Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Luggage Challenge

On Saturday I'm leaving for a three week solo trip to Europe for work - and pleasure. I have a notorious reputation as a 'heavy' traveller. Dozens of items get thrown into my luggage 'just in case' - just in case I'm invited to afternoon tea with the Queen...just in case I go to a black tie dinner... just in case. Of course these just in cases never happen and I find I've lugged half my wardrobe to the other side of the world and back, some of it never worn, paying excess or check-in fees, wasting time at baggage carousels, and generally being annoyed by my cumbersome 'essentials'.

This trip I've decided to road test a different way to travel.

The Holly GoLightly method.

I'm only taking a 50cm x 30cm x 20cm carry on bag, a computer case and my hand bag.
A small bag will give me plenty of travel options. I can carry it on board or check it in and lift it easily onto Eurostar train baggage racks without waiting pathetically for a bloke to help me.

This is my first clothing cull of mix and match pants, skirts and tops, and a few scarves to dress up my outfits for meetings. They will need to be reduced by half if I am to have any hope of getting them into my little bag.
The big plus is that I'm travelling to the Northern Hemisphere during their spring/summer so no need for thick winter woolies. I'm going to take one jumper and one coat (which I'll wear onto the plane)

My biggest problem is shoes. I want to take a pair of boots, my runners, some stylish walking shoes and some sandals. (I'm afraid Imelda is rearing her head.) And I still have to squeeze in my cosmetic bag!

Tomorrow will see the final cull and the 'Closing of the Bag' challenge without the need to sit on it.

Any tips you may have on travelling lightly would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I hate aphids

My mother always told me not to 'hate' anything (she found the word offensive) so I'm going to revise that and intensely dislike aphids.
Look what they've done to my broccoli plant! They've infested most of the leaves.
They're turning an aneamic yellow. They've having their life sucked out of them - literally. 
And why did I sign up to this organic pest control boloney? Pest Oil and garlic spray aren't making any in-roads. As soon as one colony is knocked out ten spring up in their place.
I've even brought Barney my baby praying mantis in from his usual position on the lemon tree to help with the offensive (you may just be able to see his little silhouette on the far left of the picture).
 I rail against the use of pesticides in our food but now I have some sympathy for our commercial growers.
Gardeners have a love/hate relationship with insects. They give life and they takeith away.
Sometimes I wish I derived as much enjoyment out of my balcony edibles as they did!
When you only have one broccoli plant growing you get kinda attached to it.. ok.... you get a little obsessive. 
I made some market-bought broccoli tossed with pesto and hand-cut pasta last night and it made me even more impatient for my little broccolis to hatch.
I don't know if I will win this battle.
But I sure as hell am not going to give up without a fight.
En guarde Aphids - To the death! (Yours hopefully. Not mine)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Foodie Destination: Manly

The sky was dark and moody and the surf was up.

Magic light on the Norfolk Pines

Book an ocean-view room at the Sebel Manly Beach and enjoy a cocktail in the quirky downstairs bar/restaurant Manly Wine. I'm in love with their lush rainforest-inspired vertical wall.

Dinner was at the new foodie hotspot -The Manly Pavilion 

With views like this no wonder its being compared to the Amalfi Coast.
Dinner was better than the view (if that is posssible) - sydney rock oysters, pea and basil gnocchi with crab and burnt butter and roasted pork belly.

The morning tide washing over the ocean sea pool

a morning walk to Shelley beach...

And then lunch at the Whitewater Restaurant.... tuna and salmon salad with mandarin,shaved fennel, jalapeno pepper and finger lime..

and a middle-eastern inspired tomato, goats cheese, pine nuts and caper salad

 Supped and rested... and a ferry back home...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Autumn on the Edible Balcony

I'm getting up with the sun at the moment so I don't miss a second of this extraordinary morning light

I could take endless shots of the borage flowers and the gossamer filaments on their stalks

The traffic below is starting to stir - garbage trucks and delivery vans. Sadly as the light strengthens so does the city's hustle and bustle.

so near and yet so far...

the edible balcony looking east

I've put my orchids around the base of the curry leaf tree in the dappled light.
They should start flowering in the next month or so. They're the only plant on the balcony that isn't edible although vanilla pods are derived from the dried tendrils of some orchid varieties

in the foreground is more borage, then sage, rainbow chard, nasturtiums, strawberries, basil, chillies and red peppers

Here are the golden podded peas, broccoli and just out of shot is the clumping pumpkin and organic garlic

Under the edible wall  I've planted some heritage radish that will hopefully come up in yellows, pinks as well as reds.
And right in the corner is a dwarf meyer lemon tree which has just started to flower.

soft, strong-petalled, and slightly lemon-scented - purty!


Happy 101 Award

And a big thank you to Jo from 'A Dash of Flavour'

for giving Saucy Onion a Happy 101 Award.

The rules of accepting this award are as follows:

- Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
- Pass the award onto 10 bloggers.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.
- Lists things that make you happy

Here are the 10 blogging sites I'd like to pass on this award to

And the things that make me happy are:
My husband Mark
My garden
Great food
My friends and family
A ferry trip on Sydney Harbour
Swimming in the ocean
Slowing down and living deeply.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Edible Balcony - Cyril and Marge drop by with Vaughn and Meredith

                     Vaughn: Oh, I say Cyril, what! This is a spiffing location. And wonderful that it's in Potts Point. So close to the yacht club. Isn't it marvellous Meredith?

Meredith: Yes, dear.

Vaughn: How did you hear about it Cyril?

Cyril: A Terry Durack restaurant review. Can't say I agree with all his comments - not everyone is into fresh herbs and vegetables. I'd like to see some fruit and maybe a grevillea or two.

Marge: Oh Cyril stop grumbling! You're the one who likes coming here more than I do. You're here every morning and every evening without fail. I think you're quite smitten.

Cyril: The only thing I'm smitten with is you Marge.

Marge: Aw shucks Cyril...

Vaughn: Come on you two. You're meant to be Rainbow Lorikeets not Love Birds!
Why don't we pop in to the yacht club for a soda? I want to sharpen my beak on that new wooden clipper that docked this morning.