It's been a while between my random bits and pieces posts, so this one will be photo heavy and text light (well, as light as I can go on the text front!).

I've been to Melbourne twice in the past month, both for single nights only for Mr AV's work. We were staying in the city, and so I did my usual thing... popping in and out of the shops on Collins Street admiring the wares, like Miss Louise below (shoe heaven).


Valentino window in brights


This was the YSL/ Sergio Rossi window


I paid a visit to the Hill of Content Bookshop on Bourke Street (my second favourite bookshop in Melbourne- The Avenue in Albert Park is my favourite), and did a bit of stocking up for my bedside table.



I wore this 6 year old DVF heavy wool wrap dress to dinner at Becco. I always have a problem with top gape in wrap dresses, so I haven't worn this one in ages, which is a shame as it has a nice weight to it and the skirt swings really well. I accessorised it with new shoes (to replace my old patent leather ones - yes, the search is over, Hooray!). These are by Giovanni Rossi, and have a metal heel, so will hopefully not shred quite so easily when I inevitably get it stuck in a grate somewhere. They also matched my existing black patent clutch well. 






We also went to see "Grease" the Musical with the clients. My advice is to not bother unless you're a die hard fan. The acting was very wooden (it stars Rob Mill, who was a reality tv star some years ago. He was outshone by the other T- birds). It also made me realise for the first time that the message of the story was that a woman should change for her man, even if he is a total loser (smoking, drinking, dropping out of school - and she was the Grade A student with a promising future). Somehow I'd missed this when I watched the movie so many years ago. Perhaps John Travolta, who was so good in the original version managed to disguise this well... a lacklustre actor made it all too apparent. I left feeling very confused as to why she'd bought herself down for him.




The next week, upon returning to Melbourne, I did a bit of walking through the city and along the banks of the Yarra. Melbourne will hide a cafe or bar anywhere it can. Mostly they are in back lane ways, and you have to be in the know to find them... but here's one on the pylon in the middle of the river, at the bottom of a footbridge over the Yarra.



I walked through some of the beautiful Victorian era arcades in the city - this is the Block Arcade with its original mosaic floor.




And wore this out to dinner that night - a Navy Lela Rose dress with the same shoes and bag as the week before. I wore a Rockstud bracelet to give a bit of edge/ casualness, which I think worked well. 




On the home front, I've been enjoying the last flush of roses, and the glory that is the Salvia and Sedums at their peak

Autumn Joy and White Iceberg Sedums


Here's my Isis Ceramics flower brick (yet again), with mixed David Austin Roses - (left to right) Golden Celebration (slightly crispy edges from the heat), Sharifa Asma, Claire Austin, Lady of Shallot, and Heritage centre front.





One of my favourites is David Austin's Jude the Obscure - highly scented and so pretty with its soft buff colour. Here's a posy of it in the new guest loo/ powder room.



satisfyingly jungle like


I'm not the only one plotting garden changes. I went on a garden tour and lunch in McLaren Vale (an hour from Adelaide, and a well known wine region) a few weeks ago with a couple of friends. This was our view for lunch - where the garden ended the rolling vineyards and hills began.




I thought this very clever - a weeping cherry had died, so the garden owner painted it lilac. There were lots of sculpture and features in the garden.



My friend A was so inspired, that she's been gardening ever since. She managed to take a break (she's had her head down for nearly 3 weeks now in a frantic garden overhaul) to have lunch with me at Tin Cat Cafe in Kent Town, where we ate well (the food is always good there) and workshopped her garden plans. I used the new Sparetables app to make the booking, which was fantastic (it's new and only in Adelaide at the moment until it has a national roll out, but you can make restaurant bookings online, and many tables are discounted at off peak times. We got 20% off our total bill).

Pork Belly for me, and A had some sort of Vegetable Tagine thing


It's not been all lunches and trips away though...I've also been busy, along with the four other hardworking members of the Volunteer Committee planning the Royal Flying Doctor's "Wings for Life" Ball this year. Good news readers! If you thought last year's Snow Ball looked fun, the tickets are now on sale for this year's - The Bazaar Ball... but it will sell out quickly. There are only 20 tables left already. You can buy either a table for 10, or just individual tickets if you prefer. It's going to be so much fun, and for such a great, and iconic Australian cause, I hope to see you there!



Lastly, Books.... I've read "Sheila" which was a biography of an Australian who married into English Society in the early 20th Century... she married three times, and was friends with all sorts of interesting historical figures - the Kennedy's, Churchill, the Coopers, the Mitford sisters... she had an affair with Prince Albert, the Duke of York (the future King George VI). It dovetailed in with a lot of other biographies I have read about that era. I also read "The Book Thief" (I have not seen the movie, and realise that I am very slow to get to this book as it's not exactly a new release). At first the narration by Death was slightly confronting/ grating, but in the end I think it was extremely clever, and I really loved the book - a definite recommendation from me if you haven't read it.



I've got more book chat, but this is a long enough post now as it is! So I'll leave you with some gratuitous rose photos from my garden. I think the navy blue salvias and the orange and yellow roses are a winning combination.





Hope things are well in your world xx

35 comments:

  1. What a charmed life you lead! (Well I know looking after 3 little ones isn't charmed at all times, but you make it sound so charmed that I'll just go with that mental picture!)

    Delighted the Tin Cat is still there. Used to take clients there when I worked at an advertising agency in Kent Town many years ago. Was very groovy in its industrial style.

    Love the Lela Rose dress - very striking.

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    1. Oh there have been plenty of uncharmed moments this past month too... but I don't like to whinge - there's always someone worse off than you! I couldn't believe Tin Cat was still open when I returned to Adelaide from Melb.... and still so good! That Lela dress is a bit of a stalwart - I wear it so much as it's fairly versatile (plus crush proof which is a bonus in the suitcase). xx

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  2. Lovely photos and those roses! How amazing they are!
    I love your new black shoes, so glad you managed to find a suitable pair. The Lela Rose and rockstud bracelet outfit is fab.
    I love the Hill of Content. Such a great book shop. Also love the Mess Hall across the road for victuals!

    All well here. Still no internet, but fingers crossed for it being back soon!
    I'm off to country Victoria for a conference in a vineyard (!!) next week!

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    1. Can't believe you're still internet less! Ridiculous when you consider you're inner city Sydney... Conference sounds very promising - any conference in such close proximity to wine sounds right up my alley!!
      Very happy with the new black shoes. I honestly combed Melbourne looking at shoes... they're a bit higher than I would have liked though - believe it or not they're considered mid height. I blame the rise of the stripper shoes for warping shoe designers view of what is a high heel!! xx

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  3. Loveliness galore. People always say that I would love Melbourne, it's supposed to feel like home for us Brits.
    Wrap dresses - gave all of my DVF dresses away years ago because of the gap problem, I either had to wear a camisole, which looked awful or close the gap with a safety pin - which looked awful.
    Tore out a dead apple tree not long ago, wish I had seen this painting trick!

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    1. It has a bit of a Scottish feel to it, as there are a lot of old grey buildings, and the generally gloomy weather is very British! It always reminded me of London. It's probably the most sophisticated city in Australia - fashion and the arts and the food scene are pretty good.
      Glad to hear I'm not the only one with the wrap dress problem... everyone raves about them so much I thought maybe I was. I had a safety pin in, as you said, not a good solution. But then again, neither is flashing the clients...! xx

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    2. Have read a couple of notes somewhere that suggested double sided tape for the wrap gap - or there's some magnet arrangement you can get that might hold it together. But I read it on-line and don't remember where you'd be able to buy the special magnets.
      Your garden is looking so lovely: the roses and the sedums specially. The rose brick is heavenly. We've had nothing but rain which has taken its toll on the roses. Unless it stops soon it'll be too late for any more as the evenings are getting quite cool. Also the beds are like swamps.
      That Bazaar Ball looks the business, as FF would say. Look forward to seeing picture of the dress and shoes - and the decorations. After we get back, must look for Sheila's biog. Am currently re-reading "An Uncommon Woman" the biog. of Princess Vicki, oldest and cleverest child of Victoria and Albert, and her love match with Fritz, the Crown Prince of Prussia. Such a sad life , she started out with such high hopes and all her father's expectations for the influence she could bring to bear to help liberalise Prussia, only to come up against the growing autocratic militaristic power and cunning of Bismarck who led Fritz's father (the King) around by the nose. A bit of a doorstopper but so interesting, reading again because of our visit to Germany and because of the recent program that demonised Queen V. Vicki was so brave, her life must have been incredibly difficult. Pammie xxx

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    3. That sounds like such an interesting biog Pammie, might make an attempt at it once I've worked my way through the new bedside table pile. It's such an interesting period in European History. I think you'd enjoy Sheila's biography, after I started to read it, I remembered her being mentioned in so many other biographies that I've read. Hope the rain stops for you - it's been nothing but drizzle here the past few days, but the roses seem happy enough! I should get a bit of that Hollywood tape for the dress, I always worry that there'll be a malfunction of some kind when I wear it out! xx

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    4. Oh I'm the same with wrap dresses - I wear a cami or use Hollywood tape, but it's annoying. I think it's the double whammy for me of having a substantial chest and being short-waisted.

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    5. Think you can buy the tape at DJs lingerie department. At least you can in Canberra. Worth trying out at home first probably - agree you wouldn't want any wardrobe malfunctions.

      Biog is really good. Real history and some might find a little serious , but I'm loving it for the second time. With the advantage of hindsight it's so amazing - and chilling - the accuracy of Vicki's brave and penetrating assessments of events in Prussia and Europe and her predictions for the future. Sadly she was fighting against insuperable odds though she tried her hardest, often in very subtle and diplomatic ways. At heart a warm and loving woman she had to cope with heartrending hostility directed at her by many of the extremists in the extended Prussian royal family and others at court. Terrible to think her first son became the Kaiser Wilhelm who led Germany into the First World War, but inevitable really given the influence of Bismarck over the king and court in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Willy's education and training from when he was a small boy, were increasingly taken over by Bismarck's supporters. So interesting too Vicki's relationship with Queen V and her brothers and sisters - and her husband. Pammie xx

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  4. luff this post- takes my mind off my really sick child…

    The dresses, gardens and plants are lovely x

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    1. Oh no! So sorry to hear that Toddler FF is under the weather (in a bad way). Sending some healthy vibes your way... I spent half a day yesterday in hospital with the oldest having his wrist x-rayed (result was a sprain not fracture, thank goodness), and it makes you so thankful for robust good health.
      But gardens and dresses are a good distraction from life's ills! xx

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  5. Heidi, your trip to Melbourne looked great. I loved Becco when we went there over Christmas. I also really liked Cutler and Co. Have you been there? Our only disappointment was Movida (maybe we just went on a really busy night). Brisbane has many lovely eating places, but not on the same scale as the larger cities - so we went a bit crazy for the first few days and then I was over restaurants and 3 course meals for months.

    Really liked the Hill of Content too and I am still reading The Book Thief - hoping to finish it in the next week or two.
    Also I have been meaning to ask you, I remember you mentioned you went to the Gwinganna retreat? I have been looking into going for a weekend or so. Would you recommend it? Fifi x

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    1. Hi Fifi - I know what you mean about overeating in Melbourne! I thought that Movida was ok, but there is so much hype it didn't live up to my expectations. I haven't been to Cutler & Co, but have wanted to go for so long...
      Yes, I was at Gwinganna around a year and a bit ago - I loved it. I would suggest going on one of the 4-5 day packages though... the weekends tend to be more spa weekends, which are lovely, but you won't get the whole thing. They don't detox you with the food, there aren't the lectures, and they are popular with the people who book on at the end of doing a longer retreat, or for hens weekends or couples from Brisbane having a weekend away. It would still be wonderful, but I think knowing what you like, you'd find the retreat more up your alley. The people who work there are all top notch in their fields and very passionate about what they do. I learnt so much about nutrition, exercise, mind/body wellness. It was really fabulous and I'd love to go back again! I wrote a post about it very early on in the blog (second week or so I'd say). xx

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  6. Love the new shoes - what a great find. And the dresses look great too. I have the same problem with wrap dresses gaping. In fact I have one from Gerald Darel that is so bad I haven't worn it yet (the top is silk so it drapes and shows lots of bra). I think I need to get handy with a needle and thread to stop it happening. This post has reminded me to get on with it.
    The roses and garden look amazing. I'm very inspired. The move out of London has slowed down but looks like it is gathering steam again and could go ahead. I've booked my tickets for the Chelsea flower show to get some inspiration for the garden and grounds. Fingers crossed.
    x

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    1. Oooh - keeping all my fingers and toes crossed for you that contracts are exchanged Charlotte! It's such a seemingly tortuous process to buy real estate in the UK. I'd die to go to Chelsea... maybe next year, once the dust has (literally and figuratively) settled here at home. I really did think I was the only one with wrap dress gape, so I'm glad to hear this is a common problem... I was wondering why I was the only one! That top does sound nice (I'm all for drapey silk), so get onto it with the needle and thread! xx

