JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

Monday, 18 March 2019

The journey begins......

 We are finally at the beginning of the trip that we have been planning for two years. 
Yes.......two years ago we found this trip online and knew that we had to do it.
A brief surmise of our trip is that we are flying from Brisbane to Singapore where we will board the cruise ship Regent Seven Seas Navigator en route to Italy. We will be on (and off) the ship for 40 glorious days.  We will go via Malaysia, Phuket, Myanmar, India, Nepal (an added extra), UAE, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, transit the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean for stop offs at Crete, Capri and finally disembarking at Civitivechia (Rome).  From here we will spend four days exploring Rome before heading back to Egypt where we will explore in depth the Pyramids at Cairo and the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.  I hope to keep you updated along the way but it will, of course, depend on Wi-Fi connection.
But, for now we are sitting in Cairns Airport waiting for our Virgin flight to Brisbane.  We have an appointment with our Advisor there and then will head to the Pullman Brisbane Airport and wait for our driver to pick us up at 11.30pm for our 2.35am flight (yep....ridiculous!) to Singapore with Emirates.  
Love and Hugs xx

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Time to say goodbye

We sadly said our goodbye's to Lilly this week.  Our little border collie had been unwell for quite a few days and we knew her time had come.  We spent lots of time with her and letting her know how much we loved her being a part of our lives.  We don't know how old she was but we think around about 14 so she had a good innings.  Philip's mum used to say to us that if she was a dog, this is the place she would want to be.  It really is a wonderful place for a dog.  So, goodbye Lilly.  My guess is that you are now in doggy heaven bossing everyone around....

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted and we have have been quite the social butterflies.  Dinner in Palm Cove with friends where we enjoyed seafood at Neptunes and a pot luck dinner with friends at Trinity Bay.  These are the best times when you can sit with friends and just shoot the breeze.  I am so grateful for the friends we are so lucky to have in our lives.
It is just a week now until we start our seven week holiday.  I have laid out the clothes that I want to take and I am pleased that my suitcase comes in under 20kg.  I will also have a carry-on bag for my laptop and camera and a spare set of clothes.  It has happened to us before when we have arrived at our destination but our suitcase has not!

A couple of years ago I downloaded the app called Stylebook and went through the tedious task of documenting my "closet".  Once that is done it is then a simple process of adding items of clothing as I purchase them.  I usually download a photo straight from the website that I purchase from or alternatively take a photo of my new item. I then put together "looks" including shoes and accessories. When I need to pack I simply select a look and it automatically adds items to my packing list!  Although it was a time consuming task initially, it now makes packing a breeze!  I highly recommend it if you are an over-packer.  
Who has been watching MKR on Channel 7?  I usually enjoy the show but this year it has been a bit Blahhh.  These ridiculous team rivalries are just annoying.  However, I do enjoy cooking some of the recipes from the different contestants and this week I made Milly and Karolina's poached duck.  Wow.  It was so delicious.  I couldn't buy duck breast in my local Coles so I had to use a whole duck but I'm actually pleased I did because the leftovers made some very tasty Duck Spring Rolls for our lunch yesterday.  
This week I also learnt how to make pitta bread.  I have avoided eating pitta for so long because bread gives me a very bloated belly but since I have been able to buy Low Fodmap Flour at Coles it has been a game changer.  I now enjoy making my own bread that does now give me a pain in the belly and the pitta bread is much tastier than the store bought ones and quite effortless to make.

On a different note, my daughter in law has started a new business making and selling organic cleaning products for home and personal use.  Suzie initially included some of her products in our christmas hamper and I was very impressed so I ordered the washing powder, dishwasher tablets, kitchen spray, kitchen detergent, sleep drops and hand and foot balm.  I am very pleased with the products and feel just a little bit chuffed that I am doing my bit for the environment.

The rain is still with us and even more so in the past week but certainly not the huge falls that we have seen over the past couple of months.  Although it is now autumn it doesn't feel like it one little bit.  What we have been getting though is some magnificent sunrises....

Well that's a wrap.  I hope to get in one more post before we leave but if I don't, I promise I will update the blog while we are away.  We have lots of days at sea that is the perfect time to keep you all up to date with our travels.
Judi xx

Sunday, 24 February 2019

My week

To follow on from last week's post we drove to Cairns last Sunday for a movie date and a little shopping.  When we arrived into Cairns Philip dropped me off at Cairns Central while he went to Bunnings to buy his hedge trimmer....yessss!!!  I avoided the dreaded Bunnings...
I went straight to JBHIFI to buy a new iPad and accessories.  Gosh they are getting expensive.  No wonder Apple shares are decreasing in value because I'm certain not many folks can afford to pay the prices that they are charging for their merchandise. Anyway....moving on.

