Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kitchen Disaster...

I have just sorted out my clean laundry pile. It took me FOUR hours. FOUR. With no distractions and no rest breaks. Yes, yes. The glamorous pace continues here at chez Nicholas.

Here is last night's dinner...
Looks lovely doesn't it?

Well. It wasn't.

Yesterday I was having one of those multiple disaster days. Thus spilling a glass of water led to putting the rescued glass on the corner of the table which led to it being knocked on the floor which (not surprisingly) led to shattered glass everywhere, which led to the dog being outside, which led to the dog eating alpaca poo from the spud patch, which led to the dog being sick... and so on

So when it came to cooking lasagna for dinner, I was unsurprised to find that we had no beef stock left - I substituted Vegemite in hot-water (not exactly gourmet, but I figured it'd do) - and no lasagna sheets left either - which led to a strange assortment of left-over pastas being used and dinner downgraded to a pasta bake.

THEN I got distracted by facebook (hi Wend and Liz, yay we're friends now - please, please do not tell my husband about all the men I slept with at CSU. K? thxbai). This led to the mince being cremated. But, undefeated, I scraped off the un-burntest bits and shoved them in with the pasta.

THEN it came time for the white sauce - no drama's there. Well not until I had a bright idea. You see I have this vile vile fish oil that Jessica the naturopath insists I eat for my omega threes. I went on strike because it is so utterly vile, and we have compromised - I now take the evil stuff in capsule form. At the time Jessica suggested that I use the leftover fish liquid in cooking, to held the kids with their omega threes.

So, as if burnt mince wasn't enough, I add a huge tablespoon of orange flavoured fish oil to the white sauce thinking the cheese/milk/whatever will cover it.


Oh so very wrong.

The best way to describe dinner last night was overcooked pasta with mince that first tasted a bit fake-orangy, then tasted very burnt, with a really really offensive lingering aftertaste of fish.


Hubby ate it.


Sunday, July 26, 2009


Blowing bubbles in the garden. Yes I am wearing a blanket.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


The Bunker is finished. Done and dusted and off being torn to bits by various readers. Its occupied me fairly fully for the last month or so, and now that its off my mind for a while I'm catching up with the other things I love to do. Namely cooking and gardening - oh and my children. OH OKAY. Cooking and gardening.

Actually, I have been doing some reading to improve my parenting...

I'm not sure that its working - not the books fault of course - as every time I try to meditate I either fall asleep or get bored and remember something vital I should be doing. I KNOW I need to practice. But...

Buddhism for Mothers is a good book, and I do seriously recommend it for anyone with young kids. The advice about being 'present' with your children is so relevant and useful, also its worth reading just for the stories of embarrassing things other people's children do to them.

My drive for sustainability continues. We've reduced both our water and electricity bills, though not as much as I'd like. But progress has been made. I've also taken another step in loosening the grip of the supermarket on my life. Bought a yoghurt maker (more later). This has led to me investigating further dairy products I can make at home. So far I've had huge sucess with making ricotta (all you do is boil milk, add lemon juice, strain - too easy). Next experiment is creme fraiche.

I have been doing glorious things to the potato patch, namely spreading alpaca poo (courtesy of Jock and Pepe - Mumndad's alpacas) all over it. Which the dog is helpfully eating. BLESS HIM and my children who keep treading in the vomited up results. I love my life. No really.

See he looks cute. BUT HE IS THE DEVIL.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Here is how I am going with my 'new look'

New Look

Just sortin out a new look. Cannot do it in private, no the world must see the blog in its underpants (which, it must be noted, is a happier sight than me in my underpants).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We're all going on a winter holiday...

Firstly - MANY CONGRATULATIONS to my sister, who had my second nephew on Tuesday. Alex is a teeny weeny 2.5kgs (5.5lbs) but doing well regardless. My sister is having a couple of dramas due to the epidural and is suffering the mother of all headaches. So gigantic hugs to her and best wishes from all of us. WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU.

Anyway, enough gushing.

