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2011 in review

New years is a time for reflecting- here is an A-Z review of my life in 2011

A- America– moving to New York has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Never have I been so happy, sad, rich, poor, lonely, inspired, exhausted, ecstatic, hungry or full!

B- Bike riding. Buying a bike was the best thing I could have done in New York. The most amazing way to get to know the city and so much fun for exploring and adventuring.

C- CHANEL– never ever would I have imaged working for the most prestigious luxury brand in the world

D- Dining out. So so so so many restaurants. It never ceases to amaze me just HOW MANY places there are to eat.

E- Eating. 2011 was a great year in my eating experiences- one highlight was the dessert selection at Brooklyn Japanese Restaurant 1or8.  

F- Food, and discovering that its more than an obsession with the necessity, it’s a way of life.

G- Georgie; rediscovering just how special being a twin is and how hard it is to live on the opposite sides of the world.

H- Happy. I always try to be happy and positive. It makes every day a lot more manageable and positive vibes bring good luck.

I- Independent. Living without family across the other side of the world.

J- Jessie. The best and most beautiful older sister anyone could hope for.

K- Karina. I don’t think I would have survived in New York without her. She is my constant source of entertainment, therapy, cuddles, cycling, cooking and outfit collaborating.

L- Love, breaking hearts and being heart broken and learning again that time and space is the only thing that heals.

M- Men. So many men in New York! I’ve never been on some many dates in my life.

N- New friends. I’ve met a lot of people in New York, some who will be friends for life and others who are good for a laugh.

O- Outkast. I’ve listened to Aquemini a lot this year.

P- Published. Getting The Bookery Cook signed to a publisher was one of the most rewarding and satisfying achievements, and I am so thankful for having written it with my two favourite ladies in the world, my sisters.

Q- Quick. I can’t believe how quickly the year went by.

R- Running. I still love running. Running beside the Hudson river and looking at the Statue of Liberty is a memory I will look back on forever.

S- Summer. I was lucky enough this year to have 2 summers. Stock piling sun before the wintertime hits!

T- Travel. I am so thankful for my parents to being so open-minded about letting me travel and move overseas.

U- Unique. I spent more time in my own company in 2011 and I’ve seen, heard and experience some of the most incredible things, and have driven myself slightly insane.

 

V- Visitors. I have been very fortunate this year to have some of my closest friends and family visit.

W- Woombye. Still the best place on earth.

X- Hmmm. X marks the spot? The spot where I am in life now, a crossroad of trying to decide where I want to live and what I want to be when I grow up.

Y- Yes. Trying to say ‘yes’ to everything that came my way and seeing where it could take me.

Z- Zebra print, buying possibly the best zebra print jacket in the world.

husband hunt

With March approaching quickly and the looming prospect of my visa not being extended, my next best option is marriage.

New York is full of men, so I am doing my best to narrow potential husbands into categories.

1. Professional athlete- I like beer and sports, so why not combine the two?

2. Chef/Cook/Food critic. I love food and living with someone who cooks for a living/gets paid to eat for a living would be a dream (I would then also need to have an affair with a personal trainer at some point).

3. A movie star. It’s New York and I work for CHANEL so this would be completing the dream.

4. A total stranger in fancy dress. He’s reading, enjoying the sun and  wearing a vintage sailor uniform. Enough said.

5. Someone with the last name ‘Martini’… Maxine Martini. I could live pool side for the rest of my life.

time to say ‘Goodbye’

Like any girl  I am rubbish at throwing away shoes. Running shoes I particularly struggle with. I think it’s because of the special bond I form with my running shoes, we have gone through so many times together- the good, the bad, the happy, the sad. This particular pair I am very sad to be parting with as they were there for me during my final year of university, through a break up and through my move overseas. I’d love to able to calculate how many km’s we’ve run together… I think it would be somewhere in the 1000’s.

old faithful shoes

But my shin splints, and sore right hip have been telling me that they can’t handle the worn out soles and flatten gel cushions anymore. They need comfort and support if they are going to allow me to keep running. So today I bought myself a new pair of running shoes.. ASCIS of course.

new flashy cushion soled, gel enhanced bouncy breezy shoes

 

we're friends right?

Thats the only problem with being a (semi) serious runner.. I can’t get the snazzy polka-dot black chic looking NIKE’s my heart desires, instead I have to get ‘proper’ running shoes.

jazzy trainers, for those who run a maximum of 1 mile a day...

Maybe in my next life I’ll design snazzy ‘proper’ running shoes, for other jazzy girls who have the same problem… ‘Lady Danger for Adidas’ I like it.

 

champagne campaign

At Christmas I was given a present by my twin sister that changed my life. That present was a pair of vintage high waisted jeans… but not your average denim numbers. These ones were special.. they are denim printed with vintage champagne labels. Anyone that knows me knows that I will never say no to a glass of champagne (who would?!) and these trousers are now one of my most prized possessions.

jean print

These babies were at the top of my moving to NYC packing list…. I thought that if anyone would appreciate them it would be the stylish New Yorkers. I had been saving their first outing for a special occasion, and then last night, after 6 days of straight work (this means wearing all black every day) I was determined to squeeze as many colours and prints into an outfit as possible… and hence the time was right for my champagne trousers to make their maiden voyage into the New York fashion scene.

print party

'morange' lips

Dressed in white gladiator sandals, champagne trousers, a blue and white striped bodysuit and bright orange lipstick, I was dressed and ready for dinner at a friends house, excited for my day of and feeling like a million dollars. Post dinner, on the way home at 1am,  I had my arm twisted to stop for a nightcap in a newly opened bar. Seemed nice inside with a good bunch of people until I began talking to one gentlemen.. after about 5 minutes of talking he looked me up and down and ask me if “my outfit was the result of loosing a bet”. I was speechless!

Instantly I thought of using Romy’s call (of Romy and Michelle) “Would you excuse me, I cut my foot before and my shoe is filling up with blood” Or saying no you twat. Take your button up shirt, black chinos, pointy shoes back to urban outfitters, drink a vodka soda and go talk to a girl in a tight dress. Instead I decided to not waste anymore time, oxygen or energy talking to a person that clearly was from a very different planet from me, I smiled and excused myself back to my friend at the bar.

And here I was thinking that you could wear anything out in New York and no one would look twice. Last weekend I wore a black sequin bra out instead of a top (38 degrees definitely warrants a bra as an top option) and no one said anything. Perhaps New York is just not man enough for my champagne trousers!

I say… man up New York!!!

Pimp My Life

I’ve been terrible at blogging at the moment. I’m trying to get back into the swing of working full time and balancing fun, life, running, eating and occasionally sleeping!

Working at CHANEL is brilliant… and after 3 weeks I’ve finally stopped feeling completely out of my depth and started to settle right in to my role as ‘Customer Service Ambassador’ (fancy huh!).

Another reason why I LOVE MY JOB is the perks… make up, perfume, invitations to parties, constant supply of champagne and also my amazing bosses- who are total babes, and hilarious. It’s a lovely place to work, we call it the United Nations, as every one who works there is from a different country, so conversations in the lunch room are often in a hum of Spanish, Swedish, Russian, Chinese and then my loud harsh Australian voice!

So everyone who works there says that once you start working for CHANEL you never want to leave and it completely takes over your life.

Walking around my apartment this morning… I can see  CHANEL taking over my life already.. who knows what I’ll be like in 2, 5 or 10 years time!

CHANEL keeping it cool on the fridge

Classy

window watching

Liquid gold

make over party

On Thursday night there was a party in-store (for a models birthday)- dressed head-to-toe in CHANEL I’ve never looked more expensive. Black mini dress, black cat eyes, nude lips and these absolutely incredible amazing shoes…..

Nothing but love

Ahhhh life! Off to work!

forgotten fruit

I owe an apology to a certain fruit- figs.  How could i ever have forgotten about you! I do apologise! I love you in every form, fresh, dried, baked, poached and caramalised. I don’t even mind that you make me look pregnant when I buy a packet of you dried when I’m really hungry and end up eating the majority of you.

