Wednesday, 15 August 2012

a granny blanket for our new home

It all started here. Inspiration came from there. Now we have a new home & a colourful granny blanket to share! 

thailand, i miss you

humidity, lady boys, pedicures, elephants, iced coffees, massages, omelettes, thai time, pad thai, buffalo boys, monkeys, tuk tuks, temples, cocktails, jungle, street food, adventure. 

Friday, 1 June 2012

dogs i love

My first dog love and its a once in a lifetime love. He can sit, shake with both hands, drop, high-five with both hands and high-ten (rolling-over is over rated). He snores, yawns loudly, howls when hes excited and yaps when he dreams. He will do anything for a walk, or better yet a trip to the beach. He loves to swim in the waves, dig holes and make sure that he is completely covered in sand. His curls get the girls. He goes by the nick names of osc, nugget, nug, mc-nugget, oscypoo, osca-la- bosca, bubba, babaganoush, baby-boy, fluffington & snugglepot. He is moody & will let you know if you're not in his good books. His favourite food is cheese and schmakos. His enemy is the cat next door. He loves a bath and voluntarily lifts his paws up one by one to let me get to them. He digs holes, but only to get the cat. He has been known to bung on a sore leg for extra attention. He loves a good cuddle. He is my absolute best friend in this whole world. We just get each other.

Younger brother to oscer and all the more cheeky. Found him on Pet Resucue & fell in love with his face instantly. He has the longest skiniest legs which he uses leap and bound like a little lamb. He's definitely not a morning dog and growls if you try and get him out of bed. We call him ollie-wollie, ollie-wollie-cat-dog, oliver, wolly, wolly-woo and waldo. He likes to have a good old chat and loves chewing (gently) on brother Oscer's tail.

American staffy x big teddy bear, this gorgeous girl is sometimes mistaken for a wombat, and one time even a rissol! After being fed way too much devon, she is currently on a diet & her bottom is already less wobbly! I have always had a soft spot in my heart for sheebs. She is a very special girl. 


A little stumpy cupcake of a dog who isn't afraid to take on her big sister sheeba. The perfect size to curl up in a crochet blanket with.

Was the most gentle pup with easily mowhawkable fur. He always had a sparkle in his eye & had a such good life with a very loving family.

A beautifully elegant girl who loves to take nanna naps in the sun. Who could resist those spots!

Cheeky, bubbly and has secondary spots. She also eats her own poo, but she is absolutley adorable. 


I have known this little man for over 10 years - that makes him a grandpa!

Loves ripping the washing off the line, but she has a good heart.

Look at that doggie smile! Such a good all-round family dog.

Crazy as a pup but has now settled into being a good girl. Loves swimming in the pool and riding on her boogie board.


 I don't do cats. But this one i kind of like.

I do like goats too!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

greek semolina cake

simple, sweet, sticky & delicious!

ingredients for the cake mix.
5 large eggs
225ml greek yoghurt
225g caster sugar
75g ground almonds
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g semolina level teaspoons baking powder
200ml mild olive oil

ingredients for the sweet & sticky topping.
150g shelled pistachios, slightly toasted
150ml good quality runny honey
big dollops of greek yoghurt

preheat the oven to 180 degrees . mix all of your sponge ingredients in a large bowl . EASY! grease a 22x29cm cake tin with a little olive oil, then dust over a sprinkling of flour, and shake the tin about . spoon in the sponge mixture, and use a spatula to spread it all evenly . put the cake into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and cooked through . stick a skewer in the centre to check . put aside to cool for about half an hour . when you just about ready to serve, add the honey and pistashios to a saucepan and give everything a good stir . squeeze all the juice from the orange and lemon you zested earlier into the pan. boil for 1-2 minutes, or until nice and syrupy . stab the cake all over with a small knife to create holes for the syrup to sink into, then pour the syrup all over the top . spread it out . you want it to be fairly even so the honey gets sucked right into the cake . slice and serve with a dollop of the greek yoghurt .

this cake looks & tastes so homemade - & is even better the next day once all the lovely honey has soaked in further!

recipe from Jamie.

ALSO : check out Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day - saturday 19 may 2012!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

treasures from bondi's garage sale trail

What better way to shop second-hand than wondering in the sunshine, through hundreds of little garage sales lining the streets of Bondi as part of the 2012 Garage Sale Trail!

It was a lovely sister's saturday - browsing, haggling & collecting a range of treasures from a vw kombi badge for $3, japanese noodle bowls for $1 and freebie of the day, Bernard the gnome.

Lunch at Jed's Food Store was delicious & the perfect recharge to continue bargaining into the afternoon.

I managed to tick a few things off my wishlist - teaspoons, blazer, vintage maps which i can frame as art and & a $2 leather travel wallet filled my leather desire for the day :) 

The Garage Sale Trail truely is a fantastic initiative which supports sustainability, community & creativity. Would love to host my own little community sale next year!

Friday, 4 May 2012

garage sale trail wishlist

Can't wait to get out there tomorrow and dig through all ($2.2m worth!) the unwanted treasures!

1. leather boots
2. collection of mis-matched teaspoons (for a secret birthday project)
3. patchwork bedcover like this one
4. blazer or coat
5. piece of art

or i'd be super happy with any item from this pic :)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

daily sips of tea

i woudln't be able to get through my day without a cup of sweet-smelling hot tea!

i'm currently sipping:

T2 - chai
cloves, star anise, cardamon, cinnamon and ginger over a black tea base. awakens the senses with spice.

T2 - sencha vanilla
green tea mixed with natural vanilla. grassy, earthy and sweet.

T2 - just cinnamon
soft, spicy and sweet. perfect for an afternoon treat. caffeine free.

nerada - organic green w/ lemon myrtle
cleansing, refreshing and easy to drink. anytime favourite.

dilmah - moroccan mint
spearmint mixed with peppermint. refreshing and exotic.
black and green teas with rose petals, peppermint and bergamot. enjoyable and enticing.

what are you sipping? :)

each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage ~ catherine douzel.

Monday, 30 April 2012


If you love a good risotto to warm up your tastebuds then this spanish paella is definitely worth a try! One pot, stacks of spanish flavour. Serves 6.

1.5 litres chicken stock
2 cups aborio rice
2 onions
3 cloves garlic
2 small red chillis
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cup dry white wine
3 chorizos, sliced
15 raw green prawns
4 chicken tenderloins, chopped into bite size pieces
pinch of saffron threads (expensive but really makes a difference!)
bunch of roughly chopped parsley
squeeze of lemon juice
lemon wedges to serve

heat stock in a saucepan over a low heat . add the chorizo into a hot paella pan or cast iron pot and cook until crispy . remove chorizo from pot but leave oil (this has amazing flavour). add onion, garlic, chilli and chicken and cook until brown . add chorizo back into pot and stir in tomatoes, white wine, tomato paste and saffron . cook for 3 minutes . add 1 cup of stock and reduce and repeat as per a risotto . stir continuously . once all stock has been added and rice is cooked through, the consistency should be more soupy than a risotto . add more stock if necessary . turn off heat . stir in prawns, parsley and a good squeeze of lemon juice . let sit for 2 minutes or until prawns are cooked through . serve with lemon wedges .

Will have to make this again with a big jug of sangria!

Monday, 23 April 2012

lamb tagine

this is my absolute favourite tagine recipe! i love the way the apricots and raisins add sweetness to the spice :) super easy, smells amazing and don't expect any leftovers!

2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
1.2kg diced lamb (i buy a leg and cut it up myself)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
4 carrots
4 potatoes
1 cup thick, Greek-style yoghurt
1/2 cup pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cup couscous (soaked in 1 1/2 cups water for 5 mins)
bunch of corriander

combine spices and salt in a large bowl . add oil, lemon rind and half the lemon juice and stir to form a paste . add lamb and stir until well-coated . cover and refrigerate for 3 hours . cut carrots and potatoes into chuncks and line bottom of tagine or casserole dish . place lamb mixture ontop of veges . add  1 cup stock and remaining lemon juice . stir until well-combined . cover and cook for 1 hour on stovetop over medium heat . stir in dried apricots and raisins. cook, covered for a further 40 minutes or until lamb is tender . serve immediately with couscous, a dollop of greek yoghurt, sprinkling of pistachio kernels and corriander.


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

a granny square a day

The small world trapped in a single train carriage can be a very fascinating, and even entertaining thing to observe.
You have the sleepers; the ones who run for a window seat so that they can rest their heads on the glass, not at all bothered by the oily imprint left over from the last person’s forehead; the ones who slowly give in to their heavy drooping heads, only to be startled and sit up suddenly acting like they weren’t falling asleep at all. Then there are the newspaper readers, who need to know the art of origami to be able to fold the paper in a way in which it doesn’t disturb the person sitting next to them. There are the snorers; which range from the tolerable snifflers and whistlers, to the huge beastly roarers that forcefully inhabit innocent eardrums. The make-up appliers who mechanically construct each layer on their face, a practised skill that involves careful timing, especially with the mascara. The music listeners; avoiding the evil stares from people around them who are forced to listen to their second-hand muffled beats. The iPhone addicts, flicking through their apps like prized possessions; their colourful screens dazzle them while they warm up their fingers for a busy screen-tapping day ahead. The iPad owners know they are the cool kids. They pull out their gadget with a ‘na na, mine’s bigger’. Now, with the loud conversationalists we have; the mothers groups chatting about their lazy husbands, the school kids gossiping, the awkward catch up conversations between two people that haven’t seen each other in a while, and the worst; phone conversationalists who purposefully speak loud enough so that the 50 or so strangers around them are forced to listen to their one side of a conversation. There are the work-a-holics, who pull out their laptops in an attempt to get some work done. The couples, which use the trip as an opportunity to catch up on some canoodling, perhaps even a spot of grooming. Then we come to novel readers, who usually keep pretty still and well, normal, apart from the odd women so engaged in her romance novel that she gently strokes her skin with her bookmark. There’s the hair twirlers, the Manga movie watchers, the nose pickers, the nail clippers!

If you sit at the back of the train, you can see a sea of bobble heads moving around in unison to the rhythm to the train’s movements. Like a Mexican Wave, it’s mesmerising. There will be times when a train carriage is completely silent, other times there will be a cocktail of conversations and laughter. It is interesting to think about a whole second set of train commuters either upstairs or downstairs; is their train carriage culture the same or different? A heated carriage in winter has a certain sense of cosiness to it, where as a non-air conditioned carriage in summer is a swarm of frustration and sweat.If you’re on your own, a train ride is the most unsociable thing you could possibly do given your very close proximity to 50 or so other people. It is common train carriage courtesy not to touch the person next to you, let alone speak to them – they are strangers.

I am definitely not a make-up applier or a snorer, but there was a stage when I did find myself shifting between a couple of tedious routines, from dozing off to sleep only to wake up suddenly realising I had my mouth wide open, to Facebooking! I hated it; but what else was there to do? It was there on my phone and I was sitting on a train for an hour and twenty minutes. I knew that it was getting to the point of ridiculousness when it wasn’t merely enough for me to log in once, I needed to check my phone constantly to be updated on people’s early morning statuses. Reading about people who I didn’t even know stuck in traffic or hating on Mondays was not a very exciting start to my morning. But I was addicted and I had to make a change. 

A year ago I went out and bought a crochet needle and six fresh balls of brightly coloured wool. I assumed that old people knew how to do these domestic past time things, so I went to visit my Nan. A dedicated knitter (not crotchetier, and yes, they are two completely different things she tells me), she was puzzled as to why I wanted to learn. I told her that it was cool, or rather, that I was going to make it cool. She didn’t believe me. Back in her day, she knitted because she couldn’t afford to buy warm clothes; it was a necessity. It really didn’t have anything to do with fitting in. These days, not fitting in can be more rewarding than fitting in! My oh my, how the times have changed. Here I was, prepared to learn how to crochet for no particular reason other that I had an urge to learn something new.

As a typical 24 year old, it is in my genetic make-up that if I need to find out something, I Google it. I typed in ‘learn how to crochet’ and was surprisingly presented with an abundance of YouTube video clips, all containing a pair of warm, gentle, well experienced hands, slowly taking me through the steps. Surprisingly, I picked it up really quickly. I was proud of myself; I could actually see something being formed in the palms of my hands. So, I decided to make a colourful Granny Square, which would ultimately be sewn together with other Granny Squares to make a blanket. My fingers agreed, and rhythmically fell into a pace. As soon as I had the knack of it, I realised what I had accomplished – I had learnt something new.

It is addictive. As soon as I finish one square, I want to make a new one. The sense of accomplishment after completing each square is warming and contenting. Choosing the patterns is exciting. It’s the feel of the wool, the brightness of the colours, the pattern running over and over in my head; treble stitch, chain stitch, treble stitch, chain stitch. It’s the way my mind is freed. I can actually physically do something and think about a whole lot of other things at the same time. My hands are busy, and I don’t have the need to reach for my phone. It’s two hours and 20 minutes out of my day that I have reclaimed as my own. There is something about physically making something that is so much more rewarding than getting a high score on Angry Birds. Making is the new buying; it’s in fashion, it's ... cool!

So if you ever decide to dedicate a morning train ride to the observation of train carriage culture, I’ll be the young lady sitting with my colourful wool, treble stitching away, a Granny Square a day.

If you would like to learn how to crochet, or even better - get on board the Granny a Day bandwagon, visit the beautiful blog Meet Me At Mikes for extremely helpful and motivating Granny Square Tutorials.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

world food

Lonely Planet have just announced the winner of their World Food Photography Competition! This Indian master chef is making jalebis - orange coloured fried flour crisps dipped in sugar syrup. I love the colour and activity in the busy street behind him, yet he is so focussed on perfecting those little street treats. Check out the top 5 finalists here.

Here are some of my favourite food shots taken on my Sony Alpha DSLR-A300.

damnoen saduak floating market - bangkok, thailand
patara elephant farm - chang mai, thailand
khao san road night markets - bangkok, thailand
karen hill tribe - chang mai, thailand
khlong toey market - bangkok, thailand
fresh pide dough - istanbul, turkey
iskender kebap chef - istanbul, turkey
simit bread - istanbul, turkey
dried fruit from the spice bazaar - istanbul, turkey
traditional turkish breakfast - istanbul, turkey
prosciutto & rockmelon - rome, italy
3-wheeled vege truck - rome, italy
lunchbox lunch - trogir, croatia
fresh squid - korcula, croatia
churros - barcelona, spain

I can't wait to discover and capture more of the world's tasty delights!