Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sculpture by the Sea

We started off Saturday with good friends at Coogee's Barzura - still looking great after a minor makeover in readiness for a busy Summer ahead.
It was late morning by the time we got started on the coastal walk to Bondi - and Sculpture by the Sea.
There's always some fun sculptures to be found on Tamarama Beach.  The best fun this year was this "wave of blue eyed blond haired Barbie dolls". 

 ....and spray and wipe bottles.

We were very intrigued by this piece - based on a 1953 photograph of a little girl on a slippery slide that must have been in the exact same position all those years ago.

Sculpture by the Sea ended for us with a final view of the Bondi Icebergs and that amazing beach.
We enjoyed a German beer at the Bavarian Bier Cafe and an Israeli beer and some wonderful food at Sabbaba on Hall Street. A perfect food and wine experience after the best sculpture show of the year.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Sydney Claire

It was great to be back in Sydney yesterday after such a long break away. We'd came up with Claire for a very special reason, but a long lunch on a perfect Spring day in Coogee was the first thing on our agenda.
 Sydney looks spectacular; the Jacaranda blossoms are all at their peak.
The Stanley Street Gallery in Darlinghurst is presenting an exhibition of Claire's paintings over the next few weeks and we'd come up for the Thursday night opening.  Claire and I prepared ourselves for the festivities with a glass of champagne at the Verde Bar in Riley Street before the formalities began at the gallery.
Claire's work looks beautiful in this space (of course) and we met some interesting people at the opening, including some well known faces.

We're so proud of this incredibly talented young woman........ 
Today dawned another perfect Sydney day so we started the day perfectly with breakfast at Barzura's and a walk along the beachfront promenade. 
Claire spent the morning at the gallery while Rob and I did a bit of shopping. We can't get over how beautiful this city looks.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

There and back

We left London a week ago. We're over jetlag now and sort of settled in to our new "home" and loving the company of the young ones. I was back at work second day back - not making much sense but physically takes time.

Our last day (almost) in London was pretty special. We got to walk with Eddie to his local neighbourhood school and then while Rob helped Davey with some garden work I got to watch the divine Miss I sleeping.....(super long eyelashes resting on those plump cheeks!)

As Ivy slept I had time to admire the beautiful detailing in the front rooms of this 130 year old Victorian era house.

Then we did lunch - London style at the local pub - the lovely old Red Lion at Leytonstone. There was a huge group of Mums and bubs enjoying lunch together as we entered. they looked disappointed when we didn't join them.  We love London pubs!
It was very hard saying goodbye to London Davey, Cath and Mr E and Miss I - until next time!

Today, back to normality and back in Canberra, the pic below is the start of a series documenting our "piece of air" at C5 in Campbell as it gradually takes shape over the next 17 months or so (yes it has started!).
The large park surrounding our (non-existent) apartment is just about finished now and should be open to the public soon. It is looking beautiful.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Chelsea and Westminster

We started the day with a very slow coffee at Partridges (which, despite its extremely slow service has the seal of approval from HM the Queen) on King's Road Chelsea. But our main goal this morning was to see the Mademoiselle Prive (Coco Chanel) exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery on Duke of York Square in Chelsea. "A journey through the origins of Chanel's creations capturing the charismatic personality and irreverent spirit of Mademoiselle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld".

Maxie and I were blown away by this exhibition. It is very contemporary, conceptual and playful - very immersing for us even though we had not "downloaded the app" and seen it in conjunction with our digital devices like we were meant to.

Instead of being displayed on mannequins, these evening dresses were supported by internal light rods to illuminate their exemplary construction.
The room representing Chanel No 5 struck a very witty note....The vast space contained gold lidded vats containing each of the perfume's individual ingredients, such as citrus, rose, jasmine and bergamot, vanilla and sandalwood. As the vats opened, in turn, the room was filled with a wash of scents that together make up No 5. 
The display of the diamond jewellery collection designed by Coco Chanel in 1932 was more traditional (displayed together for the first time here). The diamonds are over 80 years old but they are still worn today by the glitterati including Vanessa Paradis, Julianne Moore and Lily-Rose Depp.  They were displayed in this exhibition on mannequins dressed in a selection of Lagerfeld's beautiful black and (pale) gold evening dresses and trouser suits. They were not behind the room had almost as many black suited security men talking to each other through the cuffs on their suits as there were excitable gallery goers (mostly female).

