Sunday, December 30, 2012

Clean slate

Isn't this a lovely idea for a New Year's Eve shindig?

'Ring in the New Year with a clean slate' by the ever so talented Loralee Lewis

I love blackboards and chalk and this has inspired me to come up with a new design for my kitchen chalkboard door, fresh for 2013.

I'm turning 3-0 next year and look forward to starting the year with a clean slate. And a new mind-map (yes Bree, I'll get to it soon!)

Do you make new year's resolutions?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Little Road Racquet Society

I applaud creative types who don't just sit back and comment, but actually do something good with their time.

Here's cheers to those who put the Rad into Radelaide!

Enter the team behind the Little Road Racquet Society - a great new pop up outdoor theatre that's creating awesome vacay fun for holiday makers on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

"The Little Road Racquet Society presents 3 films over 3 nights with 4 different winemakers and pop up local food stalls on a lawn tennis court tucked away amongst the Vineyards of Whites Valley, between Aldinga and Willunga."

How cool!

I'm heading off tonight to watch Amelie with some friends who are staying down at the beach. It's the perfect halfway spot to meet and the weather should be gorgeous.

Strawberries and cream, anyone?

Friday, December 28, 2012

In the Abbey

Do you just LOVE Downton Abbey as much as me?

Mum got the third season disc set for Christmas and we watched five episodes back to back on Boxing Day.

It's got everything - English class, stunning fashion, American confidence (hello Shirley MacLaine!), love, loss and beautiful sceneries.

Be warned - have the tissues at the ready!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Couch rat

If you're looking for me today, I'll be on the couch, watching the cricket, finishing off the punch and doing my best to empty Mum's fridge.

I love Boxing Day almost as much as Christmas Day itself!

Happy days x

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas where the gum trees grow . . .

I always find it hard to source a uniquely Australian Christmas image, but this one takes the cake.

I la la love all the gorgeous pictures of snowcapped trees, hot eggnog, open fires and big roast turkeys, but in truth, that's not what Christmas in Australia is like at all!

I have had the pleasure of a 'white Christmas' before - two in fact! One in Paris with my bestest of friends (and a big roast turkey was definitely on the menu but unfortunately no snow) and the other in New York with my most darling of friends Bree. We did get snow that day!

But there's something special about Christmas down under.

Crisp sparkling pinot noir, brightly coloured prawns, ice cream pudding and swimming in the pool.

This song that we sang as primary school students really captures the essence of the day . . . 

Christmas where the gum trees grow There is no frost and there is no snow Christmas in Australia's hot Cold and frosty is what its not When the bloom of the Jackaranda tree is here Christmas time is near From England came our Christmas fare They even said what Santa should wear But here down under for summers cool Santa should dip in a swimming pool Christmas where the gum trees grow There is no frost and there is no snow Christmas in Australia's hot Cold and frosty is what its not When the bloom of the Jackaranda tree is here Christmas time is near Santa rides in a sleigh on snow But down here where the gum trees grow Santa should wear some water ski's And glide around Australia with ease Christmas where the gum trees grow There is no frost and there is no snow Christmas in Australia's hot Cold and frosty is what its not When the bloom of the Jackaranda tree is here Christmas time is near To ride around the bush where its dry To cart all the presents piled so high A red nosed reindeer would never do Santa should jump on a kangaroo Christmas where the gum trees grow There is no frost and there is no snow Christmas in Australia's hot Cold and frosty is what its not When the bloom of the Jackaranda tree is here Christmas time is near

Merry Christmas to you all, in whatever corner of the world you're celebrating!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Project fail

Oh Pinterest, you gave me so many ideas for Christmas this year.

And I did not complete a single one of them.

Hats off to all the motivated, creative and inspiring people out there who actually 'do' while I 'talk'.

There's always next year . . .

In the meantime, happy Christmas Eve everyone! 

I'm celebrating at Mum and Dad's with a swim, bottle of bubbles and Carols by Candlelight on telly.


Say cheese!

Looking to add some fun to your Christmas Day?

Why not capture the magic of the day with a DIY photo booth?

Great ideas from Oh Happy Day here . . . and the free printable templates are even included!

We'll be sillying it up at my folks' place this year, can't wait to get my merry on and rope the oldies into some pics! I've also got a gorgeous big gold empty picture frame that will really top it off. 

Stay tuned for the end results!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Just in case

I love giving DIY gifts for Christmas and try to always have something on hand for those 'just in case moments'.

You know the ones - the next door neighbour, workmates and distant aunts.

Enter the world's easiest Christmas cakes.

And parochially South Australian with the secret ingredient . . . Farmers Union Iced Coffee!

Simply take 1kg mixed dried fruit 

Add 500ml of iced coffee and leave to soak overnight in the fridge

The next day, or later that night if you soak the fruit during the day, add 2 cups of self raising flour and stir to combine.

The recipe is for one large cake, but I decided to share the love wide and filled little cupcake wrappers with tablespoons of cake mix. Would've been great with some extra glace cherries or nuts thrown in for good measure.

Little cakes took about 25-30 mins to cook at 180 - you know they're done when the skewer comes out clean.

And voila!

Little bites of merriment! I wrapped them up in individual cellophane bags with red ribbon. Very pretty.

Here's Jane Doyle's pic of her cake - definitely more impressive but she probably has the luxury of a fan forced oven. Not me. No. My oven hates me.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Magical medley

Are you a Christmas tragic like me and my Mum?

