Tag Archives: David Jones

A Sydney Christmas.

Although it’s not quite Christmas yet, I thought I’d share some of the Christmas scenes I encountered on some recent trips into the Sydney CBD. To be honest, by day these decorations as a whole, are very lack lustre compared to what I’ve been seeing from friends currently touring Europe and New York. Indeed, I feel a bit sheepish about presenting them at all, and rather apologetic. However, our beaches are beautiful this time of year, and who needs Christmas lights when you can have the sun.

My personal favourite has to be the window displays in David Jones’s Elizabeth Street Store. Although to be honest, I’ve only viewed them twice and haven’t entered the realms of Christmas traditions, even though I vowed they would when I took the kids there for their Santa photos when they were very small and our daughter was still terrified of Santa.

Here’s a few of my pics this year:


Star Wars Display at David Jones


Walking across Hyde Park, you’ll come across St Mary’s Cathedral with it’s large nativity displays both inside and out:


St Mary’s Indoor Nativity Scene 2018


St Mary’s Outdoor Nativity Scene 2018.

Above: the dazzling Christmas tree in the Queen Victoria Building at Town Hall made of Swarovski crystals.



The two photos above were taken at Haig’s Chocolate Shop in the Queen Victoria Building. As much as I was tempted to but a chocolate bell of Christmas tree, I was concerned about them melting in the heat going home. That’s an unfortunate reality of a Summer Christmas.

Last and perhaps least and I hope it truly lights up into something dazzling as it currently looks very small and pathetic, is the Christmas Tree at Sydney’s Town Hall.


After all that walking around, Elf and I needed to sit down.


Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse of a Sydney Christmas by day. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get in there to view the lights.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and a wonder-filled New Year.

Best wishes,

Rowena and family

Christmas Door…Thursday Doors.

Well, I couldn’t resist returning to Thursday Doors this week with a photo of Elf trying to open the door at David Jones’s flagship Elizabeth Street store. Elf said he much preferred the good old days, when they had doormen on hand, but understood that this is just one of many sacrifices to modernization and economy.

Celebrating its 180th birthday this year, David Jones was established on the 24th May, 1838, when a Welsh migrant named David Jones opened a department store on the corner of Barrack and George streets. His aim was to offer luxury goods in a commodious space. The store was located opposite the General Post Office and the small store prospered. David Jones and Co. received patronage from not only the Sydney gentry, but also the country settlers. Everyone flocked to the store to buy buckskins, ginghams, waistcoat fabrics, silks and cotton tick. The flagship Elizabeth Street store opened in 1927 opposite Hyde Park.


Queen Elizabeth II at David Jones in 1954

For those of you who haven’t been to Australia and are unfamiliar with David Jones or “DJ’s” as it’s affectionately known, it could well be described as Australia’s interpretation of Harrod’s and has always been considered exclusive, and a place where shopping was an experience where only the best would do. Indeed, in 1954 when Queen Elizabeth II became the first British Monarch to step foot on Australian soil, the Great Restaurant on the 7th Floor of David Jones Elizabeth Street was chosen as the venue for a State Banquet in her honour. Indeed, the largest Union Jack in the world, measuring 50ft x 100ft was hung from the Elizabeth Street wall of the main store…no doubt part of its history which would make many more republican-minded Australians cringe to their bones. You can view the Union Jack in situ HERE

One of the seemingly timeless features of the Elizabeth Street store is their in-house pianist and the Steinway grand. Indeed, you can see pianist Michael Hope through the doors down below.


Michael was not only a fantastic and entertaining pianist, he was also very obliging. When I asked him if I could photograph him, he pulled me alongside him and I was to pretend to play while a complete stranger filmed me on my phone. He even gave me directions. Then, being the complete nutter that I am, I pulled Elf out of my bag and Michael played along with him. Indeed, it looked like Michael had spent years working on a very popular Australian children’s show called Play School. It is actually quite difficult to get a gig on Play Group and it attracts the cream of Australian talent. So, that endorsement is a real feather in his cap.

I know how much you people love doors and it might be stretching your outlook a little. However, David Jones’s Elizabeth Street store has the most amazing Christmas windows and I just couldn’t resist sharing a few from the Nutcracker Suite.


Lastly, a few of you might like to read Australian Vogue’s article on 180 years of David Jones: Vogue Australia- 180 Years David Jones


The Soda Fountain in David Jones’ Sydney c.1928 photograph by Cecil Bostock courtesy of David Jones, Australia

This has been another contribution to Thursday Doors hosted by Norm 2.0. Why don’t you come and join us and share a few of your favourite doors. It’s a lot of fun and helps you see parts of the world you’ll never get to visit.

