Monday, January 14, 2013

meal planning monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a fabulous week lovelies x

image from

Sunday, January 13, 2013

a little bit social...

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

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

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

Enjoy your Sunday.

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

Saturday, January 12, 2013

sweet saturday

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

French word of the day: cinéaste - film director.

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

Friday, January 11, 2013

fabulous friday

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

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

French word of the day: attendre - to wait.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

bike babe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

how's it going?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

31. See more live music. See above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grossier - rude, obscene
Remuer - to move

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

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

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

how sweet it is

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

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

Hope you have a splendid day x

Monday, January 07, 2013

meal planning monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 06, 2013

good times, good friends

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

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

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

She's amazing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 05, 2013

ma vie en rose

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 04, 2013

fabulous friday

image from

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


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

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

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

Thursday, January 03, 2013

that magical moment

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

and... we're back to normal

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

happy new year

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

Nouveau (nuvo) adj: meaning new.

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

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

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

Saturday, December 29, 2012

new year, new things

Hello! How was your Christmas? And are you enjoying a little break {I am - far too much!}. Can you believe that we're winding down and getting ready for another year? Eek! I can't believe that today's my last day with a 12-year-old. Yep, my gal turns 13 tomorrow. Wow. I can still clearly remember being pregnant. How quickly does time fly?

So, with that in mind, it's time to move forward with a sense of purpose.

Last night on Twitter, someone I follow shared his list of 52 new things he's tried this year. And they were ace. So, inspired by this, I thought I'd come up with 52 things I'd like to try. Ready?
1. Try a new recipe a week.
2. Learn a new French word each day. {Hey, shall I share it here? That'll help me non?}
3. Learn something new as a family: surfing, stand up paddle boarding - hmmm, let me think...
4. Read a biography a month.
5. Take up yoga.
6. Have a family picnic dinner at the beach.
7. Drink my morning coffee outdoors - on the front veranda, or out the back by the pool.
8. Go for a swim before breakfast.
9. Eat raw food for a weekend.
10. Discover a new band/new music each month.
11. Actually call my friends and family.
12. Take more photos - real ones, not just Instagram shots.
13. Catch up with friends IRL, not just on Twitter.
14. Be a tourist in my own town and uncover some surprises.
15. Sew something!
16. Learn to crochet.
17. Spend one night a week digital-free {no TV, no internet!}
18. Take a cooking class with a friend.
19. Say no.
20. Organise a pot-luck supper with friends.
21. Organise regular girl-time with my gal.
22. Ride my bike on the Fernleigh Track.
23. Have a family bikeride.
24. Ride to the Farmer's Market.
25. Ride to work.
26. Print out my holiday pics, frame them, and hang them.
27. Weed out my magazine collection.
28. Start saving for our next OS holiday.
29. Take my gal fishing.
30. Go on more dates with my husband.
31. See more live music {this was a highlight of 2012!}
32. Make the bed every day.
33. Start shopping locally again - the fruit shop, the butcher, the markets.
34. Take my lunch to work.
35. Find a virtual book club to join - or make one up!
36. Go body surfing with the body surfing kit I found in the linen closet {seriously, that place is a tardis, the things I find}.
37. Organise another Newy Tweet up {the last one was awesome, this one will be better}.
38. Spontaneously invite someone to dinner.
39. Give blood more regularly.
40. Get a mammogram.
41. Become one of those people who actually puts away washing when they bring it in from the line. Seriously, how hard can it be?
42. Flirt more with my husband.
43. Watch more comedies.
44. Read with my daughter.
45. Learn to cook dumplings and pork buns.
46. Up the vege ante in my husband and daughter's diets.
47. Go to the park at dusk and swing on the swings.
48. Never make an excuse to miss burlesque class. It's my favourite thing - WHY would I miss a class?
49. Lie on the grass gazing at the clouds.
50. Swim in the ocean baths.
51. Sell the old car.
52. Laugh daily.

Whew, well there you have it. Some mundane, some easy, all do-able. Let's see how I go shall we?

Monday, December 24, 2012

merry christmas to all

Phew, sorry, that was a long break wasn't it? Well, it's been a busy few weeks. We had ballet concerts, interstate grandparents visiting, end of year catch-ups - the Newy TweetUp {post to follow - it deserves it  - it was amazing}, a Morrissey concert at the Opera House, Christmas preparations etc, etc, etc.

