Sunday, 27 May 2012


So, this is what we came up with to wear to the 18th birthday party last night:

When you have four children who need to be fed and watered and pyjamed up before you can even think about getting ready in the five minutes that you have left, it pays to choose exactly what you are going to wear in advance.  Otherwise it would no doubt end up being the bathrobe and ugh boots. Not a good look.

When I say that I bought the jacket in Paris it is code and means that it has been in my wardrobe for a while, as I haven't been to Paris for eighteen long months. Sigh. This jacket came from a shop in a street somewhere between Au Printemps and Boulevarde des Capucines and is leather with 3/4 length sleeves and a black satin ribbon that ties in a bow under the collar.

The skirt is ostrich feather By Malene Birger that I bought online from Net - A - Porter earlier in the year to wear to the Glover Prize opening. This is what it looks like close up:

Needless to say it looks seductively tactile, you have to resist the urge to pat it. If you think this is the look you might want, then good news! This skirt has been drastically reduced and is now available online at The Outnet.

Alexandrie ostrich feather-trimmed mini skirt by By Malene Birger
No sooner did we get to the party that I started coveting a dress being worn by someone else. It was a ravishing concoction of layers of white tulle, with black velvet bows on the shoulders. And it was being worn by an eighteen month old:

Isn't it utterly gorgeous? When I started raving my praise to whoever would listen, people thought I had designs on it for my own eighteen month old, yet I would like one just like it.....for me.

It was a fab party and I loved every minute of it. Look at the delicious food:

There were even two lads in the kitchen who did all the work:

Now prepare yourselves for the piece de la resistance.......the cake:

Wasn't it absolutely stunning? It was a real Marie Antoinette, let them eat cake, cake.

Thank you to everyone from whom I managed to elicit a comment! Happy days. It would appear that to attract followers I needed to add a link. Oops. Now that it's there (I think) don't hold back!

Saturday, 26 May 2012


Yesterday, when the opportunity presented,  I had a bit of a  flitter around blogland. In the course of my exploration I discovered School Gate Style. I was speechless with incredulity as this blog get's over 500 hits........a day.

I will admit to being somewhat demoralised by the teeny, tiny number hits that I get. So in an attempt to see if I can attract followers or even elicit a comment, I am styling myself up as Hobart's answer to a Stay-at-Home-Mum, concerned with what I wear to pick up my children from school. Except that today's Saturday and yesterday was the last day of term. Not to be thwarted by circumstance, I am going to deem it the first day of School Holiday Style. So without further ado I give you exhibit one:

Now before you wade in, I am compelled to remind you that Hobartian's have a penchant for polar fleece and puffa's which are worn in every social situation, not only at the school gate. Track pants are also popular. I was at a party recently when a friend reminded me how there was a time when I indulged in wearing track pants in public (when I first moved to Hobart) only to have them thrown in the bin by my then boyfriend.....who is now my husband. Said friend was inspired by this (all those years ago) and has relegated hers to wearing only in the privacy of her own home. I'm happy to report that my delinquent behaviour was only very fleeting.

This morning, after much wardrobe deliberation, this is what I donned for a round trip to the hardware shop, to pick up my daughter from Irish Dancing and then for a milkshake/green tea and a book borrow at the library.

Just because it sounds so exotic, I'll start with the boots that I Paris.....almost four years ago from Comptoir des Cotonniers, when winter set in early during spring, and I hadn't packed warm shoes. They were the result of my husband reaching his limit over me complaining of cold feet.

The Hudson jeans I bought last year over the internet from Revolve , when there were vast savings to be had (these jeans from memory were $150 with free shipping - when you were able to buy them in Hobart, they set you back $400).......before international suppliers bumped up the web price for Australians. What a sad day.

Moving on, under my new jacket from Asos is a long sleeved v neck tee from Country Road. I still remember back in the day (OK...sometime in the early eighties) when I was at boarding school in Sydney, when the Eurythmics 'Sweet Dreams...Are Made of This' was in the charts and when Country Road first came onto my radar (when CR pictures in magazines were plastered onto a school friends' folder). And you can still buy it.

