Coffee machine

I got sent a Dolce Gusto Circolo towards the end of last year to have a play with. I’ve previously reviewed the one that looks like a penguin here….

So, even though I don’t actually like the milk pods (I would use them in an emergency, but most of the time I just use fresh or microwaved milk if I don’t have a frother) I like the ease of use of the machine, and the flavours are nice, and, as you can see, it can all be done ONE-HANDED, in the video below of me making an ice coffee :)

It clearly needs more liqueur to make it into Australia’s favourite, the Esperesso martini…. Honestly, I could keep this on the bench if I had space just for random coffee shots and for making Friday drinks….

But here is my own martini recipe – the Caperberry Martini


Playing the goat cafe cups charlestown

How awesome are these cups at the newishly opened “Playing the Goat” in the Hilltop Plaza block (across the road from Centrelink) in Charlestown? :)

I got a delish cold coffee (espresso, milk and ice) the other morning and wished that the cup was for keeps!

The had some nice looking wraps and toasties, perfect for the explosion of case managers occupying the area for the NDIS…

Playing the Goat
12/338 Charlestown Rd
Charlestown NSW 2290
0413 564 459


Maitland Aroma Festival

August 17, 2014 · 5 comments

Maitland Aroma Festival
Minion Cake-Pops, by the local TAFE

Went up to the Maitland Aroma Festival yesterday to wander and sample some coffee, chocolate, wine and other delicious local yums.

The Wine

Maitland Aroma Festival

It was one of those occasions where you buy your sampling plastic glass ($5) and then pay $2 for a 50mL sample, or $5 for a full glass. I don’t mine buying the cup, because they make a really handy addition to my non-breakable wine glass stash!

We sampled wine from three wineries – Tulloch Wines, Macquariedale Organic Wines, and Peppertree Wines.

Maitland Aroma Festival

The Tulloch Shiraz went down well, as is to be expected ;)

Maitland Aroma Festival

We then tried a Shiraz and a Merlot from Macquariedale Organic Wines… Again, two delicious drops – we’re not normally Merlot drinkers, so this we a nice smooth surprise :)

Maitland Aroma Festival

Which we enjoyed with cumin and cayenne squid with lime aioli ($15) from the Twine Restaurant stall.

Maitland Aroma Festival

The final drop of the day was one more Shiraz, this time from Peppertree wines.

Maitland Aroma Festival

Other Drink Samples

Maitland Aroma Festival

This was supposedly also a coffee and chocolate fest, but I only sampled coffee from Peaberrys (all the rest were simply stalls selling coffee and hot choc) – but they had three sorts on offer!

Maitland Aroma Festival

The pour over hot filter was my favourite, it was really smooth and not at all harsh.

Maitland Aroma Festival

Cold filter was just STRANGE. I don’t understand it. it wasn’t bad or anything, but I think my palate isn’t wanky enough to appreciate it :p

Maitland Aroma Festival

And the traditional espresso (with or without milk). Certainly Peaberrys is on my list of “yes I’ll go to that cafe” coffees. (Like Sprocket, Campos and Toby’s Estate.

Maitland Aroma Festival

Energy drinks were the next order of the day. XS Energy had their low calorie drinks and protein products to try….

The Berry drink was sickly sweet, the citrus nice enough, and the original just tasted like RedBull. Their choc protein bars had that strange texture of all protein bars, as did their protein drinks (I tried the latte flavour).

Maitland Aroma Festival

Then it was Ginger Beer time. The Grumpy’s Ginger Beer has a nice bite to it, with a hint of chili apparently that I couldn’t taste. It was certainly a cold drink that can warm up your insides!

Maitland Aroma Festival

Speaking of warming – the Kiss O Fire chili butterscotch liqueur was at the festival too. I’ve tried the plain butterscotch before – I love it and think it was be great over icecream ;) I left the chili one for the others, who liked it :) Something different for the Christmas hamper?

And What Else Did We Try?

Maitland Aroma Festival

Well, following on from the ideas for Xmas… I tried a the Pudding Lane Macadamia and Brndy pudding log. I’ve not thought to put macadamias into a Xmas pudding or cake, but maybe… I DO love macadamias!

Maitland Aroma Festival

The peanut brittle cookie from Cookie Bazaar had just the right amount of chew :)

Maitland Aroma Festival

I’m told the Cake Pops the TAFE was making were worth the wait. They’re certainly cute!!

Maitland Aroma Festival

We each had our favourite nougats from Nougat Limar…but mine was the pistachio and cranberry :)

Maitland Aroma Festival

Olives were sampled from The Really Stuffed Olive Co.… I did like the garlic, and the others liked the chili…but they can’t beat my favourite garlic olives from Mr Cheese at The Old Bus Depot Markets in Canberra.

