Sunday, 15 February 2015

the power of expectations

Just over a week ago, I was over-the-moon excited to embark on The. Best. Weekend. Ever.

That may be a slight over-exaggeration (on this blog?! No WAY!); and the details are insignificant, but the learning was, in one word - EPIC.

And here I am a week later, considering the concept of expectation.

 [ek-spek-tey-shuh n]
1. the act or the state of expecting : to wait in expectation.
2. the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.
3. an expectant mental attitude: a high pitch of expectation.
4. something expected; a thing looked forward to.
5. Often, expectations. a prospect of future good : to have great expectations.
6. the degree of probability that something will occur : There is little expectation that he will come.

In a nutshell, here's what I now know -

Expectation Met Exceeded = On Cloud Nine.

Expectation Raised = Hope.

Expectation Not Met = Total Devastation.

There are two questions circling my mind -  

If we have expectations (whether they are of a person or a situation); 
Are we setting ourselves up for disappointment?

Or are we simply putting the best case scenario out into the universe so that it can deliver the goods??

Are expectations (a desire for a certain outcome) a sign of greed; or Optimism?

The honest truth? 
I would rather feel the buzzing highs of anticipation; and suffer the crushing lows of disappointment; than experience life without hope.


[Sidenote: In an ultimate example of irony - I have logged into blogger expecting to blurt out a post on expectation; I've struggled to put my thoughts into words for 3 days....; lost my connection to the internet and subsequently lost the random babbling I hadn't saved; started again, not with more clarity, but with less expectation.. and it has led me to this gem -

The key to letting go of resistance is letting go of the expectation that you’re supposed to be anywhere other than where you already are, right now.

Things will change soon enough and they will find you along your path, as you are ready. But until then, enjoy here, now.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

ten simple rules...

I have long contemplated the pros and cons of using this site to document my personal personal life.

I mean, naturally, I use this space to write about Life in a broad sense of the word, but I've always been very clear that this is not the forum for a Dear Diary outpouring of feelings and moment-by-moment replay of daily events. 

Nonetheless, the time has come for me to write an open letter to the men. More specifically - single men. Even more specifically - single men who are trying desperately to become un-single. The kind with whom I have recently had various (mostly unpleasant) encounters.

Let me first admit that the readership of this blog is comprised of my sister, one or two friends who only come here because I bribe them, and (for some inexplicable reason) a handful of people from Taiwan; So.. the odds of any single men (particularly those to whom this is intended) stumbling across this post is somewhere between slim and minus five million.

Never mind....

Dear Single Men,

Following my recent and (quite frankly) baffling personal experiences in the dating world, I am taking it upon myself to offer some advice from me, a twenty-something year old girl who enjoys margaritas and long walks on the beach; to you, a potential suitor who has not progressed past primary school techniques, such as pinching and name-calling, as a means to express interest in a woman.

Let me break it down for you.

Please don't over-complicate it. Hmm.. isn't it ironic that my first suggestion is to keep things simple, despite this being quite an extensive list. In my world - Boy asks girl out. Girl says yes. If you ask me to meet you at X at whatever o'clock on Friday I will say yes. You have worked out the details, and extended an invitation; the least I can do is accept the offer to get to know you. 
The whole "text-only" phase has a very short expiration date. I will get bored and move on. 

Please don't lure me under false pretenses. If I agree to meet for coffee, I have allocated a certain portion of my day to this pre-arranged activity. Please don't put me on the spot and force me to commit to extra time by announcing upon arrival that you're hungry and want to order a steak. They say that it takes just 15 minutes to decide if you have chemistry with someone (I believe it to be much quicker than that). So, upgrading yourself from a drink to a meal at the beginning of the date makes me immediately annoyed which does nothing for the potential chemistry; or worse, I will question your integrity- why weren't you clear about your intentions when we were organising this thing? 

Please don't whistle - At me or anyone else. Not in an "OMG, you're hot" kind of way; nor in a "Hey there, wait-staff! I am trying to get your attention!" kind of way. Whistling is for communicating with animals.

