Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A city without cars

This lecture next Wednesday 4th August organised by Engineers Australia considers the concept of making Perth’s CBD a pedestrian only zone!

Personally I think it would be a grand idea, I have often commented on the concept, and wished we had less cars in the city.

I really do not understand why so many of our previously one way streets have been made two way, it congests the traffic even further and is a lot less convenient for pedestrians who now have to wait for cars to cease in two directions!

I would prefer it if they restricted streets in Perth for cars rather than making them more accessible.

So many people already work in the city. There are many pedestrians around and it would be great to make it easier and safer to get around on foot. I commute usually by public transport, sometimes I get a lift and occasionally I will ride my bicycle.

Image here

Monday, July 26, 2010

Midnight snack

A dilemma solved - what to do with leftover hundreds and thousands!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A baby shower

It was lovely to be invited to celebrate the iminent arrival of S&RH's first child. The party was held at their house, organised very effieciently by her friends. I stayed until the end, after most of the guests had left and RH came home to help SH unwrap their gifts.

There were many tasty treats to be had, including my contribution. The most impressive was a croquembouche made fresh by her friend M. She used this recipe to create her work of art. It inspired me to experiment a little more with my creme pattiserie recipe.

SH unwrapping a potty. There was much discussion about tips for cleaning it but I tuned out. Lalalaaaaa...

Expectant father RH getting involved.

Many of S&RH' friends are parents, so the gifts were very practical. There was an abundance of baby wipes and nappies and blankets and bibs and all sorts!

A fantastic spread. The orange cupcakes were lovely and moist and I was in heaven with the creme patisserie in the profiteroles. Yum! Check out the three tier nappy cake (non edible) on the left.

Laundry baskets of loot! Their new baby will be very well provided for.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Keeping me awake at night

Two novels that I have recently reread!

Chocolat is a gorgeous fairy tale by Joanne Harris. A modern take on black versus white, with a little bit of magic thrown in. The characters are beautiful and by the end of the novel they have all grown and learnt something about themselves. I have not watched the film, but am thinking that I would like to, just to see how much of the novel that they managed to translate.

Nightingale Wood is a take on the Cinderella story, by Stella Gibbons. Viola (Cinderella) is a little vague and a little drippy. Her prince charming is not the brightest tree in the forest and has not necessarily the purest of intentions towards our heroine. Viola's in-laws are fantastic caricatures and you really appreciate the exaggerated stereoypes.

Both novels are beautifully written. Not too heavy, not too light! I was drawn to the story and even though I have previously read both I still had to keep reading to get to the end.

The character Viola was named by her father for a certain Shakespearean heroine, and I was inspired to duck into Elizabeth's Bookshop and purchase myself a copy of the play. I think I remember what happens...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chocolate fondue

I love to catch up with my girlfriends. On an evening we might have cheese and biscuits or more often chocolate fondue. Everyone brings something to dip, and I fire up the fondue pots.

Tonight we had a very fruity array of dipping foods, including mandarins, bananas, rockmelon, watermelon and oranges. NM made orange cardamon biscuits and homemade marshmallows. It was a treat!

We started off with dark chocolate, and finished with milk chocolate. I think that the dark chocolate is more appreciated so I will try to remember that for next time. I bought Fair Trade chocolate for us today. Usually I just pull out whatever is in my pantry but I thought today I would buy something special.

It is always great to catch up and hopefully we will be able to do something again shortly.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Relaxing in the tub

I love to have a bath, I find it very relaxing to lay back, soak, and let the water wash away any aches and stresses.

Imagine soaking in this tub! These gorgeous tubs are carved out of stone. They would make an awesome addition to a ground floor bathroom...

Image here

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Public transport

I have long been fascinated by the London Tube map. It attempts to make sense of the Underground, and handy to figure out how to get around in the city. I even bought a version of it from the Tate Modern, although it is still in the poster tube I carried home from London, back in January 2004.

The train network here in Perth has been represented in a similar style. The ferries have been added in as well as the bus that goes to the airport to try and make our system look more impressive. It just seems to emphasise how limited our trains are! So much scope for improvement.

I am looking forward to the day we get more train lines, and maybe light rail, and I could have a local map worthy of my wall!

PS I commute to work by bus. So I do use public tranpsort!!
Image here

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The smallest room in the house

We are slowly finishing off the house that we are living in. The interior is nearly completely made over, and only the two bathrooms upstairs left to put our mark on! The upstairs toilet is the last room to receive Chad's magic touch.

Goodbye brown tiles, brown toilet and brown plastic toilet roll holder, hello clean whites and chromed accessories.

