{Real} Life in Balance: The Journalist

I hope you’ve been enjoying this little series of interviews with real life women about their unique approaches to food, cooking, exercise, body image and lifestyle in general. You can read my own responses to the questions here and all about my Swedish friend My, here. I have more amazing women who have agreed to contribute their thoughts and am excited to share their interviews and images over the coming weeks…

I’m also keen to ensure that I present some diverse points of view from women in different circumstances and phases of life. Which is why this week, i’m delighted to present Laura Tomlinson – a young newspaper reporter who is busy making the most of her 20’s by enjoying life and building a career – but at the same time, having to learn to juggle her lifestyle while her husband works away for much of the time.

Laura first came to my attention via Facebook when I noticed that she was hanging out in many of the same ‘foodie’ oriented businesses and places that I was attracted to. Her excellent taste was only confirmed when she decided to bring her lovely Mum along to our Équilibre Retreat at Foragers last month as a Mother’s Day surprise! It was such a pleasure to meet Laura and experience her passion for good food (and wine!) firsthand. It’s quite refreshing to see someone so young take such an interest in what she eats and how it’s prepared, and no doubt she’ll go on to have a great influence on her peers (and readers). I also like her nicely ‘balanced’ attitude, perhaps it’s because she doesn’t stress out about getting the balance perfect and instead focuses on what makes her happy!

She reminds me a little of me in my mid to late twenties (long before kids) particularly her cooking style and ability to spend the day coming up with just the thing to satisfy a craving for dinner that evening. And yes, i’ve been known to read a cookbook or two in bed and oh, the food pilgrimages! I will say that there was a definite pang of envy on my part, after reading some of Laura’s responses (or shall we just call it nostalgia?)

I love, love, love the quote in the image further down below about food not being meant to be stressful, just good for the soul. No, I could never be a chef either, Laura!

Thanks so very much for sharing with us….

{all images from Laura, with credit to Matthew Poon for the centre pic of Laura ‘at work’}

1. Favourite flavours? Raspberry, wood-fired, cream, cheese, chilli, garlic, lemon, basil.

2. Your approach to food and eating well? Scattered. Due to my work as a journalist and my husband’s job on a four-week-on, one-week-off roster I tend to eat well for most of the month and then go a bit wild on the gentleman’s week off with lots of eating out and probably too much alcohol. In my own home I pretty strictly eat free range produce – from eggs and chicken down to pork products (Spencers Brook Farm are fabulous) and mayonnaise. I also try and eat organics (within financial reason) not strictly for reducing the level of pesticides in my diet but because these products tend to be of better quality and sourced more ethically. I will eat takeaway for dinner perhaps twice a month (mostly because the options in my neck of the woods are pretty dire) so I’m a big home cook. I don’t buy or eat many – if any – processed, ‘ready made’ foods.

3. Cooking style? I will spend my day thinking about what I have in the cupboard or fridge and working out what I’m craving and what I need to buy to make it. I’ve tried to be more organised but no matter how much I try, I tend to find I’ll have the best of intentions and wind up being completely bored with what I’m eating – unless it’s amazingly delicious. Very much a fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants cook. I read cook books in bed so there’s always something new I want to try. Weekend cooking is more organised and structured, I tend to flick through my favourite books and go from there. I enjoy nothing more on a weekend than going to a farmers market or heading off on a ‘food pilgrimage’ to somewhere for ingredients and inspiration.

4. Signature dish? This is a hard one as I very rarely cook the same thing twice! Would have to be Nigella Lawson’s easy almond meal and mandarin cake (gluten free and delicious!). I also have recently mastered a mean carbonara.

5. Your ‘saviour’ meal when there’s no time to cook? I have a completely out-of-control basil plant in my garden which I regularly maul and make and freeze basil pesto into little ice cube trays. Put water on to boil, float the little cubes in a measuring cup on the top of the water so the cubes gently melt, then chuck in the pasta. When it’s done and drained I just mix through the pesto and grate some parmesan and pepper and I’m set!

6. Pantry essentials? Yallingup Woodfired Bread, good quality dried pasta, Fiori coffee, Maldon sea salt, garlic infused olive oil, Annalisa tinned whole tomatoes and chickpeas, garlic, sesame oil, dried broad beans to snack on, chilli noodles, emergency dog food if I haven’t been a crazy dog lady and made any for them from scratch that week.

7. What’s in your fridge at the moment? Parmesan – always, spicy Italian sausages from Torre Butcher in Northbridge, Lillian Marsanne-Roussane (just in case!), Barambah Organics Greek Yoghurt, organic kale for smoothies, Meyer lemons, organic butter and cheap pickled jalapenos for my cheese and chilli quesadillas, dog food I made last night, veal and chicken stock I made on the weekend.

8. Favourite cookbooks? Anything by Nigel Slater, particularly his Kitchen Diaries series. Matthew Evans’ Winter on the Farm is getting a work out at the moment as is Gwyneth Paltrow’s new book It’s All Good.

9. Magazines and blogs that inspire you? Island Menu, The Food Pornographer, Smith Journal, Starving Off The Land, Whole Larder Love, the Guardian’s food section online.

10. Coffee or tea? Coffee first thing, tea from then on. I’m a one coffee a day girl.

11. What nourishes you (other than food)? Eating out? Haha. Enjoying time with my two Pomeranians, Charlie and Sunny, and those rare pockets of time I get to spend with my gorgeous husband. Being around him is like having a light turned on, he’s wonderful.

12. Exercise plan (if you have one)? Currently consists of riding my exercise bike in the evenings while I watch television – glam! I find at this time of the year it’s much easier to work out inside and I’m uncomfortable working out outside in the dark.

13. Your thoughts on body image and how you feel about yours… I’ve never been particularly body conscious but that’s because I’ve been very lucky to have always been fairly naturally slim. I’ve put on more weight in my mid-20’s which doesn’t phase me as such, but I’d like to develop a better level of fitness and maintain my current body shape and size (I love my wardrobe).

14. I’m craving… A trip to Wino’s in Margaret River and The Apple Daily in Perth.

15. I’m looking forward to… Visiting Japan at Christmas, we’re going skiing and I’m very excited about buying some amazing kitchen knives!

16. Balance – Secret to success? Or myth? I wouldn’t say it’s a myth but it’s not something I subscribe to. I think one can get too caught up in finding balance that they forget to live. I’m not too structured. I just do what makes me happy.

17. Favourite Quote “I’d rather be on the dole than work for a newspaper I’m ashamed of” Hunter S Thompson.

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