Little Black Cow Farm


There was a long sigh of utter contentment, leaning against the fence watching the sun come up. The kids were back at the house watching cartoons, and the smallest and her dad were snoring still in bed.

I’d set the eldest two up and then had quietly slipped out of the house. There was a sunrise to be had over those paddocks and I wasn’t about to miss it.

Staying at Little Black Cow Farm stay had been on the agenda for longer than I could remember. I’d often read Kim’s blog and wistfully planned long weekends away. Finally, after a generous invitation, I actually did.

Little Black Cow Farm stay is a 300 acre working beef farm in Branxton, Hunter Valley. Land of vineyards, photo opportunities and good food. The most glorious of foods. I’d set myself up with a little challenge for the weekend, to only eat as much locally produced food as I could get my hands on. Tricky? Stopping off at the local IGA before we got to the farm, I happily didn’t think it so.

In my basket I had Liberi eggs, Udder Farm Fetta, Udder Farm camembert, Udder Farm milk, sourdough from Morpeth bakery and organic wine from Macquariefields. If we only had dairy, bread and wine for the next three days…well, just quietly I didn’t think I would be complaining.

Settling into the farmstay, the kids are riding on the tractors and I get to quietly wander through the farm stay permaculture visitors garden. Kim has set it up so that her farm stay people can pick anything they want, and so I do.

Whenever I am home, my tiny potted garden brings me a lot of joy, but being here? In amongst the sprawling strawberry tendrils, the bushy parsley and the climbing snake beans I can’t help but have a few moments of ‘one day’ thoughts.

Squeals of delight and general loud kid conversation snapped me out of any ambitious garden plans. I was being ordered to jump aboard as the tractor had other people to pick up and the three year old driver couldn’t wait any longer for me.

garden salad || cityhippyfarmgirl

Dinner that night was a salad I had picked from the garden earlier, sausages from a few paddocks away, (Kim and David make their own which you can buy during your stay) and some of the bread and cheese I had hunkered away earlier. For dessert we had custard- made from the local cream, milk and eggs all done in a piece of kitchen kit, that I had often wondered about, but had never played with, (more on this in a minute.)

From a locavore point of view I was super happy. From a foodie point of view I was deliriously happy. From tired point of view, I was shattered… must have been that country air I suspect. Time to sleep.

A new day and there I was contentedly watching that sunrise. There are a few sure-fire things in this world that will always make my heart sing and watching the sunrise, has always been one of them.

eating locally || cityhippyfarmgirl

Back at the house and I start getting breakfast together. As I mentioned earlier there is a piece of kitchen kit, that is quite the rockstar of kitchen appliances for visitors to use, and I was keen to give it a crack. Was it really everything people raved about? Let’s find out.

Last night I had made custard in it, amazingly I hadn’t exploded anything, and the rockstar really had made perfect custard. This morning though I wanted to test it further, so butter was on the agenda with half a carton of cream left over from last night’s custard. Whoosh…done. Um, one minute that took. Hmmm, hard boiled eggs? Yep did that too. Coffee, why yes please. It is a weekend away after all, no coffee would be completely unaccceptable. Would the rockstar sort that one out? Yes, apparently so!

A wonderful day was spent doing weekend away kind of things. The kids got to harass the animals again, the adults got to talk, we went on a farm tour to the ‘top of the world’ and then suddenly dinner time was whispering again. I thought I would put the rockstar to the test once more. Thai Style Pumpkin Soup was on the menu, dicatated by what was in the garden. A simple soup, with all the ingredients (pumpkin, lemongrass, thai basil and a little chilli) being sourced just a couple of metres away.

Last day arrives and we farewell all the animals. We say goodbye to the dogs, goats, sheep, cows, pony, chooks and I peel small gripped fingers away from the guinea pigs, (I’m sure I heard them sigh with relief.)

I don’t think I have ever stayed somewhere that was so accommodating and involving towards kids and adults, every age was considered. Kim and David are the most wonderful hosts. From a welcome plate of homemade biscuits, kids toys, oodles of books, dvds, farm animals, climbable tractors, jeep tour, individual activities designed around your needs and wants. And one of the best things?…a perfectly edible (and encouraged to do so) permaculture garden at your doorstep.

