Friday 8 May 2015

Hidden Secretes: Weekend Reflections

Reflections appear as ghostly figures in the Majorca windows. This building is an art deco treasure found in Centre Place - one of the City's iconic laneways.

Beneath wall to wall awnings and umbrellas, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, buzz of chatter and tinkling of table utensils embrace you like an old friend  as you turn into petite Degraves Street. Welcome to Mebourne's laneway and arcade culture.

Designer apparel, homewares, distinctive gifts, cobblers, dress makers, vintage whatever, fabulous coffee  and food, artisinal chocolate, pastries and cakes street art and  performers - whatever your fancy, it can be found in one of Melbourne's iconic lanes or arcades.
Graffiti takes many forms.
There is always a queue down the arcade waiting patiently for a table in the renown Hopetoun Tea Rooms - the meeting place for generations of Melbourne women in the Block Arcade.

The city's CBD consists of a rectangular grid of wide streets - the most well known to visitors being Swanson, Flinders , Collins and Bourke Streets. Parallel to these is a series of narrow streets, aptly named Little Collins Street, Little Bourke Street and so on. Interconnecting theses thoroughfares, broad and narrow, are  laneways and arcades with their own distinctive architecture and culture - often referred to as Melbourne's hidden secretes. One can take a formal tour with a specific focus  or just amble along on their own voyage of discovery.

Royal Arcade
The mythical figures of Gog and Magog stand guard over the clock in Royal Arcade. 

The roof of Melbourne Central

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Paris Shopping - Rue du Bac

Streetscape reflections in the Deyrolle window.
Mention spending time in the city of light and most peoples’ hearts give a little flutter. I'm no different.  Despite the changing list of places to visit that is always packed into my luggage, I've found one of the greatest joys of staying in Paris is aimlessly strolling its streets to discovery the Paris that speaks to me. Rue du Bac is one such place.  If you are not familiar with this narrow street and its neighbourhood, I commend you to undertake your own voyage of discovery.

Sylvie Thiriez, the distinctively unique Deyrolle and the original La Pâtisserie des Rêves are 3 places to which I always return. Endless hours have also been spent perusing, the specialist antique stores that are clustered in the surrounding streets.

Climbing the stairs at Deyrolle for the first time is like walking through the wardrobe and finding Narnia. Established in 1831, a visit here can be is an education in itself – and a wonderful place to purchase a distinctive gift. Don't be fooled by the appearance of the ground floor - the magic of "the strangest shop in all of Paris" lies above. 
Courtesy of  La Pâtisserie des Rêves 
La Pâtisserie des Rêves is the creative amalgamation of culinary art and theatre: no place for those who can't resist temptation.

When "high quality" is synomous with creativity, precision, superb materials and techniques steeped in tradition, then the textiles of SylvieThiriez are of the highest quality.  I never leave Paris without making a Sylvie Thiriez purchase - a one stop gift shop for family presents as well as the occasional present for myself.
Stroll down Rue du Bac with Ines de la Fressange while she shops for gifts.....

Wednesday 7 January 2015

New Year's Resolutions & Bad Habits

The promise of a new year is accompanied by self-reflection and much optimism.

In attempt to avoid letting myself down, I make only a few  simple resolutions. For me, success is a better motivator than failure.

Regrettably, the last 2 years have seen every resolution I've made fail – not healthy for one’s self-esteem. Consequently, my new year's resolution list has grown, out of necessity.  It involves both forming new habits and ridding myself of some recently acquired bad habits, and unfortunately I've developed quite a few of these over the last 18 months. ........ sleep deprivation, indulging in too much chocolate and French pastries, neglecting to exercise, allowing clutter to invade my study, abandoning the pursuits that make my heart sing ........the list goes on. 

One week of the New Year has now passed and I’m happy to report that I’m on track with my resolutions for 2015 ……….. just 51 weeks to go!

Wishing you every success in fulfilling your New Year's resolutions.

Can't help myself , bad habits
Well I'm running wild, lost control
And it's a shame to see
That a girl like me
Has got so many, bad habits
Well I'm off the rails
My resistence fails, tempations got
A hold on me
And I can't refuse
Because I always lose
Can't help myself
Bad habits
Well it just ain't right
That it's something I can't fight
I can't stop going out and having spending fun.......(Christmas sales can be a curse)
Well I tried to be good,
But I knew I never could
Cause i've got more bad habits than anyone
When I get the urge
I just got to splurge ....... (France, books, gardening and technology - if only I could master it)
I'm a slave to all my desires
Well I'm in a mess
Because i can't repress all of these
Bad habits
Can't help myself
Bad Habits
Well I'm running wild ....... (relatively speaking, for a Capricorn who likes being in control)
Lost control
And it's a shame to see
That a girl like me
Has so many bad habits
Well it just ain't right
It's something I can't fight
I can't stop going out being distracted and having fun
Well I tried to be good

But I knew I never could
Cause i've got more bad habits
Than anyone
When I get the urge
I just got to splurge
I'm a slave to all my desires .......(cheese, chocolate and champagne is on the desires list during the festive season)
Well I'm in a mess
Because i can't repress all of these
Bad habits