Monday 26 January 2009


I was reading the Age Good Weekend the other day and came across three facts about Basil I did not know.

1. The word basil comes from the Greek word basileus, meaning royal or king.

2. Basil is probably native to India, then likely spread to Iran and other tropical areas of Asia, where it has been cultivated for more then 5,000 years. European countries did not start using basil until the 16th century.

3. Basil alleviates constipation, diarrhoea, coughs and withdrawal from marijuana addiction, and is a cure for worms and warts. Applied to the skin topically as an oil, it can draw out insect, bee or snake venom.

Well – there you have it hey….I don’t know about its powers of alleviation and curative properties…but I do know that I really like to eat it.

We grow it in our garden every year and we eat it in salads, as a garnish on lots of things and of course we make pesto, a family favourite! Yum, Yum!

Sunday 18 January 2009

Band-aids with pictures

When I was 12 we had a Japanese exchange student – Akiko stay with us for a few months. She was sent lots of very cool parcels from home – filled with all sorts of exotic Japanese things….I am sure this is where my love of cutesy Japanese stuff all started. I remember being fascinated by it all. The dolls, the lollies, the origami paper and especially the band-aids with pictures on them.

We had only ever had straight up, no nonsense band-aids of the camel colour variety – no fun at all, especially because the only reason you ever needed to put a band-aid on was because you had hurt yourself.

The worst of course was when your mother ripped it off and took a layer of skin and hair with it….truly awful. Band-aids with pictures on it though….now that’s another story. Any excuse for a band-aid would have me reaching for one of these beauties.

Now that I am grown up I have a collection of course – some I bought in Japan, some locally in Footscray and some have been gifts. My daughter Kitty loves looking at them and trying to think of an excuse for me to put one on her or her baby doll Mia. It’s hard though because I think they are too cute to use – and try to offer her the plain old normal band aids instead! Pretty funny!!

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Babushka Dolls

My husband Sam gave me this Babushka doll for Christmas to add to my collection. She is small and very sweet. Once you crack her outer layer though it seems that her inner faces are a little worried……. as if they are looking out at something much bigger then themselves. Perhaps it is the immensity of the world we live in.

Metaphorically you could say that Babushka dolls reflect the inner aspects of our nature. Outside I am strong and capable, inside I am soft and reflective. As we open or peel off the outer layers like that of an onion we find our inner truth. Perhaps the baby babushka doll is like the inner child who is protected within by the many outer layers we develop as we grow into adults.

They also remind me of growing babies of which I have been blessed to experience twice. I suppose that is why they are also called Matryoshka (Mother) dolls or Nesting dolls.

Monday 5 January 2009

Author Paulo Coelho

It was 1996. I had been traveling overseas and working in New York for 6 months and had just turned 22 on the 22 August. I had finished my VCE, completed a Certificate and Diploma of Interior Design & Decoration, worked as a Designer on the new Crown Casino in Melbourne, and spent a year living in the country, 30kms from the nearest shop – without running water and electricity but with a massive vegetable garden and chooks. I had also got my drivers license and had been going out with the same boy for almost seven years. What to do next?

It was time to fly home to Melbourne. I was excited about the prospect of seeing friends and family after so long but I was also apprehensive about the next chapter in my life journey. What did I really want to do with my time?

I was walking through the airport getting ready to board when out of the corner of my eye I saw a book. It had a purple cover with the image of a third eye on it. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I had hardly any money left – but I couldn’t resist. On the flight home from the moment I sat down I was hooked. I read it cover to cover. By the time I touched down in Melbourne I felt I had a renewed trust in my journey. Paulo Coelho through his character – Santiago, who travels in search of worldly treasure had shown me the essential wisdom of listening to my heart, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following my dreams.

I have all of his books to date. I have enjoyed every one but none has so transformed my path as The Alchemist.

My Mother gave me the illustrated version shown above for my 25th Birthday. When the boy that I had been going out with for seven years left I gave him my copy and bid him farewell.