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flea-market finds...

last weekend me and my lads of three went to the flea-market. i had pocket money burning a hole in my handmade frock pocket and it did not take me long to find a few forsaken little souls who spoke to me

forsaken little soul #1:
a most delightfully yellow parrot complete with mushrooms!! seriously little itty bitty mushrooms! in all my born days of collecting these most rare and kitschy birdie figurines i have never found one with mushrooms before. this fine fellow only cost me the princely sum of $4 due to a chip, 

chip or no chip, i loved him and so he came home to live in the kitchen and do a most marvelous job at holding a few vintage fabric flowers

forsaken little soul #2:
a birdie picture in most spiffy colours complete with fabby plastic fake basket weaving frame. golly i am a sucker for plastic fake basket weaving, gets me every time and even more so if it surrounds a birdie picture of this magnificent-ness. this little sweetie cost me 6 tidy $1 notes.

and it would appear, once home, she was always going to fit right in...

forsaken little soul #3:
a cheeky chappy of the utmost kind. okay, i realize she is not a chappy but it sounds so much better than cheeky dolly. so cheeky chappy she is. my man rolled his eyes to the sky and followed his action swiftly with a "really Tif?" but i knew what i knew, and what i knew was this. cheeky chappies don't come by every day of the week with this sort of wonderfulness about them. obviously the stall owner knew this too and would not take less than $5. i could see why, this cheeky chappy was expert at cheering...

upon arrival back at mossy shed, cheeky chappy found himself/herself most at home in my 'recently made' cabinet of curiosity.

"umm, i'm thinking you might like a bit of crocheted goodness too" says little brown bunny with his warm ears 


"hello hello, here i am"

now surely that's worthy of a cheer or two

BluePrint Cleanse Review

You can read part one of my review here, also known as why the hell I did this to myself.

I'm not going to spend too much time reviewing the company itself or their juices, but if you're interested in reading more about that, this is my favorite BPC article. The writing is brilliant and it's pretty spot on. Although I never received any of the motivational emails before or during the cleanse that the company touts and this article discusses. 

I chose to purchase a cleanse instead of buy all the produce and make juices myself because, let's be honest people, time is not a commodity that I have an excess of and I thought that shelling out the cash would be motivation enough to keep me from cheating and/or quitting (and I was right). I opted for the Foundation cleanse because I eat pretty clean, but I'm not above leveling a bag of Tostitos just because. 

Much of the process in completing a juice cleanse involves your preparation into the cleanse itself and how you come out of it. While I only did a three day cleanse, my journey (so to speak), was closer to three weeks. Prior to cleansing I cut out coffee and caffeine of any kind, meat, and processed foods. In the days right before the cleanse I also phased out any grains and starches. And the day before the cleanse I ate only raw fruits and vegetables. Literally, as in nothing was cooked. 

I think my cleanse, on the whole, was pretty easy because I really eased into it. I didn't experience any of the side effects of cleansing like breakouts, slimy tongue, extreme fatigue. Day one of the cleanse was pretty easy. Day two was also a breeze, and I actually felt quite satiated and extremely hydrated. By day three I woke up feeling like I was going to faint and, I'm not going to lie, I ate a banana and then stuck to juices for the rest of the day.

Some people say day three is the worst day, but if you carry it out to five days you get a burst of energy. I'm not sure I believe them. I attribute much of my faintness on day three to the fact that I did a spin class and infrared sauna session on day one, I nursed through the whole cleanse, and I chase three kids daily. I was definitely expending more calories than I was taking in. 

Once the cleanse was complete I went back to eating raw for a few days and then slowly integrated cooked foods. By the end of that week I added whole grains back in. I stayed dairy free for four months following the cleanse, which I'll get to in a moment. Breaking the fast was harder than starting it for me. Chewing was just weird and things like breads tasted and felt funny in my mouth. So there you have it, a roughly 20 day program.

So, about nursing during the cleanse. Almost everything I read advised against doing this for reasons ranging from your body detoxing and passing those toxins on to the baby through your breastmilk to cleanses not being enough calories to sustain breastfeeding. The BluePrint Cleanse is roughly 1100 calories a day, but those are 1100 nutrition packed calories. So I went for it. My thinking was that she is getting any "toxins" my body had through my milk anyway, and if I needed to be cleaned out then maybe she did too.

Unlike some other juice fast reviewers, I actually liked the green juice. I thought it was really fresh and kind of citrusy. The PAM juice was fantastic, although it felt more like a treat than a cleanse thing. The nut milk (yes, you read that right) was okay. Kind of gloppy even after shaking it like crazy. I don't really like chewing my liquids, so I could have skipped this happily. The one juice that freaking sucked my will to live was the Spicy Lemonade. It didn't taste like lemonade, as in the awesome stuff that comes in a 1 gallon plastic cup at the New York State Fair. No this was some toxic acid with cayenne pepper that hit the back of your throat after each gulp and made you beg for death. If you've ever done the Master Cleanse you know what I'm talking about. Nutritionally, I didn't understand the point of this juice, or believe its claims of speeding up the metabolism. In my head it was a way they could make a profit off of lemons and water. But for $11 a bottle I wasn't about to skip it, so I drank it daily and suffered in silence. 

The effects of the cleanse were unreal. Lola has crazy eczema, had a significant case of cradle cap, and generally pretty sensitive skin. The juice fast cleared all of that up and made me realize that the kid is super sensitive to dairy, which is why I stayed dairy-free for the months following the cleanse. And it is why I am getting ready to cleanse again (I fell off the non-dairy wagon and I want to clean house for her and for me).

As for the effects on me those too were unreal. I know the thing everyone wants to know about first is how much weight I lost. The answer is four pounds over 20 days. I didn't really loose a ton of weight on the cleanse itself (a lot of bloat, not a lot of weight), but I started off being a pretty small person to begin with. I never gained a single pound back, and actually lost another five pounds in the months that followed. My skin looked great, and any dryness or blemishes cleared up. And I slept like a daddy (because we all know, babies don't really sleep, but their daddies somehow do).  And in the category of things you never wanted to know about me, all of the backend problems that I've suffered from over the years have gone away. In my life I have never been, ahem, regular. I haven't had a problem since.

Now that I have done a cleanse, I am honestly more inclined to do the whole thing myself. Here are all of the recipes for the BPC broken down for anybody interested in DIY'ing a juice fast. I plan on doing my next cleanse -- five days -- this summer. This time I'm making all of my own juices. Cleansing, for me anyway, seems to be a way to keep my health in check and to kind of regroup after a few months of frenetic, on-the-go eating. The nice part about the process is that it forces me to make a commitment to myself and my own health. Something that I'm not always good at doing.

Feel free to ask me anything about this, I'm happy to share more details or answer questions. If you are able to comment through Disqus, I ask that you do so instead of emailing so that if someone else has the same question they can see the answer too!

For anyone that is interested, here are some fun to read reviews of BPC here, here, and here. I think I'd be BFF with two of these bloggers. I bet you can guess which two...

More Progress in the Nursery

Come to Reign over us!

Today is the Feast of the Queenship of Our Blessed Lady
- before that it was the Feast of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces - 
and the Processional Copy of Our Lady of Christchurch
 was enthroned before the holy altar in 
St Teresa's Church, Riccarton, Christchurch
 during the traditional sung Holy Mass. 
 Afterwards roses
 (which one can see arranged before Our Lady)
 were blessed and distributed in honour of
 Our Blessed Lady's Queenship
 of this City and the Universe.
 Providentially a faithful soul
 had also brought a single snapdragon flower to Mass
 - it is winter in Christchurch
 and the flowers are not common now - 
recalling that the medieval name for this flower was
 "Our Lady's Slipper".
 Most appropriately for today
 she showed us how they as children
 had been taught to open the flower
 and behold inside "Our Lady's Sceptre". 
May her sweet reign never cease!

