The blog has been a little neglected this past week, as I have been unpacking...and unpacking some more. After 12 weeks, we were able to move back home to a lovely new kitchen (photos to come soon, I'm just waiting on a few cupboard doors that had to be re-sprayed). Besides the crazy amounts of new cooking space, I'm most excited about new floorboards. We were living with carpet in a large proportion of our apartment, which I had grown to loathe as the years went on, and I'm so happy I chose the 21mm wide European Oak 'Jubilee' Venture Plank from Havwoods. I'm so impressed with the quality, and will be recommending the range to clients from now on.
Back to the unpacking - I'm actually astounded (and a little ashamed) by the cupboards we managed to fill again. After living in the hotel for so long, it became obvious to Mark and I how little one needs to live comfortably. The majority of 'stuff' is just that - stuff. We didn't miss those boxes of books, the multiples in kitchen utensils, the spare 10 tea towels. If I had a front yard, I'd be holding an epic garage sale next week, but instead, we have decided to slowly cull week by week and donate two garbage bags (or boxes) a week to charity. I'm sure it will feel good.
In other news, I started re-hanging art today, and Terry the budgie has a new home, for now. He'll be watching over Sunday each night as she (doesn't) eat her greens.
I hope you are all having a great week, I'll be back here soon.
I am part of the statistic that says 67% of Australian people believe white bread has added sugar in it. I learnt last week that this is a complete myth when it comes to Australian bread. It’s definitely added to breads in America (the addition of sugar triples the shelf life), but here, the ingredients that go in to bread are surprisingly simple and natural. The only preservative that you’ll find is old fashioned vinegar. The other myth that was certainly debunked is that white flour gets bleached...Simply not true.
Along with a handful of bloggers and media representatives I was invited along to the Tip Top HQ for the launch of A Grain of Truth campaign, which is all about educating the average Australian and de mystifying the facts that have been doing the rounds about the ‘evils’ of bread the past couple of years. The gorgeous Dr Joanna McMillan was there to chat about her findings and shared some delicious recipes. We also watched a bread making demonstration from two of the head bakers at Tip Top Bakeries. The process was simple, and really hasn’t changed much over the years.
Our bodies actually need carbohydrates to refuel - so the consumption of smart carbs are essential for a healthy diet...Especially for children who need carbohydrates for healthy brain growth and function. Dr Joanne chatted to us about choosing carbs that are low GI and contain whole grains, to make you feel fuller for longer. I have to say I'm not part of the statistic that is cutting out bread from their diet. One of the main reasons is that without bread, Sunday’s diet would be incredibly limited. She’s a little carb loader and would live off pasta and plain bread if I allowed it. The only way I can make sure she is getting anything remotely nutritious is through toast in the morning and sandwiches at lunch. I was pleased to find out from Dr Joanne that the staple bread of choice in our home is one of the healthier options. I’ve been buying the fairly dense Soy + Linseed from Burgen for about 5 years now, simply because I find it delicious. Dr Joanne shared a great tip - If you are keen to get your child eating a more nutritious wholegrain bread over white options, do it gradually...wholegrain on the bottom of the sandwich and white on the top. Clever!
Sunday being the picky eater she is, always opens up a sandwich to scrutinise exactly what’s gone inside it, so I’ve quickly learned that an open option is the way to go with her. Pictured at the top of this post are four of my go-to open sandwich options, that I enjoy too. I must admit that the odd ingredient still gets flung to the side of Sunday's plate (case in point: tomato), but I figure if it’s put in front of her enough, she’ll have to cave in and try it one of these days.
For each of these four combinations, I simply toasted slices of the Burgen bread in the toaster (Sunday and I both like our bread toasted, but soft and fresh can be just as delicious). Numbered 1 to 4, give these really simple and affordable open sandwiches a go for a quick lunch:
1. Smash fresh avocado on the slice of toast with a fork. Place sliced tomato on top with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Spread fresh ricotta on the toast, place sliced strawberries on top with a sprinkling of shaved almonds.
3. Delicious soft peanut butter is a favourite with kids, add sliced banana, honey and cinnamon and it could almost be considered a dessert - but it's filling enough for an easy lunch.
4. A little on the decadent side - but sometimes I’ll try anything to get Sunday to eat something happily. Simply spread fresh ricotta, add a layer of blueberries and a splash of melted dark chocolate. Delicioso!
I hope you are all having a great week, and let's bring back bread.
If I was a fashion designer in another life, and little Sunday was my muse...the clothes from Fabrik would be what I could imagine creating for her. The quality is beautiful (her pants from last season have been worn to death and are still holding their shape and colour), the cuts are perfect on her frame and the fabrics are unexpected but oh-so sweet. I really like to dress Sunday in dresses during the warmer months, not only because they are so sweet on her, but for comfort too - she's free to move her little legs. I also love the great drawstring bags the Fabrik dresses come in - very handy for holding things like Sunday's suncream and wipes. Pictured above is her new purple Starburst Dress, which is made in the softest cotton jersey (with her favourite thing - pockets!) and the Papillion Dress, which has the loveliest neck detail. The baby collection and bedding is worth checking out too - the floral prints take me back to my (1980's) childhood bed, and Fabrik's version of the sleeping bag is the loveliest one I've ever seen. Enter SUNDAYCOLLECTOR at the checkout and receive 10% off the full range. Not in the market for kids fashion? Check out the lovely options for the ladies too.
I hope you are all having a lovely week!
We move back home in one week - yay! I can't tell you how excited I am about this. It's been a long 11 weeks living out of a suitcase but 'hello' brand new kitchen, floorboards, carpet and fresh white walls. Besides thinking about the joys of a new double door fridge, thoughts of the fresh but bare white walls have been pretty consuming. Every hook and hole has been patched up - which means every piece of art we own can technically find a new spot. I'm thinking a bit of culling will have to happen (as we have lost a few walls in the renovation process), but I'm also wondering whether we need something new and rather impressive in the dining area. Which brings me to Clare Young. A long time friend of both my older sisters, I've always known Clare as an all-round super clever person (my sisters have told me things like "she made her own wedding dress!" "she wired her renovations like a fully fledged electrician)!" You get the idea...anyway, I had no idea she was also such an amazing painter.
Clare has recently released a series of paintings, 'Reflections', and I'm so excited to be sharing them with you. See the full collection here. The beautiful combination of colours in acrylic paint, oil + soft pastel on oversize canvases have me swooning. Remember me when you read about this fabulous artist in the future - you heard it here first. Ha!
Clare also blogs at Young Audrey, where you can follow her creative travels (the last few posts are all about her amazing paintings), and you can email Clare here with any enquiries. In the mean time, enjoy these:
Photo 1 + 2: Coco Republic have recently launched the new Jonathan Adler range, and I couldn't resist the Jet Set porcelain coasters and Muse candle - which channels the US designer Jonathan's signature ceramic designs. Interesting fact: In 2009 Mattel asked Jonathan to design the modern-glam interiors for the Malibu Barbie Dream House as part of Barbie's 50th wedding anniversary. See photos here.
Photo 3: I've said it before, but Sunday has a far better wardrobe than me - she is just so FUN to dress. She actually appreciates a good outfit these days, and I can't wait to get her in this sweet Coco & Ginger play suit + necklace with her pair of gold Saltwater sandals.
Photo 4: Still on the subject of Sunday's wardrobe, she also loves an accessory - and I couldn't resist the retro-inspired hair range from Rare Rabbit. The best part, the clips stay in her hair! I purchased these pieces from Shorties in Newtown.
Photo 5: Kip + Co have only been around for a couple of years, and their range just keeps on getting bigger and better. I received happy mail the other day announcing an affordable collaboration with Home Republic/Adairs. Hello cute pillowcases! Shop the range here.
