Solo parents, I take my hat off to you. You are incredible. You deserve government rebates, discounted childcare and shorter working hours. You deserve all the help you can get cause oh my GOODNESS my one week of parenting on my own was hands down one of the hardest weeks if not THE hardest week of my Mumma life. And yes, I realise that I’m complaining about just one week, I realise there are many parents in way worse situations than me and I realise as I start to write this, that it all seems a little bit OTT and dramatic. But you know what? For me, it was REALLY hard!
B left on Monday morning and I started my week by doing drop off at daycare, a full day at work, daycare pick up, did the dinner and evening routine on my own, got organised for the next day, ate dinner (even I was impressed at this one!) cleaned up and eventually sat down for a bit of down time. And then H woke up. He’s usually an excellent sleeper so this was a bit odd for him. It took ages for me to settle him and he woke again during the night which was tough when I then had to adult at work the next day!
Tuesday evening we were at my parents house where I put him down to bed so I could enjoy some adult time with Mum and Dad. H woke up. Frequently. To the point that we had to leave early and I put him down at home – where he woke during the night. Wednesday we were meant to have dinner at my sister’s place but again, H was really unsettled and cranky so I skipped dinner, brought him home and had another rough night.
Each night was the same – lots of grumpy baby in the evenings, unsettled sleeps, late-night waking and to be honest, I’m not actually sure how I still managed to function. When B walked in the door late Friday night, I just burst into tears – the poor guy! I was just so relieved he was home and I didn’t have to deal with everything on my own.
Looking back at what I’ve written above, it doesn’t even sound that bad but for me, it was so, so hard. Having a sick baby is hard. Having to work full time is hard. Keeping a functioning house going is hard. Spending my precious weekends searching for a house is hard (oh my gosh, how ‘first world problem’ is that?! Poor me!) And I’m still not getting any real ‘me’ time, ‘us’ time or family and friends time in – I feel like I’m being a rubbish friend cause I’m never available to catch up! Plus I don’t feel like I’m giving as much as I should at work either!
Part of me didn’t want to post this blog. It sounds like a great big whinge (which it totally is) that would cause a whole lot of eye rolls and ‘it’s really not that bad’ comments. And I know all this and totally recognise that in the big scheme of things, I really have NOTHING to complain about. I am well aware of how many people would love to be in my position and I should really just count my blessings and suck it up. But that’s not my style. I’m not one to bottle it up or pretend everything is amazing when it’s not. That’s what my blog is for – a place to rant, a place to get it out cause that’s how I deal with my emotions and move on.
The week B got back was better – H was feeling a lot better but still has a snotty nose – has done for months on end, seriously, does it ever end?! He’s also teething and has nappy rash AND conjunctivitis – gaaaahhh!! Seeing him unwell and sad is heartbreaking. I know it’s daycare germs and everyone goes through it but it seriously, SERIOUSLY sucks. February has not been my favourite month so far, and we’re only 12 days in! B goes away two more times in the coming weeks so I’m bracing myself for solo parenting again. Can’t say I’m really looking forward to it so if anyone has any advice on how to not lose my sanity, I’m all ears!
Thanks for reading and understanding that everyone needs a rant every now and then. Hopefully my next blog post will be a bit more positive, happy and sunshiny!!
It’s no secret I’m a lazy baker. I prefer to cook savoury meals that I can kind of just throw together and add whatever I have to make it work. I don’t like having to be methodical and measure perfectly which you need to do when it comes to baking, unless you’re keen for a baking fail – been there, done that… more times than I care to admit.
I baked these muffins on the weekend cause I ‘need’ something yummy to take to work each day for that mid-morning snack (rice crackers just aren’t cutting it at the moment). I wanted to make them healthy so that H could eat them, but still have enough flavour and ‘non-hippy-ness’ that B would eat them too. Enter the below winning recipe – hooray!
The name is a bit of a lie… there’s no cream in them but ‘strawberries and yogurt muffins’ didn’t quite have the same ring to it. These can be adapted to suit all tastes – change up the fruit if strawberries aren’t your thing. Add in chocolate if you want them to be even more awesome. Make them into baby sized muffins for the little people in your life. They freeze beautifully too so make in bulk and enjoy!
Healthy strawberries and cream muffins Makes 12 muffins or 24 mini muffins
What you’ll need…
2 x eggs (can substitute for chia gel if you need these to be egg-free)
3 x bananas
½ cup x natural greek yogurt
1 tsp x pure vanilla
2 tsp x cinnamon
1 cup x desiccated coconut
1/3 cup x coconut flour (can substitute for wholemeal plain flour)
1 cup x wholemeal spelt flour (can substitute for regular plain flour)
2 tbsp x psyllium husks (or LSA mix – both are optional, just leave out if you don’t have it)
1 tbsp x chia seeds (optional, leave out if you don’t have them)
1 tsp x bicarb soda
1 tsp x baking powder
1 cup x strawberries, quartered (substitute with your favourite berries – frozen is fine or a mixture of fruit and chocolate chips)
How it’s done…
Preheat oven to 180o. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases (no need to use muffin cases if you’re using silicon moulds).
Combine all ingredients (except the strawberries) in a food processor (or you can mix by hand) and mix until just combined (TMX speed 3.5, 30 sec). Fold through the strawberries (TMX reverse, speed 3, 20sec).
Pour into muffin moulds and bake for 35mins or until a skewer comes out clean (for the mini muffins, bake for around 20 minutes).
YUM! These muffins store best in the fridge – just warm in the microwave for a few seconds and enjoy.
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I hope you enjoy these! Let me know if you bake them for you or your little people and tag me on instagram – @lifelovetravelfoood #lifelovetravelfood !
Hello 2017 and hello to my first blog for the new year! I’m excited for what this year will bring but I’m also sad to see 2016 go. I noticed a lot of people saying they were glad to see the back of last year and they were happy it was all over but for me, last year was wonderful. I spent much of the year watching my baby grow, travelled (sort of), moved back home, spent time with family, caught up with friends, and started a new job.
So what’s in store for 2017? Firstly, I’m one of those annoying people who sets new years resolutions and I LOVE them. I have done it for as long as I can remember and find them quite therapeutic. I’ve become a lot more realistic over the years and set broader goals and things I know are achievable… that’s not to say I pass with flying colours cause ‘stop biting my nails’ continues to grace the list each and every year.
I write down my goals because once they’re on paper I feel I’m more accountable for them. I also tell people (like you guys) so they’re out there and I can talk about my progress throughout the year. I love reading other people’s resolutions or goals as I find it quite inspirational, so here are mine for the blogging world to read!
Continue to eat clean – less sugar, less processed/packaged food
This one, while daunting at first, has become surprisingly easy to stick to. It’s taken me years to get to this point though! Stocking up on fresh fruit and veges, trying to avoid the middle aisles of the supermarket (except for things like tinned tomatoes, coconut oil and nappies!) and planning meals around what’s in season and what’s in the fridge have been some of my best tips to sticking to healthy eating.
I want H to grow up eating as healthy as possible and I think it’s important for us as his parents to set a good example.
And of course, not denying myself treats like wine (cause I think we all know I’m NOT giving that up!) ice-cream on holidays, visiting bakeries on the weekend – because life is for living and if I eat well MOST of the time, the treats taste so much better!
2. Make exercise a priority and schedule time in my calendar
Apart from 2015 when I was on a fitness role, exercise has never been that easy for me to stick to. Throw in a baby and full-time work and it’s slipped further and further down the priority list. This year I’d like to exercise but I also want to be realistic. I won’t exercise every day, I won’t get up an hour earlier than I have to and I probably won’t run home from work so I’m not going to promise myself that I will.
