the week that’s been

What are you grateful for from this past week?

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I’m grateful for fresh flowers. I’ve had six (six!) bunches of roses in our house this week because Will was taking some photos for a friend’s flower company. I got all the left overs and they’ve brightened a long week immensely!

And on a slightly different note, I’m also very grateful for what this coming weekend represents. I am so grateful for Jesus and the way He has changed everything.

Here’s this week’s round up:

A life-size origami elephant?

When 8 million flower petals fall from the sky.

The most stunning clip. Take me to Iceland!

Counting down to August for this book to come out.

8 things healthy couples don’t do.

And still my favourite relationship advice.

Are you a giver, a taker or a matcher at work?

A peek into our life in Kenya.

Some yummy healthy Easter treats.

Who is your happiest facebook friend?

Exciting (paid!) overseas volunteer opportunities.

The sweetest slideshow projector for your Instagrams.

The only thing cuter than giraffe suede flats? Zebra suede flats.

Or flamingo suede flats? I can’t decide!

And lastly, this song to remind us what Easter is all about.

pork and pear

So this is our go-to recipe when we have dinner guests. It’s super easy, tastes amazing and feels just a little bit fancy.

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The recipe below is adapted from here and serves 4. Through trial and error we’ve found we prefer a brie or camembert. And baked is better and less fiddly than the fry/grill scenario.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 large pears, cored, cut into eighths
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 4 pork steaks
  • A small round of brie or camebert, cut into chunks
  • 1 small butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place the onion and pear in a bowl or a snaplock bag and drizzle with olive oil. Mix/shake to ensure everything is well coated, then transfer to an oven-proof baking dish. Pat the pork steaks dry with paper towel, place them in the baking dish, drizzle generously with olive oil and season with a little salt and a few good twists of pepper. Add the rosemary sprigs to the mix and put in the oven.

Coat the butternut pumpkin with olive oil, place on a baking tray and put in the oven.

Leave both the pork and the pumpkin to roast for 40 minutes, or until the pork browns and the pumpkin is soft with caramelised edges.

Remove the pork dish from the oven and drop chunks of cheese throughout. Put it back in the oven for another five minutes until the cheese has melted. (If you don’t eat cheese but want to keep up the level of fancy, add between 1/4 and 1/2 a cup of white wine to the pork right at the start. It adds something rather lovely if the cheese is missing.)

Serve the pork and pumpkin, and pile the pear and onions on top of the meat. The juices and gooey cheese make a delicious sauce you can drizzle over top. If you want to get really fancy, bake up some of these on a separate baking tray. It’s the best way to have potatoes, in my honest opinion!

PS – How to tell if a pear is ripe and mini pear pies, a perfect dessert for the cooler months.

Photo credit: Murky1 via photopin cc

miniature art

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This is a fun project for those of us who are time poor, but want to add a little creativity into our days – make a miniature art gallery! It’s quicker and easier than your average art diy, plus there’s the satisfaction of finishing a project in all of thirty minutes. I sometimes get overwhelmed with the thought of ‘Why start something arty if I don’t have time to finish it?’ but I’ve enjoyed just mucking around with these little works of art.

Materials:

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Method: Trace the outline of your matchbox onto thick brown paper, then cut it out with scissors. Use the stanley knife to cut a smaller rectangle inside your brown paper rectangle. This will form your frame.

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Trace the outline of your matchbox onto the white paper/card, and cut it out. Glue the brown paper frame onto your white rectangle. Then, use your stanley knife again to cut an even smaller rectangle in the centre of the paper. This is now your frame and mounting.

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Trace one last outline of the matchbox, again on the white paper. Cut it out. This will be your ‘art’ to frame. You can trace the inside of your ‘mounting’ card faintly on to this last sheet, to give you an idea of the borders of your art. Then pull out the textas and have a play. Perhaps a repetitive pattern? Or give a tiny quote a shot?

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Once you’ve finalised your ‘art’, trim it to size, dab some glue on the back of your frame and stick it down.

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If we had kids, I’d blue tack a whole collection of these little frames on the inside of their wardrobe door, or on the underside of the table. I love the idea of hiding miniature art galleries around the house for little people to stumble upon!

five travel photography tips

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After sharing three travel tips a few weeks ago, today I’m sharing five travel photography tips. By travel photography, I really mean holiday snaps. And by sharing, I really mean stealing things I’ve learnt from my husband and pretending I came up with them all by myself!

So here goes:

1. Take your camera with you everywhere

The best camera is the one you have on you and the only way to get good photos is to take photos. So always carry your camera with you! Many camera bags are rather bulky and often a little ugly. One day we’re both going to splurge on Ona Bags (for him, for her) but for now I’m much more likely to take my camera along if I can fit it into my handbag, usually wrapped in a small scarf and definitely away from any water bottles.

Even if it feels a little cumbersome at first, you never know when you’ll want to snap something surprising or unexpected. I only had my phone on me for the photo below, and I was kicking myself for not taking my real camera on that trip

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2. Take bad photos to get good photos

This is a hard one, but switch your camera over to manual and take a lot of crappy photos. I made Will relax for hours on this gorgeous Zanzibari beach (cruel, I know) while I played around with my settings for ages. Progress will be slow, but if you don’t take the time to learn, you’ll never get the really beautiful shots. I’m still struggling with this one – I need to print out this manual mode cheat sheet to stop pestering Will with iso questions every two minutes. But I’ve seen the difference and it’s so worth it.

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3. Try a new angle

The photo below is one of our favourites from our Italy trip. Rather than focus on the house and details below, Will shifted his angle and perspective. All that blue sky with the pops of green make it more of a work of art than just a happy snap. I’m getting it printed big to hang in our home.

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I also LOVE this photo Will took in Rome.

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4. Get out at golden hour

I mentioned this in my tip about travel routines, but the best time to take outdoor photos is the hour or two before sunset. So rather than heading indoors to a museum or to shop, plan your day to be outside in the late afternoon and maximise the perfect light.

5. Let someone else take the photo

We have a lot of photos from the past couple of years travelling together, but only a handful that we are both in. These rare gems are often my favourite holiday snaps. Be bold, ask the closest tourist and make it a priority to get photos that include you, that ancient monument or beach scene, and your travel buddies. Chances are it will be these photos that end up in frames and on your desk.

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dancing in jaffa

I’d love to see this film. After many years abroad, renowned ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine returns to his hometown Jaffa, Israel. He believes in the power of dance and puts that belief to the test when he introduces ballroom dancing classes into local schools. In his classes, Jewish and Palestinian children dance together in preparation for a citywide competition. “What I’m asking them to do is dance with the enemy,” states Dulaine in the trailer. It looks like a beautiful and inspiring story!

the week that’s been

What are you grateful for from this past week?

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I’m grateful for chicken soup and hot showers and early nights after feeling a little funky this week. Also, Modern Family. I think my best ‘life tip’ is to always have a comedy series on the go!

Here’s this week’s round up:

I’d hang this lovely print in our kitchen.

You’re not as busy as you say you are. (Ouch!)

When to buy airline tickets.

The lost art of the unsent angry letter.

I used these guys last week – what a great idea for a florist!

George Bush paints John Howard?!

Why 30 is not the new 20.

The sweetest family blog.

I want to add this dress to my five piece french wardrobe.

Watching SYTYCD reruns is the best.

Will got me into this soundtrack.

And the perfect gold nail polish.

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