Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Struttin'

On Sunday the Western Australian state final for the Australian Supermodel of the Year competition was held at Skatt. I adore the glossy pink catwalk at Skatt. It's just fabulous. So pink, so glossy.


So in I headed to Skatt on Sunday afternoon and was promptly greeted by a bar and dessert buffet. What a start. After helping myself to a mini meringue or two I settled into my seat and waited for the ladies to grace that fabulous catwalk.



This is the second year the Australian Supermodel of the Year (we'll call it ASOTY for short) competition has been held. The twelve lovely ladies that made it to the state final were all vying for their chance to make it through to the next round and hopefully be the lucky one to leap into a career in modelling.


Showing three different looks, the ladies strutted their beautiful stuff in swimwear by Cebiche, casual looks by Tanouk and lovely evening wear from the Jonté collection.



Those of us in the audience were also treated to a special show by Cecile Mimieux, one of the beauties from Sugar Blue Burlesque. Actually, we were treated twice and her second performance showed off her ballet roots as she danced en pointe for us whilst dressed in a stunning feathered costume looking like the bombshell Odette wishes she could be. I stroked those feathers backstage; those plumes were the silky real deal.





Of the twelve semi-finalists, three were chosen to travel to Sydney to compete in the final. It has to be said that all of the contestants deserve their kudos for getting up on that catwalk, which no doubt can be daunting especially when you're clad in a bikini. For those that didn't make it through to the next round, I hope they continue to pursue their dreams and good luck to Holly, Adora and Chiara in Sydney. 



Sunday, 20 July 2014

Prettiest in Pink

I used to own so many articles of pink clothing. I don't know when I started shedding the pink. It's not that I don't like the colour. Indeed I do. It's still a colour that I favour when it comes to many things other than my clothes which was why I had to rummage through everything I owned to find something that I could wear which would satisfy a "pretty in pink" dress code. 



On Friday night I was delighted to attend the Pretty In Pink Girls Night hosted by Love Thread at Hello Parry HQ in Northbridge. Hello Parry HQ is located in a supreme location and I think it would make for a perfect inner city crib. I just wouldn't want to be the poor soul navigating the wooden stairs after a night out. As it was I found myself walking out while holding onto the wall. 


Styled by Love is Party and Shelan Creatives, the room was decked out with pink balloons and decor plus a scrumptious sweets and drinks buffets in many hues of pink. Amy Davis and Emer Rose were on hand if you wanted to get your make up or nails did. I left that night with some super sparkly nail art, in pink of course. 

Kelly from Beauty Bites WA gets her nails did



The finished product on Kelly from Beauty Bites WA!

While an opportunity to meet other Perth bloggers, the proceeds from the night were in support of the Esther Foundation which is an organization that I am familiar with having attended their past fundraising events and so I knew very well of the essential and great work they do. 




In which I am sure was a highlight for many, Michelle from A Minute Away From Snowing came along and chatted about her own experience as a blogger and shared some great advice for all. As someone who was an old school member of Vogue Forums from way, way back it was lovely to see Michelle given that she too has been around the VF traps for as long as I had been. Voguettes for life. 


Given the special discount available Hello Parry made available to us on the night I couldn't resist taking home a small purchase. 


It was well over an hour after the official finish time that I carefully made my way down the stairs. A sure indicator of a great night in with the girls. 



Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Giving me Sass

Oh my goodness. I have been holed up for the last few days with what my doctor diagnosed as being bronchitis. I like to say "I got the bronchitis" as an homage to Sweet Brown, and as she stated, ain't nobody got time for that. Who has time to be sick? Sure, it means I get to laze about and sleep during the day without anyone likening me to a sloth but the incessant coughing is not cool. Sick days mess up my gym schedule and they certainly are not conducive to being a social creature.

Fortunately, the bronchitis had not yet clamped its grip around me on the weekend which meant I was able to enjoy one of my favoured past times on Saturday, that being the partaking of high tea. Even better when it's for a special occasion, and in this case, a friend's birthday.  

Tea that afternoon was being poured at The Sassy Cookie in Victoria Park. This was my second time there to have high tea. They also serve lunch meals but I've not had the pleasure of enjoying one of their lunches. 



Set on the corner along Duncan Street behind a beautiful wall of orange honeysuckle (I think) flowers you'll find the charming and quaint tea rooms of The Sassy Cookie. Welcomed by the owner Sue (great name there), she takes our tea order and brings out the first course. The courses are served sequentially as they are ready to come out, unlike other high teas where everything is brought out in one hit on the tiered stands. The teas come from the T Bar range and plunger coffee is also offered if you prefer. The best thing is that the price includes two pots of tea, so you can enjoy two varieties of tea if you wish. 



We started with finger sandwiches, two varieties. One was filled with smoked salmon and caper aoili on one layer and the second layer had creamy egg and dill. The second sandwich was chicken with walnuts, spinach and a sweet onion jam spread onto herbed butter. Both sandwiches were very good but I liked the salmon and egg combination the best. They had been made fresh as the bread did not have the tell tale dryness of stale bread or sandwiches that have been left out. The serving allows for one finger sandwich of each filling. Being a fan of the savouries when it comes to high tea I would have liked another finger each. I find without an adequate amount of savoury it can be difficult to get through all the sweet components. There's only so much sugar my body can handle. 


The baked savouries that followed were a mini Cornish pastry, a filo pastry money bag filled with mushroom and pate (yum yum!) and a Parmesan cheese round topped with a blend of beetroot, cashew and feta cheese. 


Onto the sweets. Here we go. By now I had finished my first pot of chai and had requested my second pot, this time a Ceylon orange pekoe. First up were the scones. You've just gotta have scones with tea. Soft, well baked and a nice smaller size (a good thing when there's much to be eaten), they are not your run of the mill scones. One is baked with cranberries and served with a rose petal butter and cranberry Cointreau conserve and the other is a date, orange and walnut scone that is accompanied with orange blossom butter and an apricot and macadamia conserve. There is an ample amount of Chantilly cream to top both of your scones with.



After the remnants of the scones are whisked away, we are served a palate cleansing mango sorbert in cute mini champagne saucers. It's a nice touch and was not part of the high tea the first time I went to The Sassy Cookie. The climax of the sweet course is reached with the next serving; a plate of individual apricot cheesecakes set in chocolate tulip cups, mini lemon meringue pies and Toblerone mousse cups garnished with chilli chocolate popcorn.  The little cheesecake cups reminded me of that scene in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory when Mr Wonka sits down in his garden, sips from a tea cup and then promptly takes a bite out of it. That's exactly how I felt eating from this chocolate tulip cup, which I do think is made from a good chocolate as it does not have any of that nasty taste that comes from using cheap compound chocolate. The filling of the lemon meringue pie is sweet enough and also tart enough - a good balance is struck between both. What I loved what the Toblerone mousse. The mousse is so light and fluffy, not overly rich in chocolate flavour as some chocolate mousses can be and it was very easy to eat, which was a good thing given it came at the end of the tea sitting. The pocorn is an interesting addition but I could not taste any chilli. 



To finish up are small macarons and chai infused chocolate truffles. Everyone is also given a cute little teapot shaped cookie to take home. The high tea service at The Sassy Cookie leans more toward the traditional, with just a slight twist. Some of the sweet offerings seem to be new additions, such as the cheesecake and mousse and they definitely put a little 'fancy' touch to the high tea, I guess this is where the sassy kicks in. In saying that, what I like about The Sassy Cookie is that it's not pretentious or fussy. It delivers delicious treats that are fresh and home made. With your two pots of tea, it all goes down well. 

The Sassy Cookie on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Oh, the places you will go!



An airstrip somewhere in the middle of the Kimberleys

As I sit here tapping away, keeping warm thanks to the invention known as ducted heating and looking out of my window to a grey and gloomy day I can't help but think back to previous winters. You see, I generally go on holiday at this time of year. People ask me how I manage to swing that given what I do for work - I have a background in accounting and currently am in a tax advisor role. The start of the financial year happens to coincide with the northern hemisphere summer, and for many whose work lives revolve around the financial year that often puts the kibosh on being able to be that person who floods their Instagram feed with photos of their Greek Island hopping adventures. Certainly there was a time when it was impossible for me to request leave in the middle of the year but now it's not too much of an issue for me to traipse off so for the last couple of years I have always found myself on holiday for a few weeks between June and early August, timing my return so that I don't miss celebrating my birthday at home in mid August. 

Flying over Lake Argyle

Last year the destination was the Kimberley region of Western Australia and prior to that I embarked on my own Tour de France. I don't follow the actual Tour de France at all but somehow managed to be everywhere the bikes were. I like to get away from the cold and come back ridiculously brown. This year the plan was to ride bikes and eat street food in Vietnam but this had to be postponed due to conflicting schedules. This is why I'm now looking out the window to a grey day. 

