Home is where the heart is.

My heart will always yearn for Africa, for the place of my birth, for Cape Town; the city I will always call home. There are many many days in which I have felt very homesick and wondered what my life would be like if I had never moved a whole continent away from my friends and family.

But that’s no way to live my life. I know that my life is now here, is in Australia and the move I have made is exactly where I should be.
Little did I know when I met my husband, 4 wonderful years ago in a little Clapham bar in London that I would end up this far from home and yet here I am. I had been living in London for a while and he had just arrived a few months before. We were both spending a few years travelling around and earning some lovely, lovely pounds. Neither of us were really interested in anything to serious and we both just enjoyed each others company and seeing sights and sounds together. For a short while we decided to go our separate ways.
I was devastated, I don’t think I had realised just how much fun I was having with him or the fact that he was such a wonderful person till he was gone. But obviously we ended up back together and after a year and a half  of blissful happiness, he managed to make me even happier by asking me to marry him…. I said yes 😉

And as they say the rest is history, we got married in London and moved over to Australia soon after that. In 2013 we were given the great honour of having a baby and being parents to the sweetest little boy we could ever have asked for.

I’ve had to make Australia home, not only for myself but for my family too. Don’t get me wrong I do dearly love my new home and all the first world luxuries and safety it offers us. We are also very lucky to be living in a stunning part of Australia and very, very close to my husband’s family so this post is really not about me complaining. I have made some amazing friends and together with our family I really feel like I have found a spot for myself here with people I can love and cherish and who I know love me back.

But as I’m sure any South African expat can agree Africa will always be in my blood and will always be what comes to mind when people ask me where my home is. They say home is where the heart is… my heart will always be in Africa!

Monthly madness

In order to save some money and stress less I have started to do monthly plans for our shopping and thought I would share our little secret to knocking a few pennies of the budget.

I start the month by sitting down with a Calendar, pad of paper, pen and recipe books/iPad, usually on a Sunday cause that’s Daddy and Billy’s day. This month I started the week before the start of the month as next weekend is a rather busy one with a Babyshower and Fathers Day celebrations etc so there wouldn’t be time to do any of this stuff.

I then go through the calendar and my phone and make sure all our appointments, bill payments, events and birthdays are all marked down. If there is a birthday and I have to buy a gift I might spend a few minutes thinking about the gift and writing some ideas down. The I move onto or monthly meal planning.

MEAL PLANNING:
It sounds like hard work but meal planning saves us so much money it’s worth the hard work doing it. I plan absolutely everything so I don’t have to worry about loading Billy into the car and making a quick grocery run cause I have to admit quick is no longer something we can do since Billy arrived 🙂

I have a pretty basic spreadsheet that I use with each week divided into days and meals and then whether its for hubby or me. In a typical week I try and make sure we get a bit of everything so each day is something different

So a typical week is:
Mon-Fri BF for Sean is egg and porridge.
I alternate between toast, fruit and porridge depending on how much time I have before we have to go somewhere.
Sat and Sun I try make us something nice like pancakes, French toast, egg and bacon or we may even pop out for a nice breaky if the weather is good.
Mon-Fri morning snacks are fruit (I list 2 fruits each so I know how many to buy and we never have rotting fruit in the bowl)
Mon-fri lunch Sean is leftovers and if there is enough for I will have it too otherwise I try have a salad wrap or soup etc (sometimes frozen leftovers that would be to small for both of us to share in a meal)
Afternoon snack is something baked or a sandwich etc (more on that in a minute)
Dinner:
Mon is usually pasta,
Tues is vegetarian,
Wed is fish,
Thurs is chicken or beef (depending on Sun roast),
Friday is homemade junk food night (pizza, nachos, burgers etc),
Saturday is open (usually I use this night to finish off anything in the fridge)
Sunday is roast night.
And of course by noting any events etc we will be attending through the month I can plan our meal plan around them and because Sat is always a free day if I need to switch things around or don’t feel like what’s on the plan it doesn’t make any difference I still use it all up at some point.

I love going through my recipe books or looking up funky new stuff online so our meal plans are never boring and often we won’t have the same meal again for ages (unless its a favourite).

Now that I have this all sorted it’s onto my next big task this one takes quite a while so get comfy.

