Friday 23 October 2009

Food for thought

Ok,  I have five minutes on my mum's computer while the girls demolish her place, so I'll do a quick blog.
Well due to popular demand (well, a request from Linda) I'll give you an update on my gastronomical trip to Melbourne. And boy did I eat!
We flew in on Friday evening and within an hour of landing we were sipping Veuve at the zinc-plated bar at Bistro Vue (the little sister restaurant to the three-hatted Vue de Monde). A fantastic introduction to Melbourne and set the tone for the whole weekend.
We then tucked into garlic snails alongside foie gras and spatchcock ballontine. Divine! Next was traditional duck confit. Without going into too much hyperbole, it was simply the best duck I've ever had. Moist and flavoursome. It was matched perfectly with a Tassie Pinot Noir. I truly could've been in some Parisian laneway.
We then hotfooted it over to the casino to meet some friends for a cocktail and a spin of roulette. We had no luck, so decided we needed something sweet [see my earlier thoughts on gambling and dessert in my post in July] and landed at the bar of Rockpool Bar & Grill. It's a fabulous fit-out and the smell of the wood fire is so seductive. After a toasted brioche and chocolate hazelnut sandwich served with a delectable Sauternes I was in heaven. It's still one of my top 5 restaurants and I can't go to  Melbourne without a visit. The Sydney version is fabulous too, though has a different feel.
The next morning Skip and I grabbed breakfast in the Degreaves laneway. We both gobbled down green eggs and ham [scrambled eggs with pesto] before I waved him bye-bye and he was off to the Caufield Cup.
This left me with a whole day on my own just to wander around and do whatever I felt like. Ahhhh spontaneity, how I've missed you!
After a morning trawling around the shops, it was back to the casino for lunch. Tossing up between Bistro Guillame and Nobu,  I decided to take the Japanese option after indulging in French the night before. I went with the Bento Box and sake. The signature dish of black cod in miso was the highlight, the flavours were so perfectly balanced and melted in my mouth. It helped ease any discomfort I felt at dining on my own. 

I was now really feeling the effects of all my gorging so spent the next three hours pounding the pavement and discovering every inch of Melbourne's CBD. While working off all the food, I fell even more in love with the city. It's so different to Sydney and it really is a vibrant, creative place.

After a glass of Pinot while reading a trashy novel in a laneway wine bar, it was time to retreat to my hotel bubble bath with a selection of chocolates from Koko Black. A good long soak, a hit of 80% chocolate and my book and I was so relaxed that I even started to miss the kids.

Skip and his mates picked me up in cab on their way back from the track and we hit Lygon Street, Carlton. Crab pasta, garlic bread, bruschetta and lashings of Shiraz. It wasn't the best meal I've ever eaten, but it was a lot of fun. We laughed, people watched and felt like we could've been in a scene from Underbelly.

After one last sleep in, it was time to jet back to Sydney and life as mum. It was a fun escape from reality and my waistline is still recovering. In fact, the gastro tour feels like it's still going after a birthday week filled with cake and chocolate crackles; dinner at Ivan & Lissie's last night for a good friend's birthday and tomorrow night we'll be dining at Quay!
November is going to be all about light healthy eating!

My computer is still at the shop and I feel like I'm missing my right arm. I'm hoping to have it back soon as I have a whole host of posts in my head that are busting to get out.
Hopefully I'll be writing again soon!
Ta ta for now.

Weathering heights

Sorry I haven't been a very dedicated blogger this week, things have been busy... I actually hate using that excuse. It's all wrapped up in my loathing for small talk, that I've mentioned once or twice before. It seems that everyone in Sydney is busy, always so busy, too busy to do anything. People always say to me: "You must be so busy." The truth is, I'm not really that busy at all. In fact, I often have days where I twiddle my thumbs and wonder what on earth I'm going to do to fill in the time. Of course, there are always lots of things I should be doing - like cleaning out the cupboard, sorting out the broken toys, gardening - but whoever wants to do those things? Certainly not me. I think generally people make their lives more complicated than they need to be or just make their lives busy so they have something to small talk about.

Another of my least favourite conversations is weather. "It's going to be a hot summer." People say this every September/October without fail. 
I also love/hate the negative/positive weather convo. It goes something like this: "Goodness, this rain is getting a bit much, but we really do need it for the dams" or "This wind is just terrible, good for getting the washing dry though". 
There is a little old lady I know and they only conversations we have ever had is about the weather. "Oooh it's going to be a hot one today, make sure you stay inside out of the sun" "Oooh it's very brisk out today, make sure you stay inside where it's warm". Poor love, no wonder she's a virtual shut-in, her only contact with the outside world is to get her weather report from me.

The problem for me is though, while I detest small talk, I also hate people who open up and share way too much in a first meeting. At a playgroup recently a mum told me in great detail all about her fertility problems. Waaaaay too much information for me between playdough and story time.

