Monday, 28 September 2015

5 Happy Things

I haven't done one of these posts in a while! Here are a few of my favourite things from over the last week...

1. On Saturday I was feeling under the weather so I took it easy. Alex and I pottered around the area in the sun, and ended up buying some more plants for our balcony. I love this little succulent so much! I've called her Frida Khalo < 3

2. Saturday evening cook-up at the public BBQ at the end of our street with friends. Homemade burgers, beers, and veggie kebabs and cider for me! So yum. 

3. 83 days is a long time but when you've been waiting all year to see your family it doesn't seem too long at all! I've been chatting proper plans with the fam on our Whatsapp group this week and I'm allowing myself to actually get really excited for them to come over from the UK. 

4. This photo was taken a few weeks ago, but last week I went to my first yoga class in a while with a friend and remembered why I used to love it so much. It feels so good to stretch out, and breathe properly. I'm going to find some classes near my work to trial. 

5. I don't buy clothes very often but had a little splurge in the Gap sale this weekend and I love this tropical clutch for nights out, and summery skirt for work. 

What has been making you happy this week? 

Friday, 25 September 2015

Pinned: Midi/maxi White Dresses

So my Pinterest obsession is not showing any sign of slowing down! I think it doesn't help that I run two more Pinterest accounts for work, so I'm constantly seeing images that I want to pin on my personal one when I get home!

Recently I've been getting inspiration for my summer wardrobe and I'm in love with these white dresses. In-between midi and maxi dresses, they are so beautiful effortless, flowy, and beachy. With a dress like this it would be so easy to look like you're either wearing a nightie or a wedding dress, but these three get it spot on. What do you think? I would love to have a gorgeous white dress to throw on for a hot summer BBQ or walk along the beach!

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Homemade Coffee Scrub

I've been eyeing up Frank's Coffee Scrub for a while now, and just as I was about to jump on the bandwagon and order myself a bag for Summer, a friend at breakfast on Sunday mentioned that she had made some herself this week. I got home, and with ingredients that I already had in my cupboard, I whipped up a dreamy coffee scrub of my own. I was blown away by this - it smelt AMAZING! If you love coffee, you need to try this.

A few little benefits that this scrub has....

Coffee is naturally an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It's also great for your skin - it tightens and tones your skin, diminishes the appearance of cellulite, and is an amazing exfoliant as it turns out! As your skin absorbs so much of what you put on it, I love that this scrub is so natural that I even had a nibble or two as I was mixing it up.

This made about a jam jar size of scrub, so will probably last me a few uses. You could easily increase quantities, but I like the idea of it being super fresh. All you need is:

- 4 tablespoons of finely ground coffee
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or olive oil. I used half and half as I reached the bottom of my coconut oil jar)
- 1.5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon oats (optional)

Mix it all up and then switch the shower off halfway through to use! I was worried it would make a massive mess but it washed away really easily. My skin felt so soft from the oil afterwards. Let me know if you give it a try :) x

Monday, 21 September 2015

Beach Day on Mornington Peninsula

Last weekend was the first sunny and warm weekend we've had in Melbourne for quite a few months. Feeling excited about the coming summer, four of us hopped in a car at 7am(!) and drove down the Mornington Peninsula, about an hour out of Melbourne. Already ticking something off my Summer Bucket List!

It was a perfect day, starting off with a hike while the weather was still cloudy. We walked to a beautiful secluded beach. The water was far too cold to swim in, but we frolicked around and enjoyed the fresh sea air.

Feeling hungry, we piled back into the car and ate a simple but amazing picnic of rolls, salami and cheese by the beach in Portsea, right at the tip of the peninsula. Aren't those kind of basic picnics the best when you're super hungry and in the fresh air?

The rest of the day was spent walking along the beach and around Sorrento, eating ice cream, watching some strangers get married, having the first Pimm's of the summer, and then settling down on the beach with a bottle of red to watch the sun go down. We got pizzas at Mornington Brewery on the way home which was the coolest little spot! I really recommend it if you're in the area. We planned to go out when we got back to Melbourne, but we were so exhausted we ended up watching a horror movie and falling asleep on the sofa ha.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Best Gluten Free Banana Bread

Baking banana bread is a perfect Sunday afternoon activity. It might be something to do with the fact that there's nothing fancy about banana bread - it's a delicious comfort food to be enjoyed at home, with a cup of tea and a book. This Hemsley & Hemsley recipe starts off very healthy, but I loaded it with dark chocolate chips, because I think there's nothing better than chocolate chip banana bread. However, feel free to leave them out or add cacao nibs instead for a less sugary chocolate hit. I've made this recipe a couple of times now and it is AMAZING and very simple. I even spread one slice with coconut oil and it was the best. It didn't last very long in our home!