Leura. Alluring Leura. Up in the Blue Mountains, just a hop, skip and a jump from Mumndads house.

Oh sigh.

I'd like to say it was huge fun, but I was in the company of two children who were devastated because they did not see a mountain that was blue. Two days of "but I want to see the blue mountain. MUMMY. I. WANT. TO SEE. THE. BLUE MOUNTAAAAAAAIN. Waaah."

sigh. sigh. sigh.

They were excited. SO excited. So excited that they didn't sleep, and forgot how to behave in cafes (or public or private or anywhere). Places my children had tantrums...
  1. Car park at Echo point
  2. Echo point
  3. Car park of holiday flat in Leura
  4. Stairs of holiday flat in Leura (one on each flight - yes stereo)
  5. Holiday flat in Leura
  6. Leura main street
  7. Leura Cascades
  8. Leura Toy and Train Museum
  9. Loaves and Fishes in Leura
  10. Leura Bookshop
  11. Car on the way to Blackheath
  12. Govett's Leap carpark
  13. Govett's Leap
  14. Govett's Leap information centre
  15. Cafe in Blackheath
  16. Main street in Blackheath
  17. Non-stop screaming until they passed out at 8pm
  18. 4.30am Miss Five upset due to hubby snoring (tell me about it sweetie)
  19. 5am Passing train deemed to be thunderstorm
  20. Leaving Leura holiday flat (stairs and carpark)
  21. Most of the way to Norman Lindsey house at Springwood (mostly because the didn't like the sun OR the view was on the wrong side of the car)
  22. At Norman Lindsey cafe
  23. Norman Lindsey garden
  24. Car down to Nonna and Granpa's house

Fun times.

I'm going to go and lie on the couch in a comatose haze now...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Guest Blogging

I'm guest blogging today over at the lovely Selena Illyria's blog as part of her Australian Heat Week. Go, see me babble about The Bunker - which is going to be FINISHED in a couple of hours (ie Saturday night). Woo hoo.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fairy Party

Holee Mother of God. I had heard that kids birthday parties were as bad as arranging a wedding (I always want to write weeding? Why is that?) but this week I have experienced this first hand. There were outfits, and cakes, and catering, and bonboniere, and balloons, and decorations...

And the actual birthday itself, several days before the party, led to an influx of barbie dolls dressed as whores and transvestites. Miss Five's take on it was... "I think Barbie needs some knickers on. She can have Snow White's." Yes, in keeping with her reputation the Snow White doll was the only one who arrived wearing suitable underwear (or any underwear at all for that matter).
The party has taken the best part of this week to sort out. But, it was a success - you have never seen so many happy little fairies! The wand decorating which I though would interest them for five minutes kept them all busy for half an hour; and the fairy skirts, which I thought there'd be fights over, were utterly ignored. I now have ten fairy skirts from the Hot Dollar shop that'll fit anyone with a six inch waist or smaller. I'm sure they'll come in useful.

Cooked masses of food. Including sausage rolls, chicken mini-pies, chicken spring rolls...
And of course a pink marshmallows and cupcakes birthday cake.
Hubby, of course, was not to be outdone and made sure it was All-About-Him by 'accidentally' standing on a rusty nail. He is presently at the doctor getting a tetnus shot and may have to have his entire leg amputated due to gangrene - well that is what you'd think if you saw him limping. Oh I KNOW I should be more sympathetic (and I am, no really) but there are leftover cupcakes...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Breakfast at Tiffanys: Only it was after lunch and stinky cheese was involved

So late last week I changed out of my usual food spattered, snot smeared outfit, got all gussied up (including shoes with a 1.5cm heel and even mascara - which I might add, I didn't even rub into panda eyes until I GOT HOME - yes it seems as I get closer to 40 I am finally learning about makeup) caught public transport (hi there small chinese lady eating raw garlic behind me on the train - I've not forgotten you, no doubt you had no idea I even existed - well how could you THROUGH THAT FUG). And, met up with the sublime Jess Dee at the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place in Sydney.We had no good reason for meeting up, except that it was an excuse to eat chocolate. I immediately realised we were both on the same page when Jess persuaded me to eat waffles FOR LUNCH - with... wait for it.... NO savories first - because that would've spoiled it. Yes, it was almost as wild as the time I drank a large part of a keg of beer and then went swimming in the Murrumbidgee River downstream from a very dead cow. (Ah CSU Wagga).

