Friday, 30 August 2013

Goal 14: Jellyfish Pet in a Bottle

I've wanted to make a Jellyfish in a Bottle with Leo since I came across BhoomPlay Blog's tutorial on Pinterest. It looked super cute and best of all, could be made using bits and pieces found around the house! Today was such a nice sunny day, We gathered up what we needed, headed outside and set to making some Jelly fish pets.

To make your own Jellyfish in a Bottle you will need a 2 litre bottle, A plastic bag (we used one from the greengrocer), thread, food dye and scissors.

Leo enjoyed filling the bottles with water...


... and dying the water different colours.


We made two Jellyfish pets and named them "Buddy Rex" and "Tiny" (Little Monster is a dinosaur train fan!)


and then spent time admiring them in the winter sun.




(See BhoomPlay Blog's tutorial for tutorial)


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A new life for an old hutch...

Moving some of our belongings out of storage today made me start to think about how I am going to give our old hutch a makeover. Its a big hulking stained thing at the moment but I think with a little creativity and love, it could win me over.



1. Gorgeous Buffet/Hutch Makeover by "Chair Up" 2. Cottage Style Farmhouse Hutch by Town and Country Living 3. Coastal Vintage Hutch Makeover by Embracing Change 4. 90's Hutch Makeover by Dear Lillie: The Blog 5. The Fabric Hutch: Furniture Redo by Welcome to the Mouse House 6. Duck Egg Blue China Hutch by Sewing our Sanity 7. Hutch Makeover (Thrifted Gem) by One Thrifty Chick 8. How We Painted The Hutch by The Homemade Home


A special thanks to Briella of 3eleven Design for my amazing new blog design. I absolutely adore it! She designed it off a bunch of my wedding photos and got it exactly the way I wanted it. Check her out!

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Monday, 26 August 2013

Goal 9 - Keep Running

My body has grown two little people inside it. It's gone through hours upon hours of pain to bring these people into the world. It has fed them and housed them and ached with the strain of carrying their little bodies. My body has done pretty awesome things. Amazing and wonderful things. So why do I hate it?

I've always had image problems. I have pierced bits and covered bits in tattoos in an attempt to accept it but its always been an uphill battle. I look in a mirror (when I can't avoid doing it) and see a big bum, no boobs, flab and drab and a chin that makes me feel like Bruce Campbell or Jay Leno. I hate my nose. And my teeth. And my feet which are far too long and narrow. Get the picture?

So here I am after two babies and I'm feeling my absolute worse. It took me two years to get back to pre-baby weight the first time around. Literally, I weighed myself on Leo's 2nd birthday and was back to 70kg. This time I didn't put on as much as I did then but I'm still completely horrified at my shape these days... Which I shouldn't be. I HAD A BABY 7 WEEKS AGO! I'm allowed to have this body.

All around us are images of Victoria Secret models, Pop stars and other miscellaneous celebrities (Seriously, I still don't understand what the Karadashians have done to get where they are) who pop out their babies, give them a ridiculous moniker and next moment are prancing around in bikinis looking flawless. It can be bloody hard to accept the reality that these women aren't like us, they have a whole team of people to help them do this and realistically its going to take a whole lot longer for most of us to "bounce back" (Besides Jessica Simpson, who I want to high five for admitting her love of fried food and hate of the gym)

On my list I have a goal to get back to post baby weight. This goal is to motivate me - not to be a Victoria Secret model, that chin and those feet and teeth will still be there but to become a healthier mummy. I want to be able to look into a mirror and see those "flaws" and then look past them and be satisfied that I have done something to make my body, which I have put through so much, into the best body it can be. It is the only one I will ever have, it really deserves some love.

I am going to do something now that is really hard for me to do. I am going to be brutally honest and post a "before" photo and a scary number. A number that I am determined will not define me anymore.


With the support from my husband who loves my body regardless of bumps and stretch marks and of two munchkins who love me unconditionally no matter what I look like, I am starting a journey of self-acceptance and of finding a self esteem that has to be somewhere. I can do this. This is day one on the journey to Laura's yummy mummy bod!




The Active Mum




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Saturday, 24 August 2013

I wear a fanny pack..

Its been a very trying day here. Monster and Mouse are both still sick which has made one scream pretty much 90% of the time (Mouse) and one push every button to make mummy cranky (Monster). Thankfully both are currently asleep and snoring. Whilst I wait for Mr Ever After to finish work, I am going to take some time to reflect and join in with Pip's Taking Stock

Making : Still working away on Leo's crochet blanket. We also made cress heads! (see below)
Cooking : Salsa for tomorrow nights dinner of Salsa chicken
Drinking : A diet coke
Reading: Circle of Nine by Josephine Pennicott
Wanting: Monster to be finally toilet trained!
Looking: at second hand furniture for our move
Playing: Battle Camp on my phone. I am addicted! (nerd.)
Wasting: Red onion. I always seem to have shriveled up bits in the fridge.
Sewing: Zoe's name embroidery hoops. Still.
Wishing: My BFF Sarah was closer. I really miss her.
Enjoying: Spending more time with Husband.
Waiting: For our little getaway/move planning trip to Newcastle in September
Liking: Writing a blog, It's made me appreciate my day to day life more.
Wondering: How many appointments it will take for my stubborn hair to be the colour I want.
Loving: Kissing my baby girls head when I am babywearing.
Hoping: I get a solid block of sleep later so I can feel less like a zombie in the morning.
Marvelling: At so many blogs written by so many creative women.
Needing: A good shopping spree at Ikea.
Smelling: Daisy by Marc Jacobs and Johnson & Johnson bedtime lotion
Wearing: Black tights. Always.
Following: A list. I &heart; lists.
Noticing: All my nail polish is chipped from changing a tyre yesterday
Knowing: That it'll be Christmas before I know it
Thinking: I better get cracking on my goals
Feeling: Relieved I have some time to myself.
Bookmarking: Christening ideas for Zoe
Opening: Ebay packages filled with second hand dresses
Giggling:

  Feeling: Better now!


Because Leo was sick this week, we stuck to doing something easy. When I was at Bunnings the other day I picked up a packet of cress seeds and we made little cress head people out of used toilet rolls.


What a dork!




Wednesday, 21 August 2013

When life hands you mushy bananas...

... You make banana bread. 

And not just any banana bread...

Banana & Strawberry Loaf

150g Softened butter (plus a little extra melted to grease tin)
2/3 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Vanilla bean
2 Eggs, Lightly whisked
3 Mashed over ripe bananas
2 Cups self raising flour
1 Cup chopped strawberries


Preheat oven to 180C. Brush loaf tin with melted butter to grease. Line base and two opposite sides with baking paper. 

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Slice the vanilla bean down the centre and scrape the seeds into mix using a knife. 

Add eggs and banana into the sugar/butter and mix until somewhat smooth (I like mine slightly chunky, sort of the consistency of porridge)

Sift flour into wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in strawberries. 

Pour into prepared loaf tin and bake at 180C for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean (My oven is really temperamental so it may take less time)

Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes and then lift onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into slices to serve. 



We have one sick little monster here today who absolutely loved this "nana cake". Here's hoping for a bright eyed boy in the morning. 

Monday, 19 August 2013

You know what they say about blondes...

I've taken the leap and have booked myself in to get my hair cut and coloured. I get very nervous about having my hair done as I don't really like having my hair touched. Is that weird? I get told its sort of odd. 

Anyway! I have been dying my hair a dark red for close to 6 years and it'll be a big change going lighter. To help my hair on its way to having "more fun" I came across this product at my local Priceline

After having a quick look at online reviews and being more then a little impressed by other people's results, I thought I'd give it a whirl. 

Here is the before:

And here is the after:

It's hard to tell in these photos as my bathroom light is super bright but a lot of the red has been lifted and my hair has been left a warm brown colour. If I wasn't going to my hairdresser later this week I think another box would take it back to my natural golden blonde. Colour me impress!

This weeks nail colour is called Misty Jade by Rimmel 


Which will now be my stage name if I ever become an exotic dancer. I'm your private dancer. A dancer for money. 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Book Review - Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn, takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. As The Washington Post proclaimed, her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit with deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Employing her trademark razor-sharp writing and assured psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.


