Thursday, 18 December 2014

How to throw an 'on trend' pinetastic Christmas party.

{Product Talk post brought to you by dish'd and nuffnang}

Us makers and bloggers and work-from-homers rarely get a staff Christmas party.

Last night under fairy lights and an abundance of pineapples, I set to rectify that. 

Many a bottles of wine and sparkling were purchased and put on ice. 

The pineapple decorations were hung and Christmas carols were playing. 



What am I forgetting ? Ahhh yes! Food ! 

Now, in classic entertaining style, the instructions were to bring a plate....however I still wanted a bit of WOW factor on the table when everyone arrived. 

Enter dish'd - a new and exciting way to experience delicious food from around the world in the comfort of your own home. When the lovely folk at Nuffnang and dish'd sent me a $100 voucher to spend at my will in their new gourmet food delivery service, I knew I had my wow factor.

Wogan not nearly as impressed as I was with the boxes of dish'd frozen food delivered to my door !

We sampled and we were suitably impressed with the dish'd food at Taste of Melbourne, so I eagerly set about selecting items for my delivery. With this party and a host of other festive happenings, the Chef Specials 'meals in a box' range was perfect. I selected the Summer Entertaining Pack for our Christmas party and the Roast Dinner with all trimmings for tonight's dinner with G's colleagues. 





And ice cream......because ice cream ! 

The whole process was simple and easy. Ordering online, selecting next day delivery and then coming home to a large box filled with goodness. The boxes are filled with dry ice and keep everything frozen and secure so there's no need to be home for your delivery. A friendly text message from dish'd let me know that it had indeed arrived and was waiting for me when I got home. 




It was all so very easy. 15 minutes in the oven direct from the freezer. Added bonus was my guests remarking how amazing the kitchen smelt from the food cooking. Also how calm I looked after 'obviously' cooking all day ! Ha ! 




We had delicious canapes at the pineapple party, my favourite being the prawn baguettes AND I also have a freezer full of ready to go ingredients and instructions. 





For me, it's entertaining without the stress of cooking, developing a menu and the anxiety of "will it work."  I didn't have to spend hours shopping, prepping and cooking. That time was much better spent hanging more pineapples. 


Now the good folk at dish'd want YOU to be able to sample their food as well. I have one $50.00 voucher to give away (Vic and NSW residents only - sorry!) Competition closes 27 December 5pm AEDT. 

Just tell me in the comments,
"What would you spend your $50 dish'd voucher on?"


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Wild About Melbourne Makers - the shop is OPEN !

Christmas shopping.....the tree is up, now you need to put presents underneath it !

And just to make things a little easier.....I've rounded up some of my very favourite local makers and put them conveniently in one place for you. 

My place. Or more specifically, the Wild About Melbourne Makers Online Store.

Yes, the shop is (finally) open. I'll be adding more beautiful handmade items over the coming days.

I'll also be at Northern Regards Artisan Market with a full range of ceramics, softies, original Melbourne artworks and handmade upcycled children's clothing. 

I'm incredibly excited to be showcasing original and talented handmade, made right here in Melbourne.




Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas Pudding time

Now, you will of course know by now, that I LOVE Christmas.

I love everything about it.

I especially love the Christmas Plum Pudding.




Since coming home from travelling and my grandmother passing away, the plum pudding making is my contribution to the day's feast.

I still use my Ma's recipe and like to think that she's with me as I cream the butter and sugar, double up on the brandy/rum and always, always lick the bowl.

This year as I measured and mixed, I was listening to BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Disc's Christmas Special. So British and so lovely. It actually makes me 'homesick' for England and the few winter Christmases I had. Possibly because G has just visited England, it did make me pine for an afternoon of cheese eating and wine drinking in a Christmas light filled English pub. Aaahhhhh

Anyway, back to my Melbourne kitchen and it's over 30 degrees outside and the puddings need to boil for at least 3 hours. The house smells amazing !


I'm going to sit back and enjoy the tunes and smell and stare away at my Christmas tree(S).

Do you have a family Christmas pudding recipe ?
Winter or Summer Christmas ?

Happy First Day Of December,

Dee

Friday, 28 November 2014

My Melbourne.......Shopping Local This Christmas

If you are anything like me, the great ideas of making every single one of the presents under the tree, are unlikely to be reached.

It's time to get shopping. However, handmade it still is.

Thankfully in Melbourne, we are spoilt for choice with fantastic markets and amazing local handmade. Here's my guide to local markets and Christmas shopping....tailored just for YOU.

Kris Kringle Market - Northcote



You - take the 86 tram home and appreciate beautiful handmade. Maybe you're a little indecisive and need a little browsing time before buying.

Kris Kringle markets are over 4 Thursday evenings at Northcote Town Hall with live music, food and fantastic handmade.
Northcote Town Hall, high st, Northcote. Thursday 4,11,18th December 5.30pm - 10pm
Look out for Shameful Girl - perfect teacher/Kris Kringle/ gifts for your mum !


Totally Thomastown Twilight Market



You - have kids who win enjoy the free craft activities while you enjoy good food and craft market browsing. This community market run by Thomastown Neighbourhood House, celebrates all that this diverse neighbourhood has to offer. A great night out for the whole family.
Located behind TRAC, 42 Main St, Thomastown, Friday December 5th 4 - 8pm

Northern Regards Artisan Market 



You - Are allergic to shopping centres, enjoy a beer or wine and appreciate talented makers making handmade sustainably. Northern Regards Artisan Market is Melbourne's only handmade market that focuses on upcycled and recycled handmade.
Northcote Social Club, 301 High St, Northcote. Saturday December 6th 11am - 4pm
Look out for.....Kate Campbell Designs. Guaranteed to make you very popular on Christmas morning.


Made 'n Thornbury Craft Market 



You - like the sound of all of the above and haven't started/finished your Christmas shopping yet.
Run by TWNH and a trope of dedicated volunteers, Made 'n Thornbury celebrates local handmade and good community vibes. Sausage sizzle, free craft activities for kids, and wine by the glass all add to the pleasant shopping experience.
99 Leinster Grove, Thornbury. Saturday  December 13th 10am - 4pm
Look out for.....me ! Wild About Melbourne Makers will be here on market day. I also may be appearing in my favourite Christmas outfit.....with a glass of wine in hand.

Queen Victoria Night Market 



You - don't live in the Inner North and think the weekends are for Christmas parties,
This fantastic Wednesday night market is part hawker food market and half handmade Christmas shopping.
Queen Victoria Market, city Wednesdays 5pm - 10pm
Look out for the delicious food and quirky entertainment.





Disclaimer - am I entirely biased about the above selection ? Absolutely !!
Happy Handmade Shopping,

Dee x

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Taking Stock.

Oh hello there !

It's the end of november ! How is that even possible ??
It's my VERY favourite time of the year, but let's be honest....it's busy.
An opportune time to Take Stock.



Making : Christmas gifts, Christmas decorations, Christmas cards.....you get the idea
Cooking : Solo meals ! The novelty has worn off after 10 days, I'm ready for G to come home
Drinking : Coffee
Reading: Lilly Brett. I love her writing and the way it simultaneously takes me NYC and Carlton
Wanting: some pain relief please
Looking: forward to G coming home !! 
Playing: podcasts - Desert Island Discs from BBC - so British, so lovely
Deciding: on market dates for 2015 (!)
Wishing: for some peace and easy travelling for friends
Enjoying: CHRISTMAS
Waiting: for some decisions to be made about next year........
Liking: my space
Wondering: again with the 2015 decisions
Loving: the fact that G comes home on Monday 
Pondering: can I just ask for books and handmade brooches for Christmas....
Considering: thoughtful and meaningful and handmade gifts
Watching: The Big C - I'm not sure.....
Hoping: For a long, warm and lazy summer
Marvelling: at the amazing handmade talent that I am lucky enough to have as part of                       Wild About Melbourne Makers
Needing: to clean the house 
Smelling: spray paint (again with the Christmas crafts)
Wearing: pjs today....it's a much needed at home today, catching up and getting lots done
Following: lots of creative types on Instagram - my favourite social media platform
Noticing: Thornbury high street doesn't have Christmas decorations! Why ? 
Knowing: it'll all be ok next year. Things will play out the way they're supposed to.
Thinking: about the to-do-list. It's full of good things, but it needs to be done
Admiring: Beautiful Christmas windows in small independant shops
Sorting: photos to make calanders - an annual tradition
Buying: food to make Christmas gifts
Getting: EXCITED ABOUT CHRISTMAS (I know, I'm one of THOSE people)
Bookmarking: podcasts on my phone and ipad- I'm a new convert
Disliking: the stress levels that surround people at this time of year
Opening: the letter box. Eagerly every morning Waiting for online purchases to arrive.
Giggling: at text messages that feature cute videos of Ruby Rose ! 
Feeling: Little bit like a mouse on a wheel.....but that's ok. It's all good things. 
Snacking: I prefer quality control - just the ends of the handmade fudge.
Coveting: (see below)
Wishing: that that thing we so desperately wanted had happened. It still hurts. 
Helping: well, with 3 markets and the (coming soon) online shop, I'd like to think I'm helping people buy beautiful handmade gifts for Christmas ! 
Hearing: Christmas carols......which I love !

How are you doing ?? Crazy with Christmas ?? 
Making and baking for Christmas ?? In denial of the whole silly season......

Happy Thursday, 
Dee 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

My Melbourne...... Taste of Melbourne 2014

I have a theory. And yes I'm going to share it with you.

My theory is, that a certain age, our preferences and tastes change.
Staying home on a Saturday night, is not only ok, but often preferable.
One glass of very good wine/beer is much better than a whole bottle of the cheap stuff that we happily drank in our youth.

And day time sessions at big food festivals are much more appealing than the busy night sessions.



Yes. Friday afternoon found at us Taste Of Melbourne Festival and it was fantastic.

