Kick Ass Chicks: Lorraine Elliott of Not Quite Nigella

Not Quite Nigella's Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches because WHY  NOT.

Not Quite Nigella’s Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches because WHY NOT.

Lorraine Elliott barely needs an introduction, particularly if you’re in Australia, you eat, or you blog. A very talented lass who cooks, travels, loves cake, and tells entertaining tales all day long on her blog Not Quite Nigella.

When I first started blogging five years ago, I was blown away by how professional she already was. Here I was stumbling around Blogger and Google Friend Connect and wondering what a Twitter was, and Lorraine was travelling, eating, reviewing restaurants, and making things from fancy salt she had bought in some exotic country. Her photography was stellar, her recipes flawless.

I was so surprised when she would come to leave a comment on my blog if I had taken the time to visit her and leave a comment. I couldn’t believe she had the time, or cared. But she kept coming even though my photography resembled an accidental pocket-dial film of someone on a week-long bender in Vegas. I’m ashamed to say, internet, that although I read her blog often, I took to only commenting when my own post that day wasn’t ugly.

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Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Happy 5th Birthday Veggie Mama! Readers May De-Lurk Now

A couple of months ago an email dropped into my inbox congratulating my little Tumblr blog on turning five. Five! Five years since I made Joel Birch a fail-filled vegetarian lasagana in exchange for designing me a little home on the internet to talk dribble and share good food.

Realising all the cool kids were blogging on Blogspot, I moved all my posts over on March 21, 2010, and declared Veggie Mama open for business. The following year I had a baby on that day, so it overshadows my blogiversary somewhat, although I always have a moment somewhere during that week where I go “huh. would you look at that. This bloody thing’s still around”. And believe me, I’ve tried to quit it. Several times. It appears I can’t.


Sorry, internet. You’re stuck with me.

But it’s not my fault. It’s yours. If you all weren’t so funny and awesome, I’d have walked away long ago only to remember nostalgically now and then about that one time where I wrote a diary on the internet heheh those were the days.

Since you’re single-handedly responsible for keeping the VM Mothership afloat, it’s only fair you tell me who you are. Who is it that reads here, shares these posts, laughs at with me, and whips up veg goodies for their family? Who are the people who never say a word? Look, I’ve made you a cup of tea, the least you can do is sit yo’ ass down and tell me some stuff.

green tea with lemon myrtle veggie mamaWho are you? Where do you live? Do you hate singing reality TV shows as much as I do? Would you eat a cupcake or a toasted cheese sandwich right now, given the opportunity? Do you have kids? What song is stuck in your head right now?

If you can remember, I’d love to hear how you first found this here blog. That would be fun!

Meanwhile, thank you.


(Well, most of you anyway!)  xo

Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Best of Veggie Mama 2014: Food, craft, and weary indignance

It’s usually around this time of year I have a look at what have been my most popular posts, and I’m usually always surprised. Posts I wrote years ago are still the top picks, although I have forgotten them over the years. It seems you guys haven’t! A couple of my all-time favourites made it, too.


The top three food posts this year were also the top posts overall. All of them written pre-2014!

food 2014

The Secret to Making Fluffy Banana Pikelets

Homemade Vegetarian Sausage Rolls

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers



craft 2014

Tutorial: Knit a Simple Cushion Cover

Free Crochet Pattern: Little Handbags for Kids

Free Crochet Pattern: Baby Girl Hat


Bad Shit that Happened so I Complained About it On the Internet

stuff 2014

This actually isn’t a category I set out to fill, but it seems my top posts of 2014 written in 2014, were actually these. They appeared to have hit a frustrated nerve with you!

How to Recover a Document Saved to Office 2011 Autorecovery.

That one time the computer lost my article, and I had to Google for half a day to get it back. Surprisingly popular with very, very grateful strangers.

Check Yo Self, Internet

That one time I got sick and bloody tired of my friend copping so much crap from an entitled and nasty audience. Seems lots of people felt the same way.

The One Blog Post the Whole Internet Needs to Read

Put down those smug avocados. And if you’re feeling a bit judged, be reminded of this. (Also wins for best reader comments of the year, there are some real corkers in this one!)


Food of 2014

PicMonkey Collage

Kid Food: Mini Yogurt Pancakes 

Laura Bush’s Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookies

Caramelised Apple and Cinnamon Scrolls


Do you have a favourite? I like Check Yo Self, that one I wrote about learning big life lessons and sorting out your priorities, and that one I wrote about burning all my food and wanting to punch half the world.

Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

The Planning Frenzy and The Important Question



A little while ago, we did a survey here on VM, and we asked you a million and one questions. The ones I was mostly interested in were the ones about content – what do you come here for?

One day I will show you the results (I had 200 respondents, blew my mind!) because I find them utterly fascinating. It seems most of you come for the recipes (70%), and just over half of you come because it feels like a chat with a friend, and/or for a giggle (53.5), and half of you come to hear about someone else’s life (50.5%), just like why I read blogs! I was pretty interested (and slightly confused) to see 19.5% of you coming for parenting advice, because I’m not sure I’m qualified to hand that shit out! I’m such a rookie, but we seem to be doing ok. And last but not least, 15% come for home advice (usually me telling you to put things in washing baskets and forget about them), and 3.5% come for beauty tips (get microdermabrasion and use Cosima skin care but hey, you’re gonna get old anyway).

So in the interests of actually being useful, I wanted to run this by you:

What would you like to see here?

What can I help you with?

What sorts of recipes do you like?

And finally, can you do my laundry?


I love you long time, and am always grateful every single goddamn day that you choose to spend some of your time with me xx


Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

That time I wrote a confession a day for 31 days

taking a drive big kid swing

This time last year, I was well underway with a writing challenge. Myquillyn of Nesting Place had a thing where you wrote every day for 31 Days in October , about one topic. I mixed that up with 50 writing prompts from Fat Mum Slim and came up with a confession a day.

Y’all, I will never write every single day for 31 days ever again.

But it is hilarious to look back on it. Enjoy and do please laugh at my expense. It’s what I’m here for, after all.

1. That thing that happened in high school that pretty much changed my life forever.

Where I discuss being a high school dropout.

2. The day I left home.

Where I get confused.

3. That lie I told that I got away with (or didn’t!).

I’M FINE. I wasn’t fine.

4. The hardest thing I’ve ever been through.

Breakup = life lessons

5. 9 things I just can’t handle.

Where I explain what I hate and it gets reprinted by and I get abused.

6. My most excruciatingly embarrassing moment.

It’s every goddamn day.

7. The story of my first kiss (not skipping all the awkward details!)

The guy with the ferret!

8. The day I started blogging – what was I thinking?

Can this thing make money?

9. The most difficult decision I have ever made.

A stranger in the street gave me permission.

10. 7 things I learned from being a kid.


11. The last thing that made me cry.

Fuck you, Ricky Gervais.

12. My earliest childhood memory.

I swear it was a blue dress.

13. That thing that really gets my goat.

The arrogant ignorants.

14. The worst Christmas I’ve ever had.

Oh it’s so pathetic it’s funny! My poor cat.

15. What I am addicted to and why.

Old shit.

16. My obituary.

I still LOL at this.

17. A DIY on something I know nothing about.

How to Be an Astronaut. It’s riveting. (No really, it actually is).

18. What I’ve learned about life so far.

Thank you Dr Phil and Oprah.

19. Brain dump: what’s on my mind right now.

I think it was the X-Files, from memory. Painting shit white / decluttering / other Veggie Mamas / loud cats.

20. Something I lost.

I actually still want it back.

21. My worst habit.

I’m sitting on the couch as we speak.

22. Thank you to a thing that I love.

It’s about to get upgraded!

23. What I want to be when I grow up.

I fell asleep reading this.

24. Something I found.


25. A review on something I’ve used, watched, eaten, or read lately.

The Green Kitchen cookbook. It’s a good one.

26. An update on my most popular post – where are we now?

Thinking of doing an update on the update!

27. Set a goal and a plan on how to get there.

To my surprise, I’m doing even more than that now.

28. Top 5 blogs I’m loving right now.

Top 5 of all time. Nearly all the same as how I feel now!

29. I ask advice on something that is troubling me.

The P-Word!

30. A menu for my last meal ever.

Truffles, truffles everywhere.

31. I share a secret I’ve never told anyone until now.

Hi Shaun! *waves*


Could you write every day for 31 days?


Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

I had Lunch with Seth Godin and This is What he Taught Me

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur and marketing guru. He encourages people to think outside the box. To eschew the restraints of society and authority, and be creative in your endeavours.

As we all know, I’m not particularly creative. I also rarely think outside the box. Not because I don’t want to, but because it doesn’t come naturally to me.

So when I had lunch with 500 other people in Seth’s presence last week, I was intrigued about what Mr Godin could bring that I already didn’t know I should be doing.

Seth is a great speaker. If you haven’t seen him, you should. He really is pretty motivating, but not in a cheesy way. In a way that validates the choices you’re making, the dreams you want to get off the ground.

While he was speaking, we each had a little bingo card to cross off words as he said them. The first to get a row could yell bingo and get a free book. Being the competitive little brat that I am meant I paid more attention than I probably normally would have as I usually have a short attention span and my brain wanders off a lot. Sandwiches. But a couple of things stood out to me.

The first was to stay on my current path. While Seth speaks marketing, and in terms of selling goods or ideas, I have to revert that back to blogging. Because, like it or not, that has somehow become my actual job now. So in a sense, what I’m “selling” is me. And I’m a complete wanker. But some people get a kick out of it, and as I evolve, so does my blog. That definitely means that people unfollow or unlike or whatever as they realise I’m not a hippie preaching about natural living (I think the name Veggie Mama confuses people), or my sailor mouth offends some, or they don’t have small children any more and can’t relate, or they are upset I don’t post as many recipes as I used to now that I only do one a week.

I don’t mind the unfollows, I’m a rabid unfollower. We all go through different phases in life and fall in and out of love with things. I’m more than happy for people to fall out of love with me, or cull their input so they can go out and live their actual lives. As Seth said, you don’t want to be for everyone. The makers of Harley Davidson motorbikes don’t create bikes for all people, they create bikes for certain kinds of people. Don’t like Harley Davidson motorbikes? That’s ok. They’re not for you.

I’m not for you.

Ok maybe not you, because you’re here reading (hi!) but I’m not for everyone. I don’t want to be. And Seth says that’s OK (thanks, Seth!).

The other thing he mentioned that stood out to me is something I’ve long believed but of course, he could put it into a snappy phrase and I spend half a day trying to explain what I mean. He was talking about the levels of photography skill, and said that lots of people can produce beautiful photos. Some can produce photos that others don’t think are attractive (but that’s ok, it’s not for them). But everyone has access to the same camera.

If you don’t take that literally (please don’t, I can’t bear explaining this to you once you tell me some people can’t afford cameras), everyone has access to their ability to make their own agenda. As a result of the choices you make, of the jobs you take, of the people you meet, of your personal motivation. Everyone has the ability to do different things with that. I like to make my life the way I want it wherever possible. And yes, that sometimes means doing stuff I don’t like (remind me to tell you about that one time I worked cleaning colonoscopes to earn a living) to get to stuff I do like (travelling). Some people stop at doing stuff they don’t like and refuse to do it. But that usually means they never get to the stuff they really want to do. That’s not for me.

Mr Godin gave me permission that day to continue the way I was going. To go slowly because I’m not for everyone, and there’s no doubt that’s the long way round. But to do it how I want to because though everyone might have access to a blogging platform, what comes out on the other side is what you make it.

Seth Godin No Free Lunch

When I rocked up to get my book signed, I told him I almost won the bingo, but was pipped at the post. He asked my name and turned around. He walked over to the book table and signed the same poster prize the winner had received, so he also taught me trying but not winning is sometimes good enough. People like that you care enough to try hard. And when I asked him if we could take a picture he almost wasn’t going to, even though he liked my gumption enough to give me a poster. There was a lot of people still waiting, and his time was running out. At that point, if I was him, I would have said yes because I have remnants of the People Pleasing disease and I still find it hard to say no. He found it easy. I need to work on that.

But I got my photo anyway. And I did it myyyyyyy waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy.

Seth Godin SelfieWhat ‘wrong’ thing are you going to choose to do today? What will people say you’re ‘wasting time’ on? What will you be ‘blamed’ for? Go and do it!


Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Your First Blog Post

I am seeing a lot of anguish on the interwebs lately from people who are hemming and hawing over their first blog post – they want to get it just right. They want to get it so perfect that they’re not even starting. I’ve heard of people writing and re-writing… I even talked to a gal at PBEVENT who has held off for a whole year because she’s just so scared.

Darren spoke over the weekend about just getting started, and then building up something you love. Taking that first step.

I never worried about what my first post on Veggie Mama would be – I already had a blog and I knew there were only two people besides myself who ever saw my first post. Lots of blogs go out into the internet without fanfare and glitter. They just sit there.

This is mine.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 3.04.35 pm

It has been on the internet for almost five years, and it has had 52 views. 50 of them was probably me refreshing every time I added a new widget to my sidebar.

It doesn’t look like that any more, because I’ve had plenty of site designs over the years. But it’s still there, in it’s crazy web-archived glory.

I’m quite fond of it, looking back. It’s quite nostalgia-inducing! I was having a lot of fun, and this looks so like Blogspot in early 2010, because it was Blogspot early 2010.

Get started. Who cares what it looks like? What it sounds like? You’ve got all the time in the world to tinker with it.

And for all y’all who have a blog – link up your first post ever. Get nostalgic with me! You can even use the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and show us all what it looked like way back when.


Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Highlights from the ProBlogger Training Event Conference


1. Actually being part of the conference team

It was so much fun. I met so many more people this year as I worked at the registration desk and around various other things. I apparently also talked so much I lost my voice. The other good thing about being part of the team was watching everyone learn how to use Facebook stickers in our Team Facebook chat. Darren was fond of using Power Rangers ones, in case you’re wondering.

2. Having enough voice to get through my presentation

It was probably worse than nails on a chalkboard, but my voice held up ok. I was worried there for a while – so worried I was eating honey straight from those little containers you get at the buffet breakfast. A kindly gentleman made me honey and lemon tea to sip through my presentation, and Brooke scoured the halls for ginger. I was also stoked that Sonia Styling and Kate from Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily BOTH got my “my name is Rupert, this is my cat” Ricky Gervais reference. Full marks girls (And Sonia, I still owe you five bucks).

“Loads of websites just clogging up the internet by people just doing websites about themselves. ‘My name is Rupert. This is my cat. Here are my favourite Cure songs in order.’ Who gives a fuck?”Ricky Gervais

I also prepared a downloadable PDF cheat sheet for those who couldn’t make it or were a bit overwhelmed with taking notes. You can download it here, or take a peep at Pip’s excellent effort!

photo 3

3. Watching Chantelle get the love and devotion she deserves

I am Fat Mum Slim‘s Number-One fan, Official Bee’s Ankles, and now celebrity paparazzo. This girl is the real deal, and SO sneakily funny and sarcastic. I knew how terrified she was of public speaking (no kidding, I had to talk her out of quitting for nine whole months) and I was so proud of how well she did in her session about using social media to grow your blog. And then watched the love in the room pour out for a crazy kid with crazy dreams she makes come true on the internet.

She got hated on again two days later, so I’ve reverted to wanting to punch the whole internet again.


4. Katie 180 ensuring I had enough snacks

In case I got “hangry”. Which, let’s face it, was entirely possible.


5. The food at the QT Gold Coast.

I warned ya!


6. The Speakers and Team dinner

At Yamagen. I ate until I nearly cried, I was so full. Agedashi tofu, you complete me.


7. Eden performing her slam poetry.

Hanging with Nikki, Beth and Mrs Woog required a funny little ritual (that included me donning a soft pant and taking all my makeup off) which was already exactly what I needed. Then Eden snuck up off the couch, put a “do not disturb” sign on the door, announced she was going to perform for us, then had us spellbound for exactly two minutes.

I’ve never seen anything like it. I am wary of poetry that doesn’t rhyme. The thought of sitting through a pretentious performance of somebody’s purple prose sounded like something I’d rather eat a bag of nails than watch. Of course, she was nothing like that and it was incredible. I hate her so much, she’s so good.


8. Walking past the place where a stripper once tried to push me down the stairs

I hate the term “stomping ground”, but Surfer’s Paradise was mine. If you were around circa 2001, you’d have seen me in my tartan pants drink bourbon and own the dance floor at The Party on Orchid Ave. Occasionally you could lure me out to other places, but not often. I had to smile as I walked under the Crazy Horse strip club sign, and remembered how I was just that little bit too fast for the angry stripper. pbevent9

9. Finally getting my Theo’s kebab

Given I left the Ahoy party early due to my rapidly diminishing voice, I never had the opportunity to stagger over to Cavill Mall and get my midnight kebab. Lunchtime the next day, though – I rolled up to the counter and ordered a salad kebab. Me, felafel, tomato, lettuce, cheese, onion, and six kilos of the best garlic sauce in Queensland sat on the sand and laughed at two Asian tourists run screaming down the beach to get away from a seagull. Well I laughed, my kebab didn’t appear as amused.

10. Meeting all of you

Finally putting IRL faces to blog names is always fun. It was rad to see everyone having a good time, learning new things, meeting new people, and hugging old friends. See you next year?

What was your #PBEVENT highlight?


Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!
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