Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Wishes for You

Christmas Wishes for You, originally uploaded by Adriana Glackin.

Just a quick post, as we're getting to the silliest part of the silly season now. A warm thank you to all who have viewed and read my blog posts in 2011. I hope I've been able to entertain and/or inform and/or distract you even if only for a brief moment.

Whatever you do in the upcoming days, I hope you are able to spend time with those you love. I'll be spending the time with my family and visiting friends and will be cherishing the moments we are all together.

I wish you much love and peace and may 2012 bring you all good health and joy. See you again in 2012.

With love,

Adriana ♥

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Sydney Harbour Bridge B&W

I'd like to apologise to all the tourists who find themselves in Sydney at the moment. Yes, this is summer, but this ugly grey weather is most unusual. I'm sorry that you've come all this way to visit our iconic harbour, expecting to see it draped in warm blue sunny skies. I bet you thought you'd promenade along the foreshore enjoying the sight of the sparkling blue waters whilst sipping a coffee or licking an ice cream. I bet you thought you'd be able to go home and tell your family and friends just how warm and sunny and gorgeous your visit to Sydney was. I bet you thought you'd still have that warm glow on your cheeks from just a little too much sun, to remind you of your visit. Instead, you're probably cursing that you've packed completely unnecessary summer clothes, when in fact you should have packed your autumn clothes and a raincoat and an umbrella.

Sorry about that.

I'm really not sure where our beautiful weather has gone. I can safely say that we're also sick of the greyness that greets us every morning when we open up our curtains.

I hope that one day you will return to our shores and enjoy our summer weather - I'll let you know when it makes an appearance.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Music cufflinks created by Simone Walsh

This post is to shamelessly plug the wonderful handmade jewellery designed and created by Simone Walsh.
A few weeks ago, we hired a suit for the eldest Teen's school formal and seeing as his shirt had french cuffs, we needed a pair of cufflinks. The easy option would have been to hire a pair, or to simply buy a suitably neutral pair from the nearest department store. As the Teen loves music, I thought buying a pair of music themed cufflink would be a good idea, the trouble was, no department or jewellery store had such a pair - that I could find... What to do? Well, turn to twitter of course. There in my feed was @simonewalsh tweeting about being in her studio creating her current pieces. Bingo! I would contact Simone and ask if she could create the cufflinks. Of course she could! So, a few short emails later and all I had to do was sit back and wait for the cufflinks to arrive in the post. The whole process took less than a week - I still think this is an amazing feat! It really was very easy, payment was organised through PayPal, the cufflinks were express posted and arrived in plenty of time. Simone enclosed the important care instructions and the cufflinks were beautifully wrapped. What more could I ask for? Well, how about a special discount offer for my next purchase - yes, special voucher enclosed - excellent!

Here's an image of the cufflinks, the music is from one of the Teen's own compositions.
What did the Teen think of his cufflinks? He loved them!

Need some inspiration for gift giving ideas for that special person? Then look no further than Simone's website. Happy shopping!
 music cufflinks 1
 The Outfit

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Movie Review and Rant - "We need to Talk About Kevin"

Thank you @mamamia for the double pass - I am SOOOO excited to go along to the premier!

Firstly, thank you to Mamamia and Hopscotch for offering tickets to the preview screening of "We need to Talk about Kevin", a movie I was very keen to go along and watch.

Secondly, the traffic. Sydney - what is going on? Seriously. I really want to know what the hell is going on with the roads out there.It was a rainy Wednesday night - who wants to go to the city on a rainy Wednesday night? Well, it seems that everyone wanted to go to the city and we were all sitting in the endless traffic snarl that slowly snaked it's way along the freeway.  I had allowed 2 hours to drive from Kellyville to Moore Park, a distance of 42km never imagining that it would take that full 2 hours to get there. So much for chilling out with N., pre-movie over a bite to eat and a chat. I say poo to you Sydney traffic. /rant.

And now, to the movie - yes, we got there and missed 5 minutes, possibly 10 minutes, maybe less and maybe even more. The reason for the confusion is the way the movie portrays the story. Written as a series of letters the screen adaptation doesn't follow the chronological order of the book, instead you are shown vignettes from the present and past and back again. However much was missed, it certainly didn't impact on the rest of the movie. The movie was brilliant. I don't watch many movies, but this is the way books should be adapted into movies - it left me speechless and for all the right reasons. Both the casting and the acting - perfect, I really couldn't find fault. There is much to be said for actors who don't use botox and Swinton could not have pulled off the nuances of expression needed had she been pumped with the celluloid-doll-making stuff. The dialogue was spare - it was all about the visual. The pain, anguish, confusion, realisation in Swinton's face and body were very real. The same goes for Reilly and the actors who played the various stages of Kevin. This sort of acting is what movies should be all about.

