Friday, 22 December 2017

Good food is everything, but cooking sometimes sucks...


Another long day, followed by an exhausting cooking session. Instead of singing along to carols, I’ve been listening to the little Miss and Master whinge. I think I'll pass (out), wouldn't you? There are one hundred other ways I’d rather spend my night. Cooking is definitely not one of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy cooking when I’m feeling relaxed, but not when I’m tired and grouchy (though I still do it without complaining).

Let’s face it, I’m no Nigella Lawson (sadly my husband would agree, she’s his number one celebrity crush). But even if I was a culinary goddess, I never look forward to entering the kitchen after a tiring day, unless it’s to get a glass of wine or block of chocolate.

Frankly there’s nothing better than coming home and putting your feet up, without worrying about cooking. As a family, we aim to eat out once a week, though this doesn’t always transpire.

When in Sydney, do as the Sydney-ians do and head to this restaurant in Crows Nest


Occasionally J and I get to escape from the kids enjoy alone time, but not as often as we’d like. There’s a restaurant in Crows Nest that we love to visit, even though it’s a bit of a trek from home! We usually only do this when we’re spending the weekend with family. But it will no doubt become our regular watering hole, if we move closer to Sydney in the future (we’re seriously discussing this...but eh, who knows).

The Monte Alto cafe transforms into a restaurant and bar at night. If you enjoy modern Aussie cuisine, their menu is a perfect fit. Their food is pretty damn good and their drinks menu never fails to give me a buzz. They’re actually known for having one of the largest gin and whisky selections on the North Shore (I can certainly attest to its variety).

I’ve taken the little Master and Miss to Monte Alto for lunch during the day, on a number of weekends. Surprisingly they sit down long enough to finish a good portion of their meals.

They’re major fans of the french toast, which they beg me to make at least once a week. They seem pretty happy with my efforts, but Master usually asks why it tastes so different at the Crows Nest cafe. I think by “different” he means “better”, but he’s too sweet to say. Thanks for sparing my feelings, little man! I raised you well.

As far as other restaurants in Crows Nest go, I haven’t been to many. But if they’re all like Monte Alto, I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone and experiment more. If there’s one thing I hate about dining in Sydney, it’s that so many restaurants feature that expensive “art on a plate” nonsense that barely scrapes the surface of my hunger.

You shouldn’t have that problem at Monte Alto though. I’m pretty impressed by their variety of reasonably priced dishes, which are made from fresh ingredients.

My go-to meal is the Atlantic salmon - which is full of flavour but healthy at the same time. Although I confess, when I'm feeling extra hungry, I'll go for a bowl of the chicken and mushroom fettuccine. They also have a great selection of indulgent desserts, which is a must for chocoholics like me. The Belgian chocolate mousse cake is amazing by the way, I’m salivating at the thought of it right now.

Do you have any favourite restaurants that you recommend? Particularly in Sydney? My troops and I will be spending the Christmas and New Year period with family in Redfern, and we want to try some new places!

Monday, 18 December 2017

Lovely people. Highly recommended

I would not hesitate to recommend these guys to anyone. If you're in the Newcastle area and looking to buy carpet, flooring or blinds, check these guys out:


Probably the best flooring store in Newcastle. Once I stepped into the store I was stunned with the numerous flooring options available. Gone are the days when kitchen flooring meant some cheap and ugly lino. There's some seriously impressive options here for affordable prices.

Factoring my budget into the decision truly helped me find the right match without breaking the bank. Price is obviously an important factor for a family like ours on a tight budget, but I really had to consider all options, meaning the lowest price for the floor that fit our home and lifestyle the best.

They were also extremely knowledgeable about shutters and blinds. I have somewhat of a unique setup at home with different window types, angles, etc (i'm no window expert, but hubby helped me get some measurements) and they were very helpful.

We have some timber venetians at the moment which are fading from the outside sunlight (these windows draw a lot of sunshine during the day) so I wanted something that will last. Dual roller blinds are extremely popular in my circle of friends. The bonus is that if you purchase from a reputable company like these guys, their fabrics are covered under warranty – so this helps minimise the risk in fading. Talk about a lifesaver!

We also discussed fabris of the different types of blinds. I hear that darker colors do give good vision, however lighter colored fabrics reflect more light and thus provide limited vision through them. Pretty cool, huh?

Check out their range of shutters and blinds in Newcastle. I'm thinking venetians for our living spaces, and maybe splurging on some automated shutters too!

After discussing it all, the idea of these dual roller blinds sits really well with us. Does anyone else have experience with them? My only concern is the cables around the kids, but other than that they look pretty good too. Decisions, decisions!