Sunday, May 31, 2009


Oooh, I love velour. My first clear recollection of an encounter with the stuff goes back to when we upgraded the family car from rusty old Corona to beloved '85 Tarago. Delilah the Bronze Bullet, how I miss you and your little idiosyncracies. Your sticky brakes. Your cute little "bimp!" sound. Your Hollywoodian wheels. *sheds tear*

Anyways, I remember being entranced by the velour seats more than any other feature, how I could smooth it one way and draw on it with my fingertips. I kept myself amused on many a long car trip this way. Thus, my love of velour. And thus my happy op-shop discovery of a velour blazer in a variation of my favourite green-blue hue (officially Midnight Green. Yep, it's late, Baboushka's having an hours-long dinner and I'm indulging in my love of the lost art of colour-naming. I should be working for Crayola).

Only thing is, it's a wee bit big for me. I'm not sure if I should keep it and love it for all its velour-y, Midnight Green-y goodness, or pass it on to a more deserving home via eBay?

It's cold outside and my feet are like ice-blocks!

One of my goals this winter is to keep warm. That seems kind of ridiculous, but I've got that 'strayan thing when it comes to winter, the one where we just sort of ignore that it's cold and grit our teeth until it's warm again. The reason that my feet are so cold is because they are bare, which is because I'm not quite used to having to wear shoes yet. The thing is, I pined for the wintry weather over summer - all the lovely soups and stews, the endless pots of hot tea, the coats and gloves and scarves and warm blankets - so I'm determined to throw myself wholeheartedly into the frostiness and embrace it for all its nappy-drying unfriendliness.

Thus, my shopping list for next week (whenever I can bear to put on a jacket and venture outside) looks something like this:

- Explorer socks (in green and purple, oooh)

- A non-hideous anorak for rainy days:
(Maybe this one from American Apparel?)

- Gumboots (also for rainy days, of course):
(I am in love with this pair from Poyntons of Essendon, although I wouldn't say no to a pair from Hunter, either)

- Rooibos tea (see future post for rant on hot beverages)

- Lots more soy yarn (I've started a scarf for Baboushka in this I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Wool and now want one for myself. Then again, Baboushka is 4 months old and wouldn't remember if I were to steal her scarf..)

- Earmuffs:
Okay, I probably won't get any earmuffs, because a) it's a clear advertisement of what a sook I really am when it comes to the cold (my Viking ancestors would be unimpressed); and b) where the heck can I even get a pair?

Sunday, May 24, 2009


My blog has been feeling decidedly uninspired lately and I've decided it's due to my over-zealous pilfering of images from Google. Blogs are so much better to read when their 'personal' content is higher. Say I (although this could be a hard fact, too).

Without further ado, my new regular installment featuring magnificently cheap finds:

I got this multicoloured afghan blanket last week for $7.50. I've just started making one for Baboushka (pictured hanging out with her Unkie T-Bone), but I'm not one to pass up the thrill of instant gratification. And my own attempt will probably be a bit sucky.

I'm probably more fond of my bedside tables than I should be. I found them on the side of the road one morning (I woke up in the back of my van after a large-ish night and there they were) - the price was definitely right! And the lampshade was about $3 from Salvo's - a happy find as I'd recently torn the almost-identical-but-red shade for that lamp. I'm now wondering if I should be acquiring more orange household items to match my burgeoning collection of Penguin Classics..

(In case anyone wants to know what I'm reading. Sadly, I'm not Japanese-literate - I read Paumes books for their pictures. This one is 'Children's Rooms "London"', which I was hoping would inspire me to make Baboushka's room all lovely. It has yet to happen.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Working Girl

Gargh! I'm going 'back to work' tomorrow. I use the term loosely as I'm not returning in a hardcore sense; no, only for a few hours. That's the beauty of my current job, it's as casual as I want it to be and at the moment that's quite casual.

I'm a wee bit nervous as it's my first class since having a baby, and although things seem to have slotted back in to approximately where they were pre-Babushka, well, getting nude in front of people is just not something I can imagine any new mother enjoying. Plus it's getting colder and some of these older buildings, while all charming and bohemian and artiste-friendly, can get kind of cold.

