Making kind choices in your everyday life.


Lonesome (but not lonely) in Launceston

Posted by on Sep 13, 2015 in eating out, Holidaying | 6 comments

“In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself” – Laurence Sterne


View out my window (at Oswalds) with aptly titled book on display

A quick disclaimer here……I truly love and relish spending time with my partner, friends and family.

BUT………..I also love spending some quality time……alone. (You will feel less hesitant admitting to this if you’ve read the brilliant book Quiet).

I was lucky enough to have been able to tack on a couple of “it’s all about me” days on the tail end of a recent adventure to Tasmania.

These days were spent in a town I have fallen madly and deeply in love with…….of all the unlikely places on the planet……Launceston ! What a magnificent place. Here is a little run down of what I got up to during my couple of days of self imposed solitude:

  • I stayed at THE most blissful airbnb place. Oswalds. Affordable for my solo self. Peaceful, comfortable and, well, just perfect. Loved the cruelty free Sukin bathroom products too. The church bells next door (in the beautiful St Oswalds church) ring out every Monday to signify the plight of refugees.

Pretty church next door


















  • Ate out. I do not have enough superlatives to describe how good the food was at Garden of Vegan. No wonder it (a vegan restaurant ‘n all !) rates number one on Trip Advisor for Launceston.

Garden of Vegan – beautiful hey ?










Vegi cafe Fresh On Charles was pretty damn fine too. (How stunning are the wall designs ?)


Fresh on Charles groovy decor


















The Best Coffee Place award went to Sweet Brew (the coffee was superb). A plethora of groovy mags like Frankie to immerse your solo self in. AND, the draw card for me was this sign….(the cafe owner’s 5 year old son sells lemons to raise money to release captive bears in Romania – he has already raised enough money to enable one bear to be released – read more about Tariku’s inspiring tale)


Tariku’s lemons























………suffice to say, I came home with a few lemons in my luggage.

  • Strode many of the thigh strapping tracks on the spectacular Launceston Gorge which was right on my doorstop.
  • Fossicked in a few very sweet shops – loved Inside and Den which were full of locally made lovely things.
  • Had a massage which, in my books is the pinnacle of some indulgent “me time” – I would highly recommend Tai Chi Chinese Massage.
  • Went to the glorious Saturday farmer’s markets (admittedly I did this the weekend prior when I was with friends) but I enjoyed my purchases (including a 3 pack of some local “Henry’s” ginger beer (including a scrumptious Wasabi flavour) during my solitary sojourn).
  • Read an incidentally apt book  – Neon Pilgrim by Lisa Dempster. A brilliant memoir about her solitary (and vegan) 1200 km pilgrimage on the Henro Michi in Japan. Really loved this book.
  • Did not enjoy the Japanese macaque enclosure in the Botanical Gardens. It was little more than a small zoo enclosure which left me feeling a bit sad (even though the macaques were undeniably cute).
  • Thought about going on a bike ride. Alas, it was a bit too chilly (and I was a bit too lazy) but there are free bikes available to wizz around on – available through Artbikes.
  • Stalked the neighbourhood streets eyeing off the beautiful houses whilst imagining myself (with ease) as a Launcest-eon 

    Gorgeous houses abound in Launceston










I acknowledge that as a child-less person, it may be easier for me than some to have some one on one time with myself. And maybe not everybody would enjoy it ?? I however, have come to the realisation just how much I need and cherish a few reflective, self indulgent days to myself. Hence, each year I will be guiltlessly weaving in a few such lonesome days into the calendar. Try it out – you can ponder and potter, listen to whatever music you like and go to bed at 7.30pm without being heckled and called names (like nana).


Hi Dawn….. View out of my bedroom window on my last morning (sob)

It is unlikely that I will be able to lure myself anywhere else for the forseeable future other than back to Oswalds to do all this again BUT, a couple of other good solo destinations I recommend are :

  • The Pittwater YHA in Sydney. I have been going there with friends since I was a young lass. They do have very affordable, single rooms though but you have to book ahead as it is so damn popular now that the secret is out.
  • Some shameless spruiking here but my mum’s airbnb place, in the inner west of Sydney. My mum has always been a very bold, intrepid, often solo traveler so she is sympathetic to the plight of the lone traveller and prices her cute place accordingly.
  • A tad more costly for the single traveler but Inspirations on Bruny (yes, Tasmania again, there is a bit of a theme going on hey ?) is another brilliant place to escape from the world.

Do you have any others to recommend ? Am I alone in my love of some alone time ?



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My Vegan B&B Experience

Posted by on Sep 28, 2014 in Holidaying | 12 comments

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. (Wikipedia)


The menagerie – all living together in peace !

During my recent 7 week stint off work (now just a distant, fading memory…waaa.) I did many wonderful things…..including visiting Australia’s first Vegan B&B… Bed and Broccoli near Shepparton in country Victoria. This destination was one that has sat for a couple of years on my lengthy “I want to go there one day” list.

Despite the content of my blog, I am not vegan – but I do teeter on the edges of it. In terms of labels, I don’t quite know what I would be called or where I fit in. See the PS section at the end of this post for more about my dietary and lifestyle choices. My fella is a meat eater but only sparingly these days (I am the cook of the family afterall !).

Bed and Broccoli is run by the lovely and  down to earth Nikki and Scott. The B&B is a transformed old dairy and sits smack bang in the heart of dairy country land which seems an odd fit for a vegan couple and their menagerie. However, to me the small property felt akin to an oasis in the middle of a desert. In a land of flat, fairly tree-less terrain – admittedly with some stunning, yellow canola fields dotted about….Bed and Broccoli is a little haven of life, trees and peace. Birds gravitate to it, obviously feeling safe there – including a stunning pair of wild peacocks, Samson and Delilah, who have made it their home.

On arrival we were greeted at the front gate by Khan, the charismatic ridgeback cross who fawned and gushed over us and made us feel like we were his favourite guests EVER…..only for Nikki to tell us that every guest receives this treatment. You hussy Khan ! The other beautiful canine resident was Chaz, the soulful, quiet Wolfhound cross who would stare off whimsically into the distance like a wise old man. Heartbreakingly, Chaz had been found many years before tied to a tree deep in a forest, emaciated and left to die…..only to be adopted by Nikki and Scott into the dog’s heaven equivalent of a life he leads now.


Soulful Chaz

 Two cheeky cows (steers ? Sorry, I am a city lass !), Frankie and Pacific also call Bed and Broccoli home. Fate, in the form of Nikki and Scott, stepped in and saved them from slaughter when they were “bobby calves” (usually deemed as waste products by the dairy industry). They are now 2 strapping, cheeky, naughty, rough tongued creatures (as you can see by my maniacal grin….I was very happy to have my hand licked as I fed them apples). The sweet old dairy cow “Squirty” was similarily saved by Nikki and Scott and acts as a surrogate mum to the 2 boys, Frankie and Pacific.


Feeding Frankie apples

And then there were the bevvie of “girls” – the chooks who have been rescued from different, grim fates to lead “the life of Riley” at Bed and Broccoli….along with their bossy rooster sidekicks. All of them made us giggle with their crazed running styles and unbridled enthusiasm for canned corn.

Now we’ve covered the animals….onto the next most important thing……the FOOD ! In short, it was delicious and whipped up by self taught vegan chef extraordinaire, Nikki.  “Cheesy” (but not of the dairy kind), vegetable packed, enormous calzones were dished up on the first night and home made, delectable pizzas on the second night. The breakfasts were similarly divine (apple pancakes one morning and scrambled tofu…much nicer than it’s name suggests I promise…on the other). We dined outside by the dam, with the sun setting and the magpies warbling in the trees.

Our cottage was comfortable and well equipped (including an 80’s style pac man gaming machine – incongruous, yes, but kept my fella amused) with DVDs and games and a fire to stoke. There were a billion stars to gaze at during the night and, at dawn, we had a bracing reminder about just how early roosters do like to herald in the new day !

The thing which I think would be of most surprise to people who have a stereotypical image of what a vegan life style is like…..our experience was the opposite. I am not at all surprised at how flavoursome the food was as plant based meals are the norm at home but what was a little bit of a pleasant surprise was the “robust-ness” of not only Nikki and Scott but of the animals. Scott is a very blokey, muscular, wood chopping, champion boxer. The dogs, Chaz and Khan, eat a vegan diet too and, the proof is in the photos – they are strapping, shiny, healthy and happy.

I love the way that what would no doubt be considered an “unusual” lifestyle choice in the midst of dairy farming land, is accepted by the local  community. The local farmers want to know when Nikki’s book is coming out and Nikki’s vegan sausages and cakes are shared (and devoured) at community events. From chatting with Nikki, there is no “us and them” mentality which I think is just lovely.

If you are after a unique get away which encompasses kind living, animals, serenity and great food, I would highly recommend a visit to Bed and Broccoli. The next best thing would be getting your hands on a copy of Nikki’s soon to be available book which I cannot wait to get – it promises recipes, stories about the animals and why Nikki and Scott left their jobs on the outskirts of Melbourne and chose the beautiful life they have now.


Meandering the countryside nearby

PS As for me and my ever evolving dietary and lifestyle choices…this is where I am currently at. For any fully fledged vegans reading this page, I know that my choices are riddled with contradiction and far from perfect but they are a work in progress.

– I no longer eat meat but do have a small amount of seafood (around once a week). The seafood thing is becoming harder to justify as I learn more about the issues of over fishing and the unsurprising fact that, yes, fish do feel pain.

– I eat about 4 eggs a week from organic / free range sourced eggs but will not buy any products (eg mayonnaise, banana bread etc) which I know to contain eggs as they will be caged sourced. I usually use egg replacements in baking as they work just as well as eggs.

– I buy meat for my partner from “ethically sourced” suppliers. I do use that term with some trepidation as I do not believe that humane slaughter happens in Australia and that most animals will die in fear so classing any meat as “ethical” can be a bit of an oxymoron. I do acknowledge, however, that the likes of Feather and Bone or Jonai Farm do help the lives of animals raised for meat by raising awareness about the evils of  factory farming and improving some aspects of the meat industry such as transportation and abattoirs (eg sourcing ones that voluntarily install CCTV cameras).

– I will no longer buy leather but I still have some a few leather items in my wardrobe which I occasionally wear. I rarely buy wool products and prefer to source alternate ways to keep warm. See more on my wool post.

– I don’t eat jellied lollies or any thing else which contains gelatin (crushed up bones/tendons – gross !)

– I eat a small amount of dairy at home- namely cheese from Barambah Organics where they don’t remove and slaughter the male calves as they do at conventional dairies. As for milk, I now actually prefer plant based milks such as coconut, almond and soy (Bonsoy is the best !) to cows milk. Out and about, I tend to avoid all dairy.

– My dog does eat meat but I bulk up his dinners with a lot of lentils, chickpeas and vegetables so I can reduce the amount of meat that he does eat.

The vegan lifestyle may not appeal to everyone but it would be hard to argue against the notion that it is a kind and compassionate way to live.

Would love to hear any thoughts you may have !


Up close and personal with Pacific



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Escape from the big smoke

Posted by on Sep 14, 2013 in Holidaying | 6 comments

“The only good cage is an empty cage” – Lawrence Anthony

If only all chooks could live like this…..


The Girls at Mill Paddock Cottage – during the day



The girls’ sleeping quarters

 This is just a quick post to get me back into the swing of things following a 3 month blogging hiatus. I have been paralysed by work stress, indecision about where to start, self doubt (“does anybody read my rambles ? Are they too preachy ? Are they uninteresting ? Am I a facebook cretin – why do I find it so confusing ?” And so the internal dialogue goes on….) and procrastination which has now ended thanks to :

1. The recent election result. I don’t think we could have a more mean spirited, unkind, environmentally irresponsible government in power which means that, more than ever, we, as individuals, need to be responsible for kind changes in our lives through our everyday choices and actions.

2. Reading Mary Hutton’s awe inspiring book “Free the Bears“. If a 55 year old stay at home Grandmother could change her life so drastically and help so many animals (and people)  in need, we all can. Such a wonderful book – I was all teary and emotionally touched by page 2 of the preface, pathetic creature I am ! We may not all have the “extra-ordinariness” of the Jill Robinson’s, Mary Hutton’s or Lyn White’s of the world but we can all find our little niche or something that we are good at, and make positive day to day changes in our world.

3. Recently spending 3 days with my fella at the beautiful Mill Paddock Cottage, in Mountain Lagoon – just near Bilpin, only about a 90 minute drive from Sydney’s frenzy. It is an animal lovers paradise and gave me that much needed space (along with a serious addiction to the series “Orange Is the New Black”) to take a step away from my endless to do lists, internet distractions and the chaos of living in a big city. If the thought of gorgeous native birds sweeping onto your verandah, the free-est of free range chooks wandering the grounds, cute dogs, bush walks, cherry blossoms, grass chomping horses and night time frog noises tickles your fancy, get thee to Mill Paddock Cottage. The only bad point is that it has set off my “moving to the country” fantasy again which has spurred that to do list and real estate stalking back into action.

4. Some lovely feedback from friends letting me know that some of my posts have actually led to some kind changes in their lives.

So coming up……

– a swag of new success recipes from my kitchen (green tea icecream – oh my !). I will keep the failures on the low down (macadamia nut cheese – almighty fail !).

– new topics will be kicked off with how to indulge your love of cheese in the kindest way possible.

It’s good to be back.

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