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I had the VERY fortunate experience of heading to a trade and media tasting of award-winning Hunter Valley wines last week, and WOW they are amazing.

Hunter Valley Shiraz

Among the tastes to savour, there were many 2014 Shiraz on offer – such as the Pepper Tree and the Brokenwood Kats & Dogs Shiraz, and the 2015 Semillons from wineries such as McLeish, First Creek and Brian Ridge would be AMAZING this summer (all coming out in the next few weeks at the cellar door). And, I’ve never had “Vermentino” before, but wow, lovely variety that, like Temperanillo (Thanks to Audrey Wilkinson) works well in the heat of the Hunter.

Hunter valley winesmakers

I am so keen to head up to McLeish, Tyrell’s and Bimbadgen to reconnect with the winemakers who enlightened me so much on the night, and to of course try more of their wares with a friend!

Hunter Valley Uncorked

If you’re in Sydney this weekend, try to get out to Hunter Valley Uncorked at Balmoral Beach Esplanade, Mosman.

Hunter Valley Whites

You can immerse yourself in the Hunter Valley way of life and unearth the tastes, sights and stories of the beautiful wine soaked haven. wander through the myriad of stalls and sample gourmet delights, or just sit back in the sunshine and enjoy the free entertainment amongst a exquisite fusion of wine, food and good company. Indulge in a delectable ‘picnic lunch plate’ by Hunter Valley restaurants from $15 per plate. Fresh lemonade, coffee and gelato are also available.

Hunter Valley Reds

A $10 souvenir wine glass is your key to enjoying wine at the event. Or own your very own piece of specialist glassware, a signature Hunter Valley Riedel wine glass, for only $15 available exclusively to event visitors. Entry is free!

FREE SHUTTLE BUSES operating approximately every 15 minutes from Mosman and Spit Junction to Balmoral Beach during the hours of the event (11am-5pm, last drinks 4:45pm)

Hunter Valley 2014 Shiraz

The wineries on show are:
Allandale Wines, Bimbadgen Wines, Briar Ridge Wines, Brokenwood Wines, De Iuliis Wines, Eagles Rest Wines, First Creek Wines, Glandore Estate, Hungerford Hill Wines, James Estate Wines, McLeish Estate Wines, Mount Pleasant, Oakvale Wines, Pepper Tree Wines, Peterson House, Ridge View, Saddler’s Creek Wines, Tallavera Grove, Tulloch Wines, Tyrrells Wines, Wynwood Estate. Yum!

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This post is not for vegetarians


Was incredibly excited browing the #grillmates tag on my way down to the blogger event last night at The Willoghby Hotel. McCormick‘s had booked the upstairs aread, and filled it with delicious meats and bbq smells, thanks to their Grillmates range and the skillz of award-winning BBQ-er Eric from The BBQ School.

menu #grillmates

Meet and greet over a nice Shiraz, drooling over the menu and staring at the meats in awe.

all the meat parts

Then it was all hands on deck, I got to rub spices into meats, and others got intimate, pulling pork:


We had sliders and quesadillas for entree…. after being lecture that we REALLY shouldn’t be putting eggs and breadcrumbs into our burger patties, that it is a travesty, and all they need is mince, onion, spices and sauce. And being learned on how breast chicken is dry because it has no fat, fat equals flavour being the night’s cult mantra, and being reassured it’s GOOD to turn your meat every 30 seconds on the barbie because then the fat stays in it. JUST NOT SQUISHING!

Jalepeno and cheddar bbq chicken and spinach quesadillas

We were being constantly reassured that, while it’s a noble goal to learn to cook a traditional American BBQ, the sauces and spice rubs we had on hand could go a long way to recreating that smokey flavour without the smoke and time! Lazy noms!

tiny pale ales

Tiny Pale Ales to go with the entree, IPAs with the mains, and Stout for those who do beer with their dessert.


A million hours cooked beef brisket, wrapped in baking paper and aluminum foil, and in the smoker for 6 hours. Reminded me of mum’s lamb, falling apart!

Ribs and Pulled pork

The sticky ribs were finger-licking good, and the pulled pork is one I really need to try at home!

mm ribs

And yes, there were a couple of salads, one made by yours truly that tasted like bahn mi, and using Pukura Estate oils and vinegars that we had been tasting earlier in the night (Muswellbrook, represent!)

Winning friends with salad
(how PINK am I???)

Quinoa salad

Unfortunately not much salad was eaten!

Then we hit dessert… Somehow! A chili, ginger, chocolate brownie!

Chilli ginger brownies.

I did manage a few bites, and the ginger was a nice addition!! :)

Great night, great company, and great presenter – seriously if you wanna learn more about BBQ-in American style, The BBQ School is the place to go!

swag #grillmates

food coma fiona

The train ride home was a series of well-times connections and much food-coma-ing. *grins*

Let’s BBQ!


Look up and spot anything colourful yesterday?

On Sunday the 4th of October 2015, OVI Hydration celebrated the extra hour of daylight by giving away 200 uplifting, summer experiences via colourful balloons!

For all those who weren’t there, don’t despair – #OVIHAPPYHOUR is here to make sure we spread the balloon/summer love far and wide. Just follow on Instagram @ovihydration and keep an eye out – they’ll be running a weekly giveaway for you to gift a friend that awesome summer experience they’ve been waiting for!


So, the Flickr app that is supposed to auto upload for me isn’t doign that and isn’t even uploading on demand, and so I’m left trying to be bothered to plug my phone into the computer to get the photos off it from the past two weeks. Things like this that came from Instagram:

$110/bottle? No worries

oh yeah, because when i go wine tasting, I go hard. And then go home with a couple hundred dollars worth of leftovers. You know what? The 2014 Hunter Shiraz(es) are all amazing and you simply MUST try one. Or 5.

I’ve also been being a good girl and applying for jobs. Real jobs, like ones I might want. Like at Dan Murphy’s or as a speechie or disability support officer. You know, things I’ll actually put time into applying for.


I also finished liptember with a bang, and raise $382 :) Not too late to donate! :p

Hmm what else?


I helped out at an event for Amnesty Newcastle. An art exhibit. Then we went for drinks and dinner at MoneyPenny at Honeysuckle, and these prawn rolls were delish and certainly hit the spot that hadn’t been filled by homous and rice crackers all night.


I had a disappointing experience with a food dehydrator :(



I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT EAT DRINK BLOG in two weeks time in Canberra.

Will I see you there??

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yeah joh griggs
Mama isn’t a Joh Griggs fan, but since she sponsor for me for LIPTEMBER mum is cool with JGriggsy

better homes

Fiona was invited to the launch lunch


Yeah, I know there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but…..

chocolte, hey?


I’ve been getting seriously good use out of my pensioner Opal card lately. $2.50 to travel all day on Newcastle and Sydney trains, buses, ferries and light rail, that’s awesome! And yes, you may be jealous, but I have it because they reckon I can only work 15 hours a week when I DO get a job, and so they give me some perks like cheaper meds to keep me less crazy, and cheap travel so I can apply for jobs and be able to jump on a train to meet awesome people and eat delicious food and consume great wine in the blink of an eye.

a vroom ford

So, this vroom of a classic blue Ford Falcon belongs to Jason Hodges, who bought it 21 years ago for $3k, but claims it is worth $30k now.


I’m also perfecting my “snoozing on the train” technique. It’s helped when I wear a beanie, so I can rest my head on the window, and my cardi of choice is more of a poncho / knitted wrap. So I curl up, and tend to miss half the trip. It’s wonderful.

travel gear
Totally travel ready.



So, one of the things I’ve got to with my awesomeness ticket, is off to The Greens, which is right next to North Sydney Oval. I went there to be fed, and to be informed about all the awesome stuff at the Better Homes and Gardens “Live” weekend expos that are happening in Perth in October and Sydney in November.


An amazing lunch, though I think “dill” was the herb of choice



A delightful Shiraz

And some chocolate making to ice to ice the cake




better homes
A Ms Johanna Griggs also Sponsored me for Liptember!

If you wanna go to the show, the details are:

23-25 October, 2015
Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
Tickets from $18 for adults for a day pass!

13-15 November, 2015
Sydney Showground (catch the train!)
Tix from $18 GA, $38.50 for the high tea, more for masterclasses.

BONUS! use my code: M107230 and get 30% off your tickets!

I'm a mouse! Sponsor me for #liptember : mwah!
I’m a mouse! Sponsor me for #liptember : mwah!


Hello Jo! #liptember #bhglive @bhgaus @betterhomesandgardenslive #shesalsodrinkingshiraz sponsor me for @liptember :


LIPTEMBER is for Lifeline

by Fiona on September 22, 2015 · 0 comments

Quick drink before I brave the reunion
In black #liptember @liptember sponsor me:
Job interview done. Note the more professional lippy #liptember @liptember sponsor me here
Win a pair of glosses from @firmoo_optical on the blog:
Met the boy from boy meets girl!! @nakedwinesaus
Off to Sydney to taste @nakedwinesaus #liptember @liptember  Sponsor me?
Blue! #liptember @liptember
Thanks @clevercomelywench!!! @liptember #liptember #purple
Day 2 of #liptember  greenie! Sponsor my @liptember efforts and support @lifeline
Milkbar lips @liptember
Got any blacker? #liptember Sponsor me for @liptember here:

Sponsor me for @liptember here:[/caption]Purple for #liptember sponsor me here: @liptember #femme

Sponsor me?

It supports Lifeline!


tail spin shiraz, wine glass pens

Happy Friday!

Today we’re drinking a 2012 Tailspin Shiraz, with pretty handwritten labels for the glasses, using The Wine Glass Pen :) Yeah, my handwriting is crap, but I’m sure I’ll have these designs down by summer!

wine glass pens

How handy are these? Much clearer than wine charms – you write on it, wait 60 seconds for it to dry and then get drinking. It doesn’t smudge, and washes off with water at the end of the party.

How useful!

So, want to win a three pack for the BBQ and party season?

wine glass pens

To enter, leave a comment recommending me a wine, and the one that sounds like it’d be my favourite (because you’ve made it sound delicious or like something I totally would order at the bar in a heartbeat if budget was no issue) will get a set of three wine glass pens.
Australian entries only.
Closes Monday, 28th Sept, midnight Sydney time.


Win a Pair of Glasses from Firmoo!

September 16, 2015

What do you think of my new specs? A good investment that I’ve been rocking this week – and for under $50 including lenses and delivery from! Wanna win your own pair? You might like these purple frames – yup the ones I’m wearing right now! Or how about unisex black? Or something a […]

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Oh, Hai there!

September 15, 2015

Not dead, just busy, tired, behind on all my blogging things, sunburnt, cynical, tipsy and applying for jobs. *waves* Donate to Lifeline for Liptember?

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I wanna keep eating TUNA – please be sensible and share!

September 8, 2015

Quentin Hanich, University of Wollongong Amid growing demand for seafood, gas and other resources drawn from the world’s oceans, and growing stresses from climate change, we examine some of the challenges and solutions for developing “the blue economy” in smarter, more sustainable ways. Fishing for tuna, swordfish, jack mackerel, Patagonian toothfish and many other species […]

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Oh, Hello there, #Liptember!

September 1, 2015

So, as we know, September is awesome. It brings Spring, and flowers, and blossoms and fairies. But not everyone is in that good of a place all the time. We have our moments. Whether we rage, or cry, or just dissolve. Some people have worse moments. And need outside help. One of the ways to […]

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