Thursday, December 23, 2010

A New Years' Resolution

It's official. I'm a very lazy blogger.

I've tried various tricks over the past year to try and keep my blog going, from writing about all I'm grateful for to picking a topic out of a random magazine.

I've even given it a face lift once or twice.

But 2011 will be better. I hope.

I won't make too many promises. But to blog more often and with more enthusiasm is one of my New Years' resolutions.

I hope 2011 will be kind. 2010 has been less than impressive.

What are your hopes for 2011?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

kreativ blogger award.

Thank you to Ash of mmisforme for my Kreativ Blogger Award, my first award in the blog world.

As part of the award, I'm to reveal 7 things about myself that people don't know ....

1. I was born in England, lived in South Africa as a child and emigrated to Australia with my parents when I was six.

2. My favourite colour is purple (is this an obvious one?)

3. I'm a Leo but seldom roar.

4. My favourite item of clothing is my True Religion jeans.

5.  I'm addicted to chocolate.

6. I love Ben Stiller and Will Ferrel movies - all of them!

7.  I can ride a horse.

I would like to nominate the following blog for a Kreativ Blogger Award....

Nicole at So they say ... for the inspiration to start my own blog.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

an unexpected gift

Archangel Chamuel - spiritual love
Today I received a beautiful and unexpected gift from a girl I've never met in person. We've become friends through our mutual love of blogging and have shared our frustrations, confusions, thoughts and more recently, joy!

This thoughtful gift, Archangel Chamuel, is small in size but powerful in its ability to shift my mindset to one of positivity and faith.

If you've never heard of Archangel Chamuel, he is one who manifests love, compassion, mercy, creativity and forgiveness. This lovely token is also represented by the stone Unakite, offering balance, perspective, self-worth, vision and fertility.

They say it's the kindness of strangers that restores our faith in people and has the power to knock us for six - now I understand why.

Thank-you Ash. x

Friday, August 20, 2010

oh, blogther!

I've tried and failed. This grateful thing was great until I realised I wasn't always grateful about things that were interesting reading fodder.

Case in point.
Today I was grateful that my favourite woolen cardigan wasn't in the dirty laundry because it was cold, wet and windy.

Let's be honest, no-one wants to read about my favourite woolen cardigan, no matter how much I love it.

I've also got a couple of other excuses for my lack of grateful blogs:

1. My husband's been on holiday for the past week. Translation: I do nothing when he's around.
2. My daughter's been sick. Translation: she's had a temperature for a day and a half.

So, that's it for tonight.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

handmade gifts.

I met a friend for coffee this morning and she gave me the most thoughtful birthday gift - handmade fridge magnets with the word grateful written across them.

They're made out of beer bottle tops filled with some glue, glitter and small alphabet dice. The magnet is then glued to the back of the tops and stuck onto a piece of cardboard with a ribbon tied around it.

The idea is so clever and cute that I'm inspired to make some myself, time permitting.

That's the thing these days, we're so run off our feet trying to meet deadlines, be a good mum, keep the house tidy, catch up with our friends ... that often the most simple and rewarding activities go by the wayside.

This friend, who I'll refer to as Bec :), is the creative type so she finds inspiration everywhere. This was particularly lovely of her because she knows I'm blogging about being grateful and with these pretty reminders stuck on the fridge I've got no excuse to forget!

Thanks Bec!

Has anyone ever had a friend make a thoughtful gift? I'd love to hear your stories!

Friday, August 13, 2010

feeling a bit ungrateful today!

I'm struggling today (and yesterday, as can be seen by the absent blog) because it's been one thing after another...rude people, traffic jams, lost children...anyway, I'm hoping to post every other day now. Is this failing? I hope not!

I hope not because I do enjoy blogging about being grateful..some days are just harder than others!

Today I'm grateful for:

Good friends
New Farm Park (except for the miserable man serving coffee who couldn't spare a plastic spoon to feed my daughter...even after I bought a coffee!)
Great books....I've started reading Jodi Picoult's House Rules. She's an inspiring author!

I hope this makes up for my efforts (or lack thereof) over the past couple of days!

'Smile and the world smiles with you,' so they say! :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

midweek holidays

Today I was so glad to be waking up to the sound of rain knowing it was hump day without the hump.

