Monday, 30 June 2014

Happy Monday

Happy Monday folks, or week 2 of things that made me happy this week (background).

I took a week off work this week, having realised in April that I hadn't had any downtime since December 2012, and barely two days off in a row since then either. I do have a whirlwind trip up to Brisbane once or twice a year to visit family, but there is always so much to pack in to 3 or 4 days, and so many wonderful people to catch up with, that those trips are anything but relaxing.

My week off has been a bit of an eye-opener. I hired a bunch of DVDs on Monday and camped out in front of the TV, eating chocolate for lunch, and didn't take much pleasure in any of it. Just felt achy and sick. Tuesday I got massively twitchy because I didn't know what to do with myself and ended up sitting down to an hour or two of study. I am so highly strung all the time (I kinda have to be to fit everything in) that I don't know how to relax. Wednesday we had a lovely day in the Yarra Valley doing wine-tasting (I was spitting and driving- not at the same time, classy) but we fitted in three wineries and kept to a pretty tight schedule. Yes, doing nice things, but I was far from relaxed. Erghh. Thursday I had dinner with a dear friend but was so tightly wound my brain was as scattered as confetti (but far less magical). By Friday I finally began to settle. Saturday I started sending emails to try to fix my situation. Phew!

Things that made me happy this week:

::This extraordinary, astonishing woman, and the fact that she was featured, without photoshop craziness on the cover of a national women's magazine.
women's weekly turia pitt cover burns victim

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Why I Write

I have recently happened upon a beautiful blog, Maxabella loves..., an exquisite, magical insight into a really generous spirit layered with gorgeous photographs and life inspiration. And the best children's parties you have ever seen! EVER.

Bron was tagged to participate in a bloggity meme 'Why I Write' and invited other bloggers to take part.

I don't often participate in these things because while I triumphantly plug away at this blogging/writing thing I know I am a big ol' clunky novice in this world of talents with Literature degrees and plush photos. But, I bang away because I know for sure that the only way to get better is to do. So, without further ado.....

sunset colour palette sky

Pretty Parcels (of chicken) {Recipe}

You could perhaps be fooled into believing this first food picture is fine dining...
spinach fetta chicken filo parcels recipe black and white
If not for the cluttered bookshelf and Ted-ears peeking over the table.

I was slightly ridiculously proud of this dinner so decided to share the recipe with you. I am a pretty good cook but my presentation skills are usually more in tune with a self-serve bain marie. However, these pretty little parcels are really easy, very tasty, quite healthy and are fantastic for a dinner party.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Happy Monday

When I finished the 100 Happy Days project I was in a pretty good place. I had taught myself to seek out or take notice of the happy moments that grace my days and I thought it was something I would continue.

I haven't.

I need to do a bit of a life re-haul. I work 38 hours per week in regular jobs, spend another 9 hours travelling to and from work and I have been spending at least one other day doing freelance wine sales (on one of my days 'off'). I do get two days off but they are split so I never get a weekend. And I work every weekend which puts a big ol' dampener on my social life. I am also studying for my WSET Diploma and sacrificing sleep to spend time working on this blog. Something's gotta give, and I'm not sure what it will be yet. It will not be the blog though- this time is really important to me, and even though it is hard to justify the hours sometimes, it is my art.

This post is a bit of a homage to Cider with Rosie, who does a lovely little recap of her week each Friday, and is a way for me to try to recognise the good things without filling my Facebook feed with #100happy days. Monday is my day off so hopefully as I am finishing my week, and you are starting yours, this might be some inspiration to look for the happy.

Things that made me happy this week:

::Finally getting to try an amazing bakeshop I have been stalking on Twitter and Facebook, Beatrix. The bookworm handed in his final assignment for his Grad cert so I went in to grab a few yummies to have for dessert. I may have gone overboard.
beatrix north melbourne cke brown butter

Friday, 20 June 2014

Double Meat, Double Carb, BAM! {Third Wave Cafe- Prahran Review}

Late last year the team behind Third Wave Cafe in Port Melbourne opened a second cafe in Prahran, bringing their American/Russian (what a combination!) food to the Southside. I was invited to try their lunch menu not long after they opened (you can read about it here) and loved it. We ate big saucy burgers, what's not to love. So when I was invited back to try the American BBQ dinner menu how could I refuse?

But American BBQ isn't really something I have been schooled in. I had never eaten ribs and BBQ sauce was an optional condiment in a squeezy bottle, in my previous experience. So I took the closest person I had to an American with me, the Divine Miss R; who has been to America at least twice, is going back again next week and most importantly has a gorgeous American partner. I checked she wasn't vegetarian, warned her that it was expected she eat her own body weight in meat and with all the bases covered, we were ready.

