Tuesday, May 31, 2011

new scentsation

I'm almost out of my favourite perfumes. What a shame. I estimate that I have about a month's worth of two of my favourites, and will run out just about the time I hit Paris. Guess I'll have to buy a few newbies while in Paris....

This one's sounding pretty spesh, and very Parisian don't you think?

washed out

I feel like I'm in an episode of Hoarders at the moment. Except instead of 'just-in-case' stuff, I'm at risk of being crushed to death by mountains of laundry - dirty and clean...

When it rains, and rains, and rains, and you're busy, busy, busy, things tend to fall by the wayside. This week, in this neck of the woods, it's the laundry. Oh yeah, I've been doing the 'sniff-test' with monotonous regularity. Eeek! And looking at the weather forecast for the next week I can't see that pile diminishing, well, not without the drying running 24/7 which just isn't an option.

I know I'm not alone though, gee, we're only a household of three! Please tell me that you also have a washing pile that sniggers at you every time you walk by it...

Monday, May 30, 2011

shoes with a splash of shiny

It's all grey, drizzly and erky outside, and I have PDLIT {post dancing like I'm twenty} injuries. So I thought I'd best pop up some Jimmy Choos to brighten up the day. Luckily I wasn't wearing these when I was dancing like a maniac on Saturday night, I'd be walking around in an even more sad and sorry state than I am now.

Hope you're having a good start to the week.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

sunday suppers

Wow, what a weekend - and another busy week ahead. So menu-planning will save the day!
Monday: I have a netball committee meeting, so we'll need an early dinner. Grilled barramuni, rice and salad greens sounds like a good option.
Tuesday: Late ballet night, salmon patties, mash and broccoli.
Wednesday: Netball training, steak and vegies perhaps.
Thursday: Chicken pot pies for late ballet {again}. Mash and lots of peas alongside I think.
Friday: Caramelised pork, sticky rice and wilted greens.
Saturday: It's duck night! Friends over for duck confit, potatoes in duck fat and some kind of greens.
Sunday: Roast beef and vegies.

Yep, that'll do.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

this one goes out to the one i love...

You know the only thing better than a coffee? Coffee in my cute, new silicone takeaway cup. Oh, and you know what's even better than that? Lovehearts in my coffee! In fact, I think I managed to make a loveheart within a loveheart which is about as awesome as it gets.

I'll be taking this little pretty with me to the netball courts this morning - my girls are umpiring again. Please let them have an easier match than last week!

Friday, May 27, 2011

can't wait/can wait...

Noooooooooooooo. And Yesssssssssssssssssssssss. I'm a Harry Potter tragic, and so I can't wait to see this, but, let me tell you - I'll be sobbing ugly tears at the end. Oh, I don't want it to end!

Wild, wild, WILD about Harry.

flowers for friday

Do you think that the people who work at Martha Stewart weddings ever respond with a "Shut UP!" {you know, because that's a completely appropriate thing to say whenever you're overwhelmed... or is that just me?} Anywho, when I saw this garland of lillies - well, I may or may not have uttered the briefest of shut-ups...

I do believe that that may well may the most exquisite thing I've ever seen in my life. Can you IMAGINE the scent? I am so doing some form of this for my gal's birthday party this year - you betcha.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

thank you for the music

After nearly 20 years of music, silverchair have announced they're on 'indefinite hiatus'...

my dream self...

Do you have a dream self? I do.

My dream self rides a Vespa - an awesome, vintage green one. I tootle around town on it, hair tied back with a red scarf with white polka dots. I think I look a bit Audrey in Roman Holiday.

Do you know that there's a store in town that's obviously been perfectly designed for my dream self? It's called Greg & Audrey's Garage {named after Roman Holiday - cuteness!}. It's so, so very pretty, and they stock scooters. Oh my yes they do. And cute clothes and accessories. It's a damned fine idea for a store - and just one of the many, many reasons why I love this town.

Apparently they also have movie nights where they screen Roman Holiday - hello - fabulous!

I don't understand why more people don't ride scooters. They're pretty much the ideal commuting vehicle: cheap, cute and easy to park. And they make the world a happier place. I remember driving into the centre of Rome, in our hired Fiat, when all of a sudden we were converged upon by dozens of scooters. Oh, it was an awesome sight to behold and was just so roman!

Scooter riders have to be stylish. They hang out in cafés. They're social and they're fabulous.

I think I need to make my dream self a reality - don't you?


I was mean-girled the other night.

Now, as most of you know, I've been studying French for the past year and a half. I love the country, and love the language and am determined to become fluent by 50. However, this aim is being seriously messed with by my teacher.

