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P and I now have a new travelling tradition – whenever we go on holidays, we will attend a cooking class.

Our first one was on a gorgeous day in Vientiane, in Laos.  We’d had enough of wandering around markets and exploring temples – we wanted to really interact with some locals, and hopefully meet some fellow travellers along the way.  We took a tuk-tuk to the class, which was hosted at a lovely French-inspired colonial house in the suburbs.  The teacher told us a bit about herself – she’d studied English as she’d wanted to travel, and also majored in economics and mathematics but her true passion was cooking and particularly, teaching people how to cook the subtle flavours of Laotian food.

As she shared with us delicacies such as river fish gently steamed in banana leaves and green papaya salad, we learned about the culture and history of Laotian people.  It was a day we will never forget (aside from the fact that the night ended partying with our fellow cooking buddies, dancing in a storm and posing with a gigantic chicken).

Ahead of our upcoming holiday, I’m enjoying browsing cooking school websites in Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast – I can’t wait!

Do you have any travelling traditions?  Please share!

Melbourne Cup’s a-coming people, and you better look your most dapper!  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Australia’s Melbourne Cup, it’s our biggest thoroughbred horse race that is billed as “The Race That Stops The Nation”.  It’s our excuse to don gigantic hats, gorgeous dresses and fabulous shoes, so over the next couple of days I’ll be featuring suitable accoutrements perfect for wearing to Melbourne Cup – and gents, never fear, I will be doing a post for men as well.

Ladies, it’s our excuse to look classy, so please, no bum-skimming short shorts, boobtube dresses or teensy skirts that masquerade as belts.  Wear stilettos if you can, but be aware that once you step onto the race track, you’re in danger of sinking into the grass, and thereby aerating immaculately manicured lawn.  A fabulous hat or fascinator is essential, and I’m always of the opinion the bigger, the more fabulous (never mind that last year I wore a rose in my hair, but I did let my dress speak for itself).  Finally, indulge in champagne if you must, but please don’t be one of those crying girls who’ve lost their clutch containing their mobile phone and keys, stumbling around stilettoes in hand, hat askew, running mascara everywhere.

So without further adieu, here is my first outfit for you – the Sexy Sophisticate.

Sexy, not skanky.  Subtle yet stand-out.  Doesn’t hurt Eva Longoria also wore it.  Buy here.

Pair with statement shoes like these:

A gorgeous dress like this does not need embellishment, so accessorise with some simple earrings:

You fabulous fillie, you.