Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab.
Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me "step into the light".

Welcome!

Welcome!
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Monday, 26 October 2015

Finding myself - 50 plus plus

I nearly decided not to post this...but then I thought....someone else might be going through the same feelings...so why not put it out there so they know they are not alone.

Do you sometimes find yourselves in a down period, when you know you should be happy, but for some reason you cannot put your finger on, you are not?

Regular readers to my blog might know that I was "offered" redundancy/early retirement back in April 2015. I wasn't enjoying my workplace where I had been for the last nearly fifteen years, so I gratefully welcomed this change to my life as it meant that I could have more time to explore more creative areas of my life. 



Life has been so busy since then....
Along with the usual family activities.....there has more time to walk in the mornings, I've attended a couple of art workshops (as well as running 2 photography workshops), lunches with friends, photographed a new cook book, danced in a couple of Flamenco shows, enjoyed two camping trips, tried new recipes (I recently started going to Spanish cooking lessons), spent time photographing wildflowers and I volunteer on Friday mornings in our local primary school library.


I won a photography competition "Against the Light" in September, met some wonderful people while being involved in photographing for the book "Ferguson Valley Plated" , walked with and interviewed volunteers on the Bibbulmum Track for a magazine article (coming out soon in Go Camping magazine), and had some of my photography displayed in a Spanish themed art exhibition at the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries. 


 August and September were very busy for me taking photos, in conjunction with another photographer, for the cookbook Ferguson Valley Plated. This is the first cookbook I had photographed and I felt very grateful for this great opportunity to gain experience and learn more, given to me by Kim from Peppermint Lane Lodge in the Ferguson Valley. Thank you Kim.

At the same time I was attending rehearsals three times a week for our Flamenco production "Ole" plus extra practice at home every day - well most days :).  I have been doing Flamenco for the past three and a half years, and finally this year I think I am starting to "get it" thanks to the patience of my teacher and fellow members of Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company in Bunbury. Which goes to show you can learn a new dance style even at my age with no dancing background!  I blogged about our show here - Ole-Celebrating 25 years of Flamenco

Here's a pic from our Flamenco and Tapas Soiree at the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries on Sunday afternoon 25 October.  



The day after the "Ole" production in September I received notification that I won the "Against the Light" photographic competition run by the WA Photographic Federation. I was completely overcome with emotion. Below you can see my photo on the front cover of the book, plus also our Spanish dance program and one of my pages from the cookbook.  You can see more on the WAPF web page - Against the Light_WINNERS


Over this time I felt that life was running too fast. In fact I blogged about it way back in June before life really sped up! - Is Life Running too Fast? 
"I'm loving this time I have been given to fly free, to explore new things, to find out who I really am. To step outside the square of retirement and to be open to the possibilities. To be true to myself."

 Reading back over my post I certainly have been busy with opportunities that have come my way, but I don't know if I have quite found my new path. I wish the right one would hurry up and stand up! 

Now all the froth and bubble of life has simmered down what now? I find myself with my days stretching before me, and I am not always enjoying my own time I have to do my own thing. We don't have to be happy all the time do we? 
 

I am actually feeling low even though I have no need to be. I have a wonderful husband, family and friends, and I belong to very supportive writing, photography and dancing groups. I have health, food on the table, a comfortable house, and the time and dollars to do whatever I want with my days (within reason). We are planning my husband's retirement at the end of the year, and two trips away next year. 

So there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for feeling like I am. I KNOW I have much to be GRATEFUL and THANKFUL for. 

Last rose - against the light


Do you ever feel low for no reason? I don't know why it is. Perhaps I don't feel as useful as I did in the past. Perhaps it is the fact that I am fast approaching my next major "zero" birthday next month. Perhaps I feel like life is passing me by way too quickly and I still have so many things to do.  Perhaps I feel like I haven't achieved anything or made a difference in my life. When I read back over my year I know this is silly. 

 I know it won't last. I will get over it. And life will be fine again. It is not that I don't have personal projects to be working on. They are scattered all over my computer desk.

Sometimes I think we just need to give ourselves space and permission to take time out in the garden with a cup of tea and a good book. Or just sit and ponder where we are at in life, what makes us happy and fulfilled, and what we need to move forward.
 
I need to take my own advice. And I know this feeling won't last and I'll pick myself up again.

I've just read Annabel Candy's blog post - The Happiness Project Review on her blog Get In the Hot Spot. She has listed great 23 tips for happiness from Gretchen Rubin's book. It seems like I'm not the only one after all! I've enjoyed scrolling through Annabel's blog this morning. There is lots of inspiration to find there, especially under Lifestyle & Wellbeing. 
52 Exercises: How One Woman Dared to Deal With a Mid-Life Crisis

Katchy Marris has some fabulous tips for finding yourself over on her blog - Fifty Shades of Age - Finding Ourselves

Jo Castro's Lifestyle Fifty is a fabulous blog which talks about a range of issues for us Over50s. Jo says "I write Lifestyle Fifty to help empower older women like me to be have fun, make a difference, stay healthy, remain stylish and be happy."

