Wednesday, June 30, 2010

lovin' this look

J'adore the paler, auburn-hued locks Kristen's rockin. See, I might not be inspired by our new PM to shack up rather than marry {whoops, too late for that. Although we did bear our child out of wedlock - does that help? And ps and by the way, she's not actually even in a defacto relationship...} but my urge to see red on my head gets stronger and stronger with every passing day...

be kind, to yourself

There is no harsher critic than ourself. Mistakes are never more magnified than when viewed through our own eyes. If ever we look bad, lazy, incompetent or crappy, it's through our own irises. Why are we so hard on ourselves?

I think one of the most difficult things is to accept that deeply entrenched habits will not be easy to change. We want to change, therefore we expect that we will. But it's a tougher call than that. So often we easily lapse back into old habits of stressing, procrastination or perfectionism and then we catch ourselves out and feel like a failure. Instead, we should catch ourselves and talk ourselves back on track. If you're starting to feel like a perfectionist, stop, reset yourself and aim for excellence. Nobody does anything perfectly - look at the iPhone - it's on to yet another new and improved version! We can't be perfect, but excellent, that's a mighty fine place to be.

Procrastination your poison? Set a timer and get in and do the hardest task for 30 to 45 minutes. Now. Go on. Stressed? What's the worst that can happen? At Christmas when I was overloaded with work, my daughter's birthday, her ballet concert, end of year, usual Christmas stuff etc I actually had to prioritise tasks in the most basic way. I asked myself "If I don't do this will anyone die or cry?" If the answer was no, it was left till later.

I've always had a bad habit of leaving tasks unfinished. I'll start weeding one garden bed, go to empty the weeds in the bin, and see another garden needs weeding and will start on that - leaving the other 3/4 finished. I'm trying to stop that by giving myself a firm talking to. Yep, in my head I actually tell myself to stop, go back and finish what I started. One year later I'm not talking to myself quite as much, but I still need reminding.

When you expect great things from yourself it's easy to expect it immediately. But often these habits have been created and formed over years - can you seriously expect them to stop overnight? So talk kindly to yourself. If you want to make the change you can - but don't expect overnight miracles. And celebrate the small successes along the way. It's like positive parenting - focus on the success, not the problem.

How are you going to be kind to yourself today?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

i got chills...

I've just seen the preview for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows and think you need to go here and see it too.





I had simultaneous goosebumps, hairs standing on end, chills running through my body and tears and sobs rising and falling.

November 2010 you can't come around too quickly. And July 2011 - I both wait with baited breath and more than a touch of sadness that this brilliance will come to an end.

I am, seriously, wild about Harry.

sweetly scented

Because it was so frosty this morning I decided to be uber-productive. So after I completed a phone interview I dashed out and vacuumed and mopped the kitchen floor and the bathroom floor. So now I can smell the deliciously lavender-scented cleanliness wafting through the house and feel twice as motivated to get this story written up and sent off.

New plan: do one decent piece of housework per day after doing a solid hour's work in the morning. This way I don't have to use special blinkers to walk through the house and ignore the mess and I'll feel more inspired to actually get work done.

I'm steeling myself for the school holidays. We've only got one weekend trip planned so I'll be doing a few half-day playdates and hoping that my gal gets asked for a few herself. I'm also aiming to get myself ahead in my work so my deadlines aren't quite as pressing during the break. At least our play options are more wide-open this holiday with no broken arm to contend with!

so danged cold

Wow, it was so freezing last night that I slept with my arms under the covers - would have put my head under there too if it were possible. Hello Winter.

I need warming up - does this image here help?

I spent the day yesterday doing all those niggly tasks that offer little reward while you're doing them, but make life a lot simpler in the long-run. My email in-box is down from 475 emails to 152, my sent articles are all filed in the correct part of the Filed folder {under the chocolate cherry cupcake icon on my desktop - sweet}.

We had a great game of netball last night, soured only by the opposing Goal Attack. Seriously, if you're going to get cranky and whingy about the opposition actually playing the game and intercepting your passes and stopping your goals just go home and play on a Wii fit. I don't do whinginess and really wish I didn't have to put up with it in others. Excitingly, we made the semis next week - so we should as I discovered last night we're actually on top of the ladder - yay us. So next week we'll play the semi-final at 6.40 then if we win, the final at 8pm. Woo hoo.

