Giving Thanks for Christmas!

To my dear friends~ Welcome to Natasha In Oz!

Today I would like to spend some time giving thanks for Christmas.

May the Christmas season fill your home with joy, your heart with love, your life with laughter and may the miracle of Christmas fill your heart with warmth and love.  

Giving Thanks for Christmas, Christmas, Natasha in Oz

Please enjoy this beautiful videoThe Christmas Story (2010 version),  as told by the children of St Paul's Church in New Zealand. Thank you Debbie for sharing this gorgeous story with everyone!

Blessings and best wishes always,
Natasha In Oz 
Please join me each weekend for the Say G'day Saturday Linky Party!
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Happy Birthday Maddy and Stacey!

Happy Birthday Maddy and Happy Birthday Stacey!

Happy Birthday Maddy and Stacey, Natasha in Oz

If you have time today I would appreciate it if you keep a dear bloggy friend in your thoughts and prayers. Jane from  My Pear Tree House is about to undergo very serious surgery and she needs our love and support. Just Martha has posted about the power of positive thinking and she has asked us all to look at the moon every night, after all, don't we all share the same moon? Here is what she says....

  • What if each night you look at the moon for, say, 15 seconds and send positive thoughts to Jane and to others who you know are going through harsh times?... 
  • What if you post this concept on your blog or speak to your friends?...
  • What if your followers blog this concept and speak to their friends?... 
  • What if hundreds of women look at the moon each night and send off their thoughts?
  • What if women needing support received these hundreds of thoughts?...
  • You see, we all have the same moon, don't we?..
  • Girl power. 
  • Can we do it? 15 seconds a day? Pay it forward?
  • I say we can. It can only help. It can connect us all. It can be global..
  • So what do you say?...
  • Start blogging the concept girls or make a pact with your friend

I hope you will join in with me and the many bloggers who are sending positive thoughts to sweet Jane.

Blessings and best wishes,

Natasha In Oz 

Please join me each weekend for the Say G'day Saturday Linky Party!
You can also visit me at PINTERESTTWITTER

Hark the Herald Angels Sing and a Christmas Home Tour

Welcome friends! I am so happy that you have popped by to visit me at this very busy time of year! Are you all ready for Christmas? I am so happy to welcome you to my Holiday Home Tour!

Hark the Herald Angels Sing and a Christmas Home Tour

I would also like to welcome you to the last Tuesday Tune  for 2010! 

Tuesday Tune, Natasha in Oz

Before I share my Tuesday Tune Hark the Herald Angels Sing and my Christmas Home Tour today, I just want to thank the wonderful people who have, at some stage or another, shared the gift of music with me. I have truly loved listening to every single one of the beautiful songs that my musical friends have shared each week. I have enjoyed listening to them so much that I have added many of your recommendations and choices to my ipod over the course of the year!

Thank you for making Tuesdays so special for me each week!

Well, I am sure that you all know by now how much I love Christmas so, at this very special time of year, I am sure you all probably guessed that I would be posting a Christmas carol at some stage this year! If you have visited my Christmas blog, Keeping the Christmas spirit Alive, 365, you will probably have heard her version of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing in the background. 

I have posted about Sissel, the beautiful and talented singing sensation from Norway, here. Sissel is widely regarded as one of the finest and most talented sopranos in the world. She has sold over six million solo albums and contributed the vocal tracks for the soundtrack to Titanic

Tuesday Tune, Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Yummy Christmas Ice-Cream!

Today I would like to share a recipe for Christmas ice-cream pudding for a few Christmas parties! I will be linking up to 

Foodie Friday with Michael Lee

As you would know it is Summer Down Under so Christmas day is usually very hot. We haven't caught on to the whole cookie exchange concept yet, probably because it is too hot to keep baking all day! Since it is so hot many Australians tend to have cold foods on the big day. Many families serve cold seafood, salads or have family BBQ's by the pool. However, since my mum is from England we always have turkey (with stuffing), baked ham and Christmas pudding. Now I am not a huge fan of all the peel that goes into a traditional pudding so I always make one that is made with ice-cream, chocolates, cranberries and macadamia nuts...YUM!

