Thursday, November 28, 2013

colour my world

Last weekend saw Newcastle host the Hit the Bricks Street Art Festival which has brought colour and joy to Newcastle streets. Local and national street artists converged on the city and have brought long-term joy and colour. I'm delighted to see the streets come to life, there's far too much emphasis on beige in this city for my liking. I love to see art spreading from the galleries and museums into the streets - and I'm glad that so many business owners embraced it by offering up their walls as canvases.

On Sunday my gal and I went on a walking tour, organised by Renew Newcastle, where we checked out some of the amazing pieces on display.
Artists such as Askew, Adnate, Shida, Numbskull, Fintan Magee, Sofles, Grizzle, Mike Watt, Umpell, Shuda, Bafcat, Beastman, Phibs, Jumbo and Mike Maka were joined by many others and boy, have they created something fabulous.

It rained pretty heavily on the first two days, but the artists carried on. In fact, some incorporated the running paint into their work, to great effect. Isn't this whale a beauty!

This was my gal's fave - and one of mine too. Isn't she just glorious?

We got to see artists in action, and some of them even stopped to have a chat with the 25+ strong group on the walking tour to tell us about their art, their inspiration and the festival.

While some artists used ladders, others required more serious equipment to complete their pieces. I love the colours and the scale in this piece. It makes a boring old car park POP!

After the walking tour I went home and grabbed my bike so I could pootle out and check out the rest. On my travels I saw an historical piece of street art! It's nice to see that things work in swings and roundabouts. Everything old is new again.

This piece is utterly breathtaking. I've rarely seen a more powerful portrait. Seriously, this is the kind of work you'd expect to see win the Archibald Prize - the eyes tell so many stories. This glorious boy gazes up the Hunter River and overseas the area with majesty.

What a gift to the city.

For more info, go to the LookHear website. And next time you're out, see if you can find these pieces. There are also plenty of secret sites, such as laneways, that were off the map. Searching the hashtag #HitTheBricks or #HTBfestival will find more images on Instagram.

Thanks for sharing your work with us guys, we really appreciate it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

meal planning monday

Oh hey, how's things? Did you have a lovely weekend? Oh I did. Too lovely. Too fabulous.

And this week? More loveliness. Hurrah!

Monday: it's my gal's theatre rehearsal tonight 5 to 8:55pm. I'll feed her beforehand, and pack plenty of healthy snacks to share with her friends. Hubby and I will just have simple steaks grilled on the bbq with salad.

Tuesday: I haven't made chicken schnitzel in 900 years. Guess I should. And I should probably serve it with a green salad and perhaps a potato salad too.

Wednesday: I'm off to dinner with my bookclub friends to Tallulah at The Junction. Hello pork belly. I'll leave the fixings for mexican in the fridge for hubby and child.

Thursday: netball committee meeting. Early dinner tonight. Perhaps marinated, bbq chicken breasts and lots of salad.

Friday: it's the official opening of Christmas in the City - with lights and entertainment - hurrah! We'll go and check it out, and have something to eat at a local restaurant while we're there.

Saturday: oh, nothing planned tonight. Yay! Easy dinner at home. Garlic prawns and chorizo on the bbq perhaps?

Sunday: whoops, I forgot, hubby and I are going along with our friends to the Art Gallery Society's Christmas Dinner. A meal amidst Whiteley On Water exhibition? Don't mind if I do...

That's it. That's my week. Tell me about yours.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

meal planning monday {on a tuesday}

Oh, I am sorry this is late - but I do have an excuse! My internet was only restored last night - after 10 days of NO INTERNET! Eeep!

This week's busy, again, so I'm frantically planning easy meals. Here's what we're having.

Tuesday: tonight's the photo and dress rehearsal for my gal's ballet concert. I'll be at the studio from 5.55 till 8pm. I'll be giving my gal a light snack beforehand, taking some crackers for her to munch on between costume changes, and making spaghetti bolognaise for a late supper.

Wednesday: I'm going with my friend C to the pre-season opening at the Civic Theatre. It starts at 5.30, so I'll leave behind the fixings for homemade pizzas.

Thursday: Nothing on tonight (woo hoo!) I'll make chicken burgers for dinner I think.

Friday: I'm taking my mother-in-law and father-in-law to the Civic Theatre to see the winner of The Voice, Harrison Craig in concert. I'll make shepherd's pie for dinner beforehand, with lots of veg.

