Sunday, 30 December 2012

Mrs D's resolutions for 2013

Four amazing reasons why 2013 is going to be awesome!

As I sit here on the eve of one year staring towards the horizon of another, I thought I'd make myself a little list of resolutions for the new year to help keep me on track.  As strange as this may sound, I have never actually written down any new years resolutions before.  I've often half-heartedly thought of a few (normally to loose a couple more kilos off my belly), but have never actually made a proper list and stuck to it!  So this year (or next?? bit confusing when you're sitting on the edge of a new year) I am going to do just that!

My list

  • Loose that last 6 kilos off my belly (ok, I know! But I really, really do need to kick that last bit of baby weight).  Thought I'd put that one down first and get it out of the way.
  • Meal Plan!  Why I have never managed to do this before I do not know!  Everyone meal plans' right??  It is something that I have always been meaning to start doing and for some reason just never do.  I have lost count on the number of times I have had to rush out to the shops (with 3 whingy kids in tow) just to pick up that ONE missing ingredient for the dinner that I'm trying to make.  If anyone has any good apps or meal plan suggestion please send them my way.
  • Become a better juggler!  Being nanny mummy to three little cherubs under 6 requires a certain amount of juggling.  That goes without saying, but my goal is to try and drop less balls along the way.  As much as I love my iphone calendar I think this year I am going to go against the grain and go back to paper (with the iphone as back up of course).  I'm going actually use a diary next year instead of using my head (which if you cracked open would resemble a sieve).  Mr D if you are reading this, a lovely 2013 diary would make a great birthday pressie next week!!!!!
  • Learn to say No.  I'm pretty sure if you asked Mr D and the kids they'd say I was an expert at saying No.  However, my biggest problem is that I always think I can do more than I actually can and that is often when I start to drop balls (back to the juggling).  I was particularly bad at this during the second half of this year and ended up feeling that I was not doing anything properly.

The top 5 things that matter the most to me for 2013:
  1. Making sure my kids have another great year at school
  2. Making sure I have a set amount of quality time with each of my munchins every week 
  3. Time for me and Mr D
  4. Growing my blog
  5. Growing Candy Bows
  • I will spent much less time ironing in 2013.  The control freak in me was just not able to let go of ironing almost ALL the washing (which is ALOT in our house) and it often ended up causing me huge amounts of stress as it piled up.  I will NOT be at the mercy of it next year (gulp).
  • Growing my blog.  Ever since staring this blog earlier this year I have found it to be a little piece of something just for me!  I just love love writing it and my goal next year is to get myself more 'out there' (cyber space that is).  I'm so flattered by how many people read my ramblings and I would love to grow my member list to 100 by the end of next year.  I am on 21 members at the moment, so if you'd like to join MrsD, then just click on the "home" page at the top and you can join up (on the right hand side).  I also have so many exciting changes up my sleeve for next year, so you'll just have to watch this space now, won't you?
I will not be afraid to change!
  • Growing Candy Bows.  For those of you that don't already know, I have a little business which I run from home, so that I can work around my kids.  I supply the most gorgeous hair bows, hair accessories and tutus for little girls. "Pretty little things for Pretty little people".  I have a Facebook page, which you can find by clicking here.  I currently have 293 'likes' and by the end of next year I would love have 1000.  I have had so much fun with Candy Bows this year and am really proud of my progress.  Next year is going to be even better.
  • Appreciation.  I just want to say that I am the luckiest person alive.  I am loved and I have the most wonderful family.  I will make sure that every day next year I remember that.

I think I am going to stop there as I don't want to give myself too many balls (for fear of dropping them again).  I am going to come back to this blog post half way through the year to check on my progress.  (Nothing like keeping it accountable!) and will be sure to let you know how I'm doing.

Well that is me, over and out, for 2012.  I thank you all for all your support of both Mrs D and Candy Bows.  It has meant the world and gives me a constant supply of motivation.  Wishing you both a fantastic New Year's Eve, whatever you may be doing, and a fabulous 2013.  Extra Extra special wishes to my wonderful family who are dotted all over the world.  This one is for you xxx

Monday, 24 December 2012

A year in pictures! The db's best bits of 2012.

