ball jars come to australia

BLOG_ball jars-12

BLOG_ball jars-6

Hipsters and homemakers can collectively punch the air, Ball mason jars, those diamond studded American things worthy of the best jams and pickles, today launched in Australia. A few food writers, bloggers, magazine people and I met at The Grounds of Alexandria this morning to learn how to sterilise jars, pickle and can, how to give that rhubarb compote, strawberry daiquiri jam, or that sauerkraut an extra long life in the pantry. And if all that fails, you can stick candles in them and hang them from rafters as they do at The Grounds. I took some snaps from the launch {note the rather excellent looking avocado, tomato, fetta and dukka on sourdough}, and vowed to get into pickling more.

BLOG_ball jars-9

BLOG_ball jars-13

BLOG_ball jars-7

BLOG_ball jars-10

But rather than posting some recipe for you to use {once you get your hands on the pretty Ball quilted crystal jelly jars, which are now sold at Big W and Woolworths}, I thought I’d be better placed to ask for yours. Send over your pickling, jamming recipe ideas and insider tips, tell us what works and what doesn’t. I’m going to put up some recipes of my own over the upcoming days/ weeks too. First up, cucumber pickles in my cool new Ball mason jar.

BLOG_ball jars-3

BLOG_ball jars-2 {READ MORE}

{sydney} koskela


sydney koskela

koskela rug

Snapshots taken from a morning spent exploring Sydney. There’s nothing like a visitor to drag you away from the computer and inspire you to take on your own city with new eyes. So with Alice, a new friend visiting from New York, we found Koskela, that lovely home design and inspiration warehouse in Alexandria. I found the best rug in the world, and remembered peonies are in season. I stocked up on Rachel Castle pillowcases and those enamel plates they use at Kitchen by Mike, with the blue trim. I adore these lovely sunny wintery days wandering and finding new ideas for home and heart.


urge for going

illustration6   illustration2


This year has been really, really tough. It’s been six months of hard grind, emotional upheaval, and hard blows. When things get a bit heavy, we can be bad at doing things that make us happy. I’ve been really bad at making time for myself. I spend so much time at home writing and propping myself up in a bid to be strong and keep going, and not enough time listening to what I need. There’s a phrase that keeps coming back to me, from a song by Joni Mitchell, Urge for Going. You can listen to it below. An urge for going led me and my chap on a walk under great red gums and Eucalypts in Kuringai National park on Saturday. Looking at these beautiful maps, illustrations of far away places, reminds me how important our own journeys are, and how I want to spend more time exploring, more time with adventure and fun and less time thinking and worrying. I hope these beautiful images by Masako Kubo inspire you, help you take time for your own adventures, remind you to explore and find strength in new journeys.




sweet illustrations

sweet illustration

sweet picture illustration

Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 11.02.38 AM

sweet illustration

You may have already overdone yourselves on sweets and puddings and Christmas tarts, in which case these will make the perfect sweet thing as we approach the new year and new resolutions. Illustrations of donuts and syrup and icecream by Joel Penkman, for hanging on the wall. They’d make a lovely addition to a kitchen, to inspire and sate.

Ps. Winner of the KitchenAid food processor to be announced today! Good luck. 

{this & that} cookbooks for december

Like a rabbit in the headlights, I am, when faced with a bookstore. Just the cookbook section has me startled, poised and quivering. It’s the promising glow of all the marvellous things to cook, all the ingredient combinations and inspirations and new chefs, experts and how-to-use-this marvellous ingredient or produce. I end up in such a state I often resolve to head for safety in the bushes outside the bookstore. Having done the hard yards, the browsing, the recipe testing, the cooking for friends, I whittled the to-buy-as-presents list down to about five, maybe six or seven. {READ MORE}

{this & that} ethical pillows & tassels

Adore these assorted pillows with pom poms and tassels from Proud Mary textiles. The inky stripes and colourful dots should be thrown around the house on sofas and beds and the watery spotted scarfs should be wrapped around my shoulders. Proud Mary textiles is the creation of Harper Poe, who returned from volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in South America with the plan to give those communities some pride (not pity). After falling deeply in love with the indigenous peoples and brightly coloured textiles, Harper combined her passions into a sustainable design business. Proud Mary works with global artisans in the developing world to create their line of ‘ethnic-modern’ home and personal accessories. She combines modern design aesthetic with traditional methods of production to help bridge the gap between fair trade and on trend, fast fashion.

{this & that} all that glitters

Okay, so this guide is not much more than a thinly veiled list of the things I’d really like to find in the stocking on Christmas day. But let it act as a go-to on what-the-hell-to-buy that person in your life who’s design fussy, fond of food, of the home-maker ilk and a sucker for all that glitters and shines. A personal gift is usually a good one, and nothing makes Christmas day merrier than a present that’s taken a bit of consideration. So before Christmas we’ll post some personalise-able ideas to wrap and flaunt under the tree. But as a nod to the happy season, we’re starting with the concept that all that glitters is indeed gold, while acknowledging the truth that the person who will be cooking your Christmas lunch or dinner deserves some shimmering, glorious treat as thanks. These are just ideas, and they beat the pants off a pair of socks of course. Browse through Etsy and check out the online stores below for ideas that will work for your very own kitchen guru.

01. Spear basket is perfect for holding serviettes and cutlery for alfresco dining, and can serve as a pretty bread basket. 02. Harlequin Gold Thermo Mug at Ferm Living; 03. Three “iuvo” solid bronze bangles stacked together to make one, available online only. 04. Hay “kitchenscissor”, for snipping herbs or cutting the string from the impending roast, this handy scissors come in two sizes. 05. Beat it, just beat it, an amusing tea towel that should take some of the chore out the huge task of washing up on Christmas day. 06. A set of four Tutti Frutti mugs, bring a little bright cheer on to the table, plus they are microwave and dishwasher safe. 

This post also appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine online.

pretty cardholder

A beautiful leather cardholder that I just picked up. Here’s how to guarantee your business cards make an impression: Pull them out of this caramel leather sleeve. Use it to store your go-to plastic. The makers describe it as “cushy” which I couldn’t really ignore. But what a smart thing to dig out of your work bag to start a tab. Made in Los Angeles out of camel cowhide leather. {READ MORE}

{this & that} shapes

things i love

A kitchen, a wrist, an outfit scattered with beautiful shapes in muted greens, gold and blues. There’s nothing wrong with bringing diamonds into your life, even if they’re not the glittering variety.

Harlequin Gold thermo mug;  Oh Dier Pixie jewel boxes made from reclaimed wood – if you like it then you’d better put a ring in it; Tea towels and things in mountain greys and mints. Laundry basket by Ferm Living; Stone & Honey bracelet; Patterned dresses, source unknown.

{this & that} wax canvas tote

No more plastic bags is one thing, but one of those black supermarket bags won’t cut it either. A wax canvas tote is strong enough to carry some limes, a packet of tamari roasted pepitas, a bottle of water, a bunch of annoying coins, an ipad, some nail clippers, a few scrunched up receipts and a can of chickpeas {I’ve tested it and everything}. Waxed canvas originated in the sailing industry in Scotland in the 1920s and was used in sportswear and apparel because of its waterproofing abilities and durability. The Waxed Canvas Tote from Peg and Awl incorporates vintage fabric lined-pockets, reclaimed leather straps and closures {from antique gun holsters and saddles} brass rivets and Sam Browne buttons.


{this and that} buttering boards

Oat-crusted rye bread and black coffee, the morning staples (when I’m being good) made all the more pretty on these pastel buttering boards. One jazzes up a pulled-apart piece of bread, and assorted colours can be laid about to add some morning cheer. They’re wipe-able and dishwasher safe, so are the perfect plate for a casual bite. They come in green, rose, blue and coral. Buy them here.