Our townhouse is located just off a lovely shopping strip which has a fantastic greengrocer where I buy my fresh fruit and vegies.  It’s great, I never have to plan my meals in advance and I can just nip down the street if I haven’t got something that the recipe calls for.

There is also a wonderful store called Gewurzhaus that sells fresh spices.  You can buy all sorts of amazing spices from all over the world in bulk or in tiny quantities for freshness.  I certainly have noticed the difference in taste since I have been visiting this wonderful store!


A wonderful friend gave me a wire basket for my birthday a couple of years ago and initially I used it for cooking mags.  Now I have turned it into my herb basket and I keep it stocked with basic herbs that I need for most of my favourite recipes. 

All my wants and needs for pasta are at hand with Donnini’s Pasta shop where I can buy fresh pasta and sauces and cheese for the final touch.

Come 5 o’clock, Mr. E.N.L. is ready with a corkscrew (or these days sadly a lot of wine bottles are twisters) to pour me a glass of wine whilst we start to prepare our evening meal.

These days easy recipes for two feature, often using pasta, always fresh ingredients, sometimes with meats, poultry or fish or for an alternative we love to try out some vegan alternatives.  Empty Nester Living has given us a new lease of life not only in our home but also in our eating.

Bon Apetit!


It was a case of “Today I Started Loving You Again”!

We had an incredible old nickel and iron bed which we had bought when we were young and carefree, couldn’t afford it, and “just had to have it” whilst on a car trip to Kyneton in country Victoria.  We still couldn’t bear to get rid of it…we wouldn’t get what it was worth if we sold it, so we would have to make it fit in.  It belonged to that time in the late 1970′s when doilys and old lace were big and I will admit to a brief period where I just may have liked that sort of stuff, but I have no time for it now.

Our french polished bedside tables were looking out of place in the new townhouse too.  But knowing how good the Porters Paints had worked on the other furniture in the Guest Bedroom, we knew our painting skills were needed again.

I felt sure that by simplifying the colours and the furniture surrounding our old bed we could make it look sensational.  We were able to use our plain white Linen & Moore bedspread and the black and white mattress ticking tailored pillowcases gave a younger, fresher feel to the iron of the bed.  Beside the bed our bedside tables were stripped back to their raw bones, then primed and given two coats of Porters Paints “Flint” Duchess Satin paint to take on a whole new look.

We then changed the lampshades on the bedside tables to grey to fit in with our new colour theme and hung our antique Belgian mirrors above each table.  We finished off the room by putting white timber shutters on the two windows to give the room a fresher look.

We have a totally new bedroom and our old bed has survived another move!




The luxury of being an empty nester is finding you now have a room which was probably once a pig sty to turn into whatever you want.  It will always be our little bird’s room to come back home for a bit of tlc whenever she needs it, but in the meantime it would be ours to redecorate and turn into a Guest Bedroom.

We found some old pieces of furniture that needed a makeover.  An old pine toy chest, my mum’s hideous reproduction bedside tables, an old lamp and a reproduction side table.

Colours in the townhouse so far were changing from the previous owners colours of lavenders, purples and hot pinks to Dulux Whisper White walls and we had chosen a fantastic Porters Paints silvery grey for the furniture.  Black and white was making a bold statement downstairs and we wanted the theme to start to flow into the upstairs area too.

We painted the old toy chest jet black, carefully removing the original handles first and then putting them back on when the paint had dried.  We also painted the reproduction side table black and its carved bowed legs were amazingly transformed!  My mum’s old bedside tables that were destined for the rubbish tip were next – we used Porters Duchess Satin “Flint” to paint them.  Wow, what a difference a lick or two of paint can make if you have vision.  That left the lamp.  The old broken lampshade was replaced with a new $20 white one.

My bedspread and sheets are all from Linen & Moore  and I have chosen white for my bedspread so I can change the feel of the room to reflect my guests.  If they are young I put on the Black and White Ticking cotton sheets with white European down pillows and if they are my age group, then I choose Pale Grey and White Ladderstitch sheets and pillowslips teamed with French Tasselled Cushions in grey on the bedspread.

The big selling point of this room is that it has an en-suite bathroom which can be accessed from both the bedroom and the hallway.  I love Citta Design bathroom towels and bathmats as they blend in with my colour scheme.



My Teddies

I’m not really a very good knitter but when one of my girlfriends told me what she did on her Friday afternoons I had to get involved.

Her group knits Trauma Teddies for the Red Cross to distribute to the Ambulance Service, the Fire Brigade and hospitals to children and others who have experienced a trauma.

Here’s a cheeky bag full of my first attempts on their way to cheer up some kids.


I love to knit them and especially love trying to make each one different from the one before by different combinations of colours and faces.  They are knitted in 8 ply and I would be happy to share the pattern with you.


I love to choose bright, cheery  colours that kids would like.  Footy team colours are popular too!

8 ply wool or acrylic can be used and No. 9 (3.75mm) or No. 10 (3.25mm) needles

The teddy pattern is knitted twice and the two sides are sewn together.  It’s so easy, I don’t even follow a pattern now.

Fixing a Gloomy Room

Letting the outside in

The big challenge in my new kitchen was how to turn a slightly gloomy room without a window into somewhere where I would feel happy to spend some time in. And let’s face it, we do spend quite a lot of time in the kitchen. But I was standing at my granite benchtop in my new townhouse and I was staring at a blank wall. I should have felt like a queen in my new palace. The room was gloomy and lacking something.

The key word was “light”. To the right of the kitchen there is a lovely small central courtyard with espaliered white jasmine in a criss-cross design on the wall and gardenias and box hedges as greenery.

“Reflection” – We have a beautiful antique French mirror which so far we had not found a home for.

With careful placement of the mirror opposite the inner courtyard I now have the outside reflected into my kitchen area. An illusion of light and space was also created. I can stand at my kitchen bench and watch the pair of doves visit regularly and shoo away the other birds who stray into their territory. At night time a cheeky possum runs along the fence to munch the new shoots of the jasmine which we have trained along the boundary fence. It’s not so bad spending time in the kitchen now.