Thursday, 25 April 2013

Visual Inspiration

Having recently commenced studying again I decided my work life needed a little reorganising. 

As a work-from-home freelance writer and full-time mum, life is chaotic enough, without adding a whole bunch of disorganised text books and study notes to the mix. 

So after a spot of online shopping at Kikki-K to stock up on stationary, I've finally created myself a little workspace - more like a study nook - which fits snuggly in a corner of my home, with easy access and a continuous view of my two boys (though most of my work is done once they're safely tucked in bed!).

I've adorned it with things that are special to me, including photos, my kids' drawings, a poem from my mum, a card from my husband etc. 

While madly clicking away during my stationary shopping spree, I spontaneously bought a so-called "visual diary". 

My husband is a huge advocate of visual inspiration, so I thought - "why not?" - I'll create my own little book of inspiration. 

I imaged myself cutting out pictures of beautiful home decor, fit and healthy families, yummy recipes and my favourite quotes. 

So far, though, the book remains empty, though placed front and centre of my desk waiting patiently to be filled. 

It's not for lack of interest, more a time issue  - as in I don't have any after spending time with/feeding/cleaning the kids, managing the house, writing, studying, practising piano/guitar, life in general... 

I want to though. 

So, I'm wondering - is it worth the time? Do you have a visual diary or any other type of visual inspiration and if so, do you value it? 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Sneaky Pumpkin Muffins

One of my biggest parenting challenges has been getting my eldest to eat his vegetables.  In fact healthy snacks in general hasn't been all that easy. 

I admit to being fairly naive when he was first beginning solids and snacks and relied far too heavily on the "babies and toddlers" isle in the supermarket. 

And with my own penchant for packaged goods, I considered the little fruit bars and rice cakes to be healthy snack options for him. 

Fast forward a couple of years and while he loves his fruit, he's also developed his own little taste for packaged fruit bars and other not-so-healthy snacks. 

I took a different approach the second time around and my youngest has much healthier taste buds. 

But with my recent decision to reduce packaged foods and increase my fresh food intake (which I wrote about here), I've began thinking outside the square when it comes to cooking - both for myself and my children. 

So, for anyone else with fussy little eaters, I've decided to share my most successful recipes here. They'll have been tested on the toughest critic! 

This one has been a huge hit. It's a snack - or treat - and has the tick of approval from Beau's kindergarten, whose healthy eating policy is fairly strict. 

Let me know what you think and please do share your own healthy recipes - I need all the help I can get!

Choc-chip Pumpkin Muffins

2 cups wholemeal (or regular) flour 
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 pumpkin
1 egg (beaten)
1/4 cup olive (grape seed, canola) oil

Chop up pumpkin and steam until soft. Mash in a bowl and put aside to cool. 
Combine flour and sugar;
Add milk, egg and oil and stir until combined;
Fold in mashed pumpkin;
Add chocolate chips;
Grease or spray small muffin tin or line with cupcake papers and spoon in mixture;
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on your oven!)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Women talk about "women's issues"... again

I watched last night's episode of Q and A with both interest and disappointment.

The panel consisted of an interesting and diverse group of women, all intelligent and articulate and all of whom possess different and sometimes opposing opinions on, no doubt, a variety of different topics.

One such topic, of course, is feminism.

Unsurprisingly, it was the first subject discussed.  Sadly, it was the only one.

While feminism is unquestionably an important issue, and a conversation I was looking forward to hearing (enough to keep me from my Monday night guilty pleasure, Revenge), I couldn't help but be disappointed that the first time an all female panel presents itself, the only topic covered is... feminism.

There were a few loose diversions, such as sex work (which was extraordinarily glamorised by most of the panel with the exception of Mia Freedman), politics and Islam - all were directly linked to feminism.

Deborah Cheetham tried to swing the conversation a couple of times, and both she and Janet Albrechtsen attempted to add some much-needed depth to the feminist discussion, but to little avail.

While it was undoubtedly an interesting episode (surprisingly I found myself nodding most enthusiastically to both Germain Greer and Janet Albrechtsen), it really was an episode about feminism as opposed to simply an "all women panel".

Even if they wanted to limit the discussion to issues effecting women, some broader questions could have been put to the panel, relating to, say, parenting, politics (non-gender), careers, the environment - anything really!

Alternatively, to legitimise the importance of the feminism issue - should this be the focus of the episode - perhaps a male panelist should have been included?

For me, despite consisting of remarkable women discussing a very important topic, although it was an interesting show, there was a hint of "novelty" about it.