Apr 30, 2010

My day in a suit. Hello Kitty II. Random reminisces.

Yes, that's me.  In front of a dirty mirror (apologies, will get around to cleaning it when I'm On Annual Leave The Week After Next), wearing a suit.  It was a hard day at work.  I had to wear a suit, I had to give a presentation (last billing on a Friday afternoon, it's a tough crowd, I'm telling you), I had to wear daggy shoes on account of my swollen left foot I've developed and still do my regular day job minus my resident (junior who does the paper work and the talking I can't bear to do - joke).

I tell you, a lesser woman would have used another day of accrued sick leave and retreated to the lounge with a DVD, some chick lit and all the stuff she'd IQ'd.  It was very tempting.  I am really keen on Economy Gastronomy at the moment.  It's common sense, tasty frugality.  My initial interest in Masterchef is waning.  They must have onions on set 24/7 because there just seems to be so many spontaneus tears already in the season.

If this suit could talk.  It's Veronika Maine (before they stopped being Cue for Old Women With Real Lives and concentrated on dresses in quirky shapes and fabrics, Cue For Old Women Who Are Disciples of Deconstruction).  It's a wool blend affair that has done it all - clinical exams, the pants get a fair work out in winter as a foundation for winter work outfits and the combo has even been to drinkies at Bulgari's Sydney store Christmas do.

That was the random event to end all random events.   There was a huge wheel of parmesan from which chunks were being carved off and platters of prosciutto.  With champagne of course.  Under the watchful eye of walls of handbags, scarves and jewellery.  Out of all the people I should bump into at there, but my favourite SA from Louis Vuitton Perth!  She had jumped ship, come home to Sydney and now works for Bulgari.  It was pretty surreal and a whole lot of fun.

Louis Vuitton are holding an Urban Travel Evening next week and my guest and I are Unable To Attend.  Because  I'm going to be on the Sunshine Coast, delivering another rivetting Powerpoint presentation that very same day, possibly in my sturdy brown suit.

There is something strangely compelling about customer events at the House of Vuitton.  Actually, not that strange when you remember that LVMH owns Moet Chandon.  Crab sandwiches and endless glasses of Moet are not a bad way to spend an evening.  Except when you have to negotiate the stairs at the Castlereagh store.

The fruits of the SSG Urban Travel Evening.

The Hello-Kittying of my backpack.  My second H-Kitty arrived from eBay Land. She's the one on the left.  Mr SSG calls this overkill and is questioning my chronological age but I remain loud and proud in my love of the H-Kitty.

I've been following the British election campaign on the radio and caught the last debate on Fox this evening.  I think the grass is always greener.  Somehow I always come away from these debates in awe of those elusive politicians from across the seas who actually answer questions directly in plain English.  I felt the same about the US elections.  Perhaps British and American observers of Australian politics feel the same way.  It's  very remote perhaps, but a perhaps all the same. 

Nothing else to report tonight.  The weekend promises to be interesting - photgraphy in The Rocks and a session as a pupil in yoga teacher (or as Mr SSG calls them, the Yoga Yodas) exams.  In between, Ill be checking the stitches on my foot.  I wonder if they'll hold up for a run tomorrow?

Apr 29, 2010

In stitches. In print. In photojojo heaven.

Every once in a while, unexpected things happen that throw orderly routine into chaos and make you realize what's really important.  The unexpected also sometimes forces you to look at life from a different perspective.

This morning began like any other.  Went for my run, mentally psyched myself up for work (it's been rather busy and draining at the minute) and went off to get breakfast.  Because I was ahead of schedule I thought I'd start putting away the dishes.  In hindsight I should have stopped at the dishes because there was always going to be an element of risk with the food processor blade.  House keeping first thing in the morning.  Don't do it.  It's hazardous to your health.

Yep, I dropped it.  On my foot.  Here we have a trusty clean tea towel worn torniquet style while I tried to calm down and decide what to do next.

