Make Your Own Toothpaste

Make Your Own Toothpaste

This weekend I decided to try making my own toothpaste.  As you do.  I had seen it on a few different blogs, and also on Instagram and Pinterest and thought I would try it.  Why make your own toothpaste?  Well, for me, it’s because regular toothpaste is tested on animals.  You can buy cruelty-free toothpastes, but they can be expensive and they’re not readily available in your local supermarket (usually).  There’s also all kinds of “extras” in toothpaste that you don’t really need.  Some of them even have sugar in them.  Which is a bit crazy.  So I thought I would give this a go.

The basic recipe is as follows :

2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1.5 Tabelspoons Bicarb Soda
10-15 Drops Peppermint Oil (I’m pretty sure you should use essential oil, not a peppermint essence, but that’s all I had for this batch – I will use the proper stuff next time)

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy.  Store in a little, clean jar. Use as you would your regular toothpaste.

 The bicarb polishes your teeth and leaves the mouth feeling very clean.  It also takes a bit of getting used to.  But I’m going to persevere, changing the recipe as I need to.  I have a feeling I will be adding more peppermint.  I’ve read that some people put stevia in it as well, to help sweeten it.  Not sure that I need to do that but we’ll see!  Some people add salt.  That makes me want to gag.  By the end of the week I will probably be craving some Colgate or MacLeans…but at least my pearly whites will be, well, pearly (hopefully).  Next on the list to make is my own baby (face) wipes.  I have the material, I have the sewing machine…all I need is some energy and I will be whipping up piles of face cloths.  If you have any good recipes for facial cleanser, let me know!  🙂

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Gift-Giving When You Don’t Know What to Give

Gift-Giving When You Don’t Know What to Give

I like buying presents.  Truly, I am one of those people who actually likes to give more than receive.  It’s not even a non-selfish thing.  I LOVE buying presents.  It’s fun and you get to make someone else happy and let them know you’re important to you.  What can be better than that?  Plus, it usually means you get to go shopping.  Which is always a good thing.  And it’s GUILT-FREE shopping because you’re not spending the money on yourself.  So it doesn’t actually count as spending!  Woo!

But some people have everything.  And you think “Ugh, what can I get this person who has everything and doesn’t need another mug/vase/notebook/photo frame?”  It’s quite the conundrum.

Never fear, I am here to help you.  After many years researching (ie shopping) I have found that the best things to get people are the things are actually kind of mundane.  But they’re the things that we all need and use from time to time and often don’t have, right when we need them.  There’s also lots of stuff we need but can’t be bothered buying for ourselves because we’d rather buy shoes or cupcakes or something.

So, here are some handy ideas for the next time you’re stumped for a gift.
Put some thought into it and a little bit of heart too.

