I love Saben.
Silly as it may sound my Tilly has changed my life.
What is even funnier, is that when I have been prattling on about how much I love her people have got one and found the same sort of life changing love.
My love grew when Camden came into my life.
Now Tilly gets to rides shotgun in Camden for the big jobs like our latest trip to Melbourne.
It is a win win situation.
Talking of winning ………
Saben have VERY kindly given me a Camden to giveaway to one lucky Dot Dash follower.
All you need to do is click the link below and your in to WIN!
Don’t forget to tag your friends on our Facebook page so you can share the love!!
BIG, HUGE and McMASSIVE thank you to the Saben team for making this possible.
I promised MANY people I would blog about our trip to Melbourne. But I got in a post holiday funk so looking and reminiscing about our AMAZING time just made me sad that I won’t be doing it again any time soon. I quickly got over myself and here it is. Our Melbourne adventure sans kids.
Oh and I will have to do it in parts because I started writing it and realised I had a BUTTLOAD to talk about so here is PART ONE.
WARNING – Lots of food. Some of the images are not my own. I was too busy stuffing my face to get me phone out and lighting was shite, so it would not have done the food justice!!
DAY ONE – If you need a place to stay at Auckland Airport the night before you fly I cannot recommend the ibis Budget at Auckland Airport enough. Like it’s not 5 star but at $89 a night AND you can leave your car there for up to 7 days for about $60 you can’t really complain.
I hadn’t been to Melbourne before so I didn’t really know what to expect. But my 1st impression flying into it was “man it’s really FLAT!”
We continued our love for the Ibis hotels staying at the ibis Budget on Little Bourke St. We were super central BUT when you look at the map of the Melbourne CBD it’s all in blocks and everything looks really close. In reality the streets are QUITE long!! For example we were staying at 600 Little Bourke St and heading to GingerBoy for dinner it was a good 15-20 min walk even though it was on a little laneway just off Little Bourke St!!
The awesome thing about Melbourne is the different cultural aspects of it all. Staying on Little Bourke St you are heading into Chinatown. It really is epic and if you love to people watch you will LOVE Melbourne. Chinatown is full of amazing restaurants each paying homage to their specialty be it dumplings, seafood or noodles. You could literally spend a week eating your way through 500m of Chinatown.
GingerBoy is hailed as Melbourne’s 1st Hawker style fusion restaurant and to be honest it is pretty dang good. It is set up where you order a few dishes to share. We were feeling hungry so got the banquet menu (plus a few cocktails!!). Choosing the banquet menu you are given the fav/most popular dishes on the menu. This is a great way to eat because you get to try things you wouldn’t normally choose. It also gives you a great idea of what a restaurant is about.
The stand out for me was the salt and pepper chicken spare ribs (pretty sure they were chicken wings!) in a tamarind hot sauce. The were almost a smidge on the hot side for me (lil bit of a spice puss) but they were so good I didn’t care that the mouth was on fire!! GingerBoy was also the 1st place I got to try Wagu beef. So I’ve heard about this famed “Wagu”. It’s the mac daddy of beef. For me I’m not a huge steak/beef fan and never order steak when I go out for dinner so it would never enter my head to get it. But holy sweet baby Jesus. It is THE BEST beef I have ever eaten. I can’t even describe why. It was like your eye fillet on steroids and then some. So my challenge to you my friend is if you get the chance to try Wagu …… DO IT!!
DAY TWO – This was a CRAZY busy day. In hindsight I wouldn’t have done this all in one day because I don’t think we got to mooch and really see everything we could have.
We hit the pavement early for coffee and bomboloni (Italian filled donuts) at Coffea an awesome little place on the doorstep of Queen Victoria Markets. One thing about Melbourne is that coffee is GOOD and service is quick. No matter how busy a cafe is your coffee will take less than 5 mins to make an appearance and we were never disappointed. I am ruined for life and become a complete coffee snob!!
