I developed an immediate crush on these melted snowman bath bombs from Lush and couldn't get the little fellas out of my head, so this morning I decided to recreate them in the form of cupcakes! I'm not sure if it's obvious that they're meant to be melted snowmen, or if people will think I tried to make regular snowman, but that I'm a bit "spesh" in the kitchen... maybe I need too make a placard...

Anyway, we are in Australia here guys... it's hot! Snowmen... they don't survive in these parts!

Basic Vanilla Cake

125g butter at room temp
3/4 cup white sugar
4 drops vanilla essence
2 eggs at room temp
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup milk

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat eggs and add gradually, beating well after each addition. Add the flour alternatively with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Bake at 180 C fan forced, approx. 15 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.


Usually when I make icing I will use icing sugar, milk, vanilla essence and a truckload of butter. The butter is what makes it super delicious. However, I wanted this icing to be as white as possible so I left out the butter. Not as oomy... but no one likes yellow-tinged snow.

For the melted head and body I used white marshmallows (I made a hole inside one and pushed another inside that hole to create a kind of flat marshmallow (this is because Woolies was out of giant marshmallows) and attached milk choc bits, using icing as glue, for the eyes and fallen buttons. For the carrot noses I cut up some Jersey Caramels.

On a humid day like today, take my handy hint and put the choc bits in the freezer before you attempt to place them, otherwise they get all melty... trust me, you don't want to see the practice snowman! (You can't see him anyway, he's in my tummy.)

If you're thinking of making some Christmas cupcakes you might also want to check out my Rudolph Cupcakes from last year. Happy baking!


Chomping down on my watermelon snack, wondering if I could make an entire meal out of watermelons... internet says yes. Whacking these on the 'To Do' list!


morning one of christmas holidays. 35 degrees and in heaven.

step 1... sleep in.

step 2... beach run [greenhills to boat harbour] and swim

step 3... berry smoothie [frozen mixed berries, jalna natural yoghurt, skim milk, flax seeds, rolled oats, cinnamon powder]


This year was my first experience of dating a moustached individual. Lindsay does Movember every single year so, as tempting as it might have been on the 31st of October to say, 'See ya in December mate', I thought I'd better just put on a brave face and strap myself in for a month of seedy male. The first time I saw him in November was after a full week of growth (if that sounds disgusting, that's because it is). I walked into his flat, took a look, walked away to gather my thoughts, then returned to make my brave and trepidatious approach. The Mo continued to grow and it did not become any more enticing.
The one redeeming feature of this frightening time was that Lindsay hosted a Movember morning tea at work and wanted to do a bit of baking. We found a mo-shaped cutter at Typo and whipped up these spectactular iced biscuits.

It's always hard not to eat the mixture, even if they are moustaches.

Never have I ever cooked while drinking beer. Beer in a stubby holder.
Would you like to have your moustache and eat it, too? All you need is a basic sweet pastry recipe, a rolling pin and some cutters. You can find my pastry recipe here.
Extra Notes: After you've mixed the dough and rolled it in a big ball, scatter some extra self-raising flour on a clean bench and roll out the mixture to around 3mm thickness with a rolling pin. To make the glossy icing, mix approx 1.5 cups icing sugar with about 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1-2 tablespoons of milk... adjust as necessary to get a good spreading consistency. 


When I said I was struggling through Kokoda, I wasn't exaggerating; I actually took a break while reading it to see what David Gillespie had to tell us in his third book, Big Fat Lies. Gillespie's first two books, Sweet Poison and the Sweet Poison Quit Plan zeroed in on the evils of sugar consumption, while his third release looks at the perils of polyunsaturated fats, as well. In a nutshell:
'Diets and exercise won't help us lose weight. Vitamins and minerals are a waste of money and sometimes downright dangerous. Sugar makes us fat and sick. And polyunsaturated fat gives us cancer and works with sugar to give us heart disease. This book exists because I desperately hope that with a little knowledge we can all vote with our feet and change the rules of the game before the game kills us.'
I really appreciate reading Gillespie's no-nonsense approach. Unfortunately, this was probably the least 'grabbing' of the three books, and if you're interested in reading any of them, I would vouch for the second one. Big Fat Lies does have some important information to convey, but is a little more of a dry read.

