Monday, May 31, 2010

Twice Designs

When I wear my new necklace scarf almost everyone asks me about it. I'm not exaggerating, don't wear one of these scarves if you don't want people to talk to you. I don't know why it is so difficult to get a decent photo of me wearing it. Jossie took a few that were completely hideous and this was the best I could come up with. I really love this scarf.

I also love the red woolen scarf with felted flower brooch that Sarah sent me last year. Again, I loved it so much I felt the need to take a dodgy photo of myself in it.

I also love my button brooches. I love colour, red is my favourite, but somehow I have ended up with a lot of black clothes. Perhaps it's because they are slimming or because I just can't find what I want but I really love adding colour with brooches and scarves. They make me happy.

All of these things are made by my friend Sarah from Twice Designs. She has an online shop so you can buy her things from home and she also sells at Sydney markets. Every time I have bought something online it has come straight away, beautifully packaged and with little surprises. She makes the cutest soft toys, I particularly like the bilbies.

Jossie and I are at home today as she has a fever/headache/stomachache. I need to use the time to mark assignments as Jossie, Bethany and I are heading to Melbourne after school and work on Friday to see the twins who will be born, all going according to plan, on Wednesday. Can't wait!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


When you get your hair cut as often as I do, you forget what a difference a cut can make. Here is Milo pointing his face in the direction my voice was coming from.

Please excuse the photo taken on my phone. Here is is, determined not to look me in the eye. Perhaps he feels naked.

Have you ever seen grumpier cats with squashed in faces?

After picking Milo up I went to get the hire car I am driving to Bowral tomorrow. Very nice indeed. It doesn't need a key! And it is my favourite colour. I won't want to give it back..... I am off to Bowral Library for a readers advisory meeting. I will be in this lovely car for eight hours!

As I have pathetically few songs on my iPhone I took two audio books from the library to amuse me on the journey. I have The Unknown Terrorist by Richard Flanagan and The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton. Alain reads it himself! That makes me happy. I'll need that as I have to leave at 6am.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


While Toby has always been sporty Jossie takes after me and has shown very little interest in sport. We did take her to hockey for a while but she never took to it - does anyone need a little hockey stick? During the week, Jossie told me that the school's netball team was short of members and that she wished to play with her friends. So we bought a netball skirt and showed up at the courts on Saturday morning for her first ever game.

I took these photos with my iPhone and couldn't get very close, but that is Jossie in maroon, shielding her eyes. She didn't really know the rules and was very timid at first but, in the second half, started to get the hang of it.

That's her holding the ball! They were a few players short and had more than one player just starting so the coaches weren't surprised by the result - they lost 46 - 1! Thankfully, Jossie didn't mind :) Bethany, on the other hand, was terribly bored and unimpressed with the fact that I hadn't brought anything to eat. I bought myself an unpleasant coffee and a melting moment for Bethany but I'll be better prepared next week.

Toby's second game of soccer was as good as the last. He kicked another goal and they won 3 - 0. Afterwards he went straight to a party. When we picked him up we found an echidna! I love living in the country.

Jossie also had a party so Bethany and I took Milo for a walk up the hill to the rocks.

Poor Milo, he can't really see at the moment. He's booked in for a haircut shearing on Thursday.

t was a push to get back before it got dark but the view is great.

Today we went to Liz and Ian's brand new house for lunch. I made some cinnadoodles, how I love them!
What I am cooking: I have been using my Nigellapp too, making chocolate and pear pudding (delicious) and aromatic chilli beef noodle soup (enjoyed only by me).
What I am reading: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
What I am watching: We finished watching the second series of Ashes to Ashes and can't wait for the third to wrap it all up! We all watched Miss Potter this evening as Jossie was asked to watch it for school.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Triple-layer Chocolate Cake

Jossie has been getting lots of use from the crimper and straightener Mum and Dad bought her for Christmas. Back to the 80s.........

We had some friends over for lunch after church on Sunday and I took the opportunity to make something that caught my eye from the Delicious Sweet cookbook Mim gave me for my birthday. All the women who ate it were in raptures and I highly recommend the book.

Triple-layer Chocolate Cake
Serves 8. Begin this recipe a day ahead.
4 eggs
100g caster sugar
1/2 cup (75g) self-raising flour
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa
1/3 cup (80ml) milk
1 tbs each Kahlua and honey
100ml pure (thin) cream
110g good quality dark chocolate (I only used 100g)
225 g white chocolate (I only used 200g - if I opened another block, I'd only eat the rest)
600 ml thickened cream
200 g good quality dark chocolate
1/3 cup (80ml) thickened cream     (I only made half of this)

Preheat oven to 170C. Grease a 23cm springform tin and line the base.
Beat eggs and sugar in an electric mixer on high for 5 mins until thick and pale. Sift flour and cocoa together, then fold into egg mixture. Spoon into the pan and bake for 30 mins or until cooked. Cool in the pan for 5 mins then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
Stir the milk, Kahlua and honey in a pan over low heat for 2-3 mins until combined. Set aside.
Clean cake tin and line with plastic wrap ensuring there is plenty of overhang. Split the cake into 2 and place one round into the tin and brush with half the Kahlua syrup.
For the filling place one third of the pure cream in a bowl and the remainder in a separate bowl. Add dark chocolate to the first bowl and white chocolate to the second. Melt on medium in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Whip thickened cream to firm peaks. Carefully add a third to the drk chocolate mixture and the rest to the white mixture, stirring to combine.
Spread half the white filling over the cake case, then all the dark filling, then remaining white filling - chilling for 10 mins between each layer to firm up. Top with remaining cake and brush with remaining syrup. Cover with overhanging plastic wrap and chill overnight.
For the icing, melt chocolate and cream gently in the microwave and let cool. Remove cake from tin by releasing the sides. Place on the serving plate, leaving the plastic wrap behind - I picked it up with two spatulas. Spread icing over the top and dig in.

There was a bit left after lunch so I took it to my evening shift on Monday and scoffed it with Kate and Shell. It was just what we needed to get us through the end of a long day.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Father of Australia

Thanks to his many achievements, Lachlan Macquarie is called the 'father of Australia'. He named the streets in central Sydney and many regional towns. Recently the State Library of New South Wales acquired some letters that are an excellent record of colonial life when Macquarie was governor, two hundred years ago. Paul Brunton, the senior curator at the Mitchell Library, felt that the first people to see these letters ought to be regional people rather than Sydneysiders because the State Library is for all of NSW, not just Sydney.

So, with a case full of wonderful, two hundred year old documents and artifacts, Mr Brunton arrived in Wagga. Thankfully, he loves speaking to primary school children so three lucky classes were able to come to the library to hear all about the wonders of Australia so long ago. The children were fascinated, asking lots of questions. They were shocked to discover that when Macquarie went to school girls were not educated like boys - at least the girls were shocked, the boys found it funny. Mr Brunton, wanting to tell them about how Macquarie introduced the first Australian currency, asked them what might be something that wasn't around then but that they use every day and might have in their pockets right now. One child said a phone and this amused Mr Brunton very much as he'd never have thought of that.

The kids enjoyed seeing the letters and holey dollar and dump but I was most thrilled by a letter to Lachlan Macquarie from William Wilberforce. Yes, the very William Wilberforce who lead the movement for the abolition of the slave trade (did you see Amazing Grace, the film?). Look, I held the letter in my own hands!

In the evening Mr Brunton gave a lecture for the general public and around eighty people came to hear him. I was able to use my RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate and afterwards we went out to dinner. A long day, but a good one.

I shouldn't have shown off about my iPhone. Sorry about that. I hope the sight of my new, Zero Japan teapot doesn't make anyone envious. It is such a lovely, elegant shape and it pours one a half mugs of tea beautifully.

In the sun it is a happy, speckled blue.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Face

I picked this little thing up this afternoon. It's charging and isn't ready yet but as soon as it is, Nigellapp, here I come.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Toby makes the front page

Back on track

I've been lost in the wilderness of work, family and WINGS. Obviously, the first two are always with me but, thankfully, WINGS, the women's conference my church puts on every two years, is over. I'll do a quick catch up and then we can go back to normal.......hopefully.

I am, by choice, the birthday cake maker at work. So, after my birthday on Saturday the 1st, I made a lemon and almond syrup cake to take to work. I forgot to take a photo but it was delightful, with extra syrup and cream. It was a Belinda Jeffrey recipe and I'll be making it again. On Tuesday Kristy brought in a sponge cake and pretty, pink macarons. Thanks Kristy! Sadly, she didn't get to eat any of the sponge because it all went before she had a chance!

Toby has started soccer for the year........sigh. The park he has practice in couldn't be further away and it is very cold in the late afternoon (how cold is it going to get?!). Still, he really enjoys it. Hid coach is only a teenager but very good with the kids. Rather him than me!

Straight after soccer practice Jossie and Toby had Kids' Club and my presence was also required as they were having a Mothers' Day dinner. It was very sweet, Jossie made me a name tag that said "The awesomest Mum ever". Her friend Hannah did the same for her mum and she and I were going to have to fight it out over who actually is the awesomest. In the end I conceded because awesomest isn't a word. I am the most awesome :)

The first highlight of the WINGS conference is that Mim came down from Molong to lead the music team! It was so good to see her. 165 women came and I was the MC. The teaching was great and I think people were encouraged. I took this photo at lunch.

Mim and Bill had dinner with us afterwards (thanks Helen!) and I made a lemon delicious which was. It was just like she had never moved. We watched the first episode of North and South which the men found boring. I have watched it all now and, while it isn't as good as the book, obviously, it is wonderful.

On Sunday the kids spoiled me with lovely presents, including a gorgeous tea pot I'll take photos of soon, and after church I did all the shopping, washing and cooking I would have done on Saturday. Yesterday afternoon Toby played piano in an eisteddfod and came second. Yay Toby!

That's me caught up. I'll be back soon.....

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Queen of Hearts

What a delightful day I had yesterday for my birthday. I was quite spoilt with lovely presents and I took the opportunity to give Lorraine's  zebra Japanese cheesecake a go. It was very easy to make, if a little time consuming putting the mixture into the tin by spoonfuls.

It worked out pretty well :)

And now I have a teapot to go with my teacup, saucer and cake plate. It makes me very happy.