Thursday, 28 August 2014

back to reality




"This is why once you've traveled for the first time all you want to do is leave again. They call it the travel bug, but really it's the effort to return to a place where you are surrounded by people who speak the same language as you. Not English or Spanish or Mandarin or Portuguese, but that language where others know what it's like to leave, to go home again and feel more lost in your hometown than you did in the most foreign place you visited."


xx

Monday, 7 July 2014

tres bien, merci




T R A V E L   S O L O


T A K E   A   P A T I S S E R I E   C O U R S E   I N   P A R I S


M A K E   A   W I S H   I N   T H E   F O N T A N A   D E   T R E V I


L E A R N   T O   C O O K   I N   T U S C A N Y



I don't like the term 'Bucket List'. Instead, I feel that such a list is more of a long-term To Do List. And these four items are just a sample of a list I wrote several years ago when I was trying to figure out 'what happens next'; When I was trying to convince myself that I could survive my very own New Beginning.

Now, these are all things I plan on doing in the next three weeks.

I am off to Europe (Paris and Italy) on my very own adventure.


xx

Saturday, 5 July 2014

banana caramel cake

I am super excited to announce a new functionality on my little piece of the blogosphere - 
My brand new 'In My Kitchen' page where I have indexed every recipe post for easy reference.
This addition was equally for my benefit as it is for yours; so now we can all find any recipe without too much stress. Easy peasy. 

And speaking of easy - this banana caramel cake is too.


B A N A N A   C A R A M E L   C A K E

banana caramel cake; with caramel sauce and vanilla bean icecream


Ingredients
400 gr self raising flour
juice of 1 lemon
6 tbs sunflower oil
300 ml water
300 grames caster sugar
5 bananas sliced

Syrup
5 tbs sugar
1 tbs unsalted butter
4 tbs water 

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl
Add the oil, lemon juice and water - beat for 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan prepare the syrup with butter and sugar and when melted, add the water
When you have a syrup consistency - turn of the heat
Prepare the baking tin - I used a round pie dish lined with baking paper
Arrange the sliced bananas in the dish and pour the syrup over them
Pour the mixture over the syrup and bananas; and bake for about 35 minutes.
When it’s brown on the top it will be ready to remove from the oven.

Wait for 10 minutes and turn the cake out onto a serving plate.
Serve with extra syrup, ice cream, cream...


xx

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

four letters, starts with 'F'


F   E   A   R

That all-consuming, breath-taking, weight-in-your-stomach emotion that causes paralysis equivalent to catching a deer in the headlights.

I know you are familiar with this feeling.

If you're like me, you'll have experienced it before a job interview, or whilst giving a presentation to a room full of suit-and-tie clients, or even more simply (but equally as terrifying), opening up to someone new.

The one thing that has become increasingly clear to me is that so many people around me are making life choices based on their fears.

As in - "I can't do X because I am too scared".

I will be the first to admit that I have chosen a different (read 'easier') path on more than one occasion using this exact logic.

But I had a breakthrough moment yesterday after spending several hours with a friend's baby who is trying to walk before he can stand. As I sat on the floor watching him I began to really understand that fear is a learned emotion. It is a product of our own thoughts. We create our own fear based on past experiences or conjured in our over-active imaginations.

Time and time again, Baby O would pull himself up, steadying himself against the furniture, release his hands which were supporting him, and promptly fall to the ground.

He had no fear of falling. And when he did, someone would catch him. Or he would land on his well-padded butt. Occasionally, he would get a shock from the sudden downward motion and shed a tear. But he would soon get right back up and try again.

That's when I realised that as we get older, our fear overwhelms us because we lose perspective.
We are not afraid of standing - We have become fearful of the fall.
And sometimes, that fear stops us from getting back up and trying again.



Your fear may not be of falling (physically or emotionally) but the lesson here is that in many scenarios, the worst thing that can happen is usually not all that bad (or even particularly likely).

You will survive the interview; or rock the presentation; or form a closer bond with someone.

Recognise what it is you are truly fearful of. And do it anyway. Because, just like my friend's son, we get stronger each time we try. And eventually, standing unassisted and even taking that first step becomes easy, the fear is gone, and we can achieve something wonderful.

here

xx

easy to make; easy to eat

Confession Time - 

I have spent too much time already this winter baking and eating.

#sorrynotsorry

Most of my creations have been true winter comfort food. But if you're looking for something a little less guilt-inducing, give this recipe a go.


C H O C O L A T E   M U F F I N S 
G L U T E N   F R E E ,   D A I R Y   F R E E


Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Muffins


1 ½  cups almond meal
¼ cup cacao
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup macadamia nut or hazelnut oil
¼ cup rice milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup 
Preheat oven to 180 C 
Combine almond meal, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Add the eggs, oil, milk and honey then mix well to form a smooth batter.
Spoon into 12 small individual cupcake tins.
Bake for 25 minutes until puffed and cooked through.
Serve warm or cold.


xx

Friday, 9 May 2014

what if..

Let's jump straight in today...


- - - - -


'What if '  are two very powerful words..
What if instead of using them to haunt yourself with past regrets,you used them to build your future?
What if you changed your attitude and accomplished the impossible?

- - - - -


Did you feel it?


Goosebumps. Just. Happened.


I cannot explain to you how much I LOVE this quote. And what a timely reminder that I'm sure we can all resonate with on some level no matter what our current situation or circumstances.

Perspective is everything, my friends.

Oh possibilities!

Happy weekend.

what if..?!

xx

Monday, 5 May 2014

an Australian classic

The conversation (albeit one-sided) has been getting pretty serious around here lately.

