Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy new year

Happy New Year's Eve everyone. What are your plans for tonight?

I've got French bubby chilling in the fridge and plan on whipping up some tapas this afternoon.

For the New Year I resolve the following:

* To do everything with gusto and with a smile on my face

* To feed my imagination

* To nourish my body

* To celebrate my friends

* To love my family

* To keep on doing what I love to do

* To save for my next trip to Paris in 2011

* To study really hard at my Alliance Francais lessons so I'm fluent in French on our travels

* To blog every day and love doing so

Happy new year everyone - hope you have a fabulous one

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

birthday baby

It's my gorgeous gal's 10th birthday today. She's enjoying spending the day with her cousins and playing with the wii fit she received {as is her father!}.

I made Nigella's American breakfast pancakes for breakfast in the KitchenAid this morning - is there anything that machine can't do? Light, fluffy pancakes were the reward...

Once everyone gets sorted we're off to Blackbutt - a nature reserve a few suburbs away which features plenty of bushwalks and loads of native animals - something the British cousins will enjoy.

Then it's back home to make the angel food cake before heading out to dinner tonight.

Phew. Busy day!

PS: I just had to use this shot of my gal and Mulberry. He's a gorgeous cat but quite possibly the world's most unphotogenic creature. Despite having massive round amber eyes he always squints when having his photo taken. Luckily his fluffy tummy always looks gorgeous!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

blog business

I've mentioned before that I've found my blog handy for recipe filing and it's been a big help. As I've mentioned, we've got the relatives coming to stay today and I'd planned on a bbq for dinner tonight - but last night they went to my other sister-in-law's and had a bbq there, and I'm not a fan of doubling up.

So my husband suggested coq au vin and a complete french theme, which I got very excited about - until I realised that sister-in-law doesn't eat bacon in any form {I know! What is she missing}. Well obviously I can't make coq au vin without my lardons, so it was back to popping on the thinking cap.

Then I remembered Ina Garten's chicken pot pies - magically delicious little numbers that'll suit everyone - but then I remembered that I'd tweaked it. Luckily I did blog about it so I had to search through my archives to find it {thankfully I'd titled it damn fine chicken pot pie so it wasn't too hard to find...}

Is there an easy way in blogger to group topics? I'd love to do that with my recipes. Maybe my new year's resolution could be to become a touch more technically adept.

I'm making creme brullee for pudding - very excited to create this in my kitchen aid. My cream beauty had its first workout yesterday whipping up a rather delish chocolate cake and my word, does it make life easier. I can't wait to whip up the angel food cake and white frosting tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 28, 2009

tapas time

We have the british relatives coming to stay with us for a few days from tomorrow - so I'm busy devising menus. My sister-in-law only eats chicken and fish, brother-in-law is an extremely omnivorous soul, niece one only really eats meat and niece two really only eats vegetables and fruit {and PUDDING!}.

So, the nieces could conceivably share a meal, bro-in-law will eat what we're having, while I'll be thinking of white-fleshed dishes for sis-in-law. Tomorrow night I'll do a bbq - with a few interesting salads and some bread. Wednesday night is our gal's birthday so we're all headed out to a restaurant for dinner. Easy. Thursday night's New Years Eve so I thought I'd do tapas.

So far on the list I've got:
Garlic prawns
Lime and pepper squid
Fried haloumi with lemon and chilli
Sauteed chorizo
Potato, onion and capsicum tortilla
Lamb meatballs with spicy tomato dipping sauce

Of course there'll be olives, bread and dips.

And something sweet to follow - little lemon tarts perhaps?

Oh, and did I mention champagne?

Also, my husband has indulged his inner-bloke and there's a Heineken keg in the bar fridge in the pavilion.

