Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happenings

I've been all over this country side in the past week. Well, not entirely, but it sure can feel like it when you travel nearly 800kms back to my home town and then another 200kms further to visit our family farm.

A little distance never stopped me.

I absolutely LOVED getting back to my home town last week to see my friends and family. It was the best week, and I managed to cram as much as I could into almost seven full days.

A few snap shots of what has been happening with me lately.

Firstly, I finished off Kate's Mary-Jane's which no longer resemble the typical "Mary-Jane's" but are adorable and comfy none-the-less.


I also managed to whip up a squishy cowl neck warmer for my dad on Tuesday afternoon. Dad spends some mornings on the motorbike on our property and it can get mighty cold this time of year. I hope this warmer will do the trick. I felt so at peace sitting and knitting in my parent's garden. I miss it just thinking about it. Sitting on the patio with our family dogs beside me and the sun going down over the yard is pure magic to me.

[Both project details can be found on Ravelry here.]


Also pure magic - visiting our family property. A few friends and I headed [further] west and spent two nights 'roughing it' in our swags in the bush. I love camping and it is becoming a tradition with our friends now. I love every bit of it. Even when my hair starts to smell of smokey campfire. I love it.





Seeing my horses was definitely a highlight. I miss them so much.

I can't wait to get home again. If we lived closer I feel like I'd be there all the time. There really is no place like home.

E, x

Friday, April 18, 2014

Kate's Mary-Janes: a WIP

Happy Easter friends! I hope you are spending it with family or friends. Unfortunately I couldn't be with my family this year with the distance too great for me to travel for just the weekend, so I am bundled up in my house doing the 'house-y' things and about to get stuck in to some more crochet!

I have rekindled the flame that is my love for crochet. I knew it would happen sooner or later and I am loving it!

Thanks to the second instalment of the Jellywares autumn yarn club, I have a yummy skein of Malabrigo Rios yarn in the shade Jupiter all the way from Peru (via Cobar, NSW, hehe) to use for my next project.

I have been promising my big sister Kate a pair of these Mary-Jane slippers since about 2010 when I first started crocheting (slack sister award goes to….), so when parcel two of the yarn club arrived I knew it would be the perfect time to make a pair for her.


So far I have completed the bulk of the first slipper, I managed to get hooking last Sunday afternoon while procrastinating uni studies ( and the slack student award goes to...)

I am loving how they are turning out! The variegation in the yarn adds a little something special too. What do you think???


I am hoping to have the pair finished this weekend so I can pop them in the post first thing next week!

Enjoy the Easter break! I'm off to eat some warm hot-cross buns and sip on a cup of peppermint tea I purchased from these lovely farmers at the Orange producers market a few weeks a go.

I'll see you soon,
E, x

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A little crochet catch-up

Boy have I missed crafting! When I first learnt to crochet from this talented blogger I fell in love hard and fast! There's something about sitting on the couch on a Sunday afternoon with your fingers busy hooking away at a little something special.

I have been off the 'hooks' for a little while due to all of the happenings in my life in the past year or so, but as soon as my good friend Jodie announced she was starting an Autumn yarn club, I knew it was the exact excuse I needed to get some 'me time' back and pick up the crochet hook again!

It took me an entire month before I actually got around to starting the first project of the seasonal club, in fact, the second instalment to the club showed up on my door step last week so I knew I couldn't put off starting any longer!



I got a little nervous just thinking about crocheting again. It sounds silly, but I thought I might forget everything I learnt. I was even panicking thinking I might not remember how to tie the little knot in the yarn to connect it to my hook! I laugh at this now because, like they say about riding a bike, I hadn't forgotten a thing!

I sat down on Friday night after a long day at work with a glass of red (I know, how classy of me) and a chick-fick on TV, and started hooking. If it wasn't for the red wine putting me to sleep I probably would have finished that night, but in stead, I poured myself into bed and finished the next day.


A lovely, plum coloured facecloth to adorn our bathroom for the start of the Autumn season.

