If there is one thing that is guaranteed to make me break out into hives, it is the three ring circus that is the Boxing Day sales and the thought of joining the masses in the mad grab for bargains in the big Department stores. Frankly, I'd prefer to pay full price than deal with the crush of humanity sent wild by the lure of $10 off a t-shirt.

I used to work in retail, many years ago, when I was a University student. So I was able to witness first hand how ridiculous the situation was. Firstly, way back in The Dark Ages when I was a student, the post-Christmas sales started on January 2nd. The week after Christmas was absolutely dead as a doornail in terms of sales. We would have dribbles of people returning unwanted Christmas gifts, and would have plenty of time to prepare the store for the sale. Now, the sales assistants are frantically marking down items on Christmas Eve, and often staying back later after the store finally closes to get it ready for the 7am start of the Boxing Day sales.

Secondly, it was interesting to watch the phenomenon of people snatching and grabbing merchandise that was not especially well discounted. Much of it would be returned a couple of days later when the buyer would come to their senses and realise that it wasn't such a bargain.

I prefer to have a lazy Boxing Day - watching the test match on the tv, lying around in pjs, eating left overs and generally spending a quiet day with the children. But I have to say, I'm not immune to the online sales, and my email inbox has been bombarded with offers and reminders (which I delete without opening, but still, you do see that they're there).

Over the past few days, I've had a bit of a click around cyberspace looking at the possibilities. As the websites I tend to use are in the Northern Hemisphere, it means I have to think about what I might like to wear next Winter, and shop accordingly. Most of what I've nearly bought but decided against has been thanks to the good influence of bloggers like Fifi and DaniBP, who are very strategic with the wardrobe purchases and are what I'd describe as Thoughtful Buyers. There was this dress from Goat on the Matches website but in Navy.

I had thought it might be a good day/ evening dress in Winter, as it was made from wool crepe. But I was put off by the poly lining and the plastic belt buckle. It was $380 Australian, so I hesitated... and then it sold out. Probably no great loss. I'm not sure I really need more dresses for going out in. I don't get to go out a lot....I really need more everyday at home type clothes.

But I only came to that conclusion after I had perused the pretty dress section of the Netaporter sales. The US site is on their final markdowns, and by comparing the Australian/Asian site, the UK site and the US site I found that this beautiful Lela Rose dress was cheapest on the US site (by almost $1000 ?!)

At $580 it is a good buy (for Lela Rose - the original price on the Australian site is $2800) - the fabric is absolutely beautiful, and I know that the fit of her dresses is perfection. But I really don't need another going- out- to- a- cocktail- party type dress, and I have two other Lela Rose dresses purchased in the sales a year ago that I haven't yet worn (one is not my fault - I had earmarked it for a cousin's wedding, but he called the marriage off a month before the big day). So it's still on the website (if you're interested....)

So I thought about what I actually needed for next Winter. A new short winter coat, jackets, casual skirts, suede knee high low heeled boots, and a pair of black patent mid height heels to replace a pair of Ralph Lauren's I used to wear to work and bought in 2001. Those shoes have stood the test of time, but they look a little shabby now - for one, they don't have the original heels, as I snapped one off walking to the tram on my way home from work on Collins Street in Melbourne, which meant I did an awkward hoppity shuffle all the way home from the tram stop. End result was the cobbler putting on different heels, which were fine... but they've definitely had their time and been worn to death.

I've got a pair of very high heeled black patent Bally shoes, and wear them all the time (I find patent goes with everything and can look dressy for evening or works for day) but I'm a bit over the really high heels. It's hard to find a pair of decent mid height heels - everything has huge platforms and long spiky heels makes you look like you have hoofs, or are auditioning for a starring role in the local pole dancing club. So my one purchase in the sales so far are these:

Dolce & Gabanna black patent slingbacks with a low-ish heel and pointy toe (via Netaporter's Australian site). Not so exciting as a pretty dress, but they fill a hole in my wardrobe.

So I'll try to forget about the other things I've been looking at (I still have to get those Collette Dinnigan dresses off lay-by this month). But these were things I considered...

Max Mara coat in Raspberry via Matches. It's reduced, but is still expensive...

Smythson's Antonia bag - as seen on DaniBP, I do love the shagreen clasp and it reminds me of something my grandmother would have carried in the 50's. But as I still need to lug things like children's drink bottles/ spare undies/ sick bags/ wipes and other glamorous things in my bag, it's probably a bit small for my daily needs.

Smythson's Eliot collection small tote would fit a bit more in it, but I'm not sure I'd get so much use out of a blue bag.

So, not a lot of sale shopping for me so far. How are you going with the online/ instore temptation?
After arriving home on Friday afternoon from our brief trip to Melbourne, we farewelled the last builder out the door for their January holidays, and started the mammoth clean up task. Unfortunately as so many trades were working up to the last minute on Friday, there had been no time for a builders clean... so I have spent the weekend cleaning out the cupboards in the kitchen before unpacking all the boxes from the shed. And I think Mr AV has mopped the floors approximately 8 times. They were filthy. Unfortunately it was not helped by a massive wind storm that blew through Adelaide on Friday afternoon and night - the dust that was swirling around our back garden was incredible, and the next morning our floors were again filthy from where the dust had made its way inside.

I know everyone is fascinated by how the linoleum has turned out - I am constantly talking about it to family, friends and builders as everyone is surprised by my choice. So I'll start with the floors.
The linoleum was installed from Monday through to Friday morning. I'm SO happy with it. It's modern looking without being hard - the dark grey colour matches perfectly with the slate that is going on the outdoor dining and veranda, but the simple expanse of the sheet flooring works exactly as I'd thought it does - a neutral backdrop that looks clean lined and unfussy - a non entity really. It cuts down a bit of the glare inside and grounds the space as the ceilings are so high. Where the sheets (they are about 2 metres wide) are joined they have done a weld join. This will settle down over a couple of weeks to be almost unnoticeable. I took a photo to show you with my keys next to it to give a sense of the scale.

The cost was about $9000 for the entire Dining, Living, kitchen, playroom and laundry area. A comparable cost for tiles of fairly average quality would be double that, good quality tiles or parquetry flooring would have cost 4 x's the price of the linoleum. So cost wise it's been a huge winner, and I think from an aesthetic point of view it looks great. I'm planning on buying a very large rug for the living area at some stage, and I'd personally prefer to put more money into that, then the floors. I think the rug would have more impact that the general flooring.

So, with the floors down we could finally unwrap our sofas, which were sitting outside with our dining table for the 4 days the floors were installed. If you've been reading along for a while, you may remember my post on Sofas, in which I was looking at a very expensive Italian modular sofa, and was replicating the layout using a Jardan one instead. Unfortunately, I couldn't replicate the layout successfully. Usually Jardan will happily customise your pieces as long as it doesn't compromise the overall design, however they wouldn't do this for me with a key piece. So I looked at an alternative and selected two of the Leila sofas. One is a 4 seater, and one is a 3.5 seater, both extra deep. I'm really happy with how they've turned out, the fabric is lovely, doesn't show dirt easily and they're extremely comfortable. I'll add colour in with cushions and the rug. At the moment everything is very tone on tone, which is nice, but we do like a bit of colour...

enormous 4 seater

The fireplace has had the slate backing piece installed and the fire box with fake logs etc put in place. Not that we'll be needing to light it for a while....

And the new speakers were installed, two on either side of the fireplace and simple in- ceiling ones in the dining area. I originally was going for non obtrusive speakers, however I decided that you could still see the non obtrusive ones anyway, so I was better off getting something that was sort of sculptural, and I think they work well on either side of the fireplace. Please ignore the enormous and ugly tv in the photos. I still have to sort this problem out in the new year.