Back to my jacket, this was my first purchase from Asos, and for a leather jacket it was inexpensive (under $200) yet it is beautifully made and envelops you in that delicious leather smell. Like a brand new, expensive car.....although I must admit that it is a dim memory for me as somedays my car smells like sweaty yoga kit or the baby's bottom and most days the leather smell is simply drowned out by some indefinable je ne said quoi smell.

The scarf was another discount internet find, it's By Malene Birger from The Outnet. I love the decadent tassels:

Don't you agree that more clothes should sport tassels? I do.

So, I wonder if this post will garner me any more followers. To date I have three. I can't believe that I just publicly typed that dismal statistic. Luckily, one of them is the really, really, really popular Jane over at Life on Planet Baby and even better she is not a personal friend that I forced to follow (although as you can tell this hasn't worked). Anyway,  Jane recently posted about blogging do's and don'ts. Number five is don't worry about your statistics. I am going to take her advice.

Must dash to workshop with my almost eleven year old daughter what to wear to a party up the road tonight.....while chipping away at the million domestic chores I need to complete before I can even set foot out the door.


Friday, 25 May 2012


I knew better yet I just couldn't resist. While packing school lunches this morning I ate the merest sliver of baked chocolate cheesecake even though I knew I was going to a 9.30am Bikram Yoga Class. Big mistake. By Standing Head to Knee Pose I felt the full consequences - faint, nauseous and tingly in my extremities all at one. It is a bad, bad feeling.

So now I have declared a moratorium on doing our tax until after the school holidays which start this afternoon. I'm not going to kid myself - four children and time to do's never going to happen. Sometimes I think about back in the day when I used to manage the Trust Account for our business, how did I ever do that? I've never been gifted at maths  - l'll fess up that I did veggie maths at school. Then I  console myself that I did manage to get a First Class Honours Degree........the problem being that it is in Art Theory.

Anyway I digress. I have been musing about addiction and what I might admit to being addicted to. This is what gives me heart palpitations and sweaty palms if I go cold turkey. You are welcome to either laugh or cry.

1. Green Tea:

To be honest, most days I knock back five or even six cups. I know this is too much because if I don't drink it, I get a headache. Don't be put off by my teacup, it is a 'breakfast cup' and has the dimensions of a bucket. Actually, I used to like coffee (a good old Australian flat white). Actually, that would be an understatement. We took an espresso machine to hospital when I had Mimi. And then three years ago an old school friend and I went and had a week at The Golden Door in the Hunter Valley. There was a time when we would have roared with laughter if someone from the future had told us that we would move heaven and earth to have our families looked after so that we could detox, diet and exercise our heads off. We used to be a tad hedonistic when we got together (she has lived in Melbourne, London and Launceston to my Sydney, South of France and Hobart). So, for a whole week, we gave up caffeine, alcohol and red meat and got up every morning in time to do tai chi while the sun rose. For about six months I drank no caffeine and then it started sneaking in in the guise of green tea. Alcohol, unfortunately was another story, I'm ashamed to admit that we broke out the bubbly on the flight home from the Golden Door, much to our fellow inmates glee!

2. Bikram Yoga:

I try and go to Bikram Yoga classes at Studio Newtown at least five times a week. Otherwise, I get the above listed withdrawal symptoms. I have been a convert since my first class in Hobart three years ago. As it is an international phenomenon, I have been to Bikram Yoga classes in Hobart, Sydney, Bali and I tried to go in Paris yet was turned away as it was only five weeks since my fourth caesarian. I tried. I have also been to garden variety yoga classes in Bali, in the gorgeous gardens at the Ayana and overlooking the ocean at the Karma Kandara and in India, on the roof of the Lake Palace and on a hilltop at the Devi Garh. Not last year, but the year before, when I was pregnant and living in the South of France, I used to lug myself into the cobbled streets of Beziers at least twice a week to go to classes at the Yoga Centre. It was a world away from extreme, sweaty, scantily clad Bikram Yoga (which was three hours away in Marseilles). Genevieve must have been in her sixties yet looked twenty years younger. In class, her hair was always 'coiffed' and she wore full 'macquillage' and colour matched her toenail polish with her yoga outfit - her fingernails were always an immaculate French polish. Are there any other Bikram Yoga practitioners out there reading this reading this to appreciate the humour?! I learnt the French words for every body part along with stock standard yoga poses - Chien qui Tombe, anyone?

