Sunday, April 13, 2014


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.

The first week of school holidays is over. The boys have enjoyed: a day with Grandma and Grandpa; an afternoon looking at sand sculptures at Frankston waterfront; a day at home baking bread and hot cross buns; a morning soap making workshop at a friend's home; The Lego Movie at our local cinema, complete with popcorn. It's been a great week.

Pictured above: The lads loved getting their hands dirty sculpting sand at Storyland.

Friday, April 11, 2014



Give me a breakfast like this every day, and I'm a happy girl. No plain cereal for me, thank you. I love it cooked, prepared, special. It's true, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. It can make or break me (especially if I don't eat it). I'm the girl who eats breakfast because it's not only the most important meal of the day, but also because I just can't live without it.

But how good does this breakfast couscous look? Tastes pretty awesome, and is so quick and easy to prepare as well. (I'm thinking we might have breakfast for dinner soon, just so I can have this again.)

1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup low fat yoghurt

1 Bring pineapple juice to the boil in a small saucepan.
2 Turn off stove and place couscous over the boiling pineapple juice. Stir to combine.
3 Stand for five minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
4 Fold pineapple, apricots and almonds through couscous.

NOTE This can be made gluten free by replacing couscous with quinoa (cook according to quinoa directions). This can also be served with yoghurt and garnished with fresh mint. Add sultanas or cranberries if you so desire.

Bon appetit!

Original recipe found here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Hey there. We're baaaaack!

Can you believe that it's been 18 months since we purchased this beautiful little 1850s bluestone cottage located in the cutest little town on the south-west coast of Victoria, Australia? Most of last year was spent renovating the Port Fairy cottage, and the later part of the year and this year has been purely dedicated to the extension (read concrete foundation, framework, plumbing...) Oh, how rewarding it's been so far, rediscovering the beauty that has been hidden for the past 50 (or so) years.

This post is all about the rear wall of the cottage, and in order to appreciate where it is now (photo above), it's good to see what it looked like when we first saw it. Are you ready?

That first photo. There's almost no words. Except for these: lime wash, sickly yellow paint, blue concrete floor, louvres, indoor gutters...

When we first bought this little cottage, the rear wall was covered by the lean-to which contained the cottage's original kitchen (left), bathroom (right), laundry (behind the bathroom) and toilet (behind the kitchen), let's not forget the indoor/outdoor gutters. (And yes, we've been hiding that lovely louvre window until now!)

Now that the kitchen is in the original cottage, we decided that the old kitchen space would make a great back entry with an outdoor shower, and a European Laundry on the inside (photos to come). The morning sun comes into where this beautiful wall lies, and so it will be a sun room, or a second living space (photos also to come).

If you're interested in the details, here is how it was done:
  • The lean-to was completely removed to make way for the concrete slab.
  • Once the concrete slab was laid, and the framework up, the lime wash and paint was chipped away from the rear wall using a chisel, hammer and some scrapers (this took about a week, and a few helpers too).
  • Each stone was scrubbed with a wire brush to remove the leftover lime wash. Some was kept for a little effect that we quite liked.
  • The old lime mortar between the stones was crumbling so we scraped it out and re-pointed the wall.
  • New mortar was mixed and placed between the gaps. The collapsed stonework was repaired, and the mortar trimmed.
  • Any mortar that wasn't quite removed from the edges of the stones at the above stage, was scraped again. The whole wall was scrubbed with an acid solution and then rinsed with water.
  • The walls were painted with three coats of FeastWatson Paving & Sandstone Sealer.
  • The hearth was painted with two coats of FeastWatson Slate & Pebble Sealer.
  • The louvre window was take out and replaced with a second hand window that suits the era a little better. It was sanded, and then painted using a 3 in 1 undercoat, then British Paints H20 Enamel in Dulux Antique White USA.

This job was as biggie. I think that for a month (between other jobs) I just chipped. Friends came to stay. They chipped too. But here we are - starting to do the finishing bits. It's really so exciting now.

This is part of our renovating series. If you would like to see all the renovating posts, you can do so here. I wrote about living without a bathroom, toilet and laundry, and also talked about surviving renovations with kids. We hope you enjoy seeing the process as much as we have enjoyed doing it!

Are you a fan of exposed walls? So... what do you think?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014



Confession: I love a good fashion blog. I love beautiful photography. Food that looks amazing.

Turns out, there's one I'm checking on daily to see if it's has been updated. I might be slightly obsessed. I'm sure I'm not biased, but this latest blog I'm excited about is my girl's. Yes, my eldest step daughter Kelly has a rocking blog, and her Instagram has literally gone viral in the last few months.

 Now you want to know what the fuss it about too, right? Her blog is found here.

Oh, and you're welcome. x