Fluoro Blobs Painting - Amazing

Flamboyant Fashion Camel

It's felt like squillions of days since my last blog. I miss blogging. Things have been completely hectic in life lately and I haven't carved out the time. Thing is though, you have to make time for the things in life that make you happy.

So it looks like I didn't mention on here the major news that Lindsay and I got engaged in May! Hoorays! And yes, that would be one of the major factors of life being a bit hectic, in a good way. Of course, I was so excited and surprised when Lindsay sprung that one on me (yes I may have given him a USB stick with two folders named 'Yes Rings' 'No Rings' but I thought it might get lost in his sock drawer for a year or so). That initial few days of sharing the buzz of our engagement with one another and our friends was really amazing, and quite overwhelming, too. One is not accumstomed to receiving so much attention in one big thwack, but hey, it was pretty great as well.

A few days after our engagement we flew up to Singapore for a week. It wasn't exactly planned that way, but I can vouch for engagement-moons! It was the best. We had such a fantastic trip and it was great to get away and enjoy one another's company and the glow of my ring  our news.

So I have to say, the only un-fun part about wedding planning, so far, has been the venue selection. We didn't have an idea to begin with so when we sat down to pull a shortlist together online, we were literally considering the whole state. #sospecific. Anyway, we decided to drive up to Byron Bay on a bit of a whim as there was a wedding fair on, and kinda fell head over for this place in the hinterland. We came back home to Wollongong and looked at a few other places closer to home, but our little hearts had been stolen so we ended up going with Byron, and we're both really excited.

Actually, in part, I think I have my Grafton Nanna to thank for that. My Grafton Nanna passed away a bit over a month ago. She would have been 87 on the 9th August. We travelled up to Grafton for her funeral. That weekend of the funeral we had planned to see one more venue, but of course we couldn't go because of the circumstances. The venue at Byron Bay only had one date in Spring 2016 remaining and we didn't want to chance missing out by delaying booking another week or more, so with that, the decision was made. So I said a quiet thankyou to Nanna because I think that she unknowingly gave us that little gift.

It was and has been a sad time for everyone. My Nanna brought us so many wonderful memories that we'll have forever. She liked to write, as well. She wrote detailed memoirs, and she and I were penpals for many years. It was a bittersweet farewell as we knew she had been ready to go, in her heart, for some time. When we were at the cemetery and her coffin was lowered into the ground above Poppy's grave, two little sparrows flew down and sat on top of the canopy above. I have chills even writing that now, which only affirms to me how real it was and is. It was the undoing of us all on the day and I believe that was Nanna and Poppy there with us, together again, with their own little sweet sendoff. Bittersweet.

Well I really didn't intend to come and write about that - but there it is.

Apart from the initial brain-haze with the venue selection, I've been having a lot of fun with planning our engagement party for November. Like, a LOT of fun. We're having the party in Mum & Dad's backyard and I am DIY craft heaven. Like it's pretty much going to be a DIY display with some music and wine also. And a glowstick ravecave. So yeah - loving this.

I'm working five days now and also still making wedding favours for Little Bow Thief, so all in all, life is pretty damn busy, but pretty great, too.

Today I bought an easel! Like a proper wooden artists one, a step up from the plastic white and red one that I had when I was a young thing. Not only that, but Riot was having a 50% off store-wide sale today, and I didn't even know it til I got there. Don't you just love that? I bought the easel primarily to prop up something for the party, but also, for the past year or so I've had this unrelenting desire to paint some stuff. Which has been a bit of a surprise because yes, I have always loved making and decorating things, but I've never actually tried to paint anything proper and thus I may not have any talent whatsoever. Hello abstractism. Pretty sure that's definitely the term. Pretty sure there is a painting in the Art Gallery of NSW that was made by a bloke throwing a can of Dulux at a canvas, so. Anyway, see those pictures above? I snapped those at a little gallery in Byron Bay. I like the brights. Maybe I'll use this as a little inspo when I get my artist on. I mean who doesn't love a fluro fashion camel? Um, nobody, that's who.

This blog has taken me five minutes past my sensible 10pm bedtime, so I'd better stop it there. This has been good, though. Says I :)

Why I Stopped Eating Animals & Animal Products

I've been holding off writing this post for a while, but now seems the right time.

[By the way, if you find this chunk of text too tedious, scroll straight to the bottom of the post for the videos.]

Early this year I made a change that I could never have foreseen - I started being vegan. I was one of those people, possibly like you, who regarded 'vegans' as a strange and extreme breed, but I didn't even understand or know anything about their choice. Looking back, I don't think I ever actually gave any thought to the reasoning behind their lifestyle, most likely I thought they simply didn't like the taste or concept of eating animals.