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To make this yummy ice-cream pudding add:
2 bars of white chopped white chocolate

2 Peppermint crisp bars

2 small toblerone bars

1 cup roasted macadamia nuts

About a cup of cranberries (I usually use dried cranberries as that is all I can normally find but I found these cherries a couple of weeks ago and they worked beautifully too!)

And 2 litres of softened vanilla ice cream

I then add about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and then mix everything together in a large bowl. When mixed well, place into a pudding bowl, glass bowl or even a cake tin that is shaped like a pudding bowl) that has been lined with cling film. Leave some cling film hanging over the edges of the bowl so you can cover the ice cream and then place the bowl in the freezer overnight.

When it is time to serve the pudding take it out the freezer for a few minutes and then turn it out onto a plate. I then drizzle it with chocolate topping (the one that dries hard) but you can also top it with mixed berries.


This is such a great recipe because it is easy and it has to be prepared in advance-one less thing to have to worry about Christmas day!

I made this ice cream pudding for an early Christmas lunch that we had at the in-law's place a couple of weeks ago. They have gone to Paris to spend Christmas with D's sister and her family.

Here are some pictures of our Christmas table and our yummy food:

We always have crystal glasses for special occassions!

We ate roasted chicken and glazed ham, roasted potatoes and pumpkin, steamed broccoli and cauliflower with white sauce. I think the dishes are from Johnson Brothers but I could be wrong....


Dessert was a traditional steamed pudding with brandy custard and ice-cream pudding. 


Thank you also for hosting these wonderful linky parties ladies and thank you for inviting me to join in.

I am heading over to visit my beautiful hostesses, so I can get some more recipes and look at some beautifully decorated homes but before I go, I just want to invite you to join in with Sunday Song tomorrow. 

It will be the last one for the year so please feel free to link up any songs you might have posted about on your blog this year. I am hoping that there will be lots of Christmas Songs in the mix at this very special time of year!  

Take care and best Christmas wishes, 

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For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home. W.J. Ronald Tucker

Nearly finished decorating for Christmas!

Well, our home is nearly decorated for Christmas! I am not quite finished but I really wanted to share some pictures of some of the things I have done over the last few days.

Normally we tend to head to the Northern hemisphere to have a cold Christmas but this year we will be home and I am really excited about it, especially because my sister Holly and her family will be home from England!

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Tuesday Tune ~ Stacey Kent.

Hello dear friends and welcome to this week's Tuesday Tune post! I hope you have a moment to sit back, relax and listen to a fabulous Jazz Singer.

Have you heard Stacey Kent sing?

Tuesday Tune, Stacey Kent, Natasha in Oz
Stacey Kent is from New Jersey and she is a Grammy nominated jazz singer.

This quote comes from her official site and sums up her life beautifully:

The story of Stacey Kent's rise to international fame reads like a Hollywood script. An American language student visits Europe to study French, Italian and German for a Masters degree in comparative literature. Her life takes an unexpected twist that sees Stacey Kent become one of the world's foremost jazz singers. Stacey, a recent addition to the Blue Note roster of recording artists, now boasts seven best-selling albums including Breakfast on the Morning Tram (2007) and The Boy Next Door (2003) both of which achieved Gold status, a string of awards, including the 2001 British Jazz Award and 2002 BBC Jazz Award for 'Best Vocalist,' the 2004 Backstage Bistro Award for best live performance and the 2006 "Album of the Year" for Jim Tomlinson's album, 'The Lyric' on which she was the featured vocalist.

On 31 March 2009 Kent received the National Order of Arts and Letters, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, a government decoration, in recognition of her contribution to the arts, from French Culture Minister Christine Albanel.

