Showing posts from January, 2015

Make it! White Rice Loaf, Sourdough - Gluten free; Dairy Free

I was inspired the other day to try a different take on gluten free bread.  Having an entire loaf with brown rice flour is too dense for my liking.  I thought I would try a white rice flour loaf.

It's actually a really nice loaf to eat with hummus and toasted.  Unlike normal bread, it's not so nice fresh.  I found that it slices easily the next day, and freezes well.

It is an economical version of the gluten free rice loaf that used to be sold for $6 plus a loaf around 7 years ago at a local health shop when I was first diagnosed with Coeliac Disease.  I imagine it would retail around the $8 mark today.  The original recipe that inspired my experiment was a yeast version. I have made my own tweaks with the ingredients I had on hand.

I am blessed with being able to get my white rice freshly ground on what used to be wheat stone grinder and is now only grinding gluten free flours.  If The Head Gardener decided to go back to
suburban hippy days and start baking whole wheat base…

The ultimate guilt trip

The guilt I feel used to be like a siren in my head.  It took up so much space, and demanded attention like a police, or fire siren screaming past mundane thoughts.  It got to the point that all I saw metaphorically was emergency services vehicles.

It was then I went back and booked myself in for a mental health session with my trusted psychologist.  I sat down and I admitted that I felt guilty all the time.  It consumed all my thoughts.  I found it impossible to feel anything other than pain. 

Admitting that I felt guilty that I was living with chronic pain was half the battle.  I had to work through the guilt, accept my humanity, and eventually accept that this ill health that I have experienced is not my fault.

Lately, those thoughts still occasionally pop up.  I am learning to accept that they exist, but they hold no real power.  If they consume me once again, I will seek professional help.  I think it is a reflection of a popular agenda of self centred society that I feel this w…

My idea of luxury: weekend paper, coffee, bacon and eggs

With significant financial constraints over a prolonged period and added unavoidable essential medical and survival costs I tend to view luxury in a different way to most people.

My idea of a treat, is bacon.  Some of that is because meat tends to be expensive to buy, and some of that is because The Head Gardener is meant to avoid/reduce it so I have not eaten anything bacon-y in a while. 

Homemade sushi is another luxury for similar reasons.  Though, I can adapt the recipe to be THG friendly, it's not nearly so fun!  Even avocado must be kept to a minimum by THG if memory serves me correctly.  I adore the taste of avocado and am jealous of those with trees that positively drip with mangos and avocados in the tropics in northern Australia (primarily).  So yummy!

I also consider herbal tea, coffee, candles to be everyday luxuries that keep me sane.  Internet connection and a quality notebook help me write this blog, stay feeling connected, allow me to do some internet shopping wit…

Magically disappearing money

Today, I am grateful for free coffee at the doctors surgery, conversations with other patients who have challenges too, grateful for enough in my bank account to pay my medical bill.  I am grateful for a roof over my head, but a little exasperated that all the money I work so hard to save, and earn, seems to disappear into medical bills. 

Every time I feel that I may be able to save for a newer car, a shed deposit, a handkerchief of land, my money disappears.  Completely, and utterly, exasperating.  Medicare and private medical coverage cover much less than most people realise.  If you are well and able to make sure you have an emergency fund.  Having the money for medical care is a relief, even if there is almost nothing left for much else.   

Australians may have some universal health care but people with chronic illness, who want choices, are crippled by the cost of care.  Even those who want quality care can be crippled.  Many pathology tests and services previously covered are …

CFS Book Review (not thrilled)

I managed to visit the library and borrowed the book CFS - The Facts by Frankie Campling & Michael Sharpe.  I wished I had stayed home, but the book was probably worth the outing. 

I think it's a fairly balanced book, well written and well thought out.  It is based on their experiences helping people with CFS either recover or improve the quality of their lives. 

I do not know that there is anything particularly startling in the book.  I would not part with money for it myself, however, it may be useful for someone starting out.  I have reservations about pacing and CBT.  While they can help with any medical condition, they are not a treatment for correctly diagnosed CFS.  That being said I am reading more and more anecdotal evidence of them helping to treat fatigue.  I think that severe cases of CFS would benefit from a hospital specialised program to deal with severe deconditioning and depression.

I write this knowing full well that I am fast becoming a CFS geek, having rea…

Why didn't somebody do something?!

There is an oft recorded quote and saying that says that,
When good men do nothing evil prospers.  The original orator of the quote is not clear, as far as I am aware (

The sentiment though is one that I use fairly regularly to inspire myself, to comfort myself, to keep myself accountable to something bigger, than myself. 

We seem to live in a society where many people are accountable only to themselves.  This week, without writing details, I have been at the brunt of young adults and children who have no concept of personal safety, responsibility, or respect for authority. 

I am in shock because of the level of self centred behaviour that puts themselves, and others in grave danger.  I have done what I could to protect them while protecting myself.  Essentially, if they are unwilling to listen, then there is a limit to the action I can take.  I fear that there will be loss of lives.  When tragedy inevitable occurs, others who hav…

More scrap booking creativity (super duper frugal & fun)

Today, I managed some more work on my sister's scrap book (was a seed catalogue).  I found some old cards to decorate it with, and wrote down, printed off some more tips to keep her inspired. 

It's helped inspire me while I am busy being creative.  It's an enjoyable way to spend a chilly afternoon.  It's gone all autumnal in Hobart at the moment.  I'm drinking lots of hot drinks and wearing a polar-fleece, slippers and have a candle lit for ambience.

Hope you are well, Storm Juno

I was looking for a longer than 7 day forecast for my local area today.  I am currently unable to access longer forecasts, probably due to forecasts, and/ or general cost cutting. 

I was on looking at the local weather when I saw that the United States of America, where many of my readers are from, was forecast for storms.  I now see that the situation for many of you is currently serious. 

I hope you are safe.  If you are looking for updated news appears to be one source that regularly updates, has warnings and alerts and may be of help to you all.  Wishing you, and yours safety.

Out of sync

I spent the day in bed, I was simply exhausted from a leisurely stroll the day before.  It may save me money spending the day in bed rather than spending it shopping, but it's no fun having to rest because I went for a stroll.  Oh well, was a perfect day to spend sleeping, it drizzled nicely.

Making a budget inspiration scrap book for my sister.  It's a scrap book in the old fashioned sense.  I found a magazine style seed catalogue my mum is finished with and am sticking in ideas printed from the internet and my own, to encourage her with her overall excellent budgeting skills.  Sometimes it's nice to stay on track.  And it's a good way to remind myself!

Drinking herbal tea...and hoping for a better day tomorrow!

Not taking freedom for granted

I live in one of the safest places on earth.  Yes, our way of life, of democracy, of freedom of speech, of freedom of assembly appears to be at threat.  Democracy, history shows though, is worth fighting for.  It is never given easily and often there are those that want to take it away.

It seems to me that this may in part be because of our social lack of responsibility.  Too many people are about their rights, while negating their responsibility to others.  Today, I witnessed this in a noisy party where the freedom of the few, ignored the responsibility to others to have quiet in their homes. The freedom to drink, was taken too far by a few young men who due to my responsible driving action, and subsequent call to police, means that they will hopefully go home in one piece.   Drunk and disorderly in the middle of a busy suburban road.

The freedom to raise children in a society where housing and welfare is provided to those in extreme need, was ignored by the irresponsible parents wh…

More winter wonderland inspiration!

More frugal ways to stay warm and toasty in winter:
Pile up your beds with quilts, warm autumnal colours may help to warm your surroundings.  Wear socks, thermals and slippers to bed if desperate.  I did this many times when I lived in an unfinished house under the mountain (in summer!).  What we do when we have to!Apparently, according to The Kitchn, the drink for 2015 is the matcha latte.  Make your own hot green tea fancy pants lattes at home, save money, feel trendy, stay warm.  If suffering from cabin fever, go out to the park with a thermos and warm clothes, or to a local café for a fun splurge.  Toast yourself in front of their fire (if you have a local café with a fire, in Tasmania, there are such things!).
Learn how to make marsh-mellows and then add to a hot cup of cocoa

If you have children to entertain, use cardboard boxes, toilet rolls, paint, glue …

Spend like a boss - Technology

When looking at updating or buying new technology, if you want to maximise your benefit, and keep costs in check, remember the following:

Focus on needs, wants are a bonus!  Remember that quality often costs more in the short term but saves you money in the long-term. 


Faxes went out with the ark:
A fax can be replaced in most cases by an email account which can be set up for free with Google and Yahoo and other providers.  If your business requires use of a fax to send documents you can set up an electronic fax account and use a scanner to send the documents. 

Where possible move away from faxes.  Fax machines are expensive to buy and maintain, they are time consuming to use, noisy and difficult to track whether or not documents are sent and received. 

The only time, that I am aware of, that faxes might be used in a modern context is with government bodies, some consulates will only receive faxes.

Tablet computer:
Tablets are a new trend in technolog…

My body has gone US of Awol

I live in the southern hemisphere, my body has decided to join the northern hemisphere's time.  This means I am all topsy-turvy without the benefit of flying all over the world.  Still, at least I am saving money on travel while enjoying the sleep cycle of a jet-setter.  Now, I just need to figure out a way to have financial incomings of a jet-setter and then I will feel at least smug.

I managed a walk this afternoon for a few minutes, which beats none.  It's such a luxury to put my feet in the water, and walk along, however slowly.  To feel the wind on my face and the sun bearing down.  I managed a few Pilates moves and some housework.  Sure, it's not exactly exciting but it beats spending all day in bed!  Grateful for a beach nearby, a reliable car, herbal tea, coffee, candles, scented soap.

The Good on Coffee (caffeine & pain relief)

When I am experiencing migraines or severe chronic pain due to CFS attacks, I up my coffee intake slightly and find that it helps relieve the pain as well, or better, than pain killers.

There is research to back up what I already discovered by playing with my coffee consumption levels.

So, coffee, can be good!

Disclaimer: this blog does not constitute medical advice.  Seek treatment and advice from qualified medical professionals.

More research needed...D-Ribose & CFS treatment

I have had some of the worst 48 hours ever experienced with CFS.  Thankfully, I did manage some sleep this morning and the pain has reduced significantly.  I only hope that continues. 

Reading about D-Ribose as a possible treatment for CFS.  It is a type of sugar and while more research is needed, it may hold the key to helping people with CFS.

Here's the link:

Who would have thought it, a type of sugar, actually may help CFS?!  (Well, me... :D )

I hope you are blessed with a tasty cup of something you like.  I'm drinking coffee and contemplating the universe.

Spend like a boss - mental health

When spending like a boss, one needs to prioritise and make smart decisions about how to stick with a budget, and get results they need.

As I am in fairly constant pain at the moment, I find that I struggle with sleep.  I have to be really disciplined in looking after my mental health to stay as level headed as anyone can while experiencing chronic pain.  Part of that for me, is pain management strategies and managing my thought processes around the pain I am experiencing.

There are some options for people who are looking at ways to manage and treat mental health.  If in doubt seek help from a doctor you trust.  They can refer you to mental health and other support services.  In my experience, it's always better to do something about mental health if you are finding life unbearably difficult.


1) Drugs, GP referral/ specialised psychiatrists
There's nothing wrong with struggling with mental health.  It seems to me, from what I have read, and o…

Spend like a boss - beauty

If ever you have the joy and exhaustion of running your own business, and you manage it successfully you will have to learn how to manage money.  If you do not manage the spending, the profit never happens. 

In order to be successful in a business enterprise in a financial sense, you must manage the spending and account for every dollar.

This means that you learn to prioritise, look at what you get for the dollars you spend, plan and budget.  It means that there is money put away for emergencies and that you sometimes have to know when to err on the stingy in order to reach your goals.  Ironically, you have to know when to be generous too and it's a difficult balance to attain.  Generally though, in order to spin a profit in the first place, and continue to spin a profit, the focus needs to be to cut spending as close to zero as is practical.

All these principles can be used in our personal lives, and I try and use what I have learnt from profitable business ventures to pay for m…

Little achievements

When life throws you the curve ball known as chronically ill, it can teach you a thing or two.  It has taught me to try and celebrate  little achievements.   There's something to be said for congratulating yourself for getting out of bed when in pain and fatigued.  There's something to be said for doing one small extra chore which is not critical to daily activities.  Today, for example, I went through my medicines.  I threw out old medicines that were safe, and have some set aside for the pharmacy/ chemist to dispose of for me.  I went through one drawer in my desk and threw a few things out.  I managed the dishes twice today.  I went through some seeds for The Head Gardener.  I spent much time resting because my mind was willing but my body "said rest, or else!".  Today I wanted to go for a swim in a pool.  I miss swimming laps and going for satisfying walks.  Wherever you are, whatever life has thrown you, hopefully today you will receive and remember to celebrat…

No better?

What if twelve months from now I continue to struggle?  What if there is no better to be had.  What if life is tough for me, and continues to be? 

I am trying to accept the reality that I am sick.  I am trying to accept the possibility that I will continue to struggle with ill health and chronic illness on a daily basis, where it limits my ability to do what I want.  I would be lying if I did not tell you that it is a little scary.

I do think this is possible.  I also think that joy is possible.  Not always happiness, but joy, peace and hope.  These are all possibilities on this journey and I cling to them for sustenance.

Peace worth struggling for

If you believe that grief is neat and tidy, and you are familiar with the neat and tidy explanation of the five stages, then you know that acceptance is the fifth stage.  If you know a bit more, then you know it's messy, and it has its moments.  Still, acceptance is such a nice place to be, it's worth all the messiness, and hard work it takes to get there, and work through stuff, and come back there.  It's even better when you are there most of the time.

I think it should be referred to as the five stages of struggle, also known as life.  Acceptance is not an easy place to get to, it involves so much work, so much humility, so much asking for help.

I am working to be at peace with my current reality.  That does not negate goals, dreams and hopes.  I am working really hard though to face my reality and accept it.  There's a peace that comes with that work, that I can not explain.  All I know is that the view is worth the struggle. 

The view is only possible with the s…

I'd rather go to the beach

I've had one of those days.  Most of it spent in bed, hoping and waiting for my body to heal.  It's still super excited about something and letting me know it by vying for my attention with unpleasant stabbing glandular pain. 

I am feeling a bit better and not so inclined to faint which is a start of better days.  I managed to spend the early summer evening driving to, and strolling along, a different beach to my normal haunt. 

It brought back many different memories.  Memories with mixed results, mainly good memories.  I miss having the energy to easily include that particular beach in a running routine I did while studying and running away personal pain.  I do not miss the heavy grief that visited all too often during that period of my life.  I miss spending summer evenings jogging by and feeling much more a big part of the world.  I miss the dates I've had at the beach, feeling like I was the most important person to another human being, if only for an hour.  I miss f…