Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Baking... Apple cinnamon bread...

Baking has been way off lately... Too busy through the holidays and then the heatwave, which is when I intended on baking this apple bread... It's delicious! 

Recipe from
Who have loads of amazing recipes on their blog... I made some changes, using pear as well, because I only had one apple! It's almost worth it for the smell of cinnamon through the whole house!

Apple Cinnamon Bread


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups chopped apples, skin removed (we used Granny Smith)

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 4 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, all spice, and cloves. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add in oil, applesauce, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Next, add the sugar and mix until well combined.

4. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until flour is barely combined. Gently fold in the apple chunks. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

5. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the batter in the loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until loaf is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes. Loosen sides and remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Brickvention (Lego Convention) Melbourne 2014

Brickvention 2014 

Event Venue: Royal Exhibition Building

Last year I heard about Brickvention and it was already sold out! When I saw tickets on sale, I snapped them up immediately, and they were really affordable as far as family outings go, $12 per adult and $6 per child... We arrived for our slot 15 minutes early and the queue was already quite long, in the next 15 minutes it quadruped!  

Once in there are tables among tables of Lego sets assembled, really well thought out and detailed dioramas, collections of mini figs and modified sets... It's madness, and so interesting to see what the exhibitors have done... It's also nice to have a chat with exhibitors, and learn about their experiences with Lego... There was loads of Star Wars stuff, which I could appreciate even though I'm not a fan... A few awesome superheroes sets, and cities, underwater, trains, it was a lot! And then of course there was the stalls, so much Lego to buy! We bought a few mini figs, as they weren't in their packs so I could get what I wanted out of the new series... 2 of those mini figs was the first Lego that I have ever owned, I don't see myself as becoming addicted like the rest of my family, but they were particularly cute characters!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lollipops Forest Hill

Lollipops at Forest Hill Chase

Over the years we have been to many play centres, ranging from mediocre to really bad... In September Lollipops at Forest Hill opened, and I can't look back! This place is amazing!!! Levels and levels of crazy fun... Canons, massive slide, big webbed tunnel to climb right up the centre of, and your usually, jumping castle, ball pit, oh and let's not forget, the mini pirate ship! Yes an actual ride! 

When we usually go to play centres, we stay a couple hours, we can easily put 4 hours in here! It's just amazing... I would say better suited to preschoolers then mid 2's and under, there is a toddler area, but it wouldn't be worth the cost... It IS expensive, around 30% more then our usual centre, but Mark said 'it's more then 50% more fun!' And he is right, it is... Fun for the kids, fun for you too, if you want to get involved, I went down the slide, and it is FUN! 

It looks like we will be having the kids birthdays there this year, they are obsessed!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Choc chip cookies ('normal' and lactose free)

Wanting to do a little baking yesterday, something that could easily be adapted for Mark's lactose allergy... Chocolate chip cookies seemed like a good idea, and they were, it's just a struggle trying to make lactose free cookies taste as good as lactose cookies... They are called 'amazing', I wouldn't say that they are amazing, they were almost all gone in 48 hours, but amazing would call for more... I switched non dairy butter for the butter and vegan chocolate for the chocolate chips for Mark's cookies...

  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 caster sugar (or white sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preparation method

Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 12 minutes

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Frozen... Film...

Girls day out! We used our Mace free day to go to the cinema and see Frozen... I can't speak highly enough of it! Great characters, great story, beautiful visuals, catchy songs... I don't really want to say too much because I don't want to spoil anything, but I love the love in this film... Marley (4) loved it too, on the way home she asked if we could watch it again at home... I said we had to wait for it to be released, then she asked if we could listen to the songs, to which I agreed, so we have spent the last hour and a half listening to the songs and remembering who sung it and why... Must see!

The Sound of Music Live...

I have always wanted to share the film The Sound of music with Marley, it meant so much to me as a youngster...  She is still not quite old enough for the film, but in rest time I put on the Sound of Music Live, and she was absolutely taken with it! We watched in one session, it is awfully long! I could not believe that she didn't switch her attention to something else in that time, she did want to fast forward the 'adults talking', which suited me as after hearing 'Nazi' she wanted to know about them, I went in gently, but was happy to eliminate that aspect from the movie...

Stephen Moyer as the captain, eeeeek!!! He just doesn't have what the original captain had! At all, he just looks angry the whole time... The thick American accents are awful, no one sounded refined like the actual film, Carrie Underwood is THE worst!!! She lacks acting ability and spunk which Maria is supposed to have, almost asking it unwatchable... Most characters lack natural facial expressions, it might be a theatre thing...

'I am sixteen' missed all the acting, and flirtation of the film.. It just felt like they wanted to remember the notes...

The storm/favourite things sequence being replaced with the goat herd song was wrong on every level, but Marley loved it!!! And thankfully they did include Edelweiss at the very end... 

Overall I wouldn't have enjoyed it, had my kids not been well in to it... I was so happy that they loved it, playing the sound of music imaginary play game afterwards, trying to act out the parts... When Mark got home, Marley ran up to him to tell him how her mum died  but then she got a new mum, he looked awfully confused until I explained that she was being Gretel... And little Mace was being Captain Von Trapp... I can't wait to take them to Salzburg one day, such a wonderful place...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014



I knew going into this that it would be bad... And it was... I felt sick from the get go... Aside from learning more about beautiful Orca Whales, I learnt mostly about how awful humans are... Watching the way the whales are captured, and kept, in tiny pools was akin to putting a human in a cage, like prison, these whales are prisoners... Their babies are taken away, and the despair the mother expresses when this happens is parallel to human grief... 

The lies these parks tell are awful, about the age whales live to be, about their floppy dorsal fins, saying that the whales live in their family groups, when in the wild babies stay with their mums/families their whole lives! As a mum and someone who loves animals it just broke my heart...  It's unbelievable that the staff aren't given access to the amount of and type of accidents for trainers working with the whales, further perpetuating the lies... Surely it would cross your mind that these are HUGE, wild animals that have no way to let off steam for many, many years... It seems obvious to me that they may lash out from time to time...

I remember being pregnant with Marley (08), there was a baby whale orphaned in the Sydney harbour area... Poor little love was suckling yachts, trying desperately to find it's mama... I cried for days over that, broke my heart, and eventually they put the baby whale to sleep... After watching this, I am glad they put it to sleep and didn't try to capture and train it... It's all just awful... I have had flashbacks over the 20 hours since I watched it, I still don't feel composed about it... Too heartbreaking...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Routines vs School Holidays

Routines vs School Holiday's

I am a routine type of woman... I love to be organised and for the kids to know what's happening next, so a routine is the way forward for us as a family... School holidays started over two weeks ago, and Mark's and my holidays started exactly two weeks ago... We have wanted to make the most of this time together as a family, I am all too aware that Marley is starting school at the end of the month, and I'm getting nervous about it... Because of this, we have made lots of plans, done a lot of activities, been to the zoo, scooters at the park, play centres, play dates, the list goes on... The kids have been tired, and when they are tired, they seem to sleep less, I have never been woken up so many mornings before 7am since they were under 6 months! And because of it, we were all exhausted... From the weekend they have finally gone back to sleeping from 7-7.30, and what a difference it has made!

To combat the exhaustion, I schedule in 'chill times' on top of 12.30-2 rest/nap times... During which we might watch a movie, read books, just have downtime... I am doing this every day, yet the kids are still tired, which makes parenting a little more tricky then it is while we are all in the thick of our routine... I miss it... I miss us all getting up and ready for kinder, the drop off, the hanging out with mace, I'm sure time spent apart helps the kids relationships! The pick up, cuddles on the couch, dinner, bed, no incidents, just a smooth operation... And while kinder is not on the cards now until Mace goes, yesterday I really enjoyed our return to work (having Daddy home is seriously exciting for them), to our routine being semi back on track, so that the rest of the school holidays is a bit more relaxed, and we can make the most of spending time with Marley before she goes off to school! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy new year! And the Myer Melbourne Christmas windows...

Happy new year my people!! Hope everyone has has a great holiday period... I go back to work Monday and am quite looking forward to getting back to my routine, and using my brain for non parenting related duties! 

Things were hectic with work last month and I didn't get a chance to tell you all to take advantage of the myer Christmas experience... They had a magical Christmas area with Santa (photos) and a Christmas train (free) as well as the myer Christmas windows which were lovely this year (also free), I'm pretty sure that  they are open through January... We had an awesome morning there... The trick is to go see the windows before myer opens and then leg it to the Christmas area as doors open... This years doors opened half hour before the Christmas area opened, so we left mark in line and took our time with the windows... Santa was lovely, the kids loved the train ride, overall a lovely morning out!