Monday, 30 July 2012


Again today, when I got home from yoga, I was hounded by the eternal question.....what to wear? Struggling for inspiration, I decided to take a leaf out of the very glam Faux Fuchsia's book and rummaged around in the deepest, darkest depths of my find this:

My Hermes scarf. Or to give it it's full title 'Brides de gala'.....'Formal bridles', in english. This was the first thing I bought with my first pay packet after starting my first real job at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney......quite some time ago, now. I wore it everywhere. See, here I am in the Vogue social pages:

Way back in the mists of time......November, 1995. Flicking through this issue again today, there was an article about Elizabeth Hurley, who of course had just worn the Versace frock and recently become the new face of Estee Lauder. It described her as Hugh Grant's female doppelgänger.....who would have imagined way back then, that there'd be a time in the future when she'd look more like Shane Warne?  Horrors.

Luckily, the scarf came with this book showing you how to wear it:

Although, Faux Fuchsia has since introduced the gorgeous MaiTai, who demonstrates on video, no less, inspiring ways to tie your Hermes scarf. Today, for old times sake, I used the book and decided I'd wear it like this:

By doing this:

Et Voila:

The same! Easy....even I could pull together this knot. So, I accessorised my scarf with my new colourless jeans which had just arrived from the Outnet:

I was having a conversation with Tobes in his room while I took this photo....he was in the process of being messy. Minutes afterwards, I was sitting on the only patch of rug that you could see, playing with his train set.....maybe white jeans are as impractical as my husband took great pleasure in pointing out. Time will tell.

Of course it was only nine degrees outside with snow on Mt Wellingtons, so in order to leave the house and brave the elements, I had to totally cover over my ensemble with a 3/4 length trench coat....and boots.

Yesterday, Mimi and I took some of her friends to Hadley's Hotel in town for 'High Tea' to celebrate her birthday. We dressed the part:

My only other 'High Tea' experience was years ago in London at Brown's wasn't quite the same. This was the Hobart version:

The girls had fun nevertheless, especially when they started concocting their own flavours of tea....with scone. As one of the girls quipped....'from posh to not'.


PS My husband can't believe that I've enticed 50 followers to my blog! Hurrah! And thank you, each and every one of you. If you've been holding back, it's not too late. But the clock is ticking....if you hurry and become a follower in the next 24 hours you can still be in with a chance to win the giveaway!

Saturday, 28 July 2012


As I write this I am huddled in front of the fire. Our electricity bill arrived in the mail during the week and my husband has turned all the heating off from the shock of it. It has never been quite so high. And we're talking the price of a Gucci handbag, high. Admittedly, we were running two of our heat pumps 24/7 and may have even left them on overnight with the back door open so that our elderly beagles wouldn't get cold AND on the off chance they might remember to go outside for a pee. What were we thinking? One of the meters was an estimate, so I am still clinging onto the hope that there was a mistake.....and then the first thing to go back on is the en suite underfloor heating. Fingers crossed.

Watching James Bond parachute the Queen into the Olympic Opening Ceremony reminded me that when I was about thirteen, I wanted to grow up to be a Bond Girl:

Seeing that this was back in the day when Roger Moore was James Bond, this is some confession. We watched Octopussy last year while staying at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, where some of the scenes were filmed, so when I say that Roger Moore was NOT the best James Bond, I know what I'm talking about. Daniel Craig, on the other hand, is enough to make me lament that I didn't follow through on my teenage inspired career path. My husband would like to be James Bond and I'm happy with that. Last time he needed a new cossie we walked town looking for a similar one to that in the beach scene from Casino Royale. It didn't quite look the same. Maybe we bought the wrong cossie.

Last night we went to a party:

I wore this long By Malene Birger sequinned singlet top which I bought from the Outnet ages ago. When I'm struggling with inspiration and ask my boys the question 'What should I wear' they pick this top.....every single time. Maybe I just shouldn't ask them anymore. If it was up to them they would have me wear this top, without the jacket, to drop them off at school. Seeing it's sequinned and a tad see through, I haven't yet.

We got to the party at 7pm and were 8.30pm and this included time to stop off at Annapurna and acquire a takeaway curry. I'm afraid that our poor party form may have been influenced by a pact we made after the decadent excess of the earlier part of the month. We were a little bit tiddly when we decided to challenge ourselves to be vegetarian teetotallers until the end of the month.....three long weeks ago. So far we haven't wavered.....although someone, who wasn't me, may have eaten a quince and venison pie for lunch yesterday.

That's why I have a Jamie Oliver English style fish pie in the oven for dinner eat while we watch Day 1 of competition live from London. Washed down with a glass of....water.


