Monday, December 31, 2012

In the words of Dickens...

As we bid farewell to the 2012, like many people I suspect, I was reflecting on the year that was before looking forward to the year that will be.

Sometimes you just don't have the words to sum it up, so I'm stealing them from someone else. In his days we would have called it referencing. Today I guess we'd call it reblogging.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Thanks Dickens.

The year that was for me included dizzying highs, including an overseas trip to New Zealand with Josh and a long, long awaited trip to Dublin to see one of my best friends, Amelia, and over to London to see the Chelsea Flower Show. A family trip to Paronella Park, my favourite place in Queensland and ordinary, but so very special times with family and friends. Proud and very special moments with my son as he grows up to be a young man who is already towering over me and the birth of friend's and family's babies, some very, very precious.

There were also crushing lows. The death of my beloved Grandmother and a number personal matters. There's always a silver lining though and it was here though that my real friends shone through and I am so very, very grateful they are in my life. You know who you are...thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The events of 2012 have changed me greatly. Made me more empathetic, more grateful, less judgemental and more emotional. For the future it has made me more determined, I don't sweat the small stuff as much and I make more time in my life for the people that matter.

Almost 2 years to the day the floods came and destroyed our little home, we are well on our way to being back home. It's been a long and at times, incredibly arduous journey, but a journey nonetheless with a final destination that we will arrive at shortly. It's been an amazing learning experience which has fortunately for us had a good outcome. I'm soooo looking forward to being back home in the new year!!

It's pouring here at the moment, a symbolic cleansing I feel for the evils and misfortunes of the year and creating a clean slate for 2013 (hmmm...someone is philosophical today).  So if you had a horrible 2012 look forward to fresh and clean new year.

Love and kisses for the last time this year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

More Family Secrets

You'd think because my family know I'm a foodie someone would have mentioned my Great Grandfather was a cook at the Queens Hotel in Townsville during World War 2.

But no one did. It was mentioned in passing conversation when we were talking about buildings.

I find this fascinating. A cook in the family! No one seems to know how he got the job as there was no history of running a restaurant back in China and as far as I knew they had mobile fruit run from the back of  a truck.

I've always loved this old building, sitting grandly along The Strand. Interestingly, my Dad used to work here as an architect in the 70s and 80s.

I'm interested to see what other family history I'll uncover while I'm here.

What the?

Photos from home. Walking down the main street. Dog driving a car.
Gun shop in the background.

Family Superstitions

I have an Aunty that owns a Chinese restaurant here at home. Yes, you can imagine, I think that's just awesome because we get the traditional Chinese food at their super authentically decked out restaurant with the gilded ceilings and beaded curtain with the peacock on it. Fab!

Fried tofu and chinese vegetables...mmmmm!!!
Over a fabulous spread last night we got onto the subject of superstitions and traditions. Although my background is Chinese, I am second generation Australian and with each generation, the culture and tradition weakens and I was surprised at some of the superstitions my family has that I never knew about. In particular, numbers. Apparently having 7 dishes at the table is unlucky (although Mum wasn't exactly sure if it was 7, because she's first generation). So if my great Aunt, (bless her little very old little cotton socks) sees 7 dishes going out to a table, she will add another dish whether it's something completely new (and complimentary of course), or divide one dish onto 2 plates.

Not being particularly superstitious myself I do find that fascinating.

And if you get some random dish at a Chinese restaurant that you didn't order...that might be the reason why!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The High School Girls

I won't say how long it's been since I was at high school but suffice to say it's a while. But there's a few girls who are still here and others who, like me, come home for the holidays and when we get together it's like we're back to the old days.

Even going out for dinner and drinks is like being back in our high school days. Al's parents picked me up from home in their car and I sat in the back while they asked me the same questions they did years ago.

"How's your Mum and Dad?"
"How's your job going?"
"Are you girls going out late tonight?"
"Have you girls got enough money?"

Hilarious. We're just the same, just many years older. I kinda like that about coming home. Some things change. Some things don't. And that familiarity is really comforting.