So, reasons why you should go and see this movie:
1. You've read the book. Forget going to see this if you haven't, as you won't be able to make heads or tails of what is going on and you will miss the subtleties that pepper the movie.
2. You like old style horror and suspense that leaves you lying awake at night. Sometimes it's what you don't see that is far more frightening than the obvious. This movie has plenty of chilling subtle visuals.
3. You're not squeamish about the topic of "parenting". At the heart of this story is the relationship parents have with their children and just how much is nature versus nurture. Without giving anything away, this portrayal is an extreme and will leave you questioning just how people tick - husband and wife, parent and child.
4. You like your movies a little on the arty side. This movie is full of angled shots, blurry fade outs and ins, extreme close ups, artfully cropped scenes and hand-held-on-the-go camera technique. It all adds to the drama and chill.
5. You're over movies that are full of dialogue. As mentioned, the dialogue is spare. It's all about the emotion and this is beautifully shown in the visuals.
6. You like to be able to hear the movie over the din of chip wrappers, slurping fizzy drinks and rustling popcorn. I can tell you that in the cinema last night, I didn't so much as hear a lolly being unwrapped. And that is a wonderful thing.

Reasons why you shouldn't see this movie:
1. You read the book, or at least tried to, and hated it. You will hate the movie even more.
2. You prefer your movies presented in an orderly fashion and really don't like movies with flashback scenes.
3. You don't like horror, graphic or subtle, and you're pregnant with your first child. To be honest, I would be squeamish watching this if I were in that position. Yikes...
4. You like happy endings. I don't think that's a spoiler alert, but there's little happiness in this movie. There are some touching moments and that's the closest you'll get to happiness with this story.
5. You don't like confrontation. The story will mess with your head and what it means to be a parent. If you're particularly sensitive, you'll be too frightened to read to your child ever again. In fact, you may even ban books altogether...

All in all, I loved the book and I loved the movie. I would rank it the second best movie ever.
Do you dare go and watch it? If you do, let me know your thoughts.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Book Review - "We Need to Talk about Kevin" by Lionel Shriver

It was haunting but...

I have been remiss and this review is long overdue and not just because I promised N. that I would write it. You don't know N., but we go back quite a few years and we've always swapped book lists. Our tastes aren't always the same but that's the beauty of it. It works most of the time... Last year though, it almost ended in tears. I finally got around to reading one of N.'s favourite books and I wrote my not-so-thinly-disguised thoughts here. I think I am the only person in the whole wide world who didn't enjoy that book. Everyone else I've spoken with about it, speak of it in those soft and dreamy angel-voice tones. Many also enjoyed the movie, and again, speak of it in dreamy-like angel tones. As for the movie, I understand the ending is somewhat different (and by that I mean TOTALLY) and casting Cameron Diaz as the mother? Goodness, what were they thinking? In my head, Diaz is the last person I'd imagine playing that role in that movie.

So, to the point of this post and speaking of actors and the characters they play, segues perfectly to - "We need to Talk about Kevin" by Lionel Shriver. If I had a Top Ten list of favourite books EVER, then Kevin would be in the Top Three. I don't know about you, but when I read I build images in my head of what I think the characters look like. And I think that's why I see so few movies based on popular novels - the actors tend not to match the characters in my head. The exception is Kevin. I cannot imagine a better actress than Tilda Swinton to play the part of Eva, Kevin's mother. And John C. Reilly as Franklin and Ezra Miller as Kevin - WOW! perfect casting!

If you haven't read Kevin, it's a toughie. This is the sort of book you'll either love or hate, there won't be a middle ground. I found the story haunting. Each page delivered a punch to the guts that didn't let up for any of the 468 pages. Each night I would apprehensively open the book and although I was cosily tucked up in bed, I always had the feeling of being on a precipice. A craggy, crumbly precipice only barely held together by some non-gravitational force; one that could give way at any moment if I dared breathe incorrectly.
So, if it made me feel so uncomfortable and anxious, why did I read it? It was the language. It was personal. It was as though I had a friend recounting her life's story to me; a gripping, heart wrenching, difficult and challenging one at that. And you don't turn your back on a friend when she's pouring her heart out. You  listen, with patience and without judgement, until she finishes. And when it's over, you can sink back into the chair you've been ever-so-slightly sitting on and be grateful that her life isn't your life and even more grateful that it is, after all, fictional.
I can see how this story can spark debate about parenting, communication among other things. In fact, in the back of the edition I have, the publisher has even supplied a list of possible questions you're meant to sit and chat about with your book club buddies. That really isn't necessary, the story supplies you with all the questions you'd ever want to debate. Unlike "The Slap", which also sparks debate and division, you develop empathy with the characters in Kevin. At the end of the story, I wanted to hug Eva and simply cry. As for the movie, I'll be putting it on my To Watch List and who knows, I might even meet up with N. so we can watch it together.
For a great interview with Tilda Swinton by Kira Cochrane on the role she played in Kevin, click here.

N. - you are so redeemed. :)

Now, what other books have you read lately?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Spelt Fruit Muffins - with a Twist

The muffins are done. Apparently, they're healthy.

