Wednesday, December 30, 2015

'twas two nights before christmas

"That's the stuff nightmares are made of," said my friend laughing when I told her about the party I was going to on Christmas Eve where guests are asked to perform a 'frivolous act'.

I had tried convincing River that it was going to be the perfect opportunity to play guitar in front of an audience. He had other ideas. "No Mum I'm not playing guitar, I think we should sing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer".

Talk about feel the fear and sing it anyway!

We had been rehearsing and then without warning there was a plot twist.

The week before Christmas, Sol came down with gastro. Relentless vomiting that saw him unable to keep water down. Within a few days three kilos had vanished from his little frame.

On our third trip to the local emergency department the doctor said, "I have to send you to a bigger hospital your son needs to be seen by a paediatrician."

So the night before Christmas Eve Sol and I drove the 40 minutes to the bigger hospital and he was admitted to the children's ward and place on a drip. Placed on a drip sounds so simple. It wasn't simple. It was necessary but it was also traumatic. Getting a cannula (a needle for the drip to go into) into the back of a six year old's hand is not fun especially at 10.30pm when all they want to do is be curled up asleep.

I am going to spare you the difficult details of time spent in hospital other than to say Sol is well again, just a bit on the skinny side, and that we were able to come home after a 24 hour stay. We arrived home at 8pm on Christmas Eve. The party in Melbourne had started an hour and a half earlier. I was in no shape to be at a party and Sol definitely wasn't but I thought of our friends at the party when I looked at the clock and felt both relief to be home from hospital and disappointment that we weren't in Melbourne celebrating Christmas, the end of the year and being with friends.

Sol had fallen asleep in the back of the car. The heat of the evening enveloped us. I scooped him up off the back seat and carried him inside the house. We were under strict instructions to continue giving him 30mls of fluid every 15 minutes. I set the timer on my phone and followed the orders dutifully. There was no way I was going back to hospital with Sol, he was going to get well!

He stayed awake for a couple of hours and I kept up his fluids, he then slept soundly. River had placed carrots out for the reindeer and dry biscuits for Santa (lucky Santa?!) "Mum do you think Santa is lactose intolerant?" he asked filling a glass with rice milk.

Once the boys were asleep and I had finished my midnight gift wrapping session I placed a white electric guitar and an amplifier next to the Christmas tree, a gift from Eddy Pop. Perhaps next year River can do a rock version of Rudolph.


Stay well. Stay cool. Thankyou for reading and thanks for your patience with my on again off again posting. I hope that you are all having a wonderful festive season and are looking forward to making great things happen in 2016. xx

ps I had planned to share this link for a wonderful dairy free grain free trifle before Christmas but didn't get to so here it is now, still good for New Years Eve... Try Jo's Lemon Berry creation.

Friday, December 11, 2015

weekend reading

I'll start with a big happy birthday Mamacino! You've written some wise words here.

To Her Core is a fun new wholefood read

Now that we're renovating (!) I've been devouring inspiration via magazines, books and these little videos

Boho kitchens. Can you see me in any of these?

Do you have a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear? Check out Brenda's solution.

How magical is this mermaid photograph?

My husband Pete is a professional photographer and author, we're having a festive sale over on his online gallery his books 'Point Nepean' and 'Fire and the Story of Burning Country' are available for $35 each including postage anywhere in Australia. Pete can sign the books and include a personalised message and there's still time to order and receive before Christmas! Lots of lovely photographic prints available too. Visit River&Sol gallery.

Happy weekending everyone. I hope you're enjoying all that is good about December and the year drawing to a close. Or perhaps this time of year makes you dream of hitting that wide open road :)


Thursday, December 10, 2015

thursday recipe: terri anne leske's choc pecan granola

Food helps to create traditions,
community, love and joy. 
It has a way of bringing people
together and making us happy.
~ Terri Anne Leske

It's been a while between posts. Again. I'd love to be more consistent with my posting but it is just not turning out that way at the moment. So, thanks for continuing to visit and for your patience. 
Let's get on with a recipe.

Today's recipe comes from blogger and mother of three, Terri Anne Leske who blogs at Carrotsticks and Cravings.

Terri Anne is originally from a sleepy little fishing village on the New South Wales south coast where as a child her Dad taught her to dive for abalone and catch fish. These days she finds herself in the bright city lights of Singapore, where she has lived for the past 4 years with her husband and their children, twins Eli and Olivia who are 3 and her baby girl Halle who has just turned one.

How Terri Anne has found time to blog and to write and self-publish her first cookbook I'll never know! But write a book she has and not only that she has done all the photography herself too.

