Narrabeen to Avalon

I experienced a day out recently with my also-expecting cousin that was so good it should be bottled (or at least documented on my blog). The next sunny day Sydney gets, I will very happily make the one you see here a groundhog day.

How have I never been to this paradise? Pictured above is Narrabeen Aquatic Reserve. No over the top descriptive words needed - just a 50m timber boardwalk and a gigantic sea pool. My kind of playground...and I think I know where you'll find me doing daily laps when I'm a grandma!

We floated and sunned our bumps. I don't often post photos of myself on the blog - but above is a very happy leopard-printed-big-belly-me at 32 weeks.

We both laid our turkish towels down on the day. If you haven't used one yet, you should give it a go - surprisingly absorbent and they take up so much less space in the cupboard and washing machine than the bulky beach towel. I'm a convert.

We dried off and made our way to lovely Avalon to have 'better for you' Bean + Sweet Corn Nachos with natural yoghurt from Healthy Chef Cafe. My cousin tells me Teresa's cookbook of recipes is her cooking bible at the moment.

We strolled around the shops of Avalon - spending extra time at the gorgeous Mark Tuckey. Home.

We finished our day trip with a visit to La Banette Patisserie. The baby and I highly recommend the Chocolate Éclair.



Art + Craft

I've been holed up at home the past few days with a shocker of a cold. Not one to sit still, I thought it was a good time to clear out the wardrobe for a Vinnies drop - which led to me cutting up an old sloppy joe and sewing my very first soft toy for the baby. Don't worry, I won't be giving up my day job - but I did find my crafty afternoon rather enjoyable.

Pictured above the 'red thing' is the dream catcher (I think he sort of matches it) I brought back from Bali last year.

Last week when I was feeling a lot better, I met a friend on a gorgeous Autumn day to see the much talked about Picasso exhibition. It was rather thrilling to be standing in a room with so many of his paintings, but is it bad to admit that I have never really loved his work? In saying that, it is astounding to see what he was up to as early as the 1900's - definitely a man before his time.

We also dropped in to see Art Express 2012. Again, we were really impressed - I especially loved this paper sculpture by Sydney Girls High School student Hannah Clements.
I hope you are all having a great week!
- Briar


Heirloom Tomato Pasta

I'm all about the carbohydrate at the moment. Load me up with weetbix for breakfast, saos and sourdough for lunch, pink cupcakes and cinnamon donut(s) for whenever - you say carbohydrate, and I say yes please. I'm off meat, and have been pretty much the whole pregnancy - so this delicious and easy pasta dish (using Orecchiette, my fave) from Bill Granger was a perfect dinner for me the other night. My husband loved it too, or maybe he just liked me cooking for a change (I'll cook more, I promise Stanz)!

Here's what you do:

400g orecchiette
60ml extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
250g heirloom tomatoes, halved
sea salt and black pepper
150g ricotta (I used light ricotta)
large handful fresh basil leaves, torn
Cook pasta in a large pan of lightly salted water according to packet instructions until al dente. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a frying pan over low heat and fry garlic and chilli until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook gently for 2-3 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Drain pasta, toss with sauce and place in a large serving dish. Sprinkle with chunks of ricotta and basil leaves. Serve immediately and enjoy!




My family spoilt the baby-on-the-way and I in a big way on my birthday this year. We were gifted with a new set of wheels. On top of that, my sister got crafty and hand-made some felt pram accessories. I want to keep the blanket all to myself - sorry, baby.

I'm also really impressed with the new season range from Freedom. Pictured above is a $34.95 cushion from the Sari range - sitting on our new stripe rug from Armadillo & Co.

I'm pulling together things and decorating the baby room (I don't think I have ever had so much fun). The Animal Alphabet Chart from Down to The Woods is with the framer this week. I'll be sharing more baby decorating things soon (sorry if you aren't interested, but I'm kind of obsessed at the moment).

I saw this tape storage idea on Pinterest and had to copy it. Do it, owning a coat hanger with a line of tapes is surprisingly rewarding.

I've been snacking (oh, how I've been snacking) on Chilli Candied Walnuts - made by my little sister. Here is the recipe, they are a bit addictive:

  • Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 2 cups walnuts

  • Method
  • Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Grease a baking tray.
    Combine sugar, honey and 1/4 cup cold water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to high. Bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes or until mixture turns light golden. Remove from heat.
    Working quickly, add orange rind, chilli and walnuts. Stir to combine. Spread nut mixture over prepared tray. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until mixture bubbles and nuts are golden. Remove from oven. Cool on tray. Using hands, break up nut clusters. Serve with cheese, pear and crackers.

Enjoy! - Briar


It's a wrap!

Friday is a big day for me this week. The black plastic crate sitting under my desk at Fox Studios will be pulled out and packed with the items you see above at about 6.30pm tomorrow night. The contents of my little gypsy desk will be stored away in a cupboard at home for a while now - including the 8 notebooks (ie. Buyer Bibles) I have filled with my sourcing after 10 months of working full time on the film, The Great Gatsby. I'm not going to lie, it's been months of incredibly inspiring and exciting work - but it's been tough. There have been early morning tears, late night voice raising, and lots of over-tired but hilarious laughter. The movie will be released on Boxing Day this year, and I really hope you all buy a ticket and go and support the Australian film industry. I truly believe we will make you very proud! Where will you find me next week? In trackies, on the couch (if it's raining). I'm sure looking forward to a break.



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