Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Benefits of a bicycle

Not sure who to credit here (sorry cleaver illustrator)... but I love it!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas eve 2011

I love the anticipation of Christmas morning. Even though now I'm officially all grown up, it's anticipation of a different kind. Of looking forward to the hustle and bustle of a hot kitchen, of nieces and nephews running underfoot with new toys, of just taking time out to spend with family.

This Christmas I am thankful for love, family and health. And know that I am blessed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas tree day

I love putting the Christmas tree up on the 1st of December. It’s a pretty big job and it’s nice to enjoy the tree for the whole month (plus those days in January, where I delay pulling it down as long as possible).

In my house, putting the tree up is quite the occasion – bad Christmas movies, typically sung Christmas music, special champagne and delicious party food. It’s an annual tradition that started the first Christmas Mr Couture and I were in our home.

For me, it also signals the start of the festive season. From here until New Year’s Day I will be full of festive cheer and excitement (read: partying, socialising and indulging).

Festive greetings!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


After the rain, the sun shines through with the promise of warmth and hope.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Afternoon tea

My family knows how to put on a big spectacular spread. A couple of weeks ago we had a big afternoon tea for close family, visiting family, visiting inlaws, little ones and bigger ones. It spanned four generations and was a fabulous afternoon of laughter and conversation.

Portuguese custard tarts are quickly becoming my speciality. They're so delicious and are surprisingly easy to make. 
Portuguese custard tarts
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 400ml Milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • One sheet of puff pastry

1. Grease a 12-hole muffin tray with soft butter.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and continue whisking as you gradually add in the sugar then cornflour until you have a nice smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth.

3. Pour custard mixure into a pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Remove from the heat, transfer the custard to a bowl and whisk through the vanilla extract. Cover the surface with cling wrap to prevent a skin forming and let cool.
4. Preheat the oven to 200C.

5. Fold the sheet of pastry in ½ and roll up tight from the short end. Cut 12 slices off the roll. On a floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll out each slice to a circle-ish shape and fit into each muffin hole.

6. Spoon in the custard and roll the pastry sides in slightly. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the custard starts to brown.

Enjoy with friends.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Buy nothing new month: over and out

This last month was surprisingly easy. Highlights included cleaning out my over-full wardrobe and donating 3 garbage bags full of clothing I no longer need to charity, not replacing old/small/wrong clothes immediately and then realising that I don't even need to; and remodelling a fascinator that I’ve had for years with some extra tuille I had stashed in the craft box to wear for the office Melbourne Cup festivities.

Buying nothing new is so much more fun with craft!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Buy nothing new month: the home straight

I've been avoiding thinking about this non-spending business too much in an effort to avoid the seemingly long lists of things I'll be rushing to the shops for in November.

But seriously, this month has been good. I've unsubscribed to a lot of fashion type emails I don't really read and it's nice not to hear about every sale going on for shops I don't really frequent. Of course I've kept connected to my favorite labels that are always top of my list.

So will I be rushing to the shops, credit card in hand at 9am on the 1st of November? Many (including Mr Couture) would say yes. But I'm not so sure. I've been enjoying the down time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The second anniversary is cotton

The traditional gift for the second wedding anniversary is cotton. It is said that as both durable and versatile, cotton represents these two important qualities in a successful marriage and is seen as a symbol of great prosperity.

Mr Couture and I are not big present givers, preferring instead to spend some time together sipping a fabulous wine, sharing a delicious meal and chatting away enjoying a beautiful scenery.

This anniversary was spent lunching at Southern Highland Winery. There’s something so delightfully decadent about lunching on such a beautiful estate looking over vines, playful calfs and lush green fields; wearing simple, durable cotton.

Credit: iStockphoto

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Buy nothing new month: one week down

So immediately after I took the pledge to buy nothing new in October my shopping self went into survival mode: I was mentally making lists of all the things I absolutely needed... couldn’t live a moment longer without. I was cursing all my favourite shops sending me emails that proudly described the fabulous sales they were having – as if to mock me.

New dress this, gorgeous shoes that.... never to be repeated sale this weekend only...

Deep breaths. And the initial panic subsided.

I’m even planning to look in the back of the wardrobe to see if there’s anything I’ve forgotten about and can drag out to wear for the weekend. I’m pretty sure there is...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Buy nothing new month

October is buy nothing new month. What does this mean? It means only buying the essentials such as food, drink, medications, hygiene products (by which I assume they mean food, wine, hair products and make-up) and then begging, borrowing, bartering, swapping or buying secondhand everything else. For the whole month.

As an expert consumer, I’m breaking into a cold sweat just thinking about.

But I’m also intrigued. So here it goes...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Artist: Marco Eychenne

Just two of my favourites...

The band
Marco Eychenne

The Yawn
Marco Eychenne

Monday, August 15, 2011

A glimpse of spring to come

Today was just a reminder that spring is coming round the corner. Such a welcome relief from our relentless and bitter winter. And a perfect day to be out in the (balcony) garden.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A poem about a napkin

I think perhaps the story behind the poem is richer than the actual poem: Mr Couture and I were away on a trip to the seaside. It was winter and the beach looked so intense - it had so much going on, so many differing depths and colours of clouds; a cranky winter sea tossing and turning its way onto the shore, onto that rough stoney sand. It was relaxing yet invigorating to walk along and I was feeling all my creative senses tingling. 

In the evening, Mr Couture and I were recalling our day over dinner and having a nice chat and I mentioned that I thought I might write a poem, to which he asked "on a napkin", but which I wrongly heard as "about a napkin?". I was puzzled and we spent the next little while giggling at our miscommunication and what could very well be the subject of my yearned-for poem.

A poem about a napkin
Are you writing a poem about a napkin?
Said he
Said I
A napkin
Said he
Said I 
Said he

2 June 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cocktails & dreams

I'm guilty of loving to reminisce. It's true, I'll usually bombard my friends with my romantic feelings of past memories, fate and destiny when I'm in one of these moods. But Bestie Couture and I share a birthday (one day apart) and I can't help but get a little sentimental this time of year - especially now we have to negotiate living a distance of over 1,200 kilometers apart. This is particularly heartbreaking considering we used to be neighbors once upon a time.

Anyway, tonight I felt loved and special thanks to my newer friends, and their consideration to get together and have a couple of cocktails to celebrate my big milestone of 35. It was a great night.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy birthday yogi

Earlier this year a friend said that she always went to yoga on her birthday as her present to herself. Of course, she is a much more disciplined yogi than me. But nonetheless, this thought has been bubbling away for months. So off I go this morning, to enjoy my birthday yoga!

Happy birthday yogi!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Everyone's wearing: yellow

Congratulations Cadel Evans on becoming the first Australian to win the Tour de France!

It was an epic ride.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Knitting circle

Today I joined my very first knitting circle. It was fun and inspiring knitting with talented and creative expert knitters. And my new friends were eager to help me out with my knitting disaster, insisting that my work was a design feature and not the over-ambitious project that it was.

Design feature. I love it. I can see myself using these two words constantly to justify my projects.

You see, the beginner scarf patterns are a bit boring for my liking. I want to make lace knitted scarfs and shawls and elaborate tea cosies with embellishments... if only I could understand the pattern charts and knew the stitch moves and had more needles and yarn and know how...

But today in knitting circle, I was filled with new hope and new tricks; thinking that surely I’m not far away from knitting all I desire.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Knitting: a new winter sport

Feeling very pleased with myself as I came home with knitting needles, wool and a knitting for beginners handbook.

Think I'll bask in the imagination of my own glory a little more before actually trying to make my first scarf...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Michelle... your sense of adventure and compassionate heart shone through your cheeky grin. I miss you and hope you knew that you were loved by many...

Michelle Elise Gilet 12 February 1981 - 13 June 2010

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A country break

I love escaping to the country. Walking through national parks and feeling like I'm a million miles from anywhere.. drinking fresh delicious rain water, breathing the crisp unspoiled air, smelling the trees, scrubs and grasses... just being along side the universe and marveling at the simple beauty of it all.

The recent couture holiday had the Mr and I touring around a little bit of Australia that neither of us had ever been to - beautiful central New South Wales.

It was fascinating to come from the north New South Wales coast into the beautiful green hills, forests and waterfalls, before seeing the stark and equally beautiful contrast of the flat plains of Narrabri that stretched all the way to the horizon - only the memory of cotton left after the season's harvesting.

It was easy to appreciate how vast and varied Australia is. And I couldn't help thinking of Dorothea Mackellar's poem My Country with the iconic line I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, which she wrote in neighboring Gunnedah in 1908 while on her brother's farm. There was certainly plenty of inspiration all around.

Taking a break to enjoy the views at the Mt Kaputar National Park, Narrabri, New South Wales

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Love in the sea air

4 June 2011

The bride was stunning; beaming with happiness and looking like a movie star. The groom didn't take his eyes off her as she walked down towards him. He was shinning with pride.

It was a beautiful day. A perfect occasion. A magical start to their married life.

Photography by Mike & Amy 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Preparing for zen

There’s a panic that comes over me when I’m about to head away on holidays. Whether it be for a weekend or a couple of weeks I suddenly find myself scheduling to catch up with everyone I know, planning to clean out the kitchen pantry and do other questionably important chores and writing endless lists of products that need to be purchased, items that need to be packed, things that need to be remembered and actioned… 

But then there’s hitting the road, knowing that for the next couple of weeks I am free.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Little niece

So delightful my heart melts...

Little Niece, 4 years old

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A new nephew

My family welcomed our newest and littlest addition last night.  A tiny little miracle, who makes me believe that love really can change the world.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Eurotrash: feel your heatbeat

I love Eurovision. Every year I wait in anticipation for crazy eyeshadow, outrageous outfits, unnecessary people lurking on stage without instruments or any pretense of adding to the musical performance going on around them, extravagant Scandinavian metal, and of course power ballads.

Congratulations to Azerbaijan for winning this year.

Ell and Nikki - Azerbaijan

These were my favorites...
Mika Newton - Ukraine
Love this dress
Jedwood - Ireland
Crazy flamboyant energetic twins
Blue - United Kingdom
Boy band finery

Lunch in the country

Yass, New South Wales

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Style crush: Rachel Gilbert

I love the texture, femininity, movement and colour of her designs. I spend hours coming up with excuses to need almost everything she creates.

Her Cruise Collection at Rosemout Australian Fashion Week was divine and I’m daydreaming about how I can add these to my wardrobe…

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Autumn 2011

More and more chilly days warn that winter is on its way; while the beautiful display of colour remind that all is not lost.

Our maple tree

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A very royal wedding

"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today.

I think this message, taken from the Bishop of London's sermon to the bride and groom is so powerful in summing up their commitment.

The royal wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton on Friday 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey, London was spectacular. It had it all - nobility, glamour, style and most of all love. Despite the ceremony and grandeur, there were glimpses of nerves, beaming happiness and humble pride.

Congratulations Duke and Duchess of Cambridge! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lest we forget

ANZAC day commemorates the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, and has become a day on which we remember the lives of all Australians lost in war time.

This year I attended dawn service at Tuross Heads, on the New South Wales coast.

We stood in the early morning darkness at a memorial site standing over the ocean - the sound of waves crashing against the beach below set the scene. The faint sound of a lone drummer grew louder as he marched closer to the memorial and signaled the start of the service.

I proudly sang We are Australian with the locals and holiday makers who had turned up this morning to pay their respects. I imaged the soldiers who fought at Gallipoli all those years ago, and wondered what the values of community, mateship and courage must have meant to them.

I noticed a burly man who stood on his own in front of me, shifting from foot to foot, constantly fidgeting as the service went on. Then as the bugler started to tune the Last Post and we all stood in a minute of silence, the burly man stood as tall as an arrow, arms straight down by his side, thumbs at his seams, still as night. Proud. As we all were.

Lest we forget.

ANZAC Day dawn service, Tuross Heads

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter eggs & holidays

Traditionally, Easter celebrates the promise of life in the face of death. It's a time to reflect on peace and forgiveness - even in the face of suffering, injustice and hardship. The chocolate eggs and bunnies we share and eat symbolise new life and new beginnings - the potential of so much more to come.

This Easter I’m thankful for time off work to spend with my family and friends. I'll be celebrating Easter with my family, sharing a friend's birthday, visiting a new baby and taking time out with Mr Couture - sounds very promising indeed!

Happy Easter!