I've not been the best and most consistent blogger the past month - life has been busy. We've been living at my in-law's house for the past two weeks, as we came home from our luxurious holiday on Lizard Island with a big thump... no hot water, no kitchen and plaster dust coating every surface imaginable. Living between two houses has been hard - I was back at the house every day, and on the days when activities or circumstances prevented me from being at the house, I was fielding urgent phone calls from it. Things are moving at a pace.


Having now moved back into the house, we are living in a manner not dissimilar to camping. The bathrooms are definitely better, the beds more comfortable, but things are everywhere, and it's all a bit of a disorganised mess. We have this blue plastic sheet dividing the living area of the house from the building site beyond. It's supposed to stop dust. It doesn't work

So, in the past two weeks, we've had the start of the fireplace installed. This has been a pain in the neck. Because it is a French fireplace, rather than an English one, it has to be built into the wall. Much head scratching has been going on as we try to figure out how to do this, plus include the fake/ real looking gas fire that will burn within. I also had to accept that the TV was going to be too small in order for it to fit above the fireplace, so cords have been re routed and there is now a TV plan B. Like most designers I hate incorporating TV's, and my pet hate is a living room built around the TV, where you turn your back on the garden, or on convivial conversation in favour of all staring at a wall with a big black void on it. I'm still sorting this out, but I've pushed it aside mentally for the time being as I've had other things to deal with.


There's been a bit of painting, however it's the ceiling, and there are limits to the boring photos that I will post on the blog.

The kitchen benchtops were installed yesterday, and I'm really pleased with how they've turned out. I had thought, when looking at the slab last week, that I may have made a mistake, as in slab form it looked a little like the fake marble it is (it's composite stone, much more durable and stain proof compared to marble). But having had it cut to slabs and installed, I'm really happy with it. The grey cupboards will look fantastic with it - they're being painted this week for appliance installation next Monday.




I also took delivery of my brass handles - they've come from the USA. I couldn't find anything like them in Australia (everything brass was very faux Heritage in style, and I wanted something more modern), and in the end they worked out so much cheaper than a local item - around $11/ handle, and they're really well made. I've also taken delivery of my new kitchen tap from Perrin and Rowe - stunning in real life. The brass is a natural finish, so it will dull down a bit over time, but I do love the classic marble/brass combo. The tap was a special order, as brass is not common enough yet to have it in stock - so it took 14 weeks to arrive from England.



The laundry has had the tap and trough installed, which is where I am doing the dishes and cooking (using my Thermomix). The rest of the cooking stuff is in the Kid's bathroom, which is where the fridge is. It's not ideal. But from a laundry perspective it has improved - as I can now wash clothes indoors, rather than on the veranda.


In the new powder room, the skylight has been installed, and they've finished plastering S's bedroom and the powder room. I've been busy designing and drafting S's wardrobe unit, and the panelling for under the wallpaper in the powder room. The wallpaper has been a bit of a debacle. If you remember correctly, I'm using the Hothouse flowers on grasscloth from Schumacher. But unfortunately it comes in 8 yard rolls. This meant I could only get one full drop out of each roll, due to the ceiling height, and this made it ridiculously expensive. So, I've designed a dado level panelling to go underneath, and can now get 2 drops from each roll. This will probably work out to be more practical at any rate, as wallpaper plus little boys in bathrooms are not a good combination.


And here are some pictures of the playroom. They've almost finished plastering in here, and that will bring to an end a very slow plastering process (the plasterer is a perfectionist. I'm sure we'll be very pleased about that in years to come, but it has seemed to take forever in the meantime).


windows on two sides of the room

On the home front, all my activities have been revolving around the children, penance in a way for going on holiday for a week without them. We hosted our oldest's 8th Birthday last weekend, took the children to see Cavalia (basically Cirque de Soleil with horses), have had a school Sports Day, I've supervised a Craft morning with my Son's year level (exhausting!), babysat my friends little 2 year old to help her out several times during the week, and finally taken the children to the Adelaide Christmas Pageant last Saturday.

We were indoors this year, overlooking the circuit. It winds its way approximately 1.5 KM through the city centre, and lasts almost an hour - floats are interspersed with marching bands, high kicking dancers, pipe bands (so many pipe bands!), and many, many clowns. Last year I took the children on my own as Mr AV was away, and so elected to go roadside (too hard to get to the indoor spot I decided). This year we were in a spot overlooking Government House on North Terrace. It was quite civilised - we saw friends, had breakfast, enjoyed a glass of bubbles, and the children watched the pageant from the windows or scaffolding erected outside.


Amongst the usual Christmas/ Northern Hemisphere themed floats, there are some Australian ones -

David Bromley Artist themed float - marching alongside are tubes of paint and artists

Father Christmas (as he is called in South Australia) arriving at the end

At this point in the renovations, things are grim. We are living in the most uncomfortable and disruptive way that we have ever had to live in the house, yet we have spent almost all the money that we have to spend on the build. There is at this point, no real tangible benefit - we don't have the satisfaction of looking around and enjoying our new home, and this will be the way things are until Christmas... so to escape, I've been reading all sorts of books.


Beauty at Home - Aerin Lauder arrived from Amazon this week, and I love it. I've always loved Aerin's homes and personal style, and the book is lovely. One of my favourite books is about Estee Lauder, a biography, and I always found the way Estee started her company, made it into such an enormous success, and her overall taste and marketing genius to be inspiring. Aerin's book is timed to coincide with the launch of her fabric range with Lee Joffa, and her expanding homeware and makeup empire. The book is filled with beautifully photographed shots of each room of her two homes - her New York apartment, and her Hamptons house. It's interspersed with family photographs and memories of her childhood and Estee, who was clearly an enormous influence on her, which makes it more than an Interiors book. Highly recommended.






The second book was The Girl who Loved Camellias, a book I picked up whilst in Melbourne at the Avenue Bookstore on my weekend trip with Romy, Faux Fuchsia and Pamela a month ago, and which is about the Parisian Courtesan, Marie DuPlessis, who was the inspiration for the Opera La Traviata, after she died aged 23 from Tuberculosis. She had grown up in poverty in the countryside, been sold into prostitution aged 13 by her Father, and yet rose to become a highly feted Courtesan who kept company with many of the leading luminaries in Paris in the 1840's. She was widely admired for her style and beauty, and inspired many fashion trends. After her untimely death, she was immortalised by Alexander Dumas in the romantic story The Lady of the Camellias, which became an acclaimed play and which subsequently inspired Verdi to compose La Traviata, with the character of Violetta based on Marie. Many movies have also been made based on the play, such as Camille starring Greta Garbo, and Coco Chanel was inspired after seeing the play to incorporate the Camellia into her now famous personal motif.


A very interesting book looking at the way women's lives were in that period of history, really enjoyable and a beautifully crafted book with its pretty cover and rough cut page edges.

I'll be back soon to update on progress... xx

56 comments:

  1. Hi Heidi!! I think we are racing each other with the kitchen.
    What an excellent blog post. We too had a plastic sheet. Did sheet all!! Ha! I'm a goose.
    The fireplace mantle is heaven!! Love it so much. Have you picked the gas fire heater to go in it?
    The brass is just delicious! Love it all. I don't think I will ever order cabinet hardware in Aus ever again. It really is all coming together. Just need to slap some paint around the joint HEHEHHE. Happy Bday to your eldest!
    I have refrained myself from buying anymore design books as I don't have a bookcase and no room for one. But I really like Aerin and LOVEEEEE her collection of lights for Visual comfort. I have my eye on one for ANYWHERE in my house! Love it. (Too small though for the dining table light though)

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    1. I hope your kitchen is finished before mine Laura - you've been going for so long now! The gas fire is from real flame, and is a firebox and flue above. It's been a pain. All the ones in fireboxes were so big they didn't fit in the mantle, and the small ones were horrible (like dimplex heater type things). I think we've sorted it out, but it's added a lot of cost... blah!
      I'm so happy with the handles. Not long now till they're all installed and I'm enjoying the kitchen! xx

