Monday, February 28, 2011


Today has really all been about tomorrow.  I'm heading away on holidays for the first time in a year and a half.  Of course I've had breaks since then, but this is my first proper, get in a plane and fly away holiday.

So I've been doing all the prep stuff and I'm now done.  Just a few hours and I will be heading away.

The anticipation is massive, I'm quite hyped really.  However I doubt that I will be able to maintain my blog a day for the next couple of weeks.  I will try, but you can probably just assume that being on holiday is what is making me smile!

If you are interested, follow the adventure at: - my travel blog!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A present for Dad

Yesterday was my Dad's birthday but as we were all distracted by the wedding, all we managed do was to have a birthday cake breakfast (a family tradition) and give him some presents.

So today Mum is cooking the big birthday dinner, roast duck, red cabbage and potato dumplings all washed down with Moet that he got as a present.  Normally dessert is chocolate mousse and that is what we will all be having but Dad has been hoarding the last of his blackberry sorbet that I made.  Given he seems to love it so much, and given that it is his birthday, I thought I would be a good daughter and make him some more.

This of course also meant another picking trip.  Luckily the bushes are still covered, if anything the berries are even better than they were, so in half an hour I had enough for a double batch.  I brought them home, pulverised them up and they are currently churning away into sorbet.  I think he will be very pleased.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A new toy

I have a new app on my phone which means I can take all sorts of interesting looking photos. It is called hipstomatic, and I've had a brilliant time playing with all the settings and seeing what it can do.

Today was the perfect day to try it out as today was my sister's best friends wedding.  Deb is pretty much another little sister to me, so it was a great honour that she had asked me to be a part of the day, not only by attending but by doing the bride and bridesmaid's hair and checking the venue was set up correctly.

Because I was involved with getting the girls ready, I had lots of opportunity to play with my new toy and take some great photos of them getting ready.  Then of course there was the ceremony (gorgeous, I cried as I invariably do at the weddings of people I love) and the reception which provided more opportunities to play.

It was a beautiful wedding of two very happy people and I'm thrilled for them.  But I'm also just a little bit excited that I will have some fun wedding photos to share with them too!

Friday, February 25, 2011


There has been a lot of talk about multiculturalism recently, in particular after both the leaders of Germany and Britain came out saying that they think it has failed.  I'm very pleased that the Australian government is focusing on it as a policy that is working.

When I travel and visit other countries, I always start by immersing myself in their culture.  I love the intensity of a mono-culture, the intricacy and nuance that you get.  But after awhile, I find that I miss the variety we have on offer here.  There is such a richness and vibrancy to life where walking down the street you see faces of every colour, women in saris, or hijabs, restaurants offering food from around the world - I can't describe how desperately I missed good Asian food when in South America or proper Italian when in Asia.

Of course, not everyone gets along all the time, and the media loves to get millage out of any racial tension, but on the whole we have an extremely accepting society.  It is not easy to accept and appreciate those who are different.  Sameness is comforting, that is how cultures have developed.  One could say that we are in essence fighting against our evolutionary instincts for conformity when we create a society with an aim of embracing difference. But facing those fears, and learning about others gives us such an interesting vibrant society.  The recent Multicultural Festival here in Canberra was a wonderful example of how many things there are to enjoy about having a plethora of cultures in your community.

At the heart of the matter though we are intrinsically Australians.  We are in the blessed position to have the freedoms to live, love, worship and debate without fear of persecution. This is a country where we afford people respect for their beliefs and practices, even if they aren't our own.  And I think that is magnificent.

I was inspired to think about multiculturalism by food (and lets face it, I'm often inspired by food).  I had Indian for lunch today and will have Vietnamese for dinner.  The freedom to choose is brilliant!


On a side note, I'm beginning to worry about my Flute Bakery addiction - today I saw their truck out making deliveries and I stalked the delivery man.  I'm excited to report that Cafe Essen stocks their cakes, and astonished at how quickly I took up stalking to find cake.  Hmmmm, something to ponder.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Full belly

I have before me a little pot belly full of BBQ goodness. Boy oh boy have I eaten a lot of very delicious food. There were lamb chops, sausages, Mum's potato and bacon bake and salad to keep it healthy.

It was a fab-o meal but the raucous conversation is what makes these nights so fun. Often obscure, rarely PC we laugh and eat till bellies are bloated. Thursday nights are the best.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beautiful days

We are heading into my favourite part of the year, late summer / early autumn in Canberra.  The nights have started to cool down giving the mornings a delicious crispness which is invigorating (as compared to the soon to be experienced minus temperatures which make snuggling in bed lovely but getting out if it a chore that often evokes swear words).  The days are filled with clear blue skies and a warm sun that can still generate a decent temperature by midday, and the breeze is light and fragrant.

Today I spotted the first yellowing leaves, a sure sign of the approach of autumn.  The afternoon sun has begun taking on that particularly warm golden glow that seems to accompany this time of year, but the days are still long enough to get out and do something after work.

More often that not at this time of year, people greet each other with the statement "isn't it a beautiful day" because really when the weather is this gorgeous, it is more than just inane banter to comment on it.

All in all, it a beautiful time in this city of mine.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A cut, colour and a new me!

Ahhh the wiff of ammonia, the gentle rustle alfoil, the departure of great wads of cash - yup I've been at the hairdresser.

I love getting my hair done, it is a lovely pampering. The best bit, as I've written before the head massage.  My hairdresser also has massaging chairs so it is all round pretty fab-o!  I do spoil myself reasonably regularly with treats like getting a pedicure or a massage, or going to the hairdresser.  It is discretionary spending that I could save, but really I think I'm worth spending a bit of money on, and it makes me feel fantastic.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Clear Roads

There are many reasons I love the city I live in but the traffic or lack thereof is definitely high on the list.  This afternoon I had to run a mass of errands, manage to eat something and get to my dance class in time to teach it.  I drove pretty much the length of the city and still had time to stop and have a chat with a friend.

I often reflect on the fact that I just couldn't get done in other cities what I manage in Canberra.  It is a simple thing, one I guess most people don't think about, but it is just another reason that makes this a great place to live.

Oh and I had a great dance class too, so a pretty great afternoon/evening all round!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A walk in the park

Today was a beautiful, clear blue sunny day, just the perfect day for a stroll.  S and I debated walking to the shops to pick up a few items, but decided it was too far, so set out for a meander by the lake.

As it transpired, the walk to the shops would have been shorter because it was such a lovely day, we couldn't help but keep walking, and in the end walked pretty much the whole way around the lake!  It was quite warm, but there were enough shady trees and conveniently provided bubblers (water fountains according to S) to keep us going.

It was lovely.  We saw the kids showing off at the skate park, stopped to watch the dogs rampaging in the dog park, saw boats and people picnicing.  All in all a gorgeous walk.

And we rewarded ourselves for all our exercising with a slice of cake when we got home!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Afternoon Nap

With the week spent busily getting all the chores out of the way early, today was a day of leisure.  S and I made a cheesecake to take to a BBQ later today, but with done and the skies dark and rainy, it seemed a perfect excuse for an afternoon nap.

We curled up, listening to the sound of the rain on the roof and daydreamed, chatted, occasionally napped, just generally relaxed.  Life is normally so busy, being able to just stop and let our minds and bodies fully relax is a real treat.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Leopard Print

I love animal print, but I'm a bit afraid of wearing it.  Somehow I feel like I'm going to come out all Joan Collins in full 80's Dynasty regalia.

So I restrict myself to small items, like my much beloved leopard print peep toe shoes.  Without fail, every time I wear them I get at least one positive comment.  They are so cute, and no one could accuse my feet of being Joan Collins like.  I wore them today with jeans, a white top and black and white 30's style jacket, very stylish I think.

