Happy 6th Blogaversary and a Giveaway!

6th blogaversary and giveaway

Can you believe this time six years ago, I was in isolation, oozing radioactivity and emptying my thoughts on to my computer to start this here blog! That makes me feel so old. It seems like yesterday!

Over the last six years, I’ve published a whopping 1,834 posts but today, I’m sharing my favourite dozen posts of all time – six personal and six recipes. Stay tuned to the end of the post though, because there’s a fantabulous giveaway from I Still Call Australia Home!

So let’s kick off with six of my favourite personal posts. Are you ready? Let’s do it!

She’s So Inspiring – Julia Watson

Truth be told, the She’s So Inspiring series is one of the best things about this blog and I am so grateful to all the amazing women who have shared their stories here. Asking me to pick a favourite interview is like asking asking a mother to pick her favourite child, it’s just not possible. However, Julia’s interview will always be bittersweet because she’s the one inspiring woman who is no longer with us.

She's So Inspiring - Julia Watson

My Emotional Raincoat

My emotional raincoat is my favourite accessory. I needed to “wear” it  a lot in 2014 but I’ve worn it more than ever in the years since. It’s my invisible shield of self preservation against all the bad stuff that’s going down. Do you have one too?

Life Lessons From a Cucumber Sandwich

That one time at tea time when I learned an important life lesson. It reminds me of that quote, “never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.” No matter how old you get (or how many sandwiches you eat) you never stop learning. True story.

Afternoon Tea at The Landing, Singapore

The Friends in My Computer

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, thank you for my friends. Especially the ones whose paths I would never have crossed if I hadn’t started blogging. Perish the thought! The friends I’ve made because I blogged are my far and away best blogging perk.

Thank you for my friends

An Open Letter to My Thyroid

This was a merry old trot down Memory Lane. Sometimes you need to look back just to see how far you’ve come. That said, I know I’m only as good as my next check up, but gee, it’s been an action packed six years. I wouldn’t change a thing (except maybe get a refund on my $2000 butt injections and of course, reverse David’s stroke.)

Thyroidectomy Nov 2011

Finding The Flip Side

Talking of David’s stroke, I thought it only fair to balance out this post with his and hers hospital pictures. Taking the tongue out of my cheek, I must admit that being on the other side of the hospital bed and seeing David in it was all my worst nightmares come true. However, if it’s one thing cancer taught me, it was resilience and how to find the flip side. Because there is always a flip side, even if sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find it.

Keep Calm and Bake On

I’ve been brought up in a  family where to feed me is to love me, so it probably won’t surprise you to learn that some of my favourite recipes are those that have been shared by my favourite people.

Auntie Sandra’s Champion Chicken Soup

My Auntie Sandra is the most amazing cook and her chicken soup is the stuff soup legends are made of. I am so glad she shared her (now not so) secret recipe because we basically live off this in winter and/or when we’re sick. It’s like a hug in a bowl. They don’t call it Jewish penicillin for nothing, you know!

Auntie Sandra's Champion Chicken Soup

Nana’s Best Ever Bread Pudding

Keeping it in the family, this was my nana’s speciality a la maison. It’s such an old skool dessert/pudding/cake that I hardly ever see it in British bakeries anymore and I’ve never seen it in Australia, except in my kitchen. It’s cheap, easy and totally delicious and you’ll never find a better way to upcycle stale bread!

Nana's Best Ever Bread Pudding

Thermomix Best Baked Cheesecake

Well technically, this is my old neighbour Mary’s recipe but my mum adopted it as her own, so it’s a Mum and Mary combination. I’ve adapted the recipe to the Thermomix but you can make it easily without. This cheesecake is everybody’s favourite, even David who is this house’s resident (and super harsh) food critic. This is his far and away favourite cheesecake and the only dessert that he’ll nearly beg for. Bake it yourself and you’ll see why!

Thermomix Best Baked Cheesecake

Dharish’s Chicken Curry

Being an only child with a small but perfectly formed immediate family, I have extended my clan by having friends that are family and Dharish is one of those. Aswell as being one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world, a treasure inside and out and our one and only bridesmaid, she is also the Queen of Curries. I was so pleased she gave us this recipe when we left London so we could recreate her kitchen magic here in Australia. I converted the recipe to the Thermomix but whether you make it on the stove or in the thermie, you’re in for a treat. This is one of the most popular recipes not just at our house but on the blog proper, taste it and you’ll see why!

Dharish's Chicken Curry

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

When you have a food blog and you’re always developing new recipes, there’s always new things on the menu. This pulled pork however, is a regular feature on our meal plan because not only is it great on it’s lonesome but it’s can also be upcycled in so many ways like in this Pulled Pork Asian Salad, these Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes and this Asian Pork Noodle Salad. This recipe is low iodine and my only regret is that I hadn’t developed it when I was on the low iodine diet. Terrible timing on my part!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Lime Slaw

Thermomix Fantastic Fudge

This fudge is my edible calling card. It’s caramelly and creamy and a fudgegasm is guaranteed. It’s my go-to gift for giving and it never fails to disappoint.

Thermomix Fantastic Fudge

Now to get this party started and to celebrate six years of blogging fun and frolics, I’ve got a $300 gift voucher up for grabs for one lucky winner to spend on a gorgeous gift for yourself or your loved ones from I Still Call Australia Home. They connect family and friends across the globe with the most wonderful, delicious and incredibly tasteful (and tasty) Australian gifts and gift hampers and this giveaway is worldwide, so you can enter wherever you are in the world and send the gift wherever you want in the world. How awesome is that?!

I love that everything on the website is from an Australian owned company, gifts are Aussie Made wherever possible and when it isn’t, Australian Designers are used in the production. As an ex-pat and an Australian, this is something I can really get excited about!

Blogaversary Giveaway

I Still Call Australia Home gifts are sent all over the world from Finland to the Philippines, and Germany to Japan and almost every other country you can think of, although probably the most unusual destination was a monestary in Peru! Strange but true!  Everything sent Internationally is via express delivery and postage cost covers freight, duties, taxes and even door-to-door tracking. Perfect for Christmas or any other time of year come to that, because it’s always a good day to give a gift… And have a giveaway!

A_Welcome-to-Australia - I still call Australia Home

Now, to be in with a chance of winning the $300 gift voucher all you need to do is leave a comment telling me what reminds you of home, and why?

Now here’s the Terms and Conditions (AKA the boring bits!)

1. The prize is  1 x  $300 gift voucher and will be judged from the eligible entries.

2. This is is a game of skill. Chance plays no part in determining the winner. Each entry will be individually judged, based upon individual creative merit.

3. To be eligible you must leave a comment sharing what reminds you of home and why.

4. Only one entry per person.

5. The giveaway is open worldwide and is not transferable.

6. The giveaway opens Tuesday 14 November 2017  and closes midnight Tuesday 28 November 2017.

7. Voucher is valid until 31 December 2017.

8.. The winner will be announced on the blog and notified via email on Thursday 30 November 2017.

Linking up with Kylie for IBOT 

 

  • Happy Blogaversary Sammie! I’m so pleased you starting tapping away on your computer to empty your thoughts. I’m so thrilled our paths have crossed through blogging. What a ride the last six years have been for you. I truly admire you Sammie! YOU are SO INSPIRING! Big Hugs 🤗

    • I think we have a mutual admiration society going on here. I hope you know how awesome I think you are – right back at ya! Thank you for your beautiful words! xx

  • WOW 6 years blogging. It is such a commitment and time consuming that only those who really love it actually continue and enjoy it. Keep on moving forward. Love your summary of fav posts too… might have to read a few #teamIBOT

    • I don’t think people realise what a huge commitment it is, but it gives me a purpose. I think I’m proper addicted!

  • Happy Blogaversary!!! You’ve done so much in the last 6 years (and a big congratulations on your BUPA win too, by the way!) and it’s so awesome to see! And what a great giveaway! I’d never heard of I Still Call Australia Home but it sounds like such a cool idea! To be honest, I’m not really sure what reminds me of home I guess I feel like wherever my family is, when I’m with them, that’s home.

    • Thanks, lovely! I can’t believe how much has happened in those last six years! I Still Call Australia Home has an amazing selection of the most gorgeous products, perfect for Aussies at home and abroad and even for friends and family overseas who need more Australiana in their life, and let’s face it doesn’t everyone?!

  • Happy blogoversary! Horrahhhhh!!!! You’ve written about so much in that time. Great way to celebrate too.
    Our vocabulary. I just love the Aussie-isms we use that nobody else does. The slang, the twang and our language in general. I also love driving from the Sydney airport to Canberra and seeing the landscape. The way it changes in that 3 hour trip. I look at it with new eyes (the eyes of a tourist) and see just how damn spectacular our country is.

    • Thanks! I teach English to international students and I love teaching Aussie slang. When I first came on holiday to Australia, I got a little Aussie Slang – British English dictionary – it was such an eye opener!

  • Happy 6th Bloggiversary! That is so many blog posts you have written!

    The sound of cicadas and kookaburras reminds me of home. Whenever I return to Australia after being overseas it’s the sounds that I hear on my return that tell me I’m home. Sounds that I take for granted every day unless I’ve been away. cicadas and kookaburras are such iconic Australian sounds that I don’t believe any other country has.

    Ingrid
    http://www.fabulousandfunlife.blogspot.com.au

    • I have to agree, when it comes to bird “song” our Aussie feathered friends are in a league of their own! And don’t get me started on the cicadas!

  • I totally agree that the connections made through blogging is the best part.

  • What an awesome six years you’ve had!! Happy bloggiversary!

  • You’ve got a lot to celebrate- and I love the posts you’ve picked! In fact, your baked cheesecake will be coming out of my kitchen very soon to celebrate my step-daughter’s sweet 16! As for what reminds me of home, here goes:

    Baked chicken legs. Such a humble meal, right? When my Mum was alive, she marinated them in honey and soy and cooked a batch at least twice a week. Her little dog had one every night, boned, chopped and warmed for dinner. He was super spoiled! And the rest were always on a plate in the fridge, used for lunches, quick dinners etc. When my eldest was 2.5 she learned to help herself and we had to keep them on the top shelf! To this day, the smell of roasted chicken legs reminds me of Mum and Mum most definitely says home to me 🙂

    • That cheesecake is pretty special and perfect for a 16th birthday – lucky girl!

      I love your stories about your mum – you should put all your mum stories in a (photo) book such a lovely legacy for your kids. Maybe it’s a mum thing, with the cordon bleu dogs, because mum makes fresh chicken (and rice and veggies) for her pooch every day too!

      Those chicken legs sound amaze, do you have the recipe?

  • Bethany Allen

    Happy Blogiversary!!! I think home to me is a mix of things. It’s the smell of crushing a eucalyptus leaf in my hand. It’s the sounds of birds outside my window at six am, singing a unique symphony that belongs to Australia and Australia only. It’s the feeling of driving home from the beach, salt on your skin and hair, skin pink from the sun, and crawling between cool sheets for a Sunday afternoon snooze. It’s Mum’s pavlova. It’s mulberry stained lips and fingers from the tree that’s been in the yard since I was three. It’s the distinct combination of mozzie spray and sausages on the barbeque. It’s the feeling of burning tarmac underfoot, the weight of the air before a tropical storm, and the smoky tang of bushfires burning in the distance. It’s smiling at people on the street, ‘G’day’ (something I missed sorely when I lived overseas). It’s all of these things and more. Living overseas really made me appreciate home, and I try to acknowledge these things and moments overtime I come across them, because what they say is true ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone!’

    • You totally transported me to a special time and place – you’re so right, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I love that I Still Call Australia Home is giving back a little bit of that nostalgia for the Aussies at home and a little bit of what the expats are missing overseas!

  • The food that reminds me of home the most is actually a store bought one! I know, I’m a rebel 🙂 I love the turkey roast rolls that you can buy. It’s so easy to put on, relax, and then there’s this delicate, tender meat ready when it dings! Simple but soooo good.

  • Happy Celebrations of all things that make your blog so great. I liked seeing your posts highlighted and to be reminded of all the good you do as a blogger and the joy you bring to many! Cheers, Denyse x

  • merilyn

    happy blogaversary lovely sammie! … definitely good therapy!
    i’m very glad to have met up with you through the blogging ether!
    you are such a beautiful soul!
    much love mxx

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Happy 6th blogsaversary Sammie and may there be many, many more! I didn’t know David was such a harsh food critic! Now I’m scared to cook anything for you!

    • Ha ha! David’s only harsh about my food, he would never judge anyone else’s food anything other than favourably! He’d be keen as mustard to eat anything you cooked!

  • Lorelle Catalano

    What a beautiful reflection Sammie. You are definitely an inspiration to others. Congratulations on 6 years of blogging, pure dedication right there!
    I guess for me, my dog reminds me of home! I know whenever we are away and we always see another dog, we automatically get homesick and think of our Maltese Poodle, Jackson! He’s always missed when we travel, but luckily has a great holiday of his own at my parents house where he is spoilt immensely! Xx

    • Thanks so much, Lorelle! I love that Jackson reminds you of home! I’ve always wanted a maltipoo! You know what they say, what happens at grandma’s house, stays at grandma’s house!

      • Lorelle Catalano

        Haha yes…he always comes back a few kilos heavier!! 😉

  • Oh congratulations, Sammie!! This is huge. And what a great collection of posts.
    What reminds me of home?
    The beach – hot summer days where the sand is so hot it will burn your feet. The smell of the ocean, the salt water on my skin and the fresh air. Cheese and vegemite toasted sandwiches after a morning in the surf and sun.

  • Smith Nicole

    The scent of Jasmine on a southerly breeze, salty feet, the sting of sun across my nose. Crashing waves against the shore as the sausages sizzle and onions burn. My dog tastes the salt with his little pink tongue. The clink of plates laid out quickly followed by BBQ sauce, napkins and a rowdy crew gathers scurrying for a seat. The simple things. My Australian life. These things remind me of home whenever I’m away from the great Pacific coastline.

  • ellen ross

    Anytime that I am outside and the sun is really bright but there’s still a breeze and I can hear lawnmowers in the background, I am reminded of home. I believe it’s because as a child I loved being outside and was always playing in my backyard. Whenever the wind would blow and the sun was keeping my skin warm I would always stand up, look around, take a deep breathe, and listen. I would hear birds and sometimes a car driving by but mostly I would hear lawn mowers running around my neighborhood and I would always think to myself “there are other people enjoying the outdoors in this exact area RIGHT NOW”.

  • Rachel K

    When I was a child, there were foods I wanted to try just because they had a freaky name. Growing up with an English father and Irish mother helped because the English love an eccentric name – Spotted Dick anyone? One of them was Toad In The Hole.
    I loved the book The Wind in the Willows and I had always imagined that this dish was linked to Mr Toad from Toad Hall and that by eating Mum’s I’d be transported to Toad Hall to hang out with Mr Toad.
    The Toads are sausages and they poke out from pastry which is like a giant Yorkshire Pudding, the Hole. Today it is still a favourite of mine and one I have passed on to my Greek niece only we gave it a bit of a Mediterranean feel by adding basil, Italian sausages and baby vine ripened tomatoes. Traditionally it’s made using pork sausages and rosemary.
    My husband loves it and and devours it each and every time I produce it. The session ends with him patting his stomach after seconds and I’m reminded that I am in the presence of my own lovable rogue, my very own Mr Toad and at the very same time I’m transported to home!

    • Toad in the Hole is one of our all time favourites! I have a great recipe for it on the blog (not enabling, just saying!)

  • Happy blogosversary Sam. So blessed to call you friend and have met you in person – though we are overdue for a squeeze.
    Cosy kitchens and cups of tea – my family spent a lot of time chatting in our kitchen. It wasn’t a fancy space, but it had everything in abundance chairs, stools and biscuits, On Sundays – scones, jam cream and a teapot. Sometimes we laughed there, cried there,
    argued there, and we spent many nights playing card games.
    I’d donate the prize to sending in packages to soldiers overseas – everytime I see the postpac addressed to “Australian soldier” on facebook it makes me feel emotional.

    • That sounds like my kind of kitchen – I always think it’s the heart of the home unless we’re talking about compact dwellings with microscopic kitchens!

      We are so long overdue for a squeeze – let’s make it happen in 2018 – although there is a LOT more of me to squeeze these days!

      You always think of others so I’m not surprised you’d donate your prize to such a worthy recipient. xx

  • Mandy Ferry

    were always so busy running in and out these days, an opportunity to stop catch a movie with loved ones. Rest and relaxation always make me think of home an oasis to escape the outside chaos.

  • Happy blog anniversary!! I celebrated mine in Melbourne, and it’s so nice to be able to look back on what you’ve created over the years. But that’s it for me from now, I’m off to check out the cheesecake recipe. YUM.

    • Oh happy blogaversary to you too! I love a good old trip down Memory Lane especially when it involves cheesecake! That one is pretty spesh, I must say!

  • Erin Bond

    Love and friendship remind me of home, we all leave home at some stage and we never feel that same acceptance and love anywhere else. Home is where you grew up being accepted for exactly who you were, without any expectations or need to conform. the more we grow the more we realize they were the best days of life

  • Happy blog anniversary, 6 years already!! Wont be long and your blog will be a teenager. I’ve been thinking a lot about what reminds me of home this year as I prepared to send my girls gifts to the UK, and for me it’s the simplicity of the birds calling in the morning, the smell of fresh cut grass and a storm rumbling in. Although, when overseas it was vegemite that was calling for me! xxx

    • When it comes to birdsong, Aussie birds are definitely in a league of their own! I bet a box of goodies from I Still Call Australia Home would make your girl’s Christmas extra special and of course, extra Aussie! We always miss Vegemite when we’re overseas, we usually take a jar away with us!

  • Happy blog anniversary Sam.You are a true champion.

  • Happy Bloggerversary Sam! I love that you’ve compiled your fave recipes and posts here, I’m going to have a great time reading them all for your back story since I am decidedly late to your blog. 🙂 I can’t believe you’re written so many posts!