Apologies for my absence. Unfortunately the Internet (and Telstra.. grrr) was so slow at our place for the past week that I've not been able to do a lot on the computer. Additionally, I've been quite sick. This was no surprise really, as I was burning the candle at both ends in the lead up to Christmas with all the frenetic socialising and end of year things, plus the renovation. But I'm feeling better after 4 days in bed, so here's what's been going on that is more interesting than all that.

Firstly, Christmas. Mr AV was surprised big time by this year's present from me. Way back (in July? August?) I ordered this Dedon Swingrest so that it would be able to be delivered by Christmas. And just in the nick of time, on Christmas Eve it was delivered and installed and it looks fantastic in our Outdoor Dining area. One day, Mr AV'll be able to sit in this and look out over the pool and manicured back garden. At the moment, you look out at a far less scenic builders skip, empty pallets, and weeds etc. Hopefully by the time that day comes, we'll have managed to get the kids off it too - they've pretty much taken it over and spend hours every day swinging away in it. It is very comfortable though, so I don't blame them. 


In return, Mr AV gave me the cookbooks I'd bought myself, plus a Hermes scarf, Fleurs et Papillons with beautiful stylised butterflies and flowers on it in soft grey blues, browns, aquas and orange edge. I've been wearing it as I often wear my scarfs in Summer, as a belt, using one of Maitai's scarf rings for the buckle. Here's a pic, I've got on a white J Crew "Vintage Wash" t-shirt (that's J Crew code for "so thin it will fall to holes the second time you wash it")



Just after Christmas, and on the day the Plague officially started for me, we went to a friend's 40th at the Star of Greece down at Port Willunga for dinner. It's a restaurant named after the ship that was wrecked in the bay in the 1880's, and is a tiny shed like building that serves up superb food with a stunning view.

There was good wine on offer, starting with a lot of Moet and some very tasty nibbles, a delicious meal, and fun company. But I think it pushed me over the edge as the next day was when the Plague truly felled me.


 But being sick has its advantages. I've done a lot of reading. If you're looking for some good Summer books, I highly recommend all that I've been reading. "The Rosie Project" is a hilarious romantic comedy. In a similar vein to "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" it's told from the point of view of Don, who most certainly has Aspergers, and his difficulties with relationships. It's set in Melbourne, and is so engaging - really well written and fun to read. "Crazy Rich Asians" was my next read, and it's also hard to put down. The story of a girl of Chinese American background whose boyfriend drops her into his life Singapore and the dynastic and wealthy Asian family and the incredibly wealthy Asian friends he grew up with. I found it interesting on so many levels - mainly because there are a lot of similarities between the old Asian families, and the Old English families. The old Asian families hate all the obvious designer logoed stuff, like old furniture, don't like to be photographed in the Social pages etc. Fascinating stuff, and great descriptions of places in Asia that I'm vaguely familiar with.


"One More Slip" is Marion Von Adlerstein's follow up to her first novel "Freudian Slip", it was a good read, but had some rather surprising plot lines through it... Finally, "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt is a masterpiece. A book about Life and Death, Loss, redemption, and Art. At the heart of the story is a painting, a masterpiece painted by Fabritius in 1665 (taught by Rembrant, he himself taught Vermeer), one of only 6 paintings painted by him known to exist after he was killed in the Delft munitions factory explosion that flattened half the city in 1665, destroying all his work as well as killing him at a young age. It's set in modern day New York, and reminded me a bit of The Catcher in the Rye for a number of reasons. It's not light reading like the other books I've read, but I couldn't put it down and after 4 days of solid reading (by that I mean reading for 6- 8 hours a day) I finished it and am still thinking about it. Always the sign of a good book.

 So we've been to a few things with the kids, one being a "Lego Exhibition" at the National Motor Museum at Birdwood in the Adelaide Hills. It wasn't great. I'm now thinking that we could charge people entry to our house to look at our 8 year olds collection - he's just spent the last 9 days building the Death Star (his Christmas present), which looks very impressive (he has advanced Lego building skills. If only this was something they tested for at school). Here's a picture of the 8 year old and 3 year old looking derisively at the beginners Lego on display. Essentially, it was two trestle tables with someone's home collection on it (and not a great one at that). From the crowds it had pulled up there (Birdwood is an hour from Adelaide), it was an obvious draw card.



We did look at all the old cars etc too. There was a toy car section, and I saw a reminder of Christmas's past for me- Barbie's Campervan.