Maitland Aroma Festival

Simply Stirred had sooo many things to try I can’t remember them all – except this Raspberry and Vanilla Balsamic. Wow! Certainly something different!

Maitland Aroma Festival

Tar10’s chutneys and marmalades were varied and delish – I liked this blood orange one, and there was also a lime marmalade that mmmmmm!

It was a great day out – but it didn’t stop me from making mulled wine and eating blue cheese when we got home!!

Mulled Wine

(The Festival is still on til 4pm today in Maitland if you’re keen!)

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Birthday Arvo Tea @ Hippo
Cutest Babycinos Ever ($1 each)

Went for a late lunch /slash afternoon tea with the family for my birthday. Cupcakes and babycinos for the kids, cake and coffee for my Mum and sister, and meals for B and I because I couldn’t face cake, and hadn’t had lunch…

Birthday Arvo Tea @ HippoBirthday Arvo Tea @ Hippo
Cute Cupcakes

Birthday Arvo Tea @ Hippo
My awesome chicken burger – $18

Birthday Arvo Tea @ Hippo
The insides – chicken, tomato, cheese, lettuce, aioli, avocado

Birthday Arvo Tea @ HippoIMG_20140722_145625872.jpg
Bruce’s eggs benedict and slushy

Birthday Arvo Tea @ HippoBirthday Arvo Tea @ Hippo
Go Bombers!!!

Hippo Espresso
468 The Esplanade,
Warners Bay NSW 2282
(02) 4948 0800

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Hey check out those handsome fellas. You’d give them a couple million dollars for a house, right? :)

How do you get the profile pic you want for the Newspaper feature to “launch” your local start-up? Apparently, you spend the afternoon wandering around the CBD of Newcastle, trying to get the right angles in front of buildings that are Newcastle.

Mesa88 @ Sprocket Roasters

(I wasn’t allowed to use the giant penis *pouts*)


So, Rish plied me with coffee and this DELICIOUS brushetta (with olives, goats cheese, mushrooms, chorizo and quinoa) and we hit the streets. Seriously, the lunch was amazing (from the Goldbergs special’s board) and Rish was so jealous that he didn’t buy it for himself!


It’d been so long since I’d been to the Civic Park / Newcastle Library precinct that I didn’t realise that they’d FINALLY finished the street between the two. This stark, grey, concrete area goes well with the Stasi-esque architecture of the library….


We had AMAZING weather that day! I got a little bit of sun, but was fortunately not sunburned.


Outside the old Post Office is where we got the final shot …. actually one of our first!

Sprocket ROasters

Didn’t stop us from another coffee at Newcastle’s own Sprocket Roasters and a few happy snaps ;)


What would you say is the most “Newcastle” place you know? Nobby’s? The ocean baths? Fanny’s?

Disclaimer: Rish, and The Winterlake House may look familiar for long term readers ;) He and Camillo are friends of mine, and I helped them out with some photos the other day in exchange for a full belly, parking, petrol and tonnes of coffee. I wasn’t asked to make this post, it’s just because the food was so awesome that I can’t NOT write about the day!

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Lazy weekend

June 1, 2014 · 1 comment

B chose my toenail polish colour   Brandy wine!

Number 592

  1. Travel :: lodge
  2. Glitz :: glamour
  3. Bark :: dog
  4. Wicked :: filthy
  5. Fifth :: gear
  6. Photography :: student
  7. Yellow :: brick road
  8. Counter :: balance
  9. Country :: of origin
  10. Speech :: therapy

Brandy wine by  :)

A quiet weekend of nail paint, bed building, sleep ins, slow cookery and wine.

Silverside ready to set and forget. Less stock thus time so it's less salty
(My silverside recipe. Didn’t use the stock this time for a less saltyversion. Yum!)

Iced Peppermint Mocha

And a devilish Iced Peppermint Mocha from Custom Espresso at Speer Point :)

The rain is now here – who expected a thunderstorm on the first day of Winter????

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So, let’s add sour cherries and almonds to our banana bread, hey? And hot. With butter. And fighting a two year old for it?


So the sour cherry and almond banana bread at Lee Rowans’s at Warners Bay? So awesome. Even when I did have to share it with my favourite and most domineering two year old…



Cappuccino and Baby chino all around…


But ZOMG their Splice tart was tangy and awesome!

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I actually don’t have too many photos from my birthday celebrations, as I had a number of late nights, where my phone battery died before meal or home time. I can say it’a been a lovely week of turning 31, and surrounding myself with people who are awesomeness.


Let’s start with a couple of days before, my dear chronically Femme Bronwyn was selling her Galaxy Tab….. and since I couldn’t find a reason not to (aside from my current financial situation) I bought it from her. She offered me Gin and Tonic, and a pillow unicorn as sweeteners to the deal…


Couple of days before my birthday, I had some plans fall through, so ended up watching Seven Psychopaths with Mic, and going out for a lovely brekkie at Chaddies in New Lambton Sunday morning.

Chaddies french toast with bacon

Chaddies big breakfas

Next was the Newtown Drinks version of my birthday – Drinks on the roof at Zanzibar, till it got too cold and we had to shift inside to the deer hunter room with the pool tables.

big buck hunter

vodka and soda

Somewhere in there, Neko started reading to us, and demanding we head for Thai for dinner.

te hana

I did question where one was to actually find a Thai restaurant in Newtown, because there is NOWHERE to get Thai, or frozen yoghurt for that matter, on King Street ;)

neko reads

entree newtown thai

Six of us ended up at Newtown Thai, selected the basis of them being quiet and wouldn’t mind us stuffing around while we waited for a couple of extra, but delightful, boys to show up ;)

hot chip nachos marly

Next stop, the Marly (Marlborough) which has this weird indoor garden, complete with fake grass, remodel thing going on. The above nachos made with hot chips were consumed, and hugs and smiles exchanged.

Sleep was found,a nd my birthday breakfast of a meat pie and diet coke found around midday at Macquarie University train station.

bday breakfast pie and diet coke

Sadly, i left the gift of a Hello Kitty shower cap behind in Macquarie Park, but my habit of leaving things behind just means I need to find time to see people again :)


Where next? Off to Hippo to have coffee and cake with my family and with Bron. The kids ran around like crazy, I got more hello kitty gifts…



Including some of the VERY newly released Hello Kitty for Target underwear!!!


From there, it was off to Schnitzel night at the Warners Bay Hotel…. mine had Nachos!

nacho schnitty

Aside from that, there’s been bikkies from my boss, and <3 arm warmers from Stu... and well as many hugs and general awesomness.



Thank you to everyone who made turning 31 utterly awesome. xoxox

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And We Begin

April 20, 2013

The Spot, Beaumont Street Hamilton
I need a coffee. Fortunately this one from The Spot in Hamilton was really good.

So, I’ve started the much awaited therapy program. Two intense individual sessions a week, using the Conversational Model. For 14 months. Meep.

The Conversational Model of psychotherapy was devised by the English psychiatrist Robert Hobson, and developed by the Australian psychiatrist Russell Meares. Hobson listened to recordings of his own psychotherapeutic practice with more disturbed clients, and became aware of the ways in which a patient’s self – their unique sense of personal being – can come alive and develop, or be destroyed, in the flux of the conversation in the consulting room.


The development of the self implies a capacity to embody and span the dialectic of ‘aloneness-togetherness’ – rather than being disposed toward either schizoid isolation (aloneness) or merging identification with the other (togetherness). Although the therapy is described as psychodynamic, and is accordingly concerned to identify activity and personal meaning in the midst of apparent passivity, it relies more on careful empathic listening and the development of a common ‘feeling language’ than it does on psychoanalytic interpretation.


The Conversational Model, which has been manualised as Psychodynamic-Interpersonal Therapy,[2][1] has been subject to outcome research, and has demonstrated effectiveness in the treatment of depression,[3] psychosomatic disorders,[4] self-harm, and borderline personality disorder.[5][6]

So, ;earning to accept and deal with emotions, and try to get to my identity as ME, not as me in relation to another person, or the identity moulded for what I think another person wants me to be.

I said that I’d really love to get rid of the paralysis that comes with wanting to say the right thing, do the right things, in order to be the person I think I’m expected to be, we’ll see how we go.

Hai there, I’m Fiona. Let’s figure this out.

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Dolce Gusto

Meet my new coffee machine. It’s one of the Dolce Gusto ones you keep seeing at Coles, and wondering if they’re any good. I was sent one to keep and review, and Mum, my sister and I tucked into the coffee sample pods on Friday afternoon. This is one of the automatic Genio machines. It’s RRP is $229 with pods ranging from 50 cents to $1 per serve.

Doesn’t it remind you of a penguin??? I love Pingu and can’t help but think of him when I look at the machine. Just put some yellow gaffer tape on the “beak” and it’s PINGU!

Dolce Gusto

Mum tried the Cappucino, Jen the Hot chocolate, and me the Americano (with soy to top it).

Speedy and clean.

Dolce Gusto

Be nice to be able to have a soy frothy pod, but I’ll have to stick with topping up my espresso shots or Americanos with soy milk!

mmm the smell of hot chocolate!

Mum liked her cap, my Americano went down well, and did sister’s hot chocolate (though she added a little more milk).

Jen’s looking forward to the Peach Iced tea pods coming out, and Mum’s eyeing off the iced coffee!

(please forgive the photo quality, my Galaxy Note is sick atm, and I’m using a mini phone :)

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