Saturday, 19 December 2015

Put your money where your mouth is

With only 2 weeks left of 2015, it's about this time we reflect on the year that's been and starting shifting our focus to the year ahead. What do you want to achieve in 2016? What are you goals? Your resolutions?

We all have goals and achievements we want to get to but how many of us actually get there? We stand there and sprout out loud we want to get fitter, smarter, learn a new language or enrol in some course? But most of the time we let it slip by and don't hold ourselves accountable.

Well that's all about to change.

There's a great charity website called Promise or Pay that's helping Aussies stick to their New Year's resolutions. When it comes to achieving goals, research shows that chance of success increases by 33% if it is shared with others and by up to 72% if money is put on the line. Promise or Pay combines these two approaches to help you stick to your goals by donating money to charity if you don’t follow through and encouraging others to donate if you succeed.

The brainchild of Jay Boolkin, Promise or Pay came about whilst he was living in Cambodia as an Australian Youth Ambassador. With a background in not-for-profit organisations and struggling to keep his own personal goals, Jay decided to create a program that would not only benefit participants but also serve a greater cause.

“Our vision is to inspire millions of people to be the best they can be and at the same time, encourage and facilitate much needed donations for charity. Make a promise or support a friend (or stranger!) and let’s make a better world,” says Jay.

What an awesome idea, not only do you get encouragement to achieve what you're dreaming of acheiving but you can help out your favourite charity in the process and get others to help out too. It's a win-win.

One promise can make a huge difference – so what will yours be?

I was emailed by Promise or Pay to share this great idea, I wasn't paid nor did I receive any incentive. I wanted to share this because I think it's a wonderful idea of helping you achieve your goals and helping not only your happiness but the happiness of others. 

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Saturday, 12 December 2015

Finding Everyday Smiles

It's been a tough few months, with emotions up and now - prenatal depression is not the most fun thing around. It can be hard to find something to smile about, but I've been determined to!!!

These things have helped me find a smile over the past few weeks.

1. Treating myself to a drumstick mini - cookies and cream = yum!!!

2. Homemade party popper from an awesome pen pal. 

3. Sitting outside reading a magazine. 

4. Playing with Mr Smiles - aka my nephew 

5. Seeing my 19 week scan and then hearing the heartbeat the following week. 

6. Cheezels - made with the goodness of real cheese - ha ha!!!

7. My husband painting the house for me, well him too but I've been unable to help due to sickness.       He hasn't gotten upset with me once, it does help that I do supply him with food - ha ha!!!

Let me know what makes you smile when you don't feel like it? 

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Thursday, 29 October 2015


If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may have noticed last week I shared some rather big and exciting news. But I'll share it again now.

I'm pregnant!!!!

I'm now 17 weeks along and I'm due around the 8th of April next year.

I've had a lot of sickness over the past number of weeks, so much so that's why I haven't been around here. I get headaches looking at screens for too long (which is slowly getting better) and I've just been wiped out from illness (thankfully I did miss out of the throwing up part).

Its been hard to process the fact this is really happening, growing up you always think one day I'll have kids but it's now actually happening. My tummy is getting bigger (which is big adjustment) and annoyingly my depression/anxiety has been greatly playing up and now that family, friends and work mates know I'm getting inundated with advice (not all helpful) and people won't stop looking at my tummy, which feels quite awkward.

I've been living with a lot fear since I found out, it gets so bad some days that I struggle to breath or function properly. After experiencing the heartbreak of 2 miscarriages last year it's been hard to get overly excited this time round. I know this time is different and I'm further along than I ever got with the other 2 but it's still there in the back of my mind "please don't lose this one".

The hospital I am going through has kindly set me up with a community nurse who will help me through out the pregnancy and then until the child is 2 years old. She'll check in on me, talk with me, help me with things I need, then once the baby is here, help me learn how to settle the baby, feed the baby, do health checks and help me cope - and all this for free - thanks NSW government. They are also offering me free counselling too, so that I'm not going through this alone.

It's so wonderful to know that hospitals take post/prenatal depression seriously and offer amazing free support, yes it feels strange to have to rely on others for help but I want to give my baby the best chance they can have and myself a chance to enjoy this new life.

I've started prenatal yoga nearby and it's an amazing experience. They really focus not just on keeping you active but helping you connect and bond with your baby before they've even arrived.

It's going to be a journey and a half these next few months and beyond. I'll be sharing my ups and downs along the way not only to help myself but in the hopes of helping others too.

How did you cope with your pregnancy journey? Please share I'd love to hear your insights.

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Thursday, 1 October 2015

3rd Blog Birthday

Today is my 3rd Blog birthday - Happy Birthday to me!!!! Ha ha!!!

Wow it's been three years since I wrote my first post. I'm so glad my writing has gotten better since then.

It's been great fun and I've gotten to connect with a lot of fun and lovely people. I've learnt so much and I've changed so much too. I feel like that I've discovered more of me and who I am and what my purpose in this life is.

This has been one of the first things I've really stuck with for so long and so consistently too.

Thank you all for following along and journeying with me.

Here's to another 3 years.

Photo source

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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Spelt Strawberry Muffins (wheat & dairy free)

Summer brings berries and berries means Strawberries - the best berry around.

What better way to enjoy them than wrapped inside a yummy muffin.

Spelt Strawberry Muffins

3 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
125g dairy free butter, melted and slightly cooled
3 eggs
1 cup soy milk (or another non-dairy alternative)
250g punnet of strawberries chopped

Preheat the oven to about 200 degrees C.

Line a muffin tray with liners.

In a large bowl sift together flours, both sugars and baking powder.

In a separate bowl mix together butter, eggs and milk.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix till combine, then fold in the starwberries.

Spoon into the muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes.

Note: you could use any berries for this mix, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or mulberries even. Also for the liners I used "If You Care" large baking cups, they are around the same price as other baking cups and but are better for the environment. So now you can bake and save the planet at the same time.

