Sunday, 19 February 2012

Wedding Gown Inspiration

I thought I would share with you some pictures of my favourite wedding gowns.  Yes this could be a little against the rules because then people will get an idea of how I will look on the day but I haven't tried any dresses on yet so who knows what I will pick.  They do say that the dresses you think you love might not suit you or a style you thought you hated ends up looking beautiful on you.  I will start trying some on very soon, as soon as I shed a few more kilos so that I feel more comfortable with myself.  I actually have my eye on a particular dress, which I have seen in store and am happy with the price so I hope it just looks awesome on me and that will be the end of my wedding gown shopping experience!  I don't want to drag it on trying on millions, I know what I can compromise on and what I can't and would be happy to just try one on and love it!
Love, love, love!

Large View of the Harlow Bridal Gown

Large View of the Mirabella Bridal Gown
Large View of the Harlow Bridal GownLarge View of the Harlow Bridal Gown

Recipe of the Week/Month

This is recipe from my mummy.  I grew up eating banana muffins so I know this recipe by heart which makes it surprisingly hard to write down seeing I just do what I know, adding a bit of this here and there. Alex and I both only eat bananas when they are just ripe, as soon as they start to go brown neither of us like them, I hate that powdery texture, I like them sharp and crisp.  We have bananas every weekday but too often someone brings morning tea to work and we don't eat our bananas and they turn brown. If I am short on time I simply peel them, put them straight into a sandwich bag and into the freezer to use another time, otherwise I make this yummy banana muffin recipe. I freeze the muffins and Alex takes one every day to work, he complains as soon as they run out!  He prefers them without choc-chips but I love them!  Enjoy.

Choc-Chip Banana Muffins

1 egg
60g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 cup self-raising flour
1-2 bananas, mashed
1 cup chocolate buds
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Coat either one large 6 hole muffin tin or one smaller 12 hole muffin tin with non-stick spray or use paper liners.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the vanilla essence, banana and egg.
  4. Add the milk and flour and mix until combined.  
  5. Spoon mixture into muffin tins, filling each cup until two thirds filled.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Leave in the tray for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  While warm spread the top of the muffins with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

As you can see I used beaters rather than mixing with a spoon because I was a lazy bum.  They would probably be lighter and fluffier if I had mixed with a spoon.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Recipe of the Week/Month

Okay so this post is titled Recipe of the Week/Month which is pretty self explanatory, the reason I have both week/month in the title is because I am really not sure what I will be able to keep up with in the kitchen.  There are some weeks I try a lot of new recipes other weeks I don't try any at all.  This is my first new regular post!  Before working in admin I started studying hospitality which really just means I have some idea of how to cook, I am no kitchen bitch and I have thrown plenty of things out due to being crap!  I don't usually cook tea throughout the week because I go to the gym and get home too late, lucky for me my lovely fiance cooks tea or I have meals like this one that I have made earlier and frozen.  My new favourite recipe is Chicken and Cashews with Broccoli Stir-Fry.  I love stir-fries and I think they are usually pretty healthy plus you're getting plenty of veggies.  Put with some brown rice ;) this one is delish.  Enjoy.

Chicken and Cashews with Broccoli Stir-Fry

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
500g chicken breast, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small leek, thinly sliced (if you don't know how to cut a leek, I didn't but now I love leeks, watch this very awesome YouTube video,
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
250g broccoli, chopped
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1/2cup (125ml) water
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 cup unsalted roasted cashews (I just realised I have been using raw cashews this whole time but they are still so yummy)

  1. Heat half the oil in wok (I use a big frying pan).
  2. Add chicken, stir-fry until tender, remove.
  3. Heat remaining oil in wok, add garlic, leek, carrot and broccoli, stir-fry until leek is soft.
  4. Add chicken and blended cornflour, stock powder and water, sauce and nuts, stir until mixture boils and thickens slightly.

Serves 4.

Okay so I don't blend the liquids I just put them all in a jug (sauce as well even though recipe doesn't say that) and mix with a spoon. The sauce is really mild and just nice with the other components, I am not a spicy sauce fan, this one is absolutely perfect for me.

