About Me

My photo
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)

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Avalanche Pavlova" and Festive Matters

Well, I don't think I would get citizenship if one of the tests were to make an Australian Pavlova. I am afraid it got re-named "Avalanche Pavlova" instead of what it was meant to be - "Three Tier Brown Sugar Pavlova" View from the top above and side view below - well at least it had 3 tiers! And as it was covered in copious amounts of cream and berries it all seemed to go down well.

BN (Beautiful Niece) helped by advising on applying cream and fruit....

that was before she got stuck back into the wine below! (hasten to add that she is only joking here and does drink it by the glass, promise).

Now, those of you who were following the blog at the beginning of the year know that I did a little matchmaking as far as she was concerned and as her godmother I think that this was ENTIRELY in order.

I present below.... BN and LAM.... her Lovely Aussie Man.

I think they make a gorgeous couple but then again I am a little biased on these matters as A. she is my goddaughter as well as my niece and B. I introduced them.

We spent Christmas Day with them and with our friend S who kindly invited us for Christmas lunch with her family. And it was a day of mixed Nations - friend S and her mother who was also there are Canadian, there was us; the British contingent and also the Australians, the LAM and friend S's husband and son and other members of his family too...
All in all a wonderful and happy day with a huge amount of tasty food and lovely wines to drink. Perfect.

Then on to Boxing Day when we went to the :

Remember I told you that Mr SE is very keen on cricket? He bought tickets for the Ashes series on Boxing Day way, way back in JULY! Well, I could not be churlish and say 'No thanks Mr SE I would rather go to the Sales", could I? Well, could I? Actually I would not have missed it for the world - England are in TOP FORM I have to say and we had a day of great entertainment too. BN and LAM also came with us.

At one point though, disaster. Rain stopped play....

The man sitting in front of us, fashioned himself a hat from a cardboard container used to carry beer... He made us smile, all day! He informed us he was sitting in 'Milliner's Row' and asked BN and I if we would like hats too. We politely declined, we did not think they would go with our outfits!

The sun came back out and the game continued.... We were very happy with the final outcome. That was all of us except for the LAM who said it was a long, long time since he had seen Australia all bowled out for less than 100.

A great Christmas break.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Every good wish from Melbourne for Christmas

To you all a wonderful Christmas and peaceful and happy holidays... And as you can see from the image below, Father Christmas is already on his way over the skies of Australia. Hope you have all been good and he fills your Christmas Stockings with loveliness.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Meanwhile back in ENGLAND

there is more snow and photographs that I have been sent look just like Christmas cards of the best kind. This is the Christmas that we all dreamt of when we were growing up - we were not always lucky enough to get snow but it was always cold and crisp. Darling daughter has finished her first term at Durham University in England - she sent me this photograph below.

It made me smile. It is so typically 'her'....

I cannot tell you how much I miss her but I must not be selfish as this year it is her father's 'turn to have' her. Those from divorced families know this syndrome so well... However, the darling daughter is being whisked away this Christmas and New Year with her father and step family to go here ....

CUBA. Lucky girl. In fact as I type they are probably at Gatwick Airport in UK - just hope that the planes are going and that the airport is not closed or snow bound.

And I begun this post to say that for me Christmas has always been associated with Winter and feeling of coldness having been brought up in the Northern hemisphere. Darkness and twinkly lights, snow (if we were lucky) and freezing temperatures with log fires and mulled wine. Dear Janet from A GARDENERS COTTAGE asked me a while back how did I feel about Christmas in Australia ? Well, although it feels very strange at times (especially hearing carols when it is warm outside) I do embrace it and enjoy the differences and it is lovely in it's own way. Very laid back and with a party, summer atmosphere. I have even embraced it to the extent of attempting this most Australian of Christmas sweet things.... The PAVLOVA....

I am trying out the one above for Christmas Day. My meringues are in the oven now - it's called 'Three-Tier Brown Sugar Pavlova'. Will let you know how it turns out!

