Thursday, August 25, 2011

A diversion.

Sometimes I really like taking time out from looking at baby things.

Shocking - I know. But a girl who loves clothes and shoes will always be a girl who love clothes and shoes. Even if she really can't wear them for the time being. Temporarily. There is only so much looking at cute little baby outfits that a girl can take before she craves the luxurious fabrics of grown up clobber again.

Case in point: this beautiful Daniella dress by Erdem. The decadent and fabulous fabric was like a siren song to me - after a few months of wearing nothing but black maternity clothes, the gypsy like colours screamed out (in a very ladylike manner, of course).

"Hello Miss Kitty! Don't you just LOVE me?"

The scooped back, although not something I would wear, is a stark, sexy contrast to the high cut front. The velvet would skim the body, flowing and undulating gently across the body and puddle beautifully around the feet, clad in these gorgeous Miu Miu sandals.
Although, if it were mine, I'd probably go all out and wear these Miu Mius instead.

I never said I was subtle, now did I? The glittery panels on the shoes would flash under the hemline. Too gorgeous.

And although I don't really do yellow gold jewellery, I'd probably opt for something like these earrings to complement the rich Autumn colour palate of the dress. Silver would just get lost.

It's a dress someone like Anne Hathaway would look spectacular in.

It's good to know I haven't lost my love for the "humble" dress. Even in my heavily pregnant state.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Tea parties

I am gearing up for our obligatory pre-baby trip to Ikea.

It requires an awful lot of planning, preparation, single-mindedness and, well - there's no other word for it: balls. You have to be focused. Really focused.

In an attempt to be organised, I am currently trawling the Ikea website to put together our list of things we need. Aside from the chest of drawers and the chair which we have already agreed on, I am on the hunt for a nice, inexpensive rug for the baby room and one for our spare room, maybe some new bathmats for our main bathroom, a carpet protector for Mr Kitty's study (his last one got cracked in the move)....

But in amongst the stuff we need to buy, there are always the small purchases that manage to sneak into the trolley. The placemats, the glass jugs, and these.

I know - the baby is unlikely to want to play tea parties with me for some time, and goodness knows the cats don't want to sit still long enough to play with me but I love them so much I might just have to buy them for someone else... They go so well with the nursery colour scheme though!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

I die: baby shoesies.

How ridiculously cute are these shoes?

They are from Alex & Ant. I have posted about how cute their baby clothes are before (and I still haven't bought this romper - need to get my skates on!), but these shoesies take the cake. The only problem is I don't know which size shoes to purchase! When will we get the most wear out of it? Mummies - your advice is required!

I also love the lace collar romper on the site but given the only sizes available are 0-3 months and 9-12, I wonder if we'll get the wear out of it.... The rabbit tee-shirt is also cute...

Argh! Must stop looking!


Saturday, August 20, 2011


I love cute things for the baby. I know - you are all shocked beyond belief.

I have to restrain myself when in shops from buying too many cute impractical things for the little one, for example, at the moment she has enough clothes for about 10 changes on Christmas day, but she has no singlets. Or socks. Or night gowns.

Should really rectify that...

Anyway, this was a little something I just couldn't resist. I have bought cute things from Alimrose before for friends and their babies and love the sweet style. In my defense, it was on sale (just $9 from Parenthood in East Malvern) but I think I would have bought it at full price it's that cute.

It's Little Miss Kitty's first Kitty.


I also have my eye on some cute Alimrose scalloped bibs like this one:

Alimrose is available at most quality baby boutiques and many of the best online stores, including Bay's Got Style and Petit Luxe. It's also available at David Jones.


Friday, August 19, 2011

White Wings Home Style Creamies

I have a confession - I am not really a huge fan of bought biscuits. To be honest, I don't know who is more shocked by this announcement - you or me. There are some exceptions of course, there is always time for a mint slice in my life - but in general I prefer those that are home made. I always have a stash of chocolate chip cookies and cinnadoodles in my freezer, just in case I feel like one or have visitors stopping by.


I think I may have found a bought supermarket biscuit that is really worth eating. I was at the supermarket last week and they had one of those end of aisle displays with the new White Wings Home Style Creamies on show.

"Ha!!" I thought to myself. "They won't ever taste as good as real home baked biscuits."

Being hungry, though - which is always a bad state to shop in but almost inevitable while pregnant - I thought I'd throw a pack in the trolley, just to prove myself right. I love being right.

I have to say - I was actually wrong. They are the shizz. I bought the raspberry jam and cream version and they are sensational. The shortbread is crumbly and buttery but not too sweet. The balance of the filling is great - the tart jam and the soft sweet cream are perfect. The creamy bit reminds me of the old melting moments that Arnotts used to make in my childhood - not the same as the ones they make now I have to say.