I think I had figs on the brain after reading this lovely article entitled ‘Thirteen Ways with Figs’ on the gastronomista blog last night.

Figs, you are especially delicious in my salad tonight which also contains; poached chicken, fried eggplant, caramlised red onion, burnt figs, roasted sunflower seeds, rocket and cucumber. Delicious on a not-so-balmy New York spring time evening, and you go surprisingly well with whiskey (the only booze I have in the house and I can’t really be bothered leaving) so, for tonight, whiskey will do, and I’m not complaining.

burnt fig and eggplant salad

LIFE
I’ve been feeling  a bit rubbish today. Very rubbish. I had a terrible sleep last night, the one where you wake up every hour and never feel that you properly get to sleep and just generally feeling pretty average.. so when I woke up at half 5 this morning I decided to get up and go for a run. I listened to another ‘Food Seen’ podcast from my new favourite friends at Heritage Radio- this time with British Jelly pioneers or ‘Jellymongers’ Bompas & Parr. And I fell in love, yet again. God dam those british accents get me every time! And not to mention their very witty sense of humour… I spent most of my run in a constant giggle. I did record a little caption of it, but cannot for the life of me figure out how to upload an .m4a file to wordpress. So if you want to hear it, go to the Heritage Radio Network podcast’s and download episode 49, and scroll fast-forward the 40 min mark.. or just listen to the whole thing. You won’t regret it. Please excuse my untechsaviness.

Today, feeling a bit fragile and sleepy, after meeting a friend for brunch I came home and did something VERY out of character for me. I watched a film during the day. Yes I did get up a couple of times to make tea, check emails and walk around but I watched a film during the day, and you know what.. . I didn’t even feel bad about it! It was a ‘food’ film I’d been meaning to see for years; Like Water for Chocolate.  I adored it and was crying like a big girl by the end of it!

FASHION
I almost died today. Chloe Sevigny walked into the same little bookstore as me on Bond St and I immediately cursed myself for looking particularly underwhelming today (Lady Danger lipstick excluded). And let me say she is equally if not better looking in person. Dam I want to be you, or a least your best friend so I can borrow your clothes.

Tonight I’m having a night in, going to drink at least 3 glasses of whiskey, watch Mostly Martha and get a goods nights sleep before tomorrow’s potluckslideshow event, The Beautiful Bountiful Brooklyn Tasting Hour. I’m very, very, very excited about this and am teaming up with a new found chef friend to create a tasting plate to contribute to the ‘pot luck’ side of the event. We are still finalising our exact dish, so stay tuned for photos, tasting reviews and hopefully a whole new bunch of food fanatic friends.

Over&Eat.

lifes little lessons

LIFE

I’ve been spending a lot of time on my own this week, pottering about, and don’t get me wrong I’m down with hanging out with me, myself and I, but sometimes you can do your own head in. So I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts.. not surprisingly related to food. During my researching into the underground food scence in NYC I stumbled across an interview with one of the founders of potluckslideshow (the organisers of the Beautiful Bountiful Brooklyn Tasting Hour!) on the Heritage Radio Network. The radio station only takes about food. What a dream. I’m listening to a podcast at the moment with the girls from Gastonomista, who I have to say I have completely fallen head over heels in love with. I want to be them!! Did I mention that one of their favourite combinations of food is absinthe and oysters. Babes.

“…everybody thinks that because we are girls we only like cupcakes. Sure we like cupcakes but we also like bourbon”

Another thing that I have fallen in love with is this (which I found on their blog).

best invention ever

Perfect for the lady or gentlemen who doesn’t have a basket to put their wine in when cycling to a romantic dinner date or picnic- and at $25, you’d be crazy not to get one. Buy it here.

FASHION

I learnt my lesson yesterday about cycling in inappropriate clothing. My favourite ankle length sheer white skirt is now ripped and grease stained. Silly me thought it would be a great garment for cycling in, yet as soon as I hoped on my bike and zipped around the corner, I could cycle no further due to my skirt being wrapped in the chain of my bike. Fortunately, I was able to rip the skirt out and didn’t have to awkwardly wobble home with the bike wrapped around me, nor did I have to take the skirt off completely and walk home in my knickers with my bike wearing the skirt (kind of wish I had to now, would have made for a funnier story!).

poor skirt!

detail of the damage

I’m going to try and dye it grey or black, or maybe tie dye it so it is not completely ruined! I will be very sad to say goodbye to this summery beauty (and just when the weather is getting warm!!). So will I cycle in any more ankle length garments? Yes, I will just remember to tuck the dress firmly into my knickers before getting on my bike.

FOOD

Yesterday was so so beautiful and sunny so I spent the day cycling about the city on my bike. Cycling along the Hudson river on a sunny day is amazing- so many people out and about. I also discovered a new bar- a place called The Frying Pan. An old boat that is converted into a bar. I was drawn to it by the beautiful wooden archway leading up to the boat. Built in 1929, this historic lightship (one of the few remaining) is said to have spent three years at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay before being salvaged and brought to Chelsea Piers to become the ultimate “dive” bar. The boat, docked on a railroad car barge, boasts a musty, barnacle-encrusted interior (complete with catwalks and an exposed engine room) straight out of a Nine Inch Nails video. The far end of the barge often serves as a moody dj lounge and stage for live acts. On the pier, a tiki bar serves up booze and burgers, and a 16-foot observation plank offers a fantastic view of activities on the Hudson… and perfect for any time of the day drinking in the sun. It would have been rude of me not to stop and have a beer.

The Frying Pan

Having a pint of heavy cream (you cant just call it ‘cream’ in this country as people think you are talking about ‘crema’ for your coffee) left in the fridge, and an unstoppable craving for needing to eat ricotta all the time, I decided to try my luck at making it. Seemed simple enough, cream, milk, lemon, curdle, drain and let sit. Unfortunately not! I think I may have gone wrong in a few places; not adding enough lemon juice, not letting it curdle enough, or the fact that I had to use calico instead of muslin only because guy in the fabric store was being a creep and ogling at me (like he’d never seen a girl in tight high waisted jeans and a cropped t-shirt, he was about 55 so surely he lived through the 80’s right?!) so I took whatever he gave me and was out of there quick smart. The calico was obviously way to thick so the liquid didn’t drain fast enough, and all the curdling sort of collapsed. I’m going to make a trip back to the wonderland that is Cake & Bake to get some muslin and to have another go at making it tomorrow… fingers crossed I’ll have fresh ricotta to enjoy for breakfast Saturday morning. Maybe even make orange & ricotta pancake. yum!

ricotta attempt #1

DESIGN

I hardly ever make clothing for anyone else. I’m not sure why, I guess maybe I feel as though it’s quite an intimate thing to do, like you are giving a piece of yourself away? Too poetic? Anyway, after a recent late night wine infused skype conversation with a good friend, I decided to make him a t-shirt. For some reason or another we were ranting about numbers and he mentioned that his favourite number was 24. When asked why, he said ‘because it relates to so many things, 24hrs in a day…’ and then couldn’t think of anything else- great reasoning! So when going to sleep that night I decided to design a t-shirt print based on the number 24. Here is the result.

final print design

Obviously all the things on the shirt relate to the number 24 (I may have lied about the egg yolks in a gin&lime tart, but I remember there being a lot.

the 'how many hassell's in da house' t-shirt

The shirt was an early birthday present/ good luck on your world tour present, as the band that my friend is in just left of a big tour. Here’s a plug for them… they are called SEEKAE. 3 three piece electronic music act that are brilliant (no bias of course). They are playing at a bunch of places throughout the UK and a few festivals…. dates and tickets are available here. Fingers crossed they’ll make it over to NYC!

here’s one of my favourite tracks of the new album +Dome. Seekae: Reset Head

And just to end with. My brilliant friend in the UK sent me this.. now that I work for Chanel, I have to be polished in everything that I do. Even behind closed doors!

Over&Eat