Friday 30 August 2013

Orange & Blueberry Quick Bread

A few sundays ago, I was flicking through one of the weekend paper magazines.

I came across this David Herbert recipe and just couldn't wait to get into the kitchen and start baking.

Incredibly easy and a big hit with the entire family.

You will need-
3 cups Plain Flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
finely grated rind of one orange
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g blueberries- fresh or frozen
100g chopped pecans (although I used walnuts in lieu of!)

To make-
Preheat oven to 180 deg celcius (170 fan forced).
Grease a 23 x 12 x 8cm loaf tin and line base and sides with baking paper.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt into a large bowl and stir in orange rind.
Make a well in the centre. 
Whisk together milk, egg, orange juice, oil and vanilla. 
Pour into flour and stir until ingredients are just combined. 
Quickly add the fruit and pecans.
Do not overmix- its ok if the batter is a bit lumpy.
Transfer mixture to prepared tin and smooth top.
Bake for 60-65 minutes or until top is firm to touch and golden brown.
A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.
Cool in 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Best of all, the small bit leftover tasted delicious toasted.

The link to the original article and recipe can be found here.

Have you a favourite loaf recipe?
Please share...... x

Thursday 29 August 2013

Ive finally discovered Instagram...and I love it!

I recently discovered Instagram...yes, welcome to 2013! Finally!!!

It's not that I hadn't heard of Instagram but rather had placed it in my 'Oh My... another social media gadget I need to learn, and well, don't have time too!' balloon.
It's a bit like Twitter- I set up a  twitter account ages ago, but have NO IDEA how to TWEET. And more importantly, haven't found a good reason to motivate myself to learn how to tweet, and benefit from it. I don't really care what Miley Cyrus is wearing (or not wearing), nor what she has to say.  But I know there has to be a more positive way of using it- like participating in live TV perhaps? Im not totally sold! (and Im not that quick on my phone either!!!)

Since setting up this blog though, Ive learnt how Instagram plays a big role in the blogging world (as does Twitter). Most bloggers have Instagram accounts linked to their blogs. Its another way of reaching out to readers and discovering even more blogs, websites, and just everyday people expressing themselves.

I love it because of the photos- its a simple concept.
I enjoy flicking through each photo taken and seeing the world through other peoples eyes.
It's so quick and easy to participate- especially thanks to cameras on phones and fantastic apps that help edit Photos which then at a press of a button , goes straight to your instagram account.
It's basically Facebook but on a visual level.

When I set up this blog I did make the decision not to add the Instagram link button- I was in that zone where I would deal with it later. But as we were on the road the last few weeks travelling, I decided to have a play and see where it led me. I quickly and very easily set up an account. I searched for my favourite bloggers and even just 'cruised' my way through random photos posted. I cannot lie, it was very addictive! I came across a young girl who was 13 and her photos were amazing- how inspiring to know what talent there is out there. I just wish I had 'followed' her but that was in my early days of playing and not understanding how Instagram worked. I do have a problem still with following random people I don't really know....I can't help but feel like Im stalking someone. But Im sure this will pass. I must confess I don't yet completely understand the @ and # thingy's. Again, Im slowly learning, but if any readers know about the etiquette of instagramming, please let me know!!!!!

Funnily enough (or otherwise the universe opening doors for me), I then was reading a post on FatMumSlim's blog earlier this week about the FMS Photo A Day Challenge. I have often heard of these but again not being into Instagram, I had no idea what it entailed. Reading the post I decided that this challenge would be a fun daily activity for me to learn more about Instagram as well as expel some creative juices. Not that I need nor want another 'thing' to do, but, I take photos all the time on my phone so why not play the game and have some fun.

I have printed off September's list and am ready to go...


So, here I am.....tillywillso (thats my instagram name!!!!ha!) with all of my 7 followers who Im sure are due to a facebook default...but thank you all the same.

The challenge begins on Sunday and hopefully I can keep up and complete the task.
To jump on board, click here for more information on how to play.

My next challenge, should I succeed will be.....#7vignettes

Are you into Instagram?  Any tips to share?????

Happy Snapping!

Thursday 15 August 2013

Boost Juice

I recently bought a new juicer for two reasons.

Firstly, an attempt to get more fruit and vege into the whole family.

Secondly, to put a stop to wasting all the leftovers in the fruit bowl and vegie section of the fridge.

