This is going to be a bit of a random post about all sorts of random things from the past few weeks. I'll start with the pool/ garden progress. Finally the stone coping (pool edging) arrived on its very slow boat, and in a display of breathtaking activity (snort), it was laid over the course of a week. In actual time it took a day, but it seems that if you can spread something out for far longer than necessary, it will be done. The phallic looking spouts were put on the back wall, and I'm pretty happy with them, as they don't look quite so phallic once up - even Mr AV has agreed on that point. I'm hopeful we can put that whole discussion behind us now….

 okay, so maybe they do look a little bad from this angle…

This week my landscaper arrived to do the rest of the pool tile surround (why don't pool companies offer a one off service covering fencing/ landscaping etc?), and hopefully put up the glass pool fence. At the moment it's rather dangerous as they took the temporary fence away and there's a nice drop into concrete about 2m below the pool edge. 

back garden after top dressing

the patchy Meadow

I haven't really been allowing the children to play in the back garden anyway - the day before Faux Fuchsia, Romy and Pamela arrived to visit my house for the first time the Landscaper came and top dressed the lawn. I had thought that meant a few patches of dirt here and there to even out some of the bumpy spots. But no, I came home to find that he'd covered the entire lawn in a thick reddish- brown layer of dirt. We were back to a desert. Fast forward three weeks and we have a patchy meadow type effect. The dirt has been tracked into the house by the children for the past few weeks. It's all been a bit frustrating.


So I channelled my frustration into clipping my topiary which was all looking quite fluffy, and by liquid fertilising the entire garden. I use Powerfeed on all the hedging, as recommended by my friends K & C who have grown probably one of the best Viburnum hedges in town. Their liberal application of Powerfeed every month plus precise tip pruning has produced a very tall, lush, thick hedge. Hopefully those miniature Japanese box hedges of mine in the side garden will do the same.

satisfyingly clipped

Faux Fuschia has been requesting the Chicken Mango salad recipe that I made for lunch on our Adelaide Tour weekend. So here it is for you all to make - it's very easy and a good one to make in advance or if it's a hot day as you don't cook the chicken in the oven, but rather on the stovetop.

Chicken with Crunchy Asian Slaw
5 garlic cloves
3cm piece of ginger, sliced plus 1/3 cup fincely chopped ginger
3 coriander roots, chopped, plus coriander leaves to serve
1/4 Cup Chinese rice wine
5 Spring onions, thinly sliced
1.8kg whole chicken
juice of 3 limes
2tbs Caster Sugar

Crunchy Asian Slaw
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup grated palm or brown sugar
1 tbs fish sauce
1/2 Savoy Cabbage finely shredded
1/2 bunch chives finely chopped
1 small red chilli deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbs finely shredded ginger
1 large mango, choppped
1-2 tbs finely chopped coriander leaves

Fill a large pan or stockpot with 3L of cold water. Chop 1 garlic clove, then add to the pan with sliced ginger, coriander roots, rice wine, half the spring onion and 1 tsp sea salt. Bring to the boil over  medium high heat, then add the chicken to the pan, adding more water if needed to cover the chicken. Sit a heatproof plate on top of the chicken to keep it submerged. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the heat, cover with a lid, then stand for 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken from the pan reserving the stock, then plunge into a bowl of iced water. Stand for 1 hour to cool completely.
Meanwhile, strain stock and reserve 1 cup. Crush remaining 4 garlic cloves, then combine with stock, lime juice, chopped ginger, sugar, remaining spring onion and 2 tsp salt. Set dressing aside.
For the slaw, whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, sugar and fish sauce, then gently toss with remaining slaw ingredients.
Remove Chicken from the ice bath and slice. Divide slaw amongst plates, top with chicken and drizzle with dressing.

On Saturday night I went to a ball for the Captain Courageous Foundation. I've written about the Foundation before - it was started by a friend of ours who has a very sick little boy. She is such an inspiration, not only dealing with the ongoing medical treatments he has (a full blood transfusion every month since birth along with a myriad of other things), but raising her other two children and creating and running the Foundation which funds a research team based in Adelaide (where a lot of Medical Research is done) searching for a cure. Saturday night raised close to $500,000, which for an Adelaide charity ball is just incredible. As usual I didn't take many photos - too busy talking! But here are a couple I put on Instagram of the blurry outfit shots. As I've mentioned before Mr AV is a reluctant photographer, and usually chooses a moment to snap me while I have a broom in my hand and a grumpy expression, and certainly not when I'm glammed up in a ball gown.

