29 April 2010

Crafty Ventures

After Uni yesterday, I plodded along to Lincraft at Australia on Collins for some white thread and an unpicker for a project I plan on doing tomorrow. Of course, I ended up having a bit of a browse through the fabrics (quilting fabrics are my weakness) and the wool section. A group of seniors were also having a bit of a browse together, and they were incredibly cute. 'Ooh'-ing and 'Aah'-ing at pretty much everything and 'I guess we'll all be knitting tonight!' was said several times, which was very entertaining. Inspired by that, I also bought two balls of very thick wool and some bamboo needles - 'I only ever use bamboo needles now.' 'Yes, me too.' 'Oh, your bamboo needles are just beautiful Maggie' - so cute!

So when I came home, instead of studying, I started to knit a scarf with my brand new wool and needles and finished both balls of wool in one night!! Only problem is, the wool is so thick that the scarf is only 1/2 a meter long - haha. So now I've got to buy, what, 5 more balls of wool to finish the scarf. At least it will be nice and thick and warm for winter, because I am really ill-equipped for Melbourne Autumns, let alone the winters.

Pictures soon, when I am finished.

27 April 2010

Long Weekend

We just ended a long weekend here in Australia, as Sunday was ANZAC day (Lest We Forget) so Monday was the ANZAC Day public holiday.

My weekend consisted of, well, A LOT! On Friday I made it my mission to clean the entire house. It took me two hours to clean every inch of our small bathroom/laundry and another hour to clean the lounge room, and my fantastic boyfriend Matt came home from work and was so pleased with how clean the house was that he did most of the dishes (which had REALLY piled up!) - thanks Matt, you are amazing! And that day ended with the best bolognese sauce ever (see earlier in my blog roll) from the freezer - very nice!

On Saturday, I got out my sewing machine for the first time in our new place and got back into sewing a present that I started for a friend of mine before Christmas and via www.masterchef.com.au, caught up on all of the episodes of the new series (because we don't have Channel 10 - Aargh!!). To be honest, I think the guys who make Australian MasterChef have gotten fairly cocky this year, with the success of the series last year. But whatevs, I still love it!

Saturday night was the lovely Sharee, Emma and Joel's housewarming, which was a fantastic night, despite the cold. Joel has finally cut most of his hair off and looks great (with heaps of references to Ned Kelly, Bon Iver, everyone in Mumford and Sons, and I can't remember who else) and I think his new look really suits him. And their house is so kitsch - it really suits them!

The group at the party were our friends from back home in Albury, so it was a great mix of people, but my favourite part of the night was getting to know the wonderful Tom's girlfriend, Simone. It was one of those moments - we just clicked! Unfortunately for Tom, us 'clicking' meant that we talked and talked for hours and Tom couldn't get Simone away from me - sorry Tom! =s

Sunday marked 3 years with Matt, which we started off with a big brekkie of gorgeous scrambled eggs, with grilled tomato, asparagus and gourmet beef sausages on toast! Yummo! I had to work in the afternoon, and when I came home, Matt gave me a lovely bunch of flowers that I am not knowledgeable to know the name of. We had plans to go out for drinks for the gorgeous Ellie's birthday in St Kilda, so with that in mind we chose a restaurant down there to have a romantic dinner together and it just happened to be owned by Ian 'Huey' Hewitson, and there he was sitting at the bar downing a bottle of red. The place is called Barney Allen's and you need to try the basted chicken and mash and the Toblerone and Grand Marnier Fondue!
Flowers from Matt

In case the weekend wasn't long enough, I even had a lovely Monday. Matt and I ventured over to Footscray and visited Savers, where I found a great dress that I intend to shorten (post about that soon) and KMart where I managed to find biker boots, a great stripy mini dress that doubles as a top and a DVD of Peter Pan, for a total sum of  $52! And I didn't even have to shell out any dosh because my sister gave me a voucher. 

Then, Monday night, I had the pleasure of catching up with the one, the only, the fantastic, the lovely best friend of mine, Laura, who was down in Melbourne, all the way from Queensland. We ate at Ha Long Bay in Richmond and it was cheap and delicious and as usual we all chatted for hours. What a great night!

I wish all my weekends were that adventurous and fun!

20 April 2010

I must, I must, I must improve my bust!

**Title is dedicated to my dorky Mum, who once chanted this after telling us that she'd started going to the gym**

I was horrified today to find out that I have put on 3kg since moving to Melbourne! It may not seem like much, but I have definitely been feeling the extra weight lately, and a couple of years ago I slogged myself like crazy and lost 10kg in a year. Something I don't plan on having to do again for a while - imagine 5 or 6 x 2 to 2 1/2 hour work-outs per week - KILLER!

Luckily for me, I found myself a very lovely place to go for a long and hard walk (takes about an hour) as well as "light to moderate callisthenics" lol. I have started an account on Calorie King so I can track how many calories, and how much protein, fibre, calcium, etc, I am eating and how much exercise I am doing. It's a very helpful site, and I've already figured out that I have VERY low fibre when I thought I was doing ok in that area.

Hopefully I can keep motivated enough to keep up the good work because if I am not in shape, everything else suffers.

And just to prove how great my walking track is, here are some photos I took on my walk the other day after I was inspired by the jogging/photography efforts of Zooey Deschanel in Yes Man:

Spunky old car
Pretty wall climbers
Part of the walk
My view of Melbourne while on my walk - it looks like farmland, very confusing.

Any ideas to keep me motivated are much appreciated.

17 April 2010

Tell Me That You Love Me More

I really didn't want to go to work today and Matt was very aware of that fact. So didn't I get such a wonderful surprise when Matt turned up at my work with a present for me? Just because, he said. Isn't he the greatest?!!

