Friday, July 31, 2015

Happy Friday: Golden Lust

Nothing like a bit of lust to get your weekend off to a very good start...

New in from Samantha Wills is the Golden Grand necklace - oozing all kinds of Middle Eastern luxuriousness and mystery. Being someone who is unable to put a bunch of necklaces together without looking like my 5 year old niece dressed me from her dress-up box, I am always appreciative of jewellery designers who create gorgeous clusters such as this.

Samantha Wills has taken this next level with length, width, beauty and the all important glamour factor.

Wish you were touring the Sahara Desert yet?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Shoesday: Cons

As well as it being hubby's birthday, Tuesday 28 July heralded a rebirth of sorts for the much-loved footwear essential: Cons (well, that's what I call them - they are also known as the Chuck Taylor All Star).

The new Chuck Taylor features all-white foxing, a Nike Lunarlon sock liner and perforated microsuede liner, a foam padded collar, and a tongue that apparently never needs straightening (this is the bit about the new design I hate - must everything always be perfect? I love a lopsided tongue!).

Converse All-Stars are that iconic piece of footwear melded from canvas and rubber. From their debut in 1917 (ostensibly for serious athletes), through to today, Cons epitomise laid-back cool, having been worn on the feet of famous (James Dean, Kurt Cobain, Kristen Stewart, Alexa Chung) to not-so-famous cool kids alike.

After a brief hiccup (read bankruptcy) in the 1990s, Converse was bought out by Nike in 2003, heralding a return to covet status that Nike's powerful, deep-reaching marketing department could largely be credited with.

Whether this latest incarnation of a timeless classic will be adored or abhorred is yet to be seen. As for me... I kinda like your old stuff better than your new stuff, Converse.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Birthdays

Today is lovely hubby's birthday. I always have such grand plans for these occasions, generally involving some ridiculously complicated gourmet triumph to be completed with stealth and in record time. It never goes to plan as the parameters I set myself are ridiculous - I am thinking my disastrous batch of brownies one Valentine's Day, and a hatchet job on a sponge cake a few birthdays ago. It's too stressful and - in this world of profligate bakeries, delis and coffee shops with cakes on hand - pointless (unless you truly believe your partner will care if the sugary delight is homemade or purchased - they rarely truly care).*

So rather than this (which was my dream):

And actually, when there's just 2 of you, this amount of cake is simply dangerous
I ended up with a tower of croissants with a candle on top, ham and cheese on the side. Scoff if you will, but it went down a treat.

* Admittedly, it is easier to fudge a birthday cake for one's spouse/partner than it is for a child, but I believe the principle of dashing to the bakery early in the morning can still quite readily apply (particularly if you order ahead).

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Nom Nom Winter Salad

I'm not sure if Cookie Monster would like this, but I think all the ladies trying not to turn into Winter Walruses probably will!

Roasted cauliflower salad

1 head cauliflower
1 bunch parsley
3 shallots
3 celery stalks
1 handful slivered almonds
1 handful pepitas
1 handful hazelnuts
1 handful dried blueberries 
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon 
salt and pepper


1. Break the cauliflower into bite sized pieces and scatter into 2 large baking trays. To get the best evenly roasted, most golden, crispy cauliflower, make sure you don't overcrowd the trays (i.e. leave some breathing space between the pieces). Drizzle 1 tbsp oil over each tray, then season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 180 deg oven for 30-40 mins or until cauliflower is nicely browned. Give the trays a shake every 10-15 mins.
2. Roughly chop the parsley and shallots and finely slice the celery. You want the celery to be a little bit delicate so it's not overpowering. Because the cauliflower is relatively soft, you don't want to be chewing on big chunks of celery.
3. Dry roast the spices with the nuts and seeds in a pan on a medium heat for about five minutes mins, or until fragrant and the nuts are slightly golden. Continuously shake the pan so you don't set your fire alarm off (not good when you need to evacuate your building in your pyjamas).
4. Mix the cauliflower, greens, nuts, spices and dried blueberries together in a bowl and squeeze the lemon juice over and the remaining tbls of oil and season with a little more salt and pepper. Chomp down.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Friday: Performance Artist

I must admit, when I think of "performance artist" I immediately think of mime artists or clowns. The name Marina Abramovic does not automatically jump to mind probably because I haven't attended one of her performances just yet...

This weekend, I happen to be in Hobart for work and Marina Abramovic's Private Archaeology exhibition happens to be showing at Hobart's fabulous MONA. While I have missed her in-person performance (she appeared during MONA's annual Dark MoFo celebrations which I missed by just a week), her exhibition continues at MONA until 5 October. I have great expectations, and am pretty excited to be seeing her work, and also to be heading back to MONA (it is worth visiting Hobart just for that - although let me assure you there a bunch of other reasons to visit). For Sydney-siders, Marina is in residence in your lovely city until this Sunday.

If you are unsure of who Marina Abramovic is, you may remember her from her The Artist is Present performance at MoMA in New York City. Essentially it involved Abramovic sitting in a chair for 8 hours per day for 3 months, swathed in luscious long gowns of strong block colours, as visitors streamed in and occupied the chair opposite her and met her very level gaze. (If you're wondering, there was a hole in her chair, which enabled her to go to the bathroom undetected, and without sacrificing her art). Some people cried, others laughed, some got naked while Abramovic looked on impassively. The only time she cracked was when her ex-lover appeared unannounced in the chair before her.

You try to hold it together!

I get chills every time I watch that video - there is so much communicated in that shake of his head. Wow!

You may also know her from Sex & The City - where Carrie meets The Russian. (He was so dismissive of Charlotte - eugh!)

For a little extra information on Marina, I have stolen this from a Guardian profile on her:

Abramović came out of a tough background. Her parents had close ties to the post-war communist regime of what was then Yugoslavia and her mother raised Abramović in a home run more like a boot camp than a family. In 2011, she turned what amounted to an abusive upbringing into a stage production called the Life and Death of Marina Abramović, co-starring Willem Dafoe and Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, and in which she played both herself and her mother. "Every rehearsal I cried from the beginning to the end," she says. "Then one day Bobby [the director] said, enough of this bullshit crying. The public has to cry, not you. After three years of touring in Europe, I was free. All these stories don't affect me any more. An incredible feeling."
This was after years of critiquing the repressive nature of both her family and her country through performance art. In her piece The Lips of Thomas (1975), she carved a five-pointed communist star into her own abdomen, a monstrously sly up yours to the regime and appropriation of brutality for her own purposes. In other gallery settings, she and Ulay slammed into each other, shrieked in each other's faces, or sat staring at each other for interminable lengths of time to test, and conquer, the boundaries of what is endurable. It was thrilling, shocking, above all, moral and sailing always in the face of accusations of meaninglessness. The great danger with this sort of art, of course, is that pain is mistaken for meaning.
"In the beginning there were just masochists doing this shit and it was ridiculous. They needed to go to a psychiatric clinic," she nods. "It's more complicated to explain. In every culture, [there are those] shamans or medicine men who endured incredible physical pain, because it's a door opening to the subconsciousness. And the way we can actually control the pain – it's how to control everything. This is the key."
She also spent time in Australia with Indigenous Australians, and learnt how to "sit" from them. As she was quoted as saying in a recent interview here in Australia:

That actual root for the entire idea of performance was based here in Australia. Australian Aborigines always live in the present time. Aborigines perform in the present time, they live through the ceremonies, the performance in a certain way is a ceremony.

Ok - she's out there. And that's what I like about her and her art. She is challenging, different and thought- and conversation-provoking. She provokes conversations we should be having, and encourages us to move beyond our comfort zone. It's a shame that she has only become truly celebrated in the last 5-10 years (she is pushing 70) but as they say - better late than never. Possibly all her struggles and obscurity are what have contributed to the power of her subject matter today. Whatever it is, I can't wait to count rice at MONA this Sunday.