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  2. Hi Heidi,
    Enjoying your updates......as an ex Adelaide girl, I love seeing beautiful houses such as yours (even in renovation state!) - I'm in QLD now on the Gold Coast and the architecture here is less than desirable to say the least Currently hunting for an old Queenslander to renovate.
    Would you mind telling me the name of the Estee Lauder biography? Would love to get my hands on a copy to read.
    Thanks,
    Sally

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    1. Hi Sally, good luck with the house hunt - I love old Queenslanders... and yes, the houses of Adelaide are beautiful, although ours is in a slightly dusty/ disorganised fashion at the moment.
      The Estee Lauder Bio was called "Estee Lauder Beyond the Magic" by Lee Israel, but it's out of print (mine was from around 1989). You could probably search Amazon or Abebooks or ebay for a copy - it's excellent and definitely worth hunting down. xx

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  3. Well at least it looks like it is all going to be pretty much finished before the ubiquitous Christmas deadline? I get nearly all of my handles from the US too - so much variety, better quality and even with shipping they are well and truly worth it.

    We always use the Adelaide Pageant as the marker to put up our own Christmas decorations - even though we haven't lived in Adelaide for a long time, it seemed as good a date as any - and is really a perfect excuse to put them up super early.

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    1. Hi Virginia - Inside will be largely done before Christmas. I said to my builder at the start of the year that I didn't want to mention the "c word", yet here we are....!
      You're clever to have already worked out the US situation with the handles. They're amazingly cheaper than local companies, and the range is incredible. Shall be looking forward to pictures on your blog of your Christmas tree, complete with icicles, snowflakes, and snowmen ( as I know your thoughts on them!). xx

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  4. Looks like progress is happening there Heidi. Kitchen and laundry looking good - love the bench tops and that gorgeous tap. I have black granite bench tops and not a day goes by that my husband or boys don't spill something on them, resulting in constant cleaning! There is nothing worse than plaster dust, gets into everything and anything. Good news that you have a functioning laundry - it would not have been enjoyable doing laundry outside during the winter. Must check out some of those books now that Year 12 is over (just Uni Exams to go) and I can finally take a breather. Looking forward to the next instalment. Have a great week. Jo xx

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    1. There is progress - things should be dramatically improved in the next week with the appliances going in too.
      The new laundry is a big improvement - I was heartily sick of lugging the washing out the front door and around to the side veranda!
      That's great that the Year 12 exams are over Jo - you must be breathing a big sigh of relief! Hope the Uni ones pass uneventfully xx

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  5. Hello! When I saw the tiny pic on the side of my blog I thought the blue thing was a blue sequin dress on a hanger! Then I realise it is a DUST SHEET!!!!!!! Funny. Aerin's book looks 11/10. Good luck with fire place and dust x

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    1. Ha! I will probably disappoint any of your fashion loving followers who click through from your blog roll. They'll be horrified to instead find dust and building pictures instead!
      Aerin's book is excellent - you'll love it xx

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    2. Haha! I thought the same thing! In fact I thought you might have bought a collette d frock to cheer yourself up! See what a one-track mind I have!

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    3. Me too, we have one track minds!

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    4. so funny - I haven't had a chance to get in to look at dresses for the past week. Maybe tomorrow...!

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  6. Your brass tapwear is stunning Heidi, worth waiting for no doubt. I smiled when i read your tv comment. I refer to the tv in the living room as the black hole! It completely dominates the room but I was out voted by the 3 lots of square eyes I live with! Enjoy your week. Karen x

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    1. I'm so happy with the tap Karen - it looks amazing in real life. Definitely worth the money (in my view!!), especially as you use your kitchen tap so much.
      I tried hard to banish the tv from the living room, but naturally my husband was against that. The TV was going to be quite small to fit above the fireplace (and covered by a mirror on a hinge was my plan), so we will have to rearrange things. xx

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  7. How stressful to be camping in your house, I really hope that things go very smoothly and quickly from this point onwards.
    We submitted our DA today.... Next year you'll be able to luxuriate in your beautiful finished house and watch my life turn upside down!!

