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Saturday, 26 May 2012

Buy this, not that: Isabel Marant Zappy Belt

I've wanted just about everything that Isabel Marant has done, including the Zappy belt.  Then I thought about how I would wear it and a uniform of jeans, an oversized white shirt and sky high heels came to mind.  ASOS came to the rescue with something just about the same for a fraction of the price.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Black & Gold

I can't wait for this week to be over.  It feels like everyone wants everything done yesterday and the pressure is immense.  I've found myself tucked into the corner working breathlessly-an open plan office isn't always the best idea.  Sometimes space and quiet to hear yourself think is a godsend when you feel like the world load is caving in.

Silk blouse-Scanlan&Theodore, Skirt-Cue Gold Jacquard Tween Skirt, Clutch-Witchery hard leopard print clutch, Earrings-Forever New, Ring&Bangle-Melinda Maria

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Postcards from Mornington

I'm sure I'm not the only one overwhelmed and stressed with daily life.  Yet I still throw myself into a million side projects, too.  Since scaling back and virtually taking a year off from most of my myriad of commitments, it's been a real revelation having spare time to wile away.  Reading, watching shows piling up on my IQ, napping, taking long walks, doing pilates or simply doing nothing.  Everything is either an essential, or unnecessary.  I'm simplifying my life and my to do lists.  I don't have to have it all and I don't have to have it all now.

Part of not having much planned was impromptu afternoon drive to Mornington for some wine and cheese.  Just over an hour away from home and so slow paced and relaxing.  It was a freezing day, but the sun broke through and made the sunny deck an ideal place to ponder.

View from Arthur's Seat.

View from the deck and a bottle of wine at Morning Sun Winery.

Tasting plate of Main Ridge Dairy cheeses - $10.  I went home for a jar of marinated chevre and some caprinella.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Recipe: Magnolia Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes

It's surreal to think that March marked 3 years since I was in New York.  It almost seems like a life time ago and so much has happened in my life since then.  So much has changed too, including me, my life and my circumstances.  I always use trips as check points, what has happened between one trip and the next?  The last trip and now?  Have I grown, have I stuck to my gym schedule, are the same people still in my life?

I'm really itching to go back.  New York is definitely one of my favourite places in the world.  The city is so diverse and each block has a completely different vibe and is like a new world.  New York is a million things and places in one. 

I sadly wasn't really blogging much back then, but I do have a few posts that you can check out here,   here, here, here, and here

Don't think many people visit New York without a stop at Magnolia Bakery, made famous by an episode or two of SATC, where the girls drown their sorrows in cake (haven't we all been guilty of that???).  The cupcakes really are as excellent as you'd hope.

We are hosting Australia's Biggest Morning Tea in the office next week (I hope you are too!) to raise funds for Cancer Council, so I wanted to do a trial batch of cupcakes and decided on the Red Velvet, using the Magnolia Bakery recipe.  I snuck out of work early and had a great night watching the voice and playing around with red food dye and measurements.  I am really happy with how they turned out and would recommend the recipe to anyone as it's fairly straight forward.  I did tweak the recipe slightly, so I am posting my own version which in my opinion makes the cake a bit more fluffy and moist.  The original recipe is freely available on the internet.

Red Velvet Cupcakes (recipe makes 24)

3 ¼ cups plain flour (sifted)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used Lupak butter which has a bit of vegetable oil added to it)
2 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
6 tbsp red food coloring (about 2 bottles of dye available at Australian supermarkets)
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 teaspoon vinegar
3 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven (fan forced) to around 170C and line cupcake tray with papers.

1. Cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy
2. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until creamy
3. Combine food colouring, cocoa and vanilla extract on a bowl and then add to batter
4. Add salt and buttermilk and combine on the lowest setting
5. Add the sifted flour, again mixing on the lowest setting
6. Combine vinegar and baking soda separately and add to batter and combine the mixture well on a low setting, without overbeating
7. Spoon into cupcake papers (fill to around half to 3/4 full) and bake for 20-23 minutes
8. Cool cupcakes in the baking tray for around half an hour

The cream cheese frosting is honestly the ultimate.  You will never frost your cupcakes with anything else once you've tried this!

500g cream cheese
3/4 cup of butter, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted (you will find that this is much less sugar than the original recipe, but it's honestly not necessary to use any more sugar)

1. Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth
2. Add sugar and vanilla extract and beat on high until light, fluffy and consistent
3. Fill a piping bag and generously spread over the cupcakes.

Monday, 14 May 2012


My energy levels have slowly been returning, so I am getting out and about a little bit more, which will hopefully result in more blog posts.  It's been a slow process but it's truly wonderful to feel alive again.

