A traditional christmas tree


Sunday’s excitement levels for Christmas Day this year have been bigger than ever, so a fancier than ever tree was on the top of our wishlist.  I first learnt about Balsam Hill trees last year when I made an enquiry after spotting a range used in a display at my local shopping centre. I was impressed with the stunning realism of the artificial trees from the USA, a true step up from your run of the mill trees that are available from the usual Australian stores. Hand-crafted with care, I’m in awe of the huge range now available for all of us in Australia from the Balsam Hill website.  Check out the huge range of different tree varieties available here.

After checking out the big range of options, I chose the Fraser Fir tree, which is inspired from the Abies fraseri, which is widely regarded as the best Christmas tree species in the USA. It arrived with their Easy Plug feature, with gorgeous fairy lights ready to go – all I had to do was plug in to the wall. It’s a warm and inviting tree with substantial foliage that is truly so life-like. It really gives off that southern charm you see in Christmas movies that I grew up with. I know, that setting is a far stretch from a hot Summer Christmas that Australian’s are used to, but there is something about the charm of a traditional Christmas that makes it that bit more magical for kids.

The tree arrived really quickly and I knew it was a special tree when I was unpacking it, as included in the box was a premium tree stand with scratch-proof rubber fee, a sturdy off-season storage bag, two sets of gloves to shape the tree in style and extra bulbs for the fairy lights. I was very impressed!

It was the first year that Sunday has really been able to help me properly decorate the tree, and we added the gorgeous ornament set also from Balsam Hill to our collection this year. Generously proportioned and lovely quality, the ombre french country ornament set is inspired by antique European ornaments. Check out the big range of decorations here, including the tree collar pictured above. The galvanised tree collar is a cool alternative to a traditional tree skirt, made from 100% iron and features two hinged pieces that easily wrap around to cover the tree stand. Now all I need to do is add around the tree base all those lovely Christmas presents for the family that I’ve hidden away from Sunday’s curious eyes.

Briar x

Giftwrapping with TK Maxx


Christmas is definitely my favourite time of year, and the festive season kicked off a little earlier than usual this year with a media event at the new (and huge) TK Maxx store at Top Ryde. Having never been inside a store (it’s an established shopping chain with over 550 stores in the UK and Europe though), I really didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by a one-stop shopping destination that stocked everything from underwear to pet supplies to cooking utensils. The retailer sells a huge assortment of big names and top brands at a great discount to what you’d find in a department sore. With new deliveries arriving several times a week, you’ll never know what you’ll find from one day to the next – so it really is like one big treasure hunt. The trick is to visit regularly, because once it’s gone from the shelves, it’s gone.

The fun couple of hours I spent at the store involved a giftwraping workshop with clever cat and wrap expert Vivienne Anthon, who is the founder of the blog The Daily Wrap. Vivienne sent us all on a mission to go shopping with a $100 budget, and come back to the workstations with our goodies.

I was almost overwhelmed with the choice I had on my little speed-shopping spree. I ended up choosing a pair of gorgeous leather sandals for Summer for $30, a stoneware baking dish and then in the end I just couldn’t pass up the incredible selection of Christmas ribbons, now pictured above happily at home in my office ready for the wrapping rush Christmas always brings.

We all can back with such an eclectic mix of things (one blogger even brought an upholstered stool back to the table). Vivienne took us through a range of gift wrapping ideas, and I was especially drawn to the idea of using calico (or fabric) instead of paper. As some of you would know, I’ve long been a very enthusiastic gift wrapper, so I was really in my element with the workshop. I also loved her idea of adding small Christmas bells in to your parcel for a festive sound effect, and her trick of wrapping up mailing tubes for a collection of those fiddly/hard to wrap shaped gifts.

Vivienne made the workshop fun, she’s got a great sense of humour so there was a lot of laughter going on.

Lovely bloggers Jen and Kathy doing their thing…

Above is an example of the kind of things you’ll find in-store on any given day. Christmas is a big focus that’s on display at the moment, but you’ll also find huge fashion, accessories, beauty and toy departments. The trick is to go in with an open mind and really hunt for that amazing bargain, it’s safe to say that TK Maxx has some clever and affordable Christmas gift ideas! To find your local TK Maxx store visit

Briar x

A second car


We’ve been a one car family since just before Sunday was born, which we found really worked for us, financially. The apartment we were living in gave Mark a two minute walk to work, and we found having a second car an expense that wasn’t necessary. We figured the money saved on registering and insuring another car could pay for a cab if our little family ever got stuck without wheels.

Things changed dramatically when we moved to the burbs earlier this year! Mark found himself with a commute to work for the first time in ten years, which needed a car, mainly so he could easily drop Sunday at Preschool on his way in the morning. So, it was clear we needed a second vehicle for me to get around town with the kids and my day to day work errands. Dreams of a Fiat Beach Buggy obviously weren’t going to happen (can you imagine dashing around the beaches in one of these minty green cuties though, talk about adorable). Looking at a safe family friendly car option was the brief, air bags, leather seats and all.

