Jul 31, 2013

Gated Communities. Guerlain Again.

With a title like that, I'm thinking that you were hoping that my post today would be all about my favourite Real Housewives and their gated community in Orange County.


The OC Housewives will always have a soft spot in my heart.  I first 'met' them in the snow, many moons ago when we were on a skiing holiday in Aspen.  My mornings would begin with drip coffee in our chalet, a couple of slices of super sweet American bread and a spot of reality television before hitting the slopes.  The ladies were my little hit of surgically enhanced summer as I shimmied myself into my thermals and ski gear before braving the beginner's slopes of Buttermilk.

Fast forward to winter 2013 in Sydney and this is what gated community living means to me now.  Baby SSG has spent the last couple of weeks speeding through rolling, commando crawling and what looks like the beginnings of a real crawl.  He's been reaching top speeds that out pace me and he's got a knack for discovering parts of the lounge room I haven't quite gotten around to baby proofing or dusting properly....

I'm quite proud of how the gate looks, actually.  Mr SSG and I cobbled it together ourselves and I eased it into place and cranked the pressure mounted side fittings to get that a perfect seal within the doorway.  I normally end up with uneven edges and screws whenever I attempt DIY furniture and I'm glad to have finally broken the curse.

With the house effectively split in two, we've all had to plan our trips through the house to minimise having to negotiate the gate without a free hand whilst coaxing Baby SSG away from the entrance.  Fun times.

Baby SSG's wardrobe has followed in the footsteps of his mother's and broken it's banks in his current set of drawers.  I've solved the problem with this handy post box storage unit from Mocka.  The post box is made of a sturdy plastic and no assembly is required.  The design is based on Italian designer Anna Castelli Ferrieri's for Kartell in 1969.  I know there's passionate views out there about replica furniture but I like this post box objectively for its looks and functionality, not the name behind its design.  As an aside, Mocka are an Australian business and incredibly efficient with filling and despatching orders.  Highly recommended.

I've done it again, fallen in love with another Guerlain product.  They make fantastic lip glosses but it's taken me all this time to get around to trying their iconic Meteorites.  The packaging hints at the glamour of dressing tables in decades past whilst the balls of powder have this intoxicating rose based scent.

I have the beige colour which I understand is intended for darker skin tones.  I'm using it as a finishing powder rather than a highlighter.  Guerlain promised radiance with these magical little balls and I reckon they've definitely delivered.  I was afraid I would look a little chalky given how light the colours of the powder are but it blended in nicely with my skin tone.  The finish wasn't frosty or too shimmery. A gentle glow would be my description.  I hear that there's a special brush that was designed to be used with Meteorites.  I think I'm going to have to investigate.

It's been a week of doing already.  I've attacked the pile of paperwork that's been gathering dust on the study desk.  I've made a start on my tax return and that mountain of photos I got printed through Harvey Norman arrived the other day.  The baby album and book are finally up to date.

I'm on a roll.  I'd better find more things to do.

Have a lovely day!

Jul 28, 2013

Mini Mag Lights. Metallic Sunday.

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend?

I started mine with a bit of an after hours adventure on Friday night. The streets of our suburb get pretty dark early in the evening during winter and the footpaths also have some notoriously uneven stretches. Friday was also the day the women's magazines had raced their Prince George issues to the news stands. An emergency trek to the shops after the gym was clearly indicated but what if I tripped over a pot hole in the process, never to be heard of again?
It was a job for my trusty pocket Mag light torch. Together we navigated the treacherous footpaths and got ourselves safely home with an issue of New Idea that contained 30 pages of photos I'd previously seen online but hey, at least the words were different. That little torch of mine is going to be a handbag staple for the rest of my life, I think.
Skinny jeans - Cotton On, flats - Chloe, floor - Oliver Brown, home of the best dark chocolate mochas.
Fast forward to Sunday which had a bit of metallic theme to it. I dressed up for yum cha in those ridiculously discounted gold Chloe flats from Perth.


And rediscovered one of my favourite MAC lipsticks - O.
This is a swatch I found online. It's a hard colour to describe but it has this iridescent, metallic finish to it that glimmers bronze or plum depending on what you're wearing. On Sunday, it glimmered plum and I swear it added a touch of glam to my face that my usual sensible, nude pink lipstick never did.
The weekend's cooking featured a casual half wheel of blue vein cheese and some Panko crumbs.
But because there was a whole heap of cauliflower thrown in, it wasn't such a sinful blue cheese pasta after all.
And there we have it, the last weekend in July done and dusted. Im looking forward to August, being my birthday month and all.




Jul 26, 2013

The Grounds of Alexandria. At Last.

There are those lucky days when the GPS and time management gods manage to smile down upon me simultaneously. I had to drop Mr SSG off at the airport early yesterday morning and the drive to the airport is not my most favourite one. Fortunately, the trip progressed with military like precision and I didn't get lost once. Heartened by my success, I added The Grounds of Alexandria as my next destination and let the lady with impeccable diphthongs work her magic.

It's taken me this long to get to The Grounds since they opened in 2012. I don't think I can add much to what the press, the food bloggers and everyone else has had to say in praise of this combined coffee roaster, coffee school, cafe, bakery and mini farm. But it was such a beautiful place to be on a winter's morning in the middle of a light industrial area that I got a bit trigger happy with the photos and it would be such a waste not to put them on the blog. So I hope I don't bore you to tears with things you've seen for yourself already.

The decor inside the cafe area is part shabby chic and part urban garage.

The exposed brick walls give the space a homestead feel and there are quirky little touches here and there.

Like this chick embossed brass plaque on the bathroom wall.

Knit - Seed Femme, top underneath - Target, necklace - Red Phoenix Emporium, jeans - SFAM.