The Hemsley & Hemsley Banana Bread

Ingredients (use organic ingredients where possible) 
Makes 1 bread in a 9in x 5in pan
- 300g very ripe bananas, weighed without the skin on (roughly 3 medium bananas or 2 large)
- 3 large pasture-raised eggs 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup - adjust to suit your taste buds
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 30g pasture-raised butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 220g ground almonds
- 25g ground flaxseed - also known as linseed
- 1 tablespoons of whole flaxseed plus extra for decorating the top of your bread
- Also, a little extra butter and ground almonds for coating your bread pan

Cooking Instructions 
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and allow to cool slightly. In a mixing bowl mash the bananas to a pulp with a fork. Add the maple syrup, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice (the lemon juice activates the bicarb). Mix well with a whisk.

Add the ground almonds, ground flaxseed and a tablespoon of whole flaxseed and mix well. Or, even speedier, you can throw all the ingredients into a blender, food processor or Vitamix - the texture will be smoother.

Grease your bread pan with butter and coat liberally with extra almond meal to prevent sticking, or line the tin with unbleached, metal-free parchment paper. Pour batter into the tin and bake for 60 -75 at 170C (less if making smaller breads or muffins) - a skewer inserted into the centre should come out dry. If your bread starts to look quite brown after the first 30 minutes then cover the top with foil or more parchment paper until your bread has finished baking.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little. Serve warm or at room temperature with some lightly salted butter and a cup of tea. Store your bread covered in the fridge (remember there is no sugar or preservatives!) for up to a week or slice and freeze - that way you can have a slice at a time heated under the grill.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Melbourne's Breakfast Scene | St Ali's

Breakfast in Melbourne is a very serious affair. It is also a hot topic of conversation with fellow Melbournians. You discuss the best açai bowl, recent breakfast ventures, and exchange quirky cafe names which you add to the growing list in the notes on your phone. There are hundreds of amazing breakfast spots but still most of them have a queue outside by 10am on a weekend. Cafés have whole coffee menus explaining where their beans come from, how they are ground, and the flavours of the coffee. Being an occasional cappuccino drinker my whole life, I am slowly being converted to the amazing 'flat whites' that everyone drinks here.

Recently Alex and I headed to St. Ali's for breakfast in South Melbourne with our friends Luke and Courtney. The concept is so simple, a warehouse strung with fairylights and industrial style furniture, the bustling atmosphere gives it a cosy feel. A round of coffees is ordered before we've taken off our coats, and then it's down to the menu. We discuss the dishes, and all healthy options are thrown out the window in favour of maple bacon.

Somehow during breakfast, our conversation turns one of those freaky discussions about the enormity of the universe and, feeling overwhelmed, Courtney and I go and gaze at the cakes (because cakes fix everything). All the cafés here have amazing baked goods all lined up on the counter to lure you in when you're having your second coffee.

So many breakfasts, so little time!

Monday, 7 September 2015

On Blogging

I've been thinking a lot about blogging recently and where I want to take this blog. It's evolved naturally over the years and to be honest, I've never really had concrete plans or goals for what I'm doing.

Like most bloggers, it started as a hobby. I was 18, blogging wasn't really a 'thing', and I didn't even put my full name or any photos out there. During university I used it as an outlet for my textile work and processes, along with inspiration. I was so focused on my degree at the time that I didn't read many other blogs or take much notice of the huge increase in the blogosphere. Suddenly I feel like I've turned around and blogging is no longer just a hobby, but a business. Today the number of followers on your Instagram really matters, and if you're not making money, you're not a proper 'blogger'. Nothing crushes my blogging creativity more than that pressure.

I really admire bloggers who have turned it into a profession, I really do. Blogging is hard work and you are never really switched off. It's more than just blogging now, it's creating a brand, which is amazing. Maybe my lack of direction (and the fact that an editorial calendar has never existed for me - if I go down, my blog goes down with me) means that I will never have zillions of followers, but I'm telling myself at the moment that that's ok.

Blogs which tell you how to make yourself a fitter/slimmer/happier/better person might have a place in the world, but lately I've become a bit tired of that. Sometimes they can have the opposite affect and make a reader feel worse about themselves. My favourite reads are personal blogs... an insight into someone's mind, creativity, inspirations and loves, with beautiful photography. As Siobhan puts it in this post 'gentle lifestyle blogs' - a phrase that stuck with me.

There isn't much point to this post other than reassuring myself (and hopefully other people) that it's ok to not blog as a business but to stay true to yourself. Blogging has always made me happy, plus I wouldn't have got my first job out of university without the experience it has given me, so that's a huge bonus. I would like to take it back to why I started this blog over 6 years ago - to take it back to basics and post anything that makes me happy and inspires me, and also to capture the little moments. Less thinking, more doing. I love looking back over the years more than anything. xx


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