Money for Jam

The wardrobe cull. I don’t know what was worse… the pain of culling or the pain of not being able to fit anything else in the wardrobe.

I recently came across a Melbourne based pre-loved shopping event taking the pain out of selling with the target to “convert pre-loved items from one fashion obsessed wardrobe into another”.  The gorgeous girls at Fashion Conversation have taken about 12 items off my hands & freed up my wardrobe for new purchases, plus I’ll be getting a generous percentage of the sale price to pay off the new purchases!

Why I think this is win-win? I hate eBay. I cringe everytime I list an item & my inbox is inundated with questions like “can you measure from the armpit down to the dress hem?” “is this a small size 6 or will it fit an 8?”. Cue the eye rolling. Standard sizes people! I didn’t make these items myself!

The date of the shopping event is still yet to be announced but watch this space because it’ll be happening within the next couple of months & I’ll update the details here. After all, I had so many queries on my previous post of the Manning Cartell Cinderella Tales Dress which I’ve given to Fashion Conversation to sell on my behalf along with some Sass & Bide, & several Zimmermann items.

Sydney Vacay

When the boys planned a 24 hour Sydney vacay so they could watch the footy, the girls & I saw this as an opportunity to a. Hit the shops, & b. Eat like kings.

So after wandering around Sydneys CBD & deciding that all these shops are back in Melbourne anyway, it was on to plan B. aka the Sydney food Safari.

Following a breakfast at the token touristy spot of Queen Victoria, we caught a cab & headed for Alexandria to The Grounds. I had seen this place pop up on Instagram & was determined to check it out, if not for the meals then for the experience itself. The Grounds is a beautiful hidden spot which allows you to walk around & discover its many different aspects. There is a cosy bakery with all fresh goods & coffee, a florist that has divine & fragrant blooms pouring out through the doors, a fun animal nursery for the kiddies, some street stalls selling fresh produce & more baked goodies, & then my favourite- the Potting Shed which is a green house inspired brunch & lunch space where you’re greeted at the door with a swinging bench seat, an abundance of hanging baskets, & the most fabulous & friendly macaw.  Meals are served on spade heads, & some in pot plants. Like I said, this place is an experience & I felt like Alice when entering the rabbit hole.

We ordered the platter of mini pork dogs with sauerkraut, & mini black bun burgers, along with passionfruit mocktails. We then had coffees & sweet treats in the bake house.

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No trip to Sydney is complete without seeing the Harbour Bridge & Opera House. Even though friends made it out that I dragged them there early on the morning before we flew out, I secretly know they were all happy to see it. Besides, us girls had to walk off yesterdays giant meal!

No Reservation – No Problem

We recently celebrated our 6 years wedding anniversary & like previous years, we didn’t make any dinner reservations. We foolishly thought we’d just turn up on the doorstep of a Melbourne CBD eatery & that we’d get a table. Oh how naive can one be?

What is it with Melbourne & our ‘no reservation’ policy? Just wing it & hope you beat the line – but who wants dinner at 4.30pm? Not me. Or the alternative to line up for what seems like an eternity, only to be told you can now continue to wait at the bar for another hour or so, & get intoxicated so eventually you won’t even know what you’re eating anyway. Some places offered to call us later that night when a table was available – by then I would have eaten off my arm!

As we were turned away from possibly our 6th restaurant & with the rain starting to set in, I was on the verge of having a hair related temper tantrum. So thank God for Melbourne’s best known institution – Florentinos. Now I know it may have been a fluke to just walk in & get a table, but thats what happened. And we had the nicest evening with the most delicious 4 course meal & wines to match. We weren’t even rushed out of the venue so they could get another sitting in. Next year we may even call ahead & make that reservation…

 

Miss C screams for Ice-cream

The first year goes the fastest. I’d often hear other parents say it & I’d always thought “yeah yeah… whatever” but its true. Our little girl is 1 & I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out where the time went.

We wanted to throw a party that would be fun for her, so we settled on an ice-cream theme. It was an easy decision considering she throws tantrums when an ice-cream finishes, so we knew she had a soft spot for the icy treat. Our venue Jardin Tan at the Royal Botanic Gardens went above & beyond in accommodating our desires for the party theme. They provided their vintage looking ice cream bikes which is basically a freezer on wheels filled with adult sized choc tops in a variety of flavours. The finger food menu kept the adults well fed & little ones also had an age appropriate selection. Our cake was a Katherine Sabbath inspired upside down ice-cream with a chocolate & raspberry filling.

