Welcoming in 2016

Goodbye 2015 - thanks for the adventures, lessons, and connections.

Had to smile as I arrived at the beach today to a camel greeting

I just never know what is going to appear on my daily walk

Happy New Year, hope it's full of wonders, new sights, friendships, love and health & the occasional camel ;) - By the way, if you're in Port Macquarie, you can see a camel or go for a camel ride on Lighthouse Beach.

Books, Robert Frost Poetry and Morning Tea

There's no place like home for Christmas and we've been enjoying our local area. Recently a friend asked me to join a local writer's group. The group meet every week for morning tea at Flynn's Beach Book Cafe.

Now book stores happen to be one of my most favourite places to visit, and oh my, when I went inside, I felt as though I'd been transported into one of those book shops that you'd expect to see out of a novel or a wonderful movie set.

I was wandering around taking pictures of the lovely arrangements Ann has dotted around the place, and noticed A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost.

It's amazing how many lovely places are around, yet unless we wander off our usual routes, we may never find them. I have been driving past Ann's book cafe for years and would never have known what a magical place was lurking nearby.

Each week Ann has a different display for our delight, complete with fresh flowers that she grows herself. This is one corner I could disappear into for hours.

Flynns Beach Book Cafe - 3 Flynn Street Port Macquarie.

Christmas 2015

Love seeing the thong tree appear at Lighthouse Beach... Here it is in all it's Christmassy glory - the Christmas Thong Tree 2015. If you happen to be in Port and you'd like to find it... head down to doggie beach... keep going past the camels... and before you make it to 1st totem, you'll find it.

I'm looking forward to seeing the smiles of delight, as people discover the tree again this year. Thank you so much to Mary who creates the tree (and Santa's Little Helpers who assist).

Candy - loves her beach walks

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time." ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

A Christmas House Sit in the Greek Islands?

Heartwood Creek Greek Santa...

I haven't been to the Greek Islands at Christmas, although I'd love to experience it - from the postcards that I saw when I was there, it looks like it might get pretty cold at times. On a trip to the Greek Islands, a few years ago and we minded the most gorgeous little villa perched high above the town of Mykonos.

It was one of those memories that will stay in my heart forever. Of an evening we could look down at the sun setting over the harbour. It was a bit of a hike into town, but we didn't care it was marvellous. We used to use the goat tracks to wind our way up the hill of a night back to the villa.

A little Christmas creating this year

Christmas Baubles to colour, if you're taking part in the current colouring in craze! You are welcome to print the baubles out and colour in.

One night there was no moon to guide us, and with only a cigarette lighter to guide our way (you'd have thought we'd have bought a torch instead) we wove our way back home. Hubby in the lead, I followed close behind, when there was a sudden stop and scream at the feeling of hot breath in the front. Turned out that hubby had come face to face with a donkey on the path. He'd been bent over trying to see the way over rocky terrain, and in that position came face to face with the local. Ah fun times to remember.

Greek Christmas Carols from Crete and Peloponnesus

Since visiting them, the islands have never been far from my heart, I could have put down roots and stayed there. It was one holiday I never wanted to return from. I have yet to see any images that truly capture the light and beauty of the place.

My kitchen bookshelf - the statue is a Heartwood Creek Santa

I just had a text from a friend wondering what to bring for Christmas lunch, which got me to thinking not about lunch, but about Christmas treats. One of my favourite recipes is for Greek Christmas Cookies - Kourapiedes. A while ago now I happened upon a rather magical cookbook called Falling Cloudberries. The title attracted my interest and then once I opened it, I knew it was coming home with me to live at my house. Tessa's book introduced me to these treats and I've made Tessa's recipe many times. They are melt in your mouth wonderful little bursts of buttery delights and friends just can't get enough of them, once they start.

"Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes, by Tessa Kiros is a gem. The cookbook is full of personal touches and stories. It is a beautiful collection of family anecdotes, history, and traditions all documented with stunning photography, unique illustrations, and a warm dialogue that will simply pull you in. This book trailer will let you into Tessas exotic multi-cultural family gathered around meals, food and fun."
If you are looking for a lovely Christmas present for someone who loves to cook, who also loves soulful stories, you couldn't do better than Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros. Apart from wonderful recipes, I adore how Tessa has woven into the book her family history and images.

I treasure how people share and create their traditional recipes, and especially at Christmas. This is Irene Mina sharing her recipe and you can find more at Thursday for Dinner.com