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December 2013

About This Year… and a Beetroot Quinoa Chocolate Cake for 2014

December 31, 2013

This year has been full. Spectacularly full.

Not necessarily full of events or dates…yes, there’s been some travel and work projects, a few weddings, endless appointments and deadlines, ups and downs. But it’s felt full in a different sense…

This year has been full of thought and appreciation. Full of hours spent nurturing passions, reading and pondering, reflecting. Full of moments when I’ve been tested and had to trust my gut, passing on things that didn’t feel right even if they did promise financial gains. I’d rather live more frugally and avoid spending hours working in areas that don’t feed me. I am thankful that Ben and I can choose to be fully selfish and pursue our personal and professional happiness. We have our parents to thank for being phenomenally supportive – letting us live with them for periods this year, lending us their car, providing unwavering encouragement…the list goes on. Because of them we’ve been able to create this life.

And that is what this year has been about. Crafting the most nourishing life possible. We’ve done really well, I think. We are happy. I am happy. 2014 looks to be incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding. And I am full. Spectacularly full.

So, lovelies, on this day, the last of 2013, I’d like to share with you my recent cake creation. Yes, enough self-indulgence, let’s talk about cake. Wait…

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I think if I had to choose my most favourite cake I’d say…well, I’d say, “don’t make me choose one”. Then I’d barter with you to allow two choices. I’d barter with cake, of course. My new farming friend Clancy always says that the art of bartering should come back in fashion. I agree. We need more cake exchanges in our lives.

So, let’s start again. I think if I had to choose two of my most favourite cakes I’d say…well, I’d say, “that depends on my mood”…

The first would be a light citrusy delight, maybe with some spice. Like this orange almond beauty. Or perhaps this almond olive oil cake. Ok, no, it’s this cardamom snacking cake. Yes, I see I’ve mentioned three different cakes here…what’s your point?

The second option is most certainly a flourless chocolate cake. You know the kind I’m talking about – dense, fudgey and full, devilishly full. It’s the cake of my dreams. Just go ahead and serve me up a slice for breakfast, with a more than an appropriate dollop of crème fraiche to support the rich, voluptuous chocolate body. Cake for breakfast, or rather, flourless chocolate cake for breakfast, is possibly the best treat wake-up call. And PS, my favourite flourless chocolate cake recipe by Sophie Dahl indeed uses espresso powder and therefore is entirely justified in it’s breakfast existence.

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Yes, I’m so dearly in favour of cake for breakfast. However if I were to serve Sophie Dahl’s version on the regular it would lose some of its sparkle. That cake tastes like a treat, and a treat it is. My beetroot quinoa chocolate cake arrived out of a desire to create a slightly more nutritious wake-up call, one that I could perhaps justify serving with greedy regularity. Amy’s two recipes for beetroot, chocolate, quinoa delights had inspired me to play with these ingredients and so that is where I started. And I ended up with a lovely and light cake, though still fully fudgey with a beautiful chocolate body. Cake for breakfast indeed. I even took some to the farm where I bartered cake for farm knowledge. That’s a good deal, I think.

Happy new year, friends. I hope 2014 is full for you. Full of chasing passions, full of beetroot quinoa cake, full of living this life.

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Beetroot Quinoa Chocolate Cake

200g quality Dark Cooking Chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
1 cup grated fresh Beetroot
1 cup Cooked Quinoa
1 & 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup melted Unsalted Butter (~85g solid weight)
4 large Eggs, separated (or 3 duck eggs)
1/2 cup Milk
1 tablespoon Honey or pure Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin.
2. Break up the chocolate and blend in a food processor until very fine. Add the grated beetroot, cooked quinoa, baking powder, salt, melted butter, egg yolks, milk, honey or maple and vanilla and puree until smooth.
3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites through the chocolate batter (starting with 1/3 of the egg whites then the rest). Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface.
4. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. My oven usually cooks this cake in 35 minutes.
5. Serve with creme fraiche, mascarpone or greek yoghurt. Slices of this cake (wrapped in plastic wrap) freeze excellently.

Heidi xo

Christmas Day 2013

December 28, 2013

Christmas. I still wake around 6am. Every year. The excitement doesn’t fade. Well, it does somewhat. These days it’s not about the presents, rather the pork time spent with family. It’s all happiness, with bubbles and crackling and bonbons that won’t crack, post-pork and pre-pudding naps and boozy-cream fuelled dream talk.

After a morning run along the beach, Ben and I drove to my parents’ house for breakfast followed by present opening with mum, dad and my younger brother.


