Friday, December 27, 2013

After All, It's Only a Movie.

I've totally struggled over the title of this Holiday Blog Post, & for good reason. I can't think of a suitably pithy, succinct yet witty way of saying that viewing of old movies over Xmas can really make you feel bad.
Not that I'm spending all my time lying on the couch glued to the rather mean little TV set that's in the corner of the quintessential beach house that I'm staying in with Maeflower & Tacitus in Macmasters Beach.
Far from it.
I've spent hours refining my quintessential beach outfit to ensure the least amount of skin is showing, although I did uncharacteristically wear a bikini top that I purchased in a last minute buying frenzy on Xmas Eve which fell off when I was dumped by a wave. Thankfully no one noticed.

I've fallen over on a bush track in the magnificent Bouddi National Park that is at our doorstep & spent an entire day limping.

I've overtaxed my calf muscles from too strenuously soft-sand trudging along the beach.

I've eaten foods I don't normally allow myself to eat like Meat Pies from a cake shop.

I drank flavoured latte-like hot drinks thinking that they actually contained caffeine only to wonder why after nearly 24 hours without coffee I was starting to feel like I was invaded by Aliens.

I was so engrossed with talking to my BFF Marge on the phone while flicking through my iPad that I didn't notice when Maeflower accidentally sliced the top off her finger whilst making dinner. I didn't even notice when she calmly asked while I was still on the phone if she could borrow a hair tie which I only much later realised she used as a tourniquet to stop the prolific bleeding.

But in spite of all this activity, I have managed to get in some old movies.
Sadly, the traditional Xmas movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" wasn't shown on the one lousy TV channel available in the beach house. "Jaws" was shown instead.
Hard as it is to believe, I had never actually seen "Jaws". How could I have avoided such a juggernaut for all these years, I wondered.
The answer is simple: the sight of the actor Robert Shaw being devoured limb by limb by a giant blow up plastic shark. For most of my life there would have been absolutely no way I could have viewed that spectacle. I saw it as a mark of maturity, but perhaps more the hardening of my emotional arteries that I sat gripped to the set on Xmas Nite watching the shark relish every tasty morsel. No wonder poor Robert died not that long after the making of the film at the young age of 51.
I was also amazed that I had never heard the classic line, "we're gonna need a bigger boat" which I'm told is up there with all the other iconic movie lines like "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy nite" & "How the hell do I know why there were Nazis? I don't even know how the can opener works" & "Mr deMille, I'm ready for my close up" which are all lines that seems to have summed up my life & possibly yours at various points.

Last nite we couldn't stomach another episode of the reality show, Highway Patrol which features clips of Angry Loners whose faces are pixelated whilst they are giving the finger to police officers after they've been pulled over for such offences as broken tail lights.
So we watched Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" which I found inside my Laptop. We marvelled at James Stewart's beautifully creased neck which was proudly on show every time there was a close up of him kissing Kim Novak, who was 25 years younger than him. Apparently, according to trivia that Maeflower read out, Hitchcock was so enraged by how old poor old Jimmy looked, he never used him again, which is kind of a shame.
But I thought the funniest bit of trivia was when Kim asked Hitch for some kind of motivation for her character & he airily replied with something like, "don't bother yourself with that stuff, after all, it's only a movie", which kind of sums up my life right now.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Shortened, Irreverent Xmas

Seasons Greetings!
But does anyone say that anymore? It sounds so Xmas Card 1958, doesn't it?
And I know that some people loathe the Neutrally Inclusive, "Happy Holidays" as it has been seen as the battle cry for the supposed War on Xmas.

Note that I'm using the shortened, irreverent spelling of Xmas. That's because, Right now I'd love to be on the front lines of that war. I've had a gut load of festive cars with reindeer antlers, & full car parks in Malls, & Jamie Oliver's Xmas Special where I swear he makes Roast Turkey with All the Trimmings Tacos, & not soft shell tacos either. And don't start me on those Xmas songs in Malls again. Every time I hear Bing Crosby crooning "White Xmas" all I can think about is how he used to bash his kids.

