Ari’s fourth Birthday Party – Circus theme

Recently Ari had his fourth birthday and we enjoyed a week long celebration including a trip to Sea World AND a Circus themed birthday party held at our local Strawberry Fields.  Ari had THE BEST time, and so did I putting it together for him!  I am big on birthdays, not only to celebrate another trip around the sun, but also that we all survived the year together as a family!

The Theme
Ari had total control of choosing his theme and venue for his party this year.  He loves the movie Dumbo so wanted to have a ‘Circus’ themed party.  To me it was an extra special theme for him to choose as Dumbo was the first movie that my Grandad watched in the 1950s, and he still watches it with Ari today!  When I searched ‘circus theme parties’ on Pinterest I found one particular image that I loved, and based the colour scheme on  that.

The Invitations
Jess from Little J Design put together the invitations from concept, design to completion.  I didn’t even have to send an idea to get her started! They were bright, playful and fun.  I love posting out proper invitations because I know how excited children get when they receive them in the mail.  Jess is truly amazing and I am forever grateful for her talents.

The Venue
As I mentioned Ari had control over the venue for his party and he chose our local Strawberry Fields.  Ari’s birthday comes around just as strawberry season commences and it is by far his favourite fruit.  We also had a strawberry themed party for his second birthday, at the same venue, which you can read about on my blog.  At the time of writing this the fields don’t charge a fee to host a party on their property.   The venue is stunning with plenty of patches, a shop, playground and a cafe.  It really is an incredible spot to host a birthday party.

The Food
Earlier his year I wrote a blog post for Chloe’s second birthday party, where I wrote about how I outsourced the food preparation for the first time ever.  I also wrote that I didn’t think I would ever prepare all the party food again and I was spot on!  Once again Sharni from Grazing Acres put together the most delicious spread of food including crackers, drips, cheeses, different fruits, meats, pretzels and more.  The budget was perfectly on point, with only a small amount of food leftover for us to eat for dinner that night.  Outsourcing your food prep really is a no brainer, and if you are close to the Sunshine Coast you must check out Grazing Acres.   Not only did Sharni produce the most amazing party spread, but she styled the entire table using items that I had bought and provided including the decor.  I will write more about this below, but one thing I did learn from Sharni is how food can be used as decor and to create stunning table scape.

I also borrowed a donut bar from a friend and filled it with delicious donut treats.  I wasn’t sure if these would get eaten but every single one did!

The Cake
The incredible Ange from Ange’s Cakes put together a charming white chocolate Circus themed birthday cake.  Ange has been baking all our cakes for 18 months and every single one has gone down a treat!  Ange also made 12 sweet little cupcakes which had circus animals jumping through hoops on them.  Th concept, design and creation of the cakes was all Ange.

Ari’s cake topper was from XOXO Design which is where I always get our cake toppers from.  Again, I had no input into the concept and design.  I love working with suppliers who are passionate about what they do and watching their creativity unfold.   The topper had a gorgeous circus tent on it as well as Ari’s name and the number four.

The Sweets
I also organised custom chocolates from Print and Party, who had the perfect deign for us!  They were customised with Ari’s name on them.   There are countless flavours of chocolate to choose from and you can even select the colour of the foil wrapping.  All of this came be done from their website.

The sweetest circus themed cookies were handmade on the Sunshine Coast by Sweet P Cakes and Cookies.  I love to support local where I can, so this was very special to me.  All the cookie designs were in theme with the party and included fairy floss cones, circus tents and entry tickets.  The cookies were a huge hit at the party because they tasted and looked amazing!

Party Favours
We had two party favours this time.  The first was from Cloud Theory Marshmallows who put together gorgeous wrapped Marshmallows on a red and white sticks.  They looked so cute on the table and really lifted the decor.  Of course, the marshmallows taste fantastic too!   Each gourmet marshmallow was handcrafted and came in the mail from Adelaide with no issues at all.  The wonderful woman behind Cloud Theory Marshmallows is just so passionate about her work, I love it.

Secondly, we purchased an empty punnet for each child to go and pick fresh strawberries from the patch to take home.  This made me feel a little better about all the sugar they consumed… Life is all about balance right!

The Decor
My biggest tip when decorating is to choose one statement piece and put your budget into that.  We chose to do a gorgeous balloon garland from Party Planet again because I was so thrilled with how Chloe’s turned out earlier this year.   I sent Kelly my Pinterest photo and let her create.  She is such a passionate and beautiful person.  If you are close to the Sunshine Coast you really must check them out, they even deliver and do the set up too.  This time we collected the day before and the garland only took 5 minutes to set up, it was so easy!

