Five Things

25.02.15

A quick and visual round up of some things I have been loving lately:

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Above: A gift pack with not a hint of a cheap chocolate in sight. The unique gift packs from Artisian Gifts are beautifully curated and packaged gift boxes using only quality items. The perfect answer for those ‘hard to buy for’ people in your life.

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Above: Giallopop! have recently launched a sweet range of hand screen printed and colourful french lullabies for kid’s rooms. I couldn’t resist the pop of pink for Sunday’s room.

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Above: We love a good cookbook around here. Mark brought home a beautiful one from Berkelouw Books the other day, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef by Massimo Bottura. It’s not only visually stunning but also a really interesting read – it is a tribute to Bottura’s twenty-five year career and the evolution of his restaurant. Divided into four chapters, each one dealing with a different period, the book features 50 recipes and accompanying texts explaining Bottura’s inspiration, ingredients and techniques.

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Above: Sunday received some happy mail when some lovely products arrived from Miss Kate. All natural and non toxic, the range made especially for little girls includes everything from play make up to body lotion to Natural Pillow Spray – something I was very keen to try at Sunday’s bedtime. I really love the concept of the play make up as opposed to Sunday getting her hands on my mascara again, I think it’s a really cute gift idea too.

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Above: Last week, I spent a few hours at Life Instyle which is a boutique retail trade show (basically a chance for people like me to see what will be in independent stores over the next six months). I was really impressed with the range of products there this year. A few of the stand outs were:

– Industrial furniture and lighting from Loft Furniture
– The new range of ‘Mesh Series’ wall shelves for kids from Bride and Wolfe
- The cute cushions, rugs and stationery from Dan300 Group
- Adorable kids bed linen from Sack Me
– As I mentioned last week, the great new blanket and towel range from Kate + Kate
- Nursery rocking chairs at a very attractive price point from Hobbe
- Super cute kids ranges of clothing from Milk & Masuki  and Phoenix and the Fox
- The new ‘Teeny’ range of cots and change tables from Incy Interiors. Mid-century/Scandi design for the nursery at a pretty good price point.

I hope you are all having a great week!

Briar x

Chocolate Chia Pudding

23.02.15

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I know I’m probably really late to the party to be cooking with chia seeds for the first time, but I thought it was about time I gave it a go, rather than resorting to the store bought dessert I’ve been picking up lately from Harris Farm. I’ve got friends that rave about the super food…Chia seeds themselves are pretty tasteless and expand up to 9 times of their original size. You can add chia seeds to pretty much anything –  salads, smoothies and  baked goods. I’ve got a sweet tooth, and little Sunday has an even bigger one (as I’ve mentioned on here before, she’s the pickiest eater – but will always manage to find room for something sweet). Because of this reason, I decided to research a chia seed dessert. If you search on Pinterest like I did, hundreds of options come up. The recipe below is a combination of a few different ones, which is still a really easy method to creating a delicious (guilt free) treat in a bowl that requires no stove top or oven. The chocolate chia pudding tastes like something in between tapioca pudding, mousse and Greek yogurt – it seriously melts in your mouth and is creamy and rich.  I added a few extra ingredients to bulk up the nutritional content, purely because I was intrigued by the impressive superfood range of Nature’s Way products on display at my local Chemist Warehouse.

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Ingredients + Method:
1 cup almond (rice, soy, coconut) milk, unsweetened
2 to 3 tsp maple syrup or honey 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 tbsp Nature’s Way Super Chia Seeds
1 tbsp Nature’s Way Super Cacao Powder
1 tbsp Nature’s Way Super Maca Powder (also known as the “Peruvian Ginseng”, Super Maca is nutritionally dense with minerals, vitamins, enzymes and amino acids).

Combine all these ingredients in a bowl with a whisk or fork. Removing all lumps of powder by whisking vigorously. Refrigerate the bowl for over six hours, or overnight. When ready to eat, stir well again. Some lumps are OK, just stir well. The thickness and sweetness can be adjusted to your taste.

Once ready to ear, serve with a delicious topping such as:
4 chopped strawberries
1 small handful of blueberries
A sprinkling of coconut chips and some delicious Nature’s Way Super Cacao Coated Pepitas (another new discovery – a yummy little chocolatey treat that Sunday has been gobbling up!)
Storage Instructions: Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

The big test whenever I’ve made something healthy like this is, will Sunday eat it?!

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The answer is a very enthusiastic yes! She devoured her bowl of chocolate and fruit goodness, which makes this Mumma very happy. Sunday and I promise that this is a delicious and easy dessert, without the guilt of a creamy chocolate mousse.

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I hope you are all having a great start to the week,

Briar x

 

 

Kate + Kate Giveaway

19.02.15

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I’ve shared my thoughts on the beautiful  blankets from Kate & Kate on the blog before, but I’m back talking about these clever ladies again because their Winter ’15 range ‘Quiet Geometry’ is their best work yet. I personally love the ‘The Pop Baby‘ blanket, and something tells me people are going to go nuts for the Marsha Gloemac for Kate & Kate capsule collection. AND they’ve just introduced brand new towel and linen throw ranges. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some towels before the launch and I can honestly say they are the nicest quality (thick! soft! big!), the terry/velour finish and colour range is superb. I opted for the ‘Spanish Villa/Snow White’ and can’t decide whether they will be exclusively for the beach or the bathroom.

One of the Kate’s (Sydney Kate – the other is based in Melbourne), very generously took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions below, make sure you check out her online inspirations, there is quite a good collection:

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kk2Chatting to Kate & Kate

Tell us a little about your background – what were your previous jobs and what path led you to starting Kate+ Kate?  We had very different careers before starting Kate & Kate.  Kate Pascoe (Melbourne Kate) was working in the fashion arena, covering all facets of retail, design and wardrobe. I was a long time PR girl, specialising in all the fun stuff – restaurants, food and wine.

Can you tell us some resources (website/books etc) that inspire you and/or influences your designs? We pull inspiration from anywhere and everywhere.  Instagram is ever accessible and great for a creative top up, as is Pintrest.  There are some amazing sites that just always deliver on the inspiration front. Trendland is awesome as is Patternity. We have a bit of a thing for Blood & Champagne and Style.com is definitely our go-to for colour direction.  The list goes on!

What does a typical day at work for you usually involve? A typical day has about 100 balls in the air!  We need to cover everything from design development, logging inspiration for future collections, liaising with manufacturers, chatting with retailers, working on website development, picking & packing orders, social media, marketing meetings and OH SO MANY emails!

What’s a dream you would like to see come to reality? I’d definitely like to see Kate & Kate grow internationally.  We’ve had a lot of interest from the States, Asia and Europe – it’s just about really taking the jump and going for it.  I’m hoping this is something we can make happen over the coming two years.

What are you reading? Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston.

Where would we find you on a typical Sunday morning? If the weather is hot, we are at Icebergs.  I love taking the kids there.  I feel as though it’s my spiritual home, although my husband rolls his eyes at me when I say that.  But seriously, it’s heaven there.

Where was the last good meal you ate? Kepos Street Kitchen, in Redfern.  Everything that comes out of that kitchen is pure gold.

What are you looking forward to? I’m looking forward to taking Kate & Kate overseas – in some way, shape or form.  Dreaming big, New York here we come!

And, as Sunday would say ‘HOOOO-ray!’ Here’s a Giveaway:

Kate & Kate have also given me two towels and a hand towel to give away to a lucky reader, valued at $227.00. Leave a comment below on which design you’d like to win and I’ll randomly draw a winner next week.

Briar x

Lately

16.02.15

Dinner

It’s hard to believe we are all ready half way through February. I’ve had a busy start to the month work-wise, which has been great. I’m loving the diversity of briefs that have come through, from a fancy pants bedroom, a total kitchen re-design to some lovely office spaces. And, the real big one – 5 apartments from the ground up! Exciting times…

I also celebrated my birthday last Friday, which coincided with a good friends wedding weekend in the Hunter Valley. Sunny had a ball staying at home with my parents for the two nights while we were away, and we came home to my sister knocking on the door with this feast. Yes, life has been good.

Here’s how to make this delicious Spicy Beef Salad from Bathers Pavilion and Damian Pignolet’s Saffron Pilaf (both with added twists from my very chef-like sister).

Bathers Pavilion Spicy Beef Salad – serves 8

Dressing
2 garlic cloves
2 small fresh red chilli peppers
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
30 g (1 oz) palm sugar

Salad
1 kg (2 lb) beef fillet (we barbecued wagyu fillets)
24 cherry tomatoes or 6 medium tomatoes
1 red capsicum
1 small red onion
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh coriander leaves
1 grated carrot
1/4 grated cabbage
2/3 cup (100 g/3-1/2 oz) peanuts, roasted
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking beef

To make dressing, peel the garlic. Mince together the garlic and tlle chilli peppers. Place in a bowl with the rest of the dressing ingredients. Mix together until the sugar has dissolved.

To make salad cut the beef into eight portions. Halve the cherry tomatoes or chop the tomatoes. Seed and slice the capsicum. Peel and slice the red onion. Place all the salad ingredients except the beef and vegetable oil into a bowl.

Cook the beef in a lightly oiled pan over a high heat, or on the BBQ – like we did. The cooking time depends on how well done you like your beef (allow 2 minutes each side for rare, and 4 minutes each side for medium, but the cooking time will depend on the size of the beef). Put the beef in a warm place to rest for 10 minutes.

To serve, thinly slice the beef and place it on top of the salad. Ladle over just enough dressing to coat and toss well.

Saffron Pilaf
Note, to make a family sized potion as pictured above, triple the recipe quantities below:

Ingredients
¼ tsp 
saffron threads
20 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp finely diced onion
100 gm (½ cup) basmati rice, rinsed
1 tbsp dry white wine or vermouth
2 tbsp coconut milk
250 ml (1 cup) chicken or fish stock
5 kaffir lime leaves
1/4 cup dried fired shallots (from packet)

Preheat oven to 100C. Toast saffron on a small oven tray until fragrant (5 minutes). Increase oven to 140C. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, add onion and sauté until tender (3-4 minutes).

Add rice and saffron, stir to toast and warm through (1-2 minutes), then add wine or vermouth and let it bubble. Add stock and coconut milk, season to taste, bring to the boil, add kaffir lime leaves, cover and transfer to oven. Bake until rice is tender and stock is absorbed (20 minutes), sprinkle with the dried fried shallots –  stand for 5 minutes and serve hot with the salad. Delicious!

Briar x

One Fine Day

08.02.15

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You may remember my blog post about the room I styled for the One Fine Baby fair last year? Well, the same clever ladies run the One Fine Day wedding fair. I’m decorating a September wedding, so I had a good reason to catch up with the bride and check out the beautiful edit of wedding vendors from Sydney today. You’ll find all you need at the fair to plan an amazing event – including everything from a selection of great photographers to a Mr Whippy van that is available for hire. It’s a mini (very tasteful) bridal expo that is housed in the historic locomotive workshops in Redfern and we were lucky enough to get a glass of champagne on arrival and front row seats to the very-cool runway show. Wow, how I wish some of those dresses were around when I was getting married! The following vendors were definitely a stand out for me:

Dress: Melbourne based designer Suzanne Harward really impressed us with her sexy take on vintage dresses. She does ‘trunk shows’ in Sydney through out the year.
Photographer: Super cute photography collective Studio Something  had a great portfolio on display, and they make the best stop motion videos ever (again, something I would have loved for my own wedding).
Photo Booth: Adorable and fun photo booth company In An Instant set up everything – and have both a polaroid and digital camera on the go. 
Florist: I fell in love the with beautiful but simple floral design at the Hermetica Flowers set up.

To be honest, the list would be too long to share all of the vendors I was keen on today (see the full list on the website)…which is why the fair is so great – there just isn’t any crap. Not from Sydney? The fair is also setting up shop in Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane this year.

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I hope you all had a lovely weekend,

Briar  x

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