Queen Victoria Market you bloody beauty. A food nirvana. It’s a place where you literally don’t know where to start. Because I am a bit of a geek we booked a Foodie Tour of the Queen Vic. A tour which has tastings and gives you a bit of history about the place. I think I turned to Luke at one stage and was fizzing with foodie excitement. There were fat juicy oysters, beautiful kangaroo steaks and this frigging amazing blue cheese that had been skewered with chocolate liquer – mind blowing. There were every kind of olive you could think of, handcrafted chocolates and Luke got pretty excited about the wee craft beer and cider shop (should have gone back to that bit!)
So that was just the meat, fish and dairy hall! You head outside and there is produce for DAYS. Organic, local and veges I had never even heard of, oh and the feijoas for $1 each and they were TINY!
My second ahhhhh moment came when I discovered ReWine. Clearskin wines in ONE litre bottles that you can REFILL. Red, white and the best Prosecco I have ever had. We also picked up some of their famous mulled wine syrup for those winter nights.
We nailed some donuts from the famous donut van (we were told this is a Melbourne insitution and the line is round the block on the weekends), then headed for another coffee to shake off the few wines I had! Queen Vic has another part of the market which we didn’t get to and that was the merchandise side of things. Trinkets and tresures awaited but because we had a lunch booking we had to rush off. Next trip I’m setting aside a WHOLE day to explore this amazing place.
Now Dinner by Heston was one thing we had planned for ages. Dinner by Heston is the antipodean cousin of Dinner by Heston, London. It was proably the most amazing culinary experience I have ever had. The only shit thing was the fact I decided to be a lady and I wore my glam heels. It was a 15-20 min walk to the river and by the time we got there I was blistered and in agony. That said I sucked it up with Luke saying “I told you so!!” – asshole!
My photo’s I took didn’t do the meal justice. If you want a better idea definetly google it!! We got the 6 course tasting lunch and I am so glad we did. Stand outs for me was the “meat fruit” – chicken liver parfait and the hay smoked ocean trout oh and weird but great was the roasted cucumber. Luke was all over the “rice and flesh” – saffron risotto and curried kangaroo tail and tipsy cake with spit roasted pineapple the 1st (yes there were 2!) dessert.
Dinner by Heston was amazing and we both realised that we didn’t talk much through out the lunch because we were so busy watching the staff. It was a well oiled machine with each person having a role in the big picture. We sat opposite the kitchen with the large glass windows which made perfect people viewing. So my recommendation is that is you get the chance go. Have an open mind. be amazed and maybe take your credit card!!
We ended up finishing our Friday in the best way possible with family, cutting shapes in a little place called The Black Rabbit and drinking $10 espresso martinis. Followed by a kebab while walking home. I felt 20 again. However it I did not feel 20 the next morning!!
Now we are going to get into the nitty gritty.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
If you don’t want to hear a woman talk about periods keep on scrolling.
As women we know what happens once a month. When you are younger you want your little friend to visit you that 1st time because you want to feel grown up. It is a novelty. Your transition into womanhood. Then reality hits and you realise that it doesn’t make you feel grown up, it feels like your vagine is going to fall out and someone is scraping your insides out with a blunt spoon. Well that is how I felt.
For 15-16 years I have dreaded each month. Those days where I want to crawl back to bed because I feel so awful. The days where I debated shoving a nappy between my legs to stem the flow. The days where I have debated inventing a vagina shelf that holds it up in a sling . The days where I’d be pain killered up to the eyeballs and still crying because it hurt so much. The months where I would go through a box of supers in a day. The mornings I would ROLL out of bed with a towel between my legs and my husband yelling in the background “it’s OK, I will change the sheets”.
I think my lowest point was standing in a room FULL of men at work with it gushing down my legs and I didn’t know what to do but thank the baby Jesus for my work friend who rescued me and saved me from a VERY awkward situation/conversation.
I accepted this as “normal”. I was just unlucky.
I was the unfortunate one who just had terrible periods and I looked at those bitches using slim minis, who would say “oh I barely even realise I have it” with pure jealousy.
Heading into my 31st year, I had a life changing epiphany. Now in all honesty I wouldn’t have gone and bought organic tampons. So when BON sent me some to try I really didn’t have any expectations because a tampon, is a tampon right?
Oh my god how I was so wrong.
For the 1st time in 15 years I had a painfree period.
Coincidence says I, because how can a tampon make a difference?
Because it bloody does!!
4 months on I’m still pain free and it’s gone from the texas chainsaw massacre to really a period that really doesn’t affect my day to day life AND I used a mini ……… without having to run to the ladies 5 mins later!!
So I guess why I am oversharing is the fact that what I experienced for 15 years wasn’t normal. I mean yes this could be all coincidental and it might not even be related to the change in tammys BUT it’s the only thing I have changed and the impact on my life has been so drastic. So life changing that I wanted to share my story and if I can help one person to have a pain free, non monthly gush fest I will.
So what’s my theory on this whole organic tampon shenanigians?
It could be the fact that the bleaches, dyes and chemicals used in regular tampons could trigger an immune/pain response and that is what I was experiencing.
Who knows, I am in no way a tampon/body/period expert!!
Something as simple as switching up your regular tampons to organic can possibly make a difference. It did for me.
If it makes a difference then why the hell not!
P.S – this is not a sponsored post. It’s just me talking about something that has actually changed my life.
In our busy world of family, work and just being a human in general if something can make our lives a little bit easier we all say “heck yes!” correct?
How2Food have done just that. How2Food is a online platform where you select your dietary requirements, the number of people you are cooking for and how many meals you need for that week. It then magically gives you recipe ideas and shopping lists for the week.
I’m really into meal planning our dinners for the week and you have probably heard me prattle on numerous times about it.
But it can get boring. We tend to recycle the same meals every 2 weeks.
I’m all about variety. How2Food is my variety and it allows me to be a bit creative.
How2Food is easy to navigate and if you don’t like a recipe you can change it. If you don’t like a food (in our house it’s mushrooms or fungus as my husband calls it!) it will not give you recipes with it in.
I’m all for making my life easier but I’m more about feeding my family good food and using that time at the end of the day to connect. That’s why to me sitting down as a family for a meal is so important.
Check out How2Food and make your life a little bit easier!!
Heading into winter we all head to the comfort food.
The food that our mum’s and grandma’s made us as kids, food that holds a special place in our hearts.
I remember being about 7 and the first “proper” meal I ever made made was Wattie’s Pumpkin Soup and toast. I thought I was the bees knees!!
Wattie’s Soup for me relives those memories and I hope it does for my kids when they are old and wrinkly.
We are a house divided though. I am team pumpkin while my husband is team tomato ALL the way. The kids get what they are given depending who is cooking.
Soup HAS to have toast but of late we have been bucking the toast trend and dabbling with the humble cheese toastie.
The current consensus is ……. cheese and onion toastie EVERY time.
I am not alone Wattie’s soup is a Kiwi classic and Countdown has it on Price Lockdown for these chilly days ahead.
Get creative mushroom soup with a blue cheese toastie?
Beef soup with a welsh rarebit (google it – amazing!).
The options are endless.
This post was sponsored by Countdown Supermarkets.
Sex and the City was a movement.
4 women living in Manhattan navigating life, sex, relationships and fashion.
We all knew who we wanted to be.
Fashion forward Carrie.
Work obsessed Miranda.
Stepford wife wannabe Charlotte.
Samantha ……. we all secretly wanted to be Samantha.
Being able to watch series like this again as an adult is eye opening. You see things in a completely different light. You can even change from Team Aiden to Team Big.
NEON gives New Zealander’s the chance to reawaken these viewing opportunities and takes us back to a time when we had to wait for weekly late night TV.
