Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This week I feel like we’ve earned this blog title with preparing for Christmas, making finishing touches on homemade and sewn gifts, beginning to refinance our home, setting up our new camper trailer (kitchen and all!) ready for a maiden voyage, meeting with DOCs and Lawyers to make sure our Foster son’s interested were being represented, building our foster son’s new Christmas BMX bike (discovering in the last hour a part was broken so had to return it and start again only to have a punctured tyre on the second BMX…frustrating!) all whilst being called into work every day for input into a large proposal due out before Christmas. And it’s only Wednesday. But despite all the craziness I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

Ahead of Me, I have to finish gifts, register and pack up the trailer, bake for an office Christmas party, wash and frontline the dogs ready for the kennel, conduct a final round of second interviews for a new PA to start in the new year and cook a Christmas Eve Dinner.

In amongst the madness my Hubby and I snuck into the city for a beautiful lunch on the water at Peter Doyle @ The Quay for champagne and Lobster (yum yum!) to celebrate 2 years of marriage. We talked about all the crazy adventures we’ve taken on these past 2 years and dreamed up some big dreams for the future (I love a good dream).

our 2nd Anniversary, 20th December 2010

Our wedding, 20th december 2008 

 Jingle Bells, H xxxx

Christmas Cookie Jars

One of my favourite things about Christmas is all the divine little treats we get to indulge in. Being the only cook in my family each year I bake up an array of shortbreads, truffles and slices to enjoy over the Christmas break. So thought I would share the baking love for Christmas this year.

Wait for it……Christmas Cookie Jars.
Cute right? These gorgeous little jars are layered with ingredients for yummy choc chip and oat cookies with a little note attached instructing how to prepare them. Yum!

They were a cinch to make so if you’re looking for a cheap last minute gift idea you’ve found it.

First, hit up your local discount or craft store for nice smooth 1L Jars with lids. Try to avoid ones with logos.

Then layer the following :
  • 1 and 1/3 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking Soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooking oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or red and green m&ms/ peanut m&ms)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
Decorate with some ribbon and add a tag with instructions. I’ve made some that can be printed double sided so one side says “Christmas cookies!” and the other has instructions for baking (double click for full size).
 Enjoy and Merry Christmas
H. xxx

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A night with Bon Jovi.

After a couple of killer weeks, Last night we went to see Bon Jovi in concert. It was amazing, the tickets were great, the atmosphere was electric, the beer was warm and the music was out of this world. I shimmied my ass off and waved and clapped my hands until they ached as any deserving Jon Bon Jovi fan should!

Here’s a few happy snaps of the night.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What could be more fun than planning your new laundry!

Okay, maybe plenty of things could be, but I’m still pretty excited to be designing mine from scratch.

Our current Laundry is very small and dingy and inspiring. There is literally enough space for a sink and the washer/ dryer stacked…with no precious bench space. How can one survive without a function laundry I ask? And how can one be inspired to wash if their laundry is dingy and inspiring? Well these are my current excuses for not keeping on top of the laundry, and I’m stickin to it until I have created a real laundry.

I'm dreaming of a beautiful laundry with natural light, uplifting colours and plenty of functionality.

When we bought our home the side veranda was covered in as a “Queenslander room”. In other words it was a dingy space with astro turf flooring and green shade cloth walls. Not being in line with our design standards we began to pull it down to leave it as a plain veranda but as the Kiddos moved in we realised our home was getting a little crowed. Then Brilliance struck…. What about making this side veranda into a room. Genius huh? We would only need to build walls and flooring and we would have ourselves a brand spank’n new laundry and storage area! Since we have no enclosed garage this would be a lifesaver. This would also mean we could blow out our main bathroom into the old laundry space (see whole floorplan here). My hubby was going to try this himself, but after the disaster that was our new ensuite walls I thought it best to get in a professional. So now I need a plan!

Here is the overview of the space,

It’s only narrow but with the right colours and natural light it will open up.

I’m in love with deep blue walls at the moment, it reminds me of those beautiful days by the beach With blue skies as far as the eye can see. See my heart is pretty set on this colour scheme…..
So now’s the fun bit, how to arrange the laundry. I have become painfully indecisive so have laid out a few options. All include the Washer, Dryer, Sink, chest Freezer, Wine rack and bench space. Have a favourite???

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Short but Sweet

Today’s a shorty but a sweety. Life’s been very hectic this past week with lots of wonderful exciting things going on. I’m working on some fun projects to post soon for Christmas gifts so I’m not totally neglecting this little blog.. I promise! In the meantime I found this beautiful quote on Daisy and the sea.   

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Home Sweet Home.

I was 18, engaged and madly in love. I had been in the workforce for only 9 months and my husband for 4 years, and we had saved our butts off dreaming of buying our first home. So with hope in our eyes and no idea about renovating we set off looking for our home. What we found was an old dingy single storey, 3 bedroom brick home with steep rocks as a backyard, a leaking roof, old brown bathrooms and water damage. It was house we could afford on a lovely street in a quiet north Sydney suburb. We loved it and made a very cheeky offer the very next day…..and got it!

We started painting the very afternoon we moved in ready to make this house a home. The renovations we were attempting were nothing short of massive, but being new to the renovating game we were optimistic. We were convinced we would do everything ourselves and have spent the last Three years painting, tiling, grouting, gyprocking, excavating, building, gardening, rendering and bricklaying in our spare time. We promised ourselves we’d never look back and realise we missed out on life while we were renovating so we kept things fun and took a break if it was becoming so draining- hence the three years and counting! We’d rather dream big then finish early. Plus It’s great to live in the house for a few years before moving rooms to get a feel for your living style.

So here is the master plan………(double click to enlarge).

Luckily we’re about 70% done already. And now’s the fun part playing with colours, picking out benchtops, updating some furniture and planting out our new gardens. We are even contracting builders for our new laundry/ storage space so I can just sit back and design whatever my heart desires.

Can’t wait to update you with our progress and pictures soon !
X H.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Remembering why I became a foster mum

Today My 9yo Foster Son M won a Sydney wide award for excellence in education. I am just so darn proud of him. He’s had a shocking year with abuse, neglect, DOCs removing him from his parents, being separated from 4 of his sisters, his nan taking him then giving up 2 days later, a horrid abusive foster parent, 4 schools in 4 months and hospital treatments for IBS. M moved in with DH and I in May and was terribly depressed and antisocial, but he’s a tough kiddo and  with lots of love and encouragement got back up on his feet and made friends and caught up with all the school he missed. Now he is doing brilliantly with friends over 3 times a week and high marks in school.

The award was re-presented to him in front of the whole school this afternoon and the look on his face just melted my heart and I soon became the teary mum in the back.

He’s now beaming with his big golden award, aboriginal artwork and dymocks voucher showing off to anyone who will listen (included the woollies check-out chick). Bless him!

It’s days like today that make it all worthwhile.

Gorgeous fabric finds!

Last night I got a little carried away and a browse session on Hawthorne Threads turned into a buying spree. Woops! I’ve since justified it as an early Christmas present and that our house really NEEDS new throw cushions and reupholstered arm chairs, doesn’t it? And I could really do with another baby quilt, couldn’t I? So here are the fabrics I just couldn't resist.....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas in a jar!

So I’m officially excited. I’ve done a bit of research to find Christmas gift ieas in a jar or bottle and found some gorgeous ideas! so here is the top 5 super cute homemade christmas in a jar gifts......

1. Cookies in a Jar. I found this from Bakerella- that woman is a genius! They are gorgeous jars filled with ingredients for cookies, all you need to add is egg, butter and vanilla and voila! I was thinking I could do red and green M&Ms and call them “Christmas Cheer Cookies”.
2. Brownies in a jar. Folowing on from the same theme, These are oh so delish! They remind me of those fun sand art bottles I did as a kid, with a much yummier outcome.

3. Classic cocoa in a jar- a simple but cute gift for those who do not bake from getting By on a dime

4. Cupcake in a jar. My mouth waters every time I look at this picture and I dream of how amazing this would taste. Thankyou MyCakies

5. Pie in a jar. Yum, Yum, Yum !  Imagine just a little cream drizzled over this one. OurBestbites – thanks for the cute idea.

6. Liquors. One word LEMONCHELLO. It’s perfect for summer BBQs and has a beautiful Zing to it. You can make it from store bought ingredients or make your own vodka and pick the lemons from your tree. My fav is on the Jamie Oliver website
Picture by berlinswhimsy

7. Preserves. You could always go the good Ol’ fashioned way and make some yummy preserves. Lemon Curd is simple, easy to present and very hard to get wrong. Here is my favourite recipe..
I’m so excited to get into this I’m tempted to make a few of each! Hope to update you all with pictures when I get into it.

These little jars of yummy things are sure to delight!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

This weekend I’m heading to the beach with a big group of girlfriends. Our mums met at playgroup in the late 80’s and took us girls away for a weekend at the beach, and so began the yearly tradition. Even know we’re all grown up each November we find our way back to the beach for a weekend of good food, cocktails and lots of laughter.

So the bags are packed with all the necessities and since we’ll be indulging in plenty of high calorie delights I thought there’d be no harm in baking these too for the drive up…..



1 cup plain flour

½ cup Caster Sugar

½ cup desiccated coconut

125g butter (melted)


250g cream cheese

400g condensed milk

½ cup lemon juice

3 teaspoons gelatine

2 tablespoons hot water

1 carton cream

5 rows and 1 square (125g) Cadbury dairy milk chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 180C

2. Grease cupcake trays with a little butter

3. Combine Flour, Sugar, coconut and butter. Press mixture into the bottom third of the mini cupcake trays

4. Bake until golden

5. Beat cream until stiff and set aside

6. Beat cream cheese, lemon juice and Condensed milk

7. Dissolve gelatine in hot water and beat into the cream cheese mixture

8. Fold in the cream and melted chocolate

9. Pour over bases

10. Chill for 4 hours

11. Remove by putting a knife down one edge and slightly spining/lifting


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Anniversary present…

In a little over 6 weeks Hubby and I will be celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary. I’m such a woman to be excited for it over a month beforehand but this girls gotta plan ahead. Usually we don’t really do gifts, instead opting for an extravagant dinner at a restaurant in the city but given the craziness that has been this year I thought it would be nice to treat ourselves to a present to be remembered.

The wedding took 6 months of desperate indecision, over-organisation, control freak moments, lots of laugher, a few tears and plenty of cocktails. I obsessed over very little detail down to the shade of white the table clothes would be. I still laugh when I think about how confused and stressed I was picking my flowers as I was scarred I would choose the wrong tone of pink and it wouldn’t match the men’s grey suits and everyone would sit there through the whole ceremony thinking “why on earth did she choose those tones”. Or when spotlight (now affectionately known as Spazlight) ran out of the lace for my invitations I had on hold only to then loose the re-order for it twice- this was of course a national crisis in my mind and I rang every spotlight in NSW looking for it.
…….so getting to the point, what better way to celebrate the second anniversary of our wedding then with a beautiful, coffee table book wedding album.

I’m in the final stretch of finishing the designs so here is a sneak peak of a few of my favourite pages……………


(Photography by Weddings by Wayne)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Less than eight weeks till Christmas!

I absolutely love Christmas. I love all the decorations, the tree shopping, the shameless baking, the late night gift shopping, the wrapping, the christmas ham and most of all I love the family fun it brings (I know I’m a sap at heart). This year we have the extra blessing of enjoying it with our foster child (and hopefully some of his sisters) so Santa is coming to town!

My love language is gifts of service. I spend months planning gifts and can’t wait for the moment the gift is opened and all that thought and effort put into the gift makes them feel loved and all warm and cosy inside.  The value of the gift rarely translates to the value it will hold for the recipient so I try to get creative and make sure it’s personal. 

My parents are the worst to buy for, if there is anything they want in life they simply buy it so I need to get crafty. My dad is a property investor, so one year I made a monopoly board game from scratch with all the properties he has owned as a momento. Instead of monopoly I named it “Paulopoly”, the figurines represented cars and boats he has owned and the game cards were funny setbacks and victories that will always give him a laugh.

So, it’s time to get cracking and get inspired with gift ideas. I’ve collected a few images from the world wide web to get those creative vibes flowing……………….

Creative Outlets.......

So after a crazy, stressful, exciting and slightly overwhelming couple of months my Husband says to me “you really need a hobby” of course my initial reaction is “what?, me?, a hobby?”. I was all glarey eyed from all night flight after 2 long weeks overseas for work. I laughed at his seemingly naive suggestion. I was completely run off my feet and finding a hobby was the last thing on my mind.
But sure enough and as usual, my husband proved to be right. Before I knew it I was shopping for a new sewing machine buzzing with excitement to get the creative juices flowing. My husband and foster son patiently followed me around as I decided on the machine and spent hours in spotlight stocking up on tools and picking out on fabrics for my first project…a quilt.
Why I decided on something as complicated for a beginner as a quilt is beyond me. I had this picture in my head of my beautiful first born baby blissfully sleeping in the quilt i had lovingly made as my first sewing project. I'd never even heard the quilting phrases Bias, Basting or fat quarters. But finally after a load of googling, YouTube tutorials, unpicking, 16 hours and 7 cups of tea I finished my first quilt!

The time spend on this little project felt so relaxing and inspiring. It feels so good for the soul to escape to my own little world for a few hours each night and rid my mind of all the drama life can bring.
I started to dream about all the gorgeous homemade goodies I could start making and became inspired to find some funkier fabrics. I came across the Heather Bailey designer lines which are TO.DIE.FOR! Being a night owl I scowered the web for online sellers of the range here in Aussieland. After having my enthusiasm dampened by the high prices and limited range offered by the main Australian fabric sites I found a site based in the US called Hawthorne threads with most of the Heather bailey ranges for a fraction of the cost (and cheap shipping!).
By the end of the week I had my stash and felt like a kid at Christmas……

My sister had just moved across to the eastern suburbs of Sydney overlooking the beach and I thought I’d make use of this new stash and surprise her with a little housewarming gift. I found this great pattern online for little birds and knew she’d love it with her kooky sense of interior design.
She loved it and little birdie has found a proud place in her living room.

So, now onto my next project.... Another baby quilt with those Heather Baily fabrics. Yes, I know I'm clucky as hell and who needs 2 baby quilts with no baby to cuddle up to them? But those fabrics are just too delicious NOT to make a cute little baby quilt. And what better start to give my future little bundle of joy then an appreciation for funky handmade quilts. Having trouble deciding on the pattern combination I decide to make a throw pillow with my favorites for the couch to see how it feels....

After a week on our lounge, I'm sold on the combo. Hope to update you all with pics soon!

till next time xoxox

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

And so it begins....

I’m a married, foster caring, career ladder climbing, home renovating, Food loving, 21 year old Sydney chick just trying to keep up with it all and still find time to enjoy the simple things in life.

And so begins this blog.....a collection of my adventures, surprises that find me and the inspiration I find along the’s all kind of crazy but I wouldn’t have it any other way.