Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fashion Thursdays

So another Oscars Night has passed, and because I seemingly have nothing better to do I am going to join the bandwagon and give my own opinion.

Big events from my standpoint are the ridiculous amount of time being devoted to Angelina Jolie's leg, Sascha Baron Cohen doing his usual free publicity stunt type affair while my pick for worst dressed would be Anna Faris.

My best were Stacy Keibler, Octavia Spencer and Meryl Streep while I also noticed some striking similarities to the dresses worn by Sherri Shepard and Melissa McCarthy.... 

All pictures taken from the official Oscars website, Photoshop Templates adapted from Pugly Pixel

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wedding Wednesday's

Uni goes back this week! It has certainly been one LONG holiday but I fear with my reduced course load this semester I will be just as bored until I manage to land that elusive full-time job (fingers crossed it will be a position within one of the Big 4's...)

but getting back on topic today I am bringing a little inspiration from Colonial Australia (ok so sue me it's not totally historically accurate, but I tried) at request of my mother who has a friend who spoke about a wedding of this style (oh yeah my Mum talks to EVERYONE).

At first I found it a tad difficult finding dresses that gave off that kind of vibe but thanks to a little show called Downton Abbey Edwardian fashions and all things modest are making a big comeback.

The other great thing about these dresses is that a lot of them are readily available to buy  (just follow the links) or a quick search of Etsy or even Ebay could turn up your perfect gown and chances are it will be cheaper than even a standard dress in a boutique. 

Rachel Thurston via Once Wed
Closet Case Vntg via Winsome Hollow and The Wooing of Eliel dress at Adore Vintage
Eden Studios Ballarat 1912 on Flickr

Edward and Dorothy 1909 on Flickr and The Vintage Wedding Dress Company on Pinterest
A and B: both The Vintage Wedding Dress Company

Kim Vintage via Blooming Leopold
Photography by Chelsea Davis, Styling by A Style Collective found on Cake


Monday, February 27, 2012

On the Table

While I endlessly crave the peanut butter cakes of last week, Joel has been craving something of the savoury kind and what I am about to show you is about as blokey as food can get.

The Battered Sav (or in this case Frankfurt) Hotdog

My god are they bad for you but by golly they are tasty. The humble battered sav goes by many names and some variations - corn dog, pluto pup etc etc the 'Sav' is short for Saveloy which is a sausage not unlike the Frankfurt which is battered and fried. These bad boys are usually served on a stick dripping with tomato sauce, mustard and what not, the pinnacle of all good circus/carnival food and a mainstay on all Australian fish and chip shop menus.

The boys came home one day and mentioned that we were going to master 'the sav' and so I set about finding the appropriate batter. My search took me to the site aptly named '' in which they have experimented with several batter recipes, thus the recipe I have provided below is a little bit of everything learnt and thrown together. It is in fact so good (and simple) that I have decided it will become my mainstay batter.

By the way Joel claims he is the creator of the 'Battered Sav Hotdog' despite my suggestions that someone surely has come up with it and insisted that I note his stake in it's creation know for future generations.

If you have any evidence out-dating his claim please share it with me by commenting below or head on over to my Facebook Page here.  

Money Mondays

Today I am feeling a little ill qualified to talk about managing money, our rent is increased and my credit card is out of control due to a little thing called 'getting married'. I am trying to get together a portion of crafts to sell at market but that payoff will involve lots of hard hard work and will occur sometime in the future. And well, being jobless isn't exactly the best thing in the world

Let's just say meals this fortnight will largely consist of rice.

So what are we to do in times like this to amuse ourselves? Because worrying about money is not fun at all. How do we stave off the depression that comes when every time you open the refrigerator/pantry the contents are ever diminishing? shoes become worn and you envy people who can drop a $2 coin without noticing.

Well there are some things that you can do that don't cost any money *gasp*

For instance if you are lucky enough to live near the beach (or any body of water) like I am then take a walk! Admire the beauty, go for a swim, clear your head and when you return your body at least will thank you.

Another great and free place to find entertainment basically anywhere is your local library. I remember when I first moved out of home I would spend every Saturday there gathering a collection of books I could read during the week, borrowing DVDs and surfing the net for free. Once I even borrowed a book on writing HTML, I barely remember any of it and didn't finish it but they have so many cool books there. It was the best, well not the long walk back home with a ton of books in scorching heat but you get the picture.

