Saturday, 29 March 2014

packing for three weeks in Europe (London, Paris, Rome, Venice, and Berlin in the spring time) plus a video!

packing-for-Europe g Well, it’s Tuesday morning and I still haven’t packed, so seeing as we fly tomorrow night I’d better get it finished!

I made a good start last week, and basically got everything I wanted to put into the suitcases sorted. I haven’t been on such a long holiday for over ten years – in fact, the closest, since my very early teens, was two weeks in Thailand and Singapore when I was 20, so I am more than a little out of practice. Even then I just took a regular sized back pack!

I’m not kidding when I say I travel light. I hate waiting for luggage at the airport and, more importantly, I don’t want to be lugging hefty bags around.

The last time I even packed a suitcase, as opposed to smaller hand luggage, was when I moved to Australia over ten years ago. (And yes, that freaks me out; time really does fly!). The suitcase I used for that was a cheapo, slightly larger than average one from Whitechapel markets, which was around the corner from where I was living. It weighed a tonne but it did the job, even though I almost got stung with excess baggage fees.

packing-for-Europe a packing-for-Europe d So, I was delighted – and surprised – when I was gifted these two Samsonite cases. Suit case technology wasn’t even something I’d thought about much (and why would I?) (although when I hear Samsonite I think of Mad Men and the discussion to drop them out of the window! I won’t try that, promise) but they are awesome. Almost ridiculously light – as in, less than Babycat kind of light – and they are BIG.

Also, something else I hadn’t thought about, even after I got them, was the wheel situation; it was my friend who pointed out (quite excitedly, over a glass of wine) that they have four wheels that spin about so they roll really smoothly and don’t topple over. It’s true, I tried it when I got home. VERY chuffed with that. I’m also pleased that they are a nice dark blue (I didn’t want anything too loud) and did remember to tie some ribbon on them to make them recognisable on the carousel.

packing-for-Europe c So, here is what I am actually packing, or at least a good start of it. It’s going to be quite cold when we are there, so I need warm things, but I want lots of room to go shopping (makeup, and vintage clothing, whoop!) when I’m there. I have thought about mailing things back, too, to help with the room in the cases. John has used the smaller case and I get to use the bigger one.

packing-for-Europe b I bought a leopard print back pack (from Sportsgirl, it was on sale, and I can't find a link for it now – I got this one from a bricks and mortar shop, anyway) to use as a handbag, and for my carry on for the plane. It’s massive, has lots (too many?!) pockets inside, and much more practical and comfortable than my usual handbags.

packing-for-Europe e Here is the rack where I started to hang things I wanted to bring along.

packing-for-Europe f Babycat wanted to help, too, by climbing in a cupboard.

packing-for-Europe h The definites so far: a mustard wool vintage fitted dress (rolls up, no creasing, warm and comfy), two vintage cotton dresses with elbow length sleeves, because it is Spring time and I want to enjoy that (with tights and cardigans, of course! And quite probably a coat and scarf too, but still) and a vintage sundress to encourage the sun to shine.

I’m really quite nervous about my luggage going missing, so I haven’t wanted to pack too much vintage. Also, I don’t want things to get too crushed, and as we are going to lots of places, rather than just one where I could iron and hang everything for the three weeks, I need to be practical as we will be repacking every few days. I will take quite a lot of my new clothing, as it rolls up smaller and needs less ironing. Plus I won't be completely devastated if I do lose it. (Touch wood that doesn't happen!)

packing-for-Europe i These dresses are in my maybe pile. They might be too hard to layer, and not warm enough, and I’m not 100% sure yet. I’ll see how much room I have.

packing-for-Europe j Tops: 1 blouse and two basic long sleeve tops. Good for layering. I’ve got another two, one black and one navy, to add.

packing-for-Europe k packing-for-Europe l Skirts: one cotton vintage floral one (again, because Spring! And Rome! And Roman Holiday! There might just be a vespa ride!) one black and sheer paneled one (it’s a maybe!), one black full one, one black pencil skirt. Hmm, lots of black, but it goes with everything. Also adding a black and white pencil skirt that makes me look like a monochromatic bee, but I love it.

packing-for-Europe o Daytime shoes: Dunlop Volleys, from Target! (It's probably obvious I did my shopping for this, last minute, in the one shopping centre. Also, it was only when I looked up a link for these that I saw they were "youth", so yay for the benefits of having small feet!) Everyday. Comfort first! We will be walking everywhere.

Nighttime shoes: my leopard heels with the ankle strap (via asos, long gone now), and my black peeptoe platforms (from yoox, and they're still there, but argh, they weren't this much on sale when I got them!).

packing-for-Europe p Jumpers and cardigans: yellow and/or pink vintage cropped cardis (yellow might be too Autumnal, and get worn heaps when I get back instead), wool stripy vest and vintage aqua cashmere cardi. Also my new black merino knit from Uniqlo, and maybe another black jumper I bought from Topshop last year. And, maybe another vintage cashmere cardi, because I need to be prepared for the cold!

packing-for-Europe m Evening: yay, excited about this! I bought a new lace dress from Asos, (this one), fitted, reaching to below the knee and with sheer lace sleeves. Will wear it with my new sparkly necklace from Lovisa I bought the other day, maybe my hand chain (also bought form Lovisa, but I can't find links for either, sorry) and my sparkly clutch I bought from Forever New. I never, ever get to use a clutch normally, as I take my camera with me and have to keep it in my big handbag, so I’m CHUFFED about this. I also have a shocking pink 1980s halter neck dress with a peplum that will be fun to wear, but it is quite bright and I've not worn it yet – I will be brave!

packing-for-Europe n Scarf: leopard print, bought from Forever New. Big, soft, and will go with everything (although I’m double leopard-ing with my back pack, look out! What if I wear my leopard shoes as well..!) Good for the plane, too.

Then of course there’s makeup, toiletries, pajamas, hair things… um. Um! Glad I’ve got the bigger case.

I also made a video about it all. It’s really lo tech, and you can hear the focus the whole time (sorry!) but I’ve been meaning to do more videos forever and thought it was high time I actually got started. Very different to my last video upload but I hope you like it. I’m going to make a lot more videos, and will film things from Europe, too, which I’m really looking forward to. Also, I need a better video camera for these – my Nikon D7000 makes pretty images but it’s not good for chatting away live. Any recommendations would be welcome!

I’d better finish this packing, then! See you soon!

Disclosure: as stated, the suitcases were a gift to Esme and the Laneway from Samsonite

Thursday, 27 March 2014

the boutique edition fashion show and high tea

high-tea-cakes b This post is sponsored by Nuffnang 

On Saturday I attended The Boutique Edition Fashion Show, followed by the The Boutique High Tea. Sponsored by Dilmah Australia, the fashion show and the tea were both held at the lush and lovely Malvern Town Hall.

malvern-town-hall They were the only Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) events I went to this year, as I knew I wouldn’t have time to post about them before flying off on holiday, and so didn’t apply for any accreditation. And anyway, there is plenty of excellent coverage on lots of other sites, with excellent photography and reviews – and I think we can all live without me adding to the batch of blurry instagrams for a season!

That said, it was those instagrams, blurry and otherwise, that started to make me regret not going, as some bits looked great – especially the Mimco and Camilla shows. You can imagine that I was chuffed about being invited to Dilmah’s Boutique Edition, as the idea of a fashion show AND some afternoon tea definitely appealed, and then I saw that one of the designers showing was Camilla. Double good!

I also love going to things at Malvern Town Hall, as it is really, properly beautiful. I am so happy that they are keeping this historical building so well looked after, and putting it to good use for things like this, rather than knocking it down to make way for some ugly apartments, as is happening in much of Melbourne. It’s the perfect setting for a lush afternoon (and evenings) of fashion shows, teas, dances and beautiful things in general, so let’s keep it, please!

malvern-town-hall-ceiling The traffic was especially bad and I was running a tiny bit late – as in two minutes, just fashionably so – and arrived to a packed foyer to collect my tickets. (I needn’t have worried, as the show was being tres fashionable and running late too.) Two tickets were put in my and I joined the happy crowd waiting, chatting and looking forward to the show, and enjoying the string quartet playing outside for us.

dilmah-boutique-fashion b We were eventually allowed in to the hall. The seats (each topped with a goody bag) were set up in a double line around the room, a bit like a figure of 8, which I always like as it means everyone should get a good view.

dilmah-boutique-fashion c So, I managed to find a seat without the reserve card, sat down, and waited. I wished I’d found the bar as I hadn’t brought any water along with me and I was getting really thirsty, but not to worry, tea was coming later – a very cheering thought. Finally, the lights dimmed, another classical stringed group (more than four this time) started playing (which was lovely, it really set the mood for an elegant parade) and then gave way to the heavy beat of the show music. (Which, by the way, was really good. I hope I can find the set list online somewhere. Think Goldfrapp – oh, and, with excellent timing now that we know she will be touring, a Kate Bush song – whoop!)

And, honestly, it was worth the wait. We were shown sophisticated and mainly evening looks, the models walking around us so we could all see, and I really did enjoy it.