Sadly soon I won't be in that age bracket - Oh there I go again! 

Tea in the garden with my mother's 1950's tea cups.

 But do you understand where I am coming from? Do you ever feel like that? What did you do about it? I would love to hear from you in the comments. 

 You might like to look at this stunning photographic series - Reflections of the Past - by Tom Hussey. The photos show an elderly person looking pensively at the reflection of his/her younger self in the mirror.
Are you surprised sometimes when you look in the mirror and expect to see your younger self? Do you still feel like your younger self? Where did all those years go?

And thank you so much for reading my ramblings today. I'm off to my Spanish cooking class. Tonight we are making Paella and Sangria. Here is our fabulous cooking teacher, my new Spanish friend, Montse - making a new life for herself and her family in a new country. 

 Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday  

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Image-in-ing
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday
 


 




Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Apple roses - easy and delicious dessert

I don't know if you have seen the little video that this trolling around Facebook at the moment for little Apple Roses.


 I've been seeing it pop up now and then over the last few months. They looked so delicious and easy to make. A couple of weeks ago we had some friends coming to our house for lunch so I decided Ito stop procrastinating and make them! They were a hit with our guests.

I'm not sure how to upload the little how to video - but please go to the link from Just Eating Real Food - Apple Roses - I hope it works for you ok. 

They were fun and easy to make and used very few ingredients. They were a bit fiddly to make so allow 1 hour preparation time. 


And here is the recipe - 

2 red applies - half and core - I used Pink Lady apples - and cut into thin slices. 
Put into a bowl of water with juice of half a lemon. Microwave for 3 minutes. 
Drain water.
Put 3 tablespoons of apricot jam with 2 tablespoons of water into a small bowl, and microwave for 1 minute. (You could try other sorts of jam too)
Thaw 1 or 2 sheets of puff pastry. (1 sheet will make 6 rolls, 2 sheets 12 rolls)
Roll the pastry out thin and cut into 6 strips.
Spread with jam. Place slices of apple on one half of the pastry strips. Sprinkle with cinnamon. 
Fold over the other half of the pastry strip and roll into rose shapes.
Put into muffin tin. (I put squares of baking paper into each muffin hole first).
Bake at 375F or 190C for 40-45 minutes. (I brushed over a little melted butter before cooking)
Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve. Enjoy! 



Do you have the grandies coming over to stay? I am sure they will love helping you make and eat these!   Usually I would do a bit better with my food photography styling, but everyone was waiting to eat!




  Last night I went to the first of four Spanish cooking classes conducted by my Spanish  friend Montse. We made two Tapas -  Potato Tortilla Espanola, Mushrooms with garlic and lemon sauce and finished with Churros. Oh my goodness those Churros are so delicious! and easy to make. Now I just have to find the little machine needed to push the mixture through. 
I'm looking forward to next weeks lesson. 


Have you a little easy recipe you enjoy making or been to cooking classes? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in the comments. Montse says the most important thing for the Spanish is to enjoy the food with friends.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Image-in-ing
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Paint the Desert with Purple Prose

Sadly my computer's hard-drive has been at the doctor's the last few days having an upgrade, and I have had to revert to my laptop, where unfortunately I don't have access to all my files and photo editing etc so I am unable to bring you as promised more photos from our wildflower drive through the southern Western Australian goldfields.


So for something completely different this week I have drawn on a couple of writing exercises from my writing group, South Side Quills, from recent months and some old images from our South Australian trip in 2013.

My writer's group had two exercises - one was a short travel article in 300 words and an exercise in Purple Prose.  
What is Purple Prose....an explanation from the web....In literary criticism, purple prose is prose text that is so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw excessive attention to itself. Purple prose is characterized by the extensive use of adjectives, adverbs, zombie nouns, and metaphors.  Purple Prose-Wikipedia

For my travel article I drew on our stay in September 2013 at Arckaringa Station set in the visually stunning Painted Desert in mid-South Australian outback country.


Arckaringa homestead

With relief we pulled up under the shade of the gum trees surrounding the Arckaringa Station homestead.  We’d had enough of the heat, dust and the rocky track.  As we piled out of our four-wheel-drive a station truck pulled up and a craggy weather worn face uttered “g-day” from under a battered hat.
Hobbsy, the station manager, waved his hand towards a clump of scrubby trees and told us to “pick up spot” to set up our camp.
We had been on the road for a few days, so a hot shower was high on our agenda. Housed in a corrugated iron shed the showers definitely had a rustic Aussie outback feel but they were clean and the water hot. Just make sure to shower early as you don’t want to be left in the dark when the diesel generator cuts out!

Although the facilities might be considered basic, this was more than compensated by the views of central South Australia’s spectacular Painted Desert from our camp.
Evolved over 80 million years, this fragile landscape, which was once an ancient inland sea bed, is slowly eroding away revealing the rich colours of a desert artist’s pallet beneath the surface. It is not surprising that Arckaringa has hosted many groups of painters, photographers and geologists over the years.
Mt Arckaringa and the Painted Desert is only about eleven kilometres from the homestead out along the Arckaringa to Oodnadatta Road. The area is protected within the Arckaringa Hills State Heritage area and mostly inaccessible due to ruggedness and Aboriginal cultural sites.  A public access track leads to a parking area from where there is a half hour walking track to the lookout. Bring your camera and a fly-net.


At days end we sat in the comfort of our camp chairs and watched the changing colours of the Painted Hills and the desert sunset. 

The Painted Desert late afternoon

For the "Purple Prose" exercise I changed the introduction paragraphs (78 words) of this sample article to Purple Prose (282 words!) In fact the first sentence is 88 words long! There was a lot of laughter amongst our members when I read out my piece at my writer's group. 

We gratefully welcomed the long-awaited-for respite from the constant bone-jarring jolting of the rocky dusty track as we steered our red-dust stained white Prado 4-wheel-drive through the wire strung gate hanging precariously by its hinges to a fence post which appeared to have been fashioned from a rusted piece of railway line, and steadily decelerated before braking to a halt beneath the thin dappled shade cast by the trailing blue tinged leaves of the tall stringy Coolibah trees encircling the low roofed, wide verandahed Arckaringa Station outback homestead. (88 words)  The typically Australian fragrance of eucalyptus assisted by a slight lazy breeze assaulted our senses as we prised ourselves from the cramped stuffy confines of our four-wheel-drive and into the searing red heat of the midday desert sun.  A battered station truck which appeared to have not been washed for many years, if ever, rounded the corner of the nearby empty cattle yards and came to a stop in a cloud of choking dust beside us.  The door of the truck creaked open and a craggy, lined, weather worn leathery face with a chin covered in grey stubble, uttered a gravely “g-day” in a slow drawling listless way from under a shabby tattered Akubra hat which was so ingrained with dust that it was the same hue as the red dirt.

We soon learned from his introduction that the man was Hobbsy, the station manager. Hobbsy was somewhat short on words as if he would rather not deal with city slicker tourists, as he waved his hand unceremoniously towards a clump of low scrubby trees across the yard beyond the sheds and curtly invited us to “pick up spot” to set up our camp. 


I must hasten to add that Hobbsy was not like the Hobbsy I have described above...he was in fact very friendly and accommodating and was a long time and well respected employee of Arckaringa Station. 

Would I recommend Arckaringa Station? Absolutely. It became one of our favourite destinations in outback South Australia.  I wrote about it for Go Camping magazine in October 2014 edition, and also a campsite report for On the Road magazine, April 2014.


I hope you have enjoyed this little exercise on Purple Prose.
You can read more about Arckaringa Station on my blog post be clicking here - South Australia - Woomera, Coober Pedy and the Painted Desert 

Or by going to their website - Arckaringa Station and the Painted Desert
or on Facebook - Arckaringa on Facebook


Drumsticks - at Arckaringa Station
Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday 
Travel Photo Mondays

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 

Image-in-ing
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global 
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday 
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard 


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Spring in the Western Australian wheatbelt

We have been away camping "out east" in the Great Western Woodland south of the Coolgardie-Kalgoorlie goldfields this past week, and I am still in the throws of doing post-camping jobs and organising my very full calendar this week. 

So just a short post from me today, but I promise images from our camping trip and the amazing wildflowers out there very soon. Watch this place!

On our return from our trip we stayed a couple of nights at my family's property in the central wheatbelt. The grain crops are looking amazing, and harvest will commence in the next 3 or 4 weeks. This is wheat in the process of ripening and drying off ready for harvest.




The wildflowers are also blooming along the road verges and in the bush blocks. 
Below you can see (common names only) - from top corner left - Featherflower, Dampiera, Cone Flower, Mottlecah, Flame Grevillea, One-sided Bottlebrush, Pop Flower, and Everlastings. 


The Mottlecah (Eucalyptus macrocarpa) is an amazing plant. We found quite a lot of it north west of Corrigin along Copestakes-Williams Rd and along the Corrigin-Wogerlin Rd. It is a very straggly spreading large bush/tree 1-5 metres tall. The red flowers are 5-8cm across, with a silver cap (you can see below) before flowering. They have thick, flat, silvery leaves 5-8cm long and 3-6cm wide. There range is from Geraldton to Jurien, Wagin and Moora.





The route through the central wheatbelt is on the way to the iconic Wave Rock.  Here's a fun video from UTube - Rocking Out on the Pathways to Wave Rock - 



That is is from me today, but I'll be back next week with more on our travels and the amazing spring wildflowers of Western Australia.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best! 

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays

Lifestyle Fifty Monday Linkup 
Our World Tuesday

Through My Lens 
Image-in-ing
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Worth Casing Wednesday
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday

The Weekly Postcard