Escaping to Byron Bay on a Whim

For months now my best friend and I have been playing with the idea of doing a sporadic trip away to experience something different from Sydney for a couple of days. So, about a month ago (on a whim) we just thought FUCK it and booked tickets to Byron Bay.

236F2789-0B00-42A5-9593-EE47FEEEDC3D.jpg

Byron Bay is a coastal town in Australia and is only an hour flight (or an uncomfortably long 9 hour drive) from Sydney. It’s got beautiful beaches and bushwalks (one to the Byron Lighthouse pictured above) but is also known for its relaxed, hippie vibe and alternative culture – it has lots of vegan destinations, where you can find eco-friendly products.

We wanted to keep the trip pretty cheap since we booked last minute and didn’t have reams of cash to work with. The flights weren’t too cruel to the budget but we tried to be cost effective with accommodation. We stayed in a caravan park, only a 10 minute walk from the centre of town, and were given a sweet little cabin which had a double bed, a stove, microwave, tv, eating area and a small bathroom. Since we didn’t plan to spend that much time in our rooms it was absolutely perfect.

We stayed 7 days, and spent time swimming on the main beach, shopping, buying ice-creams from the local favourite In The Pink (I was a fiend for the chunky MARS icecream), trying restaurants and doing walks along the beach and to some of the look-out points over the ocean:

IMG_4703.jpg

On one of the days we took a trip to a highly recommended place called The Farm, which is a community owned farm (that you can take a look around) which uses some of its produce for a great restaurant called the Three Blue Ducks. We made the grand mistake of deciding to walk from Byron to the restaurant (in 33˚C heat I’ll add), which took about 1.5 hours, so by the time we got there we were ravenous and felt like we were going to collapse from dehydration.

Luckily, the restaurant had delicious lunch options and I indulged in sticky pork ribs with lime, and quenched my thirst with hibiscus, elderflower, ginger & tumeric kombucha. We were sitting on wooden benches right in the middle of the farm and had roosters waltzing around our feet as we ate.

A couple of nights we tried Byron’s bars (which have a huge backpacker demographic) and our favourite by far was the Railway Bar. It was very casual (I rocked up wearing flip flops) and had people all ages enjoying a drink together. Some nights we didn’t feel like going out, and instead bought ingredients to make nachos, pasta or burritos, which we would enjoy in bed whilst watching TV.

I also found the Love Byron Bay chocolate ’boutique’, and I’m still deciding if it was an amazing or concerning discovery. After I found out that they sold almost every type of chocolate under the sun (they even had 100% Ecuadorian dark chocolate) I must have spent about AU$15 every day just buying bars of choccy to taste.

All in all we had a wonderful week relaxing and enjoy our time together and we will definitely go back. It was about my fifth time to Byron, and every time I go I discover a whole lot more – I would definitely recommend travelling there if you get the chance!

xx

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 1.09.43 pm.png

Dodger blue for an exciting escape

 

Beauty Serums for Youthfulness (homemade!!)

blog1.jpgDon’t you love purchasing beauty serums which contain 30ml of pungent cream that claims to ‘rewind ageing’ and ‘bring back youth’ at a retail price of  $100.

Obviously that was dripping with sarcasm. Why pay exorbitant prices for store-bought serums, when you can get the same results for under $10 at Woolworths?

And who doesn’t love some DIY homemade serums for glowing skin/hair and shining teeth (just to enhance that youthful look you’re already mastering).

Check out some of my favourite concoctions below!

Dark Circles Aloe-Cucumber Eye Mask

You will need: 1/4 cucumber, 1 stalk of aloe-vera, 5 drops rose-hip oil.

Cucumber and aloe vera de-puff and soothe the sensitive eye area. Combine all ingredients in a blender and pour into small container. Store in the refridgerator – should keep for up to a month. Apply nightly and leave on for about 20 minutes.

Natural Teeth-Whitening Paste 

You will need: 2 large strawberries (de-stemmed) & 1 tsp bicarbonate soda.

Don’t be suspicious of natural whitening methods! They are just as effective and aren’t harmful to the enamel on your teeth. This one is super easy, just buy a punnet of strawberries and away you go.

Honey Hair Smoothie

You will need: 1 tbsp honey, 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, 1 tsp coconut oil

This is a very moisture heavy formula, so if you have naturally oily hair – lighten your dose and avoid application on your roots. Just keep this in for 20 minutes and then wash out with your usual shampoo/conditioner routine.

And it’s as easy as that! I buy little jars from homewares stores (only about $1) each, to store each of the mixtures in.

xx

Shades-of-Green-Color-Names9.jpg

Tea green or Green tea – either way this colour is fresh and clean

Note: I do love to treat myself with store bought serums, as more often than not they do the trick, but I also find homemade beauty concoctions are highly effective.

The Cafe that Has it All | Wild Sage

Wild Sage, Cammeray is a bustling brekkie, lunch AND dinner destination that you won’t want to miss. The menu has such a wild range of food options that even the fussiest eaters could find something to appease them. So bring along your pickiest friends, but if that hasn’t got you convinced their relatively – remember we are talking Sydney Lower North Shore guys – cheap prices will.

I went for breakfast with a friend and was amazed at the array of food options. I found it difficult to choose between their sweet chia pod with coconut yogurt/crunchy granola and their savoury ‘Healthy Bowl’. In the end, I decided to splurge and handed over $18.90 for the savoury option which was a delicious fusion of avo, grilled haloumi, quinoa, spinach, poached eggs and a shot that had hints of ginger. It was even tastier than it sounds.

You’ll be sitting in a large open room, with lots of other tables so its a great spot for an event or a large group of people. The restaurant is decorated with colourful artworks and pot plants, hung amongst glass panes.

Wild sage brekkie.jpg

For lunch, I recommend their chilli pulled pork slider bun, which is perfectly tender and will satisfy your spicy cravings. Pair that with a sweet beverage from their extensive drinks menu – perhaps their Pineapple/Mint frappe or fresh coconut water served in the shell.

And there’s more. For dinner, dress up and take a special someone to indulge in one of their share plates. I’m a sucker for good seafood so my favourites would have to be the seared scallops with aioli or the King prawns served with steamy garlic bread. I’m going to be honest with you, the mains do get quite pricey as the restaurant becomes more expensive for dinner. But, it will be worth it when, for $32, you can have Wagyu striploin or marinated lamb cutlets.

As much as I want to delve into explaining all the great food options available, it would take too long. Hop onto their swanky website (which is as beautifully crafted as their food) if you have further foodie questions you want answered (http://wildsage.com.au/)

Give this modern Australian cuisine a go, and enjoy a meal out with friends!

xx

Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 9.45.22 pm.png

Mahogany brown for contemp0rary Australian food

 

 

 

Ultimate Homemade Freakshake

blog pic 2.jpg

Okay find your stretchy pants and prepare yourself for the treat of the year.

So everyone knows I have a huge choccy obsession, and to satisfy my latest cravings I decided to create the ultimate Freakshake (looks delicious, I know). For those of you who don’t know what a Freakshake is (don’t worry I too only discovered this incredible dessert very recently) it’s basically a thickshake that has added extras to make it completely over the top, and so naturally, even better.

It’s very easy to whip up which makes it the perfect quick treat for a party, special occasion or (in my case) a midnight snack.

You will need:

  • Tiramisu Kit Kat
  • Twix Bar
  • Mini Toblerone
  • Plain regular donuts (you can choose donuts with toppings, but I found this to be too intense and overwhelmingly rich).
  • Vanilla icecream
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • Whipped cream
  • Jumbo party straws
  • Fancy milkshake glass

Method:

  1. Pop three generous scoops of ice cream, the milk and the cocoa powder into a blender, and whip together.
  2. Pour the mixture into the milkshake glass, until about 3/4 full. Fill up the rest of the glass with whipped cream.
  3. Decorate away ~ go crazy poking the choccies into whipped cream.
  4. Slide the donuts onto the straws and pop in (make sure to do this before the straws are in the shake, or as you fiddle it will overflow).
  5. Enjoy!

And it’s as easy as that. There’s your perfect dessert for a cheeky cheat day.

blog-pic-1

xx

screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-4-43-19-pm

A dash of Fuschia perfectly encapsulates this fun-loving recipe

Fairytale Breakfast Destination

Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen combines fairytale and farmers market in Alexandria’s very own Foodie Warehouse. The cafe was just a 15 minute stroll from Erskineville station.

This cafe gives a new meaning to flexitarian, with great brekkie and lunch options that let you unleash your inner vegetarian (with some cheats).

For breakfast, you can choose to indulge in biodynamic eggs flavoured with parmesan, herbs and truffle oil, or treat yourself to their must-have cardamom spiced banana bread. Each meal is around $20, but if you don’t want to break the budget you can get fluffy biodynamic essene bread with avo for $10.

For lunch you can discover roasted beetroot topped with warm goats cheese or keep an eye out for their ‘sandwich boxes’ with preservative free ham or grass-fed sustainable beef. The menu changes daily, so you’ll want to go back again (and again) for more.

Get your coffee fix with their blends that use beans from Columbia and Guatemala. Tea junkies are spoilt with an array of black and herbal delights, my favourite was the Himalayan Earl Grey.

The canteen has a dreamlike feel with its light wood benches and pastel pink walls, which are bountifully decorated with fresh fruits and veggies.

I went with a close friend, and it was the perfect cafe for brunch to catch up, so definitely make a date and enjoy this hidden gem.

xx

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-2-07-36-pm

Pastel pink to go with the theme of this sweet spot

Veggie-packed Healthy Frittata

I love Frittata’s because they are delicious, but also because of their versatility – they can be served hot or chilled and for lunch or dinner. My recipe packs in lots of veggies, making the Frittata filling but low in calories. You can ch0oose to mix and match veggies depending on what you feel like (other options are capsicum, regular tomatoes, pumpkin, mushroom & asparagus).

image 2.jpg

For a sweet taste and carbs to fill me up, I use sweet potato as the base of the Frittata but this can be substituted for baby potatoes if you prefer. The meal takes about an hour to prepare if you are a slow chopper (like me), but if have a knack for cutting greens it should only take about 30 minutes.

You will need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 spring onions
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup feta
  • 1 zucchini
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
  2. Chop up the sweet potatoes and zucchini into cubes and fry in fry-pan with turmeric and olive oil, until golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Chop up the cherry tomatoes, spring onions, feta and basil. Also loosely chop the baby spinach.
  4. Whisk the eggs, milk and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Then stir through the basil.
  5. Put the sweet potatoes and the zucchini fry into the base of a cake tin. Cover with baby spinach, tomatoes and sprinkle with spring onion.
  6. Pour egg mixture over all other ingredients in cake tin, making sure to cover everything.
  7. Cut up feta into small blocks and place on top.
  8. Cook for 25 minutes, or until egg looks bouncy and cooked through (I check by inserting a skewer – make sure it doesn’t come out goopy).

image 4.jpg

Voila! Homemade and delicious.

xx

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 9.18.51 pm.png

Egg yolk yellow ~ 8 eggs needed for this dish!

Phuket Travel Diaries | Phi Phi Islands, Patong Beach dance shows, Old Phuket Town…

3

Phuket was a stark change to the organised chaos of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Bangkok, as we were thrown into island life where there was no set schedule to anything and locals worked off their own sense of time.

The first thing I noticed was the heat. Although the temperature was almost the same as the past few cities (around 35˚C) it was an intense, unshaded heat which baked the earth rather than the muggy, humid heat we got in Bangkok/HCMC that felt like we were constantly taking a warm shower. As unpleasant as that sounds it gave us the perfect excuse to go swimming every chance we got.

4

We stayed in Old Phuket Town, just a short bus trip away from all the major beaches. Old Phuket Town (pictured above) is quite different from other destinations in Phuket as it is seen as the historical part of the city and showcases colourful colonial architecture from European influence dating back centuries ago.

Walking down these historical main roads was surreal as it felt like we were caught in a time capsule far away from the frenzy of urban streets, riddled with dirt and smog, which we had gotten used to.

1

On two of the days we took tours out to explore the Phi Phi islands by speedboat, which was the highlight of my whole Asia trip. My favourite was the Sunrise Tour where we began the day speeding into the sun peeking over the horizon. Stopping off at various beaches and lagoons such as Maya Bay (pictured above) we had breakfast on the beach and were able to snorkel in the warm, pristine blue waters. The day was broken up by a traditional Thai lunch (various curries, stir fried morning glory, spiced meats and battered fish) at a restaurant on one island.

5

What was most fascinating was how little the islands had been built up. After the destruction of the boxing day Tsunami in 2004, it was only recently that people have started building on the islands again. This meant that all of the islands were covered in undisturbed, dense jungle.

A final destination of note was Patong Beach. Known for its party scene, it has a main strip of bars and clubs that come alive in the evening. On our first night out we went for dinner at an Italian place that did really authentic cheese covered pizza (not very Thai, but still delicious). After filling ourselves up we popped in and out of a couple of nightclubs which were brimming with good dance music and enthusiastic party-goers. Towards the end of the night we stumbled into a ping pong show which was more shocking than I expected. If you are familiar with ping pong shows you will know what I mean when I say it was definitely an experience I’ll never forget but never attend again.

All in all Phuket was wildly different to any of the other places we had been and we really enjoyed our time immersing ourselves in the island life.

xx

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 6.21.33 pm.png

Turquoise blue for the calm, clear Phuket sea