Monthly Archives: May 2011

K.I.S.S: Love it or Get Rid of it (part 3)

As I’ve mentioned before (here and here) I’ve been trying to trim down our worldly possessions bit by bit every week. I’m selling some of our stuff on ebay, having a farewell fire sale on Etsy, giving a lot to charity and throwing out the bare minimum.

It was a bit of a crap weekend here, Sparky had to work and the kids and I are still a bit under the weather, but I did manage to clean out my wardrobe and swap over my summer clothes for my winter ones. (Our wardrobes are on the small side and I keep a box of seasonal stuff, to make sure I have enough room. Annoying but necessary. Plus it forces me to go through my clothes and shoes twice a year.)

I have a fairly decent amount of clothes and shoes for Vinnies, as well as a heap of maternity clothes I’m lending to my sister-in-law. It’s so nice to be able to see the bottom of my wardrobe again, and not have to shove millions of coathangers aside whenever I want to see what clothes I have.

Bonus: I was going to give this skirt to charity too, but the fabric is too pretty and I think I’m going to try and use it in some as yet undefined craft project. (I’ll add it to the pile of unfinished projects now, shall I?)

Brooke x

Meat-Free Monday: Roast Veges, Couscous + Feta

Another Meat-Free Monday meal that I love. It’s super easy, so deliciously tasty and helps you use up whatever veges you have left rolling around in the crisper.

I guess you could replace the couscous with brown rice or quinoa (I know both are better for you) but on a cold, rainy night like tonight, the hearty, buttery goodness of couscous rocks my socks.

You’ll need:

a packet of couscous
olive oil
sweet potato
(*in terms of veges, I always use sweet potato, but everything else is fluid – whatever you have on hand or whatever your favourites are. beetroot would probably be awesome too)
kalamata olives
feta cheese

1. Cut up your veges into 1-2cm chunks and put onto a large baking tray. Drizzle generously with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and put into preheated oven (200C) for around 40 minutes. Toss after about 20 minutes.

2. Prepare your couscous as per packet instructions.

3. Pour couscous into large bowl, add the veges, olives, feta and rocket. Combine with a little lemon juice if desired.

We serve it hot, but it is really yummy as cold leftover too. This is a beautiful, comforting meal in itself, but you could add lentils or chickpeas too.

Trove’s Farewell Fire Sale over on Etsy

 As you now know, I’ve been making a move towards a simpler life these past twelve months. This has been a move that came about initially from a massive case of burnout while running my jewellery business, Trove.

In July last year I was at the absolute end of my wits trying to juggle work plus being a full-time mum plus running the house and managing a big renovation/extension plus being pregnant. I came to a point where I realised I was not committed fully to anything, and that I needed to make a massive shift in the way I was living.

Fast forward to now and I’m a fair way along that path, still hurdling obstacles but at least I have a clear goal in mind.

I’ve been slowly clearing our home of extraneous objects and things that have been weighing us down, but up until now I hadn’t been able to open a few of the boxes in our storeroom. They hold the last of my Trove stock (around 300 pieces) and I think I was subconciously holding on to them, as selling them off would be to finally admit defeat.

But I’ve made a shift lately and I know that I need to clear the decks completely so I can keep moving forward, so here’s my opportunity to you and anyone you may know who loves beautiful, handmade jewellery – at a CRACKING discount no less.

Over the next few days I’ll be listing the rest of my Trove stock for sale on Etsy, and there is nothing over $20AUD. My retail prices used to range from $35 – $90, so this is seriously good shopping.

Go on, tell your friends, your mum, your kids and your work friends to pop on over to the shop. It’ll be worth their while!

Rings $35 $10

Earrings $55 $18

Necklaces $66 $20

Statement Necklaces $79 $20

Neckplates $79 $20

Earrings $55 $15

Studs $40 $10

Necklaces $60 $15

Pikelets and Playdough

One. Of. Those. Weeks.

Today I managed to drag myself through the morning before the kids had their sleeps using a combination of sheer will, deep breathing, pikelets and playdough. I’m here now, writing, so I can tell you I made it through.

Bonus: I had an epiphany.

Pikelets are delicious. Milo is also delicious. Bringing pikelets and Milo together = delicious squared. (Recipe below).

Ugly? Yes. Tasty? Also yes.

Isy loves cooking at the moment, and I’m using the whole measuring, pouring, mixing routine to help her learn her 1-10, colours and basic cooking ingredients. Negative: our oven is broken so it’s really only pikelets on the baking menu right now. Tasty bummer.

You’ll need:

1 1/4 cups SR flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
3/4 cup milk
1-2 tbsp Milo
60g melted butter, cooled
1 egg
extra melted butter for greasing

1. Combine flour and sugar in a bowl.

2. Whisk milk, butter, egg and Milo together until well combined. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.

3. Brush some melted butter onto a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Place tablespoonfuls of the mixture into the pan and cook until bubbles form. Then flip and cook for another minute or so.

4. Serve with jam, cream, butter or just by themselves, warm from the pan. 

Really truly delicious.

My playdough recipe can be found here.

5 Quick Mood Boosters

Ever get the Flat Stanleys?

You know – money worries, broken oven, broken heater, head colds, tummy bugs, busy at work, too much to do at home, crummy news, bills due, groceries cost more, blah blah blah?

I can relate, believe you me. But lately, I’ve decided to take my feelings into my own hands and own them. Feeling shit? Accept it, get through it or change it. Take ownership of your reactions. I can’t change other people and I can’t (always) change circumstances, but I can change the way I choose to react to them.

Here’s five green, free, or inexpensive mood boosters that can help:

1. Take ten minutes and clean out your top two kitchen drawers. 

If you’re anything like me, there will be a fine layer of toast crumbs, Milo, baby cereal and something else at the bottom of your cutlery and utensils/other-unclassified-crap drawers, and giving them a quick tidy, organise and wipe out will make you feel better. You can own that one piece of organisation. Plus, achieving something, no matter how small, does help you feel better.

2. Spend 10 minutes outside doing some very simple yoga poses.

Try something like this if you’re a yoga beginner. The combination of deep breaths, increased blood circulation to your noggin and simply being outdoors works wonders.

3. Try the following exercise for ten minutes in the morning.

(Or more frequently throughout the day if you can, or if you’re feeling particularly anxious). It truly helps to bring your mind into full presence for the day ahead. I try most mornings to have ten minutes of just sitting with my coffee, looking out our back doors at the trees, breathing deeply and taking stock of each of my senses:
   – what can I see?
   – what can I hear? (usually Charlie and Lola if it’s ten minutes I’m after)
   – what can I taste?
   – what can I touch?
   – what can I smell?
Sounds simple but it is really one of the most important parts of my day.

4. Eat a banana!

Super good for seratonin production, which = happiness hormone.

5. Scribble down two or more pages of stream-of-consciousness writing on some scrap paper, then throw it away recycle it. 

Just have a brain dump. Start with the first thing that pops into your head and do. not. stop. writing. Don’t censor yourself. Just write. And if you can’t think of anything, just write, “I can’t think of anything,” over and over until your brain throws something else out at you. And it will.

This is seriously a brilliant way to clear out the extraneous stresses and worries in your mind. And I often find it helps me to figure out what’s really troubling me, and helps me do away with the things that are not important. Once they’re out, they’re not getting back in, and once you get rid of the piece of paper, they’re gone.

6. (Because number one sounded too much like housework) Drink a cup of green tea. 

Powerful antioxidants and other large words mean that green tea is a proven mood booster.

There will be shitful things that happen and none of these measures change that, but I’m finding a combination of them throughout my days has helped my mental well-being out of sight. (Maybe more on that some other time.)

Happy days, my dears. x