Me and my trusty Shadow  at the 'Recorders' exhibition in Sydney today

Today is Friday the 30th December. I cannot beleive tomorrow is New Years Eve!

Had a fantastic day today. One of those days when you don't plan anything but you end up having an unexpected adventure. I drove to my friend's new place in the city this morning. A lovely journey in the sunshine towards the leafy streets of Paddington. We caught up over Greek yoghurt and blueberries before heading to The Rocks to visit the Recorders exhibition. Created by a Mexican-born artist, it is a mix between interactive art and technology. It was fun and free (ding ding ding) so if you're into your art and/or tech then it's well worth checking out before it closes in Feb.

After that we meandered up to the Lowenbrau and shot the breeze over a blonde beer and lunch in the sunshine. We walked off lunch with a wander around the higgeldy-piggeldy lanes and little shops that form The Rocks. Somehow we found ourselves in a hat shop, dispensing and receiving styling advice from an elderly shopper, to the bemusement of the gentleman shop owner. I finished off handing over thirty dollars as he snipped the tag from my new hat, even as it was perched atop my head. Talk about an impulse purchase! Shortly afterwards I was lured into a book shop. Quite seriously I should just learn to either stay outside or shut my eyes, because I am not good at resisting the charms of a new tome, full of new information that I convince myself I cannot go on living without. In any case, I walked away with TWO presents today.

Fortunately, my New Years plans will afford me a very decent chunk of time in which to get stuck into a book. The lead up to New Years can often be fraught with indecision and anxiety for me  safe to say it's not my favourite "holiday", as the Americanos would say. This year I am deviating from the usual and will be having a mother-daughter day and night, watching the Sydney fireworks from our (hopefully awesome) vantage point at Mrs Macquaries Chair. I hope it's a big bloody chair. The last time I watched NYE fireworks in the city would have easily been 12+ years ago. It's definitely going to be a very long and possibly hot day out there, but we have our backpacks full of snacks and cards and mags and books, and I'm sure it'll be a great little experience to file in the NYE bank.

Happy New Years Eve Eve... have fun, whatever you're doing <3


Oops. Back again. The hectic day has run pretty smoothly, I must say. Presents all wrapped and under the tree. Room *was* cleaned, now cannot be seen underneath a scary sea of ribbons, receipts and paper.

Before I head off I thought I would show a few wrapping creations. Recently I acquired a whole lot of free arty paper from the Scrapbooking Memories (magazine) girls at work (you should have seen my eyes light up when I got the email, "Free art stuff in the kitchen!") and this morning I found some absolute bargains at Spotlight, such as a pack of five plain white gift bags for under five bucks, and 3 metre rolls of fabric ribbon for 75 cents. If you do not find this information interesting, these photos are sure to make you nice and sleepy.  This is what I rolled out...



Vanilla buttercake decorated with glacé cherry noses, currant eyes, raisin mouths, flaked chocolate hair and chocolate-covered pretzel antlers. 
* * *

A year or two ago I was standing at the end of the driveway and one of our neighbours was telling his toddler my name and trying to get him to say hello. The Dad said, "Hello Alexandra" and the little boy said, "Hello Alexsanta"... this amused me an extraordinary amount and I do like to use this awesome nickname from time to time as it makes me feel like I'm a bit magical.

December 24th, it's finally here! I had my work Christmas party on Thursday night and it was a huge one. Because of this, the majority of my day yesterday was spent flopped on my bed, staring forlornly out the window at the precious sunny day I was wasting, and watching daytime TV; not doing one of the many many things on my list! By 4pm I was able to handle a piece of buttery Vegemite toast (mmmhmm, it was a good one) and by 11pm I had written a new and quite frankly, frightening, list for Saturday. This includes dropping off a bunch of presents that people from work donated for the Kmart Wishing Tree, shopping for a few last minute things, cleaning up the bomb that has become my room and wrapping presents. Yep, I really have left it all til the last minute. This all has to be accomplished before 5pm, when my friends and I will be congregating for some Christmas Eve drinks. Right now the thought of another festive beverage is just a bit painful! Maybe after completing tomorrow's list I will change my mind. Maybe. And to wrap up my pre-Christmas blogging, here is the last of my Christmas baking. Whatever you are unwrapping, eating, drinking and doing on Christmas Day, I hope that you have a very very happy one.

