Cinnamon Sugar Waffles

24 July 2014

Cinnamon Sugar Waffles

The other day I had some left over waffle batter in the fridge. I don’t know how was that even possible, because we LOVE eating waffles.

Anyway, the batter was all thick and gluggy, so I added a bit of water to it and then it became a bit too watery.

I cooked it up in my waffle maker anyway. They didn’t rise very well, but OH MY the results tasted a bit like crispy, crunchy pancakes with that soft, spongy moistness.

They were incredible to eat.

I ate like 4 (!!), which is more than I’ve ever eaten in one sitting.

My waffle batter recipe has no added sugar to it, but that’s kind of pointless since I ended up sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on top haha!

Cinnamon Sugar Waffles

My Basic Waffle Recipe

65g of butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 cup of water
2 cups of SR Flour
pinch of bicarb soda
pinch of salt

I used to separate the eggs and beat them separately. But now I can’t be bothered.

So I literally just mix all the wet ingredients.

Then stir in all the dry ingredients, until smooth. Takes 2 minutes.

My waffle pans take ¼ cup of waffle batter. Cook them up until golden brown.

Cinnamon Sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top while hot, and my god, try not to eat too many!

Enjoy!


 

What I Wore: Girl’s Night Outs

22 July 2014

This year I promised myself that I was going to go out and see more of my girlfriends.

I know it sounds like such a simple and unambitious resolution to make (it’s something I should be doing anyway!) but hey, it’s July and half the year is gone already! If I don’t keep myself organised and mindful of these things, they usually just slip away and before I know it, the end of the year approaches far too soon.

So when I go out with my girlfriends… we don’t go clubbing. We don’t go dancing. We don’t go to bars to listen to live music. In fact, we try very hard to stay away from all those noisy places.

We just like to sit and talk, have a nice dinner, drinks, dessert and just catch up haha!

As long as there are no husbands and kids, we’re very happy!

Girls Night Out

I managed to take a quick phone snap of what I wore for my last 4 dinner dates. They are all simple and black outfits :)

Left:
Top is actually a dress by In Good Company
Leather pants from Topshop
Boots from Vangoh Shoes
Earrings by Mezi

Right:
Top by Splendid, from Shopbop
Leather pants from Topshop
Faux fur jacket by Sarah (Korea)
Necklace by Wanderlust & Co
Black heels by Acne Studios from Foward Forward

Girls Night Out

Coincidentally, for the photo on the left, I took this picture before I went out and before I put on my bracelets and rings.

And on the right, I took the photo after I came home, and after I took off my bracelets and rings :P

Funny how the colour of my bathroom changes my skin tone depending on what time of day it is!

Left:
Lace dress by Lily Whyt
Heels by Habbot Studios
Black blazer from ClubCouture

Right:
Sparkle dress from Forever New
Earrings by Alister Yiap
Black heels by Acne Studios from Foward Forward

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


 

Hello Margaret River!

18 July 2014

Hello hello! I have just returned from two weeks of school holidays. This time we headed down to visit the beautiful South West Region of Western Australia, centered on a town called Margaret River.
Margaret River 2014

It’s the region famous for it’s wines, beaches, forests and caves.

Not surprisingly I have have hundreds of photos to be edited, so here are a few highlights of my trip.

Margaret River 2014

The coastline was just gorgeous. We went fishing off the rocks of Gracetown (near Margaret River). Well… all the boys went fishing. They didn’t catch anything, but it was fun just to be there and walk along the coast.

I spent most of my time watching all the hot local surfers, and wishing I could surf!

Margaret River 2014

The surrounding forest area was stunning! The light, the colours, the sounds, the smells – oh it was all simply breathtaking. It looked like a movie set for a blockbuster fantasy.

My husband and I (and the kids) have all vowed to return for a longer bush walking and camping trip.

Margaret River 2014

We went for several bush walks. And as we were walking along, the floor of the forest suddenly seemed to open up to reveal a HUGE cave amongst the trees! It was amazing! Like another movie set!

But seriously… the caves were well signed and we followed a clear track to find this entrance. So it wasn’t like we were going to simply fall into one.

The actual cave was only accessible by joining an accredited abseiling group. We watched a bunch of abseilers drop 45m into the bottom of the cave entrance, and that was when we realised just how big it was. It looked like so much fun. This was definitely another must do for us!

I have lots more photos to share, so do pop back next week!

xxx


 

Right, left, right, left… Do you love Body Combat too?

14 July 2014

I’ve been going to a few Body Combat classes lately.

It’s kind of fun. A bunch of ladies punching at the air, while a fitness instructor shouts at us over the roaring music. It feels a bit silly.

