Sep 24, 2020

Lovin' Life 24/9/2020 : The Week In Highlights.

Highlights of the week just gone...

We've made it to end of term three!  A fortnight off homework, the practice of various things, ironing and lunches beckons.

I've submitted my tax stuff to the accountant.  So I've not completed my tax return, technically, but I've done all that I need to towards its completion.  My hot tip is to place the paperwork in the main thoroughfare of your house.  Literally on it.  That way you'll trip over it and be forced to address it.

Adore Beauty.  Enough said.  The Tim Tam, the wit and the replacing of some tried and tested covid hair and beauty.

My kettle.  It provides hot water for mugs of tea and coffee, it aids in pre-heating food jars for school and ... you can melt Mi Goreng flavour sachets on its lid while you wait for the water to boil for your next cuppa.

We explored a new corner of Centennial Park with our usual, much-cherished people.  The planets aligned, as did our Saturday morning schedules and we found ourselves brunching in the company of these breathtaking wisteria at the eponymous dining room in the park,

That's not all we discovered.  The Ian Potter Wild Play Garden is a short walk from the eatery.  Nestled among the bamboo, it's a place to climb, slide and explore.

The one thing I do love about life right now are these chances to explore the parks of Sydney in areas I've had such strong connections to since I moved here from Perth.

Parks are the lungs of our cities but they also restore our hearts and minds.

Sep 21, 2020

Life This Week 21/9/2020: Grateful For This.....

This week, I'm grateful for the burst of fabulous spring weather.  The timing has been perfect, I think.  It's been a long year and we all need a hug.  In these times of social distancing, however, hugs are mostly out of the question.  Which is why I think Sydney has been sent all this glorious sun.  It's touched us all this week.  Whoever we are, wherever we are and whatever we may be doing - I'm sure this sun has shone upon us all and turned those frowns upside down.

Here are my moments in (and kind of in) the sun....

At the lights before that first left turn towards work after school drop off.  A naval vessel dwarfing the private vessels in the foreground.  Pine trees, shingled rooves and  view of the harbour.  It makes me feel as if I'm in a seaside village somewhere.  The reality?  Peak hour traffic awaits me on the other side of that turn.

A retrieval flight landing on the helipad at work.  I always forget just how loud helicopters are and how they do in fact land on top of buildings.  I'm watching from a few floors down, behind reinforced glass yet I feel as I'm on the helipad such is the noise and the reverberation from the engine.

I got cabin fever on Monday so I took a walk down the street, got some groceries and then a coffee.  In my clogs instead of my street shoes.  No one batted an eyelid along a sidewalk full of people even more uniquely attired than I.

It was an exciting day behind the wheel on Thursday.  

I got random breath and drug tested.  I managed to look so nervous the police officer had to tell me to relax.  Later on, well away from the testing lane, my car windows got expertly cleaned at the lights.  And then I nearly got to work but had to pause and swerve a little to give a large dog some room in the middle of the street.  He was having a moment and despite his owner's best attempts, he was determined to have his full moment right where he was, thank you very much.

There's a particular garden I walk past each morning near school and it's looking especially splendid at the moment.

A jaunty scarf and a Breton striped top.  I'm so looking forward to the bright colours, new shapes and airy styles of spring and summer.

What are you particularly grateful for right now?

Sep 17, 2020

Lovin' Life 17/9/2020: Hair and Beauty In the Time Of Covid.

Hair and makeup have taken a back seat (way, way out back if I'm to be perfectly honest) in these Covid times.  In some ways it's been liberating.  Gettting ready for work takes about 5 minutes from go to woah (confession... I always thought it was 'from woe to go'...).  There's never fear of anything on my face smudging, flaking or creasing onto my face mask and beyond because all I wear for makeup is sunscreen and lip balm.  As for my hair - it's ponytails and bobby pins for the win.  Again, it's all about the mask, ponytails seem to fare better than a blowdry for a day at work these days.

I wish I could say that this newfound bare-bones approach to beauty meant that I was spending less in that department.  You can't have it all, I suppose.  If anything, being confronted by a bare face and plain hair each day in the rearview mirror of my car each morning has made me more focused on how my products are performing and also more curious to explore new things.

I might not have achieved much else with my time this pandemic but I have found a bunch of new favourites that deliver maximal effect for minimal effort.  

