so I apparently have no life because this excites me....

I was at Metro and saw my favourite summer drink - Simply Lemonade both in stock AND it was on sale. I actually gasped out loud. And quickly put two in my cart. And then snapped a picture to show Aubrey. Nerd alert. Happy Friday. ;) xo

Photo inspiration + let's stay together

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

Nothing says Canada Day like a red and white room, right?  I love the colour red, but I usually prefer bright red accessories to bright red walls. With the exception of that bathroom - yum!

Adam is away with his band, so Hannah and I are having a girls weekend. Here's hoping the rain goes away so we can check out some Canada Day festivities!

Speaking of July 1, it's also the day Google Reader has decided to dump all of us. If you haven't made the switch already, here are a few ways we can stay together:


Follow me on Bloglovin

If you love to read blogs, I highly recommend Bloglovin. I made the switch a few months ago and actually prefer it to Google Reader. You can follow me here, or just click the '+' button in my sidebar.


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Follow by email or Google Friend Connect

Get posts delivered straight to your inbox by entering your email address in the box in my sidebar. If you have a Blogger account, follow me with Google Friend Connect to see my posts in your reading list.

And of course you can always find me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Happy weekend and let's stay together, OK?

milk memories from childhood

I have wonderful memories of eating this sweetly spiced, biscuity, wobbly treat as a child on my grandmothers farm.  It takes me back to the High Veld heat, the dappled shade of the wisteria in the courtyard, the plink clinking of the ceramic wood chimes in the breeze of the rain window, and the feel of cool polished slate floors on my bare feet.  Treasured memories of her wonderful home and the magical holidays and spent with her.
A milk tart is much like an Australian vanilla slice, an egg custard pie that should be set firm but still have a wobble in the center.  But for me the vanilla slice can never compete with cinnamon flavoured milk tart.  Milk tart is a very traditional South African dessert and every family has its own favourite version of the recipe.  But none of the recipes I tried have lived up to my memories until I discovered this one by Shades of Cinnamon.  I have to admit that I cheated and bought the pastry cases, but any sweet tart pastry will probably work well.  When I have a little more time I will test out the one at Shades of Cinnamon myself and update this post.

Ingredients for milk tart filling:
  • 4½ cups milk
  • cinnamon stick
  • 3 eggs
  • 2½ Tablespoons cornflour
  • 2½ Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 large sweet pastry cases

Recipe for milk tart:
  • Pour milk into a large pot and add the cinnamon stick.
  • Bring milk to the boil slowly, make sure you don't burn the base of the pot and taint the taste.
  • Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick.
  • While milk is boiling beat the eggs, then add the flour, cornflour, sugar and salt and mix well.
  • Once the milk has boiled pour it into the egg mixture and stir well.
  • Pour mixture back into the pot and return to a low heat, stirring continuously until the custard thickens.  You will know its thick enough when you can feel it pulling against your whisk and 
  • Add the butter and vanilla and mix well.
  • Pour into the pastry cases and chill in the fridge until set.  It should be firm but wobble slightly in the center.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.  Milk tart is best served chilled straight from the fridge.

This recipe filled two medium pastry cases and 6 muffin size ones, its a lot of custard!  
I thought I had made far to much but it was all gone by the second day!

I am planning to make it again these school holidays, perhaps even teach Miss E, and I hope you get to enjoy some soon too.   The blog may be slow the next few weeks as I spend time with my family, but I will be back in a few weeks with some amazing projects that we are busy completing.

bathroom renovation updates

Although some may have seen some updates on my Instagram last night, I thought it was time for some decent photographs of the process of the washroom. :) Above was one of my biggest concerns, the bump out. As you may recall we chose to take up unused hallway space and give it to the washroom - I was terrified it was going to make the hallway seem small, but after it was done, it's not even noticeable. Surprisingly, it feels like it should have been like this all along. We still have to add back trim and I have to do some painting - but you get the idea of how this looks. On the opposite side of the wall this made room for a nook for the new vanity (not yet installed)

Although in the hallway it doesn't feel (or look like) much space was given to the washroom - While you stand you in the washroom it feels quite the opposite - You realize that a lot of room was taken from the hall. In this nook our vanity will fit - giving us more floor space. It's not much - but every inch counts. I'll explain more about this nook later, when we have more pieces of that puzzle put in place.
Aubrey finished installing the tile and grouted the walls last night. I may have done a jig when I saw it - It was *exactly* as I had hoped it would look. Like a fancy hotel bathroom. It feels clean, clutter free and well - clean.

