Monday, November 11, 2019

Gingerbread Man Wreath

I LOVE Christmas and if I had it my way I would start putting decorations up in November, thankfully Christmas crafting is acceptable in November (and earlier!). I craft a lot throughout the year but there is something extra special about doing Christmas crafts.

This wreath was inspired by a few things, one being a wreath my aunty has in her house that was made out of felt gingerbread shapes and the other being this Lego gingerbread house that I am dreaming of making come December. It's also a relatively easy and cheap DIY and it's a great one to get the kids involved with too.

You will need:
Wooden wreath base - like this one 
Air dry clay (I bought it in brown)
Acrylic paint in brown and a variety of colours (I used red, blue, yellow, green, white and gold)
Glitter and/or small gems (I used superfine glitter and some small gems I had in my craft stash)
Super glue
PVA glue
Ribbon in a matching colour - I used some medium sized red ribbon
Permanent marker - I used a fine tip marker for outlining and a thicker tip for the faces.
Gingerbread man cookie cutter and any other Christmassy shapes such as stars, angels, hearts etc along with the gingerbread man I did candy canes to go between them.
Other embellishments - I had some candy cane hearts leftover from another project.
Varnish

  1. Taking the gingerbread man cookie cutter roughly measure how many shapes (measuring hand to hand) it takes to fill the wreath then add 3-5 to the number (for some spares). This is how many gingerbread men you will need to cut out.
  2. Roll out the clay and cut out gingerbread men, it doesn't matter if they aren't perfect you want them to look like cookies. I also cut out some candy canes using a small cutter I had to go between the gingerbread men. Let dry according to instructions (about 24-48 hours)
  3. If the clay isn't brown or not gingerbread coloured enough paint brown, in my case despite the clay being brown I decided to paint them a darker colour - I found a sponge was great in helping get around the edges and give a smooth finish.
  4. Once dry, paint in the details such has bowties, buttons and scarfs using a variety of colours (I found for some of the details it was better to paint them on with white paint first then go over them in a colour). Draw on the faces and outline the areas if needed with the permanent marker - I also took a toothpick and dotted on a tiny amount of white on the eyes.
  5. Using a tiny amount of super glue, glue on the gems and add glitter, I used small gems for the buttons and middle of the bowties and used glitter on the red stripes of the candy canes. For the glitter I find it often less messy to mix in the glitter into PVA glue and then paint it on.
  6. Arrange the clay shapes and other embellishments on the wreath base and work out if you want to paint the base if its showing through (I ended up  doing a coat of white followed by 2 coats of gold), once you're happy with how the shapes are positioned super glue them on. As my wreath had holes in it I made sure that the bulk of them were covered up by the shapes so this affected where I positioned them and the spaces in between. After the glue has had a chance to set (a few hours) give the wreath a coat of varnish and let dry overnight.
  7. Attach ribbon to the wreath and tie a bow.
  8. Step back and admire your wreath.


I did this over the course of a week due to drying time and wanting to take my time, this was my schedule:
Day 1 - cut out shapes and left to dry on a lined baking tray.
Day 3 - painted shapes with a base coat.
Day 4 - added detail to shapes and once dry added gems, glitter and final touches.
Day 5 - Painted wreath base letting dry between coats.
Day 6 - stuck the shapes to the wreath base and varnished.
Day 7 - attached ribbon to the wreath




Saturday, November 9, 2019

What to expect with an iron infusion

When I went to my doctor regarding tiredness/exhaustion, random nosebleeds and vertigo spells I figured my iron might be a bit low and he would just tell me to take a supplement after testing it. I do
not like blood tests in the slightest I have tiny veins that bruise easily and no one can get blood out of and lets be honest I hadn't had a blood test in over 5 years because of it.  You also know there's an issue when your doctor pokes at your veins quite a few times and he is concerned about getting blood out of you (I guess this means I'm safe against vampires...). Thankfully the pathologist/nurse at the pathology place at my doctors was a miracle worker and got the blood first drawer which was amazing and I had barely any bruising as a result.
Well it turns out my iron was very low and an iron infusion was needed. I waited just over 3 weeks from the blood test to when I did the infusion and during that time I noticed the symptoms a lot more (though thankfully I didn't get any nosebleeds) and found by about 3.00pm each day I just wanted to do nothing. I was also using sugar as a way to get me through the day and give me a much needed boost when my energy levels dipped.

Once you get told you will need an iron infusion you need to get a script filled with the infusion liquid (I picked up two vials of brown liquid), I ended up going to my pharmacy a few days before to fill in my script just in case they didn't have it in stock but thankfully they did. You then take that when you go to the doctors to have the infusion. I was told quite a few times to make sure my doctor was the one giving it to me and I wasn't going to do it myself and I assured them that I had an appointment on Friday booked to get it done. When I mentioned this to my doctor he laughed as he had never had a patient get told so many times not to do it themselves and he is wondering if there is a market for DIY iron infusions or something.

My appointment was at 2.30pm and I was told to keep my fluids up and eat a decent lunch beforehand. I drank around 3 glasses of water a hour or so before my appointment and a chicken and salad roll for lunch (and a bag of chocolate covered pretzels too, I needed a sugar fix ok?). My sister came with me and she drove me home afterwards as I feeling wiped, my doctors is actually 25-30 minutes away but had it been closer I would've been fine to drive myself.

Normally they try to do the infusion in your non dominate arm but after 2 attempts it was decided to try to my right arm which was thankfully successful. They did a flush of saline and then hooked me up to a bag of saline, once that is flowing they then fill the bag with the infusion liquid which takes about 30 minutes to empty. Throughout it, my blood pressure and pulse were checked, about halfway through I started to feel wiped and kinda faint, I also experienced some dizzy spells but honestly I have been experiencing them for a while so I don't think it was directly related to it and I had a metallic taste in my mouth which is completely normal. I thought I would feel the liquid going in but a part from a bit of coldness at the start I didn't feel anything. While it was happening I just played around on my phone and chatted to the nurse, I was just trying not to focus on what was going on and get through it all.
After it was complete I then had to stay in the doctors surgery to make sure I had no major side effects and was allowed to go after 30 minutes. I was at the doctors for 1.5 hours which wasn't too bad. I was given a page of possible side effects to keep an eye out for within the next 48 hours and getting told I will probably feel worse and then eventually get better over 2 weeks.

