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Cake Girl WOWs Daffodil Day

September 16, 2012 1 comment

Friends and co-workers know I can disappear cake faster than you can say ‘Seconds?’ But this Daffodil Day, I was met with stiff competition from my fluffy-walled podmates who didn’t PAUSE while I went to get my camera-phone. I HAD to share this day with you, because it was so inspirational and involves lots of cake.

Gillian Bell aka Cake Girl

Gillian Bell of Cake Girl wows Daffodil Day in our office yet again. And makes us all forget our diets.

Cheesecake *faints*

How gorgeous and what a great idea.

Lemon cake

Red velvet cake, anyone?

Lucky ginger is so good for you…

Thank YOU, Gillian. What you did for this cancer fundraising morning tea was astonishing.

Cake Girl is a Brisbane-based business.

 

 

 

Latest in wet weather shoes

March 22, 2012 8 comments

You know it’s been a wet year when high-end fashion houses start selling plastic shoes.

These little VWs followed me home from Sydney (oops) and could be seen walking the streets of Brisbane today.

Isn’t the Brisbane City street art gorgeous? Sandstone carved with an image of a traditional ‘Queenslander’.

All-plastic high heels by 'Melissa' and Vivienne Westwood. Just amazing what can be done with plastic. Sadly, I couldn't take them all....

Brisbane today:

Chanel gumboots, anyone?

Gumboots, up close (in case you didn't believe me).

Or, Chanel thongs? Translation: Expensive flip-flops (in case readers are looking for underwear. In Queensland, we call them 'thongs', whereas the undergarments are G-strings).

Olive festival: Watercress Creek Olives & Limes

March 16, 2012 5 comments

Scandals plague the olive¬† industry from time to time: be it oil that isn’t what it’s claimed to be, or Aussie farmers being bought out by Chinese business interests. Now, more than ever, it’s worth knowing who’s growing your food and where it’s actually coming from. Buying local isn’t a quaint legacy of a 1980s green-and-gold advertising campaign; it’s actually smart, environmentally sensible and fair (if you believe that what goes around, comes around).

But this is a good news story, so let’s get to the good bits.

Watercress Creek Olives & Limes

If you’ve ever wondered where places like Brisbane’s Cloudland source their delicious olives, I can let you in on a well-kept secret: Watercress Creek Olives & Limes, at Pine Mountain.

The property is near Ipswich and has bounced back remarkably after Queensland’s devastating floods of 2011. If you’re a dedicated foodie, you should contact the Mahon family by email and request an invitation to their next Olive festival. Entry is free, but unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait a year.

Tour of the grove

I had the pleasure of attending on 11 March 2012: the day was a stunning success, beautiful food and scenery. Be sure to get a tour of the olive and lime grove. And instructions on how to marinate your own olives.

Bernie giving a tour of the grove. What goes into growing your olives is simply amazing.

Some of the delights of the day…. There were products featured from other locals, including sheep milk cheeses, honey, natural soaps, woodturning pieces, to name a few.

What came home with me….

Limes & olive delights

The sheep-milk cheese was a lovely surprise, quite unlike cow or goat milk products. It made my Sunday night ironing in front of the tv something special, along with a few olives, figs and dark bread.

A tip for using limes: the green ones are best for your Coronas (beer) and other drinks; the yellowish ones are sweeter and best for marinating fish. A tip for storing limes: freeze them either whole (wrapped in plastic) or squeeze them out and store the juice frozen in ice cube trays.

I’m going to have a lot of fun cooking with my variously infused olive oils. They’ll make great gifts for the people I most love to visit at dinner time, also. Just sayin’.

Women driving in Saudi Arabia: hot music video

February 6, 2012 2 comments

M.I.A. – Bad Girls

I came across this jaw-dropping music video and had to share it with you because:

1. You won’t have seen anything like it before.

2. You won’t have heard anything like it before. Listen to it twice. It’s serious girl-swagger on steroids.

3. It makes a statement and it makes it well. Really well. Love it or hate it, but you can’t un-hear it. Its effect stays with you. It may even inspire me to work on my reverse-parking (because girls can do anything).

As you may know, women in Saudi Arabia are banned by clerics from driving. This restricts their ability to work, socialise and do many of the things women in the west take for granted. They are completely dependent upon males driving them and essentially supervising them in public. Read more about the stirrings of an Arab Spring for Women.

MIA, the British visual artist turned singer, will be responding to her favourite YouTube comments on 10 Feburary 2012. Go say hi.

What I love about this particular music video is that it mocks the arbitrariness of the unwritten rules which prevent Saudi women from driving as badly as their men and participating in society. It leaves their religion alone. Let people believe what they want without ridicule, but let fly at the way they conduct themselves in the world when it’s oppressive.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part I

November 21, 2011 2 comments

There’s only one way to watch this latest Twilight movie, and that’s with Twilight fans. In my case, I went with my usual gang of Twi-mums. It’s like watching a film with surround sound and 3-D, as opposed to watching it at home with your cat. Okay, your cat wouldn’t sit through it, because that’s what¬† friends are for.

