28 June 2013

Death by Doxie : Elfi On The Bed (Part I)

Can you possibly stand the cute? I didn't think so...

26 June 2013

As Seen In Asia : My Other (New!) Blog!

Finally! After dreaming about it for years I've hit publish on my street style blog. It's called asia* and you can find it at asseeninasia.blogspot.com (get it? get it?). 

As you may be aware I'm not an especially fashionable lass but I do love a good frock, a quirky detail, and those people who just look put together. I envy them, actually. This new blog is about capturing a little slice of that as I roam the streets of Asia (and yes, for the purposes of this blog Australia most definitely counts as part of Asia!). 

At the moment they are all sneaky shots, but I'm hoping to do some 'proper' stranger danger photos once I work up the courage to actually stop people in the street (just the thought makes me a bit weak at the knees!). I'll be posting three times a week over there (and hopefully three times a week over here too!). 

I'm really excited about this new project, I hope you're a little bit excited too!

24 June 2013


I read about the deer in Seoul Forest way back when, before we actually moved to Seoul, and it's been on my have-to-go-visit-one-day list ever since. Last week  - thanks to a friend and her appropriately aged (and crazy cute!) child - I finally got to go. 

The park itself is beautiful, lots of pathways and tiny bridges; small streams and ponds; playgrounds, picnic areas and sports fields. And in the 'Ecological Forest' there are loads of deer and they are as gorgeous as you'd expect (just look at those eyelashes!). There's even a vending machine where you can buy a cup of deer food for a dollar or so (better than feeding them a cheese puff which I saw one kid doing...). 

If you procure the food you'll find the deer are quite keen to come say 'hi', and slobber all over your hand too (thank goodness for wet wipes). As an extra bonus we happened to be there just after the birth of two little deer - we could see them trying to take their first wobbly steps, nudging mum for a drink (and, in one case, we could see the mum eating the placenta - ahhhhh, the majesty of nature...). One of the deer mums looked a bit freaked out, she didn't like us being near her baby, so we let her be. But the other mum was quite relaxed, so I managed to take a few baby deer photos.

I'm glad I made it to see the deer, but I feel like there's so much of the park left to explore. I'll be heading back, there'll be more deer before I leave Seoul...

22 June 2013

Collecting Colours : Pink + Yellow

I have a feeling I picked this colour combination for reasons other than liking it, because I'm pretty sure I don't actually like it. But - I needed to fit yellow in to the monthly colour progression so here it is...

Whilst I love the vibrance and fun of last month's colour pair, there's something a little too...umm..sugary sweet? insipid? about pink and yellow together. I am not a fan. 

I think pink and yellow need a third colour, a modifier, to work. And then magic happens (generally modish, psychedelic magic!). Add a grassy green and you get something like this. Add an aqua blue (and a hint of navy) and you get this. Add orange and you get this. Even a dash of white changes things for the better (like this).

But, this challenge is about diptychs and colour pairs so unfortunately we'll have to do without. And please, do tell me if you think I'm wrong on this one...

* * * * * * *

Every month through 2013 I'll be 'collecting colours', and you can join in too! Just create something, anything based on the colour pair for each month. Link up below, Instagram, Tweet and/or add your photo to the Flickr group here. You can go here to get all the information you need.  

21 June 2013

New! Flora Postcards! + Sale! Ends Soon!

Due to my blanket Twitter and Facebook coverage of these things you're probably already aware but just in case there's a few of you that have missed the news - above is the result of something I've been working on for a little while, and something I'm rather pleased with. Flora notecards are now available in my Jorpins Handmade shop on Etsy - only US $5.50 for a set of three (there's eight different sets to chose from). 

And to make room for more stock like this I'm having a one week only massive half price sale on a bunch of stuff! There are so many great bargains to be had (including moleskine notebooks at ridiculous prices!). 

Once the sale ends on Sunday evening, all this sale stock will dissappear from my store forever, never to return! So if you like the look of something grab it now while you still can! 

15 June 2013

See / Eat / Stay : Sydney +

After my week in Melbourne I headed to Sydney for a week. As well as doing my first site visit for The Big Project (half a house - GONE! - so exciting! more on that at a later date...) here's some other fun things that happened.

See / Blue Mountains - We like to head out of town with the step-sons whenever we get to Sydney. The problem is, in contrast to Melbourne, Sydney has a bit of a dearth of great things to do within a few hours drive. The Blue Mountains is a good standby when we can't think of anywhere else to go. Even with some slightly foreboding skies and the odd spatter of rain it still made for a nice break - great views, fresh air, a bit of a stroll...