Since coming home I have been trying to take it easy and just being aware of how I am feeling, of course the possible side effects are also what I have experienced over the past few weeks so honestly I have no idea what is a side effect and what isn't!
I have to go for a blood test in 4 weeks but as I am seeing my doctor in 2.5 weeks to get a script I will pick up the referral then and book in an appointment to get my follow up results too. Here's hoping that it works!

***this is my own experience with having an iron infusion I am not a medical professional nor will I ever be one (though I do watch a lot of medical drama shows).

Update 13/11/2019: I have found that I am still dealing with side affects almost a week later and this has included a sore arm where the infusion site was. I was told that the side affects I was experiencing would go away with 48 hours but they are lasting a lot longer. I ended up ringing my doctors surgery on Tuesday and speaking to the nurse who advised that due to the site of the infusion being sore I needed to come in. Thankfully my doctor managed to fit me in and he said the site was looking fine and nothing seemed to be causing the issues, but that for some people they last longer. He gave me a script for anti nausea meds and told me to take it easy, which is what I have been doing. For me personally I have been experiencing the following after the infusion:
  • Metallic taste in mouth - I thought this was go away but is has continued to stay and got quite strong on Monday, but has since started to reduce. Apparently this means that the infusion is working though, I find certain foods can mask but other times it returns stronger than before. 
  • Nausea - this comes and goes in waves and I never know if it will be severe or not. I have been prescribed some anti nausea medication to take if I need to. 
  • Dizzy spells - this is like the nausea in that it comes and goes in waves and sometimes it comes with the nausea which is fun. 
  • Site of the infusion being sore - apparently this is looking great and if anything my left arm should be sorer as that's where I got stabbed a few times. My theory is that the actual veins are bruised due to the trauma and being on the smaller side with liquid getting pumped into them. 
  • Headaches - not major, but I do find if I push myself too much I get a headache afterwards. 
I am praying that these side affects go soon and I am taking it one day at a time. Everyone reacts differently to iron infusions and I have heard of so many who have no reactions to them, unfortunately I seem to be in the few that get them and in the fewer where the side affects last longer than 48 hours.  



Friday, November 8, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

I am posting this in the morning as this afternoon I have my iron infusion and I have no idea how I will be. I have been super exhausted this past week and also experiencing vertigo so I am praying that the infusion will help and I will soon have my energy back.
This past week has been busy just with things happening every day and having to work my life around various appointments and commitments. Thankfully next week is quiet and I am going to try and do nothing as I have G Team from the 17th - 22nd the following week and I know it will be full on and extremely crazy.
I had the induction a couple of weeks ago and it went well and it was great seeing a lot of familiar faces at the induction. This year we also had to choose what areas we wanted to be in over the week I am doing the following areas - rides, toilets, movie tent and silent disco. I'm happy with what I ended up getting and I think it's a good mix of areas.
Onto Friday Favourites...

Kikki K Porcelain 3D Ornament Cat - the moment I saw this ornament I knew I had to have it and it's even cuter in person. I just love how classic it is and it would fit into any Christmas tree theme. It does appear fragile so be careful where you do hang it.

Coral by Sara Ella - this book surprised me in a good way and if you love fairy tales then you will
love this book.
The blurb reads:
Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved—yet tragic—tale, “The Little Mermaid,” Coral explores mental health from multiple perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.
There is more than one way to drown.
Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans—emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?

Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at Fathoms—a new group therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?

Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?

When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin?
I honestly didn't expect this book to be about mental illness or how well it showed it and it was pleasant surprise to see the theme in the book. I like how it shows mental illness in a different way compared to other books and it explains it really well for those who haven't experienced it. I like how it was 3 stories intertwined with each other and while it was confusing to start with once you got into the book things became clearer. I loved the character of Brooke and how she struggled with finding her place above the water. It was a great reimagined tale of The Little Mermaid and it's definitely not your typical fairy tale.
Coral is out on the 12th of November

Lake Season by Denise Hunter - another great book by Denise Hunter that I highly recommend reading.
The blurb reads:
When their parents die in a tragic accident Molly Bennett and her siblings pull together to fulfill their parents’ dream: turning their historic home back into an inn.

Adam Bradford (AKA bestselling author Nathanial Grey) is a reclusive author with a bad case of writer’s block. Deadline approaching and desperate for inspiration, he travels to a North Carolina lake town, the setting of his next novel. There he immediately meets his muse, a young innkeeper who fancies herself in love with his alter ego.

When Molly finds an old letter in the walls of her inn she embarks on a mission to find the star-crossed lovers and bring them the closure they deserve. But the guest she invites along has secrets of his own—and the answers Molly finds may not be the ones she was looking for.


I enjoyed the book and found all the characters likeable but I did find it harder than Denise's other books to get into. The storyline kept me interested thought it was a bit predictable in areas. I liked the characters of Molly and Adam and enjoyed seeing their romance blossom throughout the pages of the book. I also liked how they were both dealing their own issues, but never did the book seem to dwell on them and make the book full of tragedy. It was a strong start to a new series and I look forward to reading the next books in the series and see how the Bluebell Inn goes.
Lake Season is out on the 12th of November.

***I was provided with both these books thanks to Netgalley all opinions are my own.

Atypical Season 3 - I have really enjoyed Atypical so far and getting to see Sam's journey as he struggles with autism and trying to work out where he fits in in the world. Season 3 was a great watch and I enjoyed getting to Sam manage college and make new friends. I also enjoyed how he continued to relate his behaviours to the penguins and put what he was feeling into terms he could understand. I love the character of Zahid and how he see's Sam for Sam and helps get him out of his comfort zone. Zahid also has some great scenes that make the show and provide some comic relief.

Greenhouse Academy Season 3 - I liked this season but I feel that season 1 and 2 had better storylines and there were different actors playing a couple of key characters which made things not feel as smooth. Also the character of Jackie was absent and it was a really weird response as to where she was, whereas they could've written a much more realistic response to what they gave. It also only had 8 episodes compared the prior seasons having 12 episodes each, I found that when season 3 ended it was just finding it's footing. Thankfully there is a season 4 coming (they filmed season 3 and 4 back to back) and I am looking forward for the cliff hanger to get resolved.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

How can we be 2 months away from Christmas?! I am slowly getting all my Christmas shopping done as November and December always seem to be super crazy for me and anything I can do now to lessen the anxiety is much welcome.

