Monthly Archives: August 2014

Good old Shepherds Pie.

August 31, 2014

PhotoWell the last night of winter is going out with a bang in our house tonight. My kids love this, and it has a good dose of hidden veg in there as well – winning all round. I’m sure everyone has their own favourite of this classic but heres mine anyway.

First cook 4-5 potatoes and mash. I’m not going to tell you how to mash potato, you all know how you like it. You can make it as health conscious or as indulgent as you wish.

In a bit of olive oil sweat off 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots and 2 chopped sticks of celery. Add 1kg lamb mince and brown off. If you need to drain off the fat go ahead. Add 1/4 cup of plain flour, stir until the mince has gone a little gluey, gradually add 1 1/2 cups beef stock, 1/4 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce and a drizzle of thick mint sauce. Simmer for around 10 minutes and add 1/2 cup frozen peas. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking dish or individual bowls and topped with the mashed potato. If you like top with grated tasty cheese and put under the grill for around 5-10 minutes. Serve with steamed greens or if you feel like the extra carb hit have some toast….We are!

Mums in Business…Bonnie Gillies.

August 29, 2014

This is the second interview in our series of mums in business. This week we have the gorgeous Bonnie Gillies aka Oz Beauty Expert. When she’s not busy doing all the things us mums do, she is interviewing the likes of Jen Hawkins, Melissa Hoyer and Rebecca Judd just to name a few..and running her successful business all at the same time.

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1. Who are you and what is it that you do?  My name is Bonnie Gillies – Oz Beauty Expert. Fashion, hair and make up artist. Editor and founder of www.ozbeautyexpert.com

2. How long have you been in business?  7 years

3. How did you get your start?  I started doing hair and make-up 12 years ago and then started my career with Elizabeth Arden UK and Eire.

4. Best part of your job?  My job isn’t like work at all, its spending the day being creative and doing something I love. I meet great people on each different job and I think I would do it even if I didn’t get paid. Now my profile as a blogger has grown so much I am starting to travel much more for work. Off to New York for fashion week today actually! Woop!!

5. What is the hardest part of having your own business and being a mum? Because I don’t have set days for work I never know when I’m going to be busy until just days before. Its a constant juggling act to find baby sitters etc at the last minute.

6. What is the one thing you cant go one day without?  My hair straightener!

7. What was your last big purchase?  A fancy hotel in Soho NY.

8. The kids are in bed, the house is clean, the washing is sorted… what do you do now?  Ok this would be rare…. I avoid housework like the plague until I really have to. There are so many other things I’d rather be doing!!! If it was the case, I would sit down with some chocolate and watch Downton Abbey or Revenge.

9. What is the best pick me up product when you feel like you look 400 years old?  Oh my goodness, being the beauty addict that I am I have all sorts of lotions and potions… That being said I had Fraxel a few months ago and my skin has never been better. Less lines, no pigmentation and a perfectly even skin tone. I love a good hydrating mask too!

10. Words of advice to mums who are stuck in a rut?  Get up in the morning do your hair and put a little make-up on. It’s amazing how much better you feel at the end of the day if you look half decent instead of still in your trackies looking like crap. If the sun pops its head out, find a nice spot and soak up some rays for 20 minutes – the warmth of the sun is so good for your soul especially in this gloomy cold weather. I’ve always been a dreamer and a do-er. Never underestimate yourself, believe in yourself, and remember nothing is impossible. If you want something bad enough, work hard and you will get there. Don’t take no for an answer and never give up on your dreams. Persistence is SO important… I have been told no or ‘you wont be able to do that’ a million times but I just keep on going and dont let it deter me.

If you’d like to know more about Bonnie you can visit the website or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.

Office Inspiration.

August 28, 2014

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I hate my office. Its boring. It has a desk, chair, computer, a bright yellow wall which I thought would look awesome back in the day, shitty old shelves and several mountains of everyone else’s crap. So I think in the school holidays I’m going on Project Office Overhaul. I have curated a Pinterest Board for all things associated with an office makeover, or even adding an office to an existing bedroom. If its something glam you’re after, or something like a casual little office nook.. there is plenty to see. Ive got a few ideas up my sleeve already…. Take a look and tell me which pins you like!

Strawberries are cheap!

August 26, 2014

PhotoSo, right now at the supermarkets strawberries are super cheap. Other than eating them as they are.. what else can I do with them for the kiddies. What do I like with strawberries?…. Chocolate…. What else do I like?… A good muffin. Done. I will make a strawberry and choc chip muffin.

