Saturday, June 30, 2012

Flea Market Chic

My last post has put me in mind to share another of my vintage-inspired reads 'Flea Market Chic'.

Last week I was at Magnolia Interiors (James Street, Fortitude Valley) and happened to see a book I have been meaning to buy on line for ages.  A bird in the hand ... as they say ... and so I just bought it there and then.  And I am really enjoying it!

Loving the colour of these ideas, particularly as it's Winter here at the moment and the summer cool whites in my house are turning me a little cold!

(Flea Market Chic is available to order online here, but is likely to be at many homewares stores.)


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flea market finds and other fabulous vintage tales.....

Grabbing a copy of anything in the 'home' section of the newsstand at London St Pancras station, for an easy browse on the two hour train to Paris Gare du Nord, it was only once I had boarded the Eurostar that I realised I had scored so well!  The copy of Living etc that I picked up has one of the chairs that I had just bought at the markets on the front cover!

Small differences, but otherwise extremely close.  And just as I was wondering how to recover it ... voilà as they say ... a very pretty pic in front of me!  This chair seems to be covered in a course linen and I am guessing this is likely to be a plain grain sac (they usually have a stripe or other marking such as the cushion in the picture below).

Do you think I should recover it in grain sacking?  Or find a heavy weight linen?  The other option I have seen is to be covered in a quality hessian (such as the seat of the unfinished chair above) which comes up very well but could be a little scratchy to sit on!  What do you think?

via Living Etc

Love the old trunk painted white on the bottom right!

This is from the June 2012 copy, if you can find one, or most (but not all) of the pics from the article are here.

via Stein's Fish and Chips
This whole Cornwall house is to die for though.

Imagine this is your beach weekender, and your local 'fish and chips' is Rick Stein's in Padstow!

Although being a weekender, ... and me having two very active outdoorsy boys, ... and loving the pristine whiteness so much, I can see myself spending most of my Sunday cleaning this very lovely house before we leave to come home.  It's not really a 'lock and leave' option for our family!

Oh well ... just as well we didn't buy it ... ha! a girl can dream.....

Hope you're having a lovely week!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gigot de Sept Heures – Seven Hour Lamb

This recipe is a great favourite of my boys.

On a Sunday morning, when the weather turns cold.  We light the fire.  And now that I have made this recipe, it's not just any lamb they want for dinner, but "seven hour" lamb.

But don't let the name put you off!!  This is actually a very simple dish to prepare and leaves you with a day of lovely cooking smells in the kitchen.

Little work and big mileage with the family!  Besides the bit of prep, the rest is just sitting in the oven while you get on with your day.

Amid the heady mixture of wood smoke and fabulous cooking smells, the boys head off on an afternoon bike ride with some of our local friends.  Back home an hour later to warm baths and a hearty meal!


3kg leg of lamb
4 onions , sliced
8 garlic cloves , peeled, but left whole
4 large carrots (quarter lengthways), or 8 small carrots (leave whole)
300ml nice white wine
300ml stock (I use vegetable)
thyme sprigs, to finish

  1. Heat oven to 120C.  Put your largest lidded casserole dish on the stove, add a good drizzle of olive oil and brown the seasoned leg of lamb on all sides for about 10 minutes on a high heat - do this very thoroughly until it is a good dark brown as it will not brown during the cooking. (If you don't do it now, it will end up light beige.)
  2. Toss in the vegetables, wine and stock. Bring to the boil, then put on the lid and place in the oven. Bake for 7 hrs, turning twice. After 5 hrs the meat will be cooked and offer no resistance to the knife.
  3. There is no need to rest the meat when cooked in this way.  To finish the sauce, transfer the meat and vegetables to a serving dish. Pour the cooking liquid through a strainer, into a new pan.  Boil to reduce by a quarter to finish the sauce (I add a teaspoon of butter here - great taste and makes a nice 'sheen' to the sauce).  Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  4. The lamb should be served with a spoon, a la cuillère as the French call it. Serve with the sauce, mashed potatoes (made with butter, milk, salt and pepper), and some quickly boiled green peas.

Oh, and we usually have those 'bake at home' rolls - hot from the oven to mop up the sauce!

Bon appétit!

Brisbane Winter foliage: my garden

This is my ammended version, the original from BBC Good Food website can be found here.  Main pic from BBC Good Food.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Merci ... Thankyou

On one of my many wanders whilst in Paris, I stumbled across a great concept store Merci (thank you) that I have been wanting to check out for awhile (111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003).

