Archive for July, 2010

28 July, 2010

The Ikea Run

By a quirky, unexpected turn of circumstances, serendipitous meetings, straight out opportunism, leaps of faith and perhaps pure, blind luck (always easy to see, in retrospect), I seem to have landed pretty much where I want to be: in a new job in a beautiful building with friendly, supportive managers and colleagues, and I’m just about to move into a lovely light-filled house close to shops, a cosy café or two, lovely restaurants, a purveyor of fine wines and a fabulous bookshop and library.

The only catch?  It’s not in my hometown of Melbourne but rather, Canberra – Australia’s capital – and famed for well, just that fact. Cultural goings-on are minimal, and certainly not of the eccentric, underground sort which Melbourne and London is known for.  Canberra is also famed for the grand ole business of government, of course.  But, as I’ve said plenty of times, life certainly takes you where you least expect and sometimes, you need to grasp opportunities when they present themselves, even if all the boxes aren’t ticked.  And given the upcoming federal election, it’s quite the place to be.

The one fly in the ointment? There is no Ikea. A revelation which seriously made me reconsider my move. Because no matter what those design snobs say, there is nowhere like Ikea for a well-designed, nice-looking, inexpensive household bits n’bobs. Especially for people new in town.  Quite a glaring omission for the Swedish company, I think, given Canberra’s highly-skilled, cashed-up, transient population. Apparently ‘Ikea runs’ (2-3 hours’ drive to the nearest store in Homebush, Sydney) is quite the thing in this town.

But one thumbs up for Canberra? No Starbucks. Apparently the last one fled town a couple of years ago. And amen to that.

A tasty exotic mushroom pizza with a perfect crust. At one of Canberra’s culinary surprises.

23 July, 2010


In between appointments, I whiled away the time with a croque monsieur and a latte in this wonderful café in a bustling, fancy-pants Melbourne suburb.

It was like stopping by for a convivial chat and snack at the home of an affluent friend in their French countryside mansion.

I particularly love the hanging pots and pans…

…the warm green floor tiles…

the mosaic splashback and the high, high ceilings…

…and the sturdy, porcelain-tiled kitchen bench.

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21 July, 2010

A House of One’s Own

A ramble through Brighton with an old friend. We stumbled across this lovely old home with its gorgeous sky blue shutters and gate and I thought ‘this is the house for me’.

And the nearby scenery isn’t too shabby either.

20 July, 2010

Song(s) o’the Week #29

Old skool songs to pack by.

Ain’t Got No… I Got Life by the fabulous, one and only Nina Simone.

Blue Skies by Ella Fitzgerald.

The stonkin’Mood Indigo by Nina Simone.

18 July, 2010

Of Gardens and Teacups

Little lovely things from the gardens of friends and family. To wish me well on my move and to, eventually, christen my new home.

Thanks Mads for the ickle garden in a teacup!

17 July, 2010

Little Laughing Monsters

Random doodlings inspired by this.

16 July, 2010

Homesickness (of sorts)

Entries for Transport for London‘s ‘Design London’s new skyline’ competition.

One runner up…

Another runner up…

And the winner…

(Images from here)

14 July, 2010

Score! #4

Okay, I cheated.

I found this 1959 edition of Bonjour Tristesse online for about USD$10, way above budget and most definitely not while rifling through a second-hand book store.

But it’s a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time and well, what price a little indulgence?  Particularly as it was Penguin’s 75th birthday two weeks ago…

14 July, 2010

My sofa

Poeten by Finn Juhl.

Cute, compact and its lines put me in mind of a little laughing monster with its arms outstretched for a hug.

Perhaps I simply have an overactive imagination.

Images from here.

14 July, 2010

Song o’the Week #28

IRM by Charlotte Gainsbourg

Potent stompin’ beats for anyone who has ever had the dubious pleasure of undergoing an MRI scan.

My own MRI experience was an otherworldly, hypnotic one, akin to a private little white cube in which you are having your own (internal) rave/industrial/club night.  With alternatively vague and acute thoughts of potential health issues flitting through your brain.

From Mlle Gainsbourg, and the world’s coolest Scientologist.

And it’s Bastille Day, of course.  Joyeux Quatorze Juillet!