A New Nest.

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I would like to think that my husband and I have come a long way since the first night we moved out of mum and dad’s.

I still have a photo on my camera roll of us sleeping on the beat-up vinyl floor of our tiny living room, literally using one of his tank tops as a pillow case (this is how you win at life, btw). It was the night after Christmas and as far as slumming it in your first home goes, we couldn’t have lived up to the cliche in better fashion.

As much as I loved the shoebox house we called home as newlyweds, I can’t tell you how excited we are to be putting the pitted vinyl floors and seventies bathroom tiling behind us. After five years of planning, saving and wishing for it, we’re about to start designing and building our new home, one that we can finally have a ridiculously deep and meaningful emotional attachment to.

With any luck, a year from now, we will have survived the nightmare that is living with my mum and dad, hadababy, and moved into a home we can truly call our own. That said, this build won’t actually be our ‘forever home’, so we’re designing it (and financially investing in it) with this in mind. Which unfortunately means some things on our wishlist – marble bench tops, glass hallways and floor to ceiling windows have had to be put on hold for now.

We’re starting to reach a good (and happily, a more budget-friendly) compromise which I’ll detail in posts to come. The overarching aesthetic will be light, bright, simple and very Scandinavian – grey timber-esque floorboards, black subway tiles, industrial copper and black fittings, and all-white walls. We hope to rent this house out in future so a minimalist and monochromatic interior seems to be the best way to play it safe.

Over the next 12 months I’ll be sharing (or venting!) our plans and progress from concept to hopefully completion, and sharing my thoughts on how we’re going to decorate it! In the meantime though, these memories we have of an apartment we stayed at in Iceland is serving as inspiration for our build; namely, that floating white staircase. More on this soon!

Mornings are for oversleeping.

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CULTIVER Lila Nightshirt | French flax linen flat sheet in dusk | French flax linen sheet set with pillowcases in charcoal grey

Linen bed sheets are like a crisp pair of 501s.

The best ones are perfectly worn-in, soften beautifully with age, and bear creases in all the right places. They remind me of comforts I often miss about home; the stack of books on my bedside, an Earl Grey before bed, sunlight that envelopes the curtains at exactly the same time and same place every morning. Comfort is the ultimate luxury.

These French-flax linen sheets and their new sleepwear by Sydney-based luxury brand Cultiver (the French word for ‘cultivate’) are truly a thing of beauty. After being commissioned to style and photograph them in my own home recently, it’s easy – and quite frankly addictive – to cultivate luxury in your daily life with just the addition of linen sheets to your bedroom repertoire.

And, if nothing else, spending the morning wrapped in crinkled linen sheets and captivated in a book whilst it’s pouring with rain outside must be one of the most glorious things in the world.

It’s all in the Detail.

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Checking in with a quick post because it’s 1 in the morning and a hot shower – and sleep – has been on my to-do list for the past few hours!

After returning from Europe last year, my husband Jamie and I were incredibly fortunate to be tasked with a styling/photography assignment back in October at the jaw-dropping beautiful Detail MC office in Fremantle. I have been meaning to share our work with you all for months and months but it wasn’t until I stumbled across these images tonight that I dropped everything (ASIC paperwork could wait…) to put together this post.

I loved everything about this job. With the earthy and rich tones of a photogenic character office already doing half the job for us, it wasn’t hard to take a beautiful photograph.

It was this very commissioned photography assignment, though, that inspired this post and as I look back on these images that Jamie and I produced, I know for sure where my heart lies the most. Because the heart knows what the heart knows, and for me, it’ll be always behind the camera.

Thank you Claire, Sarah + Paige for making it so easy, but most of all, fun. x

Creative direction & styling: Michelle Lau

Photography: Jamie & Michelle Lau

Don’t wait 3 days to text first.

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I took this photo at the end of a sweltering summer’s day after cutting my finger with the knife whilst I was hastily slicing the lime. I reached for a bandaid from the first aid drawer, ripped it open, and after running my finger underneath the tap in much of the same careless fashion, I got on with the photo before the light could disappear from the horizon.

