Friday, September 30, 2011

flowers for friday

It's too windy out there for me to take a photo of the gorgeous lil foxgloves that are gracing our garden {pink, cream and white - divine!} so I thought I'd share this shot from the Hampton Court Palace flower show.

Isn't the speckled throat on this divine? When you get up close and look at the amazing variety and beauty in flowers it's quite astonishing. Love.

PS: I'm guest posting today over at the utterly gorgeous Alice Becomes. I'm so honoured to share such a glorious space with two gals who always offer up the most delightful posts that put a song in my heart. Please go visit here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

step back in time

I am stepping back in time tonight. My pal, The Divine Ms M, is up in Newcastle to get inked tomorrow so tonight we're headed back to our old Uni haunt, The Great Northern. It's the launch of This Is Not Art festival so it should be fun.

Hopefully we won't be the oldest people there. Did I tell you about the last time I went there with some old uni pals? We were reminiscing with the barman about how we used to hang at the East Room in our uni days and he said, "Oh yeah, my mum used to go there."

I'll let you sit with that for a moment.



I'll get over that one day.

Oh, if only the East Room were refurbished so we could lounge on some gorgeous old velvet couches just like in the olden days...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

taking away the grey

Oh it's grey and dark here today. Not exactly the sunny school holidays filled with swimming that I'd imagined. Oh well. Luckily my gal had Monday and Tuesday with a friend, and is off to a dance camp tomorrow. Friday she has a friend over, so hopefully the weather will clear up. If not we've stocked up on flour, sugar, butter and eggs - so the KitchenAid will get a workout.

In the meantime I'm going to this place above in my head. Have you ever seen anything more divine?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

heavenly sounds

We've happily raised a child with good musical taste. Aside from a few rogue years of Hi-5 etc she's happy to sing along to our music in the car. Generally, when given control of the iPod she'll choose Sarah Blasko so we knew who would have to feature in her first live gig.

And what a gig she'll be experiencing: Seeker Lover Keeper at Christ Church Cathedral in Newcastle! Oh my - heavenly voices in a heavenly venue.

I bought the tickets this morning {lots of refreshing of the ticketek site so I didn't miss out!}


Monday, September 26, 2011

meal planning tips and tricks

I've been meal planning pretty consistently for a while now and people have asked me a few questions about it which I thought I'd share. So settle yourself and have a read:

First tip: stay simple
Meal planning isn't about creating exotic meals, or meals you've always wanted to try. It's not a time to drag out your cookbooks and try to make something new and different. When you start stay simple: pasta, mexican, pizza, roast - stick with what works for your family and you'll have success.

Second tip: get out your diary
You'll notice in my meal plans I write what we've got planned, such as late night ballet, or netball training. You have to consider this. If you think, "Oh, it's okay, I'll get home at 6pm and still have time to whip up a paella" think again. On busy days plan quick meals, or slow cooker meals. Plan to succeed.

Third tip: be flexible
I'd say that our meal-plans stick to the days I've intended maybe around 80 to 90 per cent of the time on a good week. On a bad week it's more like 50 per cent. Success can be attributed to making sure I've shopped and have all the ingredients ready to go - and enthusiasm. You need to have a couple of lazy meal options ready to go for those days when you're over it all and just want to put something on the table.

Fourth tip: double up where possible
I love meals that offer up double the fun - a roast chicken that can be used in a chicken soup the next night, or leg of lamb that becomes shephard's pie.

Fifth tip: involve the kids
My daughter's become a far more adventurous eater since we've meal-planned. She knows that's what we're having, and she likes being able to have a say as well. Kids are far more likely to eat a meal they've had a say in.

Sixth tip: write it down
The best way to ensure a balance in your meals is to have it all written down in front of you. I try for a range of proteins and vegies in our meals - colours and textures. Jotting it down makes it easy to see you've already got a chicken meal planned, so you can swap with a pork number.

Seventh tip: persist
I didn't succeed the first time time I tried meal planning, or the second, good grief, it's probably more like 10th time lucky. But I'll tell you this, it makes my life soooooooooo much easier. I don't have that awful, "Oh lordy, what's for dinner?" thought at 3pm. We don't fall back on takeaway too often. I save money - and we eat pretty well really.

