Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Doin' the Donna Hay - Whip It Good

I couldn't resist attempting a Donna Hay pav from scratch after seeing the Masterchef contestants give it a go. Considering many of them failed, I figured it might be within my cooking prowess to achieve - plus, I've never ever cooked a pav before, not even from one of those Pavolova Eggs.

A word of warning - whip it, whip it good. I thought my peaks were stiff enough, carefully added in the caster sugar, and the whole thing just turned into a glossy goo. Into the bin. A few naughty words pass my lips. Take #2 - egg whites beaten to within an inch of their lives. Caster sugar added gradually. Arm holding electric beater about to fall off (Mum's promised to buy me one of those nifty Kitchenaid mixmasters for my birthday. I'll hold her to that). Finally, it looks perfect. Whacked it in the oven for an hpour and twenty, then got slightly confused by the "let cool in oven" instruction. Surely it will overcook? I should've known better then to distrust Donna hay. I left the oven door open a bit, and while it was orginally high and hollow-sounding on the outside, half the top collapses due to my eagerness. Simply have to be arty with the whipped cream and strawberries to cover it up. Mmmm.

Donna Hay Pavlova

150ml eggwhite (approximately 4 eggs)

1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch), sifted
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
½ cup passionfruit pulp (approximately 4 passionfruit)
250g strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F). Place the eggwhite in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, whisking well, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.

Add the cornflour and vinegar and whisk until just combined. Shape the mixture into an 18cm round on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Reduce oven to 120°C (250°F) and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Spread over the pavlova, top with passionfruit and strawberries and serve immediately. Serves 8–10.

* You’ll know when the meringue is stiff and glossy because the mixture will have tripled in volume and stands up when the beaters are lifted.

* The low heat puffs up the meringue while the long cooking time dries it out to give you a lovely crisp shell.

Happy to say, aside from the small collapse, ours turned out pretty much perfectly. Light and fluffy and sweet on the inside, cruncy on the outside. I'd recommend giving it a go - if I can do it, truly anyone can!
And all those egg yolks? Turn them into a delicious custard which makes an easy dessert served warm with fruit.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Bits: Birds of a Feather Winter '10

"Like a first kiss, Birds of a feather is a brand to fall in love with - flirty party frocks, dress tops and cute bottoms all in the sweetest, vintage-inspired prints for the blushingly romantic at heart." I didn't wirte that, the team at Birds did, but it sums up perfectly what the brand is about. If your buzzword is "pretty", this should be your first stop!

These pieces have just been uploaded today, and already us Frockers are frothing at the mouth to get our grubby little paws on them. Um, ew. Please be assured hand washing and regular use of antibacterial hand cleanser is a regular part of the day here at Frock HQ. Not in an OCD way, but still in a hygienic way. Promise.

So, what bits are our germ-free fingers clawing at? Me, I love the Pink to Make The Boys Wink Sweater ($89.95) which is really more purple than pink, but it has cute red buttons on the shoulder. It's the new version of last year's hugely popular Clicking Heels Sweater - one of those casual little pieces you can throw on with jeans and flats and instantly look done, but not overdone. Love it.
Ebony latched on to the Read Between the Lines Dress ($89.95) and wouldn't let go. Which is bad news for the rest of you, as we were only delivered limited sizes. It's stripey, has a bow, is mega comfy AND you can wear it year-round. Get in quick.
And Gen? Well, she's the type of gal who wears square glasses and berets and looks like a fashion blogger, though she's actually studying Law. But she's also the type of gal who loves simple layering pieces with their own personality ie, the Love Forever Top ($49.95). The cut is simple, but the print is arty enough to make others on campus a bit jealous. Mwahahaha.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Street Style: Boots!