 Gone Girl is a hard book to review. I want to write paragraph after paragraph of "And then this happened and it was messed up and then THIS happened and it was worse!" but I won't of course, Because this is a book that you have to read for yourself - but only if you are prepared to follow a story of two narratives, neither who are reliable, to a conclusion you will either love or hate.

Gillian Flynn takes the problems of an every day marriage on the rocks and twists it into something nasty and dark. These are the type of characters that make you nervous and uncomfortable. By the middle of the book you will be so certain you have a handle of what is going on... until you read the next line and they have done it to you again. And that is what makes this novel have such mixed reviews... There really is no "Good Guy". The two main characters, Amy and Nick, display the very worse of whats in us all.

I have read many reviews all about the hate people have towards the ending. I thought it was exactly where you had to leave the story. This isn't a happily ever after kind of book and the sick feeling you are left with adds to the overall bleakness this story has. Hopefully, the movie script doesn't "Hollywood" the ending up and change this conclusion. Just in case, I would recommend reading this now before it hits the big screen.

Gone Girl is a subtle slow burning thriller which is clevely written, suspensful and compelling. I enjoyed it immensely, reading it whenever I had a spare 5 minutes, and would recommend it to fans of the Film Noir genre as well as anyone who wants to see what all the fuss is about. I don't think you will be disappointed.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads




Saturday, 17 August 2013

Salt Dough Hand Keepsakes

This week, Leo and I tried our hand (get it? Ha!) at salt dough ornaments. Cheap and easy!

Salt Dough Recipe
1/2 cup table salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water (approx)

Step 1: 
Mix your dry ingredients together in a bowl. Slowly add the water, Remembering that the measurement above is just a guide, You may need more or less. You want your dough to come together sort of like cookie dough and not sticky!



Step 2:
Knead dough and roll out until about 5mm. I still have no idea where my rolling pin is (How do you even lose something like that?) so we used a bottle of wine which left our dough uneven. Oh well!


Step 3:
Push your hand into the dough as hard as you can. Cut around handprint and make a hole with a skewer. 



Step 4:
On a baking paper lined tray, Bake in the oven at 100C for 3-4 hours. I flipped the ornaments at the 3 hour mark. Again this is all a rough estimate. They should be hard and not have any "give"

Step 5:
Once fully dry - We left our salt dough out to dry over night "Just in case" - unleash your artist and paint them using acrylic paints. 



Step 6:
String them up and admire!



We only needed 3 hand (They are Fathers Day gifts) so we played around with the remainder of the dough using a star cookie cutter, a Mickey Mouse toast press and even sculpted a tiny snake!

I think they turned out really sweet! The dads in our family are going to love them!


 
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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Scattered Joy

Who can pass up the chance to get out and enjoy this Sydney weather at the moment? I know we sure cant! Today we went exploring Sydney Park at St. Peter's. 


Leo loved this park! It really is the perfect adventure land for little guys and girls. 


The highlight of today was the discovery of the most down to earth, kid friendly pub I have ever been to! The Henson at Marrickville is a recently refurbished hotel which is completely family focused. 


With an easily supervised play area in a converted garage, it was a big hit with my entire little family. Jason and I could have a drink and an actually uninterrupted conversation and Leo had a blast making friends and playing in the ball pit. 


The staff were so friendly and helpful, it was like going to a friends backyard for lunch. The beer garden is spacious and has a really lovely atmosphere with decor that I absolutely loved as soon as I walked through the gate. 



Not to mention the food which  was delicious and really reasonable priced... 
I had a fried chicken taco and Jason had the "knuckle" sandwich. Then IT entered my life. A dessert so delicious my mouth waters just thinking about it. Thank you to the staff member who recommended we try this- Churro "chips" with chocolate sauce and Belgium white chocolate ice cream. 

 
I am so won over by this pub I'm planning on emailing them tomorrow to see if I am able to hold my 30th there!
We will definitely be going back there soon - and taking everyone we know!