Saturday, 28 December 2013

Christmas 2013.

It was a busy lead up. Work, cooking, organising.

There was a bit of anxiety that we would not have enough, or things would go wrong. (My thermie pavlova was an epic fail, I ended up buying one - I had been warned that pavs don't do well in the thermie but the warnings went unheeded, think I might use the trusty hand mixer that proved a success last year)

That anxiety sounds a bit silly now it is all over.

It went well, and it was lovely.

Here are some pics.

my dress.

a bit of prep

Ham - KR Castlemaine - very succulent.

my lovely mum with some Thai Visitors

The crew, outside.
dessert. Brandy Creme Anglaise made in Thermie YUMM

And a gratuitous pic of a french bulldog puppy.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas.

I have been madly tidying, working and doing a spot of shopping.

I have also gotten into the series Breaking Bad...very dark, quite sad, but strangely compelling. Plus I loved chemistry in high school.

Now preps are in full swing for New Years' Eve.

I am off to BrisVegas for a sojourn next weekend.

And you?

How was your Christmas?
What have you planned for NYE?
Have you watched Breaking Bad?

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Cookin'. My new years' resolution.

I have been cooking like a demon in my new thermomix.

I have made a fig and ginger panforte to cut up and give as presents for friends and colleagues

I also made my first attempt at bread

I plan on actioning a pavlova for Christmas day.
I have also made lots of delicious breakfast smoothies.

I am feeling suitably "smug cow" - this is my culinary pinnacle, other than the megapav of 2012.


Most years, I make new year resolutions.
Mostly, they are about losing weight or some such.
I had promised myself a nice reward after some arbitrary weight was lost.
One reward was a Diane von Furstenburg dress. Maybe one like this...

And I never made that weight.
And I never got the DvF dress.
And it hung over my head.

It's elusive, that balance between being happy with ourselves, and the quest to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.

It really is a balance. It can't be all about self castigation and deferring pleasure till an arbitrary goal is reached. That will be a set-up for failure, as we all crave gratification.

I must strive, but I must honour myself at the same time, I have realised. More specifically, with regard to my body image, I can work and tighten and get fit but I am coming around to embracing what I was born with.

So my new years' resolution is to continue doing that.

And if I find a DvF dress I like, and I have the cash, I will jolly well buy it.

A few months ago, I caught a look at myself in underwear in the mirror. I thought "I don't know how anyone could find this attractive".

It really was the conscious crystallisation of many years of...well...loathing. That's a strong word but it is probably apt.

I pulled myself up then, thought "that's awful" and "that's enough".

So the other new years' resolution is to recognise and challenge those kind of thoughts.

After all, I see plenty of women who I think "wow, they are gorgeous" - they are only sometimes classically beautiful or a size 8. Usually they are striking, or particularly well turned out, or come across as very confident.

Why can't I make that of myself? Of course I can.

What have you baked lately?
What purchase do you lust after?

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Thermomix. Perfect. A prescription for the "Bah Humbugs".

Howdy, all!

I took delivery of my little beastie on Saturday.

Part of the whole shebang is having the Thermie Consultant come to your house and show you how to use the thing. My lady bought some pumpkin and other vegies and we made a pumpkin soup! It was delish!

After my epic work shift on Sunday morning, I decided some therapeutic cooking was in order. I actioned a curry (from scratch), some cumin and lemon infused rice, some cake and a beetroot salad. They were eaten enthusiastically by my Fella and my mum. Part of the cake was even appreciated by my colleagues.

I have subsequently created a spaghetti bolognese and breakfast smoothies. I will be actioning a panforte to slice up and give as presents.
And of course there will be pavlova.

Is it possible to love a machine?

Other than the fevered cooking, it has been busy here in Cilla-ville. Busy like just about everybody else. Decisions to be made. Things to be bought. I am trying not to let all of it get to me too much. Luckily some anxiety regarding changed/bigger roles at work has subsided and I am enjoying the challenges.

Love Offspring? Of course you do.
Love Eddie Perfect? Mais oui.
He was playing at a local pub last night, with a jazz ensemble called The Renovators.
They were playing Jazz versions of popular RnB artists, including Beyonce, Rihanna, Chris Brown and Craig David.
Eddie even had some special guests, who stole the show.
It was Eddie's birthday, and he looked like he really enjoyed just playing his music and bantering on stage, it was quite a casual gig.
We enjoyed it.

There has been a little bit in the blogosphere about finding Christmas Stressful.
Some posts even ask advice on how to deal with it.

Christmas is crappily timed, at the end of the year, when everything else also has to be done.
A time to reflect, perhaps on a year that wasn't what you imagined it would be, or was downright awful. Unpleasant feelings are often intensified at this time of year.
Worse, you feel guilty because you are supposed to be joyful and grateful, right? Everyone else is!

Actually no.

We can't control what happened, but we can control the guilt about not feeling the "christmas joy" (which is similar to "motivation", "happiness" and the "tooth fairy")
So no guilt, 'kay?
Take a bit of time to feel your feelings.

I remember Christmas eve, 2011. 2011 was a difficult year. I was sat alone, in my house.
I don't need to tell you how that felt.
What did I do? Got shitfaced on wine, ate a truckload of shortbread and had a good, hard howl, while Sex and the City DVDs blared in the background. The next day, I got up and got on with it.

I thoroughly recommend it.
It's ok.
Do what you need to do.

What kitchen/other gadget do you like?
What is your comfort activity of choice?
Anything else you wish to share?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Finding Festive Joy. #everydaystyle.

Come 'ere, I am going to let you in on a little secret.

Actually it isn't a secret.

Last few years, except for maybe a bit last year, I have found the whole Christmas period a bit....unbearable.

I hated going to the shops
The Christmas songs on the PA system made me cringe
I was glad when it was all over.

I don't think it was Christmas per se, I think it was a function of what was going on in my life at the time. Christmas can intensify feelings of loneliness, guilt, regret, anger, resentment, longing....all the good stuff.

I think my strategy was to just make as best I could out of it....a day to eat myself into a coma.

Now can I say, I am....slightly....enjoying the season...could it be?

I think this enjoyment actually sunk in last weekend. I think I started seeing and feeling some of the beauty of it. Here was something I posted on Facebook that day:

Many things made my heart swell, or brought tears to my eyes today.
Thousands of strong women finishing the Sussan fun run. All smiling at each other, encouraging each other, and showing forebearance at the water stations.
A woman with pain from an injured knee making a strong finish to the half marathon.
A recently widowed young mum bravely making a dash for the finish of the half marathon, her children running along with her in the final metres.
In the city, the almost mournful strains of the Salvos horns playing Christmas carols, wafting across Bourke st mall.
Seeing colleagues at a Christmas party, and seeing how their littlies have grown.
Seeing a dear friend glow in her new love.

It is a wonderful time of the year.
May you find wonder there too.

I got quite a few likes for that one.
Perhaps I was a bit high from the adrenaline of the run? A bit too much wine after? Who knows, but I am getting into it with a little more enthusiasm than what I did in previous years.

You might even hear me singing along to Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is You" when it plays in Coles. I have never been above public singing acts.

In other news, I have been playing along with StylingYou's challenge on instagram, Everyday Style. I am usually not one to play instagram games too much, but I like this one, as it has given me impetus to make a little more effort to look snazzy of a day. Here are some outfits.

Here is a pic from after the fun run:

Happy preparation for Christmas!

How are you enjoying the lead-up?

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Distractions. A recipe.

This week has been a long and hard one. Multiple frustrations. Multiple things to deal with. All managed, but wearing me down a bit. Here is not the forum to discuss them in detail, but suffice to say I am glad this week is finished.

My fella came back. With presents. But I like his presence better. Bless him.

Did I tell you I bought a thermomix? It should be coming sometime next week. I shall be blogging my creations. Let the Christmas baking begin.

Lovenest 1.0 is taking shape nicely. We are looking forward to having Christmas here. In our new 'hood, there is a communal herb garden. Here is a pic:

And never fear, I found a ham. I invested in a KR Castlemaine Ham. The beasty is languishing in my fridge.

I have also made some Veronika Maine purchases, which were both a. an investment and b. therapeutic. That is how I rationalise it.

[I rationalise and get buyers guilt in equal parts.... I just need to let it go.]

That manicure I was yapping about? I went and got it. A shellac mani-pedi. My nails are the colour of strawberry ice-cream.

[I love love love fake strawberry flavour]

After busy weeks, and very little time at home, a lovingly home-cooked meal was in order tonight. I utilised some broccolini and zucchini that were on their way out to make this pasta.

Here was how I cooked it

  • 1 zucchini, finely sliced lengthways (I used a veggie peeler)
  • 1.5 bunches brocollini, ends trimmed, stems cut in half to make shorter
  • Spaghetti, for 2 people
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 chilli, chopped finely
  • Anchovies
  • 2tsp butter
  • 3tsp olive oil
  • handful pine nuts, toasted.
  • zest of one lemon
Put water on to boil in large pot. Add spaghetti
Fry up garlic and chilli in butter and oil. Add anchovies, cook till they dissolve. Add zest. Then add zucchini. Zucchini will go all soft and melty and soak up all the lovely flavours. Add pine nuts,
When spaghetti nearly cooked, add broccolini to pot.
Drain spaghetti/broccolini and add to frying pan. Stir up all together. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Nom.

This will be good fuel for the Sussan fun run tomorrow. 10km along the beach on a lovely day.
The only issue is getting up at 5:30am....ergh.

Never let it be said that a busy week at work gets in the way of my extracurricular activities.

What about you?
Any good home cookin'?
Any investment/therapeutic buys?
How was your week?