My Top 5 Memories of 2017


So hello 2018! It's here, we've all just rung it in, kissed and hugged everyone in reach at that exact moment, made the resolutions, filled out our planners, created our bucket lists, ate (all) the leftovers, as well as too many prawn crackers. Another year awaits us, but it's nice to have this lovely summer break first.There's a whole 364 days ahead of us to get things done! Yippee! 

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Country Christmas

As the dust settles after the flurry of present giving and incessant pavlova making, the turkey is (almost) all eaten, and it's finally time to sit down, we'll enjoy some quiet time here in the hills.

Gilly our little cockatoo friend
Gilly our little cockatoo friend

I love Christmas in the country. This year we dug up our own potatoes, enjoyed lots of fruit and fresh berries, and cooked a stellar turkey prepared by our local butcher. While the gift giving, consumerism and preparations aren't really my cup of tea, I do love to cook a big meal and share it with family and friends, making memories is the best thing about the whole holiday to me.

 This year the wild birds have been visiting, the gooseberries fruited, providing awesome jam making opportunities, it has been wetter and the garden is flourishing.


A large basket of goodies was made with jams, lemon squash and fresh herbs which were offered to all that popped in for a visit, and was emptied before too long. 

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Walk like an Egyptian Walking Onion

After a couple of years of unsuccessfully trying to grow onions from commercial seed, I've gotten on to a heritage seed from way back that gives you prolific onions and so much more...its's really true that the old varieties are the best!


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Fairy Moon's Love Cave


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The Happy Sunflower.




This has been such a popular article, we have re-publlished it again today as an excellent resource for planting your first sunflowers: 



From one Sunflower two years ago, to now having a dedicated "Sunflower Patch", we completely understand the love affair one can have with the big bright yellow flower. 


How can one not be happy when taking in the bright yellow leaves, all the different varieties and heights.  Children of all ages adore them, chickens love the sunflower seeds, and even the dog likes to sit underneath them for shade.


Sunflowers are ideal for beginner gardeners, for a strong and tall flower, it needs little fuss. As its name suggest, a sunny spot is the main factor for its success with growth, and you can even grow them in pots inside if you live in a cool climate. 

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For Happy Mornings: Buckwheat Porridge

It actually raises your serotonin levels.....

Despite having Coeliacs Disease and a really limited choice of high sugar, high carb, not filling supermarket foods for breakfast, I always try to indulge in good healthy food first thing. Eggs from my chickens are a definite favourite, followed closely by fresh fruit of pancakes if I can take advantage of a long breakfast! 

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Quick Respite in Melbourne's Fern Gully


With the hot summer about to break on us here in the southern hemisphere, it's nice to know that, especially if you're a city dweller, there's a cool and soothing oasis in the middle of the city that you can escape to. 

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Blue Pool, Bermagui, NSW, Australia


The "Blue Pool" in the coastal town of Bermagui on the New South Wales Sapphire Coast, is a delightful scenic man-made pool to swim in, developed from a natural pool back in 1936.

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Where the Daffodils Grow,,,,,,

Every Spring there is a beautiful space that I like to visit down one of these red dirt country roads that are everywhere around us. Visiting a giant circle of 100 year old daffodils and quietly enjoying the sunshine streaming through the trees. 

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The Best $20 I've Spent While Overseas

Undoubtably having $20 on you (or local currency equivalent) is commonsense while travelling, especially if you are on your own.  Having $20 in a "just in case" fund or placed in a safe place on your body or tucked into the back of your wallet that you cannot touch for everyday purchases is certainly an unwritten "rule" for me.  


In my experience, when most travellers talk to me about the best money they have ever spent while overseas, usually down in the bar below the backpackers hostel, they say that the few dollars provided relief for either a vital or desperate need or a pampered experience that felt like a luxury after an extended period of time being deprived of that feeling.

And while I once had to make a mad dash halfway across a country once to collect a passport I'd left behind on an airplane, I'm opting for the pampered feeling! 

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RecipeCard: Broken Biscuit Cheesecake

Broken Biscuit Cheesecake
Broken Biscuit Cheesecake

The easiest cheesecake recipe you'll ever need, especially if you're in a hurry......

