Thursday, January 31, 2013

my sweet addiction

I do like my coffee. It's the only way I start the day. If there is no coffee machine in my vicinity I start to get antsy. On Instagram the other day I'm sure a lot of friends giggled when they saw that one of my friends had strapped her coffee machine into a seat and seatbelt in the car for a weekend. I simply nodded.

Today's going to be one of those three coffee days I'd imagine. A full day at work followed by a night at the club doing the netball registrations. The face-to-face aspect will take two hours, and then there'll be meetings and trying to start sorting out the teams. Out of over 600 players.




French word(s) of the day: bonne chance (bonn shonce) - this means good luck.

ps: this wee elephant in my coffee came via a delightful lunch with a friend at Cupcake Espresso. Cute non?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

happy hump day

I never understood what people meant by the term hump day - but now I'm in a full-time office job I certainly do. Today's that day that seems insurmountable, until you get to the end of it and realise that there's only two days till the weekend. WOO HOOO!

So, to get us through our hump day here's a divine bathroom - imagine soaking in it? And look, it has a special thingy to prop up a book. DIVINE.

French word of the day: semaine (seh - man) week.

Yep, let's just get through the week shall we?

image from

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

and we have a bookclub

Woo hoo, ticking off so many things from my #52NewThings list this year - including the latest: start a book club. Last night, on Twitter, conversation turned to books, and then bookclubs and bam, before you know it a bunch of us are putting our hands up for a book club.


French word of the day: biblioteque: library. Let's hope I get to read a few of the books in my library above...

Monday, January 28, 2013

meal planning monday

Okay, this week I'm not even going to say "Oh, I've got a busy week this week," because I'm sure you'll just say "Duh, PPMJ, when DON'T you - you gadabout you." So here's what we're eating. Not that meal above which was a delightful lunch of pork rillettes from III Bean at Hamilton - but it's inspiring me. Read on to find out why:

Monday: tonight I'm off to the movies to see Silver Linings Playbook with friends. It's an early session, so we'll have an early dinner of thai chicken breast salad. I'll marinate the chicken breasts in chilli jam after flattening them with a meat mallet to about 1cm thick. Then I'll grill these on the bbq and slice on the diagonal and toss through salad leaves.

Tuesday: I have burlesque tonight - a class I'm falling deeper, and deeper in love with each week. I'll make spaghetti bolognaise for dinner tonight as it's simple and reheats well.

Wednesday: nothing on tonight. Woo hoo! I'll make a thai beef salad tonight. Rump steak grilled and sliced on the diagonal tossed through leaves with lots of mint. YUM!

Thursday: it's netball registration night tonight, so I have to be at the club to help get everything sorted. Eep. Fritatta and salad for dinner tonight.

Friday: hubby and I are off with friends to another Underground Epicureans dinner. The chef this time is from the hatted Bistro Mason - no idea where it's being held. Shall fill you in later.

Saturday: I'm off to a friend from work's hen's party. It's Thai-themed so shall be heaps of fun. Hubby and daughter can fire up the bbq.

Sunday: I should make something new this week. Hmmm, what shall it be? Shall consult recipe book and let you know later in the week.

And that's it. Now, as for how that meal above is inspiring me - it's showing me how to plate up a salad and make it look magical. It's all about the accessorising! Let me know what you're eating this week.

Whoopsies, forgot the French Word of the Day. Here tis: entierement (on-ti-er-i-mon) - completely. Oooh, so I could say J'taime entieremont - I love you completely. Bless.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

some kind of wonderful

I had one of those truly awesome nights last night. My friend C picked me up and we went to check out the film Monsieur Lazhar. Sadly, the screening at Nobby's Lighthouse was postponed and we went to a room in Panthers to watch it. Sure, the view wasn't hot - but the film was just lovely. We both sobbed - and then drove down to Terrace Bar just around the corner.

Yesterday was JJJ's Hottest 100 - but the Terrace Bar did something completely different (as per usual) and had a DJ spinning the Hottest 100 from 1989. We walked in the door to Nick Cave crooning The Ship Song and the scene was set for a fab night. They've got a cocktail menu up and running, so, naturally I had to imbibe. I had this fabulous creation with St Germain liqueur, gin, pineapple and lemon juice (I think). Twas yummy. They were also running random trivia questions where you could win a free drink. See that card there? That's the free drink I won three minutes after walking in the door.