Thank you for hanging around my little blog this year. You really do make my life more special. I'll be back again in the new year, with new plans, new schedules, and, hopefully, some refreshed blogging mojo. Have a merry christmas and a lovely break with your friends and family.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

oh christmas shoes

Holy moly, have you ever seen prettier Christmas shoes? They're by Charlotte Olympia and I think I may well have died a little and gone to shoe heaven.

Oh my.

Oh very my.

hurry, hurry, rush, rush

Oh my goodness, I've been slack on the blog haven't I? I'm sorry, I've just been crazy-busy. Full-time, in-office work, end-of-year-craziness, parenting, socialising and visits from family mean I'm way behind with absolutely everything. Something's gotta give - and it's been this, my lovely little blog. My sanity-saver. Sigh.

Hopefully next week things will calm down. We have my gal's ballet concert tonight, then I have a Twitter Christmas party I'm helping to organise happen on Thursday night. Love, love, LOVE meeting my tweeps in real-life. Some of my dearest new friends I've met on Twitter, it really is a place of awesome.

So I'm taking a break this week - and I'll be back next week. Better than ever. Promise xx

Friday, December 07, 2012

flowers for friday

So, so, so sorry I'm late. How hectic is December? Plus it's our wedding anniversary today (awww, bless). 11 years today married to a terribly lovely man. Lucky me.

Here's loads of lovely pink fleurs that remind me of my wedding bouquet. Have a gorgeous weekend.

Monday, December 03, 2012

meal planning monday

Well, here we go again, another busy week - with another week full of food. This pic here is from a chinese place in Hamilton I'd been dying to try. I went for yumcha the other week with some friends and it was DIVINE. Worth the wait. Look at all those lovely, lovely dumplings. Ahhhhh.

Now, my parents arrive from Melbourne tomorrow. They're up for a fabulous 9 days. So we'll be eating vego-friendly most of the time - with a few dishes we can adapt for my vege-phobe husband and child... Here's what we're eating:

Monday: I'm making tarts with puff pastry. Asparagus and sheep-milk feta for the vegos and adding some proscuitto for us three. Served with a tossed salad.

Tuesday: We're going across for Christmas drinks with the neighbours across the road while our gal's at ballet. I'll ask my step-father to whip up a mexican feast. We have loads of beans and avocado.

Wednesday: I'd like to make some fritters. Perhaps zucchini and haloumi - and corn fritters for my gal who's not so keen on many things green. Served with lots and lots of salads.

Thursday: pasta? Fresh spinach pesto? With a tomato salsa perhaps?

Friday: bbq. Loads of roasted vegies, haloumi and chicken kebabs on the other side of the bbq away from the veg. With salads, one with chick peas and one with baby beetroot and labna.

Saturday: I think we're hoping to catch up with friends - mine and my parents. I think curries could be in order for a crowd, don't you?

Sunday: We might have an early christmas dinner with the fam. I like to make a stuffed vegetarian loaf to serve as the main. A hollowed out loaf filled with layers of pesto, tapenade, roasted veg, wilted spinach and cheese - then sliced. Divine.

Now, that sounds alright doesn't it?

Saturday, December 01, 2012

sweet saturday

Wow, haven't I been a slack blogger lately? Full-time in-office work and blogging Do Not Mix. I'm sorry! And I've been busy, with the typical end of year craziness. But it's all good. We've got a busy weekend planned. First of all there's a trip to the Olive Tree Markets to buy a bunch of Chrissy pressies.  And, because it's December 1, it's also Putting Up The Christmas Tree Day. Yay!

Oh, and a wee spot of cleaning and clothes washing (although it's overcast and apparently 96% humidity today - yep, 96... good luck getting anything to dry). I also have two parties to plan: my daughter's birthday party in two weeks - and a Newcastle Twitter Peeps party. Eep. I'm planning on ensuring everything's all 100% confirmed and invites are sent out today.

Because I missed Flowers for Friday yesterday here are two shots; the fabulous gardenias at the bottom of my stairs (swoon). And the most deliciously scented pink peonies I bought last week. Their scent was intoxicating - like the richest rose. Divine.

Have a fabulous weekend. x

Monday, November 26, 2012

meal planning monday

image from

Gah, it's the pointy end till Christmas now isn't it? Eep! It's all-stations-go this week, so here's what we're eating.

Monday: my gal has her ballet concert theatre rehearsal tonight and won't get home till late. So I'll whip up a stir-fry with chicken, cashews, brocollini and udon noodles.

Tuesday: late ballet. I'll just make steak and salad.

Wednesday: touch footy for my gal (I know - hectic!) I might make chicken sliders - teeny chicken rissoles on teeny little buns. With baby cos lettuce and a shredded veg salad on the side.

Thursday: we're off with friends to a wine dinner and degustation at Bacchus. Mmmmm. Many courses accompanied by lovely wines. I know, it's a tough life.

Friday: totally forgot about this: I'm going out with my team from work barefoot bowling for a christmas do. FUN!

Saturday: Prawn linguine tonight. With lots of lemon zest and parsley.

Sunday: we'll be up in Maitland most of the day. So a simple meal of a bbq is in order. Perhaps a butterflied leg of lamb, with a chick pea and roasted capsicum salad and lots of greens.

And that's it. How about you?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

newcastle renewed

When it comes to awesome in Newcastle nobody does it better than Renew Newcastle. This was a stroke of genius, followed up by a lot of hard work - and it's now a dazzling reality. It's hard to explain the sheer breadth of benefits of Renew Newcastle. Basically it takes otherwise empty buildings and finds people to move in, start a business and restore the shop-front - until a commercial tenant wishes to move in. To find out more, visit their website here.

Renew Newcastle is single-handedly responsible for the revitalisation of inner-city Newcastle. That's a broad statement, but it's true. With Renew they've brought life, optimism and people back to the city and away from the soulless malls. They've also brought people back to Newcastle from Sydney, Melbourne and other far-flung locales as a new culture of optimism has exploded. So many new businesses have opened around Renew Newcastle projects - there's barely an empty shopfront in the mall and surrounding areas.

They do awesome things.

Two years ago I was devastated at the news that David Jones city store was closing. I loved that place. It was a gorgeous building and everything was all in the one place. I did nearly all my shopping there, and so I actually cried when it closed. I cried different tears when I found out that Renew Newcastle were moving in over Christmas. I had a sneak peek last Thursday night - and it's just filled with typical Renew Newcastle fabulousness.

How cool is this? A blackboard wall asks "What superhero power would you most like to have?" and people have answered with the little box of chalk that's available. Love it.

I have two options: shrink my daughter so she can fit into these - or encourage a friend to have a baby girl so I can dress her up. How divine!

So much awesome on display. I had a smile on my face the whole time I walked though The Emporium. I'll be going back with a wallet full of cash soon.

I love this wall. Particularly the instruction "Don't give up". We need that now after yesterday's announcement that the NSW Government weren't giving Renew Newcastle the slight funding increase they'd asked for - but instead, were slashing funds. Sigh. Renew Newcastle does more than just fill empty shopfronts - it's rejuvenated this city - you can't put a price on that.

Luckily Marcus Westbury is behind this. Whereas many people would throw their hands in the air and say "Oh, I've had enough" Marcus will fight. I have no doubt that not only will he get the funds reinstated - he'll get more.*

Cripes - he set up Renew Newcastle using nothing but sheer determination and his own credit card and now it's a world-wide model being taken on across the world.

But, if you've got a minute - please go vote at the Newcastle Herald poll here. Initiatives like this deserve to be lauded for the world-class act they are.

Thanks Renew Newcastle for doing my city proud.

*And, as predicted, at lunchtime today it was announced that the decision was reviewed and Renew Newcastle's funding was reinstated at $50 000 pa. YAY! Congrats to everyone who got behind this on Twitter, Facebook and via their emails. I think it's also awesome the way that local media also championed the story. The Newcastle Herald, NBN television and ABC radio were fully behind the story which is just ace. Bravo everyone.

Friday, November 23, 2012

flowers for friday

Happy friday everyone! I thought I'd celebrate by posting a snap of a flower stall in St Remy de Provence. Look at all that lavendar!

We have a busy weekend planned. I'm starting today with lunch with a friend. We're off to try Sinofood in Hamilton - the Chinese place that all the chefs rave about. Fingers crossed for something fab. My gal has a school dance tonight, so two of her friends are coming over to get ready. Bless. Then, tomorrow night it's my work Christmas party and I have some of the gals from my team coming over for drinks and nibbles pre-party. Let's hope the weather's good so we can enjoy sitting by the pool.

Have a fabulous friday - and a lovely weekend.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

i'm in love

I can't get this pretty frock out of my mind. I saw it the other night as I left The Terrace Bar and it made me gasp.