PS Thank you, thank you, thank you to everybody who has become a follower of my blog! I am speechless that I am approaching fifty....followers that is. Look what I did with Cumquat Compote yesterday for afternoon tea:

Dolloped it on top of a piece of Lemon and Almond was delicious! If you haven't already, it's not too late to become a follower to be in the running to win your very own jar.....oh, and of course the book.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


So, this morning, the lady in the grocery shop looked me in the eye and commented on how organised I must be with four children. After I picked myself up off the floor, I wondered how my reputation had preceded me. How on earth did she know that this morning's before school rush hour had been particularly bad.....that my nine year old was wearing nothing other than undies until ten past eight (due at school at half past) as his uniform had to be rescued from the line and finished off in the dryer. I confess, no matter how hard I try, I am hopeless at organisation.

I had awoken in the early hours of this morning......when it was still dark and my husband was out riding his the realisation that I hadn't made morning tea for my children's school lunches. Panic. So I got up early and made 'Granny Boyd's Biscuits' from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess:

Who am I kidding? Anyway, in my still sleep befuddled condition I accidentally started creaming the butter and flour so then I thought 'what the hey' and threw everything in together and hoped for the best. Et voila, it worked. So, all you do is combine 150g self raising flour, 125g soft butter and 60g raw sugar and enough Dutch Press cocoa to make it nice and chocolatey and mix it up until it all comes together. Then I bake however many biscuits I need for lunches (150 degrees for 15 minutes) and wrap the rest of the dough in cling wrap and keep it in the fridge. This way the biscuits don't all get scoffed at afternoon tea and you have enough to bake during the hurly burly that will be breakfast time.....tomorrow:

It was a big weekend for baking and cake in our house. In celebration of Mimi's 11th birthday I made not one but two rainbow cakes:

One for home and one for school:

This took most of Sunday and over half a kilo of flour, the same of sugar and of butter and 10 eggs. Held together and iced with even more butter and sugar. As much as I can, I use local products. Although I'm not deluding myself that these really good ingredients made all this cake....healthy. Chemical free wheat grown at Kempton and milled in the historic Callington Mill at Oatlands:

Ashgrove Butter, batch churned on the farm at Elizabeth Town:

And I only ever use free range eggs....I have been to a battery farm and what they do is CRUEL. When we kept our own chooks.....back before we had four children, two beagles and a thousand worms in a worm farm, we used to rescue point of lay birds from a battery farm down the Channel and give them a new life in our garden. They were so grateful.

Luckily my KitchenAid was up to the task:

I still remember how desperately I coveted it for Christmas almost seven years ago. It was at the tail end of our arduous renovation and we had made a pact of no big gifts. But, I couldn't help myself, I wanted a pink KitchenAid to accessorise with my new kitchen.....with every fibre of my being. I hinted. I suggested outright. I cried when the pink one in the shop was sold......when I thanked my husband for buying it, he said that he hadn't. Meanwhile, I kept reminding myself that material possessions don't buy you happiness....even if they do match the glass in the top of your kitchen windows. I had resigned myself to never owning a pink KitchenAid, only to open an envelope on Christmas morning....a sales receipt showing that it had been ordered and would arrive sometime in January. It has earned it's keep.

Recounting this anecdote, I started worrying about my sometimes obsessive behaviour. When I was growing up, my Dad bought himself a new white Victa lawn mower. For some time afterwards he mowed the lawn everyday, cleaned his mower afterwards.....and then wheeled it into the house and next to his side of the bed. Maybe this level of obsession runs in the family.

Cake is such a fundamental ingredient in our family's birthday celebrations. When I had my last birthday I gave serious thought to serving a lunch composed only of cake and pink champagne. My husband talked me into two savoury courses......followed by a cake smorgasbord. This was my cake oriented invite:

'Let us eat cake'.....and we did:

And will again on Sunday when I take Mimi and her friends into town for High Tea. Mercifully, I won't have to bake it all myself. And don't worry, I'm working on racking up 5 - 6 Bikram Yoga classes this week to compensate for the high level of cake consumption.


PS My husband has been teasing me that I can't significantly swell the numbers of followers of my first I was adamant that I could, yet with only a week to go I am starting to question my ability. Please follow.....there is a could win the beautiful book Living in History which is an open door to many of Hobart and Tasmania's gorgeous, old homes AND a jar of cumquat compote made by me with fruit from my trees:

Go on, click the box up on the top right....please!

Saturday, 21 July 2012


Look how incredibly beautiful the sunset was in Hobart last night:

It was just like something straight out of a John Glover painting:

('A corrobery of natives in Mills Plains' 1832)

Except that there are no full blooded Tasmanian Aborigines in Tasmania, now. European settlement and the disease, violence and warfare that went along with it made the indigenous population virtually extinct.  It was one of the first recorded modern acts of genocide, here in Tasmania. What a tragedy.

Finally, there are flowers in our garden. The rhododendron is putting on a show:

Conveniently, it matches the library:

And here is a Camelia:

Tonight, we are going to Venice, as I am cooking dinner using this as my guide:

I love the quote on the back of this book, 'As many times as I went out was as many times as I got lost. But I was never lost. I was always somewhere in Venice'. Sigh. Here was us lost in Venice back in 2008:

This afternoon, in the small window of opportunity offered while the baby was asleep, I made the Tiramisu:

And now all I need to do is put the Lasagne di Pesce, which I concocted around feeding the children, in the oven.