The party was entirely in the outdoor courtyard which is centred around a glorious manicured fig tree. It was such a lovely setting & I couldn’t recommend this place enough especially for kid friendly events. A courtyard space meant I didn’t feel guilty about the food that usually lands on the floor instead of in little ones mouths!

Due to the number of kids at the party we hired a balloon artist to keep them entertained. If you’re looking for a cool balloon artist in Melbourne get onto Balloons by Design. They don’t do your standard poodle. Think more along the lines of the Little Mermaid, Elsa from Frozen, ghostbusters – honestly it’s amazing the themes they can whip up & Gingi was a  favourite amongst the kids & adults alike.

The celebration is still being talked about by our select guests & I just don’t know how we’ll ever top this party.

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I’m backkkk

Everyone is entitled to a little writing hiatus, & you’ll probably notice that mine has been for the entirety of the summer months. I’m a summer girl, meaning I don’t stay indoors behind a computer when the suns out & the beach is calling. You know that corny quote: “salt on my skin, sand in my hair” or however it goes… Well that could have been written for me, if only I could remember the actual quote..

So a little recap?

January Highlight- A brief trip to the GC with friends was a welcomed break. Caught some more rays, drank a few wines, had some laughs, & ate like kings. Our friend JAG got fish slapped & we weren’t even near the water (good old Chinese restaurant with its fresh fish tanks). Our little girl had her first icy-pole & it was decided we’d need to make this trip an annual thing. GC was good to us. Always is for a quick get away.

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February Highlight- A vacay to Hawaii. It was our 1st international flight with the little one & she did marvellous. We found Hawaii to be the perfect holiday destination for young families. All restaurants were accommodating & wait staff actually showed an interest. And the outlet sales for kids clothes & shoes… squeal! Converse was amazing value & we scored 4 pairs of shoes for less than $100. Top place to eat – Bills Sydney. This is Bill Granger’s restaurant with a menu that reminded us off back home. Portions were of a ‘normal’ size & it wasn’t typical deep fried meals like the bulk of the other places we visited (ahem… Cheese Cake Shop).  What caught my eye the most in Waikiki were the pretty palm tree lined skys & powerful pastel sunsets. Such natural beauty – my poor instagram copped a loadful of posts with the #nofilter. Well, when in Rome… or paradise.

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Ok, I feel we’ve almost caught up. March was a busy month so I’ll save that for another post.

Dinner for Dummies

I hate entertaining. I know it may come as a shock considering I love attending events, but that is so much more enjoyable than slaving away in a kitchen & having to wipe down the dining table 100 times before guests arrive. So why do I do it? It appears I married “The Entertainer” himself. And no, not Robbie Williams.

Today my husband is treating himself to a 3 hour luncheon. The same day he has invited 2 of his mates & their wives over for a Christmas dinner. Now most people do mid week dinners casually. Not us. I’m talking cheese board starters, pasta entrée with home made sauce, roast lamb for mains, panettone ice-cream extravaganza for dessert… oh deer Roudolf why does he put me through this?

So if my cooking is likely to be an epic fail because clearly I’ve taken on more than I can manage, the next best thing is to have the table setting all themed in the Christmas spirit so hopefully it’ll take the guests eye off the burnt lamb. My centre piece consists of the Christmas reef straight off the front door with a vase in the centre & some spare baubles inside (yes I am genius). I purchased some fun novelty bonbons from Safeway which contain the Twister board game & placed these at each place setting.

So if all else fails, I’ll just get them drunk & crack open the Twister.  Deck the halls… with gin & tonic, now right hand red.

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Use Your Noodle

Birrarung Mar along Melbourne’s riverside came to life for 2 weeks in November with the return of the Night Noodle Markets as part of Melbourne’s ‘Good Food Month’. Basically the Night Noodle Market could be renamed ‘Messina in the City’ because the stand with the longest queue wasn’t for noodles or dumplings like one would have expected. The line for Messina gelato ran up, down, around, & back again, but with a themed menu to match the event I could see what the hype was all about. I selected the coffee flavoured “Phuc King Tasty” which had a cinnamon scroll inside, whilst friends of mine ordered “Street Hawker” for its crushed fortune cookies.

I was so insistent on attending this foodie event and not even because I like noodles that much. I was keen because I love the way Melbourne does events. Its a laid back vibe open to all social groups, with people encouraged to sit on the lawns, eat quality food from some of Melbourne’s top restaurants & watch the changing colours as the sunsets through the skyscrapers. Yep – Melbourne I heart you.

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Paris to Provence

Im a sucker for all things French. I can’t help it… it just seems like all of the best things in life come from France. Macarons, Crepes, Chanel need I say more? Hermes, champagne, baguettes.. I think you get the picture.