Concept stores abound in the Marais and the difference with this one is they aim to make a difference.  First of its kind in France, 100% of the profits of the store go to a humanitarian association working for the children of Madagascar, a country where every five minutes a child dies from malnutrition.

Created by the founders of the beautiful children's brand BonpointMarie-France and Bernard Cohen, this inspiring store stocks items from interior design to a perfumier, from stationary, furniture and flowers to fashion, has two cafés and one restaurant, and a used book library.....all within a great exhibition-style space. Whatever you are looking for, the most 'design conscious' example of it, is the one to be found here.

The store offers exclusive designs by Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Isabel Marant, Paul Smith and many other brands at prices significantly below their own label stores.  The pair have leveraged their goodwill, and have convinced numerous brands to join the project by also giving to the charity their profits generated in-store.

I ended up wandering around from space to space with an almost visual overload! Everywhere I turn there's a well designed or beautiful object to catch my eye!  I bought some great industrial lighting that I will show you once it arrives home and is installed ... also so many gifts here that I couldn't resist.  And they are the gifts that will keep on giving...

Translated from their website: Luxury and humanitarian reconciled ... it's already a dream of a better world ...

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back home again

Isn't wonderful to travel ... to anywhere ... for any amount of time.

A country stay for the weekend, ... the beach for a day, ... or a work trip to country France and Paris for a couple of weeks.  Your heart soars, your mind clears and the ideas flow so fast!  And you are so determined to cling on to this 'new state' of mind on your return....

Eiffel Tower in Rain, David Lebovitz

But once the unpacking is done and you're back into your normal routine, whatever that entails, the 'envigorated mind' starts to settle and it begins to feel that you never went anywhere!

I've been back home to Brisbane for a couple of weeks, and have made lots of notes of ideas and creative influences - I am hoping that my buying trip will stay fresh for a little while longer.  I met so many creative people with many different ideas for me that they were perfectly willing to share - I truly hope to just capture one or two of these!

That is what I love most about what I do, it is the wonderful people I meet and that cross my path in this new venture!  My customers are such wonderful souls, from all over, and I love hearing their stories of their ideas and what they are looking for and sharing the history (as much as I can) on the pieces I find.


And the dealers, shippers and other contacts I have met are some fabulous like-minded and extremely creative individuals both here in Australia and overseas - it's such a treat to be able to catch up and see some of them each time I return to France.  And it's so wonderful to have the opportunity to reinvigorate friendships from when I lived in London many (many) years ago.

9.00pm: Last night in Paris ... out to dinner with friends.

Isn't it amazing how our furniture and interiors, around the world, can start conversations of our hopes and dreams for our lives...

Thankyou, merci, for your comments and requests and suggestions!  All the best for the start of your week!  I hope you can retain a little magic from your own last 'escape'.


Jardin du Luxembourg

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sunny Sundays ... Porte de Vanves

My favourite Sundays in Paris are strolling through early morning flea markets, hoping to unearth something wonderful!  I love the thrill of getting there and not knowing if you are likely to find anything at all!  And the most enjoyable of these are the smaller and more casual brocante markets you find in the suburbs; where items are available are less reliable, but the prices are better and there can be some very interesting things to see.

One of my favourite is Porte de Vanves, on a prettily shaded and tree-lined street, in what feels like the middle of suburbia in Paris' south west.

Me ... on the hunt ... in my favourite market!  You can't tell but that bag is already very heavy loaded with a service of silver cutlery!

The stalls can be very specific - antique linens, silverware, antique and vintage toys, 35mm cameras, china, house number plaques, vintage posters, war memorabilia and more.  And there are lots of stalls that have a mix of it all!

Hunting around in unlikely boxes it's amazing what you can find.  Like these hand stitched, unused kid leather gloves from 1900.

And inevitably there are the stories of the 'one that got away'.  This set of pretty embossed blotter and desk items from the 18th century, was bought and paid for whilst I was looking at it!

What do I see?  I love the shapes colours and textures of all these wonderful items that have their own story.

And after you have bargained a great price - don't forget that you have to somehow get your purchases home!

My bargain metal light fixture  ... will update you in how it turns out once it arrives in Australia!

Happy brocante-ing!

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