Sunday, July 28, 2019 favourite ways to get ahead...

Working full time is for the birds...
The Bower Birds that is. The ones that work hard to build a home so that their family is safe and well tended.
My friend Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting, drew her nom de plume from the same rationale. Birds are busy and happy, nesting and building a home.
I have found returning to full time work outside of the home, rewarding and challenging.
One of my biggest challenges has less to do with 'work' and more to do with letting things go at home. Now I don't mean letting things go in a let-the-house-fall-apart way. None of us could live that way. It's more a case of allowing the other members of the family do what I once did, and having the good grace to know that it won't be perfect (in my eyes), but that it is at least getting done.
Now THAT is a challenge! Letting someone else do the 'nesting'...Sacre` Bleu!!!
But I digress....
I still find time to add value to my family's home and our budget in so many ways. I couldn't have it any other way.
Meanwhile the citrus trees reward us with plump, juicy fruit, whether I'm home or not.

One dish bakes are the order of the day for dinners in the cooler months in the Southern Hemisphere. So easy to prepare, so easy to clean up.
Here's that recipe in four sentences:
Chicken Parmigiana Bake
Layer chicken breasts in a lasagne dish. Top generously with tinned tomato, fresh tomato slices, chopped onion, slivers of capsicum, herbs and cheese. Bake until golden brown. Serve with crusty bread. Yum.
Conversely, lunches at work at easy and fresh. I'm fortunate enough to have not one, but three major supermarkets in the building where I work, so even when I do not have time to pack a lunch, I'm spoilt for choices. This feast below, cost me a  whole $7!

I have to say that I am enjoying having a little more discretionary funding to spend on self these days. It means that when I spot darling Deco earrings, I can snap them up without thinking twice.
I love this Gucci inspired link necklace so much...
That when I spotted this vintage 60s chain link belt in my favourite green, I snapped it up knowing I could convert it to a similar necklace, thus breathing new life into it.

It also means that when a friend invites me to a sale of vintage couturier trims, I can 'rescue' as many as I want. How adorable is this idea of stitching random trims to the back of playing cards? I see a similar idea taking up residence in my gift cupboard for my crafty friends...
And you know there's always a cake decorating idea in the mix here. This one was the inspiration for my middle sons 40th birthday recently. He's a golf fanatic.

Here is the realisation. Bow tie, golf ball and all. I laughed though when his nephew on his wife-to-be's side, asked why there was a cauliflower on top of his cake. Lol. Well..Imperfection is the name of the game here....hahahahaha!

A mini-break to world famous Byron Bay was ticked off the bucket list.

It was lovely, but as a serial beach goer since childhood, it was only as nice as the dozens of other beaches I've visited in my lifetime. Australians are spoilt like that.

Daughters secondment to L'Occitane the French skin care range came to a grinding halt with her admission to her demanding University course. So we are back to making our own organic skin care. Above are the seven (yes, seven!) jars of luxurious face and body lotion I whipped up on Friday night. Cost...about $30.
Here's that recipe...not four sentences unfortunately.
Mimi's Luscious Face and Body lotion...enough for up to 12 x 125gm jars

Water phase:
900mls distilled water

Oil Phase:
100mls Pharmaceutical grade oil (peanut, almond, macadamia or use jojoba or olive)
60gms emulsifying wax (40gms for a lighter lotion consistency) Order at pharmacy.

Active Phase:
15mls Green Tea Extract (good for skin) – online various suppliers
10mls pure Aloe Vera gel (healing properties) – Supermarket or pharmacy
10 mls Vitamin E Oil (Antioxidant) - pharmacy
10mls Glycerine (moisturising and smoothing) -Supermarket
30mls Optiphen Plus (preservative) – online various suppliers
30-40 drops essential oil/s of choice. I use Lavender, Neroli and Jasmine. You can use any that you like. Or leave it unscented.

Step 1:
Place water in saucepan and heat till it just starts to show bubbles. Transfer to a large glass or china mixing bowl.

Step 2:
Place 'oil phase' ingredients into a glass jug and heat in the microwave. Your oils will be close to the correct temperature when the emulsifying wax is not quite entirely melted. Stir to finalise melting.