I think what I might try to do is try to get up half an hour earlier two or three mornings a week and try to move when H is having his morning sleep on the weekends. I want to exercise because I feel great when I do, but I don’t want it to be a chore. Go for walks on the weekends with my boys and maybe even try to get out at lunchtime once or twice a week. This one will be the hardest to stick to so I will also try to schedule my workouts into my calendar to be more accountable (I’m a lists girl and HATE having things un-ticked!) so I’ll keep you posted!
3. Listen more – less about ‘me’ and ‘my’ stories
This one really annoys me when it happens to me – when I’m telling a story and the person I’m chatting to turns it around to be a story about them. And then I realised I do it too so if I find it annoying, other people probably do too! So this year I plan on listening more – it’s a wonderful way to learn more and be a better friend.
4. Me time! Read/yoga/get my nails done – a happier me is better for my family
You can’t pour from an empty cup. I see this quote everywhere and always agree with it but never actually do it! Sometimes I put so much time and effort into making sure others are happy that I find myself feeling drained, unhappy and sometimes resentful which doesn’t help anyone.
Here’s how I’m going to make sure I get some me time in this year – I want to make sure I do a really good job at work, but also leave on time to spend quality time with H and B. I need to remember how good yoga feels and DO it! Sometimes the hardest part is just rolling out my mat which seems ridiculous, but so true! Read a book – oh when was the last time I did that?! Blog – I want to take time out like I’m doing right now, while H sleeps and B watches the cricket. It’s the perfect time and I really enjoy doing it, yet last year I seemed to just waste this time doing… I’m not really sure what!
I recently got a remedial massage and holy moly did it make me feel like a million bucks or what?! Sure, not something I plan on doing every day but I’d love to take time out to get a mani, massage or treat myself (I wonder what B will think of this one!) because I work damn hard at work and at home and I deserve it!
5. Be organised – do a little each day to spread the load
When I know I have to clean the kitchen, the bathroom, tidy H’s toy room, do six loads of washing, change the sheets, vacuum and mop, go grocery shopping, do weekly meal prep, make more food for H… it all seems too much and quite overwhelming. Plus now I’m working full-time, the idea of spending my weekends cleaning and doing house stuff just seems like a waste. So this was something I actually started a few weeks ago – I made a list of all the things that need to be done each week, and broke them up over seven days and all of a sudden it seemed much more manageable.
For example, on Mondays I clean the toilet, basin and mirror. On Tuesdays I clean the bath and shower. Wednesdays I do one load of washing and clean the kitchen sink, bench and stovetop… breaking up these chores and doing them in the evening when H has gone to bed has so far been working out well and means I have much less boring stuff to do on my precious weekends.
6. Stop. Biting. Nails – reward for sticking to it (see #4)
Oh my gosh, I am embarrassed this has yet again made it onto my new years resolution list. I do really well for a good few months then fall off the wagon and I don’t know why! It’s a horrible habit and I hate it! So, I will get a regular manicures (again, let’s see what B says about this one!) to encourage myself to STOP this habit once and for all. Surely this will work?!
So that’s my list! I will try to revisit them partway through the year to see where I’m at and to make myself more accountable. I will also post regularly on instagram cause that addiction is still going strong!
Thanks for reading and I hope your 2017 is off to a beautiful start!
Hello! Wow… sorry for the lack of posts lately! I have been kinda crazy busy for months on end with a LOT going on so let me catch you up on what’s been happening in lifelovetravelfood world!
Well first of all, I no longer live in Perth! And second of all, I’m no longer on maternity leave! Two kinda big ‘life’ moments!
For the past 10 years, B and I have wanted to move back to Brisbane at some point. It’s always been our plan to get back to where our families are and settle in. We wanted H to go to school in Queensland and we were keen to be closer to family (not just for the free babysitting but that’s a pretty big drawcard!) Then one day, my very, VERY talented husband managed to score himself a new job in Brisbane and from the moment he signed on the dotted line, five weeks later we were back! It was a complete whirlwind of packing up the house, shipping the car over, cleaning the house, resigning from both our jobs, moving to the other side of the country and starting a new life here. Moving house SUCKS! Moving interstate is worse. Doing it all with a baby is fricken ridiculous! We were soooo lucky to have my sister in Perth to help us out and my parents in Brisbane who were also superstars so without them, I would probably have crawled into a corner and cried.
We LOVE being back in Brisbane! We’re currently renting and looking forward to finally being able to buy our family home and get a bit more settled – I am o.v.e.r renting BIG time! So that happened ridiculously fast and then came the job.
When I resigned from my job in Perth, we decided I would take until the end of the year off, dabbling in a few jobs that took my fancy, but not seriously searching, as I was keen to be at home with H for 12months like I’d originally planned. To cut a long story short, I got asked to interview for a job, met the team, was offered the role and started the job all within three weeks. That three weeks included the frantic search for childcare for H. Oh. My. Gosh. The childcare search SUCKED. Places are ridiculously hard to come by, fees are crazy (we will be paying more per week for childcare than we do in rent – wtf!?) and throw into the mix an overly emotional, scared, worried, nervous, tearful mum *ME* and it was quite the journey!
We managed to get H into care three days a week and my incredibly generous, amazing, WONDERFUL parents take him the other two days until the new year when he switches centres and starts full-time care. I don’t think they realise how much their help has meant to me. Not just so I could accept my job offer, but to ease H AND me into full-time care. H is great – he’s a happy lil guy who’s fine to go to other people and sleep in places other than his own cot. Me on the other hand, I have found this whole experience of being with him 24/7 to being away from him five days a week, VERY hard. The support of my family has meant the world to me, I don’t think I can even put into words how much I (and B too) appreciate their love and support. I am so, SO grateful and incredibly lucky (insert a flurry of kiss and loveheart emojis here).
Pick up – I am lucky to have a supportive team who understand I need work/life balance as a working mum. I am able to finish my day early so I can race home (and race I do – I have kept up my London-commuter-pace which is a million miles an hour compared to laid-back Brisbane-ites) to collect H from childcare and spend a little bit of time with him each day. When I pick him up, either from my parents or childcare, it is priceless. His entire face lights up, his smile is enormous and he flaps his arms around in delight. It’s the most beautiful thing to see his excitement when he sees me – I absolutely cherish it!
Home – for so long, I wasn’t sure I was ready to move back to Brisbane. Once H came along, my desire to be closer to family became more imminent and since then, I’ve been keen to get back to Brisbane. It has been our easiest move so far. We already had friends and family here, knew the suburbs, shortcuts and places to hang out. We slotted back into Brisbane life so easily, it has been absolutely wonderful. I adore being able to pop round to Mum and Dad’s for no real reason. I love knowing we’re officially ‘home’ and can really think about putting down roots. I love catching up with our friends, especially as many have kids (and we are currently plotting arranged marriages and best friends for life whether our children like it or not). And I love knowing we’re finally in the city where we can buy our ‘for at least the next 10 years’ house. It’s just SO GOOD to be back!
The lead up to Christmas –last year I don’t really think I took it all in because I knew I was due to have a baby so the thought of Christmas approaching had my thoughts on the whole birth thing. It passed by in a bit of a blur and any time anyone mentioned ‘only five Friday’s till Christmas’ it sent a shiver down my spine! So this year I’m really embracing the lead up to Christmas and I simply cannot wait for the day to arrive. Wrapping presents, Christmas carols in the shops, turning on our Christmas tree lights every night, fruit mince pies, decorations everywhere – I love it!
Market day – As sad as it sounds, I have always loved grocery shopping. But what I love even more is going to the local farmers markets each week and buying up big on beautiful fresh fruit and veges. I love filling our fridge with healthy food and I love creating delicious food for my family (sometimes B does not agree with my use of the word ‘delicious’). Visiting the markets means we buy less packaged, processed foods which can only be a good thing.
Summer fruit – When I smell a perfectly ripe mango, it almost makes me dizzy. I love that smell SO MUCH! It takes me back to living at number 27, with a box of mangos in the corner of the dining room. Such good memories! Cherries scream Christmas to me, I just bought my first lot today and can’t wait to eat the whole bowl (I’m kinda hoping I don’t have to share with B). Peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, watermelon, pineapple… summer fruit gets me ridiculously excited! Apples are so passé.
We haven’t really done much travel recently, but since I haven’t written a blog post in forever, I can mention our Melbourne trip and make it seem like we’ve been total jetsetters this year. The weekend before we moved back to Brisbane, we went to Melbourne. It was a trip we’d planned earlier in the year so although the timing wasn’t great, it was actually a wonderful time to go and forget about the stress of the move. It also meant H could meet his Aunty M for the very first time. It was love at first sight for both of them – still to this day, this photo is one of my all time favourites… perfection!
We also took advantage of visiting our fabulous friends from London who now live in Torquay. Just spending a few days relaxing, taking it easy and checking out the sights around that beautiful part of the state was SO nice. R and P were the most wonderful, generous hosts who organised a car seat AND travel cot for H so we didn’t need to bring them with us which made our trip so much easier. They’re the kind of friends who we don’t see that often yet when we get together, it’s like no time has passed. These are the kinds of friends we cherish and will hold onto forever – sorry R and P, you’ll NEVER get rid of us! I LOVED Melbourne and am already wishing for another trip back.
We’ve also taken a few trips to visit family and friends in T’bar. It’s so nice to be able to go back more often and not rush our visit like we used to when we visited from London or Perth.
Coming up, we’ve got our first family summer holiday – yippee! Both B’s and my work close down over Christmas (YESSSS!) so we’re off to T’bar for Christmas and lots of family get-togethers. Then we’re taking off for a few days to a place just outside of Noosa – just the three of us. B is already planning what we’re going to do and making an itinerary which I’m choosing to ignore. I want to take it easy and relax but he wants to fit in as much as humanely possible. Let’s see who wins that battle!
If I listed all the places we’ve visited and what we’ve eaten since my last real blog post, it would go on forever. So instead, here are some foodie-photo highlights for you! If you’re keen on any recipes, drop me a line below!
Thanks for your patience and for stopping by for a read after so long – I promise it won’t be so long between posts next time! I’m ALWAYS on instagram – @lifelovetravelfood – in case you miss me that much : )
BLOG FAIL! Sorry for the earlier mess up with my blank blog post. I’m trying to make some changes to my blog and I clearly haven’t figured out how to do it yet! BUT! If you’re after my latest recipe – banana and blueberry oatmeal slice (a little people friendly recipe!) then you can find it right here.
Thanks for reading and sticking with me while I try to get my blogging back on track. Typical that I decide to do that when I’m about to start a new full time job! But more on that in my next blog post (which will hopefully be really soon!)
Ok so that was a bit of a blog fail! I was just playing around with my blog (which has been neglected for so very, very long!) and published a ‘new’ blog post that was pretty much a blank page. Whoopsies! I’ve just quickly added my recipe below and updated it so hopefully not too many people saw my faux pas (even if everyone who gets my blogs via email will see it! Ah well, you live and learn!)
Ok! Recipe time!
I am deep in mummy meal prep mode as I have recently gone back to work (yeah… I should REALLY update my blog cause since my last post I’ve not only finished maternity leave, but I’ve resigned from my previous job, moved interstate and started a new job! Just been a touch busy!) Today I spent much of the morning getting ready for next week so I’m not too frantic and frazzled at the end of each working day.
I wanted to make a new breakfast recipe for H and now it’s coming into Summer (how it is this fricken hot and it’s NOT EVEN SUMMER YET?!) and it’s a bit too hot to give him porridge every morning. I’m also loving finger foods that he can feed himself so was wracking my brain for recipes to make.
This is one I got from a friend, V, and she asked me if I could make it healthier than the original. I did that (and shared the recipe here!) and really enjoyed having it for breakfast myself but it still contained sugar and other things I wasn’t so keen on H having so I edited it again.
