My Italian lover – Gillio planner

I’ve embraced technology for a long time and use and appreciate it daily. The ability to communicate worldwide on Skype, smartphones, online banking, music downloads   – these are all big things in my life.

But at the end of the day, when it comes to scheduling and planning, I am a paper person. I’m visual and I like to write things down. I’ve used a planner for as long as I can remember, and have been a pretty loyal Filofax user. I’ve strayed to Erin Condren, Kikki K, Van der Spek and even Kate Spade, but I have always come back to Filofaxes, particularly Malden and the Original. Right now I own a black and cream Van der Spek, a cherry Original Filofax, and as of last Monday a beautiful epoca leather grey Gillio Mia Cara, made of Italian leather by a company called Gillio Firenze, out of Belgium.

This is not my first Italian lover. I have tried the large and pocket sized Mia Cara as well as the Campagna but after many permutations and combinations of planners and wallets, I have settled on a personal sized wallet/planner combo.

gillio front

Here it is open flat:Gillio flat

And now here is the magic.  The planner portion on the right can be removed from the wallet section of the Gillio.

Gillio separate

Here is the planner section opened up:

gillio diary open

And here is the second magic trick – the massive pocket at the back that holds a4 papers folded….

Gillio pocket

Now before anyone gets too excited, you might want to wait for the Aussie dollar to appreciate against the Euro. This one set me back nearly $500 which is a pricey purchase for someone who is looking to simplify and slow down. My justification: this planner is not only my Italian lover but it is also my executive assistant, my brain on some days and the thing that keeps our large family functioning.

I’ve ordered some new inserts from Etsy, so I will post about my set up when they arrive.

Home grown cauliflowers can make you squeal….

It’s been awhile since I have squealed with delight. I’ve got to say I haven’t squealed much at home or work…..

Well today I did. I planted brassicas a few months ago. We have been enjoying the bountiful broccoli, but there were no cauliflowers to be seen. Until…. Today! Gorgeous little crisp heads of cauliflower. Yippee!


Today’s post is in photos. I am increasing our vegetable production. I purchased three Vegrug planters from Costco recently and my kind husband has put them together. Today we cleared the area, mulched sticks and trees, dug out stumps and put in the watering system. Tomorrow is soil, and clearing the rest of the back yard.

So the before shots – you might say it has been neglected over winter:

Before bottom half Before top halfBefore close up top half

And some where-we-got-to-today shots, with a very patient husband installing the dripper system:

 David installing dripper system

vegtrug half full bottom after

Bread bliss – homemade sour dough

Each week or fortnight, I make a little change towards being more self-sufficient. Too many changes and I get overwhelmed. One a week or so seems achievable.

This week – I am baking my own bread. I lashed out and purchased a Breville Gourmet bread maker because it makes baguettes and we are suckers for a good baguette. I must admit these babies are the best thing the bread maker makes in my view. Crusty exterior, yummy middle and delicious straight from the oven with lashings of butter. They have also passed the fussy husband I-only-like-Bakers-Delight test.

My second adventure into the wonderful world of bread making is to make my own sour dough. This is day two of making the starter. I’m using the River Cottage recipe. You basically make a starter over a period of seven days, and “feed” it over that period. Post seven days, you can start making daily sourdough. How exciting.

sour dough starter

The starter recipe (that’s above, in all its smelly glory at day 5):

100g strong baker’s flour

Enough water to make a paint like consistency

Mix and cover with gladwrap or a lid and leave in a warm place.

Each day, remove half of the starter, add 100gm flour and some water to return to the paint consistency. Keep feeding in this way for seven days. Each day you will see bubbles (natural yeast) and over time, I am led to believe, it smells better.

The night before you are ready to bake your loaf, take 100gm of the starter to 250gm strong flour and 275mls of water to make a sponge. Leave it overnight and it will look fermented again.

The next day, add 300gm of bread flour, 1 tblspn of olive oil and 10gm fine sea salt.

Hugh recommends a good hand knead and rise process, but I am little bit more practical right now. Rather than hand kneading, I will be using the bread making function in my bread maker – takes away a little of the whole connection with food part, but while I am still working full time it seems like a sensible compromise. I’ll update you on my first loaf.