Fashion's finest descended on the beautiful, historic Mansion, which is just an hour or so out of Melbourne. We were treated to tea, cocktails, bubbly, scones, dainty sandwiches, and of course more sweet treats than you can shake a stick at. But not a fork. We delved in with relish and plenty of indulging was done. I was thrilled to discover that our balcony is usually closed to the public, as it feels so special to be able to enjoy the fragile splendour of decades long gone. I wonder who else has kicked up their heels on these beautiful old tiles? Whatever parties have been had here, I do hope the revellers had sun glasses for the day time ones. I'd broken my only pair a couple of days before hand, and, thinking that as we'd be in the shade I'd be fine, I ordered some new ones online but didn't buy a new pair for the day. Australian late spring sun, white table cloths... I was well and truly dazzled! Note my squinty face. I was not half cut – that was my first and only cocktail – I just couldn't really open my eyes, which I generally like to do when I'm awake. I had sliced cucumber not in sandwiches but on my poor peepers when I got home. I wore a vintage pale pink novelty print dress with tobacco-coloured tights, shoes and vintage gloves. It was a beautifully sunny, warm but fresh day – absolutely delicious weather. One extra special treat for me was, en route to the ladies', camera in tow – mais oui – being whisked away with three lucky others for a trip up to the top of a tower. A rope usually barring access to a narrow wooden staircase was moved aside, and we followed our generous guide up, up, up. Past minature doors, carved into the curved walls (I always marvel at the carpentry of a curved door frame) which opened on to half-height rooms allowing access to the castle-like windows – one of the doors was unlocked, so I peeked – and to a beautiful, elaborate iron spiral staircase. Who isn't romantic about spiral staircases? I remember visiting a rather fancy house in London when I was 8 or 9, and it had not one but two such staircases indoors. It's been love ever since. We continued on up, wobbling in heels and getting dizzy, but it was worth it. Look at the view! You can see Melbourne's CBD in the distance in one, and the ocean in another. What amazing views! Spinning back down the stairs, I had a taste for more exploration and took myself off for a look at the house. Beautiful rooms, heavy, dark furniture against bold colours and ornate wallpaper, and enormous lead light (stained glass) windows. I found a row of tiny mannequins dressed in the costumes of the day. I quite liked the primness of the house keeper, but who doesn't want to be the lady of the house? Mr Moose looked on. I don't know if he has a favourite. Car rides and viewing towers might not do much good for one's outfit but they are totally worth it.
You know there are bloggers about when there are iPhones and cameras everywhere! It really was such a lovely afternoon, and having tea (and the rest!) in such beautiful surrounds is such a beautiful way to spend a sunny Sunday. x