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Lifestyle

The key to taking good family photos on your phone

23rd March, 2017

One of the great things about having a smartphone these days is that you’re able to capture good quality photos on the go. Having a young family means I am always snapping pics on my phone so I’ve learnt through trial and error the best ways to capture moments with Luke and the girls. I have an iPhone 7 and find that when I use it in Portrait mode it produces a really nice DSLR-esque result. It’s also foolproof as there’s a guide which tells me if I need more light in the shot and also gives me a live preview of the depth of the shot so I know the best distance in which to take a picture. Whilst my phone provides great step by step guidance here are some things I always do when it comes to taking each photo…

  • Choose a colourful background. I find the more vibrant the background the better the image as it gives it a great sense of energy.
  • Shoot where there’s lots of light. I’ll try to find a location that’s light filled as it produces a crisper, sharper image.
  • When I’m taking photos of the girls I mix it up and love capturing close up images where they’re looking to camera but I also really like candid shots of them playing and interacting with the world around them. I’ll also experiment with different angles. For example sometimes shooting from above and looking down to take the picture may make a better shot than shooting straight on.
  • I tend to refrain from editing my photos too much but it’s sometimes necessary just to adjust lighting or colouring. There are plenty of apps to choose available but some of the more popular apps include Enlight and VSCO which allows you to enhance and tweak images on your phone. If you do edit your pics just remember that less is more.

What’s are some of your tips for taking great family photos?


Fashion

Sneak a peek inside my wardrobe and how I keep it organised

22nd March, 2017

I used to have the luxury of using a spare room in our house as a wardrobe however I’ve since had to cull things down a lot and keep it confined to a set of cupboards and drawers. This definitely called for some serious organisation on my part. Whilst it was quite a mammoth task to get everything into a smaller space it was certainly very cathartic to do an edit of everything I owned and to see the more organised finished product. When it comes to my wardrobe having a system is key as I find it helps to make it so much easier to get out the door in the morning. Here’s how I do it:

Categorise everything

I make sure to separate everything into different categories – I put jumpers with jumpers, skirts with skirts and pants with pants so I know which section I need to look at when I’m after something. If everything is just in random piles I will never be able to find what I’m after.

Segregate into seasons

I put my out of season clothes in storage so it doesn’t take up valuable real estate in my wardrobe. When it’s summer I put away all my coats and winter clothes and vice versa. I find this also helps me to see what I have to wear during a particular season without being overwhelmed by everything else I own. Also, so my out of season clothes don’t take up valuable storage space in the house, I put them in vacuum sealed bags. This is also helps protect them whilst they’re out of action for a few months.

Introduce a go-to section

I hate having to rummage through the rest of my clothes when I’m pulling things out that I use on a regular basis so to get around this I make sure to put all the clothes I use a lot in one section. This includes my jeans, leather pants, black blazer, a white shirt and all my white t-shirts as I wear them the most. I have about seven different looks that are my go-to so I keep them in an area that is easily accessible so I don’t mess everything up.

I have the same system with my shoes. I put the ones I wear the most at the front of my cupboard and the ones I wear the least further back so I don’t have to pull everything out when I’m trying to get to them.

Invest in matching hangers

I threw away all my wire hangers and invested in black Ikea hangers to keep everything in my cupboard uniform. It keeps everything looking neater and it makes me feel like I’m browsing through a boutique whenever I’m looking at my wardrobe.

Keep accessories in the one spot

I keep things like my sunglasses, jewellery and hair accessories in the one easy to access drawer so they’re easy to view at a glance and I know exactly where they are. I find if I have them in different spots I’m more likely to forget where everything is thus adding more time to my getting ready time in the morning. When it comes to the accessories I use the most, I pop them in a small bag which I know I can easily grab if I am going away.

The great thing with having an organised wardrobe is it encourages me to stay organised as not only does it feel nice to look at a tidy space it also helps me to keep track of where everything is. I’ve also found that by having a system it doesn’t matter how much closet space I have, everything is guaranteed to have a home.

Tell me – what are some of your best wardrobe organisation tips?

