Monday, 3 October 2011

Footy Finals Fever 2011

It has been a big week of football across all of the codes we love - AFL, rugby union and rugby league. It all started on Monday night when 7mate televised the Brownlow count for the first time ever into Sydney, to much appreciation from at least two former Melbournians. It was fabulous night of counting (votes), clothes (good effort this year people) and comfortable couches (for Eady and I anyway). Congratulations to Dane Swan from the Collingwood Magpies for winning the gong this year. I have been known to take issue with winners in years past but I definitely feel he is a worthy recipient after his 2011 season!

The excitment really ramped up on Wednesday night when Eady and I attended a function at the Sydney Opera House. The former Wallabies captain and current captain of the Melbourne Rebels, Stirling Mortlock, was  a guest speaker at the function. He gave lots of feedback on the current Wallabies side and the teams to watch in the World Cup series currently playing out across the ditch. He named the current-favourite-but-by-no-means-guaranteed-winner as the All Blacks but also suggested that England are flying under the radar and could well end up stealing the cup away from the hosts (beware New Zealand, underestimate Johnny Wilkinson and his drop kick at your peril....). Stirling shared some insight into the new players drafted to play with the Rebels next year and how he proposes to keep them on the straight and narrow. All I will say is may the force by with you Stirling, I suspect that James O'Connor is going to be a handful! The exciting part of the night was meeting Stirling, having some photos taken with him and taking home my very own autographed ball.

The AFL Grandfinal on Saturday was a big day of BBQs, barracking for Geelong and booing for the Pies. Needless to say, I was really pleased that the Cats won and by such a healthy margin too. It really validates their 2011 team - that even without Bomber Thomspon at the helm and the amazingly skilful Garry Ablett on the field, they are still an exceptional team capable of winning the premiership in convincing style. Now if only the Western Bulldogs can pull it together for 2012, I will be one very happy fan! With torrential rain in Sydney on Sunday, we were left with little choice but to stay indoors and watch some more football. So off we headed to our local pub to watch the NRL Grandfinal against Manly Sea Eagles and the New Zealand  Warriors. Along with just about every other North Shore resident who didn't go to the game, we were there supporting Manly. The Sea Eagles ended up winning by 14 points on the day but unfortunately this was a little too good a win for us. We had a double-header bet that the Cats would win by less then 39 points and Manly by 12 or less and so the two extra points cost us a nice, tidy pay out from the TAB. Who would have thought there is such a thing as too much good news?!!

With the 2011 seasons over now in all codes, we will be making the most of the World Cup games before another endless summer begins. Now if I can just find a way to stay awake during the cricket, I'm sure I won't miss the footy quite so much...

Monday, 26 September 2011

From the mouths of babes

On the weekend, I spoke to our nearly 5 year old niece Stella, who lives all the way over in London. Stella and I (or Little Monkey and Big Monkey respectively) love to have chats about what is going on in the world - what songs we like to sing (Anything on Singstar), why Australia is so sunny (Baba is smiling down from heaven) and who gets to sleep in which bedroom on the family trip to London for Christmas 2011 (Lucky Eady, if Stella gets her way he will be bunking down with Grandma!!). But our chat this weekend took a decidedly serious turn and in the interests of highlighting the brevity of it, here is a direct transcript:

Stella (whispering): Cole-Cole, Can I tell you a secret?
Cole K: Sorry, what was that?
Stella (whispering slightly louder): Can I tell you a secret?
Cole K: Oh, okay, go on then
Stella: My parents are donkeys
Cole K: What?
Stella: My parents are donkeys
Cole K: Donkeys? Your parents are donkeys? What does that mean?
Stella (slightly exasperated): Yes, donkeys. That's what we call people that we think are pretty silly
Cole K: Oh...okay.

So, so harsh. And the worst bit, Stella isn't even a teenager for another 8 years!!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Sit and Polish

A prediction of a top temperature of 32C was reason enough for me to want to forgo shoes and drag out the strappy sandals today. But after a winter of haphazard and not always timely pedicures, a bit of work was needed to get my twinkle toes up to public viewing standards so a visit to one of the many nail salons that are within a 5 minute walk of my house was the order of the day. Now whilst my beauty routine may have been in hibernation over the last few months, those glamorous scientists of the cosmetics world were inventing all sorts of glamorous beauty products for lazy people like me and the one item I am excited about trying is Shellac, a hybrid between nail polish and gel. The claims of this product are that it is dries almost instantly, is chip resistant for 14 days and doesn't damage the nail surface. For someone like me who refuses all colored nail polishes on my fingernails because of a high chip factor (within 24 hours people, every single time) and has had one disasterous experience with gel and will never try it again, this could well be the answer to colour co-ordinating hands and feet for me.

So here I am several hours after choosing a neutral pink colour that makes me feel all graceful and ballerina like (as opposed to the baby fairy elephant I am more often associated with). Even after lots of scrounging around in my handbag, the usual chipping culprit, all is perfect with my polish! Let's see how long this nail perfection lasts in the World of Cole but so far, so good.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

It's bloomin' lovely in Sydney

Today was a day that just screamed out for flowers. I'm sure it had plenty to do with the warm sea breeze and the beautiful blue sky that greeted me when I awoke this morning, after all there is no doubt that spring is definitely here in Sydney (finally!). So after some inspiration and a timely recommendation on where to get fresh flowers that bloom for ever and a day, I got myself off to the green grocer two suburbs away and bought a couple of bunches of flowers. Apart from looking quaint and pretty and reminding me of my lovely Baba, the house is filled with the most divine spring scent too.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Gurrumul on a Monday Night

Going out on a school night is always an exciting thing to do. The fact that Eady and I don't have children and live in a suburb which is close to many fabulous places that are always busy no matter what the day or time, it is really a relatively easy thing for us to put into action. Last night we headed to the Sydney Opera House  straight after work to see Geoffrey Gurrumul, a blind country and western singer from a remote aboriginal settlement in the Northern Territory. We have followed Gurrumul for several years now and have wanted to see him in concert for almost as long. For sustenance prosecco and a sharing platter at Opera Bar hit the spot followed by a nice glass of red during the concert. This all made for a lovely setting in which to listen to the beautiful music of Gurrumul.

The only issue on the night was the heckler who was in the audience and called out during the support act. On the unlikely chance that the heckler reads this blog, I do hope you realise what a tool you were, it was neither funny nor clever. Behaviour like that is inconsiderate and insulting and judging by the crowd reaction to your comment, there are a lot of people in agreeance with me. So there.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

An Apple a Day

There should really be no excuse for my lack of blogging, especially given the latest tool at my disposal - a new iMac. What more inspiration could I possibly need to churn out post after post? Under usual circumstances (illness and busy work days aside which are my current excuse of choice), the creative juices would be overflowing purely from the excitment of adding yet another indisepensible, can't-live-without Apple product to the house. Apart from my iPhone (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE) and  iPad (didn't get it until I tried it but am now in love), I have always been a PC kind of girl. I used them through school and every company I have worked for has been pro-PC so it was always going to be the path for me. Well not any more. I am now rebeling against the PC way and am joining the cult that is Apple. Oh yes, this nerd is a convert! Surely Mr Jobs, you are a marketing genious...

Monday, 22 August 2011

Happy Birthday Dordie!

It has been a mad few days of birthday celebrations here in the World of Cole. First Eady on Thursday and then his sister Dordie yesterday. Eady put me in charge of present buying and as I knew that Dordie was in dire need of a new wallet following my none-to-subtle questioning ("So do you want anything in particular for your birthday?") I focused all of my attention on finding the perfect Dordie-style purse. I put my fingers to the keyboard and after a visiting all the usual Internet haunts, I found the ideal specimen if I do say so myself. So with no further ado, let me present to you Dordie's Bday gift: a cherry red, mock croc Furla cheque wallet. Isn't she a beauty?!!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Happy Birthday Eady!

Eady's birthday was today, woo hoo! The present opening ceremony was held at home after work with all of my presents for Eady having been lovingly wrapped by Mr Porter himself in black tissue paper and his signature boxes. This impressed Eady immensely and may well have given him insight into some of the pleasures that come with online shopping. After all, who doesn't get a shiver of excitement when their purchases come elegantly wrapped up in a box instead of a scrappy plastic bag? Infact Eady's extreme keenness to visit Mr Porter after seeing his gifts may well be a cause for concern - this house just ain't big enough for two internet shopoholics....!

I gave Eady a beautiful navy blue cashmere hoodie from J. Crew and some grey suede boots from Common Projects. He loved both and they fitted perfectly too. When Eady tried on his pressies, I realised yet again that I have one handsome hubby who is a cinch to buy for! The act of buying presents for him and watching him open them is really exciting, probably more so for me then him (and he gets pretty darn excited with presents so that is really saying something!). I'm sure that it is because Eady just looks amazing in everything so it is virtually impossible to go wrong when choosing gifts for him. Strangely enough, Eady doesn't see this himself but seems to think that I have this amazing talent for present buying. I really wish I could take credit, Ha! Ha!

After presents, we headed across the bridge to Surry Hills to celebrate. We started off with a glass of prosecco at The Lounge, followed by another at The Winery and dinner at Billy Kwongs, cooked by the lovely Kylie Kwong herself. It was a fantastic night for us both and Eady had a lovely time celebrating being one year closer to the big 4-0!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Pre-Birthday Boots for Eady

Today we hit the Oxford Street shopping precinct to find Eady some classic boots. He has wanted a pair for quite some time now but just hasn't been able to find the right ones. He already owns has a couple of pairs from Chronicles of Never and whilst they are made from beautiful leather and the design element of them is pretty spectacular - they would be appropriate for any number of occasions from traipsing through bars on a Friday night to an adventure in Middle Earth with a gang of hobbits, they are not the most hardy of shoes and tend to be a little delicate (to put it quite mildly).

We tried all the usual haunts on Oxford Street but just couldn't find anything suitable. So we decided to hit Kings Cross and venture to a little shop just off Darlinghurst Road called Recollections Past. It is such a beautiful store! Whilst I marvelled at the polished concrete floor, Eady tried on some boots that were just what he was looking for - the right style, his size in stock and available in black and chocolate brown.  Even better, they are handmade by a small Aussie company called Baxter, from a pattern that hasn't changed since the late 1890s. They were perfect in every way. I managed to convince Eady that the chocolate brown colour would be far more versatile and seemed to have a vintage charm about them which would become more evident as they are worn in, especially if the Store Manager's boots were anything to go by. Luckily he agreed and happy with this choice, a purchase was made. Bingo.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

All Quiet On The Blogging Front

The last week or so has flown by in a bit of a haze. Not surprising really, given the events that have occurred. Firstly, Eady lost his Grandfather after which we had a mad dash to Melbourne to attend the funeral. It was always going to be a difficult trip but the high point was watching Eady do an amazing reading at the service which made me so very proud - the strength and composure he showed was really inspiring! Along with this Eady had to go to hospital for a day. This meant his usual wardrobe of Nudie jeans and Converse made way for a standard issue hospital gown accessorized with a plastic ID bracelet and a pre-op prep that can only be described as uncomfortable and highly inconvenient. But Eady being the trooper that he is, sailed through it all with his usual aplomb. The good news is that everything went very well plus he has been given the all clear. Yay!!!

Today is also my one month anniversary of starting my new role. I still LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it, am learning heaps and having lots of different experiences too (meeting at Parliament House anyone?!!).
Obviously between work and home things have been a little chaotic in the world of Cole lately but with a bit of luck, everything should now be back on track. Lucky, as I can feel some online shopping blogs coming up...!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Our hearts are sad

Eady flew to Melbourne very early this morning with his sister Dordie. They heard late last night that their beloved Grandfather, Grandpa Des, had taken a turn for the worse and was not expected to live beyond the weekend. Grandpa Des has been battling lung cancer after being diagnosed a few months ago and whilst he has been fighting it with the understated yet steely strength that he is known for, it has become much a much harder fight over recent days and his health has deteriorated dramatically.

I have known Grandpa Des for close to 16 years, having fallen head over heels in love with Eady at first sight way back then and meeting his family soon after. Grandpa Des was just so lovely to me at our first meeting and made me feel like I was a very welcome addition to the clan despite the fact that Eady and I were very, very young yet extremely adamant that we were made for each other! So whilst there were a fair few cynics in the early days (understandably), we never had to justify our feelings for each other to Grandpa Des as he was able to see just how much Eady and I felt about each other despite our age and our relatively new relationship. He just accepted the whole "Cole loves Eady for ever and ever" at face value and made me feel like a Granddaughter-in-law from the very start. Therefore, it seemed only right that I call him Grandpa Des.

Unfortunately I got a call from Eady early this afternoon to confirm that Grandpa Des had passed away. My heart is sad to have lost this dignified yet warm and affectionate man with a tremendous love for his family. Sad too, for what Eady is feeling right now as his grieving begins. I really just want Eady to get back to Sydney so I can wrap him in my arms and reassure him that for as long as there is love, Grandpa Des will always remain in the hearts of all of those who loved him dearly. Me included.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Rain, Rain, go away...and you too Wiggly Worm

The rain in Sydney is wearing me down. It just won't stop and according to Tim the Channel 10 weatherman, it is likely to continue until well into next week. Shimmer, my cute-little-car, is not coping well either. There is so much water on the road that every time we drive through a puddle that is inevitably a lot bigger and deeper then it appears to be, we veer all over the road which gives us quite a fright. I end up gripping the steering wheel for the rest of the trip, praying that we get to our destination in one piece. Apart from Shimmer and I, Eady is having a tough time too. He works in the city and despite catching the bus and holding a huge kick-arse umbrella over him when he is walking, he has arrived home dripping wet the last 2 nights. His sense of humour about this is wearing decidedly thin and I fear this will not only result in major disillusionment towards the weather here but even a re-adjustment in the Melbourne vs. Sydney debate that rages within him (with Melbourne taking a convincing lead).

I am sure that the torrential rain we have had over the last week is also the reason we got a visit from Wiggly Worm last night. And I don't mean my niece, whom my Mum affectionately calls Wiggly Worm. I mean a real-life wiggly worm from the garden.

Yes, that's right, there was a worm on our cream carpet. Although the front door is only about 50cm from the worm's chosen spot, I am not sure how he could have navigated past the various implements that are in place to stop home invasions of the non-human and criminal variety. I suspect that he might well have caught a lift on Eady or I and then decided to settle in for a bit of R&R and a dose of Angry Boys on the afore-mentioned carpet. Unfortunately for him though, he was discovered before he got too comfortable. Thems the breaks worm.

Post-script: Eady is extremely concerned that by me writing a blog about a worm being found on our carpet, judgements will  be cast regarding the cleanliness (or rather the lack of), in our house. So dear readers, please let me confirm that Eady is a Type A personality who may be bordering on obsessive-compulsive regarding all things cleaning and that he lives with a wife who is petrified of clutter, mess and all kinds of bacteria especially the squiggly and spiral kinds. Therefore, the fact that a worm was found in our house is down to bad luck and not bad hygiene!

