Potted colour

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So many pretties. Today I got my nails dirty and potted up a table full of colour for the back verandah and to dot around the house. I'm notoriously bad at keeping potted plants alive though and this is probably the highest number I have ever entrusted myself with at one time.

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I just love those tiny baby terracotta pots. Now that I've started I want to put everything in one.

Fading colours

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Adore, adore, love the fading pinks on the cover of Jan/Feb 2012 Vogue Living. And that painted brick wall, and that green… so perfect. I want everything in that room. Matching up paint swatches of colour is something I've been playing with around the house lately. IMG 5230

This is our bed at the moment with op-shopped pillow slips. IMG 4771

This is the change table in Baby's room. I took this photo just before he was born, when I had the nursery all set up but before it was actually being used for anything. Which is why it looks so neat.

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I did the paint swatch thing on the front of these ikea drawers using fabric, some thin quilt batting and my trusty staple gun.

Christmas Day

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The Christmas gift.
Teeny Air Jordan's from his auntie. So hot right now.

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The cocktail.
We christened this the Lava Lamp in honour of its bobbing berries. Take one bottle fizzy wine (we used rose) and mix with Golden Circle Sunshine Punch, ginger ale and lemon squash in whatever volumes you think sensible. Add a teaspoon of mixed berries to the bottom of a glass and pour drink over.

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The dress.
It's from Asos and has fab flouncy shoulder bows that come undone for easy breast feeding access. Festive and practical.

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The lunch table. IMG 5287

The salt crust snapper.
Insanely good.

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The first trip to the beach

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Boxing Day at the farm. Perfection.

Overblown roses

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I bought these roses at the market because they looked so overblown and lovely. I love fresh flowers in tiny jugs and vases scattered about. So much nicer than jamming the whole bunch into the one vase and you get so much more bang for your buck this way. The gold chocolate coins are a Christmas staple in our house. Like a cadbury creme egg at Easter, they are very necessary.

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Here are some more flowers beside the couch in a glass Tang bottle I op-shopped recently. I'm a little bit in love with it.

Society6 iPhone case

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New iPhone case from society6.com arrived in the mail yesterday. Loving it.

Sandwiches I made and liked - Soft felafel roll

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Outside: soft white supermarket roll
Inside: A few broken up, warm felafel's, hummus, thick slices of tomato, kewpie mayo
Drunk with: Ginger beer

We're fans of sandwiches around here. Always have been and especially now we have Baby. It turns out sandwiches constitute a perfect dinner for the parents of a wee one, being able to be eaten one handed over a sleeping head and also left on the plate for a while with no harm done when Baby needs to be rocked, changed or otherwise adored.

I'm good at making sandwiches too. It's one of my special skills, like Arthur Dent in the Hitchhiker's book where he gets stranded on the planet and no one knows about sandwiches. He becomes a sandwich artist.

I often think of this book when I make a good sandwich and think 'This is a good sandwich. I should right this sandwich down before it is lost to the ages.' So I thought I would. Starting with this one I ate last night.

Christmas 2011 - festive finery

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I know it's only a few days before Christmas and way late for inspiration posts but I wanted to show off my tree and festive do-dads anyway. I had some grand plans this year for our first Christmas in the house involving garlands made from vintage scarves and handmade decorations. This also being our first Christmas as parents however, most of these plans fell off the list fairly quickly. Some days it still feels like all I do is sit on the couch feeding Baby and not much else. So, we kept it simple. Husband kept things so simple this year that he bought a whole bunch of lights from Bunnings for the outside of the house and they're still in their boxes. We've never been outside of house decorators before and I'm still not sure if we're Christmas lights people. It's question for next year.
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I was fairly pleased with the way the tree came out. I retired a bunch of our old, $2 store decorations this year and simplified things with hearts and bits of ribbon tied here and there for colour. The white hearts are from Ikea and the clear plastic ones (and the star on top) are from Anna Spiro's Absolutely Beautiful things online store.
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Here are the presents. Brown paper and hand ripped pieces of calico from Spotlight with Officeworks shipping tag labels. IMG 5174
We don't usually do a wreath but I saw a photo of something similar to this online and it seemed summery and appropriate for our bright sunshiny Christmas season. This was a super easy project which only took a lazy late night hour in front of the telly and I do think it looks fab.
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Christmas cookies. These are CWA ginger biscuit recipe that is one of my staples (must post one day). I weighed the virtues of a slew of Christmas cookie recipes before finally just making these in festive shapes and I'm not sorry at all. IMG 5198
Merry Christmas.

