Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Ten on a Tuesday 108

Chelsea is both host and question provider this week. Go her.

1. Do you wear glasses, contacts, or are you one of those perfect eyed people?
I wear glasses mainly, sometimes contacts and sometimes neither, depending on what I'm doing. I'm short sighted (-2 each eye) so don't need them for reading but sometimes forget to take them off.

2. What is the next item you are going to purchase?
Not sure - maybe shoes? There's a few things I want before the trip home next week (NEXT WEEK!!!!), including shoes.

3. Have you ever watched Judge Judy or any other real court show?
Yep, I use to watch Judge Judy after school some times.

4. How do you feel about fake nails?
They're not for me. (also, when they look like talons? I'll judge you as being ghetto for they are gross!)

5. What is your favourite sport to watch?
AFL (Aussie rules). Preferably with the Hawks (my team) winning in a high scoring close game). I'll also watch F1, tennis, cricket, basketball, netball, rugby league, rugby union, swimming, diving, gymnastics, darts and surf life saving comps. Probably other stuff too that I can't think of right now. I like watching most sports (not golf though).

6. If you could create your own Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour, what would it be and what would it be named?
Coconutterly Fair is pretty much the bees knees, I'm not really sure how I could improve on it.

7. Do you have any scars?
Yep, on my hand from a cut and on my knee from surgery.

8. Does your pet’s name fit them? Is there a more appropriate name?
Technically, I don't really have any pets. The only one of the parents pets that was there when I lived with them is Spike, and yep, it suits him. I think Fraser suits their dog and the other ones I just accept as is (cats - Abacus and Merlin and a new puppy, Cassie, which I'm a little unsure about as I haven't met her but think maybe pets shouldn't have human names? Especially as there has been a Cassie in my life before. Not that I'm explicitly saying she was dog like.)

9. What is your favourite television show theme song?
M*A*S*H* springs to mind but I'm sure I'll read other answers and be all like "aww, I love that song" and nostalgic and such things. The Smurfs one gets stuck in my head the easiest.

10. What was your favourite activity on the playground?
Swings currently but as a kid I was all about slides.

Friday, 25 November 2011


I’m now 30 and excited!

{pic – JerryCharlotte}

6. Bake macarons

There was some potential foreshadowing in the explanation for this one
6. Bake macaroons
I love them.  I think I will suck at them.  I want to try them.  That’s really all there is too it.  And if they fail, macaroon crumbs would be okay with ice-cream, wouldn’t they?
After a shout out on Facebook for tried and tested recipes, only one came forth.  A simple recipe; egg whites, ground almond, icing sugar and vanilla.  Whisk egg whites until stiff, fold in to premixed dry ingredients.  Pipe.  Let the tops set. Bake.
Aside from the obviously poor piping skills, I over cooked them.  I pulled them out of the oven at the minimum end of the baking time range in the recipe but they were still well overdone.  That said, I’m keen to try again soon.  Next time though, I’ll either lower the heat or the time to cook and maybe use a different food colour (ergo, make them look less nipple-y!).
Have you ever tried making macarons? Successfully?  Any recipes to share?

(Happy to share this recipe if you want to try it – let me know and I can type it up and email it to you).
My 30 before 30 list with progress marked

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Weekend Fog

On Sunday I headed west to Windsor for the day with some friends.  Thankfully, the destination unimportant, the point being to get on the road in a friends newish car for it was as foggy as all get out and visibility was poor.

Here’s what we saw

On a clear day, this is what you would/should see in those last two pics

The walk to Windsor Castle56 the long walk (e)

It wasn’t all a waste of time though – it will still lovely to get out of town and we enjoyed a Sunday roast at the Duchess of Cambridge.  I can't wait to get back there and to see it.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

I got my Kindle!

Updated:  I'm not sure what happened with this post and why it went to readers without any text or body.  And I'm curious as to where my writing went.  I've rewritten it below.

So I bought my kindle.  Earlier this week and after a frenetic work day, I stopped by the shops on the way home and got it.
Here it is charging on my bed this morning

I've still got a backlog of actual books to read so I haven't bought anything for it yet but have downloaded a few classics (that I'd selected on my iPhone - because it's the same amazon account, it syncs).  I've got Pride and Predjudice and Cranford to read.  I love that is knows what page in Pride and Predjudice I was up to on my phone.

There are loads of free books available, where their copyright has passed, so I want to make the most of this.  What are your favourite classic reads?  What should I be downloading?

