Monday, January 31, 2011

Starting A Cooking Club

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend. I was just about to sit down and email my friends about the Cooking Club I am starting up when I thought that perhaps I'd do a quick post about it first and see if any of you have participated in something similar and have any suggestions or advice on things I should consider.

My idea is to get together a group of friends who are all interested in cooking so that we can share recipes and get ideas for new dishes to try. We will actually be tasting the recipes we are sharing but not judging or critiquing or anything, just sharing. Here are my thoughts so far:

  • Meet every two months - we are all busy with either work or children and I feel that monthly meet-ups would come around too soon.

  • We would alternate the days and times we meet - for example, one month we may meet up for a Friday night dinner, the next catch-up might be a Saturday morning tea.

  • Stick to six to eight girls, enough to be able to chat comfortably around a table.

  • There would be a 'theme' for each Cooking Club - so far I've listed a salad/dessert one, sweet treats and Christmas goodies. Does anyone have any more suggestions for this?

  • Everyone would bring along a dish to share along with enough copies of their recipe for all the girls.

I'm really eager to get my Cooking Club up and running, particularly because I can't wait to have an excuse to decorate the table prettily. I have so many images like the one above saved in my 'Entertaining' inspiration folder and I can't wait to try and recreate something similar.

Have any of you tried a Cooking Club before or do you have any suggestions for me and my friends?

Source of image above unknown

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stationery Finds

As a little girl, my favourite part of the school holidays (once Christmas was over) was choosing out all my stationery for the new school year. A new backpack and pencil case were chosen and I would eagerly browse through the 'back to school' catalogues for the bits and pieces I required, my favourite thing to choose being patterned contact to cover my school books.

With the 2011 school year here in WA starting next week, I thought I'd share a few cute stationery finds on Etsy that I'd be more than happy to have in my collection.





Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Proud To Be Australian

Happy Australia Day to all my fellow Aussie bloggers! It's days like today that make me reflect on how blessed I am to live in 'the lucky country' and how proud I am to be Australian. I am grateful for living in a country where...

...there is relatively little pollution in comparison to many other parts of the world. We can swim at our rivers or beaches, breathe clean air and drink water straight from our taps.

...we have a health system which provides us the luxury of taking Grace to a doctor and knowing that most times, we will not have to pay for our visit. is abundant. I love that I live in a home where it doesn't feel like our neighbours are 'on top of us' and where we have a big backyard. We have many national parks and in the wild, there are big expanses of land left untouched.

...we have breathtaking natural features. From our beaches with clean white sand to our lush forests, there is much beauty to be seen.

Watching Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure on television this week really brought home to me the values and lifestyle we Australians have that many other cultures find so appealing - our friendliness, our 'work to live' ethic (as opposed to 'live to work') and the spirit of mateship are all aspects of our culture I hope remain for many more years to come.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Recent Blogging Awards

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been kindly passed on some blogging awards from some lovely ladies and have yet to post about these or say thank you, so today I thought I’d put them together in one post...

Melissa from Undomestic Mumma, Chrissy from A Country Wife and Steph from Bondville all passed on the Stylish Blogger Award to me recently. Their blogs are all ones that I really enjoy reading and so it makes me very happy that these ladies have such kind things to say about my little blog.

To accept this award I am to share seven random things about myself and pass it on to some fellow bloggers…

1. I am currently reading a book called ‘Toddler Tactics’.

2. My least favourite household chore is handwashing.

3. Raspberry, cranberry and strawberry tea is my favourite herbal tea.

4. Tuesday is grocery shopping day in our household.

5. I can't remember the last time I indulged in a nice, relaxing bubble bath.

6. There are only six weeks until my birthday.

7. “Doing my hair” in the morning literally takes me ten seconds.

I’d like to pass this award on to…

Stephanie Sue from The Merry Way
Sharyne at The Views From My Valley
“MB” of Mama Bear’s House
Sonia of Raine and Sage
Emma of The Adventures of Baby Pirate and Captain Nicholas
Bron at Baby Space

Also, Anna from Around My Table recently passed on the award above to me too so a big thank you also to her.

Hope you all have a wonderful start to the week!

Top image from Papermash via Suziebeezie

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cupcake Making Day

Morning! Thanks for all your advice in regards to bathroom towels on my last post. I bought some yesterday but will wait until I have the other final touches in place before I reveal some photos. I was going to do a post last night, but we found ourselves without power from about five o'clock onwards. I'm not complaining though when so many in Queensland will be without power for weeks and to be honest, reading by candlelight was quite fun.

On Tuesday, my friend Kylie and I decided to have a 'cupcake making day' - a day to try and compare various recipes and to perfect our buttercream frosting to achieve the 'slightly set on the outside yet still soft and creamy' affect. Kylie and another friend of hers Krystie came over with their stash of cupcake decorations, trays and Kylie's red Kitchenaid and our 'assistant' Grace was more than happy to help out (especially when it came to licking the bowl). Our huge kitchen bench was perfect for spreading everything out and having the room to all work away together. Three batches of cakes, several cups of tea and a few taste tests later, we think we have decided on our favourite cakes and frosting.

Next time we have a cooking day, we've decided we're going to focus on the decorating side of things so we can perfect the 'piping technique' and try out some different pretty combinations. Here's some photos of our cupcake making day...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pondering Bathroom Touches

Photo by Eric Roth

Hi everyone, I hope you've all had lovely weekends and for those of you affected by the Queensland floods, I hope the clean-up phase has been going as well as can be. I had an enjoyable day yesterday pottering around the house, trying to work some more on my 'beginning of the year tidy-up' which I am hoping to have done by the end of the month. However, I got a bit side tracked with the decorating side of things in our ensuite.

As I blogged about a while back, our ensuite was renovated a few years ago but is still lacking some small touches. While I did lots of sorting and scrubbing, I spent time thinking about new colours to introduce, playing around with potential items to display on top of the vanity and trying to decide what sort of curtains I want in this room.

There are two things I am undecided on - towels and artwork. We are definitely over our blue towels and in need of something fresh. I'm thinking of a combination of pale stony grey (or perhaps white). Am I crazy? Does white get too dirty or is it easy to clean white towels and bath mats with a bit of good old Napisan? What is your experience with towel colours?

I'll be sure to share some photos of our ensuite once I find the fabric I'm after (something light with a subtle self-stripe), have bought new towels and have hung our artwork...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No Words...

I don't feel as though any words seem quite right today when so many people in Queensland are experiencing so much saddness and devastation. It all seems so close to home when I read posts by fellow bloggers who are in the thick of it all. Please keep all those affected by the floods in your thoughts and prayers...

Image above by Brian Adams

Monday, January 10, 2011

Summer Vegetable Garden

As I was giving our plants a good soak the other night, I realised I hadn't posted much about the progress of our vegetable garden I started back in October. I'm happy to report, we've had some good plantings.

Our four cherry tomato bushes have been producing endless tomatoes. Grace goes out with her little blue bucket each afternoon and we pick the ripe ones to bring inside. Lately, we've been collecting a small bowl's worth each day. I've had to teach her not to eat the green ones though. The first capsicums have been appearing so hopefully we'll be able to pick those soon and much to Grace's delight, we've been getting a few strawberries lately (not that any actually make it to the kitchen!) Our lettuces, rocket and baby spinach have been wonderful over these warmer months. It's been great being able to pick fresh salad leaves just before dinner. Unfortunately the extreme heat we've had has caused them to go to seed already. I tried to plant some new seedlings earlier in the week but despite constant watering, the hot weather has shrivelled them all so I'm going to look into somehow protecting them from the harsh sun. Our baby carrots were a disappointing crop and our spring onions aren't ready to pick just yet.

I have learnt a few things to remember for my next lot of plants - I need bigger stakes for my cherry tomato bushes as they all ended up toppling over with their weight. I'm also going to try sugar cane mulch or something lighter next time instead of pea straw which I've decided I'm not a huge fan of. Finally, I've decided the few things I had put into smaller pots need to be in larger ones to stop them drying out.

Thankfully, my little herb garden has still been going well. Grace was sent a gorgeous little bee wind catcher by Karyn of Hope Island Home and Living last week which she loves and which is perfect for this part of our garden. You can see it in the photo below.

What is flourishing in your garden at the moment or if you have a vegetable garden, which crop has been most successful lately?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Visiting The Fremantle Arts Centre

This morning, with no particular plans, I decided to go for a little outing with Grace down to the Fremantle Arts Centre. Built by convicts in 1864 this gorgeous building is one of my favourites in Fremantle and in addition to its amazing architecture and colourful history, it has such character once you step inside.

I had been wanting to take a look at the current exhibition called 'Home Open' which is an exhibition of the personal art collections of various Fremantle artists being displayed at the moment. After bribing Grace with a pack of sultanas, I was able to have a good look around. With high ceilings, beautiful floorboards, huge staircases and old fireplaces, it is such a lovely spot for a wander around.

Afterwards, I bought an iced chocolate for Grace and I to share and we sat out in the courtyard enjoying it and exploring the beautiful shady surroundings. I'm already planning my next visit.

This weekend we have a few nice things planned. Tomorrow morning I'm hoping to go for a quick visit to Domayne (I've never been there before) and in the afternoon, I'm off to the movies with my friend Lyndell. On Sunday we have a friend's little boy's first birthday party. What about you? What are your weekend plans?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Contrasting Weather

I’ve decided I’m definitely over this heat and the terrible humidity Perth has been experiencing for the last few weeks. It really saps your energy and even our poor air-conditioning struggles in this weather. However, I am grateful that all we have to contend with is heat after seeing some of the devastating images from the floods over east on the news. I cannot imagine losing all my belongings in such a way.

Yesterday evening, we had some friends around for a barbecue and we all ended up sitting around the little inflatable splash pool we bought Grace for Christmas. It’s definitely been getting a lot of use in the last few days and when Grace wakes up from her afternoon nap, I think I’ll sit in there with her too to try and cool off.

In contrast, my Mum has been emailing photos from her holiday in the UK. Seeing all the beautiful snow covered laneways and fields which look like something straight out of 'Escape To The Country' makes me long for some cooler weather…

Thank you all for your kind feedback on my blog makeover - there's still a few little things I'd like to tweak such as widening the header image but I'm having to teach myself as I go through online tutorials so any changes I do make take that little bit longer. I'm always a bit nervous fiddling around with Html code...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Au Revoir 2010

Happy New Year to all! After a little post-Christmas break, I’m all set to reflect on 2010, to set some goals for the New Year and to give my blog a little facelift.

I’ve never really been one to make New Year's resolutions. ‘Exercise more’ and similar aspirations I’ve given myself are conveniently forgotten after several weeks or so. I am however a planner and a list maker and I think reflecting on various aspects of one’s life is a good practice to get into and so here is my little list of things I’d like to achieve in 2011…

  • Finally complete Grace’s ‘First Year’ photo album

  • Begin a ‘cooking club’ with friends (more on this in a future post)

  • Be pregnant

  • Improve my photography skills through lots of practice

  • Implement some of what I learnt from the Blogging Your Way course I participated in
  • Learn to crochet

  • Give myself some ‘non-Mummy time’ occasionally such as going out to tea with a friend or strolling around the shops minus a stroller

What is the main thing you’d like to achieve or are looking forward to in 2011?

Image source unknown