Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Wedding Dress Envy

Sofia Vergara wed ridiculously good looking werewolf / male stripper Joe Manganiello over the weekend in possibly one of the most-Instagrammed-by-a-bride celebrity weddings of all time. Colombian glamour-puss Sofia encased her curves in a white lace gown designed by Zuhair Murad (the brief was "sexy", which I think we can all safely agree was achieved).

 Vergara quickly changed from Princess Bride to Slinky Bride as she removed her detachable tulle skirt (FABULOUS!), to reveal the slim line, all-lace affair below.

I have mentioned in a previous post drooling over a Zuhair Murad gown that I had originally hoped to do something similar with my own wedding dress, but decided against it when the rather significant cost was quoted (I was a frugal bride!). While I still totally adore my wedding dress, when I look at the spectacular Sofia I am so glad to see what I had envisaged materialise so majestically. Who could achieve that but the daughter of a French lace distributor or a woman who cares not what she spends on her wedding dress? I think she looked utterly radiant, totally beautiful and madly in love. Just the way every bride should look.

To ease the sting of any wedding dress envy I may have had, it was my 2nd wedding anniversary yesterday and a chance to reflect on the real reason for a wedding. Don't get me wrong, the dress is important, but the person you marry is where it's at. Every day I feel grateful for the man I married. He is so kind, so considerate, so loving, so supportive, so dashing-in-a-suit and he makes me laugh. And that's really what it's all about.

I had the slim dress below the tulle - just not all that lace, and the tulle didn't detach. 

French lace... So divine

Happy days, big love
Weddings really are the best - especially your own. It remains the best day of my life. There is something very beautiful about being married. I highly recommend it.

Sofia's wedding pics courtesy of her Instagram account. My wedding pics courtesy of the extraordinarily talented and excellent Todd Hunter-McGaw. See more here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

As Another New High Street Store Opens in the Queen Street Mall...

An angel loses its wings. Or, more accurately, the joy of being overseas and snapping up bargains at international Zara, H&M and Uniqlo stores loses its lustre.

Of course it is fabulous for all Brisbanites who enjoy shopping that these stores have spread their wings to the Sunshine State, but a tiny part of me knows that I will rarely set foot in these shopping meccas - driven away by the teams of squealing teens and the racks of now utterly unappealing mass-manufactured clothes shoved onto cheap plastic coat hangers.

Then again. That brave, indefatigable consumer in me rises up and whispers ... "But you need new shoes". See you at Zara.

You can always count on Zara for the staples.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Finally - Banana Bread That's Not Cake

Not that we don't just love our cake, of course...

After my lifestyle retreat - which was fabulous (more on that later) - I really did notice the difference after removing sugar, alcohol and - yes, GASP - caffeine from my diet as well as adding a LOT more vegetables than this little meat-eater would ordinarily eat.  While I already eat pretty well, and try to limit my consumption of nasties (except the daily coffee ritual and my ongoing love affair with champagne), I certainly do look at recipes in a different light. 

I love to cook, and I tend to avoid highly-sugared meals anyway, but it's hard to have your friends over for brunch without loading them up with sugar. So here are some lovely options for you to consider that won't undo all the hard work you did at yoga the night before... ;o)

Healthy Banana Bread

This one is great any time of day, best served warm with lashings of tahini or coconut yoghurt. 

4 ripe bananas 
¼ cup coconut oil, melted 
¼ cup almond milk 
2 eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 tablespoon rice malt syrup 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg 
½ cup quinoa flakes 
½ cup coconut flour 
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder 
½ teaspoon Himalayan rock salt 
1 tablespoons chia seeds 
½ cup walnuts, chopped. 

Pre-heat oven to 165°C. 
Mash three of the bananas with a fork, add wet ingredients, stir to combine, then add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly, making sure mixture is moist.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased mini loaf tin. Slice fourth banana lengthways and press into the top of the mixture, brush with coconut oil and bake for approximately one hour, until brown on the outside and slightly moist in the middle. 
Serve with a lashing of butter, tahini, coconut oil or coconut yoghurt.

Easy Peasy Vegan Bircher Muesli

  • 5 pitted Medjool dates, finely chopped
  • 2 cups (190g) quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup (50g) LSA meal
  • 1/2 cup (35g) shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup (80g) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup (75g) slivered or chopped pistachios, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tsp each ground cinnamon, ground cardamom and ground ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1 orange (I left this out)
  • 3 cups (750ml) good-quality sugar-free almond milk (I replaced with coconut water)
  • 1 large green apple, grated, plus extra grated to serve
  • Thinly sliced seedless green grapes and flaked coconut, to serve
Soak the dates in 1/2 cup boiling water in a bowl until needed. For everything else (bar the grapes and pistachios), you know the drill: mix everything together and soak overnight. Serve the bircher topped with grapes, flaked coconut and pistachios or simply just with seasonal fruits, honey (if you need it) and Greek yoghurt. Note - you can basically add whatever nuts you want to this - I throw in whatever I have in the cupboard. You can also substitute quinoa flakes for rolled oats. Play with quantities as much as you like.