Thursday, April 24, 2014

ANZAC Deliciousness!



 Do you know the story behind one of Australia's most loved biscuits?

As most Australians & New Zealanders would know, the iconic ANZAC biscuit was developed by the women (wives, mothers, sweethearts) left behind by the Australian and New Zealander soldiers (ANZACs) when the armies set off for battle at the beginning of the first World War . These women wanted to send sweets to their loved ones, a little treat from home, but they needed something that would keep well on the journey.

And so, with a mixture of rolled oats, dessicated coconut, and golden syrup as the signature traits, the humble ANZAC biscuit was born. They were usually packed lovingly in tins, a message of love and courage tucked away inside, sent with a prayer that these sweet, nourishing biscuits would reach these embattled soldiers, hopefully alive and as well as could possibly be expected.

The other week, ALDI Australia had kindly invited me to visit the The Modern Baking Co, a fabulous bakery that produces their wonderful ANZAC biscuits. I was so excited at  the invitation because:
          a) I'm a real baking afficionado
          b) I was always fascinated by the history & tradition of the ANZAC biscuit
          c) I could leave domestic drudgery behind for an afternoon
          d) and (of course), COOKIES!!!!!.

I was greeted by my lovely host Erin who took me on a tour of the bakery. The scent was delicious!


Look at the size of those ovens!!!

I skipped my gypsy earrings and leopard stilletos  and traded them in for sensible shoes, a slicked back mamma bun, tres chic blue hairnet and glamazon fluorescent orange overcoat to venture onto the bakery floor to see where the magic happens!


Factory floor chicness! 

One of the magic ingredients, rolled oats! Tonnes of!
Welcome to cookie heaven!


The coconutty, golden syrupy, oaty batter goodness is dolloped out
like little soldiers marching in lines. 


On their way to get baked! 



Plaque on the oven dedicated to former RSL President, Bruce Ruxton
Did you know that 4% from the proceeds of sales of ANZAC biscuits are donated to support the wonderful community work of the RSL (The Returned and Services League)? This initiative was started by former RSL President, the late Bruce Ruxton in the 1990's.


The lovely staff at The Modern Baking Co pack, pack, packing the ANZAC goodness.


Millions of ANZACS packed and ready to be eaten! 

 Which brings me to the extra special commemorative tins....

Voila!  

ALDI Australia, in collaboration with The Modern Baking Co, has created an exclusive, limited edition Unibic ANZAC Biscuit tin, commemorating 100 years since the start of World War 1.
The tin, entitled “The Ancient Tombs of Giza”, honours the nearly 20,000 Australian servicemen and 300 members of the Australian Army Nursing Service who left for training camps in Egypt in 1914.
Endorsed by the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL), the limited edition “The Ancient Tombs of Giza” and “The Victoria Cross” Unibic ANZAC Biscuit tins are available now across ALDI stores nationally for $9.99, until stocks last.

ALDI 100 Year Commemorative Tin
"The Ancient Tombs of Giza'' (1914-2014)

ALDI ANZAC Biscuit Commemorative Tin
"The Victoria Cross"
 Whether you're looking forward to dipping into a cup of tea, or making it into a sandwich with Nutella (highly recommend!) don't forget to pop into ALDI this week to pick up an extra special commemorative tin. A percentage of proceeds from each sale will be donated by ALDI Australia  to benefit the wonderful work of the RSL. On top of that, ALDI Australia will also be donating an extra $20,000 to the RSL to provide welfare assistance to members and their families. Very generous indeed!

***** GIVEAWAY!!!!! *****

ALDI Australia would like to offer 5 of my readers a special ANZAC treat.
I have 5 gift packs of of the Exclusive ALDI ANZAC tins to give away!
(That's a delicious amount of ANZACS, enough to share with the rest of the family!)

To enter, all I want to know is:

"What is your favourite way to eat an ANZAC biscuit?"
So easy!!!

