I recently set myself a goal to try cooking one new recipe a week. I was stuck in a bit of a rut and felt like I was cooking the same things over and over. It’s always nice to mix things up a little and try something different, so here’s what I’ve been cooking lately…..
Winter is the perfect time for soup so I made up a big batch of Jamie Oliver’s Tomato Soup. I added some mini pasta shells to make it a bit more filling and we had it for dinner one night. Was surprised that our four year old son (who never eats soup) gobbled it down! Definitely a winner and super easy to make.
I’m a bit obsessed with loaves at the moment. They’re so easy to make and you can cut them up and freeze them for a stockpile of lunchbox snacks. We tried making this Coconut and Lemon Yoghurt Loaf recipe by Kidgredients. Oh my god, so yummy!!
Do you ever pick up the free Woolworths Fresh magazine? It has some really good recipes in it! Last week I made the Lemon Chicken, Peas and Rice. Hubby thought it was delicious, our son thought it was disgusting and I wasn’t too sure….the verdict is out on this one but it was very easy to make was something a bit different at least!
What have you been cooking lately? Got any yummy recipes I can try?
Back in April I received an email from a total stranger. She had come across my blog post on Creativity and Career and decided to reach out to me. Her name was Katie and she was studying at the Beautiful You Coaching Academy to become a life coach. In order to graduate she need to coach three clients pro-bono and after reading my post she wondered if I’d be interested in giving life coaching a go. I jumped at the chance. I’d always been interested in life coaching and was curious to see what I would get out of it. Last week was my final session with Katie and I’ve since had a few people ask me what it was like so I thought I would share my experience with you all and offer you all the chance to give it a go too (stay tuned for that bit at the end).
So, once I agreed to work with Katie I completed a personalised survey and answered a few questions which gave us somewhere to start. From there, we worked on setting some main goals that I wanted to work on. I managed to settle on two main goals:
Practice self care so I feel the most energised I can and
Nurture my creativity and create a clear strategy for my blog and freelance writing.
Over the next three months Katie and I caught up via Skype every two weeks. We would begin each session by looking at those two main goals and then breaking them down into small, manageable steps that I could action over the following fortnight. I found the whole process really helpful. Katie was so easy to talk to and I felt she really understood where I was coming from. Knowing that I would be speaking to her every two weeks gave me some accountability; I knew she would be following up how I went with the actions I had set and so that gave me the extra motivation to actually do it! A lot of it was about exploring and seeing what worked best for me; some things worked, some things didn’t; we were able to recognise that and change things up when needed. We did a lot of work; from meal planning and trying different exercise regimes to mind mapping and developing a writing plan; we fit a lot into the six sessions!
So how did I feel at the end of it? What did I actually get out of it? Well, at the end of the six sessions I feel as though I am now so much clearer about everything; what I want and what I don’t, where my priorities lie and what’s important to me. In our final session we reflected on my journey and Katie pointed out that she thought I had a real turning point at about week three and I total agree. It was when this happened. I suddenly had several different opportunities come my way. One was quite a big opportunity that in the past I probably would’ve just said yes to (because I have this problem with saying no). But this time, because I was becoming clearer about what I wanted, I said no. I followed my gut instincts and I found the confidence to say no and it ended up being totally the right decision. Because here’s the biggest thing I discovered through my life coaching experience; when you say no to the things you don’t really want to do it leaves space to say yes to the things that you really do. Seems simple doesn’t it? But sometimes it takes some work to figure out exactly what it is that you do want to do!
So right now, I’m in a really good place. I’m doing work that I love, I’ve had a few articles published and have actually started to get paid for my writing (a dream I’ve held for a very long time). I’ve got lots of exciting things going on and even better things planned for the future. So yes, life coaching was totally worth it and I will continue putting in place the things I learnt from it.
Now, for the exciting part. Katie has just launched her very own coaching business. Katie has a background in PR so she is going to be focusing on working with entrepreneurs and business owners in this area. Here’s a bit about it:
Although Katie is specialising in PR Coaching she has graciously offered to open up some spaces in her life coaching series to any of my readers who
may be interested. Katie will be offering this at a special introductory rate of $250 a month (two sessions a month) totalling $750 for the six part series. If you’re interested you can email Katie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d really encourage anyone who is considering life coaching to get in contact with Katie and give it a go!
