I’m sure you’d agree that when you’re a kid, there’s nothing like some old fashioned water play on the grass in the middle of Summer. Cue slices of watermelon and some sausages on the BBQ and you have the perfect day. My mum tells me I would spend hours outside as a child playing with the simple things like a bucket, hose and plastic shell pool with my sisters. Not an electrical device in sight – the good ol’ days.
Traditional backyard water play was stepped up over the weekend in our house and Sunday thought Christmas had come early when we set up the Dinoland Play Centre from Clark Rubber.
The store really is a one stop shop when it comes to backyard fun this Summer, check out the link to gifts under $20, which is full of perfect little stocking fillers for all ages.
Our Dinoland Play Centre was inflated in minutes with the help of an electric pump, and we simply placed it on a level area of grass in our Apartment garden and then connected the hose. Like magic, a sprinkler system filled up the big play pool. Little squeals of delight that came immediately from baby Rafferty and Sunday in action with her young neighbour friend was all I needed to know that it was a huge hit. I’m thinking we will set it up again for Raff’s 1st birthday party in February, as it’s the perfect entertainment for kids.
The good news is, I also have three of the Dinoland Play Centres to give away on Instagram this week, so keep an eye out for the post – I promise you the kids will love it!
Always remember, never leave children unattended when playing near water. Also, check with your local council for pool and spa fencing, safety and water regulations.
When I was in the planning stage of our renovation, budgeting for the kitchen to be replaced was a non-negotiable for me. I knew the potential with the space as soon as I set foot in the house. As you can see above, the house had a functioning but tiny kitchen, and I was desperate to knock out a few walls and open the space right up.
We have been lucky enough to be able to live off site while the renovations have been taking place, but we did live through our previous kitchen renovation a few years ago, so I know that living every day life without the practicalities of a kitchen is a tough gig and surviving on take-away during the construction stage can get monotonous, not to mention unhealthy and expensive. As mentioned before, I’m working with Smeg to bring you a series of blog posts, and below I have outlined a few tips on how to best live with a kitchen renovation:
If space permits, try and designate an area for a temporary kitchen out of the way of construction. Setting up ‘camp’ near a laundry tub so you have a water supply would be perfect. A small dining table (or portable trestle table) placed against a wall near a power point can easily become a makeshift kitchen bench. Keep things simple and strip back elements to keeping only the kitchen appliances out you really can’t live without such as a Toaster and a Kettle. Store away excess plates, glasses, cutlery etc, and have the bare minimum out of storage that will work for the number of people in your household.
I’ve come up with a small list of things I found handy to have on hand in our ‘makeshift kitchen’:
A Good Knife
4 Sets Cutlery
4 x Plates/Bowls
4 x Mugs
4 x Wine Glasses
Let’s be honest, you’re not going to be hosting dinner parties and cooking three course meals during the construction period, but you are still going to need a space to pour a bowl of cereal and make a piece of toast. Keeping the fridge and freezer close by is also handy. Speaking of fridges and freezers, we have ordered this beautiful side-by-side refrigerator/freezer from Smeg and I’m so excited about it’s generous storage capabilities, not to mention it’s gorgeous looks! Again, if this luxury isn’t possible due to space, an Esky with ice from the petrol station could be a temporary option to keep your perishables cold.
If you really want to make yourself comfortable, handy appliances such as a microwave, slow cooker, coffee maker and a mini electric cooktop are really going to get you through to the other side of the construction stage with less pain and hassle. When it comes to meal ideas, you can’t go wrong with ‘one pot’ recipes. Less space is needed, and there’s a lot less to clean up. Last but not least, keep a healthy supply of non-perishable snacks on the table, especially if you’ve got kids. You could always save money and keep snacks healthy by using small snap lock bags and mixing up almonds, pretzels and dried apricots.
If all else fails and you don’t have the space to set up any of the above, try to aim for a renovation in Summer and get that BBQ cranking and an outdoor table set up under a portable gazebo (purchase an inexpensive one from somewhere like Anaconda).
Above all, try hard to grin and bear it, and remember the reward at the end of it all – a beautiful new kitchen and shiny new appliances. Pictured above is our kitchen space as it stands today, but that really is all about to change. My gorgeous Smeg appliances and cabinetry arrive in a few days. I can’t wait!
Back in the day when I was child free and working long hours in film, the Supa Centa at Moore Park was a handy go-to shopping centre located really close to Fox Studios, making it perfect for last minute purchases needed on set, and needed fast.
I was recently contacted by the team to take a visit and have a little shop with a focus on the outdoor ranges. How could I refuse? I love entertaining outdoors, especially as the weather is warming up, and boy – do I love to shop!
I killed two birds with one stone on the day and had my car detailed downstairs (and it was a really good job too). I loaded myself up with a trolley at the beginning of my expedition and hit up Anaconda (which you can enter directly from the carpark). If you’re planning a camping trip this Summer, don’t bother with any other store. I promise you this mega shop has EVERYTHING you need – from outdoor furniture to sleeping bags to teapots, you’ll be completely sorted! I ended up with the blow up baseball which I found in the extensive swim section.
I then headed upstairs to where it’s all happening, if you’ve never visited before, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised – there is a great mix of stores to suit all budgets, and a couple of good cafes to stop for a re-fuel. I spent a little longer than expected in Toys R Us (seems the magic of roaming around a toy store hasn’t left the kid in me), and I picked up the Little Tikes Cart for Rafferty, which will be perfect for when those chunky little legs of his start walking over Summer. I then strolled around the eclectic Orson + Blake, and I found Shack also had a great range of furniture. The mega store, Harvey Norman had a really impressive range of outdoor furniture and accessories, as did the always reliable Freedom – where I found the tone was set with the great black and white striped outdoor rug I found (perfect for kids as you can hose it down at the end of the day). I then added pops of colour with fun accessories I found along the way. I also picked up the plastic party cups, the metal ice bucket to keep those refreshing drinks cool, and the very handy electric air pump for the blow up pool accessories at Freedom – because, let’s face it – who wants to be blowing up a toy on a hot Summer’s day!
Mr + Mrs Jones is a really cute ‘giftware delicatessan’, perfect for some Christmas shopping (for young and old), and this is where I bought the Sunnylife Stereo (such a cute gift idea) and the gorgeous pool accessories. I also loved walking around the large Adairs where I was inspired by lots of outdoor options. I picked up two of the Rebecca Judd Loves Outdoor Cushions, which are really nice quality and couldn’t resist the fun little flamingo. Melamine plates and bowls are your friend when entertaining outside and Adairs certainly have a lovely range, I loved the fun graphics on the plates I purchased, as well as the quality white and timber tray – perfect for a stable lunch surface when eating on the lawn. I was also really pleased with the set of cute kids outdoor chairs I bought at Adairs – I’m sure Sunny is going to get lots of use out of them over Summer in our new garden. Bed Bath ‘N’ Table was another store I walked around, and I ended up choosing the handy oversize striped towel – on a different note, I also loved their range of Christmas decorations this year. I was sidetracked again back in to the land of renovating by walking around Howard’s Storage World – I’ll be revisiting that store when we move in, that’s for sure.
I ended up spending three hours shopping a The Supa Centa, and with a fully loaded trolley at the end of it I found myself really happy with the selection of products I piled in to my (clean) car to take home.
Now, someone pass me a glass of wine in a handy plastic cup – I’m ready for some time in the sun!
When it comes to entertaining around a table, a thoughtfully and well decorated setting can make all the difference. A beautiful tablecloth and accessories at a table setting can completely set the tone, especially at a Christmas table. I grew up with my Mum and Aunt always decorating our Christmas lunch based around a new theme every year. Fresh flowers and delicious fruit were always a common element at our table, as was linen napkins and beautiful paper bonbons. When it comes to decorating a Christmas table these days, there are more options out there than ever – and below are some ideas I set up at home using products from Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma and West Elm. All the items are available online now, and could be delivered to your door with plenty of time up your sleeve to create a festive setting. Can you tell I’m excited for Christmas? Hopefully these ideas help you get in to the festive spirit too!
For a classic Christmas, pictured above is the soft Flax Linen tablecloth, available in a range of lovely muted colours, and the gold rimmed plates are from the gorgeous Gigi range. I added another metal to the mix with the cool copper cutlery sets. Chilled Rosé is served in contemporary stemless glassware (it’s so important to keep your guests hydrated with good wine, after all).
Place-settings are kept simple with handwritten tags tied to fresh flowers with bakers twine. Super handy flameless candles are battery operated and safe for little hands.
I couldn’t go past the delightful Lab and Deer ornaments (perfect for the tree too – I trimmed the hanger loops off for this table setting). Check out the huge range available here.
I also set up a Christmas table using items from another favourite store, West Elm. I created a more modern look with a mix of metals. The hand-stamped bronze serveware comes in a range of shapes, and I chose a square set for the table. Giving your guests a gift to keep is always a nice idea, and the brass wishbone is the perfect proportions for a plate – and it might even bring your lunch party some good luck!
West Elm also have an adorable range of Christmas ornaments available at the moment, and the sweet bottlebrush trees are perfect for a tabletop. I added fresh Monstera leaves and metallic confetti for another layer to the setting, and the petrified wood coasters provides a good contrast to all the metal finishes I’ve used.
I hope the above set ups have given you some inspiration to start workshopping your Christmas table for 2016.
After renovating our kitchen in the apartment nearly two years ago, I was keen to mix it up a bit with a different look for when we move to our first home. I was ready to step away from the contemporary white look that we’ve been living with, and I was drawn to the door profile ‘Sierra’ in the muted Stone Grey from Freedom Kitchens. I love the simple door profile with it’s nod to the traditional Shaker look, and I think the pairing with the oak floorboards from Woodcut is a beautiful one.
An important choice when it comes to kitchen finishes is the benchtop. It can make or break the whole feel of the kitchen, so picking the right surface to work with the cabinetry is a decision I don’t take lightly. It was with perfect timing that Caesarstone released a new range of colours recently, and when I visited the showroom in Alexandria I was completely sold on Noble Grey as soon as I saw the big slab in real life. It’s the perfect balance of soft grey with a subtle marble vein, and I think it’s lovely.
The splash back will be a simple offset square white tile with a mid grey grout. I found the perfect size to achieve the look I’m after at Tiles By Kate (see previous post).
I ended up sourcing the cupboard bar handles from the USA, after I came across a little online supplier called Lew’s Hardware. The brushed brass finish looks great against the grey cupboard doors, and I feel these will add that little touch of glam to the space.
No doubt the jewel in the crown will be the Voda Sink Mixer in the very cool Brushed Gold from Sussex Taps. Sussex is a true, local industry with it’s own foundry (the only one in Australia) and manufacturing workshop in Melbourne. Sussex Taps create taps using rigorous methods that they pioneered and refined. Each of the six phases of the production process is conducted with the closest care and attention – something that becomes apparent as soon as you hold one of the taps in your hands, I can’t tell you how beautiful the piece above is in real life.
Freedom Kitchens will be installing all the cabinetry in a few weeks time – which means production is well and truly underway, and I’ve been using the online portal to communicate back and forth regarding the finer details. It truly has been a trouble free process, I’ve found it all very impressive. To say that I am excited about the day the installer arrives is an understatement, it’s certainly looking like we will have our kitchen in time for Christmas! The elements you see in the mood board above have been swimming around in my brain for a while now, so to see them all come together in the flesh will be very exciting! A few days before the installer arrives, a truck will be dropping off some very special Smeg appliances, but more on those choices soon.