the adventures of melly; sans sugar

A year ago, if someone had suggested that I “quit sugar” I would have literally dropped to the floor and rolled around laughing. Me, the eat-a-full-bag-of-gummy-bears-maybe-two-in-one-sitting, quit sugar? Yeah right! But after reading Sweet Poison and being kinda obsessed with Sarah Wilson’s blog and books and instagram for a while, I thought it made complete sense to join her I Quit Sugar (#IQS) 8 week program (#IQS8WP) when it came on offer. When I say sugar I mean fructose. The evil stuff that effects and is processed bio-chemically the same in your body whether its from a can of Coke, a handful of peanut M&Ms or from fruit.

So, how’s it going? you might ask….

Week 1

Piece of cake, well not literally of course, is what I thought when I read the weekly newsletter that included all the details for the first week ahead; meal plan, shopping list and big Sunday cook-up. It actually was really enjoyable to have someone else plan out the week’s meals and they were damn good! I can’t begin to describe how delicious the Paleo Inside-Out Bread is. The Sunday Cook-Up was fun! So much food that I had to set up guard to save Jay eating it all! And the aromas wafting out of my kitchen…think whole roasted chicken, pumpkin & sweet potato puree, 2 loaves of paleo bread and paleo muesli.

The instructions were to gently & gradually wean myself from the sweet stuff; ditch sugar in my coffee (1 point for Melly; I dont take sugar in my coffee), eat a piece of whole fruit instead of drinking a glass of juice (1 point for Melly; I generally dont drink fruit juice unless Jay’s BFF comes to stay in which case I buy almost every version of expensive juice under the sun because that’s our Husbands-BFF-and-wife thing) and opt for whole-fat dairy instead of skim because manufacturers add sugar to low-fat dairy to create the same full-fat flavour. I know. Bastards! (0 points for Melly but ditching the skim I would go!).

my rendition of Sarah Wilson's Paleo Inside Out Bread YUUUUUM!

my rendition of Sarah Wilson’s Paleo Inside Out Bread YUUUUUM!

Week 2

This is where it got interesting. (1) No fruit for 4 weeks! To baseline our no-sugar-bodies so that we can reintroduce later. (2) Make better alcohol choices ie: a glass of red instead of my precious sparkling (WTF?!) and strictly no fizzy drink mixers like Coke or Lemonade (no issue there, yuck!) or dessert wine, which actually was harder to ignore than I expected as I went out to dinner with friends and they all shared a really nice, expensive bottle of champers AND dessert wine. Dammit.

But my face looked thinner and I felt less bloated. And the paleo muesli….oh the paleo muesli…..

beautiful little clusters of deliciousness; paleo muesli

beautiful little clusters of deliciousness; paleo muesli

Week 3

Okay. So I might have had a little slip. Maybe a big slip. My darling best male friends, King & Dobbo, have been feeling a little stressed about our upcoming separation from them (you’d think we were moving countries and not just a little apartment move 15 minutes away), so they’ve been saturating themselves in our company. We had a Friday night out dancing (champagne), Saturday dinner out (more champagne and I may have had a scoop of icecream floating in a shot of Frangelico),  mid-week dinner at their place to help them choose a feature wall paint colour (yet more champagne, this time a fancy bottle of Perrier-Jouët that they had been saving to give me on my birthday in October) and then breakfast on Sunday which was more like brunch which involved a brioche beef burger. Grains AND sugar. Save me Jebus.

my fave men; Dobbo, Jay & King

my fave men; Dobbo, Jay & King

That gets us to Week 4…

Today, quite literally, I would murder my own grandmother for a giant gummy python. Let’s put it down to me coming off an epic crash from last week and the fact that week 4 includes a 5-day detox from all that is good in the world ie: no fruit, coffee, alcohol, grains, and did I mention no coffee??? Did I also mention that today is Day 1 of Week 4? Did I mention no coffee or alcohol? Oh, how will I survive…

On the upside, this is what I had for breakfast – jealous?

paleo bread with avocado & feta smash and a poachie

paleo bread with avocado & feta smash and a poachie

So, this week, amongst the stress of packing, moving, going to my night course and preparing for some upcoming weekend project changes, I will be getting back on track. No grains (yay for Happy Paleo Melly!), no caffeine, no fructose & no debauchery of any kind.

Hope you have a great week too!

my delightful IQS book

my delightful IQS book

 

 

sorry not sorry

I don’t know about you, but this ad rings so true for me.
it’s time that we women stop apologising when its not required.
confidence and ownership is the takeaway.

autumn camping | wollondilly river

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Wollondilly river

There is something so remarkably satisfying about immersing yourself into nature. All that fresh clean air, lack of technology and being in the outdoors simply refreshes and recharges our souls.

On Saturday we woke at the crack of dawn to head out of Sydney, a couple of hours south in the Southern Highlands near Mittagong, to spend the night camping with a few friends.

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the road trip south

The six of us rallied for breakfast at a cute little cafe called The Shaggy Cow in Mittagong, before a quick shopping trip to the local Big W for last minute supplies before heading into the wilderness.

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Tunnel mushroom bruschetta at The Shaggy Cow

The “road” to Wollondilly River Station is barely a dirt lane, big enough for one car, that snakes precariously around a mountain range down into a lush green valley. I’ve never felt so yuppie city slicker in our little camping convoy with two silver Audi’s and a new Jeep Cherokee, but we had so much fun and didn’t miss the comforts of home too much! Neen & Jared had never camped before, while Ian & Pete are seasoned veterans, Jay loves the outdoors and I dug deep into my childhood camping repertoire and managed not to whinge once! We all had the most wonderful time setting up our camp site, meandering along the rocky banks of the river, sitting by the fire mesmerised by the flames, flitting between chatting & sitting in comfortable silence, cooking on the open flames, toasting marshmallows, drinking hot apple cider and making up stories about the crazy Station owner!

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our little camp site

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the fire pit

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the boys; (L-R) Jared, Pete, Jay & Ian

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relaxing around the fire

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Harley & his new camping buddy Max

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view over the valley

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red cliffs

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rock face

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view over the valley

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Harley by the fire

After 36 hours of sun, fire, nature, camp-fire cooking, mulled wine, no running water or showers, giggles, good company & pit toilets we returned back to the land of mobile coverage & internet! Vowing that next time we’re going for a few extra nights!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

humpday

Happy Wednesday!

Delighted to wake up early and head out the door with my little furry shadow, Harley my overexcited dog, we went for a jog around Blackwattle Bay.

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Sunrise over Blackwattle Bay and ANZAC Bridge

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One of my fave Morton Bay Fig trees

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Palm trees & the moon…

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Takeaway coffee from Mano Espresso in Glebe

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

citrus roast chicken | recipe

I love these Autumn days.
Cool, sunny weather encourages us to get outside and stroll barefoot on the grass and then head back into the warm comfort of the kitchen when the temperature & sun goes down.

Ive gotten the slow-cooker out of storage and have been making a few more roasts in the oven. I love autumn food!

Here is a perfect roast chicken with a zesty difference,
perfect for Sunday roast!

recipe via Etsy

whole roasted citrus chicken

whole roasted citrus chicken

Citrus-Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken
1.5 tablespoons sea salt
2 teaspoons mild paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
Zest of two Meyer lemons
Zest of one orange

spices

spices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the sea salt, paprika, black pepper and citrus zests. Use your fingers to break up the zest and incorporate with the dry spices.

Rinse and dry the chicken. Apply the rub. You may have some leftover, depending on the size of the chicken. Carefully place the chicken in a roasting pan.

zest

rub

Quarter the lemons and oranges. Nestle some in the cavity of the bird, and tuck the rest into the roasting pan. If desired, truss the legs together with kitchen twine. It’s not necessary, but it’s a nice touch and keeps everything secure.

Let the bird sit on the counter, coming to room temperature, for about an hour. (The bird will cook more evenly if it goes into the oven from room temperature than from cold.)

pre-roast

Roast the chicken at 400 degrees for about an hour. It should be done when a thermometer registers 165 degrees at the thickest part of the thigh.

Remove the chicken from the oven, and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

All photos from Kimberley Hasselbrink

best dressed of the 2014 met gala

The Costume Institute Awards held at the NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art is the Oscars of the fashion world.

These ladies are my pick for Best Dressed!

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(L) Blake Lively in Gucci & (R) Rihanna in Stella McCartney

BLAKE!!!!!!! I am so obsessed with her!

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(L) Emma Stone in Thakoon & (R) Charlize Theron in Dior

Honorable Mentions

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(L) Selena Gomez in DVF (C) Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa & (R) Cara Delevingne in Stella McCartney

Worst Dressed goes to Katie Holmes who I can’t even post a picture of because you just can’t unsee that level of hideousness.

flashback friday | Füssen, Germany

I had almost forgotten about this place until I stumbled across
the photos on my laptop.
Ten seconds later I was right back there,
in the most picturesque little town,
like something out of a Bavarian fairytale,
at the foothill of Neuschwanstein Castle.

Fussen main street AKA Hauptstraße

Fussen main street AKA Hauptstraße (my original photo)

We arrived after a short two hour drive from my Tante & Onkel’s (Aunt & Uncle) place in Kulmbach, where we had stayed the night before. I had last seen them when I was 11 years old when they came to visit us in Australia. It was the best experience to rock up to their house and try and catch up in broken English and poorly executed German!

Forggensee lake

Forggensee lake (my original photo)

A cute little house we walked past

A cute little house we walked past (my original photo)

We took a stroll along lake Forggensee, which is a man-made lake to help prevent flooding in the surrounding basin from the melted snow following winter. We passed gorgeous Bavianesque houses.

Fussen at twilight

Fussen at twilight (pic via pinterest)

As with all German towns, Fussen has historic cobblestone streets, perfect for walking along after dinner on a Spring evening.

Fussen backstreets (pic via Pinterest)

Fussen backstreets (pic via Pinterest)

Forggensee jetty

Forggensee jetty (my original photo)

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)

As with most of the places we stayed on our European trip, we picked Hotel Hirsch from website Wotif. It was a gorgeous stay!

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)

Jay, checking out an antique cupboard in the hallway of Hotel Hirsch

My hubby Jay, checking out an antique cupboard in the hallway of Hotel Hirsch

After a long day sightseeing we got a little tipsy on schnapps and took silly photos in the antique-filled hotel hallways…

This throne was totally made for me! Hotel Hirsch

This throne was totally made for me! Hotel Hirsch

Don’t judge my ensemble…it was 2007!

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) This was our room!

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) This was our room!

entrance into our room

entrance into our room (my original photo)

The bed at Hotel Hirsch; the most beautiful bed in the world!

The bed at Hotel Hirsch; the most beautiful bed in the world! (my original photo)

Best.Room.Ever.

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) restaurant

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) restaurant

We ate lenchen spaetzle, just like my Oma made, in this gorgeous little booth!

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) rooftop

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) rooftop

Jay & I mucking our about  at Hotel Hirsch

Jay & I mucking our about at Hotel Hirsch

The crazy Williams kids!

Neuschwanstein from a distance

Neuschwanstein from a distance (my original photo)

The next morning we went up the mountain to visit the famous Schloss Neuschwanstein! You may recognise it from the Disney logo!

The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to the operatic composer Richard Wagner. It took 20-odd years to build and is made of oak beams, cement & brick with limestone cladding that actually whitens as it ages.

Horse-drawn cart at Neuschwanstein

Horse-drawn cart at Neuschwanstein (my original photo)

view from inside Neuschwanstein

view from inside Neuschwanstein (my original photo)

I now have a bad case of wanderlust!