I am very embarrassed to say that my brain turned to fluff at that point.  Not so much from pain but the realization that I was going to need stitches.  Was it bad enough to go to ED (and meet my co-workers, as a patient) or should I go to the GP?  I used to have little patience for people who came to ED with what we perceived as 'minor' problems.  I just didn't realize that when something unexpected happens, something called shock and panic sets in and going to ED is the most sensible reaction at the time. Thank goodness the triage nurses and clerical staff at the front desk are far less judgemental than I am.

In my panic I rang Mr SSG who came straight home.

What followed was hilarious, touching, romantic (in an old marrieds kind of way) and humbling.  Mr SSG was in charge of getting me breakfast, finding my clothes ("what are leggings?", "what grey top?"...) and making sure I didn't fall over in the bathroom.

Off to the doctor where the news was good.  Missed a nerve, 3 stitches under a fair bit of tension, day off to rest and no swimming for 10 days.  Which is ironic as I'm off to the Hyatt Coolum in 5 days.  Will just have to sit by the pool all afternoon while I'm there, keeping the top of my left foot dry.

Home with my stitches, there was nothing else to do but sit and read. 

Remember last month's edition of the(sydney)magazine?

I got my free I Heart Sydney badge last night.  Of course, the front of my back pack could not go unadorned.  I found this hello kitty plush toy key ring on ebay.  We're all colour co-ordinated now and there can now be no doubt as to who owns this backpack in the SSG household.

This month's the(sydney)magazine arrived today.  My letter about Sydney got published. The magazine's editor also sent me a lovely email a few weeks back saying she'd read my blog and thought it was great.

The issue was fashion themed and this blog really needs to get back to its fashion and shopping core values (life isn't just all bout food).  Which meant that I had to participate from my sick chair/laptop by visiting Net-A-Porter and  buying-some-shoes (according to the magazine, Kirrily Johnston endorses both this practice and Cotton On - making us fashion twins).  At a considerable saving of $350 from my previous Louboutin supplier *cough cough* Mr David Jones.  Just hoping my parcel doesn't get the equivalent value of what I saved on its way over here. 

The AUD is doing good things against foreign currencies at the moment.  I don't know whose good work this is due to but Mr Costello, I still miss you and your delivery of the budget.  Your country needs you, this current government are having a few commitment issues on practically everything.

The DJs connection continues.  From my understanding of the 'Cool Customers' article, Megan Gale and I could potentially bond over a mutual like of the same shops and shoes.  I wonder if this is sufficient to grant me cool by association?

My crazy cool stuff from photojojo arrived as well.  Just in time for the Coolum adventure next week.  Which reminds me, I'd better rehearse my slides again.

After I do some test shots and play with the free rawwwrrr dinosaur that came with this order too.

The frugal version of a fish eye lens.  This clips on in front of your regular lenses and works best if you're not focussing in too closely on an image.  Here we have the lounge room at SSG Manor looking all cozy and spherical.

The nifty bendy spy lens was  my other purchase.  I need to find more interesting things and people to spy on....

I think that's about as much fun and games as one person can handle whilst resting one of their feet.

Until next time.

Apr 27, 2010

Kermit's Tacos, It's Easy Being Green. A Case Of the Fig Jams. Terry's Date Night.

How was your day?  If it was like mine - the dramas of Monday rolled over into today's duties and you and your workmates without tweenaged daughters were all tut tutting about where those parents were on Sunday night and dawn on Monday.  Enjoying the silence at home would be my guess.

My exploration of the taco continues.  Tonight we have Donna Hay's spicy char - grilled chicken tacos with salsa verde and pickled onions.  From the Feb/Mar 2010 issue.

The Masterfoods herbs and spices standing to attention for yet another day  of service in the kitchen.  1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp onion powder and I added 1 tsp of garlic granules.  This is the spice mix for your chicken thighs.  Forgot to take a photo of them, but feel free to use your imagination.