Well I can tell you that I am a (pretty) normal person, and until this year I was on the 'vegans are strange' side of the fence, but now here I am.

I don't judge anyone who eats animals or animal products (much, unless they really try to argue with me without having done any research, or express concern about my vitamin intake while they eat a Big Mac) because I was in the exact same position just six months ago, and ate animal products regularly for the first 31 years of my life without a second thought. Guiltily, I also remember once commenting that having a vegan partner would be grounds for a break-up. So, I know. I don't judge anyone because I know that before I came across the information that changed my mind, I simply didn't know about this stuff. This wasn't due to intentional ignorance, but quite simply, because the information had not come across my radar, at least not in a way to make me take notice. So, as I said, I don't judge people because I don't think the information has really taken flight. I also understand that giving up eating animals or animal products is an extremely difficult concept to grapple at first, when you and your family have lived this way your whole life and when so many social institutions revolve around shared eating. I don't know if it's just that I'm noticing it more now, but I think that more and more information is filtering through social media. It is only a matter of time before people won't be able to remain oblivious... the information is streaming into the public consciousness and the question will be: are you willing to allow yourself to be informed and then establish your position?

150 years ago slavery was legal and accepted as normal. Things change, civilisation evolves. The way that the world regards eating is slowly changing, too. A 2013 Public Policy Survey found that 13% of Americans identify as either vegans or vegetarians. In 1971 this figure was just 1%. Things are changing.

The happenings that led me to start eating vegan were accidental. At the beginning of this year I found myself getting really frustrated at the fact that human beings, for a supposedly intelligent species, are so confused about what we are meant to eat. I guess I was searching for information because I wanted to lose a few kilos, but became overwhelmed by all the different gurus who claim utter confidence in their diet, yet the foundations of their diets all conflict. There are the paleos, the sugar-quitters, the pro-sugars, the fasters and the anti-glutens to name just a few. SO many different groups making the matter SO confusing. There is really not a cookie-cutter approach to nutrition and what works for one may not work for another, and people will say the same about veganism (and will try to use that as an excuse). I myself tend to think that it's probably normal for people to eat seafood and very small quantities of red meat occasionally (another post) but the thing about veganism is that at the crux, it's not about the individual. Maybe in the past when the population was in control and there was less demand for food, and you could humanely kill the odd animal on the farm, it might be different? But the world population now places demands on food production that have led to mass farming and inhumane conditions for animals, hand in hand with environmental destruction. "There may be no other single human activity that has a bigger impact on the planet than the raising of livestock." (Source) 30% of the world's ice-free surface is used not to raise grains, fruits and vegetables that are directly fed to human beings, but to feed the animals that we eventually eat. Current levels of meat consumption are not environmentally sustainable.

Put simply our food choices are not just about us - they extend to animals, the environment, and even our families (i.e. our health and longevity).

I was in my lounge room one night when I asked the question, "Why don't humans know what we are supposed to eat?" I googled that very question and took to YouTube. I clicked from link to link and soon, videos in the sidebar of my YouTube popped up with titles such as "Why you should never drink milk". I glimpsed those titles and thought, "What the?" This was a completely new premise to me... I cannot recall ever having seen any information about milk being bad for you (or for the cows!) before this moment. For that reason, I can understand why people don't quite 'get' veganism yet. The information is there in spades if you search for it, but unless you go looking (or accidentally stumble upon it as I did) you probably won't see it. But I decided to click and watch, and one documentary led to another, and another, and I have been continuing my education ever since.

Did you ever realise that humans are the only species on earth to drink milk beyond infancy? Our human mother's milk is perfectly designed to provide us with everything we need in infancy, just like a cow's milk is designed to provide a calf with everything they need. Don't you think it's funny that we regard drinking a cow's milk as normal, but the idea of drinking bottled gorilla milk is weird? Did you realise that humans are the only species to consume the milk of another animal? Did you ever think how weird it would be if, in nature, we walked up to a cow and started sucking from its udder? Did you ever realise that a dairy cow can only produce milk constantly because it is repeatedly impregnated with a metal rod and kept in a constant state of pregnancy? Like humans, when cows are continuously lactating they develop mastitis, so the cows are given antibiotics to treat those infections, and then we drink those antibiotics along with the cow's hormones that are designed for a calf. Cows are a very maternal species. But when the cow has its baby, it is ripped away immediately, and many are placed in very small cages and starved, because that's what makes the most tender veal. Cows have a life expectancy of 15 years but the dairy cows collapse and die of exhaustion after a few years (standing on concrete facing a wall and hooked up to machines with their babies being repeatedly ripped away).

