Archive for December, 2012

A beautiful Christmas in the mountains

December 30, 2012

31697-la-boulangerie

We have spent a wonderful few days over Christmas in the mountainous Granite Belt. Our family own the old boulangerie in the French inspired village of Amiens near Stanthorpe. The lovely little village was developed in the years following  WW1 after servicemen were resettled in the area. It one of my favourite places to visit where I can find rest and think of the gentle reprieve and solace our forefathers would have found in this  beautiful place. With minimal passing traffic one is enveloped in the serenity of lush alpine pasteurs dappled with granite, grazing donkey and doe eyed cows that gently wake you up in the morning as they slowly amble past the bedroom window. Crisp mountain air cools everything down and it is easy to loose track of time lazing under the willow in the garden, reading, writing or just enjoying a snooze. The milder temperatures also lend to abundant birdlife – parrots, rosella, cockatoos, magpies, cheeky little willy wagtails and finches that flitter about.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner party with our French hostess and new friend Claudine, a neighbour from up the road. A stroll to say hello to the goats before dinner led us through an orchard of figs, olives and plum trees covered in ripe, ruby red fruit – yum and it didn’t take much encouragement to get the bush poetry, Irish ballads and song flowing freely after dinner. Christmas and Boxing Days were full of family, music, laughter and all the festive trimmings. I could not think of a more enjoyable way to spend Christmas and find myself refreshed and ready for a new year.

Life Drawing….

December 12, 2012

LifeDrawing003Artwork by Tom Grevera [www.tomgrevera.com]

A few months ago I attended my first life drawing class at the Old Ipswich Courthouse, a beautiful historical building now home to the Ipswich Art Society. It was inspired by a ladies day out earlier this year visiting the Matisse exhibition at GoMA. It was delightful, I loved the work inspired by his travels to the middle east and orient, rich colours, garments, fruits and the exotic contours of his subjects eyes. We had a break for morning tea before spending some lovely time in the drawing room where a lovely young lady serenaded us with classical pieces on the violin – I was in heaven! I brought along my little love heart tin box with walnuts for a snack and enjoyed them with a nice tart cranberry juice whilst the other ladies had some lovely teas and espresso with Italian shortbread. The four of us discussed all sorts – art, fashion, photography, our dreams and goals for this year and beyond. One of the ladies suggested that we have another outing to the Life Drawing class in Ipswich and whilst we couldn’t quite make the diaries match together, I eventually made it along taking my sister-in-law who is herself an amazing artist and mother of three young boys. For her it was a lovely way to reconnect with her love of drawing, take some time out and the two of us enjoyed a lovely evening. I found it such a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours and as my little drawing debut unfolded, my appreciation for Matisse and his work that I had viewed earlier this year certainly deepened to a new level.

Life Drawing classes are on certain Wednesday evenings and open to the public.

Why women do….

December 3, 2012

girls

As women we seem to have an auto pilot function to connect with one another. Some say we are from Venus where we talk en masse, others put it down to nest protection and social insurance that our great-grandmothers invested into whilst the men went out hunting. Whatever theory you subscribe to, there is nothing more apparent than the natural gravitation that women have toward socialising and connecting. I know that one of my favourite things is catching up with a good friend over a nice macchiato and perhaps a good vintage scurrage.

cafe date

Whilst we can be one another greatest advocates and supporters, there is another side to women’s society. There probably isn’t a female reading this that won’t have a painful memory spring to mind when I mention the notions of  betrayal, lies, control, manipulation, jealousy and gossip.

grocery run

(“Celebrating Inner Confidence” – Schick Quattro campaign 2010)

I was discussing this issue with a friend who has recently been through a difficult period in her relationships with female friends. She referred to a series from Oprah’s Lifeclass that had really helped her so I decided to have a look. I found five short (4 minute) videos and spent a few moments watching them. The information really helped me to process some situations that I had personally been confronted with at the time and reminded me of how important it is to operate from a position of peace with yourself. Building your own platform of confidence and self-respect is the key not only to treating others with dignity and respect but also having the wisdom to recognise the underpinning issues of fear and low self-esteem when those near us are pulling out the claws.

cat

Acknowledging that we are all far from perfect can give us the grace to forgive. If the behaviour continues, then comes the difficult decision of what I call the platonic break up. Maybe temporary but most times permanent, it is an essential part of our self-development and is natures way of helping us develop a positive peer group. Consider the five people that influence you the most, think about their attitude, the words they speak, the way they treat others and any other value that is important to you? Would you be satisfied to be an average of those five? We have limited space in life so consider your standards and make your inner circle count!