Fun is bound to be had by all...

bloomin' marvelous

Finding just the perfect pillow to accessorise the bed, without looking OTT or just being damned annoying is a difficult task. So yay to my hubby who bought me this perfectly petaled pillow for Christmas. Obviously, being from Laura Ashley, it coordinates beautifully with my linen {um, also from Laura Ashley...}

Now, if that's not impetus to make the bed every day I'm damned if I know what is!

glamour granny chic

It's been raining for a few days straight here and the rain does nothing more than make me feel like hibernating in a good, comfy cardi!

So, imagine my delight when I spied with my little eyes this comfy grey cardi embellished with pink, white and black sequins! Zac Posen, you're a wee bit of a legend...

chicken crackers

Hey, you know how I made Chicken Christmas Crackers for Christmas Eve {well, that's it, I've used up all my Cs...} well they were rather yum, so I thought I'd best share how I made them.

I couldn't find the camera - but they looked somewhat like this - except with more of a twist at the end!

Now, you know me, I don't really measure. This here's an approximation of a recipe. Personally I never think you can have enough lemon or pepper - but adjust it to your taste and enjoy. Seriously, they're yum.

500g chicken mince
3 diced eshallots
2 cloves garlic, diced
grated rind of one lemon
chopped fresh parsley and tarragon to taste {I probably used 2tblsp each}
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 to 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs {or fresh if you don't have panko - but please buy some}
1 egg
salt and freshly ground pepper - lots
1/2 cup of melted butter
filo pastry

Preheat oven to around 180 degrees celcius and grease a couple of trays.

Mix all ingredients except filo and butter in a bowl till thoroughly combined.

Cut the filo pastry in half, then take two sheets, brush one half with butter and fold so you have a rectangle. Grab a little filling and form into a sausage shape and place in the centre - leaving about 7cm or so at each end. Brush butter on one side and roll up so you have a long cylinder. Grab each end right where the filling ends and twist so you have a christmas cracker. Place this on a tray and brush with butter.

Continue till all filling's used up.

Bake for around 10 minutes, till golden, then turn and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. Check the filling's cooking by giving it a squeeze. If it feels firm, that means it's setting nicely.

Take out and serve - ideally with a sweet chilli and lime dipping sauce {or you could leave it at home on the bench - up to you}. To make the sauce combine 2/3 sweet chilli sauce and 1/3 lime juice - preferably from a bottle - easy peasy. This is also my preferred dipping sauce for salt and pepper squid and rice paper rolls - doesn't get easier.

Of course, now it's christmas you don't need to make these in a cracker shape. They'd make ideal nibblies in little triangle form, or even as a little lolly size - you know, a ball and then rolled at the ends. Perfect!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

shiny shiny

We've just spent the entire day cleaning, tidying and tossing out. There are boxes of books to go to the salvos, piles of rediscovered books that I'm salivating to read, bags of clothes for cousins and {again} salvos and the recycling bin's full.

I've found stacks of old photos {which make me feel positively aged!} and loads of other good things - and unearthed a lot that I really don't need. I know that there's stuff that we haven't used this year, so that's it - it's outta here.

Just having a short break before I get back into it. There's nothing like a rainy day to spur you into action is there?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

here's a thought

Two days before Christmas my gal asked me to take her to Westfield. She'd done her research on the internet and wanted to buy me and her Dadda a Christmas present. Money in her pink purse, tucked inside her gold, sequinned clutch, we went shopping.

For her Dadda she went to KikkiK "He's always very busy and his desk at work's a mess, so I want to buy him a desk organiser". One very smart organiser/day planner later, with a matching pen, we toddled off. Outside Laura Ashley I was told to wait, while my gal walked inside. I sneaked a peek and saw her standing at the counter, chatting to the saleswoman and my heart just swelled. So grown-up. On Christmas morning I opened up a really pretty Laura Ashley calendar from my gorgeous child.

The thought she'd put into those gifts was just gorgeous at her age. She knows that I live by my calendar, love a pretty one, and adore Laura Ashley. Bless her socks.

We left her behind at her grandparents when we came home last night. She's determined to wring out every moment that she can spend with her English cousins and Uncle and Aunt who are staying there at the moment. I miss my gal, but am so pleased that she's following her heart.

guess what I got???

This year my husband totally took me by surprised and gifted me with this glorious creature here. I KNOW!!!

I've wanted one for ages, having spent years mixing with my retro hand mixer {you know, handle on top, hold and then turn handle on sides to get mixers to turn - vintage, but damned hard work!}. I'm so in love with it, I keep stroking at it and gazing adoringly at it on my bench. I'm going to set it to work on my daughter's birthday whipping up 12 egg whites for an Angel Food Cake.

Christmas was a blur of laughter. We had a fabulous Christmas Eve, all the girl cousins went to bed in the one room at 10.30 - and then my gal woke at 3.30am and came in with a "I think Santa's been, the carrots on the step have been eaten." 4am. "Santa's been! I'm pretty sure I got a DSi because the wrapping was a little bit ripped and I think I saw DSi on the box."4.30am. "I think I got a DSi case too. There's a package there that's the same size as a case, I hope it's a pink one."5am. "There are two DSi games there too I think. I hope one's Cooking Mama". Of course all this whispering was accompanied by a mother pleading "Get back to bed, go to sleep, wake me after 6am" through very, very gritted teeth. Response? "I can't, I'm too excited".

So at 6am we all traipsed downstairs and watched some very excited girls find their stockings {one of whom wasn't quite as surprised as the others by what was in the Santa sack...}. It was absolute bliss to share the day with the english cousins, and our new four-week-old great nephew {yep, great nephew - husband became an uncle at 6 and his niece now has a baby!}.

I was thoroughly spoiled. Books: Paris by Shannan Bennett {hooray for husbands who read your blog}, Mastering the art of French Cookery {ditto} and Donna Hay's Seasons {beautiful book}. I also was spoiled with a series of French Lessons at Alliance Francaise starting in Feb - so damned excited.

After years of frugal Christmases {including the one 12 years ago when we got each other not one thing - just a mortgage!} this one was pretty big. I am grateful for every single gift, but I'm more grateful for the fact that I'm blessed to have married into a rather lovely family. I adore my mother- and father-in-law, their children and their children. What more can you ask for?

Okay, c'mon, spill. How was your Christmas?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

have yourself...

A merry little Christmas to each and every one of you. I adore every visit, hug myself silly at each comment and so enjoy visiting your blogs.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that Christmas brings you everything you've ever dreamed of.

Have a fabulous festive season! If you're feeling all nostalgic and traditional {as I am} go here and check out Bing and Bowie doing Little Drummer Boy. Man, you can find ANYTHING on youtube! I've been regaling myself with Billy Squires "Christmas is the time to say I Love You" and getting all teary with nostalige.

Enjoy all my gorgeous ones xxx

one more sleep...

Ready? Excited? I'm excited, and almost ready. I decided to do a dash to Coles last night at 9.30. It normally closes at 10pm, but I was pretty sure it'd be open till at least midnight.

I was wrong.

So digging in my bag for my list I prepared to run through and shop in 30 minutes.

I'd left my note at home.

Frantically recalling my list of essentials, and ingredients for the two items I'm cooking for supper with the family I got through and was at the checkout at 9.55pm.


I got home, unpacked, and, yep, I'd forgotten something.

See, I've decided to make chicken christmas crackers - chicken mince, lemon zest, shallots, tarragon, garlic and prosciutto wrapped in filo pastry with the ends twisted to look like christmas crackers. Cute non?

So, out of all those ingredients there are two key essentials: chicken mince and filo.

I forgot the filo.

So I'm sending husband off to Coles at lunchtime when he finishes work. He's probably safer to park here and walk the 1km to the supermarket...

Hope you all have a rather fabulous Christmas. If you're not quite in the Christmas spirit yet - allow this to imbue you with festive fabulousness. I'm dying to hear about what Santa brought you.

See you again on Boxing Day. xxxxx

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

what a tease...

Well, I just watched the trailer for Sex and the City 2 and while the trailer for the first one gave far too much away, this one? Not so much. Check it out here. The frocks look fab, and the gals look gorgeous. Hell yeah, I'll be there - cosmopolitan in hand, Manolos on feet...

take two

Because it's Christmas I'm giving you the gift of TWO shoes of the week. So generous. The multi-coloured pretties are Louboutin's while the more traditional scarlet numbers are Oscar de la Renta. If visions of cocktail parties are swimming in your head this festive season can you imagine a more delightful way to encase your feet?

I'm pretty sure I've planned my Christmas wardrobe: Christmas Eve I'm going for a dove grey, hot pink and black frock - with my hot pink wedges I bought in Paris {you know, just so you can casually throw into conversation, "Oh these, I picked them up in Paris..."}. Christmas Day I'm tossing up between a black frock with white polka dots - or my electric blue frock - both with scarlet heels and lips.

Two more sleeps...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

freedom of choice

I remember one of the pieces of advice that stuck in my head while raising a toddler was "Choose your battles". Rather than thinking everything was uber-important, realise what really matters and make sure you fight hard for that.

If your child wants to go to the shops dressed in mis-matched shirt and skirt, with fairywings and gumboots - does it matter - or is it dead-cute?

I've decided to apply this advice to getting through Christmas relatively unscathed. Today I went to David Jones with my fluffy hair pulled back into a scruffy ponytail because I really should have washed it yesterday. Luckily a set of beads, lashings of mascara and some pretty lipstick made up for my crowning glory's sins.

After the photos two sister-in-law, one brother-in-law, one mother-in-law and four nieces came back for afternoon tea. Rather than knocking myself out baking I called in at a patisserie, bought gingerbread stars, christmas rocky road and a pack of choc and pecan chip biscuits {oooh, and I found confit duck in their fridge - score!}. Combined with chocolate baby biscuits from the pantry, chips and some leftover blue drink from Saturday everyone was adequately fed and watered and happy. We enjoyed the company and that's the main thing.

So now, before I do anything I'm going to ask myself, "Will anyone die or cry if I don't do this?" If the answer's no I'm going for the easy option - or I'll opt out all-together. This'll leave me free to focus on what really matters - giggling with family and friends - my favourite activity!

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

We went in to visit Santa at David Jones again this morning so all the girl cousins could have their photo taken together. All five gals lined up and now we've got a gorgeous reminder of our first Christmas with the English side of the family. Cute!

Afterwards everyone came back here for morning tea in the pavilion while the girls swam - hence my late posting. Nothing's better than hearing their giggles as they swim. The girls are all getting along so beautifully together that it just reminds me what this season is about.

My gal's gone off to spend the afternoon with the other gals while I'm working away. I'm more than halfway through my deadlines now - three quarters perhaps... I've just sent off another story, and have five more to send off by the end of the year. Whew, will I enjoy those festive champagne bubbles!

Monday, December 21, 2009

comment crisis?

Hey, is anyone else having trouble commenting on blogs today - or is it just me?

Well, obviously if it's you I'll know by your silence {you know, because you won't be able to comment and all...}


detective drama

This here's my Christmas movie must-see. Ever since my days of Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon I've been a fan of a good detective tale, so I'm keen to see what RDJ brings to the role of Sherlock. Oh, and I'm loving the charisma I've seen between RDJ and Jude Law on various red carpets - will be keen to see how that translates on the big screen.

Tie it all up with the delectable Rachel McAdams and c'mon, this's gotta be ticket-worthy.

point and shoot party

Chantelle at FatMumSlim offered a challenge to point at shoot this weekend. So here goes. Gal had three pals over for a pool party on Saturday. Much fun, giggling and splashing. Mezze plates and blue Mermaid Mocktails were the order of the day - along with a pool party cake that we decorated in mere moments.

There were games of musical mermaids {like musical statues where you freeze when the music stops - but, you know, in the water}. We'd bought plastic leis and the girls had to swim up and pop their head through them, handstand comps. But lots of spontaneous fun.

Summer lovin' - that's what it's all about

and chill...

Because things get so frantic and stressed at this time of year it's vital to have a little mental space to find your serenity. And look - I found a picture of mine! When things start to go a little haywire I'm laying back on this blissfully broad window seat, a glass of something french and bubbly on the coffee table and a great book in hand to read in between gazing out at that incredible ocean vista.

Where's your happy place and what does it look like?

monday motivation

Hmmm, so it's the Monday before Christmas - how's things in your house? After a hectic weekend it's all a bit low-key here today. Gal's watching telly and immersing herself in a craft kit while I'm about to get started on a spot of work.

Hey, how's this for an idea? See this pic? Well check out what they've done with their mags. Encased in perspex, which'd probably have me coming over all Twin Peaks every time I saw them... "Wrapped in plastic"...

Enjoy your monday, hope it's productive and stress-free. Life's short - let's spend it with a smile on our face shall we?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

really, really nice family reunions

The three of us awoke at 4.30 this morning {oooh yeah, a.m.} to drive to Sydney to collect the English relatives from the airport. Morning people we are not.

However, this was all negated by the joy of watching sister-in-law, brother-in-law and two gorgeous nieces tumble through the gates.

We all went to Bronte for a breakfast before driving them to the in-laws. The sheer bliss of listening to the giggles of three reunited cousins - aged four, six and nearly 10 was sublime. There might be up-teen thousands of kilometres between us, but real love and affection really doesn't have a clue about distance.

Our Christmas this year is going to be all about the kids and the family. Oh, and the best news? My mother-in-law's serving up roast pork along with the beef and chicken this year {mmmmm, crackling...}. I'm looking forward to more giggles, champers, festive nibbles and precious moments spent over the next few weeks while they're here. The planning is on!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

white out

Here's the pavilion with our freshly painted floorboards. Yep, our bar fridge is stocked with champers {and water!}. The iPod is loaded with tunes and summer's looking mighty fine.

Friday, December 18, 2009

parisian perfection

Guess where I've got a hankering to visit? Go on, guess. Ahhh yes, Paris is calling. Can you believe that this is an actual apartment that's available to rent? I wouldn't be game to stay in this delish apartment as I would seriously DIE having a view of the Eiffel Tower that sublime...

Check it out - and others just like it - at

Must start saving...

cutey patootie on-line

Hey, if you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet or just want to get a start on next year's... May I suggest a very cute on-line boutique?

RudyandtheDodo have the most sublime toys, accessories and other fabulous things for littlies {oooh, and I spied a purse or two that this mama would love}.

Check it out - tres cute!

freaky friday

I just cannot believe that it's Friday - and that Christmas is only a week away!!! Why is time so zoomariffic at this time of year?

We've been busy - again. Last night I was a carpenter's apprentice to my new handyman hubby and I held slats while he nailed them in. Now the area behind the bbq has lovely white slats screening us off from the neighbours. Yes, pictures to come...

Husband's also been attacking anything that stands still with a paintbrush. The floorboards in the pavilion look brilliant in white. He also gave the storage box in the pavilion another coat and our outdoor table had two coats last night. Oh, our backyard's looking like a Hollywood smile at the moment!

We also survived the first day of school holidays - thanks to a playdate. This afternoon our gal's going into her Dadda's work for two hours after lunch {he's having an early mark to play golf!}. She's v excited and wants to take her satchel just like Dadda's, dress in a button-up shirt like Dadda and take an apple and a muesli bar just like Dadda. Bless.

I'll be working, and trying to do bits and pieces of housework in-between. So missing my live-in staff!

Are you ready for Christmas?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

no words can describe...

New Alice In Wonderland trailer.

Am officially dying.

satin sensation

I've now finally forgiven Penelope Cruz for the whole Tom Cruise thing and can just appreciate her for her va-va-voomness {yep, it's a word}

Now, that dress, is it perfection? As the Fug Girls attest, it's a rare person that can drape themselves in satin - but Pene's done it. Oh, and she gets to do a rather hunky Xavier too {for reals this time I imagine...}

Ooh, and, can't you see those green shoes below peeping out the bottom of that frock. On Christmas Eve? And me in it.... Okay, that's calling on your powers of imagination far too strongly. But hey, you know what I mean...

festive footsies

Isn't this shade of green positively edible? These Louboutins may well be the ultimate Christmas shoe with their vivid green upper and scarlet soles...

With this, I may well go totally over the top {as I do} and wear the red satin dress I just saw on Penelope Cruz {will have to post that later on - it's to-die}.

First day of the school holidays for us - hooray - six weeks with a child who loathes school holidays with the equal passion that she loves school. Yep, created some kind of monster there... Luckily we pick up the English cousins on Sunday so that should soothe her somewhat.

My lunch yesterday went by in a blur - but what a fabulous blur. I was ever-so-blessed to work with the loveliest bunch of gals and catching up with them did wonders for my soul.

Oh, and after lunch I couldn't help myself. I called in at my old fave op-shop in Surry Hills. Ooooooooh baby! I found the most fabulous black frock and a gorgeous deep navy Country Road top {brand spankers!} You know what I love more than finding fabulosity in op-shops? Nothing.

Must get into work. Have two gals being dropped off at 11am, so will try to fit in a full days work before they get here. Will obviously need to supervise some swimming when they're here - or just let 'em loose on the Wii Sing-It {so cute!}

Enjoy your day x

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

lovin' lunchin'

It's now been a year since I left work to freelance from home. I know! I've loved it - but I've missed the gals I worked with.

Luckily today I'm getting a hit and going out for Christmas Lunch with them all. Yep, we're frocking up and hitting the Paddington Inn.




Tuesday, December 15, 2009

this is it

Hey, guys, I'm a bit beside myself, because, guess what? It's my 1000th post. I KNOW!

I've met some pretty amazing people since I've been blogging - some I now consider friends. I think the blogging world is mighty spesh and am damned proud to be a part of it.

I'm a tad on the blown-away side that this here is number 1000 - so much so that I'm danged if I know what to write.

Well, apart from thank you for reading, for commenting and for sharing your life with me xxx

Monday, December 14, 2009

happy monday

Hi, how's your week looking? Mine's looking mighty fine. I've already sent off one of the articles due today, and now just have to polish off the other one and send it.

Tonight's the Christmas picnic at school where we get to watch our gal and all her friends sing Christmas carols {so sweet}.

Husband's at home slapping a final coat of paint on the floor of the pavilion {looks FANTASTIC}. I've decided to do a wee spot of on-line Christmas shopping to tidy off a few loose ends when I have a few minutes to kill. On Wednesday I'm driving down to Sydney to have a Christmas catch-up lunch with my old workmates - I've missed those gals and it'll be a hoot to meet up again.

Our lunch with friends yesterday was just blissful. The ideal recharge you need at times like this. I'm pretty sure now that all I need is that rug in this picture here - hello gorgeous!

Enjoy your week!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

let's do lunch

Well it's a gorgeous summer day today and we're off to share lunch with some lovely friends. Chances are the children will be swimming, and the adults may sip some champagne...

So I'm off to poach some nectarines in rose syrup to make a raspberry and nectarine trifle. I'm forming individual servings in my retro crystal cocktail glasses. For the children we have tropical callipo iceblocks. I'll pop them in a glass and tie it with some gold ribbon to up the festive quotent!

We're in need of some downtime. Poor husband was painting the floorboards in the pavilion for 12 hours yesterday - finished at 10.30 {with a few boards still to go!} But wow, they're looking damned amazing.

Enjoy your sunday x

Saturday, December 12, 2009

weekend whimsy

I feel quite certain that just 15 minutes of gentle back-and-forth on this pretty swing would ensure that all is well with the world. Isn't it a divine image? From Country Style - of course...

hey mr santa claus

If there's any space in my Christmas stocking I'd quite like this...

Friday, December 11, 2009

friday, ooooh fabulous!

We started our weekend really, really early this week with a fabulous dinner with friends last night. Champagne, cheese, radishes, baguettes, french butter, duck, crispy-fluffy roasted potatoes, spectacular salads, wine and all finished off with a delish fresh fruit salad made for the perfect evening. It got a bit chilly, so at 8pm the gals donned wetsuits and swam in the pool - having a blast. Sure, not the most sensible option - but it is the silly season.

Our wee lass slept in till nearly 8.30 this morning (after going to bed over an hour past her bedtime - whoopsies) but as school's winding down at the moment I don't think she missed much by being 30 minutes late.

Busy weekend our way. I've got quite a few deadlines, today, monday and next friday so I'll be working away. Husband-of-the-year shall be painting - the doors on the pool equipment room that my step-dad built - and hopefully the wicker furniture in the pavilion. On Sunday we're off to another set of dear friends for lunch. I'm taking sweets - so shall be devising something seasonal - and may well serve them in cocktail glasses {you know, cos it's christmas and all}.

Oooooh, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

grand inspiration

Now that I'm rather busy, I'm limiting myself to one hour's television per evening - and that show's Grand Designs screening every night on Lifestyle {hurrah}. On Tuesday night we saw an inspirational couple rebuild this manor house in Central France - and boy, were they amazing. Nothing fazed them, they just got in and did it. And now - well, look at it - it's beautiful.

What I found most inspirational was how quickly this guy moved. He always did everything with great purpose, never sighed and dragged his feet while heading to a task.

So that's what I'm planning on doing. To get through all I have to do I'm going to dive into everything with enthusiasm and with speed {but not haste!}.

Oh, and guess how much I want to stay in this house next time we go to France? Heaps.

If you're interested, check out their site here ps: the room with the big antique copper bath? That'll be mine...

mmmmm pretty

I love bows at any time, but at Christmastime? Hold me back... Now, if these little numbers from Valentino don't present you as the perfect present - what will?

I'm seriously swooning over these numbers and hoping that my love-smitten state will get me over the hump and allow me to finish all the piles of work calling, nay, screeching my name {harridans}.

I did at least work through half my pile of Christmas cards last night and plan on giving myself a 15 minute break at some stage today to do a few more...

Enjoy your thursday...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

love is...

Here's one very happy lass with her new dolly. Not a Kate Finn as previously suggested, but an Aussie-made Alimrose Designs Caitlin doll. Pretty and cuddly and sure to be much-loved.

what a wonder

I've got a lot to get done this week, so I shall be channelling Wonder Woman I think. Lists are made, coffee is consumed, plans are in action - all I need to do is buckle down and get on with it.

I'm taking my mum and step-dad to the airport this afternoon. I'll miss their company a lot, but boy, will I miss what they've done for us. Alan paved the area all around the side of the house, extended the back veranda, made gates for the pool equipment room, fixed the leaky toilet and performed dozens of other teeny jobs.

Mum spent time with my gal, taking her to and from school, and has cleaned my house like it hasn't been cleaned for quite some time. She's done washing, made beds, washed up, packed away the diswasher... Hopefully, if we don't breathe too hard it'll stay clean until Christmas...

Last night we had an early Christmas and birthday and our gal got her pressies from her grandparents. She was utterly delighted with them all, but the one that brought the most bliss was a gorgeous cloth doll. She smiled, hugged her to death and said "I've wanted one of these for years!" I'm so glad that at almost 10 she's still a girl that loves make-believe and to play with her toys. Luckily she has friends that are the same - with parents who also believe in children having a childhood. They grow up so quickly it's nice to let them enjoy being a kid for as long as possible.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

we wish you...

Some things on my Christmas to-do list are looking good {shopping} others, not-so-hot {Christmas card - yep, I've written out one and addressed one more. 25 to go...}

But I'm refusing to allow stress to raise its ugly head in my direction. I'm going to do what I can, and what I can't will just have to wait.

Tonight's my last night with my mum and step-dad :( They fly out tomorrow night. So, to celebrate, tonight we'll have a lovely summer bbq dinner on our newly extended back veranda - built with loads of sweat and tears by my step-dad and assisted by hubby.

It's been a lovely visit and a rather pleasant start to the festive season.

Monday, December 07, 2009

anniversaire de mariage

It's our wedding anniversary today. Eight years married to a lovely, lovely man.

Lucky me!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

vegie delights

I didn't end up following the recipe for corn and capsicum burritos yesterday - I made up my own. And, yum, it was good. So I don't forget, here's the recipe-ish:

4 cobs of corn, kernals removed
1/2 large spanish onion, finely diced
one red capsicum, roasted and skin removed, and then diced
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves and stems
jalepenos, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh tomato sauce (or pasta sauce)
1 lime, juice and zest
salt and pepper

Stand the corn cobs on their end and use a sharp knife to take all the kernals off as close to the core as possible. Then toss them in a bowl and combine them with all the other ingredients.

Then, use them to fill a burrito, placing a bit of grated cheese down the centre, and some strips of proscuitto or jamon for non-vegies who need their meat. Roll up and toast in a sandwich press till golden and then serve with guacamole, sour cream and sweet chilli sauce.

Now, I'm not a corn fan, but fresh, raw corn kernals are not only tasty - they're soft enough to chew. Delish. My mum's also not keen on corn, but she loved the taste too. Husband and step-dad {corn lovers} were in raptures.

Go on, try it sometime...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

vegging out

Having spent 20 years as a vegetarian you think I'd have a huge stockpile of vegies recipes ready to whip out when my vegetarian mother and step-dad were up. Wrong. I've forgotten almost everything I ever made.

So tonight I'm thinking of making these corn and capsicum burritos I found over at

Hubby's a keen corn lover so this'll make him happy - and I'll make up guacamole versions for my gal - which should make her happy. Served with a glass of rosé? Nice.

Friday, December 04, 2009

numbers game

Okay, deep breaths... only 14 more posts till I reach 1000 posts. I know!!! Monu-freakin'-mental.

The pressure's on.

It'll be a doozy.


Enjoy your weekend.


I just finished nibbling on wasabi peas. Are they the ultimate snack? Crunchy, tasty - and sinus-clearing. Perfect.

What's your favourite nibble?


We've had our car for nearly five years now {no, not an e-type jag, a holden astra...} and I've never really found much of a use for cruise control. On the freeway from Newcastle to Sydney I tend to find that people slow down and cut in front of me so much that cruising at a certain speed just isn't viable.

However, I've found the best use for it - in School Zones. Sticking to the 40km limit in a school zone is never easy. I find that I keep glancing down at the speedo to check I'm not speeding - which negates the purpose of the limit as I probably won't see any children darting out before me.

Now what I do is slow to 40km before the school zone and pop the car in cruise control. It keeps me at an even speed and I can keep my eyes peeled for any children {or parents who jaywalk!} instead of on the speedo!

fabulously friday

T'is Friday, and the weekend's stretching out ahead. Ahhhhh. We're already into the hectic social whirl. My dad and step-mother left after their week's visit on Wednesday morning, and now we're settling into my mum and step-father's visit.

Hubby's had the day off to be apprentice to my step-father as they extend our rear veranda a little to the side to give us a wee bit more space for the bbq and tables. I imagine that's a weekend job!

Mum and I are off to see the film about Valentino at some stage on the weekend and on monday it's our 8th wedding anniversary - shall have to do something to celebrate that non?

Meanwhile enjoy this gorgeous shot of Miss Dita in Dior. Guess how much I want that outfit {especially the shoes!} for our Christmas social engagements?