Monday, July 29, 2013

The Bohemian Bathroom...

We decided to have a little bathroom makeover here. Something sort of Casbah and Gypsy and Boho.
It's not exactly easy when you live in a typical Aussie white tiled affair, though.
Nonetheless, we have brass tapware, an aged brass vase with ferns, a brass box with worn patina to house hair accessories, candlelight, crystals adorning the wall, an antique linen hand towel draped on the basin, a Parisian clock, a lush ruby robe, and pretty amber pharmaceutical style bottles holding skin care.

  A peacock hued tufted rug, and a vividly embroidered footstool have been added to enhance the Casbah feel.
A Persian style rug was on the list to serve as a bathmat, but The Diva Child has overruled me and we now have her favourite peacock blue as bathmat and towels, with real peacock feathers still to be sourced to act as focal point.
The stool was a real find. It's funny sometimes how just the thing you need pops into the Universe, just when you need it. I would never have predicted in a million years that an embroidered boho style footstool would be on sale the very week I decided I wanted one, but there it was. And under $25 to boot. It's large enough for us to sit on to dry tootsies or perform a pedicure, and small enough to tuck away when not in use. Perfect.
It's a cute look, easy to manage with a teen daughter who insists on monopolising the space, shedding eyeshadow, long hair, and lipstick in her wake!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Bohemian Bathroom....

Ever since watching Downton Abbey Series 1, 2, and 3 in a marathon effort whilst flu ridden, I've had a thing for overblown and overdone décor. Not in a Shabby Chic way, but more in a ferny, fussy Bohemian kind of way. No doubt, my daughters recent Boho Bedroom Makeover  has had an impact on us all too!
I've always loved the opulence of the late 1800's and early 1900's. It was a genteel time when one dressed elegantly for dinner every night, and silverware and good crockery used on a thrice daily basis. One had butlers and maids and footmen and gardeners and cooks to do all the hard stuff.
Maidenhair ferns in brass pots were commonplace, as were Persian rugs souvenired when one was abroad visiting the colonies, embroidered hand towels, matching brushes, combs and hand mirrors, and perfume in adorable spritzing bottles made of cut or etched crystal. A vase full of peacock feathers was a must (said peacock feathers shed by one's own peacocks roaming ones extensive estate), as was a brass knick-knack or two. Silver tea sets, trays and delicate teacups were a fixture in every good drawing room. And those ladies knew their fish fork from their cake fork, without even thinking about it.
The clever rendition above, of a typical bathroom of the era is my inspiration for a good old Snuggerising session. I'm fossicking around my collection of 'stuff' to replicate the plush environment pictured here, to add a bit of posh to my primping space.
I'm thinking:
Jewel coloured towels
Handtowels trimmed with lace
Greenery in an ornate vase
A gleaming box to hold stunning hair accessories
Crystals to echo the chandelier which our bathroom lacks (sadly)
A mirror adorned with something beautiful
A Persian style rug
A footstool to rest my tootsies when applying lotions and potions to limbs
A richly coloured robe in which to swathe oneself when alighting from the tub
See my update on the Bohemian Bathroom here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Every day is a little life....a birthday...

Yes there is a new Royal Baby. A boy, a little Prince. A boy who will be King someday.
34 years ago, I had my own little Prince. A brother for my first born son.
He won't ever become King, but he is number one in my eyes today.
Happy Birthday to all the beautiful sons born today. The daughters too.
May you all live long, happy lives.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Quick and easy Gluten Free Citrus Tart....

This is one of those things I made almost by accident. I started off making a slice of some sort, didn't have the right tin for it, so used a different tin, changed the base because it didn't taste nice as raw dough, and added more lemon to the topping because we like lemon.
It's quick and easy to prepare with no fiddly 'rubbing in' of butter, as I've always found the addition of olive oil to be a pretty reliable substitute in many baked goods. Make sure you use the light olive oil, as in lighter flavour. I've made it with stronger flavoured olive oil, and the result is still lovely, but there's a very very faint olive oil flavour to the base. You could also try other oils such as Macadamia, Avocado, or Hazelnut and I think you'd get a lovely flavour too.
Needless to say, you can make this with normal flour as well, but the result may differ slightly.
This turns out beautifully with a really 'short' shortcrust style base, and a delectable lemon custardy, lemon curd like topping.
So for the base, you need:
2 cups gluten free plain flour (I just use a commercial one)
1 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup olive oil, with up to another 1/4 cup if required
For the topping, you'll also need:
3 eggs
2 cups caster sugar
2 tablespoons gluten free plain flour
Juice of one lemon
To bake your tart, you'll need a flan dish, or springform cake tin. I use my largest springform tin, which has a diameter of 9-10 inches or 23-25 cms.
Then just:
Preheat your oven to 180C.
Line the tin or pie dish with silicone baking paper.
Put the ingredients for the base into a mixing bowl and combine, using just half a cup of the oil to start. For some reason, the amount of oil required seems to vary sometimes, and I can only put this down to nuances in the gluten free flour blend. Mix with a spoon initially, then use clean hands to bring the dough together. It should look like a cookie dough or pastry dough, with a similar consistency, so if you need a little more oil, add a tablespoon at a time to achieve that.
Press the dough into the base of the tin or dish, spreading it with your fingertips and easing it to cover the base of your dish or tin completely. The back of a spoon, heated briefly under running hot water, and dried, can help with smoothing and spreading the dough evenly.
Bake this for 20-40 minutes. The time variation is dictated by your oven and the size of the dish. So check it after 20 minutes, then every five after that. It needs to be golden at the edges fading to a paler cream in the centre. A touch test will be unreliable as it will only crisp upon cooling, so it's a bit of a case of 'if it looks right, it is right'.
While the base is baking, combine the ingredients for the mouthwatering, curd-like topping. Whisk it all together well, and once the base is baked to your liking, pour the topping over the base, and return it to the oven for 20-25 minutes or until it's firm in the middle.
Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool slightly before serving or storing.
This is equally lovely served hot or cold, with either cream, icecream or greek yoghurt drizzled with honey, on the side.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Vintage Chenille...

