Archive | December 2012

My 2012 in Photographs

This blog is one of my favourites. I make sure I visit it every day to see what new, inspiring, photos Leanne has posted and the stories behind them.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Word of the Week Photo Challenge: Glitter


There is something truly magical about the sun glittering on an ocean. This was taken on the Gold Coast in Australia earlier this year.

Details of this weeks challenge can be found here

Word of the week photo challenge: Wood


I took this photo when I was on Norfolk Island, a tiny island in the southwest Pacific Ocean and north of New Zealand. Despite being 1400 kilometres from Australia, it is in fact a part of New South Wales but has it’s own government. It is closer to New Caledonia than Australia. It began settled life as a penal colony in the 1800’s. It is now a beautiful, peaceful island with absolutely stunning scenery.

I found this wooden boat beside a building in the main town of the island, Kingston.

This weeks challenge can be viewed at

Roasted Capsicum Dip


Boxing Day in Australia is all about catching up with family and friends you weren’t able to see on Christmas Day. It’s also a huge day for sports: Cricket, Soccer and the Boxing Day Sales.

My parents and I will be spending the afternoon with my cousin and her family. I never like to arrive empty-handed so I have made this dip. It’s my favourite dip and the one I’m well-known for. In fact, when I take another dip people are often disappointed I haven’t brought this one. It’s so delicious.


125g cream cheese, softened

3 large red capsicums

1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves


1. Cut the capsicums in half and put them face down on a tray lined with baking paper. Roast the capsicums on around 200 degrees celsius (400 deg fahrenheit) for 20-30 minutes or until the skins is blackened. Put aside to cool then peel the skins off. Roughly chop and put in a food processor.


2. Add the cream cheese, basil and garlic to the food processor and process until all ingredients are blended.


3. Pour into a bowl, pop some extra basil leaves on top for decoration and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours (overnight is best) to set.

Merry Christmas to everyone



Well Christmas will be coming to an end very soon in Australia. It’s been a great day. Christmas for me this year was very stress-free. I was able to find the presents I wanted easily and as my parents and I were going to a hotel for lunch, I didn’t have the stress of cooking that many of you have.

The first thing my Mum and I do each Christmas morning is go to the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of our relatives who have died. This is something that both Mum and I have been brought up doing so we know our way around the cemetery but Christmas Day is one of the days of the year that we see people driving around, looking very lost. I saw one lady in particular driving around looking for a gravesite for about 10 minutes.

After that we went to our homes to get ready for lunch. We met at Mum and Dád’s house before driving to the Berwick Inn for a buffet lunch. I wasn’t able to take a photo of the buffet because it was very spread out.

First course for us was seafood (salmon, oysters and king prawns) but we could also have chosen soup.


I was disappointed to find there was no chicken. I hardly eat meat but there were a lot of vegies and some salads.


I hadn’t seen the dessert tables when we walked in but there were lots of yummy things on offer. Of course there was plum pudding. They came in the form of mini puddings which were a great size. They stopped me from eating too much pudding. I also had some profiteroles and a chocolate mousse tart. By that time I was so full. It was a lovely lunch and it was nice to have a meal with my parents.


After that we went to see my brother and his family. We spent a relaxing afternoon with them. It was so nice to have a stress-free Christmas. I feel sorry for everyone who has so much to do and don’t enjoy it.

A-League: Melbourne Heart v Melbourne Victory


As far as Victorian’s are concerned this is the real derby despite there being a new derby in Sydney with the Western Sydney Warriors joining the competition this year. Archie Thompson later described “It was one of the best atmospheres in my whole time here.” It was his goal, off the crossbar, that sealed the win for the Victory fans. There were over 26,000 people at the ground (considered a sell-out due to the size of the ground) and it felt like most of them were Victory fans despite this being a Heart home game.

The first half was scoreless but a tough contest. After half time things really took off with around a dozen yellow cards and three goals with Victory winning 2-1 thanks to Thompson’s goal in the 92nd minute. All night it felt like Heart were going to take more advantage of their chances but luck was on our side and they missed nearly all of them. After he scored the goal he took off his shirt off and ran over to some Heart supporters who were giving him a hard time. For that he received a yellow card but who cares? The sight of Archie Thompson running around shirtless is enough to please any Victory fan. The fans nearly fooled him in to thinking the goal was disallowed. He put it back on but as soon as the ref blew the final whistle he took it off again and this time did a run up the wing to the cheers of Victory supporters. I’m sure all supporters were on a total high like I was.


At half time a very skinny Santa took time out to show off his soccer skills before riding away on his sleigh to put the final touches to the Christmas presents.


The celebrations for his goal occurred right in front of us, allowing me to take this photo. I’d have to say it was my favourite of the night.

Weekly photo challenge: Surprise


This plant was a total surprise to my parents. They compost all their vegetable scraps and use the soil on their garden. A month or so ago tomato plants began rising from the soil in the oddest parts of the garden as well as a few in the vegie garden where they should be. Some are in the front garden and look quite funny amongst the other plants. However they are doing well so will be left where they are growing.

The biggest surprise will be what type of tomatoes they are. They could be large or cherry tomatoes. We are all anticipating what they will be. I’m hoping this one they gave me will be cherry tomatoes.

This weeks challenge comes from

Word a week challenge: Light


I took this photo last weekend of the magnificent lightshow projected on to the Melbourne Town Hall.  There are 3 different scenes that last a total of around 10 minutes.  There were hundreds of people sitting on the footpath and even the road.  I thought a few people were going to get run over by the trams.

