Sunday, 20 November 2011

Silent Sunday

Saturday is Caption Day.

Caption Day again at Mammasaurus. I found this pic the other day when I was scanning Dad's old slides.

Dad took this whilst on a trip around Australia with his best friend after they finished uni around 1971-72. What can you come up with??

Join the fun with Mammasaurus.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

My First Blogging Award!

The gorgeous Viv at Melksham Mum (in her hot new frock) has given me my FIRST EVER blogging award. So big kisses to Viv, thank you! As we say here in Australia, 'This is going straight to the pool room.'

So, here it is.

In exchange for this fabulous award, I must share with you Seven Secret Things about myself. "Ooo goody," I hear you nosey parkers saying. I then pass the award on to fifteen - fifteen???? - other suckers awesome bloggers.

1. At thirty-five I still hide in the pantry, sneaking food.

2. I like the smell of pencil sharpenings.

3. I have one toenail that isn't polished.

4. My favourite perfume is Eternity but I can't wear it all the time because it gives me hayfever.

5. I used to be an artists' model for TAFE art students. Yes, I was once quite liberated!

6. I turn my music up really loud and dance when I bake.

7. I'm scared of roosters.

That's about as secret as I can be right now. So the fifteen lucky bloggers are:


Phew. Thanks again Viv. And you look smokin' in your new frock!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Thumbs down to Sunbeam Customer Service

Yesterday, I rang Sunbeam to confirm that Betty and her motor were still under warranty before taking her off to the mix-master nurse. According to their website, there is a five year warranty on the motor. But I like to double check.

After being on hold for fifteen minutes, I was put through to a woman who didn't sound a day older than eighteen. Ok, maybe twenty.

All started well and, yes, the motor is under warranty. I mentioned that I needed to get my mix-master fixed quickly because I use it a lot. She asked me if I used it for a business.

Me: "If you can call it that."
Her: "There's only fifteen months warranty if it's used for commercial use."
Me: "I bake for a friend's gallery. It doesn't outline different warranties for commercial and domestic use on your website. It states five years for mix-masters. "
Her: "So you're saying it's for a business."
Me: "No. It's not a registered business."
Her: "But you just said it was for a business."
Me: "No. I said 'If you could call it that.' I bake for a friend."

She then started to get a little wound up, and proceeded to talk over the top of me. This got me very wound up. I asked her to stop interupting me, that I was the customer and a very dissatisfied one at that. She started to talk over the top of me again. I asked to talk to her supervisor. She kept talking. I hung up.

I then rang a chap in Wangaratta who services Sunbeam products who was very friendly and helpful, and that if I drove over there he will fix it within the day. Yay for Betty!

Sunbeam, your products are great, but you need to do something about who you hire in customer service. That girl was a snooty, little bitch.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Silent Sunday

Where have I been?

No where, really. Just in my kitchen.

Over the last ten days I have occasionally glanced at my computer as it called to me, yearning for the touch of my fingertips on its keyboard. I could feel the gravitational pulls of the blogosphere of which I have had to defy. Honestly, I just haven't had time.

I have been flat out baking. As well as baking for the Gallery, I have baked for a 40th, and an open garden. I am also preparing to cater for a special lunch a friend is having next week.

There is one slight problem. My beloved mixmaster has blown her gears and needs a nurse.

It all happened on Friday afternoon when I was already in a fragile emotional state. There I was, beating away at a red velvet cake when suddenly a sound I had not heard from my 'Betty' became evident, and very loud. That's when the bowl stopped turning. And then, she became very hot! Then nothing.

You may remember me telling you how much I love my mix-master (and yes, I call her Betty). So you will understand why my already fragile emotional state lost composure, and I burst into tears. I rang Mr. H at work and blubbered nonsense before he had to go. So, I wiped away my panda eyes, blew my nose (in a very noisy, Pretty Woman like fashion), and endeavoured to finish the cake. Once it was in the oven, I poured myself a pink gin and, a few minutes later, I poured another. Miraculously, I immediately regained some composure.

