Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Skulls and skullduggery.

Or Skulls: a modern approach to home decoration.

It seems that the Alexander McQueen brand is branching out to home decor. I don't know whether I am happy or not about this development. I love the style of the brand - and accessories, jewellery, perfume etc. all seem like natural extensions that work with the brand conceptually. But cushions?

Next they will have McQueen branded toilet paper, air freshener and fast food meals. It's a slippery slope people. It just seems like blatant money grabbing to me - there is no real reason to charge such an inordinate amount for stuffing and fabric other than "the brand". At what point does it really become too much?

Having said that, Missoni seems to do it well. But they are far more of a home furnishings brand now. I bet they make the majority of their profit from selling beach towels, cushions etc. Very little from catwalk style clothing which is where McQueen does the bulk of it's trade. Happy to stand corrected but that's the way I view the brand. I don't know why I see a difference here, I just do. Plus Missoni does collaborative collections with people like Target and Bugaboo, making it accessible to a mass market.

Please note - I actually really do love Alexander McQueen. I have a dress, a bag, a scarf and a bangle from this wonderful designer brand. all of which I adore. ADORE. I hope to buy more in the future (just don't tell Mr K). I just wonder about brand extensions like this...

What are your thoughts? Would you spend 357 pounds ($565) plus shipping on a black and white cushion? Even if it was Alexander McQueen? Or is that just far too much to pay for a slice of style?

And for those not willing to spend that kind of money on a skull cushion, consider EcoChic's Day of the Dead version. Just $65, and environmentally friendly to boot.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Current obsession: Whisk and Pin muesli cookies.

I fear I have become addicted to Whisk and Pin muesli cookies.

It's an expensive habit - at $12 a packet of 10 (50g) cookies, I am at risk of bankrupting poor Mr K. The cookies are soft and luscious and full of dried fruit (apricots and raisins, predominantly) coconut, oats and walnuts. They are truly delicious and I'm sure not at all good for you, despite the healthy connotations of muesli.

I think I might have to try and replicate the recipe at home. If anyone has a soft muesli cookie recipe I would love to hear about it!

For those of you interested in trying out the cookies, they are available at Thomas Dux or through their website. Other stockists are also available on their website.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ahoy mateys!

The other day I posted about Spring florals and now, I am flipping to another Spring trend - this time, the chic, clean lines of nauticals.

Nautical seems to be a perennial favourite - rolled out each Spring to the delight of everyone who likes to recycle or shop their wardrobe. Not that it makes the style boring. Au contraire: it's classic, stylish, simple. I have a number of pieces in my wardrobe already which means I don't have to invest vast amounts of cash I really don't have to feel on trend this season.

Nautical doesn't have to be about just wearing a striped dress or top - you can include a canvas bag in red or navy, a pair of French style espadrilles or loafers or a well cut navy blazer to be on trend.

Having said that, the epitome of the trend really is the striped or themed dress. Let's take a quick look at how a few labels are taking the trend and putting a twist on it this Spring:

Charlie Brown has a sensational Maxi dress which has a great twist on the nautical theme. The shape of the halter and cinched waist give it a 50's twist and help it rise above the regular maxi on the hanger. A great pair of wedges would set this dress of beautifully.

One of my favourites, La Leona, has this offering of a beautiful nautical themed dress as part of the Summer collection. The nautical knots have a touch of playfulness while nodding thoughtfully to the 70's. Very sexy indeed.

A modern take on the trend can be seen at Howard Showers - with three different knee length options available, in addition to a strapless maxi and a tank maxi in pink, white and coral.

Us preggo ladies can also embrace the trend with a vengeance. Queen Bee has a black and white striped shift dress which smartly veers away from the standard boring black or patterned dresses. A chic option, pair the dress with a pair of thongs or sandals (if you are like me it's probably all you can get your feet into) and a denim jacket on a slightly cooler day. Gorgeous. But a quick tip - skip the hat.

Me? I have bought a black and cream striped jersey dress from Ojay ($99.95 with 20% off) with a gorgeous draped cowl neck which hopefully will be great for breastfeeding once the baby comes. I plan to wear it with a great pair of wood, leather and elastic wedges I bought in the US and my silver Oroton handbag.

I also have a great top I bought at David Lawrence with cap sleeves and an asymmetrical neckline I bought last summer which I hope to team with black wide leg trousers, ballet flats and silver and black bangles. Chic!

Speaking of accessories, why not break out the nautical theme here too?

Mimco has some great options, including this nautical rope headband.

This cuff is great, on trend and very casual - from Hippieknots on etsy.

Longtime readers of this blog will know I have a soft spot for the marvellous Ikabags on etsy. This chic Parisienne makes top quality canvas bags in a range of fabrics and materials. Her Stockholm Nautical collection is fantastic. I have this one with a red strap and am seriously tempted to buy more. I love that Feyza now makes nappy bags as well! Practical and chic!

