Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Ten on a Tuesday 48

Ten again, it being Tuesday and all. Thanks Chelsea and Elizabeth

This one is about favourites.  Obviously I will like it - it's about my favouritist things. Right?  Just it turns out I don't really know some of the answers.  Questioning myself isn't a lot of fun right now but I've done my best. 

1. Growing up, what was one favourite item that you had to have with you at all times?
I don’t remember having a blankey or anything and I had lots of soft toys.  There were three I always slept with but they didn't come with me during the day.  That said, Dad did have do a 200km round trip uturn to collect one I'd left in a hotel room.  The sweetest of puppy dog toys, I still have her.

2. Being an adult, what is one favourite item that you have to have with you at all times, and what happens if you do not have it with you? Do you lose your sanity or just go back home to get it?
For the longest time it was a watch.  I’d hate not wearing one.  Now I don’t wear one more than I do (the time is always there on my phone, ipod, computer etc) (and my tardiness isn’t getting better).  I also had phone issues, but loosing it day 1 in Greece semi-solved that a little.  Although it was weird not having a watch or a phone.

3. Where is your favourite place to be to just hide away from everything and breathe for a moment?
Here and now, my room is a little like my sanctuary.  I've got the grumps on so in bed watching DVDs is what I crave.  Traditionally, it's that or to be near vast open expanses of water/fields.  They always reminds me how small I really am and of the bigger picture.

4. What is your favourite thing about your partner? (If you don’t have a partner, then someone who is very close and will always be in your life)
No lifey yet.  One day hopefully.  This is refers to a few friends.  That I can tell them anything.  Anything.  And they’ll react honestly (not always what I want) but they’ll hear me out and listen and advise if needed etc and there just isn’t any judgement.  Even after they've had their opinion and they don't agree, they will still support.  Now if i could just fall in love with someone and have that same openness, that would be lovely.  Just lovely.

5. What is your favourite thing about your job? (If you don’t have a job, then what is your favourite thing that you do during your day?)
Probably that it pays enough that I get ot do the travel that I do?? It use to be the people.  And I guess it still is the people.  But it’s not the same people and that is a bit sucky.

6. What is your favourite lesson that your parents taught you growing up? Looking back, is it something that you want to use to teach your children when they reach that age?
Probably optimism and happiness.  And taking responsibility for your own?  I'm just really happy with my childhood.  To the outside world, it wasn't ideal - Mum's aren't meant to pass away from cancer when their daughters are 9 years old.  To the inside world that isn't ideal either, and whilst it has no doubt had a massive impact on who I am (scarily like my father at times in thoughts!), there was so much fun and love and other great things about it that I just don't dwell on what wasn't.

7. What is your favourite song, that will always bring a smile to your face and make you think of something happy?
Black Eyed Peas - I gotta feeling.  A great feel good song that I will forever associate with my brothers wedding this time last year (26 Sep 09 - happy anniversary Simon and Sonia).  Late late late in the night, shoes off, all the remaining guests in a circle with our arms around each other jumping in time to this song, singing at the top of our lungs.  Simon and Son in the middle, doing the same.  Mazel tov!

8. What is your favourite things about being an American? (If you not American, what are you proud of in regards to your country)
Australians are known for being easy going and having a crack.  I’m proud to be known for that.  That, and the opportunities I got growing up there (I appreciate all the more for living here.  The beaches and farm and sense of space etc).

9. What is your favourite meal that reminds you of being a child?
Fish n Chips (on a Friday especially – we use to have it after swimming lessons most weeks, with chocolate milk).  That is, when we didn't get Indian (mum's fav) which we had about once a month or so.

10. Name 3 things that other people would say are their favourite thing about you.
…not the first time in recent times I’ve been asked this but I don’t know.  Some would say maybe my sense of humour, optimism and silliness.  Not this week though - they're a little lacking, but mostly those.  I hope??  Chip in below if you will...