Sometimes if you head to your local tourist information centre, you can find info about local attractions and things to do. Many 'locals' have not taken the opportunity to see the things that are offered locally, so it is a good way to see something outside of your daily drive to work/school. In Newcastle there is the Museum, located just behind Civic railway station, it has free entry and many great and interesting things to look at. Another cool place to visit is Blackbutt Reserve, you can picnic there, see Australian wildlife, play boules, take a walk and all for the low low cost of $0 yep ZERO isn't it great? Then of course there are places like the Newcastle Art Gallery which has free general admission but some special exhibitions attract a fee.

Or you can just take a good old fashioned stroll with a friend or a loved one, have a chat, see cool buildings that you wouldn't normally notice, discover new parts of your city, get some exercise!!

The most important aspect of keeping those blues away is exercise! so next time you feel down about your finances take a walk and remind yourself it's not going to last forever - sometimes it just feels that way :)        

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Anything Can Happen Fridays

 Today I did a lot of stuff.

I read some Jane Eyre (for the millionth time), took a walk to the beach which included what I like to call 'The Devil's Staircase', decided my cardio is really really bad, crafted some eye masks, sewed a silk sleep top, did some washing, ate leftover mashed potato on my homemade bread, vacuumed, read some more Jane Eyre, got a call from the bank (not a good one), started making Pulled Beef and Beer Pie for dinner albeit tweaked a little ...... then got hit by an enormous wave of exhaustion.

 Anything can happen on Friday!!

btw really hanging out to watch season 3 of Misfits on ABC

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fashion Thursdays

So last night it was a little cold, anyone else feel that? maybe it was just because Joel was doing a night shift but I do feel it getting a little colder, a little windier and at the moment a lot more rainier and on looking at the calender I realised why.

We are just a few days away from entering Autumn, not that the seasons here in Australia are really that different. So I thought I would take a little look at what we are supposed to be wearing Autumn/Winter 2012/13 from the latest New York Fashion Week.

 Ok so I am not quite ready to leave Summer behind but L'Wren Scott's collection was as close as I am going to get in a sea of drab colours. She is classic as always but I am seeing a distinct 30s feel to her designs and this collection seems to be emphasising one thing in particular, texture. Call me cheap but I love velvet, the purple fur lined coat however it looks amazing but just not for me. Thank-you Monica Feudi for some great pics.

While I am at it the Rodarte show is said to be inspired by the Australian outback, maybe worthwhile checking out? Any fool knows you roast in the desert in dark colours 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wedding Wednesdays

Remember my post about visiting the Norman Lindsey Gallery in Springwood? Well today I am bringing a little bit of wedding inspiration your way. While perusing the Net-A-Porter website (as you do) I spotted this amazing Lanvin dress which in my mind would be the perfect type of thing to wear to a wedding held at the gallery. And well since I am getting into the whole Polyvore thing a lot lately thought why not create a whole outfit for this imaginary wedding and well why stop there you got to have bridesmaids too.

So with my lack of employment and copious amounts of time I bring you a Norman Lindsey/Grecian Goddess inspired wedding.  

visit my Polyvore profile here for details or here for the bride and here for the bridesmaids

If you want to see a whole wedding themed along these lines comment below or on my Facebook page here

wishing you a happy and productive day :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

On the Table...

Yesterday while Joel was sleeping and I was trying to be as quiet as a church mouse I got hit with an intensive craving for sweet stuff. My God it was crippling I just had to have something sugary and delicious. And that's when I remembered the amazing piece of goodness that is the 'One Minute Peanut Butter Cake' on Back to Her Roots.

It's amazing. The first time I made it I found it really rich, heavy and gooey so I decided to tweak it a little bit....

And that is what I came up with. My God is it good, especially with a scoop of icecream right in the centre. You can see there it is still pretty gooey on top but I see it as a peanut buttery type of icing. This one was microwaved first for 30 secs then again for 15, though one 40 second hit is just about perfect for me.

Of course after making this one I was on the lookout for various other cake for one recipes, you must check out this Two Minute Mug Brownie recipe on Babble and I was almost ready to make this Chocolate Fudge S'mores Mug Cake on How Sweet It Is. OMG it looks so amazing plus the mug is pretty cute too.

Lastly, though not an easy microwave recipe, this amazing looking Salted Caramel Lava Cake has been making the rounds on Pinterest lately it's from Vegetarianirvana and my guess is the Oh Joy! interest will have resulted in an enormous amount of traffic, she is the Cool Hunter of all Cool Hunters. 

If you would like to share your own emergency sweet treat recipe leave a comment below or head on over to my Facebook page here

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Money Mondays

While visiting my sisters in the mountains a few weeks ago we fell into a conversation about money and why I don't just fly to Melbourne to visit more often. I told them I live on a meagre $500 (about $US540) per fortnight 'but that's after rent etc has been taken out right?' they asked 'no' I replied my $275 a fortnight rent comes out of that $500 leaving me with a pitiful $225 to pay bills, buy food etc.

As you can imagine even with the best laid plans budgeting even the act of eating out is enough to send me eating rice for the second week in the fortnight (or as is the case this fortnight our first energy bill).

So how do I control my spendings? here are a few tips from my brains trust

DIY Piggy Bank on The Little Red House

1. Budget!!!
I can't even begin to tell you how important budgeting is!! We should all - no matter how much you earn, learn how to follow a decent budget. Budgets help put things in perspective for you, go through your ordinary pay cycle but this time keep receipts, keep track of spendings etc and tabulate it all into a program like Excel. Don't forget to include monthly or quarterly bills and even a little to the side for fun things like coffee/takeout/shopping/movies etc. Then go through systematically all your expenses. Where can you afford to save? Set aside a portion each pay cycle for a specified purpose and try to be strict with yourselves.

Even if you can't stay on budget every time, the very act of creating that budget informs you about the state of your finances

I find this site and it's budget tool really helpful, though if you want to keep things simple just go into templates on Excel and search budget.    

2. Make Menus
At the beginning of your pay cycle make a menu. You don't have to stick religiously to the menu, we don't, but try to include things you know everyone likes, that are easy to make, have leftovers and meals that use similar ingredients. That way if you decide you don't want to have spag bol you can still make hamburgers etc.

By writing up a menu you also limit the amount of stuff you don't need that ends up in the trolley

One of my favourite dirt cheap meals is dhal and rice, not the most vegetable filled food but still relatively good for you my favourite recipe is here. The good thing about it is I can make it at the start of the week and be eating it for lunch for the next 5 days 

3. Think about the future.....
Ok so thinking within your next pay bracket is all well and good but like any goal you need to have something to strive for! Are you budgeting simply to keep food on the table or are you feeling like you need a whole overhaul of your finances? Do you have a large amount of personal debt amassed? Do you really want to take an overseas holiday? Saving for a new car/house? If you have something on the horizon to drive your budgeting you are much more likely to stick with it. It might seem dull and constraining to know that for the next 5 years all your spare money will be funneled into your mortgage, but take the time to look at how much you will be saving on interest and the free cash flow available when you reach the end of those five years.

Joel and I are saving towards our first home, we have a dedicated account the money goes into, neither of us are allowed to touch it and we made sure it was a high interest/low transaction fee account. We are driven to save because Joel wants a puppy and I want to be able to decorate and because the more we save the less we have to borrow. 

4. Capitalize on what you already have
Do you have mad talents creating things? fixing things? Or do you have a lot of stuff just laying around? Turn your unwanted things and your talents into cash. Do you have space for a veggie garden at home? for a small investment you can grow your own food. Does your job have the capacity for overtime? take every opportunity you have to increase your income. Sacrifices now will have big pay-offs in the future. Take a cue from business thinking bring forward income and delay outgoings, if you think paying that big energy bill in one pay bracket is going to hurt big time don't be afraid to ask for an extension. Or better still see point number 1. Budgeting, break your bills up into manageable segments and put aside money for them each pay bracket .

We purchased rather than hired a lot of stuff for the wedding as it was going to work out roughly the same price. Now we are selling chairs etc along with furniture from our downsizing move. Though we are using the proceeds to buy new space saving furniture we are saving ourselves the outlay by 'recycling' the money.

Tiny and Tough

Don't get down about lack of money if you work hard it's not going to last forever and the best thing about it is the creativity it unleashes. Embrace that. 


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Anything Can Happen Friday's

We all have those days/weeks/months where we are feeling blue or as Holly Golightly would put it 'you have a bad case of the mean reds' which are much worse than feeling blue and it's days like these that you need a Happy Attack

A Happy Attack: an envelope filled with happiness and love created by me :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fashion Thursdays

Sometimes I dream about having the kind of lifestyle that would enable me head to the shops in a fabulous gown and sky high heels, do you ever feel the same way? 
 Btw I have just started using my Polyvore account so bear with me while I work out the kinks :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wedding Wednesdays

In the wedding world right now: I am loving the union of Bleubird Vintage and her long time beau

I think you should all definitely check it out here and here oh and also here on 100 Layer Cake

Monday, February 13, 2012


Dear readers, (cue echo) are there any readers? my stats tell me yes but if there are any out there (if you were doing a rendition of Titanic people searching in the boats thing I mental high five you) you are most certainly not vocal...

Anyho how easily distracted I get, dear readers I want YOU to tell me what you would like to read about so I can make my content more enjoyable to read and look at (i.e. pretty pictures).

Would you like to see more DIY on a budget projects? simple solutions for party problems? my own financial experience (read: how to live on virtually nothing without starving)? weddings? pretty party dresses? great websites? cool houses? city guides?

PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE let me know what you think either by leaving a comment below or heading over to my facebook page and leaving some suggestions there.

I am literally dying to hear from you. Like really.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Flying high on your love.....

Yep here it is. Bet you thought I would never get round to it. But. I. Did.

My own personal ideal way to spend Valentine's Day.... breakfast in bed - however if we are going to be honest it would not be pancakes but chocolate filled croissants on my breakfast tray with mint hot chocolate ...and marshmallows

But what I am about to share is VERY achievable if you are short on time/money/supplies

I have posted more photos on my facebook page here if you would like to take a look :)

Joel showed me how to make the paper planes - there are 20 of them and they don't take very long to make, the little paper flower is simply garden wire with a bit of yellow tissue paper wrapped around the end and a few cupcake wrappers pushed onto the wire (I used more wire to secure but hot glue would have been better). As always I used the Donna Hay pancake recipe (except no buttermilk and an added dash of vanilla essence). 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Steak and Brownies

As promised I will deliver two more simple, sweet, easy Valentine's day set-ups for you to take inspiration from this Valentine's Day! Today's comes from Joel's mind.... well sorta you see he wanted black napkins .... but we only had tons of white ones... and he said he would have real roses but well the budget just couldn't take that right now (btw my dozen flowers cost a grand total of $3.80 to make) so it's him but with a lotta me thrown in there...

be kind...

I apologise for the lack of photos but I was contending with waning natural light and two hungry boys wanting to get their hands on some delicious brownies....

For the food I made, yes from scratch ricotta (thanks to a cheesemaking course I went to with Joel's mum) with fig and honey, one slab of steak (from Joel's parent's farm) and brownies (Betty Crocker mix - I was feeling lazy) topped with peanut butter and marshmallow melted.

For more photos please feel free to head over to my Facebook page here, where I am also running a little fan drive with the poster I made for the other shoot as a prize

my final Valentine's day idea will be posted in the next few days so keep an eye out ;)

Monday, February 6, 2012

One Week Till Valentine's!!

Alas no I do not have another table for you but I am working on both of them and will endeavor to post them before Valentine's Day itself!! I am oh so terrible but well I have been busy...busier.

Last week I spent a few days again up in the Blue Mountains a few hours from Sydney with my sisters (well 2 of them) we had a great time visiting the Norman Lindsey Gallery in Springwood and getting our nails done as well as taking the customary bushwalk.

If you have not yet been to the Norman Lindsey Gallery I strongly suggest it! It would even be an amazing place to get married (which I am told you are most welcome to do) the gardens like most historic houses up there are beautiful and dotted throughout are concrete sculptures made by Lindsey himself.

In case you were wondering that expanse of lawn that looks sunken is actually an old swimming pool that was built to the rear of the property - the steps lead right down into it. Imagine the stories that could be told about it!

As you aren't allowed to take photographs inside the gallery I can show you the gardens but not the house, but to some that is the best part. Lindsey was strongly influenced by mythology and his work is often quite erotic but he did also do some G-rated work including the Australian children's classic 'The Magic Pudding'.

A wedding there to me would probably look like some kind of Great Gatsby style lawn party or otherwise a bohemian festival with children everywhere and a bride with long flowing hair and a Grecian gown. Like the Everglades it is to me a place that I will never tire of visiting.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Spring Modcloth Wedding

Last week - or was it the week before.... I had an awesome time putting together a little Pinterest board for the Spring ModCloth Wedding contest. You can see the conditions on the link to the blog post but basically it was find 20 pins (some from ModCloth) to makeup an 'idea' for a wedding. Here is a little idea of how I went....

sources: Mature de Force Earrings from Modcloth, Dance Instead of Walking Heel from Modcloth, Audrey Hepburn photographed by Cecil Beaton via Couture Millinery Atelier, Wedding Calligraphy by Hazel Wonderland, Vogue Australia February 2012 Cover via The Glitter Guide, Antique Opus Dress by Modcloth, Outdoor Oasis via Aged and Gilded, Florals Michael Costa via Ruffled, Florence & Florence Tea Ware via This is Glamorous, Donut French Toast on Dujour, Beau-tea-ful Suprise Mug in Owl from Modcloth, Madeline Mini Bloomers on Coletterie, Men in suits by Blair Getz Mezibov Robb Report via Blood & Co and finally romantic hair via Poppytalk  

The winner/s (not sure how many) will receive a $100 Modcloth voucher which would be SO handy because MAMA NEEDS SOME NEW CLOTHES!!!