Top 5 things to do in the Yarra Valley

Screen-Shot-2018-03-21-at-3.25.41-pm.pngThis post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

Getting out of the city on a long weekend is a great way to have a break without travelling further than a couple of hours from your front door.

If sky diving, mountain biking and skiing aren’t your cup of tea, then check out our top picks for a more restful, but still beautiful weekend soaking up what Melbourne’s east has to offer.

1. Get to know some native wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary

Get a chance to learn more about the amazing wildlife that call the surrounding ancient forests home, cared for in beautifully kept 30 hectares of native bush land. The keepers host daily up close encounters with familiar furry and feathered friends.

2. Have a pizza at Innocent Bystander

Enjoy a woodfired oven pizza at the cellar door. Just off the Maroondah highway, the restaurant caters for all dietary requirements! Have in or take away and venture up to the reservoir.


3. Collect fresh spring water from Mont Donna Buang

When the National Association of Testing Authorities rates this the cleanest water ever tested, we’d say it’s a pretty great idea to stock up on some of nature’s nectar. If you feel like a walk to burn off some of that pizza, the hike to the top is pretty beautiful too.

4. Take a gin flight at Four Pillars Gin

The best kind of flight is one where you don’t have to go through security or check your baggage, so we’re big fans of this paddle of four gins by local distillers Four Pillars. If you’re the designated driver, we can highly recommend the negroni marmalade.

5. Visit Tarrawarra Museum of Art

Modern art with nature as its back drop all housed in a building just as striking as its contents.  A well curated, privately-owned collection that also hosts travelling artists exhibitions. A perfect dose of nature and culture in one.


5 minutes with… Marc Martin

static1.squarespaceThis interview was originally conducted for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

We sat down with Melbourne based artist Marc Martin to learn a little more about the man behind the gorgeous illustrations that adorn Loving Earth’s Boobook Chocolate Eggs!

What did you draw when you were a kid?

I didn’t actually draw that much. I was more of a lego kid – I liked building colour co-ordinated spaceships.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in France, but we moved to Australia when I was around 4 or 5. We first moved to small town called LIcola, and then settled in Melbourne.

What’s your favourite kind of nature?

Dense forests with tall trees, far away from the sounds of the city.

How do you start a job? Any secret rituals?

I usually have an idea in my head of what I want the finished work to look like, so I might do quick sketch to try and flesh that out a bit before moving onto more finished artwork.

Hates and loves about not having work mates?

I do have work mates! I share a studio with about 12 people, so there’s always someone around to have a chat with.

The studio is on fire and you can grab three things before you get out; what are they?

Laptop, iPad pro, Wacom tablet. How boring 😦

In a parallel universe, if you couldn’t draw what would you do?

As a kid I always wanted to be a professional cyclist and ride in the Tour De France.

Who’s your Melbourne art crush right now?

There’s too many! Evie Cahir is one to watch though. Love how she captures light and mood.

What’s the one thing your mum taught you?

Don’t worry about what other people think.

Tell us about your bravest moment.

I guess just sticking to my guns and continuing being a freelancer when most other people my age went and go ‘real’ jobs.

How do you take your coffee?

I’m taking a break from coffee for a while, so it’s earl grey all the way these days!

Sweet or savoury?

Definitely sweet.


Chill out don’t burn out

breathThis post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

Life is running faster than it ever has done before…we are now exposed to as much data and information in one day as someone from the 1600’s experienced in an entire lifetime, no wonder we’re feeling more stressed and overwhelmed!

21st Century illnesses such as adrenal fatigue, stress, and anxiety are ever increasing meaning more and more of us are feeling the affects in a very real way. Of course life can’t be smooth sailing all the time, and our bodies are designed to cope with occasional pockets and peaks of stress, but the trouble comes when we start running these peaks together with stressful situation after stressful situation, until eventually it becomes the norm and then that’s the level we operate at every day.

When we push ourselves repeatedly, eventually our body says ‘no more’ and stops. That’s why you get the cold when you have finally given yourself some time and space to catch up on sleep and recuperate from the constant pressures that daily life throws at you. The fight and flight hormones of cortisol and adrenaline slowly start leaving your system, clearly signalling that it’s ‘safe’ and your nervous system breathes a big sigh of relief.

So what can we do?