I cannot believe that I am sitting here "rounding up the year"!  Where has it gone??  I know the saying goes that the older you get the faster the years fly by - but am I that old already??  2012 has been our first complete year spent in Sydney and has certainly been action packed.  Here is a quick summary of our best bits.....  

It was a lovely start to 2012 having mum and dad stay with us for a few weeks.  I loved  having them around so much that when I dropped them back at the airport to catch their flight I sobbed the WHOLE way home.  Luckily I had been warned that this would happened and after a few days I was back in the swing of things and waiting for their next trip to Sydney.     

Master J started Kindergarden his month.   It was an emotional day for me as he looked so grown up, yet so small in his school uniform.  I may have shed a tiny tear, but managed to hold it together very well.  Miss H also started her little Kindy and looked so grown up.  As they both started on the same day (very strategically planned) Mr D and I decided to take the opportunity to enjoy a lovely kid free lunch.  We were having such a great time that we almost forgot the kids and ended up being late to pick them up........on their first day!  Such bad parenting!!!!

March was a big month for Mr D as he was promoted at work.   On the 18th March we also celebrated making our first year in Australia.

This month our Miss H turned 3.  She celebrated her birthday at Steve Irwin’s ‘Australia Zoo’ in Queensland.  We spent the easter school holidays in Queensland, exploring some of the stunning Australian coastline.  It was our first loooooooong drive with kids and a very pregnant me, but it didn't put us off and we'll defiantly be doing it again.

Crikey! It's my birthday!

Enjoying some of Queensland's spectacular beaches
Beautiful Byron Bay and a big bump
On the 29th of May our beautiful little Miss L arrived into the world. We had a couple of slightly stressful false alarms on the week running up to her birth, and when she finally arrived we only JUST made it to the hospital on time!! (and gained a speeding and parking fine along the way).   I had the most amazing 5 night stay in the most beautiful hospital (or hotel) getting to know my new little munchkin.    It was hard being so far from my family at this time but I am so grateful to all our wonderful new friends that went out of their way to help us settle in as a new family of 5.  Miss H and Master J was SOOOO excited to have their new baby at long last and we had to visit both schools to show her off.  It really is amazing to see how innately strong the sibling bond is.

This month was a bit of a blur for me to be honest as I was a little sleep deprived to say the least! I did however manage to get a huge parking fine and crash the car! Fortunately no one was hurt (apart from our bank balance) but it was a real lesson for me, that I can’t do EVERYTHING on my own and that it’s ok to accept help. But on a more exciting note – we got news that my little sis and her Mr are expecting their first baby girl next year and I’m going to be an Aunty!!!

Settling in as the new dB5
Mum arrived this month from England (just in the nick of time) to meet our little Miss L and to help us all get through the first school holidays with three kids. It was an absolute godsend having her here and even though it was the middle of winter, the weather was beautiful and sunny and we had a wonderful couple of weeks. It made me realise just how much we miss not having mum and dad down the road.

When Granny came to stay
This month I decided to turn my blog writing into something a little more permanent. I initially started writing it as a means to keep family and friends up to date with our lives in Sydney.  I enjoy writing it so much that I’ve decided to go a little more public with it.  I suddenly have found myself immersed in a new world of social media and had no idea how ‘big’ it was out there! I’m learning so much all the time and want to keep going (even thought I’m hard pressed to find the time sometimes). 

Mr D takes the kids on a tree climbing adventure to give me some time to write!  
School holidays again! Can’t quite believe we are two­‐thirds through the first school year!  We headed up the north coast on our first road trip as a family of 5. It was only a 4 hour drive but we had to make several stops for feeding and wee’s and leg stretching. Thank god for ipads – I don’t know how my parents survived without them! We stayed in the beautiful Port Stephens Bay for a week and did nothing but chill out at the beach.  I even managed to read a book!!!

