Monday, 29 August 2011

What Was I Looking For?

I have just been reading about our 21st century malaise. 

Flicking through The Saturday Times today, I found a guide (their words, not mine) to the latest and greatest of modern-day society's afflictions. Being interested in social culture and all of that and having paid for my newspaper, I read on with mild interest, some skepticism and a little agreeable head-nodding.

(You on the other hand, would have to pay for all this - no more free news online from The Times - thanks to that Rupert chap.)

Anyway, I figured that if I just shared the list, a handful of links and a few of my choice-est views on the matter, you could decide for yourself whether you wanted to go to The Times website and fork out for more learned opinions on this subject than mine. So here goes.

First up it's Decision FatigueToo many decisions make us tired and lower our performance levels. 

No sh*t Sherlock. I did not need The Times or Roy Baumeister to tell me this although I appreciate that nothing ever changes unless we label it and make it a big issue so kudos to the man for that. I think that for me, the issue may lie in something much smaller - listening to my actual choices, you know the ones I actually make. Like when I ask for tap water with no ice, don't bring me tap water with ice in it and get annoyed when I send you away to get me what I asked for. Call me a pedant if you will but it's the small things people, the small things.

Next there's Erotic Capital. The Times calls this 'monetising what the Good Lord gave you'.  Catherine Hakim calls it Honey Money and wrote a book about it.

I want to believe it's bullsh*t. Because then what's the point of employing all of those other things like charm, persuasiveness, intelligence, listening and just plain good manners?

Twitter Jitters is next. Apparently it relates to whether you are posting frequently enough. For what? I ask you. Is this a race? Is there a prize or something? And what about Twitter SPAM?  I am already managing this quite well thank you in my email-slash-blogging life. And quite frankly, sometimes what starts out as a delightful trickle of tweets disintegrates into retweet rubbish and I wonder what beautiful scenery I might have enjoyed by gazing soulfully out of the train window instead.

Next cab off the rank is Weekendvy. Yes, there's another stupid word that dictionaries the world over can add to their erudite tomes in a year or so's time. The point of this is that we lie to make our weekends seem more fun / glamorous / relaxing / exciting / virtuous / wholesome than they actually are.  (I sense a bit of Keeping Up With The Joneses here). 

And the dunderheads who actually commissioned this research and coined this phrase (according to The Times)? Travelodge. I rest my case.

Number five is Helicopter Parent Syndrome. There are words mentioned here like Child-bothering and Teacher-bullying. Ripe for provocation. Spoiling for a fight. 

But I.Am.Not.A.Parent. for a reason (many of them in fact). So no comment. Nada. Move along people - nothing to see here.

And last but not least there's Internet Stupidity. Apparently our brains have atrophied and we spend many hours wilfing (from What was I Looking For?), wandering online from link to link to link. Although I should point out here that this is not a new phenomenon. I have been doing this from room to room in my not-large flat for many years now.

And the panacea to this malingering?  Well therein was the most sensible piece of advice in the whole article. Three little words. Right at the end. Read.A.Book.

So here endeth the rant from the Peanut Gallery.

Now where's my Kindle?

Oh yeah...and what do you think? (WILF WILF)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Word of Mouth...

I receive a lot of innovation-type newsletters in my inbox. I love being inspired by new ideas and clever things that other people are doing.  And this week ended with a real corker - Living Books.

A new public library in Surrey, Canada has come up with the brilliant idea of offering people 'on loan' - so you can book in for a coffee and a chat with a volunteer expert to bring your reading experiences to life.

Apparently this idea was born in Europe. Google, unusually, is being a little obtuse and I can't find out exactly where but there's a bit of talk about some ideas in the UK here and here. It has already been implemented in a couple of other libraries in Canada but I thought it was a great way of bringing interaction, connection and community spirit back to life in this overtly digital age.

One of my favourite movies is You've Got Mail. The Shop Around The Corner is just wonderful and I love the magic that Kathleen Kelly creates there in her enduring passion for books and reading.

Libraries are suffering as we, in this age of cheap consumerism, buy books and dispose of them at will, or even worse cannot maintain levels of concentration beyond a snippet in a newspaper or a piece of celebrity gossip in a magazine. On the other hand, I went to my local library about six months ago and was disappointed with the whole experience of both browsing and the reading 'ambience', which did not really encourage me to sit and read anything.

