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Design, Inspiration

Kitty Couture – Feline fashion for the discerning crazy cat lady

The other day I went for a wander to the shops to find the perfect birthday dress. I wanted something 50s styled, preferably in mint green. Then I passed a cat dress and any sensible dress ideas went out the window. Isn’t it wonderful?! However I do draw the line at a cat wearing a bow tie, fortunately this part is detachable.

A pair of Charlotte Olympia cat shoes has been on my wish-list for a very long time but at over AU$700 a pair I think I need to be content with just admiring.

ASOS has some very pleasant-looking cat sweaters. Left + Right

This is ridiculous. I kind of think I need a cat-ular. Yes, that’s a cat spatular. The fact that it guarantees you a purr-fect breakfast just tops it off.

If you want to embrace the cat look on a more low-key level, then perhaps some cat eye sunglasses are more appropriate.

More cat stuff here!

Food, Inspiration, Travel

Eating in Vietnam Part 2

Here is Part 2 of my eating in Vietnam photo-log. This covers from Hoi An up to Hanoi, via Halong Bay.

I was awoken at 4am in Hoi An to go on a sunrise bike ride. I was initially a bit shakey and nearly rode a woman off a bridge into the river. Oops! I managed to make it to the fish market in one piece, and there is nothing better than starting your day off with the stench of fish :)

My bike riding skillz were rewarded with a delicious Vietnamese coffee – hot and strong espresso with a generous layer of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom. Heaven!

A home cooked breakfast by a local consisting of a spring roll, spicy noodles, sliced pork, peanuts, coriander and a wee quail’s egg.

More bike riding in the heat had me running for cover mid-morning and in need of a refreshing and caffeinated drink. This is iced Vietnamese coffee and I drank it at least once every day in Vietnam. It’s delicious and refreshing and my go-to drink this summer (although I fear having a tube of condensed milk in the fridge will be very dangerous).

This coconut tart from The Cargo Club was so delicious I actually ate it for morning tea everyday I was in Hoi An. Oops!

Bánh xèo, a crispy pancake which is a speciality of Hoi An.

Bánh mì!! I swear I could live on these. This one consisted of crunchy pork, pickled veges, coriander and lots of chili!

A visit to the Central Market in Hoi An was a whirlwind of colour and smell.

Beautiful eggplants

Ummm “green things”. Any ideas??

Fish fish everywhere!

Seafood anybody?

On our overnight junk boat trip on Halong Bay we had the most beautifully presented dishes – I almost felt bad eating each work of art!

Freshly caught crabs

Look at the beautiful border of vegetables on this calamari dish! Gorgeous.

The prawns came out adorning the most beautifully hand carved vegetable centrepiece. We were given a demonstration the next morning and I took step-by-step photos – will post them soon.

The bird was carved from a radish, and the flowers from a chili and cucumber.

This beautiful flower was carved from a carrot.

This fishnet was also carved from a carrot!

A lady selling fruit in Hanoi

Fried dough! This is served everywhere on the streets of Hanoi in a variety of flavours and textures.

And a final meal in Vietnam of caramelised pork and veges – delicious!

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of what I ate on my Vietnam trip, I’m hungry!

Food, Inspiration, Travel

Eating in Vietnam Part 1

I have slowly started trawling through the 1000+ photos I took in Vietnam and will be sharing more with you soon. Turns out I took so many photos of food in Vietnam I will have to do this post in 2 parts – Vietnam is a foodie paradise after all!

Fresh tropical fruit is in abundance and regularly served after meals. Here is a plate of rambutans I snacked on.

Little bananas being sold from a street cart in Ho Chi Minh

Dragon fruit at a local market in Ho Chi Minh

Meals were simple and small in rural areas. This was my lunch enroute to the Mekong Delta and I was starving within an hour!

I sampled some snake wine in the Mekong. It is produced by infusing whole snakes in rice wine and tastes, um, snakey.

Delicious homemade springrolls from my homestay host.

I came across these ladies sorting fruit in a village in the Mekong Delta. They kept giggling and staring at me and my translator informed me they thought I looked like a doll and they liked my nose. Also, would I like to spend my life working with them, sorting fruit? I politely declined.

On a side note, everyone squats here. They must have thighs on steal! I only had to use a squat toilet once and 30 seconds in the position had me whimpering.

I visited a candy factory in the Mekong where they produced all sorts of Vietnamese treats. First they demonstrated splitting the coconut and extracting it’s milk. This would then be used in a coconut caramel.

Rice was cooked over a high heat in what looked like a giant wok until puffed.

The puffed rice was then mixed with a flavouring (coconut caramel or savoury) and pressed out flat onto a board to cut up.

The ladies then wrapped up the puffed rice squares for sale.

Finished treats ready to be sampled. Delicious!

I also watched a lady making rice paper wraps, a fiddly process that she made look effortless.

I ate stir fried Morning Glory with nearly every meal – so fresh and delicious!

You can’t visit Vietnam without many bowls of delicious Pho.

Wandering through local markets in any Vietnamese city is always fascinating. Here we have all the garlic and onions you could ever want.

