Monday, October 05, 2015

Thank You!

This is both a hard and joyous blog post to write. It will be the final entry to "The Baynhams" blog.

The blog was started in August 2005 and was intended to be a way to keep in touch with friends and family in Ireland and the UK as we planned our emigration adventure Down Under. Over the last 10 years I have written and published 2,300 posts and countless photos of our life as we adjusted to a new culture, made new friends, welcomed countless overseas visitors and celebrated amazing milestones. It has been a fantastic experience and I have met some truly wonderful blogging friends along the way.

Today we celebrate the 10 year anniversary since we landed in Sydney airport with three kids and eight suitcases. The kids are now teenagers and I have gone from being a stay-at-home mum to working as a nurse once again. Like everyone else time is a precious commodity and this year it has been an ever increasing challenge finding a balance between all the many jigsaw pieces of our family life. I realise that I have had less time to post here on the blog and I feel this is a perfect time to bring it to a close.

And so to everyone reading this post. Thank- you so much for being a part of this wonderful adventure with me. I have truly appreciated the friendship you have shown me, the comments you have left. I wish for you every happiness. The last ten years have been a roller-coaster ride and I'm so happy you have been a part of it!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Life begins at 40.

These are the beautiful Irish coin cufflinks made in Ireland for my brother. His face lit up when he opened them but then even more when he realised that the coins were the actual year of his birth!

Friday, October 02, 2015

All Wrapped Up!

On the same day as we celebrated my sister-in-laws 40th birthday we also celebrated the other 6 family birthdays that have taken place since we last got together! One of the birthdays was my brothers 40th. I was so excited to give him his gift which I had found online hand-made by a lady in Dalkey, Dublin. You can see her Etsy shop here. I had ordered them at the beginning of the year in plenty of time for his May birthday but it took till this month to actually meet face to face so we could enjoy celebrating and watching him open them. I will post a picture of them here tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


How amazing is Pinterest! I just love scrolling through page after page of wonderful ideas other people are happy to share. Such amazing creativity. We went to Sydney this weekend to celebrate my sister-in-laws 40th birthday. I was stuck for an idea for her and then saw a tutorial on how to make flowers out of chocolates and surround a nice bottle of champagne with them. This is what I managed to make using an enamel flower pot, florists foam, tissue paper, chocolates and Moet, all bought in our local shops. It was incredibly simple to do and turned out fancier than I had expected for a first attempt. How great is it to have access to such amazing ideas online!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Happy 40th Birthday Rhonda.

Today my lovely sister-in-law Rhonda turns 40. As a mum with three little kids running around I wish her peace, quiet, a cup of tea uninterrupted, and someone else to pick up the toys off the ground for the day. Oh, and maybe a glass of bubbles or two... She deserves it! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Back seat dog

Murphy loves riding in the car with me when I go out on short errands, especially if I am collecting the kids from school or work. He needs to be properly secured in his dog crate or using a harness that clicks into the three point seatbelt connection. He was very happy when I strapped him in to his new harness this week. Not as happy as the kids when they saw him waiting for them outside the school gate! 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

And repeat...

Life's been pretty full on here over the last few months. We have Gareth adjusting to life in High School, Rhiannon making subject choices for senior school, Sian studying hard for HSC, Uni applications being submitted, I'm working longer hours and Byron is flat out with his day job and some big evening projects that keep him at the keyboard until late most evenings. 

It seems like the days are racing away with us all re-grouping for tea and then scattering to different parts of the house with heads down in books or laptops. Each evening the dinner plates are cleared from the table and replaced with a laptop, coffee and noise cancelling headphones, ready for Byron to take up residence for the next few hours. And repeat... and repeat... 

Trying to remain focused on the positives and how lucky we are having these opportunities to further our minds and careers. Coffee helps! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

59, 58, 57....

I got this book as a gift in the post this week. I had just taken it out of the envelope when I noticed it was time to collect my daughter from work. As I sat outside in my car I looked at the clock on the car dash and laughed. Will I have managed to change my life by the time Rhiannon gets in the car....?!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Uh oh....

Do you think Murphy knows he wasn't supposed to chew up my roll of tape...?!

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Goodbye Dear Friend

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

And the Winner is.......!

A proud Mummy brag moment here this week as Rhiannon won the top prize in the junior division at her schools art show. I couldn't get her to pose for a photo until a friend insisted she get one of the two of us together! Thanks Julie, I owe you one!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Not a bad place to work!

Almost 10 years since we arrived in Australia I still find I am having moments where I have to pinch myself. My current job as a nurse has me driving between 7 hospitals scattered around the Newcastle area. There was a function today to thank the managers that we work with in those hospitals and it was held in a gorgeous room overlooking the ocean. 

Today was the first really sunny day in ages. Winter disappeared and everyone was out walking and soaking up the Vitamin D. I stopped as I got out of my car and savoured the warmth. Then I sent a selfie to the kids and Byron which was a crazy thing to do moments before walking into the work function. My phone was vibrating with hilarious responses and selfies from them all in work and school which I wasn't able to look at. I ended up having to hide my phone under a table and had a great laugh when I went back to get it at the end of the afternoon!

Saturday, August 15, 2015


With lemons hanging heavy on the tree in the garden I found myself using Google to find something sweet to make for a lazy Saturday morning tea. I found a great recipe for a Lemon Meringue CupCake. The cake batter seems to create a pastry and the centre oozes out as you eat it! Yum!



Lemon curd




Thursday, August 13, 2015

Flowers through the post!

I attended a work event this week. At the end as we were tidying up the venue we were told we could take home one of the table floral decorations. The girl I was chatting to was taking hers home to give to her mum. Living on the far side of the world has its down days and I wanted at that moment to be able to casually drop in to my parents home on the way home from work so I could give them to mum. Technology is a wonderful thing and I thought of an idea. I took this photo and went online and sent it to her as a postcard. I know it's not quite the same as the real thing but hopefully it will still make her smile! 


Monday, August 10, 2015


Murphy seems to know what time of day to expect the kids to return from school. He used to run to the front door when he heard the low rumble of a bus slow down on the road outside. Now that Sian has passed her driving test she drives in and out of school and Gareth and Rhiannon catch a lift with her. Murphy has given up running to the door as the school bus passes by but seems to now be tuned into the sound of Sian's car pulling up on the kerb instead. Clever boy!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Happy Birthday Mr B!

We love August in this house. It is birthday month for Byron and myself. Too much, cake, too much chocolate, too many glasses raised with friends! 
No such thing as "too much" when you are enjoying life. 
Here's to many more celebrations together Mr B xoxo

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

28:07:15 Half my life

Last year, with too much time on my hands one chilly Winters morning, I sat down to make Byron a card for his upcoming birthday. Pinterest inspired me. A web-site that calculated the amount of days between two dates helped me. And this card was the result!

Because I had too much time on my hands my brain got to wondering and a few different entries helped me work out this...

Today is a special day

I was born 41 years, 11 months and 11 days ago.  
That's 15,320 days.
I met Byron 20 years, 11 months and 21 days ago. 
That's 7,660 days.
Maths has never been my strong point but Google is. 
Mr B, I have now officially spent half my life with you!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Flynns Book Cafe

Probably my favourite memory of this holiday is this quirky little bookshop we found down a side street in Port Macquarie. Is it a cafe? A secondhand book-shop? No, it's a tiny mixture of both! Complete with it's own dog "Riley" who snuggles up at your feet while you sip and read. Heaven.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015


Monday, July 06, 2015

Beach walk

A sneaky photo of Rhiannon walking down the steps to the beach. My beautiful kids are so reluctant to let me take photos of them that sometimes this is the best I can hope for! I have an itching to get out my small watercolour paints on this holiday and I think this is the first think I'll try painting.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Relaxing on the beach!

WooHoo! It's holiday time! We have gone away for a week to recharge our batteries. It's winter and it's chilly but the sun is shining and the local beach comes with a random armchair...?! 
I think I'm going to like it here!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Holiday Hair!

It's school holidays! Yippee, a chance to abandon early alarms and chill out. Our kids go to a school with very strict rules regarding uniforms, hair colour etc (Which I 100% support) On the first day of holidays though, I am very happy to let the girls put temporary hair colours in as I know that they will be washed out in time to return to school. Rhiannon decided to go purple this time and it looked so amazing on her. She would love to have it this colour every day but I told her she would need to be home-schooled or change to a school with more relaxed rules. She quickly agreed that she can cope with it being a "holiday only" colour for now!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Red "P" plates!

She's done it! 
Passed her driving test first time. 
Now she can drive solo with her red "P" plates....
My hair is turning grey just thinking about it.....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

ANZAC bridge.

A beautiful new bridge has been opened up in Newcastle. It is a pedestrian walk high along the coastline. On one side you look down at the roaring ocean, and the other side, the city of Newcastle. 

The bridge has silhouettes of soldiers reminding of all of those who gave their lives so we would be able to live ours so freely. We went for a walk as the sun was setting low in the sky and it was so beautiful. 

I can see this being a new favourite weekend walk. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Mr B found this note attached to his favourite mug in the work kitchen this week....
Not a happy Welshman :-(

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Murphy and me!

This blog writing is more challenging now that the kids are getting older and there are not as many opportunities to take cute snaps of them. Instead I have to find other willing participants. Thank goodness for Murphy! 

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Dog beach sunset

Another lovely winter evening walk. A great way to clear our heads before heading inside to Merewether Surf House for hot chips and pizza! Bye bye weekend, you always go too soon!

