Saturday, 28 April 2012


 Ugh, I have the nasty flu at the moment and feel rather rotten, but I was so touched to be nominated for the Sunshine Award by the lovely Lily at and the gorgeous Marina at   Thank you so much!

From my understanding of the rules I have to nominate 5 blogs that always brighten my day and answer a few questions about myself.  The first part is soooo hard as there are so many wonderful blogs that I love, but here are a special few that always delight me:

I know a lot of bloggers are not really into the awards scene and that is totally cool.  I just wanted to pass it on, as sometimes we all need a little extra sunshine in our day!

Now the questions…hmmm:

1.        Favourite colour:  I couldn’t possibly choose!  Ack!  I love white, I love sea-green and of course there is pink, ohhh and orange, pale blue…or red, white and blue.  Sorry!

2.       Favourite Animal:  this is hard!  I would have to go with a lovely, loyal dog (preferably one slightly more obedient than my own little mad Max),

3.       Favourite number:  13!  The day my son was born J

4.       Favourite non-alcoholic drink:  I do love elderflower fizz, but really you can’t beat a good cup of tea!  English breakfast is my favourite, comforting brew.

5.       Facebook or twitter:  Facebook without a doubt – it’s such a lovely, easy way to keep in touch with friends and family all over the globe.

6.       What’s your passion:  My family, cooking and baking, my garden and being out and about in nature – I go a bit dotty if I am inside too long!

7.       Giving or receiving:  giving – now that one was easy!

8.       Favourite pattern:  I am yet another Cath Kidston fan, so anything vintage, dreamy, whimsical and girly.

9.       Favourite day of the week:  Saturday when the family are all together and the weekend is laid out in front of us, full of possibilities.

10.   Favourite flower:  Peonies – especially the pale pink ones.  Bliss!

Max the dog at Makara...much to his dismay he has to stay on the leash as he is determined to hurl himself over the edge of the cliffs chasing seagulls...silly doggy!

Hubby has taken the boys off for a wild walk along the coast at Makara as I am feeling so horrible because of this darn flu (note to self…get a flu shot next year!).  So I think I will creep back under the covers again.  I have dug out a wonderful, old comforting book I adore – The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher – so might just have a few quiet moments reading in bed.  Take care lovely peeps and have a good week!  Becks xxx

Monday, 23 April 2012

Lest we forget

It is ANZAC day (Australia and New Zealand Army Corp) tomorrow, the 25th of April.  A day that is commemorated in Australia and New Zealand every year to remember those who died fighting for their country and to honour those brave servicemen and women who made it home again. 

Wars are such crazy and evil things and for many of us today, they are not a part of our daily reality, aside from the horrors that we witness on the news each night - horrors taking place far from our sweet, safe homes. 

My blog tends to be such a whimsical, girly thing - a little treat for me in my frantic, busy life.  But I wanted to pause for a moment and just write something here, just to remember...just to say I really am thankful for the sacrifices other people made.

I came across this poem by Australian Jeff Cook and thought I would share it here - it sums up things so well dont you think?

Grandpa, What Did You Do In The War?

I’d been mowing the lawn and pulling some weeds, and slipped inside for a breather
I picked up the paper and turned on the news, not paying attention to either
When my grandson came in with a look on his face and a question that hit me full bore
An innocent question, no intention to hurt, “Grandpa, what did you do in the war”?

My skin went all creepy, I had sweat on my brow, my mind shot back fifty years
To bullets that thudded and whined all around, to terror, to nightmares, to tears
I was crawling through mud, I was shooting at men, tried to kill them before they killed me
Men who had wives and children at home, just like mine, just like my family.

“What did you do in the war?” he had asked, a question not meant to cause pain
But it brought back the horrors I’d left far behind in a deep dark recess of my brain
I remembered the bombs being dropped from the planes, the explosions, the screams, and the loss
Of a friend - or an enemy - but a life just the same, replaced by a small wooden cross.

The visions attacked me of tramping through jungles, hot and stinking, with leeches and flies
Of orders that seemed to make no sense at all - of distrust, of suspicions, of lies
I lived once again all those terrible storms, the dysentery, fever, the snakes,
The blisters that lived with me month after month, all those blunders, and costly mistakes.

But how could I tell the boy all about that, ’Twould be better if he didn’t know
It’s a part of my life that I don’t talk about from a good half a century ago
So I gulped, took a breath and tried to sound calm, and bid him to sit at my side
Then opened my mouth to say a few words, but the tears welled up and I cried.

He cuddled to me with a look of concern, and I mumbled of feeling unwell
Then took hold of myself, blew hard on my nose, while I thought of some tales I could tell
“What did I do in the war,” I began, then the stories began tumbling out
And they flowed with such ease I felt better again, and got over my pain and my doubt.

I told him of how I had made many friends, how I’d trained and had gone overseas
Made a joke of how seasick I’d been on the way, almost dirtied myself when I’d sneezed
I told of the joy of the letters from home, of the hand-knitted socks and the cake
That I got for my birthday but three weeks too late ’cause it went somewhere else by mistake.

We talked about mateship and what it had meant to trust someone else with your life
And of when I came home to my family again, to my kids, Mum and Dad, and my wife
Of the crowd on the wharf, the bands, and the pomp, and the pride I felt in the parade
But I’m not ashamed that I hood-winked the boy, a decision I’m glad that I made.

