Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Guess what I love about Christmas the most? Wrapping. I looooove wrapping! Every year I have a different theme and I usually order my paper and ribbon ahead of time from a wholesaler. It's better quality and usually comes in rolls so you don't get those annoying creases or run out halfway through a present.

But...I was at IKEA with my bestie Cheree and they had some gorgeous paper...for $2 a roll!! Bargain.  So, this year I've decided on three themes. Kraft brown wrapping with scarlett grosgrain ribbon, deep red wrapping with white grosgrain ribbon, and aqua blue and white snowflake wrapping with white grosgrain ribbon.

And Graham picked up these matching gift tags from Kiki-K for me. Now I just have to get PRESENTS to wrap!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The gecko in the light

Josh noticed this gecko in the lamp last night. It was doing little dances around the inside catching moths. You can see him poised for his next catch up on the left of the photo.

Some people hate geckos, but I love them. They're so cute with their transparent skin, big black eyes and padded feet. We live in an old Queenslander with no screens so they come in everywhere. So do the mozzies and moths though and the geckos are a natural insect spray for us.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I was in the Valley on the weekend searching out the junk stores for decoration for my Dad's Chinese themed 70th birthday party. I was looking for paper lanterns, Chinese trinkets, glow sticks and all manner of cheap imported things I associate with the Valley.

While I was waiting to cross the road at Brunswick Street I look at the McWhirters facade, gleaming in the afternoon sun and standing proudly as it would have when it was built in the 1930s. I never realised what a magnificent building it was. A fine example of Art Deco architecture, an era I just adore.

The valley really has degraded over the years, even moreso since I first came to Brisbane in 1993. Even then it was a bit of a dive and I never really knew it was anything else other than Chinatown and a red light district. But after a bit of research I found that Fortitude Valley was once a thriving upmarket shopping precinct from the late 1800s until the 1970s, with McWhiters a large department store.

It's really sad to see the state of the Valley when you see how it once was, but I'm glad there's some remnants of their glory days and I live in hope that someday they'll be restored.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stone Fruit Season!

November. Stone fruit season. Love it! Our turn to put on morning tea and instead of  my usual mini croissants with tomato and cheese, I thought I'd do a fruit platter.

It's the beginning of stone fruit season mind you, so this (small) platter ended up costing me $20!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Breakfast at Ikea

I know I've mentioned it before, but I STILL can't believe you can get this breakfast at Ikea for $2.95 and now on Wednesday mornings you can get it for $1.95!!  UNBELIEVABLE!!  OK, I know the whole jist of loss leaders etc, I am in marketing, but I still find that pretty cool.

What's not so cool though at Ikea are these bizarre toys which I can only describe as minority dolls. They're just...wrong. Not at all cute, I don't know how they expect kids to like them. I was with my bestie Cheree and my 2.5 year old god daughter Ingrid and she didn't like them AT ALL.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cheap Eats

This has totally made it to the top of my cheap eats list! This super delicious and surprisingly filling Sticky Rice Cup at Teamaster is $4.50. Yep, cheap as. And if you're not insanely hungry it could easily satisfy as a main.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Home Grown Goodness

I really miss having a veggie and herb garden. Being able to go outside and picks some fresh basil for bruschetta or tomatoes for salads is something we did as kids and something we'd started at the house before it was flooded.

There's no veggie patch where we are at the moment, but Graham threw a couple of old cherry tomatoes into one of the pot plants and this is what popped up.

The smell of fresh, vine ripened tomatoes is like nothing else. No fertilisers, no pesticides, just water and spring sunshine.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Simple Foods

I made this super simple dinner tonight. A stack of roasted and steamed vegies. Corn, capsicum, sweet potato, potato and brocolli. Everything (except the broccoli) was steamed, tossed in some extra virgin olive oil and roasted. The colour was amazing and the boys loved it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homeless Connect

Josh, Graham and I volunteered at Homeless Connect today. It's a twice year event that connects homeless or at risk of homeless people with essential services from the government as well as professionals such as doctors, optometrists and dentists who volunteer their time.

I'm sure they didn't need my copywriting services but was happy to help in the food area. We cut up and prepped vegies, washed dishes and served food. Everyone was well behaved and the day went well.

It broke my heart to see some of the people that were there. The elderly and babies and children that really should have been at school. Actually, seeing anyone there at all broke my heart. I couldn't even begin to imagine what it would be like not knowing where you were sleeping for the night or where the next meal was coming from. Especially if you had children.

I took Josh along to volunteer so he could see how lucky he is to have a roof over his head, food every day and pretty much anything else he needed. That life wasn't so bad if he wasn't allowed to play on the computer every day and occasionally had to do some chores. It must have affected him to some extent as he definitely didn't want to do it again next year.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Brisbane Flood Update

Left by an unknown volunteer who helped to clean my home after the floods

Today I emailed over my final correspondence to the insurers before (hopefully) my claim settles. It's been a long journey but I'm looking forward to this next chapter.

While at times it's been very frustrating, there's been some huge positives that have come out of this and that's what I like to concentrate on.

The day after the floods awesome friends and family rallied around and in the most horrendous (and smelliest) of circumstances to help clear out all my mud infested belongings and clean out my home.  Complete strangers whose names I'll never know and will never be able to thank came from around the corner and across town with gurnis and boots, cleaned for hours without complaint and then left without as quickly as they arrived when the job was done to move on to the next home.

While insurers have been getting a bad run in the press, mine have actually been very good and I've been very happy and grateful for everything they've done. Most of the delays we've had have been beyond their control and they've come to the party to compensate.

Once I settle with the insurers I will be able to do things to the home that I wouldn't have been able to before the floods. That will definitely be a plus.

It does feel like a new beginning.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Google Search Results "Karina Roberts"

Do you ever google yourself? I did the other day and whole stack of stuff from ages ago came up in the search results. Press releases I'd written years ago, newspaper articles I've been in, old blog posts and even comments I'd written on other people's website. I have no idea how SEO really works because the top hits weren't what you would call popular sites.

What did come up, which surprised me, was an article I wrote for Bean Scene magazine in 2006. About breakfast.

My writing style has changed a lot over the years. But my love of breakfast hasn't ;-)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And they're off and racing!

Melbourne Cup. The race that stops the nation. A day for the fillies (and not the equine type) to dress up, blokes to don a suit, lots of betting and lots of alcohol.

To date, I've never won at Melbourne Cup. Nary even a place. In 17 years! Surely that itself is a record?

I put down a hefty $10 in the office sweeps. And I drew Americain (the favourite and 2010 winner), Illo and Older Than Time. Illo led for most of the race and then fell back in the last 300m. So my record of never winning at Melbourne Cup stays intact. I'm a winner in the fashion stakes though...apparently ;-)