Hope all your preparations are going well.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday night's alright

Yes, there are compensations for working on a Saturday.... even if you come home to this :
And this below... Mr SE has been glued to the cricket over the last few weeks or so. Very Important Matches are being played. The Ashes series between Australia and England. To start with England looked as if it would be an easy victory and Mr SE really enjoyed being the 'Pommie' at his work - now he is not so sure as Australia are fighting back.
Anyway, on to more important things. As I said, sometimes being at work when Mr SE is at home is a Good Thing. He was very busy (in between bouts of watching sport on TV).

He prepared this lovely salad with fetta cheese.

Barbequed some red peppers and aubergine (aka capsicums and eggplant depending on your point of view or country!)

and slow roasted some lamb.

Above, the fruits of his labours. And very lovely it was too...
And YES, that IS our new table. It is beautiful and does deserve a post of its own which I promise to do soon.
Happy weekend to one and all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Free Gifts Over at A Femme's blog

A quick post to say I was very honoured to be asked to be part of A Femme d'un certain Age's post about Christmas gifts for free...

Please go over to her fantastic blog HERE !

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Photos re : the post before

So here is the setting for our Ark Christmas Party breakfast this morning..... So beautiful and it was a lovely Summer's day too the sun was shining even at 7.30am.

Above photograph showing all the gifts that people brought for our charity donations - ' Open Family Australia'.

View from the restuarant over the River.... All in all a very good (early) start to a lovely day.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Christmas 'Do' with a difference

Tomorrow, the company I work for - THE ARK - is having a Christmas celebration for all staff. This is a little different from any other Christmas party I've been to before. For a start it's a breakfast party which is rather novel in itself - and it begins at 7.30 AM rather than an evening do beginning at say, 7.30 PM. And, in case you were wondering the three Ark stores are opening a little late tomorrow morning too!

Secondly, (and I think this is the best part), in lieu of bringing gifts for each other or doing a 'Secret Santa', we have all been asked to bring a wrapped gift to the Christmas Breakfast for Open Family Australia. This wonderful charity which has been going for more than 30 years provides a range of outreach services to young people many of whom are disengaged from society or perhaps even live on the streets. We have been asked to mark our gifts to say what sort of age range it is suitable for and whether it's a male, female or a unisex gift. What a great idea!

I will take my camera as apparently where we are going for the breakfast party is very pretty and looks out over the River Yarra. More photographs to follow in another post this time tomorrow.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend flowers

Just look at the beautiful blue of this lovely convolvulus flower. It really is this gorgeous shade and whilst I know that many regard it as a weed I think it has to be forgiven any weedy connection simply because of its beauty. Here it is growing amongst the bank of hedging in the driveway leading to our house.
And whilst my weekend begins on Sunday (I have Sunday and Monday off this week) I just wanted to wish everyone a lovely couple of days, wherever you are and whatever you may be doing.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

'Show and Tell'. Or, the retail therapy from the post before.

Remember I went for a visit to the city the other day? I bought this gorgeous nail polish above by 'Butter London'. Apparently it has no nasties in it - chemicals which could potentially be carcinogenic which is a bonus but I also loved the colour. It's called 'Jaffa'.

And the main purchase of the day was this pair of dark brown suede sandals. Gladiators. Yes, I know they have been around a few summers now but they seem to be here again this Summer in Australia and I have finally found a pair which are A. comfortable and B. look quite nice. Well, I think so. They are Italian made and the sole is slightly cushioned. I think that daughter and I begun the hunt for 'gladies' as she and I affectionately call them way back in August of 2008 when we visited Barcelona for a long weekend. Every chic looking Spanish girl was wearing them - we wished that we knew the Spanish for "Excuse me where did you buy your shoes?" We tried on a few pairs in many shoe shops but never quite found 'the ones'. Daughter found a pair she liked later on when she came out here to Australia that year but I never did. I always felt that they did not look quite right on me until I happened to find this pair. I wasn't looking - they found me. I promise!

