Category Archives: Reviews

Restaurant Review… Paymasters Cafe Newcastle.

May 8, 2015

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Last saturday night while it was absolutely flogging down outside, I was cosy and warm sitting with a glass of Pinot Noir inside Paymasters Cafe, and I won’t lie, I was pretty bloody happy. Paymasters is a Newcastle icon, perfectly situated at the end of Foreshore Park on the other side of Customs House.

I have been going to Paymasters for years and every time I go there it is always perfect. When it came time to organise my husband’s 40th birthday last year it was the only place we thought of. Perfect for group bookings, with either a set menu or A la Carte available. What is so good about this, is that unlike other places where it is obviously just too much trouble, Paymasters will split bills. Not only split them but will give you an individual number for yourself or as a couple so there is no need for calculators or that awkward moment at the end of the evening when that one friend packs the shits because he had one less drink than you. This system is fantastic and really should be implemented by other establishments, but for some reason isn’t.

As for the food, it doesn’t matter what you are after you won’t be disappointed. The Autumn A la Carte Menu fits the season perfectly. The Garlic Prawns are legendary and are a stand out on their own, however last Saturday night my choice was the Baked Goats Cheese for entree, the Braised Lamb for main and of course dessert is a must so I went with the Eton Mess and oh my god…… seriously, the nicest thing I have eaten in quite a while. It’s not a difficult dessert… it’s only meringue, berries and cream but wow… absolute perfection. I want to go back again just to eat that alone! If you were to take the children with you for some reason, they are looked after as well with their very own special little Children’s Menu.

Legendary Garlic Prawns

Legendary Garlic Prawns. Photo courtesy of Paymasters gallery.

If you are thinking more about breakfast, the Weekend Menu is divine and I can personally vouch for the deep pan buttermilk pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. Soooo good!!!

Paymasters is still as good as ever and is perfect for anything from date night to a hens night. To contact them head to their website. You won’t be disappointed… I promise!

 

Loving ModelCo. skin care

March 23, 2015

IMG_7803So last week I looked in the mirror and thought… Wow.. You look like shit. Given it was 7.00 at night and it had been bullshit hot through the day, but still…not good.  You know those moments when you think it might be time to shake up the skin care/makeup products. I was having one of those… but what to use? I have used the same stuff for so long I really have no clue. I need decent stuff but I can’t spend a fortune because then I will just end up feeling guilty, and I hate it when I feel guilty over spending money on myself…..It just pisses me off really.

So after consulting with my friend Madeleine from The Daily Mark, she suggested I give ModelCo. a try. And so I did. And… I am LOVING it. Yep, it’s not just tanning products and make up anymore, this awesome brand has moved into the world of skincare. Only twice in my life after trying something new have I ever noticed a visible improvement straight away. My skin looked brighter and felt like I had a new face!

I have only started out with the cleanser, exfoliant and a moisturiser just to try and see how I liked it but now I can’t wait to try the other products as well. They smell like a garden of essential oils and feel amazing. The cleanser is a foam which is super convenient for the shower. The exfoliant has just the right amount of “scrub factor”, enough to make you feel like it’s doing something but not like your using industrial sandpaper, and the moisturiser itself spreads really well and a little bit really goes a long way. Lesson learnt after night one… Really don’t need much at all!

What I love just as much as how my skin looks and feels now is how little this costs. All 3 of these products I bought for under $60, and you can get it form Target or Priceline, or if you are more of an online fan you can grab a number of ModelCo. products from Luxola.com. Score!!! So if you think it is time to shake your regime up a little bit… Give this a try. It’s beautiful.

Pottery Barn Easter

March 3, 2015

AU_easter_th_pip_W15sp90AltPlushBunnies_bh_002So… I am a bit of a Pottery Barn Kids fan. I have just stumbled upon their new Easter products and I had to share.

It’s not all about chocolate, hot cross buns and seafood at Easter… It’s also about the decorations.. Just like Christmas!

Personalised Easter baskets, table decor, garlands, even a gorgeous Peter Rabbit range. All the colours are just beautiful. So cute for all the little ones…

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Go grab a coffee and take 10 minutes out to have a look.

Click here to visit.

