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.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Navy is the new black

At the moment, I am having a love affair with navy. I have never really been a supporter before and I'm sure 12 long years of navy school uniforms didn't help with this. But times have changed and I am feeling the love for navy in a big way, especially when it is paired with black. I know, I know, the horror of this combination right? It used to be a long held “rule” that these colours should never be worn together. I am sure the rule was invented solely to deter the sheer number of fashion-challenged corporate workers back in the 80s who dressed in the dark and didn’t realise just how badly mismatched navy and black polyester separates looked together in the cold, harsh light of day. However, when worn the right way, I think it can work really well and has become the autumn/winter 2011 version of my other favourite colour combo of black and cream. Admittedly, if one were an expert on colour or fashion or both (and I claim to be neither as evidenced by the fact that as I type this I am wearing a black tracksuit with brown ugg boots topped of with a fluffy grey dressing gown), it would probably be that the colour I refer to as navy is actually a little lighter and warmer then a true navy, although darker then royal blue. So when paired with black, there is an obvious difference between both colours as opposed to a slight variation that just looks like I have tried hard to match the colours but haven't quite got it right. 

My current favourite navy and black combo features a navy two-tier pleated dress which I pair with a black cardigan (or jacket), black opaques, a matte black resin necklace and patent black shoes. I feel that the sharp pleats help to differentiate the dress just that little bit more from all the other black pieces which are much softer and more organic in shape. I also think that using the navy as a base colour, or as the major colour in an outfit, and then using black accessories to highlight the navy also helps to anchor the look.

I have been seriously underestimating the ease of incorporating navy into my wardrobe and considering just how much more complimentary it is against my pale and pasty winter complexion when compared to black, I don't think I will have too much trouble mending my ways.

Monday, 23 May 2011

A week sans Eady - Day 2

Eady likes to keep fish. Not just any fish, but African cichlids. And not just any African cichlids, but African Cichlids from Lake Tanganyika - from a very particular part of Lake Tanganyika to be exact. Whilst he is away on his executive course in Melbourne, I have been entrusted with the care of his fish. And let me tell you, the pressure is on to keep them alive. You might think this is an easy job for me considering I have managed to master the skills needed to not only take the rubbish out but also to change a light bulb since yesterday, the first day of Eady's absence, but that would be to seriously underestimate the importance of these fish to Eady (and the massive impact on my internet shopping money if they needed to be replaced by Friday). We have two tanks in our townhouse, one downstairs which is 6 feet long  and contains 800 litres of water heated to a balmy 26C and a 5 foot tank in the study upstairs which we have affectionately called "the maternity ward" as it is where all of the itty-bitty baby fish are kept until they are big enough not to be eaten by their Daddies in the main tank. I personally think it is a little crazy to invest so much time, love and devotion to a whole bunch of pets that you can't cuddle or display in a photo frame on your desk but the fact that the fish aren't noisy, smelly or pee on the carpet makes them the ideal pets in Eady's eyes. A fact that is quite hard to argue against to be honest.

Anyway, prior to Eady flying out yesterday, he gave me a detailed lesson in how to feed the fish - a very precise lession. Considering how early it was and that my attention span when woken too early on the weekend is limited at best, he left me numerous notes dotted around the house to remind me of what I need to do:

Phew, thank goodness for the notes, the fish and I are all breathing a massive sigh of relief.  

Sunday, 22 May 2011

A week sans Eady - Day 1

This morning I had to wake up at an ungodly hour, for a Sunday morning at any rate, to take Eady to the airport. He is off to Melbourne to attend an intensive course on strategic management for senior managers within the retail industry. He is going to be there until Friday and I am missing him already. Who is going to take the rubbish out after all? All jokes aside though, I do feel like the house has conspired with Eady to ensure that I have maximum "absence makes the heart grow fonder" feelings. The bathroom light bulb has blown, the dishwasher appears to have gone to to dishwasher heaven and I have had to remove a hairy spider from the bedroom wall. And it's only Day 1. 

