Sorry for being MIA

Hello! Wow… sorry for the lack of posts lately! I have been kinda crazy busy for months on end with a LOT going on so let me catch you up on what’s been happening in lifelovetravelfood world!

LIFE

Well first of all, I no longer live in Perth! And second of all, I’m no longer on maternity leave! Two kinda big ‘life’ moments!

For the past 10 years, B and I have wanted to move back to Brisbane at some point. It’s always been our plan to get back to where our families are and settle in. We wanted H to go to school in Queensland and we were keen to be closer to family (not just for the free babysitting but that’s a pretty big drawcard!) Then one day, my very, VERY talented husband managed to score himself a new job in Brisbane and from the moment he signed on the dotted line, five weeks later we were back! It was a complete whirlwind of packing up the house, shipping the car over, cleaning the house, resigning from both our jobs, moving to the other side of the country and starting a new life here. Moving house SUCKS! Moving interstate is worse. Doing it all with a baby is fricken ridiculous! We were soooo lucky to have my sister in Perth to help us out and my parents in Brisbane who were also superstars so without them, I would probably have crawled into a corner and cried.

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Bye Perth! Just a little bit of luggage!
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We LOVE being back in Brisbane! We’re currently renting and looking forward to finally being able to buy our family home and get a bit more settled – I am o.v.e.r renting BIG time! So that happened ridiculously fast and then came the job.

When I resigned from my job in Perth, we decided I would take until the end of the year off, dabbling in a few jobs that took my fancy, but not seriously searching, as I was keen to be at home with H for 12months like I’d originally planned. To cut a long story short, I got asked to interview for a job, met the team, was offered the role and started the job all within three weeks. That three weeks included the frantic search for childcare for H. Oh. My. Gosh. The childcare search SUCKED. Places are ridiculously hard to come by, fees are crazy (we will be paying more per week for childcare than we do in rent – wtf!?) and throw into the mix an overly emotional, scared, worried, nervous, tearful mum *ME* and it was quite the journey!

We managed to get H into care three days a week and my incredibly generous, amazing, WONDERFUL parents take him the other two days until the new year when he switches centres and starts full-time care. I don’t think they realise how much their help has meant to me. Not just so I could accept my job offer, but to ease H AND me into full-time care. H is great – he’s a happy lil guy who’s fine to go to other people and sleep in places other than his own cot. Me on the other hand, I have found this whole experience of being with him 24/7 to being away from him five days a week, VERY hard. The support of my family has meant the world to me,  I don’t think I can even put into words how much I (and B too) appreciate their love and support. I am so, SO grateful and incredibly lucky (insert a flurry of kiss and loveheart emojis here).

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Nanna (the TRUE shining star) and Aunty J cuddles
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Grandad and H
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LOVE

Pick up – I am lucky to have a supportive team who understand I need work/life balance as a working mum. I am able to finish my day early so I can race home (and race I do – I have kept up my London-commuter-pace which is a million miles an hour compared to laid-back Brisbane-ites) to collect H from childcare and spend a little bit of time with him each day. When I pick him up, either from my parents or childcare, it is priceless. His entire face lights up, his smile is enormous and he flaps his arms around in delight. It’s the most beautiful thing to see his excitement when he sees me – I absolutely cherish it!

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I miss this guy SO much at work!
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Home – for so long, I wasn’t sure I was ready to move back to Brisbane. Once H came along, my desire to be closer to family became more imminent and since then, I’ve been keen to get back to Brisbane. It has been our easiest move so far. We already had friends and family here, knew the suburbs, shortcuts and places to hang out. We slotted back into Brisbane life so easily, it has been absolutely wonderful. I adore being able to pop round to Mum and Dad’s for no real reason. I love knowing we’re officially ‘home’ and can really think about putting down roots. I love catching up with our friends, especially as many have kids (and we are currently plotting arranged marriages and best friends for life whether our children like it or not). And I love knowing we’re finally in the city where we can buy our ‘for at least the next 10 years’ house. It’s just SO GOOD to be back!

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Happy to be back in beautiful Queensland
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Summer babe
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H and S – besties whether they like it or not
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Small baby, giant baby – also forced to be friends because their parents are
Photo credit @neri_zee
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New friends
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The lead up to Christmas –last year I don’t really think I took it all in because I knew I was due to have a baby so the thought of Christmas approaching had my thoughts on the whole birth thing. It passed by in a bit of a blur and any time anyone mentioned ‘only five Friday’s till Christmas’ it sent a shiver down my spine! So this year I’m really embracing the lead up to Christmas and I simply cannot wait for the day to arrive. Wrapping presents, Christmas carols in the shops, turning on our Christmas tree lights every night, fruit mince pies, decorations everywhere – I love it!

Market day – As sad as it sounds, I have always loved grocery shopping. But what I love even more is going to the local farmers markets each week and buying up big on beautiful fresh fruit and veges. I love filling our fridge with healthy food and I love creating delicious food for my family (sometimes B does not agree with my use of the word ‘delicious’). Visiting the markets means we buy less packaged, processed foods which can only be a good thing.

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Mmm… kale!
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Weekend fun (and a sore back)
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Summer fruit – When I smell a perfectly ripe mango, it almost makes me dizzy. I love that smell SO MUCH! It takes me back to living at number 27, with a box of mangos in the corner of the dining room. Such good memories! Cherries scream Christmas to me, I just bought my first lot today and can’t wait to eat the whole bowl (I’m kinda hoping I don’t have to share with B). Peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, watermelon, pineapple… summer fruit gets me ridiculously excited! Apples are so passé.

TRAVEL

We haven’t really done much travel recently, but since I haven’t written a blog post in forever, I can mention our Melbourne trip and make it seem like we’ve been total jetsetters this year. The weekend before we moved back to Brisbane, we went to Melbourne. It was a trip we’d planned earlier in the year so although the timing wasn’t great, it was actually a wonderful time to go and forget about the stress of the move. It also meant H could meet his Aunty M for the very first time. It was love at first sight for both of them – still to this day, this photo is one of my all time favourites… perfection!

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Aunty M and H = love
@lifelovetravelfood

We also took advantage of visiting our fabulous friends from London who now live in Torquay. Just spending a few days relaxing, taking it easy and checking out the sights around that beautiful part of the state was SO nice. R and P were the most wonderful, generous hosts who organised a car seat AND travel cot for H so we didn’t need to bring them with us which made our trip so much easier. They’re the kind of friends who we don’t see that often yet when we get together, it’s like no time has passed. These are the kinds of friends we cherish and will hold onto forever – sorry R and P, you’ll NEVER get rid of us! I LOVED Melbourne and am already wishing for another trip back.

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R, H and P
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Bells Beach
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B, H and Aunty M in Melbourne
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We’ve also taken a few trips to visit family and friends in T’bar. It’s so nice to be able to go back more often and not rush our visit like we used to when we visited from London or Perth.

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Farm life
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Real life cabbage patch kid
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Clifton Races
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With Grandma and Pop on the farm
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Coming up, we’ve got our first family summer holiday – yippee! Both B’s and my work close down over Christmas (YESSSS!) so we’re off to T’bar for Christmas and lots of family get-togethers. Then we’re taking off for a few days to a place just outside of Noosa – just the three of us. B is already planning what we’re going to do and making an itinerary which I’m choosing to ignore. I want to take it easy and relax but he wants to fit in as much as humanely possible. Let’s see who wins that battle!

FOOD

If I listed all the places we’ve visited and what we’ve eaten since my last real blog post, it would go on forever. So instead, here are some foodie-photo highlights for you! If you’re keen on any recipes, drop me a line below!

 

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Cheesy vege muffins – for H!
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Creamy basil prawn gluten free pasta_lifelovetravelfood
Gluten free pasta with bacon, prawns and a creamy basil sauce
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Spiced apple chips
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Strawberry nice cream from Charlie’s Raw Squeeze
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Watermelon slushies – the best thing in summer!
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Froggy French toast for H (kale and eggs but that sounds gross!) healthy French toast for us – delish!
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Healthy turkey and black bean nachos with coriander sauce
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Healthy raspberry-ripes
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H’s healthy breakfast cake
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Healthy chicken shawarma_lifelovetravelfood
Healthy chicken shawarma with homemade wraps
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Homemade healthy kinda-nutella
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Thanks for your patience and for stopping by for a read after so long – I promise it won’t be so long between posts next time! I’m ALWAYS on instagram – @lifelovetravelfood – in case you miss me that much : )

Dan x

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Falling off the healthy wagon – can’t I just blame the baby?!

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Oh dear! So much for regular blog posts! This has well and truly fallen off my radar, and while I want to blame the baby (as per the title of this blog) I really shouldn’t cause it’s just pure laziness on my part.

When H goes down for his sleeps, it’s me-time. Me-time means I can take a load off, sit down and just relax. While I LOVE writing and adore blogging, sometimes it can still feel like an effort cause you know, spell-check, proof-reading and all that boring stuff. But anyway, I’m back and am ready to write!

Life

So… what to write here… I don’t feel like I have a whole lot to say in this section cause not everyone in the world wants to hear about my mum life. Cause that’s essential what it is – prepping H’s meals, doing washing, drinking coffee, Mums and bubs group, going grocery shopping, nappies, sleep times, routine, catch ups with my sister. Just mum life. And I fricken LOVE it but I know to most people, it’s not really all that interesting so I won’t blog about it (unless I get specific requests to!)

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What mum life looks like. Ladybug playtime fun that lasted all of about five minutes. June 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

But aside from mum life, I have really lost my way in terms of healthy eating. Not totally lost my way, but I’m in a pretty huge rut and finding it super hard to climb my way back out. Sugar! I can no longer use my favourite hashtag #itsokimbreastfeeding to justify daily cakes, chocolate and sugary treats. Yes, I’m still breastfeeding but six months in, I think that excuse-ship has well and truly sailed. Being at home, I often can’t be bothered to eat a good lunch cause I just want time to myself and toast with peanut butter is just way easier than preparing something delicious and healthy. After lunch, I crave something sweet and the chocolate box is right there. I obviously don’t instagram this part of my life cause, well… I’m a little ashamed of it. I adopted the 80/20 lifestyle a few years back and at the moment I think I’m more 50/50 on the good and not so good foods. I also find myself eating even when I’m not hungry. Eating just because and it’s incredibly frustrating.

But I’m trying to turn a corner and what better day to start than today! It doesn’t have to be Monday (even though this blog is going out on a Monday, I actually wrote this part on Thursday!) or the start of a new month so let’s see if I can get myself back on track and I’ll report back on my progress in my next blog post.

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Totally me!
Image from @aandmwear

Love

Baby steps – Not literally baby steps but the progress and changes in H make my heart SO happy. He recently learnt to roll over and it was quite possibly one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had. I know, I know, H isn’t the first or last baby to ever roll over but when you see him learning and practicing (and struggling) then he finally does it, it’s SUCH a thrill! B and I were lucky enough to both be there for his first roll and we were so excited, I think we almost scared H with our cheers!

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These two!
Fremantle – June 2016
@lifelovetravelfood

7.15pm – I know that’s quite a specific time but at 7.00pm H goes to bed and I think 7.15 is a safe time to say on MOST occasions, he’s asleep! Once he’s down, it’s relaxation time for Mummy and Daddy. H is an excellent sleeper (with an off day here and there) to which we are so grateful and I really enjoy this time with B, just the two of us. Sure, we might be cooking dinner, washing up or watching tv but it’s chill time and something I think every person, especially parents, needs each and every night.

Sleeping through – I hesitated putting this bit in because I’m now petrified I’ve jinxed it and H will stop sleeping through the night! We have our moments where H wakes and needs to be re-settled but we’ve been SO lucky with him sleeping through the night. The first time he did it, I was almost in shock at being woken by my alarm at 7am and not by H at some random hour. Then I got a taste for it and wanted it each and every night and on most occasions he obliges. Seven blissful hours. Quite possibly the best feeling EVER!

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By far my favourite milestone card
March 2016
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Solids – H started solids at four months and it’s been so much fun! Although I’m not gonna lie, at first I found the experience a little stressful – he would take forever to eat, cry through it and refuse to eat certain things. I quickly learned to not let it get to me and to just relax and let it go (who’s singing the Frozen song right now?!) Once I relaxed, things got a lot easier. Sure, some days he takes forEVER to eat and sometimes I have to trick him into eating his vege puree by pairing it with some fruit but now I actually look forward to meal times and seeing H enjoy new foods.

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Baby food fail – NOT a fan of plain potato!
April 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

I also LOVE making my own baby food and the entire top shelf in our freezer is taken up by a variety of baby food concoctions. My Thermomix is certainly getting a workout and I love creating new flavour combinations for H to try. Plus the organisational geek in me loves being super organised by such variety and knowing that he’s getting healthy, nutritious foods every meal also gives me a bit of a buzz. I told you I’ve totally morphed into #mumlife!

Nibling time – Whether that be viber calls with my little repetitive parrot E in London, or weekly playdates and visits with K, R and G, I LOVE seeing my niblings grow, change and develop. My middle sister and her husband recently welcomed a third little person into their family – G, a beautiful baby girl with the best mop of black hair I’ve ever seen. So I am now the proud Aunty of FOUR gorgeous niblings and they make me so incredibly happy!

Raw – Seems a bit silly to put a YouTube video series as something I love but I truly do love it! Each week, Ashy Bines puts up a video about what she’s been up to that week – workouts, recipes, mum life, friendships and I find it SO inspiring! It makes me want to go for a walk and do a workout and I look forward to each week to see what she’s been up to. Total girl crush!

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Inspired to get out and move. Sometimes I even wear activewear to do active stuff!
May 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

Guest blogging – I have been lucky enough to collaborate with some wonderful blogs lately, all through the power of social media. I wrote a piece for one of my all time favourite instagrammers, @aliceinhealthyland which you can read here. I am a regular contributor to LOVEFLOCK which is a great blog full of inspiring women and stories and it’s something I’m thrilled to be a part of. I also had one of my LOVEFLOCK blogs featured on My Tiny Wardrobe – a blog all about mum’s supporting mum’s (and a gorgeous online store too).

I find it SO thrilling that others want to feature my blogs and allow me to write in my style on their platforms. It’s these recent features that have inspired me to get back to my own lonely little blog and show it some love!

TRAVEL

The annoying thing about me blogging so late is that previously, I’d not gone further than my sister’s house and since then, we’ve been to Brisbane, Margaret River AND Sydney! Each month I had something to include in my travel section and I’ve just gone and wasted it by not writing! So I’ll just have to combine them all into one post!

Brisbane – Good old Bris-Vegas! We flew back (H’s first plane trip!) in March to attend our friends wedding. I’m so glad we went back for it, we had an absolute ball at the wedding and having a boozy, baby-free night was pretty thrilling. I was fairly well behaved, I previously let loose on our first date-night since having H and the next day was not pretty and TOTALLY not worth the pain. The day after our big night I experienced what it was like to be truly hungry (hungry and angry) and B and my sister J coped the full brunt of it. Not pretty – sorry guys!

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Fun in the sun
Gold Coast – March 2016
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While in Brisbane, we also spent a few nights at the Gold Coast as friends from Melbourne were there so it was brilliant to catch up with them and just chill out by the beach. T’bar (that’s my nickname for the town Toowoomba for those of you new to my blog who have no idea what I’m talking about) also featured on our adventures, to visit B’s family and catch up with friends too. All in all, it was a whirlwind trip with not much time to relax but I loved being back in my hometown and introducing H to so many of our friends and family.

Margaret River – For the Anzac long weekend, we went down to Margaret River and lived it up in wine country. The last time we visited, I was designated driver as the trip was a birthday present to B and THIS time I was breastfeeding so B was sitting pretty once again. H was a total superstar the whole trip, doing all his day sleeps in his pram and he started consistently sleeping through the night. He wasn’t so keen on the car by the end of the trip as he was popped in and out numerous times each day as we went from winery to restaurant to cafe to brewery to winery to winery. Poor little guy was well and truly over it by the end! We came home with a pretty impressive stash of beer and wine which is how a successful trip to booze-country should be. It is such a beautiful part of the country and somewhere I could visit time and time again.

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H needs more practice at family selfies
Margaret River
April 2016
@lifelovetravelfood

Sydney – Our most recent trip, earlier this month, was to Sydney. B had a work conference to attend so I took the opportunity to tag along just for something to do! My best friend B lives in Sydney and I LOVED catching up with her numerous times and she got her fix of H cuddles too.

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No caption necessary
Sydney – June 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

We spent a day in Manly and were treated to a day of absolutely gorgeous weather, eating and drinking our way around this pretty part of Sydney. Vivid Sydney was also on when we were there – what a sight that is! Such beautiful light displays, I wish we’d had more time (and better weather) to explore more of this wonderful festival.

