For the love of GIN

I have to be honest – I’ve never been a big drinker.

From time to time I do enjoy some cider, mojitos, moscato and I’m learning to love red wine. But never have I ever gravitated towards having some Gin…until now.

You see, not long ago Adam and I set off with some family, on a surprise expedition to Healsville’s very own gin distillery – Four Pillars. From the moment we arrived we had the most amazing time. The outside glistened in the sunshine from the copper signs and decor, and it was just as beautiful when going inside. We were welcomed by a staff member who explained what they offered, and then showed us around. After much deliberation we chose the $10 tasting experience – yes, only $10!

The four of us spent about 40 minutes with our server, in a private tasting area, where he explained the whole distillery process and showed us some of the machines used to do so. Each tasting of gin was explained, and with the selection of complimentary herbs and spices to smell, we really felt like distilling gin ourselves!

At the end of the day though, it all comes down to the taste – and boy did it not disappoint! As I mentioned earlier, I’ve never been one to gravitate towards gin, but now I do love what Four Pillars has to offer. Ranging in alcohol content and taste, you could really tell the difference in flavours and the various techniques used to create those one-off batches. We also loved the fact that they operate under a ‘zero waste’ policy, which means that all of the aromats used in the gin process, are cooked down to make various jams, jellies, and preserves (all available in their shop).

So if you decide to head out, why not go for a drive to the beautiful town of Healsville, through the Yarra Valley, and pop in to Four Pillars. Reignite or even develop a new taste and love for gin – it will be well worth it!

Let us know if you have any favourite places to visit in the Yarra Valley too! We’d love to share them with everyone for more adventures!

For more information about Four Pillars, visit their website at: https://www.fourpillarsgin.com.au/

Your new best friend – DJI’s MAVIC AIR DRONE

In early 2018, DJI brought out its most advanced personal drone yet. A hybrid of both the Spark and the Phantom, it provided a way for those who wanted to be their own movie-makers, to do just that. They had all the best elements of each drone – and an amazing editing app to boot!

Continue reading “Your new best friend – DJI’s MAVIC AIR DRONE”

Walking in a Winter WONDERLAND

It’s quite amazing living in Victoria – and you don’t realise it’s beauty until you leave. It’s like that age old saying that ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’. With the city, the countryside, the mountains and the beach, all within hours from each other, you can understand why Melbourne has been voted ‘The Most Liveable City’ in the world seven years in a row! (2011-2017. Vienna took out the title this year – sad face!)

A couple of weeks ago we headed out for another adventure and day trip to Lake Mountain. The day was AMAZING and filled with so much fun – more importantly it was affordable and so enjoyable! We felt like kids again and were in awe of just how beautiful the landscape was.

Now I have to say that neither myself, Adam or my sister are skiers, but when it comes to tobogganing and making snow men – watch out! Naturally we took our DJI Mavic Air drone and managed to get some AMAZING footage!

Now as you know we’re no interested in lengthy and wordy posts, so here is an easy break down of the day – and of course tips for your next adventure!

GETTING THERE

  • 9am – We woke up and got ready for the day.
  • 11am – Left the house with my sister and headed to one of our favourite cafe’s (Lorna) for a take away cuppa and nibble.
  • 11:30am – We set off for Lake Mountain, ready for our 68km drive.
  • 1pm – We arrived at Lake Mountain after travelling through Healsville and the very picturesque Black Spur Forest.
  • 5:45pm – We left Lake Mountain and headed home just as the sun set and clouds came in.

ACTIVITIES FOR THE DAY

  • Tobogganing – There were many slopes to try and race down!
  • Hiking – We hiked to the summit and had the best time! It was such a great workout as well and the landscape was AMAZING!
  • Droning – We took our DJI Mavic Air drone and DJI’s Osmo Mobile 2 Gimble for landscape photography. It was so worth it and another great chance to capture some amazing footage and photos!
  • Flying Fox – There is an epic flying fox on the mountain, which we didn’t go on. It was $25 for two turns and we weren’t really keen on doing that as we wanted to go hiking instead.
  • Do you want to build a snowman? – Of course we can’t forget the traditional snowman and snow angel activities that come with a visit to the snow. There are so many areas to relax and do this in, just remember to bring your carrot and scarf!
  • Picnic – Lake Mountain has lots of space to have picnics and eat your own food – a great way to save money as well and enjoy the scenery too!

