Fun In The City

Kate & Emma at Sourced Grocery in Teneriffe

Have you ever played tourist in your own home town?  Let me tell you it's so much fun and it makes you realise how wonderful the place is that you live in. 

I left home early Saturday morning and met up with Kate & Emma who I have got to know through blogging.  Earlier in the year they hosted me in their home town of Adelaide and this weekend was my turn to host them here in Brisbane.  We hit inner-city hot spots like The Pink Flamingo, Crosstown Eatery, Paddington Antique Market, Les Salles, Blake & TaylorWoolloongabba Antique Market, Absolutely Fabulous, New Farm Park and a Brisbane newbie  Sourced Grocery in Teneriffe.

Sourced Grocery

The girls were so impressed with Brisbane which made be feel so proud of our city.  I have never done a 'Best of Brisbane' style post here at ABT but I'm thinking it could be fun to do and great for anyone who might be looking at visiting our fabulous city!!

My weekend finished on a bright note with Harry arriving home from his grandparents house with this branch of gumnut for me.  He spotted it whilst at the park and thought I would love it.  He was spot on.  I love it!!

Thank you!

When you put all your efforts and thoughts and energy into a project which you are so passionate about you can become extremely stressed and nervous and anxious as to whether it will work, whether people will embrace it, whether it will happen the way you had hoped and dreamt it would. 

Yesterday saw the launch of our online store which has been a project I have been dreaming about and working on for a very long time.  Seeing it come to fruition in the last month or so has been an extremely exciting yet anxious time.  It is different and sometimes when things are a little different to the norm people might not understand how it works or what the idea is behind the concept.

To my complete relief and excitement yesterday's launch went extremely well and I was completely overwhelmed by the wonderful and positive response to our concept.  I think the vintage items sold out within the first couple of hours which was amazing.  We also sold out of the geometric throw rugs but we were able to restock those later in the afternoon so there are a few more left if anyone wants one.  The 8 pink cockatoo lampbases have also sold out.  I am considering getting some more in so keep checking back for updates on those if you missed out on one yesterday.  The stock levels are going down rather quickly which is just so incredibly exciting.

Some people have said that they wished there was more.  I will say that 'from little things big things grow'.  This is just the beginning.  As this concept is so new I really was not sure how it would go.  So, it needed to be small to start with.  It is my plan to hopefully present 8-10-12 vignettes a year.  We will have our seasonal vignettes which will be for Winter, Spring, Summer & Autumn but keep watching as we are going to have some others in between the seasons as well.  We are also hopeful to expand the vignettes to maybe 2 or 3 or 4 room scenes/vignettes per season.

So, there certainly is going to be lots more to come and the scope of this concept is endless.  We have lots of ideas and we can't wait to put them into the works. 

The next vignette we present is for Spring and it is all ready to go so keep watching for it's launch which will be sooner rather than's going to be very pretty and colourful!

I would like to thank a few very special people because without them yesterday would not have been possible.  Here goes...

Kell, Liv, Eve, Claire, Michelle, Tony, Michael, Max, Andy, Katie, Krishna, Mum, Dad, Brad {for putting up with my very cranky and anxious moods these last couple of weeks}, Elouise, Nick, Sam & Pete.

You guys are amazing and I really couldn't have done it without your help, guidance, feedback and support.

I would also love to thank those amazing bloggers who have posted about our store launch on their blogs and for spreading the word.  You guys are just the best and so very supportive.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart - Will from Bright Bazaar, Kimberlee from Brown Button, Kate from Polka Dot Pantry, Kell from Little French Nest, Mrs Blandings, Loni from Adore magazine blog, Natasha from Northern Light, Interiors Addict, Of Beauty & Love blog, Briana from HGTV Blog, Stylishirish blog, Australian Gift Guide blog, Gabrielle from Savvy Home Blog, Gild & Grace blog, Ivy & Piper blog. Chic Cottage Charm blog, Six Different Ways blogVicki Archer from French Essence. And if I've forgotten anyone please let me know!!

So, today there's lots to do, lots to ship and a house full of furniture to install into a house which was completely inundated by the floods earlier this year. 

There certainly is never a dull moment around here...

Thank you again for making our launch so wonderful!  I was blown away.


P.S. There's lots of pink parcels heading out our door today! 

We Have Launched!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are now open!!  Click HERE to visit our new online store.  I hope you enjoy the experience!!

Giveaway!! Earrings & A Hair Clip!

The creator of  has offered to sponsor a giveaway on theNaturally Beautiful Hair Blog.  In  order to win the contest, reply to this post withyour comment, answering the following question -

If you could only give one reason, to someone who is thinkingabout going natural, what would it be?