C and I sat down to sip our drinks, listen to ace tunes and chat about the movie. Of course, we also Instagrammed and Tweeted - and I checked into the Terrace Bar on Facebook. (Something I only do for local businesses to help their ranking on Google). One of our friends saw my update and before we knew it, he was walking in through the door.

We enjoyed the top 10, chatted about music and then saw a fabulous band called Boatfriends perform. Lots of laughs, lots of fun.

Good times people. Good times.

French word of the day: boisson (bwa - sogn) drink.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

sweet saturday

Sorry I'm late. We're just back from spending the night and day at my in-laws. My sister-in-law and her two gals fly back to England tomorrow night, so we spent the day just hanging with them.

French word of the day: Belle Souer: sister-in-law - don't you love it? Belle means beautiful so it's far nicer than 'in-law'.

I'm off to see a French film tonight. Sadly, not at the lighthouse as inclement weather has sent us indoors. But, who cares? It's French.

image from

Friday, January 25, 2013

fabulously friday

Have a look at this.

Go on.

Isn't it divine? It was my lunch yesterday. A pea and mint crostini with a poached egg and crispy pancetta. It was masterful. The peas were fresh and light and perfectly studded with mint. The egg was poached brilliantly. I am kicking myself that I didn't take a shot after I'd cut the egg open so that the perfect yellow yolk oozed out.

But take a really close look. Look at that rocket. See how it glistens? It's because it's been dressed (with, if I'm not mistaken, a superb extra virgin olive oil).

Oh yes, there are some places who have such respect for the food that nothing is an afterthought. An inedible garnish thrown on to add colour. What's the point of that?

For years I've pushed the rocket aside and eaten my meal. And at the end, a pile of sad leaves has decorated my plate. What a waste. And I nearly did that yesterday until the rocket seemingly winked at me.

Watching a chef take pride in a plate. Seeing everything placed just-so. The dish wiped with a clean cloth before going out. That's a joy.

Where was this masterpiece served? At The Essential Ingredient on Darby Street Newcastle. At Quint Cafe. I shouldn't tell you this as the place was pumping yesterday with people in raptures over their food. But hey, while I like to keep a secret, some are too good to share. It's not the first time I've raved about Quint. And it won't be the last. So long as Jace is there casting his laser eyes over the service, I know I'm always going to be delighted.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

summer lovin'

I'm hoping that by posting about how much I love summer, we might experience a bit more of one. So far we've had either stinking hot or grey and blerky - not much of the fabulous in-between.

Oooh, am off to a movie tonight with a couple of friends. It's called Paris/Manhatten so naturally I expect I'll love it. Then we're off to meet a couple more friends at Bar Petite for drinks and dinner. Happy times!

Quick post today - mainly to share that pretty shot above (took it outside the Civic Theatre - love the contrast of the palms against the twilight sky) and share my french word of the day.

French word of the day: laquelle - which one - as in, which one do you prefer?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

new habits

So, apparently it takes three weeks to make a new habit. In which case - woo, hoo, HOO I am now a bed maker. Yep, three weeks into #52NewThings and my bed has been made EVERY SINGLE DAY! That's an achievement worth shouting about.

I've done a few more things too:

13: catch up with friends in real life - hey, you've seen my meal-planning posts, I'm catching up with friends A LOT. And it's awesome. I have fabulous friends.

27: weed out my magazine collection. Yep, the mags in the living room have been thinned by about 1/4. That's impressive (shhh, don't tell anyone that there'd be way over 100 there - home decorating mags mostly...)

42: flirt more with my husband. This is simple - he's a spunk.

And the other things from the past weeks too. Washing? Still being put away. New recipes? Attempted. This is the best thing I've done.

And there's more to come.

French word of the day: peut etre - perhaps, maybe

I love that word - I love the promise. It seems mischievous, flirtatious. Don't you think?

image from

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

something different, something new

Last night I went to a Sushi and Sake night at the Newcastle Art Gallery. I've sipped on sake before, but couldn't say I was a fan. Do you know why? It's because I've never been introduced to the right kind of sake. Saying "Oh, I'm not really a fan of sake" when you've only tried one type is a bit of a sin. Because did you know that the range of sake is practically as diverse as wine? You do now.

Thirty lucky people turned up tonight to learn something new. Something fabulous. See that gorgeous woman at the left of the pic? That's Suzie from Subo. She spoke to us about the history of sake, and it was fascinating. It's created in a manner similar to sourdough, where the 'mother' is nutured and grown before become sake in a rather fabulous process. There are so many different aspect to the creation: how much the rice is polished beforehand, the filtration, the pasteurisation. Oh my. I was spellbound listening to Suzie speak. It's a passion for her, and there's nothing better than learning something new from someone who's also loving learning about it.

The first sake had the delicate aroma of lychee - and oh, the taste. So fresh, so delicious. We had sheets to keep score where we noted numerous characteristics of the sake (see above for my marks for my fave). The second was also a taste revelation and completely and utterly different from the first.  Plus it was then accompanied by the most amazing dish. Now, it was pretty dark, so my pic doesn't do it justice, but, well, hello lover...

This is a foie gras parfait with a cerviche of crystal bay prawns garnished with samphire plucked from around Newcastle's Bogey Hole. Damn, Beau Vincent knows how to do flavours and textures. Honestly, the only thing that held me back from licking that plate clean was a sense of propriety - however, I can't say that I didn't use my finger to make sure every last crisp rye crumb went into my mouth.

The Director of the Art Gallery, Ron Ramsay, spoke about the Japanese ceramics on display, which was absolutely fascinating. He's just fabulous - with a passion that spreads beyond the collection he curates at the gallery. Newcastle has the most astonishing collection of art, and we only see the teensiest bit of it at a time. We desperately need to add to the space for display and for storage. We've been gifted so many extraordinary works over the years by art lovers - they deserve to be paraded. I hope that the much-needed funds can be allocated so work on the expansion starts asap.

Nights such as these are a cultural awakening. My tastebuds are now open to what's on offer further than champagne and wine. In fact, my friends and I discussed how well sake would accompany duck confit...

Trying something new with open arms is always a success. PS: I need to get back to Subo stat, and work my way through that menu.

French word of the day: japonais (jap on ays): japanese

Monday, January 21, 2013

meal planning monday

The other night a friend of mine asked if I cheated with my meal planning. At first I thought she must have meant, you know, do I swap my meals around - or give in and buy takeaway - which you totally know that I do. These meal plans are always just a guide. Generally speaking, I'll follow through with about 85% success rate. But there are nights when it's too hot, or I'm too tired and so off to Sticky Rice for Thai takeaway we'll go. But my friend was actually asking what I said when I was going out - which, ahem, I tend to do quite a lot.

I seem to be a bit crazy-busy at the moment, particularly of a weeknight - and this week's no different. So here's a week's worth of meals, some of which only my hubby and my gal will be eating. So here it is - this week's meals. What are you eating? Or are you stupid-busy like me?

Monday: I'm off to the Newcastle Art Gallery tonight for a sake and sushi night while we check out Japanese ceramics. I'm going with my friends S and A, and our tastebuds will be tickled by Beau from Subo. YUM! Oh, and we'll be all cultural over ceramics too. Hubby and daughter are having steak and salad.

Tuesday: Burlesque class tonight. Last week's class was BRILLIANT with some new moves that had me giggling wildly and really gave me a workout. I'll make a chicken, lemon, basil and chilli flake pasta for dinner tonight. Just stir fry strips of chicken breast till brown, then add lemon zest, lemon juice, basil and chilli flakes. Toss through the cooked pasta and a couple of spoonfuls of the pasta water. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and serve.

Wednesday: I have a crazy amount of eggs in the fridge as I keep ordering a dozen eggs from Aussie Farmers and we haven't really been using them. Best make a spanish tortilla for dinner with potato and chorizo. Served with a great big green salad.

Thursday: I'm going to the movies - to see Paris/Manhattan and then catching up with a friend from Sydney and some Newy tweeps at Bar Petite for drinks and nibbles. Hubby and daughter can have mexican for dinner perhaps.

Friday: I never, ever, ever feel like cooking on a Friday night, but, as I'm such a social butterfly this week (again, I know) I should do salmon on the bbq as my gal loves it so.

Saturday: As our movie was rained out last week, I'm off to Nobby's Lighthouse again tonight. Because it's Oz Day I'll day some mini-pavs. I'm also going to make a poached chicken and nectarine salad for hubby and daughter - and take servings along for C and me.