Even though it's frosty cold, I'm hoping it's still a good drying day. My sheets are in the machine almost ready to go on the line. Ahhhh, a good night's sleep in clean flannelette sheets. Is there anything that says cozy winter better?

Monday, June 28, 2010

meal planning monday

Okay, back on track. I'm starting my meal planning on a Monday again. Makes the week work a little better I think. Last night we had the most magnificent pork loin from the Farmer's Markets. The crackling was the best-ever and the meat was succulent and delish. I served it with some cavalo nero - black tuscan cabbage cooked with some garlic sauteed in butter and olive oil and just enough chicken stock to steam it. My green-veg averse husband actually liked it, and child didn't mind it. So I'll make it again {maybe adding some pancetta to make it even more appealing...}

Tonight: Netball. Chicken curry with cashews, rice and garlic naan.
Tuesday: Osso Bucco {I bought Angus Osso Bucco at the markets - it's so deep red it's almost purple - so must cook it to do it justice. I reckon a couple of hours in a tomato and garlic-rich sauce} served with mash and baby asparagus {also from markets}
Wednesday: We're doing Duck Confit night at III Bean with our duck-loving friends again. Hopefully Alice from Baked Uprising will have a sweet treat to tickle my tastebuds at the end of the meal.
Thursday: French study: no class but my friend and I are headed off to a quiet cafe somewhere to study together. I need all the help I can get with revising! For husband and child, bolognaise pasta bake.
Friday: Baked, glazed salmon, rice and asian greens.
Saturday: Friends for dinner so shall be perusing the French cookbooks for a suitable feast.
Sunday: Roast chicken dinner with veg.

statement in my study

See this fabulous carpet with peonies swirled all over it? Well that's what's going underfoot in my study. Tres fabulous non? However, we're going for an even greater statement with the carpet in charcoal. Dark, yet divine. The walls will be white, the desk a pale french grey, chair white, bookshelves white. We've been tossing up whether to go with the safer mid-grey option, but after a weekend's deliberation we've both decided that we can cope with the statement the bolder shade offers.

I'm beside myself with excitement as I've never chosen a carpet before. I adore floorboards and had hoped to paint the boards in my study white - but after pulling up the carpet in the corner we discovered we only had boards in half the room, and masonite in the extended section.

We ducked into a carpet showroom the other day and as I was moping around the selections, I stumbled across this Signature beauty named Rosa. That's it, t'was smitten. So fingers crossed we'll be doing a spot of redecoration in the near future. Shall I be sad to say goodbye to my boring beige berber and pale veneer desk? I think not. Considering the amount of time I spend in my study, working from home, it should be our most fabulous room. Can't wait to glam it up.

yes please mr manolo

Oh, come on, how ridiculously pretty are these Manolos? I found them over at Nordstom, and if I had a lazy $850-odd dollars lying around the house cluttering it up, I think I'd buy them. But I don't, so I shan't. Oh well, a gal should dream. It's also inspired me to jazz up a pair of my strappy sandals with fabric flowers - not my Manolos - they're staying intact. But I do have a few pairs of shoes that could do with a make-over...

Yesterday my husband spent the entire day putting my tax together - bless his socks. With me dashing in and out to help find receipts and info. Luckily, this next tax year I've been more organised and have all my info collated in the one place. We'll be starting on that soon enough.

My gal and I did a spot of planting on the weekend. Some sweet peas along a bare patch of fence {late, but hopefully they'll take off}, primulas around the base of the dovecote and violas in the window boxes off the living room. I went with the cheap option of seedlings this time, rather than potted colour the time before. Hopefully they'll take off and give us a burst of colour for 1/4 the price.

Enjoy your week - hope it's productive and fun x

Sunday, June 27, 2010

super-sunny sunday

I must say that it's a helluva lot easier to wake and leap out of bed when blue sky's peeking around the corner of the blinds. It's a gorgeous, glorious day today. Tragically, we'll be spending some/most/all of it putting my tax together. Eep. But I'm also planning on working my way through teetering piles of washing {seriously, that other family that keeps dumping dirty clothing in my washing basket really needs to stop...}

There will also be a section of time allocated to getting out into the wintery sunshine with my gal. A walk to the beach perhaps? How's your Sunday treating you?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

i'd be a little bit naughty

If it meant wearing this Valentino number for even a moment. Honestly, could you imagine anything more divine swishing around yourself? However, I'm pretty sure that the net-a-porter "Try it and return it if it doesn't fit policy" doesn't involve shipping frocks worth upteen thousand to Aus so I can be a princess for a day.

Well, one can dream....

soggy saturday

Baby, it's cold outside. And it's threatening rain. Not enough to have netball cancelled mind, just enough to guarantee a spot of misery. Oh well, it's not netball if it's not a wintery, windy, drizzly day is it?

Thank you to all my new visitors yesterday thanks to the lovely blog love from Corinne posted over at Sharnanigans. I adore blogland's habits of spreading the love. You can discover new loves and addictions thanks to a few well-placed words.

Okay, off to rug up and grab a double shot coffee. I'm saving it till the last minute to keep nice and warm. Brrrrrrr. Wish us luck!

Friday, June 25, 2010

phew, friday

I shall be avidly awaiting the lunar eclipse, just so this crazy week can come to an end. Seriously, hasn't it been odd? So I'm going to be checking out the sky tonight as apparently the moon will turn red - cool huh? I may need a cocktail in hand when I do so...

such a sweet weekend

Can you hear that sound? I'm pretty sure that what you can hear is thousands of sighs greeting the weekend. Aaaaaah. What does your weekend involve? Tragically mine has nothing to do with this cute-as-a-haberdashers-full-of-buttons caravan here. Seriously, if I owned that wee beauty I'd be constantly camping - although, strictly speaking, surely that'd be glamping in such a number.

My weekend involves plotting, planning, scheming and acting. Oh, and getting our tax ready {le sigh, le ugh}. There will be study designing {wait till you see the carpet we've found, you JUST WAIT}. There shall also be bathroom scheming - and a spot of garden plotting thrown in at the same time. We'll also throw in the last of the netball games before the school holidays, a birthday party and some drinking of champagne {c'mon - it's the weekend - bubbles are mandatory...} and a tad relaxation.

C'mon - you?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

a day of firsts

Wow, so Australia officially has its first female Prime Minister. {And she's a redhead* - squeee}. No ballot apparently, Rudd just stepped aside. She's a brave woman stepping up to this position - let's see what it does to the political landscape.

In other news, I woke incredibly early to check out Australia play Serbia and boy, did our Socceroos redeem themselves. What a game. We won 2 - 1, but sadly didn't progress to the next stage. There was some beautiful football on that field - so good I even managed to ignore the mosquito-esque Vuvu's blowing all the way through the match.

It's a pretty good day to be an Aussie I do believe.
{* regular readers will of course be familiar with my love of red hair - that's why I'm pointing it out, because I'm doubly excited, woman + redhead = fabulous.}

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

playing catch-up

Phew, I'm playing middle-of-the-week catch-up today. I'm trying to get stuff together for my tax return {eek}, wash piles of dirty clothes, put away even higher piles of clean clothes, get on with some work, and start feeling more organised.

It's been one of those weeks so far. Much rushing, little achieved - or poorly achieved. We haven't eaten well this week. Monday night's chorizo and haloumi pasta was a fail. New haloumi lacked flavour and the tin of cherry tomatoes I used were bland and flavourless - it sated our hunger, but that's it. Last night was rushing around after a fabulous parent/teacher interview and I bought hamburgers from a take-away I shan't be visiting again. Erky. C'mon, if you're going to eat crappy stuff it needs to taste good doesn't it?

Tonight we're off to III Bean, where I apparently live now, for a pinot noir and duck confit night. Can't wait to see what Baked Uprising has prepared for pudding!

Right - off to hang out clothes and do another load - this day's going to be productive if it kills me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

musical motivation

Well, I've done it. 1200 words written and ready for editing. For these words I'd like to thank my muse. Pixies, you and your kick-butt music have managed to help me achieve what I thought was impossible. Thank you for Debaser, Monkey's Gone To Heaven, Wave of Mutilation and so many other pieces of musical genius.

