#jessgrowsagarden Update

Inspired Life with Jess || #jessgrowsagarden

I am becoming quickly addicted to my little garden! I still don’t have much planted in the ground, but I sure do have a large collection of plants! I’m now at 17 indoor plants, and 40 or so outdoor plants, which for a brown thumb like me, is amazing!

So here is a bit of an update:

  • I have 12 cherry tomatoes on my plant! They are still small and green, but this is one of the most exciting developments of my garden overall!
  • I harvest parsley and basil at least once a week. My coriander plant is doing really well too, but I don’t really know many recipes to use it in. I love being able to get herbs from my garden!
  • One the note of herbs, I planted some basil, parsley and chive seeds. The chives didn’t do so well, but I’ve now upgraded the basil and parsley to a bigger pot and they are starting to go quite well! I will be giving some of these to my sister once they are big enough that she won’t kill them straight away!
  • I wanted to try growing some mint, and ended up getting a bunch from the grocery store and putting it in a cup of water to see if it sprouted roots. When it did, I put a splash of Seasol in the water, and the roots developed like crazy! I now have 4 new mint plants out of it!
  • Since potatoes are meant to be good at breaking up clay soil, I planted about 17 or so sprouted ones in the middle of our yard since we don’t have turf. Two of them have sprouted and are growing quite well so far!
  • My garlic plants are not doing the best. I’m not sure if it’s too much water or too much sun, but they are a bit withered
  • My fiddle leaf fig was looking a little dead when Michael’s sister gave it to us. I noticed that it started to sprout new leaves though, and they look quite healthy compared the the few it had when I got it!
  • I have a fern that I took out of Mum’s garden when she moved. It didn’t handle being repotted too well, and started to die off pretty quickly. I thought it was a gonner, but Mum suggested I cut it back and wait and see, and amazingly enough, it’s sprouted quite a few new fronds! It’s actually doing quite well where it is now, even though it’s a spot that should be too sunny and too windy for fern!
  • I now have the coolest indoor planter ever! I saw it a couple of months ago and wanted it but thought it would be an impulse buy so I waited. I couldn’t stop thinking about it though, so I caved and got it, and it’s now one of my favourites!
  • I can not grow succulents. I am currently killing 4 of them quite well! I thought it was not enough water, but even watering them a lot more, they are still dying.

I have been sharing some of my adventures on Instagram under the tag #jessgrowsagarden

Peri Peri Chicken

Inspired Life with Jess || Peri Peri Chicken

My sister made some awesome peri peri chicken one night when I visited her place using a premade spice mix. I wanted to try it at home, but Michael was teasing me that I can’t use a premade spice mix since I like cooking for scratch. Turns out I had everything on hand to cook it from scratch anyway, so I accepted the challenge!

Inspired Life with Jess || Peri Peri Chicken


1T garlic
4T lemon juice
2t chilli flakes
4T olive oil
Handful of parsley
1kg chicken


  1. Chop the parsley finely
  2. Make the marinade by combining the garlic, lemon juice, oil, parsley and chilli
  3. Chop the chicken into pieces. I used chicken breast, but you could use thigh fillets, drumsticks, wings or any other pieces as well
  4. Mix the chicken through the marinade and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally, to infuse the flavourInspired Life with Jess || Peri Peri Chicken
  5. Cook in a fry pan on medium with any remaining marinade until cooked through
  6. Serve with vegetable, a side salad or potato wedges. I used a salad with kale, spinach, mushroom, feta, tomatoes, pineapple and cucumberInspired Life with Jess || Peri Peri Chicken

This recipe was rather successful, and for something so quick and easy, I will be making it again for sure! It could also work with chopped ginger as well, and  you can adjust the amount of chilli and lemon juice to suit your preferences.



Around here… I have been in my car a lot driving to and from the Coast. It’s a little over an hour and a half each way. Thankfully, good weather and good tunes makes it go quickly!

Around here… I am loving intentional family time. It’s good to see everyone, especially now that we are all so spread out. Wine, good food, movies and Monopoly make for a fun night! We are talking about book clubs and cocktail nights for the next one!

Around here… I have thought of what pretty sure will be my 2015 One Little Word and I’m excited about it like I can not believe! I’ve been thinking of lots of little ideas related to it, and really need to spend some quality time writing it all down!

Around here… I am wearing in new work shoes and I’m pained by blisters on my heels. Overall the shoes are super comfy, they just rub on my heels for now

Around here… I have been making progress with my craft room and love that it is slowly coming together! I set up my laptop with an episode of anything in there, and just sort one pile at a time. I will get there!

Around here… I have 12 cherry tomatoes sprouting on one of my plants and love that I can eat fresh parsley, basil, coriander and shallots whenever I like since they are thriving in my garden!

Around here… I watched the Sex and the City movie for the first time ever and now I want to watch the whole show! I’ve never even seen an episode before now!

Around here… I am loving the explosion of jacaranda trees that look so pretty and smell so amazing! The pretty purple flowers make me happy, and if it wasn’t for the mess they make, I would have one in my backyard in a heartbeat!

Around here… I have a pen pal card to make and send and I’m excited about a new friendship. I love getting happy mail and picked it up from my sister’s over the weekend.

