A Blue Mountains Holiday

Saturday, July 29, 2017

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We recently enjoyed family weekend away in the Blue Mountains. With the family-friendly Fairmont Resort as our base, we enjoyed exploring the natural beauty of the region.

On a solo afternoon walk, I fell in love with the homes and gardens of Leura. You don't have to squint very hard to feel like you are somewhere in England.

The kids loved the various rides at Scenic World during which we stumbled upon Sculpture at Scenic World. This was an intoxicating exhibition of world-class sculptures set within a pristine rainforest of the Blue Mountains. What a joy to stumble upon such a special event!
^ The houses in Leura have the most beautiful gardens.
^ The two sisters and the Three Sisters.
^ The gardens of the Fairmont Resort are stunning and perfect for little kids.
^ 3D Webs, 2016 by Louisa Magrics.
^ Green Screen, 2017 by Elin & Keino.
^ On the Cableway at Scenic World.
^ More Leura gardens beauty.


10 Modern Letterboxes

Monday, July 10, 2017

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There are so many decisions to make when building a new house. Many details seem to overlap and influence each other. I often find I change one thing with a resulting domino effect of other changes. We're finalising the interior of the house with some great help from Therese from Full of Grace Interiors

It's surprising how excited I am to work on the garden. I think it is because it is something I can do mostly myself and there is ample room for creativity. A garden is such an important part of creating a beautiful house and I know our girls will spend a lot of time out there.

I've been looking for a modern letterbox and after much hunting I wanted to share with you my favourites. The good news is they come at a range of prices.

1. Galvanised Metal Letterbox by Metware from Mitre10 NZ
2. Angled Roof Letterbox with Mounting Post from Letterbox Warehouse
3. Cardrona Letterbox by Metware from Letterboxes.nz
4. Basel Letterbox by Arko Furniture
5. Arko Letterbox by Arko Furniture
6. Cabin Wooden Letterbox Natural by Alpine Products from Mitre10 NZ
7. TomTom Letterbox by DesignbyThem
9. Urban Mailbox by Box Design from Vanilla Design Store
10. Sefton Letterbox by Metware from Letterboxes.nz

^ Arko Letterbox
^ Basel Letterbox
^ Kate Kelly Letterbox with Timber Post
^ TomTom Letterbox


A Pettit and Sevitt house

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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There is a Pettit and Sevitt house near us that has recently been on the market.

If you have an interest in Australian architecture then you will know about Pettit and Sevitt. They were a popular home builder in the 60s and 70s who specialised in project homes that were functional and modern.

The home we saw was the home of Dr Ric Stand and his wife who bought the especially large (3000m2) and pie-shaped block in 1966. It has magnificent gardens with multiple outdoor areas and view into the valley.

What captivated me about this house was its concept of two pavilions joined by a glass entry way. I've seen this concept so many times and always loved it. It is the architectural feature that helped us solve the problem of building across our sloping block whilst ensuring both living spaces had north solar access.

I have waked past this house many times and always wanted to look beyond the garden. Like many homes from this era, the front of the house looked like the back of the house. This was because of an understanding of the importance of the flow of the living spaces and the yard. Ahead of their time. 

I don't know why they stopped building this way in the first place. With all that we know now about solar orientation and how people want to move about their homes, so many homes are still built without any consideration of the modern needs of people, the orientation and the block itself.

^ Blue tiles brought back from Delhi
^ Mughal ceramic-pierced windows in the courtyard


Canberra Antiques Centre

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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I always love to duck into Canberra Antiques Centre when I'm kid-free. They have a great range of furniture, clothing and bric-a-brac items that changes fairly regularly. 

I'm keeping an eye out for feature pieces for Chifley House. Although we don't want to over-furnish the new house, it is always good to open to falling in love with a special piece.

Check out the mega-terrazzo stone top table they had recently. And the lovely little marble top side table with drawer.


Villa Freshwater, a P&O house

Sunday, May 14, 2017

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I have been meaning to share some photos of a little holiday house we stayed at last year. Villa Freshwater is a beautiful example of P&O architecture situated on Sydney's north shore.

The Villa is an independently accessible two bedroom flat behind the main house. It has been beautifully and tastefully designed and decorated with a nod to nautical style but without the usual fruit salad basket of seashells and frangipani paintings.

^ Pastries from Mrs Jones the Baker in Freshwater village


'Illalong' and Banjo Paterson

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

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We recently visited a friend at her family homestead 'Illalong', a magical place that is famously known as the childhood homestead of Banjo Paterson. 

The current house is a beautiful white quintessential farmhouse with high ceilings and a deep wrap around verandah. We perched ourselves on this verandah to undertake a hot cross bun competition (Canberra vs Murrumbateman vs Yass) and watch our offspring play under the autumn trees in the warm and still afternoon air. 

Then it was off for a laid-back easter egg hunt under a large pergola heaving with wisteria. I learned that this was the location of the original Paterson family house. The wisteria must be many decades old. Aside from its considerable girth it bears another sign of its old age. Early on in its life, it somehow managed to snatch a piece of the Paterson house corrugated roof and engulf it. Thought the rest of the house is gone, the piece of galv still remains twisted in its branches like a trophy.

^ Banjo's wisteria is bigger than yours...


The Berry markets

Sunday, April 30, 2017

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It was about 16 years ago that I heard a work colleague saying she was driving to Berry just to go to the Berry Markets and ever since then I have really wanted to check out the region. I just love scavenging and I love markets and I even love country towns.

During our Berry break, I managed to catch the famous markets and my photos don't really do it justice. They are quite big and I was really pleased to see a lot of regional makers and vendors selling home made goods plus lots of genuine antiques and knick-knacks. Some really unusual things.

I walked way with two antique suitcases. One aluminium with a navy spot lining and previously belonged to a Qantas pilot and the other stripy with gold embossed initials! Love them.

There were some really cool finds and I tried to take lots of pics so you can see the awesome variety of amazing finds.

I would definitely like to go back. The Berry Markets are on the first Sunday of the month (except February). All up I'd say 3 days and 2 nights would be the perfect amount of time to spend in Berry tasting, shopping and marketing.


Best ever potato salad recipe

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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There are some foods I will never give up and one of them is potatoes. This potato salad recipe has evolved over a few years and it is always a hit. We enjoyed it a couple of times over the autumn school holidays.

You will need:
  • 2kg waxy washed potatoes skin on
  • 6 eggs
  • small bunch of chives finely chopped
  • whole egg mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp seeded mustard
  • juice of half a lemon
  • greek yoghurt
  • salt and pepper
  • cornichons
  • green apple
  • a few salad leaves (optional for colour)
  • bacon (optional to add saltiness)
  1. Cut the the potatoes into large 2inch pieces and boil them until cooked.
  2. Hard boil and peel the eggs. If you run them under cold water until they are cooled they are much easier to peel. Cut them into quarters length-wise.
  3. Dice two green apples and about 12 cornichons into little pieces.
  4. Mix up the greek yoghurt, mayonnaise, wholegrain mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper, chives to make the dressing.
  5. Put the potatoes, apple, and cornichons in a bowl add half the dressing. Carefully combine to coat the salad.
  6. Put the egg slices on top and drizzle with remaining dressing. It looks so nice to add a couple of chive flowers for colour.
  7. You can add fried bacon pieces or crunchy grilled pancetta over the top too for salty crunch. 
  8. Pulling through a few green and purple leaves adds really nice colour.

Eating and shopping in Berry, NSW

Thursday, April 20, 2017

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We spent about a week in Berry, NSW recently just relaxing, shopping, eating and taking day trips to other towns in the area.

Berry is really taking off. While we were there a property that was up for rent ended up selling to a a very forward house hunter! Locals tell me it has a lot to do with tourism and the good returns on short-stay accommodation.

Berry is not just a little country town. Apart from being the perfect mix of dairy farm charm combined with beach cool, it has established itself as a shopping and eating destination. 

In Nortje you can chat to South African born designer and maker Geraldine who makes the most beautiful clothes and sources some really stunning accessories and homewares from overseas. I bought the best Portugese pots from Geraldine and was very tempted by the beautiful colourful clutches.

Roots & Wings Design is a gorgeous store inside and out. Vines cover the heritage exterior and inside you can find all the best designers including Camilla & MarcJosh Goot and Hansel & Gretel.

Sew & Tell is a huge craft supply store where I bought some giant knitted needles and Italian yarn for my mum for her birthday - the woman who has everything!

I loved eating at Little Rae and was really lusting over their furniture, a lot of which appeared to me made out of recycled Oregon. You can see and order pieces via Hardwood by Hand.

The Shady Fig is a florist and giftware store that had the best hanging lights by Lightly. I loved their tangled black and white table cords. They tied in the the flowers and foliage really well and provided a sculptural interest. So great. 

The Goldfish Toy Shop really is the best toy shop I have ever seen. It is like a big luxe barn with high ceilings and only the best quality toys. Take an hour to marvel in this shop.

Mimi and The Bear is a kids clothing and accessories shop with an excellent selection of Tutu Du Monde dresses. They had the cutest kids cowboy boots and I was really tempted!

More about food...
- We had a great meal the Berry Hotel in their cosy family dining room with open fireplace. I loved gazing at the exposed brick walls with its hand-made 1800s bricks.
The Treat Factory is located in Old Creamery Lane and comes complete with a vista of gorgeous dairy cows. 
- And you really can't go past the Famous Berry Donut Van because hot donuts.

And everyone in Berry is SO FRIENDLY. 

Some of the places we visited and enjoyed around Berry:
- The Hungry Monkey Cafe in Kiama
- Lunch, wine and macadamia picking and cracking at Mountain Ridge Wines - the best fries I have ever had!
- Vincentia Beach with ice creams
- Lunch on Wollongong beach 
- Eating and shopping in Bowral

Keep an eye out for my next post all about the famous Berry Markets!

The Shady Fig where I was obsessed over these hanging lights by Lightly.

^ The Goldfish Toy Shop - truly the best toy shop I have ever seen in Australia!

^^^ Gorgeous clothes at Mimi and The Bear

Roots & Wings Design

^^ Little Rae General Store and Cafe

^^ Nortje by Geraldine
^ Portugese pots I bought from Geraldine!

^ The Old Creamery Lane, home of The Treat Factory

^ My favourite piece at the Berry Museum

^^ Macadamia picking and cracking at Mountain Ridge Wines
^ Giant knitting supplies from Sew & Tell

^^ The Famous Berry Donut Van
^ Wollongong Beach
^ Two hungry monkeys at The Hungry Monkey Cafe, Kiama.
Mural by Luke Okay
^ Sometimes we need a break from our holiday.
^ On the beach at Vincentia


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