Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas Entertaining

Christmas time is officially here!!  As I get older I have become a sucker for Christmas time and absolutely love decorating the tree, shopping for presents and baking Christmas cookies.

Even though Dash is only 12 weeks old, Christmas time seems so much more magical now we've become a family!!

I wanted to order birth announcement cards for family and friends after Dashiel was born but had missed the boat.  I ordered these fantastic Christmas cards in a gift tag shape from Minted and thought they would make a wonderful substitute.
The wonderful photo of Dash was taken by Victoria Poulton Photography  

I've started an annual tradition with friends - baking cookies!!  This year, we did Vanilla Snap Cookies and Gingerbread Men.  The decorating is the fun part!!

Christmas Tree Decorations - Country Road
String Lights (wall) - Freedom
Gift Cards -

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Adjusting to Motherhood - Part Two

I still feel so lucky to have such a beautiful baby!  Although, for any new mum, adjusting to the pressures of looking after a newborn is not easy.  In part one of this post, I lamented over some of the challenges I've experienced so far.  I thought I'd quit my whining today and instead write about some of the things that have helped me to feel more in control again.

1)  Exercise - get out and about with the pram
One of the best things you can do for your mental health is a walk every day.  Now that you're attached at the hip to a small child, getting to the gym won't be so easy.  A walk with the pram is wonderful for breaking up the monotony of being house bound, clears the head, helps get bub to sleep and is great for fitness.

2)  Get out of the house every day
Being home all day is incredibly isolating, especially when previously easy tasks like tidying up or popping to the shops are so much more difficult.  I found that making an effort to go out somewhere every day makes a massive difference - whether it be a coffee or lunch with a friend or just going out for a hair appointment, doctor's appointment, trip to the shops or whatever....whilst it might take me a long time to get out the door, I feel so much better for doing so.

3)  Spend some time reconnecting with things you enjoy
I've made a conscious effort to try and do things like pick up my guitar, to try and bake something new and to get back into writing blog posts.  Some days it might take forever to do any one of those things but even 20 minutes of doing something you enjoy while baby is sleeping is truly wonderful.

4) Join a new mothers group
I've actually really enjoyed joining a mothers group - it's fantastic to be able to speak to mothers going through the same things at the same time and to ask all those poop related questions you're too embarrassed to discuss with your non-mother friends.  

5)  Accept that some days things will be out of your control
I think I really struggled with not being able to have control over my day.  There are those days where the baby does not want to stop crying or does not want to go to sleep where you just can't get anything done.  I'm gradually learning that at this point in my life, my priority needs to be Dash.  It all pays off when I see him smile!!

6)  Enlist help!
We've started using a cleaner once a fortnight and I have to say it has been such a big help!  I honestly don't know how I would get to all the housework otherwise.  Two hours a fortnight has made a massive difference.  Otherwise asking for help from friends or family to help out when you're having a rough day is really important!!  A friend recently delivered me some home cooked meals, and it was the best gift I could have been given!!  

Motherhood is a massive adjustment, but like all things in life, it gets easier with time....and the rewards are absolutely wonderful!! 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Lemon Bars

Keeping with my lemon themed baking (see my lemon yoghurt cake here!!), I decided to give these delicious lemon bars a go!!  They're based on the recipe from the Tartine Cookbook, but I saw the recipe on the Late Afternoon Blog and they looked so good I had to give them a go!!

Sometimes I have those days where I get it all wrong!!  I attempted these two nights ago after just getting my little baby to sleep.  After making a beautiful base and having the filling ready to go, I some how managed to burn the hell out of the base, set off the smoke alarm and wake my poor bubba!!   I didn't have enough butter left to try and re-bake the base so had to throw away my filling after hand squeezing so many lemons!! :( Baking fail!! 

My oven seems to be set to overdrive so today I tried again but made a few temperature tweaks.

It was worth the second try!!  They look impressive, but were actually quite easy to make.  They're very sweet, so I'll be having mine with coffee!!  They also keep in the fridge for 4 days.

1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups unsalted butter at room temp

1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/4 cups caster sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approx 5 large lemons)
6 large whole eggs
1 large egg yolk

Directions :
Pre-heat the oven to 175 Degrees Celsius and butter 9 by 13 inch pan.
To make the crust, sift the sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the flour and butter. Beat on low speed until you get a nice soft dough. Evenly spread the dough on the bottom of your buttered pan (I just patted it down with my fingers). 
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Make sure the crust is cooked evenly.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and mix together. Add the lemon juice and a little bit of lemon zest. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Next add all of the eggs and whisk well. 

When the crust is ready, pull out the oven rack keeping the pan on the rack and pour the filing directly into the hot pan. Drop the temp down to 150 Degrees Celcius  and bake for 25 minutes or until the filling is no longer wobbly. 
Let cool almost all the way through. Cut into rectangles, top with powdered sugar and serve.