Guidelines for Bella & Grace Culture

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Shopping complete.
Time to start the reading binge.

Here's a list of titles to start with. Holidays are definitely for relaxing, of course a good book is a great starting point. Bella & Grace are putting the Christmas shopping frenzy into completion mode and heading for the sofa with the book pile.
Ciao from B&G

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bargaining for Christmas

Dear Readers,
it's been a while, but life has been eventful. Travelled all the way to Europe and back and didn't manage to Blog once! Now we are fully into the dreaded Christmas shopping mode and all the retailers who are telling us we must come spend with them. Well for us, we are going to be very creative this year. All of the gift buying will be done at outlets where ever possible. Why pay full price? Sorry retailers - there are just too many of you with all the same things on offer. Our Bible for finding these outlets is usually Missy Confidential. Sometimes we are let down, but mostly we are delighted and the fun really is in the chase. Today we got along to the Bloom Cosmetics sale at Bloom HQ in Richmond. You can still get along there tomorrow, so don't miss out. It's cash only, but is great for stocking up on Kris Kringle goodies and another few lip glosses for yourself. Don't forget to add your name to the mailing list while you are there as they seem to have these sales a couple of times a year and they are worth it every time. Well off for a cup of tea, after all that excitement.
Ciao from B&G

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Anna Hoffmann - A range we'd overlooked!

Dear Readers,
either this label just got a whole lot better or we've overlooked this one in the past. Anna Hoffmann Designs are just gorgeous. Relaxed casual, but Euro style fabrics and finishes. The website doesn't really do her work justice. The new season's range isn't yet up on the website too, so this is tricky if you want a decent preview. We went along to the store in Albert Park. Definitely worth a look, for something just a little better, but not finished like it just came out of the Souk in Tunisia.Anna Hoffmann Design Take the time for a look at this range yourself, here's an example below.  
Ciao from B&G

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Cream every home needs

Dear Readers,
not often will you see such obscure product recommendations from us, but when it comes to making your pantry shelves look interesting then, this one just has to be added. Just really not sure what it will be used for, but felt it was a necessary purchase when we recently visited our favourite mecca - Mediterranean Wholesalers in Sydney Rd. Must ask one of the mature Italian ladies next time what they think about this product, you know, does it really work?

Ciao from B&G

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Golden Syrup - must have!

Dear Readers,
can you believe this? The icons of style & grace recommending something so yummy & gooey and possibly not even good for you! You really do need a tin of this in the cupboard. It's been off the shelves in Oz for years and has now appeared again in fine food stores. This is absolute heaven for the most indulgent breakfast treat. Plus in this tin, it looks gorgeous on your pantry shelves, so style still comes into it.

Ciao from B&G

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The new project - The Spotty Blouse

Dear Readers,
well, have searched high and low in Melbourne town for a lovely spotted blouse with a tie front - just can't find the right one. You know how it goes, wrong colour, wrong texture, bad fabric, too expensive. So we've decided to take matters into our own hands literally! Off we went to The Fabric Store in Fitzroy and the project has officially commenced.  Yes - you are right - it will involve effort and it will involve risk - sewing. Have this photo of the fabulous Giovanna wearing exactly the desired blouse. She is such an inspiration.  Wish us luck.
Ciao from B&G

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Quest for the Perfect Orange

Dear Readers,
desperately seeking a quest for something that is likely to be a fad in a very short while. You know how it is? Sometimes, you get this great vision and it just can't be fulfilled in our time, then lo & behold it pops up next season. Had that moment a few seasons ago when seeking some nautical style navy trousers. One "helpful" shop assistant replied when we inquired - "it's not a high fashion colour darling", looked down her nose and sashayed back to her online game of solitaire! Boy how wrong can you be, just a little ahead of the game that's all.
Well for now, it might be a last resort to a sewing machine for a sleek pencil skirt in a beautiful burnt orange to be teamed with a sleek shirt and cute clutch. Hope to share some pics if this comes off!
Ciao from B&G

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Dear Readers,
the icon of style has got to be all about Orange - here you can see it in creation.

