Posted in 30 Days of Gratitude, Family, Ordinarylife

What do you choose?

I choose to be an optimist, to believe the best in people and to believe in honesty and accidents. I choose to see beauty around me.

Since 14 February I have been thinking about how everybody has react to the whole Oscar / Reeva shooting and how I feel about it.  I am not saying I don’t believe he is guilty – he shot somebody, whether he intended it to be Reeva he shot that is a different story.

But, this post however is not about him.  It is about me!  It is about what I choose and how I choose to feel in situations like this.  I don’t want to go around thinking the worst in everybody.  I don’t want to see the doom and gloom in the world.  I don’t want to think that there is only bad out there.

I want to see the beauty in a sunset or sun rise, I want to believe that people are inherently good.  I want to enjoy my life and to enjoy the abundant kindness that surrounds me.  I want to believe in luck and that hard work does pays off.  I want to enjoy footprints in the sand, walks along the beach and kisses from family.  Yes, I will be disappointed along the way, let down and called naïve.  I don’t care.  What other options are there, to live in a hole seeing only darkness, to be pessimistic and think that only bad is going to happen?  Yes, I know bad does happen, and often, but so does good.  I choose to see and focus on that even if at times it is very hard.

How do you choose to live your life?

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Posted in Art, My sketchbook, Ordinarylife, Sketches

FBC – a doodle

A Doodle by me
A Doodle by me

 

I drew this using a fine-liner, correction pen (otherwise know as tippex) and my new favourite pen an ink brush pen by Pental – see HERE.  Its called a Pocket Brush Pen, I am guessing because unlike a normal brush you can just pop it in your pocket and it is ready to go.  It does takes some getting used to and I tend to be a bit shaky using it, but love it.  I will keep practising.

Posted in Baking, Cookies, Food, Ordinarylife

Iced Sugar Biscuits – a few tips

For Little OL’s party I also made some iced rainbow sugar biscuits. Cupcake Mummy suggested a do a tutorial, but I won’t.  I don’t have the time or patience to take photos of the process and there are already tutorials on the internet that explain it very well – that is how I learnt.  Also, I don’t feel like I have enough experience to “teach” somebody else how to do this, I am also just starting out and learing as I go.

Here is a link to a blog that has very good tutorials and tips.  I use her as my “go to” most of the time – Sweetopia

EDITED – I don’t know how I forgot to add this link – her tutorials are also fantastic!  The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

I will however give some pointers that I have picked up that make it easier for me.  My first one is that I don’t use piping bags; I have found that ziplock freezer bags work the best for me. They are cheaper, I always have them in the house, and because they close at the top my hands don’t get covered in icing, which no matter how I tried to fold the other bags always seemed to happen.  If I am doing delicate work or the outline then I will use a nozzle if not, if I am just doing the flood work (middle part) then I will just cut a tiny bit of the corner off and use it like that.  If you don’t have the nozzles (or enough nozzles) you could just be very careful and cut a very small bit off the corner. I have done that and it has worked.  Then, don’t over fill your bags; it is much easier to work with smaller amounts in the bag and just refill.

Zip bags
Zip bags

If I am working with a few colours I will keep the nozzles face down resting on a damp cloth (I just use paper towel.  Don’t let it get too wet or it will affect the icing in the nozzle, but by having it just damp the icing doesn’t harden while you are using a different colour.

Damp kitchen towel
Damp kitchen towel

The other things that I keep nearby are a damp kitchen towel, to wipe the ends of the nozzles when necessary and a few toothpicks.  If you get a bubble in the icing prick it while still very wet and it won’t leave a small hole.

a damp cloth at hand
a damp cloth at hand

I have tried making Royal Icing using an egg substitute and with real eggs.  The taste was pretty much the same, however I find that the egg substitute clogs the nozzle more than real eggs. This is a real pain in the butt so now I use real eggs (for these biscuits I used THIS recipe – the one at the bottom of the post using eggs).  In America they use meringue powder, but I have not find it here. The egg substitute I used was Actiwhite and I found it at the Baking Tin in PE.

Rainbow colours
Rainbow colours

On all the tutorials they talk about the 10 second rule, what they mean is that if you drag a knife through the Royal Icing it should take 10 seconds for icing to be smooth again. For delicate work I use more like a 15 to 20 second rule.  For the flood work 10 secs or a bit less if fine.  Sometimes for basic shapes, like squares or circle I will use 10 seconds for both and the pipe the outline and fill it all at the same time. This way you do not see the outline line, but it still seems to hold its shape.

I have a couple of books that I use and I always use the biscuit recipe from The Biscuiteers book but mostly if I need advice or help, I Google it.  All my answers seem to be there.

Good luck and if you have any great pointers or tips to make my life easier when icing biscuits, please feel free to share!

I found an example of rainbow biscuits HERE and a tutorial.  I used that to make Little OL’s birthday biscuits.  I am really happy with the way they turned out, but I wish I had double checked it before I started.  I had forgotten that she iced all her biscuits white before putting on the colours.  But oh well.  I like them anyway.

