Sunday 4 November 2018

Birds and Birthdays

I hosted a Wasband family lunch today that I decided on Thursday would be a good idea to do and like many people, I like things to be 'nice' for my guests.  Yesterday, the Cowboy and I cleaned, just weekly cleaning, vacuuming, bathrooms that sort of thing.  I planned my dish, a quiche, wrote a shopping list and did the shopping. By the time I got into bed last night, I was feeling confident that all was in order and all I had to do in the morning was get up, wrap gifts, write cards, make the quiche and set the table all nice. Oh, and make me look all nice. Organised, right?

Vintage Vibes - that sticker on the plant really irritates me though!
I came downstairs at 9am after having showered and made the bed. I opened the curtains and that is where it all went wrong. Horribly wrong. Dreadfully wrong. Sickeningly wrong. Lying under the coffee table, on the thick shaggy rug was a bird. A dead bird. In pieces. Big pieces. Small pieces. Feather pieces. Other pieces. The Cowboy had left earlier for a day of motor racing so he was of no earthly use to me. I didn't know what to do; I am terrified of birds, even dead ones, in pieces. I took the most sensible option I could think of and simply left the house. I went to Mitre 10 and bought coffee and a plant for the table and hoped that when I got home the bird would be magically gone, a mere figment of my imagination. Alas, no. It was still there. In pieces. What to do. I donned my bright green dishwashing gloves and carefully, avoiding looking at the carnage as much as I could, picked up the many remains of the dead bird. Then I scrubbed the thick shabby rug with disinfectant, every which way the pile went. I then sprayed a disinfectant spray. Everywhere. All over the rug and a pathway of carpet from the rug to the cat door in the garage. Might I add not a cat to be seen. Guilty! Then I cooked and set the table and did not get to make myself look nice. By the time the family guests arrived, I was very frazzled looking. Just normal really!
Anyway, in the end, it was all lovely. I hosted the lunch because it is Amah's birthday tomorrow, she is a Guy Fawkes baby and is a cracker! See what I did there - haha. I have talked about Amah before. She is the Wasband's grandmother making her the Princess's great-grandmother. She is called Amah because when the Wasband was a little boy he couldn’t say, Grandma, he called her Amah and it stuck. We all call her Amah; even my Mum calls her Amah.  Amah turns 92 tomorrow and she is truly remarkable. I have probably said this before as well! She has survived so many major health complications and she now has Motor Neurone Disease. Her social life is better than any of us, she still does cross-stitch, uses Facebook, texts better than most of us and can get a leg up, up I say, not over ;-) Amah has the best giggle, it's infectious and we all love her.

My birthday gift made by Aunty Eileen.
The back
Even though this lunch was to celebrate Amah's birthday, we had a bit of a backlog of birthday gifts to exchange.  I got my October birthday gifts from Amah and Aunty Eileen & Unca Neil.  I gave Aunty Eileen hers (we share our birth date) and the Wasband got his September birthday gift from Amah and Aunty Eileen & Unca Neil. It was a bit like Christmas with all the gift exchanging going on!
Lunch was divine, I made a Chelsea Winter Self-Crusting Spinach and Feta quiche, Eileen made Pasta and Smoked Chicken salad and Potato and Bacon salad and the Wasband brought along beautiful crusty bread.  We finished with a birthday cake made by Eileen, I can’t remember the name of the cake, a type of sponge cake anyway, with pretty icing. I'm not a big cake eater but it was really good.
The guests have now gone home, I've cleaned up, the Princess is studying (NCEA Exams) and the cats have skulked inside to their food bowl and are now sitting at my feet. Under the coffee table. The crime scene. Cruel, murderous little creatures!

Amah gave me this heart.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Leaders in Heels

Leaders in Heels
If you know me, you will know that I love planning and lists, so much that I blogged about it back here.

Part of the pleasure in the planning and list making process is, of course, having the just right diary, planner, journal or notebook to inspire the process. The just right book is such a personal thing and something I often agonise over at the end of each year, sometimes visiting several stores in my quest to find that just right book.

I recently spent a great deal of time online looking for an organisational system that would suit the many facets of my day to day life that when I came across Leaders in Heels.

It goes without saying that I was immediately attracted to the whole prettiness of the Leaders in Heels website and felt that Kasia, the owner of the site spoke to me directly through the motivational and empowering messages on the site. I really, really liked the layout of the planners, journals and notebooks, the different schemes available and that you can have your books monogrammed! That's right MONOGRAMMED, just like your towels and bed linens!
Phenomenal Woman Planner

I bookmarked the website, subscribed to the mailing list and started following Leaders in Heels on Instagram. Kasia posts the best motivational messages for women and uses the best graphics!