Road-tripping with 3
Family time on the beach
Miss L's first swim.  What a cutie x

Beautiful Hawkes Nest Bay
This month Master J turned 6 – at last!! I say that because he asked me at least once a week from the beginning of the year ‘how many sleeps until I’m 6?’ He seems to have grown up so much this year and bringing with it a whole new set of parenting challenges for us. Especially now that he can read – nothing is a secret anymore. The other day he managed to get onto the school canteen app on my iPhone and order his own lunch!!!! Telling me he didn’t feel like my sandwiches that day. However we are so proud of how he has settled, not only into his new life in Aus but also into school. (Not sure how I’m going to cope next year when the homework starts to come home). We also spent a long weekend away with my cousin LCJ and MT in a beach house up the North Coast of Sydney. I love it that I have one family member that is ‘almost’ around the corner.  It was an awesome weekend with lots of laughs!  The boys were on a fishing mission and even ended up knee deep in mud just to get to a great fishing spot!!!

Master J turn 6.  What a bunch of cheeky riders!
Mr D and MT relaxing with some ocean fishing.  Unfortunately they didn't catch anything we could actually eat!
LCJ with her newest niece
All this mud was Miss H's idea of HEAVEN!
The Sydney weather kicked up a gear or two in the heat department this month and has given me an indication of what’s to come in the summer!! HOT HOT HOT!! We’ve had some extremely humid days making my daily job of getting in and out the car a hundred times (well not quite hundred but it feels like that sometimes) not so pleasant! Roll on the school holidays. Master J also started nippers (junior surf life saving) and ocean swim club this month. He has taken to the water so well and I think we might have a little swim star on our hands.   Miss H did her first ballet recital on stage this month and was absolutely beautiful. It brought a little tear to my eye (yes, another one!!).

Master J swimming his awesome 25m race in the big pool!
Miss H and her beautiful ballerina friends waiting for their turn to go on stage
Ice-cream at the beach after school - you know it's summer time!!
This month we will have our first Christmas ever with just the 5 of us! We’re going to be house sitting for a colleague ofMr D's, so will spend Christmas and New Year at a lovely Beach House just kicking back and enjoying all the festivities.

I have had loads of fun taking Candy Bows to the local markets over the festive period
Have a good chat with Santa x
Miss L meets Santa at the beach.  It's strange to think she'll never know a cold, wintery Christmas.

Master J's school Christmas concert.  It was so cute I might have welled up just a tiny little bit.

With that I’d like to thank you all, my lovely readers, for following Mrs D this year.  I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and an exciting 2013. 

Monday, 17 December 2012

A busy and festive week in pictures. Love Instagram!

Not long until Christmas now and last week the festivities were in full swing!!  I even managed to do a bit of Christmas shopping!!

Miss H doing some Christmas craft.  She is definitely happiest when she's painting
We made some 'smartie chip holly cookies'.  Adding a little bit of festivities to the kids lunch boxes for the week.

Master J messing around with a pair of 3D glasses.  A couple of kids in his class this year have got glasses and he's desperate for a pair.  He keeps telling me his 'seeing' is a bit fuzzy.

The girls and I had a trip into Sydney on the bus this week and it was the most spectacular day.   

Sydney really is a beautiful city (a different kind of beautiful to London).  The weather was so lovely that we got the ferry home instead of the bus.  By the way - look at the size of that cruise ship parked in the harbour!  It was ABSOLUTELY ENORMOUS!!!!!  It didn't look like it would fit under the bridge.

Charlie and Lola at the Opera House

We went to see Charlie and Lola's Extremely New Play at the Sydney Opera House.  It was a puppet show all about the seasons and how everything changes from spring to summer, autumn to winter.  It was so well done and absolutely captivating.  I think I enjoyed it as much as Miss H.  I loved seeing her little eyes absolutely glued to the stage and hearing her laugh out loud at all the funny bits.  If you get a chance I highly recommend going to see it.  You can get tickets here.

Master J's as a reindeer in the Kindergarten production of 'fly Rudolph fly'

This was the cutest production I have ever seen.  Look at those 4 cheeky little reindeer!! When I first asked Master J what part in was playing in the Christmas play a couple of months ago, he informed me very proudly that he was reindeer number 16!  Too cute!! (and Mr D and I did have a chuckle).  They had me in stitches the whole way through the play.  They were just SO excited to be up on stage having all the mums and dads watching their big moment (along with a lot of waving, whispering and giggling).  I have to take my hat off to the teachers for organising and producing it, as every one of them remembered their lines perfectly!

