Thursday, 17 July 2014

Catching Up With Lisa O'Connell from Wallingford Flowers, Echuca

Its been a month or so since our last "Catching up with" series, but todays guest is a real treat for anyone who loves flowers. And let's face it- who doesn't? 

Introducing the lovely Lisa O'Connell from Wallingford Flowers, Echuca. You may remember Lisa from a recent post I did sharing some photos of her amazing garden studio where she operates her business from.

Lisa is a very talented florist who is well known in the area for her amazing ability to transform any function room into a gorgeous flower show that will leave you gasping! With 26 years experience up her creative sleeve, Lisa specialises mainly in weddings. She is also a very keen gardener and although most of her flowers she buys in, her garden does provide her with a good supply of David Austen roses, seasonal flowers and lots of lavender which grows in abundance along with the many rose bushes up Lisa's front driveway. 

Lisa is incredibly passionate about her flower business and creating a personalised and unique floral arrangements for each of her clients. A background in teaching floristry has led her to also run workshops from her dairy studio which is another way Lisa can expel some more of her creativity and special talents.

So, without wasting any more time, below is a rather large handful of questions for Lisa and a chance for you to get to know her better. If you are considering "tying the knot" in the Echuca/Moama area or a party that requires some flower love, I would highly recommend getting in contact with Lisa too!

As an extra treat to add to Lisa's interview, if you scroll right down to the bottom of this post you will find a music clip I am really enjoying at the moment (let's say it gets played quite a bit in our house!!). The kids love the video (watch it and you will know why!). Press play and listen to it whilst reading about Lisa and checking out all these stunning images- which I might add have been taken by two very talented local photographers- Tamara Cadd Photography & Cindy Power Photography.

1. Describe your style?
Friends and family often laugh at the fact I am a bit of a chameleon.  One day I may be in designer heels and frocks, full hair and make-up, the next day hanging out in the dust/mud of the paddocks in my work pants with built in knee pads, and work boots.  My work with flowers is similar- I make things for others, so I try to see what their style, or vision is and make it happen for them. So I get to create many varied things-  although in all honesty I tend to attract customers that like similar things to me, so it's really quite easy!
2. What you love most about your job?
I love when people trust me enough to say, do whatever you think will work. When they say, I want something people haven’t seen before - as quite often I will be decorating a venue half the people have been to many times.  I will spend countless hours thinking of ideas and concepts, quite often drawing ideas and sketches at 3am- a strangely productive time for me!
Also unpacking flowers is a sheer joy, especially when you know an order has materialized, sometimes many hours of planning and ordering go into a function.  You never really know for sure until the beautiful fresh blooms are in front of you.

3. Favourite flower?
Gardenia ( I was given 5 boxes to make my bouquet as a wedding present by Carolyn whom I did my apprenticeship under ). My favourite bouquet I ever made. I finished it at 2 am the night before our wedding.
4. Three things you can't live without at the moment?
Family, garden, tea.
5. Favourite scent?
6. Where do you seek inspiration and ideas from?
I follow many overseas designers. Also many brides come to me with great ideas - I just need to make them!
7. What do you love most about living in the Echuca area?
Most definitely the people, or maybe the restaurants - Ok both!
8. Most loved colour combination at the moment?
Pale blue, any pale blue flower melts my heart. 
9. Your morning ritual is…..
Again with the chameleon, some days I am at a spin class at 6am followed by a productive morning organizing family, cleaning house, to be in the garden by 10am.
(Until recently several people in my gym class, thought I was two different people - I look different with no make-up and my red curly hair in a tight bun apparently).
 If I have a wedding and the weather is hot I will start a 4 or 5am in the dairy, to make everything as fresh as possible, or alternatively I have been know to wait till last service in Oscar W’s 10.30 pm to set up for a wedding the next day, leaving when the staff knock off at 1am, then return at 8am to finish.   I will then start at 8am on Sundays to take everything out, so they are ready for lunch service.
Some days I like to not get out of bed until I have had at least 2 cups of tea!
10. Are you an early riser or night owl??
Again both, depends on what I need to do that week,  I feel very lucky to self indulge and work all night if I am in the mood.  Or not!
(note: work sometimes involves pinterest!!!)
11. Favourite season and why?
That is really hard for me, as I have favourite parts to them all. 
Autumn – Autumn leaves, cooler nights, best weather in Echuca for weddings, best planting time, bulbs start.  Nerines, and roses in the garden at the same time
Winter – Winter hellebores, ranunculus, lily of the valley, forget-me-not, anemones, stock oh and another favourite daphne.  Brides should get married in winter for the fragrance alone!!
Spring – Peony need I say more? ok sweet pea.
Summer- The succulents come into their own, roses show why they are to be revered, and respected.

Just press play, sit back (or bop along) and enjoy these stunning photos of Lisa's work…..xx
Music- In Your Arms by Kina Grannis

Special Thanks to Tamara Cadd Photography and Cindy Power Photography for sharing their beautiful images. 

Wallingford Flowers-"Wallingford", 9179 Murray Valley Highway, Echuca, Victoria, 3564
Phone Lisa on 0414 709376
Or follow on Facebook ,Instagram and Pinterest

Tamara Cadd Photography-

Cindy Power Photography-

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Bendigo Trove Makers' Markets- on this Sunday!

Im not sure about you- but I love a good market! Strolling around at my own pace, getting caught up in the music playing, coffee in hand, and pastry or a bacon and egg muffin in the other, and just poking my face here and there as I try and see what clever bits and pieces local folk have made. I always come home feeling quite inspired and also with a few extra bags and a much lighter wallet!

Well, a treat for anyone who lives in Bendigo or surrounding areas, is the gorgeous Trove Makers' Markets, which are on this Sunday 20th July, between 10am-2pm in central Bendigo.

These markets are held every 3rd Sunday of the month and hosts just over 40 stalls. A wonderful community event which is guarenteed to provide the family a lovely day out and a chance to find some unique handmade arts and crafts and discover some new foodie treats too.

Below is a sample of business's that will be attending this weekend.

Image source from Trove Makers' Markets website

I have to say Im very excited about The Itty Bitty Book Van attending which is bound to be incredibly popular with the kids and as a parent, a really fun activity to do with them. Kerri's funfilled and beautifully adorned caravan is filled with lots of great children's books and if you can't make it to the markets, I would highly recommend checking out her website and blog, which is filled with good book reviews- quite handy for any parent looking for the perfect book to give as a gift!

So, if you around or looking for a fun family activity this Sunday, be sure to bead to the Trove Makers' Markets. With lots to see and do you wont be disappointed. And if you cant make Sunday, perhaps lock in the date for next month!

For more information- 
Check out the website-
Held on every 3rd Sunday of each month
Between 10am-2pm
at The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery- 404 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo

Follow on Facebook and Instagram and keep up to date with upcoming news and events!

Enjoy- and let me know if you go!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Mid week meal- Miso Glazed Salmon

So today marks the return to school for many of those in NSW and with that comes getting organised and getting back into the routine of the demands of everyday living.

I always struggle towards the end of the week to find my cooking mojo. Which isn't a good feeling when you have a family to cook for. Winter does allow itself to easy soups, hearty risottos and other yummy good slow cooking but I dont always take advantage of that and to be honest our kids aren't big fans of soups, delicious osso buco or shanks that have been cooking away in their own juices all day. Tragic really! They love nothing better then meat and three vege or a yummy risotto. We eat dinner with our kids six out of seven nights a week (yes, the early bird special). We are fortunate we can and for us when they are still so young we think its important for them to learn how to sit and eat whilst taking part in a family activity. We talk about our days- which always makes for an interesting experience (more like groundhog day actually) and we spend alot of time picking cutlery off floor and encouraging everyone to eat their dinner, try new food, sit on chair….the list goes on.

One night a week, Sam & I will have a meal together, eaten when the kids are tucked up in bed. A time to enjoy our meal and company and where we practise that skill of not devouring our meal in less then a minute.

I recently came across a salmon dish though which not only is simple, tasty and easy but its healthy. Its for the big people of the house. Best of all, it takes all of 20 minutes from fridge to plate. And it's a perfect meal to whip up quickly for just us on our night dining together. So, happy me!

Miso Glazed Salmon-  Recipe source- Annabel Langbein "Free Range in the City"

Boneless, skinless salmon fillets- one per person
2 teaspoons black and white sesame seeds

Miso Glaze- makes enough for 2-4 fillets depending on how generous you are feeling with glaze!
1 1/2 tablespoon miso, preferably white miso
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon brown sugar

Turn Grill on to med- high heat. Line baking tray with baking paper and place salmon fillets on.
Make glaze by mixing the glaze ingredients together until smooth consistency. Spread glaze mixture on top of salmon fillets then sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Place under grill for about 8-10 minutes, or until just cooked through. It should just give when pressed gently.

Serve with some rice or noodles and a good side of freshly steamed greens.

Note- I use udon noodles which take about ten minutes to cook. To keep within my 20 minute meal, I start cooking the noodles before preparing salmon. I then use a steamer filled with greens placed on top of noodles to cook at same time.

I also think this would be lovely broken up once cooked and served in a miso broth with noodles and veggies too as a soup alternative!

Have you a quick and simple mid week meal 
your family enjoys??

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Discovering your style….

We are currently renting and I have to say, I cannot wait to buy our next home and start properly nesting and decorating it again. Decorating, so it really is our home and reflects us as a family. A home that is practical, cosy, comfy, colourful and is filled with bits and bobs that tell our story.

In the meantime, I turn to pinterest to put together snippets of my dream house to be. Below are some of my favourite images for living, kitchen and bedrooms. Links to images can be found via here.

In case you can't tell- I love a neutral base to start with and layer up with lots of colour and texture- gorgeous floor rugs, cushions, bed linen, simple furniture pieces (in raw form or splashed with some colour) and artwork. I love raw timber and old mixed in with new. I can't go past a feature wall and as you can see light is a must and lots of greenery (inside and out!). Thats the great thing about creating mood boards- you can really discover your own style and draw on inspiration from so many beautiful images.

Are you a pinterest addict???

Monday, 7 July 2014

Starting the week with…..Orange & Yoghurt Cake!

Gosh, the weeks are just flying past… wont be long now until we start seeing (dare I say…) Christmas decorations up in the shops and told that it is only (so long) until the big man in red visits!

We woke up this morning to the most magical sunny winter's day. The sunshine just zaps me with energy, even when Im feeling so worn out. So, our bags are unpacked from a few days away, a zillion loads of washing almost washed and hung out (yes…outside on the clothesline and not inside in our makeshift chinese style laundry in living room) to swing in the wind and dry with natural sunlight and warmth. The house is still a mess but to be expected with three little monkeys running around. We have been painting this morning and playing barbie princess games. And we also baked using some oranges from our tree in the back yard- something yummy to look forward to after lunch and sleeps x

Orange & Yoghurt Cake
4 eggs
2 cups caster sugar
3 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup natural yoghurt
Juice of 2 medium sized oranges
Zest of 2 oranges- half for cake mix and remaining half to sprinkle on top of cake before baking
1 tablespoon of brown sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a 23cm baking tin and put aside.
Beat together eggs and sugar until light and 'fluffy'. Then add other ingredients and mix until combined well. Pour mixture into prepared tin. Sprinkle over remaining half of zest and the brown sugar. This will make the cake look darker on top but also give it a sweet crispy top too! Place in oven to bake for about 45 minutes- or until golden on top.

A lovely moist cake which can be eaten as is or with some yoghurt with a dash of honey.

Hope you are all having a lovely day too xx

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

In My Kitchen- July 2014

Well, its the first of July, and time again to join in with Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial and share what's going on in my kitchen. My first thought to whats in my kitchen, is always a big mess…but Im not going to share a photo of that. Rather, here below are the nice things going on!

In my Kitchen this month are these delicious and incredibly perfect looking avocados grown by local farmers, Katrina & Tim Myers from Barham Avocados. I visited their farm last week and Katrina very kindly gave these to me to take home. If you live in Victoria, NSW or Queensland you can order online and have these delivered to you within 24 hours of being picked off the tree. We ate our first one a few days ago and my husband declared it was the best avocado he has ever eaten- big call, I know, but I agree with him-they are so fresh and taste amazing! These are the Bacon variety. They have a very thin skin and have a light flavour yet quite creamy. The bacons have all been picked and delivered but the next batch of avocados will be ready to pick and pack soon. They also grow hass, fuerte and reed varieties. Check out their website and if you get a chance, order some- they seriously are fantastic! We have been enjoying fresh avo on grain toast (sprinkled with crispy fried pancetta instead of salt) and  home made guacamole (I love this recipe from my friend Catherine at Famhouse Home).

In My Kitchen is this Tessa Kiros Cookbook- Limoncello and Linen Water. Tessa is one of my favourite cooks and I love her books for her storytelling, beautiful styling and recipes that are just pure home cooking. This book is filled with lots of italian based recipes. This is my third Tessa book and they really are more like  coffee table books- mine aren't but rather food stained from being used quite a bit…..but that's a good thing I think! 

In my kitchen was a lonesome celeriac, so I made some soup. Celeriac, Pancetta and Thyme soup to be precise. Perfect for a cold winter's day and was whipped up in half an hour. To make, pan fry 100g sliced pancetta until crispy. Remove and put aside for later. Add a dob of butter to the same saucepan and sautee slowly one diced onion, a bay leaf and a few stalks of thyme (stem and leaves) for about ten minutes. Add one chopped up celeriac (skin removed)and cook for another few mins. Then pour in 850ml chicken stock and simmer for ten minutes or until celeriac has cooked through. Once cooked, remove bay leaf and thyme. Puree veggie mix and add some cream, salt and pepper to taste. Pour into bowl or mug, add some cream and a drizzle of olive oil. Then  a sprinkle with some pancetta crumbs and fresh thyme. This made enough for a serving of two so double for a family! I dont tend to season so much with salt as the pancetta is salty enough. Really is yum and easy!

In my kitchen are lemons from our tree which are now ready to pick and eat (hooray!!!). So, the kids and I have been baking quite a bit and cooking lots of lemon dishes. We made some lemon curd and friands a few weeks ago and this week we made this lemon syrup cake which is a family favourite.

In my Kitchen are some jars of poached quinces, sweet pickled peppers and bread and butter cucumbers and some fig jam. I cleaned out our freezer and found figs which I had put away last summer. There was a lot bottles and jars but Ive given some away to family and friends.

In my kitchen….is freshly made juice. This one is my current favourite- juice of 3 apples, 150ml cranberry juice, 125g frozen blueberries and 1 tablespoon of LSA. I juice the apples first then add remaining ingredients and blend. Its fresh and tasty and it apparently promotes flat tummies! Tastes good and flat tummy…win win I say!

In my kitchen are these vintage Villeroy & Boch egg poachers which I bought on Ebay several years ago. I love the colours and used them not just for eggs but also for chocolate mousse , puddings, etc. I must remember to use them more often!

Whats going on in your kitchen this month? 

Please pop over to Celia's blog where you can have a look at more kitchens around the world!