Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #10

It is that time of the week again where I dust off my cookbooks and try a recipe I have bookmarked but never gotten around to making.

If you live in New Zealand you are probably familiar with Jo Seagar, a bubbly personality with some fantastic cookbooks as well as a cooking school at Oxford. I have yet to try a recipe of hers that didn't result in a fantastic end product, so when I had a lot of rhubarb in the garden I turned to her books for some inspiration.

In her recipe book "You shouldn't have gone to so much trouble darling" you will find heaps of "easy peasy" recipes that look and taste great with minimal effort. Today I made her Rhubarb Spicetrail Shortcake.

Rhubarb Spicetrail Shortcake (adapted from Jo Seagar)

125g butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups self raising flour

1/4 cup flour
1 1 /2 cups castor sugar
4 sticks rhubarb, finely chopped
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

In a food processor, cream the butter and sugar then add the other base ingredients. Pulse to combine. Press into a 20x30cm slice pan.

Mix topping flour, sugar and eggs with the mixed spice in the food processor. Add the rhubarb and pulse until just combined. Pour on top of the base and bake for 55-60 minutes until firm and set.

The verdict:
This was yummy. Straight out of the oven it was gooey, inviting and tasty. My four year old even had two helpings although he had informed me he didn't like rhubarb when I was making the shortcake. My husband was also very impressed. This would have been wonderful with come icecream or custard, but because it was Good Friday when I made this and pouring with rain, we couldn't get to the shops and so we had it plain.

It was even better the next day. I may have had a slice for my second breakfast! This is going to be a great way to use up all the rhubarb in the garden and it has already been requested again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shopping on a Shoestring Budget

Since becoming a Stay At Home Mum, I find it hard to justify spending money on clothes. However, now that I have been at the same weight for nearly a year, I have had a big wardrobe clean out and now I need new items for the Autumn and Winter.

Since my three-monthly budget is about $60, I have to be wise about what I buy. Yes there are some shops that have very cheap clothing, but I do find that they tend to be less tailored and I really need clothes that fit well and are designed to last. That is where it helps to know where to find some bargains! All of the items I want to share with you cost me $5 or less. You may have seen some of these photos before- but now I am sharing the secret of where I got them.

My first tip for shopping on a budget is to know what styles work for you first. It is no use buying pants for $3 because they were on special if they do not suit you or you will never actually wear them. I always try to have a wishlist in mind when I go shopping.

I love shopping online, especially in this miserable weather. The first place I like to check out is Clotheswap. This genius website allows you to swap clothes with other members or sell your unwanted clothes for cash. I have had great success so far with this site, sending away clothes I no longer want to people who will get some use out of them, and in return receiving some lovely items back, including the shoes I was wearing in this post, picture below. The only thing I have to pay for is postage, usually $4 at the most.

The pink jersey was $3 at the Ferrymead Recycled Clothing Warehouse. 95% of items in this shop are $3, and include women's, children's and men's secondhand quality clothes. If you are in Christchurch I highly recommend this place- it is massive so it pays to go with a wishlist! The racks are sorted into pants, skirts, tops etc and then by colour, so if you know what you are after then you can be very successful here.

The dark green pants in this picture are also from the Recycled Clothing Warehouse- another $3 bargain! I paired this with a $5 navy tie top from the UCW Clearance Website. This is one of my favourite online shopping websites, with clothes available in Australia and New Zealand. I have scored so many amazing clothes from this website, and they all fit beautifully. I lived in these denim shorts from UCW all summer!

Another great second-hand option is Jem's Closet. This Facebook page has albums divided up into size for children and women's clothing, and I have received so many great things from here. In the photo below, I am wearing a pair of jeans from her website.

Some shops often have clearance racks or clothing down sales- I got these mint jeans for $5 at a closing down sale. If you are petite, check out the children's clearance clothing too, as some of the larger kid's sizes can work for you and there is no pants hemming required. The black glitter top was given to me by my sister, who was cleaning out her closet. This is another way to get great clothes for cheap or free!

The last suggestion I have is to do a clothes swap within your community or a group of friends. The black and white skirt below was one of seven items I got in a clothes swap held at a nearby church. I had to pay a $5 entry and donate five items of clothing, and then I could browse all of the donations and choose anything to take home with me. I ended up with 7 items of clothing, and we even got coffee and cake.

I got this black and white dress at a friend's house when I was there for a smaller scale, informal clothes swap. Once again, I just brought along some items of clothing that didn't fit me anymore, and I left with some brand new clothes.

 I hope I have given you some inspiration today on how to get clothes for cheap. I know that sometimes it is nice to splurge, and there are times where I do spend a lot more than $5 on items, but it is also good to know that I can get a lot of items for my money when I am on a budget.

If anyone is in the Christchurch area, there is a clothes swap organised for the end of May within the community so PM me on my Facebook page if you would like more information.

Joining in with Wardrobe Wednesday.


Sunday, April 20, 2014


A portrait of my children, once a week, in 2014.

Lucas happily playing his new Beetle game.

Adam excited to find a chocolate Bunny during the Easter Egg Hunt.

Joining in here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Virtual Book Club For Kids (Denise Fleming)

This month, we read lots of books by Denise Fleming as part of the Virtual Book Club for Kids. Lucas seemed most interested in Beetle Bop.

This book reminded me of the Beetle game I used to play as a child, and so after a quick trip to the store, we were ready to play a fun game and learn about beetle body parts!

Lucas had a practice with the red bug to see how the beetle was pout together, and we discussed all the different body parts as we went.

Then it was time to spin the spinner and put a beetle together! Lucas wanted his to be a rainbow beetle. As well as learning about the body parts, this game was also great for fine motor skills, vocabulary and learning to take turns.

Lucas won the first round, and was very excited about his rainbow beetle. I can see this game becoming a firm favourite, as he was happy to put all the remaining beetles together after we had played the game.

I would love to know which games you remember from your childhood, as I am constantly on the lookout for ideas. Do you remember Beetle from your childhood?

Dreaming of Fancy Footwear

The time has come to think of shoes that will compliment my Autumn and Winter Wardrobe. I walk almost everywhere, so I need boots that are flat, comfortable, last the distance and are weatherproof.

My trusty suede boots have been on my feet for seven years, and I love that I can wear them with or without the fur trim showing.

However, they are getting a bit old and so it is time to invest in some new footwear.

Here are a few of the boots I have added to my wishlist.

Nimble- I love the plaid detail- and how funky are the purple suede version! I want both the black and purple ones. At least there is a buy one, get one half price on these, so it is totally justified.

Online boots- Django and Juliette is one of my favourite footwear brands and these black ankle boots have such a sweet bow detail. These would look so cute with my black and white flare skirt and some black opaque tights.

For brown boots, I have had my eye on these ones for a while.

Ruffle Boots- British Style Women's Knee-High Boots With Solid Color and Ruffle Design. These boots are so cheap and they come in black too! I would love these shoes to complement the Boom Shankar dress I am thinking of getting. These boots and that dress would be my happy place. 

Zip Ankle Boots- These boots would be great for a lighter brown option. I do prefer a round toe over a pointed one, and these look like they would be comfortable to wear.

Onto some fun options.

Melanie Jane Clarks- I am totally lusting after these, the colour is gorgeous! Plus they come in a half size, which is fantastic as my feet are a pesky 6.5 and it can be hard to find shoes in my size.

These Karl Black Glitter Gumboots- I am in love. The picture is blurry, but you have to check them out. Black glitter gumboots with a patent bow. Perfect for making the preschool run on a rainy day in style!

Finally, my perfect pair of black boots. As mentioned above, I need some replacement everyday black boots.

These Lorenza boots look comfortable, with adequate support for walking around in. Plus they are similar to my name, so it must be a sign. They are also a smaller circumference, which I look for in a boot as I have chicken legs and a lot of boots gape on me. They are the priciest shoes on my list, but I will most likely get the most wear out of these and comfort is worth paying for.

I would love to know which boots you like best- help me make a decision!

Linking up with Wardrobe Wednesday.

Monday, April 14, 2014

K5 Learning Announcement

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Sadly this week we had a total photography stand-off. Neither of my children were happy to have a camera anywhere near them so this is the only photo I have of them, after about 20 outtakes.

However, I always stress the importance of being in the photo, so I will cherish this week's portrait.

Joining in here.
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