So what's the answer? Become a shut-in and just blog. 

Have a top weekend.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

The day my life changed forever

Three years ago today, I was driving round the streets of Marrickville after an amazing Vietnamese lunch at one of my favourite places. Skip got terribly lost and we spent an hour driving round in circle and I clearly remember thinking 'Wow, I'm going to be able to tell my daughter about this one day... the day she was born.'
Later that evening as I was grabbing onto the kitchen bench in pain, Skip said to me 'Gee, if you're like this now what are you going to be like when you're really in labour?'
My gorgeous daughter was born about 1.5 hours later... so much for not really being in labour.

To my simply enchanting girl, you've grown in the most wonderful little person. Your excitement for life and passion for getting out in the world inspires me. You make me laugh more than I've ever laughed before. You make getting up at 5am worth it. I look at you and marvel at your innate gentleness and compassion. More than anything you make life a joy.
Happy birthday!

Friday 16 October 2009

Until next time...

I'm signing off for a couple of days. Enjoy your weekends everyone!
It's nice going out on a high - it's been a blissful week of blogging while everything else seems to be crumbling around me.

Take care x

Wouldn't it be lovely...

Well this morning I got another lovely surprise!

My little ol' blog received the Lovely Blog award:


The gorgeous Brenda over at Mummy Time bestowed the lovely honour on me! So thank you, Brenda! I so enjoy reading your blog, that has me laughing out loud most days! You're a star.

There are some rules to this award and I have to continue the love. Here's what needs to be done:
  1. Accept the award.
  2. Post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
  3. Pass the award to other blogs that you have newly discovered.
  4. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know that they have been chosen for this award.
So I would like to recognise these absolutely lovely blogs:

Lanie at Edible Urban Garden  who will one day inspire me to turn my dust bowl into a green wonderland.

Tiny at Tiny Trappings whose artistic take on the world colours my life.

Sarah at Forever in Acrylic Afternoons who inspires me and makes me laugh!

Sharnia at Chronicles of Sharnia who has a darn good read.

Thanks! You girls brighten up my day!

Don't forget to share the love

Thursday 15 October 2009

And the Oscar goes to...

Wow, I won this week's Blog This challenge about my life as a movie! What a thrill!

I'd like to thank my agent, my mum, God....

In all seriousness, thank you Blog This and everyone who read and voted. I really am chuffed!


Wednesday 14 October 2009

What goes around, comes around

When I was three, my brothers and I were allowed to rent two videos between us each week. At each and every visit to the shop I would have a tantrum until everyone finally relented and let me bring home Raggedy Ann and Andy yet again. Once home I would watch it over and over and over, driving the whole family completely insane.

Fast forward 30 years - My lovely mother gave Lil-lil a DVD of The Adventures of Strawberry Shortcake. Now she demands to watch it over and over and over again. I think if I hear their squeaky voices and the sappy songs one more time I'm going to have a meltdown. I tried to 'lose' the DVD, but it reappeared. When I thought it had finally been forgotten it was shown on cable TV.

I now fully understand the torture I put my family through. Why they turned a shade of green if they happened to see a rag doll while out and about. I'm sure my brothers would still be able to sing the theme song or quote some dialogue if requested.

So, to all my family I apologise. To my daughter, I hope that in 30 years time you are blessed with a daughter who develops an obsession with some sickly sweet cartoon character.

See you tomorrow! 

Tuesday 13 October 2009

TV daze

When I was a bright young thing, I used to care about all kinds of causes, loved a heated debate on politics or the state of the world. Would often just sit and ponder about all kinds of deep and meaningful topics. I was passionate about changing the world.

Somewhere along the way my brain has been zapped. Maybe it's from watching too much TV. Maybe it's from three long years of extreme sleep deprivation. Maybe it's from having kids. Or maybe my brain has just given up the ghost. I now find when it comes to current affairs and the like, it takes an extreme subject to get my blood boiling. However, give me something completely ridiculous or mundane and it can really raise my blood pressure.

There were two recent events that made me come to this realisation. The first was the Blog This! challenge about making a movie of your life. I mentioned that my life story would be similar to a Seinfeld plot and this is oh so true. Then the other night I was lying in bed at 3am after being awoken by Lil-lil and I couldn't get back to sleep, I wasn't worrying about climate change or the rise in interest rates. I wasn't worried about poverty or the middle east. I kept wondering why our next door neighbours took our garbage bin instead of there's. Our's is nice and shiny and new. There's is old and scruffy. They both have our house numbers written in bold, black ink. There's no way they could have mistaken our bin as there bin. It's petty, I know, but I was consumed by it. 