50 Shades of a Middle Age, Middle Class, Married Mans Experience.

February 18, 2015

UnknownLet me first preference this by making several points straight off the bat.
1. This is not a review of the film.  Well….. I guess it’s my review of how I felt after sitting through two plus hours of “cinematic excellence” that was 50 Shades of Grey.
2. I have not read the trilogy that the movie (and its apparent sequels) is based on. My wife, and partner in this movie going activity has read the series. I went in uneducated and with no background. Suffice to say I had heard the hype of “the greatest mummy porn ever written”. That’s all.
Let’s begin.
I took my wife to the gold lounge to see 50 Shades of Grey. Big leather recliners, 50 couples seats in the cinema. No expense spared. Tasting plate, drinks to open and half way through, coffee, hot chocolate and rocky road. I highly recommend the experience. My one hot tip. Stick to finger food. Eating burgers and nachos require you to see what you’re doing and if you are anything like me more food lands on your shirt than in your mouth. Eating in the dark is not easy for me.
But I digress.
The cinema was full
Not a single seat left.
98% of patrons had vaginas.
The only male other than myself was sat directly across the gap from me. We made eye contact and in that brief nanosecond we shared the same “I hope this gets me some with the missus” look that only a slight raise of the eyebrows from one bro to another can give. To any male reading this please be deathly aware from this moment on, this movie will not put her in the mood to re-enact any single scene except perhaps if she wants to fly a helicopter or glider… or take expensive gifts of iMacs and Sportscars. But hey, if that sexy bastard Mr Grey wanted to smack my arse and give me an Audi, I’d count to 6 (referenced to prove that I did in fact take full notice and didn’t nod off as expected).
I’m a middle aged man. I’ve seen the world. I’ve lived many different lives and a relatively full existence. I’m open to admit I’ve had good and bad relationships. Let’s be honest here, the movie isn’t your traditional love story. It’s got a dark side. Bondage, discipline, control and manipulation are what made this the phenomenon it’s become.  I’ve smacked an arse or two. Come on, who hasn’t. A friendly playful tap in our own “playrooms” “workshops” or “where the magic happens” have been going on in suburban bedrooms for centuries. Not everyone though has a four poster with huge brass rings capable of human suspension and knows how to tie more knots than a boy scout earning his next badge. Grey does. He also has more riding crops and whips than the Dungog rodeo and a few items that looked like he could hit a hot six runs off a bouncer from an Indian fast bowler at the MCG.
Back to the audience. Half of the 50 were in a single group. All had a bottle of wine in hand and most looked, sounded and acted like they had already had a bottle or two prior to arrival. For the first time EVER in the many many years I have been seeing movies, as the title of the movie came on there was a collective round of applause from said group. For a brief second I wished I was the leader of the packs husband. For one simple reason. He was back at home and she wasn’t.
Wolf calls and woot woots at the first sign of Christian. Yeah we’re on first name basis. I thought, yeah look he’s not a bad looking dude. I snuck a look at the wife, she had a slight smile on, I assumed she agreed in my summation.
Again I’m off on a tangent.
The thing that stood out and probably annoyed me most about the story was The Contract. I won’t explain it, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve seen it you heard it mentioned and saw it what seemed like every 3 minutes. Like what my father used to describe as “a broken fucking record” he went on and on and on and on about it. Dude! You’re supposed to be a successful gajillionaire. If she took that long and delayed it that many times, chances are she wasn’t ever going to sign it. Give it a break. Move on.
Men, here’s your part. And a definite positive in both story AND casting. Tits. Yeah I said it. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of them. I rate them. Ms Steele doesn’t mind showing them off either. I was not complaining. These little handfuls…..you could have hung a towel on one and engraved glass with the other.  They stood proud whenever called upon. And for that, we thank you.
The movie continued. And continued. And then it continued. BUT, just when you thought it was going to continue some more, like the proverbial slap on the arse… BOOM. It ended. Pretty much (I assume) like most of the rowdy cougars in the back of the cinemas love life. It built to a crescendo and abruptly ended without satisfaction. I heard 30 voices in perfect harmony moan “whaaaaat? Noooooooooo”…………….. and that made me smile.
As we walked from the darkened room, my wife asked me what I thought. “Be honest, how much did you hate it?” was what she actually said. I said I needed a minute to think about it. But I had more questions now than when I went in.
1. Does Mrs Jane Average really get off on this?
2. How would she react if tonight I whipped out a set of handcuffs, a ball gag and Indiana Jones’ favorite bullwhip and said “Mr Grey will see you now!”
3. Will my OCD force me to sit through 2 (knowing how Hollywood likes to stretch it out) possibly 3 more of these to get closure?
I have theories. And I have hunches. These are best left to another time though.
To summarize: The movie was not as bad as a certain channel 9 Today show reporters rant portrayed it as. There was chemistry between them. I won’t need to watch it again. If it comes on free to air tv in years to come and I’m flicking channels I might wait to see her nipples again, they were note worthy but I’ll continue flicking channels to a re-run of Dukes of Hazzard or Lost before I watch it in its entirety.  Drunk, horny middle aged housewives dream of out of the box naughty sex with abs of steel billionaires. Tonight I will pop in a copy of Bonnie Rotten’s Obedience School Volume 2 and see if this is a game of double standards.  You only have to watch it for 142 minutes, otherwise <insert sexy billionaire with a fetish voice> “You’ll need to be punished”.