These now make a regular appearance in our shopping trolley, strictly rationed though because they are so good. We also tried the passionfruit creamies - not as good I will admit. Stick to the traditional jam and cream for the best results. You'll thank me later for the tip.

Do you have a favourite bought biscuit?

Kitty x

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Twiggy Winkle

While we were in Melbourne, Mum and I visited the amazing Twiggy Winkle Baby Boutique in Toorak. Filled with the most amazing clothes, decorations, blankets and furniture it's the go to place for buying quality cute baby stuff in Melbourne.

I have to say we went a bit crazy - buying far too many cute things, but when you consider how many lovely things there were, I was actually impressed with the restraint we showed. We bought a beautiful Branberry Blanket (mint, pink and white stripe for those who are playing at home) which Mum is bringing up from Melbourne with her next month, a divine wall decoration and the cutest hat and knicker combo you have ever seen.

The blanket is one of the loveliest ones I have seen for babies. It's so soft and beautiful but still hardy enough to withstand the rigours of life with a little one. I can't wait to start using it!

The wall decoration was a very special present from my Mother to her granddaughter. It's a paper dress cut from a vintage style map of Paris. Paris is a very special place for Mr K and I, being one of the destinations we visited on our honeymoon. We love going back and we hope to take little Miss Kitty next year on her fist visit there. Having a small piece of Paris in the baby's room is such a lovely thing for us all to share with her. The paper dress also takes me back to my childhood, reminding me of the little cardboard dolls and their cutout dresses I used to play with when I was yournger. I even had a Princess Diana paper doll set - very special. At the moment the dress is on a hanger but we are toying with the idea of having it framed professionally down the track. We want to preserve this wonderful piece of art for her in the future too!

The other purchase was something neither of us could resist - I love vintage style floral fabric and when I saw this little hat I knew I had to have it. It's ridiculously cute and I can't possibly disclose the price. It was insane for a small piece of material, but honestly - at what cost style? And skin protection? The matching knickers will be very cute under pink and white dresses or by the pool over summer. So cute it makes my heart leap. I can't wait till I can put her in them.

How cute are the ruffles??

Twiggy Winkle is a definite on any Mum-to-Be's Melbourne list. There are also fabulous cafes on the same strip of Beatty Avenue in Toorak. How times have changed since I was at school around the corner at Mandeville Hall...

Twiggy Winkle
21A Beatty Avenue, Toorak
(03) 9804 3344

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Missoni love for the bebe.

The news that the Missoni for Target is launching in the US has many of my favourite bloggers a buzz with delight. I wish it was making it's way here. Unfortunately it's not to be and I fear that the prices for the collection on eBay will be exorbitant.

I have, however, still made sure there will be Missoni in the baby's life. Yesterday I picked up the Missoni for Bugaboo fabric set for the Cameleon. I originally saw the sample when we visited Bugaboo HQ in Los Angeles - I have to say before that I was a bit so-so about it but in the flesh it's spectacular. I turned to Mr K at the time and said "if we have a girl I am 100% getting that." He said it was fine - we were both convinced it was a boy at that time so no dramas.

Cue our 19 week scan and it looks like Little Mr Kitty is in fact a Miss so the order went in and it arrived this week. I am very excited, even though it will be approximately 9 weeks (if she's on time) before it makes it's first outing.

What a pretty box! I will keep it to put the baby's "things" in...

In support of the theory that all the best people have Missoni for Bugaboo, Mr K saw a picture in a magazine at the Obstetricians yesterday of Rachel Zoe with her Missoni Cameleon. He said that it was ok for her to have one but if he sees a Kardashian with it I have to sell it. Apparently he has standards (I personally love the Kardashians). One of the areas we must agree to disagree.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Luxe vs Less

So yesterday I posted the 3100 pound ($4915AUD) Oscar de la Renta dress. Today, we have the slightly less expensive version. Meet the Collette by Collette Dinnigan summer lace dress:

It's available at David Jones for $320. A smidge over 6% of the cost of the Oscar Frock. Not exactly cheap but certainly cheaper. More cost effective, if you will. Mr K would be glad of me saving money (if indeed I were to buy it).

It's not quite the same shape as the Oscar dress but I like the look with the similar lace fabric over contrasting underskirt. It would make for a fantastic Summer party dress - dressed up or down.

