Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
I hope you enjoy scrolling through my blog. To visit other pages, please click on the tabs above, or go to my Blog Archive on the side bar. Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of any of my posts. I value your messages and look forward to hearing from you.If you like my work, and would like to buy a print, or commission me for some work, please go to my "contact me" tab.
Thank you for visiting my blog and helping me "step into the light".



Saturday, 12 August 2017

Winter days & an Energy Bar recipe

It's winter here down under in Western Australia. We had a slow start to winter this year. It was only a couple of months ago in June that I was rejoicing that the rain, and winter, had finally arrived and I celebrated by bringing you a soup recipe - you can see it here if you missed it - Winter Warmers

Since then we have had a very wet July and the start of August has been much the same. We had a rain front cross the coast on Friday night, and another one is due on Sunday.  In winter many of us hibernate, so it feels good to get out when we have some sunshine, or to meet up with a friend in a cafe.  

Too cold to sit here on the waterfront.....

Or here outside the cafe.....

This is much better.... cosy inside and a delicious array of goodies in the cabinet where I met my friend at Benesse Cafe

We are blessed with LOTS of cafes in Bunbury where I live. And of course, we all have our favourites. I particularly love the ones that bake wholesome food on site.  This was at Natural Temptations

Where they were adding a little spring sunshine to the footpath on a winter's day......

But if you don't want to go out you can always cook a wholesome slice at home. I've borrowed this recipe for sugar free Energy Bars from the So Vegan blog. Packed with oats, seeds, nuts, and dried fruit, they are really delicious. I made it today.

 Here is the recipe with some of my own notes added in..... do you have problems adapting recipes? I am usually happy to give it a go...

1 cup oats
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (I accidentally bought pepitas, but they were fine)
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats (I couldn't find any, so I substituted the same amount of plain flour which worked fine if you are not worried about gluten) (So Vegan recommends just using more oats or another grain) (another reader suggested spelt)
1/2 cup raisins (sultanas are fine)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup soft dried apricots (or you could use dates)
1/4 cup maple syrup (or you could use honey)
1/4 cup water 

Note:  Buckwheat Groats can be found in the kosher section of your supermarket, if you have one. They are called Kasha. It is not wheat but a berry. There is no gluten. 


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Spread out the oats, pumpkin seeds and almonds evenly on the tray, then roast for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
  3. Meanwhile, put the softened apricots, maple syrup and water in a blender and blend until completely smooth, then transfer to a mixing bowl. Note: I found that I needed to soften the apricots by cooking in the maple syrup and water first before I blended them)
  4. Next, add the buckwheat groats, raisins and cranberries to the bowl.   
  5. Remove the baking tray from the oven and leave to cool, but leave the oven switched on. After cooling, transfer the roasted oats, pumpkin seeds, and almonds to the large mixing bowl. Mix all together. The mixture needs to be sticky. (I added a little extra water)
  6. Line a 7” x 7” square cake tin (I just used my usual 9 x 13" rectangle slice tin) with baking paper, then transfer the mixture into the tin. Smooth over the top using the back of a spoon, pushing down to make sure the mixture is compact. Make sure you push down as firmly as possible to prevent the bars from falling apart when you slice them into bars. (this is very important)
  7. Place the baking tin in the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the tin from the oven and leave the energy bars to cool completely. Note: the energy bars might crumble if you try to slice them before they have cooled completely.
  9. Cut into bars 
So there you have it. Delicious! Do you have a favorite nutritious easy make slice? 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

You might also like: 
What's baking at your house? 
Making Anzac biscuits 
June capers - Gingernut biscuits 
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too! 

Monday, 7 August 2017

TEDx Bunbury 2017

A few weeks ago I was excited to be able to attend my first TEDx which was being held in our home town. You might have heard of TED events. You might have even been to a TED event. But perhaps you have heard about them but never attended because you don't really know what TED is all about? 

 So what is TEDx you may well ask? 

TED is a nonprofit organisation devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Please click on the link to learn moreTed - Ideas Worth Spreading

 You can experience TED for yourself here - The most popular TED talks of all time

So our TEDx  was an independently organised TED event. I decided for my blog post this week I would share some of what the speakers talked about at our local event. Just a few notes..... have you ever tried writing notes in the dark? My tip is to keep the thumb of your opposite hand on the edge of the page and move it down as you write each line. It worked fairly well for me, except those instances where I wrote over the preceding line!

The theme of our TEDx was "wave" - waves of appreciation and love, the spreading of shared ideas, to spark conversation, to inspire action. The more you put into your TEDx experience, the more you take out of it.  

