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Celebrate the art of entertaining

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1 September 2015 9 Tips for Throwing an Outdoor Party

Living in Australia has it perks, one being the beautiful outdoor spaces we have at our disposal. Local parks, botanical gardens or even your mum’s backyard can become the most exciting party location if styled appropriately.

Think beyond the typical family BBQ to a sophisticated, outdoor event. Bringing all the luxury from inside—plush fabrics, comfortable furniture, beautiful décor—into your outdoor space will give a welcoming and comfortable aesthetic to any outdoor gathering.

Below are some of our favourite picks to give your invitees the ultimate outdoor event experience.

1. Furniture: Forget deck chairs and foldable tables, use dining chairs or colourful metal stools to add a pop of colour. Bring end tables and sideboards outside and use them as convenient places for your guests to place their drinks, bags or plates.
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Left: via Style Me Pretty | Right: via Ruffled Blog

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1 September 2015 Spring Bloom Inspo

Hooray! It’s the first day of Spring here in the Southern Hemisphere. We so excited about the warmth and sunshine that comes with the new season, but our favourite thing? You guessed it – spring florals! You know what that means? Bucket loads of lovely, perfumed blooms.

Some of our favourites include blossoms, jonquils, lavender, lily of the valley, lilac, snapdragons, ranunculus, tulips and peonies. They allow for stunning combinations of soft, textural, pastel and oh-so-beautifully fragrant bunches.

To celebrate the start of the season, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite spring-inspired blooms.

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Left: via Style Me Pretty | Right: via Mod Wedding Keep reading

1 September 2015 Bree + Theo

Thinking back on their engagement, Bree can’t help but smile. Theo had been planning his proposal to Bree for months. He surprised Bree with a new laptop, but little did she realise there was a bigger surprise waiting for her. Bree opened the laptop to find an image of Theo on one knee, she turned around and there he was—kneeling down and presenting a ring. What happened next? Well, of course she said yes!

Most brides will try on numerous dresses and before finding ‘the one’, but not Bree. Without any particular style in mind, Bree began to search the internet for inspiration. On her first search, she came across designer Delphine Manivet. Being a beautiful Parisian design, Bree figured she would need to fly to Paris or have the dress made. With luck on her side, Bree managed to source the exact dress from Anna Defonte Bridal Salon in Sydney. Bree told us, ‘It was perfect the first time I tried on the sample, and even better when 8 months later when I put it on for my wedding day.’

The wedding was held at Circa in Melbourne, a large space with indoor and outdoor zones—perfect for a summer wedding. ‘The space is quiet neutral, which meant we could really create our own look for the event,’ said Bree.

The styling was an important part of the event, so Bree and Theo worked with event stylist Tori Allen to ensure their special day looked as amazing as they’d imagined. Being a summer cocktail wedding, they selected a fun, bright colour palette of raspberry, mango, rose, mauve and greens, with subtle hints of gold to add elegance.

Take a look at these images of Bree and Theo’s stunning summer wedding below. You can also check out the couple’s stunning wedding film right here.

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31 August 2015 Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Popcorn, Chocolate Fudge Frosting + Dark Chocolate Glaze

This cake is all about decadence and abundance and will really impress. It’s a chocoholic’s dream and is pure, gooey goodness. It can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free self-raising flour instead of wheat flour in the chocolate cake recipe.

Makes one 3-tiered 20 cm (8 inch) round cake

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

2 quantities Chocolate fudge frosting | 3 x Chocolate cakes | 1 quantity Dark chocolate glaze | 1 quantity Salted caramel popcorn

Chocolate fudge frosting (1 quantity): 250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped | 120g cream cheese, softened | 245g sour cream | 125g icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted

Base chocolate cake (1 cake): 100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped | 2 tbsp good-quality instant coffee granules | 1 cup boiling water | 1/2 cup hot milk | 50g unsweetened (Dutch) cocoa powder | 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or natural vanilla extract | 250g unsalted butter, softened and chopped, plus extra for greasing | 300g raw sugar | 200g dark brown sugar | 450g self-raising flour | 4 eggs, lightly beaten

Salted caramel popcorn (1 quantity): 2 tbsp vegetable oil | 60g popping corn kernels | ½ cup sugar | 50g unsalted butter, chopped | 2 tsp sea salt flakes

Dark chocolate glaze (1 quantity): ½ cup thin (pouring/whipping) cream | 200 g dark (70% cocoa solids) or milk chocolate, chopped

WHAT TO DO

  1. To make the the chocolate fudge frosting, place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of just simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. Heat until melted and smooth, then remove from the heat and stand until just cool. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, sour cream and icing sugar.
  2. Stir in the cooled chocolate until well combined.
  3. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F). Lightly grease 3 x 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tins
  4. Place the chocolate and coffee in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Stir gently until melted and smooth and stand until cool. Meanwhile, place the hot milk, cocoa powder and vanilla in a bowl and whisk to combine well, then set aside to cool. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. With the motor on low speed, add the flour, then the beaten egg and beat until just combined. Add the chocolate and milk mixtures alternately and beat until well combined. The batter should resemble a coffee-coloured frosting.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 35–40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes stand in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the salted caramel popcorn, place the oil in a large saucepan with a lid over medium heat. To test if the oil is hot enough, add a couple of kernels of popping corn to the pan – they should spin around in a circle. Add the popping corn kernels, cover and cook until the corn starts to pop. Shake the pan gently until the corn stops popping, about 7 minutes, then remove from the heat. Spread the popcorn over a baking paper-lined tray and discard any unpopped kernels in the bottom of the pan.
  7. Place the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, shaking the pan regularly, until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the caramel is a deep amber colour, tilting the pan gently to make sure the colour is even. Carefully add the butter and stir for 5 minutes or until well combined. Increase the heat, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat again and simmer, without stirring, for another 5–7 minutes or until thick and caramelised.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt. Carefully pour the hot caramel over the popcorn on the lined tray. Set aside to cool, then break it into pieces.
  9. To make the dark chocolate glaze, place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over low heat. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth.

AND THEN

To assemble, place one of the chocolate cakes on a stand or serving plate and spread with a third of the chocolate fudge frosting. Repeat this process with the remaining cakes and frosting. Cover the top layer with the salted caramel popcorn, piling it higher in the centre of the cake. Drizzle the cake generously with the dark chocolate glaze, allowing the sauce to drizzle down the side of the cake.

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31 August 2015 Dress Up Your Party Hats!

Nothing improves an already fabulous party outfit like a party hat. Similar to a Monday morning without a coffee, we don’t feel complete at a party without one.

We believe anyone who thinks they’re too good for a party hat just hasn’t found the right one yet. Although traditionally reserved for birthdays, they’re not called party hats for nothing!

We’ve put together a bunch of our favourite DIY party hat projects for your next celebration. There’s everything from the simple printables to intricate designs, including confetti, pom poms and watercolours. The options are limitless! We dare you to pop on one of these adorable hats and not feel full of cheer.

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Left: Fabric Party Hats, Ann Kelle | Right: Fruit Inspired Party Hats, Studio DIY

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31 August 2015 P is for Pinterest: Our Fave Finds

Happy Monday!

It’s almost September, which means HOORAY! Issue 12 only has 2 weeks left on the newsstands! Have you picked up your copy yet? Inside you’ll find styling inspiration for a lavish ladies luncheon, there’s a kitsch Italian cooking feature, tons of tips for hosting one helluva housewarming party, an easy peasy floral DIY project and real celebrations galore!

Here’s how you can get your copy:

  1. Head to our SHOP and purchase a copy online. We’ve got FREE postage Australia-wide.
  2. Find your nearest stockist here and pop down to grab a copy in person.

But before you go, check out what we’ve been loving on Pinterest this week.

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28 August 2015 Lisa + Andrew

Lisa’s best mate Sophie had encountered Andrew in her philosophy class at Monash University, and described this sprightly young Arts/Law student as ‘arrogant, loves the sound of his own voice, doesn’t shut up’. However, being new to Melbourne, Lisa and Sophie decided to invite Andrew to Sophie’s birthday party to see if they could make a new friend. Andrew and Lisa both showed up wearing vintage velvet jackets and conversation spawned, lasting well into the night. To seal the deal, Lisa shouted Andrew a beer and the rest is history!

After 10 years of love, fun and adventure, Andrew and Lisa tied the knot at the Russian Orthodox Church in East Brunswick, Melbourne, followed by a somewhat vodka-addled celebration at the beautiful Eastern Hill Dining Hall in the CBD. The years previous to their wedding threw up more than a few challenges for the couple; from caring for chronically ill loved ones to a serious car accident from which they were very lucky to escape with their lives. Reflecting on these life challenges, Andrew and Lisa wanted a day that celebrated life, love and the people most precious to them.

‘We love vintage treasures and our home is full of odds and ends collected at markets and on eBay,’ said Lisa and Andrew. ‘With that in mind, we wanted our wedding to reflect that vintage aesthetic – starting with a grand old hall and styling it with vintage elements that were meaningful for both of us. We hung photos from Andrew’s late grandfather’s ladder, scattered old books around the venue, choosing titles that meant something to us, and our vintage world globe paid homage to our passion for travel.’

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27 August 2015 The Full Moon and The Sea

When there’s a full moon as big as this, you know you have to take full advantage of it, especially when it can involve some kind of party on the beach!

Stylist Jill from Retro in the Rough said that the then up-coming full moon sparked the idea for this dreamy seaside shoot. ‘From there, a windswept concept started to take shape inspired by spring evenings, and camp-outs under the stars,’ said Jill.

The low-level dining table was decorated with blue rim enamel plates, amber glass, pumice stones and fresh florals. The colours were drawn from the ocean sunset, with layers of deeop indigo and soft blues, paired with amber and gold accents. Delicate florals provided pops of colour and added to the fresh spring palette. The team also adorned a tipi with white linen and lace, and spread day bed lounges across the beach, which enhanced the relaxed bohemian vibe of the shoot and allowed the stunning rising moon to shine through.

If you’re planning a seaside celebration, this wistful, carefree boho shoot is a must see!

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27 August 2015 DIY Father's Day Gifts

For us Aussies, Father’s Day is just around the corner! The beauty of having Father’s Day a couple of months after our friends in the north is that there are so many cute and creative Dad’s day projects available on the web!

What’s better than a personalised gift from you to your, or perhaps your from kid’s to your hubby? Probably money…but these DIY Father’s Day projects are the gifts that money can’t buy. They’re what we like to call priceless, so technically speaking you can’t give Dad a better present!

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Left: Father’s Day Cookies, Tell Love and Chocolate | Right: POP Free Printable Father’s Day Gift, Confetti Sunshine

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27 August 2015 Jessica's Kitchen Tea

The Patio of The Grounds of Alexandria is an oasis within a garden sanctuary and was a flawless backdrop for Jessica’s Kitchen Tea. ‘The space provided a perfect platform to create a memorable event in a beautiful setting that welcomed my guests from both sides of the family,’ said Jessica.

The garden is fresh, light, enveloped in greenery and oozes rustic charm – this was used to inspire the styling of the event, which featured wooden design elements, naked cakes and a pop of colour to contrast the green accents. Given that Jessica is a teacher, books also played a major part in the table styling. She also gave her guests homemade thank you candles, individually labeled with their initials.

As for the games? Some not-so-typical kitchen tea games were on the cards, to help keep guests engaged and excited. ‘My bridesmaids created a range of “Minute to win it” games, based around kitchen utensils and home wares. The guests absolutely loved the brilliance of the “not so typical” feel of the day and said that the games were a huge ice-breaker!’ said Jessica.

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