Sunday, February 27, 2011

Watermelon Pink and some other favourites
Noosa Beach House has given me a Stylish Blogger Award. Now I'm multi-awarding winning!

Instead of telling you seven things about me, I was going to tell you the seven things I'd change if I were The Boss. For example, I would put a limit on how many houses an individual can own. This may enable some people to have a better chance at buying their own home, narrowing the divide between rich and poor, thus making everyone much happier.
However, I decided to change out of my Grumpy Pants into a party this one for example....

...which I just bought on Ebay for only $38 (or, if my husband's reading, the equivalent of a carton of beer) can you believe it! It belonged to a lady who is now 72. She wore it only once - to her 21st party, then she packed it away in tissue paper. It should arrive on Wednesday. I looooove watermelon pink.

So instead, here are seven things I love......

Numero Uno

I don't really care what kind, although peonies are gorgeous. They could be wildflowers, weeds, wedding flowers. Don't care. Love them all.
Really, really love old fashioned roses straight from the garden.

Number Two
We make ours on the stove in one of these little doovies, with lots of full cream milk and sugar.

Number Three
Old frocks...and handbags, jewellery, hats...

I like to just look at it now, without buying too much. I don't wear it very often now either. What once used to look a bit edgey (like a ballroom skirt to work), now just makes me look like a deranged old woman.

Number Four

Number Five
Writing, and even better still, having someone read it.

That's me trying to write, with the old man checking to see if that $38 included postage (which it did).

Number Six
The Internet.
Very unromantic I know. I am certainly no tech-head, but the internet is a new invention that I have grasped whole-heartedly. What did we do before it? How did we find out anything?

Number Seven
Bobbed haircuts.

I'm not a fan of either Katie or Nicole, but they are great bobs. Look at the precision, the shine, the colour. Magnificence.
Since the 1920s the bob has been a classic cut.
I think I am so taken with them because nothing could be more elusive to me.
Take Nicole Richie's hair and imagine the complete opposite of it in every possible way. That's me. Me of the curly haired tribe.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just quickly..
I know I had a self-imposed ban from thrift shops, but I accidentally picked up these two sets of glasses for $5 total. Four pink wine glasses and six tumblers. It's getting to be a real problem.

The bride-to-be told me to hurry up and get my dress. It had to be black and beach-glamour, so I got this.

It's much prettier in real life and ink black, but it needs a body in it.
I love the bottom.

I went to the library today, and what did I find? This book about Mad Men. I couldn't believe my eyes. It goes through every element of Mad Men and compares it to real life: fashion, work, home life, etc, and of course, advertising campaigns.

Most afternoons the children go for a walk with their father and bring me home some flowers. The collection is growing.

That's it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Order and restraint
After a weekend of too much food and wine, Monday has been all about order and restraint. While I have been doing the c & t-ing (a.k.a. cleaning and tidying) this morning, I have been listening to Margaret Thosby's interview with Daniel Akst, an American journalist and novelist whose latest book is about self control.
You can listen to it too by going to
Margaret can take the most seemingly mundane person and extract such fascinating information from them, and she does this on ABC Classic Radio every weekday at 10am.
Daniel Akst was talking about a subject I find so interesting, and he was no disappointment. For years I have been putting a book together in my head about why we have suddenly grown so fat, generally speaking. It's a complex subject really, and not one that has a simple solution, not with economics and health having become so intertwined.
If you get the time, have a listen. He talks about freedom and affluence in the west being wonderful, but also our downfall, if there is no self moderation.
Restraint can be such a difficult thing in an age of excess. Our children are constantly asking us about our own childhoods; what did we have for dinner (cremated steak and three veg most nights, with the bottle of tomato sauce on the table to jazz it up), what did we play with (each other), what did we wear (whatever was clean). 
It is incredible, the change from one generation to the next. It's the same with my mother and me. She was very poor growing up. There were no shoes, no toys, and usually not even a birthday cake on their birthdays.
Too much food, booze, drugs and tobacco is killing us. Daniel Akst was saying that each year more people die in America from smoking, than were killed in World War II. 
Anyway, that's enough. It's interesting to me, possibly as boring as doing your tax return to someone else though.
Saturday night was fun. Sunday morning I woke up, put myself together again using only blu-tak and sticky tape and took Peaches off to her friend's birthday party at an indoor play centre. As a catholic, this was like my penance.
P.S. The tiramisu freddo was just dandy (I'd include a photo, but blogger won't unload them at the moment), unfortunately, some people didn't like the taste of coffee! Nevermind. I've had bigger disasters than that, as you know. One night, when the same group of friends were here, I dropped the cheesecake dessert on the floor. We scooped it up and ate it anyway.  Now that is a sign of true friendship!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The birthday dinner
Yesterday was my husband's 39th birthday. We got him a weights set and bench. Alarmingly, he seems to be under the impression that I'll be pumping some iron too, which is not the case.
I might do a few tiny lifts to prevent tuckshop arms, but that's about it.
Last night we went out for pizza. We went to a place we've been to many times before. They have great pizza, but you don't go there for the atmosphere. At the time we are there, very early for dinner, they even have the television on.
We sat ourselves down at our chosen table which was against a wall. After we had sat down, we looked up to find the menus and what was looking at us? This.

