Finding peace: faffing with flowers

How do you find peace?

If you've connected with me on Instagram, you would have noticed my hobby of faffing about with flowers and photographing them. It must have started over a year ago when I realised that our gorgeous wooden table that Stu made with recycled wood made a wonderful backdrop for bright flowers. While Alexander takes his daily nap, I'd wander about the garden for fresh floral pickings and then arrange them on the table before photographing them.
For some reason, I find this exercise very relaxing, soothing and fun; perhaps it unleashes the creative side of me, playing with different colours and textures. I also find joy in playing with different angles, and find it interesting how the sun's movements throughout the day casts a different sort of light on my arrangements. In any case, floral faffing brings me a sense of peace.
This Mother's Day, the lovely people at Flowers for Everyone wants to give everyone the chance to find peace on Makepeace Island (Sir Richard Branson's Australian home) this Mother's Day. They're giving away one lucky winner two nights exclusive and sole use of Makepeace Island for a family of four valued at $10,300. I guess that's pretty good way to find peace too. So make sure you enter the Find peace on Makepeace Island competition now..

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Flowers for Everyone. I was compensated for this post. However all opinions are my own.

More conversations with my 2.5yo

At 2.5 years of age, Alexander is quite the twonager.
Me: "Alex, don't spit your food out, that's not good table manners"
2.5yo: "Sorry, mate."

Me: "Good night Alexander, sleep tight, don't let the bed...."
2.5yo: "Quiet mum, too noisy. Wake everybody up."

2.5yo: "Stand over there, mum."
Me: "OK. But why?"
2.5yo: "Coz."

2.5yo: "Alex need money, mummy."
Me: "What for?"
2.5yo: "Buy ice-cream."

Apple and sultana pie

It's really starting to feel like Autumn; the temperatures are dipping, the leaves are yellowing, the days getting shorter. Our winter woolies have been dusted off, the crock pot ready for making warm stews and soups. And I have been busy baking warm delicious apple pies, served golden and warm from the oven with a hot cup of tea in hand. Oh the simple pleasures...
 Apple pie

Ingredients
10 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
80g sultanas
2 sheets store-bought shortcrust pastry
1/3 cup almond meal
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons raw sugar

Method

1. Line the base of a lightly greased 20cm pie tin with one sheet store bought pastry. Prick pastry with fork all over and blind bake for 8-10 minutes in 200 degree celsius oven. Set aside and allow to cool.

2. Place apple and lemon juice in large frying pan. Cover and cook over medium heat for around 8 minutes until tender. Add caster sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and sultanas, mix to combine and cook for a further 2 minutes.

3. Add an even layer of almond meal to the pastry base then add apple and sultana mixture.

4. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut one sheet of store bought pastry into 2-3cm wide strips. Arrange strips on top of pie to make a lattice. Press edges to seal and trim excess pastry. Brush with egg and sprinkle with raw sugar.

5. Bake in 180 degree celsius oven for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

Busy mums: how to free up an extra 10 hours a week

If there's one thing that I could have more of, it would be time.

Juggling family responsibilities with the upcoming launch of my home business and other commitments means life can get chaotic quite quickly and ‘me time’ is essentially unheard of. I'm a strong believer that having too much on my plate can do more harm than good for my health and well-being. Recently, I discovered that the secret to achieving some balance back in my life is outsourcing.

Getting some help is about prioritising what need to be done, so that I can spend my time doing what I love. A great way to start is to think about what can be delegated to others, such as cleaning or life admin. These can take up quite a chunk of my weekend, which could be better spent with friends and family. If you're a busy bee like me, you can rejoice – here are 10 hours’ worth of household tasks to consider outsourcing next time you’re pressed on time.

Garden Maintenance - A beautiful garden sets the scene for a serene home life, but keeping on top of those pesky weeds and overhanging branches can take longer than you think. If you’d rather spend your Sunday’s enjoying your garden (instead of working in it), outsource the time-consuming upkeep tasks like lawn mowing, hedge trimming and weeding. Be specific with your requests too, so if you’re growing your own veggies, make planting and mulching a priority. Average time saved – 2 hours.
Outsourcing gardening jobs means I simply get to enjoy the garden and my homegrown vegetables
Pet Care - Outsourcing some extra love for your furry friends doesn’t mean you care any less, it shows you care even more! Give your family’s best friend the attention they deserve by arranging for a dog walker or dog groomer if your schedule is jam packed. You get the extra time you need and they get pampered, win-win! You can also arrange for someone to pick up bulk pet food or even routine visits to the vet - no animal and no task is too small for a little extra affection. Average time saved – 1 hour
Heavy Duty Cleaning - Let’s face it – no one actually enjoys cleaning. Appliances like the fridge, oven or microwave and areas like the bathroom can build up considerable grime and need regular deep cleans for hygiene and safety. Schedule in a weekly cleaning schedule for different appliances, and seek out a helping hand for the heavy duty tasks, so that you’re not stuck in the kitchen for hours to no end. Average time saved – 2 hours
Home Repairs - Fixing something with your own two hands is working hard, but outsourcing home repairs to trusted professionals is working smart. A busy home will need repairs from time to time so instead of waiting around all day for a repairman to arrive, use a skilled member of your community instead. Tasks as small as TV mounting and light bulb changing, or as large as fixing a broken washing machine can be arranged and completed easily, without being a time-suck to your schedule. So the next time a wayward soccer ball cracks a window you’ll know exactly where to turn. Average time saved – 2-3 hours

Spring Cleaning - Don’t wait for spring to get your household cleaning underway. Staying on top of the little things is a time saver now and a cost saver later. Outsource the time-consuming and tedious tasks like washing the curtains and scrubbing off mould. Average time saved – 2 hours
Tech Support - Having a piece of technology die on you at home can be a huge drain on time as you chase up experts to help bring it back to life. Avoid the stress of a broken laptop, a poorly working router and Wi-Fi problems by outsourcing your tech needs. This means no long waits on the end of a phone for help and more time doing what you love. Consider getting help to bring your memories to life with digital scanning too. Converting piles of family photos can be a huge task, so let someone else do it! Average time saved – 1-2 hours

Life Admin - You know all those pesky, menial tasks that eventually build up into a crazy to-do list? There’s a name for it – life admin. Whether it’s collecting your dry cleaning, paying bills or organising appointments, these jobs can pile up. Delegate your life admin to a ‘personal assistant’ for the day and let them tackle it for you once and for all – you’ll be surprised by how much time you can save. Average time saved – 1-2 hours

Being a mum is a full time job in itself, I find that using these outsourcing ideas gives me the flexibility to enjoy a weekend with Stu and Alexander or catch up with friends. If you’re ready to start delegating like I have, look into online marketplace platforms and apps like Airtasker, which allows you to outsource with the click of a button.

In this moment

reading... contracts, procedures, insurance policies. My nanny agency launches in two weeks! Exciting stuff. That said, I've decided not to link it here. I think it's important to keep my personal life separate from business.

watching... Ultra Rich Asian Girls in Vancouver. It's free to watch on Youtube and each episode is only 12 minutes long. It's a real eye-opener, the lives of these uber rich girls and how catty to each other behind their backs or sometimes to their face. So entertaining, I highly recommend!

buying... some warm clothes for Alexander. Nothing from last Winter fits him anymore so it's a new wardrobe for the little man. Wish I had an excuse like that every season.

feeling... pumped, full of energy and excitement.

planning... a little birthday celebration for Stu.

listening to... the pitter patter of the rain on my window. Autumn is finally here and so is the rain and cooler temperatures. Quite liking the cool respite.

looking forward to... a sleep in this weekend. So Stu and I have been taking turns to sleep in and it is absolutely divine. 10 hours of uninterrupted is total bliss for the eternally tired me.

baking... a warm delicious apple pie to have for dessert tonight. Will share recipe shortly.

loving... the gorgeous camellias in bloom in the garden right now. They're in so many shades of pink! Even Alexander loves picking them.

What are you up to in this moment?