Christmas Shopping at Warriewood Square


I’ve always loved the convenience of shopping at a mall, especially when kids are  in tow. It’s handy having everything under one roof, with easy parking, air conditioning and bathroom facilities! Warriewood Square is a centre I have shopped at since first moving to the Northern Beaches nearly 12 years ago, I first visited it after learning it has the only K-Mart in the area, and then soon discovered I loved the manicures on offer at the Nail Bar. Being a local, I was pleased when I was approached  to partner with the shopping destination for a Christmas Styling/Shopping challenge. How could I say no?!
My full trolley – the sign of a successful shop! I actually love how close Woolies and Coles are to each other in the centre, I go between the two if I need something in particular I can’t get at one or the other.
I went a little nuts with the amazing cheese selection, the perfect one stop shop for a Christmas spread!
I recently had Sunny’s class over for our last day of school celebrations and this was the grazing platter I pulled together. I  bought all this produce at Warriewood Square…a mix between Woolies and Coles, and it fed the masses! I even had a few friends take a photo of it for their Christmas Day inspiration.
I was also pleased to see Costi’s had recently opened up, I picked up some delicious salmon for dinner.
Swish Homewares is always worth checking out when I visit, and I spotted some gorgeous gift ideas for Christmas  in here.
Can you guess who my little shopping mate has just spotted?
It’s Santa! The centre is becoming quite the popular destination around this time of year for a visit with Santa. It’s the first year Raff is starting to understand Christmas, and he can’t stop saying ‘More Chrissy!!’ everywhere we go.
The little guy is also  becoming a professional trolley loader these days too – both kids love visiting Toymate so much it’s hard to get them to leave to be honest.
Coming from a large family, I spread out my Christmas shopping opportunities and tend to pick up things as I see them. On this particular day, with two kids following me –  I managed to get to some of my favourites:
Sportsgirl – A must visit for my 14 year old niece (I love how that brand is still going strong after all those years, it was the same shop I always wanted my Christmas presents from).
Cotton On Mega Store – SO MUCH combined in the one shape here, I picked up various items, from shoes for my nephew to a bear of earrings for my sister!
Smiggle – I’m yet to meet a kid that doesn’t like Smiggle, and  there were lots of good gift ideas in here!
Toymate – So many bargains to be had in here, the kids LOVE visiting this store
Pittwater Pets – we actually don’t ever visit the centre without visiting here. The kids adore to see what puppies are in store, and Sunny chose her very treasured pet fish here, so it’s a special place!
BWS – A priority for the silly season, I purchased some bubbly to get me the through the entertaining.
The centre is also hosting lots of other Christmas activities in the lead up…
– Gift wrapping service (until Monday 24th December)
– Christmas Carols  (Sunday 18th – Sunday 23rd December)
-Bubbles + Baubles (Thursday 20th December), which I’ll be attending tonight with Sunday!
I shouldn’t forget to mention that the centre also offers lots of great coffee, a must to re-fuel when Christmas shopping.
How is everyone going with their Christmas planning this year?
Briar x

The Pool Deck


Instead of a major and expensive renovation around our 1980’s pebble crete pool this year, we decided to recently give the the very old surrounding deck a mini-facelift, getting it ready for Summer and most importantly, providing the kids some shade from our scorching Australian sun.

The pool is positioned in a really sunny area of our backyard, so blocking out that sun was definitely the number one priority. When the new cantilever umbrella  I chose arrived from my local Bunnings and I carried it down to the pool,  I was worried it looked too large for the compact space. However, the size has ended up being an absolute blessing – it’s basically created a covered room poolside, not only providing comfortable shade, but also looking the part with it’s contemporary square design and charcoal colour. We’ve also added some lovely but budget friendly outdoor furniture, the natural oil timber sun lounges and coffee table look great against the painted timber deck. The sun lounges got that true ‘holiday-by-the-pool’ vibe with the cute outdoor striped cushions, also from Bunnings. As you may have noticed, greenery really pops against charcoal grey/black (which is why you see so many boundary fences painted dark). We got rid of the mission brown colour the deck was originally painted in a while ago and freshened it up with Taubmans ‘Casino’, which is the same colour as our house.

As you can probably tell, Sunday is very happy with the new set up, and I’m extra happy that we are now comfortable pool side and the kids are protected  under the huge umbrella!

Briar x

PS. If you’re interested, below is the ‘Before’ shot – as you can see it’s looking a lot more inviting for Summer now!

Gumtree selling haul


Gumtree is Australia’s biggest classified community and I’m a big fan! Thinking back, I’ve actually been a Gumtree user for a really long time. As a student, I remember my first purchase – a retro teak and tiled coffee table and a timber bookshelf. I actually still have the bookshelf, I gave it a coat of paint a few years ago and it’s now used in Rafferty’s room. Later in life as a Props Buyer in the film industry I’ve always used it to find some really unique pieces that would take me forever to scour in all the bricks and mortar shops out there. It really has been a lifesaver at times when I’m working on a shoot deadline.

