A Year of Australian Writing – part 2…

Gosh, for a chick that has not read more than a shopping list for the last 5 years, have I got off to a flying start!! Whoop, whoop, me.
January 2015 shall be forever known to me as the-month-I-got-to-read-again and lordy, did I love it.

It’s all part of A Year of Australian Writing, happening over at Meet Me At Mikes.

First I got stuck into ANZAC GIRLS by Peter Rees. And I loved, loved, loved it. You know sometimes when you read a book and between reading sessions, it stays with you? This was one of those rare books.  It’s fair to say the house and kids were a bit neglected during the 3 days it took me to finish it.  It was beautiful, haunting, horrific, funny and profoundly moving. ANZAC GIRLS will forever remain with me as one of the best books I have ever read.

Anzac Girls - Peter Rees

After such a heavy read, and something I would not usually choose to read, I needed a light-hearted book up next.  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was the pick.  I enjoyed this immensely!  What is basically chick-lit, it was quite strange at first to be reading in the first person of the main character Don Tillman, but I got into the swing of things straight away and read this cover to cover in one sitting.  Having 3 small kids and reading until 1.30am is not clever.  Mental note to self – don’t do this again.  But the lack of sleep was well worth it, have put the sequel on my reading list for later.

The Rosie Project

Next cab off the rank, The Tapestry of Us, Lily Pickard was chosen from the cover art alone.  It was all out of whack, the ending first, then back to the start and moved forward to the ending.  When I did make it to the end, I went back and read the first section again – it was a bit queer.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this, the characters were really believable and the story engaging.  And I don’t think it could have worked, written in chronological order, but it was odd.

And that is me.  One month, 4 books.  Australian Writing rocks.

Goodnight, happy reading.


The list so far:

Wife on the Run – Fiona Higgins

ANZAC GIRLS – Peter Rees

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

The Tapestry of Us – Lily Pickard

Images from My Day…

Today I took a load of random images…



My current project, nearing completion.





I love the colours of glass-head pins.


Reggie, loving the watermelon.


Offering sage advice to Dad re the yard reno’s.


Connie and Kaz, spending some quality time together.  Cat’s are an enigma, right?  Connie spends most of her time lining the cat up to give her a good stomp or carts her about in a strangle-hold; then why does Kaz choose to sleep with Connie?  Beats the hell out of me, but it sure is cute.

And that my friends, was just some of my day.

Sleep well, dream sweet and may tomorrow be as wonderous as today.

Carmen xx



A Cure for the Blahs…

You know those days when you just feel blah, listless, bloated and just plain blergk? This soup will have you bouncing about in no time – and it is delicious to boot.Green Soup



2 Brown Onions – roughly chopped

1 Leftover Ham Bone from Christmas (or 1kg of bacon bones or similar)

4 Litres of Water

4 Pots of Chicken Stock concentrate (each pot makes 2 cups, I use Continental brand)

1 bunch of Kale

1 head of Celery

6 Zucchini

1 head of Broccoli

Cream to serve


Bung the first 4 ingredients into a large stockpot, you may need to add a bit of extra water, depending on your ham bone.  Let it simmer away for an hour or so.  Let it cool a bit and remove ham bone and put aside until completely cool.  Pick all the yummy ham from the bones and rip into shreds, ditch the bones to the dogs or chooks. Keep the meat aside for the mo.

Now into the big stockpot, throw all the vegies, really roughly chopped.  Bring to the simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegies are just tender with a bit of crunch left in them.  Blitz the bejesus out of this green marvel until you get the consistency you like.  I like mine with a fair bit of texture still, but hey, it’s your soup!

Throw the shredded meat back into the pot and stir through and you are good to go.  Slosh generous amounts into your fave bowl, swirl through a tablespoon of cream (or not!) and get ready to vroom through the rest of the day.

Get the recipe in PDF format, click here Millbrae Makes Green Soup

Green Soup3A Green Soup4A Green Soup5A

Enjoy, Carmen.

Letter to My Girl…

Collage LettersI received one of these a month or two ago and I wrote about it here.
And it got me to thinking, why don’t I write letters anymore? I used to be an avid letter writer, long rambling missives to friends all over the country. And I loved it. No matter if I received letters in return (tho it was always wonderful to find a letter in the mailbox that didn’t have a window), I just loved writing letters.
I have a collection of letters that I have written over the years, some photocopied-hand written ones, some in envelopes never posted and some on floppy disks (oh my, showing my age now), it’s been a long while since I last dug them out, but they are there, awaiting to become compiled into my memoirs perhaps? Maybe for my children to discover someday – and won’t they be surprised by the mischief told!
So tonight I sat down and penned my first letter…
Stamped, addressed and ready to post.

