Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Lets go to the sea-side

View of Brisbane city from Kangaroo Point
When living in Brisbane I'm only a short drive away from the beach - something I have been taking advantage of since we finally got ourselves a car late last year. There are so many beautiful beaches to explore, shells to pick and sea-foam to jump in.

I am actually not a very big fan of sand, or swimming in the ocean, but I absolutely LOVE going for walks along the beach, collecting shells or looking at marine-life, listening to the ocean while relaxing with a glass of bubbles, and watching the sun rise or set <3

And as such I'd like to share some of my most precious moments the past months with you! If you're already living in Australia I hope you remember to take the time to enjoy this beauty so easily available, and if you're planning a holiday or thinking of moving here you sure have something to look forward to! :)

I have written a post about magical moments here in Australia previously, which also has some photos of amazing beaches and nature in Australia :)

Day trip to Sunshine Coast

Sunday afternoon at one of the many beaches in Gold Coast

A quick swim at Currumbin Beach

Beautiful Currumbin Beach with views of Surfers Paradise

Afternoon in beautiful Byron Bay

Exploring Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast

Pieces of a reef washed up on the beach in Surfers Paradise

Do you have any favourite beaches in Australia, or that you'd like to visit?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

New closets to outgrow (we moved house!)

View of the river and city from the park nearby
It's been a while since I've been active on this blog now, and I think it's time to change that! Life in Brisbane is still exciting, there's lots of things to explore and I continue to be amazed by the beauty of this country.

We recently moved house and I can say that I finally feel like we're somewhere I can truly call home. I absolutely LOVE our new place and am enjoying seeing it all come together as we unpack. 

Our new home is right next to a beautiful park (with subsequently beautiful birds, sunsets and river-walks), and there's a grocery store, pharmacy and post office just across the road. Being close to the river, we're also a short stroll from the CityCat and, as such, the city. I couldn't be happier! :D

Click on the photos for larger images :)

Front balcony and the 2 upstairs bedrooms
Livingroom and hallway
Kitchen, dining room and back balcony
There are also 2 bathrooms, both with bathtubs, that I forgot to take photos of! Love it! :D

And last, a few photos of our wonderful Tigerpus, who couldn't be happier with her new home! <3

Beautiful and very deadly

Have you made any exciting changes in 2014 so far? 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Winter in bloom - magical moments

Taken on the Gold Coast
Brisbane is such a beautiful city! It's nature can be oh so stunning, and I would like to share some photos from a few of the places I have visited this winter, and some magical moments I've had with mother nature! It feels strange to call it winter when it has been warmer than an average summer in Norway, but I can't say that I mind, really.

There are so many things here in Brisbane that still seem pretty exotic to me. Especially all the birds flying around, and all the amazing beaches just an hour's drive from the city. We do have some pretty amazing beaches where I'm from in Norway as well, just not in the same scale! You can click on the images to enlarge! <3

View from Mount Coot-tha and exploring the Botanical Gardens at the bottom of the Mountain

The Botanical Gardens at Mount Coot-tha

On our way to, and in, Ballina

Stunning and amazing Ballina! One of my favourite spots!

Byron Bay, Mount Nebo and chillaxing at home :)

It's the beginning of spring now, and the Jacarandas have just started to bloom. They're probably my favourite tree here in Brisbane - so beautiful. Here's a photo I took at New Farm Park last spring :)

Do you have any favourite nature moments from Australia? Or whatever country you currently reside in? What are they?

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Scandinavian Festival

Viking stand!
This weekend I had an absolutely amazing Sunday, surrounded by fellow Vikings! :) It was the yearly Scandinavian Festival in Brisbane, with over 50 stalls of Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Icelandic food and products. It's the first time I've been there - as I only became aware of it this year, and it's something I had been looking forward to for quite some time. It was wonderful! And oh so extremely crowded!

It was one of those perfect sunny days with no clouds in sight - and boy does it get hot when you're bumping into and trying to find your way through hundreds of fellow Scandinavians, all searching for those longed for Scandinavian delicacies (I had a hot dog and waffles!) and lots of other stuff we normally can't get hold of as easily on this side of the planet. It's an excellent way of discovering little businesses dealing with Scandinavian products that you otherwise would never know about!

Delish hot-dog!
Obviously a lot of people were eager to stock up on some Scandinavian food, because the line for Swedish Goodies was one of the longest I've seen in a while - and when I say line I'm not talking about some polite British-style shit where everyone respectfully form an ACTUAL line and await patiently in turn... oh no. I'm talking about a typical Scandinavian line i.e. a big pile of people pushing and trying to get in front of each other, utter chaos and absolutely no regard for anything but themselves. Of course, I was in front. But who could blame anyone for pushing a bit when brown cheese, Norvegia, crisp-bread, kantarell-stock and salty licorice is at stake! Just look at all my loots! <3 My super man even got me a very fitting apron! ;)

Chocolate, cheese and traditional hand-painted plates! :)
There was also some solid Scandinavian entertainment, of course, with singing and dancing and traditional instruments.

Some traditional music and dance
The Scandinavian Festival is a joint effort held by the local clubs of all the Scandinavian countries, including the Norwegian Club of Queensland. I have been considering getting in touch with some other Norwegian expats here in Brisbane, but haven't really gotten that far yet. It was good to se them all gathered in a sea of blond hair and blue eyes at the festival though! ;) hehe.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

iHerb favourites

It's been several years since I started shopping through iHerb, especially when it comes to various health foods, tea and organic beauty products.

Honestly, the fact that most of the products you get on iHerb are organic, and that it's a vegan's paradise, was never really my top reason for shopping there. It is, however, a very nice bonus and I have noted that especially the beauty products have made my hair and skin healthier than ever before.

The main reason for shopping at iherb, however, has been the low prices, quality and range of products you get access to. Over the years I have found some wonderful products and I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you guys! :)

Especially now that I've moved to Australia, I find that it's a great way of getting products delivered to my door that I can't really find here or that would cost a fortune otherwise. As long as you keep the weight of every parcel under 4 pounds (iHerb will easily show you how much everything weighs) it only cost $4-6 in shipping as well!

If you're a first time buyer and looking to try some of these amazing products - make sure to use the code AGA408 for up to $10 discount on your first order! :)

Yogi Tea
I absolutely love Yogi tea! As opposed to a lot of other tea you can actually taste what is says on the label, it's caffeine free and a great guilt-free treat at any time during the day!

My absolute favourite is Egyptian Licorice, but I also stock up on Chai Rooibos and Bedtime frequently.

How divine are these! My all time favourite is the Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate, but Toffee & Almonds in Milk Chocolate is really yummy too! They're also great as a little something extra when giving a present, and everyone I've given them to have loved them!

Atkins Bars
I used to buy more of these when I lived in Norway, where one bar cost the same as five on iHerb, but they're good value when living in Australia too. I love Peanut Butter Cups and find that it's a nice little snack for when you're craving something sweet! Since they're not that big I don't feel as guilty afterwards either :)

Garlic Gold
I use the Italian Herb Nuggets for almost everything when cooking! This spice is wonderful sprinkled over salads, over cooked vegetables, on cheese-melts or over pasta. I usually add it to a dish as a finishing touch and love the flavour it adds!
Le Saunier de Camargue
I can't say enough how amazing this salt, Fleur De Sel, is! It's a bit expensive, but oh so worth every cent! I sprinkle it over dishes just before serving and it really brings out those extra flavours. It's also amazing on eggs, vegetables and over roasted potatoes!

Frontier Natural
I have a few of the spices from Frontier and love all of them! The Apple Pie Spice is just divine over desserts, oatmeal or even toast! I also have their Taco Seasoning and Ceylon Cinnamon (which is a bit sweeter than "regular" cinnamon) and they seem to disappear way to quickly! ;)

One of my all-time favourites from iHerb is Vanilla Stevia! I have tried a few from different brands, and this is definitely the one I like the best. It's sweet, but with all that vanilla flavour you want. I add 4-5 drops to my tea, in coffee (especially good for home-made iced coffee), to pancake batter, in plain yoghurt and when baking!

Bell Plantation PB2
I have both the regular Powdered Peanut Butter and the Powdered Peanut Butter with Premium Chocolate and I LOVE both of them! Adding a couple of table spoons to your pancake mixture makes for divine peanut butter pancakes, it works especially well when making cookies, and can be added to smoothies, yoghurt and even ice cream! I love the stuff!

Walden Farms
Calorie Free Pancake Syrup that tastes good??? Yup! You heard me right! Totally guilt free and really, really yummy on top of pancakes (of course), waffles, ice-cream (though it looks a bit odd when it freezes), in yoghurt and probably good for baking as well.

Miracle Noodle
Honestly, I've only tried the Angel Hair Miracle Noodle once. I liked it, but haven't bought it again because I thought it was a bit of a hassle for cooking some noodles. However, they are totally calorie free, behaved like noodles and work really well in dishes where they're not the main ingredient.

Desert Essence
My absolute favourite brand for anything to do with my hair! I swear to their Red Raspberry Shampoo and Conditioner - it has made my hair so much healthier! And it smells divine! I use the 100% Pure Jojoba oil for styling my curls (just a little bit in your palms and then massage through your hair gently - be careful not to use too much though!), in addition to the Coconut Soft Curls Cream for when I want extra defined curls. I also LOVE the Tea Tree Oil Facial Cleansing Pads.

Another favourite for hair and body. The L.A. Hold Hair Spritz is the best hair spray I've ever had! It gives a strong hold, but the hair stays natural and it's easy to comb through afterwards.

Alba Botanica
The best (and cheapest) sunscreen I've ever had is the Hawaiian Sunscreen SPF 45. It's easy to apply, absorbs quickly, water proof for 80 minutes and it has never failed to protect me! I even use it as a moisturizer sometimes. They also have an amazing shaving cream that I have become totally reliant on. The Papaya Mango Moisturizing Cream Shave ensures you never have a cut again! I've also used their Very Emolient Cream Shave and it's really good too.

The Mineral Terra Tints Lip Balm from Alba Botanica is also one of my favourites. I have it in the colour Blaze, which is a dark red, and I absolutely love it as an alternative to lipstick! It stays on well, cost next to nothing and moisturizes at the same time! Similarly, their Shimmering Natural Colour Gloss is really nice - although I don't wear it much if it's windy as my hair gets stuck in it!

I use this rose water Original Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera as a make-up remover, to cleanse my skin in the morning before moisturizing or to refresh my skin during the day. It's so gentle, feels good on the skin, moisturizes gently and smells really nice.

Queen Helene
I have used this Mint Julep Masque for a while and it works really well. My skin feels nice and soft afterwards, and I've also noticed that it helps against black spots and my T-zone. Plus, it smells really nice!

Kiss my Face
I've heard a lot of good stuff about this brand and decided to get the Peppermint Foot Creme. It's amazing! I've used it with these Sustainable Moisture Socks from Eco Tools, whom I also love, with great success! Highly recommended for tired feet!

Madre Labs
I got this Nighttime Recovery Cream on one of iHerb's specials (only $11) and wish I remembered to put it on more often! It leaves my skin nice and soft and I always feel a bit fresher in the morning. I'm definitely going to try to use this more often in the future!

Nubian Heritage
I don't use this African Black Soap myself, but my boyfriend loves it! So does my father and any other male I know that's tried it. It has a really nice smell, moisturizes and also looks a bit manly ;) Great gift for any man in the house (or yourself!).

Badger Company
And last, but not least my dear friend the Anti-Bug Balm! Mosquitos love me and I get eaten up alive if I ever sit outside after dark - but this balm actually fixes all of that. It smells like lemon, easy to put on and is nice and soft on the skin. It is a bit like wearing a lemon moisturizer, but as far as anti-mosquito stuff goes it's the best repellant I've tried! And it's cute.

I do have a few more products that I love from iHerb as well, especially protein powder, phsyllium husk, almond flour and other stuff that I like to use for baking, but I don't bake that often anymore.

Do you have any iHerb favourites that I should know about?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The five-hearted Iron Lady

Every Friday and Saturday morning something absolutely amazing happens in Brisbane. I could hardly believe it when I first heard that this Norwegian guy, Christian, had started the most wonderful business on the other side of the planet: Waffles! Five delicious hearts of perfect, lightly brown goodness covered in sweet brown cheese and raspberry jam. Can you even think of a better way to start the weekend?

The location does change a bit, but usually you'll find The Iron Ladies, as they've named their business, operating out of Two Trees in West End. They do the most delicious coffee that goes oh so well with these yummy waffles! Friendly staff, good atmosphere and just enough quirkiness.

Personally, I stay true to my Norwegian heritage and refuse to have my waffle with anything but brown cheese, jam or sour cream, but they do also serve up some pretty interesting and adventurous toppings. How about spicy pinapple, mango chutney, mint and cucumber raita? Or a waffle dog? Or maybe some peanut butter, banana and chocolate sauce? The menu changes every week and I even heard rumors of anchovies finding their way on top of one of the waffles once - although not with any great success. 

Two Trees on Urbanspoon
Most importantly though, this wonderful human being - Christian - also made me aware that the Swiss Gourmet in West End actually takes in, and sells, Norwegian brown cheese! :D Hooray!!! :D It cost a small fortune, but is worth every single cent!

If you haven't tried it yourself, I seriously suggest you change that situation asap. Just do it. I know you want to! Simply knowing that there is brown cheese available when and if I get a craving has brought great calmness into my life.

What is your favourite waffle topping?