Category Archives: In Here

still on haitus

So hello,
I thought I would put a brief explanation of my haitus. To put it simply: my camera phone has been broken & I’m unable to transfer photos. I hope to begin again soon but money has prevented me from getting a cable so far. I hope you, in blog world & the real world, are having as good a year as I am.

Thank you.

January = wonder woman me.

So I’m doing The January Cure through Apartment Therapy. You spend the month getting some projects done and identifying housey-home* things that need fixing either this month or over the year.

If my desk area looked like this right now, i would be so happy. Planning to replace it with a cupboard big enough for the filing cabinet to go inside. Will just spin aimlessly on the chair in the centre of the room.

If my desk area looked like this right now, i would be so happy. Planning to replace it with a cupboard big enough for the filing cabinet to go inside. Will just spin aimlessly on the chair in the centre of the room.

So far, I have done things like: create a project list, vacuumed and washed the floors (ok, no I didn’t, Ben did because he said he would and they look awesome!), buy flowers, cleaned up the kitchen (but yet to tackle the pantry of dank, dark doom and forgotten corners. Doesn’t that sound like a Harry Potter book? Harry Potter and the pantry of forgotten corners…) and picked projects to tackle this January (fix the kitchen sink washers and re-hang my inspiration board which fell off the wall, oh I don’t know… 3 months ago?), choose a piece of art to hang (inspiration board). <– This is an appallingly long sentence. Sorry about that.

The lonely inspiration board that fell off the wall. Currently in that position because it hides a power point and cord nicely. Oh, and the fabulous lady in the photo is my Great Aunt, aged 92.

The lonely inspiration board that fell off the wall. Currently in that position because it hides a power point and cord nicely. Oh, and the fabulous lady in the photo is my Great Aunt, aged 92.

The 8th project is to plan a party or get together. Not sure on that one, although Ben’s birthday is coming up.

Another area I wish currently looked like this. it's far more crowded than this picture and the worst part is that I actually use it all regularly. Ben bakes bread, I like to bake everything else, we use random annoying foods like nutritional yeast, chia and spirulina and who doesn't like approximately 20 spices with which to cook?

Another area I wish currently looked like this. it’s far more crowded than this picture and the worst part is that I actually use it all regularly. Ben bakes bread, I like to bake everything else, we use random annoying foods like nutritional yeast, chia and spirulina and who doesn’t like approximately 20 spices with which to cook?

My Facebook status this morning was:

So I’m feeling quite superwoman today: I’ve jogged, I’ve eaten my raw chia cacao pudding with strawberries and homemade almond milk, I’ve yoga-cised, done at assortment on housey-home things and plan to go to Bunnings to get new light bulbs and washers for the kitchen. All I need to do is prison time for tax-fraud and I’d be a regular (granola version) Martha Stewart.

If I can get a handle on the desk and the pantry before I go back to work (whilst remembering to finish writing and editing an article and planning two more… sleep? what?) I will be a happy person.

Oh, and do my tax returns for the last 2 years. No really. I should probably do that.

 

*Housey-home came from this one time where Ben and I watched 100 episodes of Tobuscus playing Minecraft on Youtube. The term has stuck. No I don’t do drugs. Yes, I clearly needed a better hobby at that point in my life.

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New Year, New Job!

So if you’ve been following me for a little while you’ll know that in 2013 I went part time in pursuit of happiness. This was a tough, but fantastic decision. Did it increase my quality of life? You betcha. It was still a difficult year because Ben was diagnosed with a long term illness that compromises his life quality, but work improved through the roof. I can honestly say I’m happy and whole at work. I relaxed a lot and got to know the amazing (and frankly, fucking crazy) people I work with much better.

I ummed and ahhhed about whether to go back to full time this year. I decided part time, told the bosses, then found out I missed out on a short-term position because I was too hard to replace. Luckily, they’re awesome and let me change my mind.

I had a lot of good things lined up for 2014, it was tipped to be a good work year. Little did I know things were going to change before they even began. Just before we went on holidays for the year, I was asked (no expression of interest, I was just asked!) to fill a position for one year because a colleague is leaving. It will mean a busier schedule during the day, but much, much less take home work. It will mean more responsibility and decision making, will be amazing on my resume, is a very rare opportunity for someone in my field and most importantly, I will be working with people in an area I love and am passionate about.

