Saturday, December 25, 2010

turning Japanese

Well, day 2 in this city and I LOVE it. Tokyo officially rocks. So far we've checked out the view from the Mori tower in Roppongi Hills, seen a great art exhibition, lunched at a cool hole in the wall bar in Shinjuku, shopped Omotesando, been fleeced (kobe beef) at a teppanyaki restaurant, sampled some great wines, and cruised the Imperial Palace gardens.

Today being Christmas day, we went for lunch at the New York Bar and Grill (of Lost in Translation fame) at the Park Hyatt. Very good food and so reasonable. Yum good pork lunch, although no crackling. Boo. Senastional desserts on offer.

Now it's chill out time in our room at the Mandarin Oriental... Fluffy-robing it up... Life is sweet. Tomorrow its Ginza then we catch a plane to Sapporo to commence our Japan ski odyssey.

Open it up!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Working Girl

I just completed my first "week" (3 days) back at work. Initial thoughts. Great. Fun. Exhilarating. Challenging. Felt welcomed. Great to be home amongst such lovely colleagues. Excited. New projects. So many new faces. Who are all these spunky, confident twenty somethings and why aren't they still at school? On day 1 I felt like the new girl. By day 2 I was being asked questions again. Ahhhh what year off?

But tomorrow I have my first friday off with my Orsie and I'm really excited. Yoga, hanging with Trudes and Igs. Fun!

Feel lucky to have such a gorgeous family and such a great job. Right now, life is sweet. Just have to make some time to THINK. Thinking is very important people!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Swim Time

So, Orson Leo had his very first swimming lesson last week... phwoar, what a ride that was. It was a mixture of tears, laughter, sheer terror and excitement. And that was just me. He loved it at first and the teacher even called him "a very compliant student!" but once a few other babies started screaming, it was all on. Orsie went out in sympathy  - "ARGHHHHHH! Mummy how could you do this to me!!!!!!!!!!!" Anyway, he seemed to chill out towards then end and he LOVED his first ever hot shower afterwards so onwards and upwards.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


One of the most exciting things about going back to work in 2 weeks time is having cashflow again. It's been a long time between shoe purchases people and that's tough. But tough times don't last and tough people do so I am revelling in the latest designer shoe offerings with much excitement.

See the Mulberry Postman boots above. LOVE them. NEED them. Will HAVE them one day soon come hell or highwater.

And the Louboutin Ronfifi 100s below. Bliss. So hot with a skinny pant or jean... or with a tulip skirt...


And these Alaias?? Well they are my absolute MUST HAVE summer shoe. And have them I will damn it. So hot, so sexy so cool. So me!

And take a look at these most DIVINE golden wing booties from the exquisite Mr McQueen. Aren't they just so incredible? This is not about want. It's a genuine NEED.

So, just have to break all this to my husband now. Surely he wont be surprised, I mean he knew i was a shoe addict when he married me right? Mais oui!

Oh and PS, for those of you wanting to get every post as it's hot off the press, use my new "subscribe to post" button on the top left of my blog home page. xxx

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Day at the Zoo

God I love Taronga. For the uninitiated, Taronga Zoo is Sydney's zoo and it's such a great place to go and hang out. Positioned beautifully on the harbour this massive expanse of beautiful jungle, trees, and of course gorgeous animals is soo worth a look. I hadn't been for years but it's as good as ever.

It was Orsie's first trip to the zoo, or any zoo for that matter but Riley is practically a tour guide there so he was great at telling us where everything was.

Favorites? Always the seal show. LOVE it.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Organised Mother

I've heard many a parent bang on about how organised they became after having a child. I have to say I think I thought it was all a bit of a martyr statement until recently. But, I am soon to return to the workforce and thus I am now one of those annoying people who thinks that they are now sooo much more organised than they used to be.

You see this newfound sense of order has manifested itself in many ways but probably the most obvious is in our freezer. And I'm not alone. Allow me to introduce you to Trudie's freezer drawer...

Isn't amazing? Just looking at this makes me feel satisfied. Not only is this the height of organised heaven, but tasty meals in Trudie's freezer for little Iggy include: beef casserole, poached salmon and peas, lentils and vegie, raspberries and pear and blueberry and apple compote! How fabulous is that?