Leave your answer in the comments below!
Entries close 6pm, Friday 25th April 2104 (Melbourne Time)
*Sorry, giveaway only open to Australian residents xxx



*This is not a sponsored post. 
*I was gifted (and tempted by) super yummy cookies in order to help ALDI Australia raise awareness and funds for their ANZAC/RSL fundraising campaign




Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm Still Here! : Kinda, Sort of...


Well, hey there!

How nice of you to stop by!

I'm still here, (well....kind of, sort of...)

My mind is taking a bit of a bloggy break, of the mental health kind.

Time for a bit of Mamma Time Out.

I'm hoping to get my writing mojo back soon.

Very soon.

I hope you'll be back to read my shenanigans.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

It means so much that you still think of me.

I'm still avoiding domestic drudgery by hanging out in Facebook Land.

If you want to join in the fun, you can find me there, at


Thanks so much for popping in!

Did I tell you that you look lovely today?

Well, you do.

Just thought you should know...


Sending big, bright shimmery love your way,

♥ Jess

xxxxx





Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Blank Page



Blank.

My mind has gone blank.

So much to say and share but my voice is quietly protesting.

Stubborn.

The cursor just blinks patiently as I open up the laptop, wanting to write but nothing comes out.

Is my voice shy? Tired? Bored? Protesting against frivolity?

Maybe she needed a bit of time out?

A holiday away from Whoa Mamma Land?

Maybe my voice said: "Ssh! Listen. You hear that? That's the sound of your family needing your presence, the greatest gift you can ever give them. Stop checking in on Facebook before kissing them good morning. Stop trying to take the perfect pic to post on Instagram and just ENJOY the moment. It will never come again".

Oh, the irony!

When life is in a frenzy, that's when my voice is the loudest. I would blog on the run,  while cooking dinner, I'd wake in the middle of the night. Whenever the inspiration would hit, I'd take a 'Mamma Time Out' and charge at the laptop.

Now, life is quieter, things are falling into place. There is a contentness and a serenity to the rhythm of my life, which is wonderful, but also scary, in a way.

The New Year is fast approaching. It will bring about great life changes.

An exciting new business venture for darling Le Husband; opening a restaurant! Hurrah!

The New Year will also see my baby girl joining her bigger sisters and heading off to school.

I often jokingly rub my hands with glee when speaking about my baby going to school.
But the truth is, I'm sad.
It's the end of an era.

For years (6.8 to be exact) I have pondered what it would be like to have all 3 kids at school.
To have FREE TIME.
It's been so long, I don't know what to do with it.

Return to work? What work? Panic sets in when I think about it.

Freedom.
Something I've been yearning for for so long, but it's terrifying me.

You see, I need a purpose.

My last 6.8 years have been dedicated to staying home and raising my children.
That was my choice, that gave me a sense of purpose.
Now, there is a slot of time that I can Dedicate To Me and I'm panicking.

What to do with this precious time?
Work, study, relax, clean, volunteer, work from home?
Sometimes I feel I need to validate my time. Crazy, yes? No?
I don't know where to start.
I'm going blank.

I've loved being a Stay At Home Mamma (well, not every minute of it, to be quite honest, but every other minute). It's become such a great big part of who I am, that sometimes I'm not sure who I am without it.

Can I still be a Stay At Home Mamma even when the kids are at school?


The new era is a Blank Page and the cursor is patiently blinking.

The Blank Page is Me.

What am I going to write on that page? 
I'm the author and the editor. 
The main character, the star of my show. 

I'd rather fill that page (and my life) with inspirational triumphs over tragedies, panty-wetting laughter over self-indulgent tears, and swoonworthy/butterflies-in-tummy romance over not-worth-wasting-my-breath drama. I want to fill that page with adventures and engage with wonderfully inspiring and creative characters that add colour and passion to my life. 

I want to turn that Blank Page into such an engrossing novel that I just never want to put it down.

