A Day Out & Il Locale, Berry

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I’ve had laryngitis and bronchitis this past week so I have been sticking close to home. But now The Other Half has two weeks off and this past Saturday we got out of the house.

At first we were just going to the chemist and to Bunnings, a local hardware store for those of you not in Australia. But one look at the carpark of Bunnings and we decided it was a HELL NO situation. Even the chemist carpark was packed, so much so the other half chose to stay in the car.

When I got back to the car we looked at each other and said what now – do we go back home? My outfit was not quite ready for that, so I suggested we head over to Berry to pick up some hand cream I have been wanting to get.

I am a member of a local food group here in the Shoalhaven – it is usually how I find all the local gems – and someone had recently posted photos of their meal from Il Locale. So as we were wandering about reading menus, I suggested we check out the menu at Il Locale. It turned out to be a great choice.

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Il Locale is best known for the amazing gelato they make on the premises. In fact strolling past you might not be aware that they do actually serve delicious food and coffee and they do it at very reasonable prices for Berry. Berry is the kind of place where a simple ham and cheese croissant could cost you more than $10. It is a bit “Up Money” on occasion.

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The Other Half chose his usual Egg and Bacon Roll. For $8, it was a bargain. The tomato chutney was *incredible*. It was so good I actually would have liked to buy it and take it home. I am not sure if it is for sale and they were quite busy when it was time to leave, so I couldn’t interrupt and ask. Next time.

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I went for the BLAT – Bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato. It was so delicious. We also had coffee which was the perfect temperature and so, so good.

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There are a couple of side rooms with tables for people to sit and eat, which you would not necessarily know from the street.

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They also have take away sandwiches ready to go. And sorbet and gelato. Don’t forget about the gelato! It was a nice – and rare these days – treat. We do not eat out very often since changing our diet to low sodium.

We went for a stroll through our favourite shops, I got my hand cream, and by the time we were done the Bunnings carpark was suitably empty. Win win all around! Happy moments for all.

Berry

Movie Catch Up 2

Loved

theinfiltrator

The Infiltrator

“A U.S. Customs official uncovers a money laundering scheme involving Pablo Escobar.” (IMDB)

Bryan Cranston is one of my favorite actors of all time. Team him up with John Leguizamo who is yet another favourite and chances were this was going to be a winner even if the script is terrible.. but it wasn’t terrible. It was great. I loved everything about it. It felt slightly like a bit more upmarket version of Donnie Brasco.

The costumes, the lighting, the amazing homes on occasion contrasted with the reality of the lives of those undercover. Underneath it all there was this great tension, like at any minute everything could go very wrong indeed, and now and then things did go very wrong.

This movie did receive some mixed reviews elsewhere. Diane Kruger was impossibly gorgeous, Benjamin Bratt appears in a very silver foxy role – and silver suits him – Juliet Aubrey was great as the long suffering wife of an undercover agent and Olympia Dukakis has a small but effortlessly fabulous part especially delightful for those of us who have loved her since the mid 80’s.

I do feel the need to read the book this was based on now.

Liked

lifemovie

Life

“A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.” (IMDB)

Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson together on screen. I should have been literally glued to my chair, laptop lid closed, watching this. I’ve been fans of both of these guys for years now. Sadly the movie did not grab me. I found the runaround that James Dean gave Dennis Stock far too annoying. In fact the way he treated everyone deeply irritated me.

I think the truth is, Dane was doing way too good a job here of almost inhabiting the skin of James Dean and I just did not like that guy. It probably does not help that I know almost nothing about him and have never seen any of his movies. I am sure if you are a James Dean fan perhaps you would have enjoyed this movie far more than I did.

The one time this movie did grab me was when James went to a dance at his old high school. On that occasion he was charming and lovely to the people there. If this movie had been about that guy I saw in that moment, I probably would have loved this. But by all accounts, that is not who James Dean was at all.

Robert Pattinson has a habit of choosing not great projects. I sat through a couple of really deeply terrible movies just because he was in them. I mean, hello, The Rover. This one was ok and he was ok in it. But not ok enough to keep my laptop closed for the entire movie.

