Hotel Reviews

Airbnb Review – Mancuso Country Cottage, Metcalfe

For my birthday weekend, I wanted to go somewhere with our puppy Zoe. Unfortunately she gets severe car sickness, so where ever we decided we were going to had to be close.

I really love Kyneton, located just over an hour from our home in Melbourne. It is a beautiful, sleepy town with just the right amount on county feel to it.
Piper Street is where the best cafes are, beautiful homewares shops and also houses with their doors painted in bright colours!

So when I found a house located near Kyneton that was dog friendly, I knew that was the place for us!

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Pulling up at the house, you are greeted by the most quaint cottage around!

Inside consists of two rooms. A bedroom with fireplace, bar fridge and tv and a 2nd room which is the bathroom.

Although it’s not a 5 star hotel, it is extremely comfortable with everything you could possibly need. Especially in winter, thick blankets on the bed with electric blankets. The cottage also holds heat extremely well.

Some of the neighbours. I took the dog for a walk around the property on our first morning and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw an emu across the road! I thought I was dreaming, there was also an alpaca, sheep and a cow!

An extremely large spa tub was just want I needed! It was huge. Although, I didn’t want to waste water so I only filled it up a little.

The rest of the compact bathroom, again everything you could possibly need. The large sink doubles as a spot to wash any dishes and is large enough to do so.
The mirror is quite high, lucky we are tall-ish! Ha!

How cute are these retro glasses that were in the shack!

The front verandah, with a comfy lounge and a BBQ to the left. We were left with sufficient firewood too, however if we got too low there was more near the back shed.

So many places to sit and ponder, read a book and just take in the fresh country air.

Having a quick photo with my pup, Zoe. She absolutely loved it too, unfortunately we couldn’t let her off the leash as she doesn’t come back when we call her – still training her on that. Plus I wouldn’t want her to scare any of the resident cows.

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How cute is my pink hat! I picked that up from Alex Muir in Kyneton. One of the cutest interior shops I have ever been into. Alex is also lovely, well worth a visit!

The pup taking in the little creek down the bottom of the house. So many new smells for her to take in!


This well was built by the Chinese during the gold rush – an amazing piece of history on the land, a pleasant walk down the hill.

Our first Air BnB experience was so easy. We are so grateful for our hosts, who made the stay very comfortable and pleasant. The property was wonderful and I can’t wait to return! Hopefully sooner rather than later!

I had several questions about whether children could stay here, however I don’t think it would be possible as it is just the queen bed and not much room for any additional pullouts etc.

If you would like the link for the property, feel free to reach out. I would be more than happy to share this little slice of heaven.

Renee
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Food Photography, Recipes

Fig & Almond Olive Oil Cake

I was searching for recipes where I could utilise the delicious organic extra virgin olive oil we picked up while we were at the Grampians Olive Co a few weeks back.

I stumbled across this recipe online and instantly feel in love, especially since it didn’t call for any added sugar and that the honey was used as sweetener.

You can find a link to the website here.

I also loved how the recipe was fairly simple and that the only real expense is the almond meal (the recipe calls for almond flour).

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Here is what you will need to whip up this gorgeous and delicate cake.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup of Grampians Olive Co Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of almond meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 8-10 fresh figs, slice

Method

  1. Heat over to 180 degrees
  2. Use olive oil spray to grease the cake pan and line the tray with baking paper
  3. Gently whisk lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, olive oil,eggs and salt
  4. Add your almond meal and baking powder and continue to whisk till all combined
  5. Pour batter into your cake pan and place figs decoratively in tray
  6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, the top will go a lovely golden colour
  7. Once cool remove from cake pan

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This would be delicious with a thick cream and a drizzle of honey, the perfect dessert on a cold winters day!

Enjoy!

Renee

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Dining, Food Reviews

Breakfast at No.19 Society, Ascot Vale

No.19 Society in Ascot Vale has been doing the rounds lately with the Melbourne Foodies, and for good reason. Decked out with a stylish interior, fab coffee and instagram-worthy food shots, its one not to miss

No.19 Society is brought to you by the people behind Pinkie (my absolute fave) in Ivanhoe and St Rose in Essendon – Domenic and Diana Caruso.

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Coffee is by Five Senses and it’s good, very good. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the coffee as my Husband started drinking it before I could take a photo!

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I am actually in love with the coffee machine, matching the rest of the interior with pops of gold and beautiful in white.

Stunning interiors by creative directors, Biasol who are located in Cremorne, Victoria. Biasol also worked on the other cafes, Pinkie and St Rose.

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Alongside the concrete flooring and walls, you are met with gorgeous pops of turquoise from the seating that runs right alongside the right-hand side of the cafe. It’s a stunning colour!

What I also love is the use of plants. Just like Pinkie in Ivanhoe, there are plants everywhere here. You can see them hanging down from the kitchen space but also behind the register/coffee machine.

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We ordered the following dishes;

  • Chocolate Brioche French Toast
  • Corn fritters with bacon, cream fraiche and a poached egg

I ordered a side of haloumi for the fritters too as I had been craving it all week!

The Chocolate Brioche French Toast is all over Instagram at the moment, and I can see why. It’s absolutely stunning, presented in such a beautiful way. Highlighting the use of chocolate in several ways.

What was the best thing about it? Although it looks sickly sweet, it wasn’t!

I thoroughly enjoyed the pear, it was poached to perfection and nicely spiced.

The Corn fritters were presented as a large pancake size fritter, which sadly meant the middle wasn’t quite cooked. Perhaps if they were smaller in size, they may cook more evenly.

They were sitting on top of a corn puree, which lacked a little seasoning however it went really nicely with the fritters and the cream fraiche.

My poached egg was cooked perfectly, the perfect amount of gooeyness that you want the moment you cut into it!

Bacon was the perfect amount, and super tasty too!

I really enjoyed our breakfast and would be keen to pop in again shortly. I’ve got my eyes on the breakfast ramen – it looks so good!!!

Also, keeping with tradition, the smoothies look fab too. Lucky it’s only down the road from the Husband’s work so I’ll be able to pop in again soon!

Have you tried the No.19 Society? What’s your favourite dish?

Renee
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What's on Melbourne

My Blue Tea Event – Prahran Market

On Saturday I was invited to attend a private event with My Blue Tea, held at Prahran Market. I was introduced to Lee, the Founder of My Blue Tea and she walked us through the different ways you could use the powders in the kitchen.

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I love supporting small business’s and I thrive when I meet someone so passionate about what they are doing. You can see Lee and the team put so much effort into the afternoon, with a delicious spread of different foods from savoury to sweet prepared for us to enjoy.

img_5882.jpgThank you to my hand model, @georgiavolcano

We started with a sample of the Butterfly Blue Pea Flower Tea. Simply put, the Butterfly Blue Pea Flowers are brewed to get this gorgeous colour.

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We were then shown a very cool trick, where if you add lemon to the tea the water quickly turns from blue to purple. Very cool! Definitely one to show your visitors when they are over for afternoon tea.

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Lee spoke about the therapeutic benefits and how the tea can be used. The use of Butterfly Blue Pea Flower has been used for quite sometime, especially in Ayurveda, Asian and Middle Eastern Medicine due to it being an extremely potent antioxidant.

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You can purchase either a crushed powder or the actual Butterfly Blue Pea Flowers from the My Blue Tea Website ,as well as many other yummy powders such as Pandan, Hibiscus and Kaffir.

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Above is a capture of the very delicious Pandan Green Velvet cupcake, made using Pandan powder. In the background you will see what was a delicious Vegan Pandan Panna Cotta. Pandan can possibly assist with aches and pains – plus it tastes so good. I remember having a cocktail at Ms G’s in Potts Point Sydney, called What’s in your Pandan?

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The Blue Velvet Cupcakes were crowd favourites and I have linked the recipe from the My Blue Tea website here.

I feel anything with cream cheese is a winner, and these cupcakes….I think I will need to make up a batch!

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Also on offer were two ice teas, I didn’t get what was in them – I was too busy drinking them. I am sure though, you could make any infused combination using the Butterfly Blue Pea Flowers.

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I definitely had eaters regret with this stunning cheesecake – I didn’t have any! I was too full from all the other delicious sweets, I had no room left. My Husband, Jordan, did try it though and mentioned he loved it. It was the perfect consistency and shows just what you can do using the Butterfly Blue Pea Flower to naturally colour your foods.

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Chef running through how different dishes were made, especially the yummy vegan desserts.

img_6871A selfie with Lee before I headed home, cupcakes in hand. 

As I mentioned above, I love supporting brands passionate about their why. I absolutely loved meeting Lee, she radiated positivity! This is a great little Australian brand from Port Macquarie, and I’m glad to welcome another friend.

If you are looking for a natural way to colour your smoothies, desserts, salad etc then head over to My Blue Tea and check out the range. Lee also has a bunch of receipts up if you are needing any inspiration!

Instagram: @my.blue.tea
Website: http://www.mybluetea.com.au

Thank you again Lee and Team for having me!

Renee
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Dining

Brunch at Pinkie Ivanhoe

We had previously dined at Pinkie Ivanhoe a few weeks back and absolutely loved it. I mean how could you not, the interior is to die for – think pops of pink, my type of heaven!

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I also love the little tagline’s they have on everything, from coasters to the coffee cups and the signage. Its fun, something different and makes for some great photos!

I should mention, that while the takeaway coffee cups are the cutest, the coffee inside is also really good. While we are spoilt for choice in Melbourne for places to enjoy a good coffee, I really enjoy what Pinkie serves.

I am so in love with the interior at Pinkie. The designer did an amazing job combining pops of pink with the slate counters and concrete flooring. Inside is full of natural light, a photographer’s delight, and a mixture of live and fake (mostly live I’m told) plants hanging from the ceiling.

Seating is comfortable, and while the interior isn’t too big, you don’t feel too cramped nor does the noise levels bother you.

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Outdoors, I love the use of the wood to enclose the space without taking away the natural light. The outdoor area is dog friendly and they even have pink dishes for the doggies to enjoy some water out of while the fur-parents enjoy some food!

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Last time we visited Pinkie, I enjoyed the Schwarzenegger Smoothie (amazing!) and the Beetroot and Hibiscus Latte (so pretty!). My Husband enjoyed a Poke Bowl which he mentioned was quite tasty.

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I was extremely excited to be invited back to Pinkie, as this time I could actually enjoy solids and not just liquids!

Pinkie has a great menu, with something for everyone. Serving sizes are good and you won’t leave feeling hungry. I love that they put little spins on their dishes too. Quirky, like the rest of the cafe.

We started with ordering drinks. A Cappuccino for my Husband and a Coconut and Tumeric Latte for myself.

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I assumed the latte would have just come with normal milk so requested soy but was pleasantly surprised to learn they actually use coconut milk in the latte! Problem solved!

When it came time to order, it was pretty tough as everything sounded so good!
We settled on the following;

  • Sweet and Salty Pancakes
  • Salmon on Rye with Cream Cheese
  • The Cheeseburger

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Let’s start with the Sweet and Salty Pancakes, OMG! These look to be a fan favourite and I can see why, they are beautifully presented and taste AMAZING!

I loved how the pancakes weren’t too sweet. Sometimes you order pancakes and they can be so sickly sweet, not Pinkie’s – they are perfect! In between the pancakes were slices of banana and the most delicious salty white chocolate crumble.

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The Salmon on Rye with Cream Cheese was my favourite, one I didn’t even share with my Husband. I wanted it all to myself. Think perfectly cooked salmon and the perfect poached egg that oozed out gooey goodness when cut.

The dill and lemon were a great on the side and provided that extra zing. The dish was light but filling, as I am thinking about it now I really want to go back ASAP so I can enjoy it again!

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When I think about what to order, I think about how it will photograph (I’m all about that insta-life) and burgers are risky choice. Sometimes they just aren’t very attractive.

Well, not Pinkie’s Cheeseburger. Look at the juicy wagyu patty, melting cheese and Sriracha aioli, so good! The wagyu patty had a delicious blend of spices, and reminded me of Chinese sausage a little. It was just so juicy too.

The chips were crispy, and plentiful! The burger also came with bacon.

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A great shot below of the kitchen, my Husband loves being able to watch what is happening in there. Also, how beautiful are the glass squares!

With bellies full of delicious food, we ordered 2 final takeaway coffees – for photographic purposes haha and braved the Melbourne weather to get some final photos outside!

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Coffee in hand, over 100 photos taken we were finally ready to head home.

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Thank you for having us Pinkie, we absolutely loved it.

All the waiters were just so friendly and lovely to us. We can’t wait to return!

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I hope you enjoyed my Brunch review at Pinkie Ivanhoe!

As always, let me know any thoughts of feedback you have!

Link to my Zomato Review
Link to Pinkie Ivanhoe

Renee
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