Monday, 18 July 2011

It's so warm and toasty in bed!

After returning to Australia five and half years ago when the sub-zero temperatures of the European winter became too much to bear, we thought we would be on easy street in Sydney weather-wise. Oh how we laughed about storing our thermals indefinitely, buying a house with no built-in heating and wearing thongs instead of ugg boots in the depths of winter. With a high of 19C today which is really just a typical mid-winter day here in Sydney and an overnight low of around 9C expected tonight, it is a little bit cheeky to complain about the chill when this temperature range would constitute an average summers day in the UK. But complain I do, as it is really bloody cold now that I have officially acclimatised! So cold infact, that yesterday on my way to afternoon tea with Elle B and Lyndal (cakes, fruit platters and knitting in between a far bit of chat) I had to stop off and buy our first ever electric blanket. We trialled it last night and in the space of 24 hours, the new blanket has become an essential appliance in our house, carbon tax and carbon footprint be damned!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Daily Commute

I admit that I was pretty spoilt in my last job with regards to my daily commute. It was a grand total of 3 kms from home to work with the longest part of the drive taking place in the carpark underneath my building - my specific car spot was hidden 7 levels underground. With my new role though, I now have a commute of 20 kms each way and it involves me travelling through the Sydney Harbour Tunnel to the outer Eastern suburbs of Sydney. It is a drive that has taken me anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes each time this week and probably likely to be even longer next week when the kiddies return to school and traffic returns to normal. Still I find the drive quite soothing, it gives me time to wind down after work (or fire up for the day ahead) and sing along to my favourite 80s power ballads replaying constantly on  Bogan FM. An added bonus is that I park less then 10 metres from the front door of the building and 20 metres from my desk. I know, crazy right? Whilst I am LOVE, LOVE, LOVING the carpark situation I do acknowledge that it is only my first week of cross-country driving so it remains to be seen if my zen-like acceptance of the daily commute continues.

Today I wore my black Giallo pumps to work. They have an almond toe and are very simple in design, almost to the point of being a bit boring. To liven them up a little, I like to decorate them and make them a bit more fun. Hence the purchase of some clip-on earrings from a local antique store. I attached the earrings to the front of each shoe which adds a point of interest to my feet (and distracts from the toe cleavage that is always on display thanks to my obscenely long toes that even Eady finds freaky). The clip-ons I chose to wear today were an antique silver pair that are really quite pretty and dainty. I didn't wear any socks/stockings/tights with my shoes but compared to yesterday, it was practically a heat wave in Sydney so all was good in the World of Cole.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Thank goodness for roast chicken!

I am on a very steep learning curve at my new company and I am finding that I'm so tired by the time I get home at night that all I want to do is crawl into bed and fall asleep! So with me having used all of my energy up at work and Eady having had a day best described as annoying, I made an executive decision to buy a roast chicken for dinner to avoid either of us having to spend time in the kitchen. Of course this meant I also had to buy roast potatoes (although I am sure that "deep fried" potatoes would have been a more accurate description) and a giant bottle of Pepsi Max, neither of which are all that acceptable given that it is currently Diabetes Awareness Week across Australia. But despite exercise and healthy eating having fallen by the wayside of late, it is not all doom and gloom as I can honestly say that I am still making an effort with my work outfits...which is lucky given it is only Day 3.

Today's outfit consisted of an LK Bennett dress, a brand that is thoroughly endorsed by The Duchess (and therefore me) which was accessorised with a patent leather belt from Cue and my Bianca Spender jacket.

I have already started to think about what to wear tomorrow which is going to be a "pants" day (as per my one day pants, next day skirt rule). I haven't quite decided yet what the final outift will be but I do know one thing, it needs to be very warm to keep out the winter chill!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

No more sleeping in for Cole K

I have just finished Day 2 in my new role and although it's early days, it definitely isn't too early to say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it already! The work is incredibly interesting and I am sure will prove to be very rewarding too once I get more involved. The CEO has been really supportive and the people within the company have been very welcoming, happy to answer the multitude of questions that I have thrown at them and are so enthusiastic about the ethos and vision of the company that you can't help but get caught up in the excitement.

Yesterday though, as the sun rose on my first day, I woke up feeling more nervous then excited and wanted to choose an outfit that was easy to wear yet professional in look (primarily to reassure the CEO that he had made the right decision in hiring me!) and so decided that a dress was the best way to go. I wore my black silk Jac+Jack sleeveless dress over a long sleeved woollen jumper dress from Kookai for some extra warmth and accessorised with a vintage style brooch. I was super organised and had made myself some treats like passionfruit yoghurt, vegetable fritatta and a slice of orange and almond cake the day before which I took with me to keep my hunger at bay during the day. I also took some roast chickpeas which I found in the health food section of the supermarket and which are my new favourite snack - delicious and healthy!

My usual way of coping with dressing dilemmas during the week is to alternate between pants and skirts - one day I wear pants and the next a skirt or dress and so on until casual Friday. The beauty of this method is that  that when I get up in the morning, if it is a "pants" day (or trousers for those in the Northern Hemisphere who believe that only undies are called pants), I can rule out half of my wardrobe and only have to think about outfits featuring pants. It might seem a little nuts but it does make the whole decision-making process about what to wear a little bit easier. So following this rule, I paired my See by Chloe pants and Jimmy Choos with a vintage style shirt chosen by my Grandma and purchased by my Mum a couple of years ago. As the office is a tad on the chilly side, a scoop neck woollen jumper from Glassons on top completed my office outfit.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

New Work Eve

Tomorrow morning is the first day in my new role and I have to say, I haven't been this excited about Monday to Friday time since I started Grade 3. And just like my 7 year old self, I have some new supplies to take on my first day - pink notepads, pink Hello Kitty pens, a pink drink bottle and a pink lunch box.

As Eady wisely commented, he is very unlikely to use my new lunch containers because they are hot pink. Considering he has half a Tupperware catalogue sitting in his desk drawer just waiting to be brought home, washed and put back into use, some might say that this is is mission accomplished on my part - I will always have a lunch container available now (just not a clear one!).

Two Dinners, One Dress

This weekend was a lazy one for me clothing wise in that I wore the same dress to two different dinners on the weekend. Sydney is cold, bitterly cold, so I needed to be warm. My tummy is sore, awfully sore, so I needed to be comfortable. Whilst this would ordinarily mean baggy trackie daks and a hot water bottle, I suspected that neither dinner venue would be likely to work with me on this. Therefore, my Fleur Wood woollen dress that I first blogged about here was voted as "Outfit Most Likely" for each dinner as it is warm, comfy around the tummy area and a tad more glam then my afore-mentioned outfit preference!

For Friday night, I paired my dress with a braided chocolate belt I bought on a trip to Melbourne a few years ago and my chocolate knee-high boots from Giallo.

For Saturday night, I teamed my dress with a shearling collar from County Road following some style inspiration from KittyCate's blog here, a black Mogil leather tie belt that I have owned for years and black riding boots from Duo in the UK.