So, we're in HSC mode in our household at the moment and anyone who has been here will know just how stressful this period can be. Not only do they have exams they need to perform well in, the realisation that their school years have now come to an end smacks them well and truly in the face. Even for those who know exactly what they'll be doing once the exams are over, the transition into the next stage of their life can still prove daunting. I've been trying to keep healthy snacks in the house to ensure that a balanced diet is maintained during this time - feed the brain healthy and wholesome foods and avoid snacks with saturated fats and high calorie sugary foods, right?

I came across the recipe for Spelt Fruit Muffins while watching "Eat Yourself Sexy Australia" and thought it would be a great snack to make - full of wholesome foods and high in protein, so I searched the site and found the recipe. The trouble was, there were a couple of ingredients I felt uncomfortable using. It wasn't the tofu or spelt flour, it was the one cup of oil and 300g of raw sugar the recipe required. Yikes! That's a lot of oil and sugar! Picturing a cup of oil is enough to make me gag and to use that much in a "healthy" snack, just didn't sit right with me. The two alterations I made was to cut the sugar in half and to substitute the cup of oil for a cup of apple puree.

You'll be pleased to know that with those simple variations, the Spelt Fruit Muffins (there were 29 in the batch) turned out a treat and were gobbled up by all. Give them a go - just don't tell your family what's in them!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Tony Ryan Empowering Beauty Photography Workshop December 2011

Day 345 of 365

If you’re a photographer and can be in the Sydney area on the 10th or 11th December 2011, then you may be interested to hear that Tony Ryan still has a couple of spots available in his upcoming workshops. These workshops are intimate and concentrate on the importance of building a rapport with your model in order to obtain beautiful and empowering portraits and fine art nude photographs. Don’t panic if you don’t know how to “drive” your camera, as Tony is more than happy to offer tips. The emphasis of the workshop, however, is the human aspect of portrait photography rather than getting the most from your camera.  Sure, anyone can replicate a pose or leave it up to the model to pose, these sorts of portraits tend to look vacant and shallow and perhaps even a little awkward. Tony explains, and shows examples, where richer and more poised portraits can be obtained through dialogue between photographer and model. Priced at $150.00, I feel the information you learn and the confidence you gain from this workshop is certainly great value for money. And it's a fun day to boot! For more information, visit Tony’s website here.

Friday, 14 October 2011

I'm Sorry, But What Season is This?

I'm a little confused. My calendar tells me that this is mid October, yet I'm still wearing winter woollies. Normally at this time of year, I would expect soaring blue skies and temperatures in the low to mid 20's. Yet today, like many days this week and last week and the week before, the temperature struggles to get to 20 degrees and it's bleak and dreary.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the mist and fog, but it does get a little tedious. I can really only recall a couple of fine Spring days so far this season, the rest really have been quite blergh. This afternoon I ventured out and about and went for a bit of a bush walk. There are only so many hours you can spend indoors.

I used the Lensbaby Composer with f5.6 aperture disk then converted to black and white in PS. The abstract colour images were various grasses and bushland, and the effect was achieved in-camera.

I hope that wherever you are in the world, your weather is a little brighter, sunnier and cheerier than the weather I'm currently experiencing.

~ waiting for the sun to start shining ~ 

  mist & fog in springtime_2 

  mist & fog in springtime_3 

  mist & fog in springtime_4 

  mist & fog in springtime_5 
  mist & fog in springtime_10 

  spring abstract_6 

  spring abstract_7 

  spring abstract_8 

  spring abstract_9

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

And This is why I love Social Media

And this is why I love social media.

Chocolate coated jelly snakes. Yes, that’s right, you read correctly – chocolate coated jelly snakes is what social media is all about. And this is why:  I discovered the existence of these very yummy sweeties last week thanks to @ozdj over on twitter.  @ozdj tweeted that these sweets were one of his favourites, but I’d never heard of them before. Being the chocoholic that I am, I just had to know how I could get my hands on a packet of such an exotic sweet! A couple of tweets later, I had the information I needed. Not only did I now know of their existence, but also where I could buy them, I even received a link from @CathieTranent letting me know that I could also buy them online! Sweet! I thought I would share this with you seeing as this week is #chocolateweek according to a current twitter trend. Can you imagine life without chocolate coated jelly snakes? No, neither can I! Thank you twitter, I think life is complete.

Oh and, what do I think of chocolate coated jelly snakes? Very yummy indeed!

Are you on twitter? Do you interact with other tweeps? Go on, give it a go. You just never know what you’ll learn.

Monday, 26 September 2011

My iPod has a Sick Sense of Humour

I resisted getting an iPod for a long, long time. I never really saw why I would need one. I'm happy to listen to the radio in my car and I listen to my CD's at home. So when would I actually need to use an iPod, I questioned? Well, when I'm at the dentist, of course!

