Monday, 22 June 2015

Along the Road to Gundagai ....

Recently I took a solo road trip to Sydney to attend my lovely sister's 40th birthday which was definitely an event not to be missed! With great excitement and anticipation I took off with a coffee in hand, play list loaded and with the mantra that I would enjoy the journey and if the opportunity presented "choose my own adventure". So in line with this I found myself buying apples in Gundagai, enjoying sensational home cooked food at the Merino Café in Gunning and then attending the weekend markets and admiring the street art in Goulburn.

I felt truly blessed to have these precious moments to myself which as a mummy of two kidlets are few and far between. So if you ever fine yourself on the long road to Sydney do yourself a favour and visit the small towns off the highway instead of simply counting down the km to the destination.

P.S The gluten free cakes at the Merino Café are divine!

X Grace

Lime and Raspberry Friands (Gluten Free)


5 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups almond meal
2 teaspoons finely grated lime rind
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
2/3 cup gluten-free plain flour
150g butter, melted, cooled
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries


  1.  Preheat oven to 190C/170C fan-forced. Grease a 12-hole, 1/3 cup-capacity muffin pan. Combine egg white, almond meal, lime rind, lime juice, icing sugar, flour and butter in a bowl. Divide mixture evenly between holes of prepared pan. Top with raspberries.
  2. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden and firm to touch. Stand in pan for 2 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool. Serve


 X Grace

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

All it needs is a bit of sunshine and water

Today I am thankful for the gift of nature and how therapeutic it is to plant, nurture and watch things grow and the great promise of new life that it brings.  Our dream of having a space which provides an opportunity for our children to learn through play, explore and  establish a connection with the source of their food is becoming a reality. We couldn't be more pleased! Happy Growing....
Do you also feel grounded and inspired when planting?
x Grace






Sunday, 3 May 2015

What started as a humble vegetable garden....The final installment

After three and a half years of looking into the backyard and dreaming of a fully functioning vegetable garden today it finally became a reality.

It has been a labour of love for our little family and everyone has had a role to play, even Alfie who took on the position of "foreman" sitting in his walker watching over proceedings.

There were one or two dramas along the way including a power line being taken down by a tip truck who delivered our soil. But I guess that is all part of the fun and what memories are made of.

My husband Adam or master builder as we like to call him has been so dedicated chipping away, single handily constructing the raised vegetable garden made of concrete sleepers.

Today was quite special as we were able to complete the final task of planting our seedlings which we will enjoy nurturing and watching grow...

One of the main reasons we decided to invest in such a big project was because we wanted our children to grow up in an environment that enables free play, spontaneous learning and that which would have long term benefits on their health. We feel that this humble vegetable garden will be a great addition to their daily lives for the following reasons

  • Planting seeds and watching them grow will help them learn about the growth process, the environment, the food they eat and have an influence on their future health.
  • Weeding, watering and taking out the food scraps to the compost will provide opportunities for learning, ownership and responsibility
  • This garden has already provided many opportunities to work together as a family and create special memories and we look forward to creating many more
So here is a list of what we have planted and look forward to harvesting in due course;
Lettuce, snow peas, broad beans, carrots, leeks, spring onions, garlic, buck choy, silver beet, celery, parsnip, cabbage, lemon grass, coriander, rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme, brussel sprouts, chick peas.

Have you planted your autumn vegetable garden? What tips and tricks do you do to keep out the snails?

X Grace


Thursday, 30 April 2015

Letter to the Editor

Before he resigned as Victoria’s police commissioner last December, Ken Lay spoke about men “needing to own” the crisis of violence against women – including the men within his own police force. “We are constantly misapprehending the nature of violence,” he said.

“When a woman is jeered, groped, bashed or raped I want you to consider the man who did it, and the culture which encouraged it. I want you to consider why we so ardently place the emphasis on the woman – why was she there? what was she wearing? – rather than on the man’s indecent entitlement, grubbiness and criminality.”

So how would Lay respond upon hearing the take home message of Mayor Kevin Mack in relation to an alleged assault on a 17 year old girl when walking over a well lit foot bridge off the main street of Albury at 6:30pm at night?

“The message is that men and women should never walk alone after dark, they need to take ownership of their safety.”

“It’s only unsafe because people are willing to do the wrong thing,”

“There are always people willing to take advantage of situations."

Here is what I have a problem with,  from my humble observations  it  has become standard practice to play into blaming the victim.

Why was she walking alone at night?
How could she of taken "ownership" of her own safety?
It shows you can never be too careful!