Except I never got a Barbie Campervan. My mum was anti Barbie, so I never had a Barbie, let alone her Campervan as a child. I remember when I was 8, queuing up to see Father Christmas and mum badgering me to find out what I was going to ask for. I was beside myself that finally I was going to get a Barbie - and eventually I couldn't keep it to myself so blurted out "I'm going to ask for a Barbie, and a Barbie Campervan, and Father Christmas will bring it to me - and theres Nothing You Can Do!!" in triumph. Of course, Mum was horrified, as she had no intention of buying me either item, and spent the next 15 minutes working on me to ask for "a surprise", which I lamely did (telepathically trying to communicate to him that I really wanted the Barbie Campervan). Christmas morning I woke up to find... a pair of walkie talkies. He obviously didn't get the telepathic message I was sending. I've never got over it. Clearly.


And in the Sales shopping news, the shoes arrived (could not believe how fast - 1.5 days from Hong Kong. I can't even get a letter posted to the next suburb over that fast). But they're awful and are going back. I put them on to find a major toe cleavage issue. My sister was here at the time, and confirmed they looked odd, (plus barely stay on my foot) so back they go. They were cut nothing like the other D&G shoes I have. I have ordered a jacket that I'm hopeful will work though

 
Tory Burch from netaporter. It's something I think I'd wear a lot with jeans etc, so it'd be handy for everyday or would work to dress up something too. I don't have a lot of jackets (at all) so fingers crossed this works. The hunt for shoes to replace my hacked up old pair continues. So far everything I've found is in excess of $800, so I'll just sit and wait to see what else shows up in a lower price point. 

Hope your Christmas and New Year were fun xx

38 comments:

  1. your house looks divine and I want to read the Rosie Project but am scared of the length of the Donna Tartt book! Love the jacket love the scarf and hope the plague is gone xxx

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    1. Read The Rosie Project - you'll love it. It made me laugh out loud from the first pages. The Donna Tartt book is long, but so worth it. Hard reading in some places, but just a book that made me think a lot. Plague is disappearing. Thank God. I hate being sick! xx

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  2. Heidi, hope you are feeling better. Currently, reading The Goldfinch and loving it. It is the first book in ages which reminds me of reading as a child " just one more page, then can we turn the lights out". Tried reading The Luminaries, the 2013 Man Booker prize but after 20 pages decided that I had no interest in reading the next 720 pages.

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    1. I was the same Claire! I was so tired, but couldn't stop reading. At least you didn't invest too heavily in The Luminaries. I've tried to push on before (The God of Small Things I particularly hated, but read 2/3rds of it thinking it must improve at some point), better to quit while you're ahead and find something else xx

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  3. Love that Dedon Swingrest! Be wonderful to have one.There is something similar in our local playground. First one was stolen. Been replaced since , went there yesterday and a dad was lying in it, actually he was asleep, basking in the soft sunshine. Hope you're feeling better.
    Linda C.

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    1. I've seen similar in playgrounds too Linda! We've had to tell the kids they're not allowed to really swing it too hard as a result, their instinct is to give it a good push (and ours is suspended over concrete, not soft bark chips). Hopefully Mr AV will get his chance to have a kip in it at some stage xx

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  4. Am sorry you never had a barbie or a camper van. I keep buying barbies for young girls Bc I don't have a girl of my own. I don't think their mothers appreciate it. I suspect they disappear after the party! I can't help buying them. Somebody help me! So am on holidays this week- which book should I read. I only have time for one x

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    1. It's funny, E. had a friend give her a Barbie a year ago, and I commented to the mum how pleased she was with it as it was her first Barbie, and the Mum was so horrified - like she'd ruined it for me to give her her first Barbie. I had to explain that Barbie wasn't a right of passage for me, as I'd never had one! Maybe your friends are angry they didn't get in first? I don't think anyone cares these days about Barbie being a bad role model for girls when you can get so many others (like Miley Cirus et al). Read The Rosie Project - you'll love it - shorter than Crazy Rich Asians, and so funny. Although Crazy Rich Asians has good clothes in it... decisions! xx

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    2. We love Barbie in our house! Farmgirl is a huge fan and received an extremely tacky pink Barbie Malibu beachhouse (complete with lift and rooftop telescope) for Christmas. I agree that there are worse role models than Barbie - particularly now she has been an astronaut, a vet and a surgeon. (She does still dress like a hooker/Kardashian though when in play clothes.)

      I am off to download The Goldfish. At the beach house so could do with something meaty to read.

      Love the swing - we are about to completely renovate our outdoor area (which is desperately in need of work) and I may have to put one on the wish list!