P.S.  I've loved getting a few comments in the past week or so.  Feel free to comment on what has made you smile today, this blog is all about sharing the happiness.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mmmmm lemon meringue

When I fall off the wagon I stay right off. Yup today was another Flute Bakery day. A lemon meringue pie kind of day. Imagine crisp pastry shell, perfectly tart lemon filling and piles of sweet, fluffy, soft, piled meringue. Oh my, everything there is just so fantastic.

I don't care if I'm addicted - I love this too much to stop.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another rain soaked blog post

It has been raining most of the day today, lovely steady soaking rain.  It began at about midday, so I sat eating lunch watching people dash by under umbrellas, puddles forming, car windscreen wipers going, leaves dripping.

I love watching rain.  It makes me feel all smug being safe and dry inside while it is wet outside.  There is something about being able to see the contrast.  If I ever went to the snow, I suspect that sitting inside looking out at the whiteness would appeal much more than actually going out in its cold wetness.

But I'm also feeling exceptionally pleased with myself for my burst of energy that resulted in the lawn being mown and clothes being line dried yesterday!  Now I can enjoy the rain without feeling guilty about chores that can't be done.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feeling satisfied

In theory Tuesday night is chore night.  I say in theory because more often than not, something intervenes and chores come last, but tonight I've been super productive.  I've mowed the lawn, changed sheets, cleaned the bathroom, done washing and ironing, cleaned the kitchen, even managed to make Dad that sorbet he was after with the last of my blackberry harvest.

And I managed to get it all done in time to sit down in front of the telly for a little while with a cup of tea and a celebratory Baci chocolate.  I feel very pleased with myself!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Super sorbet

One of the things I made with my bumper blackberry harvest was sorbet.  I thought it had turned out rather well and so I took it as dessert for family dinner last week.

This morning I was speaking to my Mum and she told me that last night Dad had been going through the freezer.  When she asked what he was doing, he replied that he was looking for the sorbet but she had to inform him that he had eaten it up.  Dad replied with "well you had better get Lisa to make some more."

This was then reinforced with a phone call from Dad who began by requesting, but changed his mind and decided to demand more sorbet.

It is so nice making something that people really enjoy eating.  I'm a pretty decent cook, so most of the time my food is enjoyed but there is nothing like someone seeking it out because they had loved it.

Lucky for Dad I still have some blackberries left and there are plenty on the brambles around town, so I think he won't have to wait too long for the next batch.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday lunch

I am a chronic procrastinator in restaurants.  When faced with a delicious array of food that someone else is going to prepare, I often really struggle to decide.  What do I feel like?  Which flavour combinations are my favourite?  Which are new and something I haven't tried?  I dither about, tell the table I've decided one thing then order something completely different on the spur of the moment when the waiter arrives.

Today S and I went out for lunch.  He had chosen a gorgeous venue, the cafe at Rodney's at Pialligo.  For anyone outside of Canberra, Rodney's is a very large garden centre in Pialligo which is a semi-rural area filled with landscapers and nurseries.  In my family it is also always pronounced Wodney's after a television commercial that was on when I was a kid.

We arrived at the cafe and found ourselves a lovely table under the shady branches of a large tree, but then came the menu challenge.  However S immediately spotted a grazing plate for two and the menu dithering was over.  Lightly toasted sourdough bread, char-grilled capsicum, olives, smoked salmon, feta, choritzo, rocket and chilli jam.  We shared this delightful plate and in the relaxed outdoor setting it really was the perfect choice.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Celebrating our multicultural city

This evening I donned my mother's dirndl (the German/Austrian national dress, think a milkmaid, or check out wikipedia) and headed to the Canberra Multicultural Festival.

Say what you like about Canberra but we put on a good Festival.  Rain had been threatening but didn't eventuate so the middle of the city was quite literally packed with people sampling the fantastic food and drink from dozens of different countries and cultures while watching music and dance acts.  It is a massive highlight every year, I really love going and it was extra fun going in a national costume.

The only thing is that I am significantly taller than my mother which makes her dirndl a mini on me, but I didn't hear any complaints - in fact Mum commented that it was the length she had wanted when she got it in the 60's.

We ate great food, wandered the stalls (well were carried along with the tide of the crowd) danced some salsa and some tango.  It was excellent.  I was meant to get to another event, but the vibe of the city was so brilliant I couldn't drag myself away. 

Another great day in the nation's capital.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Raspberry and custard filled brioche

I fell off the wagon today and landed at ... the Flute Bakery.

Oh how I love that place.  I'm thrilled it is out of my way, because if I'm ever in the vicinity in its limited opening hours I just cannot resist its Siren call.  Today is a grey, wet day, so dashing out of the rain and into its warm interior filled with the delicious scent of pastries of every description made it even more welcoming.

Once inside however, the decision making process needs to take place and believe me, it ain't no easy process.  There are pastries, macaroons, cakes and desserts that look more like a work of art than something you should eat, not to mention the variety of savoury pies, rolls and quiches.  I dithered for awhile, seriously considering filling my entire car with treats, but in the end I talked myself off the ledge and purchased just one thing - a raspberry and vanilla custard brioche.

Before I discovered the Flute, I had never come across the concept of a filled brioche.  For me, brioche was something you toasted succulent slices of and topped with jam, or made into french toast, or used as a base for Queen of Puddings.  But now a new world of possibility has opened up - the filled brioche.

Imagine the love child of a mini brioche and a jam donut - but instead of jam you have real raspberries, vanilla custard and a sprinkle of pistachios.  I cut it in half, intending on saving half for later in the day, but it was too good, I couldn't stop myself and I ate it all in one sitting.  Soooo good.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Unexpected savings

Today I needed to buy some new socks.  Hardly the most glamorous item, but I have discovered over the years that it is well worth investing in good ones as they last much longer and importantly help prevent blisters.  The same experience has taught me that the best place to get really good ones are outdoors wear / camping shops as theirs are designed for people to hike in.

So I trooped on out, resigned to spending lots of money on a pretty mundane item, only to find the shop had a 60% off sale on socks!!!  I was thrilled.  I often will wait for a sale, but to need something, then find it is not only in stock but on sale is such a bonus.  I'm sure I will be able to buy something much more interesting with the money left over.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


When I was a kid and had been good, or when we were out somewhere special, or when Mum was in a good mood we often got to have a milkshake as a treat.  As we got older a milkshake maker was actually purchased and then I used to have them regularly.

But somewhere over the years, I stopped drinking milkshakes.  Possibly it was because it wasn't cool to order them as a young image conscious adult, possibly it was some concern for the calories they hold.  Whatever it was, I could probably count on one hand the number of milkshakes I've had over the past couple of years.  There has been the odd fancy iced-chocolate drink, but a traditional milkshake, in a paper cup, not for ages. 

Then a couple of weeks ago I was sitting at my desk feeling like having something when it occurred to me that what I really wanted was a chocolate milkshake.  Nothing fancy, just ice-cold frothy chocolate milk.  I located the nearest vendor of said drinks and ordered one.  Milkshakes are as good as I remembered.

This afternoon my fancy turned once again to milkshakes and yup, I think its confirmed, I'm back on the milkshake bandwagon.  I don't think it is just that they are delicious, they are also filling (they make an excellent afternoon tea alternative) and most importantly they remind me of being a kid.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The first day of school

Yesterday was the first day of school for new kids, which means for 5 year olds their first day of primary school.  My radio station went along and interviewed the excited kids and nervous parents.

It was such a gorgeous story I couldn't help but smile as I drove along listening.  All these little kids being grown up now they are at "big school" and the parents equal parts nervous and proud as they watched them march off in, as the reporter described them, floppy hats so big their little faces were almost hidden and jumpers which would allow for many years growth.

