Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Water gardens

This morning we walked through the gardens of Villa Melzi on Lake Como for our morning walk.

The spectacular setting makes it impossible to replicate.

The garden is set on a steep hill flowing down to the  lake.

Pictures cannot adequately capture the magnificence of this garden.

Lunch in Como

You may be forgiven for thinking all I do on holidays is lunch. 
We are now staying on Lake Como in Italy and had lunch today with good friends who are now locals in the area, they recommended this restaurant in Como Pane e Tulipani. The food was divine and the interior was relaxed and rustic with an abundance of roses and local produce displayed on window sills.

Definitely worth putting on your list if visiting Como.
Photos from Just one

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lunch in Avignon

A favourite restaurant we love to visit in Avignon is Vernet 83,
The setting is divine in a central courtyard surrounded by beautiful architecture.

It appears to be where the smart French "do" lunch. The food is as good as the people watching and the fashion is always stylish.

The interior dining areas are also very beautiful with cleverly understated design.

Photos from trip adviser.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Provençal retreat

What a treat to return to Provence. I think I am definitely a country girl at heart and appreciate again the privilege of living in the wide open spaces in Australia.

We are enjoying exploring the region around Les Baux, wandering the streets of St Remy and driving through the Camargue.
We discovered a wonderful hotel here designed in the Cote de Bastide style.
Lots of faded linens set against chalky stone.

All this with Les Allpilles in the background. what a backdrop !

All photos from their website.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Favourite garden in France

Erignac in the Dordogne region of France would have to be one of my favourite gardens ever visited.
We were inspired 6 years ago by this magnificent family owned garden and decided to return again on our trip to France.
The very simple manoir house sits at the bottom of the garden, in unadorned beauty surrounded by a clay colored gravel which is raked each morning to perfection.  Generations of the same family have lived here for 500 years.
The owner describes this avenue of hornbeams as the Champs Élysées of the Perigord.
we were fortunate this time to have a private tour of the garden by the owner who took us onto the magnificent lawns cared for like precious carpets and see breathtaking vistas of the garden.

The white garden holds white picnics in summer with musical recitals amongst the roses and clipped box hedges.

Again Erignac has inspired us to return to our own garden and continue with our work and aim towards an even highly level of detail and excellence. 

Photos from and tripadviser

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Designer gardens in the Loire valley

Today we visited Chateau Chambord in the Loire valley.
The gardens feature installations of art work and display gardens created by various designers each year. We were particularly taken with the beds near the chateau which combined grasses with annuals and perennials in blues, pinks, purples and white.

A large gravelled area was broken up with spheres of irregularly spaced buxus adding contrast in both color, texture and design.
The parklands included touches of whimsy with cleverly suspended works of art and sculpture in sympathetic materials.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Classic Ralph

On a recent trip to Paris I returned to one of the most beautiful stores, in my opinion, in the world.
From the divine Ralph's courtyard  restaurant filled with plump down filled blue and white cushions and ivy and buxus potted urns to the magnificent oak parquet floors, one is treated to classic American elegance at it's best.

Each floor just gets better,  not to mention the magnificent luxury of the clothing in subtle colors, superb fabrics and timelessly  elegant designs.

The menswear is displayed against oak cabinetry and leather and each room is like walking through a stunning home. If I could move in, I would.

Be sure to drop in if you happen to be visiting  Paris at 173 Boulevard St Germain. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Winter lunch

Last weekend  I visited The Wild Brumby near Thredbo with a couple of friends. We started the day with a schnapps tasting, then moved on to the Austrian inspired menu.  The service,  food and atmosphere were superb and well worth a visit if you are on your way to the snow. Brad and Monica Spalding, the owners,  ran the ski school in Thredbo for many years and are certainly well known by the locals and  visitors. The atmosphere is warm, relaxed and busy. Just the place to spend a cold winters day in comfort. 

The Menu

Homemade pate – duck liver or local smoked trout with toast

Distiller’s plate - a selection of smallgoods and King Island cheese

Farmer’s Pfandl – german sausage, kassler, kipfler potatoes & sauerkraut

Vego soup – vegetable soup served with baked sour dough

Ruben - pastrami, mustard and sauerkraut on German rye 

Aussie ham sandwich - leg ham, lettuce, cheese, tomato and mustard 

Lamb ragout - slow cooked Monaro lamb with vegetables, served with rice 

German sausages - on sauerkraut with bread and mustard

Spinach & ricotta dumplings – with roasted tomato, garlic and thyme sauce & parmesan 

Schnitzel burger – veal schnitzel, lettuce, cheese, tomato served with wedges

Beef gulasch – high country beef, Austrian gulasch with bread dumplings 

Veal schnitzel – lean, crumbed schnitzel with potato and a green salad

Kassler – pan-fried smoked pork with a rustic mash, sauerkraut and veg 


Austrian Apple Strudel - served with ice-cream and cream 

Sticky-date pudding – served with ice-cream and butterscotch sauce 

Flourless chocolate torte – hazelnut, almond and chocolate 

Lemon gugglhupf – Austrian lemon and almond cake

Cupcakes – vanilla and almond 

Scrolls – hazelnut and cinnamon scrolls

Stained glasshouse cake – mixed fruit and nuts 

Schnappy ice cream – vanilla ice cream served with wildbrumby butterscotch schnapps 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Visual order

As a decorator having spent many years pondering colors, fabrics, furnishings
and interiors, I am completely obsessed with creating visual order and peace in my home. My conclusion has been that mere decorating and design are not enough and it must go further if we are to find that deeper sense of rest and calm.

When I told my mother I had just colour cordininated my husbands polo shirts and  jumpers her response was  " you really need to get a life". Despite this, I am convinced I am onto something intrinsically important.

To condense one's belongings, or edit them in such a way and then display them beautifully is an art form in itself. Whether it be the pleasure of selecting a particular cashmere jumper from your drawer beautifully folded or the right cooking implements I believe it is a much overlooked area of design. Paying attention to the items we choose to wear or use can either be a pleasure or a chore. 

You be the judge. Am I going mad or am I onto something important?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Monet's garden

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” Claude Monet
This weekend I visited Melbourne, a favourite city of mine. While there I visited the Monet exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. I would highly recommend it to anyone who can go. I was transfixed by the beautiful images filled with light,magnificent colours and images. Any one who has been involved in creating a garden can I'm sure relate to Monet's quote.

"Monet’s Garden is a stunning exhibition devoted to Claude Monet’s iconic garden at Giverny. Renowned as the ‘father of French Impressionism’, Monet was inspired by his direct experiences of nature, culminating in the ravishing depictions of his lily and flower gardens in the rural property at Giverny, northern France, that became his lifelong obsession. Step into the extraordinary this winter for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these masterpieces in Australia, exclusive to Melbourne" an excerpt from the Nationql Gallery of Victoria's website who does a far better job describing it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Magazine feature

 This month our home and garden is featured in Australian Country magazine. The photography by Stephanie Lees, a local photographer is very beautiful.The photo shoot took place ten days before my daughters wedding and thankfully the Jane McGrath floribunda roses from Treloar roses were in full bloom.