Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Design Darling!

I just have to say that I am also very impressed with Design Darling
great young designers on the move!
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"Happy 101 Award"

I have received the Happy 101 Award from Lisa at Hamptontoes and I am so honoured! I never thought that "blogging" would lead me to such beautiful people and such soulmates. You know what I mean..... there are those out there who get it and those who don't. A connection irrespective of age, gender, country or occupation. That is what is so amazing.... you in America and Canada, the Swedes, us Down Under, the gorgeous Great Britains, and the Fabulous French! There is something very powerful within this connection that defies all the terrible atrocities that happen in our world. I am so proud to be a part of it..... thank-you! You know maybe we can just make a difference!
So here goes.....
My List of 10 Things That Make Me Happy!
1. My husband, Andrew....the most amazing man and my gorgeous children Alexander 22, Dominic 17 and Georgiana 7 (the little princess!) They constantly give me joy, love, anxiety and an overwhelming sense of pride. I am so lucky to have them in my life.
2. My extended family who I have such an affinity with(especially my Mum) .... big Irish family! Love you all!
3. My beautiful friends who constantly fill up my life....thank-you!
4. Interior Design and Decoration... we are all obsessed.
5. Buckets full of roses and the perfect cupcake .......heaven!
6. A beautifully made bed with freshly laundered sheets and soft feather pillows! I am an ex registered nurse so bed-making became somewhat of an artform! I think I might do a live post on my blog of "How to Make the Perfect Bed".... Martha Stewart watch out!
7. The Ocean... walking on the beach and sailing on the feel so peaceful and at one with the elements.
8. Books ... the smell of new books is intoxicating!
9. Travel .... especially France and discovering new frontiers is exhilarating!
10. Looking into someone's eyes and giving them your complete attention .... listening properly and acknowledging their importance in the world!
10 blogs I love ~ I will take Lisa's lead but I have to say her blog and her friendship is second to none!
Good night and enjoy these beautiful blogs!
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"Chic Salon"

My lovely friend and client, Terri (we went to school together), owns this gorgeous hair styling salon and she recently asked me to work on the interiors with her. So I used this stunning Designers Guild wallpaper as a feature wall in black/silver/charcoal and it is very Terri. She loves eclectic style and isn't afraid to use colour or pattern. Terri is renowned for her vivaciousness and friendliness and this wallpaper is the perfect backdrop for her to run her very successful salon business. Terri this post is for you! Thank-you!

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Monday, March 29, 2010

"Beautiful Interior"

I wanted to share these "Beautiful Interiors" with you. I took these photos when we were staying at the Trianon Palace Hotel at Versailles in July '08. This is the bathroom of our room.. I love the combination of the black horizontal brick tiles and calacutta marble... so elegant.

is the foyer with the gorgeous chandelier in the background and the buttoned green velvet tri chair in the middle.

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Laduree for Deb!

Deb I am sending you a virtual Laduree "Giftbox" to cheer you up ..... I hope you are feeling better! I didn't get the cakes made but hopefully will this afternoon! Image courtesy of
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Chicken Tartlet Recipe for my Lovely Friends!

2 cups finely chopped organic chicken breast
4 tablespoons each chopped walnuts, finely diced celery and mayonnaise
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style French mustard
4 tablespoons chopped garlic chives to garnish
shortcrust pastry ~ if you are very good you can make your own.... (I didn't!) I used frozen shortcrust pastry by Pampas
To make the pastry carefully slide a knife between the pastry sheets and allow to defrost.
I cut my circles with the top of a glass as it just happened to be the exact same shape as my tins. My tins are 6cm in diameter and approx. 2cm deep.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Use two tartlet trays of the above dimensions (12 in each tray). When the pastry is defrosted but not too soft cut rings with cutter and gently place in tray. Pierce 2-3 times with a fork. Bake in the oven for approx. 10mins then allow to cool. I find these keep very well in an airtight tupperware container. Cook the chicken in a fry-pan with a little olive oil and add sea salt and cracked black pepper. Cook till golden. Add a little water if necessary. Dice up the chicken finely. Mix together chicken, walnuts and celery. In a separate bowl combine the mayonnaise, creme fraiche and mustard, then add to the chicken mixture. Stir until combined. Place in fridge to chill.

Arrange tarts on a tray... I used an antique tray with a green lion and crown emblem on it which highlights the chive garnish on the tartlets. Spoon mixture into tartlets and garnish with chives to serve. Enjoy! We had these with a glass of Piper-Heidsieck (with a strawberry in the bottom!) and also sparkling Perrier.

I found this recipe in Austalian Interiors magazine January '05 ~ this is where I saw the antique tray as it was featured in the magazine with the tartlets on it so I phoned up the Sydney Antique Centre and it was available so I bought it! The crown caught my eye as I love crowns! Enjoy and thank-you for all your lovely comments.... it is so special to receive them.

Frances (aka M.A. the 2nd for Marie Antoinette the second!)

P.S. Lisa at Hamptontoes made my risotto and she is vegetarian and I notice a couple of you are as well.... Lisa substituted prawns for chicken and it worked brilliantly so maybe we could come up with some ideas instead of chicken. What do you all think?