I must tell you now, as a huge departure from my usual posts, none of the photos below here are mine :) Thank you to Facebook and the internet and YouTube! 

Our host Rebecca Cotton did a fabulous job of introducing the speakers and keeping the event moving along.  We even did a "Chinese whispers" exercise across the rows of the audience with very interesting results! 

Whilst in the intermission we were treated to fantastic piano playing by 11 year old Louis Rebeiro that had us all tapping our feet and wanting to start dancing. You can see and here Louis here - Louis Rebeiro on You Tube

First we had a "welcome to country" by Noongar elder Phyllis Bennell, followed by a talk by Charmaine Councillor, who is an Education Officer at the Noongar Languarge Centre in Bunbury. Charmaine is also a Noongar language teacher, an author and artist of five children's books, as well as a singer and guitarist. 

Charmaine's very interesting talk centered on how language can empower a nation, the importance of "mort" - "family", the extended family and community, and the importance of continuing our cultural languages. The "lore" that governs people, protocols, how to conduct yourself. Giving respect to elders as there is much we can learn from them. They have the knowledge, but we must take time to connect with them and listen to them. Our languages are only as good as the next generation. Language is a part of your identity, and we must teach our language to the next generation so it is not lost. 

The second speaker was Joel Whitwell, who talked about the positives in his life despite his facial disfigurement which he was born with. Joel talked about the important of letting go and moving on. Don't judge people by looks but by what is in their heart. Set goals and go after your dreams. You can achieve anything you want in life, the only thing holding you back is yourself.

We were then treated to a fabulous high energy performance by world champion spoon player Deb "Spoons" Perry.  If you've never seen anyone play the spoons just look up Deb Perry on UTube. Amazing! Deb Perry on Australia's Got Talent

The next speaker was Rachel West, who suffered chronic pain in her early 20s, and talked about the idea that pain is an experience made by your brain. Evidently one in five Australians have persistent pain, and $34 billion dollars is spent on pain in Australia every year. But Rachel believes we don't have to be continually taking pain medication which only reduces pain by 30%. There is another way through a multi-disciplined approach - mindfulness, pacing your activities and using Yoga to manage persistent pain by rebuilding pathways, breathing, and calming the nervous system.  

Following Rachel we were treated to an amazing energetic dance performance by Nathan "Nitro" Phillips who owns and teaches urban and hip hop dance at South West Urban Movement. 

We then viewed a video of Derek Sivers talk from TED in the USA - on how to start a movement and the importance of the first follower. You can see the video by linking here - Derek Sivers - How to start a Movement.  

I urge you to take a look at it via the link, which Derek showed to demonstrate his point that a movement starts with one person, who might be perceived as a lone nut at first, and how the first follower has a crucial roll. Once there is one follower, more people join in and as more people join it becomes less risky to join, and it becomes a movement. And then if you don't join in you may be ridiculed. 
So it is important to nurture your first few followers.

 We then heard from Wendy Perdon from the Ferguson Valley on "be careful how you protest". Gnomesville which has been in the Ferguson Valley for 21 years started as a little protest, and now has over 10,000 gnomes and is the third most popular free roadside stop in Australia! I blogged about Gnomesville last week - you can read about it here if you missed it - Gnomesville, down in the woods today.

It was actually Wendy's talk that encouraged me to visit Gnomesville after not stopping there for quite a few years. I was amazed! 

The next speakers were Julie and Menzies "Ming' Goyder who talked about Alzheimers, and their life with their husband and father who has Alzheimers. 

They emphasized that people with dementia are among the loneliest people in the world. A person with dementia is not dead and gone.  It is important to engage with them. A conversation with a person with dementia is still a conversation. Go with the flow. Don't contradict them. It might not always work however, so diversion tactics might help. 

I really related to their talk as I watched my mother-in-law decline through dementia, and I think my own mother was in the early stages when she passed away. 

Next up was Jeremy Hedley and his topic on local journalism - a topic which actually affects us all. Jeremy said that the future of journalism is in our hands. Freedom of the press is only for those who own a press - but we are in fact all citizen journalists through social media such as Facebook and blogging, but we must make sure we do it responsibly. 
Some points Jeremy made were - 
1 - The difference between journalism and public relations. A press release is only an indication that there might be a story. 
2 - Empathy (identifying with) does not equal sympathy (being affected).
sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters, while empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another
3 - Framing - take the story apart and put it back together. Think outside the box - there is no box! 
4 - How to tie up loose ends. A lie may benefit an individual, whereas the truth benefits everyone. 

