Saturday, May 29, 2010

a sublimely mellow (and yellow) Sydney lunch

last weekend I stole away to Sydney for a heavenly 26 hours or so. My darling Jac collected me from the airport and after a quick bite at Alimentari in Paddington (I can't believe we lucked in to live in that street when we first arrived in Sydney), I went door-knocking to catch up on some Sydney mates. I got to cuddle the lovely babies Gus and Wilco, then had a delicious dinner at Phamish in Darlo with Jac and Michael. It was incredible waking up in their apartment the next morning to look out over that bridge and that Opera House. I felt soooo lucky.

Then it was off to lunch (actually we squeezed in a quick brekky in Rose Bay first) to celebrate my beautiful friend Aleks B's birthday. Only an art director could put together such a cool and quirky setting as this one. Our place settings were little canvases on which Aleks had drawn our likeness - we had to work out which one was us. And the meal at Cafe Sopra was nothing short of incredible - my mouth is still watering thinking about the pork, and the cheese, and the wine..... The next morning I was back here lugging floorboards and furniture to a shoot, and the weekend felt like it was a dream.

that's me

feathers decorate the chandelier above our table

Yvonne B's delicious cupcakes

some kooky yellow utensil art

who knew post it notes could look so good?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

all dressed up...

Sugar the cat gives the new dresser a thorough inspection

$40 bucks well spent at Vinnies

Last week I did a kitchenware shoot for The Sunday Age, and couldn't find just the right kind of kitchen in which to display all the gorgeous bits and pieces I had sourced. So I decided to mock one up at the studio, using this old pine dresser that I found for $40 at the Vinnies in Glenferrie Road, Malvern. Three coats of Dulux White on White later, the mission brown ugliness was gone, and this cute little dresser was ready for its close up. I was going to give it away after the shoot (or sell it on ebay if i got the strength), but I have managed to squeeze it into a corner of my kitchen. It is now loaded it up with heaps of colourful op shop finds and books, and is looking lovely on the new pink floor.

I'll post the kitchenware shoot after it has been published in a few weeks time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Man up

Here is my 'hip gents club' Savvy Shopper page that ran in The Sunday Age M magazine last Sunday. It was a nice change to do a really pared back, simple shoot after the very full, product heavy ones I have done recently. I loved shooting those chunky leather chairs, but the old hand coloured photo called 'Brothers' made me want to weep. I know it is old. I know I don't know them. But I still hope they are OK.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gorgeous Melbourne home - The Poulier residence

Home envy is a well known ailment amongst stylists. And sadly there is no cure. Our partners and families know all the symptoms - coming home to find the furniture rearranged, painted, or gone; a distracted and frustrated look in the eyes; general ennui. The Lancet should do a story about it.

I had a shocking dose after spending time at the Poulier home for Sunday Life recently. Every room is heaven. They are heaven - all gorgeous.

I was on the mend until I saw their room in the paper yesterday. Now I am grinding my teeth again.

Photos by Mike Baker, copyright Fairfax Ltd,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


that is the only word to describe what is going on here...

Alex is home, a bit sick

Jem is working like a dog

Annebelle turns 13 tomorrow and we have 25 of her closest illybiffels (so called because of their propensity to write ILY and BFFL on schoolwork, pencil cases, facebook pages, etc) coming here for a disco in the lounge/dining/my office TOMORROW night. Off to Chaddy for last minute party supplies now. You can see the start of the party prep in the mirror.

I am madly prepping for 2 Savvy Shopper shoots next Tuesday. Got all of the products but have decided to make life hard by buying and old pine dresser to paint and use in the shoot, and some old floorboards to also paint, then lug to the studio. And I have to paint a wall and loads of frames for the second shoot. Clearly I am a stylist with a desire to self harm.

Also, I am taking advantage of $60 flights and squeezing in a quick trip to Sydney - up Saturday afternoon, back Sunday night to help celebrate my friend Aleks' birthday, have a quick cuddle of Candice's bubba and see the newlyweds Jac and Michael.

So what do I do? Like all good work avoiders, I skiv off and take some photos and blog.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"happy wife, happy life, buy flowers..."

or so the sign outside the florist in Oakleigh said today.

Not happy with the sexist undertones, but I had to agree with the bit about flowers making a happy life.

So I didn't buy flowers from him - I picked my own instead. Very happy.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

wanna buy five copies for my mother...

today, this is my sound track, with apologies to Dr Hook:

wanna see my picture on the cover
wanna buy five copies for my mother
wanna see my smiling face
on the cover of the Real Liv-ing

when I made my New Year's resolutions for 2010, one of them was to style a cover for a national home title. Never did I put it out there that I wanted to be on that cover! Being an ex-publicist, covers are my holy grail. 100 years in publicity at Channel Ten learning under the legendary Bev May taught me that. I still remember my first cover at Ten - it was of Kimberley Davies in a wedding dress for the Who Weekly annual wedding issue. I had to fly to Sydney with the dress and I thought I was the cat's whiskers.

Anyhow, I wasn't meant to be in this shot. The gorgeous home owner Bec Udvary and her divine son Woody were, but the Melbourne weather played its tricks, and when we went back to shoot the cover, they couldn't be there. So instead I stuffed myself into the sample size top, and with the encouragement/merciless teasing of my darling girls (it was school hols and I had used up all my grandparent babysitting vouchers), I walked through that door 500 times until we got the shot. Let me just state that Bec and Woody looked much cuter.

