Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Josh

It was Josh's 11th birthday yesterday!

Here he is, just chillin', playing his new Pokemon game on his DS while watching something on YouTube. Who said males can't multitask?!

We had what was, in my humble opinion, a great day! Relaxing and fun.

Josh wanted to go ice skating for his birthday outing. In my house, the kids take turns having birthday parties. This year it was Alana's turn, which means that Josh got to choose a fun family outing instead. He and Alana had a lot of fun on the ice while I tried to stave off frostbite with a cappuccino from the "cafe". I'm not even kidding. I wore a scarf and gloves and still my fingers and toes went numb. One of my fingers in particular went an alarming shade of grey! Luckily I appear to have no lasting injuries...

After skating we came home and just hung out playing with toys and games.

When Chris got home from work we went out to dinner at Gourmet Pizza Kitchen - Josh's favourite.

We had a fantastic time at dinner - laughing the whole time. I love these guys!

Happy Birthday Josh!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lurking in the corner? Leave me a comment :)

Hey there.

Who are you, my lovely reader?

What makes you tick?

What do you love? Hate?

What posts of mine make you think? Laugh? Cry?

Part of the reason that I blog is the sense of having an audience. A readership. And unlike other writing forums, in which the readership is largely silent and unknown, when I blog I know that my readers can continue the conversation. They can talk back. Easily. Immediately.

That's what the comments are for.

Now I won't lie to you. Of course it's great when I receive a positive response in which the reader lets me know that they enjoyed what I wrote. I enjoy words of affirmation probably more than the next person. It's my "love language"; how I express my love to others and how I like to receive love. So praise me - please!

But really I'd just like to know that you're out there. And get to know you a little.

So please, if you read anything on this blog that touches you or angers you or makes you question something or interests you; if you have comments, criticism or questions; then leave me a comment.

I receive an email every time someone leaves a comment on my blog. I then reply directly to the comment via email. I love to have these little conversations! 

If you use Blogger to write your own blog then you need to ensure that you have checked the box on your profile that says "show my email address". Otherwise I won't be able to email you back because Blogger will just use a generic "no reply" address to email me your comment. Confused yet? If a comment is emailed to me from a "no reply" address, then I can't reply. The only way I can continue the conversation is by leaving a comment under your comment on the original blog post that you commented on. Which assumes that you're going to come back later and read that post's comments again just in case I replied to you. Which is a bit messy, isn't it?

If you don't use Blogger then to be honest I'm not sure how it works! So if you want to leave me a comment then we'll find out together!

I hope you don't think I'm too lame, begging for comments. I just really love to exchange ideas and share with others. And I hope that you do too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

By the end of this post I feel better

Hey there.

I got nothing people. Nothing.

I'm literally forcing myself to write in the hope that some inspiration will strike. 

I haven't written anything lately because I've had nothing to say. Simple really.

Why haven't I got anything to say? I don't know.

Life has been frolicking along as usual. It's school holidays here and we've had a ballet eisteddfod and it's Josh's birthday tomorrow and I've got a list as long as my arm of "things to do"...

...And no motivation for anything.

Deep breath.

I've been here before. When I get tired I'm susceptible to depression. That's just something I've learned about myself. And a "red flag" that indicates that I might be heading down that road is when I can't find the motivation to do things that I usually find fun. 

Aha! I think we've gotten to the bottom of things now.

What now?

Thankfully, over the past few years I've developed a "box of tricks" to put into action when I feel myself starting on the downward slide. I'd like to share them with you.

1. I am my own best friend. I love myself and care for myself.

The important thing for me to remember is to not wait for someone else to take care of me. By all means, I should speak up and tell those close to me what I need. I should ask for help. And because I have awesome people around me, I will receive love and care. But I must not wait passively, hoping that others will notice that I need a bit of extra care. And I must not rely on others to provide me with all the love and care that I need.

I must put on my "big girl pants" and think about what I really need and make it happen. I'm an adult and it's my job to say "yes" or "no" to things as is appropriate to my needs. It's my job to make my needs my first priority. I'm no good to anyone else unless I'm healthy and happy.

