Currently viewing the category: "Food"

Retro Kitchen Covers (via Flora & Fauna)

When I am busy, it is so very tempting to reach for the quick convenient option. Takeaway for dinner, buying lunch or a snack from work, when something breaks – just buy a new one.  The list goes on and on…

While this seems to be a great idea in the moment, inevitably those small acts of convenience ends up costing me in the long run. More money, generating more waste or even being less healthy.

So I am always on the lookout for easy ways to save money, time and even the planet.

Here are my top five tips for making the most out of your meals – saving money and the planet while you are at it!

Ditch the single use plastic.  Get yourself a keep cup,  a metal straw, a good lunch box or bento box, and a cutlery set. Bingo! You are now prepared for anytime food-wise. Try Flora and Fauna and Biome for some fab options that look good and help you to ditch single use plastic for good!  Now that you have fab lunch gear, that brings us to the next one.

Pack your lunch.  Ok, so this may not be the most glamorous thing to do each day, but bear with me.  Packing your lunch each day can save you between $5-$15!  Over an average working week, that works out to be a saving of between $25-$75!!  Plus you won’t be generating any additional rubbish from you lunch. Most modern offices provide kitchen facilities, so you can reheat meals and wash up afterwards. Don’t despair if you don’t have a fancy kitchen.  When I am out in the field (as a lot of environmental scientists are) I use an esky (cooler) bag with a frozen drink to keep everything cool and fresh.

Plan your meals. Food waste is a huge problem in Australia and around the world – especially in developed countries. A super easy way to avoid food waste and save your precious cash is plan your meals.  Write out a weekly menu and then only buy the groceries you need.  If you want to be more sustainable, get to know your local fruit and veg shop and learn what is in season.  Seasonal produce is usually cheaper, fresher and can have less ‘food miles‘ (produced closer to where you live).  Don’t forget about leftovers!  Pack your leftovers and use in your lunches or freeze for ‘make your own convenience meals’. Take a look here for family friendly tips (Planning with Kids) or here for lots of great recipes (Delicious).

Go meat free/eat a plant based diet more often. Eating a plant-based diet is better for the environment and meals are often cheaper. If you’re a little skeptical, start with one day a week.  Build that day into your meal plan and off you go! 

Use all of your food.  Now that you have your groceries and your meal plan, make sure that any leftover food is used each week.  Roast any leftover veges, make vege fritters, make a delicious homemade soup, whatever you can think of to use up everything at the end of the week.  You can stock up your ‘convenience meals’ and give the fridge a clean out before starting your new week.

What are your top tips?

Enjoy xx

Tagged with:

Hello folks!

It’s been a super busy time here, with school holidays and then back to school, exams, school sports finishing/starting…it’s all a little hectic really!

Whenever life gets a little too hectic, I always take the opportunity to stop, take a breath and refocus on our routines and see what’s working and what’s not working.

I thought I’d share a few of our ideas today – maybe you’re thinking of starting /stopping some things at your place?

Starting – Chef’s Tuesday is the newest addition to our family routine.  Here’s the lowdown, each week two of the kids select a recipe they would like to cook for dinner and then we have a family cooking session. This week, the kids choose Bacon & Zucchini Fritters and Beef Stir-fry with Garlic Rice.  My top tip?  Keep the recipes simple (try this fab magazine or grab the freebies from Coles, Woolworths or Aldi), sneak in lots of vegetables and try and shop for the ingredients together (great opportunity for real life maths – bonus!).

Stopping – Trying to solve everyone’s problems and overreacting to bad things.  Ok, this is a tough one, and one I’ve really had to work on.  With the aim of building grit and resistance in each of my kids, I have been trying to listen more, guide them to solve/ deal with issues in their lives, and have been encouraging more independence.  Here’s an example – so you find out that your kid didn’t get invited to a birthday party.  Your instinct may be to get super grumpy and feel put out (on your kids behalf). The downside? Your kid see your reaction and thinks ‘hang on, maybe this is a big deal – Mum/ Dad is really cranky, maybe I should be too?’. Not great right?  Instead, stay calm and model the resilience and confidence you’d like to see in your kid.  So you didn’t get invited to the party, that’s ok, maybe their parents could only invite a few kids, or maybe that’s just what they wanted to do. So, what are we going to do that weekend?  (Ahhh, the powers of distraction can also work a treat with this one).

