Spring Statement earring trends that you don’t want to miss!

Spring is without a doubt my favourite season to style, and the current trends for 2019 are not disappointing! I mean it’s Spring… which means it’s time to have even more fun with fashion!

Accessories can make or break a look. They can bring you from night to day, and night to day. They can enhance the body and facials features that you love, and even detract attention from places you don’t want it.

From dripping crystals, to gold sea sells, vibrant graphics, and beautiful colours… It’s time to be vibrant, get playful and unapologetically bold in our choices!

Earrings are without a doubt my favourite way to accessorise a look. They can completely change an outfit, and really draw attention to you face.

So let’s explore some of my favourite earring trends for 2019. I have included easy shoppable links, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and receive a list of up to date discount codes!

Dripping – Layers of tassels, diamanté’s and metallics. Drips add length to the neck and help excentuate it. The pair above are called Gold Acrylic Flower Cup Chain Hoop Earring and are from Lovisa.
Peach – My favourite colour this season would have to be a juicy peach tone. Matched with an all white outfit and a bronzed glow, a look like this will see you through into Summer. This pair is from Lovisa and is call Pink Acrylic Swirl Oval Earring.
Thin Drops – A thin drop earring really elongates the neck and slims the face. I particularly like these Diamanté Star Drop earrings from Adorn and think they would look extra special for a sparkly Christmas!
Geometric – Jewellery which resembles an architectural structure is huge at the moment. These Rose Gold earrings are extremely on trend. Geometric Rose Gold Rubber Drop Earring from Lovisa.
Flowers – Florals were made for spring right? There is no exception when it comes to jewellery. Pretty petals in gorgeous pastel and bright floral tones scream Spring to me. These Bead Centre Floral Earrings from Adorn are perfect for this season. tSpringtime.
Pearl – The glistening look of pearls has been hot for successive seasons now, and has continued its rein into Spring 2019. Personally I love pearls mixed with gold, and am obsessed with these Clio Pearl Diamanté Tear Drop Earrings from Adorne.
Palm Springs – From fashion, to vacations, to home decor, Palm Springs is everywhere at the moment. These Beaded Palm Trees from Adorne are so much fun and I can see myself wearing them by the pool even through to Summer!
Art Deco – I am a long time lover of Art Deco pieces and I particularly love this fan style. They are simple enough to add to a casual look or can be dressed up for the evening. Jewelled Fan Stud by Adorne.

A big thank you to Adorn and Lovisa for providing the pieces featured on this blog post so that I may share them with you all.

Enjoy!

6 Ways to save on your next kids party (and for it to still be fabulous!)

Every fortnight or the past few weeks I have been sharing helpful party planning tips from my dear friend Natty Faulks. Natty is a children’s party entertainer through her company Strawberry Fundaes, and she keeps your children happy at their parties by dressing up as their favourite character. Natalie is a complete expert when it comes to party planning, so here are her top tips for cutting catering costs at your next party…

Kids parties are so much fun! But sometimes we can get carried away with what we think it needs to be and then we blow out the budget. That is where I can help to keep you on track!

Here are my top 6 tips to cut costs on some of the wallet draining items, but still have an awesome party!

1 – Invitations
Create your own or go digital!
You can make your own invitations, at home on various online platforms and then you can either print at home or save as a jpeg or PDF and email out. My go to sites for this are Canva or Greetings Island. They look great too!

2 – Decorations
Firstly… Less is more! The most simple of decorations can look fab. Eg – a whole wall of single balloons stuck down makes a great backdrop and only costs around $5 tops! Also, I highly recommend choosing a colour theme to decorate with instead of using licensed product. Eg – Instead of using Frozen branded cups, plates and balloons, just stick to generic blues and whites and silver. You will save a stack of $$$ right there but it will still look really effective!

3 – Party at the park or at home
Venues can cost a bomb, so unless you really want to factor them into the budget, go for the free options – the park or at home. Just remember that wherever you choose to hold your party to always have a wet weather plan.

