Friday, 27 May 2016

Botanical Style - Book Review

I spotted this book on a recent foray in to Note To Self in Epping, and knew instantly that this was a piece of gorgeousness that would have me swooning at every page. Firstly the gorgeous green on the cover is the colour of my bedroom walls. The pictured botanical prints and gleaming glassware could have been taken from my mantlepiece - only there's less clutter. Most of us have some elements of botanical style in our homes, maybe without even realising it. Once you start to notice, flowers, plants and nature are the inspiration for beautiful things everywhere, and that is what Selina Lake showcases in this lovely tome.

Botanical Style will appeal to any one who has ever stuck a bunch of flowers in a vase, admired fallen leaves on the ground or lovingly tended to a house plant or two. And whether you have a favourite floral tablecloth, a ferny wallpaper, or a shiny vase of something on a windowsill - it's all about bringing a touch of the outside indoors. The benefits, Lake enthuses, include creating calming effects, healthy vibes and goodness for the soul. 


The book is divided in to five themed sections: Vintage, Boho, Industrial, Tropical and Natural - Lake's styling prowess make every decorating theme pop with inspiration and beauty. You might be more minimalist than shabby chic, or more modern than vintage, but Lake shows the benefits of introducing the richness and freshness of foliage, florals and nature in to every setting. There's lots of paint-flecked surfaces and rustic textures for the more gritty gardening types. Lake also layers romantic looks without too much chintz or formality. Not that there's anything wrong with that. 

Simple touches like berries on a mottled green plate, through to bolder moves like wallpapering or stencilling leaf prints onto walls can help you channel your inner flower fairy/garden gnome. There's plenty of ideas for those who don't want to make big changes (or who rent) and still add a botanical twist to their interiors. Lake advises keeping it simple - for example, garden cuttings displayed in gleaming glass or oversized pots can be pretty and striking. 

While I particularly loved her chapters on Vintage, Industrial and Natural Botanicals, the rich visual imagery - courtesy of the wonderful photography of Rachel Whiting - makes choosing favourites extremely difficult! 
Actually impossible!

Lake's advice is practical and imaginative. She offers numerous style tips that make achieving her looks happily possible. For those with a crafty bent, there are DIY techniques that will have you reaching for your hot glue gun. Fancy sewing a silk cushion cover? Whipping up a Botanical Pinboard? Or making a hanging light-bulb vase?
Yes. You can.

So if you've ever expressed love for lupins (I have!), or coveted your neighbour's camellia (okay, also me), Botanical Style will have you throwing open the windows, fanning yourself with a palm frond, stroking a succulent and humming your favourite flower song (yes there's a list!) in no time. You may even find yourself painting a wall in a rich deep hue or filling that empty corner with an amazing aspidistra! 

This book along with many other things too beautiful and numerous to mention can be found in one of my all-time favourite stores: NOTE TO SELF at Epping in Sydney. They know how to rock Botanical Style better than anyone I know. Do drop in or check them out on Facebook.

Note to Self Epping
Note to Self Epping

 Botanical Style can also be ordered from Booktopia.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Autumnal Antics

Sydney's Autumn has been pretty special so far. The weather has been fabulous. There have been weekend trips to picturesque parks, summery temperatures, spectacular sunsets and a crispness in the early morning air that has returned my favourite accessory - the scarf, back to its rightful place: strewn all around my room and hanging from every door knob. I love scarves more than I can say. (Check out my Pinterest board) I have quite a few. Besides warding off scratchy throats they are a small fashion item that packs a punch.

Fear not if your jeans are too tight, your top has toothpaste marks, your shoes hurt and your hair is blah - a scarf can give you the confidence to stride stylishly through your day.

Seriously. Remember when pashminas were all the rage? Super warm they provide an instant shot of warmth, a shawl, blanket for the knees or even, I recall, a fashion fix for split trousers (Gwyneth P!)

Which brings me to Sophie Digard. Have you discovered her scarves yet? They are the bomb! Check out this website for a glimpse at her range - truly works of art. A french designer who works with linen, silk and wool, colouring her threads with natural (glorious!) pigments. She then works with a team in Madagascar, using traditional methods, to crochet and work them in to wondrous creations. The end results are (expensive!) and unique.
There's a new stash in a shop near me. I joined a flash mob of women all swooning at the sight and feel of theses beauties:

Here's some pics of our Autumn fun. The leaves haven't dropped in our usual haunts, but here we found a great collection.

And then there's the sunsets.
Words fail.

From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised.
Psalm 113:3

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Being a Mum

As any Mum can tell you, MOTHERHOOD is a learn-on-the-job role where joys and sorrows abound and where the challenges ebb and flow without ever really stopping altogether. Like the waves of the ocean they keep on rolling in.

This year, with my eldest starting high school I feel I've had to step up a notch as Mum. I'll admit, the sea had been placid for a while. I was floating out there, catching the odd wave and (mostly) remembering to reapply sun cream as needed. In other words, I was all over this mothering thing.

However, the placid seas were about to get a little choppy. Nothing too serious. But enough to make me stop floating on my back and start wishing I'd paid more attention in those learn-to-swim classes.

Great moments in Mothering for 2016 (so far..):
  • Last term I attended a snazzy coffee morning for new Year 7 mums. I met many lovely women and was impressed with the style and nice hair of so many there. When I finally got back to the car and flipped down the sun visor mirror, I was horrified to see that my trusty (okay, probably cheap and yes it may have been in the bottom of my handbag since 2002) eyeliner had smudged into impressive dark circles under each eye. Great. Can't believe I'm in my 40s and still clueless about makeup. #pandaeyes #sonotfair
  • This term I've become a "Soccer Mom" for the first time. We've only had three games. I distinguished myself on Saturday by yelling from the sidelines (not too loudly, mercifully) "Good Shick!!" It's a mix of Good Shot and Good Kick. Sounds like something else entirely, but there wasn't much I could do about that once I'd said it... #redface #imnewatthis #whyiseveryonelookingatme #help
  • This week my precious soccer player was injured on the field at practice. The coach rang me to tell me that the ambulance had been called and that the shoulder was possibly dislocated. (Luckily it wasn't, but we didn't know that then). I took the news calmly and asked appropriate questions. He told me that unfortunately they had had to cut my son's soccer shirt off him to make a sling out of it. "Oh no!" I exclaimed. "That shirt was brand new and cost $60!!!" Cue awkward silence by coach. #priorities #sonisfine #itsonlyashirt
Okay, I could share more, but then I'd have nothing to post about next week.

I know so many inspiring Mums it would take forever to tell you their stories. They're not celebrities and they don't all have great hair. Some of them are dealing with challenges that would make you gasp. Others have fail-stories (my favourites) that cause snickering through to weepy hysterical laughing! Whatever the challenges, these women are not just staying afloat (and sometimes that's all we can manage) but they are swimming with finesse. Maybe even doing a twirl here or there. Like those synchronised swimmers with the pegged noses. Yep sometimes motherhood is ALL about pegging your nose and keeping that dogged smile on your face while you twirl. 

Know what I mean?

So Mother's Day is almost here and for those needing last minute gift ideas, here's a few that could take their/your fancy. (And no, pegs are not on the list!) (See my Gift Ideas from 2015)

Incidentally, I won't be asking for much. Well just a few things. Maybe a candle and some peanut brittle. A new scarf never goes astray. And perhaps a non-smudging eyeliner pencil!? 

In the meantime, check out these lovelies:

Yamaha have outdone themselves with their Lifestyle Audio range: 
snazzy blue tooth speakers that also light up like a candle.
I experienced their prowess at a blogger's brunch, swooning at the look and sound!

The Circa Home GRATITUDE range is just lovely.
Honeyflower and Sandlewood - yes I'm just going to say it: I WANT ONE!
The perfect way to say thanks to Mum.
You're welcome.

These mugs are soon to be released by ROBERT GORDON and are so gorgeous
The current range includes dipped gold and gold spotty hug mugs that are lovely too.
Sold in Myer and gift shops or check out their website.

In keeping with my ocean theme - a pool toy seemed kind of fitting.
Okay it may not be the season for it, but trust me, there aren't many mothers who haven't
fantasised about floating peacefully alone in the middle of the ocean (on an iced donut),
especially at tea time, bath time, feeding time, any time..
Buy one here.

Or buy your Mum a book - yes that's right, a real book. Maybe an old favourite in a vintage edition - like this precious copy that belonged to my Grandma who turns 103 this month. 
Or you could buy yourself one to help celebrate the Mum's who are no longer with us. 
Wishing you peace, love and memories that make you laugh!