Monday, December 8, 2014

J Crew drought is over

J Crew was a bit of an addiction for me when they first started shipping O/S in around 2011. Before they had an international site, I'd trawl through their items with great excitement, and almost always found a basketful of items I wanted. I longed whistfully for the day that they'd ship to Australia!

Once they started shipping to Aus, I bought a lot of items, most of which I still wear regularly for work: pencil skirts, mainly, plus the odd cardigan and sweater.

However, over the past 12 months I've almost stopped looking at the site. The designs didn't really appeal and the fabrics were more and more meh.
Beautiful, classic-with-a-twist rich colours had been replaced by dull, droopy overly try-hard fashion.

Apart from boys' Stanton shorts and one skirt, I don't think I've bought anything from there for almost a year.

Until last week.

Matellasse skirt - $59 after a big % discount. It's navy cotton and looks as if it will be flattering with its slighly A-lined yet hip-fitting cut.

I won't be needing this for at least 6 months, but at $104 with extra discounts, it seemed churlish not to order it as a winter staple. 

This was $49 after discounts and will (I hope) be a useful addition to my skirt and top work uniform.
Although it's poly, reviews from Gigi and others suggest it's a decent poly and not too flimsy.

All of the above should arrive within the next couple of days, so I'll try to post some pics and reviews once they do.

Any experience with the above items?
Have you gone cold turkey on J Crew or are you still a fan?

Friday, December 5, 2014

The roof is going on!

There has been a flurry of activity on site this past week.
Finally, the correct windows have arrived.
Below you can see the view from the old part of the house through to the back. The top windows are in, and the concertina doors will be installed next week.

Here's a view from the side of the back of the house, with builders in situ:

The most exciting thing, though, is the fact that the roof is partially on, and the place should be watertight by mid next week!

We're getting really excited about its completion. I doubt it will be this year, but the end is in sight.....(or at least we hope it is!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

21 Years!

On Tuesday, J and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.

It sounds like such a long time!
In some ways, 21 years is a lifetime ago in terms of experience and maturity. I feel as if I am exactly the same and yet totally different.

Some parts of the last 21 years are totally blurred in my memory, as if they happened too long ago to remember, and yet others are clear as if they happened yesterday. It's been a wonderful 21 years and I am so grateful to have such a fantastic partner.

J bought me a book written by a friend of a friend. I bought him a very small oil on canvas painted by an artist friend of ours.

J looking happy. Can you believe he's 49?

My skirt arrived and I love it. 

That's about all, really.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Another post about skirts

What's your panacea when the blahs hit?
A large G&T perhaps, or a hit of sugar?
Or maybe you prefer something more spiritual?

I'm a shallow beast. I find online shopping very soothing when life is causing me stress.

While Dani has been buying gold elephants, I've been indulging my inner gypsy:

I spotted this online (oh the dangers of surfing high-end clothing sites).
It's cotton and not too full, and yet not a pencil skirt. I have reached peak pencil skirt, so no need for another one. Or at least for now.

I nipped into Max Mara in the city to see if they had it in store and to try it on to see.
I like it. I reckon it will work well for casual summer days, and I can spice it up at night with a posh top and heels. It's hitting 35 degrees C this week, so cool and airy is the order of the day.

Guess how much it was in the store?

$460. Yes. Double the price of Matches.

I honestly have no idea how prices work these days. It seems that any store in Australia automatically charges at least 50% more than the O/S equivalent.

So, despite wanting to support local retailers, I did the only sensible thing and ordered it online.

More pics when it arrives. 

What's your cure for blahness?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Some good, some bad

November has been a bit of a mixed bag so far.
On the good front, the reno is coming along, albeit slowly:

The roof structure is going up and there is some indication that it might one day be finished.

Bad stuff: Joe came off his bike last Tuesday and broke his rib and injured his shoulder. On the bright side, it's very good that he wasn't more seriously injured.
He's taking strong painkillers, which is just about all that can be done.

More good: It was Joe's birthday celebration this past weekend, so despite the pain and discomfort, he managed to enjoy himself at a huge birthday lunch.
I frocked up in my new Gary Bigeni drapey skirt arrangement and a black top:

Excuse the strange slightly glazed expression on my face. I think the stress of this year has finally got me!

At the birthday feast we had this:

It was a joint birthday celebration for another friend, so we booked a room in the Four in Hand Pub in Paddington. The food was utterly amazing and the wines weren't bad either!

To end on a good note, here's a picture of the new roof structure from D's bedroom window.
We are hoping that we might be able to move back in one day....

