Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Walking the Tightrope

© Hugh Stewart
© Dan Marty

Now, most people who know me know that I love black and white interiors. A few years ago I was really into black, after that I could only live with white, right now it is a good balanced tightrope of them both. Recently I was at Ikea and noticed a number of really reasonably prices black and white striped rugs. I thought Bingo! Now, Im not saying buy everything from Ikea, god knows you will never achieve any depth that way; rather its more about about achieving balance... just like walking the tightrope!

vR x

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Favourite All Time Shot - Number Two

© World of Interiors

'If I were asked to say what is at once the most important production of Art and the thing most to be longed for,I should answer, a beautiful House.'

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Gigi Online has Arrived!

Well Boys and Girls, the new I Gigi website has finally arrived! I practically jumped out of my cotton socks when I saw the site up and working today. I have been checking this site each and every day, eagerly awaiting the arrival of their online shop so I can share it with you and here it is! I Gigi is such an aesthetically crafted store, with the most beautiful of stock; if you ever find yourself in Hove in England you must stop by, they even have a scrumptious cafe upstairs!
Well Done Zoe Ellison and Alex Legendre!

vR x

The True Warmth of a Fireplace

My goodness, do I love a fireplace. I grew up with a fireplace, however I have never had one since, even with all my rented travels through apartments and houses, they have always escaped me. What I love about having a fireplace in winter is that it brings everyone out into a central spot. Quite primitive really; loved ones crowding around feeling the warmth and watching the flames of the fire while conversing. However what I probably love the most is that within this charmed little space is what I call the 'bones' of the house, the real depth; photographs, trinkets and collected bits and pieces, placed on the mantle and surroundings that are anonymous to anyone else, yet so loved by the people who lovingly place them there.

vR x

Honest Love

I know this photograph isn't directly about interiors, though I just love this image as it represents my motivation to create honest spaces. Design is about celebration and creating a haven that gives you joy in your life, just like Jackie O and her moment of happiness here.

vR x

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hello Monday

Happy Monday! Not sure about you, though I have no idea where the weekend went! I thought we would start the week off to a zingy fresh start with a vibrant burst of yellow! Who ever said Yellow was Mellow?

vR x

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cottage Love

In 2008 I had the absolute privilege of staying in this isolated holiday Croft in the North West Highlands of Scotland called 'Callekille'. In the 19th and early 20th century this area was largely populated by 'Crofters', small communities of families and neighbours working poor quality land together to provide food for their community. This little cottage or 'Croft' is the last one standing on this particular landholding, as over the years the others have turned to rubble. Crofters in this region faced many hardships due to the constrains of the extreme Scottish climate. They were often faced with famine and disease due to the isolation on the coast. In the 1950's the inhabitants of this little area had enough of the hardships and decided to move on. The thirty or so Crofters threw all of their pocession off the cliff and into the raging sea below, in the pursuit to never be reminded of the bad years. Isn't that incredible! Our homes really do carry the truth of who we are and the stories we tell.

vR x
p.s yes, I did trawl the rock faces below for Crofter's Treasure.

Exciting news to announce soon ....

vR x

You know it is Winter when...

You know it is winter when the cheeky Jonquils pop up . Their sweet strong fragrance envelopes the garden. I adore these beautiful flowers and they make perfect cut stems for the home, as they are long lasting. My favourite, the Paperwhites, are literally in every empty vessel and vase I have come this time of year. You will smell them before you see them, so why not pick up a bunch, they bring perfume and cheer into our chilly homes this time of year!

vR x

Friday, June 11, 2010

Vacancy and Simplicity

Many of you may know that I am renovating my petite cottage here in Brisbane. We are close to finishing our first room - the bathroom. For one little room it needed a lot of love, a lot of patience and a lot of hard work; walls knocked down, walls repositioned, new floor slab, windows removed, windows replaced, endless gapping... the list was a long one. Throughout the process many people asked me how I go about decorating and achieving our desired final look and feel. I think when deciding upon the direction of any room it is important to realise how you want to live in the room itself. I know it sounds simple, yet so many people overlook that question. How do I want to feel in this space? Is this space going to be efficient and support my needs and future needs? Am I going to love spending time here? The above photograph gave me clarity when deciding upon a direction for our bathroom. I love the sense of calm, the vacancy and the simplicity; three words that should be used more often!
Happy Weekend!

vR x

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Saying it with Food - Chicken and Leek Pie

One of my most favoured gestures is 'Saying it With Food' - where you or someone in your circle makes and shares a much loved recipe. There is nothing more honest than making a meal for someone from your very own kitchen. I have a girlfriend who makes the most amazingly delicious Spinach Pie; she has given me the recipe, I have attempted it countless times, though nothing bets hers! When I hear those words 'I'm making Spinach Pie, so why don't I make you one at the same time' my little heart skips a beat! In honouring 'Saying it with Food', I am going to share with you one of my absolute favourite recipes 'Chicken and Leek Pie'. In an attempt to share the recipe, I have made an actual pie and have photographed a couple of the ingredients along the way, plus the pie. The recipe is from 'At My French Table' by Jane Webster with exceptional photography by Nikole Ramsay. It is super easy and looks much harder than it actually is! I hope you love it and maybe share or even make it for your close friends!

vR x

At My French Table by Jane Webster. © Photographs by Nikole Ramsay

Chicken and Leek Pie

This pot pie is terrific comfort food; warming, heartening and perfect for dinner on a chilly night. Serves 8.
30 g butter
4 Free Range Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
450ml chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
2/3 cup double cream
squeeze of lemon juice
2 sheets frozen ready-made puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat and gently cook chicken for 3-4 minutes, or until white; take care not to brown. Add onion and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Add stock, season to taste and bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently for around 15 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Meanwhile, cook leeks in a saucepan of salted water for a few minutes until tender, then drain.

Add cream to chicken mixture, then bring to the boil over medium-high heat and simmer for about 6-8 minutes or until a thick sauce consistency. Set the pie filling aside until it is cold.

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 25cm pie dish with one of the pastry sheets. Combine the chicken mixture and leeks in the pastry shell. Place the remaining pastry sheet over the pie, trimming to fit the dish, then make a small slit in the centre. Glaze with the beaten egg and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Beautifully Unmade

Growing up my mother had this rule that once the beds were made first thing in the morning, you could never sit back down, let alone lay down on the bed again until the coming evening. You and the bed were strictly done for the day. I think this is where my curiosity and also my guilt with unmade beds developed. From time to time I have pushed the guilt aside and not made the bed, in an attempt to mix things up and to live a bit loose and admire the beauty of an unmade bed... however it never lasts. I have always found myself full of guilt by 10am, scampering back in to the bedroom, doing the hospital tucks, doing the folds and doing the pillows. Maybe I should stay at Lynda Gardener's 1850's brick miners cottage 'The White House' in Daylesford to detox my unmade bed guilt...

vR x

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Favourite All Time Shot-Number Uno!

© Petrina Tinslay

This would have to be one of my Top Ten 'Favourite All Time Shots'; the colours, the pattern combinations, the wood fire... the cake!! ... it doesn't get much better than this.....

vR x

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hooked on Hooks

I definitely am 'Hooked on Hooks'. I trawl and rummage for hooks at any given opportunity; I think it is the utilitarian and practical qualities they possess that I am attracted to; they give the house order and a sense of place and in turn offer a great opportunity to layer and hang simple everyday items, turning dreary hallways and dark nooks into little bursts of delight....

vR x

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Welcome Winter!

First day of Winter! Ooohh; how I love Winter! The textures, the colour palettes, the fragrances! I'm automatically drawn to illuminate the house with candles, decorate with golden brown accents and cook anything with heart warming cinnamon. One of my favourite things to do with cinnamon is to actually not cook at all with it - I love to wrap a bunch of quills in fine leather or twine and then place a few drops of cinnamon oil on the quills. The fragrance will infuse the whole house!
What an honest, homely pleasure.
Welcome Winter... and Cinnamon!

vR x

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