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Chicken Tartlets and a Rose

I made these chicken tartlets for a little party we had tonight to celebrate the end of term! They are really lovely and go well with a glass of champagne or sparkling mineral water. I have taken some pictures as I made them...if you would like the recipe I am more than happy to oblige. If you like Dijon mustard, creme fraiche, chicken, walnuts and fresh chives then you might like to try these little canapes! Enjoy!
The rose is a close-up of the bunch I had on the table tonight......

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Chandelier Close-up

Lisa this close-up is for you! Thank-you for your lovely comment and these photos are a sneak in shot of the chandelier in our dining room!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ballota Nigra

This is the original lithograph printed in colour by Wahlstrom and Widstrand. Published in Stockholm.......circa 1922. Seen on main wall in botanical art scene!
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Botanical Wall Art

I have just finished this botanical wall art scene in our home. I have waited a long time as I felt the need to play with the layout and also we had just painted so it had to be right if I was going to pierce a hole in the beautifully finished paint! I love botanical artwork and these are lithographs which date back to the 18th and 19th century. Most of them have plate numbers on them and Bessler figures predominantly. This is our formal dining/drawing room which looks out to our front garden. I wanted this room to feel a part of the garden.... and so it does with these beautiful lithographs. The drawing room end has large Georgian sash windows which open onto the verandah so you step from the drawing room onto the verandah when they are open. Our home is about 112 years old and has a very interesting history which I will tell in due course. The main abstract lithograph is my favourite ... it looks like a blowsy bloom in a summer breeze!

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Swedish Bedroon

This beautifully elegant Swedish bedroom is perfect.... the white/grey/silver is so tranquil and timeless. It reminds me of the beautiful bedroom from the movie "Out of Africa" which is one of my favourite movies. Marie from Sweden posted this on her blog The French, The Swedes and the Danes certainly know how to do elegant and romantic without being too fussy or cluttered. Gustavian style gives us the attention to detail but with the white/grey/pale blue palette. This image gave me inspiration as I am looking at doing a rectangular coronet above a king-size bed with soft drapes to the side. Thank-you Marie for a beautiful image!
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tonya's Cushions!

Tonya here are your beautiful Carolyn Quartermaine cushions ~ thank-you and I know you will enjoy them!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

"Hampton"s House ~ Somethings Gotta Give"

Image courtesy of

Living Room and Exterior

I brought home with me some great finds and other things.... so I actually did some shopping as well and bought a couple of very gorgeous little cocktail dresses by Alannah Hill. At the birthday party on Saturday night I caught up with some lovely friends that I have not seen for quite a while ... one of them gave me a blog site "hooked on houses" to visit as I am absolutely obsessed (as I know a lot of like-minded souls are) about the house from the movie "Somethings Gotta Give". We are actually going to Los Angeles in June and looks like we will also be going to New York as well and I am going to visit my friend Lisa at I am so excited as we are also going to do a couple of days in the Hamptons!! So I am hoping we can do a homestay in something like the movie! (Wishful thinking!)

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New Manuel Canovas Collection

This is part of the new Manuel Canovas collection that I viewed last Friday at Radfords. It is amazing .... the texture, the attention to detail and the colours.... exquisite! When mine arrive I will take more photographs to try display the texture of them.
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I'm Back!

Have just had a gorgeous week-end away full of fun and inspiration! I am loving this bedroom below with the chartreuse colour and I particularly like the alphabet wallpaper. I don't know where it came from as it was just a random picture on my laptop. I will try and find the source and add it to the post. The fresh bunch of violet flowers works beautifully and brings the eye to the exterior vista of the black wrought iron. I bought beautiful flowers in Brisbane.... they were the most gorgeous white hyacinth but unfortunately, I couldn't bring them home. Do you know this wallpaper or image?
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Away for Work and Play!

I am in Brisbane this week-end.... for a birthday party and also for some work. Georgiana had the day off school so she was pretty excited! I have just been to look over the new Designer's Guild collection which I ordered a couple of weeks ago. It is so fresh and beautiful and the palette is perfect for our climate. I came away from Radford today feeling very inspired and excited at the prospect of using this beautiful collection. Georgiana scored a mermaid costume for her extremely good "angel" behaviour whilst Mummy was going through all the sample books! There is also a gorgeous new Colefax and Fowler which I think is a touch more contemporary for them. Also, beautiful Manuel Canovas........ will post more pictures of that on my return home.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Happy Birthday Trishy!"

Today is St. Patrick's Day, the patron saint of Ireland....I married an English "Russell" but I remain an Irish girl at heart! My maiden name is "O'Driscoll" and my father's father was born in County Cork. Now there is a story in our family that an ancestor of ours, Sir Fineen O'Driscoll fought Oliver Cromwell back in 1649 or thereabouts as he tried to conquer Ireland.... However today is more important because it is my sister's birthday and of course she had to be called "Patricia" so Trishy this is to wish you a beautiful birthday and I wish I was there to celebrate with you.


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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Louis Chairs!

These beautiful Louis 15th style chairs are from Miguel Meirilles antiques ..... I believe they are mid 20th century. So beautiful and love the toile upholstery.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

"Afternoon Tea Party"

This is our version of a "Mad Hatter's Tea Party".... Georgiana is reading Alice in Wonderland and thought it would be fun to have one. The Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit were unavailable but we had Jeremy Fisher and an anonymous bunny instead! Just a bit of fun on a Sunday afternoon!

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chicken and Pea Risotto for Hamptontoes!

In a heavy base fry-pan place about a tablespoon of butter on medium heat.
In another saucepan bring to the boil 1 litre (4cups) of chicken stock plus add a little bit of water.
The butter will be golden so add 1 large chopped/diced brown onion and saute.....if it browns a little too much it doesn't matter (I sometimes think it tastes a little better as it becomes caramelized).
Sip of wine preferably chardonnay!
In a wok style fry-pan pour some olive oil just to cover the base and cook however much chicken strips you would like...I use about 4 cupfuls.
Add sea salt and cracked black pepper to your taste... I love sea salt!
Cook the chicken well and try and achieve a golden brown exterior as I don't like the look of white chicken in my risotto but whatever is your taste.
Whilst this is happening add about 350gm or 2 cups of arborio rice to the onion and lightly cover with olive oil so that the grains are lightly coated.
Next add the boiling stock which I just turn to simmer to the rice slowly stirring.
Just add the stock slowly and continue to stir as it reduces.
Keep an eye on the chicken at the front and if you feel it is ready just turn to low and add about a cup of peas and stir in.
Sip of wine......
Keep stirring the stock into the rice and it gradually becomes plump. Don't worry if it starts to stick just use your spatula to scrape across the bottom constantly moving the rice around but without it becoming crushed.
I find the whole process takes about 45mins.
Have a taste of the rice and if you feel it is soft and cooked enough (no nuttiness) then add about 1 tablespoons each of parmesan and mozzarella. If you feel the rice is not ready just stir in some more water.
Then add the chicken and peas to the rice mixture and allow to simmer or turn off as it does stay hot in the heavy based pan.
I like to put a fresh rocket (arugula for my friends in America!) shaved parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic as a side to the risotto. Also, some lovely crusty ciabata adds that lovely comfort food feel! I hope you enjoy and I hope I have remembered the recipe correctly! This is a more gluggy risotto I think from the north of Italy .. it is not meant to be wet or sloppy like you usually get in restaurants.
Now have another sip of wine as you have done a beautiful job! Enjoy!
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

I cooked risotto tonight ... Andrew was on call and I just felt like taking a few photos of dinner....if you feel like coming over I have rocket and parmesan and also a caesar to accompany the chicken and pea risotto. I do a gluggy style of risotto rather than the more sloppy wet one. I always thought that mine was not "Italian" but apparently it is.... in the north they do a gluggier risotto!

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William Yeoward

I took this photo from William Yeoward's book "William Yeoward on Entertaining". This book is one of the most visually stunning books I have seen. The photographs, imagery and text are so engaging and delightful. This picture of a garden table setting is beautiful...the dome over the roses with the greenery and stocks as a background is breathtaking.
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Friday, March 12, 2010

Alice in Wonderland and Laduree!

The gorgeous Laduree confection ~ LADUREE and Alice in Wonderland, the Tim Burton movie, have joined to create these amazing confections! "Paris Pastry" has a wonderful display of the Laduree "Alice in Wonderland"! She actually had tea there and took the most beautiful pictures.....
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RL Artwork

This is a Ralph Lauren sweater pullover that I bought for Georgiana when we were in the funny things is it never actually did fit her...I just bought it because I thought it would look beautiful in her room as a framed piece of artwork. That was two years ago and now I am finally getting to do it. Georgiana's room, as all the rooms in our home are works in progress....ever changing and evolving so I am also going to wallpaper one wall of her bathroom with the same Ralph Lauren wallpaper as her drapes ... it is called Garden Toile. I will keep you posted! Have a great week-end .... I am going to be painting a chandelier for over our dining room table and will post some pictures when it is finished. I am going to buy some lilies for the drawing room and their fragrance will waft through the house!
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Ralph Lauren Teddy Pullover as Artwork!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Gordon Ramsay au Trianon"

This is the interior of the Gordon Ramsay restaurant at the Trianon Hotel at Versailles. We visited this in 2008......we had just been to Versailles and followed with a beautiful dinner in this gorgeous restaurant. The palette is crisp and elegant with huge booth seating around the perimeter of the interior in white leather. The sunflowers mirror beautifully the gold jacquard of the upholstery of the single seats. Notice the heavy neo-classical 18th century cornicing married with the contemporary style chandeliers. It was pure magic!

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Passementerie, China and Pears" ~ just because

Had a lovely day today hot glueing the gorgeous Designer's Guild passementerie to the chandelier! Sophie did a great job .... I did the sconces last week so Soph was more than happy to climb the ladder! Also, was busy arranging a client's cushions and starting a new job. We had to work in the dining room because the air-conditioner in my studio has gone by it's use -by date and as any good Queenslander will know .....36 degree heat with just about 100% humidity it is impossible to work with silks and trims without a disaster! The pears are gorgoeous and just had to get a picture...

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