How are you? are you as sick of 2014 as I am or has this year been kinder to you?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bargain Boden skirt

My no clothes buying thing has been going fairly well - I've managed to stop looking at a lot of sites that encourage spending, and have only bought a couple of new items since our Austerity Programme began in August.
But, the other day I broke my vows and clicked on an email from Boden (British clothing company).
The email promised huge savings (70% off! Free shipping!)
How could I ignore it? 
There weren't many things that caught my eye, but then I spotted this skirt:

I'd sort of thought about buying it earlier in the year, as I'm a bit of a stripe obsessive.
At that point, Boden didn't have prices in Aus $ and the shipping was a bit steep, so I ignored it.
Now, however, it was reduced to $44 with FREE shipping and returns! Oh Joy! How on earth could I ignore it, especially as it comes in petite sizes too!

I ordered the 6P, and hey presto! it arrived 4 days later.

it's a winner!
It's cotton with a poly lining (Dani would cringe) - the waist band has a grosgrain ribbon detail, and the quality seems good.
The fit is fairly good - it's a touch baggy around the waist, but that could be fixed by my tailor.
The length is perfect for my 5'2" stature.

A big thumbs up for the stripes matching at the seams. I loathe mis-matching seams!

Worn with J Crew cotton knit and APC sandals

I do love a surprise bargain!

How about you? Are you a fan of Boden? Any bargains recently?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

New sandals

I've been rather good at not shopping since our renovations started, but I did lay-buy these APC sandals a couple of months ago.
Sensible, comfortable and possibly not very glamourous:

I love them. I walk lots every day, so they're perfect for trecking across campus and shlepping around at the weekend. Don't get me wrong, I love a pair of glamourous heels too, but they're really not good for my everyday life.

Sensible low wedge!!
There's been bugger all going on at our house, but more aqua coloured wood has appeared. We've sent the builder a message to remind him that we need to move back in on 21st December (thanks for the advice, Heidi!)

Fingers crossed that they'll do some work this week. It's steamy hot here,  31 degrees C, so let's hope it's not the wrong weather for building.

How are you?
Do you prefer glamour or comfort for summer sandals?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Walls going up!

My already limited time to blog has been compromised further because The Internet in our rental house has run out! EEK!

So, I have about 5 mins to get this up before I write a report.

The walls are starting to go up:

View from one  of the new bathrooms out to the kitchen area
It is looking tiny! 
But it's fantastic to see some changes happening, as we'd started to despair of anything ever happening.
In Grand Designs it always appears as if builders are on site every day beavering away, but I rarely see anyone on our site.....

Wall to the right is the small bathroom wall.

A pic of an outfit I wore to work:

Acne blouse, Isabel Marant pants, Cos cardie, Nicholas Kirkwood pumps

This shows the size of the small bathroom. It will house a shower, loo and tiny washbasin. It's very, very small..... luckily none of us are big people!
The architect assures us that it won't be too small.
Luckily, the other bathroom will be bigger, although not much.

The aqua theme seems to be popular with the builder - it will be covered up, and the door will go.

Beginnings of the wall to the small bathroom
On Saturday I went shop walking and tried on a few cocktaily outfits.
I'm craving new posh clothes.....
This dress is by an Australian designer called Bianca Spender. The Shop Assistant got very excited that the size 4 fitted me, but as you can see, it's a very unflattering length and the shoulders were too high - even though it's a small size, it's still cut for someone taller and longer than me. It would have needed tailoring through the body and hips, taking up and it's just too much of a faff.
Not to mention the fact that it was beyond my budget, and I've already bought a new party outfit for this silly season (a post on that later)

Fun to try things on, though.

On Sunday we blew the budget and went out for Brunch to a local cafe called 'Illi Hill'.
It was the best cafe food I've had in ages. All the produce is seasonal and (if possible) local.

These hotcakes were utterly delicious: poached saffron pears, labne and pistachio.

View from the back yard to the new kitchen and living area. I really hope it'll be finished on time, but I seriously doubt it will. We're now facing the fact that from 21st December we will be homeless.
Any suggestions?!

How was your weekend?

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Are you having/did you have a good weekend? 
These days I find myself so grateful when Friday night comes around. I like my job, but the combination of work, life, renovations, family and other stuff leaves me feeling very tired by the end of the week. Not physically tired, but emotionally very drained.
I'm going to up the yoga and meditation to see if that will help.

This weekend was full of food and sun.

Friday work: Equipment blouse, Nudie jeans, APC sandals

On Saturday, we hosted an Indonesian dinner at our rental house.
Here's a visual of me fortifying myself with a glass of very un-Indonesian Prosecco:

Top Shop T shirt, Gary Bigeni skirt, APC sandals
We cooked a beef rendang, Ayam betutu (Chicken with spices), Kankung Belacan (delicious green hedge-like vegetable with fermented shrimp paste and chilli) and a number of other smaller dishes.
I forgot to take pics of the food before, but here's an 'after' pic:

On Sunday, J, M, D, I and my mother went to Bronte beach for a picnic. Bronte is a small beach along the coast from Bondi - there's a beautiful coastal walk you can do from Bondi to Bronte and beyond. 
We often go there in Spring and summer. Even though it gets very packed, it's a magical place.
This is the park at the back of the beach:

M, my mother and J and D in the distance
We walked along the beach to Tamarama (also known as 'Glamarama'), which is the next beach going towards Bondi. Tamarama is known for its beautiful young visitors, hence the nickname.
Yesterday it was heaving, and as Naomi noted on Instagram, with so few sunshades it's a wonder everyone doesn't get heatstroke or 3rd degree burns!

