Thursday, August 30, 2012

Brick upon brick





Little bit obsessed with exposed brick walls at the moment. 


Would love one in my family room. It seems really warm and cosy or something?

I have to laugh . . . I grew up with exposed bricks in my childhood home and remember always thinking 'these bricks are so dated!'

How trends move in cycles . . . and how our tastes mature.

The best bit, is that they even look great painted! I like the really old ones with poster scraps and faded graffiti on them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

All growed up



Are you on board Smash?

I'm 48 minutes in on night one and I'm LOVING it!

Debra Messing is brilliant in her role - I was worried I'd see too much of Grace in her but she's great as Julia.

And Katharine McPhee is beautiful.

As the Editor of the Sunday Mail told me a few months back, Smash is 'Glee for grown ups'

She's right (but I still consider myself a kid!)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Party peplum

You thought Peplum was 'in' this year? You ain't seen nothing yet.

What about Double Peplum!?



I'm on to a winner, ladies!

Thanks to Emma's clever eye, we found this awesome double peplum top via Cheetah is the New Black and I snapped one up straight away.

Wore it on the weekend with a black pencil skirt to an Awards Night and had soooo many comments on it. Even got the tick of approval from Lady Chatterley's Affair herself, Miss Tina Kent!

How fab does it look just with jeans, even!?

And best bit . . . you can eat a huge dinner and the tutu covers those telltale bumps!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Introductions


Who's your pick this year?

I've been a fan of Farmer Nikko since his profile first appeared on the Farmer Wants a Wife website back in April. I know a good thing when I see it . . . 


Maybe I should've taken the plunge and applied again this year.

No! My mother would've disowned me. And I cringe at the thought of kissing someone on national TV. But the gorgeous Jo threw her hat into the ring with Farmer Rob and it turned out very well for her. To think, that could've been me doing an All Bran ad this season. But no, I accepted a job at a law firm instead. Sigh.

Anyone have any lovely eligible farmers they could introduce me to?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

All mash.ed up





I love home cooked meals, there's something comforting and wholesome about them.
The whole ritual of preparing a meal for loved ones totally captivates me but I've found that since I've been living on my own, I don't cook as often. There are a few reasons (one being that I am so bad at portion control that I eat for about three people in one sitting!) but the biggest hurdle for me is cost. 

I am just spending so much at the supermarket these days. It's cheaper to go out and eat at a restaurant than it is to buy a bottle of wine and all the ingredients to cook a yummy home cooked meal for visitors.

That was until I came across mash. food



mash. food is the answer to all your prayers - the meals are delicious and homely but don't cost the earth. I have bought those generic, mass produced heat at home packs from Foodland before but mash. hits them for six. As a friend always says to me "you couldn't buy the parts for the same price" so why would I bother even attempting to recreate the mash. magic!?

The brains behind mash. is a gal called Ashleigh who is a salt of the earth kind of girl. We went to school together and she was a boarder from the Murraylands. I couldn't believe it when I found out she had started her own 'heat and eat' business. Surely it can't be that good?!

Well blow me down, it's AH-MAZING! My dearest Bree ordered mash. chicken and leek pies for Grace's christening a few months back (remember?) and I was impressed. They were SO good. A real homemade flavour to them.

So I put in my first order . . . and I haven't looked back. 

Since then, we've sampled Moroccan Stew, Lamb Casserole, all three of her curries (my Dad seriously licked the bowl clean!), Apple and Caramel Pudding and her bulghar wheat salad. And that was just Winter!

Ashleigh cooks everything up fresh and then delivers to your door every Tuesday (she even does country runs in the Barossa and Murraylands!). It's so exciting coming home from Zumba every Tuesday with Mum (love me a free meal at the folks' place!) to see what Ashleigh's left on the front porch. Everything is packaged up in alfoil containers suitable for freezing or popping straight in the oven. And the portions are HUGE. This week, mash. was celebrating its first birthday and we got a special delivery of choc caramel slice and lemon curd. TDF. 