 We were then treated to a video demonstration by Bobby McFerrin at the World Science Festival demonstrating the power of the Pentatonic Scale with a live audience. You can see the UTube video here - Pentatonic Scale - you must watch it! 
You might know Bobby from the song "Don't Worry be Happy". 

The last, and I must say, hilarious presenter, was Lucy Peach, as she through song, science, and stories, accompanied by her husband Richie's doodling, shared how she was able to transform her menstrual cycle from a curse into her own personal life coach. 
You can see more of Lucy here and where to catch her shows - Lucy Peach on Facebook


  Congratulations to Susie Delaporte, the TEDx Bunbury Licensee, for bringing TEDx to Bunbury and for everyone who participated in putting together this fabulous event.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have you ever been to a TED or TEDx event? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in the comments. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Life in Reflection

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too! 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Down in the woods today - Gnomesville, Ferguson Valley, Western Australia

"If you go down to the woods today, You're sure of a big surprise" goes the song The Teddy bear's Picnic, but in this case they were not teddy bears, they were Gnomes. Thousands of them! Actually over 10,000! - though I am not sure how they counted them. 

Where were we? Gnomesville in the beautiful Ferguson Valley, about eighteen kilometres from Dardanup in Western Australia's beautiful south west. 

The number of gnomes nestled here at Gnomesville standing on logs, trailing through the bush, climbing among the branches, and strolling along the paths, defies description. They are all shapes and sizes and colours. Everywhere you turn there are gnomes! It is rather overwhelming to see so many gnomes in one spot. and its equally difficult to show you the enormity of Gnomesville with photos. You just have to go there. They even have their own Facebook and Instagram page.

But why are they here? Evidently there are are various stories about how the first gnome came to be at Gnomesville 21 years ago.  Some say that no-one has ever admitted to putting that first gnome at Gnomesville, but your can read the "official" version on a sign at the site, or in brief here.....

A roundabout was constructed in the early 1990s due to community concern about a school bush stop at the original Y-junction.  Near the roadside was a large redgum tree with a hollow close to the ground, and a local resident Kathleen Rees thought it was a great place for a gnome home, so she placed one here. In the round-about a cricket pitch, complete with gnomes playing appeared, converted to a football field in winter. The gnomes were eventually moved from the roundabout to the corner due to safety concerns for people visiting. More gnomes followed and Gnomesville grew and grew.  

Here are just a few of them! 

Today Gnomesville is the third most popular free roadside attraction in Australia. Gnomes visit and take up residence from all over the world. Tourist buses stop here. Clubs visit.  What does a retirement village outing and a motor bike touring club have in common? They both visit Gnomesville and leave gnomes here of course! 

You can even have a game of chess at Gnomesville.

 And to help you on on your way around the beautiful Ferguson Valley the Shire has conveniently installed a map so you can visit wineries, restaurants and galleries. It is easy to make a day of it in the Ferguson Valley. 

The Dardanup Shire now care for and maintain the site. But please aware this is on the edge of private property. Please be respectful and please do not trample down fences when you visit or look for a home for your gnome.
More info here - Gnomesville
- and hereFerguson Valley

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Gnomesville. Have you ever been there? Do you know of any other Gnomesvilles around the world? Perhaps you would like to tell us about them in your comments. 
ps - you might like to check out the gnomesville in Wickepin in Western Australia's wheatbelt, if you happen to be travelling through the area. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday 
Life in Reflection
Weekend Travel Inspiration
All Seasons 

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too! 

Monday, 24 July 2017

For love of the Mulla Mulla - Western Australian wildflower

I fell in love with the Mulla Mulla years ago on our first trip through the Western Australian Pilbara to the Kimberley in 1986. Now whenever we head north I look out for my first sight of the Mulla Mulla flowering as it tells me that we have arrived in the Pilbara.

 Little did I realise until a couple of weeks ago that there is a variety of Mulla Mulla that grows in the Western Australian wheatbelt - the Green Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus polystachyus.  We had seen it in the north, and in the midwest and east of Hyden, but I don't recall ever seeing it in the wheatbelt. But there it was growing near Dumbleyung, and along the roadside northwards through the wheatbelt, and actually on my brother-in-law and nephew's property in Bruce Rock! I was astounded as I don't remember ever having seen it flower there - but perhaps I had never visited at flowering time before. I was in raptures. From my reading since I see that the Green Mulla Mulla grows in woodland and plains in sand from Halls Creek down to Exmouth, Jerramungup in the south and Giles in the far east.