Merry Christmas.




Many a request was put in over the years for Aunty Til's Rum Balls.

1 tin condensed milk
230g plain sweet biscuits
2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup coconut

Whiz the biscuits in food processor until finely crushed. In a large bowl mix the crushed biscuits, cocoa and coconut. Add condensed milk and rum and mix through the dry ingredients. I then like to refrigerate the mixture for  half an hour so the balls hold their shape when rolled and don't get flat bottoms. No one likes a flat bottom. Roll into balls and coat with extra coconut. Refrigerate. Just quietly, I added a couple of teaspoons of extra rum to give them a little Ho Ho Ho.


"This is the best cake I've ever tasted"
Cousin Steffani, 2011. Cousin may have been affected by whiskey at time of review.

This recipe was given to me by my pal, Megz. It sure does have some BOOM.

1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup whiskey
220g dark chocolate
4 oz butter (113 grams)
3 eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
70g plain flour
2/3 cup ground almonds
pinch salt

Marinate raisins in whiskey for 2-3 hours. Butter and flour cake tin. Melt chocolate in double boiler and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in butter in small pieces. Beat egg yolks with sugar until mixture is pale and creamy. Mix with chocolate and stir in flour with ground almonds. Stir in raisins and whiskey. Whip egg whites with salt until they hold stiff peaks. Stir 1/3 egg whites into chocolate mixture then fold in remaining 2/3. Pour mixture in tin and bake at 190 Celcius for 20 minutes. The outside will be firm but the inside will be moist. Sprinkle with icing sugar or cover with melted chocolate. 

NOTE: I don't know if the recipe was printed incorrectly, or if the fact that I lined my cake tin with baking paper made a difference, but my cake took 45 minutes to bake. It was raw, gooey mixture when I cut a slice and I had to put it back in the oven. It is meant to be moist and  bit gooey on the inside but it was just complete goo at 20 minutes. I would suggest checking the cake with a skewer before you decide it's done!

Best served straight from the oven or at room temperature, but not straight from the fridge. 


I was thinking before about this one Christmas Eve, I would have been around five, and on this night I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor of my brother's room. I can still distinctly recall lying there and hearing something land on the roof. I said to my brother, I think I just heard Santa's reindeer land. I was so nervous and excited, knowing without a shadow of doubt that Santa Clause was on OUR roof at that very moment. I also remember the next morning, sitting in the corner of the lounge room, one of the presents that I opened was this lovely snowy box and inside were little girly stickers and things. I remember also contemplating with admiration about what a wonderful and trendy present wrapper and picker was Santa Clause. Two more sleeps. I hope everyone is having a lovely time getting ready for Christmas. ;)

what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

*the big breakkie @ woronora*


With my choccy Paddlepop in my left hand, I type somewhat haphazardly with my right; I've just arrived home from work and am appreciating what has come to be a rarity so far this season  a warm and sunny evening and a clear (for the most part) blue sky... it may even be a summer PJ night. You come to really appreciate these things when you've had a "summer" like this.

After a wonderful weekend spent with my nieces, it's been a somewhat hectic week at work, just to understate the fact. At this time of year we have to wrap more magazines than usual to get them off to the printer in readiness for the New Year. 'Winding down' is definitely not a term you can really apply to the atmosphere at a publishing house around Christmas. But there is finally light at the end of the tunnel; 5pm Thursday is approaching and I could not be happier!