Family arrived and the feast began. This year mum did a different pork recipe (this apple cider pork shoulder recipe) and it was just lovely. Along with the overnight-cooked pork we had our annual assembly of awesome. There was ham off the bone, rolled and macadamia-stuffed turkey breast, roasted vegetables, two kinds of gravy, peas and…we forgot to put the other stuffing in the oven. Every year something gets left out. Last year it was the onions, this year it was the stuffing. And I love my stuffing. But you know what? We didn’t even notice. I suppose that just goes to show how divine this spread was. Thank you, mum and dad. We are ever always impressed and grateful.







I hope you had a Merry Christmas, friends.


Heidi xo











Christmas Breakfast 2013

December 25, 2013

Christmas morning in our house is pure joy. Presents, surprises and jolly laughter by the tree, as the smell of overnight cooked pork fills the air…a teaser of what is to come at lunch time.

For breakfast we have fruit salad. Summer fruits, yoghurt kissed with orange blossom water and fresh mint leaves, honey on the side and a coffee for two. It’s delightful.

I hope you are having a joyful day with your loved ones. Merry Christmas! Oh, and do tell, what did you have for breakfast today on Christmas morning?

Heidi xo

ps. I am loving my Pop Basic Melodie dress. So festive.





Coconut Baked Doughnuts with Macadamia Maple Glaze

December 20, 2013

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I made these for Ben and I one ‘working from home Wednesday’. You know, as you do. After a lunch loaded with leaves, lentils and sardines, he retreated back to his office and I plonked on the couch to work on my websites. While our midday meal was entirely satisfying, it was a tad low in calories. I knew we needed a little something extra…

And so I whipped out my doughnut pan (have you bought one yet?) and made a batch of doughnuts…using my doughnut pan (have you?). Man, I love my doughnut pan (seriously. GO buy one. Or three. NOW).

My previous adventures in doughnut making yielded lovely mounds, yet I knew I wanted to venture into flour alternatives. Pumpkin doughnuts are on my mind, but I think I’ll wait until harvest time for a pumpkin party. With a bag of coconut flour in my cupboard my mind went tropical. Coconut flour is widely popular now as it’s a low calorie, low carb, grain free flour (the Paleo crowd are mad for it). While I love my regular flour and the glorious baked goods it can create, I do appreciate using alternatives such as almond meal and coconut flour. I find they sit nicely in my stomach and provide a happy dose of nutrition (hello vitamins and minerals and fibre). So, coconut flour it was and off to the kitchen I scooted.

Half an hour later I had a batch of baked beauties on my bench, begging to be glazed and devoured. The kettle freshly boiled, I gifted Ben a cup of tea and a warm coconut baked doughnut with macadamia maple glaze to fuel him through the afternoon. I moved back to the couch, ginger green tea by my side and doughnut in hand. After three bites I had to stop and email Ben…

“I want to smash my face into these doughnuts they are so good”.

“I want to smash them into my face too, they’re amazing”, he replied.

…our doughnut love language.

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Coconut Baked Doughnuts with Macadamia Maple Glaze

Makes 6 doughnuts using your doughnut pan.

Recipe adapted from Sweetened with Honey and inspired by this maple pecan glaze.


Doughnut ingredients
4 large Eggs (or 3 duck eggs – I used duck eggs), at room temperature
1/4 cup Milk (I used cow’s milk)
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter, Melted (~70g cold weight)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Coconut Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Glaze ingredients
1/2 cup Macadamia nuts (unsalted)
2 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup (reduce to 1 tablespoon if you don’t like such a sweet glaze)
2 tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons Water
1-2 tablespoons Milk
2 pinches Salt
* use leftover glaze on pancakes. Or more doughnuts…

1. Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Celsius and grease your doughnut pan with butter then set aside.
2. In a stand mixer (or using vigorously whisking by hand), beat the eggs on medium for ~30 seconds, then add the butter slowly and beat until creamy. Add the honey, vanilla and milk and beat until combined. Next add the coconut flour, baking powder and salt, then beat until combined (be sure to stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure the mixture is well incorporated).
3. Using two teaspoons, scoop the mixture into the greased doughnut pan, filling the holes evenly. Bang the pan down to ensure no air pockets remain, then smooth the top with the back of the spoon.
4. Bake the doughnuts in the hot oven for 17 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
5. While the doughnuts are baking, prepare your glaze by combining all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and puree until smooth (I left some chunks as I like the texture of the macadamia pieces). Place in the fridge to chill for a couple of minutes (if you leave it for too long it will harden and make it difficult to dip and coat the doughnuts. If this happens simply warm it on the stove.
6. Dip the doughnuts in glaze then serve, eat and enjoy. And I know you want to but try to not punch yourself in the face.

