From the monthly archives: October 2012

a dreamy kaftan by the queen of kaftans Camilla Franks

I am totally sitting on the fashion fence on this one! 

I see glam ladies rocking a kaftan, and think, yes that could be me. Strolling along the beach, kaftan billowing in the breeze, looking every bit the India Hicks/Elle Macpherson-esque bohemian lady.

Reality seems to be completely different!

For starters where do you get those kaftans??  Everyone I have tried on looks like a sac, which then clings in all the wrong places, and worse is not cool and breezy. It is hot, clingy, and makes me feel a little, well, blah!

Then, apart from on the beach, where else do you wear your kaftan?

You can’t wear your kaftan to work (well unless you work in a kaftan shop I guess).

You can’t wear your kaftan to the school pick up (unless you live in the Bahamas and India Hicks happens to be your neighbour from the  island next door).

You can’t wear it shopping (unless you are in the Bahamas and you have run out of tropical provisions or other essential Bohemian lifestyle supplies).

Which leaves me back at the beginning…to kaftan or not to kaftan? That is this weeks fashion conundrum…

Enjoy xx

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Nature is a brilliant source of inspiration (see here), and that includes all creatures great and small.  Two of my all time faves are owls and foxes. Whether adorning cushions, curtains, wallpaper, or starring as the inspiration for a fab piece of jewellery, owls and foxes rock.

Inspired by foxes and owls (naturally)

From the top (left to right)

1. Retro Owl cushion by seven dandelions (available here)

2. Gorgeous pair of foxy cushions by Robin and Mould (available here

3. Owl and mushroom cushion from freedom (available here)

4. Divine owl necklace by Danielle YC (available here)

5. Foxface necklace (available here)

6. Delightfully foxy duvet set by the lowercase (available here)

7. Owl bandit necklace (available here)

Do you find inspiration in nature? Have you got a favourite little critter?

Enjoy xx

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Bookshelves @ This Grand Life

We love books!  Already known as a self-confessed family of bibliophiles building our own library is a natural extension. From humble beginnings as a small shelf and a good lamp, to our current library – several large bookshelves, overflowing with literary treasures, reading couches, lamps, cosy rug…ahhh bliss!

Or a complete waste of space in our kind of full house. Depends if you are a lover of media rooms or books really.  We love books, so library it is.

I’ve always dreamed of taking the library to the next level.

A ladder (not sure why this is a necessity, but there it is).

More bookshelves, so all the books have a home.

A Chesterfield sofa (or two), definitely chocolate-brown leather and definitely OLD.  With leather that is a little worn, and soft to the touch. Plus cushions, loads of cushions.

A window seat, with comfy cushions.  

Can you tell I have spent a little while daydreaming about it?

Do you have a library/ reading room? 

Enjoy xx

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I love my little tribe, but I would also love some more ‘me-time’…

I have noticed over the years that as my life becomes busier, the amount of ‘me-time’ I have seems to have been fallen..dramatically!

Which is fine with me.

Most of the time.

Until I am reminded its good for the soul to take  time out, to as a friend puts it, ‘take care of yourself’.

How often do you take time out?  Do you block out time in your diary/calendar to ‘take care of yourself’?

My time out can fall into a couple of different categories:

  • Quiet time: a cup of tea, a good book and a place where I can’t be disturbed. A rare treat with my little tribe!
  • Pampering time: I always seem to busy, busy, busy to call in to the make-up counter or visit the beauty parlour (I wish old-style beauty parlours still existed, don’t you?) regularly so instead I have come to rely on new sources of great tips from some ladies who are in the know. Try these out and you’ll see what I mean…

  • Learning time. Yes, as a self-confessed geek, I LOVE to learn.  The latest one was completing an MBA. Completely bonkers on the face of it!  Wasn’t I ‘busy’ enough with the tribe, my corporate career, my freelance writing, friends, etc, etc, etc.  Truth is, it was energizing to spend time with a bunch of different people and learn and talk about new ideas and ways of thinking. I just joined a super-fab blog school, run by the lovely/generous Pip Lincolne for the same reason  A great way to spend time learning about something I love, and meet some fab new friends to boot!

What do you do to take time out? 

Enjoy xx

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Beetroot bonanza from This Grand Life

Over the weekend I took the tribe to our local farmers markets (, one of our favourite regular foodie-inspired outings.  For the past few days we have been eating our way through our produce: swiss brown mushrooms on home-made pizza, zingy sweet ‘rosey’ blood oranges – delicious stand-alone, tonight Cajun spiced cord-on-the-cob…

The last of our tasty treats is a big bright bunch of beetroot.  I searched high and low and have found three delish recipes for inspiration:

What do you think?  Salad, soup or salsa?

Enjoy xx

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Happy days!  The sun is finally starting to shine and means it’s time for sandals and sundresses!

Hurrah – how we love the warmer weather and the feeling of sun on our shoulders (yes, yes, in a very sun-safe way of course).

The ladies at This Grand Life have chosen a selection of favourites that we think will be perfect for sunny days.

For Little L and the under 5s

Quirky and gorgeous, just like Little L: ‘Alice’ dress by Littlehorn (via Tiny People)

For the Mini-Fashionista and the tween set

Perfect for parties and sunny days: flower stamp dress from seed (via Seed Heritage)

For me and other stylish ladies (who also happen to busy and on the go/ after something easy) 

Love. ‘dapple print’ dress from seed (via Seed Heritage)

Enjoy xx

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I am always inspired by nature and it seems I am not alone!  Botanical prints and floral designs are HOT, and I think spring is the perfect time to inject a little greenery into your favourite living rooms.

Here are  my 7 fab finds inspired by all things botanical…

1. Decorate the biggest canvas in your bedroom with some fab forest-themed bed linen.

How about sleeping with some forest friends? Dwell Duvet set, available from Kido Store

 2. Spruce up your favourite living space with some  fab accessories

Fabulous floral ‘Romeo’ cushion from Kas Australia

3. Deck the walls with… a tree (or two)

Create your own forest with Build a Tree, Love Mae (via Kido Store)

 3, 4 and 5. Vases and vessels ready top fill with flowers and foliage

the ‘Tye’ vase from Country Road, perfect for a big bunch of blooms!

6. Art versus Nature

how about this divine print? ‘Blue Wash Wild Flower by sweet william (via Down That Little Lane)

7.  Join the wallpaper revival with a botanical flourish

The makings of a fab feature wall? ‘Grand Thistle’ wallpaper from Timorous Beasties

Enjoy xx

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This Grand Life: getting inspiration by visiting Monets Garden or one of my fave blogs…

Reading a blog has become my new go-to place for inspiration, engaging with like-minded folk and daydreaming/ browsing.

The world-wide web is a big place though (suppose that’s where the name comes from!), so it’s a little tricky to work out where to start…

To help out in that space, here are five blogs I love to read and check in on daily.

  • The Beetle Shack ( beautiful pictures, lovely thoughts and some fab fashion ideas to boot!
  • Planning with Kids (  Having four kids in five years means this is ESSENTIAL!  Loads of great resources, tips and ideas.
  • Meet Me at Mikes ( Perfect for my daily fill of crafty inspiration, ‘Pip-style’ humour, and ideas for living life with a smile.
  • Decor8 ( So many ideas, and only one house to try them out. This is design inspiration heaven if you love design and also don’t mind a peek into fab houses and apartments.
  • Cup of Jo ( Jo lives a fab life in New York, and her honest commentary and beautiful shots makes you feel part of the story.

What are your favourite blogs?

Enjoy xx

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I LOVE weekends. Time seems to slow down, I get to indulge in a glass of wine (or two) and we get to go out and about as a whole tribe.

One of my all time fave’s is going for a stroll. I say a stroll rather than a walk, as stroll is a far better indication of the cracking pace we set. Four kids and two dogs does not make for a speedy entourage.

Heading off in the sunshine on a Super Sunday @ this Grand life

 We love to discover a new park or little piece of nature in the city…

Discovering a gorgeous little nature reserve near home….

Until everyones legs start to wear out, usually Little L is the first to announce its time to head home… 

Enjoy xx

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this Grand life at Mount Claremont Farmers Market

The lovely Big A and I have always had a soft spot for farmers markets. We seek them out when travelling, LOVED the thrice-weekly market in our village in France and now enjoy heading to our local market each Saturday.

The beauty of a farmers market is being able to make a connection with the talented folk who grow and make all the delish produce.  Better yet, a portion of the proceeds from the market go to the local primary school where the market is held (if you want to check it out it’s Mount Claremont Farmers Market, sunnyPerth– every Saturday morning). How cool is that!

Another very good reason why we love farmers markets is our whole tribe LOVES food.

Top of the favourites list today were plump delicious blueberries, fresh beetroot, blood oranges, Bon Pussy Hot Chilli Sauce (I kid you not, that is the brand) and freshly squeezed ‘Go Troppo’ juice. One of the lovely stallholders even arranged a fresh load of beetroot so I could take a couple of extra pics. Again, how cool is that!

Thank you to the lovely market garden stallholder for the delish beetroot!

As soon as the French granny trolley was loaded, the whole family started planning what we can cook/make.

I’m off now to roast the beetroot to make a yummy salad…

Do you have a local farmers market?  Do you love going?   

Enjoy xx

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