      Glad you are feeling better.

      xxxx

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    3. That would be "download The Goldfinch" - once again defeated by autocorrect.

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    4. Hmm, and there I was thinking that The Goldfish might be a good read!
      Barbie was an Architect a couple of years ago - not sure if she came with steel capped boots and hard hat for that role though?!
      The swing would def work in your climate - and you'd be able to look out at your beautiful (growing?) garden. Enjoy the beach T xx

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  5. So sorry you had the plague! What is it with mums getting sick at Christmas, has happened to me so many times. I'm happy you had some rest and thank you for encouraging me to read The Goldfinch, will order it now along with Crazy Rich Asians which has been sitting by itself in my Amazon cart after FF recommended it!
    Too bad about the shoes but I do like that Tory Burch jacket very much. I am a fan of her things and I think you'll get loads of wear out of that in your climate. And the scarf! I love it!
    I did have a Barbie but I never did get the Campervan either. Still you certainly had it worse than me with no Babie whatsoever!
    I always wish they'd test Lego skills in school as well, my son was a master at age 8 but didn't do very well in the classroom. Well now he studies physics and math at a very tough University so his talents shine, it just took some time!
    Glad you're getting better, continue to rest!

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    1. It wasn't a big surprise to me that I got sick the minute I could put my feet up! You'll enjoy both those books Dani, I'll enjoy hearing what you think of them.
      You've given me hope with the maths and physics then - I often say to people that if only advanced lego was something people put more value on (like football skills, or academia) all the other parent's would be standing around in hushed awe watching him put his lego together with ninja like speed and I would be able to stand proudly by and say things about how we can't stop him doing it - it's like a calling inside him, and we haven't had to teach him any of it - it's a natural God given talent!!
      I made my first Brora purchase too - a navy cardigan from the clearance. Summer weight cashmere, which will be good for transeasonal and most of Winter for me! Shall let you know how I go with it xx

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  6. You have spoiled Mr AV - he wont need pressies for another few years! Must be soo much fun that I bet the kids will want their own separate swing - might help to prevent squabbles over who gets the swing. Sorry to hear you been under the weather but it is go go go even in the heat over there so it is a way to just rest. Love the scarf and that look. Toe cleavage brings out so many responses when you go out - at least with boob cleavage people just pretend they aren't looking but I had toe cleavage and it is just open mic night wherever you go! I liked Barbie but I just wanted the house. ( I started young.) Never got it though. That Star of Greece place looks out of this world! I haven't read crazy rich asians but there is a lot of buzz about that book so i might read it myself along with Donna's one that I will have to take Ritalin to finish...xxx

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    1. That's his birthday present too N! His birthday is in a week, so I've got a couple of little things for him, but so far he hasn't spent much time on it. And it's not the best outlook at present - a reminder of what we still have to do this year!
      Toe cleavage is the WORST! Honestly, I don't understand why they cut them so low, it just doesn't look good at all - who do they fit? My toes aren't extra long, so I don't understand who the stumpy toed people that can wear them without showing toe cleavage are??
      Star of Greece is beautiful. Some of the best restaurants in Adelaide have amazing views. Read CRA - I'd love to hear your perspective on it, and it's a fun escapist read. Will make you forget all about your building woes. xx

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    2. I don't like toe cleavage either ...as FF would say it divides the masses yes there are some that like it

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  7. Ive been meaning to hunt out the latest Donna Tartt it sounds great , Ive been living in 17th C Holland myself just finished Peter Fitzsimons' Batavia ..about the ship wrecked off WA in 1629. Ah Barbie Id be sitting on forune if my 60s Barbie and her clothes hadn't been tossed out years ago.

    Talking of 1960s Ive discovered one of my long lost children's books Tisi and the Yabbi by Geoffrey Dutton ..yes one of South Australia's finest ..written in 1965 and photographed on a large sheep station

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    1. Definitely read The Goldfinch, it's such a good book. I read a book about the Batavia a while ago - can't remember who by... Peter Carey? No, not him. Was told from the point of view of Cornelius the psychopath. It was very interesting.
      I'm not sure I know Tisi and the Yabbi? Shall have to go and see if I can remember it from my childhood - we were all into Colin Thiele books when I was a kid - Storm Boy etc. I remember Colin Thiele himself coming to my school and talking to us when I was around 7 or 8. xx

