Currently

Currently || Inspired Life with Jess

Watching: The latest Game of Thrones season with Michael. Finished it this week and loved it!

Reading: 1-Minute Gardener by the guys from The Little Veggie Patch Co. It’s full of quick and easy to digest information about starting a vegetable garden, and I love the photography throughout!

Listening: To Taylor Swift’s new song Shake It Off on the radio as I drive along with the windows down enjoying the awesome weather. Also, laughing at myself when a car pulls up next to me also with the windows down and starts laughing at my singing!

Making: Progress. It’s slow work, but we have been tackling a few house projects, catch up projects and garden tasks and things finally seem to be coming together

Feeling: Energised from the amazing weather! I love spring so much!

Planning: How me and Michael will tackle housework, budgeting and cooking going forward. It’s been enlightening talking about it the last few days and realising just how much a few things annoy the other person!

Loving: This new house of ours. It was definitely an amazing decision to build a place, and I am so grateful each day I get to do it with my favourite guy ever!

 

Hello, Victoria!

J&M in Victoria

I spent the last week in Victoria. It was just the kind of break I needed to rest, recover and reset! Michael was working there for the week, so I tagged along and ate good food, read plenty, did some art journalling, and explored.

J&M in Victoria

One of the things that surprised me the most about where we were staying is how relaxed and friendly the people were. So many people I met were happy to stop and chat, give directions on how to get somewhere or do something and just smile freely. It’s a nice change to Sydney, where people tend to keep more to themselves and aren’t as open and friendly.

J&M in Victoria

Friday was spent in Melbourne doing a graffiti walk. I’m in love with the street art there. Apparently it changes a lot, but there were some awesome images I came across while exploring!

J&M in Victoria

And something extra special happened while we were away… Michael proposed! So now I get to tie the knit with my favourite guy and best friend! He completely surprised me and made me feel special with roses and all!

J&M in Victoria

I Choose – September

I Choose || Inspired Life with Jess

Last month was quite a busy one. I ended up with the flu twice, and went away for a week, where I spent time creating, relaxing and recovering. I did terribly with my goals for August because of it, but since it’s a new month, I have some new ones to focus on, and I’m feeling recharged and refreshed and ready to go, so it will be a good one!

This month I will:

  • Make a raised garden bed and start growing some veggies
  • Complete at least one unfinished project
  • Finish my Winter Manifesto (update coming soon)
  • Read a new book (either It Starts with Food or 1-Minute Gardener)
  • Finish building our new computer table. It will be our first big house project together
  • Celebrate my sister’s coming home from Africa (on Wednesday!) and Father’s day this weekend
  • Complete a photography class in the City
  • Work on some more art journal pages. I’m aiming for at least one a week
  • Knit as much as I can while the weather is still cool enough to do so, since it’s starting to warm up already
  • Go on a picnic

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Choose was my One Little Word for 2013, that I used to help guide me throughout the year. It’s still relevant in my life, so I will continue sharing an “I Choose” post at the start of each month.

You can see my “Choose” posts here.

If you don’t know what One Little Word is, you can read more about it in this post from Ali Edwards. I will be undertaking Ali’s One Little Word class again this year, and creating an album about my word and the changes it’s manifesting in my life.

I Choose – August

I Choose || Inspired Life with Jess

I never used to understand what people meant when they commented about how time flies. I swear the older I get, the faster it seems to go! Someone needs to press pause or set time back to half speed! July flew by, and it was incredibly busy again, but still such a good month! I made good progress with my goals for the month, even when I managed to slice my finger pretty well installing our Colourbond fence. I didn’t get much knitting done, and photography classes kept being cancelled due to weather, but I did pretty well with the rest of my goals!

This month, I will:

  • Finish my black and white knitted blanket. I have about 26 rows left, and I’m determined!
  • Try 2 new recipes. I think one will be something with fish, since we want to eat more fish
  • Build a computer bench for our living room. This is something we decided we wanted way back when we were planning the layout for our house!
  • Complete at least one Unfinished Project
  • Try art journalling. I’ve been seeing so much inspiration around for it lately, and I want to sign up for this class and give it a shot
  • Plan out and start gathering supplies for a travel gallery wall, have a couple of art pieces commissioned and start hanging some things on our walls
  • Go to a photography class in the City. Hopefully some travel photography classes
  • Read a new book. I have 2 that I am excited about (It starts with Food and Dark Places)
  • Take a few days off work to catch up some projects. I feel like I need a break and have gotten behind on a few things with how busy everything has been lately, so it seems like a good time!
  • Send some happy mail. No idea what I will send and who it will be to, but I really feel like now is a good time for it!

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Choose was my One Little Word for 2013, that I used to help guide me throughout the year. It’s still relevant in my life, so I will continue sharing an “I Choose” post at the start of each month.

You can see my “Choose” posts here.

If you don’t know what One Little Word is, you can read more about it in this post from Ali Edwards. I will be undertaking Ali’s One Little Word class again this year, and creating an album about my word and the changes it’s manifesting in my life.

Around Here

Around-Here

Around here I have been repotting plants in the hopes that I can get them to come good again

Around here we have had Michael’s sister and brother-in-law around and I spent some time teaching his nieces how to make friendship bracelets

Around here I have been having the dishes pile up since we don’t have a washing machine and I haven’t been able to catch up the dishes after cutting my finger badly last weekend

Around here I have been enjoying coffee dates with Michael each weekend. I have been drinking a lot more coffee than usual lately, that’s for sure!

Around here I have finished fully unpacking our pantry and love how much space we have in there!

Around here I have had songs from the Lion King stuck in my head after watching it with Michael (I can’t believe he had never seen it!)

Around here we have been addicted to ANZAC biscuits ever since I brought them  on a random shopping trip. Now I need to try making them!

Around here I am very much enjoying that it is the weekend and wishing it was a little longer since it was such a flat-out week

Around here I am reading Gone Girl and enjoying it quite a lot!

Around here I am planning out a gallery wall for our upstairs living room, and I’m excited about some art work that I want to get commissioned for it

Around here I have been taking lots of photos and enjoying having my camera out again

Around here I am making lots of lists… House to-dos, blog posts ideas and changes, projects to work on, books to read and so much more!

Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Anniversary

 

Dear Michael,

I want to thank  you for our time together over last 5 years. Today is our 5 year anniversary, and I want  you to know that I am even more crazy about you than I was 5 years ago when we first started dating.

I love our adventures together… Travelling Europe, skiing in New Zealand, sky diving and abseiling, building a house together and oh-so-much more! I couldn’t enjoying these things anywhere near as much with anyone else! I can’t wait to see what our future adventures will look like together!

I’m excited that we made it through building a house together. It sure had its ups and downs, and had some very stressful moments, but I feel we’re stronger from it! We have some interesting ideas on our own, but we end up much better ideas than either of us has on our own! I like that we have the ability to work well together over all. Not perfectly, since that would be boring, but well enough that we can get in and get stuff done as we need to. It’s interesting how much more of a planner I am, compared to you, who is more of a doer!

Never forget how crazy I am for you, babe. Each and every day, know that I love you and I’m glad to be on this adventure with you! After this long, you’re stuck with me ;)  I look forward to many more fun times together with you, Babe!

Happy 5th anniversary, Babe!

Forever yours,
Jess

-xx-

 

Sunday Seven

Sunday-SevenEach month I will be sharing a Sunday Seven post, which will be a round of a few of my favourite things I’ve seen on the web. I like the idea of celebrating some of my favourite sites, along with new sites that I discover and find inspiring.

  • Seeing Kellie finish her black and white blanket has me inspired to get mine finished too!
  • This post on office supplies you can use in scrapbooking. I need to get my hands on some of the index tabs, but have used most of the rest before
  • I’m so in love with indoor plants at the moment, and have grown my collection by 8 in the last month. These fabric planters will be fun to make and keep some of them in!
  • A love letter to my body is such an inspiring read. It makes you think hard about how you treat your body, that’s for sure!
  • I love colour, and I love this post about how to add more colour to your life!
  • A year long weekly photo book for your kid’s final year of school? I don’t even have kids yet, but count me in!
  • I love travel and I love documenting my trips. This post from Kelly Purkey is right up my alley since it combines both on the go!

Have a good week ahead everyone :)

10 Things – Winter Favourites

10 Things - Winter Favourites || Inspired Life with Jess

I’m not a huge fan of winter, but there are some things that I definitely love about this time of the year, so I thought I would record a few as a reminder for when the days get icy cold and I don’t want to do much of anything!

  1. It’s perfect weather for knitting a blanket!
  2. It’s a great excuse to snuggle under blankets and watch movies or TV episodes and not feel guilty
  3. I can make lots of soups and slow cooker meals, stuff I don’t often eat at other times of the year
  4. The sun rises later so I can enjoy some nice sunrises while getting ready or driving to work
  5. I love curling up and reading a good book so much more in winter!
  6. It’s tea and coffee weather! I don’t drink hot drinks much at other times of the year. I tend to like them a whole lot more in winter, especially the weekly coffee dates we’ve started
  7. It’s a great time to make plans for the outdoor areas of our house so we can start tackling them in spring
  8. It’s soaking in the tub weather! Not much beats a soak in the bath on a cold day!
  9. I get more sleep. When it’s cold and wet outside, I tend to go to bed earlier because my bed is super warm
  10. My Winter Manifesto project! This is such a fun thing to work towards each winter!

Cool Yule Festival

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with JessCool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

I found out about a Winter Festival that was being held in Darling Harbour from Mum, and as soon as I heard about it, I wanted to head in and see what was going on! Michael and I headed in for dinner on my birthday to watch some ice carving guys and it was quite a good show, with good music, and watching the guys attack a chunk of ice with chisels and chain saws while dancing around was just an experience in itself!

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

We headed back on the Saturday afternoon with Mum, my sister and brother-in-law and a couple of Mum’s friends, and randomly ran into my Uncle and his girlfriend. We started off visiting the Lindt shop for lunch so that we could get tickets for the Zorb balls, and I enjoyed an amazing chocolate sundae. I was the last of us to go on the Zorb balls, which were on the Harbour itself, and it was so much fun! I’m amazed at  how hard it was to stay balanced and upright, although I did really well for it. You only got to have like 5 minutes in the ball each, but to be honest, that amount of time was enough, as it was quite exhausting! We all looks a little like rats in a rat ball!

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

We made it on the merry-go-round (I haven’t been on one of these for 4 years or so, since we were in Europe!) and on the giant slide, which was lots of fun and gave us a good laugh when my sister basically dragged one of the kids down by the arm! There was a winter forest set up, but to be honest, it wasn’t anything all that special, just a heap of white Christmas trees and light up trees set up on a tunnel including hanging from the roof. It looked better from further back than it did up close. We missed out on the NZ snow globe that was meant to be set up though… Apparently it was open until 5pm, but we were at the place it was set up from about 3pm and it was not there for some reason.

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

The best part of the night was after dinner when my Uncle took us to a bar he likes for cocktails, as we had a seriously amazing view of the Harbour for the fireworks. It was on a second or third story balcony, and we scored seats right at the edge for the display. Good drinks, good company, great view and some amazing photos as well! I took the photos on my big camera, and they are the best fireworks photos I’ve ever taken with it. It was so much fun!

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

The Cool Yule festival is on until the 13th July, and if you get a chance to head in, I highly recommend going, especially on a Saturday afternoon/evening for the fireworks!

Cool Yule || Inspired Life with Jess

Pork Gumbo

Pork Gumbo || Inspired Life with Jess

I love risotto and I’m learning to love pork as well. I decided to combine the two to try my hand at making pork gumbo expecting it to be quick and easy. Well it was easy, but I definitely used the wrong type of rice for it, since it took about 2 hour or so to cook. Good thing it tasted amazing, at least!

Pork Gumbo || Inspired Life with Jess

Ingredients

8 pork sausages
1 brown onion
1 capsicum
1t garlic
2T plain flour
1t paprika
1/4 t cayenne pepper
2 cups chicken stock
2T tomato paste
200g can crushed tomatoes
400g brown rice
1 cup frozen peas

Method

  1. Finely dice the onion and chop the capsicum
  2. Cook the sausages with a little oil until mostly cooked through, then chop into 2cm piecesPork Gumbo || Inspired Life with Jess
  3. Heat some more oil and cook the onion, capsicum and garlic for around 5 minutes
  4. Add the flour, paprika and cayenne pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes
  5. Add the stock, tomato paste and tomatoes, and bring to the boil
  6. Reduce to a low and add the rice. Stir occasionally until the rice is almost cooked. Add 1/4 cup extra water as needed if the rice absorbs too much
  7. Add the peas and sausages and cook for a further 5 minutes or so until the liquid is absorbedPork Gumbo || Inspired Life with Jess

My Thoughts

Next time I will add celery and carrot, and use some sort of white rice, maybe basmati or jasmine rice as they seem to cook quicker than white rice. I will also hold off longer adding the peas. This tasted really good though!