I love lists! My room is overflowing with notebooks filled with handwritten lists. There is nothing more satisfying then crossing something off your list which has led me to writing a “30 before 30″ list. 30 things I want to try and achieve before I hit the big THREE-OH. This means my due date to cross all these things off is 15 December 2014, giving me approximately 1.5 years.
I have tried to keep this list as realistic and attainable as possible. I want to see the seven wonders of the world, visit all 7 continents, see the Northern Lights, experience Japan during cherry blossom season, climb to Everest Base Camp… There are still *many*, mostly travel-related, items on my bucket list which might need to join a “35 before 35″ list.
Why am I publishing it online? It holds me accountable – I will be blogging about each task I complete and it’s fun to hear about me being completely petrified (hello swimming with sharks!). I want you to get involved (suggest some more ideas to me!) and I want you to help me achieve it (anyone want to sign up with me for pole dancing lessons or take a cake decorating class?)
So here we go, in no particular order. These range from the life changing to the relatively mundane.
1. Swim with the sharks (thought I’d put the most terrifying one first)
2. Shoot a gun
3. Ride a motorbike
4. Complete a 40 day yoga challenge
5. Learn a language (at least at a basic conversational level)
6. Take pole dancing lessons
7. Visit New Zealand (it’s embarrassing I still haven’t been)
8. Become a published author (even if it’s just an article in a magazine)
9. Live in mainland Europe and/or New York
10. Climb a really damn big mountain. Everest Base Camp may have to wait
11. Sell my baked goods at a cafe or market stall
12. Design and produce my own stationery line
13. Run for charity at the City2Surf
14. Go on a juice cleanse (mainly out of curiosity and because clearly I’m a masochist)
15. Gamble in Las Vegas
16. Go on a yoga retreat
17. Fund a kickstarter project
18. Adopt a rescue kitty
19. Act in a TV show or film as an extra
20. See the Grand Canyon
21. Exhibit at Finder’s Keepers Market
22. Volunteer at an animal shelter
23. Knit a scarf
24. Do a professional cake decorating class/course
As you can see I haven’t filled in all 30 yet – please give me your suggestions or share with me your own lists! And please no bungee jumping or ill-conceived tattoo requests ;)
Want to start your own list? I have friends writing their own “33 before 33″ and “40 before 40″ lists so please comment and share your ideas and goals!
A huge thank you to everyone who came down to visit JJ & I at the MCA Zine Fair on Sunday. It was a busy, exhausting and fun day and I can’t wait to do it all again next year (am I mad?!)
I still have copies leftover and I know a lot of out-of-towners were keen to get their hands on some. I have created an online store where you can purchase the zines and they will be available in an e-book format shortly too.
We were really impressed with our print job from EW Lee and it was great to see all our hard work eventuate into a printed and bound copy.
Here is our table all set up at the fair!
And here we are :)
I will be adding more to the store in coming weeks, I’ll keep you posted!
I recently made a batch of cupcakes for a 30th birthday party and adorned the Pineapple and Coconut Cupcakes with pineapple flowers, an idea I saw Martha Stewart once do. I received several questions on how to make these so I thought I would share the technique, as well as some other easy ideas for decorating desserts.
1. Pre-heat oven to 110°C and line 3 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
2. Thinly slice a pineapple (or split pineapple rings in 3 horizontally) and arrange rings on the baking trays.
3. Bake for 30 mins, then turn and cook for another 30 mins.
4. Transfer rings to a muffin tin to cool so they curl upwards and form the shape of a flower.
And now for some other decorating techniques:
♥ Sugar Art
A lot of great sugar decorating options are now becoming available in supermarkets and specialty stores. My absolute favourites are the sugar buttons from Donna Hay. Cheaper options from the supermarket include silver cachous, little pink flowers and they often have seasonal decorations like these cute Christmas-themed ones I found.
Fruit is a simple, colourful and healthy way to decorate your desserts. Berries are always an easy and delicious way to jazz up a dessert. Or try contrasting colours and textures such as kiwi and passionfruit. Get a little creative and top chili-chocolate cupcakes with a chili ganache and small chili, or turn strawberries into Santa hats for a Christmas treat!
♥ Toppers, nuts and more
Purchase some cupcake toppers from a homewares store (or make your own… more on that in another post!), or get creative and make a birds nest out of chocolate and crunchy noodles and top with an Easter egg for an Easter-themed cupcake. Otherwise, nuts make a delicious and crunchy decoration, either spread across the sides of a cake or on top.
I have been collecting numerous decorating inspiration on my Pinterest Board. Some new tricks I am dying to try out:
♥ Cookie Stamping
I hope this has given you some more ideas for decorating your own desserts!
If you wonder why I have been so busy lately, slaving away on weekends and nights instead of doing fun things such as eating and drinking, well I’ve been madly working my butt off on writing and designing a series of zines! I have completed 2 dessert zines – filled with my delicious recipes and photos of cupcakes, slices, cakes and more, as well as 3 travel zines on New York, San Francisco and Iceland. I am hoping to complete a 4th travel zine on Vietnam however a recent bout of sickness has set back a few days so I’ll keep you posted.