Although these forgotten fruits have been turned into muffins or cakes and vegies into a risotto, pasta or frittata, a juice is such a healthier option, minus all the extra calories.
And I chose a juicer that claims to clean in less than a minute (which it does) so its so much quicker and easier than cooking!

Today we whipped up two very simple juices- one for the kids and the other for the grown ups.

Simply, as it says, made of pineapple & apple....A big hit!

Boost Juice-
made from carrots, beetroot, apples, celery, oranges and a slice of ginger.

Perfect tonic for the immune system this time of year.

Have you a favourite juice mix??? Please Share.....

Wednesday 14 August 2013

My UK Fashion flashback!

Yesterday I received in the post a catalogue from Boden in the UK.
It took me back several years to when I was living in England. Boden was one of my favourite online stores. Love the classic yet quirky style. And the children's clothes are gorgeous.

The two other stores I loved were Joules and The White Company.
Both sell lovely clothes and homewares.



I am a big one for shopping local, so you may ask yourself why I mention these UK sites. It's purely a nostalgic thing. I love flicking through and seeing the trends and whats 'hot' over there. I browse their websites and wait until sale time, and yes, I have occasionally bought some pieces. 

Now you must excuse me whilst I make a cup of tea and sit down to flick through 
and get my Boden dose!

Tuesday 13 August 2013

My Stationery addiction!

I have an addiction to stationery...put me a shop and I gravitate straight to anything made with paper. Cards, wrapping paper, notebooks, diaries, invitations, etc. Im in heaven whether its Officeworks or a shop that specialises purely in paper products.

Im quite old fashioned in the sense that nothing beats snail mail and Im a big believer in posting cards to say thank you or send well wishes to someone.

I have always loved nice stationery sets but it wasn't until I was engaged that the fun began with exploring options for wedding invitations. Fiona Foot from FiFyFoFum designed our stationery and we were not disappointed. I have a soft spot for letterpress printing and so after a chat and exchanging a few emails with ideas, Fiona designed a simple but classic style invitation set. We were thrilled with the final product.

Now with children, I love browsing the net and stumbling across stationery sites. There is so much out there to choose from and thankfully these days we are not limited to whats available just in Australia.

So here are some of my favourite sites!

Kiki k- Im starting off with an oldie but a goodie! I have been buying this diary for the last 5 years and I just love it. Its the small size so fits easily in all bags and comes with a notepad which is always quite handy. They have a great online store but today I found out that one of my favourite shops in Albury is stocking some Kiki K products.....Im so happy! Thank you Little Nest! Very excited!

Also from Little Nest, this gorgeous William Morris Wildflowers Correspondence card set.
Love the floral designs- a card for all occasions!

Katy Jane Designs- An Australian Site with lovely cards and invitations. Also found on

Lucy Sheeran- Found on UK based but a lovely range of personalised designs. Sadly, I tried to order some but at the time they did not post outside of the UK, but were hoping to offer this service soon. Still nice to look and get ideas!

Dee Dub Designs-  Found on Love the silhouette of the cowboy. Would look good in any boys room.

The Print Press Studio-  Again on Lovely range of childrens cards and prints.

Shutterfly- Great for personalised cards and calenders . We made Father's Day and a special birthday card for one of the Grandparents last year with the children  jumping around holding the birthday numbers.  I also made one of the calenders and have been impressed with the quality, cost and delivery. The individual cards cost about $5 plus postage and the calender I thought was a bargain at about $20. I love it as each month we have lots of great photos of the entire family. You can personalise special dates with photos. And, once you have set up an account and ordered, it will remember all those dates for the next calender you order which saves so much time. Lots of different backgrounds and designs to choose from. They make great gifts for Grandparents too!
They also do prints...well worth a look! They can also be found on the Tiny Prints website.


Tiny Prints- Huge range of gorgeous designs. They are based in the States so postage is a pain, however, they have a great range of designs and when the US dollar was high, it was great value and easy to justify the exy post. Quality is fantastic and its about 2-3 week turn around from when you order to receiving in post. Be organised and order in advance. I was caught out once when I ordered at last minute and forgot it was Mothers Day over in the States- so my order didnt come as quickly as needed. Otherwise- one of my favourite sites!

Love this shot!

Some of my tiny prints stationery!

Minted- Another US Site. Similar to tiny prints. I haven't ordered from this company but I do love their designs.

Oh Louise Designs - Found on Etsy. I ordered some Thank you cards for my daughters Christening. I bought a few different designs each with her name on them. Again, based in the States but very easy to order from. Arrived within a few weeks. Great to deal with!

Our Sophie cards.....

Hope that has given you some ideas for adding to your stationery collection.

I didn't include any letterpress examples. Will save that for another blog.

Have a lovely day! Kx

Monday 12 August 2013

Spring is on its way!

Whilst out doing a few jobs over the weekend I couldn't help but notice the blossoms on some of the trees coming out. A sign that spring is just around the corner.

Spring is my favourite season.....fresh sunny mornings, days beginning to warm up. The gardens start to wake up and treat us to bulbs and gorgeous blossoms,  and you find that lost bit of energy that winter drained away. We get to revisit our warm weather wardrobe and pack away the thermals.

Having little children means that we get to share the fun of watching them discover how nature starts coming alive again. The trees grow some 'clothes' and 'pretty jewels', and they learn how to make daisy chains and necklaces. Watching the bees and learning to stay away from them. The warm weather means no excuses for not being outside. It's a fun time of year.

Along with the new life and energy that spring brings, its also time to get busy and start spring cleaning.
So today, my plan is to start going through our wardrobes and boxes in storage and weeding out what we no longer use or need. Mainly clothes we have all outgrown.

Its quite a cleansing feeling having a clean up. And I like knowing that our pre loved clothes may be used by someone else too.

So, I best go and start spring cleaning and bundling up some bags. The weather has turned cold again so it's a perfect day to be inside. I just need to look outside to the trees with the blossom buds and be reminded that warmer weather will soon be here!

Friday 9 August 2013

Lamb Shank and Barley Broth- Straight from the Hay plains!

Yesterday the sun came out! After several days of bleak cold weather, it was so nice to capture some rays of sunlight  and feel some natural warmth. We were lucky to have some special visitors too, so I skipped writing yesterday in order to spend some time with family and enjoy the sun.

The clouds are back today though and looks like more rain and cold weather forecast for the weekend.
Perfect weather for comfort food. Comfort food for me, isn't generally that of the healthy kind.
 I love a bowl of wedges plastered with lots of sour cream and sweet chilli sauce,
or ham and cheese toasties...cheese oozing out...
I dare not count the calories.

We are trying to be more healthy...changing our diet in the attempt to lose some weight and gain some much needed energy (chasing children is hard exhausting!) . It's not that we eat badly or live on take away. We don't...its more that we eat too many carbs with dinner and don't really watch our portions. Or I choose wedges over steamed, I love chocolate.
Its actually not difficult eating good wholesome food.
Its just ensuring you have it on hand so it's easy to put something together.

So, whilst I was rummaging through the freezer, I found some lamb shanks that friends of ours gave us from their property on the Hay Plains. Perfect.....something warm and comforting, healthy and filling.
And best of all, will last over the weekend!

You will need-

olive oil
6 lamb shanks, trimmed and dusted in flour
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 diced carrots
2 sticks diced celery
2 litres beef stock
1 litre water
3/4 cup pearl barley
sprig ot two of fresh Thyme
Handful of spinach leaves

Heat some olive oil in a large fry pan (with deep sides) and brown the shanks.
Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, with juices remaining, place onion, garlic, carrots and celery and
cook for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
Add shanks back to pan, then pour in the beef stock and water. Add the pearl barley and thyme.
Place lid on pan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and leave for 2 hours.

Remove the shanks and allow to cool before taking the meat off the bone and breaking into pieces. Return the meat to the broth along with the spinach.
 Season with salt and pepper.

Serve in bowl with a sprinkle of fresh parsley on top and some warm crusty bread.

Note- You could substitute the thyme for rosemary if you would prefer and omit the spinach.
I love the specks of green though.

Enjoy xxx

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Raspberry & Pistachio Friands

Another cold day today and we are all getting a bit of cabin fever. The children are just getting over colds, so we are reluctant to let them go wild outside. There is lots of building cubby houses, nests (made from every doona and pillow found in the house), watching Wiggles, and art and craft.....Every room in the house looks like a bomb has gone off in it. When these activities all get a bit boring, we head to the kitchen and bake.

Today we made these yummy friands. So very easy to make, although pistachios aren't necessarily a pantry staple. In all honesty, Ive been meaning to make these for ages so had previously bought the pistachios and they lay patiently waiting in the pantry for this moment. This is a Donna Hay recipe that I came across in the Sunday Paper Style Magazine ages ago. The mixture looked a bit funny, but once baked, they tasted delicious and were a hit by all. I think you could easily substitute the pistachios for another type of nut if you wanted to as well. Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts if you make them!

You will need-
3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup finely ground pistachios
1 2/3 cups icing sugar, sifted
3/4 cup plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
5 eggwhites
125g melted butter
200g fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios- extra

Firstly, preheat your oven to 180 deg celcius.
Place almond meal, icing sugar, flour, baking powder, eggwhites and butter in a bowl and mix together well. Fold through the berries and spoon into greased muffin tin or paper baking cups.
Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool.

Note- these can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Tuesday 6 August 2013

A POP of colour!

Its a miserable winters day here in Albury today. We are all going a bit stir crazy from having to stay indoors. Inside, the house feels dark and outside is grey and misty with rain. Im craving for some colour and sunshine.....

Here are some 'pops' of colour to brighten up your home and day.......

Belljar Interiors (Etsy)- Custom lamp shades-USD$146.37

Loving this Dog Stop-how cute!!!!!

Deservedly-So (Not on the High Street)-Dot Wall Vase

I hope there is some sun shining over your way and if not that these colourful pieces have
added some POP into your day! 

Monday 5 August 2013

Fly away with Birdsnest

Today I received a parcel of goodies I ordered from Birdsnest.

Birdsnest is one of my favourite online stores. Their service is AMAZING!!!!!
I can order one day and receive my parcel the next. What a great service when you live in the country.
They are wrapped with love and attached is a lovely handwritten note which makes you feel like you have just received a gift from a long lost friend.

The range of clothing and accessories is fantastic and I love how I can cheat and just look up the Style Guide and browse through the already put together outfits according to my body size and the occasion. Its brilliant for a time poor Mum like myself. Within half an hour I can find a complete outfit (or two). The website is easy to navigate and they even stock clothes for the kids and a range of giftware too. Finally...a flat express postage rate of $4.95 Australia wide and they have a 365 day return policy- how good is that??

There is a great article worth reading on Jane Kay- the founder of Birdsnest- Click here to see it.
Jane has been nominated for the Most Clickable Woman Awards. I think she has done a great job building this business up in a small country town and then going on to service the nation. I am a big fan of buying local however I don't feel so guilty with Birdsnest because I know Im supporting another country town just over the mountains! Well done have my vote!

So if you haven't already discovered Birdsnest.....please do won't be disappointed!

To check out this outfit and more click here

Please note- this post has been written without any influence from Birdsnest but rather written 
by a very very happy and satisfied customer!

Friday 2 August 2013

DIY Polymer Clay Bubble Necklace

When I was a child I went through a FIMO phase. My sister and I would save our pocket money and then when we went to town (which was a few hours away) we would head straight to the craft shop and spend ages picking and choosing what colours we wanted. Back then (some time in the mid eighties), FIMO was quite an expensive commodity to a ten year old. On memory, it was about $5 a piece and so we could only ever afford to buy one or two. Mum would generally feel sorry for us and buy us some to add to our collection. Perhaps it was her way of hurrying us up- choosing colours was a very important decision to make and ate into precious shopping time.

Once home, we would 'FIMO' away, moulding, sculpting, rolling and creating little masterpieces which included minature animals, people, doll house furniture and jewellery. It provided hours of fun.

With the weekend approaching, here is a fun little project which will inject some creativity and colour into your world. And perhaps like me, take you back (just a few years) to your childhood.

These necklaces are so easy to make. The hardest part is getting to Spotlight (or your local craft supplies store) to buy what you need. If you cant find what you need locally, try Ebay. The clay is actually a bit cheaper but the downside is you are guessing with colours and availability.

Follow the steps and within an hour you will have one or more cute colourful necklaces to add to your collection!

Try using one colour and mixing with white to get a gradual Ombre Bubble Necklace 
like the one below.

Photo from delighted momma

Some tips for working with the clay-
* Using latex gloves helps with alleviate fingerprints
* Dont overbake clay- it will crack if left in oven too long
* Dont be afraid to mix colours- its amazing what you can come up with including the leftover pieces.
* Instead of knotting string, you could join with magnetic clasps or other clips-
look in the jewellery section of Craft Store for options.
* Play around with the sizes of the beads.....and try different shapes too.
* Do a Pinterest search if you need some extra inspiration.
* Include the children-they will have a blast!

I would love to hear your comments and thoughts on this project...Happy beading!

Have a great weekend x