Last Wednesday I went to my doctor as I have been felling exhausted, experiencing dizzy spells and getting random nose bleeds. Growing up I used to get the worst nose bleeds ever and when I was 13 I had a whole week of them which led to the blood vessels in my nose getting cauterised. While I have still experienced nose bleeds it was maybe like 1 or 2 small ones a year, but recently I have been getting 1 or 2 a month and they have been slowly getting worse and they leave me wiped. So my doctor sent me off for a blood test (which was a given) to see what was going on. I have the worst veins ever, they are super small and bruise easily, all my blood tests have been a horrible experience and my doctor even had his concerns when he saw them. Thankfully pathology is in the same building as my doctor and my doctor said if anyone could get my blood with no problems they could and first try they found a vein! It was the most painless blood test I have ever had and I know if in the future I need anymore blood tests I will be going back there (even if its a 30-45 minute drive). The results said my iron was low and in two weeks I will go to get an iron infusion and I should see a huge difference in my energy levels.
Then this Wednesday I got stabbed in the back my doctor, I had a lump on my back which I had previously gotten an ultra sound on (last November) and was declared a cyst which was great but it had grown and was in an annoying position. With cysts there's a chance that they can turn into cancer and as I couldn't really see this cyst, I decided to take the plunge and get it removed. I had to do it either now or wait until after G Team as the stitchers have to be in for 2 weeks and my movement will be limited (it's right on the shoulder blade) so I have 3 weeks to recover from it. Thankfully my doctor knows his stuff and it wasn't a huge deal, just a bit painful and now I'm trying to take it easy and not cause too much discomfort.
I will go and get the stitches out in just under 2 weeks, which means I will actually see my doctor twice in one week due to how things have worked out. Thankfully I like my doctor and the stitches shouldn't take to long to remove.

I had a phone interview on Tuesday and I felt hopeful that I would get an actual in person interview but it wasn't meant to be. I am happy that I even got a phone interview but I also feel silly for even getting my hopes up that I would land an interview. I know God has a plan for regarding this whole situation and I'm just praying that it all gets sorted out soon.

Thankfully this weekend has a few distractions including G Team induction on Saturday and having to pick up Jocelyn from the airport at 5.30am on Sunday (apparently you can't tell your sister to get an Uber...).

Onto Friday Favourites...

Central Perk Lego Set - I love the tv show Friends so when Lego was bringing out a Central Perk set I knew I had to have it, unfortunately I didn't get in quick enough the first time it was released but I did get it when it was brought back in stock. It's a great set and super detailed but I will say it can be tricky and it took me around 4 hours to build over 2 days. It probably also didn't help that I am currently exhausted all the time so I would need to read the instructions a couple of times per section. Once you get into building it, it get's easier and I will say building the base from scratch was the hardest part (also section 1 has 2 bags which is mentioned nowhere so you freak out as you can't find the parts and then realise that there is in fact another bag labelled 1). Safe to say I am not dismantling it any time soon and I will find a way to make sure it stays permanently on display in the house.

Echosmith Lonely Generation - finally new music from Echosmith! I was so happy when I got an email in my inbox the other day saying that Echosmith is having a new album out in January and the first song was already available, I immediately pre-ordered it and downloaded the new song. I am really loving it and enjoying the lyrics.



Every The Next Step Season 6 Extended Dance - you can't deny The Next Step dancers are super talented and I found myself watching all the Season 6 dances on the weekend. Even if you haven't seen the show you can definitely appreciate this talent.


Nude by Nature Moisture Infusion lipgloss - lipgloss is becoming a must have make up item this season as it's all about the healthy glow with makeup, I've had some issues with lipgloss being sticky and it's taken me a while to find one I like. Once again Nude by Nature has made a great product that adds a swipe of sheer colour and moisture and doesn't feel sticky but still having that gloss that's in this season. I have it in Dusk and it's great for swiping on when you don't want to worry about lipstick but still want a bit of colour and shine.

Kikki K Porcelain Gingerbread dish - I love all the sparkle and shine of the Christmas decorations that are coming out in stores at the moment and I couldn't resist buying this cute dish when I saw it in Kikki K. In my experience you can never have enough trinket dishes especially ones that are as cute as this and will add Christmas cheer wherever it is placed.



Friday, October 11, 2019

Five (well four) Friday Favourites

This past fortnight has been busy, our friends with the triplets left last Friday and the house has become much quieter. I have recovered from the interchurch sports competition though I was feeling really wiped from it. Then we did lots of touristy things with our friends and the triplets and throw in a psych appointment and I felt like I didn't have a day to do nothing and just recover. I also had a friends 18th birthday party on the Saturday night where I was given 48 hours notice to come up with a cake.
This past week has been fun but busy, on Monday I babysat some friends kids which was full. Tuesday we had Jocelyn's 21st birthday but we didn't celebrate it until Wednesday as she had exams on until Wednesday, and Megan and I went to The Next Step concert. Wednesday I had an employment agency meeting which was uneventful as usual and we went out for dinner to celebrate the end of Jocelyn's exams and her birthday. Thursday Megan and I went to see the new Dora the Explorer movie as I had won tickets and I can honestly say it wasn't a bad film and I enjoyed it. Then today I went to the shops and did some retail therapy before relaxing at home. 
Next week is thankfully looking quiet except for my usual support work on Monday afternoon and a doctors appointment next Wednesday, but the following week is busy with giving a speech for ReachOut (which I am currently writing), taking and picking up various family members from the airport and G Team induction. 
I will say one good thing about being busy is that I haven't had time to dwell on waiting for the phone to ring regarding job interviews and I fill out an application and it doesn't cross my mind again. I am hopeful that I get at least one or two interviews soon but all I can really do is trust in God and know that he is in control. 

Onto Friday Favourites (also I totally left Friday Favourites until the last minute which is why there is only four this fortnight)...

The Next Step concert recap - I'm still reliving the concert and can honestly say it has been a highlight of October and possibly the year for me. I finally wrote a recap of it yesterday and my experiences of the concert.

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea High Tides and Good Vibes eyeshadow palette - I have been wanting this palette for a while but couldn't justify the cost but I had a birthday discount voucher and it happened to be free shipping so I ended up buying it. I am really loving it and find as with all my Tarte palettes it's super pigmented and goes on really well, the glitter also has great staying power which I was concerned about but haven't had an issue with. The colours are great multiuse shades and I've been enjoying playing around with lots of looks. The case is also really fun and I love the turtle and liquid effects.

Safi Petal Sleeve Blouse - I am loving florals at the moment and the bolder the better. Thankfully Jeanswest has brought out some fun prints and I couldn't resist this top when I was there the other day. It's the perfect summer top and it's flowy and the print makes me smile, it fits well and while I wouldn't normally go for the petal sleeves I actually love them. I'm looking forward to adding it into my regular wardrobe rotation once the weather gets warmer.

Tilly & Type selfcare stationery - I was after a positive print to gift a friend who is going through a tough time and I did quick search on Etsy and came across Tilly and Type. I fell in love with the prints and especially it being a small Australian business which is promoting mental health and selfcare. I put in an order for a few prints because I figured if I was going to buy one, I should also buy some for myself and when they arrived on Tuesday I found myself smiling from the moment I opened the package. The box they arrived in was a piece of art in itself, included in it was a hand written note and the prints were beautifully packaged in tissue paper . I ordered the You Are Not Alone print, two You Are Stronger Than You Think postcards and a Step Outside Your Comfort Zone postcard, I also got a Cheer up Buttercup postcard as bonus which was lovely surprise and then bought some frames from Kmart and they've turned out really nicely.




Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Next Step concert recap

Megan and I had the most amazing time on Tuesday night at The Next Step concert and I honestly don't know where to begin.

As soon as The Next Step announced they were touring Australia Megan invited me to their
Facebook event for our city and it was a given that we would both go. I really enjoy watching The Next Step and find its a great show to watch when I don't want something intense and just entertaining and light, plus the dancing is amazing. We had been previously a few years ago and we had both loved it and Megan still talks about that concert to this day.
Megan has a Companion Card which means a carer can get in free at 99% of events where had she not had Down Syndrome she could attend/participate alone, this means for concerts we only have to buy one ticket and we get another covered. We bought tickets the day they were released and ended up sitting in the 3rd row from the stage and on the floor level and I can honestly say we had some of the best seats in the house. We didn't have to strain our necks to look up at the stage and only had two rows in front of us, Victoria (one of the dancers) even commented on how good the seats were (more on that later).

The concert this time round was at a bigger venue and not in the city and the email that I got on the day explained the parking situation and what we could and couldn't bring into the venue.  All bags had to be smaller than an A4 piece of paper so I ended up taking a clutch which was packed despite me taking the bare minimum (phone, keys, purse, glasses case and iPod (I plug it into my cars stereo system and don't like leaving it in the car) ) and we were only allowed clear water bottles but thankfully Megan had space in her bag for them as I didn't want to spend a small fortune on water at the venue.

I like to arrive early to things and get anxious if I have no idea where I am going even with a GPS and parking can always be stressful at new venues, thankfully there was free parking and plenty of it and we were able to get a good spot near the right entrance for our ticket.
The concert started at 6.30pm but doors opened up at 5.30pm with merch being sold from 5.00pm. We ended up having an early dinner at home and leaving soon after 4.30pm (I think it was more like 4.40pm by the time we got in the car) and getting to the venue at around 5.15pm with traffic which wasn't too bad.
Megan wanted a tshirt so we got in line and each bought a tshirt which were $40 each so honestly not too bad considering and Megan got a poster for $10, we then put them in the car and made our way to entrance. On our tickets we were told to enter in door 2 which took us directly to the floor, of course I needed to make a bathroom run before the concert so we had to climb the grandstand and then back down again and found our seats, it wasn't super busy and I was glad we got there early. I messaged some friends for about 15 minutes and soon after 6.00pm on the big screen videos from behind the scenes of The Next Step TV show started playing and dance clips as well from their YouTube channel. I had seen these clips multiple times when I had gone down my weekly YouTube holes but it was great to see them on the big screen and it really helped increase the excitement.

The concert started and it was so good, the dancers are all super talented and it was great to see the
dancers clearly love performing. There were only two dancers that were in the first The Next Step concert Megan and I went to - Briar and Victoria so it was great to see the new talent. They did a few dances from the show and also a few routines. It was a similar style to the previous concert where they had video interviews with individual dancers and then they each did solo performances, I think about half of the dancers did this (from memory it was Victoria, Briar, Alexandra, Isaiah and Shelby). Then there was a girls trio (on pointe which was beautiful!) and a boys trio, two duets and a few group performances. Victoria (who plays Michelle) was only joining the tour for the Australian leg so it was her final show and you could feel the emotion in her solo, she also MCed and kept the show running and it was great to see the cast all interact with each other and play off of each other.
Halfway through just before intermission they got everyone up and taught us all to dance, which was fun, Megan was grooving and was really getting into it whereas I was just doing it awkwardly haha. They then showed a trailer for the next season and it's looking really good and I am excited to see what happens.
After intermission (I think) they did a Q and A and I encouraged Megan to put up her hand, she was super reluctant but I really wanted her to get given the chance and she was the last girl chosen. Victoria actually made the effort and came over and made a bit of small talk before asking Megan what her question was (who was quite star struck by this point haha) and I had to help Megan ask the cast what their favourite dance move was and then instead of just saying it they all demonstrated their favourite dance moves. It made Megan's night and Victoria really took her time with Megan and even gave her a high five. It makes me tear up thinking about it as Megan is can be overlooked and there were so many people with their hands up but she noticed Megan. It probably also didn't hurt that we had a spare seat next to us and were on the aisle of the middle section, but it made her night and mine.

The concert ended just after 8.30pm and Megan was on a high, the carpark was getting rather crazy
and carparks are a bit of an anxiety inducer for me, so we decided to get some wristbands to let the car park start to clear and get less crazy. In my car I have quite a collection of rubber wristbands from various events so I wanted to get one to remind myself of this night (though it hasn't made it to my car as I haven't taken it off since the concert). We ended up at home at 9.30pm and my GPS sent me on a weird way home and I had no idea where we were so I just went along with it and hoped for the best haha! fun

It was such a great night and Megan and I had a blast. I highly recommend going to see The Next Step in concert if you have the chance and I will say splurge on good seats if you're able as they make all the difference.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

I am off to the annual interchurch young adults sports competition this weekend which will no doubt be crazy but also loads of fun. I am once again going as the team volunteer and food supplier (and banner maker) which gives me the least amount of chances to be injured and thankfully only one of the sessions - Indoor Volley Ball I am volunteering at has any actual sport equipment (the other 3 sessions are Mario Kart, Hospitality and UNO).