Photo 6: Anyone else have the habit of leaving Ikea after a visit with 10 things you didn't know you needed? A $2.95 packet of paper napkins caught my eye last week - which have actually inspired me for a Christmas lunch table I am styling next month.
I hope you are all having a great week!
The fun bit? Basil Bangs would like me to give one of these beautiful love rugs away (the winner can pick their favourite design - yay, gift giving is so much fun). Get set for Summer people. Details over on Instagram on Thursday morning @sunday_collector and @basilbangs.
When visiting a house - be it the home of a client, family member or friend, I'm frequently asked to have a quick look at a certain room and give some advice. So often, the room/s are halfway there - it may need some furniture rearranging, a piece of art positioned and a new rug. I find the home owner often loves all their pieces, but doesn't quite know how to combine everything to make the room 'work'. I thrive on giving this sort of advice - which is why I've put together a package for the Sydney metro area that I'm pretty excited about.
For $300.00, I now offer two hour in-house consultations where we can talk about everything from wall colours, to sofa positioning. If it's something like a bookshelf you need styled, I could do that too. I can primarily 'work with what you've got' - but also recommend any additions that I think will improve the space. Following on from our meeting, I will email you a summary of my advice, including online links to any items I recommend. One week of email conversations can follow this email, all included in the one-off fee.
The affordable package is perfect for the homeowner on a budget, and doesn't need my 'full decorating service' as listed here. I basically want to help make beautiful interiors without the price tag. Contact me for bookings: email@example.com
I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend.
For those that know my 'Murphie family' hands, know that I'm no hand model, which is why this ring has been photographed on the mantelpiece. I've been looking down at my hand more than usual this week though, as my new ring has certainly made it more appealing. It's a narrow love band ring from Sydney based company, Uberkate. The family owned and run jewellery design studio specialise in designs 'that capture the spirit of relationships in precious metals'. You have probably seen the nameplate necklaces in your travels, which are very popular - but I just loved the idea of a narrow ring that subtly keeps my baby girl's name always close. I figure it's something Sunday can wear when she's older too. Don't wear yellow gold? The ring is also available in white and rose gold. Coming from a non-romantic, I actually do love the idea of a wedding/comitment ring too. How sweet, having your other half's name inscribed around the ring.
I hope you are all having a great week,
I hope you are all having a great week,
It's been while since I posted a calorie laden treat on here (everything in moderation, I say). Why donuts? I've been taunted by gourmet versions on my Instagram feed recently. Two Melbourne establishments are selling them like hotcakes. Check out Doughboys Doughnuts and All Day Donuts. I've got no trips to Melbourne planned in the near future, so I thought I'd try and bring a donut to me (and to Sunday, who thought all her Christmas' had come at once today). You'll need a donut baking tray - I bought one from Big W for $13.00.
1 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup melted chocolate chips, cooled
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons glucose syrup (for the sheen on the glaze)
2 teaspoons water
Crushed 'Crunchie' and 'Flake' for toppings
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spray a donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
For the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Whisk the egg, brown sugar, milk, and yogurt together until smooth. Add the melted butter and vanilla, whisking until fully combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Place the batter into the donut pan —I piped the mixture in using a 'snipped' ziplock bag (less messy).
Bake for 9–10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the donut springs back from touch.
For the chocolate glaze: Place the chocolate chips, butter, glucose syrup, and water in a medium bowl. Melt in 20 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each time, until completely melted and smooth. Dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate glaze and then cover with the crushed chocolate (such as a Crunchie or Flake) of your choice.