 I blogged about Lake Dumbleyoung last week, please click here if you missed it - Lake Dumbleyung - 20 year phenomenon)

 According to the  Australian Native Plants Society there are about 100 species in the genus Ptilotus, all but one occurring only in Australia. They are found in a range of habitats from tropical areas to the arid inland. They are usually herbaceous perennials with flowers in dense, brightly-coloured conical heads. They are sometimes called "pussy tails' because of the appearance of the flower spikes.
The name is derived from Greek - Ptilotus... ptilon, down or feathers, a reference to the appearance of the flowers.

I became a windflower hunter shortly after purchasing my first digital camera in 2005. Since then photographing wildflowers and finding varieties I haven't seen before has become a passion. There are around 12,000 known species of wildflowers in Western Australia. The wildflower season extends from July in the north to November in the south. I feel so incredibly fortunate to be among this amazing variety and beauty. 

Here is a pic of me photographing Mulla Mulla at Wooleen Station in the Murchison area in July 2015 - you can read more here - Murchison River camping at Wooleen Station

 Usually in July we are spending some of our winter away in the north of Western Australia where it is much warmer. Unfortunately not this year. So I decided to go back and troll through my Mulla Mulla photos to take me back there while I sit with the cold chill around me here. I hope you will enjoy this visit too.

This Mulla Mulla was seen along the Great Northern Highway near the Gascoyne River on the way to Marble Bar in the Pilbara in July 2006.

Below you can see varieties of Mulla Mulla we saw at Wooleen Station near Murchison. This first variety is one we had not seen before our trip in July 2015. I am not a wildflower expert but from my research I think it is Low Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus beardii

 I am not sure if this is the Nodding Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus auriculifolius - or Pussytail Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus macrocephalus. As I mentioned before there are about 100 species of Mulla Mulla and I am certainly not a Botanist or expert. 

And here is again along the roadside 

These Mulla Mulla photos are from our trip to Mount Augustus in July 2014. I love this contrast of the pink against the red rock of Mount Augustus. You can read more on my previous blogs here - Mount Augustus Walk Trails
Flowers that bloom in the red rock of Mount Augustus 

 And this delicate bloom

And at the Kennedy Ranges - Exploring the Kennedy Ranges

These are a few varieties we saw in the Karijini National Park in the Pilbara in July 2014 - Karijini camping - Pilbara

This is the Tall Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus exaltatus - photographed near Marble Bar in July 2006. Growing up to 1.2 metres high, this is a very common Mulla Mulla which is distributed over much of Western Australia, except for the region from Geraldton and around the south coast to the WA-South Australian border. 

This quite delicate variety on long thin gently arching stems is the Weeping Mulla Mulla - Ptilotus calostachyus - which we have seen along the Telfer Road at the old Ragged Hills Mine, and on the Great Northern Highway in the Kimberley near Halls Creek, and also south of Broome near Goldwire. 

Last year we travelled through the Kimberley in Western Australia's north west for about 6 weeks. I blogged about Kimberley flowers last year - The wildflowers are blooming in the Kimberley.  It truly was a wonderful time to be in the Kimberley when the flowers were starting to bloom.  July is also the best time to visit because the floods have subsided from the summer "wet", the humidity is not so high, the days are clear and sunny and the temperatures are warm, perfect for walking. Though they can rise to the high 30s C!

Here are some Mulla Mulla we saw along the way:

At Cape Keraudren between Port Hedland and Broome the Mulla Mulla had views of the ocean. I had never seen them this close to the ocean before. 

This species is a low ground hugging variety -

And further north still on the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome, where we went bush camping with friends who had lived in Broome for many years. 

I think these may be Bachelors Buttons - Gomphrena canescens.  I love the way they flower on mass. 

Now here is the thing..... I always thought that Bachelors Buttons were are type of Mulla Mulla, but I have now found they are not. However the Mulla Mullas - Ptilotus - and the  Bachelors Buttons - Gomphrena - are both in the Amaranthaceae family - so they actually are related. 

And some more of those Bachelors Buttons.  Whether they are a Mulla Mulla or not, I absolutely love them, especially when I see them flowering on mass.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed my post about Mulla Mulla today. For more information you can go to Flora Base - DPAW-Flora Base
 Ptilotus:  Geography, cytology, number of species. Native of Australia. Largely endemic to Australia (with one species extending to Indonesia). A genus of about 90 species; about 80 species in Western Australia. 

And one last Mulla Mulla - seen in the Purnululu National Park in the Kimberley.

Do you have a favourite wildflower? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Life in Reflection
Weekend Travel Inspiration 

Hello there! I love reading your comments. Just click down here to comment too!