Friday, April 30, 2010

flirty friday

Oh, it's a glorious day outside. Utterly magical. I'm now completely besotted with this season: cold enough for flannelette pjs at night, warm enough for short sleeves and long walks during the day. Bliss.

I had a bit of a whizzy this week about the state of various things: a pile of recycling that threatened to take over the world, piles of washing that would vie with the recycling for supremacy, family things that needed to be attended to, my husband's impending birthday, handing an emotional-just-because-she's-10 gal, a cat with an expensive weeping eye {and now the need to apply eye cream four times a day - yeah, that'll happen without tears} and far too many tears on MasterChef {I love a good blub - but seriously, edit some of the tears out!}.

But now the recycling's in the outside bin where it belongs, I've started to clean out the fridge, and the sheets are in the wash, with another load to follow {two a day, that's my aim - and has been for the past three days}. I've bought all but one of my husband's pressies for his birthday on Tuesday, have a meal planned, am calmly dealing with child {having been there, done that, sobbed about the choice of t-shirt on offer} and have agreed to hold cat while husband applies said cream. As for MasterChef, well, hopefully the editors will listen to the pleas on twitter, facebook and reality ravings and show some cooking instead of reformatting the show as MasterSook.

I also wish I was out riding a pretty pistachio green bike around the streets today - but that's not going to happen. Instead I'll finish off the article that's due this afternoon and keep plodding away getting this house in order. I'm also going to make up a to-do list so I can cross off all the things I've already done {like my netball game plan for tomorrow with all positions and substitutions accounted for - yay!}.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

go sandra

I love Sandra Bullock. Always have, and now, always will. She kept a dignified silence for months after that sleaze of a husband betrayed her in such an awful manner, and now she's revealed that before all that - she adopted this absolutely beautiful boy. Yep, before the Oscar, before the breakdown Sandra {and her soon-to-be-ex} adopted this bundle of cute. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

wacky and wonderful

You know who I love? Juliette Lewis {obviously, you know, with the image I've posted and all}. But see, I always forget that I love her until I discover her afresh. On Sunday, because I was angry with myself for having a migraine and missing the Roller Derby bout, I watched Whip It - the Drew Barrymore directed film that included plenty of roller derby - and not enough Juliette Lewis. Although her semi-limited screen time was understandable because she was just so freaking awesome that anyone else who appeared alongside her tended to just fade away. And then, for the next five minutes I'd sit there thinking, "Man, is that Juliette Lewis awesome. How can I forget that I love her" and realise that I'd missed a crucial plot point {although not the underwater love scene - that was COOL}.

There's nothing better than rediscovering lost loves. Because my short-term memory is somewhat porous, I tend to find things anew quite regularly. And it's a joyful experience. Like lemons, I know I love lemons, but still, every time I taste one I'm suffused with joy. I truly believe there is nothing that is not improved without the addition of lemons. This morning I nearly ruined my keyboard reading about lemon, thyme and honey tarts at baked uprising. I can't imagine a better conclusion to an autumnal meal of meatballs {which, unsurprisingly, is on the menu at our house tonight - veal meatballs with orange zest and made with day-old bread soaked in milk simmered in a rich tomato sauce}. My dad and step-mother have trekked down from Queensland and are arriving sometime later today - so I can't get over to the III Bean meatball night in Hamilton - I'll just have to create it here.

Okay, I'm off for a quick walk to the beach. I drove past this morning when dropping the car off for a service and it's spectacularly beautiful. Enjoy your day - what've you got planned?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ode to a cobbler

Getting dressed for my coffee morning was so much easier this morning as my favourite shoes have been resurrected. They were dead, which saddened me immensely as good mary janes with a wee heel are nary impossible to find. I found these in a wee shop in Surry Hills one day as I was trekking up the hill to Fifi Foveaux for lunch. They called my name these samples, particularly as there was only one pair - and they were a size 37 - my size!

I call these my Chanel shoes, because they're oh-so-reminiscent of something Coco would create. Today I matched them with black opaques, a pencil skirt, black and white stripey tee and a black cardi. So french. A smearing of grey eyeshadow around my eyes and I was ready for anything.

Hurrah for my friend Ms M's cobbler who for $40 resoled my beauties and have given me another couple of seasons with my one true love. Good shoes - what would we do without them?

ta-da tuesday

Morning all. I'm off to catch up for coffee with my best friend from school where we'll finally get to do a run-down from the school reunion. I know! It's frosty this morning 13 degrees, so I'm still tossing up what to wear. Oh, did I mention our tragedy? Our coffee machine is on the fritz and I'm beside myself. It's only 18 months old - but it does have a five year warranty on the pump {hopefully the pump is what actually drives the steam}. It still makes the espresso - but no milk so when I want a latte I need to use the microwave {quelle horreur}.