It was the Ekka show day today. It comes around every year in August, just when the wind picks up and the flu season is in full swing. But hey, there's nothing better than a dagwood dog and a showbag with some influenza thrown in for good measure.

Actually, we stayed clear of the Ekka this year because my daughter is 2 and she wasn't able to get the seasonal flu vaccine (something to do with a bad batch!).

Anyway, enough complaining about the pitfalls of the big Brisbane show.

Today I was just so grateful to have a middle of the week weekend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

oh dear, mondayitus strikes again

What is it with Mondays? I'm always running to catch up with myself.

So today, I'm blogging about being grateful for the excuse of Mondayitus! Isn't it terrific that for one day of every week you can blame every error of judgement, silly comment, over-indulgence and plain and simple laziness on the fact that it's Monday?

I'm telling you, it's because of Monday that I missed yesterday's blog!

Today I'm so grateful for rainy days! We don't see too many of them in Queensland, sunny one day perfect the next and all, and today it's pouring down.

Rainy days are the perfect excuse for sleeping in, drinking hot chocolate with breakfast and drying the clothes in the dryer, instead of the time-consuming line dry!

I really do love rainy days! But more than anything I love a good reason to make an excuse for bad behaviour.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

sunday lunches (& short blogs)

I had a leisurely Sunday lunch with my family at a gorgeous restaurant toady. It's at winery with the most spectacular outlook over a mountainous vineyard, and if that's not enough to take your breath away the food certainly will.

I had a few too many glasses of wine - so my blog is a little hazy & lazy today (apologies...). In fact, I shouldn't really be blogging under the influence. :)

So today, I'll just say I'm grateful for long lunches and loving families.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Perfume, please.

If there's one small luxury I'm grateful for every day it's perfume. It wasn't until I ran out, for the first time in forever, that I realised how much it meant to me. It's a ritual, night and day.

At the moment it's Burberry London, which is beautiful, but my all time favourite is Sicily by D&G - divine!

The power of smell to evoke memories is something I've always been acutely aware. Whenever I smell vanilla it takes me back to junior high school - because one of my best friends used to drench herself in it.

A study by Bruce Turetsky, a psychiatry professor, proves that smell can be more memory provoking than any other sense. He says different scents may "have a greater ability to bring up an emotional memory in you than seeing a picture or hearing a voice."

Here's hoping I'm not smelling of Sicily on an occasion I'd rather forget.

Has anyone ever had a memory evoked by a familiar scent?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dark chocolate & red wine.

Last night I broke out the dark chocolate (Lindt!) and a bottle of red wine. These are a couple of guilty pleasures that I am so grateful contain something that's actually good for me! I'm talking about antioxidants.

Apparently, a natural antioxidant found in grape skins and red wine can help destroy pancreatic cancer cells (Science Daily). Yet another great reason to blissfully enjoy red wine without feeling guilty.

As for chocolate, it's rich in flavonoid antioxidants (especially, epicatechin). A human (in vivo) study reported in the Journal Nature found that intake of dark chocolate increased antioxidant capacity in blood plasma!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

The gift of a daughter

Today is my birthday. I received many beautiful gifts but the best one of all was my 2-year-old daughter's arms wrapped tightly around me this morning and her whispering, 'Happy birthday mummy, love you much...I have present you!'

I'm already so proud of who she's becoming. She's kind, gentle, thoughtful and so curious. I'm in awe of how much so already knows about the world and I'm loving reliving my childhood through her. Tiny teapots, Dora dolls, bags and plastic jewellery - so much fun!

My own mum gave me a beautiful book for my birthday called Forever My Daughter with inspiring quotes on the true meaning of being given the gift of a daughter. Here's my favourite one, which I think sums up this precious relationship perfectly.

Stronger than life ...
Like it or not, we are bound to one another
It is the lightest of links - so light that sometimes we forget it altogether.
But it is stronger than life itself.
One tiny tug will have me dropping anything I'm doing
- you are, above everything, the heartbeat of my life.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Memories kept.

Today I found a poem written for me by my Granddad. He was a huge part of my life even though he lived on the other side of the world. He was the one who inspired me to write. So today I'm feeling grateful that this was something I hung onto, because no-one expects their loved ones to die.