The costumes were pretty great, as were the locations. In general this movie was very well done. It is just a shame the person it was all about was so annoying.

Disliked

Patriots Day

“The story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists responsible.” IMDB

Obviously as this is based on a real event where people were injured and killed, his movie is NOT for anyone who can’t deal with gory images. I understand they are kinda sorta telling the story of what happened but I think they could have gone a little lighter on showing the injuries.

Also I think if you are going to put an actor as well known as John Goodman into heavy makeup and dark eyebrows to resemble someone else, that is a Not Great idea. Every time I heard his voice I was freaked out by what he looked like. It also has Kevin Bacon which is never a bad thing.

Mark Wahlberg is pretty incredible in his role, but I am a fan of his. If you don’t like him you are probably not going to enjoy this movie, because his character is central to everything that happened – and it is a completely fictional character. There was no one police officer involved in almost every aspect of the bombing and aftermath. There were many wonderful people who did not have their part of the story told here.

That is where the film falls down for me – it is impossible to suspend my disbelief. I would have preferred a version with the “real” police officers played by actors, but then it would not have been so Wahlberg-esque. This is an important story and I feel it would have been better to stick to facts not make up a convenient character for “movie” reasons.

I was quite horrified at what they did with the “interrogation” of the wife, especially holding up a printed out photo of her dead husband which I do suspect may have been the real image, I never saw it myself though so I can’t be certain. That was unexpected and quite gory and unnecessary.

On the plus side, I did think J.K. Simmons was amazing as Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese especially in the Watertown shootout scenes. Alex Wolff as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Themo Melikidze as Tamerlan Tsarnaev did some amazing work in tough roles as the terrorist brothers. Jimmy O. Yang was incredible as Dun Meng and that particular aspect of the story is one many are unaware of.

Would I recommend it as a movie to watch? That is such a difficult question. Probably not and that is a shame. This was a missed opportunity to tell the real story of what happened, not some half-real half-fake version.

All of these movies are older movies from 2015 and 2016. They would now be available on DVD as well as via various movie streaming services. 

movies

Herby Baked Chicken

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I like to call this one “every herb and his dog” though that is not really true. If I used all the herbs I happen to own thanks to the great Aldi spice packs it would turn out weird I expect and it would take a long time to put the marinade together.

herbs

I have made this several times now and I believe this will be the final recipe though it could always change. The orange juice was an addition this week because we bought some – the previous attempts did not have it – but now that I have tried it I would always add it. If I switch some of the herbs it can make this a totally different recipe too. EG if you add in some cumin that would take this in a Mexican direction.

This makes enough chicken for the other half to have 220g of chicken for lunch for 5 days – I often make a potato bake to go with it, or he can have a boiled egg and some cheese and crackers. Plus a leftover bunch of chicken for me to have as a snack.

This is so simple, it takes me maximum 15 minutes to prepare the marinade then everything goes into a baking tray covered with alfoil for a couple of hours in the oven. Here’s what you need and how I do it.

2kg chicken breast – you can use thigh if you like but you would want to reduce the cooking time somewhat, if you used wings and drumsticks you might cook it slightly longer.

The marinade –

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put the following together in a bowl –
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt – you can use minced garlic if you prefer
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon rosemary

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Whisk ingredients together. Pour a small amount into the baking dish, layer the chicken on top of that, then pour the rest of the marinade on top. You can add up to 500mls of liquid chicken stock if you like. The liquid will reduce down as it cooks.

Cover baking dish with alfoil. Do not skip this step, it is super important!

Cook in the oven at 200C (390F) for one hour.

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Remove from oven, flip the chicken over. Put the alfoil back on. Return to the oven at 200C for another hour.

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So why do I cook it for so long? Two reasons – so that all the flavours can seep into the chicken creating major awesomeness – and so the chicken completely falls apart when you touch it with a fork.

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I like to make this into “pulled chicken” and I do that in the pan it cooked in so the chicken can soak up the maximum marinade.

recipes

Movie Catch Up 1

movies

Loved

siege

The Siege of Jadotville

“Irish Commandant Pat Quinlan leads a stand off with troops against French and Belgian Mercenaries in the Congo during the early 1960s.” IMDB

Unknown to a lot of the world, Jamie Dornan is in fact an excellent actor. If you’d seen any of the Fifty Shades shiznit you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. If you’d seen The Fall, the Irish series in which Jamie plays a serial killer you would know how excellent he is. If they give him some good material and allow him to use his Irish accent the results are sure to be fantastic.

There is a quite a bit of swearing in this movie. It is understandable given the situation the characters are placed in. I felt a bit like swearing just watching it. I did not know anything about this historical event and this is exactly the reason why movies like this are made.

The rest of the cast truly stepped up to the plate, in particular Conor MacNeill and Sam Keeley were stand outs. It was so wonderful that they could include the grandson of Pat Quinlan in the cast.

What an incredible – and surprisingly uplifting – story – none of which I will spoil for you – and it is told extremely well. I think this might be one of the best movies I am likely to see this year. We will see!

pemberley

Death Comes To Pemberley

“Elizabeth and Darcy, now six years married, are preparing for their annual ball when festivities are brought to an abrupt halt. “ IMDB

Technically this is a 3 part mini-series, not a movie. This was made in 2013. I saw it back then and loved it but a recent read of the book inspired a rewatch.

Some members of the cast who were unknown to me on first viewing have gone on to significant careers – in particular Matthew Rhys appeared in The Americans, Matthew Goode appeared in decent roles in The Good Wife and Downton Abbey just after making this, Jenna Coleman has gone on to a huge starring role in Victoria, Eleanor Tomlinson went on to a fantastic role in Poldark and James Norton next appeared in War and Peace and Happy Valley.

Essentially this little mini series packs a huge punch not just in star power but also in excellence overall – the production quality is incredibly high, the locations are gorgeous, the costumes are very well done. It is everything great about British television in one beautiful package and I highly recommend you find it and watch it. While Colin Firth will always be my favourite Mr Darcy, I think Matthew Rhys did an excellent job here, and his sideburns were very impressive indeed.

Liked

zfor

Z for Zachariah

“In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.” IMDB

I loved this book growing up, it is one that I borrowed many times from the library but I never owned it. It has been a long time since I read the book. I enjoyed this movie because Chiwetel Ejiofor is an incredible actor – I have loved him since Kinky Boots. Margot Robbie was great.

But then The Eyebrows AKA Chris Pine showed up. I’d forgotten he was in the movie. This took the movie from loved to liked for me. Your mileage may vary. Maybe you like The Eyebrows. :)
keanu

The Whole Truth

“A defense attorney works to get his teenage client acquitted of murdering his wealthy father.” IMDB

This is a courtroom drama with Keanu Reeves and Renee Zellweger. It should have been excellent. The whole truth is, the storylines were terrible. I get the concept the writer was going for, to try and have all these possible truths and only one whole truth, but one of the possible truths they went with was just plain cringeworthy to say the least.

The idea of having the person on trial flat out refusing to speak to their lawyer or anyone else at all felt quite ridiculous. If you are a fan of Keanu or Renee, you may enjoy this even despite the bad storylines. Even though I enjoyed their performances enough to put this film in the liked category, I would not recommend this film to anyone else.

Disliked

jamie

Fifty Shades Darker

“While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her.” IMDB

I liked the first movie and I am a big fan of both Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson but boy did the director really screw this up. Or maybe it is all the fault of E L James herself. Maybe the only reason the first movie was semi-good was because the director worked and fought hard to get her own vision on the screen and not the vision of the book author.

Though why the vision of any author or any director would have Anastasia running around in her underwear and yet Christian wears track pants in the gym.. that will forever remain a mystery. I have never seen a man have so much sex with his clothes on as Christian Grey does.

I’ll watch the last one but only because I like completion and I like the two main stars. It was the same director for the final two movies and they were filmed all at once so I expect Freed to be just as dismal.

intern

The Intern

“70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.” IMDB

I thought this was going to be great but wow, what a waste of a great cast. I would have said you can’t really take Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro and create a stinker of a movie but boy they sure accomplished that. This was bad. Very very bad. If you are looking for a great “workplace” movie, my suggestion is Morning Glory, track that down and give this one a big miss.

movies

Kitchen Update

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Our new Westinghouse fridge has been a great addition to our household. So much space, and everything has a specific home. Today I will take you on a fridge tour.

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The top shelf is where lunches for The Other Half reside. Those are his cans – every second can is a Solo can. While I no longer drink my calories he is losing weight without trying so the occasional can is cool with me. The next shelf down is mainly dairy storage AKA extra cheeses, chook yoghurt and meats.

Then we have a treats shelf, that grey storage container there holds all our dark chocolate, there is some hommus for me and on the other side is a roll out shelf with things like garlic, chili, ginger, jams, and our aioli. I get the wasabi aioli from Aldi, it is amazing.

The final shelf here has tinned tuna, our cheese in use drawer, eggs, and in that little alfoil package is a ham and cheese croissant snack. I made them for lunch for The Other Half yesterday and there was an extra one, so I saved it as a snack for myself in case I wanted it for lunch today. For lunches now I find it really difficult to go past my protein shake. My body needs the nutrients in there way more than it needs a butter croissant, especially after a tough workout.

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The shelf with the large pink container – that has all our potatoes – sweet and normal. I can fit about 10kg of potatoes in there. We found a place that sells a 5kg bag of potatoes for the same price I buy 2kg for normally, so when we go past there we tend to stock up.

I keep them in the fridge now which extends their life significantly BUT it makes my hands super cold when I have to peel them. I try to remember to put them out an hour before peel time.There is a watermelon treat for the chooks there too. Next to it in the grey container is my apples.

Then we have two fruit and vegetable shelves. Carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, leeks, zucchini, then in the bottom crisper there is a cauliflower, green capsicum, red capsicum and 1.5kg of brussel sprouts which finally returned to the shelves at Aldi this week. The Other Half had to stop me from buying even more of them! I have missed them so much, we will incorporate them into every single meal this week.

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Some more treats reside on the top shelf here. Peanut butter on apples is my daily treat right now, and we usually have something dark chocolate with afternoon coffee – kit kat dark is the present go-to, but I limit myself to just one serving.

San Pellegrino is my other more occasional treat. I grab them if I am headed out for errands or if we are going for a drive in the car. When we are staying here I mostly drink my Soda-Stream carbonated filtered tap water.

Next to that some more condiments – the South Aussies will recognise the Beerenberg tomato sauce. When we first moved here we could not get it, relatives would bring us 2 litre flagons from the store in Hahndorf. Now it is available on the shelves and it is the only tomato sauce I could imagine using. It is that good.

The vegemite is not for me – I am perhaps not Australian enough because I do not like it. The Other Half does, though. The olives are mine.

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My soda stream bottles, the Costco maple syrup which I was surprised to find should be kept in the fridge, a bottle of mineral water with lemon for visitors, bottles of water, and then all that milk. I switched to almond milk for my smoothies – it is less calories and tastes incredible to me. The A2 milk you see there will last us for 2 weeks.

Right at the bottom there, some more bottled water, my lemon and lime squeeze bottles and some whipped cream which I will *very* occasionally put on top of a hot chocolate, milo or coffee.

We are down to one grocery shopping trip a fortnight, made after 6pm on the weekends when everyone else is doing other things. The bigger fridge has helped a lot – I can buy milk for two weeks now without having to worry about where I will put it, and the next time I go to Costco I will probably buy 4 of their large cheeses which keeps extremely well, that will mean I don’t have to buy cheese for 3 months at least, maybe 4.

We buy all our meat in bulk once every 2-3 months then foodsave and freeze it except for beef mince which I buy fresh each fortnight. But the freezer and how we organise it, that is a story for another post. :) I just did a big pantry clean out this weekend too. That is also a story for another post.

food, Home

Getting Organised

purplesnowtrees

Sometimes you just need to de-clutter and reorganise. This process is happening all over my house at the moment. Everything from getting a new fridge to cleaning out the cupboards to reorganizing my wardrobes and letting go of a lot of clothes that no longer fit me, and welcoming in new clothes, shoes, even underwear that does fit.

Part of this process which came to me as a surprise on a recent Saturday was organising our movies. There are a lot of movies which The Other Half likes which I do not enjoy, and vice versa. We went through the list to organise my movies into two groups – watched, and to be watched.

After the sorting, I now have a directory on the server with over 70 movies that are marked “to be watched”. These are movies I have never seen that somehow got lost in our movies directory. When I would go in there to pick something to watch I would often get tempted by something I have already seen and love, or there would be so much choice I could not choose.

My plan now is to work through these movies one by one. After I watched the first one, I thought maybe I would keep a little list, maybe once a fortnight – or once a week depending on how much watching I get done – and post it here on the blog. I might organise it similarly to how Zandria does her book posts, but maybe with loved, liked, disliked.

fridgepreview

Here is a fridge preview – on Monday next week I have a post where you get a closer look.

Movies and maybe some music will be Wednesday posts for a while, going forwards. I am slowly getting my blogging mojo back. ;)

blog housekeeping, Home, movies

The Clothing Chronicles – Part 2

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Not long after the Millers shopping trip I mentioned in part 1, I was about to head out for the day and picked an outfit. I was unhappy to find that my mesh top which was part of this outfit no longer fit me. Mesh tops are something those of us who do not love our upper arms depend on, to enable us to wear sleeveless tops and dresses. They can also turn a low cut top into something less cleavage-tastic.

All of mine were from Ezibuy. Over the past 15 years, I had bought that top in blue, red and white, plus several black ones, all in size 16.

No problem, I thought. I will just go back and order some more of those mesh tops in a smaller size. Only one small obstacle – the Ezibuy top was now sold out. So I put aside a day for wandering the local shops in the hopes I could find one. HAHAHHAHA. I would have better luck finding a unicorn. In desperation I went into shops I would never have thought to look in, and not only did I not find my mesh tops, I did not find anything in those places that I liked at all.

A few times I thought I had found them – or a lace version – only to find on closer inspection that the bodysuit is back, baby. I can’t even understand why. On one later shopping trip I was in a bathroom and heard the girl next to me having a lot of trouble, eventually saying I can’t undo this bodysuit, Mum! Her Mum had to go in and help her undo the bodysuit. It brought back memories of times when I could not undo them myself. Why do we wear things that cause such problems, ladies? And why has not technology solved that problem? ;)

Ok then, let me search the online shops. HAHAHAHHA. After a couple of hours of fruitless searching, I was getting very cranky. Then I remembered one of my old school reliable backup online shops – TVSN.

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Happily they had this one, and unsure what size to get but knowing mesh tops can often accommodate more than one size, I bought the 10 and 12, figuring I could either send back the one that doesn’t fit quite as well. When they arrived they both fit well but the 10 was better overall and that is the size I would order next time. I kept the 12 as well.

When I bought it only the black was available, however they have a range of other colours that go in and out of stock and I was tempted to invest in a few more this past weekend, until I clicked on the size button to find red was the only colour left in my size. These tops are super popular and with good reason. I like the Boo Radley one more than the Ezibuy one, it has a slightly higher neckline.

The other must have layering item for those who do not love their arms is a shrug cardigan. I had to pack away a few after winter last year because they were way too big. Now, two of my most favourite shrugs in teal green and pink no longer fit me. This means I am left with two shrugs that work – these are a lurex glittery stretch fabric which will work for me at most sizes.

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It seems from all my searching, the shrug is out, and longer cardigans are in. Sometimes even ridiculously long! That photo is the purple floor length cardigan. Zulily is a site I have never shopped at yet but I do browse it quite often and get their daily emails, it has a lot of stuff which is my style mixed in with a lot of stuff that is not.

I did manage to find a couple of shrugs in my travels but they are both black, I could not find a shrug in a colour at all. I will keep looking but I am not very hopeful.

sleeveless

Just to give you an idea of how much of my wardrobe relies on these mesh tops and shrug cardigans – here are all my sleeveless things. There are more than 30 items here.

Fashion