The Old Ways of Butchers and Bakers

When you go grocery shopping do you go to the supermarket for your basics then on to the butcher for meat, the baker for bread etc.? Or do you just do all your shopping at the supermarket?

It’s such a nice idea to support your local butcher and baker and go to them but in reality it’s just so convenient to do it all in one stop. My heart sinks when I see articles like this about a local butcher in Perth just not getting enough business to stay alive, or walk into a shopping centre and see the fruit and veg shop which has been there as long as you can remember, all closed down.

At the shopping centre close to me there is a Leonards (chicken), a very gourmet looking butcher, a bakers delight and a Coles. I’ve bought from Leonards once (Christmas time for a turkey), the rest of the times I go straight to Coles. What a missed opportunity! Is it really that much harder to go to the butcher aswell? We used to, before Coles and Woolworths got all speccy with their bakeries and butchers.

I am happy with my weekly (best case scenario) trip to the farmers market in Kalamunda for my fruit and veg because I know I’m supporting local farmers and getting the best stuff! We really do notice the difference when I don’t go. But I understand how its difficult to even do that, I go so often because its time when Mum and I have together each week, a major added benefit for making the trip.

I know, very well, that I get a much better product if I go to the market or a specialty shop, to the people to which their product is their art. You can ask for what you want also, butchers can make up a rolled roast or the exact type of steak you like, and can help when you don’t know which cut to use for a particular dish.

Think of how wonderful and inspiring our shopping centres would be if we all went to that little bit more effort. Perhaps the standard Bakers Delight and Leonards franchise stores would be accompanied by a marketplace of locally run butchers, preserves, bread, cakes, and fruit and veg.

It’s not likely to happen if we just say that we should. Shopping centres and local businesses need to think of ways to make it easier. Local butchers could offer online shopping and delivery, a company could gather all the local producers together and offer an online service which collects the things you want from different producers for you.

Shopping centres could have a card which you pick up on the way in the shops, you swipe it as you shop and then pay for all your items from all the different places in one transaction. I would love that!

Do you have a butcher or baker who you go to all the time? A baker who greets you by name and hands you your usual sourdough freeform rye loaf cut extra extra thick, without you even saying a word? A butcher who knows that thursday night is lamb chop night at your place? or am I dreaming of a decade ago? Is our laziness and adoration of convenience getting the better of us?


New Year Inspiration: Breathing space

Desks are boring. I can’t see a long future ahead which involves me sitting at a desk in an office building, so landing at my desk yesterday morning was a bit of an uninspiring moment. I love my job but I despise ‘having’ to be at my desk for 8 hours per day. Just doesn’t really work for me.

But until I can break free I try to make my working space as comfy as I can. Starting up for the new year is a great time to add some colour and inspiration to your working space.

Plants are the best thing you can do to make your desk or office a bit more liveable. A 2007 Norweigian study found that there was a statistically reliable association between plants in the office environment and incidences of sick leave, perceived stress and productivity  after controlling for variables such as gender, age, physical workplace factors (e.g., noise, temperature, lighting, air quality), and psychosocial workplace factors (demands, control, social support).

Flowers Generate Happiness. Having flowers around the home and office greatly improves mood and reduces the likelihood of stress-related depression. Flowers and ornamental plants increase levels of positive energy and help people feel secure and relaxed. Check out gorgeous  PlantLifeBalance site for some more info and links to other studies.

At my last job I covered up the bright blue dividers behind my computer with sheets of cool wrapping paper  (not stuff you get on a roll, those thick sheets you can get from Borders, Planet Books) like wall paper. Sounds daft, actually looked pretty good, cheerful. A pattern is what you want, nothing too crazy. I might go something grey/black and geometric next.

Desk, before.

Desk, before.

Desk, After

Desk, After

 At my new job my divider is a much more pleasant grey colour (sounds like it wouldn’t be nicer than blue but there you go).

My lovely peacelilly, pictured above, did not survive the move between offices :( I am still mourning. It meant a lot to me as it was an emotionally significant plant for many reasons. It really was a surprise it lasted as long as it did, because I generally kill everything I try to help live (lessons here). Go figure, I have an environmental science degree with a major in botany… I can watch things grow on their own accord.

So! New desk and I’m cultivating a small selection of succulents which are much harder to kill off. The peacelilly didn’t like much light so probably wouldn’t be too happy here anyway.

Succulents, and pretty roses I bought myself at the markets over the weekend.

Succulents, and pretty roses I bought myself at the markets over the weekend.

I know it may seem a little show-off-ish to bring roses into work myself, given they were not delivered by some secret admirer but they were dying in the heat at home and I wasnt going to get to fully appreciate them before they died. So I brought them in, judge away!

They are lovely, picked them up from a grower from Gidgegannup at the Kalamunda Farmers Market on Sunday for $10 for the dozen. Can’t be unhappy about that!

In addition I have a lovely tea pot and tea cup, water bottle, Jurlique moisturising hand sanitiser, and a cupboard full of different teas in lovely glass jars. All essentials of course.

Going to brighten up your desk for the new year? Send me in a photo! Best photo received by 9 am 18/1/2012 wins a 50ml Jurlique moisturising hand sanitiser, perfect for your desk. (

(I was not sponsored for this post)

New Year, New Inspiration

Looking for a burst of wild inspiration for the new year? Maybe it’s time to take on something new!

Here’s a few ideas for some extracurricular things in Perth that you might be interested in taking on;

UWA extension – One of my personal favourites, you can sign up for classes in everything from cheese making to rocket science or do a course online too (languages, adobe programs and other work related skills). I did a Supervision and Management one not that long ago and it was a great experience and because it’s from UWA it looks relatively legit on the CV. Here is a link to the program to get you excited.

Central TAFE Short Courses – How does a french class after work sound? or perhaps guitar lessons or fabric screen printing? You can even learn how to sew your own knickers on monday nights. The campus is only a 5-10 minute walk from St Georges Tce.

Polytechnic West – TAFE Short Courses – These guys have a few campuses around Perth including Bentley, Victoria Park and Midland. With languages, singing, massage, art, cooking, I’m sure you’ll find something there that pikes your interest.

Challenger – TAFE Short Courses – for those of you in the south of Perth (Freo, Applecross, Bibra Lake, Murdoch, Rockingham, Mandurah) Challenger TAFE have short courses near you. A bit of an odd mix of things on offer here.

Fancy doing something creative but don’t want to be told what to do? Check out Art Jamming with The Art Things. Pippa runs workshops in the park (currently in South Perth or Kalamunda) where you can go along and throw some paint at a canvas, and dance or picnic or whatever else you want to do whilst you’re at it. Great fun.

Want to learn how to give your hunny toe curling massage? Jenny Sherwood runs workshops and classes from a her studio on Canning Hwy, Victoria Park. She’s a bit sharp but a powerful teacher. Look out for coupons/deals for this one.

How about Yoga? Yeah its excercise but if you’ve never tried it before it’s quite a learning curve. Perfect for expanding your point of view. Best yoga teacher I’ve found in Perth is Sue Byrne. runs classes throughout the week in Cannington.

Also check out scoopon et al. for deals, recently I’ve seen rock climbing, and scuba diving.

Any others I’ve missed? Send them through!

As mentioned in my previous post, I’m about to start sketching classes (enrolments open tomorrow), can’t wait!

What are you taking on in 2013?



Zig Zag Festival, Kalamunda

This Sunday marks the annual Zig Zag Festival in Kalamunda.

Its a great festival because all of the kids activities are free (and they are great too)!

11am til 8pm Sunday 28th October 2012, Stirk Park Kalamunda.

I’ll be there dishing our gory fake wounds to the chidren (cuts, buises, burns and other gruseome things) all without pain or payment required.

My Mum will be there also togive you a taste of Art Jamming. Never heard of it? Its your chance to throw some paint at a canvas or create something delicate and pretty without any “art teachers” or “rules”, freedom! Perfect for those with a deep seated love of art but without the time/money/organsiation to go to art classes or have supplies at home (no clean up either!). Art Jamming is free too!

Also, its farmers market day too so you can get your fruit and veg AND a knife wound and come out smiling.

Come and check it out and have fun in the beautiful sunshine (blistering heat).

Photos of the frivolities to come next week :)


Necessiteas – Green Olive Tea

Green Olive Tea, sounds disgusting doesn’t it? When in fact its actually rather delicious! That’s because there is most definitely no green olives in it. Instead its green tea with only the leaves of the olive tree (and a few other special ingredients .. I’ve locked in peppermint but not sure on the rest). This beautiful tea is from Necessiteas, handmade in Jarrahdale and available for purchase at the Kalamunda Farmers Market on Sunday mornings.

Olive Leaf is especially good for you, especially in terms of  immunity (fighting cold and flu), cardiovascular health and antioxidant free radical fighting but also inflammation, anti-viral/bacterial and energy boosting . I don’t know about you but the taking of olive leaf extract in liquid form is just never going to be a sustainable part of my daily routine, and not just because I’m really bad at routine but also because  its just not delicious.

I was unable to find any resource which compared the benefits of extract versus tea, however I’d wager that the concentration of oleanoic acid in tea is lower than extract. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

Nevertheless, whilst I do look out for things that are good for me and is super healthy, I will not force something into my diet which is not enjoyable. This tea is wonderful.

Its a smooth blend which is refreshing without being sharp. The olive leaf gives it an earthy flavour which is not overpowering or bitter, sometimes thick leaved plants make for very tannin strong tea.   I find it to be more comforting than straight peppermint or green tea, its well rounded.

It benefits from a quick first rinse before brewing, I tend to do this to all green teas after finding it takes out some of the bitterness (definitely not necessary for white tea). All you need to do is pour  a small amount of boiled water over the leaves, throw that water out, and then continue filling your cup. Its probably not necessary for everyone but if you find green tea sometimes a little strong its worth a go.

A wonderful tea which is well worth checking out!

Muddy Fingerprints

Its Walk the Zig Zag time again!

The theme of this years Festival is “Forests”, because it is the United Nations International Year of Forests, one of my favourite topics!

The structure will be similar to my Sustainability Discovery Trail from last year, however this year we will be focussing on getting people out in the bush, the barriers, the risks, and protecting the environment from all those heffalups!

I have used our friend Captain Planet as structural inspiration… here he is (just in case you forgot about the hair)

The activity stations are themed; Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Heart. At each station there is something to play with, look for or have a go at. When you complete an activty or find the hidden object you get a stamp.

Once all activites are completed the lucky participant will “graduate” as a certified Planet Explorer (ready for adventure in the bush) and be presented with a badge of honour. (obviously I wanted “Planeteer” but the powers above decided it was better not to be sued by Captain Planet)

I am currently playing around with the activites and their information boards, have a look and tell me what you think! Its all a draft at this point so its all subject to change (especially formatting). I welcome any ideas you have.

I kept it a bit simpler than last year, less reading and more action because I wanted to incorporate more hands on activities which meant less time for reading. I dont want it to be too drawn out becuase it needs to be short enough for people to do as they walk past. If its too big of a time commitment people won’t hang around. Hopefully it will engage the adult audience in the same way despite having less interesting things to read. I’m trying to make it more ‘give it a go’ than obvious learning. Last year I observed that it was too easy for kids to stand back, not touch anything and (semi)engage from a distance. Fair enough too, the activities mainly involved looking into the bush from the path. This year hands will be muddied!

To gage its effectiveness I’ve designed some that involve getting your hands in the dirt and others which are more passive so we can see the differences in response and involvement.