Thursday, April 10, 2014

Win a family pass to the Sydney Royal Easter Show!

Brought to you by MILO
It's that time of year again! The Sydney Royal Easter Show is always a special event...whether you're there to see the animal exhibits, pick up a showbag (or 3), go on a ride, try out the fresh produce, or catch the're always in for a fabulous day out. This year it's even more special for MILO, as the iconic Australian brand is celebrating its 80th anniversary!
Did you know...MILO was first launched at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 1934. MILO was created for NestlĂ© by Australian food engineer Thomas Mayne. Since then, MILO hasn’t changed and continues to provide consumers with the same nutritional benefits and great MILO taste. MILO is still produced at the original production plant in Smithtown, a small regional town on the NSW mid-north coast...that's impressive considering how many manufacturers have headed overseas.
MILO is now loved and enjoyed both at home and abroad, and is sold in 40 countries world-wide. This year, to celebrate their 80th anniversary, MILO is returning to the place where it all began, and recreating the original 1934 Easter Show MILO Bar at this year’s show. The MILO Bar will provide visitors with a refreshing glass of MILO, and share some of the interesting history behind the brand.

If you're heading to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, make sure you pop into the MILO Bar and grab a cool glass of MILO to keep you going throughout the day. Sounds like the perfect break to me.

MILO is offering one lucky Life as we know reader the opportunity to win a family pass (2 adults, 2 children) to attend the Sydney Royal Easter Show!  To enter*, simply leave a comment below letting me know...

What is your favourite thing about the Sydney Royal Easter Show?

Good luck...see you at the show!
Click here to read about our adventures with Aussie cricketing legend and MILO ambassador, Michael Clarke!

Disclosure: We have been provided with a family pass to this year's Sydney Royal Easter Show. No money was offered, nor requested for this post. All opinions expressed are those of Lisa Warren of the Life as we know it blog.

*Terms and Conditions:
  1. Entries must be made via Intense Debate commenting system to qualify.
  2. Entries close midnight AEST, Sunday, 13 April 2014.
  3. One entry per household. Open to Australian residents only.
  4. This is a game of skill. This competition will be judged by Lisa Warren.
  5. The judge's decision will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
  6. One winner will be chosen.
  7. Prize does not include travel allowances.
  8. The winner will be contacted by email, then advertised on the Winner's Circle page here at Life as we know it.
  9. Life as we know it...will take no responsibility for any delay, loss or damage to prizes sent to winners

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recipe | Mr Beak’s Original Cider Roasted Sausages with Apples

Sausages are a regular food item on many an Australian's menu plan. They're quick and easy to cook, full of flavour, and perfect for a bbq or wintery casserole. With the weather turning a little cooler, it's time to start putting away the tongs (um, not my hubby though...he bbq's all year round!), and think about warming, hearty dishes that will satisfy the hungriest of tummies.

I was recently sent a few packets of Mr Beak's sausages to try, along with a delicious looking recipe to test drive. The sausages we normally purchase from the supermarket are the in-house beef variety...nothing as gourmet as Mr Beak's. Let me tell you, the smell wafting through our house while they were cooking was nothing short of mouth-watering! This recipe was incredibly easy to follow, and even the kids were salivating. One packet of Mr Beak's original beef sausages contains six sausages...plenty for a family of four...though you could add an extra packet into the recipe without adjusting the rest of the ingredients.

Mr Beak’s Original Cider Roasted Sausages with Apples
You will need:
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil 800g baby red delight potatoes, washed and cut into quarters
  • 1 packet of Mr Beaks Original Beef Sausages
  • 2 bulbs of garlic, cut in half crossways
  • 4 red apples, cut in half
  • 250ml apple cider
  • ½ bunch of sage
  • 3 springs rosemary
  • Salad to serve
Here's how:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ÂșC. Drizzle one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil onto the base of a large baking dish, place potatoes and sausages on top, arrange the garlic and apples cut side up around the sausages.
  2. Pour the cider over, scatter the sage and rosemary and drizzle the remaining olive oil over all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and roast for approximately 45 minutes until the sausages and potatoes are cooked through.
  3. Serve this simple and easy dish as is on the table with a fresh garden salad at your next Sunday lunch and enjoy the sweet apples and garlic alongside Mr Beak’s Sausages!

