parsley, sage, rosemary and having a great time. Gourmet Garden Bloggers Conference

parsley, sage, rosemary and having a great time. Gourmet Garden Bloggers Conference

Day 1 of the Gourmet Garden Bloggers Conference started before the sparrow farted.  Casa de Cooker was a flurry of activity until the girls were out the door and I started randomly applying paint to my face and shoes to my feet.  I was ready with seven minutes to spare –  just enough time to jam another load of clothes into the washing machine and realise that my boots were on the veranda and not in my bag.

I pressed ‘go’ on a post from the back of the car, took a few deep breaths – man, was I nervous – and hurtled head first into a whirlwind few days.  Our first day took place at Freestyle Escape, a location that I’ve often read about and lusted over but had never laid eyes on.  It was worth the wait and all the worry.

We were treated to insights from Jody Allen – the woman who single-handedly created Stay at Home Mum – Australia’s biggest mothers’ network.  Jody has a similar story to most ‘overnight successes’ I’ve heard over the years – she works incredibly hard, she survives on very little sleep and she manages to squeeze as many posts into a day as I do in three weeks.  Years ago, Rod Williams – the entrepreneur behind the R.D. Williams group – told me “You make your own luck, Miss Cootes”.  He’s right, of course.  The secret to Jody’s ‘overnight’ success is hard work and loads of it.

Jacki Passmore, author and food stylist, then shared her tricks of the trade.  Many of them were pure genius, simple tools and tweaks to make tasty food even more appealing.  Others – like undercooking meals and photographing cold food – won’t work for a bird who tries to snap a few shots in her kitchen, while fending off the hands of her hungry family.

We then heard from Lorraine Elliott from Not Quite Nigella, who is celebrating her newly published memoir of the same name.  She shared insights into her journey, while we shared a meal we’d prepared together using Kim McCosker’s 4 Ingredient recipes.  My favourite was the 4 ingredient dairy-free chocolate mousse – who knew banana, cacao, avocado and maple syrup could collaborate so well?

Finally, Edmund Pelgen from Traffika talked SEO, G+ and long tail search terms – it was heaven!  I’m learning this blogging caper on the job, so getting some expert advice from a bloke who is passionate about it was the perfect way to end the day.  I could have spent the rest of the afternoon picking his brain.  Edmund’s big tip for the afternoon for bloggers:  Are you on Google +?  You’re not? Don’t walk, run!



We arrived back in Noosa, with just enough time to check in and check out instagram the sunset – we’re bloggers after all!  Are you on instagram?  Leave your handle in the comments and I’ll follow you. xx

have you been to Noosa?

what’s the secret to success?

Disclosure: I won an expenses paid trip to Noosa as part of a competition run by Gourmet Garden to find Australia’s best blogger come chef.  All opinions are my own.  My bad food puns are not for sale and if they were I seriously doubt anyone would pay money for them!

Print Friendly


For a daily email update, click HERE.

Or hit the subscribe button below for weekly news in your inbox.


  1. 1
    Annaleis from Teapots and Tractors says:

    Sounds like lots of fun, learning and inspiration. Cant wait to see how that shows through your Blogging Amanda. The world awaits you.

  2. 3

    Well, if you were nervous, you didn’t show it. It was great finally getting to meet the ‘looker’ behind the ‘cooker’! LOL See you next week. xx

  3. 5
    Sit Down Mummy says:

    Love your Noosa main pic! I am one of the figures walking on the beach – just kidding – If I had seen you around town I would have come up and crash tackled you in excitement of seeing one of my fav bloggers IRL ;)
    Great post x

    • 6

      We could have run down the beach in slow motion and into each other’s arms Sit Down Mummy! Maybe we should arrange some kind of Sunshine Coast bloggy get together – there must be more out there than just us!?!

  4. 7

    It was SO great to have fun with you in Noosa over the 3 days. Gorgeous pix of the sunset xox

  5. 9
    Desire Empire says:

    Great post Amanda. And a lovely shot of the sunset. I am still working out how to authenticate my blog, but have now at least linked it to Google +

  6. 11

    LOVE THAT last pic!! And the fact you managed to capture the birds flying in formation – very clever!!!

  7. 13

    Love the photos!! I’m not sure about that 4 ingredient choc mousse – sounds horrible (sorry), but I might just test it out on the kds first!!!! xxx

  8. 15

    Beautiful sunset and what a lovely way to end your exciting day!!

  9. 17

    Sounds like suc a great conference. Noosa looks beautiful too.

  10. 18

    What a great time away! Noosa is such a beautiful place and all the more wonderful to spend time there doing all things bloggy :)

Let's chat. I'll put the kettle on. You tell me what you're thinking.