Oct 29, 2012

My favourite things to do in Sydney

Last week I was lucky enough to get down and visit my home in Sydney - even if it was to pack up my entire life into boxes at my mums house before she leaves and rents the house out (think 25yrs of stuff needing to find a home in a box - manic!). I arrived to beautiful weather and amongst my mad-packing that I knew I had ahead of me, I made sure I had time to fit in a few of my favourite things whilst there...

Views of Sydney Harbour are like no other, and my dad was staying at Kirribili for the weekend so I had this magnificent view to oggle over, before Thai lunch with everyone - my big sis Nikki was in town for literally 2hrs between international flights, so we tee-ed up lunch with dad; who has always been overseas for work the weekend of October 19th (his birthday), mum and my little sister Lisa; both who hadn't seen Nikki in months; our step-sister Amy who lives hours away from everyone and our little nephew Callum, who has never met Nikki! So in the short meal we shared before Nikki had to bolt back to the airport, we all had a ball.

I went out with mum on Sunday morning to the Frenchs Forest Markets which are my absolute favourite!! The colourful buzz about, fresh produce abounds, juices, smoothies, Asian foods, natural lotions and potions, superfoods, baked breads, cookies and treats, elixirs, honey, massage, coffee and more! Everyone walks around saying hello to people they know, munching on their weekly favourite and grinning ear to ear. I got the organic green juice I love, we tried new organic raw honey, got the best macadamia nuts in Australia (Hand N' Hoe Organic Macadamias), and the most delicious raw apple crumble from Flawless Foods. These girls are amazing and their food will have every taste bud in your mouth having a party! Their goodies are sold at the Supafeast stand, and what's even better, is that they change things up every week!

After  my market fun, my girlfriend picked my up  for my all-time favourite yoga class; a 90 minute vinyasa power flow yoga class in St Leonards. My yoga teacher, friend, and mentor is the instructor for the class, and after sweating, stretching, twisting, flowing, bending, balancing and calming my thoughts, I leave on top of the world! I'm blessed that I could see him twice more before I left Sydney too!! (if you're interested and near by, he is offering a free-week pass to new students here)

Later on I caught up with all my old work girls for afternoon tea and chit chats before a relaxing evening at home, happy that 90% of my boxes at home were packed :)

My 2nd last day was pre-planned weeks before and that was to spend the entire day with my two best friends; the creative kitchen geniuses behind the Simply Raw bars. I drove over to beautiful Bondi at 730am after yoga and stopped to take in the stunning ocean and breathe in all the fresh sea air I could, before heading over for brekkie smoothies at their place.

Bondi Beach

Me feeding the chickens across the road

We fuelled our bodies with delicious juice and smoothies and sat all morning catching up on everything that's going on in our lives. And for lunch, we were going up to Earth to Table - Sydney's first raw vegan cafe! I know I'm not alone in shouting out FINALLY! We're a bit behind the 8-ball. But it is here; well it is there (in Sydney) and every time I visit now I've got somewhere I can choose anything off the menu to eat, enjoy it, LOVE it, and leave feeling amazing! Julie Mitsios from Conscious Choice is the wonder-woman behind this little gem up on Bronte Rd, and has decked out the place so it is simplistic-elegance. But you'll have to be patient and wait until my next post for all the mouth-watering pics and food reviews, as it wouldn't do it justice meshing them all in with this post.

We spent the rest of our afternoon lazying around on the beach, getting some sunshine, laughing and being silly before the "see you later's" instead of the dreaded "goodbye's". I'll be back in Sydney in less than a month! And the morning before my flight, mum and I both managed to have time free to grab some brekkie together and have a nice long (proper) girly chit chat :)

My girl Janine and I chillin' at Bondi Beach

Brekkie out with my beautiful mum

Remember to stay tuned or sign up for email alerts for the upcoming post and food-porn pics from Earth to Table; Sydney's first raw vegan cafe.

Until then... Love and Light :)

Oct 15, 2012

What's been happening up Far North

Here we are now in October – wow hasn’t this year gone so fast! As a kid it never seemed to go fast; if anything it was all really slow. As I get older, it fly’s by. Why is that? Am I having too much fun? Or simply have too much on. Both? Whatever the reason I’m not really all that fussed, I think I easily fall into these habit-forming-sayings due to people around me saying them. In fact I LOVE Christmas so bring it on!

Since my last post where I left you tempted by FNQ's CACAO fruit, I’ve had a fully loaded schedule (and thus no blog posts). Here are a few of things that have been going on:

A day trip back to the grass roots of local organic farming, and to our food source as nature intended. When I first heard about this I definitely wanted to go. And with good reason. What a day! We began in Cairns then drove up the range to Kuranda, where The Real Food Network shared information on the importance of how locally grown and ethically sound food can build a stronger community, help local farmers secure a reasonable income, ease the pressure on farm lands and bring healthy food to our dinner table. 
Back on the bus we were then off to Kaizi’s coconut oil farm - Australia’s only Indigenous, Torres Strait Island producers of Pure Coconut Oil. Whilst slurping fresh coconuts, munching on grated coconut, and devouring the most amazing coconut treat, we discovered the marvels of this fruit including the methods of production, how to use coconut oil as your preferred oil to cook with and some of the different traditional dishes using coconut, it's topical uses, and its environmental impact.
Kaizi’s Coconut Keai (freshly grated Coconut with chopped dates, Coconut juice and Keai sprinkled on top) WOW!

Kaizi labelling his coconut oil jars

Off again, this time to stunning location up the top of Hallorans Hill in Atherton where we had a Thermomix demonstration and had our lunch prepared fresh in front of our eyes. 

And last, but certainly not least, we were at a lovely couple’s place near Lake Eacham, just outside Yungaburra, where they lead a self sufficient lifestyle. Most of their food is produced using biodynamic and organic practices, including growing fruit and vegetables, rearing livestock for meat and milk production, rearing poultry for meat and egg production, cheese making, bread making, bee keeping, making preserves and cooking great food. Brock and I were very interested in this - these guys do the lot! Home made scones with home made butter (both of which were made with ingredients from their farm) and tea were on the cards, as were big chunks of gooey delicious honeycomb. Yum!

Dairy cows on the sustainable property

Inside the veggie-herb-green house

Daintree Getaway
I took a week off work after working double my usual shifts for all of September. We wanted to drive up to the Daintree and just chillout for a bit. Lazy days, swimming holes, lots of fruit eating, beautiful locals, and we found the most amazing places to do our daily yoga practice as well.

We saw this guy jump off the cliff on our drive up; just before Port Douglas

Daintree tea plantation

Hottie in the jungle

The first river we came across

Typical scenery when driving through - not bad ey?

House Sitting
Ok so maybe not a big deal, but it was for Brock and I as our friend owns a mansion on top of City View (the suburb name – for obvious reasons). We did our yoga, swam everyday, ate all our meals overlooking the city, and really only left when we had too. A bliss-full long weekend that was.

Little overcast that day but we weren't complaining! Best yoga spot ever!

I was at this on Friday night and from the first time I heard about this (from Emma who also organized The Organic Experience) I couldn’t wait! It was held at the beautiful Shan-gri La at the Marina and on arrival ladies were greeted, welcomed with drinks and healthy canapes, there were goodie bags, loads of exhibitors with their products; be in natural skin care, massage, mineral make up, natural organic food products, pregnancy and doula information, meditation workshops, chemical free house hold cleaning products, the list goes on! The main ladies included Bec for a local radio station doing the MC-ing, Jessica Ainscough from The Wellness Warrior got up and spoke about her cancer healing journey and her tips to live a holistically balanced life, and Kim Morrison fwho has written a book titled Like Chocolate For Woman. This woman had me at Hello! She is absolutely beautiful and her presence and energy, and just herself is what had me so enthralled. You know those people you either meet, or you just hear speak and you know that they have something (or alot of things) that you need to learn from them. Not a chance encounter type thing. That's what I felt when listening to Kim speak on stage. Her business is centered on self-care and empowerment for women – something I’m finding myself drawn more and more too day by day and I can’t seem to get enough. She spoke for an hour perhaps and I wanted more. Which is why I immediately signed up for her Aromatherapy workshop the following day, which I went to yesterday.
This was just divine. A small group of less than 20 women and again, Kim had my full focus instantly. We went into more depth with the range she sells, and spoke a lot more about self care; it’s not selfish – it’s essential. This is where I am being drawn to most, where I know I need to focus more attention, and where I am seeing the biggest changes when I do so. It was beautiful. Very much the feminine energy I've been craving. We had our cups of tea and our raw balls and enjoyed an afternoon together surrounded by yummy smells, trying on skin care, passing 'round oils... 
I do want to make mention of one thing Kim spoke about that really struck a chord with me and instantly it felt so real to hear -  
Kim started talking about the many many women all over the globe who complain about their appearance – we all know one if we're not one ourself. I’m one of them. I don't complain out loud to girlfriend or colleagues, but I do have a whinge every now and then to my partner, and I know too-well the continuous stream of dribble-drabble that plays like a broken record over and over in my head, most of the time. Kim continued and went on to say that if we are a woman who dislikes something about her appearance, we’ve got 1 of 2 options – and she didn’t care which one we took.

(1) Step up and commit to change; changing our diet for the better, getting out to exercise or signing up to a gym, wearing clothes we feel good in, whatever it may be. Say affirmations, and day by day our bodies change. Our mindset will change. Our thinking will change. It might be tough work – Gwenyth Paltrow said in an interview when asked about her appearance that she works out 6 days a week for 90minutes a session, she eats certain foods and not others…her list went on, but she said she deserved the body she works so damn hard for. And it’s true! 
(2) The alternate option was to stay where we are because it’s comfortable, familiar, and not scary. And a lot of us do stay here, even though we THINK we so badly want to be elsewhere. So we keep eating cake and cream or whatever it may be … and this is where it got real... "but you have no right to whinge about how you look. No right! And everyone gets sick of hearing it, so if you’re not going to do anything about what you’re always whinging about, you’ve no right to whinge about it! You've made the choice to do nothing about it. Would you be complaining about your boobs and saying they’re too big, too small, or too saggy to someone who’s had to have hers removed? Would you whine about how you dislike your legs to someone sitting in a wheelchair who can’t stand up let alone walk like you can? How would you feel if you were saying "oh gosh I really hate my hair" to find out the lady beside you was going through chemo treatment?" 
These questions are very powerful and easily put everything into perspective. 

I do exercise. And I do eat well. But it's my mindset and negative thinking that creeps in and sabotages it all. The best food in the world won't do shit if your head is in the wrong place. Even with nutrition my passion, I truly believe that. I've seen it in my own life for years. It's my self-care and self-worth that I'm not prioritising. Why? Because when you go there it's scary and confronting. It's very easy to change a bad habit if it's easy to do. What about trying to eat better if there were no emotional attachments - might not be so hard. Think about self-worth issues - it's all the tough emotional stuff. Straight up, on the rocks. I know exactly why I've avoided it for so long! It's no fun, but the rewards are well worth it!
As for the change bit, and the self-care – I've learnt that time and money are no longer excuses. Prioritising is what it’s all about. And when we do so, self-care is fun!
So I took a lot away from yesterday afternoon (including a great book and one oil blend to get me started) and cannot wait to start implementing what I learnt. I also highly recommend reading some of Kim’s website if you’re into self care and aromatherapy. I'll definitely let you know how I go working with all this :)

A few other things up in Cairns:
- The Paleo cafe opened a few weeks ago and so far has great reviews. I was initially excited having never seen one before, until it sank in that every other cafe in town offers meat protein with veggies on a plate! Not so new. I will get excited though if they use the space to really educate people about the benefits of food as close to its natural state as possible; even if this does include the use of meats. That is one big plus with all the Paleo followers cropping up left, right, and centre. They're all really amping up the colour on the plates and buying fresh produce. A step in the right direction for anybody.
- College is going great; 99% for my Advanced Anatomy and Physiology exam :) Another reason the blogs have not been at all consistent. And I've just begun Pathophysiology and Symptomatology this week - say that with a mouthful of Sao biscuits! 
- Brock and I are in the middle of a 40-day Yoga journey together following Baron Baptiste's Book, who's training we LOVE and so we're feeling AMAZING! I LOVE yoga so committing to a daily practice that gets longer each week (going from 200mins to 90mins) is complete self-care for me. I feel so much better. My head's clearer. I worry less. My thoughts ramble less. I'm much more aware of my surroundings and less in my future. I look better. I love love LOVE it!
- And we moved into a new place, sharing with another guy we get along with famously and we’re loving it! A 15 minute walk to the Botanical Gardens and the well-known Cairns run, The Red Arrow. A 15 minute bike ride into town. We are surrounded by bush with a little creek at the bottom of the block, and we have a great balcony amongst it all that we are loving doing our yoga on. Happy days :)

I jet down to Sydney in 2 days to pack my childhood home (see my best mates, do my old-usual-weekend-highlight-yoga class and catch up with my teacher, visit my favourite Sunday markets, have girly catch-ups and dinners with my little sister, see my baby nephew, and so much more!). I cant wait! 

Until next time...

And ps. my apologies about the incredible array of font styles in this post - my computer has deiced to do its own thing tonight ?!?!