white hammock

Hammocks have long been an obsession of mine. Something about the way they cocoon you in and their gentle swinging motion makes them so soothing. Plus if you have the style that curls up at the edges, it’s almost a hiding spot for getting lost with a good book. (Sticking point: I can’t see how cups of tea and hammocks can coexist without spills and scalds. Anyone have a solution?)

The thing is, I’ve never lived in a place that’s been big enough for one. But we’re about to move house, so I’m allowing myself to dream of finding a nook in our new place where a hammock could go. Somewhere for reading, daydreaming and maybe snuggling with a baby or two. And how perfect are the ones pictured here, which are all indoors? You wouldn’t even have to contend with the mosquitoes that seem to go along with many garden-based hammocks.

indoor hammock

I’m thinking sturdy wall fastenings are a non-negotiable.

purple indoor hammock

swinging in the ocean

 

It’s winter here in Australia at the moment and even in the sub-tropics, where we live, it has been getting pretty frosty. But this weekend my husband and I are off to where it’s summer all year round. We’ve booked a little island escape to celebrate our birthdays (we both turn 30 this year!) and as a bit of a baby-moon before our second bub arrives.

 

So long, suckers! If you need me this weekend, I’ll be soaking up the sun.

Want legs that look lean and go forever? Well, you could do more squats and lunges, or even go down this route, but wouldn’t it be easier if you could just pop on some shoes and a pair of pants?

It is.

For an instant leg-lengthener, forget skinny jeans, much as we love them. Instead, find a pair of foxy heels and team them with wide-legged pants that are long enough to just graze the ground.

Need visual proof? Here you go:

wideleg3_karlascloset

Ever-stylish blogger Karla of Karla’s Closet. You can fake the legs but you really can’t fake that midriff. Sorry.

wideleg1

Wide-legged jeans. A bit 70s and a lot awesome.

wideleg2_floral

World’s raddest not-pajama pants by 10 Crosby Derek Lam.

Make the look work:

  • Go slim-fitting on top to balance the volume in your legular region
  • Make sure the waistband sits flat against your skin to avoid muffin tops.
  • Depending on your shape, this style might look best high-waisted or slung low on the hips. Experiment with styles until you find the one that suits you best.
  • Have the hems tailored so they skim the ground or finish no less than a centimetre above it. Too long and you’ll trip yourself up; too short and the look with backfire and make your legs look stumpy.
  • Body shapes that suit this style: pear, hourglass and athletic. Apple-shaped maidens might find the wide shape on the bottom less flattering as it disguises their gorgeous, skinny pins.

Bonus wearer tip: until you reach wide-leg-and-heels-wearing pro status, be very careful walking up and down stairs in this combo. A sneaky stiletto heel snagged in the volumes of material around your feet can trip you in an embarrassing and potentially injuring way. Take this from someone who has narrowly avoided maiming herself more than once.

 

pin_bed

Image from here via Pinterest.

Pinterest. So good, and because the cool people who use it keep pinning beautiful things, the goodness just keeps coming. I know I am not saying anything new. Here are some of the prettiest things I have added or repinned in the past week or so.

pin_tealchair

This is just one image from a beautiful photo feature and interview with Melbourne interior designer Paul Hecker, featured in the consistently wonderful blog The Design Files. I love the single aqua chair among the natural colours. It is so worth clicking through to look at the rest of the photos in the series.

pin_paintedwings

How great is this street art, somewhere near a flea market in Tel Aviv? And I love the slightly sullen teen expression on the girl’s face. I remember probably pulling a very similar face throughout my teens. This from Fox’s Lane, a gorgeous blog by a farm-dweller and crafty lady. Read a couple of posts on this blog and you’ll be yearning for the rural life, picking apples straight from the tree. I certainly was!

pin_Stingrays

So incredible. Apparently this is a picture of golden rays migrating — I’m not certain where this particular image was taken, but golden rays are known to migrate in numbers like these off the coast of Mexico, according to this article. Pretty amazing to see in a picture, although I can’t imagine wanting to swim in waters with that many sting rays!

More Pinterest goodness here.

crumpets

I’m feeling only slightly warmer than death today, thanks to a gross head cold, so have retreated home to the couch (and maybe later, bed). Naturally, I am treating my sick, run-down body with healthy whole foods, otherwise known as cookies and cream ice cream and instant noodles. Isn’t it funny how when you’re not well there are certain things you turn to for comfort?

 

T2 cup

Hot tea out of a beautiful cup

 

Cosy pajamas

Cosy pajamas

 

Revisiting old friends

Revisiting old friends

 

And of course, comfort food: crumpets and honey, or bagels, cream cheese and apricot jam.

(Top image from here, cup from T2, Peter Alexander pajamas via here)

enjoy life

It’s the last day of 2012. Somewhere in my mind, I know I have a half-baked list of resolutions for 2013, but the thing about new year’s resolutions is that they suggest that you’ve been getting it wrong for the past year. And that can’t possibly be right — look at us all, we survived 2012! The year the world was supposedly going to end! We must have done something right. Why not reflect on what some of those somethings might have been?

Here’s how I’m recognising my little achievements of 2012. How will you do it?

A time this year when I…

  • Showed someone I loved them: I’m not a natural at the “giving gifts” love language (from this book) but this year I have been more conscious of trying to show my friends who need a boost that I love them through gifts and homemade food.
  • Did something for myself: This has been the year of the massage! My husband and I will often take turns watching our baby girl while the other squeezes (ha) in a massage. I hope this is a phenomenon that lasts into 2013 and beyond.
  • Went out of my comfort zone: We took our then-10-month-old baby to Bangladesh this year and I didn’t know what to expect. It was awesome.
  • Felt smart: I had a job interview recently for a role I really wanted. In the interview room, five or six smart people peppered me with questions about all sorts of things relating to my professional field. And I kept up. Hearing the things coming out of my own mouth showed me that amidst all the self-doubt, I really do have skills and experience that is worth something now.
  • Baked something new: Perfected the best ever brownie recipe ever. It’s actually now even better than the version I blogged about. Watch out, waistline.
  • Made something: Making my own wrapping paper with wooden fabric stamps has been one of my favourite crafts this year. Stay tuned for a proper blog post/ how-to in the new year.
  • Was creative: Beyond the craft and kitchen pursuits, I’m really pleased with myself for taking my freelancing to a new level this year. Check it out.
  • Learned a new skill: I got a new qualification this year. Maybe not an entirely new skill but it has definitely helped me enhance skills I already had.

This is just my list. If you want, use it to reflect on your own year. What did you do this year that you’re proud of?

(Top image via here and elsewhere on the web.)

You guys. I know there’s a lot of “best ever brownie recipe” recipes out there, but I really think I might have hit upon the best ever brownie recipe ever. It’s a pimped up version of this one, and I share it with you because something this good should not be kept secret. If I could get to my rooftop I’d shout it from there, but for now this blog will have to do.

Best Ever Brownie Recipe Ever

Ingredients

125g butter

125g best dark chocolate you can get your hands on (I love Whittaker’s Dark Ghana 72% cocoa)

1 cup caster sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Pinch salt/ 10 grinds of rock salt

2/3 cup plain flour

Method

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius and line a square tin with baking paper.

Melt chocolate and butter together in a bowl — the easiest way is to do this in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir until smooth.

Whisk melty chocolate goodness together with sugars and cocoa until smooth. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Whisk in vanilla and salt, then fold in flour.

Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For extra delicious, chewy brownies: At the end of the cooking time, turn off the oven, prop the door ajar with a tea towel and allow to cool in the oven.

Another brownie tip: I like to trim the edges off so all of the cut brownies have nice even sides, and put the trimmings in the freezer. I intend to use these trimmings to make brownie ice cream, but usually end up eating them straight out of the freezer when rabid chocolate cravings hit. Either way, they’re delicious.

How cute is this for a simple, masculine wrapping idea for a Father’s Day gift? (If I do say so myself…)

Brown paper from Ikea, letter stickers from Typo. And a shout-out to my new sticky tape dispenser — she is shaped like Little Red Riding Hood! I’m pretty sure she has lent a new level of stickiness to my taping.

Image

Gosh I love breakfast food. I’ve mentioned before my love of the most important meal of the day, and this week I recreated at home one of my favourite cafe breakfasts. 

Lure on Latrobe is one of our favourite breakfast spots. All the seating is out on a wide verandah-patio area and it is cool and shady even in the nastiest part of summer. My favourite thing on the breakfast menu there is the persian fetta scrambled eggs — I will often go there with the best of intentions to try something new, only to get sucked in by my old favourite. Anyway, this week we were in the market for breakfast long after Lure had stopped serving, so what were we to do? As the old saying goes, those who can’t do (the buying of persian fetta scrambled eggs), teach (themselves how to cook this delicacy). 

And now you can too!

 

Persian fetta scrambled eggs, á la Lure on Latrobe

Serves 1 greedy breakfast lover 

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • slurp of milk or cream
  • persian fetta (buy from a deli or the deli section of the supermarket)
  • 1 or 2 rashers of prosciutto
  • cherry truss tomatoes
  • slab of turkish bread, cut to make two sandwich-style pieces
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, if you like 

Method

  • Heat the oven to about 200 degrees Celsius 
  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place the tomatoes on it, stems still attached. Drizzle turkish bread with olive oil and put them on the tray too, and stick them in the oven for about 10 minutes while you make the rest of your breakky
  • To crisp the prosciutto, stick it in a nonstick pan for 30 seconds to a minute, turning once
  • To make the scrambled eggs, whisk the eggs and milk or cream until well combined. Scramble over a medium-low heat until just done. Crumble persian fetta over the freshly scrambled eggs (keep it chunky or it will melt and disappear) and stir through just a little
  • Place it all on a big plate, high five yourself and then tuck in!