Monday, 30 June 2014
Now I just have to get used to using a completely different thing to the one I've been one for 6 years. I'm really looking forward to learning it all and seeing everything in a new home! See you there!
Thursday, 26 June 2014
our last day in London: Hampstead Heath, hard working swans, and laundrettes, and questions about small things
So, our last day in London. We had just 6 days in all, including the day we landed that disappeared in a blue of lifts from old friends (thanks again, Paul!) and blissful post-plane hot showers and then just a little lap, more resting my eyelids really... from about 5pm to 3 in the morning! Oops.
After the previous day, when John and I made such a personal pilgrimage to South West London, we did something less familiar to us and headed north, to beautiful Hampstead Heath. It's a part of London we barely went to, if ever, when we lived there together, and I have fuzzy memories of going there years before which ended in an afternoon of pool. Which was nice. We wanted to go again to see how the houses with price tags we can't being to fathom and to check out the heath.
But first, up early – still not completely de-jetlagged at this point but in the excellent, getting-up-at-dawn-is-easy way, we went into central London so I could buy an Urban Decay palette from Debenhams on Oxford Street. It looked so hazy and calm and beautiful. And special thanks to the lovely lady from the Philosophy counter, who looked after me while the Urban Decay girl was awol. You we ace and I LOVE the palette.
Then it was back on the Northern Line to Hampstead. I love that station, with its tiles spelling out the station's name. By now, my camera was feeling very heavy, and getting it in and out of my back pack was all a bit too much. Of course I took a pic for an instagram but it never made the cut, so it's here instead. I never, ever thought I would be pleased about tiles. Amazing how things change, hey? It was busier than I expected outside the station. But so different to other, more familiar bits of London. We walked along the windy, wavey streets to the heath. And looked at the tall houses through the trees wrapped up in thick ivy jumpers. It was one of those perfectly crisp, foggy mornings that you know will get dazzingly blue and sunny later. The way the streets aren't gridded here is so charming. As were the food shops. After a week of sandwiches (the best were from Pret, btw – Marks and Spencer's were all a let down) we were just starting to think about some special dinners. Although I'm reasonably sure that this butchers will never be my local. Le sigh. More rows of tall houses on the way to the huge green. And I think I could subtitle my trip "cats of London"! How cute is this little guy? Speaking of cute little things, what on earth are these miniature bins for? I know, I've gone from photographing radiators to bins. The downward slope is steep. But I saw some before, in different suburbs (boroughs!) and want to know! They seem very practical. Let me take a moment to make my approving face. And then... ta-da! The heath! isn't it gorgeous! Watching these two swans was the best. They were working together as a team, building a nest. The one on the right was snapping off reeds with its beak and putting them behind him or her in a pile, and the swan on the left would pick them up, one at a time, and carefully place them in the nest. They worked hard at this for quite a while. Little black duck there stood next to them for a bit but didn't get involved. Swannies didn't seem to mind. We got some lunch (more sandwiches!) from down the road and then came back to our sunny spot. The ducks were frisky about something, feeling the springy-ness perhaps? And this is one of my favourite pictures of John. We paid a visit to Keats House, which unfortunately wasn't open to the public until later that day, so we had a look at its very pretty gardens. It's funny, there is something so English about this photo. I could never mistake that for Australia, even if the set up was the same. Something to do with light and colours. It looks like home. (Erm, except for the super posh house bit!) Later that afternoon, as we were still North, we decided to have a look at Camden. I used to go to Camden market all the time in my mid teens, and had been told it is very different now. And... well, it is, but it's even more touristy-grotty than it was then. The lock did look good though, and we got to see a boat pass through.
And then... time had run out! We went back to our hotel, did some laundry at the laundrette around the corner (and I baffled a man watching me take photos of our clothes being spun about, who felt that "... that's going to be an interesting photo!" Cheeky so and so. Well yes, it is, at least to me! Or, rather, it's the full stop on our London trip. It was over in what felt like three blinks. We had to get our clothes dry, back in the suitcases, and get on the train for Paris. London was over.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
Monday, 23 June 2014
While it's not impossible, obviously, to ride a bike in a skirt or a dress (or heels, while we're here), I do find it much easier in pants or shorts. For one thing, Melbourne is very windy pretty much all of the time, and even a calm day can turn into a blowy one complete with a skirt vacuum-sealed to your face with little to no warning. Not great at the best of times, definitely not great when riding. Also, my bike's skirt guard is not fool proof – or should that be fabric proof? – and having had my dress get caught in the coggy area thing once, I never want to do it again.
And anyway, I actually just like wearing shorts and pants. The shorts are a recent op shop buy, when I was also buying a pair of pants (appropriately enough, considering my last few sentences!), and thought I needed to get my basket's value to over $10 so I could pay by card. Not completely sure about them, I still popped them in, thinking $5 to charity and the option to try them at home was a gamble worth taking. It turned out they were half price and there was no lower limit to card paying anyway, but I'm pleased I stuck with them. I love the soft grey-green colour, the fact they fit on the waist and have their own belt, and that they are loose, longer and cuffed – and the fit is exactly what I was hoping for, too. While they were going to be summer shorts, I decided to take them out for a winter sesh, with tights and cloggy sandals, and my new jumper and scarf, both courtesy of Princess Highway, who sent me their very sweet winter look book and a voucher so I could chose a couple of things. As I am that bit older than their target audience, I stuck to simple things, and went for this olive green jumper, as I had a bit of a basic knit shortage. I also got this slightly different one in the rust and the navy, and now have a very happy jumper collection. Very pleased! They'll all definitely be making a lot of appearances here over the next few months, as they go with everything and complete my little (ahem) capsule wardrobe rail very nicely. The gap is filled!
I also took a chance with these olive green gloves with the heart cut outs, thinking they would be a little big as their sizing options are S/M and M/L, and they are, but it's all good because it means they're spot on for bike riding: I can have my hands curled over the grips and brakes without having to worry about stretching or ripping them. It's also one more piece of encouragement to actually go and ride!
The colours here are kind of new to me, as I tend to have more of them at one time, but it was really nice to keep it all kind of simple and just add a pop of colour with the scarf at my neck. This one is an op shop find, and I love peach against dark olive and green.
And then there's the tights and sandals, my Swedish Hasbeen cloggy wonders. I said I'd wear them in winter after trotting about in them all summer and true to my word, here they are. After I broke them in (I just wore socks with them the first few times) they are now really comfortable – surprisingly so, as I expected the leather would rub a hot bare foot eventually, or the plain wood sole would be too hard for walking long distances in, but apparently not! They're even better with tights, so expect to see a lot of them on here. Paring down is definitely happening!
The belt, too, is op-shopped, and I like this combo from a where-I-got-things point; one nice splurgey piece (the shoes), opshopped olde thingse (the shorts, scarf, and belt) and then some new things to top it all off (the jumper and the gloves), as it's nice to wear something not previously worn by someone else, too, at least sometimes. Spoilt as I now am by vintage cashmere, these newie jumpers are really good, not itchy, don't feel like they're going to be droopy and shapeless by the third wash, and the colours are very much up my alley. Now I just need to get on my bike more than once a week..!
*disclaimer: the jumper and the gloves were gifted to esme and the laneway. Mx*
Friday, 20 June 2014
And so far it is going pretty well. Not to mention how much fun it has been.
It has forced me to be a bit more creative, too, and to put new combinations together, and actually add all the things (scarves and so on) that I dreamed about doing all summer and can now finally do. It has also been a bit of a trip down memory lane in some cases, with certain things reminding me of how I might have worn them back when I got them, which can change over the years – sometimes that's good, of course (slouchy knitted beanies, anyone?) and sometimes they still feel right.
Case in point: this floral, sheer black floral dress. I bought it from an independent op shop on my local high street, the kind staffed by dear old ladies who want to halve the price tag for you, with loads of goodies hidden among the usual dross. (It moved a few doors down after a year or two of me living here, and I think now it might have actually gone altogether). I even remember seeing it, leaving it behind, and then turning around on the street about 100m down the road to go back and get it.
I love everything about it: that 1970s-does-1930s style, with the sheer, calf-length skirt, the poppy print, and the knotted sleeve detail, which of course is completely hidden here. (That means I'll have even more reason to wear it again soon and show them off!) But for some reason, partially due to habits and restrictive ideas (mine) about vintage, I hadn't worn it for ages. Tights, preferably thick and ribby ones, under peep-toe platform sandals has always been a favourite of mine, especially with a floral dress. The shoes are still new, in my mind, bought last spring and worn all through the summer and diligently put away (as in, on one side of my shoe shelf) not to be touched until next spring, but I like them too much to not wear them now. And now, after years of effort, all my cardis are cropped vintage ones, and this called for a longer line. This green one, pilfered from John's wardrobe, did the job. I even remembered to wear a bracelet. This one is (again) from a few years ago, and matches the dress perfectly. It also made my hand feel cold where the metal touched it, which could be why I "forget" to wear these things in the first place. These were all snapped in a hurry before going to the Urban Kitchen event at Melbourne's Emporium, with John and two friends (who were also on the list). I think a dark antique gold necklace would have been good with this as the neckline is very plain – plus necklaces won't make my hands cold! Wearing dark colours turned out to be a very good thing when eating dumplings, wielded on unsteady chopsticks and first dunked in little bowls of soy sauce, after a few glasses of champagne..! *Splash*
Of course, it all went under my dark green vintage coat with the little cape over the shoulders and the black trim, which was happily worn for the first time this winter as it is now fuh-reezing cold at night. And, full confession: I forgot to wear the planned-on hat. It was a wonderful night, even sans hat, the kind where you see lots of friends in the crowd, and even bump into familiar faces on the tram home – the kind of night that reminds me how fun Melbourne really can be. A bit of reminding is good for more than just old dresses!
Tuesday, 17 June 2014
I got this amazing vintage leaf print one some months ago and Autumn would of course have been ideal for it, but here we are in winter and it is going on anyway! This vintage dress is one I've had for a while and really should wear a bit more often. This kind of thing, with the buttons and the pocket structure, is a favourite of mine, as is the colour. The scarf might or might not be helping hide a collar that got crumpled on one side while hanging in a too-full rack, and absolutely is hiding some inexpert darning I did on a couple of small holes, which of course had to be slap bang in the middle of the front. Still, such is life. The scarf has light brown leafies that match the dress and the vintage cashmere cardigan perfectly, and, having that oranges and browns (sounding all very seventies) theme, rusty orange tights were the choice to go with. Well, I feel like I missed a bit of Autumn so I am making up for some lost time now. And as I was in such Autumnal colours I decided to complete the golden rainbow and add my mustard yellow flats, a gift from Ballettonet (who are now actually having a sale, these ones included). I was so thrilled when these arrived, as I have wanted a pair of mustard shoes for ages, and after my three weeks of Dunlops in Europe, I am well and truly converted to flat shoes. The comfort!
After I ordered them I did worry a bit about the mustard being too yellow, and the points too pointy, but I needn't have: when they arrived two days later they were perfect on both fronts. They are handmade in Italy and butter soft, and were super comfortable immediately, which means I have been thrashing them a bit since I got them – very naughty, as I haven't taken them to get a protective layer put on their leather soles yet. So, until I do, they are now strictly indoor shoes, and here I am just waggling them about in the safety of home, which evidently delighted Babycat. Also would like to note my joy at toning so nicely with my living room, although please ignore the miniature spaghetti junction that lives near the bookshelf, servicing the fridge, the internet, a lamp, chargers etc... (What would Pinterest have to say about that?!) One magical day in the future, cables will be an annoying and unsightly memory, and maybe before then I will find a way to hide at least some of them. Hope springs eternal!