A Stroll Through Sydney: Waverton to NSW Art Gallery

When I don’t have piles of university work looming over my desk I like to busy myself by exploring places around Sydney, on a Sunday afternoon

Last Sunday I decided to wing an adventure, starting at Waverton train station and aiming for the CBD, perfectly happy to diverge off course and do anything that caught my attention. Noting that Sunday is cheat day and therefore a treat was necessary, I popped into the local IGA (small grocery store) and grabbed a slice of freshly baked baklava (if you want to make it yourself – fantastic recipe here).

This particular IGA is nestled in a dead-end, hidden away from the main Waverton drag and often is hard to spot for non-locals. However, its selection of delicious baked treats (baklava, almond shortbread, caramel slice and more) and diverse range of international foods have made it more of a hidden treasure than a corner store, attracting customers from all over Sydney.

Savoring the delectably sweet flakes of baklava, I wandered along, snapping a pic of a car that caught my attention (it looked like it was better suited to an Italian town than the backstreets of Sydney), and hopped down to the station platform.

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I entertained myself during the train ride with a book I just rented from the library, “Superfoods for Life, Cacao.” I impulsively borrowed this during a burst of sudden chocolate craving, in hopes of finding some great chocolate-based recipes. I wasn’t disappointed. If you are interested in baking or cooking, this provides a comprehensive overview of the wonderful benefits of cacao as well as sweet AND SAVOURY cacao based recipes – savoury chocolate-lasagne is actually tasty… weird, I know.

Hopping off at Town Hall, I escaped the suffocatingly stale air trapped in the underground station, and strolled up towards Hyde Park.

It was the perfect day for relaxing in the park, the sun was shining, there were no Ibis‘ to be seen (those pestering and uncomfortably large birds that waltz around Hyde Park like they own it), and ice cream trucks dotted around the gardens.

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After taking a couple of minutes to soak in the sunshine and reflect on how great a mid-city park really is (New York is so blessed to have the green expanse that is Central Park), I continued on walking towards the NSW Art Gallery.

I’m not an art fanatic by any means and haven’t found myself in an art gallery (especially in my home city) for many years, but for some reason, I walked in and joined the free 3pm Mystery Art Tour. The concept behind the mystery tour is that the guide (definitely an art fanatic) will take you on a one hour tour exploring paintings according to a theme they choose, it could be anything – Love, Religion, Aboriginal art etc. Interestingly, on this day the guide decided to investigate exhibits based on eroticism and sexuality. At first, it was confronting to really stare at the paintings but after I put all reservations about nudity aside, it became highly fascinating.

A piece that stood out for me was the one I have inserted below, by Lucian Freud. Far larger in life than what you are looking at on your computer screen, the painting expands across a large wall and almost assaults the eye with its nakedness. The guide challenged us to really examine and explore the painting with our eyes, also mentioning how passersby would steal a glance at the artwork before awkwardly sidling away.

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Painting by Lucian Freud at the NSW Art Gallery 2017

What I found most interesting was the twist behind what the painting depicts. Upon first appearances, Freud seems to have depicted a couple post sex. However, further investigation into the painting reveals that the subjects were co-performers, and were perhaps resting, barely able to undress before collapsing on a bed after a taxing string of performances.

Ending up at the Art Gallery inspired me to visit it more often. I will be scheduling in a more Mystery Art tours over the coming weeks. To end the fantastic day on a high note, I took an Uber to C9 Chocolate and Gelato in Crows Nest and had my favourite dessert in Sydney… Cookies & Cream icecream squashed between a donut and drizzled in chocolate. Sublime.

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xx

 

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Stone Beige ~ in resemblance to the colours of Freud’s painting

 

A Safari in South Africa

Upon travelling to South Africa I was removed from the humdrum busy-ness of Sydney city and placed in a world of vast green landscapes with lots of sunshine and animals roaming freely.

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Staying at a beautiful little cottage-like guesthouse called Heritage House, which was in a close-by town called St. Lucia, we traveled to game parks, reserves, beaches and estuaries each day to see the wildlife.

The customer service at Heritage House was divine. We were greeted with an offering of tea and coffee complimented by delicious date & coconut balls, traditional homemade buttermilk rusks (which I’m dying to try baking at home) and dark chocolate truffles.

Each morning there was full breakfast served. Upon arrival to brekkie we were immediately asked how we would like our eggs (sunny side up please) and then promptly a large plate of eggs, bacon, mushrooms, onion, and toast would arrive. On the side we had a buffet of cocktail glasses filled with greek yogurt/berry compote/muesli alongside more toast, spreads, tea, coffee, juice, buttermilk rusks and cereal.

I could wax lyrical about the delightful food available, but undoubtedly the best part of the trip was the time we spent at Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Game Park, just one hour or so from where we were staying. We woke at

That day we woke at 5am and were driven in a safari truck by a local Zulu tour guide named Tsebo (pronounced with a click of the tongue at the beginning), who was so passionate about the animals and plant life that it made the day even more enjoyable.

We spent the day spotting animals, had some hair-raising encounters with moody elephants in musth, and (astoundingly) managed to see all of the Big 5 – African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros.

Here is some of what I managed to capture, even though most of the time I was so in awe of the animals I forgot about taking pictures:

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xx

 

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Savannah Red, for AFRICA

 

Making Healthy Almond-Cacao Protein Balls

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Hey guys!

Despite being flat out with uni exams at the moment, this Sunday I’m going to publish a quick recipe I use for my cacoa protein balls.

Protein balls are so great as a healthy snack to fill you up. Just try not to go crazy on them, as they are very moreish. I try to use coconut oil because it is nice and filling compared to lots of other cooking oils.

Each ball has about 205 calories and is dense with healthy fats and protein to make it the perfect yummy, healthy snack.

My recipe makes 5. You will need:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 50g sultanas
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Method:

  1. Put all dry ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth
  2. Put peanut butter and coconut oil in the microwave for 1 minute
  3. Pour peanut butter/coconut oil mixture into dry ingredients and mix with spoon.
  4. Using your hands form the mixture into 5 little protein balls
  5. Place in fridge for an hour
  6. Enjoy!

 

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Cocoa Brown ~ How could I choose any other colour?

xx

Let me know if you try the recipe out!

What I Eat in a Day (II) | Cafe Review

Helloooo I’m back with another what I ate in a typical day. Here my diet is completely omnivorous with no funky veganism/vegetarianism or health restrictions – but stay tuned for my post when I try going vegan for a week (could be wonderful or a disaster I guess we’ll see).

I started the day off with breakfast with a girlfriend at Lid & Jar in Chatswood. It’s a lovely cafe in a peaceful, contemporary setting with plenty of space to relax and enjoy your meal, but I do find it quite pricey (I paid $23 AUD for my breakfast).

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I had a tough time choosing between what I got and their fluffy French toast with bacon drizzled in maple syrup, but in light of all I ate at Easter last weekend, I ended up going for ‘the green bowl’. This was a raw mix of kale, avocado, broccolini, asparagus, zucchini and egg, drizzled with pesto and a sprinkle of quinoa. The meal itself was lovely (but not that filling – I was hungry again a couple of hours later), but I complemented it with a black coffee which (even for a keen coffee fan like myself) tasted incredibly sharp and bitter.

Afterward, I hit the gym and did a Body Attack session, which is probably my favourite class offered by Fitness First, but it is full on and meant I was very hungry when lunch time clocked round.

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Lunch was homemade and super easy – just a multigrain wrap, smeared with hummus which was topped with avocado, 2 warmed up falafels, mayo and a sprinkle of parmesan. This was very tasty and filled me up all the way to dinner, which is surprising because I’m usually snacking all throughout a typical day.

For dinner, I steamed half an eggplant and a sweet potato and had that with a fillet of salmon. I usually just do my salmon pan-fried with a drizzle of oil and salt + pepper. I finished off the day with one (definitely had two) of these m&m cupcakes my best friend and I made the other day.

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And that’s what I had in the day – the calories would have come to approximately 1300 (minus the workout session – Body Attack burns 500 calories).

 

What’s the best thing you ate today? Let me know – I’d love to chat below 🙂

 

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Neutral tan for a typical day

 

xx

My 5 Go-to Healthy Snacks

Hey guys!

I’ve been trying to cut down (healthily) a little on what I eat recently, and I realised that I’ve been picking up weight because I’m constantly nibbling on different things in the pantry.

So, to make sure I stay full throughout the day I have 5 go-to snacks in the fridge/food cupboard which are filling AND yummy.

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These are:

  • Carrot sticks & Pilpel Hummous – carrot has to be my favourite veggie because of its sweetness, and Pilpel Hummous is my go-to because it has so much flavour but doesn’t have garlic in it (garlic upsets my stomach).
  • Dried fruit/nut mix – handful of pecans, pepitas, dried apricots, sultanas and walnuts. The fruits give you that sweet satisfaction and the nuts fill you up.
  • Apple & Carman’s Nut Bar – Carman’s does such a great range of healthy muesli bars, if your local supermarket stocks them I would definitely recommend checking them out. They are the perfect snack, and funnily enough I got up at 2am the other night because my stomach was rumbling, and a Carmen’s nut bar was the perfect fix to send me back to sleep.
  • Popcorn – try to avoid popcorns that are doused in butter, just plain corn kernels will do the trick.
  • My sugarless carrot/oatmeal cookies – they say ‘sugarless’ but don’t worry maple syrup and sultanas make them just as yummy as regular cookies.

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I have been making batches of these for longer than I can remember because they are the perfect moreish snack, especially when I’m on the go.

You will need:

  1. 1 cup rolled oats
  2. 3/4 cup self-raising flour
  3. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  4. Sprinkle of salt
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil (be ready to add more in case your mixture is too dry)
  6. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 cup sultanas
  8. 2 medium carrots grated
  9. 1/3 cup pepitas
  10. 2 tbsp maple syrup
  11. Handful of pecans (to decorate)

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Mix the oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, sultanas, grated carrots and pepitas together in a large bowl. Then, add the olive oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup and stir to combine. Add extra olive oil until the mixture is a perfect, doughy consistency. Whack in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes (or until golden brown) and voila! You’re done.

I hope you too can enjoy these great snacks. They are especially great if you are looking to maintain a healthy weight and want filling snacks that aren’t completely boring!

xx

 

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Kimono red for yummy, healthy Snacks

 

 

Mother’s Day Feast

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Today was Mother’s Day, and to treat Mum I decided to prepare a lovely Sunday lunch that she enjoyed.

As usual, it took way longer to prepare than I expected. I woke up at 9am and immediately started baking, and was going flat out until 1pm when lunch was served.

For the meal I decided to do wine-braised chicken (with white wine, carrots, red onion, rosemary, red grapes and pine nuts), and an asparagus & grilled halloumi salad.

I do enjoy baking, but I’m not too good when it comes to experimenting, so I stuck fast to Jamie Olivers recipes from his cookbook. I’ve found that if you really follow the recipes he gives you will produce delicious meals that taste like they’re actually restaurant quality.

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Wine-braised Chicken

For dessert, I went all out with Mum’s favourite cake – a white chocolate mud cake. I always use the Taste recipe when I make the cake, but I halve the mixture because the amount they prescribe actually makes 2 regular sized cakes (you could definitely stick with the actual quantities and pile the 2 cakes on top of each other with creamy ganache in the middle).

It was a lovely day, and I treated Mum to a mani-pedi voucher at our local salon, to top the day off.

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What do you usually do for mum on Mother’s Day?

xx

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Champagne Pink for the Perfect Mother’s Day

Life Update: What’s Coming Up?

Firstly, if you live in or around Sydney – go check out one of my favourite restaurants (Johnny Lobster). They just started doing ALL YOU CAN EAT Fried Chicken on Wednesdays, and if that doesn’t sound like heaven I don’t know what does.

Okay so onto the post, it’s going to be a bit brief this Sunday, since I’m absolutely bogged down in uni work and would prefer to pass my courses… but don’t worry, there are exciting things coming!

Firstly, and actually the main reason I’ve got a lot on at the moment, is that I got a two day a week editorial internship at an online magazine called Broadsheet. I’m super excited to begin working there, because I’ll get invaluable workplace experience whilst having my writing published. Even better, it’s exactly the place I’d love to work after uni! If you’re a uni student I would definitely recommend getting an internship as soon as possible. I’ve had two so far, and I honestly learn more in one day interning than I do in an entire semester studying at uni.

Secondly, I’ll be travelling to South Africa (to visit my extended family) in June/July. We go back every year, and this time we are also doing a trip around a game park. So stay tuned for some travel/holiday posts and photographs of the Big Five.

I’ve also started hip-hop dance classes (once a week) on a bit of a whim, because I did dance for 10 years and then quit and I thought it might be a nice idea to get back into it for fun. Turns out I’m far less flexible than I used to be, so daily stretching has now also become a thing.

In terms of upcoming posts, Australia has Mother’s Day coming up next Sunday so keep a look out for a yummy cake recipe (going to go all out with something I’ve never baked before), and I also plan to try the Vegan diet for a week and document my experiences… who know’s maybe I’ll convert.

Thanks for bearing with my sub-par post this week, everyone’s support means so much.

xx

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Walnut brown for exciting things to come