It’s been a while…

Howdy everyone!  Happy new year to you!  Yes, I know it was ages ago but it’s been a while since I thought about coming here to write something.  To be fair, it has been a very busy time for us in the past few weeks.  We moved house right before Christmas, then had the usual festival of eating over the Christmas break.  Plus we had to unpack a million boxes.  Okay maybe not a million, but it seemed like it some days.

Happily, the hard work is behind us now and we are settling in to our new and fabulous home.  We’ve ordered a new couch (6 – 8 weeks delivery, pffft) then life will be complete.

I posted a photo of my new kitchen on Facebook, but for those of you who aren’t friends with me there, here it is:

kitchen01

And the walk-in pantry:

kitchen02

And over the past three weeks we have had a steady stream of visitors, which is fun but exhausting. I’m back at work properly next week, so I’m sure it will feel like getting back to normal life then.

You may have noticed (or not) that I have removed the shoe and wardrobe challenge counters from the sidebar.  I decided last week that I would stop the challenge.  When we moved, I got rid of some more shoes and some dresses and other clothes, so what I have in my wardrobe are clothes (and shoes) that I actually wear.  I’m actually happy about stopping the challenge, as I can go back to wearing what I want, instead of always thinking about things that I maybe haven’t worn for a while, and that may require saving.

And just to make you all jealous, here is my pool:

Pool

No, I don’t know why you need a pool in Melbourne but it came with the house. It’s heated, so at least we’ll be able to use it for more than 3 days a year.

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The year in review

Click here to see last year’s answers for comparison.  And feel free to do this on your own blogs!   Let me know if you do so I can see your answers.

1. What did you do in 2012  that you’d never done before?

I decided that, with one particular friend, I would stop making all the effort and see if she stepped up to the plate.  She did not, for the record.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My friend Melissa had her second child just last week, but I don’t know if it counts as she and her family live in Singapore and we’ve only seen them once this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

We lost Huffle Mawson while we were away in Papua New Guinea.  Horrible time.

5. What countries did you visit?

Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Papua New Guinea.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

Room to move in my house.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

October 25, we bought our new house!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Buying a new house.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Getting our (now sacked) builder to actually finish the job he started.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had a throat infection and an eye infection at the same time.  That was especially unfun.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Our new house!

12. Where did most of your money go?

The new house 😦

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Moving into our new house.  It’s pathetic, you would think no-one had ever bought a new house before in the history of the world.  But it is our dream house.

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?

Anything by Adele.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

Happier

b) thinner or fatter?

About the same

c) richer or poorer?

Poorer (have I mentioned a new house yet?)

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Relax

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Listen to the builder’s excuses for why things weren’t getting done.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas Day with the boy’s family.  Same as always.

19. Did you fall in love in 2012?

Nope, I already have my boy.

20. What was your favorite TV program?

The Big Bang Theory.  It’s amazing that I’m not bored of it yet.

21. What was the best book you read?

I really enjoyed Rob Lowe’s autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends.  The Help by Katherine Stockett was good too, but needed a serious edit to be truly great.

22. What was your favourite film of this year?

I haven’t seen it yet as I’m writing this before it’s released in Australia, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be The Hobbit.  Checking back in my archives, I didn’t do any movie reviews this year so obviously I’ve seen nothing that good.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 39, and went to dinner at Rockpool.  It was delightful, as always.

24. What kept you sane?

Knowing that this year would be over, eventually.

25. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I am very faithful.  My man George Clooney never lets me down.  In other news, how does he keep getting better looking?

26. Who did you miss?

I have missed seeing my friends Carol and Andy.  We have both been slack about keeping in touch this year and I’m going to remedy that very soon.

27. Who was the best new person you met?

A new girl at work, I can see us becoming quite good friends.

Shoe Challenge 35 – 38

It’s been a busy few weeks.  We were in Papua New Guinea for two weeks, during which time our little black cat Huffle Mawson passed away.  We were devastated but she was staying with my parents, whom she loved, so she wasn’t alone.  Then we had a week at home and I’ve been back at work for a week.  Talk about busy!  And two weeks from now we’ll be in our new house!

