Saturday, 24 January 2015

My Melbourne : Guide to beer geekery in Melbourne, Australia Day

We interrupt our self imposed blogging break to bring you an important guide : 

Where to find the best beer in Melbourne this long Australia Day weekend.

It occurred to me last night as I was scrolling through Instagram that we are indeed spoilt for choice when it comes to great, locally made and locally poured BEER. It'd be a shame to drink anything but the best....wouldn't you agree ???

TWO BIRDS : Two local Melbourne gals making great beer. Need I say more ? 
You can find Two Birds in many a good bar and bottle shop, but why not head to Spotswood and visit the brewery and tasting room. 

Carwyn Cellars : One of our favourite local Thornbury haunts, Carwyn Cellars is not just a bottle shop with exceptional fridge line up, but also great bar with over SIXTEEN taps of awesome craft beer. This long weekend, the lads even have two brews brewed just for them (and for our drinking pleasure) by the motley crew of brewers below. 

Summer in Melbourne to me, is the tennis, cricket, Midsumma, crazy weather and embracing the tennis watching crowds at Rod Laver and Fed Square. Conveniently located amongst all of this is Beer Deluxe with it's exceptional craft beer list, outside tables and live music. 

Taylor Swift controversary aside, it wouldn't be Australia Day without Triple J's Hottest 100. The annual countdown of the best songs of the year as voted by the listening public. A very local haunt and home of Northern Regards, Northcote Social Club will have the countdown and 3 Ravens in the fridge to keep you hydrated with a very tasty brew. 

Did you know that Triple J is not the only Hottest 100 happening on Australia Day ?? For months, craft beer lovers (geeks) have been voting on their favourite brews. All will be revealed at The Local Taphouse StKilda with a bbq (of course) on Australia Day. My tip is that the very drinkable Hop Hog may just take the top spot again. 

Our favourite beer garden in town and (almost very) regular Sunday haunt, The Alehouse Project has TWELVE taps of rotating beer goodness ! Seriously, we've never been dissapointed by the line up or great service. And they love Wogan.

Slightly cheekily, I've left this last reccomendation to last, even though it's on TODAY. But you see, I really don't want everyone rushing to The Rooks Return tonight and risk the keg of (one of the best beers EVER) Barrel Fermented Hop Hog running out before we get at least two pints each. 
Selfish ? Yes. Worth it ? Yes ! And now you know where to find us tonight........

So, there you have it. My guide to drinking exceptionally good beer and enjoying this beautiful long weekend in Melbourne.

Hope you have a great one whatever you are doing. And the hope the beer (or wine, or even cider) is cold and locally made. 


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

And just like's NYE !

So the Christmas tree(s) are down and the calender declares that it is December 31 - New Years Eve.

Although, if at any minute, Ashton Kutcher runs in and screams
"PUNKED ! It's only July 31st"...........I will believe him!

This year has gone SO fast.

Listen up 2015, if you could just slow down a bit, that would be great. Thanks.

I have mixed feelings about NYE. Like any stationary nerd, I love a new year and a brand new diary, but the actual night leaves me a bit cold.

Ever since I was a kid, I've felt that post-Christmas let down and the pressure to 'do' something.
Pressure that only intensified as a teen/young adult.

I LOVED the years that I worked in hospitality. I would quietly volunteer to work, confident in the fact that triple pay and drinks paid for the boss were definitely the best place to be.

I was once dumped by my boyfriend (yeah, I know.....maybe he knew something I didn't) at 10 PM ON NEW YEARS EVE !!!! At a party with all of HIS friends. Yep.

And then, it's the anniversary of G's charming father's passing. I never meet him, but I feel the loss and I see G suffer through this day every year. A day that everyone else persists in making a big deal out of !

So, here we are. I am quite pleased to tell you that I sit here with a very nice glass of Prosecco and am in my pjs. I'll make it to 12....but only because I never go to bed before 12.

NYE does bring with it a brand new sparkling year. One full of promise, fresh starts and hopefully a continuation of all that was good in the previous year.

And it's that sparkling new year that I am keen to see. Keen to see where it takes us.
What adventures and lessons it has in store for us.

If you'll excuse me, I'm off to refill my glass, grab my crochet and reflect.

Happy New Years Eve and may 2015 bring you an abundance of health, happiness and Prosecco.

Dee x


Sunday, 28 December 2014

And so that was Christmas.....

Gosh, I do really love Christmas. 

We had a fabulous Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family.

Loads of laughs, good food, good wine and thoughtful presents. 

So many laughs ! 

I know that I am incredibly lucky that our Christmas is laid back, only the one family to visit (G's family are all in the UK making it a bit of a stretch to visit them on the day) and genuinely liking each other. Most of the time ! 

Presents were given and received. I really noticed this year that there was less money and more thought. A simpler Christmas. I like it. A lot. 

We drove down to my parent's place on Christmas Eve for dinner and Carols by Candlelight watching. Last minute gift wrapping and Mum waiting til we were all in bed before she put the presents under the tree ! 

I must be getting was 6.30 am before I jumped out of bed with a 5 year old's excitement. Santa outfit on and Christmas carols singing....I was off. Waking everyone up and proclaiming that IT'S CHRISTMAS !!!

Eventually (!) everyone was up. It was decided breakfast must be had before presents (WHAT ???), scrambled eggs, corn fritters, bacon and champagne cocktails. 


After the turkey was stuffed, basted and roasted, we loaded up the car. 5 adults, one dog, two eskys, one roast turkey and a partridge in a pear tree ! And headed to my Aunt and Uncle's. 

Our arrival saw the popping of more champagne, seafood platter, catch ups and "Merry Christmases".

We don't like to do things in a hurry ! Lunch/Dinner was served at 4.30pm this year....a new record. 
After that, there's the annual cricket game and then plum pudding. 

The goodbyes and "we haven't taken the family photos yet" take a little while but are worth it ! 

Driving home is a combination of chatter, snores and Christmas carols. Mum drove - bless her. 

Boxing Day. An early morning start as G declares, a quick Christmas is a good Christmas and has the car packed quicker than I grab some turkey leftovers!

And then it's all over for another year......

Things to remember for next year......
Britt doesn't like cauliflower either (put her portion on my plate) and none of the 'kids' like the tomato and onion pie. 
Lunch should probably be served before 3.30pm 
Custom made pillowcases were a hit. 
Funny Face cards were hilarious (in the interests of protecting my family - you're not seeing THOSE photos!)

So, tell me, did you have a lovely Christmas ?
Got a funny story to tell.
Overindulged like I did ?
Spoilt with beautiful presents like I was ?

However you spent the day, I hope it was with people you love and there was plenty of fantastic food. 
Now.....can I start planning for next year.....?

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

***This was a scheduled post....which didn't actually schedule. So here it is now....but no one is tired of Christmas posts yet....right ???***

It truly is my very favourite time of the year !

I love the lights and Christmas tree(s). I had lots of fun creating new "trees" by making and upcycling. The house glowed with Christmas lights, and in my humble opinion, looked beautiful. 

I love the making, baking and wrapping. 
I always attempt to make or buy handmade for most of the presents we give. This year there were many baked goods and crochet goodies wrapped up under the tree. 


I love the summer entertaining ! Dinners and drinks on the back deck. Wine, cheese, laughs. 
All these make me very happy ! And pineapples. 

And I love Christmas markets and catchups and gift swaps with fabulous friends in the lead up to Christmas.

The big is ALMOST upon us and I can't wait !
Have a very Merry Christmas.

Dee x

Thursday, 18 December 2014

How to throw an 'on trend' pinetastic Christmas party.

{Product Talk post brought to you by dish'd and nuffnang}

Us makers and bloggers and work-from-homers rarely get a staff Christmas party.

Last night under fairy lights and an abundance of pineapples, I set to rectify that. 

Many a bottles of wine and sparkling were purchased and put on ice. 

The pineapple decorations were hung and Christmas carols were playing. 

What am I forgetting ? Ahhh yes! Food ! 

Now, in classic entertaining style, the instructions were to bring a plate....however I still wanted a bit of WOW factor on the table when everyone arrived. 

Enter dish'd - a new and exciting way to experience delicious food from around the world in the comfort of your own home. When the lovely folk at Nuffnang and dish'd sent me a $100 voucher to spend at my will in their new gourmet food delivery service, I knew I had my wow factor.

Wogan not nearly as impressed as I was with the boxes of dish'd frozen food delivered to my door !

We sampled and we were suitably impressed with the dish'd food at Taste of Melbourne, so I eagerly set about selecting items for my delivery. With this party and a host of other festive happenings, the Chef Specials 'meals in a box' range was perfect. I selected the Summer Entertaining Pack for our Christmas party and the Roast Dinner with all trimmings for tonight's dinner with G's colleagues. 

And ice cream......because ice cream ! 

The whole process was simple and easy. Ordering online, selecting next day delivery and then coming home to a large box filled with goodness. The boxes are filled with dry ice and keep everything frozen and secure so there's no need to be home for your delivery. A friendly text message from dish'd let me know that it had indeed arrived and was waiting for me when I got home. 

It was all so very easy. 15 minutes in the oven direct from the freezer. Added bonus was my guests remarking how amazing the kitchen smelt from the food cooking. Also how calm I looked after 'obviously' cooking all day ! Ha ! 

We had delicious canapes at the pineapple party, my favourite being the prawn baguettes AND I also have a freezer full of ready to go ingredients and instructions. 

For me, it's entertaining without the stress of cooking, developing a menu and the anxiety of "will it work."  I didn't have to spend hours shopping, prepping and cooking. That time was much better spent hanging more pineapples. 

Now the good folk at dish'd want YOU to be able to sample their food as well. I have one $50.00 voucher to give away (Vic and NSW residents only - sorry!) Competition closes 27 December 5pm AEDT. 

Just tell me in the comments,
"What would you spend your $50 dish'd voucher on?"

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Wild About Melbourne Makers - the shop is OPEN !

Christmas shopping.....the tree is up, now you need to put presents underneath it !

And just to make things a little easier.....I've rounded up some of my very favourite local makers and put them conveniently in one place for you. 

My place. Or more specifically, the Wild About Melbourne Makers Online Store.

Yes, the shop is (finally) open. I'll be adding more beautiful handmade items over the coming days.

I'll also be at Northern Regards Artisan Market with a full range of ceramics, softies, original Melbourne artworks and handmade upcycled children's clothing. 

I'm incredibly excited to be showcasing original and talented handmade, made right here in Melbourne.