International Day Of Happiness

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Today is International Day of Happiness. Happiness is a choice, something I’ve learnt only in the past few years of my life. Every feeling we experience is a choice actually. Some people find this hard to understand, because why would they choose to feel sad or anxious? It takes time and a lot of work within yourself to understand this though.
I’ve also learnt that:
Happiness is linked to gratitude.
Happiness does not come from material items. They make you feel temporarily pleasant but true happiness doesn’t come from money.
Happiness brings you more happiness.
Making other people happy is a wonderful thing!
Happiness is the way of life.
In spirit of today’s International Day of Happiness, here are some things I am happy for today:
  • the food in my belly and more in my fridge and pantry
  • the beautiful sunny day outside
  • my cosy and familiar home
  • my supportive and loving husband
  • the internet, so I can blog and connect with others
  • money-making opportunities
  • being blessed with our beautiful daughter
  • my tan skin that I had always taken for granted
  • my happy mood!
  • my past for teaching me all I know in the present
I could go on and on and on!

Hey, at the end of the day…..
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What are you happy for today? Comment 3 things off the top of your head, GO!

Do You Know About Yacon Syrup?

I’m always up for sharing new products I’ve found to help you out in the some-what confusing world of “clean eating”. Being big on not using refined sugar, I had to share this post with you. And if you’re trying to lose weight healthily, definitely keep reading!
Once upon a time, far far away (well, from me) in the Andes Mountains, there was a plant called the yacon plant. The indigenous people of Peru ate this plant for it’s nutritional benefits which include low calories and low sugar… in fact they even used it as a diabetic treatment and preventative. Not to mention it also acted as a pre-biotic which helps the intestines to function their best, while eliminating any toxins from your system. Many moons later, the whole world is lucky enough to know about this beautiful plant and it’s powers… and now we can all enjoy yacon syrup (I never claimed to be good a good story teller!).

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According to Wiki, a study in 2002 showed yacon syrup was determined to be a better antioxidant than enzyme solutions of potato, mushroom, and eggplant. In fact, another study also showed that daily intake of yacon syrup produces a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference and BMI when it was given to to a study of obese women.
Sounds pretty good right? Toss the white grainy devil and use this natural sweetener instead while losing weight? Impressive.
But yacon syrup is relatively new to me. I’d read about it a long time ago and thought it may be similar to molasses which I’m not a fan of. And while it is treacle-like, it tastes way better than molasses and performs much better too! Recently I’ve had a bottle of it in my hot little hands and have been so excited to share with you how much I love it! 
I had lots of recipes I was going to try using yacon syrup in. But I haven been so busy and miss O is cutting a molar (where’s the rum? For both of us! I joke..) and I’m just too tired. So apart from stirring some yacon in my berry chia jam (in place of coconut sugar) I thought I’d try a pre-made recipe using the yacon. By the way, it worked perfectly in the jam 😉

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So today for lunch I tried this recipe (pictured above) from The Holistic Ingredient which uses yacon syrup and by golly it was good. I found the yacon syrup to be thick and sweet, but not over-powering. It’s hard to describe it’s flavour. But mix it into a smoothie or your desserts and you wouldn’t be able to pick the flavour of it out. 
(And psst, while we’re talking about The Holistic Ingredient, I really recommend her eBook “A Nourishing Kitchen” which you can purchase by clicking the picture of it to the right in my sidebar.)
I look forward to trying more recipes with yacon syrup which I’ll no doubt share on here.
You can purchase yacon syrup from here (delivery was super quick!).
To find out more information about yacon syrup click here
This was a sponsored post for Q Yacon.

Have you heard about this syrup? Do you like it?

Style Your Party – A Guide to Kid’s Parties!


I wish birthdays came around more than once a year. Or that it was acceptable to celebrate every 3 or 6 months of being alive. Especially now that I have a kid, because party planning is so much fun. The decorations, choosing colours and patterns or if you’re a hardcore party planner, a theme (much respect to you!).