Saturday: Another concert! This time with my friend C to see Leonard Cohen!!!!!!! It's my first Leonard Cohen concert and I'm VERY excited. C is bringing her delicious zucchini slice, so I'll take along some cheese and crackers. Hurrah!

Sunday: slow roasted pork shoulder on the bbq, with apple slaw and a baby spinach, pear and blue cheese salad will do. Don't you think?

Phew. What a week!

Friday, November 15, 2013

fabulous friday

Two things are making me happy today. The first is that my gardenia is covered with flowers and the heady scent creeps under the door and into my bedroom at night. Not to mention how intoxicating it is every time you walk up or down the front stairs {let's ignore the fact that it obviously needs MORE cow manure - it's a greedy feeder, but I'd prefer lots of flowers to green leaves anyway}.

The next thing making me happy are THESE! New red shoes! As you may remember, I fell in love with what I am calling my "Paris shoes". A red pair of wedges from Django & Juliette. I was actually seriously thinking of buying another pair exactly the same, when a friend sent me a link to eBay with some Django & Juliette shoes! I didn't buy the ones she sent {as fab as they were} because I saw THESE! 1/3 of the price of my others and so comfy I could cry. That leather is the softest thing you ever will feel - and the colour!

I think they'll be getting an outing at some stage this weekend.

I have another busy weekend. Tonight I'm off to the official opening of Eddie's Supper Club - the 20s-style New York Jazz Club I went to last weekend. I'm off with my friend J who just happens to be free - so we'll be frocking up for a bit of fun.

Tomorrow afternoon is the last Book Club for the year. I LOVED the book we read The Rosie Project, it was the perfect book to end the year on.

Tomorrow night I'm off to see Empire at the Spiegelteint - from all reports it redefines fabulous. My red lace frock may well require another outing for this night!

Sunday I have a baby shower to attend, a rally for Climate Change, and possibly going to see La Dolce Vita at the Italian Film Festival.

I love weekends.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

pretty good

Two things are currently making me happy. My husband FINALLY hung my antique map of Paris in our living room. Ahhhhh isn't it glorious?

Sitting just below it are these glorious coral peonies. They're HUGE! There were only three in the bunch, and already in full-bloom when I bought them on Friday - but they are bringing me such joy. They've now faded to a pale, antique-peach - but oh my, they make me wish I could paint.

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Monday, November 11, 2013

meal planning monday

Good morning! Apparently we're in for a week's worth of heavy rain {hurrah!} so no bbq on this week's meal plan. My gal's chosen the first two meals for the week - sadly I have to choose the rest. Let's see how I go.

Monday: chicken pot pie, mashed pumpkin, peas and corn.

Tuesday: spaghetti and meatballs.

Wednesday: roast beef with lots of roast vegies.

Thursday: grilled fish, steamed veg and lemon-roasted potatoes.

Friday: it's the opening of the Italian Film Festival, so I'm off to see something fab. I'll make a lovely Italian dish to eat before leaving, hmmmmm, perhaps I'll check out Nigelissima for inspiration.

Saturday: I'm going to Spiegelteint tonight - but not until the 9.30pm session. Lamb fillets, crusted with dukkah and served on a roasted chickpea salad will do.

Sunday: chicken with 40 cloves of garlic {if I can find Australian garlic at the markets!} with greens and mashed potato.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

too much fun!

Last night my hubby and I went with some friends to Glamarama at Newcastle Art Gallery and it was a hoot! Everyone was all frocked up, there was a DJ spinning awesome tunes, and Bob Downe was as hysterically fabulous as always. There was also a vintage photobooth where we got these cute shots to remember the night {everyone looks better in black and white don't you think?}

I got very crafty and framed it using the invitation from opening night as the background matt. Cute non?

Here's a few shots from the night - Newcastle Art Gallery sure knows how to throw a party!

The Prince of Polyester serenaded us. Bless.

There was fair-dinkum dancing around the handbags while drinking tequila sunrises - these gals know how to commit to a look bless them.

If there's ever anyone who knows how to 'strike a pose' it's Bob Downe. 

Oh no, is that Bob with a *gasp* woman? A very foxy woman in fact… Jane sure does know how to party - and I think she loves the Gallery as much as I do. 

There was always a line-up for the vintage photobooth - such an awesome way to record an awesome night. What a blast!

Can we do it again?

Friday, November 08, 2013

putttin' on the ritz

You do know that I love an excuse to dress up don't you? So tonight I'm dead-excited to dress up for Eddie's Supper Club - a New York Style Jazz Club that's opening Friday nights at Agosti on Darby Street. With a DJ spinning tunes from the 20s, 30s and 40s this is bound to be fun with a capital F! Can't wait to see some of the moves busted out on the dancefloor.