The curries are HUGE and seriously rival Raj on Taj in terms of quality, cost and portion size. PLUS you don't have to get in the car to go and pick it up - it's just a matter of heating on the stove!

I am SOLD. But hurry, her Winter menu is only available until 5pm this Saturday. I'm super excited to see what she's got in store for Spring. I like things I can put in the freezer and then heat up when friends unexpectedly pop over (or a date is cancelled at the last minute)

And looking for something to give that new Mum and her home cooked meal starved hubby? How about a mash. gift package? I'm stocking up on supplies to take to my Grandparents next time I see them - I would normally cook for them myself, but when Ash's efforts seriously outshine my own - and at half the price - I'm happy to support her efforts! Plus . . . no dishes!

Sign up for Ashleigh's hilarious emails - she finds some gorgeous pics and is very active on Facebook so 'like' her now!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bowl me over


Only Matthew Le Nevez (aka Dr Patrick from Offspring) could make a moustache look this good. 

I feel slightly wrong perving on 'Dennis Lillee' like this. He's like, my Dad's age!

Who else is loving Howzat?


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Here's to the boy!






I know I've talked about my clever friends before and today I'd like to introduce you to the gorgeous Sam.

Sam and I grew up around the corner from each other and we went to competing all girls schools. She was GK on the netball court and I was her direct opponent in GS. We weren't the best athletes and spent most of our time talking about the 'gatherings' we would go to on Saturday nights.

We went on to go to uni together and then headed overseas around the same time (Sam to Japan and me to the UK) and then we both found careers in Comms/PR when we got back with Sam ultimately helping me get the job I'm currently in . . . we get to work together nearly every day!

That was until she went on maternity leave last year. Oh how I miss her!

Oh, and did I mention I was one of her bridesmaids? Most. Stunning. Wedding. Ever. She looked like one of those magazine brides in the Estee Lauder ads. Gorgeous.

She and her hubby (and Ollie the pug) live just around the corner and we enjoy many a red wine together. I love having her so close.

Anyway, Sam became Mummy to adorable Harrison last year (remember the nappy cake I made for the baby shower?) and this weekend just gone, we celebrated his Christening at the church where Sam and Sime got married. Afternoon tea followed at Sam's Mum's house, it was gorgeous. She'd gone to so much trouble - everything matched but most importantly, tasted ah-mazing.

Lemon meringue pies, chicken sandwiches (see here for a similar recipe), mini melting moments and the most scrumptuous Christening cake by Sugar and Spice. Oh, and the sausage rolls did wonders for the teeny headache I had from all the bubbles last night!

I've just sat down to enjoy my gingerbread H biscuit with a cup of peppermint tea in front of Howzat (love me some cricket history and helllllooooooo Matthew LeNevez with a mo!) and gosh it was good. Perfect end to the day x



Friday, August 17, 2012

I dip my hat to you








Nothing excites me more than winetime.

Especially after a month off the grog thanks to Dry July!

I was heading around to my friend Sam's house on the weekend and stopped by the shops to pick up some nibbly snacks. I went straight to the obvious selection - a round of cheddar to have with caramelised onion and toasted ciabatta and olives - but realised I really felt like a dip.

Nothing inspired me in the fridge section at the supermarket but I saw that avocadoes were on special so I picked up a few and had a sudden craving for guacamole.

And that was the start of my Sunday funday!

I settled on three dips - spiced carrot hommus, tzatziki and guacamole served with Turkish toasts and they totally kicked the butt of any shop bought variety. 

Extra tasty with a side of Shiraz (thanks Sam!)

I even made enough to put together a 'care package' for my grandparents (in an old J.Crew box!) Dropped it off at their place on my way to Sam's and they were over the moon - especially as they had friends over and were enjoying a G&T sans nibbles. Talk about brownie points for this favourite granddaughter!

Spiced carrot hommus
Makes enough for 4 people

Ingredients
1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
2 tsp olive oil
1 tspn grated fresh ginger (I use the jar stuff)
2 garlic cloves (yes, I use the jar stuff!)
1 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn ground coriander
425g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
2 Tbspn low fat natural yogurt (I used Black Swan no fat)
2 tspn lemon juice
salt and pepper

  1. Boil the carrot until tender then drain and set aside
  2. Heat oil in saucepan and add garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander. Cook for about 1min until fragrant. Add cooked carrot and stir to coat over heat. Remove from heat once coated and let cool
  3. Put carrot mixture in bowl with chickpeas, lemon juice, yoghurt and use stick blender to process until smooth (could also use food processor or blender)
  4. Add lemon and salt and pepper to taste. If too thick, add hot water until you're happy with the consistency
  5. Sprinkle with zatar or dukkah for added interest
  6. Serve with toasted pita bread or carrot batons

Tzatiki
Makes about 1 cup or so

1 lebanese cucumber
2 garlic cloves (or 1 heaped tspn crushed garlic from the jar in my books)
1/2 cup no fat natural yoghurt
1 squeeze lemon juice

  1. Line a bowl with 2 sheets of paper towel
  2. Grate the cucumber into the paper towel
  3. Fold the edges of the paper towel in and squeeze the excess juice from the cucumber out of the paper towel ball. Discard juice and empty contents of paper ball into bowl
  4. Add yoghurt and garlic to grated cucumber with a squeeze of lemon and mix well
  5. Serve with toasted pita or Turkish bread

Guacamole
Makes about 1 cup

1 ripe avocado
1 roma tomato, finely chopped
1 small handful coriander leaves, chopped
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
juice of one lime
2 Tbs natural yogurt

  1. Empty the avocado flesh into a bowl and mash with the yoghurt
  2. Add the tomato, red onion and coriander and stir in the lime juice
  3. Dip should be chunky and fragrant
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of coriander on top
  5. Delicious with tortilla chips or in a burrito

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Spring in my step




Spring is in the air, can you feel it?

Went for a walk on the weekend to buy some supplies for winetime and struggled to find a bag suitable to carry my groceries home in.

Settled on my bagladies Adelaide bag (which I love because I can wear it over the shoulder) but it's a bit deep and hard to find your keys and phone at the bottom!

I dream of looking oh so effortlessly chic on my weekend shopping adventures. Like a Parisienne, with a baguette poking out the top of my shopping basket, plus a big bunch of flowers, possibly a bottle of bubbles . . . and even a little puppy if you so desire.

Enter Lady Chatterley's Affair and her totes gorge shopping baskets. AND they're environmentally friendly. Score.

I have ordered the pink one and am desperate for it to arrive so I can take it blossom hunting with me. Found some good solid trees on my weekend walk and it would feel far less criminal in the dark of the night with my scissors at the ready, if I had a pretty pink basket at my side!


Pics here and here

Monday, August 13, 2012

An old friend


I don't want them to end!

The London Olympics have been wonderful (I just wish the time zone had been friendlier!)

I've been a mess watching the Olympians run around my old home town - I seriously had tears in my eyes watching the marathon the other night. Oh the memories! I pity anyone who watched with me . . .

"That's where I used to catch the bus! There's my old workplace! If you turn left at that intersection, you'll head towards my old house! I've had lunch on those lawns!"

Annoying commentary, yes!

I love the fact we've excelled in sports that otherwise wouldn't get much coverage - the sailing has been fantastic, hasn't it!? I wonder how many enquiries the sailing clubs across the country have received in this last week? 

As much as I would've loved to have done well in swimming  (if not only to have seen James Magnussen smile his beautiful smile more often!), I've enjoyed cheering on our heroes in the lesser known sports such as the 10k swim (ew, not sure I'd want to swim in that lake but HELLO Ky Hurst!) and the 50k walk (wiggle those hips, why don't you!)

I would've loved to have camped on the couch to watch the Closing Ceremony but alas, I've got to work up a sweat of my own at bootcamp.

Can't wait to see the Spice Girls in full swing!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pie in the sky






The only thing I know about Reader's Digest magazines is that they made a great resource for school projects when I was little.

We used to cut them to shreds and use pics on posters, or fold in the pages and spray in gold to make a Christmas tree or angle.

Sound familiar?

Well, my appreciation of this publication soared through the roof this weekend when I tried a recipe that was sent to me by my friend Kelly (mother of the delicious little Max, my Godson)

They were so soo sooo easy and tasty like you wouldn't believe. I made one big pie for four rather than individual ones in muffin tins and it took a bit longer to cook, but it used less pastry which is better for the waistline!

Chicken & Leek Pies
Makes 4
Cook & Prep Time: 45mins
Recipe from here

Ingredients
500gms diced chicken breast
1 Leek sliced finely
1 Tblsp Cooking Oil
1 Tblsp Seeded Mustard
3 Sheets Puff Pastry
250mls Sour Cream
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 large egg lightly beaten

Preparation

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200'c. Brown leek and chicken in frying pan with oil til leek is soft and chicken is light golden colour. Add sour cream, mustard and chicken stock to pan, stir til combined and simmer for 10mins so sauce thickens. Then turn off pan while preparing pastry.
  2. Lightly oil muffin/pie pan. Cut 4 pastry rounds and insert into pan. Prick base of pastry with a fork and bake for 5 mins. (This method stops your bottom from going soggy.)
  3. After 5mins remove from oven, spoon chicken mixture into base and cover with 4 pastry rounds making sure to seal edges of pie by pinching sides together. Pearce lid twice with knife to allow air to escape while cooking. Brush beaten egg over pie top to give cooked pie a lovely golden crust.
  4. Place in oven for 10 to 15mins til pie top is crispy and golden. Serve immediately with fresh garden salad and boiled baby spuds.



Friday, August 10, 2012

There she goes again

The Duchess of Cambridge.

Or just Kate.

She is a knock out, isn't she?

Never sets a foot wrong. And the Olympics are bringing out the best in her.

Classic, yet she puts her own mark on it. And doesn't she love the red, white and blue of the Union Jack! A great Ambassador for Team GB.

And it all started all those months ago in that dress . . .


Let the Games begin!










Fabulous even in a sports polo . . .






Thursday, August 9, 2012

For Like Where?

I need your help, people!
One of my most prized possessions is my For Like Ever framed poster that was my farewell present from my old work. Gosh they have good taste (that's you, Joanne!)

It's been moved around my little unit for the last two years with no permanent home.

I finally decided I had to do something with it when I had friends over for dinner a few weeks ago and in a red wine daze, I walked into the table that was in front of the poster and smashed the glass to smithereens.

I know, I know, what was it doing behind a table?

So, where do you suggest?

Looks great above the couch. I think this is a front runner. But I don't have two windows for it to sit between. Can doorways have the same effect? This, I can do!


I do love it as part of a cluster wall, but I don't have a big enough wall for this to work.


I do have a fireplace but the question is, does it hang above . . . 


. . . or rest on the mantelpiece?


The floor is a very cool look.

I especially like how this is hidden behind a chair.

But I know I'd back into it and smash the glass again.


The layering effect could work for me . . . it can hide the scratches in the print from where the glass sliced it.

*sob*


But again, a hazard on the floor don't you think?


Two yeas ago I had it above my bed but I thought that was bad juju. There's no way I want to be a single gal in that bed alone . . . For Like Ever. So it was taken down after a couple of months of well, drought.

So the bedroom is out.

But this looks so cool . . .


Anna Spiro does it so well. I could do a hall stand . . .


And here she's popped it in a nook - a cute feature of my own little house.

But visitors don't really see the nook. Unless they're on their way to the bathroom.

And it's kind of dark in there.


Back to the living room - this pic shows how it works even in the narrowest of wall spaces.

In my little shoebox of a home, I think I'm going to have to settle for something similar. Maybe just inside the front door?


Stay tuned - I might have a popular vote and take you on a tour of my home!