Aloha and WOW ! I need to thank my fb friend Ida Fae Tiki for putting me onto the most beautiful art - the art of Swanson. It's the middle of winter here in Australia, and these stunning South Pacific inspired works have me feeling all warm inside. Thought I would share them with you here to transport you to a wonderful world of mermaids, tiki culture, tropical flowers and beautiful hula girls...... ahhhh, I can feel my toes beginning to thaw already! Enjoy!
Recently, I was blessed to be able to talk with Jennifer Morris from Hay House Radio about my book, The Journey of the Tree. I thought I would share it with you and wish you all a very happy Winter Solstice. Here is to new beginnings, new hope and healing ! Love to all and thankyou for the support everyone in the online community has showered on me throughout my 'journey'! XOXO
Are you familiar with the beautiful impressionist painting "Lost" by Fredrick McCubbin? It is so compelling, yet sad and evocative - the little girl wandering and lost alone in the Australian bush at the turn of last century. McCubbin is brilliant at storytelling through his paintings, and this particular one, as a parent, I find quite touching.
So, being the parent and creative that I am, I decided to have a fun afternoon with my daughter re-creating the feel of "Lost" in the bush where I live, and with a 1950's spin.
My baby doll, dressed in two of her grandmothers 1950's 'best dresses' (arnt they just darling?! Homemade by MY grandmother for my mother) and putting her best play acting face forward, captured the feeling and mood so perfectly.....yes, I am a very proud mummy indeed!
Here they are for all you 50's clothing lovers, and you Australian art lovers, to both enjoy.....
Succulent envy: continuing Alice Jean’s
occasional series of guest blogs from garden historian Richard Aitken
‘George, I thought you’d never ask’
I gave a lecture in Adelaide recently to
accompany the opening of two shows I have curated as part of the AustralianGarden History Society touring exhibition Cultivating Modernism.
There was a terrific response, with standing room only at the Bradley Forum of
the University of South Australia’s Hawke Centre, so much so that Gloria
couldn’t get in.
Gloria is one of my funkiest colleagues and the
‘full house’ sign suggested to me that garden history is alive and well in
South Australia, and that a renewed appreciation of modernist gardens and
design landscapes is in the ascendant. Gloria has form in this field as the
author of two terrific monographs on modernist Australian artists, KathleenSauerbier and Jacqueline Hick, so I was sorry not to have her there.
But I had the pleasure recently of working with
Gloria on an article for Australian
Garden History on succulent envy (amongst other things). My co-editor
Christina Dyson and I had selected Gloria to participate in the Australian
Garden History Society’s editorial mentoring scheme, to work up for publication
a lecture originally given to The Johnston Collection as part of TheGarden of Ideas exhibition and lecture series.
Gloria’s topic was the modernist interior, with
a focus on the fascination for cacti and other succulents. ‘Make friends with
the cactus’ she reminded us in the title of her article (quoting another unsung
Australian modernist, Adrian Feint, writing in The Home magazine in 1928). Flower painting and interior
arrangements allowed experimentation in the modernist interior, noted Gloria,
and the spare crystalline forms of cacti were particularly appealing to
interwar and postwar generations of floral artists.
The stark forms of these plants looked back to
a primitive past, one that resonated with modernists keen to airbrush out any
link with ‘decadent’ stylistic precedents. The same spare, primeval quality of
many Australian plants also pervaded a modernist appreciation of local flora,
especially the geometric beauty of banksias and bottlebrushes with their strong
cylindrical shape and severe leaves: think Margaret Preston.
And so Gloria continued, linking the paintings
of Thea Proctor and Adrian Feint (in contrast to acknowledged traditionalists
such as Hans Heysen) with advances in floral art, led on one hand by British
florist Constance Spry, and the adoption of a diluted orientalism on the other.
It’s all fascinating stuff and these impulses have governed the ongoing floral
festival at Adelaide’s Carrick Hill, Looking Glorious. Now I wonder if
Gloria had anything to do with that?
A couple of months ago I took my children along to the local rock n roll dance lessons (I thought it would be a good 'family' thing to do together.) Well, the kids enjoyed it, but an hour was about as much as they could concentrate on and I ended up coming home a bit more frazzled than energised.
So, I think I will leave it for a little while longer - just till they get a wee bit older.
So, while I await that time, its great to know I can still strut my stuff - keeping myself fit and my skills honed (!) - in my kitchen each night doing the Sex Kitten Stroll.
I'm not exactly sure where this dance evolved from (if anyone knows, please post in a comment below), but it is certainly big at all the massive Rockabilly festivals here in Australia, and also in the US and Europe. A bit of an eye candy fest for the guys who get to watch all the hot chickie babes shaking their booty together, line dance fashion but with a hell of a lot more wiggle !
So, just to make sure I don't forget any of the moves, I have put together a little youtube snippet on how to execute The Sex Kitten Stroll..... if the scene is new to you, this might prove handy to begin with.
Best of luck my friends, and I look forward to seeing you on the dance floor in the not too distant future !
PS This was filmed on my HTC phone - hence the dodgy quality, and the fact that my jumper is aqua in the picture, and emerald green like my shoes in real life!!! Humph!!
Well, it has been an age since I have posted any baking, but, fresh from my school holiday home entertainment program, I have some rather tempting fudge to entice you into the kitchen with.
You wont want to be on a diet for this little number as it is guaranteed to add inches to your waistline overnight, but oh my (!) it tastes so wickedly divine...... PLUS, it is as easy as a wink to knock up - or, do as I did and set your little poppets to work for you.....easy peasy lemon squeesy !
500gms chocolate (milk, white or dark)
1 Tin condensed milk
2 Tablespoons icing sugar
3/4 cup chopped pistachios
Line slice tray with non-stick baking paper
Place chocolate, condensed milk, icing sugar & butter in a microwave safe bowl - microwave for 1 minute. Take out and stir - if chocolate is not quite melted, zap at 30 second intervals till fluid. (If you prefer to avoid the evils of microwaves, do the same in a bowl sitting in a saucepan of hot water on the stove)
Mixture will come away from bowl when ready.
Add pistachios and combine. (You can add any other ingredients you like at this point - m&ms, sultanas, nuts, honeycomb etc)
Pour mixture into lined tray and pop in the fridge to set.
A song styled like
a classic Tarzan and Jane cartoon, except, unlike Tarzan and Jane, the ‘hero’
of the clip is the woman.
What a turn on most
mainstream, classic mid century storylines. I love the way Katy infuses
everything good about the new with everything good about the old in so much of
But that’s not all
I love about this film clip. I love the lyrics……
I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything
You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Get ready 'cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar!
Inspiring isn’t it
Way back when – in
the days of my grandmothers – women didn’t really have a choice in Australian
society. After the role based freedoms of WW2, where women took on many
‘masculine’ jobs while their men were away fighting, the following few decades
must have seemed so restrictive. Back to the roles of mothers & wives,
teachers, secretaries, hairdressers and nurses (great occupations though these
are). Although I am not a feminist, I am grateful for the freedoms the movement
has bought women today. We can pretty much be anything we like – from Prime
Minister to mechanic, CEO of a Bank to manager of a mine.
And its not just
occupational freedoms that have been achieved.
If I want to remain
single and childless, I can do so without being made to feel like a societal leper.
If I want to have a
child through IVF as a single woman, I can do that too with little, if any, negative
If I find myself
caught in a relationship that is neglectful, abusive, selfish or demoralizing,
I have a choice. I don’t have to stay – as was the case in the not so distant
mid 20th Century.
My own story is not
dissimilar to Katy Perry’s song.
Once upon a time I
had no courage to live a life true to myself – I lived only according to others
expectations. And as my religious background encouraged me not to divorce, I
stayed in an unhealthy relationship far longer than I should have.
Once upon a time I
had no courage to allow myself to be happy. I resigned myself to my lot in
life. I gave up the hope of relational happiness because of one decision I made
in my early 20’s - when I knew nothing of life, love or relationships.
Once upon a time I didn’t
think I was worthy of having my relational needs met. I thought I must be too
demanding. I thought I must be ‘too much’ for any man to really love. I thought
I must lack that captivating essence that made a woman worthy of being
But not any more.
Now I roar....and
the roaring grows louder every day. And it feels really REALLY good!!!
My book - about the
journey I have taken in discovering my roar – is out now on Balboa Press.
Although my roar is a gentle one (that’s just my nature) it is also fiercely
alive and passionate. It is my dream that people caught in the same trap I was,
find the courage to transform their lives. Through my book “The Journey of the
Tree” I want people to know that
They DO have the courage to live a life true to
themselves, not others expectations
They ARE allowed to be happy in this one
They ARE worthy of having their relational needs
To quote the famous
New York dancer, Martha Graham – “There is one you in all of time”. The
manifestation of life that is YOU could happen only once in all of history.
Your combination of cells, genes, personality, creativity, locality and
experiences could only blend together once. It is your responsibility to shine
that preciousness forth into the world !
purchasing my Aesopian like fable “The Journey of the Tree” as inspiration to
stop being “Stranded in the Jungle’. It makes a beautiful gift book for yourself
or others (daughters, family, friends, colleagues) needing the nudge to start roaring in their own lives.
