Thursday, November 27, 2008

What Ya Readin': On Books Read (Lately)

I wanted to do a separate post on some books I have read and am currently reading, but seem to have run out of time. So, I shall be succint. Just before I left Sydney I read Northanger Abbey. Loved it. My favourite Jane Austen. I think it has one of the most brilliantly witty novel endings ever!

I am currently reading "The Victorian House" which is a very well written history of how the Victorians ran their houses. I also have "The Welsh Girl" on the go, I believe it was nominated for the Booker last year. I can see why, as it is on an interesting subject - German POWs in Wales in WW2- and written from several perspectives. Worth a go.

Finally, I have just started the latest Phryne Fisher mystery "Murder on A Midsummer Night" - it is up to Kerry Greenwood's usual standard. I saw it on the 3 for 2 at Borders about 10 days ago but managed sufficient self-will not to purchase it immediately. I finally succumbed yesterday when I was in town. I should have bought it the first day as I know resistance to Kerry Greenwood novels is futile. I love the Phryne Fisher character too much. Who could resist a titled Lady Detective investigating 1920s Melbourne mysteries!

On Checking In

Well I just thought it would be worthwhile checking in and letting everyone know what has been happening for me - I haven't had access to the internet for a while.

I finished up at my job in Sydney last Wednesday. On Thursday the removalists came and packed up all our belongings, and on Friday the boxes and furniture were packed into containers and we waved farewell to all our wordly goods for the next three months. We will next see them when we move into our Melbourne home in early February. Fortunately I have already secured a position in Melbourne so I don't have the 'no job' problem looming over me.

Friday night we flew out to Perth to spend a week with my parents. We brought the dogs with us, as they will be cared for by my parents while we are in Europe. Abby and Monty seem to be settling in reasonably well, though their arrival has been slightly traumatic for my parents' elderly dog and cat. I can not believe how much my dog Bella has aged since I last saw her. But then I recall she arrived when I was thirteen so is now almost 12 years old. We have enjoyed having a week in Perth to catch up with family and friends. Coming home always reminds us how far away we are on the East Coast.

I can't believe we fly back to Sydney tomorrow, and then leave for Europe on Saturday. The week (and year) has just flown by. We fly into Germany on Sunday. We are starting our trip in Frankfurt, then visiting Heidelberg, Wurzberg, Nuremberg and Munich. We then go to Austria where we will visit Salzberg and Vienna. Next to the Czech Republic for Cesky Krumlov and Prague. We then return to Germany to visit Dresden and Berlin. I can't wait.

After our central Europe experience we are off to England to spend Christmas with DH's parents just outside London. Then the whole family is going to Turkey - Istanbul and Gallipoli. We then have about 10 days to spend in England - mostly with relatives.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On the Weekend

We have had a really hectic weekend. On Saturday we went into the city to see an exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW. Monet and the Impressionists is on tour from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I love impressionist art and I thought the exhibition was excellent. After that we popped into the Lindt chocolate shop for truffles and then on to Marmak for lunch. Marmak is a favourite city cafe which specialises in malaysian street food. As usual our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we coudn't eat all we ordered. We spent the afternoon window shopping in the many city travel and camping shops trying to decide what we need to buy for our upcoming Europe trip.

Saturday night we went to our annual church quiz night. The night is to raise funds for our church's extensive youth programmes. We did really well, with our table finishing third. Only 5 points behind the lead. We were particularly pleased with our performance given that the age spread at ours was just early to mid-twenties.

Sunday was another busy day. We went back to the city to actually do our travel purchasing. DH got some really nice polar fleeces and a large day-pack. What gets me is that the men actually have much more choice in travel gear than women do. I got one polar fleece, a couple of fine merino jumpers and some solid walking shoes. When we got home the two little girls next door came for a visit with the dogs. We didn't end up getting lunch until 4pm! We capped the weekend off with church in the evening.

Last night we went to a Services reception at Government House. It was a very swish affair and we were very pleased to be invited. I certainly wouldn't mind being the Governor one day as Government House is in the middle of the Botanic Gardens and just gorgeous. DH was one of the more junior officers there but we managed to find some of his navy colleagues from ADFA to chat to.

I am off for a residential management course for the rest of this week so will be unlikely to be able to post until the weekend. So, hope you all have a great week and shall check in soon!

Friday, November 7, 2008

What Ya Readin': Trying Things Twice

I have been reading Jan Struther's Try Anything Twice. You may know Jan Struther from her famous novel Mrs Miniver - made into a movie of the same name. Or, as I do, from the well known hymn "When a Knight Won His Spurs". I love the Libera version of it, and you can see and hear it on Youtube.

Try Anything Twice is a collection of essays. So many have captured my imagination but "Ainsworth-Zazoulian" has to be a favourite. I am very much a list person. I write them, revise them and make lists of my lists. Each morning I make my daily 'to do' list at work, and towards the end of the day make my "to do" list for the evening. "Ainsworth-Zazoulian" is about Jan Struther's re-writing of her address book. It starts off with a wonderful ode to list writers.

"There are people who never make lists, relying upon their memories or upon their friends' reminders; there are people who do make lists, but grudgingly and without relish, as a means to an end, like a Puritan making love; and there are people to whom making lists is an end in itself, a pure, abstract and never-failing delight.

To the third class I am happy, though not particularly proud, to belong. Not proud, because I know only too well that the habit of list-making, carried to excess, can waste a lot of time: many is the letter I might have written if I had not first made a list of the letters I intended to write. Happy, because - unlike most pastimes - it is cheap, harmless to other people, and independent of your age or your income. When I was eight I made lists of all my toys, of all the cooks we had ever had, of all the plays I had ever been to - not counting pantomimes, which I scorned - and of all the languages I claimed to know (the last was a longish one, because a single word of each was enough to count, and I had a good many uncles in foreign parts); and when I am eighty, no doubt, I shall still be at it, making grim little lists of all the things I meant to learn and all the places I never went to see.

As a day with a dry-fly on the Kennet is to a fisherman, so to a list-maker is the moment, all too seldom recurring, when he feels justified in treating himself to a new address-book. Address-book-making is the pinnacle, the fine fleur, of the listmaker's art. For one thing, it is not a flimsy, ephemeral affair, like a shopping-list, no sooner made than it begins to be marred by smug ticks or triumphant crossings-out: an address-book is a permanent masterpiece, to be superseded perhaps, in a year or two's time, but never, if you have any proper feeling, thrown away."

Well, I must away I have a book to add to my read book list!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

On Tins

Well, it has been an interesting week.

A new President of the United States...

