Our European holiday begins!

Finally the day had come! Our much planned and eagerly anticipated trip to Europe was beginning. Here we are looking excited at Brisbane airport. The trip from door to door took 33 hours! Fortunately it was uneventful in a ggod way, and we were delighted to find ourselves in Utrecht at 9am Wednesday morning 10th April.

The day was cold, about 7 degrees. Eirinn greeted us before he left for work. I was so happy to see him again after 16 months. Here we are out on his back deck.

After he left we checked out the closest cafe called KEEK which had very nice coffee and healthy, inexpensive food.


It was a wonderful feeling to be back in Holland, sitting in a cafe, watching all the people (mainly young, mainly students) ride past on their bicycles.

The weather was a bit colder than I anticipated, only 2 or 3 degrees most mornings, rising up to 9 or 10 maximum. My Katmandu  jacket turned out to be not very warm in these conditions! Luckily Rowena (Eirinn’s partner) had a coat I could borrow while I was there.

Eirinn and Row’s apartment is in a very desirable part of Utrecht, down the Oudegracht (near the old canal) surrounded by all the food shops they might need and only about 12 minutes walk into the main part of town. I fell in love with Utrecht even more this time (we visited 2 years ago). I particularly love the Dom, which is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands….you can see it here behind us.

After a few days in Utrecht I found time to make a page in my travel journal. I had prepared a few backgrounds beforehand including this one with gesso resist clouds, which I intended to use for a page about the journey over. And here it is, with a photo of us looking wasted after 33 hours travelling. It was a bit of a mission to find somewhere to print photos, I dont think its going to be as easy as I thought. I imagined there would be lots of printing places like the one at home in Brunswick Heads, where I can take a USB stick and get pics printed on normal (not photo) paper. But it seems I will have to use automated machines in Europe which only print 2 sizes and only glossy photo paper. O well, first world problems, as they say.



My year in Pictures: December

My year in Pictures: DECEMBER

The first official day of summer! December 1st is the anniversary of our engagement so we usually celebrate it. This year it was a Saturday so we did our usual lighthouse walk and enjoyed brunch at Succulent cafe.


Our book club Christmas party. We all brought food, and instead of discussing a book we played a game. The first sentence of a novel was read out loud, and then we all had to write an imaginary second sentence. Then we tried to guess which was the real second sentence. Anyway, we had fun.

My beautiful Wed night women’s choir Mystica. We were only a small group this term but we sounded great. We performed at both the choir concerts I organised in December, here we are at the Bangalow concert on 8th.


The Songbirds performed at the Bangalow Choir concert along with 5 other choirs. We have a new bird, Fiona who replaced Jessica, and she did really well at this, her first performance with us.



This is where I was at 12:12pm on 12/12/12…at art journaling class! it was the last class of the year. That’s our teacher Zom right at the back.



The art shop/gallery where our art journaling class meets is called Still@Thecentre and they put on a Christmas party and exhibition of the work from some of the classes they have there. I worked hard to get my first art journal totally finished for the exhibition, and here it is!


The Songbirds were asked to sing a few numbers at this art exhibition/Christmas party.



Our Christmas gathering. I had neither of my offspring with me this Christmas, since they are both in Europe, so we had a quiet day with just the two of us, until the evening when we ended up having some friends over for a potluck dinner. Carols were sung, and we played a hilarious game of Truth or lie.

2012 was a good year for me and I believe 2013 will be even better as we will be travelling in Europe for nearly 4 months of it! New Year blessings to you all,may you all have a wonderful year ahead.

My year in pictures October and November

My year in Pictures continued: OCTOBER

Sanctuary is a beautiful group that meets every Sunday morning in Bangalow to sing, meditate and be inspired by readings and poems from many different mystics, poets and spiritual teachers. It’s our own Byron Bay version of church, but not so much Christian; it’s based more on universal spiritual principles and virtues. This particular Sunday we stayed for a picnic lunch in the park to celebrate Sunny’s birthday.

There was more fundraising for the Songbirds with this house concert and dinner we put on at Carmelle and Kieran’s place.



A birthday lunch for Grace at The Balcony restaurant in Byron…pictured here with Grace, Taly and Rachel.




I had a couple of weddings up at the Crystal Castle in October and this is one of them, a lovely family from England




I was involved (as a back up singer) in a fabulous show, written and performed by Louise from the Songbirds. It was called “Conversations with Goddesses” and it was both funny and moving. Here I am waiting backstage with Dylan, the musical director.





Gerrit became an Australian citizen in a ceremony at the Byron Council Chambers.



We had a few friends over that night to celebrate Gerrit becoming an Aussie. Here are our friends Maureen and Georgie resplendent with Australian flags.

2012 in photos Part Two

A continuation of my year in pictures: MAY
Breakfast with Jana at her place after a walk…..a treasured friend!






May is the best month for gorgeous sunsets, like this one just down the road at New Brighton beach.



Carmelle’s fairy themed birthday party. There was a performance of fairy poetry with harp and flute. We 3 Songbirds sang a parody of one of our songs to Carmelle as a surprise.






In May we had a visit from Gerrit’s youngest son who now lives in Melbourne, so we took him on our favourite lighthouse walk.


My lovely book club at our June meeting… I think we were discussing “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” and pretending to be French.



Louise and I on the “Slutwalk” in Byron Bay, walking against violence to women.