But first, the wine. I was quite hungover from a vintage party the night before where multiple bottles of burgundy were produced driving so we were excited to see that they do a range of half bottles. Bring back the carafe I say! It allows the DD (designated driver) to have a glass of wine and their dining companion to have a couple without becoming completely splooshed (technical term). We chose the Selback riesling from Mosel in Germany- it has enough residual sugar to not taste bitter up against all that BBQ sauce, with some refreshing acidity to cut through the finger-licking greasiness.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Colour in the Room {Qi Change- Lou Endicott}

Lou's life changed at 3am in a hotel room in Bangkok. It was the last night of a three month exploration of Europe, and jet lag was rearing its ugly head. Frustrated, she started thinking about what she would do with her life when she got home when an image from 'Lonely Planet' popped into her head. She began googling jobs, looking up the types of creatives required, visualising an office full of colour, a creative space, and researching the qualifications she would need to do this kind of work. "At seven o'clock in the morning I woke my partner, I said 'Wake up, wake up, I'm going to go and study!' and we jumped up and down on the bed, because he knew how sad I had been for so long."
Lou Endicott image

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Pizza Power {Italy 528 Review}

I take pizza very seriously. It has the power to be the best food in the world (yes, that's right. THE WORLD) or the epitome of disappointment.*
teenage mutant ninja turtles

I also have very firm views on matching the pizza to the occasion. Italian-style, handmade, wood-fired pizza is clearly the King of pizza but it must be served within seconds of being removed from the oven, eager hands poised to pull apart the stretchy slices, so hot it burns your mouth but you don't care because the pleasure far outweighs the pain. This kind of pizza can't be home delivered; 10 minutes in a cardboard sauna results in sweaty, chewy, misery.

Melbourne offers up some seriously good pizza. I have talked about some of my faves, D.O.C and +39 Pizzeria before. But fear not Melbourne Westies, the pizza gods are looking after us too at Italy 528

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Slice and Memories {Recipe}

I have a customer whose prescriptions smell like my Nana's handbag. Whenever she drops off her scripts I secretly inhale them and I am transported back to the Wednesday afternoons of my childhood. My grandparents would collect me from school and my Nana's handbag would produce sweeties and a small bag of crisps for my afternoon tea. We would watch cartoons while we ate, jump on the trampoline for a while and then as the sun set I would sit on my Nana's lap and tell her about my day. Life was pretty good.

Hang on, I've just admitted to the internet that I sniff somebody's scripts. Hmmm, maybe I am a bit comfy comfy with this tell-all business I have got myself into. For the record, the smell, as best as I can work out, is Max Factor pressed powder, hairspray and a hint of napthalene. The smell of Nana.

Every Saturday we would go to my grandparents house for lunch then afterwards Poppa would entertain us for a couple of hours while mum went shopping. Or at least, that is what I thought happened. One day for whatever reason we returned early and I caught my nana and my mum having afternoon tea together! Without me! The nerve!

marbled chocolate cheesecake slice recipe

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Seeking's Adventures in Wine-derland

I remember my first wine tasting very well.

I was terrified.

I can't remember how we decided on the first cellar door, possibly someone had suggested they had good wines, it may have been on a tourist brochure; I don't know, but within minutes I knew I wanted to leave and never taste wine again.

You see up until that point I knew I really liked wine but I didn't know anything about it. I was brave though- my selections were based on the label, it had to be a 'cool bottle' and usually my budget was anywhere up to $20, but outside of these criteria I did not discriminate. While most of my mates were drinking premixes, I had found wine and I bloody well liked it. I drank sparkling in abundance. Red wine, especially shiraz, was tasty-good (and it looked grown-up and classy). I also stumbled my way through a bunch of cheap and nasty whites but every so often a colourful label choice would turn out to be drinkable, so I didn't write them off entirely.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

My First Blogday

mister nice guy's cupcake birthday blog

Exactly one year ago today I started this little blog. You can read my very first post here. It was a little scary to put my writing out there in cyberspace when, for the longest time, my 'writing' had been confined to Facebook statuses (read more about why here).

I am very proud of my blog and the fact that I have stuck with it for a whole year. I did wonder at the beginning if it would end up just another 3-post-blog adding to the detritus of the world wide web. So far so good, 81 posts and going strong.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

South of the border {La Tortilleria review}

"OK this stop is in the middle of nowhere. Is there somewhere I should go? Or just wait?" said the text message from the tram stop on Racecourse Road.

I knew then that she had got off at the correct tram stop. I called back "I'll be there in a minute, you can probably see me power-striding towards you."

La Tortilleria really is in the middle of nowhere. You turn South off Racecourse road just near the Citylink overpass and head down Stubbs St, filled with offices and industrial buildings.
stubbs street from racecourse road

Just when you think you may have taken the wrong street you come upon the bright mural that graces the side of La Tortilleria- a little oasis in the middle of an urban desert
la tortilleria view from stubbs street