Thursday, 31 May 2012

Time to flourish.

Flourish(verb) flu-rish. :: To grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.

To flourish is to thrive. To prosper. To bloom. To blossom.

Souls who follow their hearts thrive.

So how do we flourish? Well I was thinking about plants and what they need in order to flourish. If you're anything like me, keeping plants alive is your best intention, however.. we live busy lives and sometimes 'horticulture' finds it way to the bottom of our list. 

I have a cyclamen plant my mum just recently gave me, and honestly, they are one of the hardest plants to kill. Great.. I thought.. this will be easy.. and 'Nat the gardener' suddenly appeared. Mum and Dad have had one of their cyclamen plants for three or four years. Every now and then they think it's finally breathed it's last breath.. when all of a sudden, it shocks everyone and beautiful flowers appear again.

Anyway, I had this plant inside on my coffee table. It was so beautiful. Crisp white flowers. Beautiful green leaves. And then after 2 weeks it began to wilt. What the heck?! I thought these were un-killable?

Then I remembered what Mum said. They don't like heat and thrive in the freezing cold air. (Now, being a lover of Summer, the thought that something thrives in freezing weather is just so strange to me..) Anyway, I tried putting it outside and bam. Literally a few days later I was amazed. She woke up. And look now.. flourishing..

So what is your heart saying to you today? What we say flows from what's inside our hearts. Are we in an environment where we are thriving? Or do we need to move things around and reposition ourselves from the things that can hinder and hold us back. It's with our hearts we believe. So let us open them today.. It's time to flourish. :)

Happy sunny sunny day!

nat x

Images - Natalie Box

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

From the Kitchen :: The Victoria Room Scones

Tonight I am going to a friend's house for a coffee and cake night. There will be many delectable treats on the menu.. yummy coffee.. as well as a vast and delicious array of teas, which we will of course sip elegantly from beautiful tea cups. What is it about girls and our love for beautiful things.. why is a table prettier with flowers.. why do candles make a room so much more inviting.. and why is tea so much better from a beautiful tea cup? It's because beauty is within us and even though we sometimes don't realise it, we long for it. I just read these words below. Aren't they lovely..

We are beautiful from head to toe.. beautiful beyond compare.. absolutely flawless.

I thought about what to bake for tonight, and after flipping through the pages of my gorgeous recipe book, High Tea at The Victoria RoomI have decided to bake their famous scones. (The Victoria Room is in Darlinghurst in Sydney.. and you actually can go there for High Tea).

Martha Stewart also has some great scone recipes.. as does Donna Hay.. however today, here's what's on the menu..



  • 800g (5½ cups) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 170g (¾ cup) unsalted butter, chopped and chilled
  • 150g (¾ cup) castor sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 300mL milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
  • extra milk for glazing


Preheat the oven to 180° C. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Sift together flour and baking powder, then add salt. Using fingertips rub in chilled butter. Add sugar and lemon zest and rub further until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Then make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and slowly pour in the milk with the vanilla. Working quickly, take the flour into the centre using a fork to make a soft dough. Form into a soft ball with floured hands.

Turn out the dough onto a floured board. Give it a few turns and gently roll out with a floured rolling pin to a 2½ cm thickness. Cut into rounds with a 5 cm scone cutter making sure not to twist the cutter. Place scones on the prepared tray approximately 2½ cm apart and brush with milk to glaze. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden. Then turn out onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve with your favourite jam or conserve and cup of tea.

(The secret to The Victoria Room's famous scone recipe is to place the lemon zest in with the sugar).

    Stay tuned for pictures...

    nat x

    Images - Natalie Box

    Tuesday, 29 May 2012

    Reward for the wait.

    Well to be completely honest with you, I had to go back and re-read yesterday's post to encourage and reassure myself that waiting is ok. How funny is that.

    I recorded my voiceover demo a few weeks ago. I've heard snippets of some of the ads, but I've been waiting to hear the final demo. Obviously, when we have no control about a situation, we can tend to over-think things, and sometimes try and make something happen ourselves. But I decided to stop, say a little prayer and just ask God for His help. 

    Honestly. It was as simple as that. Immediately I felt a great sense of peace, and continued  on with my day, trying to focus on being faithful with the little things. And so I began..  researching.. listening to different voice over artists.. learning some 'secret' tricks of the trade and just honing my skills. I'd forgotten all about it until I checked my email later last night.. and there she was! My demo! JOY!

