Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I am officially in holiday mode.

Last night a family gathered together to kick off what will be two weeks of over-eating and celebrating. Mum had cooked up a spicy feast and the evening was filled with endless smiles, laughter and conversation.

Husband and I will be hosting out first dinner party this weekend and we are excited because we love food and we love to cook. So, this last week has been spent deciding on a menu, writing up a very long shopping list on several pieces of paper, a naughty wife spending too much money on fancy (and unnecessary) things like truffle oil, turkish delight and orangle blossom fairy floss, a patient husband putting up with her holiday spending madness and lots and lots of time spent thinking about table decorations and fairy lights.

On the menu:

Cheese and chive tartlets
Spicy herb meatballs
Salt and pepper prawns

Three kinds of salad

Pea, mint and fetta
Warm potatoes with capers
Roasted capsicum with chilli and lime salt

All served up Asian style

Chocolate and hazlenut tart
White chocolate and coconut mousse

OK, i am off to buy some last minute purchases...I think husband is pleased that i lost my credit card two days ago.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Before we got married, Husband and i looked forward to spending evenings together where nothing really happens and not much is said, but on such nights as tonight, a simple meal of fish and greens is washed down with cheap wine; the windows are left open to welcome in a sweet breeze; a tired Husband rubs my feet while we watch episodes of Jamie (the early years) and i start dreaming up recipes of lavendar jelly with coconut and white chocolate mousse...

Friday, November 27, 2009

This is my favourite time of year. Peonies are in season! The shops are lit up with twinkle lights. The days are long and the nights are balmy. The weekends are filled with festivities. Lazy days are spent by the beach, drinking in the sunshine. I would prefer to spend as much time away from the hot oven on these glorious summer days, but there is something about the festive season that brings out the Martha Stewart in me. The other night I made chocolate biscotti. The small quiet apartment smelled delicious for hours. Husband came home to the smell of home-baked yumminess, which brought an instant smile to his face. So, there will be a lot more baking this season, for family, for friends, for husband...and may be just for me!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Today I have the house to myself. Husband (which i rarely ever call him, to his face, much to his discontent) has uni all day. So, what's a girl to do, in the small quiet apartment that she has all to herself? A girl that has been married just three months to the week, in an apartment that she rarely ever has all to herself, on a day where chores can be left till tomorrow so she can catch up on lots of sleep. Perhaps, she will continue something she began many moons ago, before she became a married girl, when she had time to sit down and reflect -her blog.
Here I will write only about the things that make me smile - the simple pleasures of life and all the things worth living for. So, as I gaze around the small quiet apartment, an apartment that is feeling more and more like home, I start wondering how long it will be before Husband comes home...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bedrooms and bathrooms

My fascination with interior decorating began as a little girl. I drove mum insane - constantly rearranging the furniture, hiding her ornamental clutter and tearing out pictures from her magazines. At night, I would sit on mum's lap and pour over old issues of House & Garden. With the beautiful images imprinted in my little head, I would go to sleep and dream up little girl dreams of bedrooms and pretty little bathrooms. It will be a few years before the boy and I can afford a place we can call our own, but that does not stop me from dreaming about beautiful bedrooms...

and gorgeous bathrooms...

and even if it's not our House of Dreams, I can not wait to find a small abode for the boy and I to move into after we are married - a place that we will turn into a comfortable home, where we will live out our first few years of married life and remember with a smile as the dear little place where we began our lives together as husband and wife.

Photo credits: All photos by Polly Eltes

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pumpkins and cabbages

I always thought of the cabbage as the most boring vegetable - the one that took up more space in the fridge than was rightly owed to it.

It never occurred to me how utterly beautiful it could be...

in a vase – its leaves resemble petals washed in purples and faded whites...

and even pumpkins can look so stunning...

laid out on a silver platter...

or stacked on top of each other...

or on its own...

If I had to plan my wedding again, maybe (just maybe) the tables would look like this…

covered in faded European linens and white lace, silver goblets and antique cutlery, embroidered napkins and greenery at each place setting...and...cabbages...yes, BEAUTIFUL cabbages would make for gorgeous centrepieces.

Photo credits: photos via Sweet Paul

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Aisle of blooms

A canopy of powder-puff blooms - fragrant, whimsical, heavenly...