As I type I have a tasty little chicken, asparagus and sweetcorn number on the hob and yesterday I stashed a few pots of spag bol for him. It's odd but cooking and freezing does give one a real sense of contentment... ahhh.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Redfern Gardeners Club

So I told you a while ago about the community garden that was being established at the end of our laneway right? Well, after just two working bees with about 20+ local men, women, children and dogs working feverishly, I am very pleased to let you that the garden is planted, the seedlings are sown.

So, I worked on the herb garden bed with Young St local, Corinne and we planted about 30 seedlings including rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, parsley (both types), coriander, lemongrass, chives, garlic chives, oregano and many more that I can no longer remember. As a centrepiece we planted a magnificent mature yellow nasturtium, very kindly donated by my green thumb landscaping neighbour John.

So I'm currently on Tuesday watering duty, until I go back to work when I might take on a lazy summer evening watering shift. Picture it... gently watering all the growing plants while watching the neighbours come home from work, with the crickets and cicadas singing while the sun goes down. Not a bad life.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Our Spring Garden

You may recall I wrote a while ago about our very bare looking winter garden. Well, spring has sprung folks and last weekend Orsie, Trent, Riley and I hit the courtyard with much Springtime garden gusto.

The main projects were to find and plant new climbers and shrubs along the back fence to grow quickly and give screening and privacy (and some lovely perfumed flowers hopefully) and to re-establish the herb garden. We took a little excursion to the local nursery and found everything we needed and then proceded to plant to our hearts content. Tick. Tick. Done! Oh and I have a very soft spot for geraniums cascading out of terracotta pots (it's the Italian in me) so I popped a beautiful little one in an old sentimental pot. Here's hoping it thrives.

Orsie even helped out watering in some of the new plants god love him. And he never can resist sampling a bit of the soil. A green thumb in the making methinks.

Stay tuned for more pics as flowers (hopefully!) come to hand.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Always on the lookout for ways to broaden cultural horizons, Pip B and I took young Orson to see Abstraction at the AGNSW last week. I am happy to report that all these years later, seeing beautiful original pieces of art that I spent so many years learning about and reading about in text books back at school, is still incredibly thrilling. You see I've been very lucky over the years to have seen art at MoMA, the Louvre, Musee Rodin, Musee D'Orsay, Tate Modern, the Uffizi and a few others. Seeing so many of the beautiful works which so inspired me as a young art student has been, I reckon, one of life's great treats. As you know, my love of travel pushes me to have a trip in planning at any one time - even if it's for 2 years away, it's important to me. I don't function well if I don't have one in planning. And it's this travel that allows me to see these little treasures. But oh how sweet when the little treasures pop themselves on a boat (or more likely a plane) and get themselves all the way over here to my very doorstep!

There I was the other day, aged 35, finding myself in front of one of Paul Klee's best. It's still just so exciting. For $20 a pop, you really can't beat it.

The Abstraction exhibition has over 150 paintings by some of the most significant artists in the pre Abstract and Abstract period including Mondrian, Leger, Seurat, Klee, Kandinsky, Picasso, Matisse, Whistler and Monet and finishes on September 19 at the AGNSW. It's a MUST SEE.

Nb. The very abstract picture at top was taken on my camera with Pip's very clever kaleidoscope lens attachment. Cool huh?

And below are some art pics from my travels that I thought I'd share with you.

1. The Pieta, St Peter's Bascilica, Rome. I had no idea that this famous sculpture would affect me as much as it did when I saw it. It's incredibly moving and a very emotive tribute to a mothers love for her child.

2. David... the other David that is. The smaller version in Piazza della Signora in Florence.

3. Me and the Thinker (Le Penseur) at the Musee Rodin, Paris. So cool to see this one up close and situated in the most magnificent gardens as only the French can do.

4. Out front of the Cezanne exhibition in Florence. 

5. One of Gaugin's Tahitian delights. So beautiful. Has to be one of my favourite artists I think. This one from Musee D'Orsay, Paris.

6. The spare parts skull. Biennale, Venice. 

7. Me outside the Tate Modern having been swept away by the Rothko exhibition.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birds Ski Trip

Well I'm feeling rather chilled and I owe it all to my lovely friend Tana. You see Tana kindly hosted a group of keen ski chicks at her wonderfully warm and comfortable home in Jindabyne for a long weekend. After months of night wakings and looking after little Orson 24/7, it was just the tonic I needed.

