Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Reflecting on the year that was



Well 2017 is nearly over, so I sit here and reflect on the year that it has been. 

When I entered 2017, I didn't know what the year would bring, but I certainly didn't expect to be faced with the challenges that it threw into my path. 

What I also didn't expect was how life changing these experiences would be and how much I would learn from them and grow. They say difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations and I truly believe in this. It's also true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. 

Each year we are challenged to grow, learn and evolve and also have some fun along the way. Although this has been an emotionally difficult year, it has also been one with many unforgettable moments of love and laughter in all shapes and forms. 

It has been a year for new friendships and for being thankful for those that have been around forever. 

It was a year where I would finally say goodbye to a 16 year career in finance and follow my love for writing and helping others. To have a job that fulfills both of these passions is something I am very grateful for. Although it took a bumpy road to get here, I am thankful that it wasn't easy because it has made me appreciate it that much more. 

It was also a year of saying goodbye to someone very close to my heart. Someone that taught me that life is a gift and you have to give it everything you have. Someone that taught me that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Someone that taught me if you get knocked down, you have the strength to get back up and keep fighting. Someone that taught me it's perfectly ok to just be me. 

Although it saddens me that this person is no longer with us, it brings me great joy and happiness knowing that this person has helped shaped who I am today and so many others and has taught me not only to appreciate everything around us but has also opened my eyes up to a world that I never truly saw before. 

The greatest thing I learnt from this experience is to not be so quick to judge. Everyone has a story to tell and a path they have walked. No two people are the same, we are all unique and we can learn so much from each other. You can have a positive effect on someone's life by a simple smile, even if that person is a complete stranger. 

Life is too short to be anything but happy. So tell people how much they mean to you. Embrace them and let them know it's ok to be exactly who they are. Hug often and be the reason someone smiles. 

After all, it's the season for giving, so give love to all those around you and appreciate that you are exactly where you should be. 

Although I am very much looking forward to waving goodbye to 2017, I am also truly grateful for everything that it has been. 

I look forward to the challenges of 2018 knowing that I am a stronger person than the one who entered 2017. 

A very merry Christmas to you all and I hope 2018 is everything you hoped for and more.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Dear mumma

 

Dear Mumma,

Today resembles a very special day. A day where all four legged creatures should acknowledge the greatestness of their masters! 

Today is a day I would like to tell you how much you mean to me and how very much I love you. I know I let you down last year on Mother's Day and missed telling you how wonderful you are, and more importantly I missed it at a time when you needed to hear it most. And I am truly sorry for that and I promise, paw on heart, that I will never forget again! 

So, where do I begin? Let's start with the amazing amount of love you give to me. I often think of myself as one lucky pup! Had you not chosen me the day you did, out of all those puppies, who knows where I would have ended up. What I do know is that I wouldn't have ended up with such a loyal, dedicated, loving human being as my mum.

I know I annoy you at times and make you mad, but I don't reallllyyyy do it on purpose. But I want you to know that I appreciate everything you do for me. Ok, maybe not everything, I could really do without that weekly bath. But I'm never going to win that battle. 

I am so thankful for the delicious food you prepare for me every week, even when you are tired. I want to thank you for the daily walks I receive, the car rides, the belly scratches and of course the amazing cuddles you give me. And let's
Not forget the beach trips I've had this summer!! Thank you for turning me into a surf dog and making me realize the water isn't as scary as I thought. Even when I got dumped by a wave that time I body surfed into shore, I still loved every minute of it and can't wait for next summer! 

I also feel today is a great day to tell all the ladies in my life how much they mean to me! Nanny Deb, thanks for spending every Wednesday with me and looking after me
When mummy goes away. I love following you around the house and running circles around everyone the minute I step foot into your house! Thank you for the massive walks also. I'll be honest, some days they are harder than others, but for the most part I love them! There is also nothing like a nanny's cuddle! Love you Nanny Deb. 

Grandma Joan, thank you for all my pats and for sneaking me treats! I certainly know who to go to when it comes to food and you never let me down. Even when you know my mummy will growl at us! Love you Grandma Joan. 

So mum, I just wanted you to know that I love you very much and am very grateful for everything that you do for me. I hope you have a lovely Mother's Day and I'll be sure to give you plenty of tail wags and cuddles.

Love you to the moon and back. And then some.

Your Teddy Bear xo 

Monday, 1 May 2017

My Easter Emergency

 

Ahhhh Easter! The time of year when humans go crazy and over indulge in chocolate and us poor four legged friends are left smelling the sweetness through empty wrappers! 