Dried starfish. I am not sure if they eat these, but can’t help but think they would make a pretty (albeit stinky) Christmas tree ornament.

The markets are often an assault on the senses, particularly when you hate the smell of fish. Let alone dried prawns that have been sitting in the sun all day.

Pufferfish! Another addition to my fishy Christmas tree?

I stumbled upon a delicious looking feast at a temple, perhaps this is laid out for the monks?

At a fishing village near Nha Trang I saw a darling little girl frying quail eggs in a mini pan. Heart melted.

And as we took the boat back to Nha Trang we were presented with a great spread to feast on full of spring rolls, freshly caught seafood and veges.

I hope you enjoyed some of these Vietnamese foodie highlights, stay tuned for part 2 !

Design, Inspiration

Design Inspiration

Hola, life is pretty insane at the moment. I have started a new job, taken on a mountain of freelance work, am in the midst of redesigning this blog (and making it some business cards, finally!), have several baking projects coming up and am now a product photographer for a few awesome hair brands! I am looking forward to catching up/meeting a lot of you at next weekend’s Eat Drink Blog Conference and hoping I will have managed to squeeze some sleep and exercise in during the lead up.

When I have some (rare) downtime, I have been trawling Pinterest for some design inspiration (when I am not watching new Dexter or Revenge episodes of course, omg TWIST!) and thought I would share some works that caught my eye.

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Design, Inspiration

Jessica Hische designs the Penguin Drop Cap series

I’ve spoken of my love for Jessica Hische before and was super excited to hear she has collaborated with Paul Buckley (the Penguin Art Director) to produce a series of Penguin book covers featuring an illustrated drop cap designed by Jessica. Each book will also have “a foil-stamped paper-over-board case and a decorative color stain on all three edges.”

A is for Austen.

B is for Brontë.

C is for Cather.

To see more of this collection check it out here. And if you’re unfamiliar with Jessica’s Daily Drop Cap then do yourself a favour and explore her beautiful lettering here.

Design, Inspiration, Lifestyle

Addicted to Succulents

A while ago I blogged about my 2 little succulents planted in Wedgwood tea tins and some succulent-related inspiration. Well this love for succulents has seemed to have turned into a full blown addiction and they keep multiplying!

We have a table out on our balcony that they sit on (the herb garden has been shoved off onto the ground, sorry herbs). The succulents are a mixture of presents, plants I have bought at Bunnings, a few from Surry Hills markets and quite a few cuttings from plants I find when I go walking.

I love the variety of shapes and colours the succulents come in. I have a soft spot for the pale plants.

This little guy is my favourite! It reminds me of a ceramic rose.

I also love this pale guy, he is a cutting from a plant I found around Redfern and has been sitting in a glass of water for the past month. These weather-beaten pots I find on my morning jog all around Surry Hills. I keep coming back from my workout lugging a variety of pottery and covered in dirt.

This looks like a rose and a cabbage had a baby! I got in from Bunnings, I need to buy some new pots as I hate the plastic aqua containers they come in.

My Wedgwood plants are still going strong! On the far right is a Milo tin I recycled, just make sure you punch holes in the bottom of your found containers so the water can drain.

How cute is the little polka dot pot? I got it for very cheap from a $2 shop.

Aaaaaand here is part 2 of my succulents. This table is kept indoors but still gets afternoon sun. These are cuttings I get from established succulent plants around the neighbourhood. I sit them in glasses of water until their roots form, then they can be planted in soil and moved outdoors.

I found this guy on the side of the road, dried out and caked in dirt. I have cleaned him up and trying to bring him back to life. Succulents are very hardy so I think he’ll do just fine!

This is a gorgeous cutting I got which is ready to be planted soon.

Check out those roots!

My next succulent-related project is to try and make a terrarium!

My housemate is being very patient about our balcony and living room filling up with plants. But she knows it’s either this or cats. Lots and lots of cats.

Inspiration, Travel

Wanderlust: The Northern Lights / Aurora Borealis

I have spent a lot of time travelling throughout Iceland and Scandinavia but it’s always during summertime – so I have never seen the Northern Lights!  Known as the Aurora Borealis in northern latitudes, it is a natural light display in the sky caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. They occur most frequently in a belt of radius 2500 km centered on the magnetic north pole. This so-called auroral zone extends over northern Scandinavia, Iceland, the southern tip of Greenland and continuing over northern Canada, Alaska and along the northern coast of Siberia. Whilst I have always associated the Northern Lights with wintertime, they are actually present all year round – it’s just that we can’t see them during the light nights of summer.

One day I will get to experience this amazing phenomenon and cross it off my travel bucket list!

Design, Food, Inspiration

Pinterest Baking Inspiration

Pinterest has always been a huge source for inspiration of design and interior ideas, and lately I been discovering awesome baking ideas including glow in the dark cupcakes (omg) and piñata cupcakes (genius).

These Glow in the Dark Cupcakes by Recipe Snobs are brilliant. They are achieved by incorporating tonic water into the icing. The quinine in the tonic water causes it to glow under a black light which is a great idea for a kids party or Halloween festivities.

These Piñata Cupcakes by La Receta de la Felicidad are a great interactive way to make eating cupcakes even more exciting. By encasing the tops of the cupcakes in chocolate shells and filling the insides with candy, young and old would have a great time cracking these open!

This Neapolitan Rose Cake by I Am Baker is ingenious – not only do I love the Neapolitan cake flavour idea, but icing the cake in an abundance of piped roses is stunning. I regularly use the rose technique when piping my cupcakes so I think I can pull this trick off.  And finally this amazing Ruffle Cake from Belle the Magazine incorporates ruffled fondant icing and silver cachous (which you can buy from any supermarket) to create a cake inspired by fashion.

I hope these photos have you given some new and exciting ideas for your baking – what ingenious ideas have you discovered lately on Pinterest?

Design, Inspiration

Visual Pleasures: David Seetoh Lang

I just came across this amazing photograph on Pinterest by David Seetoh Lang and was blown away. It is quite possibly the most fun, unique and sweet portrait of a woman and a cat I have ever seen. Also the logistics of this shot baffle me, was there someone off screen hurling the cat into frame repeatedly? Haha.

After looking through David’s extensive portfolio I found the set of images this shot came from – a series of Heidi Iro and her cats, shot in Salzburg, Austria. Here are some of my favourites.

Have a great weekend everyone. Please don’t throw any cats, no matter how inspired you are by this gorgeous shoot ;)

Inspiration, Travel

Wanderlust: Pamukkale

I recently discovered Pamukkale, Turkey through a friend’s photos on Instagram. It came as no surprise to me that Pamukkale translated as “cotton castle” – it looks like these hot springs formed against cliffs have been draped in white cotton candy! Pamukkale’s terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs. I am adding Pamukkale to my bucket list!

Where in the world are you currently fascinated by?

Design, Food, Inspiration

Obsessed with Ombre

ombré noun – From the French word ombrer (to shade). Having colours or tones that shade into each other —used especially of fabrics in which the colour is graduated from light to dark.

I have recently become obsessed ombre and first discovered this trend through cake. I loved the effect of tinting layers of cake a different shade.

Image source

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I next noticed the ombre trend incorporated into interiors and furniture. My plain white IKEA desk is begging to be painted in peach ombre!

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1. Ombre Chair by Design Sponge

2. Ombre Stairs by Design Sponge

3. Ombre Desk by Vintage Revivals

4. Ombre Curtains by Sketch 42

And I love love love this ombre nail idea from The Beauty Department

Stay tuned for an ombre inspired dessert coming soon! And possibly some DIY home decorating attempts….

Design, Inspiration

Vivid Sydney Festival 2012

Vivid Sydney is a festival that takes over the city after dark from 25 May – 11 June this year and transforms Sydney into a spectacular canvas of light, music and ideas. I attended last year and was blown away by the light sculptures and projections and thoroughly enjoyed a performance by Bat For Lashes in the Sydney Opera House. This year my expectations were exceeded – the light sculptures were just as impressive but they really stepped it up a notch with the projections onto the MCA, Customs House and the Opera House. Amazing. My week was topped off by a performance of Karen O’s “psycho opera” Stop The Virgens at the Opera House.

Vivid Light Sculptures and Projections

The MCA was amazing this year with an ever changing kaleidoscope of colours projected onto its facade.

There were many other light sculptures dotted along the water from the Opera House to Walsh Bay.

The projection onto the Opera House by Urbanscreen, a German design collective, was truly breathtaking. Utilising the techniques of light projection, video mapping and motion graphics, they have incorporated pattern and writhing human forms that complement the unique design and shape of the Opera House.

Customs House has been covered with animation sequences by The Electric Canvas

I made some animated GIFS :D

A few more light sculpture shots from my Instagram:

After walking around in the dark and cold for hours it was 10pm and I was feeling peckish. Knowing my only food prospects at this time of night were McDonalds or Burger King, I sullenly walked back to the station. But lo and behold I stumbled across the Cantina Mobil parked outside Customs House – my first food truck spotting!

I got a soft taco with slow roasted chipotle beef and red cayenne chilli sauce for only $4.50! It was absolutely delicious and exactly what I needed at that time of night. To find out where the Cantina truck is next check out their Twitter.

Karen O in Stop the Virgens

A few nights later I returned to the Opera House to take in Karen O’s new project – Stop the Virgens. From the Vivid Live website: Seven years in the making and featuring over fifty artists onstage, Karen O’s STOP THE VIRGENS is Vivid LIVE’s most ambitious undertaking yet. Created by Karen O, the frontwoman of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, in collaboration with KK Barrett, production designer behind Being John Malkovich and Lost In Translation, and indie theatre/film director Adam Rapp (Red Light Winter, In Treatment) the self described ‘Psycho Opera’ transcends the traditional boundaries of popular music, theatre and performance.

The performance was visually and aurally stunning – the costumes and stage backdrops were amazing. Unfortunately there are no cameras allowed in the Opera House, these are photos by Prudence Upton and Daniel Boud.

The Karen O opera is now finished but you can still check out the light sculptures and projections until 11 June from 6pm-12am. Don’t miss out!!