TIPS FOR A FUSS FREE SNOW DAY

  • Water – BRING YOUR OWN WATER TO DRINK! There are NO places to fill up your water bottles there. You can only buy water from the cafeteria at $4 a bottle, and the wait time is huge!
  • Drive time – Leave enough time for you to enjoy the day and do everything you want to do! It’s not a time to rush – believe me – we didn’t want to leave! Haha!
  • Tobogganing  Using your heels as a way to steer the toboggan left/right and brake was really helpful!
  • Walking/Hiking – Be careful of walking in the snow because when we went there it was so deep that we sunk down to our crutches! Haha! Proper snow shoes probably would have been good to distribute our weight. At one point my sister and I had to crawl to do this!
  • Droning/Photography – Take your gear in a secure backpack so you can just enjoy yourself and not worry about things getting broken. Adam’s Peak Design backpack was the BEST buy for adventures like this! (Peak Design Everyday Backpack – https://www.peakdesign.com/everyday-backpackIt would have been good to also have a second screen (phone) so we didn’t have to use the same onefor the drone and gimble. An extra power bank would have also been good to charge the phone as it was used a lot (in the end we used a car charger on the way home).
  • Be careful – Being in the snow is super fun, but please be mindful that you are still on top of a mountain where the ground is slippery and uneven. Take proper precautions, read the signs, and be conscious of what you do.
  • Hiring gear – Hire off the mountain as much as possible! Our wait time on the mountain was about 45 mins and very monotonous. Just be careful when things have to be returned so you leave enough time to get it back!
  • Staying Warm – Making sure you are warm is the first thing about enjoying the snow – nobody wants to spend the day cold and wet! Layers are the best as it can get warm when you’re in the sunshine and hiking around. Wear one pair of warm socks not two – an Alaskan tip we heard – it’s to make sure you have good circulation in your toes. Finally, ‘Hot Hands’ are lifesavers! They are little heat packs that stay warm for at least six hours! You can get them from Woolworths, Coles and most chemists – they are super cheap and they literally stay warm for at least 6 hours retail for about $2 each and are air activated! (https://hothands.com/)
  • Before you head home – Just before we left we went to the bathrooms, had hot showers, then changed into comfy clothes. It was the best idea and we drove home warm and cosy!

COSTS

  • Entry – $56 per car load
  • Food – Typically expensive and not the healthiest thing around. We would equate it to having a treat and eating at the movies – you don’t do it because of the nutrition or that it’s affordable – it’s a fun experience! In saying that you can DEFINITELY bring your own stuff.
  • Petrol – This trip wasn’t massive enough to warrant filling up again, but if you need to splitting the cost is always an option.

With all of that being said Lake Mountain is the most wonderful place to go for a taste of winter and snow! We had the most amazing time exploring, taking footage and photos, and just relaxing together. Life can get so busy and hectic sometimes, and has many worries as well. It’s times like these and adventures in life that give us a break and make us feel like kids again. So if you have time, head up to Lake Mountain. It will be worth the trip!

The only thing you need to ask yourself is – do you want to build a snowman?

Check it out Lake Mountain’s website here, where you can find daily snow and weather updates – https://www.lakemountainresort.com.au/

Your eggs new BEST FRIEND

I think it’s safe to say that in the world we live in – most people have heard of Kmart. Situated in the Australian market at bringing affordable style to you and your home, they have really done an amazing job! Our home has many Kmart items, but even though it’s all fantastic, sometimes the quality just isn’t there.

Well, it was about four months ago now, whilst walking through Kmart, that I saw their fry pans – and they honestly didn’t look too bad. I looked around, took some time, and realised that we actually needed a new fry pan to rid us of those terrible mornings when faced with feral looking pans with egg residue. I mean, no one enjoys cleaning that gunk! Anyway, with both Adam’s and my parents being avid home cooks, we were both used to ‘decent fry pans’. Neither of us had ever considered Kmart as a contender. Well fast forward four months and we love our  Kmart $8 28cm fry pan – with no regrets!

Here are some photos I took during a Saturday morning, so you could see it in action…

So with all that being said, here are the reasons why you should buy a Kmart fry pan…

  1. It looks simple and modern.
  2. It is light-weight and easy to handle.
  3. The handle is made from specific material to ensure it DOESN’T heat up and burn you – which all of my high profile branded pans do funnily enough – totally doesn’t make sense I know!
  4. It’s non-stick coating is durable and very easy to clean.
  5. Eggs cook soooooo easily, and will change that dreaded feeling of having to wash breakfast dishes.
  6. For the cost of just $8, you too can experience this little wonder!

Keep in mind…

  1. It doesn’t come with a lid, but Kmart do have other pans that do (all made in the same way).
  2. When storing it, just keep some paper towel or a spare tea towel on the surface to protect the nonstick coating.
  3. Don’t put it in the dishwasher – honestly you don’t need to because it cleans so well.
  4. When cleaning, use a special non-stick coating sponge. You can find many of these in any supermarket, at varying price points to suit all budgets.

Well I hope that has helped solve one of life’s little grumbles, and given you a thoughtful, simple, and cost-effective solution.

Have an amazing rest of the day today, and I can’t wait until we meet again!

Happy adventuring!

M & C

A big HELLO to Hello Fresh

From one friend to another, I’m sure you’ve heard by now about Hello Fresh – the amazing and convenient way to cook healthy meals – all delivered to your door!

Well this week was our first Hello Fresh week and honestly, we couldn’t have been more excited! In the past we’d tried other options for convenient cooking, but nothing had really ‘hit the spot’. Fortunately for us though, I stumbled onto a Hello Fresh voucher at work. So after checking it out I did what everyone else would do, and signed us up! Once I was done our little experiment would only cost us $19.85 – a bargain considering it would give us ten dinners and ten lunches for the week ahead!

Long story short – all aspects of Hello Fresh have really exceeded our expectations! It all began with the friendly text I received on Saturday morning that our box had been delivered. I woke up, opened our front door, and there it was – very big and heavy!

Hello Fresh Box

I have to say that I was very skeptical at first given that we were getting raw ingredients – I mean, how could a company ensure that level of freshness – well they certainly did a good job! Everything was well packed, easy to understand, and there was a chilled insulated bag for all of the perishable items (meat, cheese, sauces etc.).

This is what was in our box, which was the ‘Family plan, 4 people, 5 meal kits’ option – usually $159.80 for 20 servings, at $7.99 per serving.

What's in the box?

I have to say it looked so warm and inviting! Each meal kits vegetables were in brown paper bags. They also came with a meal card, double-sided, with all the information you needed to make that perfect, delectable dish. As an avid home cook, I thought the the detail in the menu cards was amazing – ranging from cook times, to a list of ingredients, what you would need from home (which was barely anything), and step-by-step instructions with photos to boot! There were even some ‘thanks for choosing us’ discounts as well for other lifestyle companies, and a ‘Getting Started’ magazine!

Now you may be wondering (as was I) whether it would fit into your fridge – after all it was a lot of food! Well I thought I would help out and show you some pics – after all, what are friends for! Our Samsung fridge (which is AMAZING) is your regular sized fridge, and in the end I would say that it took up about 1.5 shelves worth.

Check it out…

Okay – so far so good! We got the great looking box, filled with scrumptious ingredients, it was all packed away and ready to go – now all we had to do was cook! Haha!

For our first meal we chose ‘Speedy Honey-Soy Glazed Chicken with Sesame Fries’. The recipe said 35 mins total, but by the time I finished, understood what their processes were, and followed EVERY instruction, it was about 55 mins.

Here are some pics we took along the way.

And the end result. Drum roll please…

Two gourmet dinners, two gourmet lunches, and a successful new recipe idea for the future!

Hello Fresh final

Three reasons to say HELLO to Hello Fresh…

1. Convenience

Hello Fresh is exceptionally convenient. Firstly, setting up delivery is so simple, and with their custom notes section, they can even take on challenges of finding units and apartments. Everything should also fit in your fridge, and with the best laid-out recipes I’ve seen, cooking will be simple and not complicated.

2. New ideas

The variety they have available is quite big and growing all the time. These recipes are great ways of learning new cooking techniques and flavour combinations, which you can add to any off your existing meals you love to cook – or better yet, use them in combination with each other and have fun experimenting!

3. It’s fun!

Hear this – cooking is NOT meant to be a chore. It’s a time to get comfy, chill out, and relax. Use this time, even though your day may be busy, to just have FUN! Hello Fresh is so laid out and simple you just can’t get it wrong. Bottom line – it’s fail safe, so all you have to do it focus on enjoying yourself!

So with that all being said I had better dash as it’s getting quite late. It’s been so great sharing this adventure with you, and I hope to see you again soon!

Until next time – stay passionate, and remember to live life with adventure.

M & C

If you’re interested in Hello Fresh, or want more information, please check out the link below.

hellofresh.com.au