Life Lately + Thrifty Valentines

I feel like I’m cheating putting up a bunch of instagram photos as a blog post, but I feel like it’s the only way to keep in touch right now as I am so busy trying to be a good Mum (it was my new years resolution!) AND cram a lot of study in on the side before my course ends in April.

But before I go on, what are you doing for Valentines? I almost forgot it was coming until Lucy from Lulastic & The Hippyshake reminded me with her Valentines Day post on last minute DIY gifts! I hope you’re not a sucker and fall for all the marketing hype because, like most other “gift giving occasions”, Valentines should be more about the thought than the price tag (should there even be a price tag?). As I’ve used up all my DIY gift ideas on PJ lately he’s going to get a nice home cooked meal and a big jar full of sentimental (I’m copying Lucy’s idea, check it out here!). I think everyone deserves to hear what makes them special, which is far more romantic than a box of chocolates or a piece of jewellery (or whatever the marketing people are convincing us to buy these days).

But back to my pathetic blog post – here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

eco empire raw carrot cake

1. Raw carrot cake by my friend Tracey (who in my world is the best cook ever and spoils me with MANY amazing home cooked meals). She has a blog Tracey Bakes which I wish she’d blog on more often!eco empire organic fruit and vege delivery perth

2. We’re trialling a new organic fruit & vege company that delivers. It’s been pretty good so far. It’s also the first time we’ve had zero food waste. I’m teaching myself how to meal plan based on what gets delivered (which is only ‘in season’ fruit & vege). It’s how it should be.

eco empire eco baby trees outdoors

3. I’m trying to spend more time outdoors, which is actually quite hard as Perth is experiencing some very hot weather lately (and let’s not forget that lovely ozone layer hole that sits above us). So with that in mind my son and I have started spending at least half an hour in our backyard first thing every morning when it’s nice and cool, which is such a lovely way to start the day.eco empire eco baby

4. This kid. He makes my day with that smile (and you can’t even see his dimple in this photo!). eco empire family history australian generation

5. After mentioning that Baby E is seventh generation Australian, my grandmother then pulled all the photos out of each generation to show me. My grandmother Elsie is on the very right in her wedding dress. It’s actually quite amazing to see the family resemblance in some of the older photographs. eco empire young coconut drink

6. I’m currently obsessed with young coconuts after trying them at a local Thai restaurant. I assumed their deliciously sweet flavour was from sugar syrup and coconut water, but was amazed to discover the flavour is straight from a young coconut. You almost won’t believe it until you crack open your own young coconut, drink the water and eat the soft and fleshy coconut. Delicious!!

DIY This Valentines Day

Valentines Day, albeit a great excuse to do something romantic with your loved one, has also become one of the most commercialised and NON-eco days of the year with pointless and unnecessary gift buying at its worse. It has almost made me boycot the day altogether…. if it weren’t for my love of all things DIY.

Don’t buy into the marketing hype that the only way to show your loved one that you love them is by spending money – on expensive gifts, flowers, stuffed toys or balloons – what has that got to do with love? For my partner and I, we’ve had a rule for the past six years that the only ‘gifts’ you can get each other are: (a) an experience (b) something you eat (c) something you made.

So this year, I’m going for (b) and (c). My partner LOVES his cookies so what better way to show him I love him than with some that are appropriately shaped?

Love Heart Cookies

This gift cost me $2 (for the heart shaped cookie cutter) and the ingredients for the cookies were already in my pantry.

I decided to go for gingerbread cookies, they’re easy to shape, easy to bake, great for decorating, and delicious!

I got my recipe from my old Junior Cookbook (of all places!) – but there are a ton of recipes on the internet. Decide what cookie you want to bake (or what your partner enjoys the most) and google it!

I went the typical love heart shaped cookies, but if your loved one prefers chocolate chip you won’t be able to shape these cookies. So instead consider spelling “I LOVE YOU” in choc chips (one letter per cookie)!

I decided that on top of the love heart cookies, I’d also spell out a little message for my partner. I just shaped the letters with a knife.

Not a baker?

Baking cookies isn’t for everyone, so here are some other great ideas that are straight from the heart and won’t cost the earth:

  • A super special homemade dinner (something your partner loves, or something you’ve always wanted to try).
  • Breakfast in bed is a beautiful way to wake your loved one up and a great excuse to eat a yummy breakfast together in bed (or in the kitchen if you’re partner is too clumsy!).
  • A loungeroom picnic where you put a picnic rug in the middle of your loungeroom and eat your dinner finger food style. Ofcourse you can always have a traditional picnic in your backyard too!
  • A surprise lunch at work – rock up at your partners office and take them out to lunch. Or if surprising them is too difficult, drop off a little handmade gift or love letter, it’s all about the surprise.

Yes, most of these ideas revolve around food at home. As Valentines Day more often than not, falls on a weekday, there isn’t much left to do after work than eat dinner. Plus I don’t know about you, but going to a restaurant full of gooey eyed, loved up strangers is a little off putting!

I hope you bake (or make) with love this Valentines Day!