By night, we cooked for each other, laughed and drank nice wines and by day, of course we skied like demons, (see Pippa below, skiing like a demon).
"But what did you eat?" I hear you cry. Well, on night 1, Trudie and I cooked veal and pork meatballs with tagliatelle and a simple green salad. On night 2, we were treated to a magnificent two course (!!) feast by Liz and Sasha which consisted of white wine and 3 cheese risotto for entree followed by Lizzie's amazing herb baked chicken and fennel with crispy baked potato AND a fabulous pear, walnut, parmesan and rocket salad. YUM! Meal of the weekend in my eyes. On night 3 Nicola L and Pippa cooked 2 fabulous pasta dishes - one featuring that wonderful combintion of anchovy, chili, oil and lemon and the other a wonderful brocollini and fetta number. So as you can see, we didn't go without.

And on the slopes we made the most of the recent snowfalls and the expertise of two of Thredbo's finest instructors - Federico and Lucas. Ferderico (whom I had the pleasure of learning from), a Marketing/Business student from Venice, took us through various "exercises" (drills) to get us to lean further forward and more downhill. He had his work cut out for him trying to get us to ski with our skis shoulder width apart... we're all such ladylike skiers you see. 

And of course it wouldn't be a birds ski trip if we didn't finish the skiing with a run backwards down Friday Flat... which we did much to our own hilarity... but it wasn't as funny as Tana skiing over the embankment at the bottom of Crackenback.... see below... gold. 

Ah til next year ladies. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

James St Community Garden

So a lovely neighbour of mine, (John the landscape gardener) told me a while ago about a small group of people from my local area who were working towards getting council approval to build a community garden.

Ever since falling in love with the River Cottage series on tele featuring Hugh Fernley Whittingstall, I've been keen on being part of such a project. Well now that's about to happen. The project team for the James St Community Garden in Redfern, have had their application approved and an $8,000 grant donated. After receiving a mailbox flier asking for interested people to attend a meeting a few weeks back, I got involved.

We start work on our little patch next Saturday, August 21, and I have to say, I'm more than just a little bit excited. I shall keep you up to date on our working bees, the development of the garden and any interesting gardening facts which should come my way.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Burgers Are Better... at home.

Ok, firstly I promise that this isn't becoming a food blog. Not that it would be a bad thing, it's just that there are so many other things to talk about. Being winter and all, there are just too many yummy, filling, tasty dinners to create hence the increase in culinary posts on here of late.

Anyway, the burgers. Being a burger lover, it seems odd that I've never made my own but I changed all that last weekend. I've experimented with my own version of the chicken burger (Oporto style) but never the grand daddy of burgers, the beef burger.

If you haven't tried it, DO IT. SO EASY.

I consulted my good friend Nigella on this one and she suggested buying the best beef mince you can, shaping about 125g of it into a patty and then seasoning with salt and pepper, rubbing down with olive oil and then frying 2-3mins on each side in a hot pan. The rest is a cinch.

I think no beef burger is complete without gherkins, fried egg (with runny yolk that explodes down the sides of the burger when you bite in), bacon and melted gruyere.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Girls on Film

So it just happened to be my birthday this week (35 big ones) and even though I didn't arrange a dinner or party, I felt it necessary to get a couple of the birds together for an impromptu night at the pub. The venue was the Lord Dudley in Woollahra and the tonic? Prosecco... and a couple of shots of course. It's tradition.

We then moved onto the Sheaf for a Jagerbomb (cause we needed that) and by 11.30 I was so tired it was time for bed. Just don't have the same stamina as I used to!

Wonderful night ladies. Thanks a million!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Veal Winner's that for a cheesy headline...
Anyway, the other night, in my current state of wanting rich, warm comfort food I cooked up a little gem from an old Women's Weekly cookbook - Veal and Eggplant Parmigiana. Soooo good people. I was going to babble on about how fattening this dish must be but you know what? WHO CARES. It tastes amazing and it warms the soul. Its basically a layered dish consisting of a thick tomato sauce, veal, eggplant with yummy molten mozzarella and parmesan on top.

Let me know if you want the recipe.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Power of a Flower

Trudging out to the laundry yesterday in torrential rain, I can't tell you how happy I was to discover the arrival of my first camelia. Having watched my two camelias do very little but sprout leaves and get taller over the past 2 years, I feel positively warm and gooey when I look at my lovely first fleur. It's not particularly big and fluffy, nor it is perfectly white a la the Chanel varieties but it's real and it's mine.