Here’s a little secret to make your party planning easier: find a one-stop shop. And preferably, online because then you can sit and click without little people running up isles, and if you really want you could click away with a wine in hand (or a green juice, depends how you’re day has gone right?).
Little Boo-Teek is the perfect online store for everything kids (and a little something for mum too). It fits my one-stop shop rule and they also have a Style My Party range which I can’t get enough of. Check out some of the party decorations….
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I’m also loving this grass table mat which is not even $12! It kind of has a like a Alice in Wonderland feel to it. Imagine a bunch of little people sitting down to eat with this in front of them? Olivia would find it magical. Maybe it’ll get her eating more, god knows I need a new trick up my sleeve…
How about these colourful pom-poms (which I’m going to string up along my bedhead). LOVE these!

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I’d never seen this before but it’s such an awesome idea. A giant balloon filled with confetti. I would suggest having these outside though, or at least con the kids into helping clean the confetti up! No party is complete without balloons right? These would be cool at a wedding too.

And if you are a theme person, you could get some help with this kit (pictured at top of post), which includes, invitations, lolly bags, straws, stickers and more.

There’s a whole range of party ideas and products in the Style My Party range, so do what I did and bookmark it 🙂

Little Boo-Teek are also celebrating their 2nd birthday so there’s even more excuse to pop over and grab a bargain. Onto it, people, onto it! Check them out here or like their Facebook page here.
Do you find party planning stressful? Have you ever done a themed kids party?

This was a sponsored post for Little Boo-Teek.

{RECIPE} Really Easy Dhal

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Summer is over and the misty mornings and cool evenings are starting to arrive. One of the best ways to warm up is with comfort food. Dhal is one of my favourite dishes, but one I never had until 2 years ago. Boy was I missing out! 

I’ve tried many dhal recipes and have finally created my own one that I love! I will use no other!
Even Olivia loves my dhal. She eats it straight off the spoon from the saucepan (it’s okay, I’ve taught her to blow on food to cool it down). I would eat this every day if I could. In fact, I’m eating a bowl of it right now for lunch while I type this post. I swear, look:
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She can eat as much as she wants, because this dish has many health benefits. Lentils are great for vegans and vegetarians and contain more folate (an important B vitamin) than any other unfortified plant food. Spices are beneficial as well, with tumeric being well known for it’s cancer-fighting properties.
As a mum I don’t want to spend an hour in the kitchen getting dinner ready which is one reason why I love this recipe. It’s so simple and so easy. If you were really lazy, you could replace the fresh tomatoes with tinned (but come on, you know fresh is best!).

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(Serves 2)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (about 200g)
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbs coconut milk
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
Combine everything but the coconut milk and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Give it a stir and pop the lid on and bring it to the boil. 
Reduce the heat to low-medium and let it simmer away uncovered for 20 minutes (until lentils are thick and soft), giving it a stir every now and then. 
Add the coconut milk and lemon juice, stir it through and remove the pot from the heat. And that’s it, seriously.
Serve garnished with coriander on a bed of rice.
How easy was that?! If you like a bit of spice, feel free to add more curry powder or add some chilli powder. I’m a wussy and the above amounts are just perfect for me.
Do you like dhal? I want to know, can you handle the spice?!

Top 5: Blogs you must read!

