Collecting Red

When I photograph the colour coded collections (see others here, here, here and here), it serves as a form of stocktake - and I think it's nice to give an ordinarily mundane object a second of fame. I want to highlight two of my red things today. Don'ts For Wives was first published in 1913. As old fashioned and humorous as it is, there are still some very relevant pieces of advice eg. "Don't be satisfied to let your husband work overtime to earn more money for frocks for you. Manage with fewer frocks." So true. I also want to give a little shout out to 3M. Without this genius adhesive brand (they make the clever removable hooks too), time on set would be a whole lot trickier.



The new eatery The Pantry has nabbed one of the most scenic spots in Sydney - right in the middle of Manly Beach. I'm so thankful they have too - I always thought it was such a shame for a space like that to sit there empty. We had an early and delicious dinner there recently and I had to photograph the Virginia Woolf quote on their menus to share with you. "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well". I totally agree, Virginia - and you'll be glad to know I slept very well after being surprised by little sister and her boyfriend soon after at a 30th birthday lunch at Pilu. Don't get me started on the food there - the Sardinian pastry filled with ricotta is particularly special.


A big influence

My maternal grandma had a giant troll doll that I loved as far back as I can remember, hence my first collection began as a 7 year old - much like many children of the 80's, I eventually had a line up of over 30 troll dolls on my bookshelf. Nanny Olga (she always disliked the name Olga, and wished she'd been christened Sarah) was a collector of other, more beautiful things - and pictured above are a few items she passed on to me over recent years. My beautiful Nan is no longer with us, but her memory lives on. Love you, Sarah. x



I almost skipped out of Hazelbrook Cottage Antiques after finding and purchasing this lovely box of colour-coded cotton. I don't know about you, but I have always found the antique shop trail along the Blue Mountains a little too pricey and dare I say sometimes 'twee'. I was proven wrong with this little gem (if you have any favourites, please let me know). Next time you are passing the gateway to Western New South Wales, make sure you stop in at 33 Railway Parade Hazelbrook. I'm sure you will want to buy something from the eclectic range.


Gingerbread Love

I had such big plans for this baking project. My friends and family were all going to receive lovely gingerbread men for Valentines Day. It was all going so well...I even had the icing bag loaded to draw cute little outfits on them. An over-enthusiastic oven ruined it all - turning them in to burnt, swollen and overgrown gingerbread people. I salvaged these two lovebirds for a photo, and thanks to the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook - they were actually pretty tasty. I wish I could say the cute accessories from Chalet make you a better baker, but clearly they don't. I think I'm going to leave it to the professionals.


Art for my Birthday

Today I turned the big 3-0...and boy, was I thoroughly spoilt by my beautiful friends and family. It's actually embarrassing how much crazy good loot I received, but you only turn 30 once, right? Pictured above is my new love - the giant budgie 'Terry" by Leila Jeffreys that now graces our wall, as well as the gorgeous 'Ampersand' by Rachel Castle (that has transformed my kitchen). My mum's famous dutch chocolate cake made an appearance, as well as some gorgeous flowers from my sister. Turning 30 was truly wonderful.


Christine's Salmon Carpaccio

The stifling heat in Sydney last Saturday called for a light lunch. Apologies in advance to my non-raw-fish-eating readers, but Christine Manfield's salmon carpaccio is well worth the effort. My very sweet 'cork-dork' husband insisted I let you know a good wine to drink with it too. I must admit, it was a perfect match. Tip: Ask your fish shop to skin and bone the salmon - we didn't the first time we made this, but really wished we had. Here is the recipe:
Salmon carpaccio, preserved lemon and chilli
600g sashimi grade salmon (or ocean trout) fillet, bones and skin removed
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
2 tbsp verjuice
1 preserved lemon, finely diced
2 small red chillies, finely sliced
2 tsp small salted capers, washed
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh salmon (or ocean trout) roe
1 punnet rocket cress, snipped
Slice the salmon into 5mm slices, cutting across the fillet, and lay in a single layer on a large ceramic or glass plate. Mix the lemon juice, verjuice, olive oil, salt and pepper together to make the dressing. Spoon half over the fish and leave to marinate for 10–15 minutes. In a bowl, mix together the preserved lemon, chilli, capers, chopped herbs and rocket cress till combined. Arrange the fish on each serving plate, drizzle with a little extra dressing and scatter the salad over the top of the fish. Spoon the salmon roe on top and serve immediately.


Tools of the trade

Two full garbage bags later, and I found the remainder of my craft cupboard contents on the floor. Until the day I have a beautiful functioning work room all of my own, my treasures will be piled in to perspex boxes and a closed cupboard. For those of you interested, my dream office would have to have a new desk...the Herman Miller beauty from Living Edge. Can you imagine working from that thing? I would never want to leave.



My tendency to spill drinks and sometimes drop full plates of food while walking dictated the dark colour of our new Jasper lounge from King Furniture. We gifted our very comfy lounge with a yellow cushion from Country Road that picks up the yellow in the illustration of my husband and I. As a wedding gift, my sister commissioned Portland based Ashley G and Drew to draw us. The likeness (especially of my husband) is huge. Check out the talented duo's website and blog - I also really like this print you can buy at Ashley's Etsy store. I had to photograph the fake pineapple for you too, purchased from my favourite $2 shop - as it just makes me smile.


Naming and Boating

Does anyone else love thinking of names? I've always loved a good name. Until the day I have some little people of my own, I will keep adding names to 'my list' on the iPhone and sometimes discuss the list with friends (who often chuckle at my choices). Being a person with a somewhat unusual name - I'm aware of how frustrating explaining one's name can be. Brian? No, Bri-ar. I imagine naming your boat (I'd love to own a boat one day, and how cute is this 1975 model) would be a fun experience. I spotted these boats recently - and fittingly, my nephew Finn found a boat that day that had his name all over it too.


White walls

The mini face lift on the flat I mentioned back in December has been a fairly stress free process (minus an electrician that was left to his own devices and managed to install the old and dusty, 80's light fittings we had taken down - wow). First job on the list was to paint throughout, and we ended up choosing the lovely Wattyl Classic White. To my Sydney-based readers - take note of the business card above. You all know the benefits of a new coat of paint - and Bill impressed us with his super fair quote, super neat work, and getting in and out in two days. He's based in Burwood - but works all over the Northern Beaches as well. Another renovation rescue tip - as we are renting it out for a while, we ended up choosing more economical built in wardrobes from IKEA, but had them professionally installed by Michael at Get it Assembled. Say goodbye to IKEA-installing-rage for ever.


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