In the dining area we've put the French 19thC cherry wood buffet in position after retrieving it from my Dad's where it has lived for the duration of the renovation. It's quite wide, which makes it perfect to serve food off of. Eventually we will be buying new dining chairs. I hate the Eames eiffel ones. I really think they have a design fault - we've had numerous people fall through the back of them when they snap the backs off leaning back on the chairs (we have the fibreglass shells). I think that as they were designed in the 50's, people were smaller and lighter, and probably sat up straighter than we do. I'd also like something that is more iron and modern, as it's got a bit too much wood going on in this area - it needs a better balance of old/new. The lamp won't stay in this space as well - It'll move to a side table in the living area. When we get a side table...

I took this photo of the outside dining area to show what it looks like from inside the space. To save money, I did away with a lined ceiling - I figured it was an outdoor area, so it could look like a more traditional veranda space. And I have to say I like the look better too.

As you can see, I've styled the photo below with plastic children's IKEA cups and a spirit level and black builders bin.

 The slate arrived, as I predicted, at 4.45pm on Friday. So it will sit there for about 3 weeks before the tiler returns to work and starts paving the outdoor area.

Inside, the kitchen has taken up all my energy for the past 2 days. I spent a lot of time crawling in and out of cupboards cleaning them, and then lugging boxes from the shed and unpacking and trying to remember where I was planning to store everything. So after about 14 hours of solid, hard work, I've got reasonably sorted.

My blue Kitchenaid (wedding gift from my sisters back in the Olden Days) is on the bench top.

Still have to find the energy to put a few bits and pieces away

But my plate drawers are neat and tidy

as is the cutlery drawer

Pull out spices next to the cook top and oven

S's bedroom has been wallpapered, and his new light fitting installed. The light fitting is extra big (sometimes it is good to play with scale), but the colour was all wrong with the wallpaper and fabric. I should've paid more attention to the rep when he told me that it was not that close to off white. So I took to it with a spray can, and it looks perfect now.

The before

In the children's playroom, the wall of metallic blackboard paint has been applied. They can stick their magnets to it, and draw at will. And hopefully leave the wallpaper alone. 

The light fitting has also been installed there.

And here is the remains of the mess that is left from the kitchen unpack. After the kids wallpaper is installed I'll start the playroom unpack. Which will not be much fun either. But I'm gradually getting there, even if things are not really organised anywhere at all in the house.

So I'm off to push the mop around again, and will be back after Christmas. 
I haven't taken any renovation photos yet - I'll try to do another post tomorrow with all the details... I've been flat out cleaning... and cleaning some more and trying to move all our stuff into the back of the house since the builders packed up and left yesterday for their long January holiday.

We've had seemingly weeks of up to 17 builders a day in and outside of our house, working hard to try to have us move into the new extension for Christmas. But this has meant that I've had builders around on Saturdays... and Sundays... and every other minute of the day. And while I'm happy they've pushed along progress so well, I've been a bit weary of having to seem cheerful at 6.30 in the morning. So it was quite a relief to escape for a night to Melbourne, although this entailed going to a client (of Mr AV's) cocktail party at their home in Toorak. A party at which I knew pretty much no one, except for our hosts. But never fear, I am quite adept at making conversation with anyone. And although memories of faux pas past still haunt me (like the time I started an animated, 20 minute conversation with a Harvard educated Meteorologist about... meteors), I had a good time meeting lots of interesting people. I wore this old Lela Rose dress pictured above. I think I need to get it taken in as I was post baby #3 when I bought it and it's now a bit loose around the hips. And the top (mores the pity). I wore my leopard print D&G shoes which were purchased under severe peer pressure by Faux Fuchsia, Romy and Pamela on our Melbourne trip in October. They've been a good buy.

Bourke Street, this photo's for Naomi who claims shots of the streets of Melbourne make her homesick

Earlier that day, I'd done a little light shopping in the city after arriving from Adelaide. I bought some books for the children at my second favourite book shop in Melbourne, Hill of Content, in Bourke Street. By the time I'd made my way down to Collins Street in the 40C heat, I was feeling a little weary. But thanks to a quick pit stop in Paspaley, where the manageress could see I was suffering and attempted to revive me with a nice chilled glass of Veuve, and a mince pie, I pushed on. They're so nice in Paspaley (feel free to sponsor the blog with product if you'd like Paspaley. I feel there is good synergy).