Have these books caused me to give up sugar and polyunsaturated fats? No, silly, but I'm making some progress with a few more cut backs. In time I do hope to be able to kick the habits in a more convincing way... he makes some very good arguments, does Gillespie. Unfortunately, I've just consumed a piece of cheesecake for someone's birthday and it was absolutely devine. Not helping, cheesecake.


No need to get your Santy pants in a twist... here's a few last minute girly gift ideas, available from a global chain store near you... ;)

1. Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup $12.95 Wheel & Barrow 2. Pitcher with Green Handle $29.95 Wheel & Barrow 3. Striped Enamel Knuckle Ring $12.99 Lovisa 4. Rockwave Green Pitcher Wheel & Barrow $29.95 5. Fifty Fashion Looks That Changed the 1960s BerkelouW Books 6. Havaiana Gold Logo Thongs $39.99 City Beach 7. Casablanca Violet TPot $80 T2 8. Hot Pink Striped Paper Drinking Straws x10 $3.20 Ebay  9. Striped Cushion $36 Tree of Life 10. Coconut Body Scrub $27.95 The Body Shop 11. Wedding Notes $29.95 kikki.k


Kokoda is not the kind of book I'd ordinarily pick out at a book shop, but I selected this from my housemate's bookshelf one day when I was short of something to read. I'm so glad I did. This is no meagre manuscript, and I have to admit I struggled up until half way through the book; up until that point it was mainly focused on (I will sound ignorant when I summarise this) the ins and outs of the history of World War II, the formations of various army units and its commanders, and so forth. I'll be honest, there was a fair bit of skim reading through this portion.

The second half of the book was a different story; I couldn't put the book down. Peter Fitzsimons' account is historically accurate yet written as a descriptive narrative. I was blown away with the stories captured in this book. It wouldn't do any justice for me to try and recount those stories here, but I will say that my understanding, and I guess you could say, my "informed compassion" before having read this book, was extremely limited. I would recommend this book to all Australians... even if you have to persevere through the "admin" at the beginning, it's worth the journey for the understanding you'll gain.


I just finished Scandalands, the autobiography of radio DJ, Kyle Sandilands. Sometimes after I read a heavy book (in this case, Kokoda) I just want to pick up a piece of fluff that I can flick through, and this fit the bill. And of course, I can't deny I was a little interested.

The likability, or otherwise, of Kyle is obviously not a matter or life and death, but while I'm on the subject... I always quite liked Kyle. Without over-analysing the man, I find that he has a quick-wit, of sorts, an honest approach, and that he is entertaining. Unfortunately, I found his book to be a bit on the insecure/pompous side... like he was just trying too hard to convince us that he's a good guy. The parts where he described his sex life were particularly cringe worthy. Honesty is one thing... but a bit of modesty wouldn't go astray.

I did enjoy learning about the progression of his career from humble beginnings. He worked hard to carve out his career and achieved what he set his sights on. I found it  interesting to read that during his year of being homeless on the streets at 15 years of age he would rip out pictures of things from magazines and newspapers that he found 'beautiful' (homes, possessions, etc) and keep these pictures in a pencil case. I couldn't help drawing a parallel with a 'dream board', where you pin up pictures representing your hopes and dreams. The idea is that by visualising and bringing these things into consciousness, you pave the way for the thought process to bring them into your life. I found it intriguing that Kyle, from his dirty cardboard box home on the street, unknowingly visualised the elaborate lifestyle that he would one day have. Perhaps a little bit of a deep assessment for this book, but I found that side of the story much more interesting than the tales of Kyle's debauchery and slip ups.

I wouldn't personally recommend this one...  but my Mum and colleague read this copy before me (I love a good book share!) and both liked it... I guess you'll read it if you're interested enough!


Charged with the task of finding a $10 gift for a male for workplace Secret Santa, I compiled this list of ideas...


What did I end up finding for the lucky fella?

Two champagne flutes, 30% off from House. (Bargain!) Okay, so at least his Mrs will be happy.


If you're after a little something extra to top off a Christmas gift, I would suggest walking yourself towards the heavenly scents of your nearest LUSH store. Possibly my favourite shop of all time. A girl can never have too many good quality (key words! Step away from BIG W!) bath products, and when they come shaped as snowmen and scented like Christmas puddings, no contest!
1 Midnight Massage Bar (a brilliant one to enjoy with anyone you’d happily share a Christmas mistletoe kiss with) 2 Honey I Washed the Kids (irresistible toffee and honey soap) 3 North Pole Soap 4 Dirty Springwash Shower Gel 5 Popcorn Lip Scrub (featuring popping candy sweetness and salted caramel flavour) 6 The Melting Snowman (notes of rich fruit, reminiscent of Christmas cake and figgy puddings) 7 The Godmother 8 Northen Lights Soap (you could almost be standing in a Finnish forest, breathing in the scent of the forest and the sights of the Northern Lights)


Summer(ry weather) is officially here! I know this to be true because 1) when I was pegging out my washing this morning I could hear ACTUAL cicadas chirping and 2) I passed a jolly old lady in the street and she said, "Back to summer today!". I assume she has amassed some worldly knowledge on such matters or has developed some kind of nanna radar, so I am willing to take her word for it.

Well what better way to launch into bikini season than by making a chocolate-slathered slice? Two chocolate-slathered slices!

First up is the choc-peppermint slice. I followed the exact recipe for this (except for the Aero on top which I thought of all by myself... I know, next stop, Masterchef) and it turned out well. The second slice is a cherry slice. I got a little bit inventive with this and used Buttersnap biscuits for the base instead of the usual plain sweet biscuits. I don't think it worked too well although it was nevertheless attacked by the hungry hoards. If I made the cherry slice again I would use the same base as the peppermint version, just substituting the chopped Peppermint Crisps for Cherry Ripes.

This recipe is from the Women's Weekly 'Biscuits' book.

250g plain sweet biscuits (I used Arnott's Arrowroot)
100g butter, chopped
1/2 cup  sweetened condensed milk
2 x 35g Peppermint Crisp chocolate bars, chopped coarsely 
200g milk eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  1. Grease 19cm x 29cm slice pan; line base and two long sides with baking paper.
  2. Process 200g of the biscuits until crushed finely.
  3. Chop remaining biscuits coarsely.
  4. Stir butter and milk in small saucepan over low heat until smooth (make sure both butter and condensed milk are at room temperature and stir continuously til smooth).
  5. Combine processed and chopped biscuits with peppermint chocolate bar in medium bowl; stir in butter mixture.
  6. Press mixture firmly into pan; refrigerate, covered, about 20 mins or until set.
  7. Make chocolate topping. Spread over slice; refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares.
Stir plain eating chocolate and oil in medium heatproof bowl over medium saucepan of simmering water until smooth.

Bob's your Uncle :)

O C T O B E R S N A P ' D


Thank goodness it's the weekend. It's been a week of ridonkulous deadlines and chasing ignoramuses and I for one am ready to swing in my egg chair (and by 'my', I mean of course my housemate's egg chair which I have claimed as mine, when she is not home) with a festive punch in the sunny sun with some sprightly pals.

Not going to give another thought to the fact it is meant to be raining or some such silliness tomorrow, what a stupid idea.

Anyway. Finally connected at the new flat so I can "have a turn at the Internet"... as I used to say back in 1996. "Brenderrrrrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnnnnnn, [brother and lord of the giant computer machine] can-I-please-havva-turn-at-the iiiiiiiiiiiiiin-ter-neeeeeeeeeeeeeet?"... something almost exactly like that.



