Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Gentleman turns 8

 
Last weekend, The Gentleman turned 8. Every other birthday until now has been celebrated with a family trip to the zoo or a theme park, but this year there was going to be a party. He wanted to invite a few friends, as well as everyone in his class because no one likes to be left out.  This meant that it would be a party at a local park, after school. I suggested a sausage sizzle, which The Gentleman thought was a great idea. We took some soccer balls and some Frisbees, and everyone had a great time!
 

I made 40 lolly bags, which was enough for guests, as well as their brothers and sisters who might tag along, and a few spares. I came home with 3, so 40 was a good number. I used that thin metallic ribbon so they would be impossible to open without scissors, meaning they would have to be consumed at home. I didn't want 37 party happy children also hepped up on sugar! Take that shit home!



It also stopped the inevitable 'time to go home' fuss, because these where not handed out until the child was actually going. Lots of children mysteriously suggested it was time to leave! I think this is my best birthday idea ever.



I like to think I am a bit of a baker, but my oven has been broken for a few weeks. I ended up buying a large un iced slab cake from Woolies, and icing it myself. Not the highlight of my baking career but it was actually very delicious. Lots of 3rd and even 4th helpings, and the small bit that came home was scoffed up the next morning.



It was so windy we couldn't light the candles, but there was still a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to YOU.



Which gave The Gentleman a curious case of thrilled embarrassment..



In the lead up, lots of mums asked me what to buy as a present. My reply was Lego, Star Wars, or Star Wars Lego. I also made a point of saying not to go to any trouble, he would be happy with whatever he received, it wasn't about the presents....

.....but it was still overwhelming, to see such lovey presents being unwrapped by the most excited boy in the world. Some mums banded together to buy this, and I thought The Gentleman was actually going to do turn inside out, he was so EXCITED! He was also very touched that they had 'worked as a team'. Aaawwwwwwww!


So the next day pretty much looked like this!
 
His actual birthday was on Sunday, and after opening even more presents from the family, he requested Sushi Train for lunch. That's my boy!


This kid almost out does yours truly when it comes to sushi love.
He had two plates off the train and sushi in his mouth before his bum had even hit the seat.



He went hard, he went fast, and he kept going when everyone else was full.



Is he full yet? I'm not sure, look at those plates. He doesn't look full. He does look happy though.

 
Super happy. The best birthday ever!
 
Why do I look so dazed? I had seen the bill! Not that it mattered, it was certainly worth it.
 
Happy birthday my darling boy.
 
xx
 
linking up to IBOT today!

Friday, November 23, 2012

5 things I love right now


Thalgo Deliciously Comforting Moisturising Cream. You know those days when you have had too much sun/wind/wine/cold/household drudgery and your skin feels dry and lifeless? Smooth this on (so comforting!) and overnight your skin will be soothed, moisturised and plumped as if by magic. I love it.
 
 
 
Mango Season. I might make a little daiquiri to celebrate. Wheeee!
You don't need a time machine back to 1990, here is the recipe for you.

Mango Daiquiri

Flesh of 1 large ripe mango
1 shot tequila - use the measure from your cocktail cabinet.
1 shot of Bacardi Rum
1 shot of Triple Sec
juice of 1 lime
half a cup of sugar syrup (recipe's in your cocktail book)
about 1 cup of ice.

Blend the fuck out of everything and serve in Mexican hand blown blue enormous wine glasses.
With maybe a cheese and spinach cobb.
 
 
 
Remember that chipboard floor feature in my lounge room that I complained of last week? We've bought the floating floorboards to cover it! It's going to happen! I know this picture doesn't look like much to get excited about but I am SO excited! (we did buy more than one, I promise)

 
 
 
These beautiful Frangipane flowering in my back yard bring the promise of holidays just around the corner. Bring it on! I am soooooo ready for some holidays!
 
 
 
 
 
Vitamin B1. One a day will stop mosquitoes and midges from biting.
I thought it was just an old wives tale but it is a true story!
 
 
Whats blowing your skirt up today?
 
xx

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Montville Organic Skincare Winners

The winners of the Montville Organic Skincare giveaway are....

Enid Bite'Em who had the most gorgeous advice ever! She said...
"..My favourite beauty tip is to try not to judge the appearance of others in a negative way - the less you beat up on others, the less you'll think that way about yourself as you won't be in the habit (although if it is a REALLY BAD hair day, my other tip would be to cut out a photo of Angelina Jolie and stick it to a brown paper bag and place over your head :) "
 
And also Grace, who had this extremely sensible advice;
 
"Biggest most important thing I do is to always clean my face twice a day with a good cleanser and then use and SPT 30 moisturiser. The other thing is to have as much no make up time as possible. Gotta let your skin breathe. "
 
 
Congratulations! Please email me your deets and your prize pack will be winging it's way to you in no time. Thanks to Montville Organic Skincare for sharing the love.
 
Also, I was due to publish this post two days ago! I'm sorry. Clearly I need an intern. Anyone?
 
xx
 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to play Tetris with your furniture when you are on a tight budget.


I don't often rant here, but today I give you a mini rant about trying to make my house look the way I want it to, with not enough time, space or money. I'm only ranting about the upstairs; downstairs is for another day!

My dream kitchen, from House Beautiful
My real kitchen. Needs a bit of work.

I am desperate for a kitchen update. My plan is to push the pantry into the lounge room by 80 cm (there is a load supporting beam in its construction that has to stay), knock down the wall and thereby create another doorway into the kitchen. This will mean I lose most of my bench space, but I will live with that if it means extra floor space. Because OMG it is making me claustrophobic! On the side of the fridge will be a bookshelf for cookbooks, and this will also be the home of a butchers block on wheels. Also needed - new splash back, new bench top, new cupboards, new light fitting. Just a big trip to Ikea will do it really.
Pre Octopus Dresser
How do you all feel about painted wood? I like it, I love Miss Mustard Seed, I love this and this and maybe this. But I have a reflex reaction to almost every other piece of furniture that has been painted "Oh my god get that shit off your pretty face!!" This is a problem, because Mr BC wants me to paint his grandmother's mahogany dresser in navy blue chalk paint, with an octopus free handed across the drawers. He says he believes in me, and if we don't like it, we can just strip the paint off. So deep breaths, people! It's going to happen! (side note: research chalk paint)
It will look better when it's finished, promise.
The octopus dresser will then move from the lounge to the bedroom, and in it's place will sit Poppa's chair (which I have almost finished restoring, just the upholstery left to go). At this point the lounge will also need some cushions and probably a new rug; it will definitely need a section of the floor refinished because that chipboard section is still an eyesore. (side note: find floor covering that matches the rest of the stripey floor boards.)
Corner of shame.
I need to resolve the corner coffee table situation that inhabits the 'L' point of the couches. If you haven't guessed, we live in a shoebox and the couches cannot really go anywhere else. I need a plant in this corner (for Fung Shoi, duh) and a place to put a lamp and a cup of tea. The current lego installation is not working for me.
What I really want. Image from House Beautiful again.
All the crap currently in the soon to be octopus dresser will be hidden in lovely basket/boxes and sit on the bookshelf where the cookbooks where (see point 1, they will be moving to the kitchen.) I am going to replace the broken, hideous blinds with some wooden slat venetians. Not plantation shutters, I haven't won lotto! In the boys bedroom, in the bathroom (so the neighbourhood can stop getting an evening peepshow) and in the east wall of the lounge room. I would rather just knock the wall down in the lounge and put a deck in, but that is not in the budget for a little while yet and I cannot live with these dirty broken vertical blinds any longer.
Dvd storage is chockers.
DVD storage: this is currently a health hazard, at least to the DVDs. I am not one of those digitally intelligent people who get rid of the discs and keep the movies on a hidden drive. I like to have the covers, so sue me for hoarding tendencies. Currently they sit in/on a small chest of drawers, when I build/acquire the new DVD storage (it's gonna be rad!) this chest of drawers will have wheels attached and become my new under desk storage.
They look menacing.
God knows what will happen to the bedside table I am using for under desk storage at the moment, maybe it will form a cabal with the other 3 unused bedside tables and vote me off the island of Furniture Shenanigans. They should get in line behind the 4 dining tables we own.
Ready for Christmas, as long as no one sits there.
Speaking of dining tables - I need a new one. I love the one we have (like marry it, love) but it's curved shape is a bit large for this spot. I need a long, thin, rectangular table that people can sit comfortably around and still allow others to walk through the dining area without going over or under the table. Maybe I could swap it out for the one Mr BC is using as a desk? That is long and thin, and just needs some restoration work on the top...
This is what occupies my fidgety squirrel mind every day. This is what I scribble into notebooks like a crazy woman, while I empty my head. Clearly I need help a bigger house.

Do you have this situation in your house? What are your solutions? Do you play Tetris too?
Don't tell me to call Hoarders!!

Linking to IBOT today!
xx

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Meadowlea Switcheroo Winner

The winner of the Meadow Lea Switcheroo competition is ... (are you hearing a drum roll?)

Olivia K!

AnonymousOlivia K said...
There's no point trying to be too inventive when it comes to packing the school lunch. It's better to go with the things I know my daughter will eat or it will only come home again! We always have a 'munch & crunch' (fruit or raw vegetables); a vegemite, cheese or ham sandwich at the moment(we always use Meadow Lea not butter)OR leftovers (e.g. macaroni cheese), and some snacks (e.g. crackers, olives, dried fruit, cheese, yoghurt). I'll put something new in at least once a week and see what happens!
Congratulations, Olivia! Please email me your delivery details and $50 Westfield Voucher will be sent to you very soon.

In the meantime, feel free to listen to this.


xx

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

White Blooms

 
I've chosen flowering plants for their scent,
but I think it might be time to branch out with some colour.
 
 
Travellers Palms have a gorgeous perfume, and I love their tropical vibe. 

Native Gardenia is actually a small tree, who's tiny flowers smell divine. 

Elderflower. Soon I might have enough to make Elderflower Cordial. 

Madagascar Jasmine is gorgeous and blooms outside my bedroom window. 

Gardenia's are the ones I love the most.
 
What is your favourite scented flower? Do you grow it in your garden?
 
Linking up to Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

School Lunches Switcheroo

 
I try very hard to pack a school lunch that is both adventurous and healthy. I would love to follow the ideas in those magazine articles that we see every January before school goes back, but I know in my heart of hearts that there is no way The Gentleman will eat a tuna pasta salad for lunch, not even if I pack a fork. He needs to be able to eat his lunch with one hand, while he gallivants around the playground. Wrap sandwiches are ideal for this. His lunch is a compromise of what I know he will like (he is a hungry 7 year old) and what will not upset my conscience. (I do care about my children's health).
 
He has inherited his father's love of deli food, and will happily eat some form of salami every day. We have a garden full of crunchy lettuce, so fresh it won't go limp in his lunch box. Any type of leftover meat (like the roast turkey, above right) will be perfect. He is not a big fruit lover, but likes blueberries from our garden, and was adventurous enough to try some gooseberry's. The apricots returned home.

Most fruit returns home, and this makes me sad. My conscience makes me put it in, though, and every day I live in hope. Sometimes I substitute fruit with carrot sticks or cut up cucumber, and he is more likely to eat these; but not if they are there every day! 

He is not a cake or biscuit eater at all, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the family. He will eat the occasional muesli bar or cheese and cracker set up. Occasionally he might have a surprise, like that leftover Halloween eyeball, but this is very rare. Most days there will be a small packet of chips. I used to think this was terrible, but then years ago attended a 'healthy kids canteen seminar' and was surprised to find that when you consider fuel in/energy out - a small packet of chips is acceptable for active children.


5 year old Monkey Boy has yet to start school, and currently eats like a Hobbit - first breakfast, second breakfast, morning tea, second morning tea, elevenses....we will have to work on a new routine before next year! He loves what we call 'a cut up lunch', which is basically a selection of items, cut up on a plate. I used to make this for Teenage Daughter when she was little, her cut up lunch always included raw mushrooms, olives and sometimes a boiled egg. Monkey boy will have none of these things! His current favourite snack is a bowl of frozen peas, followed by crackers with 'butter.' He hasn't noticed it's Meadow Lea, and he didn't notice that it was Meadow Lea on those crumpets, or even in those choc chip pancakes! To be completely honest, apart from the packet in the fridge, no one has noticed the Swticheroo at all!

It's nice that something that tastes so great can be good for your health.

Giveaway

I've loved reading everyone's healthy lunch ideas, keep them coming! Thanks to Meadow Lea and Soup, you can win a $50 Westfield XS Voucher!

To enter, please leave a comment telling me what your children take to school in their lunchbox.

The winner will be drawn on 11th November.

Open to Australian residents only, and please make sure your email address is included in your comment, either in the body of the comment or set as your blogger default address.

xx


Linking up to IBOT with Essentially Jess

Friday, November 2, 2012

Montville Organic Skincare (and a giveaway!)

I've always been a little obsessed with natural skincare, and was excited recently to find that there was an inspirational business in my area making a range of delicious organic skincare. There are three things I loved in particular about Montville Organic Skincare...
     
  • The ingredients are not only truly organic, they are vegan friendly, fair trade and cruelty free, and they are expertly combined to make beautiful products that actually really work!
  • MOS is a proud UNICEF Champion for Children Partner, that contributes to the education, protection and nourishment of the worlds most desperate children.
  • This award winning business was founded by a busy mum of 3, something that leaves me in complete awe.
 
