May 31, 2012

Elements of Glamour :: Stylish Dressing :: Bow Tie

It hardly needs to be stated on these pages,
where glamour is celebrated in all its illustrious forms,
that a hand-tied bow tie,
worn by a handsome gent,
in an impeccably cut black suit,
has got to be pretty high up on the list of stylish dressing.

What on earth else would James Bond wear when ordering a martini?
Would it be the same if he were wearing an open necked checked shirt?
(My son tells me that in the new JB, though,
martinis have been tossed in favour of beer.
Are they serious???.
But, I digress...)

Perhaps it is the almost-vulnerable appeal of a soft ribbon,
contrasted with the severe simplicity of a black suit/ white shirt,
 which makes this item work so well. 

My own handsome husband wore a hand-tied white silk bow tie
for our wedding - which luckily went just as well with my going away dress
of spotted blue,
as it did with my wedding dress of white silk.

May 30, 2012

Grey marble, white concrete, charcoal + timber : new work by Daniel Marshall Architects

Any house which has a vintage Mercedes SL parked out the front gets my attention. 
Especially a red one.
But let's look a little deeper, to discover what else this bold new work,
by Daniel Marshall Architects,
has which is striking.

This is architecture for people who like their houses to be dramatic and spirited.
No place for prettiness here.

And yet, what could be a cold and austere building is not so,
because of the use of inherently beautiful materials,
like grained timbers, veined marbles & the texture of concrete.

Even the artwork extols the beauty of these materials.

And because of the high ceilings, 
expansive views + clever juxtaposition of dark & white,
shadow & light.

The owners are obviously purists,
and like their architecture bold, to match the dramatic interior design.
And what else would one expect from somebody who drives
a vintage red Mercedes SL?

additional images via design folio nz

May 29, 2012

Are you in London? Would you mind popping along to the V & A for me?

Ok, here's the deal. 
That most glorious shrine to fashion, art & design,
the Victoria & Albert Museum in London,
has just opened an exhibition called,
"Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950."
Oh my. How brilliant does that sound?

But the thing is, it's in London, obviously, and I'm not.
Well not at the moment, obviously.
Because if I were,
 I would be the person at the exhibition looking wistfully 
at all the beautiful gowns,
while the guards keep asking 
"Are you ok there, miss? You've been here all day." 

So if anybody is actually able to pop along and see it,
and report back on just how truly fabulous it probably is,
I'm figuring that there are a lot of people,
just like me,
who would luff to hear all about it. 

What do you reckon?

ball gowns: british glamour since 1950 

UPDATE :: Marina from Iced Vo-Vo's kindly took up my begging plea, 
and posted about it here on her gorgeous blog.

Only 999 more steps to go :: the 1000 step rainforest walk

Step, step, step.
Stepping through the rainforest,
on a track beside a merry creek,
Up, up, up.
1000 steps up. 1000 steps back down.
This is the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk in the Dandenong Ranges,
just outside of Melbourne.
And on the weekend, between the autumn raindrops,
we discovered this amazing, very beautiful place.

Quiet enough for the tiny wrens to skip about,
little bothered by the strange humans who invent odd ways of keeping in shape.

May 28, 2012

Beach house with a tennis court & a French Vibe :: would you like to live here?

If playing the occasional game of lawn tennis,
between swims at the beach,
or cocktails on the deck,
sounds pretty rejuvenating, 
then ponder how much fun it would be to own this
beach house at Portsea.
 It's a rather nice part of the world, 
 about an hour or so from Melbourne on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula.

Fabulous Front Doors :: Schiaparelli Pink

As a complete contrast to the clear timber finish recently talked about,
a shock of Schiaparelli pink greets the visitor at this villa.
It's the work of sjb architects,
and I bet every single time the owners catch sight of their front door,
they beam a wide smile. 

I know I would.
Would you?

Image :: architects :: sjb
prahran house

May 26, 2012

A Walk in the Autumn Garden...

As the last days of May bid us farewell,
we say goodbye to the delightful autumn season in Melbourne.
And with the crisper nights,
with their promise of cosy dinner parties
and roaring log fires,
come the beautiful Indian Summer days,
perfect for spending time lingering in the garden.
In any season, 
this garden just keeps on giving,
with different plants shining in the spotlight
in the changing weather.
So come for a walk in the garden with me,
to see what we can find in the soft light of late autumn...

May 25, 2012

Betting with Chocolate Frogs :: a most unusual prize...