I think it's inspiring to find public services that seek to create relevant experiences for current and future generations to engage in. I just hope the word spreads to encourage other libraries to think a little differently before public libraries are consigned to the realms of nostalgic rememberings.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Top Marks For Top Girls...

I do like a bit of theatre. I used to subscribe to the MTC when I lived in Melbourne and when I arrived in London in 2004, I promised that I would immerse myself in all the theatrical delights that this great city had to offer. This happened for a little while (as far as my dwindling Aussie Dollars would stretch anyway) until life got in the way.

Seven years later, I have finally managed to rekindle the embers and, inspired by a cheap ticket to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead a few weeks ago (which, by the way, was fabulous), I have been keeping my eyes peeled for more special offers of the 'treading the boards' kind. And that was how my trip to see Top Girls last Wednesday came about.

Marlene has left her home town to explore the world and try her luck as a career girl in the 80s. The play opens with her at dinner with friends, celebrating her promotion to Managing Director of recruitment firm Top Girls. But this is not just any dinner - her friends are women from history:

Pope Joan, who disguised as a man, is said to have been pope between 854-856 
Isabella Bird, explorer
Dull Gret, the harrower of Hell
Lady Nijo, the Japanese mistress of an emperor and later a Buddhist nun
Patient Griselda, the patient wife from The Clerk's Tale in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Statement hair, shoulder pads and much white wine abound and the dinner disintegrates into a quite ribald affair.

The rest of the play covers the period from about a year prior right up until the days following Marlene's promotion and flicks back and forth from the life Marlene left behind, epitomised by that of her sister Joyce and her daughter Angie, to her high flying role at work. There's a great sense of breaking into a man's world in these latter scenes, particularly poignant when it is suggested that Marlene has stolen something (the promotion) from someone who 'really needs it' (a man).

I remember this as an under current when I started my career in the early 90s (although things had probably progressed a little since the days of Thatcher's Britain and I was in Australia several thousand miles away). I also remember feeling quite p*ssed off at the slightly patronising tone of others in response to my 'no marriage, no kids thank you ' mantra back in the day (and the tone didn't really change until I got into my 40s).  It was extraordinary to have the opportunity to revisit this time in my life, some 20 years later.  How clear things become with 20-20 vision.

I often go along to plays without having any detailed knowledge of the story - I like the sense of discovery this creates rather than knowing what to expect and then having an opinion about whether it (the play) lived up to my expectation.

With Top Girls, this made the dinner scene a little confusing but as the play unfolded, the pennies dropped.

These women each represented different aspects of living in a 'man's world' - whether it was Lady Nijo, who does not see the forced attentions of the Emperor as rape or Patient Griselda, who having promised to obey her husband, amiably forgives his cruelty in taking her children away from her - and the various conversations around the table served to highlight what was 'expected of them' as women in their various societies.

So Top Girls was thought-provoking and pithy (in parts), confronting and heart-warming and a great opportunity to revisit the era of Chardonnay and shoulder pads, when women struck another blow for equality, consequences and all.

I absolutely loved it.

If you are in London, you can see Top Girls at London's Trafalgar Studios until October 29th. You should go peeps, really you should. You can click here to find out how.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Kindle Women...Audrey's Coming Out

Yippee!!  Hooray!!  It's here at last!!

Last Thursday my wi-fi router arrived!

So on the weekend I mastered the shopping (no great surprise there) and downloading, and this week, my very best new toy has unequivocally joined the ranks of Gidday's Commuting Gems.

The lovely Audrey has debuted by helping me while away the hours to and from work this week with that quintessential (and sentimental) favourite, Little Women.  Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy have laid bare their girlish hopes and dreams, their foolish follies and foibles all over again and have reminded me that, despite my aversion to the slightly religious under-tones, what a truly wonderful book this is.

And for 86p, I bought all four Louisa May Alcott stories: Little Women and Good Wives (the two-in-one that we all know and love), Little Men and Jo's Boys.

I'm about four chapters into Good Wives and, given that I have read this several times since first reading it before I hit my teens, I am still marvelling at how much I am loving reading this again.

And I still well-up when old Mr Laurence gives Beth the piano...


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Going Dutch...She's Got The Look

I've been catching up on some of my favourite blogs today and a post by Linda from Adventures in Expatland has inspired me to put some thoughts on paper - or fingers to keyboard if that's your fancy.  Linda is an expat like myself but she is an American living in Holland and just recently she posted on another expat site Expatria Baby, about cultural differences.