Continuing – Daily exercise. All the experts agree, exercise is really good for you!  Our exercise can include going for a walk, getting the bikes or scooters out and heading out and about, heading to the boxing gym together or going for swim.  My top tips?  Make it fun, add in a scavenger hunt if interest is waning, make it a race (oh my goodness, my kids will compete for any reason!), try a new sport if you can, stay positive – remember it should be about effort and attitude – not ability.   One final tip – make sure everyone has comfortable exercising gear including decent runners/ sneakers.  Target, Big W, Kmart and Best & Less all have some great affordable gear (*not sponsored by the way, I just find kitting out four kids in clothes can get super expensive!).

Hopefully that’s given you a little insight into what’s working and not working in my world, and maybe also given you a little inspiration to take a look at your world and think about what’s working/ not working for you.

Enjoy xx

Tagged with:

Perfect spot to get sand between your toes

I was chatting to a good friend about what makes Byron such a special place.

Is it the beach?

The gorgeous places to eat and drink?

Is it the super-friendly and relaxed people you meet and who run the amazing businesses there?

For me, it’s a combination of all of the above and why I always have a fab time in Byron whether I visit for a few hours or stay for a week.

Breakfast or Brunch? No matter what time you finally wake up, head to The Farm

The Farm – perfect for breakfast or brunch

If you are an early riser like me, Byron is a fab spot to get up early and head out for a walk along the beach.  Love a sleep in?  No worries, breakfast at most places seems to stretch out to become brunch. The Farm is a perfect spot to enjoy both.  The Farm is a firm fave of mine.

Go for a wander…

You can choose to takeaway delicious hot coffee and buttery pastries and head off for a stroll (let the kids run wild!) or dine in and enjoy the view.  If you choose to dine in, super friendly staff are always buzzing around, which means you can relax while you order from the locavore menu.

Pick up provisions for a picnic

A lot of the fresh produce comes directly from the small lot farmers who share the space and I think you can taste the difference!

Brunch at The Farm at its finest

The Farm

Time for a Sunday stroll – Bangalow & Newrybar

Gorgeous Newrybar

After enjoying a sleep in, big breakfast and a strong coffee, if you feel the need to walk it off or just go for a wander – take the short drive to beautiful Bangalow and Newrybar.  Nestled in the hinterland behind Byron, these two tiny villages are home to gorgeous homewares, more great cafes and some fab fashion.

Some of my fave spots to visit/ eat in and around Bangalow and Newrybar are:

Henrix & Harlow

Newrybar Merchants

More of the gorgeous Newrybar Merchants



Hendrix & Harlow

Island Luxe


For a beautiful collective of retailers head to Newrybar Merchants, home to Art Park, Shannon Fricke, The Book Room, Minimosh, Tigmi Trading, Beautiflora, Nikau, Fate & Fortune and firm fave The Society Inc.

Stop for a break at Harvest…


Our Corner Kitchen

The Italian Diner


Federal DOMA Café

The Rails

Time for a drink – fab spots for a drink or two, maybe just settle in for the afternoon

After all of that eating, shopping and walking if you are feeling a little parched head back to Byron for a cold drink or two.  For a laid-back afternoon under the trees, try starting with a Bloody Mary at The Treehouse.  My friend and I both settled in for some quality people-watching, savouring ours.  Order extra-hot if you’re feeling game! Nestled next to the beach, and serving wood-fired pizzas, Treehouse is a perfect spot to relax for a couple of hours with a drink or two.


If a pub and a cold brew are more your scene, wander in to the Beach Hotel (fab views, live music, did I mention the view?), The Rails (The Railway Friendly Barl) or The Great Northern (for an old school pub, keep an eye out for the great bands playing here).

The Beach Hotel

The Rails (The Railway Friendly Bar)

The Great Northern

If you’re not a fan of pubs, Miss Margarita is a fab little spot near the beach serving a range of delicious drinks and Mexican food.

The name says it all…

Miss Margarita

Whew!  That is one hefty list, but there are just so many great places to eat/drink/shop and relax!

Have you got any firm faves in Byron?

Enjoy xx


Tagged with:

My mornings in Byron always start with a wander along the beach, taking in the headland, laughing at dogs frolicking in the waves and saying hello to other blissed out folk wandering along the sand. Doesn’t matter whether it’s wintery weather or mid-summer.  Getting sand between my toes is a must, and as soon as possible.

