Wednesday, January 06, 2016

consistency is key to happiness and success

A new year brings 365 untouched days for us to leave our mark on, to dream our dreams, live them, and still there's washing to fold.

Even if you're not one for new years resolutions what I'm writing about today is an unavoidable truth.

Anything that you want to achieve in life, that you want to master, or even just get a little bit better at calls for one thing - consistency.

My husband who has published nine books and has a single minded focus and self belief that I marvel at reminds me regularly that consistency is the key to achieving all the things that he does.

Let's take a look at the usual suspects where 'consistency is key' applies:

- Improving health and fitness

- Weight loss

- Reducing stress and anxiety

- Getting children to eat fruit and vegetables

- Saving money, building wealth

- Having stronger more fulfilling relationships

- Becoming a better artist, singer, musician, athlete, photographer, craftsperson

I admit I struggle to be consistent with some things in my life. My blog is a good example of that as you patient readers know. I have bursts of posting and then it is quiet for days.

My unfinished cookbook is another example. Spending just half an hour per day - everyday - would see that book finished in a couple of months. So why am I stalling? What is the pay off?

I'm going to get deep now.

Generally there is a pay off that we might not even be fully aware of as to why we keep doing things a certain way that basically just aren't working.

We cling to those ways mainly because we are comfortable in the pattern we are in and attached to the feelings that those behaviours bring. What??? I hear you cry, attached to the feeling of being broke or overweight or having projects unfinished, am I crazy you ask?

Nope. Not crazy. Just spelling out the complex human condition. Somehow we have to let go of being attached to those feelings and see ourself stepping into a new way of being and feeling, allowing ourself to do that and get on with it.

I've veered slightly off on a tangent but my point is whatever you are hoping to achieve and feel fulfilled about this year requires your daily attention. Daily is the key word. Ok, you can have weekends off if you want to.

Save 10% of every dollar you earn this year. Every dollar.

Write one page every day of that book you've been dreaming of writing. Every day.

Phone a friend or family member once a week and have a good talk. Every week.

Get up half an hour earlier and go for a walk, do some yoga, move your body. Every day.

Present fruit and vegetables to your children at every meal and snack. Every meal and snack.

Consistency is what it takes. I hope you'll join me this year in being consistent about the things that really matter. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

'twas two nights before christmas

"That's the stuff nightmares are made of," said my friend laughing when I told her about the party I was going to on Christmas Eve where guests are asked to perform a 'frivolous act'.

I had tried convincing River that it was going to be the perfect opportunity to play guitar in front of an audience. He had other ideas. "No Mum I'm not playing guitar, I think we should sing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer".

Talk about feel the fear and sing it anyway!

We had been rehearsing and then without warning there was a plot twist.

The week before Christmas, Sol came down with gastro. Relentless vomiting that saw him unable to keep water down. Within a few days three kilos had vanished from his little frame.

On our third trip to the local emergency department the doctor said, "I have to send you to a bigger hospital your son needs to be seen by a paediatrician."

So the night before Christmas Eve Sol and I drove the 40 minutes to the bigger hospital and he was admitted to the children's ward and place on a drip. Placed on a drip sounds so simple. It wasn't simple. It was necessary but it was also traumatic. Getting a cannula (a needle for the drip to go into) into the back of a six year old's hand is not fun especially at 10.30pm when all they want to do is be curled up asleep.

I am going to spare you the difficult details of time spent in hospital other than to say Sol is well again, just a bit on the skinny side, and that we were able to come home after a 24 hour stay. We arrived home at 8pm on Christmas Eve. The party in Melbourne had started an hour and a half earlier. I was in no shape to be at a party and Sol definitely wasn't but I thought of our friends at the party when I looked at the clock and felt both relief to be home from hospital and disappointment that we weren't in Melbourne celebrating Christmas, the end of the year and being with friends.

Sol had fallen asleep in the back of the car. The heat of the evening enveloped us. I scooped him up off the back seat and carried him inside the house. We were under strict instructions to continue giving him 30mls of fluid every 15 minutes. I set the timer on my phone and followed the orders dutifully. There was no way I was going back to hospital with Sol, he was going to get well!

He stayed awake for a couple of hours and I kept up his fluids, he then slept soundly. River had placed carrots out for the reindeer and dry biscuits for Santa (lucky Santa?!) "Mum do you think Santa is lactose intolerant?" he asked filling a glass with rice milk.

Once the boys were asleep and I had finished my midnight gift wrapping session I placed a white electric guitar and an amplifier next to the Christmas tree, a gift from Eddy Pop. Perhaps next year River can do a rock version of Rudolph.


