Friday, July 31, 2009

It's winner day!

Not sure about you, but for me this week has flown by! So it is fitting really that our prize is a set of adorable flying critters. The gorgeous mama and baby owl set from the very clever Jac from Honeybunch Designs made for a very popular giveaway. Thanks again Jac, this week's giveaway was such a lot of fun.

Now for the winner...

I decided that since I got my cooking mojo back this week I'd put the names in a mixing bowl!

Tinker had a little bit of help this week from her older brother Henry.

Bri, it's you! Shoot me an email with your address and I will pass it along to Jac so she can send out your beautiful prize.
As for everyone else don't be sad, you can always head over to Honeybunch Designs and order your own gorgeous softie!
Please stay tuned because WE HAVE A MASSIVE GIVEAWAY on MOnday. Something I think you will love love love. Have a great weekend. xx

Fast Friday Funny - Wake n Bacon

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. This is an alarm clock that wakes you with the scent of real bacon cooking. Really. Now for my kosher and halal readers, may I suggest some "turkey bacon" instead?
For the rest of you, here is your big chance to do some damage to your credit card with what has to be one of the funniest inventions on my blog yet. Don't you all want one?!
The creator Matty Sallin says No one likes to wake up, especially by an alarm. This clock gently wakes you up with the mouthwatering aroma of bacon, just like waking up on a Sunday morning to the smell of Mom cooking breakfast.
Here is the link to Matty's website you can check out more of his interesting ideas if you like. TGIF people, the weekend is here!
I'll be back later with the name of this week's winner!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good News and Bad News

I was lamenting the lack of good news stories this morning after reading this article about the female journalist in The Sudan who is to be subjected to 40 lashes (and a monetary fine) for wearing trousers. Seriously.

No we are not talking about *gasp* fugly velour tracksuit pants with JUICY written on the bum or even those hideous harem pants everyone in Manhattan is sporting right now. No. We are talking about this pair of "moss green slacks worn under a flowing top and headscarf" pictured to the right.

Ok so they aren't trousers Rachel Zoe would choose, they are pretty daggy but COME ON PEOPLE what kind of Godloving person whips another for their choice of pants? You all know that I am all for cultural sensitivity, hell I'm all for women wearing the bloody burkha if they choose, but really who is going to stand up to these ignorant bullies?

What kind of God gives a toss about fashion? Doesn't he have better things to think about? Is he that petty, seriously? I just don't get this at all. It really depresses me that anyone would think lashing someone for wearing trousers is something God would high-five.

So I sat here for a few minutes thinking about it and wishing we had more good news in our papers and then I found this article and I smiled and maybe just maybe I got a little teary.

Muffy here went missing 9 years ago when her owner Chloe was only 8 years old. The little girl adored her dog and she has slept on her bed right until she vanished. The girl, now 17 still talked about Muffy and was elated when she was told a few days ago that Muffy had finally been located some 2000km away after all this time.

Anyone who has lost a pet will relate to this story, even I had to blink back a few tears reading it.
Don't you love good news stories? Such a shame that we are so often told that good news doesn't sell. I love good news. I wish we got more of it. Don't you?

photos borrowed from the articles linked above.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Something new from The Tinker?

Let me know what you think of my latest idea, ok?

I have noticed that so many blogs feature a weekly or a daily outfit post.
Since I'm sitting here in a pair of aqua velour trackpants and an orange cashmere cardi with a hole in the sleeve you can be sure I won't be posting pictures of my outfits.
However I thought it might be fun to show you the little outfits my Tinker wears since she is so amazingly cute and I just love love love kids clothing. What do you think? Boring? Lame? Tell me your thoughts.

Often when I post pictures of her I get a few emails asking where I found her top or her dress etc so I thought this might be a fun segment. She was quite a good little model this morning gladly covering her face a la Michael Jackson kid fashion. You know I don't want her face pimped on my blog so you won't be seeing that, but her outfits are too cute not to share. So let me know if you think this is a fun idea or not.

Here is today's trial post:

Tinker is wearing a Yo Gabba Gabba long sleeved t-shirt from Myer, some Crazy8 straight leg jeans, a knit vest from Purebaby and her pink moccasins with brown bows are from Janie & Jack. The pink beret with little brown scotty-dog is from Gymboree. Cuteness- all her.

*click on pics to enlarge*

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's for Dinner Wednesday? Mirin Glazed Salmon

Mirin Glazed Salmon with Rice

I've borrowed the recipe and the picture from the amazingly clever but annoyingly flirtatious Nigella Lawson.

I know I often go for a simple glazed meat/fish dish on a Wednesday but there is a good reason for it. For anyone who is new to my What's for Dinner Wednesday segment, let me explain. Wednesday is for me a rather tedious day in the kitchen.

I've usually lost a bit of steam and I'm usually dreaming of the weekend already. Mid-week I like to go for the simplest of recipes with minimal ingredients and minimal washing up. Healthy meals are often boring and mean more work than comfort food so I tend to be picky but I think that a glazed fish/meat dish usually ticks those boxes. Hard to ruin, easy to make.

Ok so this is what you need to get started:


60ml mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
50g light brown sugar
60ml soy sauce
4 x 125g pieces salmon, cut from the thick part of the fillet so that they are narrow but tall rather than wide and flat
2 x 15ml tablespoons rice vinegar
1–2 spring onions, halved and shredded into fine strips

Serving Size : Serves 4


1.Mix the mirin, brown sugar and soy sauce in a shallow dish that will take all 4 pieces of salmon, and marinate the salmon in it for 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second. Meanwhile heat a large non-stick frying pan on the hob.

2.Cook the salmon in the hot, dry pan for 2 minutes and then turn the salmon over, add the marinade and cook for another 2 minutes.

3.Remove the salmon to whatever plate you’re serving it on, add the rice vinegar to the hot pan, and warm through.

4.Pour the dark, sweet, salty glaze over the salmon and top with the spring onion strips.

5.Serve with rice or noodles as you wish, and consider putting some sushi ginger on the table, too.

Give it a try and let me know your thoughts. I don't think I could have found an easier recipe this week. Perfect for me with my annoying injury!

Tuesday Snapshot - Brushes

See, I told you I lead a very exciting life. Every time I use my makeup brushes (after yesterday's post you might have been thinking I walk around makeup-less all the time, well I don't) I sit them in some hot water and baby shampoo.

The Tinker calls it a "face brush bathie" and that is what she said this morning when I was wandering about the kitchen with her looking for something to feature for this week's Tuesday Snapshot. So here it is. I never promised these pictures would be thrilling.

We don't have much on today at all, thankfully my parents are about to play with the little one because I'm still hobbling around after Friday's injury. How one manages to trip and fall while fiddling with a baby carseat buckle I do not know, but however I did it, I managed to sustain what the doctor at the Bone & Joint Clinic said was an "annular tear" in my lower spine. It is a disc issue apparently. It is most inconvenient, means I can't sit down for long periods and I can't lift anything except maybe a block of chocolate... or two!

Thank you all for the kind thoughts about the little Tinker as well, we saw a wonderful paediatrician on Friday (yes it was outside his office that I had my rather embarrassing fall) and the little one has now been given the all-clear. What a relief.

Have a lovely Tuesday, just think, you are one day closer to the weekend than you were yesterday and that's gotta be good!

P.s I've been thinking up some new ideas for a fun segment on the blog and I hope to post it up later today or perhaps tomorrow. Stay tuned. x

Monday, July 27, 2009

That cooking mojo

So those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that a few weeks ago I lost my cooking mojo after a few failed dishes. Well I think I found it again. Either that or the strong painkillers I'm on have sent me loopy and I dreamt up these dishes...

The little Tinker has taken more of an interest in cooking lately so I let her stand on a chair and help me make a batch of fairy cakes.

I thought fairy cakes would be more fun than regular iced cupcakes because they are just a touch more fiddly and I think for toddlers that makes it a little more fun, plus the Tinker really likes anything with wings at the moment so when I explained that the bits on the top were wings she was fascinated.

Ok so you start with your basic cupcake recipe. I always use the Nigella food processor recipe and I use lots of vanilla bean scrapings. Ditch the icing and all you need instead is some cream and some jam or lemon curd and a teaspoon of icing sugar.

Tinker loved these little cakes and they were so easy and fun to make. Only problem with making them in the afternoon is that I had so many hours til my husband came home, it was hard not to eat them all. I managed to save him one so he should feel honoured really.

Have I let MYSELF go? Or THAT self go?

Last week I stumbled on upon the blog of SuperKawaiiMama. I must admit my first thoughts were; wow she is so gorgeous and such a great writer. Not often you get that combination. How does she manage to look so good and be a full time mama?

Then, coincidentally the following day I read her post “Why Do Women Let Themselves Go?” and it got me thinking. Instead of bombarding her blog with my essay of a reply I have answered her question here and I’ll link it through.

SuperKawaiiMama is very gorgeous and very glamorous. From her photos I see that she has a lot of beautifully applied makeup, her hair has been set and her clothes are brightly coloured, perfectly cut works of retro art. Her section entitled daily outfit provides readers with a glimpse into her pretty world.

To SKM I’d be her poster girl for “women who have let themselves go” what with my dark coloured clothing, bits of beige and taupe here and there. My often washed but not set hair, my scuffed ballet flats and my scruffy tops and jeans. I certainly don’t wear makeup most days and I never wear heels during the day anymore.To me, I still look maybe a tiny bit stylish but I certainly would fall into SKM's definition of letting myself go. Yes often, I wear whatever I can grab quickly before the little one starts tearing things off shelves or emptying my makeupbox.

So, have I let myself go? No, I do not feel that I have. I think I have let “that” self go.

Which self? The one who valued appearances so highly. The one who got up early to set her hair in hot rollers, apply makeup and squeeze into gorgeous outfits and high heeled shoes. That was not MY self but rather, my appearance. To me the sense of self is a complex thing.

It runs deeper than MAC Mineralize foundation and glittering Jimmy Choos. It is who you are to you, to your friends, your family and the world. What you love, what you value and what you think… for me, it isn’t what I wear or how many heads turn when I enter a room.

Sure, having a baby has meant that even if I wanted to spend 40 minutes on my face and another 40 on my hair, I couldn’t. Why? Because I get so little sleep as it is, I refuse to get up at 4am to apply makeup and blow dry my hair and Tinker won’t sit still long enough for me to do it while she is awake. As for my clothes. Well if I am honest, there are 3 reasons for my glamourless outfits:

1. When I became a mum, fashion, glamour, entertainment seemed to pale in comparison to the depth of feelings I have about life, babies and love now. I’m just not that bothered.
2. Having always been super thin I went from 45 kilos on the day I announced my pregnancy to 73 the day I gave birth, I guess to me no matter how gorgeous the outfit is, I won’t love my appearance until I am back to my old shape. Sure I’m no oompah loompah but to go from an Aussie size 6-8 to 10-12 is a big change and if I am honest I don’t think I’m that worried about it. With my best friend having cancer and my beautiful daughter growing up and amazing me every day, fitting into a teeny tiny dress isn’t really on my radar. Life is short.

3. Practicality and comfort. Painting, cooking, playing in the sand, at the park… none of these things lend themselves to dry clean only outfits and Gucci heels. I do love nice clothes but I don’t enjoy getting dressed up every single day.

So have I let myself go? What do you think? Have you let yourself go? I suppose looking like a million bucks and having heads turn when I enter the room just doesn’t do it for me anymore so in my mind I have moved on. I think of the frum women and the Muslim ladies who wear very modest dress. Have they let themselves go or are they just asking the world to value them for who they are not what they look like?

Thank you SKM for asking this question. It really raises some interesting issues. I like to look nice but I'm not sure glamour has a place in my daily life. It is hard isn't it? To know what to teach our daughters... To value who they are as people not what they wear and what they put on their faces. I have mixed feelings. Tell me yours!

Monday Giveaway - Honeybunch Designs

Happy Monday!

Did you have a lovely weekend? Are you dreading today? I had a fall on Friday and injured my back, so I've been drugged up to my eyeballs all weekend in complete agony and whining at every opportunity and even I'm not sad about this Monday? Why? I have the cutest of cute giveaways for you. If this doesn't make you smile then I don't know what will!

Jaclyn from Honeybunch Designs creates the sweetest handmade toys. In addition to her beautiful little blog you can find her here on etsy where she sells her stunning little critters. An amazing gymnastics coach by day, the very talented Jac has been designing her soft toys for 2 years now and has only recently set up shop. It's about time! Once you check our her store you will know what I mean. No little child should be without a Honeybunch Designs softie.

Jaclyn has 10 nieces and nephews who gladly test out all of her designs, she hopes to one day sell her patterns so that other people can experience the fun of bringing these little critters to life like she does with the beautiful fabrics and notions she chooses. Jaclyn also accepts custom orders so if there is something special you have in mind then let her know and I know she will make a magical little softie for you.

This week's giveaway is a beautiful Mother & Baby Owl Set by Honeybunch Designs. Perfect for a little boy or a little girl, this adorable pair would make the ideal gift. The Tinker loves owls, she has been hoot hooting at Jaclyn's pictures as I typed this post! To win, all you need to do is check out Jaclyn's store here and leave me a comment below letting me know what you love about Honeybunch Designs. Easy! Good luck, as always the Tinker will pick the winner on Friday. Happy MOnday. x

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's winner time!

What a week this has been. Next week will most definitely be a good one. I can't possibly have two nutty weeks in a row. I am very glad it is Friday and can't wait for the weekend because my husband will be home and my parents get back from their trip on Sunday as well.

It wasn't all unpleasant, the very exciting part of this week was our brilliant giveaway from Brown Button Trading. Many thanks to Kimberlee for sharing her gorgeous wares with us and for the very fabulous chalkboard chook.

The little tinker was very helpful this morning, she picked a winner right away. Normally she grabs a handful of names and we have to start over but today she was super efficient. Drum roll please...

Paige it's you! Please shoot me an email with your address details and I will pass them along to the lovely Kimberlee.

Make sure you tune in again on MOnday, I will be back better than ever with another great giveaway and hopefully not so sleep deprived. Have a great weekend. x

Fast Friday Funny - Bitten in McDonalds?

Nope. Not talking about biting a burger.

The Chron newspaper reported earlier this week that some poor bloke reckons he went to Maccas for a burger and left feeling like quite the burger when two female employees bit him and fondled him.

Apparently he is now suing the store and the employees have been charred. I mean charged. Boom tish.

Ok so it's not painfully funny this week.

Bear with me I'm losing my mind to sleep deprivation!

I hope you all have a lovely TGIF, I'll be back later with the winner of our giveaway and then the Tinker and I are off to another doctor's appointment. After that, we will start our weekend. Hopefully doing something fun. I am thinking we might walk to Luna Park. xx

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bad Blogger

I must apologise to my kind readers for being a bit of a scrooge on the blog posts this week.

With my husband away and my lovely parents also away, it has just been me and Tinker going from doctor's appointment to doctor's appointment to test to pathology place.

So far I don't have much to report, seeing a super duper specialist Friday so please cross your fingers for some good news and an end to this nutty saga.
While I'm off doing these thrilling things, don't forget to enter this week's gorgeous giveaway!

What's For Dinner Wednesday? Greek Chicken

Ok so my husband crossed the picket line and tempted me out of my cooking strike with the promise of chocolate. Good chocolate. So I am back, baby... but I'm keeping things super simple.

This is just a simple marinade most of us probably do already, I did it last night when the Tinker finally went to sleep at 9.30pm. Took me about 5 mins to prep the chicken and throw it in a ziplock bag in the fridge. I'm doing the singleparent thing til the end of the week so I thought I should try and make things easier for myself (I'll be grilling this inside, bit too cold to venture out and use the BBQ tonight).

Greek Chicken Breast & Simple Greek Salad


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup (250ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/3 teaspoon paprika

Preparation method

Cut 3 slits in each chicken breast to allow marinade to penetrate. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika for about 30 seconds. Place chicken in a large bowl or ziplock bag, and pour marinade over. Using your hands, work marinade into chicken. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat barbecue for medium heat, and lightly oil grate.
Cook chicken on the barbecue until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear-about 10 minutes per side.

courtesy of

I like a greek salad, here is a quick recipe if you don't have your own version:

Greek Salad with Walnuts

Ingredients (serves 4)
40g walnut halves
3 small ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 red capsicum, halved, deseeded, coarsely chopped
1 Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways, thickly sliced
1 small red onion, halved,
thinly sliced
1 bunch continental parsley, leaves picked, coarsely chopped
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs red wine vinegar
60g reduced-fat feta, cubed
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C. Spread walnuts over a baking tray. Bake in preheated oven for 6-7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes to cool. Coarsely chop.
Combine the tomato, capsicum, cucumber, onion and parsley in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and gently toss to combine. Divide the salad among serving plates and sprinkle with walnuts and feta. Season with pepper and serve immediately.

courtesy of

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Snapshot- Little Smelly Brown Thing

What was I up to at 8am today? Carefully handling this smelly little brown ball.

Human poo? No. Dog poo? No. Possum poo? Nope.

This stinky brown treasure breathes and you can eat it... What is it you ask? It is a very pungent souvenir my parents brought back from their recent Tasmania trip.

I have to take my little smelly buddy out of the container to breathe for ten minutes each day and then it goes back in the box in the fridge. Not sure what I'll be making with it.

Since I'm on my cooking strike it will have to be a really fabulous recipe if it is going to be a strike-breaker isn't it?

Any ideas, suggestions?

P.s It's a truffle

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Giveaway- Brown Button Trading!

This week’s giveaway is from another talented Aussie blogger.

Kimberlee once famed for her gorgeous blog now has her own store, Brown Button Trading. If you adore her blog with all the inspirational pictures and ideas there is no way you can go past a sneaky purchase or two at her store. I love it!

About her gorgeous store, Kimberlee says:

Growing up in the country and now spending my days at a desk, I recognised the need to be able to shop at anytime, anywhere for beautiful things.

Brown Button Trading is an opportunity for lovers of exquisite home wares, quality stationary, perfect gifts and stunning jewellery to shop on line.

This is your chance to win for yourself one of Kimberlee’s favourite things. A chalkboard sticker.

Made in France by Coco Boheme, these A3 sized chalkboard stickers are fantastic for keeping lists, a 'safe' drawing place for a child, leaving messages for loved ones or keeping up with what everyone in the household is doing. Chalkboards are popping up in all style savvy homes. You too can join the chalkboard revolution with one of these stickers which are easily applied to any clean, dry, smooth surface - think the fridge, wall or door. All Chalkboards come blank - ready for your 'to do' lists, messages and favourite sayings.

To enter, all you need to do is check out Kimberlee’s store here and leave me a comment below telling me what you loved the most. Easy! As always my little helper will draw the winner on Friday. Happy clicking… I predict it will become happy shopping!

Enjoy your week. x

Sunday, July 19, 2009

How to Give Birth

From the UK this week we have learnt two things when it comes to giving birth.

1.) We should not have an epidural.

2.) Our husbands should wait outside.

The first point was brought to you by Dr Denis Walsh, a male midwife and the second point was brought to you by Dr Michel Ordent, a male Obstetrician. You can read the full text of the article covering old mate Denis's views here and our buddy Michael's point can be found here.

What are your thoughts? For me my thoughts are simple. Firstly you must do whatever is in the best interests of the little life you are guarding and then secondly you should do whatever makes you most comfortable. In that order. Pain relief, no pain relief. Husband, no husband. I don't have a view. I think you've got to go with your gut and do what's right for you. *Just re-read that. Get out, I'm a poet!*

Not sure I agree with the sentiment that men should not comment when it comes to advising women how to birth their children, that the absence of female reproductive organs renders their opinion moot. That doesn't make sense to me. It would be like saying female doctors can't advise men with prostate cancer. However a funny comment I read was that men who think women should just suck it up and tolerate the pain in order to better bond with their baby should also suck it up and tolerate the pain of a drug free vasectomy to better bond with their sterility. Nice.

What do you think? Is there are right way and a wrong way and should dad wait outside with a cigar and a maybe a relaxing book?

Let's Talk Bad Weekends

Last week was a nightmare, we were all looking forward to the weekend. It got off to a rocky start when my best friend was told that she didn't win the competition I told you all about here. The consolation prize was haircare products. Nice touch when you are fighting cancer and you have lost all your hair. Don't start me.