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Screen Addiction

I've heard of screen addiction before but never really thought much about it as I didn't feel I had a problem with it. I wasn't like my friend who spends pretty much every waking hour playing online computer games, or like my other friend playing on their phone while you’re talking to them. I didn't do any of that so I was fine, right? Well actually - no I wasn't (sad face).

Recently I've been getting a lot of headaches and it’s not my eyes as I get them checked regularly as I wear reading glasses (have since I was 8) and it wasn't sugar headaches as they feel very different to the ones I've been experiencing – so what was causing them?

I noticed they were worse Monday – Wednesday when I’d come home from work. You see I stare at a computer screen for 8 hours each of those days doing data entry, I rarely get to take my eyes off the screens (we have 2) or get breaks from my desk (except lunch time then the TV is on in the lunch room), then I come home so exhausted, I'll turn on the TV to zone out while playing on my Iphone. Then on Thursday – Friday while working from home for my other job I'll be on the laptop most hours and playing on my Iphone when I wanted a break, then on goes the TV at night. I didn't realise how much I was staring at screens until I decided to do a little experiment and step back from them for a bit.

Yes I can’t stop using the computer for work as its part of the job but I can control my other uses. When I started controlling my other usage it hit me how dependant I was on them, especially for entertainment. I love reading and being creative but always felt like I didn't have the time, um actually I did have the time I was just poorly managing it. I catch myself reaching for my phone so often to help pass time and I'm now asking myself do I really need to use the phone? I'm starting to go hours now without touching it and not really care. With my work from home job, I'm making list of exactly what needs to be done and setting myself time limits to get the work done in, so I'm now getting all my work done in less time as I'm not going onto other websites to play around and waste time. I've even unsubscribed from many email lists as I realised I was never really reading most of them anyway. Now my inbox is smaller plus I'm actually leaving some unread (which is huge).

Also since I've been doing this my husband MJ started to realise how much TV he was watching and getting distracted by, that he’s now curbing his screen time too.

It's taken a couple of weeks but I'm finding the urge to pick up the phone is finally getting less and I'm able to pick up a book or something creative and not feel like I'm missing out on something, plus the added bonus is my headaches are getting a little less often.

That's one of the things I really found out with cutting screen time was I always felt like I was missing out on something if I wasn't on the computer, watching the TV or using my phone. I'm not quite sure what I was missing out on but I just felt it was big and important. Since taking a step back I've found out I was missing out on more by using them instead of being out there doing other things.

Do you have screen addiction? How do you manage your screen time? 

Photo source here

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Friday, 28 August 2015

My Life

I want to live simply, slowly, mindfully, with low impact.
I don't want to be caught up in the ways of the world, I don't want to live for materials, for wealth or for the glory of being busy. 
I want to live for Christ and spread His love and message throughout my daily life. 
I want to treat the world with the respect and care God asked us to do at the beginning of time. 
I want to lessen the chemicals in my food and products. I want to reduce my reliance on plastic. 
I want to raise my future children with a loving and caring mindset for people and creation. 
I don't want to live by other peoples expectations, I want to live by mine and more importantly by God's exceptions. 
I don't want to get caught up in what the world says I should be doing, what works for others doesn't have to work for me. 
I want to be remember by one phrase only "she loved" 

How do you want to live? 

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Saturday, 22 August 2015

Dairy Free Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Nothing says winter like a bowl of creamy pumpkin soup!

Also nothing says tummy ache like a bowl of creamy pumpkin soup.

Well not any more, I decided to experiment a little and realised if you substitute coconut cream for the cream you get the same effect with taste but not the same affect with your tummy - yeah winning!!!

Here's my recipe for easy dairy free creamy pumpkin soup and best of all only 4 ingredients - score!

1/2 a large jap pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
1.5 litres of vegetable stock
1 large brown onion, sliced
155ml coconut cream (add a little water and mix to get a cream like consistency)

In a large saucepan, combine the pumpkin, stock and onion. Gently bring to the boil over a medium/high heat, once at a boil reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the pumpkin is tender (this will take about 20 - 25 minutes). Remove from the heat then using a stick blender, blend until smooth, add the coconut cream and stir to combine. Season to taste. Serve and enjoy.

I served mine with quinoa croutons by Orgran  

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Joy and Happiness

Joy = delight, a feeling of great pleasure and happiness
Happy = content, lucky, glad, feeling or showing pleasure or contentment

Happiness and Joy get thrown around a lot these days, ask anyone what do they want to be and surely the answer will be "to be happy". We all want it, we all seek but are we all getting it?

The other night at church we had a guest speaker talking about "facing trials with joy". I don't think he meant it to come across the way it did but it felt like he was saying it was wrong to not feel happy when facing trials, almost like whatever happens in life we should be like "Oh I've got trials and suffering in my life, I'm so happy and joyful to be facing them". I really hope that's what he meant in his talk (I'll give him the benefit of the doubt since it was he's first ever sermon - so he did alright).

If the sermon did anything it got me thinking about how do we face trials and suffering then? After some journaling and thought this is what I personally feel.

It's okay to not be happy with trials and suffering, in fact I think it's perfectly fine to be like "Oh crap, this sucks, I don't want to do this, this is too hard". BUT I feel you can combine the two together - "Oh man this sucks, this is crap, I'm not happy about this at all but today I'm grateful for........... (fill in the blank)". You can dislike and be unhappy with the trial but (there's that but word again) you can still: find good in the world, still pray even when it seems silent, still be a decent person and not use your circumstances as an excuse to be a dick.

That's the difference, you don't have to find the joy and happiness in the trial and suffering, all you need to do is look around and notice the joy and happiness that's in other areas of your life and seek them out, as they will give you strength to face whatever it is you are facing.

How do you deal with trials and suffering?

