We've spent the afternoon up the hill at my Dad's place in Stirling eating scones with jam and cream in between allowing the children to run riot in the garden. It was a beautiful, warm day. I wandered around the garden for the first time in a couple of months taking photos.




Jacob's Ladder up to the Japanese Gate 

 the Victorian cast Iron fountain

On the right are the standard roses, under their bridal veils (which keeps the flocks of marauding Cockatoos and parrots from eating the rose buds)

One of the original Italian urns on plinths. There were a lot more in the garden, but they were stolen in the 80's 

 Our old rocking horse, Rigby. He was named by my older sister. No one knows why she called him that (she was 2). He lives on the upstairs landing, and now my children ride him too.

Dad finds it amusing to have a couple of Vintage garden gnomes around the place. You can't take the garden too seriously 

Adelaide sandstone 

In renovation news, I've been nearly driven crazy by the ongoing saga of the steel windows. I may write a post about it all once this is over... Outside the framing of the outdoor dining area continues, and inside Mr AV's office is now plastered up and they've moved into the Living room and are starting on the raked ceiling.





The builders got themselves a new toy to help with the plasterboarding. I'm serious, they've been joyriding on it!

During the week I went to another Outdoors on Parade Cooking Class with a friend. D'Arry's Verandah were the guest restaurant. The wines were naturally enough from D'Arenberg Winery (the restaurant is part of the winery) in the McLaren Vale, about an hour from Adelaide. D'Arry's Verandah have just won a coveted star from Gourmet Traveller, one of only 10 restaurants in Australia to do so.

Coffin Bay Oysters with Apple Sorbet, Wakami and Wasabi Flying Fish Roe


Seared Kangaroo Fillet on Tabouli with Hummus


Poached Noble Riesling Pears with Salted Caramel Sago, Caramelised Yoghurt and Walnut Oat Granola. This was the standout, although it was all absolutely delicious. The wine they'd matched it with, D'Arenberg's The Nostalgia Rare (like a port) was sublime. I'm going to get my hands on a bottle of it when we have our first dinner party in the new reno.  


On Tuesday I endured the trauma that is swimwear shopping in my quest to find a bikini for the upcoming Summer. This is the best time of year to go swimwear shopping - all the sizes are in stock, leave it to actual Summer, and good luck.... I used to sell swimwear many years ago - my first part time job out of school was working for Brian Rochford as a sales assistant.... remember them? They sold excellent swimwear, along with rather dubious lycra bodysuits with enormous shoulder pads in them, stirrup pants and rather skimpy lycra dresses. Sadly, the bottom of the market suddenly fell out for bodysuits a few years later, presumably when women all over Australia realised that when you'd had a bit to drink, and were fiddling with bodysuit studs in the loos late at night, it was a recipe for disaster. Brian Rochford was unable to adapt to the change in the marketplace, eventually closing all the stores.

But it's left me with the ability to hone in on flattering swimwear. I was looking for a bikini as I haven't bought one in 10 years, preferring one pieces as I've had to be on drowning watch whenever I'm poolside - ready to leap into the water at a moment's notice to save one of my three non swimming children. This is not conducive to Bikini wearing, which requires frequent adjustment and decorative lounging to achieve its full effect.

I hit the Bikini jackpot, and bought a couple, including a Kaftan coverup. The fuchsia pink one is from Seafolly, and the print one on the right is from Isola by Megan Gale - I personally think that Australian swimwear is the best designed in the world. The Isola brand is also actually Made in Australia too! Not China!


Later that evening, while scrolling through my iPhone photos to send a couple of the kids to Mr AV (who has been in New York for the week), I found that the 3 year old had taken a photograph of my bikini clad bottom in close up whilst in the change room with me. I had wondered what I looked like from the back.

It was not good....

As a result, I have redoubled my efforts at the gym, and have been 4 times this week, along with going back on the old elimination diet I was on at the start of the year. Fab.

Finally, I've been reading Bringing Home the Birkin, which will put you off ever wanting one of these handbags (well, it did for me). Quite a fascinating look at the Hermes world - who buys it, what they like, the shops in Europe and a man that made a living for 5 years or so buying and re-selling scarves, bags and Hermes trinkets on eBay and to a private client list.


 Don't forget to enter my giveaway if you haven't already!

Have a great week xx

48 comments:

  1. Love the garden pics!!! The urns and gnomes is exactly how i would have my garden...That pulley cart thing does look very joyrideable to be fair.
    Too funny re pic. Love that you have a stylist. I agree that Australian swimwear and underwear for that matter is the best in the world. Even Brazilian swimwear doesn't hold up mind you there is never much to hold up as even baby boomers wear g strings there. But that dessert looks insanely delicious. Bringing home the birkin was hilarious and a fun read! But he sounds like a jerk - i followed his twitter feed for fun but he seemed really bitter and mean. If anything he has loads of competition now and doubt he could make a proper living now that he is a known reseller. PS I love rocking horses as well - must name mine. xx

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    1. You should've seen how excited the builders all were - it was hilarious!
      The pic was seriously disturbing. I'm just so glad I don't have to look at that view of myself.... I think other overseas brands of swimwear don't have good coverage or support, or last well in the sun or pool chlorine. The brazilian stuff is all cut small in the bottoms, which is fine if you like a g-string as you say....
      The dessert was so, so good.
      I agree - I doubt he could be doing it for a living, he was probably hoping to get a movie deal from the book or something and set himself up with that!! xx

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  2. luff the garden and would not like a close up of me from behind in a bikini!

    I read Bringing home the birkin years ago.

    Have you heard the author speak on amazon? it was all so sneaky and clandestine and odd x

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    1. That photo got deleted very quickly!!!

      I haven't heard the amazon speech.. shall go and look it up, sounds very intriguing! xx

      Delete
  3. Your father's home and garden are beautiful...must have been a wonderful place to grow up in...especially hide and seek.
    And, yes I agree, Australian beachwear is still the best!

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    1. I didn't grow up there Linda! My parent's bought the house about 12 years ago, Dad loves gardening with big trees. I wish I had though, we had friends that lived in a big house/ garden in Stirling and we loved nothing better than going to stay for the weekend as kids - we'd all be out in the forest playing imaginary games. xx

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  4. Dear Heidi
    Another great mix of topics. Houses; gardens; the fabulous food - the "plating" so superb - but how to eat and destroy such artistry? The bikinis and the book. How lovely to be able to wear such gorgeous things! Sadly can no longer appear on beaches, except for a stroll late in the afternoon. Have heard about this book but never seen it. Is it worth trying to track down do you think?
    Also love the humour and whimsy. But very sad about the lost garden urns. Pamela xx

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    1. Hi Pamela... yes, quite the mix of topics! I'll give you my copy of the book when I see you next month if you like (no need to return it). It's not a keeper for me... when I'm trying to track down a book, I use www.booko.com.au which will list all prices of all retailers in Australia and overseas and rank them. If it's a second hand book it will search for that too - can be very handy! xx

      Delete
    2. Heidi
      How kind! Will be interested to read but understand it might not be a keeper. Many tks also for the info on booko. Husband sometimes has problems locating out of print books and don't think he's ever used this address (one of his main hobbies is reading books by every Nobel Literature Prize winner - has already done so [just needs to keep up each year with the latest one], but he likes to continue reading works by his favourite Nobel authors).

      One of my guilty pleasures is imagining myself buying a Kelly. Loved the croco rouge K in the movie "Le Divorce", though guess I'd probably go for a safer colour like black. But will never happen - have set the bar much too high in dreaming crocodile. Good luck Tabitha though!
      How strange about Brian Rochford. Our son's first serious girlfriend was a cousin of his and I think did some work for him when she was a student. BR was all the rage then. Has made me wonder what's happened to him? We've completely lost touch with the former girlfriend since she left C'berra and our son's been married for years. - Remember once looking at a bikini (not a BR) and the care label read DRY CLEAN ONLY!!! Pamela xx

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    3. Oh my goodness - Dry Clean Only on a bikini!!!! That is hands down absolutely hilarious! The care labels are purely for legal wiggle room so they don't have to accept returns based on someone boiling something in their washing machine and shrinking it. But that is definitely taking it to the extreme!! I think BR would be very much retired by now... it was a long time ago, and he wasn't a spring chicken when I worked there.
      I do think you're aiming quite high going straight for the Croc! My husband would want the bag to do something very special when you start looking at that price range - he'd never let me buy one! xx

      Delete
    4. Heidi
      Agree! That's why it's a guilty pleasure. If you're going to daydream, never mind the entry level, why not aim high! But husband would be horrified and never forgive. He prides himself on being a legendary miser (part Scots ancestry and all that). Don't worry, the bag will never happen. Pamela xx

      Delete
  5. So bizarre, your dad's house is just like some of the houses around here, I actually thought it was one of them, who was the architect?

    I still want a Kelly bag, fingers crossed for my 50th.

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  6. Totally agree re Australian bathers. I pretty much only buy Seafolly now. Your Dad's garden looks gorgeous. My in-laws have a similar rocking horse called "Prancer". They bought it in England and had it shipped out for their grandchildren to ride. It is strong enough for an adult to get on. Needless to say we all tried it out one Christmas after a few champagnes...

    Glad the house is coming together. Love the bikinis too!

    T
    Xx

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    1. I like Jets for their one pieces though, all my previous bathers over the past 10 years, the years I shall call The One Piece Years, were Jets. Very flattering. Other non aussie bathers tend to go see through when wet, or be cut strangely, or just be horrendously expensive.
      Love the sound of the rocking horse... Rigby is far too small for me now... think I'd definitely break him if I tried! xx

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  7. Dessert and bikinis in one thought bubble??? One sadly leads to the non use of the other in my case!

    Thoroughly agree on the swimwear observation...I wonder if if is because our swimming season lasts for so long that they are made to last better..or rather that buyers won't put up with stuff which only looks good if it doesn't get wet?

    Your dad's garden is idyllic...did you grow up there? Can imagine the hidey chasey games in a garden that lush and that big...heavenly. xx

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    1. Well, I am quite random in my posts! And agree, one to the other equals the horror photograph of my bikini clad bottom. I'm off the desserts now for quite a while!
      Swimwear is, I think, probably it's the one area where Aussies won't put up with poor quality or exorbitant pricing. If you bought something the price that they charge overseas and it didn't last well, they'd have no business here again.
      Didn't grow up in Stirling sadly! I grew up in a big garden on the plains, which was lovely anyway. But I love that my children can borrow his garden on the weekend xx

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  8. Your father's house is so beautiful. You don't get many sandstone houses in Brisbane. Although many new developments seem to be incorporating sandstone - (including our former town house). You had me laughing out loud with the bikini snap. At least your 3 year old didn't open the change room curtain whilst you were part way through dressing! Fortunately you went to D'Arry's Verandah before your elimination diet. All the best with renovation progress!

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    1. Usually you get the stone/ material that is natural to the area. I think sandstone is fashionable now, which is why you'd be seeing it in new developments - it would have to be shipped in I imagine. The house was built from stone on the site - there is the old quarry down the bottom of the garden where they cut the blocks for it.
      The 3 year old didn't open the curtain, but someone else's 18 month old did!! Between the two of them, plus actually trying on swimwear anyway it wasn't the most relaxing experience! xx

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  9. Have you been to D'arry's? My favourite eating spot in South Australia and we have been quite a few times since moving to Adelaide.
    The Hills are looking spectacular at the moment, after the wet winter. Driving around yesterday was stunning!
    Melody.

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    1. I went to D'Arry's such a long time ago - I really have to go again. Just have to do it without kids though! Stirling was lovely yesterday - it's the perfect time of year up there. Winter is fairly miserable when the cloud descends for 3 months, but when it is like it was yesterday, it makes me want to move up there too - all the gardening possibilities! xx

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  10. Your Dad's house is so beautiful Heidi... what a wonderful place to call home... Great choice of bikinis and my youngest daughter was telling me yesterday of a couple of Seafolly bikinis she had bought which fitted so well.. Food looks wonderful.. especially the oysters with the apple sorbet! Have a lovely week and just wish those d....n builders of yours would get a move on!! xx

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    1. The oysters were very yummy, but it was a pity that we only got one! My friend was complaining that she wanted at least half a dozen!
      I wish it would all get a move on too! To be fair, they're now going hell for leather, there are trades all over the place, but the windows are pretty much my fault, and have caused so much headache! xx

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  11. Dear Heidi,
    Loved seeing pictures of your Dad's house. Is it in the Hills? I recognise that gorgeous honeycomb sandstone. My parents had a hotel that was made of that stone. Just gorgeous and so miss the seasons in the garden that you get in Adelaide.
    Hello Brian Rochford!!! It was my staple for bikinis pre children and I totally rocked the stirrup pants and bodysuits post. I remember a particularly fetching polka dot polo neck with ginormous shoulder pads that I bought along with the stirrup pants from somewhere on Unley Rd. Paired with red lips, enormous earrings and my hair up in a high bun I thought I was the epitome of a yummy mummy.
    After 4 weeks away travelling I am on a mission to get not bikini ready but just to be able to fit into my clothes! I too have been on an elimination diet for a pesky allergy to certain foods but that proved difficult travelling so starchy carbs was my fall back. I am taking myself off to Hypoxi which is a fantastic way to see results (goggle it. I wholeheartedly recommend it but it is any excy way to exercise.)
    Loved that book and like you cured my desire for a Birkin much to husband’s relief!
    Kate Bx

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    1. It is Kate - Stirling! So lovely up there at this time of year.
      So funny re Brian Rochford - I'm sure you looked the business in your bodysuit and stirrup pants... and I could well have sold them to you! I worked at the Metro Store on Unley Road, which was where you went. I can remember those polka dot roll neck bodysuits too!!
      I'm sure your trip was amazing, and really, you have to enjoy the food when you travel. I did the elimination diet earlier this year to work out what caused my eczema, but lost a lot of weight in the process. A few weeks on the same diet should do me wonders (and hopefully the view from the back of me in a bikini too!) Shall go and google away. xx

      Delete
  12. That house and garden is like something from a fairytale ..

    At least you still wear a bikini !! yes I remember Brian Rochford , an older designer called Robin Garland and even a shop in Queen Street Woollahra in the early 70s ? (god I hope not the 60s) run by the daughter of Paula Stafford, the inventor of Aust. bikins.

    Im so old I frighten myself

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    1. I am dipping my toes back in with the bikini... it's been a long time, and Mr AV suggested I buy one after wearing such sensible one pieces for so long. I figured I didn't have much time left until I would never wear one, so there you go!
      You're not old smr. I bet you were about 5 shopping at your mother's side when you came across those designers... surely! xx

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  13. BTW saw your comment on Bourbon and Pearls ..wish Id thought of the paradise line.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. but it is! They don't know what they're missing over there...!

      Delete
  14. I so desperately had my heat set on acquiring a hot pink garden gnome showing the rude finger from a gallery in Uzes however the husband said categoric no.....it would have looked fab in my garden, or even next to my pink front door! Love your Dad's sense of garden humour yet his gnomes seem to be more polite than their French cousins?! Last time I went bikini shopping, I took my then 3 year old son who talked me into a skimpy leopard print 2 piece....even though I kept questioning him as to whether the more sedate black version might look better. Emerged from the change room to be greeted by sight of sales assistant and another customer in fits of laughter having eavesdropped on our conversation. It's first outing was to the pool at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur.....the husband wanted to know what on earth had convinced me to purchase said bikini (we were there celebrating my 40th birthday)....it was his 3 year old son! Please put me on the list for your dinner party when you whip up all of those amazing recipes that you have been learning! Rx

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    1. Hilarious re the gnome! None of Dad's are doing any rude gestures.. they're all polite gnomes that are tastefully distressed. We've also put some down in the grotto as well. We renamed it the 'Gnomery'. There are also some tacky little plaster fairies (tiny) in amongst the rocks that the children like to go and look for. Dad removes them all when there's an official garden tour from one of the historic societies.
      Love the sound of your bikini - perfect for the 40th trip. Between his love of sequins and the leopard print bikini choice your son will be setting the bar high for his future girlfriend! Either that or he might bring home an interesting type.... What an amazing place to go for its first outing too... these bikinis are off somewhere special too (or are supposed to be.. my husband muttered something last night about maybe cancelling the trip due to work. Grrrr).
      You are of course welcome anytime to dinner in Adelaide - and I'd definitely go all out in my new kitchen to whip up something special xx

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  15. I love your father's house! It's gorgeous and the gardens have a "secret garden" vibe to them! The Poached Pear dessert looks delicious and I had to laugh when you said you saw a picture of your behind in a bikini. I already know what I look like from behind in a bikini and feel pretty lucky that it's fall over here so I do not have to worry about that for a while!

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    1. It does have a very secret garden feel to it - especially at the moment as no one's done much in it for a few months due to the terribly wet winter we've had. You are really lucky that you have winter coming. The trauma is when you end Winter and find all that cosy comfort food has had quite the effect! x

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  16. Oh, I dread the thought of a someone taking a photo of me from behind in bathers! I need to tackle the bathers shopping ASAP. I couldn't face it last year but I am desperate for new ones, post-twins the tops no longer fit like they used to. I currently have brownies in the oven - I don't think they're going to get me bikini ready!

    Gorgeous house and garden, so lovely for your children to be able to have adventures up there.

    Thanks for mentioning the OOP cooking classes, didn't realise they did them!

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    1. It wasn't nice Gabrielle!! I went to Beachpool on Greenhill Road - they were great as I could get them to fetch me different sizes etc (so rare to find assistance in DJ's etc). They have a very good range too. Your brownies sound good... maybe just one?!
      The cooking classes are fun! I booked into a few at the start of the year and have really enjoyed them. xx

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  17. Your Dad's house is so beautiful - stunning gardens.

    The food at D'Arry's Verandah looked delicious and I will definitely try to track down that book. Mr B is super lucky I am not keen to purchase an Hermes bag, however I do hope to buy a really beautiful Smythson bag one day.

    I can't believe how quickly this year is flying by and yet again swimming season is upon us. Love Seafolly xxx





    ReplyDelete
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    1. The Smythsons do go on sale from time to time.. maybe not the classic black ones though? They do look lovely. So glad you got your clutch.
      I know - it was so warm today, I feel like we've skipped Spring in Adelaide... freezing and raining one week, and a balmy 27 the next. xx

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  18. Your father's house is incredible. And what a tonic the garden must be for him. Charming.
    I love the bikini's. Seafolly is a great brand. The Aussie have always been ahead of the curve in the swimwear department and everything to do with being in the sun. When my brother got married a few years ago in Melbourne I stocked up on sunscreen for the children.
    That cooking course/demo sounds really intersesting. You will be having great dinner parties in no time. I'd love to see some menu and table setting posts when the time comes. Speaking of table settings, I love the Laguiole cutlery at the cooking demo. I recently got my husband a set of steak knives (all with cream coloured handles) as a birthday gift (one of those gifts which is actually a gift for yourself!)
    x

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    1. He absolutely loves the garden - it's been such a good focus for him the past year.
      We do have to be very sun smart, although I buy the kids their neck to knee solar suits from Boden - for some reason you can easily get rashies (the long sleeved tops), but they do bikini bottoms for the kids with them - no leg protection. It's really weird!
      The place where the cooking classes are is a bit like Williams Sonoma in Adelaide - they sell kitchen stuff, like the Laguiole cutlery. Love the gift that keeps on giving! Well done on your steak knives! xx

      Delete
  19. http://www.xritephoto.com/ph_toolframe.aspx?action=coloriq

    Have you taken this test? Kind of fun - its about your color hue sensibility or something like that! x

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    1. I haven't seen that before! Just took it... scored zero (perfect score) ... What did you get? xx

      Delete
  20. Your father's house is stunning!! The garden is incredible. For some reason it reminds me the movie, "The Secret Garden" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108071/) based on Frances Hodgson Burnett's book. Too funny about your daughter taking a close-up of your back! The swimwear looks lovely - I've never tried Australian swimwear but I am sure it is fantastic. I haven't read "Bringing Home the Birkin" but I have read "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre", and that book seriously put me off buying designer "It" bags.

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    1. I loved that movie! It is a bit like that I think - it's so big that Dad can't get around on his own and keep the paths clear etc all the time.... so it does have a bit of an element of decay at times!
      You should definitely try Aussie swimwear - it's the best and there are a lot of different brands (all good!) I've been meaning to read that book on Luxury goods, shall have to put it on my list. xx

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  21. Wow! Your father's house is stunning and the garden looks as if it's amazing too! The Japanese arch is fab!
    Rigby is a great name for a rocking horse. I love this post - so many things to look at and comment upon!
    I haven't read Bringing home the birkin! but will put it on my list. I've never really wanted a very posh bag.... But would love a Hermes scarf one of these days!
    You're right about Aussie swim wear! although due to my 'tricky' size I almost always end up buying bikinis from a Brit company called 'Miss Mandalay'
    I dread trying on bikinis, as they're invariably a horrid fit on me. When I was pregnant I wore Jets bikinis and loved them! They make great bathers, as do seafolly. Must keep an eye out for the Megan Gale ones as I think you mentioned the bottoms are good for bum less people?!

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    1. Yes! The isola ones are the ones I ended up buying size 14 bottoms in... so you'd easily fit the 8's (and if you do try them on and find them too roomy, please don't tell me as I'll slit my wrists!). The book is a very easy read, I think you'd like it xx

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  22. Your father's house is fabulous!!! What an idyllic childhood you must have had growing up in such a green and imaginative wonderland. Now I want to take sneaky peaks inside! My days of bikinis are long gone, here they are popular with all ages and why not? Your ones are gorgeous and love the look of that cover-up. I must pilgrimage over the SF and visit a Kiwi shop that probably has loads of good "togs" as we call them./Totally agree with you - Australian swimsuits are awesome, here the ones I need with all the pulleys and levers have horrible Mumsy flowers on them.

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    1. I didn't grow up there unfortunately Jody - my parent's bought it around 12 years ago! I did have an idyllic childhood... in the suburbs though!
      I need all the help I can get in the bikini department. There's a lot of artful padding and general smoke and mirror type stuff going on with them - overseas brands seem to think everyone is a supermodel and has no need for any of that stuff. xx

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  23. Heidi that is a gorgeous house! I wish I had grown up there! Excellent purchasing of bikinis and caftan, you have a terrific eye, I love the colours.

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    1. I love the pattern on the Caftan, and funnily enough I'm not usually a pink person, but it really appealed this time. xx

      Delete

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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