Monday, July 26, 2010

miu miu for monday

Look at these shoes. Can you possibly bear to look at them and not feel like coming over all Mad Men. I'm in love.

So, were we happy with the finale of MasterChef last night? I was. Adam proved himself a worthy winner and Callum scrubbed up pretty well as runner-up {actually, every time they cut to that glorious Macaron Callum made in London I swooned...}. Adam, of course, had me at pork belly - and pork belly three ways? Hello, I think I love you. I was crying away when he won, and then when they wheeled in his nana in a wheelchair? Oh, I started blubbing like crazy. Much better than last year's finale when I was just incredulous at the result.

I have my last spurt of busyness today before I get a breather. I'll give myself a day to move all the stuff from the hallway and do a spot of work in the study and then Wednesday it'll be back into the usual freelancers life of pitching story ideas like a maniac.

Speaking of the study, husband and daughter set to work painting the trims gloss white while I had a sneaky nap yesterday {I know!} The trim was cream gloss, but looked more tired and dirty than antique. The white freshness is already zinging it up. Now we just need to make a decision on the wall colour. Paint samples are on the wall, and so far I have a fave, and my husband has a fave, let's see who's sample wins out shall we...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

chop chop

So, who gets your vote in MasterChef tonight? I'm hoping for Adam, but won't be surprised if Callum romps home. I think Callum will end up becoming one of Australia's best chefs if some of his sweet sensations are anything to go by. I'd also happily snap up a copy of Adam's cookbook - I desperately need some guidance in the Asian cookery field.

put your feet up

There were a few moments yesterday when I had absolutely nothing to do. I'd dropped the gal at a birthday party, husband was at a boy's day, I'd pruned the lilly pillies and fertilised the roses so I sat on the couch and read the paper at a leisurely pace.


After I'd finished I started to get twitchy and look around for something to do: should I clean the bathroom, mop the kitchen floor? Something? Anything? Bueller? But I forced myself to chill and today I feel positively rejuvenated.

We've got a netball game in an hour - it's a rain make-up game. The sky's a delicate shade of blue, it's not too chilly and the gal's in a good mood. Hopefully we'll have a full team today - I was a player down yesterday which always makes for a tough game. Fingers crossed.

Enjoy your Sunday - hope you get to put your feet up - if only for 15 minutes {go on, make up a "Do Not Disturb" sign and give it a shot}.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

sweet, it's saturday

Are you going to do something fabulous today? Paint your nails, have an afternoon nap, curl up in a comfy chair and read a book? Go on, you deserve it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

flowers for friday

fabulously friday

Hey there, how's tricks? I'm writing this in my study which only has a desk, chair, computer - and a helluva lot of dust in it! Last night while I was at French Lessons my lovely husband took every single thing from the room and slapped a test coat of paint on a patch of a wall. It needs a good vacuum, and then we'll have to get in and start washing down the walls and painting.

On a hectic deadline today - much chasing to do. So if I don't leave a comment on your blog, just know that I'd be either nodding my head in agreement, tsking in agreement, gaping my mouth in amazement or doing a little dance of joy in celebration {um, Beth, that's yours!}

Enjoy your day x

Thursday, July 22, 2010

ladder love

You just know that I'm going to put things in daily use on the top shelf don't you?

essential ingredients

Morning {or afternoon, or evening...}. Hope you've got something fabulous planned for today. I'm finishing and sending off an article, then it's lunch with a gorgeous friend. This evening it's back into French lessons {praying I haven't forgotten everything from the past two semesters} and we're going to start on moving everything but the desk, chair and computer from the study in preparation for painting. Hurrah.

Now, MasterChef. I'm finding it hard to sustain interest at the pointy end. I hope Adam wins, but I'm guessing that Callum's popularity {he's consistently been a trending topic on twitter!} and the friendliness of his cookbook idea will see him slide through to victory. I do love some of his ideas - but oh my, Jimmy's chai latte brulee had my tastebuds buzzing last night.

I do have MasterChef to thank for the greater array of ingredients now available at Coles. Yesterday I bought Lilydale free-range chicken mince and was delighted to see a tray of Lilydale free-range chicken pieces. Bliss - chicken thighs with skin on! Nigella's St Tropez chicken here I come! Actually, might make that for dinner tonight. If you'll excuse me, I need to pop the chicken in a big zip-lock bag with a bottle of rosé, some honey, lime, garlic, olive oil and herbs de provence and marinated for 3 hours to overnight. Then it's taken out of the bag and tipped in a baking dish and baked slowly under alfoil for 1.5 hours, then the foil removed for the last 15 - 20 minutes to tan the skin deliciously. Mmmmm.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

because i'm a lady

So, I have an article that needs to be sent off by tomorrow morning, dinner that needs to be cooked, a study that needs to have approximately 80 000 magazines and 10 000 books moved from it and what am I thinking "Gee, I don't think I've done a shoe of the week this week". So, despite the fact that nobody's sent me pining emails lamenting its absence - here you go.