The cake, although yummy, did not get the height it should have, and looked rather flat. So I'm not going to show you a picture of it. I will share with you the more successful feats of the week.

WARNING: These pictures may induce mouth-watering, and cause hunger pains!

Armenian Nut cakes for the Open Gardens.

Rose water meringues with pistachios
Pink meringue kisses

Macarons for a friend's 40th: rose water with coconut butter cream, vanilla with vanilla butter cream, and pistachio with orange butter cream.

Making my friend's 40th birthday cake.

The finished result. How brilliant am I!!!


Even I'm slobbering now. So that's why my kitchen has been running hot. It's no wonder Betty blew her beaters. Hopefully she'll be fixed in no time so I can attempt this.

Image from here.

Saturday is Caption Day!

I'm joining Caption Day today over at Mammasauras. Here's how you play. Post a photo, then your funny, clever, witty readers leave a caption for it. Easy peazy.

Come and play too.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Gallery: T is for.....

'T' is for tan, or lack of one, for a better phrase.

Yesterday was Melbourne Cup day, and we celebrated by going to a friend's place for the afternoon to scream at the telly and drink some grog. I will fill you in on the fact that I came off night duty yesterday morning having only had two hours sleep the day before thanks to pesky little trick or treaters banging on the front door, waking me up.

So, I had been awake since nine Sunday evening minus two hours sleep. Add sunshine, and lots of pink gin makes Jeanie go "la-di-da-di-da." During my drunken, sleepless haze, I was inspired by a friend's gorgeous tan to create a United Colours of Benetton ad.

No, that's not over exposure, that's my leg! Sexy ain't it? I'll give you a minute to put your sunnies on. Thank goodness I have a spray tan booked for tomorrow. Do you think United Colours of Benetton would like my campaign?

If you like everything 'T', head over to Tara's at Sticky Fingers, while I'll head off to the beauty salon.

As you can tell, I have sampled the 'Pink Gin in a cask' and obviously it was very yummy as I drank way too much! Adding some lemon and mint makes it even better.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Silent Sunday

I'm grateful for...

This week I'm grateful for:

10. Antihistamines, in every form they come in. AARGH-CHOO! This Spring has been nasty for hayfever sufferers, including me. And it knocks the wind right out of your sails. It does have its advantages. The constant sneezing, nose dripping, watery and itchy, red eyes, and itchy ears is hardly a sexy look. So I have had some reprieve from Mr. H's pestering. But he can't shove those antihistamines into me quick enough!

11. Jasmine. It is flowering everywhere and the air is full of its scent. It's one of my favourite smells. Hardly good for the hayfever though, eh?

12. Gordon's, for putting pink gin in a cask. I've tried it. I love it. It's yummy. And I'm on to my second cask. They could have been a little more heavy handed with the gin, but otherwise it's the perfect drink for the warmer weather. Hic!

Share your gratitude this week over at *Maxabella Loves.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Gallery: Faces

"Faces, faces everywhere. But if you could sit and stare....."

I spend a lot of my day humming songs from Playschool. The Squeeze and The Bear's favourite kids show is Playschool. Hell, I love Playschool. I love the innuendo thrown in for the grown-ups' benefits.

Tara Cain at Sticky Fingers has set this week's Photographic Gallery theme on FACES. Easy! There are three faces I photograph almost on a daily basis. So, here are a select few of those pics.

Those big brown eyes and the splash of freckles are heaven.
A perfect ski-jump nose with the most kissable cheeks in all the lands!

My "Dreamy"
I could "sit and stare" at faces all day.

If you don't know Playschool, enlighten yourself here. Have fun!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Pink Gin Heaven

I have a confession. I don't drink wine. Most wines give me a migraine.

WHAT????? I hear you all gasp with horror. I know. You are all probably feeling that same sympathy that I feel for people who are allergic to chocolate. I mean really, allergic to chocolate? That is just cruel.

So how do I stay sane? I enjoy a beer on a warm day, while working in the garden. I love my bubbly, which has lead me way too far down the inebriated path, via the dance floor on many, many occasions. And, I love a pink gin. But, making one is a bit of a fag.

Until today, when the darling Mr. H came home from the supermarket with a present for me.

Behold, pink gin. Not in little mixer bottles or cans. But in the wonderful glory of a TWO LITRE CASK! Absolute brilliance Gordon's. And it can be yours too for a mere $25. That's right ladies, the cask is back in drinking vogue.

Bottoms (hic) up!!


My macarons are improving. Here's a morsel of today's attempt.

Pistachio macarons with orange butter cream


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Here's to The Squeeze!

The Squeeze turned "thixth" yesterday. (She is missing two and a half top teeth.)

This year I am trying to break the habit of having a birthday party. Instead, she is having four friends for a sleep over on Friday. Five six year olds in the house. Hardly breaking the habit, am I. Do I have a plan? Yes. And no.

The Bear is going to a friend's house for her own sleep over, just to avoid any sibling 'issues'. The swag will be rolled out in the girls' room so sleeping arrangements are sorted.

Mr. H was hoping to 'phone a friend' and escape to the pub for the night, or until the hysteria had gone to sleep. I told him to get off his bloody planet.

Other than making sure there is plenty of gin and whisky for Mr. H and myself, that is the extent of my plan. Maybe some homemade pizzas, a movie, some games, dress-ups. There, organised. Oh, the girls? They'll think of something to do.

Happy birthday my Squeezalicious.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Silent Sunday

Listography: Top 5 Keyword Searches on your Blog

I jumped on Kate's listography this week because I, so far, haven't ever checked these stats out on my blog. Well, let's face it, my blog hasn't been around for very long so I wasn't expecting much. There were only six, so here are five of them, from boring to completely unexplainable.

1. 'Vanilla ice cream' lead them to a previous Listography on, you guessed it, ice cream.

2. 'Scherri-lee Biggs' dress' was a Frock It!

3. 'Scherri-lee Biggs see through dress Miss Universe' was another Frock It!

4. 'Skinny suitcase' made me beam with pride because a) it was my very first post; and b) when I typed it into Google, it was listed first! I don't know what, in particular, the person was looking for. It couldn't have been as wild as the next keyword.

5. Get ready for it. 'Amateur red bra black stockings.' What the f...?????????????? I don't know which post they were directed to because when I typed it into Google, all I got were pages and pages of porn sites. Whatever post they did get, they would have been grossly, and I mean grossly disappointed. How on earth did my sweet, innocent, intelligent, interesting, worldly, pretty blog (come on, it is) get into that crowd? I am shocked. Appalled and shocked. Shame on you Google.

What company does your blog keep in the Google search engine? Has Google thrown your blog into an unfavourable crowd?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Chaos and Macarons

I know, it's been a while. I have been on a bit of a hiatus. But I'm back now so you can all stop hyperventilating into your little brown paper bags, and put your valium away.

It has been tricky finding time to blog over the last couple of weeks and, truthfully, the grey matter has been a bit sluggish when it comes to making me sound super intelligent and interesting to the world. Because, you know I am!

School went back this week (thank goodness!), so there is a lot less sibling bickering and slightly less "Muuuuum!" every ten minutes. I am going to adopt Mrs. Woog's "Masters in Manipulation" next holidays. It's a brilliant concept and worth trying.

The downside is we're back to the morning mad rush and I can't sleep in. Every morning I sound like a broken down record, and then I end up yelling. Plans to walk to school are thrown out the window as we pile into the car and screech out the driveway.  I then get home feeling flustered, and guilty for not being more patient. I'm sure the girls think I'm a dragon disguised as a mother-like figure.

On a lighter note, I am mastering the art of macarons thanks to Donna Hay. I picked up her 10th Birthday issue of her mag and there is a whole section on how to make macarons. Adriano Zumbo, eat your heart out!

The cake on the cover had no influence whatsoever on me buying the magazine.

Stay tuned for the results of my efforts.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Gallery: Colour Green

Tara at Sticky Fingers has chosen this week's gallery theme to be colour. One colour specifically. My favourite colour is green. To me, it is the colour of nature, and it calms me. It's one of the reasons I love gardening.

