Monday, November 16, 2015

Sculptures by the Sea: A Snipet

I won’t lie – I was feeling slightly absurd taking this photo, since I very obviously couldn’t get the hand positions right (darn statute, your pose game peaks!). But, alas, pretending I’m a work of art while both next to and in front of beautiful art pieces (yes, the gorgeous Bondi horizon counts) kind of washes me out, don’t you think? Nevertheless, my trusty bestie and I wandered through all the gorgeous art at Sculptures by the Sea, and met incredible characters along the way, in true, laid-back Bondi style.

Now, I’m not one to take favourites, but this walk provided us with so much people-watching fodder that it’d be hard not to. Of course, my fav had to be the man who took pity on my overly-enthusiastic assertions about the fact that his tiny grey toy poodle had to absolutely be the CUTEST thing I have ever seen in my life! Like, I’ve NEVER seen ANYTHING cuter EVER! You get the gist. Anyway, after hearing my animated comments, the man, without saying a word, scoops up his little fluff ball and plants him in my arms, for me to carry and cuddle forever and ever and ever…well, for the next five minutes anyway. And while my bestie made rather knowing chats to the man about owning poodles herself, I was left alone to play with my new friend, Toby, the 13-year-old grey girl poodle (yes, HER name was Toby. I suppose nowadays that isn’t quite so ground-breaking, but when she was born way back in 2002, I’m guessing it rather was).

A close-second to Toby would have to be the plethora of small school children running again and again through a sculpture of a pig, whereby the aim, according to these schoolkids, is to run as fast as you can through the mouth and out the butt (funny sentence patrol, come get me), then giggle copiously and move straight on the giant water-fountain detergent bottles. Of course, once the school kids had moved on to another section of the beach, my bestie and I made sure to follow their lead and giggle as we ran through the cast-iron pig over and over again.

Considering the amount of people gathered to look upon the statue in that photo up there, I’d say me and my bestie also became conversational fodder for everyone else we were people-watching (people-watching-inception, if you will)!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

AC/DC Concert: A Snipet

The crowds screamed and flashed their phone lights and glowing merchandise as me and my entourage (conveniently wearing matching jackets) traipsed into the middle of the arena. The fans screams became louder and more enthusiastic as the lights were dimmed: “ACDC, ACDC…” Wait, what?! That’s not my name? No, I guess the crowds aren’t here for me. I’m part of the crowd. I’m here for the AC/DC concert. Right, ok, glad we’re back on the same page.

To say I could understand a word these rock legends were singing would be false – I honestly hardly recognised any English there at all. But the atmosphere was cool, they were pretty cool, and the fact that the weather held out and didn’t rain but rather allowed a nice breeze to filter through the masses of people was pretty cool, too. AC/DC, rock on!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Spooky Halloween Graveyard Cupcakes

Only 9 days until Halloween! My major week of assignments is this week, and I am super excited for the big Halloween party next weekend, so I'm trying out a few cupcake recipes (I want to do a jack-o-lantern one too!) for me to bring to the party.

So, to make these super duper scary graveyard cupcakes, you'll need to bake up some chocolate cupcakes - I've used chocolate in order to create the allusion of dirk, but if chocolate is not your preference then, please, follow your heart and bake whatever you choose!

Pick up some ready-made icing (I used vanilla, but in hindsight fudge would have been best) and then, with a rolling pin, smash up half a packet of chocolate biscuits.

Smear over some icing, then press a handful of the smashed biscuits onto the cupcakes! There! You've made some deliciously scrumming and realistic dirt.

Next, you'll need some ready-made fondant, which is easy to get from your local supermarket, and cut out a sort of small rectangle, before shaping one edge to look like a gravestone. It doesn't matter if it breaks or tears a little - in fact, that'll make it look even more decrepit and old.

To write some creepy verses on your gravestones (think: RIP, Look Out!, Dead...) dip a toothpick into some red food colouring and write to your heart's content, before pressing the fondant pieces on the icing on your cupcakes. It's a little difficult, I'll admit, to write with a toothpick, but I think the slanted and slightly shaky style suits the theme, don't you?

I brought these cupcakes to last year's festivities as well, and am thinking of adding some more treats in the next week, so keep your eyes peeled! Any suggestions? What do you make on Halloween? xx

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday Wisdom: Effort Never Betrays You

Effort never betrays you.

I really forgot about this in the last few months. I was putting in half the effort I should've been with nearly everything in my life, from friends to work to Uni, even to the tutoring I do with a little girl I absolutely adore. And it made me miserable not to be trying. I felt lazy, lacking energy, lacking zest.