Pregnancy style (Week 28)

It's lovely, being pregnant in so many ways but also just so weird. I don't think I anticipated how weird it would be. There is so much going on in my body these days that I'm not a part of and I don't have a say in. It's not that we've ever been all that simpatico, my body and I. But now I'm being reminded of it every few minutes instead of now and then. I'm not running this show anymore.

Wearing: Black dress and Navy tights: Asos, Jacket: Gorman, Doily scarf: DIY, White loafers: Ebay

Mandarin Marmalade

When we moved here we inherited a small collection of juvenile citrus trees planted by the previous owners. A naval orange (good), a lime (good) and 3 mandarin trees (why?).

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike mandarins, I’ve just never seen the point of them. Why, when you could have an orange or a lemon would you choose the insipid mandarin? Perhaps I should decide afterall that they chose us.

Between them, our tiny orchard produced enough fruit to send me into a tiny panic about what we were going to do with all this bounty. (The basket shot above only represents what was leftover once I could peel and bottle no more. Please imagine it packed to overflowing.)

Determined to get my country housewife, preserving apron on I eventually settled on mandarin marmalade. I used this recipe from A Table for Two which has beautiful pictures and is written by one of the Australian Masterchef contestants. I only found that out when I went back to the page to find a recipe link, but there you go.

Sadly, my mandarins must be low in pectin as I couldn’t get the silly pot of goop to set on its own and ended up having to add jam setta.

The verdict? It’s really very nice. The bitterness of the zest puts some punch into the bland stand-alone flavour of the mandarin but it is definitely a mandarin marmalade. Next year, when I’ve forgotten how long all that peeling and chopping took (and I'm not pregnant) I might try adding some whiskey to the mix as well for even more kick.

No matter how accomplished a country housewife I become I don’t think I’d ever be up for making this more than once a year. Prepping all that fruit took forever, even once I roped my mum in when she came over for tea. (I’m paying her in marmalade.)

NB: The drink in this photo is hot Milo. I’m not sure that many people outside Australia understand or appreciate the joy of drinking hot Milo on a cold winter morning and it is truly their loss.

Malm nursery drawers makeover inspiration

A few weekends ago we made the trek out to Ikea to help kit out the nursery and one of the things we came back with was the Malm chest of 6 drawers in white. Ours in still currently in flatpack form but this is what they will look like.

Ikea - Malm

The plan is to use the top of the drawers as a change table but I've been mulling over what I want to do to the front panels to make them a bit more awesome and less boring. I was contemplating wallpapering the fronts of the drawers until I saw this tutorial for upholstering Malm drawers in fabric and padding instead:

via Wall Art for small fry

So cute. I think I'm going to give this a try with our drawers but instead of using contrasting colours I'd like to try this ombre look:

(via A Brooklyn Limestone in Progress)
(via this)

But in this kinda colour scheme.

(via Apartment Therapy)

Things might change a little as we start to put the room together and depending on what fabrics I can find but this is where I'm at right now.

Toy town Brisbane

I'm seeing this tiltshift video style all over the place at the moment, including all the vignettes at Eurovision so it must be v. trendy.

So it follows my home city must have it's own tiny toy town moment. So sweet.

Little Big Brisbane from Anders Goberg on Vimeo.

Pregnancy style (Weeks 26 & 27)

Week 26
Fur coat: thrifted, dress: Sussan (really old), boots: Wittner, belt: thrifted

Week 27
Coat: Asos Maternity, jumper: Witchery, Skirt: Bonds bumps (Big W), boots: Wittner

I'm not wearing nearly as many 'maternity' clothes as I thought I would. It could be down to bump size so far but really I don't think I appreciated how many normal clothes I'd still be able to buy and wear just by being more aware of style and cut. Anything waisted is obviously out but jumpers like the pale grey Witchery one above with a scooped hem and long back are perfect for draping over the bump. It works with lots of things but this particular style is one I've noticed popping up everywhere this winter.

The camel coat is one of only two maternity things I'm wearing in the above photos. I bought it for A$35 in the UK winter sales before I really had a bump to dress at all. To be honest, living somewhere where winter never really gets cold enough to need to fasten the buttons on thick coats means that the extra front room in this maternity coat is a little superfluous. But it is cosy, and was so cheap that I couldn't resist. I must say that Asos in general is one of the best places I've found for fun maternity gear at prices that don't make me gasp. The cheap chain stores here (Target, Kmart, BigW) do a good line in basic prego singlets and leggings but it pretty much stops there (or gets scary ugly).

Sorting out baby's nursery

At 25 weeks, we've still got a ways to go but I've started thinking about this with some urgency lately.

I'm worried that if I don't do something about it now (at least organise some furniture) that baby will come early or I will become to fat to move and life will find me unprepared. I do not like it at all when life finds me unprepared. I have dreams about baby arriving and sleeping on a desk chair like one of our cats.

I've got some ideas but it's not as easy as I imagined it would be. We don't know if baby is a boy or a girl and even if we did I don't want a pink room or a blue room - but that seems to be what is most largely and easily available nursery wise. Unless you want cartoon characters, there are plenty of those too. (I definitely don't want cartoon characters.)

I don't think I'm being super picky asking for an alternative, reasonably priced, gender neutral, tasteful option. Or am I?

I suspect the failure of pregnant ladies to be able to find what they have envisioned in the marketplace is behind the huge number of niche, baby related shopping sites I keep coming across. There are just so many of them. Each one I like to imagine, started by a mother who dreamed of nothing but organic jersey cot sheets with a particular size of polka dot and upon finding them (or making them herself) wanted to share her discovery with the world. It's a nice idea, it's one of the nice things about the internet. I'm afraid it hasn't helped me much though.

I have bought one thing, this bird mobile from Etsy seller Holdclosethemoon.

Cute, no?

Pregnancy style - Week 25

Is it terrible that I feel dissatisfied with the size of my bump? Other women at the same stage as me all seem to be huge whereas if I don't put my hand on my belly I think you can't even really tell I'm pregnant. Observe.

I know I'm wearing a loose dress in these photos but still. I was kind of hoping I'd be massive by now and can't stop comparing myself to women in magazines and hospital waiting rooms. For the sake of my vanity I want people to know I'm with child - not just fat. And awfully, I was kind of looking forward to using the bump as a fashion accessory. But it's not been as easy as I thought.

On the weekend I went to party where there were two other pregnant women about the same stage as me. Everyone looked at them and looked at me and said 'wow you must be having a small baby' and I found myself wanting to cry.

Is this why women wear t-shirts that say 'baby on board' or 'knocked up'? I've never appreciated that they might have a reason other than the general bogan love of slogan t-shirts.

Anyway, I'm wearing. (with hand back on belly)
Dress: Cue (years old), cardigan: Asos, clogs: schuh.co.uk, opaque tights: BigW

Gorman Winter 2011

I love every Gorman collection but this winter they are really killing it. The thick socks, the headscarves, the clashing prints. This is exactly the kind of crazy old lady I want to look like every day.

Here are some favourites.

The full collection is here.

Bonds Newbies ad made me do it

How do you feel when you know you have been completely and utterly manipulated by an advertising campaign? Does it bother you? Or are you happy to be targeted with a product if you have need?

I’m sure expectant parents, and especially first time mothers like me - stuffed to bursting with hormones, rosy baby fantasies and empty nursery drawers, must be one of the easiest demographics to tug at… and to make cry. Which is what I literally and embarrassingly do a little bit every time I see this ad on TV.

And then this happened.

Retail explosion.

Pregnancy style (Week 24)

I've been trying to take weekly pictures featuring the bump as it slowly grows. I'm not sure what the end product of them will be. Some sort of PowerPoint presentation with a soundtrack I can force on unwilling family and polite guests perhaps?

Anyway, I thought I might start posting some of these weekly snapshots here too. They might not always be the most pulled together of looks but I know I'm interested in how other pregnant ladies are dressing themselves through what can be a challenging sartorial period.

Wearing: Pumpkin Patch dress, House of Holland tights, Wittner ballet flats, Witchery cardigan

Baking bread is easy

Before I moved to the country and got my housewife on, I was terrified of making bread from scratch.

The closest I got was a bread machine that churned out horrible, wet loaves and the science of home bread making seemed to me like… a science. Full of mystery and secret recipes that would go flop if I didn’t execute them perfectly. I read things about gluten strands and strong flours that intimidated me. Also, I thought it would take all day.

But I was wrong. Bread making is a piece of piss and everyone is disproportionately impressed when you tell them what they are chewing on is homemade. I sincerely encourage you to jump in.

The brilliant sneaky truth of bread making is - although it does take a few hours from start to finish, you don’t have to do anything for 99% of that time.

All you have to do is be at home, or even in the vicinity. You could pop down to the shops or out for lunch in the middle and no one would know.

For the work-from-homer I think bread making is pretty much the perfect daytime activity for maximum return out of minimum investment. It’s 15 minutes at the start and then 5 minutes every hour (which is a good incentive to get up from you desk and make some tea anyway) and you get ultimate domestic goddess kudos when everyone gets home, when in fact you have been reading blogs all day.

Are you ready? Let's begin.

Easy homemade bread

I know the recipe looks long. But trust me.

I got this recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion, an Australian kitchen bible. When I want to know about any new technique or ingredient I always ‘ask Stephanie’ first. I’ve made a few changes to make it simpler and more likely to involve things I have about the house. I think you could absolutely experiment with adding things and other types of flour though.


  • 1kg plain flour (white or wholemeal)
    (I’ve got the posh ‘strong’ flour from the IGA here but you can use whatever brand you like. I have and it still works fine)
  • 1 tablespoon dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 600ml luke warm water

Now Stephanie knows her stuff but my advice is to be careful with the amount of water. Where I live it is pretty humid and this amount of water is too much and makes for rather sticky dough. I just don’t add it all at once.

Stage One (15 minutes)

A) Throw all the ingredients into your freestanding mixer with a dough hook attachment fitted.

(NB: You could do this by hand if you don’t have a free standing mixer but I can’t promise it will seem as effortless and I should tell you that this mixer is pretty much the most awesome appliance ever. Getting one has changed.my.life. Just look at all the extra attachments you can get for it. Crazyness.)

B) Mix dough (for about 10 minutes) Eat a biscuit or something while you wait.

C) The dough should now look like this. Flip it out on to a board.

My dough here is a little wet (as explained above) so I added a touch more flour on the board at this stage to stop it sticking. Give it a little knead if you feel like it.

D) Cut your dough ball into two pieces and pop each piece into a mixing bowl that you have rubbed with a little olive oil first

Put the bowls near the window (or wherever is warm in your kitchen) and throw over a couple of clean tea towels. Walk away for 1 hour.

Stage two (5 minutes)

E) Return to kitchen and admire how much your dough has risen. Punch dough with your fist.

F) Tip dough onto board and knead for a few minutes. (You can find lots of advice online about proper kneading technique but if you’ve ever played with play dough you’ve probably got the technique down)

G) Return both dough balls to their bowls by the window, cover with tea towel. Walk away for 1 hour

Stage three (5-10 minutes)

H) Punch the dough again. (very satisfying)

I) Sprinkle a handful of flour on one of the tea towels you were using to cover the bowls.

J) Make your dough bread shaped.

Stephanie says to make ‘two cigar shaped loaves’ at this point which is why we’ve been doing everything in two bowls but I was feeling creative the day I made these so I went with a plait and two vaguely baguette shaped sticks. Make a giant anatomically correct dough man if you like. Be free.

K) Turn your oven to 220 degrees celsius and pop a big baking tray in there to heat up. (I use a cookie sheet). Walk away for 30 minutes.

Stage four

L) Roll loaves onto hot tray and cook for 20 minutes.

That’s it. When they are cooked they will be a nice light golden colour and sound a bit hollow when you tap them on the bottom and you are a domestic goddess with a kitchen that smells like heaven. Hurrah.