Sunday, October 31, 2010
We now have a holiday tree, courtesy of a quick trip to Freedom at Top Ryde. We were all set to buy an actual (faux) tree, until Mr Kitty pointed out that we now have a 6 foot tall mango vine lamp where our tree normally goes. And given we aren't going to be at home for Christmas this year, we thought it might be better to opt for something a little more subtle. We'll invest in a faux tree next year I think - it's eminently more practical (and stable) with the kitties...
Okay, so perhaps we missed the mark on the subtle point but it's still pretty cool (and very sparkly). It's our (and Freedom's) modern interpretation of the Christmas tree, and funnily enough, on our side table it actually works.
We also picked up some really cute decorations to add to our collection - these gorgeous silver birds from Country Road. They are very sweet. I had to stop myself at six... But they do have a fabulous range of decorative goodies in store so check it out!
And say what you will about Aldi (lord knows I normally do!) but they do have a remarkable selection of continental Christmas goodies as low prices. I know you normally pay at least double the price at local delis for the pfeffernusse... Mr Kitty has already started on the stollen as you can see and pronounces it acceptable. He had to have three slices to make that decision though...
I also treated myself to some limited edition T2 White Christmas tea which smells so good... It contains apple, hibiscus, meringue bits, raisins, orange peel, rosehip, orange pieces, rosebuds, cardamom and cloves. Delish!
I've yet to start on my Christmas wrapping and cards but no doubt they won't be far away. Well, once the cards arrive from overseas that is!
Are you planning for your Christmas yet?
Friday, October 29, 2010
The good people at Etsy finally came through for me and started listing their holiday wares. I purchased a good selection from the fun and frivolous to the sappy and schmaltzy. All of them are letterpress (coz that's how I roll).
Here's what I got:
Silver Wonderland from ArticulationsEvents: $18 for 10
Red Brocade from ArticulationsEvents: $18 for 10
Happy Holidays Holly from byvikINK: $16 for 6
Partridge in a Pear tree from byvikINK: $16 for 6
I kept the choices to two sellers to try and minimise postage costs (things can get a bit expensive when buying from the US) But all up I did get them for under $3 a card which was my goal. I don't do presents for a lot of people, other than close friends and family but I do like to send cards to thank people for their friendship and support through the year. Christmas is a nice time of year to stop and think about the important people in our lives and I find writing cards not only helps me appreciate people more but also lets them know I care about them.
Still no Holiday tree in our house but we'll start working on that front shortly.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
But I thought that maybe 117 pounds might be a tad expensive for someone who is supposed to be conserving funds. I would ask Mr Kitty to buy it for my Christmas present, but apparently he has something else planned (more on that later).
I asked myself whether it was that exact bee I wanted or if I wanted just a bee necklace?
Here are some others I came up with from the gorgeous etsy - I thought I would share, just in case you are in the market for a bee like me but can't justify the cost!
This plate style necklace really took my fancy. It's from lisahopkins and is $75
I love the Victoriana feel of this locket. It's very sweet! It's from birdznbeez and is $22
Another sweet little locket - this one's from simplywillow and is $32
Tiffany & Co - $5000 (or $3200 if it's purchased in the US)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I love quirky jewellery. It's the shizz. Nothing jazzes up an outfit better than a gorgeous necklace or a fabulous bangle.
On my interweb travels this week I discovered a new designer (well, new for me). Alex Monroe established his jewellery design business in the UK more than 20 years ago and uses nature to inspire his whimsical intricately beautiful jewellery. He is inspired by the world around him.
Most of his designs are available in gold plate or sterling silver and use tiny jewels like amethyst, aquamarine and sapphires to highlight the delicate intricacy of the pieces. He also does bespoke work and limited edition pieces.
Some of my favourite items from his current collection include peacock inspired earrings and rings and flying bee necklaces. I particularly love the lucky clover necklace. I think I might have to try and convince Mr Kitty that I want something from this extensive selection.
The question is - which one should I get?
Alex Monroe's work is available extensively in boutiques and department stores around the UK and also online. There are a few Australian stockists as well, particularly if you are in Melbourne.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I adore Philosophy bath products. I have used them almost exclusively for the past four years. I love the fabulous scent of the shower gels, the sudsiness, the minimalist packaging and the fact that they don't react with my somewhat sensitive skin. I have a few favourites: cinnamon buns, coconut frosting, raspberry sorbet, pumpkin spice. They also used to do a great Lemon shower gel but I don't think they make it anymore.