It was a great experience to work with Real Living's incredibly talented multi-tasking photographer and art director Chris Warnes, And I am particularly indebted to him for any "refreshing" he did to me in that shot (it was the week after Easter and I may have been showing the after affects of too many Elegant Rabbits).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

aah, that's much better...

as much as I dug the green kitchen floor, I knew it wouldn't last. I liked it, but never loved it. When my friend Margie W called it Kate Spade Green, I liked it a bit more, just for the name. But it had to go. It was always meant to be pink, ever since I saw an amazingly cool home in UK Living Etc with a hot pink kitchen floor. I settled for green because Jem, who NEVER complains about our home slowly getting pinker and pinker and pinker, said it might not be a great idea. I took the hint, for a while. But I just asked him and he said he is totally down with the pink. So now I am waiting for the first coat to dry, and trying to convince my lovely pyjama clad styling assistant Alex that she should go to bed and not wait to help with the second coat. Easier said than done...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

this shoot, I am trying not to buy...

this shoot, I am soooo tempted to buy every single product. It is another Sunday Age M Magazine Savvy Shopper page and the 'silhouette' theme is totally up my alley. In particular, I am crazy about these little hand screenprinted artworks by The images are printed onto pages of old books, so no two are identical.

If I only I hadn't had to rob a bank to pay for Dougal's vet fees this week. I had budgeted for the spaying $$$, but not on the trip to doggy emergency on Saturday night. Those guys charge like wounded bulls! Afterwards, Annebelle declared that Dougal is not, in fact, a Golden Retriever. Rather, he is a Platinum Retriever. Good call Belle. Anyhow, we have managed to amuse ourselves nicely with little Buckethead as he is now known.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bowled over...

the hero shot

as it appeared on the pages

Margie's home in Sunday Life a few years back.

Here is my Savvy Shopper page all about soup bowls that ran in the Sunday Age M Magazine yesterday. I loved sourcing all the bowls, and found it very hard to part with a few of them when the shoot was over. The most enjoyable part of this shoot though, was the location. My lovely friend Margie very kindly let Mike and I shoot it in her divine dining room. Being the most generous hostess, she supplied lots of cups of tea (in Limoges tea cups, no less) and some delicious brownies. Actually I think I ate all the brownies before Mike got there so I hope he doesn't read this...

This is the second time we have shot Margie's (and David's) beautiful home. It was featured in Sunday Life a few years back. Their home gets more beautiful every time I see it, thanks to Margie's abundant decorating skills.

All this talk of soup has given me a hankering for my delicious lentil soup - I think the recipe originally came from Jenny E, but I have been claiming it as my own for a while now.

delicious lentil soup recipe

Some good French puy lentils
1 litre of vegetarian stock
1 x large carrot – chopped really finely
1 x onion – also chopped finely
Some smoked Spanish paprika
Some cumin if you are into it
A little tomato paste
Chorizo sausage, sliced
Olive oil

Fry up the onions, garlic and carrot in some good olive oil until soft. Pop in the lentils, paprika, tomato paste and cumin and fry a little more. Add the stock and some water, then cover and simmer for a few hours ‘til the lentils are soft.

Photos by Mike Baker and copyright owned by Fairfax Ltd.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

this shoot, I am trying not to buy...

well, technically, I didn't buy this beautiful tea set designed by Melbourne artist and illustrator Kat Macleod for the Heide Museum of Modern Art. I chose it to be featured in the Sunday Life Mother's Day Gift Guide, and my very lovely family has bought it for me for Mother's Day (maybe they thought they would look bad if they didn't...hah).

This photo (taken by me) doesn't do it nearly enough justice. It looks much, much better in the SL shoot, styled exquisitely by Aleksandra Beare and Eliza Iredale, and shot by Dieu Tan (see two posts below).

Monday, May 3, 2010

another Mother's Day shoot...

the hero shot

as it appeared on the page

Here is my Mother's Day Savvy Shopper page that ran in the Sunday Age M Magazine last Sunday. The brief from my editor was hilarious: it went along the lines of "nothing soppy and no heart-tugging nonsense - no hugging teddy bears, you know the score...". So instead of my first response (which will always be PINK) I opted for the stronger look of black, purple and silver. It was quite a production compared to the other shoot Mike and I did that day, which only involved arranging bowls on a table. This one called for wallpapering, rolling out carpet, placing skirting boards, hanging curtains and a chandelier. It was a 14 hour day all up, and I was quite delirious by the end of it. Instead of packing it all up I could have quite happily curled up on the rug and gone straight to sleep. Even without the teddy bear...

All photos taken by Mike Baker and copyright owner by Fairfax.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Thrilled as ...

I am not going to act all cool and pretend that I am not COMPLETELY CHUFFED to be included as an 'expert' in the Sunday Age/Sun Herald Sunday Life magazine's Mother's Day Gift Guide today. Particularly as I am in such esteemed company: fashion editor Thelma McQuillan, who produces the most exquisite pages week after week; Karen Martini, whose delicious recipes I tear out every Sunday and swear I will cook one day; and Mia Freedman, who continues to be the most relevant female voice in Australian current affairs (whilst being very funny). I do feel a bit like the Junior League (even though I am older than all of them!). Anyhow, I was so proud to tell my mum, and my girls and Jem think I am a legend. This was my Mother's Day present.

Gorgeous Melbourne home - Brett Currell and Joseph Perse

Here is my story on the beautiful Melbourne home of Brett Currell and Joseph Perse which ran in the Sunday Age / Sun Herald Sunday Life magazine today. Brett is an event designer and amazing floral artist, and if I was about to get married I would head straight to him to create the perfect day. Brett has such an eye for detail, and his home is a joy - I wanted to shoot every room.

Photography by Mike Baker, and copyright owned by Fairafx Ltd.