Sunday, 22 March 2015

Rainy Sunday kitchen fest

This is the view from our apartment: super grey and rainy. It's been threatening rain most of the weekend and from about midday Sunday it has been falling nonstop.

I actually really like the rain.  It might be an Australian thing or growing up on a farm or having a country family but rain means everything is getting a wash, the plants are getting water, the dams and waterways are filling up and everything is going to be a-ok.

Of course, urban life means the rain can be a bit of a downer what with having to negotiate public transport and dodgy puddly uneven footpaths in heels etc etc but personally I still really love it. M loves the sound of it falling on a tin roof so he's been a happy humming little bird all weekend. We just have to be judicious about walking the fat dog as soon as it stops, even just for a moment!

Because last weekend was so busy, we agreed to keep this weekend to a minimum and that meant we said no to every social invitation and instead spent Saturday shopping for M's wedding suit. I don't think either of us was really looking forward to it. I luurrrrve shopping for me, but I'm have next to no interest in 'dressing' M, although I know a lot of women do enjoy that.  M is probably about as awkward shopping as the average heterosexual male his age so when the two of us get together, I pity the sales assistants.

Because it was so humid, I relished the opportunity to wear a dress. Not just any dress but my new DvF dress from Matches that arrived during the week and is just as beautiful as I had hoped:

Dress: Diane von Furstenburg (available here)
Sandals: Nine West
Bag: Michael Kors
We tripped off to the city on the ferry, clutching umbrellas. I needn't have worried, as it turned out: we got a wonderful girl to help us at David Jones and it was so nice to have someone professionally guide us through fabrics, cuts and colours. One of the occasions where bricks and mortar retails definitely trumped internet shopping. She encouraged us towards charcoal with an ivory shirt and black or dark navy tie (still to be decided). M has never looked more handsome and I'm so excited to see how he looks on our wedding day.

After that, I had to go briefly into work to do a few things in preparation for Monday. I have such a busy week ahead - not looking forward to it :( It was good to knock a few things over on the weekend so I start the week in a better position.

When I got home, we did one of my favourite DIY things: picture hanging!

I have some photos I took when I was in Paris in 2009 that I've had enlarged and printed on archival paper and then professionally framed. I quite often take photos to use as interior art for either the office or home. It's fun, it allows me to use my (small) creative side and, being ever the economist, it's incredibly cost-effective for the aesthetic end-result.  This is immediately recognisable as the Musee d'Orsay interior clock:

We've hung it in our entrance alcove, which I painted a deep dark blue a couple of years ago and I have to say, all the gold against the blue looks really rather fetching!

We were invited to come out for a drink on Saturday night at around 9pm and I'm rather embarrassed to say, we were already in bed! We're both working such long hours at the moment, I sometimes miss my younger days when I could go out at the drop of a hat but I really don't have the energy anymore. Sleep is so much more tempting than loud music and expensive drinks/food. I'm getting old :(

Because it rained virtually all day today, I decided to break out the baking gear and make this cinnamon pull apart bread from Joy the Baker:

Getting ready to go in the oven...

M is the sweet tooth in our house and spent a fair bit of the afternoon snuffling around the kitchen and asking me "Is it ready yet?" I told him to bugger off and it would be ready when it was ready. When I took it out, I almost tripped over the fat dog AND M standing 2 inches behind me desperately trying to see it. I'm really happy with how it turned out and would recommend giving the recipe a go if you're looking for something sweet and a bit unusual for an afternoon tea with family.  Unsurprisingly, it disappeared in a very short time!

Now I'm sitting preparing to watch an episode of The Fall and eat a delicious bolognese. I had quite a bit of veg in the fridge that I wanted to use up so bolognese was an easy choice: it's so versatile and you can put almost any summer vegetable in it and it will be superb.

I'll definitely be off the air this week - sad face! But work is how it is and it's got to be done. I will just look forward to more posting next weekend :) xo

Monday, 16 March 2015

Summer sunshine

Happy Monday!!

Coming back down to the working week with a resounding *thump* after a busy social weekend that included:
- Pilates
- meeting with milliner (re. wedding headpiece - more on that later in the month)
- lunch at Tinderbox with my godparents and their daughters for a lovely, pre-wedding catch up
- late afternoon drinks with a friend who recently moved here from Sydney
- brunch on Sunday with my gorgeous mother and M

Phew! That was an absolute whirlwind - M and I spent the remainder of Sunday doing all the neglected chores from Saturday and both agreed: next weekend is going to be just us and the fat dog relaxing at home!