I’ve been an avid reader all my life. I just enjoy it! This has also crossed over onto the internet and not only do I write my own blog but I read blogs. 
It’s like a magazine of someone’s life. I’m a nosey person. I love my reality shows, love to catch up on celeb goss. God knows why, I mean it doesn’t affect my life at all. Why do we find other’s lives so interesting? The thing about the blog world is that there’s a blog for almost every topic and interest you could think of. 
I’ve compiled my top 5 blogs I currently read. This was a hard list to make but hopefully you will find them as enjoyable as I do!
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1. Cattle, Kids & Chaos. I have a secret passion in my heart for the land. When I was 18 I completed an Agriculture course through TAFE, living in Dubbo for a couple of months. It was hard work, great fun and was the closest I’ve come to feel like I was LIVING. Being outside all the time, working on the land and with animals, it’s living. So reading Fiona’s blog is one of my favourite ways to unwind and keep “in the loop” with the farming world. She’s living my dream, raising her family on a cattle station, working hard (and worrying harder!) but you can tell she appreciates every moment. She has plenty of photos to keep you engaged too. A great blog for city slickers and rural lovers alike.
2. Baby Mac. No doubt one of the coolest bloggers out there, Beth has style, you guys. She is a woman after my own heart, posting entries laden with photographs of flowers, bed linen, homewares and noms. In fact, she has recently started up a game called Recipe Roulette where she creates a new dish every fortnight, chosen at random by poking her finger at a book and naming a page number. Lots of people have joined in! Down to earth gal and blog, this one. She may find me creepy, I may have a girl crush on her. Oh and you probably have also seen her on your telly 😉
3. Katie 180. Telling it like it is with a side of gangsta. I love Katie for her honesty! I imagine her to write just how she talks in real life… or is that vise versa?! She is a nutritionist and mother of 2 (one being a newborn!) and has some great articles that provoke thought and discussion. Of course she posts plenty of recipes, and her sense of humour is great fun!
4. Life At My Level. Leisa and I go back a little bit. Before the times of blogging publicly we read each other at a recently-closed diary/blogging website. A lovely soul, Leisa has achondroplasia and her blog documents her daily life living with the condition and her journey to prove everyone wrong! She is truly inspiring!
5. Fat Mum Slim. One of the first blogs I started reading after leaving OD. FMS has led me to find many other great blogs too. Chantelle is such a kind hearted woman. You may remember me helping her with the FMS Gift Exchange… something she set up out of the kindness of her heart. Her blog has posts about her daily/personal life, motherhood, blogging tips, recipes and everything else you can imagine. She also runs the FMS Photo a Day challenge. Surely you know of it!

What blogs do you read? Maybe you have one to share with me, or even your own?

{12WBT} Halfway Update

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We’re currently in week six (how does time go so fast?) of the 12WBT. 
Good news: the Hubby has lost weight. How much I cannot tell you as we didn’t weigh in today because we ate three donuts before bed last night. I know, right? It was one of those impulse buys that we later regretted but couldn’t face throwing our money in the bin. We’re only human, moving forward!
The excitement of the program wore off about week 3. Lately we went off track – we went on holiday for 3 days, and then I was sick (or as sick as a mother can be) and I didn’t cook or clean or do anything. Seriously, I didn’t even take O outside to play, how bad a mother am I?! TV was a great baby sitter and guilt washed over me but no more – outside it is! 
I’m still hating the low-fat-everything and the ricotta-in-most-recipes thing about Michelle Bridges. But I substitute as best I can. Dairy has still been in our diet lately and I’m having mixed feelings about it! 
The meals in general are great. I’ve printed lots off, changed them slightly to suit (less cheese, more veggies!) and have stuffed them in a folder as I will definitely be using these in our weekly meal plans once the program is over. 
We eat the same snacks as always (apricot bliss balls, pop corn, fruit, veggies and homemade dip etc) but watch our portion sizes as this is the Hubby’s downfall (what can I say, I make tasty snacks!).
We haven’t exercised in 3 weeks. When we resume (next week hopefully) I think we’ll be so far behind that we will have to start off at the week 3 program which is fine by me. I was loving the workouts, they made me feel strong and empowered!
So there you have it, we’ve fallen off the bandwagon with a pile of donuts in our lap, but we are staying strong and resuming project 12WBT! The donuts were tasty, I will admit. I barely regret it 😉
Photos, measurements etc will come soon!

