Category Archives: Food

5 ways to embrace springtime (for a healthier home – and life!)

Thank goodness Winter is over here in Ballarat…well almost…we’ve had a few teaser days of glorious Spring weather. There’s a lot to love about Winter, but I am certainly ready to embrace the change of seasons and celebrate the “newness” of Spring. It has a positive feel…some sunshine, fresh air, new blossoms signifying new life…So here are five ways to embrace the new season for a healthier home – and a healthier life.

Talina Edwards Architecture Spring Seasons  Celebrate

1. Air out the house!

The doors and windows have been tight shut all winter, keeping the cold out. But now is the time to open the house up and flush out the stale air and dust. On sunny, windy days, take out your bedding, pillows and cushions and let them get a good airing. Clean any mould or mildew that has built up inside (avoiding harsh chemicals of course; a bit of white-vinegar and elbow-grease usually does the trick!). The quality of our indoor air is very important to our health – and ventilation is the key. A few indoor plants will help purify the air too.

2. Get outdoors!

After spending so much time indoors over the colder months, it is now time to get outside! Time to get stuck into planting that vegie patch, go on a bush walk, or perhaps just take time to literally stop and smell the roses! It’s amazing how re-connecting to nature has such a positive impact on our  health and wellbeing.

3. Start a new activity!

Spring is all about new beginnings, and it’s the perfect time to start something new (or re-commence something you’ve stopped for a while). For me it is all about getting moving again after slowing right down over winter – so it’s time to start those yoga classes again! Perhaps it’s swimming, cycling, or just walking more now that the weather is not so nasty. Of course it could be something new that isn’t for your physical wellbeing, but something that enriches your mind/soul instead – as that is just as important.

4. Socialise!

Many of us go into a bit of hibernation over winter. But as soon as the weather warms a bit, it’s the perfect time to plan some BBQs or picnics and reconnect with friends and family before the Christmas rush! Good food, good conversation, good company = good times!

5. Buy and eat local seasonal produce!

So, last but not least, why not support your local community by visiting a Farmers Market. Our bodies thrive on fresh, organic, produce that is in season and not imported from miles away (which is just not sustainable). This can also cover many of the points above in one hit – get out of the house, perhaps ride your bike there, buy some seedlings to plant or fresh flowers, meet some friends there, enjoy the sun and fresh air, and make it a new habit to buy local! The new “Smart Living Market” (Ballarat Lakeside Farmers Market) just happens to be starting THIS Saturday morning 9am – 1pm, Windmill Drive, Lake Wendouree. This is now run by the local community organisation BREAZE (Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions)…so hope to see you there!

Farmers Market Lake Wendouree


Do you love Springtime too? How do you like to embrace Spring? I’d love to know in the comments below!


P.S.  Don’t forget you can click here to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter  (or over there on the top right-hand side of this webpage) so you won’t miss out on our posts!


Happy 1st Birthday to our blog!

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. 


Hey, Guess What?! It’s our birthday! Yes, its been one year whole since this blog began! So to celebrate, I thought I’d share a few stats, and a recap of the posts…you never know, you might’ve missed out on something you’d like to go back and check-out. Grab yourself a slice of birthday cake and a glass of bubbly (or a cuppa tea!), and settle in for some reading!

So this post is our 28th. Which means on average, a new post goes up about once a fortnight. There are 15 main categories for the posts: Architecture, Ballarat, Creativity, Design, Environment, Folio, Food, Gift Ideas, Green Building, Inspiration, Musings, Newsletters, Recycling, Sustainability, and uncategorised. According to the site statistics, there’s been over 4000 views of the blog, and 130 comments, which sounds pretty good to me, for a “new kid on the blog” ;o)

Here they all are (in chronological order):

The first day of the rest of my (amazing) life! (The reason behind why this blog began in this first place, or what kicked my butt into action!)

“You are what you eat” (In answer to a question I often get asked)

When I grow up, I want to be… (the answer is obvious, isn’t it?)

The self-doubting creative soul… sound familiar? (You too? Or perhaps not)

“So, what is your blog about?” (An old fave)

Transform: Altering the Future of Architecture (Review of Women in Architecture seminar in Melbourne)

Five ways to acknowledge World Environment Day (Relevant for every day!)

The secret recipe for great buildings! (Do you know what it is?)

What is democracy? Visit M.A.D.E. to find out (Review of one of Ballarat’s newly renovated public buildings)

The future is ‘green’ for big roofs (Review of Ballarat Green Drinks event + more)

Talina Edwards Architecture FOLIO project: “Miller and Co Studio” (A little project we did last year)

Spring has sprung! (Seasonal musings)

5 Ways To Celebrate World Architecture Day! (Or if you’re at all interested in Architecture and Building Design, take a peek!)

Design is not a dirty word! (Truly, it’s not. But it has does have a bit of a bad reputation!)

5 Recycling Ideas When Building Your Home (reduce/re-use/reclaim/salvage/up-cycle) (Love some recycling tips!)

5 Architecture Gift Ideas for Kids (For christmas or birthdays, these are for all kids to encourage creativity!)

5 things to buy an Architect for Christmas…(*hint hint*) (Hmmm, this was a very popular post, yet I didn’t receive ANY of these gifts last year…?!)

My big-hearted tribe (A shout-out to Big Hearted Businesses)

Our *first* Newsletter! (Well, we wanted to share it here too)

A Creative Conversation (Review of a fabulous workshop I attended here in Ballarat)

Season’s Greetings! (The obligatory Xmas Card)

Talina Edwards Architecture February Newsletter (Another update from the studio)

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions (Felt like I needed to!)

World’s Biggest Green Drinks Ballarat (Review of local event and insightful speaker)

Folio Flashback: Sustainable House, Malvern (Still love this house!)

Starting out on your green home journey? Ballarat’s ‘Smart Living and Building Expo’ (& we) can help! (Review and some pretty pics)

WHY do sustainable design? (Why do you think?)

So I’ve covered some local Ballarat (and Melbourne) events, talked about design and creativity, given advice in the form of “top five tips”, showcased some folio projects for Talina Edwards Architecture, written about seasonal events, talked a bit about who I am, and of course the posts are always somewhat related to architecture and my practice, sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes.

The future of the blog is going to take a slightly more focused path for a bit as I concentrate on the “Sustainable Design” series of informative articles where I aim to help answer your questions, starting with our recent post on WHY do sustainable design?  I’ll of course also be covering what, where, when, who, and how…plus much more detail into the “what” and how sustainable / eco / green / energy-efficient design can benefit you and your home. (I’ll still continue to post some other topical news too).

Looking forward to sharing some of this with you all – as this is what I’m passionate about, as an Architect who specialises in this field.


PS I LOVE reading your comments, and responding to your queries…so please, say something in the comments box below. Do you have a favourite post of ours? Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? Maybe you’d just like to say hi, and happy birthday! Just you stopping to by to read is THE best birthday gift of all – so a big thank you – I really appreciate it! x

Five ways to acknowledge World Environment Day


Today is United Nation’s World Environment Day!

I was inspired by a blog post over at the local tree-planting/carbon-offsetting business at Fifteen Trees about ways to celebrate/take action on  World Environment Day! It got me thinking about the top 5 ways I would be ‘celebrating’ today, and was worthy of a mid-week post!

1. I Will Appreciate Our Environment

It’s a good reminder to get outside, and just BE in nature. The kids and I have loved seeing the beautiful Autumn leaves fall from the trees on our walk to school in the morning, feeling which direction the cold-winds are blowing from, finding frosty leaves on the ground, and jumping in muddy puddles! Enjoying these little things is a fabulous lesson in gratitude, and the kids really learn to appreciate their environment.


2. I Will Save Power/Reduce Energy Use

It’s now winter, and here in Ballarat it is getting pretty cold these days! Most of us switch on the heating without a second thought. But here’s a few suggestions to do first: Put on more layers of clothing/beanies/ugg-boots, Get your blood pumping by jumping up and down/jogging on the spot/dancing, Cuddle up close to someone or a pet to share body-heat, Sit by the north-facing window that still has some warmth from the sun coming through, Seal up the cracks around doors/windows to stop cold drafts coming through…

3. I Will Eat Organic Homegrown Food

If you can, eat straight from your own vegie garden. Or if you’re fortunate like me, I’ve been given Silverbeet, Rainbow Chard, Kale, Chinese Greens and Coriander fresh from friend’s and family’s gardens in the last few days – yum! I also love supporting local farmer’s markets and our regular Organic Vegie Box from Captain’s Creek Organic Farm.  Real food, no chemicals, low food-miles, good for you good for the environment!


4. I will Get Involved with Community

For me, this will mean attending the Green Drinks Ballarat event tonight at Rebellion Brewery, to hear a speaker from local non-profit  organisation Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions (BREAZE), and to have a drink (gluten-free beer – yay!) and connect with other like-minded people in the community. Of course there are many other ways, you could join/donate to ACF or Greenpeace, or become involved with your community-garden, or local land care group…


5. I will make Ethical Choices

At home, this extends to almost everything – eating organic, drinking fair-trade coffee, avoiding chemicals, using cloth-nappies, composting, walking/cycling to reduce car-use, etc… In my profession, I am very conscious of ethical decisions with regards to the built environment. Buildings use so much energy and the Earth’s resources to make, and to keep comfortable (heating and cooling). I feel very responsible as an Architect to ensure that every building I design takes advantage of Solar-Passive Design Principles so that little (if any) heating or cooling is required. This includes summer-shading, insulation, natural ventilation, natural lighting, effective use of thermal mass,, low-embodied-energy materials locally sourced, non-toxic materials and waste minimisation.  We can also incorporate rain water storage, solar hot-water, grey-water reticulation, PV panels, water-saving fittings and fixtures, energy-efficient appliances and lighting, etc…

These are just some of the ways I’ll acknowledge World Environment Day. In fact, most of them happen daily and it all becomes routine. Each small step makes a difference in caring for our planet. So go on, get out there and help save the world!




What will you do today to acknowledge World Environment Day?



UPDATE: 2014

Whilst all of these ring true for this year, I should update the info for this year’s celebration of World Environment Day at Ballarat Green Drinks on Thursday June 5th, 2014. I’m on the committee, so have helped organise this event.

World Environment Day - sustainable Trivia Night at Ballarat Green Drinks

World Environment Day – sustainable Trivia Night at Ballarat Green Drinks

We are having a sustainable Trivia night! A fun quiz to see how much you really know about green issues and bust some of those myths!
Prizes to be won!
$5 entry to cover costs. Pay at the door.
Drinks at bar prices. Light finger food provided.
Bring a friend or meet new people. Have a laugh!

In celebration of World Environment Day, Ballarat company Fifteen Trees will plant one tree on the behalf of each person attending this event. Trees will be planted in the local area before the end of winter. Once planted, the trees can be viewed on the Fifteen Trees’ website

Thursday June 5th 2014, 7pm – 10pm. Mr Rede, Dana St, Ballarat.

See you there?


“You are what you eat”

A wise woman told me the other week ‘that to become the most beautiful and empowered version of ourselves, we need to first and foremost nourish ourselves with life-giving food (food that keeps us vibrant, energetic and provides us with mental clarity to do the things we need to do), with a focus on healthy living and well-being.’ This inspiring woman was Kemi Nekvapil of Kemi’s Raw Kitchen and  Raw Beauty Queen, who spoke at the Big Hearted Business Conference I attended in Melbourne.

Kemi’s words really resonated with me, as I too have a passion for healthy living and well-being. It has been quite the food-journey for me in my adult years… A predominantly Vegetarian diet (with some fish), Lactose-Intolerance, then finding out I had Coeliac Disease so a Gluten-free existence too, then experiencing Gestational-Diabetes during my second pregnancy in 2011 led me to abstain from sugar which then became a fructose-free diet too (see Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar” and also David Gillespie’s “Sweet Poison“). I’ve had help along the way from my gorgeous Ayurveda naturopath, Vicki at Ayurasa, and I’ve done a lot of my own research along the way.

David Gillespie's "Sweet Poison" - a very interesting read

David Gillespie’s “Sweet Poison” – a very interesting read

Sarah Wilson's "I Quit Sugar" 8-week plan - highly recommended to help kick your sugar-addiction once and for all

Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar” 8-week plan – highly recommended to help kick your sugar-addiction once and for all

I often get asked, “So, what CAN you eat?!” It’s simple really. I stick with mainly vegetables (and some fruit), wholefoods including rice, quinoa, lentils and other legumes (chickpeas, mung beans, kidney beans etc), nuts, eggs, some fish and cheese. I drink water, herbal teas (especially Rooibos!), organic decaffeinated coffee, sparkling mineral water with lemon, and occasionally alcohol. It is about going back to basics, staying away from nasty additives and minimising processed foods (I’d love to avoid them altogether, but who has the time to ALWAYS make their own gluten-free bread/crackers/pasta etc?!) And yes I LOVE food, so I’m always looking for new and interesting recipes… thanks to the amazing resource that is the internet there are plenty to choose from! I’ve also learnt how to adapt recipes from my cookbook collection. Some of my current online faves are Lee Holme’s Supercharged Foods , Leanne Vogel’s Healthful Pursuit and also Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Cookbook who all share similar philosophies on health and well-being… AND they also have great CAKE recipes! Yes its true, there are MANY recipes out there for ‘sweet treats’ that are still gluten-free and sugar-free, and super delicious! Since kicking the sugar-habit, I no longer crave sugar like I used to, so sweets are a much rarer occurrence now, but its nice to know that there are still options out there in times of need!

I’ve recently started getting an Organic Fruit & Vegetable Box delivered here to Ballarat from Captains Creek Organics which is reasonably local, just near Daylesford. They also deliver to Melbourne if you’re interested in checking them out. The large box is AMAZING value, at $30, and it is packed full of delicious organic seasonal produce. They can do this price because they cut out the middle-man, and deliver direct. You can’t even buy the same amount of conventional produce at a big chain supermarket for the same price, and this is ORGANIC and picked fresh from the farm the day its delivered! One day I’d love our vegie patch to provide us with most of our meal’s ingredients, but until then, these boxes are awesome!

Box of organic goodness from Captains Creek Organics

Box of organic goodness from Captains Creek Organics

There were 8 different vegies in this healthy dinner I made - yummo!

There were 8 different vegies in this healthy dinner I made – yummo!

So, I hope I’m already well on my way to becoming the “most beautiful and empowered version” of myself thank to this first step, which is nourishing myself with good energy through good food choices. Kemi reminds us to ask ‘Will I feel good after I eat that?’ and you know what, these days my answer is a big YES! If I ever slip-up, or make a bad choice, then I sure do pay for it, so I’ve learnt that its just not worth it.

For me to live a sustainable healthy life, it starts with sustainable healthy food choices, after all, we are what we eat!