Friday, June 05, 2015

Pumpkin dip, with a kick!


I had a craving for a pumpkin, cashew and parmesan dip this week. I searched Google for recipes and found this very simple one. It was very easy to make. I had one kilo of pumpkin so I quadrupled the other ingredients. It produced so much dip I thought we would get fed up of it but it was lovely down to the last morsel! I held back a small portion and made it extra spicy for Byron and decorated with some sliced fresh red chillies! KaBOOM!


250 gm peeled and seeded pumpkin
2 and 1/2 tablespoons of mild oil
1/2 cup salted roasted cashews
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
Dash ground chilli
1/2 teaspoon mild paprika
2 - 3 tablespoon water


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Cut pumpkin into cubes, brush with half a tablespoon of the oil and roast in the oven until tender. This may take about half an hour or so.
When cooked, place the pumpkin in a blender with half of the roasted cashews and all the other ingredients. Blend till smooth. Add the remaining cashews and pulse the blender just a couple of times for the cashews to be broken up, but only into small pieces. You don't want the whole lot to be blended smooth because there needs to be some chunkiness remaining.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Autumn leaves

We are watching the last few days of Autumn slip away. Winter is on its way and soon these trees will be bare. For now I am enjoying seeing all the beautiful colours. So gorgeous!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It's a dogs life

Jeez, Murph has it tough some days. 
The stress of working out which ray of sunshine to sit under....!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Taking time to nurture.

Every now and again I think it's really important to stop and pay attention to our own needs. It's easy to get caught up caring for our kids and juggling work and family commitments and sometimes we can burn out because we are not making time for ourselves.

I am so fed up with the migraines that come in clusters month after month. Recently I have tried many natural therapies and ideas to see if I can lessen the frequency of my headaches. One of the therapists I have come across is a beautiful friend who is a kinesiologist. I don't pretend to know much about this therapy but many of my friends have spoken very highly of Bernadette so I decided to have a session with her. It felt good to take time out and focus on myself.

One of the things Bernadette encouraged me to do was to create a phrase that would sum-up what my goal was. She helped me to put together the words "I commit myself to myself" Luckily she wrote it down because by the time I'd driven home I'd forgotten it!

I decided to put the words onto an image and then use it on my phone as my wallpaper. Now everytime I reach for my phone on a busy day I get to see these words . They make me slow down a little and take a few deep breaths or a swig of water to stay hydrated.

Just little baby steps but hopefully in the right direction...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mop shoes!

These were my joke gift at last our Christmas girls night out! 
We had a giggle with them on the night but then they got put in a drawer and forgotten about. Until today that is! I was using a new steam mop but annoyed by the footsteps I was leaving everywhere until I went a got out my gorgeous hot pink footwear and the rest of the cleaning was a breeze.
Thanks Pauline!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Windy walk!

The weather is really cooling down now and all walks now include jackets,
including Murph!

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Apple Roses

Have you seen the pretty photos of apple pastries popping up on your Facebook feeds? I seem to have seen them a lot recently and when I clicked the links to see how easy they were to make I couldn't resist! Here is my first attempt and I was really pleased with them. The pastry didn't cook fully through on the bases but because of the apricot jam you use to "stick" them all together it almost tasted like an apple custard tart. Yum! 

Friday, May 01, 2015

May altar

Here is this years May Altar. A tradition that I follow from childhood. For more stories about it you can read here...

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Drive by

As we drove home today Rhiannon had Murphy sitting on her lap. She opened her window and let him put his head out to see the street from a different perspective. He loved it!

I was in the passenger seat and was able to see him in the side mirror and took this fun snap on my mobile.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Keeping us well.

I have been very interested in the benefits of essential oils recently, particularly their anti-viral/anti-bacterial benefits. Working in a hospital I get exposed to many different pathogens and obviously follow all suggested guidelines to use protective equipment and good hygiene techniques to ensure I don't become unwell or unwittingly bring any nasties home with me. Occasionally there is a bad outbreak of something. We are all aware of the horror stories we read in the media about Ebola and Norovirus outbreaks. A colleague spoke to me about "Oil of thieves" Its a blend of clove, lemon, rosemary, cinnamon and eucalyptus essential oils that were supposed to have kept graverobbers fit and well during the bubonic plague. I have no desire to test this oil in quite such a dramatic way but I did recently buy it to use about the house to keep us fit and healthy. 

During the recent storms we lost power from Monday through to Saturday. The last time we had such a long time without power we all came down with vomiting bugs. This time I ensured we were meticulous with hand hygiene and ate only non refrigerated foods and I also burned Oil of Thieves in a tea-light vaporizer which I think may have helped. It certainly made the house smell good and made me feel I was "doing something" to keep us well. 

