??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


Three – magic to some

The challenge is listed as

In a nutshell, a three-picture story is a way to help you think about storytelling with images. To create a three-picture story, gather:

  1. An establishing shot: a broad photo of your subject.
  2. A relationship: two elements interacting with one another.
  3. A detail: a close-up of one part of your subject.

Not sure this is exactly the right pattern but these photos hold magical memories.

The amazement of Uluru appearing on the horizon


  Capturing the hues – close


Up close and personal with the story of Uluru



Friday Fictioneer – 100 words

I always enjoy having a dabble with this challenge when I can.  The idea is to write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end using 100 words. The prompt is a photo. This week it is from a site http://castelsarrasin.wordpress.com

Even if you don’t wish to participate in Friday Fictioneer there are some great stories contributed for reading on the site.

Hope you enjoy my writing 🙂



“Farming, base job of civilisation!” Grandma muttered when I told her one day I would work in a city wearing a suit.

“Farmers, salt of the earth,” Papa snapped when I told him I would travel the world learning about exciting places.

“Farming, in our blood,” Father snorted when I told him I would be a journalist sharing the plight of those oppressed.

“Shh … the hay truck is loaded, its first stop is the railway café a two hours’ drive away,” Mumma whispered, waking me far earlier than the cock’s crow.

“Go experience life. Write to me often please.”


Guaranteed Pan Envy!

Tonight I cooked dinner. Nothing so special in that I hear your mind thinking .  But, picture the scene…Oven – long dead; Stove top – one working hotplate; Enthusiasm – ZERO .

Typical conversation starts with my daughter. It’s only us tonight, my son’s gone to dinner with his girlfriend, and my husband’s gone to dinner with his dad. We list the take away choices only to find we are now at the point where (due to overkill) we turn our noses up at every variety of take away. We decide on Fettuccine Carbonara something we both enjoy.

New dilemma…Which sauce brand did we like (most weren’t to our liking). My daughter then utters those words that usually see me dive for the nearest take away menu and rapidly start phoning an order – “Can you make real carbonara from scratch?”

For some odd reason (Am I running a temperature? Am I delirious? ) I see myself calmly opening my iPad and googling a recipe. How hard could it be? I start reading the recipes with her and she discovers most contain eggs ( a dislike of hers), usually I just omit reading such ingredients but the word had slipped out too quickly and no way could I swallow it back just as she wouldn’t swallow a dish with 3 eggs in it.

Then I remembered the recipe a work colleague had given me and his dish was always tasty (yes I’d conned him to bring me lunch leftovers when he’d cooked this for dinner the evening before). Off I went to the supermarket armed with a mental note of ingredients. Although it only needed fettuccine, cream, bacon, mushrooms, onions, shallots and garlic somehow or other my trolley also featured frozen dessert pies of several flavours, Cornettos in a 4 box (Ice cream in a wafer cone) and some vanilla ice cream.

It all turned out too easy! I cooked the fettuccine to perfection using the method I gained from a favourite TV show (not Master chef or My kitchen Rules but rather Honey Boo Boo ) of tossing a piece of pasta onto a cupboard – if it sticks it’s cooked. Still only using the one hotplate that works , I sautéed (I speak the cooking lingo lol)onions with bacon then added mushrooms. I stirred this over a low heat (well, like I had much option on the hotplate) then added the cream, garlic and shallots. After simmering for a few minutes I tossed the fettuccine into the pan and we had FETTUCCINE CARBONARA!! I must admit while it looked inviting my daughter and I were somewhat hesitant in our first mouthful. The look of amazement on her face was priceless. It tasted fantastic!

Maybe now I have a signature main dish and dessert (rainbow layered cake). Better start working on an entrée.


carb fett



B is for Barbeque

Barbeque at Mangrove Creek Dam

Today we completed the 2nd letter of our alphabetical adventure around the Central Coast of NSW. I have never been to the Mangrove Creek Dam (Central Coast’s largest dam) though it has figured greatly in our local news over the last year. The Central Coast, like most of NSW, has experienced drought over recent years. This water source has, according to council records, been as low as 10.27% on 24 February 2007.

The dam is  an easy hour drive from the coast- not far from Kulnura. Many farms along the way had fresh fruit and vegetables for sale- oh and of course manure. We parked in the gravel car park and then walked around the picnic area. It’s not huge but the way things are set up you don’t feel the next ‘party’ is sitting right on top of you at the tables.


The picnic and viewing area is well kept and according to the council, recent updated. There are wooden picnic table and chair sets and two, free to use, gas barbeques complete with cleaning equipment. They looked clean, ready for use. But, being me, I had packed our own portable BBQ just in case they weren’t so clean. Oh, and essential to a good picnic spot is a good toilet block. It was not only clean but also had liquid soap and air hand dryers!

toilets                                                        Toilet block

The observation platform offers spectacular panoramic views of the dam wall and catchment area.


Interpretive signage boards completed the area, explaining the history of the dam and methods of making the dam. There even was a visitors’ book complete with pen (that worked!!) encased in a perspex box ready for comments (which people have done).








This place was a peaceful break from the stresses of daily life. A goanna wandered around undisturbed by the people there, in fact it looked like he enjoyed the visitors as he meandered around us rather than escaping.


It’s not, in my opinion, a picnic ground for active kids. There isn’t anywhere to kick a ball or fly a kite and bushwalking is out because there is an entry exclusion area surrounding the dam to protect our water supply. It was perfect for us though, we enjoyed a sausage sizzle and good conversation.



Another hidden spot to visit!





Cinderella – a Sangria princess

This post is in response to the Friday fictioneer challenge.

She accepted the sangria glass twirling it slowly between her fingers. The fruits spun causing ripples in the wine based liquid. She sniffed the cinnamon scent and closed her eyes, reliving those last days in Portugal – that artist – the laughter- love- sadness of a trip home to reality.

Curiousity and a heady schoolgirl like crush drew her today to the exhibit in her home town. She’d imagined this day, rehearsing conversations. She wasn’t foolish enough to imagine fairy tales come true. Her face looked back at her from a painting titled “Cinderella”. She knew there’d be no slipper left behind this time.

20140216-230747.jpg link


Il tavolo e marrone and other tales of Anna!

Browsing through the Daily Prompts on WordPress, today’s prompt caught my eye.

If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?

I come from Italian heritage. My paternal grandfather came to Australia from an island of the northern coast of Sicily, when he was 12 (in 1880). In 1915 he married my grandmother who had come to Australia a short time before that. I guess being an immigrant at that time was not a popular thing and so my grandfather apparently insisted he and my grandmother spoke only English. My grandfather died when my dad was nine and consequently he and his siblings spoke only English (though my dad and brothers knew some very choice sayings in Italian). I remember my grandmother speaking Italian with her sisters and relatives but I was more intrigued by the twigs (bayleaves) she had hanging to dry in the kitchen corner – not to mention the fact they went in the food she prepared!


Several years ago my daughter thought she would like to learn conversational Italian with a view to one day using it in her travels. I decided to join her, not because I had dreams at that time to travel there but because I thought it would give her someone to practice with and I knew no other language than English. I had done a little bit in high school (sure, a million years before). “How hard could this be?” I thought.”It’s in the blood,” I thought. “The intonation will come to me from that corner of the brain that houses special memories”. Not so, on any count.

cooltext1423796187link to doing these cool texts 🙂

Instead I copped the wrath of the teacher. Turns out Sicilian is not Italian as such. Turns out counting to ten and doing greetings and colours is not conversational Italian either. “What kind of Italian name is Kerry-Anne – you will be referred to as ANNA!!” she screeched in good Italian mumma tones (I remember the tone). This didn’t make for a good experience. Often I missed my questions in class (there were only about 8 of us), only to be berated for doing so- I forgot I was Anna and was looking around trying to see who should be answering the question.


I tried very hard but I was definitely a remedial student. I tried to complete my homework. One time it was so hard I typed up my daughter’s HSC assignment in return for her completing the homework for both of us – it came easy to her- and I was more successful in my typing. My daughter was dragged down by my inabilities and we laughed in class the day the teacher said my daughter had to complete the remedial lesson with me while the other students got to play fun games. Many times my daughter would whisper answers to me just so I didn’t get into trouble in class but we were often caught out and that wasn’t a nice experience.

