Wednesday, 26 September 2018

A TRANSITIONAL DRESS

Hi everyone, hope you are all well
It does not matter which season has just ended and which has just arrived, you would need to have something in your wardrobe that you can wear while transitioning from one season to the next.  And I found just the right dress that is exactly what you need when in between the seasons.
For those who don't know me, I am from Sydney, Australia and our seasons come and go in reverse to what you experience in the Northern hemisphere.  That said, we are in the first month of spring.
I found this dress in COS, a contemporary fashion brand that I frequently visit because I like their vision and their ability to reinvent classics and make them look timely and modern.  Their wardrobe essentials are to go to if you work in an office but want to stand out from the crowd dressed in the standard corporate uniform of black skirt and a blazer topped with white buttoned blouse.
Although my office environment is very relaxed and I don't have a need to regularly update my wardrobe, I still like to pop in the store from time to time to view the new collection and pick up a piece that catches my eye.
It was during my recent visit to the store, that I spotted this box-shaped dress which appealed to me for its warm, happy colour and simplicity of style which opens the door to multiple outfit possibilities which will go far beyond the office look.
As it happened, the first time I wore this dress was for a night out.  We were meeting our friends for a pre-theatre dinner and a performance at a local community theatre of which they are patrons.  Not wanting to be overdressed, I opted for low heel court shoes.
On the other hand, my dress looked a tad too plain so I decided that some embellishment wouldn't hurt and chose a necklace that I bought in Sorrento on our last trip back in 2017.  I love big statement pieces and when I saw this necklace on a stand sparkling in all its glory, I couldn't walk away without it.
As for my handbag, you have seen me carrying it here.
We didn't know exactly what was on the program for the night, turned out it was a dialogue with Carlotta, a 75 year old transgender person who back in the 60's was a star of the internationally renowned Sydney's "Les Girls".  Even at her age, she was thoroughly engaging, witty and openly frank answering questions asked by the host of the evening and even treated us to a couple of nice songs and an occasional twirl.  It was a fascinating encounter with a side of life that we do not know much about.
I am wearing a dress from COS, shoes - DVF, bag-Furla, sunglasses - Burberry (old)

Till the next post

Anna
xoxo


Monday, 24 September 2018

THE TEST KITCHEN, CAPE TOWN

If you ever going to visit Cape Town, don't forget to include a trip to the Old Biscuit Mill - vibrant, warm-hearted little area in the heart of Woodstock, one of the up and coming suburbs that, in recent years, has become home to a creative community of innovative designers, artists, photographers and connoisseurs of fine taste and décor. The Mill is home to day and night markets, dynamic office space, a range of workshops and designer stores, delicious farm stalls, decadent restaurants as well as an inspiring line-up of festivals and productions.


It is such a fascinating place to be.  Every corner you turn, you most certainly will discover some new ideas and inspirations, feel the vibe of creativity hanging in the air, to find beautiful pieces made out of ceramic, textiles, glass or metal.  I always come back to it and quite often end up buying some jewellery or a scarf or a beautiful ceramic bowl.

Once your appetite for creativity has been satisfied, think what you can do to pleasure your taste buds.  And don’t you worry, you don’t need to go far as the Mill is bursting with cafes, restaurants and coffee hangouts.

Amongst the highly regarded places to eat, the two which I strongly recommend are The Taste Kitchen and its his humble cousin The Pot Luck Club.  

The Taste Kitchen which was opened in 2010, is owned and run by the British born head chef Luke Dale-Roberts, one of the most celebrated chefs who cooks his most creative dished in a distinctive contemporary space.

The Test Kitchen”, as its name implies, affords Luke the opportunity for maximum innovation as a chef and the dishes are a pure reflection of his creativity with flavours and ingredients.

During our fist trip to the Old Biscuit Mill we were not lucky enough to score a table at this establishment. Due to its huge popularity, this place gets booked for months in advance.  So the next year, the moment we booked our plane tickets to South Africa, while still in Sydney we went on-line and made a lunch reservation.  And we were not disappointed.

As we stepped inside the restaurant, we were greeted by the floor manager who kindly offered us a table in a quieter part of the restaurant.  On our way to the table I looked around to get a feeling of the place.  The space itself is a fusion of industrial rust softened by urban/Asian-inspired décor—textured paper globes hang from the ceiling, piles of bespoke crockery are neatly packed onto crimson shelves and beaten metal tables juxtaposed along leather covered couches make up the intimate restaurant. At its heart is the open kitchen; wrapped around the perimeter is the ‘kitchen bar’, here guests can dine off the â la carte menu while watching the carousel of professional chefs create culinary magic.

The lunch menu at The TasteKitchen had three choices:  a-la carte, a 5-course lunch and a vegetarian lunch menu.  We chose a-la carte one. 

The first thing that arrived on the table was a trio of deliciously smelled, in-house baked bread rolls with home churned butter carefully placed inside a muslin cloth and oven baked flour dust.

THE TEST KITCHEN, CAPE TOWN
A trio of breads

For a starter, I choose Grilled Scallop (grilled scallop, fine bean, tofu miso suke, braised scallop dressing, miso on toast, braised shitake, raw shitake) while my husband settled for Pickled Fish (ceviche, lightly curried dressing, bbq carrots, ras el hanout honeycomb).

THE TEST KITCHEN, CAPE TOWN
Pickled Fish
THE TEST KITCHEN, CAPE TOWN
Grilled Scallop
My main was Autumn Lamb (pan seared lamb loin, slow roasted lamb shanks, lamb sweetbreads, bbq broccoli puree, courgette and caper emulsion, lamb jus).  And since my husband absolutely loves eating duck, there were no surprises here.  He ordered Confit Duck (confit duck leg, mushroom and liver stuffing, assorted onions, truffle and foie gras egg, duck liver jus).

THE TEST KITCHEN, CAPE TOWN
Confit of Duck

THE TEST KITCHEN, CAPE TOWN
Autumn Lamb

As for dessert, my choice fell on Carob (carob mousse, roast banana butter, meringue, rum foam, coffee and tanariva cremeux) while my husband ordered Apple (apple crumble, elderflower jelly, sour cream, signing nettle granita, streudel).

THE TEST KITCHEN, CAPE TOWN
Apple Crumble

THE TEST KITCHEN, CAPE TOWN
Carob dessert

THE TEST KITCHEN, CAPE TOWN
Enjoying the dessert

While we were enjoying a glass of champagne, a carton with two ceramic eggs was placed on the table in front of us.  Inside were pastel balls of sorbet, a fitting end to a light summer’s lunch.
THE TEST KITCHEN, CAPE TOWN
Sorbet served in porcelain egg cups

THE TEST KITCHEN, CAPE TOWN
Sorbet

The food absolutely blew us away.  Every dish was cooked to perfection; the match of flavours was superb and looked like an art-work on the plate.

The staff was deeply knowledgeable, very friendly and knows exactly how to put their patrons at ease and let them enjoy the experience from the beginning to end.

We had an amazing culinary adventure and I would recommend anyone who is planning a trip to Cape Town to experience it.  A word of warning, don’t attempt to go there without booking and you might need to book a few months in advance.  But I promise, you will not be disappointed.

OUR LUNCH AT NOMA COPENHAGEN

Hello again, my dear readers,

In this post I would like to share with our our experience at the number 1 restaurant in the world Noma in Copenhagen.
You see, my husband is from Cape TownSouth Africa and whilst he immigrated to Australia, his parents chose not to move.  Hence, every year we go to Cape Town for about 10 days to pay them a visit.  

My husband is a bit of a food connoisseur who loves to dine at very posh, famous, Michelin starred celebrity-owned, ranked-top-in-the world restaurants in every city we visit. Sometimes it poses quite a conundrum as some of them require a booking to be made many months in advance, well before we start planning our holidays.  Sometimes you just get lucky.  When last year we were mapping out our European holiday, we decided to include Denmark in our itinerary.  And then, we naturally thought of how lovely it would be, if we can get a table at Noma while in Copenhagen .

We knew Noma had a waiting list of at least 3 months and we were only going to be there for 3 days, but my husband called them from Sydney and asked to be put on the waiting list regardless.  I continuously teased him about it, until on our second day in Copenhagen he received a phone call from the restaurant.  It turned out that someone had cancelled their booking and there was now an opening for lunch.  Needless to say, we both immediately shouted "YES"!  We could not believe our luck
.
People do not go Noma because they are hungry and are just after something to eat; rather, it's an opportunity to dive into the amazing and unique world of a super-talented man, to feel inspired by him, to share his unique approach to food and life, to taste dishes you cannot find anywhere else - in a gastronomic sense, that is.  We were served 17 dishes in total and, whilst they were all memorable, I will recount just a few. 

When the maitre d' showed us to our table, we noticed that the waiter was trying to re-arrange some flowers in a vase on our table.  We didn’t think twice about this until she pushed the vase towards us and there in the middle of the blooms were two edible snails, one for each of us.  It was challenge #1 and we had no choice but to tackle it, and tackle it we did.  I must say, the snail tasted good. 

Lunch at Nome, Copenhagen
Our next challenge was presented to us in a non-descript glass jar full of ice with the lid securely closed.  When the waiter opened the lid and showed us what was inside, we gasped.  There, on top of the ice cubes, laid two very much alive shrimps.  Yet again, we summoned up our courage and reached for the shrimps.  When I took my shrimp out, it was still waggling its tail.  The waiter saw the horror on my face and took mercy on me.  He pushed some sauce towards us and told us first to dip the shrimp in it and then swallow it.  I can’t honestly tell you what it tasted like but was relieved when it didn’t jump out of my throat.
Lunch at Nome, Copenhagen

lunch at noma
The following courses were of less adrenalin-pumping but still astonishingly challenging and equally unpredictable nevertheless. 

