Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Shoesday: Christmas Post

Still struggling to figure out what you want for Christmas? Is your better half still bugging you to tell him/her what you want for Christmas? Stop them in their tracks with this gift idea from Net-A-Porter: a pair of shoes, every week for a year.

That's right. For a measly $47,500 all these shoes (and plenty more) could be yours. A gift every week! Delivered to your door!

They'll never make the mistake of not knowing exactly what you want for Christmas again... ;o)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Friday: Happy Christmas

At last! I have flown my last flight for 2014. I am back with my family and soon to catch up with a ton of friends over many glasses of champagne and I can't wait!

I watched one of those year in review montages they show at this time of year, and I was struck by how dramatic this year has been. The Sydney siege this week was just another in a long line of events that have shaken the globe (Malaysian Airlines disasters, Pakistan school shootings, Sony hackings). Things that seemed simple and straight-forward and almost inalienable are now vulnerable - overseas travel, going to school, getting a coffee, writing an email, playing cricket - which in turn makes us feel vulnerable. Each time one of these events occurs, the little dial on our Fear Gauge is affected. But I don't believe you can let these things stop you from living your authentic life. We are here now and for such a short time - savouring what we have, preserving it for others to enjoy, and improving and creating greater things for others. In the scheme of things, I think that's part of why we're here as a species and why we have flourished.

And another (strange) thought that I had, as I tried to make sense of the death of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnston, was the other reason we're on this planet. I believe that when we die, we die. But we're not 100% gone. There are fragments of us left in the memories we leave behind, and the children we create, and the people whose lives we touch. There is an element of you in your child. There is the memory of you that may cause someone to do something - whether it be for them self or for others. There is the blessing a person feels and reflects upon for having met you. So in that way, we don't die - we are kept alive in the flesh, deeds and thoughts of others. And that is a terribly humbling thought, don't you think? And maybe persuades us to do better, be kinder, more generous and more open with our affections.

So I hope your Christmas is warm, lovely and champagne soaked. And that 2015 is the year we strive to do better. Merry Christmas, and happy Friday xo

Things We Love

Some days, it really is the simple things that make you happy.

For the girl who is still working all the way up to Christmas (Hi!) she would know that there is nothing better than freshly sharpened, soft-lead pencils with adorable, golden words scraped in to their pink sides and a coffee mug to power her through the afternoon with words of inspiration and dreams of world domination.

Meet Miss Poppy Design, a Melbourne-based graphic designer with a penchant for the pretty side of life. You can thank me after you've raided her on-line store. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Happy Friday: Chrismukkah

For anyone out there who watched The O.C. in their teenage/early-20s years, Chrismukkah requires no explanation. For those who missed out on Ryan, Marissa and the cutest couple ever (Summer and Seth), Chrismukkah is basically a blend of Judaism's Hanukkah and Christianity's Christmas.

One of the great things eaten over Hanukkah is the jam doughnut. Even though I generally am not a cake/muffin kind of girl, doughnuts and jam doughnuts just KILL me. I love them. And let's be perfectly clear here: when I talk doughnuts, I am not talking that shit you get at Krispy Kreme or Donut King. I am talking warm, just out of the deep fryer and into the cinnamon sugar bowl and into a paper bag kind of doughnut. I am a very out, and very proud doughnut snob.

Bring it on
Jam doughnuts have lots of names - sufganiyot for those hailing from Israel and consumed during Hanukkah, Berliners for those from Germany (I had these home made for me by the daughter of a family friend when I was about 8 years old and it was this moment that got me thoroughly hooked), Paczki in Poland, Pampushky in the Ukraine (eaten these too, also delicious) and in Italy they are adorably called Bombolini. Shall we travel the world and taste them all? I think we should. Bucket list now updated.

So for today's Happy Friday, as I am bound to find myself in the kitchen for much of this weekend cooking for BBQ's we're popping in to, please see the not-so-healthy recipe for jam doughnuts from Smitten Kitchen.