I learnt very little to have a conversation with, but I did learn other things. I saw classroom dynamics as they are primary school – yet these were adult women and men. I found one student  (other than my daughter) was more supportive of the slower one (me) while others enjoyed making fun of me to elevate themselves. I learnt that if a teacher doesn’t like you the classroom isn’t a pleasant place to be. I learnt that bright red lipstick isn’t a good look when smudged on teeth of a snarling teacher (in fact it’s never a good look really). I learnt if you aren’t good at something you should just give up (well I got the message but never adhered to it, finishing my 10 week course proudly). So , the course wasn’t wasted time in one way.

I also learnt ‘Il tavolo e marrone’,

800px-Wooden_Table_-_SketchUp‘Dove (insert each family member’s name here)’


and ‘Caffe latte’.


I’m actually planning a trip to Italy with my family in the not too distant future. So hopefully I will have a chance to tell someone that the table is brown and I want a coffee with hot milk while I look for my family. You just never know!

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I just can’t comprehend

Today in my reader I came across a blog post with a title that made me second glance and want to read on. I was up early in the hope of going to work early but I got so involved with the post and video contained within I decided I can stay late at work instead. Bullying for any reason is something I just don’t understand. how can someone feel good by making another suffer? I didn’t know how to reblog the post but I felt I wanted to share it. I’m providing a link and hope those of you who agree with the content will share it further. For those that disagree with the content, as always my blog is an open discussion – discussion not rudeness though.



Thankful Thursday

I don’t get around to writing it each week but I do have so many things to be thankful for. Always thankful to link to A Parenting Life.

I’ve chosen two scenarios to share this week.

Firstly I am thankful that my daughter and her friends chose this week to go to Hamilton Island for a holiday. This time last week, the island was in the grip of Cyclone Dylan a category 2 cyclone that crossed land about 50 kms north of the island. Thankful too that no one was injured in the cyclone. Property, though it’s still a heartbreaking loss, can be replaced.

This  image is  from the NASA site. The time stamp is Jan 30 approximately 12 hours before the cyclone crossed land.I have marked Hamilton Island (approx) on the image.Dylan_Jan_30_2014_0350Z

The island is experiencing periods of heavy rainfall at the moment (also predicted for the next few days) but it’s not cyclonic. Must admit I’m watching the low pressures on the weather sites closely though.  There are lots of activities still for them to join and the weather is tropical warm. It’s always fun to get together with friends anyway.

day 1

Storm clouds brewing yesterday afternoon.

more rain rain

These photo were taken by my daughter’s friend. Rain or no rain still wish I was there ! Thanks  Dani 🙂



The second thing I’m thankful for is my elderly father in law looks like leaving rehabilitation hospital on the 11th February. About 9 weeks ago he had a major fall down some steps where he lives fracturing /smashing about 8 ribs and having an arterial bleed into his lung from it. Surgery was required and then a reaction to medicine caused an alarm for his life as blood pressure and heart rate dropped dangerously for several hours. But the hospital was able to reverse the effects of the drugs and he began making a pleasing recovery. Several weeks ago he was moved to a rehab hospital as he worked to restore his mobility and strength to enable to him return to his home. For this in itself I’m thankful but I’m also thankful that my husband will be getting some rest too.

Since the accident he has spent 4 week nights and 2 weekend afternoons visiting his dad to help keep his spirits high. For the first 6 or so weeks these visits involved about a 70 minute round drive after work. My husband commutes daily to the city for work – leaving home 6:30 am and arriving back at our local station close to 6:45 pm (approx. 80 min train trip each way). Then he had the drive. I was worried about his health as he was showing signs of fatigue from the routine but I also knew he wouldn’t have it any other way ( as in not  visit his dad regularly). The rehab centre reduced his drive by about 20 minutes so he was also able to spend more time then with his dad.

My husband really is a caring person and values his family highly, for that I’m thankful. I’m thankful that soon we will be back to eating dinner at 7:15pm rather than close to 9pm. I’m also especially thankful to have more time with my husband again soon (looking forward to nagging him just so he knows I care of course !). I’m not thankful to be starving knowing I have about another hour until dinner 🙂


Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge

I added Sheldon a few weeks back, so now it’s Blacky’s turn. Blacky’s real name as listed at the vet is Bugasby McSnugasby but in reality she answers to the call of a rustling plastic bag or the refrigerator opening. I call her Blacky.

Enjoying tasty tinsel icicles.

