Friday, 30 March 2012

FF: Mad Men Madness


Hmmm.... I really do love alliteration.

Anyway, so as you all know I am now once again complete. That gap in my heart has once again been filled. Mad Men returned this week! A 2 hour special of magical proportions - I cannot sit still as I am writing this nor can my mouth hide a smile - that is how much I love this tv show. Sometimes I think you can't simply call it a tv series, because it is just so much more.

The story line is beautiful and artistically brilliant - if only I could write like that. The actors are superb (don't get me started on the painfully talented likes of Jon Hamm (Don Draper) and Elisabeth Moss(Peggy Olsen)). The sets are breathtakingly accurate to the era and this leads me nicely into the period costume!!!

We have come into a new era as Mr Draper leaves the 1950s into the rather psychedelic 1960s we see a change in the air. Ok, so I think I much prefer the 50s but there is something about the 1960s that I love - and that is of course colour and print. I am not one to shy away from your brights or bold prints. So naturally the colours of the 60s are right up my alley.

Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant must have somehow created a time machine for her accuracy is spooky! This show would be nothing without the precise costume detailing - it would just be another fabulous drama - Matthew Weiner you are a God! Add all the fabulous elements together and you've got something extraordinary - you've got Mad Men.

Sometimes I sort of see Mad men as a kind of religion - those who know it worship it, those who've heard of it don't exactly get the hype and those who know nothing about it don't know what they are missing out on.

These are some of my favourite outfits from the series return (that took it's sweet time)

check them out here - http://www.amctv.com/shows/mad-men/photos-season-5

Joan (Christina Hendricks) can make anything look good and Don said it so - "buxom" is what she is and she truly is something. Not everyone could pull off such a bold print and that pink could just look cheap yet slip it on Joan and she works the room!


I love how gorgeously playful this dress is - Trudy Campbell plays the perfect supportive wife but that suit Pete's got on might be just a little too loud...Let's leave it to the women to wow us with daring designs.



Loving this orange and cream combination on a young Mrs Sterling - I actually love this couple (even though I'm not sure you are suppose to). And that's the kind of suit jacket that never goes out of style - that's some wonderful sartorial style you got Roger.



Mondays are now one of my favourite days! - Thank you tv for making the start of the working week bearable!

x







Tuesday, 27 March 2012

TT: Spongey Goodness


Don't you just love a sponge? Of course you do, we all all do. It conjures up images of perfect spring afternoons, a tete a tete in the courtyard, birds chirping away, tea being poured, gossip being exchanged and garden parties being arranged.

But what I am introducing to you today is no ordinary sponge. Think of the lightest texture, the airiest of feeling, that bounce when your hand lightly presses down on the little beauty.

This recipe is from my roots - no I didn't get it from the follicles of my hair. It is actually a Chinese cake. But don't panic - it does not require any such exotic ingredients - it is in fact ridiculously simple.

Now I won't tell you the tricks of the trade (I'm a little too selfish for that) but I will tell you it seriously involves little - eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla essence, baking powder, cream of tartar and vegetable oil, oh and some more eggs - seriously that's it. I'll give you a hint - as I am poor and cannot afford one of them fancy Kitchenaid mixers (seriously that is my hardcore kitchen porn) my arm felt like it was going to fall off from holding my electric beaters for a very long time!

Also another tip when baking sponges - never grease your cake tin!!! It takes the air our of your mixture. This requires a special tin which allows me to turn it upside down to cool - if I'm honest I'm not 100% sure why this step is required but I'm taking a stab in the dark and guessing it is to do with gravity - if your cake is upside down while still cooling it can't sink. huh, I just sounded like I have some common sense (I really didn't think I had any of that).

Personally I love to just chow this down after it's cooled - just slice a piece and tear it up with your hands it's that light but you can make is all fancy cakey. Simply cut it in half, spread with whipped cream and pieces of fruit - such as kiwi, peaches, strawberries or melons and then top with more cream, fruit and flaked almonds.