To take my mind off things, I decided to do some baking and cooking after being inspired by some recipes from today's newspapers. Being inspired to do anything at all by the Sunday papers is quite remarkable considering I have been whinging for months now that there is nothing of interest in them anymore. But I wasn't going to question the improbability of today's inspiration and got myself straight to the kitchen instead. I made pear, pecan and maple cakes from the Sunday Telegraph magazine (delicious and very moist) and the pot-roasted racks of lamb with eggplant and figs from the Sun Herald magazine albeit with a couple of slight modifications by way of adding some chopped dates and rice and cooking in a slow-cooker for 8 hours instead of the oven (super comfort food with so much left over that I was able to freeze a couple of containers for busy days over the coming weeks). With the cooking all finished, I am off to take the rubbish out and change a light bulb or two. After that, I might have to partake in a little crumping whilst singing to Beyonce's "Independent Women" at the top of my voice - yeah!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Presents for Cole!

My Mum has recently returned from London after visiting my sister and her family. Although Mum was fairly unperturbed about being over there during the RW (I am sure her one and only true princess is Diana hence the lack of crazy levels of excitement like yours truly), one thing she did get very excited about was the shopping on offer in ye old Blighty. Luckily my sister is quite the fashionista with a detailed knowledge of the whos, whats, wheres and hows of shopping in London and is quite partial to a bit of shopping herself - the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree after all. Usually my Mum is quite happy to discuss things that she has bought herself and has been known to discuss not only the item in question in detail but also how she would wear it and when. When I asked Mum what she had bought herself whilst on holiday she was a little bit cagey and didn’t really answer the questions directly, employing all the usual diversional techniques we did as teenagers when she would question us about what we had got up to the night before. Knowing Mum like I do, this probably means she hit the shopping jackpot and is no doubt cleaning out one of our old bedrooms to house all of her new goodies. Woo hoo! I think I am going to have to fly down and visit her soon just so I can see her new things for myself.

Apart from Mum having a lovely time with my sister, brother-in-law and niece, one of the personal benefits for me was that I got some belated birthday presents! When Mum arrived home from the UK, she promptly posted the presents interstate and let's just say, I am one lucky b'day girl...Firstly Mum bought me a lovely jersey dress in a beautiful purple colour and when I tried it on I felt very much like Ms. Joan Holloway of Stirling, Cooper, Draper, Price from the Mad Men series (minus the boosies of course).

The really cool thing is that the dress can be worn back-to-front should I feel the need to be a little more saucy. I just know that this dress will become a staple item that I wear to The Office. It is by L.K. Bennett which has The Duchess’ seal of approval too. Bingo.

Mum also bought me a gorgeous high-waisted, tulip skirt which emphasises the waist whilst making the width of the hips seem like it is due to the folds and darts in the fabric (as opposed to real hips due to cupcake consumption). The skirt is from the Marks and Spencer Limited Collection range and will easily take me from a work day in heels to a weekend in ballet flats and even to a night out thanks to the subtle metallic sheen on the fabric. From my sister and co. I got a lovely scarf which is beige with pink and blue strips. It matches the skirt perfectly which is super clever present giving from them. I wonder if my little niece chose it? Not only is she very clever but pink and blue are her two favourite colours. Thank you Little Monkey, Big Monkey loves it very much. 

As for my last present, how sweet is this? It was a Christmas present, Christmas 2011 that is! Mum sent it up to me with a little note saying that although it was a Christmas present, I should open it now and enjoy it. I was very impressed by her organisation and when I unwrapped the gorgeous Soma London cardigan, I was very impressed with her choice too. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this cardigan and I am so pleased that Mum gave it to me a whole 7 months early!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Planking for Beginners

Sometimes I am so wrapped up in the little world of Cole that I can be a bit slow on the uptake with the latest fad. So much so that the fad needs to literally come up and slap me in the head before I take notice. And so it is with planking. I hadn't heard of this Facebook phenomenon until I heard about the first recorded death from planking whilst watching the ABC news over the weekend. For those of you who are even more behind the 8 ball with all things Facebook, let me explain first - planking is when you lie down with your arms by your side to form a straight line i.e. just like a plank of wood, before having a friend take a photo  of you and posting it online. It all sounds like harmless fun and even a tad on the boring side (I acknowledge that could be interpreted as a pot-calling-kettle-black type of scenario...) but the catch is that you have to lie in unusual spots that require a lot of balance. Like on top of a basketball hoop, a fence, a car. The kookier the better. The scarier the better. It is quite a funny idea and apparently started out as a silly game between mates - one guy took a photo of himself in a "plank" pose before texting it to another friend who then did his own plank pose and sent it back. The photos were posted on Facebook and  as they say, the rest is history. Eady and I are big fans of sending silly photos to each other and from the photos I have seen of professional plankers, there is lots of scope for a good laugh with this. I guess the sobering thought behind the laughs is that things can and do go wrong. So people, in the interests of public safety please remember the key planking motto "If you drink and plank, you're a bloody idiot".

