02 December 2016

November in Review

Oh what fun. I had forgotten how much fun it was to flick back through my photos from the month and capture the ones that brought back great memories and points in my month. So here goes with some highlights from November. The month that saw me resign from my job and captures the first 4 weeks of unwinding and finding myself under the stress.

A happy end to my final day in the office

Brunch with my Mum at our favourite spot in the west

 Planting some more tomatoes and basil ready for summer

Relaxing in the sun in the backyard 

Orange Butterfly Cupcake with Lemon Mascarpone Frosting 


Rocking the early morning baseball look

A feast fit for two ladies as we devour the new Gilmore Girls Revival

Mini Choc Chip Cookies - Yumm

I hope your November was as wonderful. Bring on December, the silly season and summer!

xxx

30 November 2016

Gilmore Girls Inspired Mind Wanderings....

Having spent my weekend immersed in Stars Hollow with our favourite mother and daughter duo, I have now rejoined my reality and have had sufficient enough time to digest this next (and possibly last) instalment of my favourite TV family.

I, like many others of around a similar age, spent the early 2000s religiously tuning into Gilmore Girls each week to get my fix of the latest caffeinated goings on in Stars Hollow. While Lorelei and Rory were closer in age than my mum and I, we did share a similar synchronicity of our relationships. We too spent plenty of time together shopping and enjoying hanging out. Though it is only now that i have developed a taste for coffee that we too can share this.





So it was with excitement that we sat down Friday night to see what the last 9 years had held for our beloved Lorelei and Rory. Would Lorelei and Luke have finally got together? What adventures and accolades would Rory achieve on the Obama campaign trail as she pushed to dizzying heights in her journalistic career. Would it be Team Logan or Team Jess that would finally capture her heart?? We waited for the stories to unfold and to see what was to become of our favourites.

Now for those that have watched you will understand the feeling of seeing some of these dreams realised and others dashed and some very strange and random plot lines included. I have sat with all of this for a few days and read a few reviews along the way. And I have come to the following conclusions that I wanted to share.




Firstly, this while a little disappointing, is probably more realistic. Yes, we saw Rory through Chiltern, through Yale and uphold her dreams. We were left with her heading into her promising future and of course we wanted her to succeed and become all that we knew she would be. But honestly, how many of us, really, have achieved the highs we thought possible at 16, at 21 and 25?? Really? I saw part of myself int he Rory (as I am sure most of us did). We wanted her to realise those dreams as she worked hard for them. Lorelei worked hard for them and we wanted the pay back. The glittering career and fulfilling life. As we all want that for ourselves. But really, do many of us reach that by our early 30s? Honestly? I know I'm still not there. Though not giving up, just changing tact and direction.

So it seems to me that we fell out of the clouds with a bump, when Rory didn't live up to our own hopes and dreams. We wanted it so much for her but so far, like many of us, it has just been out of her reach. So we regroup, we dream, we plan, we start again. Just like Rory will need to do as this next chapter unfolds for her.




While I wanted to wail and rally against the twists and turns in the plot lines that didn't bring us to where we wanted to be, I also realised that this was probably more what needed to be. What was more believable and had more truth for our favourite girls than most of the dreamed about stories. Lorelei finally got her Luke (it was Luke all along). Emily found herself in the depths of her grief and Rory completed the circle. Rory didn't have a huge moral compass when it came to love (though I am sure in her heart she never meant to hurt anyone). While it was sad and little harsh that she had yet to realise her dreams, honestly, how many of us have it all figured about by 32?

Am I disappointed, a little. Do I want more, of course. But upon reflection, is there where I could see it heading, actually yes. It makes Rory more real, more a reflection on who we really are then the perfect characters we wish to be.




