Heat Wave Hacks for the Long Hot Summer Ahead

So, the last three days were over 35 degrees, and so, we’ve hit summer head-on.

What are some ways to survive the Australian summer ahead with your sanity intact?

$25 Big W pool

Invest in a backyard pool. $25 from Big W.

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights 2015

Only go out at night.

EastCoast Juice

Drink locally produced East Coast juice.

Peppermint Drumstick

Take advantage of icecream specials at your local shop.

train selfie

Catch a train. It’s totally more relaxing than driving to Sydney.

Best n Less thongs

Invest in a range of thongs and sandals.

Crust seafood Pizza

Order takeaway or home delivery rather than heating up your own kitchen.

Drink Cider

Drink cold beverages. Refrigerated your wine. Don’t be scared to add ice.

What are your key tips for surviving summer?

Bargain Xmas Lights from Crazy Sales (Win Chrissy Lights!)

This post is brought to you by CrazySales

Stealthy Xmas Ninja

Christmas is coming, can’t you feel it?! The days are hot, the summer storms have started, I’ve bought cards and stamps and have started Chrissy shopping! School is making Christmas craft, learning carols for the end of year concert. The shops are getting busy with people browsing for the perfect gift or gifts. People are bitching about the “true” meaning of Xmas, spreading rumours about a war on it, negotiations between family factions have started to solve the annual dilemma of which meal where and with whom, and I had my first slice of Christmas fruit cake (you know the Lion’s ones with the icing that you get from the old lady at the card table at the local shops) at morning tea yesterday.

NewcastleXmas2010 105

It’s time to get baking – gingerbread men, houses and all things ginger. Puddings should have been made by now, hanging around the house up until their Christmas lunch boiling up. I need to decide on an advent calendar for myself – I’ve been eyeing off the ones with booze in them. Mum’s bought a train with a Santa for around the base of her tree! I’ve wanted one all my life, and now we have one!

xmas tree

Oh and the kids (and me) are starting to beg to put up the tree! I’ll have to pull out my boxes of decorations soon to see what’s intact from last year, what needs replacing, and what I don’t really like. Then track down some bargains in purples and pinks to add to my collection! Untangling the lights is always on the list of things that shouldn’t be attempted on a forty degree day, and should be reserved for an air-conditioned room with a cold one in a novelty stubbie holder nearby.

The calendar is filling up, with dinners and drinks, and BBQs and pub crawls taking up the key dates for the next five weeks. The thoughts of “do I have enough outfits for this summer” is met with a no, and I’m ready to hit the shops next payday for a couple new frocks that suit the heatwave conditions we’re bound to have through til Valentine’s day.

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights 2015 Eiffel Tower

While we can’t all have such spectacular lights displays as the ones at Hunter Valley Gardens in our front yards, but I love going around the streets in the leadup til Christmas looking at all the pretty lights! There can be a real festival atmosphere, with charity fundraisers and ice-cream vans on the busier streets!

One place you can expand your Christmas Lights collection is at CrazySales, an online marketplace with all the bargains, from lights, to food dehydrators, to robot vacuums and tool boxes!! One of the largest online department stores serving the country, CrazySales is 100% Australian owned and operated, too!

Climbing Santa Lights
Cute! Santas’ climbing up your wall!

Want to WIN some lights to brighten up your Xmas?

So, I have a set of 300 Multi -Colour LED Lights with Eight Function Controller valued at $39.99 to giveaway to one lucky reader!

Please comment below describing your ideal Xmas light set-up in 30 words or less. What awesome decorations have you seen in your neighbourhood and want to top? Because we all know it’s a competition :p (not)

The winner will be judged on awesomeness and creativity.
Entries close midnight 30th November 2015, and is open to those with Australian addresses only.
I’d love for you to share this comp with your friends on social media!

Xmas Cocktail Party
Xmas is exhausting!

Talk Fresh Home Delivered Fruit and Veges for Newcastle


I discovered Talk Fresh via my local cafe, Custom Espresso, getting their fruit and vegetable deliveries from this Sangate based small business.

They put together their fruit and vege boxes (From $35) based on what is in season, so everything in the box is top quality! You can also add extras or choose your own fruit and vegetables from their huge product list. Delivery is free!


So we ate a lot of fresh fruit and veges the past fortnight.


I made a yummy, colourful stirfry noodles.

Rainy night roast

A rainy night roast

Vege fritters! #meatfreemonday

And vege fritters, based on this recipe


(Eggs from the Assistant Principal’s chooks!)

Order Online and sort out your fruit and veges for next week!

Oops #sorrynotsorry

Note to self: Exercise more caution when discussing organised religion, taxing the churches and the pros and cons of religious charities on public social media when you are applying for work with organisations with religious backing.

Or, just be glad you got that out of the way before you were hired, put your foot in it and faced disciplinary proceedings or getting sacked for voicing your views… because you know it’d happen.

This is why I’ve never applied for Catholic Ed.

Ethos, and not being able to uphold it.

Moving On!

All the bows! #ebay
All the bows! #ebay Be RAINBOW and PROUD

Lunch Out Loud to support those with Perinatal Anxiety and Depression #bePNDaware (The Bach Eatery, Newtown)

#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown

I went to a fabulous long lunch at The Bach Eatery in Newtown. The event was for the start of PNDA (Perinatal Depression and Anxiety) Awareness Week (November 15-21). Ten ladies lunching over the “Trust the Chef” menu ($45/head or $55 with dessert), listening to some amazing women who have been through anxiety and depression brought on by, or exacerbated by, the birth of their children.


#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
Freshly Shucked Sydney Rock Oysters & NZ Cloudy Bay Clams w/Chardonnay Vinegar

#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
Pino’s Charcuterie tasting plate

#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
Cuttlefish, peperonata, squid ink dressing

#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
Salt Cod Croquettes w/ Kaitaia Fire Mayo

You may have noticed that this year there has been a name change to Perinatal Anxiety and Depression (PNDA) Awareness Week. This change is in response to the importance of including two words:

Perinatal – Supporting parents’ mental health throughout the perinatal period (during pregnancy and after birth). We need to consider a parent’s wellbeing across this continuum, rather than viewing these periods as separate.
Anxiety – Now believed to be just as, if not more, common than depression. Symptoms of anxiety vary, however they can be just as debilitating as depression

The stories I heard yesterday and from my networks of family and friends have certainly highlighted to be the absolute terror some new parents feel upon the arrival of bub. And the isolation they feel, all the while putting on a “brave” face.


#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
The SHINING star of our dishes – Papparedelle w/wild mushroom ragout & slow cooked egg. I kept going back for more!

#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
Flank Steak w/ homemade “chups” & Red Wine Sauce

#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
16 Hour Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder w/ eggplant, roasted heirloom carrots & mint almonds – So melt in the mouth!

Chatting to the others about what some signs might be that a new mum (or dad) is struggling, Amy pointed out that the words “When did you stop breastfeeding?” from one new mum were often a red flag to say she’s struggling with something. It could just be with the feeding, or the question of when to try a bottle or solids, but it can also flag deeper issues around how Mum and bub are travelling.


#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
Kiplers & Kumara w/ fried chili, garlic and Rosemary

#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
(Super Crunchy!!) Iceberg Wedge w/ Bach Dressing

PANDA is channeling Winnie-the-Pooh this year…


And encouraging family and friends to check in with the new mums and dads in their lives, getting them out of the house, having a meal or a coffee, and a chat.

But also to host a “Lunch Out Loud” to raise funds and awareness to support people with Perinatal Anxiety and/or Depression. Information and ideas to host your won Lunch Out Loud are available here :)

Five easy steps to enjoying your Lunch Out Loud
1. Set the date- PNDA Awareness week is officially from Nov 15-21, however you can hold your event anytime during November and December.
2. Invite guests- Invite as many people as your venue can handle- at home, in a restaurant/café or at work.
3. Use social media- Facebook is a great way to promote and plan your Lunch Out Loud. Set up and event page, invite your guests and keep them updated in preparation for your event.
4. Collect funds- you can accept donations, hold a raffle, charge an entry donation, hold a bake sale- the possibilities are endless!
5. Most importantly, have FUN – At PANDA we hear every day that parenthood is tough; friendship and support are a great first step in this unique journey.


#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
Hokey pokey brulee (OMG. GET THIS!)

#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
Pavlova in a glass

#bePNDaware Lunch out Loud at Bach Eatery Newtown
“Jelly Tip” w/ white chocolate mousse

Funds raised from Lunch Out Loud support PANDA, which offers counseling through a free National Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline, information, and referral services with ongoing telephone support for families throughout Australia.

PANDA’s Helpline: 1300 726 306 (operates Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm EST).
Lifeline: 13 11 14