Fathers Day with Williams-Sonoma

21.08.16

Father’s Day is two weeks away, so you might be starting to think about a gift idea for the fathers/father figures in your life. Williams-Sonoma asked me to round up my favourite dad-friendly gifts, and of course I had no problem finding ideas from the huge range. I think the beautiful store is definitely the destination for gift-giving ideas for tricky dads this Father’s Day. I’ve sung the praises of the place before, but after perusing the latest range in detail, my love is greater – especially after trying out all the things in the photos you see here. I knew I’d done an ok job of pulling together the gift guide when the dad of our house (Mark) really took an interest in the delivery. I decided to break the guide up in to three themes. First up is my personal favourite (and Sunday’s):

Pancakes with Dad on Father’s Day:

WS_12

WS_01I couldn’t resist the sound of a Danish Ebelskiver Pancake, and I love how you can buy the beautifully packaged mix and the matching quality pancake pan – the perfect gift! The premium non-stick coating on the pan ensures clean release of the cute ball-shaped pancakes. Sunday loved them, and I’ve got to say I’m a bit partial to them now too, talk about delicious! Pictured above is our yummy ‘trial’ Father’s Day breakfast – complete with fancy gold plated Soiree cutlery, classic Kitchen Bistro dinner plates and herringbone napkins.

WS_04I also love and couldn’t resist the classic packaging of the Butternut Mountain Farm Maple Syrup – made from the pure sap of Vermont maple trees, without additives or preservatives and in a generous 1L tin. Let’s face it, a pancake isn’t a pancake without maple syrup. Also pictured is the handy striped pot holder in navy.

WS_02I’m also never going to be able to make a pancake again without the super handy Pancake Batter Dispenser Pen. Mix your batter right in the bottle, then use the pen with its precision tip to neatly make any shape you like in the pan. Genius!

BBQ Time

WS-06I’m yet to meet a Dad who doesn’t love a BBQ, and the range at Williams-Sonoma for your steak loving guy is really impressive. I was excited to try out the pretty amazing Pink Himalayan Salt Plate. Sourced from natural salt deposits found in the Himalayas – you can use the beautiful plate directly on the barbecue to sear seafood and meat, or chill for serving a selection of fruits, vegetables and cheeses with a hint of salt. Mark wants to use it in Summer to serve fresh sashimi. Also pictured above are good quality tongs and and oil dispenser, two staples for every good kitchen.

WS-05For the time poor BBQ’er, a steak rub is always going to come in handy.  A combination of garlic, herbs and lime with three types of chile peppers will give you steaks with an authentic Latin American flavour.

WS-07The range of condiments available at Williams-Sonoma is big, and beer and BBQ’s go hand in hand if you ask me. The fun bottles of BBQ sauce infused with beers is a great idea for the food loving Dad who has everything. Also pictured above is the very cute Buffalo Plaid Napkin – perfect for that old school BBQ.

Composting:

WS-02I’ve got to admit I was drawn to this stainless steel compost pail because we’ll be moving to our house with a nice big backyard at the end of the year, so composting will be a new novelty that I’m sure we (especially Mark) will embrace.

WS-01
The 3.8 L benchtop canister holds food scraps – and minimises their odours – until they’re transferred to an outdoor compost bin.

WS-03WS-04Dad’s love a gadget, and every kitchen needs a good quality peeler. I can also confirm the Microplane is one handy handheld slicer. Get clean, precise cuts of potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, fruits and more…I’d never used one before trying this one, and I’m now a big fan. Also pictured above is the teak chopping board and quality navy dishcloth.

Still stuck for a gift idea? Sydney dads can enjoy a class in the Williams-Sonoma Cooking School. I’ve tried one of these fab classes, which I blogged about here.

So, there you have my little round up of gifts from one-stop-super-shop Williams-Sonoma. There’s lots of inspiration in store or online: whether your dad loves BBQ’s, fine dining, baking or roasting – there really is something for everyone!

Briar x

Resparkle

15.08.16

Resparkle2I’m far from being a Martha Stewart, but I’ve got to put my hand up and say I keep a clean house. I blame my Mum – I was raised to continually pick up after myself, so tidiness is seriously ingrained in my sisters and I. Visitors will often comment on our tidy house when they come over, but it’s not like I’ve been running around like a mad woman beforehand, boringly – it really is just often tidy. Don’t get be wrong, we make a mess (Sunday’s painting and my cooking efforts are activities that spring to mind), but I’ll just clean up after it. So, as you can imagine – it was with delight I received a Resparkle hamper delivery recently.  I’ve been trying out the range for the past week and I can honestly say I love this non-toxic and affordable option for cleaning that actually works. I’m especially impressed with their unique refill pods of active cleaning concentrate – all you do is fit a new pod to your reusable spray bottle and fill with your own tap water. Genius – you’re not paying for more excessive packaging!

Resparkle2Rafferty is putting anything and everything in his mouth at the moment, so I was especially keen to try out the non-toxic cleaner for Toys from the Nursery category of products. It claims to remove sticky residues, zaps stains and bacteria. Made from 100% plant based ingredients, I feel confident to use it on things like his high chair tray and teething toys. You can buy all these products online (you will be pleasantly surprised by the pricing), or you may be interested in the subscription bundles also available on the website.

Happy (and healthy) cleaning!

Briar x

Baby Björn High Chair

12.08.16

I’ve felt loyal to the Baby Björn brand since I bought a classic baby carrier for Mark the Christmas before Sunday was born. We used is all the time with baby Sunday, and with Rafferty, we’ve used it even more…it’s been my Plan B for when he’s unsettled – because he usually always falls asleep within 2 minutes of getting strapped in – he just loves it.  I appreciate the quality of the products, and I’m drawn to the simple but beautiful European designs. A Swedish family-owned business, the company was started in 1961 by Björn Jakobson. The business concept was at the time, and still is: “To make day-to-day life easier for parents of small children by developing safe and innovative products of the highest quality for children up to three years old.”

BabyBjorn1Nearing 6 months, happy little Rafferty’s food journey is underway and we’re now owners of the ergonomic Baby Björn high chair in white. As you can see, he’s very comfortable with it. Not only does it look good with our interiors, it has a unique design and safety solution that holds Raff in place, with a two-step lock that can only be opened by an adult (which is handy, because my mini-mother Sunday is VERY excited about being able to feed her baby brother)! The tray table is adjustable and I like that the design makes it really hard for the child to stand up in the chair (a problem with our old high chair). It’s also super light and can collapse to a slimline shape for easy transport.

BabyBjorn2The tray comes completely off for easy cleaning, which is great for finger food. I’m going to be exploring a combination of feeding Raff purees and the increasingly popular ‘baby led weaning’ style of giving finger foods to the baby straight away. All I can hope for is we get a toddler that is far more adventurous with foods than his big sister.

BabyBjorn3So far, Rafferty has tried and liked pear, banana, avocado, potato, carrot and zucchini and I can report he hasn’t rejected anything. It’s just the actual swallowing part he’s yet to 100% grasp – but we’re in no hurry, it’s just about giving his as many wholesome tastes as possible. Baby Björn have thought of it all, and I love the range of high quality baby plates, cups, utensils and soft bibs – all available here.

BabyBjorn4That little face gets me every time.

Briar x

Interview: Claire Aristides

08.08.16

ClaireAristidesI felt it was fitting that I mark the birth of my baby Rafferty with a ring (Mum’s need to be spoilt sometimes), and my Aura cushion cut rose quartz ring designed by Claire Aristides is now a reminder of the moment our sweet baby boy came in to our lives. I met Claire last year when Sunday and I were part of her Mother’s Day campaign, and I was immediately drawn to her friendly and down to earth personality – not to mention her talent. Claire really is an inspiration when it comes to business, and I’m a big fan of her modern and minimalist take on classic fine jewellery. Her account on Instagram @aristidesfinejewels is worth following for the gorgeous shots (and possibly the nicest hands you’ve ever seen). Claire’s Bambino Diamonds brand is also a lovely range to keep in mind if you after a timeless gift for the children in your life – and check out Sunday’s cute little hands on the website.

Claire answered a few questions for me:

CLAIRE ARISTIDES_4794 - CopyWhere do you find your inspiration?
The design elements that appeal to me are the different coloured gemstones and the gold they are set with, also shapes and cuts of stones.  The beautiful Rose Quartz Aura – this is the stone of love and I just think it looks so beautiful set in yellow gold. Certain stones suit a gold.  I also love detailed delicate patterns, the Firenze Petite also pictured below.

Travel is great to inspire you, you switch off from the day to day grind and let your creative side just be…. and often amazing things happen as a result.

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetHow did your jewellery designing career start?
I was working in IT and moonlighting at night making jewels and designing …  I built my own website and the rest is history. Jewellery is in my bones I feel.  I grew up with a mother who collected a Jewellery box full of necklaces, pearls and cocktail rings from Greece, Macua, Singapore, Spain, wherever she travelled with my father. And she always wore her jewels, so for me saving jewellery for that special occasion doesn’t make sense. I create wearable every day fine jewellery. I love to layer and I’m a big fan of mixing and matching different golds, stacking gemstones with diamonds, having fun and telling your story with your jewellery.

Three things you are passionate about?
My husband, son & travel.

What is your favourite piece of jewellery?
My engagement ring, I sourced the diamond from an antique jewellery dealer outside of London – so it’s a very old cut of diamond, then I designed the new platinum setting. I love it.

The secret to a successful social media profile is?
There’s a lot of trial and error with social media, I focus on presenting my collection in a way that reflects how the jewels could be worn daily.   Jewellery tells a story so I hope our social media shows the possibilities of how to wear fine jewellery and diamonds daily.  Instagram in particular has been incredible for the brand, we have customers all over the world, we skype clients in different time zones and create bespoke jewellery pieces for them.  My secret …. sharing my fine jewellery journey in the most beautiful and creative way I can.

Where do you like to shop for clothing?
I love online shopping…. So convenient … comes to your door … DHL collect if something’s not right. Brilliant. I’m very loyal to Net-A-Porter, Matches, The Outnet.

Where do you like to dine out?
Sydney – hmmm… that’s a tough one I do love Chiswick. Ive also discovered the most amazing yumcha restaurant in North Sydney.

What’s your favourite travel destination and why?
Greek Islands. My husband is half greek and we both have a shared love for the islands. We’ve only ever missed two  years visiting the islands since we have been together 15 years.

How do you treat yourself with some time out?
Having a child, I appreciate quiet uninterrupted time to myself. Not too long, 2 or 3 hours is enough. Quiet, peaceful and reflective time. I also love massages.

What does the future hold?
Keep creating jewels people love…  we recently launched @AristidesBridal so that is very exciting.

Choose one or the other:
Coffee or Tea: Frothy Capuccino
Chocolate or Cheese: Both!
Red or White (wine): Bubbles.
Roses or Orchids: Orchids.
Dog or Cat: Dog
Shoes or Handbag: Shoes.
Gold or Silver:  Gold.
London or New York: London.
Mascara or Lipgloss: Lipgloss.
Beach or Country: Beach but in the shade.

Thanks for your time – and your beautiful jewels, Claire!

Briar x

A few things

27.07.16

It’s been way too long between posts on here. Life’s been good. Baby Raff (aka the cheeriest person I’ve ever met) is already 5 months old and having his first tastes of yummy things like carrot and pear. I’ve got a cute highchair that I’ll get a few snaps of him in once he’s got that big cute head of his under control. Sunday is growing up right before our eyes and making us laugh more and more each day, I love the kind and outgoing person she is becoming – someone I’d really like to be friends with, and that’s something Mark and I are really proud of.

I’m working on a few exciting decorating projects that I need to get better at sharing on here (watch this space), all made possible because I’ve found an amazing ‘grandma type’ nanny (and true baby whisperer) who watches Raff for a few hours at a time so I can punch some work out. Sleepless nights are a whole other story, but it feels different second time around, you realise that it eventually changes and there truly is light at the end of that sleepless tunnel. It also helps that Rafferty beams the most heart melting smile every time my head appears over his cot – no matter what hour.

Below is a game of catch up and a round up of a few things I’ve been loving lately.

Newport
We had the most amazing lunch with my sister and family at the The Newport recently. It’s been recently renovated, or I should say ‘Merivaled’ and it is oh-so-cool. Built around gorgeous gardens with incorporated outdoor dining spaces and bars, we indulged in a delicious spread of roast chicken, seafood, salads and pizzas. Th kids ended the day with donuts and ice creams. A really beautiful family day out – a good tip is to get there at around 11.00am to score a great lunch table.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetMy parents came back from a month long holiday in France last week and Sunny scored a gorgeous paint set from Monet’s garden. I love how much time she’s spending on her art, I’m so impressed with her focus and pride in the work she does. The relative silence in the house also doesn’t hurt.

Processed with VSCOcam with a4 presetMy 10kg butter ball sure loves to nurse, so this lovely Mama Body Tea arrived in my post box at a great time. It’s an organic and caffeine free herbal tea range to assist women and their babies. I’m completely guilty of a morning coffee to get me functioning for the day (oh sweet jesus, never take that cup of gold away from me), so I’ve been loving this as an afternoon pick me up alternative.

I hope you are all having a great week.

Briar x

All Content © 2016 Sunday Collector. All Rights Reserved.