With all of that going on, I haven’t had much of a chance to wear my frocks or shoes.  I’ll have to do my best during the party season.

Saved 121201
Leona Edmiston “Briola” dress; Joanne Mercer patent peep toes
Worn to: Rockpool for my birthday dinner

Saved 121203
Leona Edmiston dress (worn with purple flats, already saved)
Worn to: work

Saved 121206
Leona Edmiston “Anjelica” dress; Diana Ferrari nude peep toe Mary Janes
Worn to: work

Saved 121207
Leona Edmiston “Helena” dress (worn with Sandler wedges, already saved)
Worn to: work, and lunch at the Bistro

I also wore another dress to a cocktail function but forgot to take a photo. I’ll include it next week.

This weekend I have also cleaned out my wardrobe in preparation for moving house. You’ll notice that my shoe and dress counts have gone down slightly. Still a long way to go before I save everything though!

(so not a) Daily Photo

PNG32

Shoe Challenge 34

Massive effort this week to save five dresses and three pairs of shoes.

Saved 121105
Leona Edmiston “Talina” dress; Ballin patent wedges (optional extra: bad tabby cat)
Worn to: work

Saved 121107
Capture rose print dress; Wittner patent peep toes (already saved)
Worn to: work, but more specifically lunch at the Press Club

Saved 121108
Leona Edmiston “Jazz” dress; MiuMiu navy suede sandals
Worn to: dinner at Zio’s

Saved 121109
Leona Edmiston dress; Midas navy wedges (already saved)
Worn to: work

Saved 121110
Leona Edmiston “Jacinta” dress; Betts “Lola2” silver heels
Worn to: my cousin’s wedding in Sydney

I am thrilled to have saved so many clothes and shoes this week because for the next two weeks I will not be doing any saving at all, as I’ll be cruising in Papua New Guinea on a holiday.

Shoe Challenge 33

Steady progress again this week, two pairs of shoes and two dresses saved.

Saved 121029
Leona Edmiston “Nikki” dress; Joanne Mercer tan wedges
Worn to: work

Saved 121030
Leona Edmiston dress; Diana Ferrari patent peep toes
Worn to: work

I have had those red Diana Ferrari shoes for at least two years and I’ve never worn them before. They are a bit unforgiving but I wore them around the house for a few nights and then to work and now I think they’ll be okay. Very happy I saved them as I love the look of them.

Shoe Challenge 32

Good progress this week, two pairs of shoes saved, one dress, one skirt and a top.

Saved 121023
Avela top; Capture rose print skirt; Wittner peep toe heels (already saved)
Worn to: work

Saved 121024
Leona Edmiston dress; Joanne Mercer cream wedges
Worn to: work

Saved 121025
Autograph top; Jane Debster suede bow front flats; worn with black trousers (saved 42 times already)
Worn to: work, and to the auction for the house we bought

Yeah, so we bought a house. So excited! It’s our dream house and we get the keys right before Christmas. We were originally thinking we’d move just after Christmas but now we’re so excited we might do it the weekend before. We’ll see.

Cooking with Tracey: ANZAC Biscuits

The story goes that the women back home made these biscuits and sent them in tins to the soldiers fighting in the trenches in WWI.  They have no eggs or milk so keep for a while, and it doesn’t matter if they get a bit hard.  I am not that fond of them but the boy loves them and requested I bake them for him on the weekend.

Anyway, to make them you will need:

300g plain flour
250g rolled oats
130g dessicated coconut
300g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
250g unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
130g honey

Preheat oven to 150C.  Cover two baking trays with baking paper.

Sift the flour and combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Place the butter and honey in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until butter is melted.  Pour into bowl with dry ingredients and stir thoroughly until combined.

Roll mixture into 16 balls and place on the trays 5cm apart.  Press gently to flatten.

Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.  Allow to cool slightly on trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

ANZAC biscuits

Shoe Challenge 30 and 31

No post last week as I didn’t think I was going to save any shoes, but thankfully on Sunday I managed to wear these out on my travels.

Saved 121014
Diana Ferrari ballet flats; worn with jeans and t-shirt
Worn to: brunch, furniture shopping, grocery shopping

Saved 121015
Leona Edmiston dress; Joanne Mercer “Daybreak” wedges
Worn to: work

Saved 121017
Diana Ferrari pointy pumps; Target black and white top; (not shown) Katies black trousers
Worn to: work

Saved 121019
Sara silk print dress; Susanne pink cardigan; Tony Bianco pink suede wedges
Worn to: work

I posted on Facebook when I wore those pointy shoes that I now remember why I didn’t love pointy shoes last time they were in fashion. Talk about uncomfortable! But they are safe now, even if I end up getting rid of them.

So a good two weeks, with four pairs of shoes and two dresses saved.

Cooking with Tracey

Over the weekend, I baked a cake.  I took inspiration from a friend’s post on Facebook and made a chocolate oreo cake.  I got the recipe from here.  I used Rosie’s Chocolate Cake recipe from here.  For those of you who, like me, are not in the USA and do not have access to Cool Whip, on the advice of my friend Karen, I simply substituted 2 cups of whipped cream (made with caster sugar and vanilla for sweetness).

I then took the extra step of covering the cake in chocolate fondant, and decorating with fondant butterflies.  It looked awesome:

Oreo Cake

And tasted just as awesome:

OreoCake

In retrospect, I would have made only half the chocolate frosting to go under the fondant. It is a LOT of chocolate and very sweet. But without the fondant, you could definitely make the full amount (and use it all) and it would be fine.  The oreo filling is not that sweet thanks to the cream and cream cheese.

Also: if, like me, you are unable to drink coffee, you can simply substitute a cup of boiling water in the cake recipe.  That’s what I did and it turned out delicious.  And as Rosie says in her instructions, do use two pans.  If you try the bake the cake in just one pan it will not rise properly.

I recommend eating this cake for morning tea as you will be on a sugar high for hours afterwards.  But on the plus side, there’s no butter in the cake recipe.  Balance, people.  It’s all about balance.

Why yes, I did go shopping this weekend

And I did buy shoes.

Orange Sandals
Joanne Mercer “Daybreak” wedges

And I am very much looking forward to wearing them… as soon as the weather improves again.

Shoe Challenge 29

Success this week in saving dresses… the shoes not so much. But I’ll get there.

Saved 121002
Leona Edmiston dress; Diana Ferrari shoes
Worn to: work

Saved 121003
Capture dress; Salvatore Ferragamo flats (worn with tights, it was a cold day) (already saved)
Worn to: work

Saved 121004
Leona Edmiston “Anjelica” dress; Wittner patent peep toes (already saved)
Worn to: work

I’m now well past halfway in the dress challenge but not even close in the shoe challenge.  I hope the weather improves soon!

(not really) Daily Photo

Windfarm 10

The Toora windfarm. Down near where my in-laws live.

Shoe Challenge 28

Progress on both the shoe and wardrobe challenges this week.

Saved 120925
Sara silk print dress; Miss Shop brown peep toe wedges; Sara cardigan (already saved)
Worn to: work

Saved 120927
Leona Edmiston “Lola” floral dress; Therapy red canvas wedges
Worn to: work

As you can tell from the shoes, the weather is slowly improving here. Although the forecast for tomorrow is not great: 14C and hail.

I’ve just realised that I counted one dress twice in my challenge (a few weeks ago).  Now I have another dress to save, dammit!

Shoe Challenge 27

I saved one pair of shoes this week.

Saved 120923
Chinese Laundry sparkle flats; blue jeans, Eiffel Tower print t-shirt
Worn to: lunch with a friend

These shoes are awesome, mostly because you can flip the sequins over so they are silver or black. Now that’s cool.