Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy birthday Susie Q!

Happy birthday to my Mother Dearest today.

Yes, you're very special for sharing the day with the Royal Wedding. We can celebrate their anniversary with you every year . . . Pimms and cucumber sandwiches all round!

Photo at my brother's wedding in 2009, taken by Pete Thornton of eventimaging

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Going to the chapel . . .

I am so excited, I seriously feel like a kid on Christmas Eve - the sooner I go to bed, the sooner I can wake up for the BIG DAY!

Enjoying some English treats and all things royal with Emma and the gals tomorrow night, banoffee pie is on the menu and I'm giddy with joy.

Can't wait to debrief with you next week.

Yay for THE WEDDING OF THE CENTURY. Slighty over-excited? You bet!

Pic from

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Head in the trees

I have amazingly talented friends.

Beyond those of the blogosphere, I am continually impressed by the wonderful things my friends are doing. Whether it be kicking butt in a courtroom, saving lives in a hospital, cooking up a storm in the kitchen or styling their little hearts out, my friends have talent to boot.

Being the blog obsessed gal that I am, I often find beautiful, innovative and completely inspiring wedding shots. Most of them come from overseas, but fear not - our local talent pool can definitely hold its own.

I was blown away by the creativity of my dear darling friend Cat last week who delivered the most magical wedding imagineable.

There were ice sculptures, ceiling draping, chandeliers . . . and a canopy of trees enveloping the guests as they dined.

Cat went above and beyond to bring this groom's vision to life - and what a beautiful end result. Each table had its own tree centrepiece with individually hand-threaded orchids hanging from the branches. Ah-mazing.

To think that we have this creative mind in Adelaide is fabulous.

To find our more about Cat and her team at Bliss Events, check out their website.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lest we forget

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

I was lucky enough to visit Turkey during my two years living in London, and coordinate it so that I could be part of an ANZAC Day ceremony in Galliopli.

It was extra special meeting up with my dear friend Flavs while I was there. Such a magical feeling of comradeship and national pride.

I toured the country with a Fez bus group and got to meet some wonderful people, including a number of kiwis for whom the visit to ANZAC Cove was equally as special.

We spent hours in the cold, reserving our spot on the grass above the beach, waiting for dawn to finally arrive. Tickled pink to get my ugly mug on telly (Mum spotted me on Sunrise!) and shake hands with then Prime Minister John Howard.

Lone Pine was an eerie place to visit but a must for all Australians visiting Turkey.

So today, when we pay tribute to our fallen heroes (and snack on ANZAC biscuits!), I'll take a moment to remember those early hours on the beach at ANZAC Cove where we took comfort in the safety of friends as holidaymakers enjoying our freedom . . . but where nearly 100 years ago, boys of our age and even younger put everything on the line to defend their country.

Lest we forget.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Riding along on my pushbike, honey

Happy Easter to everyone!

What are your plans for the long long weekend? In Australia, we have a five day break with ANZAC Day public holiday being celebrated on the Tuesday. I can't WAIT!

I'm heading to the Clare Valley with my oldest and dearest friend of all time, and her friends and family. We're going to eat, drink and be merry, head to the country races on Sunday and do the Riesling Trail . . . on bike.

Yes, on bike she tells me.

I'd like to think I could carry off the style of the girl in the pic above. Relaxed, chic, casually cool with an air of sweet confidence.

But no, instead I'll be wrestling with a flat head of hair underneath a stuffy helmet, boring 'practical' shoes for optimum pedal power and sweat patches on my bum. Not a good look when trying to pick up country farmers or winemakers, I would've thought!

Secretly, I can't wait - the idea of combining wine with a bike ride makes the concept of exercise a little less daunting!

I just have to find the perfect outfit . . .

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sofa, so good!

The old blog world never ceases to amaze me.

It really brings people together and is almost like the big sister you never had - providing advice and lifting your spirits in times of need.

Remember how I was umming and ahhing over what couches to get for my lounge room? Well, it just so happens that someone actually reads my blog and had a spare couch they needed to get rid of!

And to make things even weirder, that person was someone I went to uni with but have not seen in over eight years - and she only happened to stumble across me through Kimbo at Brown Button.


