Category Archives: Lifestyle

Colour Art Therapy

I’m not usually one for following the latest trends but I have to admit that I am now well and truly hooked on Colour Art Therapy, probably better known as “adult colouring in books.” It seems to be all the craze now and like everything once you notice it you see it everywhere.

Colour Art Therapy

I first saw them a few months ago and I wondered what it was all about but then didn’t think anymore about it. When I mentioned it to one of the ladies I work with at the charity shop she said she had bought a book and was really enjoying it.

Colour art Therapy, the pencils

Colour art Therapy, the pencils

As it happened, shortly after our conversation a big bundle of coloured pencils  came in as part of a donation so I bought them. I then went to a newsagent and chose a colouring  book. There is a huge range available some of which are very intricate, any doubts I had about it being for children were well and truly dispelled.

I have just written an article on the benefits of exercises for a healthy brain and thought I would give colour art therapy a go.


The whole colour art therapy thing is marketed as a relaxation tool which also stimulates the brain areas related to the senses and creativity.  Apparently by concentrating on a straightforward task that allows complete creative freedom, the body and mind become more relaxed. It is also a form of brain exercise which is what interested me in the first place.

The Colouring Book

The Colouring Book

Chris and I generally do all our chores and errands in the morning, have a fairly late lunch and relax in the afternoon. We have a small room at the stern of the boat which catches the afternoon sun and makes it quite warm in the winter.  We usually spend a few hours relaxing before dinner, I play scrabble and catch up with my magazines and Chris does Sudoku and plays chess. Colour art therapy has now become part of that routine and I have to say I find it very relaxing.

Not Artistic

I always enjoyed colouring in as a child but I was never artistic and was never able to make colours work together. The adult colouring books are in a different league altogether, if you have an artistic streak or an eye for colour the sky is the limit. One popular magazine ran a competition for the best picture and the results were stunning. Some people really do have amazing talent enabling them to turn something ordinary into a work of art.

I was surprised how time consuming it is, I often spend an hour and only manage to complete a small section. I am also getting better at colour co-ordination so I hope it is doing something for my brain. Our boss at the shop is big on colour blocking; keeping colours together in graduating shades and it is surprising how difficult it is.


As  the pencils I bought at the charity shop didn’t have a big colour range I decided to look around for some new ones and I figured there would be a good selection in one of the main stores. Boy was I right, there was a huge selection of books and pencils many of which were in gift packs, and I was spoilt for choice.

Colour Art Therapy

Colour Art Therapy

It really bought it home to me just how popular colour art therapy is. My one book will take forever to get through so I don’t need another one just yet but I was very tempted, they were all so beautiful.

Who would use colouring in?

I should think this type of activity would be good for people who are bedridden or those who can’t get around too well and it is suitable for male or female .The nearest thing we had to anything like it when I was young was, painting by numbers. It was popular for a while and I remember my father trying his hand at it, of course they never looked as good as a picture painted by an artist but some of them were quite good.

There are a lot of people who don’t have much artistic talent but still like to try their hand at something and colour art therapy fits the bill nicely. I suppose like most trends it will run its course but I have to say I am enjoying it while it lasts.

Easy Gardening

It has taken a while but I have finally discovered easy gardening. When we first moved aboard “Roma Pearl” I had visions of a glorious riot of colour blooming from pot plants on the front deck.

After years of living on a sailing yacht I was excited about having real plants that would stay in one spot.
Off we went to the hardware store which has a large gardening section. We arrived home with several plants, gardening tools, pots, compost, plant food and a couple of nice baskets designed to hang on the rails. I set to with relish and soon had a colourful display out the front.


Being new to the area we had no idea that it would be so windy or that the prevailing winds would cross the front of the boat. The poor flowers lost all their petals and were very definitely not happy. Hanging baskets on the rail were out because I had to tuck them away in the lee; this meant placing them on the side decks. Now of course we couldn’t even see them!

Not so easy gardening. Wind Swept and Sun Scorched

Wind Swept and Sun Scorched. The only Survivor.


Next problem was the sun, South Australia is very dry and when the sun shines it is hot, in fact during summer it can reach 40°c.(104°F) Now as well as being blown away the flowers were being fried.


A neighbour kindly told me that I wouldn’t need plant food if I used river water, and I soon had proof of this. It is not hard to see why since the river is crammed with fish and bird life. It is likely this is what they are bottling and I’m buying as fertilizer!

A few months ago our son and his partner came to visit us and when they left they bought us a pot plant as a thank you gift. It is a bromeliad and normally they don’t grow very fast but the river water obviously agrees with it because it has trebled in size and needs re-potting.

Easy Gardening is Cut Flowers in a Pot

Cut Flowers in a Pot

Easy Gardening Idea

After losing several plants I became a bit despondent and decided to give the whole idea away. The vision of a “cottage look” as you approached the boat was gone.  However the next time we were in the plant section of the hardware store I suddenly had an idea. I realized that all the plants are reared under shade cloth which means they are used to protection.

The back deck of “Roma Pearl” is covered in by a sunroof and only gets full sun for part of the day, it is also protected from the wind most of the time. The room overlooking the deck is our sun lounge and dining area. Soon after moving aboard we replaced the windows with full width, floor to ceiling glass doors which afford us a lovely view over the water.

Out Of The Wind

Out Of The Wind On The Stern Deck

I decided this would be the perfect spot for my plants, shaded from the sun, protected from the wind and best of all, in full view when we are using in the room.  The front of the boat is as bare as ever, the vision of the “cottage look” as you approach the boat is gone forever.

Cut Flowers In A Pot

So back at the hardware store where I bought a whole lot of plants advertised as “Potted Colour”.  At around $2 a pot it is cheaper than buying cut flowers, and that is how I treat them.
I buy a new set as the old ones get passed their best. They last a good while and when they are finished I get rid of them and donate the pots to a charity that needs them. Using this system we can enjoy colour all year round and have a variety of different inseason plants.

I have used the two oblong planters from the hanging baskets and they hold up to four plants each. Right now they are full of Begonias, Sweet Williams and Snapdragons. They thrive on the river water and are a lovely splash of colour on the back deck. That really is easy gardening.

Indoor Plants
easy gardening indoor plants

Maidenhair Fern My Indoor Success

Buoyed up by the success of this project I bought an indoor plant for the lounge. I bought a Maidenhair fern and I planted it in one of those self watering pots. I’m thrilled to say it is doing well, plenty of new growth and looks very healthy.

Every so often I stand it on the back deck in the early morning sun and spritz it with a spray bottle, the rest of the time it is in a spot away from the sunlight. Two indoor plants are about the limit because we don’t have a lot of room but there is something very tranquil about living plants.

I am calling my system easy gardening because there really is very little to it.  The pleasure we get from the flowers far outweighs the amount of effort it takes to look after them.

Moving On

We are moving on again!

No we are not changing our boat this time, but we are moving on. Here’s why.

I’m ashamed to say it has been awhile since I’ve thought about writing a blog. Those of you who have been regular visitors to our website will know that last year we sold our yacht “ Reliance” which we had been living aboard in North Queensland and moved on to a houseboat in South Australia.

Moving on, Cruising the Murray River

Cruising the Murray River

It was a great move which a year on we don’t regret at all. Although we are in a marina just off the Murray River, we are surrounded by water and still enjoying a peaceful lifestyle.

However things have changed

a bit in regard to what we want to do in the future. When we moved aboard our houseboat “Roma Pearl” the idea was to spend a good bit of our time out on the river.  In a way, we now realize, we were still thinking in terms of being on a boat and moving about as if we were still cruising.

Next year Chris and I will have been married 50 years and for about 45 of those years our dream was to live aboard a sailing yacht and go cruising, particularly the Great Barrier Reef. Everything we did was centred on that goal and our children grew up on and off boats from babies.

“Reliance” was our fourth boat and finally we got to live our dream. It isn’t  surprising then that after all that time, even having sold her, and bought “Roma Pearl”,  that we were still thinking along those lines.

Over the last few months we have come to realize that although we love living aboard we aren’t to bothered about going out on the river.  So that leaves the question if we don’t want to spend most of our time on the river what will we do?