NEON is now able to be streamed straight from your PlayStation 4, so you know what this means?
While the kids are sleeping, I can be watching TV in the lounge with my chips getting my Sex and the City fix. Heaven!
This blog was sponsored by NEON NZ.
For a twist on the traditional sweetcorn fritter.
3/4 cup of plain flour
1 egg (free range if possible)
440g can creamed sweetcorn
can whole corn kernels
2 tablespoons chia seeds
4 -6 kale leaves (chopped)
1 pinch chilli flakes (more if you like it hot)
salt and pepper to taste
- Place flour, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Add the egg.
- Add both tins of corn and chilli.
- Mix till WELL combined.
- Add chia seeds.
- Add kale.
- Oil large flat plan and cooking over a medium heat til golden.
- Serve with salad and sauce of your choice.
I served my fritters with Lisa’s Carrot and Cumin dip and dry toasted sunflower seeds.
Everyone who knows Dot Dash and me knows that I love to cook and I love to cook food that is frigging tasty BUT simple to make.
What makes cooking even better is knowing that I don’t have to spend a fortune on ingredients and I don’t have to visit 16 stores to achieve one meal.
For us as a busy family we meal plan EVERY week and sit down on a Thursday and do our online shop via the Countdown website. It’s boring and monotonous BUT it does save you money and time and when you’re a parent those things are about as rare as a unicorn doing the macarena in your lounge.
We know that Countdown wants Kiwi families to eat better for less. We have our menu plan but they are known to change if the Price Lockdown has something that tickles our fancy. Believe me this is NOT a rare occurrence.
We tend to recycle our meals every 3-4 weeks so it can get a bit boring.
Countdown gave me the challenge to cook something I had never cooked before but the catch was that it had to have chicken in it. I couldn’t decide as I have dabbled with many a chicken dish in the past so I passed it over to the family for ideas.
This was the hard bit.
Chicken soup – done.
Teriyaki chicken and rice – done.
Thai green curry – done.
Roast chicken with ALL the trimmings – done.
Then the Masterchef of the house (who never cooks – can you guess who it is?) decided he wanted to get back to his heritage and decided on Chicken Parmigiana.
I’ve never eaten it, let alone cooked it but I love a good challenge.
This is my take on Donna Hays Chicken Parmigiana.
Chicken Parmigiana with Basil Pesto
300g bread or 2 cups of breadcrumbs
1 TBS finely grated lemon
2 TBS thyme (dried or fresh)
¼ cup plain flour
2 eggs (free range if possible)
¼ cup milk
4 x 200g chicken breast fillets (halved horizontally)
Oil for frying.
Place the bread, lemon and thyme in a food processor and blitz into fine crumbs. Transfer to a separate dish.
Combine flour, salt and pepper in another dish.
Whisk milk and eggs in a separate dish.
Using a mallet or rolling pin bash the chicken until it is an even thickness.
Line up your crumbing dishes as follows. Flour, eggs and breadcrumbs.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the chicken in batches turning every 3 mins or until the chicken is golden.
Place chicken is a large baking dish.
2 cups basil leaves
½ tsp crushed garlic
¼ cup pinenuts (toasted)
¼ cup grated parmesan
½ cup olive oil
Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz until a chunky paste forms.
Season to taste.
Place 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes (some halved) around the chicken schnitzel. On top on the schnitzel place 200g-250g mozzarella (block or grated).
Bake at 180 for 8-10 min until the cheese is melted
Spoon over the basil pesto and serve.
Check out the video below.
This blog was sponsored by Countdown NZ.
In a perfect world we as mothers would wake up as the sun rises, have breakfast waiting on the table when the family wakes.
Then we pack the children off to to school and kindergarten with their lovingly and consciously made lunches. We would then head to work. Greatness would be achieved at work, then it would be the school pick up.
