I went kikki.K-razy!

As is evident is past posts (for example: here) and to anyone that knows a bit about me, I freakin’ love all things stationary and organisation and am particularly obsessed with the brand kikki.K. In the above post I spoke about their Goals Book, Wellbeing Journal and Gratitude Book which I absolutely love and have been using as part of my Happiness Project. I tend to raid kikki.K once every few months so am naturally on their mailing list – a member if you will – and just so happened to get a lovely little email about their new “Organisk” range with a $10 gift voucher.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist, so I hightailed it to my nearest kikki.K store and instead of just spending $10 in order to get the $10 voucher, I bought pretty much the whole range. It was all so pretty! Here’s what I scored:

3 Pack of Notebooks

Daily Notes

Note Cube and Pen

Weekly Meal Planner

I originally intended only to buy the 3 pack of unlined notebooks as I was given these as a Christmas gift last year – but in the Botaniska range – and I absolutely love them, I use them for everything. The Daily Notes pad is such an “Eleanor” item – it has different sections for the Today’s Date, Top 3 Priorities, Appointments, To Do List, Water Intake, Tonight’s Dinner, For Tomorrow and “What I’m Thankful For”. I was so excited about this item, it’s pretty much all the notes I take each day but compiled into one super cute page! I also got this adorable note cube with a built in pen holder – and, naturally, I got the matching pen. This has come in very handy for leaving notes for my boyfriend to clean the dishes or to take down quick notes while on the phone. And lastly is something I had been wanting to get for a while, a weekly meal planner. This is particularly useful for planning out healthy meals and to help to do the weekly shopping without wasting time um-ing and ah-ing in the supermarket.

Well, there you have it. My latest shopping spree. This coming from someone that can’t justify spending $20 on a top while in dire need of a wardrobe upgrade – I’ll happily spend away in kikki.K. Hmm, are my priorities mixed up? Oh well, organisation!

Eleanor

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Tough Mudder!

For followers of my blog, you may remember that over the past four months I have spoken about my training for Tough Mudder. I’m surrounded by peers who are fitness obsessed or dance fanatics so it’s hard for me to fathom anyone not knowing about Tough Mudder, but for those out there that have no idea what I’m on about, this is what Tough Mudder is:

“Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile (20km) obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, half a million inspiring participants, and more than $2 million dollars raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.”

Above is the video for the Melbourne Tough Mudder event which I took part in on April 1st (hell of a way to start the month, hey?).

I heard about the event and thought I would push myself to do it and managed to get a whole group of girls from my dance school along with me. Now, I’m reasonably fit, but I’m not one to compete in “fun” runs or marathons or anything boring normal like that. Tough Mudder appealed to me because it wasn’t about competition, you weren’t timed, it didn’t matter how long it took you – it wasn’t a race! Tough Mudder is all about teamwork and pushing your body and your mind to the limit and really testing yourself. That’s why it appealed to me. I’ve never been one to care about competition or winning. Growing up, I always leaned towards more solo sports, which is why I’ve always loved dance. I’m certainly not against teamwork – teamwork is great – I just never cared enough about winning to enjoy competitive sport. Challenging myself? That’s more my style. I don’t need or want to prove anything to anyone else. But I do love the idea of working towards a personal goal and achieving it. Still, in the weeks leading up to the event I started to question what mental state I must have been in to sign up to such an event in the first place.

I drove down to the event early on the morning of April 1st – wondering (read: hoping) if indeed this might have been a big elaborate April fools joke – with my best friend and her parents who were coming along as spectators (oh yes, us crazy particiants were being made a “spectacle” of). The week before I had been fighting of a hella cold while spending equal to the registration fee ($150!!!) on non-cotton, breathable, quick-drying, compression, light-weight gear for this godforsaken event while seriously considering pulling out all together.

ready for tough mudder

pole dancers represent!

Fear of the unknown. Thankfully I was smart enough not to pull out as I can honestly say that participating in Tough Mudder was one of the most rewarding and most fun experiences of my life! The obstacles weren’t as hard or as terrifying as I had made them out to be in my mind and it turned out to be a genuinely fun day as opposed to an arduous four or five hours running/jogging/walking/limping 20km, wading through muddy waist deep water, crawling through mud underneath barbed wire, carrying logs through rivers, crawling through manholes, walking through fire, climbing walls, getting submerged in an ice bath, jumping into lakes and getting electrocuted. Who knew that would be my idea of fun!?

I don’t usually post photos of myself on my blog, but I couldn’t resist giving you a taste of how muddy I got at Tough Mudder (this isn’t the half of it). This is me after I got home covered in dried mud, asking my boyfriend for a hug while limping towards him like Frankenstein (I messed up my knee from all the running and the cramps from the icy water). For some reason he wouldn’t hug me until I came out of the shower an hour later (there was that much mud in my hair).

after tough mudder

hugs?

Eleanor

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Aww shucks! I got an ABC award!

I know it is long long long overdue, but sometime ago I was lucky enough to be given an ABC (Awesome Blog Content) Award by mywithershins. Thank you! And enormous apologies for my lack of “awesome content” over this past month!

It’s easy to accept the ABC Award!  Here’s what you need to do:

1. Use the alphabet to describe yourself.

2. Pass the award to as many nominees as you see fit and let them know.

Here’s my Alphabet List:

Affable  Busy  Cautious  Dedicated  Energetic  Friendly  Girly  Happy  Independent  Joker  Kind  Lanky  Motivated  Neat  Organised  Pole-Dancer  Qualified  Reliable  Silly  Traveller  Understanding  Vibrant  Weird  Xylophone?  Young  Zealous

And I would like to nominate two of my favourite blogs, on totally different topics that are near and dear. Baking and Pole Dancing!

Jo the Tart Queen – she really is the queen of tarts! One hell of a baker with scrumptious recipes for all things sweet!

Folly in Little City – A pole dancer’s tale!

Congratulations guys, thank you for producing such fine blogs! And another thank you to My Wither Shins.

Eleanor

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Happiness Project: March

Hello and Happy Easter to everyone! My sincere apologies for my disappearing act over the past month. I think all bloggers suffer this fate at one point or another in the early stages of their blogging life. I suppose it’s just a good reminder to always stay consistent, because it’s all too easy to fall behind. I was on a roll for a while, posting almost every day and then I let myself make excuses for being too busy to write a post or too tired, or sick etc etc.

Anyway, I apologise and promise to do my very best to pick up my game!

So, it’s now April and I am overdue on an update on how my March resolution for my Happiness Project went. The goal for the month of March was Health.

Health

Going back to my Year 11 Health studies, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

I think the theme of health is one that is very closely tied to goals and resolutions of people throughout the western world. How often do you hear about people making New Year’s resolutions to “lose 10 kilos” or “quit smoking” or vowing to start eating healthily or start that new diet next Monday? It’s a popular and tired goal, but one that most people strive for their whole lives.

I am no different. I had planned to dedicate the month of March to finally kicking off sustainable and healthy eating habits for good. I even bought a book called The Beauty Detox Solution by nutritionist Kimberly Snyder and had wanted to use her advice and recipes to start my new healthy way of life.

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For the grammar-savvy folk out there (or, well, anyone) you’ll notice that the above is all in past tense. I had planned to do all these things. But, sadly I didn’t quite achieve it. I could sit here and come up with all number of excuses as to why it simply wasn’t possible to achieve this particular goal – I was busy, it was too hard to sustain, her suggestions were impractical, the food was too expensive, blah blah blah – but the fact of the matter is that Health, like so many other things, is a constant, ever changing concept that I will be struggling with and working on for the rest of my life. It is not something that can be addressed and improved upon in one simple month after reading one book.

And that’s ok, I’m ok with that. Yes, I still eat chocolate more than I should and don’t always have a healthy meal planned with ingredients bought and ready to cook every night of the week. But I am always working and trying to do better, and I think that counts for something. Health is something that is really important to me and my lifestyle and I like to think that I’m a pretty healthy, active person in general. Luckily for me, my interest in health, fitness and nutrition is just that – an interest. I care about my health and place great importance on it because I think it matters and it is in my best interests. I don’t have any serious health problems, I’m not obese or terribly unfit. I’ve got it pretty good.

So, that’s how March went. I’m incredibly pleased to say that, never mind not addressing Health as planned, I have continued to keep up with my January and February goals of Enterprise and Productivity. I’m happy to report that I have been working very hard throughout the month of March on two separate business endeavours while working four different jobs and still dancing at least four times a week.

I’m pretty happy with my progress. There’s always room for improvement and my Happiness Project is designed to be a constant, ongoing and flowing thing. Just because I affix a goal or resolution to each month doesn’t mean that I stop pursuing it once the month is up or get down on myself if I didn’t quite achieve what I had set out to do. I think this is an important thing to think about and always keep in mind, you can always work on yourself and aim higher – if you fall short, just get right back up again and keep trying!

So, what do I have planned for April? Attitude. This month is all about positive thinking and looking on the bright side of life. Stay tuned for an update of my progress throughout the month and a review about how I went at the end of the month.

I also promise to post some yummy recipes, DIY projects, product reviews and more very soon!

Eleanor
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DIY Natural Lip Exfoliant in Minutes

I have been racking my brains trying to come up with something clever to use my little miniature jars for. I have had suggestions about using them to store herbs and spices but honestly can’t quite be bothered transferring all my spices from the jars they came in into my jars, without the little shaker lids. So I thought of something a bit more interesting.

I was once conned into buying a tiny little pot of lip exfoliant at a shop for about $12. This wouldn’t be so bad if not for the blatant fact that the only ingredients seemed to be sugar and oil and a little bit of pink colouring. The sales girl convinced me (and my friend) by giving us a tester and raving about how “you can even lick it off your lips when your done because it’s candy flavoured!”. Duh. It’s made of sugar you idiot, of course it’s “candy flavoured”. My friend and I (gullible as we are) bought a pot each and happily applied the magical lip exfoliant to our lips (and subsequently licked off the “candy flavoured”sugar) for the rest of our shopping trip. It was only later that night, when I excitedly showed it to my mum, that I realised we’d been ripped off. “You paid for that? It’s just sugar, you could make it!”

I’ve learnt my lesson. That expensive little pink pot has long since disappeared and so today I made some Lip Scuff of my own!

lip scuff

Homemade Lip Scuff

Homemade Lip Scuff

Ingredients:

  • 3 parts brown sugar
  • 2 parts honey
  • 1 part olive oil

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients into jar/pot/container
  2. Mix together
  3. Use a pea sized amount to rub on lips until smooth

I hope you like it!

Eleanor x

Grumblies

Huh? Grumble-what? Grumblies. I have no idea where the name was conjured, but I can tell you one thing – these cookies (yes, that’s right, I’m talking about cookies) are delicious!

One of my best friends first introduced me to these tasty treats a couple years ago and they have been a favourite of mine ever since. I always seem to have to ingredients on hand, much like I do for my Anzac Biscuits. They are packed full of nuts, seeds, sultanas and oats which gives one the impression that they’re healthy. As far as sweet treats go, they’re definitely healthi-er than Chocolate Chip Cookies or cupcakes, but they’re still yummy! I also like to add a tablespoon of Chia seeds to my Grumblies for an extra kick of goodness!

I made up a batch of Grumblies last night because a) I wanted to put one of my new jars to use and b) my boyfriend’s co-worker has been bugging me ever since the last time I made Grumblies for more Grumblies. Honestly, every time I see him, he mentions Grumblies. Yes, they’re that good. I haven’t made them for a while and had some spare time, plus I wanted to share the recipe with my followers so, naturally, I had to make them in order to include a photo in this post (hard life, right?).

Grumblies Recipe

Grumblies in a Jar!

 Grumblies

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup skim milk powder
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C
  2. In a medium sized bowl beat the eggs
  3. Add oil and beat again
  4. Add sugar and vanilla essence
  5. Mix well
  6. Stir in milk powder
  7. Mix in nuts, seeds and sultanas
  8. Stir in oats
  9. Mix well
  10. Roll or spoon out into balls and place on a greased baking tray
  11. Bake for 10-12mins or until golden brown
  12. Cool on a wire rack

I placed my Grumblies into one of my medium sized jars and finished it off with some ribbon and a label from kikki.K.

I hope you like them!

Eleanor x

Double Choc Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Yes, yes I know I’ve rattled on about next month’s Happiness Project Goal being Health…but I felt like making ice cream! Plus, it’s not March yet!

This is a recipe I’ve used before with much success. I used the basic chocolate ice cream recipe from the booklet that came with my ice  cream machine and then added bits of homemade chic chip cookie dough. If you haven’t tried the world’s best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe yet…why not!? You can find it here.

home made ice cream recipe

Double Choc Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process preferred)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Place the cocoa and both sugars in a medium bowl and stir to combine
  2. Add the milk
  3. Mix on low speed (or whisk) to combine until cocoa and sugars are dissolved
  4. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla
  5. Pour into ice cream machine and follow manufacturers instructions
  6. Add small rolled balls of chocolate chip cookie dough to mixture 5 minutes before it is done
  7. Transfer to freezer safe container and freeze

This recipe is so yummy! Enjoy!

Eleanor x

Happiness Project: February Tools (& free printable)

In my previous post here I spoke about my Happiness Project goal for this month. Productivity. I have been doing my best this month to stop procrastinating once and for all and be as productive as possible with my work and day-to-day tasks.

One thing that I mentioned in my previous post was that I have been writing down a list of tasks each morning. Most people would see this as a “to-do list”, but I have somewhat of a problem with that terminology. The “to-do” part of our every day to-do list holds with it connotations of arduous, mundane tasks or chores. I got tired of seeing my day and the things I had to complete in this light. So instead I have started to think about my tasks as Things to Achieve.

New to do list

Print it out for yourself!

It’s all about attitude. If you shift your view of your daily tasks you will begin to see them as small achievements towards a greater goal. And when I say greater goal, I’m not thinking of world peace or anything like that. You might have “go grocery shopping” on your to-do list, which is seemingly boring and mundane if you think of it as a chore. But try viewing it as something you are going to achieve, with the greater goal in mind being to eat healthily, save money on take-out, whatever.

