Almond crust ultimate clafoutis

Baked custard or egg things are pretty much my ultimate desert of all time – my tastes have definately changed from anything chocolate to anything custardy! My biggest boy is learning to love all the best things too and we call this custard pie.

Stritctly a clafoutis is with whole cherries but whatevs plums, nectarines or any stone fruit work a treat. This recipe is very adaptable but don’t try leave out the cream as it won’t be tasty. Also turn the oven off when the centre is still very jiggly and leave it to coast for a bit so you don’t get an overcooked grainy rubbery custard.


Clafoutis with plums and crunchy almond crust


Clafoutis with fresh peaches and plums.

If you are low on time you can skip the crust or use prepackaged pastry but it is reallllly good.



April fools. We still haven’t moved in! I’m lying in bed at my parents in law’s house dying from what can only be described as a severe case of man-flu.

So what’s been happening? How much longer until we can move in I hear you (and everyone else) ask?!


Well it is so close! So close now. The floors have given us all kinds of grief due to two reasons – storing car parts on timber is a terrible idea – there are all manners of petroleum and other stains on the floorboards and secondly my friend my borer.

For those of you unfamiliar with what a borer is count yourself lucky – these little critters munch on timber for up to years at a time emerging only to lay more eggs. It’s a common problem in old houses here – they like damp, untreated timber and a lot of old villas and bungalows suffered from varying degrees of damp in their early life. Our floors are riddled with them – there are a few patches which will undoubtedly fall through in time as the wood is 10% wood and 90% holes from our borer friends.


For now we have taken the approach to accept and ignore the weak patches – our floorboards (matai in 97mm widths) dont exist any more and replacing boards is expensive and time consuming and I’m a little but keen to speed the process along and move the.f in already! !!



Now for the positive side. .. there are some “finished” I.e move-in-able rooms. The lounge walls and ceiling are not painted but the room is lead free and the floor is finished! This room unfortunately had to be pro sanded – there was a huge shellac and paint border that I couldn’t shift. It’s then had one coat of stain – Briwax wood dye in a mix of antique mahogany and black and then 3 coats of Briwax Danish Oil – sanded in between with 320grit – all applied painstakingly by my hands. We chose to do the Danish oil instead of polyurethane as it is a more natural finish – the oil penetrates the wood and hardens the top layer as opposed to polyurethanes which are basically a plastic layer on top. That and cost – and best of all you never have to sand your floors again with Danish oil – any scratches you just touch up yourself with more oil. It is a very different feel from polyurethane – one im learning to love.


Our bedroom was a case of listening to everyone’s advice and everyone being wrong… it’s ok – nothing like practicing on your real floors to make you appreciate paying professionals to do stuff for you haha! This room had old cracked poly on it and again was sanded back exposing a ton of tracks. Through my internet research and afvice from bunnings I mixed the stain into the oil hoping to acheive a much darker finish. As you can see from the picture the colour is nothing like that of the lounge which was stained first. Oh well! You live and learn! One positive thing that came out of this experience is that I learned that the danish oil is extremely protective of the timber – I attempted multiple times to stain over the top of just one layer of oil – even brushing it on and leaving it for minutes and it all wiped off to nothing! Not the slightest mark.


Then there are a few floors with no sign really of borer but we know its there! The tracks stay hidden until you sand the floor. As such we don’t want to sand the floors and have just lightly  hand sanded the hallway and dining area.

That’s all the pictures I’ve got for you – cant wait to share pictures of the dining and kids bedroom because they look amazing if I do say so myself!

2.30am update


So panic time has arrived – the floors are booked in to be done on Monday!  We want to have finished as much painting as possible so our bedroom is done bar the triple sash window.. the kids bedroom needs the walls and skirting and the hall needs the walls and the ceiling prob could do with another coat. So yeah… wish us luck ;) x


Quick progress report


Kitchen base in with the gas oven all hooked up woohoo!  The plumbing is not quite done but I’m leaving it till last.


Other side of the kitchen/dining room. … um yeah


Hall looking towards the front… frames and skirting will all be finished tomorrow ready for wall painting FINALLY! !!!!!!!!! we have the floor booked in for a weeks time and the painting needs to be done first… eeek.


Other angle of the hall….


The skirting boards…. man we have had so many issues with these. All stemming from lack of money and having to make do with the ones we already had – by far the ideal solution would have been to replace every bedrooms entire skirting but wood is stupid expensive.  Each bedroom had a different handmade botched up missing amount of skirting. Jonno has been extremely creative with making new pieces. .. basically all the skirtings in the bedroom were originally fashioned from weatherboards – I imagine the builder thought he was being amazing by creating these cool bungalow style skirtings – and so we scrounged some similar ones from a wreckers and trimmed or packed them out. Nailing them back on has been no easy task either what with new gib and plaster and old curvy wavy villa skirtings… frustration central. But both our bedroom and the kids bedroom are back on the walls and ready for painting action!! Xx

Friday inspo

Taking a moment this sunny Friday for a spot of internet shopping and inspiration while both kidlets take a much needed nap. Maybe I should take some inspiration from them too!