This ladylike number by Lanvin would offset any frock - particularly a cream chiffon number. Now, when you hear the words "I'm a lady!" what pops in your head first? I'm hoping that like me, it's Marie from the Aristocats - and not those 'ladies' from Little Britain {although I think they'd love these too...}

bright idea

In exciting news {well, for me} my study renovation's underway. Yesterday hubby came home from lunch telling me he'd found the French Library I wanted - half price. So that wasn't to be sniffed at. So we bought it. Then we called about the desk I wanted. It was on sale. So we bought it. Then I realised we needed to get things moving before they were delivered and quickly called about the carpet. The measure's been done, the quote's on its way, and if the price is right I'll be ordering it to.

This is moving fast for us. Normally we start thinking about something, look into every possible avenue, look at a few more, think about it, look some more, think, look, think and then act. But with this it's a case of why not? I found the carpet I love, was able to afford the bookcase of my dreams {it comes with a LADDER people} and have found the perfect desk. Why wait? All we need to do is clean out, paint the room and then decorate.

Last thing's I'll need are a light fitting and a couple of blinds - but they can wait till everything else is in place {this wee light in the photo - how cute would that look in my butler's pantry?}

PS: It's my baby bro's birthday today. Not that I can ever imagine him delving into such pink, floral fluffiness as there is on this site, but anyway - Happy Birthday Jeff xxx

PS and by-the-way: How good is eBay? I bought a Cath Kidston iPhone case on Saturday night - and my iPhone is now happily snuggled inside. Happiness!

PS and an oh-my-gawd: This redecoration's going to be somewhat accelerated. When I first enquired about the carpet I was told there'd be a four-week-wait for laying. Upon ordering I'm told, 'we'll be there next week'. Eeep. So we need to move everything out, wash the walls and then paint them by this time next week. Guess I know what we're doing over the next few nights and days...

what's cooking wednesday

The meal planning went pretty much according to schedule last week - I even cooked the salmon {on Saturday night rather than Friday - but I cooked it!}. School's back in business now, along with ballet, netball and all the other activities, so this week's menu will reflect this. Here's what we're eating:
Wednesday: Netball training this afternoon, home late and starving. Provencal chicken, rice and broccoli shall do nicely. I'll cook the chicken before picking up the gals, cook it while we're getting ready and pop it in the slow cooker to stay warm.
Thursday: Back to French Lessons. Spaghetti Bolognaise
Friday: Chicken schnitzel, roasted vegies and salad
Saturday: Just the gal and I, hubby has his annual sporting day with his buddies. Hmmm, home-made pizzas perhaps?
Sunday: Roast dinner night. Love a Sunday Night Roast. I'll find something yummy at the farmer's markets. Last week we had pork belly. Oh yes we did!
Monday: Netball for me. Chicken tacos.
Tuesday: Ballet for the gal. Slow cooker beef curry, wilted spinach and rice.

Done. You?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

and relax...

Every now and again I like to be extraordinarily busy. Super busy. Flat out like a lizard drinking. That busy. You know why? Not just because I feel productive, although that's part of it. No, I like the afterwards. When it's calm and it seems as though I have all the time in the world. I sent the last of the frantic deadline work off yesterday, flopped on the couch last night and today have pottered here and there, getting stuff done in a calm, unflappable manner. Bliss.

PS: that hammock, tied between olive trees and brushing by sprigs of lavender? Can you IMAGINE a better place for an afternoon nap?

lavender love

Lavender is a shade I positively adore - it's one of those happy, soothing hues that makes everything seem a little better. With all the redesigning, redecorating and renovating {in our future} that's going on in our home, I'm trying to work out where I can squish some lavender in. My study perhaps? Or the bathroom - like this? Mostly white, a touch of black, chrome and accents of lavender... Yep, I think that'll do just nicely.

Monday, July 19, 2010

school daze

Ahhhh, that's the school holidays over for another few months {nearly wrote 'phew months' ha!}. We survived nicely - but I'm glad to be back in the routine. I got myself organised over the weekend to ensure that all clothing was washed and ready to go, mini-quiches were cooked and in freezer or fridge, muffins also baked and in freezer and that there was a sufficient stack of suitable fruit in the fridge for fruit break {oranges and strawberries alternate this week}.