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Picture source

Friday, 7 August 2015

5 simple ways to reduce plastic

I've been reading a lot lately on sustainable living and our reliance on plastic. It’s astounding how much plastic we consume on a daily basic as not only a national but as a world in general. We use a product that struggles to break down and is full of chemicals for so many one time only uses.

I have made a decision to reduce my reliance on plastic and see what other alternatives there are out there instead.

So I wanted to share with you what I'm doing in our household to help make a positive impact on the earth.

1. REDcycle – I found out about this company from Inked in Colour when she shared about it on her page. It’s a great initiative by REDcycle through Coles and Woolworths to help recycle soft plastic (bread bags, frozen food bags, muesli bar wrappers, plastic bags etc) and have them reused and repurposed in new products such as park benches.

Since I started taking up my soft plastic to my local Coles I've noticed how much plastic there is out there and by seeing that I can now take further steps to reduce usage. But it’s great knowing that the soft plastic I do use can be recycled.

2. Coffee shops – How many times do you go out for coffee or hot chocolate (as I like) and you get given a disposable cup? If you are staying in the coffee shop you can easily ask for a mug instead (I did this the other day at Gloria Jeans and it cost the same price) or you can give them a reusable cup instead (like this one) that are made to barista standards so they can fit under the coffee machine.

3. Farmers Markets - The Farmers Market is usually all loose veggies and fruit so take your own reusable bags and when you need weight anything in bags, just do so then tip the contents into your own bag and give the bag back for the next person to use.

4. Make your own food wraps - Instead of getting out the cling wrap to cover up a bowl in the fridge try making your own food wraps. Tortoise and Lady Grey has a great easy tutorial on how to make your own. I'm going to give this a try soon I just need to find somewhere to buy some beeswax.

5. Think - How many times do we think about what we buy before we buy it? Not often, I've really been getting into this habit the last few years since working part-time as I didn't want to waste any money. Most of the time can you get the item second hand (op shops or eBay)? Can you borrow it if you don’t need it for long (such as a book or a certain tool for a job)? Can you get it handmade (Esty or markets)? Can you make it yourself ? Is it long lasting? There are so many questions you can ask yourself before buying but the most important question is why? Why are you buying it? Do you really need it? As I know many times I've bought things that I didn't really need and then ended up being stuck with them.

Do you have any tips to share? I would love to hear what other people do.

This post is not sponsored or anything I just wanted to share what I've been learning lately.

Photo source

Monday, 3 August 2015

Book Review “Daring & Disruptive” by Lisa Messenger.

Are you entrepreneur or have a desire to start your business?

“Daring & Disruptive” is designed for you.

Lisa Messenger is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Collective and in this book she shares a soulful account of what it means to be in business.

It’s the best business book out there, spoken in everyday language and full of passion, with great insights to lessons Lisa had learned along the way, including her own personal stories too.

Lisa shares with you how to turn the business world on its head, that you don’t have to be like everyone else to succeed and challenge the status quo. If you have an unwavering belief in yourself and the rest will soon follow. Don’t give up, get out there and chase those crazy dreams. Learn quickly, fail fast, feel the fear, know your why and remember it always takes hard work to make it in life both professionally and personally.

If you need a kick up the butt to go out and achieve your dreams then read this book today, you won’t be able to sit still for long.

Get out there and be daring and disruptive the world needs it.

This is not a sponsored review I just really liked the book and wanted to share my thoughts with you.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Emotional Support

I’ve crashed and burned. I’ve lost all energy. I’ve given and helped too much.

There’s 2 people in my life that I love to bits that are both requiring emotional support and extra love right now. I’ve tried to be there in whatever capacity that I can but my body has decided enough is enough.

I love helping people, trying to help them through life and doing whatever is necessary to achieve that. But after crashing out for the 3rd time this year and having to rebuild strength each time, I’ve realised I can’t keep doing what I’m doing. I’m giving so much of my energy to others that I’ve left none for my husband or myself. Something has to change.

Last week I spent 4 days immobile, all I could do was watch telly and sleep, for a person who likes to move around this was tough. Over the 4 days I got to do a lot of thinking and processing. I came to the conclusion that these 2 beautiful people needed emotional support that I’m not equipped with. Doesn’t mean that I can’t give them emotional support it’s just the real support they need I’m unable to supply. I’m busting myself and running my health ragged doing a job I’m unable or equipped to do.

So what does this mean for them? Does it mean I give up on them?

No it doesn’t mean that at all, if anything it’s shown me that I can be there for them and help them but what they fully require someone else needs to do. It frees me up to know that I’m helping them only the way I can and I can’t be their full help. It shows them how they can rely on me and what I’m able to help with and then frees them up to search for the other missing pieces. By me trying to be all the pieces for them doesn’t help them at all, it makes them stagnant, it doesn’t help them move forward in life. I can only be part of the solution, part of the puzzle, part of their life, I can’t be the whole solution, the whole puzzle or the whole part. I’m part of the journey not the destination. I was taking some of their power away from them by trying to be the whole of everything and by doing so was taking all the power out of me.

It’s amazing what you learn when you’re hit to the ground. I can still be their friend and continue to help them along their journey but I can’t do it for them or give them everything they require. They need to find others or something else that can do what I cannot.

Do you support others too much sometimes? How do you balance it out? 

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Photo source here

Friday, 24 July 2015

101 in 1001 days process update

It's been 3.5 months since starting my newest 101 things in 1001 days list and I've been so happy that I've already crossed off 6 items and made a good start on a 7th, ahhh I can't believe it, I'm actually achieving something - woo hoo!!

#15 - Buy a New Car (13/06/15)

Sadly my poor little Stewie had seen better days and was needing an upgrade. After nearly colliding with a bus on the motorway at 100km due to old brake pads, the time had well and truly come.

