Sunday, December 29, 2013

52 new things

Okay. Here's the list for 2014 - 52 New Things! Ta da!

  1. Ride my bike on more varied routes {I do love my trek out to Nobby's breakwall, but perhaps it's time to mix it up}.
  2. Go for a family bike ride!
  3. Bake bread.
  4. Make cheese!
  5. Go for a nighttime swim in the Ocean Baths or Bogie Hole on a hot summer's night.
  6. Take REAL photos! I got a digital SLR for Christmas and I plan on using that baby!
  7. Learn French. Quickly! I need to find an intensive course, I have six months to improve.
  8. Have my girlfriends over for cocktails by the pool.
  9. Organise more drinks parties.
  10. Learn crochet, knitting or sewing with my gal.
  11. Ride the Fernleigh Track. I think I'm nearly fit enough.
  12. Do some yoga with my gal.
  13. Go on more dates with my hubby.
  14. Weed out my wardrobe. Ditch the old stuff, and sew/buy some new.
  15. Continue to find new ways to increase the vegetables in husband and child's diet.
  16. Do something that scares me.
  17. Write those e-books I've started.
  18. Bring a smile to someone's face every day.
  19. Keep discovering new music.
  20. Get a damned mammogram - honestly, I didn't do this one this year. I'm a nincompoop.
  21. Give blood monthly.
  22. Organise my files on my computer. Blerk.
  23. Save like a maniac for guilt-free spending on our OS holiday.
  24. Sell or give away on Freecycle all superfluous items.
  25. Print out photos from our OS holidays, frame them and hang them.
  26. Make a start on painting the house {well, at least the fencing on the verandas!}.
  27. Get back into the making the bed every day habit.
  28. Create new and interesting salads.
  29. Clean out the DVD and CD drawers!
  30. Eat out more often, supporting locals!
  31. Shop as little as possible at the supermarket, choosing small and local instead.
  32. Get those weird, pesky jobs done - such as putting handles on the wardrobe that's in my study!
  33. Catch up more often with my friends from far away {um, Sydney, and Melbourne…}
  34. Blog more often {poor, neglected blog!}
  35. Learn something as a family {the other two were not keen at all on this last year, but I shall find something, oh yes I will}.
  36. Go out and take pics with my gal. She's studying photography as an elective, and what better way to learn than to do!
  37. Go back to looking on the bright side. Politics have got me down. But I can still fight for what I think is right and not allow myself to be brought down!
  38. Start plotting a bathroom makeover {once we've had our holiday and can save enough for it}.
  39. Find alternative lunches for my sandwich-loathing gal. Something new.
  40. Get those weird little places in my house sorted. We have a really cute lowboy in the alcove outside the bathroom. My plan is to place a couple of baskets on top, for towels, and fill inside with excess bathroom stuff. Instead random crap gets piled on top. Must measure, buy baskets, and get this sorted. Stat.
  41. Go around the house, gather all the random piles, jars and cups of coins, and take them to the bank - hello OS spending money.
  42. Repair those items of clothing that are filed away under 'to repair'.
  43. Do something with the ideas buzzing around in my head.
  44. Find and nurture collaborators.
  45. Go to burlesque fitness each week.
  46. Read books somewhere other than bed.
  47. Do another course at the Hunter Writer's Centre - the Travel Writing one was ace.
  48. Do some travel writing.
  49. Make an effort to dress up regularly.
  50. Do something spontaneous and awesome!

a year in review {a very brief one}

Last year I decided that I'd ditch the New Year's Resolutions and, instead, came up with 52 New Things thanks to a friend on Twitter who did the same. Now, while I certainly didn't achieve every one of those 52 things, I came pretty close, and I think 2013 was more awesome for it.

Amongst the best things:

  • starting a book club {my friend C organises it and loads of friends, new and old, from Twitter are in it - it's been brilliant}
  • catching up with friends more often
  • seeing more live music
  • be a tourist in my town
  • put away the washing when I bring it in {well, most of the time}
  • do a cooking class with a friend {so much fun I am still giggling!}
  • go on more dates with my husband!
  • organise another tweet up {we had TWO}
  • save up for an overseas holiday - tick! Yep, we've booked five weeks next year OS. We're going to spend time in England with the relos, then a week in Paris with friends, then a week down south in The Lot - near this gorgeous town above. Then back to London again. So excited!
I love having a plan, but the best thing about 52 new things was that it made me even more open to trying new things, and experiencing something different. I was more likely to say 'yes'. I saw lots of movies with my friend C that I probably wouldn't have chosen to see, and LOVED them. I made time to see as much of Newcastle Writers Festival and This Is Not Art festivals when they were on, even though, at the time, it was exhausting and a whole weekend away from my family. But I still have a buzz from them, and so many great memories with my fabulous friends.

