personal style


Whilst some claim it’s the jockeys and the horses and yet others believe it is the betting and the winnings, quite frankly, I’m here to tell you it’s all about the hats. I defy you to attend any glamour racing event – such as our imminent Melbourne Cup – and not be halted in your tracks by the spectacle of headwear on parade.

Fortunately, many ladies in our town are keen race-goers at this time of year and that leads to a high turnover of hats. Thus, there is rarely any difficulty picking up a post-race beauty in our local recycle shop for a sliver of its original price tag (see above). After a few jets from the steam iron and a bit of feather-fluffing, your pre-paraded beauty is ready for its next outing.

Hats are treated so respectfully on race days, that it’s very likely you will be able to find a second-hand one in pristine condition. Scour your local recycle boutiques (popping up far more frequently these days) and you may be delighted by what is on offer. Flowers, feathers and the like can easily be updated if they are a little tired, and to create your ensemble, begin with your hat and match an outfit to it – far simpler than the reverse.

Of course, the greater percentage of us will not actually be trackside ‘at the race that stops a nation’, but rather gathered with convivial company at a backyard barbeque or around a picnic table sharing cheese, bread and wine. Nevertheless don you hat proudly and feel special. It is a special day and you are part of it.

gardening · homemaking


The Spring Racing Carnival is on our doorstep, and how do I know this? Why, I have just clipped my first bunch of roses for the season of course.

Not to be confused with the splendor of the Flemington Race Track, our roses are looking pretty good this year, and I believe it may be due more to favorable weather conditions combined with neglect rather than any horticultural prowess on my part. I will take credit, however, for the arrangement.

What a strange dichotomy the rose-bush is – the bulk of the year spent as a spiky, jutting, nondescript cane and then almost overnight, metamorphosing into a lavish leaved bush filled with unfurling colorful jewels. Their appearance is so sudden and display so elegant, that even the routine journey to the office is punctuated with pleasant garden glimpses.

Roses have the ability to laugh in the face of colour scheme edicts. Pile their clashing colours into a vase and you are immediately rewarded with an object of beauty, that becomes the focal point of the room and the elevator of spirits to all who enter.

These are tea roses and to me, bestow far greater beauty and fragrance (and economy) than the hothouse variety. This season, bring a bunch of your blooms indoors and try not to smile as you walk past your posy.