 The bathroom floor has yet to be grouted but will also have white grout lines.

New pot lights. I looooooove pot lights.

The bathroom is feeling larger, cleaner and brighter than our old washroom did. I'm really happy with our choices so far. We still have a few steps (as you can see) including me picking a wall colour (likely white) but I thought these pictures may be fun to post. We're also changing up our toilet. We had installed a new one a few years ago but because of budget got a really inexpensive one. We didn't love it, it ran all the time, and so we've decided to do the same toilet as in the basement, the Kohler's Memoir that I think is so pretty.

Baby steps!
Read more about the tile we picked in this post. / Floor hexagon 2" tiles

White stairs, painted runners and our next big project

We've been thinking about it since the day we moved in, but a couple of weeks ago we finally started the quote process for our stair reno. It's a big job and a significant financial investment, but it has the potential to dramatically transform our living space. You see, I love the layout of our house - except for the stairs. They're narrow, awkwardly placed and a major tripping hazard. The plan is to open up the stairway and replace both sets of stairs (up and down). I think it will make our space feel much larger and - most importantly - the new stairs will be safer and easier to navigate.

via Pinterest

Oh, and I'm just a teeny bit excited that we'll finally be able to finish installing hardwood upstairs (the hardwood for the hallway is currently hanging out under the guest bed) and pick out and install hardwood downstairs.

via Pinterest

To come up with a plan for the new stairs, I've been pinning images of stairs that I like. No particular criteria - if I like it, I pin it. Once I had a pretty good board together, I looked through my pins to see what they had in common. It turns out I really like white stairs.

via Pinterest

Since we're planning to go with a slightly different look for the hardwood on the main floor, I think an all-white stair would tie both floors together nicely. That said, function is priority number one. We have a dog. And an almost-toddler. And there are kids - Adam's drum and guitar students - going up and down the basement steps every day. I don't want 'washing the stairs' to become a full-time job, you know?

via Pinterest

I'd love to install a runner, but I don't think it's practical, given that my biggest pet peeve about the steps right now (ignoring the design) is the carpet. It's impossible to keep clean and I hate vacuuming steps.

via Pinterest

A painted runner could help disguise dirt, but I have a feeling there's a fine line between it looking good and really awful, which makes me nervous, considering that we'll have just spent a whack of money having the stairs re-done. And yet, the more I see it, the more I love the look.

Pinterest via Domino Mag

What kind of stairs do you have in your house? Would you try a painted runner? Anyone with white steps (or floors) want to dish on the upkeep?

That Beachy Feeling {a new sign} & a Story

My mom is an auction guru.
She picks up some pretty cool stuff now and again.
Whenever I make it to Virginia then I have a blast picking through some of the loot.
(She does sell some of it on her own etsy store here)
One such time I was wondering through the forest beside their house,
(being careful to leave a breadcrumb trail for myself).
when I stumbled upon an old broken table.
I took the top to it and turned it into this lovely sign.

The legs and body of the table I sadly had to leave there.
My mom happens to be a kind and thoughtful lady though and before I know it, a broken down table arrives on my doorstep.

I had plans for it.
I truly did.
My plans got delayed and waylaid until I had no plans at all.
I sadly dismantled the poor, forlorn table and started to haul it to the trash...

But the beautiful old wood called my name and I could not bear to leave any of it behind.
Some of its sturdy legs are now working as a trellis for my soon to be dead cucumber plants. 
(How was I to know the trees would leaf out so much that there would be no sunshine for the poor things?)

Some scraps of it still await my imagination.
Some have come to fruition.
I happen to love them.
But the call of the brokendoorslableakdentalworkandmore call me to sell.
Plus, that's why I painted them anyway.
For you.
 I have two, both different sizes. 
You can find them in my etsy store.
The table is happy again.
I am happy for the table.


cookbook recommendation

Cookbook recommendation! My Mom made me home made pasta for my birthday and revealed that it came from one of her favourite cookbooks. Sharing the Table by Amanda Stine and Mary Garland. Amazing. Also available at

Monday photo dump

I've been doing really well with my resolution to spend less time working on our house and more time with my family (that's my positive spin on another weekend gone by with no progress on the patio). We had a belated Father's Day celebration with Adam's family over the weekend, and Hannah "swam" in the lake for the first time (she loved it). On Sunday, we met up with some very good friends who are visiting from Vancouver. Hannah had a great time chasing the other kids around (literally). Did I mention that we started the weekend with a 10-mile run?