Here are the finer details of Part 1 of the highlights from my recent mid-winter weekend:

Breakfast – Top Shop

If you are keen to see more of the town than just the main strip, take a walk to the super cool Top Shop, perched on a hill, nestled alongside the ocean.  Filled with local folk fresh from the surf, families and couples, you can follow my lead and settle in with a hot coffee and a delicious serve of avocado toast on the verandah or join the crowd sprawled out on blankets on the grass.  The vibe is relaxed and friendly complimented by quick service from the friendly crew.  My friend and I found our two sunny spots on the deck were also perfect for people watching (an absolute treat in Byron!)

Link to Top Shop

Stone & Wood Brewery Tour

Keen to do something a little different for the day and support a local business, next stop was a tour of local brewery Stone & Wood.  Started by three clever blokes (Jamie, Ross and Brad) Stone & Wood is nestled in an industrial estate on the outskirts of Byron.  My friend and I chose to walk to the Brewery – a comfortable 20 minute stroll from town along sunny walking track runs alongside a Teatree forest.

Our tour started with a ‘welcome beer’ of our choice – on the advice of the super friendly staff we settled on a lighter style brew, ‘Garden Ale’.  The tour kicked off with a history of the business, the brewing process, and then a tour of where the magic happens.  I learnt that it’s all about the hops, and that ‘Galaxy Hops’ are the bomb (well at least that’s the case for Stone & Wood).  After our brewery tour, our little group settled in to the beer garden for a ‘tasting paddle’.  Turns out a tasting paddle is a platter of beer, starting with lighter styles and moving through to heavier brews.  Absolutely delicious and a brilliant way to spend a sunny afternoon with a beer-loving mate (or two!).

Link to Stone & Wood


Dinner & drinks with a view – Balcony Bar

After enjoying the laidback atmosphere of Stone & Wood, it was time to frock up and head out to dinner.  Byron has some many amazing places to chose from, it may seem a little overwhelming at first. High on my list were great atmosphere and seafood so Balcony Bar & Oyster Co was perfect.  Dinner kicked off with oysters (of course), followed by ceviche of Kingfish, steak tartare and finally free range lamb shoulder. Drinks were just as good, kicking off with cocktails and moving through the beer and wine list which made for a long and fantastic night. Our ever friendly waiter Adam made sure our glasses were never empty for long and helped us navigate the delicious menu. My only tip would be to make sure you book a table (go for the balcony).

Link to Balcony Bar & Oyster Co

Well, that’s a wrap on Part 1, I’ll post Part 2 next week.

Have you got a fave spot in Byron? Share in the comments below if you do.

Enjoy xx

Tagged with:

Love the ugly mugs (look closely)!

This morning on the way to drop tribe off at work, I was thinking about how easy it can be to drift through the days and never quite be present in the moment.

Days can become a trudge, with every day feeling the same.

Life can start to feel a little beige.

One of my best tricks to keep life in technicolour is to make a conscious effort to be in the present.

Back to this morning where I found myself in the midst of a couple of awesome moments, brief but tiny moments of love, happiness and fun:

  • Singing (very badly) along to the Miss L’s playlist on Spotify – a fantastic insight into an 8 year old’s mind.
  • Getting a giant hug and hearing Flashdance (now a super-cool 11) say ‘…love you Mum’ as I dropped him off.
  • Getting a delicious coffee from the tiny Coffee Shed (part a super cool Co-Op place in Sunny South Brisbane) and having chat to the ever lovely barista.

A very good start to the day.

Any little moments of joy in your day?

Enjoy xx

Thank you Birdsnest  - love the hand-written note!

Thank you Birdsnest – love the hand-written note!

Ok, so call me a late bloomer, but I have only recently embraced the concept of shopping online.  Starting with books (I love Book Depository), I moved onto t-shirts (Threadless), and that was pretty much it.

Then I hit a speed bump in the form of a dodgy knee, and I needed to give the online retail world another shot, at least temporarily.

My two big dilemmas (and yes, well aware these are first world problems), were groceries to feed the tribe, and a quick wardrobe update (skirts and dresses only with a dodgy (ok slightly fat and swollen) knee.

Enter Woolworths for the grocery part, and well, I am sold!  I placed my order while sitting on the couch, and then right on time my entire order turned up the following night, including delivery to the kitchen (thank you kind delivery man).  Winner!  And in case you’re wondering this is NOT a sponsored post. I was just blown away with the simplicity and ease of online grocery shopping. So, I am converted (albeit temporarily).

Moving on to my wardrobe dilemma. So the dodgy knee means I can’t drive or walk far. Being a mum of four kids mean even if I could, with tribe in tow, nobody is having fun, let alone making great wardrobe choices.

