A Hiatus

I have decided to take a bit of a break from my blog. Life is very busy at the moment, and I can’t devote the time and energy that this place deserves. I am sure I will still pop in from time to time, so subscribe over on the right hand side if you would like to be notified when a new post is published. I will still be using Instagram and Facebook to share my every day style.

Thank you for following along.

Sarah x

Dinner Party Menu – Do It Yourself Burgers

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Last Friday night we had friends over for dinner. I was in a bit on an inspiration rut, and tired of making the same dishes when we entertain. One of the tricky things about being a vegetarian is finding meals that everyone is happy to eat – some people think it’s not a meal unless there is meat involved! I find it easier to serve food that is easily adaptable – I can either add meat at the last minute, or serve a vegetarian alternative.

For our latest dinner party I decided on do it yourself burgers. It was perfect for a relaxed Friday night, and meant that everybody could have what they wanted for dinner. I bought a variety of meats, fillings and buns to choose from and put them on the table so our guests could share.

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I also made hand cut fries from sweet potato and regular potato (peel and cut to desired size, boil in saucepan until soft enough to pierce with a fork, put on baking tray and sprinkle with olive oil and a little salt, then bake in a 180 degree Celcius oven until brown).

Meat/Meat Substitutes

– Chicken breast (marinate in your favourite sauce if you wish)

– Kangaroo

– Angus beef

– Vegetarian patty (from the cold section of the supermarket, or a homemade patty with chickpeas and vegetables)

Vegetables

– Lettuce (I use a restaurant blend from Coles – just wash well and serve)

– Cucumber

– Snow peas

– Tomato

– Capsicum (I love red or yellow as it’s so sweet)

– Beetroot

– Mushroom

Other

– Cheese

– Pineapple

Sauce

– Aoli

– Tomato

– Barbecue

– Sweet chilli

Buns

– Sourdough

– Baps (the flat hamburger buns)

– Seeded

– Multigrain

I know this seems like a very simple idea (and maybe a bit of a no-brainer!), but it’s a fun idea for a casual Summer dinner party with good friends. The other thing I love about it, is that it is a lot healthier than buying take away. The burgers and chips aren’t greasy, and you could have a burger without a bun if you wished. You are really only limited by your imagination!

What are your favourite burger fillings? Does beetroot belong on a burger?

How to Renovate Your Kitchen on a Budget

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I am so excited to finally share our kitchen renovation with you, and show you how to renovate your kitchen on a budget. This was our first big DIY project. It’s probably wise to start with something smaller and less conspicuous than the kitchen, but we decided to jump in with both feet and give it a go.

We have lived in our house for two and a half years, which was long enough to decide what would work for the space. We decided not to change the configuration of the kitchen – the cabinets and doors were strong, but the colours were outdated and made the space look dark. Not wanting to do embark on a full kitchen renovation, we decided to follow Young House Love’s lead and paint our kitchen cabinets. The other step was to alter the bench top, which we did with the help of Rust-Oleum’s Countertop Transformations. After much Pinterest and magazine research, the colours cream and charcoal were decided upon. I wanted a country-lite style, and it was important to open up the space further with light colours. The house is very airy, with raked ceilings, and the kitchen was a big road block in the middle of all the light.

We decided to tackle the bench top first, and then start on the doors. It was definitely a two person job and we were able to work as a team to get the job finished.

How to Re-coat Your Bench Top

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Rust-Oleum’s Counter Top Transformation system is a game changer. Prior to this, you could try using laminate paint which did not then tolerate heat or certain chemicals. The Counter Top kit is durable and looks great. We watched the DVD included in the kit several times during the process. It was handy being able to reference the separate steps, as we wanted to make sure we were doing everything correctly. Make sure that you wear the recommended safety gear, as the adhesive has an odour, and the sanding can result in dust in your eyes.

The sales assistant at the hardware store made us a little nervous, making us doubt we had enough adhesive paint to cover our kitchen. As a result, we weren’t as generous as we should have been with the first part of the bench and we ended up sanding it back and starting again. This threw a little spanner in the works, but we wanted it to look good once we had finished.

