AK turns 30, and other such things.

I feel like I’ve blinked and the past month has flown by. Being busy at work and quiet at home doesn’t really lend itself to the most inspirational blog posts (I’ve watched a lot of Dawson’s Creek, but Frannie beat me to that). However I do have a few fun things to share.

1. We went to a 4th of July dinner in celebration of our wonderful sister-in-law. So much delicious food, and great company as well. L1006010

I discovered that strawberry shortcake is an actual thing, not just a cute cartoon. Here’s the recipe for this AMAZING dessert.

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, chilled, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup pure cream
  • 1/2 x 300ml tub double cream
  • 250g strawberries, hulled, sliced
  • Icing sugar mixture, for dusting

-Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Grease and line base of a 6cm-deep, 20cm (base) round cake pan with baking paper.

-Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add sugar. Using your fingertips, rub butter into flour until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Whisk egg and pure cream in a jug. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Mix with a flat-bladed knife until a soft dough forms.

-Place dough in prepared pan. Using fingertips, press evenly over base of pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

-Using a serrated knife, cut shortcake in half crossways. Spread double cream over cut-side of base. Top with strawberries. Sandwich with shortcake top. Dust with icing sugar. Serve and eat it all. Yum.

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Then AK had his birthday party – the big 3-0, dirty thirty etc etc. As I tend to do with all major events, I took a whopping 3 photos. Despite my flu, I was just having too much fun catching up with everyone and chatting and drinking and eating and accosting a girl from ‘Australia’s Greatest Bake Off’ in the bathroom… there simply was no time to play paparazzi. Here are the only photos. L1006706L1006714

(This was supposed to be for an outfit post – ASOS faux fur coat, Stop Staring dress… but really there’s not much point. Fail on my behalf.)

Ooh and here’s Frannie and I.20130730-074932.jpg

Anyway, suffice to say the party was a lot of fun. We held it at Crosstown Eating House in their private bar – Uptown. Great venue, people, food and beverages.

I’m off to Stanthorpe for a winter getaway on Friday so I promise to take lots of photos 🙂

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hometown tourists.

Kangaroo Point touristsIt was a rainy weekend in Brisbane so husband and I decided to play tourists at some of our favourite hometown spots. AK has just invested in a second hand Leica camera and I’m still learning to master my Canon so we thought we would practise in some scenic spots like Kangaroo Point and the Story Bridge. We’ve had no photographic training and are definitely still learning how to get the settings right, but we had a lovely little Saturday nonetheless.Kangaroo PointI think I might have taken the skills of our photographers at work for granted because it is much harder than it looks to get framing, light and focus all right in the one shot. No wonder they take so many. Thank goodness for digital I guess. Our photographers still talk about the days when the office had a dark room out the back and they wouldn’t know until they processed the images whether they had got ‘that one shot’ needed to grab the readers attention and make them want to read on. Because if the picture is lacklustre, it’s likely readers will flick to another page.

IMG_1673Unknown-3 Unknown-2I’m starting to get really excited for our one year anniversary trip to Tasmania later this year. It’s a beautiful part of Australia I’ve been dying to visit and I imagine we’ll be spending a lot of time crouched behind the lens.

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(This was AK staying very still trying to capture the majesty of the beautiful scrub turkey. City wildlife at its best)IMG_1719We love you Brisbane.

laser tattoo removal is not as bad as you’d think.

In keeping with this post and my quest to right the dubious choices of my past, I had my first laser tattoo removal appointment on Saturday. No, I haven’t decided to go back to a clean slate, I just want to remove the script on the back of my legs. Every other tattoo is coverable, out of sight and just for me. The ‘one love’ on my legs sparks at least one conversation a week with some righteous weirdo or creepy random that I would prefer not to have.LTR-3

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the great gatsby experience.

The Great GatsbyFrannie and I booked our tickets to a special Gold Class preview screening of The Great Gatsby weeks ago, so it was pretty exciting when the day finally arrived. You could say we’ve been counting down since the Baz Luhrmann remake was first announced about two years ago, so we had to make it something special. With some careful orchestrating, we were both able to leave work at 5pm on the dot and made it to the cinema in time for a glass of champagne and some festivities before the show started.champagneThe Gold Class screening we attended was part of Event Cinemas Chicks at the Flicks evenings. It’s a fantastic girls night out for movie lovers and really makes an occasion of heading to the cinemas. Especially for a movie you’ve been anticipating so excitedly –  it fit perfectly with our plans. We’re not really organised activity enthusiasts, but it was great to see people dressed in 20s inspired clothes and for local businesses to promote themselves. They set up stalls and had samplers in the gift bags that were left on our seats. There was a photobooth, manicure stand and even a place to get your hair done and each different event is tailored to suit the genre/theme of the movie being screened.

carey mulligan in prada gatsbyBut more importantly, the film.

Gatsby was by no means perfect, but I’m a little frustrated with some of the first reviews so this is my rebuttal. The classic American novel on which the film is based revels in its subtlety and imagery, and subtle is the last word you would use to describe Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation. But the story has been adapted a number of times before, so this film had to offer something different. I thought it achieved, and even excelled at that.

The modern, urban soundtrack was genius – it provided juxtaposition so sharp that the tracks by Florence + the Machine, Jay Z and Lana Del Ray actually seemed perfectly placed. The whole film was a visual spectacle so beautiful it really deserves to be seen on a big screen. Prada costumes, Tiffany’s jewellery, New York City – what is not to love? The party scenes were mesmerizing and I thought they perfectly captured the opulence and frivolity of the time. Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki was incredible as Jordan Baker and got comparatively more screen time than I thought the character was given in the novel.

But as I said, the film was not perfect, and some of the things that annoyed me at the start grew quite grating after more than two hours. Firstly, subtlety may have gone out the window, but the overuse of integral motifs such as the green light and Dr TJ Eckleburg’s watching eyes were shoved so far down our throats it became almost unbearable. One of the things I hate most about cinema-going is when the director thinks the audience is not smart enough to figure something out themselves, so they repeatedly allude to it, to the point of exhaustion. Oh and if Leo said ”old sport” one more time I might have thrown something at the screen.

I was also suspicious of what actually happened to Isla Fisher. Was she terrible in the role of Myrtle? Because her part was cut down to about two minutes screen time and it was such a waste. I love the character in the book – she is this tragic, desperate, lonely, selfish soul and her death is a pivotal plot point. In the film, I didn’t even care. We needed to connect to her before we could care about losing her.

Overall it was a fabulous spectacle and Luhrmann really gave it everything he had. Who are we to expect any more than that?

Carey Mulligan headpiece GatsbyPrada designs GatsbyThoughts from Frannie.

When Daisy tells Gatsby his lifestyle was dreamed to existence from his “perfect, irresistible imagination”, my immediate thought was of Baz Luhrmann. What an enviable and vivid imagination that man has. While it has its critics, I believe that Luhrmann has created a film that both honors and reinvigorates the story of the classic novel on which it is based. Certain subtleties that lie behind F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original words may not have been presented in exactly the way that I interpreted them but that is always the danger in a remake or book to movie project and in my opinion is not a failing of this film.

Surrounded by a dream team of actors (Leonardo DiCaprio is perfection as Gatsby), Luhrmann has been able to bring to life the romance, colours and music of the surreal 1920s world of his mind’s eye. The costumes are incredible and the soundtrack of modern and sharp music is a triumph in its own right. Luhrmann often incorporates elements that contemporise his films adding relevance for younger audiences and in this case (also in Romeo + Juliet) sparking their interest in classic literature.

The story is a heartbreaking, hopeful yet hopeless one. The central characters are flawed, vulnerable, selfish and frustrating, hiding behind the airs and graces of social acceptance and demonstrating the struggle for balance between rich and poor, right and wrong. I don’t even particularly like Tobey Maguire as an actor but he did an incredible job as Nick Carraway, the narrator of this tragic tale of obsession. Luhrmann’s unmistakable style of direction is unapologetically bold and I guess you are either a fan or you aren’t. I’m a huge fan of his and now I’m a huge fan of this movie.

afternoons.

Alexandra HeadlandsThere are certain times of the year, including sunny autumn afternoons, when I truly appreciate how beautiful southeast Queensland is. The warm weather, scenic coastline and glassy ocean. The barbecue in the park is a staple at almost any time of the year, but it is especially nice when the day is cooler, but the sun is warm. We spent Saturday afternoon enjoying this gorgeous view at Alexandra Headlands, Sunshine Coast. Why would you want to be anywhere else?

Alexandra Headlands Alexandra Headlands sunset

10 things I wish I was told as a graduate.

graduationI find it hard to relate to people who say university was ‘the best time of their lives’ because it really wasn’t for me. It was long hours, lots of travel time, no money and so many stupidly pointless group assignments. I hadn’t really shaken my residual awkwardness from high school (who am I kidding, I’m still completely embarrassing) and the core television and radio subjects that were part of my journalism degree filled me with complete terror. I chose journalism because of my love of writing, not my desire to be in front of a camera or microphone.

The lecturers and tutors at QUT were mostly pretty fantastic and didn’t sugarcoat the difficulties that would face our class of graduates. Lots of people want to be journalists and there aren’t too many jobs around, especially in Brisbane. That’s a pretty daunting notion when you’re surrounded by confident, talented, ambitious people all with the same goal. Looking back, I wish someone had sat me down and told me the following: Continue reading

monsters at GoMa.

wolfman1941

There are few things I love more than a classic horror film, so the film festival Monsters currently on at GoMA is right up my dark, scary alley. It started last month, but is on until the start of June so there is still plenty of time to take in one of the dozens of screenings. They are showing everything from 1930s films like Frankenstein and The Mummy, right through to recent films like Cabin In The Woods. If I was looking to take someone on a date, I would totally take them to GoMA for a horror flick. Such a beautiful setting.

Wolf-Man GwenI saw The Wolf Man (1941) on Saturday afternoon and it was so much fun. I started getting a migraine mid-way but it didn’t ruin the experience (just my night). I love the extreme use of shadows and light vs dark in old films like this, when special effects were pretty much non-existent. The story was just as spooky and appealing as I’m sure it was when the film came out and I was so enthralled with the costumes and sets. The leading lady Gwen was impeccably dressed throughout.

Frannie and I are hoping to take in Gremlins on Friday night, it’s so exciting to be able to see these film classics and childhood favourites on the big screen.