Now, we must get together soon and discuss MasterChef. I'm loving some of this year's contestants and think the standard of cooking seems higher. So, later today perhaps?

Monday, April 26, 2010

m.i.a. monday

Sorry everyone - I've been out of action. That nap I needed turned into a two-day migraine that kept me grounded for the weekend. Sigh. At least I've kept track of dates and turns out that my migraines turn up when I relax after a busy spell, exactly seven days after the onset of my period. So it's hormonal and stress-induced. Noice. Now at least I know what to tell the doctor when I visit...

So, for a giggle, here are some Jaws-inspired Louboutins - a bit of fabulosity for a holiday monday. Enjoy - and have a great week.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

and so to bed...

Hey all. Whew, think all this work and play has finally caught up with me. I could do with a nana-nap of Rip Van Winkle proportions. Had a fab night at cocktails last night. Chatted, laughed and drank rather yummy cosmopolitans. Then it was off to dinner where I enjoyed a squid stuffed with chorizo followed by spatchcock {I resisted the pork belly in order to try something new...}. This morning was netball umpiring followed by the game. We played one of the best teams in the comp and my girls played valiantly, but were defeated.

Then I went off to shop and lunch with my best pal who's up from Sydney. We had delicious bagels at a cafe I've seen mentioned on Twitter {still don't understand twitter - but damn it's useful}. Now it's 3pm and I need a sneaky sleep before hitting the roller derby bout. Can I sleep while three gals are dancing along with the Wii? Pretty sure I can give it my best shot.

Friday, April 23, 2010

gold rush

So, here I am, pondering exactly which shade of nailpolish will co-ordinate nicely with my cocktails this evening {what? Doesn't everyone?} when over on twitter are nice enough to direct me to Chanel's new shades. And oh, I do like this a lot. C'est tragique but I cut my nails way too short for Monday night's netball to do this utterly glorious version of the French Manicure - but oh, it'll be stored away for future events don't you worry. But I think I'm a bit in love with the eyes. Gold dusted lids with a cats-eye could be the ultimate cocktail look don't you think?

a fitting tribute

Now that's what I call going out In Style. The funeral procession for Malcolm McLaren was just as you'd expect it to be. Black plumed horses drew an elegant carriage carrying a grafittied coffin while a London Double Decker followed with friends packed into the seats. Punks and ordinary folk lined the streets to pay tribute and check out the spectacle that only he could create in death as in life. Mourners such as his ex-partner Vivienne Westwood and Adam Ant joined a bunch of people representing musical diversity in celebrating a man whose life was pretty damned large. Rest in peace you fabulous fella you.

fabulously friday

It mayn't even be 9am yet already my thoughts are turning to cocktails. Well, I do have friends coming over later today. This look I love. Bless Martha's socks, you can always guarantee the pretty over her way. I'm thinking of following her lead with a little rose syrup and a rose petal in a glass of champagne to start the evening off. What do you think? Organic roses naturally, from my garden, where the only pest control features pretty lil ladybirds.

My gal and I went shopping at Westfield yesterday where I finally acknowledged that I'm officially missing a gene. I can't bear shopping. Can't abide it. My worse torture would be if you were to set me free in a great big shopping centre for a whole day - I think I'm breaking out in hives just thinking about it. It's just all too much. The crowds, the muzak, the staff who just really couldn't be bothered actually helping... or maybe that's just the staff I find.

We were successful though. We bought lots of pressies for my husband's birthday in a few weeks time and my gal found the perfect pair of cross trainers {after three stores and lots of trials}. But in Rebel Sport we did finally find someone who went to an effort. We'd taken her old shoes along and he found the pair that were this year's model of the same shoe, checked out the wear on her shoe to make sure it suited her and understood that for a 10-year-old girl, how a shoe looks is going to be important. So we bought them, and I'll be going back to find the pair in my size {one size up from my daughter's, but $100 more expensive}.

Friends for cocktails and then out for dinner tonight. Netball from 8.30am tomorrow, then a Roller Derby bout to check out tomorrow night. FUN! Sunday shall involve chilling - I'm determined. So, what are you up to then?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

hanging about

One of the things I adore about living in a Victorian home is the picture rails. But, silly me, I've just been using them to hang pictures.

Love this idea. Love it.

Husband may take some convincing, and obviously it'll take me longer to get ready - what with having to find the ladder so I can grab some heels...

come to mama...

Here's a mother's day offer that appeals to this mama. I love, love, love the Jurlique hand cream. Adore the stuff. The scent actually smells like a bouquet of my favourite fleurs and it's richly moisturising without being sticky or leaving your hands slippery {don't know about you, but as soon as I've moisturised I need to do SOMETHING with my hands...}.

So, for mother's day there'll be installations at selected Jurlique stores {including the gorgeous Strand Arcade store} featuring organic roses. Divine.

