Prahran Market

Hi Everyone,

I went out to Prahran Market yesterday to check it out for the first time. Even though I’ve lived in Melbourne my whole life, I hadn’t actually been to this famous market before. It’s not really the sort of market you go if you want to do a big grocery shop – located in Prahran (which is quite an up-market trendy suburb of Melbourne) it’s quite pricey compared to other markets like Dandenong and Caribbean, but it is very lively, colourful and just fun to go and have lunch and a bit of a wander. It’s on Commercial Road, and is basically next door to Chapel Street which is a trendy shopping strip with cafe’s and restaurants, clothing stores etc.

There were lots of small food places at the market, one of them being a Turkish place that sold Boreks, Gozleme, Pogaca, and home-style Turkish food. I had a spinach and lamb Borek, which was delicious and only $5.50! (so I guess not everything there is so pricey). I couldn’t even finish it so I saved half to take home. There was also a musician playing South American music, to which people were bopping along (including me).

Another place that got my attention was the Turkish Delight store which had a huge selection of Turkish delights, with sooooo many flavours.

You can check-out their website for more information on traders, events and more.

Here are some photos. Enjoy!

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Apple of Sodum xo

Knox Pop Up Market

I visited my local Westfield (Knox City) yesterday to search for some fake flowers to make a wreath (to hang up on the front door). I then noticed one of the outdoor streets near the restaurants was blocked off to cars, as there was a market being held on it.

So, I had a bit of a peruse of the market and some of the stalls were just so lovely I had to take some photos on my phone to show you. Baked treats, jewelery, candles, soaps, and lots of other unique gifts (for yourself or others) were being sold.

I bought a few soy wax melts from one of the stalls, and they smell delicious. Yes, delicious! Every single scent, except their Chanel No. 5 scent, smelled like a fruity summer drink, even the ‘ocean’ smelling one. They only cost $2 each, and anyone who owns soy wax melts knows they last for a really long time. I bought French Pear, Lemongrass and Persian Lime, and Watermelon. French Pear is now open in one of my cupboards as a freshener and I get a blast of it when I open the cupboard door.

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There was even a stall called Candlebright ‘n’ Crafty Things that sold handmade candles that looked like ice-cream sundays! Such a nice gift idea.

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Here are some more photos of the stall I bought the soy wax melts from (below).

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I arrived there just after lunch time, so there were still people dining at the nearby cafes and restaurants, and there were quite a few people at the markets. The weather was also really nice, with blue sky and warm sun, so the vibe there was just really nice.

I believe the markets were first set-up at the beginning of 2016. I think if it continues until next year it will just grow and grow and gradually become more popular.

The markets are held on the last Sunday of every month. The dates for the rest of 2016 are:

  • Sunday 30 October
  • Sunday 27 November

I think the Knox pop up markets are definitely worth checking out if you live in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

Apple of Sodum xo

 

DB Cosmetics: Favorites and Unfavorites

DB Cosmetics is an affordable and cruelty-free Australian makeup brand that has been around for years. The quality of their products are claimed by the company to be as good as designer brands like Estée Lauder and Clinique.

I began to use their makeup products about five years ago, starting with just one or two items which were okay, but no big deal. Over the last 2 years or so they have really stepped up their game – going paraben-free for most products, going vegan, and increasing their quality and range. They now also sell make-up brushes, bath and body products, and perfumes.

So, suffice to say, I own quite a few DB Cosmetics products some of which I love. Not all products are favorites and actually turned out to be quite disappointing but luckily they weren’t very expensive. In Australia we can’t return products we don’t like but since we have testers in the stores, it’s easier to work out which products work for us and which don’t.

Makeup products prices range from approx. $6 to $20 AUD.

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Here is a list of my favorite DB Cosmetics products (above photo):

  • Barely Nude Mineral Foundation, Light
  • Mineral Pressed Blush, Rose
  • Pore Minimising Primer
  • Firming Age Revive Foundation – Flawless Coverage SPF 15, Classic Ivory
  • Kohl pencil, Metallic Blue
  • Kohl pencil, Metallic Purple

The Barely Nude Mineral Foundation is finely milled and sits nicely on the skin. I think they have kept the formula the same for the last 5 years or so that I’ve been using it. I’ve repurchased it a couple of times. However, it is actually too dark for my skin tone! There are only three shades: light, medium and dark. So, I purchased the Ground Minerals Powder in Light (which is actually too light for me) and I combine both products which can actually get a bit messy. The Ground Minerals Powder isn’t in my favorites because it’s not very finely milled and doesn’t sit on my skin as nicely as the other (but I wouldn’t call it an unfavorite).

The Mineral Pressed Blush (photo below) comes in 4 shades. It lasts a fairly good amount of time without disappearing. I really like the Rose shade, which has a slightly peachy undertone so looks very natural and can be worn with a lot of looks.

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The Pore Minimising Primer is fantastic! I can’t rave about this enough. It conceals pores and makes my skin nice and smooth and sits wonderfully under foundation.

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The Firming Age Revive Foundation is my favorite out of all the listed products. I use a Nude by Nature flat-topped brush to work it into my skin to make it look completely natural and last all day. It is buildable and can be full coverage. I only use about a quarter of a pump and mix with a bit of the next shade down as, unfortunately, it doesn’t come in very many shades. It’s also SPF 15.

The Kohl Pencils are beautiful. The Metallic Purple and Metallic Blue shades complement my honey-coloured eyes really well. It doesn’t necessarily stay put all day if you’re rubbing at your eyes, as it’s a kohl, so I don’t expect it to. It is also great to smudge it out.

Now to my unfavorites… dum dum DUMMMMM!

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There are a few misses with DB cosmetics but not that many (not that I’ve experienced).

These are the products I didn’t enjoy using very much:

  • Eye Primer, containing ingredients like Vitamins C & E, Aloe Vera & Green Tea Extract
  • CC Cream Complexion Corrector, Natural Coverage SPF 15,  Light Medium
  • Outrageous Volume Mascara – Water Resistant, Blackout
  • Lash Extensions – promises extreme volume and length, water resistant, Brown Black
  • Kohl Pencil, Black

The Eye Primer actually caused my eyeshadow to crease even sooner than it did if I didn’t use any primer at all – probably lasts about 2 hours before creasing. My eyelids do get a bit oily during the day but the ELF eyeshadow primer (which is also a lot cheaper) does a much better job.

I thought the CC Cream Complexion Corrector would be amazing, especially after how good the DB foundations are, but it turned out to have almost no coverage, is greasy, and did not even out my skin tone at all. It leaves the skin feeling really tacky. Even when I try to set it with a powder it still somehow gets greasy during the day. It’s almost all used up because I kept on persevering with it, using a few pumps each time so I could get even a little bit of coverage but then it became even greasier.

The Outrageous Volume Mascara doesn’t provide any volume, but lengthens just a smidgen. The bristles are quite tough so when wiggling from root to tip, the bristles actually scratch my waterline.

The Lash Extensions mascara is very dry and although is meant to be Brown Black it sort of looks a really light colour on my lashes, almost like I applied mascara but then dusted some white powder on top. Not sure why it does that.

The Kohl Pencil is nice, but it’s not very smooth or black. It could just be the one I have, as the other Kohl Pencils are smoother. Also, it’s not a very saturated black colour. I guess I just have other one’s that I prefer more, like my long-stay essence pencil (which is smooth to apply and really long-lasting).

I may choose to branch out and try more of their products in the future. In which case, I may write another post to share my thoughts on them.

If you’re interested in purchasing DB Cosmetics products, and are shipping to an address in Australia, you can check out their website to order online or find out the closest stockist to you.

Apple of Sodum xo

Chocolate Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting

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It’s Saturday, and I felt like staying in and baking something delicious….something chocolatey. So, that’s exactly what I did!

This time, I thought I’d share my baked creation with you in case you’d like to have a go at it yourself. The recipe is my take on chocolate mud cake squares, but with cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese frosting cuts through the heaviness of the chocolate, so it’s not too overwhelming.

It tastes delicious (if I do say so myself) and is fairly quick and easy to make. The recipe below makes about 20 squares.

Ingredients

Chocolate Squares

  • 360 g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons bi-carbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 60 g cocoa powder
  • 120 g un-salted butter
  • 360 g soft brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150 g dark melting chocolate
  • 230 ml full cream milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence / extract

Frosting

  • 120 g cream cheese
  • 60 g butter (unsalted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence / extract
  • 1 ½ cups icing (powdered) sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Then grease and line a 25 cm × 15 cm × 10 cm baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until they are well-combined. Add eggs and beat well. Add the melted chocolate (melting in a bowl placed over simmering water) and vanilla essence to the mixture and beat in well.
  3. Sift and combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder. Add this to the butter mixture, combine the ingredients, and slowly add the milk while doing so.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tray.  Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. To make the cream cheese frosting beat the cheese, butter and vanilla extract until pale. Continue to beat while slowly adding the icing sugar, until well-combined.
  6. Allow the cake to cool in the tray completely before covering with the cream cheese frosting.
  7. Cut the cake into squares (or to avoid crumbs on the frosting, you can cut the squares first and them apply the frosting).
  8. Keep the squares in an air-tight container so they don’t dry out.

Optional: You could also add half a cup of broken walnuts into the chocolate cake mixture if you would like a crunchy texture.

I used Cadbury’s Baking Dark Chocolate as I consider it to be fairly good quality. Most other products I used like the milk, flour and cream cheese were supermarket-brand and are of quite good quality.

Although you could do a lot of the recipe by hand (which would be a bit tiring) I have a Kambrook electric mixer which is perfect to use for baking. It’s not as expensive as a Kitchen Aid but it does exactly the same job.

I added some pansies from the garden (which are edible) for that added colourful touch.

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I hope you enjoy making these delicious treats, which are perfect for a cool Melbourne day.

If you do make them, I’d love to know what you think!

Apple of Sodum xo

I’m back!

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Hi internet,

I’m back after 2 years of taking a break from the blogging world (even though my time on the internet hadn’t been very long). I’ve been away for a while because over the last few years it seemed like everyone was already blogging about all the things I loved and there was no need for me to add myself into the mix! HOWEVER, I really want to blog because thinking and writing of nice things make me happy, so why shouldn’t I?! I’m not a hipster, yuppie (Australian slang for an upper class person who likes to show it), a constant traveler to exotic places, or a preacher of anything. I’m basically a 31 year-young woman who likes to bring out her inner child from time to time.

I love beauty products (I know, I know, so many other bloggers do too), environmental conservation (I am a trained environmental scientist), fashion (preferably ethical, when I can afford it), visiting beautiful gardens and cafe’s (I love visiting cafe’s – the noise, smell, and energy excite me), preparing nice food (trying to), planting veggies, and I also have an interest in traditional medicine practices (mentioned in my previous entries).

I live in Melbourne and we have so many beautiful places to visit, and I haven’t seen very many blogs where people visit the places I do. I live at the base of the Dandenong Ranges which are host to beautiful forest, gardens, cafe / restaurants, fashion stores, and cute little cottagey villages.  I’m only about a 40 minute drive from the city too and 30 minutes from the beach, so I basically get the best of Melbourne!

So, if there’s anything I mentioned you would be interested in reading about, do let me know! As much as I like writing, I also would like to provide content that other people will enjoy too.

Hope to blog something interesting soon!

Appleofsodum (real name will come out once I feel more comfortable)  xo

 

 

 

Bike snobs in Melbourne

For years I’ve wanted to live in a city where more bicycles were on the road than cars. It’s environmentally friendly, a great way to get fit, and you save money too. I think that’s one of the reasons I love the idea of living in Denmark – a country with a great cycling community ranging from young to old, and thin to thick, which doesn’t discriminate against race, religion or budget. Almost everyone can learn to ride!

I also live next to a main road and I am so sick of the exhaust smell that comes into the house. I know it’s not good for me or for the environment. But if we had more bicycles on the road….

I’ve loved the design of bicycles and how their mechanics are visible. I always think it’s so amazing how this machine which doesn’t run on fuel can transport us so efficiently, just using our own energy. I like anything with a design of a bicycle on them – notebooks, diaries, cushions, bedspreads, wall-art, clocks etc.

So I think they’re pretty to look at, efficient, and important for the planet. So cycling is obviously something you would expect me to partake in, right? WRONG! There are two reasons why I resist in purchasing a bicycle:

1) the idea of riding on the road along with cars (potential speeding bullets of destruction) really frightens me.

2) THE BIKE SNOBS OF MELBOURNE!!!

Ok, so you may or may not be thinking “what’s no. 2 about?” Well, for those who don’t know, road cycling is increasing in popularity in Melbourne. We (Melburnians) have more racing competitions on than we’ve ever had before (I think? Don’t quote me on that). Our cycling culture is growing which is always a good thing, but with that it seems the community has also formed a group of elitist snobs who poke fun at people who don’t have the best bike, the most athletic body, the best equipment, the most shaved body…etc etc (ok, I don’t know if the last one is true…). I base my opinion on the fact I know, or have known, quite a few of these bike snobs, who, not surprisingly, are no fun to be around because all they do is talk about cycling and how great of an athlete they are.

So I haven’t cycled since I was a kid so I don’t know how I’ll go on it. I know “it’s like riding a bike” but I went to the bike shop today and was ignored by the staff there. They weren’t so busy they could not have helped me – maybe I didn’t look hipster enough (it was a North Melbourne store). Anyway, I got on one of the retro ladies’ bikes and almost toppled over. It felt so heavy…and big!

I’d eventually like a good quality bicycle but I need to know that I will actually use it, so I came home and started looking up various department stores for more affordable one’s, like Target, Big W, Kmart etc. I wanted to find out what people thought of them on cycling forums, but 99% of the time there’s a bike snob commenting that those bicycles are all terrible, DESPITE HAVING NEVER TRIED ONE! Seriously, this is what all the forums were like. Not everyone has money to spend on a top quality bicycle and don’t plan on entering racing competitions and go on Great Ocean Road rides like they do. They made it sound like there was a high chance I will DIE if I ever ride a department store bicycle. I get the feeling they almost don’t want us to join their community so it remains exclusive to them.

Now I don’t know what to do. I want to test out a riding a bicycle before I commit to buying something that’s better quality and longer lasting.

I think I could learn to ignore the snobbish cyclists but here is my message to the lovely, kind knowledgeable cyclists out there is for you to give your two cents in cycling forums, especially where beginners are concerned so we don’t feel so intimidated. The snobs have left us without answers. THE CYCLING COMMUNITY IN MELBOURNE DEPENDS ON YOU! Thank you.

Of course, if anyone reading has any thoughts on this I would love to hear them – unless you’re a bicycle snob of course 😉

Apple of Sodum

Artist of image (above): Juri Romanov (sourced from http://www.theartzoo.com)

Favorite things of 2014!

Here are a few of my favorite things from 2014:

My alternative health practitioner – he has been brilliant at treating me with acupuncture and herbs so I can get on my feet and go everywhere I want to.

The flowers in our garden.

Bees for being the pollinating extraordinaires they are.

Zen music for helping me de-stress.

More cosmetics companies bringing out less-toxic ranges.

My mother, for just being her…and for her cooking.

My car – the little green insect (what I call it) takes me everywhere.

Companies I volunteer with.

My boss – he is used to dealing with my health issues.

My neighbour (two doors down) who introduces me to new people and speaks about all the amazing places she’s traveled to.

My cozy home. It may not be perfect, but it’s my haven.

The birds, for making me smile every time they take a bath in the bird bath.

IKEA, for allowing me to spend hours their pretending their 55sqm homes are actually mine.

My computer and the internet – they rule most of my life.

My pillow.

Local parks.

Earl Gray tea.

Hospitals – for saving my dad’s life after he had a heart attack.

YouTube – for basically training me in makeup application like a pro.

Local parks where I can let of some serious steam by just watching the dogs run like the wind.

Thanks for reading. Would love to hear what your favorite thing of 2014 was!