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How To Dedicate Fridays to your B2B Peers


Twitter Engagement

Some research shows up to 18% spike in engagement on Fridays compared to Tues-Thurs. (Mashable)


People want to talk on Fridays

Research shows that people start to "Mentally check out" on Friday afternoons and transitioning to a more social state for the weekend. People are willing to have conversations on Fridays.


Say Hi

Its a great time to have a casual conversation, share industry news, help or acknowledge a client before the weekend. Nothing too heavy though, thats for Monday mornings! 

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Lyrebird Forest Walk

Mirboo North, Victoria, Australia

Perhaps one of Gippsland's best kept secrets is the LyreBird Forest Walk in South Gippsland, just outside the township of Mirboo North, which provides stunning walks, natural vegetation and great access for people of all abilities.

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Gippsland Authors Showcase Their Books at “Love Your Bookshop Day”


Latrobe Valley’s local authors encouraged residents to patronise their local book stores and embrace their love of reading during August’s national “Love Your Bookshop Day.”


Local independent book stores, including Traralgon’s Reader’s Emporium, held special events all day with guest authors and special readings of their books.


Gippsland author, Lisa G, recently published her first novel “RUMLA – The Circle”, inspired by ten years working in primary school education literacy support, six years in integration and a “lifetime love of words”.


Rumla is an exciting fictional story about a young girl that incorporates real world African myths, legends and researched historical content.


“Proverbial Ashanti Twi ADINKRA symbols feature in each chapter of the book with their simple and deeply beautiful wisdoms setting the tone for each chapter in the readers journey,” explains Lisa G. 


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Beautiful Backyard: A House with it's Own Tropical Paradise...

Narooma South, NSW.

Imagine if this was your backyard view:

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Bass Coast Whale Discovery Trail

Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

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Rhyll Mangrove Boardwalk

As well as penguins and seals, Phillip Island is home to tropical mangroves, and to special birds that migrate from as far as Alaska to spend time there.


Near the seaside village of Rhyll, there is a beautiful mangrove scenic boardwalk that takes you off the beaten track of the tourist areas and into the tranquil natural protected mudflats.. 

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Wandering Through Wildflowers at Emo Court

Emo Court is an old estate on 280 acres that features manicured gardens,  seasonally stunning woodlands and vast meadows that lead down to a striking man-made lake. 

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Finding the Way at Victors Way.....

Victors Way, Roundwood, Co Wicklow, Ireland

The unusual garden "Victors Way" is located just outside of the village of Roundwood in Co. Wicklow and while the 22 acre property features small lakes, stunning views and forested areas, it's a scenic purposeful walk with a focus on meditation.

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Trekking Around Australia Gardens

Australia Gardens, Cranbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Diggers Shop in the Dandenong Ranges 

First published: Thursday 9th April, 2015


"Cloudehill" is a must-see for vegetable and ornamental gardeners alike.  It has been created at the top of the Dandenongs where a maze of stone walls and garden rooms are set within woodlands of magnificent and historic call climate trees.


The plantings orginated in the 1920's when then owner Jim Woolrich began planting shrubs, trees, and bulbs for the cut flower market. This market garden thrived all the way through to the 1960's, then after a 20 year rest, Jeremy Francis bought the garden and began creating "Cloudehill" in 1992.


No matter what season you visit, there is something new to discover. Its design derived from Italian renaissance gardens, english craft gardens and contemporary meadow gardens. The property also now includes "Seasons" Restaurant providing fresh and local ingredients, some from the exceptional heirloom vegetable garden being grown at the rear.   


Jeremy Francis and the Diggers Club have worked together to launch a new garden shop on the property so that Cloudehill can provide the Diggers wonderful seeds from heirloom varieties and as a gardening hub for ideas, plants and education.  