To top it off, I’ll be doing some more academic writing, being a keynote at a local conference and hopefully will attend my field’s national conference to present a workshop- something I did last year when it was in Brisbane and loved.

I feel that my hard work is being recognised and am looking forward to kicking some arse this year- with work, with relationships and with happiness. Can you just feel the ridiculous happiness radiating from your computer?! Then go and have a green smoothie, because you’ve been at the computer too long 😛

What opportunities are you going to make the best of this year?

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Happy New Year!

So this will come out while I’m still away at Hervey Bay but:

Here’s to good friends

Here’s to good food

Here’s to good health

Here’s to good work

Here’s to good love

Here’s to happiness in abundance in the New Year and beyond.

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Christmas Eve Update

So I’m often at my happiest when I’m pottering around. As a vego, no one ever expects me to do anything for Christmas lunch (which is good because I couldn’t do meat) and so, with my gift wrapping done and a fair whack of my friends caught up with, I have time between now and Christmas Day to relax.

So today I’ve:

  • Done more yoga badly on the balcony. This is one of my favourite things.
  • Gone for a jog. When will my face stop looking like a lobster?
  • Gone for a walk with Ben (see photo below).
  • Spent far too long trawling through apartment therapy just because I can.
I can't believe this little pocket of green is in Highgate Hill opposite the University of Queensland. Brisbane really is an amazing, natural city!

I can’t believe this little pocket of green is in Highgate Hill opposite the University of Queensland. Brisbane really is an amazing, natural city!

This year, for the first time in over 6 years, I will be spending Christmas morning and evening with my parents. We will start the drive soon. Ben and I have traveled a lot over the Christmas breaks past- to New Caledonia, to Europe (how I miss Christmas in Berlin!) and twice to volunteer at Woodford Folk Festival- not to mention Christmases we spend with Ben’s family, so this is very special to me! We are still spending Christmas lunch with Ben’s family but the change to spend time with my mum and dad is precious.

I will be taking a blogging break between now and the New Year, although I can’t resist scheduling some posts with seasonal photos plus a delicious savoury baked brie I whipped up when friends came over for Christmas Eve’s Eve. Look out for them over the next couple of days. I have a couple of great restaurants to review and some recipes that sure, should have been posted before Christmas, but it doesn’t have to be Yule time to enjoy chocolate bark and other goodies. I also have some musings about the New Year and what that will have in store. Ben and I are also going away for three days to Hervey Bay with friends. This is the first time we’ve had a holiday since Europe, unless you count last NYE’s camping disaster, which we don’t. We really don’t.

I know that for many, Christmas is a stressful time, so I hope you grab any quiet moments that come by, breathe deeply and enjoy.

Ben and I don’t actually celebrate Christmas, so I will wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, a Super Solstice (summer, not winter down here!) and all the best.

See you in the New Year!

xo

Bris Vegas Vego

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All wrapped up- Quick and easy gift tags

So I prefer to create home made presents for Christmas. Ben has a lot of family and buying up to two dozen presents on one wage can be difficult. In the past we’ve made roasted garlic in olive oil, chutney, breakfast hampers with nice mugs, homemade preserves, homemade muesli and teas, and all sorts of things.

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Mum, Dad and my sister’s gifts just asking to be tagged (and some of my summer reading behind it).

This year, we ran out of time and energy and bought most of our gifts. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t have homespun wrapping. As well as salt dough ornaments, our gifts this year are wrapped with easy peasy gift tags.

There was no template or fuss, just chopping paper into slips and then trimming the edges to look like old fashioned tags and punching a hole in the narrow end. I used the same stamps as the salt dough ornaments to put some pretty on them. Yellow paper for Ben’s family tags and brown for mine.

I think they turned out nicely.

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What do you think?

Do you make any gifts from scratch?

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Nailed it- Salt Dough Ornaments

So this year I jumped on the Salt Dough trend train that I saw all over Pinterest. It was super easy and although my attempts were a bit clumsy (see zombie gingerbread boy below), I had fun and made a cute decoration to go next to people’s gift tag.

 

YOU WILL NEED:

2 cups white flour

1 cup salt

1 cup water

(optional: food dye, cinnamon, etc.)

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Add your ingredients together and knead. I should have done this for longer, because the dough wasn’t as smooth after it had cooked as I would have liked.

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Roll out thinly. I used my super duper marble rolling pin that was a gift from Ben a couple of years back, but even a wine bottle with work (and did for me for many years).

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The thinner you roll it, the better it works out. Our better ones were the ones that were quite thin.

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We stamped patterns into them using a standard ink and stamp set. Holes were made by pressing then end of a drinking straw into the dough. I used all the dough that wasn’t stamped to roll out another layer and make even more ornaments. The second batch I remembered to flour the bench!

We baked them in the oven at 100C for 3 hours. We ended up baking them for closer to 4.5 because some were a bit thick.

TIPS: I sprayed the baking paper on my trays very lightly, but found that my ornaments stuck to the bench and didn’t want to move without stretching, so I had to be very careful. The trade off, however, is if you flour the bench you end up with dusty ornaments. I’d probably spray the bench next time. Also, keep the oven temperature down- you’re drying out the dough, not cooking it! If your oven is too high, your dough with brown and your ornaments won’t be white/off-white.

Everybody has an ornament on their present. Except this little guy, who will be leading the zombie apocalypse:

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I’ll be posting one or two more restaurant reviews and using the same stamps that I used for salt dough ornaments to make some gift tags for presents. Gift tags are much safe than dough!

If you’re not online much over the holiday period, I hope they’re everything you want them to be.

Stay safe. Avoid zombies.

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Homespun gifts

So I love thinking of gifts! I try not to let the birthday ball drop just because Christmas is all over the place. I’m sure that you’ve been caught out buying someone a present because you just had to get them something and the “what” you got them took second place. I know I have. So for a friend’s birthday recently who loves natural skin care (we have actually covered our faces in green clay in the name of fun and skincare even though I came out in a rash) I wanted to get her something she would like:

  • A bamboo scrubber mitt
  • Coconut and brown sugar scrub
  • Oatmeal and honey soap
  • Rosewater spray

She assures me the coconut scrub left her face baby smooth. It’s so nice discovering your friends have yet another thing in common with you- reminds you why you’re destined to help each other bury bodies together one day. This isn’t really homemade but it’s homespun. Is that close enough?

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In a noodle box to look extra cute! (And maybe because all my wrapping paper has Christmas pictures on it).

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DIY Lavender Eye Pillows. Anyone could make them!

So I love making gifts.

If only my lavender plant still looked like this. Brown thumb!

If only my lavender plant still looked like this. Brown thumb!

I made several lavender eye pillows because I had lot of birthdays and found good quality loose lavender from Handmade Naturals on Gladstone Road in Highgate Hill.

I started by figuring out how big I wanted the pillows by using my own eye pillow (the purple one) to measure the size. You might recognise the fabric from my maxi skirt post.

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I made the first one by hand until Ben took pity on my and used the sewing machine to help me. I married the right man.

It’s as simple as it looks: folded the wrong way, sew two sides. Turn the right way out, fill with lavender, then fold edges in and sew last side (or hand sew using backstitch, which I did for the one you see above).

About five eye pillows (one super big one is not shown here) for less than half an hour's work. The blue ones have a plain blue fabric on the other side.

About five eye pillows (one super big one is not shown here) for less than half an hour’s work. The blue ones have a plain blue fabric on the other side.

One of the great things about this gift is that you can use up pretty fabric scraps you have, as you can see I did here. The black and white fabric was used for a skirt, the Morrocan white and blue is destined to be a table cloth.

I tied these up with a spray bottle of rosewater with a piece of raffia (and when I had run out, brown string) but of course these could be part of a much larger gift, or a simple “just because” gift. Ben has also made much larger versions of these using old denim and beans/rice as heat packs. These were the coziest things in winter (and lived inside our clothes and blankets!).

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Cute and easy. A great last-minute Christmas gift.

Do you make any gifts at Christmas? What sorts?

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