Stay tuned for 2014's list of 52 New Things. Some from last year will be on there - but there'll be some new ones too.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

have yourself a merry little christmas

Well, here we are - Christmas Eve! Are you prepared? I *think* I am. I have all the ingredients I need {well, after calling hubby and asking him to pick up a couple of bottles of prosecco at Vintage Cellars on his way home from work} and all I have to do is wrap the last few pressies, do my Christmas nails {red with gold glitter tips!} and pack.

Oh, and bake a little.

And finish writing an article.

Then I can loll about on a fabulous wingback chair dressed in claret velvet, with my ermine stole flung casually just-so over my lap.


Have a simply beautiful Christmas. xx

Monday, December 23, 2013

merry christmas to all

Well hello, how's your Chrissie preparations going? Swimmingly I hope. We're pretty much set, aside from one last grocery shop {which I'm trying to plan to avoid the hoards - is that even possible?}. I'm not doing a meal planning post this week, as it's Christmas, but I thought I'd share the recipe for the Christmas crackers I'm making for Christmas Eve supper at my in-laws.

I did a trial run a few weeks ago for Christmas drinks at my neighbours, and think I only need to add an extra layer of filo to the centre to have them perfect! Here's how I made them.

Cute sheets of filo in half, brush with melted butter, and place one sheet over the other.

In the middle third place a piece of pancetta or proscuitto. On top of this, add a dollop of the following:

  • ricotta cheese
  • goat cheese
  • lemon zest
  • fresh shredded basil
  • freshly grated pepper.

Make this to taste, I used more ricotta for a milder flavour, and I also used truffled goat cheese because I saw it in the supermarket and went "OHMYGOODNESS, TRUFFLED GOAT CHEESE!".

Roll up tightly.

Grab ends and give them a twist to form fanned out cracker ends. You could tie with a piece of chive if you're feeling like you have time. I never do.

Brush with melted butter and bake at 180 degrees celcius till they're nice and brown. Keep an eye on them - the ends brown quicker.


I'll be serving these with Pink Christmas cocktails: a few pomegranate seeds, a splash of rose syrup topped up with prosecco in tall glasses or champagne coupes!

Merry Christmas everyone, thanks for hanging around with me this year. I do so enjoy sharing things with you. xx

Monday, December 16, 2013

meal planning monday

Well, we're into the final countdown. It's nearly Christmas. How are you coping? Taking lots of deep breaths? I have a spray bottle of Rescue Remedy in my handbag that's getting quite the workout. However, it's all about simplicity this year. I'm trying to tone things down a bit.

I've bought all the pressies for our nieces and nephew, and Christmas pressies for our gal. Because her birthday's at the end of December I usually shop for her birthday AND Christmas pressies before Christmas, but this year I'm leaving birthday stuff till after Christmas. Should save a little sanity.

And speaking of simple, meals shall be simple too. Very.

Monday: poached chicken, avocado and mango salad.

Tuesday: thai beef salad.

Wednesday: spanish chicken salad: grilled, sliced chicken breast, chorizo, grilled corn, grilled capsicum and lots of greens.

Thursday: chicken and spinach gozleme.

Friday: salmon and salad.

Saturday: duck confit and salad {because it's nearly Christmas!}

Sunday: roast beef and salad.

Phew. Now I just need to shop and restock in preparation for school holidays which start tomorrow. Eep! How's your pre-Christmas week going?

image from

Sunday, December 15, 2013

i'm your fan

I've always *liked* Leonard Cohen's music. His voice has an incredible timbre that just gets more beautiful as the years go by. But I wouldn't have called myself a real fan, until recently.

My friend C asked a few months back if anyone was interested in going along to see Leonard in concert at his recent Australian tour, and I thought, "why not?"

I have a concert-bucket-list of bands/artists I'd like to see live, and, as so many of my friends had raved about him live {one of my friends has seen him in New York AND Berlin!} I thought I should. How glad I am that I did.

What a night. This concert will have to go down as one of the best I've ever seen. I love a performer that gives their all - and Leonard gives more than you think anyone possibly could. The crowd was positively enamoured: with sighs, screams and lots of singing along happening.

Worshiping at the altar of Leonard? Yep, I'm there now.

If you ever have the chance to see Leonard Cohen in concert, do what it takes to get there. He's Your Man.

Friday, December 13, 2013

fabulous friday

Ahhhh, how's the serenity? This was my view yesterday when I went with my mum and step-dad down to Merewether for a coffee. Afterwards we went for a wander down to the ocean baths where we saw this cute paste-up on the back of a sign.

My favourite place is the Ocean Baths - and this surf club. Pretty as a picture isn't it? The baby pool was devoid of water - but had sand-a-plenty!

I adore the new SurfHouse - the design, the positioning, the café, kiosk and pizza downstairs, the restaurant upstairs.

And the bar. Don't you just imagine it saying "Excuse my beauty"? La-la-love.

Oh I do love to live beside the seaside!

Monday, December 09, 2013

meal planning monday

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Especially when I share this pic of the rather decadent trifle I made yesterday. We had an early Christmas dinner with my dad and step-mum who were down from Queensland for my gal's ballet concert on Saturday. To give us time together, my mum and step-dad (who are staying with us this week) went to the movies - and we had a chrissy dinner.

I must say, rose and vanilla poached white nectarine and raspberry trifle is a bit bloody delicious. There was lots of vanilla - even in the whipped cream on the top {and in the custard!}. No jelly, I reduce the poaching liquid {water, sugar, vanilla, rose syrup} after I've poached the peaches, so it becomes a sticky syrup and pour that over the bottom layer of sponge jam roll slices. Mmmmm.

Tonight we're having the other half of that trifle - with a vegetarian Christmas dinner!

Monday: we'll stuff a hollowed out loaf of bread with layers of pesto, roasted vegies and feta cheese. This'll be weighed down in the fridge to squish it together so the flavours mingle, then we'll slice it and serve it with lemon-thyme-roasted potatoes and green beans with almonds. Then trifle.

Tuesday: we're off to a neighbour's across the road for Christmas drinks and nibbles. I'll make mini-bon-bons a proscuitto, herb and goat cheese mix encased in filo pastry and shaped to look like bon-bons. Then we'll come home for a late final dinner with my folks - mexican perhaps.

Wednesday: hubby will be craving a steak {surprise, when is he not?} so I'll cook steaks on the bbq {to which my daughter will say "Steak AGAIN?"} and serve with salad.

Thursday: netball committee dinner night out at MoneyPenny on Honeysuckle. Mmmmm. Hubby and gal will have grilled chicken and salad.

Friday: salmon on the bbq, with salads.

Saturday: I'm out with my gal-friends for a Christmas celebration. We're hitting a tequila bar and mexican place. Yummo!

Sunday: quiet night at home - and I'll be ordering thai takeaway!

That's it for me. You?

Friday, December 06, 2013

fabulous friday

My parents are up from Melbourne at the moment, so, amidst my work, I'm trying to squish in fun things to do with them. On Wednesday we went for a bike ride to check out some of the new Street Art in Newcastle {my latest obsession}. I love what's happening in Beresford Lane down in the West End. This piece is one of my faves - the exuberance and ridiculousness is just wonderful.

Today we're off to the Art Gallery where I'll be interviewing photographer Bill Henson, which I'm both nervous and excited about. I remember studying Henson's work way back when I was majoring in photography at Uni and being astonished by his painterly photographs. My parents will be coming along and checking out the four exhibitions on display at the Gallery while I'm being all journalistic.

Tonight my gal has a school dance, so I'll take my parents along to Darby Street After Five where we'll do some Christmas shopping, check out some of the fab buskers and grab ourselves something to eat.

Tomorrow it's Olive Tree Markets for more shopping, then my gal's ballet concert in the afternoon - before I head off to a friend's birthday party! Woo hoo!

Have a fab weekend everyone.

Monday, December 02, 2013

meal planning monday

Summer! Finally! {Hopefully!} Last Friday I went with my friend C to Christmas in the City and we were all rugged up and wintery to combat the endless drizzle. Not so good for checking out the Christmas lighting, but we did do a spot of shopping before accidentally catching up with another friend - and meeting our friend J when she made it in. Now it's finally looking like swimming and cycling weather - and bbq weather! Hurrah!

My mum and step-dad arrive from Melbourne tomorrow - so I'll be planning lots of vegetarian meals while they're here.