18 years ago today,
I was very, very pregnant.
So much so,
being 10 days over my due date,
that my husband
insisted on attending all my client & site meetings.
Just in case he needed to rush me to the hospital at any moment.
And of course, in the middle of a client meeting,
the first pangs of labour began. 
I signalled to him,
he understood.
I wrapped up the meeting,
walked out the door and said "quick, drive fast."

But I was in no hurry to have this baby.
Because, you see, we had made a bet with each other 
as to guessing the correct birth date of our daughter.

And the prize was a dozen Haigh's chocolate frogs,
a very covetable treat,
and truly my favourite chocolate.

My husband guessed May 25, I chose May 26.
And at 11pm,
the midwife declared my husband would be winning the bet.
"What?" said the doctor,
and on explaining the betting system, 
he too thought I would be going shopping.

But my daughter had other ideas.
(Little did I know this was probably because she would later
have a predilection for the finest chocolate herself.)
She decided to slow things down a little.
The medical staff were on edge: who would win the chocolate frog prize?

And at 15 minutes past midnight,
Henrietta decided that it would be her mother
who would prevail,
and she duly arrived in the world.

True to his word, my husband honoured the bet,
and gave me a dozen Haigh's frogs, to be shared with the medical team.
And mentioned it in the birth notice in the newspaper the next day.
Somebody at the boutique chocolate company must have
been reading the paper that day,
for what should then arrive but a box of their finest truffles,
with a hand written note expressing congratulations
and delight at the story.

(Now, if you are not from Australia, 
you will possibly not know just how loved these famous creatures,
first made in 1945, are.
And if you are from Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide and have
never tried these frogs, oh my, you just better do so.)

  This story is part of our family folklore,
and few celebrations are not marked without their delicious treats.

So, tonight, after our family dinner to mark her ascent into adulthood
at the tender age of 18,
and when the clock strikes midnight,
Henrietta shall be presented with a box of Haigh's frogs.
(My husband has been duly dispatched,
in the rain,
to fetch the box as one of their shops is alarmingly close to his office.)

Because this is one story that is too good not to keep hopping on about!

image :: with permission from haigh's chocolates
and, as always, this is not a sponsored post.
i just happen to be a haigh's chocolate addict.
there, i have confessed now. 

Fancy a Cup of Tea? With 1 lump of personality or 2?

If you think your next tea party
may be needing a bit of humour added to the menu,
perhaps these too-cute personality-filled tea bags
could be just the thing.

Made in Germany,
the little characters range from Mr Mozart to the Queen,
with a fair spattering of pollies in between.

Lots of fun,
from the ever-fabulous Donkey Products.

May 24, 2012

Elements of Glamour :: Elegant Dressing :: the Glove

So seductive, so mysterious, so elegant. 
They truly are one of the elements of glamour dressing.
And I can not think of a good reason why we don't wear them more often.

But with an increasing level of romance creeping back into attire,
perhaps as a reaction to the economy,
perhaps because we are just tired of austere clothing,
there do seem to be more glove options about the place.
So I am pretty happy about that.
Because my glove collection is almost as embarrasing as my handbag one.
They are both on the, um, generous side.

May 23, 2012

Gobbledygook :: A Begging Plea to all Bloggers to stop using Word Verification!

As usual,
Lewis Carroll says it best: the silliness of gobbledygook I mean.

Which is exactly what it feels like when I have to decipher
the impossible words,
 as part of the word verification process,
when leaving a comment on lots of Blogger blogs. 

Now I try. I really do.
But when a w looks an vn,
or a T looks like an F,
and then my spell checker corrects it before I can,
well, round we go again.

I struggle on with commenting
because I love to give people feedback. 
I love getting comments, so I assume everybody else does too.

(If spam is driving you nuts,
you can use comment verification instead. Much easier!) 

So please, please, please,
if you have a Blogger blog with this evil thing attached,
I would be over-the-moon happy if you
disabled your word verification.

Does it bother you too, 
or is it just me???

image :: blue fruit 
quote :: alice in wonderland, by the very wise lewis carroll

instructions on how to remove it:
Go to "Settings" on your dashboard, 
then select "Posts and Comments".
 You will see "Show Word Verification" and just select no.

May 22, 2012

Glamorous Home which is warm and welcoming :: Catherine Kwong's own apartment

Not sure what interior design planet I have been living on lately,
but the work of Catherine Kwong, 
a San Francisco based designer, is new to me.
This is her own home, 
shot by the fabulous photographer Bess Friday.
The mix of rich timbers, white walls, organic textures,
mixed in with a little gold here and there,
 is always going to fall straight into my "glamorous interior" basket.

May 21, 2012

Fabulous Front Entrance :: patterned timber doors with a clear finish

One of the most striking types of fabulous front doors,
the timber door with a raised pattern,
relies on the pleasing composition of the mouldings
and the beauty of the timber itself.
Allowed to shine through, rather than being painted,
the grain and patterning of the timber creates a very 
welcoming ambience at the front entrance.
A glossy painted door can be sensational & sophisticated,
(who doesn't love a glossy black front door?)
while an oiled, or waxed, timber door 
is much quieter.
The beauty is there to be seen slowly.
It adds a sense of antiquity
(even on a modern house, like the top image),
as well as this more traditional house,
because it relies on a high level of craftsmanship.

May 19, 2012

Just something glorious :: gowns from J'Aton Couture

Have spent the morning testing out cameras until 
my head is about to explode,
with so many options, gadgets & jigger-madoodles.
Why can't camera shopping be as straight-forward 
as the simple beauty of these gowns from J'Aton Couture?
Intricate, yes. Just like a camera: Layers of things.
But these gowns have an overall elegant simplicity,
belying the complexity within.

May 18, 2012

Friday Fun :: a view on men and women from 1903...

The perception of men,
as seen by the new emancipated Edwardian woman.

What can one say?

image :: the gibson girl

May 17, 2012

Gates/ balustrades/ handrails... I can't think about anything else!

Have you ever noticed that when you buy a new blue dress,
suddenly everybody else seems to be wearing one?
Or when you need to replace your letterbox,
suddenly letterboxes keep catching your attention?
Well, I am busily designing the gates & balustrades 
for the House on the Hill at the moment,
and wherever I go, I seem to be almost crashing the car
when I spot an interesting gate.
This one is just around the corner from my house. 
I don't know who designed or made it,
but it is a beautiful example of the possibilities of wrought iron.
(I did consider knocking on the door of the house to enquire, 
but my children said that would be embarrassing.)

Do you suddenly become obsessed with certain things too?

image :: blue fruit

May 15, 2012

Cloud House :: new work by McBride Charles Ryan :: pushing the boundaries

Form, geometry, colour. 
They are the signature hallmarks of all McBride Charles Ryan projects.
And this new work, Cloud House,
an extension to an Edwardian property in Fitzroy North,
uses all 3 elements to create a space which is playful,
dynamic & lively.
Let's see this in context first.
The property is in a typical street 
in one of Melbourne's older inner city suburbs,
filled with Victorian & Edwardian cottages.
In fact, from this view,
one wouldn't have the slightest inkling of the
extraordinary space behind.
Which is just how the clients wanted it. 
But when the front door swings open,
a boldly patterned and colourful carpet
gives a rather large clue that this is no ordinary 
heritage renovation.
Look carefully.

May 14, 2012

A Night at the Opera :: colour, drama, music...

the magic flute melbourne
 We took the tweenager to his first opera on Saturday night,
and there was as much joy in watching his beaming face 
as there was in watching this splendid production.
gilda opera gloves
It was also the perfect excuse to don a long black sequined gown,
black opera gloves & lots of sparkles.
Well, one wouldn't want to be underdressed, would one?

images 1/2

May 12, 2012

Baking :: Espresso & Chocolate Cupcakes...

As a delectable duet, 
it doesn't get much better than coffee + chocolate.
And when we are talking espresso coffee + deep, dark velvety chocolate,
it really does taste like a match made in heaven.
These ridiculously easy-to-make indulgences
are moist and light,
the perfect accompaniment to a cup of espresso.

May 11, 2012

Dresses made from Flowers, Fruit & Grains? Yep, it's a Floral Fashion Competition.

One of the most fun parts of 
the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show 
is the Floral Fashion competition,
whereby students from RMIT,
who more usually study how to design garments from, well, you know,
weird things like fabric,
throw caution to the wind, embrace their imagination, 
and dress mannequins in luscious swathes of 
flowers, fruit & any plant matter they like.

May 10, 2012

Simplicity & Integrity :: the Victorian Terrace of an architectural duo

This is the terrace home of Stephen O'Connor and Annick Houle,
the life + work duo from O'Connor + Houle Architecture,
perhaps best known around this town for their work
on the quietly atmospheric Heide Museum of Modern Art.
And because their home is on the market,
we can take a peek inside.

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