So here was the outfit I made today. The new suede 'gladies' with some old friends - my orange Anya Hindmarch handbag (comes out each Summer - surely nearly a vintage piece now?!) and the lovely silk leopard print and orange scarf that darling daughter gave me as a present early on this year. The Linen pinstriped jacket I have had for years and years - it's from Zara and I reckon I should be paying IT now on a cost per wear basis it has been that useful and be worn so many times. And the linen trousers/pants which also look good cuffed up a couple of times, are from where I work - THE ARK. Oh, and the new Jaffa coloured nail polish on my toes.
Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quick visit into the city

Had to make unexpected visit into the city of Melbourne today. Right into the heart of the CBD. I think it's one of my most favourite cities in the world - everything is at your fingertips. It was decked out for Christmas with stars and fluttering flags.

There's a very good transport system in Melbourne. Melburnians sometimes complain about the trains and trams but I think they are wonderful. Look at this rather jolly tram in yellow above.

Outside David Jones department store there was a 'live' stone statue of F. Christmas! I love David Jones. Went in there today and bumped into such a gorgeous girl - a friend of daughter's - she is working at the MAC counter. The gorgeous girl was on the same Make Up Artist course that my daughter attended when she was here in June, July and August.......

Oh and look ! F. Christmas himself. He was starring in the window of Myers Department store...

Along with these animated lily fairies...

a prince and a princess, (Kate Middleton take note - a good dress design for you perhaps?!)

and these gorgeous white horses.

All very pretty I have to say but I cannot for the life of me really feel festive when it is warm. I imagine it must be an ingrained thing having been brought up in the Northern Hemisphere where Christmas means cold short days and long nights, open fires, evergreen fir trees and twinkly ice and snow !!

It's a different kind of atmosphere here - still fun and lovely but one of a rather long party with warm days and short nights, outside living, barbeques, beach visits and plenty of cold fizzy champagne. Not that I'm really complaining, especially about the fizzy part!

As I was in the city I called friend S who works there and we met for a healthy sushi lunch. After that the healthy part stopped as she took me to a gorgeous little cupcake place for some

and we had such a

catching up and chatting. Have not seen her for a while.

The inside of the cupcake shop - so colouful... Look at all the boxes used as decoration on the left hand side wall.

And above - 3 little cupcakes...How cute? From the left chocolate marshmallow, then vanilla creme, and on the right strawberry shortcake.

So delicious! (I had the strawberry one).

Oh and I did do a teeny bit of retail therapy too which I will tell you about in a later post. All in all a very nice day off altogether and I now feel ready to face the rest of the week.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friends Of Mine

is the name of a new cafe opened up near us in Melbourne. I think it is a pretty good name and the place was busy, busy, busy when Mr SE and I stopped by there a few weekends ago for breakfast. The photograph below was taken after we had finished and were walking away - just look at the crowds milling around outside queuing up to get a table....! (Glad we got there early) This is the menu. Well, the menu is written on the other side. This is what you look down and see at your place when you sit at the table... quite a nice thing to read anytime, even if you don't feel it!

Above shows a photograph of the general feel of the place - quite dark, sort of industrial chic meets French salon. And it works...

Above - our table with a little lamp on it too. Cute.

My tea (on a board - what would my MIL say ? She does not like food or drink served on boards!)

Quirky touch above.

My delicious breakfast - Bircher muesli layered with vanilla scented rhubarb and yoghurt. Perfection in a glass.

Mr SE had poached eggs and bacon. He was impatient to get stuck in!

Love this arrangement for the glasses.
For more information on this great place look here : http://www.friendsofmine.com.au/
And that brings me very neatly to another 'Friend of Mine' - but not the restaurant. Friend C sent me this photograph below. Update on the dining table!! The boards have been fixed together and lightly sanded so far. The wine bottle in the middle of the table is to give the scale!! And it is sitting on two wood working trestles. Coming along nicely! And it is going to be a little bigger than originally planned.

Will keep you updated as it takes shape.
Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend.