31 July 2010

Good Things...

[photo by brittalicious]

Some things that happify me right now:

- Roast chicken.  For whatever strange reason I've spent a large portion of my life as a vegetarian (gasp!), so whilst I can whip up a tasty salad and am the queen of delicious pasta dishes I have always been a bit unsure of my meat cooking ability.  I've been experimenting with various tips and tricks for roasting a chook and the other night I hit the jackpot baby - moist, juicy meat and crispy skin!  Yum!  Next time I make it, I'll share the recipe with you if you want?

- Rediscovering the joys of Bill Bryson - his dry wit, super geekery and clear love of language.

- Little Birds.  A cute craft book chock full of awesome projects which all feature birds, of course.  Tweet tweet!  I used it when I made my stuff to send in the Handmade #Tweetswap that I recently hosted (you can have a look here).  I have pretty much flagged every page as 'I want to try this'.  Expect handmade birds for xmas people.

- So You Think You Can Dance (the current US Season).  My passion for certain reality TV shows is my dirty little not-so-secret.  And seeing as the husband is traveling a lot at the moment, I've been able to indulge in a ton of few episodes of SYTYCD.  I am beyond hooked. And I get just a teensy bit over excited watching it - my clapping, cheering and desire to wear leg-warmers / leotards tends to freak the dogs out...

- This video of DJ Mama who is, in fact, a French Bulldog.  Gosh I love the internet!

Happy weekend to you all x

Etsy Spotlight*: Robin & Mould

*Etsy Spotlight - where I get to share some of my most favourite Etsy shops!

I just stumbled upon Robin & Mould the other day (via the 'Suggested Shops' tab under Favourites - have you tried this out yet?  It's very good).  What an absolutely adorable shop! There is so much to love!  They feature two of my favourite critters, plus great colours and strong design.  Also, I love a cuppa and I perhaps love a tea cosy even more...

They also have a lovely blog if you want to find out more.

29 July 2010

Death by Doxie: The Archives

Elfi as a puppy (and before she became a demanding, noisy brute of a thing).

Do I hear your heart breaking, just a little?

28 July 2010


Today is scratchy eyes and very tired and can't-the-world-just-leave-me-alone-ness BUT yesterday was nothing much to do except eat and read in Phuket, Thailand.

Some good things:

- A dinner and a lunch at Baan Rim Pa, quite possibly my favourite restaurant in the world. Beautiful location (overlooking the beach just outside of Patong), super tasty Thai food, lovely service...and they make a mean lychee martini.  If you're ever in Phuket, you must go there.

- Unless you are in need of a pirated DVD or a carved wooden elephant, Patong is a bit of a shopping wasteland so it was a pleasant surprise indeed to find the beautiful boutique that is Baru.  Full of bright summer frocks, beautiful silk clutch purses and spectacular swim wear - all fabulously embellished with beading and embroidery - Baru also stood out because of it's locally and ethically made ethos.  Their stuff is available on-line, but it's a pity the product shots really don't do justice to the careful craft and design in each piece.

- Spectacular storms and sunsets.  Having a few days to just sit and watch an ever changing sky, what luxury!

The quick little trip also reminded me that despite the downsides of living in Asia (being away from friends and family and a complete lack of good cheddar are two that spring to mind), we really are very lucky to have this opportunity.  Everywhere is just so ridiculously close!  And if this seems a strange statement, you are clearly not an Australian.  Australia really is miles and miles and miles from anywhere.  Which kinda sucks, if you like to travel.

Vietnam is next on my list (just have to convince the husband it's worth visiting...)

Update! You can see more photos here

25 July 2010

I'm in Thailand! Oh happy days!

For four short days I'm in hot, humid, stormy, happy, oh so tasty Thailand!  I adore this place - the completely delicious food, the tropical lushness, the relaxed, happy feel.  Happy!  Yes!

The husband is flying in tonight for a quick rendezvous (he is working way too hard at the moment).  In the meantime, I've been enjoying the beach breeze and doing well, not a lot to be honest...

ps. and I have an internet connection!  Hurrah!

23 July 2010

Etsy Spotlight*: Happy Doodle Land

*Etsy Spotlight - where I get to share some of my most favourite Etsy shops!

Happy Doodle Land features the fantastic work of designer/illustrator Flora Chang on brooches, prints and rubber stamps.  I just love her very quirky, slightly retro critters; the clean lines and the simple colour palette.  And I love that her shop is called Happy Doodle Land! Awesome!  

You can read more about Flora and her work in this feature on Pikaland.  And you should also head over to the Happy Doodle Land blog, because there's a giveaway going on right now - you'll need to be quick though!

22 July 2010

European Vacation: Italy is typography heaven, no?

Considering the visual assault that was the cruise boat (you know I secretly love it, don't you?) it was refreshing to spend a few days either side in the country that effortlessly oozes stlye, Italy.

One of the things I especially love about Italian design is that they really know how to work a good font.  Everywhere you look there's some delicious typography to admire - on coffee cups, on store fronts, even on the napkins.

So, here's a little Italian font love for you - enjoy!

(Did you spot the 'cravattificio'?  It actually translates as 'tie factory', but I like to think of it as a cravat emporium, a kind of 'cravats r us' if you will.  Wonderful!)

20 July 2010

European Vacation: The Cruise - Decor

As I mentioned in my previous post, cruising is fabulous fun as long as you don't take anything too seriously.  This includes any desires you may harbour for taste, minimalism or restraint when it comes to decor on board.  It might have had the body of a ship, but it's heart was definitely in Vegas, baby!  Think crystals, mirrored surfaces, lots of gold and those staircases where every step features a string of lights.

The carpet above was in our favourite bar - 'Il Tucano!' - which was decorated with tucan shaped lamps in black and gold.  Classy.  (And for the punctuation pedants, I know I put an exclamation mark in the middle of a sentence but 'Il Tucano'! demands it.)

ps. You can play 'spot the romper' with these photos if you like...

18 July 2010

European Vacation: The Cruise - Things I Learnt

As with any break from routine, holidays give us the opportunity to step outside of ourselves for just a little while - to stop and notice things big and small; to think about the world, our lives and what's important to us; to look at where we come from, and what makes us who we are.  But for me, they mainly just confirm that I really, really like hazelnut gelato.

On this trip, I also discovered that I really, really like saying the word 'romper'.  After resisting the all-in-one / jumpsuit trend (and possibly quietly ridiculing a person or two for wearing them), I bought this romper in the best little shop in Corfu:

The one I bought is in a different fabric but you get the idea.  The print is by Liberty of London (perhaps my favourite store in the whole world, their fabric section makes my pulse race...), and the romper is by Sessun (never heard of them before, but now I think I love them).

The fabric is deliciously soft and light, and it's an all-in-one people!  No matching tops to bottoms (which I am completely useless at).  I love it very much.

So I am now a romper-wearing kind of girl (as the 12 year old said  - and I quote - 'to be perfectly honest, it is a bit weird').  And now I can say 'romper' anytime I feel like it.  Try it.  'Romper'.  Fun, yes?

(As a side note - don't you adore buying clothes on vacation?  Then every time you put them on it reminds you of your time away.  And they also allow you to casually drop 'oh yes, I bought this in a little boutique in a town near Portofino' into the conversation.  Not that I would do that.  I'm not shallow or anything.)

Some other things I learnt on this trip:
- Cruising is a whole lot of fun provided you don't take anything too seriously.  It is also ridiculously good value and is chock full of hilariously lovable traditions.  Like having to dress up in formal wear for no reason other than that you are told to.  Like drinks with the Captain.  And like waiters marching through your darkened restaurant, singing opera style and holding trays of flambe bombe alaska high over their heads.
- Watching old couples dancing the tango, however badly, can be a surprisingly moving experience.
- My husband is actually getting worse at estimating driving times in Europe.  I did not think this was possible, but apparently it is.  On the final day, we set off from our agriturismo in Umbria for what was meant to be 'about an hours drive' to lunch on the coast.  After one hour, two vomits and only a third of the distance covered we (thankfully) retreated to a much easier Plan B.
- Martinis.  With lots of green olives.  Oh yeah.