I should probably admit a few things up front:

1. I hate vampire stories. Friends take me to horror movies and vampire movies to laugh at my reactions.

2. Chief Twi-mum has insisted that my review be a positive one, or else.

3. Twi-mums are scarier than vampires.

If you really need to know what happened in this film, Bella finally marries Edward, goes on a honeymoon and has a baby, in that order. Watch the film to appreciate the prettiness of the wedding, especially the dress. If you don’t like fashion, you might fall into a coma in the first half of the film. Or, the second half, when they go on their honeymoon and Bella tries to decide whether she should or shouldn’t.

Bella showed a little more humanness in this film (ironically, given how it ends) but was still high on the annoying scale. Why? WELL… Far from being a good role model for young women (which is what the religious author Stephenie Meyer would’ve hoped for), she keeps modelling what not to do. Ignore the warning bells in your head, saying RUN FOR THE HILLS or MAYBE MY PARENTS WERE RIGHT. Ignore the bruises after your wedding night. HE SAID SORRY. Don’t be upset that the father of your baby calls it A THING, as in “We’ll get that thing out of you”. He’ll come around eventually. YOU GO GIRL. Not so much. It’s all so peculiar in its well-meaningness (as in, don’t do that before marriage and don’t abort under any circumstances, even when it’s a demon-baby that’s killing you) that I’m trying hard to forgive the unsafe and confused message of Love conquers all, because frankly, sometimes, it doesn’t. Spend time with battered women and you’ll come to that conclusion quickly.

The film itself was a lot slower than one would’ve thought. The dialogue was as laboured as expected, but good for emos being cool. Stop here if you don’t want to know the ending.

Sure, it came together (weirdly) in the end, with Jacob the werewolf imprinting himself on the baby with the peculiar superimposed eyes, thus protecting it from a certain death from the werewolf pack. And, after the most horrific C-section birthing scene (not horrific enough, so imagine it with a whole lot of fang-biting), Bella eventually heals all the dreadful birthing/biting wounds (including a broken spine, I believe) and comes back with red eyes. But of course, that’s where the movie ends because we can all wait a year to see what happens next. She might look at Edward. He might look back at her. She’ll be tempted to bite her own baby until she remembers that Edward told her that it loves her.

The birthing scene put me right off my movie-munchies. The Maltesers (thanks Donna) and Twisties came home (and that’s never happened). The only bit of light relief was when the vampire drove his bride away from the wedding reception in a Volvo. Volvo – for safety.

I’ll line up for the next instalment of the franchise because I rather fancy the Cullens’ house. Architecture fetish, as opposed to a fang-fetish.

Besides, love it or hate it, Twilight has changed the world. It’s now okay for women in their 40s to cheer Team Edward or Team Jacob, have a latte and go home to iron uniforms.

The Twi-faithful love this film. To them, it’s about eternal love, male bodies that ripple not wobble, and how being determinedly female can even bring a monster to heel. Or, maybe it’s about having a perfect wedding, being taken to an amazing honeymoon destination and living the happily-ever-after cool life in a modernist masterpiece in the forest.

Must try: aja coffeehouse, Elizabeth Arcade, Brisbane

October 19, 2011 4 comments

Looking for a new place to eat in Brisbane City?

aja coffeehouse, Charlotte St, Brisbane

Opened 8 weeks ago, aja coffeehouse offers a fresh and well-priced menu of Asian-fusion dishes, Aussie burgers and continental breakfasts or simply a place for coffee and a dessert.

Service is quick and professional and the premises are spotless. You could go there for a work-lunch (as I have done, several times), girls’ catch-up, brekky or casual date and feel welcome.

Stylish, spotless and relaxed. What's not to love?

I’ve taken some of my fussiest friends there, and aja hasn’t missed a beat. The salt ‘n pepper calamari is unbelievably good and the presentation, lovely. Take my advice: Say YES to the fries (crispy, salty, sweet and spicy!). Your low-carb day can wait.

Salt 'n pepper calamari to die for

aja is located at the Charlotte St entrance to Elizabeth Arcade and is open Monday to Thursday 7am-6pm, Friday 7am-9pm and Saturday 9am-9pm (closed Sunday). Catering is available with 48 hours notice ph. (07) 3161 2691.

Opening a business in this economy is gutsy. Aja is a young, family outfit and they’re really very good. Give them some love, Brisbane.

Categories: Brisbane, Review, where to eat

Beautiful book bag

August 3, 2011 2 comments

I love my latest book-ish thing…

Book bag

It protects my precious books in transit.

A pouch for a writing pad, a slot for pencils and a snug spot for my beloved book...

Order yours from http://www.olvarwood.com.au/gifts.html

And, because caring is sharing, here’s a quote from the book I’m reading (The Story of a Novel). These words of Thomas Wolfe were originally published in 1936, but the feeling still holds true for those afflicted with the need to write. At pp.36-7:

It seemed that I had inside me, swelling and gathering all the time, a huge black cloud, and that this cloud was loaded with electricity, pregnant, crested, with a kind of hurricane violence that could not be held in check much longer; that the moment was approaching fast when it must break.

Categories: Australia, Books, Craft, Review, Writing
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