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. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Sunday 28 July 2013

The breathtaking world of "Gardens by the Bay", Singapore

Last week I showed a little of our recent visit to Singapore - High Life at the Raffles
No I didn't stay at the Raffles - I wish! If you missed it click here - High Life at the Raffles

 This week I take you to Gardens on the Bay - only a few MRT stops from the Raffles.

I don’t think any words I conjure up can adequately describe the beauty and magic of “Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.  Opened in June 2012 what they have achieved here is nothing short of Outstanding! Stunning! Amazing! Spectacular!

The gardens are a brilliant kaleidoscope of exotic plants from around the world that whisks you away from the hustle and bustle that is Singapore.  It is certainly a wonderful place to go if you need some time out from your busy holiday in Singapore.   

Located in the Marina Bay area (behind the Marina Bay Sands Hotel - the one with the boat on top!), the gardens can be enjoyed all day until 2am in the morning. Access to the Outdoor Gardens and the night light show is free. You could easily spend a whole day here.   The gardens can be experienced in several dfferent ways - 

The main gardens which include Dragonfly and Kingfisher Lakes and the Heritage Gardens can be strolled around at your leisue at no cost. The Heritage Gardens are a collection of four themed gardens that take you through the history and culture of Sinapore's three main ethnic groups and colonial past. You can see the Supertrees in this mosaic - more about them later.  

The two massive conservatories can be visited at a very reasonable coast as can the sky walk and a tour bus around the gardens with commentary.  The Cloud Forest Dome geatures an amazing 35-metre tall central "mountain covered in lush vegetation 

and the world's tallest indoor waterfall (10 stories high).  

The Cloud Forest Dome showecases plant life from tropical highlands up to 2,000-metres above sea level. You can go up to the top via a lift and then walk down along the aerial walkways. 

 The orchids were simply stunning!   

Can you see the bird? 

I love the elegant simplicity of these plants - I wish I had found out their name...though I don't suppose I would be able to grow them in Australia.  
ps - Noel from Hawaii and Travel Photo Mondays tells me they are - anthuriums. Thanks Noel! What a brilliant place blogging is! 

Gardens By the Bay tries to educate as well as enthrall. In Earth Check and +5 Degrees you are given a visual sobering insight into the radical changes that Climate Change is bringing about and the problems we are likely to face due to climate change and habitat loss and the effect of temperature increases around Earth. We desperately need everyone to do what they can to look after our planet before it is too late. If we don't the amazing life as we know it today, plants and animals, and even mankind, will be lost forever.    

The Flower Dome replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, Australia, California, Chile and parts of Spain and Italy. Home to a collection of plants from deserts all over the word, it showcases the adaptions of plants to arid environments. We even saw Australian boab trees. Colourful changing displays of flowers in the Flower Field reflect different seasons, festivals and themes.   There is even a restautrant. You can see it in the top left hand picture - the blue area under the bottle trees. Unfortunately we arrived at the Flower Dome in the early evening, so I wasn't able to take a lot of photos.   

Our boys were mesmerized by the floor kaleidoscopes. I thought they were pretty cool too.   

The unique trees" in the Supertree Grove soar up to 16-storeys hight. You can stroll freely amongst the trees or for a small price walk along the OCBC Skyway, a 128-metre long walkway 22-metres about the ground that connects two Supertrees, and take in the panoramic views of the Gardens and Marina Bay area.   Unfortunately we arrived too late to do everything....so it will be on my list for next time.   

Over 162,900 plants comprising more than 200 species and varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers are planted on the trunks of the Supertrees, which have panels that harvest solar energy.  In the evening the Supertrees come alive with a dazzling display of changing lights which left me completely in awe - I felt like I was walking through the gardens in the movie "Avatar".   

There are several dining options, but we chose Satay by the Bay for a typical SIngapore stay feast. The bottom right photo is acatually the open-air bathroom - I couldn't resist taking a photo.   

Located across the water from the Merlion, Gardens by the Bay is easy to get to via the MRT (alight at Bayfront MRT STation). Prices are very reasonable - check the website for how to get there and opening times and costs -
Plan your visit to Gardens by the Bay

I hope you enjoyed this little tour to Gardens By the Bay. I THOROUGHLY recommend you visit Gardens by the Bay if you ever go to Singapore. 
Click here to go to their website - Gardens by the Bay

Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to hearing from you.  Take care and have a wonderful week.

 I hope to be back again soon with some more pics.

Did I mention earlier there is a hotel with a "boat" on the top - you can see it in the background here - 

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photo Monday, Our World Tuesday, Travel Photo Thursday and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

Sunday 21 July 2013

High life at the Raffles, Singapore

"While at Raffles, why not visit Singapore?"

or so says the Raffles Website -  Raffles Hotel, Singapore

"Probably the world's most famous hotel. ‘While at Raffles, why not visit Singapore?' Indeed. Not just a hotel, an icon; Raffles Singapore is an oasis of colonial style, calm and charm in the heart of modern Singapore - exclusive, historic, and one of a kind."

 Well we were in Singapore a week ago - this was our view from our hotel balcony -

 and we did visit the Raffles - it was next door - here are some pics - elegance at it's best - but of course with a price tag to match......

And a little history - 
you can read more by clicking here - Wikipedia-Raffles_Hotel

and the famous Long Bar - You need to go up to the first floor to go to the Long Bar. I have just read that this is not the colonial bar where the likes of Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling put away gin and tonics while penning stories about the jungles of Malaya. The original Long Bar was located in the hotel lobby. However visiting the Long Bar at the Raffles is certainly a thing to do if you are close by. 

and the famous Singapore Sling? - expensive yes, but it is iconic.

Said to have been Invented by barman Ngiam Tong Boom in 1915, it's origins and original recipe seems clouded in history. Click here for a really interesting story about it - 

IMG_6428Here are the proportions officially published by the hotel:

30 ml gin
15 ml Cherry Heering (brandy)
7.5 ml Dom Benedictine
7.5 ml Cointreau
120 ml Sarawak Pineapple juice
15 ml lime juice
10 ml Grenadine
a dash of Angostura bitters
Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cherry

And where did we stay? - right across the road from The Raffles - at The Swissotel The Stamford - The Stamford, Singapore

We have stayed there before. Wonderful rooms, swimming pool, connected to a shopping complex, plenty of restaurants to cover all choices in the shopping complex, MRT adjacent, fantastic location.

It's not quite the Raffles, but it doesn't have the same price tag attached either. Ps - if you are going to go to the Raffles, check out their dress standards on their web page first, or you may be turned away.

Our view from our "harbour view" room - the pics in this panorama don't quite match up, but you get should get the idea - that is the Singapore Cricket Club in the lower RHS. You can't see the Raffles in this pic, if was way around to the left from here.

 I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of the Raffles. I will be back again soon with some more pics from Singapore. Here's a sneak look - Gardens on the Bay.....

And which camera did I take with me? My trusty little Canon G11 - a handy little camera which takes fabulous pics without the weight and the "she's a tourist with an expensive camera" label pointing to me!

A couple of links for you -  Raffles Hotel, Singapore
  Singapore Sling, Raffles

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photo Monday, Our World Tuesday, Travel Photo Thursday and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

You might also like - 

Which camera will I take with me?
Travel photography and camera settings

Friday 19 July 2013

A year has passed

19 July is the first anniversary of my mum's passing, so we go to her childhood home at Bilbarin and Corrigin in our wheatbelt to where her ashes lay.

Comrades of Mine (the first verse of which you can read in the image below) is an Australian song that Mum remembered from her childhood and which she wrote in her memoirs, and which was read at her funeral 12 months ago. We scattered some of her ashes underneath this big tree near her childhood home at Bilbarin.

Words by Richard Baylis, Music by William G James.


CLAYDEN (Lois Edna): 30.07.1924 - 19.07.2012
One long lonely year since you left us so suddenly. My darling wife of 60 years. Missing you every day my love. Memories forever. Les 
Published in The West Australian on July 19, 2013

 I also found this lovely poem tonight - 

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a 1,000 winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sun on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled light
I am the soft star that shines at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there; I did not die. 

Anon, 20th century

Today - 30 July was to be my Mum's 89th birthday - I miss her.

I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,

Henry Scott Holland
1847-1918     Canon of St Paul's Cathedral 

Monday 15 July 2013

“Oeufs en cocotte” - recreating a little Paris kitchen

Have you been watching Le Tour de France on TV? and what has it got to do with "Oeufs en cocotte" - Eggs in Pots?

Read on!

 Maybe you have visited France while the Tour de France has been on?  We got tangled up in a bit of it at Cambord in the Loire Valley in July 2005 - this was before I was really interested in "le Tour".

Now we really enjoy watching the Tour de France on TV just as much for the fantastic scenery and travel-log - and it is easy to become involved in the cycling too as you get to know the names of the riders and teams - especially if you are following your country's team.  You can see my post in 2011 when Cadel Evans won Le Tour -  by clicking here - Congratulations Cadel

But this post is not about the Tour de France, although in a way it prompted me to write this post. No, this post is about food in France – or the food “we” ate in France.

I don't know if you watch cooking programs. I love the kind that takes you on a cultural, scenic and culinary tour of a country. I have recently discovered Rachel Koo’s – “The Little Paris Kitchen” on SBS Australia. You can also see it on the BBC - BBC - the Little Paris Kitchen

Seeing Rachel cook in her tiny Paris apartment kitchen and buying produce from the street markets takes me right back to our only visit to Paris and France in July 2005. It was our present to ourselves for our “significant” birthdays and wedding anniversary that year. 

We were invited to France by our French friend Aude, and stayed in her grandmother’s apartment in Paris, then travelled down to visit her friend Armelle in La Rochelle on the west coast, and then down to her mother’s house at Montpellier on the south coast. What a wonderful two week trip we had and what wonderful food we ate. Aude was an amazing tour guide who guided us through the maze of the French language, showed us all the "best bits" and her knowledge of French history was amazing!

Here is a pic of grandmother’s tiny kitchen. Rachel’s kitchen in “The Little Paris Kitchen” reminds me of this. If you leaned out of the second bedroom window you could see the Tower Eiffel – it was our proof that we had arrived in Paris! 

I love visiting markets when we go overseas, it is like being engulfed in the essence of the country. Our first introduction to Paris markets was in Bercy not far from the apartment.

I had only just bought my first digital camera. I think I know a lot more about food photography now! And oh how I wished I had taken more memory cards with me and had taken lots more photos – next time….

 That first day in Paris we went for a boat ride on the Seine River and bought chocolate crepes at the Jardin des Plants garden. Oh my goodness, so delicious, I wish I could buy them here!

 A couple of days later we drove down to La Rochelle. On our way we had afternoon tea at Chateau de Chenonceaux in the Loire Valley.  The Chateau and the gardens are magnificent.  You can see Chenonceaux in the collage below. 
and Aude introduced us to the simple deliciousness of buttery, flaky, chocolaty - pain au chocolat – chocolate croissants – although I just read on the internet that to make them properly takes several days to prepare the pastry! I don't know why I don't have a pic of them!

 In La Rochelle we met up with Aude’s friend Armelle, and we went to a magnificent market where Aude and Armelle selected cheeses, cured meats, pate, olives, breads, fruit and of course a bottle of wine. We took it down to the waterfront and sat on the stone wall in the sun to eat. We even had “tourists” take photos of us! What an amazing feast we had – the best simple delicious picnic I have ever had – and of course enjoyed with good friends. 
(Now I know a bit more about food photography, I would have cut open that black bun in the middle of the pic so you could see the yellow cakey centre) :)

 In the afternoon we drove over to Cognac and went on a tour of Martell’s cognac distillery and tasted the product after.

 Then down to a creperie on the coast for evening dinner - Creperie Cabane du Pertuis. I wanted to take a photo of them making the crepes, but unfortunately wasn’t allowed. 

 In Montpellier Aude’s mother cooked us delicious meals (what a fabulous cook and host Genève is), and one hot afternoon we sat by the pool, and drank a cold pastis with pistachios and Tapenade olive paste on little toasts.  

Below you can  see the Mediterranean coast between Carbob and la Grande Motteyou  where guys trundle food trolleys along the beach. And the cafe is at the walled city of Aigues-Mortes.

We also drove up to beautiful La Baux Provence, the lavender fields at Notre Dame de Senanque Abbey and to the Roman built bridge Pont du Gard.

Back in Paris who can resist the cafes and restaurants. I thought it was curious how all the chairs at the tables were all facing outwards towards the street, but now I think what a great idea – you can sit close to your partner to chat and watch the passing parade at the same time. We were lucky enough to experience the Bastille Day parade.

