Monday, 31 March 2008

It's springtime in some corners of the world

, originally uploaded by H@Ru.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Power foods: What to put in the shopping trolley each week

There are some foods which should form the mainstay of any supermarket shop. They are the 'power foods' - the ones which are packed full of good things. Below, fitness trainer Tinika van Dort sets out what you should stack in your trolley.

Broccoli: high in fibre, broccoli will keep your body regular. Steam, boil or microwave until tender so you retain vitamin C and folate.

Spinach: packed full of goodness spinach contains betacarotene, fibre, vitamin C, E and K and several of the vitamin B group. Spinach also contains potassium, magnesium a little iron and two antioxidants. Include spinach in your diet 3 to 4 times a week – throw a handful of baby spinach leaves in to a stir-fry or whip up a salad.

Blueberries: Blueberries contain plant pigments that destroy free radicals that damage DNA. A punnet of blue berries contains very little calories and virtually no fat however is full of vitamins and minerals.

Soy beans: Containing natural plant hormones that mimic the female hormone oestrogen and as such are valuable to women going through menopause. It can also lowers bad LDL cholesterol and prevents arteries from clotting and provides fibre, omega-3 fats, protein and various minerals.

Almonds: Containing essential nutrients, a handful of almonds provides nearly 80% of your daily vitamin E intake – a key antioxidant. Almonds are also known to lower blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease so make these your favourite afternoon snack.

Green tea: My favourite! Studies show that green tea can help to reduce heart problems, may prevent several cancers and maintain bone density in older people. The antioxidants group flavonoids in green tea are responsible for this. Green tea is a low caffeine hot beverage option, having one third to half the caffeine in coffee.

Salmon: Omega-3 fats from oil fish are the ultimate anti-ageing nutrient. They assist in maintaining eye sight, lower blood pressure and triglycerides. Eat salmon or other oily fish (fresh or canned) 2 to 3 times a week.

Lamb: Lean lamb contains vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid as well as providing a healthy source of protein. Lamb also contains iron and zinc which prevents anaemia and builds a strong immune system respectively.

Eggs: One of the few food sources which contain vitamin D, a vitamin that most young people get through sunshine. Vitamin D boosts your immune system and works with calcium to prevent osteoporosis.

Yoghurt: More easily digested and absorbed than milk, yoghurt contains protein, vitamin B (especially riboflavin needed for eyes and skin) and calcium.

Oats: Oats are full of soluble fibre which lowers cholesterol, they have a low GI index of 42 which delivers carbohydrates slowly to the blood stream , they contain vitamin B (especially thiamin and niacin) as well as minerals including phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. This is the grain for you.

Rye: A much better option that white bread alternatives, rye is another low GI option, it is high in soluble fibre and contains more antioxidants that wheat including vitamin E. Next time you are in the supermarket pop some rye bread in to your shopping trolley.

Extra virgin olive oil:
containing good ‘monounsaturated’ fats, this is the best heart protector option. Spend a little more in the supermarket and choose a cold pressed, green tinged olive oil – as it has not been heated it contains more antioxidants which thin the blood and keep it free flowing. Add it to salads and char grilled veggies.

Some other items to consider include cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, garlic and lemon, these all contain properties which can aid a healthy body and taste good too. Enjoy.

If you have any recipes containing these foods why not send email them to: and we would be happy to share them.

Power foods: What to put in the shopping trolley each week

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Artists market this Friday

Don't forget if you're in the area that this Friday the Beaumaris Art Group is holding another of its successful Twilight Artists Market.
I have found both of these artworks, during Beaumaris Art Group sales. The watercolour is by local artist Valda Cumming and the rather whimsical wood, tin and paint creation is also by a local artist (although I'm not sure of his name). What I do know is that Ned Kelly was part of his ancestry and he enjoys exploring the Ned Kelly story in his work (and Ned's dog obviously).

Anyway there will be lots of work for sale, including sculpture, textiles, mosaic, felting, jewellery, basket weaving, creative clothing and handmade cards. Where: The Village Green, Beaumaris Art Group Studios, Community Centre, 84 Reserve Rd, Beaumaris. When: Friday March 28, 4-8pm.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Green living ideas blog roundup

Green Roof, originally uploaded by pnwra. Here's a lovely example of a green roof from Canada.
Picture courtesy: Flickr.

I've read some interesting blog posts on green living ideas recently - many of them from Melbourne writers. So I thought I would do a tour of some of the great ideas I've come across.

Over at Republic of Moreland, talk has been about green roofs - or groofs as they are sometimes known as. The Republic has been experimenting with a green rooftop - first attempt was on top of the chook shed - and there is a nice little guide to where to find more information. Take a look here.

Over at Loobylu, Claire recently posted on what it was like to go a month without spending money on anything but necessities. I don't know about you, but I've still not given myself this challenge, although it might be a healthy way to break my serious magazine and takeaway coffee addiction. Claire went the whole month of February. Take a look here.

At Simply Living, it's been all about the chook and I am always inspired when I read this blog about what can be achieved in a typical backyard. For all you need to know about chooks in the garden and how many eggs they produce, have a look here.

And over at Nikki Shell, I always enjoy reading about Nikki's amazing recipes and am inspired by how much she creates from scratch, including her bread recipes. Take a look here.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Subscribe away (or Baysidemama gets techno savvy)

Ok, Baysidemama has finally got with the technology program and installed a subscriber option - see top right. So get going and subscribe if you so desire!

Our neighbor's tree offers a canopy of summer shade (above)

Autumn's clear blue skies (above)

And finally, finally, finally, it may have been officially autumn for some time now, however in the last few days it has started to show its seasonal face.

Days are beginning with a chill in the air, followed by those wonderful sunny days with clear skies and slightly colder nights.

This magnificent tree, pictured top, is in our neighbour's yard but we enjoy its shade. And I noticed over the last week its leaves are starting to just turn a gentle shade of yellow.

I'm just not a hot weather person, so I say bring on the season!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

All creatures great and small...and scary and deadly too

This is one of the more wonderful visitors we have had to our urban backyards over the years.

In our previous home, every Spring a family of blue tongue lizards would emerge, complete with new babies, and sun themselves on our paved areas. One one occasion, one of the lizards got stuck down a clogged drainage area which was flooding fast, so we swooped it up and let it recover in the kids' cubbyhouse overnight.

They were always wonderful to watch, and used to like eating strawberries which the neighbours would feed the family as they went door to door. A zoologist lived up the road and would tend to their war wounds from time to time.

But I can't say all my encounters with wildlife have been calm ones over the years. In fact, when I look back, I may well have had more than my share of not so great encounters.

I have been bitten by an emu in Adelaide;
Found myself floating above a poisonous sea snake in Fiji (and of course falling off the lilo in shock);
Walked through a swarm of angry wasps in Cairns - well we were walking and the swarm just kind of appeared;
Been centimetres away from stepping on a scorpion in bare feet in Bali - and luckily pushed sideways at the last moment;
Seen way too many deadly snacks in built up places;
Swum through a swarm (pack, school?) of blue bottle jelly fish on the Sunshine Coast - and been doused in vinegar to relieve the pain;
And sustained a very weird and long-lasting spider bite on the leg which took a LONG time to heal.

Don't get me wrong, I am actually a big lover of nature and wildlife - although these days I am overly cautious about snakes and snake prone areas.

Friday, 21 March 2008

More Easter making fun

In the last few days the kids have had fun making these foil painted easter eggs. We got the idea from Kids Craft Weekly, a regular online newsletter full of good craft ideas.

We just cut out egg sized pieces of cardboard, wrapped them in kitchen foil, then painted with acrylics and used the end of the paintbrush to make patterns. Very easy. The kids then wanted to turn them in to mobiles.

Here's the link to Kids Craft Weekly:

Friday, 14 March 2008

What's on this weekend

There are quite a few things going on this weekend - but plan ahead carefully, it's going to be mightly hot again.
The Magnolia Fair boutique craft fair is on at Brighton Town Hall today and Saturday.
There will be lots of great handmade and hand-designed product.

The Keysborough Animal Shelter is once again experiencing a crisis in unwanted cat numbers and is holding another special cat adoption day - with special low adoption fees - to try and find homes for some of its special cats.

Beaumaris North Primary School has its mega fete on tomorrow (Saturday) from 9am, where there will also be a special art exhibition and sales. Entry via Wood Street, Beaumaris.

And the popular En Plein Air art competition will feature an exhibition of entries at Sandy Beach Community Centre on Saturday afternoon.

In between all that activity, try and fit in a nice cooling dip in the ocean, or a least some down time in a shaded corner!

Magnolia Square:

Keysborough Animal Shelter:

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Early autumn by the Bay

How great has the early evening weather been this weekend? There is the burnished fullness of early autumn to the coastline - the water is a deep steely blue and warm enough to be swimming until darkness (like these happy campers on Sunday night at Red Bluff Cliff, Black Rock, pictured above).

The evening light is starting to take on a soft brown hue.
The gardens have shed their summer blooms yet are still alive with the sounds of birds and insects and people are stepping out in the evenings - inhaling the last of the warm gentle breezes.

For more images from the weekend, click on the Flickr badge in the right hand column.

Happy long weekend and roll on more lovely autumn weather!

Friday, 7 March 2008

Magnolia Square (and handmade heaven) is coming Bayside

Last November I ventured up to Malvern to the Magnolia Square Christmas fair and discovered a host of fantastic new retailers, designers and craftspeople.

Magnolia Square describes itself as a boutique retail fair and draws together a range of amazing wares - from childrenswear to art, homewares and all sorts of decorative effects for kids - dolls, toys, beanbags, fabulous library bags.

The difference is these products are original, mainly handcrafted or designed and not mass produced.

The good news is that in 2008 Magnolia Square is heading Bayside, to Brighton Town Hall to be exact. There are a host of retailers selling their wares. One of the businesses which caught my eye last year was Red Wagon, which sells a range of children's products, mostly vintage inspired, including dolls, name tags and lovely little cases.

So today Baysidemama profiles Danni, the brains behind Red Wagon, about family, inspiration and managing her growing business. And stay tuned, over the next week, Baysidemama will showcase some more of Magnolia Square.

When and how did Red Wagon start?
The business started about three years ago. I started painting as a method of relaxation, after getting treatment for OCD and severe post natal depression from the birth of my two boys. First the painting started, then I went on to doing cards and stationary, then before I knew it, I found myself sewing and the story continues. Who knows what I will do next.

Who is behind the label?
Just me. I run the whole business and hand make 95% of my products.

How extensive is your range now?
My range is quite big now, I bring in new items when I can, and slowly faze out the old.

Your most popular products?
All my products sell very well, my dolls have become a big seller, the dolls can be made especially for the customer, choosing their own hair, skin, clothing colour and even the name. They are a beautiful keepsake items and my keepsake boxes are always very popular.

What appeals to people about the new trend towards handmade and smaller craft retailers?
Well I think quality, individuality, and close customer relations is a major factor. I think personally with what I do....people love the way they can have a little input into what they are giving, and put there own personal touch with names etc.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
I would have to say all my creative inspiration comes from everything vintage, I love it!! And of course the three most special boys in my life, hubby Dave, and sons Josh 9, and Owen 4, they are my inspiration for life itself!

As a mother and business owner, what does a typical day involve?
A typical day for me starts at about 6am, in the office generally getting orders packed in boxes ready for the courier, then around 7.30 I have to concentrate on getting the boys ready for school/kinder, do breakfast, make lunches, then in the car and dropping off. Then back home and its constant phone calls, emails, orders and the most important thing, my production line. I have to make each order that comes in, then before I know it..... it's off to school/kinder pick up again! Once the kids are in bed I then work in my office until about 11.30pm. Ground hog day is the best way to sum it up. I work full-time on the weekend, as my husband can take control off the kids, and ohh did I forget to mention that cooking, cleaning, washing etc slots in between all the mayhem. I would say life is pretty full on, but I love it.

(Ed's note: a collective WOW, I imagine, from all our Mum readers at this point).

What will be the main Red Wagon products we can expect to see at Magnolia Square?
The focus will be on my dolls, and my new wooden blocks, and all the usual red wagon goodies will be there too.

Where is Red Wagon based and do you have a website?
We are in Narre Warren South, Victoria.

Magnolia Square will be on at Brighton Town Hall on March 13, 14 and 15. For information on products and times visit:

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Mum in profile: Turning nap time into a new career

One Melbourne Mum used her children's nap time to produce a winning short story. Interview: Clare Kennedy.

A tale of murder and mayhem set at a kindergarten – written by a Melbourne Mum, with a vivid imagination - has taken out the HarperCollins first prize in the Sisters of Crime 14th Scarlet Stiletto Awards.

The story 'Kill-dead-garten,' written by Kew mother-of-two Aoife Clifford (pictured above left), was the result of a New Year’s Eve resolution to enter a short story competition.

Motivated by concern that she was forgetting how to spell, Clifford was “gobsmacked” when her first short story since secondary school won first prize.

The national short story competition, which offers $3100 in prizes, attracted over 163 entries.

Clifford, who trained as a lawyer and worked as a union official with the National Union of Workers, wrote the story during her children’s nap-times.

Though she hadn’t written anything except emails since she left work to raise a family, the words came easily. “I’d thought about it for eight months,” she says, “and wanted to write about something that I know well.”

The story’s kindergarten setting, with its familiar backdrop of poster paint and play dough, was a natural choice.

“I don’t know anything about murder, but I have been on the kinder committee this last year and it’s taken up a lot of time,” she laughs.

Clifford received $750 and a trophy for her efforts: a scarlet stiletto shoe with a steel heel plunging into a perspex mount.

Clifford is one writer to watch. Previous winners include crime-writer Tara Moss and short story specialist Cate Kennedy.

For information about the 15th Scarlet Stiletto in 2008 Awards go to