Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Perfect Afternoon Tea Companion

I’ve fallen in love with this porcelian wear. How lovely would afternoon tea be with those cups?

Weekend Round Up

I count Friday after 5pm as my weekend so here’s what I got up to after clocking off.

Out to tea with That Southern Boy’s HS friends. Very disappointing bowl of pasta bit I was invited to a Christmas gathering on the 20th December, yay! Saturday involved visiting That Southern Boy’s grandma’s new house, heading to an aunction with my Dad and everyone’s favourite builder, a spot of shopping at Coles for party supplies and that night’s dinner. I then organised my desk drawers, cooked dinner for That Southern Boy and sat down to watch Christmas with the Kranks, a great movie.

Sunday I headed out early with the mother and the sister to a Christmas Fair. Lots of bargains including a cool gift for the Christmas Kris Kringle on the 20th Dec and some lovely wooden and leadlight ornaments for me. That Southern Boy and I headed into the city (which was surprisingly quiet) for some watch hunting. Back at home I put up the Christmas decorations, prepared my fruit mince and made some chocolate truffle mixture. I cooked my favourite pasta dish for tea but was too exhausted to enjoy it! A nice soak in the bath and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation ended my weekend perfectly!

Whew, no wonder I’m tired now! Can’t wait to see what next weekend will bring.

Christmas Baking

Last year I went a little nuts with the holiday baking. Mince pies, handmade chocolates, german biscuits, spiral biscuits, chocolate pasties and potato donuts with Nonna, white Christmas slice and florentine slice. There was no method to my madness, in true Aussie style I just went for gold. No wonder I was burnt out by Christmas day.
This year I have a plan and a list. Here’s what I’ll be baking for Christmas 2008:
Cranberry and White Chocolate biscuits (for my Cookie Exchange Party).
Truffles to give as presents to my dearly loved friends.
Mince Pies to give as presents for a select few and for both my family and That Southern Boy’s family.
A Gingerbread House as our table centrepiece for Christmas Day lunch.
Hurrah for a realistic Christmas baking schedule! But if I feel like doing more I always can…..

Issues with Shoes

As I’ve been dillently saving over the last six months my shoe habit has sadly slipped by the wayside. As bad as the withdrawl symptoms initally were I was able to work through them so that I’m at this very moment I’m at the stage where I. Don’t. Want. To. Buy. Shoes.
There may be other contributing factors, such as the fact I already own 50 pairs of shoes. Or that I have no room to store anymore shoes. Or that come the 24th December I’ll no longer have a steady income. That in 2009 I’ll be returning to life as a sensibly attired teacher which means no more heels to work. There’s also the small fact that I’m still saving for a fabulous walk in wardrobe with surrounding house!
Is this the end of my obssession with shoes????

What I Miss About London (Part I - Food)

When I first moved to London just after Christmas 2003 I was desperately homesick. I had no idea that my heart and thoughts would ache for home when I’d been so determined to leave it behind at the first chance available. So I sat down at my old laptop in my flat in Nottingham and wrote a list of things that I missed about Australia…..

That was almost five years ago and a lot has happened in that time. I am now ‘home’ in Australia but my heart and thoughts constantly ache for my old life in England/London! Sometimes you just can’t win.

It’s also quite fitting that today, the 27th of November is exactly three years to the day that I flew out of London heading for Australia via the USA.

Here is the first part of my ‘What I Miss About London’ list

GBK. Home of the delightfully yummy gourmet burger. Chicken Satay was my favourite but a seedy Sunday often called for a plain old Hamburger with Cheese.

Hummingbird Bakery in Notting Hill. This is where I tasted my first ever red velvet cupcake. Bliss.

Krispy Kreme donuts. I love these little gems. I could eat them in my sleep. They bring me sheer happiness like no other dessert I’ve tasted in my life time. I know they are American but when I taught near Victoria Tube Station I would wonder to the stand there after a hard day teaching the children of Pimlico.

King Solomon’s Kebab House. My friends lived around the corner from this establishment in Shepherds Bush. So many late night ventures ended with a stop here for a kebab.

Edgeware Road and all it’s Middle Easter restaurants/bars.

Sainsbury’s Market at Victoria. Many a happy afternoon was spent wondering the aisles of this branch with the two Best Dressed Ladies in Pimlico.

Quavers. The best chicken flavoured crisp ever. A ten pack packet literally only lasts one hour.

Curries. There is a curry house on every high street, sometimes more than one! I don’t know if it’s a combination of the cold weather and constant threat of rain but nothing compares to the comfort of eating a curry in London.

My Must Take Travel Albums

My Creative is nearly 2 years old. Hurrah! It made travelling with music an absolute breeze. The battery life is pretty good and I even have photos on there so pictures of friends and family were always close by when I was far away. The only problem with my Creative is that I don’t seem to listen to full albums anymore. I’ve developed some sort of listening ADHD over the past two years. I’ll pick an album and just flip through the songs I really want to hear, sometimes I don’t even listen to full songs. Over the last six months it’s gotten even worse, I completely ignore albums and head straight for my play lists. So to refresh my love of a good album from start to finish here is my list of must take albums to wile away the time spent travelling:

New Order – Substance Disc 1

U2 – How to Build an Atomic Bomb

Madonna Mix – Home made and taken from my cousin’s great Madonna collection

Crowded House – The Best of (their music can make me cry like a baby for Australia, even though they are Kiwi’s!)

Merrick & Rosso – Choice Cuts (every Aussies needs to hear a True Blue accent when stuck on a train in the German countryside)

The Beach Soundtrack – Various artists (watching this moving when I was 19 was a big motivator in moving half way across the world)
Pearl Jam – No Code

Foo Fighters – There is Nothing Left to Lose

Triple J Hottest 100’s Personal Mix - Various artists (thank you ABC Shop!)

Las Vegas

Can I just say that I love Las Vegas? Three years ago today I had the good fortune to visit Las Vegas with two very dear friends. Here are 5 things that helped make me smitten with Las Vegas:

1. Margaritaville rocked our world. How can you not have fun with over-sized margaritas and giant plates of nachos?
2. The Bellagio. Beautiful hotel, even more beautiful fountain display. It mesmerised us for over an hour. We just couldn’t tear ourselves away.
3. Breakfast at the MGM Grand. Bacon, eggs, tomatoes, hash browns, juice, coffee and buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup. Delicious!
4. Fashion Show Mall. My first time in an American mall did not disappoint.
5. The big food. Big slices of cake. Big sandwhiches packed to the brim with meat. Big drinks. My kind of food heaven.

Round Music: accepting the inevitable

Last night Bloc Party paid Thebarton Theatre a visit. As much as I hated sharing a much loved ‘London’ band with screaming indie attired girls and gangly boys in skinny jeans and even skinnier t-shirts, it was nice to see a few hundred 18-24’s acting their age rather than channeling 37 all before hitting 21. As refreshing as it was to see so many young people in no rush to jump on the mortgage bandwagon that is the preferred lifestyle of choice in this city, it was quite a bittersweet moment for me. It has finally dawned on me that I can no longer consider myself one of those fresh-faced 18-24 year olds.

Kele Okereke was a mesmerizing front man to watch as I triumphantly battled my Sunday evening fatigue (bet those squealing girls weren’t stifling yawns like this fastly-approaching-30 lady was). He’s aesthetically beautiful to gaze up at, with a voice that doesn’t need an instrument to sweeten its sound (although the instruments in play last night did a pretty fine job too). Although Kele’s appearance and voice contribute to his sound ability as a front man there is more at play. His presence on stage is bolstered by a true lack of arrogance. He is not trying to be cool. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. He isn’t sprouting his views on politics, the end of world hunger or third world debt. What Kele is doing is showing his fans just how happy he is at the fact he gets to sing his songs on stage in front of people who enjoy his band’s music.

I’m surprised that I didn’t come away with this same impression after seeing Bloc Party at Glastonbury in 2007. I can only put such an oversight down to the growing mud, the constant rain and the fact I hadn’t had a shower for two days. I was probably concentrating on not falling into the knee deep mud while trying to catch a glimpse of Kele through the drizzle. It’s possible I may also have been distracted by trying to tell myself that was I was still a wide eyed 19 year old. It’s sort of scary nice to know I can now accept my increasing maturity.