The first step was to sand back the existing bench until it was all scratched. The adhesive was then applied with a foam roller, aiming for the same consistency you would use when icing a cake. The colour of the adhesive will be the final colour of your bench, or perhaps a little darker (ours was black and we had chosen the charcoal kit). Before the adhesive starts to dry, take care to apply the wetting agent to keep it tacky enough to apply the colour chips. We were a little worried about applying the colour chips to the splash backs, but the little machine included in the kit meant that they sprayed everywhere. And I mean, everywhere! We had spread drop sheets in the kitchen, but the chips infiltrated every nook and cranny. Be sure to cover up cupboards and places you do not wish to find the chips. Make sure you are incredibly liberal with these to fill in all the spaces.

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This was the first attempt at the bench, and you can see the patches that were left when we skimped on the adhesive application. Once the chips have been spread on, they must be left for 24 hours to dry. You can then vacuum them up and make sure you haven’t left any patches which will need to be rectified, and then take a further four hours to dry.

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The box comes with a little portion of bench top that has been sanded, to demonstrate what your bench should feel like when ready for sealing. This is very handy, as you don’t need to second guess your results. The sanding would have taken me around two hours – it was quite tedious but it was important to get this step right.

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Once the bench has been sanded back it is ready to be sealed. This is completed with a foam roller and paint brush (for cutting in at the edges). The sealer comes in two parts, and hardens within four hours. Due to our choice to sand back a portion of the bench and start again, we had to track down a new pot of sealer. The incredibly helpful people at Masters were able to find us some, and suggested with the second round (as we only needed a little) that we just use a portion of each. If need be, we have some left over. Once you have applied the sealer, it takes 72 hours for it to dry. You can then use the bench top lightly (placing plates on it, preparing food etc). It takes seven days to completely cure, so we tried to use it as little as possible during this time to be sure it was properly sealed. The end result is a high gloss and strong coating that I feel confident using as I would laminate or granite. We love the transformation and are so happy that we tried the kit.

How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

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We decided the easiest way to paint the cabinets would be to remove every component that we could. Luckily, the timber panels under the bench and the trim around the top were all removable, which made for easier (and less messy!) painting. The Young House Love instructions I linked to earlier were so simple to follow, it made the task a breeze.

The first step was to sand and then de-gloss the cabinets. Our lovely neighbours loaned us their electric sander which made the job a lot easier! Once these steps were complete the cabinets were ready to prime. We used one coat of Valspar primer, and applied it generously with a roller and brush. This way, we didn’t need to use a second coat. Valspar paint is a relatively new brand of paint in Australia, but it has been available in the United States for decades. It was the most expensive brand on the market, but we decided it was worth spending the money to ensure the job was well done. The kitchen is painted with Antique White USA, so we compared the colours and settled on a cream to make sure there was a distinction between the walls and the cabinetry. The colour has been such a good choice we’ve now planned to paint our internal doors the same colour.

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YHL had recommended using a brush and roller to paint the cabinets, starting with the back. Masters sell a paint sprayer for $30 (their own brand), so we decided to take a chance and try it out. What a good decision that turned out to be! Luckily we have a car port, so this served as the painting booth. The backs of the cupboards were sprayed first, then left to dry, with the sides rolled in between. The sprayer resulted in a professional finish that I doubt we could have obtained with a roller and brush.

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The trim was primed and then painted with a brush. It would have been easy, but very messy to attempt this with the sprayer. Once the doors and boards were dry we were able to attach them back to the cupboards. The old hinges and screws were still usable so this cut down on costs.

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I sourced the handles from eBay, and bought 26 handles for $50 (including postage). It saved a lot of money, and they really add a point of interest to the cupboards and drawers. They are made of iron, and seem to be very good quality. The other finishing touch we added was a dishwasher, very kindly bought for us by my parents-in-law. We had a dishwasher at our old house, but had to leave it behind. It has been a lovely change being able to use it again rather than washing everything by hand.