He bought me Sally Seltmann's debut album, 'Heart That's Pounding'. She is a gorgeous Australian artist that used to be known as New Buffalo. If that rings any bells, she also wrote most of the song '1,2,3,4' sung by Feist.

Here is a song from the album that I hope you enjoy:
Sally Seltmann - On The Borderline


15 April 2010

Another Year Older...

Monday was my 23rd birthday.

I had to work that morning (7am start) but ended up bumping into my friends Nikki and Eoghan right after I finished, which was a great surprise! Eoghan shouted me breakfast at Auction Rooms - some delicious avocado, tomato, poached egg and fresh cashew-basil pesto loveliness, and I spent a good hour crapping on about, well, crap, with both of them and Matt who also joined us.

Matt bought me this cute necklace by Shonah at the Rose St Market the day before, which I was really stoked about because it's so different and pretty and very fitting, because Matt is very tall so I sometimes call him a giraffe (nearly 2 metres!)

He also bought me this fabric clutch that our friend Conner makes through her label El Tiger. They're the perfect size for putting my sunnies in and the fabric is just so cheerful and pretty, that when it's dreary enough to have to put my sunnies away, at least there is something bright and lovely to look at.

Then, when I got home, my wonderful house-mate, Lisa gave me this Limedrop ring of a babushka doll - she so fat and cute! I'm so glad that she's mine now.

That night, we went out for drinks at Public Bar, which - luckily for us - have $4.50 jugs on Monday nights - Awesome!

Then on Tuesday, with my Coles/Myer voucher from my sister, I went to the Benefit Brow Bar in Myer in the city, and treated myself to a much needed eyebrow wax. It was more expensive than I would have usually paid, and they thought they were better than anyone else at waxing eyebrows - no, really - but I did get a complimentary make-up sesh afterwards and let's face it, it was a great way to spend part of my voucher. 

So all in all, it was a great birthday. Chuffed! =)

14 April 2010

Join me for High Tea?

My house-mate Lisa and I have decided to have a Mad Men Tupperware party very soon, so I've been looking up things to make for it. It will kind of be like a High Tea, with everyone wearing vintage dresses and sipping potent cocktails, while being convinced to buy expensive Tupperware.

Mint Julep recipe from Gourmet Traveller

Pimms Cocktail recipe from Taste.com

Finger Sandwiches from Grab Your Fork Blog

Devonshire Teas from The Other Andrew Blog

Tea Cake from Taste.com

Cheese Plate from What's Cooking America

Mad Men elegance from The Ocean Agency Blog

Old-fashioned Tupperware obsession from psfk.com

I think it will be a very lady-like evening. Mum will be proud! I think I'll have to buy some white lace gloves for it.

09 April 2010

08 April 2010

Feeling Thrifty

After viewing a post by Lady Melbourne early this morning about a recent op shopping trip, I decided that instead of being the lazy moo I usually am when I don't have to start work until 12pm, that I would go and have my own op shopping adventure.

So at 9.30am this morning, I ventured over to Sydney Rd, Brunswick and met my fantastic and most thrifty friend, Nikki at Savers.

I managed to find 5 dresses and 2 pairs of shoes to try on, but decided it would be best just to settle for the dorky brown sandles, which were, I must admit - love at first sight.

We then had a look around at a couple of other shops, to no avail, until we went to The Green Collective, which had both recycled clothing and lots of 'green' products to purchase. There I found a stripy white and blue top (a blue that I don't think I have ever owned, clothing wise) and something I have coveted for quite a while now - my very own Keep Cup!! So now I don't need to take a heavy mug to uni, or get a paper or plastic cup while I am out - chuffed!

All in all I thought my morning was rather productive and I wound up with a satisfactory haul - only $28 spent too! Let's not tell Matt though. I wasn't really supposed to go shopping (o'.'o).

07 April 2010

I think my posts are beginning to become more of a weekly thing of late. But I have been a bit busy lately, with work and uni and life and all that. 

I got to visit my Mum this weekend, which was great. It was nice to be back in the country and feel like there is actually some physical space between people for a while (I live in a pretty small apartment with my boyfriend and our housemate, so it can get a little cramped sometimes). I also had my first uni exam yesterday, and I think I passed. I hope lol. I studied my little butt off so I had better pass!

On Monday, I made my best bolognese yet, for which I think I might give you the recipe. It was a combination of my usual recipe, a recipe from Delicious magazine and a recipe I saw on Rachael Ray's show (Mum has pay TV - yay!). I am always looking to improve my bolognese, even though it is already pretty freakin delicious. But anyway, give this baby a crack!

30g unsalted butter
2 Tbl olive oil
200g Pancetta, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks cellery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely grated
500g Premium beef mince
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 jar bolognese sauce
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 Tbl chopped basil leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a heavy based saucepan, melt the butter and oil, over medium heat. 
Add the pancetta and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it starts to crisp.
Add the garlic, onion, celery and carrot and saute for 5 minutes, or until soft.
Add the beef mince and cook, stirring, until browned.
Pour in the red wine and stir through. Simmer until most of it has evaporated.
Pour in the jar of sauce, the canned tomatoes and the beef stock and stir.
Add the 2 bay leaves and basil, and taste the sauce before you add the salt and pepper. (The pancetta makes this sauce very salty already)
Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Before serving, remove the bay leaves.
Serve with whatever pasta you like, I used Spinach Fettucini, and cheese.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I did get my hair dyed, but you can barely see it, so I'm not going to post a picture for you, lol. Sorry.