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. And in many ways it is my journal of everyday life. If you click on the Index you can see my posts under various topic headings.
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.
Most recently I have been enjoying exploring other art genres, including Eco-printing with Australian leaves onto cloth and paper.
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".



Tuesday, 26 December 2017

A Christmas wish

Wishing everyone around the world peace, love and light to wash away the darkness.  

Monday, 18 December 2017

20 things to do with kids over the school holidays that won't break the bank

Looking for free or cheap ideas to keep the kids amused over the school holidays?

The summer school holidays have begun here in Australia, and we like many grandparents across the country, help out our children while they are at work, by looking after our grandies for at least some of the school holidays. The years rush by so quickly, that before we know it our grandies won't want to come, or have reached the age when they don't need to come, to Grandma and Pop's house over the holidays, so we are very happy for them to come over for the day/s or for sleepovers throughout the holidays. I think as Grandparents we have more time for our grandchildren and appreciate these precious visits when the kids are not with us 24/7. 

Monday, 4 December 2017

December randomness

It's December and the summer heat has struck and it's beginning to look a little bit like Christmas is just around the corner.  How is your December going?  Today I am going to share a little December randomness from our corner of the world.

Below is the Candlestick Banksia (or slender banksia) - Banksia attenuata - which flowers from October to February in the south west of Western Australia. I always think the bright yellow candlestick shape flowers which grow up to 20-3-cm tall and 5cm across, are very appropriate for this time of year around Christmas. 
I blogged more about banksias here - Celebration of the Australian Banksias

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Summer in my Garden

Hi everyone! Welcome to the first week of December! I don't know about you but I feel like the year has rushed by in a blur. I have been busy yes, but can it be December already? There is so much going on this time of year with school concerts, end of the school year, break-up parties for work places or groups that we belong to, Christmas shopping, Christmas festivities, get togethers with family and friends, perhaps preparing for a summer holiday (summer holidays here in Australia anyways). 

So amongst the rush towards the festive season, I thought I would bring you a few pics from my garden and share some quiet places with you. We need a quiet place to sit to prepare ourselves for the weeks ahead don't you think? 

I only have a relatively small suburban garden, but it always puts on a beautiful show in December, putting on its festive colours - yellows, reds, greens, purples -  though I must say the yellow daisies are flowering a little earlier than I would like. What a love about my front garden is that a lot of the plants here basically look after themselves, except for a little pruning and weeding from time to time. I don't like gardening in the heat of summer, so I am happy they are happy to do their own thing.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Biodiversity Hotspot - Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia

Looking back through my travel pics I discovered that it was October 2011 when we last visited the Fitzgerald River National Park on Western Australia's south coast, and I was very keen for a return visit so I could take photos of the iconic wildflowers of the region. So in late October we hitched up our caravan and took off for a week to explore.

In my blog a couple of weeks ago I showed you the Farm Gate Art Trail centred around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun. You can click here if you missed it - Farm Gate Art Trail 

These two towns, and nearby Bremer Bay, are the gateway to the Fitzgerald River National Park, a world renowned global biodiversity hotspot, bordered by the Southern Ocean to the south and the wheatbelt to the north. 

Monday, 20 November 2017

Be still

Life seems to have gone a little mad the last few days, and doesn't look like slowing down, so I decided to give myself a break from blogging this week, and to try and take some time to..... be still.....
Do you sometimes feel that life is going way too fast, and you just want to stop, to sit, to treasure life, to just... be still....

 I do. I just want to let go, slow down and smell the flowers.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Farm Gate Art Trail & Wildflowers - Ravensthorpe, Western Australia

"What was that in the paddock back there?" I exclaimed, twisting my head out the window to look back the way we had come. My hubbie "threw out the anchors" (ie stopped the car), turned the car around, and headed back the way we had come. And there they were, Scarlet Banksias, standing tall and proud on the edge of the paddock. 