Collette has some other lovely lacey options that are really pretty for summer:

Although I have to say it does seem very weird to be posting about summer clothes when it's 11 degrees outside. I might hold off on the summer fashion postings until we see some more sun!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Oscar de la Renta always makes the most sensational frocks. I've been watching the third series of the Rachel Zoe Project this last week and it included the episode where Rachel is dressing celebrities for the 2010 Oscars. She chooses this amazing Oscar de la Renta dress for Cameron Diaz and she looks stunning.

Not quite in the same league but eminently more wearable is this gorgeous Oscar cocktail frock from Net-a-Porter. At 3100 pounds, it's a little out of the price range at the moment but I'll be on the look out for a similar dress with a black guipure lace overlay once summer comes around and the baby is wearing it's own fashion statements.

The fifties silhouette is so flattering and the scoop neck tends to suit me well. I'd see Carey Mulligan in something like this for sure. I have so many pearl necklaces to wear with a dress like this. Completely trans-seasonal, you could wear it with a fitted blazer in winter or a pair of sandals in summer. Princess Mary could totally rock this look. It's a classic style that is ageless - so very classic Oscar.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Burch & Purchese, Melbourne

I first heard about Ian Burch and Darren Purchese last year during Masterchef when they made a spectacular fruit carnival dessert for a Masterclass episode. Ever since, I have been itching to find more out about them and their fabulous creations.

In April, they opened their first Sweet Studio on Chapel Street in South Yarra. The studio is a multi sensory retail space specialising in sweet creations, desserts and treats perfect for spontaneous indulgent moments through to that very special dessert extravaganza for an event or dinner party. Selling individual and multi-portion cakes as well as jars of curd, jams, chocolate spreads, bars of chocolate, fudge and honeycomb, there is something for everyone in this purveyor of sweet treats.

Formally from the UK, pastry chef co-owners Ian Burch & Darren Purchese have built a reputation worldwide for their dessert wizardry; they fuse science and art with sugar to create an exciting and individual array of delicious tastes and textures.

Walking into Sweet Studio off the bustling craziness of Chapel St is a real treat. It's unlike anywhere else you've been, a place where you can always expected the unexpected. There is almost a serene tranquility to the studio combined with the crazy whackiness of Alice in Wonderland. The day we were there they had the most amazingly light lemonade marshmallows on tasting - now I'm not a marshmallow fan but these were incredible. Soft, light puffy clouds of sherbetty goodness. I almost went back for a second.

I was initially very keen to taste their desserts but after walking in, I had to take home some of their condiments, jams and sweet treats for my pantry. I knew Mr K would grumble about how much I bought but I couldn't resist.

First to the cakes!

Our first choice was the Chocolate, mandarin, salted caramel. Made up of Kendari 60% chocolate
mousse, Murray River salted caramel, burnt mandarin cream, St Clements marmalade, aerated
chocolate shortbread and chocolate mirror glaze this creation was simple but sublime. The textures were wonderful and the mousse, the hero of the dish, was gorgeous. I would have loved a bit more of a mandarin hit to the dessert but it was a small small thing. So delicious.

Our second choice was the coconut, passionfruit ginger mint. It was my favourite of all the desserts we tried. It was sweet, luscious and tangy, reminding me of hot summer tropical holidays. The dessert is described as coconut mousse, passionfruit curd, coconut caviar, passionfruit jelly, salted oat and ginget crumble, white chocolate mint wafer, ginger macaroon and brilliant white chocolate spray. It's simply delicious. This is a must try if you are in the area and it's worth travelling for.

Our third and final dessert was described as a rhubarb apple crumble cheesecake. It suffered somewhat in comparison to the coconut and passionfruit dessert that came before it - the lightness and delicacy overwhelmed by the tangy freshness of it's predecessor. However it was stunning in it's own right - the sharpness of the rhubarb perfectly complements the supple unctuous cheesecake. The crumble was a great textural foil for the softness of the other elements of the cake.

All three desserts were fabulous. Our problem was that with only the two of us, we had to limit ourselves to the number we could try. It's a very small first world problem, let me tell you. Everything was phenomenally good and we'd have no qualms about giving up dessert in a three hatted restaurant for a chance to eat more of the selection at Burch & Purchese.

In addition to the wonderful desserts, Burch & Purchese also make wonderful confectionery. I purchased a very small selection of items.

Not sure what I am going to do with the raspberry and white chocolate clay I bought - if anyone has any ideas please let me know!

How FABULOUS are these gold ingots? Made from real gold dusted dark chocolate, they are filled with salted caramel. Now that's my idea of heaven.

Or perhaps this is - salted caramel in a jar. Me + this + spoon = one amazing afternoon. Maybe I might share with some vanilla ice-cream.

