Saturday, April 11, 2015

30 weeks

I did a little disappearing act for a while there!! 

I had the best intentions of running the 'my week' linky regularly and blogging regularly but then life threw me a curve ball. 

For almost the past 12 months I've been plagued by unexplained health issues. They only occurred periodically but without any warning so the time between episodes was spent worrying about the next episode. And what it all meant. 

It grew worse and I became convinced I had ovarian cancer. My doctor had a range of possible causes and for basically all of them, the treatment required me becoming infertile. We had always planned on having another child this year (with our youngest starting fulltime school) so that was an idea that needed some getting used to. Actually, it was pretty devastating.

Of course, suspicions are nothing, we needed answers so my doctor referred me to a major women's specialist hospital here for scans and assessment. Unfortunately it's a busy hospital and the earliest appointment I could get was eight weeks away. Eight weeks. May as well have been a lifetime. I felt so helpless and cried myself to sleep in my husband's arms more than once. 

Well, I had the scans and my guess wasn't far off. They're not cancerous but I do have plum-sized benign tumours on each of my ovaries. I'll have surgery on them later this year. 

But first, I need to meet someone special: 


Yup, hidden by all the other stuff going on was this little guy. Miraculously unaffected and perfectly healthy. I can't begin to describe how lucky I feel. So the last few months have been spent getting my head around everything and then preparing for his arrival. Because a lot of my symptoms are still unexplained, and because of the tumours, I have to have scans every few weeks on top of my normal antenatal appointments. I grabbed my Kikki-K planner the other day to start putting them all in, and I realised the bookmark was still on the date of my big scan- February 19th. 

So that's my big news. I'll leave you with some pics of my 30wk bump: 


Laura xx

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Week 4/52

Welcome to my first "My Week" link-up party!

Confession: after umm-ing and ahh-ing I finally bought my planner inserts less than two weeks ago so that's why there wasn't a post for week 1,2 or 3. 

To join in, you just need to blog about the week that was. This link-up is designed to highlight your planner or project life layouts but even if you just blog about your week with text or photos, you're welcome to join in. Once you have finished your blog post, add it to the link-up list below. The link-up list will be open for new additions for a week (I may change that for future posts) and if you think you won't get your photos printed and complete your Project Life layout in that time, you could mock up your layout in the Project Life app.

Please spend some time visiting other blogs that have linked. If you want to find previous "my week" linkups you can use the "my week linkup" tag/label. And I would love it if you could add the "my week" button to your blog sidebar or in your post so that other people can find us and join in.

Okay, let's get started, shall we?


This week was pretty slow, we're soaking up everything that we can from these last few weeks of school holidays. There were a few things that needed to be done, like getting a tail-lift on one of the trucks serviced and getting an important invoice finished and dropped off, but mostly I'm happy to tackle the big but not time-critical tasks once school goes back. 

I'm using the Kikki-K medium time planner inserts and... I don't really like them. It's hard to see in this pic but they're on quite strongly coloured paper and that makes decorating harder. This week I just threw a strip of discount-store washi across the bottom. 

Some of the more memorable moments from our week. I'm using the 'honey' kit (which was the first Project Life core kit I bought) and I mocked it up in the Project life app.

I look forward to seeing your posts!

Laura xx

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Welcome to 2015

A very belated Happy New Year to you all!

As always, December was a CRAZY month at work- everyone tries to get all of their stock out before the end of year but customers keep changing their minds about availability because Christmas-related events keep cropping up. Consequently bookings get added and cancelled and added and amended and I have to try and keep track of it all. On top of that we had the girls' first dance concert, some health issues for me, work christmas functions (both hosting and attending),family Christmas functions (both hosting and attending), one employee move overseas so the whole process of recruiting new staff, the usual school end-of-year things, several birthday parties and then school holidays.

Phew!

We were lucky enough to get a few days off in a row over Christmas and then a few more later on January so after the busyness of December and with my health issues, we decided to take it easy. It was really, really hot here in Perth this summer so along with beach trips and pool trips, there was lots of time spent under the airconditioner playing lego.

Some 'treasures' the girls found for me at the beach
January started with a party at our house, then the girls had a week of swimming lessons. We went on an Ikea trip and bought some frames and hooks and other things it has been too hot to bother putting up.

I'm back into the swing of things at work (although my office looks like a bomb went off) and we're mostly set for back-to-school supplies.

I feel like I can stop and breathe again! lol

I have a few plans for the blog this year, including an update to a weekly series which will kick off on Australia Day (January 26th). Like usual, every Monday I'll post "my week" in the form of a look at my planner from the week just ended. But now it will be a linky so you can all share your week in planner or Project Life form! So I hope you'll check back on Monday and join in. I'll post reminders on social media too, just in case anyone forgets.

I'm also looking at a little cosmetic update for the blog. So don't be alarmed if you see a few changes.

Well, that's it from me for today.

Laura xx

Sunday, November 30, 2014

What I read: November


"cookbook" by Matt Preston
This was a birthday present from my husband because he knows how much I love cookbooks. I don't know if it's weird or normal, but I will read cookbooks from cover to cover in bed at night. I haven't made anything from this book yet but there's a recipe that includes caramelised white chocolate that has blown my mind. I've bought the white chocolate already, I'm just waiting for the opportunity to slow oven-bake it and try it out for myself! In fact, that's probably how I'll use this book- pulling elements and pieces of inspiration- trying techniques and flavour combinations- but I can't see me making many of the recipes exactly as described. But that's what I like about it. There are lots of salads, lots of tips and shortcuts, lots of new ideas. If only they could have left out the innuendo and "my ancestor who looks like me wrote a cookbook" injokes it could have been almost perfect.




"I am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai
I bought this book with a giftcard I received for my birthday. Like many people, I've been fascinated and inspired by Malala for a while so this is a book I've looked forward to reading. It mainly concentrates on the political situation leading up to Malala's shooting rather than the changes to her life afterwards. The thing I found quite surprising (although I don't know why) is that Malala is a very normal girl. Although one of the top students in her class at home, she is very average compared to her new British school peers and like all teenagers, there's quite a bit of normal self-centredness that shows through. Not that these are a slight against her, I simply it to show that despite the calm and sophisticated Malala we see in the media, this happened to a normal, vulnerable girl which makes it all the more heartbreaking.




Monday, November 17, 2014

My week 46/52

This week saw me knocked down for the count with some kind of virus. My joints ached, my eyes felt hot and dry and my energy levels were somewhere around minus fifty. I managed to get quite a few things done but not without several attempts and a LOT of effort. Seriously, most of them were simple sitting-in-front-of-the-computer tasks but the effort required to move from the loungeroom or bedroom or kitchen to the office was Herculean! 


There were a few other notable events this week- my youngest daughter had her first ever news day at school. Our school places a lot of value in public speaking so from Pre-primary onwards the students take part in speech contests. My eldest had just delivered her speech and so my youngest decided to write her own speech. It was an A4 page covered in lines and lines of writing- mostly the letters 'a' 'b' and 'm' but grouped to look like words. She was very proud of it so then she was very excited when she discovered the next day that she would really get to talk in front of her kindy class (although she won't make a speech until next year). 


This week I just used some cheap "deco tape" brand faux washi tape with a toadstool design. It is really cute though and the colours are really bright and rich. I mainly used a BIC 4-colour pen for writing because: virus. I'm still in my Kikki-K and I'm not sure if I'll switch back to a filofax for next year or not, or maybe I'll split into two planners next year- personal and work. 



Friday, November 14, 2014

OOTD: Great Odin's raven

Continuing the tradition of only posting terrible pictures of myself on the internet....



I'm not sure why I never post nice pictures. It's probably a self-deprecating thing- ie I'd feel vain and self-obsessed posting a really flattering picture of myself but posting a picture I can have a snark and a laugh at seems okay. Plus, when I look bad I'm generally feeling bad (ie sick or tired) and can't be bothered trying to get a better picture or caring in general, lol. So up goes the pic.

Anyway, this was today (Friday). I'm sick and mainly staying at home so I'm wearing a comfy black skirt, comfy black ballet flats, lazy ponytail, my husband's tshirt and a cardigan because I was feeling chilly. I had to leave the house for school drop off, then kindy drop off (half day), go to the bank, too the post office for envelop and stamps, post a cheque, purchase a birthday present and grab a few essential groceries. I have to do school/kindy pickup and then take my eldest out to a birthday party tonight but I may change my clothes before then.

So that's me doing WAHM_feeling-sick-on-a-Friday haha

Hope your weekend is a good one

Laura xx

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Happy List November

Ahhh, I've missed blogging. I really enjoy it but then I seem to put it off in favour of housework and work-work and.... well, that's it really. That's 95% of my life, haha. Which is why I need my outlet of blogging!

Well today I am sharing my November Happy List- things that are bringing a smile to my face this month.

First up is the website launch for Ashloc Designs. It's no secret that I love Kylie's handmade jewellery (and she also sells kits for making your own) so this is an exciting day. Better yet, enter the code "allbrandnew" for 15% off all products until Sunday!

Next up is this tshirt which I picked up for my husband at Kmart but is now worn mainly by me (which may or may not have been my intention all along!). Admittedly I already own plenty of clothes but I don't have tshirts- I have tops and blouses but not a plain old tshirt (except gymwear). I don't often wear tshirts anyway but sometimes (like this week) I'm sick and I just want to wear PJ pants or tracksuit pants and a baggy mens tshirt. So comfort is number one but the big bonus is that this tshirt features a line from one of my favourite movies of all time.


And lastly, I'm enjoying all the Christmas preparations. Our tree finally fell apart last year so I've bought a new one which I'm really (like, tragically) excited about. I've bought some new Christmas books (even though I told myself I wouldn't), I've been drawing up lists and buying gifts which I've stashed in my walk-in-robe. Planning menus, decorations, activities, crafts, etc etc. I love it! And although I'm normally really careful to make sure that I hold off on indulging in Christmastime things until December, I've already had a Caramel Popcorn Chiller from Gloria Jeans. And that makes it onto my happy list too!



So that's a few of the things bringing me joy this month! Hope there's plenty bringing a smile for you this month too.

Laura xx

P.S six weeks til Christmas Eve ;o)

Friday, October 17, 2014

OOTD: outfit of the day

If I had to sum up my 'style' in five words, it would be this:

Cardigan, scarves, ballet flats, black.

In fact, for years my work wardrobe consisted mainly of either a black pencil skirts or black pants, which I would pair with either a black top and coloured cardigan or a coloured top and black cardigan. The 'coloured' items were invariably a mix of beige, black, white with occasional pops of blue or pink. I had high heeled pumps in black and beige and almost exact copy ballet flats in black and beige for traveling to/from work or if I had to drive the company car (or just if it had been a busy day and my feet were sore). I only needed one coat, one bag and a few jewelry pieces to complete my 'capsule wardrobe' as everything matched. Plus a pair of jeans for 'casual Friday'. 


Now that I work from home (that's my home office in the pic above) my wardrobe is a little different. I can wear track suit pants, licensed-character tshirts, hoodies, shorts, whatever I want. I still need to change out of my PJs because I have to do school drop-off but I can change into outfits that, although presentable, are as comfy as my PJs. And on really cold days, I get dressed and then pop my fluffy dressing gown back on over the top- it is warmer and more comfortable than ANY coat or windcheater.

Despite that, I find myself still dressing for 'work'. If an outfit is good enough for work then it is good enough for school drop off, grocery shopping, dropping paperwork off to clients and collecting cheques. It also helps me feel the part and hopefully project that professional air when I'm on the phone (or email or fax) to clients and customers. Lastly, dressing for 'work' helps me focus on work when it's work time and gives me a sense of having a break from work when it's not work time (technically I work seven days a week but some of those days simply mean having my phone with me so I can answer any client calls that pop up whereas some days are extremely busy, work-focused days from start to finish). 

I used to share some of my OOTD back when I worked in the city and I thought it would be fun to do it again. They won't be cutting edge fashion and may be a little repetitive but I think it's interesting to look back and see what I wore and how my outfits change according to what is happening for work that day. 

Outfit Of The Day posts will have their title prefaced with OOTD and will also be tagged/labelled with OOTD. 

Laura xx



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Recipe: thermomix strawberry chia jam


Strawberries have a fairly short shelf life once harvested so after our strawberry-picking adventure last week I've been on the hunt for ways to use them up. We've had them in muffins, sorbet, on pancakes, made Eton Mess, snacked on them and still had a ton left over.

I decided to try my hand at making jam. I remember my Dad making jams when I was growing up but I've never tried it myself, it can be a bit intimidating to reach the right temperature, pectin and acidity levels plus it can be messy. But I'd heard really good things about Tenina's strawberry vanilla jam in the thermomix and there's also a jam recipe in the EDC. 

My recipe is something of a hodgepodge between the two, with an extra ingredient thrown in. 

INGREDIENTS:
250gm strawberries 
Half of a Granny Smith apple, cored
Zest of half a lemon
A squeeze of lemon juice (1 tblspn?) 
100gm sugar 
1 tablespoon chia seeds

METHOD:
1) Place first five ingredients into thermomix and cook for 30mins, varoma temp, speed 1.
2) Grind up chia seeds in mortar and pestle until the consistency of sand (alternatively, you can add the seeds whole or you could grind the chia seeds in your thermomix before beginning the recipe) and add to thermomix bowl
3) Stir on 'gentle stir' for 5secs to incorporate seeds and then stir on speed 6 for about 20secs
4) Pour into sterilised jar or container and store in the fridge. 

NOTES
- Recipe yields approx 250ml
- Recipe can be doubled but at your own risk- the TM31 bowl will be quite full (TM5 should be fine) and the contents get very hot. I made my second batch as a double batch but it was a bit splashy. You might prefer to use the gentle stir option for the whole cooking time if making a double batch. 
- you can substitute a tablespoon of arrowroot powder for the tablespoon of chia seeds
- you can substitute an extra ten mins cooking time for the chia seeds
- to sterilise jars or containers you don't need to bake them in the oven- you can use the Milton sterilising tablets (the kind you use for sterilising baby bottles) which means that you can also use plastic containers for storage.

This recipe is very forgiving, feel free to adjust the ingredient quantities. You may even be able to get away with no sugar if you like it tart and use the chia seeds. 

Enjoy!

Laura xx 



Monday, October 6, 2014

Strawberry picking


So one of the super fun things we did last week was visit a strawberry farm where we were able to pick our own strawberries. The weather was warm and the smell was absolutely amazing. 

Miss B's main focus was finding the biggest strawberry she could, while Miss A was searching for the shiniest (in between skipping up and down the rows). 


We grew our own strawberries about two years ago but it wasn't wildly successful so this visit gave the girls a much better appreciation for the way strawberries grow. It also sparked a few conversations about my childhood where I had strawberries, mulberries, plums and more growing in the yard to snack on whenever my siblings and I pleased. 

We've now had strawberries every which way and the rest will be frozen for use in baking, smoothies and sorbets over the coming months. 

I'm really glad that we went and I know that we will definitely be back again when it reopens next season. 

Laura xx 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Barbecue vegetable pizza topping


I like to make food from scratch, made with love from fresh, wholesome ingredients. But sometimes reality sets in and I need something quick and cheap. This meal was exactly that. I had found these pizzas reduced at my local supermarket so I picked up three of them  and then later topped them with leftovers and condiments found in my pantry. 





I did a few toppings- margherita (added fresh tomato, dried basil, dried oregano and a little more cheese), ham (added some chopped ham, leftover passata and cheese), supreme (added herbs, onion, ham, capsicum, tomato and cheese) but by far the best was the weird one, haha. I added BBQ sauce, roast pumpkin, olives, artichokes, capsicum and cheese.  


It might sound like an odd combination but it was truly amazing!! Everyone who tried it, loved it. Plus I managed to feed three adults and one child for $4.50 with several slices leftover. 

Chances are, you won't be able to find heavily reduced pizzas very often, but there are lots of pizza bases readily available or you can make your own. I definitely recommend experimenting with your leftovers to create new pizza topping flavours. 

Laura xx


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Holiday mid-point

I seem to spend what feels like forever  looking forward to the school holidays and then once they arrive, they fly past. We're already enjoyed one week of fun and sleep-ins (for the girls, not me, I have to work early) and although there's one more week to go, it won't be the same as Miss B has private swimming lessons all week. The lessons are about an hour away so she is staying nearby with her great-grandma. 

My sister, nephew, Miss A, Miss B and I drive down today to visit my grandma and drop off Miss B. It was a lovely day out and Miss B and my grandma are both very excited but my goodness, do I miss her already! 

Miss A and Miss B share a bedroom so tonight I let Miss A stay up a little later to make sure she was thoroughly tired before she went to bed. We played with the slo-mo video setting on my iPhone and it was hilarious! She fell asleep easily which was a relief. 

Tomorrow we're going to do some baking, just Miss A and I, and I need to catch up on some work stuff. This week has actually been a pretty unlucky week, lots of problems and annoyances with work and then I dropped my phone and cracked the screen!! Plus I've fallen behind on invoicing and filing so if I can get caught up on that, at least that's something I can fix. Hopefully I can start the week off right and change my fortunes.

 
This is a clover patch near my house. I've found 4 fourleaf clovers here in the last few years- maybe I can find myself another one tomorrow? Haha. 

But on that note I had better get to bed or I'll be too tired to achieve half of what I want to achieve tomorrow. 

Laura xx