Friday, 30 March 2007

and, relax....

It's such a strange feeling. Today, for the first time in months, the knot of anxiety in my stomach and tension in my shoulders seem to have just disappeared. After months and months of tension and strain, M & I are getting along well, and even despite all my visa dramas and worry about maintaining my independence, I realised this; no matter what happens, I'm going to be okay. I'm a tough girl and I've been through, and come out the other side of, far harder situations than this. I've had my heart broken, made stupid mistakes and grieved the loss of family members that I was sure I could never live without. But, I've also loved and been loved unconditionally, been lucky enough to have travelled the world, made amazing friends and I love the work I do.

This morning I looked at the photo my grandfather gave me for my 21st birthday. It is of him and my grandmother, the day after they married. A beautiful young couple in love, they are leaning up against the door of a beach cottage wrapped in each other's arms, looking as though there was no other place in the world they'd rather be. The inscription on the back of the photo read's: "My Darling Grandaughter. Life has nothing sweeter than the springtime. Golden Days when we were young. Lots of Love Nan & Grandad." My grandmother had died the year before, and until he died 3 years ago, he would still always sign her name on our cards. Today, I've realised, that the memories I have, will keep them with me forever.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

all manner of strange things

I don't whether or not it is a good sign that one of the highlights of my week so far is the discovery of this scrumptious peanut butter kit kat; whatever, it is absolutely delicioso.

Today has been the day of compulsive list writing. I have this overwhelming desire to feel that I have at least some control in my life at the moment and this exercise goes a little (i.e. miniscule) way to sating said desire. So I am listed up and enthused at clearing my personal admin, getting my first Luli&Free collection underway and (nicely) harassing the Home Office. Must try and keep the momentum going longer than the next 24 hours.

Two things have been playing on my mind today that are completely unrelated. 1. The two charming chaps that have taken up residence in my bin room downstairs; and 2. My crazy ex-flatmate who used to speak to her cats (and not in the normal way that most people speak to their animals).

1. Bin Room People. After months of on and off occupation my favourite squatters are back. I went downstairs today to have a chat to them, and advise that they best move on (before they get arrested again). I arranged for an outreach worker to try and get them a hostel referral and reminded them, (with only a touch of evangelical vigour), that as tempting as it is to get out of your face on crack and white lightening, sooner or later its gonna lose its glamour. Don't get me wrong, I like recreational substance abuse as much as the next person and in my younger years managed to go through enough white powder and pills that I put my fellow Chadwick girls to shame, but come on, a bin room? Having said all that, when I went down to chat to them, they were mopping and sweeping the floors. I actually think that they are probably the cleanest residents in our inner-city, overly trendy, ridiculously expensive & uttterly filthy street.

2. T. My crazy, Commonwealth Government Employed, ex flatmate. She really was a sweet girl and fabulously easy to live with. I suspect that the ease of the living situation was enhanced by the fact that I was very rarely at home and spending most of the time at my then boyfriend's place. T would regale me with her stories of daily life each time we happened to spend more than 1 minute in the same room (actually it was more of a mix of boredom & astonishment, which is a strange mix, especially when someone is talking to you through the bathroom door as you try to enjoy your bath). Among the best of these were how it is a fact that the Government rosters more staff in their call centres each month at full moon, due to a shift in the national behaviour patters (she knows, she did the rostering). Another favourite was when I was sitting in the loungeroom one morning, gulping down cofffee while I waited for my cab to turn up to take me to work. I was minding my own business, blurry eyed and trying to focus on lighting my cigarette. Everything was completely normal until she starts to talk to the Cat. Not just a normal, "Good morning sweetness" or "Are you hungry?" but a complete conversation with the requisite breaks in her questions to allow the Cat to respond. In fact, she wouldn't move to the next question until there had been some form of Cat reply. I mumbled something about the cat being cute, and she advised me that they spoke like this, AT LEAST, one hour a day.