Please don't quote TV Shows to me. I won't understand the reference. Specific examples include (but are not limited to) Friends, Seinfeld, The Simpsons. I do not, and have never, watched them. Trying to further explain the quote in its original context won't help. 
[Hot Tip : The gifs in this post give you an indication of the tv shows I do watch.]

Please don't tell a story about all your attached/married/settled mates and explain that you're looking to "get serious about life" because you want a wife, three kids, a dog and a picket fence just like them. Maybe this is music to some girls' ears..?? But far from drifting into a day dream about our future wedding, I guarantee I will feel like a science experiment being assessed on my mating potential based on my genetics. At this point, I will also imagine you creepily photo-shopping my Facebook photos into a family album of our future children.

Please don't make me share the popcorn. I'm not kidding. Popcorn is just not a sharing food between two people who are still getting to know each other. You will insist on holding it to establish your control in our blossoming relationship; and I will worry about making too much noise / wonder if you are judging me for eating too much / if I am distracting you every time I reach to get some. As a result, I will barely touch it despite spending the entire duration of the movie thinking about it. (By the way - That's not a euphemism, I'm legit talking about popcorn).

Please don't make a big deal out of my age and/or our age difference. This applies on every level - calling me a Cougar is equally as off-putting as calling me Kiddo. If we have chemistry and more than a few things in common, age should be irrelevant. Demi and Ashton used to be a great example for this point. But since they're no longer together, let's just move along with the knowledge that labels are unnecessary.

Please don't play The Waiting Game. (Notice I didn't say 'please don't play games'?! Those can be fun...) But focus - because I'm talking specifically about The Waiting Game, for which I have no patience. Whoever is spreading nonsense about a 3-day rule needs to be publicly shamed.
There will come a point after our date at which time I will start to consider the possible reasons I've not heard from you. Common possibilities considered include :
a. You’re not interested anymore [Ouch.. perhaps harsh but fair..]
b. You’re too busy for me [ie. I'm not a priority and/or your social calender is overflowing with commitments so it's "last in, first out"];
c. Your girlfriend/wife/mum (?!) is back in town [Please don't entangle me in your dissatisfying life];
d. You died. Your phone died. Someone died. [If someone did actually die - Please know that I would be most sympathetic and would probably offer baked goods as my condolences. Please also know that it is incredibly inappropriate to fake a death with the expectation of receiving baked goods].
Depending on my interest in you, I will either privately contemplate these options; or openly discuss each possibility with one or more friends.
Further to the bullshit 3-day rule - I don't know many girls who will get upset because you contacted them too soon after a date. However, there is a fine line between keen and needy. Find it. Respect it.

Please don't centre the conversation around your judgments of me. If you think I would be perfect on Big Brother as the "hot, corporate, bossy chick" please keep that to yourself even if (for some unknown reason) you think it is a compliment. 

Please don't assume you know me. The fact that we are friends on Facebook does not give you the right to make assumptions about my life. Reference my social media posts if you want (provided it's recent and not from 2012) but remember that these platforms are about showcasing a highlight reel. It's true that I have an active social life, I bake and I travel fairly regularly; but did you know that I can also tell the difference between a flathead and a phillipshead screwdriver? I can build my own IKEA furniture; and I can cook a barbeque. I have bought and sold houses, I have loved and I have lost; I have known success and felt failure; and I will never settle for anything less than fireworks ever again.

With love from Andie


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

caramel walnut pancakes

You tell me - Is this picture worth 1,000 words?

caramel walnut pancakes

I'll give you four - 

Butter; Brown Sugar; Cream.

That's all you need to make a basic yet incredibly delicious caramel.

What was that?

"Thanks for interrupting the endless New Years Diet posts with this sugar-laden dessert"

You're welcome!

Serve these caramel walnuts on pancakes as I have done;
Pour over generous scoops of vanilla bean ice-cream;
Or eat by the spoonful from the saucepan.

Whatever makes you happy. The diet can start tomorrow...


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

b a l a n c e

OK, we are now two weeks into The New Year (eek! Can you believe it!?)

So first of all - I want to thank you for your patience because I am slack with the "regular posting" thing; 

And secondly - I want to preface this post with an apology for writing about a topic you've probably seen plastered all over social media since the countdown and fireworks at midnight on NYE.

