{Real} Life in Balance: The Designer

One of the lovely things about reaching out and attempting to create a network of other like-minded local businesses is the surprising connections you make along the way, especially when you discover they only live around the corner from you! Such as it was with Amy Palmer-Millin from Kookery, who i’m pleased to introduce you to for our Real Life in Balance interview today.

What do we love about Amy? Well, for a start, she’s an extremely hard working, savvy designer and business person with Kookery, her unique, quirky and growing range of tea towels and kitchen prints. She also has a keen eye for a good café (and i’ve been known to try and work out her whereabouts from the type of coffee cups in her instagram and facebook feeds!) Having lived there for a time, she also loves the Melbourne coffee culture (healthy respect there from Pascal) and has also been known to show up at a Fitness for Foodies session or two (we’ll keep working on that one, Amy!)

I really appreciate Amy’s simple approach to healthy eating based on colour, which effectively means that she’s getting heaps of variety. Ditching the diet, taking the negativity out of food and putting the ‘rejoice’ back in, is such a freeing mentality to adopt and I really applaud her for taking that stand. As with most of us who juggle kids, work, businesses and a healthy lifestyle – seeking the balance between it all continues to be a work in progress, and probably always will be!

Thanks for taking the time to fill us in on what keeps you inspired Amy…

1. Favourite flavours? Coriander, Mint, Vanilla, Chai….so many choices but these have to be some of my favourites.

2. Your approach to food and eating well? Colour, I try to eat as much colour as I can. Vegetables at every meal, I am not a huge meat eater, so I eat a lot of eggs for protein and just adore mushrooms.

3. Cooking style? Hmmm, my style, well, a lot of the time it is ‘what can I make from what I have’ but I love to follow a great recipe and would say my baking style is better than cooking style.

4. Signature dish? Hard one, I make a great pie, pastry is one of my favourite things to make. Whether it is savoury or sweet.

5. Your ‘saviour’ meal when there’s no time to cook? Chickpea and tomato soup – Fry off some onion and garlic, mix 1 can of chickpeas with 2 cans of tomato, add cumin to taste with coriander, a splash of red wine vinegar if you’d like. SUPER YUM and QUICK!

6. Pantry essentials? Rice, chickpeas, plain flour, nuts, dried fruit, canned tomatoes, cinnamon, sirena tuna, Forvm Chardonny Vinegar, Forvm Red wine vinegar, coffee beans and lots of loose leaf tea.

7. What’s in your fridge at the moment? Leftover Roast Lamb, which will be turned into a Lamb Biryani tonight YUM! Chutneys and all manner of condiments, I married Captain Condiment! Cheese, always a good cheddar in there, tortillas, my daughter favourite, real butter and full cream milk.

8. Favourite cookbooks? Stephanie Alexander’s – Kitchen Garden Companion, Bourke Street Bakery, Golden Wattle, What Katie Ate, Murdoch range of small foods, comfort foods, vege foods, etc. We have pretty much the whole lot and great reference for most things.

9. Magazines and blogs that inspire you? Gourmet Traveller, Real Living, Inside out, Frankie, Dumbo Feather, The Design Files, Creature Comforts, Small business Big marketing, DaisyChain Nursery (starting a seed savers group) and so many more I am sure I have forgotten!

10. Coffee or tea? Coffee, once a day for me, unless it is two! Tea always and often and in the afternoon with a biscuit.

11. What nourishes you (other than food)? Design and writing, I love swinging in my hammock and writing a blog post or sitting around talking in puns to my hubby, giggling about what we could put on a tea towel.

{Amy’s new Kookery Baguette Bag – photography and styling by Jacqui Moore of Greenhouse Interiors}

12. Exercise plan (if you have one)? It is a pretty simple one, run up the stairs at home, walk the dog. I would like to do some more strength exercises too, I just need to give it more priority in my life.

13. Your thoughts on body image and how you feel about yours… A couple years ago, I decided no more diets, not more restrictions, just good food, I didn’t want to have the negative thoughts surrounding food, I wanted to rejoice in good food, colourful food and a little chocolate now and then.
Eating without restrictions for me has worked over time. I don’t crave the high sugars, and my chocolate is as dark as I can get it and I love if it is bean to bar. Looking for the value in our food, eating at the dinner table and never in front of the TV has been a fabulous thing for me and our family.

14. I’m craving… Licorice covered in dark chocolate, and some warm sunshine to thaw out my bones and sit in my hammock, missing my summer mediations.

15. I’m looking forward to… Finishing our house renovation, not sure when that will be. And taking my business Kookery on the road to Melbourne again, see my beautiful friends and soak up the Melbourne coffee scene (editor’s note: Amy’s Melbourne road trip already complete and successful, with the gorgeous baguette bag photo shoot above as evidence!)

16. Balance – Secret to success? Or myth? This is what I always strive for and have yet to find the right mix yet. I think re-establishing ourselves in Perth, renovating a house, a 3 year old and working in a small business means that it has been hard to create the balance we are looking for as a family. But we continue to work on making this happen.

Food balance is easier as we love colour on our plate, and harvesting from our veggie patch. I meet amazing people creating amazing produce for us to enjoy and can’t help but get swept up in their passion for good food. Farmers markets on a Saturday morning is my time to regroup and invest in my love of good food.

17. Favourite Quote? Can I use Kookery one? Tea without a biscuit is an opportunity lost.

Thanks Amy! Find Kookery here and on facebook here (and you’ll increasingly find Amy’s designs in cafés and kitchen shops near and further afield)

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