Tuesday, 11 October 2016

it's OK to not be OK

We live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast. But if you tell people you’re depressed, everyone runs the other way…
We are so, so, so accepting of any body part breaking down other than our brains. And that’s ignorance. That’s pure ignorance. And that ignorance has created a world that doesn’t understand depression, that doesn’t understand mental health.”
— From Kevin Breel’s TEDxKids@Ambleside talk, “Confessions of a depressed comic.”

Watch; Share; Break the stigma.

M E N T A L   H E A L T H   A W A R E N E S S
2 0 1 6


Friday, 15 July 2016


I've written about my chronic overthinking in the past.

Have you ever heard the name Katrina Webb?

I'll admit that until last week, I hadn't.
She's is an Australian Paralympic Athlete.
She has won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in 3 Olympics.
And last week she came to my workplace to give a speech on setting and achieving goals, 
and overcoming fears.

She spoke about overcoming adversity, 
accepting our own vulnerability, 
and using mindfulness to quiet the mind.

Everyone in the room was captivated, 
not only by her sheer determination to succeed, 
but by her honesty and conviction.

Stories of own personal fears and challenges were relatable.
In sharing her experiences of self-doubt and her strategies to overcome her negative thinking, 
she was able to unite us.

Often, we are not unique in our fears,
We are unique in how we choose to deal with them.

O U R   M I N D S
C A N   B E   O U R   B I G G E S T   S U P P O R T E R S
 A N D   O U R   S T R O N G E S T   E N E M Y


Thursday, 9 June 2016

the orange juice and milk theory

When I was younger, I looked up to my older (and only) sister.
Both physically because there's an (almost) 5 year age gap between us;
And emotionally, with adoration.

Don't get me wrong...

I still look up to her.
Because she is like, 6 foot tall or something; 
But also because I think she possesses amazing qualities that I envy.
She is energetic and wields an enthusiasm for life that is endearing and contagious.

I digress.

The point is - 
She's the Big Sister,
And as the Big Sister, it was her job to teach me things.
To impress her skills and knowledge upon me.
To share her wisdom, so that I could be cool
Just. Like. Her.

Insert the story about the time my cool Big Sister taught me that mixing orange juice and milk in a glass,
then sculling said concoction would cause excessive vomiting, 
thus ensuring you were guaranteed a Sick Day and wouldn't have to go to school.

Yes, it really happened.
No, she doesn't remember it.

We practically had to be on our death bed to be granted a day off school, 
So this was a fool proof plan.

AND (she assured me), 
Once you'd vommed a couple of times,
You'd feel fine;
So, could enjoy your day at home tucked up on the couch watching trashy day time tv.

She might have been a Child Genius...

I'm not dragging us all down Memory Lane for no reason BTW.

But simply to introduce you to 
T H E   O R A N G E   J U I C E   
A N D   M I L K   T H E O R Y

They simply don't go together.

Separately ?
No problems*.
(*Lactose intolerance excluded)

But together?
Not recommended.

Here's the core of my Theory - 
Some people are Orange Juice;
And others are Milk.

So what does that mean?
Well, they simply don't go together.

(For the record, my sis and I are more like a Vodka Orange combination...
The perfect mix of sweet and fun)


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

just add jam and cream

I know what you're thinking...

Something like 
"Andie, where have you been? It's been so long since we heard from you"

"I've missed your oh-so-inspirational words of wisdom... why haven't you been writing more regularly"

Or perhaps more likely 
"What is the recipe for the scones you made on the weekend and posted on Instagram?"

Since I'm the girl who adds easy things like 'Write to do list' on my To Do list just so I can tick it off, it will come as no surprise that I'm going to tackle that last question first. 
Not just because it's the easy one.. But also because these scones were delicious and I am a caring/sharing kind of girl.

W I N T E R   I S   P E R F E C T   S C O N E   S E A S O N


Scones were my Nan's speciality;
And being the anniversary of her death last week, I was feeling nostalgic.(I can still hear her voice in my head when I work the mix by hand - "GENTLE!")
But I have misplaced the handwritten recipe she gave me many years ago.

Every recipe I found on Google 
(from taste.com.au, Donna Hay and all the other usual suspects) 
required butter, but I knew butter wasn't an ingredient in Nan's scones.
Then I looked up the good ol' Country Women's Association recipe.


