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)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Meeting Maggie

Last night I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Maggie Alderson (and others, more about that later) where she was at a local bookstore - 'Readings' in Hawthorn, Melbourne to launch her latest book - 'Shall We Dance'. She talked to us all first, telling us a little about the book - the main character of the novel - Loulou Landers is the Queen of Vintage Fashion and Maggie brought along a few of her vintage clothing treasures to show us too.

Maggie A. is everything I thought she would be - charming, talented and very lovely. I have read and adored everything she has ever written and the only trouble is I know that as soon as I begin this book I will be sad because I'll read it all too quickly and then it will come to an end. I think I will savour the pleasure of knowing it's here sitting on my bedside table waiting for me for a while before I open it and start to read.

It was also so very good to run into some other Melbourne bloggers too...Dear Carly from Tune in to Radio Carly who has already described the evening on her lovely blog... and there was also gorgeous M from She Wore It Well as well as my niece Miss Sophie from Regally Blonde (although I knew she was coming - I rang her and said come on over - she only lives around the corner!) Anyway, the four of us had a little chat too which was really nice.

And on a personal little note - a lovely lady whom I had never met before came up to me and said - 'Hello, it's Semi Expat, isn't it?! ' and told me she so enjoyed my blog although she is I think, in blog speak "a lurker" (!!) (one who always reads but does not comment apparently).... Well, I don't mind that at all, I was just blown away that someone came up to ME and said she read my blog!! I was very flattered I have to say - so sweet of you and if you are reading now -I forgot to ask you your name, - sorry!! Although maybe you did tell me and I didn't take it in, I was so surprised. Anyway, thank you - you made a wonderful evening even more special.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

20 Years - A Birthday Party!

On Friday evening we rushed back from work and then went out to a very special party. It was the 20th Birthday of the company I am working for and the party was called "20 Years in Fashion". The dress was 'Black and White Vogue' and, as you can see from the photograph below, everyone stuck to the theme and all looked very celebratory... Ark Clothing started 20 years ago by two friends - Jen Layton and Christine Metcalfe and they began with children's clothing - selling first of all 'party plan' style from their homes. As the business grew they branched into women's fashion instead and now 20 years later are still going strong (no mean feat in these economic times) with three stand alone boutiques in Melbourne as well as selling wholesale to many boutiques across Australia and internationally. I have to say that although I have only been with the company since July I already feel a valued staff member and it is great to be with a company that still has a fundamental family feel.

The waitresses below - all looking so cute in their black and white outfits.

The entertainment - a tap dancing troupe - extremely energetic and fun to watch!

Note, the party was held in the new company headquarters - you can see behind the tap dancers the sample boards and design plans ! All the clothing is not only designed in Melbourne but it is all also made here too and that in itself is unusual these days.

And here we both are with our outfits... I wore my black lace party dress and added the white by way of my pearl collection (remember I told you before that I mix my op. shop / charity shop pearls with my Chanel ones?!) We were also each given a pearl necklace too - a lovely touch.

Mr SE wore his dinner suit/tuxedo/DJ - very smart! He looks good in black and white..

So, - HAPPY 20th BIRTHDAY to The Ark.

For more information about The Ark - go to http://www.theark.com.au/ They also have a blog (top right of the home page) and I have been asked to write occasionally for them - I did the last post about furnishings in the new store.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New suede shoes

I have been meaning to show you these for a while, well around 10 days or so now. I bought them the first weekend I got back to Melbourne and normally I buy NOTHING whilst jet lagged for fear of making wrong decisions. But these I am really very, very pleased with. A lovely colour - resembling the Chanel nail polish colour Particuliere that there was all the 'hoo-ha' about a few months ago. Otherwise known as taupe, or as it says on the box - cam.taupe (camel taupe?). Not sure.
They remind me of little moles. Cute.

They are Italian and I am told they are hand made (says so on the box too!). Extraordinary good value if they were - anyway, they are extremely comfortable and have leather soles with ridges in them (to prevent that 'leather sole slip' I'd imagine).

Above - mole shoes in the sunshine. And below:

Miss Kit Cat, aka Button, (the other girl in Mr SE's life) feels she looks FAR better on the shoe box than those silly shoes did in the first photograph!!

Shoes from : ZOMP http://www.zomp.com.au/ (and apparently they have just opened in Brisbane, FF!)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Turned out well - see previous post!

Sunday evening - supper a deux. Faux Fuschia's Parmiagana.
Staving off the Sundayitis too!!

Nothing nasty from the garden this weekend!

So, no photos of snake eggs to show you this weekend, just this gorgeous French Lavender which is flowering so beautifully in the front garden. There are three large shrubs including one each side of the front door. I would not say the scent is overpowering but the leaves are very aromatic when you brush by them and the bees love the flower heads too. Such a gorgeous colour, lavender.
However, if there were prizes given for fragrance in the garden then this one below would be high up on the list. Technically this is not actually in our garden but it is climbing over from next door and I am encouraging it ! Delicious jasmine. In the evening the scent seems to be even stronger especially when the day has been warm.....
It's heavenly.
Hope everyone has had a good weekend. I was working Saturday and it looks as though I am working quite a few Saturdays until the end of November too. Am also suffering from a bit of "Sunday-itis" as it is back to work again tomorrow - Sunday has gone FAR TOO quickly.
I am off to make this recipe HERE from Faux Fuchsia. Am sure it will turn out well - she does great food.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Just whose birthday was it?!

As I said in an earlier post, last weekend was Mr SE's birthday but I also was given gifts from him. Very lucky.
If you remember Mr SE came to England briefly with me (via Paris for meetings) but then went off back to Australia by way of Singapore and the Grand Prix. Not only did he bring me back a beautiful pair of dark grey pearl earrings but also this lovely orange iconic carrier bag above....
which contained this beautiful be-ribboned box....

And inside the box a cotton carrier with a little drawstring top.

And - Ta-Dah......!! A bottle of beautiful Rose Ikebana Hermessence fragrance. It is so beautiful - described as :
"A contrast of rose petal and crisp rhubarb. Airy, delicate, sparkling" ... quite unusual with the rhubarb notes but I really love it. It's green and uplifting - just the kind of fragrance that appeals to me.

Look how lovely the bottle is too with the leather top. Just gorgeous. I had only had a very small bottle before and finished it quite quickly I loved it so much. Am very happy and yup, I know....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beautiful basil - a quick dinner

Last night I made a basil pesto sauce.....

Nice and satisfying and quick too after what seemed like a very LONG first day back at work for me. (I am blaming it all on jet lag). Photograph below shows the finished dish complete with small basil leaf by way of "presentation" for a Monday night.

The photographs are a little out of sequence but anyway I am sure you will get the drift! Place two or three large handfuls of fresh basil into your whizzing machine... Also add a handful of grated parmesan cheese, a clove of fresh garlic and a handful of TOASTED (that is the secret, I feel) pine nuts.

Photo below shows the lovely fresh bunches of basil Mr SE and I bought from the market at the weekend - 2 huge ones for $3 - that's about $3 USA dollars now too, equivalent of, and around UK pounds 1.85 so quite a bargain I would say.

Whizz all the ingredients up in your mixer/chopper/whizzing machine and drip in olive oil (probably around 1/4 of a cup or so) from the top until you get a nice 'pesto-y' consistency... As illustrated in the photograph below... Add a little seasoning and a squeeze of lemon juice too if you feel so inclined.

I threw together rather a simple and rustic looking salad for us each with lettuce, fresh parsley and avocado.

It all went down rather well until Mr SE piped up that he really normally wasn't all that keen on pesto, however this he thought was "alright"!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Snake eggs in the garden beds!

Well, I am back again in the beautiful city of Melbourne and the weekend has been quite eventful to say the least. It was Mr SE's birthday yesterday - we went out for breakfast to a new cafe, it's been very sunny, but also it has been a little bit scary too....!
Well, just LOOK what Mr SE unearthed this morning whilst doing a little gardening.... Yes, I know they do look a little like fungi or some kind of underground mushroom (they were buried just under the mulching) but we have looked them up on the internet they are..... SNAKE eggs! Their texture is quite leathery though I am pleased to report that their inhabitants have gone...
Look at the photograph above - there is the little hole that the baby snake makes in order to get out of the egg... Now I am a little worried in case they have decided that they would prefer to be INSIDE the SE's house. Fingers crossed they haven't and instead have slithered off to somewhere far more exciting.
Meanwhile talking of exciting things (or far less frightening!) this was how I spent the afternoon at my parents before I left to come back to Australia.... We took back my hire car and on the way back stopped here :

This watercress farm is near their home and they often go and buy a few bunches. My father makes a very good watercress soup.

Look how lovingly it is packed on ice. You leave the money in the box and take what you want - all done on trust.

The vital ingredient for growing watercress is, of course, water – mineral rich flowing water from which the peppery salad leaf takes its many nutrients

Above photograph shows the stream where the watercress is harvested...

My parents standing near the water's edge. The brighter green leaves in the stream are the watercress leaves.

As I said at the beginning of the post it has been a beautiful and sunny weekend - Melbourne has done me proud to welcome me back again after the sad round of saying my goodbyes yet again in England. And the lovely people at Qantas were very nice and with the help of Mr SE's kindly donated Qantas points I was upgraded to Business class....! A real treat over such a long journey.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Preparing for my return to Australia

Have to say I have done my fair share recently of going out for lunches, coffees and dinners and meeting friends.... Yesterday I met my friend M at this little snugly corner... we had a delicious light lunch and a good chat....
And last week before I went to Durham with daughter I met my friend S - we shared tea at MIPO at the Inner Yard... Click HERE for more information about this place when I went there last time.....

Above the dinner I shared a couple of nights ago with my friend C - see photo below... We have known each other since we were 11! A long time and each time we meet seems like only yesterday.

Well, I am rushing round doing a final check on the cottage and cleaning madly - just taken a break to read emails and do a little blogging... Have had a particularly pleasing email with news from a friend which has made my day this morning - lovely how something like that colours your whole day. Anyway, as I said, I am off in a few hours - first to my parents for a day and then flying back to Australia on Thursday arriving back late Friday night... A long flight but hopefully, hopefully I could be upgraded this time as Mr SE has put in a request and offered up some of his precious Qantas points for this privilege!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

DDD goes to University.... or Durham, here we come!

Friday morning started dull and rainy. Stormy in fact and we drove North...
Or rather, the ex-husband drove - I sat in the back and DDD sat in the front of the car. The weather was atrocious and the journey took about 7 hours. When we reached Durham we were rewarded with this... see photograph below and hopefully a good omen for the next three years of her Undergraduate life. Next morning we were up bright and early as was the sun ... What a difference a day makes... Durham Cathedral and the castle to the right.

Daughter, smiling even though I know inwardly a little nervous.

River Wear.

Old flagstones and cobblestones on the roads.

Entrance to the castle.

The Cathedral and quandrant in front of it.

Beautiful buildings... think this is early Regency.

Again, another shot of the cathedral. Apparently some scenes from Harry Potter movies were filmed around here in Durham - not sure which film but if it seems a little familiar then you know why!

And finally above. This is where I hope DDD will be spending much of her time as a diligent student!!
I have to admit to feeling pretty miserable today. Only to be expected I guess and I hope that she is enjoying the start of her University life with a fun "freshers' week".....