Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Rain in Spain...

Really... with only 5 days left until I open my little boutique in St Kilda, you would think all I would have on my mind is making the goodies to sell! Right? 

Well, whenever I embark on anything, I unfortunately contemplate my options... what else could I be doing right now???

So I decided to look amongst my photo library from my World Tour 06' to get some ideas, and so, I looked up today's date (26th March) to see what I was up to in 2006 and curiouser and curiouser... It happened to be the day I stumbled upon perhaps the ugliest park in Spain!!!
This is the day I laughed so hard, that I literally rolled on the ground... This botanic garden in Cordoba was nothing more than a construction site. With steel framed 8 foot tall fences running around a concrete park filled with broken park benches with hazard tape tied around it, trees sawn off at the trunks, rubbish mounds strewn about and waterless fountains!

The funny part? I was dying for some parklands after months of concrete, dry, city life, so I walked for hours to the promising green patch on my map, only to find this!

So... In retrospect, getting ready to open the Curious Oyster is probably what i'd rather be doing... although, a day in Spain isn't such a bad idea either!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Little Mint for After 8!

Think of cold frosty nights by the fire... Nilla Nilla Mint Slice is the perfect way to end the evening with a mug of hot chocolate! Swirled minty freshness in a cocoa rich chocolate smooth balm...

What a refreshing delight!

In boutiques and online May 2009...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nilla Nilla Winter Season 09 Launch Preview

Ladies and Gentleman... The flavours of this year's 2009 Winter season have been selected! For the following 5 weeks, I will be unveiling each of Nilla Nilla's lovely ladies...

So without further ado... Please welcome Nilla Nilla Espresso!

Mmmm... Coffee Kisses in the frosty morning are the perfect way to awaken your senses and stimulate your pout!

Rich in Roasted Coffee Oil and infused in luxurious Nilla Nilla Vanilla, Nilla Nilla Espresso is delicious in every way...

Each Pout Balm is meticulously hand crafted and packaged in a retro slide tin, each adorned with a gorgeous vintage pin-up girl.

Available in Boutiques May 2009!

Handmade in Melbourne, with Love xx 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Nilla Nilla Vanilla Sunday's

After receiving such a wonderful response - like a warm embrace, for my Nilla Nilla Pout Balms of late... I was inspired to share the joy I feel when creating these balms - all entirely by hand and of course, with love xx

A special thank you to Lady Melbourne for her ever glamourous post this Friday!

Some delicious lip balm recipes will be on display soon!

Monday, March 2, 2009

When I was 21... It was a very good year...

Est Australia

Est Australia- Photograph: Saffrine Nydegger

5dollarfrenchmarket - Etsy

CrowleyManor - Etsy

SwanMountainSoap - Etsy

...because it was the year I discovered the art of soap making.

No I don't mean going to the local arts and craft shop and buying a DIY Melt and Pour Soap kit... No I decided to go back to my ancestral roots and learn traditional methods the Castilians' of Spain have used for centuries. This cold-process method relies on the chemistry between two polar opposite substances - Alkaline and Acid. When mixed together in the right quantities, these two neutralise each other in a process called 'saponification'. Saponification occurs instantly, but the process takes weeks and even months to complete. When it is fully saponified, you are left with a bubbly piece of PH neutral soap... Magic!

According to the history books, a type of soap was used as far back as Babylonian times from mixing the ash and animal fats in water. It is also said that people along the Nile experienced soapy waters due to the fats and oils as well as ash that travelled down stream, due to the rituals of burning the dead along the river. Today, thankfully, many of our soaps are vegetable based and less crude...

AmethystSoap - Etsy

CrowleyManor - Etsy

SwanMountainSoap - Etsy

So keep an eye on my blog to learn how to make gorgeous soaps like these - the traditional way...

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I had a grand plan of starting my Monday's as a recap of the gorgeous, intriguing and possibly the slightly strange sights and sounds I came across on the past weekend... Well this weekend I ended up sick in bed! 

So rather than going over the motions of what it is like to have the flu in the middle of an Australian summer, I thought I would share some images of the most curious little town I encountered whilst living in Italy...

This pre-Roman city, Gubbio, is so steeped in history that it was actually built upon the debris of the gigantic meteor that was responsible for wiping Dinosaurs off the map! 

Off the beaten track for most tourists, I was lucky to walk down the lane-ways with an English speaking local who introduced me to its obvious beauty, its fantastic hot chocolates and to its decidedly odd quirkiness...

Gubbio, famous for its most beautiful palace that seemed to float amongst the clouds, Palazzo dei Consoli... 

...and for its palio, Corsa dei Ceri, an annual contest where, dressed in medieval costumes, select town folk run with their Patron Saint statue that weighs in at approx. 280kg.

I, however, was much more intrigued by the largest Christmas tree light display in Europe which engulfed the mountainside; the mummified corpse of a priest (face uncloaked!)which has been lying in the Chiesa, or Church, since 1105AD...

... and the fact that the town can certify you crazy, certificate and all, if you run around the fountain, fonte de lo Bargello, 3 times!

The streets seemed more cobble stoned than most, and the walls had some miniature doors at least a foot above street level. Apparently the dead are passed through these tiny doors, known as Porta di Morti or Door of the Dead, and are then bricked up until another resident passes away...

But perhaps my greatest regret as I left this captivating city was that I, a) didn't purchase more of those surprisingly inexpensive white truffles and return home a rich woman, and b) I missed out on the uncorking of the wine barrel! 
This medieval wine barrel is so large that it takes 387 52litre barrels to fill it up! You can see just how tiny the normal sized barrel looks in contrast! Every year the winemakers of the region fill the barrel up and on the 13th of March, the seal is broken! When I asked my friend how long it would take the town's people to consume he said "Allora, just a couple of hours!" messy!