He can grow up without seeing fear in my eyes, or know of the terror I knew
For he’d not understand - and neither he should - all those memories that hit me anew
But maybe some day when he’s older than now, I will tell him what war did to me
But with luck he won’t ask me ever again, about wars that never should be.

Jeff Cook

Jeff Cook has written this poem as a tribute to the fallen and the returned. For many years Jeff has recited at least one of his poems at the ANZAC Day Commemoration Service at his home town of Minlaton in South Australia.  

Take care peeps - hug the ones you love and have a peaceful and happy day.  Becks xxx

Friday, 20 April 2012

Carrot ball anyone?

Its harvest time in our garden at the moment and I have had some bumper crops of salad greens, bok choy, spinach, silverbeet, cauliflower and broccoli this weekend, but oh boy what a massive FAIL with the carrots!  Oh dear...I didn't realise that you cant grow carrots in a veggie box...the poor darlings need DEEP soil to grow nice and long like a proper carrot.  So we have carrot balls!  It sure did make us laugh.

We have also managed to grow some rather lovely WEEDS - check out this clover!  My son and I spent ages mesmerised by it this morning...trying desperately to find a four leaf clover.

There are some really pretty signs of autumn in our garden now, my favourite in our garden are these gorgeous red berries:

However, first prize for the prettiest garden in our neighbourhood must go to my next door neighbour and this simply gorgeous purple flowering shrub/bush/tree that she has in front of her cottage.  I have no idea what this beauty is called, but I have a plan to bake her something yummy and pop over one day soon to ask her the name of it and if I could please take a clipping, he he!

Inspired by my morning out in our garden, I decided to use some of the freshly picked produce and make some soup for lunch.  So broccoli and blue cheese soup it was.  I am afraid this is not a very good photo, but I do have to admit that it sure did taste great!


2 heads of broccoli - chopped up into small florets
1 large onion - diced
2 medium potato's - peeled and diced
1 litre of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of olive oil
100grams of blue cheese (I used Kikorangi from Kapiti Cheese, but any good blue cheese will do the job)

In a large pot (with a fitted lid preferably), add the olive oil and onion and gently soften the onion (don't brown it).  Next add the diced potato and the chicken stock, place the lid on the pot and leave to cook for ten minutes or until the potato is soft.  Finally add the broccoli and cook in the boiling water for another ten minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the chopped up blue cheese to the pot, stirring it in until it is all melted.  Finally, in batches, place the soup in a blender until a smooth consistency is reached - or use a stick blender if you have one.  This soup does not usually need any seasoning as the stock is quite salty and the blue cheese has quite a strong taste.  Serve with crusty farm house break - yum, yum, yum!

Right peeps, time to go and put my feet up for a bit and relax.  Hooray for the weekend!  May you all have a restful and relaxing one too.  Becks xxx 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

School Holidays

The Easter school holidays seem to zooming by so fast!  There are still so many things I would like to do with my wee son...ack!  It was his birthday a few days ago and his big request was a spiderman cake.  I adore baking, but my decorating skills are still a work in progress, but I decided to be brave and give it a go - how hard could it be?  Here is the finished cake:

My trick to decorating this cake was to first rough frost the cake (I made a chocolate devils food cake) with a vanilla butter cream icing, then I applied the white royal icing, which I had rolled out (like play dough for grown-ups as my good friend Leah from says!).  Then I used a paint brush to 'paint' the cake - this way you get a much more vivid red colour without having to use much food colouring at all (I used about half a teaspoon full...if that). 

I had actually wanted to use a more natural colouring for the cake as I am not a fan of giving kids foods with synthetic food colouring on them.  However, the powdered beets (which make quite a good red colour - I use it when I make red velvet cake) I ordered from a speciality grocery shop did not arrive in time.  It was all worth it though as my son was over the moon with the cake - phew! 

Today we had some great autumn weather (phew again!) so little son and I ventured out for a picnic by the sea.  We both love this spot by the sea (above) for its all about watching the waves and for my son its the fabulous climbing rocks.  He was certain he could see a pirate ship sailing into the harbour today ;-)

We are off for more adventures now so I must dash.  Have a great week peeps!  Becks xxx

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Easter escape!

The Easter school holidays are here - just in time too as my little fella was just dropping with exhaustion and ready for a break!  The weather is very autumnal with beautiful crisp, cool days and (thankfully!) lots of sunshine.  The garden has a new host of toadstools, which has delighted my young son (aged 7) who still believes that fairies and the like reside amongst them ;-)

For Easter weekend we nipped over the 'hill' (really a small mountain!) to visit some dear friends who live in the wine growing region known as the Wairarapa.  Its our bliss - one of those places that always puts a smile on our faces.

We had lots of time amongst the friendly, furry locals...

At the beach...

And enjoying every drop of the autumn sunshine, until it faded away at the end of each day...

Luckily the Easter Bunny managed to find us, much to the delight (and relief of my wee boy)...

I've been away from my computer for almost a week now and have really missed all the lovely blogs I follow, so I think tonight my treat will be a cup of tea and a relaxing read of all the gorgeous blogs I enjoy.  Have a great week peeps! xxx