Rainbow Biscuits
Rainbow Biscuits
A hand cut biscuit, using a template I made.
A hand cut biscuit, using a template I made.
Posted in Feb Blog Challange, Ordinarylife

FBC – A bit of a catch up.

22 – My dream wedding

I was never the girl that dreamt about getting married or having a big wedding.  I always thought that if I did get married I would elope.  Gretna Green was my destination…. However, Mr OL did not want to elope.  He thought there was nothing better than getting married in front of friends and family and stating that you intend to spend the rest of your life together.  I could not argue with that.  The wedding we had turned out to be my dream wedding.  It was understated, simple and small (ish).  I loved it.

23 – Meet 5 twitter friends.

This is another difficult one.  I am “friends”with a lot of people on twitter – quite a few of whose blogs I read too and am now friends with on FB.  The following people I would definitely like to meet (I have made it 6).   Robyn from @thebookclubblog and The Book Club Blog , @melbinos, @marciafrancois from The 1,2,3 Blog and Take Charge Solutions, @catjuggles from Juggling act of life, @laurakim123 from the Harrassed Mom and of course  @HayleyM_ from Everything In Between. There are many others that I would like to meet to, but those where the first 5 that came to mind (and that I have not already met.)

24 – Would you change anything physically about you and why.

No.  I am pretty happy with everything the way it is.

Actually – there is one thing.  I went grey really early and have been dying my hair since I was 19!  I am sick of it; I would love to have back the hair colour I had when I was 18.

Posted in Baby OL, Baking, Children, Cookies, Family, Food, Ordinarylife

3rd Birthday Party – Rainbow theme

Here are a couple (ok, a few more than a couple) of photo’s from Little OL’s 3rd Birthday party.

I have known what theme i wanted for her 3rd birthday for over a year.  In fact ever since I saw THIS and post by Sweetapolita.  Oh wow! I wanted to make that cake.  This from a girl who at time had NEVER made a cake from scratch.  As I knew what theme I wanted I have been preparing for a while, gathering ideas and odds and ends.  I bought the candles about 8 months ago, I knew if I left them I would never find them when I really wanted them.

Rainblow Balloon Banner
Rainblow Balloon Banner

Yes, I blew up all the balloons – phew there were a few light headed moments…..

The Colouring in station
The Colouring in station

I figured that not all the kids would want to play in the splash pool or slip ‘n slide so gave them something else to do – I also was worried that if it rained they would be very bored.  I sprayed masonite clip boards with a glitter varnish and put each kids name on them. The kids then got to take the boards home with them.  I also designed and printed off a whole lot of rainbow themed colouring in pages.

Party Boxes
Party Boxes

I made these boxes using my Silhoutte Cameo.  They were the first things I have made with it and it was much easier than I was expecting. The machine has been intimidating me….

Rainbow Jelly
Rainbow Jelly
Rainbow Cake Push Pops
Rainbow Cake Push Pops

I made these the same why that I did the cake.  Easy but pretty time consuming.

THE CAKE
THE CAKE
THE CAKE - a rainbow suprise
THE CAKE – a rainbow suprise
It was very popular.....
It was very popular…..
The Birthday Girl enjoy the splash pool
The Birthday Girl enjoy the splash pool
Posted in Feb Blog Challange, Ordinarylife

FBC – Five Favourite Blogs

This one is nearly impossible to do.  I read quite a few blogs regularly and enjoy them all for different reasons.  I would not like to say that I prefer one over another.

I guess the one common thing that all the bogs I read have in common is that I connect with the blogger, but these may be for different reasons.  Some would be a personal reason or connection, like when I feel that we could be friends if we lived closer or that we have things in common or are at a similar place in our lives or our goals are similar.  With another blog it could be that the blogger is inspirational for various reasons or that they have fantastic skills in their chosen career, hobby or craft.  They could be blogging about a town or city I love or something else that interests me.  Others blogs could just be that I want to see how that person is doing, it might not seem that we have anything in common, or that they have a particular skill set that I admire, but I just “like” them and what they have to say.

Yet others could be that they “find” lovely things or are funny or entertaining.

And then there are those that I have absolutely NO idea why I read… The blogger is rude, we have nothing in common, I have no intention of ever meeting up IRL, he rips me off about Port Elizabeth and yet I go back and read his blog day after day (well at least once a week) – I must be a sucker for punishment!   EDIT:  Just to clarify – in case I offended although I don’t think I did as I know he has a sense of humour (one of the reasons why I read his blog) – the above was meant as a joke.  I really enjoy reading his blog and have done so for nearly as long as I have blogged 🙂

I could tell you to look at the right hand side for links to blogs I read regularly but there are so many more than just those few.

Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, Ordinarylife

February so far

February has been an odd month. It seems as if the highs have been pretty high but the lows very, very low.

The beginning of the month had me questioning my friendship skills.  A lady that used to live next door to us committed suicide.  She moved last year and had asked me a couple of times to come to her new place for a drink and a chat – I said I would be never “got round to it”. Something always seemed to come up.  I know that my going round for a drink would probably not have changed the end result, but it still made me question a few things and she had two young sons that she left behind.  I think you will always question “how could she” in those kinds of circumstances.  I guess when you are at that stage you are not thinking logically.  Then the death of a somebody else had me realise just how quickly life can change, how quickly it can end.  You can seem healthy but you just never know.