Passionfruit curd was an absolute must buy, especially once I tried the coconut dessert above. I see me using this in a fabulous pavlova with berries and softly whipped cream. I'm not sure what I will do with the chocolate hazelnut spread with raspberry jam, but I'm thinking a baguette and I should just give it a whirl. I know it will be unbelievable.

All in all an amazing trip to a purveyor of sweet goodness. Highly recommended for a visit.

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio
647 Chapel Street
South Yarra


Thursday, August 4, 2011

The great Melbourne Macaron Chase: part 3

In my research for my Melbourne trip, I stumbled across our next and final stop on the great Melbourne Macaron chase: La Belle Miette. Recommended by numerous blogs around the traps, it was high up on my list of things to do while we were in town. On Thursday morning I made a brief trip into town to collect macarons from Cacao for morning tea and La Belle Miette for a gift for a dear friend, the lovely Mummy from Homemade Heart. The macarons come in such beautiful gift boxes it's just hard to pass them up as a sweet and simple hostess gift. Very Laduree.

I arrived shortly after opening (10am) because I wanted to get a large selection of flavours for both myself and The Mummy. The shop is on Hardware Lane and is very reminiscent of a gorgeous Parisian boutique, decorated in gorgeous icy mint and pastels. The decor is very soothing and pretty.

How pretty are the gift boxes?

They had 15 flavours to select from and their beautiful gift boxes hold 12 which is a nice number for a gift. The flavours currently on sale include 72% Cocoa Single Origin Chocolate (Venezuela),‘Bastille’ – Moet et Chandon and Blackcurrant, Caramel a la Fleur de Sel, Cherry Blossom & Sake, Hazelnut Belle Miette, Lemon, Mariage freres earl grey tea, Olive Oil & Vanilla, Pimm’s & Pomegranate, Pink Grapefruit, Pistachio, Raspberry, Rose, Strawberry & Vanilla and Violet & Blueberry. They also have Ginger & Macadamia which is currently unavailable. I love that the flavours are mostly traditional or have traditional leanings.

The feet on these marvellous beauties are consistent and ruffled, the contrast between biscuit and filling is absolutely perfect for me. They were easily the best of the macarons we tried in Melbourne and were just as good the following few days.

In terms of flavours, all were fabulous but there were some definite stand outs.

The Caramel a la Fleur de Sel is the best of that variety I have ever had. Ever. Fabulous balance of salt and sweet and the sticky unctuousness of the filling is absolute perfection.

The raspberry is like a mouth explosion - the delicate zingy fruitiness is so sublime it defies description.

The chocolate (72% Cocoa Single Origin Chocolate from Venezuela) is like the best chocolate brownie you have ever eaten. The bitterness of the chocolate is a perfect foil for the sweetness of the almondy macaron shell.

The Mariage Freres earl grey tea is sublime - the contrast of the floral tea flavour and the chocolate ganache filling is fabulous.

The Hazelnut Belle Miette is sweet and rich and redolent of nutty goodness. It does remind me of nutella but in a very, very good way. Delish.

The lemon is sherbetty, light and fresh and the Bastille is just gorgeous - the contrast between the Chandon and the blackcurrant is beautiful.

The other flavours are all good, but these were the ones that stood out to me as being the best of the best. I thought La Belle Miette had such good macarons that we went back on Saturday morning and I bought more. More!! Fabulous.

La Belle Miette is located at 30 Hardware Lane, Melbourne, just around the corner from Bourke Street. It opens at 10am Monday to Saturday and closes at 6pm Monday to Friday and 4pm on Saturday or until the macarons run out.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The great Melbourne Macaron Chase: part 2

Our next stop on the great Melbourne macaron chase was Cacao, a Melbourne fine chocolatier and patisseur. They have outlets in a number of shops across Melbourne, including the GPO (where I purchased my selection), Little Collins Street, Doncaster and St Kilda.

Cacao is winner of the 2010 award for best macarons, according to Melbourne Macaron, a student initiative which was judged by Macaron King Adriano Zumbo and Melbourne eating aficionado and Epicure writer and food critic Larissa Dubecki. I purchased a selection of 12 to take to morning tea with a friend, and another 4 to devour with Mr K, not wanting to leave him out of the process. I have to say I didn't try all of the macarons this time around - I stuck to a smaller selection, so apologies in advance for the less than comprehensive reporting.

As a starting point, I didn't think the appearance was as good as those from Luxbite - the feet and biscuits were a little flatter but the taste was definitely better across the board. The texture was the chewiest of all the macarons we tasted.