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    1. And I must add that your kitchen is looking fantastic! The benches look great from what I can see. Ditto the taps from the US. Must remember to look at taps from overseas once we're at that stage.

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    2. Hooray for the DA! I can't wait to watch your reno unfold. Especially as I will hopefully have mine as a far distant memory.
      You'll have to look at o/s taps in all likelihood. Aside from Astra Walker all taps are manufactured o/s and brought into Australia... even Caroma do theirs overseas now! But a good tap makes a difference I think. xx

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  8. Heidi I am currently catching up on your posts! The kitchen is looking incredible and those glass windows are stunning. You need a medal for doing all that you do whilst living between two houses. We had some very simple work done to our house last week and it ended in a slight change of plans and a cost 5 times originally quoted by a builder. I have no idea how people get through renovating!!! Your house will be gorgeous once you have finished, which of course is the ultimate reward xx

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    1. Oh dear to your budget blowout Fifi! Not an unfamiliar tale I'm afraid with construction... I'm very excited to see a completed kitchen in another weeks time - it will help me limp through the remaining month and a half! xx

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  9. Loving the progress!!!

    The laundry looks fantastic, but can't wait to see the kitchen finished. <3

    B

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    1. Me too B! Can't wait to start cooking in it xx

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  10. Such attention to detail, those taps are beautiful, I don't know how you mange all the stress of it with children, I've had no kitchen/appliances for two weeks since we got flooded and it's starting to get me down now, I really really miss the sink.

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    1. They do make a good tap in England. I didn't realise you've been flooded as well - what a terrible year you've had Tabs with the Burglary as well - hopefully the new year will be a lot better. There is nothing so disruptive as not having a working kitchen. I hope it's all resolved soon xx

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  11. I too thought that the blue was a picture of a strapless dress taken from behind! Of course it still looks quite fine art photo with the light coming through! I know it must be a pain to be quasi camping with the kids but part of me wishes I could have camped at home because initially it was just so disruptive and I had to get used to a new area etc.

    But you are moving along so well! I adore the brass taps! I love brass especially at the mo - even have a pinterest board dedicated to it!! The tops look great and look like they will be the foundation for many great cakes and such.

    Such a clever trick about the dado as well. Very sweet to see the children looking so intently at the parade. Have they written to Father Xmas to prove they were good all year? Gee whiz you are busy lately, I bet your friend must think you are a godsend for babysitting. I also have a thing for courtesan biographies - keep up the great work Heidi xx

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    1. So funny about the curtain/ dress photo! Do you know, I'm much happier at home, despite the mess etc. I like just nipping around to my local places to get things, living away made everything just a little bit harder (even though my Mother in Law was an absolute star and did so much to help).
      The kids haven't prepared their letter yet - each year I do a personalised 'live' message from Santa for them, it comes via email. It's so funny to see their reactions. It has been busy. I'm looking forward to a bit of a rest in January (hopefully!!) xx

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    2. Heidi, what a brilliant mum you are, that would be excellent to get an email from Santa!

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  12. You're in the home stretch Heidi, hang in there. It all looks amazing. Interesting to hear your thoughts on the TV. We have the classic two built in cabinets either side of the fireplace in our living room here in London and the enormous flatscreen takes pride of place above the fireplace. It was one of my husbands only prenuptual requests that it be allowed to stay. When I look through design magazines, pinterest, etc to work out what to do with the shelves either side I always notice that there are never any TVs in living rooms that I like! Oh well. I did manage to get my way in our house in Colorado. The views there are fanatstic and we have lots and lots of windows - I did not want the interior designed around where the TV would be. So, we got this beautiful sideboard made which is a sort of rough barnwood with verdigis copper panels and the TV pops up out of it when you hid a switch. Love it.
    I'm off to amazon now to get that aerin lauder book. xx

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    1. I love the pop up tv concept - and yes, all Designers hate them. Usually men want the biggest thing they can buy in a living room, and it is just such a void. I was planning to recess the tv into the plasterboard above the fireplace so that it was flush with the chimney breast, and then put a mirror over the top. You can get TV's that are mirrors in the UK (although the dimensions are still TV like), or there is mirror that you can frame up yourself that lets the tv behind be seen. I was thinking of hinging a mirror over it, so you'd open it to the side when watching tv... but it was going to be too small a tv for the viewing distance, and I knew my husband would go crazy about it!! I think in a lot of magazines that they remove the tv for the photo as well. xx

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  13. I am loving the look of your kitchen! You are at the worst stage of a reno but it will be so beautiful in the end that the dust will be forgotten. I am very much looking forward to seeing it at the finish!
    Thanks for the book rec's, I'm going to look them up on Amazon.

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    1. I'm sure this time next year it will all be forgotten, and I keep thinking only 5 weeks to go, which is getting me through. Hope you enjoy the books, they're both good ones. xx

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  14. Huge huge progress at your place Heidi, hang in there, you are definitely on the home stretch now. Your laundry looks great, and must have massively improved your mood since it has moved indoors. Loving seeing your kitchen windows with all the cabinetry in as well. The tv issue is a total pain, I now have two separate spaces to solve that exact issue and I am very much looking forward to a lounge area without a tv as a focal point. Mind you right now it is a massive expansive of space solely furnished by a painting trestle! mel x

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    1. There is big progress - I think when you're in there every day you don't see it after a while, and it seems like nothing ever changes. In some ways having the blog, and taking photos each week has helped me to see how much does change.
      Good luck with the painting - just yesterday my husband was looking at S's future bedroom and saying (with a shudder) Thank God we're not doing it... having painted our entire last house I think he's well and truly happy to hang up the paint brush for ever! xx

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  15. Hi Heidi, even though it must seem like it is taking forever, it does look from the photos that a ton of progress has been made. Love the brass taps, what a beautiful touch, much warmer looking than the standard stainless steel and chrome. Sorry to hear about the dust but I guess it is unavoidable when so much of the house is under construction. (Like FF, I also thought the blue plastic sheet was a dress at first!!)

    The annual Christmas parade in Toronto is in a few weeks - I'm debating whether to go. Traffic is always such a nightmare getting into the downtown area. The Aerin Lauder book looks very interesting. I will have to check it out the next time I visit the local bookstore.

    Hope your week is going well!!

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    1. The whole dust sheet as dress thing has made me laugh a lot! Getting to the pageant here is a nightmare too - and people get there earlier and earlier. I just heard today from someone that owns a city restaurant/ bar that when they closed up at 2am there were people already there camping out with their spot!! Crazy!! xx

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  16. Hi Heidi. Not to worry - lots of us LOVE the dusty building updates rather than fashion! The brass tap and handles are really beautiful. Was going to moan again about lack of choice in Australia but nobody but the frustrated consumers appears to be listening so won't bother. So happy you are pleased with your bench top. I must say I was very surprised at the difference in appearance between the sample and the large slab for composite stone. I knew that slabs would be quite different with natural stone, but expected the consistency of a manmade product to just look like a large piece of the sample. But it really doesn't! Must be something about the repeating pattern or something? No idea. Can so sympathise with your living conditions. We had no running water inside at all for over a month (only a hose outside), no bathroom at all (a working toilet (sort of - holes in the floor and no door - not suitable for use when the builders were there!) and no shower or any sort of tap at all inside). Had to cook outside on the back deck for five months. That got a bit uncomfortable during a Melbourne winter! All worth it in the end. Cannot wait to see your beautiful home come to life. Bring on the reno photos, I say! Cheers Tammy

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    1. You're the only one so far not disappointed to see that the dust sheet was not a dress Tammy!! I just thank God for the Internet, as it's opened up so much more choice for us all - to be able to ship in the handles was simple, and far better than compromising on what I wanted. The stone slab really didn't look great I have to say. I spent the weekend thinking it was likely that it would look a bit too perfect and not nice at all - but I think cut into smaller pieces, it has enough irregularity to fool you. I think if you wanted a heavily figured marble (as some do), it would not look great, but as an alternative to a Carrara marble, it doesn't do too bad a job.
      Your living conditions sound like us in our old Melbourne house - my husband has been a complete misery the past few weeks whingeing and complaining about the current status of the project, and I can't believe it as he was not nearly so bad when we had very primitive conditions in the Albert Park house for a really long time. And yes, nothing beats BBQing in a rubble filled back garden with your Winter coat on! xx

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  17. I hate the plastic sheet/tarp as wall stage. Horrible.

    The kitchen bench and taps look lovely - I hope the renovation fairies smile on you and it all gets done super quickly now!

    Take care.

    xx

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    1. Plastic sheet came down today! Hooray! Hopefully the builders will be out of the new bedroom and powder room soon, and I can keep the back door shut once more.
      I'm hopeful the renovation fairies smile on us soon - they've not been around much in the past few months!! xx

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  18. Love the brass tap, gorgeous! Your kitchen is starting to really take shape and looks like it will be amazing. So much going on for you!

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    1. yes - all busy here.. 10 workmen today (thank goodness!!) xx

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  19. Your kitchen is going to be stunning Heidi. The brass tap is the business and I guessing it won’t need to be polished vigorously like the taps in Downton Abbey.
    As an ex Adelaideian reading about the Pageant made me quite sentimental. I remember as a child desperately wishing that I could ride on Nipper or Nimble (are they still in the pageant?)
    The blue honour line that we ALL kept behind not daring to step over.
    Father Christmas of course. What a shock when we came to Queensland 20 years ago this month and people asked my 5 year old son "What is Santa bringing you?). He looked non plus and had to explain they meant Father Christmas. It’s so interesting that the vernacular of each region exists and yes we still call him Father Christmas but alas bathers have now been replaced by togs!
    PS. I thought it was a pretty silk dress too!
    Kate Bx

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    1. It will need to be polished! It's unlacquered (the stuff they put on brass in the 80s that didn't work so well), so it will dull down a bit I think. But hopefully in a good way!
      They still have Nipper and Nimble in the pageant, and I used to want to be on them too - one little girl I used to babysit got to ride Nipper, and I was envious, even as a 21 year old! Now my little E has decided she must ride it next year, and I had to break the news that wouldn't be possible.
      The regional differences are funny - I hadn't realised how different things were until we lived in Melbourne for so long. The other thing is the way we pronounce Lego in Adelaide... I still revert to the (rest of the world) normal way when speaking to my friends in Melbourne.. but here in Adelaide it's "Lay-go" all the way! xx

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  20. Phil and Amity had a HD TV that doubled as a mirror in their bathroom in The Block All Stars. The company is called Liquifi. Jo xx

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    1. They are around in Aus then? Shall have to go and have a look. THanks Jo! xx

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  21. Oh my gosh even the little peeks I can see of the marble and the gold taps, it looks so glamorous. (You have such great taste. I still remember that feathery skirt you posted one day and I've been on the look out for one since...) Forgotten also that we called Santa Father Christmas - sounds so posh really doesn't it? Must be a bit of a nightmare doing all that camping and moving around, guess you find out in a hurry which clothes are the most flexible. I just wrote a story about a family who did remodeling for six years and they didn't move out - they lived in every room of the house! Now that is crazy making!

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    1. I think the Father Christmas is an English thing maybe? Weirdly, we seem to be the only state in AUstralia to call him that - interesting that it's the same in NZ.
      I wore pretty much the same 3 outfits for 2 weeks while staying at my in laws - I couldn't be bothered moving clothes over there, and it was just all too hard! That is crazy about the family who moved room to room - for so long I would be slitting my wrists if ours took that long! xx

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  22. It's a big event when the drop sheets come down, so you really must be getting close. And with 10 men busy (long as they don't trip over each other) you'll have your kitchen really soon. Love the composite stone. A beautiful look and the brass is wonderful, it makes a good change from all the stainless steel you see in kitchen features. Can't wait to see the final product - so imagine how impatient you must feel. Though it often seems to be dustiest before the dawn, or something like that!
    The books look lovely, I remember you buying "The Girl Who Loved Camellias" and thinking I should too because "La Traviata" is my favourite opera and it would be so interesting to read the back story of the real girl. But I already have so many books that I impulse buy and haven't yet read so was very stern with myself. But thank you for letting us know how good it was, one day I might pick it up when remaindered. I'm great admirer of Estee and how she created her business - it would also be interesting to read a biog of Helen Rubenstein who also started from scratch, but in Oz. A few years ago when we were doing a little mini taxi tour of Cracow, the guide stopped and pointed out her childhood family home. She was so fortunate to have been able to leave when she did because not far away there are memorials to so many who lost their lives in the Holocaust, one is a little square full of chairs.
    Am loving the CD book and "Stonefields". Your children are so gorgeous in that window scene - it looks like the cover of a lovely story book. Pamela xx

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    1. I have a bio on Helena Rubensteing - it's about her and Elizabeth Arden. Might be called War Paint maybe? Was a really good book too - Helena was very interesting.
      Oh I'm desperate to get my hands on both those books... but only a few weeks until my birthday, so fingers crossed (am def. getting the CD one, as have bought it for myself for Mr AV to give to me!) xx

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  23. What a lovely cover on The Girl who loved Camellias'/ that rather primitive portrait of he rand her CAMELLIA and did you say rough cut pages ?

    I do like your taps ..my bathroom ones are like that but in chrome ..not chosen by me. Interesting that lacquered brass has gone the way of the .well many things really. I prefer the real patina anyway ..Im quite happy if metals aren't overly polished. Which reminds me of the following anecdote in one of Nancy Mitford's stories....supposedly in WW1 the British officers didn't like to dine with their French counterparts as the French silver was unpolished. I must re read all those Mitford stories ..have you read them Heidi ? .

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    1. Yes, rough cut pages - it's a beautifully produced book, something to leave out in a trendy vignette somewhere. Alas, I am not in the right frame of mind to create vignettes at present. Maybe in January!
      Mitford stories, do you mean Nancy's? I've read most of them, but ages ago. More recently have read a lot of Debo's memoirs, plus the bio on Diana. Fascinating family xx

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    2. The Mitfords had such wonderful stories. How funny about the different silver tastes between the French and English! I guess the French have always had more of a penchant for patina than the English. Although English aristos are quite happy about genuinely shabby good things (not fake shabby as in Shabby Chic) and are proud of fine threadbare carpets and worn tapestry chairs and silk chair coverings. Also they don't seem to be worried by faded or slightly peeling paint. But silver must always be polished and crystal likewise, mostly goes also for fine wooden furniture too.
      Have seen this first hand during time we lived in England, when staying in some aristo/minor royal houses. The aristos/minor royals were so funny and so relaxed. One night our host and his wife (the daughter of a royal prince and princess - in her own right) had forgotten their keys. We returned to their house late from a dinner and couldn't get in. The servants were asleep in the attics (the days of butlers waiting up as in Downton Abbey seemed to have gone) so our host just kept picking up pebbles from the drive and throwing them up at the windows on the top floor, quite high up (luckily he'd been a cricketer) until he woke one of the servants who came down and let us in. His wife had laughed herself to tears. Pamela xx

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  24. In response to Anonymous many years ago I did read a biography of Helena Rubinstein ..who on arrival in Australia was appalled at the state of our skins and so a business was born, with Helena using, I seem to remember, the famliy "recipes" for her products. Helena and Elizabeth Arden were also great rivals. .

    ReplyDelete
  25. Also Victorians pronounced al as el ..eg elpine, elbum etc

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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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