Four ingredients and so damn simple!

3 cups of self-raising flour
1/2 cup of cream
between 1 and 1 1/2 cups of milk (add a cup first and see how your dough forms)
a pinch of salt

In a large mixing bowl, cut the cream and milk into the flour and work (GENTLY!) into a dough;
Place onto a floured surface and cut out scone rounds;
Brush the tops with milk;
Bake for 10-12 minutes in a hot oven (220-230C).
Serve warm with jam and cream.


Thursday, 5 May 2016

lime tartlets

Sometimes life gets crazy and suddenly it's months since I have posted anything.

Rest assured - I am still (baking and) eating my feelings...

L I M E   S H O R T B R E A D   T A R T L E T S

 Tartlet Base
1/2C sugar
16 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2C all purpose flour
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla, giving a quick mix. Finally add in flour and salt, mixing until smooth. Shape dough into 2 equal discs, wrapping separately in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a mini cupcake pan.
Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Using a 2 1/4-inch flower cookie cutter, cut out enough shapes to use up dough. Gently press cut out dough into greased cupcake pan. Fork each throughout, transfer to the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Lime Filling
4 egg yolks
1C sugar
1/4C lemon juice (roughly 2 lemons)
Zest of 1 lemon
4 Tbsp butter

Meanwhile prepare lemon filling:
In a double boiler over simmering water, whisk all ingredients for 8-10 minutes. Press through a fine mesh strainer, into a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to the surface of lemon curd so to avoid a skin forming. Cool to room temperature.
Fill each cup 3/4 full with lemon curd, or roughly 1/2 of a small cookie scoop. Bake for an additional 5-8 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to cool until completely set.

Carefully remove tartlets from pan. Sprinkle with optional powdered sugar prior to serving. Store chilled.


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

speaking up

"Sometimes getting pregnant can reduce the symptoms and provide some relief"
-- Actual professional medical advice offered to 21- year old Andie

"But don't wait too long;
Because this can impact your ability to fall pregnant naturally;
And may cause infertility"

I was a Uni graduate ready to commence my career;
I was not yet engaged but I will always wonder if perhaps this diagnosis fast tracked the process which saw me upgraded from girlfriend to fiancé;
Soon after the engagement party I had my first laproscopic surgery.
I'm now well over- due for my third.

I'd never heard of it before.
The surgery was the only way to know for sure if the diagnosis was correct.
And yes - More than one of my doctors suggested pregnancy as a means of 'managing' the condition.

This is the first time I am telling my story in a public forum.


Because March is
A W A R E N E S S   M O N T H

And it's taken me 30 days of the month, to build up the courage to complete this post and hit Publish.

But that's the point of an awareness campaign, isn't it?

To shed light on a topic.
Start a dialogue.
Encourage open communication and education..

Society doesn't like to talk about 'female problems' so endometriosis not a medical condition I admit to suffering from despite it causing near-constant discomfort and crippling pain more often than once a month.

It is a difficult condition to describe to anyone who has not experienced it.

Sometimes a picture can convey the pain more accurately than I can explain it -

Very pissed of fire breathing dragons.
With knives.
And machine guns.

The pain can be so extreme and debilitating that it literally incapacitates me.

As a result, it is a huge contributing factor to depression.

It is rendering women infertile.

And yet, I still feel like it is not a legitimate reason to call in sick to work.

O N E  in  T E N   W O M E N
S U F F E R   F R O M   E N D O M E T R I O S I S

So I am simultaneously caught between thinking I should shut the fuck up and not complain; 

Talking about it until I am blue in the face, 
So that maybe others also suffering in silence will feel they can share their story too.

Today I am choosing to talk about it.

To share my story.
And the stories of others.
Because knowing I am not alone truly helped me.

They gave me permission to be kind to myself.

They made me realise I am not crazy,

And the pain is not normal.

They allowed me to accept that it sucks,

But it doesn't mean I am broken.

And neither are you.

"Be kind to yourself on the bad days"

And remember this :

STARTS WITH CUPCAKES >> alex_elle instagram
Alexandra Elle


Tuesday, 8 March 2016

international women's day

Today is 
I N T E R N A T I O N A L   
W O M E N ' S   D A Y

It is also a week in which media (and social) commentary has been focused on the future of the Clipsal Grid Girls.