Best wishes,




The House of Chanel, Sydney

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” ~ Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel at David Jones.

Coco Chanel at David Jones.

You wouldn’t believe that I am still writing about our trip into Sydney last Monday and still have new things to share. In case, you’ve forgotten or haven’t caught up, Miss and I went into Sydney for her audition for the part of Marta in the Sydney production of the Sound of Music. She didn’t receive a callback but that didn’t stop us from enjoying a day out.

David Jones's Flower Festival

David Jones’s Flower Festival

Being Spring in Sydney, Department Store David Jones currently has it’s annual flower show. These stunning window and store displays include an incredible tribute to the House of Chanel, where no detail was spared.

Here’s a photo of the real House of Chanel on Rue Cambon taken in 1962.

Douglas Kirkland Mlle Chanel on Rue Cambon, in front of the House of Chanel 1962 [printed later] archival pigment print, edition of 24, signed paper size 20 ..

Douglas Kirkland Mlle Chanel on Rue Cambon, in front of the House of Chanel 1962 [printed later] archival pigment print, edition of 24, signed paper size 20 ..

The Eifel Tower by Night.

The Eiffel Tower by Night, along with street reflections.

When we first arrived, the stylist was still applying the last touches to the display, which was also quite interesting to watch. By the time we returned from the Sydney Tower Eye, the display was up and running and the lights were changing colour from purple through to blue, red, pink and even the moon rose and set. The Eiffel Tower was made of flowers and there were little moving silhouettes of Coco Chanel in the windows…along with her perfume.

Window Shopping

Coco Chanel lived at the Ritz in Paris’s Place Vendome but worked and entertained within walking distance at Rue Cambon. There are four floors: the Chanel store is at street level, haute couture dressing rooms are on the second floor, her apartment is on the third, and her workshop is on the fourth. The rooftop of the building is said to have some of the best views of Paris.

Coco Chanel.

Coco Chanel.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Coco Chanel

Shades of Rose.

Shades of Rose.

With such incredible attention to detail, even the scissors opened and shut.

With such incredible attention to detail, even the scissors opened and shut.

While this was a sensational display and we must enjoy beauty and not always fixate on hardship, at the same time, please bear in mind that Tim and Nugget are selling the Big Issue only metres away from this luxurious window display. They sleep across the road at Hyde Park and a $50.00 a night spot at a caravan park is luxury.

You can read more of their story here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/sleeping-rough-in-sydney-meet-tim-his-dog-nugget/

Whatever else we do, we need to be thankful for what we have and appreciate the beauty and joy around us but we also need to think of those who are doing it tough.

Please don’t just walk past pretending that they’re not even there.Even if you have nothing to give, you could at least say a prayer!

xx Rowena

#Weekend Coffee Share: Welcome to Sydney!

Today, I am introducing myself to a new blog share: 

So, if we were having coffee, I’d probably have to start off my introducing myself as I’m pretty sure this is my first coffee with you guys, although I’m pretty sure that I’ve, at least, dropped in before.

So, “Hi”.

If you want to know more about me, you can check out my About page here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/about/

Miss on Stage Performing Marta with her Musical Theatre Class.

Miss on Stage Performing Marta with her Musical Theatre Class.

Next, I’d tell you that the last week was pretty intense in so many good ways and that right now, Two weeks ago, we found out my daughter had achieved an audition for the role of Marta in the Sydney production of The Sound of Music. Marta is the second youngest of the Von Trapp children. The same day that news came through, I was off to the GP with worsening bronchitis/pneumonia. She prescribed two different industrial strength antibiotics and I was to go on the nebuliser every 2 hours and if I hadn’t improved in 24 hours, I was off to hospital. I have fibrosis in my lungs and so I have to be incredibly careful. This thing was starting to look very nasty indeed!

Persevering with the keyboard while on the nebuliser. I only need it a few times a day so not a big deal.

Persevering with the keyboard while on the nebuliser. I only need it a few times a day so not a big deal.

I wasn’t the only one overcoming hurdles to get to the audition. My daughter was diagnosed with severe vocal nodules a few months ago and has been having intensive voice therapy for the last month or so. This has made a huge improvement but we all knew her voice wasn’t ready yet. However, Miss was determined. She was the right height and she would never be the right height again! Not wanting to be the one her smashed her dreams before they’d even set sail, I submitted her application. https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/climb-every-mountain-singing-towards-her-dream/

Miss outside the Brent Street Studios where the auditions were held.

Miss outside the Brent Street Studios where the auditions were held.

You can read about preparations for the audition here: The House is Alive with the Sound of Music: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/the-house-is-alive-with-the-sound-of-music/

However, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I was just as determined to accompany our daughter as she was to sing . Yet, even I, who has phoenixed out of the depths so many times before, had serious doubts. Call it determination or desperation, I was filling my daughter and I up with freshly squeezed orange juice and vitamin C to give us both the best shot. After all, she also had to be well and we needed to protect her precious voice most of all.

I even arranged for us to stay with friends near Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter where the auditions were being held to give myself the best chance of getting there and even more importantly getting us there on time…especially as my friend is an Army Major! Being late meant instant elimination.

Miss with the Major

Miss with the Major

Let me just add, that the trains were out and so my husband drove us down. On the way to dropping the spare car at the station for the return trip, the gear box blew up. Geoff’s trip back didn’t go too well either. There was an accident and they were stalled for an hour.

All that was missing from our dramas was the mandatory car chase!

The audition process went well, although Miss didn’t receive a callback. We were quite philosophical about it all and she wants to keep auditioning.

Looking East over Sydney Harbour from Sydney Tower

Looking East over Sydney Harbour from Sydney Tower

After her audition,we made the most of the day in the city. We went up the Sydney Tower Eye and enjoyed a 360 degree view taking in an 80km radius of Sydney.

Captured by the Ginormous Koala demanding more gum leaves.

Captured by the Ginormous Koala demanding more gum leaves.

This is when we weren’t suddenly captured by a ginormous koala which was demanding more gum leaves. It had an absolutely voracious appetite and availability was scarce. It was absolutely terrifying but we were rescued by none other than Crocodile Dundee who just happened to be in the area.

David Jones's Flower Festival

David Jones’s Flower Festival

We toured the David Jones Flower Show, which was absolutely incredible. David Jones is an exclusive Australian Department store and their Market Street store is something like Harrods in London.

The House of Chanel comes to Sydney...look for the flowers.

The House of Chanel comes to Sydney…look for the flowers.

They even brought the House of Chanel to Sydney.

We were given a free tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and daringly asked for spoons from the David Jones Food Hall and headed up to Hyde Park.

Tim & Nugget

Tim & Nugget

On the way, we met Tim and Nugget who are Vendors for the Big Issue. They usually sleep rough in Hyde Park, which is just across the road from David Jones. The irony wasn’t lost on me. A good night for Tim is when he can afford to stay at a caravan park in Hurstville for $50.00 a night. Indeed, this is luxury!

You can read Tim & Nugget’s Story here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/sleeping-rough-in-sydney-meet-tim-his-dog-nugget/

We ate our ice cream in front of the fountain and then headed across the road to visit St Mary’s Cathedral. My grandparents were married here in 1940 during WWII.

St Mary's Cathedral viewed through Hyde Park.

St Mary’s Cathedral viewed through Hyde Park.

That was Monday…obviously a HUGE day but it wasn’t over yet. School photos tomorrow so there I was sewing up my daughter’s school uniform. Actually, my husband did that. I was a bit gaga after our mega day out.

Tuesday…slept (have you read Jackie French’s Diary of A Wombat? I was sure feeling like a wombat!)

Our Wedding Day....The Happiest Day of My Life. I smiled so much, my face hurt!

Our Wedding Day….The Happiest Day of My Life. I smiled so much, my face hurt!

Wednesday, Wedding Anniversary. Happy Wedding Anniversary, darling! 14 years.

Thursday: Blank.

Friday: Kids sick…we all slept. That is except for Geoff who went to work.

Saturday and Sunday: preparing for the Royal Visit. My aunt’s coming over tomorrow. So we’ve washed dogs, washed dogs’ bed, mowed lawns, still getting stuff out for council cleanup. Aunt was due Tuesday so stuff will still be out the front tomorrow but at least it’s on its way.

I am hoping this week things will return to normal. Next week…school holidays await!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful week and have enjoyed having coffee with me.

The Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Part Time Monster.  You can join this week’s Coffee Share on her blog or by clicking on the “Linky“.  I encourage you to click on the “linky” to see to meet some other bloggers and even join us if you haven’t before!

xx Rowena