The all important before and after comparison is below. The before shot was taken when the house was for sale, hence the different fridge and the green paint that we changed when we moved in.

Kitchen Before and After 1

It has definitely lightened up the area, and makes the kitchen seem bigger. We are really happy with the change, and would definitely do it again, despite the hard work!

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The bench and boards

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The cupboards and drawers

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This cupboard originally had stained glass doors, and a roller shutter. We decided to try leaving them off and seeing the result. We like the openness of it, but have moved the majority of our cups to a closed cupboard and replaced them with plates and bowls for a cleaner look.

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A close up of the bench top – final result.

The Breakdown

Time – We tackled this project over the weeks of Christmas and New Year, and it took us around 10 days to complete. We did have a hiccup with the bench top which resulted in it taking a little longer.

Cost – 

Countertop Transformation Kit – $195

Paint (10 litres) – $180

De-glosser – $30

Primer – $40

Paint sprayer – $30

Handles – $50

Assorted items (brushes, rollers, drop sheets etc) – $75

Total – approximately $600

Tips – Prep, prep and prep. Making sure you prepare your surfaces properly is so important, and will really ensure a good finish. Don’t be scared to take on a new project. Do your research and try to be as prepared as you can. Don’t be afraid! We had never done much DIY, but have shown that we can complete a project like this… now what we will tackle next?

Have you ever tackled a big DIY project? Do you think you would try painting your cabinets or countertop transformations?

I have entered a competition to win a Masters voucher which would help us complete our next project. If you live in Australia and would like to vote for our project, please click this link http://pledge.masters.com.au/project/6248 and thank you so much!

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

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It is easy to get stuck in a rut at breakfast time – you’re rushing to get to work or get the kids out of the door and some Weetbix and toast seems like the easy option. We normally save ‘fancy’ breakfasts for Sundays after the busyness of school drop offs, work routines and swimming lessons. These school holidays we have decided to make the most of the beautiful Summer fruits, and I’ve been making fruit and yoghurt breakfast bowls for myself and the small ones. They are quick and simple to make, taste great, and best of all – they’re healthy!

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The great thing about these breakfasts are that you can use whatever you have on hand. We’ve had combinations of banana, plum, fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, kiwi fruit, apples and nectarines. Just pick your favourite fruits, top with yoghurt (we use vanilla flavoured soy yoghurt) and enjoy! You could also add things like sultanas or nuts for a bit of a crunch.

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One of our favourite new discoveries has been Fast and Fruity’s fruit pouches. There are several flavours to choose from (we love tropical and berry) and they’re a great addition on cereal or with a fruit salad. I found them with the other tinned and pureed fruit in the supermarket. They would be perfect in smoothies also, and can be kept in the fridge for up to five days after opening.

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The other new favourite in our house are these little crunchy treats – they are so good! At less than $1.50 a packet, they’re an absolute bargain. They taste delicious on top of yoghurt, but let’s face it – they’d probably taste great on anything!  The coconut chips are crunchy, with a nice fresh flavour. They would also be great as a snack or on a dessert. Frozen yoghurt or sorbet would make the perfect summer treat, with these on top in the place of nuts or sugary toppings.

Style Unearthed’s Healthy Breakfast Ideas

1. Keep it healthy. As breakfast is the first meal of the day, it needs to be healthy to fuel your body. Choose cereals that are low in sugar (like Weetbix or oats), or substitute for a breakfast made from fruit and low fat yoghurt. Try to buy breads that contain whole grains. They’re not only the healthier option, but they have a low glycemic index (GI), and will keep you fuller for longer.

2. Keep it quick. Not many people have time to make extravagant breakfasts in the morning before the work and school rush. Keep your breakfasts fast. Blend up a green juice the night before and leave it to chill in the fridge (if you’re in to that!), or opt for something like scrambled eggs on a wholegrain muffin.

3. Keep it interesting. There is nothing worse than the same breakfast day after day. Try to mix it up a little bit throughout the week so that you don’t get bored. Take advantage of the seasonal fruit, or buy frozen berries to make yourself a healthy treat. You could also make a batch of Burcher muesli on the weekend to last you throughout the week.