I had ordered some funny little "diffuser bottles" on necklaces from China on eBay a few weeks back. they were only $2 each. The idea is that you fill the tiny 1ml bottle with an essential oil of your choice and wear it around your neck. You can either open the tiny cork and rub a drop of the oil between your hands and inhale it. Or you can just allow the oil to slowly vaporise through the cork as you wear it. I was very happy to have this little bottle around my neck as day after day passed without power. So worth the small amount of money it cost!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's a girl!

As we sat in a house with no power last week, surrounded by stories of loss and devastation on our battery powered radio as the storm raged on we received a little ray of sunshine. News of a baby being born to our niece in the UK. 

I made the card a few weeks earlier when we heard the scan results and found out a baby girl was expected. In the chaos that surrounded us last week the card seemed even more appropriate.

Welcome to the world Layla Jean. The world is a sunnier place now that you are in it!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Happy Birthday Rhiannon!

Oh the crazyness. Our beautiful Rhiannon turns 15 today. Our first day to wake up with power this week and now we have the candles out again! With no ability to use the oven over the last 6 days we chose some cute macarons as a birthday cake. Easy and simple. Spirits were high as we ate and sang her Happy Birthday. Murphy as always was never far from her. They have become inseparable since he arrived in our family last July. It was too much to hope he would blow out the candle with her. He looked more interested in trying to sniff the macarons! 

To our gorgeous 15 year old. It only seems like yesterday you arrived into our lives with an explosion of chaos and laughter. You bring colour and happiness to our family. Always do what makes you happy. Be creative. Be daring. Don't follow anyone else's path. Create your own one. You have only one life. Live it your way and relish every moment. We love you more than words can say.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lest We Forget

I attended two ANZAC day memorials this year. One with the staff and patients of the hospital I work at and one on ANZAC day itself with my family. Both were very moving and gave me plenty of time to be grateful to the many lives that have been lost so my family can live, work and play in a safe country. 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Thank you Ausgrid!

We are so very grateful to so many people at the moment. Friends who have invited us into their home to eat when their power returned before ours. A friend who turned up at the door and "demanded" a basket of my dirty laundry and then returned it a few hours later along with two cans of cold beer and some limes from her garden! Friends who delivered their generator to our door because their power had been restored and they wanted us to be able to borrow it. All the friends, neighbours and family who kept in touch by text messages, making sure everyone was doing ok. It really made us feel part of a supportive community. 

BUT the biggest "Thank-You" goes to the men from Ausgrid who have worked tireless day and night returning power to us all. This crew worked hard all day and then finally, with a big fluoro pole and to rounds of applause from us on our doorstep, WE GOT POWER!

Friday, April 24, 2015

After the storm...

My poor Passionfruit plant has survived its metal arch collapsing, followed by cyclonic winds and downpours of rain and still it sends out tendrils looking for something to grab onto. Gareth counted over 100 fruits still attached to the vine and we must have eaten or collected 60 or 70 off the ground over the last week. Passion Fruits have become a staple part of my morning breakfast and looks like they will continue to be for a while to come! Anyone out there with Passion Fruit recipes to share? I'd love some inspiration!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

...and still no power

It's eerie as we enter Day 5 without power. We've been told it may be sometime next week before it returns. In the meantime we listen to the emergency broadcasts on ABC radio using our battery powered radio. We light candles and keep moral up with board games and snacks. It's a novelty but it's wearing thin a little. The only consolation is that we are all safe and well and under one roof. We haven't lost any of our possessions and we have fared much, much better than many people across our region. We have a lot to be grateful for.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The storm has eased.

The storm has passed and the skies are blue once again. It's been time to come out of our houses to see what damage the storm has left behind. So many beautiful big gum trees have fallen around our home. Although they have taken down power lines with them no-one in our locality has been seriously injured. Lives have been lost further North. Cars were swept away in the flood waters with their drivers and passengers in them and even whole houses were washed away in the height of the storm. We are very lucky. We have only a clean up to worry about. So many more people have lost much much more. Feeling very humbled. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The storm damage

This is the view outside our front door. This tree is one of four that have fallen on the small stretch of road where we live. There are so many trees leaning on power lines it is no wonder that over 200,000 homes are without power today. We have lots of candles and batteries and will just have to be patient as power gets restored to hospitals and aged care and then hopefully to residential areas. Stay safe everyone. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stop time.

My daughters are growing up too fast! One minute they were little girls but more and more I find myself stepping back and letting them shine as they become confident individuals. I am so proud of them both. This gorgeous selfie with Sian makes me look at her and see the beautiful adult she is becoming. I can't believe how quickly the months are flying by. I'm feeling old!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I'm watching you Wasowski, Always watching...

I was alone in the kitchen and just one small slice of Lemon Tart remained. 
One tiny, small, minuscule  slice and no-one around to see me eat it...
Or was there...