Monday, July 27, 2009

Food, glorious food!

I know, I know. It's been nearly two weeks since my last blog entry. Busy, busy times, let me tell you!

Anyway, I received an email from World Vision last week that had an attachment included which, although I had seen it before, I thoroughly enjoyed viewing again. It's called What The World Eats, and is a series of photos from the book Hungry Planet. It shows families from all over the world, and pictured in front of them is their weekly grocery items or food staples. It's SO interesting, and incredibly eye-opening. Particularly when you compare the western diet with those of developing nations. We consume so much processed, packaged rubbish that it's no wonder the obesity, diabetes and heart disease rates are out of control. Truly frightening!

I shared the slideshow with the kids. They were fascinated, and it was 20 minutes of great discussion. We looked at each one and dissected their diet. We picked out the good foods (the fresh fruits and vegies, breads and grains, fish and lean meat), and then we picked out the bad foods (pizza boxes, softdrinks, chocolate bars etc). We talked about where each of the families were from, and we speculated on what they did and how they lived. A nutrition and geography lesson, all rolled in one!

Here's the link -,29307,1626519,00.html

Have a look, show the kids and tell me what you think!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


My name is Rebecca and I am an etsy - aholic. I can't get enough. I spend hours and hours drooling and wishing my purse was deeper.

For those not in the know, etsy is the best and most addictive (well, after Facebook I suppose) website on the internet. It is THE spot to find the most unique and the most beautiful of anything and everything. The best bit is that all items are either vintage or handmade. Heaven.

There are so many ways to search for things too. My favourite is to 'pounce'. You just go to the 'buy' page and click on pounce and it brings up the last items sold (3 per page). If you like one of them you can click on the creators etsy shop and browse to your hearts content. Believe me, you do this just once and you will be reeled in, hook, line and sinker, just like me.

I've bought a few things - a beautiful print for a wedding gift, Isla's first doll and a cute little handsewn babushka doll. The babushka came all the way from Denmark and the others from the US. Such is the beauty of the internet...

Do yourself a favour and check it out - Don't say I didn't warn you!

Friday, July 10, 2009

A pleasant life...

Ina is my grandma. My dad's mum. She passed away a few years ago, but seems to always be around. And quite a bit more than usual lately. We have some big decisions to make and I think she might be trying to help us. Mum was cleaning out some paperwork a few days ago and found a handwritten note from Grandma. It was titled, 'Ina's 10 Rules to Make Life Pleasant'. I'm not sure if they are hers exclusively, but as my husband said, the are wise, wise words.

I want to share them with you.

1. Keep skid chains on your tongue. Always say less than you think. How you say it, often counts more than what you say.

2. Make promises sparingly and keep them faithfully, no matter what it costs you.

3. Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind, encouraging word. Praise good work done, regardless of who did it.

4. Be interested in others, show interest in their pursuits, their welfare, their homes and families. Share their happiness and sadness.

5. Be cheerful. We are told that it takes fewer muscles in your face to smile than to frown. Don't dwell on your pains, worries, and disappointments. Others have them too.

6. If you have any virtues, let them speak for themselves and refuse to talk of another's vices. Discourage gossip. Make it a rule to say nothing of another unless it is something good.

7. Preserve an open mind on all debatable questions. Discuss but do not argue. It is a mark of superior minds to disagree and yet be friendly.

8. Be careful of another's feelings. Wit and humour at the other fellow's expense are not worth the effort and may hurt.

9. Pay no attention to ill natured remarks about you. Simply live so that nobody will believe them.

10. And whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Recipe time!

Here is my pizza dough recipe, for those of you who don't already have it. It makes an awesome pizza. Second only to Capri Pizza (in Nerang), in my humble opinion! Make it and let me know what you think.


Makes 4 x 30cm bases

2 x 7g (1 tablesppon) dry yeast
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups plain flour (I buy the flour especially for pizza dough - Anchor brand)
1/2 cup olive oil

1. Combine yeast, sugar, salt and 1 1/2 cups warm water in a bowl. Cover and stand in a warm place for 20mins or until mixture is foamy.

2. Place flour and oil in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Make a well in the centre. Add yeast mixture. Mix until dough comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, adding more flour if necessary, or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a large, oiled bowl. Cover. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

3. Using your fist, punch down centre of dough. Knead for 20 to 30 seconds or until smooth. Divide dough into quarters. Roll out to form four 30cm round pizza bases. Place bases on greased baking trays with your choice of topping and cook for approx 20mins in a 190 degree oven.

NB. Pizza dough can be frozen. Wrap portions in glad wrap and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge, then bring to room temperature before rolling out.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our journey to better health...

Simon and I have toyed with the idea of becoming vegetarians for years. We've tried it numerous times but never with the full gusto it deserves. So, here we go again. We've both decided to give it our best shot to try to drastically reduce the amount of meat we consume. We don't eat a great deal of it anyway, so it really shouldn't be too hard. My biggest challenge will be to find recipes that the whole tribe will enjoy!