Stil in Berlin: At the studio: Sarah Illenberger: This is the illustrator Sarah Illenberger in her studio, only hours before her newest paper-sculptures were to be picked up to be installed...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Suede Wedge Espradilles

Dear Readers,
have had these tucked away in the wardrobe since the visit to Europe two months ago. Now Spring has arrived out they come. These have got to be worth every penny - they are just soooo comfortable. You feel like you are wearing slippers - if of course we knew how that actually feels! Finally time to get the toes out and seek some sunshine. We're teeming these with capri pants or some cute skinny legs in denim. Yippee. Let's hope this perfect weather continues and we get them out again next weekend.
Ciao from B&G


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Saturday, August 27, 2011

How did Bella & Grace like Jane Eyre today?

Dear Readers,
yesterday it was off to the matinee for a lovely look at the latest interpretation of Jane Eyre. Now you could criticise us for watching another period drama, buy hey who wouldn't when it is so beautifully portrayed. Haven't seen or read this great classic for quite a few years, so it was a great re-visit. You just forget how beautiful some of the language really is. The Australian Jane does a fantastic job - she really is plain Jane, but has the sharpest intellect to win over our Mr Rochester.   Keep an eye on a few characters you've seen before from the Tudors. This time everyone manages to keep their clothes on, with just a hint of loveliness through the nape of the neck and a fine profile jawline. As you would wish it is beautifully framed in a cold damp moor - perfect!
Ciao from B&G

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dots Giovanna

Coveting Dots just like Giovanna
This weekend it's all about the dots. Have been coveting this with a pencil skirt for some time. The lovely Giovanna steps out in the dots all the time. Challenge for us in downtown Melbourne is really finding the right dots - size, colour, fabric, style. May just have to resort to getting out that sewing machine once and for all, or is it another trip to Roma?
Ciao from B&G

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

What's the next best thing to going to Paris on the weekend? Making some Laduree Macaroons of course!

Dear Readers,
everyone thinks they have the best place for Macaroons in town and we all have our favourite flavours. Really, you've just got to get your style right and learn from the best - Laduree. We recently got this beautiful book from that famous establishment, so now we are ready to create our own. Sure will be cheaper than the airfare. It's the next best thing to flying to Paris for the weekend - create your own Afternoon tea treat. We are really over the cupcake extravaganza Melbourne is in the grip of. Try these instead - so many yummy flavours and delicate little things too, with the best fine china you can buy. We've got a tip on how to create the Antique collection of china - more on that next time - off to try another batch.
Ciao from B&G

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bella & Grace waiting in style at the Myer Mural Hall

Well Dear readers,
 today with all the other thousands we tripped around town to Melbourne Open House. This pic was taken in the foyer area to the Myer Mural Hall - a lovely place to wait before being ushered into the main event, perhaps even sipping a Pimms or two. These cosy sofas are seriously cool, just the place for a stylish pause.
Ciao from B&G

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bella & Grace getting ready for Melbourne Open House

The other exciting thing to plan for right now is to be a tourist in your own city. We love this annual event and the chance to get into so many hiddens gems in Melbourne. Over 75 venues now is a little daunting, so we'll aim for some of the ones we haven't seen in past years - like Bishopscourt. Got the walking shoes primed and ready to go. Don't know if we trully have the talent to enter the photo competition but we'll give it a go anyway. Last year the highlight was the underground Power station in Russell Place. Imagine walking over that site for so many years and never knew it even existed. Some people would have probably spent their whole working lives down there, oblivious to the world above.
Ciao from B&G

Bella & Grace are getting ready for the new season

Well dear readers, here we are in the middle of a cold grey Melbourne winter and now the shops are beginning to put their dogs to the rack at the back of the store and load up the windows with all the bright shiny new range. Bit hard to get enthusiastic right now, but luckily for us our recent trip to Europe has us already thinking ahead. What to throw - or retire from the wardrobe, what to introduce and what to reinvent??
So far - the nautical stripes are definitely going to the revitalise list - so crisp when the sun starts to shine, but good for the transeasonal transition. Got an updated Trench in Zara, so good to go with a little warmth without looking like we are going off to another funeral in the Melbourne black. Now for some new comers to the collection. A Maxi skirt and some brogues?? Here's some to consider for starters. Leaning toward the brogues quite heavily, but the skirt - still looking for the right cut and combination. The skirt is from Seed Femme and the Brogues from ASOS.