Having a chat with Santa at Miss's H's Kindy Christmas BBQ.  Miss H asked him for a new lipstick because "mummy threw my old one away Santa!!"  Ooops!!
And the sand munching has begun!!!

Miss H having a wonderful time at the beach whilst Master J was at Nippers training on Saturday afternoon.  It was a King Tide this weekend, and the tide was SO far out that the beach seemed enormous and it was perfect for the little ones to play in.
Crazy King Tide!

It was a King High Tide on Sunday morning and it caused a bit of chaos at the swim club!  The water was so high that it swamped the pool and went right up over the stairs where we usually sit and watch the races.  Master J and his friends did so well swimming with the huge sets of waves crashing over them.  He won his race too - so proud of him!!!

Relaxing by the lake on Sunday afternoon while mummy does her Candy Bows market stall.  

watching the ducks x

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Twirly wirly garlic and herb bread (home-made of course)

Who would have thought that I could make such a fancy looking garlic bread??  Normally I would have scared away from something like this - well, actually truth be told I would have just popped into Bakers Delight and bought it!  However this recipe is so easy that you can't go wrong, and you know exactly what's in it too (I'm trying to steer clear of all preservatives at the moment.)   It's also a great one to take to a BBQ or picnic as it looks so pretty.

A few people have asked me for recipe so here it is - it really couldn't be simpler.  I have made it in the thermomix but I am sure you could just adjust it if you don't have one.

Start by making the garlic & herb butter:

  • Add 500-600g of fresh, chilled cream into the TM bowl (not thickened) and using the butterfly attachement blend for 1-3 minutes on speed 4.  Once the butter is separated pour off the buttermilk (pop it straight into the fridge and use it to make either pancakes or scones - SO YUMMY and much tastier than using normal milk).
  • Strain the milk off one more time using ice cold water and you are left with beautiful butter.  (you could of course just use butter from the supermarket if you don't want to make it)
  • Add chopped garlic and herbs of choice (I used rosemary and thyme) and mix it into the butter for 30 seconds on speed 4.  There you have it - beautiful garlic & herb butter.  Just set it aside in a bowl (not in the fridge as you don't want it to go to hard).

homemade garlic and herb butter

Bread Ingredients:

450g luke warm water
4 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
750g bakers flour
5 tbsp oil

  • Turn the oven on to 180 degrees (I always forget this part!!  It's SO annoying).
  • Put the water, yeast, salt, flour and oil into the TM bowl and mix for 5 seconds on speed 7.  Then set the dial to the 'closed lid' position and knead for 2 minutes on interval speed.

  • Tip the dough out and wrap it up either in some cling-film plastic or your thermo-mat and leave it to rise for about half an hour or until it has doubled in size.

The Fun Bit:
  • Roll the dough out into a bit square - about the size of the thermomat (approx 50-60cm long).  I find that if you rub some olive oil (or any oil) onto your hands and then press the dough out it is so much easier to handle and doesn't stick.
  • Spread your garlic & herb butter across all the dough.  You can use a butter knife or spatula for this, but I just used my hands (clean of course) and spread it out.  A rather messy job but it does feel kinda nice squidging butter between your fingers!
  • Using a spatula or a knife cut the dough up into 3-4cm wide strips and roll each one up like a snail.
  • Arrange each little snail in a pattern inside a 26cm springform cake tin.  Sprinkle a little rock salt and a few herbs on top and pop it into the oven for 40-45 minutes.
After!!  (sitting on my lap in the car on our way to a BBQ with friends)
Simples!!  It really was delicious and oh so easy to make.  If anyone tries it without the aid of Thermie, let me know how you got on........

*(This recipe can also be found on page 20 of the Thermomix Festive Flavours Cook book.  The pictures are all my own)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show

Who doesn't love Disney??  