Following a heated debate on the weekend with a dear friend, whose opinion I often share on many an issue - I wasn't sure if I wanted to voice my opinions on either of these topics. 

There are women far more eloquent and definitely more passionate than I, to discuss these issues. From both sides.

And so I decided to carry on, as if it was any other day.. because, I thought to myself, if women want equality we should not be satisfied with just one day on which we are to be celebrated or have a voice.

This, by the way, echos my opinions of Mother's Day being the sole day to appreciate Mother's; and likewise Father's Day's purpose to remind us of our appreciation of our Father's - We should be thankful and grateful 365 days of the year.

Oops.. I guess I'm not very good at keeping my opinion to myself after all. 

(And for the record - I think the Grid Girls add atmosphere and entertainment value to a very long, and often uneventful car race. They are to Motorsport, what the tinsel is to a Christmas Tree - not 100% necessary, but pretty to look at, and certainly not doing any harm. If you think the role of the Grid Girl is derogatory to women, then I hope you didn't buy a movie ticket to watch Channing Tatum take his clothes off in Magic Mike. Admiration of the human form - it's all in the name of entertainment, is it not?)

I don't want to stand on a feminist or anti-feminist soap box and make sweeping claims, because it's just not my thing... 
Although the influx of Girl Power quotes on my Instagram feed today has been interesting to observe.

I just wish that women were always this supportive of each other - in life and in business.

"We live in a society that wants to pit women against each other,
and it's our job to resist the tyranny of that"
- Lena Dunham

So, on International Women's Day 2016, how about we start to make a concerted effort to celebrate each other on the remaining 364 days of the year?


Thursday, 25 February 2016

seduced by words

I am a writer.

OK.. So I'm not the kind who gets paid to put prose to paper; reach an assigned quota; or meet a deadline.

But I do pour my thoughts out of my head and onto the page.

I'm the girl who believes in the significance of words.

Who values both the price of those written in silence and spoken out loud.

The kind who carefully forms thoughts into sentences.

Who knows that language is a gift.

Perhaps it is because I am a writer, or maybe it's just me... 
But I am the girl who believes in the power of the things I say.

I   S A Y   W H A T   I   M E A N 
I   M E A N   W H A T   I   S A Y

(And if I can't say it, then I remain silent... but that's a story for another day)

Even the simplest words can convey a significant message.

Every word has a worth.

And because I find beauty in letters strung together to form a meaning;

And because I appreciate the art of articulation - 

 I   A M   S E D U C E D   B Y   W O R D S

So it never occurred to me to question that others may not consider the value of their own.

Then again, I am the girl who believes that a pinky promise is a valid contractual agreement.

So I am learning that words alone (though magical in their seduction) are not quite enough.

In the currency of language -
Words and promises are only worth something if they are accompanied by action.

seduced by words >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES


Thursday, 18 February 2016

churro waffles

My eating habits range from supermodel yoga enthusiast -
Hello raw green veggie juices.

To hungry unsupervised child in a candy store -
Hello cookies for breakfast and M&M's for dinner.

My baking skills (and subsequently, my pantry contents) enable me to have a thought like
"I feel like waffles"
And then be back in bed eating waffles 20 minutes later,
Without the need to leave the house,
Or (perhaps more importantly) put any pants on.

These waffles are a winner,
Because I don't drink milk at home,
And this recipe (unlike many others) is milk-free.
So once again - A celebration of not having to leave the house or put on pants for a trip to the supermarket.

Sometimes in life, you have to celebrate the little things.

I recommend you do it with these waffles.

C H U R R O   W A F F L E S

CHURRO WAFFLES >> starts with cupcakes

1 cup plain flour
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 cup water

1.5 tbsp cinnamon
4 tbsp sugar

Turn on the waffle iron to pre-heat.
Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan, over low heat, combined water, sugar, salt, and butter.
Stir until butter has melted and sugar dissolved -make sure the mixture doesn't boil.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in flour until dough forms.
Return mix to low heat and use spatula to fold dough and cook dough until it leaves a film of flour on sides of pan.
Remove dough from pan and divide into equal portions.
Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and cook portions for 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown.
Coat hot waffles in cinnamon/sugar mixture while hot.
Die of happiness.


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