As the party was outdoors I needed to create a beautiful backdrop, so I ordered a custom screen from Be Branded.  Little J Design provided to concept to Be Branded’s specs and then it was printed.  The idea was perfect and can be used for future parties as we opted for no wording on this one and a simple design.  The cloth attached to a gazebo and was great for providing shade and also as a wind barrier.

Be Branded also supplied a custom cut out for children to have their photos taken with.  It was a sweet little lion design. This not only added to our gorgeous decor but provided a lot of fun fir the children too.

As I mentioned before Sharni from Grazing Acres came up with the whole table concept.  I love that she set the tables up as a square because I am so used to doing them in a normal L shape look.  She is so talented, and I am truly grateful for her creative eye, watching her work her magic on that table was a dream.

Things like the paper plates, cups, popcorn cups and napkins were all purchase online.  I had a photo of Ari at ages newborn, one, two, three and four that I printed and put into white frames.  Jess from Little J Design made me a sign to let guests know to take a party favour home, and made a cute ‘Roll up Roll up’ printable for me too.  I placed vases on the table and filled them with red and yellow flowers that I purchased from Aldi for only $25.  There were plastic animals scattered throughout the table, party hats and a sweet little Ferris wheel puzzle that I made with Chloe.   Whenever we have a party I always go through our home to see what decor might work with the theme.  This time I pulled a few large animals from Ari’s jungle themed bedroom and popped party hats on them.

Photography
The beautifully talented Emma Nayler took the stunning images you will see below, and I am so incredibly grateful for her talents.  She just went about the day and did her thing, with us able to just enjoy the party with our beautiful boy. I would highly recommend employing a photographer for all your important occasions.  The one time I didn’t listen to this advice is the one occasion I don’t have any photos from!   Not only does Emma photograph families, but engagement sessions and weddings also (overseas too.)

Outfits
Chloe’s oufit – Nicole Elliot Designs
Ari’s outfit – Online through Ebay
Gum Boots – Seed Heritage
My dress –   Breastfeeding Wear Autralia

We decided to invite the children to dress in circus theme if they wished.  Ari really wanted to be a Ring Master so after searching high and low for a custom I bought one on Ebay.

Nicole Elliot Designs made Chloe the most stunning Ballerina costum.  This lady is seriously celver with a needle!  Everything from her Tutu to the feather belt was so sweet.  Due to rain the few days before the party both little enjoyed wearing ‘flashing light gum boots.’

Supplier websites
Photography – Emma Nayler
Venue – strawberry Fields
Invites and design of signage and printable – Little J Design
Food table – Grazing Acres
Cake and cupcakes – Ange’s Cakes
Custom cake toppers – XOXO Design
Cookies – Sweet P Cakes and Cookies
Custom chocolates – Print and Party
Marshmallow party favours – Cloud Theory Marshmallows
Balloon garland – Party Planet
Custom back drop and cut out – Be Branded
Chloe’s oufit – Nicole Elliot Design
My Dress – Breastfeeding Wear Australia

Supplier Instagram pages
Photography – @emma_nayler_photographer
Invites and design of signage and printable – @littlejdesign
Breakfast Table – @grazing.acres
Cake and cupcakes – @angescakes
Custom cake toppers – @xoxodesign_au
Cookies – @sweetpcakesandcookies
Custom chocolates – @printandparty
Marshmallow party favours – @cloudtheorymarshmallows
Balloon garland – @party__planet
Custom back drop – @_bebranded
Chloe’s outfit – @nicoleelliott_designs

Discount codes
I have a HUGE list of discount codes available, including to some of the stores involved in the planning of Ari’s epic party.  All you need to do is subscribe and it will hit your inbox.

Don’t forget to follow along on Instagram for more special moments with my little loves, click here.

For party inspiration check out my Pinterest here.

Now for the party spam!

