Thursday, May 22, 2014

I LOVE A GOOD THEORY

^^ Theorising, perhaps? Sorry to my brother Josh for the bad angle, didn't have a better "illustrative" pic handy^^

Want to know a phrase that really excites me in a social situation? It's music to my ears when someone pipes up with something along the lines of "It's interesting you mention [insert absolutely any topic here], I have a bit of theory on that..." I don't care if it's the wildest conspiracy or established fact: theories, and entertaining them, is so much fun for me.

My father-in-law, for instance, is a wealth of information on a Myers Briggs personality theory. I never tire of hearing his theory on people's types. Especially mine, because we can't quite figure it out and debate it often. Another friend knows innumerable conspiracy theories. They sound crazy at first, then I hear her out, start to see how they might be possible, and then get so spooked I can't sleep that night. And then there's my sister who could quite literally be mistaken for a psychologist. "There's a theory that..." she will start, and outline how said theory might be an explanation for why someone is the way they are. If I ever have an issue with someone, I know she will be able to explain where their actions come from, with a wealth of behavioural theory to back it up.

A more trivial, but still as fun theory was one I read that said men generally fall for women who have the the opposite in general eye colouring to the male's mother. I thought about everyone I knew and, in most cases, the theory applied to them. If I mentioned it to other people, they too brainstormed and realised that most men they knew had indeed ended up with a woman whose eye colour was the opposite to the man's mother.

My brother is one of those people who always has a fun and wacky theory to share. I called him today for input into this post but, put on the spot like that made it difficult for him to think of anything. He called me later on and I asked him "got any weird theories for me yet?" He said he needed clarification and I told him it could be anything. "Think of something weird," I said, "like how people choose dogs that look like them. Maybe you have a theory on cat owners - maybe cat owners are less into human interaction than dog owners or something?"
"I've got one, I've got one!" 
"Yes?" I replied. 
"OK, think that there's no such thing as a cat owner who just likes their cats. You never hear a cat owner say: 'Yeah, cats are OK, I like them'. They call themselves a cat lover, tell you how they're completely cat-obsessed, love cats more than they love people, that kind of thing". 
I thought of cat owners I knew. My neighbours, a middle-aged couple, have one. When we first moved in the wife told us they were so happy that the prior owners and their disruptive crying baby had moved out. "We thought we finally had some peace and quiet. And then," she hissed, "you two moved in with those yapping dogs". An extreme example (most cat owners I know love cats and humans) but enough to tell him that yes, he miiiiiiight just be on to something...

What about you? Love a good theory? Got a weird one of your own you love to have a good chat about? Tell me, you know I want to hear it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

NEW AND EXCITING ADDITIONS TO THE FRAGRANCE FAMILY


I've been told before that I have too many perfumes. I actually believed this for a while. I stopped buying them, gave the lesser used bottles away, and generally thought of myself as "reformed" (relative to most, anyway). After many trips to the department store sampling fragrances, falling in love, and walking away empty handed, I got to thinking: what is so concerning about being a perfume lover? Is it really so bad to amass a collection of stunning scents to suit various occasions and moods? I compiled a mental list of Worse Habits Than Perfumes and it didn't take me long before I realised all of this perfume policing was completely ridiculous and ought to stop. And that's when I hopped online and snapped up the most recent fragrances I had fallen for, two lovely Chloe masterpieces that were both unlike anything I had ever worn in the past. In fact, I had originally disliked the Chloe eau de parfum until I smelt it on my future sister-in-law Reggie when she came to stay recently. They do always say that perfume smells different on a card at the shops than it does on human skin, don't they? I rushed to the shops to sample it on myself, and gave a little spray of SeebyChloe while I was at it. Big mistake or Best Thing I Ever Did, depending on which way you look at it. I fell in love fast and hard. Choosing between the two was going to be too difficult for this Master of Indecision and so I did what I usually end up doing and ordered both.


Chloe is a departure from my usual fragrances. I once read that you can tell someone's star sign from the fragrances they wear. I'm a Leo and, looking at my perfumes, I'd have to agree. They're all probably the most powerful (and dare I say attention seeking) in their scent category, from the opulent, dark and sensual Black Orchid (Tom Ford), to the fruity and good enough to eat L'Imperatrice (D&G). I don't normally go for anything rosy or powdery, but Chloe has won me over. It's clean, fresh, sophisticated and best of all, very long-lasting. 


Chloe, to me, is Grace Kelly on her wedding day. See by Chloe is Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Both equally stunning and elegant, but the latter with an urban and flirtatious streak. It's blossomy and sunny and I don't think my other fragrances are going to get a look in for a while!


Speaking of things getting a look in, today is my gorgeous husband's birthday! Happy Birthday to the best husband, best friend, best person I've ever known! I LOVE YOU, JAMES!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

CAFE SYDNEY

While some count down the days until their next birthday or holiday, I'm marking the calendar until I get to see my family (I also count down the days until online purchases arrive and when my husband is going to be off work next). I'm lucky in that my siblings and parents are the best friends I ever had, but I consider myself slightly hard done by because they live so far away. When they're in town, I always like to show them some of the iconic places that I fell in love with when I first touched down in Sydney some 10 years ago. For Josh and Reggie's latest visit, we booked a table at Cafe Sydney - the ultimate place for delicious nosh, moreish cocktails and one of the best views in town.


Cafe Sydney lives up the top of Sydney's Customs House, one of the city's finest heritage buildings.


Before we took the elevator up to the restaurant, we gave our Victorian visitors a little geography lesson. Did you know that before James and I met, we had actually lived in neighbouring buildings? In the less romantic reality he had moved out of his building by the time I moved in to mine, but I still think it's a romantic coincidence! I'd say he's pointing out our former buildings in this snap:


I may have looked to be your typical tourist taking aerial shots of the diorama, but really I was capturing my beautifully engineered boots:


We were taken to our table which, luckily for us, was smack bang in the middle of the restaurant, facing out to the breathtaking views outside. Josh approved, I think.


Naturally, us girls started with something sweet and potent. Mine was the cocktail of the month, the Knight Rider, a delicious blend of George Dickel sour mash shaken with Cointreau, lemon, plum jam and plum bitters. Reggie had the Red EmpressBelvedere vodka, Roses lime marmalade, vanilla sugar, and Veuve Clicquot.


To nibble, we shared goat cheese and spinach Naan and Sydney Rock Oysters (drool... Cafe Sydney does seafood really well!)


I had the peppered beef tenderloin with brussels sprouts, swiss brown mushroom and bone marrow. 99% of the time, I order the beef at a restaurant. It never fails to please me. Growing up, I didn't understand my family's obsession with things like juicy steaks or bacon or seafood. Mum would cook spaghetti bolognaise and I'd eat just the pasta; at school I'd turf the meat from a pie or sausage roll at lunch time and only have the pastry. Somewhere in my 20's that changed. I woke up one day and wanted to eat everything that had once repulsed me. Unfortunately, I still like wheaty, carby, buttery things though.


One thing I haven't learned to love unconditionally is pork. I love greasy bacon, I love deli ham. But I do not love the taste or smell of plain cooked pork. I'll eat it if it hasn't got any pork flavour, like really heavily marinated ribs. But that's where I draw the line! Do any of you relate? (James ordered the pork, by the way).


Josh opted for the barramundi. Side note: he lives in the coastal/fishing town we grew up in. My theory is, if you grew up close to the beach you usually know better than city dwellers what is and what isn't good seafood. James was born and raised in Newcastle and, like Josh, he has high standards when it comes to seafood. My sister's the same. Obviously this rule cannot apply to me because I didn't touch a morsel of seafood until long after I had waved my hometown goodbye. I actually have to ask poor James to stop what he's doing and evaluate any seafood I've ordered for freshness before I feel safe enough to eat it! I think this one got Joshua's nod of approval.


I challenge you to find a more delectable pasta dish than this: pumpkin sage gnocchi with zucchini flower, macadamia nut and taleggio. Heavenly!


I decided to break my no-carbs rule and order from the dessert menu. Both dishes very worth it. This was a white chocolate raspberry pave with coconut crunch and raspberry ice-cream:


And this sexy little number? Chocolate peanut tart, with salted caramel, banana fritter, chocolate ice-cream...


Cafe Sydney's right up near the top of my list of "Things to do when in Sydney" and the only reason I don't go there more often is because I frequently leave booking a table 'til the last minute and can't get one! Check out their website for all the important details here

While I've got you here, where do you live and what things would you recommend to visitors who come to stay?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

WEDDING VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

We now have our wedding video! I'm so excited! Here's the highlight. Password is "anna" - we now have under 30 days to watch it until this link expires. Let me know what you think!

THE GIBRALTAR HOTEL, BOWRAL


Since I first moved to Sydney just over a decade ago, I've wanted to visit the Southern Highlands. I don't really know why it has taken me so long to finally go there, given it's less than an hour and a half from the CBD. Actually, I do know: if there's an opportunity to procrastinate, I'm all over it! With ten days' holiday and no immediate plans, we figured there'd be no better time than the present to tick off another item on the bucket list. We stayed, played and ate at the Gibraltar Hotel and highly recommend the place if you're planning your own trip to Bowral. We booked an executive suite which had the most incredible views over the golf course and those gorgeous multi-coloured trees that make the Southern Highlands so visually delightful. This picture was taken from our balcony:


And here's the Gibraltar from the golf course:


The hotel styling is atypical of a country hotel, to winning effect. In chilly Bowral, the dark, warm and Asian inspired elements work just as well as they do in a city hotel, inspiring luxury and inviting relaxation.


Our room was lovely and will forever be remembered as the place I discovered The World's Most Comfortable Bed (thanks to luxury, feather stuffed mattress toppers).


One of the highlights of our short trip was the dinner at Harvey's, the in-house restaurant.


Although, if you asked James, he'd have probably said it was the golf. I can't complain, the course was beautiful.

I've got a few more snaps from out and about in this charming little town, but I'll save them for tomorrow! My house is a shell heap and I can no longer bear it! 'Til next time...