Here's my hair and beauty highlights reel for Pandemic 2020....

Sunday Riley's C.E.O. ($104 AUD for 50g at Mecca) - just typing C.E.O. makes me feel power, focus and success.  C.E.O. is a vitamin C based moisturizer that promises to brighten and hydrate dull skin. It's delivering on both counts for me.  The only word of caution is that there's no SPF in this product.

Which brings me to my next MVP of the season....

Mecca Cosmetica - IN A GOOD LIGHT - NATURAL

Mecca Cosmetica's own brand of tinted sunscreen, In A Good Light ($40 for a 75ml tube, available in two shades, Light and Natural).  It's SPF 30 and perfect for wearing to work because it doesn't colour transfer to clothing or masks all day long.

Next up is Sol de Janeiro's Bum Bum Cream Body Scrub ($67 for a 220g tub at Mecca).  What's not to love?  The cheerful yellow packaging that screams by the beach in Brazil, that fragrance and, of course, the name.  I'm smiling just typing it.

I know, I know.  Do I shop anywhere else but Mecca these days?  I do.  At Adore Beauty, the home of the 'a Tim Tam in every box' parcels that also come laden with thoughtful samples and generous gifts with purchase.

Morrocanoil ($63.95 for 100ml at Adore). The OG Argan oil product that's ten years young. It just works - soft, shiny and manageable hair without buildup.  And there's something comforting about the packaging.  It's familiar, it reminds me of mum (who first put me onto it) and the delivery is no fuss. Just pump a little into the palm of your hand, rub with your other hand and then disseminate through just-washed hair.  

evo fabuloso chestnut colour intensifying conditioner

Evo Fabuloso Colour Intensifying Conditioner in chestnut ($39.95 for 250ml at Adore) promises to prevent your salon colour from fading to the shade of spent autumn leaves.  It's so effective at colour deposition it might also be responsible for some staining in the bath.  I use it once or twice a week, mixed in with plain conditioner.  While it won't hide those greys, it does an excellent job of keeping my colour vibrant.

Have the current times changed your daily hair and makeup routine?  What can't you live without right now?

Sep 14, 2020

Life This Week 14/9/2020: Happy Snaps.

Things that have made me smile this week:

The bright orange lollipop person sign and witch's hat down the end of my street.  Extensive tree pruning has been taking place in order to facilitate the replacement of a power generator (!!) near the park.  Predictably, there's been chaos for the local traffic but the signs and smiling traffic controllers have eased the pain and made me feel a bit safer as I've driven and walked each day.

Afternoon running has been sensational of late.  There's just enough sun, just enough warmth, a bit of a breeze when I need it most (at the halfway point of my route, just after the hill) and of course all the sights of the bay.  I've promised myself a takeaway cocktail from Catalina's the next time I'm in the area....

How's this for a nifty trick to get the condiment sachet that accompanies packet Mi Goreng to melt a little?  Works like a charm with a just boiling kettle.

I had to work the weekend but the chance to walk in the sun and work with some favourite team members made it more than bearable.

Another bonus of working weekends is coffee at Campo's!

It was the little things this week.  I'm glad I survived the weekend at work.  That being said, I am so looking forward to the weekend coming up.

Sep 10, 2020

Lovin' Life 10/9/2020: The Air Fryer Has Landed.

We're in the thick of Disney Ooshie collecting right now.

Which is all the justification I needed to purchase the famous $49 Woolies Air Fryer.

I managed to get the last one on the shelf at my local Woolies.

Master SSG was taken aback to find me watching a YouTube unboxing featuring the Air Fryer.  It's a sign of the times when your own child can't fathom that parents watch YouTube unboxing videos too.

This is the video, FYI.  It runs through all the basics and includes the results of a few cooking projects using the Air Fryer.

It goes without saying that my first experiment with my Air Fryer involved frozen chips.

The instruction manual that accompanies the appliance is easy to follow and there's a handy table with guides regarding how to use the fryer for various types of food.  It's important to preheat the empty basket for 5 minutes at 80C prior to use.  Also it is recommended to not fry very fatty foods like sausages with this appliance.  

The basket is dishwasher safe and the rest of the unit is easy to wipe clean.  It is quite a large unit at 35cm high and 18 cm or so deep which for me means it's a benchtop appliance rather than something I can stow away in my already full kitchen cupboards.

One of the advantages of this particular Air Fryer is also a potential disadvantage.  There are only two knobs to adjust and this model lacks the cooking sensors that I understand more highly powered models have as a feature.  So you will need to 'shake' some foods half way through the heating process.  

Shaking is not as frightening as it may sound.  The Air Fryer automatically shuts off when the basket is pulled out of the unit while the power is on.  Also, because you aren't dealing with heaps of oil as you would be with a deep fryer, there's no fear of splattering oil anywhere while you get shaking.  

This is how my fries looked when they were done (about 20 minutes at 200C with one shake midway through booking.  This 3.5L sized Air Fryer suits our family of two.  We cooked about a third of the bag of frozen fries easily with room to spare.

But how did they taste?  Somewhere between oven cooked and the gold standard of being deep fried at the fish and chip or chicken shop.  They crisped nicely on the outside while retaining their inner mushiness but they still tasted 'frozen'.  I'm hoping to make wedges from scratch soon so they will be an interesting comparison to today's effort.


There are a few, I've used the Air Fryer pretty much every day since its unboxing.

I've just made Air Fryer zucchini chips.

Thinly sliced chips work best as they cook more quickly.  I dipped mine in beaten egg white before rolling in a mixture of panko crumbs, paprika. Cajun spice mix, garlic powder and parmesan.  I then sprayed with olive oil spray before cooking at 180C for 10 minutes.  

I turned the chips halfway through and only cooked as many chips as would fit in a single layer in the fryer bowl.

They were delicious.  Not as oily or starchy as potato-based chips.  The crumbs stayed crispy and the centre of the chips were soft.

Thin fish fillet coated in beaten egg and seasoned flour cook perfectly in 10 minutes... without that 'fishy' smell pervading the kitchen or clinging to your cooking equipment.  What's more, the fillets didn't break apart in the fryer when I removed them.

These are my marinated drumsticks.  My usual marinade contains a swig of sesame oil.  To cook, I sprayed evenly with olive oil spray.  The skin is crisp and the meat isn't bone dry and neither is it swimming in juices.  Very happy with the result.

The only oil I've added to anything has been a spray of olive oil.  My homemade foods definitely don't taste the same as conventionally pan-fried foods but they also aren't as dried out as if I'd cooked them in the oven.  Wise people on Instagram advise that leftover fish and chips taste like they've come straight from the shop when you reheat in an Air Fryer.

Maintenance wise, all I've had to do is wipe down the interior and exterior of the fryer unit after each use and washed the fryer basket and tray insert in warm soapy water.  It's been a breeze with no additional wiping down of cook tops or splash backs.  It's blooming fabulous to not be living in fear of spitting oil as you fry food over the stove.

I'm having lots of fun with my Air Fryer and you can rest assured that should my $49 bargain fall apart, I'll be stumping up for a bigger version with all the bells and whistles.

TikTok Sensation 'Air Fryer Guy' Talks About His "Magical" Creations And  You'll Never Look At Your Air Fryer The Same! | Hit Network

But that's not all.  Vegetable chips, poultry and chicken (you know, bog standard foods) are only the beginning.... have you watched @airfryerguy on TikTok?

You should.

Sep 7, 2020

LIfe This Week 7/9/2020: Taking Stock

Making: the best of yet another sick day from work.  Lots of reading, a bit of housework.  Fingers crossed we'll all be disease free for the rest of the year.

Cooking: Swedish meatballs and cauli/broccoli mash!  Another Recipe Tin Eats recipe that's a complete winner.

Drinking: diet San Pellegrino.  It's not for me as is.  I need the full-sugar hit of fruit juice mixed in.  Or I could just cut to the chase and go back to blood orange San Pellegrino.

These Little Lies (D.I. Siv Drummond #1) by Gretta Mulrooney

Reading: the first book of a new to me Gretta Mulrooney crime series.  I've finished the Tyrone Swift series, felt a bit disappointed by the final direction Tyrone's love life took and am now sort of over it.  DI Siv Drummond is the heroine of this series, she's also recently lost beloved other half in a tragic accident.  Will her personal life be less tortured than Tyrone's?  Only time will tell.  The crime's just as meticulously plotted in any case.

Trawling: through my collection of seemingly identical pairs of black Lululemon tights in order to select the pair to wear today....

Wanting: every day to look like and feel like this.  The sun gently filtered through the trees above, a gently winding path on which to walk.  Life still is good despite this virus.

Looking: for a favourite sweater I wear every year when the weather gets like this.  Warm during the day, bookended by a slight chill in the morning and in the evening.  

Deciding: that the lost sweater is a sign from above.  I need to declutter my wardrobe again.  And not buy a replacement sweater.

Wishing: that all the things that might require a visit by an electrician would just happen already.  I've got two light switches that need replacing but I just know that the moment I get them fixed, something else is going to come up.

Enjoying: another sunny parklife Saturday.  Here I am at the cafe campervan we visit each week.

Waiting: for lunch to reheat in the microwave.

Pin on Boynton

Liking: barre!!!  I've been doing audio guided classes at home over the last few months and I've reached the point where I can keep up with my instructor.  Not gracefully but it's a start.  I almost feel like a dancer!!  And a liberating feeling it is indeed.

Wondering: if my reheated lunch is cool enough to eat yet.  I'll hust go and check.

Loving: precut pineapple from the grocer down the road from work.  If I imagine really, really, really hard it could be pineapple on a plane or as part of a buffet in a hotel or airport lounge.  

Pondering: the logistics of next weekend.  I'll be working right through it.  How to fit my non work life in as well?  

Listening: to the gentle breeze outside.  The sun is shining.  For a moment there, I managed to forget that we're still in pandemic mode here in Sydney.

Considering: the reality of this Christmas. The WA border is likely to remain shut to the rest of Australia.  It will be close to a year since I've last been able to see mum and dad. Being grateful for all the Christmases we have had together isn't quite cutting it.

Buying: a new notebook for the kitchen table.  The kitchen table notebook is the backbone of our household.  Everything that needs to get done or bought gets written in it.  When I remember...

Watching: Master SSG's soccer class go from stregth to strength each week.  They're working as a team now and there have been massive leaps in their ball skils.  And they're having so much fun and making new friends of each other.

Hoping: I'll remember the potatoes when we head to the shops this afternoon.  I've written it down in the list on the list in the notebook I mentioned above so I reckon it's a done deal.

Marvelling: at how effective my diamond grade heel pediPro callus file is.  One to store in the memory banks for later.

Cringing: as I accidentally touched the egg I gave myself when trying to re-insert bits of the 'hatch' bit of the car boot after I took the bike and scooter out.  You know the bits I'm talking about.  Deceptively lightweight but pack a punch when you accidentally whack yourself in the face with one...

Needing: a break.  Is there anyone who doesn't right now?  These are crazy and unrelenting times.

Questioning: and fuming.  Why would anyone run the (loud) motor of their car overnight?  Right in front of my bedroom window.  On a school night.  Why!?!?!?!?!?!?  

Smelling: dinner simmering away.  Thank goodness for my slow cooker.

Wearing: activewear!!!!  Duh.

Noticing: the shadows and light of the new season.

Knowing: that leftover Domino's isn't any healthier than buttered white toast as a side to go with my soup at work and being okay with that.

Thinking: that the teachers at school have a pretty good idea of what's keeping the parents going this term.  Caffeine and leafy greens!

Admiring: the clean floorboards.  I'm deriving a disproportionate sense of achievement from getting the housework done this week.

Getting: excited at the prospect of an evening in reading and pottering.

Bookmarking: places that might still have vacanies for a party of several families keen to glamp in the October school holidays.

Opening: the back door as we head out (again) to soak up some of this glorious Saturday sun.

Closing: my laptop periodically becuase I think it helps my disappearing cursor reappear.

Feeling: confident that I can deal with the closing laptop situation for a while longer.  I'm not upgrading this laptop until the screen stops working or MacBooks get touch screens.  I wonder how long this will be?

Hearing: crickets.  That touch screens on MacBooks thing will remain in the realm of pure fantasy for quite a few years yet, I reckon.

Celebrating: my Thursday disposable face mask survicing the front loader washing machine and then the tumble dryer with being slightly crumpled being its only visible battle scar.

Pretending: that it was always by intention to test out the durablity of disposable face masks rather than admitting that  simply forgot to pratice what I preach about checking pockets before popping things into the laundry hamper.

Embracing: that I manage to find stuffies in the most unlikely places. 

Say hello to Ghiselda!  She hisses if you press her head.  She also looks alarmingly real when you stumble upon her in a wardrobe.


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