Road Trips + Wild Flowers


This morning I went on a short solo adventure to Robertson, about an hour* south of Wollongong. *It was supposed to be an hour, but ended up being an hour twenty. See, I had a group job interview assessment thingy lined up for this morning at the Illawarra Fly, a place that offers guided rainforest walks. I was sitting on the fence about this job for a few reasons, but got up this morning and decided there was no harm in going to check in out. Anyways, I took a few wrong turns along the way, and arrived at the destination 20 minutes late. I would never hire someone who was 20 minutes late for an interview. I took this as a sign. 

I decided to have a sticky beak at the Fly anyway. The walks are $25 (guided or unguided) - I'll come back another time with the Lindsay. On my way out I decided to 1. Take a selfie of... myself, with my new dangly tree-of-lifey mirror thingy and 2. Stop off at this totally cool little flower stall and pop a couple of 2$'s for some protea stems! It was the cutest little ramshackle of a set up, with scissors, curling ribbon and a wrapping paper dispenser (which had no paper, but who cares).

Definitely followed the dangly thingy's instructions and created my own happiness today. :)






MAKING CUPCAKES WITH LITTLE PEOPLE

These pics are a couple of years old, but that's the result of my recent photo file spring clean. This day, my Mum and I made some cupcakes for Char and Izzy to decorate. I don't know why, but the photo of Izzy with her eyes shut just cracks me up! Their creations are too special not to share. x







RECENTLY ENJOYED THINGS

Before I get into some photos, I just wanted to share a couple of paragraphs that I read this morning. I think they sum up this whole dream + goal thing pretty nicely.

"We all need dreams to give us drive. Without them we get bored and even depressed. A dream is something we would like to happen or have. It gives us a reason to live and strive...

A goal is when we chase a dream. If we do not set and chase the goal, it is only ever going to be a wish, at best."
Danny Liddell, Kinesiologist.

Without further ado, here are some pictures of recently enjoyed things :)


When my BFF dropped round for morning tea after I'd finished making wedding jams. Freshly baked coconut bread and warm raspberry + vanilla jam. Sparkling water with leftover raspberries and lemon slices.


This Typo dreamcatcher card that I bought eons ago and found tucked in the back of a book this morning. Present for me. :)


This bar that contains only five lovely ingredients and is delicious.


When Lindsay folded the socks and undies and went all Art Attack on my delicates. <3


Ringside for my two nieces' very first haircuts! Feeling a little uncertain before the chop, but so cute.


Proteas. Walking my proteas home from the markets. I love that they keep for so long.


We got a little excited in the cosmetics aisle of Coles. #noregrets


On a visit down south we took an accidental detour (drove the wrong way). If we'd gone the right way we'd have missed out on this Big Merino. Just sittin there checkin out the town.


Top Juice has opened up shop just down the road. This day I was gravitating towards all things green.


Then there's this. Vanilla slice slathered in pink icing and sprinkles, snapped at The Big Merino bakery. My teeth hurt just looking at it, but they're oh so pretty.

PUMKIN GINGERBREAD SMOOTHIE + HALLOWEEN BAKE FEST


Here's a delicious Halloween kickstarter for you. You can begin the day healthily, even if you're going to end up in a sugar coma.

This recipe comes from I Quit Sugar and the recipe is as follows:

Gingerbread Smoothie
Serves 2

1/3 cup cashews soaked overnight (this is so they will blend properly; I didn't do this and as punishment, the cashews clogged up my straw)
1/2 banana, frozen (mine wasn't frozen; this step is for fancy people)
1/2 cup sweet potato puree (I cooked and pureed my own)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Pinch of sea salt
2 cups almond milk (when I have almond milk, I buy Pure Harvest - fewest ingredients/sweeteners)

Add all ingredients to a blender, blitz until smooth. Retreat to spicy smoothie heaven.

Now, speaking of gingerbread, seeing as though it's the 31st, here's a little Halloween eye candy. Did you know that people make Halloween gingerbread houses?! Amazing!


In awe!


Voodoo Gingerbread Love. Snaggle-toothed Tim Tam bats. Of course.


Okay. This may be the official moment I fell in love with Halloween.


Hmm... this is starting to look a bit healthily gross.


Nope. Halloween Party Game Idea: Put these on the table and see if anyone will eat them.

I feel as though this post has lost its direction, haha, that's me done! Happy Halloween!

Halloween Images: One Two Three Four Five Six

Homemade Sugar and Salt Coconut Body Scrub


Today I have a completely guilt-free sugar recipe! A beautifully scented and amazingly moisturising body scrub. Probably about $2 worth.

I love salt/sugar exfoliating and like having one at-hand in the shower for a tri-weekly exfoliation sesh. You can buy some beautiful scrubs from the shops, of course, but they will set you back anywhere between $20 and $40 a jar. Why would you? I finished my jar of store-bought scrub yesterday and decided to make my own. I made it entirely from things I already had lying around.