Faux Fuchsia, your $88,000 strand of Baroque Pearls say Hi. They're still waiting for you. And good news Pamela - I think G is a romantic type and has been reading my blog, as that $280,000 strand has been sold! I'm sure it's going to be waiting under your Christmas tree! Hope I'm not going to ruin the surprise though...You'll just have to fake shock on Christmas morning.

After buying Mr AV's hard working PA a Christmas present, that was pretty much it for the shopping expedition. It was too hot. 

the Lyall Hotel got into the Christmas Spirit, despite the heat

Aside from the respite in Melbourne, it's been school holiday chaos here, with friends to play and a lot of Christmas tree decorating.

tree on the back of the trailer

We were up in Stirling on Tuesday to help Dad do his Christmas tree. Each year, Dad cuts a self seeded fir sapling from his garden, and we use that for the Christmas tree. I have to say, they always look a lot smaller in the garden than they do in the house... After selecting the tree in the garden, chainsawing it down, and then hauling it up the hill on the back of the trailer of the ride on mower, we lugged it into the hall and roped it to the stair balustrade - and it reaches right up to the first floor. 

The children and I put up the baubles, and then they became very liberal with the tinsel - they were throwing it down from the upper level, and we've ended up with a shimmery, tinselly tree.

My photos are not the best - I was shooting into the light, there are no christmas tree lights, and using an iphone 4 as your primary camera is not the best idea I would think.

 And today, despite spending approximately 6 hours cleaning the cupboards in the kitchen and unpacking, I was also required to supervise the Christmas tree decorating at our house. We managed to have only 2 broken glass ornaments. And one child in time out... and it does look rather like someone vomited tinsel all over the tree (the kids were a little heavy handed), but it shimmers and looks suitably Christmassy, and scents our new extension with delicious pine smells, rather than paint.

I buy the Georg Jensen  Christmas ornament every year. This years was designed by Marlene Birger

I also like to decorate with things I associate with Australian Christmases, rather than snowmen etc (we've never had a proper Northern hemisphere Christmas) 

 This is for Sanjit, the peacock that lives at Dad's house 

 We always eat truckloads of Adelaide Hills Cherries at Christmas

Hope you've had a good week, and I'll be back tomorrow with renovation photos. xx
Everything ends with "and renovations" at the moment. It's been pretty much been the only source of discussion with family, friends and Mr AV for the past 9 months I feel. So I'll start with the progress this week for the blog readers.

Firstly, the kitchen. It's finally been painted! Hooray! Has that ever been a saga. But the second painter did an excellent job, it looks better than 2 pak (in my opinion), she did it so well you can't see brush strokes. It's a very soft dove grey - Dulux "Ghosting".

Because she managed to finish it off on Wednesday, I finally had a chance to remove all the blue masking tape and screw in all the brushed brass handles. I'm so happy with the handles. They're made from 95% recycled brass, and they are solid and good quality... and cost $11 a handle approximately. So much cheaper and nicer than anything I could find locally. They came from the US.

On Friday and Saturday the tiler tiled up the wall around the window. It's hard to see the tiles as I have to photograph into the light, but the grout colour matches the colour of the cupboards perfectly. During the week the electrician had also fitted off the light that goes above the window. It's concealed in the architrave, and is a strip LED light, which is non spotting and casts quite good light over the sink area.

And here's a view of the island bench with the drawer detailing. There's still nothing in any of the cupboards much as it's still too dusty to keep things in there. 

This week the flooring goes down and the light fittings over the kitchen island will go up.

There's been a lot of general painting progress - at long last. After the first painter abruptly quit (after being incredibly slow at doing anything and frequently not showing up for the previous 3 weeks up until his quitting), the new painters have set a cracking pace.

The lineal slot diffusers for the Air conditioning system have been fitted in the ceiling. I hate services, but Air conditioning is a non negotiable item in Adelaide, so these were a better option than the standard square ones in the living space.