From what I just said, you'd think I'm about to spend an Angry Loners Xmas, where I'll roll out of bed on Xmas morn & wander out into the street full of happy families where I aimlessly wander around searching for an open cafe so I can get a Lonely Latte. And then back inside my apartment to unwrap a single serve Woolworths Plum Pudding that I desultorily munch on whilst settling down to watch a "Will & Grace" marathon.

Nothing of the sort. I've got a family beach holiday at McMasters Beach on the Central Coast to attend, loads of new, second hand & re-gifted presents to give, festive food to cook & eat & hopefully a few laughs at not too many people's expense to be had. And of course, the Queen's Xmas Message to watch.
I'm all set, although I hope I'm not being too smug about it.

Here's some photos which hopefully capture the essence of a Della Xmas:

Photo1: Sydney at Xmas. There are no penguins nor snow. Or snowmen. They would immediately melt. In fact, I don't believe that Sydney has ever snowed except perhaps in the Ice Age. It certainly hasn't snowed in my lifetime. Instead, There are native blossoms in full bloom & cake shops full of tempting treats & little dinky old inner city cottages ablaze with tinsel & sullen bedraggled youths weighed down with foam reindeer hats at every street corner.

Photo 2: Xmas decorations hanging from non-reindeer antlers. Behold the little gaggle of ornamental frocks & tutus garnished with pearls & coral that festoon my entrance foyer.
Sadly, I don't think any of my guests to date have noticed it. Perhaps I need Xmas lights & maybe a sign.

Photo 3: Chanel gifts to give & to get. I totally love my collection of Chanel shopping bags that were left over from buying Maeflower the 2:55 quilted handbag.

Photo 4: Sequinned Party Clothes. Here I am all dressed up looking like I'm about to go to a big Xmas Shindig. Sadly, I was only going to the local pizza restaurant with three friends.
But we had a good time. I'm wearing a freshly thrifted sequinned top from Bednobs that still had the price tag that I was thrilled to see was in Euros on it. And you can see that I'm wearing what was called on the label, Lounge Pants, but a friend described as Aladdin Pants. I could spend a whole blog entry on how, after thirty five years, I've just rediscovered wearing pants. But I'll save that for another time.

Photo 5: my favourite Xmas song, Xmas is All Around sung by Bill Nighy in the almost best but certainly the cheesiest Xmas film of all time, Love Actually. This year I began listening to it about two weeks before I sighted the first sign of Xmas which was a display of single serve plum puddings at Woolworths which are exactly the ones that I imagined I might be eating at Xmas if I was an Angry Loner.
Do yourself a favour & watch & listen to Bill on YouTube. He is Elderly Sex Appeal on a Stick.

Photo 6: Xmas Cats. This year I found an adorable festive pet hat & matching bow tie at GoLow & immediately put it in the post to send to Maeflower's cat Millefleur in Canberra. She kindly sent me this slightly awkward photo of him as apparently cats don't like wearing hats. In case you were wondering, Millefleur is on the left & I've placed an adorable photo I found on the internet next to it to show what is possible for Festive Cats.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Literary Tea Towel

It is Day 3 of my Long Summer Holidays & already I feel that they are slipping by far too quickly.
Where has the time gone? I ask myself.
Today I spent four hours in Broadway Shopping Centre with my great friend Trixie who has just freshly returned from a long jaunt mainly in England. We ate lunch at Nandos & guzzled Diet Cokes with gay abandon while I opened loads of fab gifts that she had thoughtfully collected for me in the course of her travels. Like a souvenir tea towel from the Dickens Museum which was an original illustration from Oliver Twist with the caption, "Please Sir, I want some more."
I defy anyone to come up with a better idea for a tea towel than that immortal scene, which incidentally sums up my life & maybe yours as well.
Unless of course you wheel in Shakespeare, a genius whose every word would do any tea towel proud. I wouldn't even mind one of his v short stage directions on a tea towel. Like "Enter Banquo dressed for riding".
But I think the quintessential Shakespearean line that he clearly wrote with a tea towel in mind is the "Double double toil & trouble" chant from the witches in Macbeth. It clearly reflects the mood felt by many when washing & drying dishes.

Oh dear, this was supposed to be a blog about Holidays & the festive season & how stupid it's been for hundreds of years that we in Australia decorate our homes at Xmas with fake snow & penguins & have songs like "let it snow! let it snow! let it snow! " blare out of sound systems at shopping centres when it's Summer..not a treatise on The Literary Tea Towel.
This is yet another clear example of how this blog has a mind of its own & I am merely the humble scribe who types.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Liberation That Having No Plans Can Create

It is Monday morning & I am sitting at my desk in the staff room slightly sweating even though I am not wearing synthetics. In fact, I'm wearing a silk Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress that gapes a little at the front. Outside I can hear a teacher in a v grave voice tell a class of hangdog girls that he is v disappointed in them. A colleague in an adjoining desk who is frantically trying to record marks remarks that there are some voices that are so irritating that you just can't block them out. I wearily agree.
Welcome to the end of the year.

Our school year finishes on Friday & as usual I'm thinking, Not a Moment too Soon. If we went on much longer, someone might lose an eye.
Many weeks of holidays await me & as I ponder this thought, I'm inwardly quivering with anticipation.
You may be wondering, what are her plans? Will she go skiing in Gstaad or maybe Aspen this time? Perhaps a leisurely jaunt through some Arcadian Wine Country? A recuperative stay in a clinic? A course of Botox?
Sadly, none of these.

Apart from a fab beach holiday over Christmas with Maeflower & Tacitus, I have no plans.
Nothing. And may I say , what a liberating thought. The possibilities are endless:

I might create artworks.

Frolic in the sea but only venture to waist height in order to avoid rips & sharks.

Sit in cafés & sip lattes instead of getting takeaways & rushing out.

Buy an onion slicer.

Add to my list of Signature Dishes.

Go to "Bednobs" my favourite op shop every single day instead of just twice a week.

Make a Xmas wreath from fake flowers.

Actually read a book. In fact, I have a book that I bought months ago called "Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson that I saw was on someone's top ten books of this year. How Zeitgeisty of me.

Go to the gym to attend my favourite class, Body Balance, which is a clever mixture of yoga, Pilates & tai chi. Usually I only make it once or at a stretch, twice a week. In anticipation, I've already bought a whole slew of footless tights from Cotton On which are far chicer & cheaper than Luluwhatsit or LornaMaryJane, not that I'm promoting a brand, heaven forbid, I'm just stating an opinion.

In the meantime, I'm still at school. But it's not all bad. As you might see if you stick around to see the photos below.

Photo 1. I was given a wonderful gift of a Kate Spade pencil case which really made me reflect on how much I like to get gifts particularly if they have a designer label attached.

Photo2. I've been wearing freshly thrifted dresses that remind me of macaron colours.

Photo 3. I confiscated a Hermes bracelet from a student whose mother didn't know she'd borrowed it. I wore it for the whole lesson & didn't want to give it back.

Photo 4. I coveted the riotous Ginger & Smart shoes (another unintentional plug for a brand) that my Ex-Student Teacher wore to school.

Photo5. I loved layering necklaces that looked like old piano keys.

Photo 6. I enjoyed practising empathy.

Phot 7. I occasionally dressed like Mother of the Bride at work.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Big Handbag Philosophical Questions

What does your handbag say about you?
Sadly, I didn't feel that I was equipped to answer , so I consulted a range of experts.
Top of the list was Hello Kitty, who said that a handbag is a "mirror of who you are now".

Wise words. But then if that's true, what does my constant usage of fake bags say about me? My priceless Toy Chanel, my Pleather Fendi Spy Bag, my adorable Toy Louis Croissant Bag, to
name just a few ?
Am I just a Big Fake? A walking counterfeit?
Don't answer that.

Perhaps I should abandon the big Handbag Philosophical Questions for now & get on with what I want to tell you.
Last weekend my daughter Maeflower & her fiancé Tacitus drove up from their bijou apartment in Canberra to stay with me. The purpose of the trip was partly to take receipt of the Chanel 2:55 quilted handbag in the Large Size that I bought for her.
It was so much fun.
You know, I've always nodded & smiled whenever I've heard the old adage, "it's better to give than to receive", but it's never really made any sense to me. I just pretended it did.
And on the face of it, it doesn't. Why would you rather give something away when you can have it yourself?
But in this case, it was loads more fun to give it to Maeflower than to keep it myself for the following reasons:
1. It was totally guilt free shopping. I'm riddled with guilt. Blame my mother who loved to say that all I ever did was "take take take!" When she said it, she always made sure she said the word "take" three times for maximum effect. It worked like a charm.
2. I got to see the look on my daughter's face when she first saw it.
3. It was fab to see her walking down the street with it swinging from her shoulder.
4. I got to keep the box & the wrappings.
5. I did manage to buy myself a Chanel bracelet whilst I was in the store, so I didn't actually walk away with nothing. You can see it in the last photo.
6. Buying it was as good as going on a short holiday.

There's loads more to say & complain about.
Like, why are my upper arms, after years of boxing, still like a couple of large pork chops?
Or, how can our prime minister deny climate change when our weather is so totally weirder than it's ever been?
Or, how come I've lived this long & I still don't know where Belize is?

But I won't . I'll hop into bed & maybe dream I'm turning into a bag.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Risk of Sounding Vulgar

I've so much to report.
Lame but Adorable:
Like today my year 8 class put a v. Realistic Fake Tarantula on my chair in the classroom & waited breathlessly for me to go ballistic. Sadly for them I didn't as I could tell it was fake immediately, & besides, I'm weirdly not scared of spiders.
But I did wear it for the rest of the lesson. You can see a picture below.

A Non-Travel Tale:
Like on Sunday, I walked into the Chanel shoppe in Westfield Bondi Junction & bought my daughter Maeflower a 2:55 quilted bag in the large size. She deserves it. And she's a luxury item herself so she may as well carry one.
At the risk of sounding vulgar, the 2:55 (named after the month & year it was released - February 1955) was the price of a budget trip to Europe for a couple of weeks. Or maybe three weeks in Vietnam & Cambodia with a few nites at a luxury resort in Phuket thrown in.
I only mention this because travel seems to be the acceptable way of blowing all your savings at my age. If you blow it on a handbag people look at you as if you're unhinged.
Don't get me wrong, I love travel. But I love Designer Handbags more.
There, I've said it. It sounds almost as incomprehensible as saying you don't like watching videos of Yawning Baby Pandas.
Or maybe it's even a bit blasphemous. Like watching the Pope going to the bathroom.
But I comfort myself in the knowledge that more than 2000 people a day tramp all over Machu Pinchu & their footsteps are eroding the whole joint at a semi-alarming rate. And I'm not doing it.
I'm staying at home toying with my Designer Handbag Collection.

The Dress that Sounds Like An Ironing Aid.
In Australia, Preen is the name of a popular brand of spray- on ironing aid.
But in the UK, it is the name of a cult clothing label.
It's one of those brands that when ,say Gweneth Paltrow is asked who are her favourite designers, she might say, "well, my BFF Stella McCartney of course. Alexander McQueen ,Chloe & Preen."
So it was with great suppressed excitement & a soupçon of smugness that I casually tried on a Preen dress with the tags still on at my favourite Op shop, Bednobs & Broomsticks last week. Clearly, the volunteers at the shop had no idea because it was $15 & there was a whole lot of discussion about the rather vulgar ruffles at the sleeves. It was suggested that I cut them off when I got the dress home .
I smiled & nodded & dutifully paid my dough.
As soon as I got home, I tried the dress on & decided that the accordion pleated sleeves were a marvel of craftsmanship & creativity & I wasn't going anywhere near the dress with a pair of scissors.
Once that was settled, I consulted the internet & discovered that anything by Preen costs hundreds & hundreds & maybe even thousands of pounds.
I spent the rest of the evening basking in the knowledge of how much I'd saved. Much like how much good I've done by not going to Machu Pinchu.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I'm Nothing Like French Woman

Today is Sunday.
Since childhood, I have frequently suffered from Sunday Afternoon Ennui which was probably caused by having to sit up & eat Roast Pork for Sunday lunch as a child when I had been told that it really wasn't pork which I thought tasted weird, but a New variation of meat called "chicken-pork".
My parents' ability to creatively bend the truth when it suited them was kind of adorable in a traumatising way.
While we ate, the TV was on. From memory, it was usually something excruciating like Celebrity Golf Tournaments.
By now you're probably thinking what an appalling Dickensian Childhood I had.
And I don't blame you for thinking that.

