Spring getaway & giveaway

It would be stating the obvious to say we all love a holiday – and could do with more of them (scroll to the end of this post if you want to win one!). But usually, time and finances tend to have other ideas for us. Fortunately, for just a few dollars and with a minimal outlay of minutes, we lucky people in Melbourne can journey back through history – and enjoy the great outdoors too.  “But how is this possible?” I hear you ask. Ah, well National Trust properties are something akin to miracle workers. Case in point, Rippon Lea, which is currently hosting Love, Desire & Riches, a fabulous showcase of wedding fashion, which I was fortunate enough to visit recently with blogging besties Iolanthe and Marianne.

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When I was younger (like, a LOT younger) we went on regular excursions to National Trust properties… or perhaps those are just the outings that stick in my mind? I remember several trips to see the farm at Gulf Station and gazing in awe at the wonders of Como House… and, back in the present day now, there was a fair bit of gazing in awe going on at Rippon Lea too. I think you will understand why!

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There is a truly inspired range of wedding gowns on show, including the above design from times long past with its tiny little waist, but there are also contemporary creations from Australian designers, as worn by celebrities such as Jennifer Hawkins, Rebecca Judd and Kyly Clarke (her dress by Alex Perry is below) and, to set it all off, intricate paper headdresses by Christina Re.

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Even the wallpaper at Rippon Lea looks like wedding dress lace! Apparently this gorgeous original paper was covered up with some hideous modern stuff for a while, but then the house was restored and the walls were brought back to their former glory.

R4This staircase is a bit spooky, with wedding veils suspended from the ceiling to set the scene for a room styled as Miss Havisham’s cobweb-clad wedding banquet.

R3I’m still hopeless with my camera so didn’t get any shots of the “decaying” wedding feast as the room was quite dark – you’ll just have to visit yourself to check it out! I’m sure you won’t mind, as you get to see creations such as these too…R6This deceptively simple bias-cut gown in the centre was my favourite from the exhibition, although I did wonder what kind of undergarments one would have to wear to get away with something so sheer and clingy – especially back in the 1930s when it was made (and Spanx did not exist, ha ha…)

R5For fans of seeing what goes on behind the scenes, the “anatomy of a dress” room is fascinating, with paper patterns and toiles revealing remarkable feats of engineering.

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This gown by Akira Isogawa, made from the tissue paper used for commercial sewing patterns, usually stands in his work room and inspires much admiration due to its crazy complexity. I imagine the person who had to transport it for the exhibition had more than a few heart palpitations as it is so fragile and only held together with pins.

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There were no such anxieties for we three ladies as we finished admiring the exhibition and stepped outside to bask in the sun. What views!

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The sun was actually too strong to take good shots, but it was perfect for sipping hot sweet milky tea (kindly provided by Iolanthe) and catching up on gossip.

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Although we were only at Rippon Lea for the morning, it really felt like we’d been on a little getaway – it’s amazing what some fabulous frocks, stunning sunshine, sweet milky tea and enchanting company can do for one’s wellbeing, so take some time out next weekend for your own little day trip if you can.

And now – mark this date in your diaries if you’d like to go on a FREE getaway a little further afield. The amazing Aquabelle in Rye is offering an accommodation package in Apartment 5 for three lucky ladies (that is, one winner and her two besties) on the weekend of November 14-16, with tickets for the Peninsula Hot Springs thrown in. The total prize value is $930 and, having stayed at Aquabelle twice (just search “Aquabelle” to take a look at some pics), I can guarantee you will have the time of your lives!
To enter, you need to:
1. “Like” my Facebook page
3. Email info@aquabelle.com.au with the subject line Aquablogger Girls’ Weekend to go in the draw.

The winner will be contacted on Friday 10th of October, and also notified on Aquabelle’s Facebook page. Oh, and I’m still free on that weekend in November, if you happen to be short of a lady friend. Just saying….
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