Sunday, 28 October 2012

and Brunswick Show

and it's show time
Brunswick Show

Yesterday my plus one and I headed south to the biggest one day show in Australia, or at least I think that is how they brand it. My family used to go every year when I was young and I wanted to go once more. I have only been to The Perth Royal show once and that was around 9 years ago. Although, from memory, it was fun, it was very crowded. So we thought we'd experience a much more relaxed show and even though it was stupidly hot, I saw and ate as much as I could and enjoyed every minute.

Log Chop. Very country

Old car

10 week old pup learning the basics

Duck herding

Pretty roses

Massive cow. I didn't pat this one. But I managed to pat an even bigger one.

Old tracker in the parade

My eldest niece in her Girl Guides clothes in the parade

We went on 3 rides, all spinning ones, because those are the ones I like the most. I ate a bratwurst hotdog, a cinnamon doughnut (oh my god it was good) and lots of icecream. I also had a corn on a cob with herb butter. We didn't buy any show bags but we made own from the local produce stands. Honey, jam, cashew brittle, etc.

We left just after the parade and headed to Waroona to stay at a guest house my plus one had stayed in previously. That night we went to dinner at The Lone Barn. It was a short drive out of town and had a 2km gravel driveway. It restaurant was situated on the scarp and had a great view of the surrounding area. We were there after dark so could only see the distant lights, but I could only imagine it at sunset. 

The place was recommended to us by the lady who ran the guest house. It had a family run feel and as you walked to the bathrooms you could see in to the kitchen. It was small, but clean and quiet. I ordered the Fried Camembert with Cranberry Sauce and plus one ordered Scallops poached in a béchamel sauce. 

Fried Camembert

For mains I had Kai Yang and plus one enjoyed the seafood platter. Not reading the menu very well he didn't realise that the platter contained more of the poached scallops. I don't eat nor care for seafood, so I didn't take a photo of any of his food until dessert.

Kai Yang - Thai chicken marinated in Holy basil and special Thai spices,
served with coconut/lemon grass rice and salad.

Sticky date pudding. Mine

Panna Cotta. His

We also drank a lot of home made lemon, lime and bitters. The place is cute and nicely priced and we were both extremely happy with our meals.

The next morning we awoke and enjoyed the second part of a bed and breakfast. I ate more than I should but the fruit salad was far too yummy and the selection of bread, cereals and yogurt was far too tempting. A cooked meal was on offer but I declined. I am not that interested in bacon and eggs.Once finished I raided the biscuit jar for a Tim Tam and the lolly bowl for a caramel. We then headed off early to get back to my dog. But we had enough time to stop in at the Pinjarra Bakery for a jam doughnut.

 I have only eaten a small bowl of fruit salad since arriving home. So much for trying to eat healthy....

But never mind that! I have finally ticked off my first item on my 30 before 30 list! I have finished the book Pride and Prejudice! and I loved it! I am so happy that my favourite TV incarnation of it followed the story line fairly well.

The next item to be ticked off may come about in the next few weeks which I am also excited about. 

Love, love Elle.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

and I am a sucker

ModCloth Stylish Surprise

So an email arrived in my inbox today from Modcloth announcing a Stylish Surprise for a grand total of $15USD plus postage and handling. So I jumped at it....

"My, what a Stylish Surprise! For just $15, you might get anything from a terrific top or sassy skirt, to a dazzling dress or cute coat. There’s a beautiful bevy of mystery items with retail values from $29.99 to $249.99! Ready for some fashion fun? Simply select your size, then add a chic secret to your shopping bag. Hurry - supplies are limited, so snag a Stylish Surprise while you still can!"

The items are final sale item's which can not be returned or exchanged. But I am pretty excited to see what I am going to end up with. I have done a little bit of internet shopping lately and all my packages get delivered to work. As soon as anyone receives one, everybody turns and stares, waiting to see what it is. So not only will it be a surprise for them, but for me as well.

Love, love Elle.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

and my feet hurt



Even though he's a fatty pumba baby, he still looks small

Me and the proud big brother, Coen

Well it has been an action packed and fun weekend. I am definitively feeling it all right now. I went and met my new nephew yesterday as well as see my niece who is about to turn 1. She and my brother went swimming at the pool. Nothing is cuter than chubby baby thighs in bathers. I then went for afternoon tea at my dads. Finally I traveled back to Perth for an Engagement Party that night.

Me in my Alika dress from Bettie Page clothing, ready for the engagement party.

This morning we were off for a ride on our bikes to The Pancake Pantry in South Guildford. We took the train to East Perth then followed the river to South Guildford. The Pancake Pantry is a cute but basic diner setback off of the main road. The basic-ness comes from the fact that it is a family run business which does only one thing, and does it well, PANCAKES! They diner isn't fancy but they create a wide variety of pancake creations. Savory and sweet. One of their specialties is a bruschetta version. I stuck with the sweet though. I had the Caramel Peanut pancakes with added banana, as kindly suggested to me with icecream on the side. My plus one had the Choc mint pancakes also with icecream. I think I am becoming some what of a pancake connoisseur. 

Swan River

Caramel Peanut pancakes with added banana

 We arrived early so took a detour to the river and I took a few happy snaps. The food arrived and was devoured rather quickly so it wasn't long before we were heading off again. About halfway back to the train station, riding became unusually hard and my bike was making a weird noise.

By the way, here is my stead.

Giant Suede City W

She is all dressed up because she was a present from my boyfriend last Christmas.

Ok, back to the story. I called out to my boyfriend and we pulled over into a side area of the bike path. My rear tyre was flat. It had gone down very quickly. We found a piece of glass in the rear tyre. Luckily we had a spare tube. Unluckily, my bike has a hub gear so you can't take the rear tyre off without tools. Tools being something that we forgot to pack. We tried to pump it up but it was flat again in a matter of seconds. As I walked my bike on he went to try and find a bike shop or hardware store open near by. But being Sunday he was clean out of luck. So I continued on, pushing my bike, and he rode off to catch a train, to get his car, to come pick me up.

I walked all of the way to East Perth were I was picked up. So instead of a nice 40km ride, I only managed a 30km ride and a 4km walk. Right now I am O.K. with that though. I am exhausted enough to be satisfied with my effort.

As I was walking past the Old Perth Power station I took a few snaps with my Olympus.

Until next time.
Love, love Elle.

Friday, 19 October 2012

and I am off and racing

Spring Racing Carnival

Well the spring racing carnival is upon us and as a part of the social group at my work I will be off to see the Melbourne Cup at Ascott. I was hoping to wear my blue dress from Bettie Page but I have decided to send it back. The fit isn't right for me. So this means I will need to go shopping. I have my eye on one dress from Alannah Hill. It is currently on sale so I am heading into the city this afternoon for a wander around. In other, sad news, I found out that my favourite work skirt has seen it's last wear. The stretchy material fibers are starting to come though the material.

Plum or green? I will just have to see which looks nicer, or if either look nice at all. I also found a black pencil skirt from Alannah hill which might solve all of my work wear problems.

I am hoping for a very successful shopping trip. I then might have to relax with a nice dinner and think proudly of my shopping efforts.

I can only hope that it all goes to plan. Does anyone else pre-shop on the internet? I seem to do it more and more lately. I love shopping but I like to know what I am up against. I find if I wander around a shop not knowing what to look for I might get overwhelmed and leave.

I hope everyone is enjoying their Friday! Mine hasn't been to bad, which is always great.

Love, love Elle.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

and deck the halls

Too early?

Well since I don't really put any effort into Halloween, sans buying chocolates for trick or treaters, Christmas is starting to appear on my radar. Last year I went a little crazy, since it was the first time I had a tree since I was little. I was looking on Etsy in my lunch break and I purchased this angel tree ornament from FindingBrooke.


As described on her Etsy shop:"Cute vintage Christmas angel ornament. She has a little pearl for her face and is holding a cross, and along the bottom of her dress are a few rhinestones. She measures 2 1/4 x 2 inches". I think she will go perfectly with my other ornaments.

I also brought a cute necklace from the shop as well.

Bird on branch necklace

The shop sells lots of cute handmade items as well as adorable buttons and vintage items.

I can't wait to visit some of the Christmas shops. I used to work in walking distance to one shop. I would walk down in my lunch break and wander the isles, just dreaming. I will also be internet shopping as well to find some unusual things.

Love, love Elle.

Monday, 15 October 2012

and I am an Aunty again

Big baby boy

I am currently sending all of my love and congratulations to my sister who gave birth to her second boy, at home, in water with no pain relief. As natural as they come. What makes this even more impressive is the fact that the boy weighs in at an impressive 4.6kg or 10lb 2oz in old money.

He is not yet named. My sister and her partner had thought of names but when they met him, they didn't suit him. I have to wait for next Saturday before I can travel to go see him. I am very happy and have already printed out a picture of him and hung it at my desk with my other nieces and nephew.

I hope everyone else's weekend brought love and happiness.

Love, love Elle.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

and Orange Blossom Cupcakes

and now for the cream
Orange Blossom Cupcakes

I offered to bake cupcakes for a 60th birthday party. Knowing that the cake was going to be chocolate of some description we selected the Orange Blossom Cupcakes from a Women's Weekly Cupcake cookbook. I have quite a few Women's Weekly cookbooks and I love baking from them.

Here is the recipe:

Orange Blossom Cupcakes

Makes 12
Preparation Time : 20 minutes
Cooking Time : 25 minutes

** for the cupcakes **
1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup almond meal
125g softened butter
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries/craisins
2 tbsp milk

** for the butter cream **
90g butter, softened
1/4 tsp orange essence
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
peach food colouring

** to make the cupcakes **
Preheat oven to moderate 180oC [160oC for fan-forced ovens]. Line a 12-hole standard muffin pan with paper cases.
Beat butter, sugar, rind and eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in sifted flours, almond meal, craisins, juice and milk. Divided mixture among cases and smooth surface. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire racks to cool.

** to make the butter cream **
Beat butter and essence in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in sifted icing sugar and milk. Beat in the food colouring.

Spread cupcakes with buttercream.

At this point the recipe gets you to create little flowers out of home made rolled icing. But this went straight into the too hard basket. After much searching of the junk food isle I found individually wrapped chocolate orange segments and just put them on top instead. Obviously you can use sugar flowers or any type of lolly or chocolate you want.

My Photo

His Photo

My boyfriend also loves creating things in the kitchen. Although I am the main baker in the house, he has his favourite recipe, Salted Caramel Truffles. Or as he likes to call it, chocolate salty balls... It is also a recipe from a Women's Weekly cookbook. This time their chocolate one. It just occurred to me. The recipe I used was on the cover of one book and my boyfriends recipe was on the cover of the other book.

My photo

His photo

His photo of me taking a photo

As you can see, my boyfriend is a little artier than me when it comes to photo taking. But hopefully I will learn more about the camera and composition and all the other tricks for taking great photo's.

We didn't make it to the second party. Which although the second party would have been great, I am thankful this morning for not going. Although I only had one cider I am not feeling too good this morning. I think it may be from the overload of sweets and junk food. Unfortunately there wasn't a single healthy thing on offer last night and my body is struggling to cope.

I hope to only eat healthy today but we have a lot of left overs in the fridge and cupboard, so I may fall to temptation.

Love, love Elle.

Friday, 12 October 2012

and I'm carbo loading - Torta di Mele

Breast Cancer Awareness Italian Lunch Fundraiser

The social club at work put on a lunch today to raise money for Breast Cancer Care WA  and although I am not a part of the social club team (but I am a member) I always love to participate in fundraiser where baking is concerned. Actually, I love to participate when food has nothing to do with it either. Once a month we have a free dress day and the money raised through donation goes to a sponsor child in Cambodia. I volunteered to be the collector in my area. Earlier this year we had a fundraising team to raise money for the RSPCA and I managed to raise the most amount of money. It's not a competition for me. I just try my best to help out. It is very important to me to donate my time and money to good causes. My ultimate goal is to raise $1000 for a charity for my 30 before 30. I am currently stuck on a cause though. Hopefully one will find me if I can't find one.

But I digress. So today we had an Italian inspired lunch in our games room. I offered to bake something to contribute and I googled Italian deserts and found 'Torta di Mele', which is an Italian apple cake. Other than having to peel, core and slice 8 apples, the cake was really easy to make.

Torta Di Mele

Other food on offer included two types of pasta bake, an absolutely delicious lasagna, three different salads, two types of pasta with around 4 different sauces and a mushroom risotto. Dessert included chocolate banana bread, tiramisu, and berrymisu as well as my apple cake. I am very happy to say that my cake was devoured!

Here is a link to the recipe: Nonna's Italian Apple Cake. After not much looking, I couldn't find Golden Delicious apples so I used Granny Smith. I also stuffed up the temperature. I just turned the oven on to warm up. I normally go back and adjust it before I am anywhere near using it. But I forgot and instead of 180 it was on closer to 220.... Just a small oversight. When I went to check the cake I noticed it was starting to brown on top, but yet it was only half way through it's cooking time. I realised my mistake and immediately opened up the oven to cool it down and turned the temperature to 160C. I moved the cake to the bottom shelf and tested the cake with a skewer. It was still uncooked in the centre but the top and sides were done. I did some quick research and then sprayed cooking oil on top and then covered the cake in alfoil. I have no idea if any of this was the right thing to do but it worked. I watched the cake like a hawk constantly checking it. When it was done I took it out. It took around 15 minutes less then it should have if I used the correct settings.

I called the top 'caramelised' and served it with icing sugar on top as the recipe says, and nobody was the wiser. The cake wasn't at all dry and it was cooked perfect all of the way through. I always say that anyone can bake, that parts easy enough. What makes baking hard is knowing how to save a disaster, and I have had plenty of those.

At the end of the lunch I helped clean up. We had so much pasta and sauce left over that someone went out and brought a stack of take away containers and we divided the left overs and people donated $2 per container for dinner that night or many people put them in the work freezers for a lazy lunch next week at work. I ended up buying 7. I hate seeing good food go to waste. All in all we raised over $200 for the cancer council. Which is pretty successful I think, considering we don't have a very large office.

Well it's off to bed for me now. I have a big day of more baking tomorrow plus one, maybe two parties to attend.

Love, love Elle.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

and they are delivered

Bettie Page Dresses

My dresses arrived on Tuesday from Bettie Page. I had them delivered to my work and I went home at lunch time and couldn't resist trying them on. First the black dress with the white petticoat. It fitted great and was so fun to twirl in. I will need to wear a strapless obviously but I was just doing a quick change.

Alika Black Circle dress with a white crinoline. 
Taken in my lunch break in my bathroom.

 I also tried on the blue dress but couldn't get the zip up. So I put everything back in it's box and went back to work. After work I tried the dress on with a little help with the zipper and it zipped up. Problem was I could barely breathe. After some contemplation we worked out it was because I was taller than average so the waste was sitting higher on me. This meant that the smallest part of the dress sat on my ribs and not my waste. This is something I have never thought about before. Bettie Page has a 60 day return policy so I am going to do some thinking about it to decide if I'll send it back for a bigger size or not.

I forgot to take a picture of it though. It looked really nice. I just have to be feeling bold to wear it because of the bubble-ness of the bubble skirt. Be brave Elle, be brave!

The other night I went out to dinner with friends at Santa Fe in Subiaco. I had the chicken fajitas (Carona Pollo fajita) and for sweets I had the apple Chimichanga, which was devoured before a photo was taken.
The chimichanga was amazing but unfortunately the chicken was a bit dry and the cheese was in unappetising chunks.

Chicken Fajitas

I enjoyed the night. I have been there twice in the past and in line with attempting to be more bold and to allow more of my personality to shine through, I wore my bright red shoes and a new Jacket I picked up from Dotti.

Ruby Red Dorothy flats

Peacock necklace

Dotti Blazer

The next few days are going to be quite busy. I will be baking tonight for a work lunch tomorrow to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness. I will also be baking cupcakes this weekend for a 60th birthday party Saturday night. So be prepared for some more food photos!

Until next time.
Love, love Elle.

Monday, 8 October 2012

and Overflow Cafe - Northbridge

and I'm overflowing
Overflow Cafe - Northbridge

On my little 14km outing yesterday I was wandering around looking for somewhere to eat. I was by myself so I didn't want to go into a restaurant for lunch. I was looking for a nice cafe and for some reason I struggled. I started walking in one direction and just came across this little gem. The Overflow Cafe is located on the corner of Lake Street and Newcastle Street. I wandered in and looked around and saw lots of little areas to sit, plus it was in the outskirts of Northbridge, so it was a lot quieter.

I ordered a Mixed Berry Smoothie and Pancakes and sat in a little courtyard. I love all day breakfast menus.

Breakfast lunch

The pancakes were rustic, which I loved, and had an amazing flavour. Drizzled on top of the pancakes was a caramel type sauce with a little bowl of maple syrup for extra sweetness. To the side of the pancakes is a dollop of Mascarpone Cheese with two strawberries on top. I was very happy with my meal and the berry smoothie was delicious! I am keeping this place in the memory bank and I might visit next time I'm in the area looking for a sweet meal. I like finding little places like this around.

I am paying for my little walk about today though. My calves are tight and quite sore. I don't know how I will go at kickboxing tonight. I may find it hard to walk tomorrow.

If anyone knows of some secret gems they don't mind letting me in on, I would be much obliged!

Love, love Elle.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

and I'm a tourist

Tourist at home

Today I spent the day being a tourist in my own city. I needed to pick up a dress from Oh Henry! I put on lay-by two weeks ago and thought I'd take the opportunity to have a wander around and play with my DSLR. I have had the camera for quite a few years but until recently my boyfriend had taken ownership of it. But since he has finally brought his own flasher one, I get my old one back again. It's an Olympus E-300 and it's a heavy bugger. Well, by then end of my outing it was.

Firstly the most important thing for going on a walking photographic tour, other than a camera, is comfortable shoes. I chose my brand new pair of Dunlop Volleys.

Don't mind the blinding white legs.

My last pair of Volley's walked me up the side of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, as well as over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. They had also came with me to Bali. The were well traveled and there final outing was the Stampede in the Valley where they were retired to the bin. Hopefully these ones will see some awesome sights as well.

With the camera, make sure you have it on a good setting. I forgot to check mine and it was only when I changed it to Macro and then back to standard did I wonder what it was on before. So unfortunately some of my photo's are blurry. This may be because of the settings or because I was too rushed and didn't check the focus correctly. But I don't mind. I can always go back and this whole trip was about learning to take better photo's. 

St Mary's Cathedral

Government House

Purple flower spike - Supreme Court Gardens

Barrack St Jetty

Padlocks at the Swan Bell Tower

The Giant Booger - Forest Chase

Cute Sticker

Cute art - Northbridge

Hanging Bike - Northbridge

Orange flower - Hyde Park

Lake - Hyde Park

Entry Hall - Oh Henry!

So I picked up my dress, but I am not in the mood to put it on right now. I am in my comfy clothes and I can't be bothered changing into it for a photo. Plus my photographer is a sleep. So that will have to wait for another time. 

My reflection in the Bell Tower

The whole trip took just shy of 6 hours and I walked around 14km. It also included 4 food stops and a lot of cups of tea and sweet food. I decided to finish up when I tried to walk after stop number 4 and my left calf was sore. I am planning on a Fremantle one and I am looking for other places. Guildford maybe?

Love, love Elle.

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