Friday, October 31, 2014

Button Bliss Spa & Cup Cafe

I've learnt that if I receive any emails with the word 'mushroom' and 'invitation' in them to open them quickly and reply asap. This time last year I was spoilt with an indulgent Asian inspired lunch hosted by the Australian Mushroom Growers Association and cooked by Ed ("Fast Ed") Halmagyi, Alistair McLeod and Katrina Ryan. This year I was in store for a special treat when the students of COTAH (College of Tourism and Hospitality) at Southbank would be cooking the lunch at the TAFE's fully functioning restaurant, Ernest on 66 with spa treatments provided by the beauty therapy students of TAFE.

Before lunch we were treated to deluxe hand massages using Waterlily Skin-Body-Spa products and the Moroccan Rose & Guava hand treatment cream was just gorgeous. It really soaked into my dry, wrinkly hands and smelt delicious.

On arrival we were greeted with a cold drink and duck liver and mushroom pate on brioche and orange jam and deep fried sesame mushrooms and Camembert with sauce Cumberland.

Entree (starter) was double strength chicken and mushroom consomme with mushroom and shallot dumpling with chervil.

The main meal was whole roasted veal tenderloin with forest mushroom cream sauce, pommes dauphinoise and a melody of glazed sugar snap peas, baby carrots and baby beetroot.

Dessert, which was absolutely gorgeous and complemented the meal fantastically, was dark chocolate mousse, chocolate 'soil', mushroom meringues, raspberry sorbet and gold leaf.

At the end of the meal, we were treated to a special performance by visiting member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, didgeridoo player William Barton. Great food, great company, first class service from the students and another well organised event by the team at JKPR for the Australian Mushroom Growers Association. I can't wait for next year and I'll be watching my Inbox like a hawk.

Disclaimer:  I was invited to attend this lunch for the Australian Mushroom Growers Association free of charge. All thoughts, photos and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Easy costumes for kids - #MUMMYHACKS with DAIRYLEA

This post is brought to you with thanks to DAIRYLEA Cheese.

happy mother’s day!
I wish there was a manual on what to expect when raising a child when I brought my babies home from hospital. Everything I ever read on the subject, before having them, was thrown out the window as soon as they were born. I didn't know if I was 'Arthur or Martha' most days, and still don't.  DAIRYLEA Australia have come up with #MUMMYHACKS. A campaign for us Mums to join together and share our easier (and cheesier) time saving, cost efficient and no nonsense tips to make this parenting gig a little less stressful.

Who is DAIRYLEA DAIRYLEA, the cheese brand that is much loved in the UK is finally making its way to Australia! DAIRYLEA is a healthier cheese option for your family which is free of artificial colours and flavours. The DAIRYLEA range of products includes delicious CHEESY POPSSTRIP CHEESEFRIDGE STICKS and CHEESE PODS.

Most days I survived by the seat of my pants, just struggling, minute by minute and letting the kids dictate how the day was going to pan out. Most of my #MUMMYHACKS came out of trying to do the best I could in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of money and keeping the kids happy. One #MUMMYHACK I'd like to share is how to come up with easy dress up costumes for kids.

No one ever told me about fancy dress costumes or dress ups, especially now that my two children (daughter nearly 10 and son nearly 8) are in school. There's school discos, book week dress ups, Halloween and birthday parties. It seems like every other week there is a reason for a dress up. I got sucked in early buying ready made costumes from the store but soon started making do with material scraps I had laying around, sewing simple dresses or op shopping for second hand items. Needless to say, the kids have had heaps of fun with them.

It wasn't until I picked up a second hand black Ninja suit for my son that my costume woes were over. It consisted of a black top, black pants (both elasticised at the wrist and ankles so I bought a much larger size), the mask and a tie for the waist. There was a black cape on sale as well and the whole lot cost me well under $10. I just wished I'd picked up these pieces of clothing earlier. It would've saved me a lot of money and time.

As you can see by my daughter's choices of costumes, nothing is ever straight forward. AND the worst part about it is they always change their minds right at the last minute. With the basic black outfit and a few added props they can be Darth Vader one minute, and with a painted black box with white tape marked for eyes, they can be transformed into Enderman from Minecraft.

There are many other uses for a plain black costume including some of these examples.

Shadow Kids

Scuba - would be an easy costume to make (black shirt & leggings, spay painted 2 liter pop bottle...)

Black Knight Costume - Cardboard gothic armor for 6 year-old. Made with corrugated cardboard, hot glue, paint, some elastic bands and velcro.

Homemade Halloween costumes - Baby Skunk and Mommy Skunk black hoodie black sweat pants white feather boa on black strip material black makeup stick nose and whiskers

Last Minute Spider Costume - All you need is a black hoodie for this simple Halloween craft. From @Mad in Crafts

Raven costume with a hoodie! Could easily transform this into any bird costume.

DIY Crayola Costume #Halloween

I'm sure there are many more. Don't get caught up in the latest character fads that your kids are interested in. It will cost you a fortune and you'll have a whole wardrobe full of costumes that would make any super hero or princess proud to own. 

If only there were #MUMMYHACKS around when my children were younger. Their whole category is a life hack for mothers, so they’re launching a new DAIRYLEA range with an idea that taps into that desire to balance the fun of being a Mum with much-needed practical help.  Follow the DAIRYLEA Australia Facebook page for heaps more #MUMMYHACK ideas.

Do you have your own #MUMMYHACKS? Do you have any time saving, cost effective ideas that would help other Mums around the world? If so, you can link them up here at the DAIRYLEA website for your chance to win a family holiday to Queensland (be quick though – the competition only runs until the 31st October!)

In the meantime, I think I've got another couple year's worth of book weeks and Halloweens to get through. I might buy another plain black Ninja suit in a larger size. That should keep the kids out of my hair for a while.

Disclaimer:  This post was created as part of an entry into the "Win the Ultimate MUMMYHACK Holiday" competition in collaboration with DAIRYLEA Australia. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The #Giftorium @Myer


Christmas has to be my MOST favourite time of the year. I still get a kick out of seeing Santa, watching my kid's faces light up when they open their presents, receiving and giving presents, preparing food for the day and Christmas present shopping. Well, sort of. Every year, I try to get in early but by the time Christmas comes around, my kids have changed their minds about what they want or I find I have a dozen or so presents to buy at the last minute.

This year, all 67 Myer stores across Australia have introduced a Giftorium. A one-stop destination for all festive gift giving needs.  On weekends and selective dates from 8 November, every Myer store will have a whole host of fun activities for the entire family including  children’s face painting, balloon artists, musical performances, Christmas tree and table dressing demonstrations, appearances from children’s characters, cosmetic workshops and children’s Christmas book readings.

 Myer has developed an extensive Personal Shopping Service centred on expertly trained Gifticians and Producticians. Gifticians are on hand to help you choose the perfect gift for any age group, interest or budget. Producticians will be on hand to provide product demonstrations and reveal the latest must-have Christmas gift ideas, sourced from around the world. 

In select stores around the country, there will be demonstrations by major brands including Marvin’s Magic, SodaStream, Mr Men and Little Miss, Plumm wine glasses, Dilmah Teas and Vista Print.

I was absolutely 'tickled pink' to receive my own personalised gift in my goodie bag from Myer and Mr Men and Little Miss. They have a whole range of personalised items available.

To get a head start, you can select from any of the Myer 12 Themes of Christmas gift categories, which include some of the following.

Food Fanatic (for any of my friends reading this, you can start Christmas shopping here for me)


Kid's Cubby (for young boys and girls)

Trendy Young Things (I could've spent my entire Christmas budget on my daughter in this section)

Miracle Mum (okay kids, you can start here for me)

Dapper Dad

There's also your usual high standard of Christmas decorations and adornments you'd expect from Myer.

There is also a beautiful range of (my) favourite cookbooks and homewares available.

On the morning, we were also treated to a sumptuous array of refreshments including this gorgeous sweets table created by Sensationally Sweet Events.

Myer has you covered with everything from gift selection to wrapping to same day 'elf' delivery service. You can start shopping in the comfort of your own home here from the Myer Giftorium website. I can't wait to get back into the store, with the kids, to experience all the sights and sounds of Christmas again. Make sure you book your visit with Santa online here to save you waiting in line on the day.

Disclaimer:  I was gifted a generous 'goodie' bag from Myer containing a Sodastream PLAY softdrink maker and a $50 voucher to spend on the day. All photos, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Baked "Potato Curls" crumbed chicken strips

You've read before how much of a fussy eater my daughter is (in fact for the last nearly 8 years)? Well, I can safely say we have made a lot of progress. In fact, we made a major change from processed chicken nuggets (I refused to buy them anymore) and I am using real chicken (yes, real chicken) and crumbing them. She just 'wolfs' them down. Needless to say, my nearly 8 year old boy will eat anything if it stays still long enough. 

As I mentioned before, my kids love the range of snack products from Healtheries, including the chicken flavoured Potato Curls. Not that my children are gluten free, but all of the Healtheries range are gluten free and turning these tasty little morsels into crumbs and crumbing chicken or fish is a great gluten free option.

This was such an easy dinner to prepare. I placed the Potato Curls into a ziplock bag, banged them for a couple minutes with a wooden rolling pin and had a lovely fine crumb for coating.

No need to flour the chicken in the dredging process. Just dip in beaten egg, then the Potato Curl crumbs and place on an oven tray to bake. I gave the chicken strips a light spray with oil just to add to the browning process. For one medium sized chicken breast, I used 2 bags of Potato Curls and just 1 egg for the dipping.

They were so delicious and crispy plus no fat was used in the cooking process other than a light spray of oil. Healtheries Potato Curls are also 70% less in fat than regular potato chips, have no artificial flavours or colours, no preservatives and no added MSG.  They are also made with sunflower oil, not palm oil. Next time I'll try the burger flavoured Potato Curls. I'm sure they'll taste just as nice.

I managed to catch this photo of my son just before the meal was demolished. A tasty and healthy alternative to fried, bread crumbed chicken or fish. I'll be keeping some packets of the Healtheries Potato Curls in a secret stash, just for this purpose (well trying to).

Disclaimer: This blog post is the second of three entries into the Kidspot Voices of 2014 Healtheries #snackosphere challenge. I was given a selection of Healtheries snack foods to try. All opinions and photos are my own.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Pin Junkie - 2 Year Blogiversary

Two years ago, Bonnie a.k.a. The Pin Junkie decided to actually do the things she pinned on Pinterest.  She made a few crafts, tried a few recipes and had so much fun, she wanted to share her love of Pinterest with everyone and The Pin Junkie was born!  Now she's completely addicted and working her way through Pinterest one project at a time.  You can join her at:

The Pin Junkie is celebrating it's two year blogiversary and these bloggers are helping to celebrate in style with a HUGE link party! When you share your crafts and recipes at this party, they will be seen on all 40 of these blogs!

Party Rules
1.  Share anything family friendly - crafts, recipes, DIY projects.
2.  Visit other links at the party.  It's always nice to leave some comments and pin from the original source.
3.  Visit and follow a few of the co-hosts.  They'd love it if you dropped by to say hello!

New Mrs. Adventures Made in a Day
Jewels of Sayuri Mom Home Guide
Wow I Like That Blogghetti
Natural Maker Mom at Satsuma Designs 2 Crochet Hooks
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Delightful Mom So Much To Make
Amanda G. Whitaker “mommyzoid I'm Not a Trophy Wife  photo WPORG_FAV_zpscfc08c44.png
 Who Gave The Baby Coffee What About DIYFunIdeas
 Jenny Marie A Peek Into My Paradise

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