Before we get into the recipe here is a Q & A I did with Terri to find out a bit more about life in Singapore and her love of cooking...

What do you love about living in Singapore? It is a cultural melting pot, and being so close to so many other amazing countries we are lucky to travel regularly. It's a great place to have a young family and has given me the opportunity to follow my passion writing this book and my blog. I've also met so many amazing people throughout our time here. 

Where does your passion for food and cooking come from? My mum was always a foodie, she used to get in the kitchen and just whip up something amazing with whatever we had in the house. I started cooking from a young age learning from her and learning my baking skills from my grandma. I love creating amazing meals for friends and family and trying new things. I also love baking and have always said baking is my therapy - when I was pregnant with my twins and had too much time on my hands I was baking batches of cupcakes and cakes daily! The kitchen is my happy place and I love now getting my kids involved in creating meals and getting them excited about food too - it's not just about the eating that I love it's the journey too and the creating :-) 

Why the name Carrotsticks and Cravings? When I decided to write a blog I played with so many names and I wanted the name to really resemble me and my food philosophy - which is all about balance. I feel Carrotsticks and Cravings does that! The majority of my recipes are super healthy and full of superfoods but I love making decadent cakes and treats too. We can have anything in life, it's all about balance. 

Why did you start your blog? I was cooking a lot and constantly throwing dinner parties and a friend wanted a recipe and said I should start a blog. I'm a terrible writer if I'm being honest but I loved the idea of sharing my creations with others and inspiring them to try new things in the kitchen. It's grown organically and I love to see and hear that people are making my recipes. 

What do you hope readers will get out of your cookbook? I want to get people excited in the kitchen and try things they normally wouldn't. I want readers to be able to make healthy nutritious meals from my cookbook for their loved ones and create memories in the process cooking and enjoying good food. 

What do you love the most about cooking? The eating of course!! I love that food creates traditions and brings people together. Some of my best memories involve amazing meals I've shared with loved ones. I also love trying new flavours and experimenting with different combinations. 

Terri Anne shares her recipe for Choc Pecan Granola.

Makes 4 Cups

1/2 cup raw pecans chopped
1/4 cup raw almonds chopped
2 cups thick cut rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
⅓ cup dried cranberries
1 tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp coconut oil
Pre heat the oven to 160 C. 
Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Chop the nuts roughly into smaller pieces.
Add nuts and all other ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and mix until fully combined.
Spread out granola mix onto the baking tray and bake for 8 minutes.
Mix/turn the granola and return to the oven for a further 8 minutes until golden.
Mix/turn the granola and return to the oven for a further 8 minutes until golden brown.
Once cooled transfer to an airtight jar and keep at room temperature for up to a month.
– If you want to keep it longer store in the fridge.

(photo credit: Terri Anne Leske)

Terri likes to serve this with Greek yoghurt and fresh seasonal berries, as overnight oats layered with yoghurt and berries, with fruit salad or as a crumble topping for desserts. I think it could be the perfect dish for breakfast on Christmas morning.

Thanks Terri Anne!

To read Terri's blog visit Carrotsticks and Cravings and to buy her cookbook go here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

weekend reading

(Image credit John Freeman)

Champagne is a wholefood you knew that already right? So I thought I'd tell you about an event I'm promoting as part of my work with Cakes and Ale. Celebrate the festive season with a ticket to this upcoming Champagne Tasting - 17 champagnes, 7 champagne houses, canapes and complimentary champagne flute $100 per person - Saturday 12th December 4pm-6pm, presented by the Independent Wine Store at Cakes and Ale.
Places are strictly limited bookings through the Independent Wine Store ph. 03 5985 4346

BPA free is not all it's cracked up to be

I found Orangette via Pip and could have stayed up all night reading

And then I found Kate Christensen via Orangette and if it weren't for my new rule of going to bed before midnight I would have been up reading til sunrise!

If you're looking to up your professional social media skills, I've recently been recommended Tim Martin's courses...on my wishlist for next year

Am I the only one who hasn't seen The Dressmaker yet? Also on my wishlist

I'm looking forward to spending some time with my Nan on the weekend.

I hope you have something fun and/or relaxing planned. See you back here next week x

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

catching up

(mural Alice Springs. Pete, River, Sol silhouettes)

Finding time to blog regularly is proving a challenge at the moment.

You see I've made a few new rules for myself and one of them is I no longer go to bed at midnight most nights and let me tell you that makes a million miles of difference to so many things.