At some point, they brought us raw eggs, butter, two small frying pans, a bunch of spinach leaves and a timer, and explained that we had to cook our own egg omelet. We had a lot of fun doing it and it tasted divine.
Lunch at Nome, Copenhagen

Lunch at Nome, Copenhagen

Lunch at Nome, Copenhagen

Another dish was a plate full of soil (edible of course) with some exotic garden vegetables.
Lunch at Noma
The other – a recreation of the ocean bed with seaweed, shells and the like, every piece looked so natural that we had to ask a waiter for guidance as we couldn’t determine what was edible and what was just part of the setting
Lunch at Noma

Lunch at Noma

Lunch at Noma

Lunch at Noma
Fried shallots with Garlic

Lunch at Noma, Copenhagen

Lunch at Noma

lunch at noma

Lunch at Noma

Smocked quail eggs

Lunch at Noma

lunch at Noma

Lunch at Noma

Lunch at Noma

Lunch at Noma
As much as we were admiring the food, I couldn't wait for the dessert, my favourite part of the meal. First, they served us chocolate buns in a tin box that were in the shape of snails.
Lunch at Noma
Then one of the waiters brought us a parcel wrapped in plain brown paper and when we unwrapped it, we found two pieces of bone marrow.  Puzzled, I gingerly gave it a little bite and to my delight, I tasted white chocolate and salted caramel, both of which were utterly delicious.
Lunch at Noma
After the last dish was served to us, we looked at eaht other with the sad realisation that our delicicious, delightful, exciting, unforgettable and totally unique experience had come to an end.  We had to leave this delectable paradise and return to planet Earth. Now I understand why they call it Food Porn.



Thursday, 6 September 2018

FLARED WHITE JEANS AND ANIMAL PRINT COAT

Hi everyone, hope you are all well.

The end of August has heralded the official end of Australian winter and with this came the urge to refresh the spring wardrobe.
I didn't mean a total wardrobe overhaul but I wanted a fresh pair of white jeans and maybe some shoes.  From reading the posts of my fellow fashion bloggers, I gathered that a lot of you also love white jeans and wear them quite often.  Last year I purchased a pair of white skinny denims from one of my favourites, J Brand, which you've seen me wearing here and here.
This year I was on the lookout for something different.  Once while shopping at our local department store for something else, I spotted a pair of jeans from J Brand that have some interesting details that made them stand out from the rest:  they were cropped and raw hemmed with flare bottoms that were split on the sides.
I have previously purchased a couple of pants from this brand and I like what they make for good quality, fresh style and perfect fitting.  In fact, in my last post the cargo pants I was wearing are also from J Brand.  They come at a price besides it was in the middle of winter and I was not in the mood for spring shopping yet so I left them hanging on the rack.
A month later when I decided to begin my spring shopping, the main stock was sold out but there were a few odd pairs, the ones that I liked among them, left hanging on the rack marked "Sale" at a dramatically reduced priced tag.  My hands trembling with excitement, I checked them for size.  When I saw that they were my size, I knew that I had to have them, it was meant to be.
While I was thinking of summer outfits that could revolve around these pants, an opportunity presented me with a reason to wear them much sooner.   Sometime ago friends of ours asked us if we would like to join them to go and see a concert called Hits of Motown, the show that "celebrates the most influential era in pop history in a big night of back-to-back Motown hits that will leave you breathless"
To be perfectly honest with you, I had no idea about Motown is but the idea of going out, seeing your friends and having a good time sounded very appealing and we agreed.  If you, like me, don't know anything about Motown, it is American record company behind the voices of  soul superstars like Diana Ross, Steve Wonder and Michael Jackson to name just a few.
After what I read about this era, I decided that the my new jeans would be perfect for such an outing.  I wasn't sure what top should I wear them with but then remembered that I have a simple boat-cut black top that will be not only will go well with the pants but my newly acquired oversized so called Portrait earring will look perfect against the open neck and shoulder of the top.
I bought them from Gorman, a label very much loved by Australians for its whimsical signature prints and distinctive colour palettes.  While I find the clothes a bit too quirky for my taste, I do like their footwear and overtime have bought a couple of pairs of shoes from them.  The store's window display always draws attention from passers-by for the abundance of colours and prints, myself including, and it was during one of my window shopping moments that I spotted these funky earrings.
 I have never ever owned nor wore anything remotely looking like them before and that was probably the main reason that I bought them.  I finished my outfit with an animal print coat and a fresh pair of shoes in gingham print that I recently bought at Zara.
This print has been one of the most popular prints seen all over Instagram and in blog posts for quite some time and by the look of it, its popularity is not going to abate soon so I am planning to get a good wear out of them.  Besides, the heel is of a very reasonable height which means that I could easily wear them all day long and thanks to the pointy toes, they look elegant enough to be worn to more formal occasions.
As I hoped, my outfit was very well suited to the mood of the concert which, by the way, was thoroughly enjoyable.  A couple of songs that were performed brought back some nostalgia but that did not stop us letting our hair down and we had a lot of fun clapping, tapping and singing along with the people on stage.

Until next post,

Anna
xoxoxo