Sunday, May 15, 2016
Let them eat cake!
Oh, if only planning a week's meals were as easy...
I've slid off the meal planning wagon lately.
But now I'm back baby! With a week that's so chockers I'm a little bit scared (but in a good way).
So, here's what we'll be eating.
Monday: Salmon, green beans, baked jacket potatoes and salad.
Tuesday: A friend's speaking at Politics In The Pub, so I'll grab something to eat there - but the husband and child will need sustenance. I'll prepare curry for the vego, and a chicken dish for husband (who won't eat vego, sigh).
Wednesday: It's netball training again. An hour-and-a-half of it. So it's time to break out the slow-cooker. Beef casserole for husband and I, vegetarian sausages with mash, green beans and corn for the pescetarian (pesky child only eats fish these days).
Thursday: I'm on the organising committee for Pint Of Science Newcastle. We're having our last planning meeting before next week's inaugural festival kicks off. After that, we're having dinner with our speakers at The Edwards, our very fabulous venue.
Friday: Grilled chicken (fish for the pesky-one) and salad tonight. Then I'm off to the French Film Festival opening night. Hurrah!
Saturday: Roast lamb (lentils for the child) and vegies.
Sunday: Takeaway thai to kick off a busy week!
PS: That image above? The Magpie Cafe in Bowral. Amazingly, I tasted NONE of it.
Sunday, May 01, 2016
Oh, hello, it's been a while hasn't it? (let's totally ignore the fact that it's been since December shall we?) I've been up to a fair bit, so I thought I'd fill you in.
Firstly, this fathead has learned to climb the ladder to get to the top of the bookshelf. He's quite keen on their either pushing books off one-by-one, or climbing behind the books, getting squished. Not so keen, or effective, at getting back down again...
Creative events in Newcastle have continued to hold me in their thrall. It's not my fault I go out a lot, it's Newcastle's. There's so many fabulous things - like Propel at Catapult Dance in Newcastle West. Serious talent happening there. And I just love the atmosphere.
If I had to have a favourite indoor bar (my 'outdoor' one would be MoneyPenny at Honeysuckle) it'd be Coal & Cedar. Have a look at the dedication to the speakeasy theme!
Popping up around Newcastle are these delightful items. You know those weird electricity thingies? That are about thigh-high? Well, some glorious artist has been decorating them. This is my fave, it's a wee bride, perfect for the Bridal District!
I recently discovered that not only am I good at drinking cocktails, I can also mix a pretty mean one. My friend Athena and I went to a cocktail-making class at The Blind Monk at Hamilton and it was crazy fun. We didn't win the competition because I am pretty sure it was rigged ;)
I also went with my friend Cathy to learn how to crochet. AND I MADE THIS! I was so bloody delighted with myself. I've now bought some more wool and I'm just waiting for winter to sit in so I can crochet a pillow's worth of granny squares.
My cat remains ridiculously beautiful. He also coordinates nicely with just about every item of furniture in my house which is handy.
When my mum and step-dad were up from Melbourne we went to quite a few sessions of the ever-fabulous Newcastle Writers Festival. I fell in love with Tony Windsor while I was there. What a genuine man he is. I also saw a rainbow in the fountain. I love rainbows.
And public art, like this fountain.
We went to Bowral with my in-laws for a few days in the school holidays. We visited a very lovely nursery in Berrima and I fell in love with these stairs.
I also fell in love with these meringue mice at The Magpie Café at Berrima. They had plates piled with so many sweets that I couldn't help but swoon. But swoon was all I did as I had way too much of the beef and mulled wine pie to fit in another thing.
Even rhubarb crumble.
Who even am I?
When you are learning to drive you have to fill in a log book with 120 hours of driving. When you live in the city, and five minutes from your daughter's school that is VERY difficult to achieve in a year. So we're now trying to notch up weekend country drives. The other weekend we drove out to Catherine Hill Bay. It was bloody beautiful.
Things I love: looking up at buildings at night. Here's our City Hall clock tower that's just been masterfully-restored. Next step, is restoring the building itself which is bringing me delight.
Speaking of things that are bringing me delight: this initiative. The café area downstairs below the Civic Theatre has never really been a success. I want something that's open for a coffee/wine/bit-to-eat before or after a show. But it needed that and more, I reckon this is it, Civic Digest is a digital library/wine bar and café.
The coffee was very good. I'll be back.
