Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

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It was the last week of the school holidays, so we took it nice and easy, and enjoyed the calm before the storm!

 Wednesday: Today we went to the park for a playdate the other mum and I organised over a week ago, when the weather was sunny and warm, and if not sunny and warm, it was sunny and hot. Except today :( It looked bad from the minute we woke up, and by mid-afternoon, when we were meeting, the sky looked decidedly grey. About 20 minutes into the playdate, it started to drizzle, and we convinced the kids it would stop soon. Of course, that is when the heavens opened, and we moved pretty quicksmart to my place for the rest of the afternoon!

Grey and charcoal striped jersey knit: Ann Taylor
Slim jeans: Ann Taylor
Embellished ballet flats: Witchery
Necklace: Dyrberg/Kern


Thursday: I am having a real style crush on (fictional character) Lemon Breeland's wardrobe from the show Hart of Dixie, and I have noticed that over the last few months my wardrobe has incorporated more and more feminine retro touches that mirror her costumes. Any one else do this?

 This is a pic of the back of the blouse. Aren't the buttons just gorgeous?  It fits a lot better in real life - it's gaping since trying to get this pic was really awkward!  For some reason we seemed to be really busy in the afternoon, so I went to Stephen's soccer training like this without getting changed first, and the heels made walking on the grass almost impossible! Lesson learnt ;)

Burnt orange blouse: ASOS
Wide leg trouser jeans: Ann Taylor
Gunmetal python pumps: Ann Taylor
Pearl drop earrings: Linneys

Friday: Today we spent most of the day at home, with a brief stop at work, and I was definitely dressed with comfort rather than style in mind.

Red jersey tunic: Isabella Oliver
Skinny jeans: Ann Taylor
Black patent slippers: Talbots


Saturday: We spent the morning at home, and then the afternoon watching our league soccer team thrash the opposition in the afternoon. I hate watching soccer but I love going because a) Nick loves watching his team play, b) the kids love it, too, and c) I get to read virtually uninterrupted for nearly 2 hours!!

Taupe cable knit cashmere sweater: Jane Lamerton
Navy cotton sweater (underneath): Lands End Canvas
Skinny jeans: Ann Taylor
Sneakers: Converse


Sunday: Sorry about the abysmal pic, but this is the only one I had, and it is one my four year old daughter took!! We had a jam-packed morning, with Stephen's first soccer game for the season at 8.30 in the morning (games this early should really be illegal), followed by a get together with Irini's school friends at a playcentre. We had a really great time at both!

Grey long sleeved tee: Flower
Grey and navy striped waterfall cardigan: Flower
Black leggings: Isabella Oliver
Grey wedge heeled rainboots: Hunter
Beaded necklace: made by me!


Monday: Lazy day in the morning, and hour or so of work just after lunch, and then off to Irini's first "proper" ballet class, as opposed to the kindy dance we've been doing. I have to say, it was nice to not have to participate anymore, and Irini looked so cute in her uniform, but it is sad that she is growing up. Can't they stay babies a bit longer?!

Lavender ikat print tank: Ann Taylor
Purple jersey cardigan: Coldwater Creek
Skinny jeans: Ann Taylor
Black heeled sandals: Naturaliser
Black pearl necklace: Etsy

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Crio Bru


I first came across Crio Bru via a Thermomix blog, Tenina, as she is the distributor in Oz, and I am hooked! Crio Bru is a relatively new drink on the market, and has become my nightly nightcap because not only is it really, really yummy, but it is actually good for you.

Crio Bru is made from 100% roasted cocoa beans, and is brewed like coffee (I do mine in a French press). I like mine with some almond milk and a touch of honey, and I swear, it is like a guilt free hot chocolate! The list of benefits is huge - it is a true superfood with minerals, nutrients and incredibly high levels of anti-oxidants - and since I have started drinking it, I have had a lot more energy. If you want to see all the health benefits, check their page here. For once, something that not only tastes great, but is great for you as well!

To buy, head to CrioBru - there are links to the US and Canadian sites on their homepage.


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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Irini's Fairy Garden Party - Meringue Mushrooms Recipe

I made these meringue mushrooms for Irini's Fairy Garden Party, but they would also be great for a woodland or ladybug themed party. I saw them originally on Pinterest, here, and figured they couldn't be too hard, and in the end, not only did they looked amazingly realistic, they were very easy to make. The only thing I would change would be to use milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate. They were a huge hit, and were the first thing to be completely gobbled up!

Meringue Mushrooms

2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon 
1/2 cup caster sugar
100g chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 100 C (200 F) and line two large baking trays with baking paper.

Beat egg whites on medium speed until frothy, then add cream of tartar, increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add sugar a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Rub a small bit between your fingers - all the sugar should have dissolved.

Use a spatula to put into a large piping bag with a 1cm round plain tip.