Get out your pad of paper, grab a pen and just write. A note, a card, an epic letter; just write to someone. You will be glad you did.

And who knows, maybe we can start a revolution!

Carmen xx

A Year of Australian Writing

My self-appointed challenge #2 for 2015 is off and running.  Hardly a challenge tho, I really do love to read…but I have never concentrated on Australian Authors.  I am a big fan of shop local, so if the boot fits…

The lovely Pip, over at Meet Me At Mikes has come up with this grand plan, you can read all about it here.
My first Aussie book of the year was Wife on the Run by Fiona Higgins. And I loved every page of it.
It was touching, poignant, laugh-out-loud funny, and just plain good reading. Get your mitts on it, you will not be disappointed.



Let me know what you think.

Happy reading,

Carmen xx

12 Spaces, 12 Months, 12 Edits

Yep, that’s what I’m gonna do.
I am overflowing with stuff, good stuff, bad stuff, old stuff, maybe stuff, one day stuff, stuff-knows stuff. And it needs to go.
The Kitchen is my starting point, it’s a big kitchen, a really big kitchen, with miles of bench spaces, oodles of cupboards and absolutely nowhere to put anything. Every single cupboard is full to bursting, the bench tops have disappeared under a mountain of detrius. Seriously, what 5 person household needs 27 main course plates? 34 Serving Platters of various size, shape and colour? Really?
So it’s a very big edit, not quite to the bare minimum as I do really love to cook and spend an enormous amount of time in the kitchen, but I’m thinking in the vicinity of 30% less. I want room to breathe.

I won’t bore you with the details of the other spaces, but they are (in no particular order…), the Dining Room, Kids Play Area, Laundry (including an unused Shower room, which has become store-room central), Sewing Room (be still my beating heart, it must be done), Spare Room, Pantry, Barbie Area (as in BBQ, not dolls:-), Office, Porch, Our Bedroom, Reg’s Bedroom.

In part this undertaking has been inspired by the lovely Annette from over at I Give You The Verbs, and her Hoist the Hangers series of posts.  Kudos to you girl xx.

Like I said, it's cluttered, and then some...

Like I said, it’s cluttered, and then some…

Can’t wait to get started.

Love Carmen xx


The Universe Is Of Infinite Abundance… (part 2)

It turns out that I am not going crazy, and that in itself is jolly good news.

I went to the Doctor, thinking I was going on a journey of recovering from some form of mental illness, when lo and behold, it turns out I was pregnant!Preg Test

A couple of times, I had wondered if perhaps, I was. But dismissed it straight away. We have only ever been able to have kids through IVF; weird, bi-cornate uterus and pathetic fallopian tubes are the culprit.  The gazillion doctors we had seen on that particular roller coaster ride, all said the same thing…you will never conceive naturally.  Never say never huh?

Seriously, I was dog tired ALL THE TIME, an emotional time-bomb with the shortest possible fuse, a sense of smell that would make a Perfumier wildly jealous, and in the few days before my appointment – constantly nauseous.  And I kept thinking, nah, I cannot be pregnant… major case of head in the sand, or too good to be true-itis.

Anyway, it was a crazy, emotional, nervous, excited few days until I started bleeding and bleeding and bleeding.  Number 4 was not meant to be.

I went for a scan, it was booked when I thought my little miracle was gonna happen and it would have been about 9 weeks, and the glimmer of hope I had harboured was squashed.  Zip, nada, nothing.

I had no idea how much I had wanted to see that little coffee bean shape with the madly flickering heartbeat on that screen.

I cried.

My head knew it was over before I went for the scan.  My heart had no idea.  I was crushed.

Another week has passed and I can honestly say I am OK with it.  I will always miss what might have been, but cannot wait for the morning sickness to subside – that is just cruel.  It is hard enough to cope with when you are growing a new life, but to suffer that, when that little life has been extinguished, well that is just mean.

I don’t do secrets and cannot imagine keeping all this to myself.  My friends and family know all that has happened, and boy oh boy, I am so not alone.  So many women have miscarriages and it stays with them – always.  It doesn’t matter if they were trying for their first or fifth child – it matters and it counts in a big way.

I thank you all for your love and support and for sharing your stories with me.  It matters and it counts in a big way.

So to the Universe I say; This body of mine might be nearly 42, but you can teach an old dog new tricks.  And if this body of mine can do it once, you betcha it can do it again – only better.  Thank you for letting me know this.

Carmen xx

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