It is an easy habit to fall into staying up late while the house sleeps, just so you can have some quiet time to yourself but really nothing can replace good sleep.

Add to that drinking two litres of water a day and you have yourself a recipe for more energy right there!

So, now that I'm going to bed earlier and doing important things like you know watching Madame Secretary with my husband I have to find a new time to blog. And I will! And I'm serious about the watching TV with my husband thing. Spending time together is actually important obvious as it sounds!

The other thing I've done is set myself office hours. The key is, sticking to them. Which I'm doing. This sounds so simple but has been life changing.

Managing your time well when you work from home is one of the trickiest things about working for yourself and working from home.

In my case clearer boundaries needed to be set. There is a time to fold washing, a time to focus on work, time to drink coffee with your girlfriends and time to spend with your loved ones and if you feel like you're constantly chasing your tail it is time to make some changes.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I just wanted to fill you in on what's been happening, where I've been and because I'm guessing there's a few people reading this who need to set some boundaries of their own. Do it!
It is easier than you think and it pays off in ways you can't even know about until you do it. And it is the small changes that make the big difference.

How is your week? Do you work from home? Tell us your time management tips in the comments. 
I'd love to know what works for you.

Friday, November 13, 2015

weekend reading

If you read one post in this list it must be this one from Veggie Mama about...superannuation eeek. It's good I promise. And fun. Yes, I said fun. (Only Veggie Mama could make superannuation fun).

How does she do it? A great series from Nic at Planning with Kids

My kind of cooking class

Please keep bay fish on the menu

What's not to love about Chocolate brazil nut truffles with figs and orange zest?

Matthew Evans has a new cookbook out and I love the look of his recipe for yoghurt and raspberry cake with elderflower syrup (for me maybe with a little less sugar and made with spelt instead of wheat!)

Anyone been to Nourish cafe in Bundaberg, Queensland? I'm hearing good things.

Onya Magazine is a good read

One for the bloggers

Happy weekending everyone. I hope you've got something fun planned. See you next week! x

Thursday, November 05, 2015

thursday recipe: emily rose brott's apple, oat, cranberry and chocolate muffins

Some of you may remember Emily Rose Brott from one of my previous posts, especially those who love Emily's mango sorbet!

I'm happy to share with you today Emily's latest book My Secret Ingredient - don't you love the tagline? 'delicious, healthy, achievable' Isn't that what we all want?

Emily is a Melbourne mum of four (!) and a passionate cook who loves to create nutritious AND delicious meals for her family and friends.

There are over 120 recipes in Emily's new book covering breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. Emily's recipes do not contain refined sugar, white flour, or butter due to Emily and her son being lactose intolerant. You'll be pleased to know Emily's recipes require no fancy ingredients and are easy to put together.

Now, speaking of ingredients you'll notice in this recipe Emily uses rice bran oil and wheat flour. These are two ingredients that personally I don't use, I prefer to use coconut oil, butter or almond oil and in place of the wheat flour I use spelt flour or sometimes a gluten free flour option. You can read more about rice bran oil here and here.

I'm mentioning this to highlight the fact that every family is different and every family is at a different place in their understanding of ingredients, where they come from and how they are tolerated by family members. Emily's recipe is a great foundation to create some delicious muffins from scratch and you can substitute ingredients as you need to.

apple, oat, cranberry and chocolate muffins
2 eggs
½ cup (125ml) rice bran oil
½ cup (150g) honey
2/3 cup (75g) rolled (porridge) oats
1 ½ cups (240g) wholemeal (whole-wheat) self-raising (self-rising) flour
2/3 cup (165ml) orange juice
2 apples, peeled, cored, diced
2/3 cup (90g) dried cranberries
½ cup (65g) chopped 70% dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 170°C (335°F) fan-forced.
Whisk eggs and oil together until fluffy. Mix in honey.
Add oats, flour and orange juice, and whisk until combined.
Add apples, cranberries and chocolate, and mix through.
Grease muffin tins with oil, and fill each muffin case three-quarters full with mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin and placing them on a cake rack to cool further.

Makes 14

My Secret Ingredient is available as an ebook for $4.99 or paperback for $12.95 Available for purchase here.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

weekend reading

(A desert flashback: Uluru)

The rain is falling here this morning. Thunder is rumbling over too. Seems kind of fitting for Halloween.

Do you celebrate Halloween? It seems to be catching on in Australia more and more. Despite people saying 'it is such an American thing' it is actually a Celtic tradition. There are a couple of aspects to the whole Halloween tradition one is the acknowledgement of All Saint's Day (November 1st) where the veil to the spirit world is said to be at its thinnest and the pumpkin thing is explained by it being a celebration of the end of the season's harvest. You can read more about the origins and traditions here.