The obvious answer is

that we need new goals. In order to move forward we have to let go of the past and after so many years that wasn’t easy to do. We decided the thing to do was to write down the goal which we had achieved and put a big tick next to it. It was a physiological trick but it had a big effect and now we are excited about our next challenge, we are moving on.

Some people might say at aged 70 why do we need to do anything but it is important to have something to aim for and the energy and drive we need will help to keep us young. We do have a nice lifestyle but we have decided we want more.

Moving On

Like a lot of people we have a great desire to travel but we want to do it in comfort. We have never taken a holiday on a cruise ship but we would definitely like to give it a try.

Cruise Ship

Cruise Ship

The river boats in Europe look fantastic as does a train trip through Canada and that’s before we seriously start looking!! It seems that if money were no object, we could spend the rest of our life travelling.  Well who wouldn’t?

For some years now Chris has been interested in working from home on the computer, and although he has managed to do it at a certain level,(enough for us to go cruising) the time factor has always been a problem.

Now is a perfect time

and using our own advice on “How to set  goals” we have made our master plan. To create the sort of wealth we need to fund our new lifestyle won’t be easy, but Chris has found the vehicle he will use and for the last few months we have been moving towards our goal. Although it swallows up a lot of his time at the moment, he is really enjoying the challenge.

Moving On

Moving On

A healthy lifestyle

has always been important to us and with Chris spending a lot of time on the computer we have been more disciplined about exercise and diet. After the big blowout at Christmas, which was great, we are back to a healthy regime.

Recently stone fruits have been cheap so we have been having poached fruit with our cereal for breakfast. This last week we have been enjoying ruby grapefruit since I bought a big bag on special. I did some research on foods that are good for the brain and was surprised to see that turmeric rates very highly. We don’t normally have it in our cupboard but I bought some and have tried sprinkling over different foods.

We tried it on boiled eggs at breakfast and it works well, Chris needs all the help he can get with all this brain work he is doing, and we need to be fit for all this travelling we intend doing.

Change of Lifestyle

Well it has been a while since I posted the last blog and quite a lot has happened since then.

As you know from previous posts Chris and I have been living aboard a cruising yacht in the Whitsunday islands off the northern coast of Queensland. It was a great lifestyle and we enjoyed it, however just before last Christmas we decided it was time for a change and put our boat “Reliance” on the market.

change of lifestyleOur daughter Beccy who lives in W.A came to stay for Christmas and we had a great time. The weather was good so we did plenty of sailing and were able to swim off the stern. Beccy joined us in Abel Point marina where we were staying for the cyclone season but we booked into Hamilton Island marina for the last night so that she could catch her flight out.

Almost as soon as Christmas was over we has someone interested in the boat. When we put it on the market we assumed that we would get another season in the islands before it sold. After a successful trial sail we organized a survey, which involves being lifted out of the water, and just like that “ Reliance” was gone. It was a bit of a surprise but we put all our stuff in store and flew to W.A. for a holiday.

We had left W.A. over 25years ago and we promised Beccy that when we sold the boat we would go over for a visit, it was just a bit sooner than we expected!!

lifestyle change

View from Kings Park Perth

We intended the holiday to be a bit of a trip down memory lane so we made plans to visit all our favourite places. Beccy was working but managed to get a couple days off to join us.

It was fantastic and we absolutely loved it. We stayed at a hotel in Fremantle close to where Beccy lives and she took us to some lovely cafes and a couple of pubs for meals. We enjoyed it so much that Chris is talking about a road trip across the “Nullabor”  for our next visit.

After leaving W.A. we didn’t return to Qld because we had decided that we would like to try living aboard a houseboat on the Murray River in South Australia.

We landed at Adelaide airport, hired a car and headed off to a town called Murray Bridge to look at houseboats.

To cut a long story short we bought a houseboat and a car and are now living aboard, “Roma Pearl” Our new home is now “ Mannum Waters Marina” situated just outside the village of “Mannum” which is about half and hours drive from “Murray Bridge”. We are out in the country but there is a good fast road that gets us into “Adelaide” in an hour and a half.