Stay well. Stay cool. Thankyou for reading and thanks for your patience with my on again off again posting. I hope that you are all having a wonderful festive season and are looking forward to making great things happen in 2016. xx

ps I had planned to share this link for a wonderful dairy free grain free trifle before Christmas but didn't get to so here it is now, still good for New Years Eve... Try Jo's Lemon Berry creation.

Friday, December 11, 2015

weekend reading

I'll start with a big happy birthday Mamacino! You've written some wise words here.

To Her Core is a fun new wholefood read

Now that we're renovating (!) I've been devouring inspiration via magazines, books and these little videos

Boho kitchens. Can you see me in any of these?

Do you have a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear? Check out Brenda's solution.

How magical is this mermaid photograph?

My husband Pete is a professional photographer and author, we're having a festive sale over on his online gallery his books 'Point Nepean' and 'Fire and the Story of Burning Country' are available for $35 each including postage anywhere in Australia. Pete can sign the books and include a personalised message and there's still time to order and receive before Christmas! Lots of lovely photographic prints available too. Visit River&Sol gallery.

Happy weekending everyone. I hope you're enjoying all that is good about December and the year drawing to a close. Or perhaps this time of year makes you dream of hitting that wide open road :)


Thursday, December 10, 2015

thursday recipe: terri anne leske's choc pecan granola

Food helps to create traditions,
community, love and joy. 
It has a way of bringing people
together and making us happy.
~ Terri Anne Leske

It's been a while between posts. Again. I'd love to be more consistent with my posting but it is just not turning out that way at the moment. So, thanks for continuing to visit and for your patience. 
Let's get on with a recipe.

Today's recipe comes from blogger and mother of three, Terri Anne Leske who blogs at Carrotsticks and Cravings.

Terri Anne is originally from a sleepy little fishing village on the New South Wales south coast where as a child her Dad taught her to dive for abalone and catch fish. These days she finds herself in the bright city lights of Singapore, where she has lived for the past 4 years with her husband and their children, twins Eli and Olivia who are 3 and her baby girl Halle who has just turned one.

How Terri Anne has found time to blog and to write and self-publish her first cookbook I'll never know! But write a book she has and not only that she has done all the photography herself too.

Before we get into the recipe here is a Q & A I did with Terri to find out a bit more about life in Singapore and her love of cooking...

What do you love about living in Singapore? It is a cultural melting pot, and being so close to so many other amazing countries we are lucky to travel regularly. It's a great place to have a young family and has given me the opportunity to follow my passion writing this book and my blog. I've also met so many amazing people throughout our time here. 

Where does your passion for food and cooking come from? My mum was always a foodie, she used to get in the kitchen and just whip up something amazing with whatever we had in the house. I started cooking from a young age learning from her and learning my baking skills from my grandma. I love creating amazing meals for friends and family and trying new things. I also love baking and have always said baking is my therapy - when I was pregnant with my twins and had too much time on my hands I was baking batches of cupcakes and cakes daily! The kitchen is my happy place and I love now getting my kids involved in creating meals and getting them excited about food too - it's not just about the eating that I love it's the journey too and the creating :-) 

Why the name Carrotsticks and Cravings? When I decided to write a blog I played with so many names and I wanted the name to really resemble me and my food philosophy - which is all about balance. I feel Carrotsticks and Cravings does that! The majority of my recipes are super healthy and full of superfoods but I love making decadent cakes and treats too. We can have anything in life, it's all about balance. 

Why did you start your blog? I was cooking a lot and constantly throwing dinner parties and a friend wanted a recipe and said I should start a blog. I'm a terrible writer if I'm being honest but I loved the idea of sharing my creations with others and inspiring them to try new things in the kitchen. It's grown organically and I love to see and hear that people are making my recipes. 

What do you hope readers will get out of your cookbook? I want to get people excited in the kitchen and try things they normally wouldn't. I want readers to be able to make healthy nutritious meals from my cookbook for their loved ones and create memories in the process cooking and enjoying good food. 

What do you love the most about cooking? The eating of course!! I love that food creates traditions and brings people together. Some of my best memories involve amazing meals I've shared with loved ones. I also love trying new flavours and experimenting with different combinations. 

Terri Anne shares her recipe for Choc Pecan Granola.

Makes 4 Cups

1/2 cup raw pecans chopped
1/4 cup raw almonds chopped
2 cups thick cut rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
⅓ cup dried cranberries
1 tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp coconut oil
Pre heat the oven to 160 C. 
Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Chop the nuts roughly into smaller pieces.
Add nuts and all other ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and mix until fully combined.
Spread out granola mix onto the baking tray and bake for 8 minutes.
Mix/turn the granola and return to the oven for a further 8 minutes until golden.
Mix/turn the granola and return to the oven for a further 8 minutes until golden brown.
Once cooled transfer to an airtight jar and keep at room temperature for up to a month.
– If you want to keep it longer store in the fridge.