 There were fabulous workshops you could do too (but we hadn't booked (sigh!)). While Maxie and I were so deeply engaged Rob and Rod spent some time after their visit in the Saatchi Gardens, watching life pass by on the Duke of York square in this most privileged part of SW London.

We were looking forward to meeting up with Mal and Pat for lunch, giving us a great excuse for this 2015 view of the London Eye from Westminster Bridge as we walked across to our meet up point.
We had a lovely afternoon at Troia, a great Turkish restaurant on Belvedere Road. We found it incredibly easy in the company of Mal and Pat to cover quite a lot of ground in three hours: family, grandchildren, house sales and renos, travel, our time in life, and then again family and grandchildren of course! We wish we could do it more often.
It was rush hour by the time we caught the Underground from Westminster. The trains are very squashed and crowded - but we find everyone is so polite!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

One is impressed

We went to Windsor Castle today, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and the Queen's favourite weekend home (apparently). We left South Woodford close to 9.00am on a crowded Central Line train and were in the charming (and touristy) village of Windsor, in Berkshire, by 11.00am via Paddington Station and Slough (which rhymes with Ow!). 

We'd arranged to meet Megan and Joanne in Windsor but ended up meeting them much earlier than that on a platform at Paddington Station in amongst a couple of thousand Londoners on their way to work!  We enjoyed a lovely day together enjoying our tour of Windsor Castle and a lovely long lunch and many laughs after at Bill's in the village.

The original castle at Windsor was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion, but successive kings (and Elizabeth 1) have largely been responsible for how it looks now, especially with the extensive work done by Charles 11 and then George 111 and George 1V in the 1800s. Queen Victoria entertained here at Windsor Castle during her reign and it was a refuge for the current Queen and her family during the second world war. It has even managed to survive the "Annus Horribilus" fire of 1992, with the injection of around 34 million GBP from the public purse.

Windsor Castle overlooks Eton College (William and Harry both attended Eton). The Eton College chapel is a notable landmark at this point in the castle rampart.
The State Apartments were open for viewing today.......and it is fair to say we were all exceedingly impressed with them...they're extensive, full of centuries old rich, ornate stuff, most of the priceless Royal art collection, all beautifully carpeted and maintained...and still used by the royal family for state occasions..when the visitors are asked to leave - and no photography of course!!
Queen Mary's doll's house is another star attraction at Windsor Castle as well as France (the blonde) and Marianne (the brunette), the dolls given to the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in 1938 to mark the state visit to France by the royal family. The dolls had a 360 piece trousseau including dresses by Worth, Lanvin and Rochas, Cartier jewellery, cases by Vuitton and handbags by Hermes and Lancome. Only a small collection of the doll's clothing was on display today - but still amazing!

We finished our visit with a close look at the magnificent Gothic style St George's Cathedral, begun in the 15th century by Edward 1V (the king who revived the Order of the Garter).
It was really cold in London today and we were all hungry and hoping to find a warm spot for lunch by the time we had finished exploring the castle. We enjoyed a relaxed lunch at Bill's together, finding a lot to discuss, question and laugh about in regards to our recent travels and experiences of London and the omnipresent Bristish royals. (God Save the Queen!)
Other highlights of the last few days in London include: an afternoon shopping at Liberty's and drinking champagne at the ultra stylish Soho House with Cath and Ivy on Sunday and an outing to the V & A Museum in SW7 yesterday.

Us girls enjoyed the wonderful Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition at the V & A while Rob and Rod spent some quality time together at the nearby Science and Technology Museum.

Rob and I stayed back for  few hours after in the shopping precinct around Oxford Circus where Rob replenished his underwear and sock collection and I found a few more warm things to help me survive the colder than expected weather this week.  This part of London would have to be one of the most crowded retail areas in Britain...but people are always ready to stop for a while to listen to some great street music.