Tuesday, February 28, 2006

This Week

Bought: Ring Of Fire: The Legend Of Johnny Cash CD (which inspired the bank to call and check if my credit card wasn't stolen. "There was this order, and a large Victoria's Secret purchase that arose our suspicions" - nope, that's just me, but thanks for checking!); March issue of Lucky mag thanks to Beth's glowing review.
Reading: Garlic And Sapphires, Ruth Reichl. So far, so good. I like her style.
Enjoying Again: Tea with milk, it's an almost guilty pleasure.

Summer, Mon Amour

It's the last day of summer. Cheated of 2-3 extra days of my favourite season. But it's been a very good summer indeed.

The beach.
The crisp fresh saltwater of Bronte Beach for the first time in years.
Bikinis that still fit (thank christ).
Silvers of mango.
Blue sky.
Heat on my skin.

Adieu summer, see you in June.

Summer's Almost Gone, The Doors*
Summer's almost gone
Summer's almost gone
Almost gone
Yeah, it's almost gone
Where will we be
When the summer's gone?
Morning found us calmly unaware
Noon burn gold into our hair
At night, we swim the laughin' sea
When summer's gone
Where will we be
Where will we be
Where will we be
Morning found us calmly unaware
Noon burn gold into our hair
At night, we swim the laughin' sea
When summer's gone
Where will we be
Summer's almost gone
Summer's almost gone
We had some good times
But they're gone
The winter's comin' on
Summer's almost gone
* Possibly my favourite Doors song, although it is like choosing a favourite child, or pair of shoes.

Dazed And Confused In Translation

I received a letter from Plan last night saying that my sponsorship with Francisco has had to end, because his family have moved away and since Plan are unable to stay in contact with them my sponsorship must end. Another letter, this time from the field officer said he has moved to live with his dad and sister, who is already sponsored by Plan, and under their policy only one family member can be sponsored. Apologies, and here is another child you can sponsor.

Mixed emotions. The overriding one is guilt, that lately I have been slack with sending him packages. That the last thing he sent me was a beautiful colourful hand-stitched decoration with a dove dedicated to his beautiful godmother, the one who stockpiled lovely tshirts and binoculars and frisbees and never sent them for Christmas. That he's left without ever hearing from me again. I'm also confused, the two letters have different stories, I was never told he had a sister, and I can't help but be a little suspicious at how the program is run. No doubt there is so much lost in translation, that it's a case of Chinese whispers with such a multi-level organisation, but...but.

I started sponsoring Francisco on January 2, 2003, afer having a fight with A and waking up to the fact that I could do some good instead of agonising over such pettiness. I fell in love with his face, his sad eyes, knowing that he loved football.

And now he's gone. H had only asked me on Sunday if I will ever go and visit him, and I had never contemplated it. Forced to think about it then and there, I realised that I'd prefer to be a magical penpal, not flit in and out of his village and memory. He said he never imagined not going.

And now he's gone. And it's a big fat case of you don't know what you've got till it's gone.

Staring back at me, with similarly sad eyes and a stiff grandmother, is another boy, 15. Francisco was 6, now 9. I'm dazed and confused and lost.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Not Afraid Of Romance

Friday night, wedding dinner for David and Jess, with pizza and Snickers gelato. Nice.
At Italian Giacomo delights in teaching us the word minchia and we have a laugh, it's really great.
A and I drive down to Gymea for Wayne's 40th birthday, which is also a surprise wedding. A really pleasant evening, complete with Johnny Cash sung on the deck.
Sunday I need the beach, and for an hour before lunch it's cold saltwater and warm sunshine. I love Sydney. And then I meet H for high tea at The Victoria Room. The hug from him is big and shaky and we spend a couple of hours chatting about his trip and whatnot. Tea is lovely in the loveliest of rooms, perfection to the last detail, but at $80 for two - despite that including a fabulishous ice tea cocktail each - takes the gloss off. High tea at Sheraton on the Park was a little less but the food, and amount of food, was more wow.
He gives me a present of two necklaces in a gorgeous lacquered box and texts me after I leave, and if it was only from a man who you loved.
I put on a random SATC episode after David Attenborough and of course, these things come in threes, it's the Ick episode. It's just raining romance.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Oh. My. God

Hello lover, indeed.

If you are a sugardaddy and have Paypal, contact me.

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

This weekend is full of a past life, which should be interesting.

Tonight: Post-wedding dinner for D & J.
Saturday: Breakfast burrito at New Orleans Cafe, then onto Italian classes. Post haste to a 40th birthday which has "a surprise". I love a surprise!
Sunday: Might go and see grandma, then high tea at The Victoria Room with H who is in town. I love high tea! Ooh, I'll need to think of something high tea-like to wear!

PS I had a pudding milk taro ice tea from Easy Way last night, yum!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kid In A Candy Store Material

Nordstrom Designer.

A glorious site (as in, you need to see it) with the Dolce E Gabbana heels I would have paid $500 for at Cosmopolitan Shoes if they came in my size (ok, those were fur, these are canvas, still just as beautiful).

How do I love thee, let me count the ways.

Five Food Challenges For 2006

I've been tagged by the delightful Helen to come up with five food challenges for the year. OK then, here goes...

1. Be vegan for a day
I did this yesterday - what a jinx! For breakfast, a peach, for lunch, gazpacho and corn chips and dinner at Govinda's. I'm pure carnivore, and while it was easy to say no to meat for a day, it was the dairy I missed the most, in the form of cheese and chocolate. And I noticed how unhealthy it could be - a lot of junk food is vegan and the buffet at Govinda's had lots of fried vegetables. I will not be challenging myself with this one again!

2. Cook more
I love everything to do with cooking - the art of gastronomy, cookbooks and shows, celebrity chefs, kitchenware - and yet since living alone I have done very little cooking. A previous self-challenge was 'prepare at least one new recipe for my cookbooks each week' but for now I'll aim even lower and try and cook more times than I eat/take out.

3. Go mushroom picking
I loved doing this as a little girl with mum and her friends, and I've asked if we can go again. We're waiting for the cooler months, and then off to the woods we go. Yippee!

4. Post Note my favourite recipes
This is such a simple yet clever idea that I got from Delicious Days. Especially with my favourite ever cookbook, The Silver Spoon at 1,264 pages, the little yellow Post Its peaking their way out are a godsend. (And keep printing out recipes I see on the internet instead of just adding them into the abyss that is Favorites).

5. Make pasta
This has been on my to-do list for years. I have the pasta machine, I have every conceivable recipe on hand, I have put aside the "leave it for a rainy weekend" attitude since Sydney never has rainy weekend, now I just need to do it.

Now it's my turn: tag you're it TJ, Jules, Vanessa, Lottie.


I loved it. It was a very good adaptation of the book, which I really enjoyed and am so glad I read beforehand. It perfectly depicted loneliness, connection, hope, women, men, communication, hearing what you want to hear. Claire Danes, who I'm not usually a fan of, was fantastic and perfect as Mirabelle. Steve Martin, you are one very clever man.


Govinda's is a Sydney institution and yet last night was my first time. It's a vegetarian buffet and movie room filled with day beds instead of seats (dinner and movie for $21.90). The trip to Govinda's tied in nicely with the vegan-for-a-day challenge, and it was their last screening of Shopgirl, which I'd read but couldn't see at the cinemas because it had a very short run.

The food? Blah. And while I'm 100% carniverous I can still appreciate a good vegetarian dish, so I'm not being a meat-eating snob (ok, I am one. I could never date a vegetarian. I could never date anyone who didn't like seafood. But I digress). Vegetable curry was probably the best thing but lacked any punch. The papadums that didn't blow off my plate weren't crisp, and there were these balls of sponge in tomato sauce that boggle the mind. There was however brown rice, rarely seen, and I love the nutty, chewy flavour and texture.

Then it's on the cinema upstairs, and it's a lovely intimate space and the day beds are good. I'll tick the dinner off, but will definitely be back for the movies.