When Philip and I met up again it was time for lunch.  We knew that our cruise liner was docked at the wharf so we decided to eat somewhere close by.  We ended up at Dundee's.  It was lovely sitting in air-conditioning, on the waterfront,  on a very hot day.  The meal was delicious.  Entree was seafood chowder for Philip - huge!

And soft-shell crab on a bed of wakame for me.  I chose this dish because I LOVE wakame!  I first had it in a Tuna Poke Bowl and didn't know what I was eating but on enquiry I found out that it is seaweed!  It is just so delicious and you really must try it if you get the opportunity.

We walked off our lunch by strolling down to the Cairns Cruise Ship Terminal to have a close-up look at our accomodation for 40 days.  Regent Seven Seas Navigator looks very accomodating and we are getting excited.  Our room is at the top, same floor as the bridge and the first from the left.  We should get some nice views from there.

After lunch it was movie time.  We enjoyed watching The Mule and yes, Clint Eastwood is showing everyone of his 88 years but he can still act the britches of many younger actors.  The movie recounts the true storey of Leo Sharp, a World War 11 veteran who became a drug courier for the Sinaloa Cartel in his 80's. I would probably give the movie four stars and that is only because it left a few unanswered questions. A google search afterwards answered them for us. 

The rest of this week has been quiet but we did go back to Cairns on Friday evening for "Nashville Live" at the new Cairns Performing Arts Centre.  Philip and I are not really into country music but surprisingly we were singing along, tapping our toes and clapping our hands to the beat of the majority of the songs.  Philip enjoyed the second half more than the first as it was a little more modern with plenty of songs by Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton.  The first half was songs by the likes of Merle Haggard and Patsy Cline that I really enjoyed.

Prior to the show we had dinner at one of our friends home.  Jane had cooked a delicious Lasagne that we had with salad followed by a decadent Tirimisu.  We were indeed spoilt.  After the show we returned to our friends place at Palm Cove to stay the night.  I'm glad we did as it was after 11pm when we arrived there.  If we had driven home we would not have arrived until well after midnight and the lovely coastal drive through the day can we quite dangerous at night with lots of wildlife at the edges of the road.
I have become addicted to My Kitchen Rules (again!) and made the Lamb Shanks that the mother and son team cooked last week.  It was so tasty and I understand why both judges gave it 10/10. It didn't photograph as good as it tasted!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Good intentions....

It's 9am on Sunday morning and I am propped up in bed sipping my coffee and nibbling on toast that my darling husband has brought to me.  I had good intentions.  I was going to leap out of bed at 6.30, go for a walk then a swim before cooking up bacon and eggs for breakfast.  😁 Well, you know what they say about good plans ..........
We are going to Cairns later this morning.  Philip wants to buy an extension for his hedge trimmer so that the gardener and he can trim our very tall geisha girls this week.  He has googled the Bosch website and found that he can buy the extension at Bunnings.  So Bunnings we shall go.  ☹️
Earlier this week I purchased Event Cinema tickets to go and see The Mule today.  It has been given bad reviews so that is a very good reason to watch it.  I have never yet agreed with any bad review of any movie that I have watched.  I wonder who these reviewers are? Anyway I will let you know what WE think.
And how's this for coincidence.  The cruise ship that we are joining in Singapore next month, Regent Seven Seas Navigator, will be in Cairns today!  The ship is on a world cruise and we are joining her in Singapore for the 40 day segment ending in Rome (via Suez Canal).  It will be amazing to see the little ship up close and personal.
While in Cairns we will also visit the nursery to pick up a few more herbs for my kitchen garden that got a real battering during the exceptionally heavy rain in December and January. I have already taken out any plants that are dead or dying and refilled the plot with some 5 in 1 potting mix so it is ready to plant out.
Hubby doesn't know it yet but I am also going to surprise him with a visit to JBHIFI to buy him a new iPad.  He watches Netflix every day on his iPad mini so I am upgrading him to the iPad pro.  He will love it and I might also enjoy photo editing on it....... if I can get it off him!  The big plus of course is purchasing now so that we can claim a refund for GST as we exit the country next month.  
How did you spend your Valentines Day?  We broke out of our alcohol detox and had drinks and nibblies poolside.  We stayed in the pool longer than we should have but it was just so darn pleasant. 

Once again though I had a very disrupted sleep after drinking alcohol.  Gosh. I only had three gin and tonics but my body seems to be rejecting alcohol big time!  Not such a bad thing I guess 🥺
The weather has been glorious, but out of the blue on Wednesday we had a very severe, almost tornado-like, storm hit us.  The wind was incredible and the drops of rain were huge.  If it was a bit cooler we would almost have certainly had hail.  Fortunately it didn't last long but it took us some time to go around the garden picking up palm fronds that had been blown around.