You know those slightly sharp teeth that we like to call our 'canines'? Have you compared them to a lion's or a dog's? Could you (or would you want to) run and chase an animal (pig, chicken, lamb, cow) down the street and rip into it, fur and all, with your bare teeth? If you were a true carnivore, that's exactly what you'd want to do. Your pointy teeth are good for piercing into fruit, not animals.

Did you know that animals are skinned alive for clothes, and did you know that cows and pigs have their testicles ripped out without any anesthetic, and that baby chickens are hooked up to de-beaking machines to slice off the most sensitive part of their body, to stop them from being able to establish a 'pecking order' in those cages? Did you realise that eggs are chicken periods... well, did you?

Some of the documentaries contain graphic and heart-wrenching videos of animal cruelty associated with the production of dairy and meat. I was on my bed watching these videos with tears running down my face. You can't mince words about this stuff because it's truly barbaric and there is no way around that. Until you open your eyes and educate yourself you won't understand. This is what I tell people: I didn't go searching for this information or lifestyle - the information kind of found me, and I couldn't "unsee" it. I had to face my conscience and make the choice whether to ignore what I'd learned or to be honest with myself. It would have been the easy road to have ignored it all; it is a massive thing and it's not always easy, but I wouldn't change my decision.

This is what I also say to people - meat is delicious. Yum. Bacon, eggs, ice cream, chocolate, cheese, chicken nuggets, butter, cream - yum yum yum - some of my favourite foods. You think I don't like the taste of those anymore? Never said they weren't delicious. This isn't about liking or not liking it; it's about something that is more important than yourself. And yeah, it's about sacrificing and saying 'no' to stuff that you know is delicious (though tastes are changing) because I know how it got to the plate, and that it's not good for me. That is the only reason that, 5-6 months on, I am still on this vegan path and still have every intention of keeping on it. If it were just about a diet - a way to lose weight, then I would 100% have ditched it by now, because as I said, animal products taste good. It's not about me though. That's why I can do it. If the welfare of animals isn't something that interests you, consider looking into it for your health. If you're not encouraged by your health but call yourself an environmentalist, look into it for that.

I am not perfect. I have heard of people who decided one day to go vegan and then that is it - I admire them, but people have different relationships and battles with food, and cold turkey didn't come easily for me. I was straight vegan for a few weeks near the beginning and I felt amazing. I had an absolutely noticeable mental clarity. After that initial strong few weeks I have slipped into old habits and do eat some animals products sometimes, i.e. some chocolate and cheese and the occasional meat dish, particularly when eating with family. For these reasons I don't say "I'm a vegan", because I am not 100%, but I am working towards it and my diet has changed considerably. The trickiest thing is the social aspect, but that could be a whole post on its own.

Anyway, I could write for hours about all the various aspects of this, both my experience, and the amazing health benefits and environmental and ethical reasons behind it, but that would be pretty tedious. Instead, I am going to post links to some of the videos that influenced me from the start, because they will explain everything in greater (and more interesting) detail than I can. Maybe later I will come back and write some more about my experiences.I hope that you will be man enough to set aside some time by yourself to watch them.

Thanks for reading.

There are many, many vegan channels on YouTube - some of the ones that I personally get the most out of are Bite Size Vegan, Freelee the Banana Girl, Andrew Perlot and Teshia Mahar. I subscribe to their channels and when I have spare moments throughout the week I'll catch up and it helps keep me inspired and informed.

On Instagram I like to follow @animaliakirstea @freeleethebananagirl and @inthesoulshine.


This year I've been eating mostly animal-product-free; I haven't written about this on the blog yet but will save that for another day. Today we talk ANZAC biscuits. First, a history lesson:

"The army biscuit, also known as an Anzac wafer or Anzac tile, is essentially a long shelf-life, hard tack biscuit, eaten as a substitute for bread. Unlike bread, though, the biscuits are very, very hard. Some soldiers preferred to grind them up and eat them as porridge. It is said that biscuits with a similar recipe to the one we knew today appeared in magazines under different names, sometimes called "Rolled Oat Biscuits" or "Soldier's Biscuits". The current name only came about after the legendary ANZAC Gallipoli Campaign.Anzac biscuit recipes, in the form we know them today, began appearing in cookbooks in the 1920s. As World War One drew on, groups including the CWA (Country Women’s Association), church groups, schools and other women’s organisations would spend large amounts of time baking and packing Anzac biscuits. To ensure that the biscuits remained crisp, they were packed in used tins, such as Billy Tea tins." 
Source: skynews.com.au

I must admit I was nervous this afternoon when I set out to try a vegan variation of my Grafton Nanna's tried and true recipe - I wasn't confident it would work. To make a fair comparison, I made half of the biscuits using butter, as per the original recipe, and the other half (the ones with the hearts) using mild olive oil. I'm thrilled to say that the vegan versions turned out amazingly, in fact, I like them better than the butter versions!