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Back in Black

This morning I was in the mood to wear black to The Office. It was as if the chill in the Sydney air made me want to relive my old Melbourne days, where my wardrobe choices could be easily described as "anything but colourful". Nowadays, on the very rare occasions that I do venture out in an all black ensemble (as let's be honest here, all black in fun-lovin' Sydney just seems so wrong), I like to break up the monotony that can easily drag down a black-on-black outfit.

Today I accessorised my black shift dress and jacket with some retro-inspired House of Harlow earrings and a vintage brooch from a local market. Although the earrings and brooch are not perfect matches, the styles are similar and I think they work quite well together.

As for my legs, it is too chilly to go bare now that winter is almost here. But instead of resorting to my beloved Leona Edmiston black opaques that are a winter staple for me, I wore some lace tights that I recently purchased from Forever New for the bargain-basement price of $10. I love lace and think it can look beautiful in an outfit but I rarely wear it. Basically I think it comes down to my concern about exactly where lace crosses the line from sophisticated to skanky. But there were no worries as far as my new tights were concerned. When teamed with a fairly classic (?safe) outfit, they added an element of interest without being inappropriate, even for The Office.

I can imagine layering coloured opaques under the lace to create a different look again. In fact, I was so convinced about these tights that I ended up buying the footless version at the same time. So far, so good!

Monday, 16 May 2011

My favourite serum

My skin has always been on the slightly sensitive side. In fact, it probably wouldn't be too far wrong to describe it as high maintenance in a JLo-diva-demands sort of way. I couldn't really use products for very long (if at all), before a reaction of some sort would occur. It didn't seem to matter how much I spent, whether the products were specifically for sensitive skin or even if they were purely organic - the results were always the same. It was a very expensive habit trialling different potions for a few weeks before finding they just didn't suit at which point my Mum would then end up getting a bag of stuff with which to play (and which always seemed to suit her down to a tee!). Luckily though, over the last 12 months or so, I have found some products that seem not only suit my skin but actually provide the benefits that the marketing departments claim they will provide. Yay, double bonus! I don't know if it is because my skin is calming down now that I am on the other side of 30 or if the products themselves are a little bit of heaven in a bottle but who really cares? The main thing is they have well and truly bonded with my skin.

One of my select dream products is Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle and UV Damage Protector which I have been using since I first tried it in December last year. 6 months of continuous use is paramount to a miracle in my bathroom and consequently I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it and judging by the effect it seems to have had on my skin, I think it is fairly safe to say that my skin also seems to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it too! I am so happy with this product and even though us Australian devotees are paying well over twice the price for a bottle when compared to prices in the US and UK, I am prepared to overlook this transgression purely because of it's complete and utter fabulousness! Sorry Mum, but this is definitely one product I will be keeping all to myself.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

A typical Saturday

One of our regular Saturday outings is to head into the city for yum cha at the Sky Phoenix restaurant in the new Westfield, Pitt Street Mall. Although Sky Phoenix was an institution long before Westfield was even a twinkle in the developer's eye, it has been refurbished to fit in with it's posh new neighbours. Thankfully though the menu has stayed the same. Eady and I have pretty set choices when we do yum cha and rarely deviate from the standard. The deep fried foods and the meat and green veggie dishes are waved away whilst we wait in eager anticipation for the dim sum trolleys to come past. My dim sum of choice are gow gee, a steamed prawn and rice paper dumpling. They are so simple but so, so satisfying. I washed my share of the dim sum down with lots of Chinese tea although Eady preferred to mix his dim sum with good old VB, straight from the stubby. I guess you can take the boy out of Victoria but not the Victoria out of the boy.

After devouring our lunch, we decided to make the most of the sunshine and walked to Surry Hills to window shop along Crown Street. We stopped to look in on of our favourite places on this strip, The Collector Store, which has some great pieces from Australian brands like Flux for the boys and Kylie Hawkes for the girls before ending up at our ultimate destination at the Trinity Hotel which we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. It is a cute pub, with a cool vibe and if you nab a window seat on the ground floor or get a seat in the covered "beer verandah" out front, it is the perfect place to people-watch whilst partaking in a fine ale or two.