So it is now, after the anticipation that we all pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and figure out the direction to head. Just a simple first step, followed by another and another, and so on. No matter how small or big those steps. No matter whether we take two forward and one back. We must and do move forward. With a song in our hearts, dreams in our heads and trail of glitter to show where we have come from. We must embrace that which makes us human and frail and fire ahead nonetheless.

xxx


PS Now what's with the random cameo appearances from past cast? One scene or perhaps one line only.  Really? And where has Mr Kim been hiding all this time?? There are many strange and unanswered thoughts to ponder for another day.



22 November 2016

Time ticks on......

And life throws some curveballs and interesting surprises for everyone. No apologies or excuses here, just a tumultuous time recently. Some good, some brilliant and some just down right heartbreaking.

After a few false starts (mainly technological - What is going on with the Blogger App??), I felt the urge to write. Not to share anything in particular, but just a need to reacquaint myself with my inner voice and let it run free. So today is just an opening of the heart and mind. A chance to let some of those inner thoughts run free and see what comes out. 

It seems that life is always throwing something else at you. Since I last stopped by to share my thoughts (July last year can you believe?) the following have happened:
  1. I've moved house
  2. We began a tough journey (that still isn't complete)
  3. I've loved and felt real love
  4. I've lost
  5. I resigned from my job (recently)
  6. I have seen a great friend get married in Italy
  7. I have baked (a lot)
  8. I have masted the art of procrastination
  9. I am making time for myself
  10. I have learned to value myself and my health
I am sure there are many more big and small things that just don't come to mind at the moment. It has been a crazy wild journey that brings me to today. I always maintain the thought that we are the people we are because of the things we have experienced - good and bad - that make up our lives and can show the true strengths we possess. Our true character and sometimes our true calling. We become the people we are as we are shaped by the forces and experiences in our lives. These things test us in so many ways. I've always said 'shit things happen to good people', sometimes for no apparent reason. I try to never lose the lesson. It may take a day or 10 years but you will learn something from this experience. And without knowing it, that experience has shaped you. Made you a little different. Don't let those things close you off, but rather prepare you and open you up for the good that is yet to come. (Or something like that, depending on the day and my frame of mind).



So I sit here on day 16 (wow, already) after resigning from my job with no plan, a burning desire for change and a multitude of dreams and hopes floating around my head. And I wonder, not for the first time, was I crazy? What possessed me to do such a selfish thing with no regard to the consequences past my desperate need to stop being that person who is so consumed by the anger and angst of working with people who just don't get it that I had no room for anything else? I am sure you have been there. You spend 8 hours a day with these people only to come home and spend another 2-3 hours moaning about them. And before you know it, you have fallen into an exhausted and restless sleep only to get up, what feels like 5 minutes later, and do it all again. Sometimes realising that you have barely had time in your head to give the one you love more than 5 mins!! 

That was me a little over a month ago. After a terribly taxing day at work, I came home to dump all my angst on my man, who proceeded to listen (for the hundredth time) then tell me to run a bath and grab a drink and relax. It was while I was steaming away happily in the bath, with my wine, that I realised I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't want to be that person anymore and frankly if the people I worked with couldn't see the value in my experience, then that was their loss. I needed out and I needed it fast. Three days later I resigned.



The heavy weight has lifted from my shoulders, and been replaced by a mild sense of panic, but nonetheless, I feel better. While I have no idea what is next (and I have told anyone who will listen this, hoping that someone may just tell me the thing I should be doing that is so obvious to them). I do feel better by being in control and taking myself out of what felt like a dead end situation. I am pleased to say that I feel happier and now have more time for those I love. Gone are the nights spent groaning and reliving the injustices inflicted by others and have instead been replaced by a real want and need to know how others are. I ask 'how was your day' and I actually listen to the reply. I ask questions, not so I can chip in with my story, but because I want to know. I can care about others and have mental energy to be there for those that are important to me (Something that had been missing for the last few months).