Our car has also developed a terrible stench. It didn't catch it from a stinky valet parking attendant. In fact, we're not quite sure how the pong got there. For about a week, the smell just developed a life of its own and made every journey almost unbearable. I worried about if the odour would ever pack its bags and get the hell out of our car. After some intensive treatment at the car wash, the stink has gone, so we didn't have to park it in a dodgy laneway with the keys in the ignition. It was just another episode in the life of Corinne that is straight out of Seinfeld. Skip and I often have long conversations about inane things, not unlike the chats Jerry has with George, Elaine and Kramer at the coffee shop.

So is my life destined to be just a reenactment of a '90s sitcom or will the passion once again return. How do you keep the fires of your mind burning? 

Ten things I want to do in my lifetime

Here is another Blog this challenge. I have to list 10 things I want to do in my lifetime that I'm yet to achieve.

10. My family and I to live in France for an extended period of time - we'll eat and drink up the culture.

9. Sing on stage in front of a large audience as a solo performer (and knock their socks off).

8. To actually write that children's book that I keep talking about.

7. To have a family home in the country or near the sea where my children, husband and I can retreat and fill with happy memories for many years to come.

6. For Skip and I to have our own successful business that we love running.

5. To give back to my community by helping the elderly or refugees (another thing I've talked about but never done).

4. To plant a beautiful garden and maintain it.

3. Take my children around Australia and show them the most glorious spots Skip and I have found.

2. See my girls grow into intelligent, confident and happy women.

1. To sit with Skip and be surrounded by our grandkids while we make them laugh with stories about the old days.

Monday 12 October 2009

One of those days...

DO you ever have one of those days where, try as you might, nothing runs smoothly? It's like everyone has taken their cranky pills and are purposely getting in your way. Today is one of those days for me.

I had a top weekend, filled with fun and laughter. Now, it's Monday and I can't seem to do anything right. I've been tidying the house since about 8am and it looks no cleaner. I've hung the washing out and it's clouded over and threatening rain. I spilt my breakfast all over myself. I keep dropping things. Some early-20-something laughed at me as he heard me crooning Britney Spears' "Sometimes" at Coles. I realise there are people in the world having worse days than me, but it does get draining after a while.

The highlight of the day so far was my trip to the post office. As I waited in line to collect a parcel, the woman behind me kept getting closer and closer, breathing down my neck, like this was somehow going to make the process faster. Lil-lil kept pulling toys and books off the shelves insisting she needed them (since when does the post office sell toys anyway?) After a 20-minute wait, I was finally one person away from success. Then all of a sudden Lil-lil screams: "I need to do a wee-wee!". I asked if she could wait and she burst into tears: "Now! Quick!" So I had to abandon my place in line. The pushy lady behind was overjoyed that she'd moved a place up. So we went to the toilet and had to start over again.

It's not the worst day of my life by any stretch of the imagination, but it's one of those days you can't wait to put behind you. Oh well, the sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow they'll be sun!

Friday 9 October 2009

Giddy up!

I can't wait for Saturday! I'm hitting the track with some lovely ladies, while the men stay at home with the kids. A few bets, some bubbles and more than a few laughs will be the order of the day. As much as I love the girls, a few hours kicking up my heels is going to be bliss - especially as those said heels just got wee-d on!

The girls I'm going with are ooooollllld friends, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. A couple of them I've known since I was five, the rest I befriended in year 7. A couple of them have never been to the track before so it's going to be a riot. Of course they'll be the obligatory '7 red is best' debate, actually I don't think there's any debate about it.

There really is nothing better than a few hours with the girls, giggling about all those silly things you laugh at. 

Now if the sun would just come out, it will be a perfect day! Watch out Rosehill, the girls are a'comin.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

My life on the silver screen

This post is part of the Blog This! website 19 challenge. I have to answer :

'If they made a movie of your life, what would be the main issue/event and who would be the main characters? Feel free to elaborate on actors, directors, cinematographers, soundtrack etc'

If my exciting (ha!) life made the silver screen its plot would seem a lot like Seinfeld: The Movie except, of course, it would be Corinne: The Movie. The heroine would be played by Scarlett Johannsen, as she's the only blonde seductress that could truly carry off the complex role of Corinne. Skip would be played by Johnny Depp, because umm, why the hell not? Lil and Goosey, would be played by one of the Olsen twins and that blonde kid from War of the Worlds. I can hear Oscar calling already...

As the movie has a gorgeous blonde as its star and delves into the boring - yet deadly - mixed up world of the everyday, there can only be one director - Alfred Hitchcock.

The soundtrack would feature grungey music of the early '90s (like Nirvana and Alice in Chains) mixed with late '90s Britpop (Pulp and Blur).

If you put all these elements together, Corinne: The Movie would be a hard rock with a twist of pop film noir suspense all about nothing.

Homework, sweet homework

I don't have much time to post today, I have homework to do. Well, my two-year-old has homework to do. Yes, that's right, my two-year-old got homework from her kindy - as she can't read or write or take photos yet that means I have homework.

I'll admit it's a cute project - everyone has taken turns in bringing home the kindy's mascot (a stuffed animal) and we have to take photos of what adventures we've been on and print it all up and bring it back. It was cute until reality hit me. I have spent the past few days organising 'photo shoots', dragging this stuffed animal everywhere go and praying to god I don't lose it. I tell you, it's more stressful than the uni! The kindy that Lil-lil goes to is just two hours a week and she attends with her Grandma who stays with her the whole time. So I guess it's really a glorified playgroup. My mum has told me that some of the parents have put quite a bit of effort into the project, so I'm feeling pressured by the whole thing! Apparently, parents have gone to the Blue Mountains, island holidays, boat rides and all sorts of things. We went to.... Coles.

I'm not a big believer in homework. Especially for kids younger than secondary school age. When I went to school we didn't get homework until year three. Now kids in kindergarten get nightly homework, even preschoolers get homework! It's madness!

I asked some people why a two-year-old needs homework, apparently the thinking behind it is that parents are so busy these days 'homework' offers them an opportunity to interact and learn with their kids. I kind of find that a bit condescending that the 'experts' think parents need instruction about how to spend quality time with their kids. Also, if they do, in fact, need it, what the hell are we doing as parents?

I spend countless hours every week reading, singing, chasing, drawing and talking with my girls. We watch clouds in the sky. Count how many peas they eat. Look for rainbows. Pat dogs in the park. We dig in the dirt. We laugh like hyenas. These are the best types of 'homework' in my book.

I do have to say, I've enjoyed having our little stuffed friend around. Though I know I'll be feeling like that little fifth grader again when I hand in Lil-lil's homework and it doesn't quite reach the heights of the other kids' work. God how I hated those kids who spent hours colouring borders, doing special lettering, etc, etc, etc.... 

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Should I make it a clean sweep?

It feels like everyone I know has a cleaner. I tell Skip this and he doesn't believe me, but it's true. Every fortnight all of my friends have a friendly little team of people come to their house to scrub away their soap scum, mop their floors and dust their ornaments. 

Am I the only sucker who still drags out the vacuum cleaner every once and a while? Grabs the Gumption and make my tub gleam? 

I'm having this internal battle with myself at the moment of whether I should throw away mop and bucket and hire a cleaner. It would be so wonderful to have someone come and make the house sparkle twice a month. Then I think - I'm home every day, why can't I keep the $50 and just do it myself? I'm scared that if I take the plunge, I'm going to want more. In fact, I know I'll want more!

If I have someone who cleans up my filth, then why can't someone do my washing. If I can have someone doing my washing, why can't someone do my cooking. Then I'll want the shopping done. Then I'll want a nanny. Then I'll want an interior designer. Then I'll want a gardener. Then I'll want a full-time hair and make-up person. Maybe then I can finally lie on the lounge, eat chocolate and watch day times soaps like I was promised when I gave up 'working'. 

Monday 5 October 2009

My weekend

Lazy long weekend. Long chats with good friends. Delicious food and wine. Lying in bed with a good book. Wishing I was with the rest of my family in Vietnam. Quality time with Skip and the girls. A dash of cable TV. Chasing kids in the park. Feeling wonderfully relaxed.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Somber chuckles

I'm feeling a little somber today. Which is strange as it's a glorious hot day outside and I have a whole four days ahead of me to spend with my family.

I guess with some of the awful images on our TV screens at the moment, you can't help but take stock and be thankful for what you have. I can be a terrible whinger (gee, I guess you never would have guessed that from my posts huh??), but I try to always be positive, not that I'm always successful of course.

I also have some friends who are struggling through some issues at the moment, which makes me through up my hands and stomp my feet and say: "That's just not fair". Why is it that bad stuff happens to such good people, why does it happen over and over too? I think I'll live 100 years and still not know the answer.

So out of respect for all those people who are going through tough times around the globe at the moment, I'm going to enjoy every second of today. I'm not going to wish away one moment. I'm going to hug my girls a little bit tighter. Most of all I'm going to laugh, because what's it all worth if you can't laugh?

To lighten things up.... it's the Sydney Internation Food Festival. What is everyone going to be eating this month? I can't wait for Saturday so we can go and stock up on Trunkey Pork from the markets. It's the most delicious pork going. I'm also looking forward to fish and chips tonight with the family, hopefully eaten at some seaside locale. Tomorrow is a quiet lunch with Skip at Solitary in Katoomba. We'll probably watch the footy grand final with some yummy cheese from the Fouth Village cheeseroom. Yummmmmm

To celebrate food month, can anyone tell me a food secret? Their favourite place to buy delicious produce? A sneaky spot to grab a great duck leg? Or a perfect pastry?

Bon apetit!
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