Here's what we're eating:

Monday: I'm going to marinate and then wrap some chicken breasts in proscuitto before baking them on a bed of french lentils. I'll also cook up some roasted vegies. I think I'll do this on the bbq  so I don't grotty up my still-sparkling oven after getting in cleaned two weeks ago!

Tuesday: parents arrive. Tonight's dinner will be orichette pasta with broccoli, caramelised onion, toasted pecans and crumbled roquefort cheese.

Wednesday: last week I went to my Bookclub for an end-of-year dinner to Talulah at The Junction. One of my friends RAVED about the pumpkin salad, while another raved about the pork belly. So I had both - and shared the salad with my friend L. OH. MY! Roasted pumpkin, quinoa, baby rocket, goat cheese and praline!!!!! all tossed through with what tasted like an orange vinaigrette. I shall try to replicate this tonight.

Thursday: we'll have a bbq tonight - lots of roasted veg and haloumi, along with chicken breasts for the meat-eaters.

Friday: we should go to the beach and have fish and chips {or potato scallops and chips for the vegos}.

Saturday: it's my gal's ballet concert at lunchtime today - so all the grandparents will be in the audience with us. I'll make an afternoon tea for everyone for when they come home. Then I'm off to a uni-friend's birthday party - with my friends V and M coming up from Melbourne and Sydney for the night!

Sunday: I'll leave this dinner up to my step-dad - he's an awesome cook. Perhaps I'll see if he can mimic the carrot and haloumi fritters from Quint Café at The Essential Ingredient. Mmmmm.

image from

Thursday, November 28, 2013

colour my world

Last weekend saw Newcastle host the Hit the Bricks Street Art Festival which has brought colour and joy to Newcastle streets. Local and national street artists converged on the city and have brought long-term joy and colour. I'm delighted to see the streets come to life, there's far too much emphasis on beige in this city for my liking. I love to see art spreading from the galleries and museums into the streets - and I'm glad that so many business owners embraced it by offering up their walls as canvases.

On Sunday my gal and I went on a walking tour, organised by Renew Newcastle, where we checked out some of the amazing pieces on display.
Artists such as Askew, Adnate, Shida, Numbskull, Fintan Magee, Sofles, Grizzle, Mike Watt, Umpell, Shuda, Bafcat, Beastman, Phibs, Jumbo and Mike Maka were joined by many others and boy, have they created something fabulous.

It rained pretty heavily on the first two days, but the artists carried on. In fact, some incorporated the running paint into their work, to great effect. Isn't this whale a beauty!

This was my gal's fave - and one of mine too. Isn't she just glorious?

We got to see artists in action, and some of them even stopped to have a chat with the 25+ strong group on the walking tour to tell us about their art, their inspiration and the festival.

While some artists used ladders, others required more serious equipment to complete their pieces. I love the colours and the scale in this piece. It makes a boring old car park POP!

After the walking tour I went home and grabbed my bike so I could pootle out and check out the rest. On my travels I saw an historical piece of street art! It's nice to see that things work in swings and roundabouts. Everything old is new again.

This piece is utterly breathtaking. I've rarely seen a more powerful portrait. Seriously, this is the kind of work you'd expect to see win the Archibald Prize - the eyes tell so many stories. This glorious boy gazes up the Hunter River and overseas the area with majesty.

What a gift to the city.

For more info, go to the LookHear website. And next time you're out, see if you can find these pieces. There are also plenty of secret sites, such as laneways, that were off the map. Searching the hashtag #HitTheBricks or #HTBfestival will find more images on Instagram.

Thanks for sharing your work with us guys, we really appreciate it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

meal planning monday

Oh hey, how's things? Did you have a lovely weekend? Oh I did. Too lovely. Too fabulous.

And this week? More loveliness. Hurrah!

Monday: it's my gal's theatre rehearsal tonight 5 to 8:55pm. I'll feed her beforehand, and pack plenty of healthy snacks to share with her friends. Hubby and I will just have simple steaks grilled on the bbq with salad.

Tuesday: I haven't made chicken schnitzel in 900 years. Guess I should. And I should probably serve it with a green salad and perhaps a potato salad too.

Wednesday: I'm off to dinner with my bookclub friends to Tallulah at The Junction. Hello pork belly. I'll leave the fixings for mexican in the fridge for hubby and child.

Thursday: netball committee meeting. Early dinner tonight. Perhaps marinated, bbq chicken breasts and lots of salad.

Friday: it's the official opening of Christmas in the City - with lights and entertainment - hurrah! We'll go and check it out, and have something to eat at a local restaurant while we're there.

Saturday: oh, nothing planned tonight. Yay! Easy dinner at home. Garlic prawns and chorizo on the bbq perhaps?

Sunday: whoops, I forgot, hubby and I are going along with our friends to the Art Gallery Society's Christmas Dinner. A meal amidst Whiteley On Water exhibition? Don't mind if I do...

That's it. That's my week. Tell me about yours.

image from

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

meal planning monday {on a tuesday}

Oh, I am sorry this is late - but I do have an excuse! My internet was only restored last night - after 10 days of NO INTERNET! Eeep!

This week's busy, again, so I'm frantically planning easy meals. Here's what we're having.

Tuesday: tonight's the photo and dress rehearsal for my gal's ballet concert. I'll be at the studio from 5.55 till 8pm. I'll be giving my gal a light snack beforehand, taking some crackers for her to munch on between costume changes, and making spaghetti bolognaise for a late supper.

Wednesday: I'm going with my friend C to the pre-season opening at the Civic Theatre. It starts at 5.30, so I'll leave behind the fixings for homemade pizzas.

Thursday: Nothing on tonight (woo hoo!) I'll make chicken burgers for dinner I think.

Friday: I'm taking my mother-in-law and father-in-law to the Civic Theatre to see the winner of The Voice, Harrison Craig in concert. I'll make shepherd's pie for dinner beforehand, with lots of veg.

Saturday: Another concert! This time with my friend C to see Leonard Cohen!!!!!!! It's my first Leonard Cohen concert and I'm VERY excited. C is bringing her delicious zucchini slice, so I'll take along some cheese and crackers. Hurrah!

Sunday: slow roasted pork shoulder on the bbq, with apple slaw and a baby spinach, pear and blue cheese salad will do. Don't you think?

Phew. What a week!

Friday, November 15, 2013

fabulous friday

Two things are making me happy today. The first is that my gardenia is covered with flowers and the heady scent creeps under the door and into my bedroom at night. Not to mention how intoxicating it is every time you walk up or down the front stairs {let's ignore the fact that it obviously needs MORE cow manure - it's a greedy feeder, but I'd prefer lots of flowers to green leaves anyway}.

The next thing making me happy are THESE! New red shoes! As you may remember, I fell in love with what I am calling my "Paris shoes". A red pair of wedges from Django & Juliette. I was actually seriously thinking of buying another pair exactly the same, when a friend sent me a link to eBay with some Django & Juliette shoes! I didn't buy the ones she sent {as fab as they were} because I saw THESE! 1/3 of the price of my others and so comfy I could cry. That leather is the softest thing you ever will feel - and the colour!

I think they'll be getting an outing at some stage this weekend.

I have another busy weekend. Tonight I'm off to the official opening of Eddie's Supper Club - the 20s-style New York Jazz Club I went to last weekend. I'm off with my friend J who just happens to be free - so we'll be frocking up for a bit of fun.

Tomorrow afternoon is the last Book Club for the year. I LOVED the book we read The Rosie Project, it was the perfect book to end the year on.

Tomorrow night I'm off to see Empire at the Spiegelteint - from all reports it redefines fabulous. My red lace frock may well require another outing for this night!

Sunday I have a baby shower to attend, a rally for Climate Change, and possibly going to see La Dolce Vita at the Italian Film Festival.

I love weekends.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

pretty good

Two things are currently making me happy. My husband FINALLY hung my antique map of Paris in our living room. Ahhhhh isn't it glorious?

Sitting just below it are these glorious coral peonies. They're HUGE! There were only three in the bunch, and already in full-bloom when I bought them on Friday - but they are bringing me such joy. They've now faded to a pale, antique-peach - but oh my, they make me wish I could paint.

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Monday, November 11, 2013

meal planning monday

Good morning! Apparently we're in for a week's worth of heavy rain {hurrah!} so no bbq on this week's meal plan. My gal's chosen the first two meals for the week - sadly I have to choose the rest. Let's see how I go.

Monday: chicken pot pie, mashed pumpkin, peas and corn.

Tuesday: spaghetti and meatballs.

Wednesday: roast beef with lots of roast vegies.

Thursday: grilled fish, steamed veg and lemon-roasted potatoes.

Friday: it's the opening of the Italian Film Festival, so I'm off to see something fab. I'll make a lovely Italian dish to eat before leaving, hmmmmm, perhaps I'll check out Nigelissima for inspiration.

Saturday: I'm going to Spiegelteint tonight - but not until the 9.30pm session. Lamb fillets, crusted with dukkah and served on a roasted chickpea salad will do.

Sunday: chicken with 40 cloves of garlic {if I can find Australian garlic at the markets!} with greens and mashed potato.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

too much fun!

Last night my hubby and I went with some friends to Glamarama at Newcastle Art Gallery and it was a hoot! Everyone was all frocked up, there was a DJ spinning awesome tunes, and Bob Downe was as hysterically fabulous as always. There was also a vintage photobooth where we got these cute shots to remember the night {everyone looks better in black and white don't you think?}

I got very crafty and framed it using the invitation from opening night as the background matt. Cute non?

Here's a few shots from the night - Newcastle Art Gallery sure knows how to throw a party!

The Prince of Polyester serenaded us. Bless.

There was fair-dinkum dancing around the handbags while drinking tequila sunrises - these gals know how to commit to a look bless them.

If there's ever anyone who knows how to 'strike a pose' it's Bob Downe. 

Oh no, is that Bob with a *gasp* woman? A very foxy woman in fact… Jane sure does know how to party - and I think she loves the Gallery as much as I do. 

There was always a line-up for the vintage photobooth - such an awesome way to record an awesome night. What a blast!

Can we do it again?

Friday, November 08, 2013

putttin' on the ritz

You do know that I love an excuse to dress up don't you? So tonight I'm dead-excited to dress up for Eddie's Supper Club - a New York Style Jazz Club that's opening Friday nights at Agosti on Darby Street. With a DJ spinning tunes from the 20s, 30s and 40s this is bound to be fun with a capital F! Can't wait to see some of the moves busted out on the dancefloor.

Tonight's the opening night, so my friend A and I are going along for a sneaky peek. I'm wearing a black frock with a swirly skirt, my new seamed fishnets, my red patent mary janes - and this lil capelet thingy above. I bought it for my 40th and haven't worn it since - but I think it'll just top off my outfit.

Tomorrow night's another chance to frock up for Glamarama at Newcastle Art Gallery. I don't know what I'm more excited about; the chance to dress up, catching up with friends, giggling at Bob Downe, seeing the Darnell Collection for the final time {sob!} or being served cocktails and canapés by babes on roller skates.


Hello weekend, I think I love you.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

and the winner is...

It was a tough choice, but I loved Ali Jane's tale of her mother's 70s Green polyester pantsuit - can't wait to see you in it this Saturday night at Glamarama! Congrats Ali Jane. Either email me {} or send me a message via my facebook page to organise your prize.

Josanne, I have a very special consolation prize for you {no, it's not the Halston in the shot above…} contact me to find out more!

Thanks for entering - and see you at Glamarama this Saturday night!

Monday, November 04, 2013

meal planning monday

Well hey, it's November - can you believe it's November? NOVEMBER! GAH! My daughter has her yearly exams this week, so it's brain-food central in this neck of the woods.

Monday: ballet lessons, then straight home for dinner and study. Spaghetti Bolognaise tonight.

Tuesday: salmon on the bbq, udon noodle salad with lots of vegies.

Wednesday: corn cakes with crispy bacon and salad. Sure, it's kinda a breakfast food, but still, delish.

Thursday: my gal's obsessed with flattened, grilled chicken breasts - it's her fave dish at the moment. I slice them thinly on the diagonal when I serve them, and they're ever-so-tender. I'll serve these with a warm french lentil salad and some greens.

Friday: garlic prawns, rice and green salad.

Saturday: hubby and I are off to Glamarama at Newcastle Art Gallery - have you entered to win tix yet? There'll be cocktails and canapes served by Roller Derby Gals on roller skates (the food's REALLY good at the Gallery - Sprout does the catering). Scroll down below and enter. Go on! My gal can have takeaway pizza as a treat.

Sunday: steak on the bbq with salad. To wind down.

Image from

Friday, November 01, 2013

flowers for a fabulous friday

When I was at my friends' house the other week for a party to welcome their baby girl, I took this shot of this vase with these glorious dahlia's. I had vase and flower envy. I told my friend how much I loved it and she said, 'Oh, you bought it for me". Apparently I'm unaware of my own awesome taste in presents. I need to find another one now, for me.

Now, it's Friday - hurrah! Busy, long week - with lots of awesome things planned. I'm off to Rustica for a Fashion Friday lunch which has me a little bit excited. Good food, glorious location and fab frocks - what's not to love?

