Archive | December, 2012

Christmas Spirit

29 Dec

This year’s Christmas was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever had. I traveled to the Southern Highlands to spend the day with my best friend Char and both of our families. Char’s family home is a country cottage nestled in an exquisite garden. There are fruit trees, roses and lillies in abundance, and a blue cattle dog named Alice. The house is filled with books, duvets, an open fire, homemade food, there is always music playing or conversations happening, and in the front library rests a Steinway Grand piano.

One of my favourite places in the world. This family, and the way they open up their home, is a continual inspiration to me.

You see, I think they’re onto something. I always feel welcomed, loved and appreciated in this home, and I’m not the only one. I always have a cup of tea in my hand, and I am always listened to. Most importantly, the kindness and generosity in this house is genuine.

I want my home to be like this. I want a home that welcomes everybody, a home where my friends and family feel comfortable to talk, to hang out, to drink endless cups of tea and wine… In my final year of school, I was interviewed in an assembly as a graduating student. Much to the chagrin of my teachers, I said “I don’t know what I want to do with my life… I just want a home full of candles and cushions, just a place where people can hang out.”

I don’t have a house of my own yet (but I rent a terrace apartment: come visit!) … but what I do have are dear friends who let me into their homes.

Here are some of the best photos from the day… I hope Char’s family home, and the Christmas spirit, inspires you as much as it inspires me.

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My talented mother made us all a Christmas pudding (one of Nigella Lawson’s recipe… what a goddess), full of blueberries, Tia Maria and figs. Char’s sister made custard from scratch (that store-bought easy-pour stuff has got nothing on this). It was divine. I wanted to sing “we all want some figgy pudding” but I was too busy eating.

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Then to top it off, my bro made a gingerbread house from scratch. He was going to make a little Parthenon (don’t ask), but decided to make an outhouse/dunny (again, don’t ask).

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And in the front room stands the Steinway grand (only recently shipped from the US). It commands attention and demands to be played.

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Merry Christmas!

Sending you all my love (and figgy pudding),

xxx

It’s Christmas, Eve!

27 Dec

Merry Christmas! How was your day? I hope you had an absolutely wonderful time celebrating with the people you love most. And I hope you had lots of mince pies, shortbread and Christmas pudding (I ate my weight in mince pies made by Grandma; she’s been making them for 60 years).

My family were finally back together again on Christmas Eve after a year spent apart. Dad flew into Australia that night, and because my eldest bro had to do Doctor things on Christmas day, we had our humble little Christmas dinner the night before.

My mother is a powerhouse in the kitchen. By the time we had driven to and from the airport, she had prepared the most impressive spread, including a roast pork (with crackling, the best bit) and pork sausages wrapped in chicken wrapped in bacon wrapped in loooove. Oh and she also made peach bellinis for the hell of it. And pie, so much pie.

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Because everyone was so scattered this year, we didn’t have a tree. Instead, we had a gorgeous bunch of lillies and a whooole lotta candles.

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We ate, drank, exchanged gifts, my brothers made fun of me, my Dad told jokes I didn’t understand and mum spilt champagne all over the table (and ignored her daughter-in-law telling her to lick it up… boo).

Finally, claps of thunder heralded a welcome downpour of summer rain and we celebrated with more champagne, chocolate and cups of tea. Dad fell asleep.

In line with the Christmas spirit, I’ll leave you with a cracker of a joke (you’ll fall off your chair):

What did Adam say to his wife the night before Christmas?

…”It’s Christmas, Eve!”

xx

a drawn out idea

23 Dec

I don’t think I’ve ever moved on from pre-school.

I could spend a whole day drawing and be perfectly content (preferably with an afternoon nap, snuggled in that yellow woolen blanket Mum used to put in my backpack).

Sometimes I can get out the paper and pencils and not look up from the page until three or four hours later (which is when I have to concertina myself off the floor and talk my muscles through a thing called “movement”).

The following were produced in such a sitting. Thom Yorke was on repeat as the afternoon shadows moved slowly across the room.

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These pics are of the same theme as these ones.

Tell me: what do you do to forget the world for a few hours? I’d love to have you comment!

P.S. Follow me on bloglovin’. It’s super easy to register (it’s like an online library of all your favourite blogs) and it would help me out a heap!

xxoo

Something other than Nothingness

22 Dec

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On Thursday I went to the Opera House to see Signs of Life, the new play written by the formidable Australian author Tim Winton, directed by Kate Cherry (Sydney Theatre Co. in collaboration with Black Swan Theatre Co.). Sadly it closes tonight (if you’re in Sydney, Run, Forest!), but regardless, I want to share some of the magic. Some of Australia’s finest theatrical talent should not go unrecognised.

In a world of isolation, loss, silence and drought, Winton’s characters are swept up in a tumultuous two hours upon the stage. With beautifully articulate dialogue, each of the characters wade through their own grief, searching for something other than nothingness. Winton’s careful rendering ensures the play’s pathos does not succumb to sentimentality or fake ideals. His environment is harsh, existence extreme; the Australian setting comes to symbolise an unforgiving and lonely world which we all  – regardless of geography – must face.

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Georgie (Heather Mitchell), a grieving widow, yearns for the presence of her late husband – for something more than dust, ash, his belongings and her memories. Bender (Aaron Pedersen) and Mona (Pauline Whyman), siblings with a broken car and an unwillingness to leave, break through Georgie’s cell of isolation. Also searching for a presence of their late father on her outback property, they hope to find their history, their culture. Something to which they can belong, from which to come.

