Top Food Hacks
Its summer, its hot, so who could be bothered standing around in the kitchen fussing over food. These are my five fabulous summer food hacks to stay cool calm and collected this summer:
Skinning a mango
- Mangoes are God’s gift to earth. If you don’t agree I am not sure we can be friends. Ok too harsh, but I will definitely question your life choices.
- But the best things in life never come easy. There is that pesky skin to get through, so depending on if you are eating it as a snack, or topping your favourite dessert or salad, there are two best ways to cut a mango
- Turn the mango upside down and rest on the flatter edge. Take a sharp knife and slice the cheeks off. Then resting the bottom of the cheek on the edge of a glass put down to remove the cheek from the skin – the glass does all the pesky work for you! Slice the cheek up and top your favourite dessert or salad.
- To eat as a snack, slice the cheeks of with a knife and then with a small sharp knife carefully cut four lines one way in the cheek of the mango and then turn it around 90 degrees and cut four lines again. Using both hands use your fingers to push upwards on the skin side – enjoy!
This super fast and easy tip will have you devouring mangoes in no time 🙂
When it’s hot, you have no aircon – or want to avoid the high electricity bill sometimes it feels like there is nothing that will save you. Enter frozen grapes. Suck on this and you will feel cool instantly, and trust me you will love the sweet snack. All you have to do is remove the grapes from the bunch, pop them in a zip lock container and freeze for 2hours. Keep them in the freezer for up to 3 weeks – but I highly doubt they will last that long.
Pimp your ice cubes
Add flavour to your water, or cocktails whilst also cooling it down in the heat of summer. Add your favourite herbs, berries and my favourite: passion fruit to ice cube trays and then top them up with water.
Make coffee ice cubes
I LOVE coffee but as soon as the thermometer tips 30C, which it does very easily here in Australia I can’t drink hot coffee. Enter the ice coffee, I love it with just coffee, ice and milk (add in some ice-cream and its Jackson’s favourite drink). But if you don’t drink it straight away it can get super watery – and lets face it I am the worst forgotten tea offender.
I am constantly leaving it and coming back, especially when I am in the middle of a shoot. So this is easily one of my favourite summer food hacks. I love to make a big batch of coffee, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. Then when I want an iced coffee all I need to do is pour milk over a couple of ice cubes and I have a super delicious drink. If you like sugar or sweetener in your coffee dissolve it into the hot coffee before freezing.
Freeze your excess smoothies
We all know it can be impossible to make the perfect size smoothie. I for one always seem to make way to much and end up overfilling my glass. But something I have come to love doing is freezing the excess smoothie for later. If there isn’t much put it in a ice cube tray and add to your next smoothie, or if like me you always seem to make enough for your imaginary friend as well, pour it into a ice block mold and enjoy it for dessert on those hot nights! Why not try it on some of my favourite summer smoothie recipes here: Green Smoothie, Blueberry Mango Smoothie, Date and Caramel Smoothie and the Minty Watermelon Crush.
Ok you will probably find that ice cube trays are your best friend for all summer food hacks! Well I will let you discover that one, they really are so versatile so stock up!! I am always interested to learn new food hacks… so what are your favourite hacks? Tell me in the comments below!
Top tips for relaxing with a type A personality
Do you constantly feel like you are on the go? Like you can’t just sit still. Even when it comes to taking time off work or your side hustle is still constantly on your mind? Do you struggle to just sit still and watch a movie? Does meditation feel completely impossible?
Definition of a Type A personality: ‘a Type A individual is ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status conscious, can be sensitive, care for other people, are truthful, impatient, always try to help others, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, proactive, and obsessed with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics” who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence. ‘
Well that is me. Until I read this definition I admit I felt a little alone in the way I was. But then I realized it wasn’t just me. The problem with Type A personalities is we hate to admit defeat; we aim for perfection and don’t let anyone see otherwise. We want to please everyone so are almost physically impossible of saying no.
We are so driven and passionate, that sometimes it comes as a downfall. Because when you are so focused on something you are passionate about, it is easy to forget the things that don’t move you forward in your career like your friends, your family and prioritizing time to relax.
This came as a big life lesson to me. I was working full time, working my but off in every other waking moment to make something of my side hustle. I couldn’t seem to stop my mind and I would get caught up that even when I ‘relaxed’ I would be on my phone checking emails, Instagram, Facebook – the lot. I would be working on my side hustle. But I soon found out this was in no way sustainable.
Don’t get me wrong, I often still fall into the trap and struggle to relax, but releasing my personality makes me check in with my self regularly and just see how I am going.
The key to relaxing with a Type A personality is finding the things that completely take your mind of work/life etc – for a lot of people this seems to be meditation.
- For me meditation is the last thing that works, give me weights in a gym, a path to run along, cookies to bake or a good book to read
- Make a rule to have an 1hour a day with your phone in a different room. Whether this be when you are eating dinner, watching tv after work, or just chilling out with friends – remove the distraction, because we all know that sometime the impulse to check it is just too strong.
- Keep a note pad next to your bed, in your purse, in your car – everywhere! The best way to stop thinking about something is to get it down on paper. The act of writing your task/idea/thought bubble down tells your brain it no longer needs to store that information because it is now safely jotted down to come back to later.
- Schedule a day off to spend with people you love every week – when I was working full time, I would come home and work at night and then work both days of the weekend to get things moving with my business. Sure it worked, I have created something that to me is so amazing. But it came at a cost. I didn’t make time to make friends in a new city, catch-up with work colleagues or even spend quality time with my sister. In fact I used to think it was almost a good thing I was doing long distance with my boyfriend, because it meant that every few months I would take a weekend off – but during my normal weeks I wouldn’t have to make too much time other than a phone call. But I quickly realized, that I needed to take a day off a week. Working 7 days a week takes a toll. So I would schedule my photography work on either Saturday or Sunday and take the other day off. I hated it at first, but soon found to love it. I would have time to go and explore new cafes in Melbourne, spend time with my sister, go out for a wine when I felt like it!
- I have mentioned this next point already, but it deserves more recognition – exercise. The key to a healthy life and in particular a healthy mind is exercise. Find some form of exercise that you love and move your body every day, even if only for 15-30min. I go to the gym most week day mornings, and then on the weekends take myself on big walks along the beach or through the quite streets in the surrounding suburbs.
If I don’t.. I see a notable change in my mood, the way I react to certain situations. It is the easiest way to take some time for you – and who could look at their phone, or worry about work when you are puffing through a run or struggling to lift the dumbbells in a gym?
You have probably seen me talk about it before, but if you don’t know I have been doing long distance with my boyfriend for over two years. At first we did 8 months, then ended up back in the same state, then we did over 16months again. But WHOOP WOO it is over, I REPEAT IT IS OVER!!
I know we are not the only ones that have done long distance, but we have definitely gone through our struggles during our time alone and learnt A LOT of how to make this work for us. Before writing this post, I sat down with my boyfriend (well on the phone) to pick out our top 10 tips. So here they are:
# 1 Make time for phone calls/ Skype
Quality communication is key to any relationship, but it is even more important in a long distance one. So my number one tip is make time for long phone calls or even better Skype. My partner and I used to often find ourselves on the phone for over an hour. It is really important to have quality communication and keep up to date on each other’s lives. Which leads me onto our next point….
#2 Don’t speak too often
This one came from my boyfriend. At first I put up a big fight – trust me it caused a lot of problems to begin with. But I soon realized exactly what he had predicted when we texted, snap’d and called each other every day, multiple times a day…. Our conversation got dry. We would always just talk about mundane things and nothing would be kept interesting or exciting. It might sound like an odd tip when I speak about making time for phone calls. But me trust, limit the phone
#3 See each other as regularly as possible
This one might be a given, but when you get caught up in your life and the cost associated with travelling interstate it can be difficult to prioritize seeing each other. When we started we had a few long stints apart because Jackson was working and I was in the midst of my last semester of uni. So when we started long distance the second time we vowed to see each other every 6 weeks (give or take), sometimes its 8weeks, something’s it 4weeks. But we stuck to that average of 6 weeks and it has made life so much easier.
#4 Make time for just the two of you
In a long distance relationship it can be hard to just have time to the two of you. There are always other people that want to see you when you go back home. For some this isn’t a problem because the ‘new place’ might not have friends or family. But for Jackson and I, we both grew up in SE QLD so we had plenty of people to catch up with, and both had family, friends in Melbourne so again, plenty of people to see. It is not until we started making sure we had a day totally to ourselves on these little trips that it made the distance so much easier.
We even went a whole four days last October, for a little romantic trip to bright – I highly recommend it, read more about what we got up to here…. Is it sad or funny that at the end of that trip I looked over to Jackson and we both said, this is the longest time we have spent just us for our entire relationship…
#5 Have the difficult conversations
In long distance you can find your relationship moving a lot slower than those around you, you don’t get to do all the coupley things together. That is why it is still so important for you to have the difficult conversations. Chances are at the end of long distance you will be gearing up to live together so you really need to get to know your ‘other half’. Ask about marriage, kids, career, life goals etc. Talk about your future and where you see each other fitting into it!
These conversations happen over time, or a lot more naturally at least when you are living close, but it can be harder to bring them up over the phone – however you need to keep checking in to see if you are growing at the same pace and way and still both want to make this work.
#6 Know an end date for the long distance
AS SOON AS POSSIBLE know the exit strategy for this long distance. The longer you wait to have the conversation of who is going to move and when the more assumptions you will both make. Have it leading up to the long distance starting and continue it when you are apart. Relationships are all about compromise, and moving states is a biggy, but in the end someone has to do it.
#7 Keep the chemistry alive
It can take a little more work to do this in long distance; hell It can be hard enough in some relationships when you have been together for a while. But it is so important to find a way that works for you and your partner to keep each other interested and looking forward to your next visit. Whether that be over texts, phone calls or sending little presents to each other. And that’s all I’m going to say on that topic… because…. Hi Mum, I know you are reading!!…..
#8 Trust your partner, and don’t check up on them
This ties back in with tip two. When you love your partner you need to be able to trust them. Whether you live in the same city or your live 2000km apart trust is a fundamental building block of a relationship. But this gets even harder when you are in long distance. You aren’t going to be going to the same parties, hanging out with friends together – really you can go weeks on end without knowing what your partner is actually get up to.
So while it is important you talk to each other on the regular and keep each other updated on your lives, you really need to trust your partner and not check up on them when you know they will be at a party for example. If you need to check up on them all the time it will run the intimacy and your partner will just start to resent you. (Boys this goes both ways)…
#9 Keep each other updated on your family and friends
A big part of a relationship is your partners family and friends. You need to get on with them as well to have a healthy relationship. But long distance can stilt the connection you make with them. It is important for you and your partner to keep each other up to date about your respective family and friends so that they feel apart of it. And whilst tip #4 is important, it is also important when visiting your partner to catch up with his family or friends.
#10 Don’t unload your shit day on each other
This is a difficult one, you want your partner to be your best friend, your confidant but when you are in long distance you need to try and keep conversations positive. Some days you will have shit days, but try not to unload that on your partner all of the time. Sure share the big things that are shit, but going back the tip #2 if you talk all the time and its always you complaining, how is that going to feel? It isn’t exactly going to help with staying positive about long distance.
The last thing to remember is that every relationship is different. In long distance it can be easy to want to just call it quits. Instead talk to your partner and see if you can come to a compromise or solution that suits you both. It is hard, but you have to think of why you are doing it in the first place. Jackson and I have taken this time apart to focus on and build our career, so for us there are no regrets!!
Oh and I know I said I had 10 tips…. But one last one
#11 tell your partner you love them and miss them…. Because in the end they are in the same boat as you.
My complete Guide to Moving Interstate (Or just moving in general)
Moving is stressful
I get it. Between working, finding a new job, packing up everything you own, planning the removalist, car rego everything it is hard! Trust me, I am 25yrs old and lived in over 18 houses!
This was my 2nd time moving cross-country, well technically my fourth but I won’t count the times as a child because my parents were in charge then, oh and I have lived in over 18 houses in my life. But trust me I know what its like packing up all your life belongings and moving interstate. When I moved down to Melbourne over 18 months ago I thought I would be down here for a while, so I bought everything with me.
I bought all my photography props, all my clothes, all my kitchen gear, a fridge, my bed even my textbooks – yup after 6 years of relying on them I couldn’t bring myself to sell them. I have a dream of having a big wall of books in my house one day and they will be taking pride place. But back to what you came here for….
I am not going to lie, moving interstate is both stressful and expensive. The expense is hard to escape, but a little planning can definitely alleviate the stress.
#1 Plan well in advance
get quotes from removalists, backloading in particular
know where you are wanting to move for – this is for all the renters out there plan ahead for work
#2 pack wisely
The long travel time means things can get broken easily, you also want to be as economical as possible so use your blankets, dooners, pillows to wrap up plates etc – this will save you money with the space you take up in the truck, pack things into cupboards you have to move.
Trust me you don’t need that ripped jumper, or that extra set of cutlery.
Internet, electricity, gas and water ahead of time, register your new address with the electoral commission. These are those little things that seem insignificant, but if you don’t do it early enough it can mean no internet or worse electricity at your new house when you first move in!
#5 Forward your mail
You can now pay just over $20 to forward your mail to your new house with Australian Post! Or better yet try and change all your bills and mail to electronic versions – its better for the environment that way too!
#6 recruit a friend
This only applies to those driving to their new destination. I recruited my boyfriend, I was moving to join him after all. When you have to drive over 2 days to get someone trust me you are going to be thankful you bought someone along!
#7 pack for your travel
Prepare for being without all you ‘things’ for at least 1 week. Pack a bag or a few that will travel in your car to your new place. Make sure you have enough clothes, some basic cooking equipment and your person documents!
#8 plan your route to your new state and pack snacks chances are you will going through some dead spots for reception so it can help to download the maps or at least have highway names you are supposed to be on. Trust me when I helped Jackson move down the first time we ended up driving over 4hrs out of the way. Of course I get the blame even though it was my time to sleep and his to drive…
Have fun! It can be stressful but it also means the start of an exciting new adventure!
Towards the end of last year, long distance boify flew down for one last little trip together, just us. Something we rarely got in our long distance journey as he lived with his parents in QLD and I lived with my sister in Melbourne, and though they always gave us space to go out alone, there is something really different about have 4 days just completely alone with your loved one – especially when long distance comes into it.
It is trips like this that we learnt a lot about each other. We learnt that I love to relax by being active, and he would rather anything other than going on a long hike, walk or bike ride. The difference? I worked a 9-5 and sat at a desk for the majority of my job, meanwhile he works on large properties as a fencer, aka out doors all day, lifting heavy materials and working his but off.
I didn’t realize it before this weekend, but bright was perfect for just that.
I found this gorgeous little cottage on Air BnB – I have linked it here, this is not sponsored just want to share this gorgeous place with amazing hosts! It was a little out of bright, had a little kitchen (which suits me perfectly, because even when I go away I love to cook some meals at home), a fire place for the chilly nights, a comfy couch to snuggle up and watch movies and the highlight – a spa bath! That I must add was large enough to fit both of us – a rare occurrence when you are 6’3 and your boyfriend is 6’8.
So my first tip:
#1 take the time to find the perfect accommodation that fits your needs and budget!
Air BnB is great for this. I really recommend staying out of town, there are so many gorgeous properties to stay on and really allow for great privacy, you can often wander around the properties, just check with your host first! And who doesn’t love snuggling up in the cold of a little mud brick cottage watching a fire – for me I don’t think you could get anything more romantic.
Whilst the accommodation is important, there is so much more that bright has to offer. There is an excellent bike track, the rail trail, with wineries all along it. Or as we did, rode the 8km into town for a delicious lunch and then sat along the oven’s river and just relaxed for a while watching the water flow by. (can you see the compromises we make in relationships? I got to go for a ride, Jackson got to sit and chill for a while!!)
#2 Take your bikes away with you, or if not possible, hire a couple of bikes for the day – you can even get tandem bikes in town!
Now for the best part of the trip. We took a little drive about half way up Mt Buffalo, where we then walked 400m along a track and came across the infamous Ladies Baths. This was the absolutely highlight of my trip. We took a picnic, found a large rock to sit on basked in the sun (mainly the shade, because we are both pasty white red heads) and had a picnic, watching the waterfall. Then attempted a swim, but be warmed even in late October it was freezing in the water! So…
#3 Pack a picnic and head up to Ladies Baths.
The best part about this day was it was out of peak season so we literally had the whole place to our selves for a few hours. We only saw one group pass by the track in that entire time.
#4 Try and go in the off-season, or as least a weekend/weekday you know will be quite (aka we went the weekend before Melbourne cup, so basically knew a lot of people wouldn’t be travelling that weekend)
While you are at Mt Buffalo I also strongly recommend you driving all the way to the top, this takes about 20-30min but the view is one of the best I have EVER seen. This photo doesn’t do it justice.
Now whilst I love to cook at home, even on holidays – and it is definitely better on the wallet – I also love to check out the local places, in particular bars in these small towns. They always seem to have a nice vibe about them. So on our last night we got dressed up, and by that I mean I work jeans and Jackson actually wore clothes that matched (ok I am a little harsh on him – anyone else’s partner struggle with the whole dress sense thing?, but I love him for it! He just doesn’t care!).
We went to dinner at the Bright Brewery; we started off with a tasting plate of their beers and then sat out side in the warm breeze and enjoy a delicious dinner.
#5 Head down to bright brewery for a drink and stay for a delicious dinner – its not your usual pub feed that’s for sure!
The last and probably the most important tip for your romantic weekend away, and while this are hard for me to say because I love to be busy and active. It is so important to sometimes just stop everything and snuggling on the couch, while watching a movie with the fire place going or have a spa with your partner – if you are lucky enough to find a place with one!
#6 Take time out from activities to just be with your partner, friends, loved ones. Chat about what ever your heart desires, and just be present!
I love to travel, and so in 2018 when I was living with my sister we used every spare minute (and $$$) to go on little trips. I love going away for months on end, but when you work full time that can be a little tricky. So small 1 week – 10 days trips it was! We went to Thailand in January, Bali in May and then lastly New Zealand in November – Luckily I took the time for these trips, because I can’t see too many on my horizon for this year. Starting a business and saving for a house is going to put an end to them.
We love tropical holidays – you tend to when living in Melbourne, because the temperatures down there don’t quite do it for Queenslander…So New Zealand was quite different from lazying around the beach all day. BUT wow what an amazing holiday. I don’t think I have ever had so much fun or eaten quite so much wine and cheese.
With so much to see in new Zealand and the added complexity of driving for your holiday I thought I would jot down some of my must see places and tips to making the most relaxing holiday you can!
#1 Winery tour through Wanaka/Otago region
This is a MUST. Even if you don’t like the wine, the food and the scenery that you will enjoy on a winery tour around the Otago Region is out of this world. We only had 2 days in Wanaka so didn’t want to spend the whole day on tour; hence we opted for the half-day tour with lunch. This is more than enough. It allowed us to visit four wineries whilst still having time to walk around the gorgeous Wanaka Lake in the morning and have a drink down by the waters edge at night.
#2 Stop by the Blue Pools
On our way from Wanaka to Fox glacier we stopped off at the blue pools, as recommended by our winery tour driver. JUST WOW!!!!!
I have never seen such clear blue water. This is apparently caused by the glaciers rubbing against the mountains, which forms a powder colouring the water that beautiful crystal blue colour – you learn something new every day!?
This was a great spot to stretch our legs, it was only about a 2km walk each way
#3 Visit the Hokitika gorge
I had heard amazing things about Hokitika gorge from friends and more recently my mother who has been to New Zealand. But when we got to or accommodation in Hokitika we were asking about the drive out there and the receptionist turned around and flat out said – don’t go, its not worth it. Ok she said that about the few restaurants in town as well – I think she has been living in Hokitika for too long because when we did get up early the next morning to drive the 30mins out the gorge it was well worth it. It was one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been. It is just a short walk (about 1.6km) through a rainforest and across the swing bridge to a landing looking out over the gorge.
DO IT, don’t listen to people that live in the town, get yourself to Hokitika gorge before you leave!
#4 Take a picnic and take in the view at Lake Tekapo
We got a lot of jealous stares and comments on our excellent set up. Alone Lake Tekapo there are a few chairs and picnic tables, so take your claim on one. Pack a little snack platter, and wine if you are so inclined. Then take it down to the waters edge to enjoy the sunset. It is easily one of the most stunning, picturesque places I have ever been. One of those places that are far better to soak up than just take a few touristy photos of!
#5 Pack your lunch
You don’t often have to spend long in the car to get anywhere in the south island, however on those days that you are facing a 3-4 hour drive it is best to pack some food. Because the towns are few and far between – so on that note, check your petrol is full before you leave as well!!
#6 Visit Fergburger (Duh!!)
Visit Queenstown, Visit Fergburger. Enough said.
Don’t let the long lines put your off, there was a 20m line out the door, and we still only had to wait about 15-20mins. But if that is still to long, hot tip from the locals is to call ahead and order, then you can just pick it up when it’s ready! We took our burgers down to the waters edge and sat on the steps – do it, the view is spectacular!
#7 Stock up on groceries in the big towns
We took a small soft esky and freezer brick with us in our suitcase. This was a suggestion of my mother, and boy was it the best thing we did! Groceries in the little towns are (VERY) expensive, that is if they even have more than a corner store. So in the bigger towns when we came across a larger supermarket we would stock up on the some of the basics for breaky and lunch – and cheese of course! The best towns for this were Queenstown, Wanaka, Hokitika and Lake Tekapo.
Summary – Visit the south island, it is so worth it. I have travelled to a fair few countries around Europe and Asia, and I still think I saw some of the best scenery here. With the short drives between towns, it still provides you with plenty of time to take in the town and relax with a good book. Whilst more expensive then travelling to somewhere like Thailand, my sister and I still did this whole 10 day trip on less than $2500 – flights, travel and spending money included!