Thursday, 29 May 2014

Delicious Rustic Carrot and Walnut Cake (with Gluten free option)

Last week I made this delicious, moist and rustic carrot and walnut cake and I thought I would share it with you all. The recipe was adapted from a Donna Hay one and if you like really moist, rustic cakes, this is for you! Plus, it has carrot and walnuts in it, so that makes it healthy enough to afford second and third helpings, right?

♥ 1 1/14 cups brown sugar
♥ 3/4 cup vegetable oil
♥ 3 eggs
♥ 1 1/2 cups plain flour (GF plain flour works well in this recipe)
♥ 1/4 cup almond meal
♥ 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
♥ 2 1/2 cups grated carrot (about 5 carrots)
♥ 1 cup chopped walnuts

♥ 250g cream cheese, softened
♥ 1/2 cup icing sugar
♥ 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the sugar and oil in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2–3 minutes. Add the eggs gradually and beat well. Sift the flour and cinnamon over the wet mixture. Add the carrot and walnuts and mix until just combined. Pour into a greased 22cm-round cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 55–60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in tin.
For the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixture in a large bowl for 1-2 minutes. Add the icing sugar and lemon juice and beat until smooth. Spread frosting on the cooled cake and decorate with nuts and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

8 things i've learned so far this year...

1. Home really is where the heart is

2. You can't let bills & housework stress you out

3. How to light a lighter

4. A lot can be achieved with some secondhand furniture and a tin of paint

5. How to duck dive a surfboard (sort of)

6. Exercise does a world of good… but so does rest!

7. Follow your heart

8. You're allowed to have more than one dream job

What have you learned so far this year?

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Questions and Answers

1/ If you could teleport yourself this instant, where would you go?I'd go straight to Bali to see my mum. She is on holiday and I didn't realise how much I'd miss her! Then I'd head to the UK to fulfil the lifelong dream of being there and see my beautiful blogging friends.

2/ What kind of weather do you like the most and why?I love the summer. I'm a total summer baby, and living by the beach, it's nice when I get to enjoy it! Having said that, I am grateful that after our 8 month long summer, it has finally cooled down a bit here, and am enjoying hot chocolate, ugg boots and snuggles on the couch.

3/ What is your earliest memory?This is a hard one! I have so many early memories that I'm not sure if they are actual memories or if I just remember them from photographs. One that I'm pretty sure is real is shortly before my uncle committed suicide, he and his wife picked my sister and I up from our house and took us down to the beach. It wasn't a very sunny day, but we played on the sand with their dogs and had a really great time. My uncle threatened to pick us up by the ears and we ran off screaming as he made little pinching movement with his fingers. It is a precious memory because it's the only one I really have of my Uncle. He passed away when I was 4.

4/ What are you the most proud of?This is an awfully hard question, but I think that I'm proud of myself just for becoming the person I am. For dealing with bullies and chronic illness and depression and anxiety, for surviving living out of home on benefits, for being able to accept defeat when moving out the first time didn't work out and for having the courage to change career paths and study a demanding course just in the hopes of being able to have a fulfilling career one day, even though I am battling an autoimmune disease. I might not win any awards for these things, but I am proud of them!

5/ Describe yourself in five words.Stubborn, intelligent, messy, kind-hearted and strong.

6/ What parts of the world have you been to?I'm yet to explore the big, wide world any further than Sydney (800km south) and Brisbane (250km north).  For now, I'm quite content in my little part of the world with the people I love though.

7/ What is your signature homemade dish?Oooh, I don't know. I make spaghetti bolognese a lot but that's just because it's easy. Most of the dishes I make are really my mum's recipes so maybe I need to get creative and come up with my own?

8/ Swim, run, bike or walk (or roller skate)?Swim! I used to swim about 3km every day in summer and I miss it so much! I still swim in the ocean all the time, but I don't train anymore. I'll have to get back into training.

9/ What book character do you particularly relate to?I wish I could say Katniss Everdeen but that would be a blatant lie. I'd be the first dead in The Hunger Games. I'd say probably Hermione Granger. She is bookish and a bit of an outcast at the beginning of the Harry Potter series, like I was at the beginning of school, but she soon finds her two bed friends and flourishes. I think Hermione and I share a lot of common traits.

10/ Handwrite or type?Type. Having mildly arthritic fingers makes holding a pen painful and I have writing like a doctor. It's awful!

11/ What are you grateful for this week?I'm grateful for my loving boyfriend, for my home, for kind-hearted bloggers and good friends, and for passionate activists in my community who proved the power of peaceful protest over the past month at the Bentley Blockade. 


Thank you to Charlotte for nominating me to answer these questions and giving me a path back into writing posts! A question and answer post was just what I needed to reignite by blogging spark! I nominate Libby, Leona, Sophie, Amy, Tori and Bee to answer my questions:

1/ Where is your ideal home and what does it look like?
2/ What are your 5 dream pizza party guests?
3/ Favourite lines from a song?
4/ Who do you think you were in a past life?
5/ Best and worst books you have read?
6/ True vintage or knock off pieces?
7/ Which era would you most like to time travel to?
8/ Where does your blog inspiration come from? (and can I steal a little of it?)
9/ If you could jump inside the telly, which TV show would you choose to step into?
10/ Best childhood memory?
11/ Who are the three people you love the most?

I hope the girls are keen to take part and I really look forward to reading your answers! 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Review // Golden Indulgence by Kettle Town Teas*

Recently, I was contacted by an Aussie tea company called Kettle Town who were wondering if I'd be interested in trying their unique blends of teas. Of course, as any tea lover would do, I jumped at the chance and within 2 days of saying "yes" a little package arrived at my doorstep. Talk about quick delivery!

The flavour they sent me is called Golden Indulgence, and is a rich, aromatic blend of Organic Ceylon black tea, Organic cacao nibs and chocolate pieces all infused with chocolate and almond flavours. The fist thing I noticed when I opened the packet was the rich, melt-in-your-mouth chocolatey scent of the tea. I'd been looking for a nice chocolate infused tea for quite some time, and was so excited to try it!

Well, this little blend did not disappoint! I could barely wait the 2-3 minutes it is recommended to brew before pouring it into my cup! The scent was so mouthwatering, I knew I was going to love it before it even reached my mouth. I enjoy this tea with sugar and lots of milk, to really bring out the creamy, chocolate and almond flavours. 

Kettle Town Teas pride themselves on their unique and creative blends, with their aim being "to fully maximise the dynamic aspects of tea by using it in different ways such as pairings or creating fancy tea cocktails or hot rums. We think tea is fun and cool so we wanna share that with everyone else".

My experience with Kettle Town has been an absolute pleasure. As we come into the cooler, winter months here in Australia, I know I'm going to really enjoy curling up with a cup of Golden Indulgence and a good book or some crochet. I can't wait to try a few more of their exciting blends in the future!

Disclaimer: Product was exchanged for this review with Kettle Town Teas. All opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by this payment. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Big Decisions and not letting things stand in your way

For the past two years, I have been trying to convince myself that I want to be an English and History teacher. After my HSC results came in, I realized that all the time I had off school sick over the year had severely affected my marks and I would not be getting into any medicine or pre-med courses. I was a little bit heartbroken, but had been expecting it and knew it was for the better. 

The hunt was on for a new career, and I had only a few short weeks to make a decision on what I was to do for the rest of my life. My marks for English and History had been really, really good and I enjoyed the subjects so much, but ever since I was a little girl I had wanted to be a doctor and I still had a real fascination with the medical world. My two conflicting interests were tearing me different ways and the two career paths I decided between were teaching and midwifery. The appeal of 10 weeks holidays a year and good hours tore me away from the medical profession I'd so log desired and I chose teaching. 

I've now been studying literature, history and cultural studies for a year and a half, and while last year I enjoyed my studies immensely, changing to a new university this year has made me reconsider my career choice. I began to realize that I cannot picture myself standing up in front of a classroom for the rest of my life, and that I'm not challenged by the course work (a good thing for some but apparently I'm a weirdo who likes things to be hard?). 

So, after a few months of thinking, research and countless episodes watched of The Midwives and One Born Every Minute (they seriously need to make some Aussie midwife shows!) I have finally decided to change to midwifery! I put in my application yesterday and have already been accepted into nursing (which was my second choice and has the exact same first year subjects as midwifery) to start next semester! I have to wait to see what my marks are this semester before I find out if I also got into the Bachelor of Midwifery but I'm super excited anyway because I know I'm going to be able to do it whether I need to transfer again from nursing or not!

A big part of the reason I have spent 2 years trying to convince myself to be a teacher is my health. Even now, my close family and friends are concerned with how I will cope with night shifts and such physical work with lupus but I had to take the chance and make this decision. I may have lupus, but why should I let it control such an important decision in my life? I may not ever be able to work full time in my profession due to my illness, but the same goes for teaching as well. On the other hand, I could go into remission in a few years and if I hadn't taken this chance, I could really regret not following my dreams. 

I can't think of anything more magical than helping to bring new life into the world everyday as a profession. Being a midwife would be more than just a job to me. It would be a privilege to help women bring their babies safely earth side and I am very excited for my new career path!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Wednesday Wish list: Retro Kitchen/Dining

Retro Kitchen/Dining

So, now Jake and I have been in our home a few months, we are starting to nut out how we would like our home to look. Jake hates isn't a very big fan of the chintzy, shabby chic, vintage look I love so much, so in the spirit of compromise, he is allowing me to still decorate in a vintage/retro theme as long as I stick to a more gender neutral colour scheme and make it what we call "mid-century industrial kitsch". He doesn't know what kitsch means and I'm not sure he would approve of those salt and pepper shakers, but since I know I'l be the one spending the money to make our place look nice, I like to think I should be allowed a few kitsch and novelty bits and bobs of my choosing! Most of this stuff is from ModCloth. I deliberately chose stuff from an international store so the postage would put me off spending all my savings on everything in one go haha. I would really like to get bits and pieces here and there though, and will mix this stuff in with vintage stuff I already own and stuff I find along the way.

What do you think of this kind of style?

Sunday, 30 March 2014

A day with lupus.

Jake is in the kitchen, getting ready for work and making noise. The first thing I notice is the heaviness in my body. I feel so heavy! I move a little and it hurts. My joints are stiff and sore. My muscles ache. I open my eyes. It must be early because Jake is still here and it's still dark. I let myself fall back asleep, stirring slightly as he kisses me goodbye. 

My alarm is ringing and I open my eyes. Time to get up and ready for Uni. I try to reach out my arm, but it feels like a dead weight. It's 8am. I've had 10 hours sleep but I am still exhausted. Somehow I turn off the alarm. My eyes flutter as I try to keep them open. I slowly move one leg, then another. It hurts but I know I have to get myself moving and out of bed. My eyes start to close again and I shake them awake. Then begins the process of sitting up. I have to sit up so I stay awake. I give myself a pep talk, all the while shaking my head to keep my eyes open. Must make it to the closet. Must get dressed. I'm too tired. I'm not going to make it to Uni like this. 

I make my way to the shower, running into both door ways and stubbing my toe in my exhausted daze. In the shower, I sit and let the hot water wash over me, easing my stiff and sore joints and awakening me. I can't wash my hair today. It will take too much energy. Now, wrapped in a towel, a little more awake, I make my way back to the closet. I sit down to dress, not trusting my aching, tired body to stand. Next up is breakfast to give me the energy boost I need to start the day. 

I'm always late out the door. At some point in the morning, I know I'll fall back to sleep. On days when I need to be up at the same time as jake, he sometimes finds me asleep in the shower, or sprawled on the floor in front of the closet, still wrapped in my towel. Every little task is something I have to build myself up for. I only go to Uni for three hours a day, but when I get home I need a nap again. I'm exhausted. There are days when I start nodding off in the car and scare myself by going over the lines. There are days when I can't cook dinner, because I'm too exhausted. There are days where I literally have to choose between hanging out the washing or washing the dishes, because I know I don't have the energy for both. 

My illness might be invisible, but it's something I will have to manage for the rest of my life. I rarely drink alcohol anymore because its not worth the flare that it brings. If I stay up late, I'm risking not being able to get out of bed the whole next day. There are days that I can't get out of bed even after a good night's sleep, so I know not to risk it now. 

Sometimes I get tired of my lot, we all do, but despite the anxiety and depression this illness has brought me, I will never give up. Every day might be a battle, but whenever I can, I will battle with a smile on my face.