Tres bizarre. I'm sure If I was seeing a therapist at the moment they would be able to tie the themes of homelessness, crazy flatmates and mess into a very accurate reflection on my current state of mind. However, I think I'd just prefer a kit kat.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007


These babies deserve their own post. Bought on ebay for 2 quid, I love these little flamenco brooches!

european summers and frangipani dusks

Ahhh, summer is on it's way. The clocks went forward on Sunday morning and already I can feel the national mood lighten. It's really quite extraordinary, especially for me after growing up in sunny Sydney and living for a number of years in sub-tropical Brisbane, how much of a difference a few extra hours of light makes.

Two years ago I spent a month in Croatia at the end of summer; it was absolutely divine. I stayed with a friend of mine and we travelled all around the countryside, landing up on the island of Hvar, just off the coast of Split. There are not words to describe the beauty of this place. So off we trooped to see a friend of her family, Domagoj, who had this amazing little restaurant, which was set on its own private beach. Not as simple as I initially thought, this place could only be reached by boat from the town or by walking through bushland, along the jagged coast of the Adriatic, for about 40 minutes.

Upon arrival, I fell in love. It was a simple place with no airs and graces but the surroundings and the quality of the food immediately catapulted it to one of my favourite destinations on earth. Each day over summer, RESTAURANT ROBINSON-MEKIĆEVICA opens for lunch and serves the most amazing fresh seafood and out of this world domestic wine. We decided to stay for a few days and sleep under the stars on the beach. For five days we ate, drank, swam and by night watched a trillion stars with not another soul around. As for bathing? Well there was a toilet at the restaurant (one of only a few modern conveniences) and a Lush store on the island - so I bathed in the clear turquoise sea with my environmentally friendly (and swoon inducing) lush bath products. Yep, there ain't nothing like a European summer.

As happy as I am about the arrival of summer, the whole not working thing is really getting me down at the moment. I feel so dependant upon M for everything, which is the most horrible feeling. Even if my relationship were perfect, I still would never want to be comletely reliant upon a man. I am keeping my fingers crossed that my visa will be sorted sooner rather than later. My only other choice is to go back home and work for a few months whilst a decision is made or until I become eligible for a spousal visa. Given that I've done 5 australia-europe flights in the last year, that is not something I'm too keen on. Ah well, it'll all work out in the end.

On the topic of keeping one's chin up, I read a very amusing article in American Elle a few weeks ago. It advised readers that when feeling anxious or depressed, a sure fire way to lift one's spirit was to write down 3 positive things in their life, each hour, on the hour. It then went on to say that if you couldn't think of anything, then write down "I am calm in the face of impending disaster". I don't know if I'd quite have the vigilence to record my "happpy things" however, it did make me smile. Even chuckle a little.

Monday, 26 March 2007


I absolutely despise this word.

In fact, it's not even a word. I prefer to think of it as a phonetic abnormality.

weekend daze

What with my current forced upon unemployment, I almost feel guilty enjoying my weekends, but enjoy it I did. With M usually working 80 hours a week, I generally would do my own thing come week end. However, since my arrival back from Paris, M has taken to keeping the time free for me, which is lovely. Even though our peace remains precarious, I still get taken aback the way that even when doing the ordinary stuff, your heart can lurch with how much you love somebody. He drives me crazy at times, and is irritating as hell, but I wouldn't want to be irritated by anyone else but him. I am really too much of a daydreaming romantic for my own good, I fear. Ah well.

We started Saturday off with a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and avocado on the words best fresh grain bread, then it was time to wander over to the Tate Modern to check out the latest exhibitions (Gilbert & George & a weird slippery dip installation piece). In all honesty, I am not a particularly big art aficionado. I love going to galleries, and appreciate and respect diversity of expression, but if you start on at me as to how Tracey Emin's "Bed" somehow illustrated "A sort of disguised genius and showed her fragile yet resiliant inner exterior" (hypothisised words of an art critic); I might just have to kill myself. Well, maybe not, but if you ask me it's just a bit too wanky.