When Sunday was turning one, I searched high and low for a bangle or bracelet to gift to her. Not
for her to necessarily wear every day (a little risky with a 'butter fingers' toddler), but for more of a keepsake. I actually had no luck finding something appropriate - everything was a little too garish , or not within the budget. I love the idea of a little heirloom for her, as I still have a tiny diamond 'B' brooch that my parents gifted me as a baby, and it's something I cherish. It was extremely happy mail that arrived for Sunday from Claire Aristides Fine Jewels this week. Not only does Claire create seriously lovely jewels for adults, the Bambino Diamond range is exactly what I was looking for a year and a half ago - a teeny tiny bracelet for a little wrist. The perfect gift for a new baby girl - on the day of her birth, her naming day, first birthday or just 'because'. Sunday is now the lucky owner of a delicate Diamond Love Heart Bracelet in White Gold...it's actually from the adult range (as it has loops to make it a small fit) - which means she may even be able to lend it to her Mumma every now and then!
I hope you are all having a great week, I'm finding the sunshine in Sydney good for the soul this week...Briar x
Bedrooms. I spend a lot of time thinking about decorating these spaces - it seems to be the most common area my clients want help with. This means I've spent a good chunk of time recently looking at bedsides lamps (when a hanging pendant isn't appropriate). I thought I would do a round up of some my favourites lately - on a luxe and less budget.
1. Mak Table Lamp in white $62.95 2. Ralph Reading Lamp $199.00 3. Miles Desk Lamp US$275.00 4. Metro Table Lamp $149.00 5. Tronconi Easy Mechanic Table Lamp $189.00 6. Vox Table Lamp P.O.A 7. Nyfors Table Lamp $129.00 8. Saffy Table Lamp $169.00 9. Mink Table Lamp $66.45 10. Sleuth Table Lamp Yellow $129.95
I hope you have all had a great week!
I thought I would share a round up of some of my favourite products lately:
1. I've been buying Mavala nail polish from my local pharmacy for years...all because of the miniature bottle, and the lovely consistency of the varnish. I can't count how many half empty and dried up (large) bottles I've thrown out in the past - so the affordable mini size is perfect for a colour you might not want to wear every day.
2. I was originally gifted a bottle of this fancy Aesop hand sanitiser when Sunday was born. It's perfect handbag size and smells great (as does everything Aesop).
3. + 4. I recently spoke about my new found love of Dermalogica (I know, a little late to the party). Since, I've also added Solar Defense Booster to my make up bag. This genius little product turns any foundation or moisturiser in to a sunscreen. I also haven't used a toner since my Clinique 3 step days as a 13 year old, but I can tell you now, I'm never going back. The multi active toner feels incredible before moisturising, I'm actually relying on it almost as much as my coffee.
5. Tigi Bed Head have released a new range for blondes. I love the colour of this conditioner more than anything - it's a saturated canary yellow, and also deliciously thick for those awful knots.
6. Speaking of those awful knots, my friend put me on to this after I was going mental from the hard water in Bali (have you ever noticed what hard water does to hair)? CPR Frizzy is my latest and greatest hair life saver.
7. Good packaging gets me every time. Circa Home have recently launched a gorgeous new hand wash range - and the Jasmine + Magnolia scent is divine.
8. Anything past removing my make up (always), I'm so bad with a 'night time' skin routine. Although, I've been using the Sweet Almond oil from La Mav lately...and I've got to say, it's feels really lovely on my face, and I wake up with softer skin. True story!
9. You may have spotted the edgy/black glass Glasshouse range, La Maison in stores recently? As soon as I saw the Gardenia room fragrance, I couldn't resist. The floral scent is a personal favourite (and the bottle looks cool too).
Feel free to let me know a product you can't live without! I'd love to hear from you. Briar x
I don't always share images on here of the residential projects I'm working on (as I have to respect the privacy of my clients homes), but I have full permission to throw these real estate images out there...as it's big my sister and brother in laws house. The former corner shop in the inner west (turned fancy/architectural masterpiece) went on the market a few days ago, and my sister employed me to help freshen the place up in the few weeks leading up to it. I have to admit, the house was already looking pretty amazing - decorated with a fairly minimalistic style, it still had that layer of general day to day clutter two children bring. We cleared the layer, and organised things such as: the painting of the exterior and interiors, professional cleaning of the beautiful concrete floors, and sanding/polishing of the lovely blonde timber floors in the bedrooms and hallway. I actually talked my sister out of spending up big on new furniture items. Instead, I encouraged them to spend money on soft furnishings such as fresh bed linen and cushions in the three bedrooms, and little things like luxurious towels for a pop of colour in the bathroom. A major decluttering, new blinds and rugs in the kids bedrooms, plus a large rug and cushions in the living room brought a polished warmth to the house. The garden was given a little spruce up (grass refreshed, hedges trimmed) and some outdoor furniture was purchased.
I was there with the real estate photographer to do some last minute touches for the camera...fingers crossed the campaign goes well, and I promise it's actually a house that appears even better in real life. Read more here.
I hope you all had a great weekend.
Life has been pretty busy lately. On top of work and living temporarily in the hotel because of the kitchen renovation in our rental, we got the keys to our first proper house last week. I realised I hadn't actually mentioned it on here (only on Instagram a while ago)...but we made the big leap and bought this red brick 'beauty' on Sydney's Northern Beaches recently. We aren't going to live in the house for a few years, as we are pretty comfortable where we are - and renting it out will help us chip away at the rather scary mortgage. The house is over 50 years old and untouched - which is exactly what we wanted. I'm not a fan of paying for a basic renovation - especially if it's been done on the cheap. The added bonus to the house was that it was also in immaculate condition. The owners had been in it for 45 years, and it truly was their castle. We had a mini 'backyard blitz' around the pool area with some of the family over the weekend. Inside, the walls are being refreshed in Dulux Natural White, and the floral stickers have been pealed off the rather endearing lilac bathroom tiles. Other than those small jobs, it's ready for our tenants.
In the mean time, I'm dreaming about what our house will one day become. Above are a few images I've pinned on Pinterest. I'm sure we will have a few neighbours who will turn up their noses the day the bricks are painted black (or charcoal grey if we are feeling less daring), but I have faith it will be one day our castle too.
As mentioned in the previous post, One Fine Baby invited me to set up a kids room using a selection of products form their vendors. I had so much fun trawling the ranges and creating a fun little space for a boy. I've had lots of enquiries on the items I used on my Instagram images over the past few days, so I thought I would list the key pieces I used on here:
• The deep blue wall colour was named especially for the room and it's called 'Night Night Darling', made by Murobond
• The cute Bunting rug is produced by Armadillo&Co, and is available from Lilly + Lolly - as is the hat stand and oversized yellow ottoman.
• The Alpine felt pinboard above the bed and the handy bookshelf is from Willow + Wood
• The great (sturdy but light) bed and bedside table are from Plyroom. Made in Italy, the quality is so beautiful - and the bed was seriously the easiest piece of furniture I've ever had to put together.
• The Super Cool is a new shop I came across while putting the room together - they stock the coolest range of gift wares - for big people and little people. It was so fun raiding their range to accessorise the room.
• The cool 'S' wall mounted marquee style light is from Little Letter Lights Co - it can also sit on a shelf...handy that it's so light and battery operated. Sunny loves it since it's come home, too!
• I've been shopping at Infancy for years now, so was pleased when I saw they were coming to One Fine Baby. I was able to use a cute selection of clothes, shoes (including those ridiculous mini Dr Martens) and books.
• The super cute terrarium is from Happy Place Terrariums (I had this at home for two weeks before hand and it's absolutely thriving - I can tell it's been planted well!)
• The yellow spindle shelf is from Incy Interiors, as is a large amount of the room decor items, including bedding from Kip & Co.
• The blanket on the bed is made from gorgeous Alpaca wool and will be available soon from Scout Lifestyle. The blanket hanging from the hatstand is a lovely one from the latest range from Kate & Kate.