Holding the tip close to the parchment paper and the bag upright, pipe 30 mushroom caps by using even pressure to make 2 - 2.5 cm wide discs. Use a dampened fingertip to pat down any bumps.

To pipe the stems, slowly lift the piping bag as you pipe the stems, decreasing the pressure as you lift the bag so the stems are wider at the bottom. I made each stem between 1.5 and 2.5 cm. Again, use a damp fingertip to flatten the top of the stem.

Bake for one hour, or until they lift easily from the baking paper.  Allow to cool.

Spread the bottom of each cap with a thin coating of melted chocolate and allow to dry chocolate side up. Once dry, dip the small end of each stem in a small amount of melted chocolate, and stick onto a mushroom cap. Allow to dry and store in an airtight container.

Makes about 30.



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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

 pleated poppy

Back again, for the fabulous What I Wore Wednesday! I have always tried to make an effort with how I look (the whole purpose of my blog, really!) but I really credit What I Wore Wednesday with making me take more care and attention with my clothing. I think as a mum, it easy to put yourself last and fall into a style rut, but I think it is a good thing to put a little bit of effort into how you look, not only for yourself, but your family as well.

 Thursday: Today was a nice lazy day, mostly spent at home, with a few errands in the afternoon.

Black stretch tank: Basque by Myer
Grey and black leopard print cardigan: Basque by Myer
Perfect bootleg jeans: Gap
Black heeled sandals: Naturalizer
Silver necklace: Ann Taylor
Horn cuff: Mai Tai Collection

Friday night: This weekend was the Greek Orthodox Easter, so today is Good Friday for our family, which means a church service in the evening. For Good Friday, you are expected to wear somber colours, and for ladies, you have to wear a skirt or a dress. I love this dress from Boden - it is a beautiful mix of navy, purple and grey silk, and it is so nice to have a "dressy" dress that is a little bit different, and not black.

Silk print dress: Boden
Freshwater pearls: Pure Elements
Gunmetal grey python pumps: Ann Taylor
Black horn cuff: Mai Tai Collection

Saturday: Irini and I went to a birthday party today, so I wanted to wear something a bit dressier than usual, but still practical enough for a 4 year old's party. These trouser jeans are hemmed for heels, but I wanted to wear flats, so some strips of double sided tape created an instant hem!

Purple, navy and white printed top: Boden
Wide leg trouser jeans: Ann Taylor
Dusky blue retro flats: Naturaliser
 

Sunday: Easter Sunday for us, and red is a traditional colour to wear on this day. These are the same jeans as yesterday, with their original, long hem, and this was the perfect outfit for a long, lazy Easter lunch at my MIL's.

Red print chiffon top: Old Navy
Wide leg trouser jeans: Ann Taylor
Gunmetal python pumps: Ann Taylor
Black horn cuff: Mai Tai Collection




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Friday, April 13, 2012

Irini's Fairy Garden Birthday Party


Irini recently turned four, and I am sad to say that we have never had a "proper" birthday party for her before. So for her fourth birthday, I went all out with a Fairy Garden Tea Party. Except that on the morning of her party, it decided to blow a gale and start raining!! So, less Garden Party, and more Tea Party! Nonetheless, the day was amazing, Irini had a great time, and by the looks of things, so did all of the other little fairies!

After starting to decorate our garden and outdoor area, it became very clear that there would be no garden party. Every decoration my dad and hubby tried to put up started to blow away. We had tablecloths trying to take flight. And then it started to rain. So with less than 2 hours before the party, and with cooking still to be done, we had to move all the furniture in our living room out, and all our party stuff in! But, in hindsight, it actually looked even better than I had imagined it would outside. Outside the front door were the four giant balloons you can see above (moved just before the party started due to the wind) as well as two hidden bubble machines. The effect was magical, and a lot of the girls didn't even want to come inside! As you entered the foyer, there were masses of helium balloons, in bouquets and loose, and then a garland of leaves and roses draped in the archways to signal the entry to the party.

 As the girls came in, they were each given a fairy skirt, wings, a flower clip and a wand. I made the fairy skirts (tute to follow), and the wings, clips and wands were bought from Halo Heaven. I was very impressed with them and would certainly buy from them again. The items were very affordable. For example, the wings (including international postage) came to less than $2 each but were still great quality - in fact, they were better quality than wings I saw locally for over $20 each.


On the back wall we set up the food table. Beautiful paper lanterns from Martha Stewart were hung in the windows, and the table had two large arrangements of faux cherry blossoms, and two smaller cones I made from faux flowers I bought from Spotlight.

These were so easy to make - I simply took a cone of florist foam (sometimes called Oasis) and then stuck in blossoms that I cut off bunches of faux flowers. I started with the biggest blooms first, and them added in progressively smaller ones until you couldn't see the green foam anymore. The last step was to tuck in some leaves and then they were done!

 
This is the food table, minus all the hot food. I tried to aim for a mix of sweet and savoury, as well as a mix of child and adult friendly food. I also tried to have some vegetarian dishes, since one of the guests was vegetarian, and some were fasting for Lent. 



I made these meringue mushrooms and raspberry macarons  and these disappeared in no time! The meringue mushrooms looked remarkably real and were so easy to make. The macarons tasted great, but were not so easy to make!! But not bad for my first try!!



These cakes were also a hit, and have become my go-to cake for birthdays at school because not only are they both nut AND egg-free, they are super delicious. I found the recipe here at Sweet Rosie and not only are they really yummy, they are really easy. And they look great - so what more could you want?!

I also did fruit kebabs, raspberry cream cheese love heart sandwiches, tea sandwiches, mini tartlets (sweet and savoury) and for the hot food, homemade mini quiches, pizza scrolls and sausage rolls. All the food was super yummy, and leftovers were quickly polished off by us that night!


We set up the kids' table at the front of the room. The table was set with a gorgeous floral table cloth, balloon bouquets from Spotlight, and a fresh floral arrangement that Irini picked out at the florist the day before as a special treat. Each place setting had a little bottle of "Fairy Potion", made from Golden Circle's Sunshine Punch, raspberry cordial and water. It was definitely a hit with the girls, as they all kept coming back for more! The table was rounded out with pink cups, plates and napkins, and purple plastic cutlery.
 

I decided to outsource the entertainment, and that was THE. BEST. DECISION. EVER! Sandie, our beautiful fairy queen from Ladybird Entertainment, was absolutely amazing! She kept the girls' attention the whole time (about 1.5 hrs) and her fairy face painting at the end was really beautiful, even if Irini did make me wipe it off immediately! She was a heap of fun, and had the dancing and laughing and even did a little bit of crafting with them.


Then, it was time for the cake! Irini let me know pretty clearly what she wanted - it had to be pink, have lots of flowers, and a tiara. So, that is what I gave her. I tucked in a few butterflies, ladybirds and toadstools as well, as a nod to the fairy garden party theme, followed by a liberal dash of edible glitter, and the cake was a pretty, sparkly, ode to little girlhood! The inside was my regular chocolate cake recipe from Peggy Porschen's book, Pretty Party Cakes, and the filling was pink coloured buttercream frosting.

Finally, it was time for the party favours. I decided against going the usually lollies and dollar shop toys, since if most parents are like me, most of the contents quickly disappear into the rubbish. Instead, the girls got to keep their fairy costumes, and I made a little gift bag with a handmade beaded bracelet, tiny bottle of "pixie dust" and little pot of homemade "fairy dust gel". Again, tute to follow!! This paired with a pink and white lollipop for that touch of candy! 

And there you have Irini's Fairy Garden Party!! I hope you liked it as much as we did!!



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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

 pleated poppy

Today's What I Wore Wednesday is short and sweet! Better something, than nothing though, right?!



Sunday: I thought Easter was the perfect time to try out my new fuchsia pink jeans (we don't celebrate Easter until next weekend when it is the Orthodox Easter). I loved the look, but reactions were mixed; my son thought I looked "very pretty", my daughter thought I looked like a princess, and my husband went "you know those Orange People? You look like the pink version". Hmmm. I guess it just goes to show that women really don't dress for men! I really liked it, though, and loved the vibrant shot of colour. I certainly stood out at mini-golf later in the afternoon!

Dark pink knit top: Basque by Myer
Fuchsia jeans: Gap
Black patent slippers: Talbots
Onyx bracelets


Monday: It was a public holiday here for Easter Monday, but Nick was still working :( We spent the morning at my in-laws with the kids helping to make koulourakia (traditional Greek Easter biscuits) and then had a super lazy afternoon. I thought today was the perfect day to road test my new flat shoes from Naturalizer - they have a great retro look, with a touch of patent and a cute little bow - and they turned out to be super comfortable. I was on my feet most of the day, and they were still great even at the end.

Navy and white jersey top: Basque by Myer
Denim pencil skirt: Ann Taylor
Red retro flats: Naturalizer

 Tuesday: I brought out the fuchsia jeans for another run, but with a more neutral top, this time. Still love them, but they definitely need to go in for some tailoring. After two wears, they fit great at the waist, but are too big in the thighs and hips, so a bit of taking-in will make them absolutely perfect. The blouse is also too big now, so that needs to go in as well!

Print chiffon blouse: Coldwater Creek
Fuchsia jeans: Gap
Black patent slippers: Talbots


 Wednesday: I love school holidays - lazy days with nothing much planned! We spent most of the day at home, with a brief foray out for a delivery and then hamburgers at our favourite burger bar. These shoes are exactly the same as the red ones from earlier in the week, and a beautiful dusky blue and oh so comfortable!

Navy and white jersey dress: Basque by Myer
Green resin cuff: Myer
Blue retro flats: Naturalizer



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