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The Completed Outdoor Area and Refreshed Driveways

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

This is a big project that has been on our "to do" list for many years but we kept putting it off as we  couldn't find a company that would grind back the existing stamped concrete. Then one day I was sitting in traffic and I saw a truck and on the side was the companies name "Captivating Concrete Solutions" so I thought I would give them a call. Eddie, the owner, answered and after I explained what needed doing he promptly came the next day to give us a quote.

He was so helpful and said he had a machine that grinds back the exisiting finish before applying the new one, he made it sound so easy. He bought colour samples and we chose one called "Mocha Latte"which is a light cream colour with a darker speckle through it. 

We eventually want to paint the outside of the house a similar colour to modernise it a bit so the colours between the house and the driveway will blend better in the end. Truth be told I never liked the stamped concrete and always thought it was way too yellow but we put up with it for over 17 years.

Here is what the driveways looked like before the makeover-

Stained and ugly stamped concrete on one driveway

And plain old concrete on the other 

This is a glimpse of how the outdoor area looked before, it was the same stamped concrete surrounded by black aluminium fencing

And this is how it looks now-

Clean fresh and bright driveways

I just love how modern and new it looks

We finished re-oiling the outdoor setting and I bought cushions for the chairs from Kmart

We removed the black aluminium fencing to open up the space and moved the pot plants around so that it looked more balanced.

We love how it turned out. 

Have a lovely day,


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 23 April 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

As usual all of this weeks frugal wins are about food, either to prevent waste or to preserve an abundance. My one and only basil plant which grows in the vegepod has gone absolutely bonkers, I have never seen such a huge basil plant, so, a few mornings this past week, before I left for work, I made a few batches of basil pesto. I used macadamia nuts in lieu of pine nuts because of the outrageous cost of pine nuts but also because I always keep raw macadamias in the house to use in my homemade muesli. 

I used two different recipes for the basil pesto the first one is from Cookidoo, which is the Thermomix recipe platform and the second one is from the Australian Macadamias website, both are beautiful and produce a bright green pesto that is full of flavour. I have frozen the pesto into 1/2 cup portions to whip out of the freezer when needed. Absolutely love no waste.

Here is the other ways I saved money in the kitchen this past week-

1. Used up the rest of a large bottle of cream that was on the verge of spoiling to made a batch of lovely light scones, here is the recipe I use.

2. Made a few batches of basil pesto using the abundance of basil I have growing at the moment 

3. Zested and juiced an abundance of lemons from our tree. I have frozen the juice in 1/2 cup portions to  have on hand when needed. The juicer I have is just a little cheap-y from Kmart, but it works beautifully. 

4. Made a big batch of dog food for our little woofs, I now add a whole bag of frozen mixed veg to make it go a bit further and the dogs haven't complained yet. Here is the recipe I use.

5. Picked up a bag of onions when I dropped off the scrunchy plastic to the Redcycle bin at Coles last week. I used to always have a quick look at the marked downs of fruit and veg but got out of the habit. 50c for 1 kg of onions is a bargain. 

How did you save money this week?

Have a lovely day and a great weekend,
💚 Fi


Our New Hybrid Caravan

Thursday, 22 April 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

Today I thought I would give you a look at our new hybrid caravan, it is called a hybrid because it is a pop top, it has a pull out kitchen on the side of caravan exactly the same as our camper trailer, plus a small kitchenette inside, the queen size bed "pulls" out of the back of the van and it has a shower and toilet inside as well.

I found these great clips on Youtube from a channel called "Upper Middle Hobo" this lovely couple live in their Jawa Infinity 15, full-time, with a toddler, while travelling around Australia, so we feel that we are on a winner and have chosen our caravan well. If they can do it full time with a toddler we can holiday easily, a week at a time and be comfortable.

The couple in these youtube clips bought the Infinity 15 version with bunk beds, we went with the no bunk beds option, giving us more room at the front of the van. 

Here is the link to a walk through of the inside of the Infinity 15

And here is the link to the outside tour

Hope you enjoy videos, have a lovely day,



What we bought, spent and ate this week

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

I have been doing a lot of prepping for our upcoming camping trip in exactly 11 days time, we will be picking up our caravan in 7 days from Jawa at Caboolture and we have slowly and steadily been buying some lovely new things to go in the new caravan. Things like a new set of sheets and quilt cover, new cutlery (Aldi) and melamine plates and bowls (Kmart) and some suction cup holders and storage baskets (Bunnings)

We have gone through all of our old camping gear and donated lots to a local tackle shop that has a little side business next door to it. They accept donations of any unwanted fishing and camping gear and sells it off very reasonably to people just starting out their fishing or camping journey. It's a win, win situation. 

Now on with the food of last week-

What we bought and spent

Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$8.78

What we ate

Thursday-Oven baked sausages with mashed potato, upmarket mushy peas and roasted sweet potato

Monday-Turmeric Pearl Perch with salad and chips 

Tuesday-BLT's on these Panini's, a nice quick dinner as we both had dental appointments and didn't get home till after 5.30pm. 