Photography: Sophia Athas

Lifestyle

Styling Grace’s Nursery

15th March, 2017

As anyone who is expecting a baby can attest, decorating a nursery is one of the more fun aspects of being pregnant. Just the sheer possibility that awaits when styling a blank space for your impending progeny is definitely a highlight, especially when you’re about to become a mum for the first time. I adored putting together both Sophia and Grace’s nurseries. Whilst Sophia’s space has definitely changed now she’s a toddler (stay tuned for an upcoming post on Sophia’s room) I also didn’t just want to replicate it for Grace’s room as I wanted her to have something uniquely her own. I loved sourcing different pieces Grace’s room and incorporating little trinkets and gifts from friends to create a cosy and inviting nursery. Here are some of my tips for putting together a nursery you and your baby will love spending time in…

Start with a neutral palette

I started with a neutral palette of whites and greys as it’s an easy colour scheme to build on. I wanted soft shades rather than super bright colours as I wanted to create a really simple, yet cosy space for Grace and something quite soothing to be in (we would inevitably be spending a lot of time in there after all). The aim was to keep it light and airy so everything from her cot to chest of drawers is all white.

Use soft colour accents

To brighten up the space I added touches of soft pastel pink whether it be in the form of a stuffed toy or blanket. It helped to give the room a little personality and also some feminine touches. If you’re having a boy you could always add soft blues or yellow if you want to keep it quite neutral. That said, if you want to use pink in a boy’s room or blue in a girl’s room then go for it!

Add personal keepsakes throughout

I love adding little trinkets throughout the girls’ rooms such as gifts from friends and family to really personalise their rooms. It makes it a really special space as it’s like having a presence from all the important people in their lives dotted around the room.

Mix and match

I love shopping at places like Pottery Barn and Jacadi for things such as furniture and accessories as they have such a great range to choose from plus the quality is great so I know it will be able to grow along with girls. There’s a Jacadi playmat that I used with Sophia that Grace is now using and it still looks great. You don’t have to spend a fortune on outfitting a nursery but buy the best quality furniture that your budget will allow. It’s also worth keeping an eye out in your favourite interiors stores for other things such as lamps and frames as you don’t need to shop at kid-specific brands for those decorative elements.

Don’t over clutter

I like to keep a really tight edit of everything in Grace’s nursery to avoid it looking too cluttered and busy. I make sure that everything on display are things that I think really add something to the space. When you’re expecting you’ll find you’re often gifted so many things but it’s important to remember that you don’t always have to put everything out on show. Keep the room quite streamlined. Even if you’ve got numerous stuffed toys on your hands, choose the three that you like and store everything else away for playtime.

Display pretty things

Whilst I’ve got prints hung up on the walls I’ve also got a beautiful tutu and star bunting hanging up in Grace’s room as decorative accents to brighten up the walls. I also keep her adorable shoes on show because they’re so cute. And instead of hiding away things like knitted blankets and wraps, I’ve chosen to dot them around the room. Whilst I mentioned above that it’s important to keep a tight edit of things in the room there are just some things that are simply too pretty to hide away! When in doubt just ask yourself if it adds to the room. You’ll know by the answer whether it’s something to display or not.

Sneak a peek at the rest of Grace’s nursery below…

Photography: Sophia Athas

 

Lifestyle, Lifestyle & Social

Interior design tips from Alex Zabotto-Bentley

1st March, 2017

As a former fashion designer, Alex Zabotto-Bentley is used to channelling his energy into many a stylish endeavour. He’s now channelling this artistic flair into interior design as the founder of AZBcreative. AZBcreative has masterminded some of Australia’s biggest media and social events, including the March into Merivale, CLEO Bachelor of Year and Harper’s Bazaar Luxury Awards. Among the company’s high-end clientele is Palazzo Versace, Waterford Crystal and The Sydney Theatre Company and singer Lady Gaga. Alex chats to me about how he made his mark in interior design and even lets me in on a few of his best styling secrets below.

AZB Styling pieces at home

What is a day in the life of you?

Apart from grappling with the eternal crisis of what to throw into my green juice, I am a very early riser. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been working late on a project or have just arrived on a redeye flight from Europe, I always wake up around 5am. Seize the day!

My philosophy is that to maximise your energy and productivity, you need to greet the sun every day. Get up before sunrise, head to your favourite vantage point – near the sea is always amazing – and watch it rise. And then (this is a bit spiritual), make your affirmations. It works, believe me. You start each day full of positive energy and resolve, ready to do your best work.

Alex makes a point of welcoming the day by watching the sun rise daily

How did you get started in interior design?

To be honest, I spent so much of my childhood transfixed by houses – I used to mentally ‘rate’ them for architectural balance on the walk to school. And while everyone else at school was buying [surfing publication] Tracks mag, I was saving my pocket money for World of Interiors!

My big breakthrough came when the wonderful, late [hotelier] Ian Robertson gave me carte blanche to design a massive, 4,000 square metre bar on the top of Melbourne’s GPO.

Even while working as a fashion director for magazines and designing my own label Fashion Assassin, I was leading a “double life”, doing interior projects for friends on the side.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

With respect to interiors I have been able to really create magical spaces, which are like no other. It’s important to me to create a site-specific space, so we always try to custom make over 70 per cent of every interior. From designing our own range of tiles to creating our own pigment colours to working with local craftspeople to use their brilliant and sometimes under-appreciated skills.

Kittyhawk [restaurant in Sydney] is a good example of this approach. We created original fittings with a sense of place and history, that perfectly fit that space and tell a story. From the hand-dyed leather for the banquettes to the antique French oak doors, the 12-metre long, hand crafted American Oak bar to the custom-made brass-trimmed shelving and tesserae tile design which I drew freehand, there will never be anything else quite like it.

AZB Custom Tiles which Alex drew freehand

What is your favourite room in your own house?

Definitely my sitting room. It has a wonderful sense of space and light, with high 1920s ceilings and beautiful architectural details. The space is filled with hand selected furniture and decorative pieces that I have collected over time. Every piece tells a story and recalls a memory of a great trip or a weekend combing through flea markets or the thrill of discovering a new artist. It’s so much more than just a space. I love collecting art, so it’s like a private gallery with all the works I’ve collected, from original Keith Haring prints to beautiful, wild landscapes by Aaron Kinnane to modernist sculptures and abstract 1940s Italian art. But it’s not fixed; it’s an ever-evolving space, reflecting my travels and discoveries.

Keith Haring artwork which Alex adores

What made you move into events?

It’s all connected. Working on styling projects every day, I was invited to a lot of events and launches; you know how Sydney loves a party! But I felt that from the guest’s point of view, the event design industry was lacking inspiring, immersive experiences, a high taste level and beautiful, memorable moments. Too many events were basically a bar, some wait staff, a media wall and a DJ. Boring! They were forgettable and added nothing to the brands being promoted. So I decided to tackle this very closed, competitive industry head-on, developing a reputation for custom-designed elements and experiences specific to each client. People really connected with these branded environments. I think we ruffled a few feathers at first, but the clients loved it.

What is your number one styling tip for a special event?

If you do one thing, always use incredible flowers. In fact, always double the flower budget, and do something totally unique. I’m not talking about staid arrangements; go big and amaze people. Make an impact with colour and sheer mass. We have dipped phalaenopsis orchids in jet black paint, to emphasize their amazing sculptural properties, and people went crazy.

I also think it’s essential to make sure every single staff member looks impeccable and dressed to suit the brand, whether it’s crisp denim shirts for a whiskey tasting or impeccable black and white for a formal dinner. Make sure that the cocktails are totally desirable and unique and the catering is completely other-worldly…details, details make the event.

Alex suggests doing “use incredible flowers” if you are styling an event

What are the biggest mistakes people tend to make when it comes to styling an event?

When creating events, people often think that is just about getting the celebrities and current “cool” people to attend…but a lot of celebrities only stay for a brief time before sweeping off to the next thing, leaving a void. Without those glittering people, the room feels cold. To create an exciting and engaging event, you have to mix and layer the guest list with interesting people, from unique fashionistas to vibrant, animated people with something to say. Mix young and old, established names and up-and-comers: chance encounters create energy. The magic is in the mix.

What have been your top three favourite projects so far?

Only three? Ok, one would be working with the wonderful [PR company] Max Media Lab to conjure a magical Swarovski dinner at the Sydney Opera House with Miranda Kerr. We created modern, shimmering spaces inside Bennelong, mixing white perspex, mirrors, metal and glass with acres of flowers and shimmering ornaments to embody Swarovski’s latest collection. From the entrance, flanked by giant beaten silver vases of cascading roses and orchids to the shimmering, crystal-strewn white carpet, to the show-stopping. monumental stainless steel, geometric sculpture by Gregor Kregar, we owned that space! Attention to detail is a signature of our work, so we cut custom tabletops from white Perspex and applied delicate mirrored gold designs, then topped the tables with cubist vases to hold lavish, eccentric floral arrangements. Miniature French busts, half dipped in gold, added to the decadence.

The Swarvorski ‘White Carpet’ event

As far as interior projects, one of the most unusual was creating Seadeck for Scott Robertson [Seadeck’s managing partner] and his team. It’s an amazing floating venue on a gorgeous vintage ship: a 44 metre blank slate and a wonderful challenge. Inspired by the peak of luxury cruising, from the 1920s through 1940s we put a sophisticated twist on nautical design over three vast decks. Overall, it is a minimalist space in navy and white, with custom white lounges, Carrara marble table-tops, a bespoke brass-trimmed bar, curated nautical decorations and iconic four metre high palm trees.

Of course, working on a boat is a challenge in itself. Everything needs to be fixed to the deck, protected from the elements and the furniture needs to double as clever storage. We were essentially designing an interior which would be exposed to wind, rain and sun 365 days a year, yet had to remain luxurious and unforgettable.

Finally, we’ve had a long working relationship with Justin Hemmes and the Merivale Group. Producing and creative directing their March into Merivale event in 2015 was amazing. We welcomed about 100,000 people over five weeks, with 19 events across their venues, from The Ivy to Coogee Pavilion and everywhere between! Every venue and every event required a different approach and spoke to a different audience. We worked with chefs and sponsors to create custom experiences and environments, conceptualised and engaged entertainment, designed and crafted specific installations, stalls and furniture to express each venue and turned the whole Ivy laneway into a new dimension. Who needs sleep, anyway? The hard work paid off, though: we won a national design award for event activation.

Alex’s work at Merivale’s Ivy Pool Club

How closely do you work with the brands when designing their spaces?

We work incredible closely with our clients. As specialists in branded environments, we need to understand their message and values thoroughly, to create spaces communicate the brand to their customers. The clients we have are very diverse, and each requires a specific solution, whether it be an international beauty brand like Avon to a boutique winery like [the one created for wine brand] Cloudy Bay, to creating branded environments for Westfield to super sized festivals at Coogee Pavilion. We spend a lot of time at the briefing stage to understand the client’s real needs

A table setting designed by AZB for March into Merivale

What has been the best piece of advice you have ever received?

To create change. What I mean is, don’t just talk about it, do it. And do it differently. Never stop learning and innovating. Design isn’t a static business. Technology changes, society changes…you can’t afford to stand still or rest on your laurels.

What’s coming up in 2017?

We were honoured to be awarded several international Design Awards last year which really raised our profile, and we’re working on hotel projects, villa interiors and immersive experiences in Europe, Bali, Flores and Sydney…and we have some restaurant and bar projects that will change the way Sydney-siders approach dining and going out. I can’t say too much, but watch this space – there are some amazing things coming!

You can check out more of Alex’s work on Instagram at @azbcreative

Lifestyle

My tips for decorating a home when you have kids

27th February, 2017

As most people with kids will attest, decorating a home comes with its own new considerations once little ones enter the picture. Everything from sticky fingers being wiped down on the couch to trying to grab everything in sight means that you have to take these things into account with your colour scheme, your furniture and home decors. Of course, having older children gives you a little more freedom to decorate as you wish but when it comes to younger kids, this is what I’ve learned…

Go for colours that camouflage

Most of our home features slightly darker earthy tones such as brown or beige which I find hides dirt a little better. Also our carpet has greys and beiges in it and our outdoor furniture is navy so both hide dirt quite well.

Go for durable fabrics

I have friends who have white couches and small kids and I honestly don’t know how they do it. We have a couch made from a durable earthy toned fabric and the pillows are made from quite a similar material so this helps to avoid the couch looking worse for wear. When it comes to the furniture in our home everything is quite neutral and quite durable so I always consider those things when I’m buying anything for the house.

Invest in baskets

I never used to have baskets around the house but now I love them as they’re great for storing (or hiding!) things like toys and pillows in a hurry. This is a lifesaver when guests pop around unexpectedly and I need to quickly tidy the house.

Do a big edit of ornaments

I still like having decorative bits and pieces around the house but I’ve done a big edit so I only have the pieces I really love dotted around our home. This makes it easier to keep track of them as the girls are quite curious and love picking things up and playing with them.

Choose neutral kids’ furniture

We live in an apartment so the kids’ space is our space so I feel like the kids’ stuff has to blend in with our stuff. I find children’s furniture can be really bright which tends to be a little bit of an eyesore so we try to get furniture that is neutral so we’ll get white or blonde wood rather than bold colours such as reds, blues or greens. Sophia has a little canvas teepee but it’s made from a light canvas material and has wooden poles rather than fluoro which teepees commonly come in. Also the stool that she uses at the bench I got it in white as opposed to blue or red and their little table and chairs are white.

 

Fashion, Lifestyle

What I pack for a day at the beach

2nd February, 2017

I can be found at Sydney’s Balmoral Beach most days in summer and it’s one of my favourite ways to spend a day out with my family. I always make sure that I come to the beach well stocked and prepared for the day ahead. Here’s what I often take with me…

A big tote

I always carry a nice roomy tote to the beach as it’s perfect for throwing everyone’s things in it. There are so many gorgeous beach bags out now whether it’s made of canvas or straw so shop around and find one that perfectly suits your lifestyle.

Beach towel

The bigger the better! I like a nice, big fluffy beach towel. I always need to be able to spread out my things and I like being able to lay down without having my feet hanging off into the sand so space is a necessity.

Sunglasses

I usually opt for a pair that has larger lenses so I can be guaranteed extra coverage throughout the day.

Sunscreen

Believe it or not I bring three different kinds! One for the body, one specifically for the face and a kids’ sunscreen for the girls.

Lipgloss with SPF

I like a multitasking lip gloss with a built in SPF. The sun can be quite dehydrating so I like one that I can use as a moisturiser but can protect me at the same time.

A wide brimmed hat

I am all about protecting my face from the sun’s rays so I definitely always pack a wide brimmed hat in my beach tote. A beautiful straw hat is my go-to.

Plain one piece or bikini

My swimsuits tend to be2 in plain block colours a lot of the time as I’m not really into wearing too many prints. I go for navy as it’s classic but I’ve also got swimmers in black, khaki and cream.

Waterproof watch

I’m a watch girl so I always wear a watch to the beach. The only mandatory is that it be waterproof. There are so many great, inexpensive watches out there now so I’ve found some great options that will survive a day in the sun.

Sandals

I like to take a pair of sandals that I can slip on and off quite easily. I hate having to deal with multiple straps when I know I’ll have to be in and out of them the whole day.

Sarong

I always bring a cover up of some sort so I can pop it on really quickly if I need to grab lunch or a drink for the girls. I like anything lightweight (linen is good!), airy and really uncomplicated – I just need to be able to take it on and off quite easily.

 

 

Lifestyle

My fave places to hang out in summer

1st February, 2017

One of my fave haunts is The Boat House at Balmoral Beach

Summer is the perfect time to get out and about as the weather is so great and everyone is in the mood to socialise. I have a list of regular haunts in my local area in Sydney but also have some die hard faves that I will make a special trip to visit. Here’s where you’re likely to find me…

Balmoral Beach

This is the number one place you will find me in summer. It’s my favourite beach as it’s ideal for kids as there are no waves. I take the girls here all the time and we love spending a day out as a family.

The Boat House

I love going out for breakfast and this spot is located in Balmoral Beach and is right next to the water. The food and coffee is amazing. Be warned though: lunchtimes are ridiculously busy, especially if the weather is great. The menu is full of great options that I always find it hard to choose what to order.

Bathers’ Pavilion

We’ll sometimes go to Bathers’ for breakfast or to grab an early family dinner. It’s got great views and has a relaxed vibe that’s just perfect for summer.

Bistro Moncur

I am a fan of the original Bistro Moncur in Sydney’s Woollahra so was pleased when they opened up a second location in Mosman. The menu is French meets modern Australian so there’s everything from sirloin with buttery Café de Paris to pan friend barramundi fillet. Amazing.

Fratelli Paradiso

I love Italian food so can’t go past this restaurant in Potts Point. It’s cosy, the food is super hearty and is perfect when I just want to experience a touch of Italy.

Apollo

Also located in Potts Point, Apollo serves up modern Greek food that’s unbelievably delicious. The main dining room is light and airy is one of my fave spots for a long, relaxing lunch.

Bondi Icebergs

When the weather is warm Bondi Icebergs is a definitely must. The view can’t be beat and the vibe perfectly encapsulates the special atmosphere during an Aussie summer.

What are some of your favourite summer haunts?

 

Lifestyle

The staples of Italian cooking according to 10 William St’s head chef

18th January, 2017

I love Italian food. In fact, I love it so much it was the type of cuisine I served at my wedding. This is why I decided to chat to Enrico Tomelleri, the head chef at 10 William St, a cosy wine bar and restaurant in Sydney’s Paddington that serves up some tasty Italian fare. Here we chat about his philosophy to cooking, what ingredients he always has on hand and the one mistake people make when it comes to Italian cooking…

What was your aim when you took over as head chef at 10 William St?
The main aim has been accepting the challenge and having the chance to deliver food that I like to our customers. After a few years at 10 William St I got to know what they want and what they like.

Why do you think 10 William St has been so well received?
10 William St has been so well received because it is a fun little bar that serves good wine and honest food. You can spend a night there every week without getting over it. This simple formula is the reason why we have the chance to work with a lot of regular customers.

What has inspired the menu at 10 William St?
The menu is constantly changing and we get inspired by what is in season and what our suppliers are recommending at the time. Having a solid base of Italian food is a good start.  I like to collaborate with the rest of the team trying to find a fun and interesting way to create a dish by twisting some of the classic recipes that we know. That helps to keep us motivated.

The cosy interiors of 10 William St

What’s the key to great Italian cooking?
It could sound obvious but the key is to follow the seasonality of the ingredients. It is also a good ethic to follow and the right way to respect and to deal with your food and with your customers.

What are some common mistakes people make when it comes to cooking Italian cuisine?
The spelling of “Bolognese” sauce!

What’s your philosophy when it comes to cooking?
I try to use [the least amount of] ingredients as possible trying to exalt the main one. Also, at the moment, I focus on the sustainability of them.

10 William St head chef Enrico Tomelleri

What’s your favourite Italian dish to cook?
I like to cook any kind of risotto.

What’s one Italian dish you love to eat?
I guess a good pizza is probably unbeatable

What’s one dining trend you think has been done to death?
Burger perhaps… but there is always room for a good one.

For those who love cooking Italian food, what are some ingredients you must always have on hand at home?
Garlic, anchovies and a bottle of good olive oil (maybe some fish sauce..)

 

Lifestyle

A sommelier shares her expert tips on choosing great wine

12th January, 2017

One of the great dishes at Mistelle

Mistelle is a French-inspired wine bar and restaurant located in Sydney’s Double Bay and without a doubt one of its highlights would have to be the unique and extensive wine list and that’s all courtesy of its owner and sommelier Alicia Wadsworth. Wadsworth is a member of the Commanderie du Bordeaux, a graduate of the Gastronomicom Wine School in Languedox, South of France as well as holding her Wine Spirit Education Trust (WSET) levels 2 and 3 and a Diploma from the Sydney Wine Academy so she knows how to identify a seriously good drop. Here, she shares her top tips on choosing wine like an expert.

What inspired your interest in wine?

I grew up in the hospitality industry with a father who loved great wine, particularly red. We would always chat about it and he would teach me to appreciate it. As I got older and into the industry myself, I started trying different wines and found myself challenging my friends to try with me, a lot very reluctantly. The love just kept growing until I decided that rather than try learn myself I would start doing my WSET levels and once I started I loved it so much I continued.

What’s your favourite type of wine?

I love so many different wines for different reasons, I am always trying new producers and different regions making new favourites. At the moment I am loving a good crisp Gruner Veltliner from Austria or a lovely Vouvray from the Loire, Marc Bredif is an easy go-to.

I love my reds too. Red Burgundy and Bordeaux have a special place. I recently tried Chateau de Tertre from Margaux in Bordeaux and was impressed with a lot of their wines. I also love good old classic Aussie reds. Big, bold and punchy such as Torbreck.

Sitting in the sun on my day off a lovely glass of cold rosé is always a winner. Lately I have been drinking Château Vannières from Bandol.

What should people consider when choosing wine?

Be adventurous! If you like a certain grape variety, try it from a different region.

Also what is the occasion? If you are going to sit in the sun and eat oysters and prawns you probably don’t want a big juicy McLaren Vale Shiraz, so you need to pick a style and grape that suits your purpose.

Even if you are not totally into food pairing, you still want something that will heighten the occasion.

If someone wants to bring a bottle of wine to a friend’s house what are some of your tips for choosing one that will please without breaking the budget?

My friends struggle with this all the time as they are worried I won’t like what they bring…. When in doubt bring Champagne. And it is so much more affordable and accessible these days! Otherwise call the host and ask what would suit what they are cooking.

If you were going to buy a wine for a special occasion what type would you choose?

A good red Bordeaux or Burgundy if it’s a dinner, to celebrate I love vintage Champagne like Krug.

What are some of your tips for choosing wine on a restaurant menu?

Ask for the sommelier or someone who knows a little about the list. Know your price range and what style you like. That way it is easy for someone to point you in the right direction. Or if they serve it by the glass ask for a little taste.

Which regions are producing great wines at the moment?

That’s tough. I am a big fan of Margaret River wines, beautiful consistency in vintages. I love the Bordeaux style. I am loving cool climate Shiraz and Cabernet from the Yarra valley, Yarra Yering and Warramate have been doing some great examples. Exciting new wines from the Adelaide Hills region are playing around with Italian varieties which is always entertaining like Nebbiolo and Vermentino.  South Africa is doing some fabulous stuff, particularly the Swartland region. Eben Sadie and Mullineux to name but a few. They are producing some fabulous white and red Rhone style wines.

Mistelle’s owner and sommelier, Alicia Wadsworth

What’s a little known type of wine you wish more people would try?

Mistelle which is a grape juice or slightly fermented wine, which has been fortified by various types of spirit, depending on the region in which it’s made. It can be a lovely and refreshing style, served chilled or on ice as an aperitif, or a heavier, more complex expression, accompanied with a selection of cheeses and desserts.

What are some trends you’re seeing when it comes to wine?

Provenance Rose is trumping everything. Pinot Gris and Grigio also extremely popular. Riesling seems to be getting more and more accepted. All the pushing for all those years is starting to pay off.

What is the best way to store wine?

In a Vintec cabinet or similar brand.

What’s the key to selecting good wine glasses?

Zalto glasses are amazing! I pretty much drink most things from these at the moment. You really only need a really good quality red and white standard glass.

What type of wine should every person always have on hand at home?

Champagne, Chablis and a good cool climate Shiraz.

What are some common mistakes people make when it comes to wine?

Serve it too warm or too cold, put ice in it.

If you were to compile the ideal selection of foods to graze on whilst enjoying a glass of wine what would it entail?

I am loving gorgonzola with a lovely glass of Chenin Blanc or steak tartare and Blanc de Blanc Champagne.

What are some of your tips when it comes to serving wine at home during a gathering?

I like to have a bit of a theme to my food and wine. Whether it be Italian food matched with Italian varietals, Old world vs New World like Australia vs France. I also like to open things that people may not have had before to try and test [guests’] boundaries. It gets the conversation going.

Complete this sentence. A good wine is…. to be drunk and enjoyed with your nearest and dearest.

 

Lifestyle

Designing my ideal living space

10th January, 2017

I recently teamed up with King Living as part of their series, The Room Project to create a space that reflected my style. I opted to create contemporary ‘Hamptons’ inspired space, featuring the King Living modular Plaza sofa dressed in the luxurious Palm Beach Whitewash fabric as the main feature and feminine touches throughout. When it comes to the interior of my home I love monochrome. I opted for a sofa in a neutral tone, using black and white accessories whilst introducing some softness into the space with subtle pastel blue and blush tone cushions.

An occasional chair is the perfect opportunity to make a style statement so I chose to add the King Living Seymour chair in a gorgeous pastel blue, textural fabric in the room to complement the hues I had chosen for the cushions. To showcase some of my favourite coffee table books, I used the chic, streamline Miss Coffee Table. As a finishing touch I decided to add some flowers (I adore roses and hydrangeas for any room in my home) to brighten up the area.

I feel art is really important in a space, so I went with a black and white horse photographic print, which I feel brings great energy to the room. In addition I dotted some gold details throughout, such as gold vases to give the room a luxe contemporary feel. The end result was a gorgeous space that I could happily spend time with my family as well as being a sophisticated area I’d be proud to have in my home.

Check out behind the scenes of the shoot: