Sunday, 20 December 2015


Just over a week ago, my friend Emma and I left Melbourne for a five day trip to Apollo Bay.
I slept over at Emma's house the night before we left and it was the first time I'd seen her in over 10 months. We departed her house at about 10am the next morning and I just have to mention that while we were waiting for our train we ate the best dumplings I've probably ever had.

After roughly eight hours of travelling, we had arrived in Apollo Bay and were checking into our hostel. We stayed at the YHA Eco Hostel, chosen both for the price and the good reviews, and in no way were we disappointed. Neither Emma nor I had ever stayed in a hostel before so we were pretty much expecting the worst - especially after hearing hostel horror stories from family members and pieces online - but this hostel was as clean as any hotel, the people were super friendly (yet not too friendly), happy to help and I didn't feel like my belongings were in any way unsafe, although of course that didnt stop me from taking all the precautions!

While we were eating dinner the first night (massive bowls of pasta), we were sitting on a deck just outside the kitchen and a guy a few years older than us came outside and spoke to us. It turned out he was also vegan and was pretty chuffed about the fact that at that moment in time and space, 100% of the people sitting/standing on that deck were vegan. I guess it was pretty cool.

Day 2 of our trip was cool and cloudy, so we decided to rug up and go for a walk through Marengo to Shelly beach.
Of course I managed to completely forget about sunscreen until we were back in Apollo Bay and my usually-very-pale-face was well on it's way to becoming Belthazor (aka Cole's red-faced demon form from 'Charmed').

Beach - what more can I say

The trail from Marengo to Shelly beach
The rocks here were amazing! Very slippery too
The lighting isn't great here but I felt like I had to show at least one photo of myself hahaha
The thing I love most about Apollo Bay is that you have the beach one way and these beautiful hills the other, unique compared to other beach towns along the Great Ocean Road
As we were eating dinner that night - do all interesting things happen during food time or do we just eat 24/7? - we were swarmed by seagulls and for a moment there I was genuinely scared. Probably more than a moment considering birds are very near the top of my 'things to be scared of' list. Luckily, Emma had no problem channeling her inner demon and protecting our chips from being bird-napped.

After chips we went for a walk along the beach and the water was soo beautiful

Day 3 was a very chill day. I didn't feel too great due to the suburn on my face and the fact that I had been consistently layering my face with any sort of moisturiser I could find. It left me feeling sluggish, although I suppose that momentary relief was worth it at the time. I did naht want a peely face.
We stayed in our room pretty much all day, aside from being temporarily locked out, until we decided to go for a 'walk' up to Mariner's Lookout. I put the word 'walk' in quotation marks because that isn't exactly how we got there...
According the the receptionist at our hostel, it was about an hours walk each way, up and down a steep hill, but we had to do something that day. Maybe two minutes into the walk, a taxi drove past and all it took was one look at eachother and we were on our way, cruising up the hill in a yellow taxi - at a slightly alarming speed, might I add.
The view from the lookout was really nice, we could see all of Apollo Bay + more, and once returning from our walk (yep, we actually managed to walk back) we had a quick look at the view from the top of our hostel before retiring to our room to play Animal Crossing, like the adults we are.

The view from Mariner's Lookout
A sheep we saw on the way back from the lookout! I snapped probably like twenty photos of it's bum and like four of it's face - this is the money shot

The last two days were relatively similar, there wasn't heaps to do without a car or a bike, so on our last night we both got an icypole (the sorbet place was closed, unfortunately) and had a bit of a laugh while *attempting* to exercise, and pretty much all of the next day was spent travelling. It also included me not feeling so great on the bus ride back, losing my wallet (which held I sterling silver toe ring I bought) and some interesting characters on the train - one of whom legitimately sounded like a pimp.
Three things I have taken away from this trip are:

  1. Do not forget to be sun safe, even/especially when it's cloudy!! (This is one I already knew, but clearly it needed reinforcement)
  2. Wheely bags/backpacks will greatly improve your quality of life. My brother of course took my suitcase the day before I needed it, so I was stuck with lugging around a heavy suitcase in my hand - painful and impractical, don't do it.
  3. Sweet chilli sauce has a lot of sugar - we went temporarily mad.
Sorry if this was super long, I had so much to write about. I also have heaps more photos to share so I may or may not do a second post mainly with photos and not much writing (I always find that those sort of posts keep my attention longer too)

ME (Belthazor)

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


This is a really simple recipe, and it doesn't require many unordinary ingredients that you wouldn't already have in the cupboard!

What you'll need:
  • 150g brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar for both batches, I think either light or dark would work fine)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup (maple syrup should be fine too)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground clove
  • 190g butter substitute (I use Nuttelex)
  • 1 small tsp bicarb soda
  • 450g plain flour
  • Icing sugar + water (for easy icing)
1. Combine all the ingredients together, either on the stove or just in a mixing bowl (like I did), making sure to sift the flower. However, if you're choosing to mix them on the stove, remove the mixture from the heat and then add the flour.

Note: Add extra spices if you'd like a stronger flavour! I think I will next time.
First batch

2. This is what the dough should look like after everything is combined. It should be firm, so you may need to add more flour. Cover the bowl with glad wrap and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

First batch

3. After you've taken the dough out of the fridge, spread some flour on your workbench and your rolling pin so that the dough won't stick to them, you will need to keep adding more as you go. Find some cookie cutters (I used gingerbread men, candy canes and Christmas trees) and pop them on a tray ready to be put into the oven. You can preheat the oven, in fact most recipes would say you should but I always forget and they turn out fiiiine, to 180 degrees Celsius and bake the cookies for 10 - 15 minutes. 

First batch
Here are my cookies, just out of the oven!
Note: It can be hard to tell whether they're done or not when you take them out because they will still be a bit soft (they harden up once they've cooled for a bit) but resist the urge to leave them in for just a little bit longer! That's what always stumps me and then they end up burning. In fact, that may or may not have happened today...

Second batch
SO. I made a second batch of cookies and you can probably tell from the photos that they're slightly different from the first one.
In the original batch, I had to use blackstrap molasses instead of golden syrup, despite the fact that I can't STAND molasses, oh my God. Even the smell.
I was hoping it wouldn't be noticeable once the cookies were out of the oven but I decided that while the dough was in the fridge, I would go up the street, buy some golden syrup and make another batch of cookies, because who wants gingerbread cookies that taste like sewerage? (No offence intended if you really like molasses hahah)
I used the same process and all other ingredients were the same, but I think the second batch is definitely better than the first, although everyone else in my house seems to like the first just fine, so maybe it's just dependent on personal taste - I still suggest golden syrup though.

I simply used icing sugar mixed with water to decorate these (just add icing sugar and water to your desired consistency - more icing sugar compared to water = thicker mixture) but obviously you can do whatever decorations you want! Food colouring is always fun too.
I didn't bother icing the first batch, mainly because I was tired but also because I wasn't as emotionally invested in those ones hahah.

So have fun baking and Merry Christmas!!