She and I have differing views on encouraging students to learn: I believe in the carrot method {praise, encouragement...} while she believes in the stick {a bloody big stick}.

Every now and again she'll pick on someone, just for the fun of it. She'll deride their pronunciation, or their inability to think of a third person pronoun... Anything really. This week it was my turn.

We have to do dictation, where our teacher speaks in French and we write it down. This is hard. Really hard. Usually they're not only sentences we're not familiar with - but words too. Whole new, unfamilar words. Try doing that in English let alone French... This week we had six people in the class, and six sentences. The last two were tough - the final one, impossible. Guess which one I had to write on the whiteboard...

So, there I am, writing word by word. And with every word my teacher's snickering, 'Hoo, hoo, ha, ha"... I'm incredulous - seriously, is this happening? Next word: actual laughter, and encouragement for the class to join in - which, as is typical in a bullying environment, there are a few nervous titters {of the "thank god that's not me" variety.}. I finally get my long, complex sentence up and she comes up. And tells a story. A story of how I remind her of a school student she once had. A student who had many ideas, but, oh, she wrote a story and the teacher said "Is this in French? What language is this?" Because oh, silly child, it was all written phonetically! Um, if you don't know how to spell a word don't you write it phonetically? Isn't that precisely how our children learn?

Then she proceeded to tear every word apart, asked me what the tense was, who the subject was - asked me why I'd written 'e' when she'd so clearly said 'e'. {I kid you not, I still haven't been able to differentiate between those sounds...}

At the time I just fumed silently, but days later I'm still furious. Next week I'll be refusing to write on the board and I'll tell her why. I'm in the class to learn, not to be derided.

I will keep going as I do want to learn the language - fingers and toes crossed that she doesn't teach next year's level. If so, well, I might have to look elsewhere.

Mean-girling sucks at any age.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ou est mon parapluie?

Oh, it's bucketing down in this neck of the woods. It poured all night and we awoke to an overflowing pool and rain that wasn't keen to stop flowing. It's grey, it's dark - and oh, I need a pretty umbrella like this Lulu Guinness number - I do love a clear umbrella! It'd make the soggy school run a much more pleasant experience.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

every day...

I plan on taking 30 minutes each day to just sit, in silence, with a book and a cup of tea. Just to be... No laptop, no television, just words and the warmth of a good cuppa.

Sound like a plan?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

red hot shoes

Oh red patent, you do set my heart a-flutter. I neglected to feature a shoe last week, mainly because nothing seemed to inspire me. But oh, I made up for it this week. Look at these Miu Miu lovelies. EVERYTHING I love, everything. The colour, the shape, the peep-toe, the bow - and oh, the patent.... J'adore...

sunday suppers

My meal-plan flew out the window a few times last week, so we'll see how we go this week. Although I'm pleased I ran out of time last night and had to make pizza - otherwise I wouldn't have discovered that my local Coles has authentic Italian parma ham - the real soft, delicious stuff. I'm going back to stock up today. Here's what we're eating this week:
Today: My in-laws are coming for lunch so I'm buying some crusty bread and poaching up a few chicken breasts to slice. Then I'll just put out platters with salad leaves, sliced tomatoes, strips of cucumber, avocado with lime and a few other bits and bobs. For dinner we're having slow roasted butterflied leg of lamb on french lentils.
Monday: Salmon patties, green beans with almonds, roasted pumpkin and sweet potato.
Tuesday: Late night ballet lesson. Pork chops with garlic wilted spinach, mashed pumpkin and steamed broccolini.
Wednesday: Netball training. I didn't get around to pea and ham soup in the slow cooker last week - forgot to soak the split peas. This week for sure.
Thursday: Late ballet again. Chicken and parma ham meatballs with buttered pasta with brocolli and garlic breadcrumbs.
Friday: Hubby and I off to dinner with friends - my in-laws babysitting the gal at our house. I'll make them up a pot of chicken noodle soup.
Saturday: I'm out with my uni friends again - woo, hoo, HOOO. I'm so glad to have rediscovered these guys again - thank you Facebook. Hubby and child can make themselves pizzas.
Sunday: Oooh, roast chicken don't you think? Lots of roasted vegies including a few different seasonal ones - have you tried purple carrots yet? They're AWESOME!

Now, to make a shopping list and get ready!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

ah sweet, sweet saturday

So, we're all still here... and how glad I am. It's an utterly glorious day today - superb. We've been at the netball courts since 9am as two of my girls were umpiring, and did a sterling job in-spite of the usual problems. Sigh. I consider sport of some description an important part of childhood for most children. It's where you can learn teamwork, increase self-esteem, build friendships and increase confidence. If it's handled correctly.

I want my team to play their best every game. To improve every time they take the court. To be the best team player they can be. And they are. I expect it, so they expect it. Each week we'll build on their skills and you can see their pride when something they've learned and practiced is put into action.

If only all parents and coaches would do the same. The coach of one of the teams we umpired this morning was enthusiastic, loud, and unfortunately, spent a lot of time calling out loudly. Not encouragement, more "Laura - move it!" And "No, not like that..." Sigh. He also moaned and groaned loudly whenever one of the umpires would pull up his players - or missed something the other players did. Now mind, these aren't professional umpires, just 11-year-old girls umpiring for the first time. They need encouragement and support - and it should never be expected that they're going to pick up everything - even the most experienced umpires will miss or make a wrong call.

Luckily a gentle word in his ear during quarter time quietened him down, but gee, wouldn't it be nice if people stopped and thought? I've always taught my teams to always respect the umpire's decision, and that it's final. If you don't agree, then maybe you need to get off the court...

Now this was mild and my girls were strong enough to cope with it - and they had myself and my co-coach by their side for support. Hopefully these younger girls will have similar support when it's their turn to umpire in two-years-time.

In better news, my team played the team who flogged us in the first game - and we scored more goals this time AND the other team scored less. Our aim was achieved and my girls played with excitement, energy, improving skills and smiles on their faces. That's why I coach. Love my team...

Friday, May 20, 2011

end of the world?

I'm quite sad about the world supposedly ending tomorrow - on a few levels, but the one that's really biting at me is that I'm supposed to be here in eight weeks time. I know, a Villa in Provence - pinch me. I only paid for it in full today! This is the first villa we're staying in. It's near the alps and a lovely French village called Tourtour. We're staying here with two other families and for a few of the days the husbands are tootling off in a motor home to follow the Tour de France.

I know, it's a hard life for some.

flowers for friday

Today's flowers, to add a touch of pretty to your day, are lilacs. Can you smell them from here? Yet another cold-area flower I adore {sometimes I think I'm living in the wrong climate - but perhaps I live here so I can appreciate them more?}. Lilacs remind me of walking down the main street of Berrima in the Southern Highlands, and excitedly reaching over to sniff every blossom on every tree. They come in such an amazing range of colours, but my favourite's this one - a purple with a tinge of pink that just whispers lilac.

Do you have a list of fave fleurs? Here's mine:
♥ Peonies
♥ Roses {scented only need apply}
♥ Violets
♥ Lilacs
♥ Lavender
♥ Violas
♥ Pansies
♥ Love in a mist
♥ Scabiosa {ugly name - pretty flower}
♥ Wisteria
♥ Lily of the Valley
♥ Stocks
♥ Snapdragons
♥ Parrot tulips
♥ Gardenias
♥ Hyacinths...

And I'm sure there are a few others I've forgotten. Many of these are growing in our garden, making my heart sing every time I step out the front. How about you? Tell me yours...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

the great gatsby

In news that makes my day, Joel Edgerton, fresh from his awesome turn as Kerry Packer - is set to play Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby.

Oh yeah, I can see that...

ooooh frock treatment

This is it: the life-changing frock. You know, that one dress that can take you anywhere? Oh Kiki, you've done well.

Of course, on me, I'd need a different shade: as much as I'm loving this mustard on such pale skin. But my non-tanned olive skin calls for maybe a murky moss green.... Or navy.... Oh, yes please.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

dangerously {beautiful} curves

The new Peter Alexander catalogue just popped into my in-box and I do believe that I broke into a round of applause after spying the gorgeous Tahnee from ANTM in its pages. She looks so utterly delightful in every shot that I feel like buying every single item featured. {And oh, the baby pink mohair jumper - to DIE for}

i want to ride my bicycle

We went on a family bike ride on the weekend, 32 kilometres of the magnifent Fernleigh Track. This is an old rail line in Newcastle that's been re-created for bike riders and walkers, and oh, is it magnificent.

We must have been quite the sight: husband in his lycra and fancy road bike, daughter in her fancy hybrid and bike clothes, then me on my 'should-be-cycling-in-provence' cruiser with a basket. Oh, and then my mum and step-dad with our old rusty reject mountain bikes.

Despite being such a motley crew we had a blast, right down to the world's most enormous lunch at a cafe/takeaway in Redhead {yes, we may have been desperately asking everyone along the way - 'where's the nearest café?}

It's amazing what secrets your town can uncover, and what a lovely way to spend a weekend.

Monday, May 16, 2011

on the shelf

One of the best things about doubling the size of our pantry was being able to remove the door to the weird little teeny room off the study and move in the bookshelf that's been in our kitchen for about 12 months.

Now it's sitting in the living room at the end of the study and is pleasing me very much indeed. And before you say anything, yes, I do have a rather ridiculous collection of glasses for alcoholic beverages of all kinds... a gal has to collect something!

holiday wardrobe

Finding the right travel wardrobe really is a matter of trial and error. I'm not a gal who can throw a sparkly sarong over a one piece swimsuit and slip into a pair of heels and take that out to dinner. So imagine how I felt before our last holiday when I found the PERFECT travelling frock. Honestly, in nearly every photo of me, there I was, in that frock. See, I took some hangers with me and every night I'd wash the dress, hang it on the hanger and it was ready to go.

Of course, after a few years heavy wear and tear it fell to pieces. Which made me fall to pieces. Every time I walked past a Tree of Life store I'd search in vain for this Peace Angel magical frock. Alas, with no success. I thought I found it once, but it was merely a poor, ill-fitting imitation of its successor.

So with our holiday approaching, and my seamstress-talented mother visiting I took advantage - and see what I have. Not one, but TWO of the magic frocks. Time consuming and horrendously difficult to make, but oh so magical. The green frock is more of a daywear number, but with the right accessories the floral number will take me almost anywhere in Paris, Provence or London.

Thank you mummy xxx

Sunday, May 15, 2011

sunday suppers

Okay, new week, new plan. I'm now doing my meal-planning on a Sunday. And hey, see this pic? It's just a small peek at my new, utterly massive walk-in pantry. Oh, I do love it so. Room for everything - including a bit of a soft-shoe shuffle if I feel so inclined. It's around about the size of our first-ever kitchen, so I'm just reveling in the space. So much so it's got me all inspired. And here's what I'll be cooking:
Monday: my parents are leaving in the morning {insert sad face} so after a week's worth of vegetarian dinners, we'll be back to our usual. I'm going to make a chicken and chorizo risotto I think.
Tuesday: it's French lessons, so I'll be taking some panko-crumbed chicken schnitzel from the freezer, cooking it up and serving it with mash and wilted spinach and kale.
Wednesday: Netball training- and if the weather remains true it'll be frosty. Pea and ham soup in the slow cooker.
Thursday: Late night ballet for the gal. I think I'll do a pork dish in the le crueset: pork, potatoes and some pancetta {too much pork? Ain't no such thing}
Friday: Off to the French Film Festival with my gorgeous french study buddy Ms A. Wine and cheese are served before the film, so I think I'll whip up a quick steak and salad before the event.
Saturday: What's that? Another French film? Oui! Best make chicken provencale to get in the mood hadn't I?
Sunday: Back to the roast dinners. Lamb I think - it's been a while...

And that's it for me. If you'll excuse me I'm off to gaze adoringly around my pantry - and to contemplate buying a camera so I can take more than just an iPhone shot of it!

my rehearsal

We fly out in a little over 6 weeks, so to get in practise for our time in Paris and Provence I've been partaking in a wee spot of Pastis on ice.

C'est parfait!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

hello: cute!

I know how we're decorating at our next party! What a fabulous way to display blooms. Now, to find the wine that comes in clear or pale blue bottles...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

cinderella moment

Do you think that Cinderella was secretly rather pleased to leave that glass slipper behind? Must have been even more uncomfortable than my sky-high mary janes I wore on Monday night...

Sorry for the lack of posts. Seriously, they will pick up. Soon.

In good news, my stepfather's doubled the size of my butler's pantry {woo hoo}. Bad news - oh the plaster dust... Even my charcoal study carpet is now a pale french grey...

Hope you're all having a fabulous week. xx

Monday, May 09, 2011

my new shoes

What you cannot really see in this photo is that my new mother's day shoes are the most spectacularly shiny red patent leather - with a wee one inch red heel. Have you ever seen a better pair of shoes for wandering the streets of Paris and Provence {counting down the days now... end of June I'm flying out!}

Gotta love it when you not only find a sensible pair of shoes, but they're stylish - and red! Squeeeeeee!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

happy mother's day

I hope you're all having a lovely day. My mum's visiting from Melbourne at the moment, so it was a double mother's day this morning. My gal made us scrambled eggs, with avocado and lime on toasted muffins - yum. We all sat up in the pavillion by the pool and enjoyed the glorious autumn sunshine.

And there were pressies: lots of books, shoes for Paris {photos tomorrow}, a cute skirt from cute Renew Newcastle shop, French champagne {oui, OUI!} and a gorgeous bracelet, home-made card, gift bag and Cath Kidston hand creme from my gal.



Friday, May 06, 2011

laser tag? why don't mind if i do...

Nothing makes me happier than being able to say, "Hell YEAH" to something new, something different, something unusual. So, imagine, just imagine my delight when a friend sent out the call that for her birthday today she wants to play laser tag! Squeeeeeeee!

Now, I haven't quite worked out yet exactly how I'm going to 'suit-up' - but we are having cocktails first so this should be rather interesting...

I do know that I'm totally channelling Barney Stinson. It'll be awe - wait for it - some!

flowers for friday

These little pretties are on my desk at the moment. I bought them at the markets on Sunday, and they're the most richly-scented bunch of red, pink and purple lovelies. Divine!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

mmmm mumm

Some may say that I have an inordinate obsession with alcohol and to that I say, um, why yes I do... So when a Vintage Cellars letter arrived informing me that the perfect mother's day pressie was two bottles of Mumm for $99 - well, who was I to argue? I may have left that voucher prominently around various locations where my husband would see it.

Well, wouldn't you?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

what's cooking wednesday

Sorry, late again. Frantically busy - sorry! Here's what we're eating this week.
Tonight: it's my darling husband's birthday (bless) so we're off to our favourite French spot - Bistro Tartine. Apparently cassoulet is on the menu - and oh, this is cassoulet weather!
Thursday: We're trialling a new home-delivery service and have ordered barramundi as part of the deal. Let's have that with roasted potatoes, green beans and perhaps some roasted carrots too.
Friday: It's a friend's birthday so we're off to play laser tag {ha!} then we're going back to their place for curries and champagne {champagne goes with everything...}
Saturday: my vegetarian parents will be here for a week. Tonight I'll make a roasted red capsicum and potato tortilla and a big green salad.
Sunday: We'll find something fabbo at the farmer's markets - and someone else will cook as it's mother's day!
Monday: orichette pasta with roasted broccoli, pinenut and blue cheese.
Tuesday: Whatever my step-father cooks - I have French lessons to attend {and it'll be eight weeks till we fly out - mon dieu!}


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

things that make you go squeeeeee

Quite possibly the most awesome delivery my postman has ever made.

Can you hear me squeeing from your house?

Yeah baby, I'm going to a performance at the Paris Opera House. I know, I'm jealous of me too...

Monday, May 02, 2011

oy tupperware

Pretty please bring out a pastel range again.

fiercly fabulous

Okay, lots and lots and lots and lots to do this week. Lots. So I need some shoes to stomp all over these pesky tasks. These Miu Miu will do {do}. Have a look at that leather will you? Strokeable, seriously strokeable {why yes, I am making up a helluva lot of words tonight aren't I?} Well, it's late, but there's no time for a post in the morning, and heaven forbid I should neglect our weekly spot of shoe candy. So here, from me, to you, enjoy x

Sunday, May 01, 2011

no excuse for bad manners

I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking good manners are vital social lubrication. But I've realised today that there are two types of ill-mannered beings: those who are born into it {not taught good manners as a child} and those who grow into it. I met one of those who grew into it this morning.

As I was standing in line to buy milk at the service station the man in front of me was huffing, shuffling and generally having that air of very-important-person-with-very-important-things-to-do. When it was his turn he burst straight out with "You didn't give me my receipt. I need my receipt." Nice. So the girl asked him how much his petrol was, so she could go out the back and print it out - the registers only save two transactions in a row apparently. He huffed, he puffed, he flustered - and didn't say a word. So the girl asked him which bowser he was at. He huffed, he puffed, he blustered - and waved toward the company car out front.

She went out, printed out his receipt and handed it to him. He snatched it and walked out. No thank you - not a word. Just more huffing - he's-very-busy-and-important you see. Girl on checkout one turned to girl on checkout two and said "If he'd stopped talking on his phone for a second while I served him he might have noticed he didn't have a receipt."

How rude. Apparently he didn't pay the person serving him one ounce of respect. Didn't look her in the eye, say thank you {or even mouth thank you} or even nod his head. That's outrageous behaviour. Imagine what that would do to the self-esteem of the people working behind the counter. They're there, on a Sunday, working for your convenience and you don't even acknowledge it. That's just awful.

Manners cost nothing. Even if you are Very Important. Probably especially if you're very important.