The photo at the top was taken in Bari, Italy - you can see more holiday pics here.

17 July 2010

European Vacation: The Cruise

Well, as you may have noticed...I'm back!  Hurrah!

Our holiday was wonderful - the big boat was surprisingly fabulous (husband is totally into the whole cruising concept now, I'm hoping this means I can start buying clothes from the Celine cruise collection...) and the few days in Italy either side were rather relaxing (and delicious!).

Once I get through the piles and piles of washing (amazing how much mess a two week family holiday can generate) and sort out my fuzzy jet-lagged brain I'll be doing some holiday post-mortem posts.

In the meantime, here are some of my favourite pics to get you in the mood (you can see more here).  The first two are from Venice, the third was taken from a speed boat off the coast of Dubrovnik, and the last is from Tarquina where we stopped for lunch on the way to Rome airport.

16 July 2010

Death by Doxie: The Archives

Seeing as I've been away from the hounds for 12 whole days, I don't have any new photos of them to bore entertain you with, so I've delved in to the archives and found some adorable puppy shots (thank goodness I don't have children or else I'm sure they'd disown me for posting photos of them in their diapers...).

Anyhoo, here's Ferdi looking tiny and a little bit dapper in a grey hoodie.


11 July 2010

Etsy Spotlight*: Sir Tom

*Etsy Spotlight - where I get to share some of my most favourite Etsy shops!

I'm the kind of useless somewhat obsessive shopper that gets myself in to a position of owning 7 clutch purses and no t-shirts.  So I really don't need more purses, but gosh I absolutely adore Sir Tom.  The bright colours and graphic prints, the modern take on a traditional frame purse - *sigh*.

And I very much have my eye on this adorable clutch, so very hard to resist!

09 July 2010

Flickr Finds: Soft Blues

1. Santa Monica ferris wheel by Cuba Gallery  2. Above Us Only Sky by squeakypeach
3. Albania gets un-serious by Alex Dram  4. Everyday rainbows by flowereye
5. Suenos de Algodon by celiaaa  6. Orange flowers by Simply hue

07 July 2010

Etsy Spotlight*: Draw! Pilgrim

*Etsy Spotlight - where I get to share some of my most favourite Etsy shops!

First up, the retro-influenced graphic stylings of Draw! Pilgrim.

It was love at first sight when I found Pilgrim Lee's gorgeous blog, so I was pretty darn excited when I heard that she was setting up shop on Etsy.  And what a shop it is! Vintage influences, bright pops of colour, woodland friends, crisp lines, hexagons and more - what's not to swoon over?

04 July 2010

Flickr Finds: Fish

1. Toes by Perpetually  2. . take a breather . by Ana Guerrero
3. Untitled by Jeff Hutton  4. Goldfish by motigraph
5. Fishing for Compliments by Nick Today  6. Xmas Fish by ngaymua

Some fish.  I'm not sure why.

02 July 2010

On Vacation

I'll be cruising the Adriatic and exploring a little of Italy over the next 2 weeks so I apologise in advance for the lack of posts.  I've got some Flickr Finds and Etsy Spotlights lined up though so there will be lots of pretty pictures and handmade goodies to enjoy while I'm away!

On a side note, this is our first ever cruise (and we are the most unlikely cruisers).  I've done a stack of research and opinion seems to be quite clearly divided between 'The whole ship got food poisoning/sea sickness/tack overload' and 'Best holiday of my life!'. So I am approaching it with both excitement and a considerable amount of trepidation. You'll soon hear how it all goes...

01 July 2010

Death by Doxie: The Origami Edition

For Munich's 850th birthday, Alexandra Lukaschewitz (aka Jasmine T) made 850 origami dachshunds!

You can see more photos here.