So tomorrow I will be remember why the hell I do this for a living...or rather, what inspired me to pursue this line of work in the first place:

Ah, La Belle Noiseuse, with the very belle Emmanuelle Beart. I love how she makes the idea of being an artist's model so very sexy in this film, all mussed-up hair and Gallic pout. In reality (well, for me, at least), I think it is an amazingly unsexy occupation.

(Emmanuelle with Jane Birkin, another reason to love this film. And I want this house.)

Nope, tomorrow I will be turning up in my tracksuit pants, feeling a bit silly as I always do as I twist myself into (very bad impressions of) Rodin-esque poses, thawing myself out with cups of hot tea and probably chatting about baby vomit and sleeping patterns. Oh, that reminds me, I need to make sure I take a few of my own CDs - at this particular class I remember we once got stuck listening to Celine Dion, and I'm not really that big on Celine Dion.


This is one of my favourites this time of year. It's colder outside, the leaves are turning their glorious autumnal colours and I'm inside staying cosy with a a giant cardigan, a bowlful of ratatouille and a glass of red (well, an imaginary glass of red).

In her A Book of Mediterranean Food, quintessential Mediterranean food writer Elizabeth David calls ratatouille "a Provençal ragoût of vegetables, usually pimentos, onions, tomatoes and aubergines, stewed very slowly in oil". She also advises that "the vegetables should not be fried, but stewed in the oil, so simmer in a covered pan for the first 30 minutes, uncovered for the last 10".



* 1 large (or 2 small) eggplants
* 2 red capsicums (or any other colour capsicum, for some reason I prefer red in this recipe)
* 3 or 4 zucchini
* 2 brown onions
* 6 tomatoes, chopped (or 2 tins crushed tomatoes)
* 1 small-ish bunch fresh basil
* 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley
* good quality extra virgin olive oil
* salt
* pepper


1) Slice onions (I chop them half-moon style, if that makes sense), cube eggplant, zucchini and slice capsicums

2) Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a good, sturdy casserole pot (in my dreams I have a Le Creuset for this), heat and add onions. Add a pinch of salt and stew these slowly until they turn translucent.

3) Add all other ingredients, then leave to simmer for 30-45 minutes. I tend to add the basil later on so it retains it's green, vibrant flavour, and if I'm in the mood I'll add a pinch of raw sugar to the stew as well.

4) I like my ratatouille served with a nice, chewy baguette alongside, or on a bed of fluffy couscous. If I'm feeling very la-dee-da (ie, if I have friends over), I'll jazz up the couscous with some lemon rind and dried rosemary or tarragon (I give them a bash together in a mortar and pestle and stir through the cooked couscous) and toasted pine nuts.

(Image nabbed from Google)

Monday, May 18, 2009

8 Things

'Cos I like these tagging larks (especially during the last, energy-sapping feed of the night). Thanks to le parapluie deteste la pluie!

8 things I'm looking forward to:

1) going to sleep
2) having afternoon tea with my dad tomorrow
3) buying some yarn to start my first afghan blanket
4) getting my new boots soled
5) Baboushka’s first word
6) teaching Baboushka to swim next summer
7) my post-grad studies
8) living overseas

8 things I did yesterday:
1) had a shower
2) hung out washing
3) walked to beach with Baboushka to meet friends
4) discovered friends meant pub with same name as beach
5) nearly throttled hip-but-daft kid who took 30 minutes to put bircher muesli in tub and hand it over, but thought patient thoughts and smiled sweetly instead
6) went to pub and spewed forth massive bitchkrieg re: hip-but-daft kids in customer service these days
7) felt like old crone re: phrase ‘kids these days’; ordered a Fire Engine to feel young again
8) enjoyed rest of afternoon with friends

8 things I wish I could do:
1) speak Portuguese
2) speak Russian
3) speak Arabic
4) play the piano like Tori Amos
5) breathe underwater
6) knit amazing things
7) tame lions
8) join a circus with my lion-taming skills

8 things I watched recently:
1) At the Movies (re-run)
2) SBS World News
3) Madmen
4) 30 Rock
5) Tony vs Paul on Youtube (for the 100th time)
6) Doubt
7) The Duchess
8) The Reader

Tag yourselves if you're so inclined, friends!