I LOVE Melbourne. The CBD is alive with culture, fashion, food and fun. But I remember a time when that wasn't really the case. Being the age I am (no need to guess at that folks) I remember when the CBD was pretty dead. Full of business people during the day, dingy empty allies, shoppers in the Bourke Street Mall only and NOTHING at night - save the Metro Nightclub and a few pockets of restaurants. Bravo to all those involved with transforming Melbourne's CBD into one of the hippest, fun-loving, creative and delightful city centres on the globe today. Here are some of my own personal favourite places to hang out when I'm downtown - all with a tinge of something vintagey about them.....
Gentlemans outfitter and café. Once again, this place has a wonderful vibe - great music, great food, great atmosphere. AND you can watch a vintage style barber, shoemaker and taylor at work while you sip your late. Fun.
This place is Divine with a capital D. Every city should have a store like this. Every regional town should have a store like this. In their own words "We love to bring you produce and products made and crafted in Victoria, Australia. We're very proud of our artisan makers and growers." Totally brilliant. Need I say more?
Oo la la ! My daughter (Rainbow Girl) and her Fancy Nancy books would swoon at this shop. Macaroons in every colour of the rainbow - the perfect fuel for a superhero princess. (Can I let you in on a little secret though? Super Mummy also thinks this shop is a dream, and simply breathing in the beauty of this boutique patisserie is enough to empower you for a day's shopping.)
Who doesn't love glamorous vintage frocks these days??? Read any novel worth its salt, watch any timeless movie, pick up any history of fashion coffee table book and vintage dressing or classic clothing features in inspiring forms. The same is easily said of Circa Vintage. Although a little, shall we say, intriguing to find, this beautiful vintage clothing shop, perched on the second floor of one of Elizabeth Street's darling art deco buildings, is well worth hunting for - the victory of discovering such a treasure only adds to the memorable experience!
So there you go. My five favourite destinations in Melbourne CBD. For that something different, wonderful, creative and quirkey, this beautiful city wins every time. Hoping to bring you more great destinations as I venture into inner city suburbs in months to come.
Out in remote rural Victoria, Australia you will find many treasures.
Quaint country towns.
And beautiful women.
Pretty, genuine, warm hearted women. Infact, I know more lovely single women in the country than I do single men - which is an interesting fact considering the media hype surrounding farmers needing wives (an aside thought which has nothing to do with todays post !!)
Because there are so many adorable women, I have no trouble finding stunning gals to model for me as I dabble in a bit of fashion shoot fun, and my Bridget Bardot shoot with the beautiful Chanice is no exception.
Thankyou to Ros Dwyer for the loan of these lovely 1960's nightdresses.
Its been a while since I posted a really fabulous drink recipe, but I was surprised by a gift of this refreshing delight on Australia day and just had to share.....so here is Simone Scribbles with her awesome Mojito (and check out her blog while you are at it - hilarious !!!)
Make the mint infused sugar
syrup by dissolving a cup of water and a cup of sugar on the stovetop.
When it’s dissolved, add about 6 mint leaves and let the mint linger for half
an hour or so. Take out the leaves and put the syrup in the fridge until
you make the mojitos.
Put 1-2 ounces of sugar syrup in
a glass. Add about 6-8 mint leaves and stir.
Fill the glass with crushed ice
(it has to be crushed otherwise the mint leaves get to the top and it’s gross).
Add 1-2 ounces of white rum
Add the juice of about half a
Top up with soda water
Garnish with a slice of lime.
Tip – to make it seem extra fresh … before you add the slice
of lime run a mint leave around the rim of the glass so it smells minty!
One of the girls at work very kindly gave me a link to this rather amazing collection of classic songs - and I have had no end of fun exploring them throughout the past few days. I do hope you enjoy it too - and have a glorious weekend in the process !! XX
Vintage lingerie is so very pretty. Silky fabrics, laces and frills. Nothing is more feminine than a sexy petticoat or baby doll nightdress. Think Elizabeth Taylor in 'Cat on a hot tin roof', or Scarlett O'Hara having her corset laced up for the Wilkes barbeque. Heck, even the fembots in pink short and sheer nighties with matching fluffy springolators from Austin Powers!
And so, without further ado, allow me to share Alice Jean's take on just how sexy classic lingerie can be in this, our second fashion photo shoot with Brooke Orchard Photography.
Enjoy and be inspired to look vintage classy & sexy in your night attire!
