Tuesday, December 30, 2014

go your own way


2014 has been a year of change & challenge, of fun & fear, of trials & travels.  It's been a year that's been insanely busy.  It's been almost a whole year of no blogging - and I feel great.  Yep great - not guilty.  Sometimes you just need to focus on living life, not talking about living life.  And that pretty much sums up what I've been doing in 2014.  If I had to make a list it would read something like this:
  • Work hard in January, really hard.
  • Travel to Spain for a rest.
  • Come back and work even harder.
  • Start looking for a new house - not on the plan for 2014, but a surprise opportunity.
  • Spend every weekend for 12 weeks looking at 14+ houses a day on Saturday.
  • Learn to go to auctions.
  • Learn to kind of hate auctions.
  • Buy a mad house that no-one else sees potential in.
  • Move to made house in the midst of reno's that would only take 4 weeks (still ongoing).
  • Rent the old house out.
  • Work insanely while this is all going on.
  • Have a dog diagnosed with separation anxiety - which explains the 8 hours of howling.
  • Put dog on prozac.
  • Work insanely.
  • Just when it's the busiest time of the year go to Italy for a holiday.
  • Work insanely.
  • Find joy when the prozac kicks in and the household is at peace.
  • Find joy in the move.
  • Realise it's been a hell of a year - with ups and downs but more ups than downs.
  • Work insanely.
  • Christmas.
  • THE END.
Yeah so not much happened in 2014 really - just our whole world changed - for the better.  2015 I'm going to try and catch my breath.  Learn how to be me again.  Breathe deeply.  Walk freely.  Take time for my loved ones.  Take time for me.  I hope I won't neglect my blogging quite so much but I won't apologise if I do.  Life is for living - not just talking about it.

Happy New Year


Monday, March 24, 2014

#motivationmonday


Mondays - most people loathe them.  I'm trying to learn to love them. (With a little help from my friend coffee)  It's another day to get closer to your dreams.  If what you do on Mondays fills you with dread perhaps it's time to think about if it's taking you one step closer to where you want to be, or one step away from it?



Monday, March 17, 2014

#motivationmonday


It's too easy to let our dreams and goals slip through our fingers because it can seem to hard to achieve them.  More than ever, when you're dreams feel far away, that's the time to dig in, get up and keep on going.  You might not get there today, but you can move forward.

Coffee helps ;-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

February flashback

Can you believe it's already March?  I can't.  2014 is going insanely fast.  I've decided to call a bit of a halt and look back on some of the highlight of February before I move on to the fullness that March is bringing with it.

At the beginning of February I was in the second week of holidays in Spain.  A trip to the Guggenheim in Bilbao was one of our highlights.


We enjoyed some fantastic wine and food in San Sebastian and Rioja.


Gaudi made a huge impression on us in Barcelona.  And so did the food & wine.  We definitely over indulged here.  But hey... that's what holidays are for.


I decided it was time to get really motivated on Mondays.  


And all that motivation made me hungry.... for some new recipes for fast food - not the fatty type - the fast to prepare type.


March is proving to be crazy at work.  Lots of local travel but not much opportunity for holidays.  Here's hoping I manage to keep up my regular blogging streak :-) 

Monday, March 3, 2014

#motivationmonday


I took this photo on Sunday morning while I was walking my dogs.  It had been raining for the better part of the week and they were a little like caged tigers wanting to pull me in every direction and get in as much sniffing and walking as possible before the next shower begin.  With two beagles on a joint lead it's usually all I can do to stay upright and keep walking, but I did stop and pause to see these tiny little plants which had sprung up because of the rain.

It got me thinking about life.  We spend so much time focusing on the big things - the stuff that really makes up the bulk of our hours - that we often forget it's the little things that bring the most joy and lead to the richest life.  The smile you get from a stranger when you pick up your coffee, the random message from a friend 'just thinking of you', the tea your partner makes you while you're curled up reading.  These are the things that really demonstrate who we are as individuals.  These are the things that show what we value.  These are the things we remember.  These are the things that make a difference in life.

This week while there are many big things I need to get done I'm taking a moment to remind myself how much the little things count - and to remind myself not to forget that they matter.

Friday, February 28, 2014

#funfriday

She makes me smile.  Hope she makes you smile too.

video

Happy Friday!

Monday, February 24, 2014

#motivationmonday


I have this stuck to the centre of my monitor at work.  It's a constant reminder that s**t doesn't get done unless I do it.  No-one is going to serve you your dreams on a platter.  You have to work for it.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

#funfriday - fast food for a fast life


Sometimes you get into a production efficient rut.  You optimize your free time between work and chilling out with a glass of wine by optimizing your life chores and the thing you need to do - like cook dinner.  I’m incredibly guilty of doing this.  My hubby and I have quite the commute to and from work each day so we’ve developed a number of quick and easy meals that we can get on the table from scratch in around 20mins at night.  While this is great from a life enjoyment perspective it does get a little monotonous from a foodie perspective.  I’ve decide to make 2014 the year that I try and expand my "go to" 20min meal repertoire.  My criteria for new meals was that I could have them on the table inside 30mins - even if it was the first time I was creating them, and that all the ingredients were available at my local fruit & vege store, butcher or supermarket.  

We love Asian flavors so my first go to was to rework an old favorite - Vietnamese chicken salad.  Super easy to make, there is hardly any cooking in this recipe and it made enough for 4 people so we could have it the second night also.


Boil around 500g chicken.  When it’s cooked through allow it to rest before roughly shredding with a fork.  In the mean time thinly slice around 1/4 to 1/2 a savoy cabbage.  Change the amount depending on how much cabbage you like.  Thinly slice a couple of carrots into small pieces around the size of a toothpick.  Again you can add more if carrot is a favorite food.  Roughly chop a bunch of coriander and a bunch of Vietnamese mint.  And thinly slice one white onion.  Add a cup or two of bean sprouts. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl - including the chicken.  Serve on a plate and dress.  The dressing can be customized to your taste but is roughly 2-3 tablespoons of fish sauce, 2-3 table spoons of lime juice, a tea spoon of palm sugar (or castor sugar) and fresh chili to taste.  I add about 2-3 birds eye chills as we like it spicy.  If you’re going to eat this over 2 nights I recommend keeping the dressing separate and only pouring it over what you serve up.  Garnish with some fried shallots.  (You can find these in the Asian & international foods section of your supermarket) and you have a great meal.  I particularly love this in summer.  Oh and it’s super healthy so if you’re hungry just add extra cabbage and carrot and you have a great filling meal that’s pretty low calorie.



This is definitely going to be on my meal repeat list for the next few months.

Monday, February 17, 2014

#motivationmonday - be real


Life is too short for perfection or selfies trying to prove your life is perfect.  It's life it not!  Embrace it for all it's worth.  Enjoy it.  Have fun with it.  Don't take yourself too seriously - no-one else does.  Be real.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Motivation Monday - Happiness is an action


Wise words.  Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in chasing career success, a better car, a bigger house, relationships or things that aren't good for you.  Happiness is not found in what we have, but is very much found in moments that we find joy.  Make chasing joy your goal.  Happiness will surely follow.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Barcelona (Spain - day 11, 12 & 13)

I'm feeling a little lost as I sit on the bed of our hotel in Barcelona and write this post.  You see our holiday is almost at an end. The bag is mostly packed and just waiting for me to zip it up and for us to make our way to the airport.  I've had a great time traveling around Spain - not sure if it really counts as a holiday as we've been so busy.  But it's definitely been time away from work and an opportunity to see and experience part of the world I've never been. I'm very thankful for the experience and that each place we stayed had wifi (of varying quality) so that I could blog and upload photos - something I wish I did more regularly when I travel.  With that said let me move on to talk about our final destination in Spain - Barcelona.  (Make sure you pronounce it Bar-the-lona to at least try and sound like you're local).

I had high hopes for Barcelona.  Every time I told someone I was coming to Spain they always, always, always mentioned how much they loved Barcelona.  In fact it was usually the first thing they mentioned.  When I asked what they loved about it they were always pretty vague - 'you know it's just awesome'.  Well I'm sorry to tell you I've joined the club - it is awesome.  I'll try and be a little more specific though.  I loved the people.  I loved the food.  And I loved the art.  For me Barcelona has been all about Gaudi.  His presence is everywhere in the city - and not just in the architecture of what he built.  There are influences of his design and whimsy everywhere.  The thing is you really need to experience it.  The photos (and certainly mine) just don't do it justice and capture the whimsy and workings of his mind.  Nevertheless I tried.

Our first stop was La Sagradia Familia - which is still being built.  Everywhere you look your mind bends like the curves and swirls Gaudi embraced in his design.  My mind boggles that someone could come up with the idea and every little detail it entails.  It truly is magical and worthy of several hours of time in a visit.














If you haven't got your Gaudi fill after the Basilica (it is now) then you can head on up to Park Guell for some more of Gaudi's fantasy expressed in architecture.  My big tip - do both early - it gets packed.  Seems like Gaudi has lots of fans :-)











And if that's not enough Gaudi for you (and it wasn't for me) head on over to Casa Batllo - a stunning example of a private home Gaudi built for a clearly very discerning patron.










The thing about Gaudi that I love is how every angle gives you a new perspective on his buildings.  It's astonishing how much you see the longer you pause and look.  Of course Barcelona is not just about the art of Gaudi, it's also about the art of food - and we ate a lot of it.  Thanks to some fabulous recommendations from a friend (Courtney you rock!) we appreciated the art of food a lot in Barcelona.  Everything from the markets to the finest dining was delicious, and beautiful on the plate.  







It's hard to pick a favourite place on this trip.  It seems like each new place we visited I liked better than the last, but as I look over the blog posts of the past few weeks that's just not true.  I truly enjoyed each city and town and there was something unique and special in each one.  I think that's the thing about travel.  If you look for the heart of each place you visit you'll never be disappointed and you'll always be delighted by what you find.  

Want to read all my posts on Spain?  You can find them here.