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Heidi xo



Christmas Crostoli

December 17, 2013

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Christmas is a time for family, for traditions, love and pudding. This is how it goes in my house.

We ponder on the year that has been and spend unrestricted hours together with nothing particular on our schedule besides being. We read recipes, we cook, we eat. We sit and drink and talk, we walk and laugh and cry because we miss my brother. He died three days before Christmas, so there are a whole lot of emotions this time of year. I’ll get suddenly angry, really angry. Or I feel like I’ve been punched in the chest. But then I’ll also feel just so thankful for all the love in my life. And I’ll want to dance and spin and dust everything in icing sugar and gift, gift a little love. Surrounding ourselves with friends and family and doing what we do best, crafting through cooking, makes these wounded December days sweeter…

I recently did the Myers Briggs personality test. Oh, I adore things like that. Don’t we all just love to hear about ourselves? It’s endlessly fascinating…to ourselves. Anyway I am said to be an ESFJ, which I am told indentifies me as a “provider” and someone who strongly upholds and cherishes traditions. Truth. This year, we started a new tradition. Christmas cooking with Rosa and her girls.

Some people truly are angels, guiding you through life, sharing your hard times and celebrating the good. So it’s quite fitting that we made Crostoli with our friends. You see, Crostoli are a traditional Italian treat made at Carnevale and Lent, and these fairy light bites are said to be the food of angels. Stirring and kneading, rolling and cutting, frying and dusting. Sometimes rolling the dough too thin and sometimes overfrying…last Saturday we learnt and laughed and loved and in doing so created a new tradition. Us girls, cooking at Christmas.

I can hardly wait until next year.

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Lunch time with beautiful salads, cheese and Sicilian sausage and mascarpone strudel. It was all just divine. If you want to learn how to make the strudel and similarly blissful bites (which trust me, you do), book in to Rosa’s cooking class (see my blog post, here). And keep your eyes open for her Sicilian tour next year. Sicily through Rosa’s eyes is the most beautiful thing.

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For dessert we sampled our fresh Crostoli (heavenly) and some of Rosa’s biscotti (this time with a cherry in the middle, what a great festive touch).

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Josephine’s Crostoli

Thank you, Rosa, for sharing your mother-in-law’s recipe with us today. What a true treat! Rosa encourages you to make Crostoli with your family, involving children and adults alike in the process, having fun together making the shapes and twisting the pastry.

Makes around 60 Crostoli. Possibly more…I did get carried away with the sampling once we got home.

1 Egg
2 tablespoons White Sugar
1 & 1/2 cups Plain Flour
1 & 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup Brandy/Whisky
1/2 cup White Wine
zest of 1 Lemon
1 litre Canola Oil for frying
1 & 3/4 cup Icing Sugar for dusting

1. Place the egg in a large bowl and whisk it well. Add the sugar and continue to whisk. Add a small amount of both flours and whisk again.
2. Add the oil, brandy, wine, zest and the rest of the flour. Mix well.
3. Turn the dough out onto a board or bench and knead for ~3 minutes. The dough needs to be firm, not soft. Form into a log then cut into 7 pieces.
4.  Pass the dough through a pasta machine as follows: 1st setting four times (folding in half each time to create a smooth, even rectangle). 2nd-6th setting one time each until a long sheet of pastry forms. Not too thin that it becomes transparent but not too thick that it feels heavy. Think egg pasta pappardelle thickness.
5. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the sheet of dough into strips ~4cm wide and put a slit in each strip. Turn each strip inside out, folding the top or bottom through the slit. Place on a tea bowl and continue with the rest of the dough.
6. Deep fry the strips in hot oil (a piece of dough should sizzle nicely when you drop it in as a test) a few at a time until slightly golden. Remove with tongs and drain on a piece of paper towel.
7. Arrange on a plate and when ready to serve, sift icing sugar generously over the top. If storing, use paper towel between layers to keep them crisp and store in an airtight container or cooking pot. Dust with icing sugar only to serve, not earlier. Best enjoyed with hot coffee.

I hope you feel much love this month…much sweet, sugar-dusted love from the angels in your lives.

Heidi xo

Parsley Almond Pesto

December 14, 2013

My entire family adores pesto. Eggplant? Well, it doesn’t encourage equal affection in my crew (Ben and I are mad for eggplant, while my brother labels it “Devil food”). And as for pâté and other livery goods, well, this time I’m the odd one out. I detest the stuff.

No, my family and I do not always see eye to eye on food matters. But we do agree on pesto.

