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 taste.com.au, 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!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Odd Room, Cheltenham

It's been ages since hubby and I last had brunch together, so we decided to eat out on Saturday morning. We came across The Odd Room, Cheltenham, a spacious and airy café with industrial style decor situated along Bay Road.
 
No breakfast is complete without drinks. Pictured above are lemongrass and ginger tea (doesn't it look so elegant sitting in that flask?) and hot chocolate.

The menu wasn't extensive but somehow there were so many things I wanted to try. It was such a tough decision that I decided to go with the safest option - The Odd Brekkie (it's hard to go wrong with such a classic assembly of ingredients). The toast was perfect, the tomato and mushroom were juicy but not overly soaked, and the poached eggs were perfectly runny in the centre. The sausage in particular was so huge I couldn't finish it, even with hubby's help. 

I was happy that hubby ordered the corn fritters because it was a dish I had also been considering. We were both a little surprised when it arrived, thinking, "Are these really corn fritters?". Despite the odd shape, it was really tasty, especially in combination with the pan-fried haloumi. I would definitely order this the next time I visit.



There was also a display of tarts and cakes that I was immediately attracted to once I walked in. Cheesecakes, puddings, tarts, breads, ooh, too enticing. Unfortunately I could only pick one, so I chose the chocolate and banana tartlet, which was a delight. I have to try the lemon and coconut cheesecake one day.

The Odd Room no doubt offers great food and cheery service, which is why I think it is quite underrated. I should probably make a few more visits before everyone else discovers this little gem!

The Odd Room on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Perfect Coffee Table Books

I've always given coffee table books a lot of thought. What type of books would we get? How many would we buy? Should we get something classy - like books about luxury fashion or philosophical musings? Or should we get something artsy, like architecture or design? I never really decided what would suit us best, and I thought I'd leave it till we eventually move into our forever home.

And then last weekend, hubby and I walked past QBD The Bookshop in Southland Shopping Centre. It was just a fleeting moment, but the same book caught both our eyes..


Marvel and DC Comics encyclopaedias! It was a true moment of awesomeness. I didn't think books like these actually existed.

At first, we only saw the one for DC, and we both thought it would be even greater if there was one for Marvel. We decided to explore the shop, and lo and behold, there it was. We thought about it for a long time, wondering which we should buy. We made the best decision - to buy both books for $50 altogether.

If you still don't get the picture, yes, hubby and I are both superhero nerds. It is amazing because we never fight over what movie or series to watch, because we have the exact same taste. We have watched most Marvel and DC films (and have probably re-watched some several times at that) and we follow quite a few superhero series - The Flash, Arrow, Gotham and Agents Of Shield.

I am so glad we came across these books. Wherever we live, these encyclopaedias will be our perfect coffee table books, as they reflect our common interest. Hundreds and hundreds of pages about superheroes? Yes please.

Now I just need a Grimm encyclopaedia to be published and life will be perfect.