As you know we have brought our first family home. We tackled the big jobs on moving in like eradicating the purple people eater of a fireplace, the deck which we built from the ground up … literally and we turned a stripey blue kitchen into a beautiful space which has allowed me to create wonderful food.
We had Pintrest boards for days. These were vital to planning what we wanted because even though they were all very different it highlighted the aspects and looks we did like.
Unfortunately the Lotto gods haven’t been in our favour so we are working with the old budget nightmare.
Both Luke and I sat down and worked out what we wanted out of the space, what were the non negotiable and what were the nice to haves (basically the things that I really really wanted but I needed to work on him to get them!).
What we wanted out of the space.
As a family of 5 we wanted and needed functionality. We were lucky that the original lay out had TONNES of bench space. One thing ticked off the list. There was also the perfect kitchen triangle. Sink, fridge and stove all connect for an easy flow kitchen.
Our non negotiable/this must go or stay.
TO GET RID OF THE STRIPES!!!
While I loved the fact that the previous owner was mad about colour and patterns that is just not us. We got to work stripping the wood back and the original plan was to stain it all for a rustic/industrial feel. Half way through the paint stripping it dawned on us there was ALOT of wood and by alot I mean ALOT!
Plan overhaul number one. After much negotiation (a polite way of saying that I was not loving what the husband was thinking) we settled on white subway tiles halfway up the wood paneling, adding a scotia rail and painting the rest in Resene Quarter Black White water based enamel.
We (my step-dad and I) tiled the whole kitchen and I got in there an grouted. It was a pretty epic job but I am so happy with how it turned out. With stained hand and cracked nails I wasn’t going to win any hand modeling contests but the charcoal grout and white subway tiles are clean and simple. But also easy to clean and easy to add colour when moods and trends change.
On to the beautiful cabinetry. Apart from the deep blue/purple hue it’s bloody well made and solid wood. Very solid Luke informed me when he was cutting it out to fit the new dishwasher in because I measured it wrong – whoopsie on my part! Back to the cabinetry. New handles and a coat on Resene Nero we will be away laughing (again I have done one door and am yet to find handles I like – can you tell I don’t have enough hours in the day?)
New appliances were our other non-negotiable. I love cooking on gas and our previous rental had it (please note at the time of writing this we still have not had our beautiful gas stove fitted – we are useless!!).
On settlement of this place we had a little money to spare so splashed out on a new stainless steel fridge and gas hob and oven but my life was not complete until the holy trinity was completed and the new dishwasher arrived just before Christmas. Best Christmas present ever!!
My wants – Luke’s nice to haves.
I would love new work benches. Now I don’t need hand milled marble from Italy I am a pretty simple gal. We have been looking and playing but nothing is locked in yet all I know is that I am thinking a white/pale bench would look amazing with the tiles and cabinetry. Do we go laminate? Do we go vinyl (DIYers dream)? Do we save and get engineered stone? Goodness there are so many options both with their own pros and cons. Hence this one is on the nice to have list!!
Another want is a new sink and taps. While the one we currently have is fine and functional I secretly have my heart set on a deep butlers sink. One big enough to bath a baby in it (not that I have one of those anymore!) because our current sink would just about wash the hind legs of Lloyd the Pug if we were lucky. The idea of a sink that can fit baking dishes and mixing bowls (and a potential baby) is my idea of dish-washing heaven.
The other thing that would take me kitchen to the next level would be probably the most fantastic tap I have ever seen. InSinkErator have made a MultiTap. This genius bit of kitchen wizardry gives you near boiling and filtered water from the same tap! Save time boiling that kettle just turn on the tap!! When making pasta I always add boiled kettle water to my pasta pot to speed up the process. But I probably don’t save any time because I have to boil the kettle twice. If I get this bad boy all I will have to do is turn on the tap!!
Couscous, noodles, tea, coffee, vegetables and washing those hideous roasting pans the list endless of the things it can be used for.
I will also be decluttering the bench because who needs a kettle when your tap is like something from Harry Potter, because it lives under the bench it’s almost invisible!! Also being a MasterChef Australia fan I have seen these at work in their kitchen and cripes. I must have it in my kitchen!!
Here is a link to where you can see them in store for yourself. It’s a kitchen game changer.
So this is our kitchen progress. It’s 75% of the way there. It has been a challenge but it has also made us realise that we are very capable of the ol’ DIY gig. We just need to find the time to finish those last bits to make it perfect. Maybe that is how I can sell the InSinkErator MultiTap to Luke. The time I save boiling the kettle I can have those cabinet doors painted!! Worth a try if you ask me!
I’ve been tutu-ing with my cinnamon rolls AGAIN.
Who doesn’t like Ferrero Rocher?
Well actually my mum doesn’t. She digs chocolate and she loves nuts but it is a cardinal sin to combine the two.