The old toilet was only single flush and I am happy now to have a dual flush cistern. Plus a new light, fan and switch to complete the look!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A birthday sponge

On Saturday night we went out for dinner to celebrate the birthdays of Mum and Uncle Robert. We bypassed dessert as my Aunt had made a sponge cake in their honour! She used my Auntie Marlene’s recipe and I scribbled down the details while they were fresh in her memory.

My Auntie Marlene passed away in 1994. She was 49 years old and had been fighting breast cancer for some years. She and my Mum were best of friends and they had travelled Europe and the Americas together in their younger days.

My Auntie’s cakes were the absolute best! She made great fruit cakes at Christmas time, wicked cream puffs, awesome black forest cake and light and delicate sponge cake.

After tasting Auntie S’ cake last night I am inspired and determined to give the recipe a crack and see if I can approach the lightness that Auntie Marlene used to achieve.

Happy birthday to Mum and Uncle Robert.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Update on colours

We have our house prestart tomorrow so yesterday was spent running around to various shops trying to sort out what changes and upgrades we might be wanting for our build.
Colours in photos above updated since last time.

Hot water system
Our builder’s standard is a heat pump. This sounds like a good system, however physically the storage tank is over a metre in depth and this would reduce the space between our house wall and the fence to less than half a metre. Not so good! It would mean that you walk out of our laundry and Chad would probably struggle to walk through it facing forwards.

We both like the idea of having gas instantaneous hot water systems, with two in place. One would be for the ensuite, bathroom and laundry, the second for the kitchen and powder room. The advantages would be the compact size as well the water being heated as you need it rather than constantly being stored.

Kitchen appliances
The builder’s standard appliances are AEG. Chad and I do not really have any brand preference so we are happy to go with the standard for ovens, hotplate and rangehood. We are passing on the AEG dishwasher however as it is not very water efficient. We plan to install something else, possibly the Bosch unit.

We compared the prices for AEG and Bosch cooking appliances and they seem to be very similar. I think we may end up with one pyrolitic oven and one standard. I am a bit unsure what to do about the microwave. At the moment we use our microwave to reheat food and that is about it. One thought was to get a nice one fitted above our 600mm oven, the other thought is to stick it under the bench (same as current house) and put a door on front of it to hide it!

Roller Door
We are having a roller door on our garage, rather than a slightly more stylish panel lift door. This is basically due to the height of the garage ceiling, as the panel lift door would need to be suspended from the ceiling, whereas the roller door will fit more compactly at the front of the garage.

We thought that the Home Base Expo in Subiaco might have a roller door vendor or two. Alas, only kitchen roller doors (?) so we had a wander through the kitchen bench and cabinet section where I picked up a couple more samples for our sample tile – the white for our kitchen cupboards and the colorbond for our room and window frames.

We popped into the Home Ideas Centre in City West and surprisingly they had brochures for two different roller door companies – including the one our builder uses. The roller door display that was there did not operate – you were meant to be able to see how the controllers worked – so we were a bit disappointed as we wanted to see the actual profile of the door!
Photo of the tapware standard with our build. Taken at City West.

Bathroom fixtures
There was a note on some of the paperwork that we received from the builder indicating that we would need to upgrade the tap on the ensuite bath. I am not entirely sure that that is in aid of but we headed off to Reece to see what they could show us. Again our builder uses Reece and coincidentally we have spent a bit of money there recently for our current renovations! About all we achieved was to confirm that we wanted the square basin rather than the round one, and picked up a shelf for the shower in our current ensuite.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Out of this world

Tonight C and I went along to the Perth Concert Hall to watch the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) play Space Classics!

From the photos I took you may be mistaken in thinking it was actually a Star Wars Spectacular. In fact, half of the pieces that were played were by John Williams, with the other half made up of some of Holst's planets, Johann Strauss (courtesy of 2001: A Space Odessey), Star Trek, Thunderbirds...
The encore was music from the credits of Star Wars! So in fact John Williams pieces did make up just over half of what we heard.

I especially enjoy the Holst (Mars, Mercury and Jupiter) and the Strauss (Also Sprach Zarathustra and Blue Danube Waltz). It has been a while since I saw live classical music and I really need to make an effort. Personally though I was disappointed that Doctor Who did not crack a mention! But then I am such a fan.

Bounty hunters playing up for the camera
C watching Darth Vader and his crew glide past
Waiting to take off!
Do not mess with this crew
A dancing storm trooper (he tap danced for me!)
Obi Wan Conductor (he also dressed as Superman!)
Guarding the stage
Our concert hall at night

Sunday, July 4, 2010


It is cold here in Perth at the moment. I know that is it winter, but it seems unusually cold! We have set a record for having eleven nights in a row with a minimum under 5C. Eep!

Unfortunately is is also a bit chilly during the day and at 2pm I am sitting on the couch wearing my beanie and 80% down jacket with three layers of merino wool underneath. (See picture for beanie and jacket.)