We recently acquired a brand new blender from Froothie and we have been absolutely loving being a bit more creative in the kitchen and making all kinds of variations of smoothies, soups, nut sauces - you name it!

Our previous blender was not up to scratch when it came to making anything other than berry smoothies (seriously, haha!) - so when we first started being more intentional about eating plant-based foods and making more recipes from my plant-based cookbooks, I was really struggling with blending up things like nuts, seeds etc., as we just did not have a blender that could handle chopping them up smooth enough. I can't stress the importance of a quality blender when it comes to making vegan alternatives. It will make your life SO much easier!

In saying that, we have been SO impressed with our Optimum G2.1 Second Generation vortex blender. It's commercial grade, so there is absolutely no issue with its capability to blend things like a dream! You can choose from several different settings depending on what you are making, e.g. smoothie, soup, vegetables, milkshake etc. As well as having the ability to manually enter the time/power you want to use, it also has in-built settings for each mode, making it a one-button process if you want to take the thinking out of it, like me!

One of my all-time favourite drinks has always been a chocolate thickshake, so when going plant-based I really wanted to find a way to replicate your standard, ice-cream chocolate milkshake in a more healthy form. This cacao-banana smoothie will BLOW YOUR MIND. It tastes SO good, and there's not a single bad thing in it. Trust me, you need to try this.

What you will need:

- Approx 1 cup of ice-cold water (don't use tap water unless you're using frozen bananas, as you want this drink to be COLD!) You can add more water as you please, the amount of water you use will determine how thick the smoothie's consistency is!
- 2 ripe bananas (or a large handful of chopped, frozen banana)
- 2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons of almond butter (feel free to use any nut butter substitute if you don't have almond butter on hand... I'm sure peanut butter would make a delicious addition and almost make the smoothie taste like a snickers bar!)
- dash of cinammon (this will give you that sweet flavour you're craving without using refined sugar!)
- optional: 1/2 a serving of your favourite protein powder. We use Balance Plant-Based Protein in Vanilla and it's the best we've found so far!

Put all ingredients in your blender, and whizz until smooth! It's as simple as that!


To learn more about the Optimum Blender range and our blender, the Optimum G2.1 Second Generation - click here 


Often we get asked over on Instagram "how do you take your photos?" "what camera do you use?" "what's your editing process"?

Last week we were lucky enough to team up with a beautiful clothing brand, Betty Lane, and thought it would be cool to take you guys "behind the scenes" of one of our typical, collaboration type photoshoots. Usually when we collab with a brand it is just Tim and I that are involved - and we do all the planning, shooting and editing ourselves.

We love how these photos ended up turning out! It was such a moody, misty, fog-filled afternoon (not to mention, FREEZING) but it just adds to the magic of the images. 

If you want to see everything that happened behind the scenes of these photos, make sure to watch our vlog linked at the bottom of this post!

Betty Lane: @bettylane_


It's a miracle! I'm finally catching up on my backlog of blog posts I've had sitting here on my computer for months now - life has just been so busy and my poor wee blog has taken a hit because of it. As the pile of unedited photos just kept growing and growing and growing, I knew it was time I put my A into G (so to speak) and get around to posting some of our life happenings over the past few months.

In July, our friends Sarah and Dan Lemkus (check out their YouTube channel here) came to Dunedin and we got to spend a few days with them, showing them around our beautiful city, creating photo and video content and just having an all round amazing time. 

After taking them out for dinner at our favourite Japanese restaurant, Jizo, the night before, we decided to set out early in the morning to try and capture the sunrise over the ocean, as the boys wanted any excuse to get out their drones! Although we didn't quite get the sunrise kaleidoscope of colour that we dreamed of, it was still pretty beautiful and the boys did indeed manage to get some cool drone shots (make sure you check out our vlog of the day - linked at the bottom of this blog post!)

We then went to Tuppence Cafe to warm up and eat some chocolate for breakfast (I have the biggest sweet tooth I swear), and spent a good chunk of our morning perusing through SaveMart - Dunedin's two-story opshop! Sarah managed to get some togs for her and Beth for their travels to the hot springs the next day, and by that time we were ready to fuel up for our afternoon adventures, so off to Let Them Eat Vegan we went! 

A good amount of pies and oreo stuffed cookies later, and we were ready to take on the beach. Tim and I were excited to show Sarah, Dan and Beth one of our favourite hidden spots (it's actually where we got some of our wedding photos taken!) and all was going well until.... Dan took a nasty fall off the rope swing.... Tim managed to film it at 180fps haha, so make sure to check out our video if you want to see it in all it's slo-mo glory!

A quick change of plans was in order as we needed to clean up his cuts and grazes, so off back into the city we went, with a slight detour to a friend's place before we raced up Signal Hill to try and catch the sunset (and redeem ourselves for our not-so-amazing sunrise earlier in the day). We succeeded! 

We then headed home for dinner and put our feet up after a long day of go-go-go. We were all ready to just lie on the couch, eat some good food and have an editing party for the rest of the night! Oh, the glamorous lives of photographers/videographers... haha!

Saying goodbye to these three totally sucked but we have plans to reunite again before the year is up.... this time, up North! We can't wait for Dan and Sarah to show us their "hood" and to explore more of our country with our new friends. Love you guys!

Sarah's Instagram - @sarahlemkus
Dan's Instagram - @danlemkus
Tim's Instagram - @timothyjoseph

© ARIANA LEILANI. Design by A.