Stanthorpe weekend.

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Winter weekends away are up there with my favourite things to do. My family has had a ‘Christmas in July’ tradition for the past couple of years, where we explore different Queensland locations, but this year it was ‘Christmas in August’ at Stanthorpe. Stanthorpe is a beautiful town in the Granite Belt, about 220km south-west of Brisbane, known for its cool climate produce like apples and grapes (and therefore wine). It’s a gorgeous rural location and the perfect place to take a wine tour, explore antique shops and settle in to a more relaxing pace.

Given that Stayz came through for us with our Eumundi accommodation, we tried it out again for Stanthorpe and it did not disappoint. We booked the delightful Maison De Meres for two nights, which slept up to 8 people very, very comfortably. It had everything you would want from a winter getaway – large verandas, a log fire, private bedroom suites and beautiful decor.

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We left Brisbane at about 11am on Friday and made the three hour drive to our new weekend home. It was so easy to settle in, explore the property, chop some fire wood and light the fire before the cool afternoon breezes came in. It was enough to make anyone second guess their city lifestyle.

IMG_1736 L100672420130804-162408.jpg20130804-162341.jpgAfter our first night of shinanigans at the homestead, we set off on Saturday morning to explore the main street. Stanthorpe may not have the grandeur of close-by Warwick, but it had its own quaint and welcoming feel that you couldn’t help but enjoy. I loved the little creek/ stream running through town and judging by the number of people out walking their dogs, feeding the ducks and picnicking along its banks, so do the locals.IMG_1744

I would recommend the High St Salvation Army store for its incredible bargins and lovely, country op shop vibe. I picked up two day dresses and a skirt for the grand total of $8. You can’t do that in Brisbane anymore. It was the perfect way to spend a few hours before a wine tour in the afternoon.

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My $2 dress

The antique store on the way into town from Brisbane was also fantastic, we stopped there on the way home. Prices were reasonable and you could tell the lovely woman working there really cared about what she was doing. The only thing I would note was that a lot of the other places were closed on Sunday, so if you’re planning a real treasure hunt, best to start on Saturday to make the most of the many other stores.

I picked up an absolute treasure of a 1950s hat made in Paris, for $30. I hardly ever find vintage headwear that fits my big head, so I was chuffed to take this beauty home.20130804-162251.jpg

Have you been to Stanthorpe? Let me know what you thought, I’d love to swap stories. I’ll post a review of our wine tour with Filippos tomorrow.

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like living in a storybook.

As you are reading this I’m on my way home to Australia. I don’t have much to say today, but I just wanted to share some photos I snapped around the little fishing village of Howth, Dublin. It truly is like a little storybook town, such beautiful scenery and darling homes. If I was going to live in Ireland, this is where I would come (if I could afford it – lots of people have realised how beautiful it is here and there are many multi-million dollar properties).

The town was colonised by Danish vikings and has been a trading village since at least the 14th century. Now it’s a weekend hot spot, with markets and beautiful restaurants throughout the waterfront precinct. There are beautiful walks around the cliffs and throughout the quiet streets.

I got a bit stalkerish taking photos of random people’s homes, but every single house we walked past was just so darn pretty. A babbling brook here, a thatched roof there.

daily outfit: the wedding at the castle.

I went to my cousin Allie’s wedding to her childhood sweetheart Dave at the weekend and it couldn’t have been a more beautiful or romantic occasion. I disagree with publishing photos of peoples weddings before they do, so I will just show you photos of what I wore for the weekend away and Barberstown Castle where we stayed. It’s a 16th century castle outside of Dublin with stunning grounds, grand rooms and perhaps a ghost or two.

Totally awkward because I made my younger brother take the pics, but ignore that because I had a bit of a shopping spree over here for the outfit.

Dress – French Connection. I actually found it really hard to find a dress here that was at least knee length. These girls like their dresses short, that’s for sure!

Shoes – Aldo. I’ve been keeping my eye out for some nice neutral shoes and I just loved these. What can I say, I’m a sucker for bows!

Bag – Penneys. There isn’t an equivalent of Penneys in Australia, but I wish there was. It’s full of, to put it nicely, cheap knock-offs of up-to-date fashion, like a cheaper Target or Sportsgirl, mixed with maybe a bit of Big W or Kmart. It doesn’t sound good, but this bag was the equivalent of about $10 and just what I needed, even if it was just a one-time use.

Now I’m going to subject you to just a taste of the photos I took of the grounds of the castle, I seriously could have spent hours walking around, photographing stuff.

This is where we had breakfast, so pretty.

This awesome photo is to show off my new Zara Fantasy jacket. It looks white here but it’s actually an off-white, creamy colour and perfect for autumn weather back home.

AK take note – we need an automatic lawn mower. It was like a sweet little robot that mows the lawn all day long. We named this one R2D2.

And finally, me with my amazing grandad Frank. Check out his sweet style with his red hat and shoes. Such an inspiring character.

So that was my trip to Barberstown Castle for a fun-filled wedding. Once the photos from the actual event are out there on the world wide web I might share some. The bride was beautiful, the banquet hall made me feel like I was in an episode of Game Of Thrones and the food was just divine.

how to: make paper flowers for your home.

Maybe I’m prematurely slipping into middle age, but recently I’ve found I adore shopping for homewares more than clothes… a big statement to make for someone as obsessed with clothing as me, I know. But there’s something about planning a project for around the house and seeing it all come together that is just so rewarding. The shopping high with homewares has a longer afterglow than it does with clothing. Plus I feel less guilt – I really don’t need another dress, but I definitely needed that antique display cabinet to house all my lovely china.

So when my dear friend Freja gifted me with a glass bottle full of paper flowers, they took prize position on top of said display cabinet – if we had a pool room they would have gone straight there. Freja was even gracious enough to show me how to make them, because I thought they might be a nice addition to my wedding decor. Here’s a quick and very easy guide.

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