Simply Scrumptious Coconut Cake

Sunburst Coconut Cake: a beautiful moist cake infused with coconut.

If you’re after a quick, simple, delicious cake that the kids are guaranteed to love, look no further. I have the perfect recipe for you, courtesy of Sunburst. This scrumptious coconut cake ticks all the boxes: – It’s moist, yummy and doesn’t need an icing so in my books that makes it healthy :-) – The recipe has only a few ingredients, making it affordable and simple to follow. – Degree of difficulty is ‘EASY’. That’s a win! – The kids can easily help in the kitchen. – The sunburst spread is palm oil free so that’s good news for the orang-utans. – 5 cents of every purchase goes to Orangutan Foundation International Australia.

Sunburst is a healthy, tasty and versatile alternative to butter and other spreads on the market.

Sunday is usually baking day at our house and recently we tried this delicious cake. It did not last long. It’s seriously good. Perfect for the kids’ lunchboxes or with a morning cuppa. Try it. You’ll thank me :-) Ingredients: 250g Sunburst 1 cup castor sugar 2 tsp. vanilla extract 1/3 cup desiccated coconut 3 eggs 2 ½ cups self-raising flour 2/3 cup milk Icing sugar to dust

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Forced) and grease and line a 20-22cm cake springform cake tin.
  1. Place the Sunburst, sugar and vanilla extract into an electric mixer and mix on a medium speed until well combined.
  1. Add the eggs and mix on a slow speed until combined. Then add the flour, desiccated coconut and the milk and mix on slow again to bring it all together. Scrape down the bowl and give a final mix on a medium speed for 1 minute.
  1. Pour mixture into prepared tin and place in oven to bake for approximately 1 hour or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  1. Once baked remove from the oven and allow to stand in tin for 10 minutes before turning out on to a rack to cool. Dust with Icing sugar and garnish with fruit of choice. We couldn’t resist adding a few white chocolate buttons to the top of the cake. I usually give my girls creative control of the decorations.

As a mother and a consumer, I like to serve nutritious food to my family, and purchase ethically. A few years ago I made the conscious decision not to buy any products that contain palm oil. Sunburst contains coconut oil, an immune boosting saturated fruit (not nut) oil. It is nut-free, egg-free, soy-free, and artificial additive free. Lots of ticks! Oh, and did I mention it has 50% less salt and 70% less saturated fat than butter?

Try this cake. Try this spread. You’re welcome. :-)

* This post was brought to you by Sunburst. All views expressed are my own.

Memories matter: How to create, capture & preserve your family memories

As a child I loved telling stories, and I still do as an adult. This blog is just one way I share stories. I like to create, collect and celebrate family moments. I gather these memories up and I enjoy chronicling their lives through words and images. It is partly for me, so I can hold onto their childhood, but it is for their benefit, too. Of course, I try to do this in a way that enables me to enjoy being in the moment with them. There’s a juggling act to capturing the special moments in life, and actually being present for them.

When you’re a parent, each time your child reaches a new milestone is exciting and naturally you want to capture these precious moments. We can’t commit every detail to memory, so our natural response is to record it. Photos, videos and letters form a little “time capsule” of our lives.  Imprinting a childhood with these ‘souvenirs’ is a lovely gift to pass on. Children will forever treasure memories if they are preserved.

 “Memories are like bridges that take us back into the past”

Like every parent in the digital age I take a ridiculous number of photos of my kids. I have thousands of photos on my hard drive. In my defence, I am determined that my children have photos to link them back to memories of when they were little. Being the fourth in line, my parents were apparently “too busy” to take pics of me. I think I’ve seen one photo of me as a baby and very few as a toddler. Yes, I am a disgruntled 4th child sufferer and haven’t gotten over this injustice. Anyone else in the same position?

If you’re like me, and enjoy collecting memories, here are 5 simple ways you can do it.

  1. Take photos that capture a moment

Photos tell the story of our lives; little moments threaded together. While naturally we like to record all the milestones (first steps, first smile, birthdays and ballet concerts) often the most precious moments happen outside of these celebrations. It’s also all the micro moments in between. I enjoy watching my children at play, from a distance. Yes, it sounds a bit stalkerish, but there is nothing more delightful than seeing a child totally absorbed in imaginative play. Whether it is making mud pies, chasing butterflies, building blocks or creating a masterpiece, their eyes reveal the depth of their emotions. Capturing a child deep in concentration or giddy with excitement often makes for powerful photo.

Tips for improving your family photos:

Get close, and then get closer. If possible, get down to their level, on the floor and experiment with different angles. Don’t always take a photo of them completely. Just focus on one part of their body – be it their hands, eyes or mouth.

Part of telling a great story is diversity. Don’t always keep your subject in the centre of the photo. Experiment with different compositions. I often take photos of them off-centre or from a height or from afar.

Keep it honest. A beautiful photo is not necessarily one in which everyone is grinning from ear to ear (although those are cute). Let things unfold naturally in front of you and remember a great photo is an authentic one.

Get outside. Nothing will improve your photos more than natural sunlight. Ditch the flash and get outdoors. Your photos will thank you for it. Indirect sunlight is best to avoid shadows. If you’re up with the birds, you’ll get a soft, natural light that’s, quite simply, gold.

Remove clutter. Keep the focus on your subject and try to remove things that will distract the eye. Ugly things in the background like bins spoil so many photos!

The lovely and clever Bron from Maxabella Loves has some great tips for improving your photography on her blog. She takes gorgeous photos and her posts are encouraging, helpful and accessible.

  1. Get creative with your pics

I love creating collages with my photos and with resources such as Picmonkey and Canva, it’s super easy to do. You can also overlay your images with words and experiment with different filters and backgrounds.

I captured the girls in front of a giant chalkboard on our holiday to Port Douglas last year. The photo itself is cool but adding text makes it more playful.

Simple photo collages in Picmonkey are quick and fun.

There are endless ways to display a collection of memories.

My recent discovery is Fat Mum Slim’s Little Moments app. It’s a fab app for making your precious memories even more special. It’s easy to use and has fun, playful editing options.

  1. Create photo books

The easiest way to preserve your family memoires is by creating a personalised photobook. Photobooks are a slick-looking alternative to photo albums, as you can print your favourite family photos directly onto the page, accompanied by text. There are loads of online options. I have used Snapfish and Photobook and impressed with both. More recently I used the mac photobook application and loved it.

  1. Make a short film

Creating short films can be time consuming, but if you’re up for a challenge, it’s worth the time and effort. I usually use a mix of video and stills to create a little movie. For your first attempt I would suggest just using images. Import all your pics to your computer and then create a theme with music. I use the iMovie function on my mac.

I prefer to keep my titles clean and simple and let my pics and video create the mood. If you’re making a birthday movie, take pics of the set up, preparation, to set up your story. You can change the speed of your clips easily and a good mix of fast and slow makes it more interesting. Here are some examples:

If you want a more detailed step-by-step guide to making a film about everyday life, head here.

  1. Create a memory box

I have memory boxes for each of my girls and I fill them with treasured keepsakes. The girls love fossicking through them and it’s a lovely bonding activity to dip into the past and remember the early days. My memory boxes include things like: newborn baby hospital bracelet, the outfit they wore when they were born, special newborn clothes and wraps, congratulations cards from family and special friends, photos, kinder journals, movie stub tickets, baby books, fairy notes and more…

I hope this post has given you some ideas on how you can preserve your precious family moments. For, in the words of Louisa may Alcott,

 “Preserve your memories, keep them well,

 what you forget you can never retell.”

 I am happy to answer any questions relating to this post. And if you want to see more of my pics, you can follow NASD on instagram.  If you have a clever way of preserving your family memories, please share in the comments section below.

A peek inside Miss A’s bedroom

Although I love looking at cute kids’ bedrooms on interior design websites, my kids bedrooms are NEVER going to resemble anything you might find on Pinterest. And that’s fine by me. I am a big believer in allowing kids’ bedrooms to be their spaces, not showrooms. Which is convenient as I have neither the time nor the money to style their rooms. And styled rooms mean you have to continuously clear the clutter, and I am simply too lazy for that. (more…)

New chapter: Starting school

When Miss A was just a baby, I couldn’t wait for her to reach the next milestone. I was eager for her to roll, crawl, walk and talk. And those milestones were celebrated with great excitement.  But lately, another milestone has been looming and my emotions have been mixed.  And today was the day for that milestone. My “baby” started school.

I wrote here about preparing myself for this moment. I held back tears when we left kinder for the last time. For me, it signified the end of a wonderful chapter and a reminder that my little girl was not so little anymore. (more…)

Wordless Wednesday: The art of play

We gave Miss A a tabletop art easel for Christmas. She loves drawing and painting and has shown quite an artistic inclination and talent from a young age. I love watching her create something from a blank canvas. Unlike her younger siblings, she can sit and focus on one task for a long time. After breakfast she goes straight to the craft tubs and begins drawing.  After drawing, she then begins crafting (is that a word?). She will happily build, make and create all day long. She produces about a dozen works of art a day. In fact, we are drowning in her artistic creations, but I can’t bear to discard many.

I love her curiosity, care and quiet patience. I love watching her work; weaving her own narrative around a blob of paint, mosaic or glitter glue. I love her persistence and precision. Most of all I just love watching her eyes as she creates, quietly focussed and determined, blazing with imagination and wonder. (more…)

Mothers need support, not condemnation

Yesterday I overheard two mums in the park talking about how someone in their mothers’ group had her ten-week old baby on formula. Cue: gasps of horror. The tone of this discussion (read: bitch session) was condescending and judgmental. Their blatant lack of support for this woman was appalling. Their sense of superiority made me mad. Breastfeeding is neither heroic nor, mandatory. Mothers should not be shamed for feeding their baby, from nipple or teat.

Sadly, such criticism is nothing new. No other role in life is as scrutinised and criticised as motherhood. And new mums are easy targets. Every mother has a story about the unwanted “advice” from a relative, friend or even a stranger in the park. I remember my first trip to the shops as a first-time mum. A passerby stopped to admire my new born. But her admiration was quickly replaced by a series of rude questions. “Did you delivery vaginally?” she enquired. Stunned, I murmured I had. “Good,” she said, “much better for the baby.” I realised then I would need a tough skin as a mum. (more…)