What an amazing story, don't you think?

Stacey's eighth album is called Raconte-moi (Tell Me).

Stacey Kent, Tuesday Tune,

In this album she has produced a collection of twelve songs sung entirely in French. Kent revisits great classics of the French musical heritage with songs by  Paul Misraki, Georges Moustaki, Henri Salvador and Benjamin Biolay, and also showcases original work by talented young songwriters like Claire Denamur, Camille D'avril and Emilie Satt. The Album was produced and arranged by her husband, the accomplished British saxophonist Jim Tomlinson. 

The result is a an usual and 'chilled-out', loungy cocktail of French pop and contemporary jazz. Amazon

As much I love this album, the song I would like to share with you today is "All I do is Dream of You" which is on her album The Boy Next Door.

The music was written by Nacio Herb Brown, the lyrics by Arthur Freed and it was published in 1934. It was originally written for the 1934 movie, Sadie McKee. The first recording of the song was on April 23, 1934, by Dick Robertson and Angelo Ferdinando's Hotel Great Northern Orchestra. The song has since been recorded many times. Early hit versions included Jan Garber and Henry Busse.

I really hope you enjoy listening to today's Tuesday Tune, Stacey Kent's version of the song!

So tell me, what did you think? Hasn't she got a fabulous voice!

Have you posted any songs on your blog recently? if so we would love it if you could join in with #TuesdayTune and share it with us!

If you would like to link up a song, please just add the url of your particular blog post that you would like us to visit to the Linky tool below. Don't forget that you can link up a song from any of your posts, old or new.
Please feel free to use the button below in your post.

Thank you so much for joining in and please be sure to come back later on in the week to visit the other bloggers who have linked up.

Best wishes for a fabulous week,

Natasha In Oz 

Please join me each weekend for the Say G'day Saturday Linky Party!
You can also visit me at PINTERESTTWITTERGOOGLE+

5 Minutes with... New Blogger, Fiona!

Welcome friends to my third 5 Minutes with.....post!

I am so pleased to introduce my next blogging friend to you today. She is actually one of my very dear friends in REAL LIFE! May I please introduce to you the very talented Fiona!

Fiona is a new blogger and she is one of the most creative people I have ever met. She authors the blog nicobelle design and she designs and sews the sweetest clothing and accessories for little girls.

Have a look at some of the beautiful things that she has made.

She offers the most beautiful and unique range of clothes made from pure cotton designer fabrics imported from the US, Japan and Europe, and of course from right here in Australia.

Fiona is also a big tea drinker and we often have little "tea parties" where we try new and exciting teas from all around the world...with lots of chatting thrown in as well of course! 

So without any further ado, let's spend the next 5 minutes with....Fiona!

What’s your daily beauty routine?
The first thing I do every morning is jump in the shower – splashing water on my face is a great way to wake myself up! I always moisturise in the morning and at night. In summer I use Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion because it’s so light in the heat. In winter with the drier weather, a creamier lotion is necessary, so anything from Nivea is lovely – they are just so soft, and again, not heavy.

At night, I remove make up with Clinique’s Rinse-off Foaming cleanser before moisturising.

What type of music do you listen to when you are relaxing?

I’m currently listening to a selection of music from Michael Buble, Priscilla Ahn, Lenka, Great Lake Swimmers and Joy Williams. I find their upbeat, happy songs are great to relax or work to. Many of these I have found from playlists on people’s blogs – such a great way to listen to a variety of songs before you download them!

What is your favourite fragrance?
My current favourite is Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel, but I still love Lancome’s Tresor, Estee Lauder’s Beautiful and YSL’s Paris – all floral and so pretty.

What are you reading at the moment?
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. As we are decorating after a home renovation, I also read many house design and craft books, so have a few good reads on the go at any given time.

Which room in your home brings you the most joy?
I love the new family room as it’s the place we all gravitate to in the evening. We might watch TV, read or do crafty things, but it is the place we all gather to relax.