This is what I wore to embark on Saturday morning manoeuvres:

And here are my sidekicks, also dressed:

It was 9.30am and our other two children were already at sport and dancing. There are no languid sleep ins at our house.....on Saturday, it's game on EARLY. Those of us who were left had to go to town to acquire birthday presents, so that when they showed up to parties later in the day they weren't empty handed. I have a rule that we only give books for children's birthday parties.....because plastic NEVER biodegrades. And who doesn't love a book?

Look at the display going on out the front of Fuller's Bookshop:

Oh my. I couldn't help myself.....I had to spontaneously giggle at the chain. They said that this book is significantly contributing to keeping the shop in business.

I love my printed pony skin handbag that I bought on sale at Max Mara in Paris:

But today while I was speculating as to exactly which animal it looks like, I began to think that the colours and stripes are a bit like the extinct Tasmanian Tiger:

Another living creature totally eradicated by European colonisation in Tasmania. I hope that they can find a cure for the facial tumours currently decimating the population of the Tasmanian that they don't vanish forever, too.


Thursday, 19 July 2012


So this is a no holds barred, shameless attempt to lure more followers to subscribe to my blog. Wouldn't you love to flick through this beautiful coffee table book about some of Tasmania's gorgeous old homes:

My house isn't in this book, yet my friend Janey's is: can read all about how she chose her curtains. Old houses are something we have in abundance in Hobart. And compared to other capital cities in Australia, they cost less. If you don't believe me, click here and see for yourself.

But wait there's more. A jar of cumquat compote made by me with fruit from my own tree:

You could eat it with vanilla bean ice cream or on a fruit platter. To win the book and the compote all you have to do is become a follower. Please. Once you become a follower you are automatically in the draw. I will choose the lucky winner randomly at the end of the month.

I am a creature of habit. Thursday is Bikram Yoga, a trip to Gowans Auctions, lunch, school pick up, ensuing chaos. If you are unfamiliar with my routine, read all about a Thursday in January here. Today, I was reflecting on life in Hobart. The capital of this funny little state of Tasmania which has a population of just over 500,000. Curious things do happen here, in Hobart, every now and again. Out at Gowans rifling through the usual hotchpotch of stuff, I saw the sign for the Hamilton Inn Couch that they have on proud display in the corridor leading to where you register to bid:

Before I regale you with this fantastic tale of auction going riches beyond anyone's wildest imaginings, I must just give you an honest visual of what it's like at Gowans:

It may be an Aladdin's Cave of treasure but you really do have to sift through the crap.....and don't be deceived, it could NEVER be described as glamorous.

In 2005, an unrestored colonial red cedar couch, which had been stored in a shed, came up for auction......because the owner wanted to raise enough money for a fence:

Initially, this dishevelled piece of furniture was knocked down for $48,000. Then someone complained so bidding started again. It eventually finished at $310,800. One of the highest prices ever paid for a piece of Australian furniture. It dates from 1820 and the value was in the fact that over it's 190 year history, it had never been tinkered with. Apparently the owners kept bits that had broken off in a box with a view to restoring it in the future. Luckily they didn't. The Hamilton Inn Couch is Hobart's version of a Vermeer in the attic.

Like most of the fabulous art to come to Hobart in recent times, the Hamilton Inn Couch was paid for predominantly with gambling money. The Federal Group (which own Tasmania's two casinos as well as the license to operate all poker machines in Tasmania) purchased it and donated it to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The other fabulous art in Hobart funded by gambling is David Walsh's Museum of Old and New Art, MONA. Funded in it's entirety by the spoils of gambling, which used to be tax free. Now the ATO are after David Walsh to pay a tax debt of $37 million. Was I suggesting that Hobart is dull?


Monday, 16 July 2012


Seeing the party on Saturday night was two and a half hours away in Launceston, I thought it was safe to give the By Malene Birger ostrich feather skirt another outing. And yes, to complete the ensemble, I bought the see through Wheels and Dollbaby shirt which I brazenly wore with a black bra and fishnet stockings : 

This was earlier the same day, in the change room at Myer, trying on bra's:

Another friend and I were the entertainment.....we had to do the speech:

I had been asked at a weak moment.....while sitting in a bar wearing the pink bridesmaid dress I'd worn to the prospective birthday girl's wedding, ten years before. Of course, I'd had to say yes.

It was an utterly fabulous party:

And so much fun reverting to twenty one year old style behaviour:

And I reckon all the Vitamin B I consistently took beforehand might just have worked if we hadn't cruelled it by staying out and about in downtown Launceston until 2am. Yes 2am. Impressively late by my standards. It was well and truly hours passed my bedtime.....I usually turn into a pumpkin by 11pm.

Happy birthday again, Sim!