  • Greeting Cards – Nearly everybody needs these at some time or another.  Buy a selection of birthday, thank you, thinking-of-you etc cards and bundle them up in a nice box or basket.  You can get really nice cards for $1 or $2 or, better still, make some yourself.  It will save the recipient time and money, which is never a bad thing.  Remember to buy cards for each gender as well, or more uni-sex ones if you can find them.
  • Wrapping paper – Same deal as greeting cards.  Find some inexpensive sheets of paper and bundle them up in a pretty package with some accompanying ribbons, stickers, or other trim so they can gussy up their gifts.  Wrapping paper is always the thing you forget to buy when you have to give someone a gift.  Save them the trouble.  Again, it’s a good idea to go with designs that will suit any gender.  Stripes are good, as are spots and geometric shapes.
  • Tea Towels – Yes, it sounds dull, but how often do any of us treat ourselves to a nice new tea-towel?  I don’t know about you, but I have a drawer full of grotty old tea-towels that really should be made into dusters now.  I never get myself new ones.  In fact, I “save” any really pretty ones I have because I don’t want to get them dirty.  Duh.  But if I had more decent ones, maybe I would use the ones I have.  Buy a set of pretty-but-practical towels in cheerful colours or in tones that match the gift recipient’s kitchen.  You can tie them up with a ribbon and pop a wooden spoon or other utensil in as well, just to add to the theme.
  • Cruelty-Free – OK, stay with me on this one.  Finding cruelty-free products can be tricky.  If you’re someone who, like me, will NOT use products you know are tested on animals or brands you just aren’t sure about because they never display it on their packaging, having a trusty list to go buy is VERY handy.  Do some research, look at websites such as Choose Cruelty Free (Australia) or PETA and compile a list of suitable brands (write them in a nice notebook or type them up and laminate in a purse-sized format) for a vegan or animal-loving friend.  Add a couple of items from the companies you’ve listed.  If your intended recipient isn’t in to makeup or hair, you can do the same sort of concept with cleaning products, skin care etc.  It’s a thoughtful, helpful gift that will save them time in the shops, especially if they’re new to the whole cruelty-free world.  It will show that you validate and support their beliefs and that you care about them enough to take the time to make a truly unique and heartfelt gift.
  • Donate on Their Behalf – I know some people think this is a crappy gift, but it really can be a nice thought if you choose your charity wisely.  Some people really want to give, but don’t have the funds to do so.  You can purchase gift  donations to everything from charities that support women’s rights, to organisations that provide sporting goods to children in poorer countries.  Give the gift of clean water or employment opportunities, educational supplies, mosquito nets, livestock or just a good old cash donation.  Make your gift count.  What do you give someone who has everything?  You give them a gift that will help someone who has next to nothing.
  • Recipe & Baked Goods – So you make the world’s best brownies? (well, I think mine are pretty good as it happens…) and your friend loves them?  Whip up a batch and while you’re at it, type up the recipe and have it laminated. The recipient gets the yummy goodies AND your secret recipe, which is pretty awesome.  Present the goods in a nice container and it’s win-win all round.
  • Mix CD – Now, I have talked about my fondness and sentimentality over the good old mix tape, so it’s no secret I love this somewhat daggy gift.  There is nothing more personal than sharing your favourite music with someone.  It’s like letting them in to the inner sanctum of your life.  Maybe.  But this can be a really neat gift.  I actually made one for my brother a couple of years ago, with a bunch of songs that we loved as kids, mostly one-hit wonders that don’t get played much nowadays.  He thought it was the best gift ever.  Bringing back memories is as important as making new ones.  It’s important to make the song-list one that the recipient would like, not just a selection of tunes you’re crazy about.  Make it personal to them – maybe songs from the year they were born or the year they graduated high school.  You get extra points for giving it a cool, handmade cover.  Make it old school, baby!

So, there you are.  Just a few suggestions that might help you out next time in you’re in a quandary about what to get someone.  I think the secret is always to make the gift very personal, very individual to the person you’re giving it to. Make it look like you put some thought into it – not just grabbed the first thing you saw on the sales rack or next to the counter when you were buying your groceries.  It’s not hard to do and doesn’t need to be expensive.  You can buy a box of chocolates for someone, but arranging them in a pretty jar tied with ribbon and a lovely handmade tag makes it special.  It’s all in the presentation, people!

Now, go buy me something! And make it awesome! (Kidding).

Have a lovely week everybody 🙂

Lady Bug

Lady Bug

Just a quickie post.  I drew this little…um…lady bug lady..this week.  I don’t really know what she is.  She doesn’t have legs or arms or anything.  I have been too scared to add them.  Or colour her in.  Because I don’t want to wreck her.  I like her, and I never like anything I do.  So she’s special.  Even if I don’t know what she is.  I think she is a work in progress.  A bit like me  🙂

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Hand Made with Love (and a fair bit of swearing)

Hand Made with Love (and a fair bit of swearing)

So I’ve been trying all day to be creative and MAKE something I like, something about which I am proud to say “I made this!”
But it’s not been happening.  I’ve doodled a bit, painted a bit, fiddled around with markers and paints and ended up really just making a mess. Which is fine.  I’m ok with that.  A day spent trying new things and “playing” is always a good thing.  It would be nice to produce something you’re happy with though.

I’m a bit obsessed with the blog Elvie Studio.  Lori Vliegen’s art work is amazing.  I am inspired to create and make pretty things – water colour pages with quotes and cute designs.  But I am a long way off doing anything as good as hers.  I have been practicing my water colour technique but I am still a bit rubbish at it.  My Mum tried showing me the other day (because there is nothing artistic that she can’t do) but I am still a bit cack-handed and not quite getting things right.  But I will.  I am determined.  I just have to practice and keep at it.  I have to learn not to expect to be perfect at things straight off the bat. And I need to stop swearing so much when I fail.

I have decided to make my Art Journal more of record of my attempts and failures.  I have been hesitating putting anything in it because I don’t want to spoil the pages, but I guess even messes and mistakes have their place in a journey.

So here’s a few of my attempts from today.  I was mostly just messing about, as I said.  Just putting pen or brush to paper – even if it didn’t work out, at least I was doing something.  I won’t feel like I have wasted time if I have at least worked out what not to do.  That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.

