Monday, June 24, 2013


I think one of the things that can hinder us from productivity is the internet. Tumblr, emails, blogs, google, twitter, facebook and all those other social networks.

 That we can find, see or say anything in a flurry of text and a click of a button - it scatters us. It makes us impatient. And, I believe, it makes us numb. 

Scrolling through tumblr blogs has trained my eyes to flicker lickety-split over the beautiful photographs. I fly through a blur of colour and creativity until something captures my eye. In barely a second I size the photo up. Does it have that special something? Is it interesting enough? Is it me? If so, a click or two and it appears on my blog. If not, I'm back - skimming through the pages of exquisite beauty.

Someone has taken each one of those photographs. Every one is unique, special and so lovely. Yet "I don't have time", I tell myself, to look closely at each one. To notice the details. Admire the composition and light. To imagine the stories that lie behind. 
Yes. Life is short. Time is precious. And this is why we can't afford to whiz through it all, dull our senses by demanding the best, seeking the perfect. 

We seem to thirst after perfection. Spend our lives chasing after it. Look on anything that isn't perfect as useless, or ugly. We're becoming almost Nazi-like in our outlook on life. Selecting the best out of the mass, adding it to our collection - discarding the rest. Don't we do that with people too, sometimes?

Are they interesting? Smart? Funny? Creative? Do they 'click'?
In they go to our exclusive group of friends. Someone who we would be happy to share our time, money and love with. What if they don't suit our standards? We drop them. Let them go. Keep searching. 

Abortion is another example of this relentless hunt for flawlessness and our stinginess with what we have to give. Tens of thousands of lives are being wiped out around the world each day. 
Each one full of potential. He could have made his grandfather laugh. She could have written a song that touched the hearts of thousands. His dad could have taught him cricket in the backyard. He could have saved a life. 

But those precious lives are cut short before they even have a chance. 


Not enough money. Not enough time. Not enough love. Or, sometimes, it's just not what was wanted. She was a girl. They wanted a boy.

We are spinning faster and faster, spiralling out of control. Busy, stressed, instant, easy, quick....' I've noticed these words more and more lately. In advertisements for wrinkle cream. On soup packets. On billboards along the highway. In book titles. People want it perfect, and they want it pronto. 

Slow down. Look closer. Marvel in the details.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

'How has practice been this week?'
I'm unwinding my bow, watching the snowy hairs lose their tautness until they are perfectly relaxed. I slide it into its case and pick up my violin.
My teacher looked up, waiting. 'But?'
I slowly rubbed the tiny flecks of sparkling resin from the warm, honeyed wood of my violin.
'I just don't feel...creative, or something. I can't feel the music. I'm playing this beautiful Beethoven Romance and it's just...I don't know. Blank?'
She takes off her glasses, her blue eyes wise and pondering. She leans back in her chair.
'With art, you can't always feel creative. Impossible! The feeling part - that will come. In the meantime, don't wait around for inspiration to come to you. Revel in the miracle of each note. The wonder that, by drawing the bow across the string you create sound. Beautiful sound. Feel the pleasure of your fingertips pressing into the steel. The very bones of violin playing.'

On my way home, I pondered that thought - gazing out the window at the autumnal sunset. 
'Marvel at the miracle of each note. The wonder that, by drawing the bow across the string you create sound. Beautiful sound.' And by adding notes, high, low, dark or light, slow and brooding or skittering merrily after each other, lightning fast - all these fitted together make up an exquisite melody. Music.

The next day I am up at dawn to practice. Tiny wrens flit from branch to branch outside my window, and I hear a magpie warbling lustily somewhere in the garden. Do birds wait around for inspiration to sing?
I open my case, gently lift the instrument from its velvet bed, the cool wood familiar against my skin. Just play. Fingers poised on the strings. I start to play, releasing the first pure line of a Bach Partita into the clear silence of the morning. Just at that moment, the sun slipped its radiant head from the clouds and a beam of warm light filtered through the window, resting on my violin and making it glow.
I smile. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

creating an atmosphere

image via
It's a stormy afternoon here - trees are tossing wildly about in the wind, rain is streaming down the window panes and the view from our house is shrouded in a grey mist. Inside though, all is warmth and cosiness with Chopin piano Nocturnes and a hot pot of tea and warm apple cake by my side.

I love creating atmospheres. Recently, I had two friends come up and stay for the weekend. We had planned for bonfires and camping, but it poured rain for the whole time. Instead of tents, we slept in the cubby house up at the top of our garden. It could have been musty and cold and miserable - but after a quick sweep and tidy, we lugged up armfuls of blankets and pillows, set about dozens of jam jar lanterns and made a thermos of hot cocoa. In no time at all, the atmosphere had been completely changed. As the rain beat down on the roof, we sat inside - woollen blankets about our shoulders, steaming mugs of cocoa warming our hands, and the candles casting a beautiful flickering glow around the room. The time we spent up in that cubby - huddled together and chatting until the early morning hours - will always be a precious memory.

For me, the things that really make an atmosphere are the people, music and the actual setting. Whenever it's my turn to make dinner, I usually begin by tidying up the house to make a clean canvas. When things are messy and cluttered, it makes my mind feel messy and cluttered too. There is something so peaceful and welcoming about a tidy home. Next, I like to pretty things up a bit. A jug of flowers from the garden, a candle or two, turn the lamps on and set the table. Then the music - usually jazz for the evening. Ella Fitzgerald is one of my favorites.  By the time dinner is on the table, the atmosphere is complete. Instead of an ordinary dinnertime we have a family feast with delicious food, good conversation and beautiful music.

What are the things that make an atmosphere for you? Do tell!

P.S. I have made a tumblr blog - the beautiful is as useful as the useful

Monday, January 14, 2013

on words...

I love words! Here are some of my favourites:


Just reading through them makes me happy!
 Do you have any favourite words? 

Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello World // Just for Fun

Hello there! It's been a while - again. We've got a bit to catch up on, my blog and I. Firstly,
Happy Spring (for back in September!)
Isn't that frothy creaminess exquisite?! Peonies are one of my very favourite flowers. Spring was a lovely time this year. One of the loveliest things was that I had my birthday - and an Edwardian Garden Party to celebrate. More on that later.

Next, Happy Summer!
I am just loving the summer holidays. Sea breezes, sailing, wind-swept hair, fresh watermelon, long bike rides at dawn....these are just a few of my favourite things of this season.

Happy Christmas!
How was yours, lovelies? I spent a blissful few hours hidden away in my room, humming along to Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald as I let loose with the brown paper and string. It's such a beautiful time of year.

Lastly, Happy New Year!
This year has been a big year. Probably the hardest, but also the most exciting and blessed. I'm so looking forward to the year ahead! What are you all doing to celebrate? Any New Year's resolutions? This year I'd like to get better at French, read a lot of good books, and make more time for the things that really matter.

One more thing, before bedtime, for fun. :) By this person, via Carlotta
Things That Say a Lot About People
the way in which they treat the waiter/waitress
how they feel about the weather
whether they dog ear pages or highlight in books
and hands in general
their preferred creative outlet
how much they dread/enjoy talking on the phone
whether or not they drink coffee
if they ever forget to eat
how honest they are with themselves (and others)
if they correct your grammar
and whether or not they get nervous before haircuts.

I. I think waiters and waitresses should be treated politely, but not too chattily. Putting yourself in their shoes, I'm sure it's refreshing to meet a costumer who returns a cheerful hello. Everyone matters. But I rarely make conversation with strangers. 

II. The weather is a big thing for me - it definitely effects how I feel. I like both rain and sunshine, but after more than three or four days of drizzle start to feel a little Eeyore-ish. I love being outside in the fresh air, and I absolutely adore walks in the pouring rain. I prefer warm weather to cold, as it's so much more motivating!

IV. I have to keep my nails fairly short because of violin and piano, and they're usually painted with clear or a very pale pink polish. Fake nails send shivers down my spine.

III. I don't think I've ever dog-eared or highlighted anything in a book, apart from my Bible. I've started keeping a literature journal though, so if I read something that grabs my attention I can jot it down to mull over later.

V. I have quite big hands, with long fingers. They go purple when I'm cold!

VI. I have a lot of creative outlets, music probably being the main one. Photography, writing and cooking are my other favourites.

VII. I don't talk on the phone a lot, but when I do I usually love it. My best friend and I can talk for four hours without stopping.

VIII. I've just discovered coffee. And how incredibly wonderful it is. I rarely drink it though, as I want to avoid too much caffeine while I'm young.

IX. The only time I forget to eat is if I'm really immersed in doing something creative. Sometimes when I'm practising violin or piano I'm having so much fun I lose track of time and just can't stop!

X. I think it's really important to be honest with everyone, including yourself. I only share personal things with my closest friends, but there's a fine line between pretending everything's perfect, and burdening people with your problems. I think one should always be open, but positive.

XI. I love good grammar. So yes, I do mentally correct other people's mistakes!

XII. I've never felt nervous about getting my haircut, but then again I've never got anything very drastic done at all. I'm sure I'd feel a few butterflies if I was about to get bobbed!

That's all for now folks! Have a wonderful week. 

Monday, June 25, 2012


       Today was a grey day, but of the best sort. Of the sort that doesn't matter if you don't feel motivated and disciplined  - because, for once, you don't have to be. Today was the start of the holidays. That blissful feeling of knowing that you don't have to do anything, flooded my soul from the  moment I opened my eyes  this morning. And so I didn't do anything. I closed my eyes again. I didn't go back to sleep, just lay there, revelling in the luxurious sound of rain pitter-pattering on the roof.

At about 10 o'clock, I enticed myself out of bed with the thought of a cup of tea, which I got - along with a book - and returned to my bed. And there I stayed for most of the day, until in the late afternoon I sprang out, got dressed, scribbled down this post, swept the floor and made an enormous batch of creamy potato and bacon chowder for tea.

Sometimes it's doing absolutely nothing - thinking nothing, planning nothing - that replenishes the inspiration and enthusiasm for work and creativity. Yes, too many lazy days can dampen and snuff motivation, but if rare, they are just the thing for refreshment and inspiration. Now, after a day of nothingness, I feel not only ready, but enthused for a productive holiday. My head is brimming with plans and ideas - without my trying to put them there.

Happy holidays.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012


What a horrifyingly long time it has been since I last blogged! Dearie me...

Unfortunately, my head has not been stuck in the Lord of the Rings for the whole time. 

Violin practice, maths, geography, music history and theory, violin practice, English, French, Biblical history, violin practice,Aristotle (yes - I am determined to broaden my literary horizon!) violin practice....and oh! did I say violin practice?

 These and many other things have been filling my life to the brim. 

Another post coming soon! 

I promise.

In the meantime, have a look at this
It's directed towards storytelling/writing but I found it applicable to other areas of life as well..
It's very encouraging - highly recommendable.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas, everybody!

May your weekend be filled with joy, laughter and many happy memories.

More photos to come...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blueberry & Almond Cake

There is something immensely satisfying about baking with your very own home-grown, hand picked produce.
Our blueberry bushes are laden with fruit this year, so yesterday afternoon I whipped up a delicious Blueberry & Almond Cake.
Blueberry & Almond Cake
4 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup self-raising
150g melted butter
1 cup almond meal
250g blueberries
Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk for 8-10 minutes or until thick, pale and tripled in volume. Sift the flour over the egg mixture and fold through.
Fold through the butter and almond meal. Pour the mixture into a 20cm x 30cm slice tin lined with baking paper and top with blueberries. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Turn onto wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pink Party

Yesterday afternoon, we had a party in the orchard for my sister’s 10th birthday.
She had a few friends over to help celebrate, and we all had a lovely time playing games, eating the delicious party food, and opening presents.
Here are some photos...
The Cake
Musk Lollies
Cucumber Sandwiches
The beautiful table in the orchard

The Birthday Girl and her friends

Pink lemonade!

Sally was under the table, waiting for some manna to drop from Heaven

3-legged races in the garden, which somehow turned into a hopping contest!

Pink Jelly Lamingtons