Click on the link above to work through Susannah Conway's process* and read more about the concept of intention setting if you'd like some guidance and further understanding of the exercise.

Or.. close your eyes (maybe read the rest of my instructions first...)
And think of a word that you'd like to tuck away in your pocket (or scream from the rooftops if that's more your style) that will encompass the next 12 months of your life.

There's no judgement involved in this activity. 

Infact, you needn't share this word with anyone if you would prefer to keep it to yourself.

This process (for me anyway) was about finding a word that 'fit'. A word I won't grow out of over the course of the year, as we transition through seasons. A word that neither felt heavy and full of burden, or weightless and insignificant.

So without further ado... I present to you

M Y   W O R D   F O R   2 0 1 5


To be fair.. I did ruin the surprise a little by giving it away in the title of the post.. But hopefully you'll forgive me for that too.

I don't think I can sufficiently explain why this is The One. 
But this theme will be key in every aspect of my life.

Imagine a set of old-school scales; or a see-saw in a playground... 
Too much weight/attention/focus on one side and the other is sent shooting upwards; uneven; neglected.

My commitment to balance in 2015 is about

Work vs Life

Spend vs Save

Give vs Take

Sensible vs Silly

Rush vs Relax

All vs Nothing

Yin vs Yang


*In the interest of full disclosure - I didn't follow Susannah's 5-step process. But she seems to know what she's talking about, so give it shot if you feel you might benefit...

Monday, 29 December 2014

another end; another beginning

H I G H   F I V E   2 0 1 4

You have been a wild adventure; An ongoing lesson; A whirl of unexpected events.

And in these last few days before you slip out of my life and become another file of memories, I want to reflect, smile, perhaps shed a tear, and thank you.

Thankyou for starting in Queensland; and ending in South Australia.

Thankyou for four months of funemployment.

Thankyou for my European Adventure.

Thankyou for all the stories I made with my sister, and partner in crime.

Thankyou for the lessons. And lessons. And lessons.

Thankyou for the friendships. Old and new.

Thankyou for allowing me to finally unveil the most authentic version of myself I have ever been.


Because when I look back - I can honestly say that 2014 was an incredible year.

And I'm ready for an equally unpredictable and fulfilling 2015.


Friday, 19 December 2014

pies with nuts #notdirtystreetpie

Tis the season for delicious foods and Christmas parties.

It's also that time of the year when you've had enough of work; you're feeling a little fed up with the losers who can't navigate a shopping centre carpark; and you are struggling to find anything suitable for that one person you always struggle to buy for. 

And now you're scrambling to think of something to take to that neighbourhood barbecue or family gathering this weekend.

Don't worry. I've got your back.

M I N I   P E C A N   P I E S

Mini Pecan Pies

These are the perfect, "easy to make, bite-sized so everyone gets a taste, but still delicious enough to impress" dessert. 

Can be served as they are; or with a dollop of cream or scoop of icecream.

To make pastry
200g (1 + 1/3 cups) plain flour
Pinch of salt
125g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and, using your fingers, rub into flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in centre of flour mixture. Combine egg and 1 tablespoon iced water in a small bowl, then pour into well. Using a round-bladed knife, stir until mixture forms a dough.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200C. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out
Use a cookie cutter (or a wine glass if you’re like me and didn’t have a cookie cutter handy!) to cut dough to fit muffin tin moulds.
Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden. Reduce oven to 175C.

To make the filling
50g unsalted butter, chopped
150g (2/3 cup firmly packed) brown sugar
160ml (2/3 cup) golden syrup
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
240g (2 cups) pecan halves

Place butter, sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan over low–medium heat and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Add eggs and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Fill mini pastry cases with pecans and pour over golden syrup mixture. Place on an oven tray and bake for 20 minutes or until filling is browned and firm to the touch. Cool in pan to room temperature.

Here's a little behind-the-scenes snapshot, including my ever diligent Supervisor - Miss Emmy.

Miss Emmy supervising my photoshoot


Thursday, 18 December 2014

how do you cope when it rains?

I am still buzzing from a Personal Development Workshop I was privileged to be a part of last night.

Twelve hours later I am bursting with inspiration and smiling about comments from women who, before our 3 hour gathering, were complete strangers.

The workshop was the FIRST EVER hosted by Nereeda of The Nereeda Network.

This post is not to promote her brand new business (although I believe in it 110% and absolutely encourage you to pop across to her website and facebook and insta accounts);
Or to disclose any detail of the Workshop itself.

No... this post is off the back of something I have been thinking about for a while; a topic which I was able to discuss openly with these perfect strangers last night.

W H O   A R E   Y O U R   P E O P L E  ? ?

They say "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with"
So we must choose these special people wisely.

After moving interstate last year; and then moving back again... I have come to learn about the importance of your inner circle. Those whom we surround ourselves with. The special people who get to share the BIG moments of your life; those from whom we seek support; and those with whom we can celebrate our victories.

Are your top five inspiring and challenging you?

As The Nereeda Network Workshop reminded me - "There is no rewind button on the game of life";
So it is our responsibility to choose/change/eliminate the main characters in our story to make sure we are living our best life.

There are endless motivational posters encouraging us to surround ourselves with positive people; But I think this one here says it all -

Daily Positive Quotes

And those perfect strangers? Well, I think the universe is very good at aligning people in the right place at the right time; and I have the feeling that this is just the beginning of some wonderful friendships. 


Sunday, 14 December 2014

you are not the lampshade


Friday, 7 November 2014


"I'm a perfectionist"

That's the answer young Andie would give the prospective employers in interviews. As if I didn't have any other weaknesses than achieving perfection.

"Oh, Andie.. Such a perfectionist"

I became accustomed to hearing these words spoken about me, or to me, and I came to believe it was a compliment.

oh, how I was wrong.

- - -

P E R F E C T I O N   I S ,   B R O A D L Y ,  
A   S T A T E   O F   C O M P L E T E N E S S   A N D   F L A W L E S S N E S S

- Thanks wiki

- - -

Do you know what striving for perfection does to a girl's mind?

Well, it near sends her crazy.

As I grow and learn and discover new things about myself, I have come to realise that the quest for perfection is infact setting myself up for failure. 
[And while this isn't the first time I have blogged about this topic, I imagine it is probably not the last]

I can always look back on something and believe I should have done better; should have finished sooner; should should should.

Striving for perfection, much like adding salt to a batter instead of sugar, it looks like it will work, but it's a recipe for disaster.

So, I would like to introduce a new concept to you.
Or maybe not so new if you watched last season of the Australian TV show Wonderland?

W A B I - S A B I

It's a real thing! (I Wiki'd that too...)

Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: 

nothing lasts;

nothing is finished; and 

nothing is perfect

Friday, 31 October 2014

the window

Sometimes I lie awake in bed at night and I wonder if certain events in my life are the direct result of  attracting bad luck from not forwarding those chain emails back in highschool. Am I being punished by the email Gods? Is this the reason I sometimes feel struck when I am down? One smite per email?

I'm just not an email forwarder. And I'm certainly not going to send it onto 227 of my bestest friends, just because it told me to. I'm a rebel like that..

BUT yesterday an email landed in my inbox, which I feel compelled to share. It didn't tell me I had to either, which is good, because nobody likes a bossy email.

So, here in my little blog corner, I have chosen to share a little a story courtesy of Moodscope with you, my friends; and maybe, just maybe, it will cancel out all that bad chain mail karma that's been haunting me for 15 years.

- - -

The view from my Paris apartment on my Great European Adventure

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One was allowed to sit up in his bed each afternoon to help drain fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

They talked for hours. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The other man began to live, for those short periods, where his world would be broadened and enlivened by the activity and colour of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and the city skyline was seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described this in exquisite detail, the other man would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One afternoon the man by the window described a passing parade.
Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it, in his mind's eye. Days and weeks passed.
One morning, the nurse arrived only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.
She was saddened and called the attendants to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making him comfortable, she left.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the wonderful world outside.
Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.
It faced a blank wall.
The man later asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

Today is a gift, that's why it is called 'the present'.
How accepting of today's gift are you?

Who can you help today?

'Le Meow' : Parisian Cat

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