As much as I loved Stewie (he was my first car and all) I'm absolutely smitten with Marcy. She slick, red, aircon, comfy cars, bluetooth, I feel like I've hit the jackpot. Thank goodness for end of financial year specials and doing some research we got her at a great bargain price.

#26 - Go to Supernova (20/06/15)

We didn't go last year, so we made sure we got there this year. We are so geeky and just love events like this, it's where all lovers of cartoons, fantasy, comics can join forces and indulge in all things awesome. 

#37 - Make a Death Star Cake (23/05/15)

I love a good challenge and my brother-in-law likes to see what I can come up with. So this year for his 26th birthday he asked if I could recreate the infamous Death Star in cake form (last year he asked for Zelda). Challenge Accepted!!! I was quite happy with the end result and it was made even more fun when we presented him with the cake while playing the Star Wars Death March theme. 

#46 - Take my nephew (6) on a city adventure (3/7/15)

I love hanging out with my nephew, you get to act crazy and silly and no one cares. These school holidays I volunteered to help out my sister-in-law while she worked and took my oldest nephew (6) out on a city adventure. We had the most fun, we went to the Australian Musuem, St Mary's Cathedral, Hype Park and of course I got tricked (not really) into buying ice-cream. Next school holidays he wants to go bowling. 

#51 - Dress up for Disney On Ice (11/07/15)
#66 - Make a Snow White Outfit (11/07/15)

I was able to combined these two into one event, which was super fun. Every year my mum and I go and watch Disney on Ice but as my nephew and niece have gotten older we've now been bringing them along for the ride. This year my niece (3) was old enough to bring along so of course (no convincing necessary) I had to dress up. My nephew wasn't at all keen to join in on the dressing up but Little One was up for it, wearing her beautiful Elsa dress while I using clothes from my wardrobe dressed up as Snow White. I think this is going to become a new tradition every year now. 

I'm also making great process on #21 Read 15 books - I'm a slow reader but I've already powered through 4 books so far in only 3 months and I'm nearly finished a 5th, I'm quite shocked but also impressed. 

There is such a great feeling attached to crossing items off the list but I'm really enjoying the process this time so much more than last time. I want to do these things instead of feeling like I have to. 

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Monday, 20 July 2015

Tips for Happy Winter Feet

This post is sponsored by Scholl but all opinions are my own. 

Seriously whoever upset Elsa please say sorry.

I’m normally a big fan of winter but this year in Australia it’s been extra cold and I’ve been struggling to stay warm. I know there’s a lot of other countries that are colder in winter than us but it does feel like we’ve been transported into an eternal winter of Elsa proportions.

When my feet get cold the rest of me follows in suit, so I’ve been trying to find ways to thaw my toes out and keep them toasty, so I want to share with you five tips on how to get happy winter feet.

Tip One – Foot Soak:

There’s nothing a good foot soak won’t fix. All you need is a bucket that your feet can fit in, some warm water and a few drops of lavender oil (if you own a foot spa they’re good too). While relaxing catch up on a good book or a good show. I've been taping Season 2 of Scandal on Soho and I'm so love with Fitz and Liv – anyone else watch Scandal? 

Tip Two – Mini Pedi

After the foot soak while your skin is soft, scrub all the dead skin (ewww) off your feet. You can do this with a blade on a pair of scissors or a file. I found the Scholl Velvet Smooth Express Pedi is much quicker and easier plus feels like a mini massage for your feet. Rub in some good moisture cream (I used Velvet Smooth Moisture Cream) and a good lick of nail polish, will leave you feeling smooth and relaxed.

Tip Three – Comfy shoes

I struggle to find comfortable shoes, I mainly live in sneakers and uggs during winter but I do love to feel a bit dressy now and then. To make my shoes extra comfy I’ve started using gel inserts to help with heel pain plus I can swap them between shoes - bonus!

Tip Four – Foot massage

See if you can bribe your partner into giving you a foot massage while you sit back, read a magazine and sip some hot tea (ha ha - well I can dream can’t I?)

Instead give yourself a gentle foot massage using some moistening cream, slip on some cozy bed socks and crawl into bed with a cuppa and a magazine. 

Tip Five – Keep warm

Keeping your feet warm is the best way to keep them and you happy. Cozy socks, heaters, boots and blankets are what winter is made of.

Do you have any tips to share on how you keep warm during winter? 

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Friday, 17 July 2015

Can Happiness and Anger co-exist?

Yes they can as you can’t have one without the other. 

You can’t know joy without knowing pain, peace without chaos, love without hate, and you can’t know happiness without despair.

So how does anger and happiness co-exist? When you open up and allow room for both to be in your life, you can still experience anger without it taking away happiness from your life.

Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of anger, so much so it’s been taking over every fibre of my being and consuming my every thought. I pushed it aside for days, weeks even until it overtook so much of my thought processes I was getting headaches, dizziness and my sleeping was even more wacked out than normal. I prayed and keep being told the same thing – “journal”. After several days of this I finally did what I was told (about time I know God) and journaled my anger out. Oh my gosh - the release that occurred was almost instantaneous, my headaches/dizziness eased and I slept soundly for the first night in ages.

I’m still angry over the issues that are affecting me but I found a way to release my anger and still enjoy happiness in other areas of my life, by allowing the anger to be there and not fearing it but just letting it be a part of me and not pushing it away. That’s the biggest problem, I was fearing the anger, I kept pushing it down and down, hoping it would go away only to find it getting stronger and stronger. I feared expressing my anger as I didn’t want to appear out of control or sound like a bitch.

Most of us fear anger, fear that it makes us look horrible or out of control. Anger can be very hard to articulate the right words when expressing so can come out all wrong and sound worse than what we meant it to be. By putting pen to paper, you can get aggressive, get flustered, get annoyed and most importantly get it out of your head. That’s the biggest key, get it out of your head, get the reoccurring conversations out and down on paper, so you can free up the space inside your mind. Anger needs to be expressed or it can manifest into an explosion and create untold damage.

