Friday, 28 October 2011

Here's to another 10!

It's Jacaranda season here in Brisbane, one of my favourite times of year ....

I try every year to capture the essence of this beautiful tree in a photo, but I can never quite manage it.  So I prefer to just drive down certain streets where I know there are plenty, or find myself a vantage spot somewhere in the city where I can look out across the lavender-daubed landscape.

The Jacaranda in flower holds a special meaning for me - it was blooming at the time I first arrived in Australia ....

Look closely and you'll see - that was 10 years ago yesterday.  10 years!  On the one hand I think, where does the time go?  But on the other, I wonder: how on earth have I managed to fit in all the things that have happened?

I've changed career not once, but twice. 
I've lived at 9 different addresses and am about to move into number 10. 
I adopted 2 beautiful girls ....

And have enjoyed so many amazing days in so many beautiful places around Australia that I can't possibly keep count ....

I've met many amazing people, from a bewildering amount of backgrounds, cultures and walks of life and built so many more lasting and meaningful friendships than I would ever have thought possible. 

But what this beautiful country means to me personally, more than anything, is freedom.  Here, in this amazing place at the other side of the planet from where I began, I found something unexpected, something I didn't even know I was looking for ....

I found the freedom to be me.

Til next time, Nx

PS at 2.50pm on Friday afternoon.  Celebrating with a cuppa and a lamington!

Friday, 21 October 2011

The colour of my week

You know how it goes, sometimes the universe gives you a nudge.  Then when you don't listen, it nudges you just a little bit harder.  Then if you're still not listening .... well, you were warned ....

One of mine taken in Scotland earlier this year

I happen to be studying Colour Psychology at the moment and one of two colours we spent time on this week was Yellow-Orange.   Along with its next of kin on the colour wheel, Yellow, this is not a colour I've loved in the past, or used extensively in any of my homes.  But lately it's been popping up on my colour radar more and more, demanding some attention.

via Apartment Therapy

 So what did I learn about this colour this week?  I learnt it is associated with abundance, amongst other things, but that word 'abundance' is the part of this week's lesson that resonated with me the most. 

(And by the way, I'm not sticking to all Yellow-Orange images in this post - I'm making room for all sorts of Yellows ....)

Gold Coast apartment building

Abundance is something I am blessed to appreciate in my life every single day.  But lately there's been a little gremlin lurking around, one that relates to perhaps the most tangible aspect of abundance - money.  It's been on my mind, worrying me just a little.

Detail from the astounding Grand Palace in Bangkok

Hardly surprising really - a total career change, from a very-comfortably-off-thank-you-very-much leadership consultant to a rookie interior designer, will do that to you.  This week's lesson on Yellow-Orange struck such a chord with me that I realised this little gremlin needs dealing with - he's been getting me down, holding me back, stopping me from launching into things that I am yearning to do creatively.  I've been second-guessing if these creative pursuits will make me any money, if they will keep me afloat.

Taken from Livingetc, May 2010 - this lives in my 'dream home' file

Then Jonathan Cainer pipes up with his say.  I don't tend to read my horoscope much, but since a very dear friend of mine has been sharing hers with me over the past few weeks, I was intrigued enough to check mine out this week.

Kangaroo Paw from my garden
And I quote for Wednesday:
"For love, we do all kinds of crazy things.  And for money?  The same applies.  Is it because we need to?  Is it because we want to?  Or is it simply in our desperation to obtain one or the other, we abandon and lower our intelligence.  That would be most ironic, especially as we would be far more likely to attract those qualities into our lives by manifesting confidence rather than acquiescence.  You won't compromise your state of emotional or financial well-being by being yourself today."

Graham and Brown 'Stretch' wallpaper via Apartment Therapy

And Thursday goes something like this -
"You are soon to be better off.  Your finances may not improve automatically, you may have to put in some serious effort, but at least you will have the opportunity to make that effort.  A door will open.  A chance will arise.  If you are encountering difficulty, it could only really be for one reason: because you are allowing yourself to be motivated by fear rather than inspiration."

Another detail from the Grand Palace

I would like to let go, to free myself from being motivated by fear, and allow myself to be motivated by inspiration.  And having come to that conclusion, the universe has now presented me with an opportunity to give it a go ....

Turns out that my car, which I can no longer start because the ignition is worn and the key won't turn, is going to cost me a bank-account-clearing $1100 to get back on the road.  Sharp intake of breath ....