So, the gorgeous Miss Amy handed over an Ikea Klippan in perfectly good condition - FOR FREE. Yep, there still are generous, big hearted people in this world.

The two seater fit perfectly into my little bay window area and was a perfect match for my Ektorp three seater. Comfy, great base for my cushions and easy to work with.

I looked around for various fabrics to recover the chair with and was seriously considering having a slip made. . . until Emma (from White & Wander) and I struck gold at Ikea on Tuesday night.

Check out my fab new hot pink Klippan cover! Emma will kill me for not having styled this photo but I was desperate to get it up quick smart.

It's gorgeous, so totally me and contrasts to the gloss navy coffee table brilliantly. Just need some more really graphic cushions - imperial trellis, ikat, chevron etc.

And all this colour and brilliance for $69!

Get involved, people - we had a field day at Ikea. I walked away with a new bed base (will post our efforts with that later), two lamp bases and shades, light bulbs and a vase. We did very well in a matter of 45 minutes!

My housemate raised his eyebrows when he walked in to see the new shade of pink and made the comment 'How very Liberace!'

Emma assures me it's a great compliment!

Monday, April 18, 2011

So decadent!

I love a good wedding.


Sure, it's a beautiful celebration of love and friendship . . .
(this is me and one of my favouritest people in the whole wide world, dear Ad who I don't see nearly enough of but we had great fun catching up at the wedding)

. . . but it's also an excuse to indulge in a decadent three course dinner that your average Sunday night wouldn't usually allow!

I had every diner's nightmare and couldn't decide what to order from the two choices, so harrassed everyone on my table to grab pics of their food for the blog.

I opted for the pork belly. Yum!

While Nick went for the prawn ravioli.

Looked really good.

Then for main Sarah went for the lamb cutlets . . .

. . . while I stuck with the 'rich' option and chose duck.

Wow, it was rich alright, but cooked to perfection and a HUGE serve.

Needless to say, my tummy hated me today!

Congrats to Luke and Carri on their special day and thank you for involving me in your celebrations
(the food was ah-mazing!)


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bentwood Brilliance


The April edition of High Gloss Magazine lived up to its first issue and delivered a beautiful publication full of inspiration and colour.

I was very excited to see a hot pink Bentwood feature in their Casual Glamour section and was especially interested to see how much one of these little beauties would retail for.

Makes my $4 gems from St Vinnies look like a steal, hey!? With about $20 spent on spray paint and a couple of extra bucks on sandpaper, me thinks I have done very well!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Angry Boys

Okay, so this is where I pack away my pearls, put down my champagne glass and reveal my feral side.

Yes, it's true. I have to admit that I am a J'amie fan. I wish I could roll like Pat, and I'm a musical theatre fan like Ricky Wong.

Chris Lilley is a genius - but I acknowledge that he's not everyone's cup of tea.

I love his rainbow of characters and his contribution to Aussie humour.

I first discovered We Can Be Heroes when I was living in London six years ago, and then leapt for joy when he followed up with Summer Heights High.

Now he's revealed Angry Boys. And gosh, it looks naughty.

But I can't wait!

(PS. Please don't judge me!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hmm, how Pinteresting!

Style Me Pretty is the holy grail of all things wedding and I (as the eternal bridesmaid) have turned to it for endless inspiration over the years.

I received a newsletter update from Abby this week featuring her new love - Pinterest.

What is Pinterest you ask? Well, I'm still trying to get my head around it, but essentially (I think!), it's a virtual pin up board or inspiration board. Whatever it is, it will revolutionise the party planning/event styling/food design/creative world out there.

See a centrepiece that melts your heart? 'Pin it'! Spot a wedding dress that's just perfect? 'Pin it'! And you want to remember those baby shower party favours for next time? 'Pin it'!

Check out Abby's efforts above and see for yourself how it's all coming together at

She's got 29 'boards' with different themes - how much easier would it be organising your life like this!? Great for work, perfect for play and addictive for blogging!

I've sent off my request for an invite . . . will I make the cut?!