Moving on to shoes, I love these wedges from Nine West - the rope sole and blue colour make the shoe a perfect nautical option.

For those who want a flatter option, Country Road has a great red loafer for $69.95. Affordable and on trend - what's not to love?

So, how are you embracing nauticals this Spring?


Friday, September 23, 2011

Spring florals.

Not that I've really been looking but in my travels between massages, acupuncture, the movies and Baby Bunting, I've noticed that a lot of fashion labels are really embracing florals this season. Not the nana style of floral, or the 1980's floofy pastel dress. This season's florals are vibrant, chic and stylish while still remaining pretty and fun. Classic, structured silhouettes take the floral out of the back of the wardrobe and place it front and centre this season.

A few examples of the trend:

Ojay's lilypad border dress. The stiff sateen material and intriguing pattern is a winner this spring. Classy and stylish yet still feminine it would be perfect for the spring racing season or a casual summer wedding.

Leona Edmiston's Hazel - a Mad Men inspired shirt dress - is a great example of how you can work florals into your work wardrobe in an easy way. The print is so pretty and the range of colours means you can update the dress with a myriad of accessories.

Finally, even the queen of the retro animal print is going floral this season. This trapeze style dress from Charlie Brown is perfect for drinks after work. The drapey bow at the neck echoes the softness of the print. Love it!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The saga of the cake.

Three and a half years ago, Mr K and I got married. We had an amazing day - the weather was spectacular, the food was amazing, I was thrilled with my dress and everything went to plan - well, everything other than the cake.

The original style of cake we liked, courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Rewind 8 months and I visit one of Sydney's premier wedding cake purveyors on my search for the perfect cake. We discussed a few ideas for the wedding cake - apparently our original idea, something similar to Martha Stewart's sugar bubble cake - wouldn't work because of Sydney's humidity. We couldn't agree on the exact design but because they were so popular I decided to book in with them, knowing we'd come up with the right thing over the next few weeks. Over the next few weeks we emailed ideas back and forth and eventually settled on a two tier cake (almond and chocolate mud cake) with silver cachous rising up from the bottom of each layer to mimic champagne bubbles. It was the closest we could get to the original cake while still fitting in our black and white theme.

Our wedding day arrives and once the formalities are over and the canapes consumed, we make our way into the dining venue. At the exact same moment Mr K and I both clap eyes on our wedding cake and say - in unison "that's not our cake!!"

The cake that wasn't our cake. Sad Kitty.

The cake maker had made the original design we had discussed (which I hadn't really liked), with big clunky chunky balls of silver fondant all over it. Some of the larger balls were cracked and unsightly. It was nothing like the elegant design we had finally settled on. It was a comedic farce of a cake (smaller than we ordered too) and I was so disappointed. I know it sounds petty but I had put so much work into the wedding and for something so small to go wrong, despite all my efforts, emails, phone calls and hard work, it was crushing.

The cake company were very good about it - I rang them on the Monday morning and they immediately admitted fault because they hadn't updated my file properly with the final design. They offered us our money back but I never quite forgot that sinking feeling of my wedding cake being wrong. A small trifle for some people but for a control freak like me, it was a very big deal.

Fast forward to the baby shower and I knew I had to set things right. First stop: Faye Cahill. I had eaten many of Faye's cakes at weddings I have been to since my big day and I knew she was the one to make my cake. She is the undisputed queen of Sydney wedding cakes. No-one can hold a candle to her work - she makes the most beautiful cake creations and her floral work is second to none. We met and discussed a number of options for the baby shower cake and finally settled on a beautiful creation of two tiers with sugar flowers on the tops and vines cascading down the sides. I knew Faye would make us a beautiful cake and I was 100% right.

Ta daaaa! The most beautiful cake ever.

The final result was breathtakingly beautiful. I couldn't have imagined a more beautiful cake. When I arrived at Faye's studio in Marrickville on Friday I was speechless. It was exactly what I was after and the attention to detail was exquisite. And to top it all off, Faye's cake was absolutely delicious. I can't remember eating a more divine cake. We opted for almond with lemon ganache and chocolate mud with chocolate ganache and both were fabulous.

We have well and truly put the ghosts of the wedding cake to rest with this spectacular creation. Thank you Faye for your hard work and dedication to making such beautiful cakes. I can't recommend her work highly enough.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Floral arrangements...

I have always wanted to go out to the flower markets at Sydney Markets on a Saturday. We have been out to the produce markets many times but we just haven't crossed the car park to venture to the florally bit.

This Saturday, I actually had an excuse to go out to visit the flowers. We needed some decoration for the baby shower (in addition t the beautiful bunting we had) so we woke up early and traipsed out to see what we could get.

How divine are these pale pink long stemmed roses? So pretty.

We ended up with an absolute abundance of roses: bunches of hot pink and very pale pink and a swathe of snapdragons. Probably more than we needed but they were all so pretty. And the best thing? More flowers than we really needed for the bargain price of $40. Seriously. Less than one bunch of roses from a florist. It's worth the walk across the carpark to buy discount blooms that will last beautifully. I'm definitely doing it again once we venture back to the markets.

We had about half a dozen tiny vases of hot pink rosebuds dotted around the house...

Gorgeous snapdragons - the vase was an engagement present from my parents and this was the perfect arrangement to put in it!


Slight detour: baby present.

I know - I said I was going to post about the baby presents this week, and I still plan to do that, but there was just one I had to share.

My Mother bought the baby these divine sandals as a present:
They are from Seed (of course). The baby is starting to accumulate a better selection of shoes than me. Jealous +. And yes - I asked. They don't make them for adults. Boo.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Shower pour le bebe!

The spectacular cake. Words cannot describe how good it was.

On the weekend I had my baby shower. I had so much fun! It was an immense amount of work for two of my best friends and I but it was a really amazing afternoon. I loved seeing so many of my friends who I hadn't seen in ages - it was such a great occasion for celebration. I even had special visitors from interstate, including my Mother, Mr K's Aunt from Adelaide, the Mummy from Homemade Heart and a dear friend from Brisbane. So lovely to see everyone.

Setting up the food table!

We had so much food - chicken, egg and cucumber sandwiches, home made sausage rolls, greek salad skewers, chipolatas, mini quiches from La Renaissance in the Rocks... And the sweet offerings included beautiful cupcakes from The Cupcake Princess; macarons, cookies and chocolate crackles painstakingly hand made by one of my very good friends and the most divine cake from Faye Cahill (more on that later). If anyone left hungry, they certainly weren't trying hard enough.

The world's most amazing cake. Bar none. Did I mention it was amazing?

It almost killed me to cut it but it was so worth it. The taste was absolutely amazing.

The presents were absolutely amazing too - I can't get over how many things the little princess received! I have to now work out where to put everything - the nursery is currently stacked with so many beautiful things... I'll do a post on some of the presents a little later. People were so generous, both with their time and presents. I was overwhelmed.

Admiring the divine blanket crocheted for me by The Mummy at Homemade Heart. You can't imagine a more beautiful gift.

Early on in the present unwrapping event. Note - the pile of paper on the couch is non-existent! That changes very quickly!

The gorgeous Tabitha, daughter of The Mummy, and my friend Simone who made the most amazing cookies and macarons for the festivities!

I now have 6 weeks until the baby is due. Thank goodness most of the hard work has now been done and I can begin to relax a little.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Light me up.

Following on from Sass over at Sassiest's recent posts on buying the coolest chandelier, I stumbled across this beautiful specimen at Vintage Baby.

What a cool store. What a fabulous light fitting. If the baby's room was a bit more Frenchie/Marie Antoinette inspired, I'd be hitting up Mr K for one ASAP. So pretty.

Vintage Baby is a new favourite store of mine. The quilts, bedspreads and bedroom decor are especially divine. Check it out!

Kitty x

PS: Speaking of baby rooms, Little Miss Kitty's room is almost finished. The decal went up this afternoon. Between you and me, I'm very impressed. Photos will be posted shortly!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I woke up this morning at 4.04am. That, in and of itself is not unusual - I often wake up at an early hour needing to visit the bathroom, usually because the baby likes to do a tap dancing routine on my bladder at some point during the night - you know, to keep herself entertained...

But this was no ordinary morning trip to the bathroom. I slipped out of bed and attempted to shuffle quietly into the ensuite so as not to wake Mr K. On my way in, I brushed my hand against something on the sink and it fell onto the floor. My worst suspicions were confirmed when the acrid smell of nailpolish hit my nose.

Yes - I had managed to knock a full bottle of OPI Vodka and Caviar onto the floor and it had smashed. Everywhere. I finally found the light switch and with trepidation turned it on.

My bathroom looked like a murder scene.

Cue half an hour of scrubbing on my hands and knees with a bottle and a half of acetone to try and get the polish off the floor and out of the tile grout. Lots of muttering - there may have also been a fair amount of profanity. The irony is that the polish never usually lives there. I took it out last night so I wouldn't forget to book a pedicure this week. The irony.

Finally I got back to bed only to find that between getting up and going back to bed that my side of the bed was now cold and my alarm clock had developed a weird humming noise. It has never done it before. Cue Mr K fumbling under the bed for the cord to pull it out of the wall. Five minutes later (I think - remember now there is no clock in our bedroom), my now futile attempts at sleep were again interrupted by the family of kookaburras that lives two doors down. Their cackling and calling, usually so welcome in the daylight hours, is an utter annoyance before sunrise, let me tell you.

Sleep now well and truly eluding me, I made the decision to get up. The grout is still stained a pale pink but I think I'll tackle that later. Can't bear to do it now.

I think it's time for a cup of tea.