I promised some pictures of this year's gingerbread house, and though I'll admit it didn't turn out quite as majestically as the house in my mind's eye, I'll stay true to my word and present the evidence. This year we lived through our first truly traumatic building accident in our gingerbread making history. We decided to try a variation of our usual icing mixture. 'Edible concrete' would be a more apt term for the icing you use to piece together a GB house; this stuff is not for the faint hearted. I suggested a variation of the usual mixture in order to achieve a more fluid substance to make pretty icicles. In other words, I sacrificed the principles of safe construction in the name of aesthetics and it did not pay dividends. We had pieced together all four walls and had waited half an hour, and with trepidation began to lower the roof panels when all of a sudden the walls just clean collapsed and fell into our hands. In a split second our beautiful 3D house had gone all 2D on us. My mum was standing on one side of the bench and I on the other, both of us now holding the fallen panels, absolutely horrified, but also in hysterical fits of laughter. We had gone to so much care and effort to get those walls together and look what happened. The foundation platter was now empty, not a house in sight. Honestly, it was all a bit Thredbo circa 1997. The moral of the story is, don't tamper with the gingerbread recipe!

Without further ado, here is the final result. I might also mention that due to exhaustion and haste on my part, these photos are a big blurry ol' mess, but you get the idea. 

Can't wait to smash it up on Christmas night.


This shortbread recipe has a firm place in my book of favourites because it's so very easy to make, yet so delicate and delicious. Usually, Melting Moments involve piping rosettes onto trays, and later sandwiching two biscuits together with the filling, however, sometimes a girl has neither the time nor inclination to fiddle around with a piping bag, so I tend to just plop little 'rounds' of mixture on the trays. This time I also decided to make the biscuits à la Jam Drop style instead  with the filling dropped into a pre-dented hollow in each biscuit.

Here is the original recipe.

125g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons icing sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cornflour

30G butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon milk

Beat butter, essence and sifted icing sugar in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in sifted flours. Spoon mixture into piping bag fitted with a 3cm fluted tube. Pipe 3cm rosettes about 3cm apart onto lightly greased oven trays. Bake in moderate oven about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool  on trays. Join biscuits with filling.

Filling: Beat butter, essence and sifted icing sugar in small brown until light and fluffy. Beat in enough milk to make mixture spreadable.

Makes about 20.

[santorini, 2008]


My mum and I started a gingerbread house tradition a few years ago and we are now in our fourth year of construction. Each Christmas we try to come up with a new and inspired design, so you can imagine my elation when I stumbled across these breathtaking creations from Sweetopia! I love the idea of a single-colour themed house. But the pastel one is also a delicious dream.

Unfortunately I can only find a couple of photos of last year's build, but not one of the finished product. I will have to get to work on some new blueprints and will make sure to take some more photos this time. Sorry about all the building puns, I am a little bit excited!

Last year's house featured green-tinted coconut for grass, a picket fence of Clinkers, a marshmallow hedge, and a pebbled pathway of Nerds. The roof was paved with Freckles and capped with Maltesers. Half the fun in constructing a gingerbread house is shopping for the decorations. You only have to tap 'Gingerbread House' into Google for endless inspiration on all the things you can do.

I adore this type of 60s illustration/animation. It reminds me of all the special Christmas and Easter cartoons that used to be on TV when we were kids. <3

STORYBOOK: The Art of Children's Picture Books


If you're searching for a Christmas gift for a special girl in your life, I would like to introduce you to the Slinky range by Peter Alexander.

A couple of years ago I acquired a summer dressing gown from the 'Slinky' range, and have never looked back. The material is a polyester/elastine blend and has the softest and coolest feel, which is especially amazing straight after a refreshing shower. This is one piece of clothing that I truly love, so I'm very much excited about giving my Mum the '50s Fruity Slinky' this Christmas, which you can see in my Obsessive Peter Compilation below. If you fancy getting in someone's good books this Christmas, get her a Slinky. And then get YOU a Slinky, too (or, you know, a fetching man robe). <3

from top left: peter alexander.combutterfly slinky, nanna chic 2011 catalogue, 50s shorts and gloves, 50s fruit slinky, floral pj set, runway 2007magical forest winter 2011 catalogue


Despite the fact that in yesterday's post I wished you a happy and slim journey through our unseasonably wet summer, you have to understand that I did a LOT of baking in the lead up to my parents' Christmas party, and I will be sharing. Maybe you will see something to add to your Christmas-day fare. <3

This was my first time making pavlova. I was happy with the result and these were lots of fun to make. I wanted to decorate each little pav individually  some with mulberries, some with kiwifruit, some with passionfruit and others with lemon curd. This is a light and refreshing dessert that can add a splash of fresh summer colour to your festive table.



