holiday house shopping

It has been my lifelong dream to buy a new (to me) holiday house and furnish it with second hand shopping … if only there was a job in this space I would SO love it. 

Alas … I haven’t bought a holiday house … but the next best thing has happened and Elise and Nick have!  

And so I have spent the last month helping out by digging through the things stored at my house and happily wading through Gumtree and EBay for items suitable to furnish a holiday house.  Every morning Elise has awoken to a fresh feed of ideas from me.

Mum and Dad have been the lucky ‘storers’ of all found treasure.  And on Friday the removalists transported the 3 bedroom house worth of stuff to its new location in Anglesea.

Yay!  So much fun!  I will give you a bit of a tour …

The Lounge Room

This couch came from a nice girl in Abbotsford (who was moving to Thornbury).  It was given to her by her parents.  Elise bought it on EBay for $100-$200 or something bargainish like that.  I helped her pick it up.  It’s so comfy and in fabulous condition.  The ladder is from Elise’s house.  The print is by Monique Keele (in a Kmart frame).  The cushions are all from op shops.  The plant is from IKEA.

On the opposite wall is this click clack vinyl couch that adds a bit of quirky love to the room.  Elise found it.  With an old framed poster above it.

And this lamp combines a base Elise and I found at Vinnies in Kew with a Freedom shade I bought but was no longer using and so donated to the cause.  And sits on a school desk that Dad rescued from Doveton High School way back in the 1980s.  He’s been using it in his garage for years before giving it to our Aunty who used it as a craft table, who in turn offered it to Elise.  This desk is also now home to a flat screen telly rescued from hard rubbish.

The Bunk Bedroom

This bunk bed was from Elise’s house (stored in the shed for a while now) and the doonas are ones I don’t use any more.  All originally from IKEA.

I found the divan by the side of the road (hard rubbish) about 5 years ago … and have been keeping it for just such a location.  Artwork (photograph) by Nick!

This room still needs a trundle bed (Elise has one at home that she could use – another one of my hard rubbish finds).

And note that little chest of drawers I found on Rushall Street is in this room too.

The Big Bedroom

The bed frame is from EBay. The lamps are from Gumtree, $10 (picked up in Northcote).  The bedside tables are really solid timber and also bought from EBay (I think) by Elise.  The linen doona is from IKEA.

This little print is in this room too.

The Yellow Bedroom

The oil painting by Stephen Armstrong and the printed pillow by Jacqui Baxter were Elise’s starting point for this room.  

The yellow knitted cushion came from the Brotherhood in Brunswick.  The grey linen European pillowcases came from the Laura Ashley outlet shop at  Nunawading.  The doona cover came from the Salvos at the north end of Smith Street.  Elise found the bed frame on Gumtree.

I found the stackable cube bedside tables at the tip shop last week.  $20 for 8 plywood cubes each screenprinted individually inside and out – what a bargain!

The Kitchen/Dining Room

Here are some more being used as a coffee table in the back room.  Great huh?

This red leather sofa bed sits opposite the kitchen, providing a good place to chat to the chefs.  It is seriously the heaviest and most solid couch ever made (and a nightmare to move around).  I don’t know how Elise and Mum managed to collect it.  It looks good but!

Another donation to the cause from me, my little boat pictures (I spotted them at an op shop, and Elise gave them to me for Xmas last year) but they really do belong at a house near the sea!  The blue in them matches the kitchen (the one thing in the house that could do with an update).  

And here’s the dining table.

Originally from Dare Gallery, but bought for $100 by Elise and collected from Thornbury.  The green chairs were $10 each from the Reservoir Girl Guides hall on Edwards Lake.  Up the back is the chair I found on a Langridge Street sitting next to Elise’s old kitchen island bench.

Flowers from Merryn’s garden!  Oil painting from EBay.  And a nice collection of pottery and wood and glass jars.  And flowers from the garden.  

So so so fun!


tea for five

My most recent favourite Gumtree purchase is …

A lovely large Samantha Robinson teapot that was living just a hop, skip and a jump away in Thornbury.  Purchased for the bargain price of $10.

We tested it at breakfast on Sunday … and there was enough tea for all of us.  Yay!


oh claudia

Do you ever cook food that is so simple and yet so SPECTACULAR that you can’t actually believe you made it just for 3 naughty children (being my children, and actually they’ve been pretty well behaved today) and a perpetually exhausted mum (that’s me) and a dad who will be home at some stage … but you are not quite sure when … because he said something in the morning about being late, but you weren’t listening properly because you were making lunches and cleaning up after breakfast and brushing hair all at the same time, and now his phone is going directly to messagebank? (that’s Clive obviously).

Anyway … I was thinking about  Greek menu ideas for Community Lunch next Friday at work, and was thumbing through Claudia Roden’s ‘Mediterranean Cookery’ (published way back in 1987) for ideas, when I spotted this recipe and was inspired to make it for dinner.

Not Greek but Spanish.  But man!  Those Catalans know how to eat!

I served it with a freekah salad that included grated zucchini and lentils and red onion, rocket and coriander … and a lemon, garlic and pomegranate dressing.  It was perfect.

Seriously, do yourself a favour and rehydrate those skanky raisins at the back of your cupboard in a cup of dry sherry and prepare to be AMAZED!

Here’s the recipe.

Pollo con Pasas y Pinones (Chicken with Raisins and Pinenuts)

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons of raisins (be generous)
  • 175 ml dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 750g chicken thighs, chopped roughly 
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts or slivered almonds (be generous)


  1. Soak the raisins in the sherry.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and when it sizzles add the chicken.  Cook for a few minutes until lightly browned, turning at least once.
  3. Lower the heat and add salt and pepper, sherry and raisins and simmer gently, covered for 20 minutes.  Make sure the bottom doesn’t stick and add water if necessary. 
  4. Dry fry the almonds or pine nuts in another frying pan until lightly coloured, then stir into the chicken.
  5. Serve hot.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again … oh Claudia, I love you!