Monday, January 31, 2011

Macadamia, white chocolate and raspberry muffins...

I've been craving white chocolate and raspberries muffins for awhile, so I asked facebook if anyone could suggest a good recipe. This one was recommended by a friend. I'm not a huge macadamia nut fan, so I wasn't too sure if I'd like them but decided to give them a try anyway. They actually turned out pretty good and I think they look really pretty! I added a little dusting of icing sugar for extra prettiness! :) I'm still not completely sold on the nuts though. I find it a little overpowering. I'm thinking that the next time I try making them I might go sans nuts but still use the macadamia nut oil. Maybe then, it won't taste so nutty. I'm quite picky when it comes to nuts! Steve really liked them and so did my neighbors, who I shared them with. I'd still love to find a recipe that focuses more on the white chocolate than the nuts though. I fa-la-la-love white chocolate! So, if you have any great recipes to share, please send them my way...

Be back tomorrow with a weekend recap. Hope you all had a wonderful one!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Feeling red. And white. And pink.

I'm really looking forward to Valentine's Day. I just *love* it! Although, who doesn't love a universal day intended solely to celebrate love? So, in preparation for the big day, I've been doing a little crafting. I made this heart tree for our living room and I made a heart garland for around the window (I'll show you that another time). I can't wait to make heart shaped sugar cookies and a few little handmade Valentines for those special people in my life who I simply adore! Ah yes, it's that time of year again, when your heart just can't help but be filled with a little extra love!! xoxo

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our little family of three...

Our friend Angela is a wonderful photographer (see her work here!), so when she offered to take photos of the three of us, I obviously couldn't pass it up! She took pictures on two different days, once in the park and another time at the beach. These are a few of my most favorites...

I definitely plan on printing and framing a few of these. They make me smile every time I look at them! :)

Thanks Ange! You're the best!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Australia Day!

It's Australia Day today, a day when Aussies all over this wonderful country celebrate all things Australian. It also means we've officially been in this country for 4 years! Wow. The longer we are here, the more I fall in love with this place. It's just so beautiful...from the beaches to the outback, it's spectacular. But, really, truly, I think it's the Aussies themselves that make this country so fantastic. It's people like this guy who show what Australia is all about, saving kangaroos from the flood waters that recently devastated Queensland. I love this photo. It brought tears to my eyes! As a Canadian living in Australia, meeting and befriending Aussies everyday, I have to say, it's the Australian people that make me feel so at home here. Aussies really are just as cool and unique as their accents! :) So, Happy Australia Day to all you Aussies out there! Enjoy your day, you deserve it! xoxo

Photo originally found in Nine News flood pictures.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend Highlights...

We had a lovely, relaxed weekend. The highlights included dinner with our pals, Bruce and Claire on Friday night, followed by a visit to the yummiest ice cream place ever...
I've seen Cold Rock ads on TV but hadn't tried it until Friday night. Basically, you pick your ice cream...
...pick your candy or chocolate...
...get it all mashed together...
...and voila! The yummiest ice cream ever! I had Aussie vanilla and cookies and cream ice cream with M&Ms and Twix mixed in. Yum!!
On Saturday night, we got take away noodles and sipped white wine. If you look closely, the wine label says "Bridgewater" which is why I picked it. I'm originally from a town called Bridgewater and thought it was a sign. I also bought a bottle of wine recently because it was called "Henley", my maiden name. I think I see a trend developing here! And yes, I often choose wine based solely on it's label. And yes, I'm proud to say so! :)
Sunday involved getting my hubby to dye my hair. He's quite good at it! I'm an auburn/red head yet again and loving it! I needed a little bit of edge in my life...I've been brown for awhile now and was getting tired of it. It's funny how just changing your hair color can make you feel so much more yourself again! I like a little spunk in my life!

I also ran my first 5km last night and felt pretty good the whole time. I'm definitely seeing progress in regards to my 2011 goal of learning to run. It feels really good! I'll talk more about this soon...

I hope you all had a relaxing weekend too, whether you were soaking up the sun or bundling up in warm clothes! I think of you all! xoxo

Friday, January 21, 2011

Not quite so ordinary after all...

I've been babysitting during the days for the last couple of weeks now. It's been a great way to get used to being in a routine again, in preparation for starting back to work and a great way to make a little extra cash. It's also an added bonus that the family lives in an adorable part of the city, oozing character and charm. Albert Park is filled with gorgeous Victorian homes, cafes, restaurants, pretty little shops, great coffee, parks and beaches. I've been trying to stay inspired during the long days by getting out for walks with the little turkey and my trusty iPhone. Here's a few of the photos I've taken over the last week. I really love taking pictures of random things when I'm out and about. I think it truly helps me to appreciate all the beauty around me, even if it is just another ordinary day, filled with ordinary events. I'm truly grateful to get to do all my ordinary daily stuff in such an extraordinary city!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Western Australia - More adventures!

Here are the last of the photos from our adventures in Western Australia. It's quite fun looking at them after all this time. I'm reminded of what a wonderful trip we had! Well, it's actually only been a couple of months since our trip but time just seems to be flying by!

Warning: Lots of photos ahead!

We visited Fremantle, a little area about 19 km outside of Perth. It's a very quaint little place, with shops, restaurants and cafes resting beside the sea. It's also home to Little Creatures Brewery, so we stopped by for lunch and a drink. I just love their cider on a hot and sunny summer afternoon!
Cheers Mate!
It was pretty cool inside, with friendly servers and a laid back vibe. Good food too!

We stopped by a lot of random places while driving from place to place. The coastline was very pretty with lots of beautiful look-offs to stop, explore and enjoy.
Steve loves to climb anything, anywhere!
There were several cool places to take short walks or long hikes, depending on what you wanted to do. This trip, we opted for shorter walks but still saw lots of pretty pieces of nature and wildlife.

The wineries in Western Australia are endless! They have over 150 wineries in a very small amount of space. If you like your wine, you'd love it there! We only went to one, since we were limited on time, but we weren't disappointed. The vineyard was beautiful, the pinot noir was fabulous and the cheese plate we ordered was delicious!
Aren't wineries fun?

There are some very pretty beaches surrounding Perth. The week we were there the weather was quite cool and kind of rainy, which meant very quiet beaches. We pulled up in our Britz van, grabbed a beer and cider and chilled on the beach. Generally, we were the only ones on the beaches we stopped at. It was blissful.


Throughout our entire trip, we camped at caravan parks in our Britz van. We were very impressed by all the caravan parks we stayed at, all very clean and well kept. We flew by the seat of our pants and just stopped at the parks as we came across them. It was the off season, so they always had availability. One of my favorite caravan parks was on a farm and had animals you could love and feed...

I want a pet horse. Actually, I want to live on a farm. I think I'd make a great farm wife! :)
They also had a huge jumping thing. Not sure what the technical name is for it, but I do know it was lots of fun!

We took a drive through Boranup Karri Forest, a forest known for it's tall trees and pretty wildflowers in the spring. I have to say, that after seeing the trees in Vancouver, this didn't seem overly impressive. It's still worth the trip though, the trees were very big in comparison to most other trees in Australia and I'd love to go back in the spring sometime to see the wildflowers!

We had such a relaxed time. It was wonderful!

If you missed it, we also did some cave exploring while we were there...that was fun!

Thanks for reading all about our adventures! :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


One of my goals for the summer was to visit Portsea, a cozy little seaside town about a two hour drive from Melbourne. We've had a lot of rain this summer, so when the sun finally came out after days of heavy rain, we decided to take full advantage, jumped in the car and headed out on a fun little day trip!
We relaxed in the sun, swam in the sea and explored the little town. There weren't as many adorable shops as I imagined there would be but we did manage to find a nice coffee.
We also went for a short hike at Point Nepean National Park, a park filled with lots of history from the Second World War...
...and very pretty views!
We decided to go to the neighboring town of Sorrento for dinner. We had a lovely dinner and a walk though the town before heading back to the city. It was a really nice day. Isn't it great how just a day away can leave you feeling refreshed and renewed...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Granola Goodness

While my hubby has been busy giving the blog a pretty face lift, I've been keeping busy making a few healthy treats. One of my goals for the new year was to eat well and I realized very quickly that if I'm going to stand a chance of sticking with it, I need a few delicious snacks to easily grab when I have the munchies. I really love granola, but have yet to find a really tasty one in the grocery stores that doesn't have wheat, added sugar or preservatives. They sell some yummy ones in specialty shops, but they cost a fortune. Even while searching for a recipe to make my own, I found most contained lots of dried fruit (high in sugar) or wheat germ. In the end, I kind of just made up my own recipe and it turned out fabulous, so I thought I'd share!

Homemade Granola


3 cups traditional oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 cups mixed nuts (I just bought a bag of natural nuts and threw the whole thing in)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 heaping tsp. ginger
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 tbsp. vanilla

To make:

Mix all the dry ingredients together, except the dried fruit. In a separate bowl, mix the honey, oil and vanilla together. Drizzle the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and toss to coat completely. Spread the mixture evenly over two greased cookie sheets or casserole dishes (I greased the pans with sunflower oil, as well). Bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit until oats are nicely browned and nuts are roasted. It will depend on your oven, but it should take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes. Once ready, remove from oven and let cool on pans. Stir occasionally as it cools, to break up any large chunks. It will get crispy as it cools. Once cool, stir in dried fruit. Store in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.

It's really tasty as a snack on it's own, but I especially love it over fruit salad! I'm also thinking it would also be delicious over baked apples with cinnamon as a special treat. It's so nice too because you can basically use whatever you've got on hand and mix it up a little to keep it from getting boring. I'll definitely be making this again! I'm slightly addicted.

Let me know if you give it a try! :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Face Lift

Blog's having some work done, watch this space.

Steve (HTML is not my friend) Dickinson

Monday, January 10, 2011

Summer in Melbourne... pretty great! Well, when it's not raining and it actually feels like summer! Last week, we had a couple of really nice days and made sure to take full advantage of them! I'm really glad we did because this week is calling for rain We've had a lot of rain all over Australia this year. My heart is breaking for those affected by the floods in Queensland, the state where we used to live. So, to stay cheerful, I'll cling to the memory of...

...treating ourselves to gelato...

...sitting in the grass downtown and watching the hustle and bustle go by...

...eating dinner outside...

...catching some rays as we wander around the pretty city...

...snacking on raspberries bought from the fruit stand on the street corner...

...and hanging with Jesse at the dog beach.
I really do love summer. I also really do love rain but I think we've had just about enough for now. Everything in balance. Please, come back sunshine!