A Flurry of Frocks! #Frocktober4-6/31

A busy weekend to pick up the little BGs from their cousin’s place in Gippsland and a family lunch in Geelong has been a bit of a whirlwind. I must admit I did look longingly at my jeans as I packed an overnight bag, but opted instead for a skirt.

I know. That’s still cheating, but I have resolved that for every day I don’t wear a frock, I will be forking out $20 for the snafu privilege. So far I am up to 2 days so I will be donating $40 so far.

Speaking of donations, thank you very much for everyone who has donated to the Frocktober Cause. Thank you to Pete, Cathy, Anne, Tania and my brother Andrew for being so generous.

And now onto the frocks…

My Saturday dress is one of my favourite colours, a red linen from Ezibuy, with a black cardie over the top. A black cardie is a staple in my wardrobe and I have a rotation of them :).  It was also warm enough not to wear tights! My legs had that lovely neon white quality that comes from a winter being encased in tights and an Irish heritage.

My Sunday outfit was taken at my niece’s Kate’s house and is a skirt I picked up second hand from Ebay ages ago. It’s one of my favourite skirts, and it’s been taken overseas a number of times.

Back at work for Monday- it was a mad scramble to get out of the house and my photographers were either still brushing their hair or packing their bags for school. My dress is an opshop number (Target) and the cardigan is also a thrifted number from Melbourne. Back in tights- it’s a grey old day and threatening to rain.

Feeling Fabulous! #Frocktober 2/31

Sadly I don’t have my usual phalanx of photographers, as they are enjoying a holiday with their aunties and cousins. They have spent their time in Gippsland helping out in the garden, baking, riding horses and visiting bookshops.

The readers

My selfie is in the bathroom mirror at my work.

My dress is from Birdsnest, which is an online boutique. The dress is sleeveless, A-Line and feels good to wear.

Jacket is Esprit from a few years ago, and I am wearing boots from Valpieds (local footwear establishment) and my trust work ID badge as accessories :).

Thank you already to the lovely people who have donated already to the Frocktober cause

Pop Up Frock Up Ballarat

My favourite words are “frock” and “pop up”. When the two are together it is an irresistible combination.

I headed down to St Patrick’s Hall on the second day of the Pop Up Frock Up Ballarat with Miss BG.

2014-08-17 13.57.24Miss BG was happy to go and spend some time with mum, especially when the outing ended in cake. Once inside, we marvelled at the range and stalls. Sunday was quieter, and you could move quite easily amongst the stalls.

While it is lovely to have a shopping companion, a nearly seven year old who loves to touch does make you hyper aware that a) the goods on display are fragile and b) expensive. You couldn’t get lost in the racks, flicking through without making sure little hands were not touching too much stuff. I ended up giving her my phone so she could take some photos.

2014-08-17 14.16.38

Glamorous mannequin

The bling was definitely something which caught her eye and the dresses dod not disappoint. Vintage was quite an elastic term, with pieces from the last 20 years for sale, but stretching back to the 1930s.

Coat detail

Coat detail

There were though, a few dresses from the 19th century on display, which made for interesting viewing.

1890's - look but don't touch!

1890’s – look but don’t touch!

 Cake beckoned as Miss BG’s interest was waning as and luck would have, we were right across the road from the Golden City.

It was a lovely afternoon of window shopping and marvelling at the beautiful frocks on display 🙂

#amonthinthelife- Days 26-28

Another omnibus edition, as my internet woes at home continue. And it would be good if my ISP would return my call…

Mr BG doesn’t really go in for music videos for his own music, and this is a screen grab of someone’s video of one of his songs that has been uploaded to YouTube. It’s intriguing to realise that many people discover new music through a visual online medium, such as Youtube, rather than radio or TV, but you gotta be where people are! MrBG is yet to embrace social media- he is quite happy with Last.FM and email, and checks out people on Facebook through my account, but that’s the extent of his foray. He still spends an inordinate amount of time (and bandwidth) online, it’s just doing other things than firing off pithy tweets or posting his latest BuzzFeed quiz results. He does like pictures of cats…

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Mine craft madness #amonthinthelife #emily

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It was funny overhearing the kids playing at Minecraft. Master BG is the older patient brother, trying to instil a love and passion and correct playing procedure in his little sister, but all she wants to do is play. The funny thing is, they were playing quite well, enjoying a common game, without the usual bickering. Miss BG adores her older brother, and was quite happy to hang out with him.

A new skirt, bought on sale from an ethical fashion website. It was a lovely splash of colour against the foggy autumnal day today, which became one of those glorious sunny days that make me love autumn so much. It looks great with black, so it should fit into my wardrobe quite well, thank you very much…

The obsession continues. ..


Today I finally entered! I was emboldened by a couple of ladies and a gentleman who ventured inside, with me following in their wake. The frocks were all gorgeous, with a few which had never been seen in the window. There were a couple of shift dresses wirh Picasso style prints that felt so silky, satiny pencil dresses and some exquisite full-skirted frocks and coats. The gentleman owner was incredibly polite and came over, while I was stroking the beautiful fabric of one of the dresses. Maybe he was afraid I would start drooling, but he may have seen the gleam of frock worship in my eyes, as we started talking about the fabric and the tailoring. The prices befit the quality of the frocks, and sadly beyond my reach at the moment. But I have finally braved the doorway, and I hope to be back soon.