Monday, 27 September 2010

Another Weekend Gone

Mondays suck.  They really really do.  I can’t pretend to be quite as enthusiastic about work as I was towards the start of the year (staff changes – slightly different team – still ok, just not as fun).  But I can be enthusiastic about weekends.  If this ever stops being the case, I think I’d want to stop living.  And it's good to be enthusiastic about them - I had a quiet but great weekend here in London, brought me right out of last week's pity party* nicely.

Saturday was Grand Final Day for Aussie Rules Footy.  Time differences mean the game was on at 5am.  We watched at delayed telecast at a much more reasonable 10.30am, complete with pies and donuts as we would have had we been at the ‘G for the game.  And champagne.  So much champagne.
Sunday brought back the tourist in me.  There are so many things I want to see and do in London so slowly but surely I’m doing them.  One day I’ll head home to Melbourne and I don’t want to have regrets about not seeing some things.  One of these was to head out to Richmond Park and see the deer.  It’s the largest park in London and so open and freeing that I’m sure I’ll be heading back there.  That, and the walk from the station to the park takes you through a sweet village full of wonderful shops.
You could certainly tell Autumn was here.  The leaves, in a few short weeks, will be a mix of amazing shades.

We saw the deer – plenty of them.  Mostly red deer but a heard of fallow dear too.  I’ll be heading back to try and find the elusive views over London you can apparently see from the park too for the weather wasn’t the greatest yesterday (ie. I got saturated from the afternoon showers).  I think I might hirer a cycle next time though - this park is large!

After getting so wet and cold out, it was great to come home for a roast dinner and a glass of red.  A great weekend – how was yours?

*posting, tweeting, reading and commenting got sparse last week as I mostly inexplicably had a one person pity party most of the week.  Somewhat related to Dad going back into hospital maybe, the weather and a whole range of things.  Regardless, it's over and I'll be trying to make progress on my reader backlog this week.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Mavala Minsk

I feel I need to share this with you.
This is Mavala’s Minsk colour from their minis’ range.  And I love it.  It’s a deep dark bluey-gray colour.  I’ve even splashed out and put it on my nails (I bought it for my toes, and apart from this one, I’ve only ever had coloured nails on the two occasions I’ve had a manicure).  
It’s nice and opaque so you only need one coat for coverage but goes on like a dream.  Added bonus, their polishes are free of some nasty nasties (parabens, formaldehydes, toluene, camphore, cellophane, animal ingredients and heavy metal).

They have a great range of colours in their mini range so I’ll be stocking up as and when.  Their mini’s are only 5ml but that suits me and my changing tastes so well.  And at £3.95 each, I think next up will be
Graphic, Glacier and Adelaide

Have you used their products before?  Any other brands you love? I’m a big fan of OPI (hello from A to Zurich) and Rimmel’s my go to everyday brand but share your secrets… (especially if you have a fondness for a great clear topcoat, given that is all I normally wear on my fingernails)

Ten on Tuesday.

Tuesday.  Ten. Thanks Chelsea.  And Jessica.  I like the questions this week - varied and interesting but no to taxing. 

1. What’s the one thing you always do when you’re stressed?
Play with my necklace and if possible, listen to The Offpsring's SMASH album on my iPod.  Loudly.  Really really loudly.  

2. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done for a friend?
I can't think of anything that seems weird to me.  They're friends right, you'd do anything for them?  

3. What cleaning supply could you not live without?
I use to have some great cloths back home - one for glass, one for dust etc.  They're great.  Brand loyalty wise, I'm not especially digging anything.  

4. How long do you plan on living where you currently reside?
Less than a year (flat).  More than a year (town)

5. Do you usually vote straight party, a mixture, or not at all?
I'm not sure how well I understand this question, but for Aussie voting I vote party for the house of representatives (lower house) and below the line (ie. numbering each candidate from 1 to about 70) for the Senate.  It's compulsory to vote so not at all isn't really an option.

