Getting organised for 2019

18.01.19

We’ve had a quiet start to 2019, work is always a little slow for me during the month of January, and with no holidays planned – we’ve been hanging at home, heading to the beach and using the pool on repeat (with a blip in the middle with a trip to emergency for our very brave Sunny who had a bad fall at a restaurant which resulted in plastic surgery to her forehead).  Argh! Things can only get better for 2019, here’s hoping, anyway.

The weather we have been experiencing in Sydney has been amazing – pretty much too hot some days to stay outside for too long, so I’ve been heading indoors to get more organised at home. There is something so therapeutic about ‘culling your crap’ (yes, I’m one of those annoying people who love a big tidy). An organised home and workspace to me has always meant a clearer headspace, and the past week has been amazing for that. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some beautiful new pieces from Pottery Barn, and the photos below are a summary of what I’ve been up to – feeling more than ready and organised to smash the year of 2019!


Good quality storage baskets that you are happy to have out of the cupboard and on display when needed are really lovely to have around the home. Buying quality storage is going to guarantee you have them for years, and I was drawn to the chunky weave in the Aubrey Woven Basket, (lid not pictured) which reminded me of the clothes basket I grew up with throughout the 80’s (and yes, that lasted for years, too). I’m using one for all my cleaning products that I can lift out of the cupboard and take with me from room to room. I really like having a little organised caddy that stocks only the essential items I need – all in one durable carry basket. Also pictured above is the white marble ice bucket (used with no lid as a planter for the happy little Monstera).

I’m such a fan of the baskets I’ve incorporated one in to my tiny but mighty laundry. I don’t like having ugly washing  products on display, so one of these is the perfect solution. Also pictured is a Cotton Tencel Organic Hand Towel in grey mist.

Speaking of tiny spaces, our bathroom has been given a lift with the gorgeous nickel and glass etagere. I was desperate for extra storage in here, and  I’m finding it really handy to only have the essentials I use every day at arms reach so close to the sink  (while it all still looks pretty). The shiny nickel finish matches our towel rails and tapware perfectly too. Also pictured above are the handy glass canisters (it’s great getting rid of the ugly packaging of my much needed magnesium salts for soaks in the bath). I’ve also stored our toothbrushes in the small canister, and pictured on the shelf below is the lovely hand soap and moisturiser, also from Pottery Barn (I’m such a sucker for nice packaging)! On the floor are the comfiest little slippers I’ve ever owned – the Teddy Bear Faux Fur slippers.

An organised workspace is so important, and working from home means I get ‘little hands’ (ie. Sunny) rifling at my desk quite a bit. I figure if I keep it neat and free of clutter, it’s going to be easier to find things. The Brokers Wood and Galvanized Home Office Collection is the perfect desk companion to keep everything in order. It’s also great to have all my USB’s in one little drawer, and I’ve been keeping al my envelopes together too – I don’t know about you, but I can never find an envelope when I need one!


Definitely a feel good achievement – I’ve filed work paperwork in to three categories and it’s all sitting in this compact paper cabinet that fits on my desk. It felt so good sending that huge pile of papers to the recycling bin – there really was a build up over the course of 2018. Definitely head clearing stuff! Also pictured is the cute Pocket watch clock.

It’s safe to say most homes develop a bit of a dumping ground at the front door. Bag, hats, shoes, umbrellas etc tend to end up here – so it’s been so great to have that area all neatly organised in my home with the quality Cast-Iron row of hooks in Antique Bronze. With two rows of hooks, this hardworking piece does double duty. The hooks would also be handy in a bathroom or on a back porch for towels and other gear. Also pictured is the  oversized Beachcomber Rectangular Handled Basket. Handwoven from sustainable natural fibres, it’s a sturdy basket that now houses all our hats and bags.

Hope you like what I’ve done with the place! Wishing you a healthy, happy and organised 2019!

Briar x

Gift Guide

22.12.18

There is officially two and half more days for Christmas shopping left, so it’s not too late to pick up some last minute gifts from three of my favourite stores – West Elm, Pottery Barn and for the little people in your life, Pottery Barn Kids. I checked out all three stores recently with gifting in mind and these are the things that I loved. Here are images of the selection in my home – I hope you feel inspired!

Our always growing book collection is seen here getting a little support from the  Colour Pop Crystal Bookends (Set of 2). Also pictured is the very cute but cool marble box in black and white. Perfect for jewellery or other treasures.

Sunday has recently discovered the yumminess of a delicious waffle for breakfast – definitely a ‘sometimes treat’ that deserves the cute place setting seen above, all from Pottery Barn Kids. Cambria Plate and  Placemats in Rugby Grey, quality Riveted cutlery in white are complimented by the fun Mason Jars with straws. Perfect for a milkshake!

Sunday’s desk from Pottery Barn Kids is still used by her every day, years since she got it – she loves to display her art on the cork board hutch. Also pictured here is the handy pencil caddy/lazy susan.

