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)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

One more photo from yesterday - 'We've been shopping!'

Just thought I would post this extra photograph.... Look what the bags say and our faces!! (Me, left and my friend from USA - at the end of a wonderful day)

A little shopping till we were (almost!) dropping

Well, yesterday - the day after Thanksgiving was a huge shopping day in USA and we found out it was called 'Black Friday' - not sure exactly why (probably because the stores hope that they will be in the 'black' rather than the 'red'!) - but there were bargains galore and people were apparently in queues waiting for shops to open before the crack of dawn (not us, I may add)... However, we went to such a pretty place for shopping which was of course decorated already so beautifully for Christmas with an enormous tree too.......... We did find our share of bargains and bought the items which are a 'must' on a shopping list when in USA - Kiehls products (also had another 20% off too), denim jeans, and some great leather items too.

Santa's 'house'/grotto at the shopping centre...(above)

The giant tree - above with red, silver and gold baubles...

And fantastic water fountains which 'danced' to the music on the hour - what a great show... - We just had to come back in the evening when it was dark to see the lights.

And photo above - thousands upon thousands of little white lights in the trees and strung across the road too(my absolute favourite - just beautiful).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Here we are in Los Angeles

Happy Thanksgiving from Los Angeles.....

Here is the second post on the same day from a different country... is this a first I wonder??

We arrrived first thing at LAX to a completely packed airport and my dear friend was there waiting for us at 7am and since then (apart from short nap this morning) we haven't stopped chatting all day and have had such a delicious and wonderful Thanksgiving dinner too... Am totally exhausted and now am just about ready to call it a day at just after 8pm...

Will post more about the area etc. tomorrow - apparently tomorrow there are big sales on in all the shops - wonder what we should do???

We 'arrive' before we leave!!

Hello all - just thought I would take the opportunity to post quickly before we leave Australia for America...
The strange thing is that we arrive before we leave - we take off from here at 12.00 midday today, Thursday 26th November and arrive around 7.15am in the morning today in Los Angeles.... So what I am going to try to do is to post twice in one day, from two different countries!!
Au Revoir - just about to board the plane and the most EXCITING thing today that has happened is that we have been upgraded to Business.... wonderful!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On a plane (again) - we are gatecrashing Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow Mr SE and I are off to USA.

Well, to be precise, Los Angeles. Silly English people that we are COMPLETELY FORGOT (apologies dear readers from USA) that we are arriving slap bang in the middle of the Thanksgiving Holiday until after we had booked it and by then it was all a done deal etc.!

Mr SE has some meetings in Oklahoma beginning of next week but flying from Australia one goes via LA and so we thought, 'Aha, great idea - lets make it a few days and stay the weekend first in LA....! ' So I ring up a friend in LA and say "We are coming over to see you - that ok?" "Yeeaaahy" she replies "It will be a mad house - but the more the merrier and by the way,- you won't get much sleep..." And so, just when I thought I'd banished my jet lag here comes some more with bells on!

However, it will be so worth it and wonderful to see my friend in Los Angeles whom I have not seen for nearly 30 years - amazing!! We were just young twenty somethings the last time we set eyes on each other when I lived in California. I am excited, and a little nervous too.... - Will we still get on? Will she be the same? She certainly looks just the same in photographs - I am sure that time has not been so kind to me and Americans are far better, aren't they, in knowing how to 'hold back the years'... ?

Perhaps I am worrying unnecessarily and I should be thankful particularly at this time of year that we are all still here and have our health and I am seeing someone again who when I was twenty years old taught me many things about living on my own and coping alone at that tender age (even though she was a little younger than me!) .... These things included amongst loads of others how to look after my car (sans homme!) check and top up the oil and steam clean the engine too ! She was, and I am sure she still is a resourceful, confident and 'together' lady!! They were such wonderful, carefree days and I am so grateful and happy that I have the opportunity to see her again..... Happy Thanksgiving for tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bargain Oil Painting

I do love a good bargain (who doesn't?) and when it is an antique too it is even BETTER!!

Photographed above is my still life oil painting which I found in a Charity Shop, or, as they call them over here in Australia, Op. Shops ......
There I was just walking along looking into shop windows as is my wont when I spied this - well, as fast as I could I rushed in and slapped down my $Aus. 30 which was the marked price..... In other currencies of the world this is approx. $USA =27.50 Euros = 18.50 and UK pounds = 17 so you can see - absolute bargain!

I also happen to love still life oil paintings of food and this gorgeous one is of mushrooms - we have it positioned at the entrance to the kitchen and it gives me such pleasure looking at it each time I walk by and doubly so knowing that it was such a good bargain...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Semi Expat Recommends Two Products

And each of these is at either end of the spectrum for your money.....!!

First up is Nivea Firming Gradual Tan Body Lotion.....Yes, I know there are many of these type of lotions on the market but this one is really fabulous - reasonable fragrance (sort of a bit like apricots but quite mild), great NATURAL looking colour (not like an apricot or an orange!) and best of all you don't experience that awful 'wet dog' smell that some of these self tanning lotions give off!! Also HUGE BONUS - have found from experience that you can use this on your face too to give a wonderful glow ..... (far cheaper than say, Clarins special moisturisers with tan for the face ).

I have used it in the Winter to ward off any pallor and am enjoying it now in Australia in the Summer here.... (especially as I won't go out in the sun here much and now never 'sunbathe' per se or, as they say in Oz "sunbake" - that description makes me smile!! ) And, big plus - it's cheap as chips too!

Next on the beauty list at the other end and for much $$$$ is Guerlain's Midnight Secret....

Yes, I know it is very expensive but if you use a little when you absolutely need to it really is wonderful... (and not be tempted to use it EVERY night like I am ... Slightly!)

I bought some duty free recently so the price was a little less "ouch" but it has really helped with my skin's moisture levels after flying and as the blurb on the packaging says acts like "sleep in a bottle" - but obviously NOT a replacement for sleep!! I found my skin looks more even and less 'mottled' and is plumped up and fully moisturised .......

Are there any products you would not be without and recommend - do tell!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Flowers for the weekend - selected, brought home and arranged!

Well, what a beautiful selection of Peonys (or is it Peonies, yes, think it is
the latter) awaited me this morning at the local market in Camberwell, Melbourne... - such lovely pink colours - pale and darker almost fuchsia too.... But in the end, I went for my favourite of all time - WHITE.....

Carried home (right hand photo) by Mr SE ... (me "do you want to be on the blog?", him "do I look fat in the photo???" - me "no, but you look like you are wearing a type of tunic dress though!" him "oh, ok then, if you must!")
And, look - how awful; I notice now he is carrying ALL the shopping too as well as the flowers.. ! (My excuse - I still have jet lag. Badly.) And, of course I had the camera...

However, not too much jet lag to arrange them ! Enjoy, and whatever you are doing this weekend too!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

My two favourite houses in the street

The area we live in Melbourne (Canterbury) has some gorgeous old origninal weather-boarded houses and these two which I photographed today (sorry, one is on a slant - was worried about inhabitants rushing out and demanding what I was up to and so I had to take them pretty pronto!) are my absolute favourites.

Our house is at the top of the street and the local shops and station etc. are at the bottom so most days I walk past these two houses at least twice! They definitely have my vote as the 'winners' of the 'Prettiest Houses' award and yes please I wouldn't mind either! Think that they both have swimming pools too - in No.1 you can just see it on the right hand side .... but don't you just love the trellis covered with greenery on the No.2 house - I think it is jasmine as it is also covered with white little star like flowers at the moment...
Sigh.... just beautiful!
Happy Weekend to all.....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Semi-Expat has returned...

I stepped off the plane early this morning and was out of the airport by 7.15am - the temperature, even for Australian standards at this time of the year, is unseasonably Hot, Hot, Hot! 31 degrees at that time of the morning...! Please, at least give a girl a chance to adjust from a cool and rainy UK to the tropics....

Anyway it was wonderful to see Mr SE (looking very svelte - he has been on a health-kick over the last few weeks!) tanned and handsome waiting for me and to be on the receiving end of a warm, embracing hug and being enveloped in 'his' Cravache fragrance - yes, its good to be back too.

Sorry, I realise that the photograph I have shown is nothing really to do with being back in Oz but I did not get a chance to post it before I left and I really love (and wanted to share!) my new blind that was made just before I left UK... It is made from an original piece of old French mattress ticking that I have had for YEARS.... (I told you I was a hoarder and cannot resist textiles especially) - it even had a little tag on it with the price I paid in FF's - 300.... (think that was quite a bargain at the time ... not really sure now - around 30 pounds?) I was delighted with how it turned out even though I did not have long to appreciate it this time (it only went up last weekend!).....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From Singapore (incidentally, also place of my birth!)

Hello all....
I could not resist the chance to post from halfway across the world and I am writing to you from the Qantas Lounge in Singapore..... (I am now allowed the privilege of having a 'gold card' as Mr SE has clocked up so many airmiles over Australia and although I am not actually flying business I can use the Business Lounges all over the world!)...
I have made FULL use of the facilities here and have just enjoyed a lovely shower with Molton Brown supplied products and actually feel 'halfway decent' rather than a washed out rag! Am now relaxing at the computer sipping a tomato juice (such a high life!) whilst writing this and checking out what all my favourite 'bloggers' are up to.
'Only' another 7 hours to go on the next flight from here to Melbourne!
Au Revoir.... x

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Like a headless 'Chook'

To use an Australian term - I have been running around like one.... All day....

Tomorrow afternoon I go to Heathrow Airport and fly back to Australia to resume my Semi-Expat life again... Mixed feelings about leaving UK - very definitely sad feelings about leaving my daughter.
All day I have been itching to get onto my laptop and to post and now having done 95%of what needs to be done by tomorrow I am allowing myself the luxury of seeing what everyone is up to in the blogosphere and catching up and writing for the last time from UK for a while... Forgive me as there will probably be a few days 'silence' whilst I re-adjust and get back to life down under.... However, you never know I may really 'go international' and do a post halfway to Australia from the Qantas Lounge in Singapore. All depends on my frame of mind and how tired I am !!

Anyway, the photographs are from yesterday - I rushed over to see two of my dear friends - my antique guys (well, they are not 'antique' as such of course, - they deal in them!)
I have known Stuart Atkinson and Kiel Shaw (who trade as FONTAINE) for over 10 years and at the moment they are trading from Blanchards in Froxfield. They live in France in Normandy but hop over the Channel regularly replenishing their stock in Blanchards and in their place in Tetbury in Gloucestershire. They also exhibit at Battersea Antiques and Decorative Fair and the Bath Decorative Fair. Yesterday was a Christmas preview at Blanchards and I helped them out for an hour or so (I used to work for them years ago when we all lived in Sussex) They are amazing guys and have such a 'good eye' - they are wonderful house makers too (they have property for holiday rental - see inside their house at www.frenchconnections.co.uk/en/accommodation/property/151054

Well, that's all from UK for a while... - take care and I will be in touch when I re-surface the other end!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rainy Day Visit to Bath

Yesterday it poured with rain .... very miserable weather but the DDD and I went to Bath - a beautiful Georgian City not far from us with magnificant, honey coloured stone architecture and of course, the wonderful Royal Crescent which is shown in the photograph above....
Actually, to be honest this photograph of course was NOT taken yesterday but 18 months ago when it WASN'T raining and the only one I had shows moi also slap bang in the middle so apologies.... (but look, Tish I AM wearing a white shirt at least - Cherie will be most heartened!!). Mr SE and I spent a night at the Royal Cresent Hotel there for our 10th Wedding Anniversary - www.royalcrescentbath.co.uk - a really luxurious and special place with a fabulous Spa too.