I wore the blue and white Collette Dinnigan dress I purchased late last year and blogged about here, blue patent strappy Jimmy Choo heels and matching clutch. I was also wearing my late Mum's sapphire and diamond earrings, which I last wore on my wedding day 14 years ago as my something borrowed. It was such a fun night, people were really dressed up so the people watching was 10/10 but the main aim in terms of the fundraising was amazing and the night was an enormous success.

This week I've been up a ladder painting the bookcases in the Library. I nearly had a heart attack this morning when I climbed 2/3rds of the way up the ladder to do the final coat of paint to find this hanging down from a rung.

A Redback Spider. Redback spiders are the 5th most poisonous spider in the world. They like to lurk in  cracks and concealed areas, and as the ladder has hollow rungs on the underside that is most likely where the spider was living. Well, half a can of flyspray later and I'd killed any possible living thing in the Library including the Redback, but it took a lot for me to get back up the ladder to paint. The thought of the fact that I've been hanging off the ladder (essentially wrapped around it at various points trying to reach the shelves properly) when doing the previous two coats and that it could easily have bitten my hand if I'd put it in the wrong spot… not to mention that if I'd actually seen it I most likely would have fallen off the ladder in fright trying to get away from the damn thing has plagued me ever since. Painting was slow as I kept checking that there was nothing else crawling out from the ladder. Anyway… to finish this long dramatic story I have finished the painting today! Hooray!

Next is to drag all the boxes of books out of the shed and rehome them. This is something I'm not feeling so excited about, as I'm now thinking about possible spiders in the boxes….

But last week I did have a win - having said that the ugly brass light fixture in the Library would be replaced in the very distant future once I'd found an appropriate Chandelier, I happened to wander into Town and Country Antiques on Magill Road and found one! It's Napoleon 3rd (circa 1860), French, and I think will suit perfectly. It was also about half the price of similar ones I'd seen in Melbourne and Sydney. There are many benefits to living in Adelaide,  and Antique buying is one of them… if you're a local and interested in Antiques, he does have a good selection of quality French antiques in his showroom including a large selection of mirrors, and some lovely commodes and tables too. So the Chandelier arrives tomorrow, and is being installed next Monday. Things are finally happening in that room.

So that wraps up my random post!

Bay window with morning shadows


  1. Pool, garden, shadows, shelves, and outfit all look great. Pool is going to be so refreshing during the impending summer! There is something about a pool and I have no standards when it comes to those. I am happy even next to a pool in a cheap motel by the motorway. honestly. redbacks - egad. Mr CSW says he will never move to Australia bc once I was talking to him on skype and my friend had a redback spider that made its way inside and of course there was screaming and he was like whats going on and i was like oh its a redback. He googled it and said what you said - one of THE most poisonous spiders in the world! The tolerance of Australians is much higher than the rest of the world. Congrats to your friend who raised so much too! x

    1. I can't wait for the pool - the pool builder claims another 2 weeks and we'll be Swimming… we'll see. I just want it done for the end of the school year, as the Children are desperate to start swimming in it for the long Summer holidays. We've already had some really hot weather though, so it would've been nice if it had all been finished already…
      Well, I suppose between snakes and spiders you just have to deal with it… but generally I've never had such a close brush with a Redback - they tend to be somewhere obvious. I'm always careful when I move a pot plant on the veranda, and regularly flyspray around the front door lights etc if I catch one lurking there. Normal spiders don't phase me much, but these are awful! I can't believe I was so stupid as to bring the ladder inside without first spraying it!

  2. You've been a busy lady!
    Be careful up that ladder.
    Would love to see a full length shot of the frock xx

    1. Fortunately I have good balance, so the ladder aspect is not the worry - deadly spiders are another matter though! I think the link I did in the post to the Collette Dinnigan post I did shows me in it full length. I actually don't have one from the night!! As I said, hopeless at getting photos taken, just didn't think about it (guess I'm never going to make a fashion blogger!!)

  3. How terrifying about the spider! I live in fear of red backs and funnel webs. I quite like spiders in general, but not deadly ones. Thank god it didn't bite you!
    Hurrah for the pool. Will it be ready before the summer hols?
    The phallic spouts are not really that phallic; regardless they look great.
    Also love your Ball outfit!

    1. I'm the chief spider catcher in the catch and release program, but only with the non venomous spiders. The deadly ones just get killed!!
      I have everything crossed it will be finished by the Summer hols. I gave that to the pool guy as my deadline, and he's saying 2 weeks, so that will be just before. Hopefully….