What followed was a nice cold pint with a pub lunch, a wander through London and dinner at my absolute favourite Vietnamese restaurant in London. Cay Tre - The Vietnamese Kitchen. Just around the corner from my house, this haven of goodness can be found at 301 Old Street, EC1. This place has seriously amazing Pho (Noodle Soup) as well as deliciously tasty steamed rice paper rolls that are filled with marinated beef and salad and served with a dipping sauce.

Sunday was a lazy day of reading, baking and cleaning the house. Bliss.

Friday, 23 March 2007

design and what not...

Luli and Free. The above is the website design picture for my ethical clothing company. I've always been interested in fashion, and, particularly, trying to find items that I feel comfortable about where they've come from. I absolutely despise the fact that a lot of the ethical/green labels are hemp, tie-tyed or formless cotton smocks. Argh, a rant for another time.

I've been a bit slow to get my company up and running due to my current and aforementioned stateless existence. However, a little vest top that I made a few years ago, sold on ebay the other day despite being a very home-made effort. I received an email today to say that the purcahser loved it, so I am a happy girl. Note to self: I really, really must find the inspiration to get off my arse and move my ideas along.

The first lot of designs I have in mind are very much basics. I love what American Apparel has done with their design and marketing of basic pieces, my designs are a little different, but I love their ethos. Every girl's gotta have the basics. Being quite tall, I am also am mindful of finding clothes have the right length. There is nothing worse than finding a fantastic pair of jeans or a shirt that is sitting on your ankle or mid navel.

Voila! The vest was made after hearing a rather style conscious male friend of mine refer to his girlfriend's shoes as; "rather 1985". Besides being horrified that he could make such a remark to his beautfiul girl, I thought that it would make a good shirt. I used to wear this over the top of a spaghetti strapped long bonds singlet, with sass and bide dark denim drainpipes.

On another note, my shameless plug of the day goes to the brainchild of the lovely Julia (intialesjb), This fab website showcases some up and coming Australian designers and as soon as I find myself a little more fiscal, I shall be ordering the following, from Elena Dwyer's collection, toute de suite!

Thursday, 22 March 2007


On the subject of hot drinks, the drinking cocoa powder from Jean Paul Hevin of Paris is absolutely amazing. M & I discovered this on a trip to Paris last year and I stock up whenever I'm there.

A man who can make a chocolate shoe is someone to adore.

coffee v tea

I collect teapots and adore my espresso machine, however, I can't decide which could I not live without.

The aroma of coffee and the full taste of that first sip is, to me, heaven on earth. I remember being in Italy a few years ago, alone in Venice, visiting the Piazza San Marco. It was mid-morning, unusually quiet and the orchestra was just about to start up. Despite the exorbitant price of the cafes on the square, the romanticist in me broke free, and as I pulled up a chair the music began. The price for my one coffee: 14.90 Euro (5.00 euro music charge). A complete tourist trap, but sitting alone in the near empty square is something I'll never forget. That day it felt like the music was playing just for me.

Tea on the other hand, is comfort. I love the ritual associated with brewing tea, and the wild and different tastes available. It will always remind of visiting friends, sitting on porches and chatting the afternoon away to night.

Exoticism v comfort. Lucky for me, I can have both.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

technological evolution

I books, I Phones, E Bay, I Tunes, I Store, E Sure, My Space, Blogging, Phishing, Spoofing, Spamming, I Pods, E get the picture.

I was contemplating last night, the way in which technology has affected my life. I can listen to what I want, communicate with whomever I want, buy whatever I need and play out the narrative in my own blog daily all with the touch of a few buttons.

Take MySpace, I can have my favourite music, photographs, friends, movies, books, food and cultural leanings all nicely packaged up and given their own web address. It's a blank canvass for me to show the world who I am. I can choose a background, a soundtrack and even organise my beloveds in to their rightful "Top 8" order. How fabulous!

Now, I like to think that I am pretty unapolagetic about who I am. I may not always be happiness and light, but I am confident and comfortable in my own skin. However, do even the most confident and self assured fall prey to self censorship and creative licence? Do we create our own electronic personalities, which become so ingrained in us that it's hard to tell where our virtual reality starts and ends? Hmmm, I am unsure if I am in a position to answer my own question, after all, my technological renaissance came circa. 1985 with a Beta video player and an Alaskan pen pal.

I'm sure I won't ponder this for too long. I've got to go and post off my latest ebay clearout.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007


Brrrr........ it's freezing! I exaggerate a touch perhaps, it's not too bad, but crazy for this time of year.

I spent a lovely weekend in Oxford visiting my very old friend S. She is living in a beautiful old house, in a little town called Brill, where she is caring for a charming 87 year old aristocrat who insists on calling her a "lovely boy". S has just been awarded a PHD scholarship so will be returning home to commence her doctorate shortly. It has always been her dream to work as an academic and I'm very proud of her.

As I arrived back in London yesterday, I was keeping M abreast with weather updates, calling him to advise every time a shower started. Being born and bred in Manchester, M indulges my excitement with a "Hmm, that's nice".

Yay to snow.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

london or bust, baby

the lovely D, contemplating her afternoon entertainment

inner city street signs

street art embraces the "so bad, it's good" music of the eighties.

brick lane; the best curries, vintage & inner east ragamuffins.

comic relief

Well, I survived the dentist and am feeling much better now. Yesterday was Comic Relief Day here in London, with the benefit gala all being televised on the BBC. It certainly was one way to put things in perspective and for me to be given an abrupt jolt back to reality. The reality being that I am one lucky girl. The above video was my favourite sketch of the night.

I remember when I was around 5 or 6 years old at home in Sydney. At that age, we had the ridiculously early bed time of 6pm (even 22 years later I still think it unfair!). I digress.

I was 5 or 6 and it was the day of Live Aid. I awoke from sleep and I wanted to see my Mum. I crawled out of bed and tiptoed down the hall, unsure of the reception I'd get if I got sprung being up and about. I creeped up behind the sofa in the living room and heard my Mum crying. I was still young enough that to hear your Mum crying filled you with a sense of complete bewilderment. I emerged from hiding and hugged her, thinking that maybe my father had become violent toward her again, but that wasn't it. The images of Live Aid and the ethopian famine were flashing on the television screen. I started to cry too when I saw the young children crying and hungry. This memory has stuck with me my whole life. In fact, it inspired me to work in the field that I do.

I have had the most amazing experiences in my life working in Africa. Although, I don't believe that we can only make a difference abroad. I've worked on projects in Australia and the UK and truly believe that each of can make a difference. It sounds so cliched, but, believe me, it's true.

I have an extraordinarily blessed existance. I don't believe that as a sign of solidarity I need to do without or not enjoy material things, BUT I do believe that I am obliged to try my best to make the world a little bit easier for someone less fortunate than myself.

Thursday, 15 March 2007


If this drink does what it claims to, I want some. I've been locked in dental agony for the last 36 hours and was forced to make an emergency trip to the dentist yesterday. The joyous news; a root canal tomorrow at 9am. On the upside, I have a completley irrational fear of dentists which I seem to have conquered. I was in so much pain that I didn't care a bit what they did, I just wanted the pain to stop. Feeling much more comfortable now and hopefully all will be fixed soon.

Loveland seems to have lost its shine through all of this. Now don't get me wrong. I am ordinarily pretty good when I'm sick and I actually don't like a fuss to be made of me. However, with M knowing how ill I was, did he come home at a reasonable hour? No, he went off and got shitfaced with his workmates. Nice! The piece de resistance was when he called me at around 9.30pm to let me know that he was "just going to one more pub" before he came home. And, when I said to him "Okay, well have a good time and I'll see you in a bit", replied "I don't seen how I can have a good time when you are sounding like your dying". Hmm, am I supposed to try and sound better just so he can enjoy his pint?

Feeling grumpy today.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Monsier Gainsbourg

Forty years on and this video still rocks.

cloudy days and hormones

I woke up with a start this morning. It is one of those days where the light is deceiving and you are not quite sure what the time is. So as you open your eyes and look around, you think to yourself; "It couldn't possibly be later than 6am", when in fact, it's 9. It's funny, I've been living away from Oz for four years and I still have not adjusted to the light over here. Sometimes it feels a little like being in a room with lights on dim.

Please forgive my ramblings. Today I am severely pre-menstrual. I hate the fact that each month I fall victim to this irrational hyper sensitive state of mind and, the worst part about it is, that I am aware of it the whole time. The fact that I start to get upset over nothing, become completely irrational, and view everything through a haze of hormones, is still not encouragement enough to fight the apathy I feel about buying some Evening Primose Oil in the faint hope of alleviating the symptoms. On the upside, I don't suffer nearly as bad as my sister who becomes, quite frankly, a little deranged.

There is something about PMT that makes you re-examine everything in your life from your wardrobe to your relationship and - decide that it is all shit. In fact, there is probably no better time than now to call your boyfriend and tell him how inconsiderate he is and then accuse him off not loving you the way that you deserve to be loved. Follow this up with going shopping and maxing out already maxed out credit cards. When the guilt of what you've done starts to creep up on you: cry, eat, repeat.

Photo of M and I. If you look closely, you can see the neurotic look starting to creep accross my face.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Vive La France!

On a trip to New York a couple of years ago I read an article in the New York Times that proclaimed: "Amelie's Paris doesn't exist". I remember feeling slightly disgruntled by this at the time, but, this evening, after viewing the film again I vehmently disagree. I had been hankering after seeing this film again for the last couple of weeks as I am missing Paris desperately. I was just about to order the film on Amazon (which, to be honest, I'll probably still do) when an advert flashed up that it was to be playing tonight! I love moments like that.

You see, to my mind, Amelie's Paris may not exist in the eyes of tourists that arrive hoping to be transported straight in to a parralel universe, however, it exists in the smell of bread wafting from the boulangerie, from sitting at a metro station and an old man turning to you and saying, with all the sincerity in the world, "you're magical, be my valentine?", and finally; the way that the city envelopes you completely and allows your mind to run away and create your own version of a fairytale.

Back to my reality, momentarily. The weekend was chilled. Lots of reading, walking around St James Park, cooking and hanging out with M. All is still well in the land of love. Yay to that!

Time for bed. Contented yawn.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Billy Joel and Moleskins

Another gorgeous day in London. Well, if you ignore the usual heavy cloud of pollution, that even if you cannot see it, you still feel it as you breath in the cool "fresh" air. Sounds appealing, I'm sure.

Thankfully, affairs of the heart are currently without drama and angst. I absolutely adore peacefulness. I cannot bear it when people confuse unnecessary arguments as being tantamount to a passionate relationship. Give me the passion, i'll leave behind the kleenex. Ta.

I spent a lovely afternoon with my gorgeous and dear friend D, we wandered up the road from my flat to Exmouth Market, just near Holborn. Exmouth Market is a little enclave off of Roseberry Avenue with a collection of fab little restaurants, boutiques, patisseries and bookshops. Sipping on one the best coffees I've had since arriving back from Paris, we amused ourselves with catching up, people watching and sit-down bopping to Billy Joel eighties crap-but-sorta-good anthems.

I also re-discovered these fabulous little moleskin city guides. A friend of mine introduced them to me in Paris. They have local street maps as well as space for notes and review pages that you fill in yourself so that you can document your most (or least) favourite restaurants, museums, galleries, boutiques etc. A rather cool way to record a trip or re-discover your own hometown.

Tonight was a fairly relaxed affair. M & I prepared a lovely meal of home made burgers with organic beef and avocado, roasted vegetables and garlic infused mayonnaise. Lazy food for a lazy evening.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007


Why is it that in a moment you can plunge from happiness to misery? I am not talking about the sort of life changing events that affect us all and would be the obvious answer to the above; I am talking about the seemingly inocuous and subtle events that can make a woman go from feeling happy, self assured and confident in to an insecure and self conscious girl?

M and I have been having trouble for a few months now. He likes a drink, and whilst I do too from time to time, I grew up with alcoholic parents and left home at a very young age as a result, so I am a bit sensitive about excessive consumption. Its amazing the transformative affect that alcohol has on some people. Take my mother for example, the affect alcohol has on her is that she loses all inhibitions and becomes, ahem, a little, well....promiscuous. (Believe me as difficult as it is to write that, it is even more uncomfortable when you have the unfortunate luck to bear witness to said behaviour!).

M on the other hand, who is shy by nature, becomes this overly gregarious and slightly wild boy. He works in the music industry and alcohol is a big part of the scene, but what is hardest I think, is the down time from alcohol. Those moments when he's not drunk but is utterly exhausted, distant and aloof as his mind and body tries to recover from the damage. Tonight, after he got in from work I greeted him with my usual enthusiasm, a huge hug and a big smile. After a nice meal and a chat, I lent and touched the side of his face; he responded with "must you do that?". That's it; the moment, right there. In those four words I plunge from happiness and light in to feeling hurt and insecure. I say nothing and a little while later I feel fine. Well, mostly fine.

It's funny. I've moved abroad on my own. I've lived in Paris, travelled the world and had the fortitude and luck to hold some really interesting and challenging jobs. I am confident in my ability to adapt in professional situations, have fantastic friends but when it comes to matters of the heart...I become stuck.

Phew. Time for a nice cup of chai me thinks.

Monday, 5 March 2007

cupcakes and immigration

It was a lovely day in London today. Clear skies, a warmish sun and just a slight chill in the air. I have such a love/hate relationship with this city. I've lived here for nearly 4 years and at times the thought of leaving fills me with dread, at others i'm a mouse click away from hopping on a plane out of here.

My love is here, a boy unlike all others. We met 2 years ago and it was amazing. Blinding, all consuming romance..

Since then things have changed a little. Blinding, all consumingarguments. It's hard to find the right words to adequately describe the current state of play here, so I think I'll just come back to it...

The current plague on my existance is the British Home Office. I emigrated under the Highly Skilled Migrant Program 18 months ago after being on a working holiday visa. Late last year, whilst I was in Australia for 2 weeks for family reasons, the laws changed in respect to my visa status, and, to cut a long story short, a two week trip to Australia turned in to 2 months while I wrangled with the powers that be.

This situation is yet to be resolved and I am unable to work in the UK currently whilst this matter is being sorted. Now, I have worked since I left home at 14, and not being able to do so is driving me mad. Luckily, I organise a legal advice service for a homeless charity so I do have a few things to keep me occupied, but, well, quite frankly this whole situation is a little tiresome.

Bake for distraction. Cupcake, anyone?

food, madam?

food, madam?
Originally uploaded by lollapolisa.

Why is it that I always get hungry at ridiculous times of the night?

I am still trying to recover from a month of eating eclairs in Paris and now, at 2am, I want toast.


My first time...

Oooohhh, this is all so new and exciting. There is still a part of me that is contemplating just how much of my life I am going to reveal on this space.

I was living in Paris recently and I discovered blogs whilst there. I am now am really enamoured with the idea.

As a result of reading some really great posts I now want to move to Canada and bake cupcakes.

I am going to ease myself in to this...and sign off now.