Beautiful Bright …

Autumn really is the perfect time to go for a wander and enjoy nature when it is at its most beautiful. And the fact that we are blessed to be within driving distance of so many idyllic locations in regional Victoria, spurred dear husband, Hudson and I to head north to the alpine region so we could revel in the season and experience beautiful Bright and its annual Autumn Harvest festival.

We have visited Bright many times before in the summer, and while it is undoubtedly lovely at that time of the year, this particular trip was going to be a little more special for me as I absolutely adore autumn. The fact that Bright is renowned for showcasing a very vivid autumnal landscape added to my enthusiasm and I simply couldn’t wait to get there to experience it.

Bright is such a joy. It is the epitome of a quaint and charming town, and the Autumn Harvest was a wonderful celebration of not only the season but also of the town and its people. Festival events showcased local talent through music and parades as well as championing its local produce via its farmers markets and local eateries. But what made the festival so heart warming was the community spirit that was so evident and welcoming to visitors such as myself. We felt right at home.

During our stay there was no shortage of activity. Since we had Hudson in tow we spent a lot of time going on leisurely walks, enjoying the crisp fresh air whilst we marveled over the foliage. We also indulged in some hearty dishes, a tipple or two of fine wine and cider at the local brewery, and roasted chestnuts and sticky marshmallows at the Bright Brewery’s bonfire night gathering which was so much fun.

Our adventure also took us on a short drive to Beechworth Honey for a spot of afternoon tea which was a lovely treat and gave me the opportunity to stock up on some much-needed preserves and honey. Visiting a few orchards in the area as well as Gapsted winery, allowed us to also gather a bounty of goodies that ranged from apples and pears to walnuts and wine. Overall, Bright really delivered in terms of the perfect surrounds for a relaxing getaway that was very much-needed by us all. And I look forward to our next outing when we visit beautiful Bright yet  again.

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Cheesy like Sunday morning …

Autumn in Melbourne is proving to be a little schizophrenic of late. This past Friday alone was winter like, rainy and bleak to say the least, and yet today the sun had decided to grace us with its warmth. So, with this sudden change, dear husband and I felt it was enough of an incentive to get out and about for a spot of breakfast at Toasta and Co. and enjoy the sun whilst it lasted.

Toasta and Co. has been on my must try wish list for sometime now. Starting off as a food truck and now a bricks and mortar cafe located in a lovely leafy spot on Adderley Street in West Melbourne, the cheese toasties they are known for were well worth the wait. Dear husband and I decided to get our teeth into the Brekky toastie … a three cheese, fried egg, streaky bacon, relish and rocket concoction that hit the spot perfectly and with a cup of delicious Allpress coffee it was a satisfying and very tasty start to the day.

And since we had our little bundle of fur with us, Master Hudson, we capped off our morning outing with a stroll around the surrounding neighbourhood to take in the beautiful colours of the season.

Down the garden path …

Melbourne certainly is buzzing and with this Indian summer slowly coming to an end and autumn beginning to make its mark (bye bye daylight savings) my latest outing revolved around the changing of the seasons and what better way to experience the transition than to see it through the eyes of nature. So, yesterday I headed down to the Carlton gardens for the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show to have a peek.

I have been attending the show for many years now, marvelling and being inspired to be a better gardener but this year it was a little different. Last year I completed a floristry course, hence my absence from posting, and this year my perspective of the show was completely different now that I was armed with the knowledge I gained through my course. I noticed elements of design that I would’ve normally been oblivious to, paying attention to the mechanics of how installations were constructed and I guess for the first time I really appreciated the show and all the hard work that is poured into it.

They say that pictures speak volumes so I guess I’ll let these snaps show you what a wonderful event this was and how inspired I am to continue making flowers and gardening apart of my everyday life. It truly is the best kind of relaxation therapy and a wonderful way to slow down and connect with the simpler elements in life, especially when modern living seems to revolve around being switched on 24/7. So with that I encourage you to sit back while I guide you down the garden path, and stop and smell the roses at the Melbourne flower show.

Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced …

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Collette Dinnigan would have to be one of my favourite Australian designers. I’ve always been drawn to her take on the feminine form, using lace and intricate embellishments to create pieces that evoke a sense of ethereal beauty to not only wear but admire. So late last year, when I heard that the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney was exhibiting, for the first time, a complete time capsule of Collette’s designs I hopped on a flight there to experience the spectacle that was Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced … and the following pictorial is just small peek into this internationally acclaimed designers treasures that were on show.

 

A birthday wish at the Farm Cafe …

A birthday brunch at the Farm Cafe is fast becoming a tradition for me and my husband ever since we adopted our fur baby Hudson. I am always mindful about where Hudson is welcome and I must say that we are very fortunate to have a lot of dog friendly venues dotted around Melbourne. The Farm Cafe attached to the Collingwood Children’s Farm happens to be one of those wonderful places.

So, last week when I celebrated my birthday there was no questioning where we were heading to enjoy some yummy locally produced goodness. The place is always welcoming, the staff attentive and most importantly Hudson is a part of the celebrations. It’s the best birthday wish I could ask for … tranquillity, good food and extra good company in the form of my two favourite boys as I celebrated another year younger. And for that I am very grateful …

Melbourne style on parade …

It is hard to believe that another year has come to pass with the VAMFF here in marvellous Melbourne, and no matter how prepared I am it nevertheless seems to creep up on me almost unexpectedly. But each year it also promises a new season of sartorial styles to contemplate as the weather cools and this year it did not disappoint.

My VAMFF adventure began with an Australian premiere screening of Christian Dior: The Refinement of a Lost Paradise (L’élégance du Paradis Perdu) at ACMI As a nod to the House of Dior’s seventieth anniversary, and knowing that the National Gallery of Victoria NGV will be hosting a premiere exhibition later this year to commemorate this milestone, the documentary was a lovely prelude focusing on Christian’s early upbringing in Granville. An insightful piece, it showcased how his family and childhood home influenced and forged his path as a designer. This documentary is must see viewing for any one that has an appreciation for the iconic design house that single-handedly revolutionised fashion through the New Look, and managed to endure successfully as a brand long after its founders sudden passing sixty years ago. It was a lovely tribute to say the least, and an unexpected but welcomed gesture bestowed upon patrons after the screening by our hosts, ACMI,  included a few samples of Dior perfumes to enjoy. A nice touch indeed.

The next stop on my VAMFF to do list was the Royal Exhibition Building to attend the premiere David Jones Gala runway in order to get a firsthand account of what to expect this season. I had never attended this runway event previously and unlike the other runway shows this was a little longer in terms of duration. Featuring the largest designer lineup of the festival, the showcase was rich in content, perfectly setting the tone of what we can expect to find in stores this Autumn-Winter for consumption.

Highlighting the talents of both local and international designers such as Thurley, Camilla and Marc, Alexander McQueen, Valentino and Scanlan and Theodore to name but a few, the show itself was a pulsating, visual treat set to the live performance by Paul Mac. Personal highlights and looks to steal for me this season included the gorgeous lace ensembles from Lover , Thurley, Alice McCall, Manning Cartell and Nicholas. I was also partial to the beautiful winter inspired florals from Camilla and Marc and the vibrancy of the Russian Doll inspired garments from Carla Zampatti. And to cap off the evening a new issue of Jones (David Jones in house magazine) was duly handed out to patrons for further inspection that would no doubt assist in sales.

Next on my must see was e-tailer Next UK’s Australian launch runway, featuring the lovely Rebecca Judd and Samantha Harris. Next Australia’s lineup was fun, affordable, on trend but most importantly totally wearable. Featuring mens, womens and kids wear my favourite featured items again would have to be their lace offerings which I found to be easy to wear for everyday and would no doubt be kinder on my purse.

