Visiting the Top End

In the middle of January we went up to the Top End. Australia is so huge and we both felt like we hadn’t seen much of it. I have always wanted to go to Kakadu and Virgin had cheap flights. So, in a rush, we booked flights and started to plan our holiday.

I still remember that awful heat as we walked out of the plane and onto the tarmac. It feels like you are in a sauna (or if you are asthmatic, like someone is sitting on your chest.)

We arrived in a heat wave – even for the Northern Territory! It was 43 degrees but we were determined to take it all in our stride.

The drive from Darwin to Kakadu is about 3 hours. There are plenty of places to stop, but you’re not meant to. Saltwater crocs are everywhere!
In Kakadu, there is really only one place to stay and that is the Mercure Crocodile Hotel.
We went in the wet season and so lots of the roads were closed. Because if this, we decided we needed to get a flight over Kakadu. I have never been more scared or felt as sick as I did on this flight but it was amazing! We would highly recommend the Scenic Flight Company.

From Kakadu (Jabiru), we drove down to Yellow water for a cruise. This is also a must. It is beautiful to be out on the water as the sun rises. The drive from Jabiru to Yellow water is about 1.5 hours.

From Yellow water we drove to Katherine stopping in at Pine Creek. Visiting the old mine lookout at Pine Creek is a must.

Katherine is hot and isolated and the Ibis Styles is as good accomodation as you will get in Katherine. But, don’t miss Katherine! Katherine gorge is one of the most amazing places I have ever been too. It’s beautifully huge and amazingly isolated.

From Katherine we drove to Litchfield National Park via Edith Falls. There are crocs everywhere at Edith so you need to be carful.

Litchfield is amazing – Even in the bucketing rain! You can’t swim in many places in the wet season but it is worth going. The waterfalls are amazing in the wet season and the termite mounds are the biggest we have ever seen!

We were in the Top End for a week. I feel like that was the perfect amount ofTop  time. 

Have you been to the Top End? What was your favourite place? 

 

Easy dinners // Prosciutto Wrapped Lamb

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If you’re anything like me, you might struggle to know what to cook when people come over for a meal. I often want something stress free, easy and quick and preferably with minimal clean up.

The other day I made these. They are quick, easy and only require one pan. 

You’ll need: 

1: 16 lamb cutlets 

2: 16 slices of prosciutto 

3: 8 sprigs rosemary 

Method: 

1: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. 

2: Using a sharp knife, cut the rosemary in half. 

3: Place the rosemary on each cutlet and wrap prosciutto around cutlet ensuring the rosemary is secure. 

4: Place in oven proof tray and bake for 20-30 minutes 

a little life update

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Incase you missed my latest Instagram, here is a little snippet into my life over the last month & an explanation as to why i’ve been MIA. 

In mid November we got engaged! We’re excited. We’re tired. We’re learning. We’re organising. We’re so thankful this stage of life won’t be a constant.

In the midst of all this,  we’ve also been busy with things at church, finishing up uni and the beginning of christmas events. 

But i’m back on the wagon now. More blog posts coming soon! 

 

 

9 reasons to visit Hawaii

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We slipped away to Hawaii for 10 days earlier this year. We found cheap flights with Jetstar and booked straight away. The hot days, salty air and relaxed environment was so nice!

Here are 9 reasons to visit Hawaii. 

1: You can fly direct. One flight, 9 hours from Sydney over night and you’ve arrived in paradise. 

2: Once you’re in Hawaii, Island hopping is quick and easy. Take a 30 minutes from Honolulu to Maui. 

3: It’s easy to hire a car and make you’re way around the little islands. 

4: You can drive to secluded beaches and have the beach to yourself for the whole day! 

5: Black sand and pebbled beaches. Need I say more? 

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6: There are islands set up for tourist and Islands that are not. You can take your pick as to which one you’d like. 

7: You can visit a traditional Luau

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8: Crystal clear water were you can snorkel to and the biggest turtles you’ve ever seen! 

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9: Hawaiian sunsets- they are just so beautiful 

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Moving out of home – what I wish I knew

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When I moved out of home almost two years ago, I had no idea what I was in for. I had just turned 18, started university, got my licence and had less then $100 in the bank. Why I decided to make all these changes at once? I don’t know. But I’m as stubborn as they come and there was no way I was going to give up, so it was going to work. 

It wasnt easy by any means. Baked beans were a staple for a while. But I made it work.

Here are 10 things I wish I’d known before I moved out. 

1: Good quality laundry detergent is expensive but worth it. Invest in the good stuff.

2: Fresh Fruit and Vegetables are expensive but worth it & better for you. Find green grocers that have cheaper prices to big supermarkets. 

3: My washing doesn’t just appear clean & folded on my bed every week. Funny that! 

4: You are responsible for booking (and paying for!) all your appointments. Doctors, dentists, optometrists & hairdressers! 

5: You are responsible for buying and cooking all your own food. It doesn’t matter how tired you are – it isn’t going to cook itself. 

6: Petrol! – It is so expensive! 

7: You need to make an effort to see family friends. Your parents aren’t going to invite your friends over for you. 

8: No one is going to chase you up on things. Organise yourself! 

9: Vacuuming needs to happen at least once a week. Don’t leave it until the place if filthy. 

10: The independence is great and awfully lonely at the same time. 

memories

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memories. how we long to cling on.

the “i’ll never forget” slowly starts to fade. the sounds of voices and smells fade. the memories of times spent together fade.

i found these photos. these are the memories. these will be what remains when my memory fails. oh how i long for those memories to remain.

Free weekly cleaning schedule

Some of my friends might call me O.C.D, but I have to say, I love knowing what needs cleaning and when it needs cleaning.

Here is a weekly Cleaning Schedule that I use to organise myself and you can have it too! 

You can download it here: spice-and-petal-cleaning-schedule

Enjoy! x 

Open plan classrooms – Yay or nay?

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If you’re a long term reader of Spice And Petal, you will know that I am a university student studying Primary Education. One of my passions is looking at learning spaces and what works best for different students. 

In recent years there has been a wave to transform the ‘old style’ of classroom into new, innovative open plan classrooms. For many schools this has meant knocking down large walls, expanding teaching space, new facilities, going back to ‘basics’ and millions of dollars in building costs.

But is it worth it? 

I’ve had the privilege to teach in both schools that do have open plan classrooms and those that don’t. I know what I prefer, but for now, we’ll look at what works for Students. 

There are enormous positives to open plan classrooms. Form easier team teaching, ample space, new facilities to innovating students imagination and thinking. We can’t deny that these are lovely and refreshing, especially looking at the state of some of our school classrooms before.

But is all this change coming at a cost?

Research by The Conversation would say so. Statistically, children are suffering. Research shows that 50%-70% of students are annoyed by noise. When surveyed, children said they struggled to concentrate with noise from other classrooms. And this isn’t classes that are not controlled properly. Children make noise, especially when doing group work, (which is one of the big draw cards of open plan classrooms!) In another study, children speech perception dropped from 80% to 25% when in an open plan classroom. And we haven’t even considered the students who are introverted or easily distracted! 

And it’s not just Students who are suffering! Teachers who were surveyed reported a higher level of distraction, and an increased strain on their voice as they competed with the noise from other classes. Long term, this strain on teaches voice can cause irreversible damage to their vocal cords. 

So where do we go from here? 

Well, not everything about open plan classrooms are bad. But, it is obvious that students struggle to cope with the noise from other classes. If open plan classrooms are going to work, they will need to be purpose built to flexible learning spaces. Areas where students can sit in silence are essential. And we need to do more research into the impact of these spaces on students with special needs, hearing impairments and ADD/ADHD. 

I’m interested to hear what you think about learning spaces. Leave a comment below or send me an email at spiceandpetal@gmail.com 

Potato and Leek Soup

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I’m such a fan of potato and leek soup. This is the easiest and tastiest i’ve tried. 

  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 medium (about 700g) desiree potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 leeks, pale section only, thinly sliced
  • 1.25L (5 cups) Vegetable stock
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) thickened cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

 

1: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring,  until the onion softens. Add the potato and leek and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until leek softens.

2: Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until potato is soft. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.

3: Transfer one-third of the potato mixture to the jug of a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a clean saucepan. Repeat in 2 more batches with the remaining potato mixture

4: Place the soup over medium heat. Add the cream and stir to combine. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until hot. Taste and season with salt. 

5: Ladle the soup among serving bowls. Sprinkle with chives and top with croutons. Serve immediately.

Studying with anxiety

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Studying can be difficult enough, but studying with anxiety can feel impossible. On average 1 in 4 people in Australia will experience some form of diagnosable anxiety in their life time. This is a big issue and can’t be covered in one blog piece but there are ways you can start to manage your anxiety.

1: Take a few minutes to clean your work space. Mounting deadlines and stressful group work can send you down a spiral of anxiety. Taking a few minutes to clean your space can help clear your head as well.

2: Don’t track your grades. Lots of people love to track their grades (me included!), but if you suffer from anxiety this may only increase your stress levels. Do your best and know that it is good enough. You are worth more than the score at the end of the semester.

3: Identify what triggers your anxiety. If it is a ticking clock, change your work space. If it is silence, put on some classical music.

4: If there are any things that trigger your anxiety that are out of your control, tell people. If it is a situation in a class, tell the tutor. The more people who know, the better support you will get

5: Remember there are lots of support networks. Most universities have councillors or student support. There are government funded hotlines and centres where you can go. Make the most of these facilities.

If you do need to talk to someone urgently, call lifeline: 13 11 14