I went in search of such a thing and couldn’t really find a recipe that I liked or had all the ingredients for so I made up my own. I’m pretty clever in the kitchen…. I can make up a recipe…. And I did, and these are delicious. Here is all you will need…

2 1/2 cups SR flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup choc chips, 1 cup milk, 1 egg, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 cup chopped strawberries.

Mix flour, brown sugar and choc chips together in a bowl and make a well in the centre. In another bowl or jug mix together the milk, egg, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix gently. Be careful not to over mix as this will make a tough muffin. Once mixed add the strawberries and fold in gently. Spoon into lined muffin tins and bake in a preheated 180C oven for around 20-25 minutes.Leave to cool in tin for around 10 mins before transferring to a cooling rack. 

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These are delicious as they are however I think for desert tonight I might heat them up and serve with some double cream. Strawberries and cream are great mates…. Be a shame to tear them apart.

 

 

Mums in Business… Courtney Turton

August 22, 2014

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1. Who are you and what is it that you do?
My name is Courtney Turton & I am Director and Head coach for Oxygen
All Stars which is a Competitive Cheerleading & Tumbling Gym.

2. How long have you been in business?
I have been in this business for over 15 years.

3. How did you get your start?
I started out when I was 14 years old and started some dance and cheer teams as a hobby. This small dream evolved and through natural progression turned into a large cheerleading facility. I have had this dream ever since I was 14 and I never went a day without thinking about the company I would one day own.

4. Describe your “Regular” day?
6:30am Wake and dress the children for school,
7:30 Buy my coffee at “The Coffee Cubby” and wait for the school bus,
8-10am Cook dinner and clean the house,
11am I work in the office on newsletters, accounts, programing, marketing and staff training,
2:30pm Pick my daughter up from school,
3:30-9pm Coaching in the gym,
10pm Home time, eat late dinner, clean school clothing and get lunches ready. Finish off emails or marketing projects. Also this is the last chance I get to do a quick clean around the house.
12pm- Bed time.
The above is my typical day Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday I also coach in comp season which is 8 months a year. Life is CRAZY! I also have my 5 year old Ely with me. I am lucky to have my husband and staff who help with Ely. She comes everywhere with me and in the evenings if she isn’t at work with me she is with my wonderful parents.

5. I imagine running a successful business and being a mum can be quite challenging. How do you strike the balance?                                                                                                                               The balance is never perfect. My life is very different to your average working mother as I work approximately 50 hours per week  with hundreds of kids and then still have to be mum to our 2 daughters. To keep a balance I make sure I have job lists. I have worked out that time management and prioritising is the key to balance. I have learnt that I am not super woman and the house won’t always be clean and the washing won’t always be folded. By realising that life can’t always be perfect this honestly helps me keep it balanced. My husband also is helpful, he does the bathing of the children, cooks and cleans. Ryan, my husband is like a super hero. In our household to keep the balance we don’t have the stereotypical “mum” and “dad” roles. We both just do what has to be done- when it needs to be done.

6. What do you love most about being a mum in business?
I love that I work with children.  Our girls love being at Oxygen therefore it’s easy to take them to work… they want to come! Also having my own children makes me better at my role as a coach and parent liaising.

7. The one thing you could not go a day without?
Coffee

8. What was your last big purchase?
Armani/Prive Rose Alexandrie Perfume in Hong Kong. Its limited addition and can only be purchased in Paris or Hong Kong.

9. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I see myself still as a business owner and coach but with possibly another gym in another location. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing. Hopefully by that time I will have a little more free time for holidays. At the moment family holidays don’t happen.

10. Words of advice for mums who feel a little bit stuck in a rut?                                                  Think about where you want to be and what your goals are. Do you have goals or ideas that you are too scared to take on or don’t believe in yourself? WE ARE ALL CAPABLE to be something. We all have the potential to do anything. You live once.. be a good example to your children and show them how to set goals and follow through. I grew up with learning difficulties, Dyslexia and severe Scoliosis and had a spinal fusion… I had everything going against me to be a business owner and a cheer coach. But I did it! Also find a friend or mentor who can inspire you to be the best you can be. Stay away from negative people.

My advice ~  Life is not meant to be easy… it’s hard. Life has constant battles but never forget to  be grateful everyday for all the amazing and positive things that happen. If you can’t see the good things in your life.. you’re either not looking hard enough, you hang around the wrong people or you need to create happy and exciting moments for yourself. Take control of your own life and decisions… you will be teaching your children the best life lesson.

If you would like any information about Oxygen All Stars head over to our Facebook page.

My issues with the classroom.

August 21, 2014

PhotoOver the last few weeks there has been a few different articles in the media in relation to the classroom. We had talk over the return of the cane, next we had debate over what age children should be starting kindergarten and in recent days we have had the question of homework being necessary .

I would like to know some other things but i will address the others before i continue. First the cane… The cane will never make its way back to school as the laws that we have now make it all but impossible for a parent to discipline their child by way of smacking let alone giving a teacher the power to do so. Second, the starting age of kindergarten children. Why does this need to be an issue? How long now have the majority of children started school around the age of 5? Does it cause any major problems? Surely the parents are the best judges of when their child is ready to start school. My eldest started at 5 1/2, my middle started when she was still 4 and my baby will start when she is 5 1/2 also. Some experts are suggesting children start at the age of 6 or even 7, as this gives them more opportunity to play. Because life is all about playing right? Hmmmm…. Other than the technology that is now readily available to children… have 5 year olds changed that much? Third, the homework battle. This one i am torn… Its not fun getting kids to do their homework, we all know this… but sometimes life isn’t all about having constant fun.  In primary school I think the amount of homework set is just a way for preparing them for what is to come once they hit high school. Once in high school, some see the amount of homework as excessive, others see it just as a part of the learning process. I think its a good way  for them to learn how to organise themselves productively. Other things are important too, like after school activities, weekend sports etc..just make sure your homework gets done first. Its a struggle at times yes, but so is life. Obviously there are the kids who struggle with the pressure and that is an issue entirely on its own that needs to be dealt with by a professional sooner rather than later.

Of course, the above are only my opinions on these matters but here are some thing that  I would like to know.

1. Why do teachers have to chose from a multiple choice selection in regard to school reports? I find this absolutely ridiculous. If my child is a little shit at school I want to know so. I guess there are too many parents who don’t want to know or will be offended if the truth is pointed out.

2. Are the children being disciplined effectively? The dilemma we are currently facing with bullying would suggest the answer to that question is no. Certain children seem to be able to get away with anything as they are known to be a “problem” child. I know of primary teachers who are regularly told to “fuck off” and not much gets done about it. Some say “oh well, they must hear it at home”… I won’t wear this. I’ll be honest, I heard it at home as do my children – yet I can very safely suggest they wouldn’t, as I wasn’t, EVER game to say that to a teacher ~ or anyone really.

3. How did this all happen? When exactly was the power taken away from the teachers? For them to speak honestly… To tell it how it is? When was it that the world just went soft and political correctness came into being? You know what though…. Its not just the teachers. Its anyone in authority. I know of a police officer who gave it all in because he became unable to do the job he was trained to do. The respect for authority of any kind has become non existent. Are we as a society better off for it…. I don’t think so. 

Twice the slice

August 20, 2014

PhotoSo you may remember last week I posted this recipe for chocolate coconut slice and as delicious as it is I have a group of friends who have decided to make some variations. All of which have been quite successful so I thought I would let you all have a try for yourself. One friend added raspberries, which made the base a little softer than the original version but still very delicious. Another added orange oil for a jaffa flavour and another tried peppermint oil in hers. No variation was made to the original ingredients. With the oils though I would go easy as they can be quite overpowering. So I am thinking I am going to try some dried cherries when I make this next for a cherry ripe vibe. However, I’m pretty sure you could come up with all kinds of flavours. So…. get in the kitchen and let us know what you tried and how it turned out.

 

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If you are over 25 and said the title with a thick Scottish accent then you are awesome, that’s exactly what I wanted!
Thing is though… It’s not really porridge anyway.. It’s called overnight oats and is quite the opposite of its warm cooked friend.
I eat this every morning and have done so for the last few months. It is delicious and easy as. The health benefits are enormous with oats, easy to digest, help lower cholesterol and keep you feeling fuller for longer amongst a million other things. This is the nicest recipe I have tried for these little uncooked beauties. Keep in mind that because it’s not cooked it may need a little sweetening up with some honey or maple syrup.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1 cup milk
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Drizzle of vanilla extract

Mix together all the ingredients, put into a sealed container and leave overnight. That’s it. It’s that easy.

This is enough to make around 4-5 serves and keeps in the fridge for around 5 days. I serve mine with a little extra milk to loosen the mix up a bit , maple syrup (the proper stuff… not the rubbish for the kids,) fresh berries and chopped almonds. Deeeeelish.

Leah Bridge from Navy Crockett

August 18, 2014

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Well Fathers Day will be upon us soon enough and if you are anything like me you find yourself the day before thinking shit…. what do I get him? And by him I mean my 2 dads and my husband. The gorgeous Leah Bridge from online mens store Navy Crockett is here to help us all.

I even managed to score an interview with the young entrepreneur and am very grateful for her time. Loads of advice for us on what she does and how she goes about it.

1. First things first… Who are you and what is it that you do? My name is Leah Bridge and I am an eternal optimist, a mover and shaker and self-confessed Super Woman. I try to do everything at once and enjoy a good juggle. I am the owner and head curator of Navy Crockett which helps women find unique, amazing gifts for hard-to-buy-for men.  

2. I love that you’re a woman selling men’s gifts. Why did this take your fancy? I love solving problems that I’ve personally had, and that women in general have. When I realised just how big of an issue women have in purchasing gifts for the men in their lives, I really saw an opportunity to shake up the market and introduce something new from a new perspective. Once I got excited about it, there was no looking back!

3. When did you start doing this?
I started working on Navy Crockett early in 2013 for a mid year launch.

4. Describe your regular day?
Let’s start by telling you I am SOOOOOO not a morning person! Meaning, I’m not the entrepreneurial type to be out of bed by 5am. No no no. After a later start I get in to my to do’s for the day. Often times I’ll be in and out of meetings, catching up on your comments on social media, or chatting with our team. There’s always so much to do, my calendar is double booked. One of my favourite things to do? The researching, spotting, testing and curating new gifts for the store! (of course)

5. What is your best selling product through the online store? Hands-down the most popular gift is the Eves Power Bank – also a personal fav. Having this little gadget in your life means you can charge your phone on the run, and ensures you never have a flat battery. 

The other best selling product is our Arse/Face soap – because one lady purchased 6 the other day for hubby and his friends! This gave us a huge laugh 😉
 http://www.navycrockett.com.au/tech-gifts/charging-devices/eves-power-bank-iphone-ipad-samsung-portable-mobile-charger.html
http://www.navycrockett.com.au/mens-grooming/mens-skincare/arse-face-soap.html 

6. Say you stumble upon an 18 year old girl who hasn’t got a clue what she wants to do with her life… what do you tell her?
Great question! Ok, I have three! Be kind to yourself. As super women we tend to be very hard on ourselves about everything – the guilt, the beating up on ourselves. No more! Learn to be your own best friend who looks after you (and takes you out for spa dates!). Believe you are worth more and don’t settle for less. Dare to dream big and start your adventures early on!

7. Are you a sweet or a savoury kind of girl?
I am on a diet that is low-fructose, but I am still in the sweet-zone for sure! I adapted a Bliss Balls recipe the other day to be a healthier version. Can’t get enough!
http://www.navycrockett.com.au/blog/recipes/chocolate-macadamia-chia-healthy-bliss-balls-recipe

8. What was your last big purchase?
Just had delicious new floating floor laid – does that count? (have been a renovator in previous lives)

9. The one thing you could not go a day without?
EVERNOTE. It is my brain in an app, keeping me very organised and all my evil genius ideas stored away for future world domination use :)

10. You obviously would hear this all the time… But i will ask anyway…What do you get the man who has everything?
There is no man in this world that has everything. I find the guys who do have alot of stuff are the Early Adopters – the ones who love to discover things first. The biggest tip I have for someone shopping for a man they think has alot of stuff? Find something new to the market – whether that’s a new store, or a quirky new product. Make him feel like he’s experiencing it first and you’ll absolutely win him over.

So there you have it… head on over to the website and have a look around, I’m loving the air hockey set and a few other little things that I might just like for myself!

 

Marshmallow slice.

August 16, 2014

For months now my husband has been at me to make marshmallow slice… to which he has been told every time that there is LCM bars in the pantry, go have one of those. However this morning I gave in and made it just to keep him quiet. Gotta say… they’re not too bad at all. Cheap as chips and super SUPER simple.photoSo, here’s all you need to do…. melt 75gr of butter over a low heat, once melted add 1&1/2 packets of marshmallows. Stir constantly until it all comes together and is super creamy in consistency. Be careful not to leave it as it will burn on the bottom. Pour the mixture over 6 cups of rice bubbles and stir quickly until all combined. Tip out into a lined lamington tin and press down until firm. Little tip is to use damp fingers so it won’t stick. Throw it in the fridge for around an hour, cut into bars and away you go. Sugar hit well and truly accomplished.