Sunday, 21 December 2014

In The Schedule

Aah, another week has finished up, with christmas lists ticked off, ornaments dangling, menu sorted, gifts wrapped (sort of)... that leaves just the food shopping to do.   This weekend has been quite relaxing, surprisingly, even allowing time this afternoon for a small picnic, and later, a quick bite out for some pizza.

If like me you're ahead of schedule, enjoy some downtime with a little bit of christmas inspiration with some links I found during the 'quiet times' these past few weeks...

+  Red, such a festive colour during christmas time.. and although I'd tone it down with some grey or black, or camel, you might find this editorial featuring Manon Leloup for Vogue Spain in shades of scarlet, fire engine, vermilion and just plain red, enough inspiration for christmas day... via pinterest.

+  Take a look at this cool scandi stylish home with a spot of Christmas cheer via Bo Bedre here.

+  Don't know about you, but I'm always happy to receive a little bauble for Christmas.. something colourful, bold and not usually what I would buy for myself... if you're listening honey!?  Here, Irena Nikolaeva in Vogue Germany with some precious little things for last minute gift ideas.

+  Or perhaps, a gorgeous coffee table book on baubles instead... here'a s list of 6 luscious jewellery books worthy of gift giving via French Vogue.

+  Some lovely table setting ideas from the pages of Home Beautiful here.

+  And lastly, for something to eat from that table... and because someone might want the recipe of my Christmas Boiled Fruit Cake that I posted about earlier in the week... here it is Ada...  this batch makes up to 4x mini cakes (10cm diameter x 5cm high) and 1x square cake (20x20cmx 4cm high))

250g butter
1 cup soft brown sugar
1kg mixed dried fruit (I used, sultanas, currants, raisins, glace cherries and mixed peel)
1/2 cup sweet sherry (I did 'splash' a little more to make it extra moist)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup apricot jam

1.  Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.  Line your cake tins with baking paper.
2.  Put butter, sugar, mixed fruit, sherry and 3/4 cup water into a medium/large pan and bring to boil.  
     Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the soda and cool.
3.  Sift the flours and mixed spice into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
4.  Add pineapple juice to the beaten eggs and add into the fruit mixture and combine.
5.  Pour into the well and mix well.
6.  Pour into your cake tins  - the mixture will rise so I filled to about a 1/5 from the top.
7.  Bake approx 30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.   
8.  Take out of oven and leave to cool in tins for at least hour.  Meanwhile heat 1/2 cup apricot jam with
     2 tablespoons water until dissolved, and brush this on top of cakes while still warm to give it a 
     lovely glaze.

I have made this recipe as one larger cake in a 22cm round tin, and this makes for a high cake and takes about 1hr to cook.. although I would check it at 50mins or until skewer comes out clean.  

The verdict is, that they are delicious! 

Enjoy your weekend and baking & homemaking and special christmas events in the lead up to Thursday.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Home Style... Modern Subtle Grandeur in Melbourne

When I spy those terrace houses in the inner suburbs of Melbourne I often wonder what type of interiors are hidden inside those grand old entrances.

Well, this 2 storey terrace in local Brunswick eschews an urbane modernity in keeping with a beautiful renovated home bringing it into the present day.  The interiors were designed by Chelsea Hing, which include warm light grey walls, elegant rugs, darkened floorboards and modern artwork.

I love those glossy subway tiles in the kitchen and bathroom; and the verandah and front door are just as glamorous.  How beautiful is that marble fireplace and surround?  Rather than having the whole place modernised with complete white walls and ceiling and doors, it's a nice change to see it given depth and warmth with the layering of rugs, grey walls and a darkish palette throughout.

Subtle, eclectic, urbane, grand.  Totally modern too.

Photography Nik Epifanidis
Est Magazine

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Counting down to Xmas

The baking is underway with these mini Christmas fruit cakes that came out of the oven yesterday afternoon.

This year, I thought I would whip up a batch full of fruit, candied peel and a splash of brandy (of course) and wrap in ribbon and clear cellophane as little gifts for neighbours and friends.

One has already made it's way out the door this morning (I'm just waiting for the taste testing verdict!).

I do enjoy a little baking for special occasions and this cake has somehow turned into a tradition in our home at this time of year.

What about you, have you started your traditional baking yet?

If you feel like getting a bit of global inspiration for Christmas preparations and traditions, take a look at Ada's blog, Classiq where she invites her blogger friends from around the world to share their Christmas preparations... oh, and there's a little bit of my text in there too.

Photos by me

Monday, 15 December 2014

Timeless Monochrome Monday

What to wear to all these xmas celebrations, dinners, bbqs, drinks, catch ups and lunches... just keep it simple with monochrome looks that are sure to keep you on track and ahead of the pack.

Belted, draped, bold, chic, spotted, striped... The elegance of black and white is a timeless option for when there is so much else going on in your calendar.

All you need to do is focus on sipping some bubbles and socialising with friends young and old.

These silhouettes are just stunning I can't pick one favourite!

Photography Giampaolo Sgura
Vogue Germany, January 2015

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Stylish Retro Day

I love the retro feel of this editorial for a vibrant and fun Christmas day.

These pics of Ginta Lapinta for Vogue Japan mirror the expressions I made when someone told me it's only 2 weeks to Christmas Day!... what!???!

The gifting is almost complete.. it's always the last couple of things that are the hardest to find... the menu is pretty much sorted... and the decorations have been finalized (although tweeked throughout the day to get them just so!).  And speaking of gifting... how's about the gorgeous Dior scarves as a little something under the tree?

Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Home Style... Quiet Elegance, New York

So many lovely elements in this stunning New York apartment on the Upper East side; the view for one, the artwork and framed prints, the soft quiet palette of mostly silvery pastels, the warm light streaming in through the windows, the smattering of designer elements... wouldn't it be nice having breakfast with that view?

Follow the link through to Architectural Digest here for more photos.

Very elegant indeed.

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