What I ate Wednesday


It’s that time again – a round up of ‘What I ate Wednesday’ featuring the most delicious falafels and my fave salted caramel snack balls.  Here it is!!


I’m a real sucker for the reduced to clear bins at the supermarket and I found some organic sourdough bread in there that was close to it’s best before date for $1.50.  So I put it in the freezer to use for toast.  I found it hard to get moving this morning so it was a super simple breakfast of crunchy peanut butter on the sourdough toast accompanied with a coffee.   As you can see I like my peanut butter thick!



For morning tea I had a banana, an instant coffee plus I had some chocolate in my bag and I had a row of that. I think when it comes to dark chocolate, this is one of my favourites.



I made falafels on Sunday night (which you would have seen on instastories if you follow me on Instagram) and even though I REALLY couldn’t be bothered I’ve been super grateful this week as they’ve been delicious for lunch!  They’ve got kumara in them which gives them a delicious texture and stops them from going dry.

I also cooked and froze some brown rice which is a good to the falafels.  Lunch looks like it took a lot of time but it was actually super simple because I had the falafels and rice ready already and the salad was left over from dinner the night before.  I just added an extra tomato and a big blob of pesto, some mayo and chutney which make it taste delicious.

To finish off lunch I had a decaf coffee and some Tom and Lukes Salted Caramel Snack Balls.  I am in love with that flavour.



Even though I really like fruit I’ve found I’m not always eating two pieces a day.  So I’ve been trying to make an effort to include more variety.  I love mixed berries and yoghurt so I bought this to work.  I add some chia seeds with the frozen berries as they soak up the liquid as the berries defrost and stop the yoghurt from getting too runny.  This yoghurt was a mix of plain unsweetened probiotic yoghurt and the boysenberry Collective yoghurt. I find it a wee bit sweet by itself but love the flavour so I often mix it.  I only had blueberries in the freezer and they weren’t that nice defrosted so this snack was kind of disappointing and not very satisfying.

Someone in the office had quinoa chips, which are really just the same as any other chip but made out of quinoa flour.  I had a few of these which were tasty.  I think if my berry snack had been satisfying I wouldn’t have had them but it wasn’t and I felt like something else.



Wednesdays are always a bit of a rush at dinner time as I work half an hour later. I quite often do something in the crock pot and today it was a casserole. I had it with veggies (which I overcooked – doesn’t that suck!)  and potato/kumara mash.  It’s definitely not the most attractive meal in the world (especially with this photo taken in the evening), but it’s always a satisfying meal!

And that’s a wrap!  See you next week for another episode 🙂





What I ate Wednesday

What I ate Wednesday used to be a regular feature here on Eat Well NZ until mum life hit and it’s been a long time since it featured.   But after a few requests, I’ve decided to start it up again.

What I ate Wednesday is not about what you should eat.  Because diet culture (sometimes sneakily disguised as ‘wellness’) has taken us so far away from what ‘normal’ eating can look like, some people have told me it’s helpful to see what ‘normal’ eating can look like and that food isn’t just about fuel but about enjoyment, pleasure and nourishment.   And I know I’m nosey and like looking at other people’s meals and snacks for inspiration so I thought you guys might like to do the same too!   Everyone has different dietary preferences and need different amounts of food (which varies day to day too) – so keep that in mind when reading.  

So here we go.  Here’s my latest ‘What I ate Wednesday’ post – and yes it is Friday haha! I never got time to post it until today.


I mentioned over on Instagram that I’ve been in a bit of a food ‘funk’ lately.  I haven’t been organised and I haven’t been planning which has often meant I haven’t had foods at home that appeal to me and since I’ve been tired thinking about preparing food in the morning has been an effort!   So I got organised in the weekend and made some things to have on hand, including this chocolate peanut butter granola.  It has a base of oats toasted with a peanut butter/cocoa and honey mix with added almonds, sunflower seeds, cranberries and freeze dried raspberries.  I had this with some probiotic yoghurt and milk which was a tasty combination!

I wasn’t that hungry this morning so I just had a small bowl, then I made a latte and had this while catching up on a few emails at home.   I definitely think the coffee machine is my favourite appliance at home.

Morning Snack



Tasti sent me these yummy nut mixes so they’ve been on the menu lately for morning tea.  I also went out and bought a second coffee…..  I’ve been super tired lately because I’ve been busy and I’ve had too many late nights. So I went for a walk to the cafe down the road and got coffee.   I have a Keep Cup but I have lost it – so yes it’s a takeaway cup but at least the Mojo ones are plant based and compostable!  And the lid can go in the recycling.


I think wanting a second one is sometimes psychological – simply wanting something nice for a pick me up.  I definitely can’t have more than two or I start feeling agitated.  I started to watch this webinar but then our internet connection went slow so I gave up (for now).  Gut health is such a fascinating topic!



I’ve got a thing for coleslaw at the moment.  I like the crunch and flavour of it when it’s combined with something creamy in texture like mayo and hummus.  So for lunch I had it with brown rice, hummus, avocado and a couple of eggs I boiled in the morning when I was getting ready.  When I’m more organised I cook my own rice and freeze it to use for lunches but sometimes I just buy the instant rice packets.  This was a satisfying, yummy lunch and I finished it off with a couple of these Tasti Peanut Butter and Caramel Balls because I felt like something a little sweet.


Afternoon Snack

Bananas are an easy snack for me – prepackaged, portable and ready to go!!



I work later on a Wednesday so dinners are always something that’s quick and easy since I have a hungry child that needs to eat early-ish.  I made spaghetti Bolognese with pulse pasta.  I have nothing against normal pasta but I love the fact that this is a great source of fibre and made from legumes which are nutrient dense.  Plus I like the taste (which is of course important!).  I made the bolognaise with mince, lots of mushrooms, onions and leeks (because I’ve still got quite a few leeks in the garden that need using).  I cheated and used a jar of garlic, onion and tomato pasta sauce to go with it.  I served it with some broccoli and cheese on top.    Mince and pasta dishes are always a hot fave with Elise so we usually have something with mince once a week.

I was sent a box of Remedy Kombucha the other week so I had one with dinner – this flavour is my favourite one I’ve tried so far from the Remedy range.

After Dinner

It was such a nice warm evening my husband suggested we go for a walk down the road to the shop and get an ice cream.  I was still quite full for dinner so I got one to have later.

I’ve seen the new Whittaker’s & Tip Top ice creams advertised and since I love Whittaker’s chocolate I got one.  Having the Whittaker’s chocolate coating was delicious but the maple caramel swirl in the ice cream was a wee bit sweet for me. The dog enjoyed everyone’s left over ice-cream!

PS I did drink water through the day too – I just didn’t photograph it 🙂




Vegan Burgers 3 Ways (plus a competition!)

Burgers are a regular on our menu at home, usually for a quick and tasty Friday night dinner.  If you’re vegan, vegetarian or simply want to include less meat and more plant-based meals in your diet then this is a super simple way to do it!  

In the ideal world, we would all have the time and skill to cook everything from scratch, but for most of us, it’s just not reality.  Sometimes you need a bit of a sanity saver and these Vegie Delights Lentil Patties are just that. They taste great, are quick to cook plus they’re fortified with Vitamin B12.  Vitamin B12 must be supplemented in vegan diets as it’s only found in animal-based foods. They’re also a source of iron and zinc. Pick them up in the frozen aisle at Pak’nSave and New World supermarkets.  

Here are three delicious vegan burger recipes you can create with the Vegie Delights Lentil Patties. There’s a range of other products too that are great for those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking.  

These are three simple and delicious vegan burgers that you can have ready within half an hour. Now that’s my kind of dinner!


Smoky Vegan Chipotle Burger



Vegie Delights Lentil Patties
Burger buns
2 tablespoons vegan mayo mixed with 1 tablespoon chipotle sauce
Red onion


Cook the patties as per the instructions on the packet. Toast the burger buns and spread with the chipotle mayo mix.  Add the cooked pattie and stack up the vegetables. Eat and enjoy!



