Skinflint Sunday: Long-term goals keep you going.


Look at Jeffrey in the corner. He’s airborne!


He loves his David22.

We’re now in our fifth month at the new place and I’m loving it. I used to say nothing short of dynamite would get me from my old place, but as it turns out I haven’t missed it a bit. I was thinking a bit about it yesterday and I think (I hope) that I’ve reached a new stage in my life… the stage where it’s all about ME.

Well, not totally, but you know what I mean. The kids are pretty much off my hands, I’ve stepped back from running a team for thermomix so my time is much freer, and all of this means that I can take a few deep breaths, look around and ask myself, “What do I want to do?”

I’m looking forward to it. To be honest, I’m a bit sick of having other people’s agenda and timetables dictate how my life is run. I’m looking forward to being a bit more self-indulgent with my time. So what if I choose to loll around and waste a weekend? Or what if I decide to not set foot outside my gate and spend the weekend reading and gardening? Should it matter to anyone but myself? NO!

To this end, I’ve started looking further ahead, realising that if I don’t want anyone telling me what to do, I have to have the finances in place to enable me to live exactly how I please. My next goal? To retire early(er) than the age when the government decides that people should get the pension.

I want to travel while I’m still young enough not to worry about falling and breaking a hip, or dither about how to get my zimmer frame on and off the bus. I want to wake up and have every day free for me to decide how and where I want to spend it.

Thankfully, I still love teaching, so it’s not as if I spend my days in seething rage at having to earn a living. However, there’s nothing wrong with setting a stretch target of when I’ll be able to choose to pull the pin, if I so desire.

Starting next year… 7 years. Game on!

More on this later.🙂

Thermomix recipe: I can’t believe it’s not chocolate I’ve posted this recipe before I think, but I made it last week for my year 12 Theatre Studies class to eat while they were doing a SAC and it was a big hit. There are a couple of vegans in the class, so it ticked all the boxes for everyone.

Finance Post: 10 Core principles of ‘The Simple Dollar’

Posted in pets, Quality of life | 1 Comment

Setting a (slightly) new course.

IMG_7976I know I haven’t been posting here a lot, but there’s been a fair bit going on behind the scenes. I’ve come to a few decisions, re-set some major goals and now I’m heading forth to conquer them.

The biggest decision I’ve made is to leave my position as a Group Leader for Thermomix. Basically, I was a consultant for almost a year and then for the last 4 years I’ve been running 2 full-time jobs; as a teacher and as a thermomix Group Leader. For 3 years it was financially rewarding, but for this year it hasn’t. So , much as I enjoy working with the team, I’m not a charity so I’ve left the job and dropped back to being ‘just’ a consultant again. In other words, I’m still selling them, so feel free to put up your hand!🙂  I’m looking forward to getting my evenings and weekends back, as well as rediscovering that thing called a social life…


In other news, I’ve become a Public Transport User. This is unprecedented in my life. I’ve spent my time actively avoiding travelling with the General Public… you know…. those people. But with a train station literally 2 minutes walk away and a station 10 minutes walk from school, the time management part of me couldn’t resist. You mean in the same time it takes me to drive to work while listening to a podcast I can podcast, knit or read AND get 3,000 steps for my FitBit???? OMG!!! Cost-wise it’s pretty much a wash, so the added extras have tipped the scales.

This morning I got a bit more exercise than I bargained on. There’s a member of staff who also takes the train, who’s about a foot taller than me with incredibly long legs. He walked with me from the station to school. I was exhausted by the time we made it there. Not to be unsocial, but I hope this doesn’t turn into a daily occurrence. I’ll never survive it.

Scary Legs

I’ve set a goal for myself that I won’t buy any new items of furniture for the house. It all has to be second-hand, both from financial and environmental factors. Plus I like the challenge of sourcing things that I need. I picked up this cabinet a few weeks ago from Gumtree but it was only put in place on Saturday. The legs were wobbly, so my brother-in-law Francis who’s doing work around the place for me took them off and then glued and screwed them back in position. I love this cabinet because I know without a doubt if I lived in a horror movie, those legs would chase me around the room. Nearly every item of furniture I now own has these curvy legs.

As regards my new major goal, read the finance link below. It’ll give you a hint. I’ve been doing a lot of reading in the last few months and I love this article because it explains the concept so clearly.

Thermomix Recipe: How to make your own Halloumi Because, why wouldn’t you?

Finance Article: What is your retirement number? The 4% rule.

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Skinflint Sunday: Pets Edition

IMG_7904This is the photos of Poppy’s daughter that I took last weekend. Meet Dottie and Debbie.


I took Jeff down to the beach a couple of days ago. This is him realising that I wasn’t going to hang around waiting for him to finish sniffing the bins.


And here he is, back with me.


Since Poppy’s been gone, Jeffrey is getting away with all sorts of things. He’s discovered that he can keep an eye on me in the kitchen and still stay comfy.


Daphne just puts up with him…

Thermomix recipe: Healthy Pear and Berry Nut Crumble

Finance Article: The Index Card Challenge

Posted in pets, Skinflint | 1 Comment

Skinflint Sunday: Days filled with little achievements.


It’s been over a month since I last posted and a lot has gone on. I’m about to have lunch and then whip down to the beach with Jeffrey before I insult him with with a bath, but I thought I’d catch you up. It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and all’s well.


Jeff has slid into the position of Only Dog pretty well, though David22 tells me that he cries after I leave for work each day. My new house has a hallway that virtually runs from one end of the house to the other, so we now have a routine for when I come home from work that means that we have a rapturous reunion in the middle of the house when I open the hall door, then he runs to the front door while I run to the end of the hall. Then he runs full pelt up the hallway and jumps all over me again. He looks hilarious as he’s running towards me… his ears flap and his shaggy coat galumphs everywhere. I wonder if this will continue when Poppy comes back.


Here’s a photo of the girl on the way to her breeders, to be dropped off in order to give birth and raise her puppies. You’d swear she knew she was going to be left, judging by that face.


Here’s Poppy and Jeff’s mother and grandmother, leading an arduous afternoon in Jenny’s lounge room. Sometimes it’s tough being a pet.

Poppy ended up having 3 girls, but one was very prem and died a few days later, despite Jenny giving her feeds every 2 hours around the clock. Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. But her other daughters are strong and healthy and doing fine. They’re 4 weeks old now and staggering around and discovering the world of their whelping box. Jeff and I drove up there yesterday to see them all. I have photos, but my phone isn’t uploading them to the cloud yet, for some reason. You’ll have to wait to see Dottie and Debbie another time.

Pop was really glad to see us and to show off her babies, but she was less than pleased when Jeff ventured near her food bowl. Jenny says that she’s never seen a bitch with only two puppies to feed to eat so much. Poppy’s always been enthusiastic about her tucker. I sat and talked with Jenny for about half an hour next to the pen. Poppy curled up on my lap, where she could still see her puppies and we had together time. That was, however, until Jeff couldn’t stand it any longer and leaped up on my lap as well.

Poppy still has at least another month there, to raise her babies and teach them how to be dogs. Then she’ll come back home.🙂


I’ve been knitting gifts for Scott and Mark and Ryan 21. I’m also knitting cotton dishcloths for my new house, but they’re not as interesting.


I just put this one in because I liked it. A wintery day.


I’ve gone mad for making sourdough bread. A couple of months ago Evan19 and I went to a sourdough class run by one of my thermomix customers and I’ve been making our own bread ever since.


Here’s one of my early ones. I’m now using a proper bread tin and I’m really happy with (most of) the results. I’ve found that it helps to use the timer on your phone once it’s in the oven… cooking a loaf for two hours means that it is so hard and burnt that if you threw it at someone it could kill them. Oops.


The old house is now at this stage. Evan19 and his friends will soon get their marching orders and then the bulldozers will move in.


David22 bought a new (to him) car. We’re calling it The Banana. It’s a huge step up from the 1994 Ford stationwagon he was driving and he’s loving it. Gotta love Gumtree!


Speaking of Gumtree, I’ve been buying and selling furniture on here and I’m loving it. My house is slowly looking more and more elegant and I’ve made the decision that I want to only furnish this place with second-hand pieces that I love. I’m selling off the things i don’t want anymore and keeping an eye out for bits and bobs that I like the look of. I’m in no hurry, but it’s amazing how things just seem to pop up out of nowhere. This is a set of chairs I brought back in the Golf, while the GORGEOUS table they come with was being delivered a few days later.


There’s so many pretty little things around, like this chair, for example. $100 on Gumtree. I drove into Fitzroy to get it and although it fits with the decor now, when I have a bit more cash I’ll get it reupholstered in a more eye-catching colour. But for now, it’s all good.


It’s been a year since I was in Europe. I’m loving the Facebook ‘memories’ feature – apparently a year ago I was in Wales. That was where I first saw a miniature wire-haired dachshund and fell in love. (I’m next in line for a puppy from a breeder on Queensland!! Audrey may soon be here!)

This was one of the luckiest things… I bought this chain-mail necklace at the Richard III exhibit in Leicester with Scott. The clasp was loose and I lost it. I was so upset, but I was going here, there and everywhere that day and there was no way of telling where it could be. Three days later I found it – in the front yard.  Fortunate Frogdancer strikes again!


Here’s another Gumtree find. The old wardrobe was only $30. This is my front verandah – you can rest your coffee cups on top of the cupboard, while inside are old towels to dry your feet after being at the beach, gum boots and watering cans and old shoes for beach walking. PLUS it hides the bins behind it. Love it.


Thermomix Recipe: 9 Thermomix Recipes that make it worth the cost. (Contact me if it sways you… this is still my business.)🙂

Finance article: The Ginger Principle: When Buying in Bulk is a Mistake.


Posted in balance, Children., knitting, memories, pets, Quality of life, Skinflint | 3 Comments

Paleo for dogs.


So here’s what I feed Poppy and Jeff. It’s meant to stand for Bones And Raw Food patties. It’s an approximation of what they’d eat if they were left out in the wild and they hunted and dragged down a moose (or something). Except it’s packaged up into individual patties and frozen.

Poppy’s now really Quite Pregnant. On Sunday I’m driving her down to her breeder’s place, where she’ll stay for the next week, lolling around being pregnant, and then for the next 8 weeks raising her brood. Much to the disgust of Ange at work, who’s in the 7th month of pregnancy, dogs are only pregnant for 9 weeks.

Jeff is going to be like a lost soul. He’s never lived as an Only Dog, except when Poppy was away being ….um… defiled. He’s not going to be a happy chappy.

Thermomix Recipe: Chicken and Peanut Yoghurt Curry I’m putting this here because I want to try it and this way I’ll remember where the recipe is.






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Getting tired of them yet?


This was the walk last night after work.

Thermomix recipe: Seed Bread GF and vegan.🙂

Posted in Quality of life | 5 Comments

This new move is very hard to take…


This was taken at around 4:30pm yesterday, as we spent an hour on the beach. Poppy and Jeff finally decided that it might be ok to get their feet wet.

Thermomix Recipe: Nonna’s Meatballs Not a single bad comment on this recipe… and I can tell you it’s delicious and so very easy. A definite winner.

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Skinflint Sunday (on Tuesday): Entertain yourself in the great outdoors for free!


I had a whole weekend to myself last weekend. Except for a sliver of time on Sunday, when an ex-student from last year’s crop of year 12s wanted Poppy and I to act in his short film. He found a park near us and the dogs and I went down to unleash our acting talent upon the world.


Poppy is noticeably pregnant now. She’s looking seriously at the camera here, while Jeff (the buffoon) is grinning like a madman. She’s always been whipcord-thin, but now her stomach is bulging and she’s so.very.hungry. Stand between her and a dog biscuit at your peril.


We shot our 2 little scenes and then the boys disappeared over the hill to drive to their next location. It was a pleasant interlude.

Thermomix recipe: Choc-chip oat bars This is a good little recipe. It has heaps of variations and David22 loves it. (I made half chocolate chips and half dried blueberries. White chocolate, cranberries and shredded coconut is very nice too.


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Getting the house into shape.


I wasn’t sure what to do with my Staffordshire dogs that Scott tracked down for me when I was in Europe last year. The new house doesn’t have a fireplace. Still, I think this is a nice solution – the print is a limited edition ‘The Cavalier’s Pets’ by Landseer that I bought back when I was breeding and showing cavaliers and I had disposable income to burn. The china cabinet is an eclectic mix of souvenirs from my travels, family heirlooms and nice bits and bobs I’ve picked up.


Speaking of breeding dogs, Poppy is definitely in whelp. She’s due in about 3 weeks time, so soon I’ll be taking her up to her breeder’s place where she’ll give birth to and raise her puppies. Jeff is going to miss her dreadfully.


Daphne is missing Ryan21. Since he moved out, she hangs suggestively outside his room nearly every morning, meowing pitifully. I’m down to just one boy living with me now. Tom24 moved out a year ago; Evan19 is living with some friends in our old house and is paying me rent until the bulldozers come, while Ryan21 had the offer of a share place in Sydney Rd Brunswick, right across the road from the pub where he works. $120/week, no bills. How could a mere mother and a white and grey tabby cat compete with that?

I’m finding that my food bill has PLUMMETED and I finally get to experience this weird thing called ‘leftovers’.


Anyway, back to the house. There’s plenty of bench space for Uma and Sheldon. Do you like the Caesarstone benches?


Above them is a little curio David22 and I picked up in Singapore a few years ago. The dancing figures in the middle are actually metal. There was never a place to put it in Bentleigh East, but now I can finally enjoy it.


I bought a coffee machine for visitors. David22 uses it each morning for a strong belt of caffeine, though I still haven’t driven it yet.


This arrived in the mail a week ago. EverywhereI went in the UK I’d be raving about “The HISTORY!!!” Scott sent this to add to my Epic Christmas Tree.


My cousin Lynette gave me this teapot when I got married. I never really used it, but I always loved the shape of it so I never parted with it. I really like the way it looks, perched on the stove, though I had to word up Jordan that it wasn’t actually a kettle.


Here’s how the main room looks from the front door, along with a thermomix in its box waiting to be delivered. I’m loving how already, there are lots of things on display from the limited amount of travel I’ve done. My Balinese art on the wall, the sculptures from Singapore, South Africa and Bali, all of the things from Europe on the window ledges and in the china cabinet – imagine how fantastic the place will be ten years from now when I’ve done HEAPS of travel?


Behind Ryan21’s mother’s day gift of tulips, you can see my Scottish teapot sitting on the window ledge, next to my South African tall men and my huddled-up Buddha from Malaysia.

IMG_7753My giraffe from South Africa lurks behind the tv.


This toucan is a watering can, but I can’t bring myself to put him outside. I love his silly shape.


Here’s my pantry. One of the jobs that my brother-in-law organised was the sensor lighting in here. It’s fantastic.


And a closer look at the spice rack I bought. It was talked about on the Skinnymixer’s page on Facebook. At first I was all “meh”, but then I realised that I would save so much shelf space… I’m loving it.

IMG_7756Ignore the bins in the back and the building rubbish – these chairs are SO comfy. I picked these up last week. I’m planning to keep my eyes peeled for a small cupboardy thing to use as a coffee table, but I’d also keep old towels in there for when we go to the beach and we want to hose our feet off when we come back. (Can’t have sand on our feet ruining my nice new floors!) I want an old piece of furniture here, so no doubt this’ll be a work in progress for a while until something leaps out at me.


I’m loving the wine glasses hanging here. Since this photo was taken the gap over the fridge is now a wine rack, while the cupboards are now all the way across the top. It looks excellent.


Thermomix recipe: Golden Gaytime Bliss Balls. I’m sitting in front of my year 12 Theatre Studies kids as I write this. They’re doing an assessment task and these are what I made for them this morning, just so they could keep their strength up. I covered them with cocoa instead of dark chocolate so the vegan kids could have some too.


Posted in balance, Children., decorating, pets, Quality of life, thermomix | 9 Comments

My dogs deserve the best.


There’s no way I could show you this on a Sunday as there’s nothing ‘skinflint’ about it. After Maris died I thought it’d be nice to get Daphne a new bed, seeing as I had to throw the old one out after Maris died in it. While I was on the website my sister recommended, I clicked on ‘dog beds’. It was probably an error…

I ordered a bed so large that I have to take it to a laundrette to be cleaned. I was thinking that soon there’ll be a third puppy, when Audrey the miniature wire-haired dachshund comes to stay, so they’ll need the room to spread out. Poppy and Jeff seem to like it, so that’s all good. Daphne’s bed is far smaller. She’s as snug as a bug in it.🙂

In other doggy news, Poppy looks as if she may be in whelp. Her breeder sent me this link so on day 19 I checked. Pink gums. The morning of day 20? Pink. The evening of day 20? Her gums were white. I was amazed. Anyway, in the fullness of time we’ll see if she’s pregnant, but this was an interesting thing to see.


At 7:30 on Saturday morning I took the dogs for a walk. We walked for ages, especially since Mum rang so we were having a chat as the sea did its thing. We were there for about half an hour and it wasn’t until I was putting on their leads that I realised that I’d put my shoes down somewhere and I had no idea where they were.

I was so incensed with myself. They were Moxy shoes, so comfy and not exactly cheap. I decided to retrack my steps and look for them. Murphy the chicken killer was with us and he’s getting along in years. He sighed and kept walking with us, as we walked and walked and walked. Finally – success!


I must have put them down to answer the phone. I was rapt. (So was Murphy.)


Earlier in the week I took my year 12 Theatre Studies kids into the city to the MTC’s production of Strindberg’s ‘Miss Julie’. It was a sparkling day. I took the train from salubrious Carrum and met the kids at Bentleigh station, then we took the train straight into the city. It’s changed my life. I’m thinking that once the work finishes on the level crossings, (they’re being put under the road) then I’ll start taking the train to work. Yes! I’ll be rubbing shoulders with the General Public, which is weird to think of, but imagine the extra steps I’ll have on my Fitbit every day. The line is supposed to be finished by August or so, so we’ll see how it goes.

We had our lunches sitting by the Yarra, where the kids passed the time by gossiping and singing songs from ‘Wicked’. They absolutely loved the play.


I just had to show you this. Saturday night.


Sunday night brought Tom24 and Evan19 to see me for Mothers’ Day. Yep, I had a feeling I went a bit overboard with the size of the dog bed!

Thermomix Recipe: Anzac Balls.  Made these today and OMG. SO good.

Posted in Children., decorating, pets, School | 11 Comments