Month: January 2011
The most profound post you will EVER read
Heretical as it is, I will make the bold statement that I don’t like blue nail polish.
Back in the olden days when I was a teen, I had a bit of a thing for pastel blue polish and metallic blue too. Then I grew up and realised pastels don’t suit me at all and metallic nail polish is all wrong for my skin. So I barred it. Plus blue polish just seems so, i don’t know, 90s?
However, this highly gorgeous Tiffany Blue may just be worth another foray into the world of blue polish.
Isn’t it lovely? Like ten mini Tiffany boxes balancing on your hands – every girl’s dream!
Janine Jackson here, tackling the world’s big issues.
Over and out.
Things that make Husband cranky
When his wifey wastes electricity by leaving the lights on in every room.
When his wifey tries to save electricity by turning the TV off at the wall and he only notices once he’s sat down.
When she doesn’t follow instructions when cooking.
When she talks incessantly while he’s trying to sleep.
When she wakes him up to kill spiders/moths/big flies/other creatures.
Lucky she’s wonderful in every other way.
A Melbournian on the inside
My sister and I have just come back from an 8 day road trip to Victoria. And what did we discuss whilst travelling through this fine state? Why on earth our parents immigrated to NSW when they could have become Melbournian’s. We suit it far better!
I’ve tried very, very, hard to think of things I don’t like about Victoria and there are but two things on my list.
1-There are no signs to warn you about speed cameras. While this does kind of make sense, I think I might end up with a few fines which has a big fat BOO written all over it.
2- There are so many good places to eat, that it’s actually hard to try new cafes and restaurants. Every time you go back you simply want to return to the same places you’ve been before because they were so very, very good. Take the Veggie Bar on Brunswick Street for instance. It seems it’s impossible for me to be within a 5km radius of the place and not visit. The same with University Cafe on Lygon Street and Miss Marples in the Dandenongs. I don’t WANT to try anywhere else nearby because they may not be as good and then I’ll just be disappointed.
This was my 8th trip to Melbourne and I feel like I know the City almost as well as I know Sydney. I’ve also been fortunate enough to spend time doing things outside of the city as well. And given that one of my soul mates now resides in Victoria, I know there’s many more trips on the horizon! In fact, I only have two months to wait before I get to go back to visit said soul mate.
Here’s a few of my favourite things/moments/places from this visit:
- Spending time with my lovely sister who is fabulous and wonderful
- Singing ‘On the road to Gundagai’ whilst actually on the road to Gundagai
- Trying one of the famous bee stings from Beechworth Bakery and visiting the cute town where Ned Kelly was arrested
- Realising I seriously am just never going to be a caravan park girl after struggling to cope with a cabin and communal toilets in Bright
- Consuming Lord of the Fries within half an hour of arriving in Melbourne
- Degraves Street, the most gorgeous, cobbled, bluestone alley that has stacks of cool shops and cute cafes. It seems to be the place I always end up when I first arrive in the city
- Veggie Bar on Brunswick Street, (times a gazillion to the power of infinity)
- Buying awesome boots reduced from $230 to $50. Seriously, would you ever get such a deal in Sydney? I think not.
- The Immigration Museum. It was fantastic but made me angry and emotional about what a racist government Australia has always had
- Hairspray the Musical!! This was my Christmas present from Leigh and I’d never seen it before. It rocked so hard! Jack from ‘So you think you can dance’ was fantastic, fantastic, fantastic!
- Getting to the Dandenongs in one piece despite the ridiculous directions courtesy of my craptastic GPS
- Discovering there’s a Brunetti’s in the lingerie department of Myer – Sheels, if you don’t ever feel like the tram ride to Lygon Street, you can buy a bra with your cake.
- Breakfast at The Outpost Cafe, courtesy of a recommendation from my adopted cousin
- Discovering the deliciousness of fregola at a cute cafe in Healsville
- A sobering drive through areas affected by the 2009 bush fires, I seriously had no idea of the scale
- St Kilda Markets where Leigh bought me the MOST gorgeous birthday present ever!!! (But I have to wait three months for it!)