Sunday was meant to be spent on a morning picnic before I toddled off to one of Retromummy's sewing classes. Instead it was spent with my heart in my mouth as our baby girl was rushed to hospital in an ambulance after going grey, then blue and losing consciousness for about 7 minutes even though it felt like 70. At the hospital all manner of tests were conducted and they found no apparent cause. We have to take her back for an EEG.

This blurry photo taken on my husband's crackberry shows our brave little Tinker listening as the kind nurse sang all of her favourite songs. She was so lovely and quite the jukebox.

Tinker was impressed, she is never that still when I sing. It isn't humanly possible to be still when I sing, I'm so bad that even my dogs get agitated when I belt out a few rounds of Miss Polly.

Who is that hottie on the left cutting a striking pose in the navy and white trench complete with hands on hips? Why that is me of course. What you can't see is that under my trench I wore animal print flannelette pj pants, bed socks and tan loafers. My hair was clipped back with one of Tinker's polka dot ribbon clips and I had no bra, nor had I brushed my teeth.

Oh yes I totally rocked hobo sloth chic this morning. Even I didn't dare ask the ambulance to wait a minute while I changed out of my PJs. What kind of shamefully vain mother even stops and considers such a request? Ok so maybe I did think about it but only for a super quick split second... or two.

For anyone who follows me on Twitter, you'd know I have been on a cooking strike much to my husband's dismay. It came about after a string of failed projects. I thought I might break the strike with some corned beef in the slow cooker. Ok that worked. And a batch of cupcakes. The neverfail variety. You know Nigella's recipe for the food processor? I added 3 punnets of strawberries and some pricey but yummy vanilla beans.

Failed again. The first 12 didn't rise and remained gooey, the last 12 were like rock cakes. So I think I'm going back over the picket line. The strike has resumed people, the strike has resumed.

So tell me, how bad was your weekend? I'm not up for cheesy smiley stories. Give me some ratty grumpy ones so I'm not the only whinger here. Come on, you know you want to...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Winner Day- Who won the crow pillow?

Morning! Happy Winner Day aka TGIF.
Thanks again to the lovely guys at Resist Today for donating the stylish Crow Pillow by Eleanor Grosch for this week's gorgeous
The poorly Tinker and I had a long night, she woke up crying an hour after I went to bed and it took me all night to settle her again. She only managed to get an hour's proper sleep so we are both a bit dishevelled and delirious today!
Bless her, she was very excited about picking today's winner, as soon as I started writing the names out and putting them in the jar for her she said "Number? Number?" she really likes picking the numbers out. We did names today not numbers, roll up the pictures are below:

Allison Holmes you are the winner! Please send me a quick email with your address and I will send it through to the guys at Resist Today. Lucky you! I love this pillow so much.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Very Own Poorly Bear

No blogging today friends, I am looking after my very own little poorly bear.

Poor Tinker has bad tonsillitis. After her terrible night I took her to the ER knowing something was not right with her and although they made us sit there all day waiting and I conducted my own internal triage of every faker in the room we finally got to see a very nice doctor.

He said poor Tinker had bad tonsillitis, my poor little bunny. That explained everything.

This sweet little fellow has been named "Doctor Bear" Tinker was such a good little patient at the ER yesterday that the nice doctor gave her this bear as a gift. So last night Tinker, Dr Bear and I all dined on chicken noodles, watermelon and icecream. She has been awfully brave and managed to have a full night's sleep so I think she will be feeling even better tomorrow.

As you see above, she is being very sweet with her little friends. I asked her what she was doing just now in front of the heater and she said "feel warm babies" she loves her little brood and Dr Bear fits right in. Henry our dog is supervising the little poorly bear and her friends today so we are in good hands.

Have a very happy almost-friday and I'll be back tomorrow to draw the winner of this week's giveaway. Don't forget to enter it is as easy as anything and the prize is fantastic. Just follow this link. xx

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What's For Dinner Wednesday? Beef & Carrot Ragout

It's 4am here, and as I sit here typing this out my little redheaded friend is sharing the sofa while she watches In The Night Garden. Screaming banshee act started at 1am, nothing would settle her so I figured we'd sit on the couch together instead of the fruitless settling we had been trying. Little feral! She is as happy as larry now, chatting away as I type this out.

Ok so for this weeks' easy as pie Wednesday recipe I have gone for the ultimate in fuss free cooking. Anything involving the slow cooker is perfect when you are tired or busy... or both. Just prep in the morning and throw the lot in and hit start. Your meal is ready in 6-8 hours. Perfect.

image and recipe via

Beef & Carrot Ragout with Pasta

Ingredients (serves 4)

1/4 cup plain flour
1kg gravy beef, cut into 5cm cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large brown onions, cut into wedges
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
3 sprigs thyme
3 large carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
cooked pappardelle pasta, to serve


Place flour in a snap-lock bag. Season with salt and pepper.

Add beef and shake bag to lightly coat beef in flour, shaking off excess.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half the beef. C

ook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until browned. Spoon into slow cooker. Repeat with oil and remaining beef.

Reduce frying pan heat to medium. Add remaining oil and onion to pan. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in wine. Bring to the boil.

Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until wine has reduced by half. Add stock, thyme and carrots. Bring to the boil. Spoon sauce over beef and stir to combine.

Cover and cook in slow cooker on HIGH for up to 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over pasta and serve.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Snapshot- Laundry

Today the Tinker and I did a lot of laundry. How thrilling is that? So bloody thrilling that I HAD to capture it for my Tuesday Snapshot post. Don't you love the entertainment on this blog?

See how she sits on the top of the dryer as I pack it? She has to sit there or she runs into the dogs' bedroom and pulls all their biscuits out of the bowl and then attempts to "skate" on them.

Tinker loves sitting on the dryer because she gets to shove her fingers into my Jo Malone candle that sits there on the top. No idea why, she just loves the scent I think. Anyway that was my day today. Massive! We did fit a little interlude in between the loads of washing, we went out for coffee and playgroup and then my friend came round for a visit with her little baby.

Tomorrow we are off to the zoo. Very excited about that, it could all end in tears though. Every time I go there I try to convince one of the meercats to come home with me but they never seem keen. They are the cutest little critters!

A gift... Not quite!

A few weeks ago I was reading this article about the little British girl who at age 2 has joined MENSA. It got me thinking about giftedness and parenting.

When I was at primary school there was a girl called Despina who had no friends at all. She was arrogant and pushy in the playground and very annoying in class. One day I got chatting to her, I must have been about 9. She told me she was a genius and in a few months her parents were sending her overseas to a special school for extremely gifted children. She knew her IQ and went on to tell me all about the yearly testing she had been having since she was 3. I remember feeling rather perplexed and quite sorry for her when told me that she had no friends because "other children will always be intimidated by my intellect, that's why my mum and dad are my friends instead."

I have never had my IQ tested, unless you count those wacky quizzes on Facebook that end up costing you money and sending you weird text messages. I don't think my score would be very high. In fact I think I'm pretty ordinary when it comes to most things. Except folding towels. I'm quite talented with that. Oh and I'm definitely a whizz when it comes to saying the wrong thing. I've got that down to a fine art. In fact if you looked up "foot in mouth disease" you'd see my pretty picture staring back at you.

My daughter, however, is very bright. She is 18 months old and knows most colours, counts to 10, knows most shapes, shares nicely, shows empathy and learns very quickly. She is very funny, she has a cute sense of humour. She is very articulate and asks the funniest and surprising questions. People sometimes tell me she is gifted. I'm not sure I agree with that. According to my family, I was the same at Tinker's age and I'm no bloody genius. I don't think doing things months before other kids makes you a genius. In fact I don't think being extraordinarily bright is a gift at all.

From what I've read, most true genii become academics, many are lonely, most find school very difficult socially and many suffer from depression. Doesn't sound like much fun to me. I wonder what became of Despina, she was so bright and so very lonely. She was awkward and dark beyond her years. I wonder if her parents are happy with the approach they took to raising her. Ruth Lawrence the hot-housed British girl who went to Oxford at age 12 had a tough time and is now completely estranged from her parents.