  4. Okay, I hate spiders and we don't even have poisonous ones around here! You Aussies are tough! So much to love - the dress, the purpose of the ball, those Roman bath house spouts (!), the meadow and how glorious your library and chandelier look! But mostly, I am besotted with that last photo - I want to pull up a chair and a drink and just wallow in the sheer loveliness of it.

    1. Oh definitely not tough! Even after it was most definitely dead I was scared stiff removing it to take out to the bin, just in case it was like some horror movie where it came back to life somehow!!
      I do love how the front of our house looks. I'm a bit sad I can't share any more photos of it, after the weird letter incident I took down the photos of the front of the house… but the veranda is so beautiful, and such a lovely original feature, and I like nothing better than sitting there on a warm evening with a glass of wine with Mr AV watching the world go past and chatting.

  5. Gosh, your spider encounter is terrifying. But, the bookshelves look fantastic - well done.
    I love the ball outfit and hairdo. Sounds like a marvellous woman, your friend, and a great cause.
    Pool looks fab and I'm jealous of your summer.

    1. Thanks Charlotte! She is a wonderful person - does not let her son's condition overshadow family life in general, so positive and motivating and she has really generated a lot of momentum in finding a cure through the foundation.
      Summer looks like it may be very hot - it's still Spring but we've already had weather in the 38C range… the pool will be getting a workout!

  6. Spiders belong outside in the garden.
    Definitely not inside or hanging on the outside of a house.
    If they take liberties I'm sorry but I revert to Baygon.
    I was cleaning my outside furniture one year when one big ( the biggest) red back poked it's head out I dropped the heavy outdoor chair on my toe and nearly broke it.
    If you think your pool slow my son's house is taken so long to renovate he could have built a new one and be moved in by now.
    Love the dress I'm so glad your friend has been able to raise so much money for charity.
    The house is beautiful can't wait to see the chandelier installed you certainly didn't mess around with the painting
    Kind Regards

    1. Hi Karen - oh my goodness, so lucky with the toe!! And the spider in general!
      Well, as for the speed of our renovations, we were out the other weekend and pretty much every single one of our wider social acquaintances enquired as to how the renovations were progressing saying "can't believe you're still going". So I'm not sure your Son's progress is necessarily worse than ours! But the pool I had thought would be a quick thing and instead has turned into an Epic Saga.
      I just wanted that room finished! The new armchairs will arrive soon, and I'd love to have the books out of the boxes too.

  7. I've never seen such a big spider, ye gads! I'm with Naomi, I'd be happy with a kiddie's inflatable pool on a warm day, yours will be magnificent ! What a beautiful updo, so elegant, I don't have the face for one, I'd need a clip on fringe to break up the harshness, I can look very Rosa Kleb with my hair up.

    1. Oh they're not big ones at all! That one was about 1-2 cm only in the body, it's an extreme closeup. They're just incredibly poisonous, and probably being smaller are harder to spot. The big ones here are harmless, so I catch them and take them outside.
      I love having my hair up - hate having it around my face when I'm out as I fiddle with it all the time!

  8. Heidi I showed your insta snap of that horrific spider to my daughter yesterday and she screamed! Terrifying and I think you were very brave to go back in the room and even to kill it. Your shelves look just perfect, you are a very good painter and I think the chandelier is beautiful, it will be so satisfying to to see it installed!
    Fingers crossed the pool is done on time and thanks for that chicken salad recipe, it looks like just the thing to serve for lunch on a hot day, I'll be pinning it as a reminder to make it next year. We are in a deep freeze here, our winter has begun so I'll be enjoying your blog posts more than ever!
    Lovely dress and and well done to your friend, that is incredible the amount of money raised!xo

    1. I couldn't have left it there Dani! I would have been having nightmares about it breeding and running around the house - it had to be killed and removed! I can't wait to have the room finished, it's been such a black hole for the past year since we moved out of it, and was becoming a junk room. Better to clean it up properly and use it as it was intended!

  9. Your shelves have come up superbly, I'm a little envious of that chandelier, unfortunately they don't go in Californian bungalows but maybe one day I could sneak one into the bathroom. I love the shadows on the verandah and can imagine as a perfectly relaxing spot to sit and watch the world go by. I'm loving the house progress shots and I hope the pool is finished on deadline as you've had some scorching days already, I think it's going to be a long hot summer

    1. Thanks Nanette - am feeling very satisfied (if a little stiff) from finishing off the painting! Yes, bungalows tend to have slightly lower ceilings which make the elongated chandeliers not work so well, but a tiny one in a bathroom would look fab. I think we're in for a hot Summer too, am slightly nervous about how the new plants will fare, and what our water bill may look like at the end of it all!!

  10. Heidi - In raptures over the chandelier! So glad you've found it - really beautiful. Love Third Empire things - have a mixed collection of small odds and ends - a painted tray, a candleholder and a wooden box, but nothing spectacular like this. It will be perfect in the library in that lovely ceiling rose.
    You were v brave about the redback! Didn't know they were so poisonous - G was once bitten on the ankle by one when we were bushwalking in one of the national parks. Luckily he was wearing socks - it bit right through but some poison must have been lost into the sock. His foot became very red and swelled alarmingly but he was OK.

    We've all got our fingers crossed that the pool will be finished quickly - in the next couple of weeks! It does sound as though we're in for another scorching summer.

    Have just come in from dinner and show - "La Cage aux Folles". Brilliant local production! So much fun and so impressive. The choreographer is a friend and she was so enthusiastic about it that I promised we'd see it and take some friends. Very glad we did!
    Wonderful that the Captains Courageous Ball was so successful. Raising almost $500,000 is miraculous!
    Pammie xx

    1. Oh my goodness - cannot believe G was bitten and survived a red back!! Natural anti venom runs in his blood perhaps? He was incredibly lucky!! How lovely your night out sounds, nothing better than a mid week night out. So pleased the ball raised so much - she's done such an amazing job over the past few years, and that sort of money is really unheard of here, it eclipses what a lot of the Sydney and Melbourne balls raise. xx

    2. It was years ago so don't recall all the details very well. We were miles from anywhere when it happened. We knew it was poisonous at the time - but not how badly. Luckily most of the venom must have gone into his sock or it would have been worse I guess. We did in the end go to hospital casualty about it - they didn't seem too concerned when they saw the dead redback and G's red swollen foot (he had swatted the spider dead - just in case you suspect the spider died after biting him!). Didn't give him an injection anyway - maybe they didn't have anti-venene for redbacks then. At least the redbacks aren't nearly as bad as the Sydney funnel web. The really can kill - and within hours.
      PS about chandeliers in bathrooms - I wanted a little one for our ensuite but the electrician told me that in Canberra you're not allowed to have chandeliers in bathrooms! Pammie xx

      So looking forward to seeing pics of the library with shelves all painted and filled with books - and the chandelier! Also the pool when finished!

  11. Love that chandelier, just what I want. And, your Bay window with morning shadow, beautiful. Adelaide has some lovely heritage homes , but it's hot, hot. hot.
    Hope that pool gets installed before Christmas..
    Linda C.

    1. We do have some really beautiful houses, but agree with you about the heat! At least it's a dry heat, so no frizz in the hair from humidity I guess?!
      Fingers crossed on the pool. I will be very down in the mouth if this entire process takes a full year to finish!!

  12. Hello Heidi,

    The library is looking splendid and how good you are to paint the shelves yourself (that's were my husband comes in handy). And, oh, that pool is looking divine. I love your choice of spout and the verdigris finish is perfection. Which leads me to your ball outfit - very nice indeed! Your accessories are perfect for that spring-like print.

    I adore your clipped boxwoods; they look so healthy. Mine are turning a little rusty as autumn has arrives in San Francisco. I must remember to fertilize them with fish emulsion soon - they love that liquid gold.

    1. Hi CD, if I'd waited for my husband to paint the shelves it would be January! Unfortunately he's in a very busy patch at work, but at any rate I've always done the detail painting in the past - he's better with large rolling on walls, rather than cutting in and woodwork.
      It is such a lovely dress to wear - very light and perfect for hot weather. Hopefully I'll have a few more occasions to wear it to during the Summer ahead.

  13. Hello Heidi, Love the chandelier and the library and have enjoyed every post on your renovation, you have done a superb job. Hoping you may be able to give some topiary clipping tips, do you use a template?? I have some box that I want to "ball" and "cone" but a bit reluctant to try. As an "Adelaidian" in exile your fabulous blog is like a little piece of home, thank you

    1. I do all my topiary by eye - I've had some of mine for 20 years, so initially I used to set up string lines, but I just hack away now. The good thing is that if you make a mistake it soon grows back! But I can recommend a comprehensive topiary book "Topiary and the art of training plants" by David Joyce. It has excellent step by step instructions for all sorts of different shapes and how to trim and train them, and I've learnt a lot from it. Good luck!

  14. You were brave to get back up the ladder. I would have either drowned the ladder in flyspray or brought a new one. My weapon of choice to rid the house of creepy crawlies is a vacuum cleaner. Long nozzle so you don't have to get to close and you don't have to dispose of it. Though like you I wonder about them somehow coming back to life and seeking revenge.

    The bay window looks so welcoming and pretty. What is it with tradespeople and time frames? I think they are in a totally different time zone to the rest of us.


    1. Hi Louise - I've become so accustomed to delays that I barely bat an eyelid now. Although every now and again the frustration boils over. But it's always someone else's fault (apparently), so is so hard to pin on someone and make them take responsibility.
      The ladder was almost slippery with flyspray! And honestly I've probably nearly killed myself with the amount I sprayed in there - it was like agent orange or something. Nothing will have survived that!

  15. Love the library, love the dress, do not love that spider. In fact it really scared me. That spider is why I could never be a Jain.

    1. I'm still thinking about that spider, so I 100% agree with you about it being scary!! My Dad comfortingly told me I would have got to hospital in plenty of time to get the anti venom, but that apparently it is incredibly painful. All said very cheerfully, so that was of course comforting!

  16. Loved this post Heidi, so much going on in your corner of the world. That Collette dress is just beautiful (why oh why did she decided to bow out, no one makes dresses like she does) & what a wonderful result for the fundraiser. Your spider story had me in stitches, I do the same as soon as I see a spider I waste an entire can of spray on killing it, even the huntsman, I just can't stand creepy crawlies!! Really impressed with your pruning, I should really take it up, as my garden is costing me a fortune right now in pruning & hedging, agh!! I hope you are having a good week, 3 weeks till I land in Adelaide, xx

    1. It's a busy time of year - am sure you're getting busy with end of year school/ work stuff too. I'm still sad about Collette, especially as she's kept up the cheaper range, and got rid of the actual beautiful dresses that I loved! I'm thinking I need to invest in some sort of serious electric hedge trimmers - my arms are so sore after all the pruning of hedges etc! I'm so envious about your holiday!! You'll have a brilliant time in the Barossa.

  17. Thanks for the recipe!!! It was so GOOD!!

    I love your outfit it is divine and I LOVE that chandelier too- just gorgeous!

    Excellent post all round xxxx

  18. Forgot to say I HATED the red back spider- thank God you saw it!! Awful!

    Take care and be careful! x

    1. Enjoy!! It'll be a good one for your Monday lunches. Can't wait for the chandelier to go up!! Tomorrow's the day!

  19. Well done on the library painting completion! That is outstanding work!!! Even with the spider encounter. I really love the chandelier. What a great find.The pool looks great! Hopefully not much longer.
    Ohh your topiaries! I just want to buy more so I can have nice clusters like you! Thank you for including the fertiliser details. This is hte kind of stuff I need to know. This is the best time of the year in the garden, so much activity!!
    Beautiful dress and heels!
    Your house is pretty.

    1. So happy to have it done, although the house still stinks of paint and it doesn't seem to be fading??! Can't wait to have that room come together, although still so much work to do in there rehoming things and organising the shelves. Enjoy your gardening!!

  20. Useful lesson learned - always spray a ladder before it makes its way into the house. :) Thanks for mentioning it because we have a ladder that does go back and forth between the house and the shed, and we do have some redback issues here.

    I hope the pool is completed soonest! ;)

    1. Absolutely - glad I could be the community spokesperson on this!! I will never bring anything in from the shed without spraying it with copious flyspray first from now on. Hope you don't find any in your place either.
      Can't wait for that pool to be finished - talk about the project that has dragged on and on and on….

  21. All my fav "c" words in this post- Colette Dinnigan, Choo as in Jimmy chandelier, charity, Captain Courageous, children &, chicken,
    You're brave & resilient with that spider. Keep on making your place gorgeous although I think it is great already.
    Best of luck with finishing the pool! Den x

    1. Oh thanks Den! You've made me smile reading your comment. I feel like we're nearly there with the house and all the major things finished. I'm looking forward to enjoying the back garden builder free though!

  22. Your Bay windows are divine, I had no idea your home was so old in the front - how old is it? how cool that you've mixed the two. Luckee! you with that pool and big back yard, like a footy field. Are you going to have a diving board?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Search This Blog

About Me

My photo
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
Powered by Blogger.

Follow this blog with bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin

Blog Archive

Things to read....