Living in the tropics

Yesterday we went down to Innisfail for the annual Feast of the Senses market day. This is a great family day out where you can taste some amazing unusual exotic fruits, see local arts and crafts, there's a heap of entertainment, face painting and lots of activities for the kids.

Since the area around Innisfail is where most of Australia's bananas are produced, bananas feature largely in this market, and we came home with 2 large bags of free bananas! So today I thought I'd better do something with them. After serving bananas for breakfast, and filling everyone's lunch boxes with bananas as I packed them off to school, I then made some banana muffins (which you can see above) and have 2 banana cakes in the oven. And we STILL have more bananas to eat for dinner!!!

Anyway, I thought I would share the recipe for these banana muffins, which was given to me by another stall holder at the markets we go to each month. They are truly delicous and lovely and moist, as their name suggests!


3/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 cup raisins
1 cup other dried fruit (dates, currants, sultanas, whatever you like!)
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup castor sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour

Combine the boiling water, bicarb of soda and dried fruit in a bowl. Leave to stand for 10mins.

Preheat oven to 180C.

In another bowl, combine banana, oil, sugar and eggs. Beat well.

Stir the other fruit and the liquid into the banana mixture.

Sift the flours into the mixture and stir to combine.

Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 20-25mins, or until golden brown.


Aside from bananas, up here in the tropics we have, of course, the Great Barrier Reef! We recently bought an annual family pass to go out to the reef, and my daughters have taken to snorkelling as if they were born to it. Both of them have birthdays coming up in a few weeks, so we decided to get them reef - themed presents this year.

Last week we took them out to buy stinger suits (jellyfish are around for about 6 months of the year up here, so better safe than sorry.) The suits provide good sun protection too.

We also want to buy them their own snorkel and mask sets - and then there's the problem of how to carry it all when we go out for the day! So I've purpose made a bag. (which I will have to make a second one of so they have one each!)

Having Mum here is great, as we sat down together last Friday, and worked out how to make it - trialling various parts with scrap fabric. Two heads are definitely better than one, and today I used our plan, and made up the first bag!!

This is what needed to be able to go into the bag:
Stinger suit, snorkel and mask, towel, and drawing book and pens for the boat trip out and back!

I made just a basic drawstring fabric backpack, but with a few adaptations. On the outside base and front under the pocket is waterproof yellow material (repurposed from a punctured pool toy!) and a net pocket for the wet stinger suit and snorkel and mask set (also from said retired pool toy). Hopefully this will keep any moisture away from the bag contents.

Inside the bag is a large waterproof A4 pocket (made from an old waterproof matress protector I had kept, knowing it would come in useful one day!) into which can be put drawing books / paper and pens.
And also a small drawstring pouch which clips on the inside to put any money, sweeties or small toys which may be deemed necessary for a trip.

And here it is filled with everything and ready to go! I'm pretty happy with the result. The next one will have minor changes like tighter elastic around the top of the front mesh pocket.
Incidentally the fishy fabric remnants that I used for this bag came from Mary at the markets who also gave me the muffin recipe! Thanks Mary!!
Now as I said, I have my Mum out from England for a few weeks, and am making the most of having sewing skills and knowledge here to learn and make lots!!
Do come back and visit tomorrow to see what she helped me create for my eldest daughter to wear to school tomorrow! They have to go dressed as their favourite book character! I'm really looking forward to it!
Until then....


  1. Taking a moment to surf through your tremendous collection of content and decided to take the opportunity to be your very "first" commenter. (I just might have to try out those muffins!) Again, kudos on what you've achieved through your blog... and thanks for adding mine to your sidebar. ;-)

    1. Aw thanks Rochelle! I'm so flattered you've been browsing through my blog! Oh and do try those muffins, they are really yummy!!


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