It was the most relaxing weekend I’d had in a long time, and just quietly… I can’t wait to go back.


Local Hunter Valley connections to be enjoyed

Little Black Cow Farm Stay– accommodation

Udder Farm– milk, cream, cheese.

Liberi Eggs- boiled, fried, scrambled or runny if you are one of those funny people who like runny eggs.

Morpeth Sourdough Bakery– locally baked sourdough…say no more.

Macquariedale Organic Wine- one glass or two?

Little Black Cow Farm Beef– these are happy beautifully kept cows that taste rather delicious in sausage form.

Sacred Tree Markets– on every third Sunday within the township of Branxton. 

The inconvenience of Fairtrade Chocolate at Easter

fairtrade easter eggs || cityhippyfarmgirl

easter eggs || cityhippyfarmgirl

Easter eggs is tricky business in this household. It’s not something I grew up with a great deal. My grandparents would always buy us a modest sized egg to eat as fast or slow as we wanted and that was kind of it. No easter egg hunts, no mysterious rabbits leaving Easter themed gifts and household bombardment of chocolate. It was all kept rather simple.

As an adult I get that, I totally get that. But as a child I wanted to be ill on chocolate easter eggs, I wanted to swim in it like every other child seemed to be doing but me.

So as an adult and now parent myself I come to this tricky line. While Easter doesn’t hold a strong gift giving significance to me, I do like giving a little chocolate something as I remember the joy I had of eating the same. I like adding a hunt for it, as hey, it’s exciting- who doesn’t like a good hunt? But, and it’s rather a big BUT…

I don’t want to buy those chocolate eggs that have been on the supermarket shelf since just after Christmas.

I don’t want to buy those eggs that have food miles to the moon and back.

I don’t want to buy compound chocolate that has palm oil in it’s ingredients.

I don’t want to buy that chocolate that has a multitude of layers of packaging.

And I sure as chocolate eggs don’t want to buy that chocolate that sources it’s cocoa from child slavery conditions.

To give my children a small inexpensive chocolate treat at the expense of all that? No, no I wont. I simply will not buy into that.

I make this decision by thinking about where my dollar goes. I am happy to pay more for an ethically made chocolate that is produced as locally as I can source. Not because I want to buy something more expensive but because I value all those things above and think chocolate should never be cheap. I will pay more for a chocolate that I know won’t have palm oil in it. And I will plan ahead, take the time to find out where I can buy them, avoiding last minute unconsidered purchases. I think chocolate is a luxury and a pretty amazing one at that.

So this Easter, I want to treat that small gifted chocolate with a little respect and hopefully pass that on, even just a little to my kids. Showing that every last delicious sweet crumb that I buy is to be valued, (whether they eat it quickly or slowly it doesn’t matter). I don’t see buying fairtrade chocolate as an expensive inconvenience, it’s a carefully considered treat…and that’s the way I think it should be.

easter chocolate || cityhippyfarmgirl

Where to buy some Fairtrade Easter Chocolate

World Vision Fair Trade Chocolate Guide (Australian based- but many of these brands are available internationally, so would still be relevant.)

Tribes and Nations– stockists of Fairtrade easter eggs.

Spencer Cocoa– Single plantation chocolate, grown in Vanuatu and made in Mudgee.

Chocolatier– does Fairtrade options for Easter.

“are you some sort of Greenie or something?”


My standard response when buying something in any kind of shop is, “No bag thanks.” I often say it with a slight edge to my voice, as take my eyes off the sales person for a mere second or a distraction from a small child and they are stuffing those goodies straight into that bag of plastic. Far too much enthusiasm round these parts for you to be taking home a little souvenir plastic.

Recently, after buying a few items in a shop I blurted out my standard line and was met with…

“What, are you some sort of Greenie or something?”

I looked around me. Everything seemed to look the same as when I had stepped into the shop, everything still looked very 2013 and yet that comment seemed to come straight from 1983.