For the last 18 months or so, what meat we have eaten has been organic or free range, if available. I made this conscious choice after reading 'The Ethics of What We Eat', by Peter Singer and Jim Mason. This book opened my eyes, big time! It delves deep into animal cruelty, the environment, economics, culture and social justice as it traces the groceries of three separate families, to their sources. It shocked me and made me want to eat more responsibly. At that point in time, we weren't ready to give meat away altogether so we chose to at least purchase items that were morally and ethically aware. I can tell you though, grocery shopping became more than just a chore - it became research! I looked at the labels on just about everything I purchased to not only check what was in it, but also where it was from. Do you know that you cannot buy a can of tuna that actually has tuna in it from Australia? All tuna comes from the over-fished and under-patrolled waters of Thailand. Food for thought, hey?

So, what made us decide to try going vego again? Well, we watched this -, and it gave us a whole different perspective. This video moves away from the animal cruelty and ethics side, and explains in laymans terms just what animal fat does to the human body. It is so obvious that we were not meant to be meat eaters! If you are even a little bit interested in become vegetarian, or even just reducing the amount you eat, then you should watch the video above. It's long, but worth a peek.

Anyway, wish us luck! And please, send me through your favourite vegetarian recipes!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The perfect place...

We've been on the prowl for a new house for a while now, and I am finally working out what it is that I want in a home. Some things are fanciful, some things are practical, and some things I will just downright never get. But a gal can dream, can she not?

- Stone benchtops in my kitchen
- One of those gorgeous big butler sinks that you see in English country homes
- Plenty of kitchen storage with large drawers for pots and pans
- A gas cooktop
- A room for everyone with lots of cupboard space
- A really large walk in wardrobe with shelving in just the right spot
- My very own bath, preferably claw foot with one of those cute little stands that sit over the top to rest my novels on
- Room for a beautiful antique dressing table (I don't have one, but I really, really want one!)
- Dark tiles, preferably slate
- Minimal, if any, carpet and if I must have carpet, it has to be dark
- A fireplace (yeah right, on the Gold Coast? Like we'd ever need it, but you know, I'm a romantic!)
- Lovely warm feature walls, but not in every room
- An alfresco area that is more like an outdoor room with a nice rug and comfy seating
- A wood fired pizza oven
- Lots of cupboards and benchspace in my laundry
- A clothes dryer (for emergencies only!!)
- My own little computer nook
- A craft room with plenty of space for me to be creative
- An easy to maintain garden with space for the kids to roam
- A successful vegie garden and fruit trees aplenty
- A huge poinciana or jacaranda for the kids to climb
- A built-in coffee machine that makes a perfect latte at the press of a button
- A big work bench for all the projects my husband intends to start ;)
- Ducted air-conditioning (aah, wouldn't that be great in summer....)

I don't think I'm asking for too much, do you?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


If I have only one passion, it is to travel. It's all about discovery. Regardless of whether the roads I travel have been trodden a thousand times, if the experience is new to me then I may as well have been the first. I love the fascination of a new city or a new people. Bob Marley once said, 'we don't need education, we need inspiration'. What could be more inspiring than travelling the world? In this day and age, we need some kind of formal education too, but I hope that part of my children's will come from their experiences in this wonderful world we inhabit.

I've done my fair share of wandering thanks to a wonderful job, and a very like-minded husband. Some of favourite memories were born from stays in countries so very unlike my own. We remember them alot, and talk about one day taking our children to the same places, and to places we've yet to discover. When I was living in London, I used to send my Grandma a postcard from every place I visited. She loved to read about our little escapades. When she passed a few years ago, I found the postcards amongst her belongings. They are now one of my most precious treasures.

I love to daydream about exploring ruined castles in Scotland, sailing down the Ganges at dusk, lounging on the beaches of Mykonos, going to the theatre in London, sipping ginger fizz in Ubud, chatting to Tibetan refugees in Phokhara, bartering for a bargain (and getting it!) at the Ladies Market in Kowloon, eating cataplana with Rach in Portugal, buying my first pair of Doc Martens in Covent Garden, kava ceremonies on the Coral Coast, buying mountains of silk in Varanasi and of course, being proposed to in a motorhome in Tasmania. Ah, the list could truly go on!

And it will grow longer yet. I may not travel quite as much as I did - for those of you with mulitple children, you'll know it's no easy feat venturing off overseas on a whim! But they will get older and more independant, and we can start planning more adventures. I still have so many places yet to be ticked off - cruising the inner passage of Alaska, more of India, an African safari, the deep south of the USA, a villa in Tuscany, a cooking school in France....

I recently took Jai to Hong Kong. Just the two of us. What an amazing journey! We had so much fun and learned so many things - together. He still talks about the climb up 266 steps the see the giant Buddha! But you know what made me the happiest? Jai's report card. But not because his grades were excellent (which they were!). The comment that made me the proudest was the one that said, "Jai displays a rich background of information and experience and the class value his contributions." This, to my humble self, says it all.

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