Sunday: I need to make a new recipe tonight. I'm going to choose something from Nigella's new book Nigelissima - are you watching her new series on ABC on Tuesday nights? It's divine. I'm going to make Lamb Cutlets with mint, chilli and golden potatoes. Mmmmm.

And that's it. Phew.

image from

Sunday, January 20, 2013

we fade to grey

It's funny, grey's my favourite colour - except when it comes to skies. Last night my friend C and I treked up the very steep hill to Nobby's Lighthouse where we sat and had a fabulous picnic dinner under the clouds - that opened just before the film was due to start. The organisers very smartly called off the film, which we'll now see next week, as that rain set in all night.

But we got to see some awesome things. For example, as we were walking along we saw a dolphin diving through the waves off Nobby's beach. And then, while we were picnicing we saw a bulk carrier helped into port by a couple of cute tugs. It's a fabulous perspective of Newcastle atop Nobby's Lighthouse - I can't believe I've never been up there before, particularly as it's open most Sundays.

If you're in Newy and you get a chance, get up there.

French word of the day: gris (gree) - grey.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

woo hoo, it's the weekend

Oh, I do love a weekend - don't you? Hours stretching out before you with nothing but fun in between {oh, and housework and stuff, but, you know - pop on some music and make it fun!} The weather's not looking hot here - grey, rainy etc, which normally I wouldn't mind - except I'm supposed to be heading to Summer Cinema at Nobby's Lighthouse tonight. Anyone up for doing an anti-rain dance?

French word of the day: pourquoi (pour kwa) why? When it comes to living I like to ask Pourquoi pas which means Why not?

PS: how delightful is this image above? Nothing I love more than a bit of greenery, some shabby white and glorious pom poms. It's from my go-to site for droolworthy house and home pics.

Enjoy your Saturday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

flowers for friday

Happy friday everyone! Mine's bittersweet. I'm happy, because it's nearly the weekend, but I'm sad because it's my awesome team leader at work's last day. She's off to lecture in the work she excels in - her lucky, lucky students.

I've worked with lots of fabulous people over the years, and learned something from everyone. But E is something special. Her enthusiasm is ridiculously infectious - she made the entire team better at what they did. I've only worked with her for a few months, but she's made an indelible impression on me - and I know I've also found a friend for life.

E had a unique talent for managing - and I've learned so much from her. When you combine an incredible brain with a unique talent and genuine people skills you hit the jackpot. My work days won't be as bright without her in it - but I like to think that she's imbued the whole team with some of her spirit - so we can continue to shine in her honour.

I love it when people follow their dream - particularly when they dream big. Onwards, upwards and continue to soar E. I'll be here applauding with enthusiasm.

French word of the day: extraordinaire - incredible, wonderful.

No prizes for guessing who's inspired this word. Enjoy your friday. x

image from

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

a touch of green

I think that my window boxes with herbs on my kitchen window sill are one of my favourite things. Is there anything better than just pulling up the window and grabbing a handful of fresh, green, tastiness to throw in your dinner?

My fave's thyme, I'll cook everything with it - but I've taken to adding fresh herbs such as coriander, chives, mint and parsley to salads. YUM! I feel a bit earth mother every time I add something I've grown to a meal that I'm cooking.

French word of the day: frais - meaning fresh.

What's your favourite herb and how do you like using it?

why didn't you tell me...

Hey, how come nobody has ever told me that making your bed every day means it's *almost* like clean sheet day EVERY DAY? How on earth did I seriously get to this age without knowing this? I am loving this making the bed thing sick. It's just such a fabulous way to start the day. I get up, pull all the sheets back to air it, shower and then when I come back into the room, I just straighten the bottom sheet, pull up the top one, fluff the pillows and pull up the doona. Voila. My red rose pillow goes on as a punctuation mark and we are set.

French word of the day: chambre - bedroom. (pronounced: chom - bra - with a rolling r of course).

Honestly, this whole #52 new things is changing my life. I went to Burlesque tonight and threw myself into it. It was fabulous. I have never laughed so much, or enjoyed myself more. Sure, there are quite a few moves I can't do because of my dodgy knee, but the ones I can I totally immersed myself in.

It really is the little things that make a big difference isn't it?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

take me away...

Oh, Galleries Lafayette, I heart you. Can you believe that this is a shopping centre? Shopping's a pleasure in Paris when you're surrounded by such beauty. This is one of the reasons why I love Paris, and will ensure that I visit it again, and again, and again.

French word of the day: santé - health.

What do we have if we don't have our health? I know it's my focus this year (yep, on top of all those 52 other things I'm doing - but hey, some of them are health and fitness related non?)

So tonight I'm off to burlesque where I'm going to shimmy my butt off. Pour mon santé.

Monday, January 14, 2013

meal planning monday

Monday, hey, you come around in quite a Speedy Gonzales manner don't you? Well, now you're here, it's time to share this week's meal plan. It's a simple one because, as I mentioned yesterday, I'm a wee bit of a social butterfly this week. Here's what we're eating:

Monday: I'm off to the movies tonight to see Hitchcock with my friends A and C. Can't wait, it looks brilliant, and I'm quite the Hitchcock fan. I'm picking up A at 6.45 so we'll be eating early. I'm going to pound out some chicken breasts in the morning so they're about 1cm thin. Then, I'll pop them in a dish and cover with peri peri marinade. I'll cover it with cling wrap and refrigerate. When I get home they'll go on the open grill section of the bbq while I whip up a salad of mixed leaves, roasted capsicum, feta and pinenuts. When the chicken's cooked, I'll rest it for a tic, then slice it on the diagonal into thick strips and toss it over the salad. YUM.

Tuesday: back into Burlesque classes tonight if the weather behaves. Last week it was 40 degrees, and, as the classes are held in a school hall with only two ceiling fans I gave it a miss. I'll make this beef pasta bake and eat some when I get home.

Wednesday: I'm doing NOTHING. I am staying home. Yay. I'm going to do some lamb racks with a simple spinach and orange salad tonight. Complete with finely sliced red onion that's been steeped in orange juice for 30 mins. I'll then mix that juice with olive oil and use it as a dressing.

Thursday: busy. I'm off to dinner with my workpals to say farewell to the most awesome person I've ever worked with {sob}. We're headed to The Landing {surprise}. Then I have a netball committee meeting afterwards, as you do. Hubby and daughter will have steak and salad.

Friday: a quiet one tonight. So salmon and salad will be awesome.

Saturday: I'm off to an outdoor cinema night at Nobby's Lighthouse with my friend C. We'll take some yummy nibbles to snack on before the film. I might even make some savoury tarts to take along. I'll make extra to leave for hubby and daughter.

Sunday: I'm going to roast a chicken on a bed of lentils and serve it with salad. Yes. I. Am.

French word of the day: réjouir  (ray- shjwah) - to be delighted.

Have a fabulous week lovelies x

image from

Sunday, January 13, 2013

a little bit social...

I'm having one of those busy weeks, and next week's looking busier. But that's a good thing right? It just takes a bit of planning. For example, yesterday I went for High Tea at a chocolate shop for my sister-in-law's birthday festivities - so there was no breakfast for me. I'm also trying to balance it all out with as much exercise as I can fit in - when the weather plays nicely (for example: I am *dressed* ready to go for a bike ride, but the weather's all grey and scary - and the weather forecast is for storms. Eeek!)

Do I risk it? Yep. I'll just duck down to the velodrome 50m from my house and crack myself up riding my bike with a basket around the track alongside all the 'real riders' with their lycra and fancy Italian road bikes.

French word of the day: Dimanche - Sunday. Yay, my fave day of the week.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Oh, and ps: that drink above is a Hendricks and Tonic - my fave gin.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

sweet saturday

Okay, 40 degrees again today - this is no longer funny. Luckily the High Tea venue at lunchtime was air-conditioned. I've had a swim, and I'm now off to The Beaches for a school reunion catch-up.

French word of the day: cinéaste - film director.

This word's apt with the release of Hitchcock this week. I'm determined to go and see this with some friends {A and C - I'm looking at you} - along with a few other Oscar-nominated films. Okay, must get myself frocked up for the second time today. Have a lovely saturday.

Friday, January 11, 2013

fabulous friday

And we've come to the end of another week. Goodness gracious. How is time flying? Now, you know how I said that this week I was trying a new recipe? And I had Nigella's greek lamb chops in my meal plan? Well, I was a day late making them but OH MY! So tasty, so simple. Please try them.