I was appalled. Is this how far we had come? That only a Greenie would say no to plastic bag?? I indignantly said yes, yes I was and stomped out. (And for the record the shop in question was also a health food shop….a health food shop!)


So there the comment sat with me, weeks and weeks after. What hope did the planet have if it was still a bloody battle not to get a plastic bag for your purchases? (I had also had another comment in the same week from another salesperson expressing sincere surprise at my lack of plastic enthusiasm as so many of her customers always took multiple bags.)

While my issue with having plastic bags thrust in my hands is small in comparison with all the other environmental issues going on in the world, I can’t help but think it’s still far too easy to put our heads in the sand and pretend nothing is happening.

Too easy to ignore the fact that these seemingly small steps are someone else’s problem.

Too easy to ignore the fact that we are living with a greedy fossil fuel industry, that’s having gaspingly scary consequences.

Too easy to dismiss what will happen in our future as it’s just so unknown… But is it? Is it so easy to dismiss? This is the sort of thing that keeps me up late at night wondering what the hell sort of future I’m passing on to my children.


This week author and environmentalist activist Bill McKibben is in Australia for his “Do the Math” tour. For tickets, dates and places please see here. More reading on

He will also be appearing on Q and A tonight (if you are in Australia.)

(this movie is set in the United States but has global maths figures that are and will effect all of us.)

tea love…and a giveaway


It’s dark outside when the steaming kettle flicks off. Pouring the hot water into the little green pot, I wait, and I stretch. Then pour again. This time into my empty cup. The smell of the deep spices hit and I slowly breathe them in. Add a little milk and take a tiny satisfying sip.

My morning, my chai.

This is how I love starting the day. With most of my day being fairly unpredictable, I like the very start of my day to be predictable. A simple ritual of a small pot of chai.

When we were in Byron Bay at the end of last year. I came across a tea at the local markets. A tea, that I instantly fell in love with. Loose leaf, and chunky just the way I liked it. It was the best one I’d found so far. I’d never considered that I was fussy with my chai tea, but it turned out, actually I was.

DSC_0158 copy

I wanted loose leaf, (tea bags really are a needless waste of resources when you are drinking at home- plus it tastes better.)

I didn’t want my tea to look like someone had just scraped the bottom of the barrel, lining my teapot with a vague tea smelling dust.

I wanted spices in there and I wanted to see them.

I didn’t want an excessive amount of annoying packaging.

I also wanted to know my chai tea was fairtrade, organic and local (as much as possible).

(And I certainly didn’t want any chai powder or syrup… pffft!)

So there it was, all in my cup. I had found exactly the kind of tea I had been looking for. Simple happiness.


Branching out into some of the company’s other tea and I wasn’t disappointed. Each one that I’ve tried is lovely, really lovely.

Skin Glow– while I can’t attest to my skin actually glowing, it certainly felt good drinking. With ingredients of spearmint, calendula, burdock, echinacea and red clover- how could it not be beneficial?


Floral Love– this one intrigues me. I don’t know what it is, but I’m completely drawn to it. I can’t keep my nose out of the box. It’s got beautiful soft floral tones to it, without being too heady and over powering. It’s subtle enough to draw you in, making you want more, and to take another sip. This tea really is, a late summers picnic with a loved one- balmy warm weather, with a laden picnic rug, sitting in a field of beautiful flowers. If there was ever a tea that could be a soft finger being traced up an afternoons sun kissed arm, or tiny kisses at the base of your neck…well, this would be it.

(Rose petals, chamomile, lavender, rose hips, calendula, corn flower.)

Immunity– Was well timed after a run of three separate family illness over the last three weeks. I was taking anything I could get hold of.

(Echinacea, rose hips, ginger, licorice root, nettle, lemon balm.)


Calming– Goodnight kisses for small kids tucked in bed. Book by my side, and an exhalation. Mentally and physically letting go of the day and all she held. Long slow sips…

(Chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm and lavender.)

I love supporting companies like this. Knowing where my shopping dollar is going is always incredibly important to me. A local small family run company that offers ‘all natural, certified organic and fair trade tea, chai, naturopathic blends and herbal tissanes.’ The teas are designed by a naturopath, are hand blended and packaged, the company give one percent, believe in sustainability and…

…above all, it’s just really, really lovely tea.


If you would like to try some of Love Chai, Love Tea‘s blends. I have some different blends to give away to three people. To win, I would love to hear what your favourite brew is and the setting in which to drink it, (real, imagined or perhaps a memory?)

Have you sipped chai at first light as the sun rose over the Himalayas?

Is it a quiet moment to your self sipping green tea before the family get up?

Do you wish you could go back in time- sharing a cup of hot sweet black tea with your grandmother aboard a Canadian bound ocean liner?

Paint me a picture, tell me a story.

(Giveaway ends 12pm Sunday 26th May)


EDIT- winners are… Amber, Anne, Rose


Love Chai Love Tea

and where to find it if you would like to buy some.

respecting the fish

fish copy DSC_0228 copy

When I was a kid my parents would occasionally buy fish from a co-op shop down by the wharf. The fishing trawlers would bring in their catches and deposit their sea life goodies onto the shop counters. While I wasn’t so fussed on eating the fish I did enjoy playing with the fishy carcass out in the backyard.

Scales would be scraped off, hitting the old newspaper underneath. The dinner parts carefully taken inside to the kitchen and the rest of the fish bits would be all for my sister and and I to inspect.

We would squish its eye a little, have a look in the stomach seeing what it what it might have eaten just before being caught, and generally just dissect the remains to see what there was to see.

While the odd fishy innard silently being flung off onto the grass under foot, and half an hour of playing with fish guts probably made us smell like, well fish guts. I do really value those experiences.

These days our little family doesn’t eat a lot of seafood. Like any meat, I would like to know where and how it arrived on my dinner plate. In an ideal world I would catch any fish that I was to eat myself, or at least meet the person that did. Neither of those options seem particular practical for us at the moment so seafood intake is about once a year.

That once a year time had arrived and there was to be fish on the table. I couldn’t give my kids the same childhood experiences that I had, with cool green grass underfoot, and fish guts to step through… but I could do something similar.

DSC_0243 copy

With a sharp knife and eager fingers to prod. Anatomy was scrutinised, fins were stretched out, eyeballs were poked and a satisfying amount of respect was given to the small fish lying on the plate. This was once a life lying before us, respect I think was well deserved.

What was the fish thinking before it got caught mama?

DSC_0234 copy

We talked about the fish and what it meant to catch something and then eat it. Monkey Boy said he thought the fish looked sad and wondered whether it was sad because it had been caught. Little Monkey thought the fish looked like it was crying. As he had a fascination with poking the eyeball, it really looked like it was.

While I’m not a fan of attaching human emotions to animals, I won’t shy my kids away from the realities of eating meat. It doesn’t come naturally filleted and free from eyes and tails. If they choose to eat meat than I have every intention of them knowing where it really comes from.

For me this starts with respecting the fish.

three years on

apple shortcake

apple shortcake1

Funny to think this little blog is now three years old. It’s also funny to look back on some of the things I’ve posted about in that three years. Somethings I feel exactly the same about them as I did then, and others, well not so much. I’ve moved on a little, and things have changed round a bit.

I was looking back on my first month of blogging in 2010 and was considering what I had to say back then. I had to chuckle. It was a funny way to start, and while I cringe at some of those first photos I put up, I do like them being there, if even just for my own comedy value.

I also still stand by that very first paragraph I wrote.

“New to the blogging world. I thought I might start one, just to watch my own progression on living as sustainably as possible in an urban environment.  Finding out what works for me and my family and maybe achievable by others also living in a city environment.”

The blog has dipped and weaved a little over that time with topics and content, but living as sustainably as possible for my family and I, is still top priority for me. It’s just as important now as it was then, maybe even more so.

Knowing where my food comes from and what goes into my family’s mouth is just as important.

Being mindful of the choices we make as consumers is also just as important.

Trying to make as many things as possible rather than relying on someone else to do it for me (and is usually a whole lot of fun) is also still really important to me.

Looking back over the last three years, I thought I might revisit one of the first few dishes that I blogged about in my first month. Matthew Evans’ Apple and Blackberry Shortcake. The recipe is here if you are interested in trying it, and I’m hoping my second time picture gives it a bit more credit than the first time I did it. 

DSC_0237 copy

Still thinking on the last three years of blogging- if I hadn’t continued with my blog, I probably wouldn’t…

1/ Have made my sourdough starter

2/ Have continued on the always amazing bread journey that is sourdough

3/ Taken as many photos as I do these days

4/ Have one particular spot to put all my ramblings and musings. Instead there would still be lots of scrappy bits of paper filled with recipes, thoughts, quotes and ideas about the place.

5/ (and best of all…and I know there are still oodles more) I probably wouldn’t have been a part of the wonderful community that blogland can be.


Three years on it was also time for a little shake up on the look of my blog. My theme I had stuck by had long since been retired from the theme options and it seemed there weren’t too may of his clinging on to the blix theme these days. We’ll see how this one works for a bit….


Now, I was trying to think of something little I could do celebrate that fact that it’s been three years flitting about in the land of blog. So what to do?

Send you all a piece of the Apple and Blackberry Shortcake?…but it probably wouldn’t arrive in the same condition that I sent it.

Put together an awesome sponsor given hamper full of all things groovy and gifty….damn, it’s not that kind of blog.

Something beautiful and whimsically handmade?…hmmm, most of my stuff is still kind of on the learning end.

Still thinking, I thought about a card. Most people still like getting a letter, a card or a post card, and I thought, well I can do that!

So if you would like a card or postcard sent from me to you (or to your little people-if you have them- as they loooove getting mail too!…well mine do anyway.) I would love to send you one. Where ever you may be….Alaska, Argentina, Italy or Dubbo. Doesn’t matter where. Just drop me a line at cityhippyfarmgirl at gmail dot com, leave me an address and a card will be on it’s way. (say first five-ish?)

So a big thank you from me to you- the readers and commentators, as without you…well this blog just wouldn’t be the same.


This weekend we hippity hopped our way down to Sustain. 

It was billed as a natural and organic lifestyle show with gardening workshops, cooking demo’s, yoga, meditation, a speakers corner, and lots of stalls. I was really looking forward to it, as was hoping that instead of going to ten different shops in order to get the products I like it would be all in the one spot, (plus discover a few more.)

There was a kombucha stall, where you could sample three different types of the naturally cultured brew. A family run business from South Australia, that is slowly expanding their market. These really were delicious and I hope more and more people start buying them. Can you imagine if people swapped their can of everyday soft drink for a bottle of kombucha instead? Ohhh, now there’s an idea. (As a side line, this lovely couple couldn’t sell any of their drinks on the day as Coca Cola owns the rights to the grounds in which Sustain was held… disappointingly ridiculous.)

Sarah from Mojo Kombucha

nui chocolate

I finally got to taste some of the Nui chocolate. I had wanted to try this chocolate for quite a while, as it’s cocoa beans are sourced and fairly traded from Vanuatu. Cocoa beans are generally grown just 10 degrees either side of the equator which makes growing areas for such a valuable world resource highly sought after. Beans grown in Vanuatu have much smaller food miles for us here in Australia than say cocoa beans sourced from Africa or Central America. This chocolate isn’t cheap at $6.95 for 75g. But delicious it is, and they are apparently bringing out a dark version soon too.

A lot of the usual suspects were there.


black tahini which was also on my list of things to try

Sam from Holbrook Paddock Eggs

Everyone knows these days, all free range eggs are not created equal and you should look into what eggs you are exactly buying. Now if I was a free range chook I think I would like to live at family run Holbrook Paddock Eggs (or possibly Celia’s.) These grass roaming hens are moved twice a week along with their portable sheds, and following behind a herd of cows. There is a couple of maremma dogs to love and protect them as they do their chooky thing and quite frankly, I think their life sounds rather lovely. Happy chooks, happy eggs, happy belly.

Garden Up which I absolutely loved. As a inner city renting girl. This vertical garden has possibilities… definite possibilities.

single hook and line caught tuna

While I enjoyed going and certainly didn’t come away empty handed, there was a teeny tiny bit of disappointment that there wasn’t ‘more’.

It did feel a little sterile in there, and I really think some of the components could have been a bit more engaging. Pockets were wonderful, but still… I wanted that bit more. There is nothing I like more than being able to talk to the people behind the company finding out all the little details of how they started, where they source their ingredients or supplies, and where they are based. A generic “organic” labelling, isn’t good enough for me as I want to make a decision for a purchase based on a whole bunch more components.

It would also be great to see more locally based companies there. More sustainable living ideas, and things like that. Maybe they were more prevalent on the traders only day, and in following years as the show becomes bigger, more local companies will be enticed to show off their wares.

I hope so anyway.

Over all a happy morning out and now have a few new things to play with as well.

Mmmm, now what goodies shall I make with that black tahini?


Edit- Adding a few details about the Good Fish tuna that is pictured. It’s hand filleted skipjack tuna caught on one hook and one line. Which is much more sustainable than most commercial tuna catching methods. In Australia it’s imported through Olive Green Organics, through their site if you go to Brands, Good Fish and Stockists you should be able to find if it’s near you. Other countries, perhaps try contacting this same company and they could possibly point you in the right direction?

Alternately Fish 4 Ever is another company that does sustainably caught tuna as well.

the community garden

Our local council is trialing a new community food foragers garden. I really love the idea of this and hope that it takes off,  just getting bigger and bigger.

Imagine city living where on each high density living block there was a community kitchen garden readily accessible for all the locals. An attached community compost bin, for all those to access that didn’t have backyards. Seasonal food grown within a hop skip and a jump of where you live, with composting scraps being used for the same garden while decreasing all the food scraps being sent to land fill.

It doesn’t seem like a big ask, does it?

It just makes sense. Cutting back on waste having to be collected by council. Making more efficient use of space. Encouraging a community spirit. I’m sure on each block there would be at least a couple of willing people who would love to regularly tend the small edible space. If people are living in a high density living area, green spots are hard to come by and the chance to actually dip your fingers in to some soil and tend a little foliage would be incredibly appealing to a lot of inner city dwellers.

More green spaces in the city are needed. Whether it be roof tops, street corners, reclaimed concrete areas, where ever they may be. However,  first people need to ask for it, and be encouraging when trials are put into place. Be vocal, spread the good word. Whispered words of encouragement is what gets ideas moving. Spoken words and acts of enthusiasm keep them there.

If everyone’s local councils started up just one food foragers garden in their area, it was successful, and people respected the space. Surely this could mean the start of many more to come?

The benefits of a nation wide scheme like this?… Oh can you imagine.


Do you have any community gardens or food foraging gardens in your area?

Terra Madre Day

December 10th is Terra Madre Day.

A Slow Food initiative that is recognised the world over, and coming together as an international day for the third time.

What is it about?

Celebrating eating locally

Supporting small scale farmers

Sharing cooking knowledge

Slow food

There is a whole lot of wonderful things planned for this period around the world. Click here for an interactive map to let you know what’s happening in your area. From Brunch on the Grass, in Maleny- Australia to The Joy of Preserving, in Vancouver- Canada to a whole page of wonderful goings on in Italy.

If none of these community events take your fancy, a small thing you can do is question where your food for the day is coming from. Try and buy local within (160 kms or 100 miles), or at least within your own country. Support small scale farmers and businesses. If you are really inspired, give someone a cooking lesson. Cooking knowledge is easily passed on to another when you have a willing teacher.  How to preserve jam or make bread is a wonderful way to start.

Oodles more information

Slow Food Sydney

Slow Food Australia

Slow Food International

Slow Fish

extra reading

100 mile diet- book

Animal Vegetable Miracle

Living the Good Life

green hair

A few months back now, I had a little hair dilemma.

My head had decided it would no longer tolerate the stuff I was trying to wash my hair with. No. Instead my head decided to cover itself with painful red lumps that would only go away if I switched shampoos. Ok, so I had developed an odd little/big reaction to my normal shampoo that I had  been using for quite some time.  So I switched…and I switched….and then I switched some more. Nothing was quite right. All the ‘greener’ options either made my hair look the end of a fox’s tail (which is fine if that’s the look you are going for…but I wasn’t.) Or didn’t quite clean as I had hoped for, leaving hair greasy after consecutive washes.

What to do? What to do?

Then two lovely bloggers that I follow, (Multiple Mum and Bruise Mouse ) posted in the same week of using bicarbonate soda and apple cider vinegar for hair washing. It was a sign. I had nothing to lose but some greasy locks and a few painful lumps or two right?

I had read about this method a long time ago but hadn’t taken the plunge yet. I had also read that it might take a few days/weeks to adjust to the new method, but from my experience it was fine from the beginning. Actually it was more than fine. It was great! Clean hair, no residual smell, hair is soft, and has more oomph than it’s had in a long time. Swish, swish, swish…

The method I’ve been using is-

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda mixed with about 80mls of water to make a runny solution. I work that in to the roots and scalp then rinse out with water. I do it on dry hair initially as the bicarb doesn’t lather up at all and if it’s done on dry I can tell where I have ‘shampooed’.

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar mixed with about 700mls water poured over ends. Leave for a few minutes and then rinse out with water.

* Since starting this I have found these two combinations can be a little drying to my hair, so have worked out the best solution for me at the moment is to use regular conditioner alternately with the apple cider vinegar. 

A few weeks in after switching and the lovely Christine also posted on her method for conditioning using rosemary and apple cider vinegar here.

Three months later, and I couldn’t be happier. It is kind of funny that I use the same product for washing my hair, cleaning my bathroom and making my Anzac Biscuits, but hey…it works, and it works really well.


Now while I’m talking of green hair, let’s have a little peek at green hair removal, now I’m not talking of hair on the top of your head…

Hair. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Some people have it. Some people don’t.

Hair options are many.

Shaving, waxing, laser, threading, sugaring, epilation, depilation are some of the methods to take it all off.

Or you can simply grow it.

Hair removal options

Shaving– reusable razors with disposable heads or disposable plastic razors. The disposables make up a huge amount of plastic landfill each year. Hair starts growing immediately.

Waxing– Lots of different brands out there. Some plant based and some petroleum-based. Hair gets sparser as waxing continues. Cotton strips, plastic strips, wooden strips can all be used for slapping the wax on.

Laser– long term hair loss results. Lots of equipment used.

Depilation– creams that dissolve the hair with a whole lot of stinky chemicals at skin level.

Epilation– hair taken from just below the skin’s surface. Electronic or battery operated machines usually used.

So what are the ‘greenest’ hair removal options?

Sugaring-sugar waxing”, hair taken from the root using sugar, water and lemon juice or vinegar.

Threading– a piece of cotton used, takes the hair from the root level. (I love this one. Small thread of cotton a few twists and whoosh!)


Or simply…

Grow it– grow it and be proud.

just how hot is hot?

I did a post at the end of summer on my tiny gas metre box garden. Nothing flash. Just a few pots of greenery that keep me centred. The chilli plants happily flowered and grew, they even got through the Noah’s Ark of winter rain thrown at them. Then they turned red, actually they are still turning red. Slowly changing from subtle green, to come on- I dare you red.

Now when I planted these little fella’s I wanted something a little feisty. The packet said hot, actually it said piccante. It was an Italian heirloom variety. So anything labelled piccante, and I have high hopes.

Not gaspingly, oh for the love of god, find me a river and submerge my firey mouth.

 But, hey…Oooo, yep, that’s a bit hot right there.

Something like that anyway.

So they have been turning red, and I’ve slowly been collecting them on my kitchen window sill. A little fiery red mountain growing. Each day I wonder, just how hot they are.

these look like a completely different variety, but I'm sure they came out of the same packet.

Blueberries are also flowering. Last season there was just a tiny handful of flowers that seemed to take six months to actually develop the fruit. This year with quadruple the flowers, I’m hoping the fruiting doesn’t take quite so long.

Rosemary is also happy. I just have to remember not to remember it. It’s never happy when I give it too much love and attention. Neglect, and the odd whisper of I’m still watching you, and it seems to thrive.

There are some other pots as well that look empty, but have sleeping seeds in them. What’s in there though and I wouldn’t have a clue. I planted them one evening and then got rushed inside. Distracted for the next few days, I never quite made it back out to write what I had planted and where. So now, wouldn’t have a clue what was in there.

Never mind, who doesn’t like surprises….especially the plant kind.

Now, speaking of surprises, I think it might be time to find out just how hot that chilli really is…

Just how hot is hot?

the weight of the steak

When I was researching what piggy options a city girl had, I discovered Feather and Bone, in Rozelle. A supplier of sustainably raised meat. I started getting their weekly emails filled with interesting meaty information and what’s on offer at the moment. From there, I went to one of their open days and got to see for myself at how it was all done, coming home with a weighty little number that had cook me up just right, written all over it.

I’ve written before about knowing where your meat is from and asking whether you would be prepared to do the killing yourself. Reading back on that post I realised that even in the last not quite 6 months our meat buying habits have changed since then. I’m fine with that, I like evolving. I now very rarely buy any meat from a super market or butcher. Instead, the meat intake has dropped even less, and the majority of it is now coming from farmers markets. If those markets are few and far between because I can’t get there or the meat isn’t available, then so is the meat eating. Why? Because I really want to know where it’s from. I want to know more of how it was raised before slaughter, who reared it and if possible, what their farming philosophies are like. I simply can’t get this if I’m buying from the supermarket.

Meat has been the topic of choice in this fair country of ours for the last few weeks. Ever since the ABC’s Four Corners program was shown about the live cattle export business to Indonesia, people have had things to say. A lot of things to say. The footage was graphic, confronting and got people into action to get things changed.

It might have changed Indonesia’s meat eating habits for a bit as the supply from Australia has almost stopped, but would it be enough for people to question their own meat eating habits here within Australia? Could that daily/weekly slab of meat become less? Could it become just a special occasion meal?

Back to the weighty number in my possession, and I had a little treat in store for Mr Chocolate. Special occasion, yes it was. After visiting the warehouse of Feather and Bone, I came home with a steak. Not just any steak but a Chianina steak, aged for 6 weeks, rib eye cut, weighing 673g and costing $45. There was, a small intake of breath, (you can’t fight history right) at the cost of it, but overall I was more than happy to hand over the cash for the hefty piece of meat. I knew where the beef was coming from, I knew how long and where it was aged and butchered, (Feather and Bone.) I also knew that this steak was going home to my loved one as part of a twice a year meal of steak, (the last one being at Aria.) It was also going to be enjoyed by him, (I hoped.)

Now on getting that steak home, I started to sweat a little. Not from the weight of the thing, but the pressure to cook it the right way. (To clarify, I don’t eat steak, which means I don’t cook steak.) This however, was a treat. It had to be cooked just right. I had quizzed Grant, (at Feather and Bone) when I purchased it and then also made a frantic phone call to my friend who proudly has Meat on her bookshelf. Plan put into action and I’m off.

Plates at the ready, the steak was brought back to room temperature, salted, seared, into the oven, and then rested for the same amount of time it had cooked for. The pressure was high, the weight of the steak was sitting firmly on my shoulders, and geez, it was a hefty one.

No cooked pictures, as that was the last thing I needed was to try and get a ‘good’ picture in the fading light and building anticipation of Mr Chocolate about to cut into his rib eye.

But how did it taste?

Let’s just say… if Mr Chocolate was about to leave the earth tomorrow and he could choose any meal to end it, this steak cooked by me (*nervous giggle*) is now top of the list.

I think that just might be a success.

Isola (producer)

Chianina Beef

6 week aged

Rib eye