Last weekend Como House turned into a little wonderful slice of France complete with music, vintage posters, and food. The French Festival hit South Yarra in all its glory & Melbourne turned the weather on for this fancy fest. It was bare legs galore with  picnics on the lawn whilst fresh baguettes were consumed by the bakers dozen truck load!

What does one wear to such a chic festival? Well you can’t go wrong if you pay tribute to the French fashion houses, however its important to tone it down as the French themselves would. Its understated simple style. Heres a flat lay from my outfit on the day, just missing the white T-shirt that went with it (its in the wash now.. oops… chocolate crepes are messy things but well worth the trouble). The bag & sunnies are both Chanel, & the skirt is Gorman from 2yrs ago.

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Byron Ba(b)y

It was time for a little family vacay & with a love for adventure & exploring we decided to head to Byron Bay since we’d never been there before. Unfortunately the 1 week we were there was their worst weather for the whole of November meaning days at the beach were out. So what does one do when the weather isn’t great by the sea side? Put the eat in retreat!

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Brunches were a daily thing at Bay Leaf which is popular with both tourists & locals alike. The smashed avo on sourdough was so fresh & their take on Vietnamese coffee  didn’t disappoint either. On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend ordering take away coffees – They were the size of a babycino & cost $4 a pop.

Another spot to visit 30mins out of Byron is Harvest. It has a real country feel but with a quality menu. Since they don’t have a brunch menu you need to either be there for the breakfast or lunch sittings otherwise you’ll only be able to order from the cake display & coffee, not that theres anything wrong with that.

SHOP

There was only 1 shop that I wanted to visit & that was Ahoy Trader. I timed this trip really badly because the shop was closed the entire time we were in Byron. Luckily the pop up warehouse was open for business with several pieces available including a selection of crosses, buntings & portholes all hand painted by Jai. I am obsessed with these beautiful decorative pieces which also make thoughtful gifts.

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No trip to Byron would be complete without a visit to the famous lighthouse which featured in the 90’s series ‘Round the Twist’ (Okay.. i might be showing my age now..) Its a lovely little scenic walk if you park 1/2 way up the hill, or for those prepared to walk the entire way its best you wear proper footwear & attire as its mostly roadside track or boardwalk.

The lighthouse offers the best views of coastal Byron & out to where the sea meets the sky. Even on cloudy days this walk is well worth it.

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Spring Races Recap

November. What a month! I’m actually relieved its almost over but then December will be just as busy with Christmas parties so there really isn’t a break after all. As with every year for the past decade (and some) I attended Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival held at Flemington. Now I know the races seem like ages ago but here is my recap & its better late than never.

Derby Day – The Nursery (members)

Traditionally black & white, I stuck to the unenforced rules & wore a black Finders Keepers the Label dress which had a mesh angular cut out down the middle. This dress had been sitting in my wardrobe for 18 months so the chances of seeing it on someone else were pretty slim. The hat was a one off monochrome piece by Frankie Ascot which featured some black netting across the eyes & a structured white lace circular fan. With a forecast of wet weather I didn’t want to wear shoes that might get ruined so I opted for my black studded Zara booties to keep my feet dry.

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Oaks Ladies Lunch – Crown Palladium 

A fabulous ladies luncheon held at Crown, the room was filled with 1500 including some of Melbourne’s fashion elite, & 7 men. Needless to say I know 7 people who had a really wonderful time 😉  With meals created by Guillaume the food was impressive  considering it was mass produced, & entertainment by Human Nature really got the crowd out of their seats. The only thing that let this event down were the table flower arrangements, but maybe I’m just a little fussy coming from the last vrc luncheon that had a really beautiful floral centrepiece. See the dessert? yes.. that is fairy floss on top.

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I wore my pink modern lace Manning Cartell Cinderella Tales dress to this event. I think Ladies Luncheon calls for either pink tones or floral. The heels were vintage Marc Jacobs & the clutch was a little Louboutin splurge from Paris. In my usual style of mixing luxe with less, the gold goddess inspired headpiece from Kookai was a measly $60.

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Stakes Day – The Rails (members)

This is my favourite day of the spring racing carnival with a relaxed vibe & late start. Although the fashion on Stakes is fun & not quite as serious as the other days, this doesn’t mean you can cut corners on an outfit & matching hat.

My outfit was a last minute purchase when I stumbled across the polka dot shirt from Gorman thinking I could use it in my workwear wardrobe. I then thought I’d check out Zara & found the houndstooth skirt in a complimenting orange & that was that, add a touch of Valentino rock studs – outfit done!

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Flemington – thanks for another fabulous carnival!!