When I was in the US in April I discovered that Philosophy are doing a new Limited edition shower gel: Apricots and cream. A devotee of stonefruit in pretty much all it's forms, this was definitely something I wanted to try.
So I bought the shower gel and the body lotion. And when I got home, promptly put it in my cupboard and forgot about it.
Fast forward 6 months and I finish my bottle of cinnamon buns. It's getting a tad warmer outside so I'm definitely in the mood for something a little more summery and scented. I crack open the shower gel and take a sniff and almost faint from the bliss. The smell is absolutely incredible. It's a summer's day in a bottle. It's definitely the best Philosophy shower gel yet.
And the body lotion doesn't disappoint either. It's not as moisturising as Kiehl's Creme de Corps but what it lacks in creaminess it more than make up in the scent stakes. Delicious. Edible. Moreish. Delicate. Feminine. I happily go without perfume most days because the smell is just divine. It wears off after a few hours but it's yumtastic. I really wish they would do a perfume in this flavour.
Now here's the bad news - Apricots and Cream is only available in the US for the moment. But... Philosophy do ship to Australia and if you are willing to get a few things at a time, the $39.95 shipping isn't too bad, particularly when the dollar is almost at parity and you have to pay $38 dollars at Mecca for a $16 US product. Taking that into consideration, you only need to buy two body washes (that each last 4-6 months) and you are ahead in the money stakes. It's Kitty-nomics. Spend money to save, natch. Plus they have a huge range of lotions and body washes available. The Apricots and Cream body lotion is $24.
If you don't want to ship from overseas Mecca does have a range of Philosophy products available locally - body washes retail at $38 but they don't have many body lotions in stock.
Edit: a lovely friend just sent me a message saying that SkinStore stock Philosophy and have flat rate shipping of $14.95 to Australia. What an absolute bargain!! Go forth and shop!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Or maybe that's just me?
Either way, we are all going to need summer clothes. And Miss Kitty is here to tell you what the essentials are for a good summer wardrobe.
Forget Nautical vs Vintage. Military vs Tribal. Bunny Ears vs Boyfriend Blazers. This post is all about the key parts of your wardrobe that you'll need to have in place for a successful summer. I'll leave how to express these pieces through the trends to you gorgeous fashionistas - you can decide whether your Maxi dress is nautical or tribal by yourselves.
But here's the list of my absolute must haves for S/S2010.
The Maxi Dress: it goes without saying that every girl needs one of there in their wardrobe. It's the summer equivalent of the jersey wrap dress and they suit almost every single body type. Short, tall, slim, fuller figured; there is a maxi dress for everyone and for every budget. You can find Maxis everywhere, but some great examples can be found at Myer, Sportsgirl, Target and Sussan.
The Blazer: everyone needs a good blazer that they can thrown on when there is a bit of a chill in the air, or when you want to make an outfit look a little more polished. The structured silhouette particularly works with the nautical or military look but can also toughen up a vintage dress and stop it from looking too girlie. Roll up the sleeves to make it look more casual. Black, camel and denim are all great options. You can find fab blazers at Portmans, Witchery and Sportscraft.
The Betty Draper Dress: Mad Men has had more of an impact on fashion than any other show in recent history (other than perhaps Emma Pilsbury, but she's just one incredibly well dressed character...). Not everyone has the curves to fill out a Joan Harris outfit, but the Betty Draper dress is something that suits a lot of people. The neckline can be boat, halter, sweetheart or faux wrap but there is always a nipped waist and a full flared or A-line skirt. The dresses are often pastel or floral and incredibly feminine, perfect for summer. Try Frockaholics for multiple Betty dresses or my perpetual favourite Leona Edmiston for some cute low priced options.
The party dress: wow, there are a lot of dresses on my list, but the silhouette really lends itself to the feminine look that is prevalent this season and everyone needs a special outfit for all those Christmas doo-s we are all invited to. In a pinch, the party dress can also be your maxi or Betty Draper but often it's a stand alone piece. Trends that are really seasonal include embellished dresses (sequins, metallic studs), draped dresses (very Lanvin) or lace inserts.
Great draped dresses can be found at Witchery and Ojay, embellished dresses at Sportsgirl and Sass and Bide and lace dresses at Portmans and Jacqui E.
