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Loving all stylish and wonderful things in life, fashion and interiors. I am English but living my life in the fabulous city of Melbourne in Australia. Welcome and please read on.... (contact me at sjstubbs19@gmail.com)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hush! Hush! whisper who dares....

I am only going to say this very quietly and only once .... (so listen very carefully) I have actually missed MIL today!!!!!!

The house seems strangely quiet and I have been kind of made redundant in the tea making facilities (anyone who knows a British person, especially one of 70 plus years of age KNOWS that the one thing they rely on and drink THROUGHOUT the day is a cup of tea - goodness only knows how many I have made over the last month) and when I took the tram into the City of Melbourne at lunch time to meet Mr SE at a Japanese cafe I didn't have any one to point out various landmarks to out of the window....... Nor anyone to comment to about the wildlife, flowers or people in Melbourne..... Although MIL'S comments back to me were frequently derogatory regarding the 'people' aspect - i.e. 'What is she wearing - it looks as if it has never seen an iron?"

I am sure this feeling of missing the old MIL will pass though - quite soon!!

Meanwhile I took this photograph today and will post it here for you all of two cute and colourful parrots just sitting in a tree outside the house in the street where I live (again, you will probably have to click on the photograph to see them! ) I know that if you are Australian that seeing these parakeets is a common thing but I still, as a Brit here, cannot get over and marvel at their exotic colours and the fact that they look almost out of place in a deciduous tree.

Another small joy of living in Australia.....

Monday, September 28, 2009

The MIL returns to UK tomorrow!

And maybe I am not being entirely honest if I say there is no coincidence that I am posting this photograph I took yesterday of the BATS (or flying foxes as they are also known as ) that roost in trees near the RIVER YARRA in Melbourne - but sorry, could not resist the temptation!!

They are actually an amazing site especially at dusk when they all take off to feed - they look like enormous crows when flying with wingspans of around a metre or so ...... (you may have to double click on the photograph to make it larger to see them all in the trees) - they also look like black handbags or moneybags all hanging upside down as they sleep throughout the day....

Hope you all had a good weekend.....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Present from Paris (A bag within a bag!)

Look what I was given by Miss J, (owner of Peony - the shop I took care of whilst she was away) brought all the way back from Paris .......

It came in the bag in the photograph left (which I like almost as much as what was inside) - and no, it isn't something to eat! (Customs in Australia would have gone a bit crazy if it had been) ....
The present is in the photograph on the right - a cute little patent insulated Laduree bag (presume for carrying your goodies back from Laduree if the weather is hot!). It fastens with velcro and yes, I know I shouldn't have but I used it last night as a very smart little handbag when we went to see 'The Jersey Boys' at the theatre in Melbourne.....
I thought it looked very cute and I love it..... Lucky me!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Great Book - particularly for 'femmes d'un certain age!'

Last night I attended a dinner hosted by our local newspaper and bookshop at which the author LIZ BYRSKI gave a short talk about her new book Bad Behaviour.........

As I was going alone I was a little reticent about attending but needn't have worried, - the atmosphere was buzzing -there were around 200 people there and I was welcomed onto a table of women (who had incidentally all come in groups of twos or more) and was soon chatting to them - I do find that Australian women (and come to think of that, men too are almost always outgoing, friendly and welcoming). The food was delicious too and that was a bonus - scrummy chicken dish, fresh green salad and then followed by a sticky date pudding - mmmmm!!

Anyway, not sure if many of you know Liz Byrski's books, but I highly recommend them.... She began writing in her late fifties, as she explained last night in despair at the absence of realistic and interesting representations of women older than say twenty to thirty or so in popular culture..... She went on to say that she thought that there was a 'gap' in the market and she went out and filled it - this I think she has done really successfully. She spoke very entertainingly and was wearing a black shift dress, masses of silver chunky jewellery with a wonderful raspberry pink wrap around her shoulders - she was not tall or 'haricot verte' (love that description - read it first on Tish Jett's wonderful blog - A femme d'un certain age!) but she looked stunning and certainly much younger than her 65 years too.

This is her fourth novel and if you can get hold of her first one I think you will see what I mean - it's called Gang of Four:

The book is desbribed "not so much as a book about mid-life crisis but as mid-life opportunity. The characters are like people you know - and there will people you know who could learn something from them" and as "A wonderfully written story about women who dare to move away from their everyday living"


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How could I forgot - the most Iconic One!

Could not possibly miss out this wonderful landmark .............

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hello I'm back!

Sorry, the photographs are a little out of sequence but this was a STUNNING rainbow that we saw on the way BACK to Melbourne from Sydney.... Just had to take a photograph.