All About the Juice

Juice cleansing is nothing new. In fact, I would say it's reaching a point of yuppy chicness these days. I mean seriously, where else but in America will people voluntarily shell out $65 a day to starve themselves on the recommendation of hungry starlets and idosyncratic bloggers? Nowhere.

So I joined the masses in January and did my own cleanse. And like all things that happen in my life, it took me a while to sit down and actually write about it. I can tell that there's a fascination with juicing now, because in the weeks and months following my cleanse I have received a lot of messages and emails from friends wanting to know more about what I did, if it's possible to do it on your own (without a pricy program), and how I felt before, during, and after. So here goes. I chose to do a cleanse...

  • Because for the better part of the last three years I've injected myself in the arse and the gunt with hormones.

  • Because my life is a little out of control and this is a place where I can exert control (and yes, I am in therapy for this too).

  • Because I was feeling kind of physically and emotionally heavy.

  • Because I wanted to see if I could avoid having a tummy tuck if I just lost "a little more weight".

  • And because when I was in college I smoked and drank and may have snorted everything but my shoes.  I'm pretty sure that sticks with you, so I thought this might reverse some of the damage I'd already done to my body.

I was not new to juicing or drinking green juice before the cleanse. In fact, I owned several books on it before cleansing (like this one and this one) and I keep a Pinterest board for new recipes. A few years ago I scored a ridiculous deal on a juicer in Marshall's, of all places, and that was the catalyst for my conversion. But I had never done an actual fast. Now fasting companies will call this a feast. Do not be fooled.

So following the birth of Lola (my third child if you're new around these parts) I hit an emotional low and I felt the need to exert control over my life and that manifested into my first three day juice cleanse. My research on this consisted of a quick google search on a hasty night in January. I selected the company, BluePrint Cleanse (BPC), because it was one of the few that offered nationwide home delivery and because I liked the clever copywriting and the clean packaging. What can I say? I'm an easy sell.

In an effort to keep this post from getting out of control long, I'll be back tomorrow with my full experience and some resources for anyone that's interested.

dottie angel & society6

today i am wearing my 'salesman' cap, its been quite the while and i have to say with my top knot and butterfly clip is not the most comfortable but hey ho, lets go...

one of my new year resolutions alongside of 'make space for opportunity to come knocking' was 'set up a society6 shop'

well 5 whole months later i have only jolly well gone and done it! its taken me several days to set up for several reasons...

reason one: i have a humongous archive of pictures over the past 6 years of dottie angel and that takes a lot of time to shift through

reason two: popping prints in the shop was easy peasy as 1 2 3, however re-sizing things to become something other than a print was not my forte and required a lesson in Gimp from Our #3


reason three:  i am a tortoise these days, long gone are my days of being a hare... and surely knowing the outcome of that little tale, a tortoise is 'a okay' with me

so there we have it, 46 dottie angel pictures are now in my dottie angel society6 shop and i could not be more hippity happity about the whole darn thing.
my little society6 shop is filled to the point of overflowing with dottie angel goodness and in turn has filled my little heart and head with glee.
here's just a sprinkling, ney smidgen of what you will find...

in all different sizes

if you click on one, you will see the choice of frames

most handy dandy for every eventuality

never in my life have i wished as much as i do now for an iphone. i would like a different cover for each day of the week, a bit like the 'monday to sunday' knickers one wore as a child

nifty and nice, 'nough said

see above about my 'monday to sunday' knickers

a perfectly perfect way to make lappity laptop and ivor ipad look the bees knees lying around on the coffee table

so kitschy, so colourful, so darn slightly wrong! if you click on them in the shop, you can see all the sizes they come in

so ta dah! 
who would have believed it...

oh! and just in case a dearie or two may happen to bring their piggy bank whilst window shopping i have a bees knees coupon for free shipping the kind folks at society6 gave me. alas it appears to not last more than 24 hrs, expiring midnight pacific time on the 31st may, however, i am thinking, better than nothing at all.
copy and paste this handy link
(it does exclude, framed art, canvases and cushions with inserts, but a okay for cushion covers)
and plonk it in the necessary place during checkout.
gosh, i truly am quite professional at my instructions today. as i have yet to actually try it myself i am hazarding a guess there is a necessary place at some point during checkout. i am thinking i will have to give it a go myself... test it out, be a guinea pig, oh! be a Mister Muchly

no no no! Mister Muchly, do not distract from my salesman spiel with your 'just too muchly cute ways'...
darn and drat it

oakie dokes, well that's me and my sales pitch done. 
over and out for now,
Tif x... oh yes, well alright then...
Tif and Mister Muchly x