I took the gal shopping yesterday afternoon, and while we were in JB HiFi looking at a case for her iPod, I saw a shiny, new wireless mouse for my mac. I love my mac, but my mouse has been misbehaving for quite some time. The old Mighty Mouse would collect so much grot underneath that it would be tough to move around. You'd point the curser and all of a sudden it'd just fly off in another direction. The cord would tangle around itself, catch under the mouse, and had also frayed at the end, revealing bits of silver wiring underneath.

The job I've been working on over the school holidays involved a lot of editing. A lot of cutting, pasting, highlighting, deleting, adding... - a real mouse job. Doing that job with a dodgy mouse nearly did my head in - but did I do anything or did I just grumble?

I just grumbled.

So anyway, there I was yesterday, with a mouse staring me in the face. I sucked it up and bought it and oh my. Best $99 I've ever spent. When your job revolves around your computer it's best to make it the best computer possible. This streamlined little beauty works on any surface {even my leg - just checked} and it's so cute. It's possibly even taken a wee smidgen of my affection away from my new iPhone. Nah, I'm still besotted with that beauty.

Today, I'll be getting a buttload of work done with ease. Apparently the other mouse was a mighty mouse, but I reckon this one should be called "Magnificent Mouse".

Sunday, July 18, 2010

birthday wish list

Considering that it's my birthday in just under three weeks and three days I thought I'd best get to thinking about my pressies {my husband's pretty smart - I'm sure he'll check my blog for hints!}. I need some new music to download to my iPhone - Emile Simon and Florence and the Machine will do nicely for starters...

well hello!

Oooh, it's oh-so-quiet. Husband left at 7.45 this morning to play golf, taking the wee lass with him. Last night she told us how much she missed her Nana {yes, this would be the nana we went away with, and that she had a three-night-sleepover with} so she's gone to spend the morning with her. Nana, as you can imagine, is positively tickled pink - as am I as it means I can get sooooo much done.

It's a glorious winter's day again today. Blue skies aplenty. So I'll be doing loads of washing, a bit of tidying and later on, cooking up a storm for school lunches. I've been inspired by Liss at Frills in the Hills and plan on doing a lot more freezing than I've done in the past {usually I'll make three days of quiches and keep them in the fridge}.

Last night I had my first real eBay success. I was hunting for a case for my iPhone because now I've got a black iPhone, daughter has a black iTouch and we have a black iPpod, I thought the chances of my walking out with the wrong iDevice were pretty high. So after some searching I found a Cath Kidston gadget case on eBay - with only a few hours till closing. I made my bid and followed my usual shopping guidelines {how much would I happily pay for this if I saw it in a store, regardless of the label?} and then put in my maximum bid {odd dollar number, odd cents number}. For the last 40 minutes I sat there watching and had the heart-stopping moments of watching the other bidder rise, and rise, and rise - until I won. They stopped $3.75 lower than me. I'm thrilled, particularly as Cath Kidston don't have this case on sale any more {it's white, with lovely pink roses}. Very happy.

Oh, and how much am I already loving my iPhone? How do I count the ways?

Finally - I did actually sneakily cook salmon for dinner last night after managing to skip it once again on its required night. Now, do I brave the crowds at the Farmer's Markets today, or just shrug my shoulders and shop at Coles... We'll see.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

words for the weekend

it smells of spring

In my garden the snowbells have frocked up and are ready to lend their ballgown petals to a gaggle of partying fairies. I adore these delicate, nodding blooms and the fact that they're the first of the bulbs to flower in my garden.

Another sign that Spring's around the corner is that my jasmine is covered in red buds. Hundreds of them. Each promising to delight me with their intoxicating scent. Mmmmmm.

wow, weekend...

Heya, how's Saturday treating you so far? Mine's going well. I finally moved into this century yesterday and got myself an iPhone. Hurrah. I'm already in love. I guess some time this weekend will involve looking through apps, and, um, trying to learn how to work it.

My gal's finally home from her grandparents. She had the time of her life and wasn't at all keen to leave {I'm sure she missed us a little bit}. Today husband's gone to Sydney to do some checking out of kitchen stuff - in preparation for our future kitchen reno {at least two years away, mind}. He's keen to consider all the options so we can finalise a budget and work out exactly when we can do it. So the gal and I are hanging at home. I have some work to do - and she's keen to teach me how to use my iPhone.

Tomorrow we're off to the Farmer's Markets. Natch. My gal's keen to go along as Jake from MasterChef's going to be there selling some wares. I'm keen to go and get some fresh produce into the house. Honestly, how GOOD is seasonal food? The other day I had terrible sweet cravings after checking out a tweetpic from Baked Uprising and found myself a lovely mandarin in the crisper. I sat on the front stairs, in the winter sunshine, consuming the sweet citrus goodness and, oh my - does life get any better? {well, possibly if I were eating one of those macarons above, but details people...}

Enjoy your weekend. Hope it sees all your dreams come true.