We need to stop fearing anger, anger can be a great tool. It can help you change your life or the world, help you know your passions, help make a difference, it can more you forward or even create new ideas. Anger in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, it the way we express it that can be the bad thing. Find a way to express your anger and feel the weight came off your shoulders. Remember sometimes we cannot fix what we are angry about, I know I can’t change or fix what’s making me angry and I need to accept that but finding ways to release that anger will help you stay happier in the long run.

How do you express your anger? Do you journal? Share with me your thoughts. 

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Image source

Monday, 13 July 2015

Vegan Chocolate Chip Mousse

Chocolate mousse is one of my all time favourite desserts (my other fav is Sticky Date Pudding) but I find it can sometimes leave me feeling a bit - yuck! Thanks to all the cream/dairy. So imagine my surprise when I found out you could create a dairy-free version with the humble avocado with the added bonus of it being healthy.

So on the weekend I had a play round with my favourite recipe making a few tweaks here and there and adding the extra fun of chocolate chips. OH - MY - GOSH!!!!

What resulted was heaven. So without further ado, here's how you can recreate your own.

1 cup dried dates - diced small - soak in water for 10 mins
6 avocados - diced
1 1/3 cups raw cacao powder
2 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons of organic vanilla essence
12 tablespoons of coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup cacao nibs

Combine all ingredients (except the cacao nibs) into a food processor then blend until combined and creamy. Once blended together stir through the cacao nibs.

Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.

This recipe makes about a small glass mixing bowl size, so plenty to share with friends or a few days worth for yourself.

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Thursday, 9 July 2015

Preserving Memories with Photolane

This is a sponsored post with affiliate codes, all opinions are my own.

Ok, I need you to be honest with me, when was the last time you had photos printed? 

I cringe to admit this but it was 2011 - ahh I know shocking, but with the rise of smartphones it's becoming less common to get those precious photos printed. 

What if I told you there was a really simple, easy way to get your photos printed from your Iphone in about 5 - 10 minutes? Would you believe me? 

I wasn't sure either at first but then the lovely people from Photolane contacted me and asked me to try out their app and I'm hooked. 

All you have to do is download the app (Android available soon), upload 30 - 40 photos and you're on your way. 

You can choose what photo you want on the cover, the cover title, you can have black or white backgrounds, boarders, add text to photos, even have a video embedded (using a QR code). 

The photo books come in soft or hard cover for very reasonable prices including free standard shipping and arrive in less than 7 days. I ordered mine on a Thursday afternoon and by Tuesday night it was on my doorstep. Photolane ship to most countries (click here to see if they send to yours). 

I was really impressed with the quality and how well the Iphone camera pictures turned out. 

One improvement the app could use is, it would be nice to upload your photos individually onto your page of choice instead of auto arranging them but it's easy fixed as you can move and replace photos. 

Photolane have generously given me a special code for you to use to get 50% off your first order. So you could own you're own photo book for as little as $10. The special code is 30DAY which you use when paying for your order.

If you do order a book I'd love to know what you think of it, I know I'll be ordering some more soon.

(Note I do receive a payment when you place an order with that code)

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Friday, 3 July 2015

Book Review - ‘Life & Love’ Creating the Dream by Lisa Messenger

Do you want to be deliriously unapologetically happy?

Well Lisa Messenger is and she want to share that happiness with you.

Life & Love is an amazing book, every page oozes with love and inspiration.

Lisa talks about attitude and gratitude, love, confidence, finding your tribe, love, creativity, community, style, social media (how to use it as a force for good), role models, staying humble and did I mention love?

We need to be ourselves and stop putting on masks, yes you might be weird but we like that. Be you and don’t apologise for it. Meet everything in life with love and gratitude and this world will be a better place. Even when life gets rough, choose the higher road.

I love the way Lisa speaks in this book, it’s as if she’s right there in the room with you having a coffee and cake and talking to you as a best friend. Lisa doesn't big note herself even with all her success, she’s incredibly humble and knows how much hard work is required to achieve.

The book is filled with inspirational quotes, beautiful pictures of Sydney Centennial Park and Lisa’s dog Benny is adorable.

So do yourselves a favour and get out there and buy this amazing book. I don’t often get excited about books like this, but it was wonderful to read something that hits at the heart of my passion – “to spread love and kindness”. I've dreamt of writing my own book someday and this is exactly the kind of book I’d love to write.

Can’t wait to read her other book Daring and Disruptive and I'm heading out to get my hands on a copy of The Collective as I want to be a part of Lisa’s positive movement to inspire.

This is not a sponsored review I just really liked the book and wanted to share my thoughts with you.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Push thyself

I struggle with confidence, I like to do things perfect straight away, up front. Well this just doesn't happen in life and I've given up doing so many things throughout my life just because I couldn't get it right first time.

This is a trait I've been trying to challenge over the past 2 years and even more so this year as I'm sick of missing out on moments, lessons and achievements just because I'm not ‘perfect’. This weekend I had a real breakthrough moment, I was so proud of myself.

My lovely friend Lynda from Homelea Lass asked for volunteers to test out her draft crochet pattern of a lovely blanket she’s designed. I love crocheted things and it's a skill I would really like to possess. So this weekend past I decided to give it a go. I know some basic crochet stitches but I'm still very much a beginner.

Well the crocheting was a series of errors, undoing, redoing, undoing, redoing, missing stitches, misunderstanding instructions and still after 6 hours not getting it right and only ending up with 4 rows done completely wrong. But the best part was every time I made a mistake or had to start again, I just laughed – something I wouldn't have done last year. I kept saying to myself “you’re learning, you’re a beginner, each row redone it another row learnt”, and it was all true, I was learning, I am a beginner and each row was practice. One day I do hope to be at least half as good as Lynda but I have to remember Lynda was a beginner once too. 

