maximalism

February 13, 2018

My friend and neighbour, the writer Kerry Clare, sent me a link to these fabulous interiors by American heiress, Gloria Venderbilt. She knows my taste for mixing and matching bold colours and prints, and these rooms take my maximalism to another stratosphere. I think you’ve got to have such chutzpah, such passion, and such abandon to decorate this way. I want to be invited to dinner party where our hostess has coordinated her outfit to match her table linens, and where the drapes are the same shade of pink as our raspberry sorbet. Fabulous, really.

if this dress could talk

February 12, 2018

I came across this photograph today of French artist, Fernand Leger in his Paris studio with British model Anne Gunning, and all I could think about was how fabulously well Gunning’s dress blends in with Leger’s paintings. It was shot for LIFE magazine in 1955, just weeks before Leger died. The dress was designed by Claire McCardell, who until today I had embarrassingly never heard of. “We look at her as the founder of democratic American fashion,” said Valerie Steele, director of the F.I.T. museum. “McCardell spoke often and passionately about a need for clothes that fit an American woman’s life style and athletic carriage,” wrote the New York Times. “The sashes and wide, soft leather belts, which she said were inspired by kimonos or girdle belts worn by the ancient Greeks, were to avoid zippers and buttons.” Modern designers from Anna Sui to Cynthia Rowley owe much to McCardell. This dress is a dream –– a walking work of art.

a wave

February 9, 2018

I made a bowl a couple of weeks ago that cracked before it even reached the kiln. I’d spent a fair amount of time on it, so I wasn’t ready to bin it. I started carving, smoothing down the edge and creating an undulating rim that followed the line of the crack. And then it cracked again. And again. Thankfully, the second and third cracks were small enough that I was able to keep smoothing them down. I was amazed that it made it through its first firing. I painted the body bone white, and the outer rim bright blue, to accentuate the bowl’s story. It looks like a wave against a stark white backdrop. It made it through the second firing with just a few surface cracks. I was so pleased. Pottery is a continuous lesson in letting go –– but sometimes it’s worth embracing the cracks and seeing where they lead.

let them eat cake

February 9, 2018

I don’t usually wear sorbet colours, but today I was in a lemon yellow cardi and a watermelon pink scarf, and I felt like a walking gelato. I love Kirsten Dunst’s wardrobe in Marie Antoinette –– and this particular dress is a very grand version of me today. I just need bows and bigger hair.

San valentino

February 7, 2018

On Valentine’s Day, my children are encouraged to make a card for every child in their class. If I can get my act together, I may suggest that we bake a bunch of heart shape cookies for their pals instead. This recipe looks pretty easy, and I can always cut a corner with a shop bought frosting. Love comes through the tummy.

toast francese

February 6, 2018

In a pinch, french toast is our go-to dinner. I don’t feel too badly about it either. It’s a couple of eggs, a few slices of freshly baked bread, (we live next to a bakery) and some good quality maple syrup. Chuck a load of blueberries on top, and at least the kids are getting their daily dose of antioxidants. I like to serve with a glass of cold milk. Dinner, done.

tinsel town

February 5, 2018

What fun on a dreary Monday morning, to come across Rachel Burke’s jackets, all fashioned from shiny, high wattage tinsel. Each one is custom made-to-order using up-cycled jacket bases. Burke’s clients include Tavi Gevinson, Petra Collins and Lorde. I kind of want one in metallic pink. Just imagine the possibilities that unfold when wearing a tinsel cape.

it’s a wrap

February 3, 2018

I’ve been using the same foutas when I swim for years, but I do love these fouta inspired towels, designed in Melbourne by Sophie Matson. The company is called købn and the towels come in a selection of bold stripes. They may be too good for chlorine, but I don’t care. Thrice weekly swims deserve a prize.

Mum

February 1, 2018

I always wanted to be a mum, mostly because my own mama made it look so darn fun. And chic. And cool. She was the mum who danced around the kitchen to Dire Straits songs and turned up to parent teacher meetings in pink Reeboks. She was the mum who wore crazy wigs and turned our kitchen into a witch’s grotto. She was the mum who sneaked me into Pretty Woman when I was 12, and always stocked the fridge with enough junk food to feed all our friends. Perfect, crust-off cucumber sandwiches weren’t her style. She was more of a sloppy BLT mum. But I do remember her making a mansion out of immaculate marmite sandwiches once for my brother’s school fete. There was a little path, and trees and flowers, too –– all made out of fruits and vegetables and twiglets. As we drove to school, with the house on my brother’s lap, she braked abruptly and the whole thing went flying. Every inch of car was covered in florets of broccoli, carrots, chocolate buttons and slices of buttery bread. It’s the one and only time I ever remember my mother unraveling. We all cried a lot in the car that day. I can only imagine how lousy she felt. It’s a horrible feeling to come undone in front of your children. And that’s the one that stands out. But most of the time she made us feel like she was having so much fun, that she loved being our mum.  Because she was. She did.

Footnote: I called my Mum today, and she says it was more log cabin than mansion.

lychee

January 31, 2018

So many childhood memories are triggered by food. I saw a handful of lychee this morning, and within seconds I was sitting at Mr Kai in Mayfair, age seven, noshing on dozens of lychee. It’s where my Dad used to take my brother and I and his then girlfriend after work late on Friday nights. I’d start off with a pile of prawn crackers, and then make my way through sticky ribs, egg fried rice and Peking duck pancakes with all the trimmings. Vanilla ice cream was a staple for dessert, and so was a bowl of lychee. I don’t remember much else about the evenings, other than the food and how exciting it felt to be out at a fancy, grownup restaurant. At home, my Mum stocked the fridge with lychee, too. I scoffed them by the dozen in front of the tele, and they were a staple in my packed lunch. There was a brief Lycheetini phase in my early twenties, (although, I don’t recall ever calling them that, thank heavens) but that’s probably the last time I came into contact with one. To be honest, the thought of eating a lychee, makes me recoil a little. Maybe I just had one too many?

 

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