Here's an opportunistic outfit photo.  You can't see them in the photo but I'm wearing my Seven For All Mankind pink A pocket jeans from back in the day.  That's pink as in pink stitching on the pockets rather than actual pink pockets.  I vividly remember buying them from Ebay, one of my first online clothing purchases.

Opportunistic is my watchword these days.

Those days of perfectly timed food and beverage photos are long gone. It's more a case of getting somethng into your mouth when you can and taking the photos later if at all.

The cold winter's morning was perfect for porridge and The Grounds' Apple Sweetened Pear Porridge with Goji Berries ($12 eat in, $8 take away). It was Goldilocks just right and packed full of fruit, nuts and healthfulness.

The passionfruit muffin ($4 eat in) had a deliciously cakey texture to it and was flavoured with fresh passionfruit rather than canned. Mum had the banana bread, a huge serve for $7.50 which she loved. I couldn't get in quick enough for a photo but it was very attractively presented with butter, ricotta and jam. Like the muffin, the banana bread's texture was lighter and more cake like than your average cafe offering.

The coffee. Oh, the coffee. So perfect I had to have two with breakfast. The Grinds blends are rich without being bitter. I know there's lots of complex talk to describe coffee blends but the main thing I tasted with each cup at The Grinds was mellow.

Well fed and coffeed up, I took a walk around with Baby SSG.

There were too many breads, cakes and pastries to choose from at the take away counter. Those poor people who have to decided there and then as they order their coffees to go.

We had a peek into the bakery area next to the open kitchen.

I wish I'd taken home one of these Ultimate Fruit Loaves....

And that I had a proper coffee machine at home to make use of these beans.

As we left after breakfast, the sun was shining and a warm around the gardens was in order.

It really was like strolling around a homestead's garden.

It must be even more magical here in summer. We will definitely be back to make sure.

The Grounds of Alexandria on Urbanspoon

Jul 24, 2013

The Little Prince.

Yes, I did get a bit teary and nostalgic over my toast this morning as I browsed the first photos the world got to see of Baby Cambridge and his parents as they left hospital for home.


They were just like any other new parents excited to be leaving hospital and heading home to a house full of family, baby paraphenalia and the little familiar things you miss like mad when you've stayed the night in a hospital room. Those grins are so infectious, I'm sitting here smiling along with them and wishing the three of them all the very best for the first few weeks at home. That the journey to sleepy town will never be a lengthy one for Baby C and that his parents will only be given as many poonamis as they can handle in a given day and that none of these will happen on a surface not well covered with washable sheets.


And thank you from the bottom of my heart, Duchess, for being 'real' and looking so beautiful and radiant in doing so. The mothers from the real world salute you.

Image courtesy of CBS New York.

And here's the Little Prince himself. Oblivious to the attention of the world's press and passionately using his hands to express himself. Safely buckled into his car seat for the ride home, I wonder if he's thinking what I'm thinking. Did his parents make any emergency pit stops on the drive home for sushi, decent coffee or a carton of fresh milk? If so, did they carry him with them rather than risk the added complexity of trying to set the pram up for the first time, in the car park and without the 60 page wordless instruction manual?


The press are reporting that the new family will be staying at Kate's parents' for a few weeks. Having your mum around for moral support in the first few weeks is definitely more of a must have than a perfectly decorated baby nursery. Having someone who's been there and done that and who'll have a cup of tea with you during the more challenging moments does things for your nerves that middle of the night googling on your iPad can't quite match. It also gives you a new perspective on your mum and your relationship changes as you speak to each other as one mother to another.



On the day the news actually broke, mum and I were nestled on the sofa with cups of tea. Kochie and the rest of the Sunrise team were toasting the Prince with champagne.



Which I had thought of myself when the news first broke about the Duchess going to hospital in early labour on Monday night. Unfortunately, my bottle of champagne is still chilling in the fridge unopened. There's been no time for bubbles in our house. Baby SSG has decided to assert his independence whenever he has the chance. He's beginning to feed himself and as the days pass, less food is actually ending up on his face but I'm still spending most of the time between his meals chasing stray food around the house and finding it on parts of Baby SSG I missed as I tried to clean his squirming body before releasing him from his high chair.


And then there's the small issue about his learning to crawl. The change table is a commando course for him as he tries to scale its sides. Piles of laundry in his path are climbed over. His cot is no longer the safe house it used to be.


In hindsight, a glass of something may well have helped.



Baby SSG has been unfazed at the arrival of Baby Cambridge. He's got bigger issues on his mind.
Like how quinoa porridge may well be the breakfast of choice for the foodies of Sydney, but it's not really his thing. Being a creature of habit (already), its either yoghurt or rice cereal mixed with fruit or nothing at all, thank you very much.
So now the freezer is full of pretty, pastel coloured tubs of banana, strawberry and quinoa porridge which I'll just have to eat myself.


I'm off now to begin the wait for the avalanche of magazines that will be landing at the supermarket to commemorate Baby Cambridge. But before I finish for today, I'd like to quote the ever eloquent President Obama and The First Lady's message to the new family:

"Michelle and I are so pleased to congratulate The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the joyous occasion of the birth of their first child.

We wish them all the happiness and blessings parenthood brings. The child enters the world at a time of promise and opportunity for our two nations. Given the special relationship between us, the American people are pleased to join with the people of the United Kingdom as they celebrate the birth of the young prince."

Congratulations again, William and Kate! Enjoy the rollercoaster ride of these first few weeks as best you can with your families around you to share the joy and laughter. That six week check seems an awfully long way away but you will make it until then, I promise. Ad when you get there, you'll actually be in a frame of mind to share a joke or two with your obstetrician and even have a chat about where he's off to next on his holidays.



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