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Holiday Cooking Hacks!

When you think of cooking, and a holiday, you don’t think of them in the same sentence. However there are some perks to cooking whilst holidaying, like not only to save some dollars but to keep from eating all the tasty yet nasty junk food that might be nearby to where you’re staying. I know what you’re thinking, who wants piles of washing up to do? Who wants to go to the grocery store? I love cooking on holidays! – Said. No. One. Ever.

So what can you do to prevent becoming a slave to the stone, when you’re meant to be kicking up your heels in the sunshine? Well I’m here to get you through your next holiday with these simple hacks and quick recipes. Plus only using essential cooking equipment that you should be able to find just about anywhere you are holidaying, no fancy gadgets in sight, I promise!

Cooking Hack Pic1

 

MAINS

ONE-POT WONDER RECIPE #1 - CASSEROLE/STEW

  • 500grams diced chicken, beef, pork or lamb – the choice is yours!
  • 1 fennel bulb cut into eight pieces;Spanish Chicken Casserole
  • 2 red capsicums cut into strips;
  • 1 large onion, diced;
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled;
  • Fresh parsley and thyme;
  • 3 potatoes peeled and sliced;
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 broccoli – cut into small florets
  • Olive oil and chicken stock.

 

Method: Throw all your ingredients into the pot and let it simmer away for at least an hour and you are done. Serve with one of the super speedy sides below!

 

ONE-POT WONDER RECIPE #2 – REALLY EASY RISOTTO

  • 4 squashes, slicedRisotto
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced
  • Asparagus bunch, cut into thirds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Garlic, diced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 x can tomatoes
  • 1 cup Arborio rice

 

Method: Pour a little olive oil into the large pot on low heat and throw in onion and garlic to brown. Add rice and stir to coat in oil and onion mixture. Slowly add a bit of the wine and stir on medium heat letting the rice almost completely absorb the wine before adding any more. Keep repeating until all the wine is absorbed and then start adding the stock. Gradually add the stock until the rice almost absorbs it. Once you are about halfway through the stock add all the vegetables and can of tomatoes. Stir continuously, adding the stock again but waiting for the rice to absorb it.

 


 

SUPER SPEEDY SIDES

 

Roasted honey carrots

Wash, trim and peel a couple of bunches of baby carrots. Cook in a pot of boiling water for 6 to 8 minutes and drain. Return to pot; add ¼ cup honey and a few sprigs of fresh mint. Toss to combine and coat the carrots then season with S&P.

Roasted carrots with herbs

 

Char-grilled vegetables. Yumo!

Slice as many vegetables as you like, capsicum, carrot, zucchini and eggplant. Spray them with a little olive oil and scatter onto your griller plate in the oven. Turn the grill on high until they are cooked through and tender. You may have to turn a couple of times and re-coat with some extra olive oil. Season with S&P to serve.

Grilled vegetables

 

Tangy garlic, Dijon and parmesan greens – my favourite!

Over the years I’ve gathered some inspiration from cookbooks and combined that with some Jamie Oliver recipes for an all-time scrumptious and pretty healthy green vegetable dish. You can make this with snow peas, beans, asparagus, and broccoli or combine a mixture of everything. Most of the time your self-contained unit or hotel room won’t have steamer capacities so pop the greens in a Tupperware container with enough water just to coat. Steam in the microwave for 5 minutes and they should be cooked enough but still hold a little crunch. Melt a teaspoon of butter in a microwave safe cup, add 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 3 squirts of lemon squeeze juice and mix it altogether. Arrange the greens onto your plates, top with the lemon/mustard sauce and for a little extra garnish, sprinkle on some finely grated parmesan.

Tangy Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette with French Green Beans

The perfect potato bake

  • Peel, wash and microwave the potatoes to halve their cooking time
  • Bacon, diced
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 300ml carton of pure cream
  • Salt and pepper

Method: Once again, start with one ovenproof dish. Layer some of your thinly sliced potatoes on the bottom to cover the base of the dish. Next sprinkle some onion, bacon, salt and pepper then repeat by layering more potato slices. Once you have repeated the layer step about 3 times if you have any leftover bacon just sprinkle on the top layer. Pour the full carton of cream over the potatoes evenly. Sprinkle grated cheese on the top and in the oven it goes for about 30 minutes.

baked potato with cheese

Leftover bread? What leftover bread!

Tear it up into odd sized, uneven and rustic looking pieces. Put it on a baking tray, drizzle or spray a bit of olive oil and whack it in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. You now have yummy croutons! Add these to a basic green salad to beef it up a bit or use the crunchy pieces with a leftover dip.

crouton


 

Remember, you still want to have a holiday! So plan ahead, keep it simple and bear these tips in mind, don’t pack the kitchen sink and make the most of the fresh local produce. Find out if there are any food markets nearby – it’s always good fun trying all the samples on offer and you usually end up with some great meal inspiration.

 

For some delectable dessert recipes check out the links below!

Creamy Chocolate Mousse

Classic Ginger Crunch

Chocolate Cherry Ripe Tart

 

 

Alex is another piece of furniture with over 10 years experience at Wyndham. She is an ambitious Millennial marketer that loves keeping up to date with the ever  changing innovative ideas, technology and trends. She loves everything  about holidays  but a few faves are skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, scootering, tennis  and of course  shopping!

 

Tis’ the season for online shopping!

Considering Christmas is only 6 weeks away, you best get moving on starting that shopping! Now, if you’re like me and want to avoid the absolute mind-boggling craziness associated with holiday shopping in stores at all costs, you may choose to shop online this year.

Crowd in the mall

 

It might sound a bit insane, daring even, but just think about not having to hustle through manic and over crowded shopping centres, kids screaming in tow, bags everywhere and having the nightmare of finding a park that’s about a 2km walk away. Not to mention trying to manage all that during inclement weather.

 

 

Online shopping background

 

Sounds like your idea of fun? Go for it! I however will be enjoying leisurely browsing up a Christmas shopping storm, with coffee at the ready, from the comfort of my very own couch at home.

 

 

In this advanced technological age, trust me when I say there are several distinct benefits of doing your shopping online:

1. You can do your Christmas shopping at any time! That’s right, you don’t have to wait for shops to open and frantically run there after work before they close. Whether it’s 6am in the morning or 11pm at night, whatever suits you, shopping from home fits right into anyone’s hectic schedule.

2. Online shopping gives you the absolute freedom to purchase everything you need in a timely manner. Without the stress and frustration of shopping centres and those long checkout lines.

3. It also provides you with the opportunity to purchase last-minute gifts that may possibly be sold out at retail stores and to also have these directly delivered to friends or relatives, avoiding that unnecessary time spent at the post office.

4. It’s actually easier to take advantage of sales as you can browse multiple websites simultaneously to compare pricing instead of visiting 10 different stores in person.

5. Many retailers now understand the strength in online shopping, so they will offer you online vouchers and discounts that you cannot receive in their stores. Saving YOU money!

6. Find reviews easily. If you’re worried about not seeing the goods in person and touching them, the online world allows you to find customer reviews easily and you can also search for reviews for a certain retailer or product.

7. Online shopping makes it easy to find gifts that go well together. While you’re wasting time standing in loud and crowded stores trying to think of what would go with the product in your hand, many websites recommend related items when you’re looking at purchasing a certain product. Easy!

8. ONLINE SHOPPING IS A MASSIVE TIME SAVER! It’s just so much faster. End of story.

9. Many online retailers also offer free shipping or free delivery on certain items; this can also help you save money.

10. Big online sale days are between December 21 – 24. This is when big-ticket items like televisions, furniture and jewellery are heavily discounted as the stock hasn’t moved in stores. Keep checking back to your favourite sites for any hot deals throughout December.

If you struggle finding where to shop online as there are so many options, here’s a beginner’s guide to some of the top shopping websites out in the market.

Websites

Worried about the security of online shopping? It is extremely important to protect your personal information so you don’t become a victim of online criminals who will spoil all your Christmas plans.

The best ways to protect yourself online at all times is to make sure you know the seller is legitimate, you are confident in the product you’re buying and that your payment method is 100% secure. If in doubt, a secure site will have a little locked padlock in the browser so try to locate this to be sure. Always keep a copy of your transactions and never send your account details or payment details by e-mail. Also, if a website looks dodgy or malicious, it probably is! So steer clear.

Overall, online shopping can be a very stress-free and rewarding experience. The benefits you receive by handling your shopping from the comfort of your own home greatly outweigh any disadvantages. So there’s no time like the present to join the revolution.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

Unrecognizable woman shopping online using her tablet computer

 

Alex is another piece of furniture with over 10 years experience at Wyndham. She is an ambitious Millennial marketer that loves keeping up to date with the ever  changing innovative ideas, technology and trends. She loves everything  about holidays  but a few faves are skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, scooter riding, tennis and of course eating and shopping!

 

 

You’d look great… in resort wear

The warm spring sunshine has arrived. You’re packing for your first holiday of the season and you’re confronted with a true #firstworldproblem. How to look effortlessly stylish on holiday yet travel super light?

Depending on your destination, you might be in for 35 degree heat & humidity or, tropical afternoon thunderstorms! Whatever the weather, you’re on holidays and you want to look radiant and relaxed yet a teeny bit glamourous around those pools and restaurants. Popular Australian designer label TALULAH has released a beautiful Swim & Resort Wear collection that screams versatility, effortless chic and is ultimately fashionable. Through our partnership with TALULAH, we have all their tips for adding that bit of style into your suitcase for every change in latitude. Here are some of our Wandr-woman Resort wear tips;

 

Poolside

Remember, swimmers are for swimming in! Fashionable wandrers know they should be kept strictly to the pool or beach.  That means they’re not worn to the shops, to dinner, and definitely not sight-seeing. Always be prepared to cover up poolside with a play-suit, sarong or beautiful cotton kaftan that still allows air flow but co-ordinates with your swimmers for an instant chic pulled-together beach look. Particularly in humid climates, tame that frizzy hair by keeping it tidy and pulled back, to help protect it from the salt and chlorine, pop some conditioner onto dry hair before you go swimming. Most importantly, always wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect your face from the harsh sun.

Sight-seeing

If you’re active and want to see it all you must be comfortable and at ease otherwise you will be over sight-seeing before it begins. Especially if it’s hot!  To add a bit of style for a casual day to day vibe, we love TALULAH’S simple styling of a casual short sleeved white dress and hat. This is also a good choice if you intend to visit any religious buildings as it’s more respectful to cover your shoulders. If your holiday activities are a little more strenuous though then don’t go past loose shorts or hippie pants and tees. Also if you’re worried about getting a chill, take a lightweight jacket for a smarter look if that sun disappears.

 

Evenings

Unless you’re in a nightclub/party destination you tend to want to wear something comfortable that will take you from the shops straight to a night out at dinner. For something short, play-suits added with kitten heels or fabulous wedges are in, or for the cooler evenings in fancy restaurants a maxi dress is a must for a little more coverage. If your maxi dress looks too casual, just change up the height of your heels, add a little cropped cardigan and a bright flower in your hair. Totally stylin’ now!

 

Last but certainly not least, some fabulous (yet inexpensive) accessories on your travels are a must. Always pack some bright hair clips, bangles, necklaces and a simple clutch and you will be holidaying in style in no time. So get those itineraries ready – and maybe your passports – because spring/summer vacation season is here and we’ve got all you’re bases covered so “You look great…. in Resort wear!”

 

 

 

Alex is another piece of furniture with over 10 years experience at Wyndham. She is an ambitious Millennial marketer that loves keeping up to date with the ever  changing innovative ideas, technology and trends. She loves everything  about holidays  but a few faves are skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, scootering, tennis  and of course  shopping!

 

 

 

Wedding Disasters

I’m sure every bride to be hears more than their fair share of wedding disaster stories, from bad weather and wardrobe malfunctions to family fisticuffs and embarrassing drunken dance-offs. Here’s a few of the most common wedding disasters – but don’t worry we’ve found the bright side for you!

Disaster #1: RAIN, HAIL OR SHINE, THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

rainy wedding day

Some say it’s good luck to have rain on your wedding day…but let’s  be honest that’s little consolation to the bride and her inner little girl who has always dreamed of her stunning outdoor wedding. For it to  be moved inside at the last minute = disaster!  But there really is a  silver lining to those dark rain clouds – stunning photos.

There is something beautiful about a photo in the rain. Many  photographers actually prefer a bit of ‘weather’ as it makes for  beautiful, atmospheric photos.

Clouds diffuse the light so it is actually easier for your Photographer to shoot anywhere without having to worry about the bridal party squinting or light bouncing off taffeta.

 

Disaster #2: TO RSVP OR NOT TO RSVP?

rsvp

When you’re deep in wedding planning mode, it is exciting to work out your all-important guest list and to see who can make your special day. Most brides start with the assumption “If I invite more people than we can actually cater for, surely some will drop off and not make it”. This can work out for most, but on the odd occasion it can also land you in some pretty hot water!

Imagine your venue only catering for 80 people. You sent out 150 invitations, received 60 back, and 120 people showed up. Minor problem? This is exactly why you have the venue’s co-ordinator or the hired help. Let them deal with the caterer and figure out the possibility of making some extra food and squeezing a few more chairs in. The positives are: more of your close friends and family were super-keen to share in your special day and they arrived with the best intentions. It also means more presents :)

 

Disaster #3: ANYONE A MECHANIC?

wedding car problems

Your wedding day has been smooth so far.  You’re looking amazing in your dress and now you’re actually on your way to the ceremony.  Then – car breaks down. First you’re in ‘the denial stage’ – this is so not happening. Then comes ‘the anger stage’ – probably characterised by colourful language directed at the driver and possibly your father if he is with you.  Finally, ‘the distraught and upset stage’ - you accept the reality, but you try so hard to not ruin your makeup with tears by fanning your eyes like a crazy person.

No sugar-coating here, if your wedding car breaks down it’s a big  problem. It will be unlikely that the company can rustle up an instant replacement. So, trust in the chauffeur to be able to contact the local taxi company to get to the ceremony ASAP. They should do their utmost to get a replacement but your best option is to ensure you engage a reputable company with plenty of cars and make sure they have a professional mechanic to check them over prior to the event.

Positive? It could be worse; your driver could drop you to the totally wrong venue!  Your lateness will also ensure you make an even grander entrance – and it WILL be funny eventually.

 

Disaster #4: OK WHO BOUGHT THE CRYING BABY?

crying baby

Unfortunately this is one of those little things you can’t control. Do you specify no babies at the ceremony? What’s the acceptable protocol if one starts crying? Do the parents step out or stay and let them cry it out? You might stress out about it prior to the day but honestly, it will be the last thing on your mind during the ceremony. You will be so caught up in the moment, and so will your guests. Accept that you can’t control everything about the day.

On the flip side, if it was your best friend and they couldn’t get a sitter, you would much prefer them to be there baby in tow rather than not be there at all. And, babies tend to have ‘perfect’ timing – an adorable baby all emotional in your wedding video could be quite fitting.

 

Disaster #5: THE HANGOVER

hangoverWe’ve all seen the movie and thought that would be pretty funny if it happened to you. Well, trust me, it’s happened, and often! He was warned on numerous occasions by wife-to-be plus bridesmaids, told to drink litres of water, go easy the night before, carb-load, and get a fairly decent night’s sleep. So he ignored all and had a blowout night of drunken debauchery, knocked back a bottle of tequila, stayed up to watch the sunrise with the boys and drunkenly bonded with his new father-in-law by promising him how good he will treat you.

The big day has now arrived and he’s shattered, broken, missing his spark, missing an all important piece of clothing or worse yet, THE rings! Positives? Your chance to make him suffer! You know all those last minute errands? Delegate them ALL to him. Give him your checklists, ask him to pack, call the co-ordinators and square away the guest list.

He will still be in a world of torture but nothing that a Bloody Mary and lots of breath mints won’t fix. Plus, after his physical pain ends, the mental pain kicks in with the disappointing faces and snickering guests.  It will be a character building day for him, if he manages to survive!  Remember all’s fair in love, war & weddings.

 

Disaster #6: MR & MRS FORGETFUL

vows

Standing at the alter in front of 100 people is likely going to send your stomach into a whirlwind of knots unless you have spent most of your life giving speeches. With all the stress and/or excitement it is a fairly common practise to fumble your way through or completely forget your vows. Even if you have intensely prepared, once you’re up there and taking in everything magical and emotional about the moment you may forget the entire thing!

Don’t worry it’s not the end of the world although it might feel like it at the time. Some couples write on little cards and provide to the celebrant in case of an emergency. In the end, people won’t remember what you said anyway, they will remember how your ceremony made them FEEL. And remember, it could be worse, Remember when Ross from Friends got his bride’s name wrong. Watch the cringe worthy moment again here.

 

Disaster #7: THAT GUEST…

drunk dancer

After months of planning, not to mention the hefty investment, you want your wedding to go off without a hitch. No matter how prepared you are there is always going to be the off chance of at least one guest behaving badly. I’ve heard some couples don’t even want to serve alcohol for fear that their guests will overdo it. Some couples will also attest to drunken guests ruining their wedding. Let’s take a look at a brighter side to this particular flavour of wedding disaster. Someone has decided to slip through the net and declare they are THE BEST dancer and take total control of the dance floor for the entire night.

If there is an open bar, guests can get completely out of control, heckle during the speeches and tabletop dance the night away.  As long as it doesn’t end in violence – I say these wild guests only make the night more interesting and provide a good laugh/story/video for later that they will never live down!

 

The truth about weddings is that no matter how much you plan, there’s no way to script the entire thing. And remember it’s just one (albeit very important) day in your long life together as husband and wife and if you had a little disaster, you now have a unique story to tell. Just remember to breathe, stay calm and carry on!

For a stress-free dream wedding, many Wyndham Hotel Group properties offer beautiful locations, delectable menus, stylish accommodation and exceptional facilities to ensure your special day is spectacular. Discover more about our dream wedding venues here.

Weddings-banner-940pxl-w-x-210pxl-h

 

 

Alex is another piece of furniture with over 10 years experience at Wyndham.
She is an ambitious Millennial marketer that loves keeping up to date with the ever  changing innovative ideas, technology and trends. She loves everything  about holidays  but a few faves are skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, scootering, tennis  and of course  shopping!

 

 

9 Winter Health Myths EXPOSED!

Myth #1: Do you get sick by being out in the cold for too long?

Another old wives tale? Did your grandparents ever tell you that going outside when it’s freezing, for an extended period of time, can make you sick? Well i’m here to tell you this myth is busted! If your heading out into the elements – with or without having wet hair, it is one of the best things you can do to prevent catching a cold. So remove this from your excuse book to not go outside in winter.

Myth #2: More people are depressed during the winter months.

Have you ever heard of Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? We touch on this in our winter blues story as well as it is an actual condition that has symptoms similar to depression, insomnia, irritability and difficulty concentrating but only occurs in winter. All those dull and dreary skies, cold and windy weather, those mornings you just want to stay rugged up under the covers, it’s all a bit depressing so totally natural that people get a feeling of being depressed in winter moreso than in other brighter, warmer months of the year. Apparently there is no proof that more people are depressed in winter, so get some yummy chicken soup into you and keep rolling on!


Myth #3: Is eating chicken soup to cure a cold just an old wives’ tale?

Have you been raised to believe that there’s some magical cold or flu healing properties in chicken soup? We have! Turns out, chicken soup contains anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent a cold’s miserable side effects. Not only is it the ultimate comfort food, the fact it’s steaming hot helps clear congestion whilst providing the body with necessary hydration to flush out viral bugs. All hail chicken soup!

 

 Myth #4: Ybeanieou lose most of the heat from your body through your head, so you  need to wear a hat. LOL.

We’ve all heard this one. “Mother – honey if you don’t wear a hat outside in the cold, you will  freeze to death!” It is true that you’ll lose heat from any part of  your body that is exposed to  the cold and not covered with clothing but this myth is busted. Missing a hat won’t be any  worse than not wearing shoes. Main tip, rug up for the elements as much as possible not just  because you will be warmer but you will be much more comfortable too!

 

  Myth winter exercise#5: You shouldn’t really exercise in the cold.

Already unmotivated when it’s cold? Can’t get out of bed in the mornings? Too dark when  you get home? If you’re worried that cold-weather exercise is bad for your health, don’t be.  It’s fine to exercise in the cold,    just make sure you warm up first. That may mean walking a  bit before starting on a run,  check out some of our energy boost tips here to get you moving  slowly.

 

Myth #6: I so need more sleep in winter!

Sounds like you too? I know when winter hits and the sun disappears that much earlier from those crystal blue daytime skies I just want to get into my pyjamas and hibernate on my couch as soon as I get home! Well, feeling sleepy in winter may not necessarily mean you should hit that snooze button 10 more times before getting out of bed in the mornings. Surprisingly, you may not actually need more sleep! As they say a good 8 hours rest should work for most of us in summer, winter, all year round. If you feel sleepy in winter because there is less sunlight, you can of course go to bed earlier, but just be careful you don’t oversleep.


Myth #7: You don’t need sunscreen in the winter, or do you?

It’s cold and cloudy, the sun is MIA, so you can put your sunscreen in the cupboard until summer beach time, right? Wrong, the sun and UV rays are always there, all year round. Sun rays have a way of working their way through just about everything— except freshly smeared sunblock, of course. In fact, about 80 percent of rays pass through clouds. Meanwhile, a white cotton shirt has about an SPF value of seven, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, so slip, slop, slap before you head out for the day, even in winter.


Myth #8: What is going on with this sudden burst of dry skin in winter?

So we are more than halfway through winter, and if your anything like us, your skin is reaching peak dryness. Thanks to the cold temperatures, dry indoor heat and dehydration effects of those epic long, hot showers, we’re actually up against a sizeable adversary here! When skin becomes dry, it can lead to small cracks that can leave your body prone to infections. To prevent this, keep your skin hydrated! Moisturize twice daily – after you shower and before bed – as well as throughout the day for body parts that are prone to dryness, like your legs and hands.


Myth #9: You can’t get allergies in the winter months, right?

In the winter, there’s good and bad news for all those allergy sufferers out there. If you have pollen allergies, you may get a break when the weather gets cold, but if you have indoor allergies, such as mold, pets or dust mites, the more time you spend indoors will affect your allergy symptoms quite significantly. In short, be alert but not alarmed, and your winter may pass with fewer sniffles than you might think.
Is Man Flu a myth? Read about our theory and survival tips here.