This little pattern was so nice to work on and was such a cinch! If you're thinking of learning how to crochet any time soon, this pattern is a must for beginners! It works up super fast and you learn some good basics, plus the pattern made by the 'tulip stitch' looks quite detailed (so you can fool all of your friends into thinking it's a tricky pattern - how clever of you! *wink*)


You can find the rest of my project details here on Ravelry.

Also last week, as well as finding my yarn club parcel tucked under the door mat by my postie, so too was my book delivery from  Local Is Lovely.



The book is just gorgeous and with some great yarns about Aussie producers and some amazing recipes too! I was so excited to get two parcels at once - the old fashioned 'snail mail' gets me every time!

E, x

Monday, April 7, 2014

Orange F.O.O.D Week producers markets + the Agrestic Grocer

Yesterday I spent the day in the Central West. Some may say I am mad to have driven about 6 hours (round trip) just to visit the Orange F.O.O.D Week producers market, but I don't care! It was the most beautiful day and it made me appreciate farmers and producers even more than I already did.

F.O.O.D Week is on annually in the city of Orange NSW (roughly three hours west of Sydney) and I had been busting to get to one of the events. Some of the really popular events had already been booked out by the time I realised I wanted to go, so the producers market on Sunday was a must for me.

I read something on Facebook last week promoting people to shop at their local farmers market. Basically the post said if you were to stop shopping at your local supermarket they wouldn't notice the loss in business. If you in stead purchased your produce from a farmer's stall at the market you know where your money is going and are supporting the farmer 100%, your purchase might even save their farm.

I am in love with shopping up at farmers' markets. There is something about buying wholesome, fresh food and meeting the people who grew it.

Walking through Cook Park on my way to the markets. Such an enchanting park, don't you think?

So off I drove to Orange for the day with Trav's esky in tow. As well as heading to the markets, high on my list of things to do while in Orange was a visit to the Agrestic Grocer. I found their Facebook page through another blogger and they were also a part of the F.O.O.D Week events. I was expecting a quaint little cafe with some fresh produce and coffee but was blown away at how nice a business this was!


Located on the Wellington Road side of Orange (a little way from the centre of town), this restaurant is so beautiful and has the nicest, wholesome feel about it. I wanted to stay all day.

Plus, all of the producers I met at the market stock their products at the grocer so anybody from Orange (and visiting) can purchase home-grown goodness when ever they feel the need!


One side of the business is dedicated to the groceries and produce and the other side is the restaurant with kick-ass beer garden and live music! You can feast on locally made goodies and drink fresh brewed beer or coffee all day.


Everything about this place made me smile, I only wish we had somewhere like this closer to home! (A new business venture perhaps??! ha!)




This one trip to Orange to indulge in the gorgeousness they have on offer has made me really think about where I spend my money and how I want to live my life. Living more simply is something I am aiming for this year (and for the rest of my years) and if starting small and being mindful of where my food comes from and who I am supporting whilst buying it is a step closer to that, well then I am off to a good start!

E, x





Friday, March 28, 2014

Inspired


Hi there friends, once again I have been caught in the whirlwind that is life and have had no time to blog.

Ok, I lie. I had time to blog last week when I took a week off work to get stuff done and to take a break but the urge to blog did not come over me. Sometimes you've just gotta go with the flow... you know?

Anyhow, this week has been a busy one, and as I sit at my office desk I feel mentally and physically tired. I have not been treating my poor body that well on the food front - I haven't been eating takeaway junk or anything like that and have been working out hard as normal but I know when I get busy and stressed I rarely cook proper meals for myself and I get by on the old bowl of cereal or smoothie for dinner here and there.

I can tell I need to nourish my body better next week so meal prep this weekend is crucial. Not nourishing your body with good amounts of food can be just as bad as eating a truck load of junk - I need to remember this.

In light of all of this 'exhaustion' talk, I wanted to share a couple of things that are inspiring me at the moment. All this talk about food brings me to a fantastic blogger and business woman who I mentioned in my last post.

Sophie Hansen of Local is Lovely released her book this week, (titled the same as the blog) and I am super excited to read it. Her blog is beautiful and she shares so many great pictures of her life on the farm, recipes and the amazing food she produces and makes into glorious meals. I just placed my order and cannot wait for it to arrive!



