Thursday, October 30, 2014

DIY Knit Cushion

First, let's establish the fact that I love cushions. We probably have more than ten cushions in our little home, and I would love to get my hands on even more.

Lately, I've fallen in love with these pretty knit cushions that have been popping up in many homeware stores. They would add so much colour, texture and cosiness to any space! However, I'm not at the stage where I can bring myself to spend at least $50 for a new cushion, so as always, a DIY project was in order. 

What I did was:
  • knit a rectangle
  • cut backing fabric to a rectangle of the same size
  • sew along all sides, leaving an opening
  • insert lined stuffing
  • sew the opening shut with a blind stitch

This pillow cost about $7 dollars to make. The chunky knit was $6, the backing fabric was a $1 remnant (I still have almost a metre left), the stuffing was recycled from old pillows and I used drumsticks as my knitting needles. After completion, I hand-washed this dainty little pillow and it now blends in with all my other cushions on the sofa. I definitely feel like snuggling into my side of the sofa even more now! 

I am going to make a white one next, and try my hand at inserting a zipper. I'm not a proficient sewer or knitter, so I don't know how combining those two is going to turn out. If it comes to any good, I will be sure to post a proper tutorial! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Irodori House, Box Hill

Last weekend, we celebrated mommy's birthday at Irodori House, Box Hill. I had never heard of the place prior to this dinner, but I was more than happy to discover yet another Japanese restaurant in the eastern suburbs. To make things easy, we decided on the banquet menu at $38 per person.

To start off, everyone received their own mini sushi platter. I thought they looked a little sloppy, but they were a good bite-sized appetiser. 

Then came the chawanmushi, which was one of the smoothest I have ever tasted. It was savoury and  silky smooth, without any bubbles. 

Next, we received side dishes of bean sprouts and asparagus. We were also served a bowl of hot miso soup and a simple salad each.

And here comes the part we were all anticipating, the BBQ! As part of the banquet menu, each person was allowed to choose between chicken, pork and beef. For our table of five, we decided to go with two serves of pork, two serves of beef and one serve of chicken. We were each given three different sauces and a plate of lettuce and pickles to wrap our meat with.

Our unanimous favourite was the pork. It was well-marinated and thinly sliced, making it a breeze to cook. The chicken was tender and flavoursome, but took a ridiculously long time to cook.

Finally, we had green tea panna cotta with red beans as dessert. It was actually my first time having panna cotta (I always avoided ordering it as I thought it would be too creamy for me). At first, I did think that the creaminess was quite overwhelming, but the flavour of the green tea and red bean evened it out very well. I gradually grew accustomed with each bite.

In general, it was a very pleasant meal, with consistently attentive service. The only downside was that the BBQ grill took a long time to heat up, so we had to wait quite a bit for our meat to be cooked. It did pick up after a while, presumably after all the fats and juices from the meat had drained to the bottom. If BBQ is not your thing, check our the dinner sets as well, as they seem to offer great value.

Irodori House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Breaking Limits

Today, a friend and I went for an impromptu run right after work at Jells Park in Wheelers Hill. We've got this deal where we encourage each other to exercise more and eat healthier, so today was our very first attempt.

If you have noticed I've been naughty and skipping my weekly runs for quite a while now. When my friend told me we were going to attempt the 5km trail today, I looked at her in shock and was all like, "No way!"

Anyway, it was my first time at Jells Park and I never knew such a beautiful park existed in the suburbs. It was huge, with lots and lots of grass, trails, barbecue pits and even a lake. If it were up to me, I would have stopped at 1.5km but with my friend's constant encouragement, we managed a total of 5.3km with a few short walks in between.

I've now realised how important it is to run with someone who can motivate you. Beautiful scenery serves as a great distraction too. I felt good overall but there is no denying that it was really tiring. We are hoping to be able to run the full distance without stopping in a few months' time, so it's time for us to train up!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bargain Buys: Straw Hat & Beanie

Don't you just love the feeling when you find yourself some terrific bargains? I was strolling along Brunswick Street the other day with some friends when we came across a store called Fun Fashion Accessories, with a large sign "CLOSING DOWN SALE - 75% OFF MARKED PRICE" slapped across their window.

I was meant to be on a break from shopping (i.e. no shopping for fashion items for as long as I can bear) but the sign was too tempting. Upon entering, we saw walls and tubs filled with lots of cheap fashion jewellery and accessories. I picked out a necklace for about $6, but decided to put it back as I didn't really know what to wear with it.

Then my friend plopped a straw hat on me.

"It's only $10!", she said. I thought about it for a while, and with no thanks to my weak discipline, I caved in. After all, buying a straw hat in spring is as timely as it gets, right?

After doing a quick walk-around, I saw this pretty grey beanie sitting in a $4 tub. No second thoughts!

And here comes the best part. I went up to the counter and took out a $20 note when the staff member said, "That's $3.50 altogether, thank you." The 75% off actually applied to the ultra marked-down prices too! It was the best $3.50 spent, ever.

Anyway, I breached my own no-shopping pledge but I think $3.50 wasn't too much damage. I am still so happy with my purchases! Do check out the shop, it's very likely you'll find some great buys!

Fun Fashion Accessories
224 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Classic Banana Bread

I always think banana bread is one of those things everyone should know how to make, like chocolate chip cookies or brownies. Funnily enough, I've never actually tried baking my own, so two overripe bananas created the perfect opportunity for my first attempt.

I used this recipe from, and I was really happy to see I already had all the ingredients in my pantry! It was very easy to follow, and I didn't make any changes except reduce the amount of brown sugar to a loosely packed half cup.

It turned out beautifully. As I left it to cool, hubby and I deliberately made a trip to Coles just to get some vanilla ice cream to eat it with. The next morning, we had it toasted with butter. Mmm, so good.

I'll definitely be making more. I think it could have been a tad sweeter but this amount is probably healthier for us. I just love it when baking adventures turn out right!