I've recently been introduced to Terri-Anne Leske's blog Carrotsticks and Cravings and wanted to share Terri-Anne's new cookbook with you. Terri-Anne is an Aussie ex-pat living in Singapore with her young family. Terri-Anne is mum to 3, including twins! And somehow she finds time to create beautiful recipes and has put her first cookbook together. I'll be sharing one of her recipes in the coming weeks.

Speaking of cookbooks, have you seen Mamacino's latest ebook Chocolate Indulgence?  Beautiful recipes and photography all by Mamacino.

If you're looking for a little less indulgence and in fact would like to lose 'those last 5 kilos' click on over to Brenda Janscheck and Naomi Judge's BreakThrough program, enrolments close tomorrow night. I love the holistic approach of this program it is not purely about calories in calories out, it considers digestion, hormones, metabolism, the quality of food and basically the quality of life you are living! For all those reasons I am an affiliate of BreakThrough. Take a look here.

Broad beans and haloumi are a good match

So are sumac, roasted eggplant, lentils and cherries

If you're in the mood for a Halloween cocktail try this witch's brew

Excellent meditation tips from Veggie Mama

Meet Barbara Stanny she has some wise words about money

And on that note, I'm off to prepare a dinner feast for my little trick or treaters tonight and prepare for attending a house auction today eeek! Better find the rescue remedy. Fingers crossed there'll be cause for champagne. When is there not cause for champagne?

Happy weekending everyone xx

Friday, October 23, 2015

weekend reading

My rascals pictured here in Alice Springs.

Sorry for the lack of posting.

We've been brushing off the red dirt from the desert and settling back in to coastal life.

We've also been house hunting which chews up plenty of time! It is exciting, nerve wracking and would be a whole lot simpler if real estate agents quoted honestly. Anyway, enough of that.

Let's get on with today's list...

Last week I got to meet one of my online buddy's in real life, always fun to do

I've been working on my husband Pete's online gallery and growing his Instagram following come say hi @riverandsol and I want to share Pete's beautiful Summersalt print featured in this bedroom by Nathan + Jac

Who doesn't love RAW chocolate?

I'm revisiting some of the recipes from Georgia's great breakfast ebook Rise and Shine

And how beautiful does my friend Lucy's delicious wholefood ebook look?

I would have been eating lunch today at my fave Cakes & Ale but alas Sol has an ear infection :(

Powerful new movie addressing women's mental health

There's still time to enrol in my 2 part Blogging for Beginners course at Sorrento Community Centre next Thursday 29th October and Thursday 5th November 10am - 2pm $140 / $116 concession. To book phone: 03. 5984 3360

If you're looking for some kids art inspiration this weekend I love The Artful Parent

Ok. School pick up calls. Happy weekend to everyone. See you next week x

Monday, October 12, 2015

before & after

We arrived home late last week from two months in the Northern Territory to a wildly overgrown veggie patch and lawn.

After a family working bee that saw us spend a whole day weeding, shovelling compost and spreading out a covering of pea straw the veggie patch is ready. A shame the same can't be said for finding the bottom of the washing basket!

We've hit the ground running, in a good way, the boys are back to school "it was much better than I thought it would be Mum" said Sol. There's been a string of visitors welcoming us home, I've been costume hunting for a friend's 70's party this weekend, filling the fridge, feeding the family, trying to catch up on making a living, and did I mention the washing?!

A bit like the veggie garden there's definitely been a positive transformation in all of us since taking the trip to the desert. The people we met, the stories we heard and were part of, the desert landscape with its vibrant red dirt and resilient plants and animals, the long stretches of time spent together have all made a lasting impact.

I appreciate water in a whole new way. I appreciate that the food I eat here isn't trucked in from 700kms away or further, as it is from Adelaide to Alice. I appreciate my long time friends and my family. I am savouring catching up with my nearest and dearest one at a time.

I won't ramble on, I just wanted to say we're home, we're enjoying settling in and there are plenty of photos and stories to share from our adventures. I look forward to sharing them with you soon.

What's happening at your place? Are you planting a veggie garden?

Friday, October 02, 2015

weekend reading

This is our last Friday in Alice. Well, last Friday for this trip. I do hope we come back.

It's been a week of packing and sorting, of saying goodbye and of doing last minute visits to places and people we have loved meeting.

I like the line in the sand that traveling draws in life, the lead up to a departure is like having a deadline a clear time in which to get things finished and the things that don't get finished are low on the priority list and probably didn't really matter that much anyway.

Here are a few things that have caught my eye around the net this week:

I enjoyed discovering artist Alena Hennessy via Soulemama.

Closer to home I've been introduced to the art work of Minnie Pwerle

Have you seen Heidi's latest cookbook?

And Pete's?

One for the baby lovers. Brace yourself for Joan Scarlett. Huge congratulations Heidi & Ben x

We're stopping here on the way home. Can't wait.

Come say hi on Instagram. You can find me @wholefoodmama

I'm reading Kim Mahood's memoir Craft for a dry lake. A wonderful read for anyone traveling to Alice or interested in a first hand account of life in the outback with all its enchantment and complexities.

I took the boys to see Oddball this week. LOVED it. Highly recommend. Especially for anyone living in the desert needing a fix of ocean viewing! Beautiful footage of the wild Victorian coastline plus wonderful story to boot.

Happy weekend everyone! How did it get to October so soon?! x

Thursday, October 01, 2015

thursday recipe: smoked paprika almonds

I can hardly call this a recipe, it is a yummy snack though.

It came about when we were invited to have drinks with the neighbours and I didn't really have much in my makeshift pantry, this is what I came up with and they were a hit!

Only a few days left here for us in Alice then it is time to drive south. It will be bittersweet leaving the desert, we have made such good friends and memories. Many reasons to come back again.

Smoked Paprika Almonds

1 cup raw almonds
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
sea salt to your liking

In a bowl toss the almonds with the paprika.

Heat a heavy based fry pan with the oil in it over a medium high heat.

Add the almonds and the salt and toss until the almonds are nicely 'roasted' be careful not to burn them you may need to turn down the heat.

Enjoy! Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container (there won't be any leftovers).

Friday, September 25, 2015

weekend reading

Let's have a quick power catch up.

I haven't been able to post this week because for some unexplainable, frustrating reason my mobile modem and mobile phone reception have decided to stop working at the unit where we are based in Alice. I am taking it as a cosmic sign to have some down time from social media and the internet.

I've made it to the library today so I am powering through all things internet related so I can head home and meet up with Pete to go and view some Indigenous art at a local art buyers home. The buyers have had an on-going relationship with artists here for over 20 years. I missed the opportunity during the week to go and visit the community and meet the painters because Sol woke with croup which meant an all nighter staying awake to make sure he was breathing!! That's motherhood right?

Anyway, Sol is on the mend and I get to seeing the paintings and hear the stories tonight.

We only have about a week to go in Alice and it feels all too short. Every day is an adventure here. As one of my girlfriends at home said after telling her of some of our adventures, "How are we going to keep you entertained when you get home?!" Luckily I have a few colourful friends and a very unboring husband who keeps me on my toes.

It is looking like the boys will miss the first week back to school because Pete's project has run over time and we want to stop at Uluru on the way home. I had a little neurotic moment about them missing more school and wisely rang a good school teacher friend who put my mind at ease and reminded me to 'relax and enjoy the pace'. Enjoy the pace. Gee friends are good aren't they?

Time has run out but before I go, one link to share with you.

I want to do a more detailed post on this but I'll get started here. I've finally set Pete up on Instagram to showcase the beautiful prints from his online gallery. The collection of work was 20 years in the making, so great to be able to share it literally with the world now. You can see his gallery at RIVER&SOL and please follow on instagram @riverandsol.

Have a great weekend and if I go missing in action you'll know its not because I don't love you anymore its because internet access isn't easy. More soon x

Sunday, September 20, 2015

stills collection

1. When people ask "how's the homeschooling going?" I say "great. the boys are learning to read and write and cook kangaroo tail".

2. Making a necklace by the fire. "No talking when beading. You'll burn your fingers" our friend Leonie Palmer tells me. Wire is heated in the fire to pierce holes through the seeds. It takes great concentration.

3. Desert jewels.

4. "I'm so happy out here (out bush), the happiness of the land gets into you." - MK Turner.

5. Night falling driving back into Alice after being out bush.

6. I turned 41! Happy Birthday to me.

7. Lorna Hendry and River at the N.T. Writer's Festival this weekend. I'm reading Lorna's book Wrong Way Round to the boys. River in particular is loving it and didn't want to miss the opportunity to meet Lorna in person. River's birds nest hairdo took Lorna back to her family's traveling days when her son's hair was the same. "Just leave it" she told me. My Virgo sensibility is struggling!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


A man I'd never met before arrived at our door yesterday afternoon with an injured River on his back.

River had been playing footy at the little park four houses away in the court where we're staying. I'd been down to check on him about twenty minutes before he was returned home with a swollen, bruised and scraped right knee.

I'd agreed nervously to let him go down to the park with the other kids who live in the street, I'm usually one for keeping my boys within sight. But the park here is bordered by the homes of the children that River was with and the day before they'd been at the park and there were other parents around. What could happen I thought? Gotta let him have some independence some time. All those kind of thoughts were going through my head as I walked back from the park after checking on who was at the park. There were no adults when I went down there, just four boys. "Come straight home when the others go home" I instructed River. "Yes Mum" he answered immediately.

Instead, some of the other kids parents and uncle joined in the footy match and when one kicked the ball to River he was so busy focusing on the mark he forgot about the knee high fence behind him. Bang went his knee into the fence, he flipped over the railing and landed on his back. He was extremely lucky to get out of it with a bruise.

Ice packs and arnica cream seemed to help. Although, he went to bed with a throbbing leg wondering how he was going to sleep. "Remember that time Archie fell out of the tree house at Van's and landed on his arm and thought he was ok and then woke up in the middle of the night in bad pain and it was broken? Well what if that happens to me?" River asked.

I did my best to reassure him that if his knee was broken he'd be in too much pain to be going to sleep. As mothers do best I kept my thoughts to myself that wondered the same thing, what if he'd really damaged himself? I had visions of returning to Melbourne with River in plaster.

He slept soundly as he always does and despite laying straight as a board when he first was in bed, by morning he was tangled in his sheet legs bent and splayed in opposite directions. Clearly his knee hadn't bothered him overnight.

Pete set off at 6.30am out to a community where he is building a women's healing shelter. He had a long hot day in the sun ahead of him and wanted to get started early.

At about 7.30am I heard River hobbling his way out of bed. He still couldn't bear any weight on his knee. I helped him to the couch where it looked like he was set to stay for the day. Without a car and with River injured we were house bound. As it turns out, a day at home was just what we needed.

With so much to get involved in in Alice Springs and knowing we are only here for a limited time, I had forgotten the value of having a day at home.

Sol stayed in his pj's and ate buckwheat pancakes in the morning sun. River read for the best part of the morning and relished having a rooibos tea with milk and sugar because we'd run out of honey. We raided the bush camp bag that had sugar in it for when we made billy tea.

We did manage to do some school work, River wrote three songs and Sol created imaginary worlds and battles with his Star Wars figurines. I even let them do some maths games on the computer! A very rare event.

By the afternoon we'd all earned some down time, a movie for them and a cup of tea and time reading 'Wrong Way Round' a fabulous true tale of a family who packs up their life in Fitzroy, Melbourne and hits the road. Written by Lorna Hendry I'm aiming to finish it before the weekend when I'm going to a workshop Lorna is presenting at the Writer's Festival. I've been reading it to the boys too, they get totally lost in the story asking for one more page, one more page.

As I sipped my tea and soaked in the quiet of the house and the rhythm of Lorna's story I felt a slight pang of guilt that I should be doing something else, something more 'productive'. To stave off the guilt I told myself that essentially reading the book was work. I am a writer after all and I needed to 'study' the book before the weekend. The guilt also stemmed from thinking about Pete building in the blazing sun while we were in the cool comfort of the house. Guilt, it is so pointless isn't it?

By the end of the day River was back on his feet. At 4.30pm when the boys' buddy Jacob and the other kids in the street arrived home from their school day River's injury was a distant memory. "Who wants to play hide and seek?" they all scattered to find their hiding spot.

Have you forgotten the art of staying home? Are you caught in the busy loop too? Take a day off!

Monday, September 14, 2015

desert mob alice springs

Desert Mob is one of the many celebrations of Aboriginal art and culture that happens here in Alice Springs. We've been lucky to coincide our visit with the 25th anniversary of Desert Mob. 

A week ago on Friday evening we joined the crowd pictured above at the Desert Mob Dancesite where Aboriginal women from a number of Central Australian communities sang and danced their traditional songs and dances.

The magnificent women pictured above dressed in yellow skirts and white feathers are from Tennant Creek they are dancing the Munga Munga dreaming, looking for water in the Dreamtime. (I was scribbling this down while keeping an eye on kids so if I have any of that incorrect apologies! Let me know and I will update it).

Desert Mob is hosted in partnership with desart the association of Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Centers. The annual Desert Mob exhibition is a highlight at the Araluen Arts Centre as is the Desert Mob marketplace held on the Saturday. Pete and I managed to have a morning without our boys (thanks Jodie, Scott and Jacob!) to visit the marketplace. Market goers were in a buying frenzy as you can see from the last few photos. The art market is a unique opportunity to buy Aboriginal art at remarkably affordable prices (the majority of work on sale is under $500) and if you aren't in the market for a canvas there is jewellery, cushions, scarves and t-shirts.

Don't you love the t-shirt? The artist who painted this is the youngest artist from the Minyma Kutjara Arts Project, he is 6! 

The design on the first cushion cover pictured above is owned by Mary Anne Nampijinpa Michaels. It tells the story of a sheltered rock basin where the rockhole Lappi Lappi is a permanent source of water. It is surrounded by country rich in bush tucker. The rockhole is home to a warnayarra, a rainbow serpent that travels underground between various rock holes. You can read more detail of this story here.

The second cushion cover, the design is owned by Betsy Napangardi Lewis. This design tells the story of all a group of women of all ages who travelled to the east gathering food, collecting 'ngalyipi' (snake vine) and performing ceremonies as they travelled. You can read more about this story and purchase this cushion cover from Better World Arts.

Winter is a perfect time of year to visit Australia's red centre because the weather is perfect, blue skies every day, and there are so many festivals and events that provide a great opportunity not only to learn more about the art and culture here but also to meet Alice locals.

Now that it is Spring, the temperature has jumped up into the low 30's. Cannot imagine living through summer here!

Happy Monday everyone x

Friday, September 11, 2015

weekend reading

I'm reading two books at once, gearing up for the NT writer's festival. I can relate to much in Lorna Hendry's Wrong Way Round, I'm reading it to River and Sol we're loving it. And I'm only a few pages in to Kim Mahood's craft for a Dry Lake.

Here's a practical and positive approach to supporting asylum seekers in Melbourne.

New study released today shows the negative impact of eating a junk food diet on the brain.

Why depriving your kids of toys is a great idea

Have you made Georgia's healthy chocolate, coconut almond bars? They're one of my favorites.

I found this an inspiring read, one woman following her calling.

What have you been cooking lately? What's on for the weekend? It is my birthday on sunday!
"Two more sleeps and you'll be turning 24 right mum?" asked Sol. Bless him. More like 41 :)
I'm looking forward to it. Have a great weekend x

Sunday, September 06, 2015

stills collection: father's day

Today we're celebrating our man Pete, a wonderful Dad with strong values who is dedicated in every way to providing his sons with every opportunity to grow into great men. Tears as I type. Love these guys.

This collection of photos are mainly from our trip to Cape York last year where fishing and collecting mud crab happened most days.

Wishing everyone a happy father's day or just a very happy sunday if it is a day you'd rather skip!

See you back here next week x

Saturday, September 05, 2015

weekend reading

Have I told you lately how much I love Alice Springs?

The day we arrived here I was already thinking about how we'll be sad to leave. We're not leaving for a while but it has cast a spell on me as has happened to many, many people before me.

During the week Pete dropped us in town to go to the library, twenty minutes later after he'd driven off I realised the school book bag was still in the car. Instead of maths and writing we did a walking art gallery tour, spending time at Papunya Tula

On Friday night we spent time at Desert Mob to see some beautiful traditional dancing. I'll write more about that next week.

And enjoyed good coffee and friendly service from The Coffee Horse

I've added this cookbook to my collection since I've been here, I want to make so many of the recipes, I don't have an oven here though so some will have to wait til I'm home

I'm loving the Artful Parent, so many great ideas for art with kids

Winter is over here in Australia but for anyone still fending off the common cold here is a great post from Georgia, Top Five Foods to Reduce Mucus

I've mentioned it before but I'm really looking forward to the NT Writer's Festival

I've taken SO many photos this week, can't wait to share them with you. I'm hunting up recipes too!

I hope you're all having a beautiful weekend x

Friday, September 04, 2015

thursday recipe: chicken san choy bow

If you're looking for new ways of getting your kids to eat more veggies (who isn't?), then this dish is a good one.

I'm working on the rainbow method at the moment, which goes like this "how many colours of the rainbow have you eaten today Sol?" As you can see there is a rainbow of colour in this meal and by placing the ingredients in the centre of the table your family can wrap up the veggies in the lettuce cups that they pick out for themselves.

The choosing for themselves part is important because it makes them feel like they're in control which can be key with some kids. Frustrating as that is! Be nice if we could just say I'm the boss I make the rules eat your dinner (to some degree that does work!) but most people I know who have a fussy eater at the table realise that they need to be a little craftier than that.

Plus, this dish allows you to include foods that you know they will eat alongside new or not so favorite foods. Don't fall into the trap of thinking and then saying 'you don't eat carrot', the less said the better!

This is definitely not a strict recipe, whatever is in season, in your garden or in your fridge that is fresh and delicious will work in this.

Another bonus with this is the absence of carbs! I'm not anti carbs but lots of kids are carb addicts living on cereal, sandwiches and pasta. This is a great dish to break that habit.

Many san choy bow recipes call for things like oyster sauce or hoi sin sauce, I've made this without them because most of those ready made sauces are brimming with salt, sugar and additives. You just don't need them, there are far more natural ways to give your food flavour. I've kept the chicken part quite plain intentionally so that it is kid friendly and then you can add extra flavours at the table when it comes to the wrapping.

I hope your family has fun trying this dish out. Let me know how it goes.

Chicken san choy bow


1kg minced chicken
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cm ginger, finely grated
1 carrot finely grated
1 tbsp tamari
Half to one tsp honey
coconut oil

1 iceberg lettuce, leaves kept whole gently peeled apart and washed
1 carrot cut into sticks
1 avocado sliced
1 bunch coriander roughly chopped
1-2 red chillies finely sliced
3/4 cup dry roasted cashews chopped
10 snowpeas finely sliced on the diagonal
1/2 brown or red onion finely sliced
3 spring onions sliced
8 cherry tomatoes sliced
1 lime cut into wedges

To make
Prepare all salad ingredients and arrange on a platter.
Heat frypan or wok to high heat and melt about a dessertspoon of coconut oil.
When oil is hot add the chicken to the pan with the garlic, ginger and carrot.
Cook for 3-4 minutes until meat has just changed colour.
Add in tamari and honey and cook for another 2 minutes.
**Adjust the seasonings (tamari, honey, ginger, garlic) to your taste in this recipe adding more or less accordingly.

To eat
Place cooked chicken and salad ingredients of choice into lettuce cup, wrap and munch!

If you enjoy this recipe please share it with your friends.

Friday, August 28, 2015

weekend reading

I spent two hours writing a post about the Rosie Batty dinner I went to last Friday night and the post vanished! Don't know what I pressed, don't know where it's gone but it's gone. So, I'm sorry for the quiet week with posting. I'm aiming for more next week.

We're heading out on country this weekend with some Elders and their families, River is packing light: taking his footy. Very important.

This week we spent a lovely morning with local artist Betty Davies and her partner, drinking coffee, talking about life in Alice, raising children, Pete's work and everything in between. Making new friends, hearing about their lives, sharing life experience is part of the richness of being in new places.

I feel like I haven't been talking much about food here! And haven't been supplying you with any new recipes. I've been keeping meals pretty simple cooking in our little kitchenette here. So to make up for it I thought I'd focus on some food links today...

I don't have a thermomix but I'd like to have a go at making Jo's chicken pot pie without a thermie.

You'll find plenty of delicious family friendly recipes over at Well Nourished.


Natural New Age Mum


Alexx Stuart

Brenda Janscheck

For meal planning check out:

Planning with Kids

Veggie Mama

Have a great weekend everyone. Enjoy your cooking and I'll be back next week with more stories from the desert. x

Sunday, August 23, 2015


I owe you a weekend reading list and stills collection so I've rolled them together!

You see I've been busy washing sheets and towels. All 3 of my guys went down with gastro since Friday. So much fun.

Anyway, we're back on track starting with this post.

During the week we had the privilege of heading out of town with two Arrerntre Elders to spend time with their family sitting under the shade of trees on one of the Elders homeland. How spectacular is that country? River and Sol loved every minute, from eating kangaroo tail to playing footy with their new friends.

Friday night I had the opportunity to meet Rosie Batty and personally tell her what a remarkable woman she is for the work she is doing to prevent domestic violence in Australia. Next week I will write a post about the evening. Join Rosie's Never Alone campaign. Together we can make a difference.

Check out the Desert Divas looking forward to seeing them at the Bush Band Bash next month.

If you're pulling your hair out because your kids are fussy eaters, or you can't bear to hear 'what's for dinner?' one more time, then Brenda Janscheck and Alexx Stuart's 21 day e-course THRIVE could be the one for you. For more details or to sign up go here, registrations close midnight tonight and the course kicks off tomorrow.

Now if you'll excuse me I've got some catching up on sleep to do! More soon. x
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