Anyhoo. We ate chocolate, drank chocolate and then I bought more chocolate - although not the usual Lindt bars as I knew it was On Sale at Coles for half the price. Oh how thrifty am I?? Did you know that Lindt Lindor balls came in flavours like peanut butter AND cinnamon. I was amazed, but then, as we all know I am very easily amazed. Or is that amused? Er.

Well, we found ourselves all hyped up, unwilling to return to the suburbs from whence we'd come and at a loose end. So we went shopping. Sensibly our first stop was the Sydney GPO building, where poor Jess found herself dragged to a lovely little cheese shop deep underground. Of course I HAD to buy this incredibly stinky brie that I saw there. Stinky is probably a slight understatement, polite people would say it smelled like old socks, but I am not polite (I am, according to my mother; crass and have a stumpy neck). No, that dear brie smelled like a thousand people had farted in a jar and then they had buried the jar under a chook shed and poured decomposing seaweed liquid over it once a week for a hundred years.

So where do you think we went next... Armani? Prada? Tiffanys? Yes. All three. (OH OKAY, we didn't go to Prada because we were scared of the scowly shop assistant creature at the front door). Really though, the brie showed some restraint in battling its way out of my handbag until we arrived in the rarefied atmosphere of Tiffanys. Suddenly every time I stopped to look at something sparkly I could smell it.Really, its rather difficult to be swanning about pretending that you could actually buy some of the things there, when you smell like a fart in a jar.

Today I finished eating the cheese. Of the last six nights it has made its welcome presence felt every single time I opened the fridge, I have eaten it five. And, coincidentally I have had indigestion five times as well. Yes. A cheese that once I'd have had for breakfast, now defeats me.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Am having website issues. There has been a fire at my webhosting people's place. One of the servers that burnt down had www.caitlynnicholas.com on it. SIGH. SIGH. SIGH. Therefore I cannot access the site to update it and it dissapears periodically.

Sorry about that.


Secret Intentions

Out today: 7th July 2009

The Book Depository (free international postage): http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781605043272/Secret-Intentions

Amazon: Click here

Mybookstore and More: I'll update the link the very second it goes live on their website http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/


Zani hesitated outside her front door, fumbling with nervous fingers for the right key. She glanced back at Corbin, who smiled genially and made no sign of leaving. Fang, who’d spent the evening alone in her basket, could be heard barking her head off. The moment Zani managed to get the door open, she shot out ready to defend her mistress against all foes.
“Is this your guard dog?” asked Corbin, laughing as Fang’s paroxysms of barking faded into interested sniffing.
“That’s Fang,” she said, grasping at the conversation with relief.
“Fang? An interesting name for such a small, sweet dog.”
“She’s purebred, and her official name is Princess Cherry Wuffles III. The breeder named her, and I couldn’t bear the thought of either Cherry or Wuffles,” babbled Zani.
“Ah, I see,” said Corbin, who didn’t seem inclined to hurry back to the art gallery.
“Coffee?” she asked, her voice catching, even though she was sure he’d refuse.
He nodded. Her heart, which, up to that point had been thudding a little faster than usual, stopped. “Um,” she said after a short pause, during which her heart resumed operations.
“Should we go inside?” he suggested.
“Yes, I think inside would be an excellent idea.” With the air of one who regularly entertained large Frenchmen, she showed him through to the tiny sitting room just inside the front door.
“Very nice.” He examined the room with interest, but didn’t sit down. “Why shorten it to Fang?” he asked, following her up the hall to the kitchen.
“She sensibly bit my brother when she was a puppy. It was more of a firm suck really, but he’s never got over it.”
“So you called her Fang to remind your brother of this?” Perceptively Corbin touched on a can of worms that Zani was not going to discuss. She was keenly aware it may seem mean-spirited to anyone who didn’t know Paul.
“It’s a complicated situation,” she said, and turned away to busy herself with cups and the kettle. Conversation over.
Having the unexpectedly observant Corbin in her home was unsettling on a level beyond the whole mess at Sunberri. The men in her family including Sebastian, the man her father dreamed she’d marry, were all so self-absorbed that they rarely, if ever, asked her about herself, and then it was only to cover social niceties before steering the conversation back onto themselves. She wasn’t used to men who actually listened to her.
One thing was clear.
Her task was to prove Corbin was leaking company secrets in order to take over Sunberri. It was not to have cozy kitchen table chats after art gallery exhibitions.
She tried to think of something that would politely get rid of him, glancing at the phone and willing it to ring. An emergency, nothing too serious, but an emergency nonetheless would be perfect. True to form the phone did precisely the opposite of what she wanted and remained silent. She racked her brain to come up with something that wouldn’t make the next day at work awkward, but decided the best strategy was to get rid of him as quickly as she could, and instead, like Polly, she put the kettle on.
He hadn’t seemed to take her coffee invitation on anything but face value, but perhaps he was just biding his time. She examined him closely for biding. Settled comfortably at the kitchen table, he’d bent to pay more attention to Fang, who gazed up at him adoringly. The tart.
Out of both coffee and milk, Zani put a large mug of peppermint tea in front of Corbin. To his credit he peered into the cup and looked only briefly horrified. Unwilling to get any closer to him than she had to, she retreated to the safety of leaning against the bench top.
“Nice house,” he said, glancing around the kitchen, at its scrubbed wood table, marble bench tops and giant fridge.
She could almost hear him thinking “a bit too nice for an unemployed secretary who lives alone”.
“My mother left it to me when she died.” As most people did when they heard that news, Corbin looked discomforted.
“I’m sorry to hear it.”
“Oh, don’t be, it was years ago. She died of breast cancer.” Zani adopted a breezy tone designed to put Corbin at ease and declare the subject closed. She suppressed the small twist of grief that always accompanied any conversation about her mother.
“You miss her. No?”
Zani felt a flare of irritation. Bloody man, couldn’t he see that she didn’t want to talk about it?
“No. Yes, I mean of course I do. She died when I was fifteen, and Dad never got over it. He didn’t have a clue what to do with me. It was so hard…”
Corbin looked at her with such sympathy that it made her skin prickle uncomfortably. He didn’t need to know these things; they just made her and her family more vulnerable. Grabbing the cloth from the sink, she briskly wiped down the immaculate bench tops, her back to Corbin, her expression hidden.
“It was a long time ago,” she tossed over her shoulder. “Now tell me, which part of France were you born in?” To Zani’s relief Corbin took the hint and began to chat about his idyllic childhood at La Rochelle, in the west of France. She neatly folded the cloth. But he watched her with an air of speculation that made Zani want to fidget. As if he’d figured out something important.
He finished the peppermint tea with a grimace and placed the cup firmly on the table.
“I should go. Thank you for the cup of…of…it was quite interesting.”
“Thank you for walking me home, and thanks again for giving me another chance to work for you.” Zani began a farewell patter that lasted all the way back down the hall to the front door. Her bourgeoning relief faded when she opened the door, looked up to say a final goodbye and caught Corbin’s eye.
There was an almost predatory gleam, and it put Zani’s senses on high alert. Suddenly she became aware of how close he stood in the narrow doorway. She smelled his piquant masculine scent and the peppermint of the tea he’d drunk. He half muttered a curse in French, and bent toward her.
He’s going to kiss me, she thought a moment before his lips met hers.
Startled, she stiffened and tried to pull away, but his arm snaked around her waist, pulling her closer.
He is kissing me. Her mouth opened under his gentle pressure and Zani forgot any thoughts of resistance. Her lashes lowered as she gave herself up to the sensation.
She felt giddy, as if she’d drunk too much champagne. Frigid air drifted around them from outside, but she barely noticed. Only Fang shivered as she sat in the hallway and watched the kissing couple with an air of resignation.
Somewhere in the back of Zani’s mind a small voice was shouting. Telling her to stop, telling her that the last thing in the world she should be doing is kissing. But kissing Corbin was like eating Belgian chocolate. You knew you shouldn’t eat another, that one more would be too much, but you eat another anyway. Despite your noblest intentions you can’t resist the temptation. It’s almost an addiction.
He pulled her closer and deepened the kiss. Zani twined her arms around his neck and, like butter in the sun, melted against him.
Then the kiss was over. Corbin’s embrace relaxed infinitesimally, and Zani drew away from him. Self-loathing overwhelmed her in seconds. Fury uncoiled in the pit of her stomach and she stumbled ungracefully backwards into the safety of the house, slamming the door.
“What the hell am I doing?” she asked Fang, who stood in the hallway watching her with a quizzical expression. “What the bloody hell do I think I’m doing?”


AND, if you needed anymore convincing...

Fallen Angel Reviews: http://www.fallenangelreviews.com/2009/January/RachelC-SecretIntentions.htm

Monday, July 06, 2009

Food and Wine Show

So. Last Friday hubby and I pottered off to the bacchanalian feast that is the Sydney Food and Wine show. Pic of booty... I have not attended the F&W show before. Generally I lack the motivation to even know when these things are on - I mean ffs its a miracle my family is cleaned and fed - what more do you people want. However, the knowledge that Kath and Kim's fave beverage is Chardonnay (and no doubt filling up brain cell space that should be occupied remembering what to do when traffic lights turn red) stood me in good stead and the loves at Kampai gave me free tickets for answering the question correctly.

OMG. Well, why did nobody tell me that it was an orgy of drunken middle-aged ladies, porky celebrity chefs and providors flogging everything from microfibre wipes (WTF?) to teabags sewn with gold thread by nubile nymphs living on Mt Olympus (well that's how much they cost anyway - and did I buy them? HELL YES)?

My first celebrity chef spotting was Manu from Ready Steady Cook, he was sitting in one of those vibrating chair thingys and talking on his mobile. I would've skibbled over for a photo, but had a nasty collision with a woman, two wine glasses hung around her neck, one slopping red wine over her left boob and the other slopping white over her right. Mmm. Classy lady. Anyway, she tottered off and fell over a garbage bin, and hubby and I got distracted by the absinthe tasting stand.

Needless to say at 60% proof I was shortly in no state to sneer at anyone falling over garbage bins AND owned my very own bottle of absinthe.

I can go no further without mentioning the chocolate.

So you take that stick, put the chocolate end in hot milk, then you are on a fast trip to warm melty chocolatly bliss.

Final thing that I loved...

Caramelised balsamic vinegar.


To sodding much to do...

Here is a list of what I have to do this week...
  1. Finish the rewrites for The (will this book never end) Bunker
  2. Update the website for the release of the print version of Secret Intentions - uh, tomorrow
  3. Do some blogging (tick :))
  4. Organise a fairy party (including godhelpme fairy food, fairy decorations and fairy games)
  5. Buy & wrap presents, and generally make a fuss about Miss four turning (holy crap) FIVE
  6. Send both children to pre-school in pyjamas (clean) for end of term pyjama party.
  7. Go and visit my parents - who are on the cusp of building a house and Not Coping
  8. Worry about my sister and her baby due in a couple of weeks. But shhh, don't tell her, she doesn't like it.
  9. Get the dog castrated (I'm not making that up, and I'm only mentioning it because I presently only have one pair of knickers left that don't have teethmarks in them).
  10. Buy self new knickers - for in case I get hit by a bus and end up in heaven trying to explain teethmarked knickers.

So, its going to be a busy week. Plus I've got a couple of catchup posts about my trip to the Food and Wine show and lunch with the divine Jess Dee at the Lindt Cafe. So stay tuned...