Ready to give it a shot? Go on, I know it's all grown-up and anally-retentive - but it really does make life a lot more simpler. And don't we all want that?

meal-planning monday

First week of the school holidays - so a rather disjointed meal plan as our gal goes to friend's houses and vice-versa. Last night I made a chicken and leek pot pie as my Aussie Farmer's box had a leek in it. Luckily the weather turned all stormy and cold, which suited it perfectly. Served alongside I roasted some baby dutch carrots and broccoli {love roasted broccoli!}

Monday: Gal at a pals. So hubby and I will have a simple salt and pepper squid salad.

Tuesday: She's home again, but I'll be home late from a meeting in Sydney. Hubby and the gal can cook. Mexican I'd imagine.

Wednesday: I still haven't made salmon patties - tonight shall be the night.

Thursday: The divine Ms M is coming to stay, so I'm going to make pickled pork. Never made it before, so look out for a recipe on the other blog later this week.

Friday: My gal has a pal over. I think we'll make chicken burgers for dinner. With sweet potato chips and salad.

Saturday: BBQ night. Steaks will be good.

Sunday: We're off to a 40th lunchtime do. Apparently it's also grand final day. Hmmm. Mother and father-in-law coming over to look after our gal. I'll cook up a chicken provencale casserole so we can all eat that for dinner when we come home.

Phew, done!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

fabulous frocks

So yesterday my gal and I went shopping. I was in search of a new summer frock - and I found FOUR. First of all we wandered aimlessly around David Jones where everything was for old ladies or young chicks. Tragic. I miss my David Jones city store that had everything I needed...

Then we went to Target. Score. Not only did I find the two fab maxi dresses on the right - it was 20 per cent off day. Cheap-as.

Then we wandered downstairs in the hell that is Westfield to buy my gal a book for the school holidays - only to find that there are NO BOOKSTORES in Westfield. None! I realised that Borders closed down, but no Angus and Robertson either. Sad.

So I told the gal we'd trek over to Hamilton to an old-fashioned bookshop. Oh my. It's been a while since I've visited Maclean's Booksellers and that won't happen again. What a glorious store. My gal found three books she just had to have, and the most gorgeous hardcover {pink!} Anne of Green Gables that I insisted she just had to have. And I bought Marieke Hardy's new book You'll Be Sorry When I'm Dead. Love it.

After that we just stepped into the Red Cross store next door where I found that pretty floral sundress on the left that was EXACTLY what I had in my mind. Perfect. And a lovely black and white floral longer number as well. All these for just over $100 - ridiculous.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

sweet sweet saturday

Mmmm, the first Saturday of the school holidays. Bliss. We all slept in. Double bliss.

Sadly it's a bit of a grey ol' day today so we won't be getting out into the great outdoors. Instead, my gal and I might hit up the shops. Hubby's playing golf today and I've got some birthday money burning a hole in my wallet that needs to be exchanged for a couple of new dresses. Don't you think?

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, September 23, 2011

flowers for friday

Madonna and I may share the same starsign, but there's one thing we don't have in common. I LOVE hydrangeas. Look at them! They're like a glorious, watercoloured collection of butterflies.


Hope your friday's as beautiful as this image. And oh it's nearly the weekend! Squeeeeeeee! And then school holidays, which I really need to get organised. There'll be lots of phone calls re: child-swapping tonight.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

tee hee

Grill'd burgers at The Junction are good people. First of all, they've supported our netball club with a free burger voucher for every player. Bless.

And now, they have this giggle-worthy sign out the front.

If they hadn't won me over with their tasty burgers {and those divine chips - YUM} then they will with humour.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

does anybody here like the human league?

When one of my friends called me to tell me about the Rewind Festival in Wollongong at the end of October I squealed. Hello, a retro festival for old people? I'm on it. The list is awesome, including The Human League! I know!! "Don't you want me?" is one of my fave numbers to croon - can't wait to sing along with it in person. In fact, the last time I went and saw the Human League I looked a little like this...

Yep, that's me on the left {proving why I've had long hair since I was 16}, my bro {who's now a 6 foot three tattoo-covered Harley Riding, non-human-league-listening dude} and my step-sisters {two of whom were my age, yet I was freakishly tall at 13 - and average height now. Sigh.}

I may not wear the electric blue fishnets when I see The Human League this time, but I will be attending with two of my fabulously fun-loving gal-friends - Wollongong had better watch out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

blue by you

If I achieve nothing else this summer, I wish to find a frock in this exact shade of blue. I think Cobie Smulders was one of the prettiest sights on the red carpet - compounded by how much this blue popped on the red.

Actually, I think I need this dress, in cocktail length with a subtle flare to the skirt. Don't you think? I'd wear it with my red wedges and would be blissfully content with the world.

more couples i love

The Emmys also served to remind me of couples I love. Like Seal and Heidi Klum, honestly, how amazing are they? And, ps: I happen to love Seal's slashed to the waist shirt - he's certainly got the pecs for it. And Heidi's dress by Christian Siriano has been roundly criticised but I love it. It's foofy, it's swooshy and it's fun - perfect for an awards ceremony.

Now, my love for Amy Poehler and Will Arnett has verged into obsessive territory. Did you see them on the podium for E! with Ryan? Hysterical. Will took over the interviewing of Amy and it was cute-as-a-bunch-of-buttons. And then when they wouldn't let him cut to Gwyneth? Genius.

Amy also provided me with one of my fave moments of the ceremony when all the actresses nominated raced to the stage to stand there waiting for the award. Comic greatness there.

I wanna be her friend.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Arriving home is pretty darned pretty at the moment.

taking the plunge

There's no more dramatic look that a seriously plunging neckline - but you need the right attributes to pull it off. First of all, you've got to be a modest cupsize, Christina Hendricks would look obscene in this number. And also, and this is often ignored, you need to have a well-covered chest area (to avoid the dreaded decolletage ribs a-la Rachel Zoe, Debra Messing and Julie Bowen).

I reckon that Heather Morris ticks all these boxes, and how glorious is this smokey amethyst shade? Also truly, madly, deeply in love with the ruffled skirt.


award show frocks

I love award season, for the sheer pleasure of frock watching that it affords. I think Jayma Mays frock is just so pretty. Sure, I would have loved to have seen it in a mossy green to set off her hair, but it's a princess frock that looks just gorgeous in this delicate petal pink. Also loving that ribbon sash around her teeny waist.

Loving the silhouette of Rachel Evan Wood's frock - and her hair is just glorious.

Oh, this woman is just perfection. How much does Sophia rock this tangerine frock? It's Vera Wang and is so perfectly fitted to that bod. Also LOVE the jewels. They're Columbian emeralds and the earrings look like the most incredible peacock feathers. Perfect.

Also, Jane Lynch is rocking it as host. I love how The Emmys have openly gay hosts. And Jane sure can wear a frock too. Love her.

meal planning monday

Meal-planning last week flew right out the window. I didn't go shopping and had lots of unexpected last minute plans so hubby and I had toast for dinner one night {we had some ravioli for the gal} and one night I even, {come close, I'll be whispering this... *Ihadacheeseburgerfrommcdonaldsdon'thateme*}

So some of last week's meals will be repeated - as they weren't even cooked. But I did come up with a surprise last night. We had some leftover roast butternut pumpkin in the fridge, so I tipped it into a bowl, added some cooked leftover jasmine rise, a sliced green onion and some frozen corn, sweet chilli sauce and dried, mixed herbs and formed it into little balls. I then baked these in the oven and served it with the fillet steak with balsamic caramelised onion and salad for dinner. Delish! Great for hiding vegies for kidlets too - you could add peas, grated carrot, grated {drained} zucchini - anything!

Monday: I'm doing crusted lamb fillet with roasted chick pea salad {I'll roast vegies such as capscium, zucchini and onion, and then, with 15 minutes to go, I'll toss in some drained and rinsed tinned chickpeas and garlic and let them all brown up. I'll serve with a balsamic glaze and sprinkled with parsley}

Tuesday: Pork schnitzel, mash and greens.

Wednesday: It's my gal's netball presentation from 6.30 and I'll be there early setting up. She'll have a sausage sizzle, I'll see if I can snaffle one too. Hubby can fend for himself.

Thursday: Salmon patties with apple coleslaw.

Friday: I'm going to do a butterflied chicken on the bbq. With a haloumi and beetroot salad.

Saturday: I've got a hankering for scallops - dare I try to cook them?

Sunday: Roast with a twist - leg of lamb on the bbq with a french lentil salad.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

sweet, sweet sunday

On days like this you've just got to think to yourself, "you know what? Life is pretty sweet..." We had our first blissful night's sleep on fresh cotton sheets last night {is there anything better than clean sheet night?} and hubby's working like a demon out in that side yard of ours. Before I know it we'll have a sweet little shed out there to store all the stuff that's living on our side veranda since our pool was installed!

Now, tell me, which veranda shall I remove the railing from to install this swinging seat? I'm thinking the side return on our front veranda, that way it's just off the study and my Wi-Fi will reach so I can do a bit of work swinging gently in the balmy breeze. Good idea non?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

freshening up for spring

Oh, I love Spring! How utterly glorious is this weather at the moment? After nearly spontaneously combusting last night I'm finally switching to the summer sheets today so all the white cotton sheets are on the line after a wash. Love how the sun bleaches them to crisp white after a winter spent yellowing in the linen closet.

Hubby's also got the pool loaded with salt and looking all sparkly and ready for a swim. I think I might just take the first plunge this weekend...

This is our first weekend since returning from holidays that we've had absolutely nothing planned, and oh my, it's just blissful. Our gal's gone for a sleepover with a friend and all we have to do is potter around the house and garden getting it looking spiffy.

Now all I need are some spring flowers to fill the vases and I'll be set.

Friday, September 16, 2011

{this} made my day

I've always had a bit of a soft-spot for Clint Eastwood. My dad was a fan of his films, so this softly spoken dude was a bit of a soundtrack to my youth.

And today I just read a quote from Clint that seriously needs to be made into a t-shirt: "These people who are making a big deal about gay marriage? I don't give a f*ck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We're making a big deal out of things we shouldn't be making a deal out of ... Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want."

Bless him.

flowers for friday

Bringing a smile to my face on this gorgeous spring day is this image of this gorgeous blue pots filled with deep purple flowers {petunias?}. It's certainly one way to up the wow factor on a dull wall.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

chicks at the flicks

There was much to love about Crazy, Stupid Love.

It was cute.

It was funny.

Emma stone's hair.

Ryan Gosling in a suit.

Ryan Gosling out of a suit {I think the boys behind me said it best, with a very Eartha Kitt-esque Rrrrrawaor - oh my}

If you're off to a movie with your gal pals, this'll do it. Although, as my friend M said, Ryan is one of those blokes that even other blokes like.

Can't wait till the next Chicks at the Flicks in October - they're screening I Don't Know How She Does It with SJP - who actually looks like she's found the big-screen role to suit. A glass of bubbles, a gift bag, stallholders with fabulous things {cupcakes, french fabulousness from Greg & Audrey's, jewels and other prettiness!} AND a fab film.

Oh, and did I mention Ryan Gosling OUT of a suit...

Oh my.

crazy! stupid! LOVE

Okay, I'm a bit beside-myself excited as TONIGHT I am off to see Crazy, Stupid Love! I KNOW! I've been desperate to see this since it was way back in the filming stage, and then, when I saw the trailer... Hello!

So when I saw that my fave Newcastle store, Greg & Audrey's Garage were giving their customers a chance to win a double pass to the Tower Cinemas, well, obviously I was on that facebook page like. a. shot.

And guess what? I won! {I know, big surprise as I'd already told you I was going...} I shall be frocking up and getting along to do a wee bit of shopping at the fabulous stores who are supporting Chicks At The Flicks and then settling in for some Ryan Gosling action {what? There are other people in this film...}

And I'll probably be doing a wee bit of swooning over Emma Stone's red locks too... Le sigh. I wanna be a redhead...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I love my husband. Look what he did. In one weekend we went from weed-covered side-yard, to bare, ready-to-plant garden, to wee, pretty vegie garden.


Look at my teeny little carrots, beetroot, rocket, lettuce, garlic, basil, tomatoes and corn. LOOK! Aren't they just the sweetest things ever? And yes, hubby did move all those massive convict sandstone slabs into place, oh, about two years ago... Can't rush these things. At least the soil's all nice and nourished - luckily as we have shocking clay soil here {I know, weird, we're only two blocks from the beach - I still think we should have sandy soil...}

Now I just need to get into a watering routine, and then in a month's time we're planting out the other garden bed. Fresh veg here we come!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

meal planning monday*

Monday* again, so I need to plot out another week's worth of meals. Here's what we'll be eating this week:
Monday: Filet steak with sauteed mushrooms, garlic broccoli and pumpkin mash
Tuesday: Spanish chicken with a big tossed salad
Wednesday: Slow-roasted beef ribs, green salad and corn on the cob
Thursday: Salmon patties, salad and wilted greens
Friday: Lamb fillet with roasted chickpea salad
Saturday: Chicken schnitzel, mash and green beans

* So tired that I forgot to schedule this - read it tomorrow...

well hello spring!

There's an abundance of purple prettiness in my front garden at the moment. The wisteria's out in full bloom, lavender's out and saying, "hey, remember Provence..." and Irises are all out competing with each other to out-fabulous the other.

We're also FINALLY planting our vegie garden today. Hubby's painting the rest of the front fence charcoal {beautiful backdrop for all our plants} and then, this afternoon we're getting digging. Squeee!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

goodness gracious

I've been bemused, and a little saddened, as I've watch a wee bit of drama erupt this week. Apparently it's becoming a bit of a thing to judge and attack. I've seen in happen on one of my favourite blogs, and I've seen it happen over Twitter.

Now, I make no secret of my love of reality tv - and one show I just love {even though I probably shouldn't} is Australia's Next Top Model. I've watched every series with glee. I was watching last week when a model bemoaned her weight gain, then had an extremely unflattering photo shoot in a coffin. I remember thinking that it looked like she just wasn't going to fit in - nothing to do with her supposed weight gain, just her sheer height and gangliness. When Alex Perry quipped that she looked like overstuffed luggage I thought it was a pretty apt simile, nothing to do with her weight - she just didn't fit.

Weirdly, nearly a week later a furore arose over the comment with Alex Perry being derided for his 'fat-hatred'. Um, really? Is this the Alex Perry who has clothing up to a size 16? Alex Perry who so beautifully dressed Robyn Lawley in the above Vogue shoot? The hatred and the vitriol he's receiving over twitter is just quite yucky to witness. It's bad enough when someone's done something worthy of derision - but this is a comment taken completely out of context and I think it's just outrageous that any person should be subjected to that. Especially a designer who clothes do tend to celebrate the female form - have a look - they're all about curves and shapes.

Sigh. Haters gotta hate.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

dita's nailed it

Right up high on the People I Love list is Dita Von Teese. Glorious creature that she is. And look - now she's got nails featuring her awesome reverse french manicure for sale. Fabulous aren't they?

Monday, September 05, 2011

meal planning monday

Ahhh, Spring. Damn, I love this season. For a start, at the moment, whenever I walk out my front door I'm suffused in the most delicious scents. My wisteria's out and oh boy, does it smell amazing - and look divine. The days are getting longer too, so I can end my working day with a work on the beach. Bliss. And warmer weather means lighter meals. Hallelujah. This week: here's what's happening:

Monday: I bought some rather fabulous eye fillet at the farmer's market yesterday. I might just fire up the bbq to cook it. Alongside there shall be some simple steamed veg, maybe a wee salad.

Tuesday: Ballet class till late. Garlic roasted chicken, tomato salad and lotsa greens.

Wednesday: no more netball. Phew, back to normal {loved my girls and netball, but a bit of breathing space is fabulous}. I have some pork schnitzel from Aussie Farmers - I might pan fry them and serve them with a fennel and grapefruit salad.

Thursday: Late ballet. Again. Thai beef salad I think.

Friday: I'm in Sydney for meetings, then bringing my bestie, The Divine Ms M back up here. We're off to see a band with old uni friends. Better make some pasta to sustain us. Broccoli, poached chicken and almond oricchiette should do it.

Saturday: Would you believe I'm going out again? Nope, me neither. It's a school reunion so I'll be eating out. Gal and the hubby can have mexican in my absence.

Sunday: Roast chicken and salad - yes?

happy birthday freddie

Love me a bit of Freddie, and to celebrate his birth, here's one of my faves {followed v closely by Fat Bottomed Girls! Oooh, and Crazy Little Thing Called Love... and....}

PS: The Google Doodle to celebrate what would have been Freddie's 65th? Beyond awesome.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

let the light in...

The people who renovated our house got it pretty well right - except they obviously ran out of money when it came to the bathroom. Where we've got gorgeous, original windows throughout the whole home, in the bathroom there's a nasty aluminium number {admittedly framed with timber on the exterior - but still...}

When we eventually do our bathroom up {and that's way down our list of priorities - it looks fine} I'd love to pop in a lovely big window that comes down to the bath. Now, as our back veranda will look directly into said bathroom, it'd need to be frosted, but still - imagine the light! Bliss.

Oh, and I'll have that bath too. x

Saturday, September 03, 2011

super dooper saturday

Oh my, it's a bit of a whopper of a day for us today. To start - my girls are in the GRAND FINAL. Yep, the netball team I've lovingly been coaching for three years has made it to the top. Eep! Bless their socks, they've won and lost with grace this year - taking to the court with enthusiasm every single game. And leaving the court with a smile on their face. I hope their smiles are mega-wide today. We've made some red and white cheerleader pom poms and I'll be waving them around like crazy today.

Immediately afterwards {actually, kinda during} my gal has to dash to ballet to do her first-ever classical exam. She'll leave before the last quarter to get their on-time - luckily her dad's the ballet-bun person in the family {seriously, eight years on and I still can't get the damned thing to stay put for a whole lesson!}

Then, that afternoon it's a catch-up at the club that sponsors our netball club - drinkies and nibblies for all the players. Bless.

And is that all? Nope. I'm catching up with a fab friend who was in Paris at the same time as us - but our conflicting schedules didn't allow us to have champagne in Paris. So we'll have some champagne and cheese here while sighing over Paris together and plotting our next trip... Then, we're headed off to meet some more friends at Bar Petite. More champagne? Probably.

Sunday's father's day, so not tooooooo much champers on Saturday night. Breakfast in bed for the hubby, then pressies and a bit of a relax. We'll be needing it I think.

How's your weekend panning out?

Friday, September 02, 2011

i want candy*

*{and her hair}

flowers for friday

While I can usually admire orchids from afar, they've never been one of my faves. I think I've always been jealous of their high-maintenance perfection. But on such a glorious spring day I needed a pop of fabulous colour to celebrate, and, really, can you believe these gorgeous colours?

Taken en-masse at the Hampton Court Flower Show. Oh yes, just gorgeous.

i wanna be kate spade's friend....

Oh, I really shouldn't have followed Kate Spade on twitter. I was already besotted with the woman and the most recent series of instagam shots have me longing to be her bestie.

Look. Cocktails! For me?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

beauty lust-haves

I'm a sucker for Chanel eyeshadow, and this gorgeous, slick, glittery grey is no exception. I haven't splurged on a new eye colour for yonks. But this little pretty may well need to come home and live in my make-up bag.

I'm still utterly besotted with my new YSL Parisienne Extreme parfum I purchased in Paris, but when I run out of current Tom Ford {Black Orchid - the ultimate nighttime scent} then I may be persuaded to track this down. Hello - gorgeous!