Another recent example of this were the comments made by Victorian homicide squad head, detective inspector Mick Hughes, following the brutal and seemingly random killing of 17-year-old schoolgirl, Masa Vukotic, in broad daylight while she was out walking as part of her usual exercise routine. Hughes’ advice to the community?

“I suggest to people, particularly females, [that] they shouldn’t be alone in parks,”
“I’m sorry to say that this is the case. We just need to be a little more careful, a little more vigilant.”

“We encourage females to walk together,” Hughes said, adding that it was up to women to take “reasonable precautions” to protect their own safety.

It is difficult not to laugh when viewing the advice on Victoria Police’s own website that advises women living alone that they can “create the impression of a male housemate by asking a friend or relative to speak on their message bank service”.

When someone with considerable influence and power chooses to perpetuate myths about what puts women in danger and who is to blame for that, their status means people are listening.

Here's the thing, Language is powerful and can be the catalyst for great social change. I believe changing the term "King Hit" to "Coward's Punch" is a great example of this.

As a mother of a young daughter whom I do not want to grow up feeling afraid and who at present is more vulnerable because of her gender, I feel compelled to respond;

It does not matter what the situation is, how well lit or remote the area is, what time of day or night it is, whether she is intoxicated or not, whether she is living alone, what she is wearing, or how she is perceived by others....

Violence against women is unacceptable and should NEVER be tolerated.

So, I would like to call on the words of my best friend as I end this post. What should Mayor Kevin Mack's response have been as a leader and male role model within our local community?

Instead of urging people not to walk at night alone, how about we urge men not to rape women.

(Letter sent to the Border Mail) in response to be-aware-of-safety-mack-urges-walkers

Monday, 27 April 2015

Memories of a pencil pinafore with a crisp white apron and a lace trim

Being the youngest of six children, looking back at old photos I always marvel at how my Mother made time and took such care in getting us dressed. She hand made allot of our clothes, beautiful matching dresses, shorts, pyjamas, even swimmers. Remarkable for a woman who when reflecting indicates that she never really had a passion for sewing. On Sundays going to Church as a family we would always be immaculate with braided hair, ribbons, personalised brooches and shined shoes. This effort and attention to detail reflected the significance of where we were going as a family and instilled the importance of taking pride in yourself even from a young age.

The memory I have of feeling extra special in my beloved pencil dress has suck with me. I still have this dress hanging in our wardrobe. A beautiful pinafore made of pencil material, with a crisp white apron with lace trim. I look forward to the day when Adella can wear it proudly.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be handed down some vintage materials that my Mother used to make our clothes. When I look through the rolls of material and old patterns I become very nostalgic and appreciative that my Mother made us these special outfits with such love and care.

When I was at home initially after giving birth to Adella I felt that I needed a creative outlet. Hence Babydoll Design was born. It always makes me happy to see these little beauties hanging up waiting to be worn and loved. Here are a few at our local florist

Vintage Materials that hold fond childhood memories
Sweet little Cupcake... One of my favourites

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Restoring the Balance

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy – care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life”

Jean Shinoda

It appears in the last few months that my life has gone up a gear in busyness and if I am completely honest the past month has been a bit of a blur. This is not due to anything negative necessarily but the product of some really exciting changes in our little world... promotion at work, rebirth of a creative outlet which takes form in a little side venture making vintage children's clothes, Mr Alfie developing and growing at a rapid pace- a month shy of his first birthday he is on the verge of walking (I wouldn't be surprised if he forgoes this step and moves straight onto running) and Miss Adella growing into a vivacious, creative little lady who loves anything that is loud, fast and down right risky- hence she has commenced Circus for Tots at the local Fruit Fly Circus.

It is quite humorous really that once I gave myself permission to STOP, take a breath and check in to see how I was going with it all both physically and emotionally  I was quite surprised when my body started to let me know that enough was enough and that I needed to check myself in for a necessary "service" if I wanted to keep the engine running. I felt exhausted, lacked any energy, emotionally I was all over the place and as a result my body was responding by breaking out in psoriasis.

I had really stopped attending to me and anything to do with self-care had fallen off the bandwagon completely. My attitude had been, if my children were thriving than that was enough. But to be honest, it is not enough. If I want to be a leader and example to my children and set a standard of health and wellness then I need to attend to my own self care needs and make sure that I don't fall in a heap.

So I have decided to take action and have begun a 30 day cleanse to reboot and begin to nurture my body from the inside out. I am excited about this, a little apprehensive but also hopeful that this will be the beginning of rebuilding internally.