When I last reported on le jardin, I may have mentioned my ceremonial planting of some new white Begonias... or I might not have, can't remember, no brain at the moment. Anyway, no signs of life there yet but stay tuned. And the lemons well they just keep on coming god love them. All this rain is totally their cup of tea.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cool Kids on the Piste

Well I've been hitting the slopes both here in Australia and overseas for a few years now and I noticed a real step up this year in ski chic, and it was the boys leading the way people. I saw so many cool young things getting about the slopes in the most amazing array of ski chic. Largely driven by those uber cool snowboarding kids, the latest looks were all about patterns, print and colour. BIG. LOUD. COLOUR.

I tell you what it certainly made queuing for lifts that much more bearable.

But if you're not of the knuckle-dragging persuasion, and you prefer the more refined method of getting down the hill on two planks not one, there were still some gerat looks to be worn. The best looks incorporated fur, block colour or neutrals and slim line cuts. As far as I'm concerned the pastel should not be seen on the slopes. Never. No need. Come on, get bold, this is your excuse to get a little creative.

As with every season, I am in love with and am coveting pretty much the entire Moncler range... particularly the hot Alpin jacket (shiny cherry puffer with red fox hood, oooh aaah), the Cluny (sporty blue perfect for real skiing) and the Tarn (saucy white sleveless puffer with fox hood). Check out the Moncler site for further inspiration

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm baaaaack!

Hello to my lovely followers and friends and a very special hello to my visitors from the Russian Federation and USA! I hope you come again soon.

So I've been MIA hanging out in lovely Jindabyne and ripping it up in Perisher. Well when I say ripping it up, ripping up what there was... which was mostly man made snow and a fairly limited selection of terrain but nevertheless, we had fun!

Stay tuned for my snow fashion report along with various upcoming posts including Orsie's baptism and that highly anticipated update on my winter garden. Til then, ciao.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Le jardin d'hiver

This morning Orsie joined me for a spot of green-thumbery in our very overlooked "garden". I gave the camellias a quick prune, fixed up the lemon tree a bit and pulled out some dead herbs which died as a result of too much rain over the last few weeks. The bougainvilleas or bogans as they are fondly referred to in our house, are very much leafless and sad looking, (I'm hoping that they hibernate in the winter) however I can happily report that all is not lost in the winter garden: our parsley is thriving and our lemon tree is fruitful.

I plan on reviving the garden once the renovations are complete. There doesn't seem much point fixing it up a treat when it will be shortly covered in a thick film of dust and rubbish now does there. It's a small space but there's enough room for our BBQ, a little more storage in the form of a cool BBQ unit built in along the western wall and re-planting of all the plants. I'm thinking herbs for la cucina and lots of fragrant and pretty white flowers... ah... it's nice to dream. See lemon tree positively prospering below.

While I'm at it, here are a few pics from my Dad's garden last Winter in lovely Hobart.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Chicken Pie - Domestic Goddess I

Well, it's official. I'm a homemaker. Not only did I darn two pairs of socks on the weekend (seriously, do people even darn anymore?), but last night I baked a pie for dinner. A hearty chicken pie recipe courtesy of my good friend Nigella. Perfect winter fare. Yummo.

It was really easy, largely because I purchased a BBQ chook and used frozen pastry. Easy peasy.

Here's the recipe. And for those who asked for the Ribollita recipe, stay tuned...

Nigella's Easy Chicken Pie
60g Butter
50g Plain Flour
1 chicken stock cube
625 full fat milk
150g frozen peas (I did 1/2 peas, 1/2 corn)
375g cooked chicken
Frozen pastry sheets
1 egg

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour and crumbled stock cube. Off the heat add the milk a little at a time, whisking to a smooth paste. When all the milk is incorporated, put back on heat, turn up to medium to high but don't let it boil and stir or whisk constantly for a few minutes to get rid of starch in the flour and make a really thick sauce. Don't stop stirring! Pour the thick white sauce into bowl.

Slip metal baking tray into oven and pre heat to 200C. Put peas in sieve and pour full freshly boiled kettle over peas. Shake off excess water. Get pastry out to defrost. Shred the chicken and mix the peas/corn in with chicken and white sauce.

Line bottom of pie dish with pastry, spoon filling into dish and cover with pastry lids. Baste with egg wash. Put dish on heated baking sheet already in oven and cook til golden brown on top.
Enjoy with fresh green salad and vinaigrette.