Enjoy x

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5 Common Mistakes Made When Planning a Party (and How to Avoid Them)

Parties are so much fun right!?  But planning them can be super stressful.  So for this blog post I needed to call in a party expert Natty Faulkner who really knows how to party!  Natty is a children’s party entertainer through her company Strawberry Fundaes.  On weekends you will find her glammed up and dress up as anyone from Snow White to Moana, and all the children’s favourites in-between.  Natalie has been to more than her fair share of children’s parties, in fact she’s been to hundreds!  So here are her top tips for avoiding common party mistakes…

Common mistake #1 – Planning an outdoor party with no back up plan.
This is the most common party mistake I see!  Parties in the park are a great idea… Until it rains.  I highly recommend looking at the weekly forecast before and always have a back- up plan.  Your back up location could either be at your house, a friends garage or their home (if they have the space and are willing), or perhaps you could set up a marquee for shelter, use the local church or YMCA / community hall or even sporting club. Have that back up plan sussed out well before the party.   Note – Some parks actually have huge rotundas you can reserve through local council which means you can still host your party in the park, rain, hail or shine!

Common mistake #2 – Planning a party on a national holiday or event without realising.
Before you set the exact date of the party, consult with your calendar to ensure that chosen date does not fall on holiday weekends and school breaks.  Celebrating two occasions can be fun sometimes, but when those days are meant to be spent in a tight-knit family circle, it is silly to expect your child’s school friends to want to attend a big bash party on a date they might want to be with their family.

Common mistake #3 – Over Catering Food
This is easy to do.  I recommend collecting RSVP’s to have a clear estimate on how many guests are attending.  And remember kids don’t eat a whole lot in the time frame they are at a party. A good party time frame is about 2 hour maximum for little ones and they get so over whelmed and distracted with playing or being entertained that they often only pick at the food.  Pick just a few food options and make them easy to eat. Or create little ‘snack packs’ to encourage kids to sit down and each their own individual portions ( this is great for less mess too! )

Common mistake #4 – Planning a party time during nap time
If your child has a nap at midday, don’t force a party time then because it suits your mum/ grandma/ uncle/ cousin. Or if you do, expect to have one cranky child!  Everyone’s nap times are different, but your child is the one being celebrated so try your best to accommodate. Even if it means attempting to pop them down earlier than usual.

Common mistake #5 – Failing to have any activities for kids
Not everyone has the budget to hire an entertainer, so here are my quick and easy options to keep the kids busy at your next party.  Colouring in sheets, pencils and stickers, craft station, Hoola Hoops, Dancing, singing, cupcake decorating, old fashioned party games or water play.

A huge thank you to Natty for these incredibly useful tips!

You can find more information on Natty’s packages here.
Explore her beautiful Instagram account here.

Lots of Love!

 

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10 Accessory Styling Hacks From My Personal Stylist Josephine Eve

About Josephine Eve’s Stylist
I am so thrilled that Josephine Eve Stylist has agreed to write a feature blog post which I am sharing with my beautiful Mamas.  Top 10 Styling hacks to accessorise your looks.

Josephine and I met about 18 months ago and we very we quickly developed  a beautiful friendship.  Not only are we now friends, I have also been lucky enough to be styled by Josephine on a few occasions including a revamp of my winter robe, planning a wardrobe for a European summer vacation, and more recently I completed her e-course ‘How To Create Your Dream Wardrobe.’

I greatly respect and value every piece of knowledge that Josephine has given me regarding fashion and styling, this is why I am so excited that she is sharing TEN incredible styling tips with you.  If you are looking to get started on a wardrobe revamp, Josephine has a free printable download to help you declutter and organise your existing robe, click here.

Enjoy!

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Accessorising your outfits can be a frustrating task for a lot of people.  It can either make  or break your look.   It can come across as though you’ve either put too much effort into styling the look, or like you have effortlessly put together an outfit that is on point.  On the other hand, wearing an outfit without accessories may prevent your look from seeming pulled together and nicely finished.

Limit the amount of accessories you wear
I recommend to style your look with no more than 4 accessories, as anymore than this can make your outfit look ‘over accessorised.’  Try and limit the amount of statement pieces in a look as it can clash and come across as too loud.

Think about colour and tone
To balance the overall colours of clothing and accessories styled in your outfit, a good rule of thumb, is that you should opt for no more than 4 colours in the look.  Try styling with a mix of neutral tones in your look whether that be white, black, beige, nude, tan, grey or navy.  Then if you love colour blend the look with 1-2 accent colours like you’re top favourites, (mine are Blush Pink and Khaki!)

Here are some ideas and suggestions for those of you who have trouble styling accessories for your shape and putting together your outfit well… ‘effortlessly’!

  1. Create a more defined waistline with a v-shaped long pendant – This is such an easy accessory to style with as it enhances your waist, especially if you don’t have a clear waistline or you’re wearing something that is loose and shapeless.  It not only creates the illusion of a waistline but it creates balance with an outfit too.

  2. Draw attention to your face with a statement necklace – So for those of you who are a bit self conscious about your body parts eg; tummy, legs, hips, arms.  A statement necklace is the perfect addition to your look.  Wear over a round or boat neckline to accessorise your outfit, this will nicely draw the attention up to your beautiful face!  Chokers can also replace this and work especially well worn with a V-neck.

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  3. Flatter your face shape with statement earrings – Statement earrings can be a really beautiful contrast, and an attention-grabbing accessory that which draw a viewers eyes up to your face.  If you want to be simple yet subtle, opt for your preferred metallic colour, like silver, gold or rose gold.  Or if you’re a bit daring and want to dress the look up to add a bit more colour, then go for something with your favourite pop of colour to dress up a neutral coloured outfit.

  4. Add a pop of your favourite colour or print with statement heels or flats – Adding a statement heel or flat, is a great way to draw the attention away from other areas that you’re conscious about. So this trick is perfect for people with wider shoulders or a tummy, as it balances your shape!  My personal favourite is a pair of rose gold pumps, which quickly dress up any pair of casual bottoms to go out in.  Or a leopard flat, which is simple yet cool.  A lot of my clients are loving the red heels trend at the moment, it dresses up a plain outfit.  TIP: Statement shoes look really nicely styled with a statement earring to really dress up your look!

  5. Balance your hip width with a statement handbag or clutch – Mums with broad shoulders, this one is a great tip for you to try as it makes more width at the hip to create the illusion of an hourglass shape.  As well as being ultra stylish of course!  Go for something fun like these options in your favourite tone.  If you have wider hips (pear shape) you may want to be more minimal with your handbags and wear it over your shoulder or sitting just at your waistline.

  6. Look more polished and put together with neutral coloured accessories – So for the Mums who love being a bit more neutral and minimal, the best way to go about accessorising is ultimately picking more neutral tones like black, navy, grey, tan, camel, beige, nude, gold, silver, as well as matching a couple of the tones together. So for example if I have a pair of black earrings, I might want to match that with a black bag or the shoe.  Or a beige belt and a beige handbag.  Matching is still ‘cool,’ but don’t go overboard being too ‘matchy matchy’ as this only makes you look like you’ve tried to style your outfit too much.

  7. Add some colour around your neckline with a fun scarf print you LOVE – I absolutely love scarves, I find them so ‘chic’ and I love playing around with all the different ways of wearing them, whilst ‘complimenting’ your neckline.  If you’re a bit ‘out there’ and love colour, then go bold with your prints and colours.  For some of you who like a more subtle style, then choose something like a navy and white, or a black and white smaller print, fine animal print, or subtle prints and colours in your scarf.  All of these options will really enhance your look.  Scarves also draw attention to the face if the colour is louder than the rest of the look, or do the opposite eg; a black scarf worn with a white outfit is not going to draw the attention to the neck/face. We will be looking at the white part of your outfit.  TIP: Scarves can also create a waistline if worn in a v shape way.

  8. Belt your waist and show off your curve mamma! – If you have a defined waist, please don’t hide it! J It’s super flattering if you can belt your look, especially if you have a nice fitted/structured top or even try belting over a skirt, high waist pant, dress or what’s really in trend at the moment is belting your blazer!  Try and match the colour of the belt with another tone in your outfit to really simplify and polish the look. Like the shoe, bag, jewellery, clothing etc..  I wouldn’t recommend styling a belt with a pendant necklace. Or style your belt with a pair of statement earrings or with a statement shoe to dress the look up.

  9. Accessorise your hair locks with a silk scarf tie, scrunchie or hair clip – This uber cute hair trend has been on display quite a lot lately, espeically over the spring/summer period, and it looks so chic if you’re dressing up to go to a bridal/baby shower, girls lunch, a date or just a fun day out where you want to dress up the look with something pretty.  Here are some shops/stores who do beautiful silk scarves and hair accessories- Seed, Mimco, Rubi shoes, Bunch of Scrunch.

  10. Bedazzle your look with a hat – If you really want to complete your look, a hat can just be the thing to literally top it off!  Panama hats are super cute, although coming into autumn season fedoras are just as nice to enhance your outfit.


