Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Get your kitchen's act together - Part 2

Part 2 – Cleaning with a vengeance 

I’m hoping you’ve been busy giving away, throwing out or selling your un-used, cluttering kitchen crap. If you had one, how fun are garage sales by the way?

Now, my grandmother always said “cleanliness is next to godliness.” So if you want to feel really divine, clean your kitchen like a domestic god or goddess. Take out everything from your cupboards and give each and every surface in there a thorough rubber-glove-armed clean with hot water and eucalyptus oil - no need to buy gross expensive synthetic chemical crap. For the more persistent smears, nothing beats cloudy ammonia. Just ensure you have adequate ventilation and dilute it. The smell is quite severe, but it goes away quickly and takes off the most extreme grease and stains. And insects don’t like the eucalyptus smell, so you kill two birds with one stone. 

While you’re at it, clean the fridge and oven, and pull out the grease filters in the rangehood, soaking them in hot water, a few generous squeezes of dishwashing liquid and a ¼ cup of baking soda. In less than half an hour you can start scrubbing them with a non-abrasive brush or scourer. Et voilà! Do beware if cleaning a gas oven with ammonia, make sure the gas and pilot light are off or your kitchen could light up like a gunpowder-laced Christmas tree. 

Now look up at the ceiling. Are there fly s*>t spots or squashed mosquito remnants anywhere? Is there a mass grave insect cemetery gracing your flush mount opaque ceiling light? No matter how clean your kitchen is down below, a grotty ceiling can ruin the effect, so get up there on a ladder armed with your eucalyptus and ammonia-infused sponge. Please note, this task, and the gas oven cleaning one should be done when completely sober. The rest could call for some hard liquor. 

So please get to it. I will give you a bit of leeway, in case you get overwhelmed easily like me and all this is daunting and giving you nausea and panic attacks at the prospect.  I’ll give you a week or two before I post the next blog, so take on bite sized tasks. Maybe do one cupboard a day and give yourself the entire weekend to clean the fridge and oven. I don’t mean spend the entire weekend doing this but make sure you accomplish the task at some point. So when we catch up next, we will be able to move forward with a beautiful kitchen, a pristine canvas, or at least a far less cluttered, filthy one. 

Remember always aspire to acquire kitchen heaven....

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Get your kitchen’s act together

Part 1: Out with the old, chipped and ugly

Aspire to acquire Kitchen Heaven...

Whether renting or living in your own property, so many of us end up with kitchens that look like a junk/food bomb hybrid has gone off. Maybe it’s extra appliances that seemed like a good idea at the time but now get used bi-annually if lucky (in my case that milk frother, mini blender I’m lucky to fit half a banana in or the jaffle-squashed-sandwich-thingie that’s big enough to land a small helicopter on.) None of them fit in the cupboards (which are already overflowing with way too many saucepans, an army of coffee and teacups and mismatched glasses, hideous wedding gift crockery that you can’t give away in case they visit – not to mention all the non-perishable food, so much of it past its use-by date.) So these useless appliances get relegated to the benchtop along with the appliances you actually use, the oils, seasonings, obligatory fruit bowl, clashing decorative elements, piles of paper comprising of bills, kids pictures, takeaway food flyers, etc etc. Really – I can’t be the only one who needs a kitchen makeover.

Do you ever use this?
Chipped mugs and crockery must go!

Someone wise once said “A clean, tidy home creates a peaceful mind”. Someone else said “A clean house is a wasted life”, but we’ll chose not to focus on that for the purposes of this exercise. So, think de-clutter and clean, clear surfaces. Work from the anti-hoarding doctrine of if it hasn’t been used for a while get rid of it. Don’t be precious and sentimental either – it’ll get you nowhere. Root out all that chipped crockery, those ugly mugs (husbands excepted), throw out all the takeaway flyers along with the past-use-by packets and jars. Anything that is salvageable can be re-homed to a charity or if your place is bad enough, you may even have enough stuff to have a garage sale (one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.) 

Half dead plants, ugly plants, tragic holiday mementos, horrid ceramic oil vessels oh, and don’t get me started on fridge magnets - they all need to go.

If you can't save it, bin it!

Plants should be pleasing on the eye

So get busy and keep watching for our next installment in which we will show you how to make your kitchen the gorgeous place it was born to be.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

We Love Local: Ode to Latteria

Latteria, a veritable Sydney coffee institution, is also the second home away from home to Cramer’s MD, Erle. Not a day goes by that he cannot be seen there for breakfast or lunch, and invariably both. He discovered Latteria when he moved into the Cramer Victoria Street premises in the late 1990s and he has never looked back. His favourites are the fruit salad, in his words “the best fruit salad in Sydney as it is freshly cut to order”, the spinach focaccia and almond milk flat white, his of-late metrosexual coffee of choice.

We all love the staff, past and present. Who can forget those gorgeous Italians, Tommie, Pino, Vito and Pete! Eye candy to all persuasions. Then the divinely blokey English dude who has only recently departed and the truly loveable Jamie, and now the eclectic mix that makes up Erle’s new best friends. 

We love the specials of the day, we love the delightful chai and the sweet treats. All in all, Latteria, WE LOVE YOU!!!!

Monday, 19 December 2016

‘Tis the season to be jolly

Whether celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, the holidays or long summer days, it is a great time to give your home a touch (or a truckload) of festive season accessorising. 

