Friday, September 30, 2011

flowers for friday

It's too windy out there for me to take a photo of the gorgeous lil foxgloves that are gracing our garden {pink, cream and white - divine!} so I thought I'd share this shot from the Hampton Court Palace flower show.

Isn't the speckled throat on this divine? When you get up close and look at the amazing variety and beauty in flowers it's quite astonishing. Love.

PS: I'm guest posting today over at the utterly gorgeous Alice Becomes. I'm so honoured to share such a glorious space with two gals who always offer up the most delightful posts that put a song in my heart. Please go visit here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

step back in time

I am stepping back in time tonight. My pal, The Divine Ms M, is up in Newcastle to get inked tomorrow so tonight we're headed back to our old Uni haunt, The Great Northern. It's the launch of This Is Not Art festival so it should be fun.

Hopefully we won't be the oldest people there. Did I tell you about the last time I went there with some old uni pals? We were reminiscing with the barman about how we used to hang at the East Room in our uni days and he said, "Oh yeah, my mum used to go there."

I'll let you sit with that for a moment.



I'll get over that one day.

Oh, if only the East Room were refurbished so we could lounge on some gorgeous old velvet couches just like in the olden days...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

taking away the grey

Oh it's grey and dark here today. Not exactly the sunny school holidays filled with swimming that I'd imagined. Oh well. Luckily my gal had Monday and Tuesday with a friend, and is off to a dance camp tomorrow. Friday she has a friend over, so hopefully the weather will clear up. If not we've stocked up on flour, sugar, butter and eggs - so the KitchenAid will get a workout.

In the meantime I'm going to this place above in my head. Have you ever seen anything more divine?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

heavenly sounds

We've happily raised a child with good musical taste. Aside from a few rogue years of Hi-5 etc she's happy to sing along to our music in the car. Generally, when given control of the iPod she'll choose Sarah Blasko so we knew who would have to feature in her first live gig.

And what a gig she'll be experiencing: Seeker Lover Keeper at Christ Church Cathedral in Newcastle! Oh my - heavenly voices in a heavenly venue.

I bought the tickets this morning {lots of refreshing of the ticketek site so I didn't miss out!}


Monday, September 26, 2011

meal planning tips and tricks

I've been meal planning pretty consistently for a while now and people have asked me a few questions about it which I thought I'd share. So settle yourself and have a read:

First tip: stay simple
Meal planning isn't about creating exotic meals, or meals you've always wanted to try. It's not a time to drag out your cookbooks and try to make something new and different. When you start stay simple: pasta, mexican, pizza, roast - stick with what works for your family and you'll have success.

Second tip: get out your diary
You'll notice in my meal plans I write what we've got planned, such as late night ballet, or netball training. You have to consider this. If you think, "Oh, it's okay, I'll get home at 6pm and still have time to whip up a paella" think again. On busy days plan quick meals, or slow cooker meals. Plan to succeed.

Third tip: be flexible
I'd say that our meal-plans stick to the days I've intended maybe around 80 to 90 per cent of the time on a good week. On a bad week it's more like 50 per cent. Success can be attributed to making sure I've shopped and have all the ingredients ready to go - and enthusiasm. You need to have a couple of lazy meal options ready to go for those days when you're over it all and just want to put something on the table.

Fourth tip: double up where possible
I love meals that offer up double the fun - a roast chicken that can be used in a chicken soup the next night, or leg of lamb that becomes shephard's pie.

Fifth tip: involve the kids
My daughter's become a far more adventurous eater since we've meal-planned. She knows that's what we're having, and she likes being able to have a say as well. Kids are far more likely to eat a meal they've had a say in.

Sixth tip: write it down
The best way to ensure a balance in your meals is to have it all written down in front of you. I try for a range of proteins and vegies in our meals - colours and textures. Jotting it down makes it easy to see you've already got a chicken meal planned, so you can swap with a pork number.

Seventh tip: persist
I didn't succeed the first time time I tried meal planning, or the second, good grief, it's probably more like 10th time lucky. But I'll tell you this, it makes my life soooooooooo much easier. I don't have that awful, "Oh lordy, what's for dinner?" thought at 3pm. We don't fall back on takeaway too often. I save money - and we eat pretty well really.

Ready to give it a shot? Go on, I know it's all grown-up and anally-retentive - but it really does make life a lot more simpler. And don't we all want that?

meal-planning monday

First week of the school holidays - so a rather disjointed meal plan as our gal goes to friend's houses and vice-versa. Last night I made a chicken and leek pot pie as my Aussie Farmer's box had a leek in it. Luckily the weather turned all stormy and cold, which suited it perfectly. Served alongside I roasted some baby dutch carrots and broccoli {love roasted broccoli!}

Monday: Gal at a pals. So hubby and I will have a simple salt and pepper squid salad.

Tuesday: She's home again, but I'll be home late from a meeting in Sydney. Hubby and the gal can cook. Mexican I'd imagine.

Wednesday: I still haven't made salmon patties - tonight shall be the night.

Thursday: The divine Ms M is coming to stay, so I'm going to make pickled pork. Never made it before, so look out for a recipe on the other blog later this week.

Friday: My gal has a pal over. I think we'll make chicken burgers for dinner. With sweet potato chips and salad.

Saturday: BBQ night. Steaks will be good.

Sunday: We're off to a 40th lunchtime do. Apparently it's also grand final day. Hmmm. Mother and father-in-law coming over to look after our gal. I'll cook up a chicken provencale casserole so we can all eat that for dinner when we come home.

Phew, done!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

fabulous frocks

So yesterday my gal and I went shopping. I was in search of a new summer frock - and I found FOUR. First of all we wandered aimlessly around David Jones where everything was for old ladies or young chicks. Tragic. I miss my David Jones city store that had everything I needed...

Then we went to Target. Score. Not only did I find the two fab maxi dresses on the right - it was 20 per cent off day. Cheap-as.

Then we wandered downstairs in the hell that is Westfield to buy my gal a book for the school holidays - only to find that there are NO BOOKSTORES in Westfield. None! I realised that Borders closed down, but no Angus and Robertson either. Sad.

So I told the gal we'd trek over to Hamilton to an old-fashioned bookshop. Oh my. It's been a while since I've visited Maclean's Booksellers and that won't happen again. What a glorious store. My gal found three books she just had to have, and the most gorgeous hardcover {pink!} Anne of Green Gables that I insisted she just had to have. And I bought Marieke Hardy's new book You'll Be Sorry When I'm Dead. Love it.

After that we just stepped into the Red Cross store next door where I found that pretty floral sundress on the left that was EXACTLY what I had in my mind. Perfect. And a lovely black and white floral longer number as well. All these for just over $100 - ridiculous.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

sweet sweet saturday

Mmmm, the first Saturday of the school holidays. Bliss. We all slept in. Double bliss.

Sadly it's a bit of a grey ol' day today so we won't be getting out into the great outdoors. Instead, my gal and I might hit up the shops. Hubby's playing golf today and I've got some birthday money burning a hole in my wallet that needs to be exchanged for a couple of new dresses. Don't you think?

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, September 23, 2011

flowers for friday

Madonna and I may share the same starsign, but there's one thing we don't have in common. I LOVE hydrangeas. Look at them! They're like a glorious, watercoloured collection of butterflies.


Hope your friday's as beautiful as this image. And oh it's nearly the weekend! Squeeeeeeee! And then school holidays, which I really need to get organised. There'll be lots of phone calls re: child-swapping tonight.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

tee hee

Grill'd burgers at The Junction are good people. First of all, they've supported our netball club with a free burger voucher for every player. Bless.

And now, they have this giggle-worthy sign out the front.

If they hadn't won me over with their tasty burgers {and those divine chips - YUM} then they will with humour.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

does anybody here like the human league?

When one of my friends called me to tell me about the Rewind Festival in Wollongong at the end of October I squealed. Hello, a retro festival for old people? I'm on it. The list is awesome, including The Human League! I know!! "Don't you want me?" is one of my fave numbers to croon - can't wait to sing along with it in person. In fact, the last time I went and saw the Human League I looked a little like this...

Yep, that's me on the left {proving why I've had long hair since I was 16}, my bro {who's now a 6 foot three tattoo-covered Harley Riding, non-human-league-listening dude} and my step-sisters {two of whom were my age, yet I was freakishly tall at 13 - and average height now. Sigh.}

I may not wear the electric blue fishnets when I see The Human League this time, but I will be attending with two of my fabulously fun-loving gal-friends - Wollongong had better watch out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

blue by you

If I achieve nothing else this summer, I wish to find a frock in this exact shade of blue. I think Cobie Smulders was one of the prettiest sights on the red carpet - compounded by how much this blue popped on the red.

Actually, I think I need this dress, in cocktail length with a subtle flare to the skirt. Don't you think? I'd wear it with my red wedges and would be blissfully content with the world.

more couples i love

The Emmys also served to remind me of couples I love. Like Seal and Heidi Klum, honestly, how amazing are they? And, ps: I happen to love Seal's slashed to the waist shirt - he's certainly got the pecs for it. And Heidi's dress by Christian Siriano has been roundly criticised but I love it. It's foofy, it's swooshy and it's fun - perfect for an awards ceremony.

Now, my love for Amy Poehler and Will Arnett has verged into obsessive territory. Did you see them on the podium for E! with Ryan? Hysterical. Will took over the interviewing of Amy and it was cute-as-a-bunch-of-buttons. And then when they wouldn't let him cut to Gwyneth? Genius.

Amy also provided me with one of my fave moments of the ceremony when all the actresses nominated raced to the stage to stand there waiting for the award. Comic greatness there.

