Saturday 25 August 2012

    Scandinavian Summer Cottage


    A happy house ~ this gorgeous cottage in lovely candy colours of yellow, pink and white with plenty of girly details would be an ideal weekend escape with your girlfriends!

    {Images: magnus selander  via: hus o hem & 79 Ideas}

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    Saturday 14 January 2012

    a little more pink glamour


    I couldn’t resist sharing these beautiful pink images.

    {Images via simple everyday glamour}

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    Saturday 10 September 2011

    It’s cute – it’s weird – it’s PonPonPon!


    This is Candy Land Harajuku style! Enjoy this crazy, colourful and quirky debut single, PONPONPON by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu ~ a Japanese fashion designer, blogger, model, and a high school student. This is so OTT that it’s great!

    The rainbow-colored, toy-filled visual spectacle includes a kaleidoscope of faceless, cross-dressing plus-size dancers,  floating toast with 3-D eyeballs and Kyary’s head turning to pink Picasso slime. There’s a lot of Tokyo’s famous “kawaii” fashion going on ~ the hair bows, the pink Dr. Martens with ruffle socks and the eyeball-print bloomers.

    Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is Japan’s summer pop sensation and PONPONPON has gained international popularity due to the music video’s craziness, weirdness, and it’s cuteness. The super-kawaii bedroom set was designed by Harajuku’s own Sebastian Masuda of 6%DOKIDOKI.

    On July 25, 2011, Warner Music Japan released the song’s music video.

    “PONPONPON” was written and composed by Yasutaka Nakata, who is sort of like the The-Dream of J-Pop, an auteur whose work guiding female vocalists like PerfumeCapsule and Meg always follows an instantly-identifiable, common perfect thread. In their world, Nakata and his artists make music sublime, a happy marriage of early-2000s French electro and soprano Auto-Tune.  The Fader

    Who is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu? {excerpt wikipedia via know your meme}

    Takemura Kiriko, better known by her stage name Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, was born on January 29, 1993 and resides in the Harajuku district of Tokyo. She  began her career as a model for Harajuku fashion magazines such as Kera! and Zipper. After achieving a measure of fame, she began to establish herself as a businesswoman by launching a line of fake eyelashes called “Harajuku Doll Eyelashes by Eyemazing x Kyary” and appearing at fashion shows. In April 2011, she frontlined the charity event “One Snap For Love” with legendary Japanese fashion editor and photographer Yasumasa Yonehara and Japanese brand 6%DOKIDOKI for victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

    In July 2011 she began a music career by releasing her first single, “PONPONPON”. The music video, a psychedelic tribute to Kawaisa and Decora culture, was released to Youtube and became a viral hit. The single was produced by Yasutaka Nakata and is the first release from Kyary’s debut mini-album, Moshi Moshi Harajuku. “PONPONPON” quickly rose to the top of the iTunes charts in both Finland and Belgium.

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    Monday 4 July 2011

    softly pink


    Monday, Monday and it’s the beginning of a new week, full of possibilities…

    {Images via simply seductive}


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    Sunday 2 January 2011

    ladies dancing


    On the 9th day of Christmas,

    nine models posed like Greek goddesses, wearing glamorous frosted pastel gowns.

    Models in dresses by Charles James Dresses, 1948

    Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906-1978)

    Vogue, June 1948 Photograph by Cecil Beaton (British, 1904-1980)

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    Friday 10 December 2010

    Christmas Carousel Countdown {15 days}


    A blushing christmas with dusty pinks,

    makes my heart sing softly.

    The soft blushing color palette of dusty pink looks divine with the colours of

    pale aqua, beige/nude, crisp white, and, of course, dove gray.

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    Sunday 17 October 2010

    Joy and passion


    My talented and lovely friend Katelyn is visiting and I wanted to share her beautiful felt and silk creations.

    She creates pieces that are joyful and full of optimism.

    These pics show the beautiful “Katelyn Aslett” printed silk fabric and felt creations

    that graced the catwalk at Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival in Brisbane last year.

    Designed and created with pure heart and passion,

    combining flora-infused natural silks and wool fleece,

    that have been handdyed, manipulated and often distressed

    for an uncompromising aesthetic integrity.

    And the photos below were taken in her gorgeous studio.

    “The photo shoot was fantastic – to see the designs on Elle and Sas was like falling in love…like seeing them for the first time after weeks of being surrounded by the colour and texture and cuts it was so wonderful to see them as though for the first time and realise that it was all I had dreamed and more…Insight Creative were once again inspired behind the camera and Sas and Elle captured the happiness behind this collection. We set up the photo shoot in the main workroom in my studio which has added such a lovely personal feel to the shots that add a special depth..

    If you covet a Katelyn Aslett creation or want to see more visit Katelyn or follow her blog.

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    Sunday 17 October 2010

    Delicious cakes & shoes


    The fantasy of being surrounded by pretty cakes and shoes continues…..

    {Images: Vogue Girl Korea March ‘07 fashion editorial via Girly Bubble}

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    Saturday 16 October 2010

    Let them eat cake!


    Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola

    One of my favourite eye candy movies ~ watching it makes me feel like I’ve bathed in pastel coloured icing sugar.

    And the candy coloured costumes, sets and food

    were inspried by the macaroon colors of pinks, gold yellows, and pistachio greens.

    Marie Antoinette loved macaron from young age, she even named her cat Macaron when she was 5 years old.

    From the lavish cakes to the costumes and sets,

    the film transforms the 18th century French court of Versailles

    into what Coppola refers to as

    “a cake and candy world.”

    “The idea was to capture in the design the way in which I imagined the essence of Marie Antoinette’s spirit. So the film’s candy colours, its atmosphere and the teenaged music all reflect and are meant to evoke how I saw that world from Marie Antoinette’s perspective. She was in a total silk and cake world. It was complete bubble right up until the very end.” Sofia Coppola

    “At the start of pre-production, Coppola handed Canonero {costume designer Milena Canonero}

    a box of pastel-coloured macaroons from the Laduree pastry house.

    “She told me, ‘These are the colours I love’,” recalls Canonero. “I used them as a palette.”

    “It was very much a girlish fantasy

    ~ every frame was filled with beautiful flowers, enormous cakes, silk and tassels.” Sofia Coppola

    “So many of our costumes were in the framework of the song I Want Candy. We chose colours and textures that remind you of thinks you would want to eat. We go from very pale and soft to more shocking. You can say we were very influenced by the period but we don’t present a classical vision. It’s more of a fashion statement. At times it was very rock and roll.”

    “Sofia wanted a richness and a freshness for Marie Antoinette and the clothes need to show her evolution from a very young girl to a sophisticated woman. You see through her dresses how she gains more confidence and even her décolletage becomes more emphasized.” Milena Canonero

    At the Versailles Court in Paris, members of the Dalloyau family, whose descendants later founded the gastronomy house of the same name, served macarons to royalty in the then ruling House of Bourbon.  In the 1830s macarons were served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The double-decker macaron filled with cream that is popular today was invented by the French pâtisserie Ladurée.

    “One of the ways that working in France brought so much to the movie is that we were able to find people who actually specialise in 18th century food preparation. There’s all this tradition to the way food was made at that time. It was all so elaborate, so over the top. It was really fun as a director to have an entire ‘Cake Department’ devoted to creating macaroons and all these ridiculously cute pink pastries that we used as set dressings. The whole palette of the movie was a ‘cake and cookie’ kind of thing.” Sofia Coppola

    Coppola commissioned the legendary Manolo Blahnik to design hundreds of pairs of shoes for the film. The exquisite detailing of the shoes in opulent silk, lace, and dazzling jewels complemented the gowns beautifully. Apparently women of the 18th-century wore a lot of lace because it was a sign of wealth. The costume designer used original lace from that period but only sparingly because she wanted the dresses to be more graphic than lacy.

    “The biggest challenge facing Canonero was the sheer volume of costumes involved in staging three operas – Marie Antoinette was a keen and accomplished amateur performer – her wedding to the Dauphin, his coronation as Louis XVI, plus gambling and party scenes. “To dress and undress so many people is incredibly challenging. It’s rare to make a movie these days that spans 20 years of a very grand life.” The bulk of the clothes were made in ateliers in Rome’s Cincecitta studios. “I started by throwing pieces of material of Kirsten to see what colours suited her best. I hardly used wigs, because they weren’t right for her We thought that maybe we could have gone more crazy, but there was just not time.”

