Happy Birthday (bargains) to me *4*

Another birthday voucher! This time from Sheridan Outlet and it is $25 to spend on full priced or marked down items in store or online. Delivery is a flat rate $9.95 and purchases over $150 are entitled to free delivery. Sign up here.

Happy Birthday (bargains) to me *3*

Today’s bargain is a $10 off birthday voucher from Bonds to use I store or online with free delivery for being a Bonds and Me member sign up here. I chose some new socks 😀

Happy Birthday (bargains) to me *2*

Today’s voucher: Review $20 voucher to use in store or online, click and collect available.

Click here to sign up to Review Australia’s loyalty club.

Happy Birthday (bargains) To Me! *1*

For the month of January (my birthday month) I am going to share my birthday vouchers and discount offers with you. I join many VIP or loyalty clubs online for merchants where I shop or would like to shop and then wait for the birthday vouchers to roll in.
Most are from women’s fashion retailers because I find I get the most value from their vouchers as a way of updating my wardrobe. I save any $5 notes I get as change for a few months, add any Christmas or birthday money or vouchers I have been given and since January is also a huge sale month I usually do pretty well and save BIG!

I don’t sign up to many food or resturant VIP clubs, but for those interested their free birthday meals etc may be worth signing up for too. The Cheesecake Shop, Sumo Salad, Boost juice, Muffin Break plus many other chain and local companies off free deals and meals for your birthday day or month.

I might add that since I live a simple life and I don’t  wish to spend money for the sake of it, I do not take advantage of all the offers I get. If I can’t find something I want or need without adding too much more of my own cash from a particular company then I let the offer expire. I also consider if any postage costs are worth it.
Now for the first offer!

Strandbags Loyalty Club

Strandbags offer their loyalty club members a 10% off any full priced or promotional item in store or online. I have 31 days to use the voucher code emailed to me and Strandbags are currently featuring 25% off online, up to 50% off seasonal and up to 60% off luggage and store collection may be available on items in stock, so I can shop at home and avoid postage costs.

Sign up to Strandbags Loyalty Club in the link above or here.

I’m going to have a good look through the online store. I’ll let you know if I buy anything. 

See you when I get my next birthday voucher.

Simple Life Mum

Could You Use a Little More Sparkle?

Book Review

Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle
. Doreen Virtue.

Could You Use a Little More Sparkle? 

Doreen Virtue knows what it’s like to lose her sparkle and delving deeper into why and how her stress and exhaustion had taken over, led her to research and write this book- and get her sparkle back.

As a clairvoyant Doctor of Psychology, best selling author, speaker and more, she is just about as busy as anyone can be and subjected to stress as we all are, and her knowledge of psychology and the mind-body connection was the basis of finding out how we lose our sparkle, and how to get it back.

Some of these answers she found may surprise you- like just how we ‘attract’ drama into our lives, or the role of histamine in our body,and how past trauma has long-term effects on our health and mood.

Other causes we might have heard before, like relationship dynamics and diet and exercise, but we may find something new in the possible solutions offered. For instance, I was very happy to learn that “Gentle exercise is actually a better method for weight loss, because little or no cortisol is produced. So your body becomes more “fuel-efficient” in terms of burning off the food you eat.” Hooray! No more guilt over not being a runner, or gym junkie 😃.

Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle will gently and compassionately guide you in clearing out the drama and getting your sparkle back.

Shining Quotes

⭐️ “If… you’re stressed-out and tired, you’re overwhelmed by your sensitivity, you don’t feel good about yourself, you push yourself to go faster, you’re forgetful and can’t focus, there’s too much drama and negativity in your life, your relationships are difficult, your body isn’t cooperating, your career is stressful . . . then it’s time to recover your sparkle!”

⭐ ️“Trauma has touched virtually everyone on this planet, especially secondary trauma from watching too many news clips of horrors and tragedy. Trauma is also the reason why we’re addicted to reality television, celebrity gossip, frightening movies, and dramatic friends. Unhealed trauma is behind our health, weight, addiction, sleep, and relationship issues”.

⭐️ ”Some people believe that stress is something outside themselves that happens to them. Yet, once you reach adulthood and have the ability to make your own lifestyle choices, you really do have the option of a low-stress life. If that possibility sounds boring or impossible, this is a sign of drama addiction.”

⭐️” Behind every highly dramatic person, there’s an unresolved trauma. Drama is his or her way of asking for love, and begging for help and understanding”.

Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle is published by Hay House .

Visit Doreen Virtue at her website.

Simple Breakfast Ideas to Get You Out the Door


Maybe you or your family have a ‘go to’ breakfast like cereal or toast with an egg for example,but some people have problems eating breakfast due to reasons that can be easily remedied with a little planning or creativity.

Lets look at a few common problems and some possible solutions;

* Being too rushed- planning breakfast, establishing a morning routine and simplifying can help you have the time to sit down and enjoy your breakfast-even if you have kids!

* You or your child have no appetite in the morning or are more ‘selective’ in your food choices (I deleted the word ‘fussy’ since being  selective or having preferences about tastes, textures etc. is common and a big part of my life being a highly sensitive person-so no judgements here)-thinking outside the ‘cereal box’ will help. Typical breakfast food are NOT the only thing that need be on the menu. A hot breakfast of leftovers is something worth trying.

* Your family wants a hot breakfast or craves variety- a little planning and pre-preparation will allow you to serve a pleasing breakfast.

* When you think about the cooking and clean up cereal or toast is just easier- True, a quick and easy breakfast is a great idea, but there are options if you are willing to plan ahead.

Any of the following ideas are worth considering if you want to simplify breakfast or enjoy a more substantial breakfast without stress or taking too much time.

* Write a list of possible meal ideas that you and your family enjoy. Look at Pinterest, recipe books and blogs etc. Refer back to this list when preparing the grocery list. Also think about these options when you read the hints below.

* Set the scene the night before -maybe after the dinner clean up- by laying out placemats, crockery, cutlery etc. Think about what pots and utensils you will need and have them ready on a shelf or corner of the counter.

* Prepare any ingredients you can ahead of time. When you are preparing ingredients for another meal STOP AND THINK if you can also prepare something else now for another meal. Say you are chopping veggies for dinner, spend a couple of minutes chopping some more for an omelette or similar. Store them extra in a ziplock bag or airtight container and it will be available for the next few days. There are also plenty of recipes out there for overnight oats etc, again check out Pinterest for inspiration.

* Pre- measure dry ingredients for your own ‘make-ahead’ mixes. If your are making or planning to make muffins, scones, piklets etc measure a few extra batches of the dry ingredients and store these in labelled plastic containers in the pantry. On the inside of the pantry door have a copy of each recipe with the ingredient list divided into dry and wet categories and also include the method and oven temperature. When you want to make the item the recipe is within easy reach. You will already have the dry ingredients measured and sifted and need to simply add the wet ingredients, mix and cook.

* Love your leftovers- Who says you can’t have leftovers for breakfast? I’m not really suggesting the leftover,cold pizza, I mean leftover fried rice and other rice dishes, savoury mince, roast veggies on toast or added to a frittata -there are as many options as your appetite and imagination allows. Look at what other cultures eat for breakfast-it’s not all porridge and vegemite on toast .

* Go to google. Hit the recipe sites and check out some of the free recipe websites,blogs,YouTube videos etc. While looking online one idea that was new to me was Breakfast in a Mug- google it and see what you come up with. Also don’t forget the magazines and recipe books you already have or that are available at the library. Maybe it is possible for you to decide to try one new recipe a month.
* Just kidding around- it won’t work for some, but in some cases kids can help with breakfast preparation, and making their own food might entice some to eat it. At the very least, everyone can help with the clean up so you are not faced later on in the day with cereal cemented on bowls.

* The most important tip is that any morning will run more smoothly if routines are in place and followed. A morning routine of eating,dressing,packing bags and making beds before any T.V. or electronic devices are allowed will motivate some to move a little faster and eliminate panic and raised voices most of the time. An afternoon routine done the day before where books and sports gear for the next day is assembled, uniforms readied and lunches packed with bags and keys accounted for will add even more time to your mornings. These routines plus getting to bed early enough might even get you a extra cup of coffee in the morning!

No one likes to feel rushed in the morning and no one likes to be late and stressed. It is also a sad start to the day when you have sent the kids off to school without a proper breakfast or with the sound of a nagging, scolding voice setting the tone of the day- they will probably soon forget about it, but you will likely feel crummy all day. A small change here and there, a little planning and preparation, even gaining a few extra minutes to your morning can make all the difference.

Feel welcome to comment with your tips and breakfast ideas.

Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman- A Book Review


When Alice Hoffman was diagnosed with cancer she had two young children and an ailing mother. One of her novels, Practical Magic was being made into a movie and another Here on Earth had been selected as part of Oprah’s Book Club- it seems cancer doesn’t care how busy, important or famous you are. So when Alice turned to books for advice on how to cope she ended up writing one herself- a letter to herself and a tribute to all survivors who have loved and lost.

” I wrote to remind myself that in the darkest hour the roses still bloom, the stars still come out at night. And to remind myself that, despite everything that was happening to me, there were still choices I could make.”

Survival Lessons is a guidebook for all of us -not just the ones suffering from a illness, trauma or loss, but also the ones slogging through a daily life that lacks contentment or joy. A lot of us are in a ‘survival mode’ that serves merely as a modus operandi for making it from one day to to the next, putting out one fire and looking out for the next. The simple pleasures of life are pushed aside for something more important.

Each chapter in Survival Lessons offers a choice- a chance to focus on yourself for a bit, to discover your needs and wants. You can Choose to Enjoy Yourself, Choose Whose Advice you Take, Choose to Be Yourself.

Survival Lessons is ideal for a quick, light read that anyone- even the most stressed- can find the time for, to read all at once and return to again and again. It’s simplicity is it’s greatest benefit, allowing the reader to use the book as an inspiration for your own meditations on what makes you happy-what brings you peace or joy, and what is healing to your soul- leading you beyond mere ‘survival’ to ‘truly living’.

Find out more about Survival Lessons at Algonquin Books and find out more about Alice Hoffman at her website

Leftover Easter Eggs and Add To Me Muffin Mix

Even though it’s only been a week since Easter, you may be looking for ways to use all the leftover Easter eggs and chocolate, instead of having it tempt you every time you see it. Easter eggs are more expensive gram for gram than regular bars of chocolate, so it is wasteful to throw it out when it can be used in so many ways. Try some of the following ideas, and don’t forget if you intend to use the chocolate for cooking you can always freeze it to use later.

1/. Finely grate chocolate in a food processor. Use this for;
* Hot Chocolate Mix- Add the grated chocolate to hot milk. 
* Cake topping- Sprinkle the chocolate over iced cakes and cupcakes.
* Chocolate recipe addition-Add the grated chocolate to pancake, cake, cupcake and muffin batters. Stir or fold through cheesecake, ice-cream and any dessert mix that calls for chocolate.

2/. Melted chocolate. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or slowly in the microwave. Add it to recipes or use it for fondue, ganache, chocolate dipped strawberries. With Mother’s Day and any other special occasions coming up try making gifts of homemade molded chocolates, chocolate dipped spoons, rocky road and other confectionery. Add it to warm cream to make an ice-cream and dessert sauce.

3/. Mini Easter Eggs- Chop roughly or keep whole and add to muffins, cupcakes and cookies.

This is a simple basic recipe for a plain muffin mix. I make up a few separate quantities of the dry ingredients and store it in takeaway containers in the pantry, and just add the wet ingredients and the flavourings when I am ready to bake them. Mini Easter eggs or chopped or grated chocolate is a tasty addition to this mix. Add between 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of the chocolate.

Just Add to Me Muffin Mix


2 cups plain flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup canola oil

2 egg whites

1 cup skim milk


Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and blend all the ingredients together well. In a separate bowl use a whisk to blend the oil, egg whites and milk until blended completely together. Pour into the dry mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon just until everything is moistened, don’t over stir or beat. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Prepare a muffin tin with a non stick cooking spray or paper muffin cups. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full of batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a couple of muffins comes out clean.

Consider making a double batch and freezing the muffins individually for a quick lunchbox addition or to have on hand for guests.

For more interesting muffins just add:

Banana – add 2 mashed bananas with the wet ingredients

Choc Chip – add 1/3 cup choc chips with the dry ingredients

Berry – add 1/2 cup frozen raspberries or blueberries with the wet ingredients

Strawberry and White Chocolate – add 1/2 cup mashed strawberries with the wet ingredients and 1/3 cup white choc chips with the dry ingredients

Cinnamon – add 1/4 tsp nutmeg to the dry ingredients, bake as per recipe. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon together in a small bowl and dip tops of muffins in this mixture as soon as they come out of the oven

Apricot – half fill each muffin cup. Drop 1 tsp apricot jam into each muffin pan, add remainder of batter on top

Ham and Cheese – add 3/4 cup grated cheese and 1/4 cup diced ham with the dry ingredients.

Try any variation you can think of. I would love to hear your muffin variations or ideas for leftover chocolate in the comments section.

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