Friday, 30 May 2014

the best pizza dough ever + pizza

This claim I make not neelie willie like, I actually really mean it! If your like me and like a thin crust pizza that is easy to make and delicious, well this is for you!
The recipe was originally introduced to us from our dear friends in the UK and is taken from Jamie Oliver. We usually make a big batch and then freeze the left over dough in cling wrap for later use. It lasts a long time in the freezer.


800g bread flour
200g finely ground semolina
1 teaspoon salt
2 x 7g dry yeast sachets
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoon olive oil
650ml lukewarm water


  • Sieve the flour and salt onto a clean dry surface, make a well in the centre. Combine the water, oil, sugar and yeast in a jug, leave for a few minutes and then pour into the centre of the flour well. 
  • Using your hands slowly close the well and combine all the ingredients. Once all combined knead the mixture until you get a smooth springy dough.
  • (you can skip most of the hard work by using a machine that kneads, just place the flours and water/oil/sugar/yeast mixture into the machine and press a button!)
  • place the mixture into a large bowl thats been dusted with flour, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm room for an hour. The mixture should double in size and then its ready
  • dust some flour onto the dough, remove it from the bowl and place onto a flour dusted surface. Using your hands, knead the dough lightly to remove some of the air (1 minute is usually enough)
  • Once that's done, break the dough up into small balls (size of your palm). The recipe makes 6-8 pizzas. Either use immediately or wrap the balls in cling foil and pop into your freezer for later
  • Now to make your pizza. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. On a flour dusted surface, roll the ball around and press using your hands to make into a round shape.

  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until its around half centimetre thick. 
  • On an oven tray, I like to then place in the oven for 5 minutes to give the crust extra crunchiness but this stage is optional, if you don't like it too crunchy proceed to the next stage
  • Remove from oven and place any toppings you desire ( I love to keep it simple with a good sauce, preferably home made, onion, tomatoes, peperoni and of course cheese!)
  • Reduce oven to 180 degrees and bake pizza for 10-15 minutes or until lovely and golden
Enjoy xx

Thursday, 29 May 2014

the fun in rhyme

After deliberations and discussions, I have decided (along with the hubby) that we will not send Lucy to childcare as yet. The more I thought about it, the more I realised how much I actually enjoy spending time with her and how much I would miss out on if I were to leave her in childcare.

Its not forever, I will have to eventually go back to work but for the time being I will just attempt to fill her mornings up with activities so she doesn't get too bored at home and drive me crazy.

This is where Rhyme Time came in, it is just one way that we will fill our mornings. Our local library is really great where it comes to kid activities and its only ten minutes up the road. They host Rhyme Time twice a week and have Story Time twice a week for the older kiddies too.

Lucy and I have been to Rhyme Time previously, but with juggling her sleeps along with the after school care I do and the house work we have not been regulars.

So I have decided that now that Lucy is not going to childcare I will make every effort to entertain her in the mornings, so off we went to Rhyme Time. And I must say she loved it! but I'm not sure in the way that you would think... she spent the first ten minutes quietly sitting and listening to the readings and some of the songs, starring at me doing the actions and all the other parents. Then she realised that she wasn't tied to me and off she went! crawling through all the parents and the kids, talking and trying to distract everyone, giggling to herself along the way.

I spend the rest of the time either watching her running off or chasing her as she made a break through the crowds and headed out the door on all fours!

I think we will need to attempt it on a regular basis so she learns to sit and pay attention, but regardless the smile on her face as she made friends with the crowd makes me think she had a great time!

Success I think and now off to try out our local Playgroup

Friday, 23 May 2014

Am I ready for Childcare???

Lucy my gorgeous girl, has lately been a little nightmare. I like to excuse everything with the idea of teething but I think there must be a few more reasons why she has been acting up, including being slightly bored. Being a mum is completely different to being a nanny, apart from the other 10 thousand reasons I have noticed an important one, I DON'T play with her as much. As a nanny I was at the park DAILY, I went to playgroups WEEKLY, music classes, Gymbaroo, walks and play dates and of course endless hours on the carpet playing. But that was my job and I did love it.

I still do some of those things with Lucy, but not all the time because responsibility and housework need to be done. So I think Lucy is bored and at times driving me UP THE WALL!

So last week I had decided that maybe it is time she went to Childcare, just one or two days where she can be social and have fun with kids her age and also get worn out. A good idea I thought, I could also get some work done and maybe even look for some part time work on those days to complement the After School Care I already do. I put her on the waiting list at a few centres and thought I would have to wait months (inner west childcare shortage sucks!), but a week later I got a phone call and they have a place!!

This is when the panic sat in, Am I ready to let go and actually let her be looked after by others and by others I mean strangers not my mum or sister or friends, just strangers? Am I ready to spend a couple of days without her? She will just be 1 year old and is that old enough??