Tonight I'm off to the final French Friday film with my friend C - bring that on.

Tomorrow it's the opening of Whiteley On Water, a new exhibition at Newcastle Art Gallery to celebrate the glorious sculpture that Wendy Whiteley has gifted to our Gallery. Black Totem II is in the forecourt of the Gallery and is undoubtedly the most spectacular thing I've ever seen. Now, I've been in Rodin's Garden, I've been to the Vatican in Rome. I've wandered the Louvre - but this sculpture… it's so evocative, it's so beautiful, it inspires so many emotions. I love it, and can't wait to see all the other Whiteley works on display.

On Sunday Wendy Whiteley will be in conversation with Gallery Director Ron Ramsay, the man who spent a year negotiating for Black Totem II to make its home in Newcastle. I cannot thank him enough. What vision, what persuasive power. What a gift to Newcastle.

Enjoy your weekend lovelies x

Monday, October 28, 2013

meal planning monday

I did a very, very foolish thing yesterday. Rather than deleting a whole bunch of spam comments I deleted real comments. Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! So sad.

Also, so silly. If you'd left a comment on my last post, to win tix to Glamarama at Newcastle Art Gallery please comment again. I feel so lonely with no comments :(

Now, onto planning.

Monday: tonight hubby and I are off to Sydney to see The Breeders in concert. So excited. It's the 20th anniversary of the release of Last Splash and they're playing the album in it's entirety. I know, I feel old. We're having dinner at our friends' house - while our child is off to spend the night with one of her best buds. Good times.

Tuesday: bbq chicken kebabs, rice salad and green salad tonight.

Wednesday: mince and macaroni bake.

Thursday: Salmon on the bbq - this was a big hit with everyone last week, so I'll be making this a regular. With lots of salads.

Friday: I'm off to the last French Friday movie of the year. I'll just have something to nibble on when we get there. Husband and child can have mexican.

Saturday: I'm going to the opening of Whiteley on Water exhibition at Newcastle Art Gallery this afternoon. Wendy Whiteley is speaking and I think I'll be floating on air. When I come home I'll bring myself back to earth by cooking up a bbq. With salad.

Sunday: slow-roasted pork is something I need. With salads.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

glamarama wrap party - giveaway!

Hey, have you been to see the extraordinary vintage fashion exhibition at Newcastle Art Gallery yet? After Five: Fashions from the Darnell Collection is an absolute must-see. Sadly, it ends on November 10 but excitingly I have TWO TICKETS to giveaway to the Glamarama Wrap Party on Saturday November 9! Taking place from 6 to 9.30pm this party will involve much entertainment, delicious canapés and cocktails from Silo Restaurant and Lounge and the fabulous Bob Downe as host!

There'll also be music from DJ Eoin who'll be spinning tunes from the all the eras represented by the fashions - from the 1920s to today! FUN! 

Want to come? For your chance to win, simply tell me which era you'll come dressed in homage to and why and I shall select a winner.

Will it be the fabulous 40s as epitomised by Dior's New Look?

The flirty 50s? {Oh look, another Dior!}

The sexy 70s? {That Halston, in the middle - to die for}

Excessive 80s perhaps?

So tell me, tell me do. Which era most suits you? 

The winner will be drawn on Wednesday November 6.

To book your tickets {because c'mon, this is a bring a bunch of gal-pals kinda night} call 4974 5111. Tickets are $55 or $50 if you're a member of the Gallery Society. Frock up and be fabulous as there'll also be a vintage photobooth on location so you can take away some cute snaps of the night.

Good luck - and I'll see you there - I've already bought my tickets! {Hey, I've only seen the exhibition four times so far, and I'm a HUGE Bob Downe fan, oh, and a cocktail fan...}

Monday, October 21, 2013

meal planning monday

Who's been a slack blogger? I've been a slack blogger. Sorry. But do you know who's been punished the worst for my slackness? Me, and my family. See, no meal planning for two weeks in a row has led to no real shopping, no real cooking and no enthusiasm. For anything. We've had bbq chicken and salad more times that I can to share. We've had takeaway. We've had lacklustre steak with salad leaves from a bag and a few slices of cucumber and apple added to it. BORING!

So, from today, back into it. Starting.


Monday: I got back from Sydney from a gorgeous party yesterday to welcome friends' gorgeous baby girl to the family. It was so much fun catching up with everyone, and getting lots of cuddles and baby giggles in return. Tonight I have a community meeting to attend, so an easy dinner is called for. I'm going to make a bolognaise ravioli bake.

Tuesday: I have another meeting to attend {I know, some things never change} so it's an early dinner of bbq salmon and lots of lovely salads. I'm finding it tough cooking meals that my gal with her braces is okay to eat. Salmon should be perfect!

Wednesday: pancetta and chicken sausages - made with chicken mince, lemon zest, chilil and parsley and wrapped in pancetta before pan frying. Served with roasted carrot sticks and a green salad.

Thursday: bbq pork cutlets, glazed with mandarine jam before cooking. I'll serve these with an apple and walnut coleslaw - and a beetroot and persian feta green leaf salad.

Friday: hubby and I are off to the Maritime Ball. Can't wait! It's a Pearl Harbour theme - so 1940s and will be held in the glorious Civic Theatre. I'm on the fundraising committee for this one, so there are no surprises for me {well, aside from what I'm going to wear!!!} but I can't wait to see everyone's faces when the curtain comes up on the stage!

Saturday: bookclub in the afternoon, so I'll come home and cook some squid and prawns on the bbq.

Sunday: our first whole weekend home together in yonks - we will hopefully have done HEAPS of work around the house. I shall reward us all with a slow-roasted pork shoulder and a roasted veg salad.

Back into it! YES! And you? What are you eating? Inspire me...

image from

Sunday, October 13, 2013

county dining - it's all about sharing

For quite some time now we've been spoiled in Newcastle with fabulous dining options. Choosing somewhere to eat is tough, and I'm a tough audience. See, when I go out to dinner I want it all. Obviously I want great food: I want something new, something familiar, or something that's cooked in such a way that it brings out all the wows. I also want friendly, fabulous service. I want to be greeted with a smile by staff who make the dinner an even more pleasurable experience. Finally, I want ambiance. I want to take delight in my surroundings.

County Dining takes out the trifecta in exceeding my expectations.

This gorgeous new restaurant is the love child of Heather Moore and Jamie Ryan. And it's a beauty. Set in the historic town of Morpeth, in the old Arnott's Sourdough building, this restaurant welcomes you with open arms from the moment you walk through the historic doors.

The wide veranda completely spans the street and is the ideal setting for a dinner or a long lunch. Details have been minutely attended to. Everything from the chairs, to the napery to the cutlery is something special. You feel like you're about to experience something really special from the moment you approach your table.

The cocktail list is impressive, and overseen by the dashingly bearded Chris Woodger while the wine list by Amanda Cooper is both exciting and comforting.

And the food? Oh my, the food...

I was lucky enough to attend a preview evening, where we were treated to a range of options on the menu. Lucky - as I couldn't have chosen. I wanted EVERYTHING.

This. This was sublime. Venison tartare with a slow cooked egg, hollandaise and crispy pangritata. Oh my word. There is nothing like a well-prepared tartare to really make the most of venison. It's a meat that's delicious served rare - and divine served raw.

The most exciting thing about County Dining is there philosophy of using local, sustainable produce. See this dish above? It uses what is undoubtedly Morpeth's best product - potkin. Sure, it looks like a pumpkin, but it's not. It's the most incredibly delicious pumpkin you ever will eat - especially here at County Dining when it's served with smoked beetroot, hazelnuts and a goat's milk foam.

I thought I'd tried it all when it came to mash. Until I tried mash with bone marrow. Hello heaven! And served in old school enamel baking dishes - just like my nana had. Swoon.

Meals are meant for sharing at County Dining. Check out this incredible dish of duck, mandarin, cabbage and radish served in a massive cast iron enamelled pot. So pretty. So many flavours. So much to love. And to share. What a great concept.

This was probably my favourite thing of the night - an homage to the history of the Historic Arnott Bakehouse is this - the Iced Vovo. Can you believe it? I can't describe the magnificence, you'll just have to trust me that this is probably the best dessert I've ever had (and boy, have I had a few awesome desserts in my life). Every flavour and texture on that plate was designed to tickle tastebuds, take them for a dance, snog them, then tuck them up into bed.

Yep, divine.

Here's that balcony. Isn't it magnificent? What a spot for the newest gem in the Hunter's culinary scene.

And this is the restaurant at night. Have you seen anything prettier? Check out the website for opening hours, menu and more behind their philosophy. And make a trip to Morpeth. I'll be going again. And again. And probably another time.