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Showing posts from February, 2018

Full with Boston bun

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Picture of Boston bun.  Everyone's full with the Boston buns I made.  Next time I will place the mix in a shallow round cake tin.  The gluten free, dairy free version tastes alright but was a bit dense with coconut flour.  I used about half a cup per recipe rather than one, plus sugar drizzle and it's more than sweet enough.  Carrots were fine mashed in but potato would have been nicer.

Drinking a cup of tea and trying to recover from a stress induced migraine, ugh! Roast chicken for dinner, yum!

Vegan drizzle for shop avoidance

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I've inadvertently made a vegan drizzle to place on top of my Boston buns.  Tastes absolutely heavenly.  I do not have icing paper and can not be bothered going to the shop.
I mixed the following over a low heat *1 heaped tablespoon of coconut oil *half a tablespoon of corn flour *about three table spoons water *few drops vanilla essence *half cup raw sugar (this will be drizzled on two cakes)
Once it is mixed and sugar is dissolved, gentle cook for a couple of minutes, stirring.  Take off stove.  Then add about a half cup coconut yogurt or coconut cream.
Super yummy!

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Bun in oven (Boston Bun) gluten free/ dairy free

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Just placed a normal recipe Boston Bun in the oven and trialled a gluten free (gluten free flour mix) and dairy free (soy milk) version.  The original recipe calls for cooked potato, presumably from the last night's leftovers.  I do not have any spuds so added in cooked carrot.  Wish me luck!

Buns baking away - slowly browning and rising!


Naturally, I used a little less sugar and fewer sultanas.  I did have to be careful with the wheat flour version that I kept the flour to itself.

Here's the recipe I adapted it from.

Here's a recipe for carrot rolls for a filling savoury dish.  Very frugal as it's mainly carrot and potato!

And here's the recipe for home made baking powder raising agent I made to add:

Make your own baking powder:  Mix 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda and 2 level teaspoons cream of tartar. Self raising flour is made from plain flour and baking powder. Make your own self raising flour:  Add 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder to 100 g plain flour. Fro…

Remember to vote

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Tasmanian state election this week.  Pre-polling is open with normal polling booths open Saturday.

The freedom to vote is hard won and valuable.  Take the time to vote well.

Australian Finance Column Obsessive Shows Highlights, Drinks Tea and Fires Up About Belt Tightening

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If you think things are worse in Australia than they have been for a while and you feel alone then this quote and this article it comes from is worth reading.  Even I, a regular financial column obsessive, am shocked a little by this stat though I do not doubt it for a second:In the middle of 2008, things were looking good so long as you didn't look too far ahead. But the economy was very different to the one we have now. At the time, 45% of all people over 15 years of age were working full-time; this is now 42.4%. That may seem like a difference of just a few percentage points, but it is the equivalent of nearly 520,000 fewer people being employed on a full-time basis. https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2018/feb/11/economy-returning-to-normal-it-can-only-be-the-new-normal
Recent news suggests things are likely to only get worse in Australia despite those who tell us to switch off and find our inner intellectual sieve:
Commercial sized builder BCL group collapse WA, subc…

Consumer confidence dives amid a drive to tell the customer they are wrong

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One of the things that I subscribed to over ten years ago through email that I actually read is Roy Morgan's market research newsletter.  Given my last hike through Hobart's CBD due to traffic insanity showed a surprising number of empty shops within walking distance of the CBD I should not have been surprised to discover consumer confidence dropped sharply this week by 3.5 per cent.  Even though most of these shops were trading during the GFC period I was still shocked by the data.

I noticed shut shops a kilometre north of the CBD in Hobart where things really ought to be thriving.  However, anyone who had my experience with some of local shop keepers would not be surprised by retail's downtrodden state.  People's purses are smaller and customer service is pretty abysmal.  Retailers who are struggling should buy themselves a mirror if they can find a shop keeper willing to engage with them at all to sell it to them!

For those who are firmly keeping their accounts in…

An explosion and a tv series

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I was looking for an update for Biosecurity Tasmania (social media page) on my local news paper website and to see basic information about supermarkets without going near one because I don't trust myself to go with any frequency near shops.  After that I was planning on writing about the BBC program
The Coal House at War which I only just watched most of recently.

While checking out the local news rag I was startled to find a breaking news story, yet to hit Australia's major national news front page of an explosion in the UK that looks reminiscent of the kind of damage sustained during the blitz.  Someone commented that it is damage reminiscent of a V2 but could be a gas explosion. 

