Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday Morning Melody - Tuesday Edition

I totally forgot that it was Monday yesterday, hence the lack of a music video. Also, we still had another Christmas lunch to go to, so I was kind of focused on thinking about what I was going to be eating that afternoon. My priorities: food.

Anyway, I heard this song on the radio last week and know nothing about the band except for their name and the fact that they come from Sydney.

But it's a very cool song, so have a listen!

There's something about it that makes me think of songs from the mid to late nineties that Triple J would have played.
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Fun Friday Links

Hey, it's Festivus!  Good luck with your Feats of Strength, everyone!

It's also, you know, Christmas in TWO DAYS. This year has officially gone faster than any other year in the history of everything. Am I right?

- Take a look at the 45 most powerful images of 2011. It's been a heck of a year.

- Remeber at the start of Clueless when Cher uses that computer program to choose what she's going to wear? Yeah, that's totally a reality now. If you're challenged in the ensemble department, this app is going to make life a lot easier. Is it weird that fifteen years later I still covet most of Cher's clothes?

- Here are 79 of the best viral videos from 2011. If you're at work today, this should keep you busy. You're welcome.

- Finally, if you're like me and you haven't had time to do any Christmas baking, check out this super easy recipe I posted last December for Rumballs. They take about an hour to put together and everyone LOVES them. It's baking without the actual baking part of things.

Have a lovely Christmas (or a happy Sunday) everyone! Pin It

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Cheer

Christmas Cheer

This is what I would wear if we had a super fancy Christmas party to attend. You know, the kind you see in movies where everyone is dressed to the nines and sipping from retro champagne glasses and there are fires roaring and snow falling.

How gorgeous is this dress? Pin It

Book Review: Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe

Title: Meet Me at the Cupcake Café
Author: Jenny Colgan
Publisher: Sphere / Hachette Australia
Year of Publication: 2011
Page Extent:456

Issy Randall is a thirty-something in London, working in an office job that does nothing for her except pay the bills. She's having a secret relationship with her boss, Graeme (well, she thinks it's a relationship - it's a bit hard for her to tell) and she spends her spare time baking and visiting her grandfather, a former baker, in a nursing home. Life is pretty....average.

Suddenly, changes are afoot in the property development office where she works and redundancies loom. But Issy knows her job is secure. She's sleeping with the boss after all. So imagine her surprise when she's called into Graeme's office and given her marching orders. Not long after that, Graeme ends their affair and leaves her jobless, boyfriend-less and totally humiliated.

Retreating to a hermit-like existence, Issy spends her time baking delicious cakes for her and her roommate, Helena, and lying in bed all day depressed and desolate. A forced excursion to an employment training seminar leaves Issy feeling even more hopeless at finding another job, and after admiring the empty little shop and sunny courtyard at the corner of her street, and idea begins to take shape in Issy's mind. Encouraged by Helena, Issy starts investigating the possibility of opening her own cupcake café, and before she knows it, she's up to her eyeballs in lease agreements and mortgage applications and building quotes.

Luckily the local bank manager, Austin, is there to help Issy along the way, and despite his disheveled appearance and equally disheveled personal life, Issy begins to feel soft sparks flying between them. As her café takes shape, we are introduced to a host of quirky and likable characters: Pearl, the unemployed single mother Issy recruits to work in the café, Caroline, the sharp divorcee who isn't afraid to voice her upper-class opinions on everything, and Grandpa Joe, who supplies Issy with his tried and true recipes. The café opens to moderate success, with word of mouth and a few lucky breaks propelling Issy and her baking into the spotlight.

While Issy works hard to establish herself in the small business world, Graeme hatches a scheme to try and win Issy back and develop the lovely little group of shops on Pear Tree Court where Issy's café is, into a group of modern apartments, with the deluded idea that she'll actually be grateful to him for selling up her dream and getting her back into an office job. Tension mounts as Austin and Graeme vie for Issy's attention, and Issy and Helena clash over Issy's choices as she works to achieve her goals, both professional and personal.

This all sounds like fairly standard chick lit fare, but there's something more personal and touching about this novel than the usual material in the genre. One of the most enticing and thoughtful touches is the inclusion of a recipe at the start of each chapter, which is then something Issy bakes or is featured in the café throughout the chapter. Not only do the recipes sound delicious and, as someone who loves to bake, I find that particular aspect of the novel extremely appealing, but there's a realness to Issy and her friends that makes the story totally relateable.

The story itself is somewhat predictable, but the author's focus on each characters' story is what sets this apart from other chick lit. The audience isn't subjected to Issy's every thought and rumination over her love life - there's a good amount of focus on her setting up the business and the day to day running of the café with Pearl and Caroline. Told in the third person, the point of view switches from Issy to Pearl to Austin to Graeme with ease, giving the reader a nice, balanced taste of life in Stoke Newington, London with all its kooky characters.  It's hard not to find yourself feeling like part of the neighbourhood (and craving a cupcake almost constantly as you read)!

This book is the perfect Summer read. It's a denser book than most chick lit, and it would be wonderful for lazy days at the beach or warm nights sipping a cocktail after dinner, and I highly recommend it if you're after a good comfort read during the busy festive season!

In a word: lovely

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Morning Melody - Christmas Edition

I know, Christmas carols are everywhere at this time of year and it's so annoying. 

But not this one. Because as manic and irritating carols are in a crowded supermarket or shopping centre, this one rarely gets played. It's by far my favourite carol, and it's beautiful and it sums up what Christmas is about.

Also, how many people could sing this without back up music and hit the right notes? Not many.

Chills, I tell you. Chills.
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Fun Friday Links

One week til Christmas! I thought I was organised, then last night I remembered one more gift I have to get, so back to the shops for me. Blarg.