{RECIPE} Raw Veggie Pesto

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I have a bit of a fussy eater of a toddler on my hands lately. I think it has something to do with teething but none-the-less it makes me worry when she refuses to eat veggies. Or anything. Seriously, some days she eats nothing but 2 strawberries and a whole lotta booby! I started wracking my brains of ways to get some greens into her. She loves carbs and cheese so that was a starting point for my ideas. Except I wanted to eliminate the cheese and minimize the gluten!
One of her favourite things to eat, even on a bad day, is “cheesy scrolls” – pesto and parmasen cheese on pastry, turned into little scrolls in the oven. Bought traditional pesto is full of crap, including cheese/dairy and not to mention the actual Parmesan I would sprinkle on top! And it doesn’t have any veggies in it apart from basil which is technically a herb. Thinking cap on… and ta-da! Behold the veggie-filled raw homemade pesto!
This recipe is an altered version of the Supergreens Pesto by Belle Gibson. I’ve tweaked amounts, added new ingredients, and am very happy with how this tastes! If you give it a go, take a pic and hashtag #hippiemumma on IG or leave me a comment here, I’d love to hear some feedback!
1 small head of broccoli, cut into small pieces
2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
40g basil
40g parsley
200g walnuts (try different nuts!)
2tbs savoury yeast flakes
80ml macadamia oil (olive oil will work fine too)
3 cloves of garlic
juice of 2 lemons
And its so easy to do –
Whack it all in your food processor and blend for a few minutes, scraping down the sides once or twice, until you have your desired pesto consistency.
Store the pesto in an airtight jar in the fridge, it should keep for a few weeks.
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The savoury yeast is a vegan’s best friend. It has a cheesy flavour that Olivia can’t deny. She even loves it sprinkled on steamed broccoli florets, and popcorn! It is full of B Vitamins too.
You can use the pesto on almost anything but here are a few ideas:
Stirred through zoodles (raw zucchini noodles, shown below) or pasta.
As the base for some scroll bites – pastry is all you need, cheese optional!
As a spread on wraps/sandwiches.
To dip veggie sticks or crackers in.
Straight from the jar (I do this, it’s good).
Anywhere you’d use traditional pesto. 
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Stormy Mother Nature

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Can we please take a moment to appreciate Mother Nature in all her glory? We often love her when she produces sunny bright days and curse her when it rains or floods… But the show she put on yesterday afternoon in Sydney was spectacular! 

Up here in the (lower) Blue Mountains it bucketed down and we had a beautiful lightening show with some very loud claps of thunder. Olivia was outside during the last storm of the afternoon and wasn’t one bit frightened of the thunder! She just looked up into the sky with wonder. 
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Our house is one of the highest ones on the street, our back deck is perched just high enough to see the city buildings faaaaar off in the distance. I envy next door more, because they had trees cut down and can now sit in their outdoor spa with a glass of wine and enjoy those city views. I’m talking TEENY TINY buildings about 70 kilometers away, way out on the horizon by the way 😉
I stood in the kitchen preparing dinner and watched the dark clouds roll in and drop over the escarpment, where the Blue Mountains drops away into the Nepean basin and then it kept on rolling out into the city. It was beautiful!

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Please note, images are not mine.

Taking Stock of February


Making: a scrapbook for Olivia. Should of started 16 months earlier… 1000’s of photos… send help!
Cooking: some new recipes from the 12WBT program.
Drinking: water. If I have bottles made up in the fridge I find I have no excuse 😉
Reading: Tori Spelling’s latest book. I’m a sucker for celebrity auto-biographies. 
Wanting: the pieces I listed in this post. Slowly saving…
Looking: clearer skin lately. Lay off the gluten and dairy again it happens within days.
Playing: with my girl any chance I get, it’s so much more fun at this age, it’s not just me dangling a toy in front of her face making stupid noises haha!
Deciding: what tactic to try for our 3 hour car trip tomorrow – leave when she wakes or leave when she is due for a nap and pray she naps in the car…
Wishing: for sunny days while we are up the coast.
Enjoying: life.
Waiting: for winter. I’m ready to snuggle and dress O in cute cardis.
Liking: colour,
Loving: nap time with the babe.
Pondering: the things I’m good at.
Considering: shorter hair.
Watching: Hoopla Doopla! Awesome kids show.
Hoping: for sunny weather up the coast.