In some ways, it’s a metaphor of how I’ve started the year as well as how I’ve managed to keep my head above water over the past few months: running on empty from one thing to the next without ever really stopping or having time (and dare I say, the inclination) to.

I also suppose now is the time to admit that the future of this website – this accumulation of four years’ of my life – hung in the balance for a while. What am I working towards, one reader asked. The truth is, I had been asking myself the same question since I gave up the Monday to Friday six months ago. What was a hobby became work and it was then – when perhaps passion got mistaken for foolishness – that I realised that sometimes truth hurts. But sometimes truth helps, too.

It’s been a year of making mistakes, months of sleepless nights, and a lifetime of realising it’s always the last key on the keyring that opens the door to a place – perhaps a life after blogging – where I was always meant to be.

So it’s with can’t-eat, can’t-sleep excitement with undertones of nausea, that I’ll soon be starting a new chapter. For those of you following me on Instagram, I know it’s not news to you so bear with me! Say hello to A Cup of Chic – the little shop of style my good friend Jess and I have dreamt into life for all things life/style & home. We officially open for business when our online store launches at the end of this month, but for now you can follow me and our grand adventures at @acupofchic where I’ll be spending most of my days inspiring your every day.

We’ve been working tirelessly behind the scenes since November but I don’t think I’ve ever felt more fanatical and enthusiastic about anything in such a long time. Sure, taking a stab at being a (real!) first-time entrepreneur has presented its many challenges so far but I guess I’ve come to realise that the truth – the real truth – lies in realising that failings are inevitable but regret is eternal. And that the soul doesn’t know a thing about deadlines.

Plus, life is clumsy and I refuse to wear a helmet.

As for cutting myself with the knife – don’t think I’ll ever learn. Hope to see you there.

Shopbop’s #Seasontoshine

shopbop gift guide 2014 aminuteawayfromsnowingGetting organised for the festive season has never been a strong point of mine. I’m off to my husband’s Christmas party this weekend and only just decided what to wear (FYI, it’s this two-piece by Alice McCall. I’m stuck as to what shoes to wear though!). I’m always the one booking restaurants at the eleventh hour, finding something to wear at the last minute, or going on a wild goose chase for that perfect present the day before.

I’ve still got a couple of Secret Santa gifts to shop for (the budget is $50 each), so my collaboration with Shopbop.com this Christmas couldn’t come at a better time. After browsing Shopbop’s #SeasonToShine gift boutique, I’ve put together a wishlist of things all under $100 (most are under $50, though!) that I’d love to give (and receive – ha!). As some of you may have noticed, I’ve become so much more about the home and less about the clothes (which does go hand in hand with some pretty big and exciting news I hope to share with you within the next few weeks).

But alas, this wishlist is for your benefit as much as mine, because as part of the launch of their #SeasonToShine gift boutique, Shopbop are giving you the chance to win a $100 Shopbop.com gift voucher*. Simply share your wishlist/gift ideas from the boutique on Twitter (or just by retweeting this) – easy peasy!

As for what’s on my wishlist?

1. Rifle Paper Co. x Garance Dore Greeting Card Set | 2. Jonathan Adler Pop Bourbon Candle

3. Kate Spade Gold Dots Pencil Pouch | 4. C. Wonder Serving Set | 5. Small Mirror Tray

collage by me.

* winner will be chosen at random by me & entries close a week from now – 10th Dec.

The Midnight Train.

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Christmas Stollen by Wild Bakery, copper trivet from Kitchen Warehouse, tea towel by Country Road, small plate from Empire.

As time wears on, I find myself becoming more and more of a private person. I’ve been blogging for almost nine years now and have voluntarily shared so much of myself online, from break-ups and depression to moving out of home, to the day I married my husband, and the moment I left my day job after eight years to go out on my own. These days, the more I put myself out there – particularly in front of the camera (where you can’t hide from anyone) – the more I crave time behind the lens.

