their shoulders …

oh! and must finish my love heart bunting for Valentine’s Day …



I don’t think I’m going to get it all done before I have to race up and hide behind the bush again to see my twinnies come home on the school bus!

Better get cracking.

Have a great day lovely people!


Make a Hullabaloo! We’re Two!


Yes, today is Teddy and Tottie‘s second birthday.


Here are some pics from the very beginning …

Who’d have thought back then that I’d make so many beautiful blogging friends from all around the world.

Thanks so much for being such a big part of this epic journey.

Here’s to the next two years being just as much fun and just as rewarding – BUT perhaps a little more productive on my part!

Life does have a tricky habit of getting in the way of blogging, doesn’t it?

He, he!

Please do stick around because as well as more of this:

And more of this:

And this …


… there’s also something else pretty exciting coming (hopefully!) soon to this very Teddy and Tottie site.

It’s something I’ve always wanted to add but just haven’t had the time.

So, off I trot to keep working on it so I’m not still promising it at Teddy and Tottie‘s third birthday next year!!

Happy trails everyone.


Easing back into home life …


What a beautiful welcome The Oasis gave us when we arrived back from holidays!


A hot, humid, six-or-so-hours trip home gave way to sullen skies, soaking rain, cool relief and sheer joy when I poked my head around the big hedge in The Oasis …


to see beauty such as this.

What a “Welcome Home”!


The Givers have worked so hard in The Oasis while they have been minding our house and everything is thriving.

My rustic “tomato” sign is almost buried beneath cucumber leaves and …


tomato plants that have gone mad …



The resident red garden cat …


and the wooden garden cat are surrounded by blooming roses.


And, although I didn’t have time to plant many veggies in The Oasis before Christmas, there is still some produce to show.

Firstly, some apples …


and lettuce.


My garden fairies have been doing some heavy duty weeding, laying plenty of straw mulch and planting loads of pretty things.


Coming home to a garden filled with colour certainly lessens the blow of the holiday being over.


And, see, the lawn has been edged and everything!

Now the trick will be to maintain this level of order in The Oasis. (I think I have one hour spare a day between 5 and 6 am!)


And, finally, inside to my furry babies – some of whom weren’t talking to me.

Oscar and …




Some of whom had taken liberties with furniture and statues.



And some who were just so cute I had to squeezie hug them for hours.

Slinky and …




The easing back into home life and routine was complete when I sat down to open our big pile of mail, which The Givers had kindly collected, and saw these.


What a big smile they put on my dial.

A groovy postcard from Boomdeeadda.


A beautiful card from Alys at Gardening Nirvana.


And a Christmas card from a gorgeous girl we sponsor in Tanzania, who is three days older than Teddy and Tottie. (*I call them my triplets. *Teddy and Tottie always say they have a sister who lives in Africa.)

Our sponsored child did not do this drawing on the front of the card but she did do a beautiful one for us on the inside.


So, three gloriously happy pieces of mail to cheer up slightly miserable folk returning from holidays.

And just look at the stamps that came on this mail.

Beautiful and exotic all rolled into one.


Please unbuckle your harness and exit to the left …


The thrill ride we jumped on at the beginning of Summer and December is drawing to a rapid close. And more’s the pity because even though I felt our small carriage would fly off the rails any time before Christmas, the ride has ended calmly with an annual reminder of how simple life can be.

Aspiring to Slow Living is the go at the moment and, if you can cope with a little discomfort, you really can’t get more simple, slow and invigorating living than a family camping holiday at the beach.


Camping, of course, brings you up close and personal with nature; it insists you only bring your most valued possessions (crochet, books, magazines, camera, laptop); it makes you take your time preparing meals and encourages you to eat more slowly; and it insists you reconnect as a family (even The Committee was laughing spontaneously there for a little while, but is a little grumpy again now thinking about going back to work!)

IMG_1743Camping is not for everyone, of course, as our beautiful, seasonal camping friends remind me here every year.


Although I had camped for most of my childhood holidays, I found it tricky getting back into the rhythm of it here six years ago with my own children.

Now, two-and-a-bit weeks is not nearly enough and I’m slightly envious of those around us staying for five weeks.

Ha! What a turnaround!

Anyhow, we’re off on our six-hour journey back home tomorrow – back to our beloved furry babies and a place lovingly looked after by The Givers.


We miss Jet and the cats so much that we pour all our affection onto this gorgeous “beach” dog, Greg, whenever we see him.

We’re very grateful for it all.