Isn't it just fabulous?

It's in Emma Soup. On Hunter Street (523 in fact). Filled with prettiness that place is.

Monday, November 19, 2012

meal planning monday

Sorry for the tardiness - so disorganised - busiest week EVER. My gal has her final year 7 exams this week, so we're in full-on study mode. Plus, tomorrow night she has ballet dress rehearsal and photos. Eek! Here's what we're eating.

Monday: I cheated and bought butter chicken and garlic naan all ready made. My gal loves it - gotta give her brain food that makes her tummy happy.

Tuesday: I'm making bolognaise for dinner - we'll have to wolf it down before leaving for dance class at 6pm. We'll be there till after 8pm.

Wednesday: Steak and Salad tonight.

Thursday: burlesque tonight. Early class. So we'll have chicken, cashew and brocollini stir fry.

Friday: some sort of fish on the bbq I think.

Saturday: hey, guess what? I have a new job! I know! And, I have a Christmas Party! It's tonight, and I've invited some of the gals I work with over here for drinkies and nibblies before the party - I hate chasing canapes around a room!

Sunday: we're off to our friend's for duck and champagne. Cos, you know, you can never have too much of the stuff.

Oh, and see that pic above? I made that for last night's dinner. Recipe on my other blog. Seriously, roasting chicken on a bed of puy lentils RULES!

Have a great week x

Friday, November 16, 2012

flowers for friday

Here are my peonies! Yep, get used to it peeps, there will be regular peony pics from me during their ever-so-brief season. Aren't they just glorious? I normally buy pink, but couldn't resist the white when I saw them last sunday.

Now, yay, it's Friday! I love Fridays. And this Friday in particular as I'm off with a bunch of friends to the opening of the Italian Film Festival at the Tower Cinemas tonight. Then we're off for a drink afterwards. Not sure where yet, Bar Petite will be chockers... perhaps The Terrace Bar? We'll see.

Oh, and for your amusement, spot Victoria Beckham in the shot below. She's photoshopped herself into a series of old Dallas shots and has totally tickled my funny bone in the process. Love her.

Have a fabulous Friday - and a gorgeous weekend my lovelies x

Monday, November 12, 2012

meal planning monday

Wow, how quickly is Christmas sneaking up? Eek! We're into the busy season with ballet rehearsals and birthday party planning too. I'm trying to be as organised as possible to make things run smoothly. Finger's crossed. Here's what's on our plates this week:

monday: pork cutlets, apple slaw (red cabbage, shredded carrot, apple slices, almonds and a little mint) and lemon-roasted potatoes.

tuesday: steak sandwiches - with caramelised onion and beetroot relish and a side of greens.

wednesday: saltbush lamb rissoles (from the Farmer's Market) with mash, gravy and broccoli. Oh, and roasted carrots with mint.

thursday: chicken and thai basil stirfry.

friday: fish tacos made with snapper. Recipe via Twitter! Shall report back after making.

saturday: bbq - whatever meat tickles my fancy.

sunday: roast chicken, lentil salad and a green salad.

Yep, that'll do. I'm also hoping to squish in two burlesque classes (tuesday and thursday) and a bike ride or two. Wish me luck. And please, tell me what you're eating.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

sweet saturday

It's an indoor kinda day today - it's grey, cold and rainy. Hardly conducive to the 8 loads of washing I need to do this weekend (eeeeek!) Luckily this afternoon I'm off to the Silent Film Festival to check out Hitcock's The Lodger - complete with a real-live musician's accompaniment. I'm meeting a friend there and then we're off to debrief and catch up on her recent OS trip over drinks at Bar Petite. Nice huh?

In the meantime I guess I should work on cleaning the house. Le sigh.

How about you - anything fun planned for this weekend?

Friday, November 09, 2012

flowers for friday

Look - my faves! Peonies! I spied these at III Bean the other day and madly photographed them before being told that they were scented {!} and then madly flinging my nose at them. Divine.

Must buy myself a bunch today. To celebrate it being friday and all.

Happy friday everyone - have a fabulous one x

Thursday, November 08, 2012

simply wonderful

Lately I've been treating myself to sole lunches at one of my all-time-favourite Newy cafés. It's III Bean at Hamilton and every time I go there I'm wowed by the elegant simplicity of the place. There's so much care taken. It starts with the fresh flowers on each table.  Normally just a stem, sometimes two. Each week they offer up something different. I loved these pale lemon carnations - stunning with the gorgeous black and white photographs in the background.