Set aside your marinated chicken thighs for 10 minutes or so and get started on the condiments.  Not too tricky at all and so worth the effort.

Whilst eating a handful of vintage cheddar and red onion red rock deli chips (optional) - arrange 2 chillis, a couple of spring onions, mint and coriander around your food processor.  And just inhale. 

Place those beautiful greens into your food processor and blitz with some vegetable oil and a clove or two of garlic.

Stand back and admire the green.  It's so vital, calm and full of life.

I was a bit apprehensive at first, when I tasted it.  On it's own, it tasted like grass.  Though it was a good dip with my chips.  But, I have faith in Donna and moved on to the next step.

Pickled onions.  So easy.  Finely slice a red onion and toss with white wine vinegar, salt flakes and vegetable oil.  Sit for 10 minutes.

Fry your chicken thighs.

Reheat your tortillas, if you're like me and don't make them from scratch.

Because you're in for a treat.  The salsa verde and pickled onions were (obviously but you know what I mean) made for the chicken.

I'm one of those people that equates tacos with red - tomatoes and chillis.  These tacos were a step outside my comfort zone - what an adventure!  From now on, I'm calling them Kermit tacos because of the salsa verde.

It's been a while since I've said 'A Case Of The Fig Jams'.  It's such a great phrase though, especially when you spell it F.I.G.  J.A.M. - I'm sure we've all met a person to whom this may apply.

This is my Turkish fig jam from Gimeh Emporium, from my Sugar Hits Safari series a while back.

It's very different to the jam I'm used to.  For a start, it's more of a syrup with whole figs in it.  It tastes very much like kaya, a Malaysian coconut jam I also love. The resemblance is truly astounding.

Terry ventured into Taoism in today's restaurant review.  Chi of Coogee, Randwich Rugby Club, tel: 8021 7536.  It's nice to know that I'm not the only person that gets tangential when writing.  The tangents are a good thing because you often end up having to research them and in so doing learn a new fact or two.  Chi is present within us all.  It animates us.  Reading of it has certainly animated my writing this evening.  Go with me on this one.

You can never have too many good facts stowed away in the memory banks.  They are good fun when they escape from your lips in that voice you get with champagne that is louder than you think it is and with more proper attention to vowels and diphthongs than your usual speaking voice.  Mr SSG likes to call it my 'Mrs K' voice after my speech and drama teacher back in the fun and free days of SSG's Ladies' College in The Western Suburbs of Perth.  Full points to me for the apostrophe placement in that last sentence.

Facts make you friends. 

Such as the time when Mr SSG and I were at taste of Sydney 2010 and we had finished champagne tasting and were off to find food.  Mr SSG asked me how many crowns we needed and I replied, "A s*@#- load.... it's a unit of measurement as well as a facebook fan page, you know".  Which caused the people in front of me in the queue to turn around and agree and we chatted for a bit about it.  I don't know what the point of that story was, but it was funny and made me smile remembering it.

Further on in the review, we learn that Terry practices a 'time honoured marital technique' when going out to dinner with Jill.  It's Tuesday, people.  I've just been talking about a 15 year old boy, Kermit and tacos.  It's really not racy.  It's swapping plates midway through the course.  It really is the most sensible thing to do when you're out at places with tricky food.  Mr SSG and I can attest to this.

Well, reference to 2 swear words and 1 innuendo laden comment.  Oops.  I apologize on behalf of my animated life force. We will be on the plane to Brisbane en route to the Hyatt Coolum this time next week and we will be having fun, in the royal sense of the word.

Good night, sleep tight.  It's a cool one in Sydney tonight.  And she rhymes too.

Apr 26, 2010

I Watched All 3 Hours of Sunrise While Cooking Slow Cooker Chicken Soup. Justin Bieber is Such A Nice Boy.

The weather is simply glorious this long weekend Monday.  It started of a little cool but the sun is out and the skies are now clear.

Wasn't it so much fun staying up late last night knowing that sleeping in today would be perfectly acceptable?

Caught up with The Good Wife last night.  I think I'm starting to get the legal plots.  I think it must just be me, but earlier in the series, I found it really hard to follow the legal storylines.  I'm a bit of a crime series fan and usually don't have this trouble, but I've had to pay  more attention with The Good Wife. 

Besides a day of television and movie going, I started prep for my slow cooker chicken soup last night.

Which is great for using up any stray vegetables in the fridge.

As well as giving my collection of masterfood herbs and spices a bit of a shake.

Oh yes, and I printed out my Bieber poster in anticipation of the Sunrise concert scheduled for 7am this morning. 

As any married woman in her mid 30s would have done.  I drew the line at downloading a screensaver and reading the Twitter feed.  If that redeems the situation at all.

Ah yes, the soup....

All the vegies ready to go.

Then it's just a matter of placing all the veiges in the base of your slowcooker with some garlic cloves, crushed peppercorns, chopped onion and a bay leaf.  With regard to the chicken, I read somewhere that it's best to trim as much fat from your meat as possible for slow cooking.  So I skinned my drumsticks and used skinless chicken breasts.  I coated these in a mix of random herbs including - lemon pepper, celery salt, paprika, thyme, parsley - use whatever takes your fancy.

Then add your stock.  4 cups at least.  I used a mix of chicken and vegetable.  Cook on low for 8 hours or so.  Then take the chicken out and shred the meat.  Return to the soup and heat for a further hour.

This makes at least 6 serves and freezes well for later.  I had some for lunch today with a crusty white bread roll.  Refined carbs were so right for today.

Ah yes, Bieber-gate.  I was all ready to roll with my IQ'd recording of sunrise when I got a facebook message that the Martin Place event was cancelled!!

Indeed, the above screen shot says it all. 

I just couldn't tear myself away from Sunrise.  I watched the entire 3 hours.  It was pandemonium and the poor presenters had a constant background of screaming teenage girls to contedn with.

The girls finally left Circular Quay and descended upon Martin Place, where Channel 7's HQ is.  The whole bottom floor has glass panels and the girls just wouldn't keep back.  The riot police and crowd control police had to be called in addition to the employed security.  Personally, I was most concerned for the  adults - who were all at risk of high frequency hearing loss.  It sounded bad enough from the telecast.

But finally, it happened - He Is Performing Next!

The police were beyond pleased - not.  The girls were going nuts and there was nothing they could do but link arms, make sure their ear plugs were in position and think of a happy place....

Justin seems like such a nice boy.  Even Kochie and Melissa were impressed.  It was such a cute interview.

And then it was all over.  Time for us all to get on with our lives. 

More Cotton On fun - long grey cardi and black skinnies.  White Supre ls T.  Chanel bag as per yesterday.  Black mini monogram LV neck scarf.

Apr 25, 2010

Date Afternoon Spent Watching Date Night. Ron Rons Rock. Fast Pho.

The Sunday afternoon of a long weekend is the perfect time to be heading to the cinema.  Today we were off to watch Date Night.  It is hilarious.  Steve Carell and Tina Fey are perfectly cast and have a real chemistry which I often find missing in the 'big name' Hollywood rom-coms.  

It was refreshing to watch a comedy featuring an older couple which explored in some depth the trials and tribulations of 2 people in love who have been together for so long and have the realities of children and full time jobs to deal with.  The plot is crazy but the central characters were very believable.  Oh and Mark Wahlberg.  Enough said.  Go watch it and have a belly laugh about elements of your own relationship that have found themselves in Tina and Steve's characters.  Oh and Leighton Meester has a role too!  In very different clothes to her Gossip Girl gig.

Speaking of clothes.  My head to ankles Cotton On & Supre outfit.  Supre contributing the white long sleeved T.