I've certainly had my share of chocolate indulged moment a few years ago when I ate my nanny's Christmas present - a delicious box of maltesers! Let's just say it was a good idea at the time, but I was incredibly sick for a few days after that! And you'd think I'd learn my lesson from that experience right? WRONG!

I had spent the weekend seeing all these yummy treats but not being allowed to eat any of them, no matter how hard I begged for them. My mum did receive a little stuffed toy which I quickly claimed as my own. But then On Easter Monday, my family decided to step out of the house for a little bit. 

It wasn't long before I sniffed out a big chocolate egg that was sitting on the coffee table! Oh yum! So I attacked it as best as I could! But given the size of it, I couldn't bring myself to finish it off. 

Then my family arrived home and I knew I was in trouble. I ran and hid under the dining table straight away! I knew my mum would be really mad with me. My little belly was pretty swollen and I didn't feel all that great! 

After making some calls, my mum eventually put me in the car and took me to the dreaded doggie hospital. It was awful! They made me throw up all the yummy chocolate I had just eaten, then they fed me this horrible black charcoal stuff! The end result was me leaving with a very very black face but feeling a lot better! I was back to my normal self in no time!

What's the morale of the story?? Don't underestimate my sneakiness. If you leave food around, I will find it and I will eat it! 

Happy eating dudes! Peace out.

Mr Teddy Bear

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

My new obsession - hiking!

 

As you would be aware by now, I am all about living a healthy lifestyle. But for me a healthy lifestyle is more than just hitting the pavement and breaking out in a sweat. A healthy lifestyle is about challenging yourself, cleansing the mind, body and soul and quietening the internal noise that we all suffer from inside our head. 

I enjoy getting out of my comfort zone and really challenging myself. And there is something so invorating about being out in the open spaces, in nature and it's clean fresh air. 

I recently went on a hike up the You Yangs to Flinders Peak in Victoria. Having not been up there before I decided to take the "harder" track with the steep incline and 450 steps to the top! I jumped and climbed onto rocks on the way up and pretended to be the Queen of the jungle. The view from up top was amazing. It was calm, quiet and everyone seemed at peace. 

I watched many people come and go up there and even saw a little boy and his mum enjoy a picnic up there. 

I then moved out onto a rock and sat there for about 45 minutes, just admiring the breath taking view and all it's glory. The morning clouds were slowly parting and allowing the sunshine to beam down upon us. 

I then saw a girl climb out onto a bigger rock and thought "wow that's brave". I have a fear of heights you see, so for me, that was pretty gutsy! 

I was then challenged to step out there myself. My first reaction was "um no way". But with a little encouragement and holding of my hand and some very very jelly like legs, I eventually got out onto that rock. I may not have gotten as far as sitting down and dangling my legs over it, but I got further than I thought was possible for me. The adrenaline I felt in that moment was captivating. 

So not only did I get some exercise during this hike, I had many laughs, I cleared my head, I got fresh air and I challenged myself. So you see, exercising is so much more than burning calories. And I now have a new healthy addiction to hiking. I am already looking for my next mountain to climb and my next big rock to climb out on. And you never know, maybe next time I'll make it as far as sitting down on that rock and letting my feet fall freely beneath me........ watch this space! 

 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Best. Mum. Ever!

 

Well it's no surprise that my favorite time of the day is meal time!! And today was no exception! 

My mum spends a lot of time meal prepping for me (yes you heard right, meal prepping for a dog.......I have a sensitive tummy ok), which I very much appreciate, but today's meal was out of this world! 

Seriously, I knew straight away that it wasn't my usual chicken, rice and veggies. My nose was going crazy trying to sniff the different smells, my tail was wagging and the suspense was killing me! Then when she put my bowl down in front of me, I knew all my doggy dreams had come true - baked salmon, brown rice and veggies! You beauty!!!!! 

Of course I demolished it in 30 seconds, I wasn't taking any chances. And the verdict? Delicious!! My mum sure can cook. She is the best mum ever!!! 

I was still so excited after my dinner that I did laps around the backyard and then rolled around on the grass. Life is pretty sweet right now. 

Stay tuned for the story of my latest beach trip where I surfed my first wave! It was totally gnarly! 

Peace out dudes
Mr Teddy Bear

 

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Not all things turn out as planned!

So I have been cooking for years, trying new things  and experimenting. Most of the time not knowing how something will turn out. When things don't turn out the way I had hoped, I get disappointed that I've wasted my time. But sometimes, with a little creativity, you can turn even the biggest of disasters into something surpringly great! And today was one of those days.