Homework time would commence in a fashion, that would rival a well run boarding school. A thoughtful meal would be on the table when the other half came home. Shower and a story would follow. Bed for the kids would be next. Once your darlings were asleep, the house would be cleaned till it was gleaming and the 6 loads of washing done and pressed.
Then lunches would be made for tomorrow and each of the little cherubs clothes would be laid out in alphabetical order.
You would then kiss your other half good night and start it all again tomorrow.
Well I don’t know about you but I’m just bloody exhausted reading that.
We all want to be the best mothers we can be but we can’t do it all. It would be physically and mentally impossible to achieve all that and still maintain an ounce of calm.
I am a mother of 3 (12,4 and 2). I also work 4 days a week in a job that at times can be physically and emotionally exhausting. I ain’t got time to take a pee let alone channel my inner Danny Tanner (80s kids will get this!) in cleanliness. So 80% of the time my house does not look like a show home.
But do you know what?
I’m OK with that.
The only thing I am regimented about is our weekly meal plans they have SAVED my life and probably my waistline. I know what is for dinner 5 days a week and a I am able to put easy family friendly meals (that generally provide leftovers) on the the table the days I’m working. The other days are all about trying new food and new cuisines. I love to cook and this is my creative outlet.
I think women need to realise that yes we are bloody amazing creatures and we can do a buttload of things but we can’t do everything. We will burn out and not be at our full mother hustling ability.
We need to acknowledge that while we are the best at multitasking, it’s also OK for us to pass the buck. To put our hands up and say “actually I can’t do that at the moment” or “by any chance can you pull your finger out your ass and give me a hand?” – this last statement is fired in the general direction of our others half. I know you ALL feel me on this.
So let us unite is the fact being a mother is wonderful but also frigging hard at times. Being a mother is constant. You can’t take a day off or call in sick. But you can protect yourself from complete burn out by not beating yourself up about the little things. If Johnny doesn’t get to go to the park because you just want to sit down and have a coffee in (relative!) peace and quiet that’s OK!
If your other half complains about dinner – tell him it’s his turn to cook tomorrow.
Look after yourself mama because you are the most important. You are the person that holds everything together and you are vital.
To me the new year does not mean a new me or a new diet or even a new life path. To me the new year is all about how I can make this year 2017, even better than the last.
I love to eat but I also love to cook. Food for our family brings us together. Be it a family dinner or watching an episode of Australian Masterchef. I am not quite sure where my love of food came from. Mum is a baker but not a cook. At family dinners I make the dinner, she makes the pud. I remember recording (on VHS I may add – showing me age!) the very 1st cooking show Jamie Oliver ever did “The Naked Chef”. I would watch it over and over again. Maybe it all started there? Who knows. Still love Jamie though!
2017 is about trying new things, cuisines and techniques.
Each week I will be trying a new recipe from my ever growing cookbook collection. Because lets face it. We all have those cookbooks we brought but have never actually used.
I embarked on week one with my new friend Donna. Donna Hay that is. Her latest cookbook “Basic to Brilliance” is probably the best cookbook I have read in a VERY long time. Core recipes like roast chicken, pork belly or beef shoulder are then transformed into 2 or 3 additional recipes.
We started with her basic recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi then I pimped it up with my chorizo and cherry tomato sauce.
Chorizo and Cherry Tomato Sauce
4 small chorizo
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
spinach (as much as you like)
Splosh of red wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Chop your chorizo and place in a pan with a dash of oil. Fry until the oil has a beautiful orange/golden hue. Add your tomatoes, spinach, salt and pepper. Add a splosh of the red wine vinegar to taste. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed. Toss your gnocchi when the spinach has wilted. You can either crisp up the gnocchi or keep them soft and pillowy. Top with extra parmesan.
My tip for ricotta gnocchi – FLOUR, FLOUR and FLOUR some more. This gnocchi is sticky and sticks to everything. Dust your board, plate, knife and anything that it will touch otherwise it will be a sticky disaster!