Tag Archives: Books

Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things…The only problem is, this isn’t actually mine! It’s a present I bought for a friend’s little boy.

I was so excited when I found this Charley Harper Memory Game, but when it arrived in the mail from We Heart Books, I was….well, rapt! Wrapped with such love, it’s clear that whatever We Heart Books do, they do it with heart.

I’ll be back We Heart Books – if only to get my own brown paper package tied up with string!

PS: Check out We Heart Book’s idea for Charley Harper wall wart using this set of memory cards.

Creepiosity is a laugh-out-loud (because it’s so true!) book I’ve just stumbled across. From guys with beards but no mustaches, to animal mascots who want you to eat their kind and little kids with old-people names, this is a brilliant chronicle of 100 unintentionally creepy things we’ve all experienced. You can even get in on the action and submit your own curiosities via the companion web site!

AU $13.41; available online at The Book Depository

Images: Forsman & Bodenfors

Who would have thought that the publisher of one of the most visually inventive baking cookbooks, would be none other than Ikea?! ?!

Styled by Evelina Bratell and photographed by Carl Kleiner, Homemade is Best features pristine arrangements that focus on ingredients rather than the finished cake or biscuit. Inspired by high fashion and Japanese minimalism, the resulting images are an abstract, almost geometric…er, visual feast!

A stack more images from Homemade is Best can be found here.

Homemade is Best is free in the kitchen section of select Ikea stores in Sweden. (Boo hoo!)

Oscar de la Renta’s home in Kent, Connecticut.

Ralph Lauren’s ranch.

Johnson Hartig’s home in Los Angeles.

Tory Burch’s home in Manhattan.

Jenni Kayne’s home in Beverly Hills.

Francisco Costa’s Murray Hill Manhattan home.

Donna Karen’s home.

Milan this week.
London last week.

It’s hard to escape the fact we’re in the middle of Spring/Summer 2011 runway season. For fashion escapism of a different kind, take a gander at some of the pages from the recently released book, American Fashion Designers at Home.

Presenting over 100 homes owned by the the likes of Ralph Lauren, Betsy Johnson and Oscar de la Renta, it is the ultimate voyeuristic journey.

Images: Locoav
I often return to a book I read a few years ago called How to Get Ideas by Jack Foster. I have highlighted, dog-eared and marked many of its pages. One section that often calls out my name demands that you get out of your rut.

Although no one likes to admit it, it is easy to do the same things the same way. You know – eat the same thing for breakfast, dress the way you have always dressed, drive to work the same way listening to the same radio station, get your coffee from the same place at the same time, read the same sections of the newspaper…and on it goes.

“Because you’re in a rut, every day your five senses are recording the same things they recorded yesterday – the same sights, the same feelings, the same smells, the same sounds, the same tastes…But please, today, do something. Something different, something that will get you off dead center, something that will start you in a different direction, something the will get you out of your rut,” says Foster.

So today I did just that. Alfie and I took a different route on our morning walk to the shops and along the way we spied this:

This little piece of guerrilla knitting was a perfect reminder, if ever I needed it, that it always pays to take the road less traveled.

What will you do differently today?

Image: Harlequin

The Vintage Collection from Mills & Boon

Be still, my beating heart! Sure, many publishing houses have re-released their classics over the last few years, but this gorgeously retro boxed set from Mills & Boon is seriously making me swoon.

Maybe it’s the fact that they remind me of my beautiful nanny, June, who always had a Mills & Boon on the go. Or maybe it’s the original 50’s covers featuring classic titles like Virgin with Butterflies or Pardon My Body! Either way, The Vintage Collection had me at hello!

Au$ 24.95; available online from Mills & Boon.


All of my Christmas presents are wrapped – bar one. You see, originally I bought COOKBOOK for one of my nearest and dearest, but now I’m not so sure I can part with it!

COOKBOOK is a letterpress printed collection of recipes from famed Melbourne chefs including Frank Comorra (MoVida), Andrew McConnell (Cumulus Inc) and Ben Shewry (Attica). Designed by Shona Stark and Lily Tidhar, COOKBOOK also features original prints from Jon Campbell, Ned Culic and Tin & Ed. And if that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, then in the true spirit of Christmas, all profits from this little gem go to The Australian AIDS Fund.

Hmmmm…the odds of this slice of Melbourne style and passion making it under the tree are looking pretty remote. I think this one is a keeper!

Limited Edition of 250
AU$ 48; available online at Leeloo.

Shout out – Thanks Evie for putting me on to COOKBOOK!

Launch of A Picture Book First and Foremost

You know how you get that rush of adrenalin – that flutter in your heart, when you see something that just blows you away? Well, I was blindsided by that last night.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Australian pop artist/artist entrepreneur, David Bromley. So, it took me completely by surprise that the launch of his book, A Picture Book First and Foremost, would be one of the most breathtaking experiences of my life.

Bromley calls it his ‘folly’, but I say it is one of the most captivating spaces in Melbourne. Each room of this faded Victorian-era beauty is furnished completely different from the next. There is a workshop, salon, studio, dining room and bedroom (even though no one lives there). And each room is filled with eccentric treasures, artwork and oddities that Bromley has fossicked for and collected. It felt a little creepy, a little otherworldly – like the pages of a fairytale had come to life. But at the same time the emotive pull of this space is unlike anything I have ever experienced.

It’s funny how you can be so wrong about someone. And how one evening can completely change that.

A Picture Book First and Foremost is available from 14 December.
Standard Edition: AU$ 170; Limited Edition: AU$ 1,500
Available from A Day on Earth (1223 High Street, Armadale, Victoria)

Ps: Sorry the photos are so grainy – I took them on my phone. Like I said, I wasn’t anticipating such a night!

I bet you’re saying, ‘Enough already! Surely she isn’t still banging on about that bloody trip to Bali.’Well I am – but I promise this will be the last time!

As holidays are the only time my attention span allows me to read an entire book, I merrily devoured three while I was away, and thought we could have a funny little online version of a Book club.

Image: Penguin Books Australia

The pick of the bunch was The Women in Black by Madeleine St John. Set in a 1960’s Department Store, this sharply observed and witty tale of the lives, relationships and friendship of the women who work in the Cocktail Dress section, really took me by surprise. Every sentence is deliciously written and I often found myself rereading sections simply for the joy of how perfectly each word fitted with the next. The Women in Black is sheer brilliance. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a novel so much…I know that’s a big call, but I’m prepared to stand by it!

Next up, is Perfection. This refreshingly candid memoir is written by Julie Metz, who was widowed at 44. Six months after her husband’s passing, she discovered that he had a string of affairs, including a continuing relationship with a woman she considered a close friend. What follows is a compelling, albeit sometimes downright uncomfortable, story of love, loss, lies and moving forward. Although the last part of this book loses some momentum, Perfection is a quintessential summer read. Funnily enough, while I really enjoyed this book it is actually a quote Julie references from Mary Oliver that I have often thought back to:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

And lastly, a memoir of an entirely different type, is Mama Mia: A Memoir of Mistakes, Magazines and Motherhood by columnist/magazine editor/blogger/media personality Mia Freedman. I feel like a traitor to the ‘sisterhood’ by saying this, but I found Mia’s book a little underwhelming. Particularly as the jacket says Mia has been called the voice of her generation! To liven things up, I suggest getting Happy Hour started early by downing:
  • 1 x Lychee Martini for every reference to a ‘ticker-tape parade’
  • 1 x Bintang for every time she likened something to ‘crack’
  • 1 x Pina Colada for every proclamation that she would ‘rather poke her eye out with [insert any sharp implement you can think of]‘

Still, her searingly honest account of The Catch-Up debacle gives a fly-on-the-wall view of the toxic, blokey culture of Channel 9. And, in many ways explains why Sam Newman and his imbecile mates on The Footy Show continue sucking up air time.

So, have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts? And what are your recommendations for worthwhile Summer reads?

Last Friday was an absolute diamond of a day. After whiling away the afternoon at the phenomenal Salvador Dali exhibition at the NGV and daydreaming beneath the stain glass roof of the Great Hall, I picked up a little book brimming with big ideas.

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be is written by ad-man Paul Arden, and offers positive insights into such diverse subjects as creativity, why you shouldn’t covet your ideas, seeking criticism rather than praise and why it’s often better to be wrong than to be right. The brilliant layout and type treatment used throughout this book is also worth mentioning as it is definitely the icing on the top of some really powerful ideas.

I don’t normally buy the whole ‘self-help’ schtick (in fact, I cringed when I had to type those two words!) but It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be is one out of the box. This book packs some serious punch and has left its mark on me.