Well... I guess my voice had something to say afterall...

P.S What do you think of this ending:

"And she lived Happily Ever After"




What do you do when your voice goes quiet?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Summer of the Dress





As the days become longer, and the sun shines warmer and brighter, my mind turns towards the impending Summer.

Each season has its own beauty, of course.

Autumn is aflame with the majestic reds and golds of falling leaves.
Winter is the romance of a misty haze and the sound of rain falling on roof tops while we snuggle cosily in our warm beds.
Frivolous Spring makes us giddy with delight, fragrant blossoms fill the air and the earth, once again, is reborn.

Then there is Summer.
Long, hot, beautiful Summer.

Summer is...

Frolicking at the beach!




Sweet delicious cherries and juicy watermelons.

Lazy siestas sleeping under a shady tree.

The chirping of crickets and cicadas, our lullaby for hot, Summer nights.

Icy poles and ice creams.
(Pistachio gelati for me).

Squirting the children with the garden hose as they squeal with delight, then running for my life as they chase me with buckets of water. (Of course, I let them catch me!).


Glorious sunsets.
Sultry cocktails.
Isn't it romantic?

Stillness.
Serenity.

And the dresses.
I love Summer dresses.
Summer dresses teamed with espadrilles.

I can't wait to unravel the heavy layers of Winter and pop into a frock.

I love the gentle feeling of a cooling breeze as it swirls about my bare legs, it's like my dress is dancing.

A summer dress makes me feel like Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.

All woman.

Girly and twirly.


Fitted in all the right places.


My curves, long hidden, come out to play.


Summer has a rhythm that I just can't wait to dance to. 


Are you looking forward to Summer?

What's your favourite Season?



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Thanks so much for stopping by!
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Friday, September 21, 2012

In Search of 'Kefi': Lost and Found


I like to think of myself as, generally, quite a Happy Soul.
At my best, I feel joyous, exultant, buoyant, radiant.
At my worst, I am merely content, (but ALWAYS grateful).

I do get the Blues occasionally (ok, well monthly, if you know what I mean) but when I am Swimming in the Depths of Sad Waters, I know that this will (eventually) pass.

But for me, Life is all about the Pursuit of Happiness.

The Greeks have a term for this Happiness that lives inside us: this Joyful Spirit, this Passion for Life, this 'Joie de Vivre'.
The Greeks call it 'kefi'.
And as a proud Grecian Goddess myself, kefi pulsates through my body and my DNA like a passionate, rhythmic dance.



For Greeks, kefi is found in the sparkle of our eyes, the cheekiness of our smiles, the warmth of our embrace, the abundance of our feasts,  the heartiness of our laugher, the generosity of our hospitality, the gusto of our voices in song, the passion in our dance. Kefi celebrates the joy of being alive.

This morning my kefi was quashed because of one sad little daughter in our house.
There is a saying that goes (with which I wholeheartedly agree ):
"A Mother is only as Happy as her Un-Happiest Child".
And it was very true this morning.
When my children are truly unhappy, it guts me and torments me. It's the most wretched feeling in the world.
Upset and defiant, there was nothing I could do to soothe her troubled mind (stubborness is a trait she gets from her father, I might add, just quietly). It saddened me to leave her at school this morning, red eyed and with quivering lips.

When child is sad, mother is sadder.

I got home and my kefi plummeted. I had no joy.
Not even Pinterest, nor chocolate, nor offers of a massage by Mr WhoaMamma could settle my troubled heart. I could not rest until I knew my child was okay.

I looked at the time and grabbed my keys. It was time for  recess.
"I'm off!" I shouted to Le Husband. "Just want to check that Little Miss C is okay".
"I'll join you", said my partner in crime and off we went, Mr & Mrs WhoaMamma, arm in arm, to the school grounds to spy on our offspring.

