Monday, 23 July 2012

germs, ballet, baking and catching up!

Here we go...another week...

just chilling on Sunday under the watchful eye of nurse Modlen the cat

There's been a few germs lurking around here recently which has resulted in a bit of lethargy and a few dramatics! For the first few years after we emigrated I was a little smug that we seemed to be consistently avoiding the winter lurgy! Well, I think the immune system that we'd built up after numerous freezing cold Winters has finally been broken... This is now the sniffly, spluttering and coughing house!

Sibs was off school today and thankfully that seems to have done her some good - oh, and the fact that she has graciously passed on all germs to her mother! I'm waiting for the cats to start sneezing next as they have been proper little nurse maids these last few days. Funny how their sixth sense kicks in when an owner is a little off colour.

Thankfully all was well at the end of last week as it was ballet exam day on Friday. 

first ever ribbons on ballet shoes

This was the first time that Sibs had worn ribbons on her ballet shoes - the anticipation and excitement was almost unbearable. You could sense the pride...

We continued on the tradition (started last year) of going out for a girly lunch after the exam. This year Sibs chose a sushi lunch followed by a rather large ice cream/gelato dessert. 

post ballet exam lunch

It was a great start to the weekend. 

I did a bit of baking on Saturday...

jam and coconut slice, lemon drizzle and chocolate muffins

Then we headed out to watch the Queensland Reds rugby game at Suncorp on Saturday night...and that's when the germs found us!

So it's been chicken soup for tea and early to bed for Sibs. That's where I should probably be heading. I stayed up to watch the last double episode of Downton Abbey last night...what will I do on a Sunday night from now on??

Here's to a healthy week,


Monday, 16 July 2012

Chocolate Brownies

 It's no secret that I enjoy baking and there will usually be a cake or two in this house.

There are a few tried and tested favourites that I whip up without thinking.... Lemon Syrup Cake, Chocolate Cake, Banana Bread to mention just a few.

(My belief is the more I make, the better my case for a super duper mixer! Neil, if you're reading this, those Kitchen Aid ones are the best!! - in white please?!)

Anyway, I digress...

Recently I have been getting some serious compliments for the Chocolate Brownies that I occasionally make and as they always turn out just right I thought I would share the recipe. It's based on one that Nigella it's not something that you would care to eat daily! This is - it has chocolate, butter and sugar!

I have tried various chocolate brownie recipes. Some are quite cake like and others are crunchier and almost biscuit like. This one definitely falls into the cake variety.

200g chocolate (I usually use Lindt 70%)
225g butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g caster sugar
3 eggs beaten
150g ground almonds ( I sometimes mix in some ground hazelnuts to make up 150g)
100g macadamia nuts (or anything else that you fancy)
I sometimes throw in some extra chocolate drops if I have any.

Melt butter and chocolate over low heat.
Mix in sugar and vanilla and allow to cool  a little
Add beaten eggs, almonds and nuts.
Stir and transfer to a 24cm (or thereabouts) baking tin.

Bake in a 170degree oven for about 30 mins until the top is set.
The centre will still be slightly gooey.

Once cooled, sprinkle with icing sugar, cut into squares and put most of it in the freezer...otherwise it will all be eaten really quickly!

These brownies can suit a gluten free diet, just make sure to check on the chocolate and the icing sugar.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Guess the purchase

I made the most of today and savoured my time.
I'm back to routine tomorrow...back to work after spending the last two weeks 
on a slow pace enjoying the time with my girl for the school holidays.

Sibs was back at school yesterday so I did the usual catch up at home. I even cleaned the oven!
 I was already feeling pretty shattered after a couple of silly late nights watching the Wimbledon finals so coupled with a day of housework it was bed at an unheard of 8.30pm for me. (That's about four hours earlier than I usually retire!) I must admit I definitely felt better for it this morning. 

So I started my Tuesday with a yoga session then it was a quick coffee 
before a day of browsing and mooching.

I bought a couple of things that I want to share....just for a bit of fun.

Have a guess what these two things are?

If you look closely at the cassette tape you'll spot a familiar cut out....
...for the iPhone camera?

It's my new iPhone case!

I'm constantly dismantling my current case in order to use the phone in a docking station 
and this one is flexible and just pops off - perfect.

Any guesses on the other?

What about now...?

It's cute little tea infuser!

It's amazing what you find when you're not looking for anything...
and they came in at a whopping $11 - for both!

(iPhone case $5, Tea infuser $6 - both from Office Works)

Have a good week,

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Friendship reunion

There was a reunion here this last week. My girl Sibs welcomed back one of best friends who had been overseas for six months. They had written to each other (yes, proper letters!) sharing everyday tales of school and activities, and we had managed the occasional skype conversation, but nothing beats seeing your friends in the flesh.

The countdown started a couple of weeks ago when Sibs worked that it was a bit too late to write another letter - that's when she realised that the return was imminent. I noticed that her calendar in her bedroom had the number of days written in as a countdown - excitement was mounting... Eventually we organised an afternoon to get together but the morning went by at a snail's pace with Sibs constantly updating me as to how many hours until C's arrival!

 It was a touching moment...

They compared accents for a while, there were questions about the differences in schools and teachers and food - the stuff that's important when you're nine and ten. Then we headed out to show that the place hadn't really changed much in six months. There is an Antiques Centre near by that I knew they would have some fun browsing around...and I knew that I would have some fun listening to them!

Sibs wanted to buy this bonnet as she fancies herself as a bit of a Jane Austen heroine! 
She also found some long pretty gloves that she assures me she will buy next time we visit when she remembers to bring her own money!

This was one of the best moment for me - listening to the two of them discussing how this 'thing' worked!
It was an old dial up telephone...just like I remember. They were amazed that there weren't buttons to press and that you needed to stay close to the unit.

This led to a conversation about communication 'in the olden days'. The 'olden days' being when I was their age!

They are on the cusp of the wonders of technology. The world of instant and constant communication, where everything is a button press away...
The world that most of us are battling to keep up with - blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, emails, texts...and on it goes!
I sometimes feel as if I'm drowning in the different ways to communicate and I don't sign up for half of them!

Girls, stay with your wonderful letter writing and phone calls for as long as you can....

Back to normal routine tomorrow when school starts again. It's been a lovely couple of weeks to stop and enjoy. I'll do a post of what we've been up to soon.

PS Jane who writes the blog 'Life on Planet Baby' has written a though provoking post on Social Media which got me thinking a bit about this whole communication thing - link HERE

Monday, 2 July 2012

A day of culture starting with chocolate!

Doesn't this look like the best start you can imagine to a week?

 ...well it was!

Sibs and I met up with some friends who introduced us to the wonder that is 'Max Brenner'.
Where have I been all this time??

We sat outside in the sunshine and tucked into the most amazing Italian Hot Chocolate; one of the largest and yummiest croissants; followed by strawberries with even more warm melted chocolate. Truly a treat.

It's the second week of the Winter school holidays and after a reasonably quiet first week we have upped the pace! Following this rather extravagant morning tea stop, Sibs and I headed off to the Queensland Museum to visit "The Secrets of the Tomb" exhibition. If you are thinking of visiting - book your tickets online. We walked straight in passing the rather long queue snaking its way in the entrance.

After a viewing of a 3D film you are then able to walk around the artefacts including some mummies that are 3000 years old. I spent my honeymoon in Egypt and remember the fascination of visiting the tombs on the banks of the Nile and the spectacular temples and obelisks. I was telling Sibs about some of the things that I learnt during that trip and she now believes that I am an expert in all things Egyptian...

A quick refreshment at the State Library next door to the museum and we then headed to GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art). 

We can spend hours in this place just wandering and marvelling at the talent. There is usually a kids activity centre during school holidays and we found ourselves making paper birds and nests this afternoon.

Just to finish off, we wandered through the Art Gallery, but the sugar hit of the morning chocolate had started to wear off and we were a little tired by this time...

So a rather busy Monday here.

Have a good week,