- St Kilda = Acland Street = Cake
- A picnic on our hotel room floor accompanied by dead coackroach impersonations by Leigh and me accidently (wasabi) pea-ing on the floor
- Taking every wrong turn possible on the way to the airport to pick up David
- Fresh pasta at University Cafe followed by delicious cake at Brunetti’s on Lygon Street
- Visiting my Donna Kebabs for the last time before she has her baby and turns into a milk factory
- The Picture Books exhibition at the State Library. The guide was excitable and cute and now I want to read more children’s books!
- Roast rolls, biltong & yogurt from the David Jones food court
- The Disney exhibition at ACMI, I really must look up marketing jobs at Disney
- The Vegie Bar (yes, again, it rocks ok?)
- Watching Models Inc dvds in the evenings
- David never failing to find awesome, locavore friendly cafes in random towns like Aubury
- Tex Mex on the way home from the new Mexican Cafe in Tuggerah
- Laughing at and with Leigh. A lot.
Hmmmm…think I may have just listed every single thing we did. Well, I guess that’s cos it was all awesome.
I think I need to start sporting one of these T’s.
The queen of the jewels
Today I realised with some, erm, alarm, that if I wanted to wear all of my earings and rings at the same time, I’d need 39 pairs of ears and 33 fingers. I refuse to count my necklaces.
Compared to Ian’s one ring & 5 pairs of cufflinks, this seems quite excessive.
I really hope that Santa doesn’t read my blog and think he needs to change tactics next year. You’re a sweet guy Santa, thanks for keeping me so bejeweled. I always enjoy being pleasantly surprised with gifts of adornment :)
Dinner club – a year in review
My friend Juanita has a highly successful dinner club. For the best part of nine years, her and a small group have friends have got together every second Wednesday night. They go to different restaurants each time, taking it in turns choosing the venue. They also try not to spend more than $15 or $20 each. It’s quite an exclusive club with no new members in nine years. Only the people who started the club + their partners are involved.
When Juaneets used to talk about dinner club to Mel and I, we would nod, listen and feel tremendously jealous that we weren’t part of it.
So in 2010, we started our own. It’s just Jay, Mel, E and I. We don’t really have any rules except that we do it monthly, take it in turns picking and we try not to go somewhere where three of us have been before. Quite by accident we realised that we got through the whole year without ever going somewhere with the same cuisine.
These are the twelve places we visited in 2010:
January – Bistro Ortolan was Ian’s choice and it was a good start to the year. I myself am not a fan of French food really but the others loved it. And even if you don’t love French fare, you can hardly sneeze at a two hated restaurant. It was a gorgeous venue with impeccable service and I got to try bombe alaska for the first time. It was the bomb indeed!
February – I picked African Feeling in Newtown. I LOVE African food and get a craving for it at least once a year. I hoped the others would love it too but Melly found the dishes a bit oily.
March – This was Jay’s month and I gotta say, this was possibly the worst dinner club experience of the year for me. In fact it was possibly even the worst food experience of my life. We went to an Austrian Schnitzelhaus which was a Hamish and Andy inspired decision. Jay and Ian entered a schnitzel eating challenge which neither of them could finish. The smell of the deep fried everything overwhelmed me as we walked in and I felt sick watching the boys try to consume a kilo of schnitzel plus chips. Hideous.
April – This was one of my favourites of the year. Mel picked a’tavola which I’d wanted to go to for ages. You know anything in Crown Street will be good and oh it was. The pasta was freshly made and tasted completely divine. We also had a highly entertaining time eaves dropping on a family feud happening at the table next to us.
May – Ian’s turn again and he took us to Satang Thai, a busy restaurant near his work. The food was good and we got to hear all about The William’s Fiji trip. A great night!
June – I picked a delicious Polish restaurant in Glebe called Na Zdrowie. This was another one of my favourites for the year. Juanita and Tim had taken us there before and it was even better than I remembered. We had seriously divine food, especially the cabbage rolls and I have been wanting to go back again ever since.
July – Jay promised to redeem himself after the schnitzel house experience. And redeem himself he did. We went to South in Neutral Bay. They claim to have the best Southern American food in Sydney and they aren’t wrong. Think crab cakes, pulled pork, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie. It was bliss! And we had our first dinner club guest, James joined us for this one. I want to go back there too!
August – Mel picked a local Japanese restaurant in Glebe called Teriyaki. They had the best complimentary condiments EVER, especially the dried sushi. We washed our bento boxes down with cider and beers and had a great night.
September – Ian’s turn again and this was a bit of fail really. We went to Zaaffran at Darling Harbour for a random Indian BBQ and it was as average as can be. E was a total lazy ass and did no research for his turn. He just googled ‘good restaurants in Sydney’ and of course the first place to come up was a restaurant that does paid advertising. To me, if a restaurant has to rely on more than word of mouth, they ain’t that great. Zaaffran is a case in point.
October – I picked El Manara in Lakemba. Again, this was a place Ian and I had been before with Juanita & Tim but there seemed to be less on the menu this time. It was probably the cheapest dinner club ever. We spent less than $15 a head. Melly can’t say we didn’t give her a real slap up meal for her birthday! The Lebanese cakes from the shop across the road were yuuuummm.
November – Jay took us to Braza Churrascaria in Leichardt. I’m quite a fan of the Brazillian BBQ thing so I liked this place. We also had awesome gelato from the Forum afterwards.
December – Mel picked the venue for our end of year celebration and we went to Wildfire at Circular Quay. We had the best seats in the house, fabulous cocktails and the dumbest waiteress ever – it was a fabulous night! We all agreed though that it too expensive and while we wouldn’t go back, it was a good experience. I think we’ve been spoilt by dining at Cafe Sydney and that’s our benchmark for special dinners!
And now we start again. Hope we’re still doing monthly dinner clubs when we’re 80 years old!
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
2010 was a funny old year. There were some definite highlights but also some crapola lowlights. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from my little life over the past year:
- Getting wonderfully spoilt by Leigh and David with a weekend away at The Drawing Rooms in Berry for my 30th. What a gorgeous place to stay and what could be nicer than getting to spend one on one time with my lovely sister?
- Starting a dinner with club with Mr & Mrs Williams
- Seeing friends and family get married/have babies/fall pregnant
- Starting a blog which has been kind of fun. I’m not the best blogger – I didn’t write a single thing in November. But while I was neglecting my blog I was taking great pleasure enjoying others’
- Three trips to Melbourne to visit Donna Kebabs. The last trip with the Sheelster was particularly enjoyable!
- A road trip to the South Coast with E. Was exactly what the doctor ordered and I think we relaxed for the first time all year
- Being a bridesmaid for what I think will be the last time (phew and boo) Side note – I’ve been a flower girl twice, a junior bridesmaid once, a bridesmaid twice, a maid of honour once and a matron of honour twice. Time to hang that dress up me thinks! But I digress…
- An Italian Food Safari with Mum. Ian’s parents gifted us this fabulous experience for Christmas in ’09 and poor E ended up having to pull out at the last minute due to work drama so Mum came along instead. It rocked!
- Cooking one new recipe a week, every week from one of Bill Granger’s cook books. I loved it
- Pulling my neck out of place while trying to escape from a spider and then having to deal with neck pain all freaking year
- Having Chostochondritis flair up every couple of months (new year’s resolution, stop lifting heavy things!)
- Constant restructuring at work that’s lasted more than a year and is still going on. Sort it out FFS
- Not liking my job but not knowing what I want to do with my life
- Cooking one new recipe a week, every week from one of Bill Granger’s cook books. I hated it
- Getting really down for about a month in the middle of the year. I think it’s the most miserable I’ve ever been. Was a bit of a combo of working really long hours, not seeing sunshine in months (how grey was winter?) and feeling like working in an office building all day was the most unnourishing experience anyone could ever have. Artificial lights, having to swipe yourself into the bathroom and realising your job is not meaningful in anyway = misery.
So now we head into 2011 and I feel rested, positive and excited. Resolutions for 2011:
- Don’t buy any books until I’ve read all the ones I own
- Don’t lift heavy things
- Externalise compliments rather than keeping nice comments/feedback in my head
- Have lots of little goals + a few big long terms ones.
You may not have heard it, but 2011 is my year :)
the notebook doodles
I am besotted with the notebook doodles. It’s seriously the most delightful blog and one of the first I look for when I open my google reader. If there’s an update from her then I have a happy day :)
The writer is obsessed with nail polish, has the most gorgeous handwriting in the world and always writes sweet, inspiring things that make me smile.
Here’s a few of my favourite pics from the last month or so, but go and check out her site. It’s tres cute! http://www.thenotebookdoodles.com/
Books that speak to you
Not long after I did the ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ course, I read ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. It was perfect timing because I was totally in the zone of simplifying then enriching my life.
And that’s what the book is all about. Investing less in material things and investing more in relationships and experiences.
The book is a true story about Morrie Schwartz, an inspirational teacher and mentor who touched the lives of all his students. In particular he had a big impact on Mitch Albom. But then they lost touch. Mitch became a well known sports journalist and a pretty materialistic person. Sixteen years later, Mitch heard through the grapevine that Morrie had Lou Gehrig’s disease (Motor Neurone Disease). He went back to visit Morrie and was reminded how witty and wise his professor was. He was also impressed with the joy Morrie took in living. One Tuesday turned into another and Mitch started to record their conversations, which became the basis for the book.
I took two key things out of the story.
First, Morrie reminded Mitch that life is too short to spend time doing things you don’t want to do or to be with people who don’t bring you joy. He said “”You have to find what’s good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now.” That message reiterated what I’d just learnt when I did the 7 habits course too. And it lead me to end two relationships that were not bringing me any joy. One was with someone who’d been in my life since I was a kid and the other was with a girl at work.
Both friendships seemed really one sided. It was always about the other person and neither of those girls were really positive people. I would often come away from time with each of them feeling drained. In particular, my child hood friend never seemed to care about what I was up to and I realised at one point that she had only asked me one question about my life in a 12 month period. I was just an ear for her to talk into. So I basically stopped contacting her and the same with the girl at work too.
Now I have more time to spend with people who are filled with positive energy and who bring something good to my life. It’s refreshing to be with people who fill your soul up each and every time you see them.
The second lesson for me was a reminder that physical objects and materialism brings you fleeting happiness. Morrie said to Mitch “Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent. You can’t substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship”.
I’m the first to admit that I like nice things (not necessarily expensive things, just nice things). But really, I just want to live a simple life. I don’t want a lot of stuff. Not just because it’s unnecessary, but because it’s bad for the environment and adds clutter to your life too.
When I’m 80 and I look back at my life the way Morrie did, I hope I can say it was filled with fabulous times, not fabulous things.
So lovely friends, what book has really spoken to you?
Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book that Mitch attributed to Morrie
“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.”
“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
“…there are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.”
“In the beginning of life, when we were infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive, right? But here’s the secret: in between, we need others as well.”
I don’t think I’ve mentioned how much I love Pinterest. It’s an online pinboard where people post pictures of things they’ve cooked, things they’ve crafted, photos they’ve taken, and quotes they like. It’s a visual delight!
Sheela discovered this little gem and I think it’s one of my favourite places in all the internets.
It has the beautiful:
And the so trues: