I would like a little bird. Not a real one; I can’t bare to see birds in cages now. We had one, like a lot of families did in the eighties and it was interesting how this little budgerigar was such an integral part of the family. He spoke, well swore actually, he’d welcome our guests with “hello you silly little bastard”. It took us a while to figure out where he’d learn such language and in the end put it down to a drink delivery man who most probably put his finger in the cage and would have gotten bitten, Ben had a sharp bite, so no doubt said that to him each time he delivered.
This little bird lived for about twelve years and had many lives. We’d let him out to fly around the house and would need to turn all of the lights out to catch him. One time my father left the television on and through the flicker of the television light, saw Ben flutter past my dog Beau who in turn opened his mouth. My Dad gave the dog a big kick and Ben escaped. Not long after my sister was cleaning Ben’s cage outside and he escaped in the process for what we thought was forever at the time until my neighbour heard an announcement on the local radio station that someone had found a bird and they knew it was domestic because he said, “hello you silly little…” He then moved to Sydney with us, we grew older, threw parties while my parents were out and I once found him walking around the feet of partygoers… I think he was senile by that time because we had him with us for only a few more months.
While I loved our Ben to bits, I wouldn’t have another but what I would have are decorative birds, they are a great little interesting piece to add to groupings or standing alone as a statement.
Here’s my little bird wish list:
Simple yet a little quirky and available in smoke or natural oak and many different shapes and sizes.
A gorgeous modern take on the flying wall ducks. Available in pink, blue, black or white and are affordable too!
In true Eames style, this is perfection in every possible way. Love is the only word.
These cute little decorative cranes are available in orange and white, at $10 each, they’re a steal!
These lovely songbirds were made in the fifties by designer Kay Bojesen but were never put into production until last year and is available in six different colours.
I love the form of this “oiseau”, simplicity rarely disappoints.
Do you have a favourite little bird here? Or perhaps you’ve owned a funny pet yourself?
See you Friday!
We had such a wet Sunday yesterday, the perfect day for some slow cooking. I had some lamb shanks in the fridge so searched the Internet for a new recipe that wouldn’t require too many new ingredients to stock up on. I came across this Moroccan lamb shank recipe on the Delicious UK site. It was super easy to do, the most fiddly part, if you can call it that, would be mixing the spices. I’ll definitely make this yummy meal again!
This recipe is for four but when I do some slow cooking, I always make extra as it freezes so well. Because of the size of the shanks, if you double the quantity like I did, you’ll need two French ovens (casseroles) to fit it in.
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
3cm pieces fresh ginger, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped (I forgot and it still tasted great)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
4 lamb shanks
2 large red onions, cut into wedges
1 1/2 tsp Harissa Paste
200g can chopped tomatoes
600ml chicken stock, hot
1 cinnamon stick
100g dried apricots
100g dried figs
Fresh coriander to serve
Couscous to serve
Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/. Whizz the cumin and coriander in a mini food processor or grind together with a mortar and pestle then add the ginger, garlic and salt, and whizz or work to a rough paste. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole over a high heat. Add the lamb shanks and brown well all over. Remove and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions to the casserole and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the spice paste and harissa and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and stock, return the shanks to the casserole and stir together. Bring to the boil and drop in the cinnamon stick. Cover with a lid, transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours, turning the lamb once or twice.
Stir the dried fruit into the casserole and return to the oven, uncovered, for a further 30 minutes or until the lamb is almost falling off the bone. Serve with hot couscous or pearl couscous and sprinkle with fresh coriander. Enjoy!
NB: the recipe called for 1tbsp of coriander seeds but I thought it would be a little too strong so used 1tsp.
Admiring artwork on a wall is as soothing to my soul as a beautiful view. I purchased my first piece of original art with my very first pay cheque and that little abstract painting still gives me great pleasure today.
I discovered Misato Suzuki’s art on Pinterest recently and on searching for more, I was so captivated by her style that I thought I’d finish the week with images of some of her work. I love the touch of femininity she gives to her paintings and drawings. I can’t quite pick a favourite but perhaps I’m edging towards the pigeon theme. Do you have a preference?
The very talented Misato is from Japan and currently resides in Los Angeles. You can view more of her artwork here.
In the meantime, here is a lovely selection.
Enjoy your weekend everyone!
When we renovated the bathroom of our Sydney apartment some six or seven years ago, we faced two challenges, a lack of space and a limited budget. That bathroom was teeny tiny – so tiny that it was impossible to take a photo of all of the features!
As mentioned in previous posts, these photos are by a real estate agent photographer to rent our apartment out long before I even thought about doing a blog, so these are the only photo’s I have to work with. With the angle of it, you’ll have to use your imagination because not everything could be captured.
While we love soothing colours in a bathroom, we decided white would be the colour choice to make it feel as spacious as it possibly could. We were also stuck with the layout of the room because of the costs involved in rearranging the plumbing in an apartment.