I’m always inspired by the tabletop range at Pottery Barn, and fell in love with the gingham cork placemats (which come in red to0). Brushed gold flatware is still on trend this year (I love pairing it with the navy), and the elegant white Fleur dinnerware range from Monique Lhuillier is so stunning in the full set. Also pictured are the beautiful indigo napkins that are perfect for Christmas with the festive napkin rings.

The deco range at West Elm seems to get better and better every year. The copper and cane tray would be perfect when entertaining for that touch of glam, and I’ve been loving filling the house with the gorgeous scent of the Apocethary incense (fresh balsam fir, citrusy grapefruit and warm + cosy musk).  Also pictured are handy stocking stuffers – the cute range of notebooks, also from West Elm.


Finally, I have  an organised way to store my jewels. I’m obsessed with this West Elm  Jewellery Box. The proportions are so generous, I can keep everything in the one place on my bedside table.


I’ve positioned the Apothecary Incense by the kitchen sink, I feel it goes so well with our gold mixer tap!

Lastly, a hint of what I’ll be drinking this silly season. All sitting pretty in the kitchen is the  Bleecker Bar ice bucket and Martini jug. Glassware also pictured is called the Library Hand-Cut Double Old-Fashioned Glass.

And, incase you were wondering – a recipe for the perfect Aperol Spritz:

  1. Fill the glasses generously with ice cubes.
  2. First pour three parts of Prosecco (75ml) over the ice.
  3. Then, pour three parts Aperol (50ml) into each glass in a circular movement.
  4. Finish with a dash of soda (25ml)
  5. Garnish with a slice of orange.

    Enjoy! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas x

Christmas Shopping at Warriewood Square

20.12.18

I’ve always loved the convenience of shopping at a mall, especially when kids are  in tow. It’s handy having everything under one roof, with easy parking, air conditioning and bathroom facilities! Warriewood Square is a centre I have shopped at since first moving to the Northern Beaches nearly 12 years ago, I first visited it after learning it has the only K-Mart in the area, and then soon discovered I loved the manicures on offer at the Nail Bar. Being a local, I was pleased when I was approached  to partner with the shopping destination for a Christmas Styling/Shopping challenge. How could I say no?!
My full trolley – the sign of a successful shop! I actually love how close Woolies and Coles are to each other in the centre, I go between the two if I need something in particular I can’t get at one or the other.
I went a little nuts with the amazing cheese selection, the perfect one stop shop for a Christmas spread!
I recently had Sunny’s class over for our last day of school celebrations and this was the grazing platter I pulled together. I  bought all this produce at Warriewood Square…a mix between Woolies and Coles, and it fed the masses! I even had a few friends take a photo of it for their Christmas Day inspiration.
I was also pleased to see Costi’s had recently opened up, I picked up some delicious salmon for dinner.
Swish Homewares is always worth checking out when I visit, and I spotted some gorgeous gift ideas for Christmas  in here.
Can you guess who my little shopping mate has just spotted?
 
It’s Santa! The centre is becoming quite the popular destination around this time of year for a visit with Santa. It’s the first year Raff is starting to understand Christmas, and he can’t stop saying ‘More Chrissy!!’ everywhere we go.
The little guy is also  becoming a professional trolley loader these days too – both kids love visiting Toymate so much it’s hard to get them to leave to be honest.
Coming from a large family, I spread out my Christmas shopping opportunities and tend to pick up things as I see them. On this particular day, with two kids following me –  I managed to get to some of my favourites:
Sportsgirl – A must visit for my 14 year old niece (I love how that brand is still going strong after all those years, it was the same shop I always wanted my Christmas presents from).
Cotton On Mega Store – SO MUCH combined in the one shape here, I picked up various items, from shoes for my nephew to a bear of earrings for my sister!
Smiggle – I’m yet to meet a kid that doesn’t like Smiggle, and  there were lots of good gift ideas in here!
Toymate – So many bargains to be had in here, the kids LOVE visiting this store
Pittwater Pets – we actually don’t ever visit the centre without visiting here. The kids adore to see what puppies are in store, and Sunny chose her very treasured pet fish here, so it’s a special place!
BWS – A priority for the silly season, I purchased some bubbly to get me the through the entertaining.
The centre is also hosting lots of other Christmas activities in the lead up…
– Gift wrapping service (until Monday 24th December)
– Christmas Carols  (Sunday 18th – Sunday 23rd December)
-Bubbles + Baubles (Thursday 20th December), which I’ll be attending tonight with Sunday!
I shouldn’t forget to mention that the centre also offers lots of great coffee, a must to re-fuel when Christmas shopping.
How is everyone going with their Christmas planning this year?
Briar x

The Pool Deck

12.11.18

Instead of a major and expensive renovation around our 1980’s pebble crete pool this year, we decided to recently give the the very old surrounding deck a mini-facelift, getting it ready for Summer and most importantly, providing the kids some shade from our scorching Australian sun.