But if I can't visit then I'll need some of this for mother's day. Hand cream and Love Balm for $49 for the set. Bargain. This stuff lasts for years, as a teensy baby pea sized drop keeps your hands moisturised all day. And the Love Balm? Haven't tried it but am pretty sure it'd keep my lips eminently kissable - and good husbands who buy lovely gifts really should be rewarded with rose-scented smooches.

you ol' tart

As promised, here's my recipe for tarte au citron - or lemon tart. Worth it, seriously. This is a slice on day two, so not quite as photogenic as day one - but still just as delicious. I could live on this stuff.

Sweet pastry (make your own - go on, just once, it makes this tart)
340g (2 and a half cups) of plan flour
small pinch of salt
150g (5 and a half ounces) of unsalted butter
90g 9 (3/4 cup) icing (confectioner's) sugar
2 eggs, beaten

Sift the flour and salt onto a work surface and make a well in the centre. Put the butter into the well and work, using a pecking action with your fingertips and thumb, until it is very soft. Add the sugar to the butter and mix together, add the eggs to the butter and mix together.

GRADUALLY incorporate the flour, flicking it onto the mixture and then chopping through it until you have a rough dough. Bring together with your hands and knead a few times to make a smooth dough. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Roll out the pastry into a circle on a lightly floured surface and use to line a tart tin. Trim the edge and pinch up the edge to make an even border raised slightly above the rim of the tin. Slide onto a baking tray and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

4 eggs
2 egg yolks
285 grams (1 and a 1/4 cups) of caster (superfine) sugar
185ml thick (heavy/double) cream
250ml (1 cup) lemon juice
finely grated zest of 3 lemons (grate zest before juicing - I beg of you)

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celcius.

Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar. Add the cream, whisking all the time and then the lemon juice and zest.

Line the pastry shell with a piece of greaseproof paper and baking beads (or rice, or dried beans, or, if you're like me and have none of those, chuck in a few egg rings!) Blind bake the pastry for 10 minutes, remove the paper and beads and bake for a further 3 to 5 minutes - or until the pastry is just cooked but still very pale. Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 150 degrees celcius.

Carefully pour the filling into the pastry case. Return to the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the filling has set. Leave to cool completely before serving.

I dusted this with icing sugar to serve and it was magnificent. Otherwise I'd serve it with some natural yoghurt infused with vanilla beans and maybe some poached raspberries.

Follow your bliss and try this. So. Damned. GOOD!

thinking floral

Whew, Thursday, where in the hell did you come from? It's been quite the few weeks hasn't it? I've started off the morning with a lovely visit from a dear friend - one where we determined to schedule in more time together. It's so easy for weeks to pass without more than the odd "hi" and "bye" as you dash past each other.

This weekend gorgeous friends of mine are up from Sydney so I'm determined to see them in style. There's a fabulous new bar that's opened in Newcastle in one of its most beautiful buildings. The Airforce Club was the place to visit when I was at uni. They'd form a stage on top of a couple of pool tables and the place would be packed to capacity and beyond with people moshing, pogoing and slam dancing on the 'dance floor'. Now it's been restored by the same brains behind my favourite gorgeous restaurant Bacchus and is apparently utterly beautiful.

Now, you know I love my cocktails, and you know I love beautiful things so I'm pretty sure that there can't be anything better than the two combined. I'll let you know how I get on.

In the meantime I'm going to remove the droopy pale pink roses in the vase on my desk. I got nearly a week out of them, so I've got to be happy with that. I'm going to save a few of the petals and place them in a ruby red bowl - happy colours!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

le love

Over le here for more.

what's cooking wednesday?

Can I tell you how much I really, really, really feel like cooking beef wellington after last night's MasterChef - a lot. But, unfortunately, I shan't. Here's what I shall:

tonight: gremolata and panko crumbed pork cutlets with mashed pumpkin and broccolini
Thursday: Nigella's spaghetti carbonara
Friday: Chicken curry in the slow cooker with rice, wilted spinach and naan
Saturday: Off to watch a roller derby bout so an early dinner of steak and salad is called for
Sunday: Roast chicken and vegies
Monday: lamb cutlets, braised lentils du puy, roasted sweet potato and braised cabbage
Tuesday: spanish chicken, rice and salad

I have netball training with my gals today. I'm pretty sure they're going to be on a high from Saturday's win - and so they should be. We'll do lots of fun stuff at training today - that'll still boost their skills. It's my gal's first day of real training now her cast's removed - fingers crossed it all goes well. We'll take it easy, but her physio says it's healed really well so she should be fine.

It was a foggy morning, which points to a beautiful day ahead. I've got loads of washing to do - but I'll try to limit it to just the one. Then there's another article to complete as well as trying to something about the state of the kitchen floor {locking the door and moving seems like a viable option... or I could sweep and mop}.

Enjoy your Wednesday. What are your plans for this glorious mid-week day?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

smile into the sunshine

Have you been outside today? I've been so busy being busy that I've not stopped to notice the way the empty branches of my golden elm frame the beautiful blue sky. But today I realised that I'd best give the Lilly Pillies near the pool a good drink and as I was standing there, hose in hand, I started to feel the sun tickling my cheeks and gazed up and noticed the most exquisite shade of blue right above me.

I'm pretty sure that it's considered a sin to not notice nature's beauty. Get out and find something gorgeous. Go on!

thinking happy thoughts

I know I've said this a lot lately, but I'll be light on posting and commenting today. So I've left you with this shot of pretty daisy faces - let's hope it inspires all of us onto better things x

Monday, April 19, 2010

i can see a rainbow

I'm besotted with this Kirsty Mitchell pic I found over at Gala Darling so thought I'd best pinch it and share it with you. I need a dash of rainbow hues at the moment. I've completed the first article that's due this afternoon - but I'll need to get myself started on the second one {sigh}.

Before picking up the gal from school I'm off to the Apple store to buy a replacement keyboard for my drowned one - I miss my delete key far too much. Then it's home, do a final read of the article before sending and then straight onto the next one {I know, how Jodi Picoult of me}

things that make you go oooooooooh

Today there were two pairs of shoes on net-a-porter that made me go oooooooooh, so thought it best to share them both with you. These top shelf numbers are from Emilio Pucci and I think they're seventy shades of fabulous. The pair below are poking some memory deep in the recesses of my brain - but not enough for me to know what they're referring to. I do believe my mum may have had a handbag in the 70s with a similar pattern, so these Thakoon shoes are infusing me with a nostalgic grin.

School's back today - hurrah. Lots of work on, so light posting and commentating over the next two days. Have a lovely monday x

Sunday, April 18, 2010


The other day on twitter {and facebook} a friend of mine said that while he concurs with celebrational and inspirational, muppetational just isn't a word.

I vehemently disagree and present you with this frock in all its muppetational glory. {Even the cranky old dudes in the stalls would have to agree with me on this one...}

swifts on a sunday

I'm home! For a tick. We slept over at the in-laws' last night after a very lovely celebration for my father-in-law's birthday. Then we ducked into Dan Murphy's for a champagne and quaffing wine stock up then to the Nursery to check out lemon and lime trees - and have a quick iced coffee {but the cafe was so popular it turned into a leisurely iced coffee...}. Now we're home to grab a quick baguette {ham for me and hubby, avocado, lime and pepper for the gal} and then I'm taking a few of the girls in my netball team to check out the NSW Swifts in action. After yesterday's win they'll be thrilled to watch it.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend - I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone soon x

Saturday, April 17, 2010

petite violette

Finally, here's the planter that we bought in Singleton a few weekends ago complete with my scented violets. It fills a dead space on the wall beautifully and makes me happy every time I look at it.

So, weekend rundown so far. Last night's tarte au citron was delish. Shall post a recipe this week and please, make the effort to make the sweet pastry - it was so, so, worth it. Because the lemon filling was so tart it needed the extra sweetness of the icing sugar enriched crust. Twas gobbled down.

This morning's netball was fantastic. I've got such a lovely team again this year. I adored my team last year and really miss the girls who are in the other team, but this year's team have bonded instantly and I now have a complete team, with a few shooters, a few mid fielders and a couple of tall, enthusiastic defence players. We actually won our first game - by a dramatic margin 33 to 5 - which has boosted the girls' confidence. After last year's run of disheartening losses {we were graded too high - this year hopefully it's just right} a win comes as a pleasant surprise.

My gal had her plaster removed yesterday and the arm was x-rayed afterwards and seemed to show it healing nicely. She'll go to physio on monday and he thinks she might be able to play next week - but we'll see. I don't want her to go on too quickly.

Tonight's my father-in-law's 75th birthday celebrations. I have Julia Child's beef bourguinon in the oven and it's really worth the labour-intensive first hour's preparations - seriously.

I've just got to duck out and do a little watering when it gets cooler and wait for my husband to come home from his first golf competition - bless his socks. Then we're off to Maitland for the big family catch-up.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm taking most of the girls in my team to check out The NSW Swifts in action - should be fun. Then I'll be doing the world's most enthusiastic happy dance on monday when dropping my daughter off at school - I may have to restrain myself from snogging either her teacher or the school gates, or not...

Okay, working now. Article due monday that I need to finish off. Enjoy your weekend x

Friday, April 16, 2010

dark desires

I'm not normally a chocolate person, but it's come over all autumnal here today and this Spanish Hot Chocolate with Churros is the featured recipe at and it's taunting me every time I open my iGoogle. Mmmmmmm. I also have the sweetest smelling hands at the moment as I've just finished kneading the sweet pastry for my tarte au citron. Now, I don't have a loose-bottomed flan dish so surely I can just butter a flan dish and hope it'll come out later on? If not I can always spoon it into martini glasses and top it with cream...

c'mon get happy

I've been blessed to meet some really interesting people thanks to my line of work. Whenever I write an article I always need to speak to at least two experts to add weight to my argument and while I have to vary the people used, because I've been doing this for so long, and because I write for a few different publications, I can speak to some people more than once.

Some people give great interview. They're obviously enthusiastic about what they do and immerse themselves in the latest research on the topic. When they are interviewed they're keen to infuse others with their enthusiasm. These people make my life so much easier.

One of these people is Dr Happy - Dr Tim Sharp from the Happiness Institute. He's an amazing person. He loves what he does, loves it, and if you can walk away from a chat with him without feeling enthusiastic, optimistic and full of joy - well, obviously you're dead {sorry, caught a snippet of Weekend at Bernie's last night - tee hee}.

Over the years I realised that I've been following the advice of these amazing people. It's made me feel pretty chuffed that I am, really, quite a happy person. I have my down days, but as even Dr Happy would say, we need these to balance out the good. We have to recognise happiness - sometimes by contrasting it with sadness. Perhaps that's why I'm such a sook. I'll tear up at anything, commercials, photographs, blog posts - it's probably my way of balancing out the happiness. An even, uneventful life with no peaks or troughs would be dead-dull. But a life where there are giggles and guffaws and lots of smiling at strangers is a life well-lived.

What are you going to do today to make yourself happy? Me? I'm taking my gal to have her plaster removed which will make her ecstatic {and me too!} I'm making a tart au citron for pudding for tonight's dinner with friends and I'm cooking up Julia Child's Beef Bourguinon for tomorrow night's dinner {so it's got an extra day for the flavour to infuse - although it's so delicious maybe all our tastebuds will die and go to heaven..}

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

crispy goodness

So, last night's dinner was meant to be steak and salad, but as our gal was at a sleepover at her grandparents with her cousins we had to take advantage of this and get out. So we leafed through our Entertainment Book and discovered that we'd yet to use our 'buy one main meal get one free' at our favourite Newcastle restaurant Bistro Tartine.

For once both our tummys spoke with the same mind. Husband and I both ordered the pork belly with a 'charcuterie' sauce {which translates as meat sauce - damned delicious was what it was} and then we were both sent into raptures by the chocolate fondant for pudding. Real chocolate fondant that oozed out when the spoon broke through - oooooh yeah.

I have expectations for my food. Pork belly needs crispy crackling and soft, deliciously unctuous flesh below. Mmmmm. If it doesn't have that, it falls into the disappointing category. Same with creme brulee - if I can't crack the top with the back of my spoon before diving below for a creamy bite of vanilla-bean flecked custard then what's the point? I've seen many a cook fail on MasterChef with a chocolate fondant - always too dry, sometimes too gooey - which is why it astounds me that I made perfect fondants on my only attempt.

That said, I can't go past pork belly on a menu - unless duck confit is there - then I'll see which pulls me more strongly. Alternately, I will never order chicken on a menu. I know! I am cooking more with chicken these days, but for me, it's always the less interesting option. I'll go for pork, duck, lamb, steak or seafood over chicken. And if there's something I haven't tried I'll give that a crack.

What are your benchmarks or expectations for food and are there some items on a menu that you can't possibly pass up?

oh my

I like this very much indeed...

hot legs

Now, these Wolford Hot Dots are a mighty pretty pair of hose are they not? I'm also singularly besotted with the shoe they're paired with. So, ignoring the fact that you'd need a set va-voom pins to set these off - how divine are they? Actually, as Melissa says, they'd make everyone's pins look perfect. I think they've set me purring.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

a good drying day

It's an achingly beautiful autumnal day today - sunshine, a soft breeze and a hit of warmth breaking through the crisp, cool morning air. It's the perfect day for sheet washing. White cotton sheets drying over a verdant green lawn is one of the prettiest sights you can hope to see. I'm going to pop a few drops of lavendar oil in the machine as it's on the rinse cycle to ensure a night of sweet dreams...

opening our options

On our first overseas trip, nearly 12-years-ago, the internet was in its infancy. When we planned our UK and Parisian visits we relied on guidebooks, info from the British Tourist Authrority and Bill Bryson {who introduced us to Durham, such an exquisite town, and for that I'm forever in his debt}.

Last time we went, in 2006, my husband used the internet to book us an amazing chateau in the south west of France that we shared with friends, beautiful apartments in Paris and Venice and an exquisite farmhouse on a vineyard in Tuscany. We checked out guidebooks, but only as confirmation. Travelogues about holidays or a new life in France or Italy were relied upon to help us find something amazing - but it was generally on-line that most of our research took place.

This time I'm finding more sources for our trip next year. I follow Matt Preston on Twitter and last night he called for people's fave dining experiences in Paris and my two must-visit eateries featured. Le Train Bleu is pictured above, and seriously, who would care about the food in surroundings such as these? Perfection. Our Michelin-starred choice was also praised by Matt's followers. Le Tour Argent is an institution in Paris - with a view over Notre Dame and it's famous for its duck. Thanks gourmet twitterati - I'll be making a booking as soon as we've set our dates.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

what's cooking?

Back to menu planning today - I'm crazy not to. Five minutes planning today saves a good hour or more of anguish later in the week.
Tonight: chicken and potato provencale {pictured}
Wednesday: steak and salad
Thursday: shepherds pie, mushy peas and sweet potato chips
Friday: Friends for dinner. They're bringing the last of the duck confit they brought back from france and I'm supplying potatoes roasted in duck fat, almonds and green beans, green salad, baguettes and a lemon tart for afters. Champagne will be consumed.
Saturday: Family gathering to celebrate father-in-law's 75th birthday. We're all taking a hot dish to share so I'm making beef bourguinon that I'll cook on Friday and taking buttered potatoes and baguettes. Might make a batch of Nigella's brownies to take along as well.
Sunday: Roast chicken and vegies
Monday: chorizo pasta bake - and a big celebration that school is back!

wedding daze

Hey Beth, you know that wedding dress shopping you're doing with your sis? How utterly delicious would this frock look? I know! The belt even matches her wedding ring... Don't you love a lovely fabric? I love the way this flows so meltingly. Divine.

You know what's not divine? When your husband spills a glass of water on your keyboard rendering the return and delete keys useless. You know how often I use those two babies? A lot. Sure, there are options, but I'm thinking unless it dries out I'm going to be needing a new keyboard...

Monday, April 12, 2010

and breathe

Phew, every task for today has been ticked off my to-do list. Am now officially exhaustipated {like exhausted, but more so}. So looking forward to my game of netball tonight, I need some running around to compensate for all the sitting and typing.

Now I'm just about to tidy off my desk and make myself a lovely cup of tea and do some blog reading to celebrate.

miu miu for monday

The balls of my feet are still cranky with me after five hours standing in five inch heels on Saturday night {vanity, I am thy muse}, so today we're going with a pretty antique rose gold patent wedge by Miu Miu. Aren't they lovely?

Today I have three articles to send off, two phone interviews to conduct and one synopsis to send off for an article. Busykins. So best snap to it. Enjoy your week - and hope you all had a fabulous weekend.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

reunited {and it feels so good}

I survived! My high school reunion was a huge success. I was thrilled to catch up with old friends, and even more so to chat with people I didn't really know at school - but wish I did. Luckily virtually everyone seemed to go into the night optimistically. There was hugging, there was squealing and there was dancing. Oh, and lots of drinking {except me, oddly, four vodkas and then I moved onto water...}.

I tried to approach the night like speed-dating, trying to catch up with as many people as possible. It is hard to find new questions though - but questions such as "are you married?" "kids?" "Where do you live?" and "What do you do?" are kind of essential. There were a few people where we didn't ask those questions at all - just chatted about interests etc, and that gave me just as much insight as the general questions.

There's talk of another reunion in five years time. Next time I'll wear lower heels {balls of my feet swollen and really giving me a talking to for keeping them standing for five hours in five inch heels - looked good though!}. Next time I'll take my camera out early and snap madly - I only managed around 12 shots - but others were much better so facebook should save the day.

I think the most important thing about a reunion is to leave your expectations behind. People will look different. People will have achieved something different than what you'd expected. Last night revealed that plenty of people who left in year 10 ended up going back and studying and now have post-graduate degrees. The girl-most-likely who was top of the class and went to year 12 works at her supermarket - but is blissfully happy with her life, her family and the flexibility it allows. One guy has changed his career totally and went from being a publican to now being a 2nd year apprentice panel beater.

You could tell the people who were genuinely happy and it had nothing to do with income, what they did, or where they lived. It was all about whether they were content with their life and whether they'd lived up to their own expectations.

There were the groups who naturally gravitated to their old friends. A few of us just wandered around chatting to various people - I barely stood still trying to say hi to as many people as possible. My best friend from school was the same, and every now and again we'd meet in the middle - filling each other in along the way.

Oh, what a night. Looking forward to the next one in five years, and catching up with a few new, old friends again.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

fasten your seatbelt and grab a cocktail

Go here. NOW! But only if you'd like to see the brand new trailer. Be warned, I squealed, and may have clapped a little. And there may have been a tear...

sunny saturday

I do so adore autumn. That crispness in the air combined with a blue sky that looks as though it's viewed through a vintage filter makes everything seem so much better. I'm pottering around doing the usual indoor housework today while my husband's outside as usual getting his chores happening. The snacks are purchased and ready to assemble for our drinks this afternoon - and the champagne and wine are chilling in the fridge.

I'm ready for my reunion. I'm so excited to see how everyone's exceeded all our expectations - I reckon it's going to be a little like speed-dating - how on earth to catch up with nearly 100 people? I plan on doing lots of chatting between the dancing - if they play the music from my youth there aren't shackles strong enough to keep me off the dancefloor {oh hell, who am I kidding - play the music from anyone's youth and you can't keep me off the dancefloor!}

I'll be packing my camera and a bunch of old snapshots I found recently - sharing old memories and creating new ones. Enjoy your weekend lovelies xx

Friday, April 09, 2010

a room of one's own

I love gaining an insight into other people's lives - particularly writers as it always challenges me to take myself to a new place in my work. When I became a full-time freelancer over a year ago I knew that I'd need to revise my working practices. I used to spend ages researching, then I'd write, walk away, re-read the draft, walk away, and finally I'd manage to send it off. A single article would take almost a week to complete. I don't have that kind of time now, but I still need to ensure that I supply the same, if not better, quality as before.

I don't send off a piece until I know it's the best I can offer. I need it to be easily understood and for people to walk away after reading it knowing they've learned something.

One writer who inspired me was Jodi Picoult. The day that I read that as soon as she finished a book she IMMEDIATELY started on the next switched something on in my brain. I knew that I could work smarter.

Now seeing the space that one of my favourite authors, Siri Husdvedt works in has inspired me to spend more time tidying at the end of the day. My punctuation mark at the end of my day will be to ensure there's nothing superfluous in my line of vision that can distract me from what I need to do. So thanks for the insight into Siri's world. I'm blessed with plenty of work at the moment - let's see what I can do to ensure it's all excellent.

"A room to write in isn't like other rooms, because most of the time the person in it doesn't see it. My attention is on the page in front of me, on what the people in the book are doing or saying, and my awareness of the things near me is muted, part of the vague sensual information that comes and goes as I mull over the next sentence. I do feel the light in my room, however. My study is on the top floor of our house, which has four storeys, and the windows face south, so the sunshine streams through the panes, and even on a bleak winter day my workplace is luminous.

I usually sit down at my desk around eight o'clock in the morning and write until my brain begins to dim - around two o'clock. My morning mind is far better than the blearier one that arrives in the afternoon so I take advantage of the early hours. I have lots of reference books near me, various kinds of dictionaries - bilingual, medical and psychiatric, 34 volumes of the Grove Dictionary of Art, style manuals and handbooks, the Bible, Gray's Anatomy, some poetry anthologies, and when I'm deep in a project there are often piles of books on the floor to which I refer when needed.

rest in peace

Malcolm McClaren was a visionary. Without him our music and popular culture scene would be completely different. He was one of the rare few who gave it all a shot. Now he's gone, may his afterlife be even half as good as his time on earth.

getting comfy

Happy friday everyone! I'm taking my gal and her pal to the movies this morning - Nanny McPhee and the big bang {think I'm more excited about it than they are - adore Emma Thompson}. Then we'll have lunch at The Silver Teapot in The Junction where they serve Campos coffee and, as my daughter breathlessly informed me the other day - avocado and lime on sourdough {a few of her favourite things.}

I also have to squeeze in a business meeting about some new work, when husband will be dashing home to look after girls while I discuss website copy {I know!}.

Tomorrow I've got to spend the day preparing for my reunion, oh, who am I kidding - I get ready in 15 minutes... We're actually having some friends over for drinks in the afternoon {just the one for me, can't be all "I love YOuuuuuuuuuuuu" as soon as I walk into my reunion...} We've got one of our friends introducing us to the love of his life and I can't wait to meet her. He's such an amazing guy who, despite being a good 10 years younger than us, knows what he wants and where he wants to be. Husband spent the night last night cleaning the pavillion so we'll have drinks and nibbles by the pool before they all go down to the pub by the beach before heading out to dinner.

Sunday I'm off to check out some Roller Derby action {yep MadMother, I am!}, which thankfully will be in the afternoon when any semblance of a hangover has abated. Busy - but fun. You?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

two more sleeps

It's my school reunion Saturday night and the anticipation is nearly killing me. I haven't seen virtually anyone from high school in well over 20 years, longer if I'm really honest. I'm a bit concerned that there will be people that I just don't remember or recognise - there are already a few of those on Facebook. I need a Brody's Notes on classmates!

I've got my outfit sorted - my fave lil' black dress with lots of beads draped around my neck and my highest black patent mary janes. My skunk-line's disappeared thanks to yesterday's hair dying efforts - so fingers crossed that my hair will behave on the night.

I'm genuinely excited and curious to see people and what they've achieved. I can guarantee you that every single one of them has achieved more than any teacher at that school ever believed {very negative people who had no concept of building self-esteem - only shredding it}. I know that plenty of people were like me, left in year 10 after being told their was no point in continuing and then going back to continue their education in their early 20s. I studied my HSC at Tafe when I was 22 and was nurtured by the most exquisite English teacher, Mrs Shirley Smith, who told me I had a talent for writing and suggested I apply to uni and undertake a Communications degree.

More than 20 years later I have an honours degree in communications and now spend my days being paid for writing - bliss. But without this amazing woman I'm not sure whether I would have found this path - I may have been teaching English instead - but nurturing delicate self-esteems and helping children realise their full potential. Gee, no wonder we spent so much time choosing our daughter's school...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

i'll be needing one of these

If you'll excuse me I'll be dashing down to the newsagency to buy the 10th Anniversary issue of Inside Out as it comes with this completely and utterly gorgeous tea towel. I'll take that green one thanks.

I can't believe it's Inside Out's 10th birthday. I still have the first issue sitting amidst my teetering piles of home making mags buckling the shelves in my study. Bless!

dye hard

I've been dying my hair for longer than it was ever its natural colour. It started when I died it dark red for my regular Friday night Rocky Horror show excursions {dressed as Magenta - I needed the hair to match the outfit}. Then this quickly segued into my gothic black phase, which I fell so deeply in love with that 20-years later I'm still dying my hair a raven hue.

I briefly dabbled in hairdressing salons, but hairdressers are always reluctant to go with a block colour and their colour never seemed to last long enough to please pernickety me. So I've been home-colouring for years now, but I always seem to forget which hair colour I love. But now, I'm going to defeat my feeble memory and commit the name of my must-love hair colour to my blog. It's Clairol Nice N Easy, in Blue Black natch. Wouldn't you think this name would be easy, nay nice, to remember? Apparently not. Each month I scour the shelves trying to remember which brand has the awful pine-o-clean scented conditioner {um, that'd be Loreal...} and which covers my many, many grey roots and gives a deep, glossy, well-conditioned colour.

Now I know and I have black, glossy hair just in time for my school reunion this Saturday night {I know, finally, haven't I been talking about that FOR YEARS?}

our daily bread

This here's the bread we kneaded in the KitchenAid and baked in a rather snazzy tupperware silicone loaf tin. It was uber-delicious and, as you can see, one young chef was rather chuffed at the results. I found the recipe on the KitchenAid site, they promised a crusty white loaf and we received a crusty white loaf. Straight out of the oven with a smear of butter it was delicious. Toasted for breakfast this morning and topped with butter and black cherry jam it was also delicious. Remind me to do this again sometime {not in the least because it called for 2 and a half tablespoons of milk powder - which only comes in one kilo bags. Any recipes calling for milk powder or shall I just do a Cleopatra. Hmmmmm?}

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

drawn for life

This Marc Jacobs frock is just so utterly exquisite it has me on the verge of tears {it's been an emotional day...}. Oh, be still heart...

garden glory

This is not my vegie garden, yet, although it's getting there. My husband has the delightful task today of digging in twelve bags of cow manure - heady stuff that. I found this image over at Martha Stewart Living and am feeling rather inspired by the creeping thyme over the rocks in this garden. I use a lot of thyme, think it's delicious and it looks so pretty too - particularly in flower. I can't wait till my side yard is a verdant oasis. We're oh-so-damned-close!

So, it's tuesday and I've already been to the dentist. Ooh yeah. Thanks to my dentist pointing out my uneven wear on my two front teeth last August I've barely been able to notice anything else. Every day it seemed to get worse and I swear the teeth felt more sensitive. So today I gave in and had them both evened up. Apparently I used to grind my teeth - maybe back when I was in uni - but I've stopped now, so I have two straight front teeth again. Luckily he kept the gap between my two front teeth - I insisted I wanted that to stay and that I didn't want long Bugs Bunny front teeth {fusspot aren't I?}. It feels a little odd, but looks kinda normal - and still like me - so that's got to be a good thing.

Today I promised my gal we'd bake some bread in the KitchenAid, so I'd best pop over to Frills In The Hills and see what Liss has managed to achieve in this area. The brownies I baked for my husband for Easter were a HUGE success. Honestly, when you're going for a sweet recipe always choose Nigella first - has anyone ever had a failure with her recipes?

I'm also counting down the minutes till Survivor tonight. Any promised showdown between Boston Rob and Hobbit-On-Crack Russell is bound to make my day/week/month... oh hell, life. Okay, now I have four articles due this week, two down, two more to go. I will be commenting on your blogs - and replying to your lovely comments on mine, very, very soon. Promise {she says smiling sweetly with her two new teeth x}