So, will we be trying Mr Beak's gourmet sausages again? You bet. This is a big call, but they were quite possibly the best sausages I've ever eaten. Mr Beak's are currently available from Woolworths supermarkets.

Disclosure: We were provided with complimentary product for review purposes. No money was offered nor requested for this post. All opinions expressed are those of Lisa Warren of the Life as we know it blog.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mood board | Tina's teal and gold master bedroom

I love interior design, and love it even more when a friend asks my advice for their own home. Tina recently asked me for a little advice about redecorating her new master bedroom. The jumping off point for Tina's new room was a quilt (pictured below, bottom right) in a dark charcoal, with deep teal and gold flourish detail. Tina wasn't sure  whether to go with black or white furniture, or what colour to paint her walls...a pale teal on all the walls, or just a feature? She was finding it hard to visualise it, so here's a little mood board to the rescue...
Choosing the right wall colour
Tina mentioned that she wanted to paint her bedroom a pale teal to compliment her bedding. Dulux's Dewpoint Quarter strength would be a great shade. When you're selecting your paint colour, make sure you look higher up the colour palette to see what undertones the colour might have. Dewpoint is a combination of the blues and greens either side. The darker shade, Little Mermaid, is similar to the teal in her bedding, making Dewpoint a great selection.
Instead of choosing an all matching white bedroom suite, I've opted for a upholstered headboard in a mid grey. Choosing a neutral colour, in a classic tufted style, will allow Tina to change out the look of her bedroom simply by swapping her doona cover in the future. I would pair the headboard with a couple of white mid-century bedside tables. The slim legs are feminine, yet the overall design is a little masculine...great for not alienating your hubby from the bedroom design.

I've selected decorative gold lamp bases with a simple white shade to amp up the luxury in their space. Metallics such as gold and copper are right on trend at the moment, and will compliment her bedding beautifully. As an alternative, Tina could install industrial style wall lamps above the headboard. These particular wall lamps require no wiring by an electrician...simply fix to the wall and plug in.

A rug such as this one, is a great opportunity to add further colour and pattern to your bedroom...a flat weave, in an off-white/gold pattern, reinforces the colour scheme.

Art work
Art work is a very personal choice. I couldn't go past this abstract piece in a simple white frame. The colours compliment the scheme beautifully, and it's a piece that won't date in a hurry.

Bedding accessories
How many pillows are enough on a bed? I like a couple of European pillows, 2-4 standard-sized pillows, and two decorative cushions. Any more than that, and making the bed each morning becomes a major chore. Try two different cushions in different textures. To compliment Tina's bedding, I would add a deep blue textured cushion, and a chevron-striped natural-coloured cushion.

Create a little vignette in the space by adding a decorative gold tray, containing some small black vessels, your reading material, and maybe a little glass dish to hold your jewellery. Done.

Have fun decorating your new master bedroom Tina!

If you'd like me to create a mood board for you, please drop me an email.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Block Fans v Faves | Master bedroom and ensuite

Brought to you by The Block Shop

This week's reveal is's the last of the interior room reveals, which means The Block Fans v Faves is almost at an end! (insert pouty sad face)

The master bedroom and ensuite is my favourite reveal. Whenever I go to an open house, or display home, I always save the master suite until last. Why? It's the space that I would call my own...a haven if you will. It's where you imagine spending time with your partner, enjoying leisurely weekend sleep ins, spending Sunday snuggle time with the kids, and escaping from the pressures of the world.

Let's see how the Fans and Faves tackled their master bedrooms and ensuites this week...

Chantelle and Steve
The style starts right from the very moment you walk down the hallway to Chantelle and Steve's master suite. Chantelle and Steve lined their bright and airy walls with colour movie poster prints in simple black frames, giving this space a gallery feel.
A black feature wall inserted with a black padded bedhead gives this room real impact. The black doesn't seem overpowering at all given how much light this room receives. The pops of colour in artwork and cushions are perfect, allowing this room to remain uncluttered and quite neutral.  In lieu of bedside tables, Chantelle and Steve have cut away the wall surrounding the bed...a simple and effective surface storage solution. A simple white pendant and sheer curtains finish off this space beautifully.
A dressing table and bench seat flank the wall, giving the new owner more usable spaces in this master bedroom...a comfortable place to tie your shoes, read a book, or just while away the day.
Onto the! Chantelle and Steve delivered a gorgeous bathing space for this master suite. Their choice of vanity and basin is outstanding...surprising even the judges who'd never seen the Alape Chrystalline basin before. It's definitely a talking point.
Chantelle and Steve's tiles choices were equally as impressive. Crown grey oak tiles cover the walls and floor, while Castle Pyramid tiles were used on the feature wall. Judge Neale Whitaker commented that they were the best tiles he'd seen this season! Personally, I love that they have a brown undertone, allowing for a warmer grey colour scheme.
1. Enzo 1 Light table lamp | 2. Gough cushion | 3. Watercolour artwork cushion | 4. Australian-made Featherstone wing chair (reproduction) | 5. Bell pendant light | 6. Mizu Block overhead shower | 7. Mizu Bloc shower mixer | 8. Mizu Block basin mixer | 8. Milli Axon loop toilet roll holder
Kyal and Kara
Like Chantelle and Steve, Kyal and Kara painted their hallway in a warm white, and adorned the walls with a beautiful series of Ellin Malin prints creating a gallery feel. That's where the similarities end. I really felt for Kyal and Kara last night. The judges were particularly harsh in respect of the master bedroom they created.
Kyal and Kara installed cement sheeting and black wall lights, reinforcing the industrial feel in their apartment. The judges commented that the cement sheeting was too harsh for a master bedroom, and that a bedhead was needed. It appears since judging they've their advice, installing a warm grey upholstered bedhead against the wall. It certainly softens the space up considerably.  The judges were also underwhelmed by their choice of bedside table. Personally I like the little stools, however I do agree that something more substantial would have suited the space better. The pink, purple, and grey bedding is a really nice touch.
The judges also criticised their choice of chair. Shaynna Blaze commented that it would be better suited to a dentist's office. I disagree. I firmly believe that for a master bedroom to be successful, there needs to be a balance of the feminine and masculine. This is a shared space, and it can't be all feminine softness...your partner needs to feel at home as well.
Lastly, the judges commented that there shouldn't be a television in the bedroom. Where are these people living? We watch our bedroom television nearly every single night, and the news is on every single morning. If I were creating a new master bedroom, a television would be on the list of needs. What do you think?
The judges were full of praise for Kyal and Kara's ensuite, and with good reason. This space is gorgeous! The oversized basin with double black tapware gives this couple plenty of room to share this bathroom, and there's plenty of storage below for bath linens, eliminating the need for a linen cupboard.
Nu Carrara marble lines the walls of this space, with a Carrara marble penny rounds used for a feature wall. Love! This is the first room Kyal and Kara have steered clear of their signature Blackbutt timber look, and I'm glad. This bathroom is elegant and well resolved.
1. Jade lamp table | 2. Black and white herringbone towel | 3. Alape Metaphor basin | 4. Grey tweed bath towel | 5. Milli Glance single towel rail | 6. Milli Axon shower mixer | 7. Milli Axon wall basin set
Alisa and Lysandra
This week, Alisa and Lysandra delivered another major wow-factor in their apartment...a void that opens the space between the kitchen/dining area and the upstairs bedrooms. This small 3x2m opening floods the floor below with loads of natural light...a major bonus considering the lack of windows below.
By installing a void, Alisa and Lysandra's master bedroom is smaller than the other apartments, but that doesn't mean they've skimped on style! I love how consistent Alisa and Lysandra's apartment is. The black wardrobe doors reference the storage in the dining room, while the teal brings in the colours used in the second bedroom.
As I mentioned above, masculine touches are essential in a master bedroom. The mix of straight-lined timber chair (the masculine), is perfectly balanced by the knitted pouf and sheer curtains (the feminine).
Like Kyal and Kara, Alisa and Lysandra have installed cement sheeting as a feature wall behind the bed, and like the judging of Kyal and Kara's room, the judges suggested that a headboard is necessary to soften the space. The judges felt the room had that raw industrial feel, but was better resolved than Kyal and Kara's master bedroom. I agree. There's nothing worse than losing your pillow down the back of the bed, or accidentally hitting your head on the wall. That aside, this room is beautiful, with it's soft colours and warm wood tones.
Alisa and Lysandra's ensuite is smaller than those of the other apartments, however what they've managed to install in this space is amazing! A shower built for two with wall jets are completely indulgent. If there were somewhere to sit in there, I'd never get out!
1. Clouds artwork by Marija Basic | 2. San Sebastian dining chair | 3. Milli Glance wall basin mixer | 4. Teknobili plus single overhead ceiling mounted showerhead | 5. Milli Glance toilet roll holder | 6. Milli Glance shower/bath mixer
Brad and Dale
This week's winners!! This is my favourite space of the week. Brad and Dale thought completely outside of the box and installed a full-sized bath in the actual master bedroom. While some might think this is an odd design decision, just imagine how romantic this space could be. Light a few candles, pop the bubbly, and take a soak while looking at the sky. Beautiful.
The sleeping side of the master bedroom is plush, with soft carpets, sheer linen curtains, and relaxed bed linens. The timber wall feature is beautifully replicated in the bath surround and bench seat.
A large walk in wardrobe with hidden storage behind the mirror will satisfy any couple occupying this space, while the floor tiles extend from the bath area right through to the ensuite. This makes the ensuite feel twice as large!
This ensuite looks so spacious. An oversized shower flanks one wall, and encompasses part of the window wall...thankfully privacy isn't an issue here.  A stylish toilet is hidden behind a double vanity. Shaynna commented that the mirror was too high. I 5'3" women would have to stand on tippy toes to see ourselves. I love the vanity shelf, however I'm not a fan of the baskets underneath. Overall, this is most definitely the best space of the week. Well done boys!
1. Scala floor mounted spout | 2. Pol Bath/Shower mixer | 3. Ziporah Dove bath sheet | 4. Milli Edge toilet roll holder | 5. Posh Domain round overhead shower | 6. Milli Edge single towel rail | 7. Nikles Pure rail shower
Next up, the rooftop terrace and courtyards. I can't believe there's only one week left!!

Which master bedroom and ensuite is your favourite?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fish for Good...good for the ocean, good for you (plus a delicious recipe your whole family will love!)

This coming Friday, 21 March 2014 is Sustainable Seafood Day. Woolworths has partnered with Taronga Zoo to help customers make more informed decisions when it comes to choosing sustainable seafood, with the launch of of the Fish For Good campaign.

By making informed decisions when you purchase your seafood, you will not only enjoy a fresh, healthy meal; you will help protect our oceans at the same time! Sounds like a win win situation to me.

Through Fish For Good, Woolworths and Taronga Zoo will be implementing a number of initiatives to help inform and educate Australians about the great oceans that surround our country and what they can do to support marine life.

Here's two simple ways you can do your part right now...
  1. Make sustainable seafood choices by looking out for the Fish for Good sign in-store at Woolworths.
  2. Purchase a limited edition Fish for Good reusable shopping bag (pictured below) for only $2, with 100% of the proceeds going towards turtle and marine conservation programs at Taronga.
So, you've bought your certified sustainable seafood...what do you cook with it? Try this delicious recipe...

{Recipe} Fish cakes with lemon cream

To make this delicious recipe, you will need:

  • 800g potatoes, cut into pieces
  • 415g can Woolworths Select Red Salmon, drained and flaked
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs baby capers
  • 1/3 cup dill sprigs, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1 large lemon, rind finely grated and tbs juice

  • Here's how...
    1. Place potato pieces into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender (approx. 15-20 mins). Drain and roughly mash, then set aside to cool.
    2. Add the salmon, onion, capers, dill, and egg to the mashed potato. Seasons with salt and pepper, and stir well to combine.
    3. Using your hands, shape mixture into 32 small patties. Coat with breadcrumbs and place on a large plate. Cover patties, and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to firm up.
    4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Spray each of the patties with olive oil spray, and cook in batches for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden. Transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven to keep warm.
    To make the lemon cream, simply combine the sour cream, lemon rind and juice, salt and pepper.

    Serve your fish cakes on this simple salad that's high on flavour, combine rocket, 1 small red onion, sliced, grilled Haloumi cheese, and a sliced avocado. Top with fish cakes, and drizzle lemon cream over the top. Delicious!

    Remember to look for the Fish for Good signs in Woolworths supermarkets, and make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing your seafood.

    What's your favourite seafood dish?

    Disclosure: I was provided a Fish for Life limited edition reusable shopping bag filled with the ingredients required to create the above recipe. No money was provided nor requested for this post. All opinions expressed above are those of Lisa Warren of the Life as we know it blog.

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