Step 3:
Pour the 'oil' phase into the ‘water' phase and stir. Continue stirring until the mixture cools and thickens slightly. This may take up to 20 minutes. (it took about 10 here). Once you can touch the sides of the bowl comfortably and it’s not too hot, add your Optiphen Plus or other preservative (apparently Friars Balsalm works but I don't like the smell) and Vitamin E oil, then the other 'active' ingredients.

Step 4:
Continue stirring until it cools to about hot tap water temperature. It will continue to thicken. Pour into a jug and then decant into your jars. Allow to cool completely before putting on the lids.

Apply to face, hands, feet or body as required. This is a gorgeous cream, and although it is thick going on, it is absorbed quickly, and makes your skin feel and look so soft. It’s delicately scented without being overpowering.

Extra tips:
Always stir continuously as your mixture cools, as this will prevent lumps forming. If lumps do appear, they can be smoothed with a hand held blender.

If using 'natural' preservative in your recipe, sterilise jars and lids first.

It's not as daunting as it sounds, you just need to have everything ready, and it's very rewarding. I line all the ingredients up in cups and medicine measures before I start, and then it only takes about 30 minutes to make 6-12 jars of face cream depending on the size of your jars.
 Thus inspired, I went on to create an organic deodorant for The Diva and myself. This is still an experiment, but so far, we're loving it. Bereft of any appropriate container, I simply poured this into a pretty teacup that fills as a heart shape, and use a tiny spatula to scoop what we need.
Here's that recipe for deodorant:
2 tablespoons pharmaceutical grade coconut oil
2 teaspoons grated Shea butter
5 heaped dessertspoons Arrowroot
8 drops each:
Green Tea Extract (anti-inflammatory)
Optiphen Plus (preservative)
Bergamot essential oil
Lime West Indies essential oil
Palmarosa essential oil
Note: You can use any essential oil/s you prefer.
Melt oils in a glass jug in the microwave, add extras, pour into a vessel of your choice. Allow to harden. Use a spatula to scoop, and apply with fingertips.
The real test of this deodorant will be during our humid Summer, but that's a way off yet. So far, so good though!
We have a wedding coming up! My middle son (yes, the one that just turned 40!) is marrying his long term partner. We are thrilled to bits! As is! Behold the shoes for the wedding. I looooove them.
And below is something I think would go with them for Melbourne Cup Day. My milliner friend will help me make this. Pretty spiffy, huh?

Now that I am very silver, red is my new friend.

Enough from me. How are things for you? I miss you all!
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  1. Goodness me you have been one busy lady. It is good to see you in Blogland once again. That cream looks fantastic and so much cheaper than shop bought. I hope the wedding goes off without a hitch.

  2. You look lovely, Mimi and I love your chunky jewelry pieces (and the Chanel Camelia pin). Mary B from The Tuesday Afternoon group

  3. Thank you for sharing your moisturiser. I will be purchasing the few things I don't have already and getting this made very soon.
    I was pressure cleaning the veranda which is 15mX5m today. I moved all the pot plants and furniture. It was also quite a warm day so I got a little sweaty. The deodorant held up really well. Also no rash forming. It is working for me so hope it does for you as well.

  4. It's so nice to hear from you Mimi. I love the chicken parm bake and the lunch looks real good. Congrats to your son who is getting married. Making the cream and deorderant sounds nice too. I see you are finding ways to save money and doing homemade things is great. :)

  5. Dear Mimi, I am so far behind but finally catching up! Thank you for mentioning Bluebirds!
    I LOVE that bake. I am trying this. Thank you. Also for the moisturiser recipe. It looks amazing! With love and thanks,

  6. Hi Mimi....
    Came over to check on you again and see you still haven't posted in awhile.
    Oh I get it....seasons change....and you have less time for the old things some
    times, especially when you are working full time. Looks like you still manage
    to accomplish much at home too. Congrats on your sons upcoming marriage.
    I have less time for blogging that I used to as well, since hubby retired
    over a year ago, and we are working on our online business, has taken some
    time but we are getting there, hoping to be able to open it in Jan. 2020.
    Glad you are doing well hon.
    Miss hearing from you tho.....
    Blessings Galore


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx