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Archive for June, 2011

Dream Nooks & Outdoor Retreats

I know there’s nothing quite like finding a seriously secluded outdoor spot, spreading out a blanket (or climbing into a hammock) and getting out a good book (Of the chick-lit variety)…I love outdoor nooks! I remember as a kid my best friend and I discovered some great ‘secret places’ in our nearby greenbelt (it was safer then), and on weekends we would disappear for hours just to hang out and be all secret like…

As an adult, not much has changed! If I’m away for the weekend and happen to find a great little spot in the garden or on the beach or somewhere close – it’ll be taken for the day! Today’s post on The Good Girls Guide is all about those Dream Nooks and Outdoor Retreats that you can read, sleep or dream in. Makes being in the office all that much harder. Enjoy!

Spring Romance Blossoming

Spring Romance Blossoming | source here.

Forest of Green

Forest of Green | source here.

Into the Blue

Into the Blue | source here.

Table for Two

Table for Two | source here.

Breezy Summer Reading Spot

Breezy Summer Reading Spot | source here.

Pasta Carbonara with Baby Marrows | Recipes to Enjoy

As it’s chilly, wet and cold today in Cape Town, I’d thought I’d share a delicious easy to prepare and WARM recipe that I used last week – to great acclaim from my husband – and it tasted amazing! If you’re a pasta fan – then read on 🙂

Pasta Carbonara (this recipe taken from Pick’nPay.com) is a classic Italian dish, and one thing I did find interesting is that they say to use pecorino cheese (not parmesan) as it’s the traditional way of making it. Pecorino is a bit more expensive however, so feel free to use freshly grated parmesan (not the finely ground pre-done one) if you like.

So, from The Good Girls Guide – enjoy this awesome tummy warmer this weekend:

Pasta CarbonaraPasta Carbonara with Baby Marrows | source here.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet  spaghetti
  • 6 baby marrows, cut into thin strips
  • 1 dash olive oil, for frying
  • 1 packet back bacon, cut into strips
  • 2 cloves of garlic, or 3, finely chopped
  • 4 large free range eggs, beaten
  • 125 ml pecorino cheese, finely grated
  • 1 pinch salt and milled pepper

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Add baby marrows 2 – 3 minutes before the end of cooking. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat a glug of oil in a large pan and fry bacon until crispy.
  • Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Drain excess fat from pan and fry garlic for a minute.
  • Add pasta, baby marrows and bacon to pan and toss well.
  • Remove pan from heat. Quickly stir through the eggs, mixing until they begin to thicken, but not scramble.
  • Add cheese, season and serve.
  • ** Pecorino is a hard rind cheese similar to parmesan, originally made from sheep’s milk.

Enjoy with love and have a super weekend 🙂

Beautiful WorkStations | Creative Spaces to Work, Plan & Think

If you work from home, have a desk you work from on the weekends or evenings, or simply enjoy having your own space to think, create, plan and graft from – then this post from The Good Girls Guide is definitely for you!

A workstation that calls you to it rather than frightens you off is a good workstation – so throw away your unorganised filing system, sell your outdated oversized computer monitor and invest in a good desk, some great storage and a pinboard or something for inspiration.

The best desks are often those with a clear, uncluttered surface; just your computer and what you’re working on should grace your desktop. A pinboard or moodboard is also an excellent way of displaying your ideas, photos and diagrams in what can only be described as ordered chaos.

Make sure your workstation is in a quiet area in your house: a spare bedroom, a little nook somewhere or even pulled out of your cupboard! Remember to keep yourself happy with what gets you into work-mode: the smell of coffee, soft jazz music in the background, the tinkle of a chime…

And then, it’s down to work! Check out our top inspirational workstations to keep your mind ticking, your heart happy and your soul alive:

Creative Planning

Creative Planning | source here.

Space Saver

Space Saver | source here.

Clean & White

Clean & White | source here.

Artist's Space to Create

Artist’s Space to Create | source here.

Bold & Bright

Bold & Bright | source here.

Display Case

Display Case | source here.

Let the Sun in

Let the Sun in | source here.

Vintage Mantilla Veil | Bridal Wedding Inspiration

I couldn’t resist posting these beautiful shots this morning; inspired by good friends of mine who are getting married this weekend at stunning Kleine Valleij in Wellington – this amazing vintage-inspired veil is enough to make any bride shine.

On my wedding day I wore what is called a ‘cathedral’ veil – because it’s long enough to drape on the ground. Not quite Lady Diana or Princess Catherine – but stil, it was long! But it was truly beautiful. I think veils can make such a statement as part of your outfit on your wedding day. That’s not to say go wild and go massive (think Josie from Married to Rock), but rather go stylish, go elegant and go beautiful – short, netted, full length, chin length…you name it!

This beautiful embroidered veil below has had mantilla and beaded detail delicately added to the veil, adding a little weight and a lot of prettiness. Something like this would look amazing on a simple figure-hugging dress or something with a slight fishtail skirt. Have you got any tips on veils? Been a bride or planning on getting married soon? Let The Good Girls Guide know your inside tips, tricks and clever ideas. Happy Tuesday!

Bridal Veil BeautyVintage Mantilla Veil | source here.

Cities to Visit and Dream About | Travel Inspiration

I’ve been blessed to travel a bit in my life, and have been so inspired by some of the cities I’ve had the opportunity to visit. It’s the memories that I really cherish that also makes them special to me – so when I see them on TV or in a movie or in a photo – I go, ‘Hey, I’ve been there!’