We ate panini for lunch on the riverfront, afternoon tea in Jardin des Tuilerie before the Bastille Day fireworks, at a little restaurant in Montmartre with Aude’s cousins, and at the Eiffel Tower before going to the Moulin Rouge on our last night in Paris. 

Oh Paris is such a wonderful food, cultural, and historical experience.  I loved our Paris and France adventure and would love to visit again one day. 

But back to “The Little Paris Kitchen”…..Rachel recently cooked “Oeufs en cocotte” - eggs in Pots – or as in her case – “eggs in cups”. I loved the way she served this simple recipe in tea cups. The coffee cups in France are like bowls, so would be perfect! 

I dug out some colourful sturdy roundish tea cups and gave it a go.  Such a simple recipe. Eggs in Pots

I didn’t have the crème fraiche (but Rachel says you can substitute with a white sauce – and yes this works well). I added chopped bacon and some fetta cheese to the mixture, added some grated cheese on top, skipped the roe, and substituted parsley for the dill. As Rachel says you can put in whatever you have.  Make sure you add hot water to the baking dish, not cold as I did…twice the cooking time….

Oeufs en cocotte would be perfect for Sunday morning breakfast/brunch. 

 I hope you don’t mind my little departure from Western Australia this week, and that you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane – and oeufs en cocotte!

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photo Monday, Our World Tuesday, Travel Photo Thursday and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

You might also like:

Images from France 
Persimmons and Pasta 

Monday 8 July 2013

Deep in the Boranup Karri Forest - Western Australia

 A few weeks ago I took you on a getaway weekend down to the Margaret River area of Western Australia's south west corner - if you missed it you can check it out by clicking here - Time out weekend

Since then we have been up the 4WD Holland Track to Coolgardie and the goldfields, camped at rock catchments, explored history of the pipeline and the goldrush, and most recently I have taken you to the far north west of Western Australia to Purnululu National Park in the Kimberly. Wow what a diverse State I live in!

But I did promise to take you back to the south west corner, specifically to the Boranup Forest. 

 If you are driving along Caves Road south of Margaret River you will pass through the spectacular Boranup Karri Forest in the heart of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. There is a particular stopping place where people pull over to take photos of the forest. In the early morning the lighting is spectacular. It has been photographed many many times by many many people. It is hard to come up with something new, but I was really pleased with the image you see above, with the morning sun breaking through the trees.

Boranup Karri Forest is unique for its proximity to the coast. This is the furthest west that these huge Karri trees grow. Karris can reach 60 metres or more in height and cover the hilly slopes and valleys of the forest.  Evidently the whole area was logged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the forest you see today has grown back since then. Karri is the third-tallest tree species in the world.  Karri trees are also a feature of the Pemberton-Walpole-Denmark area.

Here is a picture I took years ago in 2005 on slide film around about the same spot - hopefully I have learnt something about photography since those days. 

I have just started using all manual controls. The lighting certainly is very tricky with shadows and highlights. 

You can see some more views here.  The group of people in the middle RH pic were getting ready to go abseiling - which you can do near here. I love Karri trees.

You can also divert off Caves Road south of Lake Cave and drive along Boranup Drive, which is a good gravel road. There are picnic spots and a camp ground at the southern end of the drive.

Did I tell you there are caves? The Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is home to over 100 caves along the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge and were formed by the flow of water underground. 
There are several caves you can visit - guided tours and cafe at Lake Cave and Jewel Cave and self guided (with audio commentary) at Mammoth Cave. Whereas Giants Cave and Moondyne Cave are for the more adventurous. 

On this trip we visited Mammoth (see above) and Calgardup Cave (see below). Calgardup is a Department of Environment and Conservation run cave. Suitable for all ages, it is self guided along unlit paths, boardwalks and stairs. To tour this cave you wear a helmet and carry a flashlight.  Turn off your flashlight and see how dark it is! It was our first visit to Calgardup Cave and we really enjoyed it.

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour through the Boranup Forest and the caves of the
Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.

To find out more visit - Margaret River Visitor Centre by clicking here - Margaret River Tourism

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photo Monday, Our World Tuesday, and Travel Photo Thursday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday
Oh The Places I've Been

You might also like - 

The Oceans edge - Yallingup, Western Australia
Walpole Wilderness 
Hopetoun & Fitzgerald National Park