I am thrilled to be sharing a table this year with the wonderful JJ from the food blog 84th & 3rd, so make sure you check out her work too! For those who aren’t familiar with what the MCA Zine Fair is, firstly check out my review of last year’s Zine Fair. Zines are limited-run publications that are usually handmade and self-published and are on nearly every topic your imagination can think of. It’s a fun day of creativity, shopping and mingling with creatives. What more could you want?
Here are some excerpts from my zines, firstly the dessert zines volumes 1 and 2.
Please come visit me, bring coffee and possibly buy a zine (a girl’s gotta pay her rent) – I will have bribery cupcakes! Can’t make it? That’s ok. They will be available in my online shop (coming soon) and I’ll be releasing them as ebooks too!
I got a huge response from readers from a new gluten and dairy-free Nutella recipe I shared on Instagram and Facebook (recipe up next week) and it got me thinking what other types of recipes my readers were keen to see. If you could spare a minute to fill in my poll it would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you xx
December was ridiculously busy, fun and featured an embarrassing amount of food and cocktails. Plus it was my birthday, so more the reason to celebrate!
♥ The Beach
I was finally convinced to go to the beach on a beautiful sunny day, I hid in a cave at first. I eventually got in the water and gave snorkelling a go, I had a great time! I have since returned for beachside walks and post-work swims – something I want to do on a more regular basis.
♥ Ticking more restaurants off my list
I managed to check out quite a few places on my never-ending list of places to eat around Sydney. Brunch at Orto was amazing and I can’t wait to return (why did it take me so long to get here when I live around the corner?!)
Queenies was delicious Jamaican food featuring jerk chicken, sweet potato fries and bammies (a traditional Jamaican cassava flatbread)
Santa Barbara is a Hawaiian Restaurant with delicious bings (asian-style tacos), more sweet potato fries (obsessed), chicken burgers and popcorn with pineapple and bacon chunks! They also have a great cocktail menu and it’s fast becoming one of my favourite places in Sydney for a drink and nibble.
Ippudo – so far I have only tried the takeaway ramen so I can’t comment on the famous pork buns which are sadly unavailable for t/a (tear). The broth was delicious but I found the noodles underwhelming.
And I finally made it to The Milk Bar by Cafe Ish to sample their delicious treats. The caramel slice and malteser pie were particularly amazing! I must return to give their milkshakes and burgers a go.
♥ An Embarrassing Amount of Cocktails…
I didn’t realise just how many cocktails were consumed during December until I went through my photos (and I haven’t even included the 1 litre mojito that was consumed at my work lunch!) Here are some highlights of the tastiest.
Clockwise from the top left we have the Amazing Perfect from Lil Darling, a Downtown Iced Tea from Santa Barbara, a giant cocktail made in a watermelon from The Norfolk and finally 2 very delicious cocktails from 4Fourteen.
♥ Iced Coffee Obsession
After drinking iced coffee daily in Vietnam I have been getting huge cravings for it here as the weather warms up. Unfortunately I can’t find the authentic Viet coffee with sweetened condensed milk too easily around where I work, so I have been settling for a “skim latte over ice”. Delicious and the perfect summer caffeine fix. Oh and the odd iced coffee with the works – ice cream and whipped cream, when I feel like a treat!
♥ My Birthday
And then it was my birthday and I decided to celebrate for a week because why not? Firstly I was taken to 4Fourteen for an absolutely amazing dinner featuring a ruben roll (pictured), roast pork, colcannon and the most amazing white chocolate sandwich with dulce de leche. I need to return.
A few nights later I was taken to Movida for my second birthday dinner. Here we have anchovies, goats curd + quince cigars, air baguette with “rost biff” and beef cheek in Pedro Ximenez.
And spicy pork ribs (best!!), salt cod fritters and grilled asparagus. A wonderful treat!
Then I had a birthday picnic Saturday morning with lots of lovely food bloggers! We went to Flour and Stone, bought out half the store, then headed to The Domain for a picnic. It was such a lovely way to spend the morning of my birthday with my new friends I made through this blog.
They stuck candles in the lamingtons and sang Happy Birthday to me, aw! (Life changing lamingtons, btw).
I had my second birthday party at The Norfolk and I wore a cat dress! I will not post any more photos from that night for fear of incrimination… I may have worn a watermelon on my head at one stage.
I had a nice time catching up with the family and actually loved the rainy stormy weather that Sydney encountered on Christmas Day. I baked ginger cupcakes, brownie cupcakes with strawberry santa hats and peanut butter M&M cookies plus I painted my nails coral and mint green to try and look “festive”.
I had a lovely dinner at Longrain for NYE with a great bunch of friends and got to wear my new sparkly dress. What a great way to finish a great year!
♥ A New Toy
Not much has happened in 2013 thus far as I got sick on the second day of the year and was bed ridden for a while. Hmmpf. But I did buy myself a new toy… the Olympus XZ-1! It’s been years since I have used a point and shoot camera, however this one has a lot of custom settings and the ability to set the focal point so I have high hopes for it.
