Wednesday, September 27, 2006

2006 HR National Strategic Meeting/ HR Retreat

St Kilda - Melbourne

I arrived in Melbourne at 8:00am Friday morning and over the next 3 days I would call The Novotel at St Kilda home. I didn't expect to be back in Melbourne for work again till next year, but hey! I'm not complaining.
St Kilda, the home of Luna Park....

Cake shops..........
And Greasy Joe's.........
I didn't get a giant room like last time (which is probably a good thing because I get scared when I'm by myself). The hotel was a bit older compared to the other ones I've stayed at for work, but a rooms a room (and there was pay TV which kept me busy during my 'free time').

I was just happy that we had access to all the cakes and biscuits that one person could possibly eat. During the day the meetings and workshops were pretty intense, by the afternoon everyone was dead tired. It was hard having to wake up on a Saturday morning and prepare yourself for a full day of 'work'.
I didn't take any photos (too early in the morning for my brain to function) but we had an amazing hot & cold buffet breakfast. I'm really glad that I don't get that in Sydney because if we did I would now be the size of a hippo.
Friday night dinner - Chinta Ria Soul

The food here was fantastic! It was freezing in Melbourne! and the Spicy Malaysian cuisine was exactly what we needed. Because we had over 16 people we ordered all 3 of the banquet menus available. For the entrée we feasted on spring rolls, curry puffs, tofu isi, ling goreng, lohbak and satay chicken.

The main meals consisted of: mee goreng, mah poh tofu, gado gado, garlic spinach, coconut rice, sambal prawns, chilli fish, curry ayam, beef rending, roti & sambal prawns.

As a food blogger I was just itching to take photos! It was absolutely killing me that I couldn’t share what I was experiencing with my friends who share my love and interest in food. Unfortunately my work colleagues just don’t understand, they think it’s a little weird that I take photos of my food before I eat it. Seeing that I was meeting a lot of my interstate colleagues for the first time I decided to be well behaved.
It's not the cheapest place to eat, but considering that it is located in St Kilda it is to be expected (lucky for me all meals were paid for by the firm).

Saturday night dinner - Dogs bar
Would you believe that this place serves Italian food??
After a few drinks I decided to whip out my camera phones for a few quick snaps.

Dips - beetroot, salmon, eggplant
Antipasto plate
Lamb shanks with mash potato and vegetables

The food here is generally pretty good, the gravy of the lamb shanks was a bit strong for my liking and the others complained that their steaks were a little cold. I'm sure that this wouldn't be a problem for smaller groups.

Sunday morning

HR (minus all the HR Assistants)
It's a tradition that we take a jumping photo every year, why?? I'm not sure....
I flew back into Sydney Sunday afternoon and the first thing I did was make my way to the Sydney Fish Markets. The Markets were jammed packed with people; I could barely move and felt really uncomfortable.
I thought that maybe the new '2 hrs free parking' promotion had something to do with it, but it’s probably always been this busy (and I hadn’t noticed because I usually come very early in the morning).

After eating a dozen oysters I was outta there!
I'm glad to be home.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Catching up

With everyone so busy at the moment it's hard to find time to catch up. A few weeks ago we had a small get together at Matty's, Muz the Master Chef cooked dinner.

The smoke from the BBQ chicken got a little overwhelming so Viv decided to fan the smoke with a blanket.

Matty: "That's not how you do it, let me show you!"

Matty: "We'll try do this together"
Viv: "I'm tired I don't want to do this any more"
Matty: "You can't stop now! you have to show everyone that you're a team player!"

Soon everyone was distracted by the food that Muz brought out.

Soba noodles & Soup with condiments on the side
Salmon sashimi on radish with dill and flakes of crispy salmon skin

Roast lamb & veggies, Mushroom risotto
We spent the rest of the night eating ice cream, telling ghost stories and cracking jokes. It was just what I needed to wind down after 95 first round interviews.
Thank you Muz for cooking! Thank you Matty for hosting and it was great to see you all.


I was really upset yesterday because in the morning I had Jacky’s 4gig Ipod nano on my lap (I bought it for him for our 7.5 year anniversary) and when I got out of the car I dropped it without knowing. By the time we got back to where our car was parked, the Ipod was nowhere to be seen. I felt awful because it had a lot of sentimental value, I even had a special message engraved on the back. With the new house comes a tight budget and we can’t afford to just buy an Ipod whenever we feel like.

This morning Jacky gets an email from one of his mates who asked him if he lost his Ipod. Apparently he heard through a friend of a friend that someone found an Ipod next to a red pug at the station where we live (Matt just happened to know what car I drove). Matt is going to try get it back for us but because he doesn’t know the guy, he doesn’t know if they will be willing to give it back.

I don’t know what’s worse, losing something for good or having someone find it and not be willing to give it back.

*Fingers crossed*

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday already!??!

Work...the last place I want to be on a Monday morning after having no weekend at all. Flew back from the National HR strategic meeting yesterday afternoon. I'm going to struggle to get through today.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Market day #2

Saturday, September 16 - Glebe Markets

After waking up early to do our weekly house chores (how grown up of us) Jacky and I headed out to the Glebe markets (secretly hoping that we would stumble on the perfect piece of art work for our lounge room).

The Glebe markets was definitely not what we expected, instead of food and art it was full of young aspiring designers selling their hand painted singlets and handmade jewellery. After a while all the jewellery started looking the same but I was quite impressed with the selection of dresses on show (perfect for summer).

If you like the Paddington markets you'll like these markets. The Glebe markets are located right next to the Broadway Shopping Centre, where parking for the first 3 hours is free. There are a few nice salad and gozleme stalls but you're better off having a meal at one of the cute cafes near by.

Farmers Markets - Entertainment Quarter

Ever since I bought my own place I've been obsessed with flowers. I love them, I can't get enough! it makes our house smell lovely and keeps it looking alive and beautiful. If you were to buy them at the local flower shop each week, it would cost you an arm and a leg.

Solution? Buy them at the markets! I had planned to make a trip out to Flemington each week but parking is a nightmare. I was sooo happy when Helen posted about the Farmers Markets at the Entertainment Quarter (what would I do without the girl!?!). Not only was there food & 2 hrs of free parking but there was fresh flowers - lots and lots of them.

I spent $16 and left with 2 bunches of oriental pink lilies (I saw them for double the price at a flower shop in Circular Quay the next day).

Next week, St Kilda Markets - Melbourne!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Feels like home...

It's a pretty awesome feeling watching your own house come together, there's still a lot to be done but we’re taking it step by step. Our coffee table finally arrived (after 3 months wait) and today we bought some vases to add a bit more colour to the room. When work quietens down I’m going to try paint something for the back wall.

(The walls are a bit darker in real life)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Henckel Vs Global

I've always been a Henckels girl; a few years ago I bought mum the exact set that is pictured below. It cost a fortune but I believe that a good set of knives is a must for any household especially when you loving cooking!

As much as I longed for it, I hadn’t planned on buying a set for myself until I got a pay rise (or bonus). However I have since been approached by some very special friends who have informed me that they had meant to surprise me with a set for my birthday/house warming/X'mas but decided it was better that I chose the set that I wanted.

I am still really uncomfortable with them spending so much (especially when I feel as though I have done nothing to deserve it), but I also know that they will do it despite my protests.

So...I need some help deciding. I know what the Henckel knives are like because I used them at Mum’s, but from watching TV I’ve been really interested in the Global range of knives. I’ve been told these knives are very well suited to Asian cooking and are great for slicing and dicing (which is an area that the Henckels could improve in). I’d greatly appreciate any feedback that anyone has to offer, alternatively in you have any other recommendations please let me know.

Zwilling Henckel 4 Star
8 Piece Block Set

Global Millennium
7pc Knife Block Set

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sicilian Parramatta

Originally my post was going to be about Emma's hens night, which happened a couple of months ago? But most of the photos from the night were lost when Jacky formatted his computer without saving my folder. So instead I'll post about the food at the Sicilian Parramatta.
Back when I use to work out of the Parramatta Office of Hudson I would spend many lunch times exploring the various places to eat around Church Street. We were regulars at The Sicilian because they were super quick at bringing out their meals for groups of 15+. They also had a $12.90 lunchtime special which provided enough variety to cater to different tastes. The quality of the food would differ from day to day but was fairly good overall.

The Sicilian fits up to 300 people and is somewhere that offers generous servings at reasonable prices. If you are after something fancy then this won’t be for you; but if you want a place where you can make a lot of noise and have great desserts for $9.00 then you should give it a try.

Prawn Caesar salad - prawns, cos lettuce, walnuts, egg, bacon, croutons, anchovies, shaved parmesan cheese and drizzled with our egg mayonnaise $25.50

Pumpkin Risotto - Roasted butternut pumpkin, spinach, garlic, chilli, fresh herbs, aborio rice in a vegetable stock and butter sauce $18.90

(Be warned that the risotto here will leave you with extremely powerful garlic breath!)

Chicken al Funghi - Grilled tender breast of chicken with bacon, onions, mushrooms infused in a garlic, white wine, cream sauce served on a bed of sweet potato $24.90
Cannelloni Siciliana - Homemade cannelloni filled with fresh ricotta cheese, English spinach, topped with Sicilian's napolitana sauce and finished with shaved parmesan $17.90

Pasta Misto Mare - a selection of fresh fish, prawns, scallops, squid and mussels in a rich tomato sauce tossed with spaghetti $25.90

Sicilian Parramatta
292 Church St
Phone: 0296332299
Fully licensed. BYO wine (small corkage). Open 7 days 11am-Midnight

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hanging in there

Last week I did 35 interviews in 5 days, that's 7 interviews each day with 1 hour lunch break in between.
This week I have another 35.
Next week I have 1 week to catch up on my usual HR duties, respond to the emails in my inbox (which is just out of control) and action meeting requests. I also need to finalise 2nd interviews before flying down to Melbourne for our national 'HR Retreat' (I lose my whole weekend!).
Then when I get back, I start 2nd interviews.
I can't wait till the end of October where hopefully life goes back to 'normal'.
I don't think house warming is happening any time soon I'm just wayyy too busy at the moment.
Betty & Lisa I'm really really sorry for missing your birthday drinks! I feel awful! but I had some unexpected people spring a suprise visit on me. I'll make it up to you guys over dinner at my place this week?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Day at the Markets

The 2nd day of spring and the weather was just fabulous, I've been working just a little too hard and it was starting to take it's toll. So instead of working from home, painting, unpacking or cleaning I decided to take a Saturday off just to do something that I enjoy.

I've been meaning check out a few of the markets around Sydney and today seemed like the perfect day for it. I rounded up the troops (Sophia and Jacky) and off we went.
Grower's Market - Pyrmont
We're regulars to this market, we just love it!
Because you need to get up early for these markets you really end up making the most of your day. There are always the old favourites but each time you're here you're bound to discover something new to try. The increase in popularity of these markets were extremely noticeable, the whole place was crowded with people. Normally getting there at 9:30am would be quite a good time but today some of the more popular items had already sold out.

I realise that this photo looks exactly like the one I took last time, but I assure you its different. I just can't get over how perfect the weather was...what a beautiful day!

The flowers looked stunning and you really could smell spring in the air. This dog was so cute! he was just a puppy but he was hugeeee! I was trying to take a picture of this dog when Helen popped by to say hi (Hello! I hope that you had a good day too!).

I wish my cupcakes turned out like that! I also taste tested some passionfruit curd, orange marmalade and lemon curd. The lemon one was divine! It would be perfect on toast with a bit of butter. Although $9 a jar was a little more than what I wanted to spend I couldn't resist taking one home.

Every time I come here I find myself spending stupid amounts of money, so after some wise words from Helen & Deborah I decided to set myself a $20 budget.

(They also had these honey crisps which were really yum but at $9.50 a bag I had to give it a miss).

Sophia and I love this trout stand, the dip that he makes is absolutely delicious! I'm can't remember how much he usually sells it for, but today he gave it to us for $5.

The stand next to him was selling some 'Rosey Red' blood oranges, blood oranges are available from June till September each year. These oranges are extremely sweet and vibrant in colour; they also have a lower acidity level than your supermarket variety which is good for people with sensitive tummies. After taste testing a few pieces I decided that I had to have a bag ($5).

Having used my $20 for the day Sophia offered to buy a loaf of the 'tomato bush' flavoured sough dough bread ($5.50) to eat with our dip. We asked the bread man to cut the loaf up into sections for us and we had our own little picnic on one of the tables.

At around 10:30 -11:00am we decided that it was time to move on. My goal for the day was to find 2 paintings, one for the lounge room and one for the kitchen so I figured the markets at The Rocks would be the way to go.

The Rocks Market - Circular Quay

It's been so long since I've been to the markets here that I had no idea what to expect.

They had a little food section that sold hot corn, strawberry sticks and home made lemonade.

As I ventured deeper into the stalls I discovered jams, chilli sauce, fudge and much much more.

Sophia made me taste this Chilli sauce that was so hot I couldn't feel my tongue for ages after. When the sign warns you by saying 'caution extremely hot 18+ only' it makes sense to not plonk a whole spoonful on your cracker (when will I ever learn??).

The rest of the Market had some lovely jewellery, toys, art pieces and photos but it didn't have the paintings I was looking for.

Not content we decided to head to the markets at Manly

Manly Art & Crafts Market

Manly is such an awesome place, the area is so beautiful, catching the ferry to work sure beats the train! But property at Manly is wayyy out of our budget, my friends who recently bought a 2 bedroom apartment there paid $800,000....oof!

The Manly markets are dedicated to arts & crafts and was a lot smaller than I expected. There were only 15 stalls at most, and look only a short time for us to look through them. There were a few food stalls and the nougat from this stand looked really yummy.

They did have a few stalls with nice paintings (the prices ranged from $150 to $350+ per print), one painting did catch my eye and could work really well in the kitchen but for us to spend that much money we needed to be sure that we really wanted it. Jacky wasn't convinced so we decided to keep looking.

What do you guys think? On the left is the painting that we are considering, it needs to be the red/orange/yellow colours as my kitchen appliances have a bit of a red theme going on and these colours would compliment it. On the right is my dining table and directly behind it is where the painting would go. I guess it's hard to tell from a photo but the dining room joins with the kitchen making the space a lot bigger than what is pictured...thoughts?

Parking is rather expensive at Manly, 1 hr on the street sets you back $6. With time to spare we decided to grab some fish & chips to eat by the beach....YumO!

I was having the best time until something hit me hard in the leg, I seriously thought some one threw a pine cone at me. When I investigated what had hit me I saw that a bird had in fact pooed on me!! It was sooo gross!! but then again it's suppose to be good luck =P

After Manly we were all pretty exhausted and decided to give the Glebe markets a miss (plus I was still traumatised by the bird pooing incident). After dropping Sophia off we went home, it felt like we had done so much but it was still only 3pm, got to love early morning starts!


Market Goodness