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Earth Hour | Image: WWF

Feel-Good Friday: March 22 – Beers, Bangers and Hot Air Balloons

In the wise words of Kevin James, “GENTLEMEN. START YOUR ENGINES“. That’s right, after 12 long months, motor racing’s biggest and most exciting spectacle has returned to Melbourne with the Australian Grand Prix officially kicking off this weekend. With two Aussies in the mix and the whole city coming down with a case of auto-fever, it’s a good weekend to hail from the land Down Under. Here are a few more reasons in this week’s Feel-Good Friday.

Sydney Harbour Bridge during Earth Hour | Image: WWF
Earth Hour | Image: WWF

Earth Hour is Back for 2024

Australian-born social movement Earth Hour is returning for 2024, marking a renewed focus on sustainability and environmental consciousness. Taking place on Saturday, 23rd March, from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, the event urges Aussies to switch off and ‘go dark’ for one hour to help raise awareness of the impacts of climate change and the importance of biodiversity.

This year’s event also marks the introduction of #Challenge60, a new project designed to raise funds to support critical conservation projects to protect wildlife and wild places. Whether it is a walk, run, swim or cycle, participants are encouraged to get outdoors for 60 minutes each day from 1 to 23 March to raise funds for nature. To register, head over to the Earth Hour website and sign up as an individual, team or workplace. Choose your challenge and set your fundraising goal to raise vital funds to support nature. Better still, share your challenge with your network and ask friends, family and colleagues to sponsor your Challenge 60 with a donation.

Balloons Over the Waikato Celebrates 25 Years | Image: Balloons Over the Waikato
Balloons Over the Waikato Celebrates 25 Years | Image: Balloons Over the Waikato

Balloons Over the Waikato Celebrates 25 Years

This week, the Cappadocia of New Zealand has ticked off a major milestone, marking 25 years of the iconic hot air balloon festival; Balloons over the Waikato. The largest hot air balloon festival in New Zealand, the annual event is a family favourite for travellers and locals alike, and it’s not hard to see why. The anniversary edition saw both morning flights and the classic Zuru Nightglow option, which offered four hours of live entertainment, carnival rides and food trucks, culminating in the balloon glow and the SkyCity Hamilton fireworks extravaganza. If there is one event that you simply must check out next time you are in New Zealand, it’s Balloons over the Waikato.

Toby's Estate's new Pandan Waffle Coffee | Image: Toby's Estate
Toby’s Estate’s new Pandan Waffle Coffee | Image: Toby’s Estate

Toby’s Estate Launches New Pandan Waffle Coffee

I’m calling it now, I’ve got a new favourite coffee order. Caffeine merchants Toby’s Estate have just unveiled the newest iteration of the Flavour Savour series, the Pandan Waffle Coffee. Based on the traditional Vietnamese treat, which is revered for its pine lime ice cream, coconut cream and melon-tasting notes, the new option is the brainchild of Toby’s head roaster, Danny Cao and Toby’s coffee farmer, Rodrigo Sánchez Valencia.

“We love to keep things interesting with our Flavour Savour blends and who doesn’t love a waffle? Rodrigo uses an innovative process to infuse the flavours into the coffee beans during the fermentation process. It’s then up to us the roasters, to roast the coffee to bring out the flavours and then blend the different flavours together to achieve the final product,” Cao said.

“Pandan Waffle for example is a unique blend of the different infused beans: we’ve used a combination of melons, tropical and peach to achieve our final flavour profile,” he continued. “Our coffee team is full of experience and expertise and we spend a lot of time to make sure the ratios of the coffees we select bring out the flavours we want. We always want the end consumer to be able to taste what we put on the front of the bag.”

While the new Toby Estate’s Pandan Waffle Coffee is only available for a limited time, there is good news. Free tastings are also being hosted by Toby’s Estate in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth with a special ticketed event in Newcastle.

Kyiv Social launches Beers and Bangers | Image: Plate It Forward Hospitality
Kyiv Social launches Beers and Bangers | Image: Plate It Forward Hospitality

Kyiv Social Launches Beers and Bangers

Community-focused enterprise Kyiv Social has announced a free monthly Sunday laneway party celebrating ‘Beers and Bangers’. Held in Grafton Lane in Broadway, the events will offer attendees the chance to score free sausages from LP’s Quality Meats and beers from Young Henry’s, all in support of refugees impacted by the conflict in Ukraine.

Since opening less than six months ago Kyiv Social has provided more than 3,000 hours of employment to 22 newly arrived Ukrainian refugees while also providing thousands of meals to orphans whose families were impacted by the war. From 1pm – 9pm on the first Sunday of every month, Kyiv Social welcomes the public to experience the huge progress from the Ukrainian hospitality team and their connection with Australian culture and the spreading of positive joy.

“A sense of connection is a core pillar of Kyiv Social”, notes Plate it Forward CEO and Founder, Shaun Christie-David. “Six months after opening Kyiv Social we have seen such huge growth and positive changes in our staff. They love Sydney and have embraced the culture. It has been beautiful watching our guests every day connecting with our newly-arrived Ukrainian staff through a shared connection and love of food, culture and of course vodka.”

“Beers and Bangers will be a fun party that aims to strengthen this connection seeing our staff celebrating their culture, music and food they came up with – tunes provided by Ukrainian house DJs, beers by Young Henrys, and food will be delicious snacks inspired by traditional Ukrainian flavours.”

leaselab is offering up 300 free coffees for Melbourne GP fans | Image: Geena Glass
leaselab is offering up 300 free coffees for Melbourne GP fans | Image: Geena Glass

300 Free Coffees for Grand Prix Racegoers

Leasing specialist, leaselab is offering a bumper deal for Australian GP fans this weekend. On Saturday, March 23, the brand is handing out free coffees to racegoers attending the Formula 1 qualifying sessions. Starting from 9.30am, racegoers can collect a cup from leaselab’s Pit Stop crew and use it to redeem a bonus brew at Clementine in South Melbourne. In total, 300 free coffees are up for grabs, including milk alternatives, so race in and grab a free brew.