I've really been loving the peplum trend that's been everywhere since the Oscars.  B was in Sydney so I had to do with the self timer (as my camera remote isn't working).  Since the outfit was so monochrome, I decided to dress it up a bit with Louboutins and the Zara sequin clutch (which I'm still not sick of).

The top is from Glassons.  I am seriously loving everything they're doing at the moment (move over ASOS) and the shipping is quick & free.  Items are far better quality than everything else in the price range, too.

You may remember that I blogged whilst contemplating the Louboutins and let me tell you, they have quickly become my favourite shoes.  They are incredibly comfortable (just make sure you go up half or a full size) and so easy to wear.  Now I know what the fuss is about.  I am already plotting my next pair.

Top-Glassons or similar, Leggings-sass&bide 'rats', Belt-Scanlan & Theodore, Necklace-Peeptoe

sass & bide: MAKE A WISH necklace

The lovely girls from sass & bide have created a limited edition necklace to raise funds for MAKE A WISH foundation.

All profits raised from the sale of the necklaces will be donated to Make-A-Wish® to help bring hope, strength and joy to the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions.  

The iconic sass & bide star design is a symbol of creative duo Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton’s friendship, inspired by a tattoo which both designers share. 

A gorgeous (and on trend fluro) way to make a difference.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

" Clothes can suggest, persuade, connote, insinuate, or indeed lie, and apply subtle pressure while their wearer is speaking frankly and straightforwardly of other matters." ~Anne Hollander

(Gwyneth in Burberry)

Something I've been thinking about for months and something that now holds so much relevance in my life is proper dressing.  I've been thinking and reflecting a lot over the past 6 months, but having huge writers block all year has been really frustrating.  Words and thoughts fill my mind, but when I sit down to write nothing forms on the page.

I've been keeping up with the details of the Facebook float and found it fascinating, but not unsurprising, that investors are uncomfortable with Zuckerberg's casual approach to dressing.  Casual dress, casual attitude I've heard people say.

Last year I was the workhorse, and now I am the face.  I am delivering big decisions, often flying off the seat of my pants and having big discussions and the only thing I have to hide behind are the clothes I am wearing.  I have become increasingly conscious of how I present myself.  Walking into a room is a first impression, upon which you build with what you say and how you say it.  Illusion and perception is everything in business.   

I have a roster of edited looks that I rely on over and over that seem to work well.  I want to look like someone that's taken seriously.  The basics wear well and are looked after and I regularly update the tops and accessories (Zara & Glassons are doing good things right now).

I've learnt a couple of things along the way:

  • keep a killer pair of heels under your desk.  They will make you stand tall when you need it the most
  • paint your lips. draw attention to what you're saying
  • don't be afraid of colour, a bright yellow blouse under a blazer can do wonders
  • be a good listener and never stop educating yourself
  • think before you speak
  • never say more than is necessary
  • stay on top of current affairs, scan the headlines when you log on - it will provide you some great conversation starters

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


I must be the only person in the universe (ok an exaggeration) who doesn't own these Zara sandals.

Must remedy immediately. Even though it's too cold to wear them until December, at the earliest...

Sunday, 6 May 2012

On my plate

Part of getting back on track is eating breakfast. In my previous life almost every meal involved sugar and unfortunately breakfast was skipped. I was much too tired to wake up any sooner than 5 minutes before I had to leave the house so I was a walking, disheveled, hungry mess most days.

I am not eating dairy in the morning, which causes a huge problem. No yoghurt or cheese is hard. Muesli and cereal with a milk replacement is also out as its loaded with sugar. Not much choice, is there?

On my plate today is an egg white omlette/scrambled mess. Toast with avocado and a giant pot of T2 French Earl Grey.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Power puff

This is the first winter I haven't actually dreaded. I have a lovely trip planned for the middle of it and I've slowly built up a great winter wardrobe, covering the key pieces and adding lots and lots of scarves for a change.

I'm usually in denial about how cold it gets and am reluctant to spend money on key winter pieces. Somehow it makes more sense to blow a fortune on an amazing dress than a stellar winter coat. Yeah, no logic I know.

I've finally splurged on a stunning wool and cashmere wrap coat and have succumbed to the Scanlan & Theodore fur wrap after considering it each winter of the past 4 years.

And today I found a winter skirt that I've wanted for years, and that never seemed to exist in store, only in my mind. I'm loving the slight puff, the gold colour and the stiff raffia. I'm thrilled that Cue is back to its old self. And it looks even better on.