    Sometimes we think we're all alone, doing life by ourselves without anyone helping or looking out for us. But we're not. Somebody is watching.. and waiting to help. :)

    nat x

    PS... random question.. does anyone have a good scone recipe?!

    Image - Natalie Box

    Monday, 28 May 2012

    Beauty in the waiting.

    I've been thinking about the process of waiting this morning. For the majority of the human race, we don't like waiting. We like things on time. We want things now. We get frustrated if our iPhones don't respond immediately. And don't even start me with computers, I mean, if our email takes 3 seconds rather than 1 second to send, we are just about blowing steam out our ears.

    I've been reflecting on the last two years of my life. I've recently stepped out into this new season, but it's definitely been a process. When things in our hearts begin to awaken, we generally want to write a list, and bam, make the move right away - running full steam ahead into a new season. But I've come to realise it doesn't really work like that. 

    The definition of 'wait' is to remain in readiness for a purpose, and to remain in a state of repose until something expected happens. It also means to be available in readiness. Two years ago this dream to write a book was awakened in my heart. But I knew it was not the right time to get up, leave my job and run off into the sunset in a flowy dress with Chariots of Fire playing in the background. Character is something that cannot be purchased. And  the process of character development cannot be sped up. I know this season of waiting has allowed me to grow and develop in a way I could not have otherwise. :)

    This is me waiting at the airport to fly to Port Douglas earlier in the year. The flight was delayed but we were happy to wait a little. Because a) we knew we'd prefer to have them fix the problem on the plane than something dangerous happening to us, and b) we knew our holiday was still happening, so we just grabbed our mags and enjoyed the wait.

    What I have discovered about the waiting season, is that good things come from it. Perseverance is a highly distinguished quality, often admired when we see it in others. But perseverance, like character, cannot be purchased. So whatever season you are in, write your dreams and goals down and keep believing, but know that if there is a delay it is for a purpose. So grab some mags and just enjoy the wait. Below was our reward for waiting..

    The hard times of waiting develop passionate patience in us. And that patience in turn produces character, and character produces hope, keeping us alert for what is coming next! In alert expectancy such as this, we never feel shortchanged. In fact it's quite the contrary. 

    It's like that exhilarating feeling that comes when you actually book your holiday. There is waiting required, but you are driven by the hope of what is coming. You start preparing for it.. you begin planning your outfits (enough for day and night), you write your travel list, you work out which books you'll take to read, and... of course you'll need a new maxi dress for the pool.

    And suddenly waiting becomes fun.

    So let us be encouraged in our waiting. Like a woman awaiting the birth of her baby, eagerly awaiting the next season without fear but with great expectancy. I believe when we have seen something with our eyes of faith, we will surely see it come to pass. We just have to keep looking up. :)

    Happy sunny cloudy Monday..

    nat x

    Sunday, 27 May 2012

    Before and After :: The Journey of the Coffee Table

    This is the story of my coffee table.

    Once upon a time there was a pine, uncoated blanket box. Purchased in 1998, the colour was chosen and she was stained a lovely teak. In 2003 Miss Blanket Box was unfortunately abandoned when her owner relocated indefinitely to the magical island of Hong Kong. In 2008 the owner's parents moved house and were in need of some additional furniture, so Miss Blanket Box, now living in a shipping storage container, was rescued and placed in a loving home. In 2011, Miss Blanket Box's owner, now back in Melbourne, was in need of a coffee table. So after nine long years, the two were reunited. Now here is the story of Miss Blanket Box's transformation into a lovely.. white.. coffee table.

    I started painting the blanket box late one night (notice the stunning makeshift coffee table in the background). The flow of creativity usually comes to me late in the evening, and I just have to go with it. So at 10pm, I was chilling out, watching TV, when I glanced at the coffee table.. and the urge came. So of course I had to act. Up I jumped. Grabbed the paint, brushes and dropsheets from the garage, and within ten minutes I was right into it. No messing around! I know you know what I mean.. When you get that "decorating urge" nothing can stop you. You just go full steam ahead until it's done no matter what the hour! But the results are so worth it. And... here she is!!