I sometimes find myself stuck in a Book Rut where my reading list swings back and forth between fluff (Shopaholic Ties the Knot) and drudgery (E-commerce for Dummies), so when I finally get my mitts on a book that I can disappear into, I get a bit excited.

I found such a book in the debut fiction novel of Dawn French (of The Vicar of Dibley fame). The novel is, as its title suggests, a tiny bit marvellous.

Admittedly, I was about a quarter of the way into the book before my attention was piqued, but then what unfolded, at the risk of sounding like "a complete wonk", was a tapestry of beautifully and intimately crafted characters.

The book is written in diary-style from the perspective of four characters: Mum, Dad, 17-year-old daughter and younger teenager son as they muddle through what they each think are disparate coming of age experiences; from our vantage point we see the connections they themselves cannot see. Any female with a mother-daughter experience I'm convinced will identify with the characters of Mo (Mum) and Dora (daughter). Dora's character is not one that you could fully appreciate, though, if you were still 17. Ten years of ripening will afford you the perspective to appreciate her fully.

One of the pitfalls of reading a great novel is that you run the risk of looking a bit silly while reading on public transport. This book caused me to laugh out loud, and caused my eyes to water and my jaw to literally drop. Such silly expressions you will never be caught with while reading E-commerce for Dummies... as you are likely to be asleep.

This is one of the rare books that I think I'd go back to read again. It will be passed onto my friends, but with a disclaimer that I'll be needing this one back.


A couple of weekends ago I flew up to Grafton to spend some time with my Nanna, Aunty, Uncle and Cousin Steff. Whenever Steff and I have hang-time there will be some kind of baking involved, and it'll often be something a little bit left-field. This time we tried our hand at replicating the old fashioned mint pattie (remember, in the green foil packets?) I have to say, they were much more well-received than the Melon Sago Creation of 2011.

This recipe called for mint-flavoured essence. My Aunty's collection of food colouring and essence yielded very interesting results, with a bottle of mint essence bearing a somewhat antiquated design. Upon questioning, Aunty Wendy, who is known for her special powers in date-recollection, informed us that she'd last used the essence in 1979 to make some after-dinner mints, but to rest assured that essence does not have a used-by date.

And so, we fullfilled that little bottle's life purpose, and it gave birth to another delicious batch of mint patties.

Our recipe came from the Frankie's Sweet Treats Recipe Book. You can find the online recipe here. Steff and I made our patties quite large, true to the form of the supermarket variety, but both agreed that next time we'd probably make them about half the size and impress the pants off our dinner guests with home-made after dinner mints!


Before the jewellery tree came along I had a very sorry excuse for jewellery storage. All of my bangles, bracelets and necklaces were hidden away in the one box in a tangled mess.

I got the idea for my jewellery tree from Cosmo, of all places. I picked up the sticks while stopped at a lookout on the drive home from a wedding at Bundanoon with my gentleman friend.

A ball of wool and four sticks is all you need. For the rest of my precious jewels I've screwed 4 mismatched glass jars to the underside of a shelf, to keep the items handy and also on display.


Last weekend was my Mum's birthday and I decided to attempt the Fruit Tingle cake of  Raspberri Cupcake fame.

It was preeeeeeeetty successful, at least by outward appearances. My cake is like the Home Brand version of Steph's.  I've recently moved and the oven in my flat is not fan forced, so by the time I pulled out the cake it was still a little gooey in the middle but with a very solid charcoal base. I hacked off the crust with a bread knife and slathered the whole production in butter icing. The cake eaters were either too polite or too tipsy to comment on the slightly weather-beaten cake, I suspect it was the latter, so all's well that ends well.

The weather is getting warmer and warmer here, finally. Being able to walk to the train station with the sun falling down on sleeveless arms does a happy girl maketh.

Such a lovely sunny weekend for Mum's birthday. Here are some photos of my party-girl nieces.