Photo credit: My French Life

Thursday, April 23, 2009

House of dreams

In most things, the boy and I share very similar tastes. When it comes to food, the weather, friends, what makes for a good night out and even in more serious matters of politics and principles, our opinions rarely divide and are usually in perfect harmony. I use the word “perfect” loosely as we can never really be perfectly harmonious...thankfully, for some of our most cherished memories were born from our disagreements and (my) fits of rage. So, as I was saying, we agree on most things, but, our visions of our house of dreams are from two very different worlds.

I long for a stately home from yester-year – not too large, but large enough for two and two or maybe three more. The boy pictures something with clean, modern lines, filled with space and very little yard. I dream of a beautiful limestone fireplace that warms the room with golden light, white-washed walls infused with the subtleties of age, floor-to-ceiling shelves of masterpieces and classics, timber floors pierced with old life, high ornate ceilings that hang crystal chandeliers and a story-book garden growing cherry blossoms, herbs and berries. At the bottom of the garden would be a magnificent old tree with dark brown arms holding and enfolding stories and secrets in its boughs. Nestled beneath its canopy of a hundred floating voices would be a dear little tree house – a place for solitude and relaxation, for inspiration and imagination, somewhere to dream sweet dreams and become lost in deep thoughts. Whatever our house of dreams will be, I can not wait to bring it to life...with beautiful furnishings...and wonderful scents and smells... to clothe it with love... paint the walls with laughter and good times, nurture a family in it and together with the boy, grow old in it...
Now our love is deep enough to need no frantic gestures. You smile in passing, touch my shoulder. I walk with you in the garden, sharing the last light, the flickering of the bats, the scent of the roses. We are at home in quietness. Passion and the everyday flow from each other, equal expressions of our love.

Charlotte Gray, 1937

Photo credits: 1) Peonies and Polaroids 2) Unknown source 3) Paul Massey 4) Cherry Blossom Girl 5) Unknown source

All other photos by Paul Massey

Monday, April 20, 2009

Late Autumn days

Soft-grey hazes lace dim skies.
Rich gloom slowly exhales a film of faint vapour.
The light bids farewell and departs hastily.
Night winds start to dance wildly
through the blackness.

Stars drown in a lair of purple mist.
Darkness hangs veils of
grey cloud and violet shadows.

A forgotten chill returns.
Winter is nigh.

Photo credit: Weather Underground

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A garden party

The Casket

I have a garden of my own
Shining with flowers of every hue
I loved it dearly while alone
But I shall love it more with you
And there the golden bees shall come
In summer time at the break of morn
And wake up their busy hum
Around the Siha’s fragrant thorn

Thomas Moore, 1835

There is something hauntingly beautiful about that time of day when the sunlight is soft, veiled with a haze of light gold, like a golden mist. The air is balmy and charged with sweet scents. I hear only the birds whispering secrets to each other and the leaves frolicking with a soft breeze. There is a fortifying sense of calm and tranquillity.

How romantic would it be to marry at dawn – a Spring dawn, with a glorious sunrise winking through the trees; slipping down to meet your groom in a ethereal garden laden with buds and blossoms; embracing under a canopy of thick foliage; climbing roses and towering boughs gleaming in the soft romantic glow of the early sun.
It would feel like standing beneath the dome of a great cathedral and declaring your eternal love to each other with the pink and yellow sky above and the glistening sunshine all around. It would be a small gathering – circled only by the loving faces of long-familiar family and friends.

The bride would carry a simple bouquet of fragrant lavender, berries and rosemary tied with vintage lace. She would wear something so fabulous she could and indeed would wear it again and again.

Nothing welcomes Spring more beautifully than dining outside.

There is nothing more splendid than a table illuminated with crystal that bounces around a confetti of coloured sunlight and overflows with all kinds of deliciousness.

So, after a relaxed but heart-warming ceremony, laughter and conversation will bubble out as guests indulge in the sweetest champagne and a precious home-made breakfast while soaking up the intoxicating scents of Spring.

On the menu – French toast sprinkled with mixed berries, buttermilk pancakes ladled with cinnamon butter syrup, soft-boiled eggs with asparagus and caviar, warm buttered rolls with salads of chicken and herbs garnished with lemon, sweet, nutty muffins, a delightful spread of cheese, fresh fruit, jams and of course, endless coffee.

For dessert – silver platters dripping with cake, cake and more cake, strawberries and cream served with more champagne, romantic French desserts and old jars still bearing faded French labels filled with truffles.

Faded grandeur and otherworldly beauty is my inspiration. The garden is a place of fantasy and guests will feel as though they were stepping out of a wardrobe and into an enchanted forest.

Antique chandeliers will hang from low branches and catch the first light of day within the crystals and time-worn mirrors with ornate frames and dull glass will lean against tree stumps, enticing you to stare deep into the magical world beyond your reflection.

Food will be served on silver platters, in etched crystal bowls and on mismatched porcelain plates. Tea will be served in dainty porcelain tea cups. An eclectic array of antique candlesticks and a confetti of blossoms and petals will be scattered across the sun-dappled table which will be draped in muslin, vintage lace and gorgeous French linens embroidered by hand.

Hand-made paper garlands made from the pages of old books will hang from the trees. Terracotta pots filled with herbs and lavender will serve as earthen centrepieces, perfuming the air with delicious aromas. The tinkling of silver spoons will chime gently to an old, record player crackling out French folk songs. Guests will be gifted with hand-made soaps and old books of poetry, gorgeously wrapped in lavishly patterned voile and richly-coloured ribbon.

After a slow and sumptuous breakfast, the happy couple will retreat to a quiet corner; with the sun now high and hot, they find coolness in the shade of a big, handsome tree; they stare into the heavens and smile...

"Ah, what happiness it is to be with people who are all happy, to press hands, press cheeks, smile into eyes…And the perfect afternoon slowly ripened, slowly faded, slowly its petals closed".

(Extract from The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield, 1922)

Photo credits:
1) Isas little world 2) As before 3) Country Style 4) Giambattista Valli Spring/Summer 09 5) Unknown source 6) Isas little world 7) As before 8) A Girl's world 9) Real Living Magazine 10) Gemma Comas 11) Unkown source 12) Martha Stewart 13) Polka Dot Bride 14) Isas little world

Friday, April 10, 2009

My guy...

There's not a man today
Who could take me away from my guy

It is a truth universally acknowledged…

that a woman always finds something she loves when she least expects it and stops searching. This is true of love and true of her most cherished items of clothing.

My latest must-have and well thought-out (Should I buy this trench coat? But the boy already bought me a very similar one for my’s not that can never have too many trench coats...and...winter is just around the corner...and...I will be needing lots of warm layers for when we go to New Zealand for our honeymoon)purchase...

I must say it looks slightly better on Penelope but doesn’t everything? I just noticed the shoes...hmmmm

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The mean reds

We are suffering from an epidemic...and no one is immune. Miss Golightly would call it the mean reds...not the blues...the mean reds.

The cause?’s crisis overload – emotional crisis, economic crisis, identity crisis; someone you know is dying from cancer; someone you know has just died from cancer; the all too familiar be glad you still have a job; another psychopath on the rampage; another earthquake; another Josef Fritzl (I wonder how many more of these sick beasts that disguise themselves as fathers are out there?); depleting disposable incomes; an unsympathetic property market – and the list goes on...

Image by La Porte Rouge

A cure? If only...But, surely happiness is everywhere if we take a moment to look...

Things that make me happy...

Image by My Polaroid Blog

The end of daylight savings – waking up to the soft morning light instead of mourning darkness...

Discovering another beautiful blog and starting my own...

Spending time behind the wheel because I am finally road-worthy!

Wedding expenses coming under budget (which makes me wonder whether our budget was way too high to start with)...

Image by La Porte Rouge

A long weekend just around the corner – afternoon day-dreaming and aimless drives...

Cosing up with the boy to watch Gone with the Wind and finding out he loves it as much as I do...well, he didn't mind it...that much...

The cooler nights – sipping hot chocolate, cashmere cardigans, Audrey-like trench coats...

Image by the Cherry Blossom Girl

A wedding florist that gets as excited about lavender confetti, vintage lace and pink aisle runners as I do...

Morning cappuccinos – big coffee mugs, lots of foam, reward cards and that 5th coffee free!

Image by La Porte Rouge

Smells from the kitchen...

Realising how lucky I am to have a man that can cook...

Image by When your Heart Feels and Needs to Speak

Realising how very lucky I am to be marrying the man that can cook...

And the list goes on...

Image by La Porte Rouge

What is it that mum always says...count your blessings, name them one by one...