The winner of this contest will win two items!  A purplecrochet hair flower/brooch and a pair of cotton earrings!! The contest will endin two weeks, on Tuesday August 9th at 11:00 pm.  The winner of the contest will be chosen bythe jewelry designer. Once the winner has been chosen, I will given an emailaddress to where you can forward your ship-to information, to claim your prize.

To learn more about GL Accessories, go to her page on Etsy and on Facebook.

How It Works...

In preparation for tomorrow's launch I thought I would give you a brief tutorial advising how the store is going to work and what my idea is behind the concept. 

First and foremost I am a Designer and I really wanted that to be reflected in our online store.  I wanted to create something which was different and exciting.  Over the years we have had so many requests from overseas and interstate blog readers wanting to access our things which has really pushed me to open an online store so that everyone can have a piece of what we do. 

One of the most important things I wanted to achieve with our online store was for our customers to have that same wonderful experience of entering our online store, as those who enter our bricks and mortar store.

In an attempt to make this succeed I thought it would be wonderful to present a series of seasonal vignettes which will showcase special things I have either found or had custom made.  Items for sale will be put together in a room scene/vignette and basically each product which is for sale will have a number on it.  You click on the number and then you will be directed to a full description of the item including the price, the size, how many we have available and see some more close-up images of the piece. You can then you can either add it to your cart or continue shopping in the room - it’s as simple as that.

The first vignette which we will be presenting in tomorrow's launch is for Winter 2011.  Our next vignette after Winter will be for Spring and it will go live in around 8 weeks time.

Below, I have posted some images of our site structure using a dummy image.  {This is just to give you an idea how the site will work...this is not the actual vignette}.

First Page {above} - Entry page into the store...

Second Page [above} - An image with some text describing our look for that season...

Third Page {above} - This page is the page you will be able to purchase from.  You will basically be able to click on each product number which will then take you to a page similar to the page below which will give you full details about the product including the price, the size etc.  And from that page below you can either add the item to your cart or continue shopping in the room...

The thing I will say is that we are not going to have a lot of stock of any particular item in an attempt to keep our things very special and exclusive.  So, if you really want something then I suggest you go for it because it may not be there when you click back next time...

And yes, we are shipping our small goods internationally.  It's just the furniture which we won't be shipping internationally at this time.

So, that's it.  I hope you like my concept and I hope that each vignette we present will inspire you.  If you've registered on our holding page over at  you will be one of the first to know tomorrow when the site goes live and then after that I will post about it here on the blog.

Thank you to everyone for your continued interest and support...



Tomorrow we will draw open the curtains on Anna Spiro's Absolutely Beautiful Things online concept store.  If you would like to be one of the first to know when we actually go live then make sure you register on our holding page over at

We've got lots of lovely things all wrapped and ready to be shipped...

To celebrate our launch tomorrow, the first person to purchase something on our new site will be sent this wonderful vintage book as a gift from me...

The 1oth person to purchase something on our new site will receive this set of 8 vintage linen table napkins as a gift from me...

And the 20th person to purchase something on our new site will receive this very special vintage book as a gift from me which I have read.  It is the most gorgeous story about a man who finds his ideal house and how he restores it's eighteenth-century simplicity and how he decorated and furnished it.  It talks about the things he collects in the house and is just such a lovely read.

Later tonight I will be posting a guide as to how to use our site as it is a little different from other online stores you may have visited in the past.  So make sure you check back for that later on...

In the meantime, if you would like to know a bit more behind the scenes info. head over to Will at Bright Bazaar HERE as he has the full exclusive scoop on our store which launches tomorrow!!

Link of the Day - C.O.!!

Currently Obsessed... loving the individuality of her style.

Words of Wisdom

I love these words of wisdom from architect Bill Ingram!  I completely agree with him because if you delay that special thing will be gone and you will regret it forever!!

Big Week Ahead...

It's a big week in this neck of the woods.  Our online store goes live on Thursday...eeeekkkk!!  Scary!!  If you want to be one of the first to know when we actually go live on Thursday make sure you sign-up on our holding page over at

We are also very busy getting our back rooms at Black & Spiro ready to open again.  Hopefully they will be ready to open by Friday.

So, lots happening and lots to do.  Thank goodness I have lots of fresh flowers in the house which we picked from our garden over the weekend.  They keep a smile on my face in busy times like these!!

White & Wander

Just wanted to give you all the heads up {if you don't already know} that the extremely talented and creative Emma Clements from White and Wander and her mum have launched their amazing online store.  It is filled to the brim with antlers and globes and all sorts of amazing collected things. I really think their store fills a void in the market {here in Australia} for stylish vintage treasures and in their own words "it is a discovery of time worn treasures and imperfect luxuries." 