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I like this little tag.  It is simple and sweet and it worked. 

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This could have been ok but I got a little heavy-handed with the paint and lost the plot.
But it’s alright and will do as a tag for a gift or card.

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I don’t even know what I was doing with these leaves.  I just wanted to use up some green paint on my palette.  Again, might use it on the front of a card or make it into a tag or something.

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By this stage I had just gone a bit mental, trying some abstract work and thought “I know, I will fix it by adding gold dots!”
The artistic process has no rhyme or reason (apparently).

So, a funny, wobbly-throwing, not getting things right kind of day.  But that’s ok.  I will keep trying.  I am still getting used to the idea of doing things for me.  Just because I want to make something.  Not for selling or because someone asked me to make something for them.  For me.

Hope you have had a successful, enjoyable day, doing whatever you love doing.
And if that’s just making a mess, then so be it 🙂

Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder

Ah, soup.  I am such a fan.  It is easy to prepare, does not require difficult-to-get ingredients and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes (depending on the soup).  It’s filling, without being fattening, and can be flavoured and bulked-out with just about anything you have lying around the place.  Just bung it in, blend it up and hey presto! You have soup.  Or some weird-flavoured water (depending on the “anything” you bunged in).

Tonight I had a hankering for corn chowder.  I don’t know why.  It just appeared in my brain and took hold and made me desire its smokey, corny goodness beyond all other food stuffs.  I don’t make it very often.  Pretty much never.  The first time I ever made it was in catering class in high school.  I think I have made it three times in my entire life.  But it’s so yummy!  And filling and satisfying and feels like a meal rather than some sort of dietary punishment.  It never looks very attractive though.  Corn Chowder resembles, at best, dog vomit.  In fact, I hesitated when naming this blog post.  I wanted to call it “Corn Chunder” but I am far too mature for such a title.  I apologise if you are eating right now but, seriously, was there ever a more unattractive looking soup?

So my photo below is another fail.  I’m not even going to bother blaming it on bad lighting (even though the lighting in my kitchen is rubbish).  Let’s just ignore the picture and get on with the taste.  It’s yummy.  Delish. Tasty.

So here’s my recipe.  As always, for all my soup recipes, it is a bit approximate in terms of amounts used.  Again, just bung it in. I have, as is necessary for me, made this vegetarian, but substitute (if you must) real bacon etc.

Corn Chowder 

1 large onion, diced
4 rashers of vegetarian bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 potato, peeled and diced into roughly 1cm cubes
375ml can of evaporated milk + 2 canfuls of water – one mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of stock powder + one mixed with flour
2 cups frozen (or fresh) corn kernels
Chopped parsley

Method

Saute the onion in a bit of oil (I used sunflower) in a large saucepan  until soft.
Add bacon and fry for a minute (don’t let it brown).
Add milk and extra cans of water (with stock and flour).  Bring to a gentle boil (keep your eye on it) and add potato.  Keep stirring – the milk can burn or boil over so keep it simmering rather than rapid boiling.  Keep stirring for about 10 minutes until potato is tender (but not super squishy).  Add corn kernels and chopped parsley.

Continue simmering for about 5 mins.  Take off heat and take out a ladle or two of the chunky bits.  Give the remaining soup a bit of a blend with an upright stick blender (or whatever you have).  Don’t puree it until it’s smooth – this is supposed to be a chunky chowder!  Add the removed ingredients back into the pot and stir.  If it is too thick for your liking, you can add a half-cup of water if you wish.

Serve hot in bowls – garnish with parsley if desired.

Enjoy!  (just don’t look at it and you’ll be fine) 🙂

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Books, Bargains and Freo

Books, Bargains and Freo

Aghhghghhh!  A whole month has gone by and I have to go back to work tomorrow!  Ugh!  So unfair!  Why didn’t I win the lottery in that time?  Possibly because I didn’t buy a ticket, but hey, let’s not let reason and sense get in the way here!  I can’t believe four weeks has passed and I have little to show for it.  OK, so I have new-ish boobs (or, at least, smaller ones) which are healing nicely, thank you, but not much else has been accomplished.  To be fair, I wasn’t able to do much for the first couple of weeks, being sore and ouchy and so tired (I think my body just went “Ahhhhhhhhh” and wanted to recuperate and rest and sleep) but, really, I was hoping to get a few more things done.  To be honest, it was nice to be forced to relax and NOT do anything.  I actually read three whole books.  Woo!  I love reading but never take the time these days to actually curl up with a book and spend a hour or three lost in its pages.  I read “Sufficient Grace” by Amy Espeseth (oh so good – I couldn’t put it down), “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd (also excellent – my Mum read it straight after me and she loved it too), and “The End of the Alphabet” by C. S. Richardson (Oh, such a sad but beautiful book.  I finished it in a morning.   I made my Mum read this too and she also cried ha ha.  We are a pathetic pair).

These final few days, as I went into “Oh God I have to go back to work!” panic mode, I tried to pack as much entertainment and activity as possible, so as not to waste the time.  A couple of days were spent getting my house in order, doing mundane things like ironing, tidying up and sorting out paperwork (who am I kidding?  I just ended up watching thrifting haul videos on Youtube! There was no tidying or sorting!) and trying to get ready for the routine of the working week.

On Tuesday, I met my cousin for lunch and spent a nice afternoon with her, chatting and eating too much.  We dined at Yocal, one of my absolute fave places to eat.  Their menu is excellent – lots of vego and vegan choices, reasonably priced and the staff are super friendly.  It’s hip and cute and the food is DELICIOUS!  My cousin and I shared the Mushroom and Haloumi burger – so yummy!

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On Wednesday, after having my dressings removed and surgical wounds checked to make sure they were healing ok (they were, thankfully), I did a bit of op-shopping with Mum.  We visited 3 or 4 stores but neither of us had any luck in finding anything.

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We also went to a second-hand book store and found a few bargains there.  I got some nice decorating and craft books plus a handy guide to succulents.  I particularly liked the title of one of the books :

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Mum got some lovely gardening titles and a couple of novels.  We visited IKEA and had lunch before grabbing a few bits and pieces (can’t leave IKEA without getting SOMETHING) including some awesome journals with lovely blank pages, perfect for journaling or drawing or painting or whatever! (We just like notebooks – it’s a sickness).

On Thursday, Mum and I went down to the port town of Fremantle for the day.   Lots of lovely shops, markets and places to eat.  Our first stop was East West Design  – a treasure trove of furniture and home wares from every corner of the globe.

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We had not been before, but the owner is a friend of my cousin’s, so I had heard about it and was keen to have a look.  Oh Mylanta!  So many pretty things!  And it went for miles and miles!  The stock was floor to ceiling, pretty much, in a huge warehouse-size shop, with every taste catered for.  I spotted a cute little shelving unit, white and so pretty, as soon as I stepped in the door.  I really had to convince myself not to buy it, but in the end I knew I really had nowhere for it in my little house.  However, Mum did purchase a matching magazine rack that was really nice and will look great in her place.

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She also got a Buddha head – she’s been searching for one for ages.  It’s for her garden – this one was just the right size and colour and an amazingly inexpensive price.  Perfect.  The one pictured below was a very large version – nearly as tall as me and weighed a tonne (a bit like me ha ha).  It was $900…a bit out of our price range but I would love to have had it in MY garden!  Oh well, I know where to get one from if ever I come into money!

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Afterwards we pottered around Fremantle and had a look in some little shops, including the Oxfam store, which always has some lovely things.  Mum is currently redecorating her lounge room in blue and white so her eye was quickly drawn to the goodies on display here.  She ended up buying a little candle holder – so pretty and the blue is just right (you can see it in the photo below – second from the right, top right corner).

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Fremantle itself has some lovely street art, decorating even the most mundane of items, like rubbish bins and plant boxes.  Check out these gorgeous mosaic planters :

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I noticed that the majority of shops and cafes also had these recycled wood plant boxes – so rustic and chic! :

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 Even the boring old bollards on the corner of the street were jazzed up :

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We had a lovely day just walking around and window shopping, before heading home to beat the traffic.

Wish we could have more days like this – it’s so nice to just wander around, having nowhere you need to be and nothing urgent that needs doing.  If only pesky work didn’t get in the way all the time!

So it’s back to the grind for me tomorrow.  I am looking forward to seeing my workmates but not relishing the idea of getting up when it is cold and dark.  Ugh.  I should have been practicing my “getting up when the alarm goes off” routine but, alas, I have been sleeping in super late every day.  Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get used to the daily drudgery soon enough!

🙂

Trainwreck

Trainwreck

So, (and yes, I do start a lot of my conversations with “so”.  Like a teenager. I do not ever use “LOL” or “OMG” or any of those annoying abbreviations, so I figure I am allowed to say “So” at the beginning of conversations, blog posts and any other form of communication if I want to.) I went to see the movie Trainwreck with a friend tonight.  It’s not the kind of movie I would generally watch, but I really enjoyed it.  Amy Schumer is great.  I even found myself tearing up during the emotional bits – the sad, ugly crying bits where Amy realises she is a bit of a screw up and wants to join the human race.

But then I start wondering, what is wrong with me? Why am I watching this film, which is supposed to be hilariously funny, and getting all boo-hooey? Nobody who reviewed Trainwreck said “Make sure you bring your tissues – this one’s a real tear-jerker!” It’s not the kind of film you recommend your Mum sees, because it’s “so adorable” and sweet and romantic.  Well, I guess it is those things, in a “look-at-that-girl-she’s-such-a-mess-she’s-adorable” kind of way.  But it’s not, y’know, Sleepless in Seattle.

There are several reasons I can think of that would make me get teary in relation to such a film:

  1. I am hormonal. Everything makes me cry right now. Seriously. Big ugly, snotty blubbing.
  2. Amy Schumer is supposedly the “bigger” girl in Hollywood right now and is always (in interviews) putting herself down as the chunky/overweight/ugly/clumsy/unattractive girl.  If she is chunky, I am in trouble.  I saw her run in heels – that ain’t clumsy.  She wears skirts shorter than some belts I own and they’re ain’t nothin’ wrong with her legs.  I find this depressing.  If she is considered overweight and unattractive, I may as well pack up shop now and move to somewhere very remote where people do not venture.  Seriously, I should begin my career as a hermit yak herder in Siberia.  I don’t know if hermit yak herders are something you have in Siberia but it seems like a good plan.  Basically, I should just go somewhere isolated and uninhabited.  A lighthouse on the moon, that sort of thing.
  3. I am lonely.  I don’t feel lonely, but every now and then something will happen that reminds I am alone and quite possibly will be forever.  Most of the time that is ok, but combine it with suddenly feeling grossly obese and monstrously hideous, and it becomes overwhelming.  Sure, Amy’s character is a pot-smoking, foul-mouthed drunk who sleeps around, but hey, she looks attractive doing it and she has nice hair.  I just dyed mine a really weird dark red colour which was a big mistake and will take ages to wash out so not only do I feel fat and ugly, I have weird hair.
  4. Despite the fact, Amy’s character is basically, well, a trainwreck, she still manages to get the greatest guy ever who is lovely and sweet and caring and smart and funny and wonderful.  That makes me sad.  Where is the guy who will fall in love with cookie-bingeing, hormonal, messy, disorganised, slightly mental me?  I don’t even do drugs!  Or drink!  I can’t even have chocolate!  Gimme a break people!

So, there are those reasons.  At the moment I am feeling decidedly revolting due to having a few weeks leave where I haven’t been able to exercise at all (because I am normally so diligent about that…not!) and have basically consumed my entire body weight in cookies and cake and other foods that do not look remotely like carrot sticks or celery.  I tried on several pairs of jeans tonight and only one out of four pairs fit me.  In the end, I gave up and put on my fat pants.  Even they were a little less roomy than I remember them.  I think I could have watched any movie tonight and it would have made me sad.  Because I am fatter than I would like to be and, even worse, it is my own fault.  I know I can lose it again.  I lost 30kg before (ok, it was actually 28kg, but I like to round it up to a nice even number…it sounds more impressive) and I can do it again.  But it seems so hard.  And lonely.  And HARD.  Almost too hard.  I’ll be 42 in six months’ time.  I should be over this stuff already. I’m tired of hating myself.

I feel bad for even feeling bad.  I mean, people are starving in the world and I’m whinging because I eat too much?  Boo-hoo, poor me.  I have fat legs?  How sad.  Some people don’t even have legs! (But, to be fair, I have had meningitis and risked losing my limbs so…ok, that’s not even an argument worth having).  Basically, I have NOTHING to complain about.

I don’t even know what this post is about.  Tomorrow I will read it and call myself an idiot and make a mental note never to blog when I am hormonal or sad or wallowing in self-hatred.  Which will probably mean I never blog again.  Which might be a relief to some people.

If you’re having one of these days, know that you are not alone.  Let us wallow together.  I will make tea and NOT offer you a cookie (because we’re both on diets now).  It will be better tomorrow and if not, the day after that might be ok.

Apologies for late-night whinging.  Thank you for listening.

 x