• I Need Nice Things creates inexpensive art prints, and I thought the The New Silhouette print was the perfect addition to my boys room.
• The critter on the bed is from the sweet collection available at This Little Love, as is the Apple pillow.
• The over sized corn stool is from Third Drawer Down (trust me, kids love that thing).
• Hello Milky make the loveliest children's bed linen, and I used the soft chambray pillowcase on the bed.
Phew! I think that's everything. I hope you are all having a great week.
I mentioned in my post last week that I was styling a bedroom at the One Fine Baby fair over the weekend. I'll follow this post with details of that set up, but I thought I would also share a few photos on here of other things for those that couldn't make it over the weekend. Stall holders found it to be a huge success (as so much was sold, which is a big boost for the 'shop local' movement we hear so much about these days). I came across some great independent baby/kid-related businesses (view them all on the website). I'm pretty sure toddlers found it to be even a bigger success - Sunny was in awe with a Peppa appearance and a petting zoo. Photos above with their descriptions are below:
1. The girls from One Fine Baby also set up a room - a gorgeous light peach nursery (using paints from Murobond), a chair from Cult Design and a cot (which converts in to a desk) from Plyroom.
2. Speaking of the clever people from Plyroom, I was really impressed with their stall, and the amazing Belynda Henry mural - I just love the colours.
3. After chatting over email, it was so nice to meet finally meet the WA girls who run Hubble & Duke. The girls sew the cutest baby moccasins around...Kara a.k.a Lulu Lucky (who designs their t-shirts) was also there....she told me about her new blog that will be coming soon. I look forward to seeing what that clever girl creates next!
4. The lovely florist Aleksandra was also there, pitched under a stunning canopy of orchids and tassels created by the party decorating princess Heidi Moore Gill of Bespoke Balloonery.
5. A collaboration with one of my favourite kids furniture brands, Incy Interiors and Megan Morton (is there anything that woman can't do?) launched at the fair - a gorgeous 4 poster bed, available in custom colours and three different sizes. Check out the great room set up using one of the beds by Loretta Wilson on the Urchin Collective blog.
6. The magazine Alphabet Family Journal had a sweet stall where kids could make baby terrariums with the photographer Luisa Brimble and learn how to make floral hair wreaths with the lovely Dominique Brammah.
There was truly so much more goodness at the fair, but you'd be reading for hours if I was to include everything...and I don't think I've ever included so many links in a blog post!
A brief to decorate a nursery from scratch is definitely a favourite of mine. I think my sister was only 3 months pregnant when the emails started to go back and forth between the two of us. Mudgee based Hannah loves interiors as much as me (in fact, every member of my family pretty much have an interest in their inside spaces - that, and cooking). This job was definitely a labour of love for both of us. Hannah had always loved the Sebra Kili Cot/Junior Bed from Alex and Alexa, so the blank canvas of a room was designed around this as the starting point. Because we had the luxury of time, I took a slow approach - researching wallpaper options (Quoll Cream was the final choice from Sparkk), playing with rug swatches and fabric combinations. We didn't know my niece Clementine was going to be a girl, so the more feminine touches were added after her arrival. Either way, the room had to have a fun factor, each bedroom in the house uses a beautiful wallpaper - and the home is beyond amazing (decorated by the clever Megan Morton and Hannah). Check out the gorgeous story on Hannah and cherubic Clementine on a favourite blog of mine, The Grace Tales. It's a fabulous read (including more detailed shots of the nursery) - be warned though, you might get house envy from the photos....I certainly did!
PS. Speaking of kids rooms, I'm right in the middle of pulling a rather special one together this week - I've been invited by the team at One Fine Baby to decorate a space using products from the amazing shopping fair that is happening this weekend in Sydney. Bring the kids - there will be entertainment, yummy food and fab things to buy for the little ones. I will blog lots of photos next week.