My New Lifestyle

After a weeks annual leave I went back to work this week hence the lack of blog posting.  It looks like I will only have time to post on weekends but I will do so as much as I can!  With only 336 days until my wedding day I desperately need to begin a health and beauty regime.  I already have regular facials and spend a fortune on my skin and I am lucky to have really long naturally blonde hair so the only thing I really need to work on is my weight and boy do I have my work cut out for me.  Now don't get me wrong, as much as I want to lose weight for my wedding I want to keep the weight off this time, this is no fad craze diet to shed kilos fast.  Notice I said 'this time'? Yes I have been here before and lost it before, this time I want to keep it off.  Having put on 17 kilos in the last three years I really have my work cut out for me! 

But I am pleased to say in my first week of my new healthy lifestyle I have already shed two kilos, the weight comes off a lot faster the more you have to lose!  Last year I began having regular appointments with a naturopath to try and work on my energy levels, then being diagnosed with depression I realised I had a lot more to work on.  Half the reason my energy levels are so low is because I do not do regular high intensity exercise but it's a bit of a catch 22, too tired to exercise but exercise will make me less tired!  And when I say tired I mean tired!  Without an alarm I sleep naturally between 9 to 12 hours every night, of course having to work means I don't get this much but I easily get 7.5 to 8 hours on weeknights and was still complaining of being exhausted.  This steals way too much of my time and is something I am desperately trying to fix.  After Googling 'how to out of bed', 'how to get motivated to get out bed', 'how to stop feeling tired' etc etc.  I realised I just needed to stop damn procrastinating and start exercising and eating as healthy as I can.  This week I have been to the gym for three 55 minute sessions with a mixture of weights and cardio, I have also done a interval walk/run and home resistance training.  Today is my second day off from exercising for the week (I know lazy right) because I am so sore all over (legs, tummy, arms and shoulders) I am walking around like I literally have a stick up my ass.  And don't get me started on trying to sit on the toilet, I get half way and my legs give way and I free fall to the seat!  Weights are a very important part of an exercise routine for me, the more muscle mass you have the more energy/fat you burn at rest, so girls reading this don't ever be scared of weights, you would have to be lifting mighty heavy weights regularly to even begin bulking up and who doesn't want to shed kilos while resting!  My energy levels have been amazing this week I don't think I have complained once of being tired and that's a big thing for me.

As for my diet this week, my lovely facial girl inspired me to take my own salads to work for lunch.  I was spending up to $10 a day on lunch and could really use that money towards my wedding.  I used to be a 'salad doesn't fill me up' kind of girl but this all depends on what you put in it.  I have been pan frying up half a chicken breast mixed with lettuce, carrot, alfalfa, cucumber, mushroom, boiled egg, avocado, light cheese and Red Kellys Tasmania Traditional Dressing, this makes a killer yummy salad that is really satisfying!  And for everyone who hasn't tried this dressing, it is amazingly good for any salad, get your hands on some ASAP. For snacks I have a banana, unsalted raw mixed nuts, a rice cake with light cream cheese and maybe even a little ham.  I am not a big fruit eater but this is all getting me through the work day perfectly.  Breakfast for me is some gluten free cereal with almond meal and tea is usually meat and vegetables or stir fries.  Weekends are definitely my down fall, without the routine of the work day I just eat whenever and whatever but so far this weekend I have been doing really well, sticking with some type of salad whenever I can. I have over the week had far to many chocolates.  I have been advised to swap a chocolate for jelly beans or licorice as I believe (I may have this wrong) these are simple sugars giving you the sweetness hit you're craving without the extra fat.  I am not saying licorice or jelly beans are good for you but they may be a wiser choice when you just must have something sweet.

Okay that's enough babbling about my weight loss week!  I plan to regularly update you on my weight loss/healthy lifestyle journey and would be very interested in tips, tricks or advice that you may like to share.  Now I am off to watch some True Blood without scoffing any chippies :( 

Sunday, 5 February 2012

When Sadness Takes Over

On 28 December 2011 I was diagnosed with clinical depression. This is a scary sentence for me to write but my depression was one of the main motivators for me to create this blog. I am sharing my story because I hope that it will give readers insight into this disorder, I am also very proud of myself, I was very brave and have improved out of sight since my diagnosis. We have all heard the statistics, one in five Australians will suffer from a mental illness at some stage in their lives so it is important that we understand these illnesses as best we can.