I do understand that some women have to go back to work and sent their babies to care much earlier, but I have the option not to, Am I being a mean mummy??? Being a nanny myself I didn't think I was going to have this panic attack, mostly because from experience I know that Lucy will be absolutely fine and being the social butterfly that she is, she probably will love it. But being a mum I'm not sure I have it in me to let go this quickly? So the question really is, Am I ready for Childcare?

Anyway I have a week to think about it before the places are offered to others, what do I do?

Not Happy MUM!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Chicken and leek soup

My poor hubby is sick and there is nothing better at curing a sick person then some nice hot chicken soup. I make this like a broth and love to eat it with hot freshly made rolls but you can also cook up some noodles and throw it in at the end for a different twist.


200g chicken chopped (any part will do but I like breast or thigh fillets)
2 litres chicken stock
2 cups water
2 carrots chopped
2 leeks sliced
1 onion chopped
4 garlic cloves chopped
2 tables spoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste 
splash of oil

  • In a large soup pan on a high heat throw in your oil, onions, garlic and chicken. Brown until ingredients start turning golden, stirring.
  • Place your stock and the extra water in the pan and bring to boil for 5 minutes. Using a ladle remove the top layer of the soup (the foamy bit)
  • Place your carrots and leeks into the soup and bring to boil
  • Reduce heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 1 hour
  • After one hour, put in the worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper as needed. Cook for 5 more minutes and remove from heat
Serve with warm bread or noodles. Also optional is a garnish of coriander and a squeeze of lemon

Enjoy xx

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

3 - My Kindle

I have always been a keen reader. I loose myself in a book easily and can read for hours. I never thought I would switch from actual books; I love the feel and smell of them and even the way they look on my book case. But a year ago my hubby got me a Kindle so I didn't have to drag books around on a plane and since than I haven't looked back. The ease of the quick download, the weight of the kindle and the fact that once charged the battery can last weeks. Love my kindle :)

Friday, 16 May 2014

Chicken and Pea Risotto

Its cooler out there and nothing better than a nice warm heart warming risotto. Add a bit of chicken, peas and cheese and its delicious! Hope you enjoy it :) The recipe feeds around 4 adults and Lucy loved it too.


2 cups Arborio rice
1 litre of good quality chicken stock (I like the salt reduced variety)
200g chicken breast or thigh with no skin, chopped
1 onion finely chopped
peas (frozen) a big handful or about half a cup
Parmesan cheese half a cup
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat up all your stock in a pot
  • In the mean time, in a large pot on a high heat, throw in the oil, chopped onion and chicken, cook until the chicken browns on the sides and onion starts turning clear.
  • Reduce the heat to low and throw in all your rice, stirring until all rice in coated in the oil.
  • Now put in a ladle of hot stock with the rice mixture, stir through and once all stock is absorbed put another ladle of stock in stirring through.
  • Continue until on the last ladle of stock, then throw in your peas with the last of the stock and cook through until you get a creamy consistency.
  • Remove from heat and stir through the cheese, salt and pepper to season

Enjoy xx 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Kids activities for Autumn

I love autumn and that's not to say I don't like the other seasons also, but there's something special about this time of the year. Firstly and most importantly it gets cooler, and after months of having the air con on and continuously sweating, its kind of nice to just cool down. Its the perfect temperature really, in the 20s during the day and nice crisp nights just perfect for a warm quilt.
Also the leaves changing colour and the trees slowly becoming bare (well some trees anyway) makes everything look pretty.
Anyway I have gone of track, this is my list of kid activities for Autumn. It is just my personal list and I would love to hear any other ideas?

  1. The park becomes a special place that is perfect in the sun with a warm jumper on. I love parks that have big deciduous trees and there is nothing better than jumping in piles of leaves and kicking them all about
  2. I also enjoy collecting the fallen leaves for the numerous amount of craft that can be made with them
  3. The cooler weather means that more energetic activities become more appealing like going for long walks, riding bikes in the park, or just playing in the park all day
  4. Autumn sun is gorgeous and nothing better than going to the beach and playing in the sand (in the full sun with a hat on that is) and building sand castles, collecting shells and even fishing 
  5. The shorter days are also great for indoor play and lazy days baking and doing craft
So these are my ideas, let me know of any others?

Monday, 12 May 2014

2 - Ugg boots

Its getting chillier daily and nothing is better then keeping your footsies warm and cozy in a pair of Uggs!
Love my Uggs :)

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Happy Mother's Day to ME!!

It has finally happened... I have celebrated my first ever Mother's Day as a mum myself. I have always thought that mothers day and fathers day was just Hallmark trying to make money on cards...I mean I love my mum everyday and not just on the one day and I think she doesn't need the reminder on the second weekend in May.
But having said that I now GET IT. Now that I have Lucy and was woken up with her smiles, sloppy kisses and a breakfast she 'made'. Its kind of special having a day where you get appreciated for what you do, so
"Happy Mothers Day Mama!!! I'm sorry I can't be with you today but I will be seeing you soon! Love you heaps and THANK YOU for all you have ever done for me and all the Love you've given us.... Love you loads xx"

my gorgeous mum and me on my wedding day

Gorgeous Lucy and I

top picture courtesy of Claudio Raschella Photographer

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Is an Au Pair just a cheap Nanny?