Alice Jean's is all about living with a vintage aesthetic in a modern world. It's about leaving behind the need to want and have the latest and greatest in exchange for classic, timeless, holistic living. No where is this more visually evident than in the clothes I wear - home made from classic patterns, bequeathed to me or purchased from thrifting shops, my increasingly bulging wardrobe is full of outfits and a certain style that I hope will endure through the changing tides of the fashion ocean.
I wanted to share my belief that a vintage look can work timelessly today in our modern world, and so I have embarked upon a series of fashion shoots using my beautiful friends, my beautiful clothes and my beautiful home country. I do hope you enjoy these fashion posts as much as I have enjoyed bringing them to you - infact I have found it quite addictive, I think there will be many more to come!
Special thanks: I cherished hopes that my friend, up and coming male model Rees Grima, may have been available to 'lifeguard' for this shoot, but as he was not free, I wish to thank Claude for stepping in to brilliantly fill the void at VERY last minute notice.
(The image below has been edited by Alice Jean's - not Brooke Orchard Photography)
Use of these images will require approval from Brooke Orchard Photography or Alice Jean's. Please contact us if you wish to re-use these images anywhere else in cyber space or otherwise.
Trawling the net for tid bits about your favourite category of interest? Hopefully Alice Jean's can make your search time more profitable - provided you are into mid century culture of course !! Here are my five all time favourite blogs on a mid century theme.....enjoy! (Click on each banner to be taken to the blog page....)
Number Five - The Beauty Blog
Lindy Charm School for Girls is run by my wonderful friend Miss Chrissy, and if its hair and makeup info you are after, then you wont go wrong here. Miss Chrissy is all about sharing the vintage love and creating a connected vintage community Australia wide - so get on it beauty lovers.....release that inner glamour puss !!!
Number Four - The Décor Blog
I wasn't really sure if I could include this site as a blog - its just so much more than that! However, I couldn't leave it out....if you are after décor or retro renovation information, there is no better site to turn to. You will be inspired by the authentic houses, and the renovation work of others where keeping a historic aesthetic is paramount. And if you love pastel bathrooms (as I do) this is the site for you!!!
Number Three - The Fashion History Blog
If there was an award for the most inspiring clothing blog, this would win hands down. Wearing History is the work of an amazingly dedicated (and downright lovely) woman - her authenticly historic creations will leave you gobsmacked......from Victorian Scarlett O'Hara dresses to 1940's wartime outfits, Wearing History is a stunning example of what human beings achieve when they follow their heart and their passions. Thankyou for sharing your incredible ability with the world !
Number Two - The Stylist Blog
If its fashion you love, there is simply no better personification of classic beauty and style in a modern woman than Esme and the Laneway. This treasure of a blog is full of inspirational images - such an artistic stylist and photographer is 'Esme'...... There are also fashion and hair tutorials, and the written word is compelling. The other reason I adore this blog is that it is as far from jumping on the bandwagon vintage trending as you can get. It is authentic and beautiful, and obviously a passion and love of the author - not just the 'vintage washing', make it hip blog of the moment. Such a breath of fresh air in that way. Thankyou for your contribution to a beautiful world my friend ! OXOX
Number One - The Music Blog
If I am feeling blue, all I have to do is ....... tune into this digital radio station and I suddenly find myself compelled to dance around the house - no matter if I'm cooking porridge in the mornings or mopping the floors or tapping away at the keyboard, WFMU puts a song in my heart and a spring in my step. They also have the most fantastic blog, full of the quirky, the eccentric, the wild and crazy, and - like every good blog should - the informative. There is no better mid century pop culture blog - or digital music station for that matter ! Love you WFMU!!!
My first published book - for sale now - click the picture for details
My fabulous other blog.....
Thoughts on relationships & singleness, solo parenting, eccentricity and life in general!
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Living Dolls are mothers, nurses, models, photographers, graphic designers, grandmothers, students, teachers - infact you name it, they come from every walk of life but have this one thing in common - they love and live vintage !
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Classic and modern films in a pre-1965 era
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Creating a picturesque tomorrow
Brooke Orchard Photography
Many of the photographs appearing in this side bar are courtesy of the divine Brooke at Brooke Orchard Photography ! Please check out her webpage - click here !
Red Pepper Retro - Graphics
For the most inspiring 50's style Graphic Design Work around !
Look no further for the hippest vintage fonts you will ever behold !
Your one stop source for vintage patterns - breathtaking variety and inspiration!
Circa Vintage Clothing
Glorious Vintage clothing and updates on vintage cultural life in Australia
The Lindy Charm School for Girls
Invaluable information and workshops for all you would be pin-up girls !
Bonnie Rose Vintage
Great clothing available from one super stylish gal !