We were offered our friends apartment in Melbourne, they weren’t using it and I said no. It felt too self indulgent to just take a weekend away but when I put two and two together and found that it was the weekend of our wedding anniversary, the timing was too perfect. So I accepted the lovely offer and started researching restaurants.
Each year for our wedding anniversary we like to celebrate in style and enjoy a multi-course dinner. For our first anniversary we went to Loam, our second we ate at Brae, for our third we went to Oakdene Estate, we celebrated at Little Green Corner for our forth, our fifth anniversary we enjoyed a meal at IGNI, we actually didn’t spend a night out for our sixth and our seventh we enjoyed dinner at The Long Paddock.
We don’t spend time in Melbourne, I never really have. I grew up in Geelong and am quite happy to never spend time in the city. So having one night, child free in the big city. So we asked our city going friends where they would recommend and took their lead.
We went to two different places for pre dinner cocktails, The Arbory and LoopRoof. This has inspired us to make more cocktails, and make pretty garnishes. Perfect for these times I think.
Then we headed to dinner. We chose to enjoy the tasting menu at Lesa. We had such a lovely time. Each course came with a matched wine. And as the evening went on the photos got blurrier and blurrier. I don’t have much recollection of what each course was, but I do know each was mouth wateringly delicious.
What a crazy time it is in the world right now. Where the right thing to do is stay at home, socially distance from each other, but we’re still allowed to see each other, stay 1.5m apart, go to the supermarket and go for a walk.
Apart from the craziness of the world, people getting really sick and dying, lots of people loosing their jobs and therefore income and not being able to hug my friends and family (unless they live with me), this is kind of my jam. I’m an introverted, homebody, who always has a full pantry and loves to cook things from scratch, I’d recently placed a seed order that should get us through the year, I keep 25kg bags of flour in the cupboard and I do online grocery shopping and get it delivered because grocery shopping hurts.
So I wanted to share some delicious, hearty, cheap meals that you could cook, hopefully with things from your pantry during this uncertain time.
The first thing is a fairly simple bread. It’s yeasted, and I made it at Wollangarra a lot. You can turn it into a loaf with a tin, or split it into about 16 and make flat breads. It’s wonderful, and fairly simple.
I love this simple biryani and it uses things we would have in our pantry or freezer most of the time.
Jay’s dahl is such a winner, with wonderful simple ingredients and so much flavour, it’s a hearty warming meal for these uncertain times.
With all the flour that people stocked up on at the beginning of this crazy-ness you could make your very own pizza bases, top with your favourite toppings, Elliot loves ham cheese and pineapple, I prefer something with a few more vegetables.
My 5 tips on how to reduce what you put into landfill without breaking the bank.
Buy things in bigger bags.
This may seem expensive up front but it’ll definitely help your budget long term. If you can add a little into your budget once a month, or once a quarter to buy a bigger bag of something, then you’ll be set up. Not only will this save you money in the long run, it also creates less packing (I heard up to 15% somewhere, but don’t quote me on it) and eliminates the need for all those small packets to be made.
Use what you have.
It’s so nice to have beautiful natural coloured, natural fabric grocery bags. But you know what’s better, using something that you already had. I’m 100% sure you’ve got calico bags around your home, ‘green’ bags from a trip to the supermarket, t-shirts that can be cut up or glass jars in your draw that can be used for all manner of things.
Op Shop or use Facebook Marketplace
I’m loving decorating our home with my ‘secondhand only’ philosophy. Before moving back Jay and I decided that we wouldn’t bring anything into our home this time around, unless we loved it. So that’s what we’re doing. I’d been on the lookout for a couch and I found the perfect one on Facebook Marketplace. It was so exciting and satisfying and I saved a bunch too.
Don’t put produce in bags that don’t need bags
There’s a bunch of produce items that do not need plastic bags. Just pop them straight into your basket or trolley. If you’re using a bag to contain items, then you can always use the brown paper bags from the mushroom section, or make some produce bags from op shopped lace.
Try to buy products with as little plastic as possible
If you can avoid plastic packing, then do. You can often find things in paper or cardboard as an alternative.
I hope these help you to become a little more eco friendly, while still sticking to your budget.
You know when you come across something at the exact right time you were meant to find it? Well, this happened to me yesterday.
It was Boxing Day and I was lying in bed getting lost in YouTube (do you say in YouTube?) and I came across this video. This video changed the way that I looked at our approximately $200,000 mortgage. I was sick of having it looming over me, sick of paying that fortnightly payment and sick of not feeling as though we owned our home. I decided that if she could pay off her student loans in 2 years, then we could have a bloody good crack at paying off our debt.
A couple of things about our mortgage. We we in the right place at the right time when we bought our block (the week before Elliot was born), and we got it at an incredible price. And we owner built our home, meaning that we could save a lot on building, as I was project managing the build while Jay went to work. So all in all our mortgage isn’t too much, about half of the national average in fact, but it’s still stressful and something we’d like to get rid of.
But the idea of paying it off feels totally unachievable, I felt helpless, and we don’t have any kind of regular income coming in. The two things I took from the video mentioned above was 1) spend less, and 2) earn more.
Anyone who knows us knows we live a frugal life. We don’t splurge on new clothes, almost everything we buy is second hand, we are getting back into the swing of budgeting and meal planning our grocery shop, I think our biggest expense (apart from bills and rates) is the $40 that goes into our Naked Wines account monthly (you can get $100 off your first order using my referral link – I do earn a small credit if you place an order).
So, I knew that what I needed to do was earn more. The first step seems obvious, get a job. And while Jay has some casual work locked in on the calendar, I am yet to commit to anything. I’ve had Elliot at kinder the last two months, I’ve been focusing on my physical and mental wellbeing and I hadn’t yet found anything I was ready to commit to after two big years of running an outdoor education centre.
But then in yet more research and internet rabbit hole-ing, I found this video and started researching the $1000 project. I thought the idea of saving little bits here and there was brilliant. But I thought I could aim for more. So I started by printing off this label and stuck it to a jar. This will be one way that I’m going to start saving some money.
I also got stuck back into reading The Barefoot Investor. I have started working through this book a few times but keep getting stuck. This week, I’m pushing through.
I’m also going to be looking for any other way to make some cashola. Some examples below:
selling bits and pieces on Facebook Market Place
creating more useful e-products to share with you
continue to build my beloved doTERRA business and share the oils with you
I’ve signed up to do market research
I’ve signed up to Airtasker and fiverr to offer my services for various tasks people need help with
I’m thinking of having a little stall at the front of our gate to sell our eggs and potted herbs etc.
I’m going to do updates on this post, I think it’s a position that most young Australians are in. I’d love to hear your thoughts on earn and saving and paying off your mortgage.
Christmas Eve cocktails and seafood platters. Hilarity in the form of ‘Shout Out’. A delicious gin trifle. Returning home and wondering what the next day will bring. Waking early to the excited call that Santa had come. Unwrapping presents. Seeing our family walk up our drive way. Presents given in reusable brown bags. Kris Kringle gifts swapped followed by a decedent brunch, featuring, English muffins with smoked salmon, bacon, eggs and hollandaise sauce, sourdough pastries from Ket Baker and bircher muesli with mimosas. A solo trip to the beach with time to read my book. Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, ham, lamb, and turkey with delicious stuffing, salads, veggies and little oven warmed bread rolls. Lovely chats with a gorgeous view.
I have a pocket advent calendar that my mum made when we were little and wanted to use it for Elliot this year. We’re trying to reduce the waste we produce and increase our kindness activities and try to teach Elliot how being kind can be fun. So I decided that in each pocket I’d put a foil covered lolly/chocolate, so that we could make a ball to put into the recycling and a written activity. So if you’re thinking about doing something similar, and need some ideas, here’s the activities I put into the advent calendar.
I love music festivals. I’ve been to a lot over the years. One summer when I was at uni, I think I went to eight festivals. I’ve also always done everything on a tight budget.
Last weekend, while enjoying the festival vibes at Queenscliff Music Festival I was marveling at how we were able to enjoy the festival while spending less than $50 ($100 if you include the baby sitter) including our tickets to the festival. So I thought I’d share my tips to enjoying a music festival on a budget.
1. Bring your own food. No matter if it’s a single day festival or a full weekend, it’s easy to pack snacks. In the past, for multi day festivals, I’d pack esky’s full of snackable food. Dips, crackers, carrots, bread, cheese, things to make sandwiches etc. This weekend we packed Elliot’s lunch box as though he was off to kinder, a few pieces of focaccia and I took myself a salad. All food that we already had at home.
2. Don’t drink (alcohol). Seriously, it’s the most expensive part to any festival. And if you’re going to, just enjoy a couple and really get into the music. That’s what our money went to, 4 alcoholic drinks over the 2 days and churros, because they’re delicious.
3. Get a free ticket. Most festivals are looking for volunteers to help set up, pack up or help out during the festival. Check out the website for more info.
4. Get into the free stuff. Often there will be other gigs, activities or events in or around the festival. We spent most of the weekend in the kids sections where there we workshops, face painting and free rides for kids.
I’d love to hear your tips on festivalling on a budget.
You know you’re doing something right when you keep getting comments on how great your skin looks.
Prior to getting essential oils into my life I wasn’t a face washer, that’s right, I’d always just used water to wash my face. Honestly, I didn’t even really wash it.
I started more out of self care than any great need and now I love it. I use face wash, face masks, skin serums and a myriad of beautiful floral oils on my face.
So here are my favourite oils for my skin:
Made from Pomegranate seed oil and Yarrow essential oil, this powerhouse aromatic oil is designed to be added to your morning routine. It promotes the appearance of a glowing complexion and may help revitalise the appearance of skin. One of the main chemical components in Yarrow/Pom is Chamazulene, which contains a higher antioxidant value than both Vitamin C and E, it’s incredibly beneficial for the skin and immune system (it’s also what makes the Yarrow/Pom its beautiful blue colour).
Lavender is a beautiful oil to support your skin. It’s frequently applied to ease skin irritations and imperfections.
Geranium oil is often a love or hate oil but so delicious for your skin. It is reputed to eliminate dead cells, tighten the skin, promote the regeneration of new skin, and diminish signs of aging.
Tea tree is best known for its cleansing properties. It can be used to cleanse and revitalise the appearance of the skin.
Is a gorgeous beauty blend, a combination of Frankincense Resin, Hawaiian Sandalwood, Lavender Flower, Myrrh Gum Resin, Helichrysum Flower, Rose Flower essential oils, in a Fractionated Coconut Oil base, is designed to help reduce the appearance of skin imperfections.
Not only can Rose Touch can be applied to pulse points for an uplifting aroma throughout the day (it’s the oil of divine love after all). It can be used to moisturise the skin, reduce the appearance of skin imperfections, and promote the appearance of an even skin tone and healthy complexion. I love to roll this over my face once I have patted in Salubelle and Yarrow/Pom, then use a rose quartz gua sha.
Being The King of Oils, this beauty is wonderful for so many things but skin is what I love to use it on. Its soothing and beautifying properties are used to revitalise the appearance of the skin and help reduce the appearance of imperfections when applied topically.
Is a beautiful cleansing oil. It’s naturally high in antioxidants and phytochemicals that reduce oxidative stress and disease-causing inflammation. It’s great for reducing fluid retention and cleansing the body. I love to use two drops of this on my dry body brush each morning.
Not only is Magnolia incredibly calming (it contains higher amounts of Linalool, the calming constituent, then Lavender) but it’s wonderful and soothing to the skin. It offers cleansing and moisturising benefits to the skin. A wonderful oil to add to your night time routine.
It’s always best to use a range of oils because your body can build up a tolerance to essential oils, over-use of oils can diminish their therapeutic effect, just as with a drug or medication. So I recommend keeping a range of beautiful oils in your bathroom and mix it up each day.
Waking on my final full day, my first solo day in Bali, was such a treat. I woke in my beautiful bungalow, moved to the day bed and meditated for 20 minutes, my new daily practice.
After an amazing self love retreat, my theme for the day was of course self love. After meditation, I read my book while eating breakfast. One of the many easy-to-read love stories I read while in Bali.
This gorgeous spa was the treat I had been waiting for. For $78 Australian dollars, I was treating myself to a foot ritual, full body massage, gentle turmeric body scrub, facial, fragrant floral bath, and full body moisturise. It lasted for 3 hours, and I loved every minute of it.
Once finished, I wanted to continue to honour loving myself. So I caught a scooter to the other side of Canggu, and took myself to Ubud Raw Chocolate for a ceremonial cacao. I sat, enjoying the drink slowly, reflecting on the version of myself that would be leaving Bali. Reflecting on life when I returned home. I purchased a block of ceremonial cacao, so that I can continue this ritual at home.
From here I jumped on the back of another scooter to head back to my street. I got off at The Loft, I ordered lunch and pulled out my book. I sat slowly enjoying my lunch, and reading my book, what a treat!
By now it was mid-afternoon, and I wandered back down the main street to the Love Anchor Market. I bought a hanging macrame to use to decorate our home and perused the market.
Once back in my bungalow I jumped in the pool, then set myself up on the day bed with a couple of Bintang and some chocolate. I alternated between watching something on Netflix and reading yet another love story for a few hours before venturing out for dinner.
I had mentally committed to a restaurant I had heard rave reviews about and the food looked delicious on Instagram. But when I took my seat, and looked at the menu it didn’t feel right for my last night in Bali. So I got up and walked out.
I slowly dawdled back towards my room and came across a restaurant serving Balinese food. All the food is presented in a glass cabinet and to order you simply point at the dishes you’d like to try. I ended up paying $8.50 for my dinner and beer.
When I got back to my room, I crawled into bed and set myself up with a movie, my favourite way to end the day.
What a delightful day. It was the perfect way to spend my last day in Bali. I’d love to hear your dream day in the comments below.
Something happened last year that shook me to my core. It made me questions everything about who I was, and I had never liked myself less. I had really lost my way, my sense of self and I felt stuck, I couldn’t find my way out. I wrote a bit about it on Instagram.
Under a cloud, I booked myself a spot on the Mindspo Self Love Retreat in Bali. I had a long wait, so I started the work myself, using essential oils to support my emotions, and half heartedly meditating.
Arriving at the Mindspo Mansion gave me heart eyes 😍. You may know that I’m used to roughing it and even our holidays are budget, adventure type. This mansion is in the most epic location, and gorgeously decorated!
For me, the theme of the week was ‘letting go’. Letting go of those stories, letting go of the hurt and letting go of the lies I was telling myself.
The incredible wealth of information poured into our souls from Rochelle Fox (@rochelle_fox) and Chris Soll (@chrissoll) is indescribable. Each day there was another thing, another activity, another workshop or ceremony to help with the letting go, the healing. We let go through ceremony, through fire, through water, through talking, hugs, tears and laughter.
On Letting Go day, guided by Rochelle, we answered questions until a rich tapestry had been woven. Stories from our hearts were down on paper. We cried together, we sought and gave advice, we hugged each other when their were no more words, and created a #mindspogirlsquad, a bond that can never be broken. That evening, in our burn ceremony we took responsibility for the stories we’d been holding on to and with that we burnt the shit out of them.
For me, the continuation of letting go and washing away was evident in our water activities. I questioned going into the water temple blessing. It wasn’t my religion, but the reason I was in Bali was to wash away and forgive myself. Each fountain I went under washed away tears from months, years of built up pressure on myself, all that time of so strongly disliking myself. As I came out from each fountain, I felt slightly lighter. I felt as though I was washing away my tough outer shell and finding myself.
Throughout all the letting go, I was honoured to be able to look into the eyes of 16 women and really see them. To have people you just met really see into your soul, we had a week long women’s circle, with soul sisters, so we could come together and share.
I can’t speak highly enough of this experience. It was exactly what I needed and more. A reminder to be my own cheerleader, speak to myself as I would my best friend, to be authentically myself, and rock it! I have now meditated every day since and have absolutely no intention of stopping.
For more information about Mindspo Retreats have a look at the website, I really can’t recommend them enough.
Sitting and waiting in my 6 monthly routine neurology appointment makes my stomach turn. What has gone wrong this time? What new lesions will be lighting up my brain. The longer I wait, the worse it is and my neurologist is reliably an hour late. When I’ve driven over 5 hours to get here I have nothing to do but wait, and if I walked out, I wouldn’t learn my fate.
Two years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I had been having excruciating back pain, most days would end with me lying on the kitchen or lounge room floors. My walk got funny, a gait, my legs wouldn’t do what I wanted them to. So I went to a physio, then an osteo, a spiritual healer and finally my GP. Who almost without skipping a beat, sent me to a neurologist.
Multiple Sclerosis is a funny disease, presenting so differently amongst it’s prey, it’s often hard to diagnose. It’s an auto-immune disease, where the immune system attacks itself and eats away at the protective covering of nerves. ‘Lucky’ for me I was a text book case, after a lumbar puncture (seriously one of the most un-fun things I’ve ever had to do) and an MRI, and the 6 weeks I waited, before my diagnoses, to be informed if I had a benign brain tumor or MS (yes, that’s what my neurologist said to me. Sometimes smart people just aren’t that smart), my diagnoses was certain.
The painful back was mid-flare up, when things are particularly nasty in the life of someone living with MS. How does my MS present day to day? It varies. One day I can be relatively pain free, the next I need to hold on to things (benches, backs of seats, the wall) to help support my walking. Extreme temperatures effect everyone’s neurological path ways, particularly those with MS, so my symptoms are exacerbated when it’s hot and find that the cool change usually brings a ‘hot day hang over’ when I almost feel worse. Some days I have a sore back, some days my legs ache, some days I feel ok but my walk looks not-quite-right, and I’m always tired. My balance is terrible and standing for long periods of time doesn’t work for me. I squat a lot, and subsequently my staff teams have all gotten really good at it.
Work, you wonder? How can I possibly be running an Outdoor Education center with MS. With really bloody amazing support. Jay, there isn’t enough ways to describe how he helps me. Our 3 sets of staff teams so far have been so understanding and helpful. And our council (Wollangarra is over seen by a board), are super supportive and know that I’m capable of doing my job. Which is, honestly, mostly admin. I spent a lot of time sitting in front of a computer, and a lot of time sitting and talking to staff or community members.
How do I manage it? I take medication twice daily. A drug called Techfidera. It is an immunosupresent, stopping my over active immune system from attacking myself. The only side effect I get is a ‘flush’ (hot red face, décolletage and upper arms, and itchy like I’ve been sun burnt) if I eat anything sweet after taking the medication. I use essential oils, of course. And I take DoTERRAs LLV supplements. I try to watch what I eat as much as I can, but don’t stress about it, because along with extreme temperatures, stress has the biggest effect on anyone with MS’s symptoms. Apart from that, I just get on with life. I take it easy when I need to, I enjoy wine, cheese and cake, I use oils and dance! I have an outrageously supportive group of people around me, on the end of the phone, to come to appointments, and to chat about it when there was so many question marks. Gosh, my Mum and Dad have been bloody amazing!
Why now? Why tell everyone now? I haven’t told many people I know IRL. It’s been something that I’ve had to learn, understand and see how I could cope. I really didn’t want people feeling sorry for me, while I was still feeling a bit sorry for myself. I wanted to prove myself in the job of my dreams, before people judged or assumed that I couldn’t. So now it is, I’m sick of not talking about it, I’m sick of keeping it a secret, and I also thought there might be someone out there who this story might connect with. I mean Selma Blair has given me all the courage, and it would have been nice if there’d been someone who I could relate to when I was going through the messy start.
So, that’s me. Well part of me, a pretty significant part really, because although you can’t see it, I feel it every minute of every day. But I’m good, and I’m loving/living life. I’m happy to talk about it, so if you see me, feel free to ask, or curious, send me a message.
I’ve never been a skin care kind of person, but with the introduction of essential oils into my life, I seem to be drawn more and more into looking after my skin. And I can’t say that this is a bad thing.
So I thought I’d share the simple DIY recipe with you and a few reasons about why coffee grounds are so good for making a scrub.
Coffee grounds are economical. If you have a coffee drinker in the house you can just leave a container out for them to collect the grounds in.
Coffee grounds are a great exfoliator. Using course coffee grounds on your skin is the perfect way to remove dead skin cells naturally and makes way for new skin cells. Exfoliating your skin regularly is a great way to improve circulation.
Coffee is good for your skin. I have read that using coffee in this way may help reduce the appearance of cellulite and give your skin a firmer appearance. Caffeine is also full of antioxidants which may help fight the signs of ageing.
Notes on this body scrub:
I have used wet/used coffee grounds that I’d collected over a week or so. I used it all in one go.
I used a liquid coconut oil to make this mix and I used enough to have a wet mix.
I added skin loving essential oils, pink pepper, geranium and grapefruit.
Mix coffee grounds (I used about 1 cup) with equal parts soft coconut oil (or other carrier oil of your choice). Add essential oils (about 6 drops all together).
How to use:
Jump into the shower to apply, this stuff is messy. Massage over a damp body (jump under the water, then out again). Start at your feet and massage gently in a circular motion, slowly towards your heart. Don’t rush, take a few minutes if you can.
If you patient, or have some time, try to hang out in the bathroom for 5-10 minutes before rinsing to let the ingredients do their magic.
Once out of the shower your skin should feel soft and silky. Follow up with a beautiful blend of essential oils in some carrier oil to moisturise for even more silk.
Do you have any favourite home-made scrub flavours?