Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lucky Dip Dining

I was talking to one of my work colleagues last week,  who mentioned she was dropping in to one of her favourite restaurants on the way home from work to pick up the worlds best yiros and flat bread. I’d heard of the restaurant and commented about how I wanted to go there one day.  I got an enthusiastic response about how their yiros was the BEST, and made a mental note to talk to Mr. P about going there one day.

Saturday night I decided I wanted sushi but the sushi restaurant was closed. So I made another mental note to go there for lunch the next day but it got me to thinking about my conversation earlier in the week which led to another thought that we have all these fabulous cheap restaurants in our city and I'm not making use of them. Every time someone mentions a restaurant or dining experience to me, I mentally file the thought away to go there someday and never actually follow through.  

So I spent some of my Saturday night on the internets, looking up places I want to eat at then I made a list. I printed out the list , cut them up , folded them and put them into a jar. Then I cheated and pulled out the one for the sushi restaurant because that was the thought that started all of this so therefore it deserved to be first.

So Mr. P and I went off to Kintaro Sushi Train for lunch (which is Tazz's fault because she took me there for the first time  a couple of months ago and I seriously fell in love with their food ) 

I'm also rather enamoured with the idea that food whizzes past me on a conveyor belt and I just grab whatever looks good. 

Which can be a bit of a double edged sword really, because it all looks good . 

It can be a bit like playing Russian roulette with food because you might see something delicious coming towards you, and there is every chance that someone else closer to the item is thinking the same thing and will grab the very thing you were looking at so longingly before it gets to you.

You then have the choice of rugby tackling the unsuspecting thief to the ground to retrieve what you wanted , (which is anti social behaviour and probably arrestable) or to go  back to watching food whizz past you while you look for something else that takes your fancy. I chose the latter. 

Mr. P and I managed 11 plates between us before we felt we'd sushi-ed ourselves out. I did gross him out by eating sashimi, so I felt the day was a double success. 

Not exactly cheap - 11 plates of sushi and two cokes set us back $51.00 for lunch but totally worth it. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Living La Vida Loca

I was starting to wonder whether I would ever post again, but here I am like the proverbial bad penny, wracked with guilt at having neglected my blog for so long. Starting a new job is hard work -far harder than I had imagined. After three months of feeling like a fish out of water, I'm only just now learning how to swim properly. And just when I think I have things sorted, I find something else I don't know or that I'm not sure about, and I feel like the new kid all over again. 

I spent the first few weeks of my new job travelling to the ends of the earth for training. For someone who has never travelled further than 15 minutes to work, an hour each way in bumper to bumper peak hour traffic was a truly horrendous experience.  It was wonderful when I started at my permanent office, cut my daily travel time by about half and started to get in to some sort of routine. 

Gone though, are the luxury days of fluffing round at home in the mornings, casually chucking myself into a shower and getting ready in 20 minutes and then leaving at 8.40am for my 10 minute drive to work. The corporate world demands I swap jeans for business pants ( or even scarier - a dress!), shoes that don't slip on, and  a lack of pony tail as my go to hairstyle. I even wear makeup everyday. And as gorgeous and grown up as I look-all of this takes extra time, so sipping my morning latte while I check blogs prior to going to work is also a thing of the past.

Needless to say, sewing was something that just wasn't on the priority list during my "settling in" period. Couple exhaustion and brain drain with the fact that I have been opening the door to my sewing space for months and just chucking things in the room will nilly , and that it was getting nigh on impossible to move around in there without the imminent danger of a mountain of stuff falling on me and burying me alive, and you have a set of circumstances guaranteed to kill any creative thoughts that might dare to pop into your head.

So this past weekend, I sucked it up, tied a rope around my waist (so Mr. P could pull me out mountaineer style if one of the piles collapsed) and ventured in to the danger zone. And when I triumphantly emerged , I could see carpet again. I did the happy dance around every square inch of that space ( and chucked in a moon walk for good measure) 

This led to the idea that it was high time to stop laying out quilt bits on the floor and screeching angrily at the assortment of furry things that share Maison Pyjamas every time they stampled on them , and so my portable design walls finally became a reality. 

There has not yet been a quilt finish for 2015 , but it appears I have found the motivation to start something new. Although, speaking of finishes, I have managed to quilt the Marrakesh quilt , and put the binding on ...but I still cant make up my mind whether I'm going to do some quilting in these centre rectangles, and if so what I'm going to do -so it technically remains unfinished. 

Super E has started school since I last put in an appearance here, and is loving it. I can't believe he's old enough to be at school because it just seems like a few months ago that he was learning to crawl around my kitchen. We headed off to the Lego exhibition a couple of weekends ago, which was like heaven to a small boy with a Lego obsession. 

And during the dying days of Summer we made sure ice cream featured heavily in our adventures. 

 I am currently on a mission to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe in the world. Last time I got this obsessed with finding a perfect recipe it resulted in me trying 20 lemon cheesecake recipes until I found the perfect one. Attempt No 1 on the chocolate chip cookies  wasn't bad but wasn't exactly what I was after so attempt No 2 will be made some time this week. Do you know how many recipes out there tout that they are the "Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever"? 

 I consoled myself by making cupcakes....

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Party is (Almost) Over's been a month since I showed my face round here and it's high time to get back into some semblance of a routine, both online and in my actual life. The break has been lovely though, since we've celebrated Christmas, ushered in a New Year and Mr. P and I have enjoyed an overseas holiday in my rather prolonged absence. So what's been going on here at Maison Pyjamas?

A few days before Christmas I managed to play nice with some gingerbread and put together this Christmas Tree under the watchful tutelage of the Gingerbread Ninja, Ms. Tazzie. And while it looks a little like the Leaning Tower of Pisa - it is still holding together even now and has given me hope that perhaps I can do an annual Gingerbread Christmas Tree or even cookies since my interest in icing cookies was definitely piqued by this project and Tazz's +++ confidence in me. It was like having my own personal gingerbread cheerleader (but without the pom poms)

Christmas Day itself was a very relaxed affair. We had lunch at a local hotel, and then headed off to my brother and sister in laws for the afternoon where we played a spirited game of pictionary, which served to reinforce my belief  that nobody in my husbands family can draw for sh**. This was my sister in laws rendition of Darth Vader (which nobody guessed correctly although one bright spark did suggest "Bondage Hamburglar" ) 

Then it was off to my parents house to spend time with my family where the only game we played was drinking cocktails and taking incriminating up to the minute videos to put on Facebook for perpetuity. My sister and I were being really silly and the family photo album inherited some more really bad pictures like this one, in which I can't appear to make up my mind whether I'm going to mimic a chipmunk or a pirate. I think Sister of Pyjamas was going for a demented Jack Sparrow look which she nailed perfectly.

I  made huge amounts of  jam from apricots that were hanging over our side of the fence from the neighbours house and since it was unlikely that 20 year old male uni students were about to go Nigella and make their own jam I gave them a few jars as payment for providing me with the apricots. Everyone was happy.

Very little sewing has taken place since I finished work 6 weeks ago.  I'm mid way through quilting two tops and am hoping to finish at least one this week, and then we'll see about the other. I've taken laziness to a whole new level during this break! Normally this would have me feeling like a slacker but I'm too relaxed to feel any guilt. 

I saved the best stuff for last - Mr. P and I have just come back from Langkawi, Malaysia which is seriously one of the most magical places on earth. Rather than wax lyrical about the beauty of this island , I'm going to let my pictures mostly do the talking. We saw in New Year on Pantai Kok beach, did a fish spa, went on a terrifying cable car ride, and I have decided that while wild monkeys look cute in theory , when they are up close and personal (with the possibility they might jump at you to bite you) they are decidedly less so. 

Plenty of cocktails, retail therapy,( I added to my extensive shoe and handbag collections big time) relaxing and eating also took place. I have noticed that in previous holiday snaps I tend to take about a bajillion pictures of food so I deliberately concentrated on scenery this time around. And yes- thats really me up there on that horse. 

This week is all about getting ready to start my new job next week, catching up on the washing from our holiday and getting some sewing done.  After spending the last 13 years slapping around in casual clothes for work I need to organise some sort of decent wardrobe of clothes that doesn't focus on jeans and cargo pants as a staple for workwear. Shoot me now.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Being A Lady of Leisure

I've been on holidays for 12 days and have spent it doing pretty much whatever I wanted, which so far has involved a fair amount of sweet stuff all. Usually I'm trying to pack 30 hours of stuff into a 24 hour day so being able to move at a snails pace if I choose has been seriously refreshing. This being (temporarily) unemployed thing is working out pretty well.

The first thing I did was go on holidays for a week. And drink cocktails with Little Miss Sunshine. In Queensland. That's really far away from where I live. 

Dessert and cocktails in one glass is very special (or a sign of alcoholism..or laziness - I'm not sure which) so this one gets its own photo. Citron vodka and a pine-lime ice cream combo. I highly recommend it. 

I had high hopes that LMS would have given up on the idea of trying to get me to eat vegetables and salads and my first meal was very heartening in this regard ....yes..chocolate is a meal. And there's fruit in there so this is actually healthy. 

However it was all downhill from there . I was force fed REAL healthy food. Every time this occured I had a (not so) subtle whinge about how my body was going into shock from lack of Maccas...

And eventually I turned my captors over to the dark side. 

Stockholm syndrome in reverse. Those psychology classes really paid off...

I had the amazing pleasure of meeting one of my long time blog friends, Michelle from Rag-Tag Stitchin' for brunch and she is about ten times as awesome in person as she is in emails and on her blog. This was one of my favourite parts of the week because it was just so much fun. 

See that gingerbread house? That's living at my house now. Hand made by Michelle herself. Look at those little gingerbread man buttons! That pattern is for quilt labels and is one of Michelle's too. And the hanging plaque was made by one of Michelle's super talented friends. I was thrilled and blown away by this little parcel of goodies. Thankyou Michelle. 

We went to the farmers market on Sunday at o'dark o'clock - seriously who leaves the house at this time of the morning for FUN? Freaking crazy people - that's who. 

And since I was still half asleep I can't recall much of what we saw but I'd woken sufficiently by the time we got round to these so I took a picture...

Queensland is an awesome place - or it would be if not for the sucky humidity which made my hair look like this for my entire stay ...

So once I got home I decided the time was right for a bit of a change. I've left the purple behind and gone for something more grown up. 

And finally - Drumroll please ....a couple of you suggested that my big exciting news might be that I was pregnant. Come on people - I'm 48 - that's not very likely and if I was I certainly wouldn't be celebrating it. So without further ado or stuffing around,  the second thing I've done since being on holidays was to buy my dream car, which screams mid life crisis but I don't care. I was too busy being a sensible sole parent when I should have been buying one of these and now I don't have to be sensible anymore.  

That is all -  you can go back to doing what you were doing now. I'm going for a drive....

Monday, December 01, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Last week was a week of fluctuating emotions , an inevitable dash to the finish line to wrap up work related matters ( I failed because some things were left undone)and a week where I think I cornered the world market on tissue use. I burst into tears at the most inopportune times (pretty much every time someone looked at me- woe betide if they also got teary - the resultant flood threatened to engulf us both). A number of people refused to actually say the G-word , which means there was a healthy dose of denial going on from both sides of the fence. 

I started the week by taking a picture of the space where I've sat my butt for the last 13 years. Walking out of here for the last time on Friday felt very surreal. My office was completely bare and devoid of any sort of personality. This little office has been very good to me. I've worked hard and occasionally played here , had serious and not so serious conversations here , and solved some big problems while sitting at that desk.  

People kept popping in to my office doorway and bursting into tears (I'm looking at you Nerida , Netta and kind of looking at you Bronwyn although you beat a hasty exit when your eyes welled up) To Maria , who hugged me tight every single time she saw me all week, which felt like it was far more often than usual (are you sure you weren't stalking me ?) - thank you . I'm not a huggy person but it was actually not too bad in that I didn't want to punch you when you did it. To Rachel who couldn't trust herself to actually speak to me one last time and tell me what she thought - girl it was a good choice to email because by the time you sent that through I was pretty much gone emotionally and if you had come and said those nice things in person I would have probably gone and immediately withdrawn my resignation.

The work crew threw me a high tea on Thursday to say goodbye. 

Some of the crew. Many thanks to Kathy, our office manager , who did most of the organising for this spectacular event . 

I think the fact that I was given a salad bowl as a gift must have been some sort of joke. These people have eaten lunch with me every day for umpteen years and know I don't eat salad. But no matter- this bowl will look excellent filled with salt and vinegar chips. Or chocolate. 

Redemption for the great salad bowl incident of 2014 came in the form of a cash card which I used to buy these to remind me of the wonderful people I've just spent the last 13 years with. 

My last job on Friday was an email to my immediate team which they will open today telling them how much I have appreciated working with them. Since I balled like a baby writing it - there might be a few tears in the office this morning. (possibly of relief that I'm actually gone....)

And as for me ? I'm now on holidays between jobs and am going to be packing today to head off for a week visiting Little Miss Sunshine. I may also have some other big news to share when I get back. 

Highlights of the week
  • Feeling a lot of love from everyone ( a lot!) 
  • Super E telling me that he was worried because he didn't know all the letters of the alphabet and that he's "going to school next year you know" but then proceeding to verbally recite them perfectly. He also expressed disgust that they aren't teaching him how to write them at kindy "because you know Bella, kids won't be quiet when they tell us about the alphabet". I bought you a book Super E and we can practice the alphabet together. You'll be ready to write all those letters when school starts- don't worry.