Friday, 31 May 2013

Be your own kind of beautiful...

Let me give you a free therapy session...
 but before I begin, I want to set the scene for this post.

Every now and again we bring out some dinner conversation cards at home. 
 I posted about these a while ago (HERE) 
They are a box of gems -just small cards that prompt a discussion. 

The other night one of the cards read 
"The best advice I've received..."

My ten year old pondered for a few minutes and then came out with 

You told me that I need to be my own kind of beautiful..."

We had a wonderful conversation about diversity and acceptance and inner beauty and being yourself.
As every mother will tell their child,  I tell her that she's beautiful. More than that though, I want her to know what her beauty is...what makes her unique and special. Up until this particular evening I don't think I realised that she really got this...

Fast forward to this week and  I was at a work professional development day and one of the speakers showed us a few video clips. She didn't introduce the topic, just let us watch. I particularly loved this one. 

Just give yourself 3 minutes to watch.

Most of us as adults are way too self critical. 

How would you describe yourself....What kind of a person are you?

Now think about how your friends would describe you....

 My ten year old believes that she is beautiful in and out. 
Whilst I definitely don't want her to be precious and vain about it, 

I think this is a lovely quality that children should have.

Happy Friday beautiful people,

be your own kind of beautiful...
photo source
wall canvas purchased from


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Peanut butter and oat slice from 'The Recipe Book'

When I first moved across the seas to Australia it was only for a year... 
Everything was left back in our home for our return 12 month later. We arrived with a suitcase each and a couple of small boxes. After unsuccessfully looking for a furnished home the budget had to stretch to making an empty house livable. Down to one reduced income it gave me an opportunity to concentrate on necessity and to look at purchases in a different way. We were living the dream experiencing life on the other side of the world... albeit on a shoestring budget, but we managed... (thank you Ikea!).

So that year was the year that I got to go back to basics. I was so fortunate to be able to spend time with my then three year old. We had a ball. Walks and picnics along the river, trips to the museum and library, playing in the parks - all free. I relished that precious time and often reflect with a lot of gratitude on how circumstances enabled me to take time away from my career and concentrate wholly on being there for Sibs. 

I think that was the year that I really learnt how to cook and bake. It's not that I didn't know my way around the kitchen before, it's just that I think I had seen cooking as a means of just getting a meal on the table. With the luxury of time on my hands I began to enjoy just making things. 

Instead of the numerous cook books that graced my kitchen shelves back in rural Yorkshire my suitcase contained just one - The Recipe Book. In it I had scribbled some favourite recipes and included a few torn out ones from magazines.

I soon realised that many of the recipes were very British. Not much call for stews and casseroles in the Brisbane heat! So I picked up those free magazines that supermarkets put together now and again and worked my way through them. It wasn't that long ago, but there was no iPhone or iPad and the only laptop we had was used by Neil most of the time so it back to old fashioned print.

Talking of necessity buying we of course bought a barbecue and spent many a balmy evening on the back deck enjoying a meal whilst watching the possums jump around the trees. No real need for any recipes for that.

Over the last year or so I've sourced most new recipes from blogs and websites viewed via the ipad. I have a nifty little stand for it in the kitchen and it's so compact and easy. However, every now and then I'll have a browse through the old recipe book and revisit some old favourites. It takes me back to the kitchen in our first Australian house. If Sibs is with me she will always talk about the time that she was once helping to bake  a cake and managed to tip a full mixing bowl of wet ingredients over the floor. Yes, I remember that was the day we were expecting the agent to do a house inspection and she was due to arrive just at that instant!

The other day  I fancied something with my morning cup of coffee so I went back to the book and found this recipe for peanut butter and oat slice.

I don't always have all the ingredients to hand and I was low on rolled oats  I made it up with some muesli flakes. I also added some cranberries and omitted the sesame seeds. If I keep to the main ingredients then I usually swap and change some things around and it always works ok.


These freeze well too. I cut them into muesli bar size and wrap in foil, then they're ready to take straight from the freezer to put into lunch boxes or taken as a snack out and about.  I know they are not the healthiest things but as a treat now and then they taste good - and you know exactly what's in them.

As I was taking some photos of my recipe book look what was hidden amongst the scraps of papers in the back?

Little Sibs in her cot having a nap about 10 years ago. 
Now I wouldn't find that searching for a recipe on the ipad...

Monday, 13 May 2013

Twmff is depressed...

chilling on a sunny afternoon

Meet Twmff. Yes, you read  right it's not a typo - this is Twmff, pronounced Too-mf.
Twmff has a welsh name and in Welsh 'w' is a vowel and 'ff' is pronounced 'f'. Anyhow, this is not a blog post about Welsh lessons, this is a blog post about Twmff.

chilling on another sunny afternoon

Twmff has been part of this family for a little while and will be about 5 1/2 years old by now. He was a rescue cat in pretty bad shape when we got him, and for the first few months of coming to live with us I would be lucky to catch a glimpse of his tail when he ventured from under the sofa to grab some food. He needed lots of medication and a few vet visits and eventually he became stronger and more adventurous  He came to us with a sister....although I have always doubted the family tie and I think the RSPCA lady saw a bit of an opportunity to home 2 cats at once!

I interrupted their play time here hence the stares! 

So Twmff and his 'sister' Modlen soon began to settle with us and over time have brought much amusement, love and a few challenges thrown in. Twmff has always fancied himself as a bit of a dog which has been quite funny over the years. He will come when called, sit and listen to a story, let Sibs dress him up - that kind of thing. He learnt how to open the locked cat flap story here which has necessitated a complex bedtime ritual but overall though they are great little cats and are loved dearly. I think we give them a very comfortable home - they more or less have the run of the house.They can go outside in the daytime and come home for tea. Now Twmff has probably been a little more challenging than Modlen... Nothing extraordinary really, just a few more trips to the vet due to a scratch here and there or a sore paw or leg. He can be pretty vocal and will tell us if things aren't quite right. If you can't find Modlen you just ask Twmff and he will direct you to the shut room where she will be sitting quietly waiting for her brother to rescue her.. Just last night he himself got shut in the under-stairs cupboard by accident and I'm sure his miaow would have been heard down the street!

Just recently though Twmff hasn't been himself. He's been a bit more demanding. His cries for us to open the cat flap in the morning have been a bit louder and longer. He has been spending time in boxes and we have 'lost' him a few times and after a long hunt and calling his name he's been found hiding under a bed or in a cupboard.


At first I put this down to not liking the rain (there was quite a bit for a few week). Then it would be because we had some visitors staying (there's always quite a bit of that too!) After a while I noticed that he wasn't really eating very much and then he wasn't using his litter tray. He became a bit withdrawn and I rang the vet. She was pretty concerned with this change in behaviour so off we went for a check up.

Some separation anxiety!

After a thorough check and the ruling out of any more serious medical conditions the vet came to the conclusion that Twmff was depressed...

Should I have seen it....?

In hindsight, maybe....

'please don't go without me"

When we went away over Christmas and the New Year Twmff missed us. The housitters mentioned that he took a few weeks to respond to them. Then we were home for a few days before taking off again up the coast. It seems that most weekends since January we have been busy. People staying, us away. Just general life really, but for Twmff...well, little Twmff has felt more than a bit left out. In cat world, one way of showing this is to withdraw (nothing unusual there), but apparently another common sign is refusing to use a litter tray or just to go to the toilet. Due to the male cat anatomy this can be fatal within 3 days! Pretty serious stuff.

So dosed up with an antibiotic and anti inflammatory shot, a special prescription diet to ensure his system keeps working (for all that read having spent $$$ at the vets!) Twmff is at home getting lots of special attention. 

allowed on the bed for a two minute cuddle

We can't stay in forever with him, but we can ensure that he has somewhere safe and secure to hide should he need to. If it happens again the vet told me about a spray that I can buy that mimics feline pheromones that will provide comfort to a distressed cat. Who knew? 

Here's hoping that Twmff feels the love this week!

Happy Monday.