Back then though we just had coke and mocktails. Now we have Eroticas, Female Viagras and Tutti Fruittis. We're all grown up! ;-P

Hanging at Home

I'm at home doing things I so normally wouldn't do. Mainly...doing not much. Which is REALLY hard  for me to do.

Chilling by the pool, reading a book. Hmm...I don't really read and I don't chill much so this lasted just long enough for me to take a photo. I got distracted by other pretty shiny things and Mum calling me for lunch. The book is "Unpolished Gem" by Alice Pung, about a girl with a Chinese background growing up in Australia. I thought maybe I could relate. I'm half way through (read the first part on the plane) but haven't got much further since.

It's astounding how amusing chickens can be if you take the time to observe them. They follow you around, pecking at the ground in bizarre unison and give you a run for your money in a staring contest. It's my dream to have chickens in the yard of the new house. There's a little spot up the back corner which would be perfect for a chicken pen and it would work alongside the compost bin in creating the ultimate recycling system.

Ahhh Mum's garden. This is something I CAN do all day. Not only has she filled her 800m2 block with plants, flowers, vegies and cuttings, she also shares a plot from the garden next door. These geraniums were beautiful, with their deep velvety red petals and were blooming quietly but proudly along the back deck. I so can't wait to have a garden again.

Miss India has opened in town and I took the pars there for an Indian feast. Bless their little cotton socks for having an open mind when it comes to food. I'm always impressed at how they're willing to be dragged to restaurants, cafes even food carts to try my idea of culinary russian roulette no matter how apprehensive they may be. Luckily this one was a hit.

Holiday so far, so good.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thoughts for 2013

Home for the Holidays

I'm home for the holidays. You know as a parent that you've done something right when your kids are going through a hard time and the first thing they want to do is come home.  Home where you know you will feel safe. Home where you can be yourself and be amongst family. Home where you can find laughter and happiness and an element of cushioning from any of the stresses in your life. Home where you can spill your worries, insecurities and the things you've done wrong without fear of judgement of scolding. Home where you feel you' home.

Forget designer clothes or fancy electronics for Christmas for me. I'm just happy when Mum makes your favourite dinner and does your washing.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas 2012 wrapped!

Christmas 2012 is wrapped!! Finally!! With work, the house, friends visiting from o/s and just generally busy busy, I left the shopping until sooooo late this year. I started (and finished - yay) on Saturday morning.

Wasn't a bad start actually, because I drove into the shopping centre and got a park straight away while "Eye of the Tiger" was playing on the radio. I did a little fist pump and "yeaaah" in the car while no one was looking.

Then...I was ruthless. I had my list and I just went gung ho and got it all done within about 3 hours.  The presents though still sat in their bags on my loungeroom floor until Sunday afternoon when I finally got around to wrapping them all.

While I LOOOOVE wrapping like you don't believe, I'm glad I had a friend around while I was doing it so I could chat while I wrapped. This year I went for a Kraft theme with an environmental touch with recycled tags from Kiki-K. I love the contrast of the brown paper with the scarlet ribbon. Wrapping makes me so happy.

Happy Christmas All!!  xx

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Baroque Cuff from Mimco. #Love

Jimmy Barnes Live

You wouldn't pick it, but I do love rock. Particularly Australian rock. I've always loved Jimmy Barnes and thought he would be amazing in concert.

He was playing at the Eatons Hill Hotel and I was pretty keen to see him, but by the time I'd found out about it, the tickets had sold out.

I was devastated and I have no idea why. All the things going on in my life have caused me to become so emotional about everything and when I saw "Allocation Exhausted" I actually think I was going to burst into tears. Crazy! I really need to get that under control.

Anyway, I was like a woman possessed. I called the venue, went on eBay, Gumtree, Google, asked friends and work colleagues if they knew anyone who worked for the venue and could get me in. It was completely crazy. Under normal, non emotional standards I probably would have just let it go.

The lady from the venue said she had been directing anyone who wanted to sell their tickets to post on their Facebook page and I saw a post there from about 4 days ago. I didn't think I had a hope in hell especially when it went through to voicemail and I had to leave a message.

