Apr 3, 2013

The Greatest Challenge? Let me go.

This month's question for the group of international bloggers who like to chat on a given topic,
is somewhat of a challenge in itself.
The gem was to discuss a challenge which has changed you, from which you have grown.
I can think of a thousand challenges we face every day,
as modern women trying to balance great expectations in work and relationships 
and motherhood and sanity.
Balancing our insane expectations of perfection in everything we touch...
...wanting to fit so much in to every day... and keeping it all together for those who depend on us.

But when I read Marsha's words, talking of something personal which has been the greatest challenge,
for me there was only one memory, one thought, which shined so clearly through the mire of ideas.
It was the challenge of holding onto life, when it would be easier to let it go.

But first, I need to take you back....14 years ago... to explain...

Apr 2, 2013

Language of Flowers :: April's Sweet Pea

With the new days of April, there is a new Flower of the Month to celebrate,
and it is one of the old fashioned simple ones, the humble sweet pea.
If you live in the southern hemisphere, it's now time to plant them,
but if you live in the northern hemisphere, it's picking time.

Apr 1, 2013

Fabulous Front Entrance :: A letterbox that just flew in...

These cheeky little letterboxes would add a smile to the postie's face I suspect,
because they take an object which is often quite uninspired 
and turn it into something both stylish and fun. 
They would be particularly wonderful used as a contrast to a very ornate older home
or to follow the lines of a more angular contemporary one.
Called "KooKoo" (can you see the stylised bird shape?)
they are made in Australia, which in itself is something to be celebrated.

Mar 31, 2013

Pot plants : adding that softening edge to industrial style...

Just imagine how this space would look if there were no plants in it.
Those fun little hanging balls of living colour bring in an eclectic feel,
as each plant is quite different in shape and colour.
So the space becomes welcoming and enticing,
a sunny spot in which to read and sip a cup of tea.

The balcony is part of this rather fun apartment at Fitzroy,
designed by NOWArchitecture,
and it maximises a small space into a rather fabulous one.

Mar 29, 2013

Baking: Hot Happy Buns...um, not cross ones?

Not everything goes according to plan.
You see, I was supposed to get up early this morning
and bake a batch of Hot Cross Buns while the family slept,
so they could awake to the delicious aroma of cinnamon and allspice.
Except I slept in.

Mar 28, 2013

Elegant Entertaining: An Easter Picnic...

The Easter weekend and picnics just seem to go together so easily, 
and it's a style of entertaining where everybody can pitch in 
with a favourite dish to share. 
I'm looking forward to our annual picnic on Easter Sunday,
sometimes held in a leafy park and sometimes at the beach,
depending on the weather.

Bush Plates :: hand painted antique plates, inspired by bush flowers...

Inspired by the structured and intricate beauty of bush flowers,
artist Natalie Wilkin sources antique dinner plates of all assortments,
then hand paints bold yet delicate outlines of some of the rather iconic flowers,
to create pieces of exquisite detail.

Mar 27, 2013

Would you like to live here? Tranquil ocean, country air, history with a contemporary edge...

Tucked on the beautiful Bellarine Peninsula,
just outside Melbourne,
this rather gracious property has a well-considered mix of new and old,
of country and city,
of beach and style. 
See what you think...

I think I may never get out of that bath,
if this were mine. 
Between the view of gorgeous gardens and the luxury of space,
it's all a bit fabulous.

Mar 26, 2013

Fabulous Front Entrance :: no space but lots of style...

I often show examples of fabulous front entrances with beautiful gardens.
But what if you don't have the luxury of space between the public and private realm
in which to create a garden to set the scene for the entrance?
Then the choice of numbering and the door entrance itself must become the hero,
so that visitors can clearly find it.

Mar 23, 2013

Weekend Thoughts : time for simplicity...

After a very busy weekend last week,
starting with the opening night of Bell Shakespeare's incredibly fabulous Henry IV,
a family dinner for my eldest son's 20th birthday
(which involved cooking lots of Indian curries)
a couple of functions 
and lots of catching up with friends,
I'm chasing a simple weekend this time. 