I’ve found that this very simple shift in attitude has helped to motivate me to complete my every day tasks, because they are all working towards something. I also like to look back on my list of Things to Achieve at the end of the day to review my progress. It gives me a sense of achievement to see what tasks I completed each day, as well as providing a challenge for the next day with those tasks that I may not have achieved throughout the day.

It’s all about attitude.

Click the link for a copy of the template for a list of Things to AchieveYou can find out more about the tools I use for my Happiness Project here.

Good luck!

Eleanor x

Savoury Pancakes

So, apparently yesterday was Shrove (or Pancake) Tuesday. And according to Wikipedia, that has something to do with Lent, Easter and fasting. All I heard was pancakes. Mmm pancakes! I had actually been planning on making these savoury pancakes for dinner sometime this week since my boyfriend ever so subtly brought all the ingredients home one day. So, rather than making them for dinner on a Wednesday or even (heaven forbid!) a Thursday, I thought I would make them on Pancake Tuesday!

This is a recipe of my mum’s (like most of my recipes) and I remember looking at her like she was bat-shit crazy when I was fourteen and asked what was for dinner and she replied with, “Savoury Pancakes!”. Seriously, mum? Gross.

How surprised I was upon tasting these pancakes, with chicken and bacon in them, to discover that they were delicious! (I had thought she was making normal sweet pancakes and putting meat and cheese into it! Mamma you crazy!)

This recipe makes about 7 medium pancakes so only serves about 2 well, it is best to double for any more people.

savoury pancake recipe

Savoury Pancakes with Chicken, Bacon, Cheese & Spring Onions

Savoury Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1¼ – 1½ cups milk
  • 1 cup chopped, cooked bacon
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onions
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • A good grinding of pepper
  • ½ – 1 cup cheese, grated
  • ½ – 1 cup chicken, chopped (optional)
  • Oil for greasing pan

 Method:

  1. Sift the flour and salt together
  2. Mix the beaten egg and milk together and pour over the flour mixture, folding through gently with a rubber spatula or large metal spoon (the mixture will still be lumpy)
  3. Add bacon, spring onions, sauce, pepper, cheese and chicken and fold in lightly
  4. Heat a large heavy frying pan or griddle iron and grease the surface lightly
  5. Place the mixture on in spoonfuls, and cook on both sides
  6. Lift onto a cloth-covered cake cooler
  7. Serve with butter on top

Enjoy! And thank you to ediblesubstance for inspiring me to write a Pancake Tuesday post!

Eleanor x

Caramel Ice Cream with Choc-Macadamia Bits & Chocolate Sauce

I had promised to make the girls at my dance studio a batch of my home made ice cream for a few weeks now and thought (on my day off) it was high time to come through with the goods! It also just so happens to be one of my dance teacher’s birthday today, too. Perfect!

I wanted to try something a bit different to my usual go-to seriously rich chocolate with mix-ins ice cream. So I hunted around a bit for some ice cream recipes and finally found this Caramel Ice Cream recipe that looked quite nice. But, I couldn’t really fathom making plain ice cream, so I thought I’d make it a bit more interesting by adding in some chopped chocolate and macadamias as well as some yummy Haigh’s Chocolate Sauce (my Valentine’s gift).

caramel choc macadamia ice cream recipe

leftover ice cream in a teacup!

Caramel Ice Cream 

Ingredients:

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 350mL full cream milk
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
  • 300mL thick cream
  • 1 block macadamia chocolate
  • Chocolate sauce

Method:

  1. Lightly whisk egg yolks in a bowl
  2. Gently heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and pour over the eggs
  3. Stir well to combine, then set aside
  4. Place sugar and 2 tablespoons of cold water in a saucepan over low heat and stir to dissolve sugar
  5. Increase heat to medium and cook until mixture begins to turn a rich golden colour
  6. Add vanilla bean (or paste) and cook for a few seconds (don’t let the mixture get too dark or the ice-cream will be very bitter)
  7. Very carefully pour in the cream (it will splatter quite a lot at this stage)
  8. Reduce heat to low and stir to melt the lumps of caramel that have formed
  9. When it is smooth, stir in the egg mixture
  10. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens
  11. Transfer to bowl and leave in fridge for a few hours or overnight until cool
  12. When mixture is cooled, pour into ice cream maker and mix for 20-25mins
  13. Add in chopped macadamia chocolate and let mix for 5mins
  14. Transfer into freezer container one-third at a time, placing a thin layer of chocolate sauce between each layer
  15. Gently fold mixture a few times to create a swirl with the ice cream and the chocolate sauce
  16. Place covered in freezer

This ice cream is seriously rich! The recipe I used and modified only made a fairly small amount – if you make it you might like to try mixing it with some homemade vanilla bean ice cream as well, it may tone down the intense caramel flavour.

Good luck!

Eleanor x