Sunday, 5 July 2015

Celebrities I've Seen In Real Life

  • Wil Anderson at Cupcakes on Pitt
  • Cosima De Vito (from Australian Idol Season 1, 3rd place) buying seafood from the shop outside Franklins in Miranda Westfield
  • Ada Nicodemou in Myer at Miranda Westfield
  • Some football guy in my street when I lived with my parents. I think it was Paul Gallen but I don't remember. I do remember that James got super excited.
  • Delta Goodrem dancing in Kit and Kaboodle, after what I'd imagine were quite a few beverages. You can read about that one here, if you're so inclined. Chris Lilley was out that night but I missed him. But then...
  • Chris Lilley eating dinner at a little old-school Italian place in Bondi. He was with a curly-haired guy who was also a bit famous but I can't remember his name. Sorry curly-haired guy! Alex? Chris?
  • Cheyenne and Tahyna Tozzi going to preschool, many years ago when I went to the same one. They didn't want to play with me.
  • ETA: Ex-politician Greg Combet, walking down the street in The Rocks last night. Thanks Emily for pointing him out to me.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Recommitting to Thrift

If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know I've always been a massive fan of Thrift. Back in the day I was all about Frugal February and op shop buys, but recently we've become a little estranged. I still love op shops, but I also love outsourcing chores and personal grooming activities, and have developed a bit of a fondness for getting a taxi home after a night out. And sometimes getting a taxi there too. Even though I live six minutes from a train station with frequent services and limited dodgy characters.

My twenty two year old self would be sick at the very thought.

After reflecting on how much of our house we own vs how much interest we have forked over to the bank, I have decided to recommit to thrift. 

James and I have been eating sensible homemade meals instead of buying dinner five times a week.

In a dazzling display of adult responsibility, we often cook these on a weekend and keep them in the fridge for quick weeknight meals. I know.

Lately I've been spending a lot on entertainment, but now I am getting into community theatre.

This was Legally Blonde The Musical by Engadine Musical Society. Actually it was very good (and hello to my talented telekinetic friend if you are reading). I had seen it once before: James took me to see Lucy Durack and Rob Mills at Star City once. But those days are OVER.

So are the days of cafe brunches on weekends. Now I go to the Kim Le Bakery on the highway for Vietnamese rolls (banh mi for the cultured people) and mock-cream-based desserts.

They also sell those awesome Lipton sparkling iced teas in miniature cans, even the diet one which I can not find ANYWHERE else. (If anyone's seen it in a supermarket please let me know!)

I've been getting back into baking too. Here is a boring old chocolate cake I made for my mum's birthday, jazzed up with a Nutella buttercream icing. It was pretty hectic, if I do say so myself.

It's just 226 grams of butter (that's two sticks in the USA), 2 cups of icing sugar and 2/3 cup of Nutella. That would be enough for one layer cake, or two regular cakes. Or you could just do one regular cake then invite a friend over to eat the remaining icing from the bowl while you get your drink on. Either way.

Baking is super thrifty, because it's not only a really cheap hobby but also a great source of affordable snack foods.

That's a maple bacon cupcake. I thought it might be a sort of Emperor's New Clothes thing that only a dumb hipster would make or buy, but surprise it's actually super tasty. The wrappers were $2 for a pack of 24 at The Reject Shop.

What did everyone do for their long weekend? Take a little trip away, host a family lunch, maybe go to the movies? Good for you, Rockerfeller. James and I went for a drive down the coast. In a borrowed car with free fuel. 

We went over the Sea Cliff Bridge and stopped for lunch in Coledale. Terrible food but a pretty glorious day. I haaaaate the cold so it's lucky I live in a place where Winter days can look like this:

Annoyingly, I was pretty sick for most of the long weekend so apart from the tiny road trip I just stayed home and practised Thrift. I did my own nails instead of going to the salon and ironed practically all my clothes instead of sending them out.

I also let James drag me to Bay Vista where he had a giant sundae and I, having just eaten an ice cream at home in an attempt at thrift, chose a savoury crepe instead. 

Big mistake. Big. HUGE.

Last night's dinner was much better - a picnic of roast chicken rolls, cheese and crackers and red wine.

The wine might seem like a bit of an indulgence, but James made a thrifty casserole for our weeknight dinners and the recipe called for a splash of red wine. He had to open a new bottle, so we were just being sensible in finishing it off. Waste not want not.

