Thursday, April 24, 2014

Autumn walks, sweaters

I've been off work for almost 2 weeks. First, away at a conference, then we've had a couple of long weekends for Easter, and now ANZAC Day. It has been a real luxury to have almost 11 days without any work commitments. On Monday it will be back to the grind, but for now, I'm feeling very un-worky and relaxed.
The weather in Sydney has been beautiful: 25 C during the day, with cooler evenings. We have been on lots of coastal walks, and trips to the beach.

J Crew Tippi sweater, Mansur Gavriel bag, Rag & Bone jeans and random hat bought in Austria.

J and I managed a couple of days to ourselves, and went for a long lunch or two. He took these pics while we were waiting for a table at Kepos St Kitchen, which is a very good cafe in Redfern. I highly recommend it if you're in the area.

J Crew sweater, Lover leather skirt, Mansur Gavriel bag

Recently, I've felt a compulsion to buy new sweaters. I'm not sure why, as Sydney winters aren't usually that cold, but I have a feeling that this winter will be a chilly one. Many of my old sweaters are in a shocking state. Several of them are over 20 years old and are way too ratty and pilled to be worn out. I did a bit of an audit, and realised that the J Crew cashmeres I was so enamoured of last year haven't worn well at all. They are terribly pilled and not the quality I hoped for. I won't be buying J Crew cashmere again.
Therefore, I've returned to brands I used to rely upon: John Smedley and Brora. I did a small order last week, and will report back on the items once they arrive.

In the meantime, here's a pic of a new red turtle-neck bought for me by J. It's a local label, Scanlan Theodore, and is 100% NZ Merino wool. It has built in hand warmers, which you can't really see here. The sleeves are long and tight-fitting with thumb holes. Perfect for our cold house!

We're off for a dinner do at friends' house tonight, then a lazy weekend at home.
What are your plans?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter, bag and cashmere

Happy Easter! 
I was woken this morning by the children squabbling over eggs. The Easter chicken had visited, so the usual sugar overdose will occur. 
I eschewed eggs this easter and gifted myself a bag and a cashmere sweater instead.
Both of them have been on laybuy, a slightly archaic but fantastic way of buying that we still have in Australia. Basically, you leave a deposit of 20 - 30%, then pay off the balance over a period of 6 weeks. It avoids having to use a credit card, which is ideal for someone with zero financial discipline (like me). It also adds a degree of delayed gratification.

First of all, the bag:

Mansur Gavriel small tote.
It comes with its own small detachable wallet:

It can be worn as over the shoulder too, and is very light. My Mulberry Bayswater and Postman's lock bags are lovely, but weigh a bloody ton even when empty.

The second item is a black, crew neck cashmere sweater by Jac & Jack, a local label who make basic, classic knits. It's a slightly slouchy shape, with fitted sleeves and a looser body. The cashmere is pretty good quality and I hope it will last a good many years:

While I was away, I read a truly good book:

I highly recommend it. It's the sort of autobiography of a neurosurgeon, and is a fascinating look into the world of extraordinarily hard decisions. As Mr Marsh repeatedly points out in the book, there is a terrible need to balance hope with reality when you're dealing with surgery than can wreck a person's life.
If you're interested, there's a wonderful documentary about his work in Ukraine, too, called 'The English Surgeon'. As an added bonus, the soundtrack is by Nick Cave.

Easter day pic taken by M. It's a chilly 23 degrees here, so sweaters are out!

Hope you had a wonderful Easter time with lots of feasting if that's your thing.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Internet back! I'm back!

I've been away to a conference for the past 4 days. It was held in a vineyard in country Victoria, in the Macedon Ranges. 
It was a particularly salubrious and amusing place to hold a Tertiary Education conference!

The accommodation was not posh, but very comfortable and peaceful. The highlight of the venue for me was not the wine or the food (for once!) but the beautiful surroundings.
The landscape is very different from NSW, where we live. I rarely seem to see proper countryside these days, as our lives are very much centred around city life.
This vineyard was very rural, and had Alpacas, Highland Cows, ducks, sheep, goats and geese galore.

Not to mention a beautiful lake. It was a lot colder than Sydney, too. Approx 4 degrees overnight, up to 20 degrees during the day.
I went for plenty of brisk walks and had a very refreshing time.
I also presented a paper which went well.

On my return to the city I was overjoyed to find out that we have Internet again after over 3 weeks of nothingness.

No sooner had I stepped off the plane and cabbed it to the city than it was time for a big pre-Easter feast.
One of our favourite restaurants (Berta), was holding a lamb spit-roast in the back laneway.
We had 6 delicious courses, and far too much wine.

All in all a great welcome home.
We are spending the Easter long weekend at home with various friends and family, doing what we do best: eating and drinking.
How about you?
Any plans?

Friday, April 11, 2014

New bag

 I'm down to posting from my phone, as our internet is still not back grrrr. I'll post about the whole ridiculous saga one day, but for now, let's focus on the thrill and excitement of a new bag:

Mansur Gavriel small tote. Simple, no visible branding. Comes with a wallet which attaches to it. Mine is lined in a pale rose coloured leather.

I put it on laybuy, so I won't actually get to play with it and take pics 'til next payday, but here's a pic of its size:

That's my fashion thrill for the month.
It will keep me going through these dark, internet-free days.
Any fashion thrills for you? 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

J Crew Rosewood pencil skirt review

Apologies for absence and another very short post. Still no Internet chez nous.

It is particularly annoying that just as I got a splendid new laptop, our Internet went on an extended holiday…

So, a very quick review of the J Crew Soft Pencil skirt in Rosewood.

I ordered this with an extra 30% off the sale price, so it ended up being around $69 AUS.
As mentioned by other reviewers, it’s polyester (I was very worried about this), but it’s actually a quite pleasant, drapey fabric. Much better than I expected! I wouldn’t wear this in our humid summer, but it’s perfect for our Autumn and early winter.

I got the smallest size, 00. I almost always wear a P00 in J Crew, being petite, but this particular style didn’t come in petite sizes. It is a touch too big in the hips and waist. I could probably get it taken in an inch or so, but I’m thinking of leaving it this size so that I can layer tights and a thermal vest under it… we will see. I may well end up at the tailor.

The length is also a touch on the longer side, but again, with long boots in winter I think it will work better this length than above the knee.

Excuse the dark and unclear pic. Worn here with a J Crew navy cotton sweater and APC bronze sandals.

What do you think?

Hope you've had/are having a good weekend.
Please send fast Internet vibes our way....