Louisa Claire

Louisa

On being a brand, blogging and living your best life.

A few weeks ago I headed north to sunny Queensland and spent a few days soaking up the sun, the pool, a few cocktails but mostly some incredible teaching presented by the Problogger team and the group of national and international speakers they had pulled together.

I came home with one thing really crystal clear – this blog is not a brand. It’s not my brand and it’s never going to be a brand and thank goodness for that!

I started writing because I was 1000km away from my family and thought it would be a good outlet, and it has been one. And so much more. I absolutely love this space and I love the many freedoms it affords me but trying to think about branding all the time was really doing my head in!

During my Queensland days I got to spend time with women I love and am blessed to call my friends like Laney, Claire and, Heather as well as women I am loving getting to know like Pip and Cheryl. I could sit here all day listing off the people I enjoyed talking to in Queensland but the point really is I was in Queensland with new friends, people I met through blogging. How completely awesome is that!!!

Many of you know that for a couple of years now I have run a blogger outreach business called Brand Meets Blog. I love it! Really. I have great clients, we work with awesome bloggers and get to do some creative work. Last year I wrote a book for blog beginners called How To Start A Blog  – blogging has just made things more awesome!

If you’re a blogger and you want to build a business but don’t know how to ‘brand’ yourself – maybe you don’t have have to. Think outside the square, get in touch with your passion and take a leap of faith! If you’re not a blogger and you are wondering what is next for you now is a great time to be an entrepreneur. If you’ve got a spark but don’t know how to turn it into something then you need to call my friend Alli – she will help you, I am sure of it!.

This blog has been quiet for a while because …well, because I’ve been choosing other things. I don’t have to maintain my brand and that is so incredibly freeing!! I will write because I love it here and honestly, I love those of you who read this blog and connect with me her or other places on social media. Maybe it’s because the sun is finally starting to come out but I really feel like I am starting to see through the haze of life with a newborn, life with a toddler who doesn’t sleep and simply life with three little kids! Would you like to know what I see?  Hope. Possibility and the reminder that life is a beautiful, beautiful gift – and all the wins we will ever have start with your state of mind. I’m not going to pretend it’s always easy (I don’t need to, you don’t have to go too far into this blog to know that I don’t always sail through motherhood) and there have been days when I have felt completely punched in the gut by life but…there’s a but(!)…I know what I believe in, I know what I am passionate about and I am finally confident in owning my priorities and it is so very worth it!!

We only get one life and this is it! One, beautiful life…

melbourne photographers, chris allsop photography

{Chris Allsop Photography}

 

 


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Salted Caramel Coconut Popcorn {super easy to make but beware, this is addictive!}

salted caramel popcorn, honey popcorn recipe, salted coconut popcorn, honey coconut popcorn,

 

Last Monday I sat down to share with you the most delicious popcorn recipe you can imagine! Halfway through writing the post I had to duck away to take Bluey to the Dr. If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Insatagrm you will know that that appointment was met with a “I’d like you to take him to the hospital to be checked” followed by a very calm but firm “I’m just going to call an ambulance to take you”

So that was that for the rest of the week.

Here we are, one Monday later and in an effort to still the memories of my bub struggling to breathe which seem to be bothering me a bit this evening, I am back to finally share with you this delicious recipe. It gives you 4 full days to make sure you have the ingredients ready to make some of this up on the weekend!

Inspired by this post: Vanilla Honey Salted Caramel Popcorn I give you my taken on Salted Caramel Coconut Popcorn! This popcorn is deliciously crisp, sweet but not overwhelming with just the right hint of coconut goodness to it. Oh my goodness, it is amazing!!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1/2 cup sugar – I used palm sugar but coconut, rapadura or dark sugar would also work well. It depends on what you have in your cupboard and how coconut-y you want it to taste.

1/2 cup coconut butter – again if you don’t have this you could use butter

1/4 cup honey

1 1/2 tsp good quality iodised salt (you can buy Saxa flakes from the supermarket)

1/2 tsp baking soda dash of vanilla

 

Recipe:

Turn on your oven to it’s lowest setting and line a large square baking dish with baking paper.

In one pan cook the popcorn (you want a med size saucepan) – once it’s cooked put it into your lined baking dish.

In the other pan melt the sugar and butter and then stir in the honey. Bring the boil for around 3 minutes.