I wanna be her friend.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Arriving home is pretty darned pretty at the moment.

taking the plunge

There's no more dramatic look that a seriously plunging neckline - but you need the right attributes to pull it off. First of all, you've got to be a modest cupsize, Christina Hendricks would look obscene in this number. And also, and this is often ignored, you need to have a well-covered chest area (to avoid the dreaded decolletage ribs a-la Rachel Zoe, Debra Messing and Julie Bowen).

I reckon that Heather Morris ticks all these boxes, and how glorious is this smokey amethyst shade? Also truly, madly, deeply in love with the ruffled skirt.


award show frocks

I love award season, for the sheer pleasure of frock watching that it affords. I think Jayma Mays frock is just so pretty. Sure, I would have loved to have seen it in a mossy green to set off her hair, but it's a princess frock that looks just gorgeous in this delicate petal pink. Also loving that ribbon sash around her teeny waist.

Loving the silhouette of Rachel Evan Wood's frock - and her hair is just glorious.

Oh, this woman is just perfection. How much does Sophia rock this tangerine frock? It's Vera Wang and is so perfectly fitted to that bod. Also LOVE the jewels. They're Columbian emeralds and the earrings look like the most incredible peacock feathers. Perfect.

Also, Jane Lynch is rocking it as host. I love how The Emmys have openly gay hosts. And Jane sure can wear a frock too. Love her.

meal planning monday

Meal-planning last week flew right out the window. I didn't go shopping and had lots of unexpected last minute plans so hubby and I had toast for dinner one night {we had some ravioli for the gal} and one night I even, {come close, I'll be whispering this... *Ihadacheeseburgerfrommcdonaldsdon'thateme*}

So some of last week's meals will be repeated - as they weren't even cooked. But I did come up with a surprise last night. We had some leftover roast butternut pumpkin in the fridge, so I tipped it into a bowl, added some cooked leftover jasmine rise, a sliced green onion and some frozen corn, sweet chilli sauce and dried, mixed herbs and formed it into little balls. I then baked these in the oven and served it with the fillet steak with balsamic caramelised onion and salad for dinner. Delish! Great for hiding vegies for kidlets too - you could add peas, grated carrot, grated {drained} zucchini - anything!

Monday: I'm doing crusted lamb fillet with roasted chick pea salad {I'll roast vegies such as capscium, zucchini and onion, and then, with 15 minutes to go, I'll toss in some drained and rinsed tinned chickpeas and garlic and let them all brown up. I'll serve with a balsamic glaze and sprinkled with parsley}

Tuesday: Pork schnitzel, mash and greens.

Wednesday: It's my gal's netball presentation from 6.30 and I'll be there early setting up. She'll have a sausage sizzle, I'll see if I can snaffle one too. Hubby can fend for himself.

Thursday: Salmon patties with apple coleslaw.

Friday: I'm going to do a butterflied chicken on the bbq. With a haloumi and beetroot salad.

Saturday: I've got a hankering for scallops - dare I try to cook them?

Sunday: Roast with a twist - leg of lamb on the bbq with a french lentil salad.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

sweet, sweet sunday

On days like this you've just got to think to yourself, "you know what? Life is pretty sweet..." We had our first blissful night's sleep on fresh cotton sheets last night {is there anything better than clean sheet night?} and hubby's working like a demon out in that side yard of ours. Before I know it we'll have a sweet little shed out there to store all the stuff that's living on our side veranda since our pool was installed!

Now, tell me, which veranda shall I remove the railing from to install this swinging seat? I'm thinking the side return on our front veranda, that way it's just off the study and my Wi-Fi will reach so I can do a bit of work swinging gently in the balmy breeze. Good idea non?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

freshening up for spring

Oh, I love Spring! How utterly glorious is this weather at the moment? After nearly spontaneously combusting last night I'm finally switching to the summer sheets today so all the white cotton sheets are on the line after a wash. Love how the sun bleaches them to crisp white after a winter spent yellowing in the linen closet.

Hubby's also got the pool loaded with salt and looking all sparkly and ready for a swim. I think I might just take the first plunge this weekend...

This is our first weekend since returning from holidays that we've had absolutely nothing planned, and oh my, it's just blissful. Our gal's gone for a sleepover with a friend and all we have to do is potter around the house and garden getting it looking spiffy.

Now all I need are some spring flowers to fill the vases and I'll be set.

Friday, September 16, 2011

{this} made my day

I've always had a bit of a soft-spot for Clint Eastwood. My dad was a fan of his films, so this softly spoken dude was a bit of a soundtrack to my youth.

And today I just read a quote from Clint that seriously needs to be made into a t-shirt: "These people who are making a big deal about gay marriage? I don't give a f*ck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We're making a big deal out of things we shouldn't be making a deal out of ... Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want."

Bless him.