Friday, July 16, 2010

that's the life

Oh, look at that comfy couch, piles of reading materials and that towering bookshelf {complete with bar on the bottom shelves - squeee!}. And the light - wafting in from those windows. Le sigh... Surrounding yourself with a few creature comforts just has to be the way to live.

friday flowers

Hey, how's your friday panning out? Got anything planned for the weekend? I plan on doing a spot of gardening, a chunk of work, and a little bit of relaxation. Hope you enjoy yours x

Thursday, July 15, 2010

ain't life grand

Some of my most precious memories from growing up are those times spent with my grandparents. My dad's mum and dad lived in a waterfront house on the lake, a tiny home, with a big veranda from which we'd feed kookaburras little pieces of mince of a morning. They had an open fire which my grandfather stoked up every day, and many breakfasts were spent cooking the toast with the special fork he'd made up to brown bread over an open flame.

My mum's parents lived in a house with the most amazing vegie gardens. My memories of tomatoes are still spoiled by the tasty red beauties my pop would grow. Whether on buttered Saos or between slices of white bread, sprinkled with salt and pepper, these flavours were hard to beat.

My daughter's lucky to have six grandparents: my mum and step-dad, my dad and step-mum and my husband's parents. My parents manage to live on opposite sides of Australia - Melbourne for my mum and Far North Queensland for my dad, but luckily they regularly come to visit and my gal gets to spend an intensive week with them a few times a year. She had activities she likes to do with each. With my mum it's beach visits, she loves helping Grandpa and hanging out with him in the kitchen - or wherever he is. With my step-mum it's craft {hurrah, as I am soooooo not a craft mum} and shopping trips - along with walking their pup Bella. Now they've got the Motor Home and drive south regularly, my gal loves visiting her nan and pop while they're 'parked' near the beach.

My in-laws live a 40 minute trip north. Close enough for regular visits, and for my gal, the perfect place to chill in the holidays. My husband dropped her off on Tuesday night for a two day sleepover, with us due to pick her up tonight. But she called an hour ago and whispered "Can I stay another night?" Of course her delighted grandparents were more than happy to grant her request.

In the past few days she's baked, she's knitted, she's played, and she's just reveled in this opportunity to lap up grandparent time. Even though we'd only been away with her Nana and Pa last weekend, this gal knows when she's on a good thing. Considering she's one of, 13 grandchildren {not counting the great grandchildren!} she's blessed to spend this time with them.

She'll have some pretty special memories of times with her grandparents when she grows up - and hopefully she'll have kids that she'll encourage to have sleepovers with her grandparents - so I can crank up the KitchenAid for a new generation.

is is the weekend yet?

Phew, surely this week is due to come to an end soon. I read this post over at Life In A Pink Fibro and it resonated with me oh-too-clearly. Holidays are always such a busy period for freelancers, I'm not quite sure why. Maybe others turn the work down, regulars go on holidays, or maybe it's just like a big burst of spring cleaning from the publishing industry. Who knows? I don't care how it comes, I'm just happy that it comes.

I'm trying to get as much done as I can today, while my gal's still having fun at her grandparents. They've baked their way through most of NSW's sugar, butter and flour supply by the sounds of things.

Enjoy your day - and plan a little party to celebrate when you've finished your tasks. I know that I will...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

what's cooking wednesday

It's a funny old week this week. The gal's at her grandparents tonight - so we're off for a belated anniversary dinner. Friday signified 17 years since my lovely husband and I met. Bless. I still love him to bits and pieces. So tonight, a restaurant shall be serving our meal. Tomorrow night we're picking up our gal - and being fed by my mother-in-law. Woo hoo. Nothing like a roast with all the trimmings cooked up by a fabulous cook. Here's what we'll be eating the rest of the week.
Tonight: Dinner somewhere nearby in The Junction
Thursday: Roast Beef with the in-laws
Friday: Salmon {and I swear that this time I'm going to make it - promise!*}, wilted spinach and lemon baked potatoes.
Saturday: Spanish chicken with rice and a green salad
Sunday: Osso Bucco or some other slow cooked delight from the Farmers Markets along with fresh veg - whatever's appealing.
Monday: No netball, we have a bye. So to celebrate the first day back at school {woo hoo!} I'll cook lamb backstraps, braised french lentils, pumpkin mash and sweet potato chips for my lovely gal.
Tuesday: Ballet resumes so it's a slow cooker dish. Liss's curry chicken will do just nicely I think. With garlic naan, rice and green beans.
Wednesday: Slow cooker again - netball training. I'm going to go for a soup. Lots of veg, ham hocks and pulses - served with Sourdough from the new bakery in Hunter Street.
*Okay, I swear to god this is not my fault - but it's Friday and once again, I'm not making salmon. Honestly, I have no umbrage with salmon, but every single time I go to cook the damned stuff something happens. And, once again, has happened. Maybe I need to do a sneak sabotage salmon supper. That might work...

p is for...