Last night I got fed up painting the dented door architraves, apparently the guy who hoarded car parts liked to swing them into the frames at full force while transporting them in and out of the house… meh – its taken me this long to accept that perfection in this case is not going to be smooth and straight, it will be slightly dented but still lovely.

I’m at such a loss for curtaining fabrics -you may have seen if you follow me on instagram -that I’ve checked out possibly every fabric store in Auckland and while I love a lot of fabric – maybe too much fabric?? There’s not one that is calling out to me saying pick me!

Current inspo……

Eclectic Living Room by Amsterdam Media & Bloggers Louise de Miranda
Eclectic Bedroom by Brooklyn Photographers Rikki Snyder
Eclectic Living Room by Dallas Media & Bloggers Jamie Laubhan-Oliver
Eclectic Living Room by Los Angeles Media & Bloggers Justina Blakeney
Eclectic Kids by Amsterdam Media & Bloggers Louise de Miranda

Week TEN oh my

I can’t believe so much time has passed since I posted the last “weekly” update – basically the past 5 weeks been a blur of coffee, stress, guilt, extreme tiredness and wearing the same four outfits! So I only packed for a few weeks when we moved out of our unit… clothing FAIL!wpid-ABM_1393121156.jpg

What’s been happening….

The good….

* Gas is hooked up finally!
* The skirting boards and door architraves are finally getting put back up!
* The earthworks and driveway are well under way! The topsoil has been scraped off to remove the thousands of lead paint flakes, broken glass and car part remnants and awaiting the concrete pour for the driveway and the fresh topsoil!
* We have both increased our carpentry skills a hundred times over, I made a pair of brand new window frames and Jonno has been sticking up packers and door architraves. It’s been such a steep learning curve, none of the walls or doors or windows are remotely straight so mitring corners has been one hell of an experience.


The bad….

* Communications with companies and tradesman has just been all round bad or at best average. You leave for a day and stuff gets crazy! I’ve learnt that checking round every day at the minimum is so important. And special note to Vector who promised a phone call before the gas was connected and then just did it with no warning haha.
* Realising that we made some decisions that have set us back significantly. Had we left the children’s bedroom ceiling scotia on that room would be practically done by now – instead we are faced with the nightmare of constructing our own from 2 pieces of moulding and sticking it up ourselves. Same with all the door architraves in the hall – bit of a fail.
*Wrinkles and pimples have increased 300% and my birthday request of Botox was denied… sigh hubby…
*The outside appearance of the house has stalled except the driveway. Inside is the priority so we can move in and we can do the outside after.
* We have had some epic fights. Last night someone may have said that the other should walk out the door and not come back and the other may have said they hoped the other crashed……………………..

One thing is for sure – when this is over I am going to sleep for such a long time every single day. Oh wait… forgot I had children.

Moved out but not in… (pic update)


Front entrance




Kidlets bedroom


Our bedroom




Uuuuum…  The kitchen. ..

So this weekend was fairly epic… in a tiring and productive kinda way. We packed and cleaned our entire flat and with the help of friends and family moved most of it.

We have moved into Jonno’s parents until we get the house kiddy safe (read lead free) and a bit more finished. As you can see from the pics above all the rooms are being plastered at the moment – I had no idea how long it takes for plastering!!! I just want to get to painting already!!! Xx

Broken house – Positive progress!!

Whilst our new broken house is super exciting, I had a little bit of a woe is me moment last week – infact it was whilst discovering just how long each soffit takes to paint whilst balancing on scaffolding and having a splodge of paint drip straight onto my eyeball – that some things have not been going as well as they could have done. We had a run of slow tradesmen and a total lack of ability to find any new ones, all whilst coming to terms with the fact that we were rapidly running out of time to do major work – we have to move out THIS. WEEKEND!!!


That was all until a friend recommended me this guy to do some gib fixing and plastering work. At the beginning of this week we still had 3 rooms and the hall to insulate, gib fix and stop. The guys from A12 Plastering gave an amazing quote and said they could start on Monday, so I wander over to the house and One room is fully gibbed, another room half done and the hall half done! What’s more is one single man did this on his own.. I’m totally blown away (especially as it took … two days for two of our other tradies to gib one average sized room… cough… rage…). I can’t not mention how amazing Steve has been – he came in for a quality check and called to make sure I was happy – I know it’s only really day one but WOW.

More positive progress – my father in law prepared, patched and insulated the majority of the rest over the weekend so it would be all good to go on Monday which was just super kind and amazing of him to give up his time.


More good news, we struck rock digging our trench for gas and thought we were going to have to hire a rock breaker or a jackhammer as it wasn’t quite meeting spec – called up Vector and they said all good! Weeheee!

More amazingness – my lovely Dad has been working tirelessly for days on end – actually weeks now doing all sorts of things – most recently fixing what was a very average discovery – that the back of the house was literally rotting off the foundations and angling down into the ground. He has poured concrete, jacked up the house and redone a whole bunch of the foundations and you can noticeably see the house is more level and what’s more – it’s not going to crumble into the ground any more YAY!!

Here’s hoping this run of positivity and progress keeps on keeping on. In the mean time, we are packing and shifting. Right now Jonno is moving stuff on a trailer with 2 of our best friends – um we owe our friends so much for all their help!!!! Things might quieten down as I need to spend all my spare moments packing and organising – LAME.

Um. Update. Jonno just called me in a rage because the hire trailer broke and the fridge literally won’t fit through the door. Sigh. Lets hope no one steals anything overnight :/

Week five – roofing compromises

So we finally bought roof paint. I’m not going to lie, we had some fights over this, including one in the paint shop (hi Resene Newmarket). Unfortunately, eventually Jonno won/I gave in.

His criteria was as dark as possible, like literally to the point I’m pretty sure he would be stoked if I said we could paint the roof black. Our roof is short run iron – which means it has smallish lengths of iron and looks a bit messy – he was convinced the darkness would hide this. I wanted something grey, but not super dark so I could have the copper look guttering (read: paint your plastic gutters in a magical shade and make your house appear a thousand times more awesome). What we ended up with was Resene Foundry – which is – according to Resene – “a shadowy charcoal full of igneous warmth”.



I suppose at least we have something to go on to choose the exterior colours now – and need to get on with painting/bribing people to paint the roof!!

I’ve laid a vinyl plank floor in the toilet – I know, I know – I hate vinyl so much, far more than the average person hates it which I understand is also quite a lot. However this toilet room is temporary in the long-term-plan if that makes any sense, and the plywood floor wasn’t quite cutting it. It looks pretty fantastic and wasn’t too fiddly to lay – just a couple of hours spread over an evening. Ignore the dust/newspaper scraps all over the floor. As you can see the plumber has been busy installing the sink and repositioning the toilet.





How beautiful is this original villa wallpaper we discovered when my Dad was prying off the door architraves for me!!! Gorgeous!original wallpaper


More painting (just primer) has been done and Dad and I jiggled out the giant window panel with the stained glass windows from the front which has made sanding and painting around there approximately 4 zillion times easier.

full houseCurrently browsing for secondhand Wardrobes, Oven, Paint, Kitchens, storage – new network cabling.
Urgent Priority List: Rip up carpets, lay network cables, insulate bedrooms!
Indecisiveness List: Exterior colours (STILL), Blind fabrics (all rooms!)
Week highs: Again, being so blessed having both families able to help out so much, my Dad being at the house pretty much every single day helping out and Reuben having a ton of fun with Jonnos parents/siblings.
Week low: Definitely running out of money and crossing things off the achievable list

Lastly… I’ve been posting up various snaps onto my facebook page almost every day – so please follow me there to see all the pics xx

Delayed week four round up!

Oooops. Sorry guys. I feel guilty for leaving it so long between posts! I’m writing this the day before the week five round up but I’m allowed because it’s my blog ;)

OK So week four. This was a very trying week for me, as Jonno became very ill from what we now know was lead poisoning. Not words I wanted to hear but after helping Jonno crawl into bed I started to think that this was more than just your average exhaustion from juggling two young children and renovating – got onto doctor Google and discovered he had almost all of the symptoms – extreme fatigue and irritability being the dominant ones. I stayed up late stressing while he tossed and turned and tried to convince him to go to the hospital which he refused of course – and discovered that Vitamin C has had amazing results chelating lead out of the body. A megadose of vitamin C was given (you can’t really have too much you just get an upset stomach). Two days later after no improvement Jonno finally asked to be driven to the hospital and sure enough his blood results had excessive levels – not hospital admission levels however I do wonder how much the vitamin C chelated out the lead over the two days prior to the blood test.

SO YES. I was dealing with an even grumpier (!!), more irritable husband, after a few days recovering he stayed home watching the babies while I went to the house and sanded/painted for hours, and then returned home to put everyone to bed haha. Not the most fun days of our lives but thank goodness he’s back to normal and hopefully hasn’t caused himself any lasting damage which is scarily common with lead poisoning. All of this could maybe well have been avoided if some basic respirator techniques had been employed ;)

I finished painting the bathroom and started on priming the outside weatherboards. My wrist and fingers have never been so sore – you can’t use a roller you have to brush every single inch and it kills. Ignore the weird placement of the bath/shower – that’s a whole new issue to fix SIGH.  Oh and the floor, ha ha ha… so many hours spent scraping/paint stripping/belt sanding and it still looks rubbish – now I understand why people pay professionals to do it! I think I’ll just paint it.



Currently browsing for secondhand Oven, Kitchen, Wardrobes… hey this is the same list as last week!
Urgent Priority List: Bathroom floor
Indecisiveness List: Exterior colours (STILL), Blind fabrics (all rooms!), upholstery fabrics – hey nothing has changed here!!!
Week highs: Our amazing families helping out with our babies so much so Jonno could rest and I could get atuff done!
Week low: Realising that we are running out of money, not finding any new tradesmen to work on the house and the existing ones going sloooow (or maybe I’m just impatient!)

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