Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just one of those things...

...where weeks can go by and you realise you haven't "blogged" for a while. Sometimes, work and life just take over and before you know it a month has passed, or possibly longer, and you've been absent

Some bloggers are turning to Facebook or Instagram or even Twitter to keep in touch on a more regular basis.

Me? Umm no.

Blogging may not be as popular as it once was, with many relying on social media to let everyone know what they're up to... but I rather like this "old fashioned" way of staying in touch

Don't get me wrong...all of those other forms of keeping up to date with what everyone's doing is fine for some...but I find there's just so much "white noise" on social media that I just can't bring myself to go there. In a time when privacy laws are so rigid you can't even talk to someone about your telephone or power bill without having to answer half a dozen questions about your mothers maiden name and the name of your first pet, I just don't understand why so many are so willing to divulge every last detail of their personal lives to perfect strangers.

Anyway...that's just me. Each to their own. I'll stick what makes me feel comfy...and that is BAKING

A couple of weeks ago, MONT and I headed to Bonnie Doon for the weekend and on our way we stopped at Yea to call into the (fabulous) butcher to see what he had on offer... I also dropped in to a small cafe to see what I could find for our afternoon tea and came out with what felt like the heaviest and biggest piece of carrot cake I'd ever seen...it was dark, chunky and absolutely delicious!

So I thought I'd try to replicate it.

Mine's not quite there... but close.





It's a lot darker than other carrot cakes I've made....


It's also a lot "chunkier', with more nuts, fruit and grated carrot...




But boy...it sure tastes good.

Ingredients.
------------

4 cups grated carrot
1 cup sultanas
1 cup walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup of olive oil - or oil of your choice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
dollop yogurt





Preheat oven to 150 degrees and grease and line a cake tin of your choice. I used a 22 cm round tin with high sides

Put the flour, spices almond meal and baking powder in a bowl and mix together.

Grate the carrots and put in a bowl and mix in the nuts and sultanas.

Beat the eggs and sugar until they're fluffy then add the oil and mix for a few seconds.

Add the carrots, fruit and nuts and fold though ...then fold through the flour and spice mix

Put the baking soda in a bowl with a dollop of yogurt and a splash of milk and mix together until it starts to bubble and expand then mix it into the cake mix. The batter should be thick and runny

Put the batter in the cake tin and bake for about an hour, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. The time will vary a little depending on the size of your cake tim

Let it cool before you ice it.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
---------------------------------

In a mixing bowl, add 3 cups of icing sugar, the juice of half a small lemon and about 100 grams of softened cream cheese, then beat together until light and creamy...ice your cake

The amount of icing sugar can vary slightly depending on the size of the cake tin you used or how thick you like your frosting

ENJOY!!



Thursday, February 13, 2014

BEST. GIFT. EVER! ! !

It's funny what excites us and makes us happy.

Me? I'm a pretty practical person...I'm not a girl who's into lots of jewellery or expensive nick-nacks. As far as gifts go, I like things that I can use... so to some I guess I could be considered a bit hard to buy for around Birthday's and Anniversaries

Not really. Not if you know me...and MONT knows me well.

He came home this week and produced this out of his work truck...



 WOO HOO!!!!

This is the sort of gift that really makes me smile because I know it's going to get a LOT OF USE!


There's nothing like a new addition to the DIY box! I can't wait to take it for a run...
 .

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Making home work

Discussions and planning of the kitchen re-vamp are coming along nicely. No firm decisions have been made yet but we have come up with some potentially good ideas that we're pretty excited about

Now I deliberately used the word  "WE"  because MONT has been active in these discussions, which is fabulous, because he's not usually all that interested in the finer details of these things.

For example, when I was painting and putting together the master bedroom and asked what he would like, his response was "I don't care". He is a pretty easy-going sort of fellow...but deep down he does care because I know if I presented him with a room full of cabbage roses and pink frills, he'd certainly let me know what he thought!

Anyway, as I was wandering around the web, I came across Lauren Conrad's blog...and her post on decorating tips for couples.

You can check out Lauren's tips right here

She has some good advice on what you should consider when there are a couple of people who have a lot in common in some areas...and not so many in others, namely decorating choices.

Which brings me back to my little kitchen


I showed you this photo of one section of my kitchen  in my last post.. One of our ideas is to turn the area into a smallish butlers pantry.

We'd erect a wall where the bulkhead is, install a bench and cupboards where the fridge currently is and put the sink and dishwasher in there. The wall could then hold a lot of open shelving for all the pantry bits and pieces (thanks for the idea Natalie) ...and the fridge would be moved out to where my mixer is (on the right).




The other idea that Natalie suggested is to move the oven underneath the existing cook-top. This idea was also suggested by a friend of ours who is a builder, but he took it a step further and said we could gain more bench space by getting rid of that corner area where the oven currently is and squaring up the bench.

He also thought our idea of getting rid of that small ledge that divides the kitchen and dining room and extending the bench was a good one...I've even thought about putting a small sink in the new bench as well...but that's just an idea floating around my brain at the moment

So, that's where we are at the moment. Some of other "out there" ideas, like eliminating the built in robe in the second bedroom to give us more floor space in the kitchen and knocking out part of the wall into the dining room have been knocked on the head...

We've got two more "kitchen" people to talk to and hopefully they'll come up with even more, fresh ideas

Here's hoping

Monday, January 13, 2014

It's a wrap

I was shocked (and annoyed) a few weeks back to discover that my vinyl wrapped kitchen doors have started to "lift".

I know it hasn't been caused by heat because a couple of doors are nowhere near the oven or dishwasher... so it's probably just a case of inferior glue being used when constructing the doors....or maybe the glue has a limited life and this is what happens to most vinyl wrapped doors.. I don't know

Admittedly they're over ten years old but the darn glue should hold the vinyl to the door base a bit longer than that, surely.



Whatever...I'm not happy.

So it's got me thinking about a little kitchen re-vamp because I don't want vinyl wrapped doors again and I need more bench space!

At the moment I have very little bench space and it's getting annoying and very crowded.

When I first purchased Number 10 and started renovating I was doing it just for me...and I was really happy with it. Then MONT came along and things changed a bit and got a bit squeezy.

Then his girls all got married and have since had little ones and when they're all over here for dinner, like at Christmas, and there are 16 of us for dinner...well  "squeezy" doesn't even start to describe it adequately...


Not to mention that the main bit of bench I do have to work at is right over the oven...so it can get pretty warm there. Not nice

So...what to do?



MONT's talking about a big re-vamp. He's thinking high gloss doors and a glass splash back with some sort of stone bench top, which is all well and good, but the problem is bench space and how to create more of it?

One option we've talked about is moving the sink over to the bench on the left, where my "old girl" is perched...then knocking out the raised wall area above the dishwasher (and existing sink space) to make it sort of like a breakfast bar into the dining room, which would give us a wider bench area.


That means this little bench on the left (where my cat is) and my smallish pantry would have to go to make way for a wider bench to take the depth of the sink....and that leads to another problem.

This area fills in a little void created by a built in robe in the second bedroom.. so I'd be left with the bench and cupboards underneath it, sticking out


You can see the area on the right in the photo above

So what to do? Have some open shelving to take up the extra 23cm  (9 inches) that would be created with the wider bench? But then, what to do with the floor to ceiling cupboards that surround the fridge?

Move the sink somewhere else? But where?  This is all the bench space I have.

At one stage I considered trying to close in that area where the fridge is and making it a walk in pantry, but it's just not big enough, so that's out.

I need fresh eyes on this...so we're getting a couple of kitchen guys that MONT knows to come in and, hopefully,  give us some new ideas.

I've been trawling through magazines and Pinterest looking at kitchen designs...but unfortunately, if you don't have a large space with a nice big open floor plan, then all you get is kitchen envy and I don't want to have to start knocking down walls into the study for instance (which is behind the cook top area) to get more floor and bench space space in the kitchen

Old houses huh? They're always a challenge!

Friday, December 13, 2013

New bedhead

It's taken me some time to find a bedhead for our bedroom...in fact it's taken me some time to actually finish the bedroom altogether. What has it been now...2, 3 years?

Well, it's still not finished completely, but that's OK.

Anyway, a bedhead I bought on eBay a while back just wasn't doing it for me...even after it was painted



So I kept searching and came across this one...



It's simple and plain and cost me the princely sum of $17. I knew I could spruce it up with a bit of paint.



First sanding and undercoat


Second undercoat


...and now all finished. It's not strictly plain white. I did the first top coat in white and it was looking a bit stark, so toned it down a little with a couple of dribbles of Bristol's South Pole, which is not dissimilar to Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl.  At least that's how it looked when we put the two colour samples together in the store



It goes into the bedroom this weekend.

I finished painting the other old bedhead and it's been sold on...

I applied the three R's: Re-use, Re-paint and Re-sell.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How they get us in

I don't know about you, but I'm not a big fan of the way our major supermarkets operate...it's one of the reasons I don't shop at them very much any more.

It's also why I refuse to have one of their store loyalty cards, which are just another tool for them to gather data about me and my shopping habits and therefore, market their products to me...

Anyway, I was looking over the Saturday Age newspaper at the weekend and came across this.

The Drive section of the paper isn't one I normally look at, but this article got my attention

If you have a couple of minutes....check it out



It sort of backs up what I've thought about our large supermarkets for some time

If you're having trouble reading it, you can see it here

Monday, December 9, 2013

Twinkle toes

I like nothing better than treating myself to a little pampering, to be precise, I love a pedicure...you can keep facials, manicures and massages, for me a pedicure is the best

But recently my experiences with pedicures and alleged beauty therapists has been less than perfect

In fact, the last two pedicures I've had drew blood !!


So, while watching TV the other day I saw an add for this little beauty ....so I bought myself one

It was on sale for $29.99 at a certain discount chemist... so thought why not pay $30 for this instead of the local pedicurist who

1. Doesn't use any form of moisturiser or cuticle cream
2. Looks amazed when you flinch, then squeezes the toe she just gouged until blood shows
and 3... tells you to take a Nurofen, if the pain persists!!

The joys of pampering huh?

Anyway, I've used this "machine" once and it was amazing!! It really works and I'm so, so glad I got one. I can't recommend it highly enough

Thanks Scholl..

This post is NOT sponsored and I purchased this item with my own money 


Sunday, December 8, 2013

I've never met a fairy light I didn't like

Number 10 has two Christmas trees this year.

The rustic, earthy one, still with foliage connected...


 ...and the all new improved, super-beaut illuminated version


Now, the plan was to have this one inside and the earthy gum tree one on the back deck...but...


...this one was SO bright, it made our small living room look like we had a spotlight directed right at us...so it was moved to the back deck...and I have to say it looks fantastic out there.


It illuminates the deck so well we don't need any other lighting out there, except of course another string of fairy lights.
I gave it a test run on Friday night when we had our neighbours in for a Christmas get together...and it was perfect.


I think the kids will love them both when they're here for the annual "festival of meat" the Saturday night before Christmas...


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pale and hopefully, interesting

So the Number 10 Christmas tree is again non-traditional. Just a few sticks thrown together

MONT had a trip to Kinglake last week and brought me home some lovely branches..

I started with this to make sure it was going to "work"



Then took to it with a couple of cans of spray paint...white undercoat to be exact.

I didn't want it to be saturated with the white paint, I wanted more of a white-washed look

...and I think I achieved that



The decorations are all neutral too....just a slight hint of pale pink on a couple


...and plenty of crystals and baubles...


Then I added a couple of lights...not too many, but maybe it needs a few more


Almost there...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Limoncello time again

Bottles? - check

Vodka? - check

Sugar syrup? - check

Lemons? - check, check, check!!





...and you'll need about 6 weeks and some patience to transform these little beauties, 

Into these...



Which eventually become this.



Take my word for it...it's a mighty tasty drop