There was a handbag somewhere but it didn't make the photos because I needed my camera remote to shoot me and it together.  I lost  my remote, freaked out and the photographic moment passed.  You know how it is when you've lost something and are desperate to find it?  I think it dropped into the bin my mistake a while back and is thus lost for good.  Ordered back ups on ebay tonight so all is good.  I just need a remote for my night photography outing next weekend.

Anyhow, picture old school Chanel tote.  Not the quilted kind.  

Oh man.  I'm hopeless at describing accessories.  I'm going to get off my bottom and take a photo of it for you.  

Here we are.


The first Chanel I ever bought.  It was in Singapore years ago.  Before the houses all took up that 5% price rise twice a year in keeping with 'currency fluctuations'.  My understanding is that currencies fluctuate downwards with some frequency but the houses are yet to pass on the benefit of these downward adjustments to their paying customers. 

I have great respect for the fashion bloggers out there who photograph themselves in their complete outfits.  It is an impressive achievement to get your outfit, shoes and bag in the same shot whilst looking relaxed about it.  Respect and I love your work and effort.

Then there's me.  3 shots to capture one rather ordinary outfit.

Here we have the shoes.  In honour of it being a long weekend and my previous mention of Alexa Chung, I broke with long held tradition and wore heels during the day.  Oh my, those Ron Rons are the business.  They Rock.  Very comfortable indeed, the red topy sole for extra grip was a wise move as I spent the afternoon traipsing along the slick floors of Rhodes shopping centre.  

Lunch was conveyor belt sushi at Tomodachi in the shopping centre.

Because it's the long weekend - sushi featuring battered fillings and mayonnaise based sauces are mandatory.  A bit like the compulsory nature of having mid morning bubbly in lieu of a cup of tea.


Plus the obligatory tuna and mayo sushi with avocado.

Lunch actually happened before the movie.  I'm all out of kilter today.  Anyway, the shopping centre is very well appointed.  After the movie, it was a quick walk to the Coles there for the last couple of ingredients for my (and Donna's) beef pho from the Feb/Mar 2009 issue.

It's such a fast pho recipe that I don't even have that many photos.

Soak think rice noodles in boiling water until soft, 6 - 8 minutes.  Top with thinly sliced beef fillet (it is easiest to slice the beef if it is slightly frozen) and white onion (these are so good raw!).  Have raw bean sprouts, chopped small red chillis and basil leaves ready to go.

Prepare the soup by heating beef stock (I cheated by using a carton of Campbell's ready made) with 1 star anise, 1 cinnamon quill and 1 cardamon pod.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Then just pour over the noodle, beef and onions.

Garnish with chilli, bean sprouts and basil leaves.

Serve with lemon wedges and fish sauce on the side.

I was a bit dubious about how the beef would go but it worked!  Hearty but not heavy and very tasty.

Now for the decadent part of Sunday night - I get to stay up and watch The Good Wife!!  From start to finish, without having to retire half way through like I usually would on a school night.

Scheduled Maintenance at SSG Manor.

How often have you read that phrase on your work computer?  Scheduled maintenance of our system usually occurs between the hours of 0430 and 0630 on a Sunday.  Here I am at roughly that hour, jubilant in now having the rest of the long weekend free (with the benefit of extra pay earned but not yet paid), embarking on scheduled maintenance at the Manor.

As the skies darken and the weather looks like it's finally going to cool down a bit, I start looking for richer food - whether that be in colour or texture.  My current obsession is dried cranberries or craisins.  I love eating them on their own.  Cranberry juice may well be fine for a summer drink but in winter, it's craisins for me.

I use them in my mix and go muesli.

Which, for the cooler months also featured dried apricots as well as the usual.  I love winter colours.

Because the SSG Manor kitchen isn't all clean wholesome living, the drinks inventory of the fridge had to be restocked.  In case of emergency.

Somehow that bottle of champagne looks so right healthy nestled in between sparkling water and skim milk.

The emergency supplies of coke zero and bubbly.

You know how Mr SSG walked home with a bottle of champagne the other day?  The one that matched the lounge room furnishings?  Well, courtesy of his post drinks largesse, he'd actually bought a dozen.  We went back to pick them up yesterday.  He tells me champagne 'keeps'.  If it lasts, that is.

Then it was on to unpacking my haul from Cotton On.  This was all from the Groundhog Day that was Friday.  I had to retrace my steps from Thursday, my day of lathering indecision.  These were the items I tried on and liked but dithered so much I walked out of the store on Thursday empty handed.

For a person who hasn't seen her teenaged years for decades, I now find myself in the possession of 4 pairs of relatively inexpensive skinny jeans.  Two from ICE and another couple from Cotton On.  I've justified each purchase based on an index derived from cost, leg length (no alterations necessary, dollars saved there) and denim shade (all a little different from each other).

The grey V-neck sweater was bought in the vain hope that wearing it with skinnies would be channeling Alexa Chung, she of the amazing manicure shades and wonderful accent who doesn't seem to take this whole fashion icon thing too seriously.   I know, I know, I should be investment dressing at my age - I should be investing in cashmere, trading in futures for Hermes (that just sounded good, I have no idea if that's even legal these days or possible) etc etc.  Fear not, the greatness of mixing it designer and chain store will prevail.  The ron rons will be debuted with the ensemble. 

Oh and the hoodie, that's my favourite.  $20 and just the right length, going down to the mid thigh.  It will be the key piece for my outfit tomorrow.  The 'watching Justin Bieber and those crazed young girls in Martin Place from the comfort of my lounge' outfit.

ANZAC Day 2010

I'm up with the rain and the birds this morning.  It's ANZAC Day and I've had a quiet moment to reflect on the past and what others so bravely fought for on our behalf.  I continue to hope that we never forget.  Wars and their suffering continue to this day but maybe, one ANZAC Day, things really will be different.

I also remembered all the lovely Diggers I've had the privelege of looking after over the years and I hope that wherever they are, they are in good health and able to participate in today's memorial services.  Your country is humbly grateful for your service.  Not only to you, the heroes of the past but also to the men and women who continue your efforts in the present.

Apr 23, 2010

Friday was somewhat better. My salary is in no danger of breaching the salary cap.

Well, Fridays really can only be better than Thursdays.

For most of us, I guess.  Unless you happen to be a member of the Melbourne Storm.  I feel sorry for the players in that they have no reason to play well this season and may not have been full aware for their pay conditions.  I think it was really harsh to also strip them of their previous winning titles. 

It was starting to look a whole lot like Groundhog day at breakfast, I managed to eat the same cereal as I did for dinner last night.  There really wasn't alot else in the paper beyond the salary cap fiasco which gave me extra time to read my new drugs journal which was more exciting than I had anticipated.  Small mercies, small mercies.

Work was eventful, but not as dramatic as yesterday.  I was pre-medicated with those lovely paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets which helped.  I do believe these are the Becks of our generation.  As in the headache powder.  Becks may well be a beer of our generation too.  I am not a beer drinker so this may not be fact.

Groundhogging continued when, after work, I realized that I had forgotten half the shopping list on my first attempt at Coles yesterday.  So, I revisited Rhodes and picked up the missing items.

Including these bottles of water.

They may come in handy should I ever get stuck in a 12 hour traffic jam which, unfortunately, does  happen in metropolitan Sydney.  Must remember to pop them in the car tomorrow.

Mr SSG has been a tower of strength.  He walked home this evening with this.

Which was an excellent choice, I felt, on account of the box matching our lounge room colour scheme rather nicely.  Mr SSG really does have an eye for colours.

Going to have  restful evening on account of having work tomorrow.  I've decided it is much easier to work more than spend less.

Salmon and champagne.  Perfect.

I have plans for the rest of the long weekend and promise to be more fun around Sunday.  Not long to go!

Have a good one.


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