If your like me and love them take the original brioche dough and change up the the filling.
Gooey and rich but not too sweet you will be in heaven.
Ferrero Rocher Filling
150gm Whittakers 65% cocoa chocolate (chopped)
3/4 cup hazelnut spread (any kind) – I’ve used Nutino. Made in Italy and nowhere near as sweet as Nutella.
In a dry pan toast your hazelnuts until brown and toasty smelling. Eyeball them the entire time they burn QUICKLY! Take the hot nuts and place in a tea towel. Rub to remove the bitter skins and roughly chop the nuts.
Roll out the brioche dough and spread out the hazelnut spread. Sprinkle over the nuts and chocolate.
Roll and follow the original recipe.
There is nothing better that hot, sweet and cinnamonny (that’s a word right!?!) buns.
I have been experimenting with a traditional cinnamon roll recipe and this is my version of Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Glaze.
The great thing with the second prove overnight, you look like a baking legend when you rock up at the kindy shared lunch or work morning tea with warm buns!!
1 1/4 teaspoon dried yeast
160ml luke warm milk
3 cups plain flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 free-range eggs
125g butter (melted)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste OR 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
100gm butter (softened)
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 cup of dried fruit or chocolate (optional)
1 1/3 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste OR 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
In a bowl mix together the warm milk and yeast. Leave for five minutes. Make sure your milk is not too hot otherwise you will kill the yeast and your dough will be a dud.
In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar and salt. Melt butter and add to the flour mixture. Lightly whisk the eggs and add the vanilla paste/essence then add to mixing bowl. Lastly add the milk yeast mixture. Place a dough hook on your stand mixer and knead until a thick combined dough is made (roughly 8 minutes). Place in a lightly greased bowl and stand covered in a warm place for 60 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
After it has risen roll out the dough on a lightly floured bench so it’s roughly rectangle shaped and 1cm thick.
For the filling switch from your dough hook to the whisk on your mixer. Add the softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and beat until light and fluffy. Spread over the rolled out dough leaving a 0.5cm edge. Here is where you add any fruit or chocolate. Sprinkle evenly over the filling.
Starting from the longest edge roll into a large sausage. Cut the roll in half then half again. You should then cut those halves into 3. Making 12 rolls.
So there are 2 ways you can go from here. If baking immediately you can grease a baking dish and place the rolls in all comfy and let them proof again for 45 minutes OR you can place the rolls into a greased dish and place in the fridge covered overnight. Don’t put the refrigerated rolls straight in the oven. Pull them out of the fridge 15 mins before hand to warm up a bit!
From here both of these need to be cooked in a preheated oven at 180 degrees (160 degrees if your using fan forced) for 20 minutes. Then loosely cover with foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until cooked. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
In a bowl mix all the glaze ingredients. Spoon the glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls.
This recipe has evolved from a stand at the stove gig to a throw it all in a pan gig.
I am all for making good food as easy as possible. I know the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is spend hours at the stove. Bonus ….. even a husband could make this one!!
TRAY BAKE PASTA
4-6 good quality sausages of your choice (head to your butcher for the best ones!)
1.5kg tomatoes OR 1 jar of pasata sauce if you need to sell a kidney for said tomatoes
1 onion (sliced)
2 springs rosemary
1 handful of thyme
1 pinch of dried chilli flakes (omit or pump it up depending on taste)
salt & pepper
2-3 glugs of good olive oil (I use garlic infused for extra flavour)
Pasta any shape/type but remember shapes are a great carrier for sauces (depending on how many you are feeding. I used 1x 500gm packet to feed my family of 5 with left overs).
Fresh basil leaves
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Add tomatoes, onions, herbs, chilli, salt & pepper to a large baking dish.
Take each sausage and pull the insides into small meatballs. Each sausage makes 5-6 meatballs.
Give it a big glug of olive oil cover with foil and bake for 20-25 mins.
Uncover and smoosh the tomatoes with a fork (if you have used pasata sauce skip this step).
Bake for another 10-15 until brown.
While this is happening cook your pasta in boiling salted water until done. Drain and keep 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
Add the pasta to the baking tray, add the cooking water and with a wooden spoon chuff up the baked on goodness to make the sauce.
Serve with fresh basil and grated parmesan.
Now people I could wax lyrical about the joys of hoovering (vacuuming or luxing depending on where you come from) and housework but let’s face it ……. I bloody hate it.
I am very good at finding essential and must do jobs to get out of it. However the problem is with 3 kids and at this stage no dog (to lick up the crumbs) it doesn’t take long until my house looks like a barnyard.
In the new pad we have carpet in the bedrooms and rimu flooring everywhere else. For us it’s a novelty to have carpet and it’s wonderful not having 5+ rooms all with their own dust bunnies!