Anyway, back to the gorgeous 'crescent' itself.....The Royal Crescent was built between 1767 and 1775 to the design of John Wood the Younger, and forms a semi-circle of thirty Grade I listed houses arranged around a great Lawn. The famous travel writer Jan Morris once wrote about it, "It lies there in a shallow arc, its wide Lawns running away beyond the hill below, and all is suddenly space, and green, and leisure. The Crescent is architecture on a truly palatial scale and reminds many people of Versailles". (Introduction to Bath: An Architectural Guide, by Charles Robertson, 1975). Well-known architectural writer Nikolaus Pevsner wrote, “the conception of an open composition was something new in town-planning, and something very English, although the idea came perhaps from Prior Park, that is the villas of Palladio. It was here applied for the first time to a terrace of houses, and moreover the shape of the Crescent was here employed for the first time.” (North Somerset and Bristol, Buildings of England series, 1958).

We also looked at the University there (jury is still out on this one, visit to Durham University next Monday with her Dad) and partook of a little 'retail therapy' too. DDD is collecting up items that will be "Good for my ski season, Mum" -she is off in around 4 weeks to Les Gets in France until next April to be a Chalet Assistant (apparently you don't say, 'Chalet Girl' now though as you did "in my day"!)

The time is going by all too quickly now and it was so good to spend a day with her
even though the weather was far from kind to us....

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Perfumery in Melbourne

Meanwhile, back in Melbourne they are GEARING UP for Christmas in a big way at Peony (see above - the boutique perfumery that started me on this blog journey originally!) with these lovely window displays......
Mr SE went in last weekend and took a few photographs for me - there is a Christmas tree full of little birds including owls - a rather 'Harry Potter' theme and I rather like this black and gold chair display in the other window too...
Jill at Peony has already been really busy and has asked for my help there when I return which of course I am only to happy to do.

Soon, I will have another change and be returning back to my Semi-Expat life - my time in UK seems to have flown by this time.
A demain....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11/11 - A day of Remembering

The 11th Day of the 11th Month....
A day of remembering..... Remembrance Day, Veterans Day or, as it is affectionately known here in UK - Poppy Day...

Remembering those who have given their lives in service for their country in the hope that one day there will be peace in the world. Remembering those who are in combat in war torn areas today and particularly remembering families who have lost loved ones through war.

And, if I may, on a personal level remember that 19 years ago today my Dearest, Darling, Daughter, POPPY came into the world...... HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETHEART......

Is this too 'Granny'?

I rather like this basket on wheels and can imagine myself at a market filling it to the brim with fresh produce but then a little voice at the back of my head says "Hmmmm, maybe not, is it a little old lady?".
Well that's what it could be perceived as here in UK .... So, whilst I like the concept - lovely grey willow basket, tasteful taupe linen liner, useful item etc., perhaps I just can't quite see myself with one of these yet except maybe at the markets in Australia in Melbourne where everyone seems to have some kind of basket on wheels (even double-decker ones!)
It is from the OKA range which I have mentioned before here - check out at

What do you think - bit 'old' or perfectly acceptable?!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Checking out a University (and a great shop on the return journey)

Sorry (again!) to post so late in the day but I have just returned from a trip to the county of Warwickshire and the University of Warwick in the heart of Shakespeare's country..... Dearest, Darling, Daughter and I went up yesterday to stay wtih a friend in Stratford Upon Avon and this morning drove the 20 mins or so from there to Warwick University as it is one on her 'list'........

I thought it was great. Well set out campus, good facilities, modern (maybe not so beautiful though) buildings, plenty of green spaces, reasonable student acommodation on campus and a great Arts Building too... However, - when will I ever learn that to say that I like something immediately puts the 'kiss of death' on it in her mind??!
Ah well, maybe it will NOT be on the list much longer - her father is taking her to see Durham University next week... watch this space!

However, on the return journey we stopped at this lovely place this afternoon (first photo) - great antiques and full of gorgeous Emma Bridgewater pottery too - check it out on www.emmabridgewater.co.uk. (Some of which is shown on an antique dresser there - her Union Jack range and her Starry Skies range - second photograph). They also stocked the most wonderful array of Belgian Linen too.....(I'm afraid I gave in to the Linen and bought two beautiful pillowcases - will post a pic. very soon) ....
A demain...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Weekend

Beautiful white flowers (you can never go wrong with them!) from The Real Flower Company (see my previous post dated 23rd October) - wishing you all a very happy and wonderful weekend.........

Friday, November 6, 2009

Antiques at Indigo

Well, as promised, I am posting for today, albiet a little late as I was at Indigo all day preparing for our Open Day at the weekend...
Indigo is small company housed in a large complex of old Dairy barns in the Wiltshire countryside but they have a big reputation...
As well as many retail customers we also sell to large department stores in London and buyers from abroad. Indigo have also supplied big productions (films etc.) with pieces for sets and at the moment are in the process of fitting out a large liner which is due to set sail in 2010.
I am really lucky in that when I am back from Australia I am called upon to work with them again as they are (happily for me!) pleased to welcome me back to the fold and anxious for help especially with days such as the Open Day Christmas Preview.

I have taken the following description directly from the Indigo website :

Established by Richard Lightbown and Marion Bender, Indigo is a small company which takes pride in quality. We have been importing & restoring antique furniture from India, China, Japan & Indonesia for more than 20 years supplying both trade & retail customers
All of our furniture is individually selected by ourselves, at source, on the basis of originality & patination.
We restore all furniture in our own workshops in Wiltshire.
We always carry a large selection of antique furniture, architectural antiques, textiles & smaller collectibles. Restoration can be carried out to your own taste or requirements.
A small range of reproduction furniture is also available.
The majority of our antique furniture dates from the 19th century, although some pieces are 18th & early 20th century.

I think that just about sums up the company - the first photographs are all directly from the website showing a few of the type of things stocked from small pieces and decorative antiques to larger pieces of furniture and the last photograph shows my red cabinet from them.... It is a Chinese Wedding cabinet - very decorative and also extrememly practical for storage....
So there we are... a little introduction and there will be no doubt another busy day there tomorrow too...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Indigo (but not the colour)

I will be posting today but later on this evening as I am just rushing off here to work......
This is Indigo Antiques - a wonderful place stuffed full to the brim with all kinds of interesting pieces and gifts and accessories....
It is all 'hands on deck' as we are preparing for the Christmas Open Day on Saturday - delicious food and drinks are served and our customers make a start on their Christmas shopping... It is usually so very busy and I spend the day helping people with decisions and also at the cash till taking £££ and wrapping...
Till later when I will tell you a little about some of the items there.
p.s. If you can't wait till later have a sneak preview at www.indigo-uk.com

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On my Christmas wish list

This is what I would so love to find in my Christmas stocking on 25th December.... - wonder if Santa will be willing?
(It's from what was once known as quite an 'old-fashioned' company - Aspinal of London, - but if this wallet is anything to go by I think that they have definitely had a 'makeover'!)
Have you started to compile a list for Santa yet?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I really adore hares.... best of all I love seeing them running wild in the fields near me, here in Wiltshire (UK) - sometimes you are lucky enough in the long summer evenings to see them in pairs, or resting for a minute on their hind legs.... Whatever the time of day it is always a magical sight.

Julieann Worrall is an artist who is local to me who creates the most wonderful life size (and larger) willow structures of hares.... (2 photos immediately above) and she also makes smaller wire hares too and I am lucky enough to own a pair of these which I photographed with my beloved French 'deux-corps' cabinet as the background (second photograph). And the first photograph I have taken, at the top, is a print by an artist called Catherine Hyde which I have propped up on the mantelpiece at the moment while it's waiting to be framed.

Hope you enjoy.....

Monday, November 2, 2009


I think he is rather gorgeous for a Sunday night... apologies that the photographs are not all that clear - taken last year at the MCG in Melbourne when he sang there with the Police - the wonderful and talented Sting.....
Do you have a secret long-time crush on anyone?!!