Christmas decorations come in all incarnations, from the ridiculous to the sublime, so with some spare change or a full wallet, you can dress up your home in style. There is nothing like the pine smell of a real Christmas tree. If you have an outdoor area, it’s a great idea to buy a potted pine that you can keep in the garden and bring out for Christmas annually. The tree doesn’t have to be Times Square size, it can even be a miniature pine and you will still get the beautiful smell and feel of Christmas. Fake trees come in many shapes and sizes, some are incredibly realistic, but always keep in mind you that need to store them during the non-Christmas months.

Good, old-fashioned crepe paper makes great decorations on the cheap, and a little water-colour on some card can turn into a gorgeous string of cut-out angels. A great tradition to start is buying one or two new ornaments every year. It becomes a fun tradition, doesn’t cost the earth, they accumulate fast and if you have kids, they will look forward to this and appreciate them much more than if you buy a whole house-full at once. 

Wreaths can be home made and are easier than you’d think. Since we have a hot Christmas, collect bits of driftwood, shells and leaves and glue them onto a hallow round circle of wood or wire (Bunnings will have something.)

For Hanukkah, blue, silver and gold are the colours to go with and candles for the menorah can go either in the family heirloom candelabra or lines up in individual holders. You can create your own stencils to create star of David or Hamsa shapes onto the surface of your choice. Go to a craft shop and buy a flat ended stencil brush, cutting mat, scalpel or craft knife and stencil paper, then get creative. Get your gelt in the form of chocolate coins, Australian coins or if you are as rich as Rockefeller, the real thing.  

And if you just want to celebrate summer, bring shells, flowers galore (so many in season and not expensive at the moment- even the Queen of all flowers, the Peony, is cheap now), bits of driftwood, gorgeously scented candles and colour into your home. Now sit back, crack open a decent bottle of wine and enjoy!

From The Team at Cramer we wish you a wonderful holiday season!
See you all in 2017!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Taking the edge off homelessness

Darlinghurst is full of fantastic cafés, restaurants and bars, beautiful terraces and boutique shops. But if you are interested in seeing another side and getting away from the hip and the glam, you need go no further than Rough Edges, a lounge room for street people that offers a place to be safe, to be secure, to meet with friends - to watch TV, read the paper, drink coffee or play chess. 

Next time you are walking past pop in and share lives for a bit. We have had many an enlightening, enriching and enjoyable conversation with the Rough Edge-ees. These people are doing it so tough and experiencing hardships that few of us thankfully ever have or will experience and their stories are fascinating, raw, sometimes tragic, sometimes funny but always memorable. Be part of the change towards a better society where inclusiveness and involvement are fostered. And if you have the time and want to be rewarded in a deeply satisfying way, volunteer. Rough Edges can only operate through the involvement of volunteers. There are opportunities to work during the day, at night and in the garden at the weekend.

Rough Edges is run by St Johns Anglican Church and is nestled between the church driveway and The Victoria Room on Victoria Street. For more information or to volunteer please visit

We love supporting locals.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Annandale…. where history lives on

Architecturally, Annandale is an incredibly interesting suburb from an historical perspective. It is home to some of the first houses in Sydney and is a canvas for the unexpected. Nestled quite startlingly amid some of Sydney’s earliest architectural history lies the Ann & Dale, a striking example of the quintessential linear, large-windowed retro 70s building.

Original sandstone facade
The Ann & Dale Apartments

The suburb of Annandale itself has one of the longest histories of any Sydney suburb. When Major George Johnston (1764–1823) arrived on the First Fleet ship Lady Penrhyn, he was granted 100 acres of land that he named Annandale after his birthplace Annan in Scotland. His name is remembered in Johnston Street itself. He sold his property in 1877 to John Young, who was a businessman, architect and mayor. Young began to turn the Johnston estate into an attractive suburb by building a number of picturesque houses. One of those houses was Kenilworth, with its "witch's cap" style of roof common to that period of architecture. Other houses in the group were the striking ‘Abbey’, ‘Oybin’, ‘Greba’, ‘Hockingdon’, ‘Highroyd and ‘Rozelle’ which was demolished and is in fact the site of The Ann and Dale. Some of these houses are still popularly known as "witches houses" because their towers. Of the various houses in this group, The Ann & Dale’s closest neighbour, The Abbey, has been described as a stone Gothic Revival mansion, modelled on Scottish manors.
Johnston Street, Annandale, circa 1880s showing The Abbey

The Witches Hat Home today
The Witches Hat Home circa 1880

Annandale has many more heritage listed buildings but the Witches Houses are the most famous. Come and see them for yourself from The Ann & Dale Real Thing Apartments...

Monday, 26 September 2016

ACME – Funky, fresh and fabulous

If you love to eat on the wild side of cuisine and sample culinary combinations never tasted before, then ACME is the restaurant for you. On walking in you are greeted by the destressed meets high design interior and happy, unpretentious staff. The menu sounds surreal and it is almost impossible to choose from such a tempting selection. But then your waiter appears, all casual and cool, and explains the menu in intricate detail so choice is possible. Don’t think you’ll get away with just a couple of plates though… be prepared to be decadent. Standouts for me were the burrata with citrus and curry leaf, baby calamari with lime and five spice, carpaccio puttanesca, black garlic and burnt chilli linguine, fusilli with pippies and corn, and all three sublime desserts. Trust me, you’ll be back. And yes, I did eat all of this and more at one sitting with just one other person. 

A very happy customer xo