With the vacations of the last two years, I split my time travelling with others and travelling solo. Although the idea of being a solo traveller can seem daunting, having done it a couple of times now I highly recommend it as being something everyone should do. If for no other reason than just to travel. To just go. There's a big, beautiful and interesting world out there ready for you to explore. There are adventures to be experienced. If you're ready to go, then just go. Sometimes you want to make holiday plans with your friends but they don't have the funds to travel or your partner isn't interested in what has always been your dream destination. So you wait. You put it off until someone is ready to go with you. Don't wait. Like the copyrighted slogan says - just do it. Until you do it you'll never know how much you can gain from travelling solo. To do it on your own terms, in your own time. You can't underestimate how much you learn, especially about yourself, when you find yourself in a place you don't know and realize that you actually can do it all on your own. It's a great learning experience and incredibly enriching and rewarding. 

I spent almost six weeks in France and clocked up a couple thousand kilometers driving around in my little Citroen beast. It was my first time driving in Europe, but with a GPS unit one can't go wrong, or get too lost. The experiences I had are now memories that I'll always remember fondly and there are a few very memorable experiences that I doubt I may have had if I was with someone else, such as the 33km 'fun ride' that I inadvertently entered when riding through the city of Geneva. Sure I ended up with a very sore butt and spent the evening soaking in the bathtub of my hotel room but I would never have seen the countryside of Geneva had I not accidentally rode my bike onto the route of the event.


The little beast out in the vineyards of Bordeaux

Part of the advantage in being a solo traveller is that everything you do is up to you. That's not to say that I don't enjoy travelling with others. Of course I do. It is an immensely fun and memorable experience to travel with your partner or friends, as it can also be heading out on your own. 

So of you want to travel, then travel. Make it happen. Sometimes you can't wait for others to be ready. 

...and now some photos. What would a travel post be without photos? 

I love the French markets!
Beautiful Geneva. I like to think of Geneva as the prettier and cleaner sister to Paris
The Aiguille du Midi - part of the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps
The lovely streets of Geneva
Kayaking the Dordogne River in the southwest of France
The beautiful lavenders of Provence.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Foggy head and scrambled eggs

I woke up on Saturday all out of sorts. To begin with, I slept through my alarm and missed my morning Pilates class. I tapped out an apologetic message to my instructor while still mostly asleep and fell back into my slumber. Even after waking up close to midday I was still ridiculously exhausted with a head so foggy it probably looked like pea soup if you peered inside.

I could put it down to physical tiredness, and no doubt I was. Despite my very long sleep in I still could not stop yawning that entire day and could barely keep myself awake over the course of the entire day and night. The cloudiness of my mind though was probably more a result of being preoccupied with a niggling little issue. One of those life dramas that you'd love to see played out in any other way than the manner which it did. I suppose it was good timing that I had plans to have Saturday lunch with my friend who spends her business hours working with people and their problems. She does a good job of probing me and my thoughts and is always all about "the resolution". A true professional, she is. In return I willingly hand over the tax advice. Quid pro quo.


Personal crises aside, one must eat. We found ourselves at The Imp which was unsurprisingly busy and although I was worried we would have to go somewhere else, the tables turned over quickly. Probably because we got there at the cusp of the breakfast menu making way for the lunch foods so everyone was finishing up. I was a bit disappointed because I do love a breakfast menu and am a strong supporter of the all day breakfast. Both of us were indecisive on what we wanted to have but we knew for sure we had to have the fries and ended up with a somewhat weird combination of the fries, beetroot salad and truffle scrambled eggs to share between us.


The fries were perfect. There is a reason why we had to order the fries and it's because we've munched on The Imp's fries before. There's nothing better than a bowl of crisp fries and an aioli sauce that has a real kick. With my pot of warm spicy chai tea, it was a source of comfort, in the gastronomic sense, for me.


The beetroot salad was sadly not giving me the same level of comfort. Chunks of pickled beetroot on a bed of mixed leaves with fetta crumbled over, it was one of those salads that was well, just a salad. Sometimes when the mood strikes me I like to have a good salad as my main meal but this salad wouldn't hit that mark for me.



The truffle eggs came served on a large piece of crusty toast and a mixed salad on the side. The salad were the same mixed greens used in the beetroot salad and it was undressed.  Plentiful in quantity and cooked silky and creamy, the egg had that instantly recognizable scent of truffle. Though giving off the delicious aroma of truffle, it couldn't be tasted in the eggs. The main flavour that came through with the eggs was that of the cream.


To be honest, this wasn't the best experience I've had at The Imp. The majority of the food wasn't as satisfying as I've had in the past. Perhaps they too were suffering from a bad day. Thank goodness for my chai, the fries and the open ear of a friend.

The Imp on Urbanspoon