On another note, I think it might be time to do my first outfit post (baby steps people). So here is what I wore today:

Jacket: Armani Exchange, Scarf: Dlux at Von Troska, Pants: Jack by BB Dakota, Feet: Converse leather sneakers

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Shopping in shops? You can't be serious!

Sometimes I just need a good old-fashioned shopping trip. Like in actual shops, where instant gratification means a shopping bag by my side and not shopping cart on a website, where I am wondering around on my own two feet and not planted in front of an electrical appliance with a wifi connection letting my fingers do the walking. Today was one of those days and luckily for me, I had a day off from The Office in which to indulge this old past-time. I decided that I wanted a boutique experience rather then a big-supa-mega-mall experience so headed for the Mosman shopping strip on the Lower North Shore in Sydney. It is a nice walk from home, far enough away to justify an iced chocolate to replenish my strength when I get there, short enough that I don't need to get decked out in my power walking ensemble and flat enough that I don't work up a big sweat climbing any hills. It was ticking a lot of boxes even before I left home.

Once there I went straight into one of my favourite shops, Pink Zebra. It has a fantastic range clothing from lots of my favourite American brands plus a great selection of accessories to peruse too, from scarves to  Kate Spade wallets to books. On my walk I decided that I really needed something in an animal print for my winter wardrobe and low-and-behold, I found it at Pink Zebra within a matter of moments.

A Daisy silk shirt with a double, ruffled collar and long sleeves. It is drawn in at the waist with elastic and is worn billowed out over the top of the elastic whilst the material under creates a ruffle from the waist to my hip. Normally I really struggle with tops in this design, my long torso means the elastic usually ends up being just under my boosies and not lower down on my waist. However, it wasn't a problem with this shirt which fit so well, woo hoo! It is the sort of item I can dress-up with my See by Chloe tuxedo pants and Jimmy Choos to impress at The Office or dress down with any number of pairs of jeans and ballet flats for weekend play. Being silk it will take me through humid summers and just by layering my Metalicus woollen scoop neck top under it, it will take me through winter just as easily. I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Pink Zebra and my lovely new shirt too.

After my first success, I popped into Country Road to see what was offer in the woollen cardigan department. These cardigans are a staple item in my wardrobe for most of the year, they wear so well and are just so easy to pair with everything else I own. I love the range of colours that they come in each season but decided that due to the amount of wear my black and grey ones have had, it was time to replace tatty with new. Well not only did they have my size in the two colours I wanted, they were also reduced to $59.95 too. Bingo.

After my highly successful day, it is pretty safe to say that right now I am feeling the LOVE, LOVE, LOVE again for the high street retail experience!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

What's in the oven?

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting from The Humingbird Bakery Cookbook

High Tea at the Victoria Room

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a high tea. From cute little cakes and scones with cream to exotic teas and the obligatory glass or two of bubbly taken whilst dressed-up in all manner of girly accessories, it is an activity that I just adore. Obviously then, it was with much excitment that I headed to the Victoria Room in Darlinghurst on Saturday afternoon, one of my favourite venues in Sydney.

The Victoria Room is such an opulent setting and if I had to imagine what a high tea set in British India back in the early 20th century was like, then this would be just how I would picture it. The venue itself is dimly lit with candles in morrocan tea glasses of every imaginable colour on every imaginable surface. Silk flocked wallpaper in rich jewel tones, mismatched sofas and arm chairs upholstered in different shades of studded velvet plus potted palms and slowly rotating ceiling fans all work together to create an atmosphere that transports me to another place and another era. One where time stands still, where you can arrive mid-afternoon but find it is well into the night before you head home...

Friday, 6 May 2011

Catching Up

Today Eady and I caught up with some of our favourite people for dinner at a local pub. Dordie and Andy came with Monkey, our hilarious 2 year old niece. J & P, Eady's aunt and uncle from Melbourne were there too after flying up earlier in the day.

As J and I had recently celebrated birthdays, we exchanged presents over dinner. We gave J a Bindya Lulla silk/wool wrap featuring a tribal print in rich purple which I thought would look lovely with her colouring. J & P bought me some gorgeous drop earrings, that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. J has amazing taste in jewellery and inevitably every time I see her, she is wearing a new piece that I can't help but covet. So you can imagine my excitment at receiving such a fabulous gift. I am one lucky girl!