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Beautiful Vivid Sydney
Sydney – June 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

The rest of the week involved B working incredibly hard and me trying incredibly hard not to buy everything in sight. The weather turned pretty rubbish so I tried to keep indoors (read: shopping centres) and showed extreme self-restraint by not spending B’s hard-earned wages in all the mid-year sales.

H was once again a superstar, considering he spent most of his days in the pram and went to bed every night in there too so we could go out for dinner. I know it won’t last forever so we’re enjoying these days when we can put him to bed in his pram and go out for dinner (never staying out later than 9pm cause we’re old now and anything past 8 is a ‘big night’ for me).

B also took part in the craziness that is State of Origin with his best mate T flying down from T’bar to join him at the game. I was on babysitting duty – we did consider taking H to the game but I think we all know Origin fans are a tad bit feral at the best of times and besides, the game didn’t start till after 8pm and this Mumma goes to bed early!

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Not born in Queensland but still a Queenslander at heart
June 2016
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We flew back to Perth business class (thanks Dr T!) which was fricken ah-MAZING. A (probably) once in a lifetime opportunity for us which we totally lapped up and enjoyed every second. H was adored by all on board (minus the time he was losing it crying) and had cuddles with the air hostesses before squealing the plane down due to lack of day sleeps. Luckily he fell asleep on me and was a total dream the rest of the flight meaning Mummy and Daddy were able to fully enjoy business class (including the extensive wine menu – aww yeah!)

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Business class baby
June 2016
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Travelling is certainly different now we have a chubby bundle tagging along and it requires a lot more organisation, patience and luggage! But so far, H has adapted incredibly well and we’ve had a total ball on each of our trips.

FOOD

If I listed all the places we’d eaten at in the past few months, this blog would go on forever. I’ve just realised I’ve not written a regular lifelovetravelfood post since January and we have CERTAINLY racked up the foodie spots since then! But I won’t bore you with everything (I already do that on my instagram page) so instead, here are some highlights.

Sherbet Bake Shop, Maylands – Perth – I’ve been here a few times now, popping in to grab something delicious and sweet and I’m yet to be disappointed. They do great coffee and DELICIOUS sweets. The vanilla slice, cupcakes, tarts and cakes are all spot on. Plus they serve everything on pretty plates which always helps!

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Where the coffee and cake obsession began
Sherbet Bake Shop – Maylands
February 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

Chu bakery, Highgate – Perth – I am always on the look out for new coffee shops and this one just happened to be across the road from where our Mums group often meets. They do these amazing little chu pastries filled with flavoured custards. Peanut butter and raspberry jelly; raspberry and lychee, chocolate eclairs and chocolate glazed doughnuts. Oh, and quite possibly the BEST almond croissants I’ve ever had. Delish!

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Peanut butter and jelly chu puff – insert heart eyed emoji here
Chu Bakery – Highgate
February 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

Doughnut time, Gold Coast – Can you spot a sugar-fuelled theme going on here?! I was SO excited to try these doughnuts when we were in Queensland and again in Sydney. I’m shocked to discover that I have now tried four different flavours in just a few short visits. In my defence, one such visit was due to H having a horrendous day and me not being able to go to Origin so I wholeheartedly deserved that vanilla custard filled doughnut with a toffee coating. Oh, and the vegan doughnut (which I convinced myself MUST be healthy, even though I know it to be a lie) is ridiculously delicious! A must try spot!

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Vegan but probably not healthy
Doughnut Time – Gold Coast
March 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

Picnic cafe, Camp Hill – Brisbane – Hooray for me FINALLY posting a healthy dish! Acia breakfast bowls are something I actively seek out now when going out for brunch. I LOVE them and adore all the different topping that cafes decorate with them, they look so pretty and taste so good. Picnic provided the perfect menu of healthy options for me (I swear I DO eat healthy much of the time, despite just raving non-stop about doughnuts and cakes) and ‘boy’ options for B – breakfast pulled pork nachos anyone?

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Hooray! Healthy! Delicious acia bowl
Picnic – Brisbane
March 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

Cafe Moka, Mandurah – A delicious little water-side cafe that we visited when we took a day trip to Mandurah over Easter. Great coffee and a beautiful looking cookies and cream cupcake for B and a gorgeous raw doughnut (healthy, I swear!) for me. Just pop it on a slate plate, add a flower and I’m sold! Oh, the only problem with this place was that one cupcake, one doughnut (tiny, I might add) and two coffees cost $25! Outrageous!!

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Probably the most expensive doughnut I’ve ever eaten
Cafe Moka – Mandurah
March 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

3 Oceans, Margaret River – Absolutely gorgeous food and the standout lunch of our whole trip to Margaret River but… some of the WORST service I’ve ever come across. Oh my goodness we waited sooo long for our orders to be taken, plates to be cleared, dessert menus to arrive, the bill – ugh, seriously frustrating! If I’d been rating the restaurant on its food I’d have given it five outta five. Blue swimmer crab linguine and a glass of local chardonnay; flourless chocolate brownie sundae with burnt caramel ice-cream and honeycomb – oh. my. YUM! Hopefully the floor staff were just having an off-day!

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Blue swimmer crab linguine
3 Oceans Winery
Margaret River – April 2016 @lifelovetravelfood
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Gorgeous dessert (when we eventually got to eat it!)
3 Oceans Winery – Margaret River
April 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

St Michael 6003 – Date night! Woo hoo! When my littlest nibling G was born, Mumzie did her usual trip over to give L a hand to settle in. And so I took this as an incredibly selfish opportunity to ask Mum to stay over one night so B and I could have date night. It. Was. Awesome.

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Thanks for babysitting Nanna! She has the magic touch!
May 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

As we don’t get nights out on our own very often, I lapped up every second of our date night and we used it well. First, we visited a wine bar that I discovered about five weeks after we found out we were pregnant and made B promise he’d take me there when I could drink again. Next, a cool bar so B could sample some more craft beers (although I’m pretty sure he’d already tried every single one available). Then, a seven course degustation dinner at St Michael 6003. All weird and wonderful courses with flavour combos I would NEVER have though would work together. Blue cheese and white chocolate. Scallop and beef cheek. Vegemite butter – YUM! I love going to restaurants where I’m forced to try something a bit out of my comfort zone and we savoured every bite and found it heavenly not having to check whether we could fit a pram inside the restaurant.

Monk Brewery & Kitchen, Fremantle – Lazy Sunday lunch with my boys (one who was asleep in the pram like a little champion – no, not B, although he does think a man-sized stroller would be a good business opportunity) in Fremantle was the perfect way to spend the day. I had slow cooked shiraz beef cheeks with mash, shallots and salted jerky. It tasted as good as it sounded AND looked beautiful. Delish!

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Utterly YUM!
Monk Brewery, Fremantle
June 2016 @lifelovetravelfood

***

I know I also usually put up some pics of the food I’ve been making at home but I think I’ve babbled on for quite long enough (besides, if you follow me on instagram, you probably already know everything I’ve eaten in the past year!)

I’m sorry for neglecting my poor little blog for so long! Thanks for sticking with me and dropping by for a read, I promise it won’t be so long between blogs next time! And as always, check me out on instagram for daily updates on food, food, baby, food, baby, food and occasional exercise posts!

Dan x

Time to have some giveaway fun!

Win this cookbook_lifelovetravelfood

It’s no secret I love to cook. It’s also no secret that I love the sweet recipes from Wholefood Simply – I mentioned them in my last main blog post. What’s incredibly exciting to me is that because of that particular post, the wonderfully generous Bianca, the smart (healthy) cookie behind Wholefood Simply, wanted to offer one of my readers/followers the chance to WIN one of her delicious cookbooks. Just because! Isn’t that amazing!?

SO! It’s competition time on lifelovetravelfood for the first time ever – woo hoo! I’d love for you to get behind this because if it works well, there could be more competitions on the horizon and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a freebie?!

Here’s how it’s gonna work. All you have to do is tell me in the comments below why you’d love to win this ‘how sweet it is’ cookbook. Yep, that’s it! For even more chances to win, you can also enter on instagram – just find the same image below and follow the instructions on there.

That’s it! Huge thank you to Wholefood Simply for giving away this wonderful prize, I am extremely grateful and super excited to be able to have some fun on my humble lil blog. I want to do so much more with my blog so if you can get behind me, I’d be forever grateful!

GOOD LUCK!

Win this cookbook_lifelovetravelfood

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The boring but important stuff… Competition ends 6pm WST Sunday 7 February. By entering you confirm you are an Australian resident and 13+ years of age.

I solemnly swear not to obsess about my baby…

Life

Life has been a bit of a whirlwind since my last blog cause, well… I had a baby! So before I kick off this months blog, I need to reassure you all and make this promise to you… My blog will not change now I’m a Mum. It will NOT turn into a baby blog. I will not write about my birthing story, only write about nappy changes and my babies weekly developments. I WILL write about him cause he’s a pretty massive part of my life now but it won’t change my entire blog. I promise! If I ever start doing a baby-obsessed blog post, please feel free to tell me!

So yes. I had a baby boy, Hamish Willis Murphy, born 15 December 2015 and to say B and I are utterly besotted with him is an understatement. I am absolutely LOVING motherhood – even the interrupted sleep, the frustrations and the 3am nappy and outfit changes due to him weeing all over himself while sleep deprived Mummy doesn’t notice until he’s soaked his outfit and even got it in his mouth – true story.

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First family photo
@lifelovetravelfood

Life has completely changed but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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H’s first Christmas
@lifelovetravelfood

***

Love

Family and friends – B and I have been completely blown away with how generous family and friends have been since the birth of H. We have been overwhelmed with flowers, presents, cards, and messages of love, it’s been absolutely incredible. We feel so, SO lucky (I will NOT say ‘blessed’) and appreciate every single person who’s been in touch, it means so much to us! THANK YOU!

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Incredibly spoilt!
@lifelovetravelfood

Sleep – oh my how I love sleep. With broken sleep now a real part of my life, I am finding myself falling into incredibly deep sleeps when I DO get some z’s. This sounds great, until H wakes and I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. But any sleep I get is bliss!

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Just a little bundle of cuteness!
@lifelovetravelfood

Early morning viber chats – a friend of mine also became a first time Mum four days before H was born. It’s been so great chatting with her over viber at ungodly hours of the morning, sharing concerns, tips, stories and sleepless nights.

B coming home from work – I LOVE it when B gets home from work. Either so I can shove H at him and give myself a break if he’s had a testing day, or so I can chat about how adorable our baby is and get news of the outside world. That makes it sound like I’m under lock and key at home which obviously I’m not!

Fitness – ok, so it’s pretty slow going fitness – just walking at the moment, but I’m so glad I have my energy back and don’t get exhausted walking 100m like I did while pregnant. The fresh air does wonders for my happiness and I always feel better after some Vitamin D.

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Getting active in as many colours as possible! Showing off my baby in my active wear! @lifelovetravelfood

Wholefood Simply – this is a healthy baking website that has me a tad bit obsessed, to the point that I have to stop myself from making something every day. I love healthy baking and these recipes are the absolute BEST!

Instagram inspo – my newsfeed has changed from healthy food, restaurants and fitness pages to new Mum’s, post-natal fitness and baby pages… oh, and Kmart pages (I am totally addicted to Kmart at the moment, I have a problem). What I love is how supportive strangers can be about motherhood. They’re so reassuring and kind, even a wonderful girl Alice who I’ve never met before sent H a present, isn’t that amazing?! It’s so nice to see that social media doesn’t always have to be about bullying and showing off your perfect life, it can be full of love, support and kindness from complete strangers.

***

Travel

Hahaha!! Even our hospital was only ten minutes down the road so I’m not sure I’ve got much to say here!

Actually, we DID take a family day trip to Rockingham while B was on parental leave which was  so lovely. Rockingham gets a pretty bad wrap and yes, I was totally snubbing the idea of going down there but B insisted and I’m so glad he did. The beaches are simply incredible. It still blows me away at how beautiful WA beaches are – they are stunning, some of the most beautiful in the world I think (and you all know I’m a massive beach snob, I’m a Queenslander, it’s in my blood).

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Beautiful Rockingham
@lifelovetravelfood

With our boy sleeping beautifully in his pram, we took a walk along the beach, had coffee in a cool little cafe, went for another walk and actually had to wake H up for a feed! I also did my first public breastfeed which was a bit of a challenge – I think I need some more practice at that one! We enjoyed a pub lunch and even got some shopping in (yes, I went to Kmart. Again). On our way home, we even stopped at a brewery which was SO English, it felt like we’d gone straight back to the UK!

It was such a great day and felt wonderful to be out and about – I genuinely thought that I’d be confined to the four walls of our house for the first few months of H’s arrival so to do a day trip was amazing.

And for travel, that’s as much as I’ve got unless you count trips to Padbury to visit L&G or my daily walks around my suburb… no? Ok, moving on then…

***

Food

Ah, the subject I never struggle to talk about! During my nesting phase, I cooked SO many meals for our freezer as I expected to be so incredibly tired and frazzled that I’d have no time or energy to make dinners once H was here. We’ve been very fortunate so far (I’m aware these things can change at any second so I don’t want to jinx it!) that I’ve felt pretty good and have been able to cook and bake when I want to. So here’s what’s been on the menu in the past month.

Nine Fine Foods – the Saturday before H arrived, we went out for an absolutely amazing five course modern Japanese degustation dinner. Sashimi, eel soup, caviar angel hair pasta, pork belly with tempura bacon. I’ll say that again. Tempura. Bacon. Ohhh my goodness it was utterly delicious! I love places that force me to try foods I would normally avoid. This was definitely one of them and I’m so glad I got over my fears and tried and enjoyed eel and caviar!

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Who knew I’d enjoy eating eel?! Nine Fine Foods degustation
@lifelovetravelfood

Inglewood Night Markets – one 40 degree day, we walked down to the Monday night markets with H and I had some of the best food truck food since arriving in Perth. A haloumi and salad wrap with sweet potato fries from Meast was SO delicious and I finished with personalised frozen yogurt from Ubuntu Real Food Co – you pick three flavours and then they swirl them all together to make your very own frozen yogurt creation. Mine was peanut butter, cacao and raspberry – the BEST!

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Haloumi and salad wrap with sweet potato fries from Meast food truck
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My new obsession, I want to eat it every day! Personalised frozen yogurt from Ubuntu Real Food Co
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Finlay and Sons – to farewell my Mumzie who recently came to visit, we went out for breakfast on her last day. She had french toast with kiwi and strawberries and I had the big green breakfast – gooey poached eggs (my gosh I missed these during pregnancy) spinach, avocado, asparagus and hollandaise on an English muffin. Mmm mm!

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French toast at Finlay & Sons
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Lots of green goodness at Finlay & Sons
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We’re still getting used to juggling life with a baby and eating out so we’ve not been to as many places as normal but I think we’re doing ok! Tomorrow we’re planning a lunch date so fingers crossed we have a calm, sleeping baby on our hands so I don’t have to eat with him on my lap!

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Smoothie bowls – Phew! It’s been HOT in Perth lately. My favourite breakfast of the moment is smoothie bowls. I know I’ve mentioned them in previous blogs but at least now I’ve managed to make them look a bit prettier!

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Red berry smoothie bowl
@lifelovetravelfood
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Green smoothie bowl
@lifelovetravelfood

Mango and raspberry pina colada cake – I was on dessert duty for Christmas Day with L well aware that if things didn’t quite go to plan with having a ten day old baby, she’d be forced to make something up at a moments notice. Luckily that didn’t happen and we had a mango and raspberry pina colada cake. Like tiramisu but with a fresh fruit twist and instead of marscapone and cream, I swapped them out for coconut cream and greek yogurt. This one was an absolute winner, SO good! And L and I shared a second slice because she’s pregnant and I’m breastfeeding so calories don’t count for either of us.

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Mango and raspberry pina colada cake made healthy(ish)
@lifelovetravelfood

No-knead seeded spelt bread – from my new healthy Donna Hay cookbook, this no-knead bread was delicious and husband approved! As long as you’ve got time to wait (it has to sit and rise for eight hours) then all you have to do is mix, leave and cook. Best bread recipe ever!

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Seeded spelt bread – a delicious success!
@lifelovetravelfood

Healthy carrot cake – from my favourite Wholefood Simply. Five ingredient carrot cake with a cashew cream icing. Far out it was SO good, I had to stop myself from eating it for breakfast everyday! Again, totally using ‘I’m breastfeeding’ as an excuse to eat cake but at least I’ve managed to bake and eat healthier sweet treats instead of going straight for the chocolate stash that I devoured at one point. I will definitely be making this cake again!

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Officially one of my favourite cakes!
@lifelovetravelfood

Lactation cookies – Stay with me on this one – these biscuits are awesome! I  bought some lactation cookies to try when I started breastfeeding and then decided I wanted to try and make them myself. I struggled to find a healthy recipe so I made up my own and they worked perfectly! I know the word ‘lactation’ sounds slightly terrifying to anyone who’s not breastfeeding but they’re perfectly safe (and delicious) for anyone to eat. The only ‘weird’ ingredient they’ve got in them is brewers yeast which helps breastfeeding women produce more milk. Again, I have to restrict myself to how many of these I eat in a day… being at home has always been my downfall in my eating habits so I’ve started keeping a food diary to make me more accountable. Cause let’s be frank, no one wants to look back and see that they ate six cookies in one sitting…

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Seriously yummy cookies, even if you’re not breastfeeding!
@lifelovetravelfood

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So I’m pretty impressed I’ve managed to get a blog post together – I honestly didn’t think I’d be doing anything once H arrived so bravo me!

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Rare quiet cuddles with my beautiful boy where he’s not searching for milk for once! @lifelovetravelfood

Next blog post will be about all our house guests and visitors and the adventures we get up to together. My in-laws arrive on Tuesday followed by our awesome friends R&P from Melbourne, then my sister, brother in law and nephew from London (who I’ve not seen since we left London – my GOSH I’m excited to see them!!) AND my Mumzie and Dad are coming back. Yay!! Busy times ahead!

Love Dan xx

Last post as just the two of us… sort of

LIFE

Baby bump (aka Keggy) is still all consuming. I decided last night I would try to sleep in as MUCH as possible cause baby could arrive at any point and steal all my precious hours. So at 7am on this Saturday morning, I’m wide awake and typing away. Parent-readers of my blog will laugh. 7am IS a sleep-in. Non-parents or those who know me well will also laugh. 7am for me is NOT a sleep-in. 9.30 or 10am is my sleep-in of choice… so as you can see, Keggy is already getting his/her own way and ruling my life.

Pregnancy has been very kind to me in the big scheme of things. I can only really complain about being stupidly tired, having chubby hands and ankles, uncomfortable, struggling to roll over, back pain and not being able to sleep properly. Which I realise is nothing compared to what some women go through so I refuse to complain (whinging to B doesn’t count, that’s allowed) as I know I’m VERY lucky to be in this position.

I wrote a blog post for Love flock (previously known as ‘Amica’ the blog I regularly write for) about my fears of becoming a first time Mummy which I’d love you all to read. I’ve had the most incredible feedback from it which has really warmed my heart. People I’ve not spoken to in years, used to work with or go to school with, have all reached out and told me they felt exactly the same or not to worry. It really did give me a big Mummy-boost!

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Bump update! 35 week bump
@lifelovetravelfood

We also did our antenatal class last weekend and I’ve gotta say, as scary as some parts were (yes, we watched a birthing video) I feel a lot more informed now and almost ready to have this baby. My hospital bag is packed, the cradle is in our bedroom, the pram is by the door, the car seat is in. I think we’re ready. I think…

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Keggy’s nursery is just missing Keggy!
@lifelovetravelfood

LOVE

Gender guesses – these continue to thrill me. The size of my bump means boy. The aggressive kicks mean girl. I’m carrying low so that’s a boy. I’ve not dropped yet and am carrying high which is a boy. Keggy doesn’t kick like mad when I eat chocolate which means boy. A LOT of people are saying boy to me now so I’m really unsure and can’t make up my mind as to what I think we’re having. Not knowing is incredibly exciting and I cannot WAIT to be told by B or my obstetrician as to whether Keggy is a mini-B or a mini-d.

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Girl or boy bump?
@lifelovetravelfood

Another baby nibling – I’m am THRILLED that my middle sister L, is pregnant with her third little person. I think being an Aunty is one of the best things in the entire world and L and G make pretty darn cute babies. Due in May, I’m pretty excited that L and I will be on maternity leave together. Keggy won’t be the baby cousin for long but I simply cannot WAIT to meet you Pigling!

The countdown – I’m not gonna lie. I’m looking forward to finishing work. My office job makes it pretty uncomfortable to sit all day and Keggy (who is currently facing outwards) goes a little bit wild with elbows, arms, knees and feet pushing awkwardly outwards causing me to gasp out loud throughout the day. Walking to the bathroom was an effort yesterday cause Keggy was pushing so hard on my bladder I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. Curled over, waddling as fast as I could I’m sure I was a pretty sight. The idea of finishing up and being able to rest and not change out of stretchy pjs the entire day is looking VERY appealing right now.

Family – This one makes the list every month (and twice this post) even if I don’t write about it. But particularly this month because at the end of October, I lost my Nanna – my last Grandparent. It’s never easy losing a loved one and I was particularly devastated as I SO wanted Nanna to meet Keggy. But, she was 95 (I know, what a champion!) and in poor health for the last month so was ready to go. She was an incredible person and as sad as it is to let go, I loved reading my Dad’s beautifully written eulogy as I learnt so much more about her. It makes you realise you should ask to hear these stories BEFORE they pass and I have made a note to make sure I do this from now on.

I flew to Brisbane for the funeral with my sister L and we enjoyed a few days of pure-family time which is pretty rare when we visit Brisbane. I loved being there for my Dad in particular, and was honoured to be part of Nanna’s funeral by reading some poems on Dad’s behalf. It’s times like these that make me  appreciate more than ever how lucky I am to have such an amazing, loving, caring family.

Travel

YES! I actually have something to write in here! Woo! At the end of last month, B and I took a lovely weekend trip to a few country towns. For no particular reason apart from that we’d not really ventured very far from Perth and it may very well be our last chance to go somewhere just the two of us. We drove through Gidgegannup, Toodyay, Northam, York, Beverly and Brookton. All pretty little towns (well, except Northam, I found that place a little scary) nice to visit and wander around. We visited a few wineries, olive oil farms, lolly shops and antique stores along the way and ended up in a lovely old country pub in Brookton for the night.

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Last one just the two (and a half) of us
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Our weekend wasn’t anything crazy or overly exciting but just getting out of the norm of Perth was lovely. Plus it’s pretty amazing to think that next time we’ll have a third person in tow!

Food

I’m loving the food truck scene in Perth at the moment. They’ve been a recent edition in the suburb where I work (where usually, the food choice is pretty limited or hideously overpriced – thanks a lot Perth) and I’ve tried them all – of course! Brazilian lunch box, pulled pork roll with spicy cajun chips and my current favourite, fresh tacos. I’ve got one week left at work, do you reckon it would be bad to visit the food trucks every day to get my fix?! It’s probably just as well they’re only there three days a week or else I might be tempted…

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Brazilian, bbq and Mexican food truck deliciousness
@lifelovetravelfood

Back in Brisbane, I loved going out for breakfast and coffees with family. We visited Milk Ashgrove on numerous occasions – first for breakfast, and again because we discovered they do ultimate thickshakes that we HAD to try. At breakfast, I always want to make a healthy choice and go in with the best intentions, only to be swayed by hashbrowns, bacon, pancakes or waffles. This time, I stuck to my guns and ordered Qld bircher muesli which was utterly delicious and didn’t make me feel sick or bloated afterwards. Hooray!

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Qld bircher muesli – yum!
@lifelovetravelfood

The next day we returned to share a deluxe Nutella thickshake. Yes, we shared but I’m glad we did. Just look at it. Enough said. OMG… yes…

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Tasted as good as it looked!
Deluxe nutella thick shake from Milk Ashgrove
@lifelovetravelfood

Back in Perth, we FINALLY celebrated B and L’s October birthday’s with a night out sans kids. We went to Porky’s bbq and bar cause L and B both love ribs. I had such high hopes but left disappointed (hence why there’s no pics). It wasn’t bad food, it just wasn’t great. I hate wasting calories and stomach space on ‘only ok’ food. But to make up for it, we went for sundaes afterwards at Ben & Jerry’s and then beers (or waters) at the pub. Despite a less than wonderful dinner, it was still a fun night out!

Having a proper date, probably our last in a while, last weekend B and I made the most of having a plan-free weekend. We spent the morning at the beach, went out for lunch then went to the movies – such a fun day! For lunch we went to a pub called The Saint George. I’ll admit, my expectations were pretty low but it ended up being a seriously good lunch! I surprised myself and didn’t get swayed by burgers or pizzas and instead had a spinach and avocado salad with grilled chicken. So fresh, full of good ingredients and seriously tasty. B had a prawn po-boy sandwich with chips and onion rings and with three different deep-fried ingredients on one plate, enjoyed it but regretted it later!

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Delicious healthy lunch in the foreground, not so healthy lunch in the background
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At home cooking has been a little unadventurous lately. I’m after easy, no-fuss recipes that I can make after I force myself to get up off the couch after work. I’ve also been in a pretty epic nesting mode, cooking double quantity of dinners to freeze to have when Keggy arrives. Here’s what I’ve been making this month.

Pork and fennel meatballs – this was meant to be part of my freezer meals but they were so yummy, we ate them all in one go! I had mine in a big salad bowl and gave B his in a sub sandwich.

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Pork and fennel meatballs – too yummy for leftovers! @lifelovetravelfood

Bacon, spinach and roasted pumpkin brown rice risotto – apart from the fact that brown rice takes longer to cook, I genuinely prefer it over white rice. It has a nutty taste and is so much better for you. It makes a really good risotto and as long as B can taste the bacon, he’s happy too!

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Healthy and yummy baked risotto – easy (but not quick) to make
@lifelovetravelfood

Popcorn chicken – YUM! I made these for a starter with homemade tomato sauce when L and G came over for dinner. Kid-friendly and grown-up approved, these have very few ingredients and are super easy to make. I think the homemade tomato sauce needs a bit of tweaking to convince B that we can stop buying the supermarket stuff that’s packed with sugar and other rubbish, but I’m working on it.

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Healthy popcorn chicken – kid and husband approved!
@lifelovetravelfood

Boo-nana ghost pops – made for my Perth niblings for Halloween, I took the traditional white-chocolate version and made it healthy. Half a banana dipped into natural greek yogurt flavoured with pure vanilla and popped into the freezer. A little paleo chocolate for the face and that’s it! They went down a treat plus L was happy cause her little ones got a healthy dessert. Brownie points for Aunty d!

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Healthy boo-nana ghost pops
@lifelovetravelfood

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So my next blog post may very well be quite soon if I get the urge to write again before Keggy arrives or otherwise, it’ll be after I’ve had my baby!! Or there is a third option which is that I’ll never write another blog post cause I’ll be too exhausted and will only have conversations about nappies and lack of sleep.

I’m excited and terrified all at the same time. Wish us luck!!

The bright lights of BrisVegas

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Life

I’m now 30 weeks pregnant and TOTALLY freaking out at the thought of having another human life in my care in less than 10 weeks. There’s lots I’m scared about – are we going to be any good at this, will we know what to do, will Keggy sleep ok, will I want to cry every five minutes, have we got everything we need, will I bond with my baby? And don’t even get me started on my anxieties about the birth – that’s a WHOLE other ballgame!

But I then remind myself how incredibly lucky we are to have Keggy and that we’re even able to be parents. So often we take this sort of thing for granted so I’m trying to keep this in mind and enjoy my pregnancy and take each day as it comes.

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Bye bye feet! 29 week bump
@lifelovetravelfood

Until I freak out again next week over how to put nappies on correctly and swaddle a baby.

Love

I have officially fallen back in love with my home city of Brisbane. B and I left BrisVegas nine years ago and have been going back for visits every year since but never have I felt the urge to move back or felt like I missed the place. Sure, I miss the people who live there,  but I never felt like I really wanted to live there again. Until this trip. I don’t know if it’s the small person growing inside me that has made me reassess my priorities but now I am SO keen to move back and see Keggy grow up in the same city that I did.

I know it’s not where we’re meant to be at this very moment as Perth is currently our home, but the urge to move back is stronger than ever. In every place we’ve lived since Brisbane, we’ve stayed for a minimum of four years (Canberra and London) so I often wonder if the same will apply to Perth…

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Postcard perfect Brisbane
@lifelovetravelfood

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Being pregnant sure does have its perks. You get cool new nicknames (mine’s currently ‘Turtle’ from one of the girls I work with and it’s very appropriate cause I often feel like an over-turned turtle when lying on my back and struggling to roll over in bed) and people are extremely considerate and helpful.

I’ve noticed cars slow down to let me cross the road so I don’t have to run (waddle). People hold open doors for me even when I’m at the other end of the hallway. No one lets me carry anything heavier than a piece of paper. And cafés let me use their staff-only bathrooms cause they understand you should never say no to a pregnant woman who needs to pee.

*

Fruit! I am completely and utterly addicted to fruit at the moment. I consider it quite a blessing that my days of being obsessed with cheese and TopDeck chocolate are behind me and have been replaced with summer fruits. Watermelon was the first obsession, closely followed by pineapple, strawberries, blueberries and now mangoes. All day, everyday.

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Current obsession. I get impatient when my mangoes take too long to ripen!
@lifelovetravelfood

I also love that I can blame anything food related on the baby (sorry Keggy). I saw a lady eating a packet of chips at work yesterday, and all I could think about for the rest of the afternoon was thinly cut salted chips. So that’s what I got on my way home #blamethebaby. ‘Needing’ a chicken schnitzel for lunch one weekend #blamethebaby. Eating two giant freddos in one sitting (and feeling absolutely disgusting afterwards and wholeheartedly regretting this) #blamethebaby.

Yep, pregnancy can be really awesome!

Travel

Ah holidays, how refreshing they can be! This trip took us back to the sunshine state for my best friend’s wedding. We arrived in Brisbane to see my parents for about four hours in total, before they headed off on a 4WD trip but I’m SO glad they both got to see my bump and Mum felt some nice
Keggy-kicks too.

I caught up with friends and even though it had been a few years in between visits, it felt like no time had passed – that’s true friendship! We also hosted an NRL Grand Final party – although calling it a party is a bit of a stretch considering there was no loud music, everyone left by 10pm and no furniture got broken. B is a MAD North Qld Cowboys fan and to say he was tense during the game was an understatement. I had people congratulating ME at the end of the game, cause they knew how unbearable B would have been if they’d lost. B also received copious amounts of Cowboys clothing and merchandise for his birthday and I have a feeling the collection will only continue to grow for both him and Keggy.

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Keggy will be a Cowboys supporter whether he/she likes it or not!
@lifelovetravelfood

After Brisbane, we visited family and friends in Toowoomba. My in-laws were wonderful, allowing me to have my laziest trip ever – I didn’t lift a finger! Keggy is stealing all my iron and this means I’m ALWAYS tired, exhausted by 8pm and yawning throughout the day. It was exactly the type of trip I  needed – to rest, relax, read and just be.

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How’s the serenity… farm life
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From Brisbane, we drove to the Gold Coast, via Beaudesert to visit a family friend and a quick coffee stop in Mt Tambourine, where we reminisced about the last time we visited the area on one of our first ever trips as a couple some ten or so years ago. I loved spending time on the Gold Coast – the wedding was in Tugun, a part of the Gold Coast I’d not visited for years, and it was great to get away from the touristy hustle and bustle of Surfers Paradise.

The wedding itself was beautiful. So relaxed, nothing too formal and just a whole lot of fun. I adored being bridesmaid and watching on as my Miss B married her very best friend. The bridal party was a great group, meaning the photos were an absolute blast. There were some interesting stories told which cannot be repeated on my PG rated blog with so many laughs and good times. Exactly what a wedding should be! We danced the night away and I think I danced Keggy to sleep cause usually the second I get into bed, he/she starts wriggling like crazy but this time, all quiet on the bump-front. It was a fabulous day and I’m SO glad we were able to be a part of. Congratulations B & C – love you guys!

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Playing bridesmaid at my best friends wedding
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For the rest of our trip, we caught up with friends, ate out at great little cafes and restaurants, visited a brewery, celebrated B’s birthday, went to Southbank, soaked up the glorious Qld sunshine and just had an absolute ball. I can’t wait to go back again in March when we have another trip planned for yet another wedding and Keggy’s first plane trip – eep!

FOOD

Eating out and about…

Inglewood Night Markets – Every Monday night, lots of little food trucks gather in my local area for foodie night markets. This was clearly a cheat day for me cause I had a mac and cheese toasted sandwich (which was AWESOME) followed by a pomenade – homemade traditional lemonade spiked with pomegranate, yum! B had a mixed grill with ribs, grits, salad and other spicy bits of deliciousness. He also tried a curry pie and we shared a seriously good woodfired pizza. Yes, we ate a LOT but there was so much choice, we could have gotten way more carried away. I’ve already chosen what to have next time we visit!

The plan at this stage is to go back once a month, including when J, Mum and Dad come over to visit. I love a good food market and love even more that it’s so close to home for us.

Grilled mac & cheese sandwich_lifelovetravelfood
Awww yeah! Carb with carbs with cheese – heaven! Plus a refreshing pomenade – gorgeous and sour
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Mrs S – after my gestational diabetes test (YUCK!) I met my sister L at Mrs S, a café I’d been dying to visit ever since I arrived in Perth. And I’m happy to say it did NOT disappoint – really good coffee, delicious fresh juice and my almond, honey and oat granola with poached peach and coconut yogurt was gorgeous. I’ve already decided we have to go back when my Mum and J come to visit in February. Yes, it does seem like their entire trip will revolve around food!

Mrs S_lifelovetravelfood
Almost too pretty to eat!
Mrs S, Maylands
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Bare Bones Society – Brunch with my girls in Brisbane at this surprisingly great little café… in a carpark! We all had the same thing – fritters with haloumi, bacon, rocket and tomato salsa. YUM! The serving was huge, but I still managed to get through a majority of it! It was too yummy to leave behind!

BareBonesSociety_lifelovetravelfood
Fritters, bacon, haloumi, salsa… what more could you want?!
Bare Bones Society
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Ground Up – A really cool, funky, hipster café in Toowoomba. Yes! In Toowoomba! I was stoaked to have my first EVER decent coffee in the Garden City (yes, I’m a coffee snob) and I was even MORE impressed with the lovely staff. I asked if they had a bathroom and the girl took one look at my bump and said, “For you… yes!” and she showed me to the staff bathroom. 10/10 for staff awesomeness!

Ground Up_Toowoomba_lifelovetravelfood
Cool coffee shop in T’bar – who wouldda thought?!
Ground Up
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One thing I have found really interesting in Qld is that my usual coffee order of a long macchiato topped up on almond milk gets me something completely different to what I get in Perth. B and I found it very confusing to know what to order to get exactly what we wanted as a long mac isn’t really all that long and the ‘topped up’ bit is just a dash of milk. Even when you ask them to fill your cup halfway with hot milk, they still won’t. I don’t get it…

Newstead Brewing Co – Unsure of where to go for his birthday lunch, B asked my opinion. He clearly wasn’t impressed when I suggested the Paleo Café or Pawpaw café (a health café) but was much more satisfied with my third suggestion of Newstead Brewing Co. We met up with a group of friends there to celebrate B turning 31 and our last day in Brisbane. Everyone on the table got different food and it all seemed to go down pretty well. B and I shared a pizza but the thing that stood out for me were the sweet potato chips. Oh my goodness, they were SO good! I think I nearly ate the whole bowl… and they weren’t even mine (sorry T!) Best sweet potato chips I’ve ever had.

Kalamunda Hotel – back in WA, we spent the weekend being very domesticated. We visited Kalamunda Hotel for lunch after doing our weekly shop at the local farmers markets. The food on offer here is your pretty standard pub food but done well. I had a chicken parmijana (taking off the ham to give to B, rather than asking for it without and have him miss out because apparently, ‘that’s how they getcha!’ This probably makes no sense to anyone who’s never seen an episode of Rules of Engagement) with salad and chips. There seems to be a running theme here cause the chips were awesome! I’m not usually a huge chip fan – I like them, but don’t love them. However these ones were so good, I ate the whole lot! B’s steak sandwich was also really tasty, the food came out quickly and the great range of beers on tap got B’s tick of approval.

Cooking at home…

Mango ice-cream – there was a conversation going on at work the other day about how ice-cream cannot be called ice-cream if it’s vegan. The whole team was involved and all in agreement when annoying little me jumped in to say, ‘but what if it’s made with coconut cream?’ Silence… it was then decided that if so called vegan ice-cream is made with coconut cream, it’s allowed to be called ice-cream. It was still met with skepticism that vegan ice-cream could be a good thing and I’m here to say it can be seriously delicious and I have the husband approved recipe to prove it.

Made simply with frozen mango and coconut cream and blended in my magical Thermomix, this stuff is heavenly.  I personally think it’s better than regular mango ice-cream cause it’s more mango-y and doesn’t make you feel sick afterwards from excess sugar. I think I might make some for dessert tonight…

Vegan mango icecream_lifelovetravelfood
Vegan, paleo, clean, healthy, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free… HUSBAND APPROVED! Wooo!
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Two types of birthday cake – I missed my Perth sister’s birthday this year as we were in Brisbane so when we got back, I promised to bake her a cake. As we were also away for B’s birthday, this meant two cakes were required. My brother in law and nephew had bought Uncle B a special robot cake tin for his cake so we had to go over especially so K could see the baked robot for himself. He was beside himself with excitement, announcing he wanted to eat the entire robot head – it was adorable!

Cake_lifelovetravelfood
Cakes galore!
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As for the flavours of the cakes, B wanted his usual… the same one I’ve made him for the past 10 years. He loves it and never wants a different one! White chocolate honeycomb mud cake with white chocolate honeycomb ganache. Think sugar, chocolate, sugar, chocolate, cream… it’s pretty epic!

L’s cake was a Nigella Lawson chocolate olive oil cake. I chose this one because she specify any particular cake and I ran out of flour after making B’s cake and this one was made with almond meal so it meant I didn’t need to go to the shops #lazy

Both cakes are super easy to make and really, really yum! And yes, I tried both – I’m all about everything in moderation and it’s not a birthday without cake!

Smoothies and smoothie bowls – current breakfast obsession. Every second morning we have a smoothie for breakfast cause they’re easy, quick and filling. Plus it means I can sneak spinach in to give Keggy more iron. I say ‘sneak it in’ but it’s kind of obvious it’s in there when the smoothie turns bright green. But B is totally on board and agrees you really can’t taste it so happy husband, happy baby, happy wife!

I’ve seen lots of people making smoothie bowls on instagram and didn’t really get what made them a ‘bowl’ and not just a regular smoothie. From what I can tell, it’s when a smoothie is really, really thick and too hard to drink, hence why it’s in a bowl and eaten with a spoon. Either way, they’re delicious and I made my first one on the weekend. It turned a murky pond-green colour so didn’t look overly appealing (even with a good instagram filter) but it tasted delicious and think they’ll be making a regular appearance at the breakfast table over summer.

Green smoothie bowl_lifelovetravelfood
Green smoothie bowl. Deliciously ugly!
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Turkey san choy bau – I LOVE san choy bau but B really doesn’t : ( Not sure why, but he’s just not a fan. I still make it every so often, and my latest version was a turkey and vege one. I got a bit carried away adding loads and loads of veges to it and I personally thought it was delicious. They’re not the tidiest things to eat and I certainly wouldn’t recommend making it if you’re on a date or with anyone you’re trying to impress or look elegant around.

Turkey san choy bau_lifelovetravelfood
Deliciousness in a lettuce cup!
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***

Coming up next on lifelovetravelfood. We’re going away this weekend, kind of our last hurrah before Keggy joins us. We’ve got dinner with L&G booked to celebrate birthday’s with ribs and beer (aren’t you impressed I still visit these types of places even though my beer days are over… for the time being!) We have our pre-natal hospital class to learn all about how not to injure our child. And I start pregnancy yoga – yippee! Good times ahead!

Six months of one thing on my mind

* Life *

My entire life revolves around my bump. How he/she is feeling, how I’m feeling, what’s next to buy, when is my next doctors appointment, which book to read next, is Keggy growing enough or too much… it’s never ending! I honestly can’t think of anything else. When anyone asks how I am or what I’ve been up to, I don’t have an answer unless it’s baby related. I know what I said last month, but that’s the truth! Actually trying to think of something not-baby related is HARD!

Pregnancy quote_lifelovetravelfood
Amen to this!
Image via @preggo.leggings
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This month was all about organisation. We wanted to have some of the big purchases done so that it’s not all a mad rush at the end. We have now got Keggy’s cot, change table, high chair and pram sorted. We’re incredibly lucky to have friends who have older children and are selling their nursery furniture and baby items so we’re snapping them up as novice parents cause we have no clue what brands to buy or what to look out for. It’s all so overwhelming and half the time you’re not sure if a product is really a necessity or just a waste of money.

Nursery_lifelovetravelfood
Getting the nursery ready. This is by no means finished – I still have LOTS of nesting to do.
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I’ve been in organisation mode in all aspects of life, shopping up a storm sorting out Christmas and birthday presents so when the little person arrives, I’m not caught out. I must admit, ticking things off my list is incredibly satisfying and I’ve posted a heap of presents to family in London and finished wrapping a stack more presents the other night #feelingsmug

* Love *

I really enjoyed my second trimester of pregnancy (that’s months three to six for anyone who, like me 12 months ago, had NO idea why women spoke in ‘weeks’ and ‘trimesters’) and am actually feeling quite good going into my third. I haven’t put on huge amounts of weight (yet!) my belly is getting rounder and the gender predictions are coming in thick and fast.

I love hearing everyone’s theories – my Mum thinks girl because both my sisters had boys first and according to her, I have always done things differently to them (so true!) Some friends think boy because I myself am so incredibly girly. And then there’s all the, “Well you’re carrying really low which means boy,” and, “Oh you can’t sleep on your side? That’s totally a girl.” As much as I would LOVE to know if Keggy is a girl or a boy, I love the idea of hearing, “Congratulations! It’s a…” at the birth. I am so excited for that moment (because it also means the birth is over).

27 weeks_lifelovetravelfood
27 week bump – or just over six and a half months!
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Celebrating our wedding anniversary. I can’t believe three years have passed since our wedding day! This year our anniversary fell on a Tuesday so the Sunday before, we celebrated by going to Totem by Cirque du Soleil which was just wonderful. They’re always a spectacular sight, but to be honest, that’s the fifth one I’ve seen so I think I’m a bit over them for a while! But here’s to us B… love you like crazy and I can’t wait for the next wonderful adventure together xxxxx

Totem_Perth_lifelovetravelfood
Totem Perth
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Driving to work. How superficial is that? We live close to really great transport but in order for me to get to work, I need to walk a fair way from the where the bus drops me off. Usually, it’s a very easy walk but as my walk turns to a waddle, by the time I actually get to work, I’m utterly exhausted. So on B’s recommendation, I have started to drive to work and it’s made the biggest difference! I now make sure I go for a walk at lunchtime or in the morning to keep up my exercise as my regular gym sessions have all but fizzled up these days.

Watching my niblings grow and learn. Whether it be on Skype with E in London, or visiting R and K on the weekends, I am fascinated at how quickly these beautiful little kids are growing up. K sang me the alphabet today and did an ABC puzzle to perfection, without ANY help. Amazing! R has gone from a chubby-bubby to a feisty, giggly, hilarious little miss who is learning words at an incredible rate. E went from crawling to running, has worked out how to unzip his sleeping bag and can open doors and draws causing havoc in London. I find them all so interesting and adore watching them grow up. It’s lucky we’re pregnant cause those three make me ridiculously clucky!

* Travel *

Sooo… we really haven’t gone anywhere this month. Apart from spending lots of time at Ikea and furniture shopping, I really have nothing to report here. Next month we’re off to Brisbane, T’bar and the Gold Coast for my best friends wedding – yippee! so September has been a bit of a quiet one for us! Oh, B went on a fishing charter AND he went to Fremantle when his best mate came over for a visit, but that’s about as far as either of us has gone this month. Let’s move on shall we?!

* Food *

Ah food, the subject that’s never difficult to talk about! Here are my September foodie highlights.

150 East – This place was a restaurant in hotel so my expectation were pretty low. I chose crispy skinned salmon, sautéed greens, creamy and smooth cauliflower puree with almonds – the chef’s special – and it was absolutely delicious! The fish was perfectly cooked, great seasoning and the cauliflower puree was like silk. SO yum but there’s no pic because it was too dark to snap one and I severely dislike photos with flash.

Thanh Dat – A hole in the wall, nothing special kinda place, this has become our go-to Vietnamese lunch spot. Cheap, quick, cheerful and their Pad Thai is sooooooo good! The best I’ve ever had (and trust me, I’ve eaten a LOT of Pad Thai). So good that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to order anything else from the menu for fear of it not being as yummy as the Pad Thai!

PadThai_lifelovetravelfood
Best EVER!!
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Coventry Seafood Bar & Grill – This is where we went for our anniversary dinner and from the outside it looked pretty average (there’s a recurring theme here!) I had a steak with salt and pepper calamari. I’m not the biggest squid fan, I’ll maybe eat one piece when B orders it but this stuff was melt in your mouth delicious. My steak had to be cooked well done thanks to Keggy, but it was surprisingly tender, juicy and yum! B had a seafood platter – fish, squid, prawns, oysters, chips and salad with everything fresh and really well cooked. Two for one mains on a Tuesday – how could you go wrong?!

Feral Brewery – The brewery that makes B’s favourite WA beer, we visited here with T when he visited from T’bar last week. We came for lunch and shared a few small dishes between the three of us. I chose pork with fennel and orange salad which was more like roast pork but I loved the combo of fresh fennel and blood orange. My other pick was buckwheat, tomato, basil and smoked mozzarella salad which was the standout dish of the day. B even said, “Wow, that’s actually a really good salad!” – that’s huge coming from him! My only complaint was that I wished it were bigger! There was also a pork and crackling dish which was delicious and the boys shared a steak with mash and ratatouille which was apparently delicious – absolutely YUM lunch!

Feral brewery salad_lifelovetravelfood
Tomato, basil, buckwheat and smoked mozzarella – SO flipping yum!
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And some home cooked highlights include…

Not so TeeVee snacks – a group baking effort which B and I made with K and R when we babysat on the weekend. Crazy easy to make, kid (and big kid!) friendly, healthy and yum. Not so great on their own but the chocolate makes them delish! Recipe from my go-to healthy baking site Wholefoods Simply

Not quite TeeVee snacks_lifelovetravelfood
A special shape for each of us – baked with love!
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Healthy chocolate cake – healthy DELICIOUS chocolate cake. Yes, it can be done! I had a craving for chocolate cake the other weekend and was stoked at how well this recipe worked out. While it wasn’t B’s favourite, he ate it all week which means it wasn’t a failure and I loved it so it’s going to be a regular in our house I think! Recipe from the Healthy Chef

Healthy chocolate cake_lifelovetravelfood
You can’t tell me this doesn’t look awesome
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Homemade baked beans – I’m a bit anti-sweet in the mornings at the moment and that can make breakfast (which during the week I eat at work) a bit difficult. From my Deliciously Ella cookbook, these homemade baked beans were easy and really yum on toast with avocado. I had to alter the recipe to better suit our tastes but these are a great addition to breakfast and SO much better than the ones full of sugar and other c r a p you get in tins at the supermarket.

Healthy baked beans_lifelovetravelfood
No hidden nasties – make these, they’re delicious!
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Clean coconut ice – B LOVES coconut ice and always wants to buy it when he sees it at school fetes and markets. I shudder at the ingredients so I’m personally not a fan, despite being obsessed with coconut. I was pretty excited to find a clean recipe and I made this for him for ‘almost a’ Father’s Day. He liked it… but struggles to let me take ALL his childhood favourites and make them healthy! Recipe from Pretend Health Freak via movenourishbelieve.com

Clean coconut ice_lifelovetravelfood
Not super pink cause I had no pink food colouring so I used raspberries!
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Paleo sticky date pudding – not a winner with B 😦 I really liked this healthified version and it got the thumbs up from L&G when they came over for dinner. I thought the caramel sauce was gorgeous and I’m pretty excited to be able to enjoy this pudding I had sidelined since trying to eat healthier. Recipe from The Merrymaker Sisters

Paleo sticky date pudding_lifelovetravelfood
A classic dessert paleofied
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Chocolate banana nice-cream – My pregnancy cravings have been calling for chocolate and this often means me breaking into B’s chocolate stash and all but polishing it off. To stop myself from doing this, I decided to make myself some nice-cream instead. Frozen banana, frozen blueberries, a touch of raw cacao and rice malt syrup blended up to make a ridiculously yummy dessert. I made this for my niblings and they both loved it – so cool that they think they’re having something naughty when it’s full of goodness! Recipe, measurements and ingredients were simply made up as I went along.

– – –

As part of my nesting I’m thinking of ways to improve my blog cause I think my posts can be slightly too rambly. If you have any thoughts, suggestions or comments, I’d love to hear from you! Otherwise, as always thank you for reading and see you in October when I’m bigger and even more pregnancy obsessed!

Dan xx