We seem to do that, we forget that we have to start as a beginner before we can become a pro. We always want to skip the beginner part and be pro straight up. We struggle with the process of going from one to the other. The journey between those 2 points can be tough, annoying and long but they can also be fun as you push yourself to achieve something you've never done before. We can’t always excel first time (maybe the odd fluke), it all takes time, patience, practice and effort. In the end sheer determination will pay off.

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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Visiting a memory... 8 years on

Let's travel back in time to the year 2007, it was early July and very cold. A 22 year old girl was being picked up from work by her boyfriend of 4.5 years.

When her boyfriend arrived at work, she found a single red rose on the passenger seat. Once she got in, she was advised they would be going a little afternoon road trip. Upon asking where the answer she received was "a surprise".

After driving for about an hour and a bit they arrived at Wentworth Falls in the lovely Blue Mountains region. Finding a park they both processed to follow a walking track that took them to an amazing view of the falls (hence the name Wentworth Falls).

Waiting until other onlookers had left the scene the boyfriend got down on one knee and proclaimed his love and ask the girl to marry him, which of course she said "YES".

Fast forward now 8 years and that boy and girl have been married for 7 years and are still very much in love, also if you haven't guessed already that 22 year old was me.

So why am I telling you this quaint little story, well last Thursday for the first time in 8 years we went back to that very spot where MJ proposed to me all those years ago. It's quite funny and strange to visit a place with such memory attached to it, like visiting a dream.

This time though we walked down to the top of falls and explored a few of the bush tracks. It was magical, I could almost hear the soundtrack of Lord of The Rings as we wandered through mist and speckled rain.

Memories are fascinating creatures, it's a blessing to keep them alive. What memories do you like to keep alive?

Photos by me

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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Health & Wellbeing at The Wellness Show

Last week I visited the iconic Luna Park with a lovely friend of mine for The Wellness Show. It was a free show with some great speakers and wonderful stands all about health and wellbeing.

We heard from Therese Kerr, who talked about all the chemicals and toxins that are in our beauty and cosmetic products.

Oh my gosh talk about a mind explosion. I knew there were nasties in products but I didn't realise how many and how sneaking the industry is. Did you know that the cosmetic industry is self-regulated? Meaning that the safety of the chemicals in cosmetics are deemed safe by the people who create them. Meaning there is no independent testing to see whether or not these chemicals are in fact safe. Shocking news!! Plus you can buy the word organic and stick it on your product even if it’s not organic, so make sure you only use certified organic.

The one thing that I really took from Therese’s talk was if you don’t want chemicals on your body, stop putting them on there, find safer alternatives, also another point that struck me was “you are either moving away from or moving towards health – there is no in-between”.

Justin Robinson from the Geelong Grammar spoke about expressing gratitude.

Gratitude is a choice, you choose to be grateful, only you can make that choice no one else, it’s in your hands. Gratitude is not just a thought it’s an action, because when you think grateful you will then want to act out gratefully too, there are flow on effects. So take the time every day to find something, no matter how small to be grateful for.

Jenni Madison from Coconut Magic talked about as you might have guessed coconut oil.

She spoke about beauty being the by-product of being healthy and happy. Also the power of plant foods: foods that cleanse, foods that heal and foods that offer nutrition.

I always use olive oil for cooking but I'll be switching to coconut oil now, as did you know when olive oil is heated up it becomes a carcinogenic.

Coconut oil also helps balance blood sugar (which is good for my hypoglycaemia), stops sugar and carb cravings and is very powerful for digestion. So much goodness all in one oil, I'll have to start looking into this more – I know I'm a bit late to the game but better late than never.

Last speaker we listened to was Kristine Carlson talking about “Don’t sweat the small stuff”.

Kristine talked about the five principles of the mind.

1. The principle of thought – “What is the quality of your thinking?”

50% of our thoughts are negative and 80% of those thoughts are repeating every day.

2. Principle of moods – “How does my mood shape my day?”

Moods are like the weather, they go up and down.

3. Feelings

What would it be like to return to our natural state of mental health and wellbeing as quickly as children do?

Acknowledge your feelings and emotional state without getting ‘caught up’ in the story.

Feel to heal – pause.

4. The principle of separate realities – “How does my reality collide or cooperate with others?”

You are always coming at life from your own lens. The filter is made from my past, beliefs, valves etc.

5. Present Moment Living

Fear takes us out – Love brings us in.

You are only 50% engaged in what you do – wow that was a mind blower.

Happiness comes from perspective in life.

Hope you enjoyed what I learnt and the reading the notes that spoke to me the most. When the Wellness Show returns next year, I'll differently be there as there’s so much to learn in this world, fascinating stuff.

Photo taken by me

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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Book Review - The Body Battle by Sheralyn Bucknell

Many people might not know this but I've struggled with a body battle for most of my life. It's really only been in the last 2 years I've become comfortable in my skin and (dare I say it) happy with myself.

The Body Battle deals with the cause behind the issue of why we struggle with body image and weight. It's not a physical thing like we all think it is, it is more spiritual and about how we view our value.

Sheralyn Bucknell is a pastor at C3 church in Oxford Falls. So yes this is a Christian book but don't let that stop you if you don't have a faith or a belief as the truths about how we see and value ourselves and our self worth will speak to every woman out there.

At the end of each chapter there are journal questions to answer which I found very insightful and helped me delve deeper into why I've struggled most of my life.

I was really captured by the idea that God would be interested in my health and weight issues. Everything we do and experience in life is connected to our beliefs and spirituality, so why would something as big and powerful as our body be any different. We can be free from this war and the freedom is through God.

This book has really helped me connect with God in a very different way than ever before and I'm so grateful to have found this great resource. I hope it can help you too.

The Body Battle is available online at either Word or Koorong.

This is not a sponsored review I just really liked the book and wanted to share my thoughts with you.