Hey, speaking of Nigella, are you watching Nigellisima on ABC on Thursday nights? There's a bunch of us on Twitter who swoon over Nigella who watch and tweet. She's just ridiculously inspirational. And swoonworthy.

French word of the day: attendre - to wait.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

bike babe

I am really getting into riding my bike, and now that I am, I'm feeling the urge to accessorise. So I started with a new helmet - my helmet was tres-naff and very non-suited to my vintage-with-basket-bike. Sure, ideally I'd be able to ride without a helmet, with hair flowing like all the girls in cute pics do - but I'm a rule-abider...

So, I did a bit of helmet hunting and spied this little pretty! Cute non?

But just because I have to wear a helmet doesn't mean I can't have other cute things. Such as - hello - a crochet thing to go over the wheels to stop my skirt getting caught in the spokes - above. Genius. And pretty!

And then, I also found this: A BIKE RIDING CAPE, PEOPLE! And, it's reversible, with the other side having reflective bits so that if you're riding at dusk you are awesome and visible.

Sure, I have a basket, but I think I need a panier too. For Farmer's Market days. And look - red apples. Cuteness incorporated.

As if I could go past this. A wine bottle holder. Love. Sadly it doesn't fit a bottle of champagne, but hey, that's probably a good thing. I don't want to be riding under the influence.

All of these cute things, and many, many more were found at this awesome Aussie online shop. CycleStyle is its name. Here's where you can find it:

Now, French word of the day? HAVE A GUESS?

Vélo - bike. Faire du velo - to ride my bike.

PS: totally not a sponsored post by the way. Just me sharing what I love - and sharing an awesome Aussie company with great products and exceptional service. That helmet? Bought one day, delivered the next.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

how's it going?

So, I've been into my #52NewThings for over a week now. I've set myself a goal of doing 52 new things in 2013 and I think I'm off to a rather lovely start. Here's the week's round-up of things I've achieved so far:

1. Try a new recipe a week. Well, I haven't cooked it yet, but there's a new recipe on the meal plan for tomorrow night!

2. Learn a new French word every day. Well, this is going swimmingly. I've been sharing them here (and will run through them below).

7. Drink my morning coffee outdoors. Check! I sat on the front veranda the other morning with a bowl of coffee and a magazine. T'was divine.

11. Actually call my friends and family. Called my mum in Melbourne tonight.

13. Catch up with friends in real life. Yep, Saturday lunch with my Twitter friends (old and new). And I'm catching up with old school friends on Saturday afternoon/evening.

18. Take a cooking class with a friend. Yep, a friend and I are planning on terrifying poor Jace at Essential Ingredient by taking one of his classes next month when it's cool enough for pastry.

28. Start saving for our next overseas holiday. Yep, money transferred after last pay day. Woo hoo.

30. Go on more dates with my husband. I've booked tickets for hubby and I to see Baby et Lulu at Lizottes on Valentines Day (awwwww).

31. See more live music. See above.

32. Make the bed every day. YES! I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS. IT IS AWESOME and makes the house look so much tidier.

41. Fold and put away fresh washing. Oh. Yes. I have. I know, can't believe it myself.

48. Well, tonight I made an excuse to miss Burlesque class, but it's over 40 degrees. I'd die. You'd miss me and that would just make everyone sad.

51. I have made a deal with the husband so he is forced to sell the car. It's on by the weekend or it's going to the wreckers.*

How's that? 13 things already - OH MY GOD 13 things in the first week of 2013 - that was so not intentional, but so awesome.

Now, this week's French words:
Le boulot
Coucher du soleil

PS: realised that I totally missed a word on Monday. RUDE! So here's two for today:

Grossier - rude, obscene
Remuer - to move

So, how are you doing with new things? Anything? Something?

*PS: I know that technically I haven't sold the old car - but we now have a one-month-plan. It'll be GONE by next month.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

how sweet it is

Wow, it's a hot one around the country today. 38.5 in Newy, and topping that in so many places. Hope everyone's staying cool - and safe.

Today's French word of the day:
épatant (eh-pat - oh) - splendid.

