Monday, June 29, 2009

Fashion Smashion: Week in Review

It's that time again! Time to give your commentary on the frocks that my Fashion Smashion radar has detected this week. Quite a lot of 'meh', really...not a lot of fabulous. Even my 'love' frocks are more 'like'...but I do truly detest the couple in the 'loathe' category. See what you think...

Christina Ricci (above left) makes my 'love' list for the second week running. Girlfriend is on a roll...she's come a long way from the little Addams Family chick with the oversized forehead.

Anne Hathaway (above right) could make a paper bag look elegant...she's got that old Hollywood class going on. Love her. The dress isn't usually something that would ring my bell, but I think she makes it sing.

All of these dresses are eye-catching; the women in them are unquestionably stunning; but there's something about each of them that just doesn't quite get there for me. Whether it's the sheer white panel of Isla's (top left) ; Lucy's frou frou bust (top right); Emma's punk deconstruction (bottom left); or Beyonce's peacock mini (bottom right), they're just short of kicking butt.

The Bones clothing budget must have had a severe shaving because poor Emily Deschanel (above left) has had to raid her Aunty Ethel's wardrobe. I think my nana had one just like this, in polyester.

And Vanessa Williams (above right)...Holy. Crap. Please tell me you were going to an 80s fancy dress party.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Virtual Changeroom Tag

I'm not sure whether to kiss or curse Iris of Fleur Delice for introducing me to Polyvore, a wonderful time waster of a site which allows you to create virtual outfits from thousands of pieces.

I headed on over there after seeing her effort in response to a post by Miss Lady Finger which said:

"If I asked you to slip on a pair of jeans, a simple top, a pair of flat shoes, and any accessories you liked, what would you come up with? No doubt you'd come out looking vastly different to the next person, but how?" nice it was to shop with a virtual platinum Visa. How well the designer clothes fit my virtual bump-free body. How flattering the virtual changeroom mirrors were...I'm never going to a real store again.

As you can see by my outfit, I like clean lines and funky accessories. It's been years since I've worn gold jewellery but that didn't stop me matching some very cool pieces to my Vivienne Westwood top and Dolce and Gabbana Jeans.

Oh yes, it appears that when budget isn't a consideration I have very expensive tastes indeed!

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over and design your jeans-top-flats combo...I can't wait to see the results!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just your friendly office psychopath...

About five years ago I was friends with a charming colleague. She was bright and bubbly, about 15 years older than me, and generally good fun. We were close. She was one of the first people I told when I found out I was pregnant.

Things began to sour when I became her supervisor. She made snarky comments, became belligerent in team meetings, deliberately ignored my instruction. But things really went downhill when her sister's best school friend became our Big Boss.

In a matter of weeks it became obvious my name was dirt with 'Management'. It turns out my 'friend' had been telling the boss all sorts of lies about me...that I was discussing confidential information with people I shouldn't have; that I was bitching about co-workers...five years of bloody good work was overturned with a few falsehoods.

But the absolute doozy was one to do with me taking medical leave. I had to take two weeks off to have an operation and recover...she told the boss it was completely elective and I was only having it because insurance would cover it. Did I mention the operation was to remove A TUMOUR FROM MY THROAT? Oh yes, a tumour that was leaching calcium from my bones...completely unnecessary.

Then the Big Boss left and she no longer had any power...but the toxicity continued. Things eventually came to a head when I tentatively confronted her after she made a (male) colleague cry. She ranted at me for an hour, called me a liar and fat (wow, what a cutting insult), and threatened to charge me with harassment. I was gobsmacked. It was only much later I found out she'd been bitching behind my back for a long, long time.

Eventually, she left the organisation and I continued on...but, to this day, I remain sad and confused about that whole situation. To this day, I have absolutely no idea why I went from friend to foe.

For my peace of mind, I have to put her squarely in the "office psychopath" box...I think everyone has one. Want to share your tale? Go on, it'll make you feel better...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What Carly-Grace Can't Live Without

This week, I unveil what Carly-Grace from Everyone Wants This and Children's Resources Galore can't live without.

