Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Photos by Chelsea Fuss of Frolic for Project Wedding

A little while back I read Jessica Watson’s book ‘True Spirit’ and in it I stumbled upon a quote by Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue which stood out to me and which I wanted to share with you all:

"One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own."

I think this is very true of blogging and one of the reasons why being a part of a blogging community is such a wonderful thing. When I share something on a post and I read comments readers have left, it not only warms my heart that they have taken the time to leave a few words, I really appreciate their feedback and opinions and the encouragement they offer.

I think it’s important that we encourage each other – encourage others to share their knowledge and expertise, encourage others to try something new like a recipe for a new dish or a new craft project or encourage others to be the best we can be in our daily lives as wives/partners, mothers, friends and so on.

Thank you all for encouraging me so very much through your comments and through your own blogs which are constant sources of inspiration.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Tea Rituals

Image from Just Be SpLendid

My husband Paul isn’t a tea drinker and so the concept of teacups and saucers is completely foreign to him. “What purpose did this little plate serve?” he asked me the other night while stacking the dishwasher. To which I replied, “It just looked pretty.”

Whilst I will appreciate any cup of tea someone makes for me, there are certain things I am quite specific about when I make it myself.

In the morning, I start with green tea. I make it in either the cute tulip mug I got from my Nanna’s house, the Holly Hobby mug I still have from when I was a little girl or the Cath Kidston mug my Mum recently brought me back from the UK. I’m not fussed as to which brand of green tea I drink. This cup is usually drunk on the go while checking emails, making Grace breakfast or doing some morning chores.

Image from Her Library Adventures

Morning tea and afternoon tea is a cup of English Breakfast which I have white and when I make it myself, I have it in a tea cup and saucer. I usually buy the brand Madura (which has a slightly lower caffeine content) but I do like Twinings too. A sweet treat like a biscuit or piece of slice accompanies these cups of tea and I like them to be hot (not that I drink them hot but I like to make them last). These two cups are my ‘down time’ in the day. The morning one I usually enjoy while Grace has a morning tea snack or while she is playing. My afternoon cup is always during Grace’s nap time when I spent a bit of time at the computer blogging and reading blogs.

At night, I will have either a Milo or a herbal tea (rosehip or lemongrass and ginger or my latest favourite – strawberry, cranberry and raspberry) and once again, I have this cuppa in a mug. This final drink is enjoyed curled up on the couch watching television or reading a book.

Which hot drink do you prefer and are you picky as to how it is made or served? Do you have a favourite cup or mug? I was thinking the other day how many people these days have their own coffee machines to try and replicate a ‘café quality’ at home. Not being a coffee drinker, if you visit my place, I’m sorry to say it will be an instant coffee I will have to offer you… it will be made with love though…

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Holiday Fun

Sorry I haven’t blogged as often as usual over the past two weeks. With Paul home on holidays, Grace and I have had a ball visiting different places around Perth with him and I didn't feel right blogging when having him home on holidays is such a rare occurrence.

Over the past fortnight, we’ve had fun taking Grace to places we’ve been meaning to visit for a while like AQWA and The Perth Zoo. However, my favourite moments we’ve spent together as a family were the simple little outings we took. One morning, we caught a ferry from South Perth across the river to the city side where we enjoyed a coffee and a wander before catching the ferry back again. Another hot morning we took Grace to the pool for a swim and then enjoyed a bucket of hot chips together. On Thursday night, we bought a takeaway wood-fired pizza and sat down by the river on our picnic blanket to enjoy it outdoors on such a lovely night. Yesterday morning, we went to one of our favourite spots by the river in East Fremantle where we sat on the shore with our coffees while Grace had a wonderful time digging in the sand and splashing around.

We’ve decided that after Paul goes to back to work on Monday, we’re going to try and do more little spontaneous things like having picnic dinners as Grace really enjoys it and it makes a nice break from the usual routine for us too.

It really has felt like a holiday for Grace and I as well as Paul these past few weeks.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Latest Backyard Plans

Now that our vegetable and herb corner is up and running and with Paul currently on holidays, we've turned our attention to a neglected part of our backyard. Being hidden from view when you look out our back door, this area became a bit of a rubbish pile at times and the sand which found its way all over the path (thanks to Asha) made everything dirty.

This part of backyard is going to become Grace's corner. Paul has reduced the size of the garden bed on the right in the photo below and found new homes for all the plants we wanted to keep in the one to the left. He has also already shifted a LOT of sand. Now he needs to pull up the pavers and hire a little digging machine to move the rest of the dirt. Then we'll be extending the lawn right up to the fence and creating a little garden path from the gate around to the patio.

We're not sure yet what will end up in Grace's corner - a sandpit, a trampoline, a cubby house or perhaps a swing set. All I know is that I've earmarked a shady spot under the tree for a cute little table and chairs where I can sit with a magazine and a cuppa and watch Grace while she plays.

I'll keep you up to date with the progress of our latest project...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ginger Fluff Sponge

I haven't posted any recipes in a little while so today I thought I'd share one for a sponge cake I baked earlier in the week when I felt like something sweet to enjoy with my cuppa. It's a recipe from an old cookbook of Mum's (from memory I think it was a Boy Scouts cookbook) for a Ginger Fluff Sponge and it smells delicious while you're mixing together all the ingredients...

Ginger Fluff Sponge

4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
½ cup cornflour
2 dessertspoons Self Raising flour
1 tsp cocoa
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 dessertspoon golden syrup
1 dessertspoon butter

Beat whites of eggs stiffly, add sugar, beat well, add yolks. Sift dry ingredients four times before adding (fold through). Finally add butter, melted with the syrup. Bake 15 - 20 minutes in moderate oven in 8" round tins.

I put my cake together with jam and whipped cream (I beat together a few drops of vanilla and 2 tbs icing sugar with 300ml thickened cream) and dusted the top with icing sugar.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Our Start To The Week

Paul arrived home safe and sound from his camping/fishing trip down south to Bremer Bay on Friday night and so Monday being the first day of his remaining two weeks holidays, Grace and I took him to the Fremantle Arts Centre for breakfast. This is fast becoming one of our favourite places to go for a coffee and a run around. The cafe has a nice selection of food and a beautiful shady, quiet courtyard to sit in and there's also a gift shop there called Found which is filled with products made by local artists and crafters. Afterwards, there's the huge grassed area for Grace to work off some energy and lots of trees and garden beds for her to explore. It's great to find a spot we can all enjoy.

Hope you have all had a lovely start to the week too.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Paul has been away since Monday on a boys’ camping trip, so it’s been a ‘girlie week’ for us here in our little household. He’s due back in four hours and every time Grace hears a car door out in the street or Asha barking, she runs to the window squealing “Daddy!!” Very cute.

This week I’ve been thankful for several things:

…my Mum and mother-in-law each staying over one night to keep me company and help out with Grace.

…a lovely ‘care package’ arriving in the mail from the organiser of the playgroup I take Grace to – it was thoughtfully filled with goodies for Mums to indulge in some ‘me’ time.

…all the suggestions from my readers on ideas for my Cooking Club – I’m even more excited than before to get this started now.

…my sister-in-law passing on a delicious recipe for a Chicken Nicoise Salad – the perfect meal for hot summer nights.

…the fact that no casualties have been reported from the terrifying Cyclone Yasi – I was glued to the television on Wednesday night, watching in disbelief as yet another natural disaster hit poor Queensland.

Keeping all those affected by the cyclone in my thoughts and wishing everyone else a wonderful weekend ahead…

Image above from Urban Grace Interiors