Here's the recipe:

*1 cup plain (all purpose) flour
*3/4 cup desiccated coconut
*3/4 cup white sugar
*1 cup rolled oats
*125g mild olive oil
*2 tablespoons water
*2 tablespoons honey or golden syrup
*1 teaspoons baking powder or bi-carb soda

Preheat oven to 170C fan forced. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine the oil, honey and water in another small bowl until well incorporate. Add the wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Roll spoonfuls of mixture and place on baking sheets lined with baking paper. Flatten with your palm. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden.

Note: Make sure that you use a mild olive oil (it will be called 'mild' or 'light' on the bottle) as regular extra virgin olive oil has too strong a taste, and won't be nice at all. You could also try coconut oil if you prefer (I'm not a huge fan as the taste tends to take over).

Showing appreciation through baking.
Lest we forget.


What is going on with the weather today, New South Wales?!

This morning I lost a good friend. My favourite umbrella. For years I have been smugly cavorting with my beloved, trustworthy brolly. Come light sprinkles or torrential downpours, she and I would make our way through soggy streets, looking down upon inferior umbrellas that could not withstand windy challenges. They turned themselves in and were discarded on the pavement. All around us it was an umbrella graveyard; we chuckled and pranced merrily along.

Today, my smugness was blown to smithereens in a catastrophic display of brolly comeuppance. My umbrella turned inside out. I blinked, and she was gone with the wind. It was every iota of humiliation that I had always imagined but seldom feared.

R.I.P umbrella. Thank you for your service.

This got me thinking, on a day like to today (when we would rather be at home in our trackies) besides having a reliable umbrella, how can  a 9-5 office woman better prepare for the chilly months ahead?

1. Hunter Gum Boots 2. Madame Flavour Tea 3. Max Brenner Chocolate Powder 4. Heinz Soup 5. Lush Lip Balm 6. Panda Gloves 7. Touch Screen Gloves 8. Amigo Black Blanket 9. Ugg Ear Muffs 10. Senz Umbrella 11. Gel Hand Warmers 12. San Diego Hat Company Fingerless Gloves 13. Dotti Twist Headband

As for the necessities...

I actually despise stockings. Besides not offering the slightest bit of warmth (it’s like wearing a serviette as a winter coat?) they are hideously uncomfortable. How can a see through piece of fabric, aka hosiery, keep one comfortable on a frosty day? Anything that will tear unless you put them on with a pair of oven mitts, is not robust enough to provide winter warmth. Unless they are minimum one million denier, I don't want a bar of them. Even then, I have to buy them in Extra Extra Extra Long (even though I am not) because anything smaller and I have to contend with that low-hanging stocking crutch like I'm in kindergarten. You can bet if they're not hanging low, they're hitched up to your pits. Pants. What's wrong with pants? Get some today, at a store near you.

It goes without saying that you need to spend some dollars on a good, sturdy umbrella. Those five dollar numbers are just going to end with embarrassment.

I'm a lover of gloves and mittens and always have a pair at hand during winter. Fingerless gloves, or touch screen gloves, may not be as fetching as the panda mittens pictured above (which I own, by the way) but they sure are handy for preventing Frostbite by Smartphone.

Don't knock em til you've tried em. Equally as handy for blocking out that ol' cranny from Payroll as they are for keeping toasty on your commute.

Herbal teas, soups and hot chocolate. When you're holed up in an office, particulary one that insists on maintaining sub-zero aircon temps in July, you need to have a little warming stash in your drawer. When it's cold, I find my carrot stick snacks about as appealing as a fish slap, so it's good to make like a Girl Guide and be prepared with a few snacks that will satisfy a craving and (possibly) prevent you from making a daily trip to the nearest food court for all of the deep fried things covered in melted cheese.

There's nothing worse than arriving at work with soggy ankles! A pair of wellingtons will keep you warm and dry, and will enable you to splash in puddles, so. If you must, pack a pair of flats to change at work and/or start your winter with some good boots to keep the tootsies cozy all day long. There really is something to be said for Happy Feet.

Lest you get caught in a face-whipping, lip-drying gust, unless you want to get around town looking like Ronald McDonald, carry a lip balm in your bag at all times.

