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Giftwrapping with TK Maxx

21.11.17

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 www.tkmaxx.com.au

Briar x

A second car

26.07.17

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

22.05.17

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

26.02.17

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.

Sunday Collector Renovation: Landscaping

23.02.17

Thanks to a very efficient builder and his team, our renovations went completely and utterly smoothly. Being our first home I know how lucky I am to be able to say that, as I hear horror stories all the time. Demolition was completed in a few short days, which was hugely rewarding, as we could immediately see the extra space we were creating in our living and dining area. The new kitchen had it’s final measure up a week later, which meant all the cabinetry when in to manufacturing straight away. Being the first home for our young family, we were really careful not to over-capitalise, so instead of changing the house around too much when it came to the layout, we simply gave the bathrooms and laundry major facelifts. Existing bedrooms stayed put – but with new lighting, flooring, skirting boards and window treatments. The magic of a professional paint job never ceases to amaze me either! As I’ve mentioned, we moved in after Christmas, and the feeling of accomplishment now we are living here is hard to describe, I would never have imagined we’d be in this position 5 years ago, it really does feel like a brand new little home for my family.


One thing I hadn’t anticipated is that by knocking out the back wall of the house made our garden a major feature, you can see it in full from the front door. Patchy and yellowing grass, a spindly (kind of dead) Banskia, a green hills hoist on it’s last legs and some tired looking Camellia’s were definitely not in my final vision for the place. Luckily for me, my Aunt is Michele Shennen, who besides from being one of the greatest people I know, also happens to be a very talented and accomplished Landscaper Designer, and wow – does she have some amazing ideas for our home. Michele is known for designing contemporary yet practical and family friendly outdoor spaces, with your chosen budget in mind. It’s been a fun process working with her to bring the vision to life.

Out the back, we’ve gained a huge deck (made out of gorgeous wide blackbutt timber that will age grey), more grass for the kids, a big working vegetable garden (which is a dream of Mark’s) and last but not least – we will be modernising the surrounds to the 1980’s pool area (this will really transform the space, but I’m seeing this as Stage 2 in the landscaping plan). The front garden is going to be a dedicated cactus and succulent area, a direct nod to my love of mid-century design. Michele has workshopped these ideas, and with that comes obvious extra construction costs.

When renovating a property, it’s important not to leave the landscaping budget at the bottom of your priorities because you really can reap the rewards when selling a house that has good outdoor spaces, particularly if you are targeting the first home owner market who may have young kids…you know, those apartment dwellers who are desperate for that backyard dream (putting my hand up right now). I’ve written about People’s Choice Credit Union before, read here – and they’ve recently been named CANSTAR’s 2016 First Home Buyer Customer Owned Institution of the Year SA. You may be interested to know that to celebrate the win, People’s Choice has a highly competitive three-year Fixed Home Loan Package rate specifically for first home buyers. Winning!

With a comfortable little budget in mind, below are some reference shots I’ve pulled from Pinterest over the past year, which explains my vision – with the deck already up, I’m really starting to envision those backyard parties, with a Basil Bangs Chaplin stripe umbrella on the deck, if I’m going to get fussy.

We will eventually cover the dated pebblecrete that surrounds the pool with some wide timber to match our back decking. Painting the inside of the pool is also on my list of things to do, but not a huge priority at this stage.

This house in Portland that featured in Dwell magazine has all it’s priorities right if you ask me. I love the lush grass, and the flow of decking with options for a comfortable seat.


As a contrast to the family friendly backyard, I want a low maintenance cactus garden at the front. This area gets hit with hot westerly sun, and I love that it will complement the 60’s lines at the front of the home.

Top of my list of ‘wants’ for the house was a breeze brick wall in white, similar to above. We’ve managed to incorporate one along one side of the deck, giving us privacy from our neighbours, and something pretty for me to look at.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated on our landscaping progress, providing you with tips along the way!
Briar x

This post was written in collaboration with People’s Choice Credit Union.

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