Saturday, July 6, 2013

Not there.....yet!

Italy still awaits, we have still to make a stopover in London.

We hit the ground running at Heathrow...literally! The plane was late from Dubai. We ran to the bus, trying to follow purple arrows, fighting all the way about the correct colour of arrows that we had to follow.  I KNEW they were purple, somebody else thought they should be green. Got on the bus, ran off the bus, ran through terminal five, screaming at each other about the directions we were taking. I tell you it was bedlam! Ran to the express queue, (remember we are royalty) were told we had to go to another counter, ran to another express counter, where the man asked us, "Why are you here, you should have gone straight through." He then informed us that we had missed our connecting flight.

I tell you, the stress! Then we had to navigate customs, where of course a lady officer took me aside and  patted me down. After that we walked about a kilometre through THOUSANDS of people to the British Airways Galleries First Lounge. I had to stay alert as I was fully aware of the threat of pick pockets and roaming bands of gypsies. I wasn't going to be a statistic!

After a bit of argy-bargy at the counter of the Lounge, we gained admittance. We then had to contact the car service in Rome to tell them that we were going to be late. As we  had no international sim for phones or ipads, this was quite difficult, and the British Airways staff were quite indifferent to our pleas for help. After experiencing exceptional service with Qantas, being on a whole, fawned over by Emirates, it was a bit of a shock to the system.

Saying that, the lounge would have been quite an oasis if other matters hadn't been so pressing. In hindsight, I should have knocked back a few champas's and just chilled...even though it was breakfast time. Maybe gone to the spa for a 15 minute massage. (Yes, you can to that!)

It was very big, with a cafe/club/upmarket pub kind of feel. (British Airways describe it as boutique hotel.) Nice decor with pops of colour in the furnishings and the artworks, but still very tasteful and soothing. Great timber floors. Good selection of food. It just wasn't the Qantas First lounge.

After getting our affairs in order, and having digested a plate of kippers, we attempted to think positively and proceeded to our changed British Airways flight to Rome, and I can tell you, it was a doozy! Seated in the worst seats in the back, I think we were on the oldest plane in the fleet. The plane was delayed as they had to change a light bulb. Oh dear! Imagine Fawlty Towers, but with ageing Italian flight attendants. We thought we were in a Jaques Tati film.

And that my friends is the glamour of a long haul flight. I shudder to think what we would have experienced if we hadn't had the opportunity of the lounges.

Here's a little song that kind of reminds me of that drizzly morning. (For some reason it isn't coming up on iPads, but is OK on my laptop)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Dubai experience

As my travels are now geared to the airport lounge experience, I am afraid I am going to bore all and sundry with the minutiae of those hallowed halls. The adage, "when you have seen one you have seen them all" does NOT apply to these places. Needless to say, I think that I am becoming an airline nerd.

Sometimes pictures don't do justice to real life. The sheer size of Concourse A in Dubai is mind boggling. It sits like an enormous blue caterpillar on the landscape. In the early morning with its lights glowing from within, it was like a futuristic mother ship pod for UFO's. Just remember, looking at the scale of this structure that most of those planes are the Airbus A380, the biggest plane on the planet.

We were able to enjoy the brand spanking new, First Class lounge in Dubai during our short stop-over. It was cavernous but didn't nave the pizazz of Sydney. Don't get me was nice, just a bit formal, and dare I say it...a bit like an very upmarket RSL club.

Customer support was polarised, ranging from sullen and rude staff in the customs area, to embarrassingly helpful and servile in the restaurant. On getting my tucker for brekky, I wasn't allowed to hold my own plate at the self service area. Instead, I had to point at the food that appealed to me, whilst my attendant staff member (dare I say, servant!) picked the pieces and delicately placed them on plates. I was pretty stressed at being treated like the princess (that I know I really am), so ended up pointing at anything! I don't mind being waited on, and do expect good service when I go out, but it felt kind of like slavery.

Walking to my table, I made a crazy attempt to seat myself without too much fuss, after all, I am a 21st century princess! I was however thwarted by my nimble helper who managed to race me to the table, deposit the three plates that she was carrying, and scoot around to pull the chair out for me. Once seated, I sat and contemplated my weird breakfast consisting of hummus, baklava, eggplant, and pseudo Italian/Scandinavian concoctions.

Next to me, I noticed six men stand imperiously around a large coffee table. They were directing a female staff member to place seats around it. She was five foot tall, with little stick arms and little stick legs. Made of heavy wood, the chairs  were cumbersome to move. However, not one of those men lifted a finger to help her, except for indicating with an imperious move of the hand, that a chair had to be adjusted by a few inches. Even in airport lounges you experience the culture of the country.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Country mouse in the big smoke

The big trip overseas...
So here I am beginning at the end. So to start, the Qantas International First Lounge at Sydney airport.  Now, some may think this is a ridiculous inclusion to a romantic holiday in Tuscany, but, like Kath and Kel, I could have spent my whole holiday here! We were lucky enough to be able to access these hallowed halls, designed my Marc Newson,  because Sparky works in the mines and has accrued a lotta points.
In a nutshell, it was if I had died and gone to heaven! I am afraid we may have acted a bit uncool, a bit like wide eyed yokels, but if that be the case, so be it. As Oprah says "When you know better you do better." Next time we will be so cool, that we will be refrigerators.
When we arrived to the restaurant area, the waiter asked if I would like some champas. Now, I had been warned of the risks of dehydration due to excessive drinking which may lead to deep vein thrombosis and eventually DEATH, but, what the hey, I was on holiday! OK, says I. The waiter  then apologised as they had just run out of Veuve Clicquot, and could only offer Bollinger! Five glasses later....
I was in a very happy place!

It was uphill from there. I could run on and on about the service, the brilliant Neil Perry food, the ambience, the Spa, the toilets (these are very important), and the fact that everything was FREE, but I really need to practice my 'cool' demeanour.
It is funny, as one of the nameless masses, I had no idea that such places existed, they weren't on my radar. Now that I know how the other half lives, my expectations have lifted. No more Macca's and hard seats, trying not to trip over legs and luggage in the cattle areas. The decision has been made to travel, not only to broaden horizons but to experience the first class lounges of the world!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Hol's are over

Well, I am back blogging. The last six months have been really busy and I have been working pretty much full time with my shops. Who would have thunk that so many people would want my 'stuff'? It still boggles the mind that I make things, and people buy them.

Rather than go on and on about what has been happening (that's the past baby...move on!) I will start anew, as if I haven't even been away...and show you my fabulous new bag (modelled by Daisy, the Formomatic Dummy).

Made by The Cambridge Satchel Company in the UK, I received it within 10 days of purchase, which is pretty damn good, considering it had to be customised as well. It takes longer for a letter to reach my husband over in WA.

It is a doozy! I got my initials engraved as well, (no, they don't stand for New Zealand) and it is like a real Enid Blyton, Famous Five/Secret Seven/Enchanted Wood type bag, that one would put a jam sandwich in, and then bound off, with reckless abandon, for an adventure!

Which is just what I intend to do. It is going with me on a splendid adventure to Italy and Croatia in two weeks time.

I will be recording our odyssey in minute detail...but that is the good thing about blogs, they remain as a record of your life.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Little Battler

I thought I would post some current pics of my Victory Garden.

I have been super busy making stuff, completing orders and doing markets, and so have not spent as much time as I would like in my patch. That doesn't mean that I haven't got any harvest though. I could easily live off it, as it continues to produce even though I haven't given it any love.
My brassicas have gone beserk this year! In the foreground is my potato patch bordered by cabbages. I rarely eat cabbage...I don't know why I put it in. Maybe I will have to make sauerkraut?
Cauliflowers are being picked regularly and the shining star is the broccoli  After harvesting the initial head (like you buy in the shops) the plants are now producing smaller offshoots. I reckon that I get about a kilo a week off five plants, and they are sweeter than the big broccoli heads.
My asparagus is being harvested this year for the first time. It grows so quickly, sometimes a metre a day.  I planted some "Fat Bastard" crowns three years ago, and fat little bastards they are indeed!
This pic is a bit misleading as the size doesn't equate. Lets put it this way....the middle swede is as big as a baby's head and the beetroots are as big as my hand. I think I will have to look for some props to explain the size of my harvest  from now on...maybe an old baby doll of my daughters. (Freaky, what!)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vintage tea towel cushions

I stayed up 'til one in the morning the last Sunday making new cushions for Bangalow Markets. I thought I could make ten...I made three.

