How can it be the end of June already?! We’re halfway through 2022. Madness. Time really does seem like it’s flying by so past these days. We’re loving these crisp winter days and in between designing products for our next season’s collections, we’ve been eating, watching, travelling and reading up a storm as always.
First up, it’s our founder Jennifer Jones with her hit list.
Where I went: a solo yoga retreat and a long weekend in Kangaroo Valley
I’ve been really lucky this month with not one but two mini-breaks in nature. The first was a three-day Freedom through Yoga retreat at Billabong Retreat. Whilst I do yoga classes weekly I was really interested in the other aspects of yoga aside from the asanas. I get so much out of my breathwork experiences and so wanted to do a deep dive into the meditation and breathwork modalities. The retreat was incredible – three days of restorative and slow yoga, workshops on how to breathe to curb anxiety, meditation by the full moon and beautiful whole foods cooked in the most tasty way. I opted for a private cabin and had a bathtub on my balcony which was perfect for an afternoon soak with a book. I learnt so much, ate so much and read three books! A true mid-year reset and it’s armed me with the tools to take on the next six months! If you are interested in furthering your yoga practice I also bought a great book called Yoga Happy which explains in simple language the other aspects of yoga.
On the Queen’s Birthday long weekend we escaped to our favourite rental in Kangaroo Valley with best friends, kids and dogs for a weekend of walks, perfecting our pizza skills with the woodfired pizza, and drinking red wine by the firepit. See I am all about balance! I am also tempted to get one of these wood-fired pizza ovens for the backyard. If it’s good enough for Gwyneth….
It really made the most incredible pizzas once you perfected the dough which needed a lot of love! My friend ended up taking the bowl with her to bed when she had her afternoon nap since it needed to be kept warm!
Kangaroo Valley has some new folk in town such as Wildes which is a new boutique hotel with a restaurant and café. And of course a new homewares store The Hive KV which is home to some awesome brands such as Bonnie and Neil, Elk, Sage and Clare and Kip and Co.
The husbands and kids did a kayak down the river while the girls and dogs chilled at home taking in the view from the couch with the fire going!
What I ate: a special occasion splurge restaurant
Hands down the best special occasion restaurant in Sydney is Mimi’s! I was never that keen to try it as it is part of the Merivale stable and I felt it could be a bit of a ‘Disney” experience as some of their restaurants are. Well call me a Disney Princess after all as it was INCREDIBLE. And not incredible in that sort of over-the-top, luxe way but more in a relaxed, we’ll look after you sort of way. The server had so much time to chat with us through the menu. And for once there wasn’t that subtle rush to get you out of there to fill the table again. The view through the enormous arched windows of the beach is spectacular and the dining room is all soft sage leather seating with an open kitchen. All in all, it is worth the splurge and a delight for all senses.
What I read: some heavy and light tomes
Never one to shy away from a heavy storyline, I devoured Young Mungo in a weekend. Written by Booker Prize-winner Douglas Stuart it is a tender young love story about a gay teenager growing up in council estate in Glasgow. Mungo, a Protestant falls in love with James, a Catholic, and together they face sectarianism, violence, gang warfare and troubled family dynamics. It’s not for the faint-hearted but this story delivers such a punch about what it means to love too much and how to navigate the path to your true self. The writing is rich and detailed and the storyline pulls you in.
On a lighter note I also loved Monica Ali’s Love Marriage which is about two doctors: Yasmin, a second generation Indian doctor, and her white fiancé Joe. It’s a narrative about two very different families and there’s so much that goes on. A fist fight, an unexpected pregnancy, a lesbian affair! If you loved Brick Lane from 10 years ago then you will relish being back in Ali’s world.
On my bookshelf is Still Life by Sarah Winman which I have heard such great things about. Everyone at the dog park swears it’s the best book of the year. I will report back!
What I bought: an investment blazer
I am training myself into investment shopping. Instead of manically buying a pile of clothes each season I allow myself one piece that will pull everything I have together. This winter I’ve bought a fabulous “tailored blazer with oversized proportions”. I love the look of a blazer over a dress, thrown over a knit or even to take your sweats to a new level with a trainer. The fabric is thick with just the right amount of stretch and it’s also slightly longer to give that more relaxed look.
Next up, it’s our creative director Jennifer Sampson. What’s she been up to this month?
So my family and I have been going through a period of cocooning due to some big health challenges in recent months, so my list is all about ease, comfort and making home a sanctuary.
What I’ve been watching: a lot of TV!
This season I found Hacks to be a a little slow off the mark but by the finale I was wrapped up again in these beautifully written women. Zoomer against boomer in the most unlikely setting of writing stand up comedy (this season on the road) – brilliantly acted and directed too.
Based on the memoir by the all round fabulous Dolly Alderton (catch up with her on numerous podcasts or her weekly column in The Sunday Times, “Dear Dolly”), I’ve been bingeing Everything I Know About Love. Although I enjoyed the book enormously, Alderton wrote the screenplay for the series and the adaptation is so well formed and cast, it actually betters the book in my opinion. Bel Powley is a revelation as Birdie. She is also adorable IRL and worth a follow on Instagram @belpowley
Conversations with Friends is definitely not the world-changing, career-making adaptation of Normal People, there is no #connellschain. But there is Melissa’s incredible house in Dublin (played by the pitch perfect Jemima Kirke). And the most sundrenched swoon-worthy holiday pile of bricks in Croatia. It’s a slow brooding character study. If you are in that headspace and can get past Joe Alwyn’s dodgy accent, you will enjoy it.
Ostensibly The Offer is a limited series about the making of the 1972 classic, The Godfather. It’s loosely based on producer Al Ruddy’s (Miles Teller) account of making the film. It’s patchy and as much as I wanted to love it, I found the storytelling so sensational in parts that it made me question the accuracy of the entire program as apparently other authorities' recollections on making the film are at odds with Ruddy’s.
J’adore The Agency! If I can be half as cool as Majo the matriarch of the clan when I grow up I would be pretty happy. Rocking her short dresses and Nike’s while quipping with her grandsons and finding a date on Tinder is the highlight of the show! I loved seeing all the wonderful Parisian home; so refreshing from the American or Australian McMansion style homes that feature in these shows typically. Small, interesting, layered and bathed in patina and the love for the city of Paris is what really shines through this warm and lovely ‘reality show’.
What I’ve been watching: Top Gun Maverick (Phwoar!!)
Although it will never pass the Bechdel Test, goddam that shark tooth-grinning Tom Cruise can make a good old fashioned, popcorn munching moo-vie. A faithful and loving homage to the original, it essentially IS the same film. Same storytelling, tone, cinematography and characters. It’s as American as blue jeans leaning on a vintage car slash motor bike with the annoyingly slow sunglasses removal. What impressed me is that all the actors (not just TC) actually had to become pilots to do all the scenes in the air as they are essentially in the cockpit with a camera and that’s it! Worth seeing for that alone I reckon. If you enjoyed the first one and remember it fondly, this new addition does exactly what it says on the tin, or as the millennials say, it understood the assignment.
What I’ve been watching: The Worst Person in the World
This Norwegian film is a slower paced character study dramedy which is a great Saturday-night-with-a-glass-of-wine watch. It chronicles a four-year raw and real depiction of the protagonist, Juile, who finds herself restless in love in Oslo. Inventive and original, it’s also an unbeatable way to not double screen as it’s subtitled!
What I’ve been buying: Candles
A great scent filling the room is the ultimate in creating a luxurious nest. My top 3 go–to candles are:
What I’ve been buying: the best towels ever in the history of the world
Our bathroom is in dire need of a reno so the one thing I can do to feel like I’m bathing in five-star luxury is divine towels! The Canningvale Royal Splendour Bath Sheet in White ticks all the boxes. Thick, fluffy, big enough but not crazy so it never dries. I just close my eyes and pretend I’m in a hotel – ahhh.
What I’ve been buying: the best flannelette sheets ever
I really don’t love flannelette sheets, but my husband really, really does. So the best ones on the market that I have found are The Sheet Society. I bought the Frankie in Dove Grey and they have washed up really well. The colour is subtle too, they have lots of great colour options that work back with things you would already own – no need for a whole new bed every season.
What I’ve been reading: Mysteries, self-help and character dramas
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz is a great mystery read from the author of The Undoing (starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant). A struggling writer steals a plot from one of his students after his death and it becomes a bestseller. The problem is someone knows what he has done and isn’t happy about it, threatening to expose him and derail his new life. Really readable and unputdownable.
Ironically, trying to focus at the beginning of Stolen Focus by Johann Hari was a challenge! But Hari explains that focusing one’s energies on one task is at odds with how we are using our brains now. Once the urge to pick up your phone and google while reading this book is abated, what Hari has to say about flow states and how to enter them more frequently is fascinating. If you’ve ever been in a flow state or “in the zone” (which is essentially the opposite of distraction) you know the power it can have over the rest of your day, mood, energy and output. The more we achieve flow, the happier we’ll be.
Love & Virtue is the debut novel from Sydney-based author Diana Reid. It’s a punchy coming-of-age story about friendship, power and campus rape culture. Reid has been touted as the “new Sally Rooney” and it’s easy to see why. Her characters are relatable and well drawn. It’s an easy read. Plus it’s always a joy reading a book set in your hometown.
Want to keep up with what else we're up to? Follow us on Instagram @jonesandco_