It’s too hard

To keep talking about pretty things when there’s so much devastation in the world.

Thinking of you Japan and wishing you strength, courage and determination.

May the rest of the world reach out and lend you a hand.

One Oh

My baby turns the big one oh today. Who would’ve thunk it?

12 hours old

You’ve been an absolute delight, gorgeous girl.

Learning to walk in Hong Kong

Whether it’s

Ready for a swim in Cairns

Hanging on the telephone

Going to a Bratz Party

Chillin' with your toys

Being a Malaysian Princess in Kota Kinabalu

I wouldn’t have missed a moment.

Celebrating Mother's Day

Happy 10th birthday, darling.

XXX

Home and Away

It has been too long since my last post and I feel like I’ve been on a merry-go-round.

via www.stpmo.com

A family member has been in trouble with their health and personal life and I’ve been trying to help. We’re not out of the woods yet but things have improved for the time being.

via www.growingnewlife.com.

So please forgive me for my absence. I’ve been here in body but not in mind and just haven’t felt like waxing lyrical about all things pretty and nice.

I have also had a week’s holiday in Queensland with the family. We had a lovely four days in Brisbane catching up with friends and family and a further 5 days on the beautiful Gold Coast relaxing. We had three days at Royal Pines Resort and another two at the Sheraton Mirage.

So now it’s back to work and back to the blog. I hope you’ve had a good few weeks and I look forward to your company as I get back on the merry-go-round.

City or the Bush

Do you browse the real estate section of the newspaper?

It’s one of my favourite past times. I enjoy looking at the different styles of homes and how they have been decorated. Lately there’s one house that has caught my eye.

Apart from the beautifully appointed rooms, it is situated on one of my favourite locations- on a cliff overlooking the water.

When you sign up to my monthly newsletter, you will receive my article How To Create YOUR Harmonious Environment absolutely free. One of the questions I pose is “Where are you most comfortable – country, city or beach?” No question about it, for me it’s near the water.

So this house would be my ideal. I love how you not only see the ocean, but also the coastline. That helps to give perspective to the view and provides a wonderful fairyland at night when the ocean is inky black.

So where are you most comfortable?

City,

Kangaroo Valley via www.kangaroovalleytourist.asn.au

Country or

James Robertson House

Water

Designer Black

Have you ever noticed that architects and interior designers all wear black? Why is that?

Sante Fe Interiors Designers - most wearing black

Personally I don’t wear black. I was told many years ago, when I had my colours done, that black was not for me. It drains the colour from my face and infact, only people with black hair should wear black.

So as a Colour Consultant, that suits me down to the ground. I LOVE colour and spend most of my time trying to inject colour into clients’ homes, so why would I wear black in any shape or form? Surrounding myself with colour makes me happy and puts me in a good frame of mind.

If I have to buy a new wallet, I bypass the black ones and go for red. I have a yellow work notebook, a green laptop, a blue car, a red laptop bag, etc, etc. The only black items I have are my briefcase (because I couldn’t find a coloured one) and the trolley bag or office on wheels, I take to consultations.

Red Wallet from Mahogany Leather

Yellow Notebook from Kiki-K

Dell Laptop

Now the other problem I have is that I’m a Virgo and I MUST have everything matching or at least working together. Last year when I upgraded to an iPhone I chose the white one, because I don’t do black.

I needed a protective case. I knew my daughter would play games on it and it was going to be moving around from handbag to handbag, taken on jobs, to the gym so I could listen to podcasts and sooner or later it was going to be dropped. I chose a Blue Silicone cover from the limited range at the Apple store. Blue is the world’s favourite colour so I figured blue would go with most things.

Blue iPhone Cover

However, last weekend as I was trying to multi-task (cook dinner and text my brother) it slipped off the kitchen bench and landed on the floor. My beautiful blue cover broke and I needed a new one. I went back to the Apple Store and stood infront of row after row of black cases.

Sena Black iPhone Case

There were also blue ones, but I wanted a change. The purple ones were nice but purple doesn’t necessarily go with every other colour. Then I spotted it.

It’s pink but look at the back. It is striped in so many colours it will definitely work with everything. Oh what a happy Colour Consultant I was to find an iPhone cover that was colourful and had a sense of fun. Thank you Kate Spade for designing such a wonderful item.

It’s the little things, isn’t it?

I’m off to the Australian International Furniture Fair today which incorporates Decoration and Design. There will be a large number of suppliers releasing their new products. It gives me a chance to catch up with colleagues and I understand there will be a number of design bloggers from around the country descending on Sydney too. I wonder if we will recognise each other, especially if they are all wearing black?

I’m also going to listen to Kathryn Ireland’s seminar which is titled Aesthetic Inspirations from Around the World. I’ll fill you in on all the details in a couple of days.

Together We Can Help

I’m sure, like me, you have been shocked and saddened at the extensive devastation in Haiti.

Haiti via The UK Telegraph

Design Doyenne, Charlotte Moss has sent out a call to the design industry to pitch in and help.

Your small donation to one of the many aid organisations which are working in the country, can make a difference.

A-M has provided links to a number of Aussie organisations which would love your support.

Click over to her site and jump online now to make a donation.

Happy New Year

Can I say that on the 11th January? I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and 2010 is a wonderful year for us all.

Awaken The Spirit via www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/nye/2009

I’ve had a lovely break from work and my blog since Christmas Eve. I did manage to read the backlog of magazines that had been collecting dust on my coffee table. The only problem is that I had no sooner finished when the next months’ issues started to arrive. Oh well, reading magazines is one of the perks of the job!

December and January Magazines awaiting reading

I also finally got around to properly filing all the brochures, booklets and samples I had collected at various Trade Fairs I had visited throughout the year. Do you realise how much “stuff” we decorators need to store? Paint swatches and fandecks from all the paint companies, tile samples, carpet samples, samples of Caesarstone and Corian, furniture catalogues, fabric samples and oodles of brochures on all manner of house related products. It takes a lot of room. I needed to purchase another cabinet and a filing cabinet so my storage room now has some order. Being a Virgo this is something that delights me.

All sorted

All Sorted

Brochures, carpet samples and other bits and pieces

Fabric Samples

I’ve also been having fun in the kitchen. I love to cook or rather, I used to. In a previous life I even gave cooking classes! However, since being a mother, running a house as well as my Interior Decorating and Colour Consulting business there has been little time for cooking. I’ve tended to stick to the same tried and tested, 9 year old friendly recipes, week in, week out. But this past few weeks has allowed me to try out some new ones and the 9 year old has decided we should have a couple of them more often. Amazing!

Not this one but something like it - Satay Chicken Flan

So sometimes its good to holiday at home. As Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”

from Flickr via Mommylolly's Photostream

Let the year begin. I’m ready.

Coffee Culture

I spend a fair bit of time in the inner city suburb of Crows Nest. It has two main drags – the Pacific Highway which is peppered with furniture and homewares stores, and Willoughby Road which has a line of gift shops, restaurants and cafes.

Over the past year, there has been a newcomer to the coffee shop scene and I love going there for the good coffee and superb decor.

DSC01476

Coffee Culture is now situated in what used to be a secondhand furniture shop. The shop is rectangular in shape but with clever use of different coloured timber floorboards and one side of the “path” higher than the other, you do not feel as if you are in a boring square box.

DSC01482

One wall of the shop has been left in it’s original state of exposed rough brick and large mirrors have been placed over the top with back lighting.

DSC01478 The other side is wallpapered. Each side has interesting light fittings and the banquette seating is finished in a faux shiny leather.

DSC01479 The colours are all quite neutral – lattes, mochas and espresso but the crockery is bright orange which adds a zing without being overbearing.

DSC01481 Check it out, next time you are in Crows Nest. I believe there is also a cafe at Bankstown and originally the group hailed from New Zealand. (But we won’t hold that against them!)

Dining Out

Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. It’s just a crazy time of year, isn’t it? I’ve been flat out trying to make sure all my client’s have their items before Christmas. I’ve had upholstery delivered to two clients, curtains installed at another two and am collecting soft furnishings for three others on Monday. I also have two lamps to deliver for another and waiting on some furniture for yet another. It’s full on.

Aside from work, I seem to have been on a Food Fest for the past week. I’ve had family visiting from Brisbane so last Saturday evening we all went to Leichhardt in Sydney (which is renowned for it’s Italian restaurants) for a family meal at La Botte D’oro. My brother is heading to Cambodia for Christmas and my Dad was heading on a cruise to New Zealand the following day. So this was our Christmas dinner.

Aqua Dining Restaurant

Aqua Dining Restaurant

Sunday evening we went to Aqua Dining above the North Sydney Pool to celebrate my Mum’s, my brother’s and my husband’s birthdays which all fall in December. The restaurant was fantastic with fabulous food and attentive service. Oh, and pretty amazing views.

View from Aqua Dining

View from Aqua Dining

Wednesday I was out and about at fabric houses and collecting lamps from Botany and called in to Waterloo. This suburb has developed into a great food and design precinct over the past couple of years. We stopped at “The French House” for a bite of lunch. This is a great little place that doesn’t have a website. They don’t take bookings but it’s fairly easy to get a table. There is an outside verandah with plenty of tables of all sizes or you can sit inside at the communal dining table or small lounge area. French food abounds with baguettes, croissants and plenty of mouth watering cakes and pastries. It’s not expensive and the ambience is pleasant.

The French House

The French House

The French House Verandah

The French House Verandah

Yesterday was Mum’s birthday so we were out eating again! This time we went to Nick’s Seafood at Cockle Bay and shared a delicious seafood platter.

Nick's Seafood Platter

Nick's Seafood Platter

And then today I was out with 5 girlfriend’s to celebrate another December birthday. This time we went to the recently opened “Burnt Orange” in the renovated Mosman Club House which dates back to the 1930’s. The food and service were again fantastic and the view…… breathtaking.

View from Burnt Orange

View from Burnt Orange

I would like to say I’m not eating until Christmas but I’m out again on Sunday celebrating my husband’s birthday and again on Tuesday for another girlfriend’s birthday.

Note to self – Do not eat in January!

**********

I also wanted to make sure you knew about a great sale which is on tomorrow. Online store, Have You Met Miss Jones is holding their annual warehouse clearance sale at Alexandria. They have fabulous bone china ornaments, metal birdcages and capiz shell plates and picture frames. I’m sure you’ll be able to find some great Christmas gifts to keep or give.

Picture 3 Have a great weekend, shopping, cooking or eating.

Ming

It’s been a rough couple of days. We had to euthanise our beloved dog on Friday night.

Ming would have been 11 next month and since May this year has been on a cocktail of drugs for a heart condition. Friday he was very slow and didn’t want to do anything. A trip to the vet followed by a mercy dash to the animal hospital confirmed our worst fears – it was time. His spleen was riddled with cancer and there was nothing that could be done.

DSC00215

As a child, one of my favourite books was Li Chung – a Tale of China. It told the story of two small chinese children who found a dog which they called Ming.

Li Chung - A Tale of China

Li Chung - A Tale of China

When my husband and I moved to Hong Kong in 1999, we set out to buy  a puppy to share our lives. On a trip back to Australia, I purchased a little white ball of fluff and immediately named him Ming.

After his immunisations, I packed him up and we flew to Hong Kong where he quickly settled into apartment life.

Ming and bags ready to fly

Ming and bags ready to fly

There were many dogs in the apartment building and he would love to sit at the window and watch them taking their walk, seven storeys below.

Ming looking out of our window - 3rd up.

Ming looking out of our window - 3rd up.

Twleve months later his life changed dramatically when we brought home our daughter.

Ming meeting Sophie

Ming meeting Sophie

They quickly became good friends and he showed her how to sit at the window and watch what was happening on the street and in the playground.

"This window Soph, can you see that dog down there?"

"This window Soph, can you see that dog down there?"

We then moved back to Australia and settled in Sydney. Ming was used to his apartment life and sitting on the sofa so we bought another puppy to put a spring back in his step.

Ming and Coco

Ming and Coco

Coco and Ming were well known around the neighbourhood as they looked so cute both out for a walk on their dual leash. They even dressed up for the Vet’s Christmas party and went Trick or Treating with my daughter.

Ming's Santa Suit

Ming's Santa Suit

He was a well travelled dog but these days spent time travelling by car rather than plane.

On the road to Brisbane

On the road to Brisbane

But all good things must come to an end and Ming met his on Friday night. We loved him so much. They really are a member of the family and life isn’t the same without him.

MIng and Coco

Ming and Coco

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