There’s nothing like a rich scoop of fragrant, herby green goodness mixed through hot pasta with a splash of the pasta cooking water and a splosh of extra virgin olive oil. I always like to have a sturdy supply of pesto in the fridge, for those languid Thursday nights when dolloping and swirling is all you can muster.

Our family favourite comes from Paul’s Pesto, which we pick up at the Red Hill Market. It’s a basil and pinenut blend. Though lately I’ve been loving on parsley and so decided to whip up a parsley pesto using almonds. The resulting sauce was so lovely and fresh and energetic, and such a cheeky Kermit green. It was delicious pooled over hot pasta with roasted mushrooms and parmesan shavings sitting pretty up top. Yes, I’m quite pleased with my parsley pesto.

My family are too…


Parsley Almond Pesto

Makes 1 jam jar full

5 heaping cups fresh flat leaf Parsley (mainly the leafy part but some stalks are fine)
1/2 heaping cup Almonds, unsalted
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 small clove Garlic, crushed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
A pinch of salt

1. Roast your almonds in a hot 180 degree Celsius oven for ~15 minutes until toasty and golden. Allow to cool completely.
2. In a food processor, blitz the parsley and almonds. Add the oil slowly and blitz to combine. Add the lemon juice, garlic, cheese and salt then blitz again. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
3. Serve with hot al dente pasta, a splash of the pasta cooking water to help distribute the pesto and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil). I also served mine with roasted flat mushrooms (roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper for ~40 minutes then sliced) and extra parsley and parmesan.


Heidi xo






A Wednesday Morning

December 11, 2013

Toasting nuts and seeds is one of my most favourite ways to instantly take my breakfast bowl from nice to spectacular. And everyone deserves a bit of spectacular in their morning, don’t you think?…

Another way to make your morning spectacular is with freshly ground coffee beans. Now we’re talking.

Mum knew that Ben and I were in the market for a coffee grinder, and before long her superior op shopping skills summoned a splendidly functional grinder. Mum is famous for her finds. This one might just be my most favourite yet.

Today Ben and I were both home for breakfast, which was a real mid-week treat. I so love to share my Wednesday Breakfast Club eats with him.

After a morning jog we got to preparing our meal, Ben meditating over the coffee grinder and me toasting some nuts and seeds. Almonds, pepitas and sunflower seeds. Plus some untoasted, chopped brazil nuts. I handed Ben a brazil nut to try, knowing it to be a fairly foreign ingredient for him. “Aren’t they amazing?” I said. “They are the richest food source of selenium, you only need two a day and you’ve got your intake”. Nature is magical.

Ben retreated with his breakfast to his office and I curled up on the couch, reading some favourite blogs and enjoying my toasted bowl of goods and freshly ground coffee.

It wasn’t a fancy morning, but it was spectacular.


♥ Gippsland Dairy Smooth and Creamy Yoghurt – my treat yoghurt (but without the fruit in it, please, just yoghurt). I say “treat” because the second ingredient is sugar. As an every day variety I usually go for Farmers Union Greek Yoghurt.
♥ Nectarine
♥ Toasted Almonds, Pepitas, Sunflower Seeds
♥ Brazil Nuts
♥ Freshly Ground Bahati Coffee

What did you have for breakfast today?

Heidi xo

Rosa’s Almond Biscotti

December 9, 2013

Tis the season for delicate treats, festive bites and sweetness. Nothing too big or excessive, but we do want something celebratory. It’s Christmas, after all.

Sometimes it’s a bowl of cherries, other times a glass of champagne. Oftentimes it’s a Christmas biscuit…possibly shortbread, or perhaps something with peppermint. Mostly it’s Rosa’s Almond Biscotti.


Rosa’s Almond Biscotti are what you should make when you want a fool-proof biscuit recipe that is so dearly full of almond flavour and delightfully soft (in contrast to the common weapon-grade hard biscotti we tend to think of). Rosa’s Almond Biscotti are what you should make when you have a mountain of egg whites leftover from making ice-cream. Rosa’s Almond Biscotti are what you should make for Christmas gifts this year. Well, along with my Christmas Muesli, of course.

Rosa’s Almond Biscotti are what you should make. Period.

I’m so looking forward to baking with Rosa and her girls this weekend. Perhaps I’ll add another of her gems to my repertoire. If not, I dare say I’ll be happy with these beauties forever…

Rosa’s Almond Biscotti (recipe link), found in the beautiful, heart-felt Eat Ate cookbook.


Heidi xo


Carrot Crumble

December 6, 2013

Carrots + Crumble. Together. Forever.