Do you have a band that are guaranteed to help extricate annoying songs such as Sea of Love from your head when all else fails? Music that gets the house cleaner than a visit from Mr Sheen? Or tunes that get you in the mood for a fab night out?

Please share...

amazing grace

I'm having one of those days. A day where I have much to do, and a seeming inability to do it. I'm flitting from task to task and need to settle down so I decided that a spot of Grace Coddington's genius would help.

Ahhhhh, better now...

bathing beauties

We've been going through our home lately, room-by-room, working out what we'd like to do in the long-term and the short-term. Generally speaking when our house was restored they did a fabulous job - but I think the bathroom was last on the list and it's starting to show. Our bath's developed a crack, a decent-sized one. So in the short-term we'll try to repair it and use the shower, but in the long-term it means a bathroom renovation is on the cards.

We've only got a smallish bathroom, so we're limited size-wise. But what we'd love is a slipper bath to replace the nasty plastic number that's there at the moment. Luckily we can save a bit as hopefully we'll be able to keep the current white subway tiles that go from floor almost up to the ceiling on all walls - they just need a bit of regrouting in the shower.

It's only in the preliminary stages at the moment - but isn't it great to have plans?

Monday, June 21, 2010

pump up the volume

With another busy week on the horizon I thought these fully fierce Miu Miu pumps were just the thing to get off to a good start. Is there an outfit they wouldn't up the vamp factor in by about a million volts?

I have a very sore and sorry husband after he lugged tonnes of convict sandstone and soil around in the side yard over the weekend - but wow, you should see how it's looking. Still a work in progress, but aspects are looking fabulous. I'm also pretty chuffed with myself as I managed to vacuum and mop all the floors while husband and gal worked outside in the yard. So clean, so lovely...

Today I'm working this morning, then dashing out to Bibina - this massive food warehouse home of absolutely every foodstuff you can dream of. Last time I was there I bought Violette Syrup {$3 a bottle less than at Essential Ingredient}, violet food colour, murray river pink salt and a few other bibs and bobs. This time I'm going to venture into both the cheese room and the chocolate room. Yum.

Hope you enjoyed your weekend.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

a gardener's life

Busy morning this morning. Netball game followed by lunch with my in-laws and now we're doing a spot of gardening. Darling husband is out shifting sandstone blocks in the side yard and I'm watering the trees in the backyard and then plan on getting a bit stinky by adding manure to the roses.

The day is utterly glorious - it's a shame not to enjoy it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

on a sunny saturday

It's a sunny winter's day here in Newcastle, chilly, but with enough warmth from the sun to allow it to feel pleasant. In two hours I'm being collected in a taxi by two fabulous friends and we're headed off to a bar on Newcastle's sparkly harbour foreshore. There, we'll catch up with a few more year 5 mums for cocktails and champagne before eating a meal and coming home. Sounds lovely doesn't it?

In case you're wondering why on earth I've included a picture of nailpolish here - it's because this is the exact colour that's going to be adorning my nails this afternoon. I'm also wearing a fiery red frock, so I'm obviously not in wallflower mode.

Hope you're enjoying your sunny saturday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

woo hoooo weekend!

Phew, a busy week shall be bookended by another busy weekend. I don't know about you, but long weekends tend to throw my working week into turmoil. I feel like I've been frantically chasing butterflies this week - so it's time to slow down. Soon.

This afternoon it's school report day. Can't wait to see what my gal's teacher has to share with us. Then we're going to dash off to Westfield {eek!} to buy a birthday present for the sleepover party my gal's attending tonight. I have to pick her up at 9am for a netball game - and then we've got another game on Sunday {no lolling around for breakfast in bed!}. My husband's parents are coming down to watch her play on Sunday and are then coming back here for brunch. Still haven't contemplated food options - should probably get onto that shouldn't I?

Saturday night we'll be watching Australia redeem themselves in the World Cup. We will, won't we? I'm also going out for 'mother's drinks' with some lovely lasses from school. Drinks in a harbourside bar sure sounds like a fine way to spend an early Saturday afternoon.

There'll also be the obligatory gardening and housecleaning. Sigh. Can't these things ever start to look after themselves?

How about you? Plans?

somebody who?

A few months back I blogged about how I made myself snap out of my "I should" phase and move into "I will". I've worked out I've got another pet peeve - the phrases "people should..." or "somebody should..."

You're only responsible for your own actions. If you see a dangerous piece of footpath, rather than muttering "somebody should fix this..." then you call the council and start the action yourself. See rubbish on the beach? Pick it up and put it in a bin. Of course people shouldn't litter, and yes, things should be maintained so they're not dangerous, but stuff happens.

I think it's dangerous to be a "people should..." person. All the anger and bitterness builds up inside so that even when "someone does" do something, you're too busy tutting and about-timing to take the time and appreciate it.

I don't want to be a "somebody should" person - I want to be an "I'll do it" person. Much better non?

wizarding wow

I think I need to step away from Twitter at the moment. See, I follow Lainey, from LaineyGossip and at the moment she's deep inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and every single tweet is turning me a deeper shade of green. Currently I'm such a dark shade of emerald that in certain light I appear black.

Check out her rundown here. And tell me, when are we going?

PS: This pic, with all the Weasleys in their titian-haired perfection? Making my life.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

baked delight

As you have probably guessed, I'm a huge fan of cooking. There's nothing I like better than coming up with a delicious meal. What I'm particularly fond of is coming up with something creative. I can do this with savoury foods, but baked goods elude me. Probably because I don't have the background knowledge to help guide me. I have made pastry, but not often enough to be able to do so without a recipe. And there's no way I'd be game enough to experiment - it's just outside my comfort zone. So imagine my joy at finding someone who loves to experiment with baking. Now, first of all go here to see a creative baking genius at work.

Then, no matter where you live, make plans to come here to Newcastle and visit a few of the caf├ęs clever enough to stock her creations {III Bean, Lotus and Suspension}. I had the sour cherry and pistachio tart today after my cassoulet at lunch {mmmm} and it was a revelation. The cassoulet was rich, sensuous and every mouthful was a delight - but I knew that if this tart was on offer I'd have to give it a go. I expected it to taste delicious but this went beyond delicious. It was the perfect balance of flavours and textures - and looked gorgeous. It's a very clever person who can balance flavours so well. I'm in love and think I may have to return for another bite tomorrow...

fashion jackpot

Apparently the entire contents of Isabella Blow's wardrobe, due for auction, have been snapped up by Daphne Guinness. Lucky gal - can you imagine the fun you'd have playing in that wardrobe? And ps: how amazing is this shot of Blow and Alexander McQueen by David LaChapelle - that dude sure can stage a shot.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

sweet stuff

Sometimes life just seems to throw too much gristly stuff at us. It's hard to chew and doesn't taste too pleasant. When that happens, I reckon a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. We all have different sugar that appeals. For me, today, it was as simple as hosing off the exterior of my study window. It's now lighter, brighter and makes everything seem a little bit more do-able.

Find your sugar and take a bite.

mag must have

How beautiful is the July 2010 Vogue starring Marion? Just so utterly exquisite...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

tasty tuesday

Here's what we're eating this week:

Tonight: due to popular demand - beef stroganoff. Thank you MasterChef for putting the cravings deep inside our family's bellies.
Wednesday: we might be checking out Cassolet night at III Bean
Thursday: chorizo pasta bake with salad
Friday: home-made burgers
Saturday: Chicken Schnitzel with lemon baked potatoes and a green salad {my first ever schnitzel were a huge success - my gal's been asking for them every day since Saturday night. Recipe below...}
Sunday: Roast dinner
Monday: early game of netball - tuna chilli pasta sounds good

My first-ever chicken schnitzel. Now, this is a bit of a no-brainer - but the girls were so enthusiastic in their praise {niece apparently raved about it when she got home, husband also besotted} so I'll share. Cheap and easy.

Serves 4.
Two Lillydale freerange chicken breasts, or organic chicken breasts
Panko Breadcrumbs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Cut the chicken breasts in halves through the middle from end-to-end then place between two sheets of clingfilm and bash with a meat mallet {or a rolling pin if you're like me and don't have a meat mallet. They'll look messy, but they'll taste great. I bashed mine out to around 1cm thick.}

Next, dip the chicken breasts in flour that's been seasoned with salt and pepper. Then pop them into beaten egg. Finally, press them into the panko crumbs - ensuring they're completely covered and that the crumbs stay in place.

Heat around 1cm of olive oil in a frypan and put two schnitzel in at a time. Cook till golden brown and then turn, cooking the other side. It should take around 4 minutes in total - and mine were completely cooked through. Check by cutting a little off a thick end and tasting - cook's prerogative. When done, pop them on a tray and place them in an oven to stay warm.

I served them with chunky potato and sweet potato chips - baked in a hot oven sprinkled with a little olive oil, chunks of lemon to squeeze over the top and a green salad.

please explain

Just how does Helen Mirren always manage to look so hot, elegant and yet still age appropriate?

Monday, June 14, 2010

shiny shiny

When it comes to fashion Cate the Great can do no wrong. Who else could pull off a plunging silver pantsuit? And c'mon - it's for the Tony Awards, talk about event-appropriate.

shoe business

I may have mentioned before that I don't do boots - haven't done them since my Doc Martins died a very slow and horrible death in my mid-twenties. Since then I've just been a shoe gal. However, if I could justify the expense, these would change my mind. Pretty! The zip, the ruching, the baby-soft leather - oh my!

Now, let's not discuss the Australia vs Germany match that I woke at 4.30am to watch with hubby. Man, I knew Germany would have to win, but c'mon - that was a shocker. And that red card for Tim Cahill? Poor poppet, his world cup dreams are now shattered that he's out for the next two matches. Boo hoo. Let's hope we can get back on track in six days time.

Long weekend Monday today and husbands playing in a golf comp, gal and I have just finished our omelettes and I have two articles due. I know - public holiday {generally speaking journalists don't really get public holidays - just a longer annual holiday}. They're virtually done, just need editing and tweaking so shouldn't take long. Gal's off for a playdate at 1pm and then I'm hoping to do a little in the garden. My darling husband spent ages yesterday dividing the irises and moving them to more suitable locations so now we have some plants to give to our friends whose garden just needs a few spots filled in.

Oh, and did I tell you about our delicious afternoon tea on Saturday {HUNGER SPOILER ALERT}. French cheese, blueberry cupcakes topped with whipped cream, raspberries and crushed meringues {just like Eton Mess - mmmmm} and a superb flourless chocolate cake served with mascapone that had an espresso shot and coffee liquer stirred through. Perfection.

Best get on with it. Tell me about your long weekend. I'm dying to hear about all the relaxation and quaffing that went on...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

ma macarons

Well, here they are - our first attempt at macarons. Now, while they're not perfect {oven temperature too hot} they're glossy, chewy in the middle and damned delicious. Some have lemon curd filling and others have rose buttercream and we ended up just making rose flavoured macarons. We had fun and now we're looking forward to trying again next time in search of perfection!

cuteness incorporated

Isla Fisher is just utterly adorable. Last night, hubby was in the study plotting his world cup viewing so I thought I'd watch a wee bit of fluff. Luckily for me, for once Foxtel heeded my call and was screening Confessions of a Shopaholic. A fluffy film saved by the absolute delight that is Isla Fisher. It was a fine film, a few cute ideas, cute lead, cute clothes - but Isla's just mesmerising. So gorgeous, with that HAIR and with a delightful sense of comedic timing.

One day when I was lying on the couch with some illness or other I came across another of her films, one with Ryan Reynolds. And again, she was just so danged gorgeous in it. She's my new crush.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

welcome weekend

Sleep-in: check. Leisurely coffee: check. Now, just have to wait for husband to awaken {he got up at 4am to watch a World Cup game} and get outside and garden. The sky's blue and there doesn't seem to be too much wind, so hopefully it'll be good gardening weather. We should fit in a chunk of work before going to afternoon tea and then we're picking up our niece so the gals can have a sleepover.

Oh, before I go, I must tell you about last night's dinner. The most tender scotch fillet steaks cooked meltingly medium rare, with a shallot and red wine jus and garlic mashed potatoes. But that's not the best bit - no, the best bit was that after I'd bought the steaks to room temperature I seasoned them with a little olive oil and then some thyme salt. Yep, thyme salt. I stripped the leaves off three sprigs of thyme and put them in the mortar and pestle with some pink murray river sea salt and ground till it became the most delicate green powder. I sprinkled it over the steaks, pushed it in and then cooked the steaks. Now, I'm not sure if they were just good steaks, or if this salt had special magical powers - but you could cut them with a butter knife they were so tender. Mmmmmm.

Tonight I've decided to attempt to make chicken schnitzel {yes, you read that right, I've never attempted it}. I'll make it with a similar crumbing to my panko/gremolata pork cutlets and serve it with chunky home-made chips and an iceberg lettuce. That cheese fondue on MasterChef last night has me feeling all retro... And as my niece is younger than my gal, and lactose intolerant, I reckon this'll be a child-pleasing meal that'll make everyone happy.

Enjoy your day x

Friday, June 11, 2010

blog redecoration

My blog make-over is well-overdue. Hope you like it! I think it's still pretty, and while it needs a tweek or two, I think it's kinda cute and classic.

long weekend woo hoo

I don't know about you, but I'm dead excited about this here long weekend. Three whole days with nothing to do. No netball so we can sleep in on Saturday. No plans so we can sleep in on Sunday. And no work or school so we can sleep in on Monday. See a theme here? Oh yes, there will be sleeping in!

There will also be gardening. Just a spot of weeding, some pruning and a lot of fertilising. All that rain's washed away all the nutrients in the soil and my leaves are all looking a wee bit on the yellow side. Luckily we've got bags of manure ready to lay down. Stinky, but essential.

My gal's also got a few playdates planned for the weekend, which will keep her entertained. And we will be making a date with Where the Wild Things Are on Foxtel at some stage over the weekend. We're also going around to visit some friends and check out their architect's ideas for their home and offer up a spot of garden advice. French cheese will be on offer which always makes me happy.

This weekend is also the time when I'm intending on making macarons. There's a few ingredients I need to track down, but surely I'll find them somewhere. I will be photographing and blogging.

Enjoy your long weekend. Hope it's filled with happy times and champagne x

Thursday, June 10, 2010

floral fantasies

So far as I'm concerned there is no such thing as too much floral. Flowers make me happy. Inside and outside I need an abundance of blooms. So that's why I think that this weekend we need to make the trek to our favourite nursery in Maitland to buy some flowering plants to fill a couple of gaps in the garden. Or maybe the farmer's markets will be an option.

Now, quick question - how cold is it? Last night I returned home from netball training actually physically chilled to the bone. It took me ages to warm up - despite my home being nice and toasty. Winter's certainly burst into our lives with all the verve and vibrancy of Liza at a gay wedding.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

who's your audience?

I love to take the phrase, "Life's not a dress rehearsal" and run with it. Why live life tentatively and not to its fullest? So following on from that it's best to ask "Who's your audience?"

When you do something, anything, who are you doing it for? To impress some random passer-by? To make your friends' envious, to live up to an ideal? Or for yourself and your loved-ones? When you clean and tidy your house who's it for? When you dress who are you dressing for?

Let's make our audience an appreciative one. An audience that understands what we're trying to achieve and says "Bravo" to our attempts. An audience that sees beyond the superficial and gets where we're coming from.

And while we're at it, let's make it an audience that isn't afraid to rock up in a cool costume and get involved in a little bit of audience participation. I reckon we could all do with a Rocky Horror audience in our lives don't you?

something swishy

I do love a frock with a bit of swish and swoosh, and SJP's gown for the Alexander McQueen tribute hits just about every single one of my buttons: amazing pattern, divine colours, interesting neckline and fabric that's just aching to be touched. And the swooshiness? Perfection.

whistling for it

I'm not sure if whistling while I work will help, but tell you what, I could quite do with a team of enchanted critters to help me get my house into order at the moment...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

little lessons

I'm off to my gal's class today to give a writing workshop to a bunch of year five kids. Eek! I've gone along before and it's been fun - let's hope they're open to it today.

I'm starting off with Best Opening Lines in Literature. I think a killer opening line is essential. It's why I always start off my articles by coming up with a great headline, sell and going from there. I can't just start off with the main body of the text - I need context.

So I've got some of my fave lines and we'll be discussing what we can expect from these opening lines - then I'm going to get them to write a paragraph to follow their chosen line. Should be fun.

Afterwards, well I'll be coming back to do a little work, wash my new sheets I bought yesterday {hurrah!} and maybe pop on the Morrocan Meatballs I saw over at frills in the hills.

What are you plans for today?

Monday, June 07, 2010

the triumphant return of sandy b

In five years time there won't be weepy, tragic magazine covers featuring Sandra Bullock bemoaning her lost love, or pairing her with co-stars {um, Jennifer Aniston, that side-eye is facing your direction}. After such a poopy experience Sandra's handled herself so well. Here she is last night in her first official appearance - looking smoking hot {Her hair! Her cheeks! Her frock!} and here's what she had to say. Bless. "Let's be honest here, just for a moment. We're all going to be honest, right? Did I win this for being entertainer of the year, or did I win this because of the spectacular I.E.D. [improvised explosive device] explosion that became my personal life?! No, it's okay. Because I would do it over again if it was to entertain our troops , and our extraordinary troops deserve something much more than some actress in a tight dress talking about herself."

rock and roll babe

Mondays are never an easy way to start the day, but I'm pretty sure that a glimpse of these Roger Vivier Rose 'n' Roll heels will put some spring in your step. Aren't they just the most amazing things you've ever seen? I'm pretty sure that scarlet and purple are my two favourite hue combinations - the perfect way to warm up a winter - and when you add a satin rose, well, I'm in heaven.

The sun's shining today. Honestly! The sky's blue and everything just seems that little more do-able. I've got a load of washing to hang out {a black load that I added something a little extra to, a tissue...} and another to wash. Let's hope the rain stays away long enough for them to dry out.

How's your week looking?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

i found my thrills...

A weekend in the vineyards with the girls was just the medicine I needed. I'm recharged and ready for whatever the week has to throw at me. I also broke down some of my barriers. I can be a wee bit of a snob. And one thing I'm particularly snobby about is any form of organised tour - large or small. But my friend who organised this weekend was keen on organising a wine tour - so I went into it with an open mind {and a wee bit of trepidation}.

On Saturday morning, after a fun friday night with scallops, pork belly, chorizo and prawns {and much champagne and pinot grigio...} we awoke and were greeted by a mini bus filled with nine strangers and a jovial driver. We hit the first vineyard where I proceeded to consume more wine before 11am than ever before. By the end of the day, much wine, a big lunch and a bit of a shop I was won over by the wine tour. I went to vineyards I never would have visited and me some interesting people {Pat the Us Marine and his gorgeous girlfriend were the highlights!}. But the piece de resistance was the vineyard that Mike saved till last. Blueberry Hill was not only a gorgeous little vineyard, with a vingeron and owner who was as dry as the perfect glass of champagne - but home to exquisite wines. Seriously - if you go to the Hunter Valley promise me you'll visit there? If not, go to their website - they also have accommodation that looks mighty nice.

Oh, and the best thing? The neighbour, a pilot who owns a Red Baron style plane, who took it out for a few spins and loop-de-loops while we stood watching, the sun setting over the vines. Priceless.

I came home with a car-boot full of wine, sated from much giggling and chatting with my friends. Ah, recharging - what a delight.

Friday, June 04, 2010

ou est mon parapluie?

Oh rain, seriously, can you sod off about now? The only good thing about this continual sogginess is that I get to use one of my favourite French words - parapluie - so much cuter than umbrella non? It's right up there with pamplemousse - which kicks the butt of the english word grapefruit.

I'm off to the Hunter Valley for a girls weekend this afternoon. Bliss. There'll be wine tasting, fine dining and relaxing on the sofa with a nice glass of red and some dark chocolate I'll be thinking. Let's hope the rain calms down enough so that we don't get too saturated getting from place-to-place.

Last night I came home from French lessons to overflowing gutters and a good 30cm depth of water that spread from the curb to a metre and a half onto the road. Even the most energetic of long-jumps wasn't going to allow me to span that. Instead, I took off my shoes and waded through the water in my Leona Edmiston opaque stockings. Sog city. I think I need a pair of wellingtons for weather like this.

deadset gorgeous

I've yet to succumb to Twilight fever, but I love this shot of the gals that's appearing in Vanity Fair. Delicious isn't it?