We visited Cloudehill's Autumn Festival, when the garden was at its very peak.  There was gardening workshops, passata making, and "little diggers" activities for the kids.  My favourite part was the Heirloom Tomato Tasting. I have trailed many of the diggers tomatoes myself in my own garden and thought i had tasted all the best ones, but by far the standout best eating tomato (in my opinion) was one that i had never tried! It is called "COSTOLUTO GENOVESE", which is one of the oldest tomatoes derived from Pomo Doro Rosso Grosso. It was the sweetest tomato! So thats something added to my list for next summer. 


A beautiful day walking the grounds, pots painted and sowed with heirloom lettuces for the kids, and a new variety of tomato to trial in the coming summer. It was a great day all round. 


More Information:

Diggers Shop :

Seasons Restaurant :


Address: 89 Olinda-Monbulk Rd, Olinda Victoria, 3788 (closed Good Friday and 24-26 December only)


Have you been to Cloudehill? Tell us about it below in the comments: 

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Frozen Adventure at Cradle Mountain

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The Golden Town of Walhalla

Walhalla, Victoria, Australia

Located on the southern tip of the Victorian Alps is the special little village of Walhalla.  Its high up in the coolness of the mountains, and has a variety of scenic nature and village walks, some that take you high over the township.

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The Singing Seal at Narooma Boardwalk

Narooma, New South Wales, Australia

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Walking The Village Of Ardmore


Located in Irelands "Sunny South East" in West Waterford, is the distinctively pretty village of Ardmore.  The village features hilly walks, breathtaking coastal scenery, Ardmore Round Tower, and many white washed thatched cottages. 

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Giants Causeway , Northern Ireland


My third walk blog is one of the most iconic scenic areas in the world, 
"The Giant's Causeway" in Northern Ireland.


Set along one of the most breathtaking coastlines, the basalt rock formations (due to volcanic activity million of years ago), gets the heart racing as you wander up and down the sometimes steep ridges.


It is located a few kilometres north of the town of Bushmills in Co Antrim, and is ranked as a World Heritage site alongside Mount Everest.  Over half a million people visit ever year, and while the site is 60 million years old, it's visitor centre has become very high-tech and sustainable for the 21st century.

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Tahune Airwalk, Tasmania

Tasmania is a state that has much to offer visitors in the winter time. With vast world heritage listed forests it provides a wonderful escape for the nature lover. While visiting for a 10 day tour of the whole of the state, we found Tahune Airwalk, which is one of the most visited tourist attractions. 

Located in Geevston in the southern area of Tasmania, which is also famous for its produce, namely apples, the Tahune Airwalk features many of Tasmania's unique Huon Pines, which have a glorious and distinctive aroma.  The park has a 20 minute ground level walk over boardwalks through the Huon Pines and across the Huon River below. There are also two cable foot bridges that cross over the Huon and Picton Rivers.

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Tarra Bulga National Park


Welcome to my first post of my "Favourite Walks" collection.  Over the coming weeks, in the damp and rainy winter weather here in Victoria, I'll be taking the time to write about all the lovely places to walk locally, nationally and internationally that i've visited over the last two years. 


The first one begins very close to home, and is right here in Gippsland. We are lucky enough to live near one of only four major areas of cool temperate rainforest in the state, its called "Tarra Bulga National Park."

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Hashing out Hashtags.



What is a Hashtag?


A short selection of words preceded by a # symbol, which is then used as a reference tool by audiences when using social media.




Why Use a Hashtag with your Content?

It creates a point of reference for your own content online, so that it is ultimately easier for people to find you, buy your products, and start conversations.

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For the Love of Spuds.


The rural farming town of Thorpdale has just held its second bi-annual "Thorpdale Potato Festival," a festival which began initially in 1977 and has been revived with great success by the community in 2015, which of course celebrates the humble potato.


After a stormy morning, the skies cleared and the many many potato related events began.  Thorpdale's festival is reminiscent of the proper traditional country show, with plenty of wholesome and fun activities for all ages, mostly spud related of course!


Activities included potato picking, potato bowling, potato throwing, sack races, potato peeling and cooking. Other events included Hessians on the Field, Tug of War, motorbike show, steam engines, vintage cars, wood chopping and sheep shearing and working dog trials.


A great highlight for the community was that Channel Ten's "The Living Room" came along with celebrity chef Miguel Maestre to film a special segment for the show.

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Apple Cider Mustard Zucchini Piccililli

This year we are having a late season on all counts, with all our summer vegetables in the garden.  I love to have a pantry full of bottles and jars for the winter, so I can literally open a jar of "sunshine" on a Winter's day and taste the garden.


This year I looked at my usual pickles recipe and decided to add to it and change it up a bit and added a few of my favourite flavours. For example instead of plain old vinegar, why not a full flavoured apple cider vinegar?


What is a Piccililli? It is a pickle of chopped vegetables, mustard, and hot spices, which is essentially what is in this recipe. 


I can tell you the end result was so delicious and the kitchen was filled with these great smells of warm vinegar and spices. 



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My New Mantra: Social Media Monday

Our Service

Why Monday? 

Worldwide spike in social media user activity on Mondays.

(*hootsuite research stats)


Planning and Presence

Schedule posts Monday to Monday, then be present online on Mondays to interact, while you plan and schedule all your posts. 



Use the day to research and add followers, interact and acknowledge new fans. 


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RecipeCard: Kitchen Pesto

Year Round Pesto

I might be letting you in on a little secret here but I make Pesto all year round. Even though we live in a spot where we get rather cold (and icy) winters, I use whatever greens I have on hand to make this "Kitchen Pesto" recipe. The great thing about this recipe is that you will be living the dream of having year round pesto, but also your body will love you for eating the greens available in your garden, giving your energy a boost!


There is also an option in the recipe to substitute the cheese with lemon juice to make it vegan. It works quite well, giving the pesto some bitterness, which adds to the savoury flavour.


"Kitchen Pesto" is a versatile recipe to make use of your greens and whatever nuts you have on hand at the time, in your pantry and garden, so that it can be made all year round and you will always have Pesto in the fridge. I've also seen it called "Irish Pesto," as you can add in two scallions (aka spring onions).

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Callington Mill, Tasmania

Georgian Town.

Callington Mill in Tasmania is a must-see if you are near Hobart and travelling around. Its in Oatlands, right in the midlands of Tasmania, which is a Georgian town, that hails back to the convict and early settlement era of Australian colonialism. The mill was built in 1837 and is the only working (Lincolnshire tower) mill of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

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The T.V Star Paddle Steamer

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Lake Bonney, Barmera, South Australia

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The Ozone Theatre, Renmark, South Australia

We came across this unique and curious building when we were in Renmark, South Australia recently. The town of Renmark is full of buildings in this era, and some of them are heritage listed and have been lovingly restored, like the magnificent and pristine Renmark Hotel.

The Ozone Theatre, which immediately captured my interest, has a surprising discovery for anyone who can peer in the doorways, and thats a beautiful marble and wooden centred staircase that takes you up to the second floor.  Unfortunately, you really need to be lucky enough to walk past this old grand building to see the amazing gifts inside, which seems to have been largely left alone. 


The Ozone was built in 1925, and was then called the "New Arcadia" (it replaced an older theatre that had burned down), and renamed the "Ozone" in 1940.  The last screening in the Ozone was in 1966, due to interest in going to Drive In movies nearby.  


It then became and Arts and Crafts Centre for Adult Education, was sold to the council in 1990, and was then controversially sold off by the council in 1996, to a private investor.  When we walked by, it looked like it was being used as a clothing warehouse and the roof was being utilised as a mini solar farm. 


The marble staircase leads to upstair seating in the theatre, and to two cafes that were either side of the landing.


For such an imposing building, right on the Murray River, it seems as shame to me that you cannot go inside.


Wishfully thinking, maybe one day, fate will change for this beautiful building, and it may come alive again........

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Heart of Gippsland  - Prom Country Local Dish

On the weekend I was lucky enough to sample a simply stunning dessert, as part of the Prom Local Country Dish Competition.  Jaci Hicken, from Jacican in Mirboo Nth created this for the competition using local produce and it will be available at her food studio for the rest of November. 


Jaci's food studio focuses on food, meals and produce from and in the Gippsland region, as well as holding high teas, private functions, and cooking classes for both adults and school aged children.


We had a lovely time with Jaci, who also took us for a welcoming wander outside in the sunshine, where we gazed upon the food produce in the garden, and met "Barbara" the goat. 


Jaci's dessert, that she named the "Heart of Gippsland", is a berry and white chocolate dome atop a chocolate beetroot macaron, lightly covered with a decadent strawberry chocolate. 


The Prom Country Local Dish is a friendly food competition that aims to promote local eateries and local produce.  It involves local eateries to work alongside local producers to create dishes that uses a minimum of 60% local food ingredients.


If you like the dish, then give it a vote online at and go into the draw to win one of four terrific prizes.

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Planting Tomatoes!

Heres a tip: listen to the locals..........

Its one of my favourite times of the year! Time to sow the tomato seeds! Frosty mornings are on their way out (i hope), and thoughts of sunshine and produce are dancing through my head.


 I'm sowing the first varieties out this week in the greenhouse, so as to have them ready for planting out in the garden after the last frost.

Since we are living in a "Temperate" climate here, its hard to know when that is exactly. But the locals have their own ideas. If you live in Melbourne, I have been told planting is "Caulfield Cup Day" is the day to get started! Around here, in Gippsland, the local farmers have told me they always plant the tomatoes after "Melbourne Cup Day", which is the 1st Tuesday in November. 


Locals know best. Always listen to what the local gardeners tell you about their produce, especially if they have lived in the area a long time! 


Even though its actually been a humid winter, with only 4 hard frosts so far this year on the hill, it will take a while for the soil to heat up. We have all sorts of fancy sensors and thermometers we can use to test the soil temp, or you can go 'old school" and stick your bare bum on a patch and if you don't flinch, its all good. Whatever floats your boat.........

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Greenhouse Of My Dreams

added to the plot in late 2015....

I really didn't think when I put in 2 very small "no dig" vegetable plots in our garden on the first weekend that we moved in, that in 5 years it would have grown to 13 veggie beds and now a greenhouse. 


Every few months i have (probably) annoyed the husband, asking "Can you put another one over in that corner?" or "You know what would go well over there?".  


Since its pretty apparent that I love growing food, when I came home from Ireland last year, there, it was, brand spanking new greenhouse all ready for produce! 


Spring happened and I grew lots of seedlings, but it stayed dormant for the summer, as:

A- its so hot in Australia over Summer, I really didn't know what would survive in there!

B - I was tending to all the produce outside that was taking off!

C - I had no idea what I was doing with a greenhouse anyhow!


Winter, i decided, was when it was all going to happen in the Greenhouse.


Sure enough, I have been growing zucchini's (courgettes for you European lot), lettuces, spring meadow flowers, seedlings, spring onions and even tomatoes! 


Have not noticed a hungry patch this year. 


And its nearly Spring.


And I have major plans for Summer. Think Melons and Pumpkins!


Enjoy the pics: 

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Beetroot and Chocolate Mud Cake

new spin on this "great depression" cake by adding beetroot from the garden:

When in you live in the country side you meet some lovely older ladies who are only too happy to open up their mother's or grandmother's handwritten recipe books to share with you.  When you have food allergies especially, its like they almost have them memorised and say "i'd think you could eat this great simple recipe from the 1930's" etc.


Well this is an old recipe given to me, its basic and turns out beautiful and delicious. I varied it only by adding some lovely fresh cooked beetroot from the garden, which adds a lovely almost Turkish Delight flavour to it, and its handy for getting some extra veg into the kids. 


I happened upon a really easy chocolate icing also and added crushed chocolate and hazelnuts on the top, which makes it really rich, but would be great for special occasions, like birthdays etc.


I hope you enjoy and find it delicious............

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RecipeCard: Cream of Chicken Soup

Super chicken winter broth (easy)

Winter Time:

Meat Bone Broths are excellent for winter blues and flus, not to mention its packed with collagen, vitamins and minerals as well as being delicious.


We had a bit of an experiment and when used in conjunction with our Thermomix and Thermomix stock (which is packed with veggies fresh from the garden), its winner winner chicken dinner! 


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Recipe Card: Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Pudding Casserole

or crockpot cooking with an Irish twist.......

Last week I bought an electric crockpot (slowcooker). Where has this great yoke been all my life? I've used it twice already. Enough said. It will get used alot more. 


I don't have any big kitchen appliances, except for a Thermomix, as I like one having one contraption that does nearly everything in the kitchen. Saves time in the long run. I want more time now more than ever to spend not doing mindless standing over the stove in the kitchen. I'd rather spend the evenings with the kids and enjoying time with them.


After looking at countless recipe books I decided to make up a recipe with the 2 main meaty ingredients i had left out. Black Pudding (a staple in most irish peoples homes) and 2 chicken breasts.


I was kind of inspired by the "Gourmet Farmer" who puts black pudding in his baked beans and slow cooks them, so i decided to add it to a full blown chicken casserole to add good porky flavour. It was delicious. So delicious. Sometimes experiments work out well! 


I use Gotzinger Queensland brand (gluten free) award winning black pudding. Available from all good supermarkets and grocers in Australia. 

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Hitting the Local Farmgate

Over the last few weeks theres been a bit of a revolution happening here in our lovely little potato growing town of Thorpdale. 


Some of the local farmers here are setting up direct sales to customers driving through the area.


Right now you can buy a few different varieties of potatoes, organic produce and onions direct from 3 different outlets.


Here is a rundown of how you can get your hands on some "Thorpy" spuds: 

Thorpdale Organics - Mirboo Nth/Trafalgar Rd

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A day in Bruthen, Vic

Bruthen is a small town located alongside the Tambo River between Bairnsdale and Ensay on the Great Alpine Road in East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. At the 2006 census, Bruthen had a population of just 624(now about 900).


Its a small rural town with some gorgeous buildings EST 1860. While spending time in East Gippsland, on a 30 degree day, we decided to forgo the beach for a stroll under the magnificent trees and take in the "retro".  


The one and only Main Street is dotted with trinket shops, bazaars and used good shops. and food cafes, bakery and the new Bullant Brewery, which is becoming well known for its delicious food and craft beers. Civic gardens with gazebo, roses and trees sits in the middle, like a village green. 


Although the town is small, its beauty and out of the way positioning is a drawcard for many visitors who would like a sunny afternoon strolling under the shade. 

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Something Sweet and Retro

 New Gippsland retro food van business "Sweet Betsy" is on the road and ready to hit towns all over the countryside.  Established by sisters Kirsty Brooks and April Patton, and close friend Lindy Kennon (based in Warragul), "Sweet Betsy" promises great coffee and sweet treats.  


Sweet Betsy has been a labour of love for all three ladies and their families, with the retro caravan being completely refurbished, then kitted out with kitchen and appliances, tailoring the space for them to use as they work out on the road. You can follow the refurbishment and see before and after shots on their Facebook page. 

 The ladies already have booked seven events and have had great success at their most recent events. 

As well as great coffee, cakes, scones and sweet treats, they also sell chutneys, relishes, jams and special gift packs to take home.

If you are interested in booking Sweet Betsy, please follow them on Facebook.

Or visit their website at : 

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The Jameson Experience

Calling all Whiskey and Marketing Enthusiasts.....

Unlike most women, I actually do enjoy a whiskey (and if we are in Scotland, a whisky). Many ladies wouldn't really be that honest, but I do like the occasional dram. I know its not glamorous like a cocktail, or timid and clear like a gin, but it has depth and colour and tastes a little different from country to country, which I like.  


I'm definitely not an "always whiskey" drinker, but I have done a few tours in my time due to general interest in Scotland and Australia so a trip to Jameson Midleton Co Cork (which wasn't too far out of my way) was enticing. And I am so glad that I did, for what I found there was more than just a whiskey "experience", but a full blown marketing "experience", impressive in nature, and with a definite "wow" factor that left me in awe of these marketing gods of whiskey! 

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Murals of Belfast (Pt 1)




Painted and designed by some of the worlds most well known mural artists, the murals around Belfast portray a wide range of themes and people. 

From the Hunger Strikes, Culture, Sport, Irish Language and more, some originally painted over 30 years ago, they are constantly being restored, updated and added to.

Everywhere you look in Belfast there are murals, too many to count, even the tourist maps only feature a selection, so a visit to the city is the best way to see all the murals you can.

(Pictured: Falls Rd)



These are the first in a series of pictures I have taken in Belfast in June 2015, I will be adding part 2 and 3, and blog posts about Belfast and Northern Ireland in upcoming posts.


Hunger Strikes (Beechmount) 



Below taken Beechmount also.

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Five Special Date Nights you could only have in Melbourne City.......




With Melbourne being one of the most liveable cities in the world it's no surprise that it's also one of the most date-able! Make your first date memorable by having a look at these following ideas, tried and tested, guaranteed to be pleasant, even if your date's not! You might even get a goodnight kiss at the end of it for your efforts!





1) Visit the Penguins – at the Saint Kilda Beach Breakwater. You can watch the penguins arrive back home every night of the year along the breakwater. Volunteer penguin guides operate an information service during daylight savings.  As well as seeing the penguins, you can have a long romantic stroll along the breakwater, while getting to know one another, and enjoy the sunset and scenery of Saint Kilda. For more information visit


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How to make Hand Dipped Beeswax Candles

How to Make Beeswax Tapers by hand:

I have been making beeswax candles for well over 8 years, I ran a candle making business during this time, and beeswax candles were by far the most popular kind sold. They are straight-forward to make, you can use beeswax straight from the Bee-keeper, the superb glow of beeswax candles is divine, and it smell delicious! 

Firstly, if getting beeswax from the hive, pop it in a double boiler, then refine the wax, the way to do this is to let heat for quite a while, until it is clear, all sediment from leftover honey production of the bees will settle at the bottom and then you can start to "dip" your wicks! (It sounds a little sexy doesn't it? Thats because it is!) 

Details and Instructions for my special recipe that I use is below, its recommended that you have at least 2 KG of wax for this, and you can make dozens of candles with it: 

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Why DIY Marketing Doesn't Work


Just because someone once told you were entrepreneurial and "internet savvy", doesn't mean that you are savvy enough.  An acupuncturist is no more a marketing guru than a welder. A Marketing Specialist is the only marketing guru. Nothing compares to working with a qualified consultant that has a great track record.


When you are immersed in every facet of your business you cannot be objective, you're too absorbed in the running of your business. In this sense, you cannot be strategic. Effective strategic planning only comes from an unbiased perspective from outside your business.


 Marketers are creative people with insights into human behaviour in relation to sales and message marketing. Marketers can help you identify customer needs and ensure the right age group are being targeted.  

They do this all with creative flair, wrapping up your talent in an invisible package and delivering it to your clients mindset. Persuasion and Psychology is key. 

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Saving the Bees and Foraging the Food Forest at MIGFS

Friday March 29th, 2015

The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is on in March every year at the gorgeous Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens in the middle of the city. This years highlights included the much anticipated "Food Forest" and beekeeping gardens, showing a shift away from the "high end" designed gardens and drought loving plants of past years and focusing on sustainability, food production, and achieveable gardening, bringing inspiration to melbourne home gardeners and designers alike. 


"Food Forest" by Phillip Withers

Layers of edible ground covers and herbs, vegetables and fruit trees was a sensory delight and to a vegetable gardener like me, it was heaven!  In fact the idea behind the display for the show was to invite visitors in "feeling like Adam and Eve," tempting the senses with smells of rich lavender, basil, mints, thyme and even fragrant citrus fruit! I visited nearing the end of the show and it astounded me that all the vegetables that had been set up a week ago still looked and smelled amazing, as if they had always been there. The use of space was amazing, every spot made very usable and productive. The centrepiece was a lovely green outdoor kitchen and vertical gardens, a picnic table to the right were the garden could be enjoyed and a chicken run to the left that included a childs slide, bringing lots of fun to the garden. This garden would definitely keep people of all ages entertained!!


"The Bee Keepers Garden" by Jenny Smith Gardens

As soon as the show kicked off this garden was creating so much interest. Its message is clear. The bee is the most important creature in the garden, without bees there would be no colour in our world.  This garden used three striking colours to the max, purple, yellow and black. Yellow coneflowers and lavender, which are both fantastic bee attracting plants highlighted against the black backing and features in the garden. Yellow to the left and Purple to the right only. Honey pot features, sculpted bees and hexagon shaped tiles and seated areas were delightul. And there were lots of bees of course.


"Diggers Garden Display"

I have been a member of the diggers club for a few years, their heritage seed saving efforts are amazing and this year they went all out for the garden show. They created a pumpkin hill with 1100 heritage pumpkins! Truly stunnng. Their other veggies were also on display as well as a little greenhouse and a Gypsy Cabin from Blackdown Shepard Huts.


"Achieveable Gardens Walk"

A highly inspring walkway with gardens created by local university students in a small space using affordable materials and planrtings. These competition gardeners show us what can be done with so little, and the results are amazing. "Crossroads" was a favourite of mine and also "The Pollinator Partnership", another bee keeping garden, ideal for suburban and urban spaces.


More information:

Diggers Club:

Blackdown Shepard Huts:

Phillip Withers:



What was your favourite thing about the flower and garden show this year? Let us know in the comments:


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The Selfie Loving Smelly Plant that Tweeted....... 

Sat March 14th 2015

The Grand Prix Weekend wasn't the only big event in Melbourne making news, as the Titan Arum, that only bloomed for 3 days, caused queues at the Royal Botanic Gardens all weekend, and the Tropical Greenhouse extended its hours for the special "blooming" event.......


The "Titan Arum" or "Corpse Flower" , as its also known, produces the worlds biggest flower and Melbourne saw Australia's biggest ever bloom at 2.63 metres.


While its not the tallest ever grown, this Titan Arum spiked my interest early on, as it shot out of the ground on February 9th, it became the first corpse flower to have its own twitter feed.  So while it grew 10-20 centimetres a day, so grew its following, and grew its confidence as a personality it seems. Titan Arum took "selfies" and engaged with its fans every day, citing measurements, offering quirky facts about itself and answered tweets humorously as tweets came pouring in asking all sorts of questions.  


I learnt from the witty Titan Arum that it was both Male and Female and preferred to be called "It"! 


Lucky for me once the word was on twitter that it was going to bloom for the weekend, i thought it was something i could not go without seeing! I was already in Melbourne for "mad march" seeing a friend who flew in from another state, so could quickly pop in.  Wasnt expecting  a queue! It was a rather warm day and i was worried about the smell, which was described as being like smelly socks, rotting flesh or a tuna sandwich! I grew up with the smelliest teenage brother so i was hoping i could handle it, and that in fact, i thought that this may have been what my nostrils had been training for all these years! The little girl in front of me in the queue looked up at her dad and said "Its not going to smell too much, is it dad?", at least i wasn't the only one worried.


As the queue grew, limited numbers were allowed in, 2 out and 2 go in etc. As i walked in a RGB volunteer came in the door with us, very excited and knowledgeable and gave me the run down on what had been happening. He introduced me to the previous Titan Arum that had grown and would hopefully bloom again in 2 years, it was brown, but he assured me there was a big tuber growing underneath. (see pictured). Then we met "it", in all its glory. The smell was only slight, it had nothing on my little brothers smelly socks, just a faint "off" smell, a bit like when a bouquet of flowers turn. So it was still a "floral" smell of sorts, even if it was a bad one. My son didn't even cover his nose, and he does that when we walk past any strong smelling nice flowers! 


While not the most beautiful flower you will ever see, its skirt was lush and luxuriously velvety red. It was tall indeed, which gave it more glamour. And with its smell, it had presence. Its bloom was fleeting, just 3 days from start to finish, but it attracted 20,000 visitors to the greenhouse, and donations were made so that next time Titan Arum blooms it may be in its own brand new greenhouse, all to its own. After all, every star should have its own dressing room! 


Further Reading:


See @RBGTitanArum on Twitter and be entertained.


Have you created or found a special twitter campaign recently? Let us know about in the comments and what you have found helpful when using Twitter as a promotion or micro-blogging tool : 

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