Tuesday, January 10, 2012

online ease

I'm finding it very difficult to justify shopping in-store. As you know, I loathe shopping, and it's never made easy. For example, for YONKS now, I've wanted one of these gorgeous cast-iron, enamelled pots. I have my large Le Crueset pot, but this lower one is idea for a wide range of dishes - and programs such as Donna Hay made me covet a pretty white number.

But was it easy to buy?

It was not.

About six months ago I called the company, who told me to GO INTO my local David Jones and order one. So I tried.

Oh I tried.

Since our David Jones in Hunter Street closed down {still sobbing one year on} we're left with the barren wasteland of David Jones Westfield. If, by some extraordinary stroke of luck you happen to stumble upon a salesperson you can be guaranteed that they do not normally work in the area in which you're looking so really, can't help you. So they'll take down your details and someone will call you back.

Or they won't.

So you'll call, and nobody will answer, until somebody does and they'll take a message.

Then apparently eat the paper because nobody calls you back. How can they? They don't have enough staff to serve the actual customer live in the store.

So I kept using my large pot, with dampened baking paper on top of the cooking so it felt like I had less space and kept everything moist and fabulous. Still coveting. Still bemoaning David Jones Hunter Street closing.

But today my inbox pinged with the Peters Of Kensington newsletter. With a sale. And the above very pretty Provence Blue {my name - but seriously, this is the colour of Provence skies - bliss} Chasseur pot for only $147. Considering the other one retails for over $400 this is seriously bargain-a-licious. And it'll last a lifetime and I'll use it weekly. And pass it onto my daughter on my deathbed. I will love it, I will pet it, I will call it...


Ordered in 3 minutes, shipped here for under $10 and I'll be cooking in it by the weekend.

So, tell me again Gerry Harvey WHY I should shop in-store?

PS: Knock on my door at 11am - it's my delivery. Yep, less than 24 hour turnaround. And oh, it's SO PRETTY in person. Just perfect for cooking's tonight's pilaf with the leftover chicken with 40 cloves of garlic {recipe going on other blog it was OMGood.}

Monday, January 09, 2012

meal planning monday

Why hello there, how's your monday treating you? I'm determined to have a good week this week, so here's what's on the menu plan:

Monday: We're off to my mother-in-law's for dinner tonight for dinner with our English family before they head back home on the weekend.

Tuesday: I seem to keep ordering garlic from Aussie Farmers and then forgetting to use it, so tonight we'll have chicken with 40 cloves of garlic for dinner. Ha - that'll use it up. *Update: OH MY GOD - best chicken meal EVER. Please make it.

Wednesday: I'll make a pilaf with the leftover chicken from last night's dinner.

Thursday: Off to a bbq to say farewell to OS relatives {why yes, it is a long goodbye - but they're worth it}. I'm taking a salad, roasted vegies and couscous I think.

Friday: Would you believe my gal's been requesting meatloaf? So I'll make her one.

Saturday: I've been inspired by Jamie's 30 minute meals {finally got around to watching the series I had recorded} I'm dead keen to try his lamb and pistachio kofta - actually, I think that was from Jamie at Home, nevermind, it's a Jamie Oliver recipe...

Sunday: Really? Sunday night already? I'm going to do a twist on a roast and make salmon en papillote. Yum.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

sweet sunday

How pretty is this? Old galvanised buckets, trailing flowers and little glass lanterns on old grey shutters. Love, love, LOVE this look.

I feel the need to get out into the garden today. Sadly it'll mean ruining my nails which are prettily clad in Chanel's Lilac Sky {my Christmas nail polish}. But at least my nails had an outing to lunch yesterday at the new Merewether Surfhouse {fabbo venue}...

Yes, let's go for the long-term gain of great garden - I can re-do my nails later.

Enjoy your weekend x

Friday, January 06, 2012

cute beach babe

There are so many things I love about Mischa Barton's beach attire. Those shorts, that jaunty polka dot halter top, her red lippy and those cute beach locks.


ps: need to get me to a beach with fabbo beach loungers stat.

pps: in that outfit.

flowers for friday

Best rose ever. Never gets black spot, hardly needs pruning, flowers nearly all-year-round with delicate pink, nodding blooms that are deliciously musk-rose scented.

When we moved in we had one Duchess de Brabant rose in the corner, now we have five {sadly the original had to be removed when a sewer pipe burst, it was too big to dig up and relocate, but we replaced it}. The stems of these are teeny tiny, but that's good because they look perfect popped into milk jugs or old jam jars.

Should the weather stop being so windy and grey I might toddle out the front and snip a few to bring some sunshine in.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

sew far...

This is the year I resolve to learn to sew. Properly. I'm always searching for that ideal a-line skirt that only exists in my head - perhaps this year I could buy some fabulous jersey and make it myself. Or whip up a little something with vintage fabric. I have a sewing machine, I have my fabulous vintage Vogue Sewing book - I just need some fabric, a pattern and a wee bit of time.

Should, shouldn't I?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

best bookmark ever

Over the years I've been given {and have, ahem, misplaced} many, many bookmarks. See, I'm not a dog-earer. Nor I am a spine bender. However, rather than a fancy schmancy bookmark, I'm usually using an old ATM receipt, or a piece of cardboard torn from a foundation box, or a piece of ribbon found on the floor.

However, if I had THESE bookmarks from this fabulous etsy store I promise I'd take good care of them forever and ever.

I'd probably giggle forever and ever too - but that's okay isn't it?

love this...

well, hello summer

It might have taken its time getting here, but summer's finally arrived at my house - and I like it! I spent the last day of holidays yesterday swimming, lazing by the pool, gardening, cleaning and getting the house and myself in order for a new year of work. Everything seems easier when it's sunny.

Monday, January 02, 2012

meal planning monday

Happy new year everyone, hope you're filled with positivity and optimism for the new year. I know I am, and this glorious weather is helping me get things off to a good start. My gal and I spent some time this morning filling out our calendars, transferring dates from last year to this year. As my gal's starting High School this year {eek!} I know things will be busy, so I bought a Kikki K family planner in the hope I'll  keep things on track.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Monday: I bought ingredients to make a spanish tortilla for New Years, and didn't make it, so tonight we'll have a potato, chorizo and red pepper tortilla, with a green salad.

Tuesday: Chicken and glass noodle vietnamese salad.

Wednesday: BBQ with steak, and a salad

Thursday: Chicken larb salad

Friday: Salmon and salad on the bbq

Saturday: I'm off to lunch with old school friends at the Merewether SurfHouse, then drinks afterwards, so hubby and daughter shall fend for themselves. Homemade pizza night.

Sunday: I shall be making my roast chicken with simple stuffing again. Yum.

Enjoy your week my lovelies x

Sunday, January 01, 2012

pink poodle in paris party

Okay, first step to success involves making Nigella's Red Velvet Cake. We doubled her Red Velvet Cupcake recipe from Kitchen and made a large rectangular cake {and by we I mean, my gal, she does love her baking!}

Next, we found the perfect poodle pattern on-line. This was the basis of my decorating.

Um, yes I did.

The finished product, complete with very french pink and cream stripes around the edges. And lotsa glittery stuff. And pink patent poodle shoes {smarties}. And licorice eyelashes!

The inside story. So yum!

Pink, black and cream themed streamers on the back veranda.

And helium balloons bobbing on the living room ceiling. {one for each gal to take home - and a few extras just in case of pops!}

In this neck of the woods no party's complete without a swim. And thankfully the weather put on a rather beautiful show for the day!

The girls played Pin The Bow on the Poodle with sometimes hilarious results {when Madame Poodle became Monseur} My very talented niece drew the most amazing poodle and these gorgeous glittery bows for all the girls. They ended up sticking the bows to the balloons to take home. Then we had French Trivia, with teams proving their french knowledge {captains were gals who'd been to France} and then some Wii Dance. Sustenance was next.

The food was either pink, or French-inspired. Look at these macarons I found at Woolworths!

Mini baguettes to butter and fill with ham and brie.

I found some pretty fairy dust in the cake aisle at Coles, so I had to make some fairy bread. They're off to high school next year so it may be my last chance. It was gobbled up in seconds, proving that really, you're never too old for fairy bread {a piece may have dived in my mouth too}.

Pretty and nutritious.

Washed down with pink grapefruit, sparkling water, and iced water.

Then it was presents and party bags before home time. And that's it. A great party for my gorgeous gal. 12 friends, two and a half hours and lots of giggles. What more could you ask for?

Saturday, December 31, 2011

happy new year lovelies

So, the Pink French party yesterday was a success - now I just have to upload some photos. The poodle cake was ooooohed over and tasted pretty damned good - so success! We took around 5000 pictures of it, trying to find the perfect one to tweet to Nigella.

We've got our English relatives staying, so there's been lots of swimming taking place. Tonight it's celebrating new years by the pool with champagne, beer and tapas. I decided that a bbq style tapas is the easiest way to go {I know, I'm odd}.

Here's to the end of 2011 - an odd year. Had some amazing times {OS holiday, new job, great times with friends and family} and ended with a bang {or a crash, when my husband came off his bike}.

Happy new year my lovely friends, here's to a fabulous 2012 xx

Thursday, December 29, 2011

simple summer pudding

Now, it's not just because she's my new best friend {see post below - squee!} but I do tend to follow Nigella's advice when it comes to plating up desserts. Simple can still be spectacular. This recipe is one I've adapted to much applause from a Jamie Oliver recipe I caught out of the corner of my eye. And oh, it's so simple. I'm repeating the recipe from the other day - it's always better with pics isn't it?

There's no baking involved, just assembly. All you need to do is buy two packets of mini chocolate sponge rolls, 2 litres of good quality vanilla icecream, frozen raspberries, and your favourite dark chocolate (I used Lindt Passionfruit Intense). Soften the icecream, stir in as many raspberries as you like, cut the chocolate into long shards and mix chocolate and raspberries together through the icecream. If it's an adult's only dessert add a liqueur like Cassis, but if not, add some Monin Rose Syrup, or stir through some extra vanilla extract.

Unroll the mini sponges and use them to line a pudding basin {don't bother removing the icing, but place the icing side facing inwards}. Overlap if possible, otherwise bits of icecream seep out {which I don't mind - looks pretty}. Fill with icecream and top with sponge. Cover with gladwrap, weigh down with something {I used a packet of arborio rice that I had in the freezer to stave off weevils} and refreeze for at least two hours - but this keeps for days, so do it as far in advance as you need.

Remove from fridge around 10 minutes before serving. Using a butterknife, go around the outside edges of the sponge, easing it away from the bowl. Sometimes you almost have to 'pull' it away using the knife. Invert it onto a large plate and pull off the bowl to the gasps of your guests.

Now, you can sprinkle it with icing sugar and grated chocolate if you're feeling fancy. Next, cut it into wedges and serve.


You could also add a raspberry coulis or chocolate sauce if you were in the mood to up the decadence factor. Also, you're only limited by your imagination. I've chopped up Picnics, used poached peaches and nectarines with a vanilla sponge, and thrown in some nuts as well. It's so simple, and yet looks so impressive. Give it a go.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

i die.

 Nigella Lawson 
: Baking  red velvet cake for my daughter's birthday. It will become a pink french poodle on the day! Show me

Oh yes, I have a retweet from my culinary hero. 


mmmm mason jars

Look at this glorious image I found over at Pinterest. Don't you just adore Mason jars? The colour, the shape, the iconic font. I think I need to indulge myself in a few...

So, how's the post-Christmas weather treating you? It's hideous here. Cold, windy, kinda rainy - and of course we have the in-laws and overseas relatives coming for a bbq tonight. No swimming for the kidlets this afternoon. Oh well, I'll make it up to them with some yummy food. Am making my favourite icecream dessert tonight - lining a pudding basin with chocolate sponge cake, then filling it with softened vanilla icecream mixed with raspberries, rose syrup and some shards of dark lindt chocolate. More sponge goes on the top, it's covered with gladwrap, weighed down and frozen again. I turn it out onto a large, round dish and sprinkle it with grated chocolate and a little icing sugar. Serve cut into wedges.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

it's christmas eve eve!

I have one excited gal here who can't stop singing Christmas carols. Bless. We do love a celebration in this family - and if singing's involved, well, got to love it more.

Tonight's plan involves driving around to look at Christmas lights, while tomorrow involves baking brownies and making caramelised onion and goat curd cigars for Christmas Eve supper at my in-laws. We always have dinner at my in-laws, with my mil's slow roasted beef quite the family favourite. I don't have to cook a thing, so I like to do something for supper that's a bit different. I'll also be making cocktails - pink christmas {champagne and rose syrup - yum - served in a pink-frosted martini glass!}

Enjoy your festive season, see you in a few days xx

Thursday, December 22, 2011

only three more sleeps

Oooh, it's nearly here isn't it? Do you feel all Christmassy? My gal's in the kitchen making cute Santa cookies from upside down lovehearts {the tip forms the hat and the bumps form his beard when iced - cute!} and we've finally finished wrapping. Our tree is a delight of red and white wrapped pressies. I mayn't do a themed Christmas tree, but I do love a themed wrapping.

We've also finally got my gal's birthday invites printed and ready to drop off tonight. We've told everyone to save the date so it should go okay. Fingers and toes crossed we'll have sunshine so the girls can do some swimming.

Enjoy your week x

Monday, December 19, 2011

meal planning monday

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - isn't it? Eep! With that in mind, here's what we're eating this week.