Most days this week however, have looked like this......

Take care lovelies and I will talk to you next week. xx

Sunday, 10 February 2019

A beautiful day in Paradise

So, we have gone from this.......

To this......

We are so grateful that we finally have sunshine.  The country is extremely wet and Philip informed me that he almost bogged himself when he moved the cattle yesterday.  That's never happened in the twelve years that we have lived here.  Thank goodness we didn't have the awful damaging rain that other areas of Queensland have had, and I'm not complaining, but this is our first real day of sunshine in more than a month.
My heart goes out to all those in Townsville who have to face the almost impossible task of cleaning out all that mud from their houses.  What an awful job.
But so much worse than that has been the flood around Julia Creek.  Many of our friends have had huge cattle losses some have lost their entire herd.  I just don't know how they will recover from that disaster and any help we can give them will be appreciated, although they would never ask.
On the home front it has been much of the same.  We have been pretty much house cats for the past month and have been experiencing a little cabin fever.  We go outside each afternoon and throw the ball around for the dogs until the mozzies drive us inside.

And I finally got around to making my beeswax wraps from the kit that Suzie gave me for Christmas. I don't think I would go to the effort again because it is a really messy job but I love the beeswax wraps so I will probably buy them from Suzie when these wear out.

We have still tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and good food.  One of our favourites of late has been Rice Paper Rolls.  We assemble our own and I have a selection of shredded lettuce, cucumber, carrot, avocado, mango and either chicken or prawns all set out for easy assembly. I also make a sweet chilli sauce for dipping. We can only manage to eat three as they are very filling.  They are very delicious, fast to prepare and perfect for lunch after Yoga on Wednesdays.

I have been out and about as much as I can with my new camera.  I need to know the camera inside out before we head away on holidays.......35 days and counting!
I love the detail and clarity in this vignette.....

Judi xx

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

You have to try this recipe......

My husband gave it a big thumbs up and I have to agree with him.  It was very delicious. I do up a meal plan every Tuesday before I shop groceries on Wednesday.  Last week I added Miso Salmon to Monday's meal plan and as I watched My Kitchen Rules on Sunday night I was surprised to see the two contestants were also cooking Miso Salmon.  My recipe is served with Bok Choy and Mushrooms and the contestants served there's with a black rice salad that looked really delicious so I decided I would add it to my plate.  I used my own Miso Salmon recipe but I think the one the contestants used was very similar.  You could go to the website to check it out HERE. Remember to have all your ingredients prepped and ready before you start and it will come together very quickly.

So here is my recipe.

Maple and Miso Salmon with Asian Greens
(Serves 2)
2 x 160g salmon fillets, skin removed
2 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp hot water
2 tsp sesame oil
100g shiitake mushrooms sliced (I used oyster mushrooms)
3 cups roughly chopped bok choy
1 tsp sesame seeds
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
Score top of each salmon filet about 5mm deep.
In a bowl, stir miso paste, maple syrup and water into a smooth sauce.  Pour over fish.  Heat an ovenproof grill pan and line with a sheet of baking paper.  Cook salmon for 2 minutes on each side.  Transfer the grill pan to the oven and place in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile heat a wok to hot.  Add sesame oil and mushrooms, and cook for 2 minutes.  Wash bok choy and toss into wok with mushrooms.  Remove wok from heat while greens are still crisp.

Black Rice Salad
(Serves 2)
(This is my version of MKR's Stacey & Ash's Black Rice Salad)
1 packet Microwave Black Rice
1 Tsp Grated fresh ginger
Juice and zest of 1/2 lime
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 Avocado diced into 2cm pieces
2 spring onions thinly sliced
1 tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted
1 tbsp pepitas, toasted
1/4 cup pickled cucumbers (Baby Mac's recipe is HERE)
Cook rice in your microwave for 90 secs.  Add to bowl with ginger, lime zest and juice and sesame oil.  Season and toss to mix.  Just before serving toss through pickled cucumber, avocado and seeds.

Divide the Black Rice Salad between two plates and place the salmon on top.  Place Asian Green mix on top of Salmon and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serve with a wedge of lime. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.  Remember to give yourself and pat on the back and congratulate yourself on preparing a meal that is packed full of delicious healthy food that will keep you satiated for hours!

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Rain, Rain and yet more Rain.......

Let me say straight up that I have all the sympathy in the world for those that are currently in drought.  I lived it and breathed it for more than thirty years and it is one of the reasons that we chose Julatten as our retirement place.  Here, we have a proper wet season with rain falling out of the sky with every cloud that passes over us from December to March and sometimes beyond.  There is nothing in the world I enjoy more than falling asleep to the sound of rain on the roof.  We have certainly had our far share lately though.  We have recorded more than 600ml in the past week and as I write this blog, propped up in bed, the rain has just begun to fall again.