And a photograph taken in the Blue Mountains (Wentworth Falls area) on our return journey to Melbourne... breathtaking....

And dear Mr Kangaroo just enjoying the early evening sunshine with his friends..... (this was actually taken on the way up to Sydney by Mr SE but I really thought I had to include it the post today - so cute!)

Sydney was beautiful - the weather was lovely and sunny for early Spring and a good time was had by all (inc. MIL!)

We spent a couple of days in the City and then meandered back through the Blue Mountains, stopping enroute overnight and arrived back in Melbourne late last night (Monday).

So this has been a selection of photographs - some taken in Sydney and some from the return journey for you all ......

Until next time....

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday and tomorrow I am off to Sydney pour le weekend!

Wonderful feeling - Friday evening ..... have finished my stint (3 weeks and 1 day) working in Peony and although I have enjoyed every minute (well almost every minute - some were a bit nerve-wracking) I am pleased to hand back the reins to their rightful owner who is on her way back from Paris as I type! Phew! - Made it ! And this evening I have had such a lovely evening on the COMPUTER most of the evening as MIL and Mr SE are NOT IN .... They are their way (by car) to Sydney having left first thing this morning - they are taking the coast road and I am 'taking the high road' - literally - by plane tomorrow.

I do love Sydney (but not as much as my adopted home city of Melbourne) - and particularly love the harbour and going across to Watson's Bay on the ferry - hopefully we will have time to do that....

And...... roll of drums..... for my last photograph of 'what I wore in the shop......' - Black waisted scoop neck dress bought in Australia last year (no name on the label - sorry - just two little pink elephants on label holding trunks) but it has an 'up and down hem' - bit quirky - I love it - surprised MIL did not comment my hem wasn't straight actually!! And, black suede flat slouchy (sp?) boots from Zoe Wittner (Australian make too).... Bone circle necklace from Indigo in UK and horn bracelet bought AGES ago from a little shop in Lewes in Sussex.
Am back from Sydney on Monday evening - will take some photographs to post early next week - so I guess I have made up my mind - I will carry on blogging (thanks Struggler!).....
Great and happy weekend to ALL......

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trousers or Dresses/Skirts ?

I think essentially we are either drawn to trousers (or pants as they call them here in Australia and I believe in USA too!) or a dress/skirt .... I used to wear trousers all the time but now I find I am increasingly drawn to skirts and dresses far more - especially the dress - just one 'thought' of what to wear, a few accessories and you're done!

As I said yesterday today you have the (ahem!) pleasure of seeing deux photographs of 'what I wore in the shop' ...... Outfit one which I wore today is the trouser plus top the other is a dress with a T shirt underneath (which seems to be my most common 'go-to' outfit looking back over this experiment of listing what I wore each day to the shop!)

Trousers in outfit one are from Country Road (Australian make), with white vest underneath from A Cote (French make but bought in UK) and grey fine cotton V neck top (purchased in Australia - first outing today - Vanessa Bruno, in sale in fantastic shop called Cactus Jam) - suede boots as before and favourite necklace from Elk (Australian company).... Coat dress worn day before (above) from Veronika Maine (purchased in Australia but I believe NZ company) with striped T shirt underneath from Primark (UK) - my fav. charcoal grey leggings and the little flat bargain satin shoes bought in Oz (make - Lily and Lulu) oh and black horn bracelet from Schon (Oz company too - made in Sydney I believe)......

Tomorrow is my last day in the lovely shop Peony - I have really enjoyed my three weeks plus one day and the time has flown - last photograph of 'shop outfit' tomorrow and then I have a decision - to carry on blogging or not??? (To blog or not to blog that is the question.....) Originally I decided to have a go at doing a blog during the caretaking of the business but I am enjoying writing and being 'part of the blogging family' so much that I think I will probably carry on (minus the photos of what I wore each day - will most probably revert to jeans most days anyway after all this!)

Until tomorrow .....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Most Amazing Woman

came into the shop today and how I WISH I had had the courage to ask if I could take a photograph of her (only thought of this after she left)....

She was of a 'certain age' - tres petite and totally dressed a la Dior style - a black couture skirt which was the kind of tulip shape with a black fine knit top and a draped scarf around her neck - LONG satin gloves and the most amazing handbag - as from the fifties in style with a rigid top with a clip fastening. Most definitely silk black stockings and beautiful black suede high heeled pump shoes. Around her head she wore a kind of fine lace wrapping - not a hat but more than a scarf oh and bright red lipstick. She looked as if she had stepped out of a Parisian street in 1956 - Dior's New Look woman !

You will get two photographs tomorrow of what I wore in the shop - just have not got around to uploading the camera - many apologies and after the description of my Dior woman my outfit will look pretty ordinary !! (oh, and by the way I did compliment her on how she looked - and she thanked me, most graciously).....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blogging is the New Black

or so said an article I read at the weekend!

Where once we would look forward to our weekly or monthy fashion fix via a magazine or two people now have the pleasure of logging on to their computer daily to fill this want.... It is true I think, as I really get that feeling of anticipation each day to see what has been written or posted over my night time whether it is to do with fashion, interiors or just living in general and I so look forward to reading my favourites.

Sorry, I failed yesterday to post again - the day was busy with a picnic in the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne - such a lovely oasis in the middle of the city and then I took MIL to Mr SE's offices in the city where the camera was doing over time! It is difficult to get onto the computer at home as MIL has declared that she thinks "Computers, mobile phones, texting and Facebook and the like (her words not mine) are all a waste of time" and she does not know what the world has become.... No one talks or makes an effort to converse anymore" - So now I feel guilty and have to wait until I go to bed to quickly do my blog - goodness only knows what she would think if she actually read this!!

Anyway, two photographs before I turn off my light - one of the Botanic Gardens taken yesterday and one of what I wore to work today (sad that this is my last week of this stint working at Peony) ..... I was quite busy in the shop toaday and one of my sales was 3 of the same type of candle to someone - she obviously loves them - the Tuberose Diptyque one... however it was rather special in a gorgeous crimson glass container.... - she sent over a courier to collect the package too - very smart! Clothes today - wrap over dress from Wallis (UK) (slightly altered though and shortened, with a black Gap vest underneath, wedge suede choc. boots as worn before to work and Falke cotton choc. tights (Falke I think every bit as good as Wolford and a little more reasonable too!)
Until I can sneak onto the computer tomorrow...(and pleases excuse any mistakes - it is now late and I am so tired!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Where did the weekend go?

So sorry, many apologies - did NOT get round to posting what I wore Friday due to the fact that by the time I thought about taking photographs (or rather Mr SE did, Friday evening) it was altogether rather late and I looked and felt rather dishevelled to say the least!! Then the weekend just flew by with us taking MIL on another whistlestop tour of Melbourne and its environs....

This time we went down the coast towards Brighton and Sandringham (funny that these names are the same as UK names but I suppose first settlers to dear Australia could not think of many original names for the new country!) Top left photograph - how I would love one of these beach huts (or, think in Oz they are called Beach Boxes?)

And then on Sunday afternoon we hit the high life and took MIL to the Casino in the city of Melbourne - a very opulent over-the-top marble and glittering place - we lost 15 dollars on the 50 cents a go 'one arm bandit' machines but it was all good fun (and besides I got to leave Mr SE and MIL in there whilst I wandered around the complex for 30 mins or so to 'look' in Prada and Louis Vuitton - even better fun!)

Finally, flowers to begin the week (as I did not get around to posting for the weekend!) - enjoy! Photo taken last Friday in the shop - today I have the day off - the sun is shining and so I will take MIL to the Botanic Gardens..... Will post again later if time allows.

Au revoir.....
Good Monday to all.......

Friday, September 11, 2009

Moving Melbourne Through Art

This is the name of a scheme promoted by Connex, the company who run the trains in Melbourne and in many of the carriages there are poems and pictures created by local people..... One particularly caught my eye this morning on the way to work and so I quickly jotted it down in my note book for you all....

Rapunzel Goes Exploring
She's a delicate rose
found in flowery prose
And I'm not her.
He reads seductive books
where those kind of looks
are all you need.
I've always preferred
my words to be heard.
A different end:
Rapunzel rolls up her sleeves,
Cuts her hair, weaves
Her own ladder. Leaves.
I really thought it was good and also made me smile - it was written, it said underneath by a Rosanne Berstein who is a Journalist/Editor.
Will post again later with photograph of what I wore to work today and a photograph of some lovely white flowers in the shop too.....
A good weekend to all - Happy Friday to those who are just beginning theirs......

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Paris Secrets

Is the name of a wonderful book that we have in the shop - it has some great photographs and details architecture, hotels and hidden gardens amongst its Parisian treasures and it is written by Janelle McCulloch...... I just love it....

Well, anyway,- today I saw a lady pick up a copy and she said "This is a good book" - "Yes," I replied - "It's fabulous - we've just got it in and it is written by an Australian journalist/writer....." - well at this point she laughed and said "Yes, I know - I wrote it!!" I was SOOOO excited and said I was really happy to meet her (or something like that - I was rather taken aback!)- she was totally lovely and thanked us for stocking it - imagine that - an author thanking you for stocking her book....?! I said I loved her books and I really adored 'La Vie Parisienne - Looking for Love and the perfect Lingerie' and if you haven't read this, do - it is a wonderful account of how she first went to Paris after a failed romance in England and what she got up to there. Anyway, it totally, totally made my day!

My outfit for the shop today (pictured below) was : Phase Eight (UK make) dress (MR SE calls it my 'crop circle dress' because of the patterns on it - don't think he is all that keen on it actually!), with Gap black T shirt underneath and Boden Black cashmere cardigan, charcoal leggings and Boden metallic sling back shoes.
Until next post - take care.........

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday and Wednesday in the shop

Tuesday was my first day back in the shop after the weekend - Monday (my day off) I spent the day around the City of Melbourne with MIL who snapped away at various landmarks with the alacrity of a Japanese tourist! She particularly liked the Circle Tram which is a great service in the city - an old fashioned tram which takes you around the CBD with a running commentary about interesting things to do and see.

Anyway, Tuesday was a miserable day weather wise and unfortunately not a huge amount of customers came in - however, amongst the sales were 2 candles (Diptyque ones - SO delicious) to Beyonce's PA....- she is in Melbourne this week. Apparently the star likes to burn both the Violette and Rose candles together - probably a beautiful combination I would imagine..... Tuesday I wore (above left) grey wool shift dress from Marks and Spencer (UK) with a white blouse underneath from a company called The Barn, little cropped black cashmere cardigan from Boden (UK) - black wolford tights and vintage shoes (Louis Vuitton) given to me by a dear friend....(oh and my special necklace from my dear Mr SE last birthday).
Today in the shop I wore (above right) my favourite Lounge Apparel dress again with the Lilith Top underneath (worn last week) and a little orange tie front cardi from Avoca - and my choc. brown wedge heeled boots again.....

The shop was much busier today and it was a run on books (sold a lovely one called Toujours Paris) and candles from both Diptyque and a company called Cire Trudon who are also French... They have been producing wax candles since 1643 so they definitely having been doing something right over the centuries!

Have not forgotten that I said I would put the recipe on here for the Orange, date and banana loaf - I thought (and also Mr SE did) that it was very tasty.... MIL did not comment though!! Ah well, you can't please all of the people all of the time...

Until next time....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The weekend and last Friday

Well this weekend was busy - MIL arrived at the crack of dawn on Friday and we spent the weekend showing her around Melbourne culminating in a trip today (Sunday) with a picnic on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria with a look at the spectaclar 'Twelve Apostles' (photo above) - just breathtaking.

Some flowers for the weekend - well, a bit late really now - sorry, but enjoy all the same - I took the photograph in the shop on Friday - beautiful pink orchids which have lasted all week - so stunning and really make a statement....

And lastly this is what I wore to work last Friday - white shirt from a little shop north of Oxford Street in London, UK, cropped sea green cardi from Brora - fantastic cashmere - http://www.brora.co.uk/ - their sales are especially worth waiting for, and a new black linen skirt from a local Melbourne designer called

Dainy Sawatzky - called 'Paper Lantern Skirt'...... MIL took one look at it and said to me "What on earth is wrong with your skirt - its all funny at the hem and bunches out?" - I replied that it was designed that way to which she retorted "Well, I'd hate to wear it - I would have to keep smoothing it down!" - Told you she was outspoken!! It was a good day in the shop with quite a few customers in and some telephone orders too including one from a gentleman in Sydney who asked for a Carthusia fragrance to be sent to him (Aria di capri)- yes, he knew it was labelled as a 'fragrance for women' but he said he loved it for himself and enjoyed wearing it so, why not - yes, why not indeed? Chacun a son gout as they say .........
I have the day off tomorrow (am doing Tuesday to Fridays in the shop and so I will be taking MIL around the beautiful city of Melbourne) ......
Will post again on Tuesday evening......

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Shop on the other side of the road

Opposite Peony is the lovely shop Ma Maison Home Couture http://www.ma-maison.com.au/ which is owned and run by the lovely Shelly - she has some beautiful linens, china, gifts, stationery etc. and she is a charming and warm person too - take a look at her website - so lovely to look out over the road and see the smart, blue striped awning - note - it was warm enough today to have her door open...... Oh, and she also brought me a coffee mid morning too - my turn tomorrow to get them !

Thought I would share a funny story with you - re : travelling to work - I go on the train (great service I think in Melbourne although Melburnians do complain about the service - Connex - they should try British Rail then they would have something to complain about!) Anyway, it is only 3 stops but when I got on this morning a young-ish man was plugged in to his ipod with the sound way too loud and all the rest of the commuters were having to put up with "Ting Ting Ting Ting" and the constant droning of whatever music he was listening to....... I sat there and was reminded of my father who once, when travelling on a train tapped such a person on the shoulder as he was getting off and said to him very loudly "Excuse me but your personal stereo ISN'T personal!!" - wish I had the courage to do that sometimes... (I may add that my father has been likened a bit to Victor Meldrew that well known character in the British TV series 'One Foot in the Grave'...... Anyway, I smiled to myself this morning when thinking of it.

And, talking of parents MR SE'S MOTHER is, as I write or type, winging her way across the skies from UK for a month stay with us - yes the MIL is coming..... So, all this week I have been preparing meals and shoving them in the freezer in the evenings and even excelled and made a cake last night - well, a loaf type thing - Banana, Orange and Date Loaf... Have of course sampled it and actually it is not all that bad at all so I may post recipe here at the weekend! Anyway, watch this space - she is known as being rather outspoken to say the least......

And, to finish off this is what I wore to work - Mr SE collected me today (and took the photo for me in the shop at the end of the day). I am wearing - black panel skirt with cream ribbon bands on it from an Australian shop (can't remember which one - but def. a high street one,) black top underneath from Gap and short cream cropped cardi from 'Primarche' - black wolford tights and the same shoes as yesterday - yes, I know you shouldn't wear same shoes two days running but am running low on flat comfy ones now! And necklace from lovely place where I work when I am back in UK called Indigo - will describe Indigo at a later date....
Friday tomorrow then le weekend - am looking forward to it already......

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sunny, bright and crisp day in Melbourne

Today was a beautiful day heralding Spring hopefully (!) and so I thought I would let you know about a crisp and fresh fragrance which we have in the shop - Cravache by Robert Piguet......

It was first created in 1963 and is described as :

An aromatic infusion of citrus and woods blending both the traditional and the modern as mandarin, lemon and petitgrain mingle with clary sage, lavender, nutmeg, patachouli and vetiver.

It really is such a refreshing fragrance and is unisex too - just gorgeous!

It was not as manic today at work - maybe everyone was out and about enjoying the sunshine instead of shopping!!
And, finally notes about what I wore today... the photographs are taken in the shop (Mr SE dropped by and took them as he had "accidentally deleted" the ones taken this morning!) Belted black coat dress by Veronika Maine (New Zealand company but bought in Melbourne last year) with white Jigsaw tee shirt underneath - charcoal leggings and a close of up of my cute find in a sale - little flat pair of satin ballet type shoes with a black rose/camellia thingy on them!! (by a company called Lilly and Lulu) Oh and brooch which was a bargain at about 1.50 English pounds from that amazing place known as Primark but which DDD and I call "Primarche" (with an accent on the last E - "Pree-marsh-ay"......!
Have a happy day wherever you are.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Busy, busy, busy........

Well today was really busy with quite a few telephone orders which have to be packed up (beautifully of course with scented tissue, ribbons etc.) and couriered all over Australia. The courier does a pick up early afternoon each day which is great and very convenient - he is such a happy and pleasant man - Faiyaiz is his name and it really makes a difference doesn't it when people you see each day are upbeat and seem to like their job.

Anyway, besides the orders I took over the telephone, I had a steady stream of customers into the shop including one of the ladies who came in for the first time last Friday (my first day at Peony). I gave her a couple of samples then of Costume Nationale perfume - the Scent Intense and also the Scent Gloss - well, today she came back and purchased (for her husband to give her tomorrow, her birthday- the Scent Gloss !!) - must admit it is a gorgeous fragrance - a very feminine, floral mix with notes of spiced rose, purple orchid and musk and also it comes in a gorgeous, opaque pale pink bottle too. I gift wrapped it for her husband to give her tomorrow and all he has to do now is to add a card or a message hopefully!!

Oh, and this is what I wore today - Mr SE was at home for the morning (working from home as we had guys here to install the air conditioning units for later on in the year - yes, I know it is only just going into Spring here but if we get anything like the heat we had last Summer we will definintely need it!) so.... sorry I digress - Mr SE was at home and took a photograph this morning - the cat wanted to be in the photo too so we let her.... (she was wearing her normal cream fur with darker tail and ears)..... I am wearing - dress from Zara (bought last year in Barcelona when out there for long weekend with DDD), striped top underneath from Lilith (French but purchased in Marlborough, UK) chocolate brown tights from Falke and chocolate brown suede wedge heel boots from Jaime Mascaro (Spanish but purchased in UK)....

Au revoir until tomorrow........