Monday, September 30, 2013

lunch and fashion - giveaway!

Oh hey, would YOU like to be a lady who lunches? Specifically, would you like to be a lady who lunches at Rustica opposite beautiful Newcastle beach - with a special fashion parade of all the newest Spring/Summer trends?

You would?

Are you free THIS Friday {October 4} from 12 - 2pm*? If so, you could be the lucky winner of a double pass for you and a friend to enjoy a two course meal, champagne and a styling session with Charlestown Square stylist Natalie Baker. Not only that, but you'll also get to take-home retailer offers valued at over $50.

You in?

Comment below and I'll choose a winner at random this Wednesday October 2.

To find out more contact Rustica on 4929 3333 or email

* NEWS FLASH! This Friday's lunch has been cancelled, and moved to November. I'll keep the comp open till 5pm this afternoon and draw a new winner.

Can you now make it? Let me know and I'll pop your name in the draw.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

there's no place like home

Hey, I'm back home after a week in Queensland with my gal. We visited my dad and step-mother in Hervey Bay to finally check out their new {ahem, that they bought four years ago} house. It was very relaxing, but oh, I am glad to be home. I missed my pretty town with its very blue skies, my coffee haunts, my bike - and, most of all, my husband.

Today I'm catching up on work, and washing, and this afternoon I'll be hopping on my bike and riding out to take in the glorious view above.

There really is no place like home is there?

Friday, September 20, 2013

flowers for friday

This bunch of lilac roses lasted me nearly a week - not bad for $10. They were a bit sad when I bought them, but cutting the stems and placing them in a vintage cut glass vase seemed to cheer them up immeasurably. Hurrah for pretty flowers.

I have a busy weekend ahead. We're visiting my in-laws tonight, so I'm taking dinner up for all of us (chicken provencale and a range of steamed vegies and a salad) and another two meals for them to make later (salmon patties, salad, steamed baby potatoes and quiche and salad). My father-in-law is still doing all the work around the house while my m-i-l recovers from her op, so it'll be nice to bring up some meals to give him a break.

Have a fabulous weekend.

French word of the day: mot (mot) word - hence the phrase bon mot which means good word!

Monday, September 16, 2013

meal planning monday

Oh hai, I'm back. Ish. Still busy, still exhaustipated, but hey, meals still have to be planned don't they? If anything, a busy week means MORE planning. So here's what we're eating this week:

Monday: it's grey, drizzly and even a little bit chilly. Luckily I have a shoulder of lamb to slowly roast on a bed of French lentils. I'll serve it with roasted carrots, beetroot and broccoli.

Tuesday: burlesque fitness for me tonight. Hopefully it'll fix my dodgy back from seven hours straight standing at the netball presentations on Sunday. I'll make spaghetti bolognaise tonight.

Wednesday: grilled, marinated chicken breast with a lentil and marinated feta salad - with lots of leaves.

Thursday: baked fish with some grilled veg - zucchini, capscium, cherry tomatoes - tossed with garlic and herbs.

Friday: chicken and avocado quesadillas. With fresh corn salsa on the side.

Saturday: I think we're going to my in-laws. I'll make a dish to take along. Salmon patties, oven roasted potatoes (regular and sweet) and a big salad.

Sunday: garlic roasted chicken for dinner tonight - with salad and roasted veg.

French word of the day: cuisse {qweesse} thigh

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Friday, September 13, 2013

fa fa fa fa FASHION!

You know I love Newcastle Art Gallery, and you know I love Fashion {especially vintage fashion} so, hello, a combination of the two? Oh my! This week I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to meet the fabulous Charlotte Smith, curator of the fabulous Darnell Collection that's being showcased in After Five: Fashion from the Darnell Collection.

Hello swoonworthyness.

See that glorious detail above? It's Dior - New Look. Charlotte explained that is was made especially for a woman who was younger than the usual Dior customers, hence its playful details. Check it out in all its glory below. So magnificent.

The collection starts at the 1920s and moves through to almost the present day. There are major designers such as Dior, Mary Quant, Valentino, Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Pucci, Ungaro and even Australia's own Christopher Essex {he who designed many a memorable Logies frock!}

The devil's in the details. I love how the exhibition works the space provided. There's a surprise around every corner and you can check out the frocks from every fabulous angle. Look at this one! It's Balmain Haute Couture sweetie!

The exhibition is highlighted by massive fashion images, breathtaking in their composition.




It's Tara Moss's wedding frock. See how amazing it looks in this pic? Times that by a million and that's how amazing it looks in real life.

Oh my.

It may seem like a strange concept for an Art Gallery to be hosting a fashion exhibition, but, as Charlotte says, it makes perfect sense. Fashions define an era, they show where we were at a specific moment in time. And, look at them - they're just glorious. I swooned VERY hard at this display of shoes. I need those red ones {I think they're Yves Saint Laurent}.

The fabrics, the fall, the flow - every frock tells a story. One you just want to sit before and listen to, utterly spellbound.

This is a detail from a Valentino frock from the 70s. As Charlotte says, even a designer of the calibre of his calibre nodded to the social mores of the times. In the 70s astrology was huge, hence the detail on this bodice. Isn't it extraordinary?

It's not just frocks and shoes on display - there are also hats, handbags and fabulous jewellery {including vintage Tiffany!}

Charlotte, the author of Dreaming of Dior and Dreaming of Chanel, inherited a marvelous collection of fashion from her godmother - but can't help adding to it. After our interview she had to dash up Darby Street to pay for an 80s hat she'd found that morning that perfectly accessorised one of the frocks on display. A little bit of Newcastle for this fabulous international collection.

The collection's on show from September 14 - November 10, general admission is $8 with members or concession only paying $5. The Gallery's open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm - and there will be lots of special themed events happening out of hours. Check out Newcastle Art Gallery's site to find out more. This is an extraordinary opportunity to see a century's worth of fashion in one fabulous location. Don't miss out.

To see more of the collection, visit the Darnell Collection facebook page.

Monday, September 09, 2013

a bit of a break in transmission

Hello! I'm a tad on the exhaustipated side so I need a wee break. Something's gotta give and at the moment that's a tidy house, and my poor little blog. I'm a better blogger when I'm enthused, so I just need a week to recharge.

Hopefully I'll find a little bit of time in my break to do something like this...

A bientot x

Friday, September 06, 2013

fabulous friday

Well hello, and sorry, once again, for my tardiness. Life's so BUSY you know. I've got a lot of work on, so much so that I'm doing 'double-shifts' - day, and then five-six hours at night. Eep!

But I am still making time to get out and about. I finally went to the fabulous bookshop/café pictured above (The Press) earlier this week. And tonight I'm going to the opening of a great exhibition Now and Then at Newcastle Library, then I'm off to French Friday for a film. Yay!

And tomorrow we vote...

I strongly believe that a government affects the morals and mores of a society. It seems as though much of our country is in What About Me! mode. And I don't like that. I like to think that we need to think about others, to care for others, to look to the future.

While I'm a big fan of vintage and retro I don't believe in retrogressive politics.

So I'll be voting FOR things, not against them. I'm voting for a National Broadband Network to future-proof our country. I'm voting for Better Schools for Australia. I'm voting for the NDIS. I'm voting for maintaining or increasing our Foreign Aid as I believe it's our duty as a society to help others who are disadvantaged. I'm voting for Marriage Equality as every single person has the right to declare their love in whichever way they choose.

In the House of Reps I'm voting for my local member who's hard-working, community-minded and who I know will fight for Newcastle, not just pay lip-service and toe the party line. In the Senate? I'll be voting for a party who'll fight and won't just allow the most dangerous and retrogressive policies to go through.

There's a really good comparison of the three major parties and their policies here. They're brief. Just choose the policy that most interests you and see how you'll be affected. And then go here if you'd like to vote BelowTheLine to put the worst parties last.

And then, tomorrow night I'll be watching the election news with trepidation and hope that Australians still want a kinder future.

French word of the day: espérer (ess - pe - rare) hope.

Monday, September 02, 2013

meal planning monday

Well hello! First things first, in VERY exciting news MY NETBALL GIRLS WON THEIR GRAND FINAL!!!!! Now, while I know that winning isn't everything, they'd played so hard, and learned so much this year that I just really wanted them to win. It was tight. The other team were awesome and have improved dramatically over the year. In the last few minutes we were down by three and in a nail-biting finished we scored three goals in a row to WIN! So proud of my girls. I hope I can coach them again next year.

What this also means, is no more netball training. So things are slightly easier (but work-wise I'm so much busier!) Here's what we're eating:

Monday: we had duck confit for Father's Day dinner last night, so hubby's requested bbq steak and salad tonight. Easy-as.

Tuesday: Green chicken curry, rice and wilted greens.

Wednesday: lamb sirloin, coated in dukkah, grilled and served with a beetroot salad and lots of green leaves. YUM.

Thursday: we haven't had fish for 900 years. I'll cook fish on the bbq and serve it with salad.

Friday: my mother-in-law had ankle reconstruction last week, so I'm taking her to Sydney to have the plaster removed and a boot put on. Not sure what time I'll make it home. But I'm meant to be going to the opening of Now and Then Photographic exhibition at Newcastle Library at 6.30 followed by French Friday film. So dinner? Um, for me it'll probably be yoghurt and fruit woolfed down when I'm getting ready. Hubby and daughter can have mexican.

Saturday: nothing planned. Prawns on the bbq with lots of salad I think.

Sunday: I'm going to the launch of champagne high tea at Hobarts at Wests New Lambton with a friend today, shall need a cleansing dinner of poached chicken salad afterwards I'd imagine. After a decadent late-lunch of glorious sweets and finger sandwiches, washed down with Piper Heidsiek I'll be pretty sated and spoiled.

French word of the day: Septembre (Sep - tom - bra) September (can you BELIEVE it's September?)

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Friday, August 30, 2013

fabulous friday

Look at the pretty I saw in Newtown last weekend. I do love a colour contrast.

I have an exciting weekend planned. First of all, I'm off with a friend to check out the opening of a fabulous new restaurant (details to follow!). It's got a great team behind it, and is in a fabulous building so my hopes are high.

Tomorrow morning I have my 10-year-old's Grand Final (hurrah!) I've spent HOURS working on the game plan as I really want them to have the win they deserve. Fingers and toes crossed for us!

Immediately afterwards I'm off to a Travel Writing Course held by the Hunter Writer's Centre. Now, while I've had a few travel pieces published I'd really love to do more - so I can't wait to see what I learn. Should be fun!

Then it's Father's Day on Sunday - best make hubby a lovely breakfast and give him lots of pressies.

Have a fabulous Friday x

Thursday, August 29, 2013

feeling a little blue

Not sad, just that I need to add some of this colour to my house. Isn't it just the most gloriously-happy-making shade of blue!

I'm also keen on some glossy black - just need to find the time to get some painting done.

Monday, August 26, 2013

meal planning monday

The weather is sooooooo warm at the moment that we might even eat out here, on our back veranda, one night this week! Hello Spring, you are ever-so-close. Here's what's on the menu this week.

Monday: Last netball training before Saturday's Grand Final - eep! Tonight, I'm going to flatten out some chicken breasts, marinate them with lemon zest, lemon juice and oregano and grill them. Then I'll fill a bowl with leaves, grilled asparagus and blood orange and slice the chicken and toss it through. Perhaps with a few toasted hazelnuts as well.

Tuesday: I'm trying to stay away from processed carbs at the moment, so no pasta etc. So we'll have dukkah crusted lamb (backstrap maybe?) on the bbq, with lots of salad - including a beetroot, persian feta and walnut salad.

Wednesday: I'll make some chicken patties with mince, lemon zest, pancetta, parsley and a little bit of chilli. Then I'll bake these and serve them with baked carrot wedges and salad.

Thursday: Another netball meeting tonight, just the general meeting. It's at 7.30 so we'll have an early dinner of steak and salad tonight. I'll also make a lentil salad to serve with it - nothing like meat protein + vegie protein to fill you up!

Friday: Now, this is exciting. I'm off with a friend to a special sneak peek of an exciting new restaurant that's opening next week. The team AND location has me very excited - full report to follow.

Saturday: Let's hope we're having a celebratory dinner after my girls Grand Final win today (I don't want to be cocky, just optimistic!). We're playing the team we defeated 15 - 5 in the semis, but you can never rest on your laurels. I think I'll make pork belly tonight, with french lentil salad and apple slaw. I'll be home late-ish as after netball I have a Travel Writing Course to attend with a friend. Very excited about that!

Sunday: Baked salmon tonight. I went to my friends' house on the weekend and my friend M cooked Jamie Oliver's baked salmon from his 30 minute (or 15 minute) meals. It was delish!

French word of the day: printemps (prin - tomp) Spring!

Friday, August 23, 2013

fabulous friday

Whoops, I got a little bit distracted and forgot to post today. Will it help if I "put a bird on it?" A budgie to be specific?

How CUTE is this wallpaper? I could almost ignore my bird phobia if I had this on my walls...

French word of the day: oiseau (wa - so) bird.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

spring fling

This is a sight that brings me delight. Jasmine! The scent of Spring. I found this while out riding the other day, and a sneaky sprig *may* have fallen into my basket. If so, it *may* be sitting in my little green vase on my desk, making my study smell utterly delicious.

The temps are warming up, making it much easier for me to go for a ride every second day - when it's not crazy-windy! But the weather is a wee bit up and down: nights and early mornings have been wintery-as - while the middle of the day is glorious. This did make me happy as I had an excuse to wear my cape when I went out last night for a drink with friends.

Enjoy the sunshine :)

French word of the day: villégiature (vee lay zhu tur) vacation, holiday

Monday, August 19, 2013

meal planning monday

I cooked dinner on the bbq last night - the weather was THAT unseasonably warm. It just felt like a steaks on the bbq and salad kinda night. Looks like this weather's hanging around, so here's what we'll be eating this week:

Monday: apparently it's some kind of out-of-uniform-fundraising-day at my gal's school tomorrow, so she's having a friend over for a sleepover. I rarely go fancy when it comes to teens, so mexican it is.

Tuesday: I have some chicken breasts just begging to be flattened, marinated and grilled on the bbq. I'll serve them with chickpea and roasted capsicum salad and lots of leafy greens. Ooh, and some blood oranges! YUMMO.

Wednesday: I'm catching up for some friends for ONE drink at Le Passe Temps (yes, they do know my name by now) so I'll make a curry for when I get home. Beef? Lamb? Chicken? I'll prepare it earlier and throw in a handful or two of baby spinach *just* before serving it with rice.

Thursday: I have another netball meeting tonight. About grading (the BANE of a committee member's life) so I'll make some nice pork cutlets and serve them with a spinach and blood orange salad (seriously, when blood oranges are in season, I take FULL advantage!)

Friday: Salmon on the bbq with a roasted potato salad and greens.

Saturday: I didn't make it to Sydney last week. My car had a rock caught between the brake pad and metal and a more alarming sound you never did hear. It fell out, but I was too freaked out to drive. So I'm going down today.

Sunday: I shall be coming home to a lovely home-cooked meal... actually, no, more likely I'll have thai takeaway on speed dial!

French Word of the Day: la voiture (la vwa ture) car.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

friday, ahhhh, friday

Well hello, sorry I'm late but it's been one of those days. I'm exhausted by all the negativity that's out there in the world/this country in particular. You know how normally you can brush things off and accentuate the positive? Today I can't. So I'm just going to be sad for a little bit, go for a bike ride, and then enjoy my weekend.

Politics? I'm ignoring you for the rest of the day. You've gone beyond and below what I'll accept in your search for the lowest-common-denominator. I won't have people being demonised. I won't accept this egocentricity. I'll ignore it for now - but I'll come out fighting again soon.

Focussing on my little pink bubble I have much to look forward to. I'm going out with my lovely friends tonight to the movies and then to my fave French Bar. Tomorrow it's my 10-year-old's Major Semi Final (go Souths Venus!) and then I'm off to Sydney to help my friends get their house ready for their new baby girl!

Happy Friday everyone. Don't worry, this blog will be back to pretty and bubbly before you know it. Either that, or I'll be moving to Paris ;)

French word of the day: triste (trist) sad.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

my birthday weekend

Hello! Here's a wee glimpse at my birthday haul. Very French non? Two frocks, my vintage cape, lippy and books  - French books!

I also went to a cheese-making class with my friend A. I consider this part of my birthday weekend. We learned how to make haloumi and feta. It's crazy simple.

I bought myself a bunch of birthday flowers from Scout on Darby Street. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday they have a pop up stall from Little Wren flowers, with divine posies like these. Isn't it stunning? Am in love. Oh, and look down there on the bottom left, me and hubby 20 years ago. Bless.

I took hubby to Le Passe Temps on my birthday afternoon. We shared a charcuterie plate, I had a cocktail (a French 75 with added grenadine!) and hubby understood why I love the place so.

On Saturday night we went to Restaurant Mason for my pre-birthday dinner. Oh my. It was sublime. They sure do know how to do food there. And look at my dessert! Cute!

Afterwards we went and had a look at some of the installations on the buildings on Watt Street for City Evolutions. This one is my favourite. It tells the story of a pub in Newcastle that had circus workers behind the bar. HOW FABULOUS! I love watching all the images (except when the clowns come on, then I close my eyes till they go away. Shudder. Clowns.)

Could I have had a more perfect weekend? I think not!

French word of the day: dire (deer) sing!

Monday, August 12, 2013

meal planning monday

Hi, whoops, I'm a bit late today aren't I? Shall we blame it on the weird winds outside? Yes, let's!

I had a spectacularly lazy birthday weekend, and I think the laziness has carried over into today. Goodness, I'm on go-slow! But here's what we're eating this week.

Monday: netball training to get my gals ready for their semi-final game on the weekend. The wind is feral, so they're bound to be, um, spirited. Let's see. I then have a meeting to attend, a netball one, so I'll have the fixings for spaghetti bolognaise ready for hubby to whip up.

Tuesday: I'm off to burlesque tonight. Dinner shall be a beef and broccoli dish with noodles.

Wednesday: I haven't made chicken schnitzel for yonks - so I'll make it tonight. And serve it with mash and lots of steamed veg.

Thursday: the netball AGM is tonight. I'll have an early dinner of quiche and steamed veg.

Friday: out with some friends to celebrate my birthday from last week. Hurrah. I think we're off to the movies followed by Le Passe Temps. Mexican fixings for dinner?

Saturday: hubby's going to his parents so he can go for a bike ride Sunday morning. I'll make an early dinner of something delish. Who knows what?

Sunday: I missed last week's roast chicken dinner - so I'll make another one - with lots of garlic and thyme on the skin. Mmmmm.

French word of the day: Je sais (j say) I know.


Friday, August 09, 2013

fabulous friday

Today is the start of my birthday weekend. Hurrah! Now that I've finally worked out how old I am {anything from 2 - 3 years younger than I thought I was - seriously} I am very excited about my birthday on Sunday.

And look - we started early with these lovely cupcakes my sister-in-law made for me at last week's family dinner. Aren't they gorgeous? Topped with violas!

I've got a few fun things planned this weekend. A cheese making class tomorrow with my friend A {look out Essential Ingredient, the gigglers are back} where we'll learn how to make feta and haloumi! YUM! I'm also going to the Art Gallery to see the Wolfhagen exhibition before it closes on Sunday. I love it so. Do you think I could buy one of his works for myself as a pressie?

We're off to dinner to Restaurant Mason on Saturday night. Can't wait.

Then, on Sunday, I'll get brekkie in bed, pressies and shall just generally loll about. If it's a nice day I'll take myself on a birthday bike ride! In the afternoon my gal's going to a birthday party so I'm taking hubby for his first visit to Le Passe Temps {um, yes, I think it's about my 5th or 6th visit...}.

As for dinner that night who knows?

Enjoy your friday lovelies.

French word{s} of the day: avoir de la chance (av - wahr - d - la - chonce) to be lucky.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

blue by you

Have you noticed how crazy-blue the sky's been lately? Friday morning was cold and crisp when I cycled into the city for the Renew Newcastle Creative Talks. I got to listen to the inspiring and awesome illustrator Liz Anelli as she waxed lyrical about her life and work.

Brilliant and uplifting.

I also got to check out this sky, against these fabulous buildings. What's not to love?

Today it's hotter, and very, very windy, and the sky's also a much paler shade of blue. It's so hot and windy that not only did I decide it's a sheet and doona washing day - it's a washing the couch covers day. Yep, I'll be regretting that when it comes to putting them back on tonight. I think I'll designate it husband's job...

French word of the day: laver {lav - air} wash.

Monday, August 05, 2013

meal planning monday

Well, well, well, well, well. It's Monday huh? My week's relatively calm {surprise!}. My gal's finished netball for the year, but my 10-year-olds are blazing their way to the finals in first place - bless their little socks.

Here's this week's plan:

Monday: netball training tonight, then I'm going straight to the movies to see Behind the Candelabra - can't wait! My gal and hubby can make home-made pizza, and I might have some when I get home. Or have popcorn for dinner...

Tuesday: no netball training. Woo hoo! I'll make a chicken casserole with herbed dumplings for dinner - and not forget the Self Raising flour this time!

Wednesday: steak with ratatouille on the side.

Thursday: I have a netball fundraising movie night to attend. Shall leave hubby and daughter with spaghetti bolognaise for dinner.

Friday: no plans. But my gal has a birthday party to attend. Might make some kind of lamb dish as she's gone off lamb since getting her braces.

Saturday: we're out to Restaurant Mason to celebrate my birthday tomorrow. Wooo hooo!

Sunday: it's my birthday - so I'm not cooking! Shall it be take-out or will my hubby and daughter cook me up a treat? {I'm guessing takeout}.

French word of the day: Lundi {lun - di} Monday.

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