The first thing we decided on was a spacious walk in shower, but had such a narrow area to work with. To correct the space, we narrowed the door and extended the wall and placed two freestanding shower screens with a gap to enter and a stainless steel grate for a drain. While the door was perfectly acceptable in width, it did look a little narrow to the eye, so we made a feature of it by installing a lovely leadlight window above that I sourced from a second hand building supply store. Much of the renovation was modern, so to marry that with the art deco apartment, we found an old cast iron pedestal basin and had it resurfaced. We used penny white tiles on the floor which also kept a little of the old world look. In all, I think the bathroom renovation cost around $4000 and we didn’t skimp on the fittings. How did we do it? With the incredible help of a much loved friend for the demolition work along with fitting the new door and lead light window. We also sourced the tiles and fittings ourselves, including carrying them all up two flights of stairs! Most of the money was spent on the plumber and tiler.
That’s the end of our Sydney apartment renovation before and after, I hope that you enjoyed it. To recap, I’ve included an after shot of each of our rooms so that you can see the entire apartment together. You can also visit the previous before and after posts here: Kitchen – Living – Bedrooms
It’s been just over a week in our new home and I have to say that with all of the stress and work involved in the past couple of months, it feels worth it. We’re now in a renovated villa in Ponsonby with the front part of the house keeping it’s old world charm with polished floorboards and high ceilings and the back part a little more modern with lovely views over Herne Bay with the Waitakere Ranges in the distance.
I thought I’d share a little Instagram summery of our
hectic week with you.
Move day went well. It started and ended on a colourful note, which I take as a very good sign for our new home! I can’t believe how many beautiful rainbows Auckland has…
I won’t bore you with boxes photos, because that first weekend, that’s all I saw. In fact my head was spinning from not knowing where to begin. So when we woke up Sunday to a beautiful blue sky, I didn’t hesitate to ignore them for a bit longer and jumped in the car with the family, grabbed some takeaway lunch from a café and spent most of the day at a lovely little beach in Herne Bay. The weather was incredible, in my two years in New Zealand, I’ve never known for my children to strip their clothes off this time of year.
Fast forward a few days and I love my little spot on the dining table with that outlook. Around midmorning while I prepare my posts, I get a beautiful stream of sun coming through the side window – nothing better than the feeling of winter sun on your skin! This house is full of windows and light, it’s so good for the soul.
By the weekend, a couple of little spots were starting to feel like home. The first and easiest places to look a little complete would have to be the bookshelf and kitchen. Not exactly the end result, but getting there… Oh I also had to add a photo of my new Eclectic for Tom Dixon cutting board that I got for my birthday during the week! I have wanted one since I went to Tom Dixon’s talk at The Department Store. Love!
So how was your week?
P.S. You can follow my day to day life on Instagram here.
Today I’m back with my new regular feature, My Space and I’m so pleased to have Hege, from the gorgeous blog, Hege in France sharing a little piece of her world with us . Hege is Norwegian and lives in France with her Scottish husband and their young son. Her blog is about interior decorating and DIY projects – I especially enjoy her weekly feature, “Tuesday Tips” along with her own home styling shoots. Some very exciting news is that her home will be featured in an upcoming Norwegian interior book, “Sanselige Rom”, which translates to “Room for all the Senses”.
Thank you for sharing your space with us Hege, I’m in love your vintage leather chair and great sense of style!
As an interior design enthusiast since the age of 12, I read a lot of interior design magazines. I love taking some time out to sit in my 1930s leather chair. It was one of the first things I bought in France and it came from a Brocante in the south of France. The chair was sat out on the pavement just outside the shop and I made my husband turn the car round and go back for a closer look. We could barely fit the chair in the car, but somehow managed to drive the 5 hours with it in the back of the car. The chair has been with us ever since.
Although I love Pinterest and reading other blogs I like getting away from my PC. I still like coming up with ideas and writing notes in little notebooks, so this is my perfect little spot to do just that. It’s also a great place to enjoy a coffee and a macaroon or two.
Here’s a link to the little DIY project you can see in the photo .
Readers if you haven’t done so already, make sure you visit Hege’s blog and experience her selection of serious eye candy and great tips, along with some of her own gorgeous projects around the home. Mel x
I can just peak over the top of the mountains of boxes so I thought I better pop back here to say hi and to show a bit of love over on the blogosphere. Now normally I give three picks but to be truthful I have been a little busy with the move this past month, so haven’t been reading as many posts as I normally would have. These are the two posts that particularly stood out for me for the month of May:
For the bloggers, I know that some of you are thinking about bringing on sponsors. Before you bring any on board, you need to get pull a media kit together and if the thought of that makes your eyes glaze over like mine, you should check out Jeni from The Blog Maven’s very useful step by step guide:
Some of you may recall my fascination with a String Garden from a couple of months ago, well I’m now also loving air plants thanks to Kreetta from the beautiful blog, Gretchen Gretchen. She recently guest posted over at Monster Circus with the sweetest DIY Air Plant hanger that looks super easy – oh and you have to crack open a bottle of champagne for it – twist my arm! Check it out:
I’ll be back on Friday with another installment of “My Space” where we visit a favourite little nook of a gorgeous blogger. See you then!
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