All You Need is LOVE


David Jones department store is famous for its animated Christmas window displays. And rightly so. I’m only sorry I didn’t get out in the evening to capture these all lit up, but trust me, they are superb and every child in Sydney ought to be taken to look at them.

Guinea Pig
Guinea Pig

Ursula Dubosarsky the award-winning Sydney children’s author was thrilled when asked to write an original story with an Australian flavour for the windows this year.

“I was thinking kangaroos, wallabies and koalas,” Dubosarsky says, but she quickly came around to the idea of using a reindeer. “It suggested a nice story of the Australian experience, which is very often an immigrant experience. Apart from indigenous people, we all appeared here from other cultures.”

Guinea Pig
Guinea Pig

Dubosarsky took home the toy reindeer to use for inspiration, as she often does. “You get a bit more personality from a toy. You know how it is, you think your teddy bear is talking to you,” she says. “I still use that technique, so I sat there with the reindeer.”

The tale he told her, Reindeer’s Christmas Surprise, was about visiting all his animal friends with presents, before getting a lovely surprise himself at the end of the story.


 Happy Christmas Everybody…!

New Zealand Wrap-up #1

A new week, a new country and a totally new destination for me. For 10 days I will be in the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’, and several smaller rounder ones. Staying near my son’s partner’s parents in the Waikato home to some of New Zealand’s most stunning landscapes. I may get to explore a little further, but I’m actually quite content to soak in the views from where we are staying and chill out with my new grandson.

Home Sweet Home

We are staying high above Ngarunui (Ocean) Beach. Located 5km west of town this wide expanse of black sand beach lends itself to lazy beach walks and picnics in the sand. It’s also a popular spot for surfing, bodyboarding and swimming.


Views from the Barn

What transfixes me the most is the colour of the water – a cloudy, milky turquoise, possibly because of the black sand, which is the finest powder sand I have come across and glitters in the sun.


Raglan is a small surfer town on the coast and boasts the world-famous surf break Manu Bay. The long, peeling left-hand break, said to offer one of the longest rides in the world, featured in the 1966 surfing film Endless Summer. Situated on the West Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, just a 45-minute drive west of Hamilton or a two-hour drive south of Auckland, Raglan  offers stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, inspiring arts or simply a good old cup of coffee.




You may have eaten Kiwi fruit,  but these are golden kiwi fruit and taste SO much better. Sweeter and without that odd chemical reaction that I and many others have when eating the green fruit. I am becoming addicted!

Christmas Trees

Pohutukawa Tree
Pohutukawa Tree

The pohutukawa tree (Metrosideros excelsa) with its crimson flower has become an established part of the New Zealand Christmas tradition. This iconic Kiwi Christmas tree, which often features on greeting cards and in poems and songs, has become an important symbol for New Zealanders at home and abroad. It is just about to flower so I hope to capture some good shots of trees in full bloom before I leave.

 Happy Days…!

Travel Theme: Colour

There are some wonderful colourful birds in Australia. Here are a few taken at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney last week.

Forest Kingfisher

A beautiful Forest Kingfisher flashed by. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Such a gorgeous colour!

and finally another picture of the cheeky female Electus Parrot (apparently the males are green).

Electus Parrot

Now hopefully that’s brightened up your day 🙂

Dee Why Lagoon

Today (Friday 21 November) was forecast to be one of the hottest November days in Sydney. 40 degrees centigrade. Fortunately it didn’t peak that high, but at 10 am it was 38 degrees and warm enough. By 3 pm I was fed-up of being indoors so set out for the beach at Dee Why, a mere 5 minute walk away. I took a book and headed for shade near the sea swimming pool at the south end of the beach. After an hour, I decided that it was cool enough in the breeze to head off for a walk along the beach. Walking on the sand is very good for rough heels. 🙂


I kept to the edge of the surf as I headed towards the metal pole featured in my previous post, stopping occasionally to see if I could spot a surfer. At the post I headed up into the sand dunes which were apparently once 20 metres high, and found a trail that led to the lagoon, once home to black swans, but sadly no more. Within moments the roar of the ocean was left behind and only birdsong could be heard in the stillness surrounding the lagoon.

A trail leads around the lagoon to Long Reef Beach where a couple of weeks ago I watched school-kids learn to paddle surf. When the sea is cut off from the lagoon, as today, you can walk over to a boardwalk and up the Dee Why headland for 360 degree views.  I opted to give this a miss and made my way back to the edge of the surf to walk back along Dee Why beach back to the Strand, letting the sea breeze caress my skin.

It did occur to me to put my sandals back on and also keep an eye out for snakes. I have no idea if there are any around here, but since Australia has the most poisonous snakes in the world it makes sense to be careful.


I’m still amazed to see so many Aussies lying out in the sun without shade. Hardly anyone wears a hat, even children! I feel like a right tourist in mine!


‘Slip, Slop, Slap! It sounds like a breeze when you say it like that Slip, Slop, Slap! In the sun we always say ‘Slip, Slop, Slap!’

Slip, Slop, Slap! Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat Slip, Slop, Slap! You can stop skin cancer – say: ‘Slip, Slop, Slap!’

What happened?

Has the ozone hole healed up?

It certainly doesn’t feel like it.

Perhaps they need to reinstate this advert!

Arrived back to a very warm flat, but a nicely chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that I had popped into the freezer before I left.

If you enjoy a walk, short or long, then you may enjoy visiting Jo’s Monday Walk where you are in for a treat.