And, a stress fracture in the foot for me! I spent yesterday afternoon at the local hospital having a bone scan done. A fascinating process in itself. But, the end result was the diagnosis of a stress fracture in my second metatarsil (sp!) - for those that are as unfamiliar with anatomy as me, that is the bone coming up from the toe next to my big toe. The prognosis is good. Just 6 weeks of more dancing or lunchtime walks for me. Hopefully it heals by the time we go to Europe in 3 weeks time.

In other news.... the staff shop at work stocks Crabtree and Evelyn products. I wandered in there today and saw some lovely tins containing christmas treats. I loved the boxes so I contacted my husband and asked him if he would mind me purchasing a couple of them because I would love to have them as biscuit and tea tins. I wasn't so interested in their contents.

He agreed. I am sure you will all think they are lovely too!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

On Ironing

I quite enjoy ironing. It is all about having the right frame of mind. It can be quite theraputic if the pile is not too large, you are not rushed and you have a good movie or TV show on. Sadly, have found that Gilmore Girls (my all time favourite TV show) doesn't work for this. The character speak too fast to catch all the dialogue if you are focussed on getting a particular crease out. TV shows that I have found do work well though are Spooks, Midsommer Murders and Army Wives (a new favourite). Listening to music, a radio interview or an audio book also increase the enjoyment factor. Unfortunately, I am yet to find a way to read a book and iron at the same time.

I am quite fastidious about things being ironed. There are five items which I insist on being ironed which my husband thinks I am nuts for even putting near the heat - pillow cases, tea towels, hankerchiefs, nightwear and around-the-house clothes. Consequently, I have to do them all, both his and mine, myself. At least they are all quick and easy to press.

A couple of weekends ago we went to our local fair and there was a lady selling handmade ironing board covers. I fell in love with one. My darling husband agreed to let me get it. It has dancing . costumes on the outside, is padded and lined with pink gingham and, is making ironing even more enjoyable!

For those who might be concerned. We actually have two ironing boards - this is a military family after all. My husband will continue to do his ironing on the one with the plain, blue cover!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On Bedding

I thought I would show you one of the projects I worked on in the weeks before DH came home. A new bedspread for our spare bed. Another one needs to be produced for the other spare bed. That would be the spare bed that still needs to be purchased!

The fabric is Amy Butler's Royal Garden in Turquoise.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What Ya Readin': Miss Mapp and Lucia

I have just finished the wonderful first three books in the Mapp and Lucia series - Queen Lucia, Miss Mapp and Lucia in London. I had heard Simon rave about them and Elaine too. I love domestic literature so, I felt I had to give them a go. Last time Borders had a discount voucher I grabbed the first omnibus - Lucia Rising - published by Penguin.

Initially I had trouble getting into the characters. But, now I realise you are not supposed to 'like' either Miss Mapp or Lucia, as people they are utterly unlikeable social climbers. Rather one is supposed to become completely absorbed in their tribulations and triumphs in small town politics and in Lucia in London…the greater London scene. I absolutely adored Lucia in Lucia in London. Indeed, it seems I have joined the so-called Luciaphiles.

I have spent the last two days of my train trips to work utterly engrossed, delighting in Lucia's initial downfall at Riseholm and subsequent restoration to her reightful throne as Queen of that small village. And may I say, Daisy Quantock - unfortunately deposed, by Lucia, of her hard won Riseholme crown - is my favourite character. I don't suppose there is a lot of point me adding another summary to the excellent ones that are already out in the blogoshere. So, instead, I will point you in the direction of other devoted fans and let their ravings speak for me: Simon and Elaine .

I was impressed to find that Alexander McCall Smith is also a fan of E.F. Benson, and like Elaine before me, was thrilled when I found a Mapp and Lucia reference in his latest book The Unbearable Lightness of Scones. For any AMS fans out there that haven't been following it I would urge you to rush over to The Telegraph website and start catching up on AMS's latest daily novel. There was a reference to Mapp and Lucia in last Friday's edition.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Moving On

All posts, bookish and otherwise, are now over on A Lady Bug's Life.

Looking forward to your visit!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On Mangoes

Spring is truly here in eastern Australia as we are starting to see the first mangoes of the season. We are very fortunate to have mango growing areas in the Northern Territory and far north Queensland.

I love mangoes. The pungent sweet aroma when you sniff to check if a mongo is ripe is such a treat. And then, you cut the tough, oozing skin to expose the tender golden flesh. Yummy. The best way to eat a mango straight is to slice a cheek of mango, cut a fat dice into the flesh and then bend back the skin and dig in!

Another option is to blend mango and milk to create a milkshake. Or as we discovered in Singpore to mix shaved ice, sweetened condensed milk and diced mango. My mouth is watering at the memory. And now, Karen has given me another option....I think I might try this soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On someone special coming home!

Well, it's hard for me to believe that DH has been home for just over a week now! He arrived late last Sunday. We have had a lovely time just getting used to him being around again. And, I have been having fun being thoroughly domestic....lots of bread baking, cake making and tea drinking going on here. Oh, and I managed to get almost instantly sick as DH brought home a Baghdad Fluey Bug. What a lovely present:) Just left with the hacking cough now! Fortunately I have the second half of this week off work so I should be able to give the bug the boot.

I made a welcome home sign to make DH feel at home! It is very simple bunting...almost no sewing required. You just need a bit of fusible interfacing and pinking shears.

This past weekend we went down to Bowral to check on our investment property and our tenants appear to be keeping the grounds in immaculate condition. I was very impressed. They are certainly better gardeners than we are.

Bowral has a well known secondhand book trail so we felt duty bound to have a look around the shops. DH had just cleared off his bookshelf so we traded in a whole lot of books for credits at our favourite secondhand bookstore - Bong Bong Books (it is the name of the main street in Bowral). As such, I got this massive stash for just a $6 outlay, oh and DH got one book (to be fair there were no others he wanted)....

Monday, September 29, 2008

On Skirting

I have been having a play with a couple of skirt patterns lately....very simple ones I have found on the internet.

The first I made the weekend before last. Because the skirt is designed for a child I used slightly more fabric. Actually, if I was to make it again I would use less - perhaps the amount for the largest child size. The end result is a very bunchy around the waist - an awful lot of excess material. But it is as twirly as it supposed to be and I love the colours. Perfect for Spring.

Then this weekend I made a cherry skirt, following this pattern. On this occasion I had the opposite problem, too little fabric. I was walking like I had my two legs tied together; perhaps because, again, the pattern is for a child. So I adapted it a little and added a split at the back. I wore it to church last night and am quite happy with it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

On Our Trip

I promised pictures....but I am afraid I am little constrained by the fact that my husband has said I can't post any photos in which we appear and there seems to be at least one of us in most of our photos. Additionally, my husband has half the photos on his camera....and it is in Iraq. So, here is a taster and I will add more when he gets home - hopefully he has some in which we are absent.

Anyhow....while in Penang we spent a couple of days in the historic city of Georgetown. One day we took a special trip in to see the Blue Mansion...named for obvious reasons. Our tour guide was brilliant and showed us how the house had been designed to incorporate many elements of feng suei.

They were rebuilding one of the huts in the grounds of our hotel in Batu Ferengi, I found the process fascinating....

And now the photo shortage becomes evident....because we find ourselves in Singapore....visiting the Merlion.....defender of the city.

We went to Sentosa Island while we were in Singapore. One of the highlights there was a tour of Fort Siloso. Fort Siloso is where the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese in WW2. The site has been really well done up. There are lots of interactive exhibits - you can even experience what it would have been like to have been a British soldier sent out to the colony in the 1870s. Anyway, so you don't have to trudge up the hill to the hitch a ride on this charming old lady.

We went to Jurong Bird Park on the far tip of the island. I will not go into details of how I got pooped on twice by birds....and how the second time my husband tried to pacify me by telling me that it was just a berry from the tree that had fallen on my head. Might I add both times he was standing next to not a drop fell on him.

Anyway, the bird park is brilliant and well worth the trek out - even if the birds have no bathroom training. They do really amazing bird shows - the photo below is from the Birds of Prey show. They even had a vulture (or, maybe it was another species) who would bang an egg with a rock to get it open. The only problem being that the bird is elderly, suffers from dementia and kept forgetting what it was supposed to be doing. Very amusing!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

On 6 weeks

Wow, it has been 6 weeks since I last posted... what a retrobate blogger I have been. Well, maybe a catch up post is appropriate today, and I will try to get back to more interesting posts tomorrow.

1. Our trip went really well. As expected the connection at KL didn't work out but we didn't let that put a dampner on things! Highlights included: high tea at Raffles (in Singapore) and at the Eastern and Oriental in Georgetown, a visit to a tropical fruit farm and the night safari at the Singapore Zoo. Of course, the best bit was getting to spend 2 whole weeks with my husband. Hope to post pictures tomorrow.

2. My Mummy came for a visit. She arrived the day after I got back from Singapore...we had a lovely time just spending some quiet time together.

3. My husband has got a posting to Melbourne for next year. Love that city. Not so keen on the accomodation arrangements Defence Housing is proposing. We move in November....our house is not available until February.

4. Number 3 means I need to find a new job. My current employer is only situated here in Sydney. They offered me a secondment to another organisation but, after a lot of soul searching I have decided to turn that one down. I have decided I want to work in a role which focuses on social welfare. So, I am hard at work on job applications.

5. I am trying to do a tax return. Or rather, get all the paperwork together so the accountant can do our tax return. This is considerably complicated by an investment property purchase during the year.

6. My husband gets back home next week... we are down to single digits! Am spending lots of time getting the house ready (have a fun craft project to show you) and get all his favourite foods in.

Life is always an adventure!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Off overseas...

Europafox asked if I was off to KL soon. I'm not but I thought I should update you on my travel plans. DH has his ROCL (R&R for those who don't speak military) leave starting on Monday. We have two weeks. We are spending one week in Penang (so flying through Kuala Lumpur), then we have a week in Singapore. I am so excited. Only 5 days to go....I can't wait to see DH! I have sorted out our flight issues and now will be able to meet up in KL and catch the connecting flight to Penang together. I am finding it so hard to concentrate at work this week because I just can't wait for Monday. Ok, so I don't actually see him until Tuesday but once you are on the plane time is somewhat redundant.

And Ladies, the crazy man thinks he will be able to spend back stuff from Iraq with me. Uh, hum I have some serious shopping to do....there will not be room for his stuff in my suitcase. Well, there might be room but their will be no excess weight capacity available;)

Anyway a weeks time should found us relaxing at the Swiss Club. Fortunately, my in-laws have membership so we will be able to spend lazy days poolside.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What Ya Readin': Some Diverse Reads

I have been reading some varied genres in recent weeks.

First, I read "The Misses Mallett" by E.H. Young, a Virago Modern Classic. I picked my copy up at a book fair and I am glad I did because I loved it. The back of the cover says it is "reminiscent of Jane Austen". How very true that is. Good thing I have a couple more E.H. Young novels on my book shelf.

There are three Mallet sisters and one Mallet niece who live together in a house the small country town of Radstowe. The two oldest sisters - Caroline and Sophia - are large, jolly and aging spinsters.

While the bossy Caroline asserts that "The Mallets do not marry", their beautiful younger half-sister Rose awaits the arrival of a man who will take her away to an exciting life. She turns down the advances of the young Francis Sales - the eligible local squire. Only when Francis marries does he gain allure in Rose's eyes. When his young wife is tragically injured in a riding accident, Rose and Francis commence a love affair - emotional only, because Rose refuses to give herself to Francis while his wife is alive.

Then comes Henrietta, the daughter of the Mallet's wayward brother, who arrives in Radstowe after the death of her mother. She shares the beauty of her Aunt Rose and has a wilful spirit deciding that she will break the Mallet mold and marry. Unfortunately she falls in love with the unavailable Francis Sales. Henrietta and Aunt Rose gently compete for the love of an ineligble man.

I just finished "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. I ordered it a couple of months ago to read for Cornflower's book group, but never got round to doing so. The novel is set in Germany in 1939 as the Nazi's reach the height of their power, is narrated by death, and is the story of a young girl - Liesel and those around her. Her foster parents, her best friend Rudy Steiner, and a Jew named Max whom her foster parents shelter. Their world slowly disintegrates as the allied bombs start to fall.

This is a very unique book. I have heard diverse views on it. Though it took me a while to get into, I enjoyed it. It is stylistically unique and if you enjoy reading modern fiction I would recommend it.

Finally, I read "The Rise and Fall of the British Nanny" by Jonathon Gathorne-Hardy. Interesting if you are curious about Victorian and Edwardian English history. Gathorne-Hardy looks at the socio economic conditions that gave rise to the existence of the Nanny, and the social impacts of a Nanny raised generation. For instance, Gathorne-Hardy talks about how 'lower class' Nannies shaped the habits, mannerisms, speech and knowledge of upper class children. Gathorne-Hardy also posits a fundamentally important question "How was it that hundreds of thousands of mothers could simply abandon their little children to the absolute care of other women?". I could see parallels between this question and the debate about childcare today.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Busy Long Weekend

I had quite a busy long weekend here. I love Bank Holiday Monday - cos no-one that doesn't work for a bank gets it! I got some good books read (I'll post on that later).

I did so much cleaning! One of the Managers at work was telling how FlyLady has revolutionised her life. With a commendation like that I had to give it a go. I am up to day 7 of a polished sink! I still can't believe I am using windex on my sink! LOL

I had an Irish Dancing Competition on Sunday. I got a gold and a silver for two of my dances. Ironically, I completely stuffed up my premiership dance and I had already danced it once and won a silver. I got to the middle of it and couldn't remember the next step. So embarassing:)

On Monday I tore around everywhere. I got my hair done. I was there 3 and a half hours! It is very blonde. The hair dresser is a bit of a flibity gibbet and walked off in the middle of the streaking process. It was a bit of a shock when I came out, but I am getting used to it and have got quite a number of compliments on it which has been reassuring. I wasn't sure if it was too blonde - I am naturally a dark honey colour kind of blonde, this is verging towards a very pale blonde.

I also went to the Sheridan outlet and got some fresh white sheets for the spare bedroom. Can't wait to put them on the bed. I think they will make it look really special. I am going to try and sew new doona covers for them too. Hopefully I will get them all done before DH gets back from Iraq.

I also had a private ballet lesson and bible study. So, all in all I think that my day off was more pressured than my normal work day!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Singing Along...

I have been tagged by Europafox to do the song meme that has been circulating. So here it goes:

1. Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog

2. Share 5 songs you are embarrassed to admit to others that you like and tell why.

3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post.

Favourite Songs...have I mentioned I like old school music?

1. Stupid Cupid - Mandy Moore sang it on The Princess Diaries soundtrack and I love it. So boppy!

2. Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland. Cheesy I know, but happen to like it.

3. Do the Bird - Dee Dee Sharp. I first heard this on the movie "The Hairy Bird". It took me ages to track down a copy.

4. Wives and Lovers - Andy Williams. On my Room Service 2 CD. I like most of the music in this CD but this is probably my favourite.

5. Under the Southern Sky - Nicki Webster. She sang this at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic games...and I know its corny, but I like singing along to it.

In terms of tagging people...anyone who wants to feel free...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Preppy Heat Pack

So this is what I have been up to the last couple of weekends. Sewing a quilted heat pack holder and said heat pack. It didn't turn out too shabbily. It is ideal for warmth when one is still waiting for their replacement heater!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

To Market, to market to buy....

Had a very busy day yesterday. Took myself off to our local farmer's markets. These are only on once a month, so I have to stock up! Also, I am going to be away when the next one is on.

I picked up some lovely lamb chipolata sausages, some musli bars, lots of fresh vegetables and fruit and some freshly made wholemeal country bread. Yummy.

The peas are already gone. I spent most of yesterday wandering into the kitchen, podding a few and eating them raw. The rest will make lovely meals for the coming weeks.

Last night I went out for dinner with some work colleagues. We had a great time and didn't end up leaving the restaurant until the owners turned the music off:) The place we went serves Pakistani food and we had the wonderful Charga Chicken.....spiced, marinated chicken pieces, stuffed with yellow rice and rough-chopped onions and baked in the tandoor. We shared the platter below between all three of us. There was plenty to go around. So delicious.

Today I was planning a trip to a large book fair which is held annually in our area, only when I checked my email this morning to confirm what time it will open....uh, it was on 2 weeks ago. Whoops! Am thinking it is probably a good thing though as I have more than enough books to keep me going.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Not much happening here. I am having a busy week at work. I have a very yucky report to write and it seems to be a case of one step forward, two steps back. For every new sentence I write I end up deleting several others. Yikes!

I received some lovely fabric today in the mail and I was going to post on that, but it is now too dark for photographs so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

So, in the absence of having anything particularly interesting to report I thought I would share with you something that made me chuckle. I was going through my commonplace book. A notebook where I write done quotes that appeal to me, mostly from books I have read. The thing is, I often forget what I have written down and so they strike me as fresh each time I re-read it.

Anyhow, this comes from The Provincial Lady, by E.M Delafield. I must thank Simon over on Stuck in a Book for introducing me to this lovely lady. Her books are so much fun, and so real! They might have been written 60 years ago, but they are no less 'current' for it. Anyway I am sure everyone has at least once found themselves in this situation....

"Make very inferior exit of my own, being quite unable to think of any reason for going except that I have been wanting to almost ever since I arrived - which, cannot, naturally, be produced".

Monday, July 21, 2008

What Ya' Readin': Recently Seen Reading

I realise it is a while since I did a post on the books I have been reading. I have had a couple of really good ones too!
I just finished Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes by Fiona MacCarthy. It is about the women who made their debut in 1958. This was the last year that debs were presented to the Queen. Fiona MacCarthy was herself a debutante in that year and gives a full rundown on how preparations were made for the season, the season and life afterwards. She outlines how difficult many titled families were finding it to meet all the expenses associated with the season in the post war era. Many had houses that were falling apart and were being taxed to the hilt by death duties. It was extremely well written and interesting.

Second, and such a fun read To the Manor Born by Peter Spence. This is laugh out loud stuff. My favourite part was when Audrey pretends to go on holiday. She drives out in her Royles and then has her Butler drive her back home concealed in the boot. She proceeds to spend the following week "holidaying" hidden in her cottage and using a ray lamp to get the tan she is supposedly getting in Greece. From the cover

"Audrey fforbes-Hamilton enjoys all the little luxuries that a woman of her position and ancestry might expect - a manor in the country, a modest staff, the awed respect of the local village and, of course, a few shillings in the bank. But with the death of her husband all that changes.

As Audrey moves to the coach-house with Brabinger; her loyal but decrepit butler; she has to face the horros of the real world - supermarkets, launderettes, buses, possibly even a job. But worse is to follow when the new Lord of the Manor arrives. Now Audrey prepares to do battle on behalf of her reputation, class and the hallowed name of fforbes-Hamilton".

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another Tagging!

Europa Fox has tagged me to fill out this meme, so here it goes.

A. Attached or Single? Attached.

B. Best Friend? My husband.

C. Cake or pie? Lemon Meringue Pie...if it is on the menu it is what I have. Oh, and I like apple pie too.

D. Day of choice? Saturday Morning. The whole promise of the weekend ahead....

E. Essential item? My glasses cleaning cloth. It drives me nuts to have any smudges on my glasses.

F. Favorite color? Pink.

G. Gummy bears or worms? Gummi Bears for sure.

H. Home town? I'm a sandgroper. From Perth, Western Australia.

I. Favorite indulgence? Lindt mint truffles. You can only get these at the Lindt shop. My office building happens to be precariously close.

J. January or July? January, its my birthday.

K. Kids? Not yet, but hopefully in the future.

M. Marriage date? December 2006.

N. Number of brothers and sisters? I am an only child.

O. Oranges or Apples? Oranges, I am an orange fiend. Just ask my husband. In winter we buy boxes of oranges...and uh, he doesn't actually eat them.

P. Phobias? I am scared of heights, cockroaches and dirt on my clothing.

Q. Quotes? "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time" TS Eliot.

R. Reasons to smile? I just got a phone call from my husband, and had a chat to my Mum. Oh and my dogs are being sweet.

S. Season of choice? Spring...I love it.

T. Tag 5 people: Oh dear, I think most people have done this already. So lets just say anyone who wants to is welcome.

U. Unknown fact about me? I like to eat Milk Arrowroot biscuits with butter spread between. My Mum used to make these for me when I was a little girl.

V. Vegetable? Peas, freshly podded from their shell.

W. Worst habit? I say "I can't explain it" a lot. Then go on to attempt it.

X. X-ray or Ultrasound? I have had x-rays. When I was four I sprained my ankle and my Mum took me to hospital to have it x-rayed. When she told me they were "going to take a photo of it", I expressed some concern that they would have to open up my leg to do so.

Z. Zodiac sign? Capricorn.

Z. Which zoo animal is your favorite? I love the meer cats. The way the poke their heads up and look around all the time. So cute! My puppy Abby sometimes reminds me of them.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A little (cough) online shopping

So, I did my first order of clothing from the US. As many non-Americans reading this will know - J Crew doesn't ship overseas. Sob! But, some Ebay sellers do!

I was a little concerned after I placed my order that I might have ordered the wrong size, cos even though you are meant to drop 4 sizes from Australia to the US......well, you never know. And, it wasn't like I could return them.

As it turns out, everything fitted perfectly. I am so pleased with them.....And yes, Mum, Dad and Auntie H, now that I know your reading this I am feeling trepidation at revealing the extent of my shopping spree...but not enough to not post the pictures!

So, I got a jacket

A cardigan (it was a little brighter red than I was expecting from this photo)

Some shorts

And, a really nice top.

I am one happy ebay shopper....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Some Flip-flop Cuteness

I love Etsy. Everytime I look on there I find something cute.

This is my latest find.....flip-flop decorations. They arrived in the post today. I was so excited to go to the post office and pick up my package.

Just perfect for my upcoming trip to Malaysia and Singapore....

Such a yummy idea.....they come from Mae and Me. Of course, mine have an S on them. But I couldn't be bothered taking another photo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's Cooking: Anzacs for my Anzac

So I have packed up another care package for my husband.....this is third batch of Anzac biscuits I have sent him since he went away.

Anzac Biscuits are synonymous with military service here. In the first world war Australians and New Zealanders would bake these biscuits to send to their loved ones on the frontline. Given the long distance the biscuits had to travel they needed to be sturdy, and retain their freshness! Actually, though, they are best consumed fresh from the oven with a cold glass of milk.

These biscuits will be exposed to extreme heat before they get to my husband - it is 50C where he is. Also, given the vagaries of the Australian Forces Postal Service it could take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks for this package to reach him.

I hope he knows I am thinking of him here when he opens it.

And for anyone who might be inclined to try to make Australia's favourite biscuit, here is the recipe I use. It is not exactly traditional - the cinnamon wasn't in it in the old days. This is a really easy recipe for kids to be involved with too.

Cinnamon Anzac Biscuits

Makes about 40

150g (1 cup) plain flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
125g (1 1/3 cups) rolled oats
85g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
115g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
55g (1/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125g butter, cubed
60ml (1/4 cup) golden syrup
2 tbs water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda


Preheat oven to 150C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Sift together the flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the rolled oats,coconut, caster sugar and brown sugar, and mix well.

Combine the butter, golden syrup and water in a small saucepan, and stirover medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture is well combined. Remove from heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Add immediately tothe dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to stir until well combined.

Roll walnut-sized portions of mixture into balls and place on the lined trayabout 5cm apart. Use your fingers to flatten each slightly (until they areabout 1cm thick) and bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes for crisp on theoutside and chewy in the centre. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutesto cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Desparately seeking heat

Uh, so I think I have broken my department of defence gas heater....

On Thursday night I was leaning over it to see if the pilot light was going and I caught my cross in it. The cross was yanked separate from the chain....and into the heater. This is happened once before, also when my husband was away.

Last time I got my cousin in to help me dismantle it, but seeing how I know how he went about it I figure I can do it too. So next stop was to get my husband's toolkit out and take it apart. Eventually my cross fell out and some 1 and 2 cent coins (out of circulation for almost 20 years) that gives an indication of how old it is.

I managed to put it back together...sort of...... it is now a little wobly on one side. So on Friday night I get home from work freezing and turn it on, and proceed to give my Mum a ring. While chatting on the phone I smell smoke and see it coming out of my heater. Needless to say I turned it straight off. A phone call to the Defence repairs line and they are sending someone out to fix it this weekend.

So, it looks like I will spend the rest of the week camped out on the fan heater!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

All Spruced Up With No Place to Go

My puppies had a haircut today. The lady who does their hair is lovely. When she called to say they could be picked up she said "your babies are ready". Too cute!

Anyway, here is Monty looking very masculine with his black collar bow.

And, here is Abby with a pretty purple bow in her hair. She was being a little Madam when I went to pick them up and basically tap dancing in the cage. Can't you see the cheeky spark in her eyes? But, at least she is sitting!

They are a little chilly now with their shorter coats, so they both have their housecoats on. I also think the excitement of the day has exhausted them. They have both taken to MY bed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pay it Forward...

The lovely Kappa Prep of Monograms and Manicures nominated me for a couple of awards, so I am passing them on.
This was really hard for me as there are so many blogs I enjoy. So, I have decided to nominate a couple of blogs I have been reading for a while and always get a kick out of:

Simon over on Stuck in a Book....for his musings on all things literary and Oxfordish.

Tara at Books and Cooks....who always tempts me with her cooking ideas.

Lauren at Adventures of a Southern Newlywed for her sweet take on life in general.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

100 Things About Me

I wrote this post last night. Unfortunately when I came to publish it all my numbering disappeared and I didn't have time to redo it. You may notice I was complaining about not receiving a phone call from my husband. It never came through. Unfortunately I woke this morning to read that one Australian soldier had been killed in Afghanistan and two seriously injured. When an incident like that occurs the communications network is shut down to ensure that the families of the casulties are the first to know. I hope to speak to my husband tonight, but I have had an email to say he is safe.

Moments like this really make you think. I am so sorry for the families of those killed/hurt. And yet, I am so grateful that it is not my loved one. Feeling like this gives me a lot of guilt, and the only way I know to deal with it is to pray for the families affected and those injured and killed. I don't suppose there is a lot else anyone can do - except pray that the wars end soon and all our remaining service men and women can come home safely.

Anyway, on to a more cheery are a hundred facts about me. Current at 10 pm last night!

1. I am an only child.
2. I went to the same school for 12 years.
3. I did all 14 years of my school education at girls’ schools. I do not think this has negatively impacted me in anyway, despite the rude comments some people make about this kind of education!
4. I loved school. My favourite day was Heather Lamont Day – a craft and performing arts day held once a year.
5. I think I still abide by my school motto, ‘per ardua ad alta’. It means “strive for the highest”.
6. I have an Economics degree.
7. I graduated with first class honours.
8. I did a study abroad at a college in upstate New York. My time there was the highlight of my university experience.
9. I am originally from Western Australia. My family still lives there.
10. My Dad’s side of the family were founding settlers in Western Australia. My (7) Greats Grandfather arrived from England on HMS Sulphur on June 29, 1829. Foundation Day was June 29, 1829.
11. My Mother is from New Zealand.
12. I have dual citizenship because of this.
13. My husband and I married young at age 22.
14. My husband is my best friend.
15. My husband and I were high school sweethearts.
16. My husband is the only man I have ever dated.
17. My favourite bible verse is “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11.
18. I love dark chocolate.
19. I also love bread and butter pudding.
20. I do not like seafood or mushrooms. I will not eat either – or anything that has touched them.
21. I do not like my foods to mix. I try to keep them separate on my plate.
22. I can not stand the smell of tuna.
23. I am currently waiting for my husband to phone me from Iraq. We will have 10 minutes to talk when he finally gets through. I wait all day for this – it is definitely the highlight.
24. I just bought my first item of clothing from Ebay. It is J Crew and I am concerned I might not have got the right size, as Australian sizing is different to American sizing. I guess time will tell.
25. I still do ballet and Irish dancing. Some people think this is strange.
26. I should be sitting my Royal Academy of Dancing grade 7 ballet exam in October.
27. I play the piano.
28. I can sight read the treble clef. The base clef takes more effort.
29. This is unusual as I played the Euphonium for 8 years at school. All music for the Euphonium is written for the base clef.
30. I love to read. I get through about 3 or 4 books a week. Most of my reading is done on public transport.
31. My don’t think I have a favourite book but I have a number I like very much.
32. I wish I spoke a foreign language. Unfortunately all I have is school level German.
33. I am really close to my parents. I speak to them at least once a day.
34. I am very indecisive.
35. However, I am extremely organised. This does not work well when you are married to someone in the military. With the military, you can not plan on anything.
36. I like lists.
37. I like to wear hair ribbons. At 24 I am not overly sure this is always appropriate.
38. I am terrible at parallel parking. This is a problem as most parking in Sydney is parallel parking.
39. I also do not like to park turning to the left, or reversing.
40. I enjoy writing. Not creative writing, but writing essays.
41. I have two small dogs – Abby and Monty. Both are Maltese X and both were rescued from the pound.
42. I have very fine, straight hair. It drives me nuts because it does not keep any body. I do like the fact it is naturally blonde.
43. My favourite colour is pink.
44. I prefer to wear skirts and dresses to pants or shorts. When I was a child I flatly refused to wear jeans.
45. I can be very stubborn. See previous.
46. I have blue eyes like my Dad. My Mum has green eyes.
47. I am more of a cat person than a dog person, but as my husband is highly allergic to cats we have dogs.
48. I miss my cat and dog which stayed in Perth with my parents. I think my cat feels like I abandoned her.
49. I moved to Sydney to take up a graduate position. My husband managed to get posted here when we got married.
50. When I open a packet of medication, I like to work from one end to the other. My husband thinks I am slightly OCD.
51. Nuts and liquorice are the only foods I will eat that my husband will not.
52. I like the cold. You can dress for warmth but not always for coolness.
53. I like having nice writing paper.
54. I prefer hand written correspondence to email.
55. I get nervous speaking on the telephone.
56. It really annoys me when people don’t acknowledge gifts – particularly those sent through the post.
57. After 12 years of wearing a green uniform there was a phase where I could not stand the colour.
58. I love wicker baskets.
59. I sometimes wish I had been born earlier as I love the fashion of the 1950s.
60. I am slightly baby obsessed at present.

61. I hope that I can stay home when I have children.
62. I used to do speech – or elocution if you prefer – exams when I was at school.
63. I have a very quiet voice. People often complain that they can’t hear me. This is the reason my Mother put me in speech and drama classes.
64. I am still waiting for my husband to phone. He is 76 minutes late. I am concerned the communications network might have been shut down at his end.
65. It annoys me when people don't keep left on escalators. I suppose if I was American it would annoy me if people didn't keep right.
66. I believe somebody hears my prayers.
67. I do not particularly enjoy my work. I do not think it is a bad job, but it is not right for me. I am hoping to find something that is a better fit in the future.
68. I start work very early – 7:30am. I asked to do this so I can finish early. Usually I can leave about 4:15pm. Unfortunately it means getting up at 5:45am.
69. I am currently letting the dogs sleep on the bed. My husband does not approve.
70. The dogs will have to unlearn this habit before my husband gets home.
71. My favourite version of Little Women the movie is the 1949 one with Elizabeth Taylor in it.
72. I love watching musicals.
73. Among my favourites are “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” and “Meet me in St Louis”.
74. I can not stand to have marks on my clothing. I was really obsessive about this as a child.
75. I drink lots of tea. I do not drink coffee.
76. I am obsessed with Chai Lattes at present. The lady who mans the coffee machine at the cafeteria at work knows my order!
77. I do not like it when people are late for engagements. I think it shows a lack of respect for other people’s time.

78. Eating golden toasty warm crumpets, drinking tea and reading are my favourite things to do on a cold, wet wintery day.
79. I like to bake. Biscuits and cakes are my favourite things to make. I try not to eat them too much though. My husband's absence has really hampered me in the baking regard as I have lost my chief consumer.
80. I eat a lot of fruit.
81. I love summer fruit including berries, apricots, grapes and plums.
82. For winter fruits, oranges are my favourites.
83. I am a bit of an Anglophile. I think this is a result of my Nanna’s influence.
84. My best friends are friends from school.
85. I love my three year old niece (cousin’s daughter). She has such a big personality and makes me laugh. She also loves to give hugs and I love getting cuddles.
86. I lost my teddy bear in America when I was 6. The owners of the hotel found it in the bed and shipped it back to me in Australia. It took 3 months.
87. My teddy bear still sits on our bed. Her name is 'Teddy'.
88. I have a fondness for bed linen.
89. I like embroidered table cloths.
90. My favourite flowers are tulips. I was very disappointed to not be able to have them in my wedding bouquet because they were out of season.
91. I like to have porridge (oatmeal) for breakfast. I serve it with walnuts, apple or banana, and brown sugar.
92. I think that whether or not people agree with us (Australia) having a troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan they should support the soldiers that are there. I am proud of my husband.
93. I can’t wait for my husband to come home. He will be back in 3 months.
94. I only have 6 weeks before I see him for his R&R. We are meeting up in Malaysia.
95. I believe that when people move to another country they should accept and embrace the values it upholds.
96. I am having strawberries, Greek yoghurt and granola for breakfast tomorrow. I have to go and chop up the strawberries in minute.
97. I am not very good at sports. I think that this might have something to do with me not liking to perspire. My Nanna always said “pigs sweat, people perspire”. I think of this when I hear someone say they are sweaty. It makes me laugh.
98. I like watching Oprah so much that I tape it every day and watch it when I get home from work.
99. For relaxation I read detective stories. The kind with the nice clean murders….I just want to read about the detecting. My favourite fictional detectives are Mrs Marple, Poirot, Inspector Brunetti, Mma Ramotswe, Agatha Raisin, Daisy Dalyrymple, and Phryne Fisher.
100. I mowed the lawn for the first time 2 weeks ago. It was such a traumatic experience that I am never doing it again. Even if we only have a 2 metre square patch I am getting a professional in.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Brief Absence

I will be a little quiet here for the next couple of days as I am hitting the ski slopes for the weekend. Somehow I doubt I will look like it is my first go....we don't have ski slopes on the West Coast......

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What Ya Readin': A Secretly Good Read...

I have just finished a really wonderful book. It came as a recommendation from the wonderful author Deanna Raybourn - who has a really fun blog and writes quirky murder mystery books. I can highly recommend Silent in the Grave, and have Silent in the Sanctuary in my reading pile for an upcoming trip.

Several weeks ago Deanna demanded that her blog readers read Eva Rice's book The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets. Deanna likened it to I Capture the Castle - a book I adore. It was duly, and rapidly, ordered from The Book Depository. And, I love it. It has gotten pride of place on my bookshelf (the cover is very pretty and I am a sucker for covers), and will sit next to my copy of I Capture the Castle as soon as the person who borrowed it 3 months ago gets around to returning it (what is the ettiquite for getting back loaned books? I seem to be singularly unlucky in this regard).

Anyway from the dust jacket

"Set in the 1950s, in an England still recovering from the Second World War, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is the enchanting story of Penelope Wallace and her eccentric family at the start of the rock 'n' roll era.

Penelope longs to be grown-up and to fall in love; but various rather inconvenient things keep getting in her way. Like her mother a stunning but petulant beauty widowed at a tragically early age, her younger brother, Inigo, currently incapable of concentrating on anything that isn't Elvis Presley, a vast but crumbling ancestral home, a severe shortage of cash, and her best friend Charlotte's sardonic cousin Harry...."

You must read it, you simply must.......

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What Ya Readin': Books not read!

I pinched this from Monograms and Manicures Blog. She is having an amazing time in Europe at present so do pop over and have look. Anyway, I thought I would have a go. The ones in bold I have read, those in italics are on my shelf to read. I have only read 16...looks like I have some reading homework.

"106 Books of Pretension
1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
2. Anna Karenina
3. Crime and Punishment
4. Catch-22
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude
6. Wuthering Heights
7. The Silmarillion
8. Life of Pi
9. The Name of the Rose
10. Don Quixote
11. Moby Dick
12. Ulysses
13. Madame Bovary
14. The Odyssey - on my husband's bookshelf
15. Pride and Prejudice
16. Jane Eyre
17. The Tale of Two Cities
18. The Brothers Karamazov
19. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
20. War and Peace
21. Vanity Fair
22. The Time Traveler’s Wife
23. The Iliad - well it's on my husbands shelf
24. Emma
25. The Blind Assassin
26. The Kite Runner
27. Mrs. Dalloway
28. Great Expectations
29. American Gods
30. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
31. Atlas Shrugged
32. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
33. Memoirs of a Geisha
34. Middlesex
35. Quicksilver
36. Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
37. The Canterbury Tales
38. The Historian : a novel
39. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
40. Love in the Time of Cholera
41. Brave New World
42. The Fountainhead
43. Foucault’s Pendulum
44. Middlemarch
45. Frankenstein
46. The Count of Monte Cristo - again, on my husband's bookshelf
47. Dracula
48. A Clockwork Orange
49. Anansi Boys
50. The Once and Future King
51. The Grapes of Wrath
52. The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
53. 1984 - always thought I should read this given its my birth year
54. Angels & Demons
55. The Inferno
56. The Satanic Verses
57. Sense and Sensibility
58. The Picture of Dorian Gray
59. Mansfield Park - actually I have read half
60. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
61. To the Lighthouse
62. Tess of the D'Urbervilles
63. Oliver Twist
64. Gulliver’s Travels
65. Les Misérables
66. The Corrections
67. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
68. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
69. Dune
70. The Prince
71. The Sound and the Fury
72. Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
73. The God of Small Things
74. A People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present
75. Cryptonomicon
76. Neverwhere
77. A Confederacy of Dunces
78. A Short History of Nearly Everything
79. Dubliners
80. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
81. Beloved
82. Slaughterhouse-Five
83. The Scarlet Letter
84. Eats, Shoots & Leaves
85. The Mists of Avalon
86. Oryx and Crake : a novel
87. Collapse : How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed - my husband says this is brilliant.
88. Cloud Atlas
89. The Confusion
90. Lolita
91. Persuasion
92. Northanger Abbey - I just saw the new BBC adaptation and I really want to read it now.
93. The Catcher in the Rye
94. On the Road
95. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
96. Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side of Everything (uh, I have an economics degree)
97. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : An Inquiry Into Values
98. The Aeneid
99. Watership Down
100. Gravity's Rainbow
101. The Hobbit
102. In Cold Blood : A True Account Of A Multiple Murder and It's Consequences
103. White Teeth
104. Treasure Island
105. David Copperfield
106. The Three Musketeers

Monday, June 30, 2008

Puppy School

Sh, so Monty doesn't know that boys aren't supposed to wear ribbons! He is desperately in need of a haircut and I couldn't get a Saturday appointment with the dog's hairdresser until mid July. The hair ribbon was supposed to help him to see, but he got it off about 10 minutes after I took this photo. He is snug as a bug in a is winter here.

Our dogs have social problems. They are really aggresive to other dogs when they are out walking - and as you can see they are not really the size to pick a fight! We don't know how to solve the problem so we have called in the experts from "Bark Busters". Ken, the trainer for our area of Sydney, came in for two hours on Saturday. My gosh, the dogs are reformed characters. Apparently I have been contributing to the problem (kind of already guessed that). For instance, I pick them up to try to get them to stop their behaviour - this actually raises their status in the pack because they gain height, making them even more aggresive. Whoops!

Also, Ken says that our dogs our hyperactive. This might be a result of their diet. He has told me they have to be on a raw food diet - a mixture of human mince, vegetable and eggs. I spent half an hour on Saturday afternoon blending the ingredients together in a food processer. Fun! I have made enough for two weeks. I can tell you, given the additional effort - it better be effective.

They are real darlings though, so I think it is worth the cost and effort to improve their behavior. Soon, they should be well behaved enough to take on outings to cafes etc. I can't wait.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gorgeously Green - Part 1

So, I was watching Oprah the other day and they had Sophie Uliano on for Earth Day. She was talking about her new book Gorgeously Green. She talked all about organic produce. And gosh, she gave a scare about all the chemicals sprayed on fruit and vegetables, aswell as the antibiotics you find in meat. It has made me seriously think about going organic. But for me, when the obstacles is the lack of availability. Just where do you get organic produce from?

Without going organic, one option Sophie suggested was creating your own vegetable spray. Apparently just washing fruit and vegetables doesn't get the chemical residue off. This is her recipe:
1 cup of water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp of baking soda
20 drops of grapefruit seed oil (Where do you get this from???)
Spray on produce and leave for 5-10 minute before rinsing off.

Sophie also talked about chemicals in beauty products....but I'll post more on that later..

Friday, June 13, 2008

What's Cooking: Hummus

My Mum has requested my recipe for Hummus, and since I have to type it up to send to her, I thought I might as well post it here as well.

I am a huge hummus fan...ever since my husband and I travelled to Egypt and had it for basically every lunch. It is just so yummy and, as a bonus, good for you.


1. Drain a 420g can of chickpeas over a bowl, reserving liquid.
2. Place chickpeas, 1 tablespoon of tahini, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cumin and 1/3 cup of chickpea liquid in a food processer.
3. Process until smooth. Transfer into a bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Season to taste.
4. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and ground cumin, if you like. Serve with triangles of pita bread or pita crisps.

I love taking any leftovers to work for morning tea with crackers. Yummo!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some Pretty Preppy Furniture

So long time no post (story of my blogistence!)....I have been lurking though and reading everyone else's posts....only I do this at work so I don't think posting or leaving comments is a good idea there...

So anyway, about two months ago my husband and I put in some furniture to have it reupholstered. We did it through a design shop in Bowral which is about an hour and a half from long drive to pick it up....the dogs and I had a road trip. Anyway the lady at the shop was really lovely the day we ordered....chatted to Ben about being in the army (apparently her son-in-law is ex special forces)... gave us lots of time to choose our fabrics. Anyhow, the toile fabric we picked was not cheap and she told us we needed two metres...which was duly ordered at considerable expense....but when I pick up my reupholstered chair only 1 metre has been used....a rather vast overestimate me thinks....for someone who does this kind of thing everyday...but anyway I do now have pretty furniture (and I can get something else reupholstered in the future....I just have to find a suitable piece).

Both chair and piano stool are currently residing in the living room as they are to pretty to cast away to their respective homes in bedroom and music room/ they are.....

Monday, May 19, 2008

A new top!

I saw this post over on Sippycups are for Chardonnay a few weeks ago and I fell in love with this top.

I had so much trouble deciding which colour to get, but eventually stuck to the aqua.

I ordered it on Etsy and it looks just as good in real life as it does in the if we could just have some warm Autumn weather so I can wear it out!

And, in a slightly ironic twist.... I went to the Pregnancy and Baby expo on the weekend - no not pregnant just wishful thinking - and one of the stalls was selling cot sets made out of the same material!
Also at the pregnancy expo...I was looking at all the couples and was thinking "I shouldn't be doing this on my own, DH should be here" - then I was like "Hang on Provincial Homemaker, you're not even pregnant!". And, as DH pointed out on the phone that evening, if he had been here we wouldn't have been THERE!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The T-shirt and the Felon

I decorated a skivy as part of the birthday present for my niece's upcoming third birthday. I successfully interfaced the fabric to the top and was quite happy with my puff-paint application - an earlier attempt having gone awry. Not over the top, just some added sparkle. The packaging said to allow 24 hours drying time, so I popped it on the spare bed to dry flat. 30 minutes later I am witness to a dog having a wow of a time rolling all over my puff paint work. She is very lucky to still be with us....I was not best pleased.

Here is the culprit. It hasn't really come out in the photo but she has hot pink glitter paint all through her hair. I hope she is looking foward to a long bath!

The Brontes Went to Woolworths

I have become somewhat of a Virago Modern Classics fiend of late. If I see any I nab them straight away - case in point a recent visit to the UNSW book fair. This title, however, I have been on the lookout for for some time; ever since reading about it in Jane Brocket's The Gentle Art of Domesticity. So, when I saw it at a secondhand bookshop in Newton I grabbed it and expedited it up my reading list.

Rachel Ferguson has created a wonderful mix between reality and fantasy in The Brontes Went to Woolworths. It took me until some way into the book to work out which characters the Carnes actually knew and which they knew only in their imagination.

Amongst the ecletic visitors are Ironface - a doll who converses in French, Pipson - a music hall comic and Judge Toddington, or Toddy as he is better known. Toddy had been studied by the Carne household for some years - ever since Mrs Carne was called to jury duty in his court. They know many of his habits and much about his daily routine. They even keep photos of him.

Things become complicated when Deirdre, the eldest Carne daughterand a journalist, is sent to cover the opening of a charity bazaar. There she meets Lady Mildred, Toddy's real life wife, and a friendship develops between the two families. I loved Shiel, the youngest Carne, who when speaking to Toddy would get very mixed up between what was fact and what had been imagined about him.

And where do the Brontes come into it? The Carnes manage to get in touch with them during a seance in the country, and it seems that the Brontes didn't quite get to day everything they wanted to. They come back to the Carnes city residence to pay their governess a visit.....and then they go to Woolworths.

Loved it! Particularly this line "however modern or sceptic or advanced one may be, there is something about a church more likely to make wishes come true than anywhere else".

And, in an update to my last post. DH has arrived safely in Baghdad - though I think the heat and dust are making him rather uncomfortable. When I got off the phone to him just over an hour ago they were in the middle of a dust storm. Just 5 months and 3 weeks left until he gets back!