The pool is positioned in a really sunny area of our backyard, so blocking out that sun was definitely the number one priority. When the new cantilever umbrella  I chose arrived from my local Bunnings and I carried it down to the pool,  I was worried it looked too large for the compact space. However, the size has ended up being an absolute blessing – it’s basically created a covered room poolside, not only providing comfortable shade, but also looking the part with it’s contemporary square design and charcoal colour. We’ve also added some lovely but budget friendly outdoor furniture, the natural oil timber sun lounges and coffee table look great against the painted timber deck. The sun lounges got that true ‘holiday-by-the-pool’ vibe with the cute outdoor striped cushions, also from Bunnings. As you may have noticed, greenery really pops against charcoal grey/black (which is why you see so many boundary fences painted dark). We got rid of the mission brown colour the deck was originally painted in a while ago and freshened it up with Taubmans ‘Casino’, which is the same colour as our house.

As you can probably tell, Sunday is very happy with the new set up, and I’m extra happy that we are now comfortable pool side and the kids are protected  under the huge umbrella!

Briar x

PS. If you’re interested, below is the ‘Before’ shot – as you can see it’s looking a lot more inviting for Summer now!

Gumtree selling haul

15.05.18

Gumtree is Australia’s biggest classified community and I’m a big fan! Thinking back, I’ve actually been a Gumtree user for a really long time. As a student, I remember my first purchase – a retro teak and tiled coffee table and a timber bookshelf. I actually still have the bookshelf, I gave it a coat of paint a few years ago and it’s now used in Rafferty’s room. Later in life as a Props Buyer in the film industry I’ve always used it to find some really unique pieces that would take me forever to scour in all the bricks and mortar shops out there. It really has been a lifesaver at times when I’m working on a shoot deadline.

I’ve also had success in selling my own home decor items on Gumtree over the years. Getting rid of unwanted ‘stuff’ around the home is a really good way to make some extra cash. Not to mention the great feeling you get when you’ve de-cluttered your space. If you’re like me, cleaning up and letting go of possessions you no longer use or need can feel really therapeutic. Bringing my kids in to the mix has brought a whole new layer of ‘things’ we have in the house – so I actually feel like I’m needing to cull things every couple of months these days.

From an environmental perspective, recycling your second-hand goods extends the life of things, avoiding the need for more resources to go into the manufacture of a new product, which is going to help reducing landfill. I also love that used products don’t have packaging. When you buy almost any new product (especially kids toys), it comes with some kind of packaging – plastic casing, cardboard box, styrofoam, etc. The packaging materials, along with the actual product, use energy and resources to create. It can be really difficult to find a way to recycle all that packaging, or even more annoying, to have to throw it away. When you buy used items from Gumtree, you don’t have any packaging to deal with. So, it really is a win-win for so many reasons!

Gumtree recently asked me to have a think about some things I could sell around my home, and I came up with this small selection:


If you’re interested in any of the items, you can view all my ad listings here (there are some bargains to be had):

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-seller/BRIAR/1000979294

My selling haul has a definite kitchen/homewares theme, as these are the cupboards at home that always seem to need culling!

Pictured above (starting top left) is a hand made ceramic salad bowl with a textured glaze that I bought from a ceramicist on the South Coast, a never-been-used Mortar and Pestle, a gorgeous white Feather Garland that used to hang above Sunday’s bed (which would also make a gorgeous party decoration). I’m also selling a set of ceramic Tapas Bowls (that have never been used), and a Marble trivet in a cross shape that I bought from Country Road last year. One of my favourite books is also up for grabs – “The Selby Is in Your Place” was conceived when Todd Selby began taking portraits of dynamic and creative people – authors, musicians, artists, designers and other cultural tastemakers – in their home environments and posting them on his blog, it’s a great read! I’m also selling the white ceramic serving plate which has a lovely eggshell finish, and the hand made ceramic glazed serving spoon. The pair of sweet pink coffee mugs are also for sale, and I’m letting go of the set of ceramic coasters from the cult brand Jonathan Adler. Last but not least, the sweet speckle blue ceramic plate is also available. I think the collection looks really lovely sitting together – there is a definite theme going on!

Before posting my free ads, I did some research on what makes a successful ad and I came across these helpful tips:

1. Be descriptive:

Include details in your listing, such as:
How frequently it has been used and if  there is any damage
What condition the item is in currently
Dimensions of the item (a really important factor)
Colour of the item
Where and when the item was purchased

2. Make your ad visual:

When selling your items, it’s really important to include images in your listings. Try to upload well-lit photos with a good resolution and include a couple that show off the item’s best angle.

3. Manage your listing:
Ensure you keep on top of your incoming ad responses. I created and managed my ads from my laptop, but you could download the Gumtree app on your phone so you can manage your ad on the go if you’d like.

Armed with my laptop, camera and a tape measure I was ready to create my ads. Below are three examples of photos I used in my ads. I made sure I was surrounded my natural light and got clear/good quality shots so my buyers knew exactly what they are looking at.

Buying and selling on Gumtree truly is easy. I’ve actually got my eye on some indoor plants I’d like to purchase from a local seller. Maybe I’ll use the spare cash I make from selling the items above and treat the house to some new greenery! Give Gumtree a go if you haven’t already, I promise you you’ll enjoy it!

Briar x

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