4 – Free online party printables
I have used this option many times. Simply google ‘free online party printables’ and there are heaps of options. You can download and print at home birthday signage, cupcake toppers, water bottle labels, name tags, favour bag tags and more!

5 – Ditch the party bag
To be honest, I am not a fan of party bags. Lots of parents are not that keen on lollies these days (And it can get sketchy with allergies etc.) and I also find lots of party bag fillers really are just rubbish or choking hazards. And the average bag costs a min $5 filled. So my alternatives are – Bubble wands with a thank you tag or sticker (Wands are 75c at Kmart), Balloons on a stick (These can double as decorations at first and then the kids take home), keep cups (Buy $1 glass jars with straws and the kids take those home) Lucky dip gift wrapped in blue or pink tissue paper ( wrap random boys and girls stuff like rubber snakes, matchbox cars , lip gloss, bath bombs. These are all individually cheaper than a lolly bag.) Take home cupcakes.

6 – Cake Hack! (Or make your own)
I am terrible at making cakes so if I can’t afford to outsource one, I buy two mud cakes from Coles or Woolworths (Around $4 each) stack them on top of each other and then cover them both with butter cream (You can even just buy a tub of Betty Crocker Icing if you really are time poor!). Set in the fridge and then decorate with themed figurines or flowers! Super easy!

1 – Invitations
Create your own or go digital!
You can make your own invitations, at home on various online platforms and then you can either print at home or save as a jpeg or PDF and email out. My go to sites for this are Canva or Greetings Island. They look great too!

2 – Decorations
Firstly… Less is more! The most simple of decorations can look fab. Eg – a whole wall of single balloons stuck down makes a great backdrop and only costs around $5 tops! Also, I highly recommend choosing a colour theme to decorate with instead of using licensed product. Eg – Instead of using Frozen branded cups, plates and balloons, just stick to generic blues and whites and silver. You will save a stack of $$$ right there but it will still look really effective!

3 – Party at the park or at home
Venues can cost a bomb, so unless you really want to factor them into the budget, go for the free options – the park or at home. Just remember that wherever you choose to hold your party to always have a wet weather plan.

4 – Free online party printables
I have used this option many times. Simply google ‘free online party printables’ and there are heaps of options. You can download and print at home birthday signage, cupcake toppers, water bottle labels, name tags, favour bag tags and more!

5 – Ditch the party bag
To be honest, I am not a fan of party bags. Lots of parents are not that keen on lollies these days (And it can get sketchy with allergies etc.) and I also find lots of party bag fillers really are just rubbish or choking hazards. And the average bag costs a min $5 filled. So my alternatives are – Bubble wands with a thank you tag or sticker (Wands are 75c at Kmart), Balloons on a stick (These can double as decorations at first and then the kids take home), keep cups (Buy $1 glass jars with straws and the kids take those home) Lucky dip gift wrapped in blue or pink tissue paper ( wrap random boys and girls stuff like rubber snakes, matchbox cars , lip gloss, bath bombs. These are all individually cheaper than a lolly bag.) Take home cupcakes.

6 – Cake Hack! (Or make your own)
I am terrible at making cakes so if I can’t afford to outsource one, I buy two mud cakes from Coles or Woolworths (Around $4 each) stack them on top of each other and then cover them both with butter cream (You can even just buy a tub of Betty Crocker Icing if you really are time poor!). Set in the fridge and then decorate with themed figurines or flowers! Super easy!

 

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!

 

Small-Signature-Nat

5 ways to cut the catering costs of your next kids party…

A couple of weeks ago I shared a guest blog post from a gorgeous friend of mine which had an incredible response, so I decided to get her back to share more of her party planning wisdom! You remember, my party planning expert Natty Faulkner! Natty is a children’s party entertainer through her company Strawberry Fundaes. She keeps your children happy at their parties by dressing up as their favourite character. 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 cutting catering costs at your next party…

Something I also see a lot at kids parties is over catering and food wastage!
Kids generally don’t eat much at parties. They are busy running around playing games and are very distracted. So… Here are my top 5 tips to help you cut back on your party catering costs and waste.

