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Thursday, April 28, 2011

School Days Books

Since I finally bought myself a bookcase and unpacked a few boxes of my old books I'd forgotten all about, I've rediscovered my love for reading. The time the buss takes me to get to and from work is the perfect opportunity to read and distracts me from the stinky bald headed man that always seems to want to sit next to me even though there's plenty of empty seats. Don’t you hate that?

I’m much more of a book reader than a movie watcher, just ask my parents who would try to force me to watch a movie with them and I’d sit there with such a sour face that they’d finally let me go back into my room to read my book. My brother on the other hand is an absolute movie freak buff and has quite possibly watched every movie ever released at least 3 times over. He use to get me interesting presents like a DVD set of alien movies. Every sister wishes for alien movies for her 20th birthday, right? Wrong! Now I get much more suitable gifts like bottles of cocktail mix, a vast improvement there bro cheers!

I remember the one book I'd read over and over and over in Primary School was Charlotte's Web by E B White. The cover was so worn and the pages were aged and yellow. A classic story about friendship. It was also the one and only time I've ever cried over a spider!

When I was 11 my grade 6 teacher read aloud to our class a book called My Place by Sally Morgan. Surprisingly, this is one of the few books I can recall being read to us, it must've really made an impression on me. Some 18 years later I unpacked this book from one of my boxes and read it again. I realise now my teacher was trying to introduce some Aboriginal awareness into the school and it was probably quite a controversial read back in the 90s. The book is written in Sally's eyes as a kid, then growing into a woman and has a family of her own and trying to figure out what her Aboriginal history is all about. I think this book should be a mandatory read in Australian schools today.

Then came High School and we had to read The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I thought it was utterly ridiculous that my School was making me read a fishing book with the main character being a crabby old man. In my teenage angst I had no idea what this old time book could possibly have of benefit to my English learning. I found it sad and deflating because what he set out to do, catch a fish, he didn't quite accomplish because it got eaten before he got back to shore. I know now what a legend this book is and maybe I need to borrow it from the library and see what I think of it with an adult mind.

And what did I choose to read in High School, well everything by the king of horror Stephen King, also known as Richard Bachman. I cannot watch a horror movie or stay home alone without being scared of the boggie man, but give me a Stephen King novel and I can read its grotesque storyline front to back in the middle of the night without being scared to sleep at night. I read every one of his books in my school library twice: Carrie, The Regulators, Cujo, Rose Madder, The TommyKnockers, The Shining, Needful Things, Misery, Insomnia, IT, Dreamcatcher and probably some others I can't quite recall. My favourite was The Dark Half and I wrote an essay about in English and got an A+. Then my brother started buying me the Green Mile series and I just couldn't get into it, the books didn't have the same chilling style. I wasn't engaged or intrigued and lost interest, funny that isn't it how your tastes change.

Are there any books you remember from your school days that you've rediscovered lately?

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What is a man cave?

"Since ancient times, men have needed a sanctuary to be by themselves. They need a place where they can devolve to their primal state and enjoy the rougher things in life. While burps, farts, cat calls and heckles play a minor role outside of the man cave, inside the cave those bodily functions sounding off are practically a language of their own!"

Thank you ehow your knowledge knows no boundaries!

The Man Cave prep is underway, over the 5 day Easter and Anzac Day break I spent most of this time filling the gap in the floorboards, Petes been hard at work sanding the floorboards, window frames, door frame, plastering and sanding the walls. So now we're just about ready to start painting.

I've been thinking about the essentials for this Man Cave - Big TV. Recliner Couches. Inexpensive Rug (think beer stains!). Sadly I don't think I'll be allowed to wave my decorating wand in this room it'll be all man aka Pete's design. Ok so maybe with a teeny bit of my decorating sparkle thrown in (if I can get away with it)!

Just for fun here's some of HGtv's best man caves

Does your home have a man cave?
Do tell I want to hear all about it!