Listen, I used to work in a place that was so cold in winter that my bones seized up and I died. In these situations, make like a granny, I say, and stash a lap blanket at work. Who the hell cares - haters gonna hate and they just be jelly.

That concludes my handy guide on how to survive winter in a 9-5 way! Please feel free to drop your own hints below. x


Lately I have been thinking about and dealing with indecision. No, scrap that, I have been indecisive my whole life! It's a pest of a thing, to be indecisive. This morning I had an epiphany. I was taking my dog, Lily, for a bushwalk along the firetrail that runs off the back of my parents' place. This track is where some of my best thinking has occurred. Oh yes, many juicy topics have been nutted out on that trail over the past decade. Call me crazy, but I am a big fan of talking to myself out loud. Hahaha, yes, so you think I'm crazy? That's okay! I swear by it. Sometimes when I'm trying to figure out an issue, I find that it helps to either talk it out loud, or tap it out in my PC journal. I've had a security-password protected journal (so don't even bother) on my desktop since 2008. I actually started reading back through it the other day... WELL, that made for some interested reading. o_0. More often than not, if I'm trying to work through an issue, I find that either typing it out or talking aloud, helps me come to a conclusion, or at the very least helps me to come closer to sorting things out. Don't get me wrong, talking to other people is great, but this way you get to come to your own conclusions, and that's really satisfying. Talking out loud is what lead to my "ah-huh!" moment this morning. Personally, I feel that a really good "ah-huh!" moment is up there with some of the most enjoyable things in life.

So: I was pondering decisions, and how I sometimes make ones that turn out to be incorrect, as we all do in life. Then I thought, you know what?

Sometimes you have to make the decision, before you can know what is the right or wrong choice. 

What do I mean by that? You can get stuck in a rut, going round and round in circles, trying to make a decision. You can weigh up the pros and cons, you can imagine how the situation will play out from all angles, you can try to approach the situation in the most thorough way possible, but sometimes, until you actually make a decision (as in, properly commit and start heading down a path) you might not know what the best path is.

Have you ever spent ages weighing something up, trying to make the right decision  whether it be something as basic as what takeaway to order for dinner or whether to attend an event, or something life-altering such as moving cities, studying or changing jobs  then you made what you thought was the best decision, only to then experience emotions about that decision which then led you to question the decision? Let's use the important analogy of takeaway food. You're trying to decide between Pizza & Thai for dinner; you spend two hours weighing up the decision, before finally declaring that you want Thai, only to be suddenly flooded with horrendous feelings of sadness and remorse. Ergo, you really wanted pizza, you just didn't realise it til you committed to a choice.

Change your mind and have the pizza.

So what I'm thinking is: alleviate your guilt, and give yourself a break if you make a decision and start heading down a path only to start having regrets. There's no shame in backtracking, in fact, I think it shows gumption. What's more stupid: changing your mind, or sticking with the wrong decision just to preserve your ego? Regrets do suck, but they can be very useful if they alert you that you're doing something/heading somewhere you're not too fussed about. Think of regrets like helpful signals, telling you to think and possibly reassess. The same can be said for many uncomfortable emotions. Feeling shit? Good. Why are you feeling shit? Fix it.

So, basically, if I'm really struggling with indecision in spite of trying my level best to make the "right" choice, I'm going to make an effort to just DECIDE, even though it can be scary (nothing scarier than ordering Thai when you actually wanted pizza) and start heading down that path, and see how it feels. And if it feels wrong, I'll to not beat myself up, but to focus instead on taking actions to correct things, even if it means changing my decision completely. You have to stop caring so much what other people think about you and your life decisions, because your happiness is the only thing that matters. We're no use to anyone, if we put up with situations that make us unhappy, just to appease others, or because we're scared. When all is said and done, sad sacks aren't particularly useful.

If you think about it this way: if you decide to start heading down a path, and it turns out to be a not-so-great one, you can (often*) take steps to correct that, and this process will (often) be easier in the long run, than just staying stuck in the whirlpool of indecision, and possibly always wondering "what if?".

Sometimes when I need to nut things out, I also put them on this blog :)

*Disclaimer: Does not include the decision to explore parenthood.

H A P P Y E A S T E R !

Image Source: savittjagvetblogg

Happy Easter, everyone!

It's been a little while between posts, but as I was up before 7 this morning and have some time to spare, sitting here with my cup of tea in the quiet morning, I thought I would tap out a little post.