On this note,  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Duo boots as they have so many different widths available that even I can find boots that perfectly fit my calves. Considering that I have reverse cankles (where my calves are so skinny they are practically the same width as my ankles and most boots make me look like I am wearing gumboots), this brand has been a blessing. Especially now that the Aussie dollar is so strong. Bingo.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Howdy Cowgirl

I have a bit of a country and western thing going on at the moment. My iPod has old school Kenny & Dolly on high rotation, I am loving the Saloon Bar at our local pub and I have started to think that line dancing classes could well be a legitimate way of getting fit. The commitment to all things western has even extended to my wardrobe by way of a checked shirt, which I wore today to meet Eady for lunch in the city. I am not usually a shirt wearer by tradition, no doubt because my essential house-keeping duties do not extend to ironing. But the beauty of this shirt is that it is best worn a little rumpled which means just wash, hang until dry and whack it in the wardrobe until it is needed. Oh yes, I do lazy well and to paraphrase Dr Phil, this shirt is an enabler.

Tonight I am making Eady and I an asian-inspired chicken dish for dinner, kind of like my own special version of Sang Choi Bow. Whilst it isn't strictly in keeping with my current cowgirl vibe, I am excited because it means I get to use my new multi-function stick blender for the first time. I did have one previously but we parted ways a couple of months back. I am what is known in the biz as a pretend chef in that I can't stand chopping, grating or slicing the old-fashioned Master Chef way and so I used my handstick nearly every time I cooked and I guess the handstick took the old adage of "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" quite literally and stopped working permanently. I finally got around to replacing it and in honour of the first use, I have chosen a dish that will allow every ingredient to be processed with the handstick. Obsessed? Well, I guess it is kind of hard to argue against based on my comments above but geez, I do love a multi-function handstick blender...

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

New Items

Today is my last Wednesday of non-work time before I start my new job next week. I didn't have many plans but was very happy to debut a couple of new items. Firstly, my new stripey tunic top which I bought when Mum and I went shopping on the weekend. It has bat wing sleeves which I am completely obsessed with right now and an asymmetric hem, longer at the back so my derriere is well and truly covered and shorter at the front (although still  long enough to be worn with leggings should I be so daring). I coupled this with a fabulous new "Congratulations on the new job" present that my Mum gave me. It is a gorgeous silver ring with a grey pearl which I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and coincidentally, matches my new top perfectly. It is such a brilliant and much appreciated gift from Mum - I will definitely be wearing it on my first day!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Girlfriends are the best!

Girlfriends really are indispensable and this was shown to me yet again when I caught up with the lovely ElleB last night for dinner at Garfish in Kiribilli, a fantastic place specialising in seafood and simple-yet-very-tantalising desserts. It wasn't our first time there so we barely had to glance at the menu, and judging by how quickly we ate our dinner, I doubt it will be our last. Although next time, Elle B may well force me to order my own dessert after seeing how quickly I scoffed the ice-cream that accompanied hers (curse of the tight pants meant I was in abstain mode and didn't order dessert but as there are no calories in other people's food, I was perfectly happy to assist ElleB instead).

ElleB and I have a number of similarities - in life, love and health and consequently she is a great source of information and someone that I like to bounce ideas off. She is very considered in the answers she gives and  I really value our chats and her advice. Amongst our discussions last night, we spoke about a decision that ElleB has recently been confronted with and what her feelings are about making this decision. It was really interesting to hear her take on it and where she is at in the decision-making process. I know that the right choice for her will become apparent soon enough although I am sending her some good vibes to help with this!

Big Changes for Cole

It might seem from my recent posts that I haven't really had time to attend to things at The Office what with all of my shopping, eating and travelling. Well, that is kind of true. You see, I have recently finished at my previous company and come Monday 11th July, will be starting a new role in a whole new industry, woo hoo!

I have been involved in science-related things since graduating from university a number of years ago. Doing this type of work has enabled me to work, travel and live around the world whilst giving me lots of opportunity to be involved in fantastic projects, work with some incredible people and gain experience in a number of different management positions. But a couple of years ago, I came to the conclusion that I really wanted to broaden my experience to other industries whilst being able to continue on the management path (including starting an MBA) but also help people in a much more direct way. After some investigation, I decided that I wanted to work for a Not-for-Profit company that would allow me to do all of this whilst utilising my prior experience and knowledge and so I set about looking for the right opportunity. It took some time but eventually the right role presented itself and following a quick but intense application and interview process, I got my dream role! I can't wait to start and whilst I know there are going to be many challenges in adapting to a new company, industry, team and role, I am really looking forward to it.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Back to Sydney

Monday morning dawned far too quickly and I found myself back on the train to Melbourne. Before heading to the airport, I caught up with the divine Miss M whom I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. We decided to have coffee and cake at my favourite patisserie, Le Petite Gateau in Little Collins Street (unfortunately it was a little too early for a burger at Cafe Vue). Miss M updated me on the most recent developments in her life since we last spoke a week ago and as always, there was lots to catch up on. Miss M has decided to leave her current job and is starting a new one in August. She has been contemplating some changes of the work variety over the last few months and it is fantastic for her that all of her plans are falling into place! Apart from that Miss M and I chatted about everything in the way we normally do, a couple of sentences on one topic, then a couple of sentences on another completely unrelated topic before switching back to the original topic. This normally continues for a couple of hours without any pausing for breath. Miss M has been known to comment that if anyone was listening in to us, they would have no idea what we were talking about, wonder how we kept track of what we are talking about and assume we were both slightly nuts (a point which we are both more then happy to concede given the evidence).

After some goodies, I ran for my flight and am now at home waiting patiently to see the lovely Eady when he gets home from work. I can't wait!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

My Weekend

It has been really nice spending time with my Mum over the weekend. We did all of the usual things we do like chatting, shopping, having lunch and dinner and just taking life at a much easier pace then I do when I am in Sydney. Mum also updated me on all of the local happenings and although I haven't lived there for over half my life now(!), I still like to hear what is going on and how well everyone is doing. I got to catch-up with some of my favourite relatives like Auntie Stef and Uncle Henry who made a delicious dinner for Mum and I on Saturday night and whom we met for dinner each night I was there. For other relatives, like my wonderful grandparents, all I could do was take some flowers to the cemetery. Last April, we lost my beloved Grandma after a long illness. Being from the Ukraine, we called her Baba, which means Grandma in Ukrainian. We all miss her every day and for me, I still find it hard to believe that she isn't around anymore and find myself close to tears whenever I think about her. I guess the only consolation is that she is reunited with her husband, my Dido, who passed away 15 years ago. But I really do miss being able to visit them both and be plied with Ukrainian food of all descriptions. From the time I was little, I was always on the skinny side and Baba took this with great offence and did everything she possibly could to fatten me up. She would exclaim every time I saw her, in an accented English/Ukrainian hybrid language she developed over the years "Ah, my Cole-y, you so skinny, you like a skinny rabbit". I used to think that being compared to a rabbit was quite nice, rabbits are pretty cute after all. What I didn't realise until recently was that she was actually comparing me to a skinned rabbit not a cute and cuddly, fluffy rabbit. Bless, Baba sure knew how to tell it like it is.

Even though I have tried to make Baba's recipes, they just don't taste as good. Luckily we got to visit Baba and Dido's best friends, Mr and Mrs P, over the weekend. I have known them all my life and Baba and Dido knew them for most of theirs - they first met in a war camp in Germany back in the 1940s before meeting up again in Australia. Mrs P had done some baking in the day and I got to try it in vast quantities - sauerkraut and bacon filled pierogi. These are best described as being similiar to dim sum only made from pasta and filled with assorted stuffings like cabbage, potatoes and usually some sort of fatty, delicious meat. OMG, amazing! I told her how much I missed Baba's food and that I was so happy to be eating authentic Ukrainian food again. Mrs. P gave us lots of peierogi to take home and Mum was so concerned that I was going to wolf them all down as soon as we got back to her house that she had to remind me to "Leave some for me!". Ooops, my reputation for eating is well known in Mum's house....

Friday, 1 July 2011

Lunch in Melbourne

I decided earlier this week, on my flight home from Cairns in fact, that a weekend in Victoria was needed to catch-up with friends and family that I hadn't seen for quite a while. After reassuring Eady that I wasn't trying to avoid him after scheduling my second weekend away from him in a row and also promising him that I would limit hits on our very weary credit card (luckily he took this promise in the same vein it was made - noble yet highly unrealistic), I jumped on a flight to Melbourne earlier today. As soon as I arrived I headed straight to lunch with the tall, thin and exceedingly glamorous Brindabella. Despite making me feel like a little dumpling who is more bam then glam in the fashion stakes, Brindabella has a number of positive attributes that make a catch-up with her more then just a harsh  lesson in style for me. Firstly, her choice of venue for lunch - Cafe Vue in Little Collins Street. I had never been here before (although I have eaten at Cafe Vue in St Kilda Road which isn't quite as fabulous mainly due to the proximity of things work-related) but have heard many, many amazing reports of the city cafe and of course the original restaurant that started it all, Vue de Monde. Eady had worded me up that I must have the burger for lunch at Cafe Vue and three words into our waiter's welcome, two burgers had been ordered. OMG, let me just say it was heaven in a bun! No photos unfortunately, the burger was well and truly gone before I even thought that a photo might help to demonstrate some of the amazingness of this treat. Brindabella and I caught up on news, gossip and even had time to work through a number of solutions to the problems of the world over our long and lazy lunch. I had such a lovely time, I did wish that there wasn't quite so much time and distance between our lunches.

After our catch-up, I jumped on a country train for my next destination, Latrobe Valley, where I am spending the weekend at my Mum's house. As I was light on luggage, I decided that I could easily take Mum a flourless orange and almond cake from Le Petite Gateau. Let's just say this certainly ensured I was welcomed into Mum's house with open arms!

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Black Opals

Today's outfit was chosen purely to accessorise with another bling purchase from Cairns, my black opal drop earrings. They are very simple and not too long which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE plus I think the colours are absolutely beautiful - teal blue, emerald and red (although the photo taken on my dodgy iphone does them no justice at all). I have loved opals since I was little and actually bought my first ever pair of opal stud earrings in Canberra, at the War Memorial Gift Shop on a family trip there when I was in Grade 3. I begged Mum for the earrings which cost the princely sum of $7.00 some 25 years ago and luckily for me, she said yes! Little did she know it was going to set me up for a life long love of opals and the gorgeous colours they show. My first earrings way back then were triplet opals (where a slice of opal is sandwiched between a dark background to highlight the colours and a clear gloss on top) whilst my latest purchase has seen me graduate onto solid stones.  

So back to my outift choice. Today I wore my Kain silk cowl neck top in a lovely "opal" green to match my new earrings. This was coupled with a Bellisima white microfibre long-sleeved top underneath to keep out the winter chill, Sass & Bide Straight Up Jeans (otherwise known as my "chubby day" jeans due to the ability of the denim to soften quickly and easily to accomodate an extended muffin top when required) and white Mimco silver and gold studded ballet flats.

I am seriously excited that I found these earrings, I think they are the perfect addition to my earring wardrobe. Bingo.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

My Bracelet of Memories

With the purchase of a Pandora bead whilst in Cairns, I have now finally filled my bracelet and I have to say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! It is predominantly silver with hints of gold, red and orange. I didn't have a set idea of how I wanted it to look but somehow it has just evolved into the perfect bracelet for me. Bingo.

I first got my bracelet 4 years ago when Eady bought it along with my first ever bead, a love heart (awwwww). He bought it as a reward for me for being an excellent patient during my recuperation from a big operation. Since that time, many of my beads have been gifts that remind me of particular people, places or events and one of my favourite things to do when I need some time out at The Office is to look at each bead and reminisce about what each represents. I find this is a very calming thing to do so I guess it is like my personal version of worry beads!

Monday, 27 June 2011

A Holiday without a Husband

Whilst I have had a lovely time away soaking up the sun, eating for Australia and stimulating the Far North Queensland economy with various purchases of the bling kind, it has been bittersweet. That is because this mini-break was conducted sans Eady. Having a high falutin finance job like he does, Eady is up to his ears in budget forecasts for the next financial year right now and couldn't take any time off, even on the weekend, to fly up to FNQ. As luck would have it, I had a very small window in which to travel too. I was in dire need of getting away and needed to do it before the school holidays (due to a massive phobia I have about holidaying whilst surrounded by noisy, splashy children that don't belong to me) and before my next lot of work commitments kick in in July.

It was my first ever holiday by myself in my entire life and it was an interesting experience for the most part. I am used to travelling solo for work, something that has been part of my life pretty much since I graduated and took on my first "professional" role. I have travelled for extended periods and have been perfectly happy to occupy myself on weekends or even to take some leave whilst away on work travel to have a bit of a holiday (Monaco Grand Prix, yeah!). However, after this experience, I do feel that travelling alone for pleasure might be slightly different to travelling alone for work, for me anyway. I am not sure whether this has a purely psychological basis i.e. that I was very self-conscious of other people looking at me dining solo because I wasn't travelling for work and wasn't surrounded by other workers in the same position or if my paranoia was actually warranted - the holiday spot I went to tends to get predominantly holiday-makers, families and couples, so aren't really used to having females dining on their own. I got some unusual looks and reactions ranging from disparaging to incredulous (I assume because I was on my own but perhaps my ksubi coloured jeans were a bit too much...) from staff at one restaurant and staff at one pub and interesting enough, all of the staff involved were guys in their late 20s. Luckily for me, I have developed a pretty thick skin (or a healthy disregard of my acute paranoias!) and these reactions didn't bother me enough to force me into hiding away in my hotel room. It just meant I took my tourist dollars elsewhere and enjoyed some fabulous food in more comfortable surrounds. Bingo.

And on that note, I had better rush to the airport. My flight home to Eady is very soon!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Holiday Food

The great thing about any holiday is that the pretense of healthy eating can be forgotten purely under the guise of it being "holiday time". Yesterday I had crepes with butter, lemon and sugar for breakfast. Unbeknown to me at the time, the freshly squeezed orange juice that accompanied it would have to serve as my fruit, veggie and fibre dose for the day.

Lunch provided chicken fajitas by the pool and they looked quite healthy by holiday food standards (work with me here people). It suited my lazy tendencies in that I didn't even have to leave my deck chair to order.
Dinner was grilled red snapper....grilled in copious amounts of butter that is. Yum! Served with chips that I didn't eat (but of course I lie, I ate each and every one without pausing for breath). I finished off with a decadent chocolate pudding which I ordered not just with double cream but ice-cream too. Is it any wonder I had to roll myself to bed? Still I awake refreshed and ready to take on the eating challenges of today. Mmmm, come to me you cute little bacon and egg roll with extra bacon....

Thursday, 23 June 2011

And the mini-break begins

Come hell or high water, I was determined to be on my 6.00am flight to Cairns this morning, volcanic ash and winter lurgy be damned. So with luck on my side, a veritable pharmacy packed in my bag and a box of aloe vera Kleenex tissues within reach at all times, my travels have landed me on a banana lounge by the pool in balmy 28C sunshine somewhere in Far North Queensland. My eyes are running, there appears to be no end to the sheer volume of gunk my nose is expelling and I have no desire to consume anything stronger then Lemsip but jeepers, it sure is nice to be thawing out in the sun after the cold snap in Sydney. I swear I am starting to feel better already, must be all of that vitamin D!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The perfect cure for a winter lurgy

A dreaded winter lurgy has got the better of me over the last few days and despite my best efforts to fight it off, the big guns have had to be called in - antibiotics and bed rest. With a low boredom threshold at the best of times, this is amplified when I am feeling unwell and told that rest is best (Conversely, if I am feeling great I love nothing more then lazing about in my pjs all day. Go figure.). So after spending the last 3 days in bed, it was bound to happen...iPad + Bluefly website = Jimmy Choo. So what exactly does this highly technical equation mean? Well, it means that my lovely new pointy-toe flats are currently winging their way across the world to be delivered to straight to my door by the equally lovely Mr DHL. Yes, another internet purchase but ooooh, they sure are nice!

Now I have been coveting these shoes all year but for one reason or another, they sat in my shopping cart on the Jimmy Choo website patiently waiting for the day they would be purchased. After receiving some good news two weeks ago, I thought they would make an excellent celebration present but just didn't get around to hitting the "purchase now" button. In my bed-ridden boredom though, a quick check on the Bluefly website, initially conducted to cheer me up and keep me occupied for a bit, had an amazing result. Not only was my boredom cured, my heart positively skipped a beat when I laid my eyes on the very Jimmy Choos I wanted, not only in my chosen colour but with one pair left in my size too. Bingo. With Eady's grim request to go easy on credit card for the next few weeks ringing in my ears, the exchange rate plus the price reduction that always comes with Bluefly was just too good an opportunity to pass up. The shoes were almost $150 cheaper then if I had of purchased them via the Jimmy Choo website so as far as I see it, I have actually made Eady and I a profit by purchasing them. Eady, who is a proper Accountant, might not agree  but with thinking like that, I'm sure I could well be a financial genius in disguise.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Thriller night

There is something eerie if not downright scary about a full moon. As a child of the 80s, I'm in no doubt that Mr Michael Jackson and his Thriller video clip have a lot to answer for in this regard...

Sunny Saturday

There are days that really help reaffirm just why I love winter in Sydney. Despite my complaints about chilly days, I do have to concede that the temperatures are quite mild...especially in comparison with every other place we have lived. It gets cold enough that I can make the most of my winter wardrobe (Hello boots! Hello cashmere!) but there is hardly any possibility of a "snow day" keeping us home from work - a semi-regular occurrence in winter during our years in the Northern Hemisphere. Even better though, is that it is completely possible to have days of total sunshine. Where there isn't a cloud in the sky and you venture out without 30+ sunscreen solely at your own risk.

After a wet and windy time last weekend, I was reminded today of just how magical a winters day can be here in the harbour city. It was so lovely that Eady and I went for a leisurely stroll along the water from Balgowlah to Manly to make the most of the beautiful sunshine, the gorgeous views and the fresh sea air. We worked up a good appetite for a yum cha lunch at Manly Sky Phoenix where we managed to nab a window table and lots of steamed dumplings within minutes of arriving. Another leisurely stroll back to the car allowed us to enjoy the last of the afternoon sunshine before our drive home. Bliss.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Hair today, gone tomorrow

I woke up this morning very glad to have a hair appointment booked in for later in the day. Having short hair now, I find that it requires much more regular maintenance then my long locks ever did and consequently I have a tightly managed schedule that makes any of my efforts at The Office pale into comparison. It has been right on 6 weeks since my last cut so I was in dire need of a good trim plus a little blonding too.

My hair salon of choice is Our Place in Victoria Street, Potts Point, right near the big coca-cola sign at Kings Cross. The lovely Kelly ensures that my blonde is the perfect shade (and is very patient with my angst-ridden cries of "No yellow, I can't stand yellow" at the start of each appointment). Clive then cuts my hair and is a true artiste with the scissors, what he does with them is akin to what Da Vinci could do with a paint brush. If anyone is familiar with East Enders, the British soapie based on London's East End, Clive looks and sounds just like Phil the cranky bar-tender. Only Clive isn't cranky but absolutely, bloody hilarious. I seriously feel like I am in a parallel universe when I am at the salon where East Enders is set in Sydney and "Phil" is a comedic genius with a succession of stories and jokes (admittedly some that could only be shown after the watershed!).

Anyway, today I wanted to take some flowers into the salon as a huge thank you to Clive and Kelly. I have recently become involved in a charity which supports 3 different facilities in Vietnam that provide medical care and food and shelter to HIV positive patients who would otherwise not receive any care due to their financial circumstances. As part of this, Clive and Kelly donated a $250 voucher which was used as one of the raffle prizes at our annual fund-raising night a couple of weeks back. I was blown away by their generosity and wanted to thank them for their amazing gesture. And what can't be said adequately with words, is best said with flowers I think!

My outing to the salon also allowed me to try out one of the two new dresses that I purchased yesterday - a stripey dress called "Body Con" which I purchased from the Kmart store at Chatswood Chase (hidden away at the back of the food court and which I  didn't realise existed until this shopping trip). And for the paltry sum of $19! Let me just say, the strategic placing of stripes on this dress creates curves that a Herve Leger dress would be jealous of and at a mere fraction of the price. Of course, there isn't quite the support available in my cheapy version so the dress requires  me to constantly brace my core muscles so as not to distort the stripes. Not only is it a very cute and wearable dress but it is a portable pilates class to boot!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Shopping the Sales

Today seemed like the perfect day to hit the high street sales. Bizarre I know, considering most stores went on sale weeks ago but for me, missing the first mad days of sale time is purely a safety measure. Once all of the craziness dies down I figure that the risk of copping an elbow to the head whilst checking over the Chloe shoes on sale at DJs is much reduced. So whilst it might seem that I'm slow on the uptake, I'm actually a thinker (or a very big coward, depending on your point-of-view).

I decided that instead of all of the usual spots that a trip to Chatswood Chase, a shopping centre just north of the Sydney CBD was the place for me. Normally I would avoid this retail monolith purely because of the issues with navigating the carpark but figured that as it was not school holidays, the number of 4WDs driven by harassed parents of bored children would be low thus making the carparks much more friendly to cute-little-car drivers like me. So I hoped into my cute-little-car (affectionately known as Shimmer to Eady and I because of her lovely silvery grey colour) and parked with the minimum of effort. The shopping expedition was off to a good start.

After a mad dash around, I picked up some great pieces for The Office wardrobe in under 2 hours. Amongst my haul, I got a lovely winter dress from Fleur Wood which ticks all of my winter dress boxes - long sleeves, knee length, merino wool and easy to dress up with heels and jacket or dress down with boots and long cardigan. The best bit was a drastic reduction in price. Yes people, we are talking well over 50%! Bingo.

Considering my purchases and the good old "It's not what you spend, it's what you save" credo that was my inspiration today, it was a very succesful trip. I am sure my goodies will form part of my outfit blogs over the coming days!

Note: No Chloe shoes were purchased in the interests of this blog post. Thankfully (in Eady's mind anyway) my size had sold out in the pink suede scalloped edge ballet flats. Although I am sure my size is available somewhere in the great cyber shopping mall ....just kidding babe!

Monday, 13 June 2011

One wet long weekend

This weekend was a long weekend in honour of the Queen's 85th birthday. Although I have  major girl crush on The Duchess, I would probably identify myself as a Republican if I had to choose however I am more then happy to celebrate with the Queen if it means a public holiday and an extra long weekend! Although we didn't have plans to go away and the weather did it's best to keep us indoors, we managed to get out and about (well, to the next suburb anyway).

On Saturday afternoon, we headed to our local cinema to watch "Super 8", the new Stephen Spielberg movie best summed up as the ET equivalent for the children of Gen Y and just as fun to watch. A couple of rows in front of us sat a little boy and and during the scary parts, of which there were a few, he would snuggle up to his Dad and hide his face. Cute for us but probably not so much for him!

On Saturday night we caught up with our best man Wozza, who was lucky enough to be given an overnight leave pass from his wife to fly to Sydney to see his beloved Swans play at the SCG. Wozza was travelling with his brother and nephew and we all caught up at our local pub, which is very "child" and "cook-your-own-steak-just-how-you-like-it" friendly, a double bonus for any family group. I learnt a lot from Oscar on all of the games that can be played on an iPhone although I sincerely doubt I could manage the skill or dexterity this 6 year old displayed during his demonstration and detailed commentary on the what, where and hows of each game. Oscar, his Dad and I called it quits fairly early on in the night and headed to our various places of rest, which allowed Eady and Wozza to relive their glory days without the early-to-bedders impeding them. Let's just say, judging by Eady's attempts to give me a goodnight kiss some hours later, those two have still got it.

Sunday was a lazy day, for me anyway. After a long sleep-in, a very dusty Eady managed to get himself to the SCG for a dose of AFL whilst I lazed in front of the heater with the Sunday papers for most of the afternoon. Pizza and red wine seemed like the perfect post-football dinner for Eady and also got me out of the house and into the awful weather (well, long enough to eat anyway!).

The weather today was also less then ideal so we decided that it was another good day to venture to the cinema, this time to see "Bridesmaids" a film about the adventures of wedding planning after a motley collection of girls are thrown together to form the bridal party.  The story was cute, if a little predictable, but the writer and director Judd Aptow worked his magic to make it funny, relevant, highly entertaining and touching in the way his previous movies have been (Knocked Up, 40 year-old Virgin). The lead character of Annie, the maid of (dis)honour was played by Kirsten Wiig. She had a small part in Knocked Up as an MTV Assistant and pretty much stole that movie in my opinion so I am really glad that she was selected as the lead for this movie as she was perfect! The cameos throughout the movie were hilarious too. Mr Don Draper as a sleazy and selfish friend-with-benefits to Annie, Matt Lucas (of Little Britain fame) and Rebel Wilson (our latest export from Oz) as a creepy brother and sister duo and from the IT crowd, Chris O'Dowd as Annie's policeman love interest - what's not to love about a cute Irish man in uniform? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this movie and it comes highly recommended from me. 5 stars!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

HOT Leggings

Last night, Eady and I caught up with Sammy and his lovely wife Dine who was due to give birth to their first baby the day before. Yes, Dine was 9 months and one day pregnant. But luckily for us all, baby wasn't quite ready to venture out into the big, wide world so a final night of freedom (for Sammy and Dine at any rate) was in order by way of tapas at a local restaurant. Apart from a good dose of yummy tapas and catching up with friends for the last time pre-baby, the night out also gave me the opportunity to try out my latest favourite thing for keeping the winter chill at bay. Fleece-lined leggings. Yes, that's right, leggings that have a thin layer of fleece on the inside to keep my pins nice and warm. And let me tell you, they worked an absolute treat! I wore them with a thin merino wool dress and riding boots and despite the icy wind and winter temperatures, I was toasty warm on the walk to and back from our night out. Even better though, I didn't overheat or turn into a sweaty-betty indoors either. Bingo.

I had first heard about fleece-lined leggings a few months ago via some US shopping websites but the reviews seemed quite mixed and for the cost of them (about $70 USD per pair), I was a little reluctant to purchase in case I fell into the category of people who didn't rate them. Instead I did some investigation and found that there were some fleece-lined leggings available locally at a much cheaper price at Myer store in Pitt Street Mall. They are  Ambra fleece-lined leggings and cost $19.99 AUD and are very much worth the small outlay. They are opaque and not bulky at all, being only a teeny bit thicker than standard leggings. I can imagine wearing them with skirts and dresses, with boots or leggings-style with shoes and also under pants or jeans when one layer alone isn't enough to keep my chicken legs warm in the depths of winter.

Seriously, fleece-lined leggings are the best invention since sliced bread! A word of warning though, I am a firm believer in the cardinal rule that "leggings are not pants" and that there are no exceptions to this rule, even if your job title begins with "super" and ends with "model". Although the picture on the front of the package suggests that these fleece-lined tights could be worn out to yoga class or to the cafe with your converse trainers, the cotton gusset which is on plain display should be an extra incentive to remember that leggings are actually hoisery. Meaning, don't take the photo on the package literally - if you can't style tights like this then you can't do it with leggings either!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Go the Doggies!

After spending my formative years in Victoria which is the home of all things AFL, it was almost inevitable that I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Aussie rules to the point of obsession. Despite living in various locations around the world since and developing a fondness for other football codes, AFL still remains my number one sporting love. 

My team of choice is the Western Bulldogs who were formerly known as Footscray. I have always been a very firm believer in choosing one team and following it for life as to chop and change between teams because of friends, lovers or circumstance means that you are NOT a true dyed-in-the-wool supporter. As a big AFL fan, that is not a label I want to be tagged with. Consequently, I have supported the Bulldogs for most of my life. Even with my Dad's best efforts to convince me as a child to support Essendon by regularly offering me a dollar note (which was enough to keep me in Barney Bananas and mixed lollies for weeks at a time back then and therefore a pretty good incentive), it just wasn't enough to make the Bombers my team. Instead, I came to conclusion to support the Bulldogs on my own when I was about 4 years old and have stuck with it ever since. My decision was based upon our pet dog at the time, Larry. Larry was the bestest dog ever, we hung out, he followed me everywhere I went and we both loved to share the same ice-cream, one lick for me and another lick for Larry. Therefore, I decided that as Larry was a dog, I needed to support the Bulldogs as a show of solidarity with him. It didn't matter that Larry was actually a fluffy, ginger-coloured chihuahua and probably the dog least likely to resemble a bulldog in any way, shape or form. Larry was a dog and so the Bulldogs were the team for me even with Dad's bribes thrown into the mix.

What I didn't realise at the time was just how much heartache supporting the Bulldogs was going to lead me to, long after I grew up and Larry went to the great puppy playground in the sky. For despite the sentimental reasons for choosing them and my dedication to the cause over the last 30 years, the Bulldogs have not rewarded me...not one little bit. The Bulldogs are one of the worst teams in the AFL having only won one premiership in the entire history of the league and this event being well over 20 years before I was born. In fact, the last time the Bulldogs were actually in the AFL Grand Final (only to lose of course), I wasn't even a twinkle in my parents eyes. Sure, we have had our fair share of Brownlow medallists and colourful characters but as any true AFL supporter will tell you, a Grand Final win trumps all other rewards.

When I married Eady, I thought this would give me the option of taking on a second favourite team, one that would allow me to experience the satisfaction of being linked to a winning team without forgoing my beloved-if-extremely-frustrating Bulldogs. Well, it's pretty safe to say that I didn't do my homework very well. Eady supports St Kilda, the only other team in the history of the AFL to have won only one premiership. Over the last 2 seasons, our teams have had to play each other in the Preliminary Final to decide which team makes it into the AFL Grand Final. On both occasions, the Bulldogs lost. Whilst it was devastating to me to get so close only to miss out, there was some consolation that my second favourite team did in fact make it to GF day. But then the Saints lost the GF 2 years running! At the time I didn't know whether to be sad that my second favourite team couldn't even show me what it was to be a winner at the MCG on the last day in September (or the first week in October as it happened last year) or be relieved that there is still one other team with a record as dismal as the Bulldogs.

All I can say now is that it is pretty certain that neither the Bulldogs or the Saints are likely to be serious finals contenders this year, let alone premiership winners. So with the usual status-quo of our respective teams now restored and dreams of GF wins put on hold for another year, we can relax and resume our moaning about  supporting two dud teams. A situation that luckily we have had plenty of time to get used to... 

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Layering 101

Winter officially began today although judging by the weather in Sydney over the last couple of weeks, it seems that Mother Nature was well ahead of schedule this year. In order to stay warm and toasty and keep the chill at bay I religiously follow the layer, layer, layer mantra and it works a treat.

I usually start off with my favourite microfibre pieces from Italian brand Bellissima. The material is super-stretchy and feels so beautifully soft against my skin. They don't make me itchy, sweaty or uncomfortable and feel just as nice at the end of a really long day at The Office as when I first put them on in the morning. There are a number of different styles but my key pieces are the scoop neck, long sleeved tops in black and white and the leggings in black.  Of note, the length of the tops tend to sit just above my hip so they really need to be tucked in to sit properly under clothing and not roll up. With my top half, I love the layered look i.e. where I have a bottom layer poking out about an inch below my top layer. I normally throw on a long tank over my Bellissima  top which creates the longest layer in the outfit before I then add my top layer which gives the layering effect whilst still allowing me to tuck in the Bellissima top (Confused much? See picture below). I can't go past the "Favourite Tank" in white from Splendid for this task. Super thin, slightly sheer and long plus virtually indestructible in a normal wash cycle - much like the Bellissima stuff!

So my advice about Bellissima is that you don't let the retro 1970s-euro-soft-porn style box put you off and that you don't panic about the length of the tops as it can be overcome if required. The microfibre material is absolute genius and is an essential part of my winter armoury. Bingo.

Today's particular outfit was super casual, one of the benefits of working from The Home Office on the odd occasion. It consisted of my Bellissima top layered under a black scoop neck, long-sleeved Metallicus  merino wool top. Metallicus is one of my favourite brands for winter too, the merino pieces are warm but are light enough to be easily layered without adding a lot of bulk. The outfit was finished off by a gorgeous (and jangly) Mimco scarf that was a b'day present from Ro, my lovely MiLaw.

Layer, layer, layer = one warm Cole!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The return of Eady

Eady arrived home on Friday following his week in Melbourne and boy, was I glad to see him. Despite a very early night on Friday (tucked up in bed by 9.30pm!), he was still tired from all of the “executive learning” that he did during the week so a quiet weekend with minimal mental exertion was in order. Therefore a traditional Cole-and-Eady date night of dinner and a movie was booked in for Saturday night. We headed to Tapioca, a Thai restaurant in Cremorne which was set-up by two chefs and a Front of House from the well known and much loved Sailors Thai restaurants. With this pedigree and the reputation of it's predessor in mind, we had big expectations and I'm happy to say that Tapioca certainly lived up them. It is now officially known as a place that we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to dine at. So what did we eat? Chicken dumplings, the colour and detail of which were just beautiful. Just like dainty, lilac-coloured chrysanthemums.

Deep-fried quail eggs with minced prawn. Wow. 

For main we decided to share the whole snapper. It was a good choice but probably a little too hot-n-spicy for my delicate palate.

After dinner, we went to see The Hangover II at the Orpheum which is a beautifully renovated art-deco cinema just down the road from Tapioca. Judging by the size and demographic of the crowd, it seemed that every couple on the lower North Shore between the ages of 20 and 40 also had the same idea. Now we loved the first Hangover movie. It was silly and funny and required little effort other then just sitting there and enjoying it. Therefore we thought the sequel would be the perfect movie for Eady’s tired brain to cope with. The sequel itself was passable (just) and I would probably go so far as to say that I was a little bored in parts. It certainly didn’t recapture the hilarity of the first movie and seemed almost as tired as Eady himself. Eady enjoyed it however and I am sure that it is because it was as far removed from strategic management as you could prossibly get!

After seeing the weather forecast on Sunday morning which predicted rain, rain, rain non-stop for pretty much the next week, we decided to make the most of the overcast yet dry day by heading across the bridge to Woollahra. After a lazy wonder up and down Queen Street, we popped into the front bar at the Woolharra Hotel for a couple of refreshing ales (well, bubbles for me) and  delicious toasted ham and gruyere cheese sandwiches on Turkish bread for lunch. Yum. It seemd like lots of people had the same idea and were out and about making the most of Sydney's streets before the rain set in. Which it did, as soon as we arrived back home. Excellent timing by us!

Friday, 27 May 2011

A week sans Eady - Day 5

With Eady away this week, I have had the perfect chance to catch up with some of my favourite people over the last few days. On Tuesday night, I met up with the lovely elleB at one of the choice places in Neutral Bay, Firefly. As the afternoon sky got darker and darker and the temperature dropped to below freezing, well in Sydney terms at any rate, I had a major craving for cheesy pizzas. Yummmm, nothing like carb-loading on a cold winter’s day. Luckily elleB is easily convinced on all things food-related and is a pretty impressive eating machine to boot (after all, it is this skill and a love of knitting that has seen us become firm friends) so was very agreeable to sharing two pizzas and a serve of Firefly’s famous zucchini fries. We had a lovely catch-up and talked about the news of the world and our role in it. Worth noting were elleB’s lovely new boots which were absolutely divine. Very classic, black leather with silver buckles and straps to adjust the calf width, a heel height that looks dressy yet feels like you are in flats and a squarish almond toe. She had paired them with a black shift dress layered over a white long sleeved top, with a red coat to keep her warm and the whole ensemble looked very chic. There was much outfit envy from me and a little bit of disbelief  too when elleB stated that she really doesn't know much about fashion!

On Wednesday I was invited to a dinner party at the home of my lovely niece, Immi C. Whenever we get together we always have a wild and crazy time and when I arrived to see Immi dressed only in her underpants, her hair poking out in all directions whilst madly running around singing a song composed entirely of the words “Auntie Cole”, I knew this night was not going to be any exception. After a quick pre-dinner cupcake, Immi was hurridly thrown into the bath and re-dressed in her pink stripy pyjamas so she could then get on with the practicalities of entertaining. Now, it really has to be said that Immi C is an excellent hostess. Despite delegating the dinner preparation to her trusty chefs (and parents), Andy and Dordie, Immi was very hands on with everything else. Firstly she set her special knee-high table with two placemats for her and I, got out all of the condiments we could possibly need for our sausages and mash and even thoughtfully provided me with a fetching hot pink bib to wear. As I delicately balanced one butt cheek on the blue kiddie-sized chair (there was no way the chair was anywhere near big enough to accommodate both butt cheeks), Immi repeatedly touched all of my food with her hands to ensure that it was just the right temperature to eat and not too hot. She even volunteered to taste-test one of the chicken sausages straight from my plate to ensure it was good enough to eat. I didn’t have to pick up my wine glass as Immi was quite helpful in picking it up for me and directing me when to have a sip. After the meal I must have looked a little peckish as Immi disappeared into the kitchen and came out with some bowls and a box of cornflakes. She the proceeded to fill each bowl with a tasty post-dinner snack of dry cereal. We had lots of laughs, a bit of dancing and a couple of kisses too.

Call me biased, but Immi C really is the hostess with the mostest.