Blonde Venus- An Indecent Obsession

My obsession continues #crossleyst

Just around the corner from work, is a beautiful shop called Blonde Venus. It’s in Crossley Street which is also home to lots of other cool shops and eateries including Becco and Gingerboy. I have become somewhat obsessed with the dresses in this shop, as they’re beautifully structured and tailored with a waist, full skirts and some of the most divine fabrics. I will sometimes get off the train at the State Library and walk up to work, passing through the street in the early hours of the morning. For me it’s like a Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment, where you can go, have a look in the window and feel nothing can go wrong.

This lacy dress  above is the most recent one on display which would be gorgeous for the party season.

Monochromatic #crossleyst #melbourne

I see this and think Sailor suit :).

Derby Day fashion in Blonde Venus, Crossley St

This was on display just before Derby Day in early November. The black and white fabric was amazing.

Leather and chiffon at Blonde Venus #crossleyst

The leather dress with chiffon blouse screamed out for stilettos, hair in a bun, and glasses perched at the end of one’s nose- perfect for a librarian with attitude!


I usually wear black, rather than navy, but seeing this dress I would change my mind…

Coat, Blonde Venus, Crossley St

The coat! I would feel like I had stepped out of a Dior photoshoot on the streets of Paris if I ever wore this :).

I’ll keep walking past and taking photos, with a New Year resolution to finally go inside.

Bookgrrl’s Christmas Ideas

This is not the Bookgrrl Christmas Tree Source: http://bookshelfporn.com/post/14061371365

There are many blogs I read who are very helpful in offering suggestions as to what to get your husband/wife/children for Christmas. They are very inventive, but it is very hard if

  1. you buy things when you need them,
  2. you already have enough t-shirts, bags, aftershave/perfume, candles to last you until the next millennium,
  3. they’re not exactly… you

So this is my suggestions for Christmas gifts according to MY taste, which could be very different to YOUR taste. But hey, my blog, my rules…


  • You could go all Christmassy and get your beloved A Very She & Him Christmas . Zooey Deschanel does her chanteuse thang, while the guitar accompaniment has a slight delay to give it a 50’s feel to the classic Christmas Tracks (according to Mr BG, who got it for Christmas from a person with amazing taste me)
  • Tickets to a show for an upcoming band from the 80’s that you have never seen before. It could be the Specials or New Order or even Duran Duran.
  • let them search on eBay for that hard to find guitar, or pedal, then offer to buy it for them for Christmas.
  • As a last resort you could get them something you like, then give it to them, and by attrition it will become yours- like a certain New Order DVD which was given to me a few years ago…


  • If your beloved is into all things oppy- the Op Shop Guide to Victoria is hard to go past. Just think of all the road trips which could be planned to out of the way places, or Ballarat for example :).
  • If you live in Melbourne and shudder at the thought of travelling out of the major metropolitan area, try a Melbourne Op Shop Tour– they are reasonably priced, use public transport and they do vouchers. Just contact them for the voucher option. Even if you don’t live in Melbourne, it’s a good way to make a day of exploring a part of Melbourne you have never ventured.
  • If your fashion sense does not extend to things oppy, a voucher to a specific store is an excellent idea. A Westfield voucher is not applicable to major stores in the centre as I found out last Christmas- grrr…


  • One word- BOOK. The authors of the moment in our house are Pamela Allen and Lauren Child, who write Charlie and Lola and so so much more. I’ve ended up giving her books to a couple of excited 6 year old girls for their birthdays this year.
  • Another word- LEGO. I hate having to pick it up, but it’s fantastic and a great bonding experience between father and son.
  • A couple of words- NO BARBIES. I had no idea that they breed…


  • make something- gingerbread cookies and rumballs
  • offer something- TIME. Give someone a day off for them to go shopping or grab a coffee and catch up with a friend. Offer to have kids over for a sleepover for a sleepin.
  • breakfast in bed for a couple of weekends in a row.

The above is not my Christmas list, which extends to a replacement iPod, a pasta machine, a bigger sewing box and a Lotto ticket which is guaranteed to win 1st Division- though the breakfast in bed option is nice too…

3 things I have learned from The Courier this week, part 3 of an occasional series

I seem to have covered the news, sport and weather in this post :).

1. You forgot to ask the community? Tsk, tsk…

The Ballarat Civic Hall redevelopment has been postponed in order to organise an independent public survey to gauge public feedback. Costing $40 million, the Civic Hall will be demolished to make way for council offices and some public space. The latest set of plans (there have been a couple of measures proposed over the years, at least since I moved here in 2004) have been met with a great deal of disquiet and anger from the community.

People opposing the current redevelopment have held meetings and organised walks and protests against  Council taking over a public space and spending an exorbitant amount of money to redevelop it for their staff offices. Some options proposed for the Civic Hall have instead suggested reopening, retro-fitting and reusing the Civic Hall for an arts space.