What do you normally eat for breakfast? What is your favourite breakfast treat?

How to Give Yourself a Spa Pedicure at Home

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Today was one of ‘those’ days. I spent the morning cleaning the house with two cling-ons, made cupcakes, braved the heat to go to a doctors appointment, tackled the groceries and then was attacked by wasps. By the time the small ones’  bedtime rolled around I was well and truly ready for some me time. Normally that would consist of losing myself in a magazine or blogs, but tonight I decided to pay my hands and feet some long overdue attention and give myself a mani/pedi.

I have told you before that I’m not a day spa girl, and although I considered having a manicure today, I decided to save the money to see if I could find any bargains on the weekend (a girl has to have priorities!). Having to walk through the chemist to get to the doctors resulted in the purchase of some new nail polish, and I stocked up on some new polish remover and nail shapers at the supermarket. With my favourite trashy program on the iPad (Hollyoaks, for those playing at home), I locked myself in the bathroom to give my nails a makeover. Normally I would just quickly shape and paint my nails, but I decided after today I needed the special treatment! Presenting my guide – how to give yourself a spa pedicure at home.

Prep

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I always start by removing the old polish from my nails, and trimming them with nail clippers. Make sure you do your toes and fingers at the same time. Many a time have I painted my finger nails and then remembered my toes. No one wants to wreck all their hard work by smudging their paint job. If you want to get extra serious you can worry about cuticle care, but as I said before, I’m in the low maintenance camp.

Soak

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I ran a shallow bath, added some Pure Fiji oil, and Original Source raspberry and vanilla milk shower gel (if you haven’t found this stuff yet in your supermarket, seek it out. It smells so good, and it’s cruelty free). If you don’t have a bath then a bucket or basin will suffice. If you’ve got a fancy foot spa, then even better! I let my feet soak for a while to soften the skin, and then I exfoliate them with Pure Fiji sugar rub. Normally I would use a pumice stone, however the smallest member of my household appears to have hidden it somewhere. The sugar rub did a very good job, and made my feet smell great. You could really use anything you wanted in this part of your pedicure – mint is lovely and soothing on tired feet.

Paint

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Now comes the fun part! File your nails into a certain shape if you wish, and then apply your polish. I first heard about Ulta3 nail polish on the Vogue magazine forums. Only $2 a bottle, loads of colours, and easy to apply – nail polish nirvana! I hot-footed it to my local chemist and have been in love ever since. OPI nail polishes are great, but I don’t feel like a can regularly justify $20 on a bottle of polish (even though their names are incredibly cute). Ulta3 is great quality, and I find it very easy to apply. It is such good value, and you can afford to buy in to new season trends throughout the year. I’m currently sporting both Hot Spring and Over the Rainbow on my toes, with Hot Spring on my fingers. It is a gorgeous magenta colour, and nice and shiny.

Moisturise

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Moisturising your feet will prevent the skin cracking, and keep them nice and soft. I find that my feet are worse in Summer, when they’re exposed in sandals and bare feet. I tend to moisturise at night, so I do not slip over walking around the house. If my feet are incredibly dry, I slather on QV Intensive moisturiser, and then pop socks over the top. This cream is magic – it looks like petroleum jelly, but is water based and incredibly thick. It has been used on every member of our household at one time or another, and this huge jar is only half empty. At around $25 a jar, it’s fantastic value!

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter has been around for years, and this particular product is lovely to use. While I don’t find it as good as the QV, it is still nice to give your feet a bit of a boost.

When my feet are tired and sore, or I have blisters, I find the Pure Fiji Dilo Rescue is fantastic. I feel a bit like the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding with his Windex with Dilo cream – ‘Mum, I’m itchy/have a mozzie bite/have eczema/got stung by a wasp’… ‘Put some Dilo on it!’. It really is my go-to cream.

So, there you have it. My quick guide to a DIY pedicure, that feels like you’re at the spa without someone else touching your feet! Lock the bathroom door, watch your favourite show, and enjoy.