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  7. Love all the pics!! I adore that bookstore so much - I know the Albert park one is better but that one was my local...
    Also i love pork belly. soo much. Everything looks so good i don't know where to start really. I love DVF dresses and depending on the wrap dress I don't have a gap problem with their wrap dresses as I do with other brand dresses. I have never tried lela rose but you do make me curious to try it. Gosh - my nana's fave show was flying doctors!! is there anything more aussie of an institution? i hope it is a great success and raises loads of funds. My reading has been rather ADD of late - can't seem to finish a book and am reading about 10 at once. I think the web is doing this to my cortexes. How fun is that lilac tree? I have seen gold and silver ones but proper color makes it look like fairy land! xx

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    1. I always go for the pork belly if it's on a menu N! Hill of Content was my local too back when we first lived in Melbourne and used to live in East Melb, but once we moved to Albert Park and I discovered The Avenue I abandoned Hill of Content. I so wish we had bookshops like them in Adelaide - the similar ones have mostly closed down, which is so sad. Love Lela, the cut is a lot like Oscar from my limited experience! We did really well last year with the Flying Doctor's ball, and raised more than they'd ever done before by a mile. It will be hard to top, but it's such a fun night. I'm currently reading 2 books at once. Both are heavy going, so I switch between them to keep going! xx

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  8. Love this Heidi! You look divine in all your frocks. I am with Tabs - the wrap does not work for me, though I desperately admire it! I cannot wait to visit Australia and New Zealand some day: truly, it all looks amazing! So happy to see your garden. The last gasp looks pretty darn good to me!

    I am especially besotted with the Royal Arcade!

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    1. The Royal Arcade is so pretty... although the shops within are a little lacklustre. There is, however, a very good chocolate shop, so it's definitely worth passing through! I'm thinking the problem with the wrap dress is that I don't have a long body maybe? I just find the front, no matter how tightly I try to pull it, always sits too low on me. xx

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    2. Firstly your new black shoes are fabulous and would be ideal for me as I always seem to get heels caught in cracks no matter how careful I try to be! I know I would enjoy a trip to Melbourne with the café culture and the Royal Arcade is so attractive. It reminds me of our much smaller Miller Arcade in my home town and a similar one in Leeds.

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  9. Your roses are beautiful. I think I just got my last vase full, a sad state of affairs but the camellias are coming on.

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    1. My camellias are a long way off flowers... and I think this is it for my roses too! Enjoy the last flush before next season xx

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  10. I am LOVING your new heels and the roses!!! I don't think I have ever seen any of those roses in real life. Cute little petal cups.

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    1. I love the old fashioned roses, the cupped flowers are just so pretty. As they're so easy to grow here, the David Austin's are the go for me! xx

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  11. Such a great post Heidi.. and glad you've had a bit of time out in Melbourne now that most of the building/moving stress is over. Your roses are divine. .... I adore Jude the Obscure... how absolutely perfect this rose is! You always dress beautifully and seeing that photo of the Arcade, makes me want to return to Melbourne soon! xx

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    1. The Melbourne trips were far too fleeting Jenny, hopefully I'll get back for a bit longer next time - didn't get a chance to catch up with friends. Jude the Obscure is probably one of my favourites (actually, I think I say that about a lot of them), but I'm going to plant more in the garden... am going to order a bunch this Winter. xx

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  12. do come visit next time you come to Melb, esp if you have time to visit some of the inner suburbs with me x
    Those shoes are totes amazeballs.

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    1. Will do Cilla! These two trips were a bit too brief, and I didn't get to go anywhere other than the city this time. Hopefully next time will be a bit longer... xx

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  13. That's the Block Arcade where the Hopetoun Tea Rooms are, not the Royal! :-) Looks like you had a fab time wandering around this beautiful city!!

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    1. Thanks for the pickup! I've gone back and corrected it... the Royals the one with the clock. I always mix up the names! xx

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  14. Love the dresses Heidi.

    Your roses are looking fabulous - it has finally cooled down enough here for my garden to look pretty and not crispy!

    Hope all going well with you. Busy here (like everywhere…)

    Take care.

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    1. Thanks T, was thinking of you and your garden... I'd love an update!! Miss you blogging xx

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  15. Both those dresses look fabulous on you. And the shoes are amazing!

    I haven't read The Book Thief, either, and now I've missed the film, but a novel narrated by death sounds intriguing.

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    1. Thanks Pillippa, the blue is becoming a bit of a stalwart in the wardrobe - it works for casual or dressy things, so is a good fall back when unsure how dressy everyone is going to be. I really liked the book a lot - it's very cleverly written, and a very compelling story... def have a look at it. xx

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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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