Saturday, 31 October 2009

Today's the day...

...our dear friends Shannon & Tim celebrate their engagement! Squeal

We are most upset to be missing their special day, and wish someone had invented a tele-porting machine so that in times like these, we didn't have to miss out on such special occasions!

I know they will have a ball, and we look forward to being able to spend their wedding day with them next year.

Whilst on the wedding theme, you MUST go NOW and check out these wedding pics - they are absolutely stunning

Don't you just wish you could have your wedding day over and over again! I would definitely be pinching some ideas from this luverly wedding!


Image via max wanger blog
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Weekend Flowers

Yesterday when walking home from the market I had a little internal battle as to whether or not to stop in and visit my beautiful flower stall and buy my weekend flowers. You see, the flowers I bought last Friday as still looking as gorgeous as ever and I didn't think it was fair to steal their thunder.

I decided against the purchase and wandered home empty handed (well one hand was full of my C&E supplies so I wasn't completely deprived!).

I did however take on board the lovely Karen's comment (thanks so much for all your comments Karen - keep em' coming), and transferred the little beauties into a colourful vase. What do you think?

I think Karen was spot on and I happened to have just the right vase for it! Call me extravagant (or perhaps stupid) but a while ago I spotted this gorgeous pink vase in a pic on the amazing Anna Spiro's blog - I just had to have it, and so I asked the very helpful gals at Black & Spiro to wrap it up and send it over to me. For those who don't know, Black & Spiro is located in Brisbane, Queensland which is where I come from - so yeap, I had a vase shipped to me in Hong Kong all the way from my home town. Oh, it was totally worth it and I am absolutely in love with it! Thanks Anna

I also used the vase to display some gorgeous pink roses (can you tell my fav colour is pink!) when we had our Housewarming / My Birthday party back in September. I will try to dig out a pic and share it with you all!

If you haven't done so already, you simply must go and check out Anna's blog - but be warned, it is addictive!

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The weekend's here (already)

I can't believe how fast the weeks have been going by lately - it feels as though one minute you are dragging yourself out of bed to face the week on a Monday morning and no sooner have you done that, you are walking out the office door on Friday afternoon! Unfortunately the weekends seem to be moving at the same speed:(

This weekend will be no exception, cause we are so darn busy it's not funny. Today we are helping a friend of ours out at the Food & Wine Fair that's on in Hong Kong. He owns a gorgeous little boutique wine store selling Margaret River wines in our favourite street (St Francis St in Wanchai), and tomorrow we crazily agreed to join a group of friends on an adventure day! This apparently involves a ride on the black mamba (whatever that is, but apparently it's fast), kayaking, snorkel ling (didn't anyone tell James the water is going to be chilly at this time of the year), some beach-going (this, I can handle), and finishing up with a seafood lunch on a remote little island somewhere in Hong Kong. The worst bit is we have to be at the pier at 8.30am, and it will take us an hour to get there! The things we do!

Thankfully I have a little 'me' time set aside for this morning cause Will has gone into the office for a couple of hours. Think I might get cracking on making some more Chrippy cards, and perhaps some little handmade gifts (can't tell ya what they are cause ya might just be getting one for Chrissy this year!), oh, and if I have time, I might soak in the tub for a while and lather myself up with some new products I purchased yesterday from Crabtree & Evelyn. I know most people think that C&E is a little grandma'ish, but they have some divine products that I just adore - my favourites being the La Source range (yum!), and the India Hicks range, which I just can't get enough of - especially their hand wash and divine bath salts. Go on, spoil yourself, you know you want to!

The new products I bought come from 'The Noel Collection' and the fragrance is Pomegranate, Citron & Mistletoe - how Christmassy! I couldn't stop at just the body wash, so I also bought the body cream, hand wash, and hand lotion (oh, and a gorgeous set of red Christmassy candles)! Boy I hope Will isn't reading this...

Anyhow, I had better be off otherwise there will be no 'me' time left! Before I do, I must say happy birthday to my adorable nanna who celebrated her birthday last Thursday, to Emily who turned 40 on the same day, and to my sister-in-law Kathy, who is celebrating her birthday today! Hope you all have/had a wonderful birthday!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Ciao Bella's

Image via Paper Pony - Flickr
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Friday, 30 October 2009

What lovely friends

I mentioned my gorgeous pink KitchenAid yesterday when I told you all about my successful baking challenge. Well I couldn't help but share a picture of it with you. Isn't it divine!

My beautiful Hong Kong buddies gave it to me for my birthday last month, and I couldn't have asked for a better present. I am totally in love with it (and have even been known to whisper sweet nothings in its bowl)!

The best thing about it (aside from the fact that it will outlive me, oh, and of course its colour), is that it is not just a mixing bowl. There are a load of attachments that you can use with it, and I am just dying to get my mittens on some (well ok, I may have one already)! There is a citrus juicer (whose fruits of which I am actually sitting sipping as I type), a grinder/mincer and a sausage stuffer (both of which I have begged my mum to buy me for Christmas!), as well as a whole range of pasta making devices.