And there they were. Our twins. Laughing and playing amongst their friends, screeching with joy.
We were spotted and towards us they ran, embracing our legs, breathless with delight.
"What are you doing here?" they queried.
"Oh, Daddy and I were just having a coffee nearby and on our way home we thought we'd just pop in and say 'hello'. So.... 'hello'!"
Miss C looked at me with a Knowingness and hugged me extra tight.
"Thank you, Mamma. I'm happy now!" and with that the bell rang and off they skipped back to class.

I may not be able to solve the world's problems but I'll sure as heck be there for my kidlets in any way I can.

The sun shone and the birds tweeted extra sweetly.
I 'high-fived' Mr WhoaMamma and gave him a cheeky wink.
I could contain myself no longer.
Arms outstretched, fingers clicking, a quick kick of the left foot followed by a quick kick of the right, I joyously slapped my ankle.

My kefi was back.

OPA!

And now... a musical expresson of kefi, kitschy Greek-cinema style. Enjoy!
(From the film My Daughter the Socialist (1966) starring Aliki Vougiouklaki)


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What gives you 'kefi'?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Haunting Words of Mr F


Artwork by Katie Daisy


I awoke, determined.

I often make promises to myself, many I have failed to keep.

Changes needed to be made.

My intentions are (mostly!) good and pure, in this one and only precious life we have.

While half of me is grounded in the domestic drudgery of cleaning, cooking, shopping, organising things for school, entertaining kiddies and le Husband and just trying to catch up on stuff, the other half of me is soaring in the clouds, dreaming of adventures and Pretty Little Things to create.

I have a special little shelf in my cupboard for my 'When I Have Time...' projects.
Beautiful fabrics, golden threads, bamboo handles, glass beads, earring backings, embossed paper, silk ribbons, watercolours, vintage flowers, nuggets of turquoise, Yiayia's unfinished embroideries. My collection has been sitting there patiently for about 6 1/2 years, since the day my first borns came into this world. My Box of Pretty Things is awaiting the moment I latch onto the Runaway Horse of Creative Inspiration when it hits, holding tightly on its reigns, galloping and yee-haaa-ing with joyous glee instead of shrugging my shoulders and waving glumly as it passes me by, yet again.

My heart cries out as I scrub another crusty pasta pot:

"Oh Spirit of Creativity! Do not abandon me!
We will be together! We will create!
I promise! I'll Try!"

The words of my 4th Grade Teacher, Mr F come back to haunt me. 
Mr F was tall and dandy. He had a head shaped like an egg, bald and shiny on top. 
He had round black-rimmed spectacles and wore pinstriped pants that made him look as tall as a tower. To these pants he would attach silver bicycle clips near his ankles so that his trousers would not get caught up as his long, spindly legs powered his bicycle to school.

Mr F was very Proper. He relished in the Queen's English and rolled his R's when he spoke: (Rrrrrrrodney! Please stop harrrrrassing that poorrrrrr girrrrrrl and rrrreturrrn to yourrrrr seat prrrromptly!). He was very theatrical and was in his element when conducting our music lessons. We would sit on the floor as he took position at the schools piano, under a portrait of HRH Queen Elizebeth II, resplendant in her puffy yellow gown and majestic crown. 

"Zippedy Doo Dah! Zippedy Ay!
My Oh My What A Wonderful Day!
Plenty of Sunshine Heading My Way!
Zippedy Doo Dah! Zippedy Ay!"

His energetic fingers would thump away at the piano keys, like an octopus flailing it's tentacles. Mr F would bob up and down, the piano stool squeaking threateningly. It was a wonder he never broke it or fell off it.

It was the night of parent/teacher interviews and my parents took their places on the little squeaky wooden chairs positioned in front of Mr F's desk. I sat meekly behind them.
"Well!", exclaimed Mr F, "What can I say about Jessica? She is a puuuuuuuuuurre delight!
A's in writing, A's in mathematics, she loves herrrrr arrrrrrrt and parrrrrticipates most joyously in ourrrrr musical prrrresentations".
"Therrrrre is one thing, I could add, howeverrrr....." 
He leaned in closer. His change of position set his spectacles ablaze reflecting the light of the classroom. He looked almost Supernatural.
"She is a most fabulous student, but...... I have neverrrrr seen herrrr trrrrrry....."

