Sunday, August 31, 2008

mermaid magic

I stumbled across this old favourite last night. Cher is an utter genius. Her role as the mum who feeds her two girls cocktail food is bewitchingly good. And oh, Christina Ricci was a bundle of bliss - no wonder I still adore her. The final scene where they're dancing around the kitchen singing, "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife..." made me want to clap my hands in glee. Christina's little red swimsuit, Cher's lissom yet curvy bod, Winona's pale gorgeousness... Mermaids rule.

pool toons

These are too cute. Teeny little raindrop shaped speakers so you can use your iPod by the pool (or in the bathroom if you're into long showers). I do believe that little blue baby needs to come home and live with me!

simple suppers

I realised tonight that I don't do those simple Sunday night meals. You know, the cheese on toast, weet-bix or scrambled eggs and toast fingers. No, apparently I don't really like to give myself a night off. Tonight was as simple as it comes with Nigella's carbonara. Have you tried it yet? Go on. 

You cook up some pasta, fry up some bacon and garlic in a little oil till it's golden. Then tonight, because it was sticking, I tossed in a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan (while the bacon and garlic was still in it - yum). Drain the pasta, toss it in the pan with the bacon, then take off the heat and add two beaten eggs and quickly combine. Add pepper, a splash more white wine and some parmesan and there's dinner. Adding some mushroom and diced green spring onions would add some colour and texture - but also take away a little of the simplicity, and apparently that's what Sundays are all about.

well, well, well

I received lots of lovely books for my recent birthday and the Kate Spade series of three make very stylish additions to my bookshelf. Personally I can never read enough about manners, and this quirky little tome served to delight and inform. I think I'll start on Style next before moving on to the final in the series. Surely I'll be a far more poised Laydee after reading these!

straight up

Have you noticed that a makeover, virtually any makeover, involves straightening hair? Think back to any makeover you've ever seen and you can guarantee that any unruly kink was GHDd out of existence in the pursuit of perfection. My daughter and her friend are watching The Princess Diaries and guess what? Apparently being princess-worthy requires straight locks. Who knew? Is that why Fergie was never completely accepted into the royal family or the public bosom? Does unruly hair indicate a similarly unruly nature? 

You've got to love a makeover where they take a woman who's too busy to fuss with her appearance, make her over, and give her a hairstyle that requires serious attention with a blowdryer or straightening iron. Honestly, it takes nearly all my energy to wash, condition, comb and apply curl creme to my my hair. 

Of course, I'm biased, having a head of curls. But why is it, that despite fashion mags trumpeting the fashion appeal of curls and waves, a makeover isn't complete unless hair is tamed into submission?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

what's your superpower?

One of my favourite bloggers, Molly from Les Cadeaux, suggested that each of us has a superpower. Hers is the uncanny ability to match up friends, mine is to tell the time, pretty much accurately to within a few minutes - without a watch. 

I like this idea. See, we're always trying to match ourselves up to an ideal that none of us can attain when realistically we should be championing these quirks within ourselves. 

Today my power's quite week as I'm hungover. Not in a good way. This is not the hungover that results from quaffing too much champagne - or even cheap wine. Nope, it's a migraine hangover - hence my lack of posts these last few days. I'm pale, insipid, and my brain is refusing to function in a manner that appeals to all I need to do. So I'll take it easy and hope that tomorrow my body and brain have resumed functionality.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

french chick

We have a bucketload of images from our last trip to France - and funnily enough our daughter seems to feature in many of them. We stayed just around the corner from the exquisite Place des Vosges and walked through this park almost every time we explored the Marais.

Our gal was six when we holidayed, for six glorious weeks and luckily, she adored every minute. It's little wonder that when she grows up she wants an apartment in Paris, a Chateau in the Loire Valley and a little blue cottage around the corner from us in Merewether. Hope she lets us visit!

yay us

Ordinarily I despair of remakes. The original is normally the best. When Australia made a version of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy my worst fears were realised. And by the looks of things, the US version of Kath and Kim is sorely lacking any humour. But, we Aussies do deserve snaps for a few programs. I do adore the Aussie version of Project Runway. The competition was stiff - how could Henry hold up to Tim Gunn - or Kristy to Heidi? But they do - they completely and utterly hold their own. I could just squish Henry he's so divine. His observations are eerily accurate and delicately phrased, helping some of the designers continue to progress even when the constraints of the program have almost made them lose their way. Genius. Plus, we've uncovered some gems of designers - talent is seeping out of pores, despite some of the hideous challenges they've had to uphold. 

When it comes to favourites, I've long tossed up between Leigh and Petrova. They're both fabulous, have their own style and Petrova has the most covetous hair I've ever seen. This week's episode saw Petrova sneak out in front for managing to follow a brief, give the client what they want, and yet still create an outfit that's got her personality and unique genius stamped all over it. I hope that when the outfit goes on sale it positively sprints out of Myer stores. 

It's a tough call who'll come out in front as each designer remaining could easily shoot to the top of the Australian fashion industry - and I'll be applauding them all the way - and Leigh, if you're selling, I'm buying.

that's better

Because I wrote mean things about Pammy this morning, I was cursed. My skin looked and felt like crap - merely because I suggested she could use a good scrub. So I used something that made me look and feel a lot better. This!

I do so adore Dermalogica's Daily Microfolient. It doesn't feel like it's working, and yet it does - magnificently. So I cleansed, microfoliented, moisturised, then applied the daily face brightener and feel far more ready to face the world. My skin feels so much softer and smoother, and looks like I've dived face-first into a vat of Touché Eclat. I'm in love and plan on making this my daily routine. As penance. For being mean. To Pammy (but, really, don't you think she could do with some of this stuff?)

c'mon aussies

For some reason we've had Pamela Anderson in Australia twice this year. Twice. I reckon that's even more than Tara Reid. These days Pammy makes me want to cover up, and have a facial scrub - the years have not been kind to that girl. Now, I used to love Pammy. She was such a stereotype, and yet I used to believe that she had a strong sense of irony and played to it. Well, that irony seems to have gone the way of pants with Pammy these days. 

See, it's not that I'm a fan of acting your age. If Iggy Pop played a gig with his shirt on that would make me sad. And Debbie Harry? She'd break my heart of glass if she started dressing all nana. But still, there's sexy, and there's sad. Pammy? Sad. Sofia Loren? Sexy. Sharon Stone? Crazy, yet still kinda sexy (in that will bite your head off when she's had her way with you kind of way...) Demi Moore? Sexy. Helen Mirren? Meow! 

I don't want Pammy to be a girl on the loose - that's just scary. We need Henry Higgins to pop on over and teach that gal a few things. "Just you wait, Henry Higgins..."

this week in shoe business

Pretty non? I must say, I'm not finding this shoe of the week thing as easy as I'd hoped - there are some mighty ooogly shoes out there this season. I like a classic shoe, one that doesn't scream Spring 2008, but makes you sigh just as if you've snuggled into a freshly made bed. That's what's doing it for me with these Jimmy Choos (although, I always have James Earl Jones, doing Sex and the City, on Will & Grace squealing "JIMEEH CHEW" - which can't be what Ms Mellon is after...) This red is the perfect shade - much like my nails today in Chanel Pirate. Can you ever have too many pairs of red shoes?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

for slippery little suckers

I was thinly carving the roast beef the other night and was becoming increasingly bothered by the way my chopping board keep moving around while I was trying to slice. Annoying. Then I remembered a tip from Bill Granger. He said to place a folded tea towel beneath a mixing bowl to prevent it turning as you're whisking or blending - which is a damned fine idea that works perfectly well. And guess what? It adapts perfectly well to the chopping board too. Keeps it snugly in place so you've got a nice, stable surface while you're slicing.

Thanks Bill.

Monday, August 25, 2008

simply speaking

Friends asked on the weekend what my daughter thought when I told her we were no longer vegetarian... here's an example. I asked my eight-year-old what she wanted for dinner tonight and her answer was "beef". Of course, I needed her to elaborate and her response? Beef Bourginon... obviously the result of a francophile mother who also loves a bit of red meat. 

Now, it's 4.15pm so a wee bit late to be starting beef in burgundy, so I'll be roasting up a slab of beef, serving it with cubes of potatoes oven roasted with a little duck fat, some corn on the cob and green beans. Um, yes, roll on the lighter meals of spring!

clean sweep

In a first, today I dropped off four massive bags at the Salvos... and walked out with nothing! I'm all inspired by that man who, on the weekend, gave away all his belongings - yep, everything. Now, there's no way I'm going that far, but simplifying my house would be a big improvement. I'm starting with magazines. I have a scary amount on the bookshelf in my study - so many that there's no room for books, and novels're piled high on all my smaller bookshelves rather than luxuriating in the space they deserve. 

I must say that for years I bemoaned what the net would do to publishing and it's obviously having a huge impact on magazines - with readership dropping off in so many categories. Now, while I can never imagine reading a book on-line (I still love me a bound book) a magazine's a whole different kettle of fish... one that's slightly on the turn. I never thought I'd say this, but magazines aren't doing that much for me any more. I open them, skim them, and quickly move on. The trashy gossip mags are the worst. They're not even a guilty pleasure when most of the content is blatantly fabrication (Jen! So Sad: Jen! In love: Jen: My wedding plans...) I'm glad that most of my fave mags have websites though... I can't give 'em up cold turkey.

So today, it was Buh Bye to Donna Hay and Notebook: two mags I've kept lovingly since the start, but rarely ever refer back to. It's been spesh, but it's time for me to ditch the dust-gathering mags and make space for some new novels - I need to feed my brain. 

if you can't say anything nice

Then just shush, shhht, shut it or zip it. What's with those people who are ever so free with the negative comments? You know the ones, they're happy to meet you, greet you and then say, "Wow, you've put on weight" (or, as a girl did to me when I was in my twenties, poked me in the tummy and said "you're putting on the beef"). What's the point? Seriously, when I've put on weight, it hasn't escaped my notice. I know it's there and, chances are, I'm dealing with it - or ignoring it. It's the same with the sympathetic "oooh, you look tired". What the? If I'm tired the last thing I need is someone telling me I look pale, wan, puffy eyed and crappy. It won't inspire me to go home and take a nap, it'll just make me feel even worse than I already do. 

Are these people honestly happy for people to say the same to them? Um, doubt it. Personally I like to move through life effecting positive changes. I'd prefer to compliment someone, and normally you don't have to look too hard to find something nice to say. A deftly served compliment is the simplest way to give someone a boost.

Of course now that I'm more mature and wouldn't be quite so devastated by a negative comment it rarely happens, but next time it does I'm going to raise an eyebrow (probably my left, I can't seem to get the right one to move independently) and in a puzzled tone enquire "Why would you say that?"

party time, excellent

A good party is a rare and wonderful thing. It's a delicate balance, where so many aspects have to be in harmony, and if they're not, it's all a bit meh.

Well, I went to a fabulous party on the weekend. For a start, it was for a pretty spesh bloke who's managed to accumulate a number of diverse and interesting friends (which ticks the first box of party must-haves). Just like a dinner party should have an eclectic bunch of people gathered, so should a party. Too much similarity can lead to boredom, and a boring party. I met some amazing new people, caught up with old friends, and learned to love some people I'd admired on fleeting acquaintance. 

Secondly, the location was perfection. The right size space, decent moody, yet not-too-dim lighting, and sections where people could sit, stand or feel inspired mingle. That's why a party in a large, open space doesn't work. A party is like a garden, you shouldn't be able to see everything at first glance. You need to be led around, with surprises and delights around corners. 

Decent alcohol is, of course, a must, and finally - really good music. Music makes the party. Music needs to enhance your mood, move things forward and every now and again cause you to squeal excitedly "Oooh, I love this song!" and to do a little dance on the spot. When you have a party that people will continue to talk about for at least as long as you've been on the earth, you know you've had a hit.

Friday, August 22, 2008

better the devil

I was feeling a bit grumpy and put upon today - and the grey squally skies sure didn't help. You know those days where things go wrong and you feel as though it's someone sending a message (probably just one saying, "um, they're only little teeny tiny problems - get over it"...) Anyway I grumped on in the front door, decided to switch on the telly for a bit of mindlessness to cheer me up and saw The Devil Wears Prada playing. Well did it turn my frown upside down! 

Meryl - magnificent as always - will cheer me any day. And the montage of gorgeous outfits to Madonna's Vogue? Oh baby, you're playing my song. It also proved that while colour is divine, nothing is more chic than black.

Apart from making me strongly covet strings of Chanel beads (which, even if I DO win a million dollars I couldn't justify) it also gave me shivers of bliss at the first sight of the Eiffel Tower sparkling with thousands of lights. Paris always makes me smile.

a study in contrast

Is there really such a thing as clashing colours? Personally a combination of two raunchy hues will always make me smile. Pink and orange, pink and red, pink and yellow... that's what summer's all about. Or for the cooler months there's purple and red, purple and electric blue or purple and mint green. Polka dots and florals also pass muster. What are you favourite combos?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

brain drain

When your brain decides to skip off on a holiday, abandoning you to a period of utter confusion you know it's time to get organised. My brain is off, presumably sunning itself on a deck chair somewhere, which is kind of selfish as I'm finding it difficult to function without it. 

If I only had a brain I wouldn't: forget really, really important things. Nor would I flit from unimportant task to mindless faffing back to silly superficialities again. 

Come back brain, all is so forgiven. In the meantime, I'm clearing my desk and writing down a complete and utter plan of action. Brain or no brain things are going to happen around here.

beautifully bland

When it comes to gorgeous I like a bit of quirk. If I were ever to have a nose job, it'd be so they could form me up a romanesque number. 

It always entertains me how every now and again magazines, papers and plastic surgeons will trumpet their latest finding on "The Perfect Face" and you look at it and think, "Yeah, pretty" and quickly forget about it. 

With so much attention paid to plastic surgery these days I worry about what's going to be considered the norm: rockmelons cut in half and placed on a set of ribs? That's what bugs me about shows like Extreme Makeover. Ultimately these people have problems, but usually it's down to rock bottom self-esteem and poor fashion sense. And that's what I love, love, love about programs such as Look Better Naked. I want Gok Wan to be my best friend. The transformation that man can wrought in just a few weeks is utterly phenomenal. 

I recall one episode where the girl hated her legs - hated them. She always wore tights, always, she even had a 'special' pair for when, ahem, she and her husband were intimate. Of course, Gok convinced her to bare her pins - and they were a damn fine pair of legs. Not Giselle's legs, but a pretty pair nonetheless. At the end of these programs the women strut on out reveling in their unique beauty and glowing with confidence. Vive la difference... 

loafing around

Revisiting childhood favourites is one of my most adored cooking adventures. And when they're also appreciated by my child, well, all the better. I've made a few meatloafs lately and we've all gobbled them down. A slice of loaf topped with gravy, some mash and some greens is a homey kind of meal that we've all been digging.

Tonight I'm going to try a different slant - lamb, mint and pinenut meatloaf. Never made it before, and no, I don't have a recipe, but here's how I'm going to do it.
500g lamb mince
2 eggs
1/2 cup fresh grated breadcrumbs
4 strips of finely diced bacon 
a good 1/4 cup or so of fresh chopped mint
salt and pepper
dried mint leaves

I'll mix all the ingredients except the pinenuts together with my hands then toss them into a loaf tin, smooshing down well. Then I'm going to stud the top with the pinenuts, and maybe sprinkle dried mint leaves over the top as well, I love their peppery bite. I'll bake it for around an hour at 160 degrees, and if the top starts browning so much it resembles George Hamilton, I'll cover it with foil.

I'm going to serve it with finely sliced rounds of potato, tossed in olive oil, lemon and salt, before baking on a tray till they're crispy. Then I'll put a salad of diced tomato, cucumber and shallots on the side. Sounds yum doesn't it?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

opposites attract

Here's a new motivational method I'm trying. See, the thing is, I loathe repetition. Sometimes I'll think, "If I have to unload this dishwasher one more time, I'm pretty sure screaming will result". But of course, I do have to empty the dishwasher as it's one of my chores. So I'm going to try doing a George Costanza and do things in the opposite way. Instead of starting at the top of the dishwasher and working my way down, I'll work my way up. Making the bed? I'll start on my side, then move around to Matt's. I'll sweep the bedrooms, then move toward the kitchen... It'll work, my brain's easily amused and confused. Surely with my new program of rewards and re-works things'll start to happen around here.

you were saying?

Now, I recall a few years ago, Baz Luhrman saying that botox was so not a good idea for actresses. And, if my memory serves, I am pretty sure he intimated that he'd quite prefer to use actresses whose faces did move in his films.

Well, I'm sure looking forward to his new film Australia where Nicole Kidman is presumably playing a porcelain doll who sits on a shelf, only to be taken down from time-to-time by Hugh Jackman's sensitive, doll-loving character. 

Or maybe, just as Keira Knightly acts with her jaw, Nicole can express a variety of emotions with her oh-so-emotive pupils.

Because really, does this face look like it moves?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

punctuation marks

Having always been a flitter, and sometimes a quitter, I realised that one thing I really need to do is concentrate on one task at a time, complete it, and move on. It was this middle bit that got me. See, I'd concentrate on a task, do a bit of it, then move on. Silly. 

So instead, I've decided to punctuate my tasks. I start off Grandly (with a big capital letter) on the hardest part of the task, force myself to finish it, then punctuate it with a full stop. For example, when I'm cleaning that full stop is a spritz of lovely-smelling room spray to make my completely tidy room smell of Vanilla Bean (Bloom Room Spray - yummy) or Lavender (Trelivings - mmmmm). It's helping. Like a child tempted with the thought of ice cream after the brussell sprouts, a swish smelling room entices me to complete a task.

So now I'm off to make my bed, with my lavender-scented sheets and when it's done - spritz - a double-whammy of lavender bliss to ensure sweet dreams. Zzzzzzzzz.

sartorially speaking

Dressing for an event is quite a treat. Sometimes I'm pretty sure I enjoy the preparation more than the actual do. Before any big event I'll start planning a few weeks out and I'll either start with the top, or the bottom. Starting at the bottom means shoes - of course, while at the top it means eyeshadow. For example, I have a friend's 40th do coming up in a week and I've planned the frock (deep amethyst), hair (out and adorned with big, red flowers), lips (rouge) eyes (cats eye and a bit of gold glittery shadow - subtle, yet festive) and shoes (strappy red). But tomorrow night, I have a do, and no idea what to do...

See, I'm seeing David Sedaris. Yes, David Sedaris. I know, David Sedaris!! Now, I adore this man, I've laughed so much at his words I was worried I'd spit my teeth across the room (and no, I don't have falsies, they're firmly implanted in my gums). He demands respect. And let's face it, even if he weren't the oh-so-amusing David Sedaris, he'd still be Amy Sedaris's brother - and that's something worth frocking up for.

To top it off, his reading's been moved from some grungy Surry Hills club to The Sydney Opera House - and that place politely requests furs and jewels and a certain amount of polish. Shall I go with the Fleur Wood 50s style black chiffon skirt with the pale pink silk underlay, Wheels and Doll Baby ballet neckline top, fishnets and my black patent, t-bar platform stiletto (I know, long description, but they're worth it) with long black and pale pink beads? And perhaps a black flower in my hair (I know what you're thinking, black flower in black curly hair... the point? But it's a cute surprise when you get up close). Plus, because it's cold, I can bring out my black fur - can't I (most of it's fake, only the collar's real so Peta advocates shan't be throwing paint at me - surely). Thoughts?

sunny sundays

There's a whiff of Spring in the air today. The skies are achingly blue, my garden's filled with the intoxicating scent of jasmine and mini verdant leaves are budding all over my Robinia tree in the front yard. I'm a sucker for all the seasons and love to greet and acknowledge every one. So today, to honour the coming of spring, a little cleaning is in order. Dust has settled over almost every surface in my kitchen and living room thanks to a combination of heavy earth works in the backyard and ill-fitting windows in a 100 year + house. A couple of clean cloths, a bucket of hot water spritzed with a few drops of lime essential oil and a good scrubbing arm will see them right.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

so not Pammy

Because I got some money for my birthday I thought I might splash out on a red one piece swimsuit for summer. However, when I told my hubby he said, "Oh, that's a bit Baywatch" and now I'm flummoxed. Surely a classy red one piece, on me, a brunette who's all natural (well, except for my hair colour...) wouldn't instantly connote Pammy. Would it?

Also, hello, that boat. So reminds me of the fabulous taxis on the Grand Canal in Venice...

Friday, August 15, 2008

toe and fro

Pedicures are the best. While I can't be bothered with manicures (I'd much rather do it myself), I do like a bit of pedi action. However, why is it that despite the wide range of colours salons seem to offer, I can rarely find anything to suit my exacting standards? I had a pedi today and wanted either a bright neon orange or pale sky blue to decorate my toes. Do you think they had those? Non. Merely an orange that was really a red in disguise, and a navy. So I eventually chose a pretty pale green, which I'm kinda digging and think I might need to track down. It's an O.P.I shade and quite puts me in a spring frame of mind. Now I need to change my deep, dark fingernails to suit. Chanel English Rose springs to mind as the perfect foil...

real men do eat quiche

And gals like me cook them. My homemade quiche last night was a delicious success. I'm aiming to make something I've never made before, in a style radically different to my usual, every week. Here's how I made this one (from my fave Food of France cookbook)
Quiche Lorraine
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
220g plain flour
pinch of salt
150g cold butter
1 egg yolk
2-3tbsp cold water
Sift flour and salt into a bowl, then dice up butter and rub the butter into the flour with your fingers till it resembles wet sand. Then add the egg yolk and water mixing into the dough with a palette knife (I used a butter knife) till it just starts to form a dough. Then mould it into a ball with your hands, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins. 
Remove from fridge, roll out and place in a tart tin (now, mine shrunk a fair bit, even though I stabbed the base with a knife, I'd have a few cms overhang next time) and line with baking paper and beans or baking beads. Refrigerate for 10 mins.
Bake in a preheated 200 degree oven for 10 minutes, then take out paper and beans and cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden. Turn oven down to 180 degrees

300g smoked, streaky bacon
50g butter
3 eggs
300ml double cream
salt, pepper and fresh nutmeg to taste

Melt butter in frypan and fry diced bacon for 10 minutes or until so crispy and delicious you're almost fainting with joy. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Mix together beaten eggs and cream before mixing in salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Sprinkle bacon over the base of the pie dish then pour the topping over top. Place in a 180 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until filling is set.
Remove from oven when it's golden brown and almost cry in delight (or is that just me?)

The best thing is that I had about 1/2 the dough leftover, because my dish is so small, so I'm making mini tarts to take to a friend's on the weekend! 1/2 quiche lorraine, 1/2 blue cheese and walnut. Oooooh yeah.

so eye see

Experimenting with eyeshadow is one of my fave activities. Today, 'cause I'm wearing a pale green top, I decided to line my eyes with a fabulous purple-pink shadow... but then I looked like I had a bad case of pink-eye - and that's not pretty. So I then lashed out and piled my lashes with electric blue mascara and whoa - perfect peepers!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

making me happy today

* the blue, blue sky
* teeny little lamingtons with a cup of tea
* the stocks and sweet peas my hubby and daughter bought for my birthday. Still blooming in a riot of shades of mauve, violet and lavender - perfect against the Laduree green of our living room walls
* watching the landscapers lug our huge sandstone blocks from the old retaining wall and knowing that we can reuse them in our new drystone wall
* the soundtrack to Mamma Mia helping me revisit the joy of the film
* deciding to make quiche and a salad for dinner
* all the new shoots on my roses - so rich and plentiful
* comments from new blog friends

every gal

Needs a shed. A pretty shed, covered in roses and other climbing delights. We're planning on installing a pretty shed around the corner of our house, under the sheltering arms of our Golden Ash. It too will be pretty, and may well feature window boxes, with pink and red geraniums spilling forth. It'll have gables, panelled windows and a cute little door. And it will be grey and white - to match the house, with accents of violet, naturally.

discovery channelled

Hot shoe of the week. Gorgeous femme Sara put me onto these, and boy, do I likee. So much so that shoe of the week is moving so far forward that's it almost beyond shoe of the day and into shoe of the moment. Peep toes, patent, buckles, a jaunty angle to that strap... meow.

holey moley

There's a pool-shaped hole in my backyard that by summer will morph into something like this. we're going for huge rectangular pavers, with a square edge for a classic look. And yep, we're having a pool ladder rather than stairs. It's reminiscent of the ocean baths and it's a look I'm smitten with. All I need now is a red one piece swimsuit to wear when I drape myself around the edges... yes, with a cocktail... and pink toenails...

and now for something completely different

Reading Julie and Julia has inspired me to try something I wouldn't normally cook for dinner. Strangely enough it's not a complex french dish - but a simple quiche. I've never made one, but think that I'd quite like to. Eggs, bacon and pastry - the best things in life.

specially engineered

If you'd told me 20 years ago that I would marry an engineer, I would have scoffed. At uni there were no two more disparate groups than communications students and engineers. And yet, we met, fell in love and 15 years later are still besotted. Nice huh.

He's also useful. With complex backyard renovations going on it's handy for someone with a mathematical brain and engineering logic to go out and chat with the builders every day to ensure walls are built in the right spot and at the correct angle. I make the builders coffee.

20 years ago I thought I wanted someone who read me Shakespeare's love sonnets in bed. I'd be bored of that now. I want someone who makes me laugh, shares my dreams and complements me (not in a "gee, you look gorgeous way" although, that's nice too). And if they also like Sex and the City and buy me Manolos... sold.

je ne comprends pas

I've been puzzling over KK's hair for, like, days now. The fug girls brought it to my attention, other blogs have mused over it, and I still just don't get it. It's just not Vogue sweetie.

And let's not even go into the outfit...

Monday, August 11, 2008

currently reading

When I opened this pressie this morning I squealed. Can't wait to immerse myself it its pages - and be inspired to whip up the odd french feast.

birthday girl

Some people never lose their childish sense of anticipation and delight. They just adore birthdays and squeal excitedly at every gift-wrapped token of affection.

I'm one of them. Today's my birthday and I'm so, so happy!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

vive la difference

I think you always want what you don't have which is why I think redheads are divine. Look at this bunch of beauty from

Little girls with strawberry blonde curls make my heart sing. It's the same with the grown ups too - boys and girls. If I had a lush head of titian I'd forever wear emerald green, brilliant blue, pink, and of course, red. And walk around with a parasol in the harsh Aussie sun!

what goes up

I think I'm too empathetic. My moods are seriously governed by what's around me - what I see, hear and watch other people do. That's one of the reasons why we don't watch televised news - I'll read the headlines, but I don't want to see the gore. 

Yesterday I floated home singing Dancing Queen and The Winner Takes It All after seeing Mamma Mia - an uplifting film if ever I'd seen one. I adored it and just want to go see it again. But then, last night, because my husband was out on a boy's night, I thought I'd catch a 'girly' film on Foxtel. My choices were PS I Love You and Atonement. Now, had I not had a memory like a sieve, I would have remembered reading Atonement, but no, that only came back to me about 30 minutes into the film.

Subsequently, at the end of the film I was left feeling more deflated than Mamma Mia left me feeling inflated. I tried to concentrate on the gorgeousity of the riotous mix of florals in the stately home. Nope, didn't bring me up. Then I thought of the magnificent bouquet Keira Knightly carried, with Peonies, Larkspur and other English cottage beauties. Didn't do it either. The green frock Keira wore... oooh, almost lifted me up.

So now, with husband and daughter off to do the final bits of birthday shopping, I'm going to elevate my mood. I've just washed my hair and it smells delightfully of Angel Wash and Angel Rinse (Kevin Murphy - brilliant, and just perfect for my fine curly hair), I have a little antique glass jug filled with sprigs of jasmine on my desk, I'm going to make myself a cup of Violette tea in my lavender tea cup and browse through some blogs to lift myself right up again.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

so vanilla

I'm very traditional in my dessert tastes. If there's a creme brulee I'll be cracking the top and diving in. But, I like my brulee vanilla... or so I thought. Last night we went to the gorgeous Bistro Tartine for my birthday dinner. I had the most exquisite pork belly, Matt had the duck confit and Annabella had, from the child's menu, roast pork, sauteed potatoes and veg (um, hello, it was pork belly, potatoes probably cooked in duck fat and lemon green bean - for only $9 - perfect for mini gourmet tastebuds!). For afters I couldn't go past the brulee - although I did hesitate because it was chocolate.
A dusting of bitter chocolate coated the most perfectly crisp caramelised top that cracked satisfyingly when whacked with a spoon. Diving in was a heavenly, chocolate creme - oh. It was bitter, yet sweet, rich, yet not cloying. Chef, take a bow. 

Annabella and I shared, but if she wasn't my child, I would have hogged every single morsel. 

oh mamma

We had a girly day today and Annabella and I went off to see Mamma Mia. As a major Abba fan, who's bred another one, it was sheer delight. I'm now pining for a trip to the greek isles and need to decorate, something, anything, in blue. Meryl Streep is also my new role model - she's just gorgeous - all the gals were.

One thing I didn't understand. Reviews mentioned the godawfulness of Pierce Brosnan's voice, but, well, he wasn't bad. He wasn't great, but I loved the fact he sang. 

Oh, and Colin Firth in the wet white shirt? Gotta love referencing of the gorgeous kind. 

I love a film that lifts the spirits and this one sure did that for me. Such a nice way to spend a birthday weekend.

Friday, August 08, 2008

lavender love

I adore lavender oil. Adore it. Today I've found yet another use for it- removing the sticky residue from sticky tape or stickers. 

I was cleaning off marks around the light switches today, when my brow furrowed at the sight of goopy, grey marks left on the back of the front door from an abundance of sticky tape. (long story: used to have a long, pokey out screw coming from the handle and my husband worried that child would impale her forehead on it when scootering down the hall - so he liberally coated it in sticky tape.) Since we've now re-installed the door handle with a shorter screw we've taken off the sticky tape, and the goopy marks have remained. But no more.

Today, I thought I'd try to use some lavender oil on a cotton ball to remove it - just like you do with eucalyptus oil - and it worked. I rubbed, and the marks vanished. Plus, now my front door is scented with lavender. Mmmm. It also worked on a sticker mark so old it was probably at my third birthday party. True.

pour moi?

In honour of my 41st birthday on Monday, here is Saturday's shoe (on friday, I know, think I might rename it Shoe of the Week). A red patent mary jane created with aching beauty by that artiste, Manolo Blahnik. How can you not bow down at his genius?

it's my party

Well, not exactly. I hit the big 4 0 last year and had the pink and red themed soiree to go with it. But it's my birthday on Monday so we're off to our favourite french restaurant for dinner tonight. To go with the theme, Annabella's wearing her beret, and I'm going adorned in my black lace top I bought on the Isle St Louis (I am incapable of thinking of that place without sighing...) I'll also take the handbag I fell in love with in the same shop - but didn't buy.

Cute story. Because I'd already bought a handbag in Tuscany, I had to resist the gorgeous little black handbag with the leather bow around it. But I really, really regretted it. A year later, as friends were planning their month-long holiday in Paris, staying on the Isle St Louis (I know, if they weren't the nicest people I know I'd hate them) I mentioned, "Oh, if you happen to see this cute little handbag, with a bow, in a shop just opposite Bertillon, text me..." 

Upon their return poor Georgina had her eardrums burst with my squeal when she'd bought my bag - the last one in the store. Serendipitous or what?

dig in

Oh, I am so excited. Although the skies are grey, diggers have been in my backyard for four hours! My pool is finally taking shape. It's a slow, slow process and believe me, I've been trying so hard to be "zen" about it all that I almost calmed myself into a coma. But there's progress, messy, clay-ridden, "please keep my convict sandstone blocks", coffee-making progress. It may have been months since the DA approval, but at least it looks like I'm getting a pool now, not just a barren wasteland where my yard used to be.

Happiness is a big red digger (and not just for 3 year old boys!).

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

hanging by the telephone

Having been married for quite a few years, and coupled for substantially longer, I thought my days of wistfully waiting by the phone - will he call, won't he... were way gone. But, oh no, fate doesn't like you to be a smug married with no woes. Our backyard renovation saga is continuing, or should I say dragging? From the first clearing, way back in June, to the first excavation in July, to now. August. My builder promised, today, if it's clear, first thing. Today. It's clear. No thing. 

I feel like an expectant teen, my heart leaping, not at the expected sight of my lust object appearing from around a corner, but at what could quite possibly be a dump truck driving up the street. Only to be disappointed when it's a dump truck, but not my dump truck.

Anywhoodle. Tomorrow. If there's no rain. Absolutely. Or maybe Friday. For sure...

in short

When I was a wee lass, long talons were where it was at. If your nails didn't zoom on out way past the tips of your fingers, you were nobody. But now, I'm in lust with the fact that short nails are the only way to go. See, I love playing netball, and I'm also fond of a well-polished nail. But, unless you want to look like a girly weirdo with taped nails, you've got to cut your nails short to hit the field. 

These days, as fashion dictates, short nails look mighty fine with a strong coverage of colour. Today I'm channelling a deep, dark mocha and when I'm over that look, I'm dusting off and painting on a bright orange to sunshine up my mood a notch.

i just don't get it

I am quite possibly one of the biggest fans of Sex and the City, and, undoubtedly, Carrie's number one admirer. However, while I get so many things about her, I can't come to grips with her taste in men. I've already mused about Berger (erk), and let's not get into the Jazz Man with the pork pie hat (...?) and while Big has a certain appeal, I'm just not feeling it. But here's where I go completely spare. Aiden. I love Aiden. I would never let Aiden go. He's hot, he's thoughtful, he calls her PopTart (which inexplicably makes me tingle) and on the episode last night, she came home and he was cooking TO Copacabana. Now, when a straight man's getting his groove on to the tale of Lola, the showgirl, that's it, I've got one melted heart happening in my chest. 


Sunday, August 03, 2008

habitually tidy

My husband and I (good grief, how Queen-like does that sound - or is that just in my head?) have been instituting good habits lately. We're becoming tidy people. We're becoming people that don't mind if you just "drop in" 'cause the house looks just fine. Not perfect, that'd be weird, but fine. 

We've been all domestically blissful and tidying together. You know, stacking the dishwasher straight after dinner, putting the clean clothes away into drawers, rather than just shifting piles of folded stuff from one surface to another. And it's nice. 

You see, I like my house, it's pretty. And it's always been offensive when its prettiness has been obscured by crap. I've also discovered that the best thing is that tidying begets tidying. Because everything's in the right place, we'll tend to then move on and clean out a drawer, or a shelf, or wash a window or two.

We've been keeping on top of the gardens too, and today, I only spent 15 minutes weeding - rather than it being a 15 hour job (truly! Cottage gardens are much more labour-intensive than they look!) This also meant we could get in and deal with some other fiddly jobs that are normally pushed back in an attempt to hack away at the weed situation.

It's been nearly two weeks now since we've established these fine habits, and I'd quite like to stick to them.

shoe business

Yep, it's Saturday's shoe... on Sunday. Sorry! But it's Marc Jacobs - and it's really, really keyoot!

smitten chicken

In my early carnivorous years chicken was my favourite meat. These days though, chicken doesn't always rock my boat. I do love spanish chicken, but probably because it's an excuse to eat chorizo. Hence, tonight's meal - an excuse to eat prosciutto... should you need one.
Chicken sausages
500g chicken mince
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (I used a piece of dry baguette)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 small onion, finely diced or grated
the zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
12 slices prosciutto

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl (use your hands, go on, just wash them well afterwards). Then, after wetting your hands, form the mince into sausage-like fingers. Leave to rest for 10 minutes then wrap in prosciutto. Heat a little olive oil in a pan till piping hot then start to saute sausages till golden brown on all sides and cooked through. So yum.