Making our own funds magically increase in our bank account overnight to make this purchase happen didn’t work out unfortunately, especially after renovating our home (don’t get me started on landscaping costs), so I started shopping around for a car loan. It had been years since I’d dabbled in that area, so it was with perfect timing that the NRMA contacted me and asked to check out their offers. I’ve long been a very loyal member of their roadside angels from Roadside Assistance, but had never considered the NRMA for a car loan before. Looking further in to it, I was impressed with the following; A really quick and easy application process, no monthly fees, pre-approval within 5 business hours and funds available the next day. Loans are available for new and used cars as well as motorcycles, caravans (another dream is to have a little vintage caravan sitting in our backyard one day for extra accommodation and just for the thrill of owning a vintage caravan), motorcycles, motorhomes and boats. The NRMA also offers a 21 day loan satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy, you can pull out!

I’ve been checking out a few different cars to purchase and had a go of the NRMA’s handy car loan calculator and the very clever service that gives you a car history report, which I think is really important when buying second hand.

So, it really has been a positive experience and our want of owning a second car is being made that little bit easier. Meanwhile, I still can’t get over this cute little Fiat twin set, which was available for sale back in 2014. I spotted these photos on one of my favourite sites, Messy Nessy Chic. If the buyer who ended up with these 1950’s vehicles is out there, let me know – I want to hear how these sweeties are going. 

Known as “La Spiaggina”, literally meaning  “beach-ette”, the Fiat beach-buggy was marketed worldwide as the Jolly, meaning “joker” in Italian. They were available in pink, coral, white, pale yellow and sky blue. Aristotle Onassis owned one and allegedly used it aboard his sizeable yacht. It is believed that fewer than 100 exist today, each one with its own unique quirks. This particular model may have been one of the 32 Jolly cars that were used as taxis on the island of Catalina off the coast of Los Angeles from 1958–1962. I just had to share these with you, because it’s not often I get this excited about a car!

One can dream, right? 

Briar x

My love for the Steam Mop


I’ve mentioned on here before that I appreciate a neat and tidy house. If my surroundings are organised, my mind feels more at peace – simple as that. I’m sure anyone reading this with those tendencies will also appreciate a good steam clean. So fresh! I make sure to get our sofa processionally cleaned every six months or so, and now I can say I can actually start doing it myself!

How you ask? Godfreys asked me to trial the Hoover ‘Dual Steam Plus’ Steam Mop. I unpacked it from the box and was pleasantly surprised at the easy to follow instructions. I tackled Sunday’s room first, as her asthma cough is always at the back of my mind, I like to keep her room dust free as much as I can. I was honestly so pleased with the results, it heated up within 30 seconds and after a quick lap around the room, the carpet immediately looked and felt fresh…even Sunday noticed how clean her little room looked.
 I was on a roll, so took the carpet glider off from the bottom and hit up the two bathrooms. Having never used a steam mop before, I was so impressed with the streak free finish on the floor tiles. Glided around the tiles with ease, talk about easy!

The element that makes this mop stand out from the others is that it transforms in to a detachable hand-held steamer. Nothing can stop me now – I’m going to be steaming everything, it even has a window squeegee kit!

Pictured above is the water tank that you have to simply fill before use. It’s a really eco-friendly way of cleaning as you don’t need any chemicals.

If you’re in the market for something like this, you’ll be interested to know Godfreys has a stocktake sale kicking off on the 25th May, and free shipping is available for all orders over $99.00 (Note: The website will have all the products for the current Mighty May sale but will update on the 25th with the Stocktake sale products, including this steam mop).

Happy cleaning! 

Briar x

Sunday Collector Renovation: Sunday’s Room


Sunday/Sunny/Sunny-Sue/Baby-Boo/Bubba. She’s sweet, she’s feisty, she’s passionate, and she loves her new room. We recently added some pieces from the whimsical new collection from Margherita Missoni and Pottery Barn Kids. A magical mix of gorgeous colours, the pom pom quilted bedding is really lovely quality, and the Designer Doll ‘Clara’ is Sunday’s new favourite. Floor play with baby Rafferty has been made that much sweeter with the beautiful floral rug and the luxe Daisy Pouf. As you can see these pieces have complimented the new room beautifully. Sunday’s one request was for a pink room (!!) when we moved – we settled on Taubmans Pink Sangria with the crisp Cotton Sheets white on the top half of the walls.

As you can see, she’s pretty happy with the new set up (and I really struggled to pick my favourite photo, so I’ve gone all ‘stage mum’ and shared them all). Plantation shutters were installed by Signature Shutters and Blinds and Sunday’s wearing a leotard and tutu from Cotton On.

It’s definitely a little girls room! Also pictured from Pottery Barn kids is the Kendall Dresser, the sweet Farmington Dollshouse she got from Santa a year ago and the adorable Sherpa Anywhere Doll Chair (which matches her living room chair).  The cool denim jacket was a gift from my sister, Hannah made it up herself with all the cute badges.

I love the colours in the new Margherita Missoni collection – it really pops on the ‘Greystone’ grey wool Stonefields carpet I chose from Feltex. I can honestly say that Sunday loves spending time in her new little room, it’s an eclectic mix with pops of her favourite things – flowers and the colour pink.

Briar x

Photos by Jacqui Turk.

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