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  8. Dear Heidi,
    Another post full of delight!
    Sorry you have been unwell. Nothing worse around this time but at least Mrr AV was around I hope!
    Love the saucer swing chair for Mr AV but will it survive the swinging of the kids?
    Star of Greece always on our list when we go back to Adelaide. My sister's friend own (did?) it and is really does showcase the SA produce and the view of the Gulf.
    Colin Thiele came to my school and I am a heck of a lot older than you I gather. He must have been ancient! But I remember he was such and lovely man.
    Not a fan of toe clevage at all! Hideous!. Heidi I love Tory Burch and now my 22 year old is addicted to her shoes too! Thankfully this very helpful web site puts us in touch with all the Tory Burch and every other favourite brand that is on sale. As FF would say get on board! Its called shop it to me and you put your favourite brands in and you get a lovely email telling which shops have the bargains!
    http://www.shopittome.com/?refID=salemail
    Kate Bx

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    1. Fingers crossed the swingrest will survive the kids - it's very sturdy, so should be ok. I think Star of Greece changed hands fairly recently - maybe 18 months ago? But the food is still spectacular - the nibbles to start were particularly delicious.
      I'm on Shop it to Me - not sure that was such a good idea though - not good for willpower when you are trying hard not to spend money! It is good though to see what has gone on sale, although I tend to buy Tory Burch via The Outnet and Shopbop as the shipping prices through the website are sky high. Plus so slooooow! She does do a good shoe though xx

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    2. Yes the shipping rates are horrendous i! Lucky I have a USA address via a forwarding company. But with the Aussie dollar tanking the savings have to be spectacular.

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    3. It's so sad with the Aussie dollar! I still think like it's parity, and now have to go and check the price before committing to anything. It's made quite a difference. xx

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  9. The jacket is beautiful and so you. Husband chose well with H scarf! Bad luck about shoes - toe cleavage not chic or attractive, but just my opinion. Your lego champion is probably a future architect too - his instinct for spatial design and structure. BTW - love the view of the backs of two heads carefully surveying Lego table. Such a height (and apparent age) difference but they both seem riveted. So sweet.
    Always love to hear about latest holiday reading rages. Because we have so many unread books, feel guilty buying new ones when I should be shopping our own library. Generally tend to read latest rages after they are quite passé and have made it to Op Shops for $3.00 or whatever. Currently two thirds of way through "Diana Chronicles" (so sad and sometimes v disturbing) and had planned to read a biography of Maria Callas next but must say the Donna Tartt book sounds v interesting. "The God of Small Things" is another unread on our shelves, interesting to see your views. Will give it a try at some point though.
    Avoided giving the girlies Barbies until they asked for them one Christmas (had similar views about Barbies to rest of my generation probably, but didn't want to make an issue of it or have them as some kind of forbidden fruit). They were pleased but seem to have lost interest and grown past very quickly. So many offerings for young girls now, including Bratts etc. At current stage where they prefer fashion (read: real dresses), arts and crafts, their tablets, girls' lego etc.
    Now you've recovered, stay well and enjoy the holiday break from builders/tradesmen! Pammie xx

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    1. That's funny you didn't enjoy God of Small things either - I wonder if all those people who raved about it actually read it. I just remember feeling it was all a bit self consciously descriptive - too many long wordy descriptive passages about raindrops falling on leaves etc, plus the subject matter disturbed me with the pedophilia sub plot. You'd love The Goldfinch if you have space on the bedside table!
      Agree with you re forbidden fruit - E. doesn't seem that interested in the actual Barbie doll, she prefers her bigger dolls and dress up bunnies. But I was obsessed with them, probably because I never had one! Am loving not having to be up and dressed at 6.30am with the builders gone! xx

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  10. Sorry to hear that you've been feeling unwell. Lovely to spend 4 days reading though!
    The swing looks very fun - what a great give. And your scarf is lovely.
    The view from that restaurant is wonderful. No outfit post?
    Shame about the shoes, but you did score with the shoes of shame. When you have something specific in mind, it is always more difficult to find it. I have some wonderful Sergio Rossi black patent pumps with a good heel height (and no toe cleavage). Will cry when the day comes that they are worn out and I need to replace them, as it is always the basics that are hardest to find! On a side note, the dress code at one of the law firms I interned at back in the day specifically mentioned that toe cleavage was not appropriate. The funny thing was that the list of 'not appropriates' wasn't actually that long, so I was surprise that it made the cut. Perhaps there was a partner with some sort of foot fetish who found it too distracting!
    x

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    1. I didn't get a good shot of my outfit that night- the one I had I look like I've gained around 50KG (I wore a loose silk Caftan, and the breeze was blowing in the wrong direction!!). As I was already feeling sick I couldn't be bothered trying for another one!
      Your Sergio shoes sound fab - actually, I might go and look at their website to see if they've got any on there. I bought the matching clutch bag to the Shoes of Shame from Sergio Rossi's website - it was a lucky colour match to the shoes as they are Dior. I've found a pair of black shoes that look very promising, but they're Prada and are expensive. Agree with you that the basics can be the hardest - everything is always so tricked up. It's sort of like the designers can't bear to do something plain and simple. It has to have a bow, or weird detail, or contrast leather or something. That toe cleavage dress code is hilarious! Wouldn't be the most obvious thing to spring to mind?! xx

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  11. Wow, I am completely in awe of the swing - I had to show it to my husband, he was super impressed too. Sorry to hear you have been ill - I hope you are feeling better now. I am going to look up "Crazy Rich Asians", I have heard many good reviews of it. I think I finally have time this month to sit down with a book!! Love the Hermes scarf - looks gorgeous on you. Too bad about the shoes, they did look good in the stock photos. Buying shoes on the internet is very difficult. Nowadays, I don't order shoes unless I know I can return them!

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    1. It's a great book Louise - I'm sure you'll enjoy it. You can definitely see it being made into a movie. After the shoes arrived I looked back at the stock photo and actually zoomed into it to see if you could see toe cleavage on the model, and you can see a bit, but not as much as on me! I find shoes the hardest thing to buy on the internet as well - so many pairs I've sent back now. xx

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  12. Argghh! Just typed a long reply to this and it's been eaten.
    So, briefly:
    Sorry you've been sick - I was wiped out too - it was vile.
    Love the swing and the scarf.
    Want to read donn Tartt, but will need to clone myself to get the time.
    Sorry the shoes didn't work out, but love the jacket. Hope it's a winner for you.
    All hell breaking lose in the study, so will post this now xxx

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    1. Jacket arrived today (1 day shipping from Hong Kong - so impressed), and it's a winner! Yay! Sorry to hear you were sick too - not surprising that it happens when you get to rest and put your feet up, after being frantically busy. I'm glad I read the Donna Tatt book while I had time. If it was through the term time, it would take me a month I'd say. xx

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  13. I loved the Rosie Project. Couldn't stick with crazy rich Asians. Am reading a John Grisham jobby at the moment.
    Toe cleavage... Controversial... A little is doable I feel...

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  14. Did my last comment get eaten???

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    1. No, but so many people complain that their comment was, I don't blame you for thinking it did get eaten. Mr AV was fond of a John Grisham novel back in the day. He's always drawn like a moth to a flame by a novel with the authors name in large gold letters on the front and spine. Why didn't you like CRA? Curious to know? Rosie Project was fab -loved that it was set in Melbourne although it took me a bit to work it out - I was thinking it was English for a while. I don't mind a small amount of toe cleavage, but what I ended up with was ridiculous! xx

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  15. Terribly jealous of your swing, glorious! can imagine myself Dedon-ing all over the show in that. Sorry you were ill, hope you're OK now and enjoyed the hols after all. Clever way to wear a beautiful scarf, you and scarf and swing will be a veritable Dedon cover story, lady!!!

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    1. Now I just need some staff to fluff the pillows and bring me, oops, I mean Mr AV, a G&T to go with it. xx

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  16. Sorry to hear you have started the New Year sick ... hope you are feeling much better. Absolutely love that swing chair ... I so want one, although I would probably never want to get out of it!! Star of Greece looks lovely ... I have heard good things about it but have never been there myself. Love the scarf/belt and jacket, not a fan of toe cleavage!! I have ordered The Rosie Project and Crazy Rich Asians. My son did a book report on the "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time". It was a really interesting book. What cookbooks did you give yourself (I mean MrAV give you) for Christmas? Enjoy the rest of the week - keep cool - it's going to be hot here next week. Jo xx

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    1. You'll enjoy the books Jo. Why, oh Why does it have to be either 40C or 18C, with nothing in between?? I'm so unhappy that the builders are supposed to start back on Monday and Tuesday, and it looks like they won't be able to work as it's going to be so hot.
      Mr AV kindly selected some Ottolenghi cookbooks. I already have the "Ottolenghi" one, and absolutely love it, and I've now got "Jerusalem" and "Plenty". So much fun to cook now that I have a good kitchen xx

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  17. Happy New Year! Being ill is not the best start though. The swing chair is fabulous and I could just imagine reading your book recommendations with a glass of something chilled while sitting in it! I read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" when it was first published and found it fascinating. Lately I've been choosing clothes that are really versatile rather than just sitting in the wardobe for occasional wear and the jacket looks like it will get plenty of wear.

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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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