The hair and makeup looked great, too: I love big and messy hair, and while this is obviously more editorial, I LOVE me some huge, wild and tangle-y curls. I wish I could have seen the makeup close up, as it looked very 1930s inspired, with dark glittery lids and dark lips. I also spotted a (drawn on, thankfully, for the models, as it’s not a look for everyone!) thin, high arched brow. It was all really theatrical and gorgeous, and I would definitely wear a slightly (very slightly, this is my jam!) toned down version. (In fact I ordered a dark red lipstick yesterday, which I will be waiting for me when I get back to Melbourne. Excited!)

john-cavill a I have loved feathers for AGES, and have missed out on a few feather jackets over the years – I keep telling myself they’re not practical blah blah, and then they sell out and I regret not buying them, and then another one comes out and I repeat the cycle. Boo. This John Cavill dress with the beaded bodice and feather skirt in soft pale pink-y nudes was lush. I would love to wear something like this (and to have somewhere to wear it, too). Do want.

trelise-cooper a Trelise Cooper showed some full skirts in bold colours, with exposed zips down the back. Elsa Schiaparelli was known for exposed zips, and I am glad the recent trend for them has stuck around.

lisa-barron Lisa Barron had bold stripes, full skirts, and gorgeous draped beaded detailing on bare shoulders.

camilla Camilla was a swoosh of glamorous bohemia, bright colours, and tassels swirling behind high suede boots. This is something I would wear in another life. (I just really like seeing it, it just makes me happy!)

moss-and-spy And, finally, Moss & Spy were all otherworldly sheer floaty fabrics and ethereal prettiness.

After the show we headed up stairs for the Dilmah Boutique High Tea. I love it when we are allowed to see more of these old buildings, and get to explore the bits that are usually closed off. It was a very popular and busy event and a lot of people had the same idea as me: to get in line for some cakes!

high-tea-cakes And these cakes were absolutely lovely – beautiful to look at and beautifully presented, piled high among vases of pink roses. Also, hats off to the people at Burch and Purchese, who were behind these sweets for the Tea – to make our waiting go faster they handed out pale pink, heart-topped salted caramel lolly pops. I ate mine there and then – never underestimate the power of a sugar hit. (Also, I then saw some fantastically brazen queue jumping. They did it with such panache that frankly they deserved their time saving efforts and I honestly didn’t mind at all. It was actually quite funny!)

heart-salted-caramel-lollies With the talented time-savers squeezed in behind me, I loaded up my plate with rather too many treats and took myself off through the fun, party atmosphere to a quiet corner, where I could look out over the balcony and enjoy more sugar than I should. They were really very good, and I should know, as I ate far more than was sensible.

I didn’t, alas, manage to get a cup of tea, but I did enjoy my share of runway fun and cake. Which is not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon at all. Plus, we got some Dilmah tea in our goody bags, and I’ve been enjoying it from the comfort of home. It’s hand picked Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka, “… bright, with a medium strength and delightful bouquet” which is very much my cup of tea (yes I went there) as I liked my tea strong, but not too strong. Very nice! (I’m literally drinking a cup as I type this.)

Thank you to Dilmah Australia for having me at the show, I was chuffed to enjoy some great moments of VAMFF.

Dilmah Australia
Dilmah Australia facebook


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

au revoir, we're off for three weeks in Europe!

au-revoir photo from my pinterest 

Well, tonight we fly! I wanted to say au revoir before jetting off to London, then Paris, Rome, Venice, and Berlin. We're SO EXCITED! I'll be back for Easter, although I imagine I will be joyfully jetlagged and in need of a good sleep (or five). I'll probably need to remind Babycat who I am, too. I'm going to miss her so much, but she gets on really well with our house sitter and I know she'll be very pampered and in true cat style probably won't actually miss us all that much. I Can. Not. Wait. to share my travels with you! I also have a couple of posts lined up. And now I'd really better put the last things I'll need into my suitcase! See you soon!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

autumn days, sunshine, ducks – and John Paul Gaultier events

jpg-ngv b One sunny morning the week before last, I was invited along to the NGV for their announcement of their upcoming major summer show. And I was very excited to hear it is "The Fashion World of John Paul Gautier – From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk", as this is an exhibition I heard about several years ago, when it was in Montreal, as it featured Melissa Auf Der Maur. I'm really looking forward to seeing this one, although we'll have to wait for October.

In fact all the info is rather handily in this one photo! jpg-ngv a jpg-ngv c There were several of JPG's amazing dresses on display, so after all the speeches I had a quick look and snapped a few. I would love to see them a bit more close up. Actually, I want to know what that fabric feels like, as they remind me so much of beautiful 1940s dress and I want to see if they feel like them too, but that's the kind of behaviour that doesn't go down too well in a gallery, so I promise I'll be good. ngv-rainbow melbourne-skyline It was SUCH a glorious day I decided to make the most of it, and called John to see if he was free for a lunch time walk. He was, hurrah! flowers city a The walk down to his work is always nice. I go past the same flower shop every time. flowers city b And they always have amazing displays. blue-gardens a.jpg fountain We took a turn around the Treasury Gardens, watched the ducks on their waddle from the pond to a sunny patch of grass, and high fived each other about our cleverness at actually seeing each other in the middle a working day, which we really should do more of! blue-gardens c I didn't even mind the crazy wind. Autumn is here! (Although I did get a quick, and kind of awkward-lean-y, pic of my hair before I left the house, while it was still doing what it should.) xbluedress-deco-mirror

Monday, 24 March 2014

roses in the city and a new camera

red-rose-hair-reflections At the beginning of March I was loaned a Nikon Df camera to have a bit of a play with. I was quite excited about this, as it is a great looking camera, based on the stylings of old ones (as in, the really cool old vintage ones) with nice chunky dials – and it was also my first ever full frame camera. There is a silver version which I think is even better looking than the black version I got, but of course it's not all about how the thing looks, is it!

To be honest, I wasn't sure how I'd find it, as I thought it might be a bit style over substance, and I've read mixed reports on the photos it takes. Still, as I am planning to get a full frame camera in the near-ish (hopefully less of the ish) future, it was useful for me to have a play with this one to see what I thought.

city-green-trees hasbeen-rose-leaf deco-curve-building city-roses-red (you can tell this os from the D7000!) John and I went to the city a couple of weekends ago, me armed with the Df and John with my D7000, so we can see the differences between them here.

city-buildings b I think the Df's look much more film-like, as in both camera film and movie film, if you know what I mean. There is a kind of smokiness that I love.

The Df is about the same size as my D7000, maybe a bit taller and flatter, and seems to me to be about the same weight. (Which, btw, I NEVER would have thought was important until I started using DSLRs and found the earlier models I tried were too heavy to hold properly in one hand.) There is less of a bulge-y bit on the front right hand side (I can only presume this has a technical name but I've no idea what it is!) so it was a bit harder to pick up, which did make me a bit nervous.

And the clunky old-style dials were a bit strange to use at first, and they are very close together, but I actually got used to them very quickly and could soon change things without having to look. I actually really liked the manual dials, as it forced me to think about my settings that little bit more, whereas I can be a bit lazy with my D7000, setting everything else up, roughly guessing the shutter speed and then adjusting it according to whatever the metre tells me.

city-feets But what about the photos? Well, my initial thoughts were "they're AMAZING!". The screen on the Df is much better than on my D7000, so when I first looked back at them I was pretty chuffed. They really looked amazing. When they were on the computer, though, they didn't look quite as good (damn!) but still were really awesome (erm, thanks to the camera and not just me, you understand, ha). They look a lot more 3D to me, and there is more detail in the shadows. The dark bits are smoother too, and the ISO is better, in that it handles low light really well, than on my D7000 (wah!) which is already pretty good as far as I am concerned for my first not-exactly-super-cheap camera. This actually made me edit them a little differently, lifting up the shadows a bit to soften the blacks and show all of that detail off, as they weren't noisy. I really liked this, although it felt pretty different for me and my usual bright white light thing. They are kind of dirtier, and make things look more distant, time wise.

red-rose-look-camera Hmm, I think it suits me, right? Also, I am going to get one hell of a wrinkly face from doing that however many times a day. Erm, something to think about. Or not! tiles window-weights-dream red-rose-cafe-camera However, one thing is I think is that it is less flattering for faces. I can't put my finger on why; it's not that it's too sharp or too contrasty. It just seems to be less kind, somehow, to any tiny lumps and bumps on a face, or maybe it's because there is a murky green-ish tone, rather than the oranges and yellows I'm used to with the D7000. (Oh, what if it's just reality?! Could well be..!) I don't know. Maybe I just needed more time to get used to what it liked to to and how to work with that.

hanging-ferns b city-buildings a That said, I LOVED this camera. Loved it. Maybe it was just because it was my first full frame – I'd obviously need to have a go with more to get proper comparisons – but I would have happily kept this one, although in the silver finish. (If I'm going to start caring how my camera looks – to be honest, at the moment I wouldn't care if it was held together by scuffed gaffer tape if the photos were good – I want it all please thank you!) I loved the manual feel of those dials and the hearty click sound of the shutter. I also got used to, very quickly, the different kinds of photos it took. Oh and focus wise it was AWESOME. Quick and crisp every time. I did have to manually set the focus (my eyesight isn't good enough for me to do this often) for the pic at the start of the post, because it was all quite dark, but most of the time the auto focus was good.

What do you think of the pictures? I also used the Df in this post, this one and this one and I think the difference is huge and for the better. Do you like them more too? hanging-ferns a

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