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Renewing Newcastle cont…


The latest round of Renew Newcastle projects were launched on the weekend – including an artisan jewellery workshop, a collective of milliners and a very cool exhibition at the SilkHouse Art Projects Space by artist Penny Thwaite titled ‘The Peel’ in which we were encouraged to tear down the latex covering that had been applied to every surface of the gallery interior! (The YouTube videos on their site show the gusto of some participants).

A big crowd braved the cold to take the walking tour. But if you missed out, fear not –  finding your way around the sites is easy-peasy with the new Renew site map, designed by yours truly : )

Oh – and we now have free wi-fi access in the mall. Little ‘ol Newie is growing up!

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Country Mouse plays City Mouse for the day…

When I moved back to my hometown of Newcastle from Sydney I said it would be for 12 months… 6 and a half years later I’m still here. However, that now means going to Sydney is an exciting adventure for a Country Mouse like me: I think I actually make the most out of the city now that I actually don’t live in it, taking in inspiration from the street fashion, the slick retail merchandising and the buzz of the new I once took for granted – aiming to soak it all up and reinvent some of it back in the small-smoke. With a To-Do list in hand my 12 hours in Sydney this week was a jammed-pack pilgrimage:


donnahay macaroons

The first time I picked up a Donna Hay magazine I immediately saw what the hype was all about. Donna had literally reinvented the aesthetic of food styling. Gone were the days of stylists spraying roast chickens with hairspray to add maximum gloss and sheen – instead her real, simplistic shoots have a raw and rustic approach, with ingredients splattered around as if you are quickly whipping up the meal on a kitchen bench top yourself. It’s a look that is now commonly replicated but never as perfected.

The Donna Hay brand is also an inspiration – now immediately recognisable and growing from strength. So I was excited to see what she had created in her newly opened General Store. It didn’t disappoint. Established in the stunning leafy Eastern Suburb of Woolhara, but set back off the main shopping strip, the corner shop is a two level terrace with dark chocolate floors and stark white walls: the perfect backdrop to show off a fabulous range of cooking ware, yummy ingredients, organic cleaning products, handmade soy candles and children’s wear.

My splurge for the day – a box of six yummy macaroons in pastel colours, fresh from the in-store kitchen. Yum!


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Stylist Sibella Court spent the past decade based in New York, and on returning to Australia last year opened the doors of The Society Inc – another charming ‘corner store’ set away from the main buzz in Paddington, it’s a delightful terrace filled with rustic and rare curiosities that Sibella finds on her travels and uses as props in her editorial work. (A very clever idea – after 12 months of styling I had to have an upmarket garage sale of sorts to clear my accumulation of homewares and antiques!)

The eclectic wares are displayed in a perfect stylists manner, as if you’ve wandered onto the set of a location shoot for a fabulous magazine. Tactile and unique, it’s wonderful to have an insight into her creative world. The stylish scenario changes theme every season with a launch to mark each one. Add to this her colour range with Murobond paints, and we’re in instant awe and admiration…


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I had already visited IVY late last year when it first opened – but I was dying to visit the sprawling building of bars and boutiques again. It’s an inspirational journey to wander through the maze of themed areas – all slick, theatrical and unique in their own way from the darkly glamorous interiors to the bright and breezy outdoor areas.

This time we dined on the opposite side of the building (that I didn’t even realise existed) and had a chance to check out the PoolClub. Needless to say, with the sudden cold snap there was no swimming taking place – but I can see myself in a poolside kabana come spring/summer…


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Finally. The Septmber Issue screened in Australia! The doco follows Anna Wintour and her US Vogue team putting together the biggest issue of the year (correctly refered to as a chunky telephone-book in scale). Wintour gave little away in the movie, coming across as a real life Devil wears Prada in her ruthless cutting of editorial spreads magically created by the uber-talented stylist Grace Coddington (who constructs vintage-inspired glamour perfectly from her couture racks).

Sydney fashionistas flocked and filled the glamorous State Theatre for the premiere as part of the Sydney Film Festival, and we managed to walk the red carpet with the divine Miranda Otto. A perfect big-city end to my visit.

Oh, and I managed to squeeze in a couple of business meeting and drum up some exciting new editorial work! Stay tuned…

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Tim Neve studio featured on 'SNOBS'

The Tim Neve studio gets a mention on the very-cleverly named ‘SNOBS’ blog (Social Network for Opportunistic Businesswomen ) in their article ‘Inspired by Design: Original Office Spaces.’ Thanks Carlee!

Imagine how inspired you could get working within these stunning surrounds! Homegrown stylist and publisher, Tim Neve, works his magic with black. Above is his super stylish workspace in Newcastle, NSW.

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King of Costume

Eric Daman

I was very reluctant when I saw the preview commercials for TV show Gossip Girl.

It saddened me to see a bunch of high school students with martinis in hand, presenting a fantasy land in which the new millennial generation all want to grow up way too quickly, bypassing the innocence of youth and freedom of adolescence.

Then suddenly when Paris Hilton this week made international headlines admitting she didn’t know how to play dominos (honestly?), the Gossip Girl world became far too real to me – some people do grow up in this strange (but couture) bubble of existence.

Judgement aside, some how I ended up getting hooked on GG.

It isn’t the soap opera story lines, the real reason I can’t get enough is for the fashion.

During years of Patricia Field reigning as the queen of costume design for Sex and The City, a dark prince has been waiting in the wings to take the throne.

Introducing Eric Daman, Costume Designer for GG – whipping up wardrobes of ironically-preppy and glam-goth ensembles (character Jenny is so on the money right now), he is continually setting trends from the small screen.

Add to this his own personal attire (mixing rock attitude with vintage dandy tailoring) and I’m hailing the king…

xo xo gossip girl

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Little Birdies


I don’t believe an interior is complete until there’s a bunch of fresh flowers placed in a vase to compliment and complete the room.

However, in this recessionistic climate I’ve had to come up with a budget-effective solution compared to the elaborate floral displays I usually prefer to assemble in the studio.

Enter twigs found on the side of the road, spray painted a vivid yellow to match our interior. Nothing new about that idea.

But what I’m currently in love with are these adorable little birdies from Blue Star Elements (as featured in ‘Darby’ Issue 3). At only $4 each and complete with clip on back to attach to almost anything they bring a delightful frivolity and playfulness into our space… let’s hope they don’t fly home for winter.

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