Health. Primal Nutrition. Exercise. Motherhood. Sustainability & Creating various things.

UPcycling Is The New REcycling

The racks of Op-Shops and Recycled clothing stores are usually lined with dated clothing that looks pretty good for it's age, but I wouldn't want to be seen wearing it!

This is when Upcycling steps in, where you get out your scissors and make that 90's skirt into something fresh, funky and useful. Not only is it fun and thrifty, but Op-Shopping takes on a whole new dimension when you are solely looking at the colour & quality of the fabric instead of the whole garment - which isn't always pretty!

Here are a few Upcycled creations of mine to get you inspired:

A Baggy Op-Shop T-Shirt is now a Bandana Bib that doubles as a Headscarf

Mum's old tea towels have a new life as playful Bunting Flags

and those little bits of ribbon that usually get thrown away are now part of a Taggie Toy!

Recipe: Satay Beef

Tasty, easy, nutritious and the leftovers make a great lunch the next day.......need I say more!

500g Minced Beef
1 Tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil
2 Tsp Curry Powder
3 Tsp Peanut Butter
salt and pepper
400ml Coconut Cream
a few handfuls of cashew nuts
a few handfuls of green beans
1/2 a head of broccoli
Coriander to garnish


  1. Start by cooking either the brown or basmati rice, while it is cooking continue with the following 
  2. Steam Broccoli and Green beans and set aside
  3. Heat butter/coconut oil in a pan and saute meat until browned
  4. Add curry powder, salt, pepper, peanut butter then cook for a couple of minutes
  5. Add coconut cream and stir on a gentle heat until it reduces
  6. Add the steamed Broccoli and green beans 
  7. Garnish with coriander and cashew nuts

Book Review: 'The Idle Parent' by Tom Hodgkinson

Since becoming Mother, I have got out various books about parenting from the library. While most of them left me feeling torn between their conflicting advice, Tom Hodgkinson's 'The Idle Parent' was a breath of fresh air that got me even more excited about raising a child!

Tom's philosophy to parenting is simply "Leave the Children Alone" Let them create their own fun and games and don't worry about the expensive and over-stimulating array of products and activities that make up the"children's industry" let them explore, let them make a mess. As long as they are safe, let them do it! and while they are exploring and making a mess, you sit back and do what you are passionate about. Sounds like a win-win situation to me if the result is happy, healthy, carefree & creative children teamed up with happy, healthy, carefree & creative parents. I would be stoked if I could accomplish this while Jacinda is young!

Although Jacinda is too little to do most of what's suggested in this book, I will definitely be putting what I read to good use in the future. I like to think that I made a start last week when she spent an impressive 45 minutes ripping up an old newspaper and emptying the plastics cupboard while I was in the other room completing a sewing project! all the while keeping an ear out and knowing that there was nothing she could hurt herself with.

To read part of the first chapter Click Here

Riding High Above The Waves... Well, Sort Of.

Dave and I have a new weekend activity that we are sooo excited about....... Surfing!

I have always wanted to have a go, as I have always had a love of the ocean, but for some unknown reason it never featured highly on my to-do list.

So, a couple of weeks ago, we dropped Jacinda off at her Grandparents house and headed out to Muriwai Beach on Auckland's West coast for an introductory surfing lesson. What a blast! Beau from the Muriwai Surf School taught us the basics and by the end of the 2 hour lesson I had stood up a few times and was already looking forward to my next surf.

We headed out to the Wild West Coast for the second time this weekend, this time with Jacinda in tow. Dave surfed for a couple of hours while I played with Jacinda at the Playground & walked on the beach, then we swapped over and I got to have the surf that I had been looking forward all fortnight.

Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera. But I have looked through Google images and decided that this photo would be the most like me, falling off almost every wave I caught..... except for the fact that my hired board and wetsuit were hot pink so that I looked like a Surfing Barbie!

I got battered by the strong, messy surf and dumped by the waves so many times that I lost count. But the stressors of daily life felt like a distant memory and my body got an intense workout that I barely noticed until I ran out of the water with that heavy feeling in my muscles that told me just how hard I had worked. And once again I am counting down to my next surf!

A Very Healthy Dessert

Check out this yummy dairy-free and sugar-free Chocolate Pudding. So easy to make too....

I adapted it slightly, by adding in a little more coconut milk and a Tbsp of locally produced Runny Honey that I got from the Grey Lynn Farmer's Market.

Makes a good snack too, I had the leftovers from last night for my afternoon snack today.


365 Days of Nothing New

From today, the 25th of March 2010 I am going to challenge myself to go without buying anything new for a whole year. The purpose being to free myself from the mindless consumerism that plays such a big part in our society today and to learn how to be more creative and thrifty with the added bonus of saving a few bucks along the way.

Of course it is not possible to buy absolutely everything new, so here are the rules......

I Will Not Buy New....
Things for the House
Books and Magazines
Baby Clothing
Cards and Wrapping Paper
Sports Equipment

The Exceptions:
Handmade items from Craft Markets
Anything made in New Zealand
Trade Aid
Food and Drink
Toiletries and Make Up
Underwear and Socks
Fabric, Wool and sewing supplies
Optional- Gifts

Other Tidbits:

  • If something breaks, I will not throw it away and buy another. I will fix it.
  • If I no longer require something, I will give it to a friend who does. Failing that, I will give it to the Hospice Shop 
  • I will accept all gifts that are given to me no matter how old or new they are as it is not my intention to make others feel uncomfortable.

I made a start on this today with a few purchases. Firstly a beautiful rimu trolley and blocks from  to put away for Jacinda's 1st birthday present.

And a Winter Coat from Encore on Ponsonby. Encore sells secondhand designer clothing, all the pieces are in pristine condition and most items cost the same as buying new clothing from a chain store....but much more original! 

They also sell pieces for you, as long as they are in top condition. So if you don't like what you bought this season, you can always sell it next season!

How to make a Stainproof Bib

Jacinda's bibs have been looking pretty shabby lately, covered in banana and other various food stains. So I decided to make my own, using a laminate fabric.

All it requires to keep stain-free is a wipe with a damp sponge post-meal, which helps keep the laundry pile that little bit smaller too. It also has a handy pocket to catch any spills (although not all, that would be an impossible job!)

How to make:
1. Trace the pattern of one of your little one's favourite bibs onto Oilcloth or Laminate Fabric and cut out.

2. Then, re-trace the lower half of your favourite bib and draw a straight line between the two upper points and cut out. This will be the front pocket.

3. Sew a zig-zag stitch across the top straight edge of the pocket.

4. Line up the pocket with the main bib and sellotape into place (you can use pins but I found it quite tricky on the thick fabric and it left holes)

5. Sew a zig-zag stitch around the whole bib, taking your time on the curves.

6. Sew on some velcro to fasten the bib.

Bon Appetit!!

Some Food for thought.....

If we are only as healthy as the food we eat...

Then the animals we eat are only as healthy as the plants that they eat.....

And the plants that our animals eat (or that we eat directly) are only as healthy as the soil that is grows in...

That means the health of our planet is a direct reflection of the health of our bodies.

One more reason to look after our world!

Choosing money over sense.......

While reading my Sunday paper this morning I was alarmed to see that McDonald's is now offering meals with WeightWatchers points!

This is so wrong. I feel so much for those poor people who are struggling with their weight and now honestly think a McDonald's meal is going to help them lose weight.

Poor Quality Food does not Promote Weight Loss. McDonald's food is of the lowest quality. It consists of meat, bread and cheese, processed so highly so that there is very little nutrients left. That is why it is so cheap.

Due to this, the food does not fill you up. It leaves your body longing for the nutrients that it needs. The overweight people that order these meals will leave the restaurant unsatisfied and craving sugar - they will be fighting the urge to order a sundae or a chocolate thickshake or thinking that they are weak and lack willpower, when in fact they are STARVING! they are starving their bodies of the nutrients that it needs and deserves.

Precious Moments

Babies must be the best free entertainment around!
I must remember to cherish the funny little moments everyday because they are so precious and one day when she is all grown up - I will miss them.

Some cute and funny things Jacinda has done this week:
- Waking up with her fluffy hair sticking up all over the place
- Waving  "bye-bye" to Daddy at the gate as he left for work
- Taking all the clothes out of her drawer with a completely expressionless face
- Being absolutely devastated when we had to put the toys back after Library Storytime
- Laughing while we laugh, even though she doesn't understand what is funny

- Being so exhausted after going swimming that she almost fell asleep while eating lunch

The Library

Libraries are wonderful!

There are so many resources that they offer for free and are a great place for both adults and children to enrich their minds. 

Here are a few ways that we make use of our local library:

There is of course the usual book borrowing 
I like to get out novels and they even have bestsellers and brand new books - although you do need to pay $5 for a week for the popular ones.

but... I also have a lot of fun getting out non-fiction books such as cookbooks to get new recipe ideas, home decor books if I have a project coming up or books about various baby things if I am dealing with a certain stage not to mention the magazines (new and backcopy) for flicking through which means that I no longer waste my pennies on buying them.

A good way to find books is to look them up on the library website and see what is available. On the North Shore you can request a book via the internet for $1 from any library in the region and it will be delivered to your local library for you to collect. Whenever I hear about a good book or read a rave review I jump on the computer and order it! Brilliant!

Check out the link here if you live on the North Shore

Are available for less than at the DVD shop although I find the selection isn't as great at my local library.

I have memories of going to the Library with my Mum and choosing an array of books and puzzles for the week ahead followed by a play on the playground. A free and easy morning out that I am replicating with my little girl.

I also take Jacinda to the Storytime session once a week. it's free, you don't need to commit to it, it's a good way to meet other children in the area and most importantly Jacinda absolutly loves it!  you can see from the photo below that she already has a passion for books, even if it is only a passion for making a mess with them!

A Quiet Place to Read or Work:
In our active household it can be tricky to find a quiet spot to get into that book you've been meaning to read or get a couple of  hours of work done. So go to the library! it's not only quiet (well, most of the time, I have been the Mother of a noisy baby more than once and you do overhear some loud conversations occasionally!) but you can also plug in your laptop and access the internet via wireless broadband, just like going to an office.