The water was beautiful, although I must admit that I did not venture in. The water temp was a very brrrr 18 degrees!!
I'm a total wimp and don't swim unless it's a bit warmer than that!

How was your weekend? Did you eat too much like me?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Time to breathe: clothes, curtains etc

Happy October!
It's well and truly Spring here in Sydney; the weather is beautiful and there's a general feeling of positivity in the air.
I'm feeling far less heavy of heart than I have been.
This post is a bit of a mish-mash of stuff, but first up a few outfits. Nothing new, apart from the Karen Walker skirt in the first pic.
I've decided that a cropped top works best with a full skirt on me. I may be 46, but I'm not afraid to get my gut out!!
As you can see, it's not super cropped, just slightly. Don't worry, I won't be going any more cropped than this. My daughter has already told me I'm too old (don't you love the honesty of teenagers!).
She gave this top her approval, though.
Karen Walker skirt, Topshop top and APC sandals
Equipment blouse, Isabel Marant pants, Repetto shoes
Zara top, Jenny Kee scarf, J Crew Andie chinos (still going strong) and mid-life crisis shoes.

Next a renovation pic. The Slab is Down:

Fingers crossed it all proceeds smoothly. There was a delay in pouring the slab due to wet weather.
This is our new kitchen, bathrooms and small living space - hard to imagine now, but it is taking shape.

I took a few days off this week as it's the school hols. We spent a fair bit of time walking around the area where we're renting.
It's a suburban area, far more so than our 'hood. You can get a lot more house and land for your money here, but the downside for us would be the necessity of driving everywhere. I refuse to sacrifice our ability to walk and cycle for a few more square metres of land.

We also spent a bit of time hunting around for possible curtain material. 
At the back of our new structure will be a massive concertina glass door. It will be the size of the whole width of the structure, and reach from floor to ceiling (3.5 metres)
Our architect has advised us that for a glass structure of that size, blinds would not be practical, so I'm breaking my lifelong aversion to curtains and getting some made.
The fabric possibilities are endless, of course, but our budget dictates we can't go with a very pricey fabric, but we've found a few that meet our criteria.
This one is probably a bit too $$$ but it's amazing and would be very much a feature curtain:

We will almost certainly be going with this fabric instead, as it's significantly cheaper than the Lisa Bengtsson, and is a bit less of a statement. I think the fact that it's less busy and lighter will also suit the space better.

Marimekko Lumimarja fabric

What are your thought on crop tops and curtains?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Renovation update

As promised, a few pics of our renovations.
A bit of background: Our house is an early Edwardian Terrace in Sydney's Inner West. It was unrenovated, with a long, narrow kitchen, leading to the bathroom (which used to be outside!) and then a very ramshackle laundry out the back.
Although it was full of character and we loved it, it really wasn't very practical for a family of four, and was very dark, even in summer
Here's a visual of the kitchen and the door to the bathroom.

We are having the whole of that back part knocked down, and are re-building it to be the full width of the block. It will house 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a small living area to the rear, which will look out onto the very, very small backyard. There will be a laundry incorporated into the new structure, too.
Our land size is very small, typical of the area where we live.
The works started at the end of August, while we were in Bali. This was the view from the back laneway upon our return:

You can see the demolition that took place. We aren't living in the house, as there's no water, kitchen, bathroom or electricity.

The view from the back laneway. The laundry is being demolished.

Think I've posted this pic before, but this shows the remains of the old kitchen. The aqua door is a temporary one which leads to the front part of the house which isn't being altered.

Here's a pic I took yesterday. As you can see, the whole structure has now gone, and the plumbing has gone in. We're ready to pour the slab!

We are also 'lucky' enough to have a tree that was deemed 'heritage' by our local council.
It's a massive gum tree, about 30m tall, which is totally wrecking the foundations of many surrounding houses, not to mention our house and yard. However, it is of vital importance to the area, so even though it presents a major risk to houses and people, it Must Stay. 

I dread to think how dangerous it will be if there's a storm or anything to cause it to drop a branch.
Sometimes the lunacy of councils astounds me..... I love trees and embrace them in our area, but this one isn't suitable for the very built-up environment that we live in.

Finally, here's a rather bad pic of me in a very green outfit:

Green and blue J Crew cardigan, Green Cedric Charlier skirt, Nicholas Kirkwood shoes.

Hope you had a great weekend.