A new lifestyle

The Wetlands

It is very different from living on the ocean but we love it, we are surrounded by stunning views and the river is only a short walk away. Between us and the river is a wetlands nature reserve so there are always plenty of birds about. We have had some good rain during the winter months and the wildflowers have been beautiful. I have room for a few pots on the front deck and I have planted geraniums, now that spring has arrived I am hoping for some good blooms.

Since we expect to be here for some time I decided that I would like to make some friends so I took my own advice from “ Dealing with Loneliness” and joined an organization to do voluntary work. We have a charity shop in Mannum which helps to support social services in the area and I work there one day a week and every other weekend. I really enjoy it and have already met lots of lovely people. I find it very nice to be out and about and bump into someone you know.

wild flowers as a change of lifestyle

Wild Flowers

The winter was a bit of a shock after the tropics but we rugged up with thermals and managed to stay warm. We had a few frosts and some foggy mornings but also some lovely sunny days  to make up for it. Next year we will be more organized and know what to expect.

It didn’t help that we were also having renovations done on the boat during the cold weather. We ripped out the existing bathroom and toilet and started again with new walls and floors, it has been a long process but looks great now. There is still more work to do but Spring should be warm and dry so it will be easier to cope.

As I said at the beginning it has been a complete change of lifestyle, we have much exploring to do and plenty to keep us busy so we aren’t thinking of moving again anytime soon.

New Year Resolutions

Yes it’s that time of year again. I don’t usually bother with New Year Resolutions but this year I got to thinking about the whole resolution thing and decided that maybe there are a few things I could improve on.

I think the mistake most people make with New Year resolutions is that they go for the big result, then fall off the wagon early on. Maybe it is better to settle for less but have a better chance of keeping it up. New Year resolution, quit bad habitsFor instance giving up smoking is always a biggie for many people when thinking about New Year resolutions but giving it up altogether, especially if it hasn’t been successful in the past, is very difficult. Opting for a resolution such as not smoking before breakfast or at coffee breaks may seem like a cop out but the reality is that it might work and any reduction in smoking is a good result.

With this type of strategy in mind I started thinking about areas that I can improve on in the coming year. As with the smoking scenario I have decided to improve on things without putting myself through too much stress. I think over time small steps will yield results.

Big glossy New Year resolutions such as “I will run every day before work” or “ I will count calories at every meal” sound good but are usually doomed to failure if you haven’t got some sort of track record in that area.

Likewise resolutions that are made to impress other people have a high failure rate. Probably the best type of resolutions are the ones you make quietly to yourself. This is a win win situation, if you fail no-one knows and if you are successful you get to feel good about it.

After Christmas last year I vowed that I would buy less food for the next festive season, especially sweet treats.  Didn’t happen; Beccy has been and gone and we still have a fridge full of food, a good portion of it chocolate.

We have enjoyed a lovely Christmas, the weather was kind to us and we were able to do everything we planned. Beccy arrived two days before Christmas and since we haven’t seen her for eighteen months, it was a grand reunion. She came loaded with all my favourite things, chocolate marzipan, Turkish delight and sugared almonds to name a few. Apparently she went into David Jones deli department and ran amok with her credit card, I know from experience that is not hard to do.

On Christmas day we sailed up to “Woodwark” which is an anchorage on the mainland and dropped our pick in our favourite spot. We had cooked our turkey on Christmas eve so once we were safely anchored we were able to sit down to a lunch of turkey and ham salad with very little fuss.

New Year resolution to cut down on alcohol?It was a hot day so after polishing off our Christmas pudding and cream Beccy and I went swimming off the stern. It was a perfect day we couldn’t have asked for better weather. On Boxing Day we sailed across to Nara Inlet where we climbed up to show Beccy the Aboriginal cave drawings and did some more swimming.

Over the next few days we did more sailing and booked in to Hamilton Island marina for a couple of nights before Beccy caught her flight out. The day after she left the weather changed and we headed back to Airlie Beach in rain and squalls.

I defrosted the fridge and freezer and vowed once again to buy less food next year. My New Year resolution should be to exercise restraint when shopping for major holidays such as Christmas and Easter. As far as New Year resolutions go it sounds pretty easy but I wouldn’t bet on it.