The Sandal: here's where you can get a bit creative this season. Gladiators are big again this summer, as are clog style sandals (wooden soles etc.) and wedges or espadrilles. The bottom line is that you need to find the sandal that works with the rest of your wardrobe. Think Espadrilles with a nautical look, gladiators work well with tribal outfits etc. You don't want to overwork a trend but you want your pieces to complement each other. In traditional Kitty Style, you might want to buy more than one pair of sandals. Quelle horreur, right?
I plan to wear my Carino Louboutin wedge espadrilles this summer along with a pair of high heeled chunky heeled Nine West sandals. I also have my eye on a pair of Sambag flat sandals I may just have to purchase...
The peeptoe: One of the most elegant summer shoe silhouettes is the peeptoe. It's perennially in style. It shows off your summer pedicure to a tee and can be worn to work as well as to a party. I love the Louboutin Very Prive but there are plenty of more cost effective options out there that are just as nice. Try Nine West, Wittner and Wanted.
The casual shoe: we've got the sandal and the peeptoe, but I think it's also important to have a really casual shoe in your summer wardrobe. It makes a dressy dress look nice and casual. Try ballet flats from Sambag or Country Road, espadrilles or canvas keds.
The Wide belt: Accessorising is always important when it comes to summer dressing. The wide belt is a great accessory for making the maxi or other dress a bit more casual. You can find belts at almost every store but places to start include Sussan, Witchery, Sportsgirl and Veronika Maine.
The large scarf: Scarves are key for S/S 2010. From chiffon luxury brands to cheap and cheerful cotton, you can find them everywhere but they are essential. I have my eye on the emerald green crushed bamboo number from Country Road, but there are fab options at Trenery too. Bird prints are very en vogue.
The statement bangle: for ages we have been talking about statement necklaces but this season I think it's more about acquiring a fabulous bangle or cuff to complement your outfit. Summer is the perfect time to accessorise your bare arms with some great bling. Find great arm-wear at Mimco, Diva and Lovisa.
The embellished jacket: Add texture to your outfit through a shrug or bolero - there are some great lace jackets at Portmans and Sportsgirl and some sequined options from Witchery.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Season four of Mad Men: There isn't nearly enough Joan so far for my liking, but I am hopeful there will be more this season. Watching Mr Perfect unravel is compelling viewing.
Australia's obsession with cooking shows: from Junior Masterchef (god those kids are phenomenal cooks!) to Iron Chef (not loving but have high hopes it might get better) to Poh's Kitchen and Food Safaris... It's all about food at the moment on TV! Suits me - I'm just sad they have stopped showing KitchenTime on Seven2 in the afternoons... Boo! It might be time for Foxtel, I think...
Ben and Jerry's: It's now available in our local Woolies and it's so much better than having to traipse to Thomas Dux to get it. My favourite new flavour? Triple Caramel Chunk. Awesome. I have to seriously limit my intake.
Walking: The scent of Spring is in the air and it makes going for a walk in the morning so pleasurable. Sets the tone for a great day!
Planning the interiors for our house: We have been making some exciting decisions about what we are doing with the house. Watch this space!
What are you loving right now poppets?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
It's a bit of a miss-match really. I like lots of flowers - roses and lavender are particular favourites. Mr Kitty likes hedgy type things. I like herbs and vegetables. Mr Kitty likes citrus fruit.
We try to do the minimum possible to keep it looking good. With our plans to knock down the house and completely revamp both the front and backyards, it seems silly to spend all our weekends and oodles of money on the garden. But parts of it still look nice.
One area we spend time and energy is our rose garden. We have planted a lot of new roses over the past 5 years as well as trying to keep up the hybrid tea roses that were already there. We hope to be able to use them in our new garden - our plan is to put them into the courtyard near Mr Kitty's study so he can enjoy them.
This rose is called Gold Bunny. it produces the most divine yellow roses, and loads of them.
I can't remember the name of this rose but it's a gorgeous variegated pink and white rose with a spectacular lemony fragrance. I think it's my favourite one in our garden.
Our iceberg rose going crazy - it's grown a foot in less than 6 weeks!
One of the hybrid tea roses - produces lovely flowers but no smell, unfortunately.
I did cut a few for our lounge room. They look so pretty!
My other favourite rose from our garden is called Charles De Gaulle. It's a beautiful soft lilac with a gorgeous scent. I only really like roses that smell rosey. It is a very slow grower though.
Our rose geraniums - we struggle with being able to grow them well. They are really slow and don't seem to flower often, unlike others I have had in the past.
The other area I invest time and energy, with somewhat middling results I am afraid to say, is the herb garden.