It was because of a visit to the dentist that I bought my iPod a couple of years ago.  Listening to your favourite music at full volume does wonders for your nerves and it takes your mind off that whining, drilling sound. Taking my own advice and seeking treatment for a cracked cusp saw me at the dentist this morning. A previous cracked cusp was so painful that multiple injections were needed to deaden the area (bad, huh?). While those injections did help somewhat, there was still a lot of discomfort due to the sensitivity of the cracked tooth. This morning, I helpfully reminded my dentist of that time and suggested I be given as many, if not more, injections to make the experience a little more pleasant* for both of us.

Does this make you feel as giddy and lightheaded as I feel right now?

I've included a snapshot of some of the implements used to repair the said tooth (I really can't see why I should have all the fun) and I'm going to fast forward to where I hit the shuffle button on my iPod to block out the nasty noises. You can only imagine my horror when the very first song is a "Like a Version" by Grinspoon of The Verve's "The Drugs Don't Work".

Thanks iPod - you have one sick sense of humour...

And as a final note, while I can't feel the right side of my face, my tongue feels like it can't fit into my mouth anymore and I can't enunciate my words correctly without dribbling, I felt no pain whatsoever. Yeh!

* euphemism.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Better Photography Photograph of the Year 2011 - My News

I've been a little tardy in sharing some photographic news with you. Earlier this year I entered three images in the Better Photography Photograph of the Year 2011. Last year, I also entered 3 images and received three Bronze awards for my efforts. This year, I received two Silvers and a Bronze! I was absolutely delighted with this; I was hoping for a silver and was awarded two! And thanks to those of you who kindly sent me emails to congratulate me - as I hadn't even realised it - one of my silvers also made it on the Top 50 Emotive Portraits page. Win!

Here are the images; they are available for purchase over at Red Bubble or alternatively contact me via this blog.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

You'll never guess what I just heard...

I'm really smiling more than this, simply thinking of those two.

I have a Very Big Smile on my face and I'm dreaming of Las Vegas. It's not because I'm suffering from the side effect of the hay fever medication I'm currently taking.  It's because I did some serious eavesdropping when I was at the nail bar this morning. Well, actually, that's stretching it a little. It wasn't hard to eavesdrop at all. Apart from myself and the technicians, the only other clients were the 2 Very Excited middle aged women who walked in for their booked pedicures. From the moment the two walked in, they were atwitter about their pedicure. One was a die-hard fan of them and the other had never had a one and was just so excited at the prospect of having her toe-nails painted she could hardly contain herself. But they were more than just excited at the oh-so-relaxing pedicure and the many settings on the massage chairs they were sitting on. The numerous massage settings were delighting the newbie, as the seasoned pro explained the various relaxing settings to her with a very knowledgeable tone.  It was their upcoming holiday that really had them chatting and giggling and squealing with joy! 

Here were two best friends who were about to embark on a "trip of a lifetime" (their words). They would be departing this Sunday, for two weeks in Disneyland and Las Vegas! They were absolutely buzzing with excitement - talking to each other about the arrangements: the children were being babysat, comfortable walking shoes were discussed, the importance of moving about in the plane was agreed upon, and so on and on. All this interspersed with ticklish giggles from having their feet rubbed and scraped and pampered.  Should they also splurge and book in for fake tans and massages prior to their departure - to really get into the holiday mood early - they also pondered... I wanted to call out my reply - yes to the massage and no to the fake tan - but I didn't want to spoil their moment. These weren't women who were big noting themselves, their elation was genuine and from the sounds of things, well deserved. I wanted to soak up their excitement - while looking as if I wasn't really listening! The excitement of their upcoming holiday (the first holiday overseas for one of them), the simple joy of having their toe-nails painted, the enthusiasm they were feeling was so infectious - I truly was so delighted for them - I wanted to hug them good bye! 

So now on Sunday morning, I'll be thinking of those two women as they farewell their families at the departure lounge and board their flight bound for the US of A for what sounds like a Very Exciting 2 weeks of girly, giggly fun.

Bon Voyage ladies! You've made my day!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Laghi Serru' and Agnel in Landscape or Panorama print?

I'm refreshing the art hanging on the walls at home at the moment and I have an offer for a hugely discounted canvas print over at the Canvas Factory. The wall space is approximately 1 metre wide and I've decided on one of my own landscapes to get printed up. I'm having a dilemma however, as I have two images to choose from. Actually, two images that I've narrowed it down to. Of the same location - the two lakes at Nivolet called, Agnel and Serru', the scenery is absolutely magical and one I'd love to see hanging on my wall as a reminder of the great times we had whilst in Italy in 2010. 

To view larger, as for some reason I can't get the linking to work with this image, please click here.

* * * 

So, do I choose the landscape orientation or the 5 image panorama of the same location? Which would you choose? And why? I would love to hear your theories on what would work best in the space I have allowed.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Guest Photographer of the Month - A String of Pearls

I love this time of year; it's such a beautiful morning.
© Adriana Glackin - iPhone

September already, I'm not sure what happened to August, but there you go - we're in the first week of spring. Hooray! It certainly didn't help that for much of that time our internet was playing up and our phone line sounded like it was the original line used by Bell when he invented the phone all those years ago. It's all fixed now, and not before time!  (Thank you @Telstra).

So, the latest news is that I was asked by the lovely Jane to be their first ever guest photographer of the month over at A String of Pearls blog. I can thank Jane for suggesting the images I  include as guest photographer, be tranquil, peaceful ones and with the stressful month we've had here at home, it was certainly timely.

Please go and check out the blog, A String of Pearls, and I encourage you to leave a comment on any articles that resonate with you.  

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Have you discovered the joys of

© Adriana Glackin

Sometime over the last few days, I decided I would take a look at I downloaded the app soon after I bought my iPhone, but just never had the chance to set up my profile or have a play with it.  Oh boy, didn't things change when I discovered just how easy - and how much fun - it is to use. There are some serious advantages to using

  1. The main one for me being that it integrates with not just twitter, but also facebook and flickr! How good is that?! You can determine which platform you'd like to upload your images to.
  2. It comes with a set of pre-determined filters - the tricky part is actually deciding which cool filter to use. It also has an option for blurring, you can control the positioning and strength of the blur. Very arty!
  3. Square Format - is there anything more retro than the square format, complete with its off-white border!
  4. Discover other fans, and see what they're shooting. We're all sticky beaks aren't we, and we can't resist peaking at others' photos. It's a bit like a swap meet in your iPhone - you show me yours and I'll show you mine. Instagram will display the popular images, as well as giving you the opportunity to 'follow' others. (It even helps you find the people to follow by finding them for you in your list of contacts). Within minutes, I had uploaded four images and found a few Twitter friends.
  5. You can comment and 'like' other images you see, which is something else we all enjoy. I uploaded an image from country NSW, and one of my US twitter friends, Cathy Ross saw it and 'liked' it. I don't know what made me smile more -  the fact that I was happy the image was 'uploadable' considering that it was taken from a moving car (yes, I was the passenger, don't panic), the seconds it took to upload, or the fact that within minutes of uploading it, my friend from the other side of the globe had seen it. Have we ever lived in a more instant world?
  6.  I feel that it also helps you improve your compositional skills. You can't zoom in, you can't crop - so as a 'fixed' lens, you need to move around to get the composition just right. Surely if you take enough Instagram images, you start to get the feel what which compositions work and which don't. Hopefully then, you'll be able to transfer these skills over to shooting with your DSLR camera. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
  7. Something that I haven't really delved into, but you can also allow to pinpoint the location of your shot to share with others. This can be useful with sharing location details with others.
  8. It's free!

©  Adriana Glackin

There are a couple of downsides that I discovered. One false move with the buttons, and you've deleted your shot for good. We were away for the weekend and I'd just shot the bowl of pea and ham soup I'd had for lunch. Back in the car, again as passenger, I was deciding what filter to use and whether to blur or not when going over a bump on the road made me slip and accidently hit the delete button. No more pea and ham soup image to share with the world. There are those of you out here that would be grateful for that and I put that attitude down to not having and/or a fun and/or addictive personality. The other issue I guess is, just how many images is too many images to share in a 24 hour period? I felt really guilty that I was bombarding flickr, twitter and facebook with these images - but the urge to shoot images and share them was greater than the guilt, so maybe I didn't feel that guilty. At the moment, the other downside is that Instagram only works on iPhones, but I'm sure that will change in time.

So. Do you have an iPhone? Well - what are you waiting for? Head over and download the app and start having a little fun. :) Come on - you show me yours and I'll show you mine - lol!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Book Review - "Mezza Italiana" by Zoe Boccabella

book review mezza italiana

I would like to start with a disclaimer. I am not a writer. I am not an editor. I am not a book reviewer. These days anyone with internet access can start a blog and share their opinions with others. So, look at me as one of those anyones who has a blog and is happy to share an opinion or two with whoever is happy to come across and read it.

Right, with that out the way, I'm going to tell you how I felt when I finished this book. Disappointed. That, is not the end of my review, by the way. Let me explain further. The title and author's name caught my eye, "Mezza Italiana" by "Zoe Boccabella", the collage-feel to the cover also appealed. But it was the blurb on the inside cover that sent my heart racing. This was the book I had been waiting for and finally someone had written it. And this was my mistake - I had set it up to fail, to fall from the dizzying height from whence I'd perched it.

The story is a common migrant story of growing up in Australia in the 70's where Italians were still referred to as 'wogs'. The older generation Italians were holding fast onto their traditions while the teen generation just wanted to fit into the Australian way of life. If that meant denying or stifling your heritage, then so be it; they weren't interested in their heritage; I wasn't interested in my heritage. I had expected the narrative to meander through the author's journey in some sort of logical order and to be charmed or shocked, whatever the case may be, by the anecdotes where I would nod my head in agreement and understanding. If I use the analogy of meandering along quiet country lanes and being charmed by the surrounding scenery, then this book does not fit with that analogy. Instead, imagine you're in a buzzing city with tight little lanes, distractions are everywhere. The lanes look enticing, exhilarating until you come to dead end after dead end. The buzzing little lanes whilst offering initial promise, fail to deliver. They soon lose their initial appeal and instead become annoying. So it is with a lot of the author's anecdotes in the book. I felt as though I was trapped in those buzzing little lanes wearing a blindfold and not being able to get my bearings, constantly bumping into the dead end walls.
It was relief I felt when I came to the end. And of course disappointment.