[Images via HGtv Dude-tastic Man Rooms] Pin It Now!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Point and Shoot: Easter Chocolate Feast

Saturday, 23 April 2011 @ 9.30am
My House - Easter Chocolate Feast

Saturday I wrapped up our Easter givings in twine and made little cards for everyone.

The Aussie cushion is for my brother who loves to travel around Australia (he's driven around it twice) so I thought this little cushion would be perfect for his troupie 4x4.

We packed up the chocolate and went out for a long leisurly lunch with family and friends who were over from QLD. We went to Nicholsons Bar and Grill and while everyone chowed down on steak and burgers I opted for a healthy salad (and then couldn't help pinching everyone elses chips, why does that always happen!).

After lunch we went back to where our friends were staying and chatted over chocolate telling stories and jokes. Then raced to the shops just before closing to stock up on wine and food so we were sorted for the next few days of public holidays.

Hope everyone has been enjoying their Easter break

Hop on over to Sunny & Scout to see this weekends Point and Shoot

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Long Weekend

There's nothing like the eve of a Long Weekend to put a smile on my face. I'm reaching towards it ... can almost feel it .... right on the tip of my fingers ...

It must be Easter, all those balloons are reminding me of Easter Eggs!
Happy Easter my friends stay safe and enjoy the break xo

[All images from] Pin It Now!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wow Factor

“Most people start out wanting to go for their fantasy, but end up painting their walls dove-white.”
— Rayman Boozer

This quote from the beautifully inspiring blog Belle Maison has made me want to inject a bit more wow factor into the next rooms that I renovate. I've started slowly and maybe played it a bit too safe so far. I know the looks I love when I see them in a magazine or on the web, but I haven't quite mastered that look in my home yet. So for the last rooms left to renovate, I want to go for my fantasy kitchen, dining, laundry and bathroom.
For the Kitchen an eye catching splash back and dramatic lighting along the breakfast bar
The Dining Area I want to have a feature wall of bold dark stripes

The Laundry has to be pretty and practical with eye catching tiling

The Power Room (aka loo) is the place I want a bit of unexpected playfulness on the walls with wallpaper or stripes

The Bathroom on the other hand I want to look modern with a bit of glam and a wow factor mirror is a must for this room

Are you renovating to your wildest dreams or are you playing it safe?

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Point and Shoot

When: Saturday, 16 April 2011 @ 4pm
Where: My House

On Saturday I had a bit of a problem with a big scary wasp inside the house. Yes a big stinging bug inside the house on the one weekend when my bug killing man was away. So I put on a tough face, and a jumper to protect my arms, did a few practice wacks with a magazine then slam squashed it. The magazine went in the bin too I couldnt bring myself to touch it after that. After that little trumph I got stuck into planning for my girls night in, I had a few girlfriends coming over for drinks and nibbles. I made the little flags above and used them as skewers for cherry tomatoes and bocconcini. I made a potato frittata. Prawn cocktails served in lettuce cups. And of course its not a girls night without chocolate .... triple chocolate muffins with chocolate frosting and little easter eggs to top it off. We had such a good night drinking bubbles, eating out on the outdoor setting and chatting until the wee hours of the night. Such a great night in, I love my girl time!

I'm off to see what everyone else got up to this weekend over at Sunny + Scout's Point and Shoot
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cherry Tomato & Bocconcini Skewers with Pesto

For my girls night in I made these Cherry Tomato and Bocconcini Skewers served with Pesto. They are seriously so easy to make and were a great accompaniment to a potato frittata.

I was looking for some fancy looking serving toothpicks and the only ones I found had paper flamencos on top and were $3 for 6. So I figured I could make some myself. I found some patterned paper at Spotlight for $1.90 a sheet and some wooden skewers from the supermarket.

Rule out lines and cut the flag strips

Put some glue on the strips and wrap around the stick

Easy Pesy

Cheap and easy

Now you have your skewers you can thread the food on. You'll need:
Punnet of cherry tomatoes
Tub of bocconcini (the bambini ones if you can find them which are smaller)
Pesto dip

Cut the tomatoes in half and keep the bocconcini whole (or if they're the larger ones cut them in half too) and start threading

Put the pesto in a bowl, arrange skewers on the plate and they are ready

Bon appetite! Pin It Now!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Girl Time

I'm just a wee bit excited as I've got the house to myself for a few days. I can't wait to have a bit of me time and girl time. This weekend I'll be ....

Shop Shop Shopping for some coushins and throw rug for the living room to cosy up the couch

Having my girlfriends stay over, drinking bubbles and watching chick flicks

Eating toasties for dinner my absolute favourite bachelorette dinner oh how I've missed you!

What are you up to this weekend?

[Images from here, here and here]
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Man Cave - Before The Clear Up

Among a weekend of footy watching, a trip to the hairdressers, birthday picnic and 2 nana naps we managed to make a start on the fourth bedroom - the soon to be Man Cave.

As I've mentioned before this 'spare' bedroom was home to all the random things you have in your home that just don't have a place yet - like old school assignments and reports and every type of cord and electrical device known to man. I'm talking a Walkman from when I thought listening to my Dad's tapes of Richard Clapton was cool! 

EVERYTHING got cleared out, found a new home, or went in the bin. I did keep my Year 7 puberty assignment, the drawings I did were too hilarious to throw away (and I'm willing to be publicly embarrassed for your amusement so if you'd like to see it let me know!).

So back to the clear out here it is all that stuff ..... Going, Going, Gone!

Moving the furniture was a different story. I'm a little weakling and struggle big time which is why I knew the big 3 metre long wooden buffet was going to drop on my foot before it happened, I still can't wear heels to work today because of the bruise.

I can only imagine what the Hard Road is going to be like if this is the Easy Road!

Ok that's enough whinging for now!!

The room is now empty and ready for prepping to be turned into Mr P's Man Cave ... let the next room renovation begin!

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Point and Shoot

When: Sunday, 10 April 2011 @ 12pm
Where: Kings Park

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree ... You wouldn't think I was minutes from the CBD but yes Kings Park is full of kids, flies and the occasional kooki! Pete and I had to set the alarm clock Sunday morning (shock horror!) to make it to a family picnic for his brothers birthday. We are the kid-less couple which means we can rock up with chicken and chips from Chicken Treat when everyone else had prepared eskys full of salads, rolls and bbq food. After a windy morning it turned out to be a gorgeous and sunny day, perfect for kicking the ball around, climbing trees (and a little one fell out of the tree, yes there were tears but luckily nothing broken), a few glasses of wine and of course lots of cake. That's how I spent my Sunday ....

Join in the fun and play Point and Shoot with us over at the new host blog Sunny + Scout
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Taking the Easy Road

After some Easy Rd vs Hard Rd deliberations I've decided to take the Easy Rd and start on the Man Cave next. I know its not as much fun as planning a shiny new kitchen and trust me I really really really want a shiny new kitchen now! But it gives us extra time to save up and get the kitchen we really want. The Man Cave is the 4th and final bedroom to be painted so it will be so nice to have it complete and not have to shut the door to hide the mess when friends are coming over!

The Easy Rd isn't work free oh no this room has been our 'spare room' to dump everything in from drying clothes, old curtains, tins of paint, even our fish tank ... those poor neglected fish I'm surprised we haven't had any casualties! So everything needs to find a new home so the room can be emptied, prepped and painted and the floorboards restored and sealed. The best thing is we have the supplies ready to do it so it won't cost a cent (well besides the wine I'll be consuming once we finish for the day!).

So this weekend the tv will be turned off, the magazines are put away and I'm getting off the computer RIGHT NOW to get started.

Have a great weekend everyone!

[Image via]
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Prawn Mango Pappadums

I served this entree at my Indian Themed Dinner Party and the spice from the prawns, fresh flavours from the mango and cucumber and crunch of the pappadums were a delicious combo. The recipe used 2 chicken breasts cooked for 7 minutes and shredded but I used Australian tiger prawns cooked for 3-4 minutes and chopped into small pieces. It was easy to make as you could get all the components ready beforehand and then it took only a few minutes to assemble and serve which maked it a perfect (and impressive!) party food.
Prawn Mango Pappadums

Serves: 6 (Entree - 2 each)
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: Less than 10 minutes

24 prawns peeled and de-veined
2 tbs tandoori curry paste
1 tsp vegetable oil
12 plain mini pappadums
1 mango, peeled, cut into 1cm pieces
1 small Lebanese cucumber, cut into 1cm pieces
2 tbs finely chopped red onion
1 tbs chopped fresh coriander
3 tsp fresh lime juice
130g (1/2 cup) natural yoghurt
1 tbs chopped fresh mint
1 garlic clove, crushed
Fresh coriander sprigs, to serve

1. Place the prawns and curry paste in a glass or ceramic bowl and turn to coat.
2. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook prawns for 3-4 minutes until they go pink and curl. Set aside to cool. Chop into small pieces.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pappadums following packet directions (1 minute in microwave). Store in an airtight container until ready to assemble.
4. Combine the mango, cucumber, onion, chopped coriander and one-third of the lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Put in fridge until ready to assemble.
5. Combine the yoghurt, mint, garlic and remaining lime juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Put in fridge until ready to assemble.
6. Place pappadums on a serving platter. Top with a 1-2 teaspoons of the prawns, mango mixture, yoghurt mixture and top with coriander sprigs to serve.

Linking up to the Remodelaholic Recipe Swap
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Point and Shoot

When: Saturday, 2 April 2011 @ 10.20am
Where: My kitchen

Not a pretty Point and Shoot this week sorry peeps. This is the sight I woke up to Saturday morning after Friday's Indian Dinner Party. I spent the morning washing and cleaning up, smiling at the fact I have way too many wine glasses, toasted some hot cross buns, drank 2 short blacks and I was then awake and not too seedy to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Pop over to Fat Mum Slim to see some more Point and Shoot
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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hostess With The Mostess - Indian Dinner Party

My latest dinner party theme was Indian and all the dishes we made were delicious (apart from the dessert which was handmade ice cream it was icy in the middle and melting fast on the outside a bit disappointing). You could smell the aromas of spices and herbs down the driveway a great way to welcome guests in for a feast. 

The main and dessert we made the night before which made it so much easier as we just had to heat them up and everything else was prepared before guests arrived and we just kept it warm so we weren't stuck in the kitchen all night while everyone else was having a good time! I'll be sharing the recipe for the entree soon its definitely one that's made it into my favourite recipes book.

The fun bit was decorating the table and I really went to town on that ... I typed up menus and printed them out on textured paper to put onto everyones plates.

I decorated the table in red and gold. I looked everywhere for red linen napkins but couldn't find any so had to resort to paper napkins in the end, not as nice but the colour was a good contrast between the plates. I tied the cutlery with red and gold cord and this weighted the menus down. 

A float bowl with flowers and candles was a pretty centrepiece on top of an orange satin table runner. I put out wine glasses for water and a glass water jug with sliced lemon, oranges and mint. 

The entree was served on 2 platters and everyone helped themselves and the main dishes went into white ceramic dishes and onto the middle of the table and everyone helped themselves.

I must have been having too much of a good time because unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the finished table before we messed it up! 

There were candles everywhere and little paper lantern lights which gave a really nice ambiance ... I'm loving our new outdoor dining area and can't wait to host the next dinner party.

You know you've hosted a success dinner party when parting words from guests are "You're the Hostess with the Mostess!" OK so family probably have to say those kind of things but it made all the planning, decorating and cooking I did this week well worth the effort. It was a great night!

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[All images my own]

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