Earlier this year I did a week long seminar with Bikram Choudhury himself. You can read all about it in graphic detail here, here, here, here and here. Say what you will about him but he really is a walking advert for the yoga that he sells - can you believe that he's over seventy (that's him in the middle of the picture in the speedos with his hair in a bun)? I think I'd rather have yoga than botox any day.

Bikram Yoga is a ninety minute open eye meditation where you also get to work your body inside and out. As extreme as it sometimes seems, in class, I have NEVER seen anybody come to any physical  harm. At my last Body Pump class at a gym in town, they had to get an ambulance for someone who was having a heart attack.

3. Gowans Auctions:

Thursday is viewing day. Yesterday, I had to fight every fibre of my being to stop myself heading out to Main Road, Moonah to check out what was on offer - maybe this week that unknown 'thing' that I didn't realise that I couldn't live without just might be there. My reaction caused me to investigate the whole addiction question. Let me tell you, in my life, on Thursdays all roads lead to Moonah, either by car or, I have even been known to rollerblade from the Cenotaph along the Cycleway, which conveniently runs just behind the auction sheds.....with a double pram. Last Thursday, I mistakenly took the children and bought a Wendy House. It maxed out the credit card. It has to be the ultimate way to go shopping, the stock changes every week and then there is the rush involved in trying to choose the price. Unfortunately you can't always call it cheap thrills as it can be ruinously expensive....and everything in between. Last week you could have bought the entire six volume set of Gibbon's 'The History of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' or a brand new, stainless steel, freestanding Smeg cooker, if you were so inclined. I bought the Wendy House:

Note to self, remember NOT to take the children out to Gowans. However, I might just have a quick look at the catalogue for what's up in next week's


Thursday, 24 May 2012


So don't be lured into falsely assuming that it has all been fun and frivolity around here. Far from it.

Over the last two days I have done four Bikram Yoga classes. Yes, call me insane, however, I must say that my abs feel amazing today.

I have also been slavishly labouring away at putting together all of the info for our very belated tax returns. I get an instant headache just thinking about it. Thankfully, I'm making progress and the first installment will go into the accountant today on my way out to lunch. Relief.

I have also been unable to put this down:

Have you read it? It spans a cast of thousands - the first Duke who set the whole Blenheim Palace extravaganza in motion; Winston's mother, Jennie, who after her first husband died found not one but two husbands who were twenty years younger that her only to die after having her leg amputated; the 9th Duke who married the reluctant American heiress, Consuelo Vanderbilt, for nothing more than her pots and pots of money and then had a second wife, Gladys, who had over fifty Blenheim spaniels which, after she became loonily eccentric, had free run inside the palace and turned it to utter squalor. Apparently the stench after she was evicted out was unforgettable. Yet, let's not beat about the bush, this book was mostly about the most famous Churchill of all - Winston. Years ago we went to Blenheim and saw the room in which he was born yet to be honest, I really haven't given him a second thought since then. Now I'm keen to know more - how could you not? Fascinating.

And then today, Toby's class had an end of term morning tea so last night I made these biscuit schoolboys. I used one of Nigella's very easy recipes (How to Be A Domestic Goddess p212) and then serendipitously found a chocolate pen in the deepest darkest reaches of the pantry. What luck. The children thought I should attempt the school crest on the tee shirt. I know my limits.

And I'm on my second sample pot of magenta paint for our front door after feng sui dictated that it should be magenta (or silver or gold or white or yellow):

Who knows what they think in at the Dulux Trade Centre where I've been twice now to discuss the perfect shade of magenta. It's not as simple as it might seem - I've have had to wade into the world of paint bases and other secret paint business as not all colours can be used externally. It's true - you learn something new everyday.


Tuesday, 22 May 2012


On Friday night we went to a dinner party. The sms invite called for dressing up as 'your favourite rock star'. I'm not very good at dressing up yet for this occasion I really tried. I donned my Sass & Bide leopard print jeans and my By Malene Birger leather biker jacket that I picked up heavily reduced on Net - a - Porter, teased my hair up and went with lots of heavy eye make up to try and look like.......Blondie. I was a tad perturbed that amongst my everyday clothes I had the wherewithal to 'dress up' in trashy eighties garb. Anyway. This was the picture I was using for reference as I got ready:


I was unsuccessful in my quest. Have you ever noticed that lots of thick black eyeliner and lots of dark eyeshadow can conspire to make make you look twenty years older than you actually are - I was trying to channel Debbie's look from her heyday back in the eighties and not how she looks now aged in her late sixties. Oh well, I managed to make my husband laugh and scare the babysitter who momentarily thought I was dressed in earnest.

The host of the party is a shocking U2 fan and had all the relevant accoutrement to make him look like Bono - he even had a U2 belt buckle, as you do. Alarm bells started ringing when his girlfriend wasn't even dressed up, neither were most of the guests. Someone asked me who I was meant to 'be'. When I told them they said that my hair wasn't blonde enough so they decided that I could morph into being Kim Wilde. The shame. She wasn't cool. Then I had to endure half an hour of party embarrassment until another couple came dressed at Rockin Rod Stewart and Rachael Hunter, and then, mercifully, I was off the hook.

One of the guests is a chef in Cairns and he cooked all the food which was delicious:

After dinner things deteriorated. There was an impromptu disco. Blondie, Saturday Night can imagine the music to which we all busted out the moves. It will take me some time to erase the memory of my husband discoing to Cold Chisel.......with a mop. My face ached from laughing so much.

When we finally managed to escape we had a bizarre 'only in Tassie' moment. We were walking home through deepest, darkest residential West Hobart, having given up trying to flag down a cab and realising that we could get home faster walking than waiting the hour threatened by the taxi company. Lo and behold, like an apparition out of the darkness drove the same taxi driver who had taken us to the party.......with his vacant light on! What are the odds? Actually quite high, in Hobart.

Yesterday, I was really sad to hear that Robin Gibb passed away in London. He and his brothers, The Bee Gees really were the Kings of Disco, like them or loathe them you would have to agree. I was playing some of their tunes in the car when I went to pick up the boys from school and I'm ashamed to admit that Felix recognised their music from his favourite episode of The Goodies. Do your children watch The Goodies too? Can your children sing along to The Bee Gees? Should I be worried?


Thursday, 17 May 2012


On Saturday I was visiting a friend in a Hobart maternity hospital just after she welcomed her fifth child to the world, her first little boy. It was a miserable, bleak afternoon weatherwise, yet her joy was radiant.

On Sunday my eighty two year old mother in law who has been holidaying in the USA was admitted to a Dallas hospital with pneumonia. It was a decadent, festive morning in our house, we even had cake for breakfast, yet after the discovery of this news my husband's grief was tangible.

Two days and two such extremes - new life and the spectre of death. Life is just like that, I suppose. There is no rhyme or reason. It just is. Mercifully, my mother in law recovered and is on the plane home as I type. Phew.

After such an emotionally intense morning, the children and I spent the afternoon of Mother's Day eating ice cream - even though you could see snow on the top of Mt Wellington out of the window while we were doing so.

Why is ice cream sometimes so good for the soul? It just is. Although it may also have had something to do with the company I was keeping.


Wednesday, 9 May 2012


So I have to confess to nurturing a taxidermy fetish. I readily admit that there is an element of the macabre to all this. Yet to me taxidermy transcends just plain old 'dead' by recognising beauty in the natural world. While it is a memento mori it is also a reminder of life and isn't the relationship between life and death always complex and intertwined? I try and justify it by the fact that nearly all of my bits and pieces have been found second, third, fourth hand or more at the Aladdin's Cave that is Gowans Auctions and have been rescued from being somebody else's cast offs to my treasure.

Without a doubt, the jewel in my taxidermy crown is a rather dishevelled zebra skin:

You can see by the holes and the patches where the hair has rubbed off that it has been dead for a long time and that I obviously wasn't responsible for killing it. It was an utter bargain selling under the hammer for a mere $320. My children used to pat it and while playing with animal figurines at creche used to tell people that they had a zebra at home.....'Of course you do'! They did.

The only other animal (or part of an animal) that we have is a deer:

And a painting of a deer by local Hobart artist Helen Wright:

My first foray into taxidermy was collecting butterflies which, as you can see I set about with some dedication:

The iridescent turquoise specimen came from the ultimate taxidermy mecca  that is Deyrolle in the Rue du Bac, on the Left Bank in Paris. An almost encyclopaedic range of taxidermied animals are all on display and for sale - polar bears, lions, bunny rabbits, chickens, you name it from the animal kingdom and then there are drawers full of butterflies and insects and cabinets full of shells. I only had room in the suitcase for one butterfly.

Have you seen Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris'? One of the fabulous after midnight jaunts back in time was to a party set amongst the taxidermy at Deyrolle.

I've been spending a bit of time thinking about painting our front door.....and my first voice was pink. You won't be surprised to hear that my husband wasn't so keen on that particular shade. So I've also been toying with blues and greens. Today, while bogged down doing our tax (yes, I know it's a bit late) I investigated feng shui  colours for front doors. After I took the compass reading to determine that our door faces North West I discovered that the colours which will support and nourish the chi entering our home are silver, gold, white, yellow and........magenta. Bingo. Just to clarify I checked Magenta on Wikipedia and I quote that it is 'a bright purple pinkish colour'. Now my husband went to a boy's school around town which sports a bright pink stripe on the blazer to which they are indoctrinated to believe is NOT pink but Magenta. And magenta has even more special, manly, connotations as it alludes to the colour of blood spilt at the 1859 Battle of Magenta in Italy. So guess what, I've got the thumbs up to go magenta on the door. And I'm seeing something like this:

Source: Doorgasm
What do you think?

Monday, 7 May 2012


Don't you love spending two and a half hours in the car with your children when you are driving from one side of the state to the other and are potentially late for a very important date? Yesterday morning our children licked and bit and kissed each other and slept and cried over the sad ending of a book in what was to be dubbed 'the car of torture' en route to a christening in Launceston:

Destination - my old school chapel, scene of many a schoolday misdemeanour - hello out there Janey,  remember when we broke the chapel bell by swinging on the rope? Of course it was a long time ago now and is quickly being swallowed up in the mists of time.

Christening's are such beautiful, happy and hopeful celebrations:

And afterwards there was a fabulous party complete with bubbly, delicious lunch and cake as far as the eye could see. Is it just me or do you get a frisson of excitement drinking bubbly while the sun is shining? As a parent it has to be the last word in decadence....non? So far removed from the everyday.

Look at my girls working the room.

And here's T1 and T2:

They had never clapped eyes on each other until yesterday, yet both share the same name, were born within a couple of months of each other and uncannily both were kitted out by their mummies in almost  identical outfits. Needless to say, they were instant friends in only the way you can be when you are four and there is Nutella Fairy Bread to be had.

And then we had to turn around and drive home.


Tuesday, 1 May 2012


So in the very early hours of Saturday morning I got up to fly to Adelaide to go to an old friend from school's 40th birthday party. It was a surprise organised by her husband. He managed to pull it off as look how surprised and happy she was:

If it had been me I don't know how I would have coped with the surprise aspect - I'd be worried that I hadn't brushed my hair, or worse. Apparently there was talk about taking the birthday girl to the pool before her party, luckily for her they didn't so she was all set to party. We all brushed our hair too:

Isn't it fun hanging out with friends that back in the day you went to school with and that you don't see so often now? It makes you wonder why. Maybe because most of them live in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Launceston and Sandy Bay.

Sometimes it's no so fun for your husband though. Mine has previously held the title of Best On Ground yet he was Best Behaved on Saturday and refrained from fertilising the flowers. That's not to say that the silly drink wasn't had. Things did get a tad messy:

Sorry girls, I couldn't resist! I'm not ashamed to admit that I discoed in the aisle of the bus back into town when it pulled up at the traffic lights. At that stage I felt like I was revisiting my twenties. On Sunday though I felt like I was in my hundreds.

So what did we do in Adelaide on Sunday while we waited for our return flight? We went and queued for a table to have yum cha with trolley service at Citi Zen Chinese Restaurant:

Not surprisingly, we said no to the chicken's feet.

Oh, and we had to make the most of being unencumbered by children to go shopping for suits and shirts for my husband. It was a long day as our flight didn't leave until 7pm. We didn't make bed again until midnight - two nights in a row.

However, I still got up on Monday morning to complete day 30 of the challenge:

And I've got the certificate to prove it:

Namaste. Now what?