Friday, August 31, 2012

Up, Up and Away

My mother has what she refers to (in a somewhat old-fashioned manner) as "vertigo". In essence, she is not fond of heights. Despite this, she has always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon.

Folks, yesterday she did it. I got the most amazing, puffed-up-proud email from her in Turkey this morning, detailing her adventure. She wrote about how she CONQUERED her fear and amazed herself by being calm, resolute and managing to enjoy the whole experience.

I'm inspired. And so incredibly pleased for her, not to mention proud myself. My darling mother, out having adventures. It's making me think - what am I afraid of? What can I go out and conquer?

Is there something you've always wanted to do, but fear was holding you back?

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Every time I think to myself I'm going to have a restful weekend, I end up doing so much more than I had planned. This weekend was no different.

Saturday I had two things planned: post office (to post another Etsy sale, yay! That's 3 in 4 weeks) and to do a little op shopping.

I found these delightful coffee mugs, but not much else. I think I need to venture further and check out some new stores. Note: the other items in this picture are from my mum - she's forever cleaning out her cupboards and donating things to the shop! I may be tempted to keep the cute purple tartan Thermos for myself though! It's practically mint!

My darling husband worked all Saturday night, so I curled up with the tv and watched The Help. What a great movie! So emotionally overwhelming and fascinating at the same time. I watched the entire thing without realising that it was Bryce Dallas Howard playing Hilly. Hee. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the story I don't recognise actors!

So at about midnight last night, eyes drooping, I decided to take a chance and put on my first loaf of bread to bake in the bread maker. The bread maker was a wedding registry gift and damn me if we haven't used it once since. So I read the little instruction book and the back of the bread mix box, poured everything in then pushed some buttons and went off to bed with my fingers crossed.

Well, if I didn't wake to the aroma of freshly baked bread! Amazing! That's not to say I was not woken by the machine beeping to itself early on at the crack of dawn when turning on, but hey presto! When I hauled my lazy buttocks out of bed, behold...

It kind of exploded at the top but I didn't mind. Hubby gave his seal of approval, and has expressed an unexpected level of interest in learning to use it, and also wants to learn how to bake bread from scratch. I suggested maybe we start with some bush bread or damper and work our way up.

I couldn't resist just one more op shop to top off my weekend so I hit my favourite down at Brendale. And boy did I hit the jackpot!

We've decided that this lovely Australian map isn't antique, or possibly even old enough to be vintage, but it's got rustic charm written all over it! And it was only $3. Winner.

I also picked up this lovely little jug, which I think might be Johnson of Australia, though I have never seen the pattern before.

I also baked this afternoon. Mum gifted me with some cupcake packet mix before going away (amongst other things, including a passion fruit and a continental cucumber. What am I going to do with a continental cucumber? WAIT. Don't answer that). So out came the Big Red Mixer (she really needs a name - any suggestions? Something 50s like Betty perhaps) and pretty soon I had 12 little chocolate cupcakes on my hands. It was a nice way to end the weekend.

How was your weekend? Any good shopping finds? Did you bake? Garden? Chill out?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Paralysed by choice

Do you think there's too much variety in retail goods?

I'm beginning to think so. I hate going to Coles and Woolworths not only because I detest going to the supermarket on principle, but because I have to stand in front of the cheeses for 10 mins checking price tags and comparing different types versus value for money versus block, grated or sliced before being forced to make a choice ANY CHOICE before the lady huffing indignantly behind me pushes me over to get to her Cracker Barrel Sharp. Drives me absolutely barmy.

No joke, when I have to get shampoo and conditioner and I want to try a new one it probably takes me double that amount of time. A full 20 mins. Of staring at a wall of colourful bottles - looking at labels, comparing the sizes and obsessing over which one would be best for my hair (dry? oily? "normal"? damaged? curly?)... the mind boggles.

I think this is perhaps why Aldi scares some folk. Because there's maybe two types of things. Example: pasta: there's penne, or there's spirals. No macaroni for you. Ice cream: vanilla or Neapolitan. Rice crackers: BBQ or chicken. Peanut butter: crunchy or smooth. I will admit Aldi is better than it was a few years ago - there are different brands to choose from for some products now. But NOWHERE NEAR the OVERWHELMING variety to be found in the Big 2 supermarkets.

The dilemma I'm facing today is almost laughable; the chemist recommended that due to a little bit of dermatitis on my knuckle I start moisturising my hands. I asked if sorbolene would do the trick and she looked at me as if I'd grown a second head. And proceeded to recommend one that was $25 a tube, or MooGoo. I said I'd do a little research. So I went to the MooGoo website and I couldn't even figure which of their array of products was a bloody hand cream. Perhaps all of them are, or can be. I DON'T KNOW. This is how bamboozled I get.

I'm sure sometimes other nations laugh at us. Imagine having more than one brand of tissues! A lady I know from Zimbabwe told me that she had never even heard of tissues until she moved here 6 years ago. They always just used handkerchiefs. Now you can get not only about 6 brands, but pocket-sized, aloe-vera, hyperallegenic, "decor" boxes etc.

So here I am - paralysed by choice again. Ready with money to make a purchase, I know what I want - I just simply can't choose which bloody brand. And within that brand, which particular sort?

I'm giving up for now. But if you can recommend a good, cheap hand lotion - let me know.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Prepping madness

It's becoming increasingly clear that left to my own devices, I will do just about ANYTHING to avoid vacuuming. So, at a loose end today, what did I do?

I chopped and pre-cooked some meals.

I'll give you a moment to recover from the shock. I know. Me, the most disorganised and slovenly housewife ever, actually cooking ahead? What madness is this?

Don't get too excited. This was no Once a Month Mom marathon of magical kitchen goddess-ness. It was purely an experiment.

So I went out and did the grocery run, the only thing different I did than usual was buy 1kg of mince instead of 500g. I definitely had no room in the budget to be buying in bulk this week, but if this works I certainly will be considering it.

When I got home, I got out two saucepans and chucked the mince and sausages on.

While they cooked, I chopped two onions and put them in with the mince.  Then I chopped veges. Then I diced some chicken breast. I also peeled a heap of potatoes and put them on to boil for mashed potato.

I couldn't be arsed cooking the chicken so it went into the freezer raw, but I am happy in the fact that it is one less thing I have to do on the night we have it.

So this is what it ended up looking like, minus the mashed potato which took ages (I went off and watched half an episode of The Walking Dead waiting for it).

So the meal plan this week looks like: Spaghetti Bog, Sausage Curry, Chicken Stir Fry, Pasta of some kind (no meat or chopping required!) ... and whatever C wants to eat on Friday because I will not be here.

All this? Took about one hour. I'm so hoping it will be worth it. I shall come home from work, defrost the meat and throw together the rest of the meal.

I'll let you know how it goes. C thinks that too many episodes of Doomsday Preppers is starting to mess with my head.

Do you cook and freeze ahead? Any tips on what NOT to freeze?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Giving myself a break

It's Sunday afternoon. I have been feeling like I have accomplished nothing.

I'm sitting here stuffing white toast into my gob and thinking that instead of reading blogs, I should be cooking some bulk meals to freeze or making a cake. Or doing some re-organizing in the dining room. Or dusting.

But seriously, I realised I should cut myself some slack. I haven't done nothing all day. Yes, I slept in quite a bit, but I have also:
- cooked myself lovely eggs for breakfast
- unpacked and repacked the dishwasher
- washed up
- scrubbed the sink
- vacuumed
- mopped
- done two loads of washing
- tried to create a tram scroll for my mother (with limited success)

And NOW... I have written this blog. Productive, no?

I think that some of the blogs I read and pins I see on Pinterest are starting to make me feel a little inadequate. I need to realise these people AREN'T perfect, their houses DON'T actually look like that, they don't REALLY bake a week's worth of meals in one day, their food shots are STYLED, their organisational tips are just TIPS and nobody can implement them all. In short, if I ever met a woman with a house like an interior design magazine who baked for her family, cooks freezer meals in advance, takes gorgeous photos of her meals, writes beautiful blogs about cooking, cleaning, styling, fashion and family I would probably run the other way. Because that woman is SCARY. And probably well on the way to a nervous breakdown.

So, I'm giving myself a break. Telling myself to be happy with what I've achieved today.

And now I will put another load in the dryer and make myself another cup of tea.

Do you get feelings of inadequacy from the internet?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weekend op shopping

I'm now at the stage of my thrifting career where I don't consider a Saturday morning complete without dropping into one or two op shops. I have favourites in my area that I hit up regularly but I also like driving to new ones in suburbs I don't usually visit. This can be fun, other times disappointing.

Last weekend I drove all the way over to Virginia to check out the Lifeline Supastore there. I was very crestfallen - either it had been picked clean by the morning crowd or it is not well-stocked. I guess it might be a store that focuses on furniture rather than bric-a-brac, which is my thing. And also it seemed not very "Supa" in size - more the size of a regular shop.

Today I was running errands all morning but dropped into two local op shops with varying degrees of success - got a $2 necklace and an unopened jigsaw puzzle for mum from my "secret" shop, nothing at all from the second.

When I finished my To Do list I decided to spin by the Lifeline Supastore at Brendale on my way home. If you haven't been, I highly recommend a visit one weekend - yes it is open Sundays! It's HUGE. And CRAMMED full of stuff. Crappy stuff, weird stuff, old stuff, smelly stuff - I just love it. Sometimes I find nothing and then sometimes I hit the jackpot.

Today was a jackpot day...

The little brown mug and jug on the left are English Hornsea pottery. I love the glazed look and retro pattern. The plates underneath are Johnson of Australia. I hope if you are a regular reader or social media follower that by now you know I have an enduring Johnson fetish! The aluminium pot up the back is a coffee pot with a little perculator inside and a quaint glass lid! The two white cafe cups are to put pens and things in on my bench. And the black and orange creamer jug is some lovely Mikasa "Orange Sherbert". I love this set as my mum has the cups and plates.

Here are the Johnson plates all on their own. They are dear to me as they are not of the usual floral pattern you find more regularly, and thus unique in my collection. I had only seen this pattern on instagram and wouldn't have even picked them up to check if they were Johnson unless I had! So folks, it proves that it pays to do your research. I love trawling the #johnsonofaustralia hashtag on Twitter on Sundays, it's such fun! I always get envy at others' lovely finds, though...

So I'm starting to accumulate so much stock for Little Moments Vintage that I'm running out of storage space. Which means I need to move my butt and get it all photographed, into the store and... sold!

Did you find anything good thrifting this weekend?


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