    “For Madame du Barry, “the rather vulgar mistress of the decadent King” (Louis XV, Marie Antoinette’s grandfather-in-law), Canonero wanted a totally different look from that of Marie Antoinette. “I dressed her like an exotic bird, in contrast to the rather naive, innocent queen-in-waiting.”

    From this interview:

    Did you use original pieces or did you redesign everything yourself? The cut of the clothes was perfectly correct. But the way we chose the color combinations and the hair was inventive. And of course you always look at something that exists in the past and then depart from there.

    What kind of materials did you use?   Beautiful silks, taffeta, and satin. But for Marie Antoinette I used original lace from the 18th century and I also used original waistcoats for the men, and the jewelry and accessories were sometimes used in a freer way. In those days all the ladies in the court would be covered in lace because it was the way to show how rich you were. They had much more jewelry than I used. I preferred the decorations of the dresses to be more graphic than lacy. Even though I used beautiful period lace sometimes.

    Pearls::Satin::Pink::Glitter::Froo Froo::Excess::Lace::Ribbon::Powder Blue::

    The imagery is so delicious that this will not be my last Marie Antoinette post. Actually I have restrained myself and intended this to be a short post! So much beauty to share…

    {Sources: Bandelle; eyesing}

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    Saturday 16 October 2010

    Macarons are sexier than Cupcakes


    Swoon over these jewel-like, sugary sandwiches of joy.

    Move over, cupcakes:

    macarons are what the fashionista is eating this season.

    {Times of London}

    The French macaron is a smooth-skinned,

    soft and delicate round of naughtiness

    that comes in every imaginable colour and flavour.

    These brightly coloured, mini meringues,

    daintily sandwiched together with gooey fillings,

    have become the sweet holy grail.

    Will the artisanal snootiness save the macaroon from the fate of the cupcake

    — once fêted as the loveliest of novelties?

    Fashion Cupcakes prop-styled by Lisa Edsalv and shot by Swede photographer Therese Aldgard. The duo created 5 delicious cupcakes, inspired by Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Agent Provocateur and Betsey Johnson.

    Anyone can make near-commercial-standard cupcakes — and you can buy affordable versions in supermarkets. Macaroons are different: they are very temperamental. You can make them at home, but they come out nothing like those on offer at Ladurée or Pierre Hermé. In Paris, a patissier is judged on his macarons.

    Even the professionals struggle with macaroons, says Meike Beck at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “Three seconds of overbeating and they’re ruined.” The institute spent a month making hundreds of batches of macaroons, trying to perfect a recipe. In the end it gave up. “

    Macaron shells are supposed to be completely flat (dome like shells are frowned upon), and should have a lovely “rim” along the bottoms, or “feet” as they are more commonly called. The term “macaron” now commonly refers to what is technically a “gerbet”, a pair of macarons sandwiched together with ganache (chocolate truffle cream), or butter cream.

    Jour du Macaron

    Macaron Day (Jour du Macaron) held on 20 March was created by Pierre Hermé and the other members of L’association Relais Desserts (of which Pierre Hermé is joint-Vice President). The purpose of Jour du Macaron is to raise awareness (and money) for charity. On this day, you can visit any of the participating pastry stores (including all the Pierre Hermé boutiques) in Paris, and get yourself some free macarons. Donation boxes are set up in each store for optional donations to the charity of choice for that year.

    Pierre Hermé is known as France’s greatest pastry chef &

    the King of Macaroons.

    Hermé says that you should eat macaroons only if you are hungry — and not out of greed. “That way you will not put on weight.”

    What makes his macaroons popular? “Twenty years’ hard work,” he shrugs. In 1976, aged 14, he was apprenticed under the innovative patissier Gaston Lenôtre. At that time, macarons came in four guises: coffee, chocolate, vanilla and raspberry.

    “I didn’t really like macarons, they were too sweet for me” says Hermé. “I started to experiment with them in the mid 1980s,” he says. “I tried creating different flavours, such as lemon, pistachio, salted caramel and mandarin.” The result caused a sensation in France.

    Pierre Hermé’s world-famous mini-meringues ~ many testify that they are the most delicious macarons ever!

    Take his pistachio flavour – an early Hermé classic. You bite through the thinnest crisp crust into a soft, airy pistachio and almond meringue that melts into white chocolate and pistachio ganache, with just a hint of bitter almond.

    Hermé’s macarons are the most exotic, especially Mogador (milk chocolate and passion fruit)

    and Arabesque (apricot and pistachio). You can only buy them in Paris, Tokyo & London.

    The much-lauded gastronomic tome Macaron by the undisputed master Pierre Hermé

    showcases 30 years of creativity and techniques.

    Laduree :: Queen of Macarons

    For chic and proper old-school macaroon-ness, Ladurée is unsurpassed. Smaller and more modest than Hermé’s rock’n’roll creations, they include the subtle Turkish delight; a Ruby Kiss (summer pudding in macaroon form) or Orange Saffron (Chocolate Orange in macaroon form).

    Laduree made a box of 7 tiny charms for Christmas 2008.

    For those of us who don’t live close to a macaron patisserie, and are feeling adventurous, these two macaron recipes look delicous and each one makes about 72 macarons.

    Yuzu Macaron with Candied Grapefruit & Wasabi

    {Macaron Delicieux by Pierre Hermé}

    For the candied grapefruit:

    2 grapefruits, 1 liter water, 500 g granulated sugar, 1 star anise, 10 peppercorns, 1 vanilla bean, 4 tbs lemon juice

    For the meringue:

    300 grams almond flour, sifted

    300 grams powdered sugar

    110 grams egg whites, aged 7 days (or left outside covered overnight)

    300 grams powdered sugar

    75 grams bottled spring water

    110 grams egg whites, aged 7 days (or left outside covered overnight)

    For the yuzu ganache with wasabi:

    40 grams yuzu juice (or lime juice)

    300 grams creme fraiche

    375 grams Valhrona white chocolate

    20 grams grated fresh wasabi (or use tube)

    For the finish:  150 grams pistachios, non salted

    For the candied grapefruit:  The day before, wash the grapefruits. Cut and discard the extremities and slice (top to bottom) thick chunks of the skin with one centimeter of the pulp still attached. Place them in a pot of boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain. Run the grapefruit chunks under cold water. And repeat the same operation 2 more times.

    Crush the peppercorns with the back of a saute pan and place in a small pot with the water, sugar, lemon juice, star anise and the vanilla bean split in half. Bring to a simmer. Add the grapefruit chunks. Cover the pot 3/4 and keep it at a very low simmer for 1 1/2 hour.

    Transfer the candied grapefruit + syrup to a container. Let it cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

    The next day, drain the grapefruit from the syrup and cut into little cubes.

    Dry the pistachios in a very low oven. Turn them into a powder in a food processor. Sift and reserve.

    For the meringues:  Sift the almond flour and the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add them to the almond flour and to the powdered sugar. Add the first batch of egg whites (110 gr) without mixing them.

    In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil until it reaches 118′C. Meanwhile, place the second batch of egg whites in the bowl of a mixer equipped with the whisk attachment. When the sugar is at 115′C start beating the whites on medium speed.

    Pour the sugar at 118′C over the egg whites. Beat until the temperature of the mixture drops to 50′C and you have a compact and shiny meringue. Fold the meringue into the almond-sugar-egg white mixture until it’s homogeneous. Place in a large pastry bag with a plain #11 tip.

    Place parchment paper on 4 baking trays and use a pencil to draw 1 1/2 inches circles to cover the surface with 1/2 inch in between. You should have about 36 circles on each parchment papers. Turn over the paper so the pencil markings won’t transfer to the meringues.

    Pipe rounds of the meringue dough onto the prepared parchment paper. Sprinkle the pistachio powder over the meringues and let them out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This is a very important step where the piped meringue rounds develop a thin ‘crust’ over their surface.

    Preheat the oven to 350′F. Bake the meringues for exactly 12 minutes. Open the oven door quickly-twice during cooking. When the cookies are cooked slide the parchment paper onto a work surface and leave them to cool.

    Macaron au Chocolate Amer

    {Macaron Delicieux by Pierre Hermé}

    For the macaron shells

    10½ oz/300g icing sugar

    10½ oz/300g ground almonds

    4oz/120g 100% cocoa solids chocolate (Pierre uses Amedei Italian chocolate or use Willie’s –

    8oz/220g egg whites at room temperature (about 6-7 egg whites)

    1 tsp (4.5g to be precise) carmine red food colouring (or cochineal)

    5 tbsp mineral water

    10½ oz/300g granulated sugar

    Cocoa powder for dusting

    For the bitter chocolate ganache

    5oz/140g butter at room temperature

    12½ oz/360g best-quality plain chocolate (such as Valrhona Guanaja couverture chocolate), chopped

    14oz/400g whipping cream

    1½ oz/40g 100% cocoa solids chocolate

    To make the shells   Line 2-3 baking sheets with baking parchment. Mark the parchment with circles 1½in/3.8mm wide (I drew around a piping nozzle of the correct diameter), spacing them ¾in/2cm apart. Turn the paper over (the circles should show through).

    Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds (you’ll need a fairly wide mesh sieve for this) into a large bowl.

    Chop the 100% cocoa solids chocolate and put it in a bowl over a pan of just-simmering water, leaving it to melt and reach a temperature of 122F/50C.

    Divide the egg whites into two equal portions.

    Mix the food colouring into one portion and add to the bowl with the icing sugar and almonds (no need to mix it).

    Put the mineral water in a small pan and add the granulated sugar. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, then boil the syrup using a thermometer to track its temperature.

    Meanwhile, put the other half of the egg whites in a bowl and plug in the electric beaters. When the syrup reaches 240F/115C, begin to beat the second quantity of egg whites to soft peaks.

    Once the syrup reaches 244F/118C, pour it slowly on to the whites, beating all the time. Keep beating until the mixture returns to a soft peak consistency and has cooled to 122F/50C. (This egg white-syrup mousse is what chefs call an Italian meringue.)   Add the beaten egg whites to the bowl with the icing sugar and almonds.

    Mix, then add the melted chocolate. Once it is incorporated, beat the mixture hard with a wooden spoon for a minute or so, without trying to incorporate more air.

    Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a ³/8in/10mm plain tip. (Depending on the size of your piping bag, you’ll probably need to do this in three or four batches.)

    Pipe the mixture onto baking sheets lined with the parchment paper marked with circles. Using a sifter, sprinkle lightly with powdered cocoa (you’re aiming for a few freckles, not an even dusting).

    Tap the baking sheets on a work surface covered with kitchen towel. Let the shells stand for half an hour, until a skin forms on the surface. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.   Slide the baking sheets into the preheated oven.   Bake for 12 minutes, quickly opening and shutting the oven door twice during the cooking time to let the steam escape.  Take the baking sheets out of the oven. Slide the sheets of parchment paper with shells onto a work surface and leave to cool.

    To make the ganache

    Cut the butter into pieces.  Put the chocolate into a bowl. Boil the cream and pour about a third at a time onto the chopped chocolate, mixing each time. The mixture will separate and look grainy, but keep mixing and it will come together.  Allow the chocolate mixture to cool to 122F/50C.

    Add the chopped butter and beat until smooth.  Pour into a wide dish. Press clingfilm onto the surface of the ganache and refrigerate until thick enough to pipe.

    To assemble the macarons

    Spoon the ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a ³/?in/10mm plain tip. Pipe a generous mound onto a shell, then top with another shell, twisting lightly so that the filling spreads and bulges enticingly.

    Store covered in the fridge for at least 24 hours to allow the inside of the macaron shells to soften. Bring back to room temperature before eating.

    This turned into a long posting ~ I was seduced by the macaron!

    And while this isn’t a gourmet blog, I couldn’t resist the recipes

    although I’m not sure how successful I’d be as a macaron chef.

    {Sources & Images: Bread et Butter; Pig Pig’s Corner; Kitchen Musings; Zen can cook; Ladurée; London Times}

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