Kate Hilpern wrote an interesting piece for the Guardian last year. You can read it here. One of the key points I took away from her piece was simply asking the question why? What is the point of accelerating our children so fast that they enter university in their early teens? How does that help them as individuals? In the end when the 19 year olds have their doctorates aren't they then on par with the 40 year olds? What kind of advantage does it give these kids entering the race early when we all end up at the same finish line eventually?

Parenting magazines are full of adverts for companies offering to test your child for giftedness, early entry to school, they offer various approaches to IQ testing. I don't know, I think I'd be very wary of going down that path with my precious girl. What do you think? Of course I'm not saying we should go all Pol Pot like and cripple the clever, but I wonder if things are going a bit too far?

Now I'm the first person to admit that I want Tinker to have the best education we can afford, I want her to be exposed to as many fun new things as she likes. Knowledge is definitely power. I don't want Tinker to be bored at preschool and I set about to find a really special toddler class for her to attend. She starts Mandarin next month and, and yes I do enjoy teaching her new things all day. I think the sky is the limit as far as play based learning is concerned. This is why I am not a lawyer anymore. This is why I choose to be at home with my little bunny. I love teaching her things and watching her grow and learn. It is fun. Hot-housing isn't fun, making your children do things they don't love isn't fun. I guess that's the issue.

Tell me your thoughts on this issue!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Giveaway - Which Way Does The Crow Fly?

Groan groan it is Monday again, but here at the happiest place on earth we have a reason to smile. Ok fine, it's not Disneyland and I'm far from your cheesy chipper host but come on, Mondays ARE fun at because we have PRIZES!

I'm very excited about this one. The gorgeous guys at Resist Today have very kindly donated this stunning pillow for this week's giveaway.

Resist Today is an art collective run by two Florida artists, Josh and Dave. They create an outlet for themselves and other artists to sell their work at affordable prices so that everyone can enjoy great images and ideas. They print artists' work on t-shirts, cushions, wallets, posters, pins and stickers.
"With so little public space available for art some of us turn to a street sign, abandon building or overpass; we think shirts and wallets are just as good of an art surface."
Hear hear! I love their online store, it is fabulous and I think you will agree.
The gorgeous Crow Pillow is one of only 45 and features the elegant work of Eleanor Grosch. I did some searching and I found out that she has an awesome blog as well.
You can check that out here if you like.
If you'd like to be in the running for this beautiful Crow Pillow then all you need to do is check out the Resist Today store and leave me a comment below saying what you love and why. Simple! Spread the word! Tinker will draw the winner on Friday.
P.s Re last week's giveaway- Jess can you please shoot me an email with your details so I can get your prize out to you and little Max! Thanks.
Edited: Re Butterfly's comments, please enter! As with ALL of my giveaways it does not matter where you live, giveaways are for everyone. I hate those blogs that restrict prizes based on geography. So far we have had winners from all over the world, so please do enter.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Winner! A Winner!

Thank you so much to the lovely folk at fermLIVING Australia for this week's cute giveaway.
Sorry I was slow to draw the winner today. Miss Tinker went on an excursion with her Grandad this morning so I had to wait til she had had her afternoon sleep before drawing the winner!
Not being much of a creative thinker I struggled to come up with a novel way for the Tinker to pick today's winner. So I turned to the clever folk at 3M and I wrote all the names on Post-It Notes and stuck them on the wall above her toys and she picked the winning name.

Tinker might not forgive me for posting pictures of her with bedhair (she had only just woken up when I enlisted her help with this prize draw) isn't she cute in her jammies and overalls. Meg you might recognise the navy blue Pork Chops on her feet!

So our lucky winner is Jessica, Max's Mummy. How exciting! I bet Max will love his mushroom wall decals. You must shoot me through a photo if you get a chance. That goes for all the giveaway winners, I think it would be fun to post pictures of you enjoying your little prizes.

Hint hint lucky winners shoot me some pics if you get time!

I hope everyone has a great weekend, nothing in particular going on here. The last swimming class of the term tomorrow and then Tinker starts her Mandarin school on the 1st of August. We decided to skip the coldest term of swimming since she struggles so much with the cold. Even in her baby wetsuit. Shame! She doesn't have the layer of fat insulation her mother has.