About Me

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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)

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I have had a wonderful day in the shop and have come home to upload the photographs I have taken showing some outfits as well as some lovely leather wrap bracelets with silver clasps (the clasps pull apart and fasten very niftily with a hidden magnet) and also a photo of the outside of the boutique too... Hope you enjoy!!
I also have to admit that the dark blue tunic type dress thing (photo to right) DID come home with me - thought it would be so useful in many ways (different tops or a sleeveless tank under it, belted, not belted, with leggings and sandals, with thick tights and boots) such a myriad of potential outfits - how could I resist!!
Happy Weekend to all wherever you are......

Friday, October 30, 2009


that it will be an interesting post tomorrow as I have been asked to look after a lovely boutique in Marlborough for the day... (Marlborough shown in photos above and the second photo shows the street where the boutique is located)
I hope that I will be able to take a range of photograhs for you showing some of the great Autumn clothing in there at the moment. It is owned by a friend of mine and before I started my 'Semi Ex-Pating' life and living for some of the time in Australia, I also worked here.... (this is different from the other place of work that I went to earlier this week) - I had two part time jobs which added up to around 3 to 6 days a week which was great and always kept life very interesting (except a little difficult when they both wanted me to work the same days!!)
The market town of Marlborough is so beautiful with some lovely old buildings and a wide high street... in days gone by it used to be a place where people in their horse drawn coaches used to stop for rest and refreshment on their way to or from London from the West of England.....
A demain... now ? - what shall I wear ?!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Today I had the pleasure of meeting SUCH a nice person..... the very lovely Susie ..... we met for coffee at MIPO (see previous posts) and had a wander around the complex of shops aswell and into the Inner Yard antiques etc.... which she loved too.. (Photo above)

Well, I would never have met Susie if it hadn't have been for my blog and I really think that the whole world of blogging has made the world a smaller place. Without sounding too sentimental I have to say that this time when I came over from Australia to stay in UK I felt I was not as 'alone' as I had felt sometimes on previous trips as all my 'blogging family' came too - you can access the computer all over the world and they will always be there... The whole experience of having a blog has been so fulfilling and a wonderful way to reach out, connect and make friends with other women all over the world - maybe like the modern equivalent of 'pen friends' when we were younger?!

Anyway, back to our meeting..... Susie contacted me a few weeks back by email as her situation is very similar to mine (except at the moment her daughter is in Australia and she is in UK) but she does know what the long distance commute between the two countries is like and she knows what it is like to miss one country when you are in the other... We had so many similar shared experiences and talked for ages as if we had known each other years - it truly was a lovely morning..... And, the strangest thing is that she is living within half an hour or so of where I am living in UK. When she is Australia she is in Sydney (a little way from Melbourne but still fairly close) and maybe when she is back there in December we will be able to meet up - I do hope so ... I won't tell you too much about her life as I hope that she will begin a blog too and tell you all about it - I know I will be first to be a 'follower'......

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Please excuse the fact that I am very late posting today.... I was asked at the last minute if I could work and of course I said yes as I do love the company (its ANTIQUES and I will, I promise make it the subject of a later post - very, very soon)......
Anyway this is the view of my route to and from work and one which I always marvel at whatever the weather - the photos were taken on the way back this evening as the sun was setting (and please IGNORE the fact that the date/time is still set on Australian time - thats if you can see the little printing!) There is NEVER a traffic jam (ok, maybe the odd tractor in your way for 5 minutes) and the roads are usually clear, although you do have to keep your wits about you - two beautiful deer ran across, or rather bounded across the road in front of me this morning... - a fantastic sight.
Am having a quiet evening in tonight as DDD has gone up to London (with handsome BF in tow) to 'check out' some London Universities. I am not required for this little exercise as London is a. easy to get to for them on the train and b. there are places for them to stay and c. they are also probably going to 'hook up' and party with friends whilst up there!
Ah well, fine by me... nice glass of red wine and some television - a quiet night in!
Tomorrow I am meeting someone who has contacted me through my blog.. will tell you all about it in my post then....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Here are a couple of photographs of the sitting room showing the colour of the walls - am not too keen on the white radiator showing in one of the photos but you can at least see the contrast and the deep creamy colour shows up quite well - sort of like a dijon mustard but warmer and deeper... and it somehow just seems to 'work' especially with reds. (Actually maybe it just looks like bog standard Magnolia on second thoughts with my photography and the fact that outside it is beginning to get dark and the light is on too.... but I have tried - promise!)
The wing chair is such a treasured piece of furniture - I had it 'created' in Instanbul when Mr SE and I went on holiday there about 6 years ago... We went in to so many wonderful shops selling kilims and carpets and in one I asked whether they would be able to upholster a chair for me using a kilim.... Well, I picked out the kilim and sketched the shape of the chair I wanted and and after much bartering to and fro about the price it finally arrived back in UK a month after we returned from our holiday.
I was so delighted with the end result and it still gives me just as much pleasure to this day.

Monday, October 26, 2009


This is my purchase from The Inner Yard last week - the lovely antiquey/gift shop that I wrote about (19th October) ......

Needless to say it is not yet up but I DO know where it is going to go - we have a rather ugly looking glass door from the sitting room leading to the (miniscule) garden and it will look great hung above the door. The other colours in the sitting room are dark creams and reds and the whole scheme quite warm. The colour on the walls is a Farrow and Ball colour (Cord) which I have now used in 3 houses (yes, just call me a 'serial' mover!) and every time it warms my heart and says 'home' (by the way this photograph is taken on the floor just in case you think that the background (carpet) is the aforementioned wall colour!)

I will take a couple of photographs of the room to show you in a later post - when you first put the colour on the wall you think 'Oh, am I sure about this?' but you have to persevere and carry on and the whole room is transformed with a creamy warmth.......

Are there any colours that you use time and time again and couldn't imagine a house with them?

Friday, October 23, 2009

FRIDAY FLOWERS (from my love)

I have been sent some totally beautiful flowers from Mr SE and they were such a lovely surprise - I feel a very lucky person.....

As well as looking so gorgeous they smell wonderful too - the roses are heavily scented and there are herbs intertwined through the bouquet - divine! If there are any men reading this (which I doubt somehow!) you will be very much in the 'wonderful man' league and earn 'brownie points' by the fistful if you use this company to send one of their fantastic bouquets.... - the company is http://www.realflowers.co.uk/ the only problem being that they only send within the UK !!

Drop heavy hints to your man or, do like I did one day when I first discovered the company, (and I know this may sound daft) and send one to yourself for the sheer indulgence and pleasure!

You won't regret it !!

A very happy weekend to you all wherever you are.


We have just returned from our ghost walk at Avebury. The photograph above shows Avebury during the daytime and it is quite an interesting place - similar to Stonehenge with a circle of stones but they are spread out throughout a larger area and some of the stones are even older than those at Stonehenge. Also, at Avebury you can wander right up to the stones and touch them. It is all quite mystical especially during the time of the Summer solstice.

Anyway, back to our evening - DDD and I and a friend of hers all went along where we were entertained by a hooded and cloaked woman who led us round the village and by the stones recounting stories of ghosts and spooky happenings !! The evening was further enhanced by the help of 'ghostly' actors who appeared at the appropriate time 'out of nowhere' to add to the ambience!

All good fun and to help the evening along we all were given a cup of mulled wine to commence our walk! (always a GOOD idea!!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I will post later on this evening as I am in a rush as actually have a day's (paid!) work today back at the company I used to work for before I began this Semi Expat - ing life!
And then early evening DDD and I are off on a 'Ghost Walk' in nearby Avebury (bit like Stonehenge) - so hopefully will survive and not be too spooked to tell you all about it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


As the season of 'mists and mellow fruitfulness' is in full swing (well at least here in the Northern Hemisphere!) DDD and I made our English apple cake yesterday - totally delicious !! It nearly all went last night as we had a friend over for supper and we served it warm as a pudding with a little double cream - totally delicious but I have cut a slice to photograph for you to see...

  • BUTTER 130 G
  • 2 EGGS
  • PLAIN FLOUR - 130G (one spoonful taken out and replaced with a spoonful of GROUND ALMONDS)

Set the oven to 180 degrees, Gas 4. Line a cake tin - (I use a 2lb loaf tin). Put the butter and caster sugar into a bowl and and mix until light and fluffy. Cut the apples into small chunks and remove cores etc. as you go. Toss the apples into another bowl with the lemon juice and the cinnamon with the demerara sugar.

Gradually add the beaten eggs to the butter and sugar mixture and then fold in the flour/ground almonds and baking powder. Scrape mixture into the tin and top with the spiced apples. Bake for 55 mins to an hour. Leave to cool in tin for 10 mins so so before turning out. Best served warm.... (especially with cream!)


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Last week I mentioned (Oct 9th post) that I had been to my favourite local cafe/gift shop and after a request from Struggler of the wonderful blog 'Struggling to be Stylish' to return there and do a post about the place, I needed absolutely NO encouragement and hastily got into my little blue mini this morning and whooshed along .....

It's such a lovely place - some gifts, jewellery, pottery, handbags, old fashioned telephones, etc. and also very unusual tables which they make there too and a cafe serving coffee, tea, cakes etc. and light lunches...

Felt that really I had to sample a lunch today (in the name of research of course!) - delicious broccoli soup - photographed below ....

Far right is photograph of a corner of the shop showing some pottery and a very fun looking multi-coloured telephone with the old fashioned dial. I bought one of these last Christmas for DDD in bright pink which she adores - such a novelty for those who were not around the first time that they were!

Next, I went to another favourite place (very conveniently in the same former potato yard complex - there is also a plant place there and an organic farm shop too) - photographed above - The Inner Yard. They also have gifts etc. and wonderful pieces of antique furniture, glassware, childrens clothing, textiles and old garden furniture/pots etc. You never know what you might find.

Above - a lovely vintage seed tray full of old terracotta plant pots.

I did actually give in to temptation and bought a lovely faded vintage linen curtain with old round wooden curtain hooks attached to it - a gorgeous creamy background with a pattern of red and blue. I am afraid I just can't say NO to textiles - they are simply an addiction - textiles and also quilts. I will post a photograph of it in the next couple of days....

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I have just arranged these white roses and put them out in one of my favourite vases.
Wishing you all a very happy weekend.........

Friday, October 16, 2009

Have been away

Many apologies. I did not post yesterday as I went to a funeral in Norfolk.... For those of you who do not know the general lay out of the country of UK it is quite a way from Wiltshire where I live when back in England (at the top of the rounded sticking out part of UK just above London!) ..... It was a beautiful sunny day - the funeral was moving and glorious and afterwards I went (with DDD who came with me) to stay with some dear friends in Suffolk (next county 'down' a little south from Norfolk)....

My friends live on the coast and have a beautiful house and made us so welcome as ever.... A comfortable bedroom, flowers, biscuits next to the bed in case I became hungry in the night (not that I did she'd prepared a lovely Goulash for us on arrival), warm comfortable sofas and just a gorgeous place to relax.... I always feel so cherished and cared for when I visit even it if its just a short visit like this one was... She truly is a wonderful friend and I know I am lucky to have her in my life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Visiting Goose

I think that maybe geese are given less credit than they are due as this one lives in the farm just around the corner from my cottage in UK and obviously had NOT forgotten that the last time I was back I used to feed him/her (?) pieces of bread thrown from out of the kitchen window!! The second day I was back from Oz I heard a loud cackling and honking and a demanding of bread - and so of course I had to give in - see photograph below!
Its quite a cute goose really and wanders around the lane as if he owns the whole area and obviously has managed to avoid ending up as Christmas lunch for many years (and no, that is NOT why I feed him!!)
The joys of the countryside!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Spots in the Sitting Room!

Looking around the house I seem to have more spots than I was aware of (of the Leopard variety of course!!) - and when I come to think of it I have been partial to this sort of decoration for a while - above are two vases and an antique sort of Indian animal - well, not really a Leopard I admit but he does have the general sort of colouring required to be Leopard-y!

And then here - this is my favourite throw (also has a bright red lining) on the edge of the sofa - this I bought from OKA a few years ago (a great decorating source and they do Mail Order too) take a look at their website http://www.okadirect.com/ and at the moment they have an offer of 10% off and free delivery until 31st October.

So - Leopards are all around ........

Friday, October 9, 2009

Re-discovering things in the wardrobe

Firstly sorry I have been rather lacking in posts this week - a combination of jet lag and trying to organise myself back in UK again after months away and I promise I will try harder next week!

As the title of this post says I have been 're-discovering' things I had sort of 'forgotten' about including my little pair of flat Emma Hope Leopard ballet shoes and now to find that they are bang up to the minute again (I have had them for around 3 years I think) is a double bonus!

I am wearing them today and have just come back from a very pretty little shop/cafe called 'Mipo' (will make this the subject of a post next week) where I was served by such a sweet young girl who commented on my shoes and said how much she loved them and also asked me where I had bought them from. It made my day and I thanked her - its nice sometimes to get approval from 'the young' and realise that I am doing something right in the world of fashion....!

Good weekend to you all.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Back again in UK

There is just no two ways getting over this - and I know that its a simple fact BUT its SUCH a long flight from Australia to England ....

I have become 'used' to it to some extent and some flights are better than others but almost 24 hours flying is no joke (and NOT in the pointy end of the plane either unfortunately!). Yesterday I flew with Etihad Airways - normally I go Qantas or British Airways but Etihad had a good deal and I decided to go with them. The service was good, the food reasonable and the seats were fairly (?) comfortable too....

The first leg, Melbourne to Abu Dhabi was VERY long (almost 15 hours) and I was 'trapped' as I was in a window seat next to a largish man who basically slept for most of the way so I felt I couldn't wake him. The next stretch was to London and this was shorter (a 'mere' 7.5 hours or so) and for this flight I was in an aisle seat and also had a spare seat next to me so that was a little better.

As we arrived into Heathrow the rain was falling - nothing changes there (!) and I have just taken a photograph this morning (and for the eagle-eyed amongst you, yes, the date is still showing Australian time on the photo!) from my bedroom window - still fairly soggy out there but the air is soft, the colours are pretty and green and yes, its nice to be back for a while.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Another thing I'll miss!

The gorgeous coffee that you get in Melbourne - this lovely one from my local coffee shop The Maling Room....

This is the 'Semi' part

Tomorrow I leave Australia to wing my way back to UK for a month and a half and this is where the 'Semi' part of my 'Semi-Expat' comes into play...

I always find the transistion so difficult I have to admit and although I do seem to have the best of both worlds - living in both hemispheres, it's the saying goodbye that is the worst part and even as I type this my eyes are welling up at the thought of leaving Mr SE for a number of weeks.... The first week is always the hardest and then we do get into a kind of routine - he leaves me an email for my 'breakfast' and I leave him one for his and then we speak twice a day too via skype.

For me though there is the lovely part of seeing my DDD again - I have missed her so very much. She has been busy over the last few months au-apairing in Italy and then being in Guernsey (Channel Islands) for a few weeks and now she is back in UK working to earn some money for her travelling before she goes off to University next September.

And she and I have lots to do..... Although she knows what she wants to study there are several Unis that offer this degree and so we will be literally buzzing all over UK looking at them including going to Edinburgh University (that is one place I am very much looking forward to seeing again - such a beautiful City) so that when she sends in her final application they will be listed in order of where she would like to be. After that it is a question of waiting to see which of them offer her a place.

So, I imagine that the next time I post something (unless I can en route from an airport lounge) it will be from England - and there will be a different slant on the whole thing with lots of photos of things locally to me there which I hope you will enjoy over the coming weeks...

Au Revoir.

Friday, October 2, 2009

LOVE your Shape

Last night I went to a wonderful presentation at a shop which is 5 minutes walk from my house (yes, this is rather lethal at times especially when they have new items in).....

There were about 20 of us there and we were greeted with a glass of champagne before the talk where I learnt that there are apparently (according to their mantra) basically 5 shapes and we fit 'roughly' (!) into one of them - they are :

  • Curvy

  • Straight

  • Square

  • Triangle

  • Diamond

They then went on to 'dress' each body shape with a combination of 'basics' (the pieces that you start with underneath) and then layer up with other fantastic garments finishing up with the accessories as the 'icing' on the cake. A great formula which seemed to work and look interesting and different for each person.

All the clothes are designed and made in Australia with realistically sized women in mind (and not les thin pin model types although I am sure they would be able to dress them too) - do take a look - http://www.theark.com.au/

As I received a 20% discount on any of the 'basics' I feel that I could be down there this morning after breakfast trying on a few items for moi meme and maybe later will post the results in the form of added photographs.....

Until later...

Oh, nearly forgot - this is one of their sayings at The Ark :

"It's not the shape of your face or the size of your bust, the droop of your bum, or the length of your legs. It's that you've got all the right bits to enjoy life with"

I think that rather puts everything into context.......................

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Recipe for you (long overdue!)

Some time back last month I promised to give you the recipe for the Banana, Date and Orange loaf/cake thingy I made whilst (well in fact for the arrival of) the MIL.... It turned out very well so I thought and Mr SE was partial to it too but the MIL did not comment on it and even though I asked on two separate occasions later whether she would like a slice (with her tea!) the answer was always negative!!!! DO NOT LET THIS PUT YOU OFF THOUGH... - its scrummy and very easy and that, as far as I am concerned, is the best bit.


What you'll need:

90g butter

Half cup soft brown sugar

Grated zest of 1 orange

Third cup orange juice

2 eggs

1 cup chopped dates

3 large bananas mashed but not pulverised

1.5 cups of S/R Wholemeal flour

What to do:

Preheat oven to moderate (depending on your oven presumably - mine runs 'cold' I think so I set it at 200 but I would imagine around 170 to 180 or slightly less if you have a fan assisted oven). Grease and line a 20cm by 12 cm loaf pan with baking parchment (again, don't think this was the size I had but I am sure it doesn't really matter!!). Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until creamy and then add the orange zest with one egg and beat well. Add remaining egg and beat to a smooth batter. Fold in dates, bananas, flour and orange juice. Blend well.

Spoon into the loaf pan and bake for around 45 to 55 minutes - Cool in pan for 5 mins or so before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

and then ENJOY!!