You couldn't possibly imagine my excitement, well maybe you could, when I found out that Kasia was developing an affiliate partnership programme just as I was ready to launch my online shop! I applied to become an affiliate and lucky, lucky me, my application was accepted.

Make Your Mark set

I'm really looking forward to using the Make Your Mark set, monogrammed of course darling!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday 11 September 2018

All about Carpet Bags

Velvet Carpet Bag
Yesterday I gave you a little history lesson on the origin of the word 'lingerie'. Today, to continue with educating you, you're welcome, here's a little lesson on Carpet Bags.

The carpet bag was invented as a type of baggage light enough for a passenger to carry, like a duffel bag, as opposed to a wooden or metal trunk, which required the assistance of porters. It was a good travelling companion: in 1886, the Scientific American described it as old-fashioned and reliable: the carpet bag "is still unsurpassed by any, where rough wear is the principal thing to be studied. Such a bag, if constructed of good Brussels carpeting and unquestionable workmanship, will last a lifetime, provided always that a substantial frame is used." Its use implied self-sufficiency: in Jules Verne's 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days, Phileas Fogg and Passepartout bring only a carpet bag as luggage, which holds a few items of clothing and a great deal of cash.

Carpet bags used to be made of Oriental rugs or the Brussels carpet referred to above, meaning one with "a heavy pile formed by uncut loops of wool on a linen warp". Carpet was the chosen material because it was a popular domestic accent piece and the "remainder" pieces were easily bought. In a sense, the carpet bag was a sustainable invention because it used remnants of materials which otherwise would have gone unused.

Carpet bags sometimes also served as a "railway rug", a common item in the 19th century for warmth in drafty, unheated rail-cars. The rug could either be opened as a blanket or latched up on the sides as a travelling bag. From Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey in the CĂ©vennes (1879): "... my railway-rug, which, being also in the form of a bag, made me a double castle for cold nights." Wikipedia

I first read about carpet bags in my most favourite book "Gone with the Wind" and have loved the name and bags ever since. My Mum has a gorgeous carpet bag which I think she bought in Turkey. I secretly covet her bag, shoosh don't tell her!

Now not only do I love carpet bags but I love velvet, no history lesson on velvet today though, disappointing I know. So, carpet bags and velvet, velvet carpet bags. It was a given that when I found a supplier of velvet carpet bags I would stock them in my little boutique. Not only have I got carpet bags but also the most stunning velvet totes. My uni friends might remember I had a chartreuse velvet tote that I absolutely adored. Sadly the supplier didn't have bags in chartreuse. Chartreuse, such a beautiful description for a colour!

Anyway, there lies today's history lesson. Pop on over to and check out my velvet bags, a carpet bag included, they are simply divine!

Thanks for stopping by!
Rachael xo

Monday 10 September 2018

Vintage Lingerie


The word lingerie is a word taken directly from the French language, meaning undergarments, and used exclusively for more lightweight items of female undergarments. The French word in its original form derives from the old French word linge, meaning 'linen'. Lingerie as a word was first used to refer to underwear and bras in 1922. Wikepedia

I love vintage lingerie. Actually, let's be real here, I love more than just vintage lingerie. Vintage lingerie though, it's feminine, it's pretty, it's olden day womanly.

You know, set hair, drawn on brows, Coty powder and red lips and then the lingerie, light, soft, silky, floaty.

Not at all like the anything goes today look. Not at all like my t-shirt and undies to bed look.

Perhaps I should be leading a more authentic vintage life, let me just go and powder my nose, let you just go and check out my lingerie...

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday 5 September 2018

BREAKING NEWS!!! online store has just opened its virtual doors.

Stocking gorgeous jewellery.

Stocking Mavala, Switzerland Eyelash & Brow Serum.

Stocking Mavala Switzerland nailcare products.

Gorgeous Halfmoon bags, rattan bags, straw bags and boho clothing due mid-September.

Pretty vintage clothing and linens available this week.

Thanks to the Cowboy for building my online store and to the Princess for her support and encouragement.

Please, please go and have a look...

right here, right now!

Rachael xo

Saturday 1 September 2018


She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbour:

"Winter is dead.”

 (A.A. Milne)

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Lightning Chicken Recipe

If you have read my recent This and That blog post or follow me on Instagram you will know that I have set myself a weekly 'cook a new recipe' challenge.

One of my lovely ex-mothers-in-law, don't judge but I have had a few, suggested I try Chelsea Winter's Lightning Chicken as it is quick, easy and delicious.  She was right on all counts.

So without further ado, here is the recipe!

Lightning Chicken With Thyme Cream

Why "lightning" chicken? Because it's as quick as lightning to prepare! The trick is to make sure you get a good golden colour on the thighs when you sear them, because it's that colour that creates the flavour of the sauce - Chelsea Winter

Prep time: 5 minutes / Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-6


  • 1kg chicken thighs (bone-in or boneless, skin-on or skinless)
  • Neutral oil, e.g. grapeseed, for frying
  • 25g butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¹∕³ cup white wine
  • ½ cups cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

To Cook:

  1. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30-60 minutes before cooking. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with salt and pepper, being quite generous.
  2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over a fairly high heat. When very hot, add the chicken (skin-side down if it has skin). You may need to do this in two batches – don't crowd the pan or the chicken might start stewing.
  3. Leave the chicken to fry without turning until it has turned a deep golden brown colour on one side. Turn over and brown the other side. You can turn the chicken back over a couple of times to get it looking browner and crispier. Also, the more crusty brown stuff that builds up in the bottom of the pan, the better.
  4. When both sides of the chicken are lovely and brown, set aside on a plate or roasting tray.
  5. Tip any excess oil from the pan and replace over a medium heat. 
  6. Add the butter and garlic and swish it around for 30 seconds. 
  7. Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and let it bubble rapidly for about 30-60 seconds to evaporate the alcohol – it should reduce by about half.
  8. Stir in the cream and thyme, then add the chicken and any resting juices. 
  9. Reduce the heat to medium-high and let everything simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced down to a nice consistency – not too thick; it's quite a rich sauce. If it becomes too thick, simply add more cream and simmer again until you're happy with it. 
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve with steamed greens and mash, new potatoes, pasta, bulghur wheat or rice.
not the nicest plating but everyone was starving so it was a quick serve!
I didn't quite have a full tbsp of fresh thyme but aside from that, it was delicious. The Cowboy and I loved this, the Princess liked the chicken but not the sauce. The recipe made enough that the Cowboy and I also had it for dinner last night.

I sourced the recipe from here.

Rachael xo

Sunday 19 August 2018

La Roche-Posay® Effaclar Skincare Review

I recently reviewed La Roche-Posay® Effaclar Foaming Gel and La Roche-Posay® Effaclar Duo Plus for

Both products from this skincare range impressed me and if you have oily or blemish-prone skin they will impress you as well.

The cleanser, La Roche-Posay® Effaclar Foaming Gel comes in a generous 200ml tube. The packaging is simple, giving the product a 'dermatological' feel, while the blue and white colour scheme has a fresh and cooling vibe.
The gel is simple to use, only a small amount is needed and it massages nicely into the skin. It leaves the skin feeling clean without the tightness that other cleansers sometimes have. Although, I did notice my skin didn't feel as soft as it usually does when I use my normal cleanser.
During the first week of use, my skin became very flaky and I had more breakouts than normal. Other reviewers also found this. The breakouts dried and cleared very quickly and by the second week, my skin was smooth and even looking.

From the second week of use on, my skin settled down and I noticed I did not suffer from the hormonal breakouts around my jawline and chin that I would normally have.

Overall, I was impressed with this cleanser and would happily recommend it, especially to those who have oily or problematic skin.
The moisturiser, La Roche-Posay® Effaclar Duo Plus comes in a 40ml white tube and like its buddy the foaming gel, the packaging has a fresh 'dermatological' vibe.

It applies and absorbs nicely into the skin but I do find I need to use a generous amount to cover my entire face which seems disproportionate to the size of the product.
The La Roche-Posay® Effaclar Duo Plus promises to correct imperfections and it certainly lives up to its promise. Before using this product,  I was on the verge of going to a dermatologist regarding the under skin bumps around my jawline. Since using this product the smaller bumps have disappeared and the large ones are reducing in size. I have noticed blemishes dry and heal quickly. Overall, my skin is smoother, I feel my pores look more refined in appearance and my skin tone is even and clear.

My only complaint about this product is that it does not seem to be particularly nourishing as my skin doesn't look as plump as it normally does. It is a minor complaint given all the positives about this product and it is possibly due to my skin type being combination rather than oily skin type the product is designed for.

However, I'm thrilled with this little miracle in a tube and have continued to use it as a topical moisturiser on my problem areas in conjunction with my regular moisturiser. I can't recommend the La Roche-Posay® Effaclar Duo Plus enough!
Overall, I believe the La Roche-Posay® Effaclar Duo to be a very good skincare range. If you would like to read other reviews about the La Roche-Posay® Effaclar skincare range check out here.

La Roche-Posay® Effaclar Duo delivers much for an affordable price point. La Roche-Posay® Effaclar Foaming Gel has a RRP of $27.99  and La Roche-Posay® Effaclar Duo Plus has a RRP of $32.99, available in selected NZ pharmacies.

If you would like to find out more about the brand, La Roche-Posay, have a really great, behind the brand, interview with Sam, the Assistant Product Manager of La Roche-Posay, check it out here or visit their website here.

And finally, are always looking out for reviewers of all ages. It's a fun and friendly website, has great articles, reward points and it's so great to be able to trial and review full-size products for free!

Thanks for reading,
Rachael xo

Monday 13 August 2018

This and That...


Life is quiet on the home front. I'm not a winter person, I hate the cold and tend to become bear-like, not the grouchy bear kind but the hibernating bear kind! In saying that, I do love my winter clothes much more than my summer clothes. I'm all about, jeans, jackets and boots. While hibernating at home, I have been doing lots of cleaning, sorting, organising and rearranging, all due to my new found energy levels. The Cowboy and the Cats are quite perturbed by my sorting, organising and rearranging. It's good to keep everyone on their toes, and paws...

Diary and Planning and Lists


These two hate change

This term I am working almost three full days and now have 18 children in my Writing Enrichment groups. It's fast and furious. They come in groups of three for 30 minutes a time, three days a week. I probably say this every time, but I really do love working with them. They are cute and it is so rewarding to see them progress and to gain confidence in their writing ability, range of vocabulary and oral language skills. It's so funny to hear them using their new-found words, they are big on the word 'pizazz'!  I don't miss being in a full class...until I visit one and then I do, but I'm not sure why - haha! Because of my increase in hours, I am now at school for both breaks and it has made me realise how much I missed spending time in the staffroom with friends and colleagues. It really helps that I am able to communicate again haha!

I have got a bit behind with my book club reading. The June book was From Darkest Skies by Sam Peters. It was late arriving from Book Depository and then I struggled to read it. It's a futuristic story which is not a genre I normally enjoy and I just could not get into and eventually stopped reading it, which is most unlike me. I forgot to order the July book, Once upon a Time in the East by Xiolu Guo so missed that discussion! August's book is All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg which arrived on Friday along with July's book which I ordered at the same time. Now to read the August book in time to participate in the online discussion. Goodness, so much pressure in reading, that I put on myself!
After months of binge-watching, all sorts of action, suspense and violent shows we came across Schitt's Creek and binge-watched the two seasons. At first, I wasn't sure but it quickly grew on me. The character development is wonderful and the entire show is absolutely hilarious. I had a period of mourning once it had finished but fortunately, it has been renewed for a third season and also a movie. It's so annoying when you get into watching something and am left with a cliffhanger and lots of loose ends only to find it hasn't been renewed for another season.

I've been cooking! Comfort food like soup, casseroles and curries. Last week I set myself a challenge, to cook a new recipe each week. You know, put my cupboard of recipes books to good use. Anyway, we have had Lamb Rogan Josh and Beef Ragu, both from Chelsea Winter's Scrumptious recipe book. Both dishes were, well, they were scrumptious!

Lamb Rogan Josh
Beef Ragu

Now, you must follow DreamPuffBakes on Instagram. Heidi is a former student of mine. She is only 13 years old and is a future patisserie chef. She creates the most wonderful edible confections of which I am able to testify to the deliciousness of her work. Heidi is also an incredibly talented hip-hop dancer and is the sweetest, bubbliest person ever! Go and show Heidi some Instagram love by following her!

Marshmallow Caramel Slice - DECADENT!

I may have had three slices of this...

  • Health - Amazing, I am going to do an update soon.
  • - I recently trialled some new skincare products and will share my reviews soon.
  • Pixi by Petra - I ordered a cleanser and toner and am obsessed!
  • I bought new bowls over the weekend so that my recipe challenge photos are more aesthetically pleasing. The Cowboy asked if they are like the show pillows on the bed!
  • Kindness - One of my teacher friends brought me back this divine bag from Singapore. I really felt overwhelmed by her thoughtfulness and kindness and I absolutely adore the bag.
  • The Princess is a real live teenager, she rolled her eyes at me twice on Saturday. I laughed! trial


New Recipes = New Dishes

I'm sure I had more to share, but I have left This and That for so long that I have forgotten! Haha

Thanks for reading.

Monday 25 June 2018

A TO DO about Lists and Notebooks.

I was making a mental TO DO list the other day of what to put in my backpack because I was getting ready to go for a walk to my local cafe. I like to walk, get a coffee, maybe a cake or slice for a treat and work on projects such as this blog.

My list was frankly ridiculous, there was my tablet and Bluetooth keyboard, diary, red ideas notebook, maybe my journal, definitely my phone, money, hat, sunglasses and on it went. All for a 10 minute each way walk and maybe an hour at the cafe.

I then started thinking about the many types of books and ways I write, record and make lists.

There is the plain notebook on the kitchen counter that I use for my grocery shopping list. As soon as something is low or empty I write in the notebook. Otherwise, I forget. It also minimises the risk of stuffing up the online shopping although it's not entirely foolproof, ask my family about the giant pizza bases...  Oddly, I also use this notebook to list things we need for the house such as new pillows. I’m waiting for Briscoes to have a sale… NZ people will totally get that!

Not pretty but practical.
I also have an online Google Sheet which I use as a shopping wish list for things I want but don’t necessarily need.

Are we counting? That’s three different lists in two different places, all for shopping!

Moving away from shopping lists to TO DO lists. Currently, my overall TO DO lists are written in my diary, which is actually a fancy notebook I have set up in weekly spreads. I originally started this as a bullet journal type of thing and got right into making each weekly spread pretty, for all of about three weeks. It was very satisfying but unrealistic for the busy classroom teacher I was at the time. Now I just use different colours to define the different TO DO lists I have and sometimes I slap the odd sparkly sticker onto a page to satisfy my urge to embellish. I have a TO DO list for School, Personal, roseroomnz, Me, Home, the Princess and so on. I do an awful lot of TO DO list transferring from week to week!

Paperblanks make beautiful notebooks.
TO DO lists.

Pretty but not practical.
I transfer some of the TO DO things from my diary to my chalkboard as a TO DO sooner rather than later TO DO list. It also has shopping items on it such as bone broth, rose fertiliser and pruning scissors. Yep, another shopping list. Four different shopping lists in three different places!

TO DO's & Shopping.
When I was a classroom teacher I would use my big whiteboard in the holidays for writing huge TO DO lists of all the things I needed to do before a new school year or new term started such as planning, making resources, sourcing resources, classroom setup, displays, cleaning and so on.

In the small classroom I have now, I write lists on my whiteboard of the steps the children need to take to complete a writing project. It’s super helpful, not only to keep me on track but also for the children to see the big picture. The children love being the one to cross something off the list when a step is completed. I wonder if I am turning them into future TO DO list users!

And just to mix it up some more, last night I added a digital sticky note to the home screen of my laptop which is a TO DO list for roseroomnz. Another TO DO list, and wait, don't I already have a TO DO list for roseroomnz in my diary?


Let's move on to some of my other notebooks and forms of recording stuff...

I have a plain red, hardcovered notebook which I use to record ideas, goals, future plans and my ever growing bucket list. Lists on lists.

I see red, red, red lists
From lists to forms of writing that don't involve bullet points but do involve other notebooks. There is the pretty hand stitched, covered notebook my Mum made and gave me for Christmas. I use it to write messages to the Princess and leave it on her desk to read when she comes home from the Wasband's (her Dad) house.

My Mummy's beautiful handwork.
The Princess's birth mother gave me a beautiful handmade notebook for Christmas and that inspired me to start journaling again. I'm also using it to write positive affirmations I like from The Two Most Important Days book I'm reading.

This journal inspires writing.
Then, of course, there is this blog which is essentially an online journal. Did you know I have been blogging for 10 years? Spasmodically, but all the same, 10 years! Sometimes I wonder why I continue to blog but who knows, maybe future generations of my family will look back at my blog and think “wow my ancestor was interesting, or maybe they will think "wow, my ancestor was a complete nutter”!

Oh, and I've just remembered the two A4 sized notebooks I have used to write brief outlines of novels I want to write one day.

Future novel ideas in these.
I think that about covers my shopping lists, TO DO lists, journals and ideas books.

For me, there is something deeply satisfying in creating a list and then being able to tick or cross things off once they are completed. It gives me such a sense of achievement. I also really enjoy the actual process of handwriting, shaping letters, making swirls and curls and adding a little sketch here and there if I am feeling creative.

I do acknowledge that my many versions of shopping lists, TO DO lists, journals and ideas books could be condensed to some better system because all of this does not make me a highly organised, highly productive, high achiever. In fact, it may be overkill and have the opposite impact! What do you think?

I think I will make a TO DO list of how to make this work better for me. Maybe I should use a new notebook...

My spare notebook stash.
Are you a TO DO list maker like me?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Thanks for reading!