But after the class, my biceps, triceps and muscles on my shoulders and back GLOW with a pain that promises my arms to look like Michelle Bridges, so that makes it worth looking silly, right?

The last time I tried Body Combat was 10 years ago. I was horrifically unfit and halfway into the class, I wanted to curl over and puke. But this time I am much fitter, so I manage to keep up pretty well.

I go at it pretty hard. There’s no point in doing weak pathetic punches, so I try to give my punches some power.

My coordination is so bad though!

Geez I’m terrible at the steps, the fancy foot work and trying to remember the routines.

I managed to PUNCH MYSELF IN THE FACE during the class! Who does that?!

Right jab, left jab, right jab, left hook, right hook, left upper-cut, right upper-cut… TRICKY RIGHT?

I got my right upper-cut mixed up with a right hook, so I klonked myself in the cheek.

I stood there for a moment, imaging cartoon stars coming out of my left ear.

I’m sure the instructor saw me.

Then I spent the rest of the class trying not to laugh.. at MYSELF!

I guess I need to practice my WAX ON and WAX OFF technique :P


 

Gorgeous Apple Pie (with no refined sugar)

11 July 2014

Apple Pie

I have been experimenting with different pastry recipes over the last few months… and I have found my winner!

I’m no pastry expert, but this one ticks all of my boxes:

It is easy to prepare, easy to roll, robust and elastic, it cooks well, it has a gorgeous buttery taste, and it has a lovely crunch!

Plus when I pile on tonnes of fruit, it doesn’t get gluggy and remain uncooked where the fruit sits on the pastry.

I have since made 4 or 5 pies/tarts with this recipe and the pastry always turns out perfect!

The recipe is based on a Donna Hay recipe, but I have omitted all the sugar. Still tastes amazing! Especially when it is filly with stewed fruit, which is crazy sweet!

Green Apples

Apple Pie Filling
10 green apples, cored and quartered
1/2 cup of dried cranberries, chopped

I grated all the apples in my food processor. Actually my 9yo son did it. It took him 3 minutes!

I put the apples and cranberries into a pot and simmered on low/medium heat for 30 minutes while I made the pastry.

The resulting apple mush should be dry and you shouldn’t be able to see pools of liquid at the bottom of the pot.

Rinse out your food processor.

Basic Vanilla Pastry
270g of cold butter, chopped
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1/4 cup of ice water
2 1/2 cups (225g) of plain flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder

Extras:
Extra butter for greasing your pastry dish
1 whisked egg for brushing on top of the pie

(I think you are supposed to process the butter and flour first. Then add water + vanilla. But I’m not very precious with my pastry.)

1. Throw all the ingredients into the food processor (with pastry blade) and mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. Let it mix some more until it starts to clump together.

2. Pour the dough out onto your counter top and give it a good knead. 2 minutes is long enough for me.

3. Throw it into the fridge (just in a bowl with a plate on top, why waste plastic cling wrap?) while you clean up your counter top. I only ever leave it in there for 5 minutes tops.

4. Halve the dough. Roll it out between one or two sheets of baking paper. One half is for the pie base and the other is for the pie top.

5. Grease a 24cm diameter pie dish with a bit of butter. Place pastry base into the dish. Work the pastry base so it looks nice.

6. Pour the apple filling into the base and spread it out evenly. Cut up the other rolled pastry into 1.5 cms strips and place neatly over the apple filling.

7. I like to brush the top pastry with whisked egg, to give it that golden glow.

8. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Or until golden brown!

Eat while hot, with ice cream!

Enjoy xxx


 

Running With My Boys

10 July 2014

I have been doing a bit of running with my boys, aged 11 and 9.

They seem to like running, and I like running. So it works for all of us.

Basically, I see it as a fun, free and easy way to entertaining the kids (and wear them out), while I get a good workout too haha!

I take them out to random and fun places to run… we call it “training”. I tell them that one day we are all going to run a marathon together in Paris or London. I don’t think they really know what that means, but they like the idea anyway.

Running 4 Feet

While running, or preparing to run, I like to talk to them about running techniques, enjoying the run, working on your own personal best times, setting goals, working towards your goals and doing a little bit more day by day. But I almost never talk about winning.

I feel that I shouldn’t fill them up with false hope or set any unrealistic dreams or expectations.

You see, my kids are short. Like, really short. With short legs. I don’t expect them to win running races.

There are SO MANY kids that are taller, stronger, fitter, and who have longer legs… which give them a huge advantage over my kids.

So when my boys say they want to try out for a running race, or join a running team. I’m so nonchalant and casual about it, I just shrug, “Oh ok. That’s cool. Have fun. Try your best.”

And that’s about all I’ll ever say to them. I don’t want them to have unreasonable expectations that get crushed.