And now ladies and gents, may I present my all time favourite wintery item of clothing (well, on par with coats at least): the boot. Long, short, black, brown, heeled flat...instantly cool, instantly chic. Sigh.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Acrobats, Short Shorts & Potato Salad

I'm not sure why or how or to what purpose, but this amazing clip was presented to me today. Aside from the immaculate hairdos, can I suggest you limber up, stretch your arms and legs and settle in to watch this fabulous feat of acrobatics from 1944:

(note: still unsure what potato salad has to do with anything. Watch it til the end - exit stage left never looked so good!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I have a theory - put-together furniture isn't really that difficult. I mean, the instructions are all there, in one way or another, you just need to put on your sleuthing hat (and possibly a monocle) and do it carefully, one itty bitty step at a time. This is why, people, men hate furniture-in-a-box so much.

I proved this theory over the weekend when I put together my plush new office chair. Well, it's as plush as they come, from Officeworks, anyway. Let me say that again - I put together my plush new office chair. It mainly happened by default, because husband is minus the use of one arm at the moment, thanks to a mountain biking incident. All our other furniture that wasn't already made when we purchased it, or scrounged from somebody else, has been put together by the man of the house, after much yelling and throwing and stabbing at the instruction sheet. Not any reading of the instruction sheet, mind you, just stabbing it with a wrench or alan key thing or whatever it's called. Similarly with most electronic deivces. You don't just plug the bloody thing in and expect it to work, it requires significant and time-consuming programming or setting up or a first run to get the cobwebs off.

But a man doesn't understand that. Their DNA is structured to intuitively be good at DIY. At least, they think so. The few who are, do the behind-the-scenes work of DIY-'experts' on tv. It's a huge matter of pride to a man, to show off to their mates of both sexes how quickly and effortlessly they can put togather a tv stand or bed. Instruction manual? For wimps! If the bloody thing won't fit together the way he thinks it should, it must be broken or faulty or made in Sweden.

I'd carefully set out the squillions of little nuts and bolts and things, spread out the instruction sheet and matched up each part to the diagram. He, no doubt feeling somewhat emasculated, insisted I needed a screwdriver and marched off to the garage to find the correct one. In the meantime, I discovered a little curved thing which seemed to be part 4a and fit nicely into the bits that held the chair together. He came back proudly clutching a Phillips head (ha!) in his one good hand but his face fell and then twisted into a smirk when he saw me patiently trying to use the "allen key". Alan key? Allan key? Who's Allan?

"Here, let me!" he cried, chest puffing out ever so slightly. So I 'let' him hold the bits together while I put the other bits in, infuriatingly slowly. OK, I admit, I needed him to hold it. The parts kit should come with a few spare hands.

"Now put those into this bit - see, it'll fit!" He was getting over-excited.
"No honey, it says that those short bits have to go in there, and then those cover things over them, and then the big bit gets screwed onto the bottom. But I can do that." "Look, those just go here" - demonstrates; bit fails to fit - "stupid thing! Why did we go to Officeworks anyway!" "The instruction sheet says do it in this order. So I will."
*Cue eye-rolling and barely-supressed frustration*

Many (many) minutes later, the chair was ready. It didn't collapse when I sat on it; indeed, I'm sitting in it right now. It was all I could do to resist dong a little dance of inyourface! But I couldn't bring myself to, because the poor dear did help out, in his way. And no way do I want to tackle putting together a new desk by myself. All I said was, "the instructions make it easier, don't they dear?" to which I had a muffled grunt of a reply.

And then this email landed in my inbox - one part cute gift idea, perhaps another part suggesting that in the interests of keeping your marriages together, DIY should be lift to the craft-conscious.The tote-makers behind the adorable label Skipping Girl have just launched a DIY custom tote-making facility. Start with their templates, then customise to your heart's content, safe in the knowledge that it will be done right, done well, and totally unique! They take 4-6 weeks and cost about $190 (plus postage). A small price to pay - and no small fiddly bits.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When Felt Gets Fashionable

Twitter was abuzz this afternoon with news that the RAFW Schedule was finally live, so to get into the spirit I thought I'd share these nifty, totally useless but rather amusing Fashionista Felt Finger Puppets by Mullishmuse at Etsy. Now Anna Wintour can sit front row at any show; heck even Coco can get a run:
How about Vivien Westwool? Karl Lagerfelt?

