26 Yallingup (Part 3)... Natural beauty

After sampling my way around the wineries, restaurants and gourmand providores in the Yallingup region, I usually start thinking about walking off all my (over!) indulgence. Any one of the coastal tracks are spectacular... think perfect blue water, puffy white clouds drifting across the horizon, the sun warm on your back and a gentle breeze blowing to keep the temperature the right side of 30 degrees (celsius). 

Yallingup is a stunning part of the Australian coast and I'm already looking forward to my next trip there, although it may not be for a couple of years. If you missed it (or I haven't convinced you to start planning your trip yet), have a look back at Part 1 and Part 2!

From Perth, with love xox 

PS. Those gorgeous girls are my nieces 

24 Perth house style

Ever stepped into one of those houses where you feel at home straightaway? Where the light shines in just the right way, the rooms are full of gorgeous things and you feel so comfortable you can see yourself moving in tomorrow? My brother in law and his wife have a house like that. It's effortless and artful, lived-in and somehow casually elegant at the same time and each time I go back, I find something new to fall in love with. 

I love that P&J.'s house tells the story of their lives together. Enlarged photos of their travels around the world adorn the walls of the hallway, the art in their study (made from old cricket ground scoreboards) spells out the family's birthdays, a collection of hats by the doorway hangs in readiness for imminent outdoor adventures, a photo board in the dining room chronicles the lives of close friends and family and bookshelves hold treasures from faraway places.

It's the perfect house for little fairies to grow up in. From the butterfly-adorned bedroom, the worldly and subtly educational playroom, the cubby-house in the front yard to the bar for aspiring ballerinas to practice posture and pliƩ, it's a treasure trove for daily discoveries and fun play dates.

 And of course, there's the guard-dog... although he'd sooner lick you to death than hurt you!

When we get around to buying a house big enough for a family, I know who I'll be calling for house tips…

From Perth, with love xox

27 Yallingup (Part 2)... wine and chocolate

When you need a break from the sunshine, waves, sand and salt, the next best thing to do in Yallingup is explore some of the wineries along Caves Rd. Although it's easy to while away a whole three weeks just visiting wineries, we spent an afternoon visiting our two favourites.

-The most popular sign in the region.... winery in 400m! -
Saracen Estates is divinely beautiful. I forgot to do the wine tasting in favour of soaking up the ambience, marveling at the vines and appreciating the stunning architecture of the cellar door and restaurant. 

Laurance was a favourite of ours from a couple of years ago. It's hard to remember you're in the Margaret River region with the Mediterranean landscaping. The thing I like most is being able to take a range of wines for tasting while drifting around the rose arbour, or sitting on the lawn. 

I always visit the Margaret River Chocolate Company. I seem to have a weakness for (almost) all things chocolate and can spend ages wandering around the aisles with the free chocolate buttons melting in my hands as I decide what to buy. 

Yallingup summer days really are blissfully relaxing and indulgent. The real world seems so far away and it's always hard to adjust back to normal life when you return. Each time, the prospect of a sea change is more and more tempting... 

From Perth, with love xox

11 Bookworm

To say I love to read is a major understatement. I can easily lose myself in a novel for hours at a time, eagerly turning the pages to find out what happens next, how the plot will twist and what turn the story will take. 

- My NYC bedroom -
Given my unexpected time off work, I've managed to read quite a few books over the last few weeks - here are some of my favourites:

The love story: The night circus (Erin Morgenstern)
"The circus arrives without warning..." and from that starting line I was absolutely captivated. This love story between two magicians evolves against a backdrop of an enchanting circus filled with fantastical magic. The vivid imagery had me hooked (though according to some reviews the plot is slow) and I loved it start to finish.

The heart wrencher: The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein)
Oh-so-beautifully written, this book tells the story of a series of events that tear a family apart, through the eyes of their family dog Enzo. I laughed, I cried and I laughed again.

The thriller: The Hunger Games Series (Suzanne Collins)
Imagine this... you're in a reality tv 'game', where your environment is controlled and manipulated to boost ratings while you compete against a group of teenagers in a fight to the death. Chilling really, but I could not put it down.  

The giggle: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (Marina Lewycka)
Two sisters re-unite to save their father from the clutches of a money hungry bride-to-be who comes with a tonne of baggage. Interesting alliances are formed as the relationship develops and changes. Hilarious and serious by turns.  

The fantasy: Game of Thrones (George R R Martin)
It's a time of kings and queens, knights and squires, castles and fortresses and the struggle to be crowned king of the seven kingdoms. Intriguingly written, with each chapter from a different character's perspective, the whole story takes a while to come together but it's worth persevering.