It turned out our table was improbably positioned right near the mural of David. 'Who's David?', asked one of the impressionables. I quickly looked at the menu, then leant it back against the wall to give him some privacy.
Of course, the waiter had to walk past right at the moment I took this photo....and as it turns out, the camera on my phone has a flash, which was news to me. 
We are having some friends over for dinner tonight to celebrate. They arrive in a few hours and I'm not ready yet. It's ok, I don't feel too stressed. I'm as laid back as Teddy, and look at him.

For dinner I'm cooking Tessa Kiros' Oregano and Lemon Roast Lamb. I've never made it before and I'm not good at roasting meat, but this one cooks for a long time, so it shouldn't come out raw. Fingers crossed.
For dessert/birthday cake, I've made Philip Johnson's Tiramisu Semi Freddo. I made it at Christmas time and it seemed to go down well.
My Valentine's Day flowers are flowering themselves half to death. They look gorgeous.

For added table decoration, I also picked up these pink flowers. I'm not sure if they're dahlias, zinnias, or neither.

That pot they're in belonged to my grandmother, Jess. It's very special to me. So was she.

I got these little champs for the bathroom. I love flowers in a bathroom. I think they're hyacinths.

Some news snippets for you.
Royal watchers may want to pick themselves up a William and Kate cup from  I think they're about $16.
Others may be interested in They revamp vintage furniture, like this chair.

That's it from me. I have to shake my tail feathers.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On the bookshelf
As luck would have it, my husband's two oldest and closest friends have both married (one is technically not married) very stylish, interesting and fun girls. We share a lot of interests, one being our homes.... and another being the radical measures we have most recently undertaken to ward off the signs of age, but that's a whole other story.
In preparation for their visit I have 'rejigged' our sideboard, which is just beside the dining room table. I've taken off the colour and installed silver, white and glass objects.

I was also tidying my bookshelf and thought I'd share some of my favourite non-fiction titles. As you can probably see I haven't bought a book in a while, apart from Fancy Nancy, etc. I used to read all the time, but I haven't finished a book since we moved into our house! Not kidding. I've been reading Love in the time of cholera for over a year and have completely lost interest in it now. 
Ok, in no particular order, they are...

The Life Swap by Nancy Weber
This copy is from 1974. I don't think it is in print anymore. I bought this one second hand on Amazon. It's about two women who swapped lives in the early 1970s. This isn't a watered down version that you might see on reality tv these days. These women swapped everything; houses, jobs, husbands/boyfriends, diets, medications, toothbrushes, clothes, friends, everything, everything.
They ended up becoming very resentful of each other. It's a very intense read! If you ever come across a copy give it a go, although it's quite difficult to read, definately not sugar-coated.

Affluenza: When too much is never enough by Clive Hamilton & Richard Denniss
This book is about Australia's wicked habits of over-consumption, over-whelming personal debt, and over work to pay for it all. It's not a Debbie Downer, it's just very, very interesting.
The triumph of the airheads: and the retreat from commonsense by Shelley Gare
To quote her blurb on the back:
'We live in an upside-down world where celebrity matters more than substance; correct spelling is considered less important than knowing how to do PowerPoint; bright maths and science students go into investment banking so they can make truckloads ofmoney; and small girls seriously regard a trashy hotel heiress as a role model. '
If you've ever wondered why Madonna adopting another kid makes the 6pm news, you'll like this book.
Body and Soul by Anita Roddick
I read this book in my early 20s and couldn't put it down, it was so inspirational. Sadly Anita is not with us anymore, but in the book she talks about ethics and business, not really deliberately, she was just talking about the rise and rise of The Body Shop chain.

Eat the rich by P.J. O'Rourke
This book is a little in the same vein as Airheads. The first lines in the first chapter read:
'I had one fundamental question about economics: Why do some places prosper and thrive while others just suck? It's not a matter of brains. No part of the earth (with the possible exception of Brentwood) is dumber than Beverly Hills, and the residents are wading in gravy. In Russia, meanwhile, where chess is a spectator sport, they're boiling stones for soup. .....Natural resources aren't the answer. Africa has diamonds, gold, uranium, you name it. Scandinavia has little and is frozen besides. Maybe culture is the key, but wealthy regions such as the local mall are famous for lacking it.'
The Mayne inheritance by Rosamond Siemon
I used to work for the Brisbane Arcade, and I read this book when it first came out. The Arcade was the site of the Mayne house.  Most people in Brisbane have probably already read the sordid tale of 'murder and mystery'. Very interesting.

Inside the Lifestyles of the Rich & Tasteful by Andrew West
Are you picking a theme yet? This book is published by Pluto Press which put out lots of interesting titles. Have a look at their website.
The Rich and the Tasteful are two different tribes in Australia. One is pursuing money and the other culture. It's a very funny book.

Throwim Way Leg by Tim Flannery
Throwim Way Leg is pidgin for going on an adventure. Tim Flannery wrote this book yonks ago and I happened to read it because at the time I had a mild obsession with Irian Jaya, which is now called West Papua.
Tim Flannery has since been named Australian of the Year.

That's it. I'm feeling the urge to read again (something that is not on a screen), which could only be good!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The rainbow connection
Yesterday I was forced out of bed to see a damn hot air balloon. This morning it was a damn rainbow.
P.S. If you recognise your house in this photo, get yourself a lotto ticket pronto.

Yesterday, being the day of lovers, I received these oriental lillies. I was chuffed because not only do I love oriental lillies, but he also bought them at Rosalie (where I usually get our flowers). The message here is that I am heard, at least sometimes, and that is the best gift of all - you can't wrap that!

Almost two years after we moved into our house, she is still throwing the odd treasure my way. Yesterday, whilst ferretting around in the back of the sideboard I found an old envelope with about 30 old birthday cards.

This one is from 1910 and reads:
May Birthday wishes all come true
With happiness and pleasures too,
May all your little friends surround,
And toys and joys and love abound.

From 1915, below.

This one is from 1916. The front reads:

A Gladsome Birthday
Fair and bright
be your Birthday,
With never a cloud
or a stain
And may you, dearest, alway,
Be free from sorrow and pain.

I dare say the person who penned this little ditty probably normally headed up the sympathy card section, and was just filling in for the day in 'birthdays'. Who puts the words 'sorrow', 'pain', and .....worst of all.... 'stain' in a birthday wish?

I'm in a bit of a decorating funk. I put these frangipanis out by the pool....but it's just not happening.

 We are having some friends for dinner on Saturday night to celebrate my husband's birthday. Stay tuned for some more birthday cake making later this week. I'm preparing myself mentally for it. I'm sure things can't go any worse than last time? Touch wood!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Piglets and dragons
We had an unexpectedly animal-filled day today.
Firstly, we visited the Roma Street Parklands which are looking superb. There we saw a mother duck and her ducklings. Unfortunately, she wouldn't come out of the shadows for me to photograph them well enough.
We saw hundreds of these water dragons,  and every single one game me a shiver up my spine.  I'm not big on reptiles.

A city isn't a proper city without a pretty garden amongst the concrete.

Then we visited my husband's old workplace, which is a boy's boarding school. They have a very good set up there with farm animals, so the country boys can do agricultural studies and they don't get too homesick.
These calves are a year old and have all been taken away from their mothers in the last week.

We also got to see these cherubs. Born two weeks ago. This little one below was the runt. He was desperately trying to get a drink from his mother, while his bigger brothers feasted at the more well endowed end. Look at that big boy at the bottom of the photo who has had his fill and conked out. I wanted to wrap one (probably the runt) in a blanket and bring it home.

Spare a thought for mother pig next time you're buying pork sausages. That's where she's off to soon. She's produced about 60 piglets during her life time. She's a lovely girl who weighs in at about 250kg.
It's good to occasionally spare a thought for the animal on your dinner plate. It's easy to think, after a while in the city, that our meat is just conjured up at the supermarket, fresh from the meat machine, and wrapped in plastic.

It's my husband's birthday on Friday. Here we go again....