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Friday, 5 June 2015

7 Apps To Make You Smile

Smart phones have been getting a bit of a bad wrap lately about how they can diminish happiness, but like all things in life it depends on how you use them. 

Smart phones can actually help contribute to your happiness, so I wanted to share my favourite 7 apps that help contribute to my happiness.

1. Duolingo - Learn Languages for Free

There's nothing more happiness worthy than teaching yourself something new. Also by teaching yourself a new language, you open yourself up to literately a whole new world. 

Plus added bonus this app is free - woo hoo!!!! 

Everyone knows Instagram (you can follow me here). I love Instagram as it's such a positive social media platform, full of amazing pictures and really inspirational people and businesses. 

This is also a free app, so even better. 

This is a great app to track your mood everyday, it provides a helpful graph to show you your recent daily mood patterns. 

I've found by looking back over the past weeks I can see what days were better than others and track what affects my mood. 

This app only costs $1.29, bargain. 

I love yoga and I find it really helps me to keep centred and to relax. Yoga Studio has 65 ready-made yoga & meditation classes for all levels from beginner to advanced. 

So now you can do yoga anyway and everywhere. 

This app does cost $4.99 but it's well worth the investment. 

I love Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim, she is awesome and her Photo A Day challenge was created to make you stop and notice the world around you, which can help you with happiness. 

This is a great app that can be used in conjunction with Instagram, where you can use filters on your photos, add sayings and clipart as well. 

This app costs $2.49. 

Afterlight is another great photo editing app that is quick and straight forward to use. 

Full of wonderful filters and frames, you'll have so much fun using it. 

This app costs $1.29

Flow Free is a simple yet addictive puzzle game, it's a real strategy game. 

Plus it's a fast game, so you can play it when you have to wait somewhere for 5 minutes. 

Also as the name suggests it's FREE!!!!

Bonus App!!!  

I'm a little bit of rebel so I wanted to share just one more app that I find makes me happy. 

I'm a huge Simpsons fan (more so the good old classic Simpsons) and this app has bought me so much joy as I get to build my very on Springfield - woo hoo!!!

Plus the app is free, yes there are in game purchases but you don't have to buy them to play the game, I've been playing for about 3 years now and I think I've spent maybe $5 on the game all up and only cause I really wanted to own the Duff Brewery and get Otto the bus driver. 

Let me know if there are any apps you use that help contribute to your happiness? 

This post isn't sponsored or anything I just wanted to share my favourite apps that put a smile on my face. 

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Monday, 1 June 2015

Enjoy the process

How often do we start a project and get so excited about the end product that we just can’t wait to finish and the project takes longer than we thought and we start to not enjoy the making? Or we just rush through so we can get the project done and move onto the next one?

I love being creative and creating wonderful things but annoyingly I get so caught up in the end product and if I don’t get fast results I lose interest. I’ve got a cross-stitch I’ve been doing for 6 years cause of this annoying habit.

I’m working on enjoying the process of making instead of rushing to the finish line, slowing down my thought pattern to just focus on each step at a time. Savouring the moment of each stitch, each thread, each square, feeling the material between my fingers or the wool in my hand. Being in the moment, instead of the future. Being fully present in what I am making, engaging all the senses. Thinking only about the current step and catching myself when I stray too far forward.

It’s not just in creative endeavours you can enjoy the process, you can enjoy the drive, the packing for holidays, the folding of clothes, smelling the shampoo while you wash your hair, walking to the shops. It’s all about being present in each moment and savouring what’s going on around you not thinking ahead too much.

Do you enjoy the process? Are you present in the moment? If so how do you do it, what do you do to savour the moment?

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Monday, 25 May 2015

New 101 in 1001 list

When I first started my blog back in October 2012, it's original purpose was to document my adventures with 101 things in 1001 days (see my first post here)

That list ended in March this year and I only completed 46.5 items on my list (see here) but if you go and check out my last post you'll see why.

So I've decided to start another list, there are some things from the last list moved over that I didn't complete and there is a lot of new items too.

I've changed a lot in the past 2.5 years and I know I'll change a lot in the next 2.5 years too which is why I haven't got a full 101 items on my list quite yet, as I'm still working out what exactly are some of the things I'd like to accomplish over the next 1001 days. So far I've got 68 items and it gives me room to grow and add more things over the coming months.

As a laugh I decided the starting date for this list would be April 1st 2015 (April Fools Day), which means the end date will be December 27th 2017 which will be a nice Christmas present - so it works out pretty good timing.

As I complete items and add new ones I'll keep you update to date with it all.

Anyway without further ado here's my list so far, I'm so looking forward to completing more items this time round.

