Friday, October 29, 2010

Gratefully Yours

For me the week is finishing on a quite wonderful note. A long time ago I set myself a big personal goal at work. It seemed improbable at the time, silly & unattainable & there were many doubters. It couldn't be done in a small State like South Australia said the Wise Men from the East. Yesterday afternoon I reached that goal & it is all thanks to my gorgeous clients. I love them to bits, they rock my world. I value the trust & respect we have for each other immensely & guard it ferociously. So Ti Amo to them all - I'm almost lost for words, kisses all round!! It's Friday & I'm off to celebrate this glorious moment. Happy weekend dear Hedgies.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pants On Fire

'Yep mate, no problems, would love to see you & Janie in a couple of weeks. You're more than welcome to stay. Yep, I've almost finished the guest bathroom, just need to do a few last minute things.'

Overheard at The Hedge last night. Wish I'd had the camera close by to capture the look on MOTH's face as he hung up that phone call!!

Image: Old Picture


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fortune Teller

I'm rummaging around in the wardrobe this morning for my Mystic Millie outfit. Today is Budget Forecasting Day at work, not only next year's sales revenue & expenditure, but also my predictions for 2012 & 2013. What a joke, honestly - 2013!!!! Wish me luck as I gaze into my crystal ball & make my predictions. I reckon the only reliable prediction I'll be able to make by the end of today is that if MOTH hasn't finished that b..... bathroom by then, I'll be giving him to the gypsies!!

Image: Ouspenskaya


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Whistle Blower

I've lucked in with the Postie over the past week!

Pam from pixelimpress has been a wonderful supporter of The Hedge from almost the first day. She is a very talented designer & I ordered some goodies from her etsy store here.

The pixelimpress 2011 desktop calendar.

A pack of 10 gorgeous chartreuse flower silhouette notecards & envelopes.

And a set of 5 pretty pink herringbone XOXO gift tags in black sketched block letters. You need to pay Pam a visit NOW!

I was lucky enough to win the most exquisite drawing from a give-away hosted by the lovely Julia Christie at Serendipity - A Mother's Tale. Julia's artwork is superb & I feel very privileged to now have one of Julia's beautiful pieces here at The Hedge. I'm about to frame it, so will show you where I've placed it very soon.

I couldn't resist these posters over at The Love Shop. They arrived from Melbourne & I adore them. This one is going somewhere very special.

And this one is for the Christmas stocking of a certain son.

And finally, this arrived yesterday from my favourite online beauty store, Strawberry Net in Hong Kong. A certain person who passed on this evil bug to me was feeling guilty, so let me do a little shopping for all my war paint with his credit card. All my favourite YSL lippies & lashings of Dior & YSL French Navy mascara at half the price he'd normally have to pay in DJ's. No comments please about the Clarins Extra-Firming Foundation, at my age I need to accept all the help I can for the saggy bits! He is almost forgiven.


Monday, October 25, 2010

In The Jungle

Things are pretty quiet in our jungle garden at the moment, although Spring is starting to show herself here in the Hills. Here's what I saw on an amble around the property yesterday with my dodgy, almost caput camera. My very favourite rhododendron is out in full bloom. I do love the big, blousy pale pink blossoms this tree outside our sitting room window gives us. Here.....

.......and here.

This big clump of self-sown Arum lilies appears out of the blue each year by the pond.

My most treasured camelia is almost finished. This is one of the last blooms on the tree. I can lie in bed in the morning & see her in all her glory during the winter months - she makes me very, very happy.

This massive clump of bamboo sits in a remote part of the garden. At its highest point it must be at least 50 feet high.

The pretty little native violets are everywhere throughout the garden. They are magical ground-cover.

Just a couple of late flowers left on a huge camelia in the front garden. I love the big tight double blooms on this tree.

I forgot to cut back this big lavender by the front door this year. It's somewhat out of control, but it's lovely to see it covered in bees, basking in the sunshine. We had a less than productive weekend, as MOTH decided that the ceiling he installed in the Bathroom-From-Hell wasn't up to his more-perfect-than-perfect standards. So he tore it down & redid it (oh the mess!!). And as none of the sons were around, I was his labourer - up the ladder holding all the plasterboard in place with my hands & my head, while he nailed it all in. The things I'll do for a new bathroom! I'm still coughing & spluttering my way around, I have a feeling that MOTH's bug is going to inhabit my body for quite some time before moving on to its next victim!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Bienvenido a Buenos Aires

Thank goodness this is a cyber Weekend Retreat. It means that getting on a plane to travel to our destination, my clagged sinuses & rattly chest will magically disappear in an instant! I have had itchy tango toes all week, so the beautiful city of Buenos Aires is the only place that will satisfy that itch. I've decided to throw caution to the wind & go totally Over-The-Top, so have chosen the spectacular Philippe Starck-designed Faena Hotel + Universe on the Puerto Madero Este waterfront as our base.

Transformed from an abandoned c.1902 grain silo by Argentinian legend Alan Faena, the Faena offers its guests a very different experience. For starters, when your roll on up to the side entrance (there is no front door), you’ll be greeted by friendly men in black who will make your bags disappear and hand you your own personal cell phone. Then don't expect the traditional lobby check-in - there isn't one. You'll wander into an opulent red hallway, with red rugs topped by rectangular leather banquettes in the middle. Plonk yourself down on these & you'll be greeted by your own Experience Manager who takes care of everything from that point on, with in–room check–in and a phone number you reach them on directly throughout your stay.