In a similar vein as Next Australia, Myer’s in store runway was also good value. The second floor walk ways of the Bourke Street store were converted into a runway, giving all patrons both seated for the event and those who were actually shopping, a delightful peek into what is currently in store for purchase. Joining Myer ambassadors Jennifer Hawkins and Kris Smith on this merry go round parade was also Tim Robards, he of the Bachelor Australia fame which delighted many of the patrons in the crowd. And to add to the fun we were also gifted with a deluxe sample bag of goodies to road test which is always a bonus.

Concluding the spectacle of all the runway events I, along with my sister who was my partner in crime for the duration of the festival, also spent some time taking a leisurely wander about the VAMFF Plaza enjoying all the food and live entertainment on offer, as well as popping into the Priceline beauty salon where we were both treated to a wonderful makeup and hair styling session by the generous ladies at Priceline. A perfectly lovely way to end this adventure, until next time. ​

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Dark Wonderland …

Bendigo is fast becoming one of my favourite go to places in regional Victoria; with its country charm, old world architecture and lovely cuisine it’s hard not to love this town. Adding to this richness is the Bendigo Art Gallery which seems to be hosting a wonderful selection of art and fashion exhibitions of late that has made it a cultural destination not to be missed. So, having said this, back in January (apologies for the lateness of this post!) my dear sister and I were drawn back to this beautiful town to witness the spectacle that was Dark Wonderland.

A retrospective of sorts illustrating the creative evolution of renowned designer Toni Maticevski, Dark Wonderland was a beautiful nod to a true architect of design. After wandering about this rich collection of garments and other wares, it became quite clear that there was very little wonder as to why he has achieved such international acclaim. The man has skills. His approach to manipulating traditional fashion forms as well as his innovative use of fabrics and unexpected materials in garments highlight his masterful ability to push the boundaries of fashion. Truly sublime. But I’ll let the garments speak for themselves … enjoy!

Hail, Tomato!

  

I love tomatoes and have been growing them for years. It’s such a humble staple in my garden so the thought of a festival dedicated to this wonderful ingredient is always going to grab my attention and time. So without hesitation, dear husband and I trekked to Edendale Community Farm in Eltham today to help celebrate the Melbourne Tomato Festival’s second offering. 

Like last years inaugural event, there were many local producers on hand to share their knowledge and give us an opportunity to purchase some of the goodies they had on offer. Other noteworthy aspects of the festival included cooking demonstrations from the likes of celebrity chef’s Guy Grossi, Karen Martini, and Matt Wilkinson as well as passata and mozzarella making workshops for those interested in making their own.

As an avid gardener, I found the in conversation pieces highlighting the art of organic composting from the Diggers Club, and the informative session from Rooftop Honey on the importance of bees a particular bonus. But on a whole there really was just about something for everyone … and with the sun beaming and the endless amounts of yummy treats along the way it was a lovely way to spend a lazy Sunday in the Summer sun.  

   
    
   

In a pickle, in a jam

Gewurzhaus would have to be one of my favourite haunts. It’s like an Aladdin’s cave, brimming with all sorts of spice treasures that really do encourage you to explore and expand your tasting palette. And the aroma that permeates the air in this store is nothing short of amazing. You can’t help but feel inspired when you enter this place. 

So today, while I usually would’ve been enjoying a bit of a morning sleep in, I opted for an early morning tram run to Toorak to take in Gewurzhaus’ “In a pickle, in a jam” class at their cooking school. And I am so glad I did. 

Being a preserve novice the class was a perfect introduction into the art of preserving as our group was expertly guided by preserve queen extraordinaire the delightful Caroline Gray from A bit of Jam and Pickle. The class was not only fun and interactive, it was most importantly full of little nuggets of information that demystified the process and will definitely make my at home efforts a little easier when I do start making my own preserves as Autumn nears. 

So with my new found recipes and a lovely selection of preserves in hand to enjoy at home, it was a wonderful and productive way to spend my Saturday morning and has definitely encouraged me to consider taking other classes the school has to offer … their upcoming pretzel and sausage making class looks very enticing! 

Here’s a sample of the goodies we collectively created….I cannot wait to savour and enjoy every mouthful, starting with the Roasted Tomato Relish and the Brinjal Pickle, heavenly!