Friday, August 26, 2011


 Urban Dictionary: A vacation that is spent at one's home enjoying all that home and one's home environs have to offer.

Life just seems to be one big rush.  Rush to have breakfast, rush to the car, rush to work, rush, rush, rush....and for those with school aged kids (I now have one out of 4 still at school) you dont need me to tell you that life can most probably at times seem just so hectic.

I have friends who decided this year that instead of holidaying overseas, or even within the country, to go on a 'Staycation' instead.  For those of you not familiar with the term, a Staycation is, in a nutshell, a holiday at home.  Just busy airports, passport dramas, local language dilemmas and alike.  Staying at home for a holiday can mean loads of not only savings on the hip pocket, but also peace of mind.
Here's some ideas for those of you tossing up the idea of a can be more fun than you think.
1. Buy up enough food for the length of your Staycation...think, smoked salmon, caviar, truffle, belgian chocolate, seafood...and ok...lets really splurge with some bananas :-)

2. Head to the local boutique wine shop...the one that usually only is reserved for purchases of the 'special occasion' variety (not a bottle of Houghtons White Burgundy in sight).  Really splurge on a few good bottles of bubbles and red or about looking through our Archives of Style In The City and select a few interesting cocktails...grab the ingredients and have fun with creating the right ambience along with it.

3. Turn home into your own private spa.  Grab some indulgent hair and body products, scented candles and spend the whole day pampering yourself.

4. On ya bike!  Dust the cobwebs off of the treddlie that has been sitting in your garage for years...remember why you bought it?...because you loved to ride bikes once! your local bike trails.

5. Have a picnic.  Dont let all those lovely gourmet goodies go to waste indoors...pack a picnic basket full of your favourite treats and head to the never may find a cute little pub on the way for a glass of mulled wine :-)

6. Host a dinner party.  All that rushing around in life doesnt leave much time for spending with the people who matter to us the most...friends and family.  We love to cook up a big curry....prepare..set and forget..too easy, and then invite our mates along to share it with us.  Ask everyone to bring a game and enjoy a night of laughs, good food and company...what could be more nourishing for the soul?

7. Grow your own food.  Creating a herb garden is really a 'no-brainer' and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour within weeks....for easy and quick pickings, try Rocket (they dont call it that for nothing...grows like crazy and very low maintenance...makes incredible pesto too), Thai Basil (grows quickly and a lot hardier than traditional broad leaf Basil), Parsley, Chives etc...think of the herbs you use every day, or on a regular basis and grow those...theres no point having marjoram in your herb garden if you dont like or use it.  Having a herb garden gives you a reason to head outside and breathe the fresh air too.

8.  Well, I cant draw, or paint but I still love to sit with a sketch pad and just doodle away.  Who cares if you're no Jackson Pollock, just as long as youre enjoying yourself, finding a creative outlet and relaxing.

9. Send a card to a loved one.  The other day I was thinking about my Grandma, who is going to be 100 soon...still lives at home and is still enjoying her life to the fullest.  Instead of calling her, I sent her a card, just to say hi and to let her know I was thinking of her.  It made me feel connected to her as she lives interstate and my intention was to also make her day happier...made me feel good!

10. Visit a book store...immerse yourself in the cooking section, or the biographies section...whatever takes your interest.  Buy a book or two, find a nice sheltered spot outside and curl up with a cup of tea.



Loving...the new 'Diva' range by Ardecora

 Courtesy of our friends at Unique Fabrics

Divas are fascinating icons – muses and goddesses with ultimate presence. Inspired by the powerful aura of these exceptional women, the DIVA collection manifests emotion in
colour, texture, and form.


We all know that Dad loves nothing more than a good cook up breakfast on Fathers Day, but what do with about lunch?  After all that grease from the cook up, how about treating him to a delicious lunch traditional dish with a twist?

Preparation Time

10 minutes

Cooking Time

25 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 250g trussed baby tomatoes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 pancetta slices
  • 1/4 Turkish bread, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 (about 400g) chicken breast fillets
  • 100g baby rocket leaves
  • 1/4 cup (60g) whole-egg mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs wholegrain mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place tomatoes on an oven tray; drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until tomatoes begin to collapse. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, place the pancetta and Turkish bread on separate oven trays. Combine the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small bowl; drizzle over the bread. Gently toss to coat. Bake the bread and pancetta in oven, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat remaining oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken; cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Remove from heat; set aside for 5 minutes to rest. Thinly slice.
  4. Arrange the rocket, crumbled pancetta, chicken, croutons and tomatoes on serving plates. Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice and mustard in a bowl. Drizzle over the salad and serve immediately.


I know it sounds a bit daggy, but when I was a kid, I had the hugest crush on John Newcombe, the Australian tennis player.  He was a bit like the 'Solo' man with his moustache and rugged good looks. 

When a type of 'manly' style cocktail is called for, I always think of Cinzano, because John used to do the ads for them years ago.  So, I found this great Ginger and Cinzano Cocktail recipe that makes 2 litres.  It's a beaut recipe that you can make up and then pop in the fridge ready for all the Fathers Day guests....a nice alternative to beer for Dad...after all, variety is the spice of life!
To be sipped out on the back deck served in a long tall glass and lashings of love and gratitude for Dad thrown in the mix too....


2 litres


  • 2 cups Cinzano Bianco
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 orange, unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • 1.25 litres chilled dry ginger ale


  1. Combine Cinzano, brandy, orange and lemon in a large jug. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours, if time permits.
  2. Add dry ginger ale. Stir gently to combine. Pour into glasses. Serve.

In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away - shing xiong

Until next week.....Cathie, Colette and Jen xxx