It was my brother's birthday so that is what I set out to do. Enjoy the photos!

Here is the cake plain - I love how feather light it is and it's great just as its' natural self -


But just like humans a cake has its' formal occasions and birthdays are like weddings. She was dressed in whipped cream with a little dash of sugar and vanilla essence for that extra pop and embellished with a layer of kiwi fruit and strawberries. And you can't go to a formal event without some bling so to finish the look fresh kiwi, strawberry halves and peaches adorned the cream like a jewel encrusted veil.






x


Sunday, 25 March 2012

SS: It's Unique


Remember what I said about uni assessment? Yep well this is evidence... sorry for the lack of photos but I found Brisbane streets a little lack lustre this week.

So I love when people are a little out there, I love when people express themselves no matter the consequences. I think your average person, your average girl at least would find bare feet in public absolutely revolting. I think it's self expression. It's standing up for oneself and being comfortable in your own skin. I'm not saying we should all forego dressing our feet but I have nothing against others who choose to. I wouldn't - for one I sadly care a little too much about how society perceives me, two I'm simply too scared of what awful infection I might catch. But I say hey we are all individual's and in that free for all American sense - we all have equal rights, we all have freedom of expression so let your feet free if that's what you want!

And here is vital proof: I also snapped this because I he stood in that square for quite some time just waiting, I love watching everyday things just past you by - it isn't anything important and yet it is a moment on one's life that although insignificant, rather interesting.



I warn you this next photo is not what you would call the best but you get the picture - I love love the colour burgundy (insert nerdy fact: The tenth doctor who aka David Tennant wore burgundy coloured converse, oh and you have to say burgundy in a Scottish accent). Anyway, this full maroon number was oh so chic and a revelation of pant and vest colour matching.



I'm not sure I've truly expressed my opinion for stockings and tights (maybe I could dedicate an entire FF to them in the future) but I cannot get enough of them. I won't hark on about them here for I fear I wouldn't be doing them justice but if there is one thing in my winter wardrobe I couldn't live without it would be these magical beauties - so many colours, styles, wools, deniers....
Ain't these a fine example of the magical stocking. little sparkles adorn the calf adding that extra pop to your outfit. Lovely addition, I commend my fellow tight wearing gal.



In other local news:

Lee Kuan Yu World City Prize held in Singapore named Brisbane amongst the seven finalists for most liveable cities. The judges were impressed by the urban design and innovation of this little place. I'm feeling pretty proud to call it my home and no other Australian cities were mentioned - you go Brisbane - it's like the little train that could.

A hearty Brisbane goodbye and I'll see you on TT for sweet fun.

x

Friday, 23 March 2012

FF: Arise Fashion Week

What's that? Where is that? All good and perfectly understandable questions to be asking - it's in Nigeria! A week sponsored by Arise Magazine.

Yep that's right. So What does Africa have to offer to the world of fashion? It seems a lot.

We often stereotype people as well as countries - it can be a rather racist gesture and you couldn't really blame someone for thinking there is no fashion week in Africa. So lesson learned - there is and it is a celebration of culture and new beginnings. To me the designs looked like passion - it looked as if they picked up their pen and pad and conjured up images of beauty and traditional landscapes, using local talent and resources.

Take a look at someone the highlights. I absolutely love how the designers are showcasing the country, the feel, the textures. It's baby tiny for now but wait a couple of years and soon Africa will be amongst the rest.

As a true blue Aussie I'm a bit of a sucker for the underdog and I love supporting small businesses - so hop to it Lagos - we love what you have to offer.

All photos from fashionista.com






x

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

TT: Baking the Muffins and the Cookies


Mmmm muffins and cookies - how delightful!

So this weekend I played with the flour and sugar and said hello to the electric mixer once again.

On today's menu we have yet another two recipes from the wonderful world of the Hummingbird Bakery. First up maple syrup and pecan muffins. I don't make muffins that often - I sometimes call them the ugly rather less less unsatisfactory cousin of the cupcake. But alas how could I pass up maple syrup and pecan! It's one of those perfect pairings. True enough - all those bits of pecan topped with a generous drizzling of maple syrup made for excellent in-oven cooking aroma as well as a rather delightful flavour.




