Stay at Home Date #1 - Sushi Night!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

With all this rain that's been around lately - it's hard to think of endless summer starlit nights - or getting dressed up just to be drenched down 5 minutes later. Solution? At-home-date-night. Now I'm not a dinner and obligatory candles kind of girl (okay, okay - I like dinner. I like candles. But I want morrrrrre. So much more than pasta stir-through and tapers and re-runs of Glee on Channel 10 - wait...that was last night!). Shall I get to the point? Okay. Why not try a SUSHI NIGHT!

Sorry - we're just going to have to wait for a moment until the non-seaweed, non-raw-fish, non weird-food-eaters leave the room. Um, the whole: sushi = raw fish thing is soooo 1980's darling. 
Sushi is awesome because you can make it together (heaps of fun!) or you can spend a few hours preparing it yourself and setting the scene ready-to-impress. Either way, it's a win-win. Also - you can combine a whole host of ingredients, so it suits people who don't eat this or don't eat that. Hell, you can even omit the seaweed if you like (Hey, why was the sand wet? Because the sea weed...) (My apologies, I couldn't resist. Blame it on being the mother of a 10 year old!)
Not sure if it's your proverbial cup of green-tea? 

Check this site out: - be educated!
In a nutshell, you'll need the following: sushi rice, sushi mat, soy sauce, pickled ginger, seaweed (nori) sheets, wasabi paste, and rice vinegar. You can get kits that include most of this stuff - and you can even buy handy-dandy sushi-makers nowadays (I'm a bit of a purist, but hell, whatever floats your boat - - if you're interested).
What do you fill it with? You can use any combination of prawns, crab, tuna or salmon (canned or fresh - ensure if you're getting raw tuna or salmon that it's sashimi-grade), hell even chicken works well. Combine that with cucumber, avocado, other vegetables - the sky's the limit - it's your sushi after all! Don't OVERdo it - pick a few ingredients and run with it - especially if you're a first-timer.

Setting the mood.
Light some Japanese style lanterns or candles around your room and lay some cushions or pillows out on the floor so you can both eat from the coffee table - maybe while watching a few Japanese action films (not into those? Lost in Translation or Memoirs of a Geisha works well for me!) 

Serve your sushi on square plates - don't forget chopsticks, and little dishes of soy, wasabi, and ginger! If you're a master of chopsticks (or even if you're not)- you could feed each other!
Feeling really adventurous? Buy some sake from your local liquor barn (please PLEASE avoid Go-Shu. Beer we can make in Australia. Hell, a decent Semillon we can make in Australia. Sake we make not.) It's up to you if you serve it room temperature or slightly warm (check the bottle for how your particular sake should be served). I'm a fan of warm sake - but hell, I'm just a fan of sake in general. It's all good. Serve it in traditional sake cups (Earthborn had these on sale before Christmas for about $20 - I'm kicking myself for not getting them!)
Maybe for the ultimate mood setter, a robe? You don't have to go all out - but there's something very very sexy about handing your partner a robe and the two of you sitting on cushions, in robes, drinking sake and eating sushi and watching Scarlett Johannson in Lost in Translation.....STEPHEN! STOP TAKING OVER MY POST!
Hmmm....maybe those Japanese action films would be a better choice after all?
P.S If you're planning the whollllllllle night (and you know what I mean) - The Body Shop have the most amazing Cherry Blossom body-butter and Body-Puree, which makes for highly scent-ual massages. 


The Power of Touch

Monday, December 28, 2009

I have a confession to make. I'm one of these touchy-feely people. I need the reassurance of a hug, or a kiss on the forehead, or my hand being held out in public. Unfortunately it has been lack of reciprocal touch that has caused many a relationship downfall for me and many other women who have dated or been in relationships with men who have not realised the importance of touch. Of course this can work both ways - I know of several women who have not been particularly touch-oriented. It's not for everyone. But until you're absolutely sure your partner doesn't appreciate subtle touching - don't rule it out. A touch can say anything from "I'm here" to "I'm so, so sorry" to "I love everything that you are". It is one of the most beautiful ways to communicate - and one of the ways we forget about as time goes on and we get older.

Touching, hugging, snuggling - whatever you want to call it - can be done in a myriad of ways. Of course there is the obvious - in bed, on the couch, in the bath, when you greet or say goodbye. But there are so many other opportunities to show that you're still there, and that they have your full attention. Great places and times for sneaky hugs include:
  • when one of you is on the phone
  • in the grocery line 
  • in the kitchen preparing dinner (my favourite kind of hugs!)
  • in bookshops
  • on a cold winter night (BLANKET HUGS!)
  • while one of you is sitting at the computer
  • passing by a mirror
Oh it doesn't have to be a crash-tackle hug every time! Just a wrap-your-arms-around-I-adore-you hug. Or even a hand running down their back. Or a kiss on the shoulder. 

Destroying the Negative Inner-Monologue.
I won't speak for all women here - but I know that many of us have these continuous inner dialogues that keep churning and churning (you might know the "Oh god, am I fat? monologue - it's an old favourite. "Am I fat? I shouldn't have worn these pants today. Maybe if I wore my new heels, they make my legs look longer and I won't look so frumpy. Should I get changed? I'm going to get changed. But changed into what? I knew I shouldn't have eaten that pasta for dinner last night. I'm definitely going to the gym. As soon as the new year starts. And I pay for my car to be fixed and then there's the kids tuition...right. I don't need a gym. I can do this myself. I'll start walking every day. And cutting out carbs. And I'm going to throw out all that chocolate. Except for those liqueur chocolates I got for Christmas..that would just be rude. I'm going to eat those and then I'll start. Right...")

Many of us have this inner monologue about everything. A lot of the time it's about our appearance. If you're in the room, I can guarantee that you'll be the main topic.

"I wonder what he meant by what he said before. I know it could be taken two ways - I have to be careful I don't over-react. Right. I'm going to read his body language - that's how I'll know. I've walked by the couch three times now. He's just staring at the TV. Maybe he's avoiding me. Maybe it's true. I mean, if it was the other explanation, surely he'd be looking at me differently or showing me otherwise? He's falling out of love with me. I probably talk too much. Or.....oh god, I know what it is. It's the weight I've put on. I KNEW I shouldn't have eaten that pasta for dinner last night...."
(see dialogue #1 for the remainder of THAT conversation). 

I know that many of my inner monologues have been disrupted by my hand being taken as I walk past, or a warm hug or a touch at the base of my spine. I actually attribute this to the reason my current relationship works. He knows me well enough to know that my thoughts spiral off into overdrive sometimes. One heartfelt touch destroys the power of the negativity inside my head and immediately I am warm, I am loved and I am reassured once more.

Try it. It may not come naturally to you right away - but give it time, it will be worth the effort. 

Back in Brissie!

Well it finally happened - we moved back to Brisbane. It's been a hectic few weeks - uprooting one's life and relocating was never bound to be easy - but we made it. It was a triumphant day today - when I threw out close to 250kg of my life - papers, old cassette tapes, cards - and the remnants of my previous two marriages.
I guess it's time to come clean - I, the writer of Project Romance, have been married twice in my 30 years of being on this earth. Will I get married again? Probably. Eventually. Most people I know haven't even been married once. It's fairly accepted by society to be married a second time - usually you know what you're doing by then.'s a nice theory. So what is a self-professed serial-bride doing writing a blog about romance? Well, actually I think that makes me somewhat of an expert. See, in my years of chasing the perfect relationship and the perfect marriage - I have learned a lot about the cornerstones of romance. Everyone's different of course, and you'll get out of this blog what you will. Of course I'm still learning. And of course no relationship IS perfect.  I've been lucky enough to be loved by some amazing men. And equally unlucky to see those relationships die before my eyes for various reasons that possibly could have been avoided before walking down the aisle-slash-rose-petal-bridge.
I am especially blessed now to be with a wonderful man who satisfies every criteria and ticks every box in the relationship satisfaction survey. A man who believes in romance as much as I do and lives to make me happy as much as I live to do the same.  I look forward to sharing our journey with you - and inspiring you to go forth and think outside the big box of the ordinary and the familiar.