Tuesday, September 16, 2014

stills collection


1. Juice Art is a new smoothie & juice bar/cafe in Murwillumbah. I will post more about it soon.

2. River being his spontaneous, theatrical self who I love.

3. Beautiful poppies gracing Ruth's kitchen.

4. Wholefood picnic deliciousness.

5. We will be hitting the road again soon. The final leg home.

Monday, September 08, 2014

spring cleanse reading

Life got in the way last week of getting this posted on Friday for weekend reading so here it is to start your week...

In keeping with our spring cleanse/self care theme this week here are a few links to help you cleanse body, mind, and spirit and to inspire you to be as kind to yourself as you are to your best friend.

I LOVE this from The Yogic Housewife - Don't worry no one has it all together

The importance of connecting to nature for our well-being and our children's well-being is spelt out clearly on Nic's page. Her passion and clarity about this brought tears to my eyes.

If you are looking for tips on starting meditation head to Leonie's post: Meditation for lazy people

Or exercise inspiration go here

For green smoothie inspiration head to Simple Green Smoothies

What to eat?

Try my simple parsley, apple and capsicum salad

My friend Robin's warm kale and pumpkin salad (minus the feta if you are on the cleanse)

Teresa Cutter's warm broccoli salad with kale, lime and roasted tamari almonds

Janella Purcell's miso soup with veggies

Green Kitchen Stories carrot, tomato and coconut soup or warm cauliflower salad (again minus the feta if you are on the cleanse). There are many other delicious suitable recipes on this site.

This delicious sounding vegetable curry

I have been making separate/additional meals for my children during the spring cleanse, it is the only time I do this! I have been keeping it simple for them though too, avocado, poached egg on toast, tasting plate with veggie sticks, olives, hoummus that sort of thing.

I'd love to hear how those of you on the spring cleanse are going. Only 5 days to go! Which also means 5 days until my birthday. Can't quite believe I am turning 40! Half way to 80. More thoughts on that later. Happy Monday!

Photo credit: Peter McConchie

Sunday, September 07, 2014

stills collection: road trip

1. Driving up Elim beach at low tide to see the coloured sands

2. So many mangroves. Elim beach

3. Fisherman in the making

4. Sand dune fun

5.  River gave his AFL footy card collection to his friends in Hope Vale

6. Sunset Hope Vale

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

spring cleanse: self-care

If you are anything like me, taking care of others comes easily but self-care falls to the bottom of the list.

Part of the focus of the spring cleanse that I and many of you are undertaking is to be kind and gentle with ourselves and making self-care a priority.

Taking away coffee and chocolate and wine and grains and so on, strips things back and there is more space to hear our inner voice and feel our feelings. Sorry if this is sounding like I'm off with the pixies, stay with me!

The reality is there are always going to be demands on our time and energy, so it is important than we learn how to protect these valuable resources and how to nurture ourselves.

As many of you know, my family and I are on a 5 month road trip. We have had amazing experiences being together on the road. I have also though been pushed to find ways to energise myself and to feel like I am taking care of my needs as well as everyone else's.

One way I have done this is to re-commit myself to daily yoga and meditation. These practices had fallen away over the course of our travels and I began to really feel it in my mood and energy levels. *read - cranky mummy appeared at very short notice!*

The interesting thing I've found with my new practice is that it was as easy as making my mind up. The day I decided, we were out in a remote camp and though I was committed to the idea of daily practice I felt a bit overwhelmed about where to start again. That afternoon we drove into Cooktown and I went into the newsagent to buy some paints for River and Sol and saw The Australian Yoga Journal. This was my place to start.

If you are looking for some inspiration and motivation with your yoga practice I highly recommend this magazine. Each issue includes a great home practice sequence.

And if meditation is something that you'd like to start but don't know how, my mother-in-law Peg who has been meditating for decades (literally!) teaches beginners to light a candle and to focus on the flame "begin with just five or ten minutes and then increase the length of time as you feel comfortable" says Peg.

When meditating you may find yourself wondering "am I doing this right?" "how do I know if it is working?" it is very normal to think these thoughts but just let them float away and return your awareness to your breathing.

Meditation and yoga may not be your thing. It may be walking, or swimming, or singing. The point is, we all have something other than the love of our family and friends that fills us up, we must find it and make time for it.

If you need some self-care inspiration head over to Olga's site.

And while self-care doesn't require spending money, I do have a great offer to share with you in honor of our spring cleanse from Simone Denny who runs Nourishing Hub, a site dedicated to putting women's health first. Simone is offering a generous 15% discount to Wholefood Mama readers, just enter the code SPRING to receive your discount. Thanks Simone.

Now it's over to you, where are you at with self-care? what are some things you'd like to do just for you?

Monday, September 01, 2014

spring cleanse

Happy first day of Spring!

I feel very lucky to have escaped the bleak Victorian winter this year.

I'm celebrating the arrival of Spring with a cleanse - body, mind and spirit - and I invite you to join me.

I did a quiet cleanse last year from the 1st of September to the 13th (my birthday, turning 40 this year! But that's another story), the main change I made was switching my daily cup of coffee to a vegetable juice. Radical I know.

This year I am stepping things up a little and decided on Friday to ask The Wholefood Mama facebook page readers to join me and am very happy with the keen response.

If you'd like to take part read on, (sorry for the short notice! but it isn't too late to start and you don't have to be on facebook, I will be posting updates and tips here on the blog)

The Wholefood Mama Spring cleanse guidelines:

Spring is a traditional time of cleansing and renewal in nature and in many cultural practices as we say farewell to the darkness and inner nature of winter and welcome the lightness of the new season.

For me a cleanse is not about an extreme detoxification, rather it is about bringing my awareness to what I am eating and drinking, how I am spending my time, the things I have in my space and making changes in a direction that is nourishing and makes me feel lighter.

I don't have qualifications as a health practitioner so please bear this in mind if you are joining me, my suggestions will be gentle and doable wherever you are at on your health and wellness path, but do check things out if you are in doubt.

The cleanse will look like this:

- caffeine free
- refined sugar free
- grain free
- dairy free
- vegetarian
- alcohol free
- 2 litres of water per day
- daily yoga and meditation or walking
- reading and writing affirmations
- setting new intentions
- practicing gratitude

If I were at home I would cleanse my surroundings too, sending anything I no longer use off to the op shop.
Here is a little shopping list to get you started:

- in season fresh fruit and vegetables (preferably organic): best bought every few days, enough for breakfast smoothies, salads and soups
- lemons, so you can start your day with the juice of 1/2 a lemon in warm water
- miso so you can have miso soup for breakfast or as a 'snack' between meals
- dandelion and/or herbal teas to replace caffeinated drinks
- macadamias, brazil nuts and almonds
- pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and linseeds
- coconut water
- fresh ginger, garlic, herbs and spices

Breakfast ideas: fresh vegetable juice, fresh fruit, green smoothie, miso and vegetable soup

Lunch ideas: soup, salad, stir-fry, veggie curry, green smoothie

Dinner: see lunch

Snacks: 6-8 nuts (chewed very well!), a piece of fruit, veggie sticks

As I have already mentioned I am not a medical practitioner, I am sharing the cleanse that I am doing and invite you to join me making adjustments that are right for your energy and activity levels. If this outline feels too drastic to you, ease it back a little and include chicken soup, or some dahl or similar.

One of the main reasons for doing a cleanse is to rest our often overworked digestion, so simple light meals are best.
I will be doing the cleanse for 12 days, completing it on the 13th in time for wholefood cake and champagne with my family and friends for my birthday! 

I'd love you to join me for the 12 days but as little as two days will renew your energy and focus.

If there are other things you would add to the shopping list or other meal ideas please share them in the comments. Are you in?

(the beautiful photo was taken by my husband Peter McConchie)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

stills collection

1. Yoke. A friend gifted me this new mag which made for great reading at our camp.

2. Cooktown stole our hearts.

3. Home made pasta is the best!

4. My man Pete with the beautiful Dr Tommy George Snr of the Kuku Thypan clan, in Cairns at the launch of the book they worked on together: Fire & the Story of Burning Country.

5. The beautiful Natalia Mann (home made pasta maker extraordinaire!) tuning up to play harp at the Fire book launch. Thankyou Natalia.

6. As we drove south out of Cairns we followed this cutie.

Friday, August 29, 2014

weekend reading

It's been months since I've had the time and internet access to put a weekend reading list together.

Last night I enjoyed catching up on what's been happening online while I've been away immersed in real life.

Here are some things that caught my eye...

I love magazines. Have you seen chickpea?

Georgia from Well Nourished is taking a well earned break from social media until October. If you haven't already seen her recently released ebook Rise + Shine click on over

While I've been on the road I was very happy to be asked to be part of Samantha Gowing's Rockin' Women Wednesday series. Thanks Sam!

I spotted this Salted Super Caramel Slice via Kristin Mamacino's page and though you might like it too

There's a backlog of beautiful recipes I've missed from Nicola's Homegrown Kitchen including a home made sinus clearing chest rub that may be handy for those of you in colder climates

Ditto in Eleanor's Petite Kitchen

And finally, Sarah's raw chocolate brownie with cashew chocolate topping looks like a good one to try!

Happy weekending everyone. I am very happy to be spending mine in Byron Bay catching up with friends and after driving from Cairns to Byron this week (1866 kms) I am very happy to not drive further than 20 kms in any direction!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

more from the road plus thursday recipe: sweet potato + haloumi salad

The heat from our days at Elim Beach is already merely a memory as I sit here in a coat today writing in Byron Bay where the weather is wintery.

I'm sorry these photos hardly do justice to the magnificence of the Cape York coastline. The best way to truly feel the magic of this place is to go there!

We set up camp at Traditional Owner Eddie Deemal's camp for one week. Eddie's camp is remote and therefore blissfully quiet. There were never more than four camp sites occupied at a time while we were there. To camp here a permit is required for details go here.

The days were hot, so we were thankful for the cold showers available because the crocodiles meant no swimming in the beautiful sea.

There is no hot running water at Eddie's camp, cold water is pumped up through some 97 underground springs where the water is filtered by the sand. A natural wonder!

The fish were plentiful. And when out in the boat catching the fish, the sandflies were plentiful too. After one fishing trip up the mangroves River returned with at least 100 bites on his bare calves and shins. Lesson learned: long sleeves and pants are a must as well as a good repellent.

For those who have never encountered a sandfly, the itch from the bite is intense and relentless. Sandflies are not like mosquitos in that you don't see them as they are so small and the itch lasts for days. Multiply that by 100 and you have a recipe for madness!

The night that River's itching was insufferable I put him under a cold shower and knew that taking his mind away from itch was just as important as relieving the itch with the cooling water. So, I told him to sing. His song choice was from Oliver, a movie we picked up in an op shop for $2 that he had watched over and over on long drives in the back of the car. Soon he was singing and soothed by the cool water and the Itch Eze cream I had picked up in Cooktown. tip: the remedy that really settled the bites down was to heat a pot with a few litres of water in it and add two capfuls of dettol and one capful of tea tree oil and soak the affected area.

Uncle Dave, our friend from Byron Bay, flew up to join us at Eddie's camp which was a treat for all of us to enjoy this place together and to introduce Dave to our friends in Hope Vale. 

Fresh fish was our staple over the week, while for Dave who eats a vegetarian diet I made sure the salads we ate had some protein punch in them in the form of nuts, seeds and haloumi. We also enjoyed dahl and a roasted vegetable pasta by the campfire.

I'd love to hear some of your travel tales. Are you on the road? Or dreaming of hitting the road? Tell us in the comments.

Sweet potato and Haloumi Salad


1 medium size sweet potato, peeled and sliced into 1/2cm slices
200g haloumi, sliced and fried til golden, cut into bite size pieces
3 tablespoons of tamari pepitas and sunflower seeds
mixed lettuce leaves
1 lebanese cucumber roughly chopped
1 tomato sliced and then each slice cut into quarters

To make

Roast or pan fry sweet potato until cooked, allow to cool.
Place all ingredients in a salad bowl, drizzle macadamia oil over the salad and splash on apple cider vinegar then toss salad and serve.

(To make tamari pepitas and sunflower seeds, dry roast seeds in a fry pan and at the end splash some tamari over and cook for a minute longer).

Monday, August 25, 2014

hello from the road

Regular readers here know that my family and I are on a road trip that has taken us to Far North Queensland, to Cape York where we've had some magical moments with our friends in Hope Vale.

I took this series of photos on a day when we went out mud crabbing.

The big orange crab pots you can see in the photos were tied into the mangroves with bait inside, when the tide came in so did dinner.

As you can see from the first photo, the sky is bigger out there. No houses, no skyscrapers just endless blue, and on this day bright white clouds.

We have all grown in ways that only travel can stretch you to do.

My travels began at age 19 when I put myself on a plane to Europe to go and start exploring the world.

I've traveled ever since. This journey has been special to take as a family for many reasons.

Many reasons that will filter through my posts over the coming weeks.

I've been collecting recipes as we've travelled along, I'm looking forward to sharing those with you and to catching up with what's been happening here online.

The break has been great but I've missed being here so I'll be back soon!

Thanks for your patience while I've been away. I hope you are enjoying seeing the stories from our travels. Recipes soon I promise! x

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


River turned eight while we were in Hope Vale.

Originally we planned to be in Mareeba, until Aunty Estelle's granddaughter, Hazel, heard River's birthday was coming up and asked, "Are we having the party here?"

And so we did. It made much more sense to celebrate with River's new friends and have lots of kids around rather than spend it just the four of us in a town we didn't know.

I made pizzas and two cakes: one chocolate, one banana.

Aunty Estelle's grand daughter Fenice made a big pot of spaghetti bolognaise. Aunty Estelle set the table with bbq shapes and bowls of jaffas and later served the cake with big scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Plus lemon cordial.

Not usual birthday fare you are used to seeing here but the love behind what our hosts provided was heartfelt and outweighed worrying about any processed food overload.

The kids played in the street while the pizza and pasta were cooking. Once it was ready Aunty Estelle dished out the pasta, some kids coming back for seconds.

No one sat still for very long, quickly gobbling up their food before running back to the street to play.

As the sun went down and the sky grew dark it was time for cake, I was glad I made two so there was enough to go round.

Once the cake was eaten most kids ran out into the night making their way home. Two of Aunty's grandchildren stayed for a sleepover much to River and Sol's delight, the games and laughing continued under the light of the back porch.

So now I have an eight year old. A funny, charismatic, entertaining, fiesty, musical, creative, loving, thoughtful eight year old son who I treasure and find joy in watching him grow and in nurturing him in every sense of the word.

We are back in Hope Vale this week (with no internet access) I will post more next week.

Happy wholefood days to you all.

If you have a children's birthday coming up take a look at this post for some wholefood menu ideas and a carrot cake recipe.

The photos in this post were taken by my husband Peter McConchie.
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