Energy Truffles – gluten, dairy & sugar free!

DSCF8874Mmmmmm. Just looking at this photo again is making me want to eat one!

The reason I made these is because I get low blood sugar if I don’t eat little and often, and I need to eat a snack that will sustain me without giving me that sugar crash like a chocolate biscuit would (I get what my husband calls Hangry – a cobination of Hungry and Angry!) I don’t have a very sweet tooth but I do ocassionally crave something chocolatey and these bad boys really cut the mustard, being just sweet enough, chocolatey enough and as a major bonus, healthy, as they are packed full of super foods too! They would be a great little gift to make a new mother who has just had a baby and is breastfeeding!

I adapted the recipe from several I found online whilst searching for easy no bake ‘energy snacks’ some were called power balls (nooooo that just didn’t sit right with me!) but I have called mine energy truffles as I dusted them in cocoa powder to give them a grown-up treat appeal!

Here are the ingredients and method:

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup LSA (if you ca’t find LSA – a blend of ground linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds – substitute with any ground nuts such as almond meal)
  • 1/2 cup seaseme seeds
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (substitute for any other nut butter if you wish)
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • extra cocoa powder for dusting (optional)

First place the dates in a small bowl and cover with freshly bolied water. Leave for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile put all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. If you dont like or can’t find either the chia seeds or quinoa you can subsitute by adding extra seseame seeds, or whole sunflower seeds. (I made a batch without quinoa and they were less crunchy so this may appeal to some people.)

Drain and roughly chop the dates and add to the bowl.


DSCF8867Add honey and peanut/nut butter and vanilla extract and give a good stir! Now take teaspoon sized amounts of the mixture and with clean hands roll into balls. I guess mine were about the size of walnuts. Place on baking/greaseproof paper, and when you have used all the mixture simply drop each ball into the extra cocoa and dust lightly (this is optional though). Now layer in a airtight container between sheets of baking paper and chill in the fridge. I like them cold but you can of course eat them straight away! Bear in mind that after time the cocoa powder will ‘soak’ into the truffle so if they are a gift I would re-dust them in cocoa…

DSCF8872Nom nom.. a few have been dusted at the front.DSCF8869

DSCF8865my little helper

Enjoy! x


Robot Party Piñata

I am not the type of mum who goes ‘cray cray’ about organising a themed party – you won’t find matching plates, table decorations, party bags etc at my kids b’days, (if you do then hats off to you but seriously I do not have that much time on my hands, of frankly the money) but we have started family tradition of sorts that whatever The Cake is we also have a matching Piñata. So far we have had a ‘Space Rocket’, ‘Monster’ and the latest, ‘Robot’ theme.

You’ve got to love piñatas, seriously in my book a party is not a party unless you have a thing to bash that contains sweets/lollies/candy… For J’s party I thought, he’s two, he does not care for nor need pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, musical statues to name but a few of the traditional games that bring out the stress in me… but a piñata, oh yes, he needs one of those! I love them, but I do not love the $$$ price tag that goes with them in the shops when I know that their main function is to be destroyed. So of course I make my own!


This year, The Robot was actually quite simple.

  • A cardboard box
  • a few cardboard tubes
  • a bit of string
  • tape
  • glue
  • some silver or grey spray/craft paint
  • paper & scissors
  • decorations of choice such as milk bottle tops,pipe cleaners, stickers etc
  • something to fill piñata with (important ha!)

I didn’t spend too long making it ‘perfect’ the only bit of effort required really was cutting out the bottom of the box and loosely taping it back on using paper strips, this was so that two years olds would not find it too hard to make the goodies inside escape. I then got my husband to add the tube arms using string and glue on the ‘eyes’ (at this point I was busy making The Cake) and spray paint the whole thing with leftover silver spray paint we had in the garage. In the morning I filled La Robot with lollies (I am going with lollies since I am in NZ but I would normally call them sweets) and also party blowers. FYI kids LOVE party blowers. my ears however do not. Final touches were the pipe cleaner antennas, stickers and mouth from a bit of paper. All that we needed to do now was hang him up, let each kiddo have a turn with the bat and wait for the lolly explostion!


Who had the most fun?! Oops that would be me.

Here is the cake. I only took one crappy photo of it with my not so flash phone (tad annoyed with myself for this) But you get the jist. I totally just copied it from here

IMG_4167Less then 6 months to the next party. Yay!



Finishing a painting…

I was asked by a friend to paint a painting for a space in their house… oh about two years ago! But Along came baby number 2 and then lots of sleep deprivation and a 9 month trip to the UK, and my good intentions alone were not enough to finish it. (how often have I wished I could clone myself!???) Anyway, finally, fiiiiiinally, it is done, and now hanging on their wall and I feel very relived and just a tiny bit pleased with it. It took many different directions before it was finished, many layers of paint and some printing too, but it feels soooooo good to put my ‘Artist’ hat back on!

DSCF8450 - Version 2Close up of ‘Tidal Flow” – Acrylic and woodcarve print on canvas

Tidal FlowMy work in its new home – Im fairly pleased with the outcome!

p.s. I think they are too 😉


DIY Geo Board for kids

IMG_4578Saw a similar thing here (WOW I am sooo excited that I just learnt to do a hyperlink! Sorry, I am a total techno-phobe mostly, and my husband – mega geek – just showed me and I almost did a little dance! Sorry, I digress…)

Back to the Geo Board – I didn’t have a pin board but I did have a couple of cork mats that I use for putting hot pots/pans on so I thought that will do just nicely thank you! Add to the mix a packet of rubber bands and a box of push pins and you have a fun ‘game’ that will keep your child entertained whilst also teaching fine motor skills and shape recognition. Oh and S obviously thought it was amazing since it contained PINS, an item usually forbidden due to their ability to inflict pain and damage! (yes, he did take them out and scracth the table but…meh)


Little J even got involved and thought it was great fun! I MUST stress that adult supervision is required at all time!!!! (unfortunatly not one to bring out while making dinner, sigh)

Improvise with your choice of board, any kind of notice board will do, the bigger the better!


Time to get creative

phoebegandercreativeSo, I have made a logo! That must mean I now need to make some things to sell!! Oh and soon I will be launching my facebook page to go with my blog (ha I just typed bog) and this is the logo I’m planning to use. Clappy hands!

creative round logo

Next week I officially have time to be creative! YAY!!!! My little boy, J, has a place one morning a week at a daycare centre and I am finally ready to cut the umbilical cord and leave him there for 4 hours a week so that I can make art, create, sew, take photos or ok, just drink tea, eat chocolate and read a magazine (oh and maybe, just maybe, clean my house..) Ok I know, 4 hours is not that much to get stressed about but when I had my babies I swore I would be a stay at home mum till they went to school if we could (and very fortunately we can) afford it… But I didn’t realise at the time that that might be at the expence of my  own sense of self, and ability to keep hold of ‘me’. So I am ready, willling an able to get creative again, and my 2 year old WILL survive being apart from me for a short time.

Oh and I will too.


Joy is…

DSCF8554A visit to one of my favourite places, the Eastwood Hill Arboretum. Best place to go in the Autumn!!


Even though I’m a professional photographer (that always feels a bit weird to say out loud, but err, i kinda am I guess!), this is one of a very rare few photographs we have of all of us together. And don’t we all look sooo happy! Ha, kids, they never smile on que… We actually had a lot of fun, and I was taking photos of a lovely friend’s children which is one of the reasons we visited here, but she kindly offered to take a few snaps of us all together!



Us having a picnic at the nearby Rere FallsDSCF8469Just love my boys

Simple joy x