This week has been a bit crazy and there have a been a few times where I have just wanted to hide and my anxiety levels have been higher than usual. I think this is due to having some family friends staying from over east with their 6 year old triplets which while fun means the house can be super noisy. They are only over for just under 2 weeks and leave next Friday and then the house will be silent again but I am trying to enjoy the noise and levels of energy in the house while they are over.

The job front has been disappointing with a few rejections from jobs I thought I had a good chance of at least getting interviews for, it's one of those things that seem to knock me even though I should be used to them by now. I had an employment agency meeting on Wednesday and I never find the meetings much help, more ticking the boxes and trying to apply for enough jobs to keep them happy. It was implied that I was being too picky in the jobs I am applying for but the reality is any job I apply for I have to see myself coping in it, otherwise I get a job I'm not suitable for have an anxiety episode (or panic attack or get burnt out... you get the picture) and end up being on a medical certificate and back quite a few steps which no one wants. I don't feel like I am being picky, I just don't want to do disability support work which is the bulk of what is going at the moment and then the other jobs that are advertised I either don't have enough experience for or are full time which I can't do. I could go back to applying for admin jobs but I feel like that would be throwing 18 months of study down the drain and its been less than 6 months since I finished my Diploma, so still early days considering. I know that God has the right job out there for me and I am continuing to trust in him and just taking it one day at a time even if some of those days can be filled with discouragement.

Onto Friday Favourites:

Lego Gingerbread House - I love Christmas and have quite the collection of Christmas decorations stashed away, so when I saw this Lego set I knew I needed it in my collection. I ordered it last Wednesday and it arrived last Friday which was super fast as I was expecting it to take at least a week to arrive. I am planning on waiting until December to build it but I am loving how detailed it looks and it even includes a light up brick to make the fireplace really glow. I have a feeling it will be a great decoration to keep for years to come and build again and again each December.

Avanti Fluid Insulated Bottle 500ml Natives White - I am loving all the front prints on insulated water bottles lately and I couldn't resist this print. Wildflowers always remind me of my late grandma and I find myself reminded of her whenever I use this one. It also keeps water super cold which is just the way I like it.

Fitflop Barra Black Sandals - it's slowly starting to get warmer and one of the things that have been on my to buy list is a pair of supportive sandals that still look fashionable. I have worn Havainas sandals the past few years and while I do love them they are not supportive and when you broke an ankle last year that is still causing problems it's time to buy some new shoes. Funnily enough these were the first (and only) pair I tried on and I loved them, they are supportive but no one can tell they provide support.

Vickie Button Back Tank - I bought this top last week and I really love it. I just love the pattern on it top, it's so bold and really makes a statement. I also love the fit of the top and though I have yet to wear it out, I can't wait for it to make an appearance (maybe with a bold lip?) once things start to warm up.

Maltesers Buttons - these are really good and one of my new favourite treats, I have eaten two packets by myself and they literally melt in your mouth. If you love maltesers these are a must try and you won't be able to stop at just one.




Wednesday, September 18, 2019

25th Birthday Recap

Another year older! I had a lovely birthday and felt very loved by so many wonderful people :)
I work up at 5.30am which I am confused by as Saturday had been super full on (I left home at 6.45am and didn't get home until 9.45pm) and I was exhausted, but my body clock had other ideas.
As is our family tradition everyone sang Happy Birthday to me and I blew out candles in a bowl of chocolates.
I then opened gifts, I received a Pandora hedgehog bead from Megan, a Pandora mushroom/frog bead and a new jewellery box from my parents, Shaun Tan's (my favourite illustrator/artist) latest book from Jocelyn and an apron and oven mitt set from some family friends.

I had decided to make the Billionaires Cookie Dough Cake from the Cookies and Cups cookbook for
my birthday this required a lot of preparation ahead of time, especially as I was out all day Saturday. The cake is three layers of cake layered with cookie dough and caramel sauce, covered in swiss meringue buttercream, before being topped with chocolate ganache and shortbread crumbs. I prepared everything ahead of time in the following order:
  •  Sunday (1 week before) - I made the caramel sauce and stored in the refrigerator.
  •  Tuesday - made the 3 cake layers and froze them
  •  Friday - made the cookie dough, swiss meringue buttercream and shortbread crumbs and stored them in the fridge minus the shortbread crumbs which I stored in a ziplock bag in the cupboard.
  • Saturday night - took the cakes out of the freezer and placed the swiss meringue buttercream out on the bench to bring to room temperature. 
So on the Sunday morning I started assembling my birthday cake, putting cookie dough and caramel
sauce between the cake layers before putting it in the fridge to set before I iced it. I also made the ganache so it would be cool enough to pour over the cake after I had iced it.
I decided to watch the new Netflix movie Tall Girl and messaged some friends who live interstate.
I finished the cake (leaving it to set in the fridge for 10 minutes between the icing and ganache stages) and returned it to the fridge to set until I needed it. I was really happy in that there were no major disasters and the cake was in one piece!
We then had lunch and then started to set up for the celebrations.

A few weeks prior I had put out a Facebook event inviting a group of friends over to help me eat the cake, I even called the event "An Excuse to Eat Cake". I wanted it to be low key and casual, just some friends hanging out, eating cake and enjoying each others company which it was. Along with the cake we served cheese/crackers/dip, some strawberries, bowls lollies and chocolate and mum did some baking.
We did cake once most people had arrived and then just snacked the rest of the time, some friends turned up later so we would serve them up some cake and they would just join in the conversations. Some people played Bannagrams which took a communist turn at one point (not my words) and there was some discussion about what counted as a word and what didn't. It was a really nice afternoon and it was great catching up with friends and I felt so loved by the end of the day, I couldn't have thought of any other way I would rather celebrate turning 25.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

Another week over! This week has been busy and while next week is looking quiet the weeks following are anything but.
This week I went into the city on Thursday to give a talk on behalf of ReachOut, it was at the head of an organisation that has decided to make ReachOut and RUOK two of their charity partners. It also happened to be RUOK day (which is why the launch was happening on that day) so I got to enjoy some themed cupcakes too.