Use what is easy, free and innate…your breath. Breathing, more specifically diaphragmatic breathing (breathing from your diaphragm – no holding in of the stomach here I’m afraid) is one of the simplest and most effective ways to engage your parasympathetic nervous system (the one that tells you to calm down and that all is OK in the world). It’s great to do at work or in the car when you’re feeling under the pump.

Take the time to plan rest into your week and build in a ritual or routine that signals to the body that you’re on a break and it’s time to switch off. Maybe it’s a gentle yoga sequence in the morning to wake your body up gently, rather than hitting snooze for the tenth time and running late for the rest of the day. Maybe it’s committing to getting into bed a little earlier on weeknights or not filling every spare moment with errands, admin, or social engagements.

Try not to reach for the coffee at 3 pm. Easy to say, hard to do, however, it will help you understand your natural energy levels and also ensure that your body has had the time to process the caffeine before it’s time for bed.

Get to know when you’re feeling a little lazy (hello seventh episode on Netflix) and when you need to pull back and not go 110% above and beyond. Friends will have birthdays next year, the gym will be there tomorrow, and the world will keep turning if you get an extra hour of sleep.

Lifestyle is what gets us into these patterns, but it also means it’s lifestyle that can help us out. Take some time to have a proper look at where your time and energy are going and decide to de-clutter anything that isn’t serving you anymore. Even if it means canceling your Netflix account for a bit.

Spring cleanse

Greene-Street-Juice-1600x1200This post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

Spring is the perfect time to have a clean out. Opening a proverbial window and letting the fresh air of a new season refresh the old energy from winter. Where usually a spring clean is associated with our homes, myself and brand manager Hannah, decided to take it one step further and have a clean out of body, mind and spirit too…

We joined the Greene Street Juice Spring Cleanse Week and decided to go for the five days on the Healthy Start and Glow package. The idea of having a couple of smoothies and an evening nut milk for us novice cleansers was what made the choice for us, giving our tummies something a little more substantial to ease our way in. The cleanse week also came with a community of support, daily emails to guide us through including advice from Dr Amanda Waaldyk from Angea, a guided meditation, and lots of other nuggets of wisdom.

So how did we go?

Day one was the toughest for me with a cracking headache and my kidneys were really sore. I deployed a hot water bottle, a good few litres of water and an early night to help combat these first symptoms of detox. Other than that I felt good – only a few grumbles from my empty stomach, but nothing having a juice and a cup of herbal tea couldn’t fix.

Day two was very low-key for me, heading to the sauna to sweat out some toxins and a walk outside. Hannah indulged in a trip to the hot springs in Mornington Peninsula with full spa treatment and massage. Who said cleansing was tough?! Seriously though, it was the perfect time to practice a bit of self-care and really slow down and be good to ourselves.

Day three we were both back in the office and found that although our energy levels were up, but we found it tricky to focus for long periods of time, especially looking at screens. We took ourselves off for a few strolls around the block to soak up the first of the spring sunshine and get some fresh air to restore our focus a little. We both headed to yoga in the evening, finding moving our bodies in a mindful way was really rejuvenating. Plus we both came home to a goody bag full of gorgeous treats – a sure fire way to lift the spirits!

Day four I must admit I really felt emotionally. I was quite short tempered and found quite small things annoying, getting easily frustrated. I’m a practiced meditator so upped my meditation practices to three that day to help bring me back to centre again. Physically though, we both felt full of energy still and we were both sleeping really well, feeling incredibly rested in the mornings. The other benefit was my social media use went way down – who knew I followed so many foodie accounts on Instagram?!

Day five was probably the easiest which is no surprise and even has left me thinking that the next cleanse I do (probably in January for a post Christmas clean out!) I’ll do a full week! Although it’s been a great few days to really take stock and give my digestive system a break, I must admit I’m really looking forward to eating again. I think I missed chewing and experiencing different flavours the most over these last few days.

It has certainly made me more aware of how much food I do eat though and sometimes how quickly I gulp it down. My intention is to really be more mindful when I sit down to a meal and enjoy each mouthful. And to eat a lighter meal earlier in the evenings so my body has a chance to really digest before going to sleep. All in all I think giving your body the break to rest and repair is never a bad one. Considering 70% of our energy is taken up by eating and digesting food it felt good to redeploy that energy elsewhere and give my liver a good break. Right now I’m looking forward to my date with an avocado and almond feta smash in the morning!

If you aren’t keen on embarking on a juice cleanse and want to give your body a bit of a break, you can follow these top 10 tips.

  • Start each morning with some warm water and lemon, and if you’re feeling particularly brave, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar, although acidic in nature actually help to alkalise the body, and stimulate digestive juices.
  • Eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible. They are foods that are alive and contain the most vital nutrients. Also try and avoid wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. It sounds like it’s no fun but we promise you’ll be thankful for the break in the long run.
  • Eat whole foods. Seed-like grains such as buckwheat, nuts, seeds are what we like to call one ingredient foods. No nasties hiding and your body knows how to digest them and absorb as many nutrients as possible. Don’t forget to activate now!
  • Get enough sleep. Your body uses your time asleep to repair and regenerate so make sure you’re getting as much sleep as possible. The general rule of thumb is eight hours, but if you need longer, then try and get into bed a bit earlier.
  • Drink water. Try to drink up to three litres per day to help flush out the toxins your liver is processing. It may sound a lot if you’re not a water drinker already, however your body will love you for it and repay you with glowing skin and bright eyes. Just remember to slowly up your intake over the course of the day to avoid you running to the bathroom every 10 minutes.
  • Swap out your usual beauty products for more natural ones. Particularly ones you use every day, so think deodorant, body lotion, and makeup. Your skin is your largest organ and it absorbs everything that we put on it. If you’re worried about smelling then try a mineral stick with a scent on top.
  • Body brush. If you have time, and a bath, then hop in the tub at least once a week with some Epsom salts, great for detoxing and relaxing at the same time. Aim to dry body brush in gentle downward sweeping motions away from the heart before you get in the shower to help stimulate the lymph glands and flush out toxins.
  • Sweat it out. Try and get your heart rate up with exercise at least three to four days a week, if not every day. If the weather is with you, try and get outside to do it too – being outside can help lower and alleviate stress and regular exercise helps improve your immune system, enhance your sleep quality and raises your metabolism.
  • For an extra boost, try adding in super foods to smoothies and hot drinks. You can find some inspiration for recipes here.
  • Switch off from phones, computers and tablets at least an hour before bed. The blue light can affect sleep quality and hormone signals, which can alter appetite and sleep patterns. Maybe even challenge yourself to one day a week with out digital devices, spend some time solo, call your mum or hang out with friends. Time spent with others or in a nourishing environment alone (by choice) can elevate moods and release the love hormone Oxytocin. Feel good vibes all round.

Winter winners


This post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

It can get to August and feel that winter has been here for ages, and spring is a hop, skip and a week around the corner.

Here are our top picks for seeing out the season with a bang…

Melbourne International Film Festival

Not long left of the 65th Melbourne International Film Festival…but there are still a few gems left to catch if you get in quick

Barista – because it’s Melbourne and you know how seriously we take our coffee

Certain Women – Follow three women as they navigate life in trying circumstances

Toni Erdmann – screwball silliness with subtitles, what could be better?

Melbourne Writers Festival

Embracing all things written, this two-week festival has something for everyone. Covering talks, exhibitions and lively debates – it promises to get your thinking caps on and creativity flowing.

Happy Century to Roald Dahl! In honour of the infamous children’s author’s would-be 100th birthday, head over to the exhibitionshowcasing some of his most loved works book covers from around the world.

Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision Australia is speaking On Faith – reflecting on the shared humanity that brings us all together in trying times. Samantha Gash {LINK TO SAM GASH PIECE} is running across India in association with World Vision.

Pop in for a conversation at the Dumbo Feather Caravan – you may just find some Loving Earth treats to snack on as you chat!

Yoke Yoga Winter Retreat

As we wave goodbye to winter wave hello to Yoke yoga Torquay! Founder Chris is hosting a winter retreat on the 19th-21st August. It’s the perfect time to rest, restore and nourish before we spring into September.

Can’t make the full weekend? Pop along this Saturday 13th for the grand opening party of Yoke Torquay and enjoy a free yoga class.

Stuck in the city? Go see what the team have to offer at their Union Street Studio.

Get creative and crochet!