A vintage chenille bedspread in just the right shade of rosy pink for The Divas Boho inspired bedroom.
This one, a lucky find on eBay for just $15 is uncannily similar to the one I had at her age. It arrived a bit musty and dusty, but a wash, and a fluff in the clothes dryer has restored it to soft loveliness.
She loves it, and couldn't believe that 'in those days' someone thoughtfully provided extra length to hide your pillow. Isn't it funny that we don't do this any more and consequently there's a huge market in flash pillow cases and throw cushions.

We actually agree that this look is so neat and pretty by comparison, that we'll now be on the lookout for similar vintage chenille bedspread bargains.

Here's how the Boho Bedroom usually looks....

...but this is pretty for Winter here...
  A retro style cushion and boomerang pillow in blue, tying the scheme to her sky blue walls, and beloved heirloom bears and souvenir soft toys at her feet.
So sweet and feminine...


Monday, July 15, 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Every Day is a Little the disabled have a life too....

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
William Shakespeare

Who are the players in your life?
Are you the star, or is someone else stealing your thunder?
I know I've had many who have entered and exited my life, and likewise many lives I have entered and exited from, for whatever reason.
Sometimes I've had the lead role in an act in my life, sometimes, I've just been part of the ensemble cast, but always I've learned from the experience.
Mostly, my children have had the starring role in my life. Most of what I've done, and most of the decisions I've made, have been for their welfare, be it short or long term. I don't think they're even aware of this, as most of us are not. We take for granted the decisions our parents make, and the sacrifices they've made for us, until we are much older and wiser ourselves.
I've always believed that most of us do not 'grow up' until we're about 40 years old. It is not until we've seen a bit of life and a little more of the world, that we understand how complex life can be, and how seemingly small decisions, can have repercussions in our lives for many years.
I think back to when my disabled son was just 12 years old, and my husband and I were discussing his future. The pie in the sky notion that he would live independently seemed crazy at the time. However we knew that this was perhaps one of the most important decisions we would ever make, as the success or failure of this idea would impact on not just our immediate family, but the lives or those who know and love us, and our son.
Independent living would mean an equal life for him, fostering a more natural relationship with his siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins.
The reverse would spell out a life of uncertainty. One where we would worry about his fate when we departed this Earthly life, and where our immediate and extended family would perhaps assume the role of his primary carers.
The players in this act of our lives, were us and the Australian Government, and let me tell you, there were some dramatic scenes, some scenes full of heartbreak and tears, and some uplifting, joyous ones. Some scenes from this part of our life, ended up on the cutting room floor as they were simply not worthy of inclusion in our collective memory.
Thank goodness for the introduction of the new Australian Disability Care Scheme. This programme, contrary to what many think, was always going to become part of the fabric of life for the disabled here, and it was just a matter of which government would be in power when it finally came to fruition. We know this as we were in the fortunate position of securing a sort of pilot package for our son, in order to facilitate his independent lifestyle. This was hard won over many long years, with many tears and tantrums involved.
From now on, tears and tantrums will no longer be necessary. Thousands of families and service providers have lobbyed long and hard, and now the future for the disabled and their loved ones, is assured.
Pat yourself on the back Australia. It's been a long time coming.
Thanks to the introduction of the long awaited Disability Care Scheme, this story has a happy ending, with all players embracing and declaring their undying devotion.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A little bit French....Roses...

Regrettably, I do not live in France.
Nor will I, as I firmly believe I live in the best place in the world.
However that does not stop me yearning for a little bit of French style in my home.
Sometimes, that's as easy as a $10 bunch of supermarket rosebuds, displayed in a vintage lusterware vase.
A small price for a week long indulgence...