I am, slowly, filling my days with things that matter to me. Some housework tasks that have been bugging me. Some therapy in the garden and a few days spent catching up with friends (strangely there are three people in social group who have resigned from their roles recently without anything else to go too, must be something in the air other than pollen) and now I am practicing some self love in the form of yoga and baking (lots of baking). Doing things that excite me and bring me joy. Little by little I can feel myself relax and slowly returning to the energetic and thoughtful person I have always been.
Now I plunge into the unknown and take on each day and each step with the thought in my mind of finding my purpose, the thing (or things as I believe in my case) that set my soul on fire. Another day I will ramble on about being multi-potential-ite (one who has many callings). But for now, know that I am back. Piece by piece I am pulling myself together and trying to live a full life that brings me joy. (Kinda full circle as I remember starting this blog after reading Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, which I just finished rereading.) I am on a path of discovering what bring me joy and it brought me here today, back to writing.

So here's is to the journey ahead of being the best version of myself I can be.

xxx

02 July 2015

Baking, Baking and more Baking


Thought I'd stop in and update you on what's been happening in life. It's all about Baking! And work and family. But Bakind has been keeping me busy. 

Here's a few pics of what I have put together for some clients recently. 

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

Blood Orange Syrup Cake

Gluten Free Beef and Ale Pies.

More to come as I spend another weekend baking. 

Xxx



10 June 2015

Thoughts on the definition of ME

I'm not a writer, but I blog.
I'm not an artist, but I create.
I'm not a chef, but I bake.
I'm not a mother, but I want to be.
I'm not a wife, but I am an awesome girlfriend.
I'm not an explorer, but I love to travel.
I'm not an academic, but I love to learn.
I'm not a fashionista, but I love great clothes.

I am all of these things and none of them at the same time. 

I am more than a label. I have dreams, plans, goals and crazy ideas. I love and am loved. I am the product of my decisions and the blank canvas of my future. I am me and who I choose to be today, tomorrow and next year. I am both complex and simple. 

I am on a journey without an end. 

I have been inspired and tortured recently  by the concept of who and what am I. I am many different things to many different people. But who am I to me? Who do I want to be? What do I stand for and against?

Too big to answer today but I wanted to share. 

Who are you? Who do you choose to be today?

Xxx


30 April 2015

Autumn Sunrise and a Surprise

Another beautiful autumn sunrise this morning. Every day I see these balloons, I remind myself that one day I want to take a trip and see the city from the quiet spot in a balloon. One day....


Sunrise from my balcony

And on another sunny note - drum roll please............. I have a new job!! Yippee. A wonderful moment happened on my birthday Friday where I got a call to say all the hard work and effort I put in applying and interviewing have paid off. Woo Hoo. So it was double celebration with toasts for me and my new role. More details on that to come as I draw closer to my start date.

Needless to say a weight has been lifted and I feel that I am moving forward rather than treading water. A feel some baking coming on to celebrate.

Hope you are having a wonderful morning.

xxx

13 April 2015

Inspiration

Having made some personal revelations and making a commitment to myself I realised that I have been find inspiration from movies and TV Shows for awhile. It was only today as I reflected on my recent thoughts and journey that my TV and Movie viewing has been telling me something even when I wasn't really aware of it myself.

My favourite DVD's that I have been watching lately

When I looked deeper into he plots and characters I realised a few things.

  • The Good Wife - Strong lead female character Alicia who develops from the tragedy that was her marriage plastered across the front pages to a powerhouse of her own choosing
  • No Reservations - About cooking and following your passions and opening your heart
  • Burlesque - Escaping your past and following your dreams. Getting back up when it gets tough and believing in yourself.
  • Julie & Julia - Following your passion for cooking and blogging. Having dreams and doing what you can to achieve them, no matter how long it takes
  • Under The Tuscan Sun - Taking a risk and doing something crazy, something that just feels right
  • 100 Foot Journey - Following your dreams of cooking but remembering your roots


So many little things that have been pointing me in the right direction. Showing me the way. Some of these I had picked deliberately such as 100 Foot Journey as I read the book and love food. But others more subtle in being part of my current journey.

I wonder what I will find next? What is next on my DVD shelf and what relevance will it have to my future, if any??

xxx

12 April 2015

February & March in Review

As I noticed last week, the last few months of craziness in trying to get another full time job have taken a toll on me and it is to baking and cooking that I have turned. See what you think of the last two months as I share some of the photos.

Man and his fire

Clouds from the balcony

My mum's version of hedgehog - Plonky Square

Pork and Apple Sausage Rolls

Lemon Cupcakes with Mascarpone Icing

My first attempt at honeycomb

Lake Eildon

My new favourites - Brownie Cookies with Peanut Butter Icing

Balloon flights at sunrise from my balcony

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes - Heaven

Balloon over the Yarra River at sunrise

Beef pie with parmesan crust

Roses at St Patrick's Cathederal

My first batch of Hot Cross Buns

White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies

Here's to another month of baking and cooking.

xxx

11 April 2015

Ramblings and Baking

It seems that every time I sit down to write an update or post that so much time has past since the last one. How does that happen?? At least I am consistently inconsistent. :)

February and March both flew by with me taking on some temporary work alongside looking for a new role. This has seen me work a full week plus find time to write applications and attend many interviews. While friends say I should be positive about the fact that I am getting lots of interviews and many 2nd interviews, I have to admit to it being rather draining to be switched on so often. The constant selling of my skills and trying to read between the lines and figure out what the recruiter/HR team are really looking for is taking its toll on me. Why do people ask such inane questions and how do these really showcase whether I can do the job or not?


It's also rather demoralising to come 2nd so many times. I have lost count in the last 8 weeks how many roles I have applied for and how many I have been the second choice. I'm actually not sure what is worse - getting the phone call that I was the second choice candidate or having an interview and never hearing from them again?

I feel like I could change careers and become a HR professional or recruiter with all the experience I have clocked up over the last couple of months. Maybe my next career. :)

So this brings me to a look back on February and March. I decided to put them together as looking at my photos it seems that my fall back stress release has been baking and cooking. It is the one thing that doesn't care if I had a bad day. Nor does it matter if I am at my scintillating best. If you add butter, and sugar to eggs and flour you always get a tasty result. (I think Julie in Julie and Julia said something similar). If I could just find someone or someway to be paid a good wage for cooking and baking I would be in heaven.


 


It's funny how inspiration strikes at times. I started this post earlier this week and was thinking about what I wrote about baking and cooking. A chance conversation with a friend and a catch up on TV shows recorded has brought a little bit of excitement to my passion.

Many of us dream about a time when money is no object and I love adding that if failure was not possible, what would you do? I have played this game many times with many different fiends and family. I love brining it up at dinner parties as I think it shows a lot about a person that they may hide. What are their secret hopes and passions. What would they do if they were not so afraid. For me the answer has changed as I have changed, understandably so. But i do keep coming back to the same thing for the last couple of years - food and more importantly cooking and baking.


Earlier this week I had jumped in with both feet and decided to apply to be a contestant on the next season of Great Australian Bake Off. I have no idea if I will even get an audition but it felt good to do something so scary and possibly life changing. Part of my 'what if I took a chance' dreaming.

Now today I have seen a program where a past contestant of Masterchef has set up a food stall at her local market and is selling her creations each week and making a reasonable profit. (granted she also has a TV show and a cookbook to pay the bills but...) I had this sudden urge and thought that I could that. I could make a success of something like that. Why not?
Could I turn out masterpieces like this?



I have spent the last few months trying to find my place in the world of fundraising again. After a rough end to last year, I am more hesitant in picking the 'right' place to work and for the right amount of money too. I feel like I have, in part, understood my value and anything less would be underselling all that I am and that I have to offer. But finding a workplace that wants me is proving harder than I anticipated and rather soul destroying too. Fears of not being good enough crowd my mind and make me second guess myself. What if I am not as good as I think?



Or this?

Fear holds everyone back. Fear of failure and, to a greater extent, fear of success. Is now the right time to jump? What about paying the bills? What about my other plans for a future - a house in the country, and a family to fill it? How can i do these things without a full time, well paying job? House prices are ridiculous, thats why we are looking to the country. But even that dream is rather unattainable if I don't have constant work to pay back a loan.



Can I really do this? Can I trust this talent to read a recipe and turn out edible food that people will want to eat?

Maybe, just maybe I can find a way. I'm passionate enough and scared enough. Now to figure out how to make it happen and where to start.


xxx

17 February 2015

Quote for Today

I found this quote that sums up everything for me at the moment.


2015 is my year of Happiness and Freedom. Here's to finding what makes you free and happy. I'm working on it.

xxx

16 February 2015

January in Review

Another month has flown by and we are already in the middle of February. Why does time go so fast as I get older?

January was a month of craziness. I started the year with a cast iron desire to stand up for myself and not sell myself short. My first act in this was to hand in my resignation to the that was draining everything from me. Thankfully my contract included only a 1 week notice period so Monday morning I booked a meeting with the CEO and by Friday I was waving goodbye.

While this brought a massive sense of relief that no longer was I being hammered in a toxic environment, the reality of what I had done started to sink in. I had thrown in my job with no back up plan. No savings and no other job to go too! Ahhhh sheer craziness and a sure sign of just how drained I was being there. It has been a long time since I had done something so foolhardy without a plan. But I had enough cash to pay the next 2 months of rent and a new enthusiasm for myself.

My first week was a joyous sense of freedom coupled with time with my mum who was in town completing a dream of hers to do an art course. Cue a few hours into h kitchen baking snacks for mum and her class and I had a baking business of sorts starting. Mum's teacher ordered more snacks for her class the following week and I managed to make some cash selling my baking. Not bad at all

It is funny how the world works as on my Bucket List of random things has been a for a few years to explore my love of cooking and baking and maybe turn it into a career. part of me hit full flight and I spent hours trying to come up with the best business name and branding. Then the smart part of me kicked in and said, let's just bake and see where it goes before pouring hours and cash into it.

So now I was faced with eh real story of getting another job, paying my bills and keeping my baking business ticking over. I am a realist and know that as much as I want too, I won't be able to quit my (non-existent) day job and earn enough from day baking to love the life i want. So it's back to applications and interviews.

In the  6 weeks since I left my job I have applied for 25 jobs, attended 9 interviews and worked 2 days temping. With 2 further interviews booked for this week and a 4 week temp assignment due to start next week. It has been busy. I had forgotten just how much time an energy it takes to get a job. This time I am doing it better though. I am making sure that I interview the company and stay just as much as they interview me. I know we need cash to live and dream but I want to work in an environment that suits me. One where I am valued and feel like I am part of the team. I don't want to go through another 6 months like the last by making wrong choices. While I can't guarantee that I will find the perfect team and organisation to work with, I will be smarter about listening to my gut and that funny feeling I have if something isn't right.

So as February rolls on, I continue to stay hopeful that I will find something wonderful soon. I am certainly putting myself out there. And in the means time I am enjoying the baking and hope to continue to grow this interest.

Here is a look back at January through my camera.

Summer sun from the balcony

Watching the storm roll in

Hot rain steaming off the heaters in a summer downpour

Baking - Blood Orange Syrup Cake

Baking - Chocolate Brownie Cookies with Peanut Butter Fudge Filling

Baking - Choc Chip Cookies

Baking - Death By Chocolate Cake

Mum's amazing art after 1 week

Baking - Ginger and Lemon Kisses

Baking - The 2nd Blood Orange Syrup Cake

Sunset Country Style

Baking - Raspberry Friands and Nut and Gluten Free Raspberry Muffins

Baking - Chicken Sausage Rolls

Baking - Egg  Bacon Pastries

Country views from our picnic table

I hope your January brought many smiles and moments with loved ones. In baking for relaxation, stress and money I realised that what I loved most about baking and cooking was sharing it with family and friends. Nourishing and nurturing those that I love with something I have made. That makes me sing inside. Here's to a February full of singing inside and out.

xxx