The birds have all been taking shelter on our veranda 
So what's been happening in our world this past week.
As I said in my last post, all my scrapbooking supplies have found another home and I have been working on cleaning my office/craft room.  I didn't realise it was such a big space until everything was removed.  We had thoughts of turning it into a fourth ensuite bedroom but I think we will leave it to the next owners to decide whether they need or want that.

I was given a bag of figs this week that were very soft so I decided to make fig jam.  Not only is this delicious on toast but it is a wonderful addition to a cheese platter with some crispy lavosh bread.

We are continuing with healthy lifestyle choices and exercising daily - weather permitting.  I am continuing with yoga twice a week and Philip and I have also started Tai Chi again on Tuesday mornings.  We only have an alcoholic drink if we are eating out and we keep it to one only.  I am still forging ahead with my 8 hour eating programme and the weight is very slowly dropping off - the best way to do it.  Fast weight loss = fast weight return!  My last meal for the day at around 4pm is usually a smoothie and check out the colours of this one.

Of course we had to celebrate Australia Day with the traditional Meat Pie.  I always make my own pies using Donna Hay's Beef and Ale Pie recipe.  The pies are very easy to make but it does take time as I cook the meat the day before to give it time to develop the flavour.  The end result is amazing!  To keep these pies gluten free I use Fodmap friendly plain flour.

We had a trip to Cairns on Friday to have the Toyota serviced and my eight week visit to the Audiologist to have my Lyric's changed.  And also......tadaa.....to pick up my new camera.....

Of course we enjoyed eating out while we were in Cairns and today it was back to one of our favourite restaurants Noa at Edge Hill.  Gosh this place is good.  The food comes out super fast to the table and it is always delicious.  Today my brunch choice was the smoked salmon hash with poached eggs and avocado and Philip chose Eggs Benny.

The rain continued to tumble while we were in Cairns so we were relieved when Toyota rang us at 11am to tell us the vehicle was ready to be picked up.  Driving around Cairns in pouring rain is not pleasant and nor was the drive home along the normally beautiful Great Barrier Reef Drive.  We had to call into Port to pick up the mail so we decided to head to Rattle and Hum for lunch.  We virtually had the place to ourselves but that is to be expected for the next couple of months as the tourists all head home.  I love Port Douglas at this time of the year when we can reclaim our town...

With all the rain it has been impossible to go outside and do anything at home so we have planted ourselves in front of the TV to watch the Australian Open and when that hasn't been interesting Philip has watched Netflix movies on his iPad and I have been practising with my new camera.  

Here are some of my practice shots with the Olympus Pen F and the Olympus M Zuiko 12-40mm 2.8f lens (for those that are interested).  I'm very impressed with the camera and lens so far and I am getting as much practice as possible before our big trip overseas in March when I hope to be able to keep you all updated with our travels.

Until the next time.  Namaste.

(“The divine light in me bows to the divine light within you.”)

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Birthday Boy

My Sweetheart is 63 today.  We meet when he was 20 so we are now 43 years down the track and married for almost 41 of those years.  It has been one hellava ride and so enjoyable...........most of the time 🙂.
We enjoyed breakfast together and I cooked Philips favourite - Kylie Kwong Eggs.  I also presented Philip with an electric shaver for his birthday present.  It was no surprise for him as we chose it together!

I forgot to buy a card but found this one in my stash.  Goodness knows how old the card is and  which three year old boy I bought it for.  A six in front of the three turned it into a 63 card!

After breakfast we got stuck into our various chores and we were in the shower by 11am to drive down to Port Douglas. We had an appointment with our travel agent at Flight Centre who was able to help us with our numerous travel visas for our upcoming trip and then it was a short drive to the Tin Shed for lunch.
We like eating here, right on the waters edge, and the meals are always spot on.  We broke our detox today by having a beer and glass of bubbly.  We have gone 22 days alcohol free and intend to get straight back into the detox tomorrow but for today - who cares!  Birthdays are for celebrating.

Philip chose the Salt n Pepper Calamari and I chose the house special - Coconut Beef
Curry.  Of course we had fries on the side!

We stopped at the Post Office before heading home and there was a large parcel waiting for us.  How great is this present for Philip from Marco and Suzie. It is now sitting proudly on the wall beside the front door.  Thanks guys!

I am now sitting in front of the TV and "vegging out".  I really want to watch Ash Barty's game tonight that starts around 7pm.  I'm feeling rather tired so hope the game doesn't go too long.  I hope she wins in two straight sets.  Fingers crossed.