There are people fighting for their lives with the real possibility that lives have been lost so I am not in any way trying to trivialise this story.  With electricity cut off in the street the survivors are having a bit of an authentic experience.  Hopefully the source of the explosion is quick…

Food Rationing - a sometimes modern problem

With fruit and vegetables taken off Tasmanian supermarket shelves in recent days the issue of food availability has become a real problem.  Solutions can be found in War time and Depression period frugal solutions.

There are other ways to get the necessary vitamins and minerals and there seems to be enough food without people resorting to extreme measures.  I read the other day that protein from meat based sources is being bought less by households and substituted by more frugal solutions e.g. Pulses and rice; nuts and nut butters; canned fish and eggs.

To ensure people, particularly pregnant women and children, get the necessary vitamin c a little orange juice, jam and green salad (all the better from your garden) ought to help.

Here are some links to keep you inspired:
20 Money Saving Tips From World War Two home front

Lessons from the 1940s woman

The Ration Book's Story

Suzy Homemaker, a slice of life from the 1960s | National Museum of American History

Suzy Homemaker, a slice of life from the 1960s | National Museum of American History http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/2014/09/suzy-homemaker-a-slice-of-life-from-the-1960s.html -- shared by Browser
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The things that catch grief

It's funny the things that catch me and make me face some more grief.  It's like a steady drip sometimes, other times grief is a comfort and all I think are good memories.  The last day or so, it's been little things that have reminded me of my dad and made me upset.

Washing dishes of all things got me a few days ago because it was my dad I remember insisting, most of the time patiently, that his children learn to wash the dishes and clean up on a regular basis.  My dad was the one that made a stool to stand on to reach the sink (though it was probably my mum's idea, the memory is a little hazy).

Paying off more of my HECS than I thought made me pleased of a job well done but miserable I can not share it with dad.  Horribly sad.

Still miserable, after eating too much freshly baked gluten free bread and jam, along with home made dairy free margarine I went outside to clean my car.  My hope was that cleaning my car would clear my head.  It did lift my mood slightly bec…

Almost halved Uni debt

I was talking to my Mum who wanted to know how much debt I had left on my HECS, now called HELP, debt from my University degree.  My Mum was able to do University for free because it was available for a brief period in the late 1970s and she was smart enough to take the opportunity. 

I on the other hand, have had to pay for most of my education at steep rates that made working a pauper's existence.  I thought that getting an education, and paying my way on a low wage for vocational education, was the way to go.  These days I am not sure.  However, it does seem that people need to do some kind of training to be employable and I could not have predicted getting ill which stopped me from paying the debt off and saw it grow with sickening compounding interest.

The good thing is that I have now got the debt down to almost half the amount I started with when I began chipping away at it around two years ago.  I was expecting it to take me another seven years to pay off, and it may, but…

AFR distressed million dollar plus sales

The AFR is warning that high end properties in Australia are suffering from what the UK termed a credit crunch.  With interest free terms ending and lenders asking for mortgages to be paid back on principle and interest, people are finding themselves unable to pay the mortgage.
AFR: Distressed $1 million-plus property sales a warning to mortgage holders

The hope for the RBA and other regulators is that this does not spread to average households though the abysmal clearance rate in Tasmania last week suggests it may already be beginning given the hyped Tasmanian market by interstate and local investors recently.

A thirteen percent clearance rate for seventeenth February makes for sobering reading.  I suspect this says more about vendor expectations than anything, though I am still shocked at this result.  I've been studying the Tasmanian market for a long time.
Tas Auction Clearance Rate



It's fine!!!

I awoke from coffee and contemplation to a cacophony of saucepans.  It did not take a genius to realize that entering the kitchen would involve bravery and a strong veneer of calm.

Events proved my instinct correct and after I slightly thawed out the source of domestic disquiet I was wending my way on a walk.  Thankfully I had the wisdom to not ask my mother posing as a disgruntled domestic angel, how she was.  I had already been told off for "fussing" the night before due to signs of illness which was a migraine with a large side of irritation.
Had I asked Martha how she was I can guarantee she would have said "I am fine!!!" and then told me off for fussing again.  Of course, not asking was a risk too!  Ah, the joy of migraine.

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To inspire a spring clean

It would appear that without trying, but leading by example, I seemed to have inspired a bit of a spring clean with other family members.  That's usually how it goes with family.  Admittedly that contagion can extend to grumps too!

