Friday, April 29, 2011

Baking Adventures: Anzac Day

In honour of Anzac Day, I decided to bake some Anzac Biscuits to bring to a friend's housewarming. I love store-bought Anzac Biscuits for an afternoon snack, but they still don't beat the homemade chewy crumbly equivalent. I just used a recipe I googled from because I couldn't find any of my other recipes, so I don't think it's the best recipe but they're still tasty (albeit a bit sweet for my liking). Nothing can beat the smell of freshly baked biscuits in the oven!
I don't get as much time as I would like to bake yummy treats, and really I probably should've been spending the long weekend studying and doing some work (yes, it never ends!) but I couldn't help myself so I also baked some Chocolate Caramel slice. Strangely enough, I really don't like caramel but I love caramel slice. Something about the crunchy base and the chocolate coating with a hint of sweet caramel just tastes so good! I'm used to eating it when friends' mothers make it (Mums know how to make it 'just-right') so it seemed about time to make it myself. They taste good, though they might not look so professional as they were my first go. Excuse my poor cutting skills too, I should've used a sharper knife!
Caramel slice with Anzac biscuits in the background

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Christian Louboutin David Delfin

So my sister referred me to the NAP competition, and her reward was a pair of shoes of her choosing. There was quite a bit of deliberation, as many of the shoes she wanted were sold out, so being the resident Louboutin obsessee she chose a pair of David Delfin's which are amazing in real life. Luckily we're the same shoe size (so she's been weighing in on my shopping decisions, of course, and will be wearing some of my purchases in the future!) so she's going to let me wear these if I want, though I'm not all that good with platforms.
I quite like the mix of leathers, including suede and patent, and the contrast of the cream leather just makes them 'pop'. I can't believe how fast these sold out - practically within a day!
Unfortunately I don't have any better photos, but I'll make sure to try and load some when they first get worn!

Meanwhile, I've been wearing my Décolleté's to work this week and they are fantabulous (fantastic and fabulous at the same time)! They're sexily high, though demure at the same time and because it's been cooling down I've been wearing them with black opaques which highlights the red heel even more.

I'm also on the look out for what to buy next, seeing as free shipping is on too! My sister is trying to convince me that these Pigalle Plato's are worth buying.
Pigalle Plato 120 £370
I have tried these on in-store and they are amazingly comfortable and look quite good on, but I definitely don't need them (I have my simple's after all) and harsh pointy toe shoes aren't completely..'me'? Plus since I've filled my 'classic' shoe wardrobe with my first few purchases, so now I'm on the look out for something a bit more diffierent.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Il Baretto + Bourke St Bakery

Happy Easter everyone! Most would be using Easter as an excuse to consume copious amounts of chocolate, however for me the last week leading up to the long weekend has been just an eating fest. No easter eggs though (I've been good!). Between the food posts I've made here, there's also been the all-you-can-eat Ribs feast at Tomy Roma's, a trip to Cafe-ish for more girly catch ups, Bavarian Bier cafe for a wonderful work event (long lunches are the best!) and now I'm really regretting all this eating.

I don't have any photos from the above places, but last week I did make a trip to Il Baretto, an Italian eatery which gets rave reviews for hearty and homely traditional fare.
Handwritten Menu - excuse the grainy photo from my iphone

I was impressed with the sizes of the dishes - they were quite literally huge. We tried our best to get through them by sharing and eating slowly, but we gave up. We ordered a range including their specialty Duck Ragu and Gnocchi with arabbiata sauce, and while everything we tried was tasty and decently priced, I was slightly disappointed. Perhaps it was because I'd heard rave reviews from friends who's food views I always agree with, or maybe it was because we didn't order the right things, but I definitely didn't think it was 'wow'. I think I'll give it a second go and try dinner which I've heard is better!

Duck ragu in the front and spaghetti piccanti
The ragu was saucy and full of flavour which was perfect for the rainy weather (it literally rained all day!) and the duck was succulent but this was heavier than I would have liked. The Spaghetti piccanti in the background was a simple dish with an olive oil based drizzle with breadcrumbs mixed in. I quite liked this actually, as it was crunchy and fresh, though a bit of meat (bacon bits perhaps?) or some fresh vegetables added in would have made it more interesting.
Gnocchi arabbiata
They seem to be good at punchy flavoursome dishes, as the Gnocchi was full of garlic and as you can tell was an absolutely huge serving. The gnocchi was smooth (not gluey, which is always important) but I would've liked it to be a better balance with the tomato based sauce, not just full of burn-in-your-mouth garlic.