Hurrah! Our flat leaf parsley seems to be back! It died away over winter and I was sure it wouldn't come back but it has.
These are our raspberry canes. We bought one last year and it cost us $20. It produced a disappointing 10 raspberries all up. But some of them must have dropped and seeded some new raspberry plants! We'll have to stake these ones but I think there are six in total. Fingers crossed we get some fruit!
Speaking of fruit, here is our strawberry pot - we usually get a handful or two of strawberries during the season...
One of Mr Kitty's orange trees. This is the late fruiting tree which is currently in blossom. Lots of hard work has paid off with this tree - it now produces twice as much fruit as it did 5 years ago.
The Kitty herb garden - Rosemary, lemon thyme and mint taking over the garden. We pulled that plant out four years ago and it keeps self seeding... I learnt my lesson there - always plant mint in a pot! I still have to plant my basil plant, chives and maybe some coriander, but I haven't had good luck with coriander in the past. I am trying to work out if I bother again... I am also thinking about tomatoes but I think I might be too late for seedlings.
So there you have it - not exactly Faux Fuchsia level, but it does the trick. For the moment anyway!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
As I get older I often think nostalgically about life as a wee youngster. More often than not the drinks were plentiful but not of a particularly high quality. One of the things I like most about being a grown up is that I now not only value quality in life, but I can also afford it. And I make sure that my mantra “less is more” extends across the many aspects of my life.
Take dressing up, for example – when I was younger it was all about the latest fashions. In the 90’s there were lots of shoulder pads, big hair and clompy shoes (yes, all together). There were numerous bottles of Minchinbury sparkling wine consumed. It was a sight to behold. Really. I bet you can’t imagine it now you know the glamourous, more refined Kitty.
In the 2000’s I got a bit more glam (a reasonable paycheck often helps). My tastes became a little more extravagant – Four Sisters Semillon was often the drink of choice (gorgeous blue bottle – perfect for gerberas after the contents had been consumed) and the quality and style of clothing improved. Bootleg jeans, a glittery top and sparkly sandals were the threads du jour, no matter what the temperature.
And now? Well, now it’s definitely all about quality. Miu Mius or Louboutins, a slinky jersey dress and some statement jewellery are the Kitty style for an evening out with the girls. Getting ready, I often put on some music (Lily Allen is my new favourite – she’s so perky and full of life), pop on a hydrating face masque, make myself a drink and start trying things on to create the perfect outfit.
And my drink of choice? If I am feeling super decadent I’ll make myself a Caipiroska – the combination of sour lime, slick vodka and the sweetness of the sugar make it the perfect pick me up for a night out on the town. It’s refreshing, soothing and definitely gets me in the right kind of mood for a party. And I know it’s not traditional but I always add a sprig of mint to the drink so it ends up being almost a cross between a Mojito and a Caiprioska. I find it even more refreshing: the combination of mint and lime is just too good. And now that I am a fabulously individual grown up, I find creating my own drink a great way to express that uniqueness!
Kitty’s Caipiroska (aka the Kitty-oska)
30 ml vodka – try the Smirnoff Mojito Vodka, the kaffir lime hit is fab!
One lime, cut into 8 pieces
A sprig of mint
One kaffir lime leaf, finely shredded
2 teaspoons of sugar – your choice of brown, caster sugar, palm… So long as it’s not raw sugar as that doesn’t dissolve very well
Crushed ice (cubes don’t work as well)
Squeeze the juice from three of the lime pieces into a glass (I usually use a 350-400ml tumbler) and tip the rest of the lime pieces and the kaffir lime leaf into the glass. Add the sugar, leaves from the sprig of mint and muddle with a muddling stick for a few turns. Top off with vodka, and fill the glass with crushed ice. A few turns with a spoon to combine the ingredients and there you have the perfect pre-going out drink.
In fact, that sounds so good I think I’ll make myself one tonight. Before I go out, of course!
Thanks to Smirnoff Cocktails for inviting me to share my getting ready to go out experience…
Monday, October 11, 2010
Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the food, the cards, the presents, the parties... I have already done a lot of my Christmas shopping, courtesy of overseas holidays this year and being super-dooper organised. There's only Mr Kitty to go in the present stakes and he's really hard to buy for as me maintains he needs nothing (let's not get into the discussion that presents are not about need, they are about want, generosity and spoiling people as I have had that one over and over with him).
Christmas Day this year is at my parents so there is no food to organise for the moment. We'll bake Christmas cakes and puddings in November but that's at least 3 weeks away yet. I can't bake my cookies yet - it's too early. My mother doesn't want to talk about the menu as yet.
So that just leaves Christmas cards. I prefer buying my cards from the fabulous etsy, and last year I bought beautiful letterpress cards which I would certainly like to do again. However, like Cclarebear it seems like I am a bit early on that front. There aren't a lot of cards for sale yet and I am getting a bit frustrated... Hurry up etsy people!! Get your Christmas lovelies listed so I can start buying!
Other than that I am right on top of everything. Sad really - It's the beginning of October and Christmas is almost sorted. Lord knows what I am going to do for the next eleven weeks.
Maybe I might have to get a job. Anyone want to hire me?
Friday, October 8, 2010
I came down with my supercold when we were in Hong Kong. It's always fabulous getting sick while you are on holidays - when all you want is your own bed, your teddy and endless repeats of Martha Stewart, all you have are starchy sheets, housekeeping trying to make your bed and CNN. It's not really comparable. As such, I got off the plane and got into bed and stayed there for almost a week. It's only today that I am starting to feel semi-human...
I thought I should actually leave the house - I despite having the supercold I was starting to get a bit stir crazy and some fresh air would likely do me the world of good. It did - other than a bit of a headache (I think due to pollen, it's hayfever season) I am feeling really quite good. I caught up with a friend and her cuter than cute son for a coffee and a walk at the beach and it was so nice being out in the fresh air. Fingers crossed tomorrow I am feeling even better.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
The White Company has quite a few stores dotted around the UK but my first experience was in the Westfield London Store. It's crammed to the rafters with beautiful candles, room scents, clothes, bed linen, bath robes, towels... It was a struggle not to buy everything... But I did leave with a couple of choice items.
This gorgeous dress in - what else - black! It's now on sale so it's a huge bargain at 49 pounds. The fit is fabulous and it's great quality.
This beautiful casual dress in ink! It's not on sale but I actually wore it about half a dozen times while we were overseas and it's ridiculously comfortable. Not currently on sale but it's still fairly good value! If they still had it available in Charcoal I would have bought that one as well.
This amazing cardigan. 100% cashmere, it's like being wrapped in silver kittens. It's a bit pricier at 130 pounds but the quality is undeniable and it's such a classic piece that I know I'll keep it for a very very long time. It was definitely an investment.
The White Company are also known for their gorgeous toiletries. Conscious of my baggage weight limit coming home, I bought a couple of candles only, but I honestly wish I had bought more. I selected Cassis, which combines fruity blackberries and blackcurrants with a relaxing woody base of cedar, clove and patchouli and White Rose, a divine combination of white tea roses, white lilies and white lilac blended with crisp bergamot and exotic amber. It was a really hard choice - I also loved Fresh Ginger, Verveine, Peony... To be honest I could have bought an entire suitcase full of candles and bath products but I really did have to be selective.
Maybe next time...
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I honestly had never been a huge fan before this trip but the first time I walked into the store on the Kings Road in Chelsea and felt the weight of the jersey and saw the styling I was hooked. It's such great quality and the cut of the dresses is so superior I couldn't not buy, well, a few of them. Because it would be rude not to.
I tried taking my own photos but they, like most jersey dresses, looked a bit sack-like on the hanger so I may have appropriated the shots from their website. I got a few of the purchases on sale which is also good news for the Kitty-Cat bank balance.
Kasia - a classic, 125 pounds
Lueta - a bargain at 65 pounds!
Viola - I bought the black of course, but they only have blue left. The best part is the dress is actually reversable so you get two for the price of one! Which is reasonable at 115 pounds! But if the blue had been in stock when I'd been there I may have bought it as well...
Shilo - this gorgeous jewel colour court is extremely similar to the Christian Louboutin Simple pump but at a fraction of the price. I found these at an outlet store for 55 pounds but they are on the website on sale for 70, still a very good price!
Hester - although it doesn't look like it from the photo, this belt actually matches the shoes beautifully and offsets the drab black of my everyday wardrobe really well. I bought it for 35 pounds at an outlet and I'm sorry I didn't buy the turquoise as well!
LK Bennett does ship to Australia but the shipping costs are a bit ouchy (45 pounds for the first item plus 7.50 for each additional item) but if you buy a few things I guess it's worth it. Or maybe plan a holiday to the UK just to check them out! The quality is second to none - you won't be disappointed!