Hope you have a splendid day x

Monday, January 07, 2013

meal planning monday

Wow, my first full-week back at work, so best get back into planning. See that fabulous dish above? That was what my friend S and I tucked into at The Opera Bar pre-Morrissey. Yep, one each. It was only after ordering that we realised that it was a bit naughty to order such a meaty dish before seeing pro-Vegetarian Mozza. But damn, it was delish.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Monday: after last night's duck and champagne excess we need cleansing. A shredded chicken salad will do. I'll finely slice an array of vegies (carrot, red cabbage, lettuce, zucchini, capsicum, green shallots) and add some fresh corn and diced avocado. I'll then shred up a bbq chicken and toss it through with a vietnamese dressing. Top it with toasted sesame seeds for zing.

Tuesday: here's the first of my new recipes. An easy-peasy Nigella one: Greek lamb chops with lemon and potatoes.

Wednesday: my gal's at a sleepover, so it's just hubby and I. Steak on the bbq with a green salad will do. Hope I can find some watercress somewhere - love that stuff.

Thursday: we are eating more fish this year - honestly. Fish on the bbq tonight. With a salad.

Friday: hubby's catching up with friends for drinks tonight so I'm guessing he'll be eating out. Just the gal and I. We might treat ourselves to Guzman y Gomez takeaway - the chipotle pork burrito is divine.

Saturday: I'm out with old school friends for a catch-up. Hubby and my gal can cook some steak on the bbq for their dinner while I have a pub meal.

Sunday: Prawn and chorizo kebabs will go down a treat. With a green salad topped with haloumi - oh my!

And that's it. One week sorted. Woo hoo! Are you meal planning this year? Go on, it's easy!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

good times, good friends

Oh yesterday, you were soooooo good. Sometimes good things just happen via serendipity. A couple of months ago I was on Twitter (as I so often am) and joined into a rather lovely conversation between some smart and funny tweeps. It ended with a call for a gathering, in January, when the fabulous Anita Heiss would make the trip up the freeway for #NewyDreaming (how to spot a tweep? They have a hashtag for every event).

So yesterday I frocked up, threw on some sparkly flats and rode my bike down to the foreshore. I was met by this rather prophetic sign at our venue. Do I want a good time? Do I ever!

I caught up with some old friends, and some new, and was positively DAZZLED by Anita Heiss. What an incredible person. So smart, so hilariously funny, so resilient, so positive. I've read a few of her books, and followed her on Twitter for a while now so I thought I knew what to expect. No way. She's one of those people who holds court magnificently, but also make you feel like YOU are the most special object of her attention and that she really wants to know all about you.

She's amazing.

She's also hosting the IndigenousX account on Twitter this week. A big call after last week's host led a call to gather 10,000 followers and raise $10, 000 for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Luke smashed his goal of 10K followers, and I've no doubt the money will continue to flow in and smash the $10,000 goal. Passion always makes things happen.

So we sat, we chatted, we laughed, we drank, we ate. And all too soon it was time for me to pedal home. So many things are imprinted on me after yesterday. First of all the special quality that is friendship - and how it's the ultimate tonic for the soul. We all left that lunch with our spirits lifted. And I left with even greater optimism and determination to stride forward more bravely.

One thing that Anita said resonated with me so strongly: "It's never about YOU. When someone thinks you're too fat/thin/black/white... it's always about them and their issues." So true. You can't take it on. So long as you try to do what you feel is right and be the best person you can be - and try to effect change.

I am so blessed to have been included in this lunch yesterday. So many smart, amazing and fabulous women out there. How blessed am I to call them my friends?

PS: speaking of blessed - look at the day Newcastle turned on for us. Stunning. Also, that drink? An Aperol Spritz: sparkling wine, soda and Aperol (a bitter orange liquer). So yum.

Today's French word of the day is joie (jsh-wah - pronounce the j like the s in pleasure): a profound emotion - delight, joy.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

ma vie en rose

Do you know what makes me happier than seeing these pink beauties peeking over my front fence? Not a great deal. While the blooms on Duchess de Brabant are only small they're prolific and so sweetly scented they make my heart sing. I might nab one of these to pop over my ear for my Literary Ladies Luncheon I'm attending today (read that description on Twitter last night - sounds posh non?)

Although I have decided to ride my bike to the lunch, which is at The Landing at Honeysuckle - and I don't think flowers behind the ear and cycling helmets mesh...

Anyway, time for the french word of the day. Are you enjoying them? I know I am. Tomorrow I'll do a round-up of the week's words so we can practice.

Chouette: (informal adjective) - meaning: smashing, nice, great. Eg: C'est chouette - "that's great!" Or, in my case, "mon rose et chouette". It's pronounced chou- ette, so simple non?

So, now I'm off to try to buy a pressie for my sister-in-law for her 50th birthday tonight. I need to buy her something chouette, or fabuleux - just like her. But what? But where? Wish me luck...

Friday, January 04, 2013

fabulous friday

image from

Well hello! You may have noticed that I've change the title and theme of Friday's post. You see, I was getting lazy and in a rut with Flowers For Friday, so, I thought if I mixed it up I'd make it fresher. And, don't worry, it'll still be as pretty. Which, naturally, leads to my French word for the day.


Fabuleux (fa-bju-low) - fabulous! This is one of my fave English words - so it might as well be one of my new fave french ones. So yes, this friday shall be FABULEUX! Non?

This weekend's busy (quelle surprise). On Saturday I'm off to a fabuleux harbourside lunch with some twitter friends - old and new! Yay! Then, that night, I'm off to my sister-in-law's birthday party. It's a big one, so it's a masquerade party - hurrah for dress ups! I'll also get to wear my fabuleux new black, lace, stretchy dress. Love a chance to frock up!

Sunday night/afternoon we're having friends around for duck and champagne. My friend's sister is coming along, she's over from Germany, and she's vegetarian so I'll prepare some kind of tartlet for her main (oooh, new recipe for my #52newthings). And lots of delish salads to accompany the duck I think - perhaps one with nectarines? Summery weekends with friends and family. Who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

that magical moment

On Tuesday it was my last day of holidays. I really wanted to make the most of it - and squished in heaps. So much that I wasn't sure if I'd be able to fit in a bike ride before sunset. But I tempted fate and set out for a ride at 6.30pm.

Oh, I am glad I did. Have a look at that view. Riding out to the end of the Nobby's breakwall is quite possibly one of the most spectacular rides for a pootler like myself (pootler = a bike rider who just pootles along - the opposite of my husband's style of riding!)

Naturally, I have only one choice for my French word of the day:
Coucher du soleil (coo - che d so - ley) sunset

I snapped this shot while I was out there. Sure, it's an iPhone instagram shot, not the real camera photos I'm aiming for this year - but I'm rather proud of the composition and colours. And, seriously, don't you have to admit - what a beautiful town this is.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

and... we're back to normal

Well, back to work today. I've had a blissful few weeks off over Christmas, and, thankfully, there was enough fabulous weather to enjoy the pool with my family. Bliss. So, now for today's French Word for the Day:

le boulot (boo - lo) work, the daily grind.

Now, while I'm headed back to work I'm doing so with a new spring in my step. I've started doing some of my #52newthings and feel so much lighter and better organised. Simply starting the day with making the bed just makes me feel more organised and makes the house look tidier in an instant. I've also been forcing myself to put away the washing as soon as I bring it in (it's nearly KILLED me, but it's already starting to feel like a habit).

I've also gone through a few cookbooks to find some new recipes to try - so when I get back to meal planning next week expect to see something new. I also whipped up a couple of new salads last night, well, they're more salsas, but I served them as a salad. I made a fresh corn, red onion, avocado, capsicum and coriander salad - and a mango, coriander, red onion and lime salad. DIVINE! So light, fresh and delicious served alongside a grilled steak.

Enjoy your day! What new thing are you trying today?

ps: that pic's from Au Nom De La Rose in The Marais in Paris. I've written about it before, it's a story wholly devoted to roses. Going to work there wouldn't be a daily grind would it?

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

happy new year

Wow, welcome to 2013! And, to start it off, I'm premiering my first French Word of the Day:

Nouveau (nuvo) adj: meaning new.

This is the perfect word to start off le nouvel an (the new year) don't you think? And, to accompany it, here's a pic from the Verdon Gorge in Provence - quite possibly one of the most beautiful things I have ever, ever seen.

Today will be spent relaxing; in the pool, by the pool, on the pool... and then back to work tomorrow.

Happy new year my lovelies - let's set off on a fabulous adventure in 2013 shall we?