Author: PakMag Contributor

Giaan Rooney and her two kids as she shares postpartum journey

Olympic Athlete Giaan Rooney Shares Her Postpartum Journey

Every woman’s postpartum journey is different and can often come as quite a surprise, something Australian Olympic athlete Giaan Rooney knows all too well. In this blog the Life-Space Probiotics ambassador and mum of two shares her postpartum health and wellness journey.

Can you describe what the first few months postpartum were like for you, both physically and mentally?

The first few months after giving birth was the largest roller coaster of emotions I have ever experienced. I would go from extreme joy to utter breaking point, sometimes within minutes. I have never been more physically, emotionally and mentally drained in my life. For the first time I felt like I was really failing – the fact that I expected parenting to come naturally to me made it even worse.

Physically, I had no birth injuries to overcome so I consider myself lucky. However, neither of my children were natural sleepers so I found the sleep deprivation the most debilitating component of the early stages. I went to a sleep school with Zander when he was 6 and a half months old and needed the aid of sleep consultants with Lexi. To say I felt like I was failing at parenthood is an understatement!

How did you rebuild strength, mentally and physically, postpartum? What exercises did you do personally?

Early on in my parenting journey I learnt that you can have the best laid plans on how your new life will be, but your baby hasn’t read these plans! I had to learn to go with the flow which was extremely difficult for me, and to celebrate the small wins, which might just mean having a shower! I started walking with the pram almost immediately and found that being out in the fresh air was a life saver. The kids never slept in the pram (or the car) but they seemed to enjoy the movement as much as I did.

I did nothing other than walk the first time around until we were both getting some sleep. Honestly, I couldn’t have handled anything else. With Lexi I found I could return to Pilates when she was around 4 months old. I loved that Pilates was helping me physically as well as giving me some ‘me’ time too.

How important was nutrition to your postpartum recovery journey?

In general I didn’t focus too much on what I was eating both during pregnancy and after it. I have always had a healthy relationship with food and enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Plus, I never deny myself anything. So throughout the early stages of pregnancy I craved toasted sandwiches and salt and vinegar chips. Then eventually I craved salads and fruit platters at the end! Overall I just made sure to consume enough of the right foods so I could pass those nutrients on to my children.

I love my fruit and vegies as well as plenty of protein and fibre. The only thing I need to keep an eye on are my calcium sources as I can’t tolerate traditional dairy.

What was the most interesting thing you learnt about human health and wellbeing in your postpartum journey?

I was well aware of the important role that gut health plays in your overall wellbeing. But, I found it fascinating that our bodies develop the cornerstone of our microbiome during the first 1000 days of life. Exposure to a diverse range of bacteria and plenty of fresh air can support its development. Surrounding yourself with nature (including playing in the dirt!) and a varied diet also support it.  

How have you shared your passion for health and wellbeing with your kids?

Health has always been of the utmost importance to me as I want to be around for as long as possible! I have tried to teach my kids the importance of being active and of the need to give our body the best fuel in the way of food, that it needs to operate and to encourage healthy relationships with both themselves and others. In my experience, healthy people are happy people!

Click here to find out more about the microbiome. Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.




Cairns Lagoon, a great place for school holiay fun for kids

School Holiday Activities for Kids in Cairns

Holiday Activities for Kids and Families

School holidays are upon us, folks. And while we love uninterrupted family time and all of the joys that come with, finding school holiday activities for the kids that doesn’t involve endless hours of iPad or screen time can be tricky. Luckily for families visiting Cairns, there’s lots to do. Be it a stroll along the Esplanade or a trip out to the reef, our city by the sea is chock-full of ways to keep the kids busy without totally sacrificing your chance to relax and have an adult holiday of your own. 

We’ve asked a few staff members and parents of Pullman Cairns International for their insider tips on how to holiday in Cairns with kids of all ages in tow: 

Josephine Falls and Millaa Millaa Falls

Daniel Rosendale – Front Office All Rounder
“Waterfall day at Josephine Falls and Millaa Millaa Falls! And don’t forget a stop at Lake Barrine and the tea house there. There, you can see a platypus if you’re lucky. There’s also Crystal Cascades closer by.”

Couple sit on rock, partially in water at Josephine Falls

A trip to the Tablelands for a few waterfall dips and nature walks is a day that the whole family will truly enjoy. Josephine Falls boasts a natural granite waterslide, while Millaa Millaa provides the perfect backdrop for a family holiday photo. If the kids plan on swimming, just be aware of the day’s conditions, as currents can be strong after a big rain.

A stop at the historic Lake Barrine Teahouseis also a must when you’re traipsing around the Tablelands. Though the informative lake cruises have been put on hold, the restaurant is still open and slinging out delicious Devonshire Tea and filling lunches. 

Crepes for breakfast at Lake Barrine Teahouse for school holidays activities

Nearer to Cairns, Crystal Cascades is a local family favourite for many reasons. This series of freshwater swimming holes is surrounded by lush rainforest trees and plenty of native critters. Plus, its walking tracks and BBQ areas make for the perfect afternoon adventure.

Muddy’s Playground

Reiko Kusuda – Food & Beverage Supervisor
“Muddy’s playground on the Esplanade. Green Island is also a good day trip for kids.”

Muddy’s Playground
 is the perfect way for active kiddos to burn some energy on a long summer day. Located right on the Esplanade, this sprawling free park offers a splash zone, ropes courses, toddler play area, classic playground equipment, massive interactive chimes, and much much more. Refuel at Muddy’s Café. Or make use of the many picnic tables and BBQs scattered around with lunch from home.

A trip to Green Island requires a bit more planning. However, kids are sure to love the options to snorkel, cruise around in a glass bottom boat and play in the island’s soft white sand. 

Nature Play Space, Red Arrow and Sugarworld Park

Nerida Meakin – Director of Sales & Marketing
“My family has a lot of favourites. The Nature Play Space at Centenary Lakes, walking the Red Arrow (with cold drink at NOA as an incentive!)… and Sugarworld is always a big hit!”

Just a few minutes from Cairns CBD, the Edge Hill neighborhood offers lots of hidden gems for everyone to enjoy. The Nature Play Space at Centenary Lakes is a playground like no other. Lurid orange slides and blue swing sets are replaced by ropes courses built into hills, dinosaur bones buried amongst the sand boxes, and a sensory garden that invites everyone to touch and smell native flora. 

Kids climb play ropes at Nature Play Centre, the perfect place for fun school holiday activities

gardens at Nature Play Centre

For an active afternoon, the 1.5km Red Arrow walking track takes families up (and we mean up—there’s about 250 steps, so make sure you’ve all got runners on) through Mt Whitfield Conservation Park, through the forest and past several spectacular points that look out over Cairns. After you’ve completed the loop, treat the kids to a well earned milkshake and yourself to a cold something or other at nearby NOA

To cool down on one of Cairns’ infamously hot summer days, a trip to play in Sugarworld Adventure Park’s many waterslides and splash pools is a surefire winner for kids of all ages.

Goomboora Park Activities

Leissa Prouchandy – Guest Experience Manager 
“Goomboora Park has an adventure playground and a creek that feeds from Crystal Cascades. It’s easy for the kids to swim as the current isn’t too strong, and there’s a big pathway that goes all the way to Crystal Cascades that you can cycle and walk along.”

Woman walks on Goomboora Park track as school holiday activity with kids

Goomboora Park’s gentle creek feeds from the same water as Crystal Cascades’, but offers much gentler currents for beginner swimmers. The adventure playground will entertain the young ones, while parents and older kids will love a stroll or a bike ride along the beautiful walking track. 

Pullman Cairns International

For families that are shorter on time but still looking for ways to cater to the kids, guests of Pullman Cairns International have plenty of school holiday activities to choose from right at their (hotel) doorstep. Budding cooks and mixologists can join the talented chefs and bartenders at Coco’s Kitchen & Bar for cooking and mocktail making classes.

Drinks from Coco's Kitchen and Bar classes

Little ones that like to be pampered can indulge in mini “Princess Manicures” with the friendly Vie Spa therapists.

There will even be evening movies on show in one of Pullman Cairns International’s spacious event rooms, so families can enjoy something on the big screen without an expensive trip to the theater. 

View the Pullman’s January kids activities schedule here.

So, what are you waiting for? Cairns is calling. Pack up that sunblock and those rashies, and get the family ready for one of your best summer holidays yet.

BLOG BY Alina Polishuk





Close up of Lemon Passionfruit Cheesecake squares

Delicious Lemon Passionfruit Cheesecake Recipe

Lemon Passionfruit Cheesecake recipe shared by Andjela Reljic

Base Ingredients: 

30g oats, ground to flour
35g coconut flour
20g Mayversfood peanut butter
10g ground flaxseed
1 tbsp. Queen Fine Foods sugar free maple syrup
60ml So Good Unsweetened almond milk

Coconut Layer Ingredients: 

30g raw cashews, soaked overnight
50g light coconut cream
1 heaped tbsp. Pure Cocobella coconut yoghurt
45g passion fruit pulp
1 tbsp. Queen Fine Foods Sugar free maple syrup 
2 tbsp. lemon juice
100ml So Good unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tap ground turmeric (tip to enhance the yellow colour)

Extra passion fruit pulp to top cheesecake squares.

Note – All Ingredients listed above in the Lemon Passionfruit Cheesecake recipe are available at Coles 

  1. Mix the base ingredients together in your high-speed food processor and press firmly in a small squared silicone tray. (Mine had 9 small squares)
    Place in fridge to set while you prepare the other layers.
  2.  Mix the coconut layer ingredients in your food processor as well and pour over the bases. Put back in the freezer to set.
  3.  Mix together the remainder of the ingredients for the final layer and pour over the set coconut layer.
  4. Use a teaspoon per square to spoon the extra passion fruit pulp on top and pop them back in freezer for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!


Find more great recipes HERE. 





Kids Barley Coconut and Popcorn Snack Bars on small plate next to glass bowl of popcorn

Kids Barley Coconut and Popcorn Snack Bars

Barley Coconut and Popcorn Snack Bars are yummy, nutritious, rich in fibre and protein. Your kids will love these fuller for longer snack bars in their lunch boxes. In addition, they have no added sugar, are dairy free and vegan – all in one!

Recipe by Lakanto 

Serves: 12

Prep Time: 40 minutes Cook Time 15 Minutes 14 days’ worth of Lunch Box Snacks (if they last that long!)


2 Cups Pearl Barley

1 ½ Cups Rolled Oats

½ Cup Dried Apple Rings

1 Cup Dried Banana Chips

1/3 Cup Lakanto Classic Monkfruit Sweetener

¾ Cup Shredded Coconut

50g Coco Butter

2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

4 Tbsp Lakanto Maple Syrup

3 Tbsp Popcorn Kernels (for Popping)

  1. Put the barley in a food processor to break the barley into smaller pieces (about 5 minutes) this is now (Kibbled).
  2. Sieve the barley and KEEP the barley flour set aside.
  3. Rinse the kibbled barley 3 times to remove excess barley powder (otherwise it will turn the water very thick when cooking) Soak the Kibbled Pearl barley for 20 Minutes in cold water
  4. Cook the barley for approx. 10-15 minutes in boiling water at least 4 time the water to barley. (1 Cup barley 4 Cups of water)
  5. Once cooked rinse under cold water until cold drain to remove excess water.
  6. Put the oats onto a baking tray and bake for approx. 15 minutes until golden.
  7. Cook the popcorn in the microwave until popped use coconut oil if needed.
  8. In a food processor Blend the Coconut, Apple, Banana chips, Classic Monkfruit Sweetener, blend until chopped, next add the barley, oats and maple until the mixture is slightly sticky (add the barley flour) to bind a teaspoon at a time.
  9. Spread the mixture onto a baking tray approx. 20cm x 15cm with greaseproof paper. Press down evenly and firmly to get a thickness of approx. 2cm.
  10. Put this tray in a preheated oven at 150c fan assisted for 10 minutes.
  11. While this is cooking blend the popcorn in a food processor with a teaspoon of classic sweetener. Until the popcorn is small enough to scatter over the snack bar
  12. Remove the baking tray from the oven and while hot sprinkle the popcorn over the top and press down into the mix. Place the tray into the fridge for 20 minutes.
  13. Heat the coco butter until melted add the cocoa powder and maple until well combined then drizzle over the barley slab allow to set and cut into 12 bars.
  14. Cover and Store in the fridge for up to 14 days.

 Tip: You can swap out the apple for different dried fruit apricots, dates, figs, pear.

Find more delicious recipes HERE. 








Serving Pink Plate of Lakanto Chocolate Dipped Short Bread and strawberriesnext to cup of coffee and small white plate of short bread

Chocolate Dipped Short Bread Recipe

This buttery, light and simply delicious Chocolate Dipped Short Bread Recipe makes the perfect snack for any coffee or high tea occasion. Plus, everyone loves short bread at Christmas!

How to Make Chocolate Dipped Short Bread

Serves: 20 Fingers

Prep Time: 10 Min

Cooking Time: 12-16 Min


  • 1 ½ Cups Unsalted Butter (Diced 20cm)
  • 1 Cup Lakanto Golden Monkfruit Sweetener
  • 3 Cups Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Cornflour
  • ½ tsp Vanilla essence
  • Sugar Free Chocolate


  1. Mix the diced butter and Monkfruit Sweetener in a mixer using the paddle attachment and whip until soft and smooth (approx.. 5minutes)
  2. Add the Corn Flour and Plain Flour and slowly mix speed 1-3 until fully incorporated.
  3. Add in the Vanilla Essence and whip for 3 minutes on high. (This will sure a smooth and soft dough is created).
  4. Remove from the bowl and place mixture onto a flour dusted surface. (Leave for 10 minutes, resting)
  5. Turn the oven on to 150c
  6. Gently fold the mixture on the bench it should have a silky feel. Roll out to the desired size and height.
  7. Cut the dough to the desired shape and gently place on the baking tray. Allow to rest for 10 minutes in the fridge (This will help keep the shape during baking).
  8. Place the tray in the preheated oven for 12- 16 minutes depending on the thickness of the shortbread.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  10. Melt the chocolate over a bowl of hot water until fully melted, then dip the short bread into the chocolate and place on greaseproof paper until firm.

Tip: For a dryer short bread extend the cooking time by 3-4 minutes.





Lakanto Peanut Butter Cookies stacked on plate with baking equipment next to it

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe

What Makes These Cookies Special? 

This quick and easy Peanut Butter Cookie recipe by Lakanto makes for 24 delicious cookies filled with peanut butter that everyone in the family, as well as friends, will absolutely love. In addition, there are so many healthy aspects to this recipe, including: 

  • No Added Sugar
  • Good Energy
  • All Natural
  • Healthy Fats
  • Keto Friendly
  • Diabetic friendly
  • Source of Protein
How to Make Them 

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time 12-15 Minutes

Makes 24 cookies

  • ¾ Cup – Lakanto Monkfruit Golden Sweetener
  • ½ Cup – Butter Unsalted Melted
  • ¾ Cup – Peanut Butter
  • 1 – Whole Egg
  • 1 ½ Cups – Coconut Flour
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1/4 Cup Peanut Butter (to fill)
  1. Combine the sweetener and melted butter, peanut butter and lightly beaten egg. Mix well.
  2. Gradually add sifted flour and remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Place teaspoonfuls of mixture onto a greased tray, flattening with a fork.
  4. Bake for about 12-15 minutes at 160C.


Find more PakMag recipes HERE.