One benefit of unseasonably warm weather is that my roses are glorious!
I went to dinner the other night to celebrate that her PhD was accepted and she's officially a Dr! Obviously champagne was called for. So we went to Una Volta, a glorious little Italian place that has free BYO. The food was sublime, and look how cute my little red Fiat looks parked out the front!
How about you?
Thursday, December 24, 2015
I do love Christmas.
Finally, a chance to slow down and reflect on what really matters: health, family and friends. I'm pretty blessed with all three really (aside from dodgy netball knees...)
Wishing you, and your family the merriest of Christmases. May it be filled with love and laughter.
This pic was taken in Newcastle's Civic Park on the night the Christmas lights were lit. So lovely finally having the city filled with the Christmas spirit. Just as I was posed to take this shot the woman in the fabulous frock walked down the stairs and paused to take in the scene. Stunning!
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Goodness gracious, where, on earth, has time gone?
Is it seriously nearing the end of October? Eek!
Luckily, despite my frantic life at the moment, I have still stopped and taken time to smell the roses as I've dashed in and out of the house. I've even managed to snap the odd shot. Aren't they just divine?
It hard to cram life in at the moment. For example, last week I went with my friends C and A to see Magda Szubanksi in conversation with Rosemarie Milsom. It was just utterly lovely. Magda had so many stories to tell that an hour barely did her justice - but Rosemarie's stellar interviewing skills certainly did.
We had to dash out before having books signed so we could make our way over to Carrington Bowlo to check out Barry Morgan and his World of Organs. It was just as 70sFabulous as you'd imagine.
Who'd've thought that a man with a bouffant of hair, a range of safari suits and a Hammond Organ could possibly be so hilarious.
This wednesday I attended a meeting with a fab young group of scientists - looking to bring something super to Newcastle. Stay tuned! But I had to dash from that meeting to Christ Church Cathedral to check out 50 years of Architecture. What a place to hold the exhibition. As you could see, it was pretty darned cool.
Coming to this weekend, my friend A and I attended another Catapult Dance production. It's hard to believe, but they keep getting better. This one utilised every space of the studio and grounds. Check out 'Tissue Girl's" fabulous outfit - created by the talented Novocastrian sisters from High Tea With Mrs Woo.
We followed the dancer through the space - and oh, what a space it was.
Shipping containers with 'rooftop' gardens, with Newcastle West's gritty urban twilight skyline is something you don't get to see every day,
I've left out a week in Melbourne, the This Is Not Art festival, and fangirling over Peter Garrett this week. There's been so much to see I've barely had time to snap off shots.
As Ferris said: "life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around for a while you might miss it."
Sunday, September 20, 2015
I crave fresh flowers in my house. I start to get an itch, and I must go scratch by buying a bunch. Yesterday's was fulfilled by these gorgeous anenomes - in shades of pink, red and cream. They are almost making up for the fact that I've developed an annoying head-cold - just before flying to Melbourne on Wednesday.
But I'm not going to let a snotty nose and sore throat spoil my hols. I'll be delving into every laneway, checking out the David Bowie exhibition, lolling about on rooftop bars, spending time with family and old friends.
Let's not forget shopping.
Any Melbourne tips for me?
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
You know I love nothing more than supporting local talent right? Well, I don't wish to play favourites - but I think Tantrum Theatre could be pretty much my favourite of the talents. I've seen a range of their performances and the thing that shines out is the utter joy that the artists experience during the productions.
That joy's contagious.
So tonight I went along with my friend J to see the opening night of No One Cares About Your Cat. I was very kindly gifted tix, which I feel ever-so-guilty about as I love supporting these acts by helping to swell their coffers, but I am very grateful.
I knew the production would speak to me, someone who's pretty-much connected to social media 100% of the time. Hell, I met my bestest Newy friends A, C and J through twitter!
I am also fond of a cute cat pic or vid, so this opening montage delighted me no end.
The play was cleverly lit, often by the light of the mobile phones - smart stuff. I adored the interactive stuff - like the vlogger whose work was skilfully incorporated into the play with interaction between the audience before and during the play.
Here he is!
The play was an insightful commentary on the ways in which social media helps us direct our lives. Good? Bad? Well, it's never indifferent.
Also, as I said to my friend J, we must have a new generation who'll never take a bad photo as the selfie-gen are always clued up to their best angles and expressions.