I hope everyone had a wonderful festive season and is settling back into the reality of work!
Happy New Year everyone! I have met so many awesome people and had so many great experiences through this blog. I’ve got big plans for next year and can’t wait to share it with you. I hope everyone had a wonderful 2012 and is looking forward to an even better 2013! I know I am.
I am back now from an amazing and exhausting long weekend in Adelaide for the Eat Drink Blog Conference. I am yet to go through my photos on my DSLR yet (I still haven’t even gone through my Vietnam ones… *cough*) but for now you can check out some highlights courtesy of Instagram.
I stayed with my friend Alex for the first night and I was provided with a hooded English flag onesie to sleep in – the height of fashion!
Knowing I had a weekend chock full of eating ahead I went for a healthy lunch on Friday at Galaxy which featured a delicious eggplant and potato filo and generous helpings of salad.
I then met up with a group of bloggers at Astonish Patisserie and we feasted on a variety of amazing desserts including a half-baked cheesecake, chocolate fondant, macarons and pavlova. It was all delicious!
I waddled to meet a friend at Botanic Bar for a cocktail (loved it) before meeting my other friends at Est Pizzeria - the pizza was delicious but the star of the meal was the wood fired gnocci. Oh my goodness.
I was so full I could barely breathe but that didn’t stop us from going to Chocolate Bean for dessert! Look at the array of gorgeous treats! And they also had an amazing gingerbread hot chocolate but I could only manage a sip, I was on struggle street.
We first had a tour of the Adelaide Central Market. I was dying of jealousy, why don’t we have something like this in central Sydney? Come on guys!
We hopped on buses, some off to the Barossa and my group was off to McLaren Vale! It was a gorgeous day.
We visited the D’Arenberg winery and did a wine blending class! I don’t usually drink red so I fear my “special blend” may be hideous. Regardless, I have lugged it home and am forcing my Dad to drink it.
My favourite part of blending was that we got to play with dry ice!!
And then we got to drink bubbles! My favourite.
Then it was back to the hotel for a quick outfit change and off to the Hilton for an amazing dinner. The menu was insane! I loved pretty much everything except the ginger snow cones, which confused me.
We were up early again for Day 2 and were greeted with a delicious array of pastries from Red Door Bakery
We did a food styling class with Fiona Roberts which was fun. I need more props!
Then we went downstairs to the markets again, where they had opened for us on a Sunday to serve us a VERY special lunch. I ate so much amazing bread, butter, cheese and cured meats.
There was a delicious chocolate fountain by Providore and MORE dry ice! Yes!
After a few more talks it was suddenly afternoon tea time and despite being completely stuffed I managed to sneak in a few cupcakes and cake pops from The Cupcake Table!
What an amazing and filling weekend. I had so much fun, learned a lot, met loads of new people and I cannot wait to return to Adelaide again soon. Thank you Tourism South Australia!
I’ve been wanting to give Love Swah a little “sprucing” for a while now and with the Eat Drink Blog conference coming up this weekend I needed to get it done ASAP! Let me know what you think of the new look (and if you find anything broken let me know… sometimes it happens).
I am also making matching business cards to hand out at the conference. Due to the last minute nature of these cards they are going to be handmade… made with love of course.
I look forward to meeting you all soon in Adelaide!
After perusing my Instagram photos for my regular “Lately on Instagram” post I didn’t realise how much I had been eating out. So that’s where my money is going!
♥ Finally made it to Gnome Espresso & Winebar
After reading about the infamous Super Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Chocolatesuze’s blog, I dragged my housemate out on a rainy Saturday morning in search of this wonder (we were meant to go running, oh well). Cheddar, gruyere, buffalo mozzarella AND prosciutto. Oh wow – heaven. This sandwich is one of those “once a year” kind of things. The coffee was great too, but overshadowed by the decadence of cheese!
♥ I also made it to The Baron!
I have been reading rave reviews from Suze and Mel about The Baron in Castle Hill. My parents live in the Hills so I conned them into driving me there (also with the promise of stimulating conversation). On the left we have the pulled pork sandwich with cabbage slaw and on the right we have the jamon, washed rind cheese, aioli, sundried tomatoes & pickles sandwich. Both were amazing! We also devoured homemade caramel slice and carrot cake – both absolutely divine. The blonde waitress was also super friendly so this place gets many thumbs up.
♥ More eating, Italian style
The housemate and I engaged in several lady dates featuring Italian food and fantasising about the Amalfi Coast as we stared at the never-ending rain. On the left is the amazing breakfast by Caffe Sicilia (it’s mean to come with eggs but I got spinach instead. I’m weird). And on the right are 2 delicious pizzas from Pizza e Birra. Bellissimo!
Sat front row at a comedy show and had a great time, although was continually heckled by the MC haha. And on the right this cat mugshot just made me laugh way.too.much.
♥ Random presents and cupcakes
Nothing perks you up like coming home to presents! I also tested a new recipe – chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream. Recipe to come soon!
♥ Exercise and sickness
To combat all this eating I started my training for the City2Surf. I was going really well until I got sick. And now I am in bed humpffff.
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