What’s Cookin’, Good Lookin’?

I’m having a bit of a slow day today…feeling less than awake. So, instead of a real post, I’m simply going to post this teaser lifted from Wabi’s blog as a precursor to tomorrow.

‘Pumpcan’ Pie & Braised Brussels Sprouts with lemon, butter, and poppy seeds, cooked and shot by Wabi.

Can you guess what I’m writing about tomorrow?

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Dress Me Up, Take Me Out. Vol.11: Nikki Poulos

So, to state the obvious, I’m an Aussie, and proud to be so. As Aussies, we have some pretty awesome things going on—Tim Tams & Vegemite (YUM, right?), Cute marsupials (koalas and wombats), and absolutely the best beaches in the world—so we have every right to be proud. We’ve also produced some pretty amazing talent over the years, from film (Baz Luhrmann & Cate Blanchett) to Music (the Bee Gees) to inventors (the black box flight data recorder and box wine, or goon as we call it)!

But, what’s with the lack of support for our own Aussie folk? Our musicians and actors so often go international to make their name, and it seems to be the same with designers. Need proof? How about Nikki Poulos? She’s an Aussie. She’s even had a previous label (eco baby) in Australia. Now her self-named label—Nikki Poulos—is making waves, but not in Australia.

Nikki appeared on American reality show, Fashion Star in March this year, but she’s been around since 2008…in the US. Now, she may have been living in the US when she started this label, but what if her Eco Baby label had taken off in Oz? Maybe she’d have simply been able to extend to ladies clothing and produce the fantastic ladies wear she now does. And we Aussies will have known about her sooner.

So here’s my own little plug for a talented girl from Oz.

From classic blouses and pants to vintage-inspired maxi dresses, and stunning swimsuits, Nikki Poulos’ range is fun, modern, and simply delightful. Her range of colour means there’s something in the collections for even pasty misses—like me—and her styles are complimentary and made to show off your best bits perfectly.

My faves? I thought you’d never ask.

 Store: Nikki Poulos

Store Locations: Online at Nikki Poulous, as well as a bunch of US and international stores.

International Shipping: YES! The rates are available in your cart on payment.

Best Bits: Beautiful cuts and fabric designs, in a great range of colours. Great classic cuts, as well as some more fun, modern styles. Sizing that actually reflects real women—a large would actually fit a large, not a medium. Great names for each item, with a nostalgic twist to many (yes, this is important…to me anyways…).

(Clockwise from top left, all in US Dollars)

–       Goldie retro swimsuit: $165.00

–       Dahlia maxi (rayon spandex jersey): $175.00

–       Gardner slouch pant (poly jersey): $175.00 & Davis button detail blouse (poly jersey): $185.00

–       Paulina crochet short (100% cotton): $85.00

Thematic: Nautical & Nice

This post has been coming for about a month now. Every week it was delayed, I managed to find more cool things to add to it. So be prepared: this one’s going to be epic.

I’ve always had a thing for anything nautical. Maybe it’s my obsession with the sea, maybe my love of stripes, or maybe just the fact that navy and white are so classically cool. Whatever the reason, I’ve got a crush on Nautical. Not everyone is so keen on such a classical style though, and I have to admit shipboard chic has been done to death a bit lately. But Nautical doesn’t have to naff or boring.

Here’s a few ideas to keep a Nautical wedding nice and fresh…

First off, your invites can be kept classy without being dullsville—it’s all about the layering and extra touches. Add a gold border and a couple of pockets to your invite, so it becomes a bounty of surprises. Or line your invitation envelopes with nautical paper, and use envelopes instead of the standard white ones to give your invites a bit of extra class. Try using nautical stripes as a background, rather than the main feature of the invite, or create a round invite—it’ll look like a ships porthole window, and stand out against all the clutter and other invites on your guests fridges or noticeboards.

Clockwise, from top left: Souash’s wedding invites via Wedding Bee; Nautical Collection Wedding Invitation from Orachard and Brown; Nautical Wedding Correspondence from Dawn correspondence; Navy and White Circle Invite via One Wed.

Next port of call (like my pun?) has to be what to wear. I gotta say, so many times as a wedding the groom and his boys get overlooked—stuck with your average suit and tie or bowtie. BORING! Why not style it up a bit with a brighter coloured tie—maybe even something with little anchors or boats on it—and give his men something similar, even the same just in a different shade. A cute cufflink is also a great way to jazz up the old suit—keep it nautical with silver sailor’s knots, or navy and gold anchors. And, for real, boutonnieres are the shiz! But why not add some plain rope to the good old flower for a bit of seaward charm.

1. Boy’s Bowtie in Nautical Orange Anchors from Little Vy; 2. Nautical Cufflinks via One Wed; 3. Sailor’s Knot Boutonniere via Vici Tanners’ Pinterest; 4. Navy Preppy bowtie via Erica Morse’s Pinterst; 5. Sailor’s Knot Solid Silver Cufflinks from Grovesnor.

Speaking of charm, the little number below would make the most charming bridesmaid dresses for a nautical wedding, and your girls can wear them again, and again, and…you get the picture. Team them with some cute white heels and a pair of nautical earings, and your ladies are ship-shape. For the bride, I can’t go past a pair or pretty striped heels—they’ll look great with your dress, and aren’t going to sit in the back of your wardrobe forever like the typical bridal heel would. And don’t forget jewellery! A thin bangle with an little anchor on it gives a nod to the theme, while remaining classy and refined.

1. A Wear Cut out Detail Dress from Asos; 2. Gold Anchor Bracelet from Frosted Willow; 3. Anchor Stud Earings from Cynical Redhead; 4. Evie Stripe Peep-Toe Pumps from J.Crew.

Flowers. I love flowers, but they don’t always have to be fresh? Throw tradition to the wind and go with navy silk flowers to really make a statement and ensure your bouquet last more than a day. If you’re set on the real deal, scale down your bouquets and tie with a pretty nautical ribbon for a traditional affair. For something a little more memorable, why not go a ‘flower ball’? Tied with a pretty ribbon, a flower ball is much easier to hold—and think of how much further can be tossed than a bouquet!

Weddings are so often centred around daytime ceremonies, but why not tie the knot in the evening? Seat your guests as it’s getting dark and your bridesmaids can walk down the aisle carrying lamps before hanging the around the alter, creating a soft spotlight as you say your vows. Beautiful, no?

1. Nautical Bouquet via Melanie Bloomer’s florals; 2. Navy blue Silk Rose Toss Bouquet from The Bride’s Bouquet; 3.‘Flower Ball’ made from miniature mums, via Bella Botanicals; 4. Antique Brass Chief’s Oil Lamp – 15” from Handcrafted Nautical Décor.

Speaking of beautiful, this chandelier! Wow! For a super glamorous affair, this would be absolutely amazing as a centrepiece. And for anyone, a pair of pretty nautical armchairs would make delightful Bride/Groom seating, and a great living room piece afterwards. Don’t forget, it’s the little touches that count. So, how about a ship’s wheel as the centrepiece for each table setting—entwined with flowers, or shrouded in candles, something as simple as this can look incredible. Create individual tables with anchored dinner bells, large rope sailor’s knots, or even round mirrors trimmed in heavy rope.

Clockwise, from top left: Hans Van Bentem Chandelier Ship via Take Sunset; Sessel Corsair from Masons Du Monde; Solid Teak Ship’s Wheel – 13” from Robin’s Dockside Shop; Brass Dinner Bell from Portuguese Vintage.

And don’t forget the cake! Add a nautical touch with navy and white striped ribbon trim for a simple and elegant cake. White on white motifs can tie in your theme without making a cake look too busy. Or top a plain white three-tier with flowers matching the bouquets for a simple and stylish number.

Left to Right: Nautical-themed cake via Tanya Foreman’s Pinterest; Elegant Miller + Miller Wedding Cake from Miller + Miller.

Lastly, find a pretty nautical quote that resonates with both of you and hand it somewhere special on the day. Afterwards, you can move it to your favourite room—perhaps the bedroom—as a reminder of your wedding and all the wonderful moments of the day.