Ciao from B&G

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back in town after the European Summer trip

Hi again readers,
the Bella & Grace culture decided to slip away to a warmer location and headed over to the European summer. It was simply lovely to bask in the long daylight hours with the soft gentle heat of Europe. Heaps of good people watching available too. Very productive observations. Whilst some are in the fashion shows of the major cities we were in the streets, parks and cafes observing the style of summer.
Have to say we are not too eager to adopt those 80's throw back primary brights, but feel much more eager to review the updated Sloan or preppie look. A modern twist to a former style. Lots of white jeans - yes we know - but well cut with skinny legs and a navy school blazer. Brogues for girls too, but with a softer sole.
Here's a great snap of one of the locals who epitomises the style. Pity he had to keep smoking during our observation time. Never mind, we've all got a little something we can improve on.
All in all a very worthwhile trip with lots of inspiration for the coming season here.

Ciao from B&G

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What's a great way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon in Melbourne?

Dear readers,
today we took the best option for a rainy day and headed off to the movies. Didn't like our chances with something called The Hangover part...., so we chose a french film - Incendies.
What a great movie with a completely unexpected twist. Really take the time and head out to a Palace Cinema for this one. It is fairly brutal in parts and leaves you quite conflicted. Are they better off knowing or not knowing? Loved the music too - especially the bits from Radiohead.
Here's a link but the description is very two dimensional and the film is certainly far from on it. Based on the description alone you could chose to miss this one - don't - give it a go.
Havppy viewing
Ciao from B&G

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Saturday Hunting & Gathering at its' best!

Hi all,
today we've been off to the warehouse sales - very productive day it was too!
As a result we're loving a new hat for winter. Now we are channelling Evangeline from the House of Elliot in this one. Bargain at $20 on sale at Coussinet. Sign up and you can go too, next time there is a sale. Found this one on the Missy Confidential list. Popped over to Country Road just in case they had any little bargains for us too. Got a great swing knit in Olive green - will look just gorgeous with a pencil skirt and a smart pair of heals. Best of all was the jacket we had been looking for to match a pair of trousers snapped up last month. Thanks to a lovely 50% sale - got the jacket for $90. Now have a great new winter suit - sure no one will know it is last season's - it's a classic and the cut is still very much this season. We are such bargaining finding little fashionistas and like always - continue to show Good Grace. Love spreading that dollar a long way for a lot of return - fun hunting and gathering today!
Ciao from B&G

Next Spot for weekend hunting & gathering?

We just love planning our next spot for hunting and gathering. You have to be really patient with this stuff and make a day of it - coffee stops, lunch and all!
We're thinking this weeking we'll have a try at the Willow Warehouse sale. You just never know! Last weekend's efforts were certainly successful, so hope we have the same luck this weekend.
As it gets closer to the end of financial year we find lots of good bargains come our way and we once more shop with our motto - NPR. Never pay retail - unless you really are desperate and just absolutely can't wait or it's just so special you'll never see it again. We love spreading our retail dollar as far as we can and count the bags as we load them into the car!
Remember to go with an open mind and be prepared for nothing more than a good day out and lunch with a few friends. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Ciao from B&G

Friday, April 22, 2011

Who gets our vote for the most stylish woman on the planet?

Dear Readers,
we've been following this one for some time and it just has to be Giovanna Battaglia. The web is just littered with fantastic shots of her in amazing outfits, shoes and accessories - never a bad shot, always incredibly stylish.
Take the time to check her out on social media sites, other blogs and fashion shots. She truly is amazing.
For those who don't know her - she is the ulitmate style icon.
Why do we admire her so?
Well - it's quite simple her beautiful clothes are always well cut. She teams classics with contemporary. She mixes up those patterns without looking like Euro trash. (Even managed to bring back spots) She has the best accessories, but the best of all - those shoes. She really knows how to find a good shoe and make it her statement piece.
Remember readers - shoes we love since they always fit.
Sure Giovanna moves in all the right circles, but we think she deserves the accolades - what inspiration!
 Happy Styling,
Ciao from B&G

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Don't you love the High Street?

Hello again dear readers,
we've been down to the High Street or is it up the High Street? One never really knows - well High Street Armadale it's been for us. This place has had so many transformations over the years and still we find it a place to meet, have a lunch and stroll for frocks! No - we always steer clear of the gushing parties of newly engaged brides to be, dragging their intended bride slaves behind them or their teary mothers as they search for the ultimate gown. For us it is much more a gentle process. Grab something scrumptious in Cooper & Miller. Have a quick look in Seed Femme, across for a top up of essentials at Aesop, then into Scanlan  & Theodore and see if you can get a shop assistant to caste a glance in your direction or even acknowledge your presence with some form of greeting! Love the ladies in Durance - always know how to greet a customer, out through Kings Arcade for a quick look around Mexican Imports and then back up the street - maybe another coffee - one more look in Skin & Threads and home again satisfied with the total High Street experience.
Despite it's age and the many shops who have come and gone, we still love this little precinct.

Ciao from B&G

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why do we love buying new shoes?

Dear Readers,
the answer is simple. At Bella & Grace Culture we have been coveting some lovely ankle boots for the coming season for a few weeks now. Tried to hang out until the sales, but just couldn't wait and finally decided on the ones in Country Road - yes at full price too! As we were paying for these lovely beauties the sales assistant made a really profound comment which has stuck with us ever since. "You know", she said, "I really love lots of shoes." Tell us something we didn't know we thought. "Yes" she continued - "they always fit!" We paid up and walked away with the purchase  - then realised what she had just said - yes - if your weight goes up or down - you clothes burst at the seams or fall off you, spoiling that look - but your shoes - always fit! She has to be the best retail philosopher that woman! Well done to her. Any you know the shoes really do fit and we really do love them.
As always,
                    Ciao from B&G

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why Join A Bookgroup? 10 good reasons

Dear Readers,
can you believe it, but we are going to recommend something you may think only your Grandmother would do - join a bookgroup. Have to say this is one monthly event that is worth looking forward too!
Join in your local area - you know how the suburbs empty each day as we hit the road for the drive to work? Well this is a really good way to get back in touch with people who live near you. If you join a group organised by the CAE, all the hard work is done. You pay an annual fee and the books with reading notes are delivered each month.
Here are the 10 reasons you will enjoy this one.
1. lovely supper in the home of the host each month - sure do love those Passionfruit sponges
2. interesting people from all walks of life - get away from the same tribe you normally hang out with
3. read books you normally wouldn't consider and appreciate them through the discussion which follows
4. hand the book back each month and don't have it cluttering your shelves never to be opened again
5. learn a little more about a few new topics and appreciate a different view to your own - yes there are some different views to your own. Still can't get over the discussion the night we reviewed Christos Tsolakis - The Slap
6. go to all types of homes in your area and meet people you probably wouldn't have got to know
7. its a pleasant night out away from the kids
8. the supper
9. the supper
10. did we mention the supper - nothing nicer than a strong hot cup of tea from a dainty china cup - now we are beginning to sound like our Grandmothers!
Happy reading. The CAE do a really good job of this one, so seriously consider it!

Ciao from B&G

Ladies Lunch on Saturday in Melbourne? The European of course!

Dear readers,
The European at the top of Collins Street, proves to be consistently the place for a sophisticated luncheon or a brunch. Have a glass of bubbly and something tasty before heading out to the shops! Lovely ambience always - if you can't get to Europe this week, well this is the next best thing to sit in a salon atmosphere. And of course there's a coffee too. Always consistent, always the right temperature, always the best flavour. Head away from Flinders Street and up the hill far from the madding crowds of teens exploring on their first big trip into town - it's so much nicer up the hill and we do like nice! After finding our strength to shop whilst sitting in the European, we recovered sufficiently to purchase those new seasons boots - the ones from Country Road - finally!
Ciao from B&G

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is Melbourne's Food Capital Sydney Rd Brunswick?