If you summed up my cleaning style it would be frantic. A quick whip round before visitors arrive. When Godfreys asked me to try the iVac x10 it seemed to fit perfectly into my cleaning style. Unplug the battery, whip round the house, empty the dust canister and plug it back it. DONE.
I love the fact there is no changing from hard floors to carpet. It flips between both perfectly. It sucks up everything BUT if you’re like me and have small people you tend to hoover up all sorts. When you “accidentally” suck up that Lego the iVac x10 stops and lets you get it out before the get into the workings, bejiggering the mechanisms.
It has some cool little accessories that can get into those couch nooks and crannies as well as nailing the cobwebs that hang out on the ceiling.
Our iVac x10 has a new home in the laundry and at first I thought “ughhhh battery powered, I will have to charge it” but I now have got in the habit of when I have finished using it I just plug it in and it’s good to go for next time.
I never realised how much hoover cords annoyed my until I didn’t have one. It’s so freeing. No finding a plug, un-doing cords and only going so far because the cord won’t reach. I can flick around the WHOLE house in 10 mins now. Now don’t get me wrong I am still not a fan of hoovering but the iVac x10 sure makes it easier!!
The crew at Godfreys have been filled with Christmas cheers and have given me a iVac x10 valued at $299 to giveaway to one of you lovely people.
Hit the link below to enter.
Heading into December it’s Christmas party central. Also we want to look good for Santa when he comes sliding down the ol’ chimney!
The awesome team at Shine On have let me trawl their virtual shelves to find some looks to fit every festive fashion need.
This jumpsuit is AMAZING! Jumpsuits quite intimidating if you’re not 5’10 and the size of a twig. But the slits add flow so you’re less likely to get ol’ camel toe (a notorious jumpsuit issue)!!
Every gal need a pretty dress. This is it. Feminine and just down right pretty.
COLOUR! Want a dress that is a talking point? This is it!
Holy Moses! These are come hither I am one sexy beast shoes!!
I love this dress. Anything with tassels in my book is fun!
You can’t beat a good summer sandal. Dress up or dress down. Skirt, dress or shorts. Anything goes.
3 words. I need this!! The colour is stunning.
Kimonos are the new knickers.Every girl needs them! Wear them over a dress, jeans or shorts. They will be your best friend this summer!!
I have this dress in black and stripes and I get so many comments! Easy to wear, perfect for travelling very forgiving in the pooch department (my problem area!)
Denim shorts. I staple every wardrobe must have. Perfect with that kimono!
I live in these Ancapari slides. So comfortable even being so flat. Perfect for when jandals are a bit too casual.
So ladies and gents get your glad rags on and have fun this holiday season!!
Using the word “busy” for me and my family is an understatement. What with work, sport, school and kindergarten the list is ever growing! There are some days where dare I say it ….. I can’t be arsed cooking and if the kids want noodles for dinner they have noodles for dinner.
Because let’s face it even though we meal plan for the Gods, sometimes we are tired and the idea of cooking is more loathsome than finding half a worm in your apple.
Maggi 2 Minute Noodles are a Kiwi institution. They are the staples for students, first time flatters and men whose other half have gone out! We all have our favourites chicken, beef or oriental are the standards at our place. But Maggi have upped the ante and made sure that our love of noodles comes with the good stuff. We all know that wholegrains keep us regular and Maggi have added invisible wholegrains to their Chicken and Beef noodles. To complete the picture it’s good to know that Maggi noodles are lower in salt than other noodles on the supermarket shelves.
So it got me thinking, how can I use Maggi 2 Minute Noodles in a meal for the family? A meal that is quick, easy and full of the good things.
With summer on the horizon I thought what better way to get a taste of summer by making an Asian Noodle Salad using the Maggi 2 Minute Noodles. Best thing about this salad is that all you need to cook are the noodles (or if you’re feeling fancy you can add prawns). Basically you chop everything up, make the dressing and add the cooked noodles. BOOM DONE!
Then sit back and imagine yourself of a island in Thailand or Bali ……. Oh wait you can’t relax. You have kids!
The best thing about this salad is that you can basically add whatever is in your fridge or cupboard. You just want it to be fresh, crunchy and delish.
Asian Noodle Salad
2 packets Maggi 2 Minute Noodles – with invisible wholegrains.
1 rotisserie chicken OR leftover roast chicken from the night before.
½ an Iceberg lettuce or if preferred a bag of salad greens
1 telegraph cucumber – unless they are $5 each like they are at the moment!!
1 bag of mung beans
1 cup grated or julienned carrot
2-3 spring onions (chopped finely)
A small handful roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon sesame oil
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Pinch of dried chilli (if you like a bite)
Mix until the sugar has dissolved – taste and jiggle quantities to your taste. Put aside.