This week at work I'm continuing with rolling out the rebrand and finalising our corporate presentations for the end of the month and the next month. I don't have any formal meetings scheduled for this week so I'm actually happy to be a little informal for the office:

Top: Country Road
Jeans: Country Road
Jacket: Weekend Maxmara (at Matches)
Heels: Bally
Bag: Louis Vuitton

This jacket is a bit of a departure for me - it's so bright! Like a lot of redheads, I absorbed a lot of misinformation about what would, and (mostly) would not, look good with my hair. In particular, I was assured by various persons (teachers, mothers of school friends) that I could not, ever, under any circumstances, wear bright colours.  This affected all manner of style choices for me as an adolescent and early twenties female.  I embraced all black outfits and nude lip gloss. Consequently, I blended right into the background, thanks to ridiculous style 'rules' espoused by ignorant women to an impressionable teen.

Fortunately, I eventually discovered just how wrong these 'rules' against redheads are, against redheads wearing colour, being vibrant and embracing prints and other delights of the fashion cycle. I've started wearing red lipstick. I've been slowly introducing colour into my wardrobe over a couple of seasons. Now, when I look through my wardrobe, it's not an ocean of black. There's lightness and brightness, in pockets. I typically pair an ivory/white top over dark slim trousers.

This jacket is quite a leap, by my standards. The boxy cropped cut is unusual for me, I favour jackets that nip me in under the bust and define my waist. The colour is just so cheerful, I wanted it to brighten up my work days. It's made of a refined raffia weave and is light enough for me to wear right now in high summer, even on classic humid Brisbane days.

After a long day, I came home to the usual Monday night routine: exercise, walking the fat dog, unloading dishwashers and dinner. Except my dinner turned out a little bit fancy:

Smoked salmon slices drizzled with lemon and served on a bed of sautéed baby asparagus. I'm trying to mix up our protein a little and thought smoked salmon would be a good option. It's delicious and easy, all you have to do is prepare whatever veg you're having with it. This meal took a grand total of 10 minutes to prepare - very tempting to most of us who come home on a Monday night thoroughly exhausted!

I hope you all have great Mondays :) xo

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Match(es) made in heaven

Who loves internet shopping?

Me. I do. I even did a post about things that make internet shopping awesome.

And it would appear people know, because the fabulous team at Matches sent me a super lovely gift voucher to explore the DVF Spring/Summer 2015 collection :)

I love DVF. It's got the right mix of pretty and preppy, with a little bit of #girlboss thrown in for good measure. This season there's a heavy emphasis on checks and gingham, while some more retro-styled classic DVF prints seem to have made a bit of a comeback with a modern reworking across the wrap and tunic dress styles.

I was a bit like a kid in a candy store but eventually settled on the Fleur dress in a really crisp bright red:

DVF always does this great thing and releases designs in multiple colours so you'll be pleased to know this dress also comes in pink and a pale yellow (lemon?) colour. Look at me, describing things :)

The dress is winging it's way to me now and I'm really hoping the fabric is wearable - sometimes crepes and jerseys can be a bit heavy for the Queensland climate. I've been looking for a simple, short red dress for ages, ever since my last red dress (a fetching crimson silk affair) actually tore across the behind/bottom area from overwear. While I was out Christmas shopping. Yes, my underwear may have been seen by quite a few people I didn't actually know. I only discovered the damage when I got home. Le sigh.

Here's hoping I look as good in this little fire engine number as the model does:


Gorgeous, no?!  xo

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Casual Thursday

It's a thing: casual Thursday, because I have no meetings for the rest of the week and I am going to be chilling in my office (with my gorgeous fresh flowers that actually have a scent - I didn't even know scented roses existed outside of your nanna's garden anymore?)

I couldn't sleep this morning so got up early and walked the fat dog. Then came home, downed a green smoothie in record time and got ready for work. As I suspected, navy skinnies, flats and an ivory tank were calling my name, but I wanted something else, something more. I've been moaning over the past couple of weeks about how hot it is and how I'm seriously lusting for some autumnal fashion. So, despite the temps outside, I decided to add a scarf to my outfit today:

Top: LK Bennett
Pants: Country Road
Flats: Jimmy Choo
Scarf: Gucci
Bag: Hermes
This scarf is a classic old Gucci in a light and dark blue that goes really well with a lot of my wardrobe staples.  Because I went sleeveless, the scarf is just perfect for keeping me comfortable in the office aircon.  The bag keeps the blue theme going and just looks awesome all the time anyway :)

I want to start getting better photos going - a bit less 'me-in-the-mirror-trying-to-look-photogenic-with-an-iPhone-smack-in-front-of-my-head'. I'll let you know how that works out...

It's nearly the weekend kids - a good couple of days to nail away the last tasks of the week before the fun social weekend ahead. xo

Hump day happiness!

Isn't it nice when we decide to make a change and we actually manage to keep it up? Ok, so fresh flowers for the office is hardly life-changing, but still, they're making my office look and feel fabulous, like an aesthetically-pleasing space I actually enjoy spending time in. Go me.

I am spending the rest of the week putting together a series of presentations we are giving later in the month to key stakeholders on the consumer side of our business. To be honest, I've been slightly procrastinating over it and, well, there's really no time for that! It's the old story: when you get so caught up in wanting to do a thing perfectly, you become frozen and can't move forward. I finally seem to have made it into a great productive headspace over it and things are now going ahead to plan. I put it down to the flowers :)

So given that I'm in creative-mode rather than business-mode, I'll be slightly more relaxed, outfit-wise, for the final two days at work and you know what that means: Jimmy Choo flats, come at me!

I've had a number of little pieces of deliciousness appear at work this week and I thought I'd share a little happiness around for Hump-day:

1. Tom Ford Plum Japonais

Ooooooh. Looks like someone got a bit fancy.

So I posted about my search for a 'date-night' fragrance and haven't had a great deal of luck, although I have found some really lovely perfumes. They simply haven't been quite...what I'm after.  This one has sufficient depth and smokiness to show promise. We're off to dinner on Friday night and then drinks on Saturday, so I shall be testing this one out on M.  I'll keep you posted, politely of course ;)

2. Stripes and slogans

Iris and Ink and Zoe Karssen 
Who doesn't love a Breton tee? When it comes with saffron stripes, it's like a unicorn made out of sunshine. If that was a thing.

The slogan top just made me giggle. Not everything has to be an outfit for work, these are two I can see fitting very nicely into my relaxed-weekend wardrobe.

3. Nude sandals

This bit hardly needs any content at all, just enjoy the glamour shots :)

Come to mumma...

I love a suede shoe and these strappy sandals are making me excited about dressing up weekend outfits that little bit more than usual. So much more fun than flats, no?

4. Streamlined accessories

Top: LK Bennett
Pants: Country Road
Heels: Bally
Bag: Louis Vuitton

Camel and taupe - delicious!
Sigh. This bag is a lesson in understatement. The colour is quite hard to describe (ok, it's probably not hard to describe for someone who actually knows the correct names for colours - I'm just not that person) but it goes with my outfits seamlessly.

Secret? I fell for this bag the moment I spotted Christine Lagarde carrying one at a recent forum on the Greek debt crisis. I'm such an economics nerd :)

Here she is hanging out in my office looking quite the professional:

Well, all those little things certainly cheered me up - I hope everyone is having good weeks - it's a sleigh ride now to Friday :) xo

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Working week: black, white and beige

Top: Vivienne Westwood Anglomania
Pants: Vince (available here)
Heels: Bally
Bag: Louis Vuitton

Work is so busy at the moment and still so hot! I'm eagerly scanning northern hemisphere blogs for coats and boots and scarves and generally feeling a bit put out that I have to slather sunscreen on every morning just to walk the dog. I know I shouldn't complain, the sunshine is good for general cheeriness, but still: maintaining one's chic while sweating profusely is no mean feat. 

Last night I went to a Pilates class and it was really tough but a good finish to a busy work day. I had one of those days where I started at 7am, left the office at 6:30pm and although I cleared loads off my desk, took phone calls and returned dozens of emails, I still didn't feel like I achieved all that much. 

Whenever I get like this, I try to shake it off (thanks Tay) with some loud music and some natural endorphins. Not pot brownies (I'm not that natural) but natural endorphins from exercise. I'm trying to go to Pilates twice a week. I'd really recommend it for anyone with a mostly sedentary job as it's great for core muscle strength and keeping your back strong (and pain-free!)

I got home around 8pm and was in the mood for some comfort food so I made a variation of my chicken noodle soup by subbing in frozen corn for zucchini and shallots, with loads of mushrooms and fresh chives from our herb garden:

This is quite a quick dinner to whip up and it's nicely low cal, especially if you choose to leave the egg noodles out. Obviously, I didn't: it was late, girl was hungry, bring me all the noodles!! 

I'm super sore today but it's the best kind of soreness - happy hump day, everyone :) xo

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Lightness of being

Top: LK Bennett
This week's theme of lightweight pieces and cool-coloured accessories continues in an effort to beat the heat - 33C today!

It's so hot I didn't even bother with a blazer or jacket - just a light ivory tank by LK Bennett and my (new) favourite silk pants from Vince.

As my style continues to evolve (being 32 now, not the spring chicken I once was) I place more and more value on multiple buys as well as ensuring quality cut and fit.  I have three of this ivory tank because it drapes nicely at the front, is really practical (read: no dry-cleaning) and translates well for me across my full wardrobe, from work to weekend.  It is quite a generous cut and I tend to size up in tops anyway due to my bust. To mitigate any potential oversize/sack-effect, I have the tops tailored with a couple of modest darts, just to draw the lines in a little.  Tailoring is such a worthwhile investment, I couldn't recommend it more highly particularly for clothes that are part of your sartorial uniform on high closet rotation.

That said, it all might still look a bit frumpy in the photo. I'd love to have really awesome street-style blog photos. M isn't the world's best photographer though so I may have to recruit another helper...