Dear readers, today we've been out on the road to Sydney Road Brunswick. This and some of the surrounding streets has to be the best place in town for all your gorgeous foodstuffs and some special treats too. Our favourite stop is straight to that institution Mediterranean Wholesalers. First off - coffee to brace ourselves for the journey - best and cheapest in town, then grab a trolley and stock up. Got another slab of Italian tomatoes, a hunk of Regiano Parmigiana and then over to the Pasta aisle. What choice! You can even grab a bottle of Barolo to wash it down with and a Pannettone for after with coffee. Next stop BAS Foods over the other side Sydney Rd at 423 Victoria St. These guys are fantastic and even have a Halal butcher if that's your thing. Get some of the bulk herbs and spices and of course a huge flat bread about half the price of stores over the other side of the Yarra. Next stop N.S.M. for nuts and spices. If you buy LSA or Lecithin you'll never buy it at the supermarket again, you can bug 1kg for the price of about 10g in the big supermarkets. Maria keeps those boys of hers in line too, with a few smart Italian words. Back up the street closer to Sydney Rd again and its' time for us to lunch. Ray is the place for us. Love their Pides and of course another coffee. Don't forget to drop by next door in Divali. She has some great jewelry pieces and clothing at the most amazing prices. You can never walk out of there without a little treat or gift for someone. By this time the car is absolutely packed, so it's home for us. Dinner will be superb tonight.
Ciao from B&G
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

What's happened to our Knees - One in the "no-one told us" series

Dear Readers,
there are definitely some things that we didn't get told when they gave us the facts of life. One of these is the degradation of our knees as the passing of time marches on. Who ever would have thought it? One minute we were all sunning on the beach oblivious to our future. Beautiful skin, beautiful knees and even elbows. No just a few short decades later the result is slightly saggy knees. Looks like we are now condemned to a life of covering - longer skirts, trousers or even worse - stockings! Blah it's so not fair! OK - at least we still have our health. Moral of the story - that sun really isn't so good for you after all. Enjoy those lovely legs if you still have them, while you can.

Ciao from B&G

Where did all the Frock Shops Go? Let's bring them back and shop in style

How lucky were our grandmothers, the choices for them were so much easier. A simple floral frock with a self tie belt. Perhaps a special one with matching hat and gloves for special events like family weddings. No chain store rubbish for them. They just popped down to the local Frock salon and saw Mrs Brown who knew their size and their taste. We really think these special havens need to come back. Staple items , solid service, fabulous quality. Here's one of the last ones in Melbourne. Have never ever seen any one in this establishment, but surely some of the Albert Park dames arrive here on a regular basis.

Ciao from B&G

The Best Form of Exercise Really is Yoga

Yes readers, it's true we really do believe this is the key to a long happy life. Life at the Balwyn Yoga Centre has us convinced. Posture and holding that pose, beats running through the streets of Melbourne any day, or slogging it out at some crazy gym. We've been finding the path to this door for some time now and it really pays off. It is certainly very satisfying to have some BYT (Bright Young Thing) on the floor beside you who can't keep up the pace or even touch their toes. Our fantastic teacher of an uncertain senior age is truly inspirational. She can do the splits like no one else in her age bracket. In fact we can't wait to get to her age bracket if that's what you can do. No life ahead on walking frame for us!

Ciao from B&G

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bella & Grace travelling again

Stay tuned - we've hit the road again to travel to a completely new part of the world for us. A place where you can feel like a millionaire for a reasonable amount. Hope to bring you some pics too. It's so much fun to get out of your usual travel routine, but also even better - you get to come home to all the good things in life we have here too. One word of advice - don't ever travel Malaysian Airlines unless you really feel like punishing yourself. Dirty planes, rude staff and worst food ever. Apart from that it's fine actually and we arrived home in one piece, even if rather annoyed. Really getting ready to purchase those suede ankle boots - think we'll check out the Florsheim ones this weekend and then it's decision time!

Ciao from B&G

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Massimo Dutti Icon

Is David Gandy Massimo's best feature?
The new dilemma for us - Zara or Massimo Dutti? We fianlly get Zara to Australia but we really need to have Massimo on our shores too. If for no other reason than those lovely catalogues featuring our IT male for now - David Gandy. We suspect that we may not be the only ones to have noticed how well he represents the Massimo brand. Let's hope someone sees sense and deems the store to land on our shores in the near future. If we are doomed to be the land of the cheap chain store, could we at least add in a little something interesting into the mix. Style requires it! We could do a lot worse than have this one here. Then again - what would we have to look forward to when we travel overseas if we have it all here??
Ciao from B&G

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The new boot for us.

Well dear reader, this week, we've been on the hunt for the best new lace-up ankle boot. Whilst the weather here hasn't exactly turned to Autumn, we can already envisage those skinny black jeans or cargo skinny legs with the new lace up boots. Quite a new interpretation of the old Desert boot, but also in suede. We love these new ones with the crepe sole and stacked solid heel. We can imagine tramping the streets of Melbourne or Florence in these. Now we can't wait until the weather does turn. Spotted a pair which may be reasonable in Country Road or these - See by Chloe - the ultimate.
Ciao from B&G

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Hair Dilemma Finally Solved!

We at Bella & Grace Culture have been on the trail to solve the great hair dilemma - fly away dry hair!
After that recent sojourn in Europe where the water is completely different, we suddenly realised it's all about water, not just about all the treatments and chemicals we've been throwing at our heads to restore its shine & lustre. Couldn't believe it, that even with dodgy hotel room hair dryers we found our locks sat beautifully all the time. Got us thinking, then it must be about water. For those of you who have travelled you will recall that in some parts of Europe you can be tricked into thinking that you didn't put any shampoo into your hair - it really doesn't froth up as much as here. Back in Melbourne town after a week the same old dry frizz returned. Well, we think we've got the solution - Demineralised Water. Head on down to the Laundry section of your local friendly supermarket. Costs about $1.70 for a huge bottle of the stuff - about an Orange Juice bottle size. Use this to do your final rinse - or all of it if you can be bothered. Then finish off you towel dried hair with our other favourite - Moroccan oil. Hair problem solved - sits beautifully and you don't need to wash it again as frequently. For those of you with fine hair - try the Moroccan Light. For those of you who haven't ever used Moroccan oil, try it any way - quite expensive, but worth it - only use about a  5 cent piece worth in the palm of your hand before you dry.
Can't believe we've hit the jackpot on this life changing problem - all those other products are out the door - what a saving!!!
Let us know how you go if you try this trick. Two key ingredients - Moroccan Oil & De-mineralised water.
Ciao from B&G

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Getting ready for the new season?

Today we've been out spotting items for the new season. No actual buying, just mental notes of things to get ready to add into the collection. Getting very keen on the new season suede ankle boots. Kind of a cross between a dessert boot and a shoe. Saw these in SEED in Armadale and think they would be really good with a pair of leggings or skinny leg jeans. Once the weather cools a little we'll muster up the energy to try them on!
Ciao from B&G

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Monday, February 14, 2011

What's a really good hair cut worth?

Bella & Grace have strayed a little from the path of culture in the past few weeks and onto public transport to get to town. Boy - is that an experience! The best part of the whole thing has been the wonderful conversations one can catch whilst enjoying the travel experience.
Just last week we overheard two lovely ladies discussing a fabulous hairdresser who really got stuck into re-styling one of them. Cut and colour only $600!!!! Really - a bargain, considering she will have to go back in just six weeks time.
She actually needs a trip across town to see Stefano at Avia 170 in Carlton. She can save herself a real packet of money, get a great cut and colour and then head out to snap up some fashion bargains with the change - everyone's a winner.
Snip, Snip & Ciao from B&G

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What's the best thing about a change in Season in Melbourne?

The change of season in Melbourne signals a change in fashion of course! Love it. Here in Melbourne there is a rush to bring us the next season as quickly as possible. Barely have our summer tans faded and out comes the new season fashions, boots, woollens, the lot. We fashion lovers at Bella & Grace culture used to moan about this push, but now we use it to our advantage. Now is the time to start thinking about your own wardrobe. What are the gaps, what is definitely passed it's prime and what do you want to adopt of the new season? Rememember, not everything suits everyone. So the strategy for all of this - start getting out the old season. Dust off the moth balls and have a serious look at your collection. Get ready to cull and then add. Here's the good bit. All of the stuff you spy now will be on sale when you really want to wear it, so don't feel compelled to adopt it right away. Thanks retailers - we love this early bird process you've forced on us. Today we headed down to Hawksburn in Malvern Rd and then over to Toorak. First a little light lunch in Husk, then off to cast an eye over the wares! Starting to warm to a few new pieces. The short leather biker jacket or an aviator one with shearling lining and collar? Now for boots - over the knee - be careful you don't end up looking like some weird dominatrix, or a short suede wedge heel which have those skinny jeans tucked into them. Also lace up desert boot styles with wedge heels in various other shoe shops. For now those cute little wedges are beginning to tempt. Just got to find the ones which aren't perilously high and you can actually walk in them. Saw a lot of these in Europe recently. We took a peek in Seed, Witchery and Giallo for starters.  A little diversion at Simon Johnson in Toorak, for some Marriage Freres tea, which is a must. They have an ample supply of lovely varieties, despite the fact they are not exactly nearby the Marriage Freres tea rooms in Paris. Our favourites are the Vanille and Marco Polo. If in Paris we also like Grande Augustine. Although expensive you only need a little as it best weak and without milk.  Srill saving for that apartment in Paris to drink this stuff permanently!. Over the road to Max Mara who  had their new Winter Collection in store complete with luxurious fabrics and superb tailoring as usual.   Definitely worth a look for the forthcoming season and also to pick up their lovely catalogue to peruse at home.
Don't forget to cast one more glance over those summer sale racks - still might be a little treasure lurking too.
After lunching in our favourite cafe at the back of Husk in Hawksburn (recommendations for the chicken sandwiches and open style sandwiches) and considering the latest leather jackets with shearling collars as featured in all the O/S mags and web sites such as the Sartorialist.  Speaking of which, we can’t get enough of this site for great ideas and vicarious travel to all our favourite destinations.  Style, style, style!
Such a cute village style atmosphere with chain stores and individual stores.  Pick up a lasagne from Donini’s for dinner and all is well. Happy planning readers - plenty of productive days ahead of us yet.
Ciao from B&G

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Felt the need for a new Frock!

Got the urge to have a frock. Haven't felt this way for years. Must be mad or the effect of Madmen! Well we walked and walked the length and breadth of  Melbourne looking for that something special to no avail! The solution of course - the Internet. Found this gorgeous vintage pattern - complete and only used once, then off to The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe for some fabric. In luck, the lovely staff directed us to this cute spotted cotton , really on a roll now! Now back home to the sewing machine - a daunting task after many years of languishing in the back of the cupboard. Needed the specs to thread the thing! But - a few hours later - success - the frock is done and now ready for it's first outing. Total cost $59.95. What a bargain, what fun - don't think we have the energy to repeat the performance again in a hurry though!
Ciao from the sewing machine of B&G

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mango vs Zara - The new dilemma!

Well now readers, have just got back from chilly Europe - crisp days and some light snow - beautiful sights.
The usual first day activity for us is to head straight to Zara - our mecca of retail at a reasonable price. Imagine the disappointment - the whole place looked like a rats nest!
Shuffled down the street to Mango expecting to be similiarly disappointed, only to find the exact opposite. Boy - have they stepped up their game. Too many great choices. Came away with the must have from last season - a cropped leather biker jacket in chocolate. Will look great with jeans and a white T-shirt - the timeless classic. New season stock just coming into the store too. Lots of camel and navy, teamed with a striped breton T-shirt or a crisp white shirt and nice cuffs. Very wearable! Look forward to this hitting our stores here. Life's looking good. Scooped up the bargain Biker jacket, then rugged up once more out into the snow and headed off to the next mecca. Sure beats our "trawl malls" any day.
Stay tuned for more from the northern hemisphere soon. Based on this experience, we've got to conclude Mango beats Zara hands down. Now feeling concerned about the new store in Melbourne - just what will they hit us with? Will they let the store get picked over each day, like a day at the beach infested with sqwawking seagulls? Hope we don't end up with a store full of over priced, poor quality euro trash.

