08 January 2019

Cafe Quality Coffee at Home with the Sunbeam Barista Max Espresso Machine

Not sponsored, coffee machine was gifted for review. All opinions and words are my own.

One of the best emails that arrived in my inbox late last year was an email asking if I’d like to trial and review the Sunbeam Barista Max Espresso Machine. Um, is that even a question?!
As a genuine coffee lover and addict, and one who probably buys upward of 250 coffees a year, this machine couldn’t have landed on my kitchen bench at a better time. This at-home all-in-one machine brings everything together to make it easy to enjoy cafĂ©-style coffee at home. I love that I can use the beans that my favourite coffee shops use and create a similar experience at home – without the effort of going to the coffee shop let alone the expense.

It’s compact enough to not take over the kitchen bench but is also packed with features including an in-built grinder, temperature control, cafe-size group head with two different sized filter baskets, milk jug and large capacity water tank. 

The machine comes with detailed instructions on how to setup and use the machine as well as in-depth guides about how to pour the perfect cup.

Although I’m completely in love with the machine, I’m still not 100% happy with my ability at creating the best coffee. Being the perfectionist I am, I’ve started looking at personal coffee courses to perfect my grind, tamp and milk settings.

RRP for this fabulous machine is $699.00 and would I recommend it? Absolutely. The sounds, the smells, the taste – it's like having a coffee shop in your own home.
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07 September 2018

Solving the mid-week meal dilemma with the Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker

I was lucky enough to be contacted by the team at Crock-Pot recently asking if I’d like to review the new Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker and without hesitation said yes. My days as a mum are long, but especially on the days where I’m at work – out of the house by 7am and often not home till 6pm so a slow cooker is the easy cooking solution that is perfect for busy families like ours allowing for less time in the kitchen and more time dining together.

But the Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker is so much more than a slow cooker. It’s a 12 in 1 multi cooker which allows you the option to sautĂ© your onion, garlic AND brown your meat IN THE SAME ONE POT (#mindblown).The one convenient appliance really lives up to its multi cooker status as it can be used for things like steaming (hello dumplings), making yoghurt, preparing rice and risotto and pressure cooking amongst other functions. The poultry option allows you to serve up beautiful, moist roast chicken in 30 minutes and chilli con carne can be on the table in 10 minutes using the Beans-Chilli function. The Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker really is the perfect solution to the dreaded mid-week (actually, all week) meal dilemma.

I’ve been able to prepare multiple easy meals in the Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker already, including a traditional casserole, steamed salmon, and sticky lamb shanks (a Justine Schofield recipe).However, I am keen to try some of the recipes included in the supplied mini cookbook and on the website. I’m already planning on taking homemade hummus to my next take a plate event and will be making the slow cooked chocolate and coffee bread pudding in the coming weeks.

The new Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker even makes the cleaning process more time efficient as the non-stick coating makes it super easy to clean either by handwashing or placing in the dishwasher which makes the whole process even more effortless.

At a recommended retail price of $149, the Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker is amazingly affordable and one that will replace multiple separate items that you may already own or have on your wish list. Find out more on the Crock-Pot website.

This is a sponsored and gifted post in collaboration with Crock-Pot

17 April 2018

Getting the family outdoors with Gumtree

This post is in collaboration with Gumtree Australia

Growing up, nearly every Saturday morning consisted of It’s a Knockout and Rage on the TV, netball and garage sales, although not necessarily in that order. Mum and Dad would load us all into the car to satisfy their desire to find a bargain and although we absolutely despised their hobby in the beginning, we grew to love it.

That love of seeking out an epic deal is most definitely still a passion of mine today, and maybe even more so as an adult with financial responsibilities like home loans, electricity bills and insurances.
Those early Saturday morning treasure hunts in the car are not at all practical with three young kids, so these days I much prefer looking online for things that I may have previously searched for at a garage sale or op shop.

One of my favourite online marketplaces is Gumtree.

I'm an occasional seller and regular browser and buyer of things like clothing, shoes, home appliances, home decor and now, something fun for the entire family - a trampoline. I've picked up both new and used quality brand name items for a fraction of the original retail cost including a Dyson upright vacuum cleaner for $60 valued at over $900!

With a four year old whose toy obsession seems to change as often as Instagram's algorithm, I'm always on the hunt for new (second-hand) toys or activities to encourage more play and less screen-time. When Ben 10 or Thomas the Tank Engine become so yesterday, I can sell the no-longer-cool goods and replace them with whatever is 'in' (for reference, it's all about Star Wars in this house at the moment.)

Buying and selling are simple on any device with my preference being the Gumtree app. It's super easy to use both as a seller and a buyer, with multiple search and sort options, filters,
a messaging tool and watch list. You can find just about anything (both new and used) on Gumtree from the very popular (like cars, foot spas and treadmills) to the not so common. You can even find events, real estate listings and jobs on the marketplace.

My buying tips:
  • Use the save search feature to be notified when new listings are posted that meet your search criteria. You can select to be notified by email immediately, daily or weekly.
  • Unless an item is an absolute steal, always negotiate with the seller. Most sellers amplify their price as they know there will be some level of negotiation but don’t offend a seller by offering super low.
  • Expand your search region beyond your local suburb or region – most sellers are willing to post or you may be able to get friends of family to collect for you
  • If you’re unsure from the listing if you want the item, inspect before committing to buy.
  • Think of alternative ways that a brand or product could be spelled (incorrectly) – this is something that I learnt years ago when I noticed women selling sequinned dresses as sequence dresses. My dad uses this tip all the time when he is searching for rare car parts and often beats out other buyers only searching the traditional way.
My selling tips:
  • Again, be reasonable about price. We all want as much money as we want but if you list it too high, no one will be interested
  • Be descriptive - detail brand, size, quality, condition etc
  • Take good photos as they can also form part of the description
  • Respond to messages in a timely matter
  • List multiple items at once - often buyers will see what else you have for sale to maybe do a bundle deal or save on postage
Our latest purchase is a Vuly trampoline. I’ve been thinking about getting a trampoline for the family for quite some time now but after researching just how much a new tramp costs, I did a Gumtree search for a second hand option. I located a rarely used, near new trampoline in my region and contacted the buyer via the app. The price was a little higher than I was hoping to pay so through messages, I clarified the condition, brand, location etc and we agreed on a price $60 under the list price and started to make arrangements for collection. I knew hubby wouldn’t want to dismantle, collect and then reassemble a 14ft trampoline so again, I went to the app and within minutes had arranged a gentleman to do the work for me. Again, I negotiated the price. As someone who doesn’t enjoy talking on the phone, not once did I have to talk to anyone and without any hassle, the trampoline was in my yard when I got home from work on Monday afternoon. Winning!

With more than 3 million listings at any one time, you never know what you might find!

07 December 2017

Globber Evo 4-in-1 Scooter Review and Giveaway

It's quite obvious I haven't blogged in a long time but when two Globber scooters arrived on my doorstep on Monday, I dusted the laptop off and put fingers to keys to introduce you to Globber and their new Evo 4-in-1 scooter.

Not only did I receive one for each of the twins, you have the opportunity to win one for a special little someone in your life too!

The Globber EVO 4-in-1 is the perfect transitional scooter for any kid 12 months and up. As the name suggests, there are 4 configurations allowing the scooter to grow with your child. Stage one is a ride on/balance bike style scooter with two different height options with the option of parent assistance with the push handle. Once your child has mastered and outgrown stage one, you can easily (this mama and 4 year old Ned found it a breeze) transform it to a proper scooter, again, with the height being adjustable.

The scooter will comfortably hold up to 20kg in the first stage ride on version with seat, and up to 50kg when configured as a scooter.

This afternoon on the scooter's maiden test run, the twins (now 17 months) pretty quickly got the balance bike concept but also loved placing their feet on the deck for the full pushchair experience and who could blame them with the view?
I'm excited to see them develop and transition to master scooter just like their big brother.

At $160, this is an investment item compared to what you might pay for a scooter or balance bike at a mainstream department store but well worth it for the quality and longevity. Ned has been riding the My FREE Up scooter for over 18 months and although it is well loved in terms of use, the quality is still as good as when we received it.

Not only do I think the Evo is pretty cool, Australian Mother and Baby magazine awarded it a Gold Medal in the developmental toy category earlier this year.

Welcome to the family Evo.
For your chance to win one of these amazing scooters, jump over to Facebook or Instagram and comment with the scooter emoji and your choice of dark blue, pink or green.

Competition closes Sunday 10 December 5:00pm AEDST for postage within Australia. Pre Christmas delivery cannot be guaranteed but is likely with prompt communication.