Photography

I really enjoy photography and I see things and think ‘damn, that would make a good shot!’ almost all the time.

It’s painful when I’m driving and the sunrise and sunsets have been so stunning lately!

My photos on this blog have all been taken on various iPhones. The latest travel photos are all on the iPhone 7Plus. My New York photos were taken on an iPhone 5 and there are many from my iPhone 6 (the original one before they updated it).

So this means I have to cope with some limits – night photography is not so great; if something is in the distance it’s gonna stay there!

However, hopefully you’ll agree that you can get some great shots on an iPhone without filters or special apps.

If you have tips on iPhone photography, send them to me, I’d love to hear them!

Foodie travellers

This is essentially a test for my blog menu of Travel, however, I will say that the lovely and I are foodie travellers. Part of the reason we travel is the food!

We love experiencing local eateries and we very much enjoy most foods!

Our recent trip to Western Australia, specifically Perth, Margaret River and The Pinnacles, would not have been the same if it wasn’t for the chocolate, ice cream, wine bars and restaurants, markets and food stalls!

Meanwhile, we’ve eaten all over the world and can say that Australian food is right up there in sophistication and quality!

There will be more about our food travels, but for now, it’s worth noting that in our little town of Yass NSW we have some very fine eating establishments, depending on what you’re after.

A quick café meal can be had at Roses – great gourmet pies, salads and desserts. Atmosphere is clean country style, with exposed brick walls and plain table arrangements. It’s a big space and also has seating out the front, which is lovely on a spring or autumn sunny day! Price is mid-range.

Clementine on the other hand, is much more fine dining. Situated in a converted house, it offers extremely delicious seasonal offerings and locally sourced produce. They bake their own sourdough on site. The menu changes regularly but we always go in if we see the fish pie! Our cocktail of choice is the Clementine with gin and lemon myrtle. We last ate there a week ago and shared a truffle spaghettini for entrée, I had veal shanks and polenta for mains (melt in your mouth and the jus was amazing!). The lovely ate the fish which was very light and zesty with beautiful crispy skin. We shared churros and hot chocolate sauce for dessert (probably the least exciting thing we’ve had there, but don’t worry, usually dessert is to die for!) Price is dependant on when you go – they have a very reasonable two courses for $42/three for $52 at lunch times, and a free menu for dinners. Definitely get the sparkling or still water – Yass tap water is pretty ordinary and you don’t want to spoil your dinner just because you want to save $8 on a bottle of Capi! My recommendation – if they have the pork belly on the menu, don’t go past it!

Finally, our favourite fish and chips come from Northside Takeaway! There’s nothing spectacular about them really, but they are pretty tasty in terms of fish and batter, with plenty of chicken salt added at your request. Chips are pretty good too!

Happy travels!
Tanya

Dairy free – possible results

It’s the end of dairy free and we celebrated with scones! The kids had cream on theirs and I had butter. And they were very excited to have their coffee (iced or hot) again!

I’m trying to notice if I feel any different this morning physically or otherwise. It’s possible that the little ache in my finger joints has not been there over the last two weeks. I can’t say for sure.

The scales for me recorded weight loss, quite substantial, over the last two weeks. I could hardly believe it! This morning I had a look and now it seems it’s all back on again – about three quarters of it. This is not my official weigh in day, so it remains to be seen what the official number is. Were the other numbers real?

This CSIRO article says that dairy consumption shouldn’t have that affect, as long as it’s not teamed with high levels of sugar. Another Women’s Health article says pretty much that she felt no different after three weeks of (almost) dairy free and cites some research on why that might be. For me perhaps, if I have lost that weight and put it on again, is it the sugar component of the food containing the dairy that is the main factor? Or is it that my body doesn’t process the dairy and it goes straight to fat?

One of the things that people are passionate about is that dairy causes inflammation. The science around this is unclear, but the biggest review of other studies has found, depending on where you start from, that dairy can be anti-inflammatory, neutral or pro-inflammatory. My conclusion from this is that I’m already a candidate for inflammation, therefore the dairy will potentially cause more. You can read the research from the Critical Reviews of Food Science and Nutrition journal.

B1 and B2 – what did they think the dairy free achieved? B1 was inconclusive but B2 reported his eczema was not as bad.

The rest of the kids (well, young adults) were happy the dairy free period was done! However, we’ve made it clear that we will be doing less dairy from now on. Drinking glasses of milk every day is no longer going to happen. Yes, we’ll still have cheese available and butter for toast. We will endeavour to get probiotic yoghurt. And there will be enough milk for their coffee and tea.

I have decided that I will not go back to dairy milk for my hot chocolate or Milo drinks but will stick with oat milk, which goes better than the soy in terms of the flavour of the chocolate. Meanwhile, the soy Belgian hot chocolate at Koko Black means I don’t need to stay away from my favourite shop in town! Summer might be harder though…

All up, this was a great experiment to see if it helped us health wise, and it’s an education in the weird things that milk solids are in – like Smith’s chicken chips (crisps)!

Let the journey continue!

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,
Tanya

Construction site

I’m renovating the blog!

I’m nearly at my limit on this blog for media and I’d also like to grow it a little bit more.

I intend to add my private travel blog posts to this page under a new menu heading, so that people can have a look at my/our adventures around the world. Plus this will consolidate three maxed out travel blogs into one!

So please stick around while I make some changes (hopefully you won’t notice too much!) and I hope you enjoy the new content when it arrives!

PS. Loving my new, fast laptop – could not do this on my old one for sure!

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,
Tanya

Dairy free with substitutes

In an effort to test B1 and B2’s eczema triggers, the family has gone dairy free for two weeks. Although having said that, it’s been a little rocky and some falling off the wagon has occurred! (Accidentally of course!)

What we’ve been looking at is some substitutes for our dairy favourites.

First up, the morning yoghurt that goes with our fruit and granola/muesli. The first was Cocobella coconut yoghurt – vanilla ($5). While not as great as our usual full fat dairy yoghurt, it was fairly creamy and vanilla – it did not have an overwhelming coconut flavour. We decided it was good!

Next was another breakfast substitute Nakula Harvest coconut milk yoghurt – Mango ($7). I had it this morning with my banana and granola and it was a bit more of a coconut flavour (mango was a sauce) but creamier than the Cocobella. So they are about equal in terms of preference.

On the weekend we had toasties and with those we had My Life Bio Cheese. It was suitably, well, cheesy in the context of the sandwich, although didn’t have a strong flavour. It was definitely worth popping a slice in, although for $8 for a packet of ten, it’s not a cheap alternative.

Finally, we treated ourselves to some caramel ice cream – Over the moo, I fell for caramel. This was a $10 tub for 500mls of totally DE-FUCKING-LICIOUS ice cream! With not a hint of coconut taste, it had toffee balls and caramel sauce. It was creamy and caramel and just so good! You’d never tell in a blind test it wasn’t the real deal.

The milk itself has been substituted with my usual soy milk (now having it with vegan dark chocolate instead of Milo with milk), oat milk, and although we haven’t tried it in anything yet, almond milk.

For this I’ll go to the kids, who are not so keen but have tried the soy milk in coffee (a plus for one and a minus for another), in tea (they’re drinking less tea, so I’m presuming not as good as cow’s milk for them, although my daughter has always had soy in her tea like me and likes it fine).

The oat milk we’ve used very successfully in pancakes and one of the girls has also tried it in tea, which she preferred to the soy milk. I’ve also used soy in with my porridge and although not quite as creamy, still enjoyable for breakfast.

Meanwhile, the office chocolate cake and kids morno was a Nigella Lawson olive oil cake – yummy but completely different in it’s almond meal and flour versions. I enjoyed both!

So more positive than negative in all the substitutes we’ve tried so far in our dairy free(ish) experience!

As for symptom relief – nothing major yet.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,
Tanya

We are all Nanette

Yesterday I watched Hannah Gadsby’s final comedy show Nanette on Netflix. I’d not seen her full routine before and it was a revelation.

If I wanted to be a comedian, I’d want to be Urzula Carlson and be a non stop laugh machine for an hour.

But I’d actually be Hannah, with hurt, anger and resilience just underneath the surface of my face every minute I was on stage.

Hannah’s experience growing up gay in Tasmania mirrored my mainland youth in many ways, although she’s six years younger, so was touched by the debate about decriminalisation of homosexuality much more closely than me.

However, many of the things she spoke about resonated with me very deeply. Being different. Being wrong. Being ashamed to be who I was. Not relating to lesbians at the time I was growing up. Being mistaken for male.

I’m fortunate that I have never suffered a gay bashing, although I fear it still (not quite as much now). I did not suffer rape.

I have been assaulted and I’ve spoken about that in previous posts.

The main thing that Nanette says (apart from Hannah not humiliating herself for our amusement anymore) is ‘men, pull your socks up’. And I agree.

So what if you aren’t actively raping women or yelling at them in the street. Are you still laughing at your mates rape jokes? Are you taking on the mental and emotional responsibility of running a household? Are you making sure you’re teaching your sons how to be respectful, and ensuring consent at every opportunity? Are you calling a woman a bitch because she has a strong opinion or doesn’t agree with yours?

There are plenty of very good posts and articles out there on this issue. They’re mostly by women but finally, some are by men.

I think that we are moving towards a time where more men than less will be sitting in rape culture and denying it, but we have a way to go. Until they stop trying to defend themselves and listen and change. I know it’s hard when it’s about loss of power. Women don’t want to take men’s power, they just want an equal share of it.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/desmond_tutu_106145

I recently read (and I’m trying to find the source) about oppression – if you are in the oppressor group, you can never not be an oppressor. However, what you can be is actively acknowledging your privilege and working towards removing the oppression, calling it out in society and in others.

Men are the oppressors. They can never not be. They can however, be champions of equality, give women respect and opportunity, and take equal responsibility for the work that has so long been relegated as ‘women’s’.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,
Tanya

 

Dairy free…from chocolate!

One of my main cravings is chocolate! I’ve been able to sate that somewhat by eating dark chocolate and drinking vegan hot chocolate with soy milk. It’s only day four of fourteen!

It would probably be better if I went cold turkey, however I’m now out of said dark chocolate so that might help me!

How do you get past the chocolate cravings? Or are they merely sugar cravings in disguise?

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring

Tanya