The scrub is made up of a few simple ingredients, which is fantastic, when you compare it to the 20+ ingredients in the commercial tubs! I used salt, sugar, essential oils and coconut oil. The scent evaporating in the shower steam is so very dreamy. This mix also makes for a lovely no-reason gift.



Sugar or Salt?
With this scrub, I used a mixture of white sugar (regular sugar, not brown, not caster) and sea salt that I pummeled with a motor and pestle. The reason for the combination is because I only had a little of each left in the cupboard. I think I will stick with this combo in the future because it seems to work.

The Carrier Oil
I used coconut oil in my scrub, which you can get from the supermarket for about $5 a jar. Coconut oil is meant to be super moisturising. It does leave a slight 'oil slick' feel when you're putting it on (which I don't mind) but it easily melts into the skin when you towel off. You can use sweet almond oil instead but I think this is probably more expensive.

Essential Oils
You can use any combination of oil you like - just pick the scents you enjoy! I used a combination of lavender (calming) and bergamot (uplifting). Peppermint essential oil would be divinely refreshing in the shower, and sandalwood would be nice for the boys. Make sure that you use 100% pure essential oils, not those cheapo burner oils from Dollar King. Pure essential oils are a little pricey (~$20) but the bottle will last ages. Whatever essential oils you choose, just add a little bit at a time til you reach your desired strength.

My Mix
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup table salt (or crush sea salt with motor and pestle)
2/3 cup coconut organic coconut oil (health food section of supermarket)
1 teaspoon lavender oil
12 drops bergamot oil
Crushed lavender (This is optional. I actually sprinkled some dried thyme in mine as I did not have a lavender bush at hand. I probably won't add more 'bits' to future scrubs as they tend to stick and get lost places.)

Combine all of the ingredients and store in a plastic container in the shower/bath. The oil will naturally separate from the sugar/salt so just give it a little pinkie-stir before using. Enjoy!

SALTED CHOCOLATE CHIP OAT COOKIES


I don't know how I never considered this combination before, but I'm going to have a hard time making Anzac biscuits in the future without adding choc chips. These are really yummy. Last weekend we went on a picnic with friends and these went down quite a treat. I was secretly hoping there'd be some leftovers to bring home, but no such luck.

The version is based on the recipe my Nanna always used for her rolled oat biscuits, with some milk choc chips thrown in and a sprinkling of sea salt on top.


Recipe

1 cup plain (all purpose) flour
3/4 cup desicated coconut
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup rolled oats
125g butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 cup milk chocolate chips, approximately
sea salt

Preheat oven to 170 C or 180 C fan forced. Line two cookie sheets with baking paper.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Melt the butter, honey and water together, then incorporate into the dry mixture. Add the choc chips, leaving some extras for the tops.

Roll approximately 2 teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on trays, pressing down slightly with the palm of your hand. Press an additional 4-5 choc chips into the top of each biscuit then sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on trays for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool
completely.


Coconut Bread // With a Fructose-Free + Whole-Wheat Option


This is one of my most favourite recipes.

Let's make no mistake, like many loaf-shaped things masquerading as bread, it's not bread, it's cake. Still, you spread it with butter, so that's bread-like enough for me.

One of my best buddies, Melissa, gave me this recipe back in Year 8 (1998, for those playing at home). #truefriendssharerecipes. It's been a household staple ever since.

The reason I love this recipe so much is because, aside from being tasty, it has to be the quickest and easiest thing out there. Made from just 4 pantry staples, it literally takes 2 minutes to make the batter - with one bowl and spoon. An absolute winner for when unexpected guests pop by sniffing around for tea and cake.

I am sharing two versions of the recipe below - the original, and a slightly healthier option, which is still yum.

This bread is best served with butter. Read this for some info about the difference between butter and margarine. Our fridge staple is Mainland ButterSoft - contains just the basics with no additives but still spreadable.




Coconut Bread: Two Ways

The directions for each version are the same - it's just the ingredients that differ.

Preheat oven to 180 Celcius. Throw all ingredients in a bowl and combine (no need to sift the flour). Pour into a greased and floured small/medium loaf tin. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve warm or cold with butter.

Notes:

  • You can use shredded or desiccated coconut, but I recently used coconut flakes and loved the texture.
  • Dextrose can be bought from the home brewing section of the supermarket. It comes in a red box and has a picture of a beer on the box.
  • Read about sugar alternatives (aka glucose/dextrose) vs. white sugar here.
  • Read about white flour vs. wholemeal flour here.
  • I'm a recent full-cream convert. I've used full cream milk in all three versions. Read about full cream vs. skim milk here

Original Recipe
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup coconut
1 cup full cream milk (can substitute for your milk of choice)
1/2 cup white sugar

Whole Wheat Fructose-free Recipe
1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1 cup coconut
1 cup full cream milk  (can substitute for your milk of choice)
1/2 dextrose