But they weren't the usual Scarlet Banksias - Banksia coccinea - that were on our list of wildflowers we hoped to see in the Fitzgerald River National Park. These were made of metal and what looked like street sweeper brushes. You can see a closer view of the art work (but of course I couldn't jump the fence) and the native flowers below. The artists had captured them beautifully. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

10 Things to do in Sydney, Australia

Hi everyone, welcome back. Last time I blogged about visiting two of the icons of Sydney - The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. If you missed it, please click here - Icons of Sydney

Today I'm going to tell you about some more of the fabulous things you can do in Sydney. A mixture of old and new, Sydney is a vibrant and fascinating place to visit, with something to attract almost everyone. 

My list of 10 thing to do in Sydney is far from a full list of everything there is on offer. Check out Destinations Sydney to find out more. 

I mentioned in my last blog that Sydney has a great transport system - trains, buses, ferries, and we found this the easiest way to get around. Services run very regularly so if you miss your train you won't need to wait long for the next one. You can find out more here - Getting Around Sydney 
And the best way to access this transport is by purchasing an Opal Card which you just swipe as you get on and off transport. You can also catch a taxi, but with the busy traffic in central Sydney it is not really economical. 
Walking in Sydney is also a great way to get around the city centre and you see more that way.  

Monday, 23 October 2017

Icons of Sydney, Australia

In February this year we enjoyed a holiday in Sydney in New South Wales, on the east coast of Australia. I have just realised that I haven't blogged about it yet - so here is Part 1 - better late than never as they say. 

Talk to someone who doesn't live in Australia and they probably have heard of Sydney. It is not our nation's capital, (Canberra is our capital city), but it certainly is a city that is recognised world-wide, particularly through its icons - Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. 

So for my blog today, I am going to take you for an exploration of the icons of Sydney.

I took this pic from the airplane as we were leaving - can you see all three icons?....

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Wet weather street photography

It is spring in Australia, my favourite time of year especially when I can get out with my camera and go bush walking so I can take photos of wildflowers. But the sunny days are interspersed with rainy days, and the farmers certainly need the rain to finish off their summer grain crops. 

 When it is raining, don't think you have to hibernate inside. Think of it as a great opportunity to practice street photography. If the rain is just a drizzle, a city or town can be a great place to explore with your camera, especially if you can walk under over-hanging verandas. I find my small Canon G11, whilst it doesn't have all the latest features, is a great camera for street photography as it is unobtrusive, and I enjoy not having to carry around my heavy DSLR camera. But please remember to use a water proof camera bag and wipe down your camera with a cloth. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Puzzle this! - Amaze'n, Margaret River, Western Australia

It's been school holidays here the last couple of weeks, and we have had a few sleep-overs and day stays with our grandsons - aged nearly 9 and nearly 11. Last week we took them to Amaze'n, which is just south of Margaret River in the south west of Western Australia. Amaze'n is a great place to spend the day with children and is great for adults too! There are several mazes, as well as a 18 hole mini-golf course, and other games to play, such as a giant chess game, and indoor puzzles. And beautiful gardens to stroll around. You can bring your lunch, cook your BBQ, and sit at the picnic tables in the shady gardens, or buy lunch at the Cafe. And so everyone can be included, all paths are pusher and wheelchair friendly.

The centre piece is the 3 metre high giant hedge Maze which was planted in 1994, spread over half a hectare and with 1.5 kilometres of paths. We let our grandsons take the lead. I had no idea where I was, so I am glad they were leading the way.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Camping at Potter's Gorge, Wellington Dam, Western Australia

In April this year we went camping for the first time at Potter's Gorge near Wellington Dam, west of Collie, in the south west of Western Australia.  Amazingly in all the 40 years we have lived here, we had never camped at Wellington Dam before. We had looked over the recently upgraded minimal cost camping ground during a day visit to the dam a month earlier, and decided we would go back with our caravan. Located only 45 minutes from home it was ideal for a mid week short break and we were set up in time for morning tea.