1. Finish Crochet Rug (from last list)

2. Finish Dolphin Cross-stitch (from last list)

3. Read the whole Bible

4. Take a photography course (now that I've got my new camera that I wanted from my last list)

5. Build a Macaron Tower (from last list)

6. Learn to handstand (from last list)

7. Buy a bike (from last list)

8. Ride a camel

9. Read Anne of Green Gables Series (from last list)

10. Work on my cookbook idea

11. Work on my photobook idea

12. Start writing a fantasy novel (which my husband wants to help be involved with)

13. Photograph a sunrise each month (at least 13 of them)

14. Decorate a 3 tier cake

15. Buy a new car (my poor Stewie has seen better days)

16. Visit a famous landmark I've never seen before

17. Hide 20 encouraging notes throughout the city

18. Photograph a street scene or landscape in all 4 seasons

19. Paint the house

20. Recarpet the house

21. Read at least 15 books (I'm such a slow reader)

22. Stencil paint the hallway

23. Get a hot stone massage (from last list)

24. Make a Seven of Nine costume (from Star Trek)

25. Buy a chocolate from a posh chocolate shop

26. Go to Supernova expo

27. Cook a duck

28. Cook a rabbit

29. Try duck eggs

30. Climb a tree

31. Re-do the kitchen cupboards

32. Fix up the backyard (such as paving, turf etc)

33. Cook a Japanese banquet

34. Try a tequila shot

35. Make proper chai tea (not just from the teabag)

36. Tie-die a t-shirt

37. Make a Death Star Cake

38. Complete the Better Lettering Course

39. Write an Ebook

40. Make salted caramel

41. Take the Cronulla coast walk

42. Make my own cheese

43. Grow mushrooms

44. Have a dress custom-made for me

45. Plant a garden

46. Take my oldest nephew on a city trip

47. Learn to play a basic song on the guitar

48. Make grasshopper pie

49. Make a 3 coloured globe cake

50. Have a fairy tea party with my niece

51. Dress up for Disney on Ice

52. Read Lord of the Rings again (now that I'm older)

53. Crochet a Stormtrooper quilt

54. Have an Alice in Wonderland party

55. Play the board game Risk

56. Buy my husband the lego Death Star (to go with his Millennium Falcon I bought on the last list)

57. Start designing invitation packs

58. Participate in NaNoWriMo

59. Start a children's story

60. Paint or buy a mural for the garden

61. Learn some coding

62. Photograph lighting in a storm

63. Create an e-newsletter with my blog

64. Grow e-newsletter list to 150 subscribers

65. Sew a yellow blazer

66. Make a Snow White costume

67. Make pasta

68. Make ginger beer

To be continued.....

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Photo source here

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Baking Stains plus giveaway

This post is brought to you by Vanish


I'm an amateur baker and no matter what I do, I create mess. My husband loves to eat my baking creations but never likes the look of the kitchen afterwards. I'm slowing getting better and I'm now starting to clean as I go, which MJ is very delighted about (thank goodness for paper towel and wipes). The only thing I can’t seem to get any better at is not getting mess on myself.

Even with an apron on, I find buttercream on my foot, icing sugar in my hair, chocolate on my jeans, flour on my face and some kind of concoction that resembles melted cheese and crushed nuts on my shirt, which was by the way covered with an apron but somehow still got there. I swear dirt has a vendetta out on me as I always manage to have some kind of stain somewhere on my person.

Now there’s no way I’m going to give up baking and cooking just because I get stained (a lot), I’m sorry but it ain’t gonna happen. I love getting lost in the process of creating something spectacular out of what is considered humble ingredients (flour, sugar, milk, eggs, nuts etc). It’s so enriching being able to create something out of pretty much nothing.

So what’s an amateur to do with all those baking stains?

Call in the experts.

If anyone knows how to get rid of clothes stains its Vanish. They even have their own dedicated Stain Solver website where you click what stain you've got and they give you stain removal tips. How awesome is the internet?? You have a problem it will help you find the solution.

Vanish has kindly given me a Vanish NapiSan prize pack for one lucky person to win.

The pack includes:
  • Vanish Preen Oxi Action Trigger
  • Vanish NapiSan Oxi Action Powder
To win all you need to do is leave a comment below and tell me what is your most common stain in your household?

Competition ends Friday 22nd May at midnight and is open to Australian and New Zealand residents.

Look forward to hearing your stain stories.

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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Quick & Easy Cupcake Topper

I want to show you how to make a quick and easy cupcake topper for your next party or afternoon tea.

The things you'll need: 
  • Fondant in the colour of your choice
  • Stencils 
  • Edible dust (I used silver as it would stand out on the blue) 
  • Copha (vegetable shortening) 
  • Paintbrush
  • Fluted cookie cutter 
  • Rolling pin
  • Small spatula 
  • Cupcake with covered in buttercream

First up roll out your fondant to about 3mm thick. Using the stencil of your choice, place on top of the fondant and using some Copha on your finger, smear a generous amount over the part of the design you want. Once you have put the Copha onto the stencil, dip your paintbrush into the silver dust and apply generously all over the design. Carefully peel back the stencil to reveal the pretty design. Then using the fluted cookie cutter cut out the design. Allow to set for about an hour and then place on top of your cupcake. 

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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Stop the blaming!!!


We were put on this earth to love, respect and look after each other even if we don’t get along. We are all in this together; we are all the same in that we all need protection, acceptance and love.

Men are naturally physically stronger than women, it’s just the way nature is, there’s nothing wrong with that, what is wrong is when that physical strength is used to intimidate, control and hurt.

A friend of mine just recently got out of a very verbally abusive marriage to a man that she thought loved and respected her, a man that said on their wedding day he would look after her. She was one of the lucky one, she took all the strength she had left and walked out the door.

Her abuse had been going on since the day after she got married and she hid it from everyone including her family for months. She blamed herself, she made excuses for his behaviour, she hoped it would stop, she got professional help but it only got worse.

Domestic violence happens more than we care to admit because people don’t want to admit it’s happening to them. My friend waited over a year before admitting it was happening. Since admitting it, she’s been faced with accusations from some saying she didn't try hard enough, she’s too sensitive, she should put up with it because marriage is for life. This blaming needs to stop!!! NOW!!! We all have a choice over our actions and he choose to scream at her, to belittle her, to treat her like crap. She’s not to blame for his actions as he has made the decisions to do what he's done not her. 

Also it’s not just men that do this, women do it too. We've got to stop hurting each other and get ourselves help. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, I've been seeing a psychiatrist for 5 years for my depression/anxiety and I’m so grateful for all the help Suzie has given me, I'm a much better person for her help.

34 women this year have died in Australia from domestic abuse (that's 2 a week) from people they loved and thought they could trust. That's 34 less beautiful people on this earth and what's wrong is that women are still being blamed for it. Stop blaming the victims and start helping the ones that are doing the abuse, start getting them help so they can become better people.

Please let’s stand together and put an end to domestic violence so that others like my friend can smile and know there’s a brighter future out there for themselves.