What are your favourite books? After I read The Imperfectionists on Saskia's recommendation I've finished the queue on my e-reader and would love your suggestions!

From Perth, with love xox

18 Yallingup… A beach getaway (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago lovely husband C. and I spent a week 'down south' [of Perth] with our family (my wonderful in-laws). Yallingup is a three hour drive from Perth and is home to some of Australia's best wineries, art galleries and beaches. It seems as though half of Perth makes an annual trip to the little town, which has one of the most dramatic beach views I've ever had the pleasure of seeing.
We spent our days playing on the beach with the kids, our evenings eating beautiful food and by sunset we were back on the beach for fishing. In a word, idyllic. The type of holiday where you forget you're an adult, remember what it's like to use your imagination and see each day as a succession of a million exciting games.

I want to go back...

From Perth, with love xox

14 Subiaco style

Subiaco - or Subi as the locals call it – is one of my favourite suburbs in Perth. It's close to the city and Kings Park, not far from the beach, has some lovely little boutiques for browsing and buying, a collection of great restaurants and bars for indulging and lovely character filled houses with leafy trees in the front yard.

It's particularly fun to walk around on a warm summer evening, after a relaxed (and delicious) meal at Jimmy's Noodle and Rice; window shopping for prospective purchases while eating  a refreshingly tart gelato and then ducking into a bar for a fruit-filled and fabulous cocktail.

Sometimes I wonder why I moved…

From Perth, with love xox

13 Happiness Notes

Despite the reason we're here in Perth, or perhaps because of, I've found myself really appreciating the small things that make me happy every day.  

- Lovely husband C. and I part way through our morning walk  from Scarborough Beach to Trigg -
Waking up early to walk along a perfect beach before the day gets underway

Composing and taking a photo that completely captures the emotion in a moment

Hearing my nieces giggle as they lick a bowl we've used for baking

Riding my (vintage*) bike around a pretty lake as the sun is setting

My first sip of freshly squeezed juice in the morning

Getting lost in a new novel as a story unfolds and the characters evolve

Fresh flowers filling the house with bright colours and lovely fragrances

My summer tan on my feet (in the shape of my trusty pair of Havaianas)

Bright patterned maxi-skirts paired with a white tank

Tousled, salty and sun-streaked summer hair

What's making you happy right now?

From Perth, with love xox

* Seriously real vintage… my bike from my childhood years, dusted off and repaired and polished to within an inch of its life

10 Dwellingup... a country dream

I sometimes dream of running away to live on a farm with a small orchard, a horse or two and lots of flowers. I would rise with the sun to pick some fruit for breakfast, spend all day writing novels and eat dinner with my lovely husband every evening in the balmy and fragrant air.

Seeing as I haven't yet realized my dream, the next best thing is visiting my father in law, who has the aforementioned farm (minus the horses for now) just outside a charming little town called Dwellingup, about hour and a little bit south of Perth. We visited last week and spent the day picking berries and flowers.

It was a wonderfully relaxing day, although I'm pretty sure general consensus has it that I ate more berries than I collected (have you ever tasted a raspberry straight off the bush, where it's been warmed by the sun? It's heavenly and a crime to not eat them right away) and spent much of my time flitting around taking photos rather than picking flowers.

I think it would be a lovely existence… until it got cold and rainy or I saw a snake!

From Perth, with love xox

12 2011... a year in pictures

I know I'm supposed to be looking forward, formulating resolutions and gearing up for another year, but before I do I couldn't help reliving 2011 one more time…
- Clockwise starting top left: A view of the Yarra River in Melbourne, lovely husband C.
after cycling, my last fabulous Melbourne coffee and out with the horses - 

- Clockwise starting top left: American flag in Princeton, view of Manhattan from the East,
on the street in Soho, more Soho, cute French bulldogs in the West Village, walking the
Brooklyn Bridge, fire station in the Lower East side, the Statue of Liberty -

- Clockwise starting top left: the Bean in Chicago, The Capitol in Washington DC, a cool
biker dude in Miami, a lovely building in Montreal, the cathedral in Cracow (Poland),
South Beach Miami -
- Lots of family and beach time! -
… it was an amazing year, by turns exciting, challenging, scary and exhilarating. I wouldn’t swap my adventures for anything and am looking forward to experiencing all of what 2012 has to offer.

From Perth, with love xox  

PS. Thank you to lovely husband C. for his patience and help with Photoshop, and also thank you Fran (aka fabulous mother in law) for the lovely Melbourne photos