Burgers @ Tuck Shop Take Away

House Of Evans_Tuck SHop

After much anticipation I finally made it to the Tuck Shop for lunch to try out the old school burgers. The best part of maternity leave is having time to tick off a few of the places I never have the chance to get to on the weekend, and the Tuck Shop was top of my list of must visits before Baby Evans shows up.

Randomly located in the suburb of Caulfield, the Tuck Shop is a pretty nondescript building, and had it not been recommended to me I never would have stopped in. I was shocked to find that the lunch time rush was relentless, clearly the locals in the area have cottoned onto this little gem long before I stumbled upon it.

I later found out that the owners previously worked for Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck and one of his pubs in London, so it’s no wonder the food is top notch.
House Of Evans_Tuck SHop

House Of Evans_Tuck SHop

House Of Evans_Tuck SHop

The other perk of being pregnant is people make allowances for you when you are a total pig, bearing this in mind I obviously ordered the ‘School Menu’ which includes burger, chips, lemonade and a tart.  The burger was delicious, moist without being greasy and the tuck shop sauce was yummy.

The chips or ‘cuts’ as they are referred to are super crispy, just the way I like them and the salted caramel tart rounded everything off. My raspberry lemonade was the only letdown, not much flavour and way too much ice made it watery. I did have a sip of the salted fantale milkshake which was everything you would want it to be.

House Of Evans_Tuck SHop

House Of Evans_Tuck SHop

I can’t wait to head back here and share my latest culinary delight with hubby, plus I need an excuse to get back and try the milko milkshake!

If you love a classic burger, this one is definitely worth adding to your burger bucket list.

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Kristy x

Boy or Girl? What the old wives tales have to say

From the very beginning of our pregnancy hubby and I decided that we wanted to keep the gender of baby Evans a surprise and wait until the big day.  We are constantly asked if we know the gender, this then followed by “Oh my god, I could never wait! I would have to find out” or “Oh that is so lovely, I love a surprise!”.

Regardless of what people think about waiting to find out, they all love to try and guess baby Evans’ gender.  They take a step back and start sizing up my belly. Does it look low or high? Is it straight out front like a basketball or round all the way around like a watermelon? Then come the questions. Have I been moody? Have I had any cravings? Have I been nauseous? Based on all of this information they then decide what they think the gender is and more often than not the verdict is a boy.

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While I don’t necessarily think there is any truth to these old wives tales, I thought it might be a bit of fun to see what they have to say about baby Evans’ gender and share with you all.

1. Carrying low = BOY
I haven’t particularly noticed that baby has been high or low but others have commented that I look a bit low so we will go with that.

2. Baby’s heart rate 140+ = GIRL
Baby’s heart rate is usually around 145+ but this could be the result of just being active at the time of testing.

3. Carrying weight out front = BOY
I have mostly just put weight on around my belly, as opposed to bum and legs.

4. Age + Month = GIRL
If you add your age at time of conception with the month you conceived and it is an odd number then baby is a girl.

5. Craving sweet food = GIRL
I am a sweet tooth through and through, this hasn’t changed during pregnancy.

6. No morning sickness = BOY
I had a bit of nausea, particularly in the first trimester but was never actually sick.

7. No cold feet = GIRL
My whole body feels about 10 degrees hotter in pregnancy including my feet.

8. Heartburn, lots and lots of heartburn = GIRL
This may also mean baby will be born with a full head of hair.

9. Skin breakouts = GIRL
I have definitely had my fair share of pimples, although to be fair not too much different to normal.

10. Daddy weight = GIRL
Poor hubby has been complaining about the extra weights he’s put on in the past 9 months due to all my carb cravings, apparently this means girl.

11. Less moody = BOY
I think I have actually been less moody (in general) since being pregnant, lucky hubby!

12. Show hands palms up = GIRL

So how do the old wives tales stack up? Well according to the 12 myths above there is a 66% chance baby Evans is going to be a GIRL.

Here are a few of my bathroom selfies along the way, what do you think it looks like? Boy or girl?

Unfortunately I can’t confirm or deny which ones are right and which aren’t. So I guess you will just have to wait and see what the outcome is when baby Evans arrives in just a few short weeks!

Kristy x

Baby Evans’ Bunny Baby Shower

I am so thrilled to be able to share with you some happy snaps from my recent bunny themed baby shower.

Apologies the photos aren’t the best, I was too busy eating and chatting to get any good shots and forgot to delegate this task to someone else (whoops, bad blogger!). You may also notice there are no photos of people… again baby brain moment – sorry!

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After a small amount of chaos the morning of the baby shower, my Mum and girlfriend managed to pull off a stellar effort and host an absolutely amazing baby shower for mini Evans and myself.

The afternoon was really relaxed and chilled out, which is exactly what I had wanted. We kept the games to a minimum, and the food was in abundance as is tradition with any Taylor/Evans family functions.

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After choosing a Peter Rabbit theme, we decided to go down the garden path (pun intended) and keep the decorations green and orange so as not to be too boyish.  Bunny footprints greeted guests at the door and banners and pom poms helped to brighten up the room.

We had a beautiful spread of homemade goodies and Mum even surprised me with a Peter Rabbit themed party cake. There were Peter Rabbit books and carrot shaped lolly bags filled with caramel popcorn as gifts for guests.

But my favourite detail of the day, and where I think Mum really outdid herself, was with the beautiful big veggie box center piece. The rustic wooden box stuffed full of brightly coloured veggies looked like it had come straight from Beatrix Potters garden and I just loved it.

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I had such a lovely afternoon with my closest friends and family celebrating the pending arrival of baby Evans and was once again overwhelmed by everyone’s excitement and well wishes.  I feel incredibly spoiled and humbled by all the love and can’t wait to be able to finally introduce our little bundle to all the people who have so eagerly awaited its arrival.

I especially want to thank the two lovely ladies who made this baby shower possible, my Mum and girlfriend Carmel – thank you!

Kristy x

A taste of Auckland

On our most recent trip to New Zealand we were lucky enough to be able to spend a bit of time in Auckland catching up with family and friends rather than rushing straight from the airport to Hamilton. I was pretty excited about seeing  our friends and family, some of which we hadn’t seen in years, and even MORE excited to be able to do this while checking out some of Auckland’s hot spots.

Cereal Killa

Cereal Killa on Urbanspoon

House Of Evans_Auckland Food

House Of Evans_Auckland Food

Our first day in Auckland we caught up with hubby’s family for brunch at Cereal Killa in Mt Wellington. This place had been recommended to me by a former kiwi blogger, so I had pretty high expectations. Overall the food was good but there were some mixed reviews around the table.

I had the crepes with maple syrup, bacon, banana and blueberries and while I enjoyed my meal, it could have had more to do with the fact that it was midday before I was eating breaky rather than the food being exceptionally good (I can assure you it did taste better than it looks). Hubby had the half English served with mash, as pictured above.

Teed St Larder

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Day two and another brunch date, this time with friends. In actual fact we had a double brunch. so a back to back sitting in order to squeeze in as many catch-ups as we could! We headed to the Teed St Larder in Newmarket and I was immediately surprised at how big the café was and even more surprised by how quiet it was for a weekend!

The interior is great, the decor is fresh and light and there is loads of space for groups and people with children, which was handy for our friends. A space like this in Melbourne would be chocka block with customers on a Saturday morning, I couldn’t work out why there was no line out the door!

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Hubby had the bubble and squeak which he didn’t seem overly impressed with, nor were our friends particularly thrilled with their eggs Benedict (I don’t think they were bad as such, just nothing special). I continued with my stand against scrambled eggs and had the coconut, lemon, lime pancakes and what a disappointment they were! They came out literally swimming in syrup, not only did this mean the pancakes themselves absorbed a lot of the liquid and turned to mush, but the syrup itself was sickly sweet and overpowering. I tried to soldier on and eat as much as a could, but only made it about half way through before giving up.

Perhaps this just wasn’t to my taste, but I really didn’t enjoy this meal at all.  Luckily my experience was slightly redeemed with a yummy crumpet during our second sitting, but in all honesty I found the food to be overpriced and failed to live up to all the hype of the online reviews I had read.

Mikano Restaurant & Bar

Mikano Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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For our only dinner in Auckland hubby and I treated the in-laws to a night at Mikano as an early birthday gift.  When searching for a restaurant I wanted somewhere that did good seafood for the MIL but also had plenty of non-fishy options for little old me :)

The location down in Mechanics Bay is a bit random but interesting as it looks out over the docks and has a helipad next door.  I believe the venue recently underwent a facelift and was quite nice inside.

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The food was delicious, the seafood definitely delivered and there were no complaints from the gents at the table who both ordered steak. I had the chicken and leek pie, which was ok but nothing to write home about. The MIL was definitely happy with her fish, it was hands down the best looking dish at the table and I think the rest of us had a little food envy. After scoffing down our entree and main’s we somehow managed to find some room for dessert, which was a lovely end to a very tasty and enjoyable meal.

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House Of Evans_Auckland Food

Overall we had some great dining experiences in Auckland, but I think the majority of them were made enjoyable by the company more so than the food. One things for sure, living in Melbourne we are spoiled for good coffee and the Kiwis still have a little way to go in the coffee making stakes.

I look forward to trying out some more of Auckland’s tasty delights the next time we manage to get back for a visit, although next time we will be traveling as a threesome rather than a twosome so our eating priorities may have changed a bit by then ;)

Kristy x

B is for Brunch @ Merchants Guild

House Of Evans_Merchants Guild

My lazy Sunday brunching days are numbered and I have definitely been making the most of the limited baby free weekends that I have left with as many brunch dates as possible!

Merchants Guild has been on my brunch hit list for a while now, it has received great reviews online and best of all is only 5 mins down the road. However a good local brunch spot is hard to find. In my experience even the ones with good reviews don’t live up to the hype and standard of some of the amazing places on offer closer to the city.

You could be forgiven for thinking you have arrived at a trendy inner city brunch spot upon arriving at Merhcants Guild as there is certainly no shortage of customers and there is often a line of customers queuing out the door for a table.

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Believe me when I tell you it is worth the wait! I just couldn’t go past the doughnut french toast, I had no idea what to expect and was so happy with my decision when my meal arrived. Essentially it is french toast rolled in cinnamon sugar, served with peach, blueberries, mascapone and sprinkled with salted pistachios. The balance of salty and sweet is perfect and unlike many french toasts I have tried it isn’t sickly sweet or stodgy.

My girlfriends had the poached eggs, with avocado and charred corn smash, jamon ham and jalapeño pesto on the side (not in picture). I might have had a sneaky taste and the mix of avocado and pesto go amazing with the poached eggs – I can’t wait to have this dish myself when I can finally eat poached eggs again!

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Finally a local brunch haunt to get excited about, I have already returned with hubby and no doubt will be back again before baby Evans arrives ;)

Kristy x

Merchants Guild on Urbanspoon

Our Surprise NZ Baby Shower

Over the Queens Birthday long weekend hubby and I made our very last trip as a twosome and headed across the ditch for a long overdue visit with our Kiwi family. We were lucky to pick up amazingly cheap flights from Melbourne to Auckland over 12 months ago, when wee baby Evans was barely even a figment of our imagination.

Luckily at 32 weeks pregnant I was still ok to fly and we were able to enjoy a wonderful weekend catching up with great friends and family, some we haven’t seen in years.

House Of Evans_NZ Baby Shower

The first couple of days we spent eating ourselves stupid in Auckland (more details and some brunch reviews coming soon), followed by a few days in hubby’s hometown of Hamilton. A few years ago we seemed to be heading back to NZ for weddings every 6 months or so, but as the years go on we are now heading back to meet all the lovely new additions to our family and our friends families. On this trip alone we were able to meet, play and snuggle with 5 new additions, including our lovely 5 month old nephew Charlie.

House Of Evans_NZ Baby Shower
This trip was made extra special as we were also able to celebrate the pending arrival of baby Evans with all our Kiwi family. While we knew there was a family pot luck dinner in store for us during our visit, we didn’t know that my mother in law had been very hard at work planning a baby shower for us and stalking my blog for inspiration (well played Colleen!).

She did such a marvelous job decorating the house with gorgeous baby clothes, lovely vintage inspired decorations, a lolly buffet complete with handmade dummies and baby bottles and a beautiful array of homemade thank you gifts for guests.

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As a mum to be I get plenty of attention, people are constantly making a fuss, asking how baby and I are doing, offering me seats on trains and showering me with gifts so it was really nice for hubby to actually be a part of all the fussing for a change.

We were both touched by the amount of thought and effort that went into all the planning, not to mention all of the gorgeous gifts baby Evans received. It’s really amazing how much love and excitement one tiny person can create before they even enter the world!

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After a pretty full on week it is safe to say I was very happy to return home to the comfort of my own bed. While we didn’t have a bad flight, I certainly didn’t enjoy flying pregnant so it was lovely to arrive back into Melbourne and be greeted by the good folk of Blacklane Limousines who made the final leg of our journey super comfortable, easy and pain free.  Our driver was very friendly and it was so nice to sit back and relax while someone else got us home safely.

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Unfortunately it is likely to be a while before our next visit to NZ, but we are already counting down the sleeps until the in-laws visit in August so we can show off our new bundle of joy!

Kristy x

Babymoon Part 2: Our Tassie Food Adventure {From Cradle Mountain to Hobart}

Whoops, babymoon part 2 seems to have been a bit delayed, sorry guys! The weeks just keep flying by and the blog posts are piling up. So without further ado, I bring you part 2 ;)

Cradle Mountain Lodge & National Park

After a lovely couple of days in Launceston our adventure continued onto Cradle Mountain. We stayed at the iconic Cradle Mountain Lodge, and after getting over the initial shock of not having a television in our room (OMG how to fill the silence? Talk to each other, that sounds like a crazy idea?!) we set out to explore the beautiful surrounds. The lodge is located smack bang in the middle of the National Park, they have a range of group walks and organised tours that you can join, or  if you’re like us you can simply pick-up a map and go it alone.

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Ross & Oatlands

While we planned on doing a bit more site seeing in Cradle Mountain the weather was so bad that we changed our plans and decided to make tracks to Hobart first thing the next morning. Of course I had a few stops planned along the way. The small country town of Ross claims to have the “Worlds Best Vanilla Slice – As voted by all vanilla slice experts”.  Now I don’t know what credentials one needs to be considered a Vanilla Slice expert, but I certainly have tasted a few in my time and thought I would be a pretty good judge. Needless to say the Vanilla Slice was delicious! Perhaps not the best I have ever had, but definitely top 3.

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After stuffing our faces in Ross, we really had no room left for food when we got to Oatlands which is a shame as I saw a sign for pancakes… We had a quick wander around the town, took some obligatory happy snaps of the old flour mill and then jumped back in the car bound for Hobart.

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Monty’s On Montpelier

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Our first night in Hobart we had quite possibly one of the best meals ever! Big call I know, but start to finish we could not fault a single thing that we ordered.  After a recent trip to Hobart a girlfriend of mine had HIGHLY recommended Monty’s and claimed the peanut butter mousse, dark chocolate & banana dessert was the best thing she’d ever eaten.  While we were initially nonplussed by the menu, we were sooo happy we took her advice, just divine!

Jackman & McRoss Bakery

We planned our whole trip to be in Hobart on Saturday for the Salamanca Market, this was by far the biggest disappointment of our whole trip.  I had read so many reviews online and had heard from others that it was a ‘must do’ on any trip to Hobart, we found it extremely overrated and had no interest in buying anything on offer. Luckily there was more food on the horizon to lift our spirits, straight to Jackman & McRoss bakery we went!

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The bakery was on my must do list before we left for our trip so I had fairly high hopes. Randomly situated on a suburban street in amongst houses, the bakery was bustling with people and the glass cabinets choc full of amazing looking baked goodies. It was so difficult to only choose two cakes, I really could have eaten most things in the cabinet, but in the end we showed some restraint.

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 Cascade Brewery

More wet weather meant more indoor activities, so after sampling the local beer in Launceston, hubby was keen to check out the Cascade Brewery in Hobart and compare. The brewery itself makes quite a statement, the beautiful old building is perched on top a hill and is well worth a drive by to admire even if you don’t stop for a drink.  There are brewery tours on offer but we chose to kick back and relax with a sampling tray in the bar instead.  The gardens also looked lovely and would make for the perfect spot to chill out on a sunny Sunday afternoon with a nice cold beer.

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High Tea @ Villa Howden

The last major planned food stop in Hobart was at Villa Howden. As you might have already noticed I love my sweets. Brunch and afternoon tea are by far my favourite meals of the day and when I googled “best scones in Hobart” Villa Howden popped up on my radar. A short drive from the city centre, Villa Howden is a boutique hotel and functions venue that hold afternoon tea every Sunday.

Hubby had always screwed his noes up when I had suggested high tea in the past, but this time I wasn’t giving in. The food was yummy, we quickly made our way through each of the little treats on offer and couldn’t believe how full we felt at the end.  Made for a lovely lazy afternoon together on our last full day in Hobart.

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I promise to get the third and final instalment of our Tassie trip up very shortly!

Kristy x