And then there's the menu. Oh my. It changes, according to what's in its absolute peak at the time. If an item's on the III Bean menu, you know it's at its ultimate moment of seasonality. I went to another café recently where I had a very meh wagyu beef burger. It was very bland, tasted of nothing (not even the wagyu) and was 'topped off' by horrid, watery, pale orangey-red tomatoes. This tomato not only did nothing to enhance the dish - it detracted. That's the sign of a lack of love and care - something you'll never see at III Bean.

I can guarantee you that every single item on a plate at III Bean is there because it enhances the dish in some way. Those teeny flowers from micro-herbs? Make the dish pop. Guaranteed. There is nothing better than dishes prepared that just bring out the best in every single ingredient. Which is why I love III Bean - their Croque Monsieur? The best.

Hey, you know how we went to the Underground Epicureans last month and I raved about the blue swimmer crab sandwich served up? Guess what was on the menu last week? Yep. Magnificently accessorised with a deliciously simple iceberg salad that was so beautifully dressed it sang. Divine.

PS: In case you're wondering what the world's most awesome Eggs Benedict look like - they look like this. And they taste even better. Seriously.

Finally, here's what I love about III Bean. The love. Every staff member looks like they want to be working there. They're friendly, attentive and just get things right. When I go out to eat I want two things: to eat something I can't or won't prepare myself and to be treated well by the staff.

Mission accomplished.

Every time.

Monday, November 05, 2012

meal planning monday

Another week is zooming by all Speedy Gonzales-like. Here's what we're eating:

Monday: I'm making chicken and chorizo bake. So simple. Toss some chicken pieces in olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika and place in an oven tray. Slice up chunks of chorizo, quarter a lemon and cut red onion into eighths. Cut red skinned potatoes into quarters. Now, place all these throughout the tray. Pour over a little more olive oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika. 

Bake in a 180 degree oven for thirty minutes, or until chicken's cooked through. If your oven is crazy hot like mine you might want to cover it with foil for 20 mins.

Serve with crusty bread and a simply dressed green salad.

Tuesday: Lamb burgers. I'll serve this on sourdough bread rolls with cucumber, yoghurt dressing and slices of red, red tomatoes and watercress.

Wednesday: Homemade pizza. I have a netball committee meeting tonight, so between touch footy and that I'll make a few pizzas.

Thursday: Steak and salad tonight when I get home from Burlesque class.

Friday: Salmon on the bbq. With a lemon cannelini bean salad. And a green salad - it's spring afterall.

Saturday: Prawns and chorizo on the bbq. With a watercress salad {have you noticed I'm in love with watercress at the moment? So delish.}

Sunday: We're planning on getting a lot done this weekend. I think sausage sandwiches will be the perfect dinner recovery plan.

And that's it. How about you?

Sunday, November 04, 2012

sweet sunday

Morning! How's the weather around your place today? We seem to have a rather delightfully sunny day happening here - which makes me very happy indeed. I'm intending on pottering around, continuing my onslaught on Mt Washmore and washing down the front and back verandas on our house {because we're up high we get a lot of road dust on the pale grey weatherboards - I've tried sweeping it off, but only hosing works...}

I'm also planning a trip to the Farmers Market to buy as many items for this week's meals as humanly possible. I saw red last night when I went to Coles to buy a few essentials and looked at "vine ripened cherry tomatoes" - that were a pale orangey-green. So, you know, not actually ripened at all. I'm leaving supermarkets now for the things I can't buy at the markets, local fruit and veg stores and butcher, or Aussie Farmers. Food's too important to be sub-standard. If you're going to eat something - you want it to taste delicious and provide the maximum nutrients. An orangey-green tomato won't have anywhere near the vitamin and anti-oxidant value of a deep red beauty. Which reminds me, I need some vegie seedlings too. Best buy those from the markets too!

Enjoy your Sunday lovely ones x

Friday, November 02, 2012

flowers for friday

Obviously I had to go with a shot of some of last week's wedding photos for today. I'm besotted with the shades of white and green that featured. In fact, the posies I brought home, filled with green carnations, white fuschia and green bells of Ireland are still going strong.

We have a very lazy weekend planned. With nothing planned! I'm hoping for a sunny day or two to ride my bike, and go for a swim, but that's about it.

How about you?