See / Art Gallery of New South Wales - The gallery in Sydney is such a lovely place - the garden setting with views over Woolloomooloo, the mix of old and new architecture, the cafe (it serves cider!). And it's free. As a teen I fell in love with modern Australian painting, so visiting the gallery is like catching up with old friends. Funny what a strong reaction seeing a piece of art in the flesh can evoke. If you visit make sure you head downstairs to the contemporary art galleries. I was blown away (and a bit creeped out) by the installations down there. Inspiring stuff. 

See / Sydney Theatre Company - One of the things we've missed about living in Seoul is access to quality English-language the-ar-tar (you have to pronounce it like that, otherwise you might start taking everything too seriously). Anyway, knowing we'd be moving back (eventually) we signed up for an STC subscription this year. This trip we saw Fury, which I really liked. 

But really - it almost doesn't matter what play you see. Part of the fun is not knowing what's coming up, like reaching in to a lucky dip. Sometimes its wonderful, intimate, affecting, hilarious. And sometimes its terrible. But again, that almost doesn't matter, because then there's the great conversations about exactly how, where, and when the play was terrible. 

And the theatre isn't just about the play. It's about fighting your way to the bar and downing a wine at intermission. It's about the view of the Harbour Bridge from The Bar at the End of the Wharf, the 'ding ding ding' telling you to take your seats, the rituals, the crowd watching... (Also we sat next to Hugo Weaving, so we're basically famous.) 

See / Vivid Sydney - I've heard so many rave reviews about the festival of light that is Vivid Sydney, I was pretty excited to realise our visit coincided with the 2013 festival. So excited in fact that I tried to convince the husband to can the Blue Mountains trip (apparently he is not as thrilled by light projections as I am...). Anyway, I strolled around Circular Quay one mild Sydney night and took it all in. I only managed to see the tiniest bit but it was great, worth it for the MCA projection alone (which was really wonderful). The festival has finished for this year (sorry) but maybe you can start planning for 2014?

Eat / est., Sydney - The husband is in the midst of two months of crazy busy work travel, so to celebrate a rare night together we treated ourselves to an uber-fancy meal at est. And quite the treat it was! The best bits were: 1) The creamy, melty Brillat-Savarin; 2) The passionfruit soufflĂ© (we were meant to share, but the chef clearly saw the look in my husband's eyes - he doesn't have a sweet tooth but he can inhale a soufflĂ© in seconds - and made us one each!); and 3) The lamb rib eye. Yum. 

Eat / Ippudo, Westfield Sydney - I'm going through a bit of a ramen phase right now (actually, anything involving soupy noodles makes me weak at the knees right now) and I'd read about this place in Gourmet Traveller, so I checked it out. It was pretty tasty, though the soup base was on the heavy side - a bit too porky for my liking. Maybe chalk it up for when you need a slightly greasy, meaty, carbohydrate fix? (As a side note, the new Westfield food court in Sydney is pretty damn impressive! Looking forward to exploring it a bit more...) 

Eat / Bistro Moncur, Woollahra - My husband used to live just down the road from this (slightly expensive, but very good) bistro and it's always been one of his favourites. I always love the salads, and we always share the deliciously simple linguine as an entree. The restaurant has had it's ups and downs, but on this visit the meal and service were both great. 

Eat / Echoes, Katoomba - We had dinner here as part of our Blue Mountains weekend. I thought the food was good but not spectacular. If you're keen to go, I'd say do it at lunchtime when you can see the view (which apparently is spectacular). 

Eat / Sailors Thai Canteen, The Rocks - The more casual cousin to Sailors Thai, we went here for a post-theatre dinner of green curry and papaya salad. So delicious. And it made me realise that all the fancy French food and mod-Oz is great, but it's the good Asian meals I really, really get excited about these days. (See also, Longrain). 

Eat / Various - I had a decent red velvet cupcake (they're hard to come by) at Ghermez Cupcakes, Bondi Junction; a good coffee (also hard to come by, in Sydney at least) at Chrysler Cafe Bar, Sydney; and a fine (if unexceptional) breakfast at Indigo, Double Bay

Wow, we ate a LOT in Sydney!

Stay / Lilianfels, Katoomba - A hotel with a ye olde feel, spectacular location and decent food. And tennis courts, which we made good use of. And by 'good' I mean we used it more than once. And played appallingly. Considering the rooms, service and location it's the best place we've stayed in at the Blue Mountains. Sometimes in the hills you find that hotels translate 'ye olde feel' as 'we don't need to do building maintenance or provide any modern services or conveniences; but we'll still charge you as if we are'. But Lilianfels was not like this at all. Plus it had fabulous wallpaper, which counts for a lot in my books. 