Vegetarian bits and pieces

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Recent Pleasures

+ Merci mille fois to Nicole for sending me the latest Inrockuptibles magazine devoted entirely to Gainsbourg, which I devoured last night. I enjoyed the interview with Carla Bruni, who I adore. Beautiful, talented, unpretentious, I want her as a best friend.
+ Easy Way Milk Ice Tea with pearls. I love popping down to Chinatown for one of these and sucking up the sago with those big straws. So far almond milk is my favourite flavour but chocolate and pudding are next on the list.
+ Travel surfing. It gives me such a thrill to have 13 windows open each with foreign delights.
+ Nuggets of information like this (from Fodors.com on Breton cuisine): Crepes are eaten from the triangular tails up to save the most flavorful buttery part for last. Folklore, however, permits older folks to eat the best part first in case some awful tragedy prevents them from enjoying "la part de Dieu."

Vegan For A Day

Tonight Natalie and I are going to Govinda's for dinner and to see Shopgirl. So as a challenge today we are eating vegan (even though Govinda's is vegetarian, two birds, one stone).

It's 8.32am and I'm craving cottage cheese on crackers, but I'm having a peach and tea. Last night I made Neil Perry's gazpacho recipe and that will serve as lunch.

Eh bien, continuons...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Most Brilliant Interview, On The Most Brilliant Of Movies

Richard Linklater talks about Before Sunrise/Sunset just before the release of the sequel to Salon.com.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Weekend

+ I dyed my hair a dark dark auburn (how can I resist a shade called Riviera?). It's almost black and I'm happiest with dark hair.
+ Just hours after saying "no more shopping" (in the same breath as "except for another pair of leather sandals since my Witchery ones are causing me blisters) which was just hours after placing a big Victoria's Secret order, I bought a gorgeous Donna Karan embellished teal singlet for 75% off.
+ Billy Connolly was very funny.
+ The beach was wonderful.
+ I feel a bit better after a little meltdown.

Go On Miuccia, You Know You Want To

And I want you to do an H&M collection.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I *heart* Ice Skating At The Olympics

Plushenko's performance last night in the short program - wow. Wow and wow and wow.


I get emails from designers all the time hoping to be stocked on my site. Some are professional, well-written, polite and complete with an overview of their label. More than not though, they are pathetic, there's no other word from it, and it leaves me gob-smacked and annoyed. I have had countless applications written in phone text type, ie "i can email you more photos if u want"; there's rarely one that doesn't contain spelling mistakes; some have not even registered their business name while others send photos of their products of such poor quality that it turns me off no matter how fabulous the designs are.

I usually send off a stock standard thanks but no thanks and good luck but I'm at my tether and think perhaps a polite yet firm email with some helpful pointers would ease my frustration and maybe help these poor souls. Or not?

Stop. In The Name Of Love

And that name of love is Bergdorf Oh So Goodman.

From Dolce E Gabbana:

In love with this Dolce E Gabbana wrap shirt and ruched skirt.

Would you need any other LBD? Dolce E Gabbana Poplin Ballerina Dress.

The perfect suit - love the slim fit of the jacket and skirt.

Gorgeous leather sandals, because you can never have enough.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

Last night, before an advance screening of Transamerica, I was telling Natalie about my most romantic Valentine's Day experience. H sent me a note to the effect of "I want you to have something even if we don't believe in it". And that sums it up: I don't believe in it, but I still want something.

Natalie: "No wonder guys can't work us out".

So true.

So I guess us single girls have it easy - we don't need to worry about this shit. We treat ourselves to whatever we want (remember how much we used to spend with partners - spend it on yourself). For me, that'll be a chocolate-coated strawberry, and hopefully a cocktail with Jules who's flying in for the evening.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Over It

Natalie and I go out Saturday night. We dress gorgeously, we're in a great mood, the night is ours to drink and dance. But there's nada coming from the opposite sex. No flirting, no drinks, no witty repertee tennis. Nothing at all, and I'm sick of it. I'm sick of feeling invisible. I'm sick of hearing excuses that men are intimidated by me/us, that they don't bother approaching because there's no way we look like we wouldn't have boyfriends. Don't men realise life is short? Nothing stopped them before. I'm not looking for Someone Special, I'm not projecting anything, I'm neutral. I'm just wanting to have fun and feel like I'm living the life of a 27-year-old.

(Written at 1.30am Sunday morning on my steps):
I want to get dressed in preparation for the night knowing someone will be undressing me later in the night. I don't want to be making cliched statements about my ship having sailed on at 27, having made them at 26. I'm the invisible femme fatale. At 16-17 I was living the life I should be living now - picking up cute guys, invites, dinners, drinks, kisses on the neck. I used to be able to laser beam any man over and enjoy repertee of some kind, plus a free drink, plus a kiss, plus a phone number, plus that look. That look that gives you butterflies and makes you feel powerful. This was when I was 16 and now I am 27 and I feel like I'm in limbo. If not now, when?

The Weekend

The Aristocrats; another fantastic Italian class; night out in the city with Nat, starting with dinner at trip-down-memory lane Bill and Toni; visit to the cemetary for granddad's anniversary; yum cha (see below); the art gallery for a free screening of The Gleaners and I - loved it. Too tired to continue onto the Pissarro exhibition so will see it this week.

Yum cha is my favourite food group alongside pasta, so it was almost life-changing to discover what could very well be a new 'best'. East Ocean has always been my favourite, despite some other very good experiences. We'd heard good things about Zilver, the former Silver Spring, and so Kath, Jay, Marianna and I gave it a go.

There's just something good about it. The food was very fresh, including the best salt and chili calamari ever had at yum cha. It was so good another plate would easily have gone down a treat. A few interesting new dishes, like deep-fried pastry cut up and wrapped in rice paper served with dark vinegar. There's also suckling pig (yum) and Peking duck pancakes but they came around too late. Nothing came out lukewarm or soggy, the tables are nice and big with comfy faux leather chairs, and we didn't wait long. A little pricier than East Ocean, but yum cha is always good value. They also have a cocktail bar with yum cha bar snacks in the evening - this has me written all over it. Almost enough to make me see a musical next door at the Capital Theatre.

Beautifully fresh, plump har kow and scallop dumplings, and the most more-ish salt chili calamari.

Deep fried pastry wrapped in rice paper, topped with spring onion.

Suckling pig.

The loves of my life - mango pancakes.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Delightful Evening

I was bowled over yesterday when the amazing Jules sent me December Vanity Fair with Kate on the cover. I've never really given VF a shot, after buying it in Ios to detract me from the disgusting coughing hungover backpackers and finding it a wank. So I decided to take it down to Chinatown and pour over the issue over something delicious at my beloved Xic Lo, where the tea is free and limitless and there's no pressure to eat and leave, or pretend you're waiting for someone.

I popped into the local library beforehand to join. I get this geeky pleasure from libraries, even though I only borrow Lonely Planets - I like owning books or borrowing/lending to friends and the thought of bedtime novels being on x amount of laps... - and I was very chuffed to learn that being a resident of the inner city gives me access to all these interesting libraries, including Customs House, which has one of the bestest views of the harbour (and amazing cocktails upstairs - if only they could combine the two!). I got an armful of brand new guidebooks...oh and aren't librarians the friendliest things!

At Xic Lo I ordered spring rolls with vermicelli salad and devoured every page until I had truly burnt my tongue on tea. Strolling back home with a biscottino shake from Gelatissimo, it was pure delight.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Kath forwarded on an email she received from a film company who are making a documentary about first generation Australians who go back to their family's country of origin and live the life they'd likely have had if their family had never left.

I've never thought about it. Never thought about what my life, our life, would be like had mum and dad never left the USSR. So I started thinking about it...it would no doubt be an incredibly harder life, poor, crammed in to a tiny hole in the wall, and what would I be doing? Waitress? Shop assistant? Then I spoke to mum about it and she said that while we'd definitely be living in an apartment the size a bedroom, that my opportunities would not be so bleak, that I could go to university as it's free and do anything I wanted. A borsch-slurping fur hat wearing brain surgeon?

It's all hypothetical, especially as she also said there would not be a me, with the poverty if they'd stayed, with dad not wanting another child.

I've applied.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Weekend Included:

Watching Memoires Of A Geisha*; Hitch with yummy mee grob at Kath's; first fantastico Italian class with the Fellini-esque Giacomo; The Amazing Human Body exhibition, cheese plate** at DJs.

* A visually beautiful movie. Stunning to look at. However I was disappointed that many aspects of the book, which I loved, were downplayed, for example the details of the dress, makeup and education of a geisha. And it didn't show the true ending, instead closing with a Hollywood kiss. And what was with the full painted lips, and not the geisha bud of red?
** Pont L'Eveque, how I love thee...

Friday, February 03, 2006

That Prada-Wearing Devil Made Me Do It

I bought another pair of shoes last night.

Like these, but in an orange brown, with an adorable little gold buckle on the side.
Furla is closing down next week and I nabbed these lovely flats at 50% off. I need flats, since I only have one other pair. I also picked up a gorgeous canary yellow wallet at 75% off, and the leather is so buttery smooth, it's almost too good for my overcrowded bags.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Yoox is having another amazing sale. Go forth and shop, dah-links.

My Heart Beat Just That Little Bit Faster

The Shoe Gods were smiling down at me.

Cosmopolitan Shoes started their summer sale yesterday and well, the beach could wait. Choos at 50% off wait for no Carrie. Cosmopolitan is my kind of store. A handful of flats make way for a temple to four inches. And colour. And jewels. And designer. The shopgirls are bitchy and rude and barely bother acknowledging you unless you hand over a Black Amex.

I think it appeases the Shoe Gods if the first pair you try on is the one you love the most. There's no pressure afterwards. And love I did: a pair of Rudolph Menudier black high shine leather heels, with zippers all over the hem and the back heel, and a thin 3-odd inch heel with clear cube in the middle. Beautiful. And reduced to $200, so I also had the Bargain Gods on my side. I then saw a pair that made my heart melt. Dolce E Gabbana, leopard print fur with peep toe and thin dark brown heel. Beyond stunning. I almost cried when they didn't have my size and tried to fill my 39.5 foot into the 38.5 I was so desperate. They also had My Ultimate Pair Ever, the yellow rope Choos at 50% off, but half a size too big and the heel kept falling off. Nevermind, I was on cloud nine with my purchase.

To celebrate, as all shoe purchases should be, I had my favourite Thai takeaway and mango gelato and massive amounts of SATC Season 3. Perfect.

(And, like when girlfriends get their period at the same time, mum bought a pair of Furlas last night too).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Contemplating Travel

Yesterday I had a brief look at Stuttgart accommodation and in the afternoon went to buy luggage (I'm no bag lady, but I love luggage). The idea that I'll be travelling again filled me with a weird sensation. Like, where would I stay? Hostels again? Most likely. Or should I treat myself to mid-range hotels this time? Why, because I'm older and it's not my first time? Because the first time the American college kids were more my peers than they will be this time? And with luggage, what luggage do I want for island-hopping in the south of Italy? Surely a Gucci overnighter makes more sense than the Samonsite Ultralite 5 Expandable Trolley Case?
Having lost my travelling virginity is kind of sad - that innocence of that first step off the plane and the wander - what will hostels be like? will I be able to understand and be understood? will I be able to get from there to there? - is gone. Maybe it's because I'll be going back to cities and countries that I've been to that this familiarity is unsettling me. I want to be challenged and experience the unknown. And of course I will be - I can be challenged here in my own city for crying out loud. Maybe I'm annoyed at having responsibilities that don't allow me to take off for months and months anymore, that I have to censor my trips and delegate where I want to go when - how completely unspontaneous. But there's things to be optimistic about not being the new kid off the block: being older and theoretically wiser; having more wits about me with those dangerous French boys; no boyfriend back home to save myself for;* combining those last two and having one hell of a good time...

* Having just found his emails to me while I was away, I'm again struck by how fragile love is. At the time, the love is endless, as are the petits mots, the care, the devotion. It's beautiful, while it lasts. It's heart-breaking, when it's a two dimensional email of empty hopes from the past.