Monday, 25 September 2017

September days

This past week seems to have flown by, with a burst of winter weather, a flower designers show, bush walking, meetings, an artist talk, supporting a friend at a fund-raising event, editing a couple of stories, a flamenco dance workshop, spending time with grandchildren, and not forgetting lunch with friends. 

So for this week, I thought I would take the pressure off myself, and just share a few pics.

Here is the rain. We are in spring, but this past few days we have had three rain fronts cross the coast. We are not complaining as the farmers need the rain, but you wouldn't have wanted to be out boating. 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Kennedy Ranges, Western Australia

This week I am very happy to be guest posting over on Jo Castro's (Lifestyle Fifty) partner blog Zig-a-Zag. Jo's Zig-a-Zag blog specialises in Western Australian travel, and Jo invited me to do a guest post for her. 

I have travelled over a lot of Western Australia, so I chose to blog about a place I only visited for the first time a couple of years ago - the spectacular, and relatively easy to get to, Kennedy Ranges - located in Western Australia's Pilbara region. 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Hunting for wild orchids in Western Australia's mid-west

We have just come back from a week in the mid-west of Western Australia where I was able to indulge my passion for wildflower photography. Although this season isn't as good for wildflowers as it was last year - see my post last year here - Once in 40 year wildflower extraviganza - the wildflowers were still putting on a show particularly if you travelled up the coast from Perth to Geraldton.  This most recent trip took us to Lesueur National Park, 30 kilometres east of Jurien, then over to the private reserve, Western Flora, 22 kilometres north of Eneabba on the Brand Highway, inland to Perenjori and Dalwallinu, and then south to the Dryandra Woodland north of Narrogin.  We camped along the way, sometimes in caravan parks, and sometimes just out in the bush. 

 I didn't intend our trip to be a wild orchid hunt, but it became that in a way, as we searched for orchids we hadn't seen before. Wild orchids are often very small, hide under bushes, and blend into their backgrounds, but my husband is a really great orchid spotter to have along. I love adding photos of specimens to my photo library which are new to me. 

Monday, 28 August 2017

Crooked Brook Forest walk, Dardanup, Western Australia

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend and had a chance to get out in the fresh air and do something enjoyable in the great outdoors. On Sunday we went for a walk along one of the walk trails at the Crooked Brook Forest Reserve, which is nestled in jarrah woodlands, about 10 km from Dardanup off Crooked Brook Road, and 25km (or 20 minutes) from Bunbury, in Western Australia's south west. 

I always enjoy getting out into the bush away from the stresses of life, especially on a sunny winter or spring day.  There really is something regenerating about it don't you agree. 

I was surprised when I discovered that we hadn't been to Crooked Brook for a few years despite it only being about 20 minutes from our home.  We had our grandson with us, and despite him not particularly wanting to go with us, he enjoyed running along the pathways and discovering things in the bush. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

What do Gerald Durrell and Nannup in Western Australia, have in common?

Do you ever have those "moments" when you have been talking or reading about or seen something or been somewhere and then something happens out of the blue that relates to it? I am not sure what you call those moments. 
Not really serendipity .... though the moment can prove truly delightful ...

I've just read that "analytical psychologist Carl Jung referred to it as "synchronicity" - the convergence of events. The universe's way of telling us that everything happens for a reason and there is self-awareness on a cosmic scale". You can read more here -   Wikipedia-Synchronicity

This "synchronicity" happened to me last week - which is why I say that Gerald Durrell and Nannup in Western Australia's beautiful south west have something in common. 

But first the back story.....

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.....

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. 

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. 


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! 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Lake Dumbleyung - Western Australia - once in 20 year phenomenon

266 kilometres south east of Perth in the heart of Western Australia's southern wheatbelt is the town of Dumbleyung and a lake - Lake Dumbleyung.  Typical of many lakes in the wheatbelt it is a salt lake.  This year the town is encouraging visitors to come and see the lake - why? - because the lake has flooded.  What is so unusual about that? - because it is a "once in twenty years phenomenon".  Usually a virtually dry salt lake, Lake Dumbleyung has only overflowed four times in the past one hundred years, the most recent being in 1983, and now this year 2017.

The flooding of Lake Dumbleyung is a sight not to be missed. If you don't see it this year you may have to wait another 20 years to see it again.  The lake was only a slight "detour" from our route on the way to visit my family's farm in Bruce Rock, so to Lake Dumbleyung we went.

This is what the lake looked liked when we last visited in October 2011. Yes some water, but not full. Probably only a foot or so deep. 

And the view last week. It is easy to see why when the lake is in flood it becomes a focal point for the community, birds and wildlife flourish, and the Dumbleyung Ski Club and Sailing Club spring back to life. 

And the reason for the flooding this year? - in February the region received summer rains in excess of 160mm. 

Realising the economic benefits from tourism and their lake, Dumbleyung is encouraging people to visit. “Initially the flooding ruined stock feed, caused erosion and damaged fences, but as the rain continued and the filling of Lake Dumbleyung began, we realised this was a rain that could change our community.” Gordon Davidson, Dumbleyung Shire President.

After taking in the views we decided to have our lunch in the shelter of the Lake Dumbleyung Sailing Club building as the wind was bitterly cold. The building looked fairly new, so I wasn't surprised to read that it was recently rebuilt after the original building was blown down during storms in February. No doubt there has been a resurgence of sailing club activities this year with the flooding of the lake.

Thought to be derived from the Aboriginal word Dambeling meaning large lake or sea, the lake historically has been a seasonal hunting area and meeting place for Aboriginal family groups. 

The 52 square kilometre lake is the largest natural body of inland water in Western Australia - 13 kilometres long and 6.5km wide. It sprung into world focus on 31 December 1964 when Donald Campbell broke the world water speed record on Lake Dumbleyung in his jet propelled hydroplane boat, 'Bluebird K7', in which he reached the speed of 444.66 km/h - 276.3 m/h.

Campbell had already broken the world land speed record on Lake Eyre in South Australia on 17 July 1964 (648.73 km/h, 403.10 m/h) and by breaking the world water speed record on Lake Dumbleyung he became the only person to have ever broken both speed records in one year.  Donald had achieved his dream. 

The best place to view the lake is from Pussycat Hill (don't you love the name). Here you will find interpretive signage and a memorial celebrating Campbell's achievements. 

Donald Campbell made a number of speed records during his life. Sadly he died trying to break his own record in Bluebird K7 on Coniston Water in Cumbria, England on 4 January 1967.  You can read more information about Donald Campbell here - Australian Land Speed Racing

Below here you can see the memorial on Pussycat Hill unveiled by his daughter, Gina Campell.

In Dumbleyung itself you can see a full scale replica of Bluebird K7, the result of thousands of dollars of community fundraising, volunteer hours and shire contributions. It was completed in time for the 50th anniversary of Campbell's historic run on 31st December, 2014.

Not far from the Bluebird replica is the old railway station where you can see a collection of fascinating photos from the past. 

Where is it?: travel south from Perth to Wagin on the Great Southern Highway, then east along the Wagin Dumbleyung Road. Access to Lake Dumbleyung is signposted on the road. 

Please be aware that you are partly on private property and partly within the Lake Dumbleyung Nature Reserve. Camping, open fires, pets and firearms are not permitted. 

Bird watching - Lake Dumbleyung is a wetland of national and international significance, supporting many kinds of birds following good rains, including migratory species from the northern hemisphere. 

The town of Dumbleyung is 8 km further east where there are a variety of accommodation options.  Please go to their web site for more information, including downloadable maps and brochures: Visit Dumbleyung Shire
or on FacebookDumbleyung Shire

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Lake Dumbleyung. 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!