Monday, April 19, 2010

Lazy Sunday afternoon in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens

Once again, the weather on Sunday was beautiful.

After a morning excursion to the Camberwell Market (more to come later), Miles and I decided to make the most of the day and head down to the Botanic Gardens with a picnic blanket.

After a delightful nap in the sunshine, he spent the time productively studying while I wandered around the landscaped paths talking to my family on the phone, looking like a crazy person talking into my hands free kit.

I often run around the Botanic Gardens on the external running path, referred to fondly by Melbournians as "The Tan". Measuring 3.8km in distance, it is the yardstick of one's running speed, with serious joggers comparing lap times with great gusto. Never fear - I am not one of these.

But despite the frequency with which I run around the outside, I rarely venture into the scenic interior, complete with ornamental lakes, gazeboes, glass houses, the National Herbarium, and the always-necessary tea rooms.

Seeing people suntanning on the grass reminds me so much of Europe - the sight of people soaking up the sun in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or on handkerchief -sized plots of grass on Berlin's Museum Island.

I hope everyone else was able to enjoy the weekend weather!

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Summer Shorts by Arabella Ramsey

Today was Melbourne at its best. Delightfully warm, with a gentle breeze and a feeling of gratitude in the air, as the city's population scrambled outdoors to make the most of what may well be one of the last warm days of the year.

I had a hair appointment at Meddlers salon at 12pm (which I reviewed here for MEL: HOT OR NOT), and a garden party to go to in the afternoon to celebrate a friend's imminent nuptials.

But before any of that, I decided to make the most of the sunshine and get out my new tripod, which was purchased with the intention of doing some outfit shots. Since I bought it, however, I've been out of town for most weekends and the light in the evening isn't enough to take decent shots. Mornings aren't an option - I can barely get myself to work on time without trying to squeeze in a photo shoot as well.

I took the opportunity to drag out my delightfully sky-blue Arabella Ramsey linen shorts for another spin before winter, and I pulled on a white Pilgrim tee to match. The necklace is from Witchery, purchased in Sydney over Easter, and the shoes are Tony Bianco. I like the low wedge: perfect for work, and I can walk (even, at a pinch, run) in them without any dramas. Watch - belongs to Miles. I like to borrow it when he isn't around, even though it is the size of my head.

The crocodile clutch was purchased at Golden Palomino Vintage, at the Suzuki Night Market (now finished for summer.) 

The air is so still I just heard the football siren go off at the MCG, to announce the commencement of the Collingwood vs. Hawthorn match.

We're off to a party in Fitzroy later, where everyone has to wear glasses. Not a problem for me, given my extreme myopia!

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Surprise date night: spaghetti and meatballs

Yesterday at work I received a text from Miles inviting me to a dinner date that evening, at home. We have both been working so hard over the last few weeks, and haven't been able to spend as much time together as usual. Not to mention the fact that our lives are quite out of sync: I am up early most mornings on the phone to New York and LA for work, while he stays up late studying for exams.

I came home bearing gifts, in the form of two wine bottles from the IGA, to be met by the sight of the below:

Apparently something he made up on the spot.


Dessert was an oven-heated blueberry pie with Maggie Beer's Dark Chocolate and Orange icecream.

Wine: 2004 Shiraz by Four Sisters. 

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

An Easter trip to Sydney

Last weekend a group of us flew up to Sydney to celebrate the Easter long weekend.

We stayed in a lovely terrace house in the inner suburb of Glebe, which belongs to a friend's sister who happened to be out of town for the weekend. Our other friends were staying over in Bondi Junction, but luckily we had a new Saab at our disposal to zoom across town in. (Thanks, J!)

Highlights of the weekend included a late, late night out at Hugos Lounge in Kings Cross, a visit to Bondi Beach, a stint of retail therapy on Oxford street, and a drive over to Watson's Bay and the towering cliffs of The Gap.

Bondi Beach

View across Watson's Bay

Cliffs of The Gap

And of course no trip to Sydney would be complete without a peek at the Sydney Harbour bridge, which we got an amazing view of on our last night when we headed to The Opera Bar for a nightcap.

Surely it needs no explanation - the Sydney Harbour Bridge

And similarly, the Sydney Opera House

It was fun going shopping with some of the girls we went up with - normally I am a strict solo shopper, much preferring to indulge my retail tastes alone than with girlfriends or Miles. But it was enjoyable to shop with friends for a change.

I've been meaning to do some outfits shots, but am struggling to find the time during daylight hours.

My Sydney purchases included a fabulously affordable pleather skirt and a white top with leopard print and voluminous shoulders, both from Dotti, a gorgeously bling necklace from Witchery, and a hat from Seduce that would make Caroline, No, proud.

I promise to show them off soon!

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hardware Societe: an extended visit

Last weekend I caught up with one of my oldest friends, Dr S, for brunch.

Usually we are both ridiculously busy and find it hard to find a time to meet, let alone spend a decent amount of time together. Gone are the days of endless Sex and the City re-runs and getting ready for parties together. Life nowadays consists of long working hours in the intensive care unit or the office, live-in boyfriends with whom we spend most of our time, and brief dinners or phone calls with each other in between.

But somehow, last weekend, we found ourselves in a serendipitous position: her boyfriend was away on work, mine was back in Perth, and miraculously, neither of us had any planned commitments for the rest of the day.

We started out at Hardware Societe for brunch at 10:30am. We ended up staying over three and a half hours, becoming part of the furniture and friends with the wait staff who, to their credit, never once tried to hurry us on.

I think I first read about Hardware Societe on the Melbourne Gastronome - I can't remember for sure. I usually find myself meeting friends in the CBD for brunch on the weekends. Not by choice, but because we all live on different sides of the city and tend to travel by public transport. As a result, I am always on the lookout for new breakfast venues that are open on the weekends. Hardware Societe recently obliged, and are now open on Saturdays from 8.30am till 2pm.

I had the most incredibly rich, hearty portobello mushrooms with goat's cheese and rocket on a thick slice of light brioche-style bread. It was just what I wanted after having been for a run that morning: filling but not heavy enough to weigh my stomach down and make me feel sleepy.

Dr S had the equivalent of a ploughman's breakfast with slices of meat, fig, wedges of parmigiano cheese and tortilla. The coffee was luscious and smooth, served with a small doughnut ball on the side.

After an hour of so of deep, world-changing conversation we decided more food was in order, so we ordered two of the coffee caramel macarons and a pot of tea.

Isn't the tea cosy adorable? I can't think of anywhere else that serves their tea with a cosy.

I don't have a very sweet tooth, so ordering macarons isn't something I'd normally do. They were very sugary, with a granular feel to the meringue shells. The coffee caramel filling was heavy and thick, oozing out after each bite had been taken. Not bad, but probably not something I'll order again.

After our extended stay at Hardware Societe, Dr S followed me while I buzzed around the city doing some errands, and then we finally ended up at Grill'd for a burger close to 5.30pm. Yum. I usually eat Grill'd when I've indulged in a few glasses of wine the night before, but I could really eat one at any time they are so delicious.

I'm off to Sydney early tomorrow morning for an Easter weekend getaway. Can't wait to explore the city touted as "Australia's most beautiful"!

Hardware Societe
120 Hardware Street
Melbourne 3000
Ph: 03 9078 5992

Hardware Societe on Urbanspoon

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