Feb 23, 2014

Staycation Postcards.

So far, I'm loving this staycation.  And it's all because of the time and how much of it I find myself with these days.  No need to ration it, no need to spend it wisely.  All I need to do, apparently, is to just let it go by and enjoy where it takes me. 

Yesterday evening was a case in point.  Toddler SSG and I were walking home from a pram running session in the park.  Someone up the road was hosting a party and it was hard not to feel as if we were actually invited.  The sounds of laughter and happy chatter filtered out onto the road, punctuated by the clinking of glasses and the uncorking of wine.  A live band began their set and the sounds of Bob Marley lilted and soared above the already jovial soundscape.  I love being part of my neighbourhood, especially on late summer Saturday evenings like this.

Holidays are also about trying out new things.  Which is my excuse for this last day of work haul from Priceline.  I'm yet to give the Vaseline spray moisturiser a try (saving it for my swimming bag) but let's talk about my new Maybelline gets.  

Mixed fortunes, I'm afraid.  Is it just me, or are Maybelline eye product ads a wonder of photo editing and omissions?  Master Smoky is a new range of shadow pencils that have been marketed as the one product you need to achieve a smoky eye.  The idea is seductively simple.  All you need do is draw a thick line onto your eyelid and then blend.  The ad campaign promises rich, even colour and yes, I got sucked in when Priceline did their $20 mascara and Master Smoky deal.  The pencil alone is meant to retail for $14.95.

Unfortunately, my Master Smoky pencil broke before I could even test it out properly.  What little I could test on my eyelid was a weak grey (the shade Smoking Charcoal) that blended to a greyish smudge on my eyelids.  I'm sad to say that for me, at least, I'm going to have to keep doing my smoky eyes the old fashioned way - using elbow grease and a wide array of weapons (base, black eyeshadow, black pencil liner, black gel liner, lots of brushes, eye make up remover just in case and lot of luck).

I did have more success with the latest Maybelline mascara to hit our shores, though.  Colossal Smoky Eyes ($19.95) mascara is the bomb dot com when combined with the Falsies Flared.  The pair gave my lashes volume, length and curl - no pre emptive run over with a lash curler required.  On its own, Colossal Smoky gives admirable curl and length.  I have the shade Intense Smoky Black and I didn't have the issues with uneven application and chunkiness that some beauty bloggers have noted online.

I can confirm that Zara in Chatswood has opened but unfortunately, this is as close as I could get to the action.  From where I was standing, the current range in store looks like the Zara I know and love 0 tailoring, clever takes on monochrome and the classic.  It was getting a little random at the Sydney CBD store earlier this year.

The reason for my unseemly haste at Chatswood was a certain toddler's desperate need for a nap.  Sleep, sweet sleep ended up arriving on the drive home and continuing for quite some time after I turned the engine off in the garage.  It's just as well I had the foresight to get a takeaway Sumo salad before we left the shops.  It would be stretching the truth to say that using proper silverware as I sat on my fold up chair next to my brother's old jeep made me feel as I was eating lunch at a fashionable inner city industrial chic cafe somewhere.  Just a little.

After nap time came a tense stand off between Toddler SSG and I for the new Duplo.

Which I won and celebrated by making this hamburger.  You can also make fruit and sandwiches with this particular set but it's the holidays... so a hamburger it had to be.  Shame there weren't fries.  There is also an ice cream set which I Toddler SSG obviously needs to have as well.

Speaking of food, I made pizza dough yesterday!  It was the first time I'd ever used the dough hook attachment on my KitchenAid and it won't be the last.  I used this recipe from kidspot, which incidentally is a great resource for easy and healthy recipes for big and little kids.

Getting the yeast started.  I love the way it smells.  A long way from the live yeasts that the artisan bakers use but occasional bakers can't be choosers.  

I can see why people devote their lives to baking bread.  Especially in these times of convenience, processing and ultra long shelf lives.  

That little lump of dough had a whole lot of love put into it.  Five minutes of therapeutic kneading followed by...

.... a few hours on the back seat of the car in the company of harness monkey (and Toddler SSG until he woke up).

Then I got around to actually making my pizza.

The rustic, vaguely circular base.

Onto which I added several 'non gourmet but 100% good childhood memories' toppings and condiments - that's Golden Circle pineapple too, I might add.  I made my own tomato sauce.  It's incredibly easy with a slow cooker.  Will blog about it soon.

Before cheesing up like there was no tomorrow.  I have to work on my edges though, I never get enough cheese on the edges.

Twenty minutes later, here it is.  My very first home made pizza.  It's not fancy but gee it was good. 

Yeast bakery, I'm officially hooked.  I've got plans for a sultana bread later this week.  Stay tuned.


  1. Glad you're making the most of your time off! :)

    That pizza looks delicious too - I love homemade pizzas, they make you feel less guilty than ordering pizza but still just as comforting to eat! :)

    Away From Blue

    1. Mica
      That is the best reason every to be making pizza at home!

      SSG xxx

  2. Zara at Chatswood is pretty much what you would expect. It's pretty big though given it's in the suburbs.

    How often do you apply mascara? I used to use it every few days and I felt like my eyelashes were more prone to falling out so now I just live with short stumpy poor-excuse-for-eyelashes.

    1. Kay
      That's what I was thinking - a huge store for the 'burbs.

      I wear mascara practically every day.

      SSG xxx

  3. I make home made pizza regularly. Love the kneading process the best and I do mine by hand...you need to take off all your rings ! I do own a KitchenAid which I love and cannot imagine a kitchen without one.
    Sounds like your stay cation is giving you lots of time to explore your own town. Zara is so big that it takes a long time to look at everything but the store in Vancouver have kids clothing which is really cute. How old is toddler SSG now?

    1. Hostess!

      Toddler SSG is close to 14 months now. I agree, kneading is a rings off enterprise.

      SSG xxx

  4. That pizza dough looks soooo good!
    I find Maybelline so hit and miss. Generally I love their products, but when their stuff is bad, it is really bad. I just had a feeling this new smokey eye range would be shit. Almost like it was always too good to be true.

  5. I have never tried Maybelline, but that Colgate Optic White is brilliant. I could easily rave about it for a paragraph or two and no I don't work for Colgate :-)
    Great looking pizza too. Circles are overrated in my book.

  6. YUMMMM re the pizza.
    You seem to really be getting in to the staycation business - a lady of simple yet refined tastes!
    Smoky eyes tend to be something I can only do with hours to spare and even then it's not guaranteed.
    Your tenacity in finding products is admirable tho.


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