2. What feels good in the moment isn't always good for me.

It's tempting when I'm feeling a bit down to try to pick myself up by spending money or eating lots of chocolate or hibernating. And although I can kid myself that I'm giving myself a much deserved treat, these things don't really make me feel any better. Again, it's time for the "big girl pants" and a sensible approach to what will really make me feel good. As boring as it might sound, eating healthy foods and exercising and getting amongst it with friends and activities are actually the things that feel good in the long term. I very much enjoy a glass of wine, but when I'm pouring myself a glass every night I know that the alarm bells are sounding.

3. Writing helps me to work through what I'm thinking and feeling.

Everyone's different. Maybe writing isn't your thing, but it works for me. I don't always do it this way, in a public forum. I keep a journal beside my bed, and I find it helpful to write last thing at night or first thing in the morning. Just like in this blog post, I find that even if I start off not knowing what I'm going to write about, I always find that as the page gets filled, my thoughts and feelings unravel before me and start to make sense. 

Guess what? I feel better now. Ready to face my "to do" list.

I think I might take the dog for a walk and get some fresh air.

*** This post has been a bit like doing therapy in public. I hope I haven't overshared. I also hope that this post may have helped you in some way. ***

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lost: one woman's mojo

It's been a strange week.

This time last week I had just finished my last day of work at the uni library. I had worked four days a week for  seven weeks. 

It was a great experience. A foot in the door. A fabulous opportunity. 

And I actually enjoyed the work. It provided me with just the right amount of challenge. The hours were great. The people were nice. No down side.

And yet, when it finished I was looking forward to having more free time. To blogging more. To getting back into my much neglected Twitter account. To reading. Pottering about the house. 

You get the drift.

Somehow, it just hasn't lived up to what I was expecting.

I've been grumpy. I haven't felt like I've achieved anything even though I've been racing around like a blue-tailed fly. What's with that?

I obviously  haven't transitioned very smoothly back into my "normal" routine.

As I write I am enjoying a glass of "chardy" and planning to hop into a lovely deep hot bath. With a book.

Wish me luck in finding my mojo.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Photos of summer salads

I accidentally published my previous post a bit early. For recipes, click here.

I meant to add some photos.

Here is my Green Bean Salad.

It turned out yummy, and tasted pretty much exactly like the one at ate at the cafe. So yay for me and my awesome palate and for being able to work out a recipe after eating a dish just once. Maybe I should consider auditioning for Masterchef!

Here is the Warm Potato Salad.

Roast Potato and Bacon

Adding the dressing...

The finished product.

And it tasted just as yummy as I remembered it.

A great success all round :)
For the first time in what seems like ages, I've been doing some creative cooking today.

The weather is warm enough for a barbie for dinner and so I'm experimenting with a couple of salads to go with our steak. Mmmmm steak...

The first salad I'm calling Green Bean Salad. It was inspired by something I ate at a cafe near me. As soon as I began eating I knew that it was something I would try to recreate at home. It just seemed so perfect for the warmer weather and was a treat for the senses - the crunch of the beans complemented by the creaminess of the avocado; the peppery-ness of the rocket a perfect foil for the sweetness of the mango. 

I'm sharing the "recipe" below, but be warned! I fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to cooking. I've created my own version of the dish based only on my experience of eating it once. I may need to tweak the recipe a bit for next time. 

A couple of big handfuls of raw green beans, topped and tailed and cut into two-inch pieces.
A couple of big handfuls of baby rocket.
Half a large red capsicum, sliced as finely as possible.
Half a spanish onion, sliced as finely as possible.
A large avocado cut into small chunks.
A large mango cut into small chunks.
A drizzle of red wine vinegar.
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Toss the beans, rocket, capsicum and onion in a salad bowl.
Dress with vinegar first, then oil.
Gently toss through avocado and mango just before serving.

The second salad is one that my sister served us recently. I helped her make it that day, so though I didn't have the recipe in front of me when I made it today, at least I had a fairly good idea of what went into it. Here's my version of Warm Potato Salad.

Enough new potatoes for everyone, cut into bite-size chunks. (I used about 750 grams. I didn't actually weigh them. I'm just guessing.)
A generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Diced bacon. (I used four short-cut rindless rashers.)
About half a cup of whole egg mayonnaise.
About a quarter of a cup of sour cream. (I used "light". Who was I kidding?)
Three good teaspoons of wholegrain mustard.

Fry the bacon.
Put the potatoes into a baking dish and toss in the oil. Sprinkle the bacon over.
Bake the potatoes in a hot oven for 40 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking time.
Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream and mustard for the dressing.
Put the cooked potatoes into a serving dish and dress immediately.
Allow the salad to cool a little before serving.
Can be refrigerated and served cold.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Braving bare legs with body bronzer

Spring weather is very unpredictable where I live.

One minute you're enjoying wearing a short skirt with bare legs and stressing about the whiteness of said bare legs. The next you're layering up with jeans and cardigans.

The other day we had an awesome warm springish day and I decided to bite the bullet and wear a skirt with no stockings, tights or other leg covering materials. I'm super brave like that now!

I just needed a little something to give me the confidence to bare my legs, so I decided to give some Le Tan Body Bronzer a go. It's like make-up for your body. You can click on the link to visit Le Tan's website and check out the product for yourself. I didn't receive any for free or anything. I'm not being paid or compensated to write this post. I just like to share information when I can.

I applied the lotion generously to my legs and then washed my hands with soap and water to avoid having bronzed sparkly hands all day. My legs looked pleasantly golden with a little bit of a shimmer. I was a little bit worried about the shimmer to be honest. I work in a library and I didn't want my legs to look like they were dressed for the disco! It wasn't a problem, however, because the shimmer is subtle and only really shows up under strong light. Out in the sunshine I glittered a little, but not enough to look like I was auditioning for a role in a Twilight movie!

The bronzer stayed put on my legs all day and didn't rub off onto my clothes. When I showered it washed right off with soap and water. I think I'm a convert now!

Do you have any little tricks that give you a bit more confidence to face the world? I'd love to hear them.

And if Le Tan want to send me a truckload of Body Bronzer I'm happy to receive it!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Skinny Ass Saturday

I just thought I'd share...

I'm on the Maintenance Plan with Weight Watchers now!

As soon as I got below 58 kg I clicked "maintain this weight". No more losing for me!

Maintenance is awesome. I get 6 more points a day - hooray!

I've been on it for all of one week but it's going great so far. What's not to love about 6 points more each day? Except for the fact that in the back of my mind I've been a teeny bit worried that those 6 points were the only thing standing between me and obesity. You know the irrational fear that as soon as you stop losing weight you will automatically start gaining again? 

I started maintenance at 57.9 kg and was determined to stay under 58 kg. So I wasn't giving myself much room to move! This morning I checked my weight and it was 57.3 kg. So now I'm feeling a bit more relaxed about the whole thing.

I'm going to link this post up with my pal Brandy at You Don't Know.

Please click through to visit Brandy and encourage her to keep up the good work!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Almost too busy to read.

What have you been reading?

Unfortunately, my life has reached a level of busyness that has rendered me almost too busy to read. What??? I didn't think it was possible.

I used to tell people that insisted that they were too busy to read that it would never happen to me. I have my priorities! But I'm struggling these days to get through a book in two weeks, sneaking in a few minutes of reading here and there wherever I can. What is the world coming to?

I have discovered two series that I'm enjoying.

I've started reading Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series. Click here to visit Kelley's website.

The first book in the series is Bitten. It tells the story of Elena, the only female werewolf in the world, and her attempt to live a normal human life. Trouble in the werewolf pack draws her back into the supernatural world and into danger...

I'm currently reading the second book, Stolen

The other series that I've discovered is Nora Robert's Circle Trilogy. Click here to visit Nora's website.

The first book in the series is Morrigan's Cross. It begins in medieval Ireland with the sorcerer Hoyt battling the vampyre Lilith, but the action quickly moves to modern-day New York where we meet the beautiful and powerful witch Glenna. Hoyt and Glenna are charged by the goddess Morrigan to assemble an army to fight the vampyres and rescue humankind from annihilation...

I'll soon be heading to my library to borrow the second book in the series, Dance of the Gods.

Have you got any new favourite books lately? Any authors that I should be looking out for?

Happy reading :)