Since the very first time that gorgeous pair of character mice Mickey and Minnie appeared in the early 1940's, Disney has become a real part of every family.  Every little girl's dream is to become a real life Disney princess. (By the way did you know that Snow White was the first  EVER Disney princess?? Just FYI).  I can remember thinking how much I would just LOVE to be Arial the mermaid when I was a little girl - spending hours in the swimming pool with my cousin LCJ swimming with our 'tails' and washing our 'long red hair'.  It makes my heart melt seeing my little Miss H doing the exact same thing without any extra encouragement from me.  Disney really is pure magic.

How could you not want to give him a cuddle?  I had TWO :)))

Yesterday Miss H and her little friend Miss B and I were invited to visit Sydney's Entertainment Centre to to find out more about  Disney Live's newest tour "Mickey's Rockin' Road Show".  She was SO excited and didn't stopping talking the whole way into the city on the bus.  It was so cute and I must admit - I might have been a tiny bit excited too.

A few awesome ladies from the DisneyLive! team (who have just flown into Australia from Hong Kong after the Asian leg of their world tour)  took the time to tell the kids what "Mickey's Rockin' Road Show" show was all about.

The kids lining up to show off their talents!  Their enthusiasm was captivating.

The show sees Disney's coolest characters hit the road on a search to find new talent.  The audience gets to join in the fun and help find some awesome new acts.  Your whole family will be transported on a hilarious, action packed adventure where you'll get the chance to Sing with Cinderella, bounce with Tigger to do the hoe-down with Jesse and Woody from Toy Story, with a few exciting twists along the way.

The Disney Live! team's enthusiasm was infectious and the kids couldn't stop giggling.  They had to shout out their most favourite Disney character's name for as long as they could without taking a breath.  There were lots of "Cinderellllaaaaaaaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aa *giggle* aaaa aaa aaaaaa's" and some very high pitched "Minnieeeeeeeeeee *giggle giggle* eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eee eee's"  As a mummy on the sideline I couldn't help but giggle too.

They also had some time to draw and colour-in their favourite Disney characters with some one-on-one attention from the Disney Live!  team, as well as get down and boogie to some rockin' Disney tunes.  "Come on mum!!!!" shouts Miss H, "you have to do it too!!"  They were playing musical statues and bouncing on their 'tails' like Tigger.  I had Miss L on my hip and had to loose all inhibitions and get on in there for a bounce!!

Miss H just loving the one-on-one attention she got from the DisneyLive team

Some High 5's for great dancing talents!! (I was back behind the lens at this point, but don't worry - I got my high 5 too!!)

Just when the kids were doing their best Tigger bouncing, out popped TIGGER from behind a door to surprise them all!


I don't think Miss H was expecting the real Tigger to appear, and as he bounced in she got the fright of her life!!  I think she must have jumped at least a couple of foot into the air and then burst into hysterical  tears!!  I must be such a mean mummy as her reaction (along with some of the other children) reduced me to giggles (which I had to stifle when I realised she really had gotten a genuine fright).

Poor Tigger!!  He hadn't meant to give the kids a fright and put on his best 'sad impression'.  After a little convincing (from me) and a few cuddles (from Tigger), the smiles and excitement, and of course the bouncing was back!!!  Miss H has not stopped telling EVERYONE about meeting Tigger!  "He gave me and my friend Miss B a big fright! she says "but then he was SOOOOO FUNNY and he bounced with us!".

You're never too old for a cuddle with Tigger!
Dancing, cakes, smiles and goodie bags!  What a rockin' morning!

So if you want to join in the fun this summer with "Mickey's Rockin' Road Show" ,  The  Disney Live! Team will be touring Australia starting in Perth on 28th Dec and ending in Darwin on 24th February 2013.  Click here to find out when they will be in your area and how to book your tickets.  The show is produced by Feld Entertainment (who also produced the amazing Disney on Ice Show).  Book your tickets now so you don't miss out.  It's guaranteed to be fun for the WHOLE family.

Thanks so to much to Feld Entertainment, Disney Live and double edge pr for a really rockin' morning!

*(I have not been paid to write this post but was more than happy to do so as Miss H and I had so much fun)*