    I just love white paint. It makes everything look schmick. It does take a bit of effort, but the moment you start you can see the evidence of change immediately. And so it is with us. When we begin to make a change and work on ourselves, for example - the way we think - we immediately see the evidence. I've found that as I think and rethink over negative issues, things that have happened that I actually can't do anything about, as I worry about things, and just mull over the wrong things in my mind, it's not good. The way we think determines who we are. And so much can be said about thinking the right way. We can literally be transformed by the renewing of our minds

    This was taken a few weeks ago when I got my new couch. I recently gave the table a fresh coat of white paint and I think she looks even better now. :)

    So.. this week I'm challenged to renovate my thinking. It's time to throw out old thinking patterns and give our minds a coat of fresh white paint. It's time to forgive when we don't feel like it.. to love when it's hard.. to have compassion instead of frustration.. and to still believe in ourselves even though we've failed a hundred times. 

    Hope you are having a beautiful Sunday arvo.. I'm off to church!

    nat x

    PS... you can subscribe to this blog if you like... I'll be sharing more yummy (and super duper easy) DIY house beautifying tips very soon!

    Saturday, 26 May 2012

    Pre-digital beauty..

    The digital age brings with it many things we have grown to love. Instant communication. iPhones. iPads. Digital cameras. Skype. Facebook. Twitter. We check our phones every five seconds, all day long. Then before we go to bed, we tuck them in and put them to sleep on our night stand and wish them goodnight as we plug them in to recharge. We wake up and there they are smiling at us, ready for another all-day workout.

    The photo above is Juliet's balcony in Verona. I have a huge beautiful photo album of real, live, actual photos. I know, how amazing to think of these days. Real photos. Before digital. Back when I was travelling, we didn't travel with mobile phones (shivers I sound like my Nanna..).. but we did have email. I remember being in the Greek Islands and emailing my other friends to meet up with them. We had to pre-set a time and meeting place and thankfully it worked and we were both there! How hilarious is that! Now, if want to meet up with someone it's simple. We can SMS them, email them, Tweet them, Facebook them, Skype them... and then if all that doesn't work then at least we can  Instagram tag them.

    The last two times I've been overseas my phone hasn't worked. At first I almost freaked out.. I mean how will I survive two whole weeks phone-less?! But let me tell you, it was the best feeling ever. It made me realise just how much we depend on technology to communicate. This afternoon I hand wrote a card and it was so refreshing. So this week our mission (if you choose to accept it) is to do one of the following.. 

    print out a selection of the photos on your memory card or iPhone.. 
    turn off your Facebook for a day.. 
    handwrite a letter and post it to an old friend.. 
    leave the house for an hour without your phone.. 
    don't log on to Twitter for a few days.. 
    keep your phone in your handbag when you catch up with someone.. 
    don't upload a photo or check Instagram for a week..

    And in the time we save in doing one of these, let's focus on speaking encouraging words of hope to one another. They seem like
     like simple things, but every time I do one of these things I feel refreshed.

    It's my Nanny's 90th birthday in a few weeks and I'm going to make her a photo album. Every time I take a photo of her she says to me "and when am I ever going to
    see any of these photos?" She's right. So this week.. to Officeworks I go.

    Happy rainy Saturday. :)

    nat x

    Friday, 25 May 2012

    Time to create.

    This is a shot I took of my bedside table yesterday.. the plate is my grandmother's crystal. Look, let's be honest. I know it's not the most practical thing in the world, having a tray of perfume right next to your bed.. and I can think of lots of other things that might be vying for that space, but I just thought it looked pretty so I thought, why not? 

    How many times do we think Ooh, I better not do that.. or I'd better hold back my creativity there.. because it's just not the normal thing to do. I've been challenged lately not to do things 'just because I've always done it like that', but to stop and think how can I do this differently?

    We need to be creators, not imitators.

    Even though we may not know it, we each have within us great skills, abilities and know-how for creating all sorts of things. We can actually make anything and design anything. Familiar is comfortable. But it doesn't grow us. So whether it's decorating your home or office, writing a song, learning a new language, taking music lessons, starting a business, learning to cook, studying photography, signing up for art classes, writing poetry, doing a floristry course, or just doing that thing that's always been in your heart.. the world is waiting for you to step out and be all you are destined to be! So.. time to create.

    Happy rainy Friday!

    nat x

    Thursday, 24 May 2012

    Beauty is chasing us..

    Early yesterday morning my sister and I were out exploring Braeside Park, and we came across the playground. As we walked, we reminisced about how fun playgrounds used to be as kids, and even how simple it all sounds... 'sliding' down the slide, 'swinging' on the swing.

    Puffing as we walked and talked, we joked, "we should come back one day and play on it!" We strolled on as the track curved around the playground. The sun reached through the trees, beckoning us. Both thinking the same thing... "should we? could we?", we looked at each other with great delight, glanced around, and ran cheekly across the tan bark towards the giant slide. 

    So there it was. Quite a sight to see. Two adult women squealing with laughter sliding down slides, climbing up and down play equipment in gym gear and giggling like 4 year olds. But can I tell you it was so refreshing. To put aside the inhibitions and just run with childlike innocence. I highly recommend it!

    {By the way... I'll have you know that tube slide on the right side was seriously steep...}

    After our little ten minute 'playground session', we made it back to the "grown ups walking track" feeling so free, completely energized and full of joy. The adrenalin was pumping and we felt so refreshed. So THIS is why kids are so happy and have so much energy all the time! We walked home and had coffee together, shocked at the fact we couldn't remember the last time we'd done this even though we live 2 minutes away from each other.

    Beauty chases after us every day of our lives

    Our fun little morning reaffirmed this in my heart. Life is busy. And if we don't purposely look for them, we will miss the unopened gifts of beauty chasing us each day. Even now as you are reading this, take a moment to stop. Look around you and find something beautiful to be thankful for. And why don't you think of something simple you'd really like to spend time doing. Now schedule it in for next week. Even it's just half an hour. I guarantee you'll feel the joy!

    Have a beautiful day!

    nat x

    Wednesday, 23 May 2012

    Travel Diary :: Santorini

    Well aren't we doing well here with the weather?! It's another lovely day in sunny "almost winter" Melbourne. I was inspired by the post on vacation spots I read on this morning. So I went looking through the photo album from my year 2000 backpacking adventure and opened up to this beauty. I took this photo in Santorini.. isn't it just beautiful? I spent a few days on Santorini with my friend Penny, the last stop of all the Greek Islands we visited and by far the most stunning in my opinion. 

    With flourescent-pink bougainvillea flowing over every balcony, and terraces set for alfresco dining amidst a sea of blue roof tops, this beautiful white-washed, cliff-top island draws you in straight away. Offering the simple charm of a Greek sea-side village whilst boasting breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea, Santorini is a must on your travel list.

    Aside from the beauty this majestic island effortlessly oozes, Santorini is famous for another reason. Oia, the tiny town located on the north-western tip of Santorini, is where hundreds of tourists gather each afternoon to witness the glorious display of creation at sunset. {Stay tuned.. I will post on the gorgeous town of Oia soon..}

    Santorini is a volcanic island.. it's amazing how something that once suffered such destruction and devastation is now known for it's incredible beauty. And with us it's the same. I truly believe that the hard times define us, and that every tragedy we face, in time, will always be worked into something good. 

    Have a wonderful day wherever you are. :)

    nat x

    Image - Natalie box

    Tuesday, 22 May 2012

    On The Street :: Paris

    I hope you've had a lovely day so far. I've been out and about and have just sat down to do some book writing. But before I start, I just thought it felt like the kind of afternoon to croon over some lovely Paris pics. 

    I have been to Paris twice. Well, twice on the same trip, that doesn't really count as twice then does it.. he he. But anyway, it was back in July and August 2000 I was there, so I think it's high time I made my way back there again. 

    Have you been to Paris?

    nat x

    Monday, 21 May 2012

    The other side of Hong Kong..

    Just thinking of Hong Kong and this unforgettable skyline I remember so well. In addition to the shopping, the culture and of course the food... there is another side of her that most people
    don't know about... beaches.

    One side of Hong Kong is filled with traffic, skyscrapers and apartment buildings. The other side boasts lush, green forests, beautiful homes, and a strikingly stunning coastline.

    Deep Water Bay - (one of my personal favs).

    Stanley - (home of the famous "Stanley Markets").

    Big Wave Bay - (incredible seafood in nearby fishing village - Shek O).

    So if you're ever in Hong Kong don't forget to head to Deep Water Bay and Stanley (No. 6 bus from Central) and to the famous Big Wave Bay (MTR to Shau Kei Wan). As with most things in life, there is always more than meets the eye...

    Definitely worth a trip.

    nat x

    From shadows to sunshine..

    The sun is shining gloriously this morning in Melbourne. I just got back from my walk/run (well I guess the fact that I ran about 200m of the 5km would classify it as more of a 'walk'.. hmm..) Anyway, situated right near my house is beautiful Braeside Park. 750 acres of wilderness nestled smack bang in the middle of suburbia. It's such a treasure.

    The photo above was taken just before sitting down at my desk this morning. I've noticed the sun is much lower in the sky recently, meaning there is less morning sun streaming through my normally 'light-flooded' apartment. Even now as I write, the sun has completely gone from my desk. So sad! As with every new season, there are things we don't like, or that we wish wouldn't change. But as we purposely look for joy among the shadows, we will ALWAYS find something good to be thankful for.

    Now I'm at the end of this post and I can't help but chuckle. The sun has passed the shadow-causing-pillar and is now warmly creeping up my arm. I've just repositioned a few things and moved my desk so it's in the sun again. :) This seems like a simple analogy, but I am reminded again to be thankful always. As we open our eyes, reposition ourselves and elevate our thinking, we are able to see the bigger picture and embrace the new season with great anticipation.

    You're going to have a great week!

    nat x

    Images - Natalie Box

    Saturday, 19 May 2012

    The lovely world of Austen.

    "The ladies of Longbourn soon waited on those of Netherfield.
    The visit was returned in due form.
    Miss Bennet's pleasing manners grew on the
    good-will of Mrs Hurst and Mrs Bingley..."
    (Pride and Prejudice)

    After a lovely Saturday morning spent over coffee with four inspirational women and a spot of shopping at Ikea (100 candles for $4 is a no brainer really)... I arrived home and found this little book sitting on my bookshelf, eyeing me off.

    So with a Royal Albert mug of French Earl Grey in hand, I grabbed a rug, plonked
    myself on the couch and opened up to the lovely world of Austen. Her writing is sweet and beautiful, her words poetically floating off the page and around the room as each one is read.

    As a lover of books, of reading and of course writing, I'm coming to the realisation that
    words really do either carry life, or they destroy. Beautifully written words awaken the soul. I have a collection of old books, one of my favourites being the bible. Written thousands of years ago and translated into hundreds of languages, every time I read it, its words come alive and bring
    life and hope to my soul. 

    What books are you reading at the moment?

    nat x

    Image - Natalie Box

    Friday, 18 May 2012

    Long lasting beauties..

    Can I just say.. I was given these flowers two weeks ago, and here they are today,
    still standing tall and oozing beauty.

    My secret? A fabulous tip my wonderfully wise, "florist" mum taught me.. 

    1. Snip the ends diagonally..
    2. Smash the snipped ends with the back of your scissors..
    3. Replace water and re-snip & smash ends every few days..

    Makes me think of us as we live our lives. What we say flows from what's in our hearts.
    As we regularly check our hearts and deal with things that come up (hurts, offenses and other emotional issues) we stay refreshed and beautiful.. always flourishing.

    Happy Friday!

    nat x

    Image - Natalie Box

    Ah. New York Brownstones.

    I am dreaming of New York. And this picture makes me smile. I have spent time in New York on two occasions.. The first was in October 2000 when I ventured to the city of all cities (all by myself might I add) - for 2 months of shopping, working and living in one of these
    beauties you see in the image above you.

    I was so excited to find some fabulous (and miraculously affordable) accommodation on the Upper West Side (W 88th St right near Central Park West). So one of these brownstones became my home base and each day I headed out, exploring the streets I had already memorised so many years before. The second time was in August 2004 with my sister Katie. She met me in Boston where I was studying, we jumped on a bus, and within 4 hours we had crossed the George Washington Bridge and were walking the streets of SoHo once again.

    I don't know what it is about this city. And if you haven't been there yet.. be prepared..
    Once you go, she will forever capture your heart. :)

    nat x

    Image -

    Wednesday, 16 May 2012

    2 hours on an aeroplane..

    With a heart full of dreams and desires, I have taken the faith leap. I've started this blog and I am finally writing the coffee table book that has been on my heart for 

    about 2 years now.

    It's called "2 Hours on an Aeroplane". It will be a big beautiful picture book, and inside will be a journey. The story begins in the year 2000. It’s theme: a tale of travel, exploration, adventure and faith. I'll be sharing funny stories, life altering moments, tales of amazing people I have met along the way, as well as many beautiful and inspiring photographs – (I think I miiiight just have to head back over to Europe and America at some point to retake some of the photos he he.. any photographers want to join me?!)

    I am so excited about what's ahead and am really looking forward to sharing the process with you. I'll be sure to post pics and sketches, plans and ideas... Let the fun begin! (PS.. please share any dreams you are stepping out with, I would love to be cheering you on too!)

    nat x

    Image - Natalie Box
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