My mother and I have been wanting to try cooking a gluten free vanilla slice for a while. Who doesn't love a vanilla slice right? And it has been over four years since I've been able to indulge in one. We had all the delicious ingredients ready to go, instructions at hand and off we went! 

Step one, cook puff pastry in oven until crispy - sorted. Step two, combine cream and vanilla pods and heat to a simmer  then take off the heat - easy as, we've got this! Step 3, whisk egg yolks and castor sugar together until thick - check! Step 4, combine egg and sugar mixture with cream Mixture and put back onto the stove on medium heat and stir until thick - should be easy enough! UNLESS of course you didn't realize you were meant to let the cream mixture completely cool before combining with the egg mixture. EPIC FAIL! The hot cream ended up cooking the egg and it turned it's a lumpy mess. 

We realized we had made a huge mistake and that it was time to hang our heads in shame. We had failed this mission. But we did have plenty of giggles along the way and it's definitely a mistake we won't make again. 

Meanwhile, the gluten free pastry was cooked and anyone who has bought gluten free pastry knows it's not cheap to buy, so we weren't prepared to throw it out! 

Instead we smothered it with jam, heated it back up in the oven and served it with cream and icecream for dessert! The result?? Absolutely AMAZING!!! If you have not had pastry with jam and icecream, then you haven't lived!

So today I have learnt to not only let cream cool before adding egg yolk to it but that pastry with jam and icecream is not only a super quick and easy dessert to make (seriously, even Mr Teddy Bear could make it) but it is also beautifully delicious. So do yourself a favor and give it a go! 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

My famous Greek lamb salad

 

Have you ever wanted to experience the exotic flavors of Greece but haven't quite ticked that off your bucket list? Are you short on time? Not very confident in the kitchen? Well look no further than this dish. It's not only super easy to make but it takes no time at all! And best of all, it will have your guests thinking you are some sort of Greek cooking god! 

Serves 2-3 

Ingredients:
- 100g spinach leaves
- 200g cherry tomatoes
- Danish feta
- 300/400g lamb leg steaks
- chat potatoes (roughly 10)

Dressing:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1 tablespoon liquid chili
- 1 tablespoon of liquid oregano or Italian herbs

Step 1
- heat oven up to 180 degrees (fan forced)
- place baking dish with a little olive oil into the oven to heat up
- once oven is ready, roll potatoes in oil and bake for 45 mins.

Step 2
- cut cherry tomatoes in half and place on bed of spinach on plates 

Step 3
- place all dressing ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Add more herbs if required to form a thick dressing

Step 4
- when the potatoes have 10 mins to go, fry the lamb steaks in a frying pan until cooked to desired preference. For lamb that is slightly pink on the inside, cook for roughly 4-5 mins each side on medium heat

Step 5
- once potatoes are done, place on top of spinach and tomatoes, slice lamb and add to plate and crumble feta on top. Drizzle with dressing.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

An Exciting Sea Change



Well, it has been a CRAZY couple of months, which would explain my lack of posts.

For those of you who don't know, my Mum and I relocated from Brisbane (QLD) Australia to Geelong (VIC) Australia back in August 2016 and WOW what a journey it has been so far. I'll admit, initially I was very confused and had no idea what was going on. There was a lot of commotion happening and boxes everywhere. Little did I know at that point how much my life was going to change.

It all started with a flight to Canberra where I stayed with a friend for a few days, before my Mum and Nanny arrived to pick me up. Boy was I excited to see them. They packed me into the back of the car and off we went, all the way to Geelong. It was a long 8 hour drive. But I didn't mind so much because I was able to sleep in my bed on the back seat the whole time. I did worry about my Nanny though because she had driven all the way from Brisbane as my Mum was pretty sick and unable to drive. But she was a champion and got us to our destination in no time.

Since moving to Geelong, I have become best friends with the resident cat Bella. She is an 8 year old Ragdoll cat. She doesn't seem to mind sharing her home with me. Personally I think she likes having someone to play with. We generally stay out of each others way, but occasionally we do like to chase each other around the house. It definitely makes the humans laugh.

I now get to see my Nanna and Papa every day. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is race into Nanny and Papa's room and greet them with a few cheeky licks to the face. They love it.

We go exploring all the time and even go to the beach which I love. I also have a little backyard to run around in which is great. My human family have bought me a kennel to chill out in, but I don't like to use it. I'm more of an inside dog really.

I cannot begin to tell you how exciting my new life is. I am meeting new people all the time, going for long interesting walks and always have numerous people to play with and snuggle up with. I can't even walk down the street without someone coming up to me and giving me a pat. You should see the kids faces light up when we go for a walk around school finishing time. It's pretty tough being a handsome dog.

Gone are the days where I spent hours on end at home alone just waiting for my Mum to come home and give me a cuddle. I'm definitely exhausted when I go to bed at night time now, because I am so active throughout the day. It's great!

Anyways, I need to get back to ruling the house. I'll be sure to check in again soon.

Peace out dudes
Mr Teddy Bear

Monday, 12 September 2016

The perfect starter to your next dinner party


Having people over for dinner and want to serve up a tasty starter that is easy and quick to put together, tastes great but won't ruin an appetite? 

I recently had the privilege of putting together a Mediterranean inspired degustation menu for a very special 30th birthday which consisted of a five course meal, so naturally I wanted the starter to be light, tasty and easy to put together. 

These bite sized toothpicks were the perfect starter and satisfied even the most fussiest of eaters. 

And the best part about these mouth watering canap├ęs? They take less than 10 mins to put together, which in my case was perfect. 

All you need is some small toothpicks together with prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, bocconcini balls and some basil! It really is that easy. 

Want to get even more creative and add even more flavor to this dish? Try rolling the bocconcini balls in some pesto!! 

Bon appetit.





Saturday, 10 September 2016

Pork fried rice served in lettuce cups


This super easy and quick meal will have your guests impressed and coming back for more.

Serves 4-6. Cooking time 15 mins

Ingredients
- 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
- 500g pork mince
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 2 cups of chopped or frozen vegetables (carrots, zucchini, capsicum, broccoli, beans or peas)
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 3 tablespoons water
- combine 1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce and 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- lettuce leaves to serve

Step 1
- cook rice, set aside

Step 2
- heat oil in wok or large frying pan. Add mince and stir fry until browned

Step 3
- add garlic and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute

Step 4
- add vegetables and stir fry for 5 mins or until tender. Add rice, water, soy sauce and brown sugar and stir fry until all combined

Step 5
- divide mixture among lettuce leaves and serve. Salt and pepper to taste

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Gluten & Onion free chicken & bacon risotto (+ mushrooms)



Are you sick of going out to restaurants and not being able to order a risotto due to an onion allergy (because we all know that most stock will have onion in it)? Well now you can have this delicious meal in the comfort of your own home. 

After a lot of research, I have managed to find beef and chicken stock cubes that are not only gluten free but onion and garlic free also. But please note, it is only the cubed version that is onion free as pictured above, the ready made powdered version contains onion! 

This isn't a dish you can whip up in 20 mins! It does take time. I would allow an hour from start to finish. 

Serves 6. 

Ingredients
- 500 grams chicken breast, diced (roughly 2 chicken breasts)
- 3 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tsp garlic (disregard if you cannot tolerate garlic)
- 4 rashers bacon, chopped
- 4 cubes of Massel's chicken stock in 1 liter of boiled water
- 1/4 cup Parmesan 
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 10 mushrooms, chopped (optional)
- oil (vegetable or extra virgin olive oil)
- salt and pepper to taste

Step 1 
- Saute chicken in oil and garlic. Once cooked, set aside

Step 2 
- Saute bacon (+ mushrooms). Set aside

Step 3
- Place 4 chicken cubes in 1 liter of boiling water

Step 4
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in pan, cook rice for 3 mins

Step 5
- Add wine and reduce. Stir regularly

Step 6
- Add stock, one cup at a time until all absorbed

Step 7
- Add chicken, bacon (+ mushrooms), Parmesan, pepper and fresh basil. Stir. 

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Fiji - Stronger than Winston


When you think of Fiji, you imagine tropical beaches with crystal clear water, beautiful sunsets lined with palm trees and locals whose smile and friendly personality could light up an entire room. And this is exactly why my friend and I decided to book a girls trip to Fiji for March 2016.

What we didn't expect was for cyclone Winston to hit a week before we were due to arrive and cause mass destruction across Fiji.

After we got the green light from our travel agent that it was safe to travel as planned, we decided we wanted to use the opportunity to help out people in need. We knew there was devastation, but where do you start?

Firstly we put a call out on Facebook for donations of clothes, toiletries, school books and notepads to see what sort of response we would get. We then both sent out emails to our workplaces with a similar message.

Within a few days the responses started rolling in and to say we were overwhelmed by the generosity would be an understatement. The Brisbane community, having been through a natural disaster themselves with the Brisbane floods in 2011, know all too well the damage that mother nature can cause. We were inundated with clothes, toys, books, pencils, notepads, cash and the list goes on.

In total, we managed to take just under 50kgs of donations over with us. When we arrived at the Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa we arranged to meet up with the BlueEnergy representative Akosita to discuss a visit out to a community in order to distribute our donations. BlueEnergy is the Hilton's Community Outreach Program that is committed to serving surrounding communities.

Akosita was most accommodating and managed to arrange us a private taxi driver for the day and she also offered to come with us on our community visit.

After our meeting, we decided to travel to the community of Ba, roughly an hour and a half drive away. Although this community wasn't the worst affected area of Fiji, given our time restraints, it was a great place to start.


Akosita also offered an office in the staff quarters of the hotel for us to go through all the donations we had and separate them into different piles. We agreed to take half the donations to Ba with us, and leave the other half with the hotel for them to take to the community that was hit the hardest, Rakiraki.

So a few days later, our taxi driver Mohammed arrived and off we went. First stop, the local grocery store to spend our cash donations on food and water for families in our destination community of Ba.

Our drive to Ba was one of great anticipation and excitement. We had no idea where we were heading and what to expect at the other end.

As we entered the community of Ba, Muhammed stopped off at a family home and picked up his brother in law who knew the community well. He was able to guide us to the areas that had been hit the hardest. He was also able to protect us from the people begging for help and trying to jump into our truck and take food and water.

What we saw next was truly heartbreaking. Although we were both expecting to see some damage to homes, we definitely weren't mentally prepared for the extent of the damage and the effect on living conditions.



Our first stop was a tiny little pink house where the entire back of the house had been swept away by the cyclone. This family had lost absolutely everything and all they had were each other, a sheet on the floor to sleep, a tiny table and a ceramic toilet, all in this tiny room. They had no food, no water and no electricity so they were ever so grateful to receive clothes and a food pack that would last them roughly a week. It was heart breaking, but we had to keep going.

We were then approached by a couple who realised what we were doing and begged us for food and water. They explained that although their house had survived, they were both sick and hungry and needed food. It was then that we realised that we simply couldn't help everyone and it was going to be a tough day emotionally seeing the devastation but also knowing there would be a lot of people we couldn't help.


The next house we entered was across the road, a Mother, Father, baby and Grandfather. Although their house was slightly bigger to begin with, they lost the roof and the resulting water damaged everything inside.

They had managed to save one bed for the baby to sleep in. We walked through what used to be the kitchen, through the lounge room and into the bedroom out the back which was the only room left with a roof. The roof was badly damaged and leaked every time it rained, which meant they are forever moving the bed around in order to keep the baby dry.

The pain was evident as they spoke to us and there was a huge feeling of helplessness. How do you explain to a tiny baby that there is no food or water? What do you say to people that have lost absolutely everything and are just struggling to survive and keep each other alive?  The answer is nothing. We were very silent as we took the tour with this family.

They thanked us for the food, water and clothing and as we exited the building the emotions got the better of us and we both stood there, embraced each other and broke down. It was a very sad yet beautiful moment shared between two friends who felt completely helpless. Even writing this story brings the emotions back and leaves me a weeping mess.




The next house we stumbled across was a family unit, 4 adults and 4 children, who had a roof over their heads, but no walls left in their home. As with the previous home, there was only one bed, this time occupied by an elderly man who was paralysed and could not walk. If you look closely in the photo of the house above, you can see a home made wheelchair used to move him around.

A five year old boy named Marnie caught our eye here so we stopped and handed over food and water and also clothes and some toys for the kids. One of the toys donated was a frisbee, which this little boy had never seen before. At first he was a little apprehensive to accept it, so the two of us  went into his yard and showed him how to use it. The expression on his face was a mixture of amazement and excitement all rolled into one. He had never seen anything like it. His eyes lit up and eventually we witnessed the most gorgeous smile. This smile spoke a thousand words.

He held the frisbee tight and followed us down to his neighbours place where he showed the other kids his new toy. It warms my heart knowing that such a simple item has brought so much fun and joy to people living below the poverty line.





In total, we were able to provide eight homes with food, water, clothing and toys. The more we saw, the more we understood the extent of the damage. What inspired me the most was the determination and persistence of these families. They are stronger than ever and are just doing everything they can to get their lives back on track. Although they are pained by the experience, they are happy, smiling and getting on with life. The children may not have much, but they are laughing and playing and enjoying what little they have.


The absolute highlight of the day was our last stop at a local school. As we had a lot of books, note pads, pens and crayons, we wanted to donate this to a local school. The kids welcomed us with open arms all screaming "bula" and giving us high fives. They had never seen a tourist before, as no one has really visited this community, so they were ever so excited. As soon as Akosita yelled out "photo", we were surrounded by kids laughing, screaming, smiling and all wanting to get in the picture. To see a group of kids who have absolutely nothing, but loving life to the fullest was incredibly heart warming.

It was truly a magnificent way to end a very emotional and physically difficult day. This experience will stay with us forever. Words cannot describe exactly what we saw this day and the emotions we felt, but the pictures and memories will last a life time.

We wanted to thank The Hilton Fiji Resort & Spa for their assistance in helping us achieve this goal. Particularly Akosita and Muhammed. Without the help from both of you, none of this would have been possible. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us every step of the way. The Brisbane community also thanks you for taking the other half of the donations out to the community of Rakiraki.



Thank you to everyone who donated. I am also happy to report that the donations didn't stop with this trip. The staff and children at the Brisbane Boys' College have continued to bring in donations and we will soon be shipping even more donations across to Akosita at the Hilton Fiji. Thank you also for your generosity and hard work in getting these donations together.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Lemon and Ginger Detox Tea

Are you suffering from a cough or cold? Feeling stressed or suffering from mood swings? Do you have digestive and bloating issues? Do you suffer from arthritis or motion sickness? 

Believe it or not, but this simple yet effective tea can not only help with the above symptoms, but can also assist in getting rid of nasty toxins from the body as well as improving immunity, enhancing blood flow and preventing heart disease. 

This tea is an excellent way to detox the liver and is great for reducing the waistline! Both the ginger and lemon also assist in reducing inflammation within the body.

The best thing about this tea is that it can be enjoyed both hot and cold, which makes it an enjoyable beverage all year round. 

I absolutely love this tea and highly recommend it for anyone in the need of a bit of a detox. It's the best way to start the day! 

Here is how you make it:

- boil up 1 litre of water
- peel a piece of fresh ginger, roughly 4cm in size and finely slice
- combine the boiled litre of water with the ginger and let sit for 20 mins or so
- add 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (roughly the juice of half a lemon)
- add 1-2 teaspoons of natural honey
- for an extra kick, add a pinch of cayenne spice 

You can serve it straight away as a warm tea or put it in the fridge and serve it as an iced tea. 

Enjoy!

Monday, 1 February 2016

The things my human family do to me


Here I was just minding my own business on a lazy Sunday when I heard the word "treat". My ears immediately pricked up and my mouth started watering.

When I approached my human family they thought it would be hilarious to put this funny thing on my head. 

I tried to shake it off a few times, mainly because it covered my eyes which blocked my view of the delicious treat I was patiently waiting for. I tried every trick I knew. Sit, drop, shake, stay and nothing was working. With every minute that passed I was getting more and more eager for my treat. 

In the end, they got their laugh and I got my yummy treat. Humans do funny things at times. But you've got to love them regardless. 

Peace out dudes. 
Mr Teddy Bear

Saturday, 30 January 2016

A Real Crowd Pleaser - Home Made Potato Bake

I

Do you love potato bake? Who doesn't right! Well this delicious recipe is sure to keep everyone happy and coming back for more. It's super easy and great to take to the next BBQ or family dinner party. And it's even better the next day!

Serves 4-6 people

What you'll need:
- 1 oven proof baking dish
- Olive oil spray
- 5 medium sized potatoes
- 300 ML of light thickened cream
- 5-6 pieces of shortcut (rindless) bacon
- Dried parsley
- Ground Parprika
- Salt and pepper
- Italian herbs (optional)
- Garlic powder (option)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 180 degrees (fan forced)
2. Spray baking dish with olive oil
3. Peel potatoes, cut into cubes and place in baking dish
4. Cut up bacon into small pieces and scatter over potatoes
5. Poor 300 ml of light thickened cream over the potatoes and bacon
6. Sprinkle with garlic powder, paprika, Italian herbs, parsley, salt and pepper
7. Use a spoon and mix it all together to coat the potatoes
8. Cover with aluminum foil and place in over. Bake for 45 mins. Then take foil off and bake for another 10-15 mins until potatoes are cooked, but slightly firm

*hint it works best if served when potatoes are slightly firm, otherwise it goes a little bit mushy! 

**if you aren't allergic to onions, you could also add 1 chopped small onion to the mix

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Love at first sight?






Yesterday the 16th January 2016 was all about wagging tails, cute dogs and puppies and cheeky cats and kittens, all hoping to find their forever home at the RSPCA Adoption day at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Last year, a staggering 10,000 people attended the event and 270 animals were adopted. This year, they wanted it to be bigger and better. Within the first hour, 64 animals had been adopted. By the end of the day, over 415 animals had found their forever home.

The buzz, the excitement and the anticipation were all evident the minute you walked through the doors. We were greeted by the friendly RSPCA volunteer workers who were just as excited to be there as the people searching for their new best friend. There was plenty of laughter, chatter, smiles and the odd tear while you made your way through the aisles of cats and dogs.

I admit, I was one of the many people to shed a small tear.  I walked past one particular dog pen that had a sign saying “I am a special dog” and inside was a dog with 3 legs and the sweetest face you have ever seen. The dogs’ eyes told a thousand stories. When I was able to get a little closer, I then noticed another sign saying “I have been adopted” and inside the pen was this gorgeous special dog with its new family all giving plenty of cuddles. The wagging tail was enough to say that this particular dog couldn’t have been happier. And it was a magical moment to witness.

What I also found truly heart warming was the “I have been adopted” signs on a lot of the pens with older cats and dogs in them. Its no surprise that the cute, tiny, playful puppies  and kittens are quick to be snapped up, but it completely melted my heart seeing the older dogs and cats being adopted also because they too deserve all the happiness in the world.



Each animal had its own story and of course its own personality. I enjoyed a special moment with a beautiful black and white cat where he would stick his paw through his cage and try and grab my hand. I would move it quickly and tap the top of his paw. A few times he was quick enough to grab me and there was plenty of giggles around us as I battled it out with this cat. He was so incredibly playful and I hope that he was adopted.

I’ve seen some feedback about the disappointment of seeing a lot of empty pens as there was a bit of a time delay between animals being adopted and new ones being brought out to fill the pens.

Although I understand the frustration of wanting to find an animal to adopt, especially people who had travelled from the likes of the Gold Coast to attend the event,  I also appreciate the logistics of hosting such an event. The animals were transported from shelters all around Queensland and I can only imagine the amount of work involved to not only plan such an event but execute it also.

As a lover of all animals great and small, I wanted to thank the RSPCA from the bottom of my heart for hosting such an incredible event. Having 415 animals adopted into new homes last night was a fantastic achievement.

If you are looking to add a fur baby to your family, please take the time to check out an adoption shelter near you.


Here are some photos provided by people who were lucky enough to find that special pet.

This is Toby, falling asleep on the job. Picture courtesy of Fiona

Kittens at play. Photo courtesy of Angela

This is Lulu (formerly named Opal. Picture courtesy of Lauren

Picture courtesy of Angela

This is Tux, looking very happy! Picture courtesy of Sam

This is beautiful Bella. Picture courtesy of Kylie







Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Breakfast in a wine glass? Yes please!


Now this is how I like my breakfast served! This delicious smoothie packed with all the essential vitamins and minerals to keep me healthy, not only tastes delicious BUT it keeps me full for hours. I wake up everyday really looking forward to my breakfast. And when it takes less than 20 seconds to make and can be consumed on the go (ok perhaps not in the wine glass), there really are no excuses for not starting your day with a healthy balanced breakfast.

But so many people out there are guilty of skipping the most important meal of the day. I've heard all the excuses "I don't have time", "I'd rather sleep in an extra ten minutes", "coffee is my breakfast". 

So why is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Well it refuels your glycogen (energy) levels, it kick starts your metabolism, provides you with energy to keep you going throughout the day and breaks the overnight fasting period (hence the name break-fast) just to name a few!

And did you know that eating breakfast is actually good for your waistline? Research shows those who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight and more likely to be within their ideal weight range compared with breakfast skippers. This is because if you skip breakfast, you are more likely to reach for foods that are high in sugar and fat. 

If you don't have time, get up earlier or choose a breakfast that is quick and easy  (ie smoothie). If you struggle to stomach breakfast, try introducing something small to change your habit (piece of fruit). Having breakfast everyday means incorporating it into your routine. Introduce it slowly and try different foods if you need to. 

I promise you that your body will thank you and you'll not only notice a difference in your energy levels but also your concentration. 

So do yourself a favor - stop making excuses and start having breakfast! 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Benefits of a Detoxification Program


I recently completed a six week detoxification program prescribed by my doctor and it got me thinking “What is this for and what are the benefits from it”. I then coincidentally stumbled across a detoxification section in the Diploma of Naturopathy course that I am currently studying which also sparked my interest and got me researching.

So what is detoxification and why is it so important? With today’s diet and hectic lifestyle, its no surprise that our bodies are full of unwanted toxins, pollutants and waste. This can cause us to feel sluggish or fatigued, feel out of sync, have aches and pains, bags under the eyes, suffer from digestive issues and bloating and the list goes on.

Detoxification is about giving the body a rest, nourishing it from the inside out, helping the body get rid of the build up of toxins, pollutants and waste products and letting the body’s own healing process take over. In simple terms, detoxification is cleaning the blood, which will help it circulate better.



There are many ways to detox. You can use a program prescribed by your doctor, which will involve the use of supplements specifically designed to flush out the toxins. You can also do a diet based detox (juicing, bowel-liver-kidney cleanses, fasting etc) as well as enemas, colonic irrigation, exercise and saunas. It’s these last two options got that got my attention.

It’s no surprise that exercise plays an important part in any detoxification program. It increases circulation, strengthens the heart, increases lung capacity, improves brain function, expels carbon dioxide and sweat cleanses out the sweat glands. The lymphatic and circulatory systems also play an important role in detoxification. Not only does exercise help the lymph move throughout the body, it also improves oxygen delivery.

So what exercise helps with the detoxification process? Well there are the obvious ones; low impact aerobic exercise to get the blood pumping and hot yoga to increase expulsion of toxins. What I found interesting though is that rebounding has been shown to be the best exercise to detox and improve the immune function.

So what is rebounding exactly? Well it’s simply jumping on a small trampoline! Who would have thought huh? Apparently, when you are at the top of the jump, the weightlessness experienced actually helps pump lymph through your body, which helps flush out toxins from the rest of the body. Not only that, rebounding can help initiate healing, improve the digestive system and speed of waste through the colon so that regularity is improved. The good news is that this exercise is low impact, simple and can be done by anyone, regardless of their fitness capabilities.

Did you know that using a Sauna is also a good way to detox as it flushes out toxins through perspiration? The intense sweating in a sauna can help your kidneys detox 1/3 of the toxins that they remove from your blood stream.

Through the use of a sauna, your white blood cell count can also increase up to 58%, which will help boost your immune system. Sauna’s can help lower blood pressure, strengthen heart muscles, improve cardiovascular system, improve the lining of the arteries and improve fat metabolism.

The benefits as a whole from a detoxification program include gaining more energy, glowing skin, balancing your hormones, stronger immune system, improved digestion and concentration as well as assisting with weight loss. However, it is important to also know that it can be coupled with symptoms such as fatigue, feeling unwell and clouded thinking while your body works hard and getting rid of the toxins from your body.


From a personal experience, I can say that I definitely noticed a positive difference in my skin, energy levels and concentration levels. Experts recommend that you complete a detoxification program once or twice a year to give your body a much-needed reboot.


Thursday, 8 October 2015

Being gluten free is simply not a choice for some of us

Here is a great article about what it takes for a restaurant to cater for gluten free eaters. It also touches on the difference between someone being gluten free due to the coeliac disease and someone being gluten free simply for a "lifestyle" choice. Perhaps those "lifestylers" will think twice before ordering a gluten free meal followed by a (non gluten free) pastry for dessert.

http://m.goodfood.com.au/good-food/food-news/glutenfree-lifestylers-make-eating-out-difficult-for-coeliacs-20151005-gjwopg.html

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Raw Orange & Blueberry Cheesecake


So has anyone else heard about the 'Raw Cheesecake' craze? Gluten free, dairy free, vegan friendly cheesecakes? With so many "Raw" cafes and the like opening up here there and everywhere, My mission was to to find a 'Raw Cheesecake' that is nice enough to serve to family and friends.  So I did a bit of research, played around with a few recipes and finally found the most delicious 'Raw Cheesecake' ever! Yep that's right, EVER!

Ingredients:
Crust
- 2 cups of raw nuts (I used mixed nuts)
- 1 cup of raisins
- pinch of salt

Orange Cheescake 
- 3 cups cashews
- 3/4 cup of fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup of maple syrup
- 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- zest of all the oranges you have juiced 
- pinch of salt

Blueberry Layer
- 2 cups blueberries (I used frozen)
- 1/4 cup of the Orange cheesecake mixture

Preparation
To make the crust:
1. Process the nuts and raisins in a food processor until the nuts have become crumbs and the mixture becomes sticky. Press into bottom of of spring-form pan and put in the fridge.

To make the Orange cheesecake:
2. Blend all ingredients (except orange zest) in blender until smooth. Add in the orange zest with a spoon. Reserve 1/4 cup of this mixture for the blueberry topping. Pour the rest onto your crust and put in the freezer. 

To make the blueberry layer:
3. Blend the blueberries and the 1/4 cup cheesecake mixture in your food processor or blender until creamy. Spread this over your cheesecake and keep in the freezer or fridge overnight. 

I served it with shaved chocolate, but to keep it dairy free and vegan friendly, serve with sliced oranges. 

Original recipe is Courtesy of http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/recipe-raw-orange-and-blueberry-cheesecake/
Be sure to check out their page for plenty more yummy recipes!