One of the advantages of city living is proximity to cafés and restaurants. It can also be dangerously tempting- it’s so easy to fritter away dollar after dollar on coffee and cake. Sometimes, however, it’s really worth forking out for a meal and this was one of those occasions.

Today I lunched at harvested, a pop up restaurant by food rescue organisation Oz Harvest. All the food on the menu has been rescued in some way, either from farms, restaurants, or shops/supermarkets. It’s basically food waste transformed into restaurant quality fare.

number one

first in the door and eating alone- table one!

harvested menu

You pay $15 as soon as you walk in the door and boy is it good value for money! Your $15 also allows Oz Harvest to feed 30 hungry Australians. I arrived as soon as they opened at 11:30am (to coincide with baby boy’s nap) and was seated appropriately at table number one. I ticked the items I desired on the menu and was promptly served the delicious dishes below.

flatbread and pumpkin labneh

spelt flatbread, pumpkin labneh

brussel sprouts

roast brussel sprout, crisp spiced onion, toasted almond dressing

lamb and hummus

spiced lamb, hummous, pine nut, baby cues salad

The food was lovely. I really enjoyed it and it was so nice to eat out guilt free. It was also great to see what beautiful meals can be created with food that was otherwise destined for the tip. Quite inspiring and a little challenge for those of us who cook and manage the food budget. I finished everything on my plate but any leftovers are composted. The serving sizes are also designed to prevent wastage.

If you’re in Sydney I highly recommend you visit for lunch before their donated lease from City West Housing finishes at the end of July. Go with someone else if you can, as you’ll be able to try more items on the menu. There’s no bookings, just turn up hungry!

Location: harvested, 56 Harris St, Pyrmont NSW
Opening times: Every Tuesday & Wednesday lunch only from 11.30am – 2.30pm (until end July 2015) 


Back to reality

My baby boy continues to grow.

My baby boy continues to grow.

So tomorrow’s the big day. Back to reality. Christmas, New Year, and now my maternity leave have all come to an end. It will be hard to get back into the swing of things but part of me is looking forward to it. The thing about being home all the time, or being on holidays, is that my routine falls apart. Sometimes that is absolute bliss, not having to be anywhere or do anything, but in truth my house looks less than fabulous and I don’t feel in control. If I’m really honest there was even an occasion on our holiday where I had to borrow a pair of my Mum’s knickers because in my super relaxed state I had left the washing pile go one day too many. Lesson learned.

As usual our holiday season budget was tight but we managed to have a great little holiday away from the city. Rather than pay through the nose to stay somewhere fancy we drove up to our family farm where the only costs are $5 a night per adult (to cover our electricity usage etc) and our food and alcohol. We had been putting aside a small amount each fortnight so the money was ready and waiting come holiday time. We used a Christmas Savings Account from Teachers Mutual Bank which allows you to set up direct debit and a regular savings plan so you don’t even have to remember to put the money aside, it’s all done for you. Plus you can’t touch the money until November- great if you have self-control issues! So our holiday wasn’t glamorous or adventurous but it was amazing. It was wonderful to have a change of scenery and not be exposed to all the reminders of work at home. Plus I relished being a total dag! We were so isolated I could wear whatever was comfortable and even if someone came to visit we could see/hear them coming as the cattle grid entrance is quite a drive from the house, leaving me time to throw on something presentable.

I like to start the new year fresh so I have been going through the freezer and pantry (I don’t really have a pantry, just drawers and open shelves) and using anything and everything lying around. It’s good to take stock of what I have and see what gets used most often. Speaking of stock, I have to share this amazing photo of my bone broth I had frozen in the freezer.

Bone broth

Check out that thick layer of fat with all that gelatinous goodness poking through! Sorry if that grosses you out but I find it fascinating, and kinda beautiful. Chilling or freezing bone broth (or stock or soup for that matter) reveals the fat content and it’s up to you what you do with this information. I usually leave it as is, for flavour and nutrition, but you could scoop the fat off the top and use for other cooking (if you’ve used chicken bones that fat is called ‘schmaltz’, which you may have seen mentioned in Jewish recipes), or discard if you have something against fat. It’s also great to see how much gelatin you managed to produce as this is a sign of a good bone broth from healthy animals. I think I’ll do a post on bone broth and stock in the near future. Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in. I hope to post more regularly once I’m back into routine.

Anyway I’ll leave you with a few more photos of the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015. I hope your holiday season was wonderful and 2015 is the best year yet! I think it will be, I can feel it in my bones. xx

This monster ate all the new growth on my gardenias and failed to return to my garden as a butterfly!

This monster ate all the new growth on my gardenias and failed to return to my garden as a butterfly!

Willa's birthday was right before Christmas. After we got home from her picnic party she crashed out on the lounge.

Willa’s birthday was right before Christmas, after we got home from her picnic party she crashed out on the lounge

Homemade spiced fruit

Homemade spiced fruit

Willa wasn't sure what to make of the green tree frogs.

Willa wasn’t sure what to make of all the green tree frogs at the farm

My husband escaped from work by, ahem, doing farm work.

My husband escaped from work by, ahem, doing farm work

Christmas Tree

So I am really turning into my mother- we bought each other exactly the same thing!

So I am really turning into my mother- we bought each other exactly the same thing!

My Dad's baked ham for Christmas lunch

My Dad baked ham for Christmas lunch

Father and son on the hammock.

Father and son on the hammock

Moet and mozzie coils on the back verandah- this sums up our holiday season.

Moet and mozzie coils on the back verandah- this sums up our holiday season

I made scrolls with my spiced fruit and some chocolate. Yum!

I made Christmas scrolls with my spiced fruit and some chocolate. Yum!

My favourite beach in the whole world where I can sit on grass instead of sand!

My favourite beach in the whole world where I can sit on grass instead of sand!

We swam with tiny fish and collected shells.

We swam with tiny fish and collected shells

And I sat under this gorgeous tree. I think it's a dragon tree?

And I sat under this gorgeous tree. I think it’s a dragon tree?

Willa and Wesley the whippet

Willa and Wesley the whippet

This is one of the large strangler figs on the farm. Best treehouse ever!

This is one of the large strangler figs on the farm. Best treehouse ever!

My daughter rode a pony for the first time

First pony ride!

Yes you still see bikes outside the takeaway shop in a country town.

Yes, you still see bikes unlocked outside the takeaway shop in a country town

Devonshire tea in town

Devonshire tea in town

My husband's aunt made Willa this beautiful apron for Christmas!

My husband’s aunt made Willa this beautiful apron for Christmas!

Mummy's little helper

Mummy’s little helper

I used the left over spiced fruit to make fruit buns when we got home.

Willa and I used the left over spiced fruit to make fruit buns when we got home

A new Anthony Lister work welcomed us back to Sydney.

A new Anthony Lister work welcomed us back to Sydney

Spring Arrival

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to write this post and something (or someone) always comes up! My apologies!


Spring has finally arrived. If you’ve noticed my absence from this blog I’m sure you’ve been able to put two and two together and figure out we’ve had another little arrival in this house. Allow me to introduce my new baby boy Earle Heath. Earle was my maternal grandfather’s name and Heath is my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. He’s a gorgeous little thing and we’re loving getting to know him.



About a week after we came home from hospital we made our way up the coast to visit my family. It was so nice to get out the city and be surrounded by all that space and greenery. We did the same thing when our daughter was born so it was nice to revisit with a different newborn.

If I try to write anymore there’s a chance I’ll never finish this post so allow me to share recent events in images. Thanks for looking and hopefully we’ll be back to normal transmission soon xx








What a week

Winter window

This week has been overwhelming. It is the first week of my maternity leave and I was looking forward to, no desperate for, a break. Instead my little girl got sick. Then she got sicker. Today is the first day neither of us has had some sort of medical appointment. Normally I love gloomy grey weather but it makes running errands with a sick toddler impossible. I was surprised how emotionally draining it can be having an unwell child. I wanted nothing more than to make her feel better but there was so little I could do. The pleading in her eyes when she tried to crawl into my lap but couldn’t fit due to my pregnant belly almost broke my heart.

The good news is she’s now on the mend. I’m slowly getting the house back in order but truth be told, at the moment there are more important things than a polished floor. I just want to nourish our bodies and be gentle to our spirits while everyone recuperates, physically and emotionally.


I should have known this week was going to be testing after a lovely dinner with my father and sister on Saturday night. My father is a wine collector and some of his collection was due to be enjoyed. Of course being pregnant I couldn’t indulge in the fine wines on offer (last time Dad opened some Grange I was pregnant with my toddler! The start of a week of Murphy’s Law!) so I had more than my fair share of pizza to make up for it. I like my Dad’s philosophy on wine- he buys it young and inexpensive and cellars it until it’s in it’s prime. The ultimate delayed gratification. Years ago, when the Government economic stimulus program saw my husband receive a stimulus payment we spent it on Australian wine. We figured it was keeping the money in the country and now we have some beautiful wine which has greatly increased in value. One of these days I might even get a chance to drink some!


Despite the wet weather my jasmine has decided it is well and truly spring. I love the way the vine climbs up outside my daughter’s window. When the weather is fine and the window open the sweet smell permeates the whole upper storey of the house. It seemed a shame to leave such beautiful blooms out in foul weather so I snipped a long tendril this morning and put it in our bedroom. The scent really does lift my spirits.


Last night the bassinette for our impending baby was delivered. As soon as it was unwrapped Willa put her doll inside, covered it with a scarf to act as a blanket, then pulled up her little chair and started reading her ‘baby’ a story. Cuteness overload. And very reassuring to see her role play a baby sibling in a loving way.

sesame seed bread

Terracotta bread tin

This week I received my new terracotta bread form. I seasoned the pan using vegetable oil earlier in the week and baked my second loaf in it today. I still use my breadmaker to do the hard work (kneading, rising etc) but the terracotta gives the bread such a lovely texture! The shape of the loaf is much nicer too (though as you can see in the picture above I was lax when forming the loaf and it’s rather lopsided- oops!).

Tea and knitting

Most of today I have spent on the lounge, drinking peppermint tea, and knitting. Turns out I actually buggered up the pattern so I’ll have to undo everything I did but it felt nice to get in the flow of knitting again, and so appropriate given the weather.  I also enjoyed the fruits of my labour, that is freshly baked bread slathered in butter. Delicious! Please excuse the crumbs on my belly!

Fresh bread

All in all I’m glad the week is over and a new one is on the way. I hope your week has treated you better and if not, you were able to focus on the simple pleasures like freshly baked bread and spring blooms.

TV-free Tuesdays

My sister and her husband have started something they call TV-free Tuesdays. Like so many of us they found themselves starting to slip into the habit of switching on the idiot box after dinner each night. Now I’m going to admit something so few people do: I love TV. Love it. It’s true. I love big fantasy dramas like Game of Thrones, reality shows like 24 hours in Emergency and One Born Every Minute, Aussie comedic dramas like Offspring, documentaries, the list goes on. The problem with loving TV and switching the TV on each night out of habit is you usually end up watching more than just the show you had planned. The hours pass and before you know it you’ve wasted the whole evening sitting in a stupor on the lounge, often in close proximity to your partner without actually engaging them in meaningful conversation. Now that ain’t good.

So what’s the alternative? Leave the TV off and do something instead. Read a book, do some knitting, bonus points if you do something together such as a jigsaw puzzle or card game. The main thing is to break that mind numbing habit and reconnect with yourself and or your partner and family. Get away from the constant screens at which we seem to endlessly stare (computers, TVs, phones, tablets etc) and engage in something fun and active.

Games and puzzles

Matisse jigsaw puzzle

I often keep my eyes open for jigsaw puzzles at op shops. I’ve picked up some great ones including the Matisse pictured. I love puzzles that are artworks. The hardest I’ve completed so far is Blue Poles– it took ages! I also picked up this wonderful Book of Games which is full of every type of card, dice, gambling, and table game. It’s great for inspiration and also as a rule book to which players can refer- especially important when you’re playing with family!

Book of Games

Dix Mille

One of our favourite games is Farkle. It’s a dice game also known as Dix Mille, 10,000, 6 Dice and so on. All you need to play are six dice and pen and paper to keep score. The aim of the game is to be the first to reach 10,000 and points are scored by adding up the dice as you take turns. It’s a great game as no particular skill is needed and it can be played anywhere (we often take our dice to the park and lie in the sun playing for hours) and with any number of players. You can even play in teams if you want. It’s also a good way to get kids to practise their math (addition and multiplication) and probability calculations.

Do you find yourselves slipping into bad screen habits (please tell me we’re not the only ones!)? Have you tried TV-free nights or a family games night? If so, what are your favourite things to do? I love the idea of this becoming a little family ritual.

Powerful passwords


I came across this interesting blog post about how a man used his computer password to change his mindset and overcome the depression caused by his divorce. The idea is quite simple- make your password an affirmation. If your computer requires you to re-enter your password whenever it goes to sleep this little trick could have you reiterating this affirmation multiple times a day. That can add up to powerful stuff. My workplace requires passwords to be reset every couple of months for security reasons and of course we can’t use passwords we’ve used before, so instead of getting frustrated by the demands of the machine I’m now going to use my password to help me focus and achieve my goals, one at a time.

Lost skills

When you decide to live a more simple life there are certain things you have to learn how to do. These techniques and skills will depend on where you live and what your priorities are. For example, if you’re in the country and value organic food you might need to learn how to milk your own dairy cow, if you’re in the suburbs and want to avoid purchasing cheap mass produced clothes you may need to get your darning skills up to date. A problem arises when you realise so many of these old skills have been lost. If, like me, you’re of a generation X/Y vintage you might have had parents who both worked out of the home and as a result didn’t have time for knitting or making passata from scratch. Throw in ‘convenience’ foods and products which were cheaper to replace than repair and you can see how easily those skills fell to the wayside.

Something that was lost in the pursuit of convenience was the satisfaction and independence these skills offered. There is a special joy that comes from seeing your darling daughter twirl around in her favourite skirt that you were able to whip up on the sewing machine. The meditative clicking of knitting needles and warmth of an unfurling scarf in your lap can be comforting and cathartic. Want a long dress with pockets? If you can sew you don’t have to wait for a designer to produce an overpriced, poor quality version of what you seek.  Car need its oil changed? What a great feeling to save yourself the service fee and change it yourself.

You are empowered when you can do things for yourself and you get to make things exactly as you’d like them.

So if this upskilling is so empowering why aren’t more people doing it? I believe these skills have an image problem, they are often seen as ‘old and daggy’, because we don’t see our contemporaries practising them. Secondly, we have been told continuously that we don’t have time by advertisers wanting to sell us a quick fix. We are told our status is measured by what we can buy, not by what we can make and do ourselves.

Screen grab from the Work-Shop website

Screen grab from the Work-Shop website

This is why I’m so happy to see places like Work-Shop offer affordable classes where people can go to learn new skills that would be otherwise unattainable. Their classes cover everything from tattoo illustration to beginner harmonica. I was especially excited to see Work-Shop and City of Sydney come together to put on Nanna Knows Best, a series of classes on forgotten Nanna skills! The next class on 15 July is Chinese Knitting with Nanna MeiFen and it’s only $20. A bonus of this series is the opportunity to learn from another generation. I certainly wish my Nanna wasn’t so far away…

So what can you do if you don’t have classes like Nanna Knows Best available near you? I typically turn to YouTube and blogs for instruction. There is no equal to having someone sit by your side and talk you through a practical skill but YouTube especially can be great for picking up new knitting stitches for example. I pause and replay as often as I need, laptop balancing on my knee, needles and wool held directly in front of the screen for comparison. Do you have any video tutorials or classes you would recommend for those looking to upskill?

If you start to ask around you might be surprised at the skills that exist in our local communities, and just how willing people (especially the older generations) are to share and teach them. These skills don’t have to be lost. We can save them, one at a time, and have fun while doing so.