Jam Doughnuts
makes 16 x 2-inch doughnuts

Prep time: 1 hour, 45 mins
Cook time: 10 minutes
Eat time: 2 nanoseconds

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (180 ml) lukewarm (not hot) milk
2 large egg yolks
Few gratings of orange or lemon zest, 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons (30g) butter softened
2 1/4 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
Vegetable oil for deep-frying, and coating bowl
1/2 to 2/3 cup jam or preserves of your choice
Powdered sugar

Make the dough: In the bottom of a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and milk. Let stand for 5 minutes; it should become a little foamy. Whisk in yolks, any zest or extracts you’d like to use, then butter. Don’t worry if the butter doesn’t fully combine.
— By hand: Add half of flour and stir with a spoon until combined. Add second half of flour and salt and stir as best as you can with a spoon, then use your hands to knead the dough until it forms a smooth, elastic round, about 5 minutes. Try, if you can, to resist adding extra flour, even if it’s sticky. Extra flour always makes for tougher/dryer doughnuts and breads. Sticky hands and counters are always washable!
— With a stand mixer: Add half the flour and let the dough hook mix it in slowly, on a low speed. Add second half of flour and salt and let the dough hook bring it together into a rough dough. Run machine for 3 to 4 minutes, letting it knead the dough into a smooth, cohesive mass.

Both methods: If the dough is already in the bowl, remove it just long enough to lightly oil the bowl. Return dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour, or in the fridge overnight.
On a lightly floured counter, roll dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds; no need to re-roll scraps unless you wish; I like to keep the odd shapes for getting the hang of frying before cooking the final doughnuts. Or, if you’re vehemently against scraps and re-rolling, you can make small square doughnuts, which are surprisingly cute. Let cut dough rise for another 30 minutes, loosely covered with a towel.

Fry the doughnuts: Heat 2 inches of oil to 175°C in a cast-iron frying pan (I like using one because it so delightfully re-seasons them) or heavy pot. Use your dough scraps to practice and get an idea of how quickly the doughnuts will cook. Then add about 4 doughnuts at a time to the oil, cooking on the first side until golden brown underneath, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip doughnuts and cook on the other side, until it, too, is golden brown underneath, about another minute. Drain doughnuts, then spread them on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb extra oil. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

Fill with jam: When doughnuts are cool enough to handle, place jam in a piping bag with a round tip with a 1/4- to 1/2-inch opening. You can fill doughnuts from the tops or sides; I did half with each. Press the tip of the jam bag halfway into the doughnut, and squeeze in the jam until it dollops out a little from the hole. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

Finish doughnuts: Either generously shower doughnuts with powdered sugar on either side, shaken from a fine-mesh strainer, or roll the doughnuts gently in a bowl of powdered sugar.

Eat at once. Don’t forget to share. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shoesday: Pleasure & Pain

London's Victor & Albert Museum will be home to an enviable shoe collection from 13 June 2015, with its newly announced Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition. Looking at the extremes of footwear around the world, the exhibition will show about 200 pairs of shoes ranging from a gold leaf-decorated sandal from ancient Egyptian times, through to today's dazzling, often-times-death-defying high heels (often sans heel).

Attendees will be asked to consider the cultural significance and transformative capacity of shoes - and we're not just talking Cinderella getting her man thanks to her perfect glass slipper.

The exhibit will be organised around three themes: Transformation, Status and Seduction.
"Transformation" will highlight shoes that are now legend that through folklore and cultural influence have become "contemporary marketing tools for the concept of the modern-day, fairy-tale shoemakers, whose designs will magically transform the life of the wearer." (OK, that bit is about Cinderella).

"Status" looks at the correlation between impractical shoes, often designed in shapes and materials that make them unsuitable for walking and the people of privileged status who usually wore them. And along with the outlandish and absurd modern creations, there are Indian men's shoes with extremely long toes, noisy slap-sole shoes worn in 17th century Europe and 'Pompadour' shoes worn by trend-setting women in the 18th-century French court.
"Seduction" includes shoes that are "an expression of sexual empowerment or a passive source of pleasure. Like feet, shoes can be objects of fetishism. High Japanese geta, extreme heels and tight-laced leather boots will be on display as well as examples of erotic styles channeled by mainstream fashion in recent years."

