28.2.13

Bed Linen Overhaul

I'm always surprised to think people spend about a third of their lives sleeping. Because of this, we should all be in favour of a good quality mattress and bed linen.  After all, who doesn't love sleep (besides my baby daughter)? Our bedroom has needed updating ever since we moved in, which only became more apparent when Sunday had a far more inspiring room than her parents. Soon after Sunday's arrival, we ordered a good quality bed head for our ensemble from BedNest (Raffles Design) - but we hadn't got around to updating the plain white sheets and quilt cover. 


This is where it gets exciting....with a blank canvas of a bed, Adairs asked me if I'd be interested in reviewing their bed linen. I even got to check out their bed linen online and choose what I wanted. Talk about somuchfun.com. I was thrilled when I spotted the Home Republic Vintage Washed Linen range (almost too good to be true - I checked it out in store to make sure the touch and feel was as amazing as it looked in the photo). Oh my! If you have never slept with 100% linen, I recommend you add it to the bucket list. The range is pre-washed to create softness with a relaxed, lived in look. My kind of look - as I don't know about you, but I'm never going to be one to iron a quilt cover.  I was interested to learn that pure linen is twice as durable as cotton bedding, and it "can last decades if cared for correctly; in fact the more the linen is washed, the softer and more luminous it becomes". Talk about bang for your buck!


I also chose:
To complement the natural linen, and to get that 'luxe hotel look' (I love staying in a good hotel), I chose a Fresh yellow sheet set and a soft grey valance...finishing off with an over sized cotton blanket in charcoal grey (as hard as I try, I just can't say no to yellow and grey). I love a good blanket/throw on a bed - perfect if you have a doona stealing husband too. 


I hope my amateur photograph communicates how cosy it is now. You will notice the large-ish pillows - they are 'king size'. I didn't know they existed until a few months ago, but they just got me one step closer to that hotel style bed I covet. The buttoned cushion and bedside lamp are from Freedom. The timber and pink house blocks are from Koskela.



We have had our set of classic plastic bedsides (Kartell Componibili) for years - one of our most enduring furniture purchases. The cylindrical shape is narrow which is good for a small space, but also stores so much!



...and who wouldn't have sweet dreams with this sweet poppet looking over you? The yellow frame is from Country Road.

Adairs, I'm going to be honest - you had me at the beautiful linen packaging.  Thank you and here's to some deep sleep! (Did you hear that, Sunday?).

Briar x

20.2.13

Wall Confetti







Beci Orpin's lovely new book Find and Keep describes itself as '26 Projects to spark your imagination'. That it does! I finally got around to creating the giant confetti project Beci outlines on page 136 (I used more durable cardboard - rather than paper). 

I would happily confetti bomb my living room, except I have a husband who understandably wouldn't appreciate it - so it was the baby's room that got treated with the in-expensive wall treatment using cardboard and Blu Tak. I sure hope Sunday likes colour, because she's surrounded by it!

If you're also a keen crafter, I recommend the book - you can buy Find and Keep here.

Hope you are all having a great week! Briar x

18.2.13

The Queen of Etsyland


We have just got back from a long weekend away visiting my sister and brother in law in Mudgee. Hannah and Peter have recently renovated their gorgeous home and I can show photos on here once the full story is published in a mag. For now, I can share some of Hannah's collections with you, and best of all - where she sources some of them from. Believe it or not, her main shopping destination lately has been Etsy. If, like me - you tend to come across more junk than treasure on this site, you may be interested to bookmark a list of Hannah's favourite Etsy stores. The girl knows her way around a good shop, trust me.


Pictured below are some of the things that caught my eye over the weekend:


A little science-inspired nook.


Hannah has scored some lovely vintage portraits - an oil seen here with an impressive collection of champagne wire chairs (lots of toasting to the renovated house, perhaps).


Timeless and beautiful silhouettes - original portraiture before cameras.


A very sweet 'paint by numbers' horse.


Vintage picnic set for cold drinks (love the colour combination).


Even the post box is from Etsy.

Happy Etsy shopping! Briar x

14.2.13

Birthday Gift Guide


I was completely spoilt with surprises (of the food and cloth variety) from family for my birthday yesterday, and I thought I'd share with you a few of my lovely new things. See it as a 'gift guide' if you like - I couldn't have compiled one better myself. Above is Kinto tableware, with a handful of  Adriano Zumbo Zumbarons. 


I'm looking forward to swapping my nappy bag for the smaller satchel from Country Road. My sister and brother in law surprised me with a voucher to one of my favourite restaurants - Garfish, and baby Sunny managed to buy me a Klinta candle. I've also added charcoal to my collection of Seed Heritage sneakers - so comfortable.



I finally have a 'serious' salt and pepper shaker (gone are the supermarket bought glass grinders) - Mark gifted me with a gorgeous pair from Menu. Knowing my love of vintage, my Mum found this original Norah Wellings doll. I have since done a bit of research -  'Norah's dolls were sold worldwide between 1930 - 1960 most notably for the cruise ship industry, for which the sailor dolls were made for various cruise ships as souvenirs'. I just love something with a story!



It's not every year that you get a wheel of butter for your birthday - but Pepe Saya cultured butter and truffle butter ain't no ordinary butter. The same goes for d'Affinois - hands down my favourite cheese!


And last but not least, lovely Lulu Lucky surprised me and my post box with a printed linen tea towel and a gorgeous rosette for Sunday. All these lovely gifts made turning a year older entirely bearable! Briar x





12.2.13

Mountain of Maltesers


A birthday only comes around once a year - and in my case, on the 13th of February. So, it is without shame that I can tell you I have enjoyed a little too much of this cake. My little sister...aka Bonnie the Baker surprised me on Sunday with this Malteser mountain of pure amazing. It gets better by the (refrigerated) day. Bonnie has kindly shared her layered vanilla cake recipe (which she originally found on the great blog Sweet Polita) so I could pass it on to all of you!




Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream and Maltesers

Ingredients
NB – exact measurements and timings are key to this recipe
5 large egg whites (150 g), at room temperature
1 cup whole milk (237 ml), at room temperature
2-1/4 teaspoons (12 ml) pure vanilla extract
3 cups (345 g) cake flour, sifted
1-3/4 cups (350 g) sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (19.5 g) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (5 g) salt
12 tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes

Method
1.       Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease, line with parchment, and flour two/three round 8-inch pans.
2.       In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
3.       In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds.
4.       Add the butter and remaining milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1.5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds (use a timer for this so the mixture doesn’t curdle) after each addition.
5.       Divide the batter in two, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh to ensure 2 even layers.
6.       Bake 20-35 minutes (depending on how many layers you are cooking) or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not over-bake. Check cake at 15 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it's almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals.
7.       Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.
8.       Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. 

Chocolate buttercream 

Ingredients
350g butter, softened
20ml milk
250g dark chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
5ml vanilla extract
500g icing sugar (I use the ‘soft icing sugar’ so I don’t have to sift it. If using ‘pure’ you will need to sift)

Method
1.       Melt the chocolate (double boiler, or in microwave at 50% power and 1min intervals)
2.       In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter using an electric mixer on MEDIUM speed for about 3 minutes (until creamy)
3.       Add the milk slowly and beat until smooth.
4.       Add the melted chocolate and beat well for 2 minutes.
5.       Add the vanilla and beat for 3 more minutes.
6.       Gradually add in the sugar (in 3 lots) and beat on LOW speed until combined, and then on medium/high for another 2-3minutes. If you feel the mixture is still to thick you can add more milk bit by bit.
7. Ice cake (layers of the chocolate buttercream inside recommended) when cooled and decorate with maltesers.

Enjoy...I know you will!



10.2.13

Dining


I've got a few things to share with you today...

I'm not exaggerating when I say it's been a 5 year search to find a new dining table for our home. I've been so close to purchasing a handful of different ones, but have always pulled out at the last minute. The brief was it had to be small(ish) and round to fit in the awkward space. My hunt got a little more desperate after our old (thrift purchase) dining table sold very quickly on Gumtree towards the end of last year. As you can imagine - I was very excited to finally take delivery of a 'grown-up' and new dining table during the week. Our Swedese Divido Table available at Fred arrived all the way from Sweden, and we are totally thrilled with it.


I mentioned my stall at The Greatest Stylist Garage Sale in my last post - and what a fun day it turned out to be. My table of treasures was pretty much wiped out my the end of the day, and the place was totally heaving with fabulous bargain hunters (my kind of people). The best part of the day was being able to meet some of my blog readers and instagram friends - thanks so much for introducing yourselves, I hope you nabbed a bargain!

And regarding the Carpet Court comp, remember - you have to be in it to win it! 

Good luck! Briar x

5.2.13

Bargains and Barley


For those of you who haven't heard, Megan Morton is hosting the garage sale to end all garage sales this weekend. The Great Stylist Garage Sale will be held on Saturday and Sunday 10am - 4pm at 85 Dunning Avenue Rosebery, NSW. Megan's recent house move has left her with two storage units filled with beautiful things she would like to get rid of (I know, sounds too good to be true)! People such as Tamara MaynesMr Jason Grant, Sophie Hart, Amanda Mahoney and Karen McCartney will be setting up trestle tables full of props, objects, artwork, frames and lighting. I'll be there with my trestle table too - it would be great to see you...in the mean time, as you see above - I'll be sorting and pricing.


On a different note, I prepared this meal tonight and felt compelled to share the recipe with you here as it was the first time I have cooked with Pearl Barley. Damn....it was good, and healthy!

Grilled Chicken with Barley Pillaf


Ingredients
1 cup (215g) pearl barley
2 cups (500ml) water
2 cups (500ml) chicken stock
250g cherry tomatoes
150g yellow teardrop tomatoes
4 single chicken breast fillets (680g)
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 green onions, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Cook barley with the water and stock in medium saucepan, uncovered, over low heat, about 50 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, roast tomatoes in hot oven on baking-paper-lined oven tray, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until just browned and softened. Cook chicken on heated lightly oiled grill plate (I used the BBQ) until browned both sides and cooked through. Stir tomatoes, pepper, basil and onion gently into barley. Serve chicken, dolloped with mustard, with pilaf (I also added some tomato chilli chutney to go with the mustard). 

Delicioso! (As Dora the Explora would say).

4.2.13

Billie's Bebe

Avert your eyes my lovely readers if you are on the peckish side at the moment. I was the guest at two gorgeous baby showers over the weekend (February babies rule)! The spread  you see below is thanks to my cousins -  the clever girls at Zed & Bee. Zed hosted Bee's baby shower on Sunday...



This is a shot of the 'make your own' Sundae Bar. No words needed - it was so good.


I had to share the perfect square form of this gigantic cheese - Sheep's Milk D'Affinois. 



Little hot dog sliders were cruising around the party too...



...as were glasses of Sparkling Apple Sangria. Refreshing and delicious - check out the recipe here.


The best part of a baby shower is checking out all the gorgeous gifts! I threw a few things on the present pile - including a little DIY craft job. You see, the future baby daddy of the little boy is a bit of professional with a can of spray paint - so I whipped up* a Baby Rattle 'Spray Can' for his mini-me. 

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! - Briar x

*For those of you wondering - I simply painted/illustrated a can with non-toxic fabric paint on to calico, sewed a back on, stuffed it with an old film canister filled with bells (to make the rattle sound) and polyester cushion stuffing. Voila! You have a baby spray can rattle...

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