It's said that the Faena is a constant stage set waiting for performers (Coldplay, Madonna et. al) & other A-listers & is the most decadent, sumptuous, sexy hotel in Buenos Aires. And as we are all stars of the Blogging world we'll feel right at home here. Your rooms are as opulent as you would expect - think white leather, polished wood, marble floors, crystal chandies, red velvet chaises, gold leaf. Then there's the diagonally placed bed - all very avant-garde & uber-cool.

Love this all-marble bathroom!

And your room has it's own private terrace looking out across the city. Once you've freshened up, do make your way up to the roof-top terrace.

Past the gorgeous swimming pool - yes it's all red, very red.

Let's have nibbles & drinks while getting to know each other again while comparing rooms & enjoying the balmy evening air.

Then it's down to the El Mercado bistro. The perfect Bloggers table has been set up for us. After a wonderful meal & lots of great chat, it's back to our rooms to enjoy all that rococco sumptuousness. Sleep tight.

As you all know, no weight is ever gained on our cyber weekends, so let's start off our Saturday here at Un Altra Volta.

For a big bowl of their famous Dulche de Leche. We'll need to keep our blood sugar levels up, as we've got a big day of tango ahead of us.

Hot coffee by the bucket loads please.

Then it's off to begin our tango journey. This is the Centro Cultural Borges, which is actually a museum & cultural centre. Our school can be very hard to find, as there are some stairs we have to go up. I've been told we should ask the security officer here where the Escuela Argentina de Tango school is, he'll get us there.

Here we are, up on the top level, with glass windows looking out across Buenos Aires.

The dance is one of the most important expressions of the tango and the visual beauty illustrates the spirit of the music. A foot moves in every musical note, meaning that if a foot moves in one note, in the following note the other one should, too - similar to walking.

The faculty of the Escuela Argentina de Tango are all local and internationally recognized for their high artistic level and their clear commitment to teaching tango. Don't worry though, our cyber experience means that your perfect dance partner will magically appear & we won't have to pair up with each other!

Our teachers Nora Robles & Pedro Calveyra have assured me that we will all be natural stars of their most prestigious class, the Master V Tango Programme.

After an energetic day of excelling at our Tango class, I've chosen the trendy Aramburo restaurant in the San Telmo district for a relaxing dinner. Owner Gonzalo Aramburu has worked with Charlie Trotter & Joel Rubuchon, so the food will be outstanding.

Then it's off to the La Esquina Carlos Gardel for a night of spectacular tango dancing.

For the performance, we sit at tables below a large two-level stage. Dancers perform on the lower level, while above them a full tango orchestra plays. The show includes many local varieties of tango and celebrates the long, complex history of the genre. The ambience and the high quality of the dancing makes La Esquina de Carlos Gardel one of the most recommended and memorable tango shows in the city.

After the show, you are welcome to find a Milongas tango venue & make a night of it. Confiteria Idéal Suipacha, Salon Canning, El Beso and Porteňo y Bailarin all come well recommended. However do remember the first rule of tango - Tango Eyes.
If you don't want to dance be careful of the eye contact you make. Here at the Milongas's, you will not see men physically getting up to ask a woman to dance. He will get her attention with his eyes, nod or make a 'lets go' move with his head. If she accepts she will nod and smile, and they will both meet on the dance floor. (Note to self: must suggest that move to MOTH when I get home!) See you back at the Faena for a nightcap in the Library Lounge.

Sunday sees a couple of options. Another full day at Escuela Argentina de Tango, or a walking tour around the city. You will visit:
  • Plaza de Mayo, the main square where the city of Buenos Aires was first successfully founded. It grew outwards from Avenida de Mayo, the grand boulevard of Buenos Aires with its many remarkable buildings & architectural features.
  • Avenida 9 de Julio the widest avenue in the world, home to the famous Buenos Aires Obelisk monument.
  • Plaza Congreso, where the magnificently imposing Congress building can be seen.
    The Buenos Aires Cathedral, a fantastic work of religious architecture & is the last resting place of Argentina’s independence hero, General San Martin.
  • The Pink House (Casa Rosada) where the President and executive government conduct their daily business. Evita and President Juan Domingo Peron famously gave speeches from its balcony.
  • Cafe Tortoni, the cafe in a city of cafes, which also happens to be the oldest cafe in Buenos Aires, founded in 1858 with much of its wonderful original interior still intact.
    Hear the fantastic history and symbolism of the Palacio Barolo building, a tribute to Dante’s Divine Comedy & once the tallest building in South America.
  • Take a short ride on Buenos Aires Subway Line A, the oldest subway in the southern hemisphere, with its original 1913 wooden carriages.
So after a fabulous day, it's time to say farewell to our host city of Buenos Aires. A city of many small places, intimate details & treasure-filled antique shops. Modern glass skyscrapers overlooking old 19th century Victorian houses. Individual districts mixing French colonial classicism with Spanish barrio architecture. See you at our next cyber Weekend Retreat.
Adiós a Buenos Aires!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Astor

It's been far too long since I organised a Weekend Cyber Retreat for us all. Here's a little taste of what's to come on Friday. So please turn your speakers up & enjoy Yo-Yo & his friends - I defy you not to get those hips & shoulders swaying just a teeny bit!

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