But, as a scrolled through all eighty-four entries so far to Tara's gallery, I was surprised there were only four entries favouring green. I did find it interesting that the primary colours, red, yellow and blue were predominantly the chosen colours.

It is Spring here in Oz, and everything has come to life, bursting from dormancy with that bright, beautiful, new green. And so is my garden.

If you would like to share your passion for colour, pop over to Tara's at Sticky Fingers, and take time out to have a peek at everyone else's colours. There are some amazing photos to inspire you.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Saving Frock It!

In a bid to save Rach's Frock It! over at This Mid 30s Life, I am sharing my contribution. But I think it will be hard to beat Brynne Edelsten's um, dress?

I've also chosen a frock from the Brownlow Medal. Although it is the complete opposite to Brynne's hankie, it still abides with the "When more is more."

This is Rouba Houli with her husband Bachar from the Richmond Tigers. Goes to show you don't need to bare all to look stunning.

Did a dress catch you eye? Frock It! with Rach and help stop the violins from playing!

Am I losing it?

When I was pregnant with The Squeeze, my Mum warned me: "You lose your mind and, you never get it back." Little did I know....

There are days where I feel I have completely lost my mind. I forget what I was setting out to do minutes after setting out to do it. It seems like I frequently lose track of what I was talking about mid sentence, and who I've told what to who. Don't you just love that smiling, pitying look people give you when you repeat a story? And then there's the sugar in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard, but we've all done that, haven't we?

What's more, Mr. H is convinced I need a hearing test. He is not convinced one can have such selective hearing. Ahh Mr. H, it is true. One can. It works brilliantly on husbands. Unfortunately it's useless on children.

Mr. H can't talk. He admits to having a bad memory. Yet this is his excuse: "No you haven't told me, I would have remembered. You just think you've told me when really, you haven't."

But, maybe, just maybe, Mr. H is right? On the odd, small occasion? Say, about one percent of the time? Of course not. See? I haven't completely lost the plot!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

This week I'm grateful for....

Maxabella has lent her Grateful Saturday out again this week. I love that because I'm discovering new and wonderful blogs. Like Jody at Lemon Rhodes who is hosting our grateful moments today.

So, this week my gratitude goes to...

7. Retail therapy. I was a little frustrated at the beginning of the week, but a little (necessary) trip to the shops solved all my wardrobe woes, and boosted my self esteem. I am now officially a size 12! My purchases included some sexy underwear. I've been wearing cottontails since the girls were born much to Mr. H's dismay. Well, not anymore! There were also a couple of nice blousey shirts, and some funky stuff from Boom Shankar. Their clothes are each hand made in Noosa. I LOVE their Guru pants - very comfy.

To add to that, Mum cleaned out her wardrobe and gave me some cool clothes. Yes, I know, I have a cool-dressed Mum. She has some groovy clothes, and a few not-so-groovy clothes (sorry Mum!) They're just not my taste. Anyway, thanks Mum.

Moving along...

8. Being "Barren Sharron" (as my tactful brothers put it). As well as shopping whilst in NSW, I spent a lot of time cuddling my wee niece. She is almost seven weeks old. I have never had a strong desire to have anymore babies since The Bear was born. That is, until now. I am completely smitten. But practically, we decided not to have anymore kids. You know, financially, spacially, etc. And, honestly, I don't think I would like myself if I had another baby. I feel I would be stretching myself too thinly, and I would be failing each of my kids in some way. Hence, due to opportune circumstances, I have been "fixed".

But I am very, VERY grateful I was able to have babies in the first place, and my heart goes out to those women who would love to be mothers but, for some reason, can't be.

9. Now I don't want to be a killjoy, but I am very grateful that today is the last day of the AFL season. Sorry to all those footy fans out there. Having said that, I hope the Cats win today. I'm more preoccupied with the Rugby World Cup. GO THE WALLABIES!!

Ok, I don't want to be a complete party pooper so, I hope the rain doesn't spoil your Grand Final day and that you're wearing blue and white somewhere while downing a few ales. And behave yourselves because I don't want to be stitching you up tonight at work and listening to you grieving your favourite footy jumper because it's blood stained.