Stay / Blue, Woolloomooloo - I like this hotel a lot. I like the way they've treated the old wharf building, and melded it into a hotel. I love the location (especially when I'm on my own, it feels a bit less intense than staying in the city). I love the sparkly blue water, the neighbourhood and the fact that it's only a short stroll to the gallery, Opera House and city. And I really like the service (so responsive it's a little spooky...). I like that as a Tablet+ member I get free internet and breakfast when I stay here. I like that it's (relatively) reasonably priced for such a nice hotel. But I don't like the thin walls and windows, because (call me crazy) I don't like hearing my hotel neighbours cheering as they watch the footy on the TV, or the drunken pub goers across the road. Fix that and this would be perfection. (ps. If you ever stay here make sure you check out the intriguing Artspace gallery space across the road.)

13 June 2013

See / Eat / Stay : Melbourne +

Oh me oh my things are busy right now aren't they? I'd say I'm barely keeping my head above water but actually I think my head is under water. And I'm using a straw as a snorkel... Anyhoo, onwards and upwards! 

Welcome to the inaugural See / Eat / Stay post. I travel a lot but I'm not really a Travel Blogger, I'm more of a Travel Slide Shower (but at least I do it on the web so you can quietly leave the room when you're bored and I won't get offended). 

I'll probably never be a Travel Blogger, but I do do lots of fun stuff in lots of places. The See / Eat / Stay posts are about sharing some of that information with you, in bite sized form. And maybe they'll help you find some fun things for yourself if you're heading to Melbourne or Sydney or Hong Kong or Wherever? 

Okay, so here's what I got up to during my week in Melbourne (and surrounds). 

See / Cape Schanck Lighthouse - Mum and I headed down to the Mornington Penninsula for a night, and chanced upon a beautiful blue sky day. We visited the Cape Schanck Lighthouse, quite a spectacular part of the coast with lots of (poorly signed but well maintained) walkways and paths to explore. We also found out you can stay at the cottages at the Lighthouse - how great would that be?
See Lamington Drive - I managed to pop in to this great gallery just in time to catch the end of 'A Hidden Place', the gorgeous exhibition featuring colabs by my sister and Kat Mcleod. Loved the show and the space. Regardless of whatever exhibition is on they have loads of ace affordable prints for sale (and some amazing terrariums too). 

See / Maiike Store, Hawthorn - (I'd call it Kew, but apparently it's Hawthorn so...) This is kind of the area I grew up in - the east of Melbourne - and I get a bit excited when I see hip new retail pop up here. This shop is really wonderful - a gorgeous mix of locally designed clothing, handmade toys and blankets, and carefully curated international labels (like Donna Wilson). I could have taken one of everything if my bank account / suitcase would have coped. 

See / Markit @ Fed Square - I always love it when one of my visits home coincides with a great market, and this trip I was pretty excited to be able to finally check Markit out. It's a craft market that has a reputation for quality and it didn't disappoint. I picked up a few goodies, including these cards of awesome by Madeleine Stamer (my new illustration / colour crush), printspace (clean, happy designs) and hannakin (a new find for me, the quirkiest cards you ever did see!). The next Markit is happening in November.

Eat / Kumo Izakaya, Brunswick East - I've eaten here a few times and it's always delicious. And I love the decor. And the uber hip, slightly eccentric waiter that I seem to get every time I go. I highly recommend starting with a umeshu and soda. Or two. And get the beef tataki. They also cater very well to those of you with food allergies (I know you're out there), with separate menus for dairy, wheat, gluten, etc, free dishes. 

Eat / Omah's, Hawthorn - I had lunch with my Dad at this Malaysian restaurant in Hawthorn. We picked it at random, but it turned out to be a fine choice! Good service, nice decor and it was pretty damn tasty (although I am both laksa obsessed and laksa deprived so I may not have been the most discerning judge...). 

Eat / T'Gallant, Main Ridge - On our Mornington Peninsula sojourn we stopped by T'Gallant wineries for lunch. Tasty! (The glass of pinot gris was especially so!). 

Eat / Albert St Food & Wine, Brunswick - Another awesome thing about this trip was that I was in town for my nephew's 10th birthday (you miss a lot of birthdays living overseas...). Being the first double digit birthday, my sister wanted to do something a bit special, so we took him out for a fancy meal. Great food, and really great service. This has gone on my 'must take the husband to' list.

Stay / Mum's House, Kew - Ummm. I wouldn't recommend this. Unless you are me. But for me it works. This is the house I grew up in, and it's full of little reminders of childhood fun times (see that rainbow wallpaper behind my Mum's pile of scarves? From memory my sister and I chose this for the room when we shared it. Pretty awesome, yes?). It's in desperate need of a ton of maintenance. Actually, it's in desperate need of a major renovation. But, it still has the same calming welcoming feel it had when I was a kid and I always sleep like a relaxed log when I stay there!

*The photo at the very top of the post was taken as I was coming in to land rather early on a crisp Melbourne morning. That glowing blob you see is actually the moon! The sun was rising on the other side of the plane, turning the sky the most amazing colours. Was quite a gorgeous way to be welcomed home!