I love Carly's blogs...she brings such a lightness and positivity of spirit to everything she writes (and I love the ideas for keeping the littlies occupied!)

I'm just impressed she has a list of things to do by the time she's 23...I think the only list I had at that age was of how many drinks I could afford on my meagre student budget...
  1. photos - I love looking back on the memories - all have me in them though one has my grandfather and another has my cousins
  2. peanut m&ms - I love these. I had a packet last night and I could totally go another right now!
  3. paris - I have always wanted to go and I have this poster above my bed.
  4. my pandora bracelet - mum gave this to me for my 21st birthday present. the charms are: present; money bag; two fixed beads; two spacers; my birthstone (ruby); an angel; snowman; love heart with pink stone; and two dangly beads.
  5. my sunglasses - I love these $20 sunnies. love them!
  6. grey's anatomy - I love grey's. its my favourite tv show and i own all seasons but 3 (need to buy it hehe) and I've even seen all season 5 (the one airing now) as my boyfriend downloaded it.
  7. my laptop and phone - I'm not sure how I would live without these, though it is on my to do list before I turn 23 to go an entire week without both.
  8. books - I love my book collection. they are just a few of my favourites.
  9. post-it note 'Love you Baby x' - found it on my computer that my boyfriend had typed in totally sweet...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Perez gets a serve of (black-eyed) Peas...

So, I was casting half an eye over Twitter last night while feeding the girls, and a series of strange tweets come through from Perez Hilton. One reads "I was assaulted by Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas and his security guards. I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke."

'Is he kidding?' I think. 'Surely it would be better to call 911 than hope the police have a Twitter Response Unit...' Subsequent tweets reveal Perez had indeed been bashed by one of the band's entourage, had called police, and turned to twitter when help did not arrive. You can watch his (incredibly long) statement by clicking on the image above.

I agree with Perez that violence is never ok but, really, isn't he being incredibly naive? He spews forth vitriol on a daily basis...he personally attacks celebrities without giving it another thought...I'm personally surprised this is the first time it's happened in five years.

No, it's not ok to hit someone...but I also think it's wrong to bully someone emotionally. Rumer Willis, Jennifer Anison, Kirsten Dunst, and the many other women in the long list that Perez seems to have a personal vendetta against may not bear black eyes, but I'll bet anything they carry scars from his scathing posts. Does the mere fact that Perez was attacked with a fist - and not words - somehow make this more serious?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Girl Parts

I remember reading puberty bible "What's Happening To Me?" until the pages were dog-eared and being so impatient to become 'a woman'. I recall being 12 and reaching that milestone and wondering why the hell I'd been in such a hurry. It was all a bit icky, painful and generally not very nice...I could think of far better ways to spend a week out of every month...and I dare say most post-pubescent women share that emotion.

So what would happen if a teenage guy woke up one day to find he had a vagina and was getting his period? A new viral marketing campaign from Tampax explores that very scenario.

The central character, Zack Johnson, is a 16 year old boy who wakes up one morning with 'girl parts'. His website takes the reader through his 'journey' - including telling the school nurse his body is changing; working out how to pee with the seat down; and his first brush with PMS.

The tie-in with Tampax comes in the video episode where, after failing to construct a decent 'man pad' from toilet paper, he finds contentment in the shape of a tampon. Of course, he also gains empathy and understanding for women everywhere.

Look, I'm a bit unconvinced as to the effectiveness of viral advertising...but, hey, this campaign is more interesting than watching women leap through waves in white swimsuits.

But, to put advertising strategy aside, let's imagine just for a moment that men DID get their period. How would the men in your life react? Would PMS be elevated to a serious mental illness? Would the 'luxury' tax on feminine hygiene products be axed? Do your worst...

Fashion Smashion: Week in Review

So here's my round up of frock successes and shockers from the past week...those I love, loathe and, well, am just a tad ambivalent about. Check them out...

Love (LOVE! LOVE!)
Camilla Belle is absolutely gorgeous in green...what a goddess! Love everything about this.

Christina Ricca also scrubs up pretty well (a decent bra would have been the only improvement!)

Is it just me, or has Scarlett turned a wee bit matronly since becoming Mrs Ryan Reynolds? That legendary smoulder is hidden under a poufy brunette up-do.

And I'm just not sure about Lake Bell's futuristic the colour and the shoes but just not completely convinced.

How old does Hayden Pannettiere think she is? Only 19 and she's dressing like a woman ten years' older...not to mention a woman with a penchant for acid washed denim. Eek!

And, one of our usual suspects, Drew Barrymore. I know that she's a bit kooky, and can pull off looks that many can't, but not this one! Wrongness...

Sources: Instyle and US Magazine

Empty fridge dinner...Spaghetti al Tonno

I had one of those days yesterday...unruly kids stuck inside on a rainy day; a third birthday party to attend; zero time to myself. So, come dinner time, I was utterly unprepared and uninspired. Cue my ever-reliable 'off-the-shelf' meal, Spaghetti al Tonno (spaghetti with tuna).

It's quick, tasty and you're almost guaranteed to have all the ingredients on hand at any given time. Give it a try - you may find it fits the bill as your own 'empty fridge' dinner.

what you need
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
2-3 dried red chillies (I substitute dried chilli flakes)
3 anchovy fillets, drained of oil
big handful parsley, chopped
grindings of black pepper
500g spaghetti
extra olive oil and black pepper

what to do
  1. Set a large pan of water to boil. When it's at a rolling boil, add a tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the time on the packet.
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop the garlic, chillies and anchovies together.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and gently saute the garlic, chilli and anchovy for a minute or two.
  4. Break up the tuna with a fork and add this to the pan. Cook for a minute more.
  5. Add the parsley, grind over plenty of black pepper and stir well. Cook briefly.
  6. When the pasta is cooked, drain and return it to the pan and add the hot tuna 'sauce'. Toss well.
  7. Distribute among four warm plates, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and grind over some extra black pepper. That's it! Bellissimo!
Source: Recipe by Michele Round - Sunday Canberra Times, 27 April 2008

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Both the lovely Jaime from She Will Have Her Way and Amanda tagged me in this little meme, which I think is the perfect post for a rainy Sunday morning...not too taxing on the brain and a nice way to spend half an hour.

The rules:
1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, add one more question of your own. 2. Tag eight other people.

What is your current obsession?
Ah, blogging actually. I have a bit of an addictive personality - I get easily swept up in new things and pour all my energy into them until it burns out (am hoping the blogging obsession lasts for some time, though!)

That's why project work is so good me professionally...if I had to do the same thing for years and years I would honestly go completely nuts...or bore myself to death.

What are you wearing today?
My favourite old faithful jeans - Lee Bumster Flares, and a couple of layered tees...a white Witchery long-sleeved number underneath and a bluish grey 3/4 sleeve Country Road one on top. On my feet are my well worn Adidas Taekwondo runners...bought them when Olivia was a couple of months old and they've rarely left my feet since. Probably time to replace them, really!

What’s for dinner?
Tonight? Haven't really thought about it yet...but now that you mention it, maybe Pappardelle with sausage, lemon and nutmeg.

What’s the last thing you bought?
A couple of nice bottles of chardonnay - trying a couple of new brands which were recommended to me on Friday arvo. My darling friend, Nicky, (who I often trade childminding services with) took both girls for a couple of hours during the late afternoon so Drew and I snuck off for a quick had been soooooooo long since I'd had an after-work drink on Friday and it was just brilliant. Absolute bonus that I found a new chardy to try...

What are you listening to right now?
Sophia's sleep music through her monitor; the squawks of the cockatoos on the reserve; the squeal of the front loader doing its thing; the hum of the heater; the odd car driving past.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Venice. I'd find that little hole-in-the-wall restaurant where I once ate spaghetti pescatore; venetian sausage with tomato sugo; crispy italian bread washed down with a great glass of red and I'd while the afternoon away. I adore that city...I hadn't expected to, but it was the only place in Italy I'd found the food experience I'd been seeking.

Which language do you want to learn?
Would love to learn Italian but will probably learn French when the girls start school. The local primary school is bilingual - English and French - and I'd like to be able to help with out with their studies.

What do you love most about where you currently live?
Poor old Canberra gets a bad rap, but it really shouldn't. I love living here. We have great restaurants, a wonderful sense of community, room to move, and we're only a couple of hours from the big smoke (Sydney), the snow, and the coast. What's not to love?

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
My red Country Road trench coat. I feel stylish whenever I put it on.

Describe your personal style?
I'm a bit of a classics girl. I don't have the confidence to pull off edginess.

If you had $300 now, what would you spend it on?
I'd layby that one-shoulder Nicola Finetti frock from Frockaholics that I'd probably never wear.

What are you going to do after this?
Give Sophia her Ventolin. She's still quite wheezy, poor little poppet.

What are your favorite films?
Er...classic horror, actually. The Exorcist, The Omen, Halloween...they really are works of art in the way they create suspense. So much work went in to every element of these films - from the score to the sets - which just isn't the case with many modern horror films.

Whose work/designs are you inspired by?
I've always been a fan of surrealism...Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte, in particular. I just marvel at their imagination.

Your favourite books?
Silence of the Lambs and pretty much any book by Michael Connelly, Robert Crais or Carol O'Connell. I also love the Sue Grafton 'Alphabet' series.

Do you collect anything?
Well, not technically, but I own enough cookbooks that you could probably call it a collection. I reckon I've probably got about 60 books plus every issue of the Donna Hay and Delicious mags.

What makes you follow a blog?
I don't think I can identify one single element - it's more that something in the blog just touches me...either I identify with the topics, or enjoy the blogger's writing or sense of humour.

Do you like to comment on blogs or just lurk?
I like to comment and I do try to on all the blogs I follow - but I'm now following so many that I could spend my whole day surfing and commenting. So, I at least try and comment if the post prompts a reaction from me.

Whats one thing you dream of doing?
I know it's sad, but right now I would give my left leg for an entire day alone where I could laze around and read a book. Before kids I was a person who craved alone-time to relax after a busy week and it's no longer a's a small price to pay for the wonder of children, but I do miss it.

What is your biggest regret?
That I had far too little self-respect when I was younger - I hope I can raise my girls to be confident in their own worth and beauty (inside and out).

What's the one place you'd like to visit before you die?
New York City...I can't wait to experience its vibrancy - hope it lives up to my expectations by the time I get there!

Consider yourselves tagged:

Bon Bon Rose

Permanently Twenty-Three
Meandering Through Motherhood
Fleur Delice
The Window Table
Alycia's Round The World Adventures

Melbourne Epicure
Florida Girl in Sydney

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vintage Simon Baker

A recent post on one of my fave blogs, Mama Mia, sparked a frenzy of Simon Baker adoration from the female readers.

It seems they share the obsession of my good twitter friend, Kerri Sackville, who has unashamedly admitted Simon plays quite an important role in her marriage. Read her hilarious account here.

Anyhoo...for your viewing pleasure, may I present a very young Mr Baker in Euphoria's Love You song always guaranteed to get my booty on the dance floor. He shows up around the 2.15 mark...

Happy Friday everyone!

Jamie Oliver's Spiced Lamb Shanks

This is, without a doubt, my all time favourite winter's Jamie Oliver's Spiced Lamb Shanks, from his debut cookbook, The Naked Chef. It's packed with veges (not to mention flavour) so really is a complete meal when served with creamy mash or polenta.

I do the shanks in the slow cooker because I love the fall-off-the-bone tenderness this method produces. If you'd like to give that a go, just follow the recipe up to step 8 and then, instead of putting the pan in the oven transfer it all to the slow cooker.

If you get your shanks going in the morning you can enjoy their delicious aroma all day. Absolutely scrummy!

what you need
4 shanks of lamb
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 small dried red chili
tsp dried marjoram, or, oregano
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, quartered, finely, sliced
6 sticks celery, quartered, finely, sliced
2 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
170 ml dry white wine
6 anchovy, fillets
2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
1 handful fresh basil, roughly, chopped

what to do
  1. Season the lamb with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Smash up the coriander seeds and dried chilli and mix with the dried marjoram. Roll the lamb in this mixture, pressing it in well. Dust the lamb with the flour.
  3. Heat a thick-bottomed casserole pan, add the oil, brown the meat on all sides and then remove from the pan.
  4. Add the garlic, carrot, celery, onions the chopped rosemary and a pinch of salt and sweat them until softened.
  5. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to reduce to a syrup.
  6. Pour in the white wine and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the anchovies (these really seem to intensify the lamb flavour) and then add the tinned tomatoes, kept whole. Shake the pan and return the lamb to it.
  8. Bring to the boil, put on the lid and simmer in the oven at 180 C/350 F for 1.5 - 2 hours, then remove the lid and cook for a further half an hour.
  9. Skim off any fat and taste for seasoning. Finally, stir in a handful of roughly chopped fresh basil, marjoram or flat-leaf parsley.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What numberchic can't live without...

Here it is! The first 'guest' "Can't live without..." and first up is the lovely Numberchic. Do check out her fab blog, Your number's up, but, first, find out what gets her through the day...
  1. Smarties - I'm a sucker for chocolate, but smarties are up there as a favourite and they're far better than m&ms...but perhaps that's because I overdosed on fundraising packs in highschool!
  2. Music - whether it's singing along loudly in the car, or making up songs with the kids and giggling or turning up the radio and having a good old dance. I love music.
  3. Bubbly - love a good glass of bubbles. My favourite at the moment is Killawarra Vanilla Kreme - especially for my sweet tooth.
  4. Hugs - I love hugs. My boys could hug me all day and I'd love it!
  5. Coffee - an essential part of my day is a decent cuppa in the morning.
  6. Bushwalks and adventures on warm sunny days - I just love getting out and about with the kids. The bush is just so far removed from accounting!
  7. Calculator - what use would I be without a calculator? seriously. I own a few. Cannot live without them.
  8. My 3 boys - the loves of my life...
  9. My mum - we email each other daily and I love her to bits. I think I've led her astray in recent years though!!
Thanks numberchic! If anyone needs me, I'll be at the bottleshop trying to get my hands on a bottle of that Vanilla Creme bubbly...

p.s. If you want to play, just send me an email with your nine pics and words to

Like a spring day...

Lisa Mitchell - Neopolitan Dreams

I love this song by Lisa Mitchell...I put it on in the car and immediately I feel lighter. It's the musical equivalent of a Spring Day - sun on your face, breeze through your hair, lightness in your soul. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fashion Smashion: The week in review

So, here's a round up of some of the outfits that made me raise my eyebrows during the week. Some hideous, some questionable, and some just plain bland. Up to you which deserves which label... Go ahead, point that fashion critic finger!

Red Carpet Renegades: Mariah Carey and Kim Kardashian

Frock Shocks? Kate Walsh and Michelle Monaghan

Weekend Wardrobes: Kate Hudson and Beyonce

Frumpy or Fab? Nicole Kidman and Kate Moss

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

This post is my response to Challenge 4 from Blog This. The Blog This girls ask : If you could name one small gesture someone else has made that had a big impact on your life, what would it be? If you have a blog and want to get involved, head on over and join in the fun!

On Saturday morning I was thinking that I'd have to give this challenge a miss, as I was really struggling to think of a random act of kindness that had touched my life. Then, a little before 5pm, the doorbell rang. There, at the door, was our neighbour bearing a freshly baked Pumpkin and Feta Tart, and a dessert tasting plate of mixed sweet treats.

I'd spoken to him earlier in the day and told him we'd had yet another rough night with Sophia and her dodgy lungs - this time a croup attack and hours of crying - and the bags under my eyes told him how exhausted I was after weeks of dealing with illness.

So he and his gorgeous wife (who, themselves have been struggling with six months of new-baby sleep deprivation) decided to save us the trouble of cooking, and delivered a ready-made dinner to our door. The thoughtfulness of that gesture touched me deeply and reminded me how lucky we are to have them as friends.

Canberra is a city where many people of my age don't have an extended family our friends become our support network. We take it in turns of minding each other's kids when we need a break, we look after each other when we need a shoulder to cry on, we act as stand-in sisters and brothers when the real siblings aren't around.

It warms my heart to think that, even though my real family can't be around every day, my girls will grow up in a different kind of extended family environment...with familiar, loving faces and embraces; friends that are like cousins; and big, big hearts.

Gordon and Kersten, this post is for you. xox

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Favourite Photo: Sisters

The lovely Chantelle from fatmumslim tapped me on the shoulder in a new photo tag thingy...over to her to explain:

It's really simple. I love how every photo tells a story. Some short stories, some long tales. I want to know what is your favourite photo of yourself. Everyone has one. The photo they look at and smile. It reminds them of something, some time, some place. A moment in time. So share the photo, share the story and then tag three other people. I want to see photos and stories all around the blogosphere.

This is absolute favourite photo ever. It's of my sister, Lindi, and I. I think I'm about 2 years old, which would make her about 9 months - oh yes, my mum had her work cut out for her!

I love this photo for a few different reasons. Firstly, my sister is my best friend in the entire world. We may not talk as much as we should these days, being busy mums, but she's always there in my heart and my head. This photo shows how early that loving relationship started.

Secondly, I look at this photo and see that history is repeating itself with my beautiful girls. Olivia is the absolute image of me...and the rough, loving arm slung over my sister's shoulder is so much like Liv's 'killing kindness' for Sophia.

I can only hope that my sweet daughters are lucky enough to have a kindred spirit in their sister as I do in mine. Love you, Loo. xox

p.s. I tag...

Life and Other Crises
Everyone Wants This
Your Number's Up...and an honorary fourth
Bells Knits!

Liv and Fia get stylish again...

The latest Baby's Got Style newsletter hit inboxes this morning, and this time both my gorgeous girls are featured. Plus sooooo many cute clothes that my credit card is in serious danger.

Have two more reviews due by end of the week, so better get typing!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Can't live without...

I ripped this idea off from the Sunday Telegraph's 'Sunday' magazine. Each week it features a celeb talking about the things they can't live without, as the title implies. You'll find my Top 9 after this intro.

But before we get into that, I want to invite you to share what you can't live without!
All you have to do is submit 9 images (I'll do the tricky photoshop stuff so don't worry too much about size and quality) and some words about why you treasure the particular things you've chosen. I'll introduce a new reader each week, so if you'd like to be involved, drop me a line at!

1. The three lights of my life - my lovely husband and two beautiful girls...not a day goes by I don't think how very, very lucky I am to have them.
2. Food - I'm one of those 'live to eat''s too short not to enjoy good food. I grew up eating meat and three veg pretty much every day (except on Sundays when we got Chinese take away)...I don't know where I got my passion for food, but I'm very glad to have it.
3. My laptop - Where I blog, catch up on world events, stay in touch with friends, get creative with design apps...and I can take it pretty much anywhere!
4. Books - reading is the thing I miss most now that I'm a busy mum of two...there never seem to be enough hours in the day to sit down with a good book. My idea of heaven is to curl up on the couch, in the sunshine, and get swept away with words.
5. Chardonnay - The oakier the better. My current fave is Brands Laira but Stonier and Coldstream are always welcome in my fridge.
6. Family and friends - Honestly, what would life be without family and friends along for the ride? I love having them there to talk to, laugh and cry with, and share life's ups and downs.
7. Sleep - I've always needed 8hrs sleep per night to fire on all cylinders which means I'm usually in bed by 9:30pm. Oh yeah, I'm so rawk n roll.
8. Laughter - A good laugh does wonders for the soul and my girls' antics make me giggle like a crazy woman.
9. My i-phone - I've had it for about two weeks and am already completely addicted. Sad, but true.

So, don't be shy - share what you can't live without! My inbox can't live without your emails...

Orecchiette with pecorino, pancetta and peas

This is one of my favourite pasta dishes...and orecchiette would have to be my favourite pasta. The 'little ears' cup the sauce so well.

It ain't kind on the thighs, but it's so good on a cold winter's night. Given we're expecting a top of 8C degrees in Canberra today I thought the weather called for sharing a comforting recipe!

what you need
150g pancetta
4 garlic cloves
80g pecorino (you can substitute parmesan)
1 generous handful basil leaves
500g orecchiette pasta
150g frozen peas
1tbs olive oil
200ml pure (thin) cream

what to do
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.
  2. Meanwhile, cut pancetta into small dice. Peel and chop garlic. Finely grate pecorino. Pound basil leaves in a mortar and pestle until almost a smooth paste.
  3. Throw a handful of cooking salt into the boiling water and slide in the orecchiette. Cook until almost al dente. Add peas at last minute and let pot return to boil. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until pasta is al dente and peas are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, heat oil in a frypan over a moderate flame and saute pancetta for several seconds until deeply caramelised. Add garlic and cook for several seconds until golden.
  5. Deglaze pan with cream. Add basil and reduce slightly over heat to a light saucing consistency. Remove from heat.
  6. Drain pasta and add to pain with a drizzle of cooking water. Toss together with the pecorino and season to taste before serving.
Sources: Recipe from Delicious magazine, August 2006. Image from Gourmet Traveller.

Fashion Smashion: My eyes! My eyes!

Today, for your viewing pleasure, a collection of truly quite ugly outfits verging on fancy dress.

First up, Pamela Anderson, who seems to be going for the Bar Wench Barbie look.

Next, Lulu Guiness. Clearly, she had a really cute purse in the shape of a set of lips and thought 'hey! if I hold it at crotch level all night, a set of eyes above my boobs would look just awesome!'

And Drew, dear Drew. Only a couple of months ago I was praising her sartorial efforts on the Grey Gardens publicity trail. Now she is back to wearing tie-dye leggings, bandeau bikini tops under tees, kooky sunnies, and one fingerless glove. As you do.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You can't judge an emailer by their sign off (or can you?)

It used to be the handshake that was a telling introduction to the kind of person you are. Now, it's the email farewell, according to Tracy Spicer, who claims "how you sign off your emails shows more about your personality than you realise."

I'm a 'cheers' girl if I'm writing to a friend or acquaintance; and quite like 'regards' on a professional basis, or even 'kind regards' if brown-nosing is required.

But I may have to reconsider my favoured farewell. Spicer is also a 'cheers' fan and reports that one of her friends reacted with this: “You’re not one of those ‘cheers’ girls are you?” she gasped in horror. “I can’t stand those people! We’re not in a shout at a pub. It’s unprofessional.” Oops."

Oops, indeed. What's your choice of email sign-off? And what does it say about you?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Breaking the rules

Have you ever broken one of those ‘rules’ of motherhood? Like, don’t microwave bottles; don’t go anywhere – even for a second – if your baby is in the bath; or don’t leave your kids in the car. It’s with a mix of guilt and defensiveness that I admit I have flouted each of these commandments – and on more than one occasion.

When it comes to the last of these sins, leaving the kids in the car, I have a number of criteria that need to be satisfied before it’s even considered. I need to be able to park where I can see the car from the shop; the trip needs to be sub-three minutes; and the effort to get both girls out of the car and round the shop in question needs to outweigh the discomfort I feel about leaving them. I don’t do it often, but I do it.

But there are some things I’d never do. I’d never leave them in hot weather; where I couldn’t see them; or for a long period of time. So, I was absolutely aghast to see a story on some tabloid news show which featured footage of a woman leaving her three kids (probably aged 8-12) in an unlocked car…with the keys in the ignition… on the rooftop of a parking lot… in the middle of summer… for 45 MINUTES while she went inside the mall to shop.

Seriously, I pale when I think what could have happened in that time. They could wander off and get lost. Someone could come along and take them. They could start the car and drive it off the roof. So many bad, bad things.

So, do you have mother guilt over breaking the rules? And what’s the worst case of motherhood rule-breaking you’ve ever seen or heard of?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fashion Smashion: Sheer cheek

What do you think of Gossip Girl Leighton Meester's outfit for last week's MTV Movie Awards?

I actually dig it. I like the complexity of the futuristic design and think it has enough coverage to balance the cheekiness (excuse the pun) of the sheer panels.

Of course, it helps that Leighton is a gorgeous girl with a killer body. I don't even want to think how my arse would look through that semi-transparent skirt!

A funky ugg? Ugh!

Turns out uggs aren't just for dagging around in at home...or so says Mollini. Their new "Denote" is a take on the classic Australian icon and comes in "sumptuous beige suede".

Honestly, they can make them sound good enough to eat, but I'm not gonna pay nearly $200 for something I don't dare wear in public (even with the funky "soft and slouchy shaft"), I'm still scarred by Pamela Anderson's uggs and cossy combo.

Photo: The Age

Motherhood, Beyonce and JT

Sometimes, it's the little things that remind you that - despite some crappy times - this motherhood thing really is the best gig in the world.

This morning, I was absentmindedly singing Beyonce's Single Ladies while getting Liv her breakfast. A few minutes later, I heard this little voice trilling "All the single ladies, all the single ladies. All the single ladies, all the single ladies..."

Well, that was enough to prompt me to get the video cranking on You Tube, and it descended swiftly into the three of us girls having a dance frenzy in the lounge. Liv's Beyonce hips and Fia's giggles were enough to put a smile on my face that is sure to last all day.

And to put a smile on yours, here's the Saturday Night Live parody of the song, starring none other than Justin Timberlake. Absolute Gold.

justin timberlake snl beyonce single ladies video

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


If you've ever described Daniel Craig as 'sex on a stick' it turns out you weren't far wrong. The newest 007 now holds the dubious honour of having an icy pole created in his image.

According to website Click Liverpool, the manufacturer surveyed 1000 British woman, asking who they would most like to wrap their lips around. Craig topped the poll (beating Jude Law and Hugh Grant) and is now the first Bond to be available in blueberry, pomegranate and cranberry flavours.

If you could have your very own sex symbol in the freezer, who would it be?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

If I could invent anything...

It's Blog This Challenge 2: "If I were to invent something to make life easier or more fun for me...and WHY.. "

When I first saw this challenge, I didn't even have to think about what my invention would be - my friends and I have often joked that an 'anti-waiting-device' would be the perfect solution to my overly impatient nature. But events this week have made me change my mind.

If you're a regular reader, you'll know that my youngest daughter, Sophia, was born at 30 weeks and has had a hard time of it. You'll also know that we spent all day Saturday in Emergency with our second case of bronchiolitis so far this year (and it wasn't even winter then!)

So, what I'd invent to make my life (but, more importantly, Sophia's life) easier is something to take the hurt away. My beautiful wee girl has known more pain in her short life than many adults. She has suffered intubation just to keep her alive; oxygen headgear worn 24 hours a day for weeks and weeks to help her breathe; transfusions; medications; many invasive and painful procedures.

Sometimes, the tears spring unbidden when I hold her tiny hand, and notice the faint scars which are badges of the hardship she's already experienced. I remember cupping her tiny head in the palm of my hand...the twig-like limbs that jerked and strained against the tangle of wires that were her lifeline. But most of all, I remember her feistiness; her determination to fight... even when she hardly had the energy to breathe.

As a mum, I wanted to absorb all that pain. Fight the fight for her. Give her the comfort, the hours of nurturing and closeness that were her sister's welcome to the world.

I still feel that way. If I could choose be the one wheezing, coughing, struggling to take each breath - I would. But I can't. So I just hold her, and love her, and hope that's enough to see her through.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Spot the difference

Which one is Megan Fox and which is Prymatt Conehead?