This cooler weather is making me miss working on my parent's veggie patch which sadly has now died. The summer was brutal to the patch and I was battling to keep it alive last year and my parents have not had the time to keep up the maintenance since.

Now that I live in the city and have no yard I am having to resort to 'patio planting' inspiration! I have sighted the cutest planters on The Block Shop's website. (Yes I am addicted to that show!) These jelly planters are about $55 or so and would look super cute hanging on the patio (they also come in different colours). I'm not sure they'd work for veggies but I'd settle for some yummy herbs or a pretty weeping plant.





I am heading off to Bathurst this weekend to attend my godson's baptism. I have never been asked to be a god parent before so I feel so honoured and excited that my friend would ask me! It should be such a great weekend. The weather forecast is looking a little chilly so I need to be thinking about stocking up on a couple more winter knits! I love a change in the season!

Stay happy!
E, x


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tree change




As I sit in my outer-Sydney 'burbs apartment on this sunny and beautiful Sunday I can't help but miss the bush.

I'd be lying if I said I missed everything about the bush, but sitting here in the city hearing the leaves of the perfectly placed and manicured trees blowing outside my window makes me miss the 'real' fresh air and the proper smell of old gum trees and true nature.

It's no surprise to me that I miss home. Everybody at some stage in their lives will miss the place where their roots lay. I miss our farm and one day hope to go back there, maybe on a more permanent basis, who knows.

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, and I don't know if it's just because I'm drawn to them because we enjoy the same things, or if there is a gal trend happening, but a lot of people seem to be getting back to the 'original' ways of doing things. So many more people seem to enjoy the humbling feelings we get from growing our own veggies or making our food by hand. Deep down we seem to search for that 'grounding' that getting back to basics brings us.

I miss growing veggies, I miss collecting eggs from our hens. I miss the smell of my horse and the tangle of her knotted and rouge mane.

I miss riding on the back of a motorbike across hard and cracking ground with the sun boiling down on my (pasty ha!) white skin!



Deep down I want to move to the country and live peacefully, growing our own food, raising our own cows and living in the moment. Right now, I'm not sure we are in a position to do this, but there is an urge in me that wants a change.

There are so many great things about living in this city, but boy are there some magical things about living in the country.

I've noticed over at Retromummy's blog she has had some guest writers blogging about their 'tree changes' and most seem to be about going back to the country! And one of my favourite 'country', foodie blogs at the moment that makes me pine for home is Local is Lovely. Check them out!

E, x

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Brisbane Bound...

Last week the bf and I took a trip to sunny Queensland!

It was the most perfect time to get away as I hadn't had a day off work since Christmas and I was getting a little stir-crazy and needed some time to recharge.

We flew into the beautiful city of Brisbane on Thursday morning to meet seven of our friends for a long weekend adventure.


The bf has a long love affair with heavy metal music so we all decided we'd tag a long to the Soundwave music festival held on the Saturday. I don't go much on the heavy metal, but it was a great excuse to catch up with friends and have a weekend away in a new city.


Surprisingly I had never spent much time in Brissie (except for a night or two on a school excursion back in year nine!) It is a beautiful city, and so different to Sydney.

We stayed in the Bridgewater Apartments in Kangaroo Point and it was the most perfect location for what we were after. A good sized apartment will a beautiful swimming pool, a short stroll to the river with a great cocktail bar and restaurant on the corner. What more could we have asked for?

Now, let me get to the cocktails. Ah-mazing! We used the nearby Shelter Bar (part of the Story Bridge Hotel) as our "starting point" most nights and it was great! The presentation they put into their drinks (particularly the cocktails) and their food was fab!



My friend and I were drinking the $10 cocktail special (served on Friday nights as part of their 'Flavour Fridays' special) that were served in the cutest mason jars - I'm a sucker for a mason jar! And because we were drinking the cocktail special we got to enter into a competition to win a $125 Swarovski crystal voucher, and guess what??? I won the voucher on our first night at the bar! Suffice to say, the Shelter Bar is my new favourite hang out.

New earrings I purchased with my winning voucher!


Brisbane put on great weather for us too. I had been down before we left Sydney as I studied the forecast for the weekend and it said rain for all four days. BUT, mother nature pulled through and we had amazing sunshine plus cooler overcast weather for the festival. Winning!


We made a short trek up the coast on Friday to try our hand at Go-Karting! We visited the Big Go-Kart track only 21kms from Mooloolaba and we all had a ball (especially the boys who seem to always get their competitive racing faces on when anything with a motor is involved!)

We stopped in at my favourite beach in Australia (so far... I haven't seen them all), and had lunch at the Mooloolaba Surf Club (another of my regular hang-outs when on family holidays growing up).


I was surprised at how quiet Brisbane city was. Walking around the CBD and river on Sunday was so different to a day in Sydney. There weren't a lot of people, no rowdy noises, just beautiful scenery and lovely people.

On our final night the boys tried their hand at the casino (not me though, I was knackered and went home for an early night). It seemed a go on the pokies was "meant to be" for our friend Simon - he put $10 in for one hit (despite his gf telling him he'd spent enough that night!) and made himself a sweet $6,000!!!!

Holiday paid for. Lucky duck!!

All in all, it was the best weekend away! Brisbane, you put on such a good show, I am falling for your sunny charm. I hope we meet again soon.

E, x

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why do I blog?

I was reading a blog post by another lovely blogger today and her post sparked me to think about my own blog and why I blog at all.

I have been blogging since about 2010 and originally started blogging as a way of showing my crafty side when I was taking crochet and knitting lessons. I have been off the needles (and hooks) for a little while now due to work and uni commitments (although I am starting up again in March over at Jellywares' seasonal yarn club - check it out if you're keen to join!) but continued blogging anyway.

Source: Pinterest

Some weeks I have nothing to blog about, and some weeks I have lots, but I keep asking myself - why do I blog at all?

I think I mainly blog for myself. It's an outlet for my thoughts and my creative side. I am able to jot things down and document events I think are special or worthy of mention. It's a great way of looking back at all of the things I have been doing throughout the years.

Sometimes I think I blog for my readers - if there are any out there.... is there anybody out there???

I never really know if what I write goes out into the interwebs just to sit there, un-read and un-noticed. Unless I get a comment or two, but even then I think - did what I wrote matter? Or does it just matter to me?

I've contemplated closing the blog down before and have just never done it. I love to blog, I love reading blogs and I love the blogging community there is out there.

I need to blog more, I know that, because there are times when hearing from like-minded readers and other bloggers out there really makes my day and that's a bonus!

Who are you blogging for? And what bloggy stuff do you like to read about?

If you're out there...... anybody.....


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A thought for the farmers

Although I am no longer living in rural NSW like I have been for the majority of my life, the stress and sadness of the current drought gripping rural Australia still affects me.

A lot of city-folk might not realise how bad things in the bush are right now and it's easy to forget how others live when we get caught up in our own day-to-day rituals.

My family are the owners of a property in far western NSW on the Darling River. (I've mentioned our property in many posts before - check the 'farm life' labels on the right hand side of my page if you're keen to see more!)


Dad's plane on the new airstrip on the property.

Lately my parents have been working overtime to de-stock (sell off extra numbers of cattle) because we just don't have the food or the water to keep them all.

This week my mum emailed me a picture of the thermometer under the veranda at the house on the farm and it was hitting a high temperature of 48'C!!!! And that was in the shade!



My dad was trying hard to move our small calves to another paddock where they would be able to find shade under some trees because they were suffering in the heat. Other cattle were yarded and trucked off to be sold.

Here is a movie dad sent me today show the "mighty" Darling River - how sad that it is almost dry.

video


My dad sends me regular emails and photos via text to keep me updated with the property which I love. He keeps and eye on my beautiful horses and makes sure I get to see them at least once a month through the inter webs.

My horse Splash (on the left), and Dad's horse Ben.
Both looking skinny and not liking the heat very much!

It pains me to see our beautiful property in such dry and sad conditions, but I know it's apart of farming, as we all do.