I'd love to know what you cooked this past week. Hope you have a great day,



Tuesday, 20 April 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

I have been thinking a lot about my time left on this earth lately, not so much in a morbid sense, but that I have now, most probably, lived more that half my life and now am on the down hill slide. Both my parents and in-laws didn't live past their 60's and now that I am 53 (54 in May) it rattles me to think of not living more than the next 10 years or so. I want to be one of those amazing 90 year olds with a sharp mind and an active body, but with my genetics, that may not be the case.

I have such wonderful childhood memories that involved a small but close family then I met LH when I was 16 and grew to love his family too. All the old ones are gone now and that makes me incredibly sad, even now. Our lovely future DIL lost her last grandparent a little while ago and that highlighted this feeling of time passing by way too quickly and losing everyone we ever loved.

Lately I have become even more of a loaner, shutting out life as much as I can and I realise it's not good for me, I have lost contact with friends and relatives merely by not communicating or declining invitations and again that makes me very sad, I must make the effort to be more involved in life in general. 

I write this not to make me or you sad, but to encourage us to live to our full potential, make everyday special for yourself and your family, keep in touch, make that phone call, even it will be hard to do. 

I'm not sure I have really expressed my thoughts as clearly as I would like but that's all the brain space I have for today. I might look back at this and think it is absolute drivel but then again I may have hit the nail on the head. What are your thoughts on ageing and your time left on this earth, during this unique season of life?

Hope you have a lovely day,


Super Light, Sour Cream Bread

Monday, 19 April 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

I have stumbled upon a recipe for the absolute lightest, fluffiest, softest bread I think you could ever make, I was expecting it to be nice and soft but I am so amazed by this bread. The crust is soft, the belly of the bread is super soft and has the loveliest flavour. I first made this recipe into a freestyle "Cob" style loaf and then yesterday, when I made it again, I made it in a proper loaf tin, perfect for a packed lunch. 

I must have posted quite a few bread recipes over the last 5 years or so (I just looked, I have posted 46 bread recipes, making this one number 47) and I love them all, but this one has just won first place in my eyes, for its simplicity, softness and taste. We had it fresh with this curried sweet potato soup and then toasted for our weekend breakfasts and it is equally lovely fresh or toasted. 

To the bowl of the TM, add 225 grams of tepid water, and 10 grams each of instant yeast and raw sugar

Mix on speed 2 for 2 minutes and let prove till bubbly and frothy

Now add 450 grams of bread flour, 120 grams of light sour cream, 30 grams of oil and 10 grams of salt

Knead for 6 minutes 

Then scrape dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let prove for about 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size

Gently scrape dough onto a floured surface and stretch out into a rough square 

Using a dough scraper, pull edges of dough into the centre forming a rustic round

Pinch together the "edges" at the top of the dough and flip over so the smooth surface is facing upward, move dough round onto a lined baking tray.

Brush with water and sprinkle over sesame seeds, then slash with panache. Let prove again for another 30 minutes in a warm spot and then bake at 200C for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and smelling wonderful.

Have a lovely day, 


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 16 April 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

I've been posting of an afternoon over the last couple of days due to a temporary change in my work hours, my lovely co-worker has had the last week off for a well deserved holiday and I have been doing some extra hours to cover to early mornings on the ward. So, for the last week I have been starting at 7am and finishing at 2pm, I have to say the early mornings are not my favourite thing but the early finish has been wonderful.

I've been able to do some bigger jobs in the afternoon before the usual housework and getting dinner started. The fig trees needed a top up of soil and a good feed as their leaves have been yellowing and falling off, so I removed the rocks that serve as both a mulch and to stop the little woofs from digging the pots up and filled them up with potting mix plus a good handful of Troforte, finally I gave them a good drink of seasol. They are already looking better. The other job that I finally got around to doing is removing the dead lemon thyme from the front garden, it now looks a whole lot neater.

As usual most of my frugal wins have been about food, either using what we have at home already to incorporate it into a meal or to stop any kind of food waste-

1. Made a beautiful soft loaf of bread using some sour cream that was getting a bit elderly. I will be posting this recipe on Monday, it is without a doubt the softest bread I have ever made. 

2. Made another batch of thick and creamy vanilla yogurt to have with our breakfasts each week day.

3. Made a Curried Sweet Potato Soup from homegrown sweet potatoes, I roasted them first to intensify their flavour. 

4. Made this baked oatmeal to use up one lovely daggy banana

5. Used up the last packet of Whiting for Tempura Whiting. 

Running out of whiting is always a clear sign we need to go camping and fishing again. We are going camping in 2 weeks time and we can hardly wait. We will be picking up our hybrid caravan soon and will be taking it up to our favourite camping spot at Noosa North Shore for it's first trip. More on that exciting news another day.

Hope you have a lovely afternoon and evening,