Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Nearly guilt-free chocolate Easter eggs

How do you eat your Easter eggs?  Do you nibble the bunny’s ears, smash your eggs into pieces or hide them away as a secret chocolate stash?

Whichever way you succumb, it’s still hard to make a guilt-free choice when it comes to chocolate.  There’s that niggling worry about how many calories you are consuming with each bite and then there’s another elephant in the room, what about the people who farm the cocoa to make it all possible?

It’s a sad truth that children love Easter eggs except the ones who are forced to make them.  That’s children as young as ten who have to harvest cocoa in West African plantations so we can eat cheap Easter eggs.

Look out for Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certification when buying your Easter eggs this year and your chocolate consumption will be much less guilt-ridden.

UTZ Certified is a program and a label for sustainable farming and the UTZ Certified label is featured on more than 10,000 different product packages in over 116 countries. UTZ Certified stands for sustainable farming and better opportunities for farmers, their families and our planet. The program enables farmers to learn better farming methods, improve working conditions and take better care of their children and the environment.

Through the UTZ-program farmers grow better crops, generate more income and create better opportunities while safeguarding the environment and securing the earth’s natural resources.
Other sustainable choices include Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade who help to empower shoppers to choose chocolate sourced from ethical, sustainable resources.

ALDI Australia supports the UTZ Certification movement with their Easter chocolate brands - Dairy Fine, Choceur, Moser Roth and Specially Selected.

“We also stock a variety of other UTZ certified, Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance products. For example, our Just Organic black and green teas bear the Fairtrade mark, which represents better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world,” says an ALDI Australia spokesperson.

ALDI was recently named 2014 Supermarket of the Year by Roy Morgan Research for its industry leading levels of service and customer satisfaction.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was gifted Easter eggs by Aldi.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Seahaven, Noosa, Queensland

When it comes to waves I can be a bit of a wuss, preferring to bob gently like a tea bag instead of being propelled jet liner style to the beach, which is why I love to swim at Noosa's Main Beach.

Here the waves are consistently gently and the temperature is normally mild.  Add that to the shopping opportunities in nearby Hastings Street and its wide selection of dining delights and there's not really much more I could ask for.  Except maybe a scenic walk to the Noosa National Park in the morning and a ferry ride on the river each afternoon.

Have I ticked all your boxes too?

Staying with Noosa Main Beach on one side and Hastings Street on the other is a little bit of heaven to me.  Simply walking out past the three pools at Seahaven for a beach swim is hard to beat, unless it's sitting on the deck watching the world unfold itself at your feet.

Seahaven has been a Noosa holiday destination for many years but its recent renovation has brought a new level of comfort and sophistication to the accommodation.  The apartment I stayed in was compact but exceptionally well designed with space in all the right places - particularly the living area and beach-front balcony.

Clever use of large sliding opaque glass doors to divide the main bedroom, bathroom and small second bedroom, gave a feeling of space and minimalist tranquility. The second bedroom was a bit bare and more suitable for children than a traveling companion.  Lucky the friend who stayed with me is not the complaining type.

The bathroom was another modern marvel with a spa bath and a shower but no shower screens. Having used similar set ups I was skeptical but it did work and was easy to use.

There was everything required for a holiday kitchen - dishwasher, fridge and two hot plates so there's no temptation to whip up a huge feast.  And why would you?  With Noosa's great selection of restaurants at your doorstep, this is a holiday where relaxation and enjoyment are the first priorities.

Free Internet is another bonus here.

What I liked:
  • The location and ease of beach access is hard to beat. 
  • Rooms are thoughtfully designed with modern simplicity.  
  • The hair dryer was powerful and easy to use.
  • Undercover car parking.
  • The complex was full but I hardly heard any noise from other guests.
Didn't like:
  • Only one mirror in the bathroom. A second mirror with a power point is a great help when two people want to get ready at the same time.

My room:  308 - Third floor, beachfront standard 2 bedroom $550 per night, three night minimum.

Best rate: $199 for two nights in a Studio apartment.

Recommended for:  Good for families with young children or couples looking for a relaxing break.

Best tip: Throw away your car keys when you stay here and enjoy the easy proximity to everything.

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK was a guest of Seahaven.

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