Champion Boy Cross Country

Anyway, can you imagine my utter shock (bordering on disbelief) when my eldest son came home with this?!?

He won first place in his school’s Cross Country event. And he received a Champion Boy medal for Year 6!

Whoa!!

My other son came in 5th place for his year group, which was equally impressive!

I was *bursting* with pride for the both of them!!

They have certainly taught me a lesson… that limits are in the mind (in this case, mine), as much as in the legs. :)


 

What I Wore: Rose and Lace

9 July 2014

Rose and Lace

For my birthday, I splurged a little and bought myself a very cute + cool, Alexander Wang Marion cross body bag.

I’ve been eyeing this bag for a while (but in black), and eventually bought it online through a private sale at 80% off! I’m so in love with it!

I don’t have many designer bags, and that is mostly by choice.

After all, I have to save up for more important things like… future dental work for ALL THREE of my children!! :P

Rose and Lace

The days have been slightly warmer, so it’s been nice to walk around in shorts and a light coat.

My shorts were actually Sass and Bide jeans, which I bought at a clearance sale. I didn’t really need more jeans, but who could resist a pair of S&Bs for $30?

Anyway, I decided that I have too many pairs of jeans, so I armed myself with some scissors and a sewing machine and turned them into shorts. Can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear them more often!

Have a fabulous day!

Rose pink jacket by AL&ALICIA
Lace tunic from Korea
Denim shorts by Sass and Bide
Boots by Vangoh Shoes

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


 

Master Presents and Masterchefs

7 July 2014

It was my birthday on the weekend and…

Here are the presents my boys gave me! In my last post, I mentioned that I was training my boys to be thoughtful and creative when buying gifts. This is because they will have to go out, find a wife, and keep her happy… so they had better be good at proving they understand her! After all, I want LOTS of grandchildren haha!

Since it was their first time buying serious presents for a woman, I gave them a LOT of hints.

First up, I asked them to buy me a scarf and it had to be a monochrome pattern. I loved their pick!

Karen's Birthday 2014

Then I gave them a wishlist of books and asked them to chose one.

Lastly, I asked for something I could grow. And got something to look at, AND something to eat! Excellent!

They were lovely gifts. I’m super happy!

However, I think my husband won the most points for thoughtfulness and romance with his gift.

Usually I’m really fussy with MY presents bought with his/my/our money. I have told him absolutely straight – don’t buy me jewellery, bags, purses, underwear, clothes. Please. Just don’t. I am so particular with what I wear and carry. And he is terrible at guessing what I want (which changes month by month, or even hour to hour) but hey, he’s fabulous in almost every other way. So I’m definitely keeping him :) But this year…

Karen's Birthday 2014

He gave me a cherry blossom tree!

I love it! I’m so excited!

I’ve always wanted one in my garden. It is currently a dead-looking twig stuck into a bag at the moment haha. But hopefully it will bloom for us this spring, which is in September in Australia.

Anyway, as well as the gifts, my boys surprised me with a secret Masterchef style, 3 course dinner!

They designed the dinner menu, bought all the ingredients, cooked everything (with help from my husband) and presented it to me in a fancy restaurant style.

Karen's Birthday 2014

This is what the table looked like at 5pm. The boys (and my husband) were all cooking up a storm in the kitchen, while I sat back with a cup of tea and painted my nails. Loved it already!

Karen's Birthday 2014

Finally dinner started at 6:30pm. I was presented with the entree, mushroom soup. My favourite! It was made entirely by my 9 year old.

It was actually delicious. I was a bit shocked at how good it was.

It was made from butter, 1 onion, 1 leek, 1L of chicken stock, 500g of mushrooms, some cream and fresh chives. So simple and soooooo yummy!

I raved about it, and my 9 yr old went all shy, “Aww mum, you’re just saying that to encourage me to cook more…”

“No, really, I mean it! It’s very yummy! Yes it was probably a good recipe, but you executed it really well. So well done buddy!”

I had two bowls of it.

Karen's Birthday 2014

For the main course, I was presented with homemade bread sticks and homemade dips. I was going to point out that bread sticks were usually served as an entree, but I kept my mouth shut instead.

I was told that one of the three dips was a pre-made dip, bought from the shop. And part of the dinner entertainment was to guess which was homemade and which was pre-made. How funny!

It was easy to guess, because the herb + cream cheese dip and the herb + oil dip were both amazing! And the shop bought humus was – well, bland by comparison.

Karen's Birthday 2014

My 11 year old was the mastermind behind the main dish and the dessert.

The dessert platter consisted of vanilla ice cream (bought) drizzled with homemade toffee + passion fruit pulp, strawberries dipped in chocolate, handmade coconut balls, and a slice of mango.

Later on, it turned out that my 11yo had planned to  make homemade churros too! The kid definitely gets points for ambition!

But it was getting late, and hubby wisely cancelled the dish. The idea of three excited kids squeezing churro dough into 4L of boiling vegetable oil at 8:45pm at night, was not very wise.

I can’t believe my husband agreed to all this craziness! Just one dessert would have been fine!

Ah, I was so loved up by the end of it all.

It was the most adorable thing ever. I am so in love with my family!!

My boys certainly impressed the socks off me for both their thoughtfulness and creativity :)

(I am the luckiest MUMMY in the world!)


 

A Lesson on Gift Giving

4 July 2014

Roses from the Garden

My children asked me what I wanted for my birthday this month.

In the past, I’ve just said stuff along the lines of, “Aww, I’ll love anything you give me. Just put some thought into it!”

So I would get handmade cards, lop sided cakes, popstick craft, pasta necklaces, and bunches of hand-picked mangled flowers/weeds from the garden. Oh how I loved all those innocent, unconditional, adorable, sweet and simple acts of kindness!

But now that my two big boys are a bit older (age 11 and 9), their own ideas about what constitutes a good gift has evolved. They themselves would rather receive money, itunes gift cards, books, computer games, digital devices and gadget paraphernalia. Extremely efficient and practical gifts, but not very thoughtful. Even they would agree to that.

So as the only female in the house, I feel it’s my duty to push the whole idea of being thoughtful, creative, romantic, and generous when it comes to gift giving.

I do feel a bit sorry for them. They’ll have YEARS ahead of them where they will be stumped as to what to buy their girlfriends, wives, sister and mother in laws. Who can possibly know the way to a woman’s heart?

Haha I guess I am happy to give them a few years of training, starting with MY BIRTHDAY!

And since it’s their first year doing this… I’ve given them a few simple guidelines. A few big, fat clues.

Mum loves drinking tea. Mum loves scarves. Mum loves books. Mum loves candles. Mum loves vintage plates and cups. But most of all, mum loves flowers. It’s all about research and creativity, my boys.

It has stressed them out a little. What if you don’t like it? What if you already have that? What if you have something else in mind that you’d rather have?

So I say, once again… “Aww, I’ll love anything you give me.”

But what they need to learn is that what I actually mean: “It had better be something that shows you understand me!!!”


 

New Shelves and Old School National Geographic

3 July 2014

Things have been go go GO over here in my house. We’ve embarked on a few outstanding projects, minor renovations and epic cleaning sprees! It’s all been so inspiring!

This is our latest project.

New Shelves

When we moved into our house 3 years ago, we had always planned to have a beautiful stretch of Jarrah timber wall shelves, built into our 4m wall in our main lounge room. This would match our floorboards, because we love Jarrah.

Jarrah trees are native to Western Australia, and it is a super hard wood, with the warm colours of toffee and honey. Check out those colours and grain! But Jarrah is expensive, and it is a custom job my husband wants to do himself. So that shelving project had, quite literally, been put on the shelf.

Since then we have kept ALL of our books, magazines, albums, photo frames, precious objects… stored in boxes in our shed.

And for our 4m wall, we just kept leaning random crap against it (boxes, files, folders, random bits of furniture and a spare double bed mattress?!)

So FINALLY, we have set up an interim solution.

My husband and I set up some white chipboard shelves, given to us by my father in law. They are a bit old and crappy (they were stored in a garage, and have some water damage at the bottom)… but hey, they were free, and there’s nothing like crappy, old furniture to give the place a bit of charm :)

My husband gave me the option of painting them white, to make them look fresh and new. But that would mean possibly 5 coats of white paint with lots of drying time, which could take me over 2 weeks to do. That was just a bit too long for me to wait. I needed to get my books out of the wet weather! I decided to give them a good clean and leave them as they were.

I lugged out 14 BOXES OF STUFF from our shed. They were riddled with silverfish and spiders!

Boxes

Look at all those boxes!

New Shelves

Ta da! It looks so cool!

But this is just the first installment. I realised that I have another 2 boxes of books and objects that need to go on the shelves, so I will have to do a book cull (do I really need my uni marketing book??) and maybe put my photo frames on the wall instead.

Anyway, as I said, this is just an temporary solution. We still want our Jarrah wall shelves. But I might have to wait another 3 years for them!

Oh and we’ve got lots of beautiful old treasures that the kids have never seen before. Look at this!

New Shelves

My husband has an old collection of especially-special-to-him National Geographic magazines, the earliest one is from 1962 (before he was even born)! They are packed with amazing pictures and stories that make my toes tingle. And this is possibly one of the most famous Nat Geo covers?

It’s like there is a whole world in our living room now, and I’m so happy that our things are finally out of storage!


 

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