Enter Birdsnest

I have been a fan on Facebook for a while now and love the daily styled outfits, but the furthest I got filling my cart/ wish-list and then signing off (does anyone else window shop online?).    

Now it was time for the real online shopping deal.  After about an hour of browsing (again on my comfy couch), I picked a couple of ‘dodgy knee’ friendly selections, and hit checkout. 

This afternoon, right on time, my gorgeous hand-wrapped purchases were delivered right to my front door, including a sweet hand-written note from Alex, one of the Birdsnest girls. Easy peasy, and oh so beautifully delivered!

While I will always love a gorgeous bricks and mortar store, I am now a huge fan of online shopping, especially when my life gets busy and sometimes a little complicated/crazy. Next up I am going to try fresh fruit and veg ( thinking of trying Aussie Farmers)

Have you embraced online shopping?

Enjoy xx

Tagged with:
Saffron...a culinary con?

Saffron…a culinary con?

Have you ever used saffron in a culinary creation?

Was it really essential to the recipe?

Did it cost an outrageous amount of money for a tiny little smidge of yellowy/orange? (try $6 for o.5g… OUCH)

Would the recipe have been the same without the saffron? Could I substitute with something else (turmeric?)

All this raced through my mind as a I pondered making this recipe

What do you think? Is saffron an enormous culinary con?

Enjoy xx

Tagged with:

O is for Oliver! trying out a 15 minute meal tonight @ This Grand Life

I’ve always had a soft spot for Jamie Oliver, from his first forays as a tv chef, to his crusade for healthy eating and to bringing cooking top notch food to the masses.

Then there’s his gorgeous wife, and gaggle of cute kids with kooky names.


So I am really excited by the lovely Mr Olivers latest offering.

It’s the 15 minute cookbook and cooking show.

Simple, and ready in only 15 minutes! Perfect!

Inspired by a talented foodie friend, who regularly regales me with tales of the delicious treats she has whipped up in the kitchen, I have decided I need to take to the kitchen to whip up a culinary creation of my own.

You know, rather than the stand fare. Not that there is anything wrong with potato bake, casseroles, and steak and salad (yes, yes, I know, very fancy).

I have been warned by my talented friend, who after two recipes from the book, scoffed ’15 minutes my a$#@ Jamie Oliver, more like 45!’

So tonight we are trying this recipe… I hope you aren’t leading me up the garden path lovely Jamie…

Wish me luck!

Enjoy xx

PS this is NOT a sponsored post, in fact if it does indeed take 45 minutes to cook this recipe, I reserve the right to re-gift my 15 minute book…

Tagged with:

I love coffee.  Lately though, I have been waylaid in my morning pursuit of caffeine goodness by the spicy delights of a chai latte. Have you tried a chai?  My lovely husband (Big A) has previously renamed the chai latte as a ‘why bother’, declaring it is nothing more than a warm milky drink, therefore…why bother? I wholeheartedly disagree.

Which brings me to the second part of my ‘c’ entry today, chia seeds.  Chia seeds are meant to be a ‘superfood’, so I guess that means they are super good for you. It may not mean (though I am always hopeful) that I will gain superpowers from eating them.  Anyway, back to chia seeds.  My absolute fave GF (gluten-free) beads at the moment is Chia Seed Loaf from Lifestyle Bakery. Two pieces toasted with a smidge of peanut butter is a perfect way to start the day. Add a chai latte and you have a brilliant brekky!

Enjoy xx

Tagged with:

A montage of cider recommended by This Grand Life

For many years now, the weather taking a turn for the warmer equalled tucking into a glass of rose (or two).

I think the times may be a changin’.

Cider, in all its sparkly fresh glory has stolen the crown as the king of spring drinks, and most likely summer too.

Have you sampled a cider lately?

There’s a super choice now, with a cider for everyone, even the littlest members of the tribe, not to mention my lovely preggo friends.  Here are some choice ciders to sample…

  • Monteiths Pear or Apple Cider. Delicious and crisp.
  • Rekorderlig Pear or Strawberry and Lime Cider. Sweet and a perfect sub for a cocktail!
  • Pipsqueak Best Cider. Fresh, bubbly and far too easy to drink.
  • Dr Pilkingtons makes the cut because it is Movember and we LOVE Movember!
  • Bickfords Applemaid Sparkling Applejuice (the littlies and preggo friends – non-alcoholic served in a wine glass)

 Do you love a good glass of cider? WHat is your favourite?

Enjoy xx

Tagged with:
Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.