Exercise is so important for wellness but it is very easily missed in between the busyness of everyday life. I know this is certainly true for me. Like self-care and me-time, exercise often falls to the bottom of the to-do list.... When I don’t exercise I feel incredibly sluggish, get cranky and daily tasks are a struggle. Exercise is so important for me. It helps keep me sane and re-energises and helps restore the balance. So instead of being over ambitious and setting a ridiculous goal that I will not achieve I have started to make small changes that incorporates exercise into my daily schedule but also gives me an opportunity to have some "me" time. One of the things I have started to do is participate in my local Park Run . Nothing like a collective group of people to keep you motivated and feeling encouraged. I always feel a sense of achievement when I get to the finish line of the 5km and note the improvement on my time.

Lastly, I think it is really easy to discredit the importance of being still and becoming more mindful of self.  This is something that I have begun to see real significance in and am taking time to practice this daily.

Every challenge we go through in life holds within it the seeds of real learning, greater wisdom and growth. I truly believe the greatest gift you can ever give yourself and those around you is the gift of learning how to truly thrive, no matter what obstacles you face along the way.

Thanks for encouraging me on this journey

X Grace

Monday, 6 April 2015

Flourless Orange Cake

With a special visitor coming for afternoon tea it was time to put on the apron and get baking. I wanted to try something new so I decided to bake a Flourless Orange Cake.

This delicious cake has no butter or oil, no flour and is gluten free. It is very moist and perfect to accompany a cup of tea or serve as a dessert.


  • 250 grams of cooked (whole) oranges.  *See Note
  • 6 egg
  • 250 grams Castor Sugar
  • 250 g Almond Meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
    • Method:  
    1. Place whole oranges in a saucepan of water, cover and simmer gently for two hours.* Set aside to cool.

    2. Cut oranges into quarters and remove seeds. Puree oranges together with the skin in a food processor. Measure out 250g of the pulp. This step is essential so the cake is not too mushy and will set.

    3. Beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Fold in combined almond meal, baking powder and orange pulp.


    4. Pour into a greased and floured 20cm spring form (can use oil spray) and bake at 180 for 30 to 40 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

    5. Cool in the tin.


    6. If desired, serve with orange slices or  (as below) ice with cream cheese icing.

    X Grace

     original recipe: flourless-orange-cake

    Friday, 3 April 2015

    Nothing that an early morning bike ride cannot fix

    My life has intertangled with three people that at times I feel like there is barely a trace of me. I have become them, as it should, somewhat be.

    We know we only have so much time to impart to our children, that time is valuable, we want to make the most of it all.

    But there are also times when I can feel a bit lost in the continual juggling act of giving oneself whole heartedly to the role of mother, wife, professional, friend, whilst also making sure I maintain a sense of personal identity, wholeness and balance within my own sense of self.

     I am someone who is passionate, lack patience, creative, adventurous and whole hearted. I am easily led astray by a great idea that I want to bloom now while  fresh in my mind and become frustrated when I am unable to act immediately or have to listen to the voice of reason instead of throwing caution to the wind.

    I often get carried away dreaming of lands far away. Of opportunities to get lost in the moment and make memories instead of simply taking photos.

    Recently I had felt a little overwhelmed with responsibility and what it really means to be an "adult". I know this sounds a bit juvenile but I guess I had somehow let the pressures/stress of daily life impact on my ability to be joyous, spontaneous and look for opportunities to have fun. I have to remind myself that there is a season for everything and not to get discouraged....

    Thankfully I have significant people in my life who listen, make me feel normal and encourage me to take time to recharge when it all gets too much.... I feel extremely fortunate to have these people in my corner and to have moments to recharge, refocus and regain a bit  of perspective!

    What do you do to make yourself feel more like yourself?

    X Grace

    Tuesday, 31 March 2015

    What started as a humble vegetable garden......

    Those who have been with me since the beginning will remember in my first post  that one of my many aspirations for 2015 was to breathe new life into the concrete sleeper that have lay lifeless in our backyard for the past year and get cracking on the vegetable garden.

    I am fortunate to have a very handy husband. In a previous life he must have been on a construction site or a master builder because he seems to be at his best when he has a project on the go and a hammer or shovel in his hand. I recently encouraged him to start thinking about a new project that he would like to work on since he had successfully reroofed the shed and had started looking alittle lost without a new project on the horizon.

    To my delight one afternoon after returning home from work I found Adam and his apprentice Adella measuring and digging holes in preparation to commence the mammoth task of building our  vegetable garden. My husband Adam never does anything in halves so what started as a humble vegetable garden has turned into a structure that will outlast us both!