On Friday night, I had a bit of a kitchen accident. I'd put a tin of condensed milk on the stove to boil (to make caramel for these fantabulous brownies), and somehow I ended up ensconced in a long-overdue spot of vacuuming (the urge to clean hits at even sillier times of day than the urge to bake), forgot the tin and ended up with a kitchen covered in caramel. What a flipping mess.

I had a feeling it was coming. I'd heard about it happening and read warnings, but secretly I knew it would happen to me. Many a potentially delicious meal has suffered an incendiary, charred death at my forgetful hands. A few months ago I managed to melt a breastpump after what was initially an attempt to sterilise it after its first use. I cried and vowed to be more vigilant in the future. Ah, such good intentions. I like to think that I'm the kind of person who makes plenty of mistakes, but who only has to make them once. But not when it comes to the unmerciful power of the stove top.

I can only hope that the unpleasantness of having to clean a kitchen covered entirely in big gobs of caramel will stay fresh enough in my mind that I will be more careful with my cooking endeavours...

(Image via Google)


Ooh, more Bobble goodness. I love Stam's topknot, probably needs a whole bunch of hairspray, though. I particularly like the Bobble + Metallica tee combo. It reminds me of something I'd wear out to my mailbox, blinking in the morning sun, only with a pair of Bonds Cottontails in place of the jeans. My neighbours are no doubt sick of seeing my underwear, but Cottontails are so enormous that they are practically shorts, no?

(Image via Le Fashion)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I had vague plans for a spot of late night vacuuming

But instead I am nabbing Lina from Deer Hunter's Google fun quiz-type thing.

1. Your age on your next birthday

2. Your favourite colour

3. Your middle name

4. The last meal you ate

5. Your bad habit

6. Your favourite fruit/vegetable

7. Your favourite animal

8. The town you live in

9. The most useful thing in your house

10. The name of your pet

11. Your most recent purchase

12. Something that makes you happy

13. Your first name

14. Your last name

Anyone who so desires, consider yourself tagged!

Not exactly practical...

...but during my regular blog perusals I have stumbled upon, among others, these delightful treasures:
all this happiness
clever nettle
Deer Hunter
Esme and The Laneway
le parapluie déteste la pluie
liebemarlene vintage
lost in the forest
The Little House By The Sea
The Vintage Year
Vegan and Vintage.

They're just gorgeous and lots of fun to read, but they make me a little sad for my own lovely vintage and secondhand clothes that are being terribly neglected. Pencil skirts, cute shoes, and anything involving silk, sequins and appliques are up there on my list of Favourite Things to Wear, but they also feature on my new list of Do Not Wear With Small Baby In Tow. And as my small baby spends most of her waking hours (and some of her sleeping ones, too) attached to me, well, you get the picture.

There was one day where I got a chance to wear something nice - Babushka hung out with her doting grandfather while I ventured out for my 6-week postnatal check-up. I wore a pink tweed pencil skirt that somehow fit, but because I felt silly to be dressing up for an occasion that mainly involved hiking said skirt up for my internal (why do they do that only 6 weeks after pushing a small human out? Why?!), and as always I had about 3 seconds in which to clothe myself, it was paired with a t-shirt and thongs. Ah well.

So I'm going to play 'virtual' vintage dress ups (hey, that would be a fun idea - The Sims: Wardrobe Remix. I'd play it! Although I can imagine it getting pretty boring upon realising that there's even less to it that Paris Hilton's day-to-day life. Ouch, retract those claws!). Oh eBay, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

40's dresses in autumnal colours

Black smocks with lace detailing - I wore dresses like this when I was little, I'd wear them now!

(from eBay shop Vintage-With-Heart)

Cute dresses with tiny Liberty-esque blossoms

Strapless floral party dresses (to be worn with a long-sleeved knit underneath and black tights, to subdue the party-ness)

(from eBay shop mama stone vintage)

Obligatory sequins

(from Vintage Glamourpuss)

Fabulous evening bags and clutches

(eBay store Fine Vintage Handbags)

And pretty, pretty heels in jewel-tones

(from eBay shop Floozees Vintage)

Phew! Vintage addiction satiated (for the time being).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Can pumpkin get you high?

Yes, I know that that is a ridiculous question. Of course pumpkin does not get one high. However, every time I eat this I feel...very good. My version always has a lot of pumpkin in - if I've got a whole pumpkin I'm going to use the whole pumpkin, otherwise it will sit dejectedly in the back of the fridge until it starts supporting a whole other, miniature ecosystem and I have to toss it into the compost. So my first conclusion was that it is the pumpkin illiciting some sort of feel-good, hormonal reaction (or however it works). But it could equally be the lentils or one of the spices - I should look into it. Right after I attack the monstrous pumpkin sitting on my bench while Babushka has a rare afternoon nap..


Ingredients (serves 4)

* 1 cup red lentils, rinsed in cold water
* 2 Tbs olive oil
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, crushed
* 2 tsp grated ginger
* 1 tsp ground cumin (I am often more generous than 1 tsp with the spices)
* 1 tsp ground turmeric
* 1 tsp ground paprika
* 2 cups diced pumpkin
* 2 celery stalks, chopped (I often leave these out, and no dramas)
* 100g green beans, cut into 2cm lengths
* 2 tbs lime juice (ditto the lime juice)
* 1 small bunch coriander, large stalks removed, chopped
* Steamed basmati rice and plain yoghurt, to serve


1. Place rinsed lentils, the curry leaves and 3 cups of cold water (750ml) in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a large frypan over medium heat, add onion and cook 2-3 minutes until soft. Add garlic, ginger and spices and cook for 1 minute. Add pumpkin and celery and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes.
3. Add pumpkin mixture to lentils and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Add beans, cook for 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in lime juice and coriander.
4. Serve with rice, and dollop with yoghurt.

(Image from; original version of this recipe also from

Monday, May 11, 2009

Go Vego

After over a year of not having tv, Pat and I caved. It wasn't so much a moral stand against television (although the quality of shows these days seems a bit dire. Seriously, what is 20/01?) as an aesthetic concern - our set looks best against a particular wall, and the aerial cord is located in an opposite corner of the room. So we decided to buy a length of cord and keep it coiled away when the tv is not in use. That this development coincided with Madmen appearing on SBS is no coincidence.

One very cool new thing to have happened to the world of television since I was last there is the appearance of advertisements encouraging people to adopt a vegetarian diet. Well, of course I think this is a good thing, being of the herbivore school myself. I guess I just think it's about time - meat-eaters have had Sam 'Jurassic Park' Neil on their side, for goodness sake, so it's heartening to see a little promotion for our 'side'.

I haven't been able to locate any links pertaining specifically to the SBS campaign, but I did come across this one:


In an effort to further promote the various benefits from eating low on the food chain, my plan is to post as many vegetarian and vegan recipes as I can (after testing them out myself, of course!). And I can pretty much guarantee that they will all be pretty darned easy, as my wee lady does not generally permit me a lot of time for fussy food preparation.

(Image via Google)

Forget Mother's Day...

..I think 'Grandmother's Day' would be more apt. It's this weather - as soon as the days get shorter and the nights have a chill in the air, all I want to do is shuffle about in my dressing gown and get seriously cosy.

Give me a lap blanket, a teapot full of tea, slippers and some knitting (I've just started a new scarf, but I so very badly want to be able to make the blanket above). Add the dulcet tunes of Billie Holiday or Charles Trenet and voilà! Happiness.

(Image via Google)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chez Helena

Nosy voyeur that I am, The Selby is one of my favourite blogs to visit. I'm also a big fan of gorgeous Helena Christensen, so I was quite pleased to see that her New York loft recently featured.
(Images from French Vogue via The Selby)

I love Helena's style - she was doing laid-back, quirky bohemian before Sienna Miller even knew what the word meant..

And, just in time for Mother's Day