I'm off to combine slivers of old soap bars into one big new bar now.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Gin and Tonic Cupcakes

My mum sent me this recipe for Gin and Tonic Cupcakes a while ago. I love cupcakes, but I don’t often eat them – the beautifully decorated ones you see at cupcake shops generally taste pretty bad, but mine are so much less attractive than the store-bought ones that it doesn't seem worth the effort to make them. But with four days off work, non-stop rain and a friend’s birthday lunch to go to, I had to give them a try.

How good is my pink sieve? Don't mind the board games in the back.

SECRET TIP: I normally use a pate knife to ice cupcakes. It’s just like a tiny palette knife and gives much better result than using a butter knife. 

But this time I wanted to make a bit more effort so for the first time in my life, I tried piping the icing on. I had a piping bag in a drawer, so I attached the fancy nozzle to it, then just held it over the cupcake and piped away. I found I got the best result by starting in the middle and spiraling out to the edges and then back toward the middle. I imagined it would be really hard but it’s actually super easy!! It was kind of hard on my hands, but the skill and coordination required is seriously minimal and each cupcake was iced in seconds.

The cupcakes were a big hit with the girls, and also with the table next to us in the pub. This was the second time I’ve had random pub-goers admire my baking so if I ever go pro I know how I’ll be drumming up business. I was so proud of my new mad skills that I made a batch of vanilla cupcakes on Easter Sunday and topped them with some of the leftover icing to take to dinner at my mum's house.  I won't share the recipe as it wasn't a very good one, but I was still pretty pleased with the result.

Friday, 27 February 2015

What's In My Makeup Bag

I generally put foundation on at home in the bathroom, but owing to my excellent time management skills I tend to do the rest of my face en route to my destination and therefore carry around a makeup bag at all times. It contains the following:

Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer
I've been using this for a long time and I think it's pretty good for the price, but lately I'm noticing it settle in the lines around my eyes so it might be time to try something new.

Revlon Age Defying Spa Concealer
This makes my eyes a bit itchy after prolonged use so I just use it on the rest of my face - it works equally well for both though. Sadly discontinued, lucky I stocked up!

Revlon Colourstay Pressed Powder
I don't really like this, I feel like it makes me look sick so I only use it in shine emergencies.

Essence Silky Touch Blush in Adorable
I don't wear blush every day but I like this one a lot and it's cheap as chips.

Essence Powder Brush
I use this to apply my Essence blush, because I'm WILD!

Prestige Eyeliner Pencil in Black
I've had this for about 5 years. I don't wear it every day because it's hard to apply in transit, but it goes on easily and lasts all day; if this ever runs out and they still make it I will definitely repurchase.

Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara in Black
This is the best mascara ever, I love it so much and don't ever want to switch. I've tried the waterproof and 24 hour ones but the original formula is the best. Apparently Covergirl LashBlast is the exact same product but packaged and marketed differently.

Essence Eyebrow Designer Pencil in Blonde
I like this colour even though I have dark hair, and while the quality isn't amazing I think it's quite decent for the price.

Nivea Essential Care Lipbalm
I've been using these lipbalms for at least ten years now and I don't think I'll ever stop.

Essence Lipstick in Wear Berries
Yet another Essence hit! I really like this colour for work and it feels lovely on. I hope they bring it out in some new shades soon as there are only a few right now and none of the others are to my taste.

 Revlon Lip Butter in Lollipop
These are popular for a reason - this is a great product and I love this colour. My friend Brendan picked this up for me in America (hello if you are reading and thank you!) because they are really overpriced here, though I did recently get a couple on clearance in Myer.

Maybelline Colour Sensational Lipstick in Juicy Bubblegum
This is another one that I like for work. I have lots of Maybelline lipsticks, they are probably my favourites overall.

Essence Nude Glam Nail Polish in Cotton Candy
This is one Essence product that I don't love. The sheer pink/nude colour is great to quickly tidy up unpolished nails but it chips like crazy, and it goes on really streaky which is not too noticeable with one coat but looks positively horrifs with a second. For emergency use only.

I also have a mini sewing kit, nail file and orange stick (all sourced from hotels), plus a travel hairbrush, mirror, elastics and bobby pins. Sadly there's no room for hand cream or perfume.