Tonight's the opening night, so my friend A and I are going along for a sneaky peek. I'm wearing a black frock with a swirly skirt, my new seamed fishnets, my red patent mary janes - and this lil capelet thingy above. I bought it for my 40th and haven't worn it since - but I think it'll just top off my outfit.

Tomorrow night's another chance to frock up for Glamarama at Newcastle Art Gallery. I don't know what I'm more excited about; the chance to dress up, catching up with friends, giggling at Bob Downe, seeing the Darnell Collection for the final time {sob!} or being served cocktails and canapés by babes on roller skates.


Hello weekend, I think I love you.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

and the winner is...

It was a tough choice, but I loved Ali Jane's tale of her mother's 70s Green polyester pantsuit - can't wait to see you in it this Saturday night at Glamarama! Congrats Ali Jane. Either email me {} or send me a message via my facebook page to organise your prize.

Josanne, I have a very special consolation prize for you {no, it's not the Halston in the shot above…} contact me to find out more!

Thanks for entering - and see you at Glamarama this Saturday night!

Monday, November 04, 2013

meal planning monday

Well hey, it's November - can you believe it's November? NOVEMBER! GAH! My daughter has her yearly exams this week, so it's brain-food central in this neck of the woods.

Monday: ballet lessons, then straight home for dinner and study. Spaghetti Bolognaise tonight.

Tuesday: salmon on the bbq, udon noodle salad with lots of vegies.

Wednesday: corn cakes with crispy bacon and salad. Sure, it's kinda a breakfast food, but still, delish.

Thursday: my gal's obsessed with flattened, grilled chicken breasts - it's her fave dish at the moment. I slice them thinly on the diagonal when I serve them, and they're ever-so-tender. I'll serve these with a warm french lentil salad and some greens.

Friday: garlic prawns, rice and green salad.

Saturday: hubby and I are off to Glamarama at Newcastle Art Gallery - have you entered to win tix yet? There'll be cocktails and canapes served by Roller Derby Gals on roller skates (the food's REALLY good at the Gallery - Sprout does the catering). Scroll down below and enter. Go on! My gal can have takeaway pizza as a treat.

Sunday: steak on the bbq with salad. To wind down.

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Friday, November 01, 2013

flowers for a fabulous friday

When I was at my friends' house the other week for a party to welcome their baby girl, I took this shot of this vase with these glorious dahlia's. I had vase and flower envy. I told my friend how much I loved it and she said, 'Oh, you bought it for me". Apparently I'm unaware of my own awesome taste in presents. I need to find another one now, for me.

Now, it's Friday - hurrah! Busy, long week - with lots of awesome things planned. I'm off to Rustica for a Fashion Friday lunch which has me a little bit excited. Good food, glorious location and fab frocks - what's not to love?

Tonight I'm off to the final French Friday film with my friend C - bring that on.

Tomorrow it's the opening of Whiteley On Water, a new exhibition at Newcastle Art Gallery to celebrate the glorious sculpture that Wendy Whiteley has gifted to our Gallery. Black Totem II is in the forecourt of the Gallery and is undoubtedly the most spectacular thing I've ever seen. Now, I've been in Rodin's Garden, I've been to the Vatican in Rome. I've wandered the Louvre - but this sculpture… it's so evocative, it's so beautiful, it inspires so many emotions. I love it, and can't wait to see all the other Whiteley works on display.

On Sunday Wendy Whiteley will be in conversation with Gallery Director Ron Ramsay, the man who spent a year negotiating for Black Totem II to make its home in Newcastle. I cannot thank him enough. What vision, what persuasive power. What a gift to Newcastle.

Enjoy your weekend lovelies x

Monday, October 28, 2013

meal planning monday

I did a very, very foolish thing yesterday. Rather than deleting a whole bunch of spam comments I deleted real comments. Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! So sad.

Also, so silly. If you'd left a comment on my last post, to win tix to Glamarama at Newcastle Art Gallery please comment again. I feel so lonely with no comments :(

Now, onto planning.

Monday: tonight hubby and I are off to Sydney to see The Breeders in concert. So excited. It's the 20th anniversary of the release of Last Splash and they're playing the album in it's entirety. I know, I feel old. We're having dinner at our friends' house - while our child is off to spend the night with one of her best buds. Good times.

Tuesday: bbq chicken kebabs, rice salad and green salad tonight.

Wednesday: mince and macaroni bake.

Thursday: Salmon on the bbq - this was a big hit with everyone last week, so I'll be making this a regular. With lots of salads.

Friday: I'm off to the last French Friday movie of the year. I'll just have something to nibble on when we get there. Husband and child can have mexican.

Saturday: I'm going to the opening of Whiteley on Water exhibition at Newcastle Art Gallery this afternoon. Wendy Whiteley is speaking and I think I'll be floating on air. When I come home I'll bring myself back to earth by cooking up a bbq. With salad.

Sunday: slow-roasted pork is something I need. With salads.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

glamarama wrap party - giveaway!

Hey, have you been to see the extraordinary vintage fashion exhibition at Newcastle Art Gallery yet? After Five: Fashions from the Darnell Collection is an absolute must-see. Sadly, it ends on November 10 but excitingly I have TWO TICKETS to giveaway to the Glamarama Wrap Party on Saturday November 9! Taking place from 6 to 9.30pm this party will involve much entertainment, delicious canapés and cocktails from Silo Restaurant and Lounge and the fabulous Bob Downe as host!

There'll also be music from DJ Eoin who'll be spinning tunes from the all the eras represented by the fashions - from the 1920s to today! FUN! 

Want to come? For your chance to win, simply tell me which era you'll come dressed in homage to and why and I shall select a winner.

Will it be the fabulous 40s as epitomised by Dior's New Look?

The flirty 50s? {Oh look, another Dior!}

The sexy 70s? {That Halston, in the middle - to die for}

Excessive 80s perhaps?

So tell me, tell me do. Which era most suits you? 

The winner will be drawn on Wednesday November 6.

To book your tickets {because c'mon, this is a bring a bunch of gal-pals kinda night} call 4974 5111. Tickets are $55 or $50 if you're a member of the Gallery Society. Frock up and be fabulous as there'll also be a vintage photobooth on location so you can take away some cute snaps of the night.

Good luck - and I'll see you there - I've already bought my tickets! {Hey, I've only seen the exhibition four times so far, and I'm a HUGE Bob Downe fan, oh, and a cocktail fan...}

Monday, October 21, 2013

meal planning monday

Who's been a slack blogger? I've been a slack blogger. Sorry. But do you know who's been punished the worst for my slackness? Me, and my family. See, no meal planning for two weeks in a row has led to no real shopping, no real cooking and no enthusiasm. For anything. We've had bbq chicken and salad more times that I can to share. We've had takeaway. We've had lacklustre steak with salad leaves from a bag and a few slices of cucumber and apple added to it. BORING!

So, from today, back into it. Starting.


Monday: I got back from Sydney from a gorgeous party yesterday to welcome friends' gorgeous baby girl to the family. It was so much fun catching up with everyone, and getting lots of cuddles and baby giggles in return. Tonight I have a community meeting to attend, so an easy dinner is called for. I'm going to make a bolognaise ravioli bake.

Tuesday: I have another meeting to attend {I know, some things never change} so it's an early dinner of bbq salmon and lots of lovely salads. I'm finding it tough cooking meals that my gal with her braces is okay to eat. Salmon should be perfect!

Wednesday: pancetta and chicken sausages - made with chicken mince, lemon zest, chilil and parsley and wrapped in pancetta before pan frying. Served with roasted carrot sticks and a green salad.

Thursday: bbq pork cutlets, glazed with mandarine jam before cooking. I'll serve these with an apple and walnut coleslaw - and a beetroot and persian feta green leaf salad.

Friday: hubby and I are off to the Maritime Ball. Can't wait! It's a Pearl Harbour theme - so 1940s and will be held in the glorious Civic Theatre. I'm on the fundraising committee for this one, so there are no surprises for me {well, aside from what I'm going to wear!!!} but I can't wait to see everyone's faces when the curtain comes up on the stage!

Saturday: bookclub in the afternoon, so I'll come home and cook some squid and prawns on the bbq.

Sunday: our first whole weekend home together in yonks - we will hopefully have done HEAPS of work around the house. I shall reward us all with a slow-roasted pork shoulder and a roasted veg salad.

Back into it! YES! And you? What are you eating? Inspire me...

image from

Sunday, October 13, 2013

county dining - it's all about sharing

For quite some time now we've been spoiled in Newcastle with fabulous dining options. Choosing somewhere to eat is tough, and I'm a tough audience. See, when I go out to dinner I want it all. Obviously I want great food: I want something new, something familiar, or something that's cooked in such a way that it brings out all the wows. I also want friendly, fabulous service. I want to be greeted with a smile by staff who make the dinner an even more pleasurable experience. Finally, I want ambiance. I want to take delight in my surroundings.

County Dining takes out the trifecta in exceeding my expectations.

This gorgeous new restaurant is the love child of Heather Moore and Jamie Ryan. And it's a beauty. Set in the historic town of Morpeth, in the old Arnott's Sourdough building, this restaurant welcomes you with open arms from the moment you walk through the historic doors.

The wide veranda completely spans the street and is the ideal setting for a dinner or a long lunch. Details have been minutely attended to. Everything from the chairs, to the napery to the cutlery is something special. You feel like you're about to experience something really special from the moment you approach your table.

The cocktail list is impressive, and overseen by the dashingly bearded Chris Woodger while the wine list by Amanda Cooper is both exciting and comforting.

And the food? Oh my, the food...

I was lucky enough to attend a preview evening, where we were treated to a range of options on the menu. Lucky - as I couldn't have chosen. I wanted EVERYTHING.

This. This was sublime. Venison tartare with a slow cooked egg, hollandaise and crispy pangritata. Oh my word. There is nothing like a well-prepared tartare to really make the most of venison. It's a meat that's delicious served rare - and divine served raw.

The most exciting thing about County Dining is there philosophy of using local, sustainable produce. See this dish above? It uses what is undoubtedly Morpeth's best product - potkin. Sure, it looks like a pumpkin, but it's not. It's the most incredibly delicious pumpkin you ever will eat - especially here at County Dining when it's served with smoked beetroot, hazelnuts and a goat's milk foam.

I thought I'd tried it all when it came to mash. Until I tried mash with bone marrow. Hello heaven! And served in old school enamel baking dishes - just like my nana had. Swoon.

Meals are meant for sharing at County Dining. Check out this incredible dish of duck, mandarin, cabbage and radish served in a massive cast iron enamelled pot. So pretty. So many flavours. So much to love. And to share. What a great concept.

This was probably my favourite thing of the night - an homage to the history of the Historic Arnott Bakehouse is this - the Iced Vovo. Can you believe it? I can't describe the magnificence, you'll just have to trust me that this is probably the best dessert I've ever had (and boy, have I had a few awesome desserts in my life). Every flavour and texture on that plate was designed to tickle tastebuds, take them for a dance, snog them, then tuck them up into bed.

Yep, divine.

Here's that balcony. Isn't it magnificent? What a spot for the newest gem in the Hunter's culinary scene.

And this is the restaurant at night. Have you seen anything prettier? Check out the website for opening hours, menu and more behind their philosophy. And make a trip to Morpeth. I'll be going again. And again. And probably another time.

Friday, October 11, 2013

fab shoes for friday

THESE are my new shoes. Ta Da! I bought them on Monday and the theory was that they'll be my shoes for Paris next year. They've got a wee wedge heel (about 2 inches) but because they have a platform at the front they're virtually flats. And they're RED! Red shoes are the best.

Is there anything more happy-making than red shoes? I think not.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

my weekend: in words and pictures

So, this weekend was the This is Not Art festival {known as TiNA} in Newcastle. Oh boy. So much to see and do. It started off with the opening party on Thursday night at Terrace Bar and didn't stop until late Sunday night. My brain's still buzzing from all the amazingness.

 Where else do you get the chance to see physical theatre performed at iconic locations such as The Mariners Pool at Newcastle Ocean baths?

And then take photos at twilight of this pretty, pretty city. Isn't Newcastle Beach just glorious?

So many fabulous venues such as The Royal Exchange with pretty booths and cute vintage lamps.

And look at this fab chandelier with tea infusers hanging from it. It's in the basement of the Royal Exchange hanging over a retro bar. So cute.

Here's a place I never even knew existed until TiNA came along. It's the United Services Club, also known as the Gun Club. So retro-fabulous.

Lounging in gorgeous leather chesterfields, with glorious vintage prints of the Queen gazing down upon you? Well, why not? A quirky venue really adds something else to an event doesn't it?

Oh, we also went very upper-class and snuck in to the opening of Reserve Wine Bar on Saturday night. Oh my. It's very, very, very swish.

So much to offer in this city of mine.

Now I just need a nap.

Monday, October 07, 2013

and the winner is...

And the lucky winner of the Friday Fashion lunch at Rustica double pass is...

Lipstick and Licorice.


Email me your name and contact details and I'll see you at lunch at Rustica in November.

Thank you to everyone who entered, and thank you Random Number Generator for helping me select the winner with ease.