Here are a few shots from our weekend. Happy Monday!

{we love books around here}

{my planters are in bloom}

{thinking deep thoughts at grandma & grandpa's house}

{first time in the lake}

{totally tuckered after a visit with friends}

kitchen eye candy

Now I love blogging, but mostly its lots of hard work and wondering if anybody except your mother and your facebook friends are reading what you post.  But every now and then it is a whole lot of fun.  Last week I was invited to the Best Home Chef finale at the new Winning Appliances showroom in Redfern.  Good food, lots of lovely people, celeb chefs and some serious kitchen eye candy made the event a memorable one.  
But it's the kitchen candy I want to talk about.  The new Winnings showroom is gorgeous, light and bright, with at least 5 dream show kitchens for you to drool over.  If you are thinking of a kitchen upgrade and want some ideas, its a good place to start, I wish it had been built when I was doing my planning.  And its pretty handy that you can look at appliances at the same time.

In the past parking has been a bit of a nightmare in Dank Street but, with parking at the new Aldi and Coles on the corner of Dank and Bourke, it's a whole lot easier now.  If you can't get to the showroom, have a look at the great project gallery on the Winnings website.   I am loving the combination of white and wood in the Bondi kitchen, which is your dream design?

I loved the industrial touches in the show kitchen that Mark Best (bottom right above) cooked in, rusted Tolix stools, gorgeous metal crates hanging above the counter which didn't photograph well, and a collection of industrial pendant lights.   I will have to go back and take some more photo's, it was just to busy to get good shots on the night, and the other kitchens were lovely.

I like that Winnings see themselves as more than a showroom, more than just a retailer, they see themselves as the hub for a community of real home cooks, real people cooking in real kitchens, enjoying food with family and friends.  Sounds good doesn't it.  Pop in and see for yourselves.

This post was not paid for and all opinions (and photographs) are genuine and entirely my own.

Photo inspiration + making labneh


Happy first day of summer!

There's a great post on the marion house book about half-painted walls today. Emma has curated several inspiring images, including the one above.

I love the the wall colour in our living room/dining room - which is similar to, but a bit lighter than, the colour on the lower half of the walls above - but lately I've been itching to change things up. I don't know that I'm ready to change the entire space (especially with so many higher priority projects in the queue), but this could be the perfect treatment for the long wall that runs from our entry, past the living room and into the kitchen. Also, that floor is the exact tone of hardwood that I want to install on the main floor.

Fresh Yogurt Cheese (Labneh) Recipe

Thanks to a conversation I had on Twitter earlier this week, I've decided to try making labneh this weekend. If you've never had it, it's a healthy, spreadable cheese from the Middle East and it's delicious (or so I'm told). It looks like it's pretty easy to make, too. I'll be adding herbs to mine and I'll meet you back here on Monday to let you know how it turned out.

Happy weekend!

front landscaping

Our front porch planters that I've blogger about here and here didn't make it through this season. So sad. :( The metal rusted and dirt started spilling out the bottom earlier this week.  When I was at Lowes this week  I spotted these plastic planters that were gooooorgeous. They don't look like plastic at all. They were $88 each - which depending on how you look at it could be ridiculously expensive, or, a great deal. As I told Aubrey - similar styled planters would run a few hundred at places like Restoration Hardware. Granted - you may be able to find less expensive ones elsewhere but I have yet to see any that looked this good and were of this quality for any less than what we spent.

In other landscaping news, I've put on hold my intentions to tear up my front lawn. Truthfully - I don't really have it in me to do the labour, and I'm not overly confident that my initial design idea was right. I'm now considering maybe 1 tall tree and a boulder of some sort. But I think on the list of priorities this is pretty low.

And lastly - Our front deck needs replacing .... badly. As you can see above it is carpeted and also has no railings. It's a bit of a safety concern for me with Oscar - as I worry he'll fall off. But design wise, I think our home would look beautiful with a railing. It's not a project that is totally in vain - the deck has developed some soft spots and does need addressing over the next year...

Anyhow, my real intention of this post was to rave about my new planters. :) Have a great weekend - Sunday is my birthday. Wheeee!! ;)

In other news -- thank you for "liking" me on facebook. I've also made my Instagram feed public which you may have noticed on the sidebar of my blog if you visit my actual blog to read my posts. I'm still trying to find balance with my concerns with over-sharing and on the other side of things - my love of technology and photography. So hopefully I'll balance it well. xo

great gatsby glam...and top 10 novels

We saw The Great Gatsby the other day, quite spectacular.  The Voice of Reason hated it, I thought it was visually amazing but still not my favourite novel.  I do love the over the top glam of this time though, Hollywood Regency furniture and super glamorous clothes.  If I could I would spend the day in this pink gown, looking like Zsa Zsa Gabor, and dripping with diamonds darling.
It got me thinking about every body's favourite books.  I know what my top ten are (today) but would love to know what is on your list, there must be lots of books I have missed out on that are really fabulous and I will love too.

So  I will start you off with my all time fave reads, but share the love and let me know what your favourite favourites are.  I need a good book list to take me into the school holidays. 
I Claudius - Robert Graves
Possession - AS Byatt
The Power and the Glory - Graham Green
The Book Thief - Marcus Zuzak
Any book by Margaret Atwood, except the Handmaids Tail (yuck!)
Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruis Zafon
The Bone People - Keri Hulm
The whole Rome series - Colleen McCullough (Brilliantly entertaining history, not dry at all)
And of course The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by Tolkein if you like fantasy
And of course I would do my reading, with a crystal glass of something close to hand.

| Gown by Chloe |  The Great Gatsby  |  David Austin Roses  |  Zsa Zsa Gabor  |  Antique Diamond Necklace  |

50% off calling cards

If you're on my shop's e-mail list you would have heard that I brought back calling cards to my shop and about the crazy sale of 50% off that ran all last week. My calling cards been absent from my shop for almost a year while I searched for the perfect paper for the cards - so to celebrate their return we hosted a pretty awesome sale. Since it was so popular of a sale (and because a lot of the orders we did last week were for bloggers) I thought you may like to see the new designs and take advantage of the pretty crazy savings too. The sale have been extended until Friday - be sure to enter SAVE50 in the checkout and get 50% off the calling cards.  xo Lindsay

Cubicle Cute

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

In case you missed it, I started a new job last week. I'm loving it so far - great people, interesting and challenging work, shorter commute - but when I accepted the position, my new manager warned me that I would be trading in my office for a cubicle. My company's office is certified LEED Platinum, so luckily I still have a great view and lots of natural light, and I'm oddly excited to add some personality to my desk area - something I never did in six years of having my own office.

I've already purchased a snake plant - did you know they're easy to care for and help improve air quality? - and my aunt gifted me a beautiful piece of pottery (similar to #4) that I use as a pen holder. In addition to the Etsy art, I'm planning to print one or two photos of Hannah, so I can sneak peeks at her sweet face while I work.

So, do you have an office or a cubicle? And, more importantly, have you decorated it?

a peek at my house...the master bathroom

One of my favourite rooms in my home, I love the dramatic black walls, and the view of the bath, chandelier and mirror from the bedroom.  I feel like a movie star in a luxe Hollywood pad every time I walk into it.
The walls are flooded with light at sunrise, which in winter is about waking up time, a lovely warm glow to wake up to.  
I would love to make other areas of the house this dramatic too, I was a bit braver in a small space.  I am so pleased that we didn't tile the entire back wall, which is what we were advised to do, and used the mirror instead.  Stick to your guns as I said in my top ten building tips!  And it even has the Voice of Reason tick of approval, romantic but not to feminine!

Another day I will show you the walk in robes that join the bedroom and bathroom, they are black stained oak and really add to the glam feel, but they are hard to photograph!

Summerwood Photography

Beware, this post is picture heavy!
A few months back I had the pleasure of adding a new sponsor to my blog.
Please welcome Summerwood Photography.

31 Virginia

I had sadly neglected having had any professional photos done of our 3 boys.
So I was more than thrilled to have Ryan and Alisha do their pictures.
Ryan and Alisha are a husband and wife team and they work so well together.
I was beyond impressed with how quickly and efficiently they got the shoot done.
Of course it helped that they're our friends and our boys love them;-)

They took so many wonderful pictures that it has been hard to choose our favorites.
I love how they really captured the boys personalities!
I did pick some of the more goofy ones to show, but they are actually some of my favorite.
Be sure to stop by their site and see some more of the wonderful shots they've taken.
They do an excellent job of taking wedding photos as well as normal portraits.
Thanks you all for capturing some precious moments that we can hold on to!

31 Virginia


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