Monday: Hubby was feeling a bit yuck tonight, so requested Thai takeaway. I'm with him - when I feel blah, thai always cheers me up.

Tuesday: Our gal's up at her grandparents with her cousins so it's only the two of us. I have some pork schnitzel from Aussie Farmers. I might crumb it with panko, sage, and lemon zest don't you think?

Wednesday: Our gal's back home, and my dad and step-mum are stopping in for dinner. I'll do a bbq - or I'll ask Dad to do a bbq. With a vietnamese-inspired coleslaw.

Thursday: Spaghetti carbonara?

Friday: So close to chrissy. Shall cook up some fish and salad.

Saturday: Christmas Eve! Squeeee! Supper at my in-laws. I'm taking something - goodness knows what. Savoury hot things perhaps?

Sunday: Christmas - have a merry one!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Well, it's been quite the week here.  We already knew we were having a big week as it was our gal's last week of primary school, but on Wednesday morning I received a call from a Dr saying that my husband had an accident riding his bike. Thankfully it wasn't on the road, but he was taken to hospital in an ambulance where we had three pretty harrowing days. He was wearing his helmet {thank goodness} but still sustained quite a blow to the head, along with the broken collarbone, numerous severe grazing and general pain that comes from being thrown off a bike.

He's home now, and still in a lot of pain, but he's okay.

That's all I wanted for Christmas.

Makes you stop and think doesn't it? This time of year when we're racing around, striving for perfection. Really, good heath kind of covers it.

I managed to spend time with him in hospital while he slept and also got to all the beautiful events my daughter's school had organised for her final week. I'll miss that school. She was blessed with some incredible teachers, many friends and a staff who genuinely care for the students. That's rare. Let's hope her transition into high school is as successful.

My gal's at a birthday party today. Hubby's dozing and availing himself of all the sport channels on foxtel, and I'm going to try to get as much Christmas stuff organised as possible. Thank goodness I had most of my shopping done.

Merry Christmas everyone. I wish you, and your loved ones good health. x

Friday, December 16, 2011

arty farty

There are many things awesome about Newcastle. This LiveSites night at the Art Gallery last weekend was one of them. Australian masterpieces introduced to a new audience in novel ways.

Here's my gal sketching her version of Dobell's The Strapper who just so happened to be celebrating his 70th birthday.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

have yourself a merry little christmas

I need some adorable wee snow-topped Christmas trees to line all my window sills {although I imagine that a fat, fluffy kitty cat paw would have a rather splendid time knocking them all off...}

Adorable or what?

Monday, December 12, 2011

meal-planning monday

We had a lovely week and a half visit with my mum and step-dad up from Melbourne, so I did a lot of vegetarian cooking {they're vegos}. They left this morning, so it's back to the usual. And, as it's a super-busy week {my gal's last week of primary school - eek!} I'd best plan down to the last detail.

Monday: it's cold, I'm feeling a little poorly, and I can't possibly cook another thing. I've sent hubby off to Coles for food. Let's see what he comes back with.

Tuesday: We've been invited to a neighbours across the road for Christmas drinks - bless. She's putting on some food, but I may take over some savory nibbles. Then I'm off to the Surf Club to help decorate in readiness for the Year 6 luncheon on Wednesday.

Wednesday: We have to have a good sit-down meal to celebrate that my gorgeous gal was awarded a prize for academic excellence on monday. In English bless her socks - she sure does have a way with words and a love of writing. She can supplement her dancing around the world with the odd article perhaps... I'll make her fave meal - duck confit.

Thursday: It's the school christmas night - please let the rain stop. We'll either have an early dinner if I'm organised, or, if not, a dinner of cheese, cold meats and breads - surely that's all the food groups covered.

Friday: My gal's last day of Primary School {hold me!} I think we should go out to dinner to celebrate this. I'll see if I can make a reservation at our fave special restaurant, Bistro Tartine.

Saturday: I'll be baking up a storm in preparation for a girls-only High Tea. My sister-in-law and her two gals are out from England for Christmas so I'm inviting all the girls in the family here for High Tea.  Dinner may be a very easy bbq I think.

Sunday: Well, we'll be full from High Tea. Hubby, not-so-much. Best make him a roast dinner to end the weekend before the rush into Christmas{!!!!!}

Saturday, December 10, 2011

sweet saturday, seriously

Hey, how's your weekend treating you? Mine's good. Got up early and baked an apple and cinnamon teacake as my aunt and uncle were coming in for morning tea and damn, it was good. Shall have to post the recipe, but it was just a simple tea cake and I fanned the top with finely sliced apples and then sprinkled that with brown sugar and cinnamon and added a few dobs of butter.


I'm off to the supermarket in a tic to buy my turkey {fingers and toes crossed that they have a fresh one for me!} I think I'm going to cook in on the bbq, rather than the oven. It's a big bugger with a hood so should be perfect.

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, December 09, 2011

flowers for friday

I found the most massive bunch of pretty pink peonies at Coles on Wednesday - anniversary flowers! And can you see the pretty pale green and pink roses just in the background of that second shot? They were an Olive Tree Market purchase on Saturday.

Fresh flowers are a necessary luxury don't you think?

Ps; review coming next week of Subo - the new restaurant we chose for our anniversary dinner last night. Can you say to-die-for? Absolutely sublime food, enthusiastic, friendly and professional owners and staff - top notch. Newy people must attend, and if you don't live in Newcastle, you must come to visit - just for Subo - seriously.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

happy anniversary to US

It's our ten year wedding anniversary today - awwww bless. To celebrate we're off to our gal's ballet concert tonight then going out for dinner tomorrow night to Subo - Newcastle's newest restaurant. We were tossing up between the beautiful Bacchus {where we've been a number of times} or the new and fabulous sounding Subo and hubby had the casting vote. I'm thrilled he chose Subo. I do like to try something new and I'm glad he does too.

Monday, December 05, 2011

meal planning monday

Apologies for my tardiness - it's been quite the weekend. My mum and step-dad are up from Melbourne so we've been hanging out, having an early Christmas together and just doing stuff. Then last night I had some gal pals and their kidlets over for a few Christmas bubbles, that turned into a lot of Christmas bubbles... Whoopsies.

So here's what we've eating this week - vego meals as my parents are vegetarian.

Monday: My step-dad's plucking some corn from my garden and making corn and sweet potato fritters with avocada salsa {mmmm}

Tuesday: I'm going to cook roasted beetroot risotto - why the hell not? And stud it with goat cheese.

Wednesday: It's my gal's ballet concert at 6pm - we might just have a quick toasted sandwich dinner and supper afterwards.

Thursday: It's our 10th wedding anniversary on Wednesday night, so we're going out to celebrate tonight. Tossing up between two restaurants: Bacchus or the new kid on the block Subo. I might ask Twitter to help me decide.

Friday: It's my hubby's work Christmas party - woo hooo. I think I might wear my green Leona frock with a red rose in my hair {I do like to dress to a theme!}

Saturday: Last night with my parents, might cook up a vegie Japanese feast to celebrate.

Sunday: Having Sunday Christmas-esque lunch with my dad and step-mum. I'm determined to roast my first-ever turkey. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 02, 2011

flowers for friday

It's grey, drizzly and 15 degrees. Oh, and did I mention it's the second day of summer?


So here's a picture of Tourtour in Provence, taken from our pool, rimmed in lavender.


I think I would like to go back again...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

on the first day of christmas

Tee hee.

One of my friends shared this on Facebook and I had to spread the love.

One for all the television-addicted children of the 70s.

ready freddie?

Last night I watched the most awesome documentary {words you do not usually hear coming from me}. It was part 1 Queen: Days Of Our Lives on ABC2, and it was beyond fabulous. I've always had a soft-spot for Queen. I remember being entranced the first time I saw Bohemian Rhapsody on Countdown - it was so unlike anything I'd ever heard, and Freddie was just the most magnetic frontman I'd ever seen.

So I loved hearing about their history, how long it took them to finally make-it and make money and how all four of them played a role in creating their songs {yes, four. Are you like me and think Freddie, Brian May, Roger Taylor and, um, the bassist?}

What intrigued me was the history behind some of their hits. For example, Freddie created Bohemian Rhapsody by rushing from studio to studio to add bits and pieces, before putting it all together. At the time it was extraordinarily long and had no chance of being released until Kenny Everett stole a copy and played it eight times in one weekend on his radio show and it became the hit it was. {See, Kenny Everett, not just a comedic genius}.

I found out that one of my fave Queen numbers, Don't Stop Me Now, was inspired by Freddie's immersion in the US gay scene. I also discovered that their biggest hit is Another One Bites The Dust - written by the bassist, John Deacon. Oh, and guess who encouraged them to release it as a single? Michael Jackson. I know - fascinating stuff.

So, next week it's on ABC2, 9.30pm Wednesday - but in the meantime check out iView for last night's episode. If you're a Queen fan you'll love it. If you're a music fan you'll also adore it.

Now, if you'll excuse me I need to hunt me down a Lego Freddie Mercury...