My spring cleaning frenzy started off with beginning to feel some recovery from difficult memories.  Placing the memories into files in my brain gave me the energy to face physical filing that needed fixing.  Though beginning to read this article by Frugal-woods was the trigger for my digging down and getting into it:
How Decluttering Saves Me Money, Time And Stress

There's an ebook edition of this book which would seem to be the only type a minimalist would own.  Alternatively, find themselves with a regular jaunt to the library!  I'm not sure I am a minimalist but I do tend towards this man's attitude.

Easy read:
The More of Less

This blogger goes about things in a more measured way than I do but each to their own.  This method may work for…

Mistake you’re making with your smartphone

Phone repairs: Mistake you're making with your smartphone http://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/mobile-phones/one-in-five-australians-admit-dropping-a-phone-on-their-face/news-story/0fabfe11f152fc2bab2a80f0a009d522 -- shared by Browser
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Decorate Books Cheaply

I fixed up an old recipe book of mum's that was falling apart.  It's been reinforced with a page of a calendar, sticky tape, a little love and an hour of my time.

In my de-clutter I found some stickers and wrapping paper I had forgotten about so I used those to cheer it up.  Now Mum's book is reinforced she should get a few more years out of it before she replaces it.  Cost to replace? $30.

My parents often used these kind of ideas to decorate our school books.  We were lucky because my dad could always get his hands on plastic given to him from work to cover books.

Ideas to cover and reinvigorate well loved books or decorate school books:


Use old calendar pages to protect books or just add a pretty scene/ patternWrapping paper and plastic or contact to protect with low cost stickersEncourage children to paint plain paper and then use the colourful creations for booksOld magazines from the op shop or friends for picturesPlain paper and stamps to create a patternUse coloured…

Just caffeinated thyroid

I normally wait a few minutes from waking and taking my thyroid medication and having a cup of black coffee.  I know that soy or real milk (cow :D ) with coffee can interfere with absorption of thyroid medication.  There's some conjecture to suggest that coffee on its own may but I seem to be doing fine with things this way.  Medicine, shower, black coffee seems to be fairly effective.

I take my daily multivitamin at least four hours later so that the calcium and iron does not interfere with medication.  I like my morning coffee too much to wait and I am generally a better person with it in my veins!

I am also taking the medication of a morning and an evening so this may explain why the approach I am taking is working for me.  I find I sleep better and get a more even medical dose this way.  At present I am just on a dose of T4, iodine (low dose to help convert T4 to T3 in my body) and a daily multivitamin (make sure has selenium and iron in to help with thyroid conversion of T4 t…

Inspiration from the home front (books): DIY, vintage, frugal

I normally place links to website based articles for reading suggestions.  For a change, I am placing real books here that I think will inspire you.  Most have a DIY, vintage, frugal theme.  It's so nice to be reminded of frugal strategies and learn new ones from other people. 

The following links, for my convenience, are from Amazon but most of these books can be found at major book retailers.  Ebook readers can be downloaded to most devices for free.  These would all make excellent gifts for someone into saving coins.

So without further ado, make yourself a cup of something that makes your heart sing, and check these out:

1)  The Ration Book Diet by Carol Harris (paperback)
This book is full of recipes based on rationing and diet advice of the Second World War.  An easy way to learn some history and a modern take on a successful way to lose weight and even help your budget.

2)  Sucking Eggs: What Your Wartime Granny Could Teach You About Diet, Thrift and Going Green by Patricia…

Low cost nail polish remover

I found myself needing to refresh my nail polish sans nail polish remover.  Naturally went to the internet to see if there was something I could use at home.  In the end, after reading this article I used a citrus blend and spent time chipping it off because I could not be bothered soaking my nails:
https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-to-get-nail-polish-off-without-nail-polish-remover/

Decluttering to help grieve

After a long period of grief, I was finally able to get rid of some things associated negatively with the grief.  I spent hours yesterday goin through my cupboard.

Mum says my cupboards must be magic because she can not figure out where all the stuff comes from.  I went to bed having thrown out old papers relating to a friend that died five years ago; a dress that made me physically ill when I saw it but unfortunately looks good on; old tax paper work and diary though I do that yearly; cards from people I never see; cards from work colleagues who made my life hell and even other people's cards; useless technology and dangerous electronics.  In the end I threw out three bags mainly of old papers and another six bags (three today, three a week ago) to a charity shop.  I also gave some useful things to family I was not using.

I do still have plenty of family photos, photos of friends, cards from my parents I cherish.  Perhaps too many cards but I will sort through the that all anothe…

New Year, Improved Body? Low Cost Fitness Program Ideas

At about five thirty this morning I was reflecting on all the things that I am currently doing in part to look good but primarily to recover from some injuries and build physical strength.  I realized that none of them are particularly expensive or time consuming.

Given the new year is upon us and people are reassessing their spending at this time of year I thought I might share some of the things that I have been doing lately that are helping me shed some weight and build strength.

I am being careful with all these things as I do not want to push my body beyond what it is comfortable doing given my general health and current fitness:


Casual swim pack (sold in packs of ten or more).  I find this invaluable because I can pay for my sessions up front and budget for swimming in the future.  It offers me flexibility that a permanent membership would not.                                                                                                                                          …

Frugal IT Fix (phone and laptop)

The last few days my phone and laptop have been showing signs of wear and tear.  I was almost resigned to buying a new smartphone until I discovered that an app would fix the problem.  I thought the globe may have gone and the rest of the phone was likely to follow.

It was only because I thought to do an internet search of my problem at about five am this morning that I was able to find a solution.  I found people suggesting that a torch app may fix my problem.  It had to be the right app though and took me two tries until I stumbled across the Tesla torch app in the Google Play store and voila(!) my torch works on my phone once again!

The other issues I had that is still threatening the demise, or at least permanent need of a solution, is that I can not use one of the keys on my keyboard.  The one that denotes the female head of a monarchy, at the moment I can type kew-ueen. I have no kew!  It's more than a touch annoying, as up to about thirty seconds ago I was using the built i…

Cap University and make Tafe harder?

I also wrote this about eighteen months ago.  I stand by my opinion here that I am finally publishing.

I find some of the commentary on world events plain depressing.  There seems to be a prevailing doormat mentality, from some with an academic bent who should be leading us, and instead leave me cold.

As someone who used to champion the idea that a degree provides an edge and that they should be strongly considered for employment, I find myself disgusted at the current level of incompetence that seems to pass for academia.

It is my firm opinion that it is time to return to capping University places once again and making it difficult to get a place.  How does anyone hold a qualification with pride when they are easy to get, and everyone passes?

While I have come to the conclusion of late that I would hire most TAFE graduates over University qualified people, my observation is that too many are being passed through courses that they are patently not suited to, or capable of, in the w…

Education, education, education

Just found this piece of writing in my draft folder.  This must have been written about eighteen months ago.  Sorry for the belated publishing!

For a while, I have questioned whether ever increasing spending on education provides better results. Clearly children need basics like clean and comfortable classrooms, safe play grounds, nutritious food provided by parents/ guardians, safe and stable home provided by competent parents/ guardians. basic stationary and calculators, research and text books.  It seems that the funding education focus seems to skate over the needs of children that evidence indicates will provide quality outcomes. Instead the focus becomes one of educators being quasi parents and government being the benevolent uncle with endless positive cash flow.

Any suggestion by the education departments that schools with low attendance in rural areas can be shut down seems to render dramatic protests.  Given the poor outcomes of students and the spiraling costs of supporting…

Frugal Beauty: Low Cost Beauty Products I Love

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Edited 19th April 2018.  I have since discovered that some of these products are not great.  I am keeping the nail polish though but the mascara and rest have been replaced by Inika brand which are advertised as talc and petrochemical free.
Recently I realised that I could not remember when I last bought my mascara and other beauty basics. I was certain that it was longer than twelve months prior.  With this information in my head, I threw out all my old make up, then went searching for low cost solutions.  Experience has shown that the following products are low cost and enjoyable to use.

My foundation products and tools include:

french clay mix for facials from beauty and the bees which was bought over ten years ago and does not need replacing until it is used up.   It's hugely economical because I rarely need a mask though lately I seem to be getting a bit of teenage acne thing happening (even though my teens are years ago!) so I am making more effort.Low cost pink disposable r…

A hair cut fit for entering the convent

I've been suffering from another woman's interpretation of feminine.  Clearly when I said I wanted a feminine bob she interpreted it as something that would encourage me in a vow of poverty, chastity and misery.

My hair dresser seemed to have mistaken me for myself twenty years ago in high school.  Even my geeky self managed to get the attention of males with a short school skirt and good legs.  I only found that out fifteen years later.  Then, it was not so much a vow of chastity so much as a distinct lack of opportunity.  Well, no opportunity that sufficiently inspired me and a commitment to some kind of career ( the naivety!).

I've just gently teased some of the wispy hairs out so that my hair has body and life where it is needed.  Not only was the hair cut a bit of a disaster but I spent the time cheering up a woman while she tried to convince herself that she was not trying to do too much.  I was even a tiny bit convinced that a career, an unsupportive partner and yo…

A beach walk in sunshine.

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I've had one of those days when almost nothing seems to work.  After trying to make things work, I went for a swim in a gym pool.  I love doing laps once I warm up.

After the pool, I had some clothes to give away to the op shop (charity shop).  While I was there I accidentally bought some new summer clothes.  It's a good time for summer op shopping as other people spring clean early.  Declutter and a new year do tend to go together!
On my way back home I went for a walk in the sunshine and let the sea breeze play with my hair.  I also found a peace offering and worked at mending a bruised bridge.

Thyroid history reading

I was looking for something else entirely and stumbled across this spontaneous case of someone recovering from CFS from using the pill and then discontinuing it due to bleeding abnormalities.  As the writer states is suggests a link between CFS and hormones.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18787800

This fascinating article about people treated with thyroxine changing their lives despite being out of UK TSH range in 2008 is worth a read (the guidelines are now similar to the US):
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-506717/The-wake-pill--controversial-thyroid-supplement-help-tiredness.html

It's bizarre that at the same time someone in the UK was considered healthy despite debilitating fatigue other countries would have treated them with thyroxine.  The new guidelines are now similar to other countries'.

This was written to Swedish GP's around the same time:
http://www.tpauk.com/main/article/news-from-sweden-swedish-thyroid-guidelines-and-tsh/

When my TSH was about …

Scoliosis exercises to correct

This article on scoliosis suggests that a head injury can cause mild to moderate scoliosis and that exercises can help.  I find swimming is helpful as is pilates if you know what you are doing.  I have had it diagnosed and then disappear so it does not have to be stagnant.  I guess some people may need surgery but I would do everything I could to avoid this possibility.

https://www.healthline.com/health/scoliosis/exercises-at-home


Customer service?

I don't know what is going on lately but the customer service I am receiving generally leaves a lot to be desired.  Thankfully retailers are fixing their stupendously dumb mistakes after I get rather cool with them.  This is good but kind of annoying when I am all ready to give them a speech on basic retailing.
There are two businesses due to their poor customer service who have lost a sixty dollar and hundred dollar sale.  A few weeks ago one lost three hundred plus dollars worth of money from me.
I just do not think it is that hard to give people the benefit of the doubt, be a bit flexible and provide a little service.  The three hundred dollar sale became a eight hundred dollar sale somewhere else because they provided a little help and a quality product which I am still thrilled by.
Before anyone uses the excuse that retail staff are low paid.  I earned incredibly low wages and was never quite so rude and thoughtless.  A bit of training could go a long way in retail.

Swim and shopping

I had to talk about some stressful events with a professional yesterday so I made sure I went for a walk after.  I nearly went insane trying to find a new swim suit.  It turns out the most flattering swimming things are not designed for the pool which is where I go to clear my head.

I eventually found something flattering and went for a short swim last night and finally got a half decent night's sleep.  I'm not much of a runner anymore due to injuries and other things but I get a similar feeling from swimming.  It's so nice just to clear my head once I get used to the temperature of the pool!

It's a bit of drive if I go swimming of an evening.  I used to go swimming a few nights a week and go to the gym and work out as well!  I've been much fitter than I am now but hopefully I can find a sweet spot and manage things a bit better.  The stress of grief and the inevitable depression, along with injuries from a car accident has made that a bit difficult.

I've lower…

Ice coffee and sunshine at the beach

Today, I am grateful for:a walk in late afternoon sunshinesleep, admittedly a little disturbed, but sleep nonethelessice coffee.  Coffee mainly.updated my make up yesterday even though I do not tend to wear much.  Tomorrow I might just paint my nails a pretty pink.family and memories - I have an old street directory of dad's, a note showed he went to the same street I did yesterday, probably looking at houses at the time.  I stumbled across the street once I had given up and went through some old stomping grounds.  I was looking at a wrecking ball special yesterday which will probably sell for an extortionate amount.   Grumpy about: my head hurts my sleep pattern is stupid at bestold houses going for brand new prices...tis annoying :( Grateful I have a roof over my head but sometimes I would like a place to run away to.  For about two hours and then I would need a garden and maybe a dog to keep me occupied.