1 – PARTY LUNCH BOX
This is seriously my all – time favourite! Individually portion each lunch box (cardboard or paper bag made in advance) and then encourage all the kids to sit down to eat together. It helps to create a moment of peace and gives structure to your party.

Here is a list of food I use in my party lunch boxes
1 x Sandwich – (Or a wrap or sushi)
I often use cookie cutters to make the sandwich a fun shape.
1 x cheese stick.
1 x popcorn cup or pretzels/crackers.
1 x cupcake ( or jelly cup or cookie, muffin etc)
1 x fruit cup or fruit stick

2 – JUGS, JUGS, JUGS
Serving drinks in jugs or drink dispensers is much more cost effective than the individual juice or cordial packs. I use paper cups or keep cups that can be an alternative favour to take home.

3 – THE 4 PLATTER RULE
Have you heard the 4 platter rule? Well, I made it up! It keeps you on track and on budget. This is how it works…
Platter 1 – Fruit – You can make it look as pretty as you like. Don’t buy too much fruit though. Kids will only eat an average of 3- 4 pieces each. (also don’t use banana as it goes brown)
Platter 2 – Sweets and chips – Think fairy bread, jelly cups, chips, pretzels, popcorn, lollies, crackers, cheese. Only choose 3 things on this list. You definitely don’t need to serve all! (Remember we are saving money)
Platter 3 – Main food – This platter can have sausage rolls, pies, pizza, sandwiches, sushi, bbq sausages on bread, mini hamburgers, fried rice in cups, nuggets and chips, etc. Only choose 1 type of ‘main food’ to be served on this platter.
Platter 4 – Cake! – Cake and cupcakes are your final serving of food at the party.

4 – ADULTS, SHMADULTS…
I am sure most mums and dads will agree that when we attend children’s parties, we don’t expect to be fed. (Obviously this is a different story if you have been invited to a family event.) There is no need to create a whole menu for the adults. Most mums and dads will usually pick from the kids platters anyway!

5 – KEEP IT SIMPLE
At the end of the day, a small table of snacks followed by a main serve and end with cake will do the trick. Choose foods that are filling and then you won’t need as many snacks (which add up the $$ and get wasted the most). And remember… the food doesn’t have to look like a 5 star Pinterest party! Kids will not notice!

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!

Small-Signature-Nat

 

 

 

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

Small-Signature-Nat

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!

 

Small-Signature-Nat

SCHOOL LUNCHES FEATURING YAYTRAY

With the new school year here in Australia well and truly past, and lunch box ideas running low, I thought this would be the perfect time to refresh all of our Mum brains with new inspirations for school lunches.  I absolutely LOVE making kindy lunches, and take a lot of pride in the options, variety and presentation of Ari’s food, making lunchtime a really exciting time for him.

As in the past I prepare Ari’s lunch in his Yaytray which is a super cool, fun and innovative lunch box from Yurica Labs.  Prior to this blog post I have written 7 Lunches for 7 Days featuring the Yaytray which you can revisit here.

I have previously shared the many reasons why I love the Yaytray product.  Here they are again:
1. It saves me time – I only prepare and clean up one container.
2. It is great for the environment – no more cling wrap.
3. It is neat and compact – the worlds first all in one eating tray.
4. Things don’t get lost – it holds it’s own cutlery.
5. Is clean and convenient – leak proof and packs up in a matter of seconds.
6. It holds a large meal – 400mls actually!
7. It’s stable and non slip – making it easy for children to eat from.
8. All the important things – like food-safe, BPA-free, phthalate-free, microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe.
9. It’s cost-effective, you don’t have to buy a million containers just this one.
10. They are a small business, so you are buying from real Mum’s and Dads who designed it because they know what we need.

To purchase a Yaytray click here and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and you will receive your 10% off discount code!  To follow Yurica Labs on Instagram click here

MONDAY – Bold and Bright
Fresh, crisp and healthy.

Rice Paper Rolls
Leftover Roast Chicken
Pretzels
Blueberry, Lemon and Coconut Slice
Strawberries

Recipe – Roast Chicken.  Blueberry, Lemon and Coconut Slice.  Rice Paper Rolls.
Time Savers – Roast your own chicken the night before and serve it for dinner with vegetables, or buy a store-bought version to save even more time.
Variations – Swap the chicken breast for any cold meat selection, a can of tuna, smoked salmon or cold marinated tofu.  Cheese can be swapped with a vegan alternative.  Rice Paper Rolls can be made in countless variations.


TUESDAY – Turning Japanese
A yummy selection of food from one of our favourite destinations.

Sushi
Edamame
Cucumber Sticks
Orange Slices
Pop Corn

Recipe – Sushi.
Time Savers – Edamame can be purchased in peeled form in the freezer section of grocery stores.  I just pull a bag out from my freezer when I am ready to use it, and let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
Variations – Sushi can be made using lots of different options to suit all dietary requirements.  If your children don’t like the idea of seaweed there are lots of varieties that are seaweed free.


WEDNESDAY – Family Favourite

A freezer friendly twist on a family favourite.

Macaroni Pasta Bites
Carrot Sticks
Soy Crisps
Raspberries
Blackberries
Dried Fruit

Recipes – Macaroni Pasta Bites.
ime Savers – Use last nights left over pasta (any variety it doesn’t have to be Macaroni) to easily create this meal.  Or double the batch, you can even freeze a bunch of pasta cups for future lunches.
Variations – Use your favourite pasta meal to create this dish.  Carrot sticks can be exchanged for ticks of cucumber, carrot or capsicum.


THURSDAY – Healthy Balance
My perfect go to for stocking up the freezer.

Mini Quiche
Vegemite Twist
Snow Peas
Banana Slices
Yoghurt Covered Sultanas

Recipes – Mini Quiche.  Vegemite Twist.
ime Savers – Make a double batch of the quiches and store them in the freezer or serve for dinner the night before.
Variations – There are countless options of quiches available.  Vegemite twists can be made glute free.  The fruit and vegetables can be swapped out for your littles favourites.


FRIDAY – Baker’s Delight
Homemade versions of family favourites!
Savoury Scroll
Banana, Zucchini and Carrot Loaf
Bean Mix
Apricot Delight
Dried Cranberry
Kiwi Fruit
Capsicum Slices

Recipes – Savoury Scroll.  Banana, Zucchini and Carrot Loaf.
Time Savers – These savoury scrolls are seriously so quick and easy.  Banana loaf can be cut and popped in the freezer for future lunches.
Variations – There are lots of scroll variations like keeping them meat free for vegetarians.


After School Snack –
This last recipe is a new favourite afternoon snack which my littles are loving.  I came across it on the Instagram page of Sarita Holland who’s account is ful of delicious recipes that she makes with her children.  Click here to see the post with full recipe that contains only four ingredients.

Before I wrap this up I want to share with you my three biggest time-saving tips for when it comes to meal prep!  Once again I have shared these before, but they truly are life savers! 
1. Make all of your meals in one go.  I make breakfast, lunch and dinner all in the morning.  This is a huge time saver especially in the clean up and it means that I don’t feel like I ‘live’ in the kitchen.
2. Food prep in bulk with cook ups every few months.  I tend to do a big one every three months to get my lunch staples sorted.
3. Always take a packed lunch out with you when you have little babes.  I make Ari and Chloe’s lunch in their Yaytray every morning, even if we think we might be home.  It saves me time and money if we end up unexpectedly out for lunch.

To purchase a Yaytray click here and don’t forget to subscribe to receive my discount code!  To follow Yurica Labs on Instagram click here

DETAILS
Photos –
Nicola Holland Photography
My outfit –
Mumma Bear Nursing Wear
Chloe and Ari’s Outfits (for their picnic) – Piper and Me
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for a full list of discount codes including ones for all of the stores mentioned in this blog.

THANKYOU for reading, I hope that you  gained a useful tip or meal to work into your lives.  on’t forget to keep up to date with our family life on Instagram.

Enjoy!

Small-Signature-Nat

*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.

Chloe’s 2nd Birthday Party – Sweets For Our Sweet!

We just wrapped up Chloe’s epic ‘ Sweets For Our Sweet’ 2nd Birthday Party, and I couldn’t wait any longer to get this blog post up!  She had THE BEST time, and so did I putting it together for her! 

The Theme
We chose the theme ‘Sweets For Our Sweet’ because Coco is literally the biggest sweet tooth.  She loves all things cakes, doughnuts, lollies but especially ice cream!  The beautiful Jess from Little J Designs came up with the colour scheme and overall idea..  She sent me a photo of perfect palette of pastel colours with a hint of gold, and I just fell in love with it.  I was instantly sold and set about creating a magical space for Miss Chloe. 

The Invitations
Jess from Little J Design also put together the invitations from concept, design to completion.  They were shaped like gorgeous paddle pop sticks and were dipped in chocolate sprinkles.  I think most of Chloe’s friends tried to eat them they looked so real!  Jess is so clever and such a sweet soul!

The Venue
Being that Chloe is a Summer baby (like her Daddy,) she’ll be having pool parties for life!  We chose Kawana Aquatic Center, our local public pool, for the venue.  There is a few areas within the centre that can be hired out, we chose the ‘Treasure Island’ space which suited the age of Chloe and her friends (newborn to 5.)  It was fully fenced, all of the children could walk in the water and there was fun water fountains to play with.  I loved that there was fencing because it kept the party and kids contained, which made it more relaxing for the adults.  Guests can pay for themselves or you can shout, we opted for the later. 

The Food
In the past I have always organised the kiddies party food myself, with the help of family.  This time I decided to out source and I can’t even tell you how much of a relief it was!  Honestly, I don’t think I will ever do my own party food again.  I didn’t have to bring a single thing.  Sharni from Grazing Acres put together the most delicious spread of breakfast yummies (9am party,) consisting of croissants, breads with spread, a build your own muesli bowl station, ham, cheese and fruits.  There was no wastage at all, the budget was perfectly on point.  If I had of done it myself I know I would have spent the same amount if not more, and ended up with left overs in the bin.  I could not recommend outsourcing the food any higher, and if you are close to the Sunshine Coast you must check out Grazing Acres because Sharni is incredible at what she does

The Cake
The beautiful Ange from Ange’s Cakes put together a stunning Ice Cream themed masterpiece.  We chose a white chocolate mud and everyone just loved it.  My favourite part was the gorgeously lux sprinkle mix she added.  Ange also made 24 amazing ‘Ice Cream Cones,’ that really did look like real ice creams but in fact they were stuffed with chocolate and white marble chocolate cake.  So so cute! Ange is so passionate, I just love her.

Chloe’s cake topper was from XOXO Design which is where I always get our cake toppers from.  I went with a custom gold metallic side mount, as the cake was already quite full on the top.  This idea was suggested by Ange and worked out fabulously.  XOXO design have a huge variety of cake toppers and party goods, and are always such a pleasure to work with.

The Sweets
I also organised custom chocolates from Print and Party.  This lady is amazing!  When you order her products for a party, her system sends you regular emails with the best party tips, so helpful!  Print and Party can put any custom design onto their chocolates packaging, however I found one of the website that worked perfectly.  So instead of customising the whole thing I just added Chloe’s name.  There are so many flavours available, I chose caramel and dark caramel.  From design to delivery the chocolates came very quickly in the mail. Print and Party were delightful to work with.    

The sweetest ice cream shaped cookies were handmade by Li’s Cookie Jar.  Liz is located into the Spring Field Lakes however ships across Australia.  She came up with the design and colours, which worked perfectly with our theme.  They came individually wrapped so would have made the perfect party favour, however I decided to make them available for the kiddies to eat on the day.  They were a huge hit, and Liz pulled the whole thing together for me so quickly, what a lady!

Party Favours
Cloud Theory Marshmallows put together beautiful boxed marshmallows for the littles to take home.  Each gourmet marshmallow was handcrafted, and came in the mail from Adelaide.  I made sure that we kept a few for ourselves and they were absolutely delicious.  The packaging was so gorgeous and perfect as a take home treat.  The wonderful woman behind Cloud Theory Marshmallows just loves what she does.

The Decor
My biggest tip when decorating a party would be to choose one statement piece and put your budget into that.  I choose a 5m balloon garland from Party Planet.  The owner Kelly is so passionate about her job, and this shows through in the work that she produces.  I gave Kelly an idea of the colour scheme to work from, then left the rest up to her.  The result was phenomenal and everyone was talking about our Party Planet balloon garland.  If you are close to the Sunshine Coast you really must check them out, they even deliver and do the set up too.  What a weight off of my shoulders, abd to work with Kelly was an absolute dream!

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.  The cloth was great for providing shade, a barrier from the drizzling rain and also the wind.

Most of the other party supplies was purchased from Kmart.  Things like the paper plates, cups and napkins.  I had a photo of Chloe at ages newborn, one and two, 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, it matches the back drop.  Then I placed pastel milk bottles and a big white vase on the tables, and filled them with colourful flowers I purchased from Aldi for only $25. 

Photography
Time and time again I am thanking this gorgeous soul because every special occasion she photographs the most stunning images for our family.  Nicola Holland Photography… I will be forever grateful to her.  I can not stress how important it is to get someone to photograph life’s special moments.  If you say you’ll do it yourself, I can guarantee you won’t.  Believe me, you will be to busy with your guests or just having fun.  Photographs help memories last a life time, and I just adore capturing every important stage in my littles lives.  Not only does Nicola photograph families, but engagement sessions, weddings (overseas too) and everything else in-between and beyond. 

Outfits
Chloe’s Sunglasses – Wander Luxe Baby Co
Chloe’s Swimmers – Willow Swim
Chloe’s Swim Hat – Willow Swim
Ari’s Swimmer –   Nenna Swim

Supplier websites
Photography – Nicola Holland Photography
Invites and design of signage and printable – Little J Design
Breakfast table – Grazing Acres
Cake and ice cream cupcakes – Ange’s Cakes
Custom cake toppers – XOXO Design
Cookies – Liz’s Cookie Jar
Custom chocolates – Print and Party
Marshmallow party favours – Cloud Theory Marshmallows
Balloon garland – Party Planet
Custom back drop – Be Branded
Chloe’s sunglasses – Wander Luxe Baby Co
Chloe’s swimmers – Willow Swim
Chloe Swim Hat – Willow Swim
Ari’s swimmers – Nenna Swim

Supplier Instagram pages
Photography – @nicolahollandphotography
Invites and design of signage and printable –
@littlejdesign
Breakfast Table –
@grazing.acres
Cake and ice cream cupcakes –
@angescakes
Custom cake toppers –
@xoxodesign_au
Cookies –
@lizscookiejar
Custom chocolates –
@printandparty
Marshmallow party favours –
@cloudtheorymarshmallows
Balloon garland –
@party__planet
Custom back drop –
@_bebranded
Chloe’s sunglasses –
@wanderluxebabynco
Chloe’s swimmers –
@willow_swim
Ari’s swimmers –
@nennaswim

Discount codes
I have a HUGE list of discount codes available, including to some of the stores involved in the planning of Chloe’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

Small-Signature-Nat

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

ARI TURNS TWO… STRAWBERRY PARTY

I can’t believe it!  My darling Chloe is about to turn 2!  I am in the midst of planning for second birthday party.  Anyone who knows me or follows our journey would have seen that I LOVE party planning.  Spoiling our littles with visual delights and sweet treats to make their special day even more magic.  It’s got me reminiscing on parties of past and I wanted to share with you some of my favourites.

Ari’s really enjoys strawberries, he just loves them, and his birthday happens to be during Australian Strawberry season.  So for his second birthday party we headed to a local strawberry field in Glenview for an afternoon of picking nature’s candy.  All of his friend’s were given a punnet to fill and take home, which made for a rare healthy party favour.  The food was all based around strawberries, even the giant strawberry cake.  I also put Chloe and Ari in matching Strawberry themes outfits!

For anyone with a baby born during strawberry season I would highly recommend this idea as a party theme.

 

 

 

 

‘Into the Woods’ Themed Baby Shower

“If you go down the woods today you’re in for a big surprise…”  Ari’s ‘Into the Woods’ (Woodland) themed baby shower was almost three years ago now so it’s been a challenge to piece this blog post together, because Mum brain! Woodlands is such a great theme that can be used for so many different occasions!  How amazing are baby showers?!?  Friends and family coming together to celebrate love, friendship and a new life!  So here’s some inspiration for Mamas and Mamas to be…

Location/Theme Background
I am a real girly girl, so even though I knew I was baking a baby boy I wanted to keep the theme gender neutral to reflect both of us.  Woodland can be taken in so many different directions but I wanted to keep it earthy, pretty and light, for a formal sit-down lunch at my Mother’s house.  We hired tables and chairs from a local party hire company who dropped off and picked up making the set up a lot easier.

Invitations
“If you go down the woods today you’re in for a big surprise…”  The invitations for this baby shower were probably the most detailed that I have put together.   I had a lovely friend help me design and print them.  The actual invite was printed and cut then rolled into a scroll and tied with a piece of blue ribbon.  We then placed it into a clear package which was stuffed with fake moss purchased on Ebay.   The clear package was then pulled together with twine and tagged up with a pretty golden leaf.  Most of the packaging and decorative details were purchased from Kmart.  In the write up we included details of the party, my baby shower registry and a note asking people to bring a new/used book instead of a card.  The book idea was fantastic and we now have a whole library selection of beautiful reads.  My guests wrote well wishes to the Ari in the front of their book which I now read to him at night.

Decorations
Being that I was having a formal sit-down lunch, we set up long tables on my Mother’s veranda, she has a stunning view so it was the perfect spot.  I used cheap calico material to create table cloths which I still use now.  The centrepieces where DIY, made from cut tree stumps and long twigs.  I set the twigs into the stumps to create a small tree then hot glue gunned fake flowers to them.   The bases of the tree like centrepieces were then decorated with fake moss, feathers, more fake florals and pine cones that I had collected.  I purchased real flowers the day before the party and scattered the tables with them and placed arrangements in vases.  Fresh fruit also made for cheap but in theme decorations.  Being that the party was a few weeks after Easter I was also to pick up a lot of woodlands style animal ornaments in the sales.  All the plates, napkins and cutlery were deposable to make clean up simple.

Floral Crown Station
We set up the most divine station where guests could make their own floral crown to wear on the day and take home.  I purchased inexpensive blooms from a local florist and places them in pretty buckets, (if you arrange this in advance they can often get cheap ones from their wholesale markets.)  All the wire, cutters, ribbon etc were bought online.  One of my friends is an expert floral crown maker and could help give the girls guidance on the best way to make theirs look beautiful.  The biggest cost of the station was in the flowers but it was so worth it, making for a fun activity and gorgeous photos.

Party Favours
I love giving my guests something to take home as a thank you and this time I found the perfect green candles at Kmart for only $1!  The little ones weren’t forgotten either and each one went home with a personally selected gift (just from Kmart!)

The Food & Drinks
My family loves food and we decided on a sit-down buffet style lunch.  There were so many options but some of my personal favourites were the chicken and leek pies (pre- vegetarian life,) pumpkin frittata, the huge selection of salads and of course the sweets!

No party is complete without cake!  The Cupcake Teahouse made the sweetest Woodland inspired creation with sweet little animals and toadstools.  I opted for a chocolate mud cake which was gluten free so that it would suit all dietary requirements needed.

A mimosa drinks station was set up to keep everyone refreshed.  Guests could make their own champagne cocktail with bubbles, juices and fresh fruits.

Games
Call me cheesy but I love baby shower games, they really help to make a party feel like a baby shower!  We did all the regulars like guess how big the bump is using a piece of string and we got into teams to make a diaper out of toilet paper.  My favourite was when we split into teams of two where one person was blind folded and had to feed the other baby food!

Opening Gifts
Now this seems to be a controversial subject and less and less people are opening their gifts at the actual shower.  In my opinion do it!  Opening pressies only adds to the happy baby shower vibes. Plus everyone wants to see you open their gift and gush over teeny tiny baby clothes.

TOP TIPS FOR BABY SHOWER PLANNING

  1. Hold the shower at someone’s house if possible it’s so much cosier and practical for young children attending.
  2. Nominate a friend or family member to keep track of the RSVPs.
  3. Ask for a book instead of a card they are much more useful.
  4. If you are doing the catering yourself give family members a platter to fill.
  5. Set up decorations the day prior if possible and say yes to help.
  6. Delegate tasks in advance instead of leaving it to the day, including someone in charge of taking photos (even on their Iphone,) someone to organise the games and assist with gift unwrapping. 
  7. Before you go buying any decorations check your house for items that will suit your theme.
  • Don’t work too hard Mama.
  1. Ask a friend to make a music play list for the day.  Mine featured a mish mash of songs with the word ‘baby’ in them.
  2. Choose a theme that suits DIY projects to save money.  
  3. Keep a budget and stick to it.
  4. Make your own table cloths that can be used for years to come.  
  5. This could possibly the last party that will be thrown for you in a while so put your feet up and enjoy yourself!

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AND NOW FOR THE SPAM!

 Photography – http://www.nicolahollandphotography.com.au/

*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

Chloe’s Rose Gold Cake Smash

Oh how I love a good cake smash!

The inspiration behind Chloe’s smash came from a friend of mine. She thought that natural toned styling would perfectly compliment Chloe’s fair hair and big blue eyes… oh boy was she right! I loved the idea so I set to work finding the perfect pieces and people to bring this vision together.

Little Lotus Photography captured our beautiful images. Shelley has a gorgeous studio at her house located on the Sunshine Coast where we live.  She had all the props that I was looking for including light timber look flooring, a white cake stand and four claw bath… she also had all the tricks to get those oh so rare smiles out of Miss Coco.

Penny’s Pieces custom made Chloe’s gorgeous suit. I sent Alison an image of the sort of thing I was looking for including my picks for fabric and she came up with the sweetest neutral piece. The quality of the suit was just breathtaking and its definitely one that I will be keeping in her baby box (maybe even my grandchildren could wear it oneday!)

Chloe’s absolutely stunning floral crown was handmade by Shabby & Sweet. I so adore this small business, which is located in Tasmania, and I have formed a beautiful friendship with it’s Mama owner. I sent in my colour palette, then not one but three crowns were produced for me to choose from! I fell in love this particular one due to it’s blend of pink and apricot tones.

Our beautiful cake topper was from Xoxo Design. We used their ‘One’ in a natural timber finish which I absolutely loved. It was a tough choice because they have such a huge array of toppers but this one worked out perfectly. The totally delicious cake was made by a lovely Mama friend (if you are on the coast and need a cake lady let me know!)

I supplied my own balloons for the smash and of course I went to Parties Made Pretty to find them. They recommend their set collection of rose gold balloons called ‘All That Glitters Range – Rose Coloured Glasses.’ Parties Made Pretty are my go to for all things parties, their website is full of all the latest party decor.

Chloe and I had a great day shooting her smash together and I had a lot of fun styling it. I think this one goes down in history as our best Mummy Daughter day to date!

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SUPPLIER RECAP
PHOTOGRAPHER – http://www.littlelotusphotography.com.au/
OUTFIT – https://pennys-pieces-oz.myshopify.com/
FLORAL CROWN – https://www.shabbyandsweet.com.au/
CAKE TOPPER – http://www.xoxodesign.com.au/
BALLOONS – https://www.partiesmadepretty.com.au/

*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