I’ve also had success in selling my own home decor items on Gumtree over the years. Getting rid of unwanted ‘stuff’ around the home is a really good way to make some extra cash. Not to mention the great feeling you get when you’ve de-cluttered your space. If you’re like me, cleaning up and letting go of possessions you no longer use or need can feel really therapeutic. Bringing my kids in to the mix has brought a whole new layer of ‘things’ we have in the house – so I actually feel like I’m needing to cull things every couple of months these days.

From an environmental perspective, recycling your second-hand goods extends the life of things, avoiding the need for more resources to go into the manufacture of a new product, which is going to help reducing landfill. I also love that used products don’t have packaging. When you buy almost any new product (especially kids toys), it comes with some kind of packaging – plastic casing, cardboard box, styrofoam, etc. The packaging materials, along with the actual product, use energy and resources to create. It can be really difficult to find a way to recycle all that packaging, or even more annoying, to have to throw it away. When you buy used items from Gumtree, you don’t have any packaging to deal with. So, it really is a win-win for so many reasons!

Gumtree recently asked me to have a think about some things I could sell around my home, and I came up with this small selection:

If you’re interested in any of the items, you can view all my ad listings here (there are some bargains to be had):

My selling haul has a definite kitchen/homewares theme, as these are the cupboards at home that always seem to need culling!

Pictured above (starting top left) is a hand made ceramic salad bowl with a textured glaze that I bought from a ceramicist on the South Coast, a never-been-used Mortar and Pestle, a gorgeous white Feather Garland that used to hang above Sunday’s bed (which would also make a gorgeous party decoration). I’m also selling a set of ceramic Tapas Bowls (that have never been used), and a Marble trivet in a cross shape that I bought from Country Road last year. One of my favourite books is also up for grabs – “The Selby Is in Your Place” was conceived when Todd Selby began taking portraits of dynamic and creative people – authors, musicians, artists, designers and other cultural tastemakers – in their home environments and posting them on his blog, it’s a great read! I’m also selling the white ceramic serving plate which has a lovely eggshell finish, and the hand made ceramic glazed serving spoon. The pair of sweet pink coffee mugs are also for sale, and I’m letting go of the set of ceramic coasters from the cult brand Jonathan Adler. Last but not least, the sweet speckle blue ceramic plate is also available. I think the collection looks really lovely sitting together – there is a definite theme going on!

Before posting my free ads, I did some research on what makes a successful ad and I came across these helpful tips:

1. Be descriptive:

Include details in your listing, such as:
How frequently it has been used and if  there is any damage
What condition the item is in currently
Dimensions of the item (a really important factor)
Colour of the item
Where and when the item was purchased

2. Make your ad visual:

When selling your items, it’s really important to include images in your listings. Try to upload well-lit photos with a good resolution and include a couple that show off the item’s best angle.

3. Manage your listing:
Ensure you keep on top of your incoming ad responses. I created and managed my ads from my laptop, but you could download the Gumtree app on your phone so you can manage your ad on the go if you’d like.

Armed with my laptop, camera and a tape measure I was ready to create my ads. Below are three examples of photos I used in my ads. I made sure I was surrounded my natural light and got clear/good quality shots so my buyers knew exactly what they are looking at.

Buying and selling on Gumtree truly is easy. I’ve actually got my eye on some indoor plants I’d like to purchase from a local seller. Maybe I’ll use the spare cash I make from selling the items above and treat the house to some new greenery! Give Gumtree a go if you haven’t already, I promise you you’ll enjoy it!

Briar x

Choo Choo!


Rafferty’s passion for planes, trains and automobiles is at an all time high, and I can’t see it waning anytime soon. So I guess it was only a matter of time that he’d discover the staple toy in children’s playrooms around the world, Thomas & Friends (link).

He was lucky enough to be gifted with a recently launched train set that has been made from sustainably-sourced, premium beechwood. The easy to build track system has seriously had him entertained for hours. It’s been wonderful to watch his little brain ticking over and discovering what goes where when it comes to the cute little trains, track parts and accessories. One of my favourite things about the train set is that when it’s aesthetic appeal –  it sits comfortably in my living room. No garish and clunky plastic  – the tasteful wooden design really is an added bonus.

Here he is in action:
Check out the wonderful new range here.
Briar x

The magic of Dyson


We’ve been testing out the sleek new @dyson Pure Hot+Cool Link™ at home recently. The air purifier fan heater is pretty fancy as I can track our air quality on the Dyson Link App, which I’ve found fascinating – especially with two kids in the house who are prone to a persistent asthma cough. I just love the thought of all that clean air going in to those little lungs.

I’ve positioned it close to our kitchen because what I’ve found really fascinating is that when we start to cook or even light a candle, the Pure Hot + Cold Link really ramps up in power (when you get closer to it you can hear and feel a light hum of it getting to work). It’s doing it’s thing purifying what we breathe in after it’s picked up the fumes and smoke from the kitchen in the air. 

Then it really starts to get clever  – I can pick up my phone and check air quality on the App (nothing like watching your air quality go from ‘Poor’ (after cooking) to ‘Good’ in a few minutes. The screenshots below show you the imagery I can track: 

I’ll be moving it in to the kids rooms in Winter too, which will become a perfect heater for those chilly nights. But as I sit here writing this blog post, it’s on a cool fan setting because Summer has decided to make an encore appearance in Sydney this weekend – and I’m pretty pleased about that!

Briar x

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