Cooking, Renovations and Fun Stuff

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November on the Web

Thought I'd do a round-up of my favourite blogs/posts for the month of November.

Desire to Inspire
As well as featuring great interior design, this blog also has a fun Monday's Pets on Furniture post featuring pics of readers' pets on their designer furniture. While a Parisian balcony doesn't technically count as furniture, this pic is beautiful nonetheless.
Desire to Inspire

Stonesoup
This blog usually feature recipes that contain 5 ingredients and can be made in minutes. A recent post on how to master the art of gift giving caught my eye. Here's a brief excerpt:
1. The gift of experiences
This includes things like tickets to a concerts or a show, vouchers for meals in restaurants, or offering to cook dinner for the recipient and their friends.

2. The gift of consumables
Mostly, this tends to be wine related. Champagne is always a winner, or a good bottle of red. It helps to know the favourite tipple of your recipient.

Flowers are another go-to when booze isn’t really appropriate.

3. The gift of something home made
It could be a favourite cake or pie. But more often than not it’s something with a longer shelf life like chilli oil (recipe below), preserved lemons, my homemade BBQ sauce, custom spice blends or infused oils. This year I’m planning on including little recipe cards with each gift to give ideas how to use each item.

The thing is, home made gifts are really personal. And in the age of cheap factory produced goods, the love that comes with a hand made gift makes all the difference.

Not to mention that it’s heaps of fun!

House of Turquoise
An interior-design blog featuring all things turquoise! It's a great source of inspiration, whether you're into turquoise or not. At the moment I'm still deciding on whether to do an island bench in our kitchen or just put our dining table there, like these pics that featured on the blog recently:
House of Turquoise

Love the bench seats and wingback chairs!

The Minimalists
In complete contrast, this blog has essays about minimalism and living a meaningful life with less stuff. A recent post called the UnAmerican Dream was thought-provoking:

The American Dream…
The white picket fence. The large suburban home. The nice car. The big-screen TVs glowing in multiple rooms. The safe, reasonable nine-to-five. The corner office. The suit and tie. The white collar pride. The blue collar pride. The weekends off. The paid holidays. The occasional vacation. The fringe benefits.

In exchange for…
The daily grind. The nose to the grindstone. The rush-hour traffic. The punching the clock. The cubical farms. The spreadsheet eyestrain. The much-anticipated lunch break. The inbox overflow. The arbitrary goals. The late nights at the office. The empty platitudes. The office gossip. The “productivity.” The downsizing. The “doing more with less.” The mounds of bills. The second job. The credit-card spending. The debt. The second mortgage. The beer gut. The mid-life crisis. The retirement at 65. The volatile stock market. The retirement at 67 or 72 or 75. The death before retirement. The unyielding tiredness. The emptiness. The depression. The unshakeable discontent.

You can keep your American Dream. Give us back our time, our freedom, and our lives.


Do you have any favourite blogs you'd like to share?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lulu

A couple of new items for my wardrobe:


Lululemon Let it Loose Tank and Turbo Run Short.

They're super comfy and I'll probably end up wearing them a lot on hot days.

My old shoulder injury was still a bit cranky today after 'posing' for this photo on Saturday (silly me) and it was a lovely evening out so I decided to do some fast walking/jogging instead of swimming.

Do you have a favourite brand of exercise gear?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Program or No Program?

So this week I ventured back into the gym for the first time in a long time. On Tuesday I did lat pulldowns, seated rows and bicep curls. On Thursday I did bench press, shoulder press and tricep pushdowns. I expected to be sore afterwards. And I am. In my biceps, of all places. I can barely straighten my arms today (Friday).

What I most enjoyed about this week’s workouts was just going in and doing what I felt like, until I’d had enough, which ended up being about 4 sets of each exercise, in the 6-10 rep range.

Do you follow a training program, or just do what you feel like?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Recipe Books

This week I've been working on two recipe books. Most of the week I've been proofreading a book on Street Food for Lonely Planet (which I think is due out in March next year). My days have been filled with food from around the world, including India, Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam. I was warned to 'eat a good breakfast before starting on this book - it will make you very hungry!'

