This Bloggerati Getaway is proudly sponsored by Dubai Tourism

I am so excited to be able to announce that I and the other talent bloggers and staff of my agency, Bloggerati by Nuffnang, are headed to Dubai! In what is the first Australian and international tourism board partnership of its kind, the 21 talent bloggers will be sharing our photos, videos and stories of the many and varied aspects of this vibrant city. Dubai Tourism and Nuffnang have crafted an incredible experience that is sure to be an inspiration not only for Australian travellers as a whole, but for future digital campaigns. To read all about this upcoming adventure and see who is coming along, check out the full media release here.

Thinking of this adventure thrills me because I find that it is hard to work for oneself within an industry like blogging. While it is a community-based profession, the interaction is generally entirely online. Despite quite a few of the other Bloggerati being based in Melbourne, we don’t often all get together. I should rephrase that, we rarely ever get together and never once has it involved a camel ride. With such a wide talent pool in the Bloggerati featuring experts in fashion, parenting, food, home and craft, it is so important to spend time in the same room. Ideas are born and grow quickly when they are brought up and nurtured with so many influences. What better way to get creativity flowing through an online world of content creators than to be inspired by the sights, sounds and other sensations of a fantastic location like Dubai!

Burj-Khalifa-as-it-began
 

The last time I was in Dubai was 2006 and the world’s tallest building was just getting started. Motherhood for me at the time was also just beginning and travelling with a toddler limited what we could experience. Now the Burj Dubai is called the Burj Khalifa and stands completed well above the clouds. With all my kids at school, this time I am going to be free to try anything Dubai has to offer! While almost every weekend there is a cultural event hosted there, I am most looking forward to capturing the everyday lives of the communities and experiencing the Dubai that is beyond just the landmark buildings. Maybe I will get to take in a bit of the Dubai International Film Festival that happens every December. I will definitely have my camera out and photograph the brilliant atmosphere of the souqs with their gold, spices and textiles on offer. Of course I will be sharing all those images not only here on the blog, but as they happen via Instagram. You can see the incredible sights, hidden gems and more by following the #MyDubai streams on social media.  

Gemma-baby-Dubai

Look at how cute and tiny baby Gemma was in Dubai! Look at how little grey hair my husband had! I can still remember how warm and inviting that water was.

The best part of all is that we will have one reader (and their friend) coming with us on the Bloggerati Getaway to Dubai! No really, that includes flights (from the nearest Australian capital city), accommodation and activities! This is a massive opportunity for Australian residents only, so read on for the details and check here for the full T&C.

To be in with a chance to join us all on this epic adventure, you must answer the question; ‘What do you dream of in Dubai?’ via social media (either on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) with a written answer, a photo or a video! Tag your creative entry with both of the following, #NNDubaiDreams and #mydubai and ensure that your post is listed as public so it is visible! 

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  • Kelly - What beautiful photos and story Rachel!ReplyCancel

  • Heather DuHamel Sams via Facebook - Can I come and be YOUR assistant? I’m sure I can scrounge up a letter or two of recommendation. :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather DuHamel Sams via Facebook - Can I come and be YOUR assistant? I’m sure I can scrounge up a letter or two of recommendation. :)ReplyCancel

  • Imogen Lamport - It will be great to catch up with you RachelReplyCancel

  • Norah - Welcome to our part of the world again! Hope you have a blast at the UAE, make sure you get a taste of the emarati heritage as well :)ReplyCancel

I have been spending a lot of time recently going back to some of my earliest photography inspirations. In a world today where we are visually influenced moment after moment, I have felt a bit lost in all the noise. My work has shown that. I don’t think the answer is to shut myself off from the imagery, but instead to let myself be immersed in it selectively. I think it is imperative to observe and take in the inspiration while knowing what is not of interest and moving on from it without much thought. In simple terms I obsess over what I love and skip over the boring stuff. I even walked out of a movie the other night. What freedom!

Inspired2

Returning to a routine of shooting my 2 rolls, I have been able to find what inspired me most in photography…light, composition and intimate stories in one frame. As I have posted some of these recent images, I have referenced the masters who sat on my mind’s shoulder during that moment. I wanted to expand on that mention here by featuring a few articles about those photographers. In no way am I comparing myself to these artists, merely giving credit to them as the ones who taught me by sharing their work openly for study.

My theory on photography and blogging still stands as one of acknowledging inspiration all around us and building your own work and the community as a whole by collaboration instead of competition. Share and be shared.

When it comes to hard light, distanced composition and story telling amongst daily life imagery, I often look to Nan Goldin and Tina Barney. I was feeling their influence when I took this shot of Gemma in her friend’s bathroom wiping off makeup at the end of a playdate.

inspired
 

Nicholas Nixon is known well for his forty year portrait series of The Brown Sisters, but his black and white images of his own children is what I was thinking about when I took this of the twins. Nixon often gets the camera right up close in the scene so the viewer feels very much in the moment.

There are many photographers who have influenced me just by having their work cross before my eyes. It might be an image from a peer or the complete collection of an established artist. It might just be traces of inspiration that filter through or it could be an entire theme that forces my photography in a new direction. All of it equal in value. I look forward to sharing more of these with you in the future. Cultivating a culture of appreciation is my goal. 

Who are you loving right now? 

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  • Kasandra - “In a world today where we are visually influenced moment after moment, I have felt a bit lost in all the noise. My work has shown that.” I’m sure I’m not the only one who is yelling AMEN! to this.

    Coming from someone who has been a hobbyist for around 7 years, I’ve benefited from the inundation of images and information but at the same time I feel it has made it difficult to hone in on what inspires me.
    Thanks for sharing this Rachel and you’re definitely one of my inspirations :)ReplyCancel

I have never really been a fan of spring. I am not sure why, but it is the one season tinged with sadness for me. It doesn’t make sense. Everyone loves spring. Something that should signal bright days and gentle warmth just makes me think of all that is changing. Change is not my best…

I try to battle that movement through time by constructing routines that we can return to year after year. And for spring and summer, I base it around the sea. I always return to the sea which is forever in motion. It is a stable sort of change. I mean, you find the beach where you left it even if it is a completely new body of water. 

So here we are, the sixth spring that we have spent in Melbourne and the children I bring to the beach are, like the sea itself, the same, but completely transformed.

We can (and do) spend hours here. We bring snacks and water and towels. 

Snackosphere

The kids wander and play. They explore alone and then come together to build castles. Alec naps while I read. 

gemma

kieran

clover

When our hair is tangled with salt and the sun behind us we gather the toys, roll up the rug and head home. We will do it again as a family as many times as we can before the chill keeps us indoors and other routines take over.

beach-toys

I am grateful for kids who are big enough to carry their own stuff, for snacks that come in their own single serve packs so there is no fighting over “the bag” and for dolls with built in bathing suits that can’t come off in the waves.

As a Kidspot Voices of 2014 finalist, I have been given a supply of Healtheries brand snacks to test. I will tell you what we think over three blog posts in the #snackosphere!

 

Thanks to Healtheries for providing us with the snacks for this beach trip. While there were individual bags to hand out, I had to fight the kids to get my fair share of he cheese flavoured Rice Wheels. They are super yummy little mini rice cakes with the perfect amount of flavour. It is so nice to have a savoury treat with no artificial colours or flavours…ZERO orange coated fingers here! And with bathing suit season here, I appreciate that they have 65% less fat than regular potato chips! No matter the season, I love knowing that these haven’t any MSG nor palm oil!

 

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  • Cecilia Ljungberg via Facebook - ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Fi Mims via Facebook - Things I love about spring – the roses in our front yard are in full bloom! Things I don’t love about spring – the wind! :(ReplyCancel

  • Jenna Marcum via Facebook - I can’t believe it’s been six years. I also can’t believe how Gemma’s eyes haven’t changed – I thought I had seen the photo of her before (but I knew I hadn’t). Then I clicked through to Getty Images and realized that I was remembering a baby/toddler version of Gemma’s eyes, the rest of her grew up, but those eyes and the way you capture them are still the same. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures – since I found you on Flickr many, many years ago, I have always been inspired by you and a big fan.ReplyCancel

MR. Devine
Mr. Devine’s first post on getting the best airfare deal was a big hit, so as promised, he is back with a new tip. This time it is for saving money on…
 

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October is Doc-Tober for Disney Junior! Your preschooler can see Doc McStuffins and her toy friends in new episodes on the Disney Junior TV channel and enjoy brand new Doc games and activities on DisneyJunior.com.au.

Having a child with food allergies keeps a parent on their toes. I am thankful that Clover only has to avoid two things (peanuts and honey) as there are some children who have a list as tall as they are. That said, we are in a particular pickle with the honey allergy as even the smallest amount could trigger Clover’s metabolic issue and land her in the hospital again. Unless Doc McStuffins herself is there, Clover is not interested in going. And honey? Well, honey is the new hipster ingredient. I guess because it is natural and from bees and bees are good and endangered and hip, so there is honey in your chia seed muffin! I have to be very careful at every cafe to ask what is in their baked sweets. I bring out my reading glasses and scan every single line of ingredients on every cookie Clover eats. I warn her about birthday party treats, deny her bites of my granola bar and am that mom* double checking with the playdate hosts. I have to be vigilant because honey is a not a common allergen, but the danger is the same. The irony of having a child called Clover who is allergic to honey is not lost on me, by the way.

This morning, as I ate another grocery store granola bar in front of my daughter, I thought, I bet I can make this without honey. Better yet, I bet Clover and I can make it together!

Honey-free-nut-free-granola-bars
Honey-free-nut-free-granola-bars
Honey-free-nut-free-granola-bars

Here is the super easy recipe!

Honey-free-nut-free-granola-bars
Please note that I am using a fan forced gas oven, temperatures in Celsius and am at sea level. Also, I am a pretty “rough” cook. If you are precise, this recipe might need a teeny bit of adjustments. Also, when your sous chef is six years old, factor in an additional 5-10 minutes of prep time and some wasted tasted ingredients.
Nut-free and HONEY-free Homemade Sweet Treat Bars.
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
For the kids allergic to honey and peanuts, here is a yummy granola bar they can eat! Not low in calories nor fat, this is a real dessert.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: A bunch of bars depending on the size you cut!
Ingredients
  • Oats
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Dried Apricots
  • Brown Sugar
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
Instructions
  1. Lightly toast 3 and ½ cups of oats and 1 and ½ cup of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds until just golden.
  2. Remove oats and seeds from heat and put in a mixing bowl.
  3. Chop dried apricots into small pieces.
  4. Mix in 1 cup of shredded coconut and ½ cup of dried apricots.
  5. Melt 25g of butter and pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  6. Mix it all up to coat completely with the butter.
  7. Pour 1 395g can of sweetened condensed milk into the bowl as well.
  8. Mix really well until all sticky.
  9. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C
  10. Line a 31 & ½ cm "slice pan" with waxed paper.
  11. Pour mixture into the lined pan and smooth until flat.
  12. Bake for just about 25 minutes.
  13. Turn off oven, open and remove pan.
  14. Sprinkle top with brown sugar and put back in oven.
  15. With oven off, keep warm for about 5 more minutes.
  16. When done, remove from oven, cut to desired size with pizza cutter and place on a cooling rack.
Notes
You can add all sorts of different bits to these bars like dark chocolate chips or raisins depending on your taste! If you want really decadent dessert bars, use chocolate condensed milk instead of the plain sweetened condensed milk. For less fat, use the skim version of the condensed milk. Prep time will vary...it depends on whether your kitchen helper is 6 years old or not! Cook time can be reduced as 30 mins really results in crunchy bars.

 

*Those moms are just protecting their kids. Food allergies can be a life or death situation for some children and while my daughter will not stop breathing from honey, some other child might after touching peanut remnants. Also, it isn’t an intolerance and she isn’t just fussy. My friends and her friends’ parents have all been amazing. Only once have I had someone get snarky with me, but it is a frustrating and isolating medical issue for many.

This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.

October is Doc-Tober for Disney Junior! Your preschooler can see Doc McStuffins and her toy friends in new episodes on the Disney Junior TV channel and enjoy brand new Doc games and activities on DisneyJunior.com.au.

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  • Jane Dando via Facebook - they look quite yummy actually!ReplyCancel

  • Nut-free and HONEY-free Homemade Sweet Treat Bars. | shootplex - […] Original post: Nut-free and HONEY-free Homemade Sweet Treat Bars. […]ReplyCancel

  • Andrea Farrell via Facebook - Brilliant xReplyCancel

  • Averil - Thanks for the tip, I would never have thought to cut bars with a pizza cutter.
    I usually wreck mine by cutting with a knife and no matter how sharp I end up with a pile of crumbs – a good taster though.ReplyCancel

    • sesame - I find that cutting them with the pizza cutter before they cool is the best way. After they harden, it is just too difficult. These are still pretty flexible when they first come out of the oven, but do not stay that way!ReplyCancel