Walking the lighthouse track on a Saturday morning followed by brunch at a Byron Cafe has become a regular thing for us. You can see here the weather is still warm even though it is June.



I organised a choir concert on the last weekend in June. Here is my choir Choral Sea assembled before we went on stage.


2012 in photos…Part one, January to April

Happy new year everyone. I thought I would just summarise my year in photos. I narrowed it down to 3 or 4 for each month.

This is sunrise on Jan 1st 2012 up at Australia’s most easterly point (Cape Byron)


January 1st again, lunch with Eirinn and Rowena on their last day in Byron Bay before they headed back to Holland. It’s now been a whole year since I saw them! Wah!



My birthday party, we played pictionary in 2 teams and had a wonderful time.




Towards the end of January we visited New Zealand. Here we are on the boat to the South Island, where we spent a couple of days walking the Queen Charlotte track, as well as visiting Golden Bay and Kaikoura.

The Queen Charlotte track is a glorious 5 day walk along the QC Sound. We only did 2 days of it, staying in a bed and breakfast overnight.




Wharariki beach is a remote beach at the very top of the west coast of the South Island, and it’s absolutely stunning.




In Kaikoura on the east coast we met up with my friend Belinda and had a  long walk around the headland and some  close encounters with a seal colony! This is not to be recommended.



Valentine’s day saw us back on the North Island in Wellington.




My vocal group The Songbirds performed at International Women’s day and we were very well received. As usual…those girls can really sing! Plus they’re all shining spirits and I think that comes through when they sing.


My lovely daughter Katy came over to visit from London (with her cousin Hannah) for only 3 weeks. Here we are having a coffee break on the Byron lighthouse walk.



The two sisters and our two daughters…a happy lunch at the Conscious Cafe in Byron. They were admiring my art journal.




Another Songbirds performance at the Sphinx Rock cafe, WAY out in the country, on a wet Sunday afternoon. We had lots of family and friends there supporting us.



We drove to Sydney for a couple of weeks because we had a non Simultaneous house exchange happening with a couple from Cornwall. We visited my friend Domenic at Dangar Island on the way down.

We headed straight up to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, for some quality time with my old friend, movie buff extraordinaire, Noel. We had a strenuous bush walk with coffee and cakes at the end!

Also stayed a couple of nights with my brother Chris and his family.

While staying a few nights at my sister Noela’s place we had a family reunion with some of my siblings.




Here we are being tourists in Sydney, my home town! We are on the ferry to Manly, just going past the Opera House as you can see. At Manly one has to buy fish and chips to eat down at the beach front promenade while fighting off the seagulls.

Growing Older

A few weeks ago I had a week when a few different people commented that I looked unhappy lately. This perplexed me because actually I don’t think I’ve ever been happier really! So I figured out it’s because the corners of my mouth are succumbing to gravity, so if you catch sight of me not smiling I probably do look unhappy, or even grumpy! This is of course a rather disturbing new development in my aging process, but not one I can do much about, unless I have a facelift which I won’t.I have noticed that not everyone gets this dropping mouth thing, I guess its hereditary because it happened to my mother. I wish it wasn’t happening. Sometimes I feel a bit depressed when I unexpectedly catch sight of myself in the mirror or not smiling in photos. On the other hand, some people my age are much more wrinkled than I am, so I suppose we all have different aging processes. I’m trying not to think about it, I mean I’m healthy and happy, and glad to be alive and able to go through the aging process! I think it was Maurice Chevalier who said “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative”.

So I made a page about all this and here it is. It is a fairly simple page really. I used some stencils and stamps and the red flowers are from some old wrapping paper.

I’ve nearly completed my first art journal..I started it in September last year, so its taken me 15 months. I have been working in a couple of other journals as well, but this is my large A4 one and I’m feeling quite proud of it. We have an art journal “exhibition” on next Thursday when some of the brave souls from our art journaling class (including me) will be putting them on display. It’s a bit scarey! I’ll take some photos and let you know how it all goes. I’ll be smiling in the photos.


My vocal group The Songbirds performing at the writers festival in Byron Bay last August. This doesn’t have much to do with art journaling  but I wanted to test out the plugin for including youtube clips on my blog. Who knows maybe one day I’ll start making some youtube clips relevant to art journaling?  We are singing a 3 part arrangement I did of Leonard Cohen’s song “If it be your will”.

My first post


Hello and welcome to my blog! I would love to share some of my art journaling journey with you. I’ve just discovered art journaling through attending some classes in Byron Bay with Zom Osborne , starting in September last year. You can visit her blog here.

I think it’s wonderful that art journalers can now connect and share with each other through the internet and blogging, and I want to be part of it. I hope you will come back from time to time and check out what I have been doing, and I invite you to comment if you feel to.

This is one of the first pages I made in the class with Zom. We brought in a photocopy of a photo of ourselves (this is me at 4 or 5 years old) and then painted it/altered it in some way.

Magical Child page


That is a photo of my parents at their wedding on the right. I was the 5th child in the family and was born quite a long time (8 years) after the first 4 and I was unplanned, so “appeared as if by magic”.

The quote at the top by the Irish mystic John O’Donohue says” May you realise that the shape of your soul is unique, that you have a special destiny here”. I think that I was affirming that even though I was an unplanned baby, I nevertheless have a right to be here, that I, like all of us, bring my own uniqueness to the world.