We have had Blacky for almost 3 years. She came to us from the RSPCA (well my daughter hunted for a black kitten) and she has always suffered from anxiety. The mere idea of a stranger sends her scrambling to hide in one of her self selected ‘safe spots’. She has been known to hide for hours at a time. We make sure she is in a safe room if we are having any visitors. She is a lot chubbier than the photo suggests, weighing in at around 7kgs  (she eats when stressed like all our family hahaha).


Blacky only leaves the house when on her leash. She is a little apprehensive even then but does enjoy the fresh air for a little while. As my daughter’s cat, she follows her around closely. When my daughter is away I’m next in line for love – oh and early in the morning I’m the one she knocks on the bedroom door for, as she knows I’ll get up even in the wee hours of the morning to give her a cuddle and a little food.irdvzuWe are both Google queens 🙂

Click on the badge for a  link to the challenge for pet owners and lovers.




A –Z of the Central Coast NSW

As part of my YOLO (you only live once) year 2014 I’m going to explore the place where I live. I’m aiming to find lots of different places and activities. I’m organising it alphabetically, with a little creative use of lettering as you will see. This post contains my personal thoughts as I was not a guest of the centre nor received payment of any kind to write about how enjoyable this place was. Purely a tourist!

 A –Z of the Central Coast NSW

A – 141 Alison Road Wyong 

The Milk Factory

History says it started as The Butter Factory in 1907 by a Co-op of 56 local farmers, existing to only process butter, not milk. It burned to the ground in less than two hours in 1921, the fire reported to have been so huge that the exploding butter could be seen and heard 10 km away! From the ruins a well-equipped Milk Factory was built by the 200+ dairy farmers who were shareholders in the Co-op. Today it has a variety of small stores as well as fitness venues and a picnic area by the river.

On arrival P1010740we were greeted by a few PURPLE cows and no! we hadn’t been drinking 🙂 The cows are creatively painted and help direct to the entrance. There is adequate parking in the grounds and we chose to park up close to the cafe before strolling around.




 First we headed to the Little Creek Cheese store. It has a working factory attached and although it wasn’t working today we could still look through the glass windows to the machinery. This would be interesting to watch when operating. Little Creek Cheese were awarded a Gold medal for their BBQ Cheese at the 2013 Royal Easter Show. The helpful assistant shared with us numerous samples (my style of sampling) of both on site prepared cheeses and hard cheeses from the Hunter Valley. He took time explaining a little about each cheese. We purchased a feta marinated with dill and garlic and a dessert cheese (not a Little Creek Cheese product with blueberries through it. Being a hot afternoon the assistant offered to mind our purchases in the fridge until we were leaving the Milk Factory and we took him up on his offer.


Yes the lid has been pulled off already. Couldn’t resist a sample when I got home.







P1010713Next we strolled past the fitness centres where some were working out their whole bodies unlike us working out our mouths on both talk and cheeses. We walked past a sheltered picnic area and down a staircase of stone to the river bank.



Row boats and kayaks were for hire but we just were observing today. It would be a nice activity to try on another visit. Little ducks swam around and a sign told us platypus lived in the area.

This would be a great place to sit with a Sunday paper and a coffee or some bread in a bag to toss to the ducks. The river runs over a weir. Basically the weir has been designed to ensure Australian Bass that travel to the salt water downstream to spawn in winter can travel back to the freshwater to feed and grow in spring and summer. It has also been designed to allow the fish to travel in low water times. Learned all this from a sign at the steps to the river. You could also read it easier here. (page 30)

P1010715   P1010719P1010728

Thirsty we headed back to the cafe but were sidetracked by  Luka, a chocolate factory. The staff was dressed in black with gold trim attire lending a magical feel of a Wonka variety. The factory was visible throughP1010734 big glass windows like in the cheese factory. We watched as milk chocolate was stirred by machine and saw some heart shape chocolates setting. We purchased some chocolates for later. A coffee shop and ice cream bar is due to open in here next week too, so many reasons to return!

Off we walked chocolate bag in hand (three bags within it) to the cafe. This too is only newly opened. I drank an iced coffee. The milk was pleasingly cold (nothing worse than a tepid iced coffee and had a great serve of whipped cream on top (my favourite serving style). My husband had an iced chocolate that tasted great (had to do a taste test) and a berry friand.


The Milk Factory would be a great spot for families with children and adults. Definitely worth the trip and it’s not that far from Wyong Station. I couldn’t locate any public transport but you could contact the centre to check that out.

An Awesome Activity