Saturday, 10 August 2013

Warm Chickpea and Chorizo Salad

Welcome to one of my most favourite dishes in the WORLD. I first discovered this dish while living in Darwin, a vibrant city in the Top End of Australia (well worth a visit) . It is the creation of the chef from Moorish Cafe, a  fantastic restaurant favorited by locals and tourists alike. It is no longer on the menu so you will have to suffice with making it yourself.  However, if you are ever in Darwin, as any local would say,  a visit to Moorish is a must. Don't forget to order a Strawberry Caipriosca to get you started!

I just love the volume of fresh herbs used in this dish.  This recipe is super easy and oh so amazing. A winner at any dinner party or BBQ and you will look like a super fancy cook!

Warm Chickpea and Chorizo Salad


2 cans chickpeas or 300gm dried chickpeas(cooked)
200ml olive oil
3 red chilli's finely sliced
12 cloves garlic roughly chopped
1 chorizo sausage sliced
150ml cider vinegar
1 cup each of chopped coriander, parsley, mint and spring onion
1 cup crumbled fetta
12 cherry tomatoes halved


Heat olive oil, add chilli, garlic, onion and cook over high heat for five minutes. 

Add chorizo and cherry tomatoes. 

Cook for a further 2 minutes stirring constantly. 

Add the vinegar and cook until evaporated (2 mins). 

Add feta and fresh herbs and cook for a minute. 

Season and toss into a large bowl and serve immediately.


Monday, 22 July 2013

Should you teach your baby to sign?

When Lily (2) was only a few months old, I stumbled across this clip on youtube. The clip is of 1 year old Fireese and her Mum communicating with baby sign language. My mind was blown. Do you mean your baby can speak to you before they have language skills? This is Amazing. Why doesn't everyone do this? I had a LOT of questions ( as I always do).  What was this baby sign language?  How does a baby  learn to sign? And more importantly, how could I learn it?  I set off a quest to find out everything I could. I googled, watched & read anything related to baby signing. I asked all of my Mummy friends, have you heard of this baby sign language? I think most thought I had gone a bit nuts.  My baby is smart I thought, surely we could do this!  I taught myself a few signs and then set about teaching them to Lily.  She learnt one sign incredibly quickly and used it all the time (and still does 2 years later!). The sign was " finished". It was brilliant. She could tell me when she had had enough sleep or food. She could tell me when she wanted to get out of the bath or if she wanted to go home. Just with this one simple sign!  She started using it at about 18 months. Even though it was seriously cool to be able to understand her, and made life a lot easier, I was not committed to teaching her to sign, so she only ended up with the one.

However, I was determined to do it better next time. I researched the signs I wanted to introduce and taught 10 of them to Lily in a day! Those little toddlers are freaky sponges. She now helps me teach Charlie ( 9 months) the new signs every day. I have been using them with him for around 3  months, and he has learnt 2 so far. ( Daddy & More, such a boy)  He gets so excited when he uses them & can see that I understand him. It is an on going process and I will have to be committed to using them in my language with Charlie every day. But I know the reward is going to be worth it!   If you are interested & have a billion questions like I did, reading this article might help.

If you can teach your bub to clap and wave, then you have already started! All you need to do is make the sign every time you say the word and they will do the rest. Just be consistent and patient and it will happen. The first time your baby signs back to you will make it all worth it!

Should you teach your baby to sign? Well, that is entirely up to you. Babies can sign well before they can speak.  Research show's it has no hindrance on your child's verbal skills & I can tell you, Lily is a little chatter box!

Have you had any experience with Baby Sign Language? We would love to hear from you.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

{Recipe} Delicious Stir-fry Beef with Asian Greens

The kids and I LOVE stir-frys. They are so quick, easy and versatile not to mention super healthy! The protein can be switched to pretty much what ever you have fresh and available, beef, chicken, fish or tofu. The veggies can be changed to suit what is in your fridge or garden.. This is a recipe we cook at least twice a week. It is a guaranteed winner with Lily and she will eat it every time, without fail.

Delicious Beef Stir-fry with Asian Green & Soba Noodles

Serves 4

400 grams of sliced porterhouse steak
1 medium onion sliced
5 medium swiss brown ( or any style) mushrooms
1 cup dried shitake mushrooms
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 cm piece finely chopped ginger
3 tables spoons of Tamari or Soy sauce, plus extra for serving
2 bunchs (6 stems) of Baby Bok Choy or any Asian Greens
2/3 packet of Soba Noodles
3 tb Sesame Seeds for serving

Stir-frys are designed to be cooked very quickly so you need to do all of your preparation before you begin cooking.

Thinly slice the beef and place in a bowl with the ginger, garlic and tamari. Mix and leave to marinate for as long as you have. The longer you leave it the more the flavour will develop. A few minutes is ok though if you are in a hurry.
Slice all the onions and mushrooms, wash and separate the bok choy. Put the dried shitake mushrooms in a cup and cover with freshly boiled water then set aside.
Place a medium pot on the stove, fill to 3/4 with water and boil.  Heat a large wok to a high heat, then add your oil. I use olive and some sesame oil. Drain the shitake mushrooms.

Ok, now you are ready to start cooking!

To the wok add the onions and toss until they starting to cook, then add the mushrooms and continue tossing. After about 2 minutes add the beef and toss. As soon as the beef begins to brown  it is time to add your noodles to the boiling water, make sure you put your oven timer on as they only take 4 mins! 
Add your bok choy to the wok and toss. Let everything finish cooking for a minute or two. As soon as the noodles are ready, drain and add to the wok. Toss to combine all of the ingredients and add more tamari.

Serve immediately and top with Sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Monday, 15 July 2013

My Top 5 Baby Shower Gifts

As Baby Showers become more and more common I am often asked by other parents and non parents, what makes a great baby shower or newborn baby gift. Its a gift giving mine field out there! So I have put together a list of my 5 favorite guaranteed to please items. I know budgets can be tight, especially if you have a lot of friends having babies close together, as I do! I guess it is just that age, hey?  Here they are in order of budget, cheapest to most expensive.

1. Books! A baby can never have enough books & they start from as little as $5.  Any parent will love an addition to their newborns libary. It does not have to be a book suitable from birth, the baby will grow very quickly! Some of the classic's are A Very Hungry Caterpillar & Where The Wild Things Are. Any touch and feel board book will be fantastic too. A wonderful book for newborns is Mesmerised. You can find it here

babies looking at black and white books for newborns
Image from

2. Baby Clothes. Baby clothes are an incredibly popular gift and the range is staggering. My advice is to purchase your gift in size 00 and up. Mum will usually have an abundance of newborn items that the baby will never have a chance to wear as they grow too fast! Be careful of seasons, make sure you work out what size the baby will be in Summer or Winter etc. This did not occur to me with my first baby, and I had so many gorgeous summer dresses she couldn't wear in winter!
Basics are great, singlets, leggings & onesies. If you don't know the sex of the baby, keep the colours simple like whites and greys.  If you do know the sex you might like to give something a little more special like a pretty dress or jacket.
Cotton Knitted Hoodie
Image from

3. Wraps & Blankets.  You can never have too many! I love Aden + Anais muslin wraps. They are huge and fantastic for swaddling a larger bub and proving shade in a pram.  The more you wash them, the softer they become. You can find them here. If you love the idea of wraps, but would prefer a budget option, I also love the Big W version. They do the same job and are great quality. You can find them here.

Image from

4. Cuddle Dry Towel.  This is an awesome and simple invention! It can be very difficult to bath a baby and remain dry yourself. Getting the baby out of the bath while holding the towel under your chin is almost a circus act. Introducing the Cuddle Dry Towel. It is designed to wear like an apron and once you have hold of bub, one swift snap and it is a regular towel again! This is the only towel I use for my youngest. It has stayed soft after so many washes and he is all snugly as soon as he gets out of the bath.
The Original Cuddledry® Baby Bath Towel oatmeal/white
image from

5. Baby carrier.  This are certainly a high-end gift. If you want to give a group gift, this is a fabulous choice! There are so many carriers on the market at the moment. It will come down to personal choice, so maybe some input from the Mum to be, could be very useful on this one. Carriers are very diverse these days. Offering front carrying, side and back carrying. . Some are just used for newborn to 12 months, and others can be used for much longer.  My favorite is the Ergo Baby.. It can be used from newborn ( with the insert) right up to 18kg. Worn on front, side or back. Will usually fit Mum or Dad and can be very warm in the cooler climates. It is also considered better for the baby with bubs knee's being higher than his bottom.  The Ergo comes in SO many colour and style options it can be hard to choose.

Image from Google Images

I hope this list is useful to you in some way. What is your favorite baby gift to give or receive, leave a comment we would love to hear from you!

** this is NOT a sponsored post. These are all items I use and love.

Conversations with my 2 year old

I am so excited to discover a hilarious series on youtube called " Conversations with my 2 year old". If you have a toddler, please watch. You will be glad you did.  It is a simple and hilarious insight into the potential terrorist that lives within your home. The concept was created by the Dad, Matthew Clarke, whom appears as himself in the films. His daughter Coco is played by a full grown man, which just adds to the humor. Look for the little touches like the cute little bow in his hair!  The films are very clever and reassuring to know that there are other people that experience the two year old's pain.  My favorite episodes so far are 1 and 6 (nobody wants to wear pants!).You can watch them here and here. I am writing this as my 2 year old screams from her bedroom that she has a sore throat, needs a wee, is thirsty, the wind is scary, just one more story...all to avoid going to bed. I would do anything to be able to go to bed right now!

What conversations do you have with your two year old?

You can also check out their facebook page here

Saturday, 29 June 2013


Some of you may know GoogleReader is closing as of 1 July 13. You can use from now on to keep up with all of your favorite blogs!

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Friday, 28 June 2013

{book review} The Handmade Market Place

{book review} The Handmade Market Place. By Kari Chapin.

I am often asked what inspired me to launch my handmade business when I had absolutely zero experience & my only back round was hardcore travel sales. Well, I owe it all to Kari Chapin. Quite seriously. This book changed my life. A friend recommended I borrow it from the library and once I did, I didn't want to return it! I rushed out and purchased my own copy as I just couldn't be without it for a second.
It is well written & incredibly informative. Kari covers all the good stuff & gives you the confidence to believe in yourself and your product. Any maker will understand how terrifying it is to put yourself & handmade goodness out there in the big wide for world for everyone to see & comment on. IN PUBLIC. What if they hate it? What if I don't sell anything? What if it's a big fat flop?
Kari covers branding, marketing, blogging, how to join online communities, market, selling and everything else you need to know. I found the many interviews with fellow {handmade} business' invaluable.
If you are even considering creating a business from your handmade love, you must read this book first!
You can find Kari at

If you have a book to review or would like to submit your own review, please contact me at
** this is not a sponsored post, this book was my own purchase.

Monday, 24 June 2013

{Recipe} Delicious Chicken & Veg Sausage Rolls

  • As Mums we know it can often be a challenge to make sure our children, especially toddlers, eat their veggies every day.  I often try new recipes with Miss 2, just to spice things up a little. She loved these sausage rolls and made sure I knew what was left on the plate was hers and not mine!  I found the original version of this  very simple recipe on Taste and adjusted it to suit the needs of our family. You can easily do the same. 
    Here is my modified version, let me know what you think!

    Delicious Chicken & Veg Sausage Rolls

    1/2 cup breadcrumbs ( fresh or packet)
  • 500g chicken breast 
  • 1 egg, plus 1 extra lightly beaten egg
  • 1 zucchini, finely grated or 5 finely chopped mushrooms 
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 4 sheets frozen puff pastry, just thawed
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds
  • Tomato or sweet chilli or sauce, to serve

    1. Step 1
      Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2 oven trays  with greased baking paper.
    2. Step 2
      Process crumbs, chicken and unbeaten egg in a food processor until well combined. Place in a bowl, mix well with vegetables and herbs, then season.
    3. Step 3
      Place 1 pastry sheet on a floured surface and halve. Spoon an eighth of the mixture lengthways along one edge of each piece. Carefully roll the pastry up to make one long " sausage roll".  Brush the beaten egg along the exposed edge to seal.  Brush the top of the roll with egg and sprinkle the sesame seeds. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling. Cut rolls into 3cm pieces. Place on baking sheets, cover and chill for 30 minutes.  Bake for 20-25  minutes until the rolls are lightly browned and cooked through. Serve with sauce on the side.

      Freeze any uncooked, spare rolls as a whole piece for later use. Perfect for snacks, parties or playdates!

Saturday, 22 June 2013


Hi everyone,
I am running a little giveaway on Instagram! You can get your hands on one of my popular & gorgeous {magnet sets}. All you need to do is follow me on Instagram @lilyandcharlie, repost this photo & #lilyandcharlie simple!
Good luck & looking forward to meeting you on Instagram.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Almost done!

The long weekend is over and I have moved the last of my things into my new {studio}. Whilst my paint job is very average ( will certainly never be my day job!) I am so happy with my new creative space. A weekend well spent. Now, to get in there and create!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Creating my studio

I've been driving myself insane trying to work out better ways to utilise the space we have in our tiny house. Two adults, 2 kids, a handmade business & only 2 bedrooms, makes for a very tight fit! We do have a garage and storage room under the house & today I have claimed the storage room to myself. It is going to be transformed into the {Lily & Charlie} studio & I am SO excited!
I spent today dragging all of our ' stored' items out and in doing so I found 2 unopened tins of white paint! What luck! I spent the rest of the day painting the white undercoat on the roof. Monday will be the second coat and furnishing.

Im not much of a renovator & Im doing it on my own, so it will be basic. But it will be mine! I will be able to start a project without having to pack it up every time I walk away to prevent any little hands getting in. Oh the luxury. Where do you craft, sew, paint or make?

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

We were reviewed!

Some of you may know I run a small handmade business from home, specialising in hair accessories, earrings, magnets, bookmarks, brooches and more.  You can't imagine my excitement when I discovered today we had been reviewed by the amazing Handmade Kids blog! You can visit it here.

There is something really special about having all of your hard work recognised by your peers. Would you agree?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Mothers Day, Bittersweet for some

Well more sweet than bitter these days, thank god.

My Mum, in the 1950's

Each year Mothers Days looms down like a dark cloud on each of us that no longer have a Mum to celebrate it with. Similarly for those Mummy's that no longer have their children with them.
We battle our grief year round and it is at a pinnacle on Mothers Day. It is unavoidable. Promoted on TV, radio, catalogues, Internet & of course social media goes crazy. You look for the darkest cave to hide in until it is all over.

Me, my sister and Mum 1980's
This is how I felt, every year after my Mum passed away, until, I had my own children. It brings all the wonder and joy back into the day & this year my 2.5 year old {Little Miss L} gave me a beautiful poem & artwork which made me cry a little.... In a good way! ( thank you so much to the carers that organise this, it is very much appreciated!) I got to spend the day with my beautiful children, my partner & my WONDERFUL Mother in Law. I had a little teary the night before Mother's Day ( last night) but made it through the whole day I day with only happy thoughts & memories of my Mum. And a little bit of guilt that I didn't pay more attention or spoil her more on Mothers Day!

Little Miss L giving my Mother in Law her pressie that we made for her.
My Little Charlie and Me

The culprit for bringing a tear to my eye

Friday, 26 April 2013

It is Magic!

I have been nervous about implementing the 1,2,3 Magic system. I've been paying very close attention to my disciplining actions and I have discovered I talk too much! ( really???? I hear you say ;)) . Two year olds are unable to cope with all the chatter, explanation and emotion. Apparently. I didn't really believe this when it was bought up during the class, however, I have discovered they are right, of course. Today was my first try of the 1,2,3 system. Miss L wanted to play with my camera and I said no, it's Mummy's special camera and put it on top of the bookcase. Two minutes later I head back up the hallway only to see her half way up the bookcase, trying to reach the camera. I said ' that's 1'. She just looked at me and keep climbing, 5 seconds later ' that's 2' , she continued. 5 more seconds and I calmly & firmly said ' that's 3, time out' I picked her up ( she started screaming) and put her in her bedroom for 2 minutes ( 1 minute per year of age) . She cried for the first minute, then I heard chatter for the second minute. After the two minutes passed, I opened the door and she was standing there with a smile and a book. She said ' Lily happy! Caterpillar?' And handed me The Very Hungary Caterpillar to read. No discussion required, issue over. Normally this would require many ' lily get downs and putting her in the floor, only for her to climb up again and a huge fight breaking out! I must say, so far, I'm impressed! Watch this space.....

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

123 Magic

I am currently on the second week into a 3 week parenting course called 1,2,3 Magic. Admittedly, when my local community centre called ( yes they called me, they are amazing) and asked if I'd like to join the next course, I had never heard of it. But it was being run on my day off and they offered FREE child care (yes this place is seriously amazing! ) so I jumped at the chance. I have been looking for some kind of parenting course for about 2 years and was surprised that I kept coming up with dead-ends. I was shocked that there were not really any on offer in Hobart. As my daughter became a toddler I really felt I needed the systems in place for effecting discipline & I didn't naturally know what to do, so this course is perfect! So far it has been great & I am looking forward to pulling it all together next week. Have you ever been at the supermarket & heard a parent start with the " That's one...." Warning? Well this is it! Has anyone heard of this or completed the course? I'd love to hear your thoughts or experiences.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Garden Shed Reno

Recently, my brother and I did a little reno on the back garden shed. We live in a very small house & with 2 small children sharing a bedroom there is just not any room for additional toys in the house. We had a shed in the garden that was full to the brim of well, crap. It was a scary space, full of spiders and horrible things.  So many people had said to me ' why not turn this into a play room?'. I always nodded and said ' what a great idea!' but I was very doubtful this would ever happen. Until one day, my baby brother and his partner happily became pregnant with their third child and I bribed them with lots of yummy second hand baby stuff to get him to come and do the work for me! Oh, the benefits of having a handy brother.  He did such an amazing job that is was all over in 6 hours. It cost me only $100 ( for black board paint, a few rollers and brushes, an extension cord and 2 plastic stools). I had some carpet off cuts ready to go in, but when we pulled up the manky carpet we discovered wonderful, polished floor board. Yes,  in a garden shed! The kids love their new ' house' and I have since made curtains and we have added a few cute pictures to the walls.

 I must admit when it was finished, I did entertain ( for a millisecond) the idea of keeping it all for myself as a studio. It didn't happen, and now all the toys are moved in and it is a very funky space.