Great shoes: weapons of mass seduction
So there you have it. If you're in London in June, please go and take lots of pictures. :o)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Happy Weekend

May your bubblegum retain its flavour for longer than usual. May your eyeliner come out even on both eyes. May the jewels at your ears be the real McCoy. And may the champagne flow freely.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Seafolly Makes A Splash

News this week that another iconic Australian fashion label has been majority purchased by LVMH (slightly indirectly - the majority purchase was by L Capital Asia, a private equity fund sponsored by LVMH), signalling that LVMH still believes Australian labels are producing quality goods at a high enough standard to compete strongly in international markets. You may recall LVMH secured R.M. Williams many months ago. 
If you're not familiar with the label, you probably don't read this blog. Seafolly is your quintessential Aussie swimwear label, selling a range of beach-wear products from you classic bikini and one-piece, all the way through to kaftans, beach bags, beach towels and a new range of sunglasses on its way. The label favours bright colours, and is wide-ranging in its appeal: a bo-ho girl, surfie girl and classic girl could go to Seafolly and each walk out with something they love. 
Seafolly has until now been a family-owned company, and is set to celebrate 40 years of cutting brightly coloured pieces of lycra into covetable swimwear next year. The Halas family (son Anthony has been CEO since 1998) noted that they have been approached on an almost daily basis for the past 3 years with offers for the company (it does after all generate about $100 million annually... You can understand why).

The family decided to take the plunge when L Capital approached them. As Halas says: 
“They’re helping us become an international iconic brand, and using their retail connections and global connections to help us develop internationally in core markets and Asian markets where we don’t have a presence at all. I presented them with our five-year plan as a family brand, where we could double business over the next four to five years. With their input I feel we can triple it or more.”
Um.... Where can I buy shares?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

63 Not Out

It has been an utterly heartbreaking week in Australia. Today's funeral service for the much-loved batsman, Phillip Joel Hughes, was particularly sad. While there was comfort to be gleaned from the outpouring of support from all corners of the globe, the grief - deeply etched - on the face of Greg Hughes, Phil's father, as he carried his son's coffin was so awfully haunting. It is a task no parent should face. My heart goes out to everyone feeling the sorrow of this life cut far too short. 


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Shoesday: Party Season

December - and Summer (hooray!) - has arrived! Cue Jingle Bells, Christmas parties and happily warm evenings spent with friends, champagne and prawns.

Before you head out for said parties and champagne sessions, you must of course consider your footwear.

Tis the season

Comfort or beauty? I think we all know the answer...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Friday: Study

Oh the agony! Why am I doing assignments again?? Just how many qualifications do I wish to collect anyway??

This weekend I must write an assignment, going back on a promise I made myself several years ago after completing a Masters of Law while also working full time. Clearly, I have a self-harm problem, in the form of study. I swear it stops after this assignment and exam are neatly filed away in the "Career Enhancing Move" pile. I have even gone so far as to delete my annual reminder saying "Consider MBA". Consider it considered: I'm not doing it.

Stylish Cinema

Trapped in my apartment and looking for something to assist my efforts at not doing an assignment that's due next week, I did the first thing any good procrastinator would do: turn on the TV. Things you realise when you aimlessly turn on the TV : there is nothing on TV; TV probably makes you dumber; precious hours of your life can slip away while watching Z grade celebrities engage in a ballroom dancing competition.

Thankfully outlier station Gem was showing The Talented Mr Ripley. What a treat for the eyes, and a glorious reminder of my brief visit to Rome in August. 

The Talented Mr Ripley is set largely around Italy in the mid-1950s, and centres around a group of young, beautiful and wealthy Americans gaily spending their parent's money as they holiday over an Italian summer. Filmed in 1999 (I think this almost puts it into "classic" territory), the all-star cast is very young and very, very gorgeous. Of course, set in the 1950s, the clothing is immaculate. 