But still, one week to go, and that means Christmas baking! Rumballs and gingerbread and shortbread, oh my!

For now though, here are some links to keep your Friday interesting!

- Okay, how did I not know about Shit Girls Say? You simply MUST check out this video. I am kind of ashamed to admit that I have said several of those things. Also, I may or may not crunch food really loudly. Watch the video and you'll know what I mean.

- You need to have a look at this list of twenty five things to make life easier. It's pure genius. I'm totally trying the wet wipes/plastic bag storage one. Currently I have all my plastic bags stuffed in a  drawer and it's making me CRAZY.

- Check out the tumblr called Old Love. It's just a bunch of photos of celebrities who used to date and it's such a time waster, but it's so, so entertaining. The fashion is especially amusing.

- Propaganda posters for everyday modern annoyances. Number twenty three may be the greatest thing EVER.

Happy weekend everyone!
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sweet Things - La Belle Miette

We had breakfast at Affogato on Hardware Lane last week, which is directly opposite La Belle Miette, the most gorgeous patisserie.So of course, as soon as we had finished our breakfast I insisted we go and have a look inside, because the crisp blues and whites of the shop window were just too inviting to resist.

Once inside, I decided that I had to try their specialty, something that is very much flavour of the month (year?) at the moment.


Macarons! A long, gorgeous case of ever colour macaron you can imagine! And they come in such lovely packaging, you cannot go into that shop and walk away empty handed. 
I've had a couple of macarons in the past, but nothing that really knocked my socks off.

We got a pack of 6.
From left to right we have: hazlenut (which was not red at all, not matter what this photo looks like), salted caramel, raspberry, blueberry and violet, and strawberry and vanilla.

The hazelnut was soooooo good, and the strawberry and vanilla had the most subtle, lovely flavour. The raspberry and strawberry and vanilla ones had a tiny layer of jam in them, which added to the flavour without making them overly sweet.

Best of all, a pack of 6 was only fifteen dollars ($2.50 per macaron).
Well worth it! They also have a shop in Church Street, Richmond.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Morning Melody - Roy Orbison

Posting this because I have heard it about three times in the past week.

And because it contains some of my most favourite song lyrics ever.

"I'm glad to give my love to you."

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Fun Friday Links - PM Edition

I have been out and about being touristy in my own city. I already knew this, but it bears repeating: Melbourne is awesome. Hence the lack of Friday links this morning because I couldn't get my act together in time over the last couple of days. 

Anyway, here are some links to keep you occupied as you while away the final few hours of your Friday night!

- Why did our childhood toys have to become so sexy? It's totally wrong. I think I feel the most sad about Holly Hobby. Also, on topic with little girl things being too sexy if you haven't read Cinderella Ate My Daughter yet, you really, really should.

- I think you really need to take a moment and have a look at Elizabeth Taylor's amazing jewelry collection over at Vanity Fair. I'll take one of each, please.

- Buildings shaped like what they sell! I really need to live in a city where the library building is shaped like books on a bookcase. 

- Ever been on a first date and thought "that didn't go so well, oh well, time to move on"? Well, imagine if you were the poor woman on the end of this diatribe from a passive-aggressive jackhole who  doesn't seem to realise that the problem may be him. Pro tip: leading the opening paragraphs of your email with "In my opinion, leading someone on (i.e., giving mixed signals) is impolite and immature. It's bad to do that" for someone you've been out with ONCE is not a good idea, dude, especially if you want to go out with the woman again.

- What would happen if The Muppets auditioned for other famous roles in film and television? Well, someone had a little think about it and this is the result. I know I'm not the only one who saw Sam the Eagle as Don Draper and though "Weirdly, that could work."

Enjoy your weekend everyone!
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Glee Highlights - Season 3, Episode 6: Mash Off

I loved the musical numbers in this episodes. Loved them. The storyline wasn't bad either - some consistency and things seem to be moving forward in a good direction. So, let's take a look at the highlights!

Hot For Teacher
While I haaaaaaate the Puck/Shelby storyline, this number was pure fun. Pure eighties teen movie cheesy. So hilarious.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Morning Melody - Adele Mash Up

I finally finished watching the most recent (in Australia, anyway) episode of Glee and I really liked the Adele mash up of Rumor Has It and Someone Like You.

I knew they were going to do an Adele mash up and I didn't think I would like it that much, but honestly? I think they did a really good job. Really good.

Your thoughts?
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Friday, December 2, 2011

Fun Friday Links

Let's hope tomorrow's weather is better than last Saturday's horrific rain, am I right Melbournians? We were lucky enough to be out at appointments and sloshing through car parks on our way to Christmas shopping right in the middle of it, so that was a nice way to start the weekend!

Anyway, here are some links to keep you occupied this sunny Friday.

- You know those daily deal websites like Scoopon and Catch of the Day? You can get some pretty good stuff on them. But one baker in England vastly underestimated public interest when she put up a deal on Groupon for 75% off a dozen cupcakes. She got ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND ORDERS and it nearly sent her broke.

- I'm not a tea or coffee drinker. Never have been. But I sort of wish I drank coffee just so I could get something like these beautiful little works of art in the foam on top. Although I would only enjoy it if the barista doing it didn't think he was God's gift to the world of beverages.

- This lady basically sums up how best to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving. Although it's fairly applicable for Christmas, too. Language is not safe for work. It also sums up how I feel about turkey: blergh. Give me some roast chicken any day.

- Have you all seen the newest red carpet reporters? They're British and they're hilarious. They started out as YouTube sensations singing a Nicki Minaj song and things just took off for them.

Enjoy your weekend everyone! Pin It