But Today was nothing like those long ago Sundays. I did not eat any Pig Products, although I briefly toyed with the idea of frying some bacon.
And the TV was silent.
But for some strange reason, I did experience a tiny soupçon of Ennui. OMG, I do love it when I spontaneously break out into Franglais, something I haven't done for ages!
Perhaps it is because I was reading in the paper today about Mirielle Guilano,the author of the popular book, French Women Don't Get Fat.
Sadly, I can't exactly remember what I was reading about her. But I do know that she says that French women don't get fat.
Apparently it's rude in France to have more than a sliver of cheese from a platter. And then they wear flat shoes which means they can walk everywhere or perhaps cycle & shop everyday for food which they have to lug up six flights of wrought iron Art Nouveau stairs to reach their bijou apartments to cook in their quaint kitchens. It sounds so adorable, I feel I've been transported inside the film Amelie!
I'm nothing like a French woman, although I do prefer flats but I can't cycle & my Art Deco apartment building has a lift installed.
And, quelle horreur, call me a Madwoman, but I do have a fondness for dieting.
After at least four months, maybe more , I'm still doing two days a week intermittent fasting.
Mondays & Wednesdays.
Whilst my colleagues happily spend their days shovelling in delicate pig tartlets & massive brownies, I nibble on julienned carrots & celery sticks.
Has it worked? you may be asking.
I must admit that I ask myself the same question.
Truth be told, I can't really tell. Some months ago, I banished the bathroom scales to a far distant shelf in a cupboard where they are waiting to be thrown out. So, I'm forced to scrutinise my silhouette at regular intervals to inspect for signs of shrinkage.
It's like my friend Marge who eliminated caffeine, sugar & alcohol from her life as part of an Ayervedic diet & instead ate loads of ghee & almond butter. At the end of three months, she wasn't sure what it did.

I've just realised, the Ennui has gone.
Thank you Della.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Never Wear a Pony Tail Smaller Than Your Nose

It is now Sunday early evening although it doesn't feel like it thanks to lousy, stinking Daylight Saving that everyone else seems to love, but I loathe. I'm one of those Old School types who likes to get to the end of the day when it's dark. I don't want to sit up & eat dinner with the tv on in broad daylight.
It feels wrong. Like watching tv in the middle of the day.
Another thing that feels wrong is the weather. It's now 34 degrees Celsius. And all day it's been blowing a nasty hot gale. And it's October.
But enough of what's wrong.
Let's move on to what's what.

Sadly, I'm using my iPad Blogger app so I can't organise my photos around my text. It's so crap that the photos just trail along at the end like some dreary afterthought.
If you can be bothered to scroll down to the photos , you may notice that I'm back in the classroom for the last glorious term of the year. Tomorrow my students begin their hateful HSC exam so all day I've been receiving desperate little emails with HEELP!!! As their title.
I've enjoyed throwing them tasty little morsels of mini essays that they can spew out tomorrow.

As well, I've been madly emailing my two o'erseas amigos, Trixie, who has been staying at the Savoy in London & visiting Sissinghust, the home of my ex idol, Vita Sackville-West, & Marge who is staying in a v v old Adobe (which has nothing to do with photoshop) in maybe Taos New Mexico.
In case you were wondering, I'm not in the least jealous of their exotic travels & am perfectly happy stationed next to the whiteboard in the classroom.

My big news is that I wore my hair out this week. I finally went to the hairdressers to have its twice-yearly haircut . In an effort to save money, I washed my hair beforehand but when, Jenny, the inscrutable hairdresser ran her hands through it, she grimaced & flatly said that it would have to be re-washed because it felt bad. Something about the shampoo & conditioner I was using not being strong enough. I don't even use conditioner as I've never believed in it. But I didn't tell her that.
I was revolted & immediately decided that in the interests of Public Health I needed to wear my hair out more often as maybe I was growing a birds nest in there or something.
So you can see the results in the photos.

So as I don't appear too Self Obsessed, quelle horreur, I've included a photo of three of my colleagues showing the importance of The Constant Application of Lipstick.

I'll leave you with a little hair tip that Rose, my lovely colleague gave me. "Never wear a pony tail that's smaller than your nose."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I, Too, Was at Fashion Week, Or At Least It Felt Like It.

 What a time I've had.
New York, London, Milan & not forgetting Paris.
But who can ever forget Paris?

Thanks to the miracle of Modern Technology, we can all have the virtual experience of being Somewhere Else. And the Somewhere Else that I went to was outside the recent Fashion Shows. Sadly, I didn't exactly get inside the shows themselves,  but I was where all the real action was going on - Outside.
And as I've always considered myself an Outsider, I felt right at Home.
Here I am above, pounding the Parisian cobblestones with Emmanuelle Alt, the much-copied editor of French Vogue, who I guess is currently the epitome of  Effortless Chic, a much coveted elusive brand that is the Holy Grail of Fashion.
You know what I mean - that look that casually says, 'I have a v.v. full & fascinating life so I don't really have time to think too hard about how I look. I just throw a few things together at the last moment, & somehow it just seems to work'.
I am almost but not quite, puking in my mouth.
Note that Emmanuelle is wearing a simple tank watch, probably a Cartier & a simple understated  bangle, whereas I am wearing huge try-hard bangles with text on them as well as a huge o'ersized black flower which you can't really see in the photo, but trust me, is there.

And here I am in New York with Uber-Fashionista  Giovanna Battaglia. 
I was totally thrilled that we were both on the same Black & White Page on the day we were photographed together on our way to a show which of course I didn't bother attending.
I don't think for a moment that Giovanna's huge o'ersized Pilgrim  Fathers Belt impedes her Effortless Chic status, although it does look a little like she's leaning to one side with the weight of it.
But that's just probably my sour grapes for wearing those Nun Tights. And one too many strand of pearls.
If you'd like more of Giovanna, you could check out a blog dedicated to her called
I haven't really looked properly at it, but it looks interesting & besides I adore the name & would love to start another blog with a similar name - I Want to Be an Effortless Chick Dotcom. But I wouldn't dare because I can hardly post on this blog.
And I do love Della.
Even though I nastily neglect her at times.

 One thing that I was pleasantly surprised to note outside the shows was the appearance of Flat Heeled Shoes.
It almost felt that I'd actually willed this to happen. How could I have so much influence, I wondered?
Note that I'm not wearing my Ferrogamo Veras which  spend most of their time inside the box they came in because I want to keep them in pristine condition & also sadly because they are a tad tight across the toes.
Instead, I'm wearing marvellous thrifted Bruno Maglis which are stuffed at the ends with tissue paper because they're a half size too big & have a tendency to fall off when I'm nimbly hopping down the steet.

 The highlight of My Fashion Week came when Bill Cunningham, the famous street photographer wanted to take my photo outside one of the shows that I didn't bother attending.
I know, I know it looks like he's really photographing that Other Person & I've just muscled in.
But actually, Photographs Do Lie. It was me that he wanted, not her.

 It looks like I'm having a Jewelry Face Off (is that the right term? I wonder) in the photo above.
But I think the lady on the left won even though I've got those all those grey pearls wrung so tightly around my neck that I'm about to choke.
Perhaps it's Play Off?
Or Stand Off? Yes, stand off sounds better.

 Again, like the appearance of Flat Shoes, I was amazed at how my influence had spread across the fashion world. It was almost embarressing that this Effortless Chick & I arrived wearing almost the same Chanel outfit, only hers was a kind of bomber jacket with Chanel written on it & mine was an o'ersized rip off shirt with no Chanel on it that had probably been previously owned by an elderly member of the Double Bay Bridge Club.
But who would notice such things?

I've saved the Big Guns until last.
Above, I'm hanging out with Queen Anna Dello Russo who has an adjoining apartment in Milan just for her wardrobe. We couldn't get over how we had unconsciously channelled each other on the day by wearing similar green outfits & baroque accessories!

Finally, I'm crossing the road with Carine Roitfeld, the ex-editor of Paris Vogue & the Patron Saint of French Dressing, although I don't think her style is Quite Effortless Chic. Her shoes are far too complicated  for that look.
Who knew that Carine & I are v. close in age?

My Real or is it Realish life begins again on Tuesday with the start of Term 4.
As usual, the year is rapidly drawing to a close & I've already seen my first sign of Christmas in a shop.