Needing: sleep!
Smelling: an agave scented candle.
Wearing: Havi hongs til they break! Just got 2 new pairs delivered, phew.
Following: a couple of new “outback” bloggers.
Noticing: that teenagers don’t have any bloody manners these days.
Knowing: that my kid certainly will!
Thinking: money money money. What you think and feel will manifest.
Feeling: tired, lonely and in need of a break for most of Feb.
Sorting: through 8 bags of hand-me-down clothes for O from a lovely friend.
Buying: more Instagram prints!
Getting: impatient for the beach…
Bookmarking: gems/crystals on Etsy
Disliking: elderly people on the road. they probably shake their fists at us young’uns driving but I only ask to do the speed limit – I have a screaming child in the back!
Opening: more Instagram prints lol I love stalking the mailbox every day for them.
Giggling: at Olivia’s babble talk. I thinks she thinks she is really having a conversation with me lately!

You can view January’s list here.

$440 Living Room Transformation

I mentioned last post that Hubby and I have been bitten by the reno bug again lately. I wrote about how we spent all night discussing options to expand out kitchen but ended up going to bed frustrated and back at square one with it. Over the weekend we found a solution that actually works. Finally! We even ran it past my folks and they said it would work, however the only down side is we would lose our laundry (for now). To me that’s not a big deal but when we eventually sell I know it’s important.
While we work out costs and look into how to DIY it, I’ve also been looking at some new styles for our home.
When we moved in here in 2011 our taste and style of interior design was very different to how it is now. Well, mine is. I’m finally not afraid of colour, and want to incorporate more of it into our furniture and decor.
Other factors – like the fact we have a tiny human tornado whooshing through the house – have also prompted me to look into new items. Our current coffee table is getting ruined because of Olivia (it’s this one from IKEA, minus the wheels) and the TV unit isn’t enclosed so buttons keep getting pressed and the volume turned up to excruciating levels by an inquisitive accident.
I’ve also been keen on a rug since we moved in, especially during the winter months. But shit, rugs are expensive, so it’s never happened.
This morning I finally found the new items I’ve had pictured in my mind for months… years even! Before I go into the new items, here is one of my inspiration pics:
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I’ve been crushing on a coloured TV unit for quite some time and was even open to a DIY refurb job but haven’t come across anything suitable. The second part of the picture is the coffee tables. The 2 simple square tables side by side. I love the simplicity of them when you have so much else going on (like a coloured TV unit!).
Now, onto what I’ve found at IKEA today:
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How awesome is this TV unit? I was hoping for more of a mint colour but I’d settle for turquoise. Great to hide all the electronic stuff from little fingers… it’s a great standout coloured piece for the living room! If I got it in turquoise I would then put this rug on the floor:
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And on top of that I would sit two of these simple white coffee tables:
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I know it can be difficult for some people to imagine all of this thrown together and what may look bold and scary in a product photo can actually be quite warm and transforming when placed in a home with other items. So bear with me! I’m not sure the Hubby would go for a turquoise TV unit. If he doesn’t, it happens to also come in this colour:
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Which means I’d then use this rug:
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And I’d probably still use the 2 square coffee tables pictured above, in either white or black.
It would cost $440 all up, which in my eyes is pretty reasonable to transform a whole room. So I’m saving my pretty pennies. What do you think, which of the 2 options do you prefer? Or do you hate the TV unit?!
Oh, one last thing. This is another inspiration pic I have found:
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The thick black and white stripe wall paper. This is exactly what I want to do on the wall that greets you when you walk in our front door. We have a tiny entrance area before leading into the hallway or into the lounge room. Since removing the mirrors I had hanging there (I found out it’s bad feng shui) I’ve been racking my brains what I could put there. THIS! This would also tie into the lounge room which you can see from this wall, if I used the black and white striped rug pictured above. I think I’m onto something 😉
Perhaps I’ve found my calling!