I believe there are two types of people: those who plan, and those who prefer to be more free-spirited, spontaneous, and... stressed.

I used to be in the latter category. I scoffed at those who wrote an essay plan, guffawed at the very idea of writing down weekly meals, stifled hystrionics at the idea of a budget. Now, I'm firmly in the former camp.

I could kiss my meal plans. On the weeks when I don't plan my meals I become crotchety, nervy, stressed and spend, oh, at least twice what I should. Rather than meals being planned for ease, nutrition, taste and variety - they're hastily assembled from whatever pops first in my brain and then, as I'm cooking, I realise I'm making a meal with beef, and we'd eaten beef last night, and the night before...

When we went away last weekend, even though I'd been working late, late nights, we were still prepared. I went into my "general folder" {pink, sparkly cupcake icon on my desktop} and printed out "Long Weekend Away Check-list". Oh yes, I have checklists for our holidays: from overnight stays, two days, long weekend and week-long. This way we don't worry that we've forgotten the phone charger or curl cream - they're on the list and are ticked off. I know, sounds anally retentive, but it takes one minute to print out - less - how much time would you spend rewriting a list everytime you go away - or just mentally going through it all?

My working days are divided up in the same way. I prioritise and allocate chunks of time to tasks in order of urgency. Some things {such as vacuuming the crunchy kitchen floor - sprinkled with more cupcake toppings than the cupcakes} fall by the wayside under more pressing tasks {finding interview subjects for an article due in just over a week}.

While I used to be a free-spirit in love with spontaneity, I've realised that I much prefer not stressing. I'd like to know what needs to be done and tick it off a list. I think you need to work out what's important to you - and live it. I used to make grand meal plans back in the day. I thought that because I was organised I'd create gourmet masterpieces, try something different, and make everything impressive. But you've got to make space for spaghetti bolognaise. Meal planning's not meant to add another dimension to your life, it's meant to make your life simpler.

Planning makes my life simpler. It's weird at first, and can seem like too much effort. But now, it takes me three minutes to come up with a weekly meal plan. Then I just need to do a big shop, and take note of what I need to buy fresh. Less waste, less spending and less stress. Who wouldn't want that?

something sweet

Do you look for the prettiness in your day? The things that stand out and make you smile? I had to do that this morning after being shuffled around to 6 different Telstra departments {all with that odd mechanical voice thing that's so difficult to understand...}. Nobody could help me, everyone knew they had to pass me to someone else, I swear I went back to the same department at least once or twice... But I had to chill. I found myself getting angrier and angrier, until I stopped and realised that it was okay. I was sitting here, in front of my computer, and I had the opportunity just to cruise around the internet with nothing else pressing. I did have work to do, but I can't focus on research while I'm waiting {and cranky}.

So I cruised, checked out some blogs {barely commented though - sorry - I'll get back into that soon...} and found a few places to dream.

Then, after I hung up, my lovely gal called. She's having two night's sleepover at her grandparents and is having a ball. So far they've made cupcakes and hazelnut slice - and she was due to decorate them next. Bless. Just hearing the happiness in her voice made everything seem better. So I'll buckle down now and get to work. Real work. I'm happy knowing that I'm getting my work done and my gal's spending some serious quality time with her grandparents - you couldn't pay for that could you?

ooh la la

It's Bastille Day today - a day to consider all things French {hold on, how's that different to any day for moi?} Currently I'm celebrating by waiting on hold for Telstra. Le sigh. Me and a new sim card, that was never going to be pretty. Of course I've waited till the last minute to activate my new account, have inserted the sim card without bothering to find my phone's manual. Oh yeah, the height of organisation...

So Bastille Day - you doing anything French? Chic?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

dear dior

These would look pretty damned magnificent on my feet...

afternoon delight

I do so love an afternoon nap - and boy, could I use one today. A few days of working till midnight are really starting to take their toll. I'm nearly at the end of my 'impossible' job {when it's done it shall no longer be impossible...} and because the end's in sight, my adrenaline is slowing to a halt. Of course, once I finish this task I'll need to move straight onto the next one - but maybe I could squeeze in a lazy hour's lay-down in-between... {ps: this bedroom looks like the ultimate spot for an afternoon snooze - a little sun streaming in, cool breeze, books at hand to initiate slumber...}

flower power

While I spent the day yesterday working, my husband spent it in the garden. All the roses are now pruned and ready to burst into spring colour. All they'll need is a bucket of manure and a wee spot of sunshine to see new lush new growth sprouting out everywhere. It's funny, I don't even mind the bare, twiggy look. I guess it's because the catmint is so lush in between the roses, and we've got the odd Duchess de Brabant rose which doesn't need pruning and which are still covered in delicate pale pink blooms. But you can't just appreciate something for the end result, sometimes you've got to see the beauty in the journey...

Monday, July 12, 2010

tea time

Rosepetal and violette cupcakes are about to go into the oven - which means afternoon tea time in about 20 minutes! The girls were beside themselves when I told them they could pick a rose each and decorate the cupcakes with petals {our roses are organic, hence, edible}.

Now, how's this for an idea for a tea tray? From Martha natch. It's a series of little planters which look ever-so-lovely filled with the necessities for afternoon tea. Bless.

a gift

Hope your Monday's serving you up something special. There are some times when you realise that life's a gift and you should just sweep it up in loving arms and give it a great big hug.

How are these Valentinos? I do love a bow, it makes everything seem more special. So a pair of black shoes with satin bows are bound to set my heart a-fluttering.

Enjoy your Monday, and I hope that every day you see some special gift in what's being offered to you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

home again, home again

Wow, that went quickly! After a mammoth drive we're home again. Our weekend away was just lovely. Cute little doll's house cottage on the hill was the perfect accommodation and Sutton Forest seemed miles from everywhere, yet was only a three minute drive to Moss Vale. Last night we had a magnificent dinner at the Sutton Forest pub. If you're ever in the Southern Highlands I strongly suggest a meal stop-over. Fabulous pub food in a lovely pub - complete with tartan carpet in the bistro. I had a beautiful steak that was so tender and tasty I cut it with a normal dinner knife - no need for a steak knife. Served with horseradish cream and thick chips and salad it was hearty pub fare served with a deft hand - that chef knows what he's doing.

Today we had lunch at The Black Swan at Berrima - and we'll be revisiting. Our repast today was light, just a pie, but what a pie. Lamb and rosemary encased in light, buttery pastry. Mmmm. They do fine dining downstairs in a series of rooms so exquisite I had to stop and fan myself. The holiday also reinforced my belief that there's no better town for shopping than Bowral - particularly if you love food and cooking {um, that'd be me}. The day was brought to a magnificent climax with macarons from The Strawberry Thief - a patisserie to rival my other love - the Bowral Patisserie. Thank goodness we're headed down again in September...

Friday, July 09, 2010

loooooooong weekend

Today we're packing up the car and heading south. We're off to the Southern Highlands, our favourite place in Australia {aside from home!} We'll have a weekend of pottering, of pub meals, of coffee and shopping. Bliss.

I also plan to take a few days away from work - but will get straight back into in when I return. I think my eyes will enjoy looking at the odd magazine or reading pages from a book.

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

perfectly pretty

How enchanting is this image? I'm taking a wee break from work and needed something pretty to rest my eyes on so Martha Stewart came up with the goods. Can you imagine anything prettier than flowergirls with floral wands? Love.

a little ray of sunshine

Sigh. Will it ever stop raining? I know that I shouldn't care as I'm just sitting at my desk working, but, well, it's noisy. Rain on a tin roof sounds romantic when the drought first breaks, but after a few days it's just another distraction.

Husband's having time off today to spend with the girl. They're off to see Toy Story 3. I'm a tad jealous, but after the whole watching-how-to-tame-your-dragon-in-the-front-row-in-3D I don't really mind. I think my eyes are forever traumatised by the too-close viewing.

Have I told you that I've developed a bit of a crush on Louis Ghost chairs? I was considering having one as an office chair, but these last few days of 12hour+ working days {and my friend Anne's OT advice...} have made me realise that I really do need an ergonomic office chair. Surely I can find a pretty one out there somewhere...

Back to work then.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

nearly there...

Thanks to a lovely friend having my gal for two whole days and a sleepover I've managed to get through so much of my work I feel positively exultant.

And also in need of a nap.

In a petal pink dress.

On tufts on the softest, most verdant grass.



bathing beauty

Did I tell you that I have a big hole in my bath? Well I do, which renders it completely useless. My husband's planning on patching it till we can redo our bathroom and install this beautiful slipper bath here. Pretty non?