He was only in his early 60's when he passed away and it was such a shock to everyone because he was so vibrant, healthy and full of life. He was also the funniest person I have ever met.

They say people have three deaths. One is when they pass away, the next is when they're buried/cremated and the third is when people stop speaking their name.

So I'm publishing one of his poems so he'll never experience the third.

As last I've found my heaven
But it's right here on Earth
It's very far away
And not my place of birth
The land is rich and fertile
The sky is clear and blue
The sun shines on this heaven
Australia, I love you.

By Eric Longbottom.

- This poem is for the place I found and love and to my beautiful princess Haley whom I love dearly and miss terribly. x Always, your Granddad.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The power of grateful.

Lately I've been feeling a little low, which got me thinking about the power of feeling grateful.

I just got back from a walk around my block on one of the most spectacular days I've ever seen. The temperature was perfect, the sky a gorgeous blue sheet under which I, a healthy and fully able mother pushed her beautiful 2-year-old daughter in a pram.

A simple walk really put everything into perspective for me. If you have your health and you love and are loved then it seems quite selfish to feel anything but grateful.

I also discovered some research that proves writing about what makes us grateful increases our happiness. The research study, by Dr Steven Toepfer, an assistant professor of family and consumer studies, shows expressing gratitude through writing can significantly improve our feelings of happiness.

A similar study by James W. Pennebaker, a professor of psychology and author of Writing to Heal ($41.95, New Harbinger Publications), found those who write feel happier and less negative than before writing.

So I've decided to blog, every single day for the next month, about one thing that has made me feel grateful! If you've been feeling a bit sorry for yourself lately, join me and lets see if our happiness goes up a few notches!

Monday, July 19, 2010

They've finally killed Heidi.

Do you remember the band Killing Heidi?

It was a favourite of mine. So I was pretty excited to learn that the brother/sister duo are back with a new band called 'The Verses'. Their first album, Seasons, will be released on August 13th.

It's a little more country rock than the alternate rock of their Killing Heidi days but you can still hear echoes of Killing Heidi - Ella has an amazing voice.

Their first single, Want Everything, is very easy-listening and it's out now on i-Tunes so if you're interested you can download it for $1.69 - bargain!

Monday, July 12, 2010

An apple a day.

We've all heard the phrase 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' but new research shows that if apples are eaten regularly throughout pregnancy they can also keep asthma at bay for the unborn child.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I ate an apple every day. Not because I had some premonition that this research would come to light, but because I craved them constantly. Red, green, hard, soft, sweet, sour or bruised, I'd eat one every day without fail.

Allergies are a problem on both sides of our family tree - with asthma and eczema being most common. Perhaps this craving was my body's way of protecting my baby? In any case, she's free of asthma and eczema - though she does suffer food allergies.

Apples also have one and a half times more antioxidants than a 75 gram serve of blueberries, more than twice the antioxidants of a cup of tea, about three times the antioxidants of an orange and almost eight times the antioxidants of a banana!

Did you crave something beneficial during pregnancy? I'd love to hear your stories!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Babies biting on credit.

I'm sure many of us would like to chew up our credit cards and forget they ever existed. I don't have one anymore. Thank God, or I'd be in debt up to my eyeballs. But I'll bet you've never thought about letting a baby chew on one for comfort.

This morning on the news I heard credit cards might be a shop-a-holic's worst enemy but they're now fast becoming a baby's best-friend.

A new teething toy that looks like a credit card, complete with numbers, an expiry date and name'Ima Spender' is the latest controversial baby toy on the market.

In fact, it's reported that the innocuous looking toy, priced at $24.95, is sparking outrage by social commentators who believe the toy is irresponsible because it's grooming our children in materialism.

I really can't think why you'd want one for bub, regardless of the controversial nature of the thing! You can't use it to buy that oh-so-gorgeous but outrageously priced pair of True Religion jeans and it's no more beneficial than a rubber ring teether.

I suppose it might provide some smug satisfaction to a shop-a-holic who's given up the plastic - after all at least bub can take out her frustrations with it.

What do you think? Irresponsible or just a bit of fun?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The colour purple.

I'm obsessed with the colour purple. This has been my favourite colour since I was a fourteen year old. Before that it was black, a dark period where I wore nothing but black, which is not really a colour at all, but a shade. Before that it was pink, of course!