Backtracking, I was hoping that I wouldn't have to pre-wash this stash of mint, vintage, irish linen, tea towels. But...tests conducted in our lab found that there was 2-3 cm shrinkage in them, so into the machine they went. Ye can't have puckered pillows can ye?

Now today, I have to photograph them properly and weigh them, then list them in my online shops, as well as cutting out some more.  I was thinking of sending the whole cushion through the post rather than just the cover, and tying them up with brown paper and string. So many decisions. I need a cuppa.

Thought I would play with My creative space today...they have moved!

Friday, September 21, 2012

My little mate

I just HAD to show you the pics of 'my little mate.' He (I think) is an adolescent koala who wandered into my studio a few months back. Well, he is back again in the massive flooded gum in our front paddock.

 It doesn't matter how much wildlife you see on the TV or in print, it becomes  so special when it lives with you.

I know they  are quite vicious, and they make the most god-awful sounds at night (like the zombies are coming to get you), but ye gods, they are cute! I watched my little mate for an hour. The most interesting thing he did was scratch his belly....but THAT was riveting!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I get obsessions about things. In particular TV and book series. I suppose it started with Enid Blyton and the  Magic Faraway Tree. Then onto the Bobbsey Twins,  Malory Towers, Trixie Beldon, Ann of Green Gables , the list goes on….you get the gist. In truth, I live in a fantasy world.

My current obsessions of the last couple of weeks has been “Call the Midwife” a TV series based on the books of  Jennifer Worth, narrating a Midwife's life in the post war East End of London, which includes as a character a large Pukka girl called Chummy. I have ordered all of the books on Amazon because I simply MUST have them!

On the other end of the scale, “BreakingBad”,  is the story of  struggling, cancer riddled school teacher who, for the love of his family becomes a meth cooker. His off sider is a former student, meth user, homey dude, called Jesse.

Pretty diverse, what! Unfortunately I become immersed in characters...I pull them apart and unconsciously adopt their mannerisms. (My husband and  I recently read the "Game of Thrones" series and we drone "Summer is coming" to anything that bodes ill)

When I become immersed in said characters, anything is bound to happen. I talk the talk, I walk the walk. It is unfortunate when they merge to become one entity, like some kind of Sybil, multiple personality mutant.

It all came out in the email I was writing to somebody (nameless) who knew nothing of my obsessions. She had done me a professional favour. So, what did I write? Certainly not, "Thanks so much for your assistance." That would be too corporate...too banal. Instead I wrote, and I shall put it in capitals, because it was so ridiculous, that most would not believe it, and it must be exclaimed...I wrote, "YOU'RE A BRICK, YO!"

I will say it again. "You're a brick, yo!"


It belies belief.

Friday, August 24, 2012


I have branched into making cards in a mad attempt to create my "Re-purposed Empire."

As well as Little Golden Book images, there are pics from Ladybird: Learn to Read Books, and great retro photos  from a 70's Boys Own Annual.

They are all sewn (very, very neatly) onto the card. (One must ensure the handmade element is present!)

My favourite has already been sold, but it is such a great image it deserves to be seen. It is from a Ladybird book, The Miner. The person who purchased it described it as homo-erotic!

The buyer asked me why I din't just photocopy the image and sell hundreds of 'neck-ed' men. I had to explain about a little thing called copyright  and also the preciousness of the actual vintage object, knowing it came out of a book that was handled by children learning to read....about memories and the different papers  and inks (made of heavy metals) used.

It was no use. If the image had been photocopied onto card at Officeworks, I think the buyer would have bought it for a higher price.

Which has got me thinking. If I want to build an Empire, I might have to compromise...but hopefully not too much.

I will leave you with one last card, from "The Miner"...which is quite amusing given my latest 'activating' interest. For those who can't see it on the screen, it is a picture of  coal seams beneath the surface.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Here is a pic of our new little calf called Alan. (Well he is about two months old now)

He is so cute and runs around the paddock like a crazy puppy. I feed him and his mum every morning and he is so confident. I love living in the country.

Ha, I just reread the text that I wrote. It sounds like a Grade 2 composition, or the 'how to read' books that I have been making into greeting has been a long day!


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