You can find Josephine on the below links:

Website
Instagram
Facebook
E Course – How To Create Your Dream Wardrobe
Free PDF – How To Declutter Your Wardrobe

10 Steps to a Scandinavian Style Nursery

When it comes to building a nursery, it’s hard to match the minimalist appeal of Scandinavian decor. This clean, bright, and modern style is one of the best nursery themes out there! It values both form and function, helping us create practical and kid-friendly spaces.

Dreaming of a cosy, Nordic nursery for your little angel? I partnered with the Brisbane architects from Superdraft to help us all out! Here’s a quick guide on how you can get the look:

Build a Scandinavian style nursery like a pro…

STEP 1:  Go for clever, space-saving interior solutions.

The beauty of Scandinavian interiors starts with choosing the right furniture. Opt for straightforward pieces and simple shapes. Celebrate strong, straight, and clean lines.

Let’s say you’re shopping for a crib. To get the right look, go with cribs that feature linear and uncomplicated shapes and details. The same rule applies to other furniture and decor that you’re going to use in the nursery. Go for mid-century modern pieces — the ones with clean and organic lines, curves, and shapes.

Nordic design and daylight also go hand in hand. Open up your windows to get plenty of sun in the room. The right amount of natural light will ensure visual and thermal comfort. Use shades and curtains to block excess light from coming in. If you don’t have a direct source of natural light, consider borrowing it from the next room. Good interior lighting is a must too.

Exceptional lighting and furniture will help maximise the space, even if it’s a small one.

STEP 2: Choose a muted colour palette.

Black and white interiors are quintessentially Nordic. But, it’s not the only way to go. We recommend following muted colour palettes — those with lots of white and light grey. Consider having white walls with black, grey, and pale timber accents. Feel free to use the colours that you like. Kick in a bold, attractive shade of blue, pink, yellow, red etc. for that perfect touch.

STEP 3: Consider panelled walls.

Most Scandinavian homes have it. Wall panels feature no frivolity. Consider adding them to your nursery if you want repetitive vertical lines which remains appealing even when painted.

STEP 4: Go for soft decor

It’s a baby’s room. Make it cute, friendly, and cosy! Consider layering soft cushions and fabrics atop of your seats. Put stuffed animals and other playthings on display if fits the design you’re aiming. If not, stash it in a basket with the other toys. Don’t forget the pouffe! It has a lot of uses and it never fails to keep you comfortable while playing with your child

STEP 5: Play with texture

Texture is an unmissable ingredient of Scandinavian interiors. Opt for tactile materials such as wool blankets, high pile rugs, and hand-woven fabrics. Using sheepskin and cowhide rugs will work too.

STEP 6: Consider nordic-style storage

Storage is a must-have in every nursery. But, don’t go with the ordinary! Have something unique, quirky, and creative. Bespoke bookshelves, patterned fabric totes, hooks, and pegs will do.

STEP 7: Inject a playful pattern.

Polka dots, stripes, and patterns with kiddie icons such as hearts, animals, stars etc. work great in a Nordic nursery. Graphic prints and classic florals are fine too. Include them nicely in your design. You can have them on the wall and fabrics. If you don’t want the patterns to appear dominant, have them in small decor items like the bunting. Hang these mini-flags to decorate without adding too much clutter.

STEP 8: Add a dash of colour.

Having white interiors gives you room to play with colours in the kids’ rooms. Introduce colour into the room through your decor, furniture, and walls. Create a statement wall using paint. It will look good as long as everything adheres to the colour palette you’re following in your baby’s room.

STEP 9: Keep everything organised.

The room of a growing child becomes untidy as he/she grows up. Expect a storm of toys every single day. It’s hard to deal with this you’re a busy mom so you have to teach your older kids how to put away their stuff. Provide a child-friendly storage to make it easier for them. Consider having cabinets with low shelves, boxes with lids, and crates/baskets that you can slide under the table or the bed.

STEP 10: Make sure that it can support a growing kid.

Time flies fast. Soon, your baby will learn how to crawl, walk, and play. Think about the future when building a nursery for your baby. Make sure that it’s a safe space for a growing kid. Leave enough floor space so the both of you can play and practice crawling or walking in there.

Since Scandinavian design is simple, it’ll be easy to change the room when the child grows older. You can turn it into another functional space at home.

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Superdraft is an award-winning team of architects, building designers, and other consultants related to construction industry. They have established offices in six major Australian cities (Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, & Melbourne). Check out their Instagram if you want daily interior design tips that’s straight from their architects.

*Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here