Having an independent survey should have been done well before in the planning process. Despite the fact that it has been sitting unused and derelict since I have lived here, it is a public space and one for which many long term Ballarat residents have many fond memories.*

An independent survey will  be more objective than a simple news poll in The Courier and will access a broader spectrum of the Ballarat community. Currently there is the current planning application currently on display which is open for consultation and comment. There will be a chance for members of the public to put questions to the council on Sunday 27th November at the Regent Cinema.

The ABC has more information on the Civic Hall saga with audio clips from councillors and people opposed to the development as well as previous articles.

* A couple of caveats- Mr BG is an employee of the Ballarat City Council and I am not a long-term Ballarat Resident, so there are no fond memories of my meeting my husband, nor losing my virginity there, nor winning big at bingo…

2. Summer is coming- really?

According to the Bureau of Meterology, Ballarat can look forward to a long, hot summer due to La Nina conditions and a warm Indian Ocean. As I type this, my right eyebrow (a long-time bullsh*t detector) is raised. I still have my winter doona on the bed and I wore my flannel pyjamas to bed last night, and it’s late November! None of the outdoor swimming pools have opened either, so I’m not entirely convinced…

3. Beautiful people at the Ballarat Cup

The Courier is runnng a competition to determine the best dressed person at last weekend’s Ballarat Cup. There are some lovely fashionable ladies and gentleman present, although I don’t quite understand the need for gentlemen to wear white shoes with black pants. Then again, I don’t understand why young ladies would choose to wear strapless dresses to a race meeting on a day when it was blustery and cold :).

Review: Elizabeth Taylor: Her Life in Style

Elizabeth Taylor: Her Life in Style by Susan Kelly.

Elizabeth Taylor was one of the 20th century’s most glamorous and beautiful women, not to mention one of the most photographed. This is a woman who employed a photographer as part of her entourage , and who, with her husband Richard Burton, was regular fodder for the burgeoning paparazzi.
Written by Susan Kelly (a ghost writer who has written fashion books), Elizabeth Taylor: her life in style is a collection of some of these photos (supplied by Getty Images) and commentary celebrating Elizabeth Taylor as a style icon.
The title of the book is a bit misleading. The  fashion commentary and introduction are little more than a brief biography and is more descriptive of her clothing, giving no indication as to the designer or label. A more robust analysis of her look would have been appreciated.
The biography itself details more about her personal and professional life than any mention of style- the only two designers noted are Tiffany and Bulgari. It also fails to mention the close relationship Taylor had with Edith Head, a celebrated stylist who under the studio system, had a key say in how stars looked in public.

The picture certainly depict her as a very glamorous and fashionable woman, yet there is still the odd fashion mistake which pops up even in this carefully edited montage. It is a shame that the book did not do justice to her style, preferring to focus on her eight marriages and jewellery collection. I think she deserved more.

Review: High Style

High Style: Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is written by Jan Glier Reeder who is Consulting Curator of the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.

Reeder spent 3 years  assessing and documenting the collection before it was transferred in 2009 to the custody of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The transfer was undertaken to ensure the continued preservation and availability of the collection. This book is the result of this documentation. It is a coffee-table style book- reference book providing 200 examples of the collection drawn from the 24,000  women and men’s garments, accessories, hats and shoes.

The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection was founded in 1903 to provide inspiration to America’s growing fashion industry. The collection started as part of the ethnology department to understand the world’s cultures. However the purpose evolved to one which served to act as a link between the art world and the industrial and design communities. The purpose of the collection changed to a dual purpose of its aesthetic value and its commercial appeal.

Through its Department of Industrial Design, the Design Lab and Department of Costume and Textiles, the Brooklyn Museum became one of the most important centres for fashion study in the United States, with the collection acting as a major reference resource. The collection is strong in French couturiers of the 19th and 20th centuries including Worth (regarded as the first couturier), Lanvin, Chanel Schiaparelli, Dior, Saint Laurent and Givenchy. Women American designers are well represented, especially those who used the Design Lab.

The book is arranged by chapters which highlight the collection’s strengths, including French Fashions, Schiaparelli, American Design, Accessories and Rarities, which include a collection of regional dolls in regional costume.

The photos feature an excellent commentary on the provenance and the designers featured. The text is accessible and clear and appeals to the fashion student, as well to the interested person in fashion history. The text certainly adds value to the photos, which are exquisite.

Some of the pieces are accompanied by photos or plates of the items in a context-  sketches of the costume or a photo of a model wearing the item. One of particular interest and provenance is a black dress adorned with yellowed lace which was the property of Queen Victoria. A photo of Her Majesty in the dress is shown as she sits while holding her great-grandson, the future Edward VIII as his father and grandfather look on.

I really loved the shoe collection- both a combination of classic styles which would still be wearable today and amazing designs from long ago that would still be regarded as avant-garde now.

The book is the combined effort of curators, designers and staff who painstakingly compiled the collection over  100 years, and is a fantastic book.