Desert Island Discs – my castaway kitchen tunes

The wait is over! I’m back today! But not for long. 8am Tomorrow sees me do the Melbourne-Sydney-LA-Portland gauntlet so I’ll be away from here a bit longer. I think. 

Today’s gem is brought to you by pregnancy insomnia and this beautiful photo of somewhere in the Whitsundays I took during my last trip there. Have you ever been? Also, have you travelled solo with a baby? That post makes me so nostalgic.

As does this one. I don’t miss being fat in the middle of the night, not being able to roll over, and having to pee every 15 minutes which doesn’t matter because you’re sleeping upright thanks to heartburn anyway. Don’t miss that at all. But I do miss these songs – some of which I haven’t heard since this post went live four years and one week ago. 

What would be your choices?whitsundays-helicopter-6-1

When I had some crazy insomnia in my latter stages of pregnancy, I was too big, fat and lazy to get out of bed and be useful. It was 4am, I was over-tired, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I’ve heard of people getting up and cleaning, baking, organising baby clothes – not me. I chose to lay there with my eyes closed and have something that required minimal effort to entertain me.

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Au Revoir


Today I’m going on a little sojourn for the next few weeks: first up – Bali with my love to celebrate 10 years together. The girls will be with their grandma, who is BY FAR the most excited person about this arrangement. And I’m absolutely beside myself, so that’s saying something.

The week after that, I’ve got a conference in Portland that has come up unexpectedly. Well the trip has come up unexpectedly, the conference has been around for ages. It will just be me solo, so that means quite a bit more time away from the girls than I am used to. Eagle-eyed watchers could have found me at any given moment these last few days watching my children like a lovestruck fool, getting emotional over their tiny socks, and squeezing them until they beg to get away. I really, really love being with my kids. They’re awesome company and incredibly cute. They also let me eat the bulk of the chips.

I also love travelling so it’s quite the conundrum.

I have no idea how I’ll handle it, so I’ll head into it like I do most things: assume it will all be ok until proven otherwise. Plan on crying less than a handful of times. Try to stick to that.

So you don’t cry while I’m gone I’ve got some little things planned here, but on the whole I’m going to go be.

Au revoir!

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Adventures at Paperbark Camp, NSW

Paperbark Camp, in the pristine bush of Jervis Bay, NSW, was the one place that raised eyebrows when people asked where I was headed on my Sydney trip. It was also the one place the majority of people were jealous of! I had never heard of it, but it seems it’s super-popular and everyone I talked to was dying to go, or had been and wanted to go back.

Paperbark Camp

And with good reason.

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A night at Tumbling Waters Retreat, NSW

Tumbling Waters Retreat

As you may or may not have seen last week, after my quick trip to Sydney for the annual Remarkables get-together, I stayed on for an extra couple of days to check out what there is do do/see/eat in New South Wales – and I found out, there’s a lot.

I’ve lived in NSW a couple of times, and driven through there plenty, but never have I stayed in such lovely places, been looked after so well, and eaten SO MUCH. Oy. NSW, you are delicious.

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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!

How I Get Ready for Travel – Tips for a Good Trip

How I travel - tips for a good trip

I travel quite a few times a year, both for work and play, and while there’s ALWAYS something I forget (coming to you live from an interstate hotel room without the right bra for my party dress tonight, watch out everyone at chest-height), I’ve mostly gotten it down to an automatic art.

There isn’t much to my routine, I’m a minimalist traveller after all, and I mostly do it in a rush and with only half my mind on the job, but it works for me. It ensures I get where I’m going with what I need, and that I’ll be entertained on the way.

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Sunset at the 12 Apostles

Sunset at the 12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia.

Last week we drove the Great Ocean Road, me just post-surgery falling asleep in the car every half hour, the little one managing to keep a lid on her carsickness for most of the trip, and our eyes constantly on the shoreline. Well, except that one kid who likes livestock.

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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!

Christmas Staycation at the Brisbane Marriott


I don’t know about you, but when I think vacation/holiday/relaxing time away, I usually think swimming, cold drinks, warm sunshine, reading, eating, and chilling out.

Which is actually exactly what happened when we spent the first part of our family Christmas holiday at the Brisbane Marriott. A city hotel is not a choice that first comes to mind when you’re on a beach vacation, I’ll admit – but when I received the invitation to have a little time away in the city with room service, poolside cocktails and housekeeping, well that certainly reminded me one should always keep an open mind!

Given our Christmas Day was going to start in Brisbane anyway, it worked out exceptionally well. Especially when we were told we’d be staying on the Executive Level, a la Obama, with afternoon tea every day and canapés and drinks every night. Tough days, dear reader. Tough days.



We arrived the day before Christmas, and the kids wasted no time getting into the pool with their dad and I wasted no time settling in via the spa. One aromatherapy massage with relaxing oils later, I was in full holiday mode. I even made sure to do some last minute work and email in the car on the way to the hotel so I could fully indulge in fluffing my brain with rejuvenating holiday endorphins.

I somehow even jammed both my bracelets together as I rolled over on the massage table and my lovely masseuse made the joke I’d handcuffed myself in order to stay, as she tried to unscramble the silver with her oily fingers. I couldn’t stop laughing, which I guess adds to happy brain chemical production. Win-win.

Grandma played with the girls in our room later while the husband and I retreated to the Executive Lounge for the promised canapés and drinks. We made ourselves a little cheese platter and sat near the window, seeing Brisbane with new eyes after our year in Melbourne.


We stuffed ourselves silly with all the vegetarian (some even vegan, actually) options during dinner at the Motion Bar and Grill – breads, dips, a veggie curry, and a pumpkin soup. The girls had kid-size pizzas and coloured in quietly until it was time to go for a drive and visit the Christmas lights.


The next morning, Biggie and I left a sleeping dad and sister, and had a few minutes to ourselves to have a cup of tea and a read of the newspaper in the Executive Lounge before breakfast. As you do. Excellent for when you don’t want to put the kettle on in your room, waking all and sundry. We clearly made use of the facilities so I’d definitely spring for executive level again on our next stay, as I know we’d get our money’s worth.


Soon after, we headed back to the lobby for breakfast at Motion, and introduced both girls to the best holiday treat of all – Coco Pops for breakfast. Bigs loved it, Smalls not so much. She ate three tubs of yogurt instead, and some Vegemite toast.

Not me – I could be found pouring truffle oil onto my morning mushrooms. Heaven help me, that was good!

More swimming was on the agenda before meeting friends and wandering around the Botanical Gardens. We chilled out in the afternoon – me with magazines provided for guests, and the girls with Christmas cartoons. Dad had met a friend in the city for a beer.





So chilled.


Christmas Eve dinner was a festive affair complete with Christmas crackers, and we were very well looked after by staff working hard through the holidays. Leon, Orsolya, and Lyla made sure we were comfortable, had plenty of food (confit garlic pizza bread, more pumpkin soup, a lentil pie with whipped mash, more kid pizza, and fries with aioli), and had excellent wine to hand. The atmosphere was good, the Christmas cracker jokes bad. It was awesome.


Santa had no trouble finding us overnight, and the girls woke to some new dresses and playthings. Peter Rabbit was invited to a special tea party before we headed down to breakfast dangerously close to the end of the first sitting. We had to scarf down our goodies in 15 minutes, but our waitress Rihanna was so wonderful she organised coffee and a takeaway plate of pancakes and syrup for us to enjoy at leisure in our room. Our other waitress Shanie chatted with the girls about what presents Santa had brought, which was sweet. The girls even hugged Lyla as we arrived, they were so excited. Everyone was so great and made our Christmas morning very special.



After a leisurely start with coffee and a bit of reading, it was time to check out and continue the festivities with our Brisbane family, which included me eating basically a whole tray of potato bake before heading to the Sunshine Coast where I made good friends with a bottle of rum and some Bon Jovi. A very successful start to a very relaxing holiday!

For more info, or if you’d like to book your own stay, pop over here. They’ll totally look after you.

*We were guests of the Brisbane Marriott. Everything was included, except dinner both nights. 

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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