Obviously the whole Oscar / Reeva episode has also affected the whole country in various ways.  Once again, it made me think about how quickly life can change.  How an action, by intent or by accident can affect and even devastate the lives of so many.

Those where the bad

The good – well, they kind of pale into insignificance when compared to the above, but they have made me feel better and in my life one of them at least is pretty huge – that is that Little OL turns 3 today.  Most of the time I can’t believe that I have a daughter, never mind one that is 3.

Opening presents - 3rd Birthday
Opening presents – 3rd Birthday

Other positive news is that my blog was featured on an on-line newsletter for ex-pat’s in the UK.  Click HERE to see it.  I was very chuffed to get asked if they could feature it.  Wow – it’s the first time anything like that has happened and it felt good.  It was the start of what felt like a very positive and lucky week for me.  First I received that email, and then I received 3 more emails on the same day saying I had won different things on various blogs or Facebook pages!  Followed by another email 2 days later saying I had won a CD.  I could not stop smiling and after the start to the month I felt like I needed it.

Then, to make my February even more special two other bloggers have been exceptionally kind and thoughtful.  I just want to say thank you – it really has meant a lot to me.  It reinforced why I blog – you meet such wonderful people and make friends,  even if only on-line, with people that you would never have the opportunity to meet in any other way due to circumstance or distance.  And, if you actually get to meet those people IRL it is fantastic.

How has your February been?  Good, bad or a combination?

 

I won items on the following blogs or FB pages – please go check them out.

Nicoletta – Cake decorating stuff.

The Mom City – a kiddies bath toy from Yookidoo

The Book Club Blog – a book, Shades by Marguerite Poland

And then a CD from a private blog of a special lady. 🙂  Thank you.

Posted in Baby OL, Books, Family, Feb Blog Challange

FBC – Favourite Childhood Book

I read a lot!  I always had my nose buried in a book.  So much so that when I was younger my parents used to say that the house could burn down around me and I would not notice – they were probably right.  I can’t however say that I had a favourite book I just used to read anything and everything I could get my hands on.  However, when I was about 10/11 my favourite series was The Famous Five.  I loved those books – I think I had them all!  Truth be told I had a bit of a secret crush on one of the characters – Julian…

File:Famous.jpg

Picture from HERE

 

I have kept all my Famous Five books and they are now in Little OL’s cupboard waiting patiently until she is old enough to read them.  Although after watching the movie about Enid Blyton I have gone off her quite a bit.  Weird how it has tarnished my image of all her books.  Has anyone else seen the movie?

Posted in Feb Blog Challange

FBC – My dream bedroom

I am pretty much an anything goes kind of girl…. as long as I have a big, comfortable bed, clean good quality linen, preferably white.  Pure cotton (as long as I don’t need to do the ironing) and the higher the thread count the better – simple tastes…… 🙂

However, if I had to describe my ultimate dream bedroom with would be something perched on the side of a hill somewhere with an amazing view either of the sea or more preferably the mountains.  Frameless doors that opened right back onto a wraparound deck.  Ahhh bliss!  The décor would be minimal and in muted tones, natural finishes like stone and wood and maybe exposed concrete.

Actually just go and have a look at THIS HOUSE.  It is pretty much spot on!   Although I might not have such a dark throw on the bed – you know, if I was going to be really fussy…….

Dream view from bedroom
Dream view from bedroom

Picture from this blog – click here

My town apartment would have the views of the city…….

 

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Ironman, Ordinarylife, Running, Sunshine Coast Triathlon, Training, Training, Triathlon

The race that started it all

8 years ago Saturday morning I ran my first 10km ever, the Metlife Plaza Valentine’s Day run.  My mom convinced me to run it with her.  I had just started running again that January so 10km was quite a big deal.  I Googled my times and I completed it in 59.32 – quite good if I do say so myself.  The only reason I got under 1 hour was because my mom was with me the whole way yelling at encouraging me to keep running.  With about 1 km to go I told her to go ahead I could not do it any more and she did, but then my competitive streak kicked in and I followed desperately trying to keep up, she finished bout 20seconds ahead of me.  (It took me over 7 years to actually beat her in a race.)

I decided to do that race again this year and my goal this time was to do my fastest 10km.  It is a flat course and there was minimal wind, so I felt it was possible. The fact that I had not actually run in 2 weeks did cross my mind but as one of my friends said at the start it just meant my legs were fresh…..  it seemed to work – my official time for the 10km on Saturday was 56:04.  (On my watch it was 56:01:32 – which made me wish I had actually looked at me watch in the last 500m).  I am happy with that – they only other time I have gone quicker was in the Sunshine Coast Triathlon.

Just for the record, a year after that first 10km I ran my first half marathon.  It was the 2 Oceans and a year after that I did my first Ironman.  I still have not run a stand-alone marathon; it is a goal for this year.