In due turn each of the characters reveal their hearts to an audience they do not know exist. They are lonely, isolated, and bereft. And yet 400 individuals in the same enclosed room cannot reach out a hand or speak out, bound and gagged by that elusive Fourth Wall.  It’s a feeling all too familiar for many: loneliness or grief too deep to be expressed to anything but silence.

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And yet, somehow, Winton  – together with Kate Cherry, the four superb actors, and all designers – expresses  hope in this bereft world. The characters manage to transform their mutual distrust into something supportive, a collaboration in the face of isolation, strength not necessarily in numbers but in shared experience. In the same way, the collaboration between the dramatists has produced something of beauty and power. And finally the performance itself is utterly relational: those on stage are dependent upon the audience, the audience receptive to those on stage.

Indeed, there is no isolation in theatre. Human experience is shared in a single, darkened room: space for each audience member to say, “Yes, yes: that is what I feel”.

There are no easy answers in this play. More questions arise than solutions.  To what do we belong? Is grief, in its many forms, all that we can hold onto? Is there really something other than nothingness?

Whatever the answers, this play reminds you that you’re not the only person asking.

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Photography courtesy of Sydney Theatre Company http://www.sydneytheatre.com.au/what’s-on/productions/2012/signs-of-life.aspx

Thanks to B-Wazza and S-dawg for putting me onto the show! xoxo

Taking over this town since 1968

19 Dec

Another confession: I’ve been shopping again.

But the ends justify the means because THIS time, I found a 1980s vintage Cue Design dress!

Ohhhh… it’s a fabulous mix of taffeta and silk and polkadots… The skirt is calf-length, full-bodied, but has a long, full split straight down the centre, revealing a pencil skirt underneath. I’ve never seen a dress with more cheek, more mystery… what a flirt.

Cue started in Sydney in ’68, originally selling Beatles t-shirts… it’s still a family-run business and 100% Australian owned, but is also one of Australia’s top clothing labels and fashion pioneers. Have a look at their website here, particularly their latest summer collection — to die for (Catherine McNeil=total babe).

I most enjoyed You & Cue, the label’s way of celebrating 40 years: a call to customers to send in photos of themselves wearing their favourite Cue designs. It’s a wonderful collection of photos from the 70s till now – complete with the perms and electric blue eye shadow. My fave is the 1980 “statement dress”. What’s yours?

To continue on in this vein, I’m gonna  share some pics of my (current) favourite Cue dress…

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… I feel like a girl going to the prom, back in 1984. Does her date ever show?

Shoes: Doc Marten

Photography: Thea Jane (see her in Gucci here)

xox

Hold onto your Hats

18 Dec

Hello! I know it’s been a whole week since I last wrote… but I haven’t forgotten about you, honest!

I’d like to say I had a week away from internet, being holistic and feeding my soul away from all things cyber… but I cannot (…smart phone), just that I had no computer. Hence no new posts.

What a week. I traveled to Canberra to welcome my Mum to Australia, read lots of Thackeray, drink too much champagne and (I guess I’ll mention it?) to graduate. Mmmyes, I’ve just done three years of theatre and learning how to write an English essay based on nothing but my own point of view… Studying Arts really is a lifestyle choice (and a great one).

I wasn’t planning on attending the ceremony, but after continual protest from friends and family, I chose to don the cap and gown and make my hasty walk across the stage.

In all honesty, the thing that made me most excited about graduation was the dress. I wanted to make it. I mean, even Grandma wants a photo of Cait the Graduand on her mantlepiece, so I may as well wear my own dress.

But I did cut corners. All I did was cut up a shirt (removed the back completely) and attached it to a black, pleated skirt (Warehouse, secondhand). A dress of contrasts, I guess. What do you think?

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A hint for anyone else graduating: it actually doesn’t really matter what dress you wear. What is important is the shoes!! It’s all anyone sees as you walk across the stage! Out of the hundreds of students who graduated with me, the few people I remember are those with the great shoes (most notably, red Connies). I chose the black heels (ZU shoes)… the Doc Martens, paired with the gown, really did make me feel like a witch (badass, but not the “I’m intelligent” look I was shooting for).

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The saddest thing? Nobody threw their hats (I know!! The only reason I did a degree was so I could throw the hat at the end)! I’m guessing it was because of this cheeky little message inside:

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Hi Grandma!

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No more photos from this point on, unfortunately. Too many bottles of champagne, sangria, cosmopolitans and peach Bellinis to even consider carrying a camera… but that story is for another day.

xxx

Accidental Gucci

11 Dec

A few weeks ago, I was walking along the main street of Dulwich Hill after work, in that sort of semi-delerious state after concentrating for several hours (you know it).

All of a sudden I felt that unexplainable pull towards the local Vinnies: the one where even though you know you have no money, you still know you could justify any sort of purchase (“it’s passable vintage!”, “it’s sort of cheap!”, “But I look like Macklemore!”). Of course, I didn’t fight what nature intended, and careened my way through the blue and white doors.

And guess what I found?

Gucci.

Yep, Gucci. Legit! Capri pants: figure-hugging, camel-coloured… basically all that stood between me and one sexy-ass biatch was $9 (nine! dollars!!).

Swift handover of cash, obviously.

I am now an owner of Gucci.

See if you can beat me. Find some Gucci in your nearest op-shop/thrift shop. Take photos, show off… Then OF COURSE send it to me!!

… Just kidding. Keep it. We all need more Gucci in our lives.

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Model: TJ (heartbreaker, dancer, best friend, evidently part-time model)

Photography: Moi

xoxo