{Thank you}

From the moment we wake, I think many of us live busy lives, with very little time to stop and think and reflect.  Well, this would certainly be true for me.

But this morning, I happened to wake up early and as I sat at the computer, I came across a post from Frog Prince Paperie on Thanksgiving.  Now thanksgiving isn’t something that we celebrate here in Australia…yet.  (Though if marketers have anything to do with it, like Halloween, it might just make its way onto our shores.)  And so, I was challenged to take a few moments to think about all the things that I could be thankful for.

We’ve just had a bout of gastro in our household, so I’ve recently been reminded how important our health is.  I can be thankful for our health (now we are all back to full health), and also for my dear husband who looked after us sickies with such dedication, even though I’m no sympathetic shoulder to cry on whenever he’s sick.  I can be thankful for the three beautiful children that God has blessed me with, for their love and energy and little ‘I love yous’, even though sometimes their energy really takes all my energy out!  And I can be thankful for the beautiful home that I live in and for the family and friends that surround me each day.   I’m also thankful for the smaller things that I often take for granted in life like the sound of rain pattering on the roof (I’m not going to complain even if it is raining at school drop off!) and chilli (I truly believe that a dash of chilli can make anything taste delicious – try it!).

OK, so this one’s a bit of a serious post, but if you do end up having a Thanksgiving celebration, what would you hang on your little “Tree of Thanks”?

Thanksgiving centrepiece

"Tree of Thanks" created by Frog Prince Paperie


Olive Manna

During my daily blog browse, I happened to come across a store called Olive Manna.  After one look, I knew that their gorgeous products belonged in our store.  Here are just some of the goodies that will be in our store soon.

Hope you love this new range as much as I do.

Lemonade 50c

Saw this gorgeous lemonade stand yesterday at a nursery and was bursting with a pink and yellow lemonade party inspiration.

I’m thinking mini lemon meringue tarts, lemon cupcakes, small bottles of pink lemonade and jars of sour lemon candy. What would you include?

Pretty In Pink

This one’s for the girly girls who absolutely adore the colour pink.  Created by the talented Angela from Fantasy Celebrations, this design was inspired by a little girl’s love of animals.  What a great and glamorous way to incorporate fur and feathers into the design.

And if you love everything you’ve seen so far, check out these divine cake pops.

For more pictures of this amazing party, click here.

Out and About

MealboxLast week, I wrote a post on outdoor places to party, so I thought I’d give you some hints on how easy outdoors can be.  There is no need to drag everything including the kitchen sink with you in order to keep your guests happy and “wowed”!

1. Keep food small.  Bite sized means no cutlery.

2. Keep food simple – things that don’t need refrigeration or heating, unless you have access to a powerpoint or the necessary equipment.

3. Make little mealboxes for your guests that can be handed out at meal time.  You can individualise packs with ribbon and tags and also easily tie them into your theme.

4. Instead of a birthday cake, serve birthday cupcakes.  This will save you from having to cut and serve cake at the park.  You could even have cakes boxed ready for guests to take home.

5. Don’t forget to pack wet wipes for sticky little fingers.

6. Have drinks in little bottles to minimise spillage from little ones and the wind.  It’s also a good idea to label drinks with each guest’s name to try and stop the spread of those dreaded germs!

If you have more ideas, please do share as I’m sure we’d all love to hear.

7 Outdoor Party Ideas in Sydney

Spring has sprung and it’s time to get out into the gorgeous sunshine here in Sydney so I thought what better way to celebrate than to take your party outdoors. 

Apart from enjoying the sunshine and getting your daily dose of vitamin D, heading outdoors will mean that your house stays free from little sticky fingers and you will also save money as many of these locations are free or available for hire for a small booking fee. 

Sydney is filled with parks and over the last few years, many have been upgraded with new playground equipment, child-proof fencing and other wonderful facilities which make them perfect for children’s birthday parties.  Here are some that I think are great though I’m sure there are many more I have yet to discover. 

1. Bike party 

Centennial Park

Learners' Cycleway at Centennial Park

If your child loves riding his bike, why not throw him a bike party and ask each of his guests to bring their own bikes along.  Centennial Park has a Learners’ Cycleway that is perfect for children who are learning to ride as well as pros, and the children’s playground and barbecue are also handy.  Bicentennial Park at Homebush Bay also has small bike paths that are suitable for younger ones. 

2. Pirate party 

If you have an adventurous little one, why not let your little pirate loose at a park where the play equipment is shaped like a pirate ship such as at Lyne Park at Rose Bay and Prince Edward Park at Cabarita.  Take your crew on a treasure hunt expedition whether it is jewels, ‘golden’ coins or bits and pieces of nature that they are finding. 

Beach Party

Greenwich Baths

3. Beach party 

Hidden away in a little suburb called Greenwich, you will find a true gem called Greenwich Baths.  This is the ideal spot for a beach party.  Sheltered and safe, this little beach is perfect for little ones to have sandcastle building competitions.  You don’t even have to bring your own beach toys as there are some there for you to use. 

4. Adventure Party 

If your little one has made your heart skip a beat at least a dozen times in his lifetime, then he will most likely love these parks.  Wentworth Common at Homebush Bay and Winnererremy Bay Park at Mona Vale are both filled with playground activities galore, including a flying fox. 

Pirrama Park, Pyrmont

5. Cafe Party 

It is rare, in today’s day and age, to come across a toddler who doesn’t know what a babycino is, or the name of their mum’s favourite hangout spot.  My little ones are on first name basis with the owners at my local cafe and they know exactly how their babycino will come – with a freckle + marshmallow!  Well, some clever cafe owners have tapped into this enormous market and decided to plonk themselves right next to a playground as they know the formula: happy kids = happy parents.  The Flying Fox cafe in Mona Vale is a well known one and great for those with slightly older kids.  If you have toddlers, then Ryde Park is a good one, as is the newly refurbished Pirrama Park in Pyrmont that has a water play area.  Children can enjoy a sit down meal at the cafe followed by a play at the nearby park. 

6. Picnic parties 

Robertson Park, Watsons Bay

Girls and boys alike love to share their birthdays with their special friends, including their huggable ones, whether it be a teddy or dolly.  What better way to do this than to have a teddy bears’ picnic party or a dollys’ tea party picnic.  One of my favourite picnic spots on a beautiful Sydney day would have to be the Royal Botanical Gardens.  Right on Sydney’s foreshore with views of Sydney’s icons, what more could you want?  Bring along picnic rugs, a ball or two, and some bread to feed the ducks and you are set for the perfect picnic for your little one.  If you are after a picnic spot that has a playground, check out Jubilee Park at Glebe or Robertson Park at Watsons Bay. 

7. Your own backyard!! 

It’s free, it’s convenient and it’s right on your doorstep.  Your backyard is a perfect spot for your celebration, though it may require a little more cleaning up afterwards.  Hire some toys from a toy library and you will be set.  Although many people hire entertainers, children are usually easily pleased with a few party games and then free time to just roam around.  I haven’t yet had a professional entertainer for the nine parties I’ve held for my kids.  Most have been in my backyard or at a park and not once have I had a child tell me that they were bored.  Having said that, I am thinking of getting one for this next party that’s coming up! 

Now of course, this list is not exhaustive so please do share if there are other parks or outdoor spaces that you think are perfectly suited for parties.  Please remember to check with the council if there are any booking charges or if it is a first come first served basis.  And it goes without saying, when you are using these public spaces, remember to clean up afterwards and to “Keep Australia Beautiful”!

Capture the moments

Ever got to the end of a party and wondered how many photos you managed to slip in amongst all the other things you had to do? 

I know, for one, times when I have spent so much time preparing for a party weeks and days in advance, up late the night before then early in the morning of, rushing around like a mad woman, right up until guests begin to arrive.  On their arrival, I’m still usually running around like a mad woman (but trying to look ever so calm, cool and collected) and screaming orders left, right and centre to family members. 

Before I know it, lunch is served, games are played, we’ve sung, and cut the cake and eaten and guests bade their farewells.  It’s usually not until I’m sitting down at the end of the day, scouring the room full of brightly coloured wrapping paper ripped into shreds around my feet, that I remember that I probably didn’t really get round to taking photos of the birthday girl enjoying her day, laughing and playing with her friends.  And of course, it’s all too late!

Well, if you’ve ever been lucky enough to have a professional photographer come and take shots of your party, then you, like me, will end the day confidently knowing that each moment of your child’s special day has been captured.  I was very fortunate to have Tracy from eclektic photography + design take photos at my daughter’s cooking party earlier this year and thought I’d share a few of my favourite shots.

A big thank you also to all the mini masterchefs who let us share their gorgeous creations and these photos with you.