How to do you pamper yourself? What is your favourite nail polish colour? What’s your favourite trashy TV show?

My Everyday Style

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Top – Peter Morrissey for Big W | Shorts – Target | Shoes – Rubi

I have been playing along with Nikki from Styling You‘s Everyday Style project. It has been set up for people to share their outfits, whether they’re going out and looking fabulous or taking their kids to the park. I love looking at everyone’s outfits to gain inspiration, or to find some new pieces for my own wardrobe. In this post I will share some of my everyday style from the past few weeks.

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Top – Peter Morrissey for Big W | Pants – Peter Morrissey for Big W | Shoes – Diana Ferrari | Bangle – borrowed from my sister in law

Nikki is very diligent and posts pictures of her outfit everyday. I join in on days when I’m wearing something interesting that you guys may not have seen before. I do like to shop, but I tend to recycle outfits a little. This project helps me push the boundaries and mix it up a little in the wardrobe stakes. I loved the monochrome touches in the above outfit, and added a pop of red to make it a little more interesting.

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Dress – Witchery | Sandals – Diana Ferrari

This dress is a perfect example of trying something new. I was given it for Christmas in 2012, prior to losing weight and starting my wardrobe re-design. It was a little on the fitted side and I didn’t feel very comfortable wearing it as a result. Due to the ruching on the side it would ride up, or slip down. Now that it’s on the bigger side, I pop a white singlet top underneath for a more relaxed look. It helps me maintain my modesty, and makes for a cute and casual outfit. Don’t discount clothes that are too big – try adding something underneath or belting dresses and tops.

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Dress – Target | Shoes – Betts | Bracelets – Fiji

You know how much I love chambray, and when I saw this dress in Target I knew it would be coming home with me! It is nice and light – perfect for a warm Summer day. It comes with a chambray belt, but it would also work with a tan belt (or whatever colour you wanted, really!). I was also sporting my new FitBit which you will see more frequently in photos. I will be doing a review of it soon, but want to give it a good test run at the gym first. It was a nice surprise on Christmas Day.

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Top – Forever New | Shorts – Target | Shoes – Rubi

I loved the pretty details on this top. It has gorgeous beading and embroidery, and was just very pretty. I was given a voucher for my birthday, and this ended up coming home with me. It looks great with shorts or a skirt, and can be dressed up or down. At first I was a little apprehensive about the colour, but my kids are getting a little older and I’m not as afraid to wear white as I have been! The shorts are the shorter ones I wrote about a while ago, and they have become a staple item in my wardrobe. They are so comfortable, and I love the colour.

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Dress – Emerson (Big W) | Shoes – Rubi | Bag – imported from France |Bangles – Equip

I wore this outfit heading out for breakfast mid-kitchen renovation (can you tell from the tired face?). The dress is about two years old now, but still comfy and casual. Always a sucker for a navy and white stripe, it’s still stayed in my wardrobe. The bag is from a gorgeous company who import goods from France, and then sell at markets. They have colourful table clothes, glass bowls and serving ware, and cute bags. I loved this one that I was given as a Christmas gift, and it’s perfect for Summer.

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Top – Zara | Jeans – Jeans West Thermolite Super Skinnies | Shoes – Diana Ferrari | Dog – my own

Last week we finally had some cooler weather, which was a welcome change from the heat. I took the opportunity to break out my Zara jumper I purchased when we were in Melbourne. I actually matched the gloomy skies, and our dog, hence the photo! This jumper is sure to be an Autumn and Winter staple – it will look great with black pants as well as jeans.

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Top – Target | Shorts – Target | Shoes – surf shop

Last Friday I was lucky enough to have a picnic with almost all my extended family. Some live in Perth, while others are in Melbourne, so it is rare that all 12 grandchildren are together at the same time.  The reason for our gathering was sad (our beloved Poppa passed away), but it was so lovely to enjoy some sunshine and each other’s company. We had a picnic at the beach where the small members of the family could paddle, and the older ones could enjoy the kayaks for paddling of a different kind.