... but still here, still me and still a very wealthy woman, in oh-so-many ways.

Til next time, Nx

Friday, 14 October 2011

Freedom Friday

Today was one of those days that reminds me how blessed I am to live the life I do.  After a busy week of work, today there were no deadlines, no house-hunting hassles (at last!) ... in fact I was free to do whatever I wanted. 

Photo by me

And what better way to start the day than by watching the first in the new series of Grand Designs that I  recorded last night.  I think Kevin gets more and more entertaining as the years go on - he is so sharp and tells it like he sees it, but always with a smile!  How I wish I was going to Grand Designs Live down in Sydney in late October - anyone going to make it along?

Martha gets in on the act - as per usual!

Then it was off to visit the Parry & Williams (Upholsterers) showroom with two of my fellow Interior Design Decorators, followed by a spot of lunch and a chat to cap off a great morning.  (You'll see the result of what I picked up at Parry & Williams for a song at a later date ... )

Another photo by me, minus the cat this time

Then just enough time before the weekend officially kicks off to think about writing a blog post.  But what to write about?  What photos to post?  Decision made as I spot my latest purchase which I love, love, love.  This Freedom side table looks good enough on its own (how much do I love teal) ....

Stencil Occasional Table in Teal from Freedom, $49.95, also available in Orange and (yellow) Green

But what about when you team it with the neighbour's bougainvillea?  POW!  A colour combo good enough to eat.

The bougainvillea just hangs over the fence ... honest ...

I really enjoyed Freedom Friday.  It was my kind of day.  What's yours?

Til next time, Nx

Monday, 3 October 2011

What's in the bottom drawer?

Isn't it amazing how quickly memories fade if we don't pay attention to them? 

It's only a few months since my trip, but so many other things have come along to fill my head and push those memories to the bottom drawer of the file cabinet in my brain.  So it feels good to open that drawer again and linger over the patterns, their shapes and their colours, that transport me back to a time and a place, just like a scent can do the minute you smell it.  Before you know it, you're right back in the memory ....

Tiles adorning the outside of Rumah Bebe shop-house

When I first walked into Rumah Bebe in Singapore, I gasped.  So much colour, so many patterns - my kind of heaven.  I feel so alive and happy in places like this. 

You can imagine how hard it was to choose which fabric to buy from the seemingly infinite range of batik prints stacked to the rafters in the back of the shop ....

A length of batik fabric I bought in Rumah Bebe

Then I just couldn't resist this vintage thermos and its delicate decoration ....

Detail from vintage flask bought in Rumah Bebe, Singpore

Time for a sit-down and a Singapore Sling after all that shopping!

Coaster from the Raffles courtyard bar, where you'll be served a REAL Singaore Sling. 
Tip: Don't bother with the Singapore Slings in the upstairs bar where everyone goes - it's pre-mix!

Pattern is everywhere in Singapore, from the coaster under your Singapore Sling, to the stationery in your hotel ....

A montage of card, paper and envelope designs from the Regent Hotel, Singapore

From the modern ....

The Crowne Plaza, Changi Airport, Singapore (taken from Terminal 3 - much more than an airport terminal!)

To the traditional ....

Traditional shop-houses, Singapore

I love this country's joyful use of both pattern and colour.  I felt right at home!  And speaking of home ....

Poppies (once they've flowered)

The intricate patterns of nature and the countryside are always a source of delight in my native Scotland ....

Loch Leven, Scotland

And how amazing was it on this trip to see the original interiors of the Royal Palace at Stirling Castle recreated as they would been in the 16th Century ....

The Queen's Inner Hall in the Royal Palace, Stirling Castle

Another gasp-inducing moment ....

 The Queen's Outer Hall

And my old stomping ground of Edinburgh didn't disappoint either.  It never does ....

A typical New Town terrace, Edinburgh

 And while Paris was a mere glimpse compared to the rest of the trip ....

No denying the Parisiens do a good lamp-post ...

 The patterns of its history are always a joy to behold ....

The underside of the Arc de Triomphe

Thank you for joining me on this little 'Pattern' trip down memory lane.  There's still the 'Texture' tour to come, so I look forward to seeing you there soon.

'Nature Table' plate by Lou Rota, from Anthropologie in Edinburgh

Til next time, Nx