What is your favourite dinner party meal?
My favourite meal to prepare and eat would be a Greek feast! The starters and main meals almost blend into one with a selection of dips, breads, olives, salads, dolmades, moussaka, grilled chicken, spanikopita, lamb kebabs, garlic and rosemary potatoes………the list goes on! Of course, dessert would have to be something sweet and syrupy like baklava or the custard pastry, galaktoboureko. Mmm, I feel hungry just thinking about it!

My family also loves eating Snickerdoodles!  Until three months ago, we had never heard of them but through the wonders of internet searching, discovered our favourite biscuits of all time.  They’re simple to make, use regular ingredients in your pantry and taste crunchy and delicious.  Try eating just one! 

(Photo credit: Australian Women’s Weekly)


185g butter, softened
1 ¼ cups caster sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ¾ cups plain (all purpose) flour
1 teaspoon bicarb (baking) soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons caster sugar, extra
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, extra

1.       Pre-heat oven to 190°C (375°F).
2.       Cream the butter and sugar together until blended.  Add the eggs, beating well after each addition, and the vanilla extract.
3.       Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl and add in stages to the butter mix.  Combine well.
4.       In a smaller bowl, mix together the extra cinnamon and sugar.
5.       Form the biscuit mix into walnut-sized balls, coat in the sugar mix and place on a baking tray at least 5cm (2inches) apart as they will spread when cooking.  I flatten them slightly as well.
6.       Bake for approximately 10 minutes until golden in colour.  Leave on baking sheets for a minute or so, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

This is a large mix which will yield around 48 biscuits – just halve if you don’t think you will need as much, but once their scent permeates your home, they will disappear quickly!!

Tea or coffee?
At a café, I will always drink a café latte or chai latte, but at home, tea all day long! My current favourite is Stockholm blend from the Tea Centre in Brisbane, with flavours of orange peel, calendula blossoms, vanilla and rose petals, all mixed into a black tea base. Lovely!

Favourite holiday photo?
In the school holidays, we love to visit the beach, even in winter! When friends stay at the beach it’s also lovely to drop in for a visit too – here are Natasha’s daughter Maddy and my daughter Nic enjoying a wonderful day together at Mooloolaba.

Describe your blog in one sentence….
As my blog is just getting off the ground, it’s a bit of a work in progress! With my new shop opening, I’ll be blogging all the time now about new designs, clothing ranges and all the gorgeous fabrics I’ll be creating with! I will also be posting about some of the yummy goodies I bake.  So please stay tuned……..

Thank you Natasha for inviting me to be a guest on your blog!  I have really enjoyed sharing some snippets of my life with all of your bloggy friends.

Thank you so much Fiona for spending 5 with minutes with me. I hope that you get lots of new followers for your blog (hint hint!) and that your new business venture is a huge success!

Please go and visit my sweet friend Fiona at her beautiful blog, nicobelle design or to see more of her beautiful children's clothes please visit her website of the same name (nicobelle design). Be sure to tell her I said "G'day!" and make sure your enter her Give away. It is open world-wide!

Thanks so much for visiting today and thank you also to the wonderful ladies who host such fabulous linky parties every week:
Foodie Friday with Michael Lee
Tickled Pink Friday with Holly
Show and tell Friday with Cindy
and Beverly's Pink Saturday Party

Best wishes and happy weekend,
Natasha In Oz 

Happy Thanksgiving to my American Friends.

Even though we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, I would like to wish all of my
American bloggy friends a very 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.  Melody Beattie

Sending you all my very best wishes always,
Natasha In Oz 

Summer Days Down Under!

Hello my sweet friends! It is so nice to see you-thanks for dropping by and visiting me in my little corner of the world.  I hope that you have been enjoying the week so far. The days are starting to get longer and warmer here in Australia and as a result I am finding it very hard to sit at my desk and blog, especially when I have all of these beautiful things this right outside my front door....

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