My Pal Fred

My Neighbour, and very good friend, Mavis, had to put her dog down today. Freddo was almost twelve, and had suffered a succession of strokes over the past three months. He had lost most of his sight, his mind was all but gone, and his legs barely held him upright. It was his time, and I’m glad he’s not in pain. But I’m also sad.

Freddo and I have been best friends since he was brought home as a pup. Whenever I would totter over the road for a cup of tea and a chat, he would great me at the door, desperate for a pat and a cuddle. When Mavis, her husband, and two boys went to Europe a couple years ago, I was charged with house-sharing with Freddo. He would wake me at 5am every morning for breakfast, bounce around like a new pup whenever I came home, and sit on my lap every night for a ‘bedtime cuddle’. He’s a greyhound cross kelpie—not exactly lapdog-sized.

As much as I adored him, him family loved him so much more. Both of Mavis’ boys have been very ill all their lives, facing operation after operation for all sorts of digestive and other stomach concerns. Mavis’s husband has suffered severe clinical depression, and she’s dealt with severed toe nerves, chronic asthma, and chronic fatigue. Through all of this, Freddo has been there for a hug, a chat, or a laugh.

Fred’s been best friend’s with the youngest boy—a kid with a genius IQ, ADHD, and an adventurous spirit—spending the days chasing him around the yard to wear off some of his energy before bed. He’s been a companion for the oldest boy after his biannual operations, patiently watching over him while he recovered. And he’s been a couch therapist for Mavis and her husband while they faced every parents’ worst nightmare—their childrens’ mortality.

As dogs go, there isn’t too many who could claim to be better than Freddo. He was an angel. Most of what I say won’t do him justice, but I think Mark Twain had some idea:

“The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.”

Goodbye Freddo, you will be very much missed, and very fondly remembered.

My Endless Love: Furry Family

A couple days ago, I mentioned that I was puppy-sitting my brother, Koshy’s, four-legged babies while he’s away on his honeymoon. Tonight, I think it’s only fair to introduce them to you properly.

Here they are this afternoon while I was eating a very late lunch, desperately begging for their own piece of fruit. Yes, fruit, specifically rockmelon covered in Greek yoghurt—which Simba chased with a piece of plastic.

Simba and his Incredible Appetite are both just over a year old, and still very much just a giant puppy. He whines constantly for food, pats, attention…basically anything that means you will go outside so he can jump on you. He joined the family when he was a baby, as a little brother for the sadly-missed Zari, and instantly became Koshy’s shadow. He came along at a fortuitous time—right when Koshy was planning to propose, so Simba became the cutest ring bearer possible.

He’s still cute as pie, although also often thoroughly annoying. His big eyes are only outshone by his giant paws, and his bark is pretty darn scary when he catches sight of anything chase-able. I love that he’s so big and scary, I feel safe here alone at night, knowing most intruders would be immediately scared off by the sight or sound of him. But I also love that he’s really just a giant baby—he loves cuddles, chin scratches, and snuggling. And he was as inconsolable as us when his best friend, Zari, died.

We all missed Zari, and there was no question Simba needed a friend to keep him from destroying the yard. Luckily enough, just as Koshy and Katy were feeling ready to move on after Zari, their breeder called wanting a new home for one of her show dogs. Princess, Promise, Princess Promise—whatever name you choose—is possibly the only dog who could have equalled Zari in perfection.

Princess, being an ex-show dog, has perfect poise, is delightfully gentle, and the epitome of politeness. In short, she’s the exact opposite of Simba. She adores being petted, and loves to sniff your mouth—but doesn’t lick it. She’s terrified of storms, but is just as good a watchdog as Simba. And for all her poise and manners, she burps after every meal!

I adore them both so much, and they adore pretty much everyone. Especially each other—they sleep snuggled together on one bed, even though they both have their own. They greet me at the gate, and then run to the back door, every time I come home or wake up. And they hang out with me all day, even if the only reward is a pat and a handful of biscuits.

They are the perfect niece and nephew.