Word from the West. Relief.

A game of cricket breaks out after the fire threat eased in Springwood. (http://www.abc.net.au) photo by John Donegan

Volunteer fire fighters in the Blue Mountains relax at last after a week of devastating bushfires around Springwood and Winmalee. 200 houses in my home town of Winmalee were destroyed and another 100 damaged but it could have been so many more without these fantastic people.

Here are a few photos from the back of my family home as the blaze approached. Luckily for us the winds were kind and the fire stayed clear.



Bushfire in Winmalee 2013


Water bomber flies over the fire at Winmalee


Fire at Winmalee 2013


Cyprus. Kourion Amphitheatre.

The stunning Kourion Amphitheatre perched above the cliffs on the Southern Cypriot coast was originally built in the 2nd century B.C, however much of what remains today is from the Roman period. It was recently restored to host all kinds of performances and cultural events and forms part of the larger ancient city of Kourion.



Have you visited this stunning part of the Cypriot coast? Have you seen the amphitheatre? I’d love to hear all about it!



Word from the West. Healing.

Operation Art for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead

From the Operation Art Brochure  – more info visit www.artsunit.nsw.edu.au

“Operation Art is a program which encourages young people to create artworks for children in hospital. The program involves young people in the special work carried out by The Children’s Hospital at Westmead – a total healing environment where design, decoration, facilities, gardens and art combine with the best possible medical care to help heal all of our patients.

Each year, 50 works from Operation Arts are chosen to become part of the Hospital’s collection, which includes sculptures, paintings, and prints by many well known artists. The art contributed by the Operation Art are some of the most popular pieces in the Hospital’s collection.

Over 70,000 sick children and their families are cared for by the Hospital each year and many more lives are touched through our research into the causes, treatment and cures of childhood diseases. The works from Operation Art will be proudly displayed in the Hospital for these children and their families to enjoy.”

Artworks will be on display until October 27 at the Newington Armory Gallery, Jamieson Street, Newington, Sydney Olympic Park.

Cuba. The art of travel.

I love these Cuban vintage travel posters. The artwork does a wonderful job of painting a beautiful picture of the travel style of the day.

Gorgeous women, vibrant festivals and beautiful cars seem to be the main themes….

Havana poster (http://1.bp.blogspot.com)

Cuban Artwork (http://imgs.inkfrog.com)

Have you been to Cuba? Do these posters tell the story? Which one do you like the best? ( I like the first one!)

Croatia. Honey and Black Pepper.

Paprenjak are traditional biscuits made in Croatia. They are created with walnuts or hazelnuts, various spices such as clove, cinnamon and nutmeg and a unique mix of honey and black pepper.

Dating back to the 16th century, the origin of these traditional treats is unclear. Aside from the unusual ingredients, the special wooden moulds are what make these biscuits uniquely Croatian.

You can find these delicious treats around Christmas time in various shapes sizes and designs.

Paprenjak wooden moulds (http://jazzykitchen.net)

Paprenjak moulds (http://www.cookiemold.com)



Here’s a recipe from http://sweetsensation-monchi.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/paprenjaci-paprenjak.html

Makes 40


450g flour
180g butter
150g ground walnuts
150g sugar
3 egg yolks
1 egg
2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp white pepper


In a large bowl combine flour and butter. With the tips of your fingers, rub butter into flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add walnuts and sugar and stir to combine.

Add egg yolks and one egg, honey and spices. Combine ingredients using your hands and gather into a ball. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until you get a firm ball. The dough will still be a bit sticky but don’t add any more flour. Divide in half, flatten into discs and wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a well-floured surface, roll dough until it’s 5-7 mm thick. Using a special wooden mould, make imprints on the dough and cut them out with a sharp knife. Carefully transfer to prepared baking sheets. If you don’t have special moulds, use cookie cutters of desired shape and size.

Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Remove from oven as soon as they start to get colour on the edges. The baking time will vary depending on the size of cookies. Cool completely on wire rack and transfer to airtight container. Let them sit for two days to soften before you serve them. They can be kept in airtight container for up to 6 weeks.



Word from the West. Wanderers.

The Western Sydney Wanderers in the final stages of pre-season training at Parramatta Stadium.

We’re really  looking forward to another fantastic year in Wanderland after an amazing foundation season last year!  The players, the coach, the passionate fans and the atmosphere around the club have contributed so much to the Western Sydney community in such a short time.  We can’t wait to see what they can do this year!

C’mon you Wanderers!


Cote d’Ivoire. Korhogo cloth.

Korhogo cloth painting (http://farm4.static.flickr.com)

Korhogo cloth is produced in Cote d’Ivoire by local artists on hand spun and hand-woven cotton fabric. Each piece is unique and created using stencils or freehand designs with a specially fermented paint that dries black (although other colours can be used too).

Korhogo cloth is mostly used as decorative wall coverings but also to make clothes and craft items.

Korhogo cloth paintings (http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com)


Hand painting the Korhogo cloth (http://www2.liu.edu)

Korhogo cloth (http://kambagallery.com)

Painting Korhogo cloth (http://leblogdeyoro.ivoire-blog.com)


So intricate and beautiful. I would love a few of these on my walls! Have you seen these before? Do you own one? Let me know and send a photo!