    A new daily highlight for me is returning home from work and checking on the progress.......

    x Grace



    Tuesday, 3 March 2015

    A Letter to Other Working Mothers

    Mother's guilt is real. Nearly all of us experience it. We are racked with guilt, feeling that our best isn't good enough. We struggle with necessary choices such as returning to work, and how this will impact on our children's happiness. We mum's feel guilty when we can't afford something for our kids or are nagged by the feeling that we don't spend enough time with them, or when we do we are not 'present' enough.

    I believe that all mums, even the most amazing, attentive and committed mums, feel at some point that they are not good enough. Why is this?

    Recently in our house there has been a bit of a role reversal and I have returned to near full time work. Even though this decision was made in the best interests of the family unit and to create the best life for my children, I would be lying if I said I don't continually have to work through feels of guilt. Mother's guilt frequently visits me as I prepare my two children for their days at child care. Have I prepared them enough? What happens if they get sick? What happens if I am not there to comfort them when they feel sad?

    Mother's guilt isn't going anywhere and we all will be stricken with it at some time or another. But after a month in our new family 'norm' I have discovered some home truths;

    - As long as a child feels loved and secure they will be ok
    - Daddy can also do hair and is very capable at singing group, swimming and art class
    - If the carpet does not get vacuumed and the floors don't get mopped in a week the world will not end
    - Be present in the moment, do what makes your children happy (even if that means re-enacting 'let is go' from the movie Frozen 100 times) and look for opportunities to make memories with them. Quality time far outweighs quantity
    - You are enough

    Mother's guilt is only natural and is the consequence of wanting to be a good mother to your children. However, in the end it will only weigh you down. It is time as mothers that we are kinder to ourselves and to each other and realise that we do our best in the circumstances that we find ourselves in and this is in fact enough.

    So here is my letter to working mothers

    Dear Working Mother,

    You are doing a great job. And your kids will turn out just fine. Try to give yourself a break.


    Grace xx

      (Evening of girl time at the pool)

    Sunday, 15 February 2015

    Any which way but out!

    This weekend our little family went on an adventure to Melbourne to celebrate the birthday of Mr A. We held high hopes for the first 'mini holiday' for our family of four as it gave us an opportunity to visit a city we love and create memories as a family.

    Being the organiser I felt some pressure (self enforced) to create the "perfect mini break". In reflection the idea of "perfect" is pretty ridiculous as life is unpredictable and often you can be thrown a curve ball out of your control which you can either let hit you and get disappointed by  or instead become adaptable to and laugh about. I think it is these such occasions or imperfections that make family holidays great and what will be remembered for years to come.

    Yes we did have a few epic fails;
    - Thinking we were off to the Carlton Football Club Family Day (anyone who knows my husband will know the importance of this occasion) only to find out the day before that the event had been rescheduled for the following weekend
    -  Surely a single room would provide ample space for our little family, right?!? Wrong!  Being under house arrest due to a clever 2 year old who decided she wanted to make the most of the experience and in fact didn't feel that sleep was necessary
    - A tram ride at peak time into the city resembling how sardines must feel in a can.

    However it would be remise of me not to list our wonderful successes;

    - Melbourne Zoo was a major HIT even with the drizzle and impending thunder storms. Adella was quite taken with her new pink umbrella and oversized rain coat. Who knew it is very difficult to find wet weather gear in January- Melbourne four seasons in one day?
    - Drinking cold ciders and people watching on valentine's day
    - Adella wishing Mr A 'Happy Birthday' and breaking out into song with gusto at the drop of a hat. got to love her enthusiasm
    - Taking a detour off the beaten track on the way home and visiting Brookfield Maze.

    Brookfield Maze is located at Myrrhee, North East Victoria, nestled in the foothills of the King Valley gourmet food and wine region uniquely situated alongside the picturesque Fifteen Mile creek.            
    The Brookfield Maze is a traditional puzzle hedge maze with the object being to find the centre and reach the viewing platform.

    To be honest we hadn't really thought it threw. How difficult could a maze be with two small children? (one in a pram and one who is notorious for running off) Surely there will be a map or a cheat sheet.

    I was reminded that a cheat sheet would defeat the purpose of the whole experience and I needed to take the feeling of complete disorientation in my stride. We pressed on through rows and rows of perfectly manicured hedges, many dead ends, a toilet stop and finally after what seemed like an eternity we reached the viewing platform! What an achievement!  Mr A later recalled his humour as he could see my blood boiling, believing that I would throw the towel in at any minute. "Just tell people we made it" he thought I would say. But thankfully we did. What was the best accomplishment was not the view from the platform, but the smile on sweaty miss Adella's face as she skipped to the car and fell asleep shortly after for the rest of the journey home.

    Definitely a birthday Mr A will not forget in a hurry....

    X Grace