Wednesday, July 31, 2013


No matter where you go there's always something lovely to look at. Sometimes you just have to look straight ahead.

Sometimes you have to look down.

Or just look out the window at the carwash.

Down at the table in bookclub.

Down at your feet while you're waiting for a friend. Even ugly things like pebblecrete can look fabulous in a grid pattern.

And of course your eyes should always be drawn to a gorgeous pair of shoes combined with a fab frock and glorious flooring.

Ceilings, windows and chandeliers such as these deserve adoring gaze and a few pics.

Spotted at: Nobby's breakwall, Carlovers, Talulah Bar, across the road from my house, at Newcastle Art Gallery and Le Passe Temps.

French word of the day: Regardez (re - gar - day) look.

Monday, July 29, 2013

meal planning monday

Do you feel like you only read my meal planning post yesterday? Because I feel like I've only just written it! But here we are again, monday! Eep! So here's the plan:

Monday: so busy. My gal has ballet, I have netball training, and we're somehow meant to be at a school  information night for Year 9 electives {!!!} by 7pm. Hmmm, something's gotta give. I think my gal will be missing part of her ballet class - and we'll be eating dinner at 5pm! Green chicken curry and rice - speedy to make and eat. Oh, and I have to attend a meeting after the school meeting for another committee I've put my hand up for {must learn to sit on hands}.

Tuesday: netball training for my gal. We'll have a butterflied shoulder of lamb and roasted veg. I'll pop it in the oven before we leave, and it'll be ready when we get home. I'll just have to quickly steam some green stuff.

Wednesday: oh, I am not doing ANYTHING today. I *should* go to burlesque, but I'll go for a bike ride at lunchtime instead. We'll have chicken, proscuitto sausages tonight. With mash and veg.

Thursday: I need to make something new. I am BORED of everything I cook. Perhaps a lamb and green bean casserole from my Apples for Jam cookbook. With mash and steamed veg.

Friday: we're off to a Spanish Night at the Art Gallery - olé! My gal's staying with her friend while we're out - they can probably have pizza. We'll have nibblies there for dinner. Nibblies are a perfectly fine dinner are they not?

Saturday: we're off to my in-laws for a family pot luck dinner. I'll make coq au vin and a pot of mash.

Sunday: I'm collapsing in a heap after having such a run of busy weeks. For dinner takeaway shall be procured. By my husband, who shall then spoon it into my mouth as I lie prone on the couch.


French word of the day: oublieux (ooh - blee - oh) forgetful. Because I am forgetful and keep forgetting the French word of the day. Mon dieu!

Image from

Sunday, July 28, 2013

newy's tweed ride

It was a beautiful day for it. Sunday morning was shrouded in fog, just perfect for dressing up in tartan and tweed for Newcastle's inaugural Tweed Ride. We met at Islington Park at 10am and it was just lovely watching peeps ride in on their vintage, eccentric, or just plain fabulous bikes.

So many peeps dressed up beautifully in tweed, some even flashed their original Harris Tweed labels. Spiffy. Many photographs were taken. 

Here are the fabulous scarlet legs of Vicki, the organiser. She looked positively dazzling, and should feel incredibly proud that the first ride went off so well. Her vintage Speedwell bike, her childhood bike, made me drool. It's a beauty.

Even the puppies dressed up! Look at Daisy in her tartan with proud parents Lynette and Roger.

Look at this beautiful saddle. Hand-tooled leather by the looks of things - and apparently it moulds itself beautifully to your bottom. I am in love.

There were plenty of kids on the ride too - bless 'em. Here's a few having a bit of fun before the ride.

The crowd kept gathering and gathering. I'd say we reached around 50 riders. Pretty darned good for a winter's day.

The route was just lovely, along the creek on a dedicated cycleway/walking track. Why haven't I ridden it before? Oh well, there's another thing to tick off my #52NewThings list. And I'll be doing it again.

Look at this little squishy, all plum-tuckered from the ride. Don't you love this fabulous resting platform for those chubby cheeks!

Look at the bikes! At the outfits! Marvellous. I do love nothing more than dressing up to a theme. I've never understood those who recoil in horror at the thought of fancy dress or a costume party - it's my favourite thing! That fabulous stripey suit won that gentleman the honour of Best Dressed Man.

How amazing is this fabulous box on the panier of this bike? Apparently it was part of a gift box of wine from ALDI! I'll be looking out for those this Christmas.

I loved, love, loved this outfit trimmed with fox fur - and the plus-fours on the gentleman.

Today was all about the details. And what fabulous details they were.

Oh, and guess who won Best Dressed Woman? Me! I felt sure I'd be disqualified for lack of tweed, but apparently my French look with red cape, black and white striped dress, seamed fishnets and red shoes was deemed quelle appropriate. Bless.

Bring on next year's Newy Tweed Ride - I'll be there with bike bells on!

Here's a shot that Lynette snapped of me arriving - tell you what - red capes are damned FINE cycling attire! Warm, highly visible and more than a tad awesome.

Friday, July 26, 2013

fabulous friday

Mon dieu - look at where I'm headed tonight! Here! Felix. Snazzy non? Catching up with two very fabulous friends and I can't wait. I'm also spending the day with friends and their baby at their new house - I do love a first glance at someone's new home.

I should get a wriggle on, I'm meant to be leaving in 20 minutes and I still have to wash my hair and pack...

Have a fabulous Friday x

French word of the day: extraordinaire (ex - traw - din - air) extraordinary.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

sarah blasko - i heart her so

Last  night my friend C, my daughter and myself took our seats IN THE FRONT ROW for Sarah Blasko at Newcastle Town Hall. Now this was my sixth Sarah Blasko live experience, and I wondered if I might've been stretching the friendship.

Oh no.

She was magnificent. That voice in the town hall? Magnifique.

Sarah was at her theatrical and ethereal best - delighting everyone who was blessed to be in the audience. She played an amazing set with her fabulous four-piece band and ended with my favourite finale from her Opera House concert. Shivers.

Live music. Is there anything better?

French word of the day: Musique {mew - zeek} - music.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

flowers {for wednesday - just because}

To reward myself for shopping on Monday I bought these pink roses! How pretty do they look in my pale green vase from Blackbird Corner? Swoonworthy I think. It's too easy to forget to buy something pretty just because isn't it?

French word of the day: parce que {Pass and then the sound of the letter k} because.

Monday, July 22, 2013

meal planning monday

Hello, I feel as though Spring is on its way {despite the 1 degree temps this morning...} hence this pic. So looking forward to dining al-fresco again. Okay, strap yourself in, here's my week. Busy!

Monday: netball training with my 10-year-old team and my gal has ballet. I'm going to make Nigella's Greek Lamb Chops with green salad.

Tuesday: netball training with my gal's team. Green chicken curry, rice and wilted greens.

Wednesday: my gal and I are off to see Sarah Blasko with my friend C. Can't wait! We'll have an early dinner of beef sliders.

Thursday: no plans. Yet. Steak and salad.

Friday: I'm off to Sydney to catch up with two very fabulous friends at a very fabulous New York Style restaurant. Can. Not. WAIT!

Saturday: It's just my gal and I tonight as hubby's got an event on with some friends. We might do dinner somewhere I think. Or cook together...

Sunday: I'm going to drinks at the Art Gallery, so when I come home we might have something easy that I've prepared earlier. Pan roasted chicken with french lentils perhaps?

And that's it. You?

French word of the day: la journée {la jour nay} The Day.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

le passe temps - c'est parfait

There are a couple of things that I love. I love all things French. I love small bars where I can enjoy fine wine and food with my friends. I love sympathetic restoration of heritage buildings. 

So, naturellement I love Le Passe Temps as it combines all of the above.

The East End of Newcastle is undergoing a revitalisation as a food and wine destination - and I think that Le Passe Temps deserves the title of a jewel in that sparkling crown. This building is glorious, and the sympathetic restoration of Le Passe Temps deserves prolonged applause.

I love that the glorious wooden counters, rich with patina, are being used as the bar. Whereas once you'd exchange your dollars to a teller over this counter, now you're served by French-speaking staff who make you feel like you've been transported to France. Yes, everyone who works here speaks magifique French - I'm pretty sure they're all natives. 

Look!  Every single aspect of the old bank has been retained and reimagined. So clever. I have a feeling that man in the black shirt may be the owner, Serge. You sir, are a legend. Look at the ceilings, with all the details perfectly picked out. Those chandeliers. Oh my. And those windows, with the Post Office lit up in the frames. When {please, when?} that glorious building is restored this will be THE centre of our city. Particularly when Reserve Bar opens diagonally opposite.

One thing many small bars find difficult is getting the food right. Le Passe Temps get it VERY right. The menu is small, and very, very French. This assiette de charcuterie {roughly translated as selections of meat} was divine. Just what you need for a light supper with champagne - it perfectly satisfied S, A and me. My friend J had a saucisson and cornichon baguette, while my friend C had a delicate morsel of creme brulee. 

It's all table service too - or lounge service. Way to feel pampered. We may have *pretended* on more than one occasion to have not heard what our gorgeous waiter had said so he'd say it again with his divine accent.

C'est parfait!

From the opulent original marble, to the superb mezzanine level, Le Passe Temps dazzles. It's my new favourite place in Newcastle - quelle surprise! It's open 7 days. To find out more, visit their website.

French word of the day: Le Passe Temps (le pass tomp) to pass time, or time goes by.

Friday, July 19, 2013

flowers for friday

Hello, sorry this post is late - it's been one of those days! How adorable are these roses? Don't you think I need a couple of bunches of these in my home? Don't you?

I've got a fabulously girlie night planned tonight. Catching up with friends for a Gallery opening at 6pm, then we're off to the movies to see Before Midnight then off to the new French wine bar Le Passe Temps. Bliss.

Have a fabulous Friday.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

lady in red

I seem to have accidentally become someone who accessorises with red. It wasn't my intention. But, before you know it, you have a couple of red handbags, a fave red pair of shoes that make every outfit pop, red sunglasses and THIS! A red vintage wool cape! This is an early birthday pressie, something I've been hankering for. And I love it. It's so RED. And capey!

Do you find you accidentally accessorise with a certain colour?

French word of the day: Accessoires (access - waaahs) accessories.

Monday, July 15, 2013

meal planning monday

Hellooooooooooo! How was your weekend? Hectic? Fun? Relaxing? All of the above? Well school goes back tomorrow {hurrah} so we're back to normal routine in this neck of the woods. So here's what I'm hoping we'll be eating:

 Monday: ballet for my gal, netball training for me. We've had such a big weekend of eating I'm going to cook up grilled chicken breasts and salad tonight.

Tuesday: we had an early Bastille Day celebration with duck, champagne and lemon tart on Friday night with friends, and tonight, we're having a late Bastille Day celebration with friends {with duck, champagne and, um, lemon tart}.

Wednesday: poached chicken salad with baby spinach, orange segments and pecans. Hopefully I'll make it to burlesque tonight - I need the exercise!

Thursday: lamb backstrap fillets with roasted veg tonight.

Friday: I'm off to the movies with friends to see Before Midnight. Yay! Apparently we're also going to the new wine bar Le Passe Temps before or after {depending on film screening time} I'll prepare spaghetti bolognaise for the family.

Saturday: nothing planned so far, so it's a day in the garden for us. I'll make a slow cooked beef stew for dinner, served with lots of green veg and mash.

Sunday: garlic-roasted chicken tonight. With all of the veg!

French word of the day: oublier {oooh - blee - ay} forget - because I forgot the French word of the day yesterday! Pardon moi!

Image from

Sunday, July 14, 2013

hop on your {vintage} bike

There are just too many good things happening in Newcastle - including this! The Newcastle Tweed Ride for lovers of vintage and vintage bikes. Tres fabulous! While my bike's not strictly vintage, it looks the part - and has a basket on the front for a thermos too!

What a sight this will be to see cyclists frocked up en-masse.

Me? I'll be wearing my vintage red cape! Why would I not?

Friday, July 12, 2013

flowers for friday

Happy Friday everyone! It's a busy old day here today - so I thought I'd re-share these gorgeous flowers from Underground Epicureans - aren't they sublime?

Well, my gal got braces yesterday. She looks fab, but oh, poor little thing with a sore mouth. I've been trying to give her lots of love, and soft foods to eat.

Tonight we've got friends coming to dinner, so we'll have an early Bastille Day celebration with all things French. I have French cheeses, duck confit and I'm making a tarte citron! Oh, and of course there's champagne chilling!

It's been a very foggy morning, so let's hope that means bright blue skies this afternoon. Have a fabulous Friday my lovelies xx

Whoops, forgot my: French word of the day: brouillard (brew- yard with a soft d at the end) fog! Weather is soooooooo much better in French!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

the simple things

I've been trying to squish in as much vitamin D into my winter life as possible. And reading time too! So that's why I lunged at the chance to have a cup of coffee in my new mug (love it, it's a cross between a mug and a bowl!) while reading my book on the front veranda.


I've recently been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Well, I've been self-diagnosed... I know that if I don't get enough sunshine I get the blues, and those blues turn black the longer the skies stay grey. So I've been trying to stash up my vitamin D whenever possible and I've been feeling MUCH better.

French word of the day: pamplemousse - (pahm - pluh - mousse) grapefruit. This is my favourite, happy-making French word. J'adore!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

joyeaux anniversaire

Guess what? Today's it's the 20th anniversary of when my lovely husband and I met.


I feel I should have something more celebratory than meatloaf on the menu for dinner... It's pretty amazing to think that we've been together for nearly half of my husband's life.

French word{s} of the day: joyeaux anniversaire (joy - yo  ann - e - vehr - sair) happy anniversary.

Monday, July 08, 2013

meal planning monday

Well, here we are into week two of school holidays. Hurrah! We're home all week, but with the added bonus of netball training. So here's what we're eating;

Monday: I'm going to make spanish chicken tonight and ask my gal to pop it in the oven at 6pm so when I get home at 6.40 it'll just need a quick green salad and it'll be ready to serve.

Tuesday: My gal's netball team are training, but her coach is away so I'm stepping up. I'll make a meatloaf that my husband can pop in the oven at 6pm with some roasted vegies. Hopefully it'll be cooked when we get home after 6.40pm.

Wednesday: Burlesque for me, and my gal's last night before she get braces! Best make something she'll really get her teeth into. Ribs? With mash? And veg? Yes.

Thursday: It'll be either milkshakes for my gal or pasta. I'll make carbonara just in case she can eat it - and if not, more for me and hubby!

Friday: I think she'll be able to eat salmon, it's pretty soft. So salmon it is. With salad for those of us without braces.

Saturday: I'm off to a Twitter meet up (#NewyTwistmasInJuly) so I'll eat something before I go out, and have something to nibble at The Grand Hotel. Hubby and gal can fend for themselves.

Sunday: Roast chicken perhaps? With veg. And french lentils!


French word of the day: dent - (don-t) tooth!

image from

Sunday, July 07, 2013

how blue is blue?

I am a sucker for bare grey branches framed by a deep blue sky. I took this after admiring the view at Govett's Leap Lookout at Blackheath.

So much pretty out there in nature isn't there?

French word of the day: ciel (see elle) - sky.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

secret supper club

You know it's a sign of a very good night when there are very few pics on your phone - just a lot of fabulous memories in your head. Last Saturday night was our third Underground Epicureans adventure, and, once again, the White Rabbit EXCELLED herself.

My inner Nancy Drew was working overtime when we received the email on Saturday morning asking us to meet at Broadmeadow train station for a strict 6.45pm departure. A steam train? I thought? A-ha, perhaps Newcastle's Famous Tram. Yep, in this I was correct. We joined around 20 or so excited peeps for the first trek to our venue, and, I was stumped when we turned left instead of right into the city.

New Lambton? Jesmond? Wallsend? Where were we going? As we turned up the freeway past the uni, I started to get an inkling. When we hit Birmingham Gardens and drove past The Regal Cinema with lights ablaze, I nearly cheered. Then we kept driving.


But it was only to kill time, and we pulled up in front of the Regal to everyone's great delight. I have fond memories of checking out films in my uni years at the Regal. It's an iconic venue. But it was closed down in October 2006 to howls of community dismay. However, it a true display of community spirit it's been magnificently restored and is almost ready to re-open.

Our supper club was the sneaky peek.

Apparently they were tossing up between gold and rich red for the upholstery. Good choice.

While the front of the cinema was set up with theatre chairs, three long tables lined the back of the room. Deliciously appointed with fabulous floral and feather arrangements.

Pretty non?

Our appetisers, served with sparkling pink wine, were these gorgeous little hot dogs with caramelised onion. They were served by the waitresses in the old-style concession boxes (like the cigarette boxes in the olden days!) I tried for a pic, but failed. These hotdogs were too delicious and too many people surrounded them for a clear pic. Those buns were sourdough brioche, quite possibly the lightest, tastiest bun I've ever had the pleasure to bite into.

Here's the rest of the menu, you'll just have to imagine the food - it was too good so I just ate it. We settled down in the cinema seats, watched two sweet short films and sipped on corn chowder topped with popcorn!

These guys were behind the food, and oh my, did they do a fabulous job. Harry Callinan created the first three dishes superbly. The main dish of crispy pork belly was divine, with supporting acts of roasted beetroot, jerusalem artichokes and goat cheese croquettes. Sublime!

And the dessert? Oh, it was spectacular.

Taking inspiration from The Candy Bar Dean Gibson created a Gobsmacking, Scrumdiddlyumcious chocolate bar. See that macaron? It tasted more like popcorn than any popcorn I've ever tried! The red carpet was inspired by jubes, and there's honeycomb, maltesers, popping candy and more.

Pretty sure that my husband died and went to heaven with every mouthful. Me too actually - I can still taste it all.

What a night. The setting, the intrigue, THE FOOD - oh my.

Thank you White Rabbit. Hats off to you. See you next time!

French word of the day: plume (ploom) feather.