For a little while, I was barely spending any time in the kitchen.

But in the past two weeks I've been back in a baking, cooking, creating zone - and I am loving it.

I made Anzac Cookies for (yep, you guessed it) Anzac Day - So here's the recipe...

Better late than never, isn't it?!

Anzac Cookies

1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
3 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle
150g unsalted butter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda



Preheat oven to 170°C. 
Place the flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine. 
In a small saucepan place the golden syrup and butter and stir over low heat until the butter has fully melted. 
Mix the bicarb soda with 1 1/2 tablespoons water and add to the golden syrup mixture. 
It will bubble whilst you are stirring together so remove from the heat. 
Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined. 
Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on baking trays lined with non stick baking paper, pressing down on the tops to flatten slightly. 
Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.


xx

Friday, 2 May 2014

name one of your biggest regrets in life..

That's not a trick question.

Nor is it one on which you should spend too much time dwelling.

If you have any regrets, I think the thoughts/memories/emotion will flood you the moment you read the title of this post.

It can be an easy question to avoid.. 

Unless it is one of the questions you are asked to respond to in a job application, as I was.



N A M E   O N E   O F   Y O U R   B I G G E S T   R E G R E T S   I N   L I F E



*WOAH*


How does one answer that question to a potential employer?!

Well, right or wrong, I answered the exact same way I would if you asked me over a glass of vino at the bar...

~  ~  ~

For this question I looked up ‘regret’ because to me it is a very strong word that at first glance, I would answer with ‘I have no regrets’.
But Google tells me it is - a sense of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc.
To which I respond, ‘there are a few’…
But first let me set the scene for you… I met my ex-husband when I was 18. In my first semester of uni, at my first job out of high school. We met at Coles. I was a Check-Out Chick. Our story spans seven years - We met, we fell in love, we bought property, moved in together, got engaged, renovated our house, adopted a fur baby (Yup – Miss Emmy is a child of divorce), had a beautiful wedding, and lived a 'normal' married life.
I don’t regret the any of that. Infact, I try not to regret any of the things that I have done.
But I do regret things that I didn’t do.
And I didn’t travel.
I didn’t take a gap year after high school and backpack around Europe.
I didn’t do a Contiki Tour across America.
I didn’t participate in the exchange program at uni and spend a semester in Canada – skiing Whistler, making new friends, expanding my horizons.
I didn’t even go on spontaneous Girls Weekends within Australia.
I didn’t do any of these adventurous things, because I had  Fallen. In. Love.
My ex-husband and I didn’t travel overseas at all whilst we were together. As all our time and money was spent on things, rather than experiences.
And for that, I have a sense of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction.... Regret.

~  ~  ~

Since writing that response in my job application, I came across this quote - 
Sums it up nicely, don't you think?


xx

Thursday, 10 April 2014

quitting vs giving up

Over the last four or so weeks, I have given this topic a lot of thought..

Disagree with me if you will, but atleast hear me out first.

It'll be like a one-sided debate.
(Unless you want to get involved by leaving a comment...)

Here's the topic -


There is a difference between 'quitting' and 'giving up'.


To give up is to surrender. To let adversity, or difficulty, or even a little challenge discourage you.
Giving up hurts (at least) twice - once when you do it; and again at a later date when you think back and wish you hadn't.

On the other hand - 

Quitting is empowering.
To quit is to make a choice to move on to something else; something better.

Quitting can be difficult, but in certain circumstances it is the right thing to do.


* * *

Society has taught us to perceive quitting with negative connotations. Nobody wants to be thought of as a 'quitter'. We often think of quitting as failure. We commend people for carrying on through difficulty. We fear judgement of our actions from family, friends and colleagues. So we stick with things that don’t make us happy because we feel we like we should.

We have been brought up with this focus on perseverance rather than purposefulness. 
If you're sticking with something just to prove something then it's a bit pointless...

Have you ever felt that feeling in your gut that the path you are on is now wrong for you?

It takes a lot of courage to admit that, even to yourself, let alone to the rest of the world. Sometimes you have to leave the current path and find a new one. Or, if there is no new path to be found, create a new one.

This can apply to so many aspects of life — home, work, education, family, friends, relationships, and habits.

It's the opposite of what we're all told.

Have you ever felt trapped?


Make a change in your life.

Don’t waste your time on a path that feels wrong; on something that is compromising your happiness.

Don’t fear the stigma.

QUIT.

Embrace the change.

Quitting does not make you weak. It means you are brave enough to change what isn't right.


xx

Friday, 4 April 2014

so... i'm jumping off the hamster wheel

This time next week I will be unemployed.

That sentence scares the pants off me and sends a rush of excitement through me all at the same time.

As I'm sure it does in any work environment, the news of my resignation spread through the office like wild fire, and soon after, I was faced with a number of questions from my colleagues, including the obvious -
"So, where are you going next?"

The thing is - I'm just not sure yet. My plan is sketchy at best.

I am met with many blank faces when I honestly admit the unknown.

And believe me - I would probably be a little too quick to judge if someone told me the same news with the same lack of conviction.

Because, let's face it - it is very rare for anyone to "simply" quit their job without a plan. Or a lotto windfall.

Since I have neither, let me be the first to admit that this was no simple decision.

I am still fighting my inner Logical Andie every single day. For a long time, she has been in charge around here. And she judges me more than anyone I know..

But my new plan is to have no plan.

I have had plans in the past, but these often come with expectations, and well, sometimes where there is expectation, there is disappointment.

The reasoning behind my decision to jump off the hamster wheel probably doesn't make sense to many people. But for once in my life, I have decided to leap into the unknown.

Wish me luck.



xx
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