Now, I'm not ordinarily much of a bath gal, but with ours out of order how much do you think I'm craving a big, long soak? Yep, you guessed it - it's number one on my wishlist.


i got chills...

Phew, it's frosty. And we're off for a weekend in the Southern Highlands where the temperature will drop even further. But this lovely Chanel coat straight from the runway would warm the cockles of any heart would it not?

Le love.


I can work no more, slumber's calling me. But, before bed, and because I probably won't have a chance to post at a more sensible hour tomorrow - eek - today... Here's a wee spot of floral fabulousness from Dior. John Galliano - I heart you.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

just chill

As a freelancer you can work the strangest of hours. I started at 9am this morning and I'm still kicking on at 10.51pm. I did take a break and had a lovely walk down to the beach at sunset. The crazy 'non-storm' we had {weird, ferocious thunder for 20 minutes, then a few spits of rain followed by sunshine} seemed to have created a sunset that turned out quite the show over the ocean - yes, on the East Coast!

Lovely husband's watching le tour de France, picturing himself there next year in the crowds. He's also cleaned the kitchen to perfection and is making me a hot chocolate to sustain my final burst of work. I think I'll keep him...

Gal's at a sleepover so I'm free to burn the midnight oil - something I don't think I've really done since uni days. But I'm keen to knock over as much of this job as possible so at the end of the week we can toddle off to the Southern Highlands feeling I've earned a holiday.

Now, this cake - the cutest thing you've ever seen? That's a pudding - not some strange olive macaron fiasco {oh yes, I'm still going on about it. It's also on the cover of MasterChef magazine - with an added mustard coloured macaron. If that little bugger's actually mustard flavoured I think I'll move beyond feeling nauseous to the actuality...}. If we're going to have food that looks like another food at least let's have both of them looking delicious non?

perchance to dream

If you really managed to follow your bliss I'm pretty sure you'd end up here. Oh my, talk about 70 shades of lovely...

knuckling down

There's nothing that I like more than being busy - so today, I'm positively blissful. Lots on, plenty to keep my mind occupied and a few challenges thrown in there as well.

Oh, we won our semi final at netball last night. I sat there with my injury cheering my team on. We had a close game with the final, but ended up losing by a respectable 5 goals. It's a novel concept just watching from the sidelines - one that I'd prefer to just do the once. Hopefully this crazy knee injury of mine will heal soon and I'll be back on the court next week {yep, straight into the new competition - indoor netball allows no rest}.

Finally, three words I never want to hear in the same sentence again: macaron, olive and beetroot. Zumbo might be considered a genius, but I swear I felt a little sick every single time olive macarons were mentioned {and boy, were they mentioned a lot last night on MasterChef}.

Monday, July 05, 2010

raining, pouring...

So, the first official day of school holidays and it's raining. Pouring actually. Luckily my gal and I had plans to stay indoors and bake. Once again I'll be relying on a Frills In The Hills recipe. Liss posted a baguette recipe a few weeks ago that I'm keen to get my dough hook into.

But first, a few things I learned from my meal last night. If you slice a chunk of Coles unsalted butter, put it in a pretty dish and sprinkle it with Maldon Smoked Salt Flakes it will taste utterly divine spread on a crusty baguette - as yummy as $8 French butter! Spring Hill Black Angus is the nicest beef you'll ever taste. I went to the markets yesterday hoping to find some of the Angus Osso Bucco I'd bought the week before, without luck. Then, around the corner I stumbled upon the Spring Hill Beef stand. Now, all around me must have thought I was a lunatic {as did the blokes behind the stall} as I was so excited. See, Spring Hill is the beautiful farmhouse we stayed at with our friends last year, and we're all going again this September - and our friends were coming to dinner last night. Perfect. So I bought a kilo and a half of gravy beef, diced it into huge chunks and cooked it for four hours in a rich sauce of red wine, beef stock, thyme, garlic and bay. It was the most delicious stew ever.

Finally, one of our friends is lactose intolerant so I always offer up a meal as low or free from lactose as possible - with a lactose-free version for him if necessary. Last night I decided to experiment and make a potato dauphinoise - without the cream or cheese. Really. Firstly I caramelised finely diced shallots and garlic with brown sugar, thyme leaves and olive oil. Then I poured over some chicken stock and reduced the sauce by half. I played a layer of thinly sliced, overlapping potatoes in the dish, poured over enough chicken stock to barely cover, then sprinkled with the shallot mix. Another layer was repeated before I topped it off with a sprinkling of panko breadcrumbs. I baked it covered with foil for 30 mins then removed the foil to brown the top.

Oh my. It was delish. We all loved it and agreed it offered all the yumminess of a regular dauphinoise, without the rich creaminess that can be too heavy. Bliss.

This was all followed by Liss's lemon delicious, served with vanilla icecream, and lactose-free french vanilla for T. Washed down with champagne, white wine and a smidge of water.

PS: When we were at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday I gazed awestruck at the Chanel store. I saw these rainboots in red and oh-my-word, how I wished I could justify them. Although, with a cost-per-wear considering how much it rains in this neck of the woods, they'd be down to $1 per wear in a few short years...

PPS: I swear that I'm not doing all these thousands of links to Frills in the Hills in a blatant attempt to win Rachel Allen's bake. It's entirely coincidental. However, if Liss would like to reward my fawning in such a matter...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

to market, to market

After a very successful shopping day yesterday {nothing bought really, just lots noted for future reference - and one store that looked amazing on-line crossed off the list after being viewed IRL} we had a lazy night. Leftover shepherds pie {changed my menu plan after Liss wrote about golden syrup dumplings and I had to cook them Friday night} was consumed and then we all watched Relocation Relocation before the girls headed off to bed and the boy stayed up to watch World Cup and Tour de France.

This morning while my husband sleeps, the gal and I are headed off to the Farmers Markets. They've been tweeting up a storm about new foods on offer, so I can't wait to check it out. We've got friends coming to dinner tonight so it'll be lovely to cook yummy market-fresh food for them. Gotta love the school holidays when you can have friends to dinner on a Sunday night.

Friday, July 02, 2010

far out folks it's friday

Hands up if your week absolutely sped by? Yep, mine too. Today's the last day of school so we're about to have two weeks of holidays to contend with. Wish me luck...

Tomorrow we're headed down to Sydney to check out furniture for my study. Now we've finalised our choice of the charcoal carpet for the study, we just need to choose a desk, chair, light-fitting and bookshelves. We think we've found most of them in our home-town, but we'd just like to confirm that there's nothing else out there that'd suit the purpose more.

Sunday night we have friends coming to dinner, we had to swap from the Saturday because we'd forgotten about the shopping trip {I swear, the things I've forgotten lately because they haven't been written down...}. I'm still undecided on the menu - best get in and look at some cookbooks for inspiration.

Finally, what's with the MasterChef contestants being unable to identify Coq au Vin? What on earth do these people eat normally? Seriously, the limited food knowledge of these contestants is starting to drive me batty. My 10-year-old has a broader food knowledge, and probably has a better palate, than some of these amateur cooks. "I've never cooked or eaten risotto/mashed potato/veal..." the list goes on. Regardless of your speciality a good cook needs an understanding of a wide range of foods - not just their chosen area. The right pastry can make a savoury dish sing and understanding how certain ingredients react to cooking is one of the basics in being able to experiment and create an amazing meal.

I'm pretty sure the contestants on MasterChef Jr will have a broader food knowledge than some of these people. Honestly, dumbing a show down to meet the lowest common denominator is tragic - but I guess the ratings keep climbing, and presumably sales of Handee Wipes and Campbells real stock will increase thanks to the increasingly prominent positioning. Sheesh.

What's on your weekend agenda?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

it's only words

Now, as LifeInAPinkFibro has rightly pointed out, the words panties is considered irksome by some. Personally I think it's cute-as-a-box-of-buttons but only when uttered without a hint of sleeze. My alternate word of choice would be knickers - as evidenced by these Stella McCartney Day of the Week Knickers. Cuteness incorporated? I think so.

perfectly pretty

I cannot possibly have my only post for the day be a rant about my injury. So instead, allow me to present a bunch of fleurs that really need to be residing in my home, preferably in every single room. Also, the cutest panties I've ever seen in my life. That is all.


I'm limping around the house today with one of those annoying, straight-leg limps. It's all because I didn't act my age. Yesterday at netball training we had odd numbers, so I paired up with the smallest 10-year-old player for a bit of attack and defence. All went well until she decided to go straight under me. I had one of those slow motion falls where you have plenty of time to think. You know you're going down, and first you try to stop it, but then you just try to fall in whatever way can minimise the damage. I did a bit of a commando roll on falling, but only after I landed hard on my left knee, taking off a lot of skin, drawing a lot of blood and causing loads of swelling.

By the time I came home I had a big egg on my kneecap. Ouch. It wasn't as pretty as the eggs in this picture, and I'm pretty sure it's a lot more painful. Hopefully it'll recover before my semi-final on monday night.

Next time when any of my players hit the concrete court I'll be rushing over to ensure they're okay rather than doing the "oh, you'll be fine. Just run around a bit and you'll feel better..."