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!

Project Life 2014 || Weeks 25 and 26

Week 25 ||

Project Life Week 25 || Inspired Life with Jess

Dates: 16th – 22nd June

What happened this week? I did plenty of knitting and watched lots of The Walking Dead. I celebrated my birthday with dinner and an ice show in Darling Harbour on Thursday, and zorb balls, merry-go-rounds, cocktails and fireworks on the Saturday. I completed my 27 recipes birthday challenge and started an unfinished projects birthday challenge. Overall, an awesome week! Also, we took a trip to Ikea for an Expedit and bed

Project Life Week 25 || Inspired Life with Jess

Anything special in the spread? Photo collages for my 27 recipes and fireworks photos. Also joining 2 spots together for fireworks photos

Project Life Week 25 || Inspired Life with Jess

Overall thoughts: I think so many recipes in a collage may be a bit of overkill, but it was fun to see them all together like this! Also, I’m hooked on the night photo of Darling Harbour and the fireworks photos!

Supplies used: Cathy Zielski’s Life Basics No. 01 Templates, Cathy Zielski’s Week in Review cardsMidnight full digital kit, RUKRISTIN’s “Currently” journalling card, fonts are Calibri and KG Second Chance Sketch

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

Week 26 ||

Project Life Week 26 || Inspired Life with Jess

Dates: 23rd – 29th June

What happened this week? I started unpacking my craft room, set up my Expedit and new bed, had some work celebrations including a trip to see 22 Jump Street, celebrated Mum’s birthday with Thai food and wine, tested out our new oven with homemade pizza and had a good week with commuting to work!

Project Life Week 26 || Inspired Life with Jess

Anything special in the spread? I didn’t have many photos so I got the movie one and the Opal card one offline. I also used a lot more filler cards than I usually do

Project Life Week 26 || Inspired Life with Jess

Overall thoughts: I decided to try making a layout with pink this week and I struggled to get it to work. Adding the orange helped. Apart from that, I kept things really simple this week and I’m glad I did because I like how it turned out.

Supplies used: Cathy Zielski’s Life Basics No. 01 Templates, Cathy Zielski’s Week in Review cardsKiwi full digital kit, RUKRISTIN’s “Currently” journalling card, fonts are Calibri and KG Second Chance Sketch

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

To find out more about Project Life, you can check out Becky Higgins blog here, which has lots of photo ideas and inspiration. You can see all of my Project Life 2014 posts here, and 2013 Project Life posts here. I also have this post of Tips and Ideas for Documenting Week in the Life, which has many ideas that can carry over to Project Life easily.

100 Happy Days Update

On the 24th March, I signed up for the 100 Happy Days challenge, where you take a photo a day for 100 days in a row of something you are happy about. As of 2 days ago, I have passed the finish line on this awesome project!

100 Happy Days 50-75 || Inspired Life with Jess

I’m still slightly in shock that I made it so far with this project! I suppose I shouldn’t be, since I’ve actually taken at least one photo a day each day this year, and I did the same thing in 2011, but it still surprises me each day that I stuck to this! You can see all of my photos together by searching the hashtag #j3ss1c4s100happydays.

100 Happy Days 76-100 || Inspired Life with Jess

More food photos, a couple of craft photos, some new house photos and moving photos, and random outing photos round out this project. It’s interesting to see how these have change from the first 50 photos I shared here. I will be turning these into an Instagram photo book, and will be sure to share an update here once I have the book in my hands. I can’t wait!

If you want to join in, you can sign up here. If you do, let me know in the comments so I can follow your progress! Also, you can see my first post about this challenge here and the second post here.

I Choose – July

I Choose || Inspired Life with Jess

I can’t believe it’s already a full month into winter! June flew by, but I managed to do pretty much everything on my list, except fully unpacking. It seemed like a chore compared to everything else, so I ended up going for the fun stuff instead!

During July, I will:

  • Finish up with 100 Happy Days (which you can see post 1 here, and post 2 here)
  • Celebrate Dad’s birthday
  • Try 2 new recipes (already have the stuff for pork gumbo and ANZAC biscuits)
  • Complete at least one Unfinished Project for my challenge
  • Celebrate my 5 year anniversary with Michael
  • Finish setting up and organising my craft room
  • Continue our weekend coffee date tradition (and the writing I do afterwards)
  • Knit 15 or so rows of my black and white blanket
  • Go to a photography class in the City
  • Finish watching The Walking Dead season 4

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

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.

Happy Birthday, Mummy!

Happy Birthday Mummy || Inspired Life with Jess

To the best Mummy in the World,

Well it’s that time of the year where you have another birthday! I know you are still only 29 and all, and that I’m catching up to you at a rapid rate, but I hope you have had an amazing one all the same! You deserve it, after putting up with us girls (and by that I mean Bec and Samantha, of course!) all this time!

I wish you all the best for the year ahead. I’m sure it will be an amazing one, with your big adventure trip. I’m glad that you’re finally getting a chance to travel and do your own thing for a while, since you’ve always done everything you can for us girls, even when it means you miss out on your own things sometimes. You better stay in touch and send lots of pictures so that we can live vicariously through you for once! I’m sure you will see so many amazing sights and visit so many amazing places, and even though you have not left yet, I’m already jealous! I hope you get into plenty of mischief so that we can hear all about your amazing times over there!

It hard to believe that in 365 days, you will be celebrating the big 5-0… I can assure you that we will have a big one ready for you when you come back to visit us for your birthday! I’m not sure what it will be yet, but the 3 of us girls have a whole year to plan it! Any suggestions on what you would like? If not, your trusting leaving it all to us ;)

Everything I wrote to you last year is still true as well. Thank you for being such an amazing Mum and doing everything you possibly can for us girls. Happy birthday, Mummy!

Love always,

Jess

Currently

Currently

Scheming: Future surprise adventures for Michael. They may or may not involve hopping on a plane and flying somewhere exotic

Loving: Finally having a proper bed and an expedit after all these years!

Organising: Many boxes of craft supplies onto my new shelves. Love the extra space and that I have somewhere to put it all

Challenging: Myself with Zorb Ball adventures. So much fun, but such hard work to stay balanced and dry!

Enjoying: Knitting a blanket on cold nights, and the fact that it is long enough to rug up in as I go!

Planning: Some project catch up sessions so I can start making some good progress on my unfinished projects list

Listening: To the radio each morning and evening as I drive to the train station. Thinking I really need to get some other music I can put in the car, since the radio shows seems quite repetitive!

Making: Plenty of lists of notes. Projects, house ideas, to do lists, blog ideas, menu plans and lots more

Eating: Even more good food… Hurricanes for my birthday, Grill’d Burgers, Guzman and Gomez nachos, Thai… Still hooked on good food!

Working: On my black and white knitted blanket some more. So far this winter, I have already done another 8 rows, and I have another 29 balls of wool ready to go to complete it!

Reading: Lots of different blog posts that I keep bookmarking to read later as I run out of time for them! I’m even behind on the usual ones that I read each day. I love getting to spend plenty of reading time on the train though

Workspace Wednesday

There is still a lot of unpacking and organising going on around here after our move. While the bulk of the most used areas are done, my craft room has been sorely neglected, and I am missing my crafty time!

I have finally brought an Expedit though (which I have wanted for the longest time, but never managed to get my hands on), and now I am slowly starting to make some progress. There is still a long way to go, and I don’t even want to know how many boxes are left, but I know I will get there. It feels especially refreshing knowing that I am sorting and purging as I go.

Craft Room || Inspired Life with JessI also brought 3 sets of white draws for my Expedit, and 2 turquoise cupboard doors to use, which I set up tonight. However, I am now unsure as to where to put them in the unit, since I realised they actually get screwed into the spots, and I’m hesitant to do something so permanent as punching holes in it! Any suggestions?

Craft Room || Inspired Life with Jess

While organising my craft room has moved up the list to number one priority, I have also been working on my knitted blanket, which has grown another 20cm or so since moving. I have to say, for someone who used to hate knitting, I sure am hooked right now! It is awesome to sit back knitting while enjoying a couple of episodes of whatever show I am watching at the time.We still don’t have blinds here, which makes it rather cold at night here, and since my blanket is getting so long, it’s a perfect activity to do to keep warm, too!

Today I am also sharing on the currently creative link-up that Kellie from Give a Girl a Blog is hosting. Please come on over and check out everyone’s projects when you finish here :)