Friday, June 17, 2011

window shutters

With the colder weather. I’ve come to realize that window shutters are the best window option to keep a home warm. I'm sure this isn't news to anyone but me...

We have shutters in the lounge and whispy floaty curtains with white venetians everywhere else that welcomes, in fact, pays the tingling cold air to creep into the house. Even the fish I bought 4 days ago is fading in colour from frost bite and refusing to eat anything … not even ants which google said siamese fighters 'go crazy for'
Jeff has been pampered like nobody's business with warm water replacements daily and relocated to cosier areas of the house every 30 minutes or so. In light of Jeff's discomfort, i've made note of how cold our house can become in the short winter months we have here in Brissie.

So ... i've been admiring shutters in all  shapes and forms. Whilst they’re a bastard to keep clean, they sure can look magnifique! … inside
and out

this is a handy little idea
which I have just ripped off in my head (the top pic). I had these two shutter doors listed for sale on ebay. Doesn’t take much for me to decide to keep something I don’t need … this is them
I need to clean them but they'll be good for all the bits i come across that i either lose or take up much needed drawer space in our jam packed study, receipts - i have so many receipts! ...or they'll end up on ebay again. We'll see.

Monday, June 13, 2011

on the road again

A and I have been on a road trip.

Since 2 Thursday's ago we’ve been from Brisbane to Dubbo and then Dubbo to Melbourne and then Melbourne alllll the way along the coastline back to Brisbane with stops along the way. Hours upon hours of driving but some spectacular sights to see.

We stayed with friends E and F last weekend in Melbourne. My friend E and I have known each other since we were about 3 maybe even 4. We have the exact same first and middle name. Interesting fact yes? She hooked us up with some fabulous shopping on Saturday where i purchased this antique horn from a shop called Tiger and Peacock.
This is my favourite purchase of the trip. The owner has years experience in Visual Merchandising and has the most beautiful shop and a fantastically wonderful eye. This is the link to her page thing on facebook and website.

Anyone been to Gill's Diner? Used to be an old bakery premise - great choice by E and F for din last Sat - lil bit funky and a lil bit industrial ... all the rage these days ...

My stop off every time i visit Melbourne is The Paris Cat. It's a great little jazz club on Goldie Lane and is super cute and intimate. It has framed portraits of all the greats on the ceiling.

I won't overdo the detail on our itinerary because quite frankly, it's like looking at someone's travel shots - dull. 

BUT i do want to spruke some good feedback. A holiday can be so easily ruined with poor accom and food due to lack of sharing reviews. I research like a maniac prior to going away because i've been too many times bitterly disappointed. I like the whole "experience" from go to woe.

Two of the places we stayed need to be documented - they're both unique and cosy.
The Old Leura Dairy in Leura in the Blue Mountains and The Bank and Tellers at Wingham, just inland from Taree on the NSW coast.

I’ll start with the Leura Dairy. The owners have used all recycled materials to construct these premises which are made up of 6 separate dwellings . Here are some shots of The Buttercup Barn which is the one we stayed in.
They’ve used heshon for the curtains so the minute we walked in it smelt of mountains. Antique furniture all in original form or distressed was used throughout. Old milk urns, wooden boxes, meat safes and much more add interest ..
Pressed recycled metal and various timbers made up all of the fixtures. An old rusted claw foot bath (on the outside, the inside was newly enamelled) sat in the bathroom with beautiful stain glasses windows and organic toiletries.
The fire warmed up the whole barn with the main bed upstairs in an open loft. Perfect setting for the Blue Mountains. These pic's don't do it justice. There's something to be said about the smell and feel of things. Music was softly playing as we arrived. Attention to detail always gets me. 
To dine. Sillks of Leura is divine. I had food envy and wanted everything A had as well as my own  … perfection.
The town of Leura is gorgeous ... and cold, but the stay at the Dairy was so warm and cosy and comfortable and original that i'd love to go back for longer than a measly night. 

The Bank and Tellers Guest House at Wingham is owned by a lady called Bev. The Wingham Bank was built in 1929 for the Bank Manager and his family .. and the bank.
Bev has transformed it into a Guest House. We stayed in the Bank Managers original bedroom.
The original floor tiles still on the bathroom floor.STUNNING and committed to memory.
Bev has various rooms in this beautiful building that all display a piece of the early 1900's.  I love Art Deco architecture and the Bank still has all the style of an era that put time and effort into the finishing touches. The original Safe Door is still there too. This was such a relaxed evening, made this way by the casual nature of the host. There's a communal Living room with a roaring fireplace which we lounged in with a glass of wine and a couple of the other guests before dinner was served. Bev only uses the restaurant for inhouse guests and large groups now which made the stay so comfortable and homely. It's 7.5 hours out of Brisbane. I need more time there too and i definitely need her mushroom soup recipe. A and I had been talking about mushroom soup on the drive there and low and behold it was on the menu. Yess!

So that's it, i could carry on more but i won't. Just be sure to visit these places if ever in the Blue Mountain or Whingham hood. You won't regret.
Oh, and some very exciting news. Last month I WON a Ramsign house sign on Raine and Sage's Blog... it arrived while we were away. Here it is.
I thought about the year of my birth - just to have ... but ended up going with the Shop number at Gabba Antiques. I figure long or short term, i'd like the memory of the venture there and this will be it. It is so well made and it's blue although my camera on my phone hasn't picked it up. Just gorgeous. If you're in the market for a house sign - get onto these guys here. Thanks Sonia!!!!

Pop those toes in some ugg boots and grab a hot water bottle. She's gonna be cold tonight.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

getting out of the big smoke...

Don’t you love a fun weekend away with the girls? Me too. Myself and 4 other pals went down to beautiful Maclean in Northern NSW for the weekend and what a cracker!

For those of who don’t know the town. Maclean is a little Scottish town past Ballina and right next door to Yamba on the coastline of Northern NSW. It’s about 3 hours from Brissie and is a typical sleepy, close knit, cute and friendly little town. It sits along the Clarence river and provides host to spectacular views and offers 100% serenity.

My oldest friend C and I grew up together from the wee age of 0 and are still the closest of friends as are our brothers and parents. Her Grandfather lived in Maclean and as kids both families would go down to this little house every Easter. Going to Grandpa’s was the We loved it and all have awesome memories. Grandpa is now with the stars but his darling home is still as it was 20 years ago right down to the kettle, mid century lounge and fluffy warm carpet.

The balcony overlooks the expanse of the mighty Clarence River which the men in the fam have fished on a gazillion times over the years. It’s truly a piece of heaven.

After arriving at nearly 10pm Friday night, we all needed a wind down and went to bed late. The energetic one’s hit Yamba for a walk on the water and myself and the other two admired a stunning blue sky and sparkling river. Grafton is a half hour drive south of Maclean which is where we spent most of Saturday. I loved this red phone booth outside the Court House. There's no phone it now but it's problem made many phone calls of varying emotions.
Grafton is a sweet little town too. Not sweet like Maclean, but sweet. Sissy’s is the place to visit. Kerrie who is ‘Sissy’ has a great antique store (and a shed out the back packed to the rafters ... literally!) The last time I was there I picked up the Art Deco light shade that hangs in our lounge room. This time I was mesmerized with the fabulous hats a local girl creates. Hats that would fetch a few hundred in Brisbane she sells for much less. Majority of the hats are vintage with a tweak or addition of a modern twist. I’m an idiot and deleted the pic’s I took of some, but this is her business card.

If you have an old hat which is out of shape or needs something added – call her. She's a clever one!

On the way from Grafton to Maclean, we stopped in at the Commercial Hotel in Ulmarra for a pub lunch.
Great food. Incredible view. Excellent Service.
That's a sterile description, i'll do that again. The Commercial at Ulmarra is a superb spot to revell in a meal and an icy cold schooner of beer whilst overlooking this

…and then have a cheeky punt on the races with the locals while an open fire roars. I won $5.25. I bet big.  We all would've happilly perched up and whiled away the arvo at this place. I look forward to visiting it again.
We meandered down the street and checked out a book store with floor to ceiling books all in rows. It reminded me of the library scene in Ghostbusters minus the ghost. The drive between Maclean and Grafton is so very pretty that I found myself pleasantly smiling at what I saw. It’s refreshing to overlook fields of sugarcane, houses dotted along a calm and shimmering river, cattle lounging under large trees. Everything looks like a photo opportunity. Worn timber and aged homesteads.

Breakfast at the Caperberry in Yamba was to die for!
This was C & K’s. Yum. It was muesli and berries and yoghurt ... I had pancakes and L and F had  something with haloumi in it. Outstanding to say the least, and they make a fine brew too (coffee that is ...)
A chocolate store just down the road with booth’s for old school milkshakes was the last stop and then we were on the road.

We all needed longer. The air is fresh, the scenery calming, the company hilarious. There's something to be said about getting out of the big smoke with the girls.