Things I’ve loved about February

February has been a splendid month. My 2012 is really ticking along quite nicely and I hope yours is too.

My highlights from the past 29 days:

1) Skyping with Lucas.

2) Being pleasantly surprised by all the cuteness on display at the Morisset Show. There were masks made of leaves and amusing displays of fruit people. And now I have a new life goal. Not only do I want to be a Country Women’s Association cake judge one day, I also want to bake a cake that is given a blue ribbon by the Country Women’s Association. Yes, I see conflicts of interest in my future.

3) Feeding all these sweet little goaties at a property near my parents place.

4) Discovering the new tea and spice stall at Morisset Mega Markets. I felt like I was back in Istanbul! I’ve been making lots of spice blends with all the loot I bought from the stand.

5) Going to both of these musicals. I had high expectations for Annie but I felt just a teensy bit let down. I had low expectations for Love Never Dies but was blown away! And Capitol Theatre is really quite pretty on the inside.

6) Good books and good TV. Howl’s Moving Castle was my favourite read in Feb. Such imagination! Such world building! Such lovely writing! I got lost in this book and found it hard to come back to the real world where there are no wizards, no witches and no spells!

Generation Kill is a short series that we smashed our way through over a few nights. It has Alexander  Skarsgård in it and I liked seeing him play something other than a vampire. Although I kept forgetting he wasn’t Eric and at times and when he’d get angry I’d fear for the other character’s necks!

7) Breakfast at The Runcible Spoon in Camperdown. I must confess that the only reason I went there was because I love The Owl & The Pussy Cat. But it was well worth it! The baked eggs were amazing! The only other time I’ve had baked eggs was at Clipper Cafe in Glebe and they weren’t so great there. But this version was delish. Plus there’s Edward Lear quotes on the wall!

8) Breakfast at Ampersand Cafe in Surry Hills. Hurrah for a cafe that sells books!  I had a lovely window seat and the sun shone upon my smoked salmon. Thank you God for Sunday mornings.

9) Breakfast at Bay 80 in Pyrmont. I seem to have eaten a lot of eggs this month!

10) The cricket! Man, the cricket is so much fun IRL. I loathe it on TV but I really love it when I’m there. And we had seriously awesome seats in a corporate box that didn’t sell. Happy husband = happy Neen!

11) Dinner at The Pie Tin in Newtown. I had a delectable pulled pork pie followed by this maltesers pie. It was so sweet that I could only eat a small amount but the spoonfuls I did have were a total bliss out.

12) Swimming with and feeding sharks and stingrays in Nelson’s Bay. Well, I didn’t actually do the swimming or feeding but I enjoyed observing this happen. That’s husband below with his Mum and nephew. They had a fab time!

 13) Milly’s one-der-ful birthday party. She had an owl theme which was really sweet. And how clever is Juanita, making such a tops cake!?

14) Cooper’s 2nd birthday. He and Kade looked so adorable dressed up as Buzz Lightyear and Woody. And even though I think the Wiggles are tossers, I loved Coops’ cake!

15) A lovely Sydney day with Aunty B. We strolled through Hyde Park, went to the Art Gallery, had foot massages and ate spicy food. Fun times peoples, fun times.

16) Dinner club (and holiday planning, squee!) at Monkey Mya, in Darlinghurst.


What fun things have you got up to this past month?


On a flowery note

I thought about flowers a lot this week, being Valentines and all. I think perhaps one of the reasons I am not much of VD fan is because I don’t like roses all that much (except for David Austin roses). And I especially don’t like red roses.

I’m more of dahlia girl myself. They’re so soft and fragile, yet have pointy looking petals, some that stand tall and proud and some that droop down in the most sweet manner.

I also love me some ranunculus. Such bright and cheerful little flowers aren’t they? And I love how ruffled they look.

Then of course there are peonies. To me they are the dreamiest of flowers. The petals are so pillowy that if I were a fairy, I’d be sure to climb inside one for slumber.

My other favourites are (below, from left to right) cherry blossom, poppies and those other little inside out daisy things. Does anyone know what they’re called?

I also love frangipanis and have been very happy to have my own plants bloom this week. The poor flowers have probably been confused about the weather but seem to have decided to give up on summer and just show their face. As soon as I saw buds appear I started watering the roots with worm juice. And I gave my worms very strict instructions to get cranking on making some more so I can have happy, healthy, frangipanis for the rest of these summer days.

What are your favourite buds? And are there any flowers you don’t care much for? As well as roses, I’m also not terribly fond of sunflowers or gerbera.

Photo credits:
5 & 6
7, 8,9  (from one of my favourite blogs – Annie’s photography is amazing!)

Three great Sydney coffees

There’s just something about a morning coffee isn’t there? Nothing else has the same taste, nothing smells as good.

Surprisingly, so many baristas seem to get it wrong. All too often the coffee is weak, cold or burnt. Which generally means that when you find a great place, you stick to it.

I’ve had three perfect cups lately that really seem worth mentioning.

The first photo is my skim flat white from fouratefive which was bang on! When you walk into that cafe, the strong aroma of delicious beans is enough to get your heart started. Then, cue extreme happiness, as the strong, full bodied flavour starts to work its way through your blood stream. With a love heart at the top of my mug, it’s perfection in a cup. Fouratefive’s coffee is organic, it’s fair trade, it’s single origin. There’s nothing more you could want from the humble beans if you ask me.

When I tried Blackwatttle Bay Cafe a week or so ago, I somehow ended up with the wrong beverage. It was busy, the staff were flustered (and pretty haughty, truth be told) and there was much confusion amongst customers about whose coffee belonged to who. As I wandered down to the water to watch a few crews of rowers, I took my first sip. And almost died with delight. Never before had a skim flat white tasted so creamy. A few more sips and I realised that never before had a flat white tasted sweeter either. By the time I was done, I realised I was clearly drinking a full cream coffee with sugar. But with such a smooth finish, I’ll certainly be back to order the wrong coffee again.

The skim flat white at Gnome Espresso is also top notch. It ticks all the boxes –  strong (but without the bitter burnt coffee after taste that taints so many cups), rich, flavoursome and with such pretty feathering on top, you can tell it’s made with care.

Where have you had great coffee lately?