Friday, 21 March 2014

Here We Go Again...

Perhaps the full moon can explain the strange goings-on around me this week. Goings-on that have made me raise my eyebrows a few times, smirk just a little in amazement and slightly nod at the oddities. Whatever has caused the out-of-character behaviours, I will now be adding to them by posting on this blog once more - where I was so certain this blog would be in indefinite hiatus for reasons too boring to mention, I've changed my mind. When I spoke out loud to a couple of people about blogging, I realised that I missed rambling on about nothing and that not posting was more stressful to me than posting. Work that one out.

The pathway leading to the creekbed was littered with what seemed to be blueberries.
Lots of them. I wondered who would misplace so many blueberries.

So let me share here my photography project for 2014 --- 52 themed self portraits. I resisted for the first few weeks* until I realised that the photos fitting the themes had been taken by default and using my iPhone **. We are now in Week 12 and have to admit that I am actively participating in this project, and no longer reluctantly. The theme for Week 12 was "The Great Outdoors". Living in the Blue Mountains and surrounded by endless bushland gorges made this week's shot a no-brainer. Time was my only issue so I used the small window of time I had to seek out this quiet creek bed, set up the iPhone on the teensy little tripod I bought online, set the camera app to self timer and get into position without slipping on the mossy rocks. I discovered the interval timer on the app which meant I didn't have to run back and forth to the iPhone - what a win! To edit the shot, I used the Snapseed app and the Camerabag app - both pretty flexible editing tools.

In the midst of this week's chaos, disorder and busyness, "The Great Outdoors" theme was perfectly timed, much needed and much appreciated. Ahhh, feel the serenity!

* Aren't I getting a bit long in the tooth to be taking selfies? Yes, yes I am, and what of it?
** That's really the challenge here I feel, can I take 52 self portraits that won't look like quick grabs you would normally take when out with your girlfriends? Can I make them look "arty"?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A long time between posts

Sydney Ride to Conquer Cancer 2013
Yep, that's me in lycra holding up my bike at the end of the 200km ride
Life has been very busy and I've allocated very little time to blogging. The way the end of year is shaping up, it looks like it will be a while again before my next post. I did, however, want to update you with the result of My 2013 Challenge. If you followed the link, you'll see that I was a member of Team Blue Magic. Our goal was for each rider from our team to reach the fundraising target of $2,500.00 each in order to participate in the 200km cycle. I can't tell you how proud I am to say that not only did we reach - and exceed our target - we all rode AND all completed the ride! Camping overnight, using port-a-loos and port-a-showers for the first time was a claustrophobic and eye-opening experience I don't want to repeat again in a hurry, but the weekend was amazing!! Team Blue Magic are the Best Team Ever!! Even more amazing was that our little team of 8 riders raised over $32,000 for The Chris O'Brien Lifehouse in Sydney.  I'm so very proud to have been part of that team and if you happen to be one of the many people who donated, then I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

So, for now, this blog will remain in hiatus until the merry-go-round that is life slows down so I can catch my breath and start up blogging again. I'll still be around the net, commenting, posting images, tweeting... Blogging will simply take a backseat. Ta ta for now. x

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Linky Love #4

It's been a while since the last Linky Love and I'm sitting here editing photos from several weeks ago. The computer is being slow, an eclectic mix of music courtesy of iTunes shuffle is playing in the background and I thought I'd add another task while I sit here and wait for the computer to catch up - one image at a time.

One of these days, I'm actually going to use this handy little generator  and create magical things.

I've be blown away by the sheer cleverness of some people.

When I've been in the kitchen, I've been making all sorts of variations of this recipe. Totally nomalicious!

Long summer days are a memory ago as the winter chill is making itself felt around these parts. In life's busy-ness, I didn't share this little iPhone feature with you. My image is the fourth amongst the fifteen finalists for that week. Ahhh, I'm counting down the weeks....

If you have some spare cash floating around, I'd love for you to donate to this worthy cause. The date is getting closer and I need to reach my target, or I don't ride - yikes!

And a final bit of silliness that is oh-so-clever!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Chocolate Lava Cupcakes

I dub thee 'lava cupcake' #food #glutenfree
One of the holiday batches of Chocolate Lava Cupcakes

A few weeks ago while away on holidays, I took advantage of not only being in holiday mode, but also being in a new kitchen, new oven, fairly bare cupboards and did I mention that I was in holiday mode? As there are about 20 families we go away with, we try and organise a Ladies' Afternoon where wine and nibblies are consumed, with no husbands or children in sight. And that is where this recipe was born. I had limited supplies and a couple of my friends have special dietary requirements, so I wanted to make sure the recipe would be safe for them to enjoy. I managed to make a few batches while away and before you ask - who bakes while they're on holidays - you'll see from the recipe how simple it is to whip up. No fancy gadgets required!

So where did the name Chocolate Lava Cupcakes come from? One of the hundreds of kids that belong to one of the 20 families asked if he could have a cupcake - in a most polite and sweet way, and I simply couldn't refuse such sweetness! While enjoying the cupcake he told his mum he thought the inside was like lava - all molten and gooey and delish! The name was perfect and they've been known as Chocolate Lava Cupcakes ever since. So, thank you to T.'s young son for naming these cupcakes, I couldn't have given them a better name!

There are a few variations to the recipe and I'll include those details in the notes.

Chocolate Lava Cupcakes


2 1/4 cups almond meal
3 - 4 tbs cocoa powder, unsweetened
generous handful of dark chocolate buttons
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 generous tbs of glucose
1 cup mashed pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda, gluten free

The dry ingredients laid out


* Preheat oven to 160°
* Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon.
* Add the eggs, mashed pumpkin, glucose and melted coconut oil.
* Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
* Place the batter into cupcakes and bake for about 15-20minutes. It will depend on size of cupcake wrappers and your oven, of course.

Adding the wet ingredients to the dry mixture

The batter's ready to be placed into waiting cupcake wrappers

Fresh from the oven. this batch made 8 large cupcakes

I allowed the cupcakes to cool before whipping them straight into the freezer

Additional Notes:

* If you don't want to use mashed pumpkin, you can use a cup of pureed apple instead. If you're using apple puree, then ease up on the glucose or it may be too sweet for you. For a wholesome Red Velvet Chocolate cupcake, add a cup of raw finely grated beetroot.
* You can substitute Honey or Rice Malt Syrup if you don't have Glucose. Some may find the recipe not sweet enough, especially if they're used to eating store bought or traditional cupcakes, so you might need to add more sweetness. You could also use Stevia, I tend not to use a lot of that as I don't like the taste of it.
* When you're testing for readiness of the cupcakes, you want the skewer to be a bit dirty, but not wet. In other words,you want to under-do them to get that lovely moist "lava" quality.
* Feel free to add things like vanilla or your favourite nuts or even date chunks. Remember, I had limited items at the time.
* If you want an egg-free version, then use 2 tbs of chia seeds to 1/2 cup of water. Stir the seeds and water and wait for the seeds to expand, forming a jelly-like goo. This can then be substituted for the 2 eggs.
* The measurements I've included are approximate and even when I make batches of the cupcakes now, I play around with the quantities.
* This recipe is Gluten-Free and Paleo-friendly.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you have any questions or suggestions then feel free to post a comment.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Serendipity in Autumn

There has been that crispness to the air this week, that only autumn brings. The sun is still shining but the sting in the cool breeze reminds you it's time to add another layer of clothing and perhaps think about airing the winter doona. Our neighbour has a glorious liquid amber tree that stands as a beacon of reds and golds and rust at the moment, and today while I was doing the mundane task of hanging the washing on the line, I stopped and watched how the breeze was picking off the leaves and sending them whirling, twirling, cascading to the ground (and into the pool...). I did chuckle to myself when I thought of this autumn tree. And then I thought of the iPhone shot I took, was it last year or the year before? The well timed shot showing the leaves being flung from the tree...hmmm... I couldn't quite remember so I continued the task at hand so I could get back inside and away from the chilly air.

Scattering autumn leaves in today's warm breeze

Much later when I was checking my emails, a serendipitous moment occurred! For in the bunch of emails was none other than the one I receive from Photojojo, reminding me what I was doing a year ago, in images, thanks to their Time Capsule email. I can't remember when I signed up for it, a while ago now I'm certain. I love getting this email and I have to say that I never remember it's due until I see it in my inbox, then it's usually the first email I open so I can see what I was doing a year ago. So when I opened the Time Capsule, there was the shot! "The Scattering autumn leaves in the warm breeze" shot, taken on the 11th May last year. The tree is looking a little bare this year and the wind was definitely not warm but the dancing leaves were just as beautiful.

Have you signed up to the Photojojo Time Capsule email? If you've got a flickr account, then what are you waiting for?! It's sure to put a smile on your face as you go back in time and view what you were doing this time last year. Especially today when we tend not to print up our images, what better way to revisit your photo archives than with this little time capsule.

And because you can never take enough autumn photos, here's some dreamy samples I shot with the Olympus E-PM1 and a homemade bendy lens:

Serendipity in Autumn I Serendipity in Autumn II Serendipity in Autumn III

Oh, and as an aside, to let you know that the Sausage Sizzle and Cake Stall held in Leura this past weekend raised over $800 for Team Blue Magic! Thank you to all our supporters and I hope you enjoyed the cakes, slices and sausage sangers!

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