This weekend on Sunday I turn 25 which is crazy and as much as I wanted it to go by without a fuss, I've ended up deciding to have some friends over for cake on Sunday. There was a cake recipe that I have been wanting to attempt from the Cookies and Cups cookbook and my birthday seemed like a great occasion but my two sisters are gluten intolerant and if I'm going to make a cake I want people to be sharing it. So inviting people over seemed like a great solution and I've spent the better part of this week making all the parts of the cake and on Sunday I will spend all morning putting it together and I am hoping it will all go smoothly.
Onto Friday Favourites:

Moonlit Royce Top - I wanted to buy myself a new top to wear on my birthday this year and in my mind I wanted something floral and in blue and purple. I'm not a huge fan of pastels or reds but it seemed that was all I could find, until I went into Review and found the perfect top that ticked all the boxes. I know its $100 but I didn't spend that much as I had a birthday voucher and sometimes you just need to treat yourself. It's such a nice top and I can't wait to wear it on Sunday.

25 pieces of advice to my younger self (blog post) - I wanted to do a post regarding turning 25 but wasn't too sure what I should write about. I decided to write 25 pieces of advice I would give to my younger self and when I was writing it I couldn't believe just how far I have come over the years. It's one of my favourite posts I have written.

Dunder Mifflin mug - I love The Office and I was thrilled when Typo came out with The Office range and couldn't resist buying this mug. While I'm not a hot drink person, I use mugs to store a lot of my stationery and this mug has helped keep my pens in check on my bedside table (I write a lot of lists and can never find a pen when I need one) while also reminding me of a show that always makes me laugh. I also bought it for my friend for her birthday and she loved it.

Paper Lovers Book: Woodland - I really enjoy Kikki K's Paper Lovers books and find they are such good value, so I decided to treat myself and buy myself one of their newest ones. Paper Lovers books are filled with stickers, simple crafts, wrapping accessories and enough to keep you busy for many hours.

Pink Leather Clutch With Zip Gold Detail - my sister bought me the pink leather purse for Christmas and I really love it, so when the clutch came on sale I had to buy it. It's great quality, it's a decent size and the colour is the perfect pink. I highly recommend grabbing it while it's on sale and for $30 you can't really go wrong.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

25 Pieces of Advice to My Younger Self

I turn 25 on Sunday I and it's hard to believe just how far I have come, whenever I am feeling discouraged or my anxiety is acting up and making me doubt every little thing I just need to remind myself of who I was before and how much I have survived despite all the odds being stacked against me. In honour of turning 25 I thought I would list 25 pieces of advice to my younger self and what I wish I could go back in time and tell her when she was at her darkest moments and just in general.

  1. Try and find something to be thankful for each day, it doesn't have to be a big thing but something that allows you to see the beauty in the world even on the darkest days. 
  2. Find a makeup routine that makes you look like yourself and doesn't take forever to do. 
  3. Wear sunscreen daily.
  4. Keep trusting in God, know that with him you will never hit rock bottom. 
  5. Gardening can be therapeutic and sometimes an afternoon out in the sunshine gardening is just what you need.
  6. Keep being creative and always try to have an art or craft project on the go.
  7. It's ok every now and then to eat chocolate for a meal.
  8. Find places that bring you peace and allow you to think and reflect.
  9. It's ok to be sad and wallow in your feelings, just make sure you eventually pick yourself up again and move forward.
  10. Two steps forward one step back is still moving forward.
  11. Sign up to a gym, it will be awkward at times but once you start going you will notice positive changes in your life and it will be worth it.
  12. High school bullying will still affect you all these years later, just because you can't see the damage doesn't mean it's not there. 
  13. Friendships change, some for the better some for worse. Appreciate people while they are around and it's ok to grieve the friendships that change and get lost. 
  14. Embrace being labelled as clumsy, learn to laugh at yourself when you fall down. 
  15. Don't be so reluctant to see a psychologist, once you find the right one it's not so bad.
  16. Challenge yourself but also know your limits. Try not to let anxiety completely rule your life and set goals that you can easily reach that will help you slowly challenge yourself.
  17. Say no to things more, don't get burnt out because it will do no one any favours.
  18. Quit feeling so guilty about things, thing's happen that aren't always in your control.
  19. Wear bright lipstick whenever you need a confidence boost.
  20. Speak up for yourself, start finding your voice.
  21. Find people who love you for you, don't change yourself to please anyone.
  22. Love your sisters, one day they will become your built in best friends.
  23. Go see movies alone.
  24. Journal, it doesn't have to be regular but learn to pour yourself onto paper and process things.
  25. know that no matter what happens God is always in control and even during the darkest moments he is there. 


Friday, August 30, 2019

Friday Favourites

I can't believe Spring will be here on Sunday of course when the past couple of days have been wet and there's no sign of it stopping it's hard to believe that soon warmer weather will be coming.
I've applied for a grand total of three jobs this past week which is actually an improvement compared to past weeks, trying to find a job to apply for is like looking for a needle in a haystack at the moment and it's also tough dealing with job rejections day after day. I'm praying one of these lands me an interview.

On Thursday I once again got all my hair chopped off, I get my hair cut a grand total of once a year so I always go short just in time for Summer. I really like how easy it is to manage and it feels so light.


Onto Friday Favourites...


Chicago P.D. - I finished Chicago Med earlier this week and I have started Chicago P.D. I am really enjoying it so far. I find the characters likeable and the episodes are always interesting, plus the crime shown is so varied and not anything like we have here in Australia. I'm liking getting to know Dr Will Halstead's brother Jay and like with all the Chicago shows there is some crossover with the characters which is great and really makes the universe seem more real.

Rocky Road Brownies - I tend to bake on Tuesdays so I'm trying to post the recipe here (unless it's already been posted) and this week I made Rocky Road Brownies which are SO good and really addictive! I am partial to them cold out of the fridge as the marshmallow is chewy, but they can be eaten at any temp. I've made them twice for bible study so far and they are always a crowd pleaser.

Nude by Nature Pressed Mattifying Mineral Powder - my T zone can sometimes shiny but a swipe of this across the area fixes the problem and sets everything. I don't need much at all and I have noticed a difference in how my makeup looks at the end of the day and find it stays puts more.

Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Oil - as much as I love wearing matte lipstick, I really don't like removing it, but it's become a lot simpler since discovering this oil. I will admit I was a bit hesitant to try it as my skin is prone to being oily and adding more oil just doesn't make sense but I was pleasantly surprised. I just massage it in and wait a few seconds before using a warm flannel to remove all my makeup and it removes everything including the longest wearing matte lipstick.

Everylastings flowers- the weather was so nice on Wednesday that I couldn't resist picking up some Everlastings to plant in the front yard, I love wildflowers (I love Geraldton Wax) and natives grow really well in our front yard. They have brightened up the yard and I'm looking forward to seeing them grow and eventually picking some.



Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Rocky Road Brownies

So a couple of months ago I saw 1kg of mini marshmallows on sale for $4 and being like any sane person I bought them and I have slowly been working my way through them. One of my favourite recipes I have made with them is Rocky Road Brownies, these are so good and they take my normal brownie recipe to another level. 

The recipe is super simple, I just took my loaded brownie recipe and adapted it a bit by baking it in a bigger tray and topping it with mini marshmallows, sliced almonds and melted chocolate. The reason for a bigger tray is so that it's a good ratio of all the ingredients and you're not overwhelmed by any one ingredient. You can totally leave out the nuts but they add a nice crunch to the brownie and also break up all the sweetness.

Ingredients:
210 grams of butter (or margarine)
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder (I use the Cadbury brand)
1 1/2cups of sugar
3/4 cup of plain flour
3 eggs (take them out of the fridge the moment you need to add them)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt
1 - 2 cups mini marshmallows or big marshmallows sliced in half (depending on the size of the tray)
1/3 cup chopped almonds

1 pack Cadbury milk melts (you could also use dark or white) - for the brownies pictured I used milk melts then melted some dark chocolate chips and drizzled them on top of the milk melts for a nice contrast.

Note: You have to use plain flour and baking powder in this recipe self raising flour won't achieve the fudginess (it makes them rise them too much). You can skip the baking powder if need be but it makes them less dense.
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees, line a 23cm by 33cm pan with greaseproof paper .
  2. Melt butter (or margarine) in a largeish saucepan, mix in sugar, salt and cocoa powder, it will look grainy at this stage but don't stress! Let cool for 5 minutes (you don't want to scramble the eggs).
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla essence until its glossy.
  4. Mix in flour and baking powder until there are no white streaks left.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a bit under baked, remove from oven and sprinkle on/place the marshmallows evenly (a few gaps are fine, as they will puff up a bit).
  6. Bake for a further 5 minutes until the marshmallows are lightly browned/toasted.
  7. Once removed from the oven, sprinkle on the almonds carefully pressing them into the marshmallows so they stick.
  8. Let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Melt the melts in a microwave safe bowl stirring after 30 second increments until melted, drizzle on over the brownies so that you can still see some of the marshmallows peaking out.
  10. Cool in fridge until just set, bring to room temperature and cut into squares. It is rich so small pieces work best.
These brownies have to be one of my favourite recent bakes and they are a crowd pleaser, one piece is never enough! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Chocolate Macaroons

Currently 2 out of 5 us are gluten/dairy free (eventually one of those will just be gluten free) this
means that when I bake I have to a reason/way to offload the goodies, thankfully this recipe is both gluten and dairy free and no one can tell, it also uses just  5 ingredients and is super easy to make.
Macaroons are not the same as Macarons which are a  time and skill consuming French sandwhich biscuit made using egg whites and almond meal, Macaroons are instead a coconut biscuit which are much less time (and skill) consuming to make.

A few tips: you can use any chocolate including chocolate chips but check the ingredients to make sure they are dairy free. I used a dark chocolate almond block by Whittakers which contains no dairy and is 62% cocoa.
In order to give the cookies a domed shape carefully pack down into a half tablespoon measuring spoon and tap out on the baking tray - it's similar to making a sandcastle. You will need to rinse and dry the spoon a few times throughout the batch as the mix gets harder to get out.

Chocolate Macaroons (recipe adapted from here)

Ingredients:
1/2 sugar
2 cups desiccated coconut
1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:
Combine the above ingredients and shape spoonful's of mixture on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a moderate oven for 5-10 minutes watching them closely so they don't burn (you want the edges to be light brown).
Once cool, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

How can we be in the middle August already?! I can't believe September is next month and with it brings on a busy time including my 25th (!) birthday right in the middle, we also have friends visiting from over east and the inter-church sports competition.
This past week has been tough in patches, I got two job rejections and in that area I am feeling discouraged and unsure what my next steps should be. I know there's a job out there for me, it's just hard to see the end in sight when I'm getting zero interviews and there's very few jobs out there I can apply for. I guess all I can really do is pray and wait and try to stay busy.

Onto Friday Favourites:

Descendants 3 - I watched this last weekend and it was bittersweet, it was the final chapter of the trilogy and Cameron Boyce's last Disney Channel movie role. I really enjoyed this film and found it was the perfect way to end everything and loved all the dance numbers and songs. It's strange because I spent my teen years watching the High School Musical films which Kenny Ortega also directed and loved and now as a young adult I have enjoyed watching the Descendants films that he directed.

Mini Hand Torch with Carabiner - when you're as clumsy as me it's always a good idea to have multiple torches around in case of a power blackout, dropping things in hard to reach places or aiding with seeing better when walking outside in the dark. I bough this torch on the weekend as it's lightweight, small enough to fit in my pocket, gives of decent light, only uses one AAA battery and it's water resistant. It's a great torch and I am impressed with how much light it gives off and

Cat hammock - this month marks 5 years since adopting Rikki and as he always loved sitting on the boat cover on the boat and using it as a hammock I decided to buy him one (we have gotten rid of the boat). I found one on Gumtree for a decent price and while he was unsure of it at first he loves it and can be often found snoozing it. I don't have a link to the exact hammock but you can find similar ones online and it wouldn't be that hard to make.



Chicago Med - I love a good medical drama (The Resident, New Amsterdam and The Good Doctor are my current favourites) and a friend got me onto Chicago Med and after watching 2 seasons in a week I am hooked! The characters are great and I am loving the storylines and seeing the big hospital family develop. Safe to say I am really enjoying it and also plan on watching the other two shows in the "Chicago Universe" Chicago Fire and Chicago PD when I get the chance.