My new Jarbo cardigan

Fridays are always great, no matter which way you look at it. They are extra-specially great though when a Shopbop delivery arrives, woo hoo! My latest purchase was a draped Jarbo cardigan in heather grey made with 50% alpaca and 50% acrylic yarn. It was heavily reduced and along with the Aussie dollar doing a fantastically spectacular trade right now, I thought it was just too good a bargain to pass up. When I saw it online, I hoped it would serve as as extra layer to wear over some of my wool Country Road cardigans that are just a little too flimsy to keep out the winter chill on their own or even where I just don't feel like I need or want a woollen jacket or cashmere coat as my top layer. My first impressions were good, I loved the colour and the texture, just like a chunky handknit. I also like the way the cardigan can be worn two ways depending on whether I want a long cardigan or a cropped cardigan. What I am not sure about are the shoulders. The cardigan has been designed to have drop shoulders with a bit of  semi-bat wing action going on but I am not quite sure that it works. I thought about altering it to make the shoulders more narrow and have a more traditional fit but then the sleeves would be far too short to cover these long gangly, Grover-like arms of mine. Instead, I think I will play around with styling it and see what I end up with!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Zara Experiment

It is no secret that I have been underwhelmed by Zara in the past. But like the good scientist that I am, I wanted to test my hypothesis that Zara-Down-Under would elicit the exact same response in me as other Zara stores around the globe have. So, with a day off today I headed for Pitt Street Mall ready for my experiment. At 9.25am I joined the small queue of people who were already patiently waiting for the doors to open. I have to say that with listening in to the bubbly conversations going on around me, liking the cute black skater dresses on display in the window and the lovely security guards reassurring us all that the store opening was imminent, I could really feel my excitment building. Oh yes, building to such a level that I began planning my entrance strategy and bargaining with myself about how much money I would allow myself to spend on the animal print items I could see on the far wall. Things were looking good.

The doors opened and in I rushed in a state of frenzy. For 10 minutes I wondered around the store touching, unfolding, checking and imagining the integration of Zara clothing into my current wardrobe. I gave it a darn good go. But you know what? My initial enthusiasm didn't change the fact that Zara and I just don't gel, no matter where in the world we meet. The fact that I like to be able to justify my purchases in terms of cost vs. quality, fit, current wardrobe, longevity and desire to own just added to this. There was nothing in Zara today that made me think I had found the holy grail of clothing, shoes or accesories. There wasn't anything that I felt could fill a short term vacancy in my closet or even be an impulse buy to be regretted soon after purchase. There really is no arguing with hard evidence like that. So with the hypothesis that I am in a tiny minority of people who don't adore Zara proven beyond all doubt, I left the store empty-handed. I am happy I  tried but I am very happy with the thought that my latest Shopbop parcel should be arriving tomorrow...

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A long, lazy lunch for Beany

Today, Beany, my baby sister-in-law turned 21 and to celebrate this momentous occasion we decided that a lovely lunch in Balmoral was called for. So after Beany and CK (my Mother-in-law) collected me from The Office, we headed straight for the Public Dining Room along the Esplanade.

The Public Dining Room is a gorgeous space. It is open and light with a design and colour scheme that felt almost Scandinavian - beautiful natural wood floors, dark metal and glass features and white on white furniture. Bursts of colour in the form of structured flower arrangements complimented the design beautifully.

When we arrived we were seated at a table by the window which allowed us a gorgeous view of Balmoral Beach and the waters of Middle Harbour. Although the weather was overcast with a few grey clouds in the sky, it certainly didn't spoil the scenery.

After raising a glass of Pol Roger to Beany, our shared entrees arrived, cheese stuffed zucchini flowers (the best I have ever had!) and prawn ceviche with flat bread. Following that delicious start, we all opted to continue with the seafood theme. I feasted on a risotto of moreton bay bug and peas, Beany enjoyed a delicious grilled king fish and MiLaw enjoyed a delightfully scented bouillabaisse of scallops, prawns, mussels, spanner crab and fish. Whilst the desert menu was really tempting, we restrained ourselves with the consolation that a birthday cake would be ready for eating after the family dinner in the evening. The only difficult thing about such a lovely lunch for me, as the only one who didn't have the day off, was having to head back to The Office for the afternoon!

Lucky for me though, the afternoon passed quickly enough and Eady and I headed over for Beany's 21st dinner with the rest of the clan. Being a school night, everyone was very well behaved and the motto of the night was "Quality over Quantity".

Mission accomplished.