We LOVE Michael Buble Christmas carols. He's been playing at my parents' place for a few weeks now.

And Frank and Bing and Nat and Rod while we're at it . . .

'Tis the season!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Long live the Queen

Oh the treasures you find in the back streets of Wellington's beaches.

Queen Sally's Diamond Deli in Lyall Bay had me at hello.

Everything about it was fun - from the friendly staff to the lolly jars and fresh colourful salads, it was perfect.

I wanted to pack it all up and bring it home with me!

Find out more about it here. It's a definite 'must-see' when in Wellington.

After you've had your fun in the Deli, grab a takeaway coffee and go and watch the planes take off and land from the beach at Lyall Bay. Great entertainment for a 15 month old!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Off the shelf

One of the best bits about a holiday is choosing a book to get lost in.

I picked this one up because a) I liked the cover (shallow of me, I know) and b) I trusted the testimonials on the front and back (good use of the word 'feisty', Mia)

I'm LOVING it. I'm about halfway and have had really strong reactions to the choices of the main characters. It's really real and raw and I love the London element. 

Unfinished love is an interesting topic and I find myself getting really angry with the main characters.

The grass isn't always greener.

I love a book that can evoke so many strong emotions in a reader. Having said that, I'm nervous to find out what happens in the end.

I don't want it to finish! Oh well, there's always the excitement of discovering another great read.

Any suggestions?

*** Stop the press! I scheduled this post last week when I was about half way through the book. I've since finished it and am so disappointed, so angry about the ending. It was devastating, I feel so betrayed and let down! I feel so disillusioned, like all hope for happy endings has gone. A dear friend and I were talking about this the other night - are our expectations too high? Is the real world not all it's cracked up to be? Please don't let it be true! And don't read this book if you prefer to look at the world through rose coloured glasses - like me!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas to the Max

Christmas came early on last night with a lovely dinner celebration at the local pub with my 'other' family.

Kelly and Mark treated me to dinner at the pub with their kids (Zara and Max my Godson) and totally spoilt me with beautiful gifts. I was thrilled to get my hot little hands on a print copy of fete press and the most fabulous neon nail polish appropriately named Notting Hill Gate (Kelly and I both lived in London and share a special bond over all things English)

As if that wasn't enough, I took home a goody bag of fresh tomatoes and basil from their veggie patch plus a carton of eggs from the farm and a pint of mint sauce that Mark whipped up on the spot.

Oh, and did I mention the Rudolph biccies and jar of lemon curd they also presented me with?

Yep, Christmas certainly came early!

After dinner we tied red bows around the tree on the footpath and also wrapped the front gate in a big bow. Gorgeous! Poor Kelly was trying to get Zara in her PJs ready for bed but we kind of got distracted . . . 

PS. How cute is Kelly's Christmas arrangement of crab apples care of Austin Bloom?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Around the world in 80 plates

 Like any good holiday, my recent trip to New Zealand was full of ah-mazing food discoveries.

Here are some of my faves . . .

Bluebird chips with onion dip (I ate a whole bowl to myself at the wedding recovery BBQ. Enough said.)

The best nibbles plate ever including homemade guacamole, smoked chicken, smoked salmon fillet, grilled haloumi with pickled red onions and yes . . . more onion dip.

Matched with Martinborough's finest whites.

Grazing platter at Poppies Winery

Hello dolmades and grilled courgettes and capsicums (gosh, I'm even speaking like the Kiwis now. I mean, zucchinis, not courgettes)

Beautiful Pinot Gris.

An ah-mazing feast at Shed 5 in Wellington. My camera carked it so I didn't get a pic of my fish and chips but it was GOOD.

And I just wanted to order "fush and chups" while I was over there. Small pleasures.

Fern had the cannelloni (and Sophie the banana)

Bridal brunch at Elk Cafe in Palmy.

The kumura (ahem, I mean sweet potato) mash was TDF. With poached egg, hollandaise and bacon.

Oh yes, definitely necessary to line the stomach before a big day.

Isn't that right, Lou?

Oh how I love food travels around the world!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jar of love

I popped into Mum and Dad's last night after a very successful Christmas shopping adventure.

I hadn't planned on shopping and had no presents in mind which is why I think I did so well.

Having said that, did rack up the first six purchases for the night just for me!

Anyway, Mum was busy in the kitchen when I stopped by and I was intrigued by her bench full of empty cookie jars.

She went on to show me the Christmas presents she'd prepared for her gym friends and I thought they were just such a good idea I had to share. 

How easy! I've done something similar for my friends before, but I especially loved the different textures used in this version . . .

And the best bit?

They have downloadable templates you can print off to make life so much easier!

See the recipe in the December issue of Australian Good Taste magazine and download the templates here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Make me a match

It's happening again . . .

"Kate, write a list otherwise I won't know what to get you!"

Remember my birthday instructions for dear old Susie Q? Well, she did well and I ticked a few things off my carefully curated list.

And now it's Christmas and I'm kind of stuck for inspiration.

Until, that is, I got an email from Matchbook magazine last week announcing the launch of its boutique.

 Ah-mazing is an understatement.

I'd be happy with one of everything, oh to live such a charmed life!

Shop for yourself here . . .

PS. And Mum - in case you're still hunting for inspiration, there are some options left on my birthday list that are yet to be ticked off, namely my Longchamp, coffee machine and frying pan (hint hint) xo