Photos by Nadean Richards, Photography By Nadean
Acclaimed Australian Author Belinda Alexandra talks about her beautiful new book Sapphire Skies at the latest instalment of the eat read love pop up dinner series in the Sunset Room at the Watson's Bay Boutique Hotel. It was an enchanting evening of fabulous eats, reads, and loves with special friends, fellow book lovers and a room bursting with inspiring women.
What an absolute treat to have my favourite Australian author Belinda Alexandra join as my special guest. Having read all of Belinda's books from Tuscan Rose, Silver Wattle and Golden Earrings, I could have listened to my 'author crush' (who happens to be as gorgeous and inspiring in real life as the characters in her novels) talk for hours and hours about Russian History, her own writing process, her journey as an author and the inspiration behind her latest novel Sapphire Skies. With a sneak peek of the brand new book, launching on April 1, set amid the pomp and purges of Stalin's Russia and modern Moscow in the year 2000. Belinda spoke of the inspiration behind the book's heroine Natalya Azarova, an ace pilot and pin up girl for Soviet propaganda who never stopped wearing her powder and lipstick whenever she flew her fighter plane during WWII. I was fascinated by the stories of the highly successful regiment of courageous female fighter pilots known as the 'Night Witches' by the German Army. Sapphire Skies is a sweeping wartime saga with tales of secrets, lies, enduring love, terrible betrayal and redemption. Like all of Belinda's novels my life stopped for a few days while I grabbed any spare moment to read a few pages between work, children and chores, reading into the wee hours of the morning. A beautiful novel that is sure to be a huge success with fans and new readers alike.
When I started eat read love almost four years ago I dreamed of such a night… with Lisa's magical styling details, and Nadean capturing every moment on camera, including the spectacular Watson's Bay Sunset, at times I had to pinch myself. I am feeling so lucky to be doing what I love and bringing people together to share a meal with old friends and new friends, as well as providing a networking opportunity for other creative souls, fellow bloggers and foodies alike.
Like all things, these nights don't just happen by themselves and not without loads of help and late nights by all involved and one very lovely and patient husband! As such I have some very special people to thank. Mum, just because she is awesome. My two special partners in crime Lisa Madigan for her amazing styling detail and blissful blooms and gorgeous Nadean Richards from Photography by Nadean. Thanks Sarah Barrett, Kelly Fagan and the very helpful team from Harper Collins Australia; Marika & Mikaila from Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel for the event space and menu; lovely Liv Lundelius, the girls at ROAR and Tippy from The Book Station for the vintage books.
It was great to showcase some gorgeous local delights and homegrown artisan products too. The divine smelling candles on the tables were from Gascoigne & King, handmade by Bronwyn and Dean King in their local Surry Hills Studio. And to match the food a huge thank you to ARetief Wines - a boutique wine label from exciting young winemaker, Alex Retief. All of the fruit is carefully sourced from the vineyards in the Canberra district and the Hilltops as well as the Retief family vineyard in the Gundegai wine region of NSW. Perfect accompaniment to the feasting menu and dessert buffet!
Oh and to each and every one of the gorgeous ladies who attended on the night, it meant so much to have you there and I hope you enjoyed it!
Natalie x x
The eat read love pop up dinner concept, kicking off last year in Balmain, and most recently in Watson's Bay will continue throughout 2014 with dinners scheduled in secret new location in Paddington in May and tucked away in a luxury Villa in Bali in August….the locations are kept a secret until much closer to the date so be sure to stay tuned and subscribe to eat read love for all of the exciting event details. If you are interested in getting involved, or would like an eat read love pop up dinner of your own, please do drop me an email.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO OUR WONDERFUL EVENT PARTNERS
Belinda Alexandra Author
Lisa Madigan Styling & Blooms