Ciao from B&G

Monday, January 10, 2011

What's the best way to get get over the return to work blues?

Grab a cuppa and re-acquaint yourselves with your colleagues. It is actually really good to get back together with them, hear their stories good and bad about their holidays and appreciate why you make such a good team. Maybe this can be one of those New Year resolutions you consider each month. Let us know how you go and get over those return to work blues. And then at the end of the month remember, there's that other added bonus - you'll actually get paid - now that's got to be good!
Ciao from B&G
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Saturday, January 8, 2011

What's the best place for culture on a hot day in Melbourne?

Not the Polo at Werribee, far too hot! Today we decided trekked into the lovely Gustave Moreau exhibit at the NGV to beat the hot weather and soak up some cooling culture. You can find more details on our See page. Here you can escape the heat of the city and in air conditioned comfort you can view the masterpieces.  The exhibition was quite small and took no time to get around so we then went off to the clubhouse. That's the members room for those of you in the know. Did you know that you can become an NGV member and included in the membership you have access to their clubroom?  This entitles you to coffee, tea, biscuits and all of the latest fashion mags free of charge. (See photo) In the cool of the lounge we perused all the latest fashions and made comment on all the ideas we thought were great and not so great. 
One of these items was over the knee boots.  Guaranteed by several friends who have come back from Italy, US and Spain lately to be next seasons must have.  They have come back with their suitcases full of them.  Just a word of warning!  Make sure that they don’t fall down when you walk. Apparently this can be quite a problem. 
Unfortunately the hot weather can bring out quite a lot of flesh that we didn’t need to see and many an unflattering tattoo.  Sloppy dressing is not a necessity for warmer weather.  Forget thongs, singlet tops and short shorts, leave something to the imagination please!
Ciao until next time, from B&G
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Friday, January 7, 2011

Where's the best place to eat in Mornington?

Today it was DOC, the sister to Carlton Espresso. The staff there still seem to speak the real deal, even though they are not in downtown Carlton. The nimble team in the kitchen can certainly knock out a great Italian lunch in a hurry and the coffee too lives up to expectations. Check it out - Main Street.
Ciao from B&G

Monday, January 3, 2011

What's the drink for Summer?

Campari & Blood Orange juice or Aperol on ice with a slice of fresh orange?
We think the Campari is still the hit. Look on our Eat page for the "recipes"
Today we've been off to DFO to snap up the bargains. That's Direct Factory Outlets for the uninitiated. Got a great pair of hiking boots for tramping through the snow in the upcoming trip to Europe. Only $50 at Anaconda. Apparently they are 2009 stock, but hey - don't think that will be a fashion crime. Good lace-ups like the ones our friend at the Satorialist often features.
Weird buying winter gear in the middle of summer. We, we'll need that drink now to recover from all the excitement. Cheers!
Psyching up for the hair cut this weekend. Stay tuned!

Ciao from B&G

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 It's here!

Welcome to 2011.   Forget New Year's Resolutions they never work!  Try something new each month. Hmmmm what to try first. Maybe pay off the credit card.

Let us know what you will try first, we'd love to hear from you.

We have been re- visiting "House of Elliot" DVDs for some fashion inspiration. Looking at all of the gorgeous 20's style coats, hats, frocks etc.  Wouldn't you love to have Beatrice and Evie fashioning up a little something to re-style your wardrobe?  All those glam fabrics - must get some velvet and brocade ASAP. 
Would have to say, that even the gents look fab.  Bring back the suit we say, especially black tie for a special soiree. 
Just been to lunch at a very popular bayside cafe, very friendly and amicable staff which makes New Year's day much more bearable. Now an early alert on the 2011 the style scene.  Be careful how much flesh one exposes early on in the season especially if not toned and terrific. It can be too challenging for the eyes of those around you if there is so much on show.

Ciao from B&G

Stay tuned for our holiday adventures later in the week.