Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Restful Christmas Break

Asha with her Christmas cracker

Well, Christmas is over for another year and what a wonderful one it was. Being Grace’s first made it all the more exciting in our little household, even though the wrapping paper proved to be the biggest attraction for her! I was truly spoilt this year and received some lovely gifts, the most thoughtful of which was from my husband who has enrolled me in two photography classes next week (knowing how much I would like to improve my skills in this area for my blog). I was also really pleased to receive this pretty tray I’ve had my eye on (thanks to some clever detective work on my sister-in-law’s part!) However, aside from the gifts, the best part of Christmas was all the fun had celebrating with family.

We have just returned from a short holiday with extended family at Paul’s uncle’s holiday house. It was a nice way to recharge after the busy Christmas period and as usual, there was plenty of laughter, good food and fun times.

Hope you have all had a relaxing break too and are all set to welcome a new year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Early Christmas Present

Photo by William Meppem via Donna Hay

My lovely friend Kylie came over for tea the other night so we could exchange Christmas gifts. She got me the most gorgeous present - Donna Hay's new book, Seasons which showcases some of the loveliest styling I have seen. With all it's fabulous photography, it's so much more than just a cookbook. Can't wait to try out some recipes from it in the New Year! Anyway, I'm off to do some last minute preparations for tomorrow. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas - hope you all get spoilt!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Only Four More Sleeps!

We had a busy weekend here tidying things up around our place as we are hosting Christmas night for 28 people (not counting babies!) Paul did a fantastic job of getting the outside looking lovely by mulching all the gardens, mowing the lawn and tidying up (we have a fairly large yard so this was no small task!) I stayed inside out of the heat cleaning, wrapping presents and baking Donna Hay Christmas cookies. This week aside from more cooking, I need to sort out how I'll be decorating the table. How are everyone else's Christmas preparations coming along? Hope you don't have too much more to do and can put your feet up before Friday and enjoy a Christmas drink or two...

Thankyou all for your kind comments on Saturday - things went well and I feel a sense of peace with that part of everything now over x

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The 'Perfect' Flowers

I bought these red carnations to bring with me to the cemetery today where we will be attending the placement of my Dad’s ashes. While not usually my flower of choice, red carnations are the flowers Dad last bought for me and so they have a special meaning behind them. Love you Dad x

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My First Blog Award!

I woke this morning and turned on our computer to find the loveliest surprise awaiting me… thankyou to the gorgeous Anna from Lona de Anna who has passed on the above award to me. I am so very excited! I love Anna’s blog so it is a real compliment getting this award from her. The rules of this award are that I must list 10 things that make me happy and 10 bloggers who brighten my day…
  1. Paul & Grace – my husband and daughter mean the absolute world to me.
  2. Our house – I get immense satisfaction from renovating and decorating our humble home.
  3. Cooking – I love trying out new recipes.
  4. Blogging – have found some lovely fellow bloggers and it always brightens my day to see people have taken the time to comment on my blog posts.
  5. Shopping for homewares - it's always exciting to find something new for our house.
  6. Interior Magazines – I eagerly await each issue of Real Living and Ideal Home.
  7. Cups of tea - English Breakfast tea gets me through each day :)
  8. Sewing – I like the challenge and sense of achievement (even though each project usually involves copious amounts of unpicking and restitching!!)
  9. Beautifully wrapped parcels – hence my love of Etsy :)
  10. Flowers – fresh flowers in my house always make me happy

  1. Catherine from Little Glowing Lights has long been one of my favourite blogs. She has been so encouraging since I have started Homely One and hers was one of the blogs that inspired me to start my own in the first place. Catherine takes amazing photos which are always perfectly styled and is very creative.
  2. Simone from Beach Vintage has been very supportive of Homely One since I started out. I love the way she has decorated her own home and I always eagerly await her posts.
  3. Belinda from The Happy Home has been a longtime favourite and is a constant source of inspiration for me. I love all of the clever ideas she comes up with for decorating and life with littlies. I’d love to be a kid in her house!
  4. Erin from The House of Turquoise always sources the most amazing eye candy. I adore browsing through her blog (blue is definitely my favourite colour).
  5. The Wifestyle Files has the loveliest sense of style. It's author (whose real name I've just realised I do not know!!) sources great products and images for all things stylish and I always look forward to her posts.
  6. Angie and Kristin from Blonde Designs Blog write one of my more recent blog finds. As former art directors at Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings, they have some great ideas on their inspirational blog.
  7. Candace from A Pretty Trip shares some lovely finds and writes some great posts on her blog. I always appreciate the comments she leaves for me.
  8. Sarah from Molly’s Maison has been one of my favourite recent blog finds. I enjoy seeing her own homely projects and reading the lovely comments she leaves for me.
  9. Nicole from Bubby Makes Three writes a lovely blog. She has great ideas for everything from decorating nurseries to first birthday parties.
  10. Lesley from Life At Number 10 always leaves me lovely comments. I have really enjoyed seeing the renovation projects she herself has been undertaking.

There are three other blogs I must give a mention to also. The lovely ladies from The House that A-M Built, Ada and Darcy and Brabourne Farm have all been so incredibly supportive since I started Homely One and leave me the most encouraging comments. I remember being so excited when A-M wrote about one of the recipes I had posted about :) These lovelies all have such stunning blogs and are definitely on the top of my list of blogs to visit each morning. I would have passed this blogging award on to all of you, but seeing as Anna already has, I didn’t want to double up :)

And to the lovely Anna, I am so glad I discovered your blog. I truly do look forward to your posts – you source the loveliest images, leave me the most thoughtful comments and I adore your sense of style. Thanks again for making my day!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Five Minutes Peace

This week I’m joining in with the My Place & Yours theme over at Meet Me At Mike’s which is:

“Where do you retreat to for that sanity-regaining break? I am interested in what or where in your home your sanctuary is…”

I like to spend my ‘five minutes peace’ curled up on our lounge, propped up with comfy pillows with a good book or magazine and cup of tea. Our lounge is a relaxing and peaceful room overlooking our front garden. I was adamant this room was not to have a television or any other distractions as I wanted it to become more of a quiet retreat. See others’ responses to this theme here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Countdown

Image from Country Road

We’ve had a busy but productive weekend of Christmas preparations. Our gift hunting is almost done – only two to go. As much as I hate battling the shopping centre crowds at this time of year, I really enjoy choosing Christmas presents and try hard to put thought into what I give to others. However, this year I must say I am really looking forward to a few gifts I know I am being given like some summer shorts I picked out from my Mum (similar to the ones above) and a book my mother-in-law is giving me. How are everyone else’s Christmas preparations going?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Delicious Chocolate Fudge

Each year around Christmas, I like to make a batch of Chocolate Fudge. It’s so lovely to sit down at night with a piece to enjoy with my cuppa. I’ve posted the recipe below. Next week I’m hoping to make a batch of Christmas biscuits. Who else is doing some Christmas cooking?

Fast Chocolate Fudge

125g dark cooking chocolate (chopped)
125g copha (chopped)
2 tbs icing sugar
1 tbs cocoa
½ x 395g can sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp vanilla essence

Line the base of an 18cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper. Oil lightly. Melt together chocolate and copha over a low heat, stirring until smooth. Add icing sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Quickly stir in the condensed milk until blended (mixture will begin to firm immediately so work quickly). Pour at once into prepared tin and smooth the surface. Chill until firm. Cut into squares to serve.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Herb Gardens

Image from here

I used to have a beautiful herb garden with a multitude of herbs which I loved using in my cooking. It has since been replaced by lawn (due to its awkward position) with the promise that it will be relocated in a better spot. It has yet to reappear. When we do eventually get it up and running again, I would love some of these cute herb markers from Etsy store Nina Gibson Designs. Who else out there has a herb garden?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Hope you all had a lovely Sunday. After doing some jobs around the house, I popped down to our local nursery and bought a few plants for our patio to put with the gorgeous pale blue hydrangea above. Now we just need to get some pots for them. We also paid a visit to the annual George Street Festival in East Fremantle where we wandered around looking at the many stalls. Today, I have a busy morning of Christmas present hunting ahead of me. Wish me luck!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Patio Plants

Image from here

I’ve always loved the courtyard in the photo above. I love the way the greenery contrasts so beautifully with the brickwork. I’m hoping to make it to the nursery tomorrow to buy some plants for our newly paved patio. I’ve already bought a beautiful pale blue hydrangea and now I’m after something with white flowers. Will post some ‘after’ pics of our patio soon. Hope you all have a great start to the weekend.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Embroidered Homewares on Etsy

I was so excited to discover Etsy seller Kainkain whose beautiful embroidered cushion covers, table runners and placemats I absolutely love. Owner Jenny was more than happy to arrange a custom listing for me of a design I wanted in an alternate colour. The cover arrived in my mailbox last week and it is perfect! Below are some products from Jenny’s shop. See more for yourself here.

All images from here

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

O Christmas Tree

Image from here

We put up our Christmas tree last night which was very exciting. We have only just bought our first tree after over four years of being in this house. This morning I am off to buy some more decorations and some lights but I’m still deciding on a colour scheme. What colours are you all going with for your Christmas decorations?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Asha's Birthday

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Ours has been probably one of the busiest we’ve had in a long time with a garage sale on Saturday at Dad’s and our nephews’ christening yesterday. Today is our beloved dog Asha’s 4th birthday. She is a lovely natured dog and we are so glad she is part of our little family. Below is her as a puppy and also a more recent photo. I’m off to take Asha and Grace for a nice long walk and a play in the park to celebrate…

Friday, November 27, 2009

New Potato Salad

Image from here

We dragged out the barbecue for the first time in a while during the week so I tried a new potato salad. It made a nice change from the usual one I make. I've posted the recipe below. Hope you all have a lovely upcoming weekend. We are in for an extremely busy one...

Warm Potato, Bacon & Mushroom Salad

750g chat potatoes, halved
1 eschalot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbs white wine vinegar
2 ½ tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 bacon rashers, trimmed, roughly chopped
12 button mushrooms, halved
4 cups (120g) baby spinach leaves
1 tbs chopped chives

Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes until just tender. Drain. Meanwhile, whisk together the eschalot, garlic, vinegar and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large bowl. Add the warm potatoes, toss to coat, then set aside to absorb while you cook the bacon and mushrooms. Heat a non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and dry-fry for 2 minutes or until crisp. Remove and add to the salad bowl. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and cook the mushrooms, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Season well, then add to the salad bowl with the remaining ingredients. Toss to combine, then serve warm.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Helen Rawlinson Screen Printed Fabric

The fabric I ordered for Grace’s room has arrived so it looks like I’m in for some sewing this weekend. I really happy to stumble across Helen’s Etsy store – she has some great items for sale. All the fabric in her shop is hand screen-printed in her studio (a converted Chocolate Factory in East London) using solvent free water based inks. Check out her store or her blog to see more. Below are some examples of her lovely fabric…

All images from here

Monday, November 23, 2009

Malteser Biscuits

Hope you have all had a fabulous weekend. We spent Saturday tidying up our patio as our new paving is now complete (will post ‘after’ photos once I get my new pot plants) and yesterday I made a batch of Malteser Biscuits (recipe below). The flowers on my desk Double Delight roses which are blooming beautifully in our garden at the moment. It is so nice to be able to pick fresh flowers every few days to brighten up our house and these ones have the most beautiful fragrance too. Hope everyone enjoys their start to the week…

Malteser Biscuits

250g butter, softened
⅓ cup white sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
165g packet Maltesers, roughly chopped
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
½ cup plain flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line baking trays with baking paper. Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale. Add condensed milk and vanilla and beat for a further 1 minute. Add Maltesers and flours. Stir with a large metal spoon until well-combined. Roll mixture into small walnut-sized balls. Place onto prepared baking trays, allowing room for biscuits to spread. Gently press biscuits with a fork to flatten slightly. Bake 2 trays at a time, for 12 to 15 minutes, swapping trays halfway through. Stand for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Little Miss Cupcake

Little Miss Cupcake is a gourmet cupcake business which used to have a stall at the Kalamunda Markets. Every time I went I would make a beeline for that ever-popular stall, join the huge queue and head home with a tray of beautifully decorated cupcakes for afternoon tea. These days, Little Miss Cupcake has its own cute store where it also sells cupcake-related gifts and homewares. I just had to share some photos of this pretty shop with you all. See more lovely pictures on their website here.

Both images from here

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Relaxed and Cosy Lounge Room

Image source unknown

When we moved into our house, we were happy to live with half-filled rooms until we tracked down and could afford to buy exactly what we were after. Four and a half years down the track, our place is still looking unfinished. Our lounge room is in desperate need of completion. At the moment, I’m still on the hunt for cushions, throws, artwork, a feature armchair, wine rack/buffet and lots of knick knacks. I really love the lounge room in the photo above. I like how it doesn’t have any one colour which is too dominant and it looks casual and inviting – exactly the look I want to aim for in our house…

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hydrangea Display

This photo was taken in the garden at Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania. I was amazed at the way such varied shades of hydrangeas were growing so closely together. I would love to have a potted white hydrangea with its lush green foliage on our patio once the new paving is complete. However, something I read made me think that perhaps hydrangeas were toxic to humans. Has anyone else heard of this? I am hoping I am wrong…

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gift Elephant

Image from here

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. This is probably old news but I just love this site I have recently discovered. Can’t remember what/who led me to it but it is one of the best organizational tools I’ve come across. It’s called Gift Elephant and it helps you keep track of gifts you’ve given to others. More importantly, it helps record the givers of gifts you and your family have received. I wish I’d begun using this earlier. Check it out for yourself here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Coconut Chicken

Tried out this recipe last night from Real Living’s Summer Cookbook. It was a nice simple meal and didn’t take long to prepare or cook. Has definitely made it into my recipe folder. I served ours with steamed vegetables.

Chicken & Beans with Coconut Sauce (Serves 4)

4 single chicken breast fillets (about 800g total)
Vegetable oil, for brushing
2 tbsp green curry paste
375ml coconut milk
200g green beans, trimmed
½ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat pan on medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes to rest. Meanwhile heat frying pan over medium heat. Brