Wednesday, November 30, 2011

oh christmas tree

My gal will squeal so loudy when she spies this. It's the Eloise Christmas Tree at the New York Plaza, unveiled by Betsey Johnson no less. I love that it looks like a pink fairy's exploded all over it. I do like a fabulously gaudy Christmas tree. Beautifully colour-coordinated trees are much like an all-white room, while I love looking at them, in real life, for me, they just don't cut it.

My gal and I decorated our tree on the weekend, sneakily early, but hey, it was the first day of Advent... Our tree is a green plastic one {wish is were pink and sparkly like my friend Sara Rose...} as I can't do real trees - they play havoc with my allergies and asthma. Ours is covered with decorations that all have a special meaning. Each year my gal gets a new ornament, and when she leaves home she'll have a big box of memories to take with her and start her own tree. There are home-made items, baubles that we've had since we first moved in together 17 years ago, and various bits and pieces added to over the years. I love a tree that's decorated with love - while Christmas tunes play in the background.

Ooh, speaking of Christmas tunes, there is an AWESOME cd out this year: Now Christmas 2011. It has 43 songs on it - including some classics and my all-time fave Christmas tune, "Christmas is the time to say I love you" by Billy Squier. I bought that single when I was a teen and played it over, and over again. Every Christmas I tried to buy the CD version, without luck, so I was stuck with playing it over and over again on YouTube. Can you imagine the squeal when I saw it was available on iTunes this year {it was massive, dogs in nearby suburbs covered their ears saying "Love, quit it with that high-pitched noise will ya...}

Is your tree up or are you saving it for this weekend?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

marriage equality

I am genuinely bemused by Julia Gillard's stance on equal marriage. I honestly don't see why she wouldn't want to take the brave step of being the Prime Minister who goes down in history as allowing all consenting adult Australians the right to marry. More than 60 per cent of the electorate agree that equal marriage rights is something we should have in Australia - that's more than a majority - and certainly a higher figure than the 'majority vote' that sees labor as the ruling party.

It's not like it's breaking with an age-old tradition. It was only in 2004 when the Howard government inserted the clause "Between a man and a woman" into the marriage act.

Why Julia? Why deny people in love the right to marry and express their commitment to each other? You've chosen not to marry which is excellent, and your right, but what of all those who would love the right to marry but it's just not theirs?

Next week the Labor party will be having a conscience vote on this issue. If you, like me, believe that this law needs to change you need to let your local federal MP know how you feel. I've already emailed my support to my local MP - one of the fabulous ones who's spoken up in parliament in favour of the amendment.

After watching Ides of March last night I was reminded of the sad fact that the vast majority of politicians don't allow their conscience to be their guide. They're guided by numbers. And votes. If they think that the majority of voters in their electorate feel strongly about a certain position - they'll vote for it - even if it goes against their own views.

Here's how to find your local MP and send them an email. Just a simple one: "Hi, I live in your electorate, I vote and I am in favour of marriage equality, kindest regards, A Voter." That'll do.  Go here to find your MP and let them know how you feel. Our Prime Minister's email's also on there if you'd like to double your influence. I've sent Julia Gillard an email expressing my views, and am hoping she'll take them into consideration.

Let's be the generation that just doesn't sit back and watch history march backwards. I believe in love. That's all. It's that simple.

Monday, November 28, 2011

harper seven: very squishy

I do love a bub with squishy cheeks - so obviously I ADORE Harper Beckham. PS: Am loving Posh's long locks. Sigh. And those boots...

sweetie! darling! sneaky peeky!

Okay, apparently they're screening on ABC1 early in the New Year: see here for more details {squeeeaaaaallllllll!}

Sunday, November 27, 2011

meal planning monday

Wow, what a weekend. Packed with so much fabulous. I got to catch-up with Kerry from Tranquil Townhouse who is just as lovely, fabulous and gorgeous in real life as she is on her blog. We went and had a coffee at the new Merewether Surfhouse where the dolphin pod I'd organised earlier put on a lovely display right outside our spot {magical non?}.

My lil fam also shopped till we dropped at the incredible Red Lantern Night Markets. Oh, what a night.

Now, for normality {or what poses for it in our house}. Here's what I've got on my meal plan this week:

Monday: Caramelised pork, bok choy and noodles {Aussie Farmers keep giving me bok choy in my mixed fruit and veg box, best use it as something other than compost this week}

Tuesday: My gal's requested burritos to sustain her after one of her last ballet lessons before the big concert.

Wednesday: I think I'll do a thai beef salad tonight.

Thursday: Glazed salmon on the bbq with a salad.

Friday: Kebabs on the bbq with salad.

Saturday: pistachio dukkah crusted lamb on the bbq. Yum.

Sunday: Hmmm, think I might round off the week with a roast on the bbq.

And that's it. Ps: how cute is this pic from I need me a reindeer head in my house. This is the second one I've spied this week and now I have a hankering...

PPS: Whoops, just hit publish instead of schedule. Please pretend you're reading this tomorrow. x

Saturday, November 26, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

Well, it's the weekend. And it's a tad on the soggy-side here in Newcastle. Apparently the rain's set to abate this afternoon in time for the Red Lantern Markets {fingers and toes crossed!}. My gal has a pal over for a sleepover, and they're still asleep as I write {at 9.52am!} They had a busy few days at school camp, with lots of late nights thanks to other girls chattering. Bless. When they do wake we're off to the movies to see Arthur Christmas. Then it's off to the markets tomorrow and putting up the tree and decorating the house tomorrow {how much do I want to decorate like this room above? Oh, a LOT!}

I'm also catching up with the gorgeous Kerry from Tranquil Townhouse on Sunday which makes me very excited. Don't you love meeting a blogger in real life?

Friday, November 25, 2011

oh miss haversham!

Am loving this shot of Gillian Anderson from the upcoming Great Expectations {even if her gorgeous titan locks are covered}.

If this shot's anything to go by the film should be visually sumptuous.

Also, I think I need that frock.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

on my christmas wishlist

A bottle of piper in faux-crocodile wrapping? And only $38.90 from Dan Murphy's? Oh yes please.

PS: How on earth do I find out about deals like this? On twitter of course - source of everything. You could follow Dan Murphy's here and be in the know too ;)

dita von teese for target!!!!!

I know where I'm going to be next February - lining up at my local Target store to stock up on the new Dita Von Teese lingerie line.

I can only imagine it'll all be twenty billion shades of fabulous.

Monday, November 21, 2011

meal planning monday

There is no way on earth that I'm going to complain about how busy I've been. After all, I've had the most beautifully social weekend with the most fabulous people on earth, and now I'm busy in a job that I {mostly} love - so who can complain? Not this little black duck. But I'm not letting busyness get in the way of being organised. Here's this week's odd meal plan:

Tonight: I took some bolognaise sauce from the freezer and have cooked up some pasta. My gal's at her ballet concert theatre rehearsal from 4.30 to 8pm so she'll be starvin' marvin when she gets home. Fast, satisfying, easy and frugal.

Tuesday: It's my gal's last night at home before she heads off on her Year 6 retreat for three whole days! Best make her fave cottage pie for dinner {shhh, don't tell anyone we're having mince two nights in a row...}

Wednesday: Child-free, and we're off to see Seeker, Lover, Keeper. Perhaps we could call in at Bar Petite for nibbles and a champers before the show.

Thursday: I'm in Sydney and off to a snazzy wine bar with my workmates. Bliss!

Friday: My baby's home! She'll want another special meal to welcome her back. Salmon on the bbq I think.

Saturday: The Red Lantern Night Markets are on for one-night-only. I donated a little bit on Pozible to ensure this happened this year so best eat there to support the traders!

Sunday: Roast chicken - we haven't had a roast chook for a while.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

we had a ball...

Me and my gals - love them to bits.

My gorgeous hubby and me - and a few stray sunbeams...

A view of the dance floor from our table. I spent far too long dancing the night away on that there floor - so much so that my knee's currently propped up on cushions with an icebag on it. Oh well, can't have pleasure without a little pain.

I think I have a few more shots of the preparations on my camera - shall have to check and update.

Friday, November 18, 2011

stage 1 ball preparation

Left on my fingers, right on my toes. {A rather fabulous green and an uber-deep purple}

yes, you shall go to the ball

I'm a wee bit excited as tonight I'm off to a ball. Yep, frocking up, taking the Manolos from their box - foofing up my hair and dancing the night away with friends.

Good times.

I wish I were wearing a bunny mask like Candace Bergen at Truman Capote's infamous black and white ball {if I could time travel, I'd go there, and then stop by the Algonquin round table - and to check out Hemmingway in Paris - seriously, how sexy was that man in Midnight In Paris...}

Shall try to sneak off some shots - it's at Fort Scratchley in Newcastle, a place I've never been - but it should be M.A.G.N. I. F. I. C. E. N. T. Love a good location. I've spoken before about how the atmosphere when you first arrive at an event has to offer something special - and I'm pretty sure that tonight it will.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

this deserves an award

It's official! Ricky Gervais is hosting the next Golden Globe awards. Nice to see that common sense prevailed. Surely they had their highest ratings, and recognition, after his last hosting. And whoa boy, will people be tuning in for this one.

Will they try to reign him in? Doubt it - just as I'd doubt he'd be reigned.

You know I love me an awards ceremony {mainly for the frocks}, well now I'm doubly delighted {and there will be squeeing!}

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

that's sweet

Look at what's appearing in selected Seed stores - cuteness! I do love an old fashioned lollyshop!

Monday, November 14, 2011

tedxnewy: ideas worth acting on

On Saturday morning hubby dropped me off at the Civic Playhouse and I made my way to registration for TEDxNewy. There honestly was an excited buzz in the air, with genuine smiles being offered from the TAFE volunteers, to all the lucky audience members. Only 200 people were selected to buy tickets, and I was so lucky to be one of them.

As I worked my way around the foyer I spotted a friendly face, well, a friendly face that I recognised from an avatar on Twitter that is. The NewyTweeps were out in force at TEDxNewy and they were all as marvelous as they appear in 140 characters. I can now say that I've met some new friends I'll have for life.

So @drdrdr09 and I made our way to one of the rear two rows - the tweeting rows, along with @thegreenegg and settled into our seats - tweeting thumbs at the ready. The screen lit up, and so did our faces, it was here.

Speaker after speaker blew my mind. From the opening of Bernie Curran, followed by the awesome Marcus Westbury and my new crush, Gerry Bobsien - there was so much to take on board. Frantically watching, tweeting, reading other tweets and digesting, TEDxNewy was full of ideas and inspirational {sorry, this word's going to come up a lot} people who have a little idea and act on it - with great results.

I'm planning on writing posts on each of the speakers from the day, but before I do, I thought I'd share how I'm going to use my TEDxNewy experience. Each of the 16 speakers were punctuated with short films or pieces that enhanced the experienced even further - so what I'm going to do is take something from each - every day - and do my TEDxNewy: ideas worth acting on.

Yesterday, inspired by The Naked Runners I threw on my old trainers {my feet are too delicate for the barefoot running they also advocate} and took off. I'm nowhere near fit enough just to start running, but I went to the beach and walked briskly, and nakedly. No iPod to distract me, no fancy running clothes, no GPS - just me, my feet and the beach. I smiled at others, checked out the new SurfHouse at Merewether and then, when I got to Dixon Park - ran up the hill like a toddler - just for the fun of it.

Yesterday I knocked over two goals: I also followed the Take3 ethos. The theory described by Tim Silverwood is that every time you go to a beach, a waterway - or anywhere really - take three pieces of rubbish with you. Plastic is deadly for our wildlife, so every little bit counts {I kinda cheated and took 4...} This is one I'll be acting on daily. I've always picked up rubbish whenever I see it - but I love the idea of giving it a name. It's so simple, just take three things.

Guess how good I felt afterwards?

I'm planning on acting on every single speaker - in some small way. I'll let you know how I get on.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

sunday suppers

Wow, my head's still buzzing after the extraodinary TEDxNewy yesterday. Such a wonderful range of speakers, each of whom managed to plant a nugget of inspiration. LOVE. Full post to follow...

Meanwhile, life's pretty much back to normal in this neck of the woods, so here's the normal meals we're eating.

Sunday: There will be roast lamb, cooked on the bbq, with a lentil salad. It'll be yum.

Monday: Poached chicken, avocado and mango salad.

Tuesday: Ballet concert dress rehearsal. Best have a speedy meal ready to go when we get home. Burritos I think.

Wednesday: Hmmmm, I think I'll need a fish dish, with salad.

Thursday: Zucchini fritters, salad and some crispy pancetta slices

Friday: We're off to a ball - woo hooo!

Saturday: I have a catch-up with uni friends, best have the makings for home-made pizzas on hand for dinner.

Yep, that'll do.

Friday, November 11, 2011

tee hee rwoar

Gimmicky shoes normally make me stabby, but Blake Lively's Lion Louboutin's make me ever-so-happy. Seriously, could you ever look down at these and not smile?

flowers for friday

I'm off to a mum's night out tonight. Wouldn't it be nice if the tables were all set up with prettiness like this?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

planes, trains and automobiles...

Well, that was a busy few days - with a lot of transportation thrown into the mix. Sadly, no pretty little cars like these beauties spotted in the beachside town of Cassis in France {pretty town - home of my fave champagne-additive!}. There were issues when a thunderstorm hit Melbourne airport, which meant I didn't limp home till midnight last night - and then I drove down to Sydney today... But it was all good.

You know how somedays you just think, you know what? My job's pretty darned amazing? Well I had one of those days. I was inspired by two incredible women that I work for - and feel so energised and enthused that even all this travel hasn't sapped my desire to get things done. I also got to meet some really lovely people and feel some rooms so optimistic and inspired that it's hard not to get a bit of a glow on.

Tomorrow's going to be a busy day - but I'll be busy with a smile on my face.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Works for me...

Can't complain when your working day involves looking out over a swishy pool in a rather fabulous Melbourne hotel (with really nice coffee - yay!)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

On a jet plane

Well, here I am in Melbourne. I woke at the obscene hour of 4.15am and just had the most awful coffee (in Melbourne! That's not right! But yes, it was at the airport). Lots to do: work, meetings and catch-up with my family. Bless.

Monday, November 07, 2011

newcastle - moving forward

I love living where I do. Moving back from Sydney to Newcastle 10 years ago was one of the best decisions we've made. I still love Sydney, but oh, I adore Newcastle. Obviously our beaches are a primary attraction, but it's the people here that are making it so amazing. Next Saturday I'm off to TEDxNewy - an amazing event organised by one seriously inspirational woman - Siobhan Curran. I've never met Siobhan, but oh, I've admired her from afar. She's one of those people I love - one who gets an idea and doesn't say "Oh, somebody should do this" she does it. She started the fabulous blog The Novocastrian Files, and the delicious Cooking From The Heart and after attending TED last year applied for a licence and set up the independent series of talks at TEDx in newy - legend.

I applied for tickets and snaffled them up when I got the seal of approval - without knowing who was speaking. Now, after reading the list, I'm beyond excited. There's some speakers I know, such as Marcus Westbury who started This Is Not Art in Newcastle and then the extraordinary Renew Newcastle which has now spread to Renew Australia and is taking off globally. Legend. Some speakers I haven't heard of, so I can't wait to hear what they've got to say.

All the speakers are those who act. They don't wait for someone else to do it - they do it - and inspire others in their wake. I know I'm going to walk out of the Civic Playhouse inspired and energised - can't wait. So much talent in this town, it's extraordinary.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

sunday suppers

Okey doke, busy again this week - with a few trips away from work. But I can't let my family fend for themselves {I know!} so here's what I'll be cooking.

Sunday: tonight we're having fish and roasted beetroot, leaves and persian fetta salad. I love the new fresh range of crumbed fresh barramundi fillets from Coles. Bought them a few weeks ago and simply popped them in the oven to cook. Tasty and stupidly simple.

Monday: I'm going to bake up spanish chicken, and following Nigella's lead by grating orange zest over the chicken, potato, onion and chorizo before baking. Yum. We'll eat it with rice and some more salad {hey, you saw our garden, we're eating lotsa salad}.

Tuesday: Okay, am flying to Melbourne at 6am, so my in-laws are coming to stay the night to help take the gal to school as my hubby also has a busy week. To reward them I'll leave behind a shephard's pie that I'll bake on monday. I'll be having dinner with my mum, step-dad and baby bro in Melbourne somewhere. Woo hoo.

Wednesday: I'm catching an 8pm flight back from Melbourne, might grab an early dinner in a laneway somewhere...

Thursday: I have a meeting in Sydney today, so I'll be home late. Hubby and the gal can prepare dinner for me I think. Spaghetti bolognaise is always a good-un for re-heating etc.

Friday: I have the mum's night out for school - so I'll be eating there. Gal and hubby can cook themselves up a bbq.

Saturday: I'm at TedXNewy all day {Can. Not. WAIT!} There will be takeaway for dinner tonight.

Sunday: Shall make up for my neglect with a lovely home-cooked roast.

PS: Have totally stolen a shot of my own kitchen for this post - from an ancient blog post. Need to get out there now and make it look this tidy again - after I bake a week's worth of school lunch tarts {potato and chorizo this week}

homegrown vegies

Good things are happening in our vegie garden. Look at those lettuce, and oh, the beetroot! Last night we ate the first of our baby carrots and YUM - the most deliciously 'carrotty' carrots I've ever eaten. Divine. Tonight I'm roasting some baby beetroot to serve with persian fetta and salad greens {and beetroot leaves!}. And my tomatoes - oh, you should see the tomatoes! They're still green at the moment {fried green tomatoes anyone?} but they'll be ruby red before I know it.

I'm loving this vegie gardening scenario {except perhaps for the weeding, best finish that off today and pop down some mulch}. Enjoy this beautiful sunday x

Saturday, November 05, 2011

sunny saturdays

I'm loving the earlier starts to our weekend that 9am tennis lessons begets. Sure, I'm not happy about getting out of bed to get my gal there, but once we're there and she's happily playing then it's all good. We're also home by 10.15am which makes for a great start to the weekend. Today hubby's been outside working on the garden and I've been cleaning inside while our gal potters around. I've finally caught up on all the washing that was neglected while I was on jury duty and the house should be nice and clean and ready for a new working week.

I'll have to get the camera out into our front cottage garden. The foxgloves are on their last flowering burst, but the delphiniums, scabiosa and bog sage are all starting their new flourish. So pretty! Okay, enough relaxing for me - time to finish cleaning this living room and move into the bedrooms! Enjoy your weekend. xx

Friday, November 04, 2011

my peonies

So, had my eyes tested and yep, need glasses. Thought I'd never find anything I liked but I tried on three pairs I really liked {and about 30 I didn't} and am officially in love with one. The most expensive ones - naturally.

Afterwards we popped into the florist and bought a bunch of peonies - aren't they divine? Don't they look pretty against the pale green walls? Love.

Now all I need to make my friday complete is some champagne {currently chilling} and clean sheets {on line - ready to be made up}. Perfection.

pink peonies - woo hoo

My favourite flower is currently in season, and after the week I've had {which was preceded by last week's nightmare} I'm going to treat myself. This afternoon I'm finally off to get my eyes checked at the optomotrist {hurrah!} and right next door happens to be a florist. Yep, hang the expense, a pretty bunch of pink peonies will be popped into my amethyst Mason jar this afternoon.

ps: guess how excited I am about the possibility of glasses? Finally, after years of those teeny rectangular numbers being in fashion there are finally glasses that suit my round face. I do covet the pretty numbers Miss Tallulah Porkchop posted yesterday, but might satisfy myself with a black-framed pair of geek glasses.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

for me?

Should my husband decide to follow my lead and shop on Etsy, I hope he goes here to buy this little pretty for me {it even has teeny tiny words on the paper - bless!}

going small

This Christmas, as much as possible, I'm going to shop small and local. The Olive Tree Markets are on this weekend and I'm planning on buying as many pressies as possible there. I've already bought some fabulous hand-made Christmas cards from their last market, and I need to buy a few little bits and pieces for kids.

What I can't find locally I'm hoping to find on Etsy, or at some cool local stores such as Betty Mim or Blackbird Corner on Darby Street - and, of course, Greg & Audrey's Garage {for moi!}.

Where possible I'm avoiding the shopping centre - makes me shudder.

How about you?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

just let me sleeeeeeep

This is a bit how I feel today. After a week's worth of jury duty, a busy social weekend and a pile of work so high, so teetering, so scary that it makes me want to cry... of course I got a migraine.

However, for once in my life my migraine arrived at a respectable 6pm so I was able to medicate, get myself to bed and sleep for around 15 hours. And I slept it off - hurrah. Today I've just got the dopey migraine hangover - a pain, but at least I can still work.

Should be back to normal blog posting tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

halloween happenings

 My gal all dressed up as a black kitty cat. And her pal all decked out in Pirate garb.

At the party house, ready for trick or treating.

I loved this Zombie guy at one of the houses. The kids only trick or treat at houses that are decorated, where they know they're welcome. This guy even had Thriller playing over and over to get him in the mood - and broke out some serious zombie moves.

One of the scenes from my fave houses in the street. That's dedication right there.

 And yep, that guy was fully into it - put on a show and offered up some great lollies for the kids.

Lil ghost fairy lights - so CUTE!

Loved this dude just lolling about on the front verandah, kicking back, enjoying the view of all the kids in costume happily wandering the streets...

It was an awesome Halloween. Once again I forgot to take photos of myself, or of the finished ribs {they were delish!}. Halloween in Australia can be done well if it's organised, and interested people take place. Most of the families we saw walking around were young kids, dressed up and excited to be playing. The decorated houses loved seeing the kids - and one elderly lady didn't decorate her house, but stood out the front with a tupperware container filled with lollies - enjoying the spectacle of her neighbourhood coming alive and loving the chance the speak to so many people.

Oh, and here's a good idea I heard last night. One of the mums went around to all the elderly people in her neighbourhood explaining halloween and giving them a bag of lollies to hand out, and a ribbon to tie to their front gate. The kids happily halloweened around the block, elderly people got to share the kids' joy without forking out for the lollies - and everyone was happy. Bless.

A chance to frock up, have fun and get out in the neighbourhood? Gotta love that.