Now to find a cute case that I like.  I think I want a folio style one rather than a sleeve.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

24. A Yum Cha lunch

You say dim sum, I say Yum Cha.  Given Yum Cha means drinking tea I’m not sure why us Aussies use it to refer to the meal.  Sure, we will often drink tea whilst downing many a dim sum but tea is not what I think of when I hear those words.

Anyway, a Yum Cha lunch.  Something that I love but do infrequently (noticing a theme?).  That said, it’s happened twice in the last few weeks which I’m stoked about.  I haven’t seen anywhere here do the trolley service that you get I’m familiar with but the food is tasty all the same.
Once with school friends
Jasmine tea, veggie dumplings, prawn and pak choy dumplings, pork buns, prawn and coriander dumplings, bean curd rolls.
And once with colleagues:
More of the same…
Both so tasty.  My favourite items are bean curd rolls, prawn dumplings and crispy squid balls.

What’s your favourite on the dim sum menu?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

28. Walk a (new to me) section of the Thames Path

The Thames Path is a 184mile path that follows the route of the Thames River from its source to sea.  From what I’ve read, seen or heard, the path is mostly easy walking as it’s without much elevation and is signposted (as well as following a the river).  Until recently, I’d only walked sections of the path that were in London, and between my home and my work.  i.e. I’d never gone out of my way to walk any of it.
Several Sundays ago, much like this Sunday* I headed west with friends.  Staying within London, we walked the section from Putney to Barnes (south side) and back again (north side). A gentle afternoon ramble, and had I not been unwell (tonsillitis as the time) I would have to liked to keep going. 


More recently than that, I walked only a few hundred metres of it, out in Marlow.  Whilst this doesn’t really count (we were killing time between arriving in town and our lunch booking and my foot was still painfully busted), it’s made me that much keener to see more of it.

Whilst it’s wildly ambitious to seek to walk the entire path, I would like to give it a crack, and cover a lot more of the more rural sections.

* Another day trip today, also west.

Guy Fawkes Fireworks

So I’ve told you again and again about how I love fireworks.  Turns out I like take photos of them as well.  A fortnight ago was Guy Fawkes night.  Here’s my night in pictures:


The pink ones are my favourite, although as a whole, the display wasn’t that awesome.  Low cloud, a very misty night and sever budget cuts means the Blackheath fireworks are probably going to get dingied by me for something new next year.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Friday Fancies

Some loves and lusts from around the interwebs and real life.  I'm keen to hear/see/read what you're lusting after at the moment as well.

THIS MUG (and this bowl, but more the mug) from Urban Outfitters.  How sweet are they both?

These cons.  Navy - perfectly neutral, with a hint of teal and an a smaller hint of mettalic (the stars on the tongue are shiny).  Maybe my favourite cons yet? They're different enough from the other three pairs I have that I can nearly justify them.  Nearly.

How cool is this clip?  I haven't been able to ride with no hands since I was much younger and never could I do it this well.  Makes me want to get back on a bike.

Day 179/365- Kindle
Kindle {pic from thekellyscope}

I think the time has come to get a Kindle. In a few weeks I'm heading to Australia for a few weeks.  With 48 hours on a plane there and back, some internal flights and some train journeys once there and hopefully (maybe, please?) some downtime at the parents farm, it makes sense. Do you have a Kindle?  Love them? 

Day&Night Nurse, Covonia Lozenges (berry blast) and Quash hand sanitiser)

Lusting might not be the right term.  I'd love not to want these but given I am now choc full of cold, they're pretty helpful. The Quash sanitiser I first bought because I liked the size of it but having used it a while and readign the label, I do love it.  It's a natural one so it smells really good (lavender and lemon).  I think from memory I just picked it up in a Boots or Superdrug or something.

What are your Friday fancies?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

30. Go to a Comedy Show

Comedy shows are a load of fun. Obviously, given it’s comedy. But they’re more interactive than a movie or play (both with the stage and with your friends) and a welcome change to my normal nights out with friends. I was thinking when I added this item to the list that I hadn’t been to any comedy shows over here, after being a frequent visitor to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival back home. Turns out my memory was failing me as I did go and see Jimmy Carr a few years back after being gifted a ticket for my birthday.

Signage outside and inside the Comedy Store

The Comedy Store in London is one of the capital’s oldest comedy clubs and most recommended by my mates so it made sense to head there. A few friends were keen to come along so it was our combined availability (or lack thereof) that determined what we would see – Rich Hall and Friends.

Rich Hall is an American comedian that spends a fair chunk of his time in the UK, appearing on QI and various other British tele shows I’ve seen. He’s apparently the inspiration for Moe, the bartender, in the Simpsons. His comedy is very political but not at all politically correct. How I like it actually. The first set was stand-up, some improve and a lot of political content (bashing both the UK and the US). His second set was more of the same, but set to music with his bluegrass band supporting him. A really good show.

His friends turned out to be John Moloney and Stuart Francis. John Maloney is a British guy, very British looking, who was a story teller. A very funny story teller. His stories were about his day to day life in South London but my, were they funny.

Stuart Francis is a Canadian one line wonder. One liner after one liner. They were all good and got plenty of laughs but there weren’t always a lot of links between them. Whilst still very funny, my least favourite of the night (although his speaking deep and velvety).

All in all it was a great night.  A lot of laughs from my and my friends.  I found it interesting that we all laughed a lot but at slightly different times or things.  Thankfully none of us were easily offended.  I’m so glad I put this on the list as it being there really was the impetus for a great night out for me and some friends. I’m hoping to return to the Comedy Store again sometime soon.  Do you like or frequent live comedy?

Videos below are fairly representative of what we saw/heard.  Just a warning that there's a fair whack of swearing in the first one

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Hunger Games

I was late to the Hunger Games party, having only read them last month. Last month under duress actually. Duress to begin with at least. A colleague was reading them at the time and couldn't pipe down about them, even reading them on her lunch break (is a good use of time but it doesn't usually happen around here). After hearing her yap on about them so much, she passed them my way and told me to at least read them. And then I did. In quick succession, I read one each weekend/week (yes, including on my lunch break). I had a few trips back to back and they were the perfect folly.

IMG_1340 squareIMG_1368IMG_6891

The Hunger Games, the first instalment is certainly my favourite. Catching Fire took a little longer to get into and Mocking Jay longer yet. But once I got into the second and third books, it was all good. I was a little sad when I finished them to be honest. A few other colleagues (and friends back home) have now read the trilogy and enjoyed it. Sure, it's not classic literature and is young adult fiction, but maybe because of that they're so easy to read and enjoy, without requiring too much thinking (but allows for some).

And now we all eagerly await the first of the movie instalments. I must admit when I first
read of the casting, I was sceptical. Jennifer Lawrence was excellent in Winter's Bone but for some reason I thought she was too pretty, her features too rounded for what I imagined Katniss to look like. But now, having just this week seen the trailer (multiple times I must add - I keep youtubing it every so often), I can' wait for the movies and the casting, despite my initial scepticism looks spot on.  Lenny Kravitz as Cinna?  Yes please. March 23 2012 can't come soon enough.

Have you read the books? Did you like them? Are you looking forward to the movies? Thoughts on the casting? Have you read any of Suzanne Collin's other books?
Books 1, 2 and 3, read over consecutive weekends on the beach in Majorca (Spain),
at the airport in Tallinn (Estonia) and in the cabin near the beach in Kidwelly (Wales).

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 106

1. What are your pantry staples?
Couscous, wild rice, flours, sugars (i.e.. Baking supplies), spices, tinned tomatoes, baked beans, vegemite, salt and pepper, Tabasco, Worcester sauce.

2. What are your refrigerator staples?
Milk, butter, cheese, eggs, curly kale.

3. You already look like Heidi Klum (or your favourite supermodel). Now, what are the top three non-physical things you would change about yourself?
My morning persona?  I could do with some more get up and go first thing.  
My indecisiveness.  I get we need to really think about some decisions but I sometimes (often) sweat the small stuff way to much.
I can't think of another.  That's not to say I'm only 2 things away from perfect, just that I'm tired right now.

4. What’s holding you back from your dream job? (If you already have your dream job, how did you get there?)
Not knowing what it is.  This isn't it but I honestly don't know what I'd rather do.  Or how to work out what I'd like to do.

5. You have $500 to spend but it has to be on one item only. Go.
I'm exchanging that for £314.  And I'd put it towards an iPhone 4s or some new prescription sunglasses that I like (just as soon as I can find such a thing).

6. What is something that you are embarrassed to admit you buy on a regular basis?
I can't think of anything I buy that is embarrassing... 

7. What’s in/on your bed every night?
In? me.  On? Me.

8. What is a non-necessity item that, no matter how expensive it gets or how tight your budget if, you will always find room for it?
Coffee.  Both beans and cups of it when out.

9. What is the weirdest sandwich you’ve ever made?
Twisties, wasabi peas, vegemite and cheese make an excellent toasty.  So does leftover potato salad with powdered parmesan and sweet chilli sauce.

10. Would you rather: Be banned from Pinterest forever, but gain a million captive Twitter followers; or, never get on Facebook again but gain five thousand blog readers?
Be banned from Pinterest forever, but gain a million captive Twitter followers.  Not sure why I've chosen that option but I didn't have to think too much about it.

Monday, 14 November 2011

23. See a band

I love live music.  Big stadium concerts, open air festivals, dirty smelly pup gigs – I really like it all.  That said, I don’t head to as many gigs as I use to.  This year I’d really only been to a festival (Isle of Wight) and I can’t think of any other gigs I’d gone to.  That’s why this item made the list.  To get me back out doing what I love.
So soon after compiling my 30 before 30 list, some friends and I booked tickets to go and see Gotye, a Belgium/Australian electro pop act.  Maybe doesn’t sound great but he is.  I’d seen him live before and was amazed at how good he was (especially given his records are a little unusual).
1 November saw us at the Kings College London student bar for a down and dirty cheap gig.  And it was fantastic! 

He’s many great songs but one to leave you with is Somebody That I Used To Know:

I’ve also been to Carus Thompson and Dolly Parton with Roxette still to come so item 23 is well and truly ticked.

30 before 30–an update


It’s now less than two weeks until I’m thirty, as I was pleasantly reminded by my cousin today (the one that I share a birthday with).

I’ve made some good progress on my list but it seems with just one more weekend to go, I probably won’t get through everything on it.  Here’s where things are at currently:

Completed (and most likely details to follow)
1. See a play
5. Cook a dinner for 4
7. Move to a new hood in London
8. Kiss a stranger
10. Visit a new country
12. Eat a steak
13. Take in a sunset from Greenwich / Primrose Hill / Hampstead Heath
14. See Elgin’s marbles
15. Ride a bike
16. Get a pedicure/manicure
21. Go a weekend without coffee
23. See a band
24. A yum cha lunch
28. Walk at least one (new to me) section of the Thames Path

In progress
2. Read the Great Gatsby
17. Learn to crochet
20. Try three new foods
25. Send 29 postcards
26. Get my leg back behind head
27. Design a photo calendar
30. Go to a comedy show

Still to start
3. Visit the London Transport Museum
6. Bake macaroons
9. Visit a market
11. Get up for sunrise
18. Visit and tour St Paul’s Cathedral
19. Attend a Church service
22. Leave a letter for a stranger
29. Make pizza dough

Absolutely not going to happen
4. Attempt Couch to 5kms

I’m happy with where I’m at given I don’t really mind if things don’t get done.  I’ve decided to plain axe running from the list.  I broke a couple of bones a few weeks back and whilst we’re on track for them to be all better (4-6 weeks), they’re not yet.  If I walk around much, they hurt.  Based on this, I’m not going to attempt running.

There are going to be some trade-offs as well – I know I can’t head to a market, see St Pauls, go to the London Transport Museum and bake macarons in the time I’ve got left with what else I have on in my life.  So come next Saturday, I’ll decide then what I’m doing.

So, anyone want a London postcard?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Harlot Hands

I've just painted my nails a deep red, almost burgundy (OPI's Manicurist of Seville for reference) and my housemate said I had harlot hands.

Do you/would you/could you wear red nail polish?

"manicurist of Seville", opi

Friday, 11 November 2011

Lest We Forget

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.


Thursday, 10 November 2011

11-11-11 - One Day on Earth

Tomorrow is 11 - 11 - 11. Cool date, huh?

I wonder what we will all be doing at 11.11am then? It's One Day On Earth's chosen day to document the world's story. They're asking you to take pics of your day, to document your day and your world. They ran something similar last year, for 10-10-10 and the results have been made into a movie (trailer below).

I'm going to be at work, doing work things (think spreadsheets and SQL queries and super exciting stuff like that) and will be stopping for a minutes silence at 11am (it's Remembrance day in Australia and Armistace day the UK. Lest We Forget).

Are you going to take part? Regardless of where/how you share your day, I think it would be great to see and would love to see the results.

Wordless Wednesday - Iceland

*Mostly* Wordless Wednesday - Iceland

Epic.  Not mine (Midnight Sun | Iceland by Scientific Fantastic)

Memories.  Mine.  November 2009