Turn off the stove top and add the baking soda, salt and vanilla – when you add the vanilla it will all start to fizz and bubble so you want to do it quickly and stir as you go.

Pour the mixture over the popcorn in the dish and then stir it through to ensure it’s covered the popcorn well. Put the tray into the oven and come back every 10-15minutes to stir it around and make sure it’s all coated. It’ll take 45-60mins in your oven to dry out, depending on how powerful your oven is (if you have a really good oven I’d say it’d be done in half an hour). Leave it for a further 5 minutes to crisp up and then see how long it takes you to eat!!

This tiny bowl is all that I could keep to photograph…the rest was all gobbled up!

salted caramel popcorn, caramel coconut popcorn, caramelized popcorn
 

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11 things I’ve never told you before {or let’s get to know each other again}

It’s been 6 and half years since I started this blog and yet there are still things I’ve never told you. Today I thought I’d share a few of those things; this journey still feels like it’s only just beginning and it’s never to late to get to know each other just a little bit better :)

Louisa Claire

1. I am loud, ridiculously loud. My laugh is even louder than my usual loudness. I’. v-e-r-y slowly learning to find my “inside voice”. Who am I kidding? I have no inside voice!

2. I went to Bible College and have a Graduate Diploma in Theology that one day I’d like to turn into a Masters of Theology. One day…

3. My Mum is South African which makes me half South African and I identify strongly with this part of my heritage. Many of my ideas of family have been shaped by these people who live on the other side of the world to me but have always managed, through decades without the internet, to communicate their love and value to our family. As an adult I realise how truly blessed I have been to grow up with parents who love each other and who come from families who love each other, who love them and who love us.

4. I always wanted 5 chidren (yes, five!) and hoped that adopted or foster children would be part of that mix. I would still love to explore those options but the reality and beauracry is daunting. I always joked that “I have plenty of love to give” and I realise now how true that it – with children you always just have more love to give. As I look at my beautiful three kids I do wonder how much more energy I have to give and whether I would be a nice person to be around if I had more children…

5. I was “called” to Christian ministry when I was in year 10 in Darwin on a school trip. It was a profoundly powerful and life-altering moment that would set me on the path that has led me here today. I worked in churches at both local and diocesean (regional) capacities in volunteer and then paid roles until Bear was born. I went back to work when he was 4 months old and even though I had the most flexible job ever, an amazing boss and Bear was with me the whole time, it was too much and too soon and I had a bit of a meltdown. I stopped work and took a breath before starting the business that I now run and love. I still feel called but in this season of my life it’s got a very different flavour to it. Working in a church environment is great, but there’s no “knock off time” – it’s the business of people and people are always on.

6. I am not subtle. Even when I think I am being subtle, I am not. I’m a “brick-through-the-window” kinda girl.

7. I have a massive sweet tooth and I just learnt how to make caramel popcorn. Time will tell whether that is a good or bad thing…

8. I’m not really into music. It’s not that I don’t like music it’s just that, you know how for some people music speaks to their soul? That’s not me. In fact I drove around for several months this year with a broken car stereo and only got it fixed because we were doing the drive to Sydney and I thought I’d go nuts without it. Now I barely turn it on.

9. I’m not sure I’m a great friend. Over the years I’ve lost a few friendships and been completely astounded by the friendships that have lasted. Female friendship is really hard and it requires a level of trust, intimacy and forgiveness that gets airbrushed through adolescence. We need to talk more with our kids about how to be a good friend; I’ve come to realise it’s something you have to learn rather than something that “just happens”. It’s true to say I am deeply grateful for the wonderful women in my life who I do get to call friend.

10. Cooking is a skill that I have come to later in life. When I was at uni I used to nanny for a few families. Sometimes I would make dinner for the kids and it was through this “life experience” that I came  to discover that one must actually cook the potatoes before one tries to mash them. True story…

11. Some stories are just not for the internet. I’ve got a great tampon story that I could share but here’s not the time nor the place. If you see me around though, make sure you ask – I’ve made people faint with the telling of this one before!

 

 Got a fun story to share or did you too ever encounter the “potato problem”? Let me know in the comments or over on Facebook.

 

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Three steps to making a great coffee at home…without a coffee machine

It’s fair to say I love my coffee. I’m fortunate to live in a part of Melbourne where good coffee abounds…and I sure make the most of that! A couple of weeks ago I was involved in an event for Harris Coffee in Sydney and it was so interesting I really felt compelled to share what I learnt with you.

how to make a good coffee at home

First up, I’ll be honest that I was skeptical. I may not have a coffee machine but I have still developed a level of snobbery around what constitutes “good” coffee and I was far from convinced that a supermarket brand would cut the mustard.

I walked away amazed at how tasty the coffee was and empowered with the knowledge to improve my own coffee experience in home (which, let’s face it, is a far more cost effective approach).

So if you want to make tastier coffee at home, read on…

1. First up, don’t go storing your coffee in the fridge or freezer. We’ve probably all heard this but the idea that coffee should be stored in the fridge or freezer is wrong. If you store it in either of those places the coffee will absorb the flavours of your other food (yuk!!!)

2. Do store your coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Also, don’t decant it from the packaging. The best thing to do is to put the pack straight into a container in the pantry.

3. Heat your mug first. I also like to heat my milk up in the microwave prior to pouring my coffee and I find this really makes a difference.

 

Bonus tips for those who use a coffee plunger like I do…

i) when you put your coffee into the plunger the first thing that happens is a crust will form at the top of the plunger – this should be stirred before brewing and plunging.

ii) leave your coffee to brew for 3-4 minutes before plunging – if you leave it longer than that your coffee will taste bitter.

 

On drinking Harris coffee…

1. The shop ethical website gives Harris coffee a green star for being an “outstanding product”. The parent company doesn’t get off scott free but if you are looking for an ethical coffee brand then Harris ticks the box.

A note about organic coffee – only coffee grown in Australia can be declared organic. Anything that has been imported cannot be declared organic even if it was organically grown in its country of origin – this is because of the spraying that occurs when the products come through quarantine.

2. The coffee I sampled last week, made in  house by the Harris barista was delicious! It honestly tasted as good as the coffee I’d had before arriving at the event at Reuben Hills. Seriously good!

3. There’s a lot to be said for the convenience of buying your coffee when you do your groceries. In a time poor world if you are looking for an ethical, well priced coffee that tastes great then Harris Coffee is for you (and if I find myself in the supermarket needing to restock, it’ll also be my coffee of choice!)

 

Do you drink coffee? Are you a coffee snob like me? When did you start?

I’ll stop with the questions now. x

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You’re never too old for the circus

One of the many, many reasons I love Instagram is because I find all sorts of cool things from the people I follow. For example, this week I learnt that the circus is in town! (thanks Lisa!)

And so, we went.

Not only did we go but The Architect decided we needed to sit in the FRONT row and spend a fortune on the fair games out the front.

And so, we did.

Stardust Circus Tent

fair games
 

Slide

Unfortunately no photos are allowed inside the big top but we had a lot of fun! It felt like something from my childhood – very traditional, very family and very fun! (Some nice educational moments too about how they train the animals and how the kids in the circus do their schooling on the road).

As amazing as the animals were, it was the people who stole the show. I was incredibly impressed by the strength of the female trapezists (go with me folks, not sure whether that’s even a word!) and you should have seen Bliss laughing at the slapstick clowns. Hilarious!

These clowns were pretty great too…

clowns

 

After 3 weeks apart it has been wonderful to have a few days together for lots of family fun. The circus was fab! It’s in town for another week – check it out.

xx

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Orange Picking in the Winter Sun

Two weeks I arrived at my folks place with the kids for a school holiday reprieve. I arrived nearly at my limits – weeks of living on a few hours sleep a night thanks to by big boy had me just holding on to my sanity.

This week the Sydney sun has returned and it’s been the kind of sunny, stunning winter I remember. This week we headed out to the foothills of the mountains to Schofields Orchard and spent a lovely morning picking oranges and generally having a lovely time.

I’m no photographer but I captured some moments from the day and wanted to share them with you here…what’s the point of taking photos if noone ever sees them hey?!

Orange Sales Sign
 

Oranges

Bliss orchard bright2

 

Bliss and Bear in Orchard sharp
 


Bear holding bucket
 

oranges

 Bear putting oranges in bucket2

 

Have you been orange picking before? What are you doing these school holidays?
 

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