My personal fave is Elber Albaz, complete with sparkly gold bow tie!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Free Shipping & Minty Meets Munt Winter Collection

Minty Meets Munt have their own unique look - part vintage, part rock chic, part effortlessly cool model-off-duty - the kinds of looks not everybody can pull off. But with their new Winter '10 collection, it's been a fight to get our hands on these fab new pieces first!

The current styles (there's more to come) have a maximum price of $99.95 and every single one is totally wearable and...drumroll...comfy!

My personal fave is the Yam Yam dress - killer print, lots of colour, easy shape to simply team with tights and boots. It basically makes winter dressing ridiculously simple and non-drab. Oh and I would LOVE a faux leopard print coat to go with it (yes, we will have limited stock of this one in a few weeks), but my daughter has one, and she is much, much cuter in it. 
The Jam Cardi is also getting lots of comments such as "I want! Comfy! Easy! Orange!". Wear it as a jacket or zip it up and wear it as a dress with tights. You could also not zip it up, but you might get arrested.

Any chance I get to dress up 20's style, I go for it - hence, the Flapper Dress is high on my wishlist. And I triple checked the price - yep, it's only $89.95! Soft tiers of creamy satin, black lace inserts...mmmm!
And for those of you wanting something you could rock out at a festival, at the Saturday markets or in the office, the Penelope Top is for you - with a button-through back, bows on the front, and in a soft, sheer cream, it looks amazing tucked into a pencil skirt, worn with leggings and brogues, or as a mini dress with cutoffs!

It's also birthday month here at the Frock, so now that the 30% off sale has finished (and won't be repeated for a very long time!) we thought we'd offer you another little treat - free shipping in Aus til the end of the month! Bust out the party poppers, ladies!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Street Style: Nude

Nope, this isn't a post about stylish people in the buff. Just shades of it. Neutrals are no longer just for nannas or knickers - perfect for toning down tougher styles, adding classic chic to pastels, throwing on with denim or simply for an all-out girly appeal:

Friday, April 16, 2010

You Know You're Not Really That Young Anymore When:

I was going to entitle this post something about "maturing", but the word just makes me think of old cheese, ill-fitting too-high camel-toe pants, and matching linen slack and shirt sets.  Let's call it Chapter 486 in the Journey of Growing Up - You Know You're Not Really That Young Anymore When:

-You physically start when you realise, listening to JJJ presenters discussing the newest uber-indie floppy haircutted group, the words "pfft, what's this rubbish? I've never heard of them," have involuntarily tumbled from your lips. A small jolt of realisation shocks you into a few seconds of silence, before the thought, "all sounds the bloody same anyway" wafts menacingly through your brain.

-You scoff at new technology and can't possibly imagine why society would  need or want to have this pointless bit of microchip in their lives. (In this instance, it was ACA's story on 'Supertrolleys'. Basically, while throwing ads in your face every few seconds, they direct you around the supermarket. Need to know where the cornflour is? Punch it in and it will tell you. Seriously, how fucking lazy have we become? These high-tech trolleys - there's part of a sentence that never needed to exist - "can also track where you're headed and tempt you into buying, for example, a bottle of Coke on your way to pick up the toilet paper. And if you succumbed to a bag of corn chips last time you visited the supermarket, your trolley could try its luck for a second time". So, in other words, supermarkets just really really really want you to spend more then you meant to - making store layouts as psychologically appealing to add-on sales as possible is sooo last decade. FFS.)

-The fact that you are watching ACA, is sign enough to get off the comfy couch and work on your Myspace profile while listening to afore-mentioned floppy haircut band and simultaneously texting votes into So You Think You Can Dance. Do not leave Channel 9 on, in case Hey Hey It's Saturday threatens to penetrate your coolness/sanity.

-You go shopping and can't decide if flimsy bit of material is a top or a dress. Assuming it must be a top as nobody could possibly get away with such little coverage, you are mortified when you turn around and perky shop assistant is wearing said material. On it's own. As a dress.

-You can't quite work out what The Hills is meant to be about.

-You invite your old partying buddy around for, er, a cup of tea. As opposed to a few bottles of wine.
-Saturday nights with a dvd or book, sensibly warm pyjamas and yet another cup of tea are infinitely more appealing than navigating the sticky crowds at the pub.
-You discover an awful lot of docos on the ABC that are really very interesting. Series like Britain From Above, which, ok, is a BBC series but nobody does monotonal statistics quite like the Brits. And this show is pretty darn awesome. Tuesdays, 8:30pm.
(Fact: Britain's powergrid comes very close to catastrophic failure every night at 7pm - Eastenders finishes, and 1.75 million Poms flick their kettles on simultaneously. Told you cups of tea were cool - if Londoners are doing it, we should be too.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Excuses, excuses

As you may have guessed, we're run off our feet here at FrockHQ 'cos of our mega birthday sale, so any musings on my growing additcion to ABC docos/people who wear heels in Coles/tingly anticipation for the new series of Masterchef are going to have to wait a couple of days while we pick and pack, wrap and stick all your bargains! Gosh, that was a long sentence.

The postcard doesn't lie. I (we) do wish you were here - many hands make light work after all. However, I'm very proud of Team Frock as we are alot more caught up with orders then I thought we'd be. Basically, orders placed up until 1:30pm today are on their way to you, and any after that (and before about 3pm tomorrow) will be out tomorrow - which means bargains in your hot little hands before the weekend! And of course, the discount runs til 11:59pm on Thursday.

Plus, Eb just nicked off with a big bundle of exciting new goodies to shoot, so look out from Friday for even more new stuff from the likes of Minty Meets Munt, GRAB and Blue Juice. It might not be 30% off, but it's 100% awesome.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

30%off Storewide Birthday Sale!

Frock You is turning 3 so, in the true spirit of celebreation, we're having a massive 3 day sale so we can work ourselves into the ground, drink too much coffee, generally get tired and cranky...on second thoughts, I'm having the week off, that would be a much better way to celebrate, no?

Yeah, that would make me really popular around here. "See that flood of orders? Oh and those cartons of new stuff? You work it out, I'm off to rent some DVD's and eat the rest of my Easter eggs. See you Monday!"

What will make you popular, however, is buying some new shoes. Or a winter jacket. Or a wicked new top. Then everyone will think you're cool, and when you say flippantly, "oh yeah, nabbed this at 30% off," they won't go, "you cheap bastard", they'll say "smart cookie". 'Cos in 2010, it's cool to be a frugalista. Use the code BIRTHDAY30 from now until Thursday, and celebrate your sensible economising. It'll make those towering new heels seem that much better.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Play Rock Paper Scissors With Your Tshirt!

Here's something that's way cooler than an iPad or an iPhone or i-anything - it's modern technology meets retro cool. The Rock Paper Scissors tshirt brings the game you remember and love from your childhood into the new milennuim - in true 2010 style, you can do it alone, with your computer! No need to interact face to face with smelly and possibly ugly people!

That's right, you don the tshirt, stand in front of your webcam, and a computer generated arm appears to stick out and will play Rock Paper Scissors against you. Really, that's pretty damn cool. The tees come from Swedish tshirt subscriber site T-Post (the Swedes came up with IKEA, of course they designed an augmented reality tshirt), with the techy stuff done by moment77. Suddenly, your mildly offensive slogan tshirt doesn't seem so cool, does it?

(via Springwise)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

High Five, Telstra! Or Do I Need To Book In For That?

So we waited in line for half an hour at the Telstra shop today, only to be told to go home and book an appointment online. I'm sorry, but what the fuck?! Yeah, that's right, I typed out all the words, instead of just the first letters of each. That's how absurd it was.

The Tlife website, where we were directed, claims it is "A Whole New Experience From Telstra". Too  bloody right it is. I guess you could also call the Telstra experience where we were told that nobody had come to connect our phone for 2 weeks becuase they may have been in a car accident on the way, "new". Or the slightly confused looking saleslady, who stared blankly at me when I was quite obviously attempting to buy a new phone, who simply left me to figure it out for myself. Um, they're plugged into the walls, lady!

Telstra aren't all bad and evil with curly horns and pointy goatees though. Sometimes they randomly call me to tell me that I can now have $300 worth of calls a month instead of $250, for no extra charge. Or to tell me about the newest phones - which I do appreciate, but I can't visualise what a Nokia 4305GTDHDK looks like or will do, when I'm on the phone. Hence why there are Telstra shops.

The shops themselves might be an elaborate ruse though. If the service in there is so continuously, ridiculously bad, maybe we won't go in there anymore, and do all of our Telstra transactions on the phone or online? That way, they won't have to pay all those staffers to man the shops/fiddle with the display laptops.

The "Personal Shopping" idea is a good one, at least slightly, in theory. Make an appointment, show up, have someone go through everything you need. It's great if you are that organised. If, however, you're just a regular Joe who assumes that a shop exists for customers to simply walk into and purchase or enquire about products, it seems you're out of luck.

Our reason for being there, aside from my desperate need for a new phone, was because the Mr's beloved iPhone spat it and refused to work anymore. The Apple helpline couldn't help, Google couldn't help - as it was purchased from Telstra originally (online, might I add), we took a punt and thought, oh hey, let's take it back there and see if they have any suggestions. They did - go home, go online, and go away.

We ended up visiting a smaller, local phone store where a friendly and slightly awkward young man put some saftey pins into the phone for awhile. Always trust a geek when it comes to technology, is my motto. However, the phone is really really stubborn and refused to be fixed, so it had to be sent away. Filled in some forms,  exchanged some pleasantries about the weather, phone gets sent off to iPhone land to be fixed (or retired and replaced) and we trot off home feeling that the entire process wasn't a complete waste of time. I did manage to nick over to Diva while Mr waited and consider buying a snake-shaped arm bracelet. It's scary to think that the old-fashioned way of walking into a shop, talking to a salesperson and coming to some sort of a conclusion, is on the way out, isn't it?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Street Style: You Can Do It Too!

You know how the people on street blogs always look so darn awesome, but you know you couldn't really ever get away with it in your day to day life? This week, here's a selection of easily do-able looks you'll be able to wear, pretty much now (oh yes, the weather down here has dropped several degrees and it's boots and cardis all the way, baby! Yeah!!!)
Sweet floral dress, leather biker jacket, laceup boots, black tights...c'mon, you already own most of these already!

Cute hat in a berry hue, cute cape, cute tbar flats...cute!

Faux fur coat (well, let's hope it's faux), skinny pants, retro style bike...all easy to find, except perhaps the bike. Why do people in Europe not have to wear helmets?!

Talk about effortless chic - cuffed jeans, killer heels, stripey top and versatile short jacket. if these items aren't already in your wardrobe, add them to your new season shopping list!

And for those of you further north in warmer climes, make your summer maxis work longer with some vintage style boots, tousled hair and a cinched in waist. Dancing on tables also highly recommended.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bread & Zzzzzz's

Sorry for the lack of posting this week - literally truckloads of new stock, Spring/Summer ordering and a broken collarbone have kept me glassy-eyed and zombie-like doing the day to day neccessities, with no room for anything remotely interesting (ok Spring/Summer buying is interesting, but not when you have to sit down and do the maths and *gasp* cull pieces from your orders!). If I was to post about what's going on in my head, it would be along the lines of: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz chocolate zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz oh wow look at the time zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz coffee zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz did I do that or not? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz more chocolate zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz if I have a mocha, that's like chocolate and coffee in one go. how efficient! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

So here's something to ponder while I try to dig myself out of my mountain of paperwork:
I found this piccy on the Papier Mache blog. I gotta say, unsliced bread is pretty darn awesome - ripping it apart with your fingers, smearing on uneven chunks of butter and devouring it in a primal frenzy, is really quite soothing. Note to self: buy unsliced bread tomorrow.