After that we went to book kitchen for an afternoon coffee, and of course made a trip via Bourke St Bakery for some take-home goodies. I quite like their chocolate tart, though it will never compare to the fantastic Tarte Chocolat Noir (dark chocolate tart) I had at Gerard Mulot in Paris which is literally the best chocolate tart I've ever had in my life.
Gerard Mulot Paris and the famous chocolate tart

In any case, we went home with a vanilla strawberry delicacy and a chocolate tart for more indulgence later that day - so I suppose that counts as my chocolate egg substitute?

Friday, April 22, 2011

WIW: What I Wore

I'm not good with taking posed "outfit" photos - most of my photos are out-and-about and so are usually some kind of action shot. But there was recently a rainy day and I was going through my closet trying to trawl through all the stuff I never wear because I'm a) lazy, b) forget so many items exist, c) don't have time to style it.

So anyway, I pulled out the most adorable Sass & Bide mini cape that I'd bought several years ago and never worn (!) and decided to bite the bullet and find an outfit to match. It's really elegant but it can be quite hard to style because it's cropped and doesn't have arm holes like a lot of other capes do. So I thought I should start trying to take better photos of outfits and start a WIW or What I Wore tag on this blog.

So here's the outfit I came up with to head out for a casual long lunch + coffee date with the girls - excuse the fingerprinted mirror (sometimes I get a little too close when doing my eyeliner!). I took a photo with my Louboutins, but being rainy and cold I wore my Burberry rain boots instead. They weren't the best match for the outfit, but practicality won over since it literally rained all day non-stop.
Close up of the cape <3

Splendid v neck top, Sass & Bide capelet, Dangerfield high waisted skirt, Christian Louboutin decollete
I should probably add, my sister would kill me if I didn't mention the long story of how I managed to nab this particular capelet. I had been eyeing it for a while and everyone seemed to know, but then I kind of forgot about it for a while. Then one day my sister and mum were shopping and there it was hanging on a rack a good 50 metres away. It was the last one, so she practically ran to the rack only to get there just before someone else who was also eyeing it off. It had no price on it, but after some investigation they found out it was on sale, and there you have it, the beloved cape was in my possession. These are the types of stories attached to clothes which I love - see, clothes invoke memories and come with great stories!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hello, NAP!

A quick post to say hello to those visiting from NAP's facebook page. I never actually thought they would link the blog, as they just asked me for photos of what I'd bought. So of course for ease, I just linked them here and was surprised to see it pop up on facebook tonight! So thanks to everyone for visiting - hope you enjoy joining me on my journey.

For those who think they would ever be lucky enough to win a competition like this - sometimes luck comes when you least expect it! I never win anything, in fact, I'd had a turn of bad luck for a few months and when the email came through I actually didn't see it for a full week and didn't even believe it at first. I also thought that it was just one pair of shoes and was excitedly thinking of the one pair I would choose and cherish. See, I usually make one or two big purchases each year and then hold onto them for years (I'm still wearing shoes I bought as a teenager, many years ago!) so to be given the opportunity to splurge a bit, get some shoes I'd always wanted but could never justify buying and make my very first NAP order was quite literally a dream come true.

So hopefully I can pass some of my good luck onto you all and share some of my excitement with you :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Etch Restaurant

Friday nights in Sydney are really quite insane - it takes double the amount of time to travel anywhere into or around the city because of the traffic, and getting a table at any decently popular restaurant is like winning the lotto! I tend to avoid no-reservation institutions on Fridays because the last thing I want after a long working week is to stand at a kerbside watching people eat while I starve in anticipation. So this week I called on Monday hoping to get a booking at District Dining or Etch. Neither had good reservation times left, so we went for the late sitting at Etch, which is incidentally one of my Sydney faves and I haven't been there in quite a while.
As with all Justin North restaurants, Etch is fabulous for the inventive and colourful dishes, but the prices aren't as exorbitant as other fine dining restaurants. I went with some foodie friends and we have the food sharing down-pat, with everyone always ordering different choices so we can sample everything. We went with two entrees to share, including the Duck Terrine nightly special, individual mains, then four desserts to share (yes, I did say I love dessert!).
Entrees: Caramelised pigs head and Duck Terrine

Mains: Flathead and Chicken cooked three ways (though it had a fancier name)
Of course everything was delectable and well presented and it didn't disappoint! I went for the Scampi and vanilla risotto which was a very large serving size and then still went crazy over the dessert so was feeling understandably overstuffed by the time our long dinner had ended.

Caramel Date Tart with Earl Grey ice cream
Lolly Tray - this was better than previous versions and I was actually impressed!
Vanilla Creme Brulee with apple sorbet (which was amazing!)

Peanut butter esque mille feuille
And now I'm off for lunch - Italian yum! This weekend is really becoming quite a food-feast!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Snapshots: Louboutin

During Christmas last year, my sister and I thought we would try and sort out our shoe wardrobe dilemmas. Namely that we were fast running out of space for our shoeboxes, with my cupboard now double stacked to try and fit them all in. There was a resolution of sorts to stop buying anymore shoes in the new year, which of course was quickly forgotten. So with three new pairs of Louboutins in the last few months because of my competition win, we thought we'd take a few snapshots of our ever growing Louboutin collection.

I personally love how eclectic and colourful the (relatively small) collection is - there are the classics (thanks to NAP Ultimate Shoe Subscription, of course), but there are still the few quirky finds which are near-impossible to find now. I also love the memories and stories that come with each pair of shoes. My sister wore the jewelled pair to a school formal, the cousu pieds were an extravagant double purchase (couldn't decide which colour to buy, so just bought both because they were at more than 50% off sale back when Louboutin wasn't even a well-known name!) and a few other pairs in between.

Three pairs are from my competition win, plus the silver pair are from an uber sale on Outnet

Now we have another pair on the way (keep an eye out for a post soon!), but what am I missing from this collection? I'm thinking my next purchase should be something open toe, maybe some flats? Any suggestions are welcome!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Philip Treacy

There are certain things I love about going to the Races: watching beautiful horses race, dressing up and of course the millinery. However there are many things I hate: people not understanding Racing etiquette or racing attire convention, the drunkedness and pushy crowds. One of my huge pet hates is that people don't seem to understand that the races isn't for dressing up in anything 'dressy' because you think 'evening' = formal. No! It's about dressing in race-appropriate daywear that is more formal, can still be fun, but doesn't include any of the following: maxi dresses, gowns, sequins, evening fabrics, anything overly list could go on. And don't get me started about people who don't follow the rules of the particular race day (e.g. Black and White on Derby Day) or the appropriate season's millinery (felt for Winter, straw for Summer).

All that said, I have a huge weakness for millinery so in honour of today being Derby Day in Sydney (one of the biggest racing days of the Autumn Carnival), I thought I'd dedicate a post to my all time favourite milliner - the extraordinary Philip Treacy.

A favourite of the late Isabella Blow, Philip Treacy combines master technique and artful creativity in all his fabulous pieces. Half the pieces are structural impossibilities, yet look effortless while doing so. When I was in London, I was so upset I didn't make it to the actual store (though excitedly took photos of it when we drove past it), but I did make it to a department store and tried on this beauty (I think the hat needs to speak for itself, without my smile in the way!)

We unfortunately don't get a huge range in Sydney and even so, at upwards of $1k a pop I'm not in a position to buy any of the pieces I love but I was perusing his website recently and was gawking at these fabulous masterpieces for Winter racing (particularly monochromatic black and white for Derby Day!).
I especially love the embellished fedora in the centre
Being a girly girl, I love pillbox and fascinator styles more than Winter millinery, but these pieces are so beautiful that they really speak for themselves.
Looks like the one I tried on in London!
Images thanks to

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kazbah, Balmain

I enjoyed a lovely brunch with the girls on Saturday at Kazbah at Balmain. They also have other locations around Sydney (including Darling Harbour), but the Balmain restaurant has a lovely airy, community feel that suited a laid back girly catch-up.

On the website, they describe the cuisine as "Taste of Arabia" and from what I saw on Saturday, the food is a tasty mix of Middle Eastern and Turkish flavours. The service was great, and the food spectacularly presented and tasted just as good as it looked. Everytime a dish was brought to the tables around us, we were in awe of how beautiful it looked and wished we could order it all!

We didn't quite have enough people to get the banquet meals (that's what we have on the list to try for next time!) but we shared a few of the tagines (one vegetarian, one lamb), a chickpea mezze dish and a breakfast Banana porridge. I was too busy gossiping to really notice exactly what we ordered (we shared and it all sounded good so were happy to eat whatever), but I took some quick snaps anyhow!

Banana porridge with sweet sides - yum!

Lamb tagine - this was fabulous!

Vegetarian Tagine (looks similar to the lamb!) and the beautiful serving plates
Fortunately, the sun decided to show itself after our long lunch so we took a leisurely walk down Darling Street to walk off the food feast and visited Zumbo afterwards! Nothing all too exciting this time, but with all my dessert eating I need to get back to my dance classes!