I selected what I thought would be my favorites for tasting: passionfruit chocolate, lemon, salted caramel and raspberry. I also tried vanilla, earl grey and rose.

The passionfruit chocolate was sensational: velvety and fruity. The lemon was beautifully zingy and the salted caramel highly successful - using real salted caramel in the filling. Salted caramel is the flavour I judge all macaron makers on and this was a fantastic specimen indeed. Raspberry was also lovely and sweet redolent with authentic fruit flavour. Rose was a tad bland - not light, floral and fresh as I was expecting, more sweet and nothing... The earl grey was fine but nothing special.

The highlight for me was the vanilla. The filling was speckled with real vanilla bean and the biscuit retained it's crispness beautifully. Just Delicious. If you only want to try one macaron at Cacao, this is the one. I'd go back for the vanilla one alone. Seriously good.

Coming up soon, our final stop on the Macaron Chase - La Belle Miette!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The great Melbourne Macaron Chase: part 1

I am an absolute lover of Macarons. To me, there is likely nothing better than a beautifully formed morsel of crisp, chewy almondy meringue filled with ganache or fruit. Not all macarons are good. Some are downright terrible. But as part of our travels to Melbourne I had investigated ahead of time and found what were supposedly some of Melbourne's best purveyors of macaron-y goodness.

Now, I am making this disclaimer up front: everyone likes different types of macarons. Some prefer them to be crisp or firm, others favour a more yielding version. Some like lightly flavoured sweets, others prefer flavour to hit them in the face with a great socking punch. But there are some areas in which everyone agree:

1. The feet should be beautifully formed and the biscuit well risen (not too flat)

2. There shouldn't be too many air bubbles or pockets in the biscuit, and

3. The biscuit should be neither too dry nor too soft and the ratio of filling should not make the biscuit too wet

Most people agree on the above. The rest is subjective preference. For example: I believe salted caramel macarons should have a proper salted caramel filling, not a buttercream filling. I judge all those with a proper salted caramel filling to be superior to the buttercream filled versions. No matter what. Others might disagree with me. I say that's ok. But for me, there are some hard and fast things that work and don't.

But enough with the theory - let's get started on the practical element!

Our first visit was to LuxBite, a patisserie on Toorak Road in South Yarra. An up and coming establishment, they are known for their macarons and their fancy desserts and cakes.

We bought a selection of eight macarons. They usually have a selection of 16 but in an attempt to preserve what is left of my figure (can I state for the record that it's not much) I opted to try just a sample with Mr K as my accomplice and a few had sold out given we were there late in the afternoon. We chose salted caramel, kaya toast, kaffir lime, choc cherry, rose and lychee, passionfruit, strawberry cream and mandarin and saffron.

Uniformly, the feet were good and the texture and appearance were consistent, if a tad on the wet/sticky side. Our favourites were the passionfruit - deliciously tangy and light with a zingy curd centre, and the kaya toast with it's smooth sweet buttery coconut flavour. Rose and Lychee was delicate and pretty. Strawberry Cream was sweet and unctuous with a strong strawberry hit in the filling.

The others were a little more disappointing. Choc cherry was a bit boring, and we had to search long and hard for any cherry elements, the macaron being almost overwhelmed by dark sweet chocolate. Kaffir lime was a tad odd - the main element of the lime leaf added to a dark chocolate ganache filling. I see where they were going in theory, but the combination for me did not work. Sad because I LOVE kaffir lime and I was really looking forward to this one. The aftertaste was somewhat soapy.

Mandarin and saffron was a little too sweet, lacking the tang I would normally associate with mandarins. It tasted a little like sweet generic citrus. The salted caramel was buttercream based (so not a winner from the start with me) and I managed to get a whacking great hit of salt in my first mouthful. The rest of the macaron wasn't as salty but the first mouthful ruined the taste for me.

So a bit of a mixed bunch I have to say. I'd go back for the passionfruit option though, and perhaps to try the chocolate freckle and raspberry white chocolate which had both sold out when we were there.

Stay tuned for two more posts on Melbourne's macarons!


Monday, August 1, 2011


We - Miss Kitty and Mr K - are back from our trip to Melbourne. We had a wonderful time, ate and shopped ourselves silly. Well, I shopped myself silly... I think Mr K may bave bought a magazine...

Some of the highlights which I will blog about over the next week include shopping at Twiggy Winkle in Toorak, the great Melbourne Macaron hunt and lunch at Innocent Bystander on Sunday (and meals at many other wonderful places).

Stay tuned for the debrief.

K xx

PS: my Babi delivery arrived while I was away. Everything is as amazing as it looks on the screen. I am super impressed.