Ambassador Photo Diary – Nicole Schalk

Cocobella ambassador @nicole_mrie is a self-professed ocean lover! Residing on the sunny coast of WA, Nicole has created a feed packed with plant-based meal inspo, sunny summer times with friends and glorious snaps of our great Australian outdoors. We recently caught up with Nicole to get some behind the scenes insights in her feed, and hear more about her project The Be Kind Tribe.

Summer is finally here, and it’s clear you’re a big fan of the ocean and the beach. What’s your favourite ocean activity, and what do you pack for a day out? Do you have any special ocean adventures planned this summer?

Ambassador Photo Diary - Nicole Schalk

I love summer in Perth! We’re so lucky to live so close to the coast as well, so I try and make it to the beach as much as possible during the week. I’ve only just become a certified scuba diver so that’s definitely my favourite ocean activity! Or even just grabbing a burrito/burger and heading to the beach with some mates. For a day out all I really need to pack is some vegan snacks, some good music and a good book 🙂

This photo was taken down south of Western Australia in Dunsborough when me and my gals went on a roadtrip last summer. We took one of their little cars and ended up setting up a tent and camping on this beach.

I’m hoping to go camping a few more times before summer’s over, hopefully up North to Jurien Bay for some sky diving.

Meals loaded with wholesome ingredients seem to be the norm for you, your feed is full of fantastic ideas! What does a typical day look like for you regarding meals? Do you plan each week ahead by preparing some meals or snacks, or do you take a more spontaneous approach? Are there any challenges you face with regard to your plant-based diet?

Ambassador Photo Diary - Nicole Schalk

I don’t usually put much thought into my meals to be honest haha. While simple meals are my favourite, when cooking for family or friends I put in a bit more effort. A typical day in summer probably looks something like:

Breakfast: Banana (n)ice cream topped with granola (blend up frozen bananas with a bit of almond milk/coconut water. If you haven’t tried – DO IT).

Lunch: Potato nachos with chilli bean mix and lotsa guacamole.

Dinner: Ramen noodles! Or a toasted sandwich if I’m feeling lazy.

It’s actually unbelievably easy to eat a plant-based diet. I don’t think people realise until they try it themselves; there’s inspo all over social media, people always willing to give their advice, and vegan options at almost every restaurant. The biggest challenge is probably dealing with negativety and judgement from others. While I’m kind of used to it now, most have eventually realised there’s a significant reason I’ve made this decision and they lay off a bit.

My gal Annz and I got these sandwiches from a place called Smith & Deli (completely vegan!) when I went to visit her in Melbourne. Best sandwiches ever – these bad boys have pastrami and bbq grilled tofu, with sauerkraut, pickles and chipotle aioli. Now don’t be tellin’ me a vegan diet is restrictive.

It looks like you’ve had some incredible adventures overseas. How do you approach these – to educate and learn about cultures, for rest and respite or another reason? Are there any meals you’ve had on your travels that you’ve tried to find or replicate home in Australia?

Ambassador Photo Diary - Nicole Schalk

I have done a bit of travelling! It’s a pretty cool experience to see how the locals live and how their day-to-day lives can be so different from what we’re used to, especially in places like India and Colombia.

I did try to replicate a Chana Masala that we made during a cooking class in the home of an Indian man, Naveen. It was a complete failure so I decided to just leave that for Naveen.

India was a very interesting trip. I was originally just going with my sister but mum was freaking out a bit so we decided to surprise her at Christmas with flights there as well (not sure if she was excited or terrified). This was obviously at the Taj Mahal, and first walking in and seeing it slowly appear honestly felt like I was dreaming – it’s as majestic as it’s made out to be.

Caring for our natural environment is so important! Your project The Be Kind Tribe donates proceeds from t-shirt sales to the Balu Blue Foundation, who aim to educate and inspire sustainable and ethical living, minimising harm to oceans, animals and our planet. What a fantastic idea! Can you tell us what was the catalyst for starting this project? What has been the biggest challenge, and what is your vision for the future of The Be Kind Tribe?

Ambassador Photo Diary - Nicole Schalk

I remember we were staying in this unreal bamboo treehouse in rural Bali, and there wasn’t much to do so I all I was doing was reading this book called ‘Most Good Least Harm’, and that really inspired me to want to do something more proactive with my life, do something for a worthy cause. It was then that I thought about making some organic tees with a kind message, then giving the profits to a charity, and I guess that’s when The Be Kind Tribe was born!

My main challenge right now is probably having the capital to be able to keep purchasing shirts (because that has to come out of my own money first), while still passing on donations to Balu Blue. I am hoping for The Be Kind Tribe to grow a little more, offer a few more options/designs, and raise some more awareness for the ocean as well as other issues. For instance, eventually I’d love to donate to Against Malaria Foundation. I’m currently in the process of doing a film screening with all proceeds going to a non-profit, so let’s hope that all works out 🙂

I wear my tees anywhere really! Especially in summer because I pretty much live in t-shirts. It also makes me really happy to see my friends wearing one of my shirts (they are the best).

This photo must represent some lovely memories for you. When you get together with your friends, what are some of your favourite drinks and foods to consume? Have you used Cocobella coconut water or Cocobella coconut yoghurt in any fun recipes this summer?

Ambassador Photo Diary - Nicole Schalk

On the weekends we pretty much live off Zambreros and peanut butter toast haha and we all loveee the Cocobella Choc Almond Smoothie, or Straight Up coconut water after a big night!

I always put Cocobella coconut water in my smoothies or ice cream, and I’ve just started having the coconut yoghurt with some granola and fruit in the morning!

This photo was from when we went down south to see Tash Sultana (if you haven’t heard of her, search on youtube right now!). I was with some of my favourite people and then later met up with some more close mates at the festival, so this weekend was full of happy moments 🙂

Thanks so much for your time Nicole! Find last month’s interview with Julie Tran here!



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