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Outfit – Same as above | Hat – Element | Sunglasses – Tory Burch

I hope you’ve enjoyed a look inside my wardrobe over the past couple of weeks. Please let me know if you’d like to see more or less of these types of posts!

If you would like to join in with Everyday Style, simply take a picture of yourself and share it on social media with the hashtag #everydaystyle. Make sure you tag Nikki @stylingyou so she can see your outfits. She shares some on the blog each Friday, so you never know, you could be picked!

What does your Everyday Style look like? Feel free to upload your photo in the comments section to share your favourite outfit with me.

Jamie's Grated Rainbow Salad (vegan style)

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One of my New Year’s aims is to try new recipes, rather than getting stuck in the same/same meal rut that we usually end up in. Our lovely neighbours gave us the new Jamie Oliver book Save With Jamie for Christmas, and there are a great variety of vegetarian recipes in there, which had me cheering! The first recipe we decided to try was the rainbow salad, served with cous cous. It normally includes sesame feta fritters, which I chose to omit because the two smallest members of our house have a dairy allergy. Instead, I cooked a Fry’s vegetarian schnitzel and served it along side the salad. It was a nice addition, and a good alternative to the feta. This was an incredibly easy recipe to make, and is a perfect mid-week meal. The salad would also be a lovely accompaniment for a BBQ. While the cous cous is very light, it’s also a filling meal and the left overs would be great for lunch the next day.

Jamie’s Grated Rainbow Salad (vegan style)

Serves four. Please note that this is my altered version of this recipe. For the original, be sure to pick up Save With Jamie.

Ingredients 

1 cup cous cous (follow cooking directions on pack)

1 pita bread (crisped in oven)

1/2 a cucumber

1 carrot

1/2 a red capsicum

Half a tin of beetroot, thinly sliced (you could also grate raw beetroot)

2 sticks of celery

1 Fry’s vegetarian schnitzel (optional)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Method

1. Pre-heat oven  to 200 degrees. Cook vegetarian schnitzel until brown.

2. Cook cous cous following directions on packet, and set aside ready to fluff up.

3. Grate carrot and cucumber, finely chop capsicum, celery and beetroot.

4. Place pita bread into oven to crisp.

5. To make dressing, place olive oil and red wine vinegar into a jug or dish. Stir until combined. Add oregano and stir again.

6. Arrange cous cous on serving plate, and put vegetables on top. Break pita bread into small pieces and serve with salad. Slice vegetarian schnitzel or meat alternative ready to serve.

7. Serve onto individual plates, and top with dressing if desired.

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I hope you enjoy this super easy recipe. I will be bringing you a few new recipes over the next couple of months. Stay tuned!

Have you tried any new recipes lately? Are you a Jamie Oliver fan?

Jamie’s Grated Rainbow Salad (vegan style)

IMG_0140

One of my New Year’s aims is to try new recipes, rather than getting stuck in the same/same meal rut that we usually end up in. Our lovely neighbours gave us the new Jamie Oliver book Save With Jamie for Christmas, and there are a great variety of vegetarian recipes in there, which had me cheering! The first recipe we decided to try was the rainbow salad, served with cous cous. It normally includes sesame feta fritters, which I chose to omit because the two smallest members of our house have a dairy allergy. Instead, I cooked a Fry’s vegetarian schnitzel and served it along side the salad. It was a nice addition, and a good alternative to the feta. This was an incredibly easy recipe to make, and is a perfect mid-week meal. The salad would also be a lovely accompaniment for a BBQ. While the cous cous is very light, it’s also a filling meal and the left overs would be great for lunch the next day.

Jamie’s Grated Rainbow Salad (vegan style)

Serves four. Please note that this is my altered version of this recipe. For the original, be sure to pick up Save With Jamie.

