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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tea Time

Setting up... 

I had some wonderful girls over on Sunday afternoon for afternoon tea.  I'd been meaning to do something like this for a while and had planned well in advance.  Sadly, the numbers kept dropping off as the day got closer so there was a lot of food to be consumed and a lot of bubbly to be drunk between a handful of girls.  Not that we complained!  It was such a fun and relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon, just sit and chat and not do much.  A nice change to the usual running around that we all do on a daily basis.  I was a bit worried about some of the things I baked, especially the scones as it was the first time that I tried that particular recipe.  But I think it all turned out okay!

On the menu were chicken sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, macarons, strawberries, cupcakes and a lemon tea cake.  I might sit tonight and post some of the recipes.  

Definitely an afternoon I'd love to have again.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Denim Dilemma

The last pair of jeans that I bought were my beloved J Brand ink blue skinny denims in March 2009 in New York!  The only pair of jeans I have.  My jeans have to have at least a 32"+ inseam, which eliminates most pairs and I'm also in between sizes making it very difficult.

ShopBop currently has a tempting 20% off discount code (INTHEFAMILY20) so I'm on the verge of adding a new pair, but help me decide on a pair, please!  And you're not allowed to say all three..

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” ~William Morris

A year on I'm still not finished decorating the home.  I didn't want to rush into it and fill it up with things just for the sake of it.  I still have mostly empty walls as I'm yet to find anything amazing for them, bar the magnificent vintage french cognac poster.

The little things that make the house a home are still mostly missing.  But that's okay, I don't like to rush these things and I hope that these magic pieces will happen with time and I'll know that I'll be really happy with them once I do find them.

I've decluttered a lot this year. but still have a long way to go.  I've sold over 70 pieces of clothing on eBay, thrown out 15 pairs of shoes and invested in basics that I always put off.

Right now I'm working on my kitchen cupboards.  Upgrading to new bone china.  I'm obsessed with the Gordon Ramsay for Royal Doulton place setting and I cruise for hours drooling over everything Kate Spade.   One thing at a time... but I want it all now!

My First (Louboutin) Time..

After hearing Louboutin horror stories about the pain, the vanity sizing and the narrow toe box, I wrote them off years ago. I never even bothered to try on a pair.

After much deliberation and finally getting my hands on the Décolleté in my size, let me tell you I have a new obsession. They are so soft and light and make my feet feel like they're enclosed in a silk slipper. They're made out of the most exquisite leather.

I'm falling in love with shoes again, after not liking many styles over the past few seasons, I've spent all night trawling sites for pumps, flats and wedge sandals for women.  I'm in trouble!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Reasons to Wolford

If I was Oprah and I had the opportunity to share my favourite things, it would be easy for me to choose.  Everyone would get the exquisite Gordon Ramsay for Royal Doulton Platinum dinner set that I am completely obsessed with right now.  The J Brand 901 waxed jeans.  And some Wolford tights.

It took me forever to take the Wolford plunge, but little did I know that they are indestructible, I would have taken the plunge a lot sooner.  Where most tights tear within a couple of wears, Wolfords stand the test of time.  Third winter for my first pair.  Not bad.

For someone like me, who wears variations on a daily basis (opaque tights, black tights with a seam at the back, which are impossibly sexy, as well as my new obsession-polka dot tights) what is there not to love?  They cover skin imperfections, tuck bits in, hold warmth and best of all, make shoes comfortable by absorbing the friction between the skin and shoe.

Sunday, 15 April 2012


I get so much pleasure from a sunny day, when I can throw on a dress, clip on a bracelet and go. I hope the sunny days never ever, but I know they're numbered...

Dress-Topshop. Bag-Scanlan&Theodore. Bracelets-Hermes & Melinda Maria

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Grace Kelly Exhibit: Bendigo, Victoria

Bendigo totally took me by surprise.  I hadn't ventured much out of Melbourne (except to Portsea and Daylesford) so I used the Grace Kelly Exhibit as an excuse for a road trip.  The exhibit itself is wonderful.  I love that Grace was such a huge champion of wearing things more than once.  If you buy something fabulous that you love, why shouldn't you wear it over and over again, year after year?  Two issues I had with the exhibit though a) it is much too dark in there and b)  the crowds.  Despite timed entry it was absolutely overstuffed with people and a definitely got the sense that the person standing behind me was hurrying mealong.  I would have loved to have been able to sit and watch the home video footage.  Perhaps I will go back on a weekday?

If you get the opportunity to go to Bendigo, do make a reservation for a long lazy lunch at Wine Bank On View - wonderful food and great service.  And being in the country, nobody will hurry you up.  The restaurant is housed in an old bank building, built in 1876.

Bendigo is such a charming little city with rich history and significance.  It's a very easy 2 hour drive from Melbourne.  Will definitely be back...

Sunday, 8 April 2012

To décolleté or not?

I've had these on order for months and had even squirrel away some some special savings, which I slowly spent as I convinced myself they'd never restock...only to get the email that they were in stock, in my size, at the old price. What to do!?


As I had promised myself, 2012 is all about righting the wrongs and looking after myself better. Whereas my usual trips (I don't use the term holiday as holidays mean doing nothing but when I travel I have to see every little corner) are all about visiting the hot spots and planning every last second.

I booked a trip this week that requires hiking boots (gulp), ear muffs and a back pack. With not a shop in sight. I'm carefully working on the itinerary but trying to be flexible. There are too many glaciers to climb. Hoping the fresh air will do me a world of good. Any tips for a first timer welcome...

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Easter Bread

Easter is one of my favourite times of the year, especially to reflect.  The year always gets off to a flying start so it's a good time to clock up some serious church time and enjoy the long weekend and re-evaluate.  While most of the world rejoices over Easter and the impending warmer and longer days, in Australia we are winding up the summer and all the festivities.

The oven also gets a nice little workout and it warms the house just enough without needing to turn the heating on yet.

I trialled this excellent recipe from Gourmet Traveller (as much as I love that magazine the recipes are often far too difficult to pull off) last year, but didn't get to post it, so I'm sharing it this year.

Using the dough hook on a mixer is the absolute secret for this recipe, the dough ends up incredible.  Even my husband, who is a bread and dough expert was very impressed.

500 gm  (2 2/3 cups) plain flour
21 gm  (3 packets) dried yeast
125 ml  (½ cup) milk
2  eggs, lightly beaten, plus extra for brushing
50 gm  caster sugar
Finely  grated rind of 2 oranges and/or lemons
2 tsp  mahlepi or nutmeg
75 gm  softened butter, coarsely chopped, plus extra to serve

1Combine flour, yeast and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, form a well in the centre, set aside. Add milk, eggs, sugar, orange rind, nutmeg and 100ml lukewarm water and mix until a soft dough forms (5-7 minutes). Gradually add butter, a little at a time, mixing until a smooth soft dough forms (3-5 minutes), place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size (approx 1 hour).
2Red Easter eggs are painted mainly by those of the Orthodox faith as they symbolise Christ's blood.  They can be dyed using dye available to purchase from European delis or traditionally the skins of red onions which are collected since Christmas.
3Knock back dough and divide into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a 45cm-long cylinder, plait pieces together, then bring ends together to form a wreath and squeeze to join. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and set aside to prove slightly (20 minutes).
4Preheat oven to 180C. Brush wreath with eggwash, gently push red Easter eggs (unpeeled) into wreath and bake until wreath is golden and cooked through (25-30 minutes). Cool on a wire rack, serve with butter. It tastes amazing eaten same day, usually baked early in the morning in time for lunch.