Entertaining

Table Decorating

24.08.17

I had the fun job of shopping from the huge ranges of tableware at West Elm, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma recently, picking my favourite pieces and setting up 5 very different table designs, which were all photographed by the lovely Jacqui Turk.

The first part of the brief was to work with the white range of ‘Cambria’ dinnerware from Pottery Barn, and style it to create three unique tables – basically to prove that the every day entertainer can achieve the same look at home with the one cupboard of plates.

I styled the table pictured above with a Baby or Bridal Shower in mind, or a morning tea for my Grandma’s Birthday. Pretty florals and hints of pink and gold with delicious glasses of Rosé. A roll of wrapping paper proved to be the perfect and inexpensive table runner to sit on top of the fresh linen tablecloth…and when in doubt, always use gold cutlery!

 I had Mark’s Birthday in mind when I pulled the above table together. A more moody look was created with a mix of navy linens, stripes, some good red wine and pops of yellow – all served with something like a hearty Minestrone soup for the cooler months.


The third table I set up with the same white Cambria dinnerware had more of an eclectic vibe with a table runner created from budget friendly brown kraft paper, printed linen napkins and slices or dried orange, with gorgeous hammered cutlery. I imagine this look being perfect for a late Sunday lunch with family in the Winter sun.

The range of dinnerware at West Elm brought together a completely different looking table. The fun and quirky Dapper Animal plates are artworks in a ceramic form that make a big statement . The somewhat mad table was brought together by a small amount of faux palm greenery, brushed gold cutlery and a contemporary grey linen table cloth. I imagined a fun afternoon tea with some good friends – great tunes in the background served alongside some delicious sweets and treats.

I loved pulling the above table together. A more sophisticated look with the stunning range from Williams Sonoma. The range was created in collaboration with Aerin, a lifestyle brand founded by businesswoman and American heiress Aerin Lauder that specialises in refined pieces for the home. So very Hamptons if you ask me! I have such a big crush on that large fish platter.

I hope the above tables have given you some ideas for your own tables when entertaining at home – especially with Summer and the silly season only a few months away (can you believe it?!).

Briar x

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.

Valentine’s Day Giveaway {UPDATE: CLOSED}

05.02.17

Valentine’s Day has given me the perfect excuse to pull together my first giveaway for 2017. As mentioned before, I run the instagram account for Logan Wines and the followers always go nuts for a case of wine prize when they come up (seriously, who wouldn’t). So, this time I have partnered with two more of my favourite brands and it’s safe to say this is the nicest little giveaway I’ve ever organised. A true ‘package to love’ – the lucky winner will enjoy not only a mixed dozen of Logan Wines, but also a stunning range of table linen from Cultiver and a beautiful Red Quartz crystal from Rock & Co.

I’ve been sleeping on Cultiver bedlinen for the past few years (total devotee), and now we can all eat on it! The range of table linen is the same great quality I’ve come to expect, all pre-washed and woven from European Flax. It’s the beautiful colour palette that has me hooked. I’ve got a gorgeous classic linen table cloth in blush, a set of 8 table placemats in smoke grey and 8 table napkins in crisp white to win – the perfect set up for a luxe long lunch with family and friends, or a romantic dinner for two.


The crystal is honestly one of the most beautiful rocks I’ve ever seen. Hand picked by my best mate Rachel from Rock & Co with Valentines Day in mind, it’s a wonderful stone for romantic partners who want to reconnect, as it can help clear emotional blockages and let you feel lighter, more playful and fun. Also known as Strawberry Quartz, it is known to stimulate the mind; enhancing memory, increasing mental clarity and inspiring creative thinking or problem solving. I also think it just looks bloody wonderful on display!


The 12 bottles of delicious wine needs no introduction – the mixed case consisting of Vintage ‘M’ Cuvee, Hannah Rosé and Logan Pinot Noir is the perfect accompaniment to any romantic dinner. Don’t fear if Valentine’s Day ain’t your thing, I can promise you your friends will love you on any day if a bottle of Logan appears at the table. You should try it!

Head over to @logan_wines or @rockandco on Instagram to enter, or feel free to leave a comment here if you’re not on Instagram. Enter as many times as you like – open to Australian residents only, who are 18+. Winner chosen at random in one week. Good luck, lovers!

Briar x

Christmas Table ideas

21.11.16

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!

POTTERY BARN

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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).

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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.

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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.

WILLIAMS-SONOMA

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For a more formal table, I accessorised the marble table top with luxe accessories from Williams-Sonoma. Hydrangeas and classic pillar candles are teamed with gorgeous blue plates from the Pacifica range and the more traditional Queen Anne dinnerware creates a nice contrast. Beautiful linen napkins add texture to the marble, and the stunning gold cutlery is simply tied together with festive gold twine.

ws2I like the formality of  my guests to be given a place at the table, and the sweet marble place card holders do the job of holding my handwritten cards perfectly.

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I added more marble to the mix with the condiment bowl (which I used to hold salt and pepper), and the marble coasters look great teamed with the etched Tritan goblets.

WEST ELM

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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!

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A focus was placed on special good quality napkins and cutlery again and there is no shortage in  the cool range of cutlery at West Elm.

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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.

Briar x

Williams-Sonoma Christmas Gift Guide

09.12.15

WS_1Being a bit of a foodie and lover of all things nice for the kitchen, I’ve become a bit obsessed with Williams-Sonoma lately. I love everything from the hand soaps to the cutlery, to the food – so I jumped at the chance to compile a Christmas gift guide for the blog. Above is the selection I came up with – I’m such a fan of the packaging, quality and general feel of the place (you must try and visit in store, you’ll just want to touch everything).

I must admit there is something about the products that make me think of an old fashioned ‘American Christmas in the snow’, which is a good thing – you know the vibe I’m talking about? The family movies I grew up with through out the 80’s where kids drink hot chocolate and go snow sledding off the front porch?? There is just something romantic and nostalgic surrounding a traditional Christmas.

WS_5WS_3You could say the place is heaven for a sweet tooth (I’ve got my Nan in mind for a stash of these decadent treats), everything is so beautifully packaged in tins and boxes, making ideal stocking stuffers. Pictured above is the Peppermint Rolled Wafers, Peanut Brittle and Peppermint Bark – my personal picks of the bunch, but check out the full range here.

WS_7I love the idea of leaving out Santa his own hot chocolate for one of his many pit stops. The Hot Chocolate Pot has a lid that turns in to a handy trivet, and I couldn’t go past the gold monogrammed mug. Pictured above with the fun Jingle Bells table runner (made from the loveliest of linens with velvet trim).

WS_4BGifts that won’t break the bank are readily available through out Williams-Sonoma, and I think everyone could do with a good cheese knife in their lives, and the traditional enameled measuring cups would last someone a lifetime.

WS_8If you’re anything like me, a nice hand soap and candle is always a lovely addition at the kitchen sink (nice packaging make these ones even more of a winner), check out all the different yummy options available here. My favourite gift of the bunch would have to be the marble and timber stand pictured above (available in two sizes). So very decadent for a good cheese or cake display, or just on it’s own…I just can’t go past marble.

WS_6There is no better excuse than the silly season to enjoy a wine or two, and the Valencia Goblets have the look of glass, but are actually made of an unbreakable material  – which make them perfect for poolside quaffing (very appropriate for our Australian climate). Also working with an Aussie Christmas, the lobster tea towel will add a punch of personality to your kitchen.

WS_9Another kitchen staple that is never going to go to be a gift that goes to the back of the cupboard on Boxing Day is a good quality bread board. The maple timber would look beautiful on a simple table setting, as well as being very functional.

WS2This selection I’ve photographed is honestly not scratching the surface of the huge range that is available this Christmas at Williams-Sonoma. I can promise you’ll find something for pretty much everybody – unless you know some who doesn’t enter the kitchen, like to wash one’s hands or eat food. Ha!

Happy shopping!

Briar x

Gift wrapping accessories are from Pulp Creative Paper.

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