You may also notice in the above photo that there are two new plastic wrapped sofas, shoved along the wall, and that in the foreground the orange striped wallpaper for S's bedroom is being cut and applied by the wallpaper guy today (a Sunday, we have had builders here since 8 am, so they all got to see me without makeup and in my pj's flipping pancakes which seemed to give them a fright. We're a bit slow on Sundays...).

I managed to take a better shot of the cellar - the black track lighting was installed on Friday. So this is really our first room finished. The stair lights have also been finished, pictured below, and the slate finally arrived late on Friday for the stair treads, and the fireplace hearth. Apparently the rest of the slate order is "on the truck" which seems to take a long time to travel 2 hours.....we are expecting it this week. Just in the nick of time for the site to shut down for the annual nation wide builders January break.

Outdoors the veranda has finally been roofed - hooray! The West light has been quite blinding in the afternoon, so this has made a huge difference. We'll probably still have to put up canvas blinds for those days when it reaches 40C plus, but the veranda will do the trick for most of the time.

So, onto the week. It was my birthday earlier in the week, but this was not celebrated in quite the same style as last year, with a swanky Surprise party organised by Mr AV. This year was much quieter - I made a roast for dinner, and Mr AV gave me the present I'd bought for myself (the limited Edition Collette Dinnigan book, which I love), and a couple of extras he'd thought up on his own.

The children finished school, and I took them to the Magic Cave in David Jones to see Father Christmas. This was quite the ordeal... and a wallet emptier. After the $17 car parking, the $25 minimum for 2 photos, and the $36 in the cafe after that.... well, it was an expensive hour and a half. But they had a lovely time, and loved the Magic Cave in all its tacky icicle filled glory. Here's a shot of E on Nimble the rocking horse going at high speed. Nimble was previously seen in the Adelaide Christmas pageant, so E was pretty thrilled to get a ride. Nipper is also there (the brown horse), but I honestly seemed to be suffering from Tourettes that morning, as I kept referring to him to the children as "Nipple". Unfortunate.

Continuing with the horsey theme, I managed to escape some of the school holiday chaos to attend the Paspaley Polo in the Park on Friday afternoon. Somehow Paspaley neglected to invite me...The Horror - but no matter, I was invited to another marquee and I still wore my starter pearls in homage to the theme of the event. To refresh your memory, here's Faux Fuchsia rocking a stunning baroque strand costing a very reasonable $88,000 on our jaunt in Melbourne.

I wore my navy blue Ikat Oscar de la Renta for the Outnet dress with wedges to avoid sinkage in the grass. Here's an old photo of it

I had such an entertaining time. The horse part wasn't of much interest to be honest, but the people watching was 10/10. I always love seeing what people interpret as "elegant day dress". Some think a strapless leather dress with a mullet back screams Polo apparently. And as the afternoon wore on and some polo attendees had imbibed a little too much of the bubbly stuff, the people watching became even funnier.

I had to take a photo of these beefy security guys on our marquee entrance. They were needed as you'd be surprised how many people were trying to marquee crash. And the marquee I was in had superior food (and attendees. Obviously).

I took this shot of the old grandstand in the golden late afternoon sun. This beautiful light never ceases to captivate me in the evening. It's truly unique to Adelaide.

Spent yesterday at a 40th in Stirling in a beautiful garden, this was the set up for lunch. It was a fab party, and we're having a very slow Sunday as a result.

Aside from the partying (thankfully over - I have nothing in the diary up to Christmas now), I've been mopping and dusting like a fiend. It's frankly a lost battle, dust coats everything in the house. But I cleaned out S's new bedroom wardrobe after it was painted during the week and lined his drawers with scented Tom Kitten drawer liner paper. It's been nice to empty out E's bedroom a little bit of his books and clothes and bedding, even if he won't move his bed into his new bedroom for a few days yet.

And after my disparaging comments on the Golden Celebration rose the other week, it's put out a defiant show by smothering itself in blooms. It's quite stunning, so I take back my previous stance on disappointment. It may grow on me yet.

Hope you had a good week too 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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