Thursday, 29 September 2016

Life Lately: Storm of the Century

The last 24 hours have been interesting, to say the least, so I thought I would take the opportunity to give you all a quick update on the very wet world I'm living in right now. South Australia has been hit with one of it's worst storms in 50 years and while we, personally, have avoided the worst of it, it has been fairly wild! At about 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon the whole state lost all power - while Adelaide regained power after only about 4 hours up here in the mid north we were without it for just over 24 hours (some places are still without, poor souls!) The last 24 hours have consisted of eating sandwiches (bocconcini, tomato and spinach pesto), reading by candlelight, talking and shivering under a pile of animals (imagine a bed piled high with dogs, people and a cat all snuggled together to keep warm!) I'd like to say that the worst is passed but they are tipping another storm tonight, possibly worse than last nights! (might have to say bye bye to the power again for awhile!)

I took these photos huddled in the doorway so as not to get too wet, I know compared to many from around that state they look very mild (and they are), but I wasn't going to venture out during the worst of it and luckily for us we have had no major damage (so far). My heart goes out to those from Blyth who were hit by the worst of it, including a tornado. Stay safe South Australia!


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

6 tips for staying sane in a temporary living situation


Right now I'm living in a little rental house, I've been here just shy of 12 months. I moved into this place from a reasonably large old house that I owned and I know that eventually I will be buying another house and moving into another big old home. In the mean time, while I wait for life's complications to be worked out, I'm stuck here in a temporary home that is far too small for my lifestyle. I know just how frustrating it can be so I've got a few tips to share with you today that I've found have helped me when I've been feeling down. 

  1. Consider storage: The house I lived in prior to this one was much larger and the eventual aim is to move back into a large house again. Many temporary living situations involve downsizing or sharing a space and you have to cram a whole life into half the original size. Consider storing some of your things, a storage unit can keep things off site or, if money is tight, consider storing some things in plastic containers in a shed. It can also save space to keep some things in boxes and store them under beds or on top of wardrobes - the main thing is that trying to unpack everything into a smaller space can be a recipe for disaster and just make the space unliveable.
  2. Make things work for now: Living in a temporary home it can feel like your life is standing still and you just want to push forward with any or all plans possible. I know, I've been there, but sometimes it's just not viable. Try and plan for now - there might not be much point going through and making huge plans for home decor if you plan to leave in 12 months or planning extravagant dinner parties when your dining room only sits 4. Yes, it's frustrating having to put your life on hold but it's better to plan around what works for your situation, for example planning a nice dinner out rather than inviting everyone into a place that's cramped can ultimately reduce your stress rather than adding to it.
  3. Improve the things you can: This might seem like a contradiction of the previous point but actually they compliment each other. While you can't change the big things you might be able to make a few little changes that are cheap, easy and make your life easier! That could mean something as simple as rearranging a room, buying storage solutions for your pantry or carving out a small corner of a room for yourself - the little things can make a huge difference to your mental health. Extra points if you can do with things you know you will have use for when you leave!
  4. Don't completely abandon decor: While it might be tempting to keep the decor packed away to free up space for the things you actually use it can be a mistake. You don't want to clutter your space with too much but keeping out a few things that you love and make you happy can be enough to lift your spirits. If in doubt add fresh flowers or greenery for an instant lift.
  5. Try and get out and have fun: If, like me, the reasons for your temporary shift in accomodation are financial, this can be difficult but sometimes you just need to get out, get some fresh air and have a bit of distance from the situation. Try a walk in a nice park, catching up with friends or a trip to the local library/cafe for some cheap you time.
  6. Remember it's temporary: This one can be really hard, particularly if you have no set timeframe, you get driven to distraction wondering when you will ever get to move on to your 'real life'... but it is temporary, in the darkest moments just stop and thing about where your headed and that this is just a stepping stone. 

Friday, 23 September 2016

10 things that have made me happy this week


This week has been fairly busy, not only was I in at work everyday but I got to spend some time planning some lessons and actually teaching them, which was tiring but a nice change from the usual week to week activities. Consequently writing my usual preamble is proving to be a little more difficult than usual! To save my work addled brain I'll jump straight into it:

  1. Pasta bake for dinner - ever since my trusty base sauce was discontinued I've been trying to find a way to reproduce it, (preferably as quickly and easily as the original) last night I think I did it, and it was even better reheated for dinner again tonight!
  2. One of the books I ordered from the library coming in - I now have a bit of a stack but I wouldn't have it any other way.
  3. Catching another morning tea at work - I've really lucked out on the good food this term.
  4. Seeing the sun peek out today - reminds me that winter is on the way out.
  5. Three dogs gleefully running around the back yard together.
  6. Curling into a warm bed after a long day and reading a couple of chapters of one of my books - obligatory German Shepherd cuddles most definitely included.
  7. Cheap blueberries - a great healthy little snack and I can't resist the love I get when I share them with the bunnies! 
  8. Planning for the weekend - a hair appointment, a catch up with my dad and maybe some time exploring Clare.
  9. Finally trying out the bullet journal trend - I think I'm sold. 
  10. Walking into the kitchen to find the cat stuck in the rabbit's play pen - silly thing can't even jump waist height and had to unceremoniously haul herself up the side of the pen to get out! Cat clearly can't cat. 

*** Happy sharing inspired by Rosie ***

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Life Lately: Wednesday Update

The last few weeks have been crazy busy between work and the menagerie of animals and finding time to write posts has been hard, let alone finding the content! no one wants to hear about my job, after all! He's a quick update on the little things that have been filing my life lately:

Watching: Stranger Things - Well, I just finished it and loved it! Cannot wait for the next season.
Reading: Wizard and Glass (Book #4 of Stephen King's Dark Tower series)
Listening to: Comeback Kid by The Band Perry
Cooking: Lamb Yiros - one of my easy go to meals for busy days.
Feeling: Tired but relieved - I spent most of last night up with a dog who had broken into the dog food container and was feeling very sorry for himself! He's definitely feeling better now he's gotten it all out of his system.
Planning: A better system for storing the dog food!
Loving: My dear father and his wife for coming up and helping me clear the weeds from the back yard.
Enjoying: Some solid days at work before the holidays.

Little things of note:

  • Akela's ears have now reach the crazy stage - one is almost always up (if a little sideways) and the other one is still firmly down. My little puppy is growing up too quickly!
  • The internet has been S.L.O.W... like, shoot me now, slow. I'm assured it's because they are working on the NBN and that it will all be worth it but in the mean time it's less than fun.
  • I've been grappling with this Twitter thing - I'm not sure I'm convinced but I guess time will tell! (link at the bottom of post if you want to follow along with my awkward Twittering)
  • I'm more than a little sad that spring seems to have given way to winter again.
  • Those faces up there at the top of this post... they are making me pretty happy at the moment! 

Friday, 16 September 2016

10 things that have made me happy this week


This week has had a few little frustrations - the main ones being the fact the internet seems to have decided to only selectively load some pages - some days blogger has refused to load and my plans to post have been thwarted! It's also been cold and wet and decided to bucket down on the day I organised someone to come and do yard work. Such is life and the dangers of being dependent on the internet! This week has also been pretty productive - lots of things crossed off my to do list, even if one of those things was just finishing my book! Overall, aside from the weather, I can find some pretty great points for this week!

  1. A last minute trip into Port Pirie last night for some dinner and a spot of shopping.
  2. Akela almost sleeping through the night - just one trip outside at 4am and no accidents!
  3. The sun showing itself today - indulging in my morning cuppa sitting in the sun watching the dogs play around in the back yard.
  4. Spending the time to sit down and finish reading a whole book - a few hours in the evenings/afternoons put aside and I feel happy and refreshed.
  5. Oven baked potatoes (no lazy microwave method here) piled high with sour cream and cheese for dinner one night - so unhealthy but so good.
  6. Burning scented candles and making the living room smell amazing - I've nearly reached the end of an amazing caramel soy candle that makes the room smell sweet and cozy.
  7. Adding to my novelty bag collection with a cute popcorn shaped bag from Kmart (does not appear to be on their website) - coming soon to a blogpost!
  8. Hot showers after cold days, then climbing into warm pyjamas and cuddling up to my hot water bottle, and cat!
  9. Being given a couple of bags of clothes to sort through from an acquaintance of my fathers - I found some pretty amazing things and a few pieces to rework once I can find my sewing machine!
  10. Morning snuggle time with my little family - pile two people, two dogs and the cat onto the bed and enjoy... Unfortunately the bunnies have to miss out!

*** Happy sharing inspired by Rosie ***

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Breakfast: Porridge Three Ways

In the colder months there is nothing I like more than a steaming bowl of porridge for breakfast, it's quick, easy and filling. I am really fussy though and can't stand the same thing day in day out so this year I've been trying out a few different combinations of toppings - paired with that all essential cup of tea, of course!

1. Fresh strawberries and blueberries with a small (ok, large) dollop of Nutella - rich and decadent for when you just *need* that chocolate hit.
2. Fresh strawberries drizzled with lashings of sweet maple syrup (the real deal of course - none of that imitation rubbish!)
3. Stewed apples topped with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

A few other combinations to try: Banana & almond butter (or peanut butter if you don't suffer from my allergies); Thawed out frozen berries to add a subtle tangy flavour; chopped nuts or seeds to add a little crunch.

Do you have any foolproof porridge combinations?

Monday, 12 September 2016

Weekend Wanderings: 1st Birthday Party

My weekend was a busy one with two birthday parties - one, a joint birthday and housewarming for Mark's bother and his girlfriend, the other my niece's first birthday. The one I want to talk about today is the first birthday of my darling niece. I have photographed the amazing decor and food that my sister-in-law and brother made, I think they did a great job, don't you?

On arrival guests were greeted by a sign all about the birthday girl, her current loves, and milestones. To one side was a table for the gifts and to the other sat party bags for the other small children in attendance.

 Next came the food table - lunch consisted of mini quiches, pizzas, cold meats and cheese as well as dips, biscuits and fruit. The food was a mix of dairy free and gluten free to suit all the dietary needs within my family. The food table was decorated with pretty framed photos from a birthday shoot with the little lady and personalised bunting. Beyond the food table was an area set up with play mats, tunnels and a small ball pit for the youngsters.

Dessert was large and varied consisting of cupcake flowers, various slices, cookies and bliss balls - I wish I could direct you to the recipes but alas I don't have them! Suffice to say not only was the majority of the desserts gluten and lactose free they were also really delicious and certainly did not lack for flavour!

And lastly, the cake! this simple but elegant cake was a gluten free, lactose free chocolate cake made from... (wait for it) quinoa! I had heard of quinoa cakes before but would never have imagined that they would actually work. If I had any complaint to make about the cake it would be that it was far to rich after so many sweets.

Not long after having the cake it was time for the birthday girl's nap so we left to hurry over to our second party for the day! It was a very long day but certainly one to be remembered. I, for one, can't wait for the next reason to celebrate.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Pinterest Recipe Roundup - Salad for Lunch

It's got to that time of year again where work is really busy and finding time for a healthy lunch is that much harder. After a week of rushed lunches, some of which have been less than healthy, combined with the slowly increasing temperature, it's safe to say I've had salads on the brain. So if you too have been craving salad for lunch here's a few I've found - I'll certainly be trying a few of them in the weeks to come.

1. Tricolore Salad
2. Make Ahead Mason Jar Salad
3. Fig, Prosciutto and Burrata Cheese Salad
4. No Mayo Easy Tuna Salad

Friday, 2 September 2016

10 things that have made me happy this week


This week has not gone to plan. Not at all. I was all set to gush in my list about going into Pirie and doing some shopping, I had plans to go and find some much needed craft supplies since all of mine either got thrown out or pack into boxes when I moved and I have a new project I want to start... However I came home and found a sick little puppy had eaten something that did not agree with him at all! I won't go into details because it was horrible, suffice to say he's back to his energetic little puppy self now and I'm desperately trying to find out where to hire a steam cleaner! Poor little dear has also been pining for his best friend Sam, He spent a few days walking around the house crying and his training was all but forgotten until he got used to being by himself - I'm imagining a very happy reunion sometime in his future! But, for all the set backs, I do love that little fuzzy face and I wouldn't change it for the world! Here is my slightly different than expected happy list:

  1. An unexpected morning tea at work, including the most divine banana and white chocolate cupcakes.
  2. Finding the time for a hot cup of tea - the milk had gone off because it was so long since I'd used it but even black it was great to have that time to sit and savour a moment of simplicity during this crazy week (month!)
  3. Waking up during the night to find a rather large puppy snuggled up to me - I have know idea how he got up without waking me but I had to laugh! Poor darling doesn't realise he's going to get far to big to be allowed to sleep on the bed!
  4. Re-watching old episodes of Nigella (some of Forever Summer and Feasts) and being inspired to get back in the kitchen - I now have a lamb roll sitting in the fridge for a weekend roast!  
  5. Winter is over - now someone just has to tell the weather!
  6. Finally watching The Princess and the Frog (just a bit behind the times with that one!) - definitely an underrated movie.
  7. Starting to plan costumes for next years D23 Expo - why, yes, I'm more than a little excited!
  8. Pub pizza on Sunday night - after a long busy weekend it was a perfect easy meal.
  9. Anticipating a weekend at home to catch up on my long to do list.
  10. That moment when I looked down, straight into Akela's eyes, and realised that right in that moment I was his whole world - It made my heart melt to see so much love and devotion focused solely on me.    

*** Happy sharing inspired by Rosie ***