Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Où est Charles Whyte?

Have you been wondering 'Où est Charles Whyte?' Probably not, but just in case the answer is 'Je suis à le swimming pool'! Well, almost. I'm at the hotel's internet corner on my way to this divine pool. Our gorgeous friends S&R are getting married here in Bali on Friday so we are here to celebrate with them. It's fantastic! They should get married every year ;)

I have five drafts posts in progress which I had all intentions of finishing and posting, but holidays are just too damn sweet to spend them by a computer. I hope you understand. I do hope you all had a wonderful break over Easter. Back soon. xx

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sartorial Sunday: The Balmoral look

With the interest in the Royals reaching fever pitch on account of Wills and Kate's upcoming nuptials and the temperature cooling here in Melbourne, it seems fitting to focus Sartorial Sunday on the kind of regal fashion that would make you feel at home at Balmoral Castle. Well, as relaxed as a commoner could in such company. An outfit fit for a stroll through the Scottish Highlands, a little hunting, a horse ride or a day at the polo.

I rather fancy this look myself and last winter I finally found a riding boot I liked to fit my large hooves, so now it's all about completing the look (although this season's update of my boot, the Diana Ferrari Simmo boot pictured, is almost having me wishing I'd waited). Not just reserved for visits to the country towns of our childhood and cold afternoons at the football, the riding boot is even sneaking into less corporate workplaces. Hooray for that.

As for the other selected items above, I figured the Queen really rocks the scarf when she is in residence at Balmoral so Kate should get in with Grandma by sporting something like this from Hermes.

The jodhpurs will still allow her to put her best, toned leg forward while exploring the moors with her father-in-law, and James Adler's book 'The Birds and Flowers of the Castle of Mey and Balmoral' will help brush up on the natural wonders of the Royals much-loved summer home. All while impressing the family with her intellect and interests, of course. Fashion may be one of her strengths but do you think she's game to discuss sartorial matters with her new family? I'd love to be a fly on the wall sometimes... provided I could sport an insect-sized pair of riding boots, of course.

Pictured above:
Hermes Concours d'Etriers silk twill scarf
Diana Ferrari Simmo boot
H&M camel coat
Bastyan jodhpur legging
Longchamp Le Pliage medium black bag
Tiffany &Co gold beads earrings 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cafe Love - Los Latinos

It's been less than a week since my last visit and I can't stop thinking of when I will get my next fix of sinful Latino delights. No, this is not a confessional nor am I about to share my secret kinky desires with you! I'm talking about a Latin American eatery in Maidstone, not far from home.

 Margarita $10.50 and a bottle of Pacifico

Los Latinos is a bright star in the rather sad, suburban shopping strip of Mitchell Street, Maidstone. It seems to be the only surviving business here, in the evening at least. This was our second visit and, as it was a Friday night, a margarita and a Mexican beer were eagerly spotted and quickly ordered. It's easy to kick back here and allow the cares of your week to slip away. The shop itself is very simple - no pretension or elaborate features here - just a friendly, honest little shop bringing Latin American cuisine to Melburnians.

Los Latinos' pride and passion for their food is always evident in the enthusiatic recommendations from the waitress. Now celebrating their first anniversary, Los Latinos was certainly busier than on our first visit last year. Tables were filled with families, groups and couples devouring plates of delicious looking food, all freshly made on the premises.

Tex Mex Nachos $11.50

We ate with gusto when our first dish of Tex Mex nachos arrived. Last visit we avoided these as we wanted to try new things, but I have to say these are better than any I've made at home or eaten in a generic cafe. The menu described them (accurately) like so: warm corn tostadas topped with chile con carne, salsa rojo, green tomatillo salsa, spicy cheese sauce, guacamole and sour cream with refried bean sauce.

 Arepas de Masorca (Colombian) $9.50

The Arepas de Masorca were next up and undisputedly the dish of the menu. We enjoyed these seared yellow corn cakes topped with melted cheese, grilled chorizo and a dollop of sour cream as much as, if not more than last time. I am a corn fiend and the Mister is mad for chorizo so this is one of those perfectly balanced dishes that caters for both of us.

If these Arepas de Masorca are any indication of the food in Colombia, I need to get myself over there. Given they are the very reason we made a second visit, I have included a second angle (above)!

Tacos de pollo $12.50

Finally, we squeezed in the tacos de pollo or grilled chicken fillet marinated in mexican spices served on soft tortillas with chirrimol, guacamole and a side of salsa roja and smoked hot peppers. These had the least zing of all the dishes we've tried here and we found ourselves adding lots of the chilli sauces from the little dishes provided. I imagine kids might enjoy these with their fresh and mild flavours but we were looking for something that packed a little more flavour punch. Still perfectly enjoyable though and perhaps better enjoyed before bursting, as we were.