I know it may sound daft to want to make your own sausages, but I can't wait. One thing about living in Hong Kong that annoys me is that we have no proper butcher shops, and hence no proper sausages. Now we have a balcony, and a BBQ (squeal) I can't wait to be able to make some homemade treats to share with friends... any ideas for combo's ? I am thinking chicken, macadamia and honey; lamb and mint, good ole fashioned pork (with perhaps a hint of apple)... the possibilities are endless!

I am a bit concerned that I may not be able to find the sausage skins over here, but I live in hope!

Image via
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Thursday, 29 October 2009

I did it !

Ok, so I told you the other day that I was contemplating cooking a roast last Monday (which was a public holiday in HK). Well that plan never got off the ground... however, I did manage to do some baking, and I am very please to report that I succeeded!

I have a terrible reputation (I mean terrible!) amongst my friends in Hong Kong (and in particular my work buddies) for being the worlds WORST baker. There is a long story behind that, which I might share with you some day if I can bare to go through the pain again.

Anyhow, since we have moved and I now have an oven - yes, for some of you that's not a big deal, but for us Hong Kongers it is a HUGE deal - I wanted to re-attempt some baking to see if I really was that bad. Ok, so hint, the last horrible experience was blamed, only partly I have to admit, on the fact that I was using a portable bench top oven with no proper temperature controls/regulation etc. This coupled with the fact that my lovely (and very generous) friends gave me a baby pink KitchenAid for my birthday (this deserves a post all on its own), there really were going to be no excuses if my baking didn't turn out. It was a brave move.

Anyhow, we had some very ripe banana's and so I got the idea to make banana bread. I settled on a Nigella recipe from her "How to be a Domestic Goddess" book, and began my quest....

Don't you just love the smells that come out of the kitchen when you are baking! This was no exception, and I almost felt content that if it didn't turn out - the aromas alone were enough to have made it a success. Ha, don't worry I wasn't going to let myself off the hook that easily.

Obviously the cake turned out (perfectly I might add), otherwise you wouldn't be reading this post. I certainly could not have publicised another failed attempt at baking, and would have quietly went to my room and cried!

Coincidentally, this morning on facebook a friend was asking for a good banana bread recipe and I couldn't refuse the opportunity to gloat about the fantastically scrummy banana bread I made on Monday. I know after reading this, you are all dying to try the recipe yourself, and don't worry, if I can pull it off, anyone can! So here it is:

100 sultanas
75ml bourbon or dark rum (I actually used frangelico cause I didn't have rum or bourbon, and it was amazing)
175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, melted
150g sugar
2 large eggs
4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300g weighed without skin)
60g chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract
23 x 13 x 7 cm loaf tin, buttered and floured or with a paper insert.

Put the sultanas and rum or bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour if you can, or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and get started on the rest. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hand or a wooden spoon, combine well. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas. Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained sultanas and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1 1/4 hours. When its ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer. Makes 8 - 10 slices.

DISCLAIMER: OK, so I have a little confession to make. I didn't leave the loaf to cool in the tin and tried to turn the tin upside down and get it out to cool on a wire rack. Obviously it was still too hot, and the bottom of the cake stuck to the tin. You wouldn't have believed how my heart sank after relishing in the joy of seeing the bread rise perfectly, and then having this happen. I tried to salvage the bottom and you know what, no one could tell...

I have to say that Will was so impressed with my baking, it tasted soooo yummy, that I might 'just' have salvaged my reputation for now!

Rach - let me know if you try the recipe, and how it goes!
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Monday, 26 October 2009

Weekend Flowers

I always love to fill the house with flowers for the weekend, but this weekend I went where I hadn't dare go before (as far as flowers are concerned that is)!

I have often looked at these bright (I dare say "artificially" so) flowers in the market and thought how awful and fake they look. For some reason, I felt different this past Friday and wondered how the bright colours would go all mixed together... well, I have to report - I was impressed!

Living in Hong Kong we are blessed to have a huge variety of flowers available in the markets at super affordable prices. That's right boys, there is NO excuse in Hong Kong not to treat your gal to flowers every week! As a point of comparison, a dozen roses in Hong Kong would set you back about $15Aus (and that's for long stem - gorgeous colours). Not bad hey!

The flowers must have set the mood for the long weekend, cause it certainly was bright & cheery! I will definitely be purchasing these little beauties again.

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Sunday, 25 October 2009


Today we are off to Macau with friends to watch some tennis at the Venetian. Not just any tennis I might add, we are watching Sampras v Agassi ! Should be a good match. Oh, I am sure we will manage to fit in a little chow down at Fernando's too - after all, what would a trip to Macau be without visiting this famous institution? I have a confession to make - this will be the first live professional tennis match I have ever seen (gasp)! Have wanted to go to Wimbledon (mainly to have the strawberries and cream I must confess), or even the Australian Open, but have never managed to get there!

Anyhow, its a long weekend here in Hong Kong (Monday is a public hol) - so the best thing about heading to Macau (and getting back around midnight), is that we have all day tomorrow to rest and relax. Hmm, thinking I might make a lamb roast or something homely like that! Fancy coming round for dinner?
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