A happy, positive post today; Winter can be a bit of a drainer so I just wanted to share with you all some things that I’m loving lately….
1. Lunch Lady Magazine: People have been raving about this magazine since it first came out last year and I finally got my hands on a copy. I absolutely loved issue 3 so much that I have since ordered issues 1 and 2. If you’ve haven’t check this magazine out yet, get onto it people! You can buy it online here.
3. Reading: I’ve been trying to do this every night before bed instead of scrolling through my phone (much better for winding down). I’ve just finished The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is the first fiction novel of hers that I’ve read. I have to admit it took me a little bit to get into; I’m not really a fan of historic novels but it ended up drawing me in and towards the end I couldn’t put it down. It is an epic novel, and whilst I didn’t exactly ‘love’ it I can certainly appreciate the beauty in it and what an amazingly intricate piece of writing it is.
4. Being part of The Melbourne Mum Squad. This fun idea put together by Bron from Flat Bum Mum, Erin from The Mum’s Group and Tegan from Bump into Mums is all about giving Melbourne mums the chance to meet up, catch up and chat. For their first event we’re heading out to drinks and a private screening of the new movie Bad Moms (which looks hilarious by the way!) There are still tickets available so if you want in just head here and be sure to sign up to the Melbourne Mum Squad to be in the loop on future events.
5. Make up. Yes, make up. You see I’ve never been much of a make up wearer, but my bestie has recently started selling Younique make up and I’ve fallen in love with it! My sister and I recently took ourselves off to a make up course (something we’ve both wanted to do for years) and after learning how to apply it properly I now feel more confident about wearing make up. So I’m slowing saving and buying up the things I want. If you want to check out the Younique range head to my friend Kat’s website here.
6. Speaking of make up, Zoe Foster-Blake is officially launching her new beauty book ‘Amazinger Face’ this month and guess who’s going to be brunching with Zoe at The Langham Melbourne to celebrate? Yep me! I’m super excited to both meet Zoe and check out her new book which you can pre-order here now. Of course I headed straight to instagram for a public vote on what I should wear…I ended up choosing this pretty number from Feather and Noise.
8. Dance exercise videos. No seriously, don’t laugh! I’ve always struggled with exercising on a regular basis and find it even more of a challenge during winter so I recently plugged my ipad into the TV and looked up ‘dance exercise videos’ on youtube. The best thing is I can do it from the comfort of my own home, regardless of the weather and my son loves it too. We pump up the volume and dance around the lounge room, it’s fun and is also a really good, quick workout. I think I may have finally found my thing!
Heads up Melbourne Families, The Big Freeze Festival is coming to town! Being held at the Cranbourne Racecourse 2 to 10 July this brand new event is an indoor winter wonderland for kids of all ages. The festival is split into a bunch of different zones with a variety of fun activities including snow play, arts and crafts, construction zones, live performances, workshops and more! You can read all about it here. And while you’re there you can also read my article ‘Winter Warming Family Activities.”
And guess what? I’ve got 2 adults and 2 child super pass tickets to giveaway to one lucky reader to attend the festival opening on Saturday 2 July. This is what the tickets will give you:
Snow play session the snow pit
Bucket of snow for snow ball toss
Unlimited slide rides
Giant snow globe
Superhero training circuit
Little Shredders snowboarding come’n’try
An art activity
BONUS! 4 Park Pass to Phillip Island Nature Parks (Penguin Parade, Antarctic Journey, Koala Conservation Centre & Churchill Island Heritage Farm) valid until Dec 25, 2016
Pretty awesome huh? To win, all you have to do is tell me what your favourite thing about Winter is in the comments below.
And a bit of boring (but important) stuff: Entries close 9am Friday 24 June. Winner to be announced shortly following that time. You must be available to attend the festival on Saturday 2 July, snow pit session time will be allocated when the winner’s tickets are processed based on availability. This is a game of skill and the winner will be chosen by me!
Please note: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Nuffnang. As always, all words and opinions are my own. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t tell you did!
This week I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview screening of the musical stage production Singin In The Rain which is currently showing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. A night out without any kids? Count me in! I hadn’t been to the theatre in years so gratefully accepted and invited along a good friend of mine who I knew was also in need of a fun night out.
We dolled up (any excuse to put on a pretty dress) and headed into town excited to see the show. After a discussion over dinner we realised that we both knew the song ‘Singin In The Rain’ (who doesn’t) but didn’t actually know the story behind the show. Some quick research on our phones told us that it tells the story of the first Hollywood musical movie in a time when it was all about silent films. It promised to be charming, romantic and funny. The show has received great praise from both critics and audiences and honestly, it did not disappoint….
Adam Garcia is fantastic in the lead role of Don Lockwood and he is joined on stage by some equally amazing co-stars; Gretel Scarlett, Jack Chambers and Erika Heynatz just to name a few. They all make it look so easy; the dancing, the singing, the acting. I found myself really drawn into the story and the characters. There was quite a bit of laughing and lots of clapping; even a standing ovation from the audience at the end. My favourite part of the performance was definitely the rain scenes. There is 12,000 litres of water used throughout the show to create the rain scenes and it’s pretty spectacular. We had to giggle at the people sitting in the front three rows (aka- the splash zone) who were provided with waterproof ponchos to protect them from getting wet as the performers danced and splashed on stage. Fun!
The sets and the costumes were pretty amazing too…
We thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the show. If you’re thinking about going or get the chance to, I highly recommend it. Singin In The Rain is now showing in Melbourne until early July when it will move on to Sydney, followed by shows in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. To find out more about the show, performance dates and to purchase tickets head here.
Have you been to the theatre lately? Do you love a good musical? Do you now have the song ‘Singin In The Rain’ stuck in your head like I do?
I really enjoy reading and have been making more time to do it lately, even if it’s only a few pages before bedtime. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:
The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop: Set in 1963 this is the fictional story of Charlotte and Henry, a married couple who move from their home in England to the other side of the world; Australia. Charlotte struggles with settling in her new home, with being a mother and the daily repetition it brings. I can’t go too much into it without giving the ending away but I have to say this book left me which a great feeling of unease. Sometimes I could relate to Charlotte but other times she seemed so foreign to me that I just couldn’t connect. Either way, the book was very well written and kept me interested until the end.
The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon: If you’ve never read a Paige Toon book I can sum them up for you in two words ‘chick lit’ and I don’t mind a bit of chick lit every now and then. The Sun in Her Eyes is told from the point of view of Amber, a woman in her early thirties who has left her husband behind in London to come to Australia and help care for her Father after he suffered a recent stroke. An old flame is rekindled leaving Amber questioning her marriage and her future. It’s an easy read, has a few little twists and overall I enjoyed it as a book I didn’t have to think too hard about.
The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan: I loved this one! I actually read the whole thing in one day because I literally couldn’t put it down. The blurb grabbed me from the beginning: ‘To everyone who knows her now Zoe Maisey- child genius, musical sensation- is perfect. Yet several years ago Zoe caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time, and now she’s free. Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life. By midnight, her mother is dead.’ This book has lots of little twists and turns and has you guessing until the end.
What have you been reading lately? Any good book recommendations?
Mothers Day is just two weeks away (really!) and if you’re after some ideas for what to buy your mum I’ve got you covered with my top five gift ideas. This also doubles as my own wish list so if anyone talks to my husband point him in this direction!
1. Peter Alexander pyjamas: If you haven’t owned a pair of Peter Alexander PJ’s then you just haven’t lived! Check out their new mother’s day collection here. Best thing is you can order online and have them delivered straight to your Mum!
2. Movie tickets: Spoil your Mum with a trip to Gold Class to see the new movie Mother’s Day. I’m looking forward to seeing this!
3. Uberkate: makes the most amazing personalised jewellery pieces. The Ubercircles are a beautiful idea for Mum. Just make sure you get in quick so your order arrives in time for Mothers Day.
4. Beautiful Linen: I have a bit of an obsession with pillows and quilts and throw rugs…is it just me? No? Great then head to Adairs for all the pretty things!
5. Books: I don’t think you can go wrong with books…give me all the books! Check out Goodreads for some great suggestions. I’m also giving away a copy of a book by one of my favourite authors Jodi Picoult on the Sarahdipity Facebook page. Head over and leave a comment on the pinned post at the top of the page to enter.
One thing I really love to do with my four year old son is rediscover movies I loved as a kid. We watch them together and I’m always surprised by how much of them I remember; they always take me right back to my childhood . Here’s five of my faves we’ve watched together and he’s loved:
The Wizard of Oz: (1939) You just can’t beat it. When I was little I would always skip the part where the twister came because it scared the bejeebers out of me! So yeah, I did the same when I watched it with my son (no shame in that). I totally remembered all the words to the songs too and had them stuck in my head for weeks afterwards! “We’re off to see the wizard….”
E.T: (1982) I just knew the lil man would love this one; especially the part where the bike flies at the end (he thought that was “super cool”). He also couldn’t stop laughing at the part where ET accidentally gets himself drunk hmm.
Mary Poppins: (1964) One of my absolute favourites as a child. I was a little let down by the graphics rewatching it as an adult…I don’t remember the background when Mary is dancing on the rooftops with the chimney sweeper looking so fake lol. I guess everything just seems more amazing when you’re a kid.
The NeverEnding Story: (1984) I totally wanted a headpiece like the ‘Childlike Empress’ and a dragon just like Falkor when I was a kid. Seriously, the NeverEnding has all the elements needed for a childhood favourite; fantasy, mystery, action and dragons!
Bedknobs and Broomsticks: (1971) I actually wasn’t sure if my son would like this one but he did. We watched it on repeat for a few days. His favourite part was the same as mine as a child- where the bed dives under the ocean. I was surprised when I watched this again to find it had some quite adult themes in it- the war, Hitler, witchcraft etc, I don’t remember any of that…it probably just went straight over my head when I was a kid as I’m sure it did with my boy.
What were your favourite movies when you were a kid? Have you rewatched them with your own children? Were they as good as you remember them?
I love a good podcast. Here’s five of my current faves I recommend you check out:
Serial: If you haven’t heard about Serial then you need to do two things; 1) Crawl out from the rock you’ve been living under and 2) Download Serial now!
Season One focuses the real life murder case of Hae Min Lee which occured in 1999 in Baltimore. Sarah Koenig (who’s voice is as addictive as the series) pulls apart the case piece by piece over twelve weekly episodes. Be warned, it’s highly addictive and will suck you right in! Serial Season Two is also out now and is based on the case of Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who abandoned his post Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured and held by the Taliban for nearly five years. I’m not finding it as addictive as the first season but it’s still a very interesting story.
Let It Be: The very first podcast I ever listened to was ‘Slow Your Home’ by Brooke McAlary, so when she recently teamed up with one of my favourite bloggers, Kelly Exeter, for this new podcast series I knew I’d love it. Brooke and Kelly discuss some big topics- judgment, rejection, legacy and success and get you thinking about ‘what it means to do less and be more’.
Magic Lessons: If like me you’ve read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and loved it then you’ll also love this follow up podcast where Elizabeth guides a different creative through discussing their process, doubts and struggles each week. If you’re the creative type you’ll find it both interesting and helpful.
Hamish and Andy: If you want a good belly laugh you can’t go past Hamish and Andy. These days I miss out on listening to them on the radio so their podcast is the perfect way to catch up on all their shenanigans.
So you want to be a writer? If you’re a writer or interested in becoming one, this is the podcast you need to listen to. Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait (both successful authors and journalists) offer tips and advice and discuss the latest news and trends in the world of writing and blogging.
Do you enjoy listening to Podcasts? What are your favourites?
Two weeks ago we headed off on a week long family holiday. I’ve finally found the time to sit down and tell you all about it!
Where did we go?
Port Douglas; it’s a beautiful beach side town situated in Far North Queensland (FNQ), about a 45 minute drive from Cairns airport.
Where did we stay?
We stayed at the Reef Rendezvous which is a couple of minutes drive from the centre of town. We picked up an awesome deal on Groupon which included 6 nights in a deluxe two bedroom villa, buffet breakfast every day plus a few other extras for under $900. We were really happy with our stay. The apartment was neat with all new furnishings and everything we needed (including a kitchen). One of the pools (there are three at the resort) was right outside our back door, which was very handy. The staff were friendly and helpful, breakfast was delicious (with plenty of variety) and overall is was just a really nice place to stay.
What did we do?
Port Douglas is the type of place where you can do as little or as much as you want. You can spend your days relaxing by the pool or at the beach or head out for some adventure. We did a mix of both and managed to pack quite a lot in.
One simply cannot go to FNQ without seeing a crocodile, so on day one we headed to a place we were guaranteed to see some; Hartleys Crocodile Park. We took a tour of the crocodile farm, went on a river cruise (where we spotted loads of crocodiles), watched the crocodiles getting fed and then fed a few ourselves (yep!). It was lots of fun and the lil man was in his element!
Later than afternoon we met up with Rob from Port Douglas Weddings for a family photo shoot (my birthday present from the boys this year). Rob was great. We went to a few different locations and he gave us some helpful tips for our stay (places to eat, where not to swim etc). We’re so happy with the photos, here’s just a couple of my faves:
We spent the morning at Mossman Gorge (less than 15 minutes from Port Douglas) exploring the Daintree Rainforest. It was simply beautiful. From the discovery centre you take a short 2 minute bus ride to the walking tracks and Mossman Gorge itself. Unfortunately we couldn’t swim in the gorge that day due to the heavy rain overnight but it was still amazing.
In the afternoon the boys played a round of golf at Palmers Sea Reef course in Port Douglas. Future pro golfer right here…
We headed into Cairns for the day for a bit of shopping, lunch and a swim at the esplanade. The boys had a go on the Go Kart track and my brother in law was staying in town for work so it was a great chance to catch up with him too.
My favourite day of the whole holiday! We took a ride on the Cairns Sky Rail and Kurunda Scenic Railway. I’ll admit, before climbing aboard the Sky Rail I was shit scared. The Skyrail travels high up in the mountains above the rainforest; you’re literally floating amongst the clouds. I’m claustrophobic and afraid of heights (quite a combo). But honestly? Once we were moving my fear was totally gone as I was distracted by the breathtaking views. Photos just don’t do it justice. The whole trip takes about 90 minutes allowing for two stops and a wander around at each.
The Skyrail is a one of a kind experience and seriously a must do if you’re in the area. And if the weather is bad, don’t let that deter you. It was raining the day we went and it only made the rainforest more lush and beautiful.
At the end of the line, nestled amongst the mountains, you find yourself in the town of Kuranda. We spent the whole day there; there’s heaps to do. We went to the Butterfly Sanctuary where we found ourselves surrounded by beautiful butterflies…
And Birdworld where we got to meet and feed some truly colourful birds…
We also spent some time wandering around the markets that Kuranda is famous for. We then climbed aboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway for the ride back to Cairns. You spend about 90 minutes travelling through some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen…
(Please note: I travelled as a guest of Sky Rail and the Scenic Railway, the boys received discounted fares. We were also gifted family passes to the butterfly sanctuary, koala sanctuary and bird world. I was under no obligation to write this post and all opinions and words above are my own.)
For our last full day in Port Douglas we hired some bikes and cruised around town. The lil man was very happy that we hired a tagalong which meant he didn’t need to peddle and hubby had to do all the work!
Amongst all of that everyday we managed to enjoy lots of swimming in the pool and relaxing at our villa.
We loved it! Port Douglas and the surrounding area is an absolutely beautiful place. It’s family friendly, affordable, warm, and offers loads to do.
Keep your eye out for accommodation deals on sites like Groupon, Scoopon and Last Minute. It’s also a lot cheaper to travel during the wet season like we did. We were a bit unsure about doing this at first but honestly it mostly rained at night and was still hot everyday.
Leave your hair dryer and straightner at home ladies, the weather is humid which equals frizzy hair. Just embrace it!
Check out the Adventure Mumma website for absolutely everything you need to know about travelling to FNQ. I stalked Kate’s blog and instagram account for weeks before our holiday (and while we were there) for ideas on what to see and do. She also recommended our fantastic family photographer Rob.
Make sure you read the signs and get informed about where you can and cannot swim. There are crocodiles and stingers in many spots!
So there you have it; a wrap up of our amazing family holiday in Port Douglas.
Have you ever been there? What did you think? And if you’ve never been, have I now inspired you to go?