The themes of cats were woven throughout, including with this rather glorious 'cats cradle' scene with glow-in-the-dark-yarn. I couldn't help smiling in delight throughout.
Not only did this make me smile, it made me think - a lot. I thought about loneliness, connectedness and friendship. I thought about how social media helps me share so much - including reviews of plays such as this!
I love seeing something that brings a smile to my face. This brought more - this brought me real joy. This collaborative piece was the work of so many talented artists, and it flew by ever-so-quickly. As we left the theatre I bumped into my friend Barney, who is Tantrum's founding father "I didn't want it to end!" he said. And I just had to agree.
Now get along quick and see this. It's on at the Civic Playhouse until Saturday 19th September. Find out more, and get tix here.
Thank you everyone involved in this - love your work. I really, really do.
Sunday, September 06, 2015
image: catapult dance
I think I've found a new favourite thing. One thing Newcastle does very well is artistic innovation. This Is Not Art festival started here in 1998 and is a showcase for alternative festivals around the country, if not the world. I always block out the October long weekend and knock myself out seeing the fabulousness that's on display.
And now we have the Newcastle Writer's Festival, bam, another weekend of awesome to immerse myself in. We do art, drama, music and culture beautifully, but, in my opinion, there's been an area where we've been a little understated.
So THANK YOU Cadi McCarthy for moving to Newcastle and bringing innovation and inspiration with you. I was first introduced to Cadi's work when my heart took up residence in my mouth at the extraordinary choreography she created with local dancers during Stories In My Steps. I'd never experienced much modern dance before, and the intimate setting in 48 Watt made it even more stunning. Now Cadi's brought something special to Newcastle West with Catapult Dance.
Last night's Propel performance was a confronting piece of avant garde collaboration unlike anything I'd ever seen. Award-winning dancer Kristina Chan worked with filmmaker Neil Mansfield to craft a senses-shattering piece about Newcastle's uneasy relationship with coal - extra timely with the divestment issue focussed on us thanks to Newcastle Council's progressive stance on ethical investment. It was loud, it was weird, it was breathtaking.
I've never seen such a fluid body as Kristina's, this was dance as I've never seen it before - and it's bound to stay with me for a very long time. It was extraordinary.
The question and answer session was generous, and revealed much about the artists, and the diverse audience they'd attracted.
We then went out the back for a performance by University of Newcastle Fine Art students. I was already excited as I'd spotted Alex, the vocalist who entranced me a few weeks ago at Visual Music at Newcastle Conservatorium. Accompanied only by a talented lad on an acoustic guitar she delighted the crowd with glorious vocals and a range that must be almost illegal.
Unbelievably, we were then treated to another dance. Inspired by Edie Segwick. This was incredible. It's a collaboration between Cadi, dancer Reagan Ashley Williams, Jessica Coughlin and Zackari Watt. It's a repeat outing, and deserved a replay.
Oh it was wonderful. From glorious projections, to the way Reagan Ashely uses her body, to the music, to the choreography. Sublime.
All this for only $10 - then we had a drink and the chance to chat with others in the audience, and the artists. I feel embarrassed that I paid so little and received so much.
Bring on the next collaboration.
People of Newcastle, we need to support these artists. If you love seeing this city come alive, follow them on social media, attend their performances and spread the word.
Sunday, August 30, 2015
We need to repaint our bedroom. We've been here for nearly 15 years (!!) which shows how good the previous paint job was. But we've now bought a new bed (fabulous antique french style - naturellement) and we're getting shutters in the bay windows, so it's time to paint.
I'm thinking duck egg blue for the walls. Is there a more relaxing colour than blue? (well, potentially the sage green our walls are painted at the mo'). With the white bed, and the new pale silvery grey and white Laura Ashely bedspread I've just bought it'll be blissful. We'll also finally getting around to painting our wall of wardrobes, which currently look a bit "Italian Grandparent" with their dark wood, but shall be French chic when chalk painted in pale grey with white details.
We've got eight weeks from when we order the shutters to when they arrive, so we'll have to get cracking next weekend. It's going to be a laboured process - but so worth it once it's finished.
Saturday, August 29, 2015
The only thing I love more than looking up in my city, is looking up in my city at night. The hues are always more intense, the details on the historic buildings more sharply etched and highlighted.
After dinner at Napoli Centrale the other night (best pizza outside of Italy - I swear) we had some time to kill before the moving screening. So we took a meander through Newcastle Mall.