Ingredients 

1 cup cous cous (follow cooking directions on pack)

1 pita bread (crisped in oven)

1/2 a cucumber

1 carrot

1/2 a red capsicum

Half a tin of beetroot, thinly sliced (you could also grate raw beetroot)

2 sticks of celery

1 Fry’s vegetarian schnitzel (optional)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Method

1. Pre-heat oven  to 200 degrees. Cook vegetarian schnitzel until brown.

2. Cook cous cous following directions on packet, and set aside ready to fluff up.

3. Grate carrot and cucumber, finely chop capsicum, celery and beetroot.

4. Place pita bread into oven to crisp.

5. To make dressing, place olive oil and red wine vinegar into a jug or dish. Stir until combined. Add oregano and stir again.

6. Arrange cous cous on serving plate, and put vegetables on top. Break pita bread into small pieces and serve with salad. Slice vegetarian schnitzel or meat alternative ready to serve.

7. Serve onto individual plates, and top with dressing if desired.

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I hope you enjoy this super easy recipe. I will be bringing you a few new recipes over the next couple of months. Stay tuned!

Have you tried any new recipes lately? Are you a Jamie Oliver fan?

Exercising in Summer

Active Wear Collage

 

1. Big W Circuit Print Tank – $9.94 | 2. Big W Circuit 3/4 Performance Tights – $14.98 | 3. Lorna Jane Floral Mania Excel Tank – $59.99 | 4. Running Bare Navajo Princess Tights – $79.99 | 5. Bonds Cover Up Capri – $44.95 | 6. Target T30 Performance Tank – $25.00 | 7. Onzie Long Legging – $69.00 | 8. Bonds Active Cap Sleeve Tee – $15.00 (on sale)

Exercise can go one of two ways in Summer – you either go hard and take advantage of the warmer weather, or try and stay in the air conditioning because it is too hot outside. The warmer weather calls for brighter clothes in every part of our wardrobes, including active wear. Clothes for exercise can sometimes err on the boring side – old t-shirts and track pants. Thankfully, brands have started being a bit more adventurous, and injecting the colour and prints that we see in other types of clothing. Bright clothes that suit the weather are an extra incentive to get moving and exercise more.

I have a hard time spending a lot of money over clothing I know is going to be sweated on, but thankfully both budget and expensive active wear brands are making clothes with bright colours so we can all try the trend. Good gym and running shoes on the other hand, are worth paying a bit more for. I absolutely love the floral Lorna Jane singlet, so I think I might keep an eye out for a sale. Spending a little more on your gym gear often does guarantee that it lasts longer, and looks better in the long run. I try to wash my gym pants in a laundry bag to reduce pilling and keep them looking new.

If you’re lucky enough to be heading away on holidays, your exercise routine doesn’t need to stop. Many hotels have gyms or exercise facilities that you can use free of charge. You could also take advantage of water sports like stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and swimming. Holiday spots are also fun to explore, and one of the best ways to do this is by foot or on a bike. Incidental exercise is a great side product of a holiday!

Style Unearthed’s Tips for Exercising in Summer 

1. Adapt your clothing to suit your exercise conditions

Try to choose a light weight fabric when selecting exercise clothes, or one that draws sweat away from the body keeping you cool. If you’re exercising in air conditioning, you will be comfortable enough in a t-shirt or long tights, but if you are outside be sure to wear clothes that won’t be too restrictive. For night time exercise, make sure you’re wearing bright or reflective clothing so you can be easily seen.

2. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water while you’re exercising, and make sure you have proper nutrition on board. The heat can affect you, even if you’re not exerting yourself, so you need to be extra careful when exercising. I prefer to stay away from sports drinks, so water during exercise and a fruit or veggie juice afterwards is always good.

3. Take the opportunity to try something new

Use the warm weather as an excuse to try a new activity. Lots of discount websites have offers for exercise related experiences in the New Year, trying to take advantage of all of those resolutions! Check out local council websites for free activities or events during Summer.

What are you wearing this Summer for exercise? Will you be trying anything new?

Five DIY Tips from a DIY Novice

DIY Tips

For the past 10 days we have embarked on our first major DIY effort. We’ve been in our house two and a half years, and have done small cosmetic things like painting and re-carpeting, but nothing too labour intensive. We decided that over the Christmas and New Year break we would tackle our kitchen to give it a lift by painting the cupboards and using a transformation kit. During our little exercise I have learnt some valuable tips that you may like to follow!

Now that we know we are capable of doing a job like this, we are planning lots of other projects to tackle this year. I will be sure to share the exciting ones with you.

Five DIY Tips from a DIY Novice

1. Proper preparation is important

I can be a little slap dash with household tasks at times… I have been getting better of late, but if this little renovation taught me one thing, it’s that you need to prepare properly. Everything had to be taped up to prevent paint mixing, and the bench tops had to be prepped to make sure the kit actually worked. We made sure that we primed all of the cupboard doors after they had been sanded. Sure, it took extra time but the end result was definitely worth it! The man at the hardware store told us that we would need to apply two coats of primer and at least three coats of paint. By doing it properly, we got away with one primer coat and two of paint. And they look fantastic!

2. Research, compare prices and choose products wisely

Like any products, some things are worth spending extra money on. We decided not to scrimp on paint, and made sure that we bought the proper bench kit rather than trying other alternatives (like sponging paint on the benches which can look effective, but wasn’t the look we wanted). There was quite a bit of difference in the price points of the paint brands, but due to the fact that we were painting kitchen cupboards that are in a high traffic area, not to mention being covered with grease from cooking, we wanted to make sure our hard work wasn’t in vain. I even let my head rule my stomach, and didn’t buy the brand that were offering a tin of lollies as a gift with purchase.

By spending a little time on research, I was able to find some cupboard handles that I loved for a fraction of the price of what I would have paid at a hardware store. When we had our first home, we bought kitchen cupboard handles from eBay, so that was my first port of call as well. The wrought iron handles for our new kitchen cost around $2 each including postage – more than half the price of any other comparable product I could find in Australia.

3. It is possible to DIY with children in the house!

We have two small children, and the week we chose to tackle this project was also the one that both sets of grandparents had planned holidays. While our poor kids were baby sat by the TV more than we would have liked, we found a few activities that they could help with that kept them busy. While we painted doors outside they enjoyed drawing on the driveway in chalk, bouncing on the trampoline and painting the house bricks with water. Inside, they helped vacuum up the mountains of dust. We found that by spending a few good quality chunks of time with them throughout the day, they were happy to entertain themselves for the remainder of the time. Some jobs made it easier for one of us to spend time with them while the other one worked. We definitely made use of nap time and night time while they were sleeping!

4. Invest in a paint sprayer

When my husband first raised the possibility of purchasing a paint sprayer I was very dubious. How good could a $30 spray machine be? Very good, as it turns out! It made the job a lot more efficient, and the finish on the cupboards is fantastic. I’m already planning to use it for the painting of our front door, and the bookshelf that will be given a revamp later these holidays. I did let him say ‘I told you so’…

5. Clean, clean, clean (including how to get water based paint off tiles)

I feel like I have cleaned more this week than I ever have. The bench top transformation generated a lot of dust, so I have been vacuuming multiple times a day to prevent it being tracked through the rest of the house. Tonight I was cleaning water based paint from tiles and was running into difficulties – it just did not want to budge. I Googled for solutions, but couldn’t find anything that worked. I had recently been sent some Dettol cleaning products for a Soup trial, and they really came into their own tonight. Not only did the floor cleaning system make my tiles shine, a few sprays of the Dettol all purpose cleaner, a few minutes for it to activate, and a scrub with a brush resulted in a paint free floor.

The other product that has been in high rotation this week is baby wipes – these things are fantastic! Not only do they remove stains from clothing, they are wonderful for general cleaning. They wiped out cupboards with ease, and were wonderful at getting paint off our skin.

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A sneak peak of the cupboards.

I can’t wait to share the finished product with you once we have completely finished the bench and the handles have arrived. We are so proud of our hard work, and feel much more confident in our DIY abilities now that this project has been a success!

Do you have any DIY tips? Are you a DIY expert or novice like us? What project will you tackle next?