Around here… We are finally getting a stove top!! I can’t wait to make Thai food again!

My Photo History

My Photo History

What is my story with photography?

I really have no idea how I ended up getting into photography. It was kind of just something that happened over time, I think. When I was a kid, Mum used to take photos to document the big events: birthdays, Christmases and the likes. It was at the time of film cameras, so it was a much more expensive hobby back then. I always loved looking back on the old photos of when I was a kid and seeing the clothes we wore, favourite toys and the hints of every day details they tend to capture. But Mum was never into photography beyond taking the happy snaps of life. She’s not into the technical side of taking an amazing image, or the composition of photography or any of the fancier elements that I’ve been trying to learn over the years.

As I kid, I used to shoot with a film camera, usually whatever Mum had at the time, that I would take on school excursions with me. I was terrible at taking photos as a kid though… Half of them would have my finger in the way, would be blurry or randomly of the ground. It was always a lot of fun though, to go around taking photos of whatever caught my eye, and it was even more magically to get the photos back from the developer! As bad as I was at taking photos, it was still so much fun looking at them!

I got my own first camera for Christmas in 2010 and it was one of the best Christmas presents ever! I was so excited about it, and went through the first roll of film pretty quickly. I think it was some sort of old Kodak Advantix, like the C400, where the flash flips up, but I couldn’t find the exact model, and I remember it being black, not grey. But I loved that thing, and took quite a few photos on it over the years! I’m pretty sure I only ever owned one film camera myself, but I know of at least 2 others that I remember using a bit as a kid.

My families first digital camera was some 2MP thing. It took terrible quality photos, but I always thought it was amazing that you could put the photos on the computer. Mum upgraded to a 4MP Sony Cybershot through Chrisco Hampers a few years later, and I loved that thing so much that I brought the same model camera as my first ever digital camera. I worked every Sunday afternoon in a supermarket at the time, and saved up for a few weeks to get it and I was so proud to have brought my own camera! I would have been about 16 at the time. I’ve since upgraded my Sony Cybershot another 2 times, one being about an 8.1MP Cybershot, and my current one being a purple 16.1MP Cybershot that lives in my handbag. Love that thing!

I also own a Canon 60D DSLR that I affectionately call Beast. I’ve had this one since October 2012 and I love this camera! I’ve taken a handful of photography classes in the City over the last year or two (one’s for the basics of shooting on manual, wedding, pets, sports, night and macro photography) and even more online classes such as the one I am doing now, the Lens of Joy, by Ali Edwards. I can shoot on manual, but not very well, so I still have a lot to learn! I have a few different lenses (the 18-55mm  Canon lens that came with the camera, an 18-200mm Sigma lens and my Canon 50mm lens), and I would like to get a good zoom lens and macro lens at some point. I also have a remote which is awesome for night photos!

Other cameras I own include a Polaroid Z230 (which was A LOT bigger than I expected and I have a bit of trouble using it), and an old Minolta film camera that Mum gave me when she moved. I haven’t used this yet since I need to take it to a camera shop to work out what film I need for it, but I will be getting a film for it over Christmas for sure!

Unlike most people, I don’t really use the camera on my phone overly much. I only have an old iPhone 4, so the camera is not overly great, but I do use it to take photos for Instagram. I haven’t been sharing as much lately as I do on occasion, but I’ve always found my photo sharing (and probably my photo taking) ebbs and flows a lot. I don’t like the quality of my iPhone photos as much and I always have my Cybershot with me, anyway, but I do hope to upgrade my phone soon!

While there is something special about looking through actual photos, I find printed photos harder to manage and use since I always need to scan them first, although I have transferred most of my negatives to disk over the years and I’m slowly going back and scanning Mum’s photos. They also never seem to be in the sizes I want. My photo organisation for digital photos requires a lot of work though, so I am hoping to get some good tips from Ali’s class! I also need to learn to edit my photos better.

My favourite types of photography are macro photography, night photography, food photography and travel photography. And to finish up this post, this is my favourite photo I have ever taken of the Sydney skyline.

WITL Monday 20


I am currently taking Ali Edwards Lens of Joy class and this reflection has come about from one of the prompts. It has been seriously fun thinking about my photography history and I’ve enjoyed looking through some of my old photos and reflecting on the cameras I’ve had!

I Choose – November


I feel like this year is flying past… It feels like just yesterday that we were entering into the new year. Surely it can’t really be November already?!

This month I will:

  • Complete my Week in the Life album. I have all the photos and words, just need to put it all together and get an album
  • Catch up on my One Little Word album. It is getting there, I just have a couple more prompts to print and decorate
  • Paint spots on our powder room walls, get curtains for in there and find 4 planters and plant combos that I love
  • Make a cushion for our lounge
  • Finish weeding our back yard. It seems the weeds grow quite well in our clay soil!
  • Cook 2 new Mexican recipes
  • Buy A Beautiful Mess Happy Homemade Home. I’ve been wanting this for awhile now
  • Work on the Catch up with Project Life class through Big Picture Classes
  • Get back into writing on the train each day
  • Go on weekly dates with Michael


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.


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 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!