I have mulled over those words all my life.

Was this good or bad?

Things would just naturally click in my mind while I was at school.
A quiet achiever.
I loved reading and I loved writing stories. Maths just seemed to work in my head.
My grades were always high (except for Physical Education, but that's another blog post. You'll get your chapter, Mr S).
If I could achieve things without trying, wasn't that a good thing?

" I have never seen her try...."

Mr F was right.
Many things in my life seem to have happened effortlessly.
Whether it's been willing it with all my heart and soul or putting it out to the universe, things just seem to fall into place. But not always. 

In some instances I have tried and failed badly. I have fought hard. I have tried to make relationships work, putting all my heart and soul in them but to no avail. What more could I do? What more could I give? It wasn't meant to be. And in hindsight that was a good thing, the best thing. For I was not being honoured or respected or cherished. Those lessons made me stronger and wiser.

The biggest battle in my life at the moment is balancing the needs of my family against the needs of My Self. Family inadvertently always wins. But maybe I should rephrase that.

It's not about Winning and Losing.

This is about Winning and Winning.

My first pledge is Not To Give Up.

Even as I type, my children are fighting, spilling milk, shredding tissue paper all over my loungeroom floor, my husband is shooing the cat off the kitchen bench, my sister is asking me to drive her somewhere, I have 5 baskets of washing waiting for me in the laundry, the fridge is practically empty, I have no idea what I'm going to cook for dinner, my grandmothers want me to come to visit, I still haven't done our taxes, the plants in my garden are withering, I'm wondering what's going on in Facebook Land, my floors are crunchy, I'm still in my pyjamas, and I do believe I'm due a toilet break.

But look here, Mr F!
I am trying!
I am perservering!
It would be so easy for me to succumb to my Haus Frau Guilt, get off this laptop and tend to Life's Messes like I usually do. Deny my passions, deny my Right to Write.
But I'm not, am I?

Right now, I choose me.
I choose to ride my Creativity Dragon and release these humble little words.
I have created a Blog Post!

And do you know what, Haus Frau Guilt?
I have picked up my Yiayia's unfinished embroidery and I am doing a little section EVERY DAY.
Little by little.
Each little strand I weave makes my heart smile bigger and bigger and bigger.
And next week I am going to make some earrings.
Dangly ones, with gold and turquoise.
And the week after that, a handbag with bamboo handles that I will fill with treasures and carry proudly around with me when I go to the shops to buy more fabric softener and cat food.

I am going to Keep On Going.

And as long as I keep on going,  I am Winning.


What happens when you 'try' in Life?
What would you like to 'try'?
Are you afraid of failing? Or succeeding?



I'm so excited to be nominated for a spot in the Circle of Moms 'Top 25 Aussie Mum Blogs!'.
If you'd like to help me get there, please feel free to click on the link and Vote!
Thank you for your Love & Support, my precious ones!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oh, Happy Day!



Today we celebrated darling Le Husband's birthday.
(Happy Birthday, agapi!)

We had yummy pancakes for breakfast followed by scrumptious chocolate birthday cake topped with choc icing, candy sprinkles and fresh strawberries (to make it healthy, obviously!)


Waiting for Daddy.
I whipped up a quick batch of spinach, ricotta and feta rolls in the oven for lunch 
and we decided to eat them in the park. 
The sun was shining.
It was a glorious day.

The girls delighted in the swings...

Squeeeeeee!

Higher, Mamma, higher!

Darling Birthday Boy and I delighted in them.


Ssshhhhh! Do not disturb blissfully content child...

Oh, Happy Day indeed!

What made you happy today?


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