(photo credit: Terri Anne Leske)

Terri likes to serve this with Greek yoghurt and fresh seasonal berries, as overnight oats layered with yoghurt and berries, with fruit salad or as a crumble topping for desserts. I think it could be the perfect dish for breakfast on Christmas morning.

Thanks Terri Anne!

To read Terri's blog visit Carrotsticks and Cravings and to buy her cookbook go here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

weekend reading

(Image credit John Freeman)

Champagne is a wholefood you knew that already right? So I thought I'd tell you about an event I'm promoting as part of my work with Cakes and Ale. Celebrate the festive season with a ticket to this upcoming Champagne Tasting - 17 champagnes, 7 champagne houses, canapes and complimentary champagne flute $100 per person - Saturday 12th December 4pm-6pm, presented by the Independent Wine Store at Cakes and Ale.
Places are strictly limited bookings through the Independent Wine Store ph. 03 5985 4346

BPA free is not all it's cracked up to be

I found Orangette via Pip and could have stayed up all night reading

And then I found Kate Christensen via Orangette and if it weren't for my new rule of going to bed before midnight I would have been up reading til sunrise!

If you're looking to up your professional social media skills, I've recently been recommended Tim Martin's courses...on my wishlist for next year

Am I the only one who hasn't seen The Dressmaker yet? Also on my wishlist

I'm looking forward to spending some time with my Nan on the weekend.

I hope you have something fun and/or relaxing planned. See you back here next week x

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

catching up

(mural Alice Springs. Pete, River, Sol silhouettes)

Finding time to blog regularly is proving a challenge at the moment.

You see I've made a few new rules for myself and one of them is I no longer go to bed at midnight most nights and let me tell you that makes a million miles of difference to so many things.

It is an easy habit to fall into staying up late while the house sleeps, just so you can have some quiet time to yourself but really nothing can replace good sleep.

Add to that drinking two litres of water a day and you have yourself a recipe for more energy right there!

So, now that I'm going to bed earlier and doing important things like you know watching Madame Secretary with my husband I have to find a new time to blog. And I will! And I'm serious about the watching TV with my husband thing. Spending time together is actually important obvious as it sounds!

The other thing I've done is set myself office hours. The key is, sticking to them. Which I'm doing. This sounds so simple but has been life changing.

Managing your time well when you work from home is one of the trickiest things about working for yourself and working from home.

In my case clearer boundaries needed to be set. There is a time to fold washing, a time to focus on work, time to drink coffee with your girlfriends and time to spend with your loved ones and if you feel like you're constantly chasing your tail it is time to make some changes.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I just wanted to fill you in on what's been happening, where I've been and because I'm guessing there's a few people reading this who need to set some boundaries of their own. Do it!
It is easier than you think and it pays off in ways you can't even know about until you do it. And it is the small changes that make the big difference.

How is your week? Do you work from home? Tell us your time management tips in the comments. 
I'd love to know what works for you.

Friday, November 13, 2015

weekend reading

If you read one post in this list it must be this one from Veggie Mama about...superannuation eeek. It's good I promise. And fun. Yes, I said fun. (Only Veggie Mama could make superannuation fun).

How does she do it? A great series from Nic at Planning with Kids

My kind of cooking class

Please keep bay fish on the menu

What's not to love about Chocolate brazil nut truffles with figs and orange zest?

Matthew Evans has a new cookbook out and I love the look of his recipe for yoghurt and raspberry cake with elderflower syrup (for me maybe with a little less sugar and made with spelt instead of wheat!)

Anyone been to Nourish cafe in Bundaberg, Queensland? I'm hearing good things.

Onya Magazine is a good read

One for the bloggers

Happy weekending everyone. I hope you've got something fun planned. See you next week! x

Thursday, November 05, 2015

thursday recipe: emily rose brott's apple, oat, cranberry and chocolate muffins

Some of you may remember Emily Rose Brott from one of my previous posts, especially those who love Emily's mango sorbet!

I'm happy to share with you today Emily's latest book My Secret Ingredient - don't you love the tagline? 'delicious, healthy, achievable' Isn't that what we all want?

Emily is a Melbourne mum of four (!) and a passionate cook who loves to create nutritious AND delicious meals for her family and friends.

There are over 120 recipes in Emily's new book covering breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. Emily's recipes do not contain refined sugar, white flour, or butter due to Emily and her son being lactose intolerant. You'll be pleased to know Emily's recipes require no fancy ingredients and are easy to put together.

Now, speaking of ingredients you'll notice in this recipe Emily uses rice bran oil and wheat flour. These are two ingredients that personally I don't use, I prefer to use coconut oil, butter or almond oil and in place of the wheat flour I use spelt flour or sometimes a gluten free flour option. You can read more about rice bran oil here and here.

I'm mentioning this to highlight the fact that every family is different and every family is at a different place in their understanding of ingredients, where they come from and how they are tolerated by family members. Emily's recipe is a great foundation to create some delicious muffins from scratch and you can substitute ingredients as you need to.

apple, oat, cranberry and chocolate muffins
2 eggs
½ cup (125ml) rice bran oil
½ cup (150g) honey
2/3 cup (75g) rolled (porridge) oats
1 ½ cups (240g) wholemeal (whole-wheat) self-raising (self-rising) flour
2/3 cup (165ml) orange juice
2 apples, peeled, cored, diced
2/3 cup (90g) dried cranberries
½ cup (65g) chopped 70% dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 170°C (335°F) fan-forced.
Whisk eggs and oil together until fluffy. Mix in honey.
Add oats, flour and orange juice, and whisk until combined.
Add apples, cranberries and chocolate, and mix through.
Grease muffin tins with oil, and fill each muffin case three-quarters full with mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin and placing them on a cake rack to cool further.

Makes 14

My Secret Ingredient is available as an ebook for $4.99 or paperback for $12.95 Available for purchase here.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

weekend reading

(A desert flashback: Uluru)

The rain is falling here this morning. Thunder is rumbling over too. Seems kind of fitting for Halloween.

Do you celebrate Halloween? It seems to be catching on in Australia more and more. Despite people saying 'it is such an American thing' it is actually a Celtic tradition. There are a couple of aspects to the whole Halloween tradition one is the acknowledgement of All Saint's Day (November 1st) where the veil to the spirit world is said to be at its thinnest and the pumpkin thing is explained by it being a celebration of the end of the season's harvest. You can read more about the origins and traditions here.

I've recently been introduced to Terri-Anne Leske's blog Carrotsticks and Cravings and wanted to share Terri-Anne's new cookbook with you. Terri-Anne is an Aussie ex-pat living in Singapore with her young family. Terri-Anne is mum to 3, including twins! And somehow she finds time to create beautiful recipes and has put her first cookbook together. I'll be sharing one of her recipes in the coming weeks.

Speaking of cookbooks, have you seen Mamacino's latest ebook Chocolate Indulgence?  Beautiful recipes and photography all by Mamacino.

If you're looking for a little less indulgence and in fact would like to lose 'those last 5 kilos' click on over to Brenda Janscheck and Naomi Judge's BreakThrough program, enrolments close tomorrow night. I love the holistic approach of this program it is not purely about calories in calories out, it considers digestion, hormones, metabolism, the quality of food and basically the quality of life you are living! For all those reasons I am an affiliate of BreakThrough. Take a look here.

Broad beans and haloumi are a good match

So are sumac, roasted eggplant, lentils and cherries

If you're in the mood for a Halloween cocktail try this witch's brew

Excellent meditation tips from Veggie Mama

Meet Barbara Stanny she has some wise words about money

And on that note, I'm off to prepare a dinner feast for my little trick or treaters tonight and prepare for attending a house auction today eeek! Better find the rescue remedy. Fingers crossed there'll be cause for champagne. When is there not cause for champagne?

Happy weekending everyone xx

Friday, October 23, 2015

weekend reading

My rascals pictured here in Alice Springs.

Sorry for the lack of posting.

We've been brushing off the red dirt from the desert and settling back in to coastal life.

We've also been house hunting which chews up plenty of time! It is exciting, nerve wracking and would be a whole lot simpler if real estate agents quoted honestly. Anyway, enough of that.

Let's get on with today's list...

Last week I got to meet one of my online buddy's in real life, always fun to do

I've been working on my husband Pete's online gallery and growing his Instagram following come say hi @riverandsol and I want to share Pete's beautiful Summersalt print featured in this bedroom by Nathan + Jac

Who doesn't love RAW chocolate?

I'm revisiting some of the recipes from Georgia's great breakfast ebook Rise and Shine

And how beautiful does my friend Lucy's delicious wholefood ebook look?

I would have been eating lunch today at my fave Cakes & Ale but alas Sol has an ear infection :(

Powerful new movie addressing women's mental health

There's still time to enrol in my 2 part Blogging for Beginners course at Sorrento Community Centre next Thursday 29th October and Thursday 5th November 10am - 2pm $140 / $116 concession. To book phone: 03. 5984 3360

If you're looking for some kids art inspiration this weekend I love The Artful Parent

Ok. School pick up calls. Happy weekend to everyone. See you next week x

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