My thoughts on 50 Shades……….

February 16, 2015

7f789b276859741be5d977db5407b672So I have been to see the 50 Shades of Grey movie along with all the other women out there. If you haven’t read the book here is a quick rundown..

Quite plain girl meets hot young billionaire business man who is both physically and mentally scared from his early days. Said billionaire is a control freak and has a “playroom” full of S&M paraphernalia and sets out to make quite plain girl his submissive. That’s pretty much it.

When a book has been so successful, it is always going to be a bit risky to go ahead and make it into a movie. Will they get all the key parts in there? Will the characters be what we want them to be? Will they change anything that people love/hate about the book? Will it be as popular as the book?

So… what did I think of it? I feel it may be easier if I put this down in point form.

  • It took me a very long time to read the book so when it finishes in 2 hours 5 minutes I felt slightly ripped off. (This is entirely my problem yes, I should read faster than a 5 year old)
  • Everyone has their own version of what Christian Grey will look like…….Yes? This is where I kind of feel a bit for the actor playing him (Jamie Dornan). He is probably not everyones choice to play the part but would there be anyone who would have made everyone happy? I think not…I actually think he did ok… I mean… there are worse things to look at.
  • I think Dakota Johnson (daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson…. both of which would probably not want to see her in this particular movie I would imagine) plays an awesome Anastasia Steele. It is exactly what I would have pictured her to look like anyway.
  • If you have read the book, you will already know how it ends….. Don’t complain. If you haven’t read it… you are probably not going to be happy.
  • If you have read all 3 books you may get a little mixed up as to what happens in which book.  Having thought about it I’m pretty sure I will fancy the second movie better.
  • It is nowhere near as raunchy as the book.

Honestly, I expected it to be a little bit more. I don’t think it was bad, but I don’t think it was outstanding either. However.. I am LOVING the slowed down version of Beyoncè’s Crazy in Love. It’s worth seeing the movie for this alone.

All in all, I think it is worth seeing with a girlfriend or two… It was just a little bit too Days of our Lives for me. If a kinky soap opera is your kind of thing… go ahead.

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Dusk Artisan Collection

February 11, 2015

duskForget your cheap shop “vanilla” candles, this range form Dusk is something else. We all know Dusk do candles. Every kind of candle and fragrance you can think of they have it covered. Over the last few months I have been stocking up on the Artisan Collection of products. They are just divine. It started when I bought the single wick candle in the Midnight Orchid fragrance  (orchid, orris and sandalwood) and quickly decided this was “my” smell.

You know how some people have a particular smell about their home? This was going to be mine. Candles, room sprays and mood reeds for the home and then I realised they actually have a body range as well. Hand creams, body washes and lotions. Perfect

Quite often when you buy candles you might find they are either really over powering or the complete opposite. You have to pretty much be hanging over the top of it to be able to smell anything!  Of course everyone has their preference in regard to smells and if this Midnight Orchid isn’t for you there are 4 others.

  • Black Gold is black pepper and bergamot
  • White Breeze is juniper berries and geranium
  • Spiced Vanilla Noir is Vanilla and wild Angelica
  • Evening Rose is rose and chypre

So, next time you think it is time you bought yourself something nice, I’d head to Dusk.

 

 

Instant tan.

January 29, 2015

tanIf you are anything like me, you may have a few areas of your body that aren’t so great. Well, I have quite a few to be honest and I don’t really care that much, however, I do have a saying that tanned fat is easier on the eye than white fat.  Agree? Now, usually I am one to have a spray tan done and leave it to someone who knows what they are doing. Back in my younger days I attempted a self tanner and ended up looking like a half arsed streaky oompa loompa. So when I came across this product I thought I wonder if I’m grown up enough now to attempt this again. ModelCo is a bit of a favourite of mine in regard to other products so I thought this has to be alright… Having said that… I was a bit hesitant.

Turns out, I had no reason to be. Soooooo easy. The colour is perfect, not the slightest tinge of orange to be seen. It is easy as to apply, rubbing into the skin rather than sitting on top of it. The  funky stench that most tans have is non existent with this one, leaving you with a pleasant coconutty summery smell. It gives an instant glow making it perfect for a night out and it develops gently within 6-8 hours. When I say gently I mean you don’t go black before it’s time to get in the shower. You still look very human and can easily duck to the shops without feeling self conscious.

Obviously, I am not going to recommend anything to you that is rubbish or super expensive. This product is awesome and what makes it even more so is you can grab it from Woolies for around $15. Give it a try!

About your hair…

January 15, 2015

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetDuring the summer months when everyone is on chill mode it’s easy enough for hair to be let go, thinking.. meh, I’ll wash it tomorrow. Well I will come clean to all of you busy mums…that’s me all the time. I HATE washing my hair, for no real reason only than just because I do. In comes the most used product other than mascara in my bathroom vanity. Dry shampoo. I have used quite a few in my time but the Batiste brand is the one I like the most. It comes in a heap of fragrances but this coconut one is perfect for summer, and at around only $12 from your local Coles or Woolies it’s even better!

Tip for using: Hold sections of your hair up and spray about 20 cm away from the roots… any closer and you will have grey hair I will guarantee it. Once you have sprayed all the desired parts, tip your head over and run your fingers through it and give it a good shake. (awesome volumising technique too, even if your hair isn’t dirty)

Obviously it is not meant to replace normal shampooing, but just for those times when we are all just too busy and can’t be bothered it’s perfect. You’re welcome.

 

Loving this book.

December 31, 2014

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I spent the day after Boxing Day lying on my lounge watching tv feeling particularly dusty from indulging in FAR too many vodka, lime and sodas the day before. As shitty as I might have felt I’m glad I did. While in my semi comatose state I came across the Save With Jamie series on Lifestyle Food. It struck a bit of a chord with me because I, like many of you, feel like I am constantly throwing food away. And I hate it. I am always at my girls to eat what they have got and don’t you dare throw away half that apple, yet here I am throwing mainly fruit and veggies away all the time.

I didn’t get to see the whole series as I was drifting in and out of consciousness , but I did think I need to get that book… So I did. What’s more… I LOVE IT! It’s all about using everything in the fridge… Making a massive meal with big cuts of meat and then what to do with the leftovers. There is a huge section on what to do with all the veg that ends up a bit dodgey in the fridge drawer and that is what has appealed to me the most. It’s about being more economical and less wasteful. Things like Vegie Korma with cauliflower pilau, Squash (butternut pumpkin to us) and spinach rotolo and Charred Asian salad. Perfect.

You know how you get a cookbook and you flick through it and it all looks awesome but yet you have a sneaking suspicion you will be lucky if you cook perhaps 10 things out of it? I have cupboards full of those books. This one will not be one of them. There are 2 things that I know right now I wouldn’t cook, but as for everything else… no problem….. and even the kids will eat it. Done. Nice work Jamie!

 

BB cream for your hair!

November 24, 2014

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Ok so for those of you who don’t know, in my pre stay at home mum days I was a hairdresser, so I am well equipped to be handing out advice regarding hair products. Schwarzkopf has released a BB cream for hair. Much like its skin counter part, its an all in one little potion for numerous things. Detangling, shine, volume, smoothing and anti-frizz…. you name it. I am usually a wee bit sceptical when it comes to things that say “all hair types” as quite often the case of what fits one does NOT fit all. However, in this case I was pleasantly surprised, as it has been given a workout between myself and my 3 girls all with very different hair types. Mine being highly coloured and whilst theres a bit of it, its pretty fine… My eldest who has extremely thick wavy hair (makes you sick really ), my middle who has hair as straight as sticks and my youngest who has ringlets… And yes, they all have the same father! So as far as saying it’s for all hair types I’m happy to report that they are indeed correct. This is great especially coming up to summer when hair does tend to become exposed to some pretty hefty elements. What I love most about this product is that you won’t need to remortgage your house to buy it as it comes in under a cool $11 from the supermarket. Yes, the supermarket.