You may be wondering at this point why a post on cultural differences has inspired today's theme on Gidday. After all, I am an expat and consider myself to be a well-travelled kind of gal. But you see, Linda wrote about integrating into the Dutch culture and me, being half-Dutch, was nodding away through the whole piece, muttering 'oh yes', 'absolutely' and 'of course!'.  And it got me thinking: why do I identify so strongly with this part of my heritage having never lived there?

First, let me create a bit of context. Dad is the Dutch one. Born in Amsterdam, he emigrated to Australia with his parents and older sister when he was seven years old.  He married my Australian Mum (her lineage is English/Irish a couple of generations back but that's a whole other story) in 1969, the same year I was born. We lived two suburbs away from Oma and Opa until I was nine years old. We never spoke Dutch at home.

While we never learnt to speak the language, Oma and Opa taught us nursery rhymes in Dutch, (Klaps Eens In Je Handjes was a particular fave) and we all toasted special occasions with 'Prosit!' so the cadence of the language surrounded our early childhood. There was even an 'authentic' Dutch costume that was passed down from me to Lil Chicky and we still have the clogs despite growing out of them 'several' years ago.

Fast Forward - I first visited Holland (Amsterdam in fact) in 2000 at the age of 31. I have been back twice since: once to wander around Amsterdam on my own for four days in October 2008 and again just a few months ago for work, I visited Den Bosch. It felt comfortable and sounded like my childhood - no huge surprise there.

But there's a Dutch 'thing' my sister and I both feel (although not completely - after many a bruise-inducing attempt, I have concluded that riding a bicycle is not really my forte.)  An affiliation if you like with their mix of aloof-ness and pragmatic blunt-ness. I found myself nodding furiously at this observation in Linda's post:

All part of a culture that believes strongly in a Calvinistic sense of personal responsibility. The door is there, of course one should be prepared to open it.

and then completely understanding (and seeing in myself if I'm honest) the blend of friendly yet aloof polite-ness (which creates space) and then, as fond feelings develop:

 ...the standard Dutch greeting of three kisses. Not two as in many cultures, but a full three! Hands holding the other person's upper arms to draw in for a partial hug and then left, right, left...

But there's more: apparently I have a Dutch 'look' and a Dutch nose 'to look down' (although Mum, I don't think it looks particularly Dutch, or any nationality really). 

And to top it all off, a guy I was absolutely smitten with when I was 19, remarked to Mum in the early stages of our relationship that I was very pragmatic. This may have been true (and in fact, quite insightful) but my tender and romantic teenage heart was crushed.

So in between my 'get off your a***'-ness', 'give me space'-ness and 'I am fond of you' effusiveness, there's a romantic soul who believes in life's 'journey', an idealist who always looks for the best in others and a friendly Aussie lass who thinks a passing exchange of greetings in the street makes the world a nicer place. 

There are plenty of times when these two opposing forces vie for attention - my desire to believe it will all turn out for the best constantly confronted by the voice saying that if I don't make it happen, it won't.  

So how do I manage this dichotomy I hear you ask?  Well let me tell you, I am a whizz at delivering tough news - direct as you like - with a smile.  And if you happen to provide below par service to this particular customer, don't object in the face of my refusal to pay the service charge. 

You'll only make it worse. And then, you will see...

...the look.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Gidday! It's Me...

I collected my photos's been a long wait since mid July (another exercise in patience for little ol' moi!) but at the risk of being narcissistic, I think it's been worth it. 

I wanted to choose some (of the nine I bought) to share here but I'm finding it really hard to pick my faves. This is not good.  I get unbelievably bored with the state of 'being indecisive' and to be honest, if I dither too much longer this post will not go up tonight and you'll all have to wait even longer - and let's face it, waiting sucks. So without further ado, here's today's top three:

Down to business - the one for LinkedIn
A bit of 007 fun
A smiley, happy me

If you want to check out all nine, click here and you'll whip across to my flckr album quick as you like.  In the meantime, I'm off to update my Facebook profile with this one:

Colourful, free and ready for a new chapter.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Tall Poppies...The Art of Acknowledgement

We all want to be noticed a little. A nod here, a pat on the back there. Recognised for our talents. Acknowledged for our achievements. So why is it so hard to 'be' with it all when this actually happens?

I have had the kind of week that these dreams of notability are made of. Compliments have been forthcoming from all sorts of directions in every area of life - my work, my writing, how I look, how I act. And don't get me wrong - it's really amazing to be in the midst of all of this.  But at the same time, if I'm honest, I find sitting in front of someone waxing lyrical about me, however genuine, uncomfortable. And I don't think I'm alone in this. Trying to give others compliments is almost as difficult - not to give them per se but rather to see the recipient actually feel the ackowledgement and take in what you are saying about them. 

Mum always taught me to be gracious when receiving compliments, saying that it takes courage to ackowledge something about someone else in a way that makes them stop and accept it. I try to live by this. But letting it actually sink in, moving me, delighting me, let alone repeating it to others seems vain and narcissistic.  And not at all in keeping with my laconic, self-effacing Aussie style. After all I am born of the culture that cultivates none other than The Tall Poppy Syndrome.

As children we do nothing BUT seek approval and recognition. It's what defines us. But it's also what we live in to - how we behave and interact shapes others' opinions of and interactions with ourselves. So our individual worlds are increasingly shaped by what we are willing to acknowledge about ourselves as it is mirrored in other people.

So when does this self-appreciation society stop?  Is it when we feel that we disappoint others and don't live up to expectations?  Perhaps when others don't live up to our expectations and fall off the proverbial pedestal?  Is it knocked out of us by well-meaning grown ups who tell us it's not 'nice' to brag, or to show off? Or maybe in the playground at school in our first games of one-up-man-ship, child to child (and absolutely no adults required).

Psychology somewhere probably has a multitude of answers for this and I don't envy parents who navigate the maelstrom of opinions and advice available on the subject in an effort to raise healthy, happy, resilient children. 

But on the other hand, maybe there are no answers. Just the human condition, the society that surrounds us and our best guess at charting our own watery depths.

So in light of all of this, I have decided to do my best to bask, from my position atop the pedestal, in this unexpected deluge of appreciation. I may even resort to a little exuberant wallowing in it...some joyful splashing about perhaps.

But just a little mind. 

Apparently, no-one likes a show-off.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Book, Cover, Judging And All Of That...

For those of you who have been living under a rock lately (most likely hiding from the horrible, horrible rioters if you are in the UK), I recently had a birthday. And joy of joys, I got a Kindle.

I finally succumbed to Kindle lust somtime in May and so it went on the birthday wishlist in the hope that some vouchers would help me edge a little closer to its purchase. But there was no edging required.  On the first of August I opened the box from Mum/Amazon to uncover what might become the best commuting gem ever. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet...Audrey!

Isn't she pretty???!!!!

So I got on the blower straight away to organise a free wi-fi router from my broadband provider and got a parcel-to-be-signed-for-and-collected card from the postman last Saturday.  Thinking I wouldn't be able to get to the post office before yesterday and would therefore have to be patient (not my strong suit), I was all gee'd up to be waxing lyrical about Audrey today.

But no cigar.

The customer service person who answered the phone at my broadband provider couldn't find the file note from my previous call which was supposed to ensure said router was sent to me...taking a deeeeeeeep breath, I managed to order another one (to be despatched to my work address) without reaching through the phone and strangling the person-not-responsible at the other end in disappointment and frustration. 

Breathing, breathing...

So the lovely Audrey is still download-less...and we will all have to be patient just a little while longer.

But you gotta admit - in her Diane von Furstenberg cover, she looks mighty good!

ps...oh the parcel that I collected?  It was a belated birthday present from half-sis, S (she of Fawlty Towers fame) - a fab pair of earrings that I can't wait to show-off wear - I am a lucky, lucky girl.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Pukka Picnic and Polo Ponies...

As regular readers of Gidday from the UK will know, I had a birthday.  Not a 'big' birthday by society's reckoning but I like to endow each of my special days with a significance and joyful anticipation befitting someone who has not yet reached double figures.  And faced with how to mark my special day this year, we decided to do the only thing one should do in south west London on a sunny Sunday afternoon - a picnic at the Polo.

Ham Polo Club is located just a 15min bus ride from my place and every Sunday from May to September, you can pop along for a fiver and picnic alongside the rich and...well the rich.  And every Summer for the SIX Summers I've lived nearby, me and A-down-the-hill have said 'Oh we should go!' and then before we know it, October arrives and we've missed the season.  Well not this year!

So on the last day of my year, the SS 41 chugging slowly and gracefully into its mooring, two Aussies, a Scot and four Turks packed their picnic vittels and headed to TW10 to grab a dainty bite of quintessential English-ness.

The sun beamed down upon us, the wine flowed freely and the players and their ponies polo-ed.  There was a smidgen of educating (we learnt about chukkas, treading in and the like), a modicum of movement (chair to field to chair to field to...oh you get the picture) and a whole lotta laugh-out-loud-ness as commentator after commentator filled the slow bits gaps in the action with that droll, dry humour that the Brits do best.

Anyway here's how the day went...

The game started with something a bit like a passing out. The eight players and their ponies line up in front of the clubhouse (where all the posh people sit) and as the players are introduced, they ride in a little circle around their team mates before stopping back in their original place. Bless! 

'Passing Out'
Then the action started - these eight grown ups ride around on their horses with big sticks trying to hit a tiny ball up and down a big field and through a couple of posts at either end. No, I don't play golf either.

An unexpected and rather noisy spectator dropped in for a while...(I hope at least he paid his fiver!)

...before it was back to the action as well as a change of direction (the scoring end for each team changes after each goal)...

 ...which is unbelievably confusing for all concerned.

Every so often play stops and they all gather around for a throw in, which look a little like a Rugby Scrum on horseback.

And lest we forget, polo is the sport of the everyman - NOT!  Ponies are usually changed after each chukka making it at least four per game.  Whatever happened to sweating those assets?

Anyhow, after paying for all those posh ponies, there's not much left in the pot for grounds maintenance so it was our job to chip in and 'stomp those divots'...

Stomping the divots or 'Treading In' as it's called here
Stalking Up close and personal opportunities
 ...while our Scot 'minded the store'.

Four and half hours later, sun-kissed and inebriated it was time to go and in the back seat on the way home, I believe I gurgled happily about what a lovely day I'd had!

So that was my fond farewell to forty-one and another one of the 'things I must do while I live in Kingston' ticked off the list.  But to be completely honest, now I've been, being local is no longer a mandatory for future attendance.

Chin chin!

ps...I've also been submitting some articles and reviews on a site called Weekend Notes - why don't you wander on over and check out what I wrote about this little adventure and some of the other things I've done in London.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Forgive Me...I Need To Get This Off My Chest

I had planned to post this week on some of my birthday exploits but I can't get past the rioting that has been flaring up all over London so forgive me while I get this off my chest.

On Sunday morning I emerged sleepy-eyed to see a text from Mum asking if I was OK.  'OK?' I thought. 'What on earth is she talking about?'

Then I turned on my computer.  Rioting. Looting. In London. Specifically in Tottenham.  Was this right?  How could this be?  Ensconsed in my flat on the other side of London, it just didn't seem real.

Since, like the rest of the world, I have woken each morning to the news of behaviour I can hardly believe.  Hackney. Enfield. Ealing. Clapham. Brixton. Bristol. Birmingham. Manchester.  Cars set alight. Shop windows smashed.  Items snatched from shelves and carried down the street aloft like trophies. 

Pictures on Twitter, in the papers, on the news - looking more like a war-zone (not that I know what this would really look like). 

Stories of looters bragging of 'taking from the rich', stealing hard-earned livings from strangers, swaggering with arrogance and disrespect and entitlement.

How did it come to this?  What did we do as a society (that's all of us) to bring this on ourselves?

I have been in turn appalled, disbelieving, disgusted, angry and deeply shocked - but mostly I am sad.  Sad that hard work and building a life is dismissed in such a cavalier fashion by those who think that the rewards are owed and there to be demanded at will.  Sad that businesses must close to protect their staff, that people are frightened in their own homes, that schools must send our children - the ones who will shape our society in the future - home.  What an abysmal example to set - that behaving in such cowardly and criminal ways clears the path for getting what one wants.

And while I'm still reeling from this, I am also heartened by the way that local communities have banded together to support those affected (on Twitter you can check out @riotcleanup).

9th August 2011 - Clapham's Broom Army
(Picture: @Lawcol888)
10th August 2011 - Peckham Poundland's Post-It Wall
(Picture: Getty Images)

But in the end I just really wish it wasn't necessary.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Report Card: The Great Bake-Off

Well hello good people!  Thanks for dropping past to check that all is well at Gidday HQ after the big birthday bonanza.  42 is going well so far - but it has taken me a week to get my proverbial s**t together to get tap-tap-tapping again.  Who knew it would be such a busy week!

Anyhow, with such a break between posts and a pretty full-on week, there's lots to catch up on - picnicking at the polo, Kindle exploits (yes, I got one peeps - now just waiting for my free wireless router to be delivered) and Mad Men - but with the passing of August 1st, there is one update that demands my most urgent and immediate attention - My Year Of Baking.

Just over a year ago, when navel-gazing about what I had achieved in my 41 years and what I might like to conquer in the year ahead, I decided to overcome my serious lack of baking experience.  So I set up The Great Bake-Off tab on Gidday From The UK to chart my cake-and-cookie exploits.  Just doing this was a triumph in itself as my excitement back on October 17th will attest to.

Anyhow, as with all good projects, I thought it was time to compile a little Report Card for your comment and review so without further ado, here are a few key stats to start us off.

I baked on 10 occasions.
Double figures - yeah baby - well done me!  And that's just for the new recipes (although admittedly while I cooked quite a bit, there wasn't much 'baking' outside this list).

I made 6 new recipes.
  30 JUL:  Anzac Biscuits
  10 JUL:  Walnut & Rosemary Bread
  25 APR:  Hot Cross Buns
  17 APR:  Apple & Raspberry Squares
   6 MAR:  Mango Fruit Cake
   6 OCT:  Pineapple & Banana Loaf

On average, that's one every two months - okay but I could've done better. Life at various points just got in the way...

I used lots of ingredients.
I had to clear a space in my cupboard (and for that part, in my life too) for all of my baking essentials - in particular, I used a lot more fruit/flour/butter/sugar:

   Fruit - 2,920g (400g was walnuts - does that count?)
   Flour - 2,255g 
   Sugar - 865g 
   Butter - 360g
   Eggs - 17

More than is probably good for me (and others). But what a blessing it turned out to be!

So that's the stats bit done. Let's now check out the highs (and the lows - but only if we must):

High Number 1:  
Most successful - Apple & Raspberry Squares - by a mile!

Amazing what some slightly squished raspberries from the market and a crinkly old apple can produce.  I had people visiting my desk to tell me how good this was and one guy wanted to schedule my next 'cake' day in his Outlook calendar as he had missed out on my little squares of fruity joy second time round.

This has sinced morphed into Raspberry and Coconut Cake with as much success.  I made this 3 times and may even morph this further as the blackberries are coming into season along my walk home.

High Number 2: 
Biggest victory - Hot Cross Buns

I LOVE Hot Cross Buns - warm and lovely with lashings of butter.  But since moving to the UK, I have not been able to partake of this little Easter treat as I am allergic to oranges and there is mixed peel in every one of the little blighters.  In the face of significant incentive for mastering this one, there was also a less-than-successful bread-making incident in Home Ec. at High School so I embarked on this one more than a little daunted by that living (breathing?) entity - yeast.

I am pleased to report it went well.  Warm and lovely with lashings of butter...

Having mastered yeast-o-phobia also meant that Walnut & Rosemary Bread was a cinch - twice!

Low Number 1:
Biggest disppointment - Anzac Biscuits

I have to confess that I've never been a huge fan of these myself so when these came out of the oven looking like little crunchy lumps of...well not biscuits, I nearly didn't take them to work.  But they disappeared and people made [polite] yummy noises, so not disasterous by any stretch of the imagination. 

Note to self: only bake what moi likes to eat.

Low Number 2:
Coulda, woulda, shoulda - Lamingtons

The plan for office birthday baking was to educate everyone with a couple of Aussie icons.  I managed the Anzac biscuits with ingredients from the store cupboard (although why I had rolled oats in there I will never know) and they were meant to be accompanied by Lamingtons. Having been inspired last November by A-down-the-hill's Lamington exploits, I was so looking forward to this but time/energy/enthusiasm faded slowly away last weekend and I ended up whipping up a batch of the Raspberry and Coconut Cake using ingredients I already had. 

Despite the absence of lamingtons in my portfolio, it does make me rather proud to say I 'whipped up' a cake.

So there you have it folks.  My Year of Baking.  And there are still items of the pastry, chocolate, mousse, jelly and iced variety to explore as we cruise on-board the SS 42. 

As well as lamingtons. 

Hooray! I say.

Now where did I put that spatula?