Cook noodles as per packet instructions (do not add the flavour sachet). Drain and run cold water over them. Drizzle a small glug of sesame oil over to stop them sticking.
Chop lettuce, spring onions, cucumber (if you have sold a kidney) and shred chicken. Place in a large bowl.
Add the noodles, grated carrot, mung beans and roasted peanuts. If you haven’t brought roasted peanuts all you need to do is put peanuts in a dry pan and fry over a medium heat until golden (keep an eye on them as they go from brown to BLACK really quickly!)
Add the dressing and toss.
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We all need to wear pants, unless your name is Kimmy Kardashian BUT even Kim like a pant at times.
Now don’t get me wrong I still love a good jean but this winter I have been wearing the shit out of a good drop crotch pant.
You either love or hate the drop. I bloody love them. My mother bloody hates them and continues to comment on the fact. Bearing in mind I have just had my 31st birthday it’s pretty obvious your mother always has an opinion on EVERYTHING!!
Easy to wear. Dress up or dress down. Day to Night. They really are easy to wear AND frigging comfortable.
Stripes, denim and monochrome all feature in this mamas wardrobe.
Here are my favs.
Madame Midi Stripe $109 from Madame Goblin. These are up there with my favourite ever purchases. I love them almost as much as my children. Sometimes more. They also do small sizes for matchy matching.
ELM Lennox $89.95 from Shineon. More a relaxed fix these are perfect for a relaxing Sunday.
Luxe Fleur Drop Crotch Jeans AU$99.99 from Decjuba. An extreme drop in the crotch area. Not for the faint hearted. Definitely size down.
mumMe Duffle Pant $69.95 from Bam + Boo. No seams and no fading from these bad boys. Bam + Boo are also bringing out also new style with pockets!!
FATE Halston Pant $139.90 from Shineon. Slightly shorter in the leg these pants also the most beautiful fabric. Lil bit shiny and silky. Perfect for the evening with heels.
Luxe Drop Crotch Pant AU$59.95 from Decjuba. You can’t go past a staple. I think I need the grey!!
In life and adulthood there are winners and losers. Now I’m not talking about winning a race or a game of monopoly. Life is full of outcomes good and bad.
That job you really want. Sometimes you are successful and sometimes you are not. The hot guy that you have been seeing turns out to be a bit of a douchebag, you learn and move on. As Grandma would say plenty more fish in the sea!
A paper you have slaved over for weeks sometimes you pass and sometimes you have read the brief completely wrong and your lecturer wants you to re-write. Sitting your driving test and speeding and you get back to the depot only to be told “I am sorry I cannot pass you”. Life it FULL of ups and downs.
Why am I writing this?
Tonight I saw Maria from Happy Mum Happy Child shared a moment from her life on Facebook and it got me thinking …. We as parents try not to let our children fail or be disappointed but are we doing them a disservice in doing so?
Our choices and actions teach us boundaries. Even when they are small, children push those boundaries to learn how far they can go. It’s nature. Failure and disappointment is a natural part of life and in allowing our children not to experience this natural yet shitty part of life are we not teaching them a valuable life lesson.
Imagine getting to 18 and never experiencing disappointment or failure? You would not have the coping mechanisms and strategies on board to realise THIS IS NORMAL. You would not know what was happening and you would feel like your world was ending.
Now I am no expert but looking from the outside in I am seeing a generation of kids who have never experienced disappointment or failure. Never lost a game, race or been told no. There are always “winners” and “losers” in this world. Maybe the words are not the nicest but they are reality.
Are we setting our kids up to “fail” by not teaching them the crucial life lesson?
It saddens me when I hear of schools not allowing “winners” in a race, because the other children will feel disappointment. Does this also not allow the winning child to feel a sense of pride and achievement? It also allows us to be apart of society that cuts achievers down with extreme hatred ….. Tall Poppy Syndrome anyone?
Here in NZ our teen suicide rate is high, too high.
As a mother with a child heading into this turbulent time I hope that I have given him the foundations of life lessons to get him through. I hope I have instilled in him that there is more to life than what can seem like the end of the world.
I would love to hear others thoughts.
Like I said this is only my opinion. I am not a parenting expert or child psychologist. Just a mum speaking as I find.
There is nothing better than a good watch. If your like me I am not a huge watch wearer (because of my job) BUT if I wear one it has to look good!!
Jord Watches are a little bit different because they are made from wood. Yes, you heard me … wood.
There are SO many to choose from different woods, different sizes and coloured faces. I also love the fact they are unisex.
Beautifully presented in a stunning wooden box with little drawers full of waxes, wipes and goodies These watches sure make an impressive gift.
Jord Watches have given me a $100 voucher to give away to one lucky Dot Dash follower. All you need to do is click the link and follow the prompts.
I am wearing the Frankie in Sandalwood and Emerald.