I’m a carrot hoarder. Right now there are 2.5 bags of carrots in my fridge. And 4 in my handbag. A couple on my kitchen bench…There’s no method or reason to my carrot consumption, it’s just real and intense. Need a snack? No problem, I’ll hand you a carrot.

Growing up in my household, mum would often make crumble for dessert. Apple crumble, usually. This was the dessert of choice for my family. Well, actually it was my dessert of choice, and of course everything I loved was just as equally adored by the rest of my family, right? No, looking back with somewhat wiser eyes I see that the world did and does not, in fact, revolve around me and my preferences. Perhaps my younger brother believed “glub” to be the family favourite? He was mad for that cocoa custard concoction, whereas I would respond with an indignant *sigh* if glub were to be served…where was my crumble? Regardless of any likely grandiose dessert views, my family surely did delight in apple crumble with splendid regularity.

A short while ago I got the urge to marry my two loves in one dish. “What a novel idea!”, I thought. My adored orange vegetable, dressed up all fancy-like in a crumble coat with currant jewels, attending an event I am rather fond of…dinner. Playing with ingredients here was super fun, and the resulting dish totes a lovely level of sweetness and crunch.

I like to serve this carrot crumble just warm with a bossy dollop of creme fraiche. It’s all kinds of comforting. Especially when eaten while sitting on the couch reading Vogue Entertaining from the 80s.

Carrots ♥ Crumble 4 ever…

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Carrot Crumble

Serves 3-4, depending on your hunger level and whether you’re serving it as a side or main. The photograph above is of the small serve left after devouring two large portions for dinner the night before.

Ingredients for the filling
370g Carrots (3-4 small-medium)
1/2 a large Leek
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
A good pinch of salt
A good pinch of fresh thyme leaves
A generous pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg
10 grams Unsalted Butter
1/2 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar (a delicate splosh)
1 & 1/2 tablespoon Currants

Ingredients for the topping
3/4 cup Rolled Oats
2 tablespoons Wholemeal Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons chopped Almonds
20g Unsalted Butter
1 tablespoon cold Water

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 Degrees Celsius and prep your vegetables by slicing your carrots into 1.5cm thick pieces on a diagonal and thinly slicing your leek.
2. Steam your carrot slices until just tender (~5 minutes). Place the cooked carrots into a circular baking dish 18cm diameter & 4cm deep (or one of similar dimensions) and add the butter, thyme and nutmeg, stirring to combine.
3. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When hot, add your leek and the salt, then cook until soft (2-3 minutes). Transfer the cooked leeks to the baking dish, add the vinegar and currants and stir until everything is well combined.
4. Prepare your crumble topping by whisking the oats, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the almonds and stir. Chop your butter into 2cm chunks, then add to the oat mixture. Work in the butter with your finger tips until incorporated with some small chunks of butter remaining. Add the cold water and stir to combine.
5. Pour the crumble topping over the carrot filling and then bake in the hot oven for 50-60 minutes until the filling is juicy and tender. Check your crumble at ~30 minutes and cover with foil if the topping is getting too brown. Serve with creme fraiche.

Heidi xo

Around The House

December 3, 2013

Yesterday was hot, really hot. Our home does not handle weather extremes too well, so I was not sure how we’d fare. But you know what? It was rather pleasant in the end. Working from home on these suddenly Summer days means lunch-time swims at the beach. And how can that be bad? In the evening, while waiting for Ben to finish work I snapped a few pictures around the house…




Ben has been sick these past few days, so I treated him to his favourite out of season fruits and forced him to drink a bucket of ginger tea. Though I think it was the salty sea swim that cured him.


I love this picture of mum and I with my older brother. And my younger brother in her belly.


On our fridge, a reminder.

In our fridge.


Bedtime reading.


Meetings, emails, calls, Edrolo life


I love the colours. Especially the faded reds.


They’re still so fresh, Emma! Don’t look at the stalks…




Dinner prep. Garlic and chili.


Washing radicchio. Ben’s bitter favourite.


What will I wear to my friend’s Wedding on Saturday?


The Harrison Ford badge I made at Coachella is dusty. Maybe I’ll clean it up and wear him to the Wedding…


We got this stool for free from a junk sale. I need to re-cover it. I also need to learn the right term for re-covering furniture.


Before firing up the BBQ to cook dinner, we freed our vegetables from our (clearly) man-made tent. I didn’t want them to burn in the sun. I don’t know what I’m doing…At least they’re healthy.




Eaten on the couch whilst watching Parks and Recreation on Ben’s laptop, propped up by a pile of pillows.

I love our life around the house.

Heidi xo


Around the house, inspired by Tracy Shutterbean‘s My Everyday Life series.