Breakfast at a favourite cafe, a morning walk on the Tan,
a little bit of time to potter in the kitchen with some baking
and a visit to the MIFGS tomorrow (with my camera of course!)
Because sometimes, 
simplicity really is the ultimate sophistication...

Mar 22, 2013

Clipped Imagination :: topiary in the botanical gardens...

Now that I no longer have my own large garden in which to gather inspiration,
I am having a very happy time exploring the beautiful parks which so 
abundantly abound in Melbourne.
And one of my favourites is the Botanical Garden,
and its many different sections,
each so varied from the rest.
Having spent some crazy hours lately working on a most exciting new house design,
a fabulously colourful 1960s inspired kitchen, a landscape design and several renovation projects,
(hey, who needs sleep anyway?)
there was a definite yearning to walk about a large garden,
and as the Botanical Gardens are so incredibly accessible,
the temptation to walk amongst its beauty proved too great yesterday.
And what should catch my eye but these fabulous topiary creatures,
forming a sentinel to the Children's Garden.

Mar 21, 2013

LMFF 2013 Designer Award...and the winner goes to menswear!!!

Talking about the return of menswear with glamour and style,
as we were lately,
it's encouraging to find that this year's LMFF Designer Award
has been won by the young label From Britten,
which just does menswear. 
Not a sequinned gown in sight. 

Hmmm.... there does seem to be an interest in menswear which is gaining momentum,
I reckon there is a definite movement stirring out there...

Mar 20, 2013

Would you like to live here? A Victorian terrace with a contemporary touch by Nic Owen Architects...

Take a Victorian terrace house,
on the heritage register,
tucked into a pretty little street in East Melbourne.
Add the considered eye of young firm Nic Owen Architects,
a willingness to build with integrity and quality,
lots of beautifully detailed junctions and simple finishes,
and the result is a home which cherishes the old while celebrating the new.
This house is no stranger to the world of the public eye,
as it was a finalist in last year's Houses awards in the heritage section.
But it's now on the market, 
so let's have a look to see if you may like to live here...

Mar 19, 2013

Ok Boys, can you all start wearing Double Breasted Suits now please?

As this blog exists to explore and discuss all things of a glamorous nature,
can we please have a little chat about encouraging the boys
to embrace their glamorous selves?
Yes, you're listening?
Because I really do think it's about time that the male of the species
returned to wearing beautiful clothes,
of fabulous cut and fine fabric,
with personality and panache,
and more than an ounce of elegant style.

Mar 18, 2013

Fabulous Front Entrance :: Circular Fanlights and a Gardenesque Atmosphere...

This is an entrance of layered reveals,
full of surprise.
First through an angled path,
side-stepping and twist-stepping through a rather gardenesque style botanica,
to arrive at a wrought iron screened porch door set in a brick arched entrance wall...

Mar 16, 2013

Out + About :: Jeffrey Smart at the TarraWarra Art Gallery...

Now if I had to pare down my very favourite artists to just a handful,
(the rationale being those clever creative types who make us look once, twice, thrice 
to see more in each artwork in every glance),
then Jeffrey Smart would be in the curated list. 

As a small child, on visits to the Art Gallery of South Australia,
it was always his works which I asked to be allowed to see first,
because their mix of realism and wit utterly captivated my young imagination.
Here was a painting which was as real as a photograph,
and yet it wasn't: it was so much more, 
because it was layered with gentle satire and observations of modern life. 

So when I discovered that a collection of over 40 of his works are currently on display
at an exhibition at the TarraWarra Museum of Art 
I was there with my ears pinned back,
eager to explore more about this Australian painter's works.
The collection covers his artwork from 1940 through to 2011,
when he retired from painting.

In playing with large urban spaces - mostly of areas not considered beautiful by traditional thinking -
and placing human figures strikingly amongst them in considered locations and poses,
Smart was able to inject a sense of a mutual glaze frozen in time:
while the subjects look at us,
we look at them and their setting.

Mar 14, 2013

Sparkles, sequins, feathers and gowns: ever so enchanting....

In the enchanting world of fashion designer and doll maker Alice Mary Lynch,
there are pretty little creatures who take on more personality than would be thought possible 
by combining gorgeous fabrics, sequins and sparkles with a clever thread and needle.
Because this is a magical world of woodland creatures who prefer fancy clothes,
with neckties and pearl bracelets
to mere birthright feathers and playing in a murky pond...

Mar 13, 2013

What's for lunch? How about Gozleme with spinach, fetta and beetroot?

My absolutely favourite food store in Melbourne would have to be the Oasis Bakery,
and in fact any spying glance into our pantry cupboards would spot
an embarrassing number of packets of their produce,
like Tasmanian-grown quinoa,
sweet South Australian dried apricots,
halva, dukkah, black turtle beans, rosewater, 
best quality Australian nuts
and the freshest spices. 
It's one of those emporiums where you can spend ages
hunting amongst the rows of shelves discovering new ingredients,
because they stock food from far and wide,
as well as producing their own delicious range of flatbreads,
dips and traditional Lebanese pastries.
And their signature orange-flower-syrup persian doughnuts...truly good but truly bad! 

I mostly come home with some new-to-me ingredient,
then have to work out what to do with it.
The latest discovery is yufka pastry,
sort of a cross between phyllo pastry and a flat unleavened bread.
It's used to make gozleme,
which is basically a folded sandwich which is toasted or grilled.

Mar 12, 2013

Singular Beauty : a captivating front entrance to a Victorian Villa...

Any regular readers of Glamour Drops would probably nod their heads knowingly
when I start harping on about the importance of a fabulous front entrance to a building.
It's an element which I love discussing and analysing. 
So see what you think of this extremely arresting example,
of a contemporary garden entrance to a Victorian villa in Hawthorn, Melbourne. 

It has a singular beauty about it: a rather quiet reflective feel.
And part of that comes from knowing when to hold back,
when to keep things simple as a contrast to the ornate.
Like the contrast between the simple copper bowl 
and the fancifully ornamented wrought iron fence and pillar,
which leads the eye to the sculptural beauty of the lemon scented eucalyptus tree,
itself perfectly aligned on the eye's axis between open gate and bowl.

In fact, as this elegant home is up for sale, 
let's see what you think of the whole place,
because it is a rather interesting study of contemporary & heritage beauty...

Mar 6, 2013

An Impossible Dream? I hope not...

If I could achieve but one of my Impossible Dreams
(and there are many, 
although I have lived more Possible Dreams in my lifetime 
than I should have ever believed possible),
it would be to open a most fabulous store,
glamorous of course,
which only stocked products of ethical origin,
where nary an animal was harmed in the procurement of production.
Oh, but you say, there are already stores of ethical morals!
Why yes, but none which are utterly, utterly glamorous,
the kind of boutique or department store where it is full of Possible and Impossible Dreams...

This captivatingly charming boutique would be a world of beauty,
one of feminine charms and masculine elegance,
with friendly staff who know their product, know its origins,
and love to chat with wit, grace and intelligence.
They would neither be disdainful nor bored,
but would imbue every purchase with a smile and story.

Mar 5, 2013

Would you like to live here? :: Modernist lines, a pool and a tropical feel...

If you like clean, symmetrical architecture without fuss 
but with beautiful lines,
a sense of drama
and a distinct tropical influence,
imagine if you may like to live here...

Mar 1, 2013

Birthflower for March : Language of Flowers :: The Daffodil

The new month of March heralds with it not just the return of spring in the northern hemisphere,
and autumn in our southern hemisphere,
but also the chance to celebrate the humble little daffodil,
the traditional birthflower for March.
Sometimes ignored as "supermarket flowers" these charming little fellows,
with their bright and cheerful faces,
are a glorious sight in the garden and in huge bunches just by themselves,
especially welcome as they appear so early in the season,
before the riot of spring blossom.

And the delicious twist to this month's flower is that while the Northern Hemisphere is busy admiring 
and picking the traditional flower which symbolises spring,
it's also the month for us Down Under to get organised and plant daffodil bulbs.
In fact, there is no better time than March (or April in some parts of the country which are warmer)
to get those bulbs tucked happily into the still-warm soil.

A Beautiful Garden in Sydney :: would you like to live here?

Whether formally or informally planted,
an avenue with an axis point at the end has a mesmerising pull on the eye,
drawing the visitor onwards and onwards to reach the centrepoint at the end.
And in this garden at Killara in Sydney,
set in no less than 3000 square metres,
there is plenty of opportunity to mesmerise the eye with its beauty.

Oh yes, the garden also comes with a house,
a little Federation number...

Feb 28, 2013

A Violet Martini for February....

Well we can't let February leave us without celebrating with at least one little
violet inspired cocktail, in honour of the flower of the month.
The headily scented Violette Sirop is the star in this rather wildly coloured confection.

Dramatic? Oh yes indeed.
After all, we need a cocktail which is no shrinking violet...

Feb 27, 2013

Just Fun :: the kitchen of tomorrow, um, yesterday...

Not surprisingly, given my profession, 
I spend a fair bit of time thinking about future-proofing buildings.
Trying to second-guess what social changes we will make,
which materials and technologies we will focus on,
and how our buildings should reflect our changing lifestyles.

So it's rather an eye-opener to take a step back,
to see how people of the mid 20th century imagined we would be living today.

Jaques Tati's absolutely corker of a satirical movie,
Mon Oncle
(which probably just happens to be my favourite movie of all time)
saw the kitchen of the future as a very white, extremely utilitarian and clinical
experimentation with multi-function.
A kitchen which is anything but user-friendly.

And Walter Cronkite's prediction of the kitchen of 2001 is a very scary place
of microwave conveyor belts and recycled dishes.
But not in a good way.

Both imagined a kitchen of gadgets,
where the machine was king. 

It's a far cry from our current penchant for adding & celebrating rustic elements in our kitchens.

Even in kitchens where food is never actually cooked, 
but simply heated and served,
there has been a trend for a long while to minimise the visual "noise" of appliances,
and I doubt that will disappear anytime soon.
The machine is no longer king, rather a pawn designed to quietly go about its job. 

But then, it's a dangerous practice to make radical predictions,
as we can see now, with the wisdom of hindsight! 


Feb 26, 2013

Making up for lost time...the art of spontaneity.

I'm like a kid in a lolly shop at the moment.
No really. Just like that: I am so greedily scooping up all that this fabulous city has to offer, 
now that it is on my doorstep instead of a one hour commute away,
that every spare minute is crammed to perfection with spontaneous outings.

And while I used to travel the commute both for work and for outings,
being of the nature of one who never likes to miss out on things,
there is something about not having to plan a journey,
to be utterly spontaneous,
which feels like I am making up for lost time.

Feb 25, 2013

Delicious Double Doors :: that's always a celebratory front entrance...

These welcoming double entry doors are by the French architecture + interior design firm
d. mesure and they perfectly illustrate how a pair of doors adds a welcoming generosity.
Whenever I design a new home, 
it's nearly always my instinct to work a pair of doors into the entry.
They add so much ambience - becoming a gesture of benevolence - 
so that a visitor feels welcome before the door is even opened.

And if you love symmetry, as a lot of people do,
then double doors, like these ones in a house recently on the market in Malvern East, Melbourne,
can add a delightful sense of balance to that important threshold
between outside and in, between public and private space.

1 / 2

Feb 20, 2013

Did somebody mention hats?

That somebody would be me! 
Determined to give hats the time and respect they deserve,
because the art of hat-wearing is certainly a glamorous one. 

These glorious confections are from the master hand of Suzy O'Rourke,
a Sydney based milliner with a penchant for the dramatic. 
And sultry they are.
Far too beautiful to wear just to the races.
They would be gorgeous for an afternoon tête-à-tête,
or an evening at the theatre. 
Because they suit a dramatic starring role. 

If you have been reading for a while,
you would know that I can find any excuse to wear a beautiful hat.
They are practical as well as stylish.

But would you wear hats like these?
Or would you be too self-conscious?

Feb 19, 2013

If you love Art Deco, do you love this?

With sweeping curves,
both from adept bricklayers + master plasterers,
the Waterfall style is a rather charming sub-style of Art Deco.
And this house, in Melbourne's very leafy Mont Albert,
and sold just recently,
is a fabulous example of the bold, elegant style. 

The house was built in the 1940s,
and you can see some of the Moderne style creeping in,
with a concrete fascia at mid and top level.
Waterfall Art Deco houses often have curved glass,
but this one has used more easily obtainable faceted windows instead.

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