Jun 30, 2011

New Financial Year's Eve. Tea Towels For Work, Amongst Other Things From Ikea.

Today was the end of financial year 2010/2011.  Which also makes in financial new year's eve?  Do we need capitals?  Nah.  There are no public holidays or glasses of champagne involved.  We can't be frivolous with capitals these days.  Not with the shortages of everything else.

So I guess it's been a good day to reflect, take in the view and make financially prudent choices at every possible opportunity.  What a happy coincidence that today was also the weekly shop day too.

I found this lovely khaki beanie at Cotton On for $9.99.  I think it's going to be part of my weekend off to market outfit.  To go with my uggs and their cardy socks.  I can't decide between channelling Alexa Chung or Sienna Miller.  Might have to take it to Mr SSG, fashion supervisor of SSG Manor in the 5 minutes before we head out the door to Pyrmont on Saturday morning.

Then I found these tasty salads for dinner at Coles.

There were generous amounts of chicken and pancetta in the salad.

They were both pretty tasty for supermarket salad to be honest!

Real salmon pieces!
To go with Mr SSG's leftover pizza from last night.

You know how I roll at Ikea, don't you?

I got the 3 picture frames I needed.  They're the frame of choice in many a fashionable household, including Blithely Unaware's and She Wore It Well's.

And more tea towels.  I'm going to need more now that I'm taking my own tea towels to work for the sake of the environment.  I see a big future for personal tea towels.  They'll be the next big things after enviro bags and PBA free water bottles.

All hand washed and ready to go.  It was going above and beyond to even attempt taking off the bar code labels.  They are amazingly tenacious things.

And jars for the large collection of tea bags I have at work. 

Bringing Back the Wave with Andew & Claire on Mix106.5 - the bumper sticker.  On my fridge rather than on my car.  Go figure.

You know how I was talking about bringing back the wave when driving the other night?  Well, I got my official bumper sticker in the post today.  Don't ask what its doing on the fridge under my Hawaii magnets and next to a summer post card from Net A Porter.  The campaign is working!!  I got 2 waves for 2 'letting ins' tonight.  In the rain.  That's a 100% strike rate.  Amazing stuff.  Plus other drivers were passing on the love in neighbouring lanes too.

The NAP card was meant to be one of those visual cues for when I opened the fridge too often in search of champagne or the butter rather than the fruit or the yoghurt.  I haven't had the heart to disturb the card of my magnets because together they're a lingering reminder of summer on these cold, dark mornings when I have to get breakfast before hitting the wet road to work.  And I do grab the youghurt and fruit rather than the bubbles or butter for breakfast.  Promise.

Jun 29, 2011

I Get My Zing Back But Blogger Loses It.

How's your day been?

Will a bit of citrus help?  Hit those flu symptoms on the head good and proper?  Liven up your taste buds?  Give you a hit of Vitamin C?  Here, have some on me.

Chin up, we're just over the half way mark of the working week.  I didn't just eat citrus for my morning tea today, I wore it as well.

Cardi - Target, necklace - Faux Fuchsia Orange by Red Phoenix Emporium, tank - Big W, belt - GAP, trousers - GAP.

I don't know about you but this morning was the first one of the week where I woke up feeling, well, awake.  I think it's the weather that's made me feel so tired these last few days.  I've had a dull ache in my head that's too minor to be called a headache but its just there being annoying.  Fortunately, I've got my zing back.  Just in time.  It's been a day of exciting email dialogues, creative collaboration and general anticipation.  Watch this space.

There was one less thing I needed to anticipate today.  How's that for speedy?  My cardy sock ugg boots arrived in the post this morning from Ugg Boots Made in Australia.  I blogged about buying them 2 days ago and hey presto, here they are! 

Full points to my Australia Post Parcel delivery guy for braving the downpours this morning and getting my parcel out so early in the morning.  He's clearly pumped full of Vitamin C.

I got the tall length and they sit below the knee.  The cardy socks were not as difficult to put on my uggs as I feared.  They look rather cute together.  Probably redundant but cute.  And you can't have too much cute in winter.

It's at this point in the post that I just have to spill.  Blogger is being sluggish with the photo uploads.  I've been trying to load photos for this post for ages and they just don't seem to be working.

I'm going to try again one more time.

Nope.  No dice.

We'll just have to all sit down in a quiet corner, close our eyes and imagine.

space for photo I need to upload when blogger gets its A game back 
Missing photo uploaded.

The first photo was of me sitting at the yoga studio waiting for class to start but unable to remove my uggs and their cardigans from my feet.  They were that comfy.  I was so attached I was seriously considering the first ugg booted hand stand the studio had ever witnessed.  I chickened out in the end.

space for photo I need to upload when blogger gets its A game back

Missing photo uploaded.

The next photo was of the dark, wet street I walked down after class finished.  It was a much nicer walk in my snug uggs.

So, sorry about the word pictures in lieu of the photos.  If I get a chance tomorrow, I'll have another go at uploading them.

Take care, live long and prosper.  It's only business days until the weekend.  I hope you have excellent plans.

Before I go though, I'd like to say a few words for my readers from Greece or anyone who has family over there.  The news each day and the local accounts of the fall out from the debt crisis are both so dire.  Pay cut after pay cut for those employed, taxes hitting the middle and lower income earners the hardest, the riots outside parliament.  We're hearing and seeing it all on the news right now.  What's less obvious to us here is the silent destruction of the structure of society.  As parents lose jobs and houses and children battle to understand what's going on around them, ever fearful that the bank is going to come and take everything away from them.

I don't know what else to say but that I hope a solution is found where every sector of society pays equally and that somehow this huge burden will unify the nation rather than tear it apart.

Jun 28, 2011

The Right Thing To Do. Bringing Back the Wave.

I brought a tea towel and an oven mitt in with me to work today.  Not because of the cold or because I'd run out of other things to wear but because using them at work instead of metres of super thin and non absorbent paper towels in the work kitchen is the right thing to do.

Wouldn't you know it?  The tea towel does a far better job of drying my cutlery and the oven mitt absorbs heat much better than those metres of paper towel.  The oven mitt was a freebie with this month's AWW and the tea towel came with an issue of Donna Hay magazine a while back.

I bought loose fruit from the supermarket for the next few days too.  Instead of caving in and buying pre cut and packaged fruit salads.  Again, the right thing to do.

It's one thing knowing that we all need to do our bit for the environment but it's another to actually do so.  It may be the right thing to do but it is also a politically lethal cause to try and sell in Australia at the present time.  It's tough being the first to make the change when the risk of financial disadvantage and potential ruin are high but on the other hand, we only have one Earth.  It's clearly going to take the clever people in Canberra a while longer to try and sort it out.  Full points though to Julia Gillard and Penny Wong for their steely and diplomatic handling of the media at the moment, though. 

Once I got started doing the right thing, there was no stopping me today.  I resisted the urge to hit the speed dial of my local Thai takeaway for dinner tonight and made my own vegetable curry using this recipe from taste.com.au.  I was a bit liberal in the choice of vegetables because I had leftovers and scraggly bits in the fridge to use up.

The leftovers came from my overzealous preparation for making Donna Hay's Chickpea Minestrone With Crispy Bacon on Sunday.  I chopped way to much cabbage and sweet potato for the size of my pan.  The immediate solution was to store the left overs for another day.  The longer term plan is to get myself a bigger pot.  I am sorely tempted to get some red Le Creuset but I'm not sure if my wrists are strong enough for the task.  I think I'll just have to incorporate more upper body weights in my fitness regime, or do more hand stands.

May Ploy Red Curry Paste single handedly resuscitated some pretty sad looking vegetables in my fridge.

Tonight's curry was worth the effort of assembling said scraggly bits, frying them and letting them simmer for 45 minutes.  I will probably halve the amount of red curry paste next time.  It packs quite a punch at 2 tablespoons.  The even better news?  The fridge is looking much tidier.

Back to the soup recipe.

The soup recipe was from the April/May 2011 edition of Donna Hay magazine, from the recipes with a can of chickpeas section.

It was very easy to make and the colours were lovely to look at as I cooked.  The orange of the sweet potato, the red of the onions.

And the bacon - the smell, the taste and the sight of it.

I really liked this variation on minestrone because the chick peas gave it some crunch and a nutty flavour.  You have to have this with the bacon on top.  No ifs, ands or buts.

I've just noticed that nearly everything in my photos tonight is based on the colour orange.  Interesting.  It might just have to be my colour theme for tomorrow's work outfit as well.  Where is my orange Target cardi?

Andrew and Claire - the muesli.  Mr SSG gets all sorts of good stuff handed to him on his way to work.  No fair.  He's also down the road from the Central Baking Depot.  And close to Max Brenner.  And .....

Over the last week, I've been listening to Andrew and Claire on MIX106.5FM.  I usually surf through the FMs once I've listened to everything except the sport on the ABC's AM News station.  Out of all the commercial breakfast duos, I think Andrew and Claire are probably the most genuine and well meaning.  Opinions welcome.

Anyway.  Andrew and Claire have recently launched Bring Back the Wave.  And I think we should all get behind it and give it a go.

It's all about us Sydney drivers being nicer to each other.  We're in the peak hour(s) and hours together whether we like it or not.  So what's to lose by being nice to each other?  Waving when someone lets you in, winding down the window and waving in the air if it's dark (which is always is these days) just to make sure the message got across. It's the right thing to do.

Jun 27, 2011

Contact Lens Caniptions. Cardigans For Uggs.

It wasn't just the Salvador 84 lens on my iPhone going all cross eyed over some white Lindt chocolate today, I had an Only On A Monday Morning contact lens malfunction as well.  Blinking and squinting for a full day at work was exhausting.  To the point that I think it qualified as the equivalent of my 30 minutes of brisk exercise for the day.  I had to have a couple of squares of Lindt at lunchtime to keepy my energy levels up.

And a cup of Starbucks instant coffee or Via Ready Brew as the package describes it.  This particular variety is called the French Roast but it tasted very American to me.  In my squinty eyed state as I sat back in my chair and sipped my coffee, I felt like I was in a 1950's diner somewhere wearing a poodle skirt, cat's eye glasses and a cardigan waiting for  large slice of apple pie a la mode to come my way.  Way back when, in a pre contact lens world.  Where the time I currently spend fishing around for a dropped lens on the bathroom floor or in the sink would have been put to better use trying to achieve an immaculate and gravity defying up do with my hair.

The back of the coffee box 'We believe you should never be without great coffee'.  Ain't that the truth.

Well, I'm home now wearing my glasses (not cat's eye, unfortunately) and my eyes are thanking me profusely.  So much so that they wanted my feet to share in the comfort.

My eyes got together with my fingers and found these on Ugg Boots Made In Australia.  They're just what I need for the chilly evening walk to and back from yoga (to my car but still at times, it feels  like an assault on Everest at times) or to the pool (ditto).

Needless to say, as a person who is firmly against legging as pants or jeggings on grown women, I made sure to choose a style that was clearly for out door rather than around the house use.  The Offroader style features a grip sole, a steel cap toe (the things I'll be getting up to in these uggs!!) and .... cardy socks!  To keep the uggs warm, of course.  They button down over the top of the calf section of the boots.  The Flashdance effect without the hassle of trying to get in and out of leg warmers.

Take care everyone and stay warm.  I've had a very relaxing time at yoga this evening doing variations on head stands and practicing vibratory exhalations.  I will sleep well tonight.

Jun 26, 2011

Winter Sun Bake. Souper Sunday.

My trusty rainbow knit scarf from Jay-Jays.

I had every intention of being a lounge lizard today.  But even with every possible part of my body wrapped and insulated, the cold indoors still got the better of me.  I forget how cold houses get during the day, the kind of cold that doesn't really go away even if all the heaters in the house are turned on to high.

That Coles Fish Emulsion plant food has done wonders for my cyclamen.  The flowers now are about twice the size of the original blooms on the plant I bought in February.

The solution was just outside the window.  A winter sun bake.  So there I was this morning, in the She Shed (which is technically the front verandah) watering the pot plants and catching some warming rays. 

For the times that had to be spent indoors, food proved to be the best way of keeping warm.

Egg and bacon rolls after the morning service at church.

I got a bit distracted driving home with the scent of fresh sausage rolls in the air.

Mr SSG got into the act and got me to buy him ordered in a sausage roll for morning tea.

The sun today was addictive.  After my morning sun bake, I just couldn't stay away.  In the spirit of lounge lizard, I went for a leisurely run in the sun.  The leisure part being the soundtrack on my iPhone and a few stops for photos here and there.

It's nearly a month into winter and I'm getting the hang of cooking as opposed to slow cookering soups.  Last night, I made the Cauliflower Soup With Parmesan Crisps from the July 2011 issue of Super Food Ideas.  The soup was very easy to make.  Simply sautee the leek until soft, then add some garlic and white wine.  Reduce and then add the chicken stock, potatoes and water.  Simmer for a while and then add the cauliflower.  Cook until all the vegies are soft and then puree.  Stir in the cream and reheat until warm.

This is where the parmesan from Ragu comes to the fore.  With the official cheese of a popular CBD Italian restaurant in my kitchen, how could these crisps fail?

They are so simple to make.  Mix 1/2 cup of paremsan with 1/2 a teaspoon of plain flour.  Then sprinkle this over a baking paper lined tray.

Bake for a few minutes at 200C.  Keep a close eye on it, if only to witness the fun of cheese bubbling in waves across a baking tray.  Pull the tray out of the oven when the sheet of cheese starts to get golden.  Allow to cool and then just snap into small pieces.

It's hard to stop at one serve of either the soup or the crisps.  If it helps the soup is practically 100% vegetables, with only a 1/2 cup of low fat cooking cream.  Think off all those recommended daily serves of vegetables you're getting with each bowl of soup.  Heaps.

Bread from Becasse Bakery.

One more shot from my day in the sun before I sign off.

The sun refracted through the windows at the pool this afternoon, leaving this rainbow poolside.

Have a lovely evening and I hope you have a great week ahead.

Jun 25, 2011

We Met Just Outside Zara and Lunched At Ragu Pasta & Wine Bar, Westfield Sydney.

When Mr SSG suggested that our meeting point for lunch today was inside Zara, I took things at face value and didn't question the process.

I saw it with my own eyes.  The winding queues outside both entrances to the store have evaporated.  Instead, the side walk was alive with street performers and artists.

In somewhat disturbing news, I actually didn't stay inside Zara for too long and actually bumped into Mr SSG some distance from the store.  It wasn't so much that I was shopped out but more that the things that caught my eye weren't actually in my size or for my age group.  It wasn't all doom and gloom in the CBD though, I got my morning coffee at Vanto again and the wonderful accents and service are still very much there.

Like these Hello Kitty long sleeved tops which the toddler set are matching with velour track suits.

And this leather vest.

I just took a photo of the brown jacket because it's just like the one I was wearing the other day, I got mine at Zara KL a couple of years back now.  Just as well I did because this one's for toddler boys.

Denim minis are another favourite of mine, though these days I need to wear leggings under them to pull off the look.

You'd need a pretty sedate pre-schooler on your hands if you had any hope at all in getting that chain belt to stay where it's meant to be worn.

You got it, another find on the kids' floor.

Maybe my choice of outfit for the day unduly influenced what caught my eye on the racks today.

Let's talk about lunch.  Mr SSG and I decided it was time to explore the full glory of Food on Level 5 at Westfield Sydney.  All the tenants are fully operational and I've heard and seen great things about the range of food on offer.

There really was too much to choose from.  It was also pretty crowded so I only got a few snaps here and there.  I will need to return to investigate further, I think.

Sabbaba was offering a range of Middle Eastern breads, meats and salads.

As well as these delicious desserts.  Which I could eat by the tray full if I was left to my own devices on a particularly trying day.

The Snag Stand needs no further explanation!  So many tasty looking options on the basic theme of a sausage and a bun.

Mero Mero is famed for its delicious baked goods, especially their macarons.

Sassy Red by Chinta Ria was very busy so I didn't get a chance to try my favourites such as nasi lemak and roti.  I've set my mind on having lunch here the next time Mr SSG and I visit Level 5.

Quarter Twenty One is Justin North's ambitious venture that combines a restaurant, a cookery school a shop and a bakery. 

I only had a quick glance around before honing in on the bakery.  Suprise, surprise.


Where to begin?  What to choose?

I finally selected a vienna loaf and a filled brioche.

The brioche custard puff was fabulous.  The dusting of almonds and icing sugar were the perfect finishing touch.  We had the bread for dinner and it has a lovely firm texture.

My baked goods purchase was packed up in this rather glamorous shopping bag.

Becasse Bakery on Urbanspoon

There was still more to see, though.

Being the sweet tooth that I am, the desserts get priority in my photographs.

9 Mary's is a very successful Indian restaurant chain that originated in Perth.  They now have a store front at Westfield - laden with curries and desserts.

Loving the generous serves of mango pudding.  Hope they add a layer of condensed milk just before serving.

Din Tai Fung, the famed Shanghai dumpling chain have opened their second Sydney outlet here as well.  

We finally settled on where to lunch.  Ragu Pasta and Wine Bar.

There is an impressive selection of pasta, salads, panini and anitpasti that can be ordered as takeaway or to cook at home.

There's also the wine bar section with table service.

Table service was just what I needed.

A tree of lightbulbs that branched upward through several stories of the complex.

So I could sit down for a bit and get a proper look at my surroundings.  With so much going on around me, I was finding it hard to take everything in.

Comfy bar stools are always a good sign.  As are bag hooks which may not be too easy to see in my photo.

To celebrate surviving a couple of busy weeks, I had a glass of prosecco before lunch.

And gazed contentedly at the ceiling and its light fixtures.

I am convinced that these earthenware water pitchers made the water taste more refreshing.  Or perhaps it was the lemon slice.  It was good tap water regardless.

Mr SSG had the pasta of the day which was great value and arrived quickly.  There were quite a few fresh prawns in it and the pasta was al dente.

I had a panini with roasted capsicum and salami.

I was pleasantly surprised how light and non greasy it was.

Cannoli (remember mine from last weekend?), biscotti and tiramisu were on the dessert menu but I had no room.

Mr SSG did however manage to get a large takeaway serve of freshly grated parmesan.  The chef on duty was very kind and freshly grated it for him.  I had just assumed that the cheese was for sale along with the pasta and antipasti so it was really nice of the staff to accommodate my request.  I'll tell you what I needed the cheese for in tomorrow's post.

Ragu Pasta & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


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