Friday, 29 August 2014

Friday baking-Banana & Walnut Loaf

Somehow in our house over the past few weeks we have had an over supply of bananas. We usually add a bunch into the trolley each food shop, but we have been putting more in the trolley than the little banana fairies are consuming at home.

Normally I make muffins- each batch varies with whatever might be in pantry- choc chips, chia seeds, LSA, nuts, etc. Muffins are very popular in our house and moreso with me as it means I can leave them on the bench and let the kids help themselves. Plus they are super easy to freeze and even better to defrost when a certain unorganised mother requires a snack to feed hungary kids.

Today, however, I needed a change, especially considering there are quite a few bananas to bake through…..this loaf is for the grown ups although the little ones loved it equally.

Simple Banana & Walnut Loaf
1 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
125g melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
Optional-Handful of roughly chopped walnuts- to sprinkle on top!

Grease loaf tin and line with baking paper. Preheat oven to 160 deg celcius.
Mix wet ingredients together then add to dry ingredients. Mix well then pour into baking tin. Sprinkle roughly chopped walnuts on top.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown on top and skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool on rack.

Best served whilst warm and lathered with butter and a glass of milk!
If the loaf happens to last longer then a day, it makes for a yummy breakfast- toasted if you please- lathered in butter or some yoghurt and honey drizzled over the top….and coffee xx

How do you use up your old bananas??
Any favourite recipes?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

My afternoon at Wallingford's Flower School!

With the smell of spring so close now, I thought I would share some photos taken from my friend Lisa's, lovely flower workshops held a few weeks ago.

Lisa is a local florist here in Echuca, which if you have been reading this blog, you will have possibly read a post or two (here and here) about her lovely business, Wallingford Flowers. In between the busy wedding seasons, Lisa is now running various flower workshops catering for anyone interested in learning the art of floral arranging (and many other fun flowery things too!!). As a qualified teacher in the field, teamed with her 26 years experience in the industry, Lisa is bursting with knowledge and ideas. Her classes are fun, creative and very colourful!

Sunday week ago a group of ladies came together out at Lisa's Old Dairy to learn a few tips from the expert herself about putting together pretty jam jar bouquets. A wonderful way to escape for a few hours and be surrounded in the sunlit dairy by gorgeous fresh anemones, ranunculus, hyacinths, jonquils plus many other pickings from Lisa's garden.

Over champagne and nibblies, much chatter, laughter and lots of lovely flowers to play with, Lisa guided us through the basics of caring for cut flowers and then some simple techniques for putting together posies to scatter around your home.

Such a fun afternoon, meeting some new friends and going home with our creations feeling very motivated to ensure that I keep our house decked out with some pretty bouquets scattered around the house using what flowers and foliage I can find from the garden. Such a nice alternative use for the zillion jam jars I have sitting in my pantry too!!!

For more information on the Wallingford Flower School, head over to Wallingford Flowers Facebook page, 'like' and stay up to date on upcoming workshops.
You can also follow on Instagram (@wallingfordflowers), visit the website or contact Lisa on 0414 709376.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Shopping Local with Flic Ward from Hide Road

Ive always had a bit of a love affair for anything made from a hide! Im not sure if has anything to do with the hide rug that lay on the living room of my grandparents house (a momento of a prize bullock from the year I was born) and a place where all the grandchildren rolled and played over for our entire childhood. Perhaps it is just the inner country girl within me and having grown up on a sheep and cattle property. I love the feel, the smell and that every hide is individual. And, they are made to last forever!

Fast forward twenty or so years, my first year of uni and saving up to buy an Ella Maiden hide bag… pride and joy! A few years later I stumbled across another hide find… my poco profile cow hide filafax (sentimentally named Sydney- reflective of my uni years spent living there!). Another twenty years on, and both these items are still treasured pieces. As for my grandparents hide rug, its still around too.

So, whilst scrolling through instagram a few months ago, I discovered Hide Road- a wonderful australian owned business selling gorgeous locally made purses, clutches, belts and totes. Flic Ward is a busy Mum from Narromine who has also always had a love for anything hide. Having always wanted to have her own business selling her own hide designs, Flic started Hide Road at the beginning of this year. Already her business is growing very quickly and word spreading through the social media pipelines!  

Today, we are fortunate to have Flic drop by and tell us more about her wonderful business. As you will see below, she is one stylish, busy mummy and has a great sense of humour! A lovely story how a country mum followed her passion and now juggling a growing business and the joys of family life.

 Hide Road goodies available at Ruby Maine, Narromine.

 Now available at The Moree Gallery!

Flic Ward on Hide Road-

I often say that the beauty of the beast is in a bag and I have found lately, that every time I see a cow, I see a clutch!

I am what my mother calls a ‘straight line stitcher’ and a ‘non sewer’!   I can go straight backwards and forwards and that’s it!   I know what I want but just can’t do it myself – so I have a great team I work with, my belts are all made locally in Dubbo and my bags are made in various locations around NSW – they are all cut, stitched, loving put together all by hand.   I have effectively tapped into a wealth of knowledge, talent and work ethic that is so amazing and SO Australian!

I painstakingly choose every hide (it is so important to me that they are 100% Australian). I agonize over the leather for the straps. I tick off the zips and buckles we use. My darling Mum (who can sew!) makes the calico dust bags. My dear Dad made the first HIDE ROAD leather stamp. My husband has been know to sit up with me into the wee hours packing orders and stamping tags and the lining is a bit of a group effort between my children and I!

This might be an idea, that has been in my head for years but it is most definitely my family's business!

I started Hide Road in January this year.  We have not been going that long but we have big plans and worldwide domination might have been mentioned!

I really felt it was time to do something for me. I’ve been a stay home mum for almost 8 years now and I love that role; for me there is nothing better than raising your family - my children Macarthur (7), Topsy (5) & Dusty (3) are seriously the best things in the world, but my days of nappy changing, warming bottles and toilet training are over.    I wanted something that could evolve, grow and be flexible enough to fit in with my family and P&F meetings.

I have been so fortunate with FB & Instagram- all of my stockists and sales have come directly from that (we are currently stocked in about 10 different stores throughout VIC & NSW) and our website is growing in visitor numbers and purchases all the time and we sell out quite quickly which baffles and excites me!

Our new season range is coming off in the next couple of months; there will be bright coloured leathers, a few different tote bags and of course more hide!

I am always on the look out for opportunities, more stores to stock (wholesales enquiries are welcome please email  You can find us at the Handmade Markets in October in Canberra and hopefully a few more markets in November and December (I can’t say yet as I am waiting on to hear back!)

I am having loads of fun with HR and that, I have discovered is the most important thing!

The infamous tote…..sigh!

1. How would describe your style?
I definitely dress for comfort (three little kids don’t allow for anything else!).  I’m always in flats or ankle boots, skinny leg jeans, t-shirts etc (you get the picture!) and I am not afraid of colour, be it fluro pink ballets or bright yellow earrings. 

I’d like to think I am a little stylish – but now that I have said it out loud I just don’t know!!   My friend just described me as a ‘trendy mum’ not sure I would agree but I am flattered – and I might as well run with that!

2. Three things you can't live without at the moment?
My Hide Road Tote! Holds everything I need, as well as everything my 3yr old son Dusty needs!
Skinny Legs Jeans – they are the go to for me everyday in winter.
My limited edition Ray Bans from last season, the coolest things I have ever bought.
And Coffee!

3. What do you love most about your business?
Every day I get to play with a product (hide) that I have had a life long obsession with.   I still have the hide wallet my mum gave me 20 odd years ago and I still love it.

I am quite a picky person and I like I have created something that to me is perfect!  And I do get quite a kick out of selling it – thinking and knowing that someone else is like me and LOVES the HR product as much as I do!

It also is about fulfilling a dream- that little idea that has been toying in the back of my head for years is now a product that people and other stores buy, and that is pretty amazing!

4. Diamonds or Pearls?
 Diamonds…… always diamonds!

5. Favourite online store/s?
FASHION - boring I know, but I shop at lot at
KIDS – you can’t beat

6.  What do you love most about living in the country?
 I grew up in Gunnedah in Northern NSW so I am born and bred country girl. I spent 10 years or so in Sydney and I loved it, but I love the space and way of life that comes with country living. I now live in Narromine with my husband and three babies and I would not give it up for a second. I live in a beautiful and vibrant community and that is what I love most about country life.

7. Best coffee from...
Ruby Maine in Narromine. They serve Toby’s Estate and its brilliant, so so yummy!

8. Favourite items from your winter wardrobe?
Probably my Maya McQueen ankle boots – whenever I wear them I feel a little fancy!

9. An average day for you entails….
A three year old that is out of bed at an ungodly hour and two other children who like to sleep in!  School lunch box packing that I try every morning to reinvent and make interesting (and fail!). School drop off, coffee and more coffee. A few hours in the HR office packing orders and working on new designs and new ideas!   On the days when Dusty (my youngest) is not at preschool or daycare, then there will be a few hours spent amongst it all playing farms and ‘what’s the time Mr. wolf!’, school pick up, soccer & footy training, boring homework, dinner and bed!   And of course housework and laundry!

10. Most favourite way to unwind?
Sundays at home with my children and my husband, just us hanging out together.
And…Maybe a glass of wine at the end of each of day!

Some more gorgeous HR goodness available from Paper Pear in Wagga Wagga

From Hide Road with love xx

For your dose of some good hide 'deliciousness', pop over to Hide Road and have a look!
So many lovely pieces that will have you adding to your wish list…..perfect timing with Christmas only a few more months away!

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Images courtesy of Hide Road Facebook page