28.9.14

Baked Chocolate Donuts


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.

Ingredients:
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

Chocolate Glaze
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


Method:
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. 
Enjoy!
Briar x

24.9.14

Diamonds for Sunday

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















18.9.14

Table Lamps


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! 

Briar x

9.9.14

Vanity Cabinet


We aren't short of a bottle of product around here. Mark's weakness is a good cologne (he has about 8 on the go at the moment), and mine is anything to do with skin, hair or nails. Sunday is also developing her mother's love for a good hand cream "hand massage mummy. please. now!" 

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

31.8.14

A Corner Shop




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. 

Briar x

25.8.14

Red Bricks + Lilac Tiles


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. 

Briar x

20.8.14

One Fine Baby { Part II }





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. 

Briar x

One Fine Baby { Part I }






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!

Briar x

14.8.14

Clementine's Nursery









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!

Briar x

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.  

10.8.14

Renovating

I'm writing this blog post from a hotel suite - which will be our home for the next two months. Confused?  
I don't think I've ever shared what my husband Mark does (besides being a fabulous cook). He manages a hotel in Manly...which is why two die hard Sydney inner-westies made the pilgrimage across the bridge and set up home 7 years ago in the seaside village. I'm not complaining, we live in a pretty amazing spot in Manly, with the contrast of idyllic beaches and the hustle and bustle at our doorstep. The apartment we live in (pictured on the blog over the years) also happens to be owned by one of the hotel owners...which brings me to the next subject...

We may have the best landlord in the history of landlords. He has arranged a kitchen renovation, and asked me to design it all. While our apartment turns in to a dust pit (walls are being knocked down, oak floorboards are being installed), we have been able to move in to the hotel next door. Sweet deal, I tell ya!

Above is a summary of the the large mood board I presented. The brief I was given was to recommend a smart layout with neutral finishes that would still appeal to a possible future buyer, and to not over-capitalise. I'm pretty pleased with the finished look - white cabinetry (which incorporates a desk area), cement ceasarstone tops + island bench, white honeycomb tiled splash back, a double sink with goose neck mixer tap, and stainless steel appliances from Miele. Simple and contemporary - with an emphasis on crazy good storage. 

To say I am excited to see this come together is an understatement. I've always seen the potential of the space in our apartment, and to see my vision come to life will be a thrill. 

I hope you all had a great weekend, I'll make sure to keep you updated on the renovation every so often on here. Meanwhile, all I can hear is Sunday calling out from her 'new' bedroom. Not all of us are so thrilled about the temporary move...

Briar x

5.8.14

Officeworks

I received an email from Officeworks a few weeks ago that asked me if I'd like to go for a little peruse around one of their shops with a gift voucher in hand, and the thought that I could 'create a better workspace', and blog about it (#MasterYourWorkspace on Instagram). The email explaining their campaign couldn't have come at a better time. I was sitting at my bomb site* of a desk, with a shoe box bulging from business receipts. Also surrounding me were random pens with missing lids, an empty pack of Blu Tak (seriously - where does that stuff go), and notebooks with no pages left for notes. A broken stapler was also playing havoc with my OCD tendencies. Plus, the husband had just sent a little reminder email that I should visit our accountant soon for tax time. Argh. Tax... you are truly an ugly word. 





So yes, Officeworks - it would be my absolute delight to go for a little shoppe with a blue trolley. I must admit, it had been a while since I'd visited the shop part (I am a fan of the Print + Copy area though, for photos and pretty documents). I was pleasantly surprised. I spotted two of my favourite brands - Moleskin + Rhodia, and came across every pen/texta/pencil/permanent marker you could seriously dream of. I also spotted some good office furniture - I especially liked this cute white desk. Did I get lost in the world of cute stationery, and kind of veer off the 'get organised for tax time'...yes...but you must know how much I just love that kind of stuff! I made sure I picked up some good filing systems for those tax time receipts, and a very handy list-making pad. The purchase I was most impressed with was a compact desktop printer - I've packed away my bulkier Epson, and am finding the new zippy model very handy to print things off straight from email. I'd like to think the first photo represents my headspace after the shopping and filing - I definitely am more organised...check out this video from a professional organiser, talking all things good at Officeworks.

I want to help one of my reader's master their workspace too, so I'm giving away a $100 gift voucher to Officeworks. Yay! Just leave a comment below answering me: How will you improve your workspace with Officeworks? I'll announce the winner in one week. 
Briar x
*See this post for what my desk looks like when it's neat and tidy - i.e. hardly ever. 

Read giveaway terms and conditions here

UPDATE: Congratulations to Liss, who won the $100.00 gift voucher (read her comment in the comments section). Thanks to all you who entered! Briar x

3.8.14

A new look


Since officially coming off maternity leave over a year ago, I decided to focus my working hours on my own residential styling projects, because of two reasons....1. I love working on real homes and getting to know the client (as I would a character in a film), and the way they like to live. I find it similar to working on a film brief, just that everything has to be beautiful all the time - and the sofa is going to stay in place for longer than a week, which is a nice thing. And 2. I'm able to pick up Sunday at the end of a working day and cook her dinner - as much as I love working in film, the hours can be long, and I'm finding that running my own show is much more flexible while Sunday is young. I've got to say, I am loving the balance. 

I thought it was time I updated my logo and business card to reflect the direction by work has taken, and who better to complete this project than my clever cousins...who own Zed & Bee. The girls describe themselves as unique invitation designers (which they certainly are), but they also dabble in designing brand identities...beautiful typography is truly their strength and passion. I'm so happy with the new look business cards - simple 600gsm box board, refined by a lovely and deep letterpress element. So proud of the cards, that if you stop me in the street - I may just have to give you one!

I hope you all had a great week, 

Briar x

30.7.14

Goodyear Shopping Guide

Pretty soon, I'm going to be saving $500 a year on fuel consumption*,  so I got thinking about what I could buy (as gifts and for little treats for myself) with that spare cash...and as you know I do love to compile a little gift guide on here, so here goes my 'just because I will have a spare $500 a year' guide.



1. Swim Club Bath Salts from Etsy 2. Ondri Juicer from Country Road 3. Candle from Maison Balzac 4. Kate Spade Black Spot Plate from Lark 5. Heart Knit Blanket from This Little Love 6. Ava Leather Espadrille from Seed 7. Nell Cushion from Country Road 8. Connie Lichti Tumbler from Gorman 9. Deliverance hand cream from Antipodes 10. Hello doormat from Freedom 11. Hand wash from Planet Luxe 12. Ondri Tumbler from Country Road

 * = Once a week or so, I'll get an email from a PR agency with a brand suggestion for a sponsored blog post.  I promise I only hit publish on posts about brands that I genuinely resonate with. When I received an email regarding Goodyear Tyres - I was ready to reply with a polite 'thanks but no thanks', as much as I know Goodyear is a reputable brand, I just don't possess a huge interest towards my tyres. But I decided to keep on reading, as I've never taken car safety more seriously now that I have the precious cargo that is Sunday, and I learnt that a set of the trusted Goodyear TripleMax can not only have the two of us on the road safely, they can also save me $500 on my annual fuel consumption (because of what they call 'rolling resistance improvement'). 

The cash saving certainly got me thinking... as you know, I just love a bargain! If I saved $500 every year on fuel, I could buy all the goodies above, I know they all fall in the 'want' category, and not the 'need' category...but a girl can dream, right?

How much money would you save by buying Goodyear TripleMax tyres? Check it out on their website. And then think of all the fun little treats you could buy yourself with that saved money...PLUS, you could WIN $500 by ‘liking’ Goodyear on Facebook. 

I hope you are all having a great week, 

Briar x

27.7.14

Five Things





Five things I've been loving lately: 

1. Cotton On is so handy for wardrobe basics for Sunny - and this cute cushion caught my eye recently. The fun pops of colour look great on our dark grey sofa, and it was only $29.95...which I think is pretty good for a cushion these days.
2. I haven't used a mask since the early 90's (when I used to nick my big sister's mud mask sachets), but I have to say I am totally converted to being a user again.  The Multivitamin Power Recovery Mask from Dermalogica has become a bit of a Sunday night ritual...it's amazing. 
3. A girlfriend gifted a delicious candle to me recently and I was so taken with the gorgeous packaging. The Scent of Home is a Melbourne based candle maker that also produces the most lovely brass vessel range..definitely on my radar now.
4. I swear Sunny gets better mail than me these days. Lovely Anna from TwentyOne Fifteen made her this sweet wire work heart. I'll be hanging this in her room soon. I'm gearing up for a bit of a makeover to her space to make room for her big girl bed - I'll keep you posted. 
5. Sorry to mention good packaging again, but that's the only reason I wanted a tube of Marvis toothpaste in my bathroom (it's amazing what some good product can do if you want to distract from less than perfect tiles). Direct from Florence, it's kind of old school, which is exactly why I love it. 

I hope you all had a great weekend, 

Briar x

21.7.14

My Food Bag



We scored a haul of groceries, all packaged beautifully in large paper bags from My Food Bag on Sunday night. It's a business that's already big in New Zealand, and has recently launched in Sydney....and one of those business ideas where you could say 'I wish I thought of that'. The Sunday night delivery takes the pre-work out of cooking gourmet dinners for the week ahead. Healthy recipes, along with perfectly measured fresh ingredients are delivered to your door. We chose the Gourmet package - which is described as being 'perfect for couples who love fresh food and enjoy exotic flavours'. It would be the perfect answer for a busy couple who appreciate cooking, but don't have time to get to the supermarket on the way home every night. If our two year old ate more than avocado on toast for dinner, we would have chosen the Family Bag - which provides five nights of ingredients for hearty meals for a family of 4 or 5 for $179.00.

Monday was the first night of giving one of the recipes a crack - and we chose Cambodian Fish A-Mok..pictured below. Tuesday night is Five-Spice Duck, Sweet Potato Mash, Pomegranate Sauce and Bok Choy...you get the idea...I'm talking about pretty fancy-pants food here. And yes, I could definitely get used to this. I hope you are all having a great week. Briar x


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