My parents threw a rollicking Christmas party on the weekend and we were ever so grateful that the rain cleared away for the evening, however it certainly did make a sudden and boisterous return yesterday afternoon with a rolling entourage of thunderous clouds. My champagne hangover welcomed the refreshingly heady scent of summer rain, but sadly aggravatingly, this wet weather looks set to hang around. La Niña may think it's all fun and games to mess around with our summer timeslot, but does she realise that I am going to be in dire straits when the sun does finally make an appearance, after I have been craving (which will no doubt lead to consuming) these things to combat my faux-winter depression?


So with the weather "playing silly buggers" (thanks for the sweet phrase, Nanna) our anticipated schedules of beaching, barbequing and hammock-dwelling are having to be replaced with your more 'tracksuit appropriate' activities. Having said this, I would strongly urge you to try and resist actually pulling on a pair of trackies in summer. It's akin to jet lag; you will just confuse your poor old body and it will think it's okay to also cease going to the gym, cancel pending beauty treatments, bathe in hot chocolate and eat triple helpings of stroganoff followed by a comforting serve of warm plum pud'.

I am thinking more... catching up on movies, reading a good book, immersing yourself in the thrill of a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, designing your own line of finger-painted gift wrap, or crocheting a bikini. Or perhaps boiling up a nice big vat of mulled wine could be your thing. For once, it will actually be appropriate to serve hot shiraz in Australia at Christmastime.

Whatever exhilarating activities you come up with, my Christmas wish is that you make it through to the other side of La Niña with your mood and your waistline intact.

Mele Kalikimaka (Mel-ay Ka-Lik-Ee-Ma-Ka).

('Merry Christmas' in Hawaiian. 'I'm off to get my hot chips' in Alexandra'iian.)


"OH the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful,
and since we've no place to go 
Let is snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!"
-Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne, 1945-

Some tinsel here, an ornament there... with Sydney's summer on hiatus, there is no better time than the present to make the most of those festive homely touches that make the month of December the warmest and happiest of times. Now if those rain clouds could please pack up and leave so we can enjoy some sunny warmth, too, that would be just SWELL!

I bought this whistling kettle last weekend, fulling intending to give it to someone for Christmas, then decided they may not be as enamoured with it as I was, and thought it best for everyone if I kept it myself.

Many a granny would turn in her grave if she knew that I opened the box wondering if there should be a cord or instructions. For those of you who are as clueless as I was, no, neither things are included with a whistling kettle. It's shameful that I even looked, I know. "So, do I just literally just put in on the stove top?", I asked my Mum, holding aloft my pretty knew "gift".

It was an adrenaline-inducing moment indeed as we eagerly awaited the steadily arising whistle. Hearing that whistle made us shriek with delight. If you'd just stepped into the kitchen straight from 1921 (the first electric kettle was invented in 1922) you'd have probably thought we were a couple of crazy tea addicts, just really really excited about our cup of tea.

My Dad came downstairs and I asked if he wanted a cup. "No thanks, I just had a coffee before". 

"Oh really, are you sure?", I asked, as I started preparing a cup and teabag for him, and placed the whistler back onto the stove. I let the kettle boil and waited til it was really SCREAMING before removing it, and then asked again, "Do you want a cup of tea Dad?" 

"Not really but okay." 

"Nar it's okay, I just wanted to boil the kettle", I said jovially, as I put away the cup and teabag.

Honestly, this has been the most fun I've ever had making a cup of tea.