Maryfest and Grand Procession in Honour of Our Lady of Christchurch

Christchurch Knights of the Southern Cross act as 
Our Lady's Sediarii
- taking their place at the front of the bier
carrying our replica of the statue of
Our Lady of Christchurch.

This Sunday our confreres in Christchurch, New Zealand,
participated in the annual Procession,
Consecration of the City and Diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
and Pontifical Benediction
which they had been asked to organise by the local ordinary,
His Lordship the Most Reverend Barry Jones, D.D.,
Bishop of Christchurch.

For the last few weeks we have been planning and advertising
this wonderful event throughout the Diocese,
primarily using this poster -
translated for other local communities into
Polish, Korean, Tagalog, Arabic and Greek.

Thanks be to God and Our Lady,
St Mary's pro-Cathedral was filled to capacity
as Bishop Jones, accompanied by
Bishop Emeritus Basil Meeking
with the Administrator of the pro-Cathedral, Fr Friel,
as well as more than a dozen priests
led around 500 faithful from the Diocese
in an Act of Homage
to our
Heavenly Queen.

Many of the faithful had made banners in the last weeks
and these were evident in the lateral isle on the Gospel side.
Representatives of the Legion of Mary,
the Catholic Women's League,
the Knights of the Southern Cross,
as well the Keralite, Filipino, Korean,
Polish, Vietnamese,
Maori, Coptic, Ethiopian and Samoan communities,
members of the Marist, the Marist Brothers,
the Community of St John
the Marist Sisters
the Sisters of Nazareth and of the Beatitudes
many schools and parishes
joined in with the Bishop
the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer
and of course our own traditional Catholics who had come from
all over South Island to be there.

The City of Christchurch Highland Pipe Band accompanied us
as we processed around the pro-Cathedral
and along Manchester Street.

The beautiful replica of Our Lady of Christchurch
which we carried in the procession.
The Queen of this City
crushes the old serpent
and extends her benign reign
over New Zealand!

At the end of the procession as the trumpet rang out
Our Lady of Christchurch
was crowned before His Lordship the Bishop
by little Esther
who had received Our Lord for the
first time that morning
in Our Mother of Perpetual Succour Oratory.

What a great grace to be able to see
the City and Diocese Consecrated again to
the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

Our very great thanks to all those who helped
in many and varied ways
to make the day most memorable
no less for its bright sunshine on a day
predicted to be overcast and awaiting snow!

To read more about the protecting image
of Our Lady of Christchurch
and to see more images please visit
Our Lady of Christchurch Facebook page.

The splendid photographs
for this blog were provided
Abi Wiseman Photography.

a little loaf of white crusty goodness...

last week a small miracle happened and that small miracle, was i made bread. now for some that may not count as a miracle but for me it does. i would go as far as to say, it goes alongside the miracle of learning to crochet. that's how marvelous last week's little miracle was to me

a little loaf of white crusty goodness
i think i lived in fear of making bread, i never really understood how you did it, just presumed it was a bit of a faff and took up time and lots of kneading and oh, so many other things i put in the way of attempting to make a little loaf of white crusty goodness.

however times are 'a changing' around this here mossy shed, and after years of bumbling through my kitchen seeing things as a bit of a chore, i now have to reassess how and what i spend my time on. finally, after what seems like yonks, i have knowledge as to what has caused me chronic health symptoms for quite the while. and in turn, (alongside of other things), what i stick into my aging bod is of the utmost importance. i think it always has been, i was just in denial. so label reading has become my new hobby at the grocery store and homemade 'i know what i put in it, so i know what i will get out of it' cooking is the order of the day. 

(and i confess, this actually takes up most of my day these days, i have high hopes this will become less so the more knowledgeable i become but for now, it is what it is)

fortunately a friend of mine told me of a recipe she had found for easy peasy bread making. "easy peasy breadmaking" were the key words to make me sit up and take note. after i had sat up, made a few notes, i finished it up with a rallying pep talk to myself...

and like so many things when we take the time, set it aside and use it wisely to learn something new, we are left with such an overwhelming sense of achievement that really cannot be equaled to anything else i know. was i fearful my little loaf would not play fair with me and end up like a brick? yes i was. however i cast Mr Doubter aside and instead, saw my little loaf of bread as something handmade and immediately my little cogs switched to a different gear, a gear that said "handmade! easy peasy! you're in your element, Tif. you can do it!"
and so i did...

not a brick insight...

2 miracles made for each other, homemade soup and homemade bread
and if indeed you would like to also try your crafty hand at a little loaf of white crusty goodness so easy peasy you will wish to make one each and every day, then here is where you will find all the info and brilliant step by step photos.

and just a footynote, because a footynote does need to be added: 
my first attempt (yes, i have dared to make 2 just to test it was not a one off miracle) i added a tad more than the 1 1/2 cups of water in the recipe. to start with, a mild panic arose when i looked at the soggy wet contents in my bowl but i just covered it up with cling film and allowed it to rest on the side as per instructions and continued as if nothing had happened. well here's the thing, it came out just peachy perfect and in fact, having cooked the 2nd loaf as per instructions i've come to the conclusion i prefer it with a bit more water in the mix.

Church Attire

Hi friends, I need a huge favor. Lola's christening is in a week and a half and I am struggling to find something to wear. (This is clearly a major problem, no?) I ordered this dress from ASOS and it was very short and very tight. Not a good church combination.

Yesterday I attempted to go to the mall with the kiddos to find a dress and was chastised for having my children in Ann Taylor. The salesperson actually looked at Ryan and said, "Are you helping mommy shop or are you just running around like a wildman tearing apart the store?" I should add that he hadn't touched a single thing, though he was making funny noises and running as fast as he could into my legs and then laughing hysterically. Between her crap attitude and the fact that she kept handing me dresses in the wrong size, I walked out empty handed.

This is kind of what I had in mind. Not necessarily the colors (although I do love those too) but the shape. Modest, while not looking too mom jeans. And a mummy tummy flattering a-line, shift dress. You with me?

If you've seen anything like this anywhere lately, let me know. I am going to do my best to find something during nap time this weekend. I think I may have already missed my window to order online. Gah!

Also, congratulations to Crystal for winning the Jewel Kade Giveaway! Message me your mailing address and I'll get them out this week. Thank you to all that entered!

Hitched Studios Photography Workshop

Last weekend I had the awesome pleasure of taking a second workshop with the Hitched Studios crew. That's right, SECOND, workshop. I took their level one earlier this month. And I finally feel like I know how to use my camera. Now whether I am actually taking interesting pictures remains a topic for discussion, but the color and the focus are finally good. Hallelujah.

If you are in the greater Boston area, and are looking for a great set of photographers for family or celebrations, I highly recommend them. I mean, highly.

With all of my new photography skillz I have zero aspirations to go on to do anything great, like open my own biz-ness. A DSLR does not make one a photographer, this much I know. And I seriously lack the artful eye necessary to be a photographer for realsies. But I am pretty thrilled to be able to take better pictures of the kids and maybe save a little moolah when it comes time to take a family photo for our holiday cards. Especially since I sprung for a wireless shutter trigger earlier this year. Holler.

Here are some of my practice shots from the weekend.

{ practice engagement shoot }

{ practice baby shoot }

{ practice adult shoot }

The fab crew that held the workshop are amazing and will be offering their workshops more regularly if anyone is interested in attending one themselves. Follow Hitched Studios on Facebook for the most up-to-date information.

P.S. It is not too late to enter the Jewel Kade giveaway! Enter now for a chance to win these fabulous earrings.


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