Who doesn't love a cookie - whether you prefer them crunchy to the bite or soft and gooey a cookie is always welcome.

I made peanut butter cookies using crunchy peanut butter to give it that extra textural element and old gold dark chocolate bits to give it that luxuriously adult taste. Seriously, a glass of cold milk and freshly baked cookies on a Sunday afternoon - now that's my kind of relaxation.





Also a reminder that this gal is back at uni and is seriously depressed at all the assessment she needs to complete (who may already be behind...)

So bare with if my entries are a little lack lustre, short on words and photos or plain dusty in the back cupboard dull - university really is the bane of my existence. BUT I will remain consistent and I will deliver three days a week swear on my love of bacon!


x


Sunday, 18 March 2012

SS: The Individual

I absolutely love people who are themselves. There is no veil in front of them. They walk out their doors naked to the world. We are all individuals and yet sometimes some of us don't want to be.
Fashion let's us express ourselves and those who dare to express precisely their own character should be rewarded. As I walked the streets I couldn't help but smile at how different we all are - how unique we should be and how clothes can express so much.


This girl was unique indeed. laid back cut, gold embellished bolero and bright red flower shining in her hair - it was all a little Spanish - maybe she's a fiery character, maybe she's full of exotic notions - whoever she is she knows it.



This woman stopped to fix her shoe and as she did she seemed so classy. She looked so lovely in that classic combination of brown and white, holding a sun hat you would see at the royal boat race. It was simple and yet it was perfect.



I loved these three women - they were walking side by side - -possibly 3 generations of women laughing, gossiping, caring. Their colours were so bright, their manners so ladylike.



I adore old men. They stay true to who they are. When they were young they wore a suit - it was the only thing to do and as the years go past they still believe in past thought. They still take to the city in full dress.



This woman was a pop of excitement! These are people I love! Individuals who are brave enough to stand above the crowd. That pop of hair, that splash of red under a stark white blazer - she was working the person she is - she was shouting to the world - she was giving us exactly who she is and how she wants people to treat and perceive her. I love her and I can only imagine how exciting her stories are.



x






Friday, 16 March 2012

FF: It's Melbourne's Turn


So scaling it down a bit (or maybe 20x ) we have come to my dear country and what does Australia have to offer? Melbourne is a lovely city - it reminds me of London and Melbournites are so very proud to live there.

It's a fashion hub and a thriving Mecca of opportunity. So it's only right I cover their fashion week. And no, contrary to stereotype and corny advertising we are not a population of Akubra wearing, Drizabone country folk. We are rebels. fashion conscious, punk, independent, chorus loving - we are sponges soaking up the world of fashion - we dare to dress however we choose.


All photos are from: http://blog.lmff.com.au/


The usual suspects hit the runway and they were a right bunch at that. Australia is a great place for emerging fashion - we do pay the exorbitant price though.

Arthur Galan AG went for modern lines and leather trims. It was class, understated and very Arthur.



We come now to Aussie cool. Breezy fabrics and gossamer threads with a hint of grunge. Mmmmm that's nice! First off we have Alice mcCall - scalloped edging, nudes and naturals - it's Aussie lax at it's max.



Similarly Lui Hon brought grunge to breezy fabrics with this contrasting number



Gorman - a brand synonymous with ethical fabrics didn't miss a beat with layers of muted tones and unique prints. And I absolutely adore the sock / wedge look!




Melbourne takes pride in new talent and the graduate program saw some stunning creations. This structural dress by Natalia Grzybowski is oh so daring, yet wearable. It's juxtaposition at it's best.



Alex Perry - a veteran of the Australian catwalk blessed us yet again. Despite his odd and seriously pointless trademark of wearing sunglasses on his bald head he knows fashion and he never fails to stun us with deliciously extravagant evening gowns.



Let us not forget the men - Zanerobe went for the relaxed man. The man who woke up to find some jeans on the floor, comfy go to shoes and that coat he knows will look like he put in somewhat of an effort. He grabs his rugged duffel bag and heads out the door. I love it!



Queen of burlesque Dita Von Teese is in town and her collection of lingerie for target was so very Dita! Hell I might even walk into target to check it out. Target isn't exactly the kind of place you would normally see me buying lingerie... The show looked amazing - the models were strictly forbidden to wear fake tan and class was the word on everyone's lips. Thanks for gracing us with your presence Dita.




Toni Maticevski is a favourite of mine and his recent collection is no exception. It was all stunning, it all belonged in my wardrobe of dreams - cuts so artistic you could call it Michelangelo, fabrics so soft they could be but feathers floating in the breeze, textures so detailed I could simply melt. My heart was full - thank you Toni!






Watch out! I'll be saying hello in two days.

x




Tuesday, 13 March 2012

TT: Feelings of Food


Sorry, today is photo light (none at all) and word heavy - hope you don't mind my eagerness to divulge the English language.

I really do live to eat, I would never eat to simply live. Food for me is heaven, it's utopia, it's a sanctuary where life is carefree and wonderful. Food for me is a way of living. If there is anything I feel passion for - it is food. Food is more than a substance. I believe in feeding the soul - if you give your body good foods of course your body will thank you for it.

Ok, so I'm not a health junkie - actually I'm much the opposite. I will eat whatever excites the tastebuds. Yeah, on occasions that may include pork crackling, lashings of butter, deep fried everything and moreish-able snacks. But I believe in quality food. To value and understand what you are eating, to be ethical, to be conscious of what's on your plate. This doesn't mean some weird scientific way of picking out your food; more than that all you need is to love what you are eating - to have an open mind. To explore all kinds of flavours. And what's more I truly believe in wholesome foods. In unpretentious home cooked meals, in traditional recipes and simple ingredients.

If there is anything I am open to it is food! I'm not going to shun the humble cheap stew nor would I shun Michelin miniscule proportion food. My bucket list includes dining at the top five restaurants of the world! And the one thing that makes me jealous of relationships - dinner dates - nothing else - just the whole couple at a fancy restaurant thing - but not for the intimacy; for my stomach ;) Anyway...

I think we need a balance. I cannot stand stuck up nosey upper class people who speak of food as if everything is worthless unless it's a uppity pretentious restaurant. Then on the other scale - I cannot stand those who don't see the point in spending money on quality food on occasions; who live their lives in a box never allowing their mouths to taste something new, never knowing the value and diversity of food.

What I like most about food is the emotions it can create. You might be wallowing in sadness for a long lost love, or a bad day but take a spoon and some ice cream and a block of decadent chocolate and suddenly life seems that little bit better. Or, you might taste an old recipe, a dish from your childhood and on that first bite you are suddenly eight again - you are reminiscing of a simple time. Maybe you once ate a meal that didn't agree with you and the next time the smell lingers in the air suddenly all that uneasiness sets back in. As humans we connect particular events, feelings and moments with food. That is what makes it so special.

Unlike anything else food fuels you - it has the ability to cause emotions you never realised. Ok, yeah maybe right now my closest relationship is with the jar of nutella on my bedside table (am I joking...? you'll never know!) But that spoon full of guilty pleasure is just that - a little taste of happiness. I feel lucky enough right now to eat whatever I want to - yeah I know that is going to catch up on me one day but for now let me indulge in the world of food. I'm dreading the day my cholesterol hits an all time high and I begin to grow horizontally but right now I'm taking advantage of my youthful metabolism and diets are simply contraband.

Simple foods from my childhood are delicious to even think of - plain rice porridge, chicken soup, grandma's stew, the family Sunday roast (whatever happened to the good old days?), the special recipes reserved for Chinese New Year, Easter and Australia day. It is all so wholesome, nothing fancy and yet when you eat those meals, all the weights are lifted - you can forget all your worries just for a moment you are free.
Then there are the new traditions - the experiments I have attempted, the new meals that have become a favourite, the regular order at the local restaurants, the dishes we yearn for in our sleep, the recipes being passed down the generations.
Then there are meals you even associate with a time or place - fish and chips on the beach, a barbeque in the park, a sandwich during school lunch breaks.

We even travel the world in search of those famous tastes. Cheesecake in New York, a baguette in Paris, a curry in India, cheese in Switzerland, meat pies in England, pizza in Italy and ramen in Japan. You cannot say food is not important. Even more so - we cannot take food for granted. Those of us lucky enough to grow up in developed countries have always had food given to us everyday - to never know the feeling of starvation. Think of those less privileged. For them food is rare, for them food is just to live. So never complain for what you are given could be deemed a miracle for some.

My love of food correlates to my love of chefs - but we won't go there because it gets a little creepy and I like to keep my emotions in check. But seriously celebrities like Jamie Oliver are the people I love. They cook not for the fame, they cook to give - they cook to educate, to instill passion and to teach the world the value of this thing that we all so vitally need. A new addition to the plethora of chefs and cooks on my radar - The Baker Brothers - Henry and Tom Herbert - check them out. A butcher and a baker with foody hearts on their sleeves - they talk of food like poets talk of love.

So I think I've portrayed my feelings of food rather clearly. In all my life I will never say no to a new dish, a strange ingredient - I'll give it a go because you only live once and what's the point of standing still? Treat food with respect - worship every spoon for it is not just a necessity,it is apart of your life's patchwork.

George Bernard Shaw once said "there is no love sincerer than the love of food" - and he'd be right!

I'll be back for fashion Friday with more photos, less words.

x







Sunday, 11 March 2012

SS: Finding Brisbane


So it's March - autumn! It's a gorgeous season but Brisbane hasn't really dropped in degrees yet - it still very much a saucy summer. I cannot wait for the chill to come (well, what little chill we get). As I walked the streets I came to appreciate the architecture of my city. I tried to be a tourist in my own country - it was rather refreshing - actually, it was beautiful. So today I have a couple of funky people and scenes sometimes missed by the everyday local.


Ok, so yeah I might have a sick obsession with construction men at the moment but come on - three men in filth ridden hard working boots walk past - of course I'm going to snap that -




I loved these pants - I'm more often than not a girl of comfort and these looked oh so comfy!



I love the head scarf - I see so many young girls embracing their culture and bringing fashion to the forefront. This daring blue combination felt just like Brisbane weather.



Now this was a funky girl. White Doc Martens, a Beatles denim shirt and maroon pants - yeah she was rocking it like the late 1940s itself!



As I sat on the mall I looked up to discover a bit of history. Now simply filled with stores these buildings were once businesses and rather pretty ones don't you think? I tried to imagine what these streets once looked liked - the fashion of the day, the gentlemen, the ladies the scruffy boy selling newspapers - to travel back in time; a dream I think we all have.



And on the other scale of the spectrum - a more modern apartment block stands brightly on a street corner - calling to the passer-bys as if to say "smile! This world is meant for colour" -



See you for Tasty Tuesday!

x



Friday, 9 March 2012

FF: Paris Polish


Yep! The fashion weeks are coming fast and today we arrive at the wonder that is Paris fashion week. Paris is not the city for me - try as hard as you like - no one will ever convince me. It's a hopeless cause - it's like asking a baby a question and expecting a coherent answer - it's impossible. But as much as I dislike the place I admire it's pretentiousness - why? Because a city cannot be deemed great for nothing. Its' beauty is simply not mine. But you cannot deny it must have some je ne sais quoi to be labelled most visited city in the world. Just like Milan I think you have got to be rich to enjoy the beauty they may possess. Alas, I do not. I'm grateful to have walked the streets of Paris and I'm not regretting my visit - I would not regret a visit to any country but I'm not going to yearn for each and everyone of them. I'll give almost everything a go once.
So in usual style I shall tell you I don't rate the city of love, the city of lights - call it what you will for me it is simply Paris and for me it is just a five letter word of little importance.

Enough of my sceptical opinions let us talk runway beauty (again all images are from fashionista.com or nymag.com) -


Azzaro for Mathilde Castello Branco's debut collection was...a little bit meh. Nothing to shout to the Gods about. But I did love this playful number, a quirky print card suits - such fun!



Balmain - a bit like Dolce and Gabbana Balmain went for a Baroque influence and I'm not overly impressed at the collection as a whole but I do very much love this dress -



Carven - the colours spoke to me - burnt oranges, olives, sky blues, dusty pinks and damasked reds. This was so on trend and I could happily part with my precious money for these beauties -




Lanvin - well thank you Alber Elbaz for keeping the drama in fashion. This was everything Mr Elbaz is - over the top, eccentric and daring.


Viktor & Rolf - WOW! I just wish I was there to see this in person - the stage show alone is fashion at its' utmost glamorous. With the moon as a backdrop of course you are going to get the odd extravagant garment but it was so well themed - I give thee snaps! -



Kenzo - after I heard the news Magnolia bakery cupcakes were given to the guests (as in Kenzo flew the bakers over to Paris to bake them!) I knew this was going to be something special. I mean, escalators were involved! All I can say is I WANT THIS COLLECTION! And the best part - designers Leon and Lim have stated we need more "accessible luxury"! Hooray!





Manish Arora - it was modern street graffiti splashed across a runway. I'm not sure it was exactly to my liking but I love difference and I have such respect for the brave -



Christian Dior - as the rumours over who will be the next creative designer for Dior continues to rock the fashion world the house showed no signs of change - this was everything I need in a collection. It was feminine, it was glamorous, modern yet classic and it was true to Dior.





Mugler - one word: structure. Dresses that looked more like buildings and looks that seemed straight from Lady Gaga herself. Modern and so 21st century!


Sonia Rykiel - a simple yet effective colour palette, feminine woes and chic lines - of course Papilio was going to approve -


Nina Ricci - I loved the runway - it was rustic and slightly sinister and yet somehow earthly and comforting. But enough of the floor the clothes were also to my liking -


Chanel - Karl you have done it again! Again, you wowed us with your dramatic stage - all crystals and mystery. And then you wow us some more with unique looks, odd gossip causing eyebrows and children too. Mr Lagerfeld you really are a genius.




Ellie Saab - modern corporate looks and stunning floor length gowns. Pretty sure this was one impressive show -




Quick! Someone fix the time machine we seem to have transported to the 70s! Miu Miu went psychadelic and I'm not exactly convinced this will hit mainstream but nonetheless I rather like it (on the models that is) -



John Galliano - let us forget about your silver tongue but really? a bird on a head? Ha! Fashion will always go there! But I mean you aren't meant to go out and fashion a bird on your head so snaps Mr Galliano this look was daring but well executed. There was 20s influence and again colours of earthly tones and bygone eras -



The Alexander McQueen show was commonly described in one word - ice! So too was it's dramatic gowns and ornate pieces - of course Burton wowed yet again. I know - this aint practical - but McQueen never was and yeah silver visors might not be everyday wear but it was the show that mattered. It felt like a fantasy - it felt like a place we could all escape to. The dresses were drama - they were a Shakespeare tragedy - a single bunch of bright red flowers amongst a barren land. McQueen is McQueen - it is meant to be another world. I mean look! It gets me all poetic.




And just for laughs a couple of not so great looks -

Vivienne Westwood - she's like Paris itself - on the outskirts she's all dirty, beggar ridden and not quite right and along the Seine with cash to burn she can be deemed rather beautiful on occasions. This time round she was plain odd - I know she's known to be rather crazy but honestly I don't even know where to start with this - there are just too many levels of wrong -



We all feared it, we all saw it coming - Kanye West was going to screw up the industry that is fashion. Sure enough he succeeded. Really Kanye? You want women to wear cat woman costumes? Maybe you should stick to the recording studio.



I'll see you in two sleeps!

x