I was curious about what this colour choice said about me. Here's what I found...

Purple people are:

Highly individual (a diplomatic way of saying 'strange'?)
fastidious (annoying?)
Witty (I like this one)
Sensitive (highly emotional?)
Temperamental (...really?)
Artistic (I wish)
Aloof and sarcastic when misunderstood (this keeps getting better)
Unconventional (again, strange)
Tolerant (great)
Dignified (excellent)

What colour are you?

Pink: Maternal, delicate, fragile, charming and gentle

Blue: Soft, soothing, compassionate, caring and suspicious

Green: Gentle, sincere, sociable, self-effacing and modest

Yellow: Happy, irresponsible, outgoing and adventurous

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Woman on top.

What an amazing day for Australian women!

After the 26 who came before her, Julia Gillard has made history today becoming Australia's first female Prime Minister.

I think it's terrific. Finally, a women in the top job.

I do have to wonder about the stability of the Labor party though. It's quite shocking how quickly this has happened.

It's also an historic moment for Kevin Rudd (aka Kevin07 - K-Rudd) who will also go down in history, for less pleasing reasons, as the first Prime Minister ever to be dumped by his party in his first term of gaining power!

What are your thoughts?!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blogs in honour of babies.

Yesterday I stumbled across an amazing blog dedicated to a baby. It was written in diary form with beautiful photos and heartfelt words that catalogued every precious moment.

The first blog begins with the mother (author of the blog) discovering she is pregnant, right through to the birth and month-by-month accounts of baby's milestones.

I was was flawed by the beauty of this tribute, which will no doubt be a treasure to the baby boy as he grows up.

Recently I submitted an article to a parenting magazine on the emotional health benefits of keeping a diary. Research by leading psychologists pointed to significant increases in happiness and satisfaction with life in those who expressed themselves through words.

Perhaps this is why we blog. I know writing has always been a passion of mine. A pastime that is cathartic in a way that nothing else compares.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Slow cook saviour.

It's possible that I've been living under a rock, because I've only just discovered the true nature of the slow cooker.

In my mind, the slow cooker, by its very name, suggested a long, laborious process of preparing a meal. I've always been more of a cook it fast and get it on the table quick kind of person. This became even more necessary when I had my daughter, who was not the easiest of babies to say the least.

So when a friend of mine told me that she didn't have to worry about making dinner that night because she had the slow cooker on I was a little confused. Did she have a personal chef? When she explained how this amazing appliance worked, that all you had to do was throw all of the uncooked ingredients in, switch it on and leave it until dinner time and bing! dinner's done, I was in awe.

I had to get my hands on one. And so I did. For just $50 - 30%-off sale at Myer - I now have my very own 5L slow cooker.

I've made one very memorable meal of chicken stew and it was all taken care of by 11 am. In the bliss that follows making such an excellent, time-saving, sanity-saving discovery I told another friend about the slow-cooker's greatness - to which she replied, 'yeah, I use mine all the time'!

As always when your focus is drawn to something you're not usually aware of, I've been spotting slow cookers everywhere! Slow cooker recipe books jump out from the supermarket shelf, and just the other day I saw an ad for a book by newsreader Juanita Phillips called 'A Slow Cooker Saved My Life: How to Have It All, Do It All, and Keep It All Together - a guide to juggling the work/life/children balance as much as it is a recipe book.

It's slow-cooker pandemonium.

Here's the next great recipe I'm going to throw at my slow-cooker.

Butter Chicken by Lisa Kremer at

Serves 4

4-6 boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil

Stir fry chicken, onion and garlic in frying pan on medium heat until the chicken has some color and the onion is translucent. Then pour entire contents of pan into crock pot. Then add:

15 green cardamom pods (can be strung together with needle and thread - I always do it this way, and then a friend informed me putting it in some cheesecloth would be easier...good thinkin')
2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp curry paste (like Patak’s mild curry paste**)
1 tsp cayenne powder (optional) It’s really hot if you add this
2 tsp tandoori masala*
1 tsp garam masala*
1 can coconut milk
1 cup plain yogurt
1 5.5 fl oz can of tomato paste
Salt to taste

Mix gently and cook on high heat 4-6 hours or low heat 6-8 hours.

Serve with basmati rice and warm naan bread.

Enjoy! :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blog identity issues.

It seems my blog is having a crisis of identity...

When I first started my blog, I rushed with full enthusiasm into setting it up without giving it too much thought. Lately I've started to realise that this is a little bit like how I approach most things in life - a trait I'm desperately trying to overcome.

I'm not sure how many different names I've given my blog, but I don't think it would be a stretch to say at least half a dozen in less than a year. I'm also quite a lazy blogger, only giving it thought when the mood strikes, in between playing with my delightfully demanding two-year-old daughter, organising dinner, keeping a clean and tidy house (this might be a bit of a stretch too!), working on my next feature and the myriad of other tasks associated with being the stay-at-home carer.

There are times when I wish for the simplicity of a 9 to 5 job that begins when you sit down at your desk at 5 to 9 and switch off when you log-off your computer....anyway, I digress!

The new blog name 'Life on Venus' is not at all original, I know, but it seemed like the best way to sum up living as a women in a world that sometimes feels a little bit alien.

I've been a mother now for two years but sometimes I still look at my daughter, the housework, the new life I'm living, and feel like I'm living on another planet. One that's wonderfully rewarding and one that's also full of conflicting priorities. So this is my new blog, for now!

I'll try to be consistent - but who knows how I'll feel next week!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Around the world at 16!

I'm still completely in awe of sailor Jessica Watson who at just 16 sailed solo around the world! It really is inspiring. When I think back to when I was 16, things like figuring out what to wear on the weekend or finding the right shade of hair colour seemed like an achievement.

In my nightmares I'm often surrounded by enormous waves in the middle of the ocean and I wake up in a cold sweat. I struggle to comprehend setting sail in the knowledge that all that danger lies ahead - how courageous. And just 16.

I have to wonder though, if I were her parents - would I have been able to let her go? Probably not. In fact, my daughter's just 2, but I'm pretty sure someone would have to drag me away kicking and screaming if she were to ever wish to attempt something so terrifying.

But, how amazing. What a fantastic role model. ;)

Monday, May 31, 2010

The babycino...

I've recently been in the habit of ordering my two-year-old daughter a babycino when we're out at coffee shops. It's not coffee, just frothy milk with some chocolate sprinkled on top, but it's in a miniture coffee cup - just like mine.

The other day my husband and I were out at breakfast and there happened to be a toddler's birthday party in progress. A shrill voice caught my attention and I turned to watched the little girl tear open one of her gifts, as her mother yelled in delight, 'wow, your own coffee maker!'. It was a toy cappuccino maker complete with milk frother, coffee cups, spoons ... the lot. I then looked at my daughter enjoying her babycino and it got me this irresponsible? After all, coffee is a drug - just ask my husband who often blames his mood on the fact that he's yet to have his first cup of the day.

It takes me back to the days when I was little and it was perfectly natural for kids to walk around eating 'fags' - lollies made to look like cigarettes. Nowadays it would be frowned upon but back then everyone was buying them for their kids, or everyone I knew anyway. How long before we start thinking the same way about caffeine?

As my thoughts about being an irresponsible parent percolated, a friend of mine told me her three-year-old daughter was served a babycino with real coffee in it! She was horrified of course, and most cafes understand the concept of a babycino - but it was this story that really highlighted the potential dangers in offering kids pretend coffees.

What do you think? Is it just harmless fun...or something to be concerned about?

Friday, April 16, 2010

You Sexy Mother Philosophy!

You Sexy Mother is the title of a self-help book for mothers that I'm reading at the moment. The book's author, Jodie-Henley-Ward, was inspired to keep a diary after the arrival of her daughter and so the book was born. Subtitled 'a life changing approach to motherhood', the book takes mothers on a spiritual journey that exorcises the stereotypical tired, self-sacrificing mum and replaces her with a happier and more vibrant version of herself. This book gives great insight on how to bring back the spark of your former self while embracing your new role as a mother. I'd recommend this book to any mother who feels like she's starting to lose her identity. It's an inspiring read and one that's easy to put into practice for all mothers who want to lead a healthy and more fulfilling life. Look out for Jodie's follow up book You Sexy Mother: The Journal, a workbook to bring about positive change in the life of mothers, out in bookstores soon.