The result was great! It was SUPER easy (key for me these days!) baked really well, stayed together (I’ve had more than my fair share of baking fails recently!) it’s healthy and tastes yum! I can’t wait for him to try it this week!
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Banana and blueberry oatmeal slice Makes 12 slices This is a baby friendly recipe (8months +) but is also adult friendly!
What you’ll need…
2 cups oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 wholemeal flour
1/2 cup coconut
1 1/4 cups water (or 1 cup whole milk, 1/4 cup water)
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup berries of your choice (frozen is fine)
How it’s done…
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees and line a rectangular baking tin with baking paper.
In a large bowl, add the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, wholemeal flour and coconut – mix to combine. In a jug, add water, yogurt, coconut oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine. Pour the liquid mix into the dry mix and stir to combine. Stir through the banana and berries then pour into your prepared baking tray.
Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden and baked through. Once baked, cool in the tin then slice into pieces and freeze for bub. Delicious!!
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As always, I’d love to hear from you if you try any of my recipes! Drop me a note below or better yet, over on instagram @lifelovetravelfood cause the addiction is still going strong!
I get a serious buzz when someone asks me for one of my recipes. Even when my Mum or sister asks me to send them one, I get quite excited – I know, I need to get out more. But this super simple, easy, three ingredient, QUICK chocolate mousse I put up on instagram the other night attracted a lot of attention and so to all you lovely girls who requested it, this one’s for you – thanks for showing me some love! And please keep it coming!
Lately my cooking has come down to what’s left in the freezer and what can I use up in our pantry so we don’t have to a) give it away b) throw it away or c) cart it across the other side of the country because I’m a huge food hoarder who buys in epic proportions when my favourite brands come on special. So this is where this recipe comes in. When looking through my pantry, I realised I had no less than ten tins of coconut cream. Oh the shame!! So I immediately started thinking of ways to use it up because if I’d told B we needed to take all ten tins with us, I think he’d divorce me. It’s also no secret I’m struggling with a bit of a sugar addiction at the moment so I’m trying to find ways to curb these cravings without reaching for that damn chocolate box which is NEVER empty.
This three ingredient healthy chocolate mousse can be whipped up in an ad break – it’s SO simple! I hope you love it and please do tag me on instagram if you try it – @lifelovetravelfood #lifelovetravelfood
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Healthy chocolate mousse Makes four – six serves (depending on how big you like your servings!)
Super important note. You need to put your coconut cream in the fridge the night before or for at least 8hrs before you make this. Yes it’s quick to make, but you need to do this step first otherwise it won’t work!
What you’ll need…
2 x tins coconut cream, left in the fridge overnight or for at least 8hrs (I only use Ayam brand as it’s the only one I’ve found that is all natural)
2 x tablespoons raw cacao powder (or pure cocoa)
1 tablespoon rice malt syrup (more if you prefer it sweeter. You can also use honey or maple syrup)
optional – 1 tsp pure vanilla – I’ve put this as optional cause otherwise the title of my blog is a lie and this makes it four ingredient chocolate mousse! I only added it in because I have a huge bottle of vanilla I need to use up! The mousse still tastes amazing without adding this.
How it’s done…
REMEMBER, your coconut cream MUST be chilled in the fridge for this recipe to work.
Scoop out the thick part of the coconut cream into a bowl, leaving the watery part behind. Don’t throw away the watery-juicey stuff, put it in your morning porridge or smoothie! Add the cacao, syrup and vanilla (if using) and whisk together until smooth and fully combined. You can use a blender if you like but another reason I love this recipe so much is there’s hardly any washing up! A whisk is much easier to wash up than a whole blender!
And that’s it! Super delicious and ridiculously yummy. I top mine with some frozen berries but that’s probably so it looks nicer on instagram.
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PS. I realise I have posted a similar recipe a while back – I’m planning on fixing up my blog so you can search for recipes and have a page dedicated to my recipes so you’re not always inundated with food emails… but I haven’t quite worked out how to do that just yet! Sorry!!