Being a true North-of-the-River inhabitant, I admit I was sceptical of the move from Carlton's Exhibition Buildings to Albert Park, however, I'm now a convert. The space applies itself beautifully to this festival of the best food and drink that Melbourne has to offer.



We likened our visit to a foodie tour of Melbourne with only one Myki touch on/touch off !

We drank in St Kilda thanks to the Local Taphouse's HOP UP Bar whilst eating in Collingwood, thanks to Huxtaburger, then it was Seddon for more delicious craft beer at Two Birds Brewing and the city for yummy tacos from Mamasita.  Dessert of Salted Caramel Tart (OH!) in Armadale courtesy of Burch and Purchese, was a definite highlight !




A few regional roadtrips from Byron Bay, (Stone and Wood), Beechworth, (Bridge Road Brewing) and the Great Ocean Road (Prickly Moses) rounded out a comprehensive gourmet afternoon.





As with all festivals of this type, it's a cashless system, however the fancy new Taste of Melbourne swipe card is a vast improvement on the plastic/paper token system. As it was an overcast Friday afternoon, there was not a queue in sight and topping up the card was seemless. Thanks of course to the bright pink t-shirted staff. Of course this made it even easier to indulge in great food and beer.

The best part of this weekday afternoon festival shenanigans was that there was never a substantial line up for anything. We always found a seat and got a chance to actually chat with the brewers, sales reps and chefs (oh hi Darren Purchese!). The smaller crowds didn't diminish the atmosphere or buzz of people enjoying all that delcious food and wine and beer.



My absolute favourites on the day were the chicken birger with jalapeno mayo from Huxtaburger and the Chardonnay IPA from Prickly Moses. A delicious full flavoured beer that we normally wouldn't have had a chance to enjoy. Here's hoping they brew some more !


Also, did I mention the salted caramel tart !!

So, I can now sit back and enjoy the rest of my quiet weekend. Slippers on and day dreaming about that salted caramel tart.......

Have a great weekend,
Dee





*Please note, this is not a sponsored post. I just really enjoyed the festival and thought you should know about it. If anyone would like to give me free tickets to go again, well that would be ok, I might even go at night or a busy weekend day session. Maybe..... Also.....anyone else fancy a salted caramel tart right now ???


Friday, 31 October 2014

Something new.....Wild About Melbourne Makers.

Hi there, 

I once had a boss in a restaurant who described his ideal working scenario as "aces in their places". 
In order words, on busy shifts, everyone does the job that they are best at and does the best job possible. Those lazy Tuesdays are the time for the chef to try his hand at bar tending!

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. 
Especially in regard to my fellow makers. Whilst it's great (and necessary) to be the maker, PR firm, accountant, photographer, website builder and mail guy all in one....what if we could share the load? 

What if.....the talented makers do just that...make.
While the person who is passionate about social media does that and... promotes.
What if one person went to market and enthusiastically sold these maker's wares. Especially those makers' whose family need them at home.
And how about a one-stop online shop for Melbourners wanting beautiful local handmade.

What if.....all of this was under the one label with a brand new sparkling logo. 





Today, I'm launching WildAboutMelbourne Makers.

A market stall and online store with some of my very favourite local makers.
We'll be at Northern Regards Artisan Market tomorrow with River Wife Clay, Vintage Galah and introducing Gus & Kitty's new vintage line. 

I'll be adding carefully selected makers to 'the hub' over the next few weeks and have the online store up and running in time for Christmas shopping. 


I'm excited about this new direction. I love making and many things crafty. Making to sell.....not so much.
I love supporting and promoting other makers. I'm excited to share with you the amazing talent that is hiding in the sheds, studios and kitchen tables in Melbourne. 

So, here it is : WildAboutMelbourne. A fresh look. A new chapter.*

I hope you'll come along with me. 

Dee 


*Fear not, blogging will still continue in the usual haphazard fashion here and insagramming will still happen.....daily ! 



Today


Thank you for the love and messages from my last post.

Onwards and upwards I say.

Exciting things happening today.......

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

An unspeakable loss


"In life we all have an unspeakable secret, and irreversible regret, an unreachable dream, and an unforgettable love.”


― Diego Marchi

This quote sums up perfectly how I feel at the moment.

Something I thought, believed in my bones, would happen, is simply not going to. 

And I'm feeling this loss even more than I thought I would.

I feel dissapointed. Grief. I feel ripped off ! I feel sad. Angry. 

Feeling all of the feelings. 

It has layers this feeling of grief. It's like the beautiful rose above. 

It started small and has grown into something so large and red and vibrant that I struggle to hide it. 

And then, as surely as the rose, it will wilt. Lose it's petals and it's it's vibrancy and it's power. 

Then comes the possability of new growth. Of hope. 

I'm not feeling the hope yet. Just this sadness and loss. 


To my dear friends reading this, I may be blogging this, but I am not ready to talk. It is unspeakable and please let it remain so. 




Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Wednesday





“Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

A.A. Milne