There's been something on my mind to write about recently, and that is, decluttering. Decluttering is most of the reason why I haven't been around the blog lately. Things were getting all a bit too hectic, and I needed to declutter. I've been trying to put this into practise for a little while now. It started with the very, very basic things, such as deleting the Words With Friends and Facebook apps off my phone. They are just little distractions, and things that niggle at you that you "gotta" do. But when you remove those little things, suddenly you have just a little extra time each day. Maybe it's only ten minutes, but maybe that's ten minutes you can use to do something productive, or read a chapter, or even be present in the moment when you're just hanging out on the lounge with your people.

Other declurring has come on the form of 'spring' cleaning. Whether it be the folders on my PC desktop or the kitchen pantry, it's pretty amazing what those small decluttering efforts can do for your sense of calm.

One area of my life that needed a huge declutter was my business, Little Bow Thief, as things were becoming busier and busier and a little too much to handle. So I started making some changes to simplify things, and this past week I even took all my shop items off Etsy to give myself some breathing space. That was a much needed and welcome declutter.

There is this thing called decision fatigue, where, after a long stretch of making decisions, your ability to make good decisions can become impaired. Without even exploring the science of it, it makes sense that your brain gets tired. So I just figred that when you put too much pressure on yourself and have a little bit too much going on, it can really start to drag you down. So you gotta figure out ways to make things simpler and more enjoyable; all it takes is a few little things.

Happy Easter, everyone! XX


Date Palms

This is the question I found myself tapping into Google yesterday, after I'd spent a pretty penny on a handful of medjool dates. Medjool Dates are enjoying buzzword status in the world of healthspiration at the moment, but how do they differ from regular dates?

Well, I taste tested a few yesterday and can tell you that they are a helluva lot sweeter, stickier and softer, which makes them a great option for recipes. They would work well in my Raw Fruit and Nut Cacao Balls.

But their sweetness and texture didn't answer my question - are medjool dates better for you than regular dates (I believe the ones commonly found in supermarkets are called deglet noor); are they worthy of buzzword status? I'm inclined to think not. I'm no expert, but from what I've read online there seems to be little difference between the two, in terms of the nutrient kick.

For a sweet snack, I would prefer regular dates as the medjools are extremely sweet. I don't make a habit of snacking heavily on dried fruits since they have a concentrated sugar content and it feels counter-intuitive to me to overload on sugar. But when I have a sweet tooth, and we all get them (there has to be a reason that we have sweet sensors right on the top of our tongue) I don't mind poppin' a few dates for an energy burst.

My Conclusion: medjool for baking, regular dates for sometimes snack poppin'.

Image Credit: Groundworks


Homemade Sugar Scrub Exfoliate

I blogged a recipe for homemade sugar scrub a little while ago, but I had to risk sounding like a broken record and come back with an update. I've been tweaking my concoctions and this is hands down the best I've made. Just popped out of the shower and feel 100% invigorated and fresh - you have to try this.

Homemade sugar scrubs are just a mixture of sugar, a carrier oil, and an essential oil for scent. The purpose is of course to exfoliate your skin and buff away dead cells, but the oil also acts as a moisturiser.

I've been experimenting with a few different carrier oils. Previously I've tried coconut oil and sesame oil. Coconut oil is okay; it's obviously known for its hydrating properties, but personally I find the scent overpowering. The same goes for sesame oil. I had read about its amazing moisturising power so decided to give it a try, but it left me smelling a bit like a stir fry? That brings me to my third experiment: olive oil.

Recently I saw a TV interview with a hand model. When asked for tips for keeping her hands in good condition, she said that her secret was good old, humble olive oil. Well, if you're going to take advice from anyone!

For body purposes, you want to use a light/mild olive oil. The brand that I have in my cupboard is Moro Light Taste Olive Oil. This is perfect because the smell is so mild, it enables the scent of your essential oil to take the limelight.

As for the pure essential oil,  I've used bergamot and lavender in the past, but obviously used lemongrass for this pot and it's my favourite, hands down. Lemongrass is refreshing, uplifting, calming, relaxing, all at the same time. I love it!

How To

Find yourself a plastic tub that is safe to keep in the shower. Fill it with sugar (to measure) then tip the sugar in a larger bowl. Add about the same quantity of light olive oil (so, 1 cup of each, for example) and mix it in. You want the consistency to be moist and only slightly liquidy so just play around til you get the consistency right. Next, add your essential oil bit by bit until you get a desired strength. I added about 1.5 teaspoons lemongrass to my batch (which was a bit more than a cup of sugar).

Enjoy enjoy enjoy. x


This happened. In the little home o-ffice. Squee! See what happened is, after Christmas I got all forlorn after I had to take down the hanging decorations and such (you know?) so I kinda needed to create something that was colourful (tick) dangly (tick) and welcome all year round (tick tick).

I hung it on Friday afternoon and when Lindsay arrived home I said, "You're not going to like the girliness that has happened in the spare room". He walked to the doorway and said, "Oh Sweet #@#$* #@$*$". I'm almost positive that was a compliment.

I've been wanting to make one of these babies for a while. They're very cheap and easy to make - all you need is a few packets of tissue paper from the dollar shop, and the rest you should have at home (string, scissors, sticky tape). My garland is about 3.5 metres long, with 24 tassels. They're quite fiddly to make - I would say this project took me about 5-6 hours, but you just get the music going, do a few tassels here and there, and you'll be done before you know it. If you're ready to make your room wonderful, do what I did and watch a quick tutorial, like this one, and you'll be all set. Oh, and when it comes to boyfriends? I think the old "ask for forgiveness, not permission", works especially well. x

DIY Tissue Paper Garland

DIY Tissue Paper Garland

DIY Tissue Paper Garland

Restored Typewriter

Just showing off one of my most prized possessions - my restored typewriter!


Summer Fruit Platter

Fruit Ice Cubes

Fruit Ice Cubes

Fruit Ice Cubes

Here on the East Coast of Oz, the January sunshine decided to take an unscheduled (and unapproved) vacay this week - what on Earth?! I'm so happy to see it back, although, must admit, those few trackie days this week did force me to sit in my chair and get quite a lot of work done. Work, shmork (that reads like 'pork'?) though, because we still have a whole month's worth of summer owing. I made these fruit ice cubes a couple of days ago and they put a smile on my dial, not to mention a fruity zap in my h20. Cheers to a perfect summer weekend!


This weekend Lindsay and I recreated a dish that we learned at cooking school while staying at the Sapa Unique Hotel in Vietnam in 2013. When I go on holidays I like to collect bits and pieces from my travels and luckily I'd saved the piece of paper in which I'd scrawled down the recipe while Lindsay assisted the chef. Our lunch was absolutely delicious and all of the flavours instantly took us right back to Vietnam. Most would agree that one of the best parts of travelling is exploring the cuisine, and Vietnam delivered in spades. Admittedly, we weren't the hardcore travellers who ate every meal from street kitchens (crates), but even so, we ate some amazingly delicious and diverse flavours in every place we visited, and both agreed that Hoi An came up trumps. If you're planning a tip, here are a few starting points on places to eat - I kept the business cards :)

Hoi An: Faifoo, Morning Glory (Pork Pancake), The Cargo Club, Cava
Nha Trang: Evason Ana Mandara Resort, the Sailing Club and Lantern's Vietnamese Restaurant
Sapa: Sapa Boutique Hotel & Restaurant
Ho Chi Minh: Lemongrass, Cafe D'anver, Al Fresco's (this one is for when you're craving an Aussie burger at the end of your trip!!)


Some time ago I posted about my lifelong woes with jewellery storage. To recap, I kept finding that all of my beads, bangles, bracelets and ... necklaces (alliteration heartbreak) kept winding up in a big ol' tangled blob in one storage facility. It was an ugly catastrope. I don't know about you, but decorative jewellery is the last thing I'll think of throwing on before heading out the door, so when your pieces are in a blob, unless you want to wear a necklace that has a headband, a rose garland, a friendship bracelet and a feather earring attached, well, you're pretty much stuffed.

So, I set about exploring some different solutions for jewellery storage and fell in lust with this geo jewellery board by Maidae. Five months later, I have made it - it is mine! In fairness, it took 4+ months of procrastination and 1 week to make.

Here is the original from Maidae...

So now it's confession time. I actually had two attempts at the jewellery board. The first time around I made the mistake of not using primer on top of my wood stain, so the paint job was a streaky mess. Back to Bunnings I went. If you want to recreate this though, you should be right with the following list.

