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)

Friday, January 29, 2010

A favourite artist

I first bought one of Eric Masefield's paintings around 12 years or so ago. Then he was only exhibiting and selling through one small gallery in Rye in East Sussex, (UK) so I am delighted to see that not only is he still churning out the work but that much of it on this gallery's website - Castle Arts is already sold. I say still churning out because Eric Masefield came to painting quite late in life - well after he retired..... I have two of his beach scene paintings and three earlier works of his - still life pieces depicting vegetables and fruit which I have hanging in the kitchen of our cottage in UK.

Here are some images from Castle Arts website. Click on either of these links if you would like to see more of his work though.

Daisy and Buddy (SOLD)

Sunday Lunch (LOVE this one)

Walking by the Sea II


I also had the pleasure of meeting him once and visited him at his house where I bought a couple of paintings straight off the wall of his dining room! He was such a charming man and I am so pleased that he has the success of having his work stocked by major galleries and selling it too... Wonderful.

A good weekend to one and all.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Swedish Photograph

Just received via email... to be read or looked at in conjunction with post below.... - the view from his hotel balcony - thought it was rather a lovely photograph with the two flags together aswell.....

Musical Hotel in Sweden

Mr SE has now flown on to Stockholm in Sweden and is staying in an ABBA hotel... I am deeply envious. Well, to be exactly precise it is owned by an ex- member of ABBA and regular readers to this blog will know (as do some of my friends in UK ) that I have a secret crush on ABBA and their music....!

It is called The Rival....

And looks really rather 'groovy' if I can use that word without sounding too old fashioned!

Owned by Benny Andersson..... Apparently he has even written a special song for the Hotel staff that you can download from the hotel website!!

Take a look HERE.... Oh lucky Mr SE - maybe the staff will put on a show whilst he is there!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beach and Breakfast

Thought I would show you three photographs to illustrate two points in my list I wrote yesterday regarding my favourite things about Melbourne.

Above and below - a beach so close to the City. In the first photo you can see the city clearly in the background - the other photo is taken looking out towards the other way...

Just lovely isn't it ?... But not quite as lovely as the breakfast below... YUM! Perfection on a plate and served with a delicious coffee - what could be nicer?

Ed Note : Not that I was beach visiting and breakfasting today... (these are photographs from my 'archives'!) It was the first day back (after the long summer break) at Peony and it was Sale time too... busy, busy busy - we did not stop all day! If you live in Melbourne definitely worth a visit before all the bargains go!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Melbourne - Australia Day

Today is Australia Day in this fair land that is my home for the time being which got me thinking... there is nothing really like it in the UK... Yes, we have St. George's Day but that is not a national holiday - here it is basically a day off and a family day (rather like Christmas) and a day to give thanks too... USA has Thanksgiving Day and France has Bastille Day - a day for families to converge and just be together.... Rather nice really...

And so then I thought well, yes.... I love my 'home' city of Melbourne, I really do - and these are things I particularly love (in no specific order....)

  • The architecture (the great variety - from the wonderful modern skyscrapers to the period weather boarded homes).

  • The green spaces within the city - the parks and in particular the Royal Botanic Gardens.

  • The laneways and arcades.

  • The cafes (and especially the lovely breakfasts available).

  • The people - Meburnians are wonderful almost without exception - friendly, open and welcoming and most all with a 'can do' attitude.

  • The art galleries and theatres.

  • The beaches and coast line in general including the docklands area.

  • The coffee (consistently good).

  • The markets - from fresh food to 'flea'.

  • The trams (and the transport system in general in the city).

  • The River Yarra

  • The fact that there are seasons in Melbourne - in fact a common saying is that you can get all 4 in one day... Or "If you don't like the weather, wait a couple of hours"..... At least in winter it is cold enough to wear tights here!

  • The food - again, almost always of a good standard and what variety too!

And so there it is - my list... Happy Australia Day to all my fellow country dwellers... and a good day to you all wherever you call 'home'.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fabric with a French influence

I have always loved British designer Kate Forman's collection of wonderful fabrics and wallpapers with a decidedly French influence and I think you might too. She also does a range of accessories made from the fabrics. All items are available on line, but I am not sure if she posts overseas, sorry! Here are a few gorgeous images though from her website : Wonderful restrained and faded florals. I would SO love that dining room.
Beautiful taupe coloured plain linen in these curtains.

Cushions available to purchase; already made up if you so desire.

Adore this fabric - so subtle.

One of my very favourites - this lovely red fabric - goes by the name of "Pandora".

Hope you enjoyed- from the 'secret address book' of SE!

(All images from her website - http://www.kateforman.co.uk/ )

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Music to stir your heart on a Sunday

I urge you to listen to this - three 30 second bursts from my favourite Classical 'boy band' Blake ....
The second and third excerpts especially make the hairs stand up on my arms!!

This is taken from their third and latest album 'Together' - not only are they all rather easy on the eye (!), I am a teeny bit biased as I know one of them personally - Jules Knight (front, first photo and bottom right hand in second photo) - and have done since he was around 10 years old but they are all equally lovely young men....


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stop Press!!

This photograph goes with the the post I have done earlier today - literally just received it !

Don't think Mr SE would mind me posting it to the blog... BUT you have to read what came before - see
'Email received from France this morning '

Email received from France this morning

Well, to be honest this is part of the email I received this morning from Mr SE - it made me smile so much to think of him riding around Paris, short of time and getting my birthday present in this way and what a lovely birthday present too... My first pair of these beauties. Cannot wait for him to return - and not just because of the gift!
(He is as they say, most definitely 'A Keeper'!)

"Anyway, this is funny I got back to the hotel and didn't have much time for shopping so I got changed and guess what I got a Velib all on my own and went to Chanel on a Velib!! Me on a Velib ha! ha!. I then rode back on another velib cutting up the traffic 'a la frog driver' with a nice shiny patent toe black ballerinas for my very special wife sitting in the front shopping basket. I was laughing and thinking that Chanel had probably never sold a pair of shoes to disappear into the sunset on a bike rather than say a Ferrari!"

And for those of you unfamiliar with this mode of transport it is a self-service "bike hire" system available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Paris. There are multi pick up and drop off locations which allow you to pick up a bike from one service point and then drop it off to another.

Nifty, alors?!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Paris Photographs for you

Since most of us are not in Paris this weekend (apart from lucky Jeanne from Collage of Life!) I thought I would share these sent to us by Mr SE.....

This one is even better than the last Eiffel Tower one he sent before - beautiful...

Aaaah... now this one... Have to admit that I am missing my dear Mr SE - looks quite Gallic in this photo... Actually maybe he does too to the locals as someone came up to him last weekend and started asking him directions in French.. well, he thought they were directions - he doesn't really speak a word of French himself apart from Bonjour!!

A Bon Weekend to all.....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Yesterday evening - the Chanel Bash

So sorry that I have kept you waiting to hear about this marvellous soiree but I had to return to the scene of the crime today in order to take a few photographs... I didn't think that my enormous Canon camera (Mr SE has the small slimline camera at the moment) would somehow have looked 'right' at the event last night but in retrospect I should have done - plenty of others did! So to begin with - above and below - photographs of the invitation (and they were very strict about making sure one was on the list I may add......)

The invitation reads : "To celebrate the spirit of Chanel as it pays homage to Australia's No.1 pastime - Sport"....

Well, what can I say? And pay homage they did - I was in heaven. As far as I was concerned it was the most fun a girl could have had in one evening. Legally.

You can see from this photograph that shopping mall is not just any old shopping mall - it is a new extension especially for luxury brands so Chanel sits happily with its equally prestigious neighbours Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Prada et al. ... The finish is very high end and everything seems to gleam - the floor, the walls the shining art structures - just gorgeous.

The party began outside the shop in a special sectioned off area - there were glasses of French champagne, dainty morsels of deliciousness handed round on trays by smart waiting staff, music (professionally "mixed" by an upmarket DJ with turntables) and a plethora of "beautiful young things" . The boys handsome, some sporting quirky little touches like Chanel brooches on their lapels and the girls showing off tanned long legs on vertiginous heels, red lipped and swinging their handbags from shoulders.... It was a veritable smorgasbord for people watching and I indulged unashamedly in this pursuit lapping up every single minute. There was such a buzz and it was so wonderful to be a part of it all - I have never seen so much Chanel on show in one place in my life (and I don't mean in the shop!)

When we left (and this was the surprise I talked about earlier today in my first post) we were handed little 'goody' bags.... I was so excited to be given a little Chanel carrier bag so you can imagine how this Semi Expat felt when she looked inside to see a gorgeous square be-ribboned Chanel box......
And in the box was this !!!!!!!!!

An iconic Chanel camellia brooch in royal blue...... Yes, dear readers - the real deal - how utterly generous of Chanel Australia.

And in the words of my dear late grandmother - "I think we were all extremely LUCKY chickens" .

And the winners are.....

Small roll of drums..........

Here are all your names on little pieces of paper and my hat (as featured in my Semi Expat photo) all ready for me to put the names into -all folded up.......

And here I am delving in to pick out the first of two winners... I promise you it was all done in a very fair manner even though of course there was no independent adjudicator.....

So without further ado the two lucky winners - each receiving TWO sheets of the lovely Paris Map paper are :



Congratulations....I wish I could have sent you all some, that's the only trouble with giveaways, there can only be one (or two in this case!) winners.... So if the winners can email me when they have a minute with their addresses I will send the prizes.... (sjstubbs@tiscali.co.uk)

Later on I will post again today to tell you all about the Chanel Bash last night - it was wonderful and there was a special surprise too!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I am not a 'Whinging Pom' but....

this is where I am currently - approximately furthest South tip - just above Tasmania.

And the photograph below will give you just a little clue as to where Mr SE is at the moment and since last weekend to be precise...

Yes, yes I know he is "On Business" and sending me some lovely photographs to share avec you all but I do hope that he will return to the Rue depicted below before he comes back to these shores and maybe bring me back a little something. Well, I think it's only fair.

Before the working week began though he did take some gorgeous photographs, even though the weather at the weekend was a little on the chilly side.

And he managed un peu de sightseeing too.


No matter. And as I said earlier am not one to complain.
So, the best dress is ready....

the finger nails are sporting a very daring (for me) dark shade - OPI's 'Lincoln Park After Dark ' - thanks Faux Fuchsia for giving me the encouragement to try this colour and not banish it solely to toe nails - and I am off to little soiree tonight at Chanel here in Melbourne. Ha! - who needs Paris?....
It is being held at the newest Chanel Boutique in Australia at the Chadstone Centre in Melbourne which is a huge Shopping Mall - oui, oui - Chanel in a mall, whatever next you might say....! I will admit I have not been invited, per se, myself you understand but I am going as a very lucky guest of friend Miss J who has had a personal invitation. Am hugely looking forward to it as I suspect there is a good chance of some French bubbles - cheers!

Will report back demain.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Celebration Time - Come On! A GIVEAWAY.....

So said Kool and the Gang (circa 1980 I believe!) Well there is a double celebration here today as not only is it my 51st birthday but this is also my 100 th post since I started 'Semi Expat in Oz'....

I am amazed and delighted at how much I have been caught up in the sheer enjoyment of blogging. And 'meeting' and connecting with such wonderful people through this whole new experience has made it such a fulfilling pastime - thank you, thank you all.

So, to mark this occasion and my birthday, there is going to be a little give away! To enter is easy - all you have to do is to become a follower (if you are not one already) and make a comment at the end of this post saying why you might like to be a winner of one of TWO prizes! (both the same)...

So - tah dah!! Here is the giveaway (well, this is not the actual one - the ones I send out will be pristine, promise!) 2 sets of 2 sheets of this gorgeous quality paper printed in black and white depicting an old map of Paris... It really is lovely and we use it at Peony to wrap gifts but, you could cover a book or two with it, or a keepsake box or even just frame it - the possibilities are endless.

Isn't it beautiful? I will send the sheets out rolled up in a cardboard tube so they will reach you in good condition and this is open to everyone no matter where you live... I will draw the winners out of a hat at midday (Australian time) Thursday 21st January.
I have had such a wonderful day and been taken out to the lovely city of Melbourne by my good friend Miss J (owner of Peony) for a little retail browsing and therapy and I was treated to a delicious lunch too.... I feel a very lucky and happy Semi Expat indeed.
So, get commenting and good luck!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Vintage Finds. And an award....

Yesterday morning I spent a wonderful few hours mooching around the Sunday Flea Market in Camberwell which is very close to where we live in Melbourne...... I love nothing better than to browse here - it's on every Sunday and if I had my way I'd be there each week - Mr SE is not so keen and usually goes off to have coffee and read the papers. (He thinks 'It's all TAT' - English word for 'junk') - however, as far as I am concerned that is half the fun - you never know what you might find....

For example look at these - two little cushions CRAMMED full of vintage brooches... I bought the little round one with the black centre stone, left hand pillow in the middle at the bottom. Thought it looked quite Chanel-esque.

Or, if plants and flowers are more your thing there is plenty to choose from too... Two bunches of pale roses came home with me yesterday....

And a vintage scarf.... from the middle of this lot (it was hidden at the bottom)

Plenty of vintage shoes and boots - and I admit I did try the black shiny patent lace-ups ... just wasn't sure I am ready to embrace the 'Annie Hall/K.D. Lang look' at the moment but I was really tempted..

Here is my find - olive green silk vintage scarf photographed with my vintage sunnies which I bought at the market last year... I love them.

This is what they look like on!

So all in all it was a fabulous day......And this morning when I checked in with my favourite blogs I had another nice surprise.....

An award from the talented and accomplished and lovely FF over at Faux Fuchsia... Thank you so much... Now, I have to pass this on and answer the long list of questions in one (not too taxing, good) word answers!!

Your cell / mobile phone? Ancient
Your hair? Blonde-ish
Your mother? Glamorous
Your father? Warm
Favourite food? Oriental
Dream last night? No
Favourite drink? Champagne
Your dream? Fulfillment
Room you are in? Dining
Hobby? Antiques
Fear? Death
Where'd you want to be in 6 years? UK
Where were you last night? Melbourne
Something you aren't? Fickle
Muffins? Blueberry
Wish list item?Louboutins
Where'd you grow up? Worldwide
Last thing you did? Walked
What are you wearing? Jeans
Your tv? Instrusive
Your pets?Spoilt
Your Friends? Cherished
Your life? Different
Your mood? Contented
Missing someone? Hugely
Vehicle? Blue
Something you're not wearing? Socks
Favourite shop? Emma Hope
Favourite colour? Greens
Last time you laughed? Yesterday
Last time you cried? Thursday
Best friend? Wonderful
Where'd you go over and over? Coast
Who emails me regularly? Mr SE
Favourite place to eat? ChinChins
And I choose to pass on the award to the amazing and interesting (and featured in the British Press) blog which is Thats Not My Age. If you have not already found her then you are missing a treat of the highest kind, I promise!
Be sure to 'tune in' again tomorrow - it will be a celebratory post in more ways than one!