16.4.14

Little Nikki



After following each other on Instagram, I recently met the stylist Nicole Valentine Don (also known as Little Nikki) in real life, and I was immediately drawn to her refreshingly upbeat approach to life. The self-described 'inspired Canadian prairie girl' is the epitome of a spunky pocket rocket - and has a talent for DIY that is obvious through out her very sweet blog, the transcontinental affair. My mailbox came up with the goods on Monday when I found a lovely package addressed to myself and Sunday...Little Nikki had been busy and gifted us with one of her hand sewn hanging leaves, and a decorative arrow set to mount on the wall. I'll leave you with some photos from Little Nikki - three ways to make a non-functioning fireplace look cool. I love the pops of colour, the playful nature of each set up, and the healthy dose of whimsical DIY projects. You can contact Nicole directly - her favourite thing to do is to complete custom projects for her clients. Also, check out her recent Easter shoot for Freedom. Clever Little Nikki!


Styling: Nicole Valentine Don; Photos: Fiona Galbraith

10.4.14

Easter Treats

I love an excuse to get my craft on...and I found the perfect excuse with Easter coming up. My pretzels last Easter were a bit of a hit, and I had every intention of making my own Cadbury Creme eggs this year to rival them (check out this recipe). Alas, real work piled up - so I settled with store-bought caramel eggs but still made an effort with the packaging (wrapping can truly make the gift, do you agree)? I stamped gold dots on to mini muslin bags, and tied them up with labels (made in seconds using the heavy duty hole punch pictured above). You can purchase all the items you need for this project from a favourite online craft supplier of mine - Stampin Up. I love how handy the little muslin bags could be - if only I had another wedding to plan - they would make some pretty cute bonbonniere!

5 more Easter inspired projects I'm loving:

1. This INCREDIBLE Easter cake
2. Cute DIY mason jars for Easter table decoration
3. Sophisticated and beautiful marbled easter eggs
4. Beyond cute Easter Egg pinatas
5. One for the kids to get involved in - a paper plate Easter chick 

Happy making!

Briar x

6.4.14

Five Things





A wrap-up of five things I am loving lately:

1. I love walking past the extremely fragrant, star-shapes of a white Hyacinth - which is why we have them in a vase on our dining table at the moment. Random fact: Hyacinths let off most scent in the night time hours (I remember that from working at my Aunt's garden centre as a student, the smell opening up the shop in the morning was stunning). 

2. Cheese is pretty fabulous. Cheese can be even more amazing with these clay cheese markers! I was given this gorgeous set for my birthday - buy your own from the Etsy seller, Nelle Design

3. I've recently discovered the raw, organic, and home made Pana Chocolate. Let's just say it's up there with the Lindt ball + Ferrero Rocher in the satisfaction stakes - but it's healthy. Seriously. Sunday loves it too, which is great - as it's also dairy free. 

4. Happy mail arrived in the form of (fellow blogger) Sophie Hansen's book Local is Lovely. Sophie lives in Orange, NSW - and the book is full of delicious recipes celebrating fresh local produce. Her blog is packed with gorgeous images too.

5. I'm sure I'm not the only one that tends to exercise more successfully and  frequently if you have the good workout gear (that sounds so shallow - but I just love a good pair of bright Nikes). I've been hitting up my local Bikram studio lately, and I'm pretty pleased with my new bag from Adidas by Stella McCartney - check out the very cool range on Style Runner. I'm also a fan of Jodi Meares' latest active wear venture The Upside.

Happy week ahead, friends! I'll be back soon with a little craft project for Easter. 

Briar x

31.3.14

Shopping : Bedside Tables


A few of my clients have requested new bedroom fit outs just in time for Winter, so I've found myself sourcing quite a few different bedside tables lately.... I've pulled together a variety for the blog, fit for anything from inner city digs to a beachside pad. 

1. I love the classic feel of this solid American Oak timber table, and the simple handle detail - Butler's Straight Leg Side Table, Pierre + Charlotte 2. A little modern, a little traditional -  make a bold statement with the Montaigne Side Table, La Maison 3. Super modern and super cute - the Drum Side Table by Swedese, Fred 4. The glass and fine lines make this little table elegant and refined - Florence Side Table, La Maison 5. You've probably spotted this way too many times on The Block recently, but I'm still a fan of the organic form of the Egg Cup Stool, Mark Tuckey 6. Simple and contemporary - the Kasket White Table, Citta Design 7. I'm in love with the leather handle and the finish of the very cool Shale Bedside Table, Blu Dot 8. You can't go wrong with this absolute classic, the Saarinen Side Table, de de ce 9. A sunny pop of (super affordable) yellow - Stockholm Bedside Table, Ikea.

Happy shopping!

26.3.14

Not-Brownie Bites

If you're not a fan of my recipe posts, I apologise for two in a row - but I'm pretty proud of these 'I can't believe it's not a brownie' ball. For reasons I won't bore you with, little Sunday has a dairy free diet...and this week, I am trying to reduce carbohydrates in my diet (I know, it's very 2002 of me, but I have never actually tried it). Because of this, I felt inspired to try and make a 'healthy treat' we can both enjoy...wowzers, I'm a fan of these puppies. Whip up the bites (void of flour, dairy, refined sugar and butter) without even baking, you won't regret it.

Ingredients
2/3 cup raw walnut halves and pieces
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup soft dates, pitted (about 17 - 20 medium sized dates)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut milk 
2/3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

Place pitted dates in a bowl of warm water for a minute to soften them up.

Add unsweetened cocoa powder and walnuts to food processor, blend until walnuts become fine crumbs. Drain dates and place in the food processor with the cocoa walnut crumbs. Add vanilla. Process until mixture starts to combine. It may not fully combine until liquid is added. Add coconut milk half a tablespoon at a time. Pulse. You will know the consistency is right when the dough combines into a ball in the middle of the food processor. If dough is too runny add a tablespoon or more cocoa powder to bring it back to a dough like consistency.

Transfer dough to a bowl and cover with glad wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.  

Once the dough is cold, put coconut into a shallow bowl. Roll the dough between hands to form small balls. Roll balls in coconut crumbs, pressing the crumbs gently into the ball. Continue until all dough is gone.

Keep chilled, they taste best that way. Enjoy!

Briar x

20.3.14

Buffalo mozzarella lasagne

To my calorie-counting readers, I apologise - I'm ok if you turn away right now...but I feel compelled to share this very delicious Lasagne recipe we indulged in last weekend. It's from Easy Weekend's - a gorgeous cookbook by Neil Perry (styled by Sue Fairlie-Cuninghame).  Don't be freaked out by the long list of ingredients - they're all easily available, and the dish is simple to put together. 

As Neil says: "For perfect entertaining, you can make the lasagne well ahead of time. Then, when friends arrive for dinner, all you have to do is heat it up, add a salad and open the wine".

Ingredients
9 instant lasagne sheets 
500g fresh buffalo or cow's-milk mozzarella 
100g freshly grated parmesan 
Meat sauce 
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
1 onion, finely chopped 
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
300g pork mince 
300g veal mince 
sea salt and freshly ground pepper 
2 tsp plain flour 
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
a pinch of caster sugar 
700ml tomato passata 
400g canned diced tomatoes 
2 large handfuls basil leaves 

Béchamel sauce 
50g unsalted butter 
2 tbsp plain flour 
600ml milk 
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Method Serves 6
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Adjust the oven racks so the dish can sit in the middle.
To make the meat sauce, heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the meats and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, for 4 minutes or until it loses its raw colour but is not browned. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has almost evaporated. Add the sugar, passata and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Check the seasoning, stir in the basil and set the meat sauce aside.
To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk all at once, whisking constantly, to avoid any lumps. Return the pan to the heat and keep whisking, until the sauce boils and thickens. Remove from the heat and season.
To assemble the lasagne, spread a quarter of the meat sauce in the base of a 29cm x 23cm x 7cm lasagne dish. Place 3 of the lasagne sheets over the sauce. Spread another quarter of the sauce over the pasta, then a third of the mozzarella, torn into pieces. Continue layering the pasta, meat sauce and mozzarella two more times. Pour the béchamel sauce evenly over the final layer of mozzarella, then sprinkle with the parmesan. Cook the lasagne for 30 minutes or until the cheese is brown and the sauce is bubbling. Let the lasagne stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Handy tip
The meat sauce can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to two days. Just reheat it before you assemble the lasagne.
Enjoy! x

16.3.14

Bali Guide

I've had a few emails asking for some recommendations on where to stay + dine in Bali, so I thought I'd share a 'favourites' list - which has been updated since our first visit. To be honest, the options are totally endless - so these are my top tips, but by no means the be and end all. The Luxe Guide to Bali is fabulous, as is the 'Little Luxe' version (with tips for travelling with kids). Little Bali Love is also a super handy go-to website if you are travelling with kids. 

Stay:

We stayed (for a second time) at the lovely Uma Sapna in Seminyak. Very spacious villas with private pools, comfortable interiors and gorgeous bathrooms (choose from one or two bedroom options). We also had three nights of luxury at Alila in Ubud. It's pretty fancy pants, and probably enjoyed the most without a spirited toddler in tow. I hear their posh sister hotel Alila Uluwatu is beyond amazing - bookmark that one for the (second?) honeymoon.

Eat + Play:
Travelling with Sunny, we based the majority of our holiday around one place - Seminyak...

We loved our lunch so much here, we came back for dinner. Enjoy a really delicious modern seafood meal while looking out at a very peaceful rice paddy. Check out more photos on their website, it really is beautiful.

Just go! The very cool fit out, the Milionario Margarita and the corn served in a cup will stay with you as a favourite holiday memory. 

If you like a spicy curry, and a betel leaf laden with salmon and prawns, then this sultry but fancy restaurant is for you. 

Another favourite, an Asian fusion restaurant with a delicious lunch menu featuring 'Asian Bites' with beautiful dumplings and pot stickers...with a very cool interior fit out.

A supersize hotel that we visited twice, purely for the amazing pool. Sunday and her toddler friend Kit loved it, and the adults enjoyed a couple of great breakfasts. 

A newly opened cafe with a very cool floor and great chairs -  serving good coffee and delicious juices.

An oldie but a goodie, a hip and happening giant of a bar that looks out at the beach - serving one of my favourite cocktails ever - the Kookaburra. 

A bar/restaurant that is a short drive out of Seminyak, with the much-instagrammed mural by Lucas Grogan. Old Man's serves good pub-style food with very cold beer...all while looking out at a gorgeous surf beach, Batu Bolong. 

Photos: 1. The candlelit entrance at Motel Mexicola 2. The Lucas Grogan mural at Old Man's 3. Drinks at Potato Head Beach Club 4. The cool interior of Sisterfields 5. Kit and her mum Rachel loving the pool at Alila, Ubud.

Ah! Take me back x

9.3.14

Bali Guide



Hello everyone! 

It's been a while between posts. We have recently returned from a truly fabulous holiday in Bali. If you follow on me on Instagram (sunday_collector), you would have seen the steady stream of squares that captured some of the food we ate, the pools we swam in, and the very cute friendship between Sunday and her little travelling companion, Kit. I have a few more photos that I plan to share (taken on my proper camera), but I thought I would kick off the week with a few photos of the eclectic loot I returned home with. I spent one afternoon exploring a 'locals' market in Denpasar, and came across a store that I can only describe as a 'Balinese Officeworks/Bunnings from the 1970's'. I can't even tell you the name (as it had no signage), but the local I was shopping with informed me it was a general store that had been there for over 45 years where the locals buy in bulk. I feel like I only hit the sides, but was happy with my bag full of quirky things like notepads, twine, scissors and envelopes  - all for the grand sum of AUS $22.00. The shopkeepers thought I was mad, I'm sure. 

I was all geared up to pick some pretty dresses in Seminyak one morning, but I'm not going to lie, the (ladies) fashion in Bali is pretty disappointing (bar some great leather goods, mainly bags etc). Although, wow - did little Sunday manage to clean up! We had a spree at  my favourite label for girls (which is based in Seminyak) Coco & Ginger. I love that Sunday is reaching an age where she's appreciating her little outfits, pointing out the 'fwowers and leeeafs' in the fabrics, and having an opinion with her shoe selection every morning (heaven help me with a teenage Sunday)!

I'll be back later in the week with some tips on where to stay and where to eat - the options are truly endless...

Briar

18.2.14

Five Things





Five things I am loving:

1. My super crafty Mum has been at it again, and this time our couch has scored a new throw in time for the chillier months. Knitted by Les with over sized needles and a few rolls of the unique yarn call Hooked Zpagetti - it's heavy, but oh so colourful and cosy!
2. I know everyone is talking about coconuts - in the water and in the oil form...and I've jumped on the bandwagon with coconut oil in the shower - use it like you would a body wash. Hello, moisturised skin! Just watch those slippery tiles...
3. I'm loving thinking about our Bali adventure - the Stanley's are on a jet plane on Saturday, and we can't wait. Read my Bali blog posts from 2010 here...but please drop me a line if you have any must-visit tips! I'll be blogging about all my new finds, of course! Leather passport bag from kikki.K
4. I love that one of Sunday's favourite activities is art + craft (it was my favourite too), and my little butterball came home from her daycare on Valentines Day with a gorgeous heart. I can't help but hang all her masterpieces, they make me smile. 
5. No doubt I'll be longing for a cocktail by the pool once I return from Bali, so I have the Rhubarb + Rose fizz recipe on my radar - from Mark's great new cookbook The Agrarian Kitchen. I'll be sure to blog the recipe once I have attempted it.

See you back here soon!

Briar x


9.2.14

Rasberry Butter Cake

It's a photo opportunity when I bake, as it happens so rarely. I must say, I was rather pleased with this cake - I promise it was more delicious than it looks. I decided to honour Saint Valentine in time for Friday by using the heart tin that sits in the back of the cupboard...and delicious fresh raspberries. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
150g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
200g fresh raspberries

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 22cm cake tin with baking paper. Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla then eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour and baking powder and then add the milk and raspberries, and stir with a spatula until the mixture is just combined. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool the cake completely before decorating with the icing and raspberries. See below for the icing directions. Serves 10.

Rasberry butter cream icing:
125g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
8 rasberries
Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a bowl until pale. Gradually add icing sugar mixture and milk, beating constantly until combined. Add fresh raspberries at the end and beat quickly until mixed through. 

6.2.14

My Perfect Escape







Our bedroom got a little make over recently. Adairs asked me to be a guest blogger and describe what my 'perfect escape' would be - and I immediately thought of a handful of lovely hotel rooms I have stayed in over the years. Read the blog post over on their cute new blog, and check out the details of the products I chose (make sure to read posts from other bloggers who got involved too - two of my favourites...Jodi and Lexi). Adairs also have a super exciting competition running at the moment with $20,000+ in prizes to be won - all based around 'the perfect escape'. Enter here.

Briar x

4.2.14

Wallpaper for kids

I'm lucky enough to be styling a couple of kids rooms at the moment (a favourite brief of mine) and both clients have requested wallpaper for their little cherubs. I want my little clients to get longevity out of their new wall coverings, so have steered clear of using the more whimsical children's wall decals and papers that are very popular at the moment. I want the child to be able to grow with the print - so have been on the hunt for some slightly more sophisticated designs that will still be fun. Here are my top ten finds...you can find them here:

1. Miss & Missy Watermelon wallpaper by Jane Reiseger from the Wall Sticker Company 2. Emma Molony Peter Pan Wallpaper from Just Kids Wallpaper 3. Floating Flamingos wallpaper from Love Mae 4. Flamingo wallpaper from Cole & Son 5. Quoll Cream wallpaper from Sparkk 6. Beware the Moon wallpaper from Just Kids Wallpaper 7. Harlequin Dusty Green wallpaper from Ferm Living 8. Pocohontas Spring wallpaper from Love Mae 9. Nora by Sanberg wallpaper 10. Indian Tipi wallpaper from Studio Ditte.

I'll make sure I share the finished concept boards for the rooms when they are complete - I sure am having fun!

Briar x

30.1.14

Cranky Fins





You may have noticed that Mexican Cantinas are popping up in Sydney at the same rapid rate Thai eateries appeared in our suburbs 10 to 15 years ago. I'm not complaining - I love Mexican food and have posted about it enough on here I could almost create a sister blog to Sunday Collector dedicated to guacamole and fajitas. I digress...

Cranky Fins Holidae Inn has opened it's shutters in Palm Beach...and if you're not local,  it's definitely worth the extra drive along the Northern Beaches. I'm talking Haloumi, Pork & Fish soft shell tacos with a chilled Corona or a margarita, all served in an open space - with a relaxed and friendly vibe. The eclectic range of paintings, props and signs hanging on (and off) the walls bring a colourful air of playfulness to the space which is a short walk to the beach (It actually feels like you are somewhere other than Sydney). We had a lovely lunch at Cranky Fins last weekend and we were impressed by the fit-out, the friendly staff...and the crunchy school prawns. Did I mention the chocolate peanut butter fudge ice-cream sundae? I didn't indulge as I was too full, but it looked so incredible at the table next to us...just another excuse for me to head there for a second time.

Take the girls, or take the kids - I'm pretty sure everyone will love Cranky Fins!
Cranky Fins 1 Beach Road, Palm Beach NSW 
Briar x

23.1.14

Cactus in the Living Room


My residential styling business is the busiest it's ever been lately. I'm not complaining though, I can't believe that what I like to do in my 'spare time' is what I get to do in my '9-5 time'. I've just completed an eclectic little living room for a client who briefed me to 'have fun'. That I did! I thought I'd share with you a few of the items - see it as a little shopping guide of some things I am loving lately. 

1. I was impressed with the lines of this Orson & Blake Hudson Sofa, and the neutral linen colour will sit well on the light oak floors 2. It's no secret that I have a love for cactus - it turns out my client also has a collection, so a painting by Etsy artist Art & People was the perfect fit 3. The legs on this Regency Distribution Surf Silver coffee table are so great, as is the sleek marble top 4. I chose a very sweet but simple leather pendant light to centre over the coffee table from An/Aesthetic 5. I love the soft pink of the Country Road Hosk Cushion 6. Design By Them Dial Hangers are perfect for a pretty scarf - or just leave them bare on the wall for a small hit of colour 7. The Hunter Grand is a cool and flexible reading light with brass detailing from Fred 8. I love so many things from Family Love Tree - especially this shade of pastel blue on their new plaited mirrors 9. I'm so tempted to buy one of these vintage rugs from Bonnie & Neil for our place - it's just so bloody beautiful 10. While you are checking out the rugs, you can lust after the big range of cushions Bonnie & Neil produce - they are all such lovely quality 11. The faceted mirror side table from West Elm brings a little glam to the living room 12. The hit of tan leather in the very cool shelves from Lightly works beautifully with the deep blues and soft pinks in the room - and works to display special little trinkets

I hope you are all having a great week!

Briar x

19.1.14

Packing light



It's safe to say Sunday won't be forgetting her name in a hurry. The lucky thing was sent a lovely parcel of personalised Stuck on You goodies for me to review. As it turns out, Sunday can't leave the house lately without her Junior Wheelie Bag (this came in handy as her carry on when we went to the Gold Coast). She has been packing it (not as neatly as pictured, mind you) with all her 'neccessities' - the last photo is from Instagram over the weekend, while we were on our way to the supermarket. I've found the insulated lunchbox very handy for our travels too. The website gives you the ability to design your own sticker and clothing labels  - perfect timing for those of you with kids going back to school in a week or two. I also love the Puzzles, and think they are a really cute gift idea. 

I hope you all had a great weekend, I'll see you back here shortly!

Briar x

15.1.14

Papi Chulo, Manly





Papi Chulo has just opened up metres away from the water at Manly Wharf (check out the view). The latest venture from the guys at Merivale had me keen to check it out months ago when I spotted the mint green construction boarding that was hiding an amazing re-furb inside. The executive chef is Dan Hong who is responsible for three other restaurant hits: Ms G's, El Loco and Mr Wong, and the smokehouse and grill dining menu is described as 'breaking all the rules' - I have to agree...there's a little bit from America's deep south, a lot from Brazil and my favourite...Mexico. Word on the street is that the ribs, empanadas and corn are the things to order. One thing is for sure - you won't leave hungry. The servings are generous in size and ever-so tasty! In between sipping from your Mama Chula ('One for Papi's ladies, Espolon Blanco Tequila blended with Midori, lemon juice, agave syrup and fresh watermelon served frozen and straight up'), take in the ambiance of the impressive interiors with Latin American touches such as pressed metal ceilings, exposed brick walls, vintage shutters from Argentina, handwoven benches, antique lights and eclectic pieces of art on the walls - I promise you'll feel like your in a land far, far away. 

Papi Chulo 
22-23 Manly Wharf
Manly NSW 2095


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