You Will Need
  • Timber - I used a piece of plywood and had it cut at 50cm x 70cm
  • Stain - I used a 50ml bottle of Feat Watson Prooftint spirit based stain in 'maple'
  • Masking Tape
  • Primer - I used British Paints Prep 4 in 1 in white
  • Acrylic paint - the type you would use for craft is fine. Note, I also patch tested with spraypaint and it did not work as it reacted with the stain (even though the dude at Bunnings said it would be fine)
  • Clear varnish - I used Cabot's Cabothane Clear (it's not overly shiny/varnishy)
  • 1.5 inch paintbrush for stain
  • Approx 2cm paintbrush for paint
  • Stanley knife/blade (if you are replicating this geometric pattern)
  • Hooks of your choice
  • Hanging hardware, if your desire to hang it - mine is just propped against the wall.
How To
  1. If your timber is overly rough you might like to give it a quick sand.
  2. Give the timber one coat with your stain - don't forget the edges of the timber. I left mine to dry overnight.
  3. Use the masking tape to create the pattern of your choice on the timber, again, wrapping the tape around the edges to continue the pattern. Ensure the tape is firmly affixed to the wood to prevent paint seepage.
  4. If you are replicating the same geometric pattern, use your blade to carefully remove the segments of tape that you will want to be coloured white.
  5. Apply two coats of primer, being mindful not to apply paint too thickly so it doesn't leak under the tape.
  6. Apply up to three coats of acrylic paint. I found that I achieved a smoother, less streaky finish by painting the second coat in the opposite direction. Leave to dry overnight.
  7. Remove the masking tape!
  8. Apply the varnish. You could probably varnish the whole thing at once (stained and painted bits) but I was a bit worried about streakiness so I used my smaller brush to apply the stain to the painted parts first, and then the stained bits. Took a bit longer but I wasn't prepared to ruin my hard work.
  9. Measure out where you want your hooks, drill in some holes and attach your hooks (thank you, boyfriend!)
And you're done!

As for the other bits and pieces, I've been collecting a few vessels from here and there. The jewellery box is from Inspired Tribe (got a January sale bargain - $10), silver hammered tins from Seaweed and Sand ($19 ish for set of 3), white canister from Freedom ($7). Ahhhhhhhhh - that feels so much better!


This lovely sunny Saturday I wanted to share a recipe for something that you can make now, and enjoy later - I'm thinking, first sign of a crisp Autumn morning, you crack open your infused syrup and drizzle on a lovely stack of pancakes.

I was inspired to make infused syrups via the My New Roots blog. There really is no recipe here. You can use honey or maple syrup, or do what I did and combine the two. I used pistachio, orange peel, gogi berries, star anise and rosemary in my syrup. Personally, I wouldn't recommend the pistachio actually, because they kind of expanded and didn't look wonderful.

What do you use them for? Add a little va-va-voom to your pancakes or even as a sweet dip for a contrast with savoury breads.



This post is a long time coming - almost two years old! Better late than never. These are some shots from when my friend pal, Mel, hosted a catch-up lunch for a few girly friends. Girl has mad decorator skills and secret culinary prowess. It was such a nice afternoon with big friends and mini friends, complete with a post-lunch nail painting sesh to boot. I think we might be overdue for another tea. x


I was on the hunt for something sweet and chocolatey one day, and was pretty excited to come across Emma & Tom's Life Bars at Woolworths. I was doing that thing where you buy the 'healthy' chocolate, so you don't feel so bad...

What I really appreciated about these bars was the short list of actual ingredients - ingredients that I could identify on a line up. Such a rarity with processed foods.

Because of this, I was able to recreate the bars myself by playing around with the quantities. Thanks and sorry, Emma and Tom.

I added some protein powder to my bars. I look for unflavoured protein powder with the fewest amount of ingredients. I like Vital Protein 100% Pea Protein and Planet Food 100% Whey Protein Isolate. Read the ingredients lists on your proteins because a lot of them contain sugar (using those sneaky names!) or artificial sweeteners and other who-knows-what.

Raw Fruit & Nut Cacao Bars

200g dates, finely chopped
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup raw organic cacao powder (note, this is different from cocoa)
80g cashews, finely chopped in a blender
90g raisins, finely chopped
2 tablespoons protein powder
1 tablespoon almond milk (if needed, to add moisture)

Combine all ingredients and shape into balls. You might even like to roll the outsides in coconut or crushed nuts. Store in the fridge. 

cacao protein balls


Do you believe in fairies? Sure, why not. When I was in Year 1, my friend Sarah (who is still one of my most special friends) and I bonded (for life) over a fairy game we invented at the start of the year. Recess and lunch, we ran to our special trees in the playground at Bangor Public School and "played fairies". How I would love to magic myself back to 1991 and be a fairy on the tree to witness those games.

So... that just happened.

Last year I made some fairy party bags for Little Bow Thief but haven't gotten around to showing them til now. If you're planning a fairy party, here are some things you might like to include in your party bags...
  • glitter pen
  • fairy stickers 
  • sugar jubes
  • white freckles
  • sherbet lollies
  • plastic wand
You know, all the things that fairies like and need. I tied these into organza bags and fastened a tiny bell to each. You can find all these types of treasures in large discount stores.

A little whimsy from Stephanie Burt's Fairy Tea Party. x