10 Shows Worth Binging Right Now

Sunday, July 22, 2018

I'm a self-confessed show streaming/binging addict.. we have both Netflix and Stan, and used to have Foxtel Now as well.. but thought I should curb that for the moment, and wait for them to add more shows. Of course there are probably about 100 shows that I could recommend. But, lets focus on the ones I've been watching recently!

1. Good Girls
Good Girls just came out on Netflix, and we have smashed the whole season already! The writing is clever and hilarious, and it has some of my favourite ladies in it! Christina Hendricks who was Joan in MadMen and Retta, who I loved in Parks & Recreation. Its about 3 regular suburban Mums/Moms who turn to a life of crime, for different reasons, and they just keep getting deeper and deeper! 

2. Younger
Season 1, 2 and the first 6 or so episodes of season 3 are currently on Stan. I'm hanging out for my weekly Wednesday Younger fix. The premise, a 40+ year old newly divorced Mum of a college student Liza Miller (Sutton Foster), struggling to find work due to her age, pretends to be a 26 year old Millenial to score a job in the publishing industry! It turns into more than just lying about a job as she develops relationships along the way! It's quick, witty and has great writing. Younger also stars Hillary Duff, as a fellow editor who is fab in this series.

3. Unreal
Season 4 of Unreal just dropped on Stan last week, I love this show, but I can't watch it all at once, it is intense! Unreal is basically based on the popular Bachelor type shows, but it focuses on what happens behind the scenes, what the producers do to to create these magic moments on set, and how the contestants are manipulated and played to create "ratings worthy" television. Its not reality tv, its a scripted drama centred around the show "Everlasting"'s show runner Quinn King and one of the main producers (and master manipulators) Rachel who show no remorse when it comes to making things happen on set! 

4. The Handmaids Tale
Praise Be...If you haven't heard about this distopyian thriller based on Margaret Atwood's best selling novel yet you may have been living under a rock. Season 2 just finished up on SBS on Demand last Thursday, and I sat on the edge of my seat almost the entire time! This show is depressing, frustrating, stirs up deep feelings and is so addictive. Based in the not so distant future, the USA as we know it is no longer, and it has been overturned and replaced by a misogynistic, homophobic and totalitarian religious cult who have created the new nation of "Gilead" so as you guessed no sunshine and rainbows, but very interesting and addictive none the less. I loved Elizabeth Moss as Peggy in Mad Men, but she is amazing as Offred or June, in The Handmaids Tale. I can't wait for Season 3. 

5. Claws
Maybe I was drawn to Claws because it is based in the Florida town of Palmetto, close to where we used to live in Sarasota! The first episode didn't quite capture me, but I decided to give it a go and by the second and third episodes I was hooked! Its southern, its crazy, it involves drugs, drama,  nail salons, fierce ladies, money laundering and some wild Russians! Season 1 and some of season 2 are currently on Stan!

6. The Good Fight

The Good Fight is a spin-off series from The Good Wife! So expect the same fast paced Law Drama, with some cast favourites from the Good Wife, but without Aleisha, which I can't say I'm disappointed about, because I was getting a little sick of the same story line of the Good Wife by the end of the series! If you like Lawyer-type shows, then this is a good one to try and you don't have to had watched the Good Wife! If you happen to be a Trump supporter, you probably won't like it, there are a LOT of current Trump issues focused on in this show! Season 1 is on Stan and Season 1 & 2 are on SBS on Demand!

7. Big Little Lies 
Season 1 is on Foxtel Now, and I think Season 2 is coming in 2019 (Whyyy so long!!!!)
This series has some big names, Nicole Kidman, Reece Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley (Divergent Series), Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood), Adam Scott, Zoe Kravitz and more. Big Little Lies starts slowly and begins to weave a very intricate plot and reveals more about the complicated lives of the main characters who are all interconnected through their friendship formed from their children attending the same school. Big Little Lies keeps you shrouded in mystery and wanting to know more the whole time! Its crazy and intense and I had to just keep watching.. I NEEDED to know what happened!

8. Glow 
GLOW stands for Glamorous Ladies of Wrestling. These unsuspecting actresses get cast to star in a ladies wrestling TV show, with little to no experience. Enough Said. You know this 80's combo of lycra, hairspray and throwing each other across the ring is going to be hilarious! Add in Marc Maron, and his brash dry humour who seems like he's basically playing himself and Alison Brie and its really addictive! Season 1 & 2 are currently on Netflix.

9. The Good Place
If you need a lighthearted show in your life after watching too much Handmaid's Tale or Big Little Lies, this is a great show for that! It is clever and witty and just a hilarious premise that is full of surprises. Starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, one who has just died (Bell) and the other the creator of the particular neighbourhood (Danson) of her afterlife "The Good Place". Bell's character who was really a horrible person, has been mistakenly sent to the Good Place, and she knows she's not meant to be there! Instead of fessing-up she partners with her 'soul-mate' an Ethics professor to try and learn about ethics so that she can continue the charade! But, it doesn't end there, twists and turns and some unexpected curveballs thrown in. Season 1 & 2 are on Netflix. 

10. Schitt's Creek 
A family of millionaires bought a town as a joke, "Schitt's Creek" but when they lose all of their money, they only have one place left to go!  Eugene Levy (American Pie) plays the Dad, Johnny and the Mum, Moira is played by Catherine O'Hara (Home Alone) they and their spoiled clueless son and daughter who haven't had to work a day in their lives end up living in 2 rooms in a run down grimy motel and having to deal with how to go on with life penniless in a small town! Its cute, and funny and Eugene Levy's own children also star in the show! His son Daniel Levy plays his son and his daughter Sarah plays the towns cafe owner! There are now 4 seasons on Netflix, enough to keep you busy for a while! I like this one on a night when I have to multi-task, work and watch!

This isn't a comprehensive list of all my favourites, of course theres the likes of Outlander, Game of Thrones, Vikings, Better Call Saul, Billions. But that would take way long. This is just what I'm watching now...

Sugar Republic Review - Pop Up Dessert Museum in Melbourne

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

On Thursday last week the kids and I ventured into Melbourne to go to Sugar Republic - the new Pop-Up Dessert Museum in Fitzroy. Since moving from Perth to Geelong in October, we haven't spent much time in the big city! There has been so much exploring to do locally, weekends get busy, and honestly, I've been slightly scared to drive in Melbourne by myself with the kids, I'm freaked out by the trams and the weird hook turns! But, thankfully, we made it all the way to Fitzroy in once piece, with the help of a fellow Ex-WA friend leading the way! After years of watching cool things happening in Melbourne and feeling like we were missing out over in Perth, and seeing all the  wonderful images splashed over Instagram, I was pretty keen to make the effort to visit! 

 We spent about an hour and a half going through the different dessert themed rooms, taking lots of photos and enjoying the activities like playing in the giant gumball machine, jumping out of a three layer cake, swinging in the fairy floss room and swimming in the pastel pink ball-pit!  I did struggle to make them go slowly through the rooms, they were pretty desperate to get to that ball-pit!

There are some sugar-filled treats to be had along the way, but don't worry parents, not too many for the smalls. The kids loved spinning the wheel of treats, grabbing a Wizz Fizz, a bag of Fairy Floss and a Soft-Serve ice cream to finish off the visit! That was MORE than enough sugar for my three!

Entry times are staggered so it wasn't overcrowded, even in the middle of school holidays. We didn't feel rushed through the rooms! There are some amazing installations to admire and more photo ops in here than you can point a stick.. or camera in this case at! If you are looking for fun picture ideas and great back-drops it is definitely an Insta-worthy visit! The full wall off neon signs is incredible and the giant Make Me Iconic Bubble-O-Bill, Paddlepop and Golden Gaytime were so fun! 

Tickets Cost $35 for adults and $25 for kids over 3. Plus booking fees. I felt that the entry fee was a little over-priced for what it was. They did a great job in so many ways but I think there could have been a bit more polished and have a more upbeat atmosphere. For me, taking 3 kids (one who is only 2, so he was free) it cost over $90 for a relatively short experience. But, I do love to support ventures like this and people doing things that are different and original, so I was happy to pay.  I guess if they packed it out and opened up more tickets per time slot they could make the tickets cheaper, but it would have made for a pretty frustrating experience if you had to continually wait for all crowds to move to get your perfect shot! So they thought that out well! 

The kids had a great time, and are still talking about it. It was difficult to drag them out of the ball-pit after their 10 minute time allotment.. but at least I could convince them with the promise of ice-cream.

Sugar Republic Melbourne Review
Sugar Republic is on in Melbourne until the 17th of August. It Sold-Out originally, so they have extended the dates! And then I have heard it is moving to other cities in Australia! Yay! 
You can find out more info on Sugar Republic's website www.sugarrepublic.com.au

Easy Mermaid Birthday Cake

Saturday, July 7, 2018
Easy Mermaid Birthday Cake

This year, my newly 5 year old, Willow opted for a Mermaid themed party! After I convinced her that she couldn't have a Unicorn theme two years in a row that is! She had never had a BIG party before, so this was her year. We made it a joint party with one of her close friends, hired a hall, invited their whole kinder class and more and had games, craft activities the whole lot!

Sharing a party with another family is great, sharing the party work load worked out so well for us! I volunteered myself to take on the task of the cakes! Because I secretly love stressing myself out about making them perfect and spending half the day in the kitchen!

But, actually these cakes were relatively simple and looked really cute! I probably would have made it even easier for myself if I had some of the proper baking utensils, like one of those handy metal scrapers for the butter cream, but hey.. it worked!

For the cakes, I used the same recipe I always use, the simple yet effective Butter Cake recipe from Taste.com.au , always a hit! Basically, this recipe makes 1 cake layer in an 8 inch or 9 inch cake pan.

For the butter cream, its a mixture between guessing and reading too many recipes, I still haven't perfected the butter-cream, it is next on my to do list! If anyone has a fail proof recipe hit me up! But, this time what I did do right was to invest in some gorgeous gel colours for the butter cream, rather than trying to create something from the basic supermarket colouring. I used Ameri-color Violet and Dusty Rose and they both turned out gorgeous!

My favourite part of this cake though was making the little fondant Mermaid Tails. I haven't used fondant much before, mostly because I don't like the taste of it and I've been a little worried it wouldn't work out. But, I am here to let you know its actually pretty easy! Especially if you are good a playing with play-doh! I purchased the silicone tail mould/mold from Ebay. The tails were really just a matter of rolling the fondant around in my hands until it got warm and therefore soft enough to mold. I experimented with the two colours mixing them together before and after they were in the mold, and ended up with a range of cute colour combos. After ensuring they were pressed down enough in the mold, and removing excess fondant from the top and around the edges I peeled them out, and gently stuck the skewers almost all the way to the end and left them to harden. Here is a great You Tube tutorial that I watched before making them : How to make fondant mermaid tails

I then pulled out this champagne coloured edible shimmer I had purchased, and brushed it onto the tails with one of the kids unused paint brushes! And WHAT a massive difference it made, they became all shimmery and gorgeous! You can see the before and after shimmer pictures below!

fondant mermaid tails

Mermaid Party - easy mermaid cakes
Easy Mermaid Birthday Cake idea

Purple mermaid cakes

Fondant mermaid tails

Some of the other cakes I've made for my kids birthdays are :

Pastel Layered Ice Cream cake with White Chocolate Bark