Nanaimo Bars - I have finally gotten round to posting my version of the Canadian treat - Nanaimo Bars. I have to resist making these bars so often as I could easily eat a whole tray in one sitting they are that good. They do have quite a few steps but they are no bake which means you can make them when you don't want to turn on the oven.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Nanaimo Bars (Australian version)

Nanaimo Bars are a classic Canadian treat and one of my favourite treats. The bars have 3 layers - a
chocolate biscuit and nut layer that reminds me of hedgehog slice, a creamy custard icing layer (which is hard to describe as its neither custard or icing) and a chocolate layer.
They aren't well known in Australia and my first chance tasting them were when I took the plunge and made them myself.
I found the recipe from the City of Nainamo where the bars originated but I had to make some substitutions to accommodate Australian ingredients. In Australia you can't get graham crackers (which are a sweet whole wheat biscuit I believe) so I swapped these for a packet of buttersnap biscuits. Also for the topping I have used Cadbury chocolate melts but in the past have also made ganache, either way works but I am more partial to the melts as you get more textures but ganache does makes things easier to cut, especially as the chocolate has been known to crack (which is what happened with today's batch) when slicing!

These bars a great no bake treat and I highly recommend that everyone gives them a go and see how amazing they really are.

Recipe adapted from here
https://www.nanaimo.ca/about-nanaimo/nanaimo-bars
Bottom Layer:

120 grams butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 egg
1 packet of buttersnap biscuits (250 grams) you can also use chocolate ripple biscuits for double the chocolate
1/2 cup almonds
1 cup desiccated coconut

In a food processor combine the biscuits and almonds until it looks like coarse sand.
Then using the double boiler method (bowl over another bowl of hot water) melt the butter, sugar and cocoa powder then stir in the egg until its thickened and combined (it will look like a brownie batter) take off the heat and stir in coconut, and the crushed biscuits/almonds. Mix really well, if it's looking to dry add in some melted butter.

Line a tray (the tray I use is 23 cm by 33cm) with baking paper and press in the base mix. Allow to set in the fridge while you make the next layer.

Second layer:

120 grams butter (softened)
2.5 tablespoons cream
2.5 tablespoons vanilla custard powder
2 cups of icing sugar

Combine the butter, cream, custard powder and icing sugar using electric beaters or a mix master until its light and creamy. Spread over the bottom layer, place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Third layer:

1.5 packets of Cadbury melts (approx. 325 grams)

Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or in 30 second intervals in the microwave, let cool for 5 minutes the spread over the second layer allow to set in the fridge until set.

Slice into pieces and enjoy!

If the slice does crack just ignore it, it will still taste great and the cracks add character :)

Can be stored in the fridge for 2 weeks or the freezer for a few months.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Five Friday Favourites

I'm slowly trying to find some sort of routine while I am looking for work. I have actually managed to pick up some casual disability support work for fives hours every Monday which is welcomed. It's something to do and I really like my client. I have no idea how long it will be for but I am enjoying it and the cash is always a welcome boost to my savings.
I also applied for a job that required me to do a selection criteria, for those who know me know how much I loath selection criteria, I just never know exactly what the company is looking for so I end up seconding guessing myself a lot during process. Thankfully I did it and the application has been submitted. I would love an interview for this job especially as its in an area I would love to work in, it's also a job pool so it's a lot less pressure that even if my interview wasn't perfect I still have a chance. I don't normally go for job pools but my psych has recommended that I look for them (they are normally government jobs which is stability) as it means that once you get interviewed you are sorted for any jobs that come up in that department over a certain period of time. I am now praying that I get an interview and hopefully a position.

Onto Friday Favourites...

Nude by Nature Soft Focus Illuminator - I have been after an illuminator for a while but didn't want something that was super shimmery as I like to wear glitter on my eyelids. I apply a drop of this along the bridge of my nose and cheekbones for a healthy glow and it makes a huge difference.

Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate - I am always after a fun book to read and this book fits the
bill! The blurb reads:
There’s a fine line between love and hate…. And for the last seven years, Natalie Groves has hated Jeremy Walters.
Natalie Groves was meant for great things. But soon after her fiancĂ© left, Natalie’s father was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly her grand plans evaporated…and God felt very far away.
Fast-forward seven years, and an internship presents Natalie a chance at her destiny – but she needs a job to work around it. And the only offer available is worse than a life sentence. Her ex Jeremy, now back in town, is desperate for help with his infant son and troubled teenage niece, Lili. And Natalie may be just the one to help Jeremy…provided they don’t kill each other in the process.
When Jeremy and Natalie join forces, sparks fly. But will either of them get burned along the way?
It's a great debut novel by Jessica and while it was serious in places, I also found myself laughing and smiling as I turned the pages as I wanted to know more. My one complaint is that I found that despite being an Australian author there were parts of the book that were Americanised  and would've rather she wrote it for an Australian audience instead of an American one or not forced Australian culture into the book. It is great to read an Australian Christian author though and was a pleasant surprise to come across the book.
The characters were great and I liked getting to know Natalie and Jeremy and their histories along with their love/hate relationship. The book got real and raw in places and it wasn't all smooth sailing for the characters and things got messy in areas which is realistic, especially how at times in the book everything went wrong which is often how it is in life! I really enjoyed the book and I highly recommend reading.
***I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review thanks to NetGalley

Covergirl Clump Crusher mascara - when my go to mascara by Covergirl was discontinued I needed to find a new one and my sister recommended this one and I haven't looked back. It defines my lashes while also building volume and creates an amped up but still natural look. I find 1-2 coats is enough for everyday but 3 coats create an impact when I need to.

Kentucky Butter Cake - we had people coming over on Thursday night so I made this cake and it was a huge hit. It was simple to make and so tasted good, plus its recommended that you make it a day before you need to serve it. I also love how you don't ice it and instead pour a glaze on it that soaks into the cake and dust it in icing sugar before you serve it.

Premium Heavy Gauge Non-Stick Bundt Tin - for the Kentucky Butter Cake I needed a Bundt Tin and a quick google search gave me a few options. I ended up going for the cheapest which happened to be this tin at Target and I was surprised with how good quality it was, I am actually considering going back and getting a few more tins because for the price ($5) you can't go wrong. It's a sturdy tin and one that will last for years to come and I am looking forward to making lots of cakes in it.