Another disclaimer for you - I don't have the foggiest at what is involved in writing a book, how the process works, how long it takes, how many re-writes are involved. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to write a book that not only recounts your journey physically and emotionally, but also the journeys of your nearest and dearest. I do appreciate the enormous effort involved. What I don't understand is how the book slipped past the editor and over to the printer without just one more critical read-through.  I am not a high school English teacher and I'm sure this post is peppered with errors, but I feel the narrative could have been improved immensely with tighter editing. There were too many unanswered questions for me, too many half anecdotes, no photographs (apart from the covers).

The trouble is, no matter how well it could have been written, this book was always going to disappoint me to a certain extent. Do I recommend you read this book? No, I don't. Unless of course if you are related to the Boccabella family then you may be privy to some of the stories already and your knowledge will be able to fill the many gaps that left me wanting. If in the future, I purchase another book with a similar story, I will lower my expectations and simply go along for the ride without being so critical of how the story should be presented. 

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Runaway Plastics - Where Do They Go?

mis-matched plastics

Why is it that no matter how often or how recently you tidy your plastics cupboard, the number of containers and the number of lids never seem to match?  I would like to declare that my plastics cupboard is tidied often, but that would be a big fat fib. It is only when I reach the stage of sheer frustration of not being able to close the cupboard, or find a lid, or find the right size container, that I empty the whole cupboard out and begin to play the frustrating game that is "Find The Matching Lid!" It sounds an exciting game, especially when you say it just like a Game Show Host, and it was exciting when the Teens were Toddlers. But it's not an exciting game at all. The Teens now just look at me, roll their eyes and go back to doing what they were doing,  leaving me to play "Find The Matching  Lid!" on my own.

How is it possible that even though bases and lids tallied up in the last tidy up and the cupboard closed effortlessly, that suddenly numerous lids don't have bases and vice versa? It's always been my policy - if it doesn't have a matching base, or there's no lid, it doesn't go back into the cupboard. It goes, instead to a new home courtesy of Vinnies. For whatever reason, this policy isn't working, as I now have bases without lids and lids without bases. Again. Sigh. I do try to maintain some kind of order, but really, it's to no avail. That and the fact there's more to life than balancing the plastics cupboard with the precision of a trust accountant.

I have a theory as to why I'll never balance the number of plastic bases and lids in my kitchen cupboards. I think that some of the sneakier lids and/or bases (as they're just as capable), manage to run off with those single sneaky socks. Those same sneaky socks that leave you with useless matchless single socks that accumulate with each load of washing. (FYI: We currently stand at one shopping bag full of variously coloured single socks).

I'd like to know whether you have this same problem of mis-matched plastics in your kitchen. How do you solve it? Do you have a better solution? Do you perform roll call each day before the situation really gets out of hand; these plastic containers are quite expensive, after all. Where do you think the runaway plastic goes to? And why is it that even though you have less than what you started with, after a week, you're back to not being able to close the cupboard? Sigh.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Lesson of the Day #1

choc monte cupcakes raw
I'm half way through my first week of a two week break. The winter wind is howling and I'm staying within my cosy four walls - hopefully for the duration of my break. I've set myself quite a few tasks, a major one it seems is trying to keep the food up to the growing teen boys that stalk the pantry 24/7. My youngest had asked for some oreo mini cheesecake cupcakes as sampled at the weekend at a do we attended. I had forgotten I even had the recipe for them, and I was fortunate that the ingredients required were at hand, albeit with some minor variations. Substituting the oreos for chocolate montes, whilst yummy, meant the cupcakes were very messy to eat. There's a reason why a round biscuit, rather than an oval biscuit, fits so much better in a round patty pan...hmmm... And leaving out the sour cream and substituting it for more cream cheese - it really was too windy to go to the shops - meant the cupcakes lacked that certain tang.

choc monte cupcakes cooked
So, lesson of the day - teenage boys will eat just about anything, no matter how it looks, and it helps if it's in a bright and colourful patty pan. Also, if it can be eaten with your fingers, then all the better. The not-oreo-but-chocolate-monte cheesecake cupcakes were gone in the blink of an eye.

Monday, 30 May 2011

When Life is but a Blur

--Life can sometimes be a blur --

It was a last minute decision that found me at the 52 Suburbs exhibition at the Museum of Sydney late yesterday afternoon.  I was aware of this project thanks to twitter and was following the progress with interest. If I thought the Project365 was a challenge, then surely a challenge such as documenting 52 suburbs in 52 weeks is the ultimate. Phew! My head spins just thinking about it. I'm pleased to say the exhibition didn't disappoint, and even though it was late there were quite a few people enjoying the display.

The exhibition runs until October 2011, and allow yourself plenty of time, as there's another exhibition well worth visiting - The Enemy at Home. Recently discovered photographs taken by a German internee are being exhibited and they show life in the intern camps during WWI. The two exhibitions work well side by side and show just how much Australia has changed within the last century.

Getting back to the 52 Suburbs, there are limited edition prints available for sale as well as the book which showcases the project. For the photographers amongst us, there's also a competition you can enter that encourages you to get to know your suburb!

A brisk walk over to Allens Music to pick up some music supplies, then over to Chinatown for a quick meal before heading home and the whirlwind trip to town was over.  Of course no trip to the city is complete without a photo or two... the photo above was taken with my iPhone using the Slow Shutter App and edited using the Film Noir App.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to cosy up in bed and enjoy my copy of the 52 suburbs book.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Hearty Soul Food

hearty soul food

Sometimes I just can’t help it; I have to photograph my food before I eat it. It’s not because my loved ones will have the evidence of what my last meal consisted of, should I be fatally struck down by food poisoning. It’s more about the colours and textures and aromas - they're simply so appealing. (Yes, I know you can’t photograph an aroma...yet) My family and friends are used to this behaviour now and when I have my camera up at my face it’s hard for me to see their eye rolls. So, this was one of my dinners from earlier this week – a simple minestrone soup. I had picked up the recipe card from my local greengrocer and added it to the other recipe cards I seem to have accumulated over the years. With the chill of autumn well and truly here, it was time to rummage through the recipe cards and come up with my own simple minestrone variation.

My ingredients included:

·         Onion
·         Leek
·         2 carrots
·         Celery
·         Cup of peas
·         Handful of beans
·         Cauliflower
·         2 x 425g tinned tomato
·         Tbs tomato paste
·         1 ½ cups of small pasta
·         1 lt of beef stock
·         1 Tbs olive oil
·         Salt and pepper to taste
·         Fresh Parmesan Cheese grated to garnish and flavour

My method:

·        *  Finely chop the onion, leek and carrots, add to the pot with the olive oil and fry until the onion and leek are clear. Stirring and taking care not to burn the onion and leek.
·         * Add the other raw vegetables and stir frequently until they brown a little.
·         * Add the stock and tinned tomatoes and tomato paste. Lower heat, place lid and allow to simmer. Stir occasionally and as the vegetables begin to soften, you can add the small pasta, stir (you may add a little water or stock at this stage), place lid and simmer until cooked.
·         * Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parmesan cheese upon serving.


·         * You could use frozen vegetables in place of raw vegetables.
·        *  The beauty of this simple minestrone is that any vegetables you have in your fridge, freezer or pantry would be suitable to make this hearty soup. You want to end up with a bowl-full of chunky delicious vegetables and not a light and liquidy soup.
·         * If who you’re serving to, has an aversion to a certain food, you could always omit the pasta and blend the vegetables into a fine puree and serve with a dollop of sour cream. I will be cooking this variation next time as MOTH objected to the ‘ridiculous’ amount of peas in his bowl. Tsk.
·        *  Use your favourite spices, perhaps cumin, to give a different flavour to the soup. Or a generous handful of chopped basil would also be a yummy variation.
·         * If you want a meatier variation, add bacon or ham pieces to the onion and olive oil and substitute vegetable stock for the beef stock.

Importantly, once it’s cooked, don’t forget to take a photo of it before you serve it up! Oh, and if you like, post me a link to your photo. Enjoy!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Book Review - For One More Day by Mitch Albom

for one more day
Photo: Adriana Glackin - (Lensbaby; iso 100; f2)

I’ve been pretty pre-occupied lately and this blog has fallen by the wayside. Never mind, it’s always here when I’m ready to pick up where I left off.

So, I have this pile of unread books by my bedside table. Some new, some old, some trashy, some classics. I enjoy being able to choose a book to suit my taste at the time, and my taste in books, like music and art, is eclectic so it’s always an adventure working out what to read next. 

A couple of days ago I started a little adventure in picking up Mitch Albom’s “For One More Day”. It’s been sitting there for quite a while and always overlooked until now. It’s a short read and this style of book is best devoured while you’re sitting on your cosy lounge, under a hand-knitted blanket, with a warm and luxurious shawl wrapped snuggly around you and pure sheepskin slippers on. An autumn wind and rain howling outside, the slow cooker is quietly simmering away tantalising you every so often with it's delicious aroma and no other distractions will take your attention away from the story. Of course a box of tissues tucked in beside you will also come in handy. But if all this is not possible, then the next best thing, is to sneak back in bed once everyone has left for school and work and devour the rest of the book then! Which is exactly what I did this morning. Thank goodness MOTH and The Teens weren’t home to see me blubbering like a big baby upon finishing the book and hopelessly willing for more words to magically appear. (Hmmm, that seems to be a bit of a theme when I finish a book – please sir, can I have some more...)

What did I love about it? He uses a minimal amount of words; he uses them so effectively, that every sentence is heavy with meaning. He uses words in such a combination that all the emotion contained in the words is squeezed out and laid bare on the pages for you to drink in. Of course I’m not going to divulge the plot; you can probably guess what it’s about by the title and you know you’ll need tissues handy. Whether you can relate to this tale or not, if you’re left unmoved by this narrative, then you’re not really alive, are you...

Do yourself a favour and grab a copy from your favourite second hand bookstore and snuggle under a blanket and read this tale. A good cry never did anyone any harm. Enjoy!

Monday, 28 February 2011


Wow! Who knew you could even do this? Scanography has been called the poor man's large format style of photography. All it basically is, you "photograph" your object by placing it on a flatbed scanner and activate the scan via your editing program. Wow! I'm still excited at what you can achieve. Of course, my first subject is flowers... These are my first attempts at scanography. I really must read up a bit more on this. What I'm wondering though, is just what other unusual forms of photography are out there that I don't know about...

Scanograph Dahlias II

Scanograph Rose I

Scanograph Dahlias

Scanograph Rose II

Scanograph Rose III

Scanograph Tulips

Monday, 21 February 2011

Book Review - "The Distant Hours" by Kate Morton

The Distant Hours Book Review Image

It was with a little apprehension that I opened this book. This is the third novel by Kate Morton, a Brisbane based author. Her other two novels are “The Shifting Fog” and “The Forgotten Garden” and I thoroughly enjoyed reading both. So why the apprehension? Well it seems that authors tends to have a formula, a signature , to their writing and sometimes it can be so overpowering that it overtakes the story; so that all you see is the formula that’s been followed rather than the story or even the characters. Think of John Grisham and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I didn’t want to feel the disappointment I did when I read the third, almost identical Grisham novel.

Kate Morton’s style is to weave more than one story within the pages; she also has this wonderful knack of being able to take you back into the past, back to the present and then back to the present again over and over, the whole time weaving the stories and characters together. She does this so effortlessly, that although it’s been that way for all 3 of her novels the actual narratives and characters more than hold their own. This latest of hers, is another clever narrative, and my only regret is that I raced through it far too quickly – I simply needed to know what was going to happen next!

It was also with some disappointment that I closed the book for one last time. At 497 pages, the book seems long enough – and heavy enough when it falls on your nose when you’re up late in bed reading when you should be sleeping... But I feel a sense of sadness that I won’t hear any more of the tales of Saffy and Percy, two of the characters from the novel. There simply wasn’t the room in the book to squeeze anymore in, for that I’m certain and I think it is more a testament of the writing skills of the author that she is able to leave you with this feeling. Or, it might just be me being greedy and wanting to know more.

If you’ve read her previous two novels, then you’ll definitely enjoy The Distant Hours. If you haven’t read any of her novels and you enjoy your chick-lit with the modern day mixed with the early 20th century, full-bodied characters and clever twists, then give them a go. I know I haven't given anything away here - that would be spoiling it, now wouldn't it...

Kate, if you happen across this blog post, it would be really, really good if you could write a spin-off novella about Saffy and Percy. Such sweet dears, I would have loved to hear more of their stories.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

What lens do you use when photographing waterfalls?

I tagged long with photographers Tatiana and Peter this past weekend and I thought I’d share some photographs I took of some waterfalls located in the Leura area.  I’m not certain of their name, but they are below the Bridal Veil Falls. Please feel free to leave me a comment if you happen to know the names of the waterfalls below.

I used three very different lenses: Sigma 10-20mm, the Lensbaby Composer (with Soft Focus Option) and 24mm Tilt-Shift Lens, borrowed from Peter who has a wonderful tutorial on tilt-shift lenses just a click awayYou can see by the examples, that some very different results were obtained. I have included the camera and lens settings for you.

So, what lens do you like to use when you shoot landscapes such as waterfalls?

The I-don't-know-what-they're-called Falls
Canon 50D, Sigma 10-20mm @14mm, f11, ISO100, 30 seconds, Cokin ND filters x 2

Falls fl
Canon 50D, Sigma 10-20mm @ 11mm, f14, ISO100, 15 seconds, Cokin ND Filters x 2

LB C S duotone Falls fl
Canon 50D, Lensbaby Composer, Soft Focus Optic, ISO100, 1 second,  Cokin ND Filters x 2, own textures added in PS

LB C S Falls fl
Canon 50D, Lensbaby Composer Soft Focus Optic, ISO100, 0.6 seconds, Cokin ND Filters x 2

LB C S colour Falls fl
Canon 50D, Lensbaby Composer Soft Focus Optic, ISO100, 1/13 seconds, Cokin ND Filters x 2,

Falls tiltshift fl
Canon 50D, 24mm tilt-Shift Lens, f11, 1.3 seconds, no filters

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