ONLINE SHOPPING:
I start by doing a quick stock take of what I already have and what I am running low on.
I then start listing everything I need for the month starting with pantry stuff (I buy these in the first big shop as they don’t expire). Then the meat (cause it gets frozen), the first shop is always the most expensive. Then I divide the fresh food into weeks and write them down accordingly. Next I hop online and place my first big order, thanks to my super clever sister in law I now do click and collect with Coles which means we don’t pay for delivery and its a nice day out for me at the shopping centre, I also use this day to get any gifts, clothes, non grocery necessities so before you head to the shops have a think about your needs for the upcoming month. The other 3 weeks fresh food usually aren’t to big a shop so I just run into town once a week to quickly collect it. Because I have it all listed out I just grab the list and head out the door.
This way of shopping is great, I know what I want and can get in and out without to much worry and I never shop when I am hungry either as that just makes me buy crap that looks appealing… Dam u marketing!!! Because I have thought through everything already I never buy to much or to little and there isn’t much waste in our house 🙂
I find shopping with a baby quite hard cause he isn’t quite ready to it in the trolley and its impossible to push a pram and trolley when shopping so I usually strap on my trusty Moby baby carrier or ask my amazing Mother in law to come with. Both of these work a treat so if you are struggling try one if those options and see how u go 🙂

20130825-223354.jpg (in the pic you can see: Banana Muffins, Blueberry and choc Muffins, Ham mini quiche, Oat Cookies, Steamed carrot, sweet potato and Pumpkin for Billy, our dinner and the slow cooker prepped for a pork Roast)

PREPPING:
My darling husband can put away quite a bit of food during the day (he is by no means large, just hungry). Personally I think it’s cause his job (as a mechanic) is such hard manual labour so he needs to keep up his strength. But it means I have to think up clever lunch box ideas so he doesn’t get bored. So at the beginning of the month I do some baking prep work. I bake about 24 muffins, 12 savoury things and a batch of cookies and then freeze it for him to just pop out every day.
It takes pretty much all morning but its worth it in the long run, he was popping into McDonalds or the service station to grab a bite on the way home but now he has something a lot healthier and its saving us about $5-$10 a day (which if you average it out, that’s a saving of $140 a month).
In order for him not to get bored with it we alternate between sandwiches, the muffins, mini quiches, and ham and cheese crackers.
I also use my Sundays to do any prep work for the week. I will usually just cut up all the veggies i am using in my meals and put them in Tupperware in the fridge so I don’t have to chop again during the week.
Or I may take out the meat I am going to use and let it defrost in the fridge so it’s not a train-smash if I forget to defrost anything (we don’t have a microwave). Obviously if you choose to do this you can’t refreeze meat so be very careful. I also try prep some steamed finger foods for Billy to naw on as we are starting Baby Led Weaning and he is really enjoying the huge variety of food.
If I am doing well for time I will usually go online and pay any upcoming bills so we never have late fees.
Since having Billy I have not been as good with remembering things so I find this a great way of making sure I am in top of everything. When I get a bill I put its dues date in my phone’s calendar straight away and that’s it sorted till I do my monthly calendar 🙂

You may not notice a huge saving at first or at least till you get the hang of keeping an eye o the specials and making use if what you already have. But our weekly shop has gone down from about $150-$200 to about $100 (on average). This also frees up my time considerably as I don’t wander through the shops trying to think of what might be nice to eat and then not ending up using it and of course it saves on multiple trips to the store so we saving on fuel too. Environmentally, you are leaving less of a carbon footprint by only making a few trips and only doing it when necessary, you are creating less food waste and (hopefully) you are using less packaging and plastic bags too.

Adapt this plan as you see fit, I know this may not work for everyone. But good luck with whatever you try do, I know it can be hard at first but I promise you will reap the rewards 🙂

Projects – or maybe it’s called Nesting?

I love my husband… He has been so great to me throughout our relationship and even more now throughout my pregnancy! He is so supportive and lets me do/does whatever whim and wish I suddenly am inspired with, in fact I think that’s probably why he hates Pinterest so much!

So when we wanted to redecorate our nursery he was so fantastic and even found me my favourite item for the nursery and refurbished it to fit with our theme (he knows me so well)! NurseryRocking Chair

I also wanted some new side tables for our lounge and my darling Sean made me some out of pallets for me, such a talented young man!

Side table SONY DSC

One of Sean’s loves is listening to old school records so of course we finally had to purchase a record player and some records of course. But there was nowhere to put it so he took an old pallett and made us this beautiful crate to use for our records!

Laundry ShelfThen there are the little treasures we keep picking up, like this old ammo box (sorry no before picture) which I turned into a laundry shelf and my dear husband took the time to put up for me.

Nursery Ideas

Since we are moving into a new house I have been loving looking at nursery ideas and I am so excited that I am on Pinterest cause finding ideas has been fantastic.We have decided not to find out the sex of the baby so we thought we would go with a nice neutral them fr the nursery. Mostly the idea is to do something a bit vintage inspired and the main colour will be a nice green, but not overwhelming, more just subtle touches.