The lovely Pam called back a couple of hours later. She had bought 5 tickets months ago but had a family emergency that had prevented a couple of people going and so she didn't want to go without them. I knew there would be a stack of people calling her and offering more money so I said I would pick them up that afternoon.

She was so lovely. By the time I got there a couple of hours later she said her phone had been ringing off the hook with people offering her a lot of money, but of course she would stick to her word and she sold me the tickets for the face value. I love it when things like that happen, it really restores my faith in the world.

The concert was AMAZING!! There were a couple of fantastic warm up acts before Jimmy, but he was who everyone was here to see and when he stepped out on stage the crowd erupted!

I have no idea how old he is now, but man he can still rock it! An hour and a half straight of some his greatest hits with no interval and sung with everything he had! The sweat was dripping off him and his voice was completely hoarse by the end.

He was a true rock legend of the original kind though. No fancy pyrotechnics or videos,  just good old fashioned live band and live singing.

We had the most awesome time. It was one of the best concerts I'd been to and the atmosphere was electric! I spent way too much time dancing and singing at the top of my lungs and acting like an all round groupie. I'd dressed up in my cocktail/clubbing best, but I really should have just put on some jeans and a vintage Cold Chisel tour shirt to blend in a bit better and be more comfortable.

I'm really grateful to Pam for holding those tickets for me when she could have easily sold them for a nice profit. I sent her a thank you sms the next day.

Seeing Jimmy Barnes live has been on my bucket list for ages. Looks like I snuck this one in just before the end of the 2012.

Shoe Longings

These are the shoes that were just never meant to be. Sigh. I've had these gorgeous shoes on my watch list on ASOS for like, forever, but they were waaay to expensive and I just can't justify spending that much on something that is just going on my feet. No matter how gorgeous they would make them look. happend. They went on sale! Argh but they didn't have my size in stock. I'm a 5.5 generally and they had a 6 in stock. Maybe it would be a be a small size 6? Maybe my feet have grown lately?

Alas no. They arrived and they were absolutely gorgeous, but just that slightly, slight too big. Slightly too big that I couldn't justify putting party feet or heel grips in them. Slightly too big that even though they were on sale and I'd probably never have them again, they weren't the right size.

So I sent them back.

And all I have now is this picture of them.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gift Wrapping

I looooove gift wrapping! I spend hours each year wrapping my gifts and putting final touches on them.  I've always been meaning to volunteer at the gift wrapping stations at the local shopping centre, but I never got around to it.

FINALLY I did this year and it was sooo much fun! It wasn't as busy as I thought it would be in the lead up to Christmas but most of the people who came to have their gifts wrapped had multiple items, even completely full trollies, so it was mostly busy.

This pretty paper was my favourite and when it wasn't busy we would pre-make the bows. The other girls I was working with were awesome and we would chat and work together when it was busy.

The lovely people at Dreamy Donuts downstairs too kept us fed with their divine doughnuts (that's how we spell it here in Australia) and coffee. 

I love that people are so giving in the spirit of Christmas too. All proceeds were going to Lifeline and we just asked a gold coin donation for each item wrapped and one lovely man donated $30 and I think I only wrapped about 8 presents. It restores my faith in people. I'll definitely be doing this again next year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Recent Foodie Adventures

Sticky Date Pudding from Freestyle Tout, Emporium, Fortitude Valley
Tofu Sushi from Ginga, Emporium, Fortitude Valley
Ricotta, Pear and Raspberry Cheesecake,
Pearl Cafe, Woolloongabba
Sago and Taro in coconut milk,
Sweet Dessert Shop, Sunnybank
Vegetarian Noodle Soup, Pho Huang, Sunnybank
Vege Gyozas, Gyoza Bar, Emporium

I'm baaaack baby!! Yeah! After a self imposed foodie hiatus I'm back with a vengeance and it seems it all happens to be at Sunnybank or Emporium. Wasn't planned that way, has just been my haunts of late.