Have a fun weekend, and don't forget to put your clocks forward tonight. xx

Sorry about the long post.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Listography: Celebrities who would like to have a beer with me!

Well, who wouldn't like to have a beer with me? I am absolute awesomeness! So here are the celebrities who have been badgering me to have a drink with them.

1. The cast of Ocean's Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen. Namely George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon (Julia Roberts not need be there).

Ahhhh, need I say more?

2. Kate Winslet is my chickie choice coz I think she's a lot of fun, and I'm a lot of fun and we'd get on like a house on fire.

3. Dr Sheldon Cooper because we share the same IQ. Sooooo kidding. I just want to torment and tease him with sarcasm, and then say "Bezinga"!

4. Prince Harry. This would be a wild night out, wouldn't it?

What a hotty!

5. Hugh Jackman. Well in all honesty it has been me doing the badgering for obvious reasons.


If you would like to join the pub crawl, I recommend starting at Kate's and going from there. Remember to pace yourself!

Friday, 23 September 2011

A week of.....

Well it is officially the school holidays, and I am very much looking forward to two weeks void of the morning rush, and being able to sleep in.

It has been a struggle waking The Squeeze and The Bear up in the morning this last week. On Wednesday it was futile so The Squeeze had a "find my centre" day and stayed home. It was after nine o'clock before either of them crawled out of bed, and it was lunch time before they got out of their PJs.

But we have still had an action packed last week of term. On Tuesday night, The Squeeze went to her first disco at school. It seems social behaviour hasn't changed much in thirty years (oh I feel old!) The boys appeared to enjoy dancing more these days than they did in my day (oh so so old). And, they also appear to spend more time on their hair than the girls! But there is still that awkward, embarassing, barely moving, "Oh my God, a boy asked me to dance!", "Oh my God, I can't believe I have to dance with a girl." dancing.

The Squeeze was first asked to dance by a fourth grader (I'll remind you The Squeeze is in Prep). They barely moved throughout the entire song, standing there with embarassing smiles on their faces. I'll hand it to The Squeeze who tried to relax the mood with the odd wiggle and twirl but he wasn't buying it. I suppose it didn't help that I was on the other side of the room, camera poised, in hysterics. The next boy she danced with was more active, and more her age (he's in grade one). Ok, it was a pre-rehearsed dance but, hey, it was very cute.

"Come on. Hold hands??"

 All the kids had a ball and put a lot of effort into their groovy moves.

The following day was 'down time'. Well, for the girls at least. I, on the other hand, had a marathon day in the kitchen baking for my friend's gallery. Two weeks worth of goodies were needed before I took off for a week. What did I bake I hear you ask? Well, let me show you.

The day started early with an Armenian Nut cake, my favourite.

Followed by a Chocolate and Date Torte. Apparently this is popular at the gallery.

I then made a Chocolate Cardamon Fudge cake. Very rich and yummy but an arm workout to mix. I forgot to take a picture of this one so unfortunately I can't show you the end result.

By this stage it was lunch time and The Bear was due at kinder, and I was due at the gym for a PT session. After nearly killing myself to work off the beater licking of the morning, it was back to kinder for a teddy bears' picnic, then home to fire up the oven again. I still had one more cake, a batch of muffins, and two lots of bikkies to make!

Orange and poppyseed cake with syrup.

 By the time I finished making White chocolate and orange muffins (see previous post) I was starting to fade. It was ten o'clock before I had it all wrapped up with chocolate chip bikkies and melting moments. Phew!

After delivering all the yummies the next morning, it was back to the gym for more torture. Bloody nine week challenge! I really need to teach the girls the art of beater and bowl licking.

Today, the term finished with Elf Reading Day. All the kiddies from kinder and the primary schools dress up as a character from a book, then parade down the main street to have stories read to them by employees of businesses and volunteers outside the shops. Great way to end the term. Only, our day didn't start so greatly.

The Squeeze decided that morning to change her mind not once, not twice, but six times about what she was going to dress up as. Initially, she wanted to be Angelina Ballerina but quickly changed her mind to Aladdin's monkey (she had the costume from her ballet concert last year). I pointed out that she might be a bit cold in just a leotard and stockings. I suggested going as one of the Seven Little Australians as we had a dress that would suit. This seemed to be the goer until she saw the dress and thought it wasn't dress-up enough. My eye started to twitch.

"Ok. How about Pippy Longstocking?"
A flat "No" followed by a "Humf" and a crossing of arms.
"Well you can just wear your school uniform then."
"Nooooooo. We're not allowed to."
She then had a fleeting idea of going as Lola (from Charlie and Lola) but realised Lola wears ordinary clothes.

By this stage we were running out of time, and patience, and my eye was driving me nuts. This is when I spotted the "Pearlie" books by Wendy Harmer.

"How about 'Pearlie the park fairy'?" The Squeeze's eyes lit up. "YES!"

Finally we were getting closer to getting out the door. We didn't have fairy wings or a wand but a quick phone call to a friend to borrow some solved that. Hair, accessories, and off we went. My eye ceased to twitch.

The Squeeze is in pink. How cool is the smurf!

Unfortunately, I missed the parade due to a prior commitment with my PT - again! Have you ever known such stupidity? Why I signed up for this sometimes baffles me. Jelly legs all over again. So Mr. H went instead.

To top off the day, I managed to get Sunday and Monday off work so we can head up to NSW to see my folks and tickle that gorgeous little niece of mine.

So that was my week. How was yours?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Listography - What makes your house a home?

The things that make my house a home are Mr. H and our two beautiful girls, the love and happiness we share as a family, knowing we have each other, our health and that's all that matters. Are you vomiting yet?? Well of course all those things make a house a home. They're the obvious answers, but I don't need to make you all sick by blabbing on about it.

So I am going to share with you the little things we have/do to make our house a home.

1. Vintage odds and ends.

I bought these vintage wooden knitting needles on ebay yonks ago, then finally found the perfect jars for them last week.

This is my grand-father's old fly box, and I still have his first fishing bag.

2. Freshly picked flowers from the garden.

3. A garden. My parents are landscape gardners who inherited their green thumbs from their parents, and their parents' parents, and so on. I like to think I too have inherited that green thumb. I love gardening. I believe it heals your soul. Mr. H believes it tortures his soul. This, he says, is due to the fact that I always seem to dive head first into a new project in the garden without fully thinking it through. As a result, I then need Mr. H's help with aspects beyond my capabilities. Poor Mr. H! But don't worry. He enjoys, as much as I do, the results. Especially at this time of year when everything is bursting with life and colour. And then his soul is healed. See? Told you.

All my ajugas are flowering and buzzing with bees.

4. Furniture with a story. We have some special pieces that have been handed down to us, and they each have their own history. My Mum used to sit at our dining table as a little girl to do School of the Air (distance education for isolated kids). In the fifties, lessons were conducted via two-way radio.

An older cousin of my grandmother's left me her oak writing desk. Whilst Mum and I were cleaning out its contents we came across some letters written by my great-grandfather from the trenches in France during World War I. We found other treasures too, but those letters were extraordinary.

A pair of club chairs used to belong to Mr. H's grandfather. Mr. H likes to point out they are made from high quality vinyl. High quality vinyl?? I then point out to Mr. H that this is just a fancy shmancy way of saying they are not made out of leather.

My favourite piece is my paternal grandmother's dressing table. It was given to me after my grandfather died. When it arrived to me, I found the scarves my grandmother wore to bed to keep her hair in place in one of the drawers. They still smell of her.

5. Yummy smells from the kitchen. I spend a good part of each day in the kitchen, more so now that I have a new one (have I mentioned that before??) The smell of whatever's cooking or baking fills the house. Now I know I'm no Donna or Nigella, but I like to fancy I am. I cooked these on Sunday, white chocolate and orange muffins courtesy of Nigella.

Very yummy, if I say so myself!

Mother Porridge is hosting Kate's listography this week, so pop on over to get some more homey tips from fellow bloggers and make new friends while you're at it.

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