There are a few gorgeous giveaways at the end, but first let me introduce Amanda Tunney, the lady behind Montville Organic Skincare, who was gracious enough to answer my many questions!
 
 
What inspired you to start Montville Organic Skincare?

The roots of Montville Organic Skincare are as organic as the products; I have a background in natural therapies and started making custom skincare for sensitive noses and skin. The word spread and before I realised it I was making skincare all of the time, this was when I decided it was time to officially launch Montville Organic Skincare.

Did you feel daunted when you first founded MOS? How did you overcome this?
I did, I guess having 2 little boys at home contributed to feeling ultra-busy but my Mum was living with us at the time, my daughter was a little older and my husband was home most weekends so the family support was great. My children are older now, I have 2 at school and 1 about to start school next year so I can now dedicate more time to my career and, like most mums, it’s amazing how much I can fit into a few uninterrupted hours.

 
Where do you source such magical sounding ingredients for your products?
All of our products are Australian Grown; we don’t import anything as we feel it is important to build an Australian business on Australian products. Our suppliers are amazing and the quality is second to none, we feel very lucky to have built up such an amazing network.

What are the essentials that every woman needs in her beauty regime?
It depends on the age of the woman really, for me it’s moisturiser and lip balm, I can’t live without it, I have been known to pop home and grab my lip balm when I have forgotten it. The great thing about Montville Organic Skincare is that the products are so safe they are interchangeable, for example when I travel lightly I’ll take my moisturiser and lip balm as the moisturiser works as a make-up remover, a body lotion and a moisturiser. The lip balm works as a night time eye balm, a lip balm, a spot treatment for dry areas such as elbows and knees and it’s also great for mosquito bites and minor scratches. If we are talking about teenagers, the Lily Cleanser is a must, it’s anti-bacterial, gentle and natural, you really don’t need chemicals to fight acne, there are great alternative products that are just as effective but mush safer.

What are your favourite products in the MOS range and why?
I’m as busy as most Mums so when I am in a hurry, or haven’t really had as much water as I should, I need my lip balm, moisturiser and 10 serum, I love mineral make-up but it can be difficult to prevent it for settling into wrinkles as you get older, the 10 serum allows me to look great in mineral make-up even as a middle aged woman.

Does beauty come from within?
Absolutely, the most beautiful women I know wouldn’t be found on a catwalk, beautiful women are kind, strong, smart, funny, loving and gentle, none of these qualities generate from physical appearance yet they can be seen radiating from within.

What 3 qualities do you most admire in others?
Confidence, I’m a naturally shy person and have had to work on my confidence as an adult so I really admire people that are naturally confident. Kindness, kind people make the world a better place, they help everyone to feel loved and special. Peace, I love being around peaceful people,  some people radiate stress and I find that very difficult to be around, I don’t do drama well, it’s so nice to be around peaceful people.

What would you tell your 15 year old self, if you could?
I would say, you may feel like you are doing everything wrong but don’t worry because everything will turn out right. I believe teenagers still feel that way, sometimes it feels like the world is against you and you can’t see past the next day, if only they could see how great their life could be.

What inspires you every day?
I am inspired by my youngest sons zest for life, my oldest son’s sense of morals and my daughter’s sense of world outrage. I wouldn’t be surprised if I raised a rock star, and academic and an overseas aid worker, they are 3 very different personalities and that makes me excited about what is ahead for me as a parent.

What is the one thing you want young women everywhere to know?
You are perfect. You are perfect. You are perfect.
Women don’t hear that enough.

Check out the full range here.

Isn't that the most inspirational thing you have every read?

MOS sent me some products to try and I asked Teenage Daughter to help me put them to the test. She was super impressed with the Lily Cleanser, and we have both become addicted to the Lip Stuff. We've also been using 10 and 1 serums, that glide on luxuriously and each contain a selection of amazing Australian grown essential oils. I think we're hooked. It's skincare made the way it should be.

Giveaway!
  • 2 packs each containing 1 Shae Lip Stuff and 1 Dead Sea Mineral Salt bath Soak for 2 lucky winners.
  • To enter, please leave a comment telling me your best beauty tip (make sure you include a valid email address)
  • This is a game of skill. The winners will be drawn and announced on 20th November.
  • Open to anybody, but the prizes will only be shipped within Australia. 
Good luck!

Montville Organic Skincare can be bought online. You can also follow them on facebook.

xx

 
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