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