Mega Vege Burger


Vegie Delights Lentil Patties
Portobello Mushrooms, washed (1 per burger)
Zucchini, sliced lengthwise thinly (2 slices per burger)
2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
Grated Carrot
Vegan mayo
Tomato chutney



Heat a tsp of oil in a frying pan and cook the mushrooms and zucchini with the garlic.  Cook the Vegie Delights Lentil Patties.

Toast the burger buns and spread with vegan mayo and tomato chutney. Layer the pattie, cooked mushroom and zucchini as well as the rest of the salad ingredients.  It’s as simple as that!


Herby Pesto Burger



Vegie Delights Lentil Patties
Burger buns
Vegan mayo
Chopped parsley (1-2 teaspoons per burger)
2 tsp Pesto per burger (choose one without parmesan for vegan pesto)
Grated Carrot
Red onion


Cook the Vegie Delights Lentil Patties as per the instructions on the packet. Toast the buns and spread with vegan mayo.  Add the pattie, spread with the pesto and sprinkle over the parsley. Stack on the rest of the vegetables and sink your teeth into the delicious burger!!


WIN! Want to try Vegie Delights for yourself?  I’ve got $100 worth of product to give away to one lucky winner. That should keep your freezer stocked for a while 🙂

To be in the draw,  comment below with what burger you’d like to try first.  The winner will be announced in my email newsletter – make sure you sign up below to be notified!


This post was sponsored by Vegie Delights.






Sweet capsicum, beef and halloumi salad (and a competition!)


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Nut and Seed Muesli Slice


This recipe for nut and seed muesli slice is a winner when you want something that’s quick, nutritious and also tasty.  I managed to make it while Elise was occupied on the floor entertaining herself with my handbag tassle and a paper towel roll.  Who needs toys I tell you?

Anyway back to the nut and seed muesli slice – I used a ‘superfood’ style muesli because all the ingredients are quite small in size so they ‘squish’ together nicely in this no bake slice.   The muesli (which I bought from Moore Wilsons) contains linseed, chai seed, sliced almonds, coconut, goji berries, puffed amaranth, cacao nibs and pumpkin seeds which creates a tasty mix as the base of this slice. If you’re on the hunt for something similar, check out this muesli by Ceres’s Organics, otherwise any muesli will do, just chop up any large nuts that may be in it.

The coconut oil, peanut butter and dried fruit are heated together with a little water which creates a sweet base that helps stick it all together while a coating of chocolate takes it to next level deliciousness.  This is great for the lunchbox (for kids and adults!) and it keeps well in the fridge or freezer.

I based this on Chelsea Winter’s recipe but made my own additions and it works well.   Here’s the recipe: has a similar one,

5 from 1 vote Print

Nut and Seed Muesli Slice


  • 1 1/2cupsdates
  • 1/2cupdried apricots
  • 1/4cupwater
  • 1/4cup + 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4cuphoney or sugaroptional
  • 1heaped dessert spoon of peanut butter
  • 1cuppuffed rice or puffed quinoause quinoa if you want it gluten free
  • 1/4cupfinely chopped cashew nuts
  • 1/4cupsunflower seeds
  • 1cupmuesli
  • 100g dark chocolate


  1. Finely chop the dates and dried apricots.  Place in a pot along with the water, coconut oil, peanut butter and sugar if using.  Place on a medium heat and stir regularly for around 5 minutes until the dried fruit is mushy.
  2. Take off the heat and stir through the puffed rice, sunflower seeds and muesli.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle the chocolate evenly over the baking paper.  Place the slice mixture into the tray and press down firmly and evenly, packing it down hard with the back of a spoon.
  4. Place in the fridge or freezer till firm.  Cut into bars and store these in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.









What I ate Wednesday

As I head to the end of my second trimester of pregnancy, I have noticed my appetite has increased.  I’m really hungry when I wake in the mornings so I’ve been having bigger portions, and I’m also more hungry during the afternoon.  It’s completely normal of course, as you do need to provide bubs with extra nutrients and energy, although you definitely don’t need to ‘eat for two’.   I’m just listening to my appetite and hunger/fullness cues and going for options that will nourish us both, with the odd treat if I really feel like it.

Here’s what I ate today.


Surprise surprise breakfast was porridge!  I think I’ve had porridge most days over the past few months for breakfast.  I have really been loving it, but the past few days I’ve been a bit bored of it.  It could just be the toppings (berries) but I’m keen for some fresh ideas – let me know what you’re currently having.  I’m planning on making some more of this granola in the weekend so that will give me another option too.   Today I had porridge with chia seeds, yoghurt, berries plus a nut/seed/fruit/coconut mix sprinkled on to to add some extra crunch.  I’m using chia seeds and LSA most days either with breakfast or with yoghurt/fruit for a snack to boost my omega 3 intake.  Marine sources are best absorbed, but I like to provide myself with a bit of a top up from plant based sources.

I also has a latte at work and enjoyed that whilst catching up on a bit of research on intuitive eating.

Morning snack

Around 10.30am I had some banana blueberry bread I made in the weekend.  I’m loving this recipe – it’s made with coconut flour and wholegrain flour and is also low in added sugar plus it tastes really good!  I’ll be sharing the recipe at some stage, but in the mean time here’s a recipe for  similar version just with banana if you’re keen to try it out.  I also had a small handful of mixed nuts – brazil, almond and cashews.


Lunch was kind of reconstructed omelette on toast spread with avocado.  How good is it to have avocados back at a good price?  I cooked the egg and spinach before work and reheated it.  This was pretty tasty and a good mix of healthy fats, protein, carbohydrate and some non starchy vegetables.


I had an early lunch as I run a course on Wednesdays which I start setting up about 11.45am.  We have a break around 2pm at the course and it’s catered so there is fruit and sandwiches.  I had a handful of grapes and a mini sandwich (ie a quarter) which was cheese and tomato.

Back in the office, I had a banana and then a bit later I had a white chocolate sante bar.  I’m not usually a white chocolate person but I really felt like it, so I had it and it hit the spot.

After work I had some carrot sticks I didn’t eat earlier and half a bottle of kombucha that was left in the fridge from yesterday.


I felt like it had been a while since I’d had red meat, so tonight we had steak for dinner.  Red meat is of course a good source of iron, and in pregnancy your iron requirements increase therefore including good sources of iron is important.  With our steak we had home made mushroom sauce, onion, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and kumara mash.  A delicious combination!

So that’s me for another fortnight – I hope you enjoyed the latest instalment. And do let me know if you’ve got any delish breakfast ideas I should try.



What I ate Wednesday: the not perfect edition

This fortnight’s what I ate Wednesday isn’t green smoothies and kale salads!  I had one of those days where I was disorganised, didn’t plan and life got busy.  I almost considered not publishing this week’s Wednesday but then I decided I would for a couple of reasons.  1. to show I’m human.  2.  That one day of having a few more of the ‘sometimes foods’ doesn’t mean that you are unhealthy.  It’s just a day in the big picture.

So here it is and why my day panned out the way it did.


Breakfast:  Muesli with Greek yoghurt and  berries.

One of my breakfasts on rotation at the moment is this.  I’m loving the combination of all three of these.  My breakfast was a good start to the day for me.  Wholegrain carbohydrate from the oats with some nuts/seeds for healthy fat, fruit plus protein from the Anchor Greek yoghurt and milk.  Yummy and sustaining.

Today at work I spent the morning at a clinic in Martinborough.  I usually take fruit and nuts with me but today I forgot.  I had a cheese scone at the clinic.  Yep, refined carbs – white flour and lots of cheese.  I hardly ever eat scones, so in context not really a biggie.


When I got back from Martinborough, I decided I’d go for a quick run before getting something to eat. I hadn’t made my lunch so I had to buy it.    I ran with my card and stopped to get something at a cafe on the way back.  It was after 1pm by the time I got back . The first place I went to only had pastries or bacon and egg sandwiches.  The next cafe I went to was also pretty cleared out.  I didn’t have time to go anywhere else, so I chose a curried chicken and kumara filo which came with a salad and got it to go.  The salad is really more a garnish than a salad – one serve of vegetable is 1 cup of lettuce, and this probably would have been about 1/3 of a cup if I was lucky.  I had a tomato at work so I added this to it to bump up the vegetable.  The filo was quite yummy but not something I’d go for when buying my lunch. The only other options were pastry based tarts or paninis.

I was a little hungry about 4pm.  I had packed some berries, greek yoghurt and chia seeds with a sprinkle of chopped almonds.  When I use frozen berries, I like to sprinkle over a teaspoon of chia seeds as these help absorb the liquid as they defrost.  The nuts add a nice crunch.


I got home about 6pm but we ended up going out and visiting the inlaws, and stayed for longer than planned.  They eat early, but we hadn’t eaten.  We left about 7.30pm and were pretty hungry and tired so decided to get takeaways.  Now for those that live in cities, you are lucky with the choices you have! My general go to are either a kebab or thai, and tonight we got thai as the kebab meat can be dry later on.  I usually choose a stir fry that nearly always comes with HEAPS of vegetables, but of course to night it was super stingy! My husband got pad thai. I had a little of the pad thai and the stir fry with some rice.

I also had two mini easter eggs and two strawberries and a peach.

If I was looking at this critically, I’d say yes, refined carbs were featured in my day – scone, filo pastry, rice/fried noodles, that there weren’t enough vegetables.  I’m sure plenty of people would judge me for this day and think well if you ate an omlette for breakfast you wouldn’t be hungry and you wouldn’t need snacks, or  that I could have just cooked dinner or gone to the supermarket and got something that was quick to make, or that I should have been more prepared and made my own lunch and have things in the freezer blah blah.  Of course I know those things.  In general I don’t feel like eggs at breakfast.  And I generally do make my own lunch and have quick easy things for nights when I can’t be bothered cooking. But today I didn’t and sometimes that happens in life.

There were some things about my day that were perfectly healthy.  I guess the thing is that you learn from what happens.  If you’re going to buy lunch, get it early rather than later. I’ll remember that the stir fry is stingy on the vegetables now, maybe order some plain stir fried vegetables too.  Do a proper grocery shop so you are organised for lunches and dinner (didn’t really plan very well this week….)

I’ll be back in two weeks for another honest installation of “What I ate Wednesday”

What I ate Wednesday

Firstly, apologies as last Wednesday was supposed to be ‘What I ate Wednesday’, however I was sick and all I ate was a couple of pieces of toast with marmite. And as you can imagine, that would not have been the most exciting day of eating to feature!  So I’ve done it today instead.

Here’s my day of food in pictures.  These photos aren’t exactly master pieces but you get the idea 🙂

Breakfast today was muesli, Greek yoghurt and some stewed plums.  My muesli was a real hybrid today.  It was a mix of a homemade one, a one my husband bought and another one I bought.  I had a little of each as there wasn’t much left! There was oats, almonds, seeds, coconut and just a really small amount of dried fruit. For Greek yoghurt I usually buy Anchor Greek.  It’s the highest in protein so it’s great to help keep you feeling full.  If you remember my big plum haul from a few weeks back, I cooked some up and froze them in little glad bags.  They’ve been handy to defrost as I need them and they taste amazing with Greek yoghurt.

When I got to work I had 1/2 an instant coffee. The coffee at work isn’t the greatest so I didn’t finish it.

I spent most of the morning on the road for work.  I was a little hungry when I got back late morning and needed something to tide me over until lunch.  I am not usually much of a cracker person, but one of my favourite snacks at the moment is wholegrain crackers with either tomato or cucumber and cheese. FYI, crackers vary so much in terms of nutrition, so do check out the nutrition information before you buy.  I’ve got some chutney, cucumber and cheese that is in the fridge at work at the moment, and I have a box of crackers at my desk.

I’ve got lots of cucumbers in the garden so at the moment and pretty much everything comes with a side of cucumber! I had 3 sesame and chia crackers with chutney, cucumber and cheese.

For lunch I had left over panko crumbed fish, roasted cauliflower and zucchini and salad.  I love having leftovers, it makes lunch so easy the next day.  I also took a small amount of quinoa from the freezer and defrosted and heated that to go with lunch.

I usually take fruit and yoghurt to work for snacks but I forgot them today, so I went to the supermarket and grabbed a small bunch of grapes and a yoghurt.  I ate these about 3.30pm.  I then had just a couple of nuts which I forgot I had (not pictured).


Dinner tonight was a new recipe. I have so many recipe books I thought I should really start to use them more and experiment a bit so I made Chelsea Winter’s Sesame Chicken.  Minus the sesame seeds. Whoops.  I thought I had some but turns out I didn’t. It still tasted pretty good.  I served it with soba noodles and stir fried broccoli, capsicum and zucchini. My dinner had about 1/2 cup of broccoli, a zucchini and half a large capsicum in it – so about three serves of vegetables.

It’s quite an interesting exercise to reflect on a days eating.  I always try and get vegetables in at lunch as well as dinner.  Food doesn’t have to be expensive, fancy or contain superfood powders to be healthy.  My day is pretty basic, but covers a range of food groups and is nutrient dense, but tasty too! In terms of sugar (since it’s a hot topic right now), there would have been a small amount in the muesli from dried fruit, some in the chutney, a little in the yoghurt (the sugar is mostly from lactose, but it did have a little added in the berry) and the sauce for dinner also had some honey in it.  But seriously, nothing to stress about in the context of a healthy, balanced diet and likely to be under the recommended intake.

So that’s it – I’ll be back with another episode of ‘What I ate Wednesday’ in two weeks time!

Nadia Lim’s Fresh Start Cookbook – a review

I can remember the day when Nadia Lim won Masterchef – the deciding food challenge was a giant macron tower that looked so amazing! Even though this wasn’t exactly a ‘health food’ challenge, I knew a dietitian winning could only mean good things.  Since then Nadia has been a knowledgeable advocate for healthy yet delicious food and a balanced approach to living well. I’ve not been disappointed with her recipes, so I was excited to check out her new Fresh Start cook book.

This cook book comes with a bit of a difference.  It is a recipe book, but it’s also a weight loss book.  Nadia provides advice for healthy eating, and shares 12 steps for health and wellbeing.  There is also a section at the back of the book on exercise, written by Nadia’s friend and personal trainer Michael McCormack.  From this, you can create your own exercise programme without the need for special equipment.

Nadia’s food philosophy is around a “nude food” approach which focuses on wholefood basics, without fuss and inflexible food rules on what you shouldn’t eat.  There’s no fads or misinformation, simply sensible nutrition advice with plenty of delicious food.

Nadia says:

..I’m not going to prescribe you a strict diet or set of food rules to follow, my focus has always been making healthy eating as simple, easy and delicious as possible.

Nadia mentions she isn’t a fan of calorie counting, although all the recipes do have calorie and macronutrient counts.  She’s more of an advocate for paying attention to food groups and portion sizes and there is some information on the book on this.

For me, I was more interested in the recipe side of the book and there is plenty of recipe inspiration, with over 100 recipes.

The recipe section is divided into breakfasts, lunches and dinners as well as a section of delicious desserts and sweet treats. All the recipes are beautifully photographed and there are so many fresh ideas, I have the feeling that my breakfasts and lunches in particular are going to be looking particularly exciting over the next few weeks!

A number of the recipes are inspired by Asian flavours, as well as other ethnic dishes such as Mexican.  None of the recipes are too fussy and are made with ingredients most of us would have in our pantry, as well some herbs and spices.

First on my list to make are the following:

Lemongrass chicken skewers with mango salad
Spicy Jamaican jerk chicken
Spanish meatballs, beans and cauliflower parsley mash

And for a sweet treat:

Lemon coconut slice
Chocolate berry fudge brownies.

I’ll let you know how I get on over on my Facebook page 🙂

You can buy the cookbook online  here – it’s currently on special for $35.99. It’s also available at all good bookstores.

My Christchurch trip – relaxation, delicious food and fun

This year has been a busy one for me.  Working full time, contributing to other publications as well as maintaining a blog has been rewarding and I love it, but it’s also been tiring.  As the end of the year approaches, I really felt like I needed a mini break to keep me going. With no arm twisting at all my friend said she’d love to join me so I signed up to Jetstar Price Radar and found some fantastic value flights for relaxing few days away, heading to Christchurch.

Price Radar is great, especially when you have a busy life.  It does all the hard work for you to find the best priced flights.  You search for your flights, then simply hit “activate price radar”.  You’ll then get email updates when flights hit your ideal price.  So when I got the magic email, I locked it in.

Give it a go for your next trip or even have a play around for a spontaneous trip if the price is right – you can use it for both domestic and international flights. Check it out here

Here’s what we got up to on our relaxing weekend away.

1. Hanmer Springs

Since flights were such great value, I had extra spending money so we decided go on a bit of a road trip and hired a car with GPS to show us the way.  We jumped off the plane, picked up our car and drove to Hamner Springs for the ultimate in relaxation – lounging in the thermal hot pools.  If you haven’t been to Hanmer Springs, you need to go.  It’s a small but very beautiful alpine town surrounded by mountains and is of course most famous for it’s natural hot pools.

The Hanmer Springs thermal pools were actually bigger and better than I had imagined.  There are a range of different hot pools, including rock pools, sulphur pools and Aqua Therapy pools. Aqua Therapy originated in Europe and is a new form of water relaxation which helps relax your muscles and body.  One of the pools has amazing powerful water and air jets which massage your body as you lay there in the warm water.

The sulphur pools were amazingly warm,  and the rock pools were very relaxing too.  You just sit back soak up the heat and admire the gorgeous surroundings.  We lounged around until we turned prune like and then decided to head off to explore the town a little.



Image from here


2. Conical Hill Walking Track

Hanmer Springs has plenty of walking tracks and we decided to track up to Conical Hill to get a better view of the gorgeous area.  Conical Hill is an hour round trip, although I’m sure we did it faster than that and we were in our jandals. So even though it’s all up hill it’s not too strenuous which was nice since we’d just been relaxing in the hot pools.

There’s something special about being in nature and the walk was really enjoyable. It’s so peaceful and tranquil with only the sounds of trees rustling and birds chirping.  The views from the top were gorgeous – miles of lush green trees, blue skies and snow tipped mountains. After admiring the views, it was then a nice meander down through the tall trees before heading to Christchurch.  You can find out more about this walking track and others in Hanmer Springs here.

3.  Day 2 – breakfast at Hello Sunday Cafe

There’s nothing like a delicious, healthy breakfast to start the day and Hello Sunday was just perfect for filling those requirements on our second day.  The cafe provided perfect combination of great food, good service and a beautiful setting.   The food at Hello Sunday caters for a range of dietary requirements and is made from scratch using fresh locally sourced and often organic produce.  The coffee was perfect, and I chose the smashed avocado served with crispy polenta, poached eggs, goats curd and toasted multigrain. This was pretty much my ideal breakfast with my favourite things – eggs, avocado and feta – delicious.    Hello Sunday was recommended to me by a few people, and if you head to Christchurch I’d also recommend checking it out.


4. The Christchurch Farmers Market

The Christchurch Farmers Market is a must see for any foodie.  The market showcases some of the best of Canterbury’s produce, artisan and prepared foods.

For the healthy foodie, I’d recommend checking out the BearLion stall.  BearLion make delicious salads, healthier sweet treats, cereals and preserves using wholefood, natural ingredients.  There’s also plenty of options for those who have allergies.

I bought one of their organic cacao cakes topped with salted caramel sauce and it was truly amazing!  It had a rich chocolate taste and a fudgey consistency that just melted in your mouth. It was also really filling. Washed down with a green juice from Green Roots Organics, it was the perfect mid morning snack to keep me going.

The other place I would recommend checking out is Posh Porridge. If I hadn’t already had breakfast I so would have picked that option.  I was drooling looking at their menu board and I may or may not have stolen some ideas for porridge at home.

Another yummy food stall was Whiteheart hazelnuts. Grown by Ann Joseph in Christchurch, she creates a wide range of delicious hazelnut products – from a range of hazelnut butters to granolas and bliss balls. I bought a hazelnut butter to take home and my friend Caroline tried out their cacao hazlenut granola.

We spent a leisurely few hours sampling many delicious delights and left with full bellies and happy hearts!



5. The Vintage Peddler Bike Hire

For a cruisy, active afternoon we hired bikes from The Vintage Peddler and explored the city a little, including a bike ride through Hadley Park and following the track along the Avon River.  We had a quick nosey in at the Botanical Gardens too.  I particularly liked the conservatory full of tropical plants and greenery.

The bikes were lots of fun, and those old fashioned bike seats sure are comfy.  I now think I need to trade in my bike at home for an old fashioned number.

Christchurch city centre, although still under construction, has lots going for it.  I loved admiring the sculptures and graffiti art around the city which really brightens it up amongst the new construction and empty sites.

We checked out the Re:Start mall, the Cardboard Cathedral as well as having a nosey at the ruins of the old one, which was quite sad to see.

Christchurch is the perfect city for biking in – it’s nice and flat and the roads are wide, without too much traffic.  I felt perfectly safe and secure peddling around.



6. Retail therapy

A little retail therapy was the perfect way to round up a relaxing weekend away.  I was super impressed with Christchurch’s shops.  In fact I think it’s some of the best shopping I’ve seen, with gorgeous homewares, clothing stores and shoe shops. There’s even a Lorna Jane Active store, the only one in NZ.
We had a quick browse around the Tannery, Colombo as well as the Re:Start mall.  Since I got such great value flights, I had some money for a little retail therapy.  Here’s a few of of my shopping finds, including some new Nike shoes, a glass drink bottle from Lululemon and a very cute raindrop necklace with a gold, rose gold and silver raindrop made locally in Christchurch.

7.  Dinner at 50 Bistro

Just arrived! How cool is the living wall in the courtyard?!

We decided to treat ourselves to dinner at 50 Bistro, an award winning restaurant located in the George Hotel. My dinner at 50 Bistro was one of the nicest meals I’ve had out for a long time.  The food was delicious, well presented and the service as also spot on.  I chose the pork dish:

Slow Cooked Free Farmed Pork
monteiths cider & sage cured pork belly & grilled tenderloin, celeriac, nut ranch organic hazelnuts & apple gel

You choose your main then add to it from a range of delicious sides – from templeton shiitakes, green beans, wok fry sauce, crispy shallots to simple sauteed kale with coconut oil and garlic.

The pork was tender, cooked to perfection and had amazing flavour. I only had my iphone here so the photo isn’t amazing, but the taste was!

Because I’m a believer in moderation and the dessert menu sounded divine, I had dessert too. My option was:

50 Bistro “Pavlova”
crisp raspberry & vanilla poached meringue, white chocolate cremeux, basil & granny smith gel

That white chocolate cremeux has me drooling thinking about it.  Total deliciousness!

Our trip away was short, but very enjoyable and I came home feeling relaxed and revived.  I’m now thinking about what my next trip should be!  To book your own trip away at a great value price, check out Jetstar Price Radar and start planning a little getaway.  You deserve it 🙂

Homeward bound. Christchurch to Wellington is only 45 minutes which makes it perfect distance for a weekend trip.

This post was made possible thanks to Jetstar.