Click HERE to start fossicking through their wonderful collection...

Great post from Nikki!

Check out Nikki's Beads, Braids & Beyond blog post today, on how to change your daughters doll hair from straight to a natural texture.  Nikki's Natural Hair for Dolls Tutorial takes you through the process you step by step. 


I soo love this post by Nikki! She also list some great links to sites that show how you can change a barbies hair to loc's. If any one tries this, please let me know.  To see barbie loc's how to, check out - Play Barbie and Corsetkitten.

Diedre's Hair Story

Fellow blogger Diedre Callam talks about her Natural Hair Story -

"I created my blog,, for those who want options for managing their natural hair in any way that they desire.
I'm quietly emotional and extremely expressive. My often hidden explorative personality constantly oozes out of my scalp, nurturing the myriad of hairstyles I have done in the past five years. I've been locked-natural thrice, loose-natural about 4 times and relaxed about 2. Oh yeah, and I don't play with ideas of cutting my hair off. I just do it. I'll say what need not be said though, natural hair generally wins for me and is my preference. Right now I am newly braid-locked and loving it. If I could give a newly natural one piece of advice, it would be to love yourself. I don't mean the you that people see, I mean the you that is stripped down and clean every morning after a shower. Love that you and embrace your assets and your flaws. Self acceptance is the key to accepting more than just your natural hair but the natural you."  To learn  more about Diedre, check out her blog Keep It Kinky

City Cottage

I thought I would share a few pictures of a very cute and tiny inner city cottage I recently worked on for a gorgeous young couple who are expecting their first baby in a few months time.  We decided to leave the old kitchen in place instead of ripping it out.  We painted it a fresh white and added the black and white checkerboard floor as there was a chipboard floor in that section.  We also added a big cabinet to the the left of the kitchen which now houses food and other kitchen items as the little kitchen was just a bit too small.  We made black and white ticking roman blinds which we installed on all the windows in the cottage and added pretty cushions and other quirky items to create a fun, happy space.  Oh and this cottage just had to have a red door so we painted the back door bright glossy red!

Loctician Hair Tips from Nyesha Samuel

Natural Black HairCare Tips

When it comes to the gentle care of African American skinand hair, there are various ingredients that well-made products contain. Theseingredients will help to rejuvenate your skin and hair and replace thenutrients that are lost in day to day living.
Shea Butter Cream
Shea butter cream has long been known for its effectivenessas an emulsifier and a moisturizingcream. It is especially valuable in treating wrinkles, skin discolorations,dark spots, blemishes, dry skin, acne, burns and for fading scars. Shea butteralso helps to provide natural protection from the ultraviolet rays of the sun.It is easily absorbed into your skin, and it won't leave your skin feelinggreasy, as some other types of products can.

Shea butter cream helps to soften your skin, and maysometimes
be found in hair conditioners in its butter form. It helps torevitalize and rehydrate brittle or dry hair. It will also keep hair frombreaking as easily, and make it softer to the touch.

Shea butter aids in evening skin tone, and gives your skinback its natural luster. Since it absorbs quickly, it can penetrate deeply topromote the growth of healthy skin cells.

Herbal Shampoo Conditioner
African American women often tell me that they have adifficult time finding hair products to satisfy the natural needs of theirhair. Many of the products you see in magazines or commercials cater to womenwho have colored or relaxed hair. This isn't helpful for those withunmanageable, curly, thickhair. An herbal shampoo, conditioner or rinse can help to revivedry and brittle hair. It usually has a clean smell, which makes it easier touse. It helps to promote a healthy shine, and aids in getting rid of frizzies.

There are other products that combine herbal shampooconditioner and nut oils, which can be very helpful for dry, dehydrated hair.Your hair will drink in the moisture, and the proteins in the conditioner willadd shine and a final luster to your hair. They will also leave it soft andmanageable.

Organic Hair Oil
Many African American women have found that organic hair oilcan help to leave their hair nourished and revitalized, and more protected fromaging's effects. They may have experienced some level of hair loss, due tomicrobial effects on the roots of the hair and on their scalp. An antimicrobialoil will break the glycerol bonds that leave your hair weak and moresusceptible to thinning.

Most types of organichair oil will also contain vitamin E, which will help to keep your hair andscalp healthy and rejuvenated. Natural oils help your hair to retain moisture,since they don't break down easily, nor do they evaporate. Natural oils willkeep moisture within your hair, leaving it soft and manageable. Hair can also benefit from organic hair oil that will meltwhen it is heated, and then condense on your hair as it cools. You can apply itto your hair and it will evenly spread throughout all areas of your scalp. African American women will benefit from the combination ofShea butter cream for their skin, and shampoos and conditioners, along withnatural oils, that leave their hair full and healthy.

Healthy Scalp, Healthy Locs
Nyesha Samuel, Publisher/Master Loctician,

A Fresh Garden Rose

Whilst on a bit of a reconnaissance mission today for something exciting down the track, I was very lucky to be given this beautiful fresh rose stem from a public garden which is currently full of roses in bloom.  I am shocked and horrified that tomorrow the roses in this garden will all be cut back and most of them will be sent to the rubbish.  Isn't it so sad that they don't bunch these beautiful things up and send them to the hospital for patients to enjoy...??  What's with that??

I hope you all have a great weekend.  I need to apologise now as my posts will be a bit sporadic over the next couple of weeks due to all of my efforts going into the launch of our very exciting online store on the 28th of this month!

See you soon...

More from Ashley Alexis McFarlane

More great designs from Ashley Alexis McFarlane.

Go Diva!

One of the great ways to enhance your confidence is to take class that help you embrace and love being a woman. 

"GoDiva Studio is an exotic dance studio located in Bloomfield, New Jersey that specializes in pole, belly and erotic fitness dance classes.  Founded in 2010 by three friends, Ty Smith, Nikki Philip and Sonya Miller, GoDiva Studio strives to assist women in discovering their sensuality while simultaneously confronting the negative stereotypes associated with exotic dancing, and using it for a positive purpose."
Not only have these ladies successfully put a spin on erotic fitness, they proudly represent the natural hair community while doing so. For more information, visit the GoDiva’s website at Go Diva Studio.

Natasha - Making That Natural Step

 Great photos from Natasha, author of Making That Natural Step and creator of the Journey To Nappy blog.

Black & Spiro Today

Our new look in our back rooms at Black & Spiro is almost ready to reveal {again!!}.  The new wallpaper went in late last week and the curtains and a few other finishing off bits and pieces should be in within the next couple of weeks.  I thought I would give you a sneak peek of how it's looking...


Interview - Erika from Empty Locket

Introducing Erika. Fresh faced natural beauty! 

Q: What is your hair story?  What kind of hair styles have you rocked, before embracing your natural hair?
A:  My mother permed my hair at the tender age of 5. I started out with two long, kinky, beautiful braids and ended up with brittle, bone straight hair up to my ears by the time I was sixteen. I was in high school when I began experimenting with various products and black rinses. One day I showed up at my childhood dominican hair salon and the stylist who gave me my first perm looked at me with a sad face and she goes "Ay mami why you hair look so bad?" 

I was ashamed of my hair ever since. I struggled with my hair all throughout my teenage years and it was shedding more by the day. I began to get braids which I hated. They'd pull and tug at my scalp. I hated the smell of the green gel they used, the smell of weave and burned hair and grease and throbbing headaches after I was done. A few years later, I cut my hair off just out of the blue one day.  I grew out an afro that was big enough to wear in a small puff, but it was still shedding. I was using vegetable glycerin and I had no idea what I was doing with my newly natural hair, I didn't know how to care for it at all. One day, my coworker and I were having a conversation about hair and she simply asks "why don't you get dreadlocks?" I thought about it all day and that night. I decided to do my research on locs and how to care for them. I wanted to go to a reputable salon to get them and I decided on Deeply Rooted in Atlanta, GA. I printed out two photos to show the stylist exactly how I wanted my locs to look :-P.  I drove 4 hours to Atlanta and my locs were born.

Q: Did you have any big fears about going back to your natural texture?
A: I have always been comfortable with natural hair but since it was so short, I didn't feel like it fit me or my personality. Some women look beautiful rocking a fro, but I did not and I knew that. I was especially afraid of how others would view me, but I quickly got over that and began to make the best of my hair as it was :).

Q: What are three products you can't live without for nurturing/styling your hair?
A:  I don't use many products on my hair anymore at all. For me, the health of my hair is mostly internal. So I'd have to say water, a good diet and my aloe vera gel.

Q:  You have a great  natural hair blog. What was your inspiration for starting the blog? And what has been the most rewarding part of your blogging experience?
A:  EmptyLocket initially started out as a personal blog where I had planned to talk about my love life (or lack thereof :)). But I  quickly realized that I was a lot more comfortable and interested in talking about my hair. A lot of my friends at college were interested in going natural and would always come to me for advice. I enjoyed educating them and seeing their faces light up when I'd give them transitioning tips, etc. It came as second nature to me and I decided to turn my blog, into a hair blog.

Q: How can we keep up with you and your journey i.e. blog, twitter, facebookfotkitumblr, personal or professional website? (Optional)