I love rural Australia but it is suffering currently, and it pays to reflect on the hard times those are having in this drought. Some farmers are far worse off than us, some have even had to sell everything they have just to get by! I just hope the rains come soon to help save the livestock and the farmers from these terribly dry conditions.

Keep our farmers in your thoughts this week, and lets all pray for some much needed rain.
E, x


Grown-up stuff is tough

I've had a knot in my stomach over the past few weeks.

The usual "grown-up" stuff is getting me flustered: jobs and finances. Don't tell me you don't think about this stuff too.

I threw it out there into the Twitter-sphere last week and had a good chat with some of my "tweeps" about how unaffordable it is to live in the big smoke we call Sydney.

I have only been living in Sydney for about 8 months now and I am understanding completely why it is considered one of the most expensive cities to live in, in the world!

Now, I can't really comment on how much money it costs to live right in the CBD or in the closer metro suburbs because at the moment with my income I can only afford to live in the outer west but still I am noticing the cost of living is ridic!

So many of the girls I chatted to on Twitter agreed. It is impossible for young people to hang on to the dream of owning their own home in this ever-growing city as property prices continue to boom!

I heard recently  the average property price in Sydney has risen again but roughly $100,000! Holy smokes!

If I were single and wanted to get some Independence for myself and obtain the "Australian-dream" of purchasing my own home it would be impossible. Simple as that.

Luckily, when it does come time for me to buy, my partner and I can join income-forces and have a better chance of purchasing a home larger than a dog kennel.

Image source:admablog.com 

How does a young person save in this day an age without moving in with Mum and Dad and working 24/7? Renting prices are almost as high (if not higher in some areas as one Twitter friend acknowledged) than paying a mortgage! Grocery bills are up, electricity bills are high, not to mention the cost of fuel! Small luxuries like holidays are a thing of the past if you're planning on knuckling down and saving for that house deposit. In fact, there goes my social life completely if I plan to save $10K before 2015.

I know I may sound whingy, but this is not the case at all. I am more interested to know just how people manage to save these days. Is it putting those holiday trips and nights out with friends on hold? Or taking public transport as often as possible? Or is eating two-minute noodles for lunch and dinner saving you dimes?

I'm curious and deadly keen to know how you do it as I feel like I am saving as much as I can and still moving at snails pace towards a large sum in ye'old bank account!

Spread the savings love in a comment below :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A 25th birthday celebration

A couple of weekends ago I turned 25.

I remember when I was little I had so many predictions about how my life would be when I turned 25. I used to think I would be married and have babies by now! I crack up laughing thinking about this now!

I am definitely not married and no where near ready for bambinos, but despite all of that I had one of the best birthdays to date.

I wasn't even sad about turning 25 this year! I keep thinking that my life keeps getting better each year and new and exciting things keep happening so I'm not that afraid to turn another year older. (Although, ask me again before I turn 30 - I'm sure I'd have changed my tune by then!)

This birthday Travis and I spent a night in the big city of Sydney. Now that we live so close to the big smoke I wanted to take advantage of all the great things the city can offer.

We stayed at the Sheraton On The Park right in the city on Elizabeth Street. I'd stayed here with my parents before so I knew what to expect, but it was Trav's first time so it felt special sharing the fancy hotel with him for the first time.





[Checking out the view from the top floor of the Sheraton
| Loving the complimentary bathrobes at the hotel - I could have stayed snuggled up all night in this thing!]

We had drinks and nibbles the night before my birthday at the hotel bar before we made our way down Pitt Street to Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant. I was so super excited to eat here. I love Jamie Oliver as a chef so I knew we would love the food. Plus, Trav is half Italian so the menu was right up his alley.

I was so glad we had pre-booked our table as being a Saturday night there was a long waiting list of anxious people hoping to get a seat. Apparently there was a rumour that you couldn't pre-book tables at the restaurant and I'm here to confirm that this is un true (unless it has changed since!) I booked online and it was the easiest process ever. If you do plan to visit the restaurant, book in advance!

The restaurant looks tiny from the street but is actually quite large and long, and boy can they pack the patrons in! The atmosphere is quite raw and industrial, a bit like Jamie's approach to cooking, the lighting is low and the wait staff are quick to get you in and get your orders under way.


[A bad shot of inside the restaurant looking back towards the entry and bar.]

For entree Trav ordered the bruschetta which was one of the nightly specials and it was fan-bloody-tastic. I have never tasted anything so good! I ordered a slab which included an assortment of cured meats and some pecorino cheese and chilli sauce. It too was incredibly delicious.

The main course was the excitement for me. I love a good pasta and having been to Italy I was so keen to get something close to authentic. I ordered the spaghetti Alla Norma which was a Sicilian dish with a kick of chilli. Trav ordered the lasagne, and he practically licked his plate clean.


[Spaghetti Alla Norma. Delish.]

I couldn't stop smiling the entire night. It was the most perfect dining experience and the company was great. I love how simple things like eating amazing food and tasting great wine with someone you love can make you so happy.

I was super spoilt this year in the gift department. Besides Travis shouting me the weekend away in the city, my parents put some money towards my most recent net-a-porter purchase of a Diane Von Furstenburg handbag. Its black leathery heaven. I am in love.


The morning of my birthday before we headed home we made a quick stop down to Bondi beach to walk along the water and get our feet wet. Although the weather was sunny and warm, the water was freezing so I wasn't keen to get in! It was just nice to see the beach and walk along it. It was perfect.

The whole 25th birthday experience was perfect. I am loving life right now and am so keen to tackle 2014 head on and see what surprises are in store!


How is your 2014 shaping up so far? Any new and exciting surprises already?

Take care friends,
E, x

Monday, January 20, 2014

Everyday grateful

Last year was a big year for me in so many ways. Moving to a new city, starting a new job, moving in with my boyfriend... just to name a few big events. I have been on a mission for some time now to become a more positive person as I have previously been known to be a pessimist and being negative is no fun!

Don't get me wrong, trying to be super happy and smile about things when all you want to do is cry or sloth around with the grumps is hard. Making a conscious effort to wake up everyday and not groan about going to work is challenging, but I've found just focusing on the positive and good things in my day can make facing each day that little bit easier.

I think it is so important to try and be as positive and happy as we can be because we are constantly reminded everyday that life is too short to be anything but happy.

A friendly reader of my blog contacted me about compiling a post about what I have been grateful for over the holiday period and to share a little bit about her inspiring story.

Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma at age 36, only three months after giving birth to her daughter. Pleural mesothelioma is a disease which affects the lung's protective lining in the chest cavity and is a life-changing condition. She was given 15 months to live!

Heather with her husband Cameron and daughter Lily Rose.
Photo courtesy of Heather's Facebook page.

Heather and her husband set out to find the best doctor possible to help her fight this condition and she found Dr David Sugarbaker whom is a renowned mesothelioma surgeon. Heather agreed to have a new surgical procedure with Dr Sugarbaker that would bring hope to her and her family.

Now, seven years on, Heather is a mesothelioma survivor hoping to spread word about this disease and her story of courageously beating it.

Heather has a wonderful website which you can view here and you can read more about her story and mesothelioma.

Now, for my 'grateful' today...

At the risk of sounding corny and all mushy, I wanted to mention how thankful I am to have my boyfriend, Travis.

Trav has been my biggest support and rock for the past two years. He has come to know me very well and knows when I am  sad, anxious or stressed and why. He and I started our relationship as a long distance one (as most might know if you follow me on Twitter and/or have read my blog before) and it was super hard.

As anybody who has been in a long distance relationship will know, we really had to focus on getting to know each other over the phone. Building a relationship mostly on conversation is hard. Travis is not a big talker either so that proved to be even more difficult! (Luckily I can talk ALOT! hehe)

Despite the distance and the tears and tantrums (mostly from me) about being apart, he stood by me and we pushed through it. I am more happy than ever to be in my relationship and I know we can talk about anything together. He is my biggest support and I am so grateful to have him in my life.

I would love any readers to post something they are grateful for in the comments if you feel you want to share! It may be something small, or something a little 'corny' like mine, but it's nice to reflect on something or someone that makes us happy.

Thank you Heather for contacting me and reminding me that life is so precious and we should be grateful everyday for our health and happiness.

E, x