Every week on the A Word in your Ear blog, a weekly challenge is posted  We are invited to take a photo that relates to a particular word.  This weeks word is Light.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate


This is the Knox Church in Christchurch.  It was severely damaged in the February 2011 earthquake.  Much of Christchurch is in a delicate state but the city and the people are slowly bouncing back.  The photo was taken in January 2012 when I was in Christchurch so I’m not sure if it has been demolished or can be rebuilt.

Melbourne lights up for Christmas


We expected Federation Square to be the centre of the Christmas celebrations (as well as the Myer Christmas lights).  I was really disappointed to find that wasn’t the case.  Mum had read that there was something at the Town Hall and City Square so we headed up there.

As we walked up Swanston St we saw crowds sitting on the footpath and realised there was a light show at the Town Hall.  As we got closer we realised the exterior of the building was illuminated in a magnificent light show.



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Twilight in Melbourne


After the soccer at AAMI Park, Mum and I walked into the city to see what Christmas decorations were on display.  Normally Federation Square is the centre of the decorations but this year they have been moved further up Swanston St to the City Square and Town Hall.  Along the way I took a lot of photos of the Yarra River and surrounding city buildings.


The Artplay Building contains an open studio where kids can express themselves through their art.  At the back is a huge playground which is free for them to play in.  It’s bright, colourful and very safe.



Looking back along the Yarra to the sporting precinct which Melbourne is famous for.  The light towers are at the MCG where there was a T20 Big Bash game taking place.


The Arts Centre spire.  It is normally lit up once it gets dark but it was a little early when we walked past.


Looking down the Yarra from Princes Bridge to the MCG.  I was lucky to take the photo just as some fireworks went off to signify a wicket had been taken.  You can see them on the right side of the ground.

A-League: Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar


It was an often spiteful 1-1 draw on Saturday night at AAMI Park.  Brisbane got an early, and unexpected, goal against the run of play but then it was a tough, frustrating game for spectators and fans at the ground until we got our only goal.  Victory kept attacking and attacking but Brisbane goalie (and former Victory premiership player) Michael Theo made some fantastic saves to ensure each side got one point from the game.  Once again it is our defense that caused problems.  We thought Finkler had scored a brilliant goal to win the match late in the game but Theo pulled off another remarkable save to deny us.

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Cricket: Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades


This was the first game of the Big Bash League which runs until January 19th.  In a bid to promote cross-town rivalries this and Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers were two of the games in the first round.  In front of a crowd of approx 22,000 the Renegades easily beat my team, the Stars, captained by Shane Warne.  Aaron Finch (Renegades captain) hit a magnificent century to guide his team home.  Unfortunately Warne had terrible bowling figures of 42 runs off two overs.  It was great to see international players playing for both teams.  Lasith Malinga plays for the Stars and Muttiah Muralidharan (Murali) for the Renegades.  Murali currently holds the record for the highest number of wickets taken.  That record may not be broken for a long time.  To see three of the world’s greatest (retired) bowlers from two different countries in the one game was an opportunity not to be missed.

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Reflections in the Yarra River


I took this last night.  After the soccer we walked into the CBD to take some photos of the Christmas decorations around town.  It got dark quite quickly, allowing me to take some stunning photos.  This would have been a perfect photo for the Weekly Photo challenge held a few weeks ago.

Motorcross display at the 20/20 cricket


Last week during the innings break at the T20 game between Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades there was a motorcross display.  They did so many jumps.  Many more than the crowd expected.  It was awesome to see them.  Motorcross is only something I’ve been slightly interested in the past but this has made me want to see more.  I couldn’t really hear the ground announcer but he mentioned Crusty Demons a few times so I’m not sure if some of the riders wore from the Demons.  The final jump had them on fire with two riders doing the jump.  It was fantastic.


TGI Fridays


The chain just opened a restaurant in the new section of Westfield Fountain Gate Shopping Centre.  I’ve never been to one of their other restaurants around Melbourne so decided to check this one out.

I ordered a 2 course menu for $29.95 and chose Bruschetta for the entree and Bruschetta Barramundi for the main meal.  Mel ordered a Jack Daniels Burger.




Mel ordered a Hurricane cocktail.

The food was really nice.  Even though I had bruschetta on both dishes they were very different.  The barramundi was perfectly cooked.  The atmosphere was really noisy which is something I don’t really like in a restaurant.  Apart from that the service was very attentive and the food great.

2012 AFL Premiership Cup


My footy team the Sydney Swans, won the 2012 AFL premiership.  I was so excited.  In fact I still get goosebumps when I think about it and love watching the game over and over.

I live in Melbourne which used to be the home of South Melbourne before they moved to Sydney and became the Sydney Swans.  After a rough start for the first few years I never thought they would win a premiership.  However I have seen them win two; one in 2005 and now 2012.

Because the club is based in Sydney, the premiership cup is also based in Sydney.  However fans all across the country want to see it so they are taking it on the road over the next few months.  Yesterday it was Melbourne’s turn.  I was so glad it was after work so I didn’t have to take time off work.  Which I would have done in a heartbeat.

I love cupcakes….do you?

mini choc chip cupcakes

I love cupcakes.  There are so many different varieties, fillings and ways to decorate them.  As this post is posted, I will be enjoying a Christmas morning tea with my work colleagues.  I made 4 dozen cupcakes.  I have no idea why I made so many.  The new recipe I found (I’m always looking for different cupcake recipes) didn’t state how many it would make.  They are mini choc chip cupcakes.  I decorated them in Christmas colours, with red and green icing then dipped them in coconut.

By the way I want to wish my Dad a very Happy Birthday for today.