It's a big call, but I think this film really captures Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow at their best looks-wise (that's not a very nice thing to say, as they both still look great, but they are gorgeous in Ripley).

Paltrow plays Marge, the doe-eyed, sweet and innocently devoted girlfriend of Dickie (played by Jude Law). Dickie is selfish, at times unkind, but ultimately rather likable with his rakish attitude to life. Marge is a glamour puss: espadrilles and classic white shirts by day, and dripping diamonds and ball gowns by night. As winter closes in, and she starts to wise up to Ripley (played with a dab hand by Matt Damon), her clothing morphs into a more sophisticated, grown-up style. 

Do not mess with leopard print-wearing woman

A good trench never goes out of style
Also starring is Cate Blanchett as Meredith and Philip Seymour-Hoffman as the man who smells a Ripley-sized rat long before anyone else.

The Talented Mr Ripley had me longing for summer days in Italy and a scarf in my hair.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Oh Lorde

You look pretty great.

Totally rocking the glam-leisure trend.

Happy Friday: (Mini) Summer Holiday

On Sunday Lovely Hubby and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary. It seems so long ago since that day: a balmy afternoon in country Queensland, when we made our vows, and we tried to give our close friends and family a little glimpse in to our secret, happy world of love. Weddings are pretty special. It's still the best day of my life.

So of course you can't let a day so memorable go by without a little celebration! This afternoon we're sneaking away early for a mini beach break. Sunshine, champagne, croissants and Japanese food. I can't wait!

Happy Friday x

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shoesday: Mary Katrantzou for Adidas

Fashion's Queen of print - Mary Katrantzou - has released her latest collection: an out of the box, glow in the dark collaboration with Adidas.

The collection features studded shoes, serious lashings of colour, and of course a solid dose of the the furious prints we've come to expect from this Dutch master.

The collection doesn't just stop with shoes - with figure-hugging zip up dresses and pullovers in neoprene and print mesh with lashings of florals and the iconic adidas 3-stripes, the trend of wearing athletic wear as outer wear is unlikely to die out any time soon.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Instagram vs Real Life - Guest Editor Garance Dore

I came across one of Garance Dore's posts this morning and couldn't resist sharing parts of it. It is so true. I am a bit of an Instagram obsessive, and I can definitely understand the insecurity Instagram can breed. I actually bumped into a friend a few months ago, and I mentioned how great everything looked for her (based on her Instagram feed). How wrong I was. No job, boyfriend troubles and a complete lack of direction had her feeling utterly powerless. I was stunned: her photographed, filtered life gave away none of the angst that she was feeling. You would never guess.

Ummmm, hang on. Excuse me for just two seconds. I can’t talk now, I have to Instagram something. Oooook….there we go.
Ok, all set. It’s posted. Woooo, 10 likes! In two seconds!!! Heheheh. Oh sorry. I’m here. How’s it going? Are you on Instagram? How’s your Instagram life? Super cool, right?
The thing with Instagram, it’s the difference there is between our real life and the dream life we post. Ok so we’re all supposed to know it and take Instagram life with a grain of salt, but let’s be honest, we all forget.
We really think we can follow people’s life on Instagram. And then things happen like :

Friend : “Oh, sorry – I didn’t reach out too much these past week, I saw on Instagram you were busy travelling and very happy.”
Or things like : “Oh my gooood, you had the best summer didn’t you!”
Me: “Huh? What are you talking about? I mean, I went through a break up, I moved, it was kind of a mess there for a minute. Ohhh, you mean my INSTAGRAM? Well, yeah – it’s my Instagram account!!! Don’t judge me by my Instagram!!! I had a summer that was sometimes amazing, sometimes boring, sometimes awful. Just like everyone else. And four nice photos of Greece (Okay I have to admit, one pretty amazing week) don’t make my whole summer amazing.
But at the same time, I totally jump to conclusions too. One of my friends spent three weeks posting lovey selfies with her new guy, and I said:
Me: “Oh honeeeey!!! I’m so happy for you! You met the love of your life! He’s so cute with his beard!”
My friend: “The guy with the beard? That asshole? No, no – it’s over now. Good riddance! But since you can’t really make a break up announcement on Instagram (unless you post some inexplicable quote that only three people will understand, like “All ends are beginnings” “Love is never enough” “Singles do it better”) everyone thinks I’m still with him.
But no worries – two weeks without cheesy love selfies and everyone will have forgotten.”
So there you go. That will teach us to only post the happy photos, right?
But have you ever tried posting a photo of something normal, or even a little depressing?
Oh la la, total disaster, unfollowing festival, disappearance from the planet of likes.
---- credits to Garance Dore for these words and pictures

If anyone looked at my Instagram account, they would probably I just drink coffee all day. (Which is pretty accurate at the moment.) I wonder if our Instagram accounts will be the relics we leave behind for the uber evolved humans to discover after climate change wipes us all out? What will they think of us? Between Kim Kardashian's butt, a litany of green smoothies and "bliss" balls, and a bunch of cats and dogs, they'll probably assume we died because we weren't terribly bright. Someone Instagram the comet landing, STAT!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Friday

This weekend is all about catching up, drinking coffee, eating dinner and hopefully catching some of the delightfully warm rays that are shining on Brisbane this weekend.

Here's to the weekend! xo

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shoesday: Races

We are now knee deep in Spring racing season here in Australia, with the moment of climax very soon upon us. Yes, Melbourne Cup: the race that stops a nation, and sends the retail and millinery industry into overdrive as women feverishly search for the hat that will bring them Fashions on the Field glory - or at least win them a bottle of Moet in the hotly contested best dressed competition at their workplace Melbourne Cup lunch.

It is an iconic day in Australia's fashion calendar, and as such, should be treated with the deepest respect. 

Below we have a prime example of increasingly common race-day attire that is not respectful to either the Melbourne Cup or to shoes in general.

Way to destroy a perfectly lovely pair of shoes.

The shoe cap. I've seen them in action, and you are kidding yourself if you think these things are invisible due to their clear plastic properties. Like the "invisible bar strap" - also made of clear plastic yet somehow the only part of an outfit the eye is drawn to when worn - there is nothing discrete or classy about these little puppies. 

When attending a day at the races, simply resign yourself to the fact that your stiletto is going to sink into the grass somewhat (to be honest, great quality grass - often found at excellent race tracks - won't see you sinking that much). 

So aim for classic, elegant heels and embrace the great outdoors.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Friday: Forgiveness

Always thought provoking, but here are some great words from one of my favourite thinkers, Seth Godin.

Forgive yourself for not being the richest, the thinnest, the tallest, the one with the best hair. Forgive yourself for not being the most successful, the cutest or the one with the fastest time. Forgive yourself for not winning every round.
Forgive yourself for being afraid.
But don't let yourself off the hook, never forgive yourself, for not caring or not trying.

Have a beautiful weekend xo

Summer Wonder

One person who is decidedly not suffering the ill-effects of exhaustion is the beautiful Gemma Ward. At her peak, Gemma Ward was one of the world's most sought-after models before disappearing into relative anonymity following the death of her close friend, Heath Ledger.

Gemma Ward has signalled her return to modelling with a typically ethereal starring role in Country Road's Summer 2014/15 campaign, which also marks 40 years of the brand.

Marking her first major campaign in years, and the first since the birth of her daughter Naia almost a year ago, Ward explains the appeal of the campaign, reminiscent of her own childhood endless summers: "We'd always stay in the caravan park and we'd just spend all day at the beach, swimming and playing in the waves or going fishing with my uncle out in his dinghy. It's the iconic Australian holiday and it's always been so much a part of my youth and what is so close to my heart."

Country Road Managing Director Sophie Holt echoed these sentiments, saying "We wanted to use an iconic Australian beauty who has grown up on Australian beaches and really embodies our relaxed, natural way of life."

Not long after wrapping the Country Road film, Ward appeared on the Milanese runways opening for Prada and causing palpitations amongst the fashion set.

So much so, that Vogue Australia asked if everyone could still breathe, and did anyone need CPR. Not Gemma Ward by the looks of it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Slow Burn (Out)

It began slowly at first - I started skipping my regular (and beloved) Barre classes. Soon enough, I had stopped even bothering to look at the timetable, knowing there was no point even attempting to go to my usual Wednesday morning class, as finishing a class at 7:30am would have me in the office hopelessly late (to my deranged brain) at 8:30. The workaholic in me would have done a solid hour of work by 8:30! (Yes, I take an hour to get ready - no attempt at speeding things up seems to work, as it usually results in forgotten lunch, keys or laptop and a miserable trudge back home to collect forgotten items). 

Then it gained momentum. Definitely no lunch breaks. Ever. Just a quick lunch hastily made with little concern for nutritional benefits as I dashed out the door, even more hastily devoured at my desk as I punched out work like a performing monkey. Daylight saving exacerbated things: with sunset now not until 7:30pm, a 6pm departure seemed outrageous. 8:30pm it was. The entire team on annual leave and a more punishing than unusual travel and work schedule pushed things into the stratosphere. Work dinners at 9pm for jet-lagged visitors from the Northern Hemisphere with a midnight bedtime, followed up with 5am starts to travel vast distances alone fed the beast. An overflowing inbox sent my stress levels into overdrive, and I simply couldn't rest until everything was responded to and neatly filed into anally retentive Outlook folders (hey, whatever helps you sleep at night!)

Some people are anorexic. Other people are exercise-a-holics. And yet others find comfort in the bottom of a vodka bottle. Me? I have a tendency to workaholism. Neglecting all else for the benefit of a faceless corporation and its cerebral, somewhere-out-there shareholders. No extra pay, no additional pats on the back, no gold stars. Nothing drives this behaviour but me and a need to perform at my best (an ideal that is impossible to attain, given no one is perfect and you can always do better). The only thing that can stop this behaviour is something dramatic, generally involving my health. I know full well that my body doesn't really like being stressed and it certainly doesn't respond well to over tiredness.

I honestly don't know why I do it to myself. Perhaps it's a combination of a Type A personality and the loneliness of being away from home. After all, as Oscar Wilde once said: "Work is the refuge of people with nothing better to do".

Whatever it was, over the last few months I've been running on adrenalin - and not in the exhilerating, skydiving kind of way. 


Missed periods, constant fatigue, fainting on planes, seized up shoulder blades and sudden, debilitating cold sweats have told me to slow down. Now it's just figuring out how to tame this Type-A Beast, as I try to balance work and study and my burning desire to stay in touch with my friends over the next 8 weeks. 

I feel like I need to establish a set of rules for myself, but I'm not sure where to start, and what even is realistic. Can I start Barre again? I think so. The tug of needing to be at work at 7:30am will just have to wait - even if it is only one morning per week. 

Green smoothies? I still despair at not having one of those crazy $1000 blenders, but I am assured you don't need one... But I don't like spinach! 


What else? I think I need advice on this, because setting boundaries and reining in my natural enthusiasm to do a good job is not a strong suit. What strategies do you employ to (a) boost your immunity, and (b) keep your work/life balance balanced?

Send me your tips, because I think I need them.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Double Denim for Days

I don't really know how the Scandinavians do it, but they somehow pull off looks that would make the rest of us look either try-hard fashionistas or try-hard mechanics.

I am going through a Scandinavian "moment" after having visited Copenhagen for the first time recently. The stereotype is correct: tall, blonde, fashionably minimalist and impossibly chic (even when whizzing around the beautiful, flat streets of Copenhagen). I was captivated with this city and its style. It is also where my current obsession with sneakers has stemmed - the girls are so ridiculously tall, and they are so frequently on and off their bikes, that sneakers are de rigeur. The girls tend to opt for a block white (often a Converse) or block black (usually Nike), or they go all out with multi-colour.

Pics courtesy of Stockholm Street Style.