6. What’s something that you love to do, but seem to never make time for?
Reading.  In general but more lazy indulgent reading curled in an armchair.  I'm slowly making more time for it and as winter draws in, I'd love to make more time for it.

7. What’s your favorite store to buy things for other people?
Not from the High Street or Etsy I guess.  Depends who I'm buying for though.  Kitchen stores are pretty cool, and Oliver Bonas or Joy are great for gifts.

8. What’s the weather like around you today?
It was bland.  Not hot or cold.  Not rainy or sunny.  Although I didn't leave the office between 8.30am and 8,30pm so I could be misinterpreting.  (yep, a bit of a pity party but that included a gym session and a swim and sauna so not really justified!)

9. What’s the worst book you’ve ever bought and read?
Yikes.  Can't be sure.  Something I've clearly shut out I guess.  

10. What’s the closest thing to you that is yellow?
My socks. They have bananas on them.  

Monday, 20 September 2010

Muse Illumini

Last weekend was awesome.  As was this weekend.  But last weekend’s pics are on Flickr and this weekend’s are not yet.  I’ll be back with them shortly.
Last weekend involved my housemate’s 30th, a Muse gig, an art exhibition, some super delicious Vietnamese food and a random chance coffee and tea house that I think I’m in love with.

Muse are one of my favourite bands, and Starlight one of my top songs.  So when a dear friend scored some free corporate tickets on the Tuesday prior and asked me to go, I was all “hells yeah” and wow, so glad I did.  The gig was at Wembley Stadium and to see the crowd all up on their feet, jumping and arm waving in time was phenomenal. Highlights included Uprising (opener), Starlight (well, duh) and Knights of Cydonia (closing) not to mention many other gems throughout.   I was super snap happy here are just a few…
The crowd as the stadium starts filling up (it was sold out at 75,000)IMG_1957IMG_1972IMG_1983

Sunday was all a little more random.  A glorious day of random though.  It was actually marked in my diary as “random London day”, meaning I was catching up with a friend but we could decide last minute what to do. After checking out his new place (it’s sweet!), we decided to head to an exhibition, Illumini, under the Shoreditch town hall.  It was a great (free) exhibition of all sorts of art.  A lot of light installation pieces and photos, as well as costumes and textiles.  Again, some pics:


And then a drink (cider) at a sweet cool bar in the area, then some delicious Vietnamese food (noodles and pancakes) on Kingsland Road.  Vietnamese food is really popular back home but less so hear.  Whilst I don’t eat it as often now, I don’t love it any less!.  And then, just to make sure we were really stuffed, we stopped in at a really random coffee shop and tea house for some tea and Portuguese custard tarts.  This place was completely overly decorated, so much so you could barely moved, and I loved it (and will return there).  It really was the decor of a thousand grandmas.

Maybe I liked it so much because I got to drink from a pink throne?


Project 365 – Week 21

Party time – my project 365 is turning 21.  In Australia, turning 21 is a cause for celebration (and a big party!).  Not really any party pics this week (which is the week that began Sunday 23 May) but seven pics all the same.  Let’s look at them…

I didn’t really dig any of last week’s pics but I like most of this weeks.  Maybe the pigeon one (for it’s randomness) or the Brandenburg Gate (for the memory it evokes and just its iconic status?).  Yep – I just compared a pigeon to the gate for all the interwebs to read ;-)  Your favourite, dearly beloved readers?
A Sunday arvo painting elephant banks (they’re money boxes – mine houses random coins that aren’t pounds or Euros)
A pigeon checking out the local hula hoopers at Clapham Common during a cheeky Monday post BMF picnic.
A cycle race around the Wharf – including some Olympic medallists.  If I’d had more time, I would have like to stayed and played with my camera settings a bit more, but I was rushing off to dinner at this point.  26.05.2010
Sun glorious sun.  The mainstay of my life (and photos).  This time over the duck pond at Clapham Common (en route to BMF again…back when I went!)
Sun, still being glorious.  Maybe even more so?  From the less glorious setting of the car park outside Canada Water’s Tesco.  Yup, I took you there…
All roads don’t lead somewhere, you know?  Unless you consider the water somewhere.  This is a partially built bridge in Canary Wharf.  Back when I snapped this, it would have required some serious Keanu/Sandra action.  Now it’s a fully fledge road that leads to another road.
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. 

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Malteser and Chocolate Fudge cupcakes

I saw the recipe for European Mocha Fudge Cake over at Angela's place (Craving the Cupcakes) last Thursday and was determined to try it pronto.  And I did, albeit with some changes to suit.

The changes were 
  • I made 18 good sized cupcakes from the recipe, rather than 1 cake (or 2 layers) (baking time was about 18 minutes)
  • I iced them with cream cheese icing as one of the people that was going to be eating them doesn't like whipped cream (hence the lack of mocha in my title - there ended up being no coffee)
  • I substituted pecans for Maltesers (this is my normal nut substitution for sweet baking as one of my housemates is allergic to nuts).  Next time, I'd up the level of Maltesers - they were great

These cupcakes were some of the nicest I've had, rich and dense but oh so tasty...


(Dr Oetker's Chocolate Stars are my default topping for chocolate cakes)

Now, off to see what gem of a recipe is being offered up today.  What are you wanting to bake? Or eat?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ten on a Tuesday - 46

Questions this week from Sarah (Life at a Different Pace) via Chelsea (Roots and Rings).  I like these questions - they're a tad travel related.  Anyway, read on to see just how travel related they are...

1. Favorite way to travel (plane, train, automobile, etc.)
Train.  I find train travel so relaxing.  It's usually faster than car and doesn't involve airports.  The longest train journey I've done was from NY to Toronto - meant to be 12 hours, took 14 - and I'd do it again in a blink.

2. Where’s your favorite place to travel to that you’ve been to?
San Sebastian is my current favourite I think.  City, shops, beach, mountains, amazing food.  More or less everything you can want in one place.

3. Where’s the place that you want to go but have never been?
So so many.  Russia, but that is booked.  Probably Prague, some parts of Morocco and San Francisco.

4. Do you deal with traffic well?
It's a part of life, isn't it?  I don't drive very often over here so it's not too much of a concern.  If I have music on, I'm fine.

5. Ever had an emergency while traveling?
Nope (she types whilst also touching wood)

6. Do you have a passport? What countries have you been to?
Yep, I've got one.  Had one since I was 2 as we needed them to come and visit my Grandparents here in the UK.  I've been to Australia, Austria, BelgiumCanada, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Leichenstein, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Phillipines, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UK and USA.  (Some were stopovers but they've only be included if I left the airport and wernt into town.  I haven't travelled extenstively in some of these places.  Links are to my flickr set if I have uploaded any pics)

7. Are you’ve light packer or do you pack everything but the kitchen sink?
Not light but getting better...

8. Do you take the fastest route or the road less traveled?
Depends - I like the road less travelled but when time is an issue, I'll take the fastest route.  We have some trips where we know what/where we want to see/go so often the fastest route.  Then others are a lot more free and easy.

9. Do any activities on the road? (like road games, reading, sleeping, etc. )
I'm notorious for sleeping in cars (unless driving, of course!), on coaches, trains, planes and ferries.  Otherwise, airport time is often killed playing gin rummy.  Music is more or less always on.

10. Use a paper map or GPS?
Both.  Love the GPS but don't have one and rarely hire one.  Sometimes borrow a mate's though.  Maps aren't too bad in the UK - and the major routes are numbered so navigation is easy.  When on foot in cities, I like to have the pop out maps - as well as being handy and helpful, they're a great souvenir.


Monday, 13 September 2010

Take me to a happy place

Update - I wrote this out on the weekend. I did end up making one of the listed recipes.  I'll be back to tell you more about it, and my super awesome fantastic varied weekend once I upload some pics.

Maybe it’s because of the change in season I’m starting to nest.  Or maybe because 26 years of September being Spring makes me want to clean but I’m having the strongest homebody feelings I’ve had for a while.  My flat is my sanctuary.  I know it sounds crazy, especially when you consider the size of it and that I share it with some others, but I’m loving being in, at home, reading, cooking, watching movies etc. 

When I did venture out the other weekend, I found myself in John Lewis department store.  I needed some new kitchen scales and my friend and I stopped by the kitchen aid appliances.  I think we were chatting about other random stuff, when we both noticed I was patting the kitchenaid stand mixer.  The salesmen also noticed, and we had a big laugh about it.  He gave me a copy of their catalogue (which my friend referred to as my very own special adult mag) to keep me pleased.

A week later (ie. this weekend), I found myself looking through the catalogue.  I want a stand mixer.  I recognise I don’t need one.  And I’m better to wait until I return to Australia to get one (save adapting cords etc, although luckily both countries are 220/240v).  But I can’t stop wanting one. 

The two colours I’m most drawn to are 5KSM150PSCB or 5KSM150PSIC.  Otherwise known as the cranberry or ice blue models:

And then I’d bake these, the next on my baking to try list:
Mmm, I’m off to salivate.  And look at my catalogue again.  What's on your to bake list...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Project 365 – Week 20

MAY!!!! We’re still back in darn May!! I need to get this uploading aversion sorted so it’s only weekly!!!  I've also put another page up top of the blog where you can see all the pics I've uploaded thus far in this lil project of mine!!

As always - what's your favourite??  I think I like the bus best, playing with the settings.  The people climbing the poles is certainly the most random.

Starting on May 16 through May 22…
I finished!!! The moonwalk (yeah, I told you about it loads already, haven’t I?
Views of the Gherkin.  I must go and see this building a little closer, rather than just on my DLR commute.
A bus to London Bridge traversing London Bridge (whilst I play with colour accent on my camera – red works really well in London).
They painted my front door (it use to be green – but not a nice green).  I like the new colour but they did a pretty rubbish paint job.
A random performance I encountered in Canary Wharf – I was slow in getting my camera out but the band members spent a lot of time atop the poles.
Bubble pop magic.  I don’t know the story with this, but there is a wall of lights near London Bridge station that I pass reasonably often.  I’d taken some pics earlier in the week but I’d had it on colour accent still.  Loser!!
Road trip!!  Woot Woot!!  I headed to Peterborough to pick up my delightful cousin and together we headed to Leeds (the NORTH as the sign says).

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Couch potato couch potato

This is our living room.  Small, compact, a little barren, completely unstyled and a lot “not quite us”.  Add to that the floors have just been revarnished so the floor man has put things back as best he might (just not right).  The door into the hallway is not usually closed either, so you don’t notice the baggy bag so much.

Anyway, we’re have a healthy debate in the house.  I live with two other people (Kate and Jason) that I affectionately call randoms.  They’re my friends and housemates, but it is only through living with them I got to meet them.  Thankfully, this sharehouse is going ok. 

The debate centres on the cushions.  You can see some of them in this pic but not all of them.  Our former housemate (Den) liked the red and white spots hence their presence in the room.  The cushion covers are now tired and worn and in need of replacing.  But what do we replace them with?  Two girls, one boy.  The furniture all belongs to the flat (it’s common to rent fully furnished in London).

I don’t mind buying cushions but I have a budget.  And if I’m buying them, I want to love them.  Jayson doesn’t mind having new cushions – but he’s a man and doesn’t want anything too girly.  Kate’s pretty free and easy about it all.  I think we’ve narrowed it down to teal/aqua/duck egg blue kind of colour.  I think it will contrast nicely with the greige walls and dark brown sofa.  And having it bluish allows for a slightly more girly print, right?  Right?
So here’s what I’m liking.  Jason, you ok with these?
You likey Jason??

Better?  More to your tastes?
Ok, so we’re not really going for those.  We don’t know what we’re going for but it’s not those.  (Although I’m tempted to get the flower one, or one like it, for my room.  And if it came in the right colour, I’d test it out in the lounge).

If we were going for black, white or grey, there are loads I love, but I feel we need some colour. 
Here are two prints I love, but the colours are wrong:

I want some cushions with a print, and some plain, picking up a colour from the print.   Here’s what I’ve been able to find online.

With this one, I’d try and match the plain cushions to the bluey colour.

Or this one…
Retro Leaves Cushion from the Next UK online shop 08092010 225536
This last one is my favourite but I’m not 100%.   I think also, it would be better to buy covers as we have cushion inners already – it’s just that they’re so much harder to find (and whilst I can sew, I don’t have access to a sewing machine).

What do you think?  What would you choose?

(All cushions are from John Lewis except the last, which is from Next.  Click on the pics to be linked to them).

* The pictures on the wall belong to the flat too.  I think they were someone’s who lived here* well before I came along, and I came along before Jason and then Kate.  They will most likely be replaced with some of our favourite travel pics.  Here being this flat, and the one I lived in before this.  Our landlord owns two in the same building, several in the same street.  One by one he did them up so at the beginning of Feb last year, we moved 5 meters across the hall into this one.

Still studying…

Study along with me, will you?  The test is tomorrow so all the thoughts and help I can get are welcomed*.

In the UK {in 2001 when the most recent census was done}, the number of young children aged under 19 is: (A) 13,000,000     (B)15,000,000     (C)17,000,000     (D) 19,000,000

The Irish Famine was in the middle of the: (A) 1820’s     (B)1830’s     (C)1840’s     (D) 1850’s

Because I’m busy studying, I haven’t made time to tell you all about my weekend.  Friday night – Sweet Charity – was great.  A bit of an adults musical that one, but I really enjoyed it.  I woke up on Friday thinking it had been a long time since I’d been to the theatre so using I looked for cheap tickets (<£15) and booked one.  ONE. Turns out flying solo isn’t bad – there are usually a few single seats around the theatre so they upgraded me to a great seat – front and centre of the dress circle. Win!

Sunday was really great too – I attended Offset Festival to help a  friend, Denise.  There’s more to her story and why I was there but I want to go into it in more detail.  The music was entertaining (anyone heard of Monotonix or Chrome Hoof? or even the genre “disco doom” in general before?).  It’s a small festival, not sure of the numbers but had reminded me of one I like back home, Meredith.  And there was crowd surfing, and moshing, and a giant inflatable slid.  Anyway, knowing there is a hardcore tent (and there was some pretty hardcore on the main stage), see if we don’t stick out on the festival’s website (2nd last one, page 4)).
Some pics from the day (from my phone – i maddeningly hadn’t charged my camera.

*It is just a test, I know.  And far more importantly, my Dad is now home at the farm and recuperating there.  We expected him to be in hospital for around 10 days so he found it hard beyond that.  He’s a brilliant man so lying in a beige box doesn’t really work for him.  Now the real test begins – can he rest at home or will he overdo it?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Ten on a Tuesday - 44

So last week was no 45 but as Chelsea is a bit busy this week (you know, breastfeeding and oohing and what not after giving birth just last Thursday), I thought I'd play catchup for the picture round I missed. It's photos of my life - nothing too exciting but enjoy...

Click on through to Chelsea's for the full list of subjects.  I don't have a pet so that's missing.  I live in a flat so I've indicated which windows are ours.  The bays ones circled are my bedroom.  The one of the comfy chair and housemates is a little lame - sorry - but I didn't want to put mugs on here without asking.  Oh yeah, a share house - so I've shown which part of the fridge is mine.  We've got a fair bit of communal space but that shelf is "my" shelf.