I’ve been getting into a lot more styling work lately and I’m finding being ‘behind the scenes’ my true happy place. It may sound trite, but this whole year – my 30th – has become so much more of a journey of self-discovery than I had imagined. The day after my birthday, I realised turning 30 isn’t actually as big of a deal as everyone (and I) made it out to be. But it wasn’t until it was suddenly November (!) that the light switch came on. Because it’s what came after 30 that struck the world for me:

Discovering ‘doing what you love’ in its truest, most disarming and earth-shattering sense of the phrase. Realising that the entire year was just this silly dance of trial and error. Being defeated by what I thought I was good at it; then stumbling across something buried deep inside me that has made everything fall neatly into place.

I want to set the world on fire. And although life for me will always be one big experiment, it’s the sound of the shutter, with my own eyes peering through the looking glass, that I’d say, really is, my happy place.

Styling + Photography by me.

The French Girl Effect.

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I know things have gotten a little quiet around here.

And maybe a little stale.

I guess I’m missing the old me. And in some ways, my old life. Weekends spent just the way I like them to, instead of making friends with shadows on the wall on a lonely Sunday afternoon, with the screen of my laptop staring back at me. Talking about my day without worrying if it’s “on-brand” (yes, that brand thing). Knowing what I want to do with my life, instead of worrying about what tomorrow will hold. And most of all, coming home from a long day at work and falling into bed without feeling an ounce of guilt about it.

They say doing what you love is a great to earn 30K a year, and it couldn’t be further from my truth. When this blog suddenly became a means to put food on the table and a roof over my head (I’m still not letting my husband pay my bills), I think my passion for it died along the way. Because when you’re working until 3am in your Paris hotel room, it’s hard to love your job.

In all honesty, I could see it coming. My husband keeps reminding me why I chose this path. But when it hits you like a bus, it gets hard to dust yourself off and keep moving. I’ve spent the past few weeks in a state of there’s-more-to-life-than-taking-photos-of-myself. Because right now, I’m grappling between setting the world on fire without sending this blog up in flames. I gotta keep moving. Keep hustling. Stay humble.

Or, I could go just buy a burger after this.

Photographs by me.

Food Fashion Love.

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During the blur that was my early-mid twenties, I went through two or three summers wearing nothing but Fleur Wood maxi dresses (spurred on by my close girlfriends – you know who you are! And I still have photo evidence!). It was so easy, so clean, and so chic without really having to try. And back then, no one did floral maxis, ballet-inspired cocktail dresses, or Miu Miu-esque eyelets as beckoning as Fleur.

So needless to say, I was so happy to be graciously sent an advance copy of Fleur Wood’s beautiful and whimsical new book, Food Fashion Love whilst I was away.

With each page thoughtfully devoted to Fleur’s love of glitter and old lace, heritage and food with soul, love-heart lockets and picnics in the English countryside; the book is something I’m looking forward to dipping in and out of over the coming months for a much-needed inspiration boost. I love starting my weekends with a spark of creativity.

Waking up slow.

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Some things are worth waking up for. For me, it’s cream cheese on toasted bagels and sunlight on the window pane.

Actually, you know what’s making me really happy right now? The very fact that today, I was able to shut the laptop, sit on the couch and spend thirty minutes catching up on celebrity gossip (well played, Marlon & Delta. Also, will Jay Z and Beyonce make it to Paris unscathed?). 

The only other thing that’s bringing a little joy in my life is Country Road’s Spend & Save, which starts today. I’ve got my eye on some silk shorts from the new spring arrivals as well as some homewares. The S&S ends Aug 24th, which also happens to be closing date for the #COUNTRYROADSTYLE competition (remember to tag your CR outfits, homewares and flat lays #countryroadstyle when sharing to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for your chance to win a $1000 CR gift card – enter as many times as you like).

The Tapas Bread Plate (above) has had no chance to gather dust in my cupboard, even if I came home with it in, erm, three different colours.

In a new place.

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Although I didn’t mean for this to to happen, I’ve realised it’s been almost a week since my last post! Things have kind of gotten intense, lately, I guess. As some of you have gathered from instagram, I called it a day and quit my job on Friday, leaving for the freelance, feast and famine, full-time-blog kind of life.

I won’t lie; the thought of waking up tomorrow without a 9-5 cubicle job to fall back on terrifies me more than excites me. But something had to be done about the sleepless nights and the furrowed brows. So here I am.

I’ve spent the entire weekend making room in my tiny home for a workspace. You wouldn’t have guessed it, but my mum found the glass desk off someone else’s kerb (she loves roadside collections as much as the next Asian) and the chair is from a hair salon which they didn’t have any use for anymore (it’s strangely in perfect working order, though). As for the dying orchid, well… that’s all mine.

Let there be light.

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I’ve always shied away from photographing the inside of my home too much; simply because it’s always been a work in progress but mostly because it’s a two-bedroom that looks like it’s half falling down from the outside. It’s hard to feel inspired, because of it, but we’re planning to move out in (hopefully) a years’ time to a home we’re currently designing and building just around the corner.

But to our current – temporary – situation: it’s not conventionally perfect and it’s not the home of my dreams. It’s hard to become emotionally attached to something that I know won’t have my heart forever. I’m also not the most fastidious and eager home decorator (due to lack of space, funds and inspiration) but I must admit, I like the simplicity, the imperfection and the sparseness of my home. The bedroom is one of my favourite spaces – it’s all mismatched IKEA bed linen, unmade beds, wrinkly doonas, hand-me-down furniture, pillows that don’t match, a gigantic print I don’t have space for… but the light. Oh, the light. I’ve always believed the best thing you can buy for your home is an abundance of light.

Because on days like these, with paperbacks and coffee stacked up on either side of me, and with the light streaming in, it’s the best seat in the house.

Home.

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It was grey and sullen last Sunday so I took the opportunity to shoot some still-life whilst the light was still decent. After all, cloudy, rainy days are unfailingly best spent like this:

White t-shirts and lived-in denim, bobby pins precariously hitching a tousled bun in place, nails to be painted a fairy floss pink, Sigur Rós on loop, and tea in one hand with a camera in the other.

I’m wistfully wishing all mornings ran along similar lines like these.

Photographs by me.

Warehouse Conversions.

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Having never been a fan of modern or brutalist architecture, the idea of living in a converted warehouse has always appealed to me. What with the industrial beams, reclaimed brick (or painting over it with a solid coat of white – God, I love all-white everything), concrete floors, expansive warehouse windows, and sky-high ceilings.

Needless to say, I had some serious home envy walking into an inner-city warehouse convert a couple of friends bought recently.

As with any warehouse conversion, the renovation is monumental. They’ve already made a great deal of progress in the space of a month – the original beams and spiral staircase had just been painted a fresh coat of black, and the bedroom wall stripped of its plaster to uncover the ombré exposed brick.

As far as interior decorating goes, I adore their eclectic, charismatic but classic style. Think black & white everything, vintage suitcases as a home entertainment unit, a dove grey Philippe Starck Monseigneur-esque quilted sofa, Beatles wall art, and a tall, galvanised school locker repurposed as a cupboard. It’s stuff that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I love how quirky small touches like those add so much personality to their already character-laden home.

Oh, and the ground floor will be turned into a clothing boutique and they’re renovating the kitchen & dining area (taking up the entire second floor) such that it could transform into a coffee shop with a Scandinavian vibe, one day. Sigh, can you imagine?

Sunflower.

Fresh flowers, along with sleep-ins and manicures, are such a luxury in our household.

Our home’s in dire need of a little sprucing so what better than a bouquet of sunflowers to greet us in our entryway each morning?

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On my bedside.

Currently on my bedside table.

A Laduree souvenir from my 27th birthday celebrations in Europe, empty Glasshouse candle jars that I keep for its fragrance, and a sweet reminder of the holiday planning I need to get cracking on.

Closet Rack.

The coat rack my husband and I picked up at the Empire carpark sale today immediately took pride of place in our bedroom as soon as we got home.

I plan to use it primarily for clothes that are currently high on rotation as well as items that I have been ticking off my winter wishlist. For now, though, my Lover lace dresses and some of my other prized possessions are happily holding down the fort.

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