If you know me too, food is something I believe best shared, so it's also been a few weeks of catching up friends and family. You really do catch up properly with someone when you're sharing a meal and I've learned lots of things over these dishes that I don't think I would have in a phone call or email.

So I'm going to try and use social media less to socialise and just, well, socialise.

Office Shenanigans

We had our work party the other day. A pretty casual affair at the local bowls club where we played barefoot bowls, ate, drank and were merry.

I've said this before, but I love the guys at my work. I can honestly say there's not a single person there that I don't like or respect and that really gets me through my working week. I do consider myself incredibly lucky.

Happy Holidays All!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dinner with the girls at the Sardine Tin

The Brisbane foodie scene is really coming of age. This warms my heart ;-). I had a catch up with the girls at South Bank and we had originally arranged to go to Popolo in the new Quays precinct. But we forgot to book, which we didn't think would matter because it was TUESDAY night!

Tuesday night!!
In Brisbane!

There is was though...booked out. As was Jetty next door and Cove next to that. Incredible.

We ended up at Sardine Tin, a smallish tapas bar further up in South Bank. I do love a tapas bar and although they were the flavour of the year a couple of years ago, I'm pretty sure they're here to stay.

Although I absolutely love the food and the concept of "little" dishes that you can share or sample, I think I love the intimacy and atmosphere the most. That cosy warmth of tea lights and lamps, the clanging and clashing of an open kitchen, the aromatic smells of Spanish cuisine.

The staff were so beautiful and sweet. One even had an authentic accent. So fabulous. Everything came out quickly and was just divine.

This was the chocolate chai mousse, salted caramelised pear and hazelnut praline we shared for dessert.  So unbelievably delicious!

We chatted for ages about all the most ridiculous things that had happened since we last caught up. Massages where the masseuses touched your boobs (WTF!), work gossip, man problems, everything, we were just in a world of our own. While it's always fab, we realised we were a bunch of very noisy girls when in a rare and brief pause in conversation, all you could hear was the muffled silence of our fellow diners. We were clearly the loudest ones there and I'm sure everyone was listening to our conversation with bemusement.

Oh well, who cares, I love these girls. And I love Sardine Tin. Kinda glad that Popolo was booked out. I guess everything happens for a reason :-).

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

We've put the Christmas tree up and it's really beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I have three theme decorations for the tree - silver & crystal; red & gold; and handmade timber. This year we've gone for the silver & crystal, my favourite one.

Argh, I haven't bought a SINGLE present or even decided on wrapping paper theme for this year. Am go behind and it's really starting to stress me. When it does though...I just turn the Christmas lights on and I'm calm again...for a bit.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Welcome back foodie fun!

Seems like ages since I did a foodie post. Truth be told, I haven't been in the mood of late for eating out and I really need to be in the headspace to truly enjoy the whole experience.

Buuut, on Friday night a friend suggested Sunnybank and yes, it was time :-).

We had a GIANT laksa in Market Square and then he said there was a dessert I simply MUST try. Yes. Yes I must!

This is Taroball Mania from Meet Fresh. One of those cutesy Taiwanese dessert places at Sunnybank. It's hard to describe, but it has taro balls. grass jelly, ice and some sort of sugary syrup. Ohhhh so delicious! And more delicious because it was a recommendation - I love when someone wants to share their favourite dish. I'll definitely be sharing it myself!

Taroball Mania...remember it...try it!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Double Feature

We went to the Drive In at Yatala on the weekend. It's fast becoming one of our favourite things to do. We saw Pitch Perfect (cheesy) and Skyfall. I'm not a Bond fan at all really, but I kinda enjoyed this one. Daniel Craig is a eye candy.

Josh loves Bond films. I had no idea of this. He has (apparently) seen every single one, and was pointing out some historical Bond facts during the movie. How did I not know this?

I absolutely love the nostalgia of the Drive In from the times I went as a kid to Hervey's Range Drive In in Townsville. I walked past this projection room and wondered if this was the original projector - has technology changed that much?