Speaking of breakfast, today I've been editing a book full of breakfast recipes for another publishing company. Here are the recipes I've been reading today:
Blueberries and Yoghurt
Layered Fruit with Yoghurt and Bran
Bircher Muesli
Mango and Orange Smoothie
Poached Eggs on Toast
Fried Eggs and Bacon
Boiled Eggs and Black Pudding
Creamy Scrambled Eggs
French Toast with Strawberries
Sausages and Grilled Tomato
Breakfast Mushrooms
Breakfast Feast
Asparagus Omelette
Basil and Feta Omelette
Fluffy Omelette
Vegetable Frittata
Pan Frittata
Smoked Salmon Bagel
Skinny Eggs and Ham on Bagels
Bacon and Egg Melt
Bacon, Avocado and Cheese Melt
Ham and Mushroom Melt
Baked Bean Muffin
Avocado, Spinach and Tomato Wrap
Chocolate Hot Cakes with Raspberry Coulis
Cinnamon Pancakes
Buckwheat Pancakes
Hazelnut Pancakes with Strawberries
Jumbo Pancakes with Blackberries and Honey
Chocolate Breakfast Waffles with Maple Pears
Waffles with Grilled Banana

Yum!

Have you got a favourite recipe book? If so, what is it?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Morning or Evening?

So far this week I've managed to fit in a swim (Monday) and a back & biceps workout (Tuesday) and am planning on another swim today. All in the evening. After being at work all day. A few months ago it wouldn't have happened. I'd either do something in the morning or not at all. I'm not sure if it's the extra light at night, or having more energy from the B vitamins I started taking again on Monday, but it's nice to 'want' to exercise again. And I've noticed that I'm not super hungry all day like I usually am after exercising in the morning. Instead I exercise in the evening, have dinner and a hot chocolate then toddle off to bed.

Do you prefer exercising in the morning or evening?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Splish Splash

I got up too late to go swimming this morning, but was still feeling keen this afternoon so after arriving home I gobbled a banana and a few nuts, did a couple of things around the house then headed off for my swim. Go me!

Don't know if I'll go at that time again though - between the kids playing on one side and the swim lessons on the other side, there were only two lanes in the middle for swimming laps, and one of those ended up with overflow from the swimming lessons, so all the lap swimmers ended up squashed in one lane. Luckily we were all pretty slow so weren't on each others heels. I didn't appreciate sucking in splashes of water from the 'play' side every time I took a breath though.

Have started taking my vitamin B tablets again last night after a six-month break from all supplements (including protein powder). It's the only thing I really felt I was missing. I've been a bit depressed lately, and I know including vitamin B supplements always helps with that. I've been feeling a lot more relaxed and energetic today (hence the willingness to go swimming this evening).

We are getting our hot water cylinder replaced on Thursday (our electric one stopped working and we are switching over to gas). Looking forward to having hot water in the house again!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Location, Location

One of the main reasons we bought our house was its proximity to things: train station, shops, library, recreation centre and parks. It does mean we get a bit of road noise but at the moment I'm loving being able to get up in the morning, put on my togs, cover up with a hoodie and towel, slip on my jandals (flip-flops), then walk to the end of our street, cross the road, enter the recreation centre, hop in the pool and start swimming. When I'm done, I cover up with the hoodie and towel and walk home again.

It's a nice way to start the day - and it doesn't really feel like exercising, even though my heart rate gets up there!

Does exercise feel like a chore to you? What activity wouldn't/doesn't feel like a chore?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hearth

Yes, I think a black hearth will work. Something like this
Hecker Guthrie Interiors via Desire to Inspire

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fireplace

I was planning to do some gardening this weekend but it was a bit wet out so decided to do something indoors instead.

When we bought this house it was painted with a lot of browns and greens, and I'm slowly trying to lighten things up. This weekend I attacked the fireplace area.

Before, with taupe walls and brown fireplace surround

After, with cream walls and white fireplace surround

I'm still undecided about the little bit in front of the fireplace. I'm reluctant to paint it white because it'll be too hard to keep clean, but I don't think I want to leave it brown. Might get a sample pot of some black paint to try.