My Mug List

We’ve all heard of ‘Bucket Lists’ – so what is a Mug List?

Last week a friend and I enjoyed the luxury of catching up without kids for a coffee.  It was an odd feeling leaving the house without my boys, and not having to think about the logistics of where the pram would fit, availability of a highchair and kids menus was  refreshing.  It’s also amazing the amount and depth of conversation you can cover when you aren’t interrupting each other with comments such as ‘don’t eat the butter, please sit down and don’t pinch your brother’.

Over coffee (of course) we got to talking about an all too familiar topic for me… That time on a Sunday afternoon when you look back over your weekend, the precious couple of days you have with your whole family, and realise you haven’t really done anything.  I’m guilty of this, and I’m sure there are plenty of others out there who are in the same boat – well I’m going to tell myself that anyway!  I’m guilty of telling myself, and my husband, that I am going to do this, we must go there – but all too often everyday life gets in the way and it’s easy to find an ‘excuse’ not to go somewhere or do something.  We both vowed that this was going to be our year to not just talk about what we were going to do – but to actually do it.

This gave us the idea of making a list each month of things we wanted to accomplish – whether it be something we wanted to do with our kids, or a personal goal.  We agreed the  name ‘bucket list’ wasn’t really appropriate, and as we were having a coffee (and I was drinking from the biggest mug available), we decided to name our idea The Mug list.

At the beginning of each month, we will write a list of things we want to do or achieve.  It can be anything – activities with the kids, personal goals – the possibilities are endless.  The idea is to display the list somewhere you can see it (and most importantly remember what’s on it!) and you can then make off your items as the month progresses.

For me, 2014 is a year of keeping it simple….  enjoying the simple, everyday moments of life, and trying not overcomplicating things.  That’s why I decided to kick off my list with what I hope will be easy, achievable goals.  I decided to share my list in an attempt to make me accountable for following through, and I’ll share my shortcomings success at the end of each month.

Feel free to join me, what will you put on your Mug List for January?

January MUG list


Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Christmas Baking – Shortbread

Is there anything better than shortbread at Christmas time?  This is the only time of the year I ever make this (all bar last year when I made interesting shaped shortbreads for my sister’s hens night), and i just LOVE the stuff.

This recipe is from my Mum, going waaaay back to when we were kids and she was stuck with us in a Doctor’s waiting room watching crappy morning tv shows (this was the early 90s – some things haven’t changed though), and she saw this on a cooking show called ‘What’s Cooking’. She was so impressed with it, that she wrote down the number at the end of the show, and called up to get the recipe posted to her – that is a hard copy typed out and sent through the post – yes kids, this really used to happen!  Since then it’s been her trusted recipe, which over the past few years since I’ve been making it I’ve called my own.

My biggest tip is that you need to make this in a cool room – living in Brisbane this can be hard during the Summer, so I always try to make it first thing in the morning.


250g softened butter

125g caster sugar

25g rice flour

5 drops of vanilla essence

375g plain flour

* Preheat oven to 190 degrees.

* Beat together the butter, sugar and rice flour until they turn white. Add a few drops of vanilla essence and continue to beat.

* Gradually add the flour to the mixture, whilst continuing to mix on a low speed until a paste forms.

* Turn mixture onto a cool bench dusted with flour and work until a smooth ball forms.

* I split my ball into two and place one in the fridge, covered in glad wrap.

* Roll the other ball until apron 1cm thick and use cookie cutter to make desired shapes.

* Bake in oven for approx 12 minutes until edges start to turn a golden brown.

A good day

I’m just over halfway through FatMumSlim October Photo a Day Challenge, and I’m very pleased to say I haven’t  missed a day since I started in August!  Yesterday’s prompt was ‘a good day’ and my interpretation was capturing a feeling/experience during the day which symbolised this.  As per the rules, you only post one photo per prompt/day.

Such a beautiful day!

Such a beautiful day!

Normally this isn’t a problem for me, but yesterday I found it really hard.  Throughout the day, there were many moments where I reflected on how lucky I am to be having these experiences with my family:

* Running 3km in 23mins (non stop) at the gym this morning – woohoo!

* Watching the big smiles on Liam’s face during his swimming lesson with Dad

* Finding an awesome pink chair for the study – thanks Ikea!

How awesome is this chair!

How awesome is this chair!

* Pretending to be potential home buyers whilst we sticky beaked at an open home near us!

* Going out for lunch with all of my boys

* Enjoying the gorgeous Spring weather whilst we explored the city

Liam loved spending time with his Dad today!

Liam loved spending time with his Dad today!

* Watching Liam hold Aiden’s hand whilst in the pram together

* Finding the perfect dress for Scott’s Christmas party!

Love it!

Love it!

* Watching the boys sleeping peacefully after their big day

Goodnight Aiden xx

Goodnight Aiden xx

I hope you are all having a great weekend, and had a great day no matter what you got up to x

Lemon and Almond Cake

Ok, I will admit I didn’t read through the whole page this recipe was on before I started making it.  The title hooked me, I love almond cake and my sister loves lemon cake… perfect!

When I finally read through the whole thing, and the suggestion to wrap the cake in foil and leave it for a couple of days before actually eating it, I was annoyed..  When I make a cake, I want to be able to eat it NOW – maybe this impatience is the Gen Y in me coming out?

As much as it pained me to do it, once the cake was cooled, I carefully wrapped it in a couple of layers of foil and left it for two days before we tasted it.

The lemon flavour was quite intense – paired with some fresh strawberries and sprinkled with icing sugar it was really nice, and not too tart. It is a really moist and dense cake (hence the name ‘Damp Lemon & Almond Cake’ I guess),  and the texture reminded me of the Coffee Club’s Orange and Almond loaf which is one of my all time favourites.  I will make this again, just to substitute the lemon for oranges.

This cake is perfect to make on a Friday afternoon & then enjoy on a lazy Sunday.

Damp Lemon & Almond Cake copy

Nigella Lawson’s Damp Lemon & Almond Cake (from How to be a Domestic Goddess)

225g soft unsalted butter

225g caster sugar

4 large eggs

50g plain flour

225g ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon almond essence

grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • Cream butter and sugar until almost white.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a quarter of the flour after each addition
  • When all eggs and flour have been added, stir in the ground almonds, then the almond essence, lemon juice and zest.
  • Pour mixture into 21-23cm springform cake tin (lined on the bottom) and bake for approximately one hour.  Check after 30 minutes and if it’s browning too quickly cover the top with foil.
  • Cool in tin for 5 minutes, and then remove onto a wire rack
  • Once cool, wrap well in foil for a couple of days before eating.