At the office one of my colleagues had sent his daughter off for the first time, so naturally our talk turned to memories of our first day at school.  I can remember my Dad taking me in.  I remember sitting on the floor with so many other children.  I remember Elizabeth Andracio's french braided hair which I thought was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

In the photos I look tiny next to my giant backpack, with my school dress reaching my calves.  And around Australia those photos are being taken again.

There has been a lot of doom and gloom in the news recently, so it really was heartwarming to watch all those tiny excited people and remember what it was like for me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mmmmm Muffins

Do you know the muffin man, The muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man, Who lives in Drury Lane?

Now I may not know the muffin man but this evening I became the muffin woman as I set about turning some of my blackberry bounty into sweet treats.

I came late to muffins, they just weren't really eaten in my house, but eventually the world wide love affair with the muffin caught up with me.  Given the choice of two, I would still probably choose a cupcake over a muffin, but for its ability to carry the flavour of a luscious berry, you can't beat a muffin.

I did slightly miscalculate when making them however, as my muffin pans are smaller than the recipe and as a result I have a voluminous quantity of muffins to share!

However with kilos of blackberries to get through, muffins on their own aren't going to make a dent.  So there is blackberry vodka infusing, I am intending to whip up a batch of blackberry icecream and maybe some blackberry sauce to top it off.  Even with all those treats there are still going to be blackberries in the fridge.

A surfeit of blackberries, now that is a problem I don't mind having!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Today a group of us headed into the wilds(ie we pulled off a main road) and picked bucketfuls of blackberries. We were real forrigers. We had a lovely time and now all sorts of yummy things will be created from our bounty. I feel sorry for all those who drove past with now idea what wonders hide beside the road.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Movie Night

We had a quiet one tonight. Just the couch, nachos and a couple of movies.

A busy social life is a wonderful thing but it is lovely to have a quiet one in. I even finally got to see "The Lost Boys" which is hilarious.

A great Saturday night.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Girls Night!

Years ago, I was terribly broken hearted, quite shattered really so a group of my gorgeous girlfriends scooped me up and took me out for a fantastic night on the town.  That dinner not only helped repair my spirits, a conversation during it resulted in me finally getting to go to South America and most importantly that night marked the birth of the girls night.

Ever since then, several times a year we gather to eat, drink and gossip.  Our partners and male friends are convinced (well hoping really) that girls nights involve us having pillowfights in our underwear.  While I will neither confirm or deny these rumours, I will say that they are always fantastic for the simple reason that a night with a big group of your closest friends will always be great.

Tonight the girls are descending on my house for mexican food, cocktails and gossip (and maybe a pillowfight, you never know) but I do know it will be wonderful.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Raindrops on the roof tiles

We have had so much rain in the last 6 or so months that you would think I would be used to it by now. But when I woke up to pitter pattering on my roof this morning I loved it as much as I ever have.

I think it is a cozy sound. It makes you feel all the more comfortable and safe tucked up in bed. Of course it makes getting out of that bed all the harder, but still, it was just gorgeous to wake up to.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


What better way to end hump day than with a glass or two of bubbles?  Tonight Super Flatemate and I sat down with a couple of glasses of champagne and had a good natter as a thunderstorm raged outside.  Bubbles, thunder, lightening, what a brilliant way to end a Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Achy muscles - but the good kind

I danced hard last night.  3 hours of teaching, including one awesome but physically taxing dip, all done in yesterday's heat left me zonked by the end of class.  I got home, stretched, took a shower and fell into bed.

Today I could sure feel that class.  Muscles I haven't heard from for awhile were chiming in to say hello.  And achy as it might be, it is also a good feeling.  It is that acknowledgment from your body that you really got out there and worked, pushed those normally desk bound muscles hard.  Every twinge is a memory of dance and they are good memories.

Hmmm, more dancing tonight - bring it on!