Friday, 8 November 2013


Amidst the swirling vortex of children's birthday parties, school camps, interstate school trips and sports days, and all of the requisite organisation, cooking and washing, we managed to emerge momentarily to host a rather impromptu grown ups drinks party at our place on the weekend. The night before, I may have woken up in the early I'm sometimes prone to do......and when I couldn't get back to sleep I ventured downstairs for a cucumber (sliced, of course) to take back to bed to rest on my bleary eyes. The next morning, I was greeted by a cacophony of amazed childish utterances.....'what's this doing here'.....rather than the 'wow, you look ten years younger'.....which I was hoping would be the result. Oh well.

I couldn't resist and tizzed up the house. Fresh flowers from the garden:

Spellbinding peonies from the shop:

And then I resurrected the pink lanterns that I'd used to decorate the garden for my milestone birthday....a year or two ago. This time, I hung them down either side of the front door, comme ca:

Last time, I'd hung them under umbrellas which ran down the centre of the long table:

I wish I'd taken more photos of Saturday night however in the last frantic push to get ready, I accidentally dropped my husband's phone into the I had to graciously swap. Anyway, as is always the way, the party went off in the kitchen amidst the debris of bottles, glasses and platters:

All this week, while cooking dinners and supervising homework in this very same room,  I've been struggling not to giggle at the memory of one friend who utilised parts of the kitchen decor quite creatively....she discoed with a pair of antlers pilfered from the top of the mantelpiece....while she was also wearing the cow hide a cape.

I had a new was made of tulle. I've always secretly coveted a dress made of tulle so was overcome with wish fulfilment when I found this one......although my husband quite unkindly told me the next day that it may have done cruel things to the size of my derriere with it's pouffiness. No matter, it's still tulle. I tied two Hermes scarves around the waist to fashion a sash kind of thing. I've been doing a bit of this lately....tying two scarves together that is, today I tied the same two 90 and 70 carres into a long roll of scarf to make this.....a la one of the Knotting Cards from the stack I picked up in Lyon:

Anyway, while we are on the subject of dresses, I'm still reeling from the news that Collette Dinnigan, who has made some of my all time favourite dresses, is shutting up shop at the end of the year. My phone ran hot after the announcement with friends checking up to see how I was coping. One even went so far as to give me this as a present:

I haven't quite finished reading it yet....I'm eeking out every word and picture and consoling myself with the ravishing beauty of her work and the incredible story of her life. 

Dresses are so redolent of memory.  I couldn't help taking a trip down memory are some of the Collette Dinnigan frocks which hang in my wardrobe and some of their memorable outings. 

This was the first ever dress of hers that I acquired to wear to a birthday party for my husband. I also wore it to a romantic candle lit dinner at the Ayana Resort in Bali when we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. I couldn't find a photo of me wearing it so here's one of my girls and her friend after they'd raided my wardrobe:

I bought this dress especially to wear to the Henley Royal we are in the Steward's Enclosure having lunch....while I was pregnant with our other daughter:

My husband took me to Melbourne for the day to choose this dress for my  40th birthday....and yes he endured sitting for long hours at a time in various ladies change rooms around town while a friend and I made the final selection.....although we did make sure to fortify him with a lunch....and wine at France Soir:

And here's the very same dress earlier this year rugged up with myriad layers to brave the chilly London weather for the Chelsea Flower Show

This dress was packed to take to India and here it is at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur:

And another that I wore to Derby Day last year which was originally intended to wear to my brother in law's wedding:

And one of my all time fave's getting ready to have lunch in Montpellier with a friend.....back when we fleetingly called Uzes home:

Last but not least, here's my most recent acquisition sported a couple of weeks ago in Melbourne with fellow bloggers Heidi from Adelaide Villa and Ms Faux Fuchsia:

I am going to miss Collette Dinnigan's dresses.....yet I hope that she manages to find the family time that she's looking for. There's an anecdote in her book about her husband teasing her 9 year old daughter about taking over the business when she grows up to which Estella promptly replied 'No way, that's too much hard work'. Children are perceptive little treasures aren't they.