It’s a pretty cool feeling! I decided to share an Inspirational post today – Cities to visit (or perhaps just Dream about)Be inspired to travel, make memories and explore our world…

From The Good Girls Guide, a collection of amazing photos of cities I’ve personally visited or lived in… And if you’ve been to any, or want to share an incredible travel experience, let us know:

Beautiful Prague

Beautiful Prague | source here.

Vibrant Little Amsterdam

Vibrant Little Amsterdam | source here.

Magical Mayhem in New York City

Magical Mayhem in New York City | source here.

Irish Boston

Irish Boston | source here.

From Paris with Love

From Paris with Love | source here.

My Cape Town

My Cape Town | source here.

Handling the Money Question |Newlywed Budget Tips

As a newlywed myself and fresh out of living at home, I must say I had pretty much NO clue as to what to do with your money once you were married. I was Cher in Clueless (but without the endless dosh and cutesy hairclips!)

Having studied English Lit, Media, Film & Marketing at varsity, I also wasn’t particularly experienced in the ways of the wily financial planning student (hell, any commerce kid probably knew more than I did).

All I knew was get a savings account, make sure you have some sort of a budget and don’t live above your means. And you know what – while that’s pretty basic – it’s a bloody good start.

When we got married, we had to decide what we were going to do with our [now] joint money – since ‘what’s yours is mine, honey’! So after meeting with two financial advisors, listening to friends & family and eventually making headway into what we thought was right for us, I now feel more educated about the whole ‘Money Question’.

Here are some basic tips as to what to do when you get hitched:

1.)    BUDGET

Seriously, draw one up. You don’t have to have done accounting at school, just a basic understanding of income & expenses. This can be done by looking at both of your incomes, and looking at what HAS to come off each month (rent, bond repayments, telephone, rates etc), and what TENDS to come off (Internet, DSTV, groceries, eating out etc) – do this and then you’ll see how much you HAVE LEFT at the end of the month.

This is your ‘Play or Save’ money.

2.)    SAVING

You need to start saving. If you have already (a RA, savings account, investment) – good for you. If not, now’s a good time. Decide if you’re sharing an account, having linked accounts or separate accounts. A major saving account would be a Bond, but other types of savings include retirement annuities, short, mid and long term saving investments. Once you’ve decided how much a month you can save, or NEED to save (ie: bond repayments), then it’s time to chat to an expert.

3.)    FINANCIAL ADVICE

This is so important. Each couple is vastly different – earn so differently and have a unique set of factors that will contribute to their money situation. After getting a good understanding of where you are at (eg: renting, but own both your cars –paid off-, each have an RA, no disability or life insurance cover, one of you have a normal savings account) – they are BEST positioned to give you advice.

A tip: go with someone who can be recommended. A friend or family member who can expressly recommend a financial consultant is a great idea – you know they are reputable and are concerned about you and your situation.

4.)    PLAY MONEY

I find that you need to set aside money each month for ‘playtime’. This is NOT frivolous expense willy-nilly (no, no). This is money that you keep for fun, for the odd spoiling yourself, for preventing the ‘I have no money, it all disappears after the 25th!’ debacle whinge. A dinner out on Friday night, tickets to Coldplay, a new bookshelf, a pair of cycling shoes, a case of great wine, a present to spoil your mom in law… that’s your PLAY MONEY. And be careful with it!

5.)    LISTEN TO YOURSELVES

This is about YOU and your husband. Yes, financial advisors are great and can give you sound advice, so can friends or family. But at the end of the day the two of you need to be happy with the decision you come to with regards to your money. If it’s saving for your child’s education, putting some away for a special overseas holiday or deciding to pool all your resources into your bond and paying it off quickly – then that’s great – it’s up to you.

But remember to be wise, be smart and NEVER live beyond your means.

Also, get rid of your debt and don’t let it get away from you!

Best of luck with your endeavors girls.

Money and MarriageMaking Good Decisions | source here.

Cupcake Inspiration | Yummy Ideas to Impress

Here’s something gorgeous to oogle over this morningSERIOUSLY decadent and delicious cupcakes! I have a lovely group of girlfriends and we have bookclub every so often – and trust me – at least ONE will bring along a plate of superb looking cupcakes that we all applaud, take a sip of red wine and then declare:

“I could never make something that looks that good!”

The thing with baking (as I’m slowly learning) – sticking to the recipe is actually quite key. It’s not like a stirfry or curry or whatnot that you just chuck things into, it’s about ensuring your measurements are exact. Once the actual thing is made, well then all it comes down to is, creative decoration:

Cupcake Inspiration
Some great ideas for easy Wowing, Applauding, Red Wining & Declaring:

  • cute fruit like rasperries, blueberries or strawberries
  • some sparkly edible things like silver balls
  • a great recipe for delicious-tasting icing
  • food colouring
  • a dollop of cream or caramel or whipped custard
  • cute paper cups
  • a shake of icing sugar over the lot
  • a gorgeous plate to serve on

And that’s Cupcake Inspiration. Yum!

Photos from Wedding Bee, Food.Lohudblogs, Sugarbloomcupcakes, musicisart, Cupcake Inspirations, Designzzz, ireallylikefood, polyvore, and ilovemuffins