We’re big fans here of Pip Lincoln and what could be better to show off these many months of months cosied up on the sofa than this beaut of a blanket?

See winter isn’t so bad hey? Still, we’ll be welcoming that sunshine and longer days when they get here!

What do you love about winter? Comment below and we’ll see if we can brighten your day 🙂

[Feature Image by Meet me at Mikes]

Top 5 things that make Gubinge awesome

Gubinge-fruit-freshThis post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth blog.

It’s that time of year when going from freezing cold fresh air to air conditioned insides is playing havoc with your health.

Random sneezes trigger a panic of whether full on flu is about to hit, and you know you should get into bed earlier, eat more nourishing, warming foods and take good care of yourself.

Well fear not, our super hero friend Gubinge, is packed full of awesomeness to help keep the bugs at bay and your immune system happy.


It has the highest levels of vitamin C. This is because it has had to grow in such a harsh environment – The Kimberley’s in the Northern Territory, that it has to produce more phytonutrients to survive. What helps protect the plant is what also helps protect us people.


It is an anti-microbal and anti-bacterial, according to studies from the USA*. Again fighting off any foreign body that decides to try and take up residence and making sure you are already in fighting fit so not susceptible to catching colds.


It is a complete wholefood. The Nyul Nyul people traditionally eat the seed and fruit, which we have kept in line with, dehydrating the entire fruit, milling it and making it into a powder. This means all the nutrients are more bioavailable to you when you eat it.


It is helping the community bring back traditional native practices. As you can read in Looking After What Looks After Us [hyperlink to blog post], you will see that the traditional land owners of the Winawaal region have a powerful connection to the earth.


It is injecting much-needed funds into the area. Our Gubinge is a not-for-profit product. It is important to us to be able to help re-establish a living practice that can sustain the people and the land, using the traditional methods.

So there you have it, we know who we’re going to be getting cosy with on these cold nights .


Happy and Healthy – part 2

happy-and-healthyThis post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth website.

We at Loving Earth are thrilled to be supporting FebFast-ers throughout the month of February as they change, not only their lives, but the lives of all those who are supported by YoDAA.

We finish up with our final five top tips on how to lead a happy AND healthy life.


When in the grip of a craving, distraction is the name of the game. Go for a walk, brew a cup of tea, or phone a friend for a chat. Cravings are only going to last a short time, so have faith that you will come out the other side with a renewed sense of achievement.

Crowd Out

If you are full of delicious, healthy alternatives, you simply won’t have room for that secret square of chocolate. The premise is if you are satisfied and have given your body all the nutrients that it needs you won’t be able to fit another bit in. Try also finding new flavour combos, perhaps ginger and lemon, mint and cucumber, or even a handful of berries added to soda water can truly make all the difference.

Reframe reward

We tend to view alcohol or sugary treats as exactly that; treats, or rewards. If you can reframe how you celebrate or let your hair down after a long day, you’ll rewire that automatic reach for the biscuit tin or wine rack. Try running a bath, reading a book, baking some treats to take into work the next day, or even buying yourself or someone you love a bunch of flowers to enjoy.

Get some support

We can’t make lasting change by ourselves, well, we can but it is so much harder and half as much fun than if you rope in friends and family to help you reach your goal. Either enrol them into joining you so you have a ‘partner-in-crime’, or ask them to be your cheerleaders when you’ve hit some of your smaller targets, or simply a friendly ear to share how you are finding the whole experience.

Keep motivated

Motivating yourself to stick to your guns when the novelty of a new adventure has worn off can be tough. By posting up reminders either on post-it notes, as your computer screen saver, or even putting regular reminders in your phone. Having something to remind you of why you’re doing this in the first place is always inspiring.

Above all else though, it’s important to have fun. FebFast has created a whole community for you to get to know and share your journey with. Enjoy your every step and remember to be proud of all the good you have done for such an amazing cause.

Happy and Healthy – part 1


This post was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth website.

We at Loving Earth are pretty passionate about experimenting. We love a challenge and finding new ways of doing things, alternative processes, and embarking on on-going journeys of improvement.

Which is why we’re happy to be supporting FebFast-ers throughout the month of February. We wanted to share what we believe are the top ten tips to making lasting change to lead, yes both, a happy AND healthy life. Here are our first five.

Start small

The delicious anticipation of turning over a new leaf can be a tempting time to get carried away. Suddenly you are learning a new language, running your first marathon and giving up sugar and booze all at once! If you start small and take it one day, or even hour at a time, it’s simpler to remember that you have a choice and renew your commitment to change as you go.


The best of intentions can often fall by the wayside because we’ve been caught out. It comes in handy to think about your blind spots, or when you know your will power bucket is getting empty. Be prepared for a 10am teatime treat and the 3pm office chocolate run by making your own. If you know you can’t say no to post work drink, maybe plan to do something else with your best mate, or book to go camping for the weekend. Getting out of your routines will help keep you on track.

Be kind

Sometimes falling off the wagon is all part of the process. If you have a slip up, or are feeling like it’s all a bit much, then don’t give into the negative self talk afterward. Accept it for what it was; a blip, and move on. Forgiving yourself and realising that you are not your actions or emotions gives you some much needed space to get back on the horse.


When you are detoxing, it can be a physically tiring process…your body is going to go bananas having the chance to do that bit of internal ‘spring cleaning’ which means giving your body plenty of time to do its thing. Sleep and keeping hydrated are going to be your allies in riding the cravings out, and really noticing the benefits of not indulging in sweet treats and alcohol at every offer.

Get on the ‘No’ train

Making a shift in your usual behaviour is a sure fire way to get those closest to you to start piping up with their pennies worth. You making a stand truly holds’ a mirror up to others and it isn’t always a comfortable sight. Remember that declining an invitation, or refusing a piece of Julie’s birthday cake, isn’t going to see the end of a friendship. Learning to be better self-expressed and realise your own wants and desires is all part of the detoxing process. Embrace the freedom of the full sentence ‘NO’.

Find out our final five tips later on in the month, as well as tasty recipes that will give you some inspiration in the kitchen this month.

Top 5 ways to kick start your 2016!


This piece was originally written for, and appears on, the Loving Earth website.


It rolls around too fast every year, and we begin it with the best of intentions after the indulgence of Christmas. Our first question to ask once the clock strikes midnight is ‘What are your New Years resolutions?’ And we set about setting goals for what we want to achieve in the next 365 – well 366 days this year!

While this can give focus, it can sometimes lead to judgment on how ‘bad’ we have been, and our inner perfectionist runs rampant on all the things we can improve and make better. However, once the novelty of the New Year runs out, so too can our will power and we put those intentions back on the shelf, ready to dust them off with renewed vigour in eleven months time.

We here at Loving Earth like to go about things slightly differently, so have put together our top five tips on how to get your new year kick started without losing momentum and with absolutely no judgment.

Slow down
In the Southern Hemisphere it’s hard to think about slowing down as summer is still in full swing, along with festive holidays and spending time with our nearest and dearest. But taking some time to look at what you really want to see happen in the year ahead, will help you stop the overwhelm of excitement that can come with the prospect of a clean slate.

Ask why
We all would love to travel more, make better food choices and maybe call our mums’ more, but the biggest question to ask is why you want these things. What is it that having them will make you feel or allow you to do? It helps when you get a little off track to really be settled in why you want what you want to re-inspire you to keep going.

It’s easy to get carried away and reinvent your whole self but the most impact you’ll have on making lasting change is if you pick only a handful of things to focus on. Be gentle with yourself if you don’t hit the ground running, and remember that there is a whole year ahead; not every new habit or transformation has to happen in January!

Make space
The biggest cause for letting our goals wander is that we haven’t maybe considered how much room we need to make for them. We are all doing more now than ever and adding ‘training for a marathon’ or ‘make every meal from scratch’ takes some preparation! What are you willing to give up to get what you want?

Have a plan
Having big, hairy dreams to take on and have come true is one of the sweetest things. To stop your dream staying a dream though, you have to have a plan and you have to take action every day. Whether it is one small step or a large leap, getting into the habit of doing something on a daily basis that gets you closer to your goal is what will make it become a reality.

If all else fails, pick one word and focus on a new area every quarter. It helps navigate your choices throughout the year and keeps you accountable to living congruently. Whether that be ‘Activity’ and your area is health, or ‘Nourish’ and your area is personal wellbeing, knowing where your energy is going will allow your intentions to flourish and help this year be your year.