Childcare in Australia is sooo expensive and being a mum myself I can understand why anyone would love the cheapest and best form for you and your children. But also being a nanny I know how hard the work can be; the long hours you end up working and how mentally draining it can be (sometimes just having your name repeated 200 times in a day is in itself draining enough!). I have a few friends that were professional nannies (and I'm talking over 15 years in the industry), who are now leaving and trying something else because they cannot compete with the rates charged by Au Pairs.

Now I'm not actually anti Au Pairs, but I think the definition of an Au Pair has become slightly confused by some people. This is the definition that I found at the Free dictionary site
"Au pair (əʊ ˈpɛə; French o pɛr)
n1. (Professions)
a. a young foreigner, usually a girl, who undertakes housework in exchange for board and lodging, esp in order to learn the language
b. (as modifier): an au pair girl.
2. a young person who lives temporarily with a family abroad in exchange for a reciprocal arrangement with his or her own family
vb3. (intr) to work as an au pair "

I have met many Au Pair's that fit that description perfectly; they were from a foreign country studying English and living with a host family helping them out for an exchange of food and board. But I also have known a few nannies that are 'live in' and get the same rate as an Au Pair, benefiting the family but not themselves. I have also known Au Pairs that only received board and food without any money exchanging hands. I have to wonder, how does this benefit the nanny or the Au Pair? I do believe that the industry needs to be more regulated so no one is taken advantage of.

For the family there is also a major disadvantage to having an Au Pair and it is that their visa does eventually expire and they have to move on, meaning the kids don't get the continuity that a nanny can provide, but if you have a spare room the savings can be great. This is the big drawcard and one hard for any nanny to compete with.

It does make me wonder though, are there too many Au pairs out there taking the jobs of nannies? Should the amount of Au Pairs in Australia be limited to give nannies a better chance to find employment? and do the parents hiring the Au Pairs know that they are not actually hiring an experienced nanny but a young person wanting to travel?

Monday, 5 May 2014

Mini quiches - pastry free

These are like SUPER EASY and glutton free and delicious and high in protein and can be frozen and then defrosted.. sounds good ha? anyway here is the super easy recipe. You will need a muffin tray and the recipe makes about 6. Lovely for lunch for you and your little one (as long as there is no egg allergy).


2 eggs
splash of milk (about 50ml)
zucchini, half and graded using a grader
handful frozen peas
2 slices of ham (any variety you might like) chopped finely
handful of Parmesan cheese (or any cheese that you have in your fridge)
oil to grease the muffin tray
salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 180 Degrees Celsius and grease the muffin tray with oil
  • In a pouring bowl crack the two eggs and using a fork beat them for half a minute. Add the splash of milk and stir the mixture
  • Now its time to arrange; on the muffin tray spread the ham, zucchini and peas evenly among the 6 holes (you can also use a different variety of fillings, fun to experiment!); on top sprinkle the Parmesan cheese; using the pouring bowl, pour the egg mixture evenly between the 6 holes making sure all ingredients are covered. If some poke out use a fork to push it all down
  • Once all ingredients are covered, bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes checking to see that the top is nice and brown before removing. The quiches will collapse after being removed from the oven.
Salt and Pepper to taste and serve with a nice crisp salad, Enjoy xx

Sunday, 4 May 2014

1 - Lucy and Mike

I have decided to create a list of all my favourite things, mind you not in any actual order. There is so much in my life that I love and am grateful for and in this little way I would like to say "Thank you" to the universe for providing.

First and foremost is my Gorgeous daughter Lucy with my one and only Love. Really do not know what I would do without these two in my life.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Puff the magic Dragon and other such music that I now listen to

I use to be all about the music, my hubby is all about the music... we have music in every room, we go to concerts and we (well he mostly) knows music. It came as a bit of a surprise this morning as I walked into the living room after my gorgeous sleep in, that I encountered Lucy and Hubby dancing away to "Puff the magic dragon"! Who would have thought?

We were so determined to give Lucy the best musical education, I was thinking classical music to stimulate her and some Beatles (cause you can't go past THE Beatles) and Hubby was hoping for Metallica and of course The Foos. So it came as a bit of a surprise for me as I entered the room and saw them dancing to kids music...what have we come to?!

It amazing the amount of things that we were "never going to do!" that have now become everyday life, music just being one of them. I have spend years going to Rhyme Time at libraries, singing and dancing at Einsteinz music classes and I still believe that music plays an important part in development. I have throughout my years kept kids music in 'activities' and only listened to adult music at home. I still remember little Selena at the age of 3 singing to James Blunt 'You're Beautiful', making up the lyrics as she sang along, a Great memory.

And now, with little Lucy its all out the window. Hubby downloaded kids music and every morning I wake up to it playing. But its not as bad as I imagined, the smile on her face and her bopping up and down to it makes it tolerable if not enjoyable.