Footnote: Yay! I got my invite this morning! Looking forward to 'pinning' this weekend. Will report back next week x

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

And then came movie

Is anyone as excited as me about this new movie? I've got a terrible history of seeing the movie before reading the book and I know it's never as good when you do it that wrong way around, so this weekend I'm off to the local library to borrow an actual real life, hard copy of 'Water for Elephants'.

The trailer looks gorgeous - I'm no Twilight/Robert Pattinson fan, but he does look good in this role - a bit more grown up and not so . . . well, pale!

Love a Reese flick too, she's just gorgeous!

Find out more here

Monday, April 11, 2011

Moreish Moroccan

Gemmy-pops and Benny-boo had me over for dinner last week for quite possibly the most flavoursome dinner I've had all year.

I felt quite honoured to have them crack open their Vera Wang wedding crockery for the special occasion (felt very daggy in my leggings and baggy tee!) and was thrilled to take home a care package of scrummy food - albeit it in a Tupperware jelly mould. Hilarious!

Gem cooked up a treat in her authentic tagine and the flavours matured beautifully overnight to really hit home for lunch the next day. Delicious. I was the envy of the office, that's for sure!

For dessert, I pulled out my trusty new little favourite, thanks to Donna Hay . . . chocolate and cinnamon wontons.

Please, enjoy xo

Lamb, prunes, apricot and honey tagine
Serves 4-6

1-2 Tbspns olive oil
2 Tbspns blanced almonds
2 red onions, finely choped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
a pinch of saffron threads
2 cinnamon sticks
1-2 tspns coriander seeds, crushed
500g boned lamb, from the shoulder, leg or shanks, trimmed and cubed
about 12 stoned prunes, soaked for 1 hour and drained
about 6 dried apricots, soaked for 1 hour and drained
3-4 strips unwaxed orange zest
1-2 Tbspns dark, runny honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Heat the oil in a tagine or heavy-based casserole, stir in the almonds and cook until they turn golden. Add the onions and garlic and saute until they begin to colour. Stir in the ginger, saffron, cinnamon sticks and coriander seeds. Toss in the lamb, making sure it is coated in the onion and spices, and saute for 1-2 minutes.

Pour in enough water to just cover the meat and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover the tagine or casserole and simmer for about 1 hour, until the meat is tender. Add the prunes, apricots and orange zest, cover the tagine again, and simmer for a fruther 15-20 minutes. Make sure there is enough liquid in the pot, as you want the sauce to be syrupy and slightly caramelised, but not dry.

Stir in some of the fresh coriander and reserve the rest to sprinkle over the top of the dish. Serve immediately with chunks of crusty bread or buttery couscous.

Chocolate and cinnamon wontons
(my after dinner last minute version)

12 wonton/gow gee wrappers
12 pieces of dark chocolate
caster sugar
butter, melted

  1. Place the wrappers on a baking tray and top with one piece of chocolate
  2. Paint the edges of the wrappers with melted butter and fold over one corner of the wrapper to meet the opposite corner. Press along the edges to seal.
  3. Brush the top of the triangles with melted butter and sprinkle with a mixture of caster sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Bake in the oven at 180C for 8 minutes.
  5. Serve warm (but great cold as well!)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Blagetti, Bentwoods and Bubbles

Inspired by this fabulous pic from Anna at Absolutely Beautiful Things, I had my friend Jourdanne keep a look out for any old chairs at Op Shops that I could possibly makeover.

All my Christmases came at once when she called me on a random Tuesday afternoon to say she'd found a set of four Bentwoods at the Mount Barker St Vinnies store - and they were only $4 each.


So hiring in some help from my friends, I organised a working bee at mi casa . . . and disguised it as Blagetti!

Here we see Pippa and Emma getting to work with the sanding blocks. I love Pip's version of 'daggy clothes' - if only I looked that good in my roughies!

Andie was the most thorough sander I've ever come across - she can come again!

And while I was busy finishing the bottle of sparkling, dear Pip was busy on the front lawn (probably a safer option than dear Emma who took her chair out to the middle of the road to minimise the damage of overspray!). She was handy with the spray can, that girl - but she assures me she's never done any graffiti!

I've still got one chair to go (we ran out of paint, whoops!) but I can't wait to show you how they look in my little kitchen . . . as long as noone sits on them! They're not, um, very sturdy!

Thank you to the lovelies who rolled their sleeves up and helped me out. Oh, and thanks to Kim for the entertainment!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What is Blagetti?

Blagetti (noun)
  1. a gathering of friends to discuss {bl}ogs; m{ag}azines; {et}sy; and favourite foods such as spaghet{ti}
  2. an excuse to catch up with friends
  3. our version of book club

What do you get when you combine the creative minds of White & Wander, Brown Button and Tres Dodgeois? Throw in a try-hard foodie (me) and a blogger in waiting (Miss Andie) and you've got 'Blagetti'.

Blagetti is the brain child of dear Pip who inspired us all to consolidate our love of all things pretty and dedicate one night per month to indulging in our passions.

Pip had the first Blagetti last month (I'm yet to post about it, whoops! Will have to do it in a flashback!) and this month was my time to host the little gathering. Each host can tailor their shindig and I (rather indulgently!) decided to put the girls to work and earn their meal!

I'll reveal the fruits of our labour in another post, but let's focus on the brunch for now . . .

First of all, we started with miniature versions of bircher muesli - served in cupcake wrappers and topped with flaked almonds, strawberries and cinnamon. Yummo.

The prosciutto wrapped asparagus was ah-mazing. To quote Emma "I could live on these for dinner every night". I'll take that as a compliment!

Mini ham and cheese croissants followed, with cheese and tomato versions for Pippa. See, I'm a very considerate cook!

Blueberry pikelets with whipped cream and lemon curd were a yummy dish and a pretty little picture all lined up in a row!

In honour of Kimberlee's birthday, we celebrated with red velvet cupcakes. Oh. Em. Gee. So good, I will never get sick of them.

Very cute on their little makeshift cakestand!

Always with an eye for detail, Emma added a beautiful rose to top it off.

And she was impressed, that cream cheese icing is the bee's knees! For drinks, we sipped on Chandon (okay, I think I had the whole bottle to myself, minus the half glass that Emma finished) and water with mint, plus beautifully styled bottles of Bundaberg's blood orange, pink grapefruit and lemon, lime and bitters fizzies.

Such a cute addition to a table with their white straws tied to the side (thanks Emma, you style guru!).

Oh, we also had sausage rolls with sweet chilli sauce that I dug up from the freezer - perfect for those carrying the burden of a big night, ahem, Kimberlee! Then there were the CC's which always work a treat in times of great need (along with Frozen Cokes from McDonalds)! Stay tuned for pics of our Blagetti workshop - I made the girls work hard for their meal, that's for sure!

Happy brunching xo

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Start packing

Still so completely on Cloud Nine after our visit from the fabulous (and a Cosmo Fun, Fearless Female nominee) Anna Spiro a few weeks ago.

All the girls have posted about it (here, here and here) but I think I was still trying to get over the embarrassment of driving her around in my bomb of a car to actually bring myself to write about our encounter! (Embarrassing car episode complete with torn out page of her feature in Vogue Living on my back seat - hello stalker!)

Totally inspired by her tales and passion for her work (and fed up with our pathetic excuse for a Summer down here), Emma, Kimberlee and I have booked for a Winter getaway to Brisbane and can't wait to fit in a visit to Black & Spiro in July.

Start packing girls! I shotgun the pink suitcase above.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm excited!

Why oh why can't we have a store in Australia?

LOVE LOVE LOVE the latest Kate Spade Wedding Belles collection.

This professional bridesmaid (five times and counting!) knows a great wedding element when she sees it and gosh, how our lives would be easier if we had Kate Spade at our fingertips!

See the full collection here

Monday, April 4, 2011

When it's okay to cheat

I've heard lots of people talk about the power of the humble wonton wrapper. So in an effort to 'fake it' and make a 'knock their socks off' meal with little effort, I invited Pete and Michelle over for dinner at 4.15pm on a Saturday night and crossed my fingers I could pull it off by the time they arrived at 7pm! (And that included a trip to the supermarket to buy supplies!)

I've seen a few recipes for ravioli here and there but wanted to keep mine very simple - a la Donna Hay's philosophy. Fast. Fresh. Simple. She speaks my language that woman.

I'm loving her new show on Lifestyle Channel - it's so much more accessible and realistic than all those other cooking shows out there.

And voila! I did alright! It almost looks like her version! My little pockets of fabulousness did stick together a bit in the boiling water which made serving difficult, but I am prepared to try again in an effort to perfect my technique.

It was so easy and oh so yummy - Michelle and Pete were both very impressed and it took no time at all to put together when they got here.

Making the ravioli was a little time consuming but on a sunny Saturday afternoon with some Buble in the background, I was in a happy place!

My friend Cat's Mum would have a heart attack if she heard I was substituting home made pasta for store bought wonton wrappers, but I'm on the bandwagon and not ready to get off!

I added pinenuts to Donna's recipe, and also some lemon rind and lemon juice to the ricotta mix. It just lightened it a bit. Would also be great with sage rather than oregano.

For lunch the next day, I tossed the leftover ravioli parcels in a light dressing of grated zucchini, lemon rind, spring onion and pinenuts that I stirfried quickly in the pan with some lemon juice. A much lighter alternative to the decadent brown butter sauce! (It was a bit like the deeelish pasta dish that Brooke did for our Ladies Lunch)

I can't wait to try some more combinations - perhaps with some meat next time!
Cheat's Pumpkin and Ricotta Ravioli Ingredients 550g pumpkin, peeled and chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil 250g ricotta ½ cup (40g) finely grated parmesan 1 tablespoon oregano leaves, roughly chopped 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped sea salt and cracked black pepper 20 wonton wrappers finely grated parmesan, extra, to serve brown butter sauce 50g butter 4 sprigs oregano Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F).

  2. Place pumpkin on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper.

  3. Sprinkle with oil and bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden.

  4. Combine the ricotta, parmesan, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. (NB. I added juice of half a lemon and some lemon rind as well)

  5. Place 2 teaspoons of the ricotta mixture and 2 pieces of pumpkin on half the wontons. (NB. I'd only use one teaspoon in future - my first few oozed when I sealed them and were a bit messy in the saucepan)

  6. Brush the wonton edges with water and top with remaining wontons. Press the edges to seal.

  7. To make the brown butter sauce, cook the butter and oregano in a saucepan over low heat until butter is lightly browned and oregano is crisp. (NB. I added pinenuts for a bit of crunch. Walnuts would also be delish, as would some blue cheese added right at the end!)

  8. Cook the ravioli in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3–4 minutes or until al dente. (NB. The ravioli floats to the top of the water when it's ready - easy trick!)

  9. Drain and serve with remaining pumpkin, brown butter sauce and extra parmesan.
Serves two - I doubled it and it worked just as well

Friday, April 1, 2011

Perfect Sunday

One of my new year's resolutions was the have fresh flowers in the house at least once a fortnight. My Granny has a beautiful garden and I am often spoilt with beautiful bouquets from her - in fact, I still have the bunch of hydrangeas she gave me more than a month ago sitting on my coffee table!

But last Sunday I wanted some more colour and needed to stretch my legs so walked down to the Adelaide Showground Farmers Markets to bag a bargain.

And I did well!

I got four bunches of lilies for Mum for only $10 (she had to split them over two vases, there were so many!) . . .

. . . and one bunch of these gorgeous hot pink flowers for me for only $4.50. What was I thinking? I should've got more at that price!

I've never seen so many people at the markets - it was a gorgeous sunny day and everyone was stocking up on goodies, especially flowers!

After the great start to my Sunday, I dropped off the flowers at Mum and Dad's and tucked in to some lunch and a good coffee with them - loving their Nespresso and how easy it is to make good coffee!

Then I came home and made the most of having the house to myself. I popped on the kettle, tidied the kitchen and watched the second movie in the Stieg Larsson trilogy . . . and did not move from my couch until bed time!

It's so nice to have some downtime on the weekend - I'm so busy trying to fill my diary with coffee dates, dinner parties and drinks after work that I sometimes forget how nice it is to have a blank day!

I could get used to lazy afternoons of mugs of green tea, movies and keeping warm under the mohair rug on the couch. Especially as Winter sets in!

If I'm late to a scheduled catch up witih you in the dreary months ahead, you'll know where to find me!