The funny thing was, though, that I truly believed I was making an effort. I believe making an effort in one thing meant leaving the other things in my life by the wayside. I was working hard, and put minimal effort into seeing friends. I then lost purpose for work and tried to get back into the swing of exercise, but Uni work then took over. And now, coming up to exams, I seem to be spending a whole lot of (really lovely) time with friends the past few weeks, but University has gone out the window.

I'm struggling to keep afloat.

I read somewhere that 'Effort never betrays you', and somehow that thought has stuck to my brain with the veracity of an oyster on a rock. It's made me reevaluate my time, and made me waste a lot less time. I've gotten back into writing, into drawing, into Uni work, into TV shows, into friends, into work. I have a long way to go to get back to the zeal of life I had a while back, but I'm getting there, always remembering that if you want something badly enough, then you need to be prepared to put in the effort. I'm not going to get Distinction grades with a half-assed attitude. Nor am I going to reach my goal of reading over 37 books this year (37 being my achievement of last year). I'm not going to ever finish that scene if I don't put in the time and care, and I'm certainly not going to keep the strong holds of friendship if I don't make the effort.

There's a lot I left aside the last few months, but I'm raring to go and chase my dreams and balance my life out once again xx

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Tella Ball Shake

Bit late on the bandwagon but you'll forgive me when you taste how incredible these Tella Ball Shakes are from Woodcraft Espresso!

I first heard about these amazingly simple but genius creations from Buzzfeed, social media, even news sites were divulging the secret of the (previously) off-the-menu-in-the-know-only milkshakes. They. Are. Divine.

The little cafe is in an out of the way spot in Erskineville, and the service was incredibly welcoming. Granted, it was a rainy Thursday morning and there was no line (though there were more people than expected at 9am!), but we were introduced to the owner, who gave us the grand tour of the sweets cabinet as it was our first time there.

The shakes themselves were $10, and there were four different flavoured doughnuts and milkshakes. Considering the price of food these days, I found these an absolute bargain...especially when I can buy beloved tea for $4, I think a few more for an actual probably-won't-make-at-home drink is reasonable. I'm more than happy to pay for the faces my friend and I made as the drinks made their way to our table...

We were intending to try out some more savoury breakfast ideas too (hello, haloumi stack) but were so full we decided we'd just have to make an excuse to come back another time!

And, just when we thought we were done, the lovely wait staff popped two extra nutella balls free of charge for us as we were leaving! A truly memorable morning with wonderfully accommodating staff xx

Yep, they are THAT big!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dress Ups

Halloween is right around the corner lovelies! The spooky, eerie night that happens (luckily) to fall on a Saturday this year.

I love dressing up, and over the past two years or so we've had plenty of cause to dress up and have some fun...but this year I'm at a loss! My aunty is hosting a big Halloween party (not that Halloween is that popular of a holiday here) and I need a great costume to scare and boogie the night away.

What do you call a hotdog with nothing inside it? A hollow-weeny!

Why didn't the skeleton go to the dance party? Because he had no body to go with!

Two monsters went to a Halloween party. Suddenly, one said to the other, "A lady just rolled her eyes at me. What should I do?"
The other monster replied, "Be a gentleman and roll them back to her."

Ok, ok, enough of my hilarity. Here are some of my favourite costumes over the past few years, but please comment on some fun costumes to give me some ideas!!!

^ I went as Prince Harry's bride to the theme, What do you want to be when you grow up!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Wisdom I - You Will Always Look Lovely

This here is the quote that I plastered on my Instagram bio, and that I remember everyday when I'm challenged by life with someone who annoys me, with something not going the way I planned, with times when I feel blue.

It's important to remember the magic of life, and to remember that silly little quote that holds a great deal of resonance: "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

I'm known for being the 'positive' and 'airy-fairy' one of my friendship group, and have had that kind of title since I was very's draining to pretend you're happy all the time, but honestly all up until the end of Year 12 I felt that I had a facade to keep up here - and it made me resent it. It made me resent the different moods that others seemed to be able to experience throughout the day, getting mad at someone one minute, crying the next, and then being friends with them by the time the end-of-school-time bell rang. And then I remembered that it's your thoughts that dictate how you feel and how you appear to others.

If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

I've grown to love my airy-fairy-ness (if we can call that a word haha) but at the same time I've learned more about how I actually feel by analysing my thoughts - and I'm not always happy. I've grown closer to my friends because I've opened up more about vulnerability and hurt, instead of being all bubbles and laughter, though I suppose that's what the quote is advocating to an extent.

Be a ray of sunshine and others will be attracted to that. It's not always true. Of course, nobody likes a negative Nelly, but no one can feel intimately close to you unless you open up...and become more human, I suppose.

For now, I'm keeping that quote in my mind, as I adore it, and adore the idea of someone who is eternally happy and fun, but I'm also keeping in mind the reality of the idea of eternal happiness - it's not real, but that doesn't mean we can't strive for it. xx

Friday, September 25, 2015

Peacock Cupcakes

Who else spends their rainy days making fondant animals (albeit, creepy fondant animals) on cupcakes? No one? Just me?

^This one's name is Freddie :)

I've always been into baking, and watching baking shows (Cake Boss or The Great British Bake-Off, anyone?) and dabbling in a bit of ~ amateur ~ cake decorating is a fun way to spend an afternoon, trust me.

If you're interesting in making these *ahem* peacock cupcakes, then you'll need some cupcakes (obviously), some buttercream coloured literally any colour you like, some toothpicks, some fondant, some mini coloured chocolate drops, some dragees (for the eyes) and a piping bag with a star nozzle attached.

Pipe your buttercream in single dollops, literally up and down, on your cooled cupcake to make a pretty effect all over the top of the cupcake.

Next, colour your fondant with food colouring (yes, this does get messy!) and shape small bits into a sort of J shape for the head, before sticking onto the butter creamed cupcake. If you don't have a helped, maybe make these heads first, just so your buttercream doesn't dry before you have a change to finish the cupcake!

Either change coloured-buttercream, or stay the same as the base colour, and pipe a cute little collar around the peacock's head. We chose grass green, for some reason. It really looks like the Loch Ness monster is popping his head out of a field of grass, to be honest... Onwards and upwards!

Using your fondant again, shape tiny little balls and form them each onto a toothpick, before placing the toothpicks on the back of the cupcake to make the beautiful tail of the peacock. I'll admit, if I were a peacock, I'd be pretty blasé about my attempt to capture the beauty and colour of the tail, plus more little balls would have looked better. Unfortunately, people don't like to spend half their time picking out toothpicks, so if anyone has a better idea as to how to make the tail, I'd love to hear it!!!

Finally, drop some dragees for the eyes, and pop some coloured chocolate chips to add a splash of much needed colour.

Et voila! They do look a tad creepy all en masse...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Day in the Life III

1. With hot days and a lovely balcony to sit on, strawberry frozen yoghurt is a must!
2. Cuddles and walks with friends (of the dog and human variety)
3. Dancing and twirling under gorgeous fairy lights at dinner.
4. A lovely cocktail and catch up with an old friend xx

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Busy Bee

I wonder if we’ll ever feel like we’ve done enough. I’m sitting here typing away my (probably waffle-y) thoughts and I’m exhausted. I pretty much have one day off a week, with that one day off being used not only to catch up with friends, but also to study. Does study really constitute a day off?

I’m not writing this to whinge. I just want to highlight something that’s been darting in and out of my mind as I balance (like so many other people) the worries and responsibilities of work and university, with friendships, relaxation, exercise and health. Struggle is the only word I can really think of at this moment.

Yet when an opportunity to add something more to our plate is offered, we jump at the chance...or else feel we can’t say no. Recently, I not only had to work a full day, coach a new co-worker, and study when I came home, but I was also called during the day to re-do all the rosters for the next two weeks (involving phone calls, furious scribbling down of days of availability, in between customer service and sales).

We spend all day trying to do our best, pleasing others, and straining to remain light-hearted amongst it all. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve certainly failed to see the silver lining this past week, with added pressures suggesting that I’m falling out or rather drifting from old friends. It hurts. And it’s got a lot to do with over-exerting myself.

Even to people whom I normally share everything with, there’s a sense of ‘everybody’s been there’ and ‘this is what real life is like, darling’. I struggle to accept that this is what my life will be like though. I’m not here talking about balancing work and life, or else responsibilities over fun, or even talking about being busy in general. That is a concept I’ve understood for a long time. No, what I mean is I find it hard to think that this little rut I’m in because of stresses in my work, uni and social life, are stresses I have to bear for life, just because ‘it’s what everyone does’. I want a life that makes me feel weightless and free, with a sense of purpose and direction, but also the leeway to make changes and set my mind to a project and go at it because I’m passionate about it. I have to keep that in mind. I have to remember to step back every now and then, let go (responsibly and when the time is right) of some things taking up my days that drain me, and restore the balance in me that makes me feel right.

It’s food for thought – and something I hope every keeps in mind. Being busy and accepting that life is full of things that you don’t want to do isn’t what you have to deal with. Make changes, and do you for once xx