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 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Feeling good

I'm feeling good today.

The past three months have passed in a blur of end-of-financial-year stuff (plus quarterly BAS, superannuation payments etc), staffing changes, school holidays and winter illness (it caught everyone in the family). There's been good stuff too! Lots of playground trips, my newest nephew being born, fun work functions, date nights, family gatherings, girls nights. But good or bad, frankly the pace has left me feeling wiped out.

A few months ago we implemented a change at work which means I don't have to work Monday nights anymore. Monday is the night that the girls have their dancing classes (different sessions) and while dancing is something we couldn't even consider while I was working in the city and the girls were in after school care, it was still no picnic trying to get the first part of my work finished before we had to leave for dancing and then finishing the rest (mainly phonecalls) in a noisy rec centre cafe while keeping the other child entertained.



Now Monday evenings are something that I look forward to. No matter how hectic the rest of my week might get, I know that I have two hours to do almost nothing. We practise spelling, read books, I can have a coffee, browse Pinterest, read blogs, and write in my blog. Guilt free!

Tonight as we crossed the rec centre carpark a torrential downpour started. We ran but it was too late, we were already soaked! We still had ten minutes until the first class started so we spent some time in the bathroom, drying off under the hand dryers. 



I'm not saying it was something that made my day, but it made me laugh! And that's something that I always want to have time for!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Storing old planner pages


Like I've mentioned, I've had a pretty busy start to the year so I'm behind on the things that I wanted to blog about. Like how I store my old Filofax pages. Now, I realise people use their planner in different ways so it might seem like a bizarre task to some people but there are an increasing number of us planner addicts who also scrapbook, do ProjectLife or make photobooks and who find it useful to be able to refer back to their old planner pages. I know that I do and so I not only plan things out in my planner, I also jot down notes about what we did (ie if we spontaneously end up at a waterpark on Jan 24th then I will write that in, even though we're already there and I don't need to schedule it or plan for it). I also sometimes include funny quotes or moments and even flicking back through the pages is often enough to bring back strong memories.

Plus I like taking in all the prettiness. Shoot me.


So my solution has been to use these little rings. I already have a tonne of them around the house as we use them for scrapbooking, holding flashcards together and archiving work documents. They are known by various names but usually 'hinged rings'. You can buy them in scrapbooking stores, at Jacksons Drawing Supplies and at Officeworks


Once the pages are held together (you can use two rings, top and bottom if you prefer) I like to store them somewhere out of the way. I had been storing them in one of these Ikea Kasset boxes which works perfectly fine but I also use the boxes for WIP for my sewing business and I realised that I would be better off storing my FF pages in this little suitcase which I use as a market stall prop and to pretty up my craftroom. That way I have more storage for WIP and less chance of the pages getting lost amongst the WIP. Plus it creates a practical purpose for this suitcase. Win-win! 


As you can see, there's lots of room (and bad lighting). Once I put all of my old pages in here, I popped it up on  a high shelf as I don't need to refer to it very often. At this stage I don't need to label my pages as I just have one per year and it's pretty easy to see which year is which by flicking open one page. However if you have lots of sets, you could create a coverpage or circle the year on the calendar on the front or wrap a label sticker around the ring and back onto itself. 


Monday, January 27, 2014

Toilet training tip

Okay, so in addition to my last post another thing that has been going on around here is night-time toilet training. We've been using some cheap plastic sheet protectors from Big W to protect the mattress and my best tip for night time toilet training (besides 'wait til they're ready' and 'get ready to lose sleep- and possibly your cool') is to double-make the bed. If that didn't make sense- here are some pics.

Here is the bed with the plastic protector underneath. 

But look- underneath the protector is another sheet!

And under that sheet- another protector!

This is really the best way to make the bed. If a night-time accident occurs I can rip the top sheet+protector layer off and the bed is instantly made underneath. And the fewer beds I have to make at 3am, the better, I always say! 


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mt little absence

I've neglected the blog lately but with good cause. On Sunday January 12th a devastating bushfire tore through my home town. Although I don't live there anymore a lot of people I know still do. My whole family was very connected to that community through decades of volunteering and involvement. 

When I realised there was no one group to collect all the offers coming through on Facebook I created a group myself and then stayed up until about 2am directing donations (of goods) and keeping in contact with the nearest evacuation point as well as doing some research on related organisations. 


The next morning I got the trucks off, the girls dressed, bundled up all of my stuff and headed down to the evacuation centre. I'll be honest, I really wasn't sure what pics to include here. It's a bit of an odd situation. On one hand, I don't want to seem like I'm encouraging voyeurism but on the other hand, these pics make my heart swell with love for the generous and compassionate people of Perth. In the end I have chosen a few pics (not that I took that many anyway) to show what the evacuation centre is like and have made sure the only people in the pics are volunteers not evacuees and they are back-of-head shots or blurry- not clearly identifiable.  It's also a long post so I'm going to put in one of those "read more" cuts....