It might not have the hip interior or the CBD location, but Los Latinos sure gives Mamasita a run for its money when it comes to standout food and attentive service. Look forward to celebrating their success on their next anniversary and beyond.

Los Latinos on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sartorial Sunday: Dressing like a Parisian

For this week's Sartorial Sunday, I bring to you Ines de la Fressange's guide to dressing like a Parisian as seen in the March April edition of Lonny mag (how I love thee). Always a sucker for fashion illustration and French style, I printed this little slice of genius to keep at my desk. How selfish of me. Here it is for your enjoyment, if you haven't already seen:

Ines de la Fressange's Ten Ways to Dress Like a Parisian
10. Jeans with gem-encrusted sandals (not sneakers)
9. A pencil skirt with ballet flats (not with heels)
8. A sequinned sweater with men's trousers (not with a skirt)
7. A diamond necklace with a denim shirt, during the day (and not with a black dress at night)
6. Loafers with shorts...and even with socks (not with long slacks and no socks)
5. An evening dress with ultra-plain, open toed sandals (not with the gem-encrusted evening variety)
4. A pearl necklace with a rock'n'roll t-shirt (not with a simple shift dress).
3. A chiffon print dress with battered biker boots (not with brand-new ballet flats)
2. A tux jacket with sneakers (not femme fatale stilettos)
1. An evening dress with a straw handbag (not with a gold clutch)

 Can't wait to read this former model and style icon's book Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange (just released on April 5 here in Australia). Will surely give all readers that irresistable 'je ne sais quoi'?!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The dark days are (not) over

My latest eBay find and subsequent project is a little table to fill a small corner of our living room. I was on the hunt for something as part of our living room makeover. It's not the most exciting piece but the dimensions were just right for the space and it was only $40.




The paint is Dulux Domino leftover from painting over purple tiles in our kitchen dining area. Can't get enough of these dark days tones. The black and white striped knob was $3.95 at Provincial Home Living. 

Last night, the table moved into its new home here:

Previously this space was wasted with a tiny lamp table that had unfortunate chrome legs. 

Not too hard to beat that! Of course, the new wall colour and carpet we are planning will help even more, but for now the new table definitely utlises the space better without getting in the way. This is right between two doorways so anything bigger would be quite a nuisance. It's not perfect though. Certainly doesn't hide the surround sound speaker very well and I'm told that is essential to the room so cannot be removed! 

A dark surface called for light objects so I arranged the table with my favourite nude statue from the mantle (below) and a globe from a funny little corner shelf that we just knocked out (will explain another day).

I then swapped things around on the mantle to make room for la Tour Eiffel which no longer worked hiding in the corner. A seedy night shot for you:

Notice the progress on my Kravet Velvet Gate Tuxedo painting? Not getting a whole lotta sleep between work, painting furniture, painting canvases and sewing more cushions but it sure is fun. Hope you are also finding things to make your heart sing this week!

Cafe Love: Duchess of Spotswood

Where should a Footscray girl take a discerning mademoiselle for a proper brunch in order to console her for being back at work after a European adventure? Somewhere with excellent Melbourne food and coffee. Somewhere that reminds us that there are nice little discoveries to be had in our own city. Somewhere with fancy English names on the menu and a chandelier. It has to be the Duchess of Spotswood.

In the quiet, unassuming strip of Hudsons Road in Spotswood, lies the nondescript exterior of Duchess of Spotswood. Inside, things are still clean and simple but with a few elegant touches (the chandelier) and some homely ones (baskets of bread for sale, floral sugar bowls). The consumables are the stars here.

The young mademoiselle in question inhales the coffee, giving it her nod of approval and we are soon ordering our second cup. A good coffee was hard to find in Europe apparently but this one was truely a good brew. The sugar was interesing too. I'm noticing it in a few nice eateries of late but I don't know what it's called. Like brown sugar only it doesn't clump together and it looks like it has spices in it (anyone??).

Our visit to the Duchess was timed precisely so we did not miss the breakfast menu ending at 1pm, but allowing us time to spend the morning as we chose, be it under the covers or sweating it out at the gym.

Simple Pleasures: marinated avocado with goats curd, sourdough toast, heirloom tomatoes, preserved lemon and poached eggs ($17.50)

I'd worked up quite an appetite by the time the Simple Pleasures dish arrived at our table and some serious food envy ensued. Not one, but two deliciously gooey poached eggs. Look at all that avocado, yum! It's hard to see here but the sourdough toast was very thin and crunchy, giving it a nice point of difference from other similar cafe breakfasts. The preserved lemon and sprouts were nice touches too and kept us entertained as we worked out what they were.

Prince of Wales: House smoked salmon fillet with potato pancake, spinach, poached egg and sourdough bread ($16.50)

Luckily, my choice - the Prince of Wales - was also thoroughly enjoyable and worthy of some dissecting as I imbibed its flavours. I enjoyed the potato pancakes with the mushy centres and I couldn't fault the salmon but it was very restrained. Such a reasonable serving and a very refined way to eat but I was secretly wishing for another slice of bread. Oh, and one of my friend's eggs! Sharing is caring.

The Duchess of Spotswood is certainly worth a second visit. I'll return when I'm looking for another proper, civilised breakfast with flare. I'll have to look elsewhere for the hearty, post-workout dishes. Ooh, hang on, perhaps I should have ordered the 'breakfast of champignons'?! Sounds like a winner.

Photos courtesy of la mademoiselle, excluding the blurry one of the Prince of Wales which sadly is my own.

Duchess of Spotswood on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dreamy bedding trends Down Under

Without meaning to sound unpatriotic, it is sometimes hard to find a great range of home furnishings here in Australia. When you spend a great deal of time reading magazines and endlessly scrolling the web, there are always trends on the page and screen than you can't seem to find in store. I'm constantly frustrated by this, but in the last few days I've noticed a mini breakthough. While flicking through catalogues, I noticed a pin tuck quilt cover in one and a bamboo print comforter in another. Of course, we can shop online from anywhere in the world these days, but if you are anything like me, nothing beats touching and feeling items before purchase and supporting businesses in your own town or country. As I have far too much bed linen myself, I'm sharing these finds with you. These styles are also big trends in home furnishings generally, not just bedding.


West Elm organic cotton pin tuck duvet cover

 Anthropologie Chambray Crowned Crave duvet set and Antropologie Rosette quilt in raison

In Australia, Harris Scarfe has a version of the pin tuck quilt cover called the Deco Altimont on sale for $74.95 in queen and $79.95 in king. On sale Thursday 7th April for 1 week while stocks last.

This quilt cover is also available at Domayne stores. Here's a better image found online:

Would make my bed even dreamier.

Image vis Decor Pad

Geometric prints are everywhere online, including the bamboo inspired ones. Close to home, Lincraft has a queen size comforter set in a bamboo inspired print on sale for $19.95. On sale 4th - 13th April.

Would be nice for the end of the spare bed in case the guests need an extra layer.


The moroccan tile would have to be the most prolific of all the trends I've mentioned and my personal favourite.

Metro Hotel Style Black and White Mosaic Duvet via Bella Home Fashions

West Elm mosaic tile duvet cover in tigerlily

In Australia, the Jiro print in the new Pop by Sheridan range has been featured in many magazines and blogs (including my own back in February) but I had to mention it again as it's on sale (!) and it's one of the most exciting interpretations of a home furnishings trend. Being Sheridan, the quality is sure to be good too.
Pop by Sheridan in Jiro (front pillow in Ren)

Pop by Sheridan has 20% off for a limited time on their website.


Next, retailers Down Under need to embrace Greek key in modern furnishings.

West Elm Greek key duvet cover

At present it's seen mostly on yoghurt containers and dowdy, traditional homewares, but I predict the modern take on Greek key will become more common here. We just take awhile to catch onto these things! I'm waiting for some Greek key trim to arrive from Turkey to go onto curtains for our living room. Stay tuned and have sweet dreams!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sartorial Sunday - Winter office inspiration

Sartorial Sunday - Winter wardrobe inspiration
Sartorial Sunday - Winter wardrobe inspiration by Ellise Whyte featuring flare dresses

As much as I love the warmer months, winter dressing is my favourite. It may have something to do with my obsession for jackets and scarfs. Cardigans are also plentiful in my wardrobe and beloved opaque stockings must rate a mention. 

As the days begin to get colder here in Melbourne, we start pulling out the coats and adding to our winter wardrobes. In several states of Australia, the time went back one hour very early this morning, marking the end of daylight savings. Now is will be darker and colder when we get home from work, so today I was inspired to search the web for winter workwear. Can you tell I want a dress with a skinny, tan leather belt this season? And what a good wardrobe base it would make if a girl had several colours on hand! No more staring blurry-eyed into the wardrobe each morning. By the time I was choosing scarfs and accessories on the way out the door, I'd be awake!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pearls of Wisdom: finding magic

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

- Roald Dahl



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