This is a place I need to get to now that Sprout look after the food. I hear Taco Tuesdays are a BARGAIN.
Newcastle's historic East End is so richly historic. I wish we appreciated it as much as similar cities in Paris, London, Italy, Spain and all of Europe.
There's a new vibe busting out. A more creative one, as I discovered the following night at Catapult Dance down in Newcastle's West End. A stunning choreographed dance with a film projected on the wall was followed by a breathtaking performance by University of Newcastle Fine Arts students who treated us to modern pop with some unusual instruments (hello harp and flute).
Afterwards we stepped into the alleywall for drinks and chatting. I do love a string of fairylights highlighted with garlands. I need some of this in my yard.
If you're a Newy local check out Catapult. Every couple of weeks local dancers will work with a filmmaker or other creatives to come up with something unique.
I love this city.
Monday, August 03, 2015
Excuse me, but how pretty is this mirrored cabinet painted in pale pink?
It's pretty much solidified my decision to paint the back of our front door in pale pink gloss.
But enough about decorating, and on to meal-planning, and what we're eating this week.
Monday: grilled lemon and herb chicken breasts with a baby spinach and orange salad.
Tuesday: this may well be our last netball training (le sob) so we'll just have a steak and salad dinner tonight.
Wednesday: I made this awesome tray-bake the other day, diced potato, pumpkin and sweet potato, drizzled with garlic olive oil and thyme. Baked for 30 minutes, then I popped in some meatballs. This was baked a further 15 minutes - before I tossed some baby spinach in for 2 mins. In an ideal world I would have then added persian feta (but I didn't have any). It was still damned delicious. I'm making it again.
Thursday: salmon on the bbq and salad.
Friday: celebrate the end of the week with takeaway!
Saturday: out with my friends to check out the Amy Winehouse movie, the new Parry Street Garage and have a Blue Heaven Milkshake from Jim's for dessert. How good is life?
Sunday: a bbq. Let's hope this pre-Spring weather continues.
Sunday, August 02, 2015
Saturday, August 01, 2015
I find it really difficult to find the time to exercise. As you may have noticed, I have a pretty busy life. Full-time work, motherhood, marriage, netball coaching, volunteering stuff AND all the cool stuff I have to see and do in Newcastle takes up a fair bit of time. I love it, but I always wish I could find the time to exercise.
My favourite kind of exercise is cycling. Not the speedy stuff, just an 8 - 10km pootle. It makes me happy and probably a little bit fitter. So I've been inspired by my friend Jayne who cycles just about every morning.
So on Tuesday I got up at 6.30am, got dressed and got on my bike,
Tell you what, the sunrise over the harbour and the beach was totally worth it. I saw so many tugboats, kayakers, runners and a couple of other cyclists.
It was glorious.
Now, it was only 7 degrees so my hands nearly fell off, but I'll borrow a pair of hubby's cycling gloves next time. I'm aiming to do this two to three days a week.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
There are few things I love more in life than Special Events. I love a sense of drama, and the chance to frock up. I also love riding my bike - so that's why the Vintage Tweed Ride so tickles my fancy.
It ticks all the right boxes.
Have a look at this dapper gent with his spectacular Penny Farthing. Oh yeah, he rode it!
Each year it's a challenge to work out what I should wear that goes with my bike. See, my cycle's not vintage, but I still feel the need to frock up appropriately. This year the red cape came out again and was teamed with a black dress with white polka dots.
You wanna know what feels better than riding along, on a beautiful sunny day, alongside our exquisite harbour with a gaggle of people all beautifully kitted out and riding their bikes?
Just about nothing really.
We had a number of spots where our guide regaled us with tales of this city. And offered the perfect opportunity to snap off some shots and Instagram 'em.
There were cupcakes. Mine was topped by a moustache. It was *almost* too good to eat. I don't believe that anything is too good to eat.
If I were to ever die of envy it'd probably be because of something like this - the ultimate picnic kit - complete with a fully-set up table out the back.
Dying I tell you.
This cycle inspired my need for a similar light for my bike so, on my ride home, I called in at Metro Cycles down near bank corner and dropped off my bike for a long-overdue service and new light. It's kinda like this one, except matte black.
So, what's next you ask? Well surely it's the Spring Fling Vintage Bike Ride and I just have just the new Laura Ashley frock to wear on it...