Ever since I moved out of home I have struggled with the day to day running of a home and life in general. I have a fantastic mother, she spoiled me rotten and will do anything I need her to do. She taught me everything that I needed to know to maintain a home and a healthy lifestyle but once I moved out, although I had the knowledge and the ability to do all of these things, I struggled with fitting them in around the rest of my life. This would make me overwhelmed and things as simple as vacuum cleaning, exercising or eating healthy were starting to get me down and becoming difficult tasks. I feel very stupid saying this aloud, I work one full time job, have no children yet I still don't have the energy or self discipline to vacuum clean, that to me is pathetic. There in itself lies half my problem, my self talk and judgement. I am also a perfectionist so when I do these tasks they take me far longer than the average person because they have to be perfect. All of this was easy to hide and didn't give me any major problems except for the feelings of overwhelm, anxiousness and laziness. It was easy still to live my life around this one little hang up.

Things became difficult when I had to face other life problems on top of this, as we all have to from time to time. I couldn't cope with much more and work or relationship problems would send me into a crying, bitching, moaning state that I struggled to get over, this would play on my mind 24/7 and steal my sleep. I just could not cope with life stressors out of the ordinary any more.

Although 2011 was one of the best years for me it was also one the worst.  Certain things played on my mind for the entire year and no matter how I tried I couldn't move past them or get over them. I was finding myself reaching for alcohol more often, even when there was nothing to celebrate, I would use alcohol and food as a vice when I was feeling down. As December approached I was feeling worse and worse and I was repeatedly getting colds, flues and viruses that I just couldn't get over. I also had no energy and just wanted to sleep all of the time, I didn't want to go to work any more and struggled to get up out of bed, I just didn't want to do anything except  watch TV or sleep. I was becoming more and more negative, snapping at people and generally hating life. Don't get me wrong, I laughed every day and still enjoyed life, my mind was just in the wrong place. Christmas was approaching and I wasn't looking forward to it at all, I couldn't have cared less about Christmas and that is very unlike me. 

The night before I went to the doctor I had a minor argument with Alex. It was something stupid like me trying to make him go to bed earlier because I was worried about how much sleep he would get, which yes in hindsight is none of my business. But I didn't give up on that kind of thing, it would stop me getting any sleep and in the end he would shut me out and stay up even later all over me sticking my nose where it doesn't' belong. I didn't get any sleep and ended up crying for half the night (this was becoming a regular occurrence), some of those thoughts that you're not meant to think crossed my mind and right then in the early hours of the morning I decided I had to go to the doctor the next day no matter what.

The next morning I went on the Beyond Blue website and read as much as I could about depression and anxiety and realised I had more of the symptoms than I had expected, (sickness, tiredness, nervousness, sadness, loss of interest in once enjoyable activities, irritability etc). I completed the K10 check-list on the website and received a score of 29 which put me at the top end of being at a medium risk of mental illness, one point off being at a high risk. I burst into tears and went and told Alex what had happened and that I had to go to the doctor.  With my family history of depression I knew that if I didn't deal with this now, having children one day would most likely send me into major depression. I booked my doctors appointment and although I was unbelievably nervous I went in and told her, as I swallowed my tears, that I just cannot cope any more and I feel overwhelmed with life. After asking me some questions, she prescribed me anti-depressants and referred me to a psychologist. 

You may wonder why I am sharing this story. I haven't told many people about this, as it really is a hard thing to come out and say and I am so much better now than when I was diagnosed that people think I am joking and can't believe it, especially people that aren't extremely close to me. So for family and friends reading this, I am sorry I couldn't tell you to your face but I am fine, almost 100% better, please do not worry about me. You will be pleased to know that my depression is called reactive depression, not the major depression that you more often hear about. It just means I haven't developed the coping skills to deal with difficult situations, it might appear that I am handling them but on the inside I struggle to move past things. I plan to share more on what I have learned about depression and coping skills in the future. 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Will you marry me?

The story of my proposal. I must say my proposal was one of the most romantic and extravagant proposals I have ever heard of (but I do have to say that after all). March 2011 we travelled to America for a month, we were visiting my brother in Florida and then spending the last four days of our trip in Las Vegas. The plan was to drive all over Florida visiting theme parks and attractions. One week into our trip I became quite sick, not hospital sick but bedridden sick, at this stage we were in the south of Florida. I took a few days to recover and we then made the long drive back to my brothers place.  The following day we all wanted to go shopping but for some crazy reason Alex wanted to stay back at the apartment alone, somehow he convinced me that this was completely normal so off I went shopping. Two days after that we were planning to make the long drive back down to the southern end of Florida to visit a place called Naples but the night before we were supposed to leave, Alex told me to go to bed early as we had to get up at 4.00am for a flight. I squealed and begged Alex to tell me where we were going. On the premise that it would help me fall asleep Alex finally told me we were going to New York. Not having planned to go there I hadn't done any travel research and had no idea what to expect except that it was going to be a lot colder than Florida. After updating my status on Facebook I nodded off to sleep.  

The next morning we flew to New York, checked into our beautiful hotel which Alex had also organised, The Waldorf Astoria, it was very luxurious. We did some shopping, Alex wanted to buy some nice new clothes. He ended up buying a completely new outfit, shoes and all, I was starting to get a little suspicious. We then booked to go on a boat ride around Manhattan for the following day.  

After the boat ride, in the late afternoon we went back to the hotel, Alex would not tell me what was planned for the remainder of the day but ten minutes after we returned there was a knock on our room door, Alex called to me to say my masseuse had arrived. I then received a professional and very relaxing full body massage. After the massage Alex returned and told me to get ready to go out, I did so putting on the nicest clothes that I had brought with me. We walked out of the hotel only to find a driver with limousine waiting for us, we were then driven around New York whilst sipping on some yummy champagne. By this stage I was starting to get very suspicious, after some time, we pulled up outside Central Park. I was told to take my champagne with me as I got out of the limousine. There a horse and carriage awaited, we climbed into the carriage along with our champagne and we were taken for a romantic ride through Central Park just as the sun was going down. Once the ride was complete we walked a short distance into the Park near an area named Strawberry Fields (a memorial  to the world-famous singer, songwriter and peace activist – John Lennon) , here Alex gave me a big hug and a kiss then got down on a bended knee, he drew a box from his pocket and very sweetly asked me to marry him. I laughed and giggled (this is what I do when I am happy, nervous and excited) and said YES, he put the perfect, beautiful ring on my finger and we hugged and kissed some more. We then walked back to the edge of the Park to the limousine that had returned for us. I was then taken to a very fancy restaurant called Picholine.  The kind of restaurant where the staff escort you to the restrooms and whilst you are in the restroom they remove your meal from the table to keep it warm for you. The staff there knew of our engagement and gave us complimentary dessert and glasses of wine.  

Apart from the rest of the night back at the hotel which you don't need to read about ;) that is the story of my proposal. It turns out that day I spent shopping back in Florida was the day Alex booked all aspects of the trip to New York and the proposal, he had however purchased the ring on Christmas Eve 2010 and my poor mum had the responsibility of keeping the ring safe in her carry on luggage from Australia to Florida. I am a very lucky girl. Thank you my Alexander for asking me to be your wife so romantically.



Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Okay so here it is my first blog post.  Let me start by telling you why I have created this blog, I mean with the millions of other blogs out there who really needs to read another.  This blog is really more for myself than anything else, it will save my fiance from listening to me blabber on all day about pointless crap that he doesn't really care about because I can just blabber to the rest of the world instead.  After my best blogging cousin Natalie at Winter Love (take a look at her inspiring mama blog) gave me a little encouragement to start my own blog, I procrastinated for three months and here I am finally succumbing to the blogging world. I am currently planning my wedding and although this isn't aimed at being only a wedding blog it will most likely be wedding focused for the next twelve months.  It will be a nice way to document my planning to look back on one day and might even help other Tassie brides to plan their own weddings.  One day I hope it to be a bit a of a travel blog, a baby blog and an everything blog.  I apologise now for spelling or grammatical errors, with some major all things English dictators in my friends and family I am sure I will be promptly alerted to my mistakes and I do hate seeing mistakes like those.

Hakuna Matata means 'no worries' (all those who grew up in the 90's should already know that) which is now my new life motto for everything that I do.  I worry way too much and it's impossible to plan a beautiful wedding if you're a constant worrier. More on my worrying and where it has led me later. 

A little about me, or how I see myself, ask those closest to me and they will probably disagree.  I am  blunt, honest, impatient, a grudge holder, a little fiery, reasonably assertive, I second guess myself, I snap easily, constantly embarrass myself, I lack tact and I think a little negatively.  Underneath all of this I am loyal, I always mean well, I am protective, talkative, fun, I set goals, I plan, I multi-task and obsess easily.  For now, this is my intro, thanks for reading!