Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pretty things from The Royal Wedding Part 1

I didn't plan to write a post about Wills and Kate's wedding, but after scouring for photos of the nuptials, I thought I'll share some of my favourite images.

I think Kate looks beautiful in her wedding dress. It suits her to a T, it shows off her best asset (how tiny is her waist???), and it is a style that will stand the test of time.

Some says Kate's dress is not princessy enough, or that the style's not original. As I wrote on Facebook last night, it is impossible for her to please everybody she might as well wear what she likes.

You've probably seen thousands of images of Kate's dress already, I'm showing one that is a bit different.




Click the photo above and check out the intricate lace on the dress! So beautiful.

And here's a close up of the bride.


The pinky nude lipstick colour is perfect and she sticked with her signature look of strong brows and eyeliner.

I love her earrings! They are from Robinson Pelham and feature acorns and oak leaves which are part of her family's new coat of arms, and they complement the Cartier "halo" tiara as well. A similar pair of earrings from Pelham's collection (below) will set you back GBP5,795. I'm sure they'll become best-sellers.


And here's a photo of her dress at the reception. Some smart cookie cut and pasted two photos so we can see the newlyweds together.


I suspect that dress is what Kate would have chosen as the wedding dress if she wasn't marrying a prince. The silver belt is gorgeous. And the prince looks dapper in bow-tie and suit.

Moving on to the guests now. The Queen surprised the pundits by wearing daffodil yellow (the money was on pale blue) and I think it's an excellent choice. The tailoring is perfect and and gloves, small structured handbag and cute shoes with bows complete the look.


The True Lover's Knot brooch is simply stunning, and very fitting for the occasion.


Let's admire it in close up. What a classic!


Part 2 covers the best looking man, more beautiful frocks, and my favourite photo of the wedding!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easy peasy chicken and corn soup

Mr Curious is under the weather and I thought a soup is good option for dinner. What better than chicken and corn soup for a cold winter's night?

The recipe is a slight adaptation of this recipe from taste.com.au.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 large chicken thigh fillets (~550g), trimmed and sliced
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 2 x 310g cans creamed corn
  • 200g canned corn kernels, drained
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup chopped coriander leaves
Heat oil in saucepan in medium heat, cook garlic for 1 minute. Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes.


Add stock, corn kernels and creamed corn, bring to the boil then simmer for 12 minutes.


Whisk egg white lightly and add to saucepan, simmer for 3 more minutes. Serve with coriander.


It was nom nom nom! The chicken was so tender and corn was sweeeet! The egg white bulked up the soup (yay for extra protein) and the coriander gave it a bite. I may add even more egg white next time.

I added some pasta in the serve for TLG and he loved it - he drank the last drop and asked for an extra serve!

An advice - please use home made stock. They're even easier to make and you can keep them in the freezer for months. The soup will taste infinitely better!

I freezed the leftover so I can bring them to work. I added some canned lentils to make it a more hearty lunch.

Next time I want to make my own creamed corn - promise I'll report back!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Changing my mind

There is a Stop sign at a T-junction on the drive from the local shop to our home. I live in a quiet area and there isn't usually any traffic at the T-junction.

stop sign
Photo: Stop sign by kougar

For a period of time, I was treating the Stop sign more like a Give Way sign.

Until I heard this joke on the radio one day.
A lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by a cop. He thinks that he is smarter than the cop as he is sure that he has a better education. He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the cop's expense.

Cop: License and registration, please.

Lawyer: What for?

Cop: You didn't come to a complete stop at the stop sign.

Lawyer: I slowed down, and no one was coming.

Cop: You still didn't come to a complete stop. License and registration, please.

Lawyer: What's the difference?

Cop: The difference is you have to come to a complete stop, that's the law. License and registration, please!

Lawyer: If you can show me the legal difference between "slow down" and "stop", I'll give you my license and registration and you give me the ticket, if not you let me go and don't give me the ticket.

Cop: Sounds fair. Exit your vehicle, sir.

At this point, the cop takes out his baton and starts beating the cr@p out of the lawyer and says, "Do you want me to stop or just slow down?"
As a joke it's not that funny, but it jolted me out of my recklessness.  I always step on the brake fully at Stop signs now, no matter how "safe" the situation looks.

A while ago, I also changed my mind on a more important matter - gay marriage.

I always believe that gay and lesbian couples (I will use "gay" to refer to both in the rest of this post) should have the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples if they so choose.  I thought that can be achieved by the recognition of civil unions, and that marriage can remain as a union between a man and a woman.

As I read more about this issue I started questioning my stance.  What is the basis of my objection?  I am not a Christian so I don't subscribe to any of the Bible-based objections. In any case I see marriage as a social institution not a religious one.  I don't object to gay couples having kids either*.

(*You can read about studies on children of same-sex parents here and here.)

It all boils down to "tradition", the term people use when there is no good reason against change.

I thought about the issue from the other side - what marriage mean to gay people. The word "marriage" embodies so much more than a legal status. It captures the love and commitment that two people have for each other, to declare to the world that they will spend the rest of their lives together in a loving relationship.  That's what marriage really means - not a piece of paper, not the legal entitlements. Does the sex of the two people matter?  Of course it doesn't!

Photo: My Wedding Cake by Mark & the Zebra

I'm now a strong supporter of gay marriage.  It frustrates me that our government is so afraid of the reaction of the vocal minority that it is not carrying out the wishes of the (quieter) majority.

I believe being open-minded is one of the most important human attributes.  Circumstances change, our view of the world changes, and it is important to constantly reassess our stance, and not be afraid to change our minds when the positives from a change outweigh the negatives.  In fact, it is liberating.

There are people with ideas and opinions that I find unreasonable or even offensive, but they don't scare me as much as people that are so closed-minded they just can't change their views.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Short break: Hot cross buns @ St Malo Bakery

I dropped by St Malo bakery this morning to pick up some hot cross buns for my team at work.  They gave me a special raspberry and dark chocolate bun on the house to try.

It was so good I have to share.


They will be open on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Sunday from 7am.

Sydneysiders - get yourself one (or many) pronto!

St Malo Bakery
83 Willoughby Road
Crows Nest
(02) 9906 6256 ‎


Monday, April 18, 2011

Oh so pretty!

There are some talented people out there with a flair for design, creating gorgeous things.  Thanks to the internet, and specifically to social media, I came across the fine work of these two ladies.

I "met" Paula aka The Concealer on Twitter.  Not only is she a talented make-up artist (see her portfolio on her website), she also designed a series of beautiful mirrored acrylic brooches.  The brooches are custom-made in Texas, and her creations range from the elegant to the whimsical.

Alice talking to a bunny brooch


Carousel Horsie brooches


Bird Cage brooch (Paula's favourite)


And my favourite, Bonsai!!! brooch


They are très chic.  I can easily picture one of her brooches pinned on a casual canvas bag, or wore with a knitted top and pleated skirt/skinny jeans.

Check out her gallery for more designs and purchase details.

One of my Facebook friend "liked" the work of cho-chelle.  It is impossible to not fall in love with these cute beanies (for kids and adults alike).

Sleepy Hooty beanies


Sock Monkey beanie


Earflap beanie with Flower


I'll buy one for TLG in a heartbeat - if I can convince him to keep a beanie on!

Visit cro-chelle's Facebook page on her online store for more details.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Unbelievable bargain

I was one of the lucky winners of The Outnet's second birthday sale (on the US site). Look what I picked up for the princely sum of $US2!


Isn't it gorgeous?  It's a Dolce & Gabbana printed silk dress with a RRP of $3220!


It was a bit stressful when the sale started; there were so many choices! I'm very happy with mine. The Outnet's twitter team said it was a highly sought-after item.


Let's have one more look of my new dress :-D


And postage was free too. It is incredible!

Can't wait for it to turn up :-D

P.S. The Outnet is offering 20% off all stock until 21 April, use promo code 2NDBDAY20 at the checkout.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easy dinner: Lemon & Olive Mediterranean Chicken

We were reading a cookbook on Friday night and a few pieces of paper fell out. They happened to be recipes I collected from one of the stores at the North Sydney Fresh Produce Markets, and I have forgotten about them completely! I tried the Lemon & Olive Mediterranean Chicken with Mint & Rocket Salad reicpe last night.

Here are the ingredients (for 2 people) with slight adaptations:

3 chicken thigh fillets cut into 4 cm cubes
4 shallots finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
250g baby tomatoes, cut in halves
2 thick slices of lemon, cut in halves
50g broccoli, finely chopped
1 orange, peeled and cut into segments
1/4 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup mint leaves
½ cup rocket and spinach leaves
1 carrot, ribboned with vegetable peeler
16 kalamatta olives
2 tbsps Pureblends Mediterranean Blend
3 tbsps light balsamic dressing

The recipe was dead easy to follow.

Pre-heat oven to 200˚C

Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken, shallots and garlic.  Stir and brown for 2 minutes.


Transfer to an oven proof dish.  Add tomato, Mediterranean Blend, lemon and olives.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes.

Going in:


20 minutes later:

(I tossed the broccoli in as well soon after the last photo as Mr C doesn't like raw broccoli, they were meant to be part of the salad).


Remove from oven and stir in half of balsamic dressing and discard the lemon slices.

Place all remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Toss and serve as side dish to the chicken. 


The dish was yum!  The chicken was tender and absorbed the flavours of the herbs well.  If you want carbs you can serve it with some cous cous or brown rice.

And I love the salad, the orange and mint were so refreshing.  I'm going to add this to our regular green salads rotation.

You can purchase the Mediterranean Blend online or at the North Sydney Fresh Produce Markets (on this Saturday).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ms Curious likes: Clinique Chubby Stick in Mega Melon

When I was in Hong Kong earlier this year, ads for the new Clinique Chubby Sticks were everywhere.  It didn't take long for me to pay the Clinique counter a visit and I picked up one in Mega Melon.

I've been meaning to write about it for ages but I didn't get around to it until this morning, when we were at Centennial Park and Mr C took TLG on a bike ride.  So all the photos took advantage of the beautiful weather in Sydney today.

The Chubby Stick is advertised as a nourishing tinted lip balm.  The packaging is classic Clinique.


The colour of plastic casing closely match the colour of the balm.  In this way it's like packaging of lip glosses, it's easy to pick the right colour when you're in a rush.


As you can see by the dome shape of the stick, it has been well used since purchase.

Here's the swatch (the first CCM swatch, and it won't be the last!).


It's a sheer peachy pink that's well suited to warm skin tones like mine (NC40).

The balm glides on like a dream.  I'd say it's smoother than a large number of lip balms out there.


Colour on lip is subtle with a touch of shimmer.  In this photo it looks a lot pinker than the swatch, but IRL the peachiness does come through.

The thing I like the most about the Chubby Stick is the texture.  According to Clinique's website, shea butter and mango are the magic ingredients.  It's non-sticky and SO moisturising.  I love how it sits on my lips, and how long the moisture lingers on.

Like most tinted lip balms, the colour is not very longlasting, but that's par for the course. The truth is,  it's such a pleasure to re-apply I don't really mind.

Overall I'm really happy with the product.  It's perfect for a casual day out with tinted moisturiser and light blush.  I think it's going to be a great hit for Clinique.

Looking at the colours available, next on my shopping list will be a battle between Chunky Cherry, Fuller Fig and Whole Lotta Honey.  You can read a review of Whole Lotta Honey by The Swatch Girl here.

I believe they will hit the stores tomorrow, and they're up on Clinique's website now for $A35.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lemming: YSL postcard clutch


And I don't even like clutches.


And it's striking in red (although I like black more).


Just gorgeous!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Siren call from The Outnet

I am so easily persuaded to shop.  All it took is a free shipping offer from The Outnet and I'm off hunting for the next outfit. And there are so many temptations...

From the US site:

Temperley London Titian silk-blend dress ($US394)


Thread Social Metallic zigzag cotton-blend dress ($US219)


Tibi Filigree-print draped silk dress ($US166)


Twenty8Twelve by s.miller Corbusier printed silk dress ($US131)


Vivienne Tam Satin-trimmed silk-blend cardigan ($US144)


And from the UK site:

Marc by Marc Jacobs Dancing Lights cotton-blend dress (£88)


Decisions decisions ...

P.S. Free shipping code is 2NDBDAYFREESHIP for both US and UK sites until 14 April.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Poplar Central Asian Cuisine Crows Nest

One day on the bus I noticed a few new restaurants on Pacific Highway. One of them served "central Asian cuisine".  "What does it mean?" I thought to myself.  When I got home I told Mr Curious about it, and said we should give it a try one day.

My FIL paid us a visit last weekend.  When I said I didn't feel like cooking on Saturday night, Mr Curious suggested we give the restaurant a go.  My BIL came along as well so I was well out-numbered by the men.

A quick glance of the menu told me that we chose the right place for a "man-ly" dinner - it was a celebration of meat!  The number one vegetable on the menu was potato, and the vegetarian section was short and not very inspiring.

The menu are trilingual - in English, Chinese and Uyghur, so I'm guessing most of the dishes were from the Xinjiang province of China.

The main attraction was charcoal lamb skewers served on little swords (Zik Kawap, $12.50 for 5).


The tender meat and intense lamb flavour made them a winner.  We ordered a mix of spicy and mild skewers but the chilli was barely there on the spicy ones.

TLG was a big fan of the skewers and ate almost 3 of them!!!

We also wanted some noodles to fill TLG up, and our waitress (Janna, who was very lovely) recommended the Xinjiang style stir fried lamb/beef with noodles (Hekiki Guiron Laghman, $15).  She said the noodles were hand-made.


The noodles were super-long (we had to ask for scissors to cut them up before serving).  And they were awesome!  So soft and chewy, and it soaked up the flavour of the meat.  The meat was again really tender.  It was a touch oily - not that it stopped me from eating multiple bowls ;-P

Mr Curious ordered the spicy shredded potato (Karhtup Konimisi, $12).


They were a bit crunchy and very tasty.  I felt it was more suitable as an appetizer than a main dish though, one or two mouthfuls per person would have been the right amount.

My FIL's pick was braised beef hotpot with potato (Karhtup Kala Göshi Korumisi, $25)


It was nice but overshadowed by the other dishes IMO.

Initially we ordered another lamb dish but Janna came back and said that the lamb would taste very similar to the skewers, so she suggested we choose another dish.  She recommended the spicy chicken with potato and dried chilli served with fresh hand-made noodles (Dapan Ji, $20 for small).


This dish was the spiciest of the lot, but unlike Thai or Indian food the chilli was not in-your-face. Instead the heat built slowly and it was very warming.  Perhaps they took it easy with the chilli given we were foreign to the cuisine.

The hand-made noodles hidden underneath the chicken and potato was another highlight.  They were thick, flat noodles (like papadelle) but the texture were similar to Shanghaiese rice cakes.  Worked really well with a hearty dish like this.

Everyone was stuffed at the end of the dinner - we couldn't finish everything!

When Janna was tending our table TLG was very good with his "pleases" and "thank yous".  She was very impressed and awarded him a special gift.


It was a small sweet bun with green bean paste, pinenuts, crushed walnuts, sesame and sultanas inside.  TLG polished it off in next to no time so I suspect it was very good.

The bill was just over $100 which was excellent value.

It is worth noting a few small issues - the lights in the restaurant were so bright when we arrived it felt more like a food court than a restaurant (they were dimmed later), and the other waitress who served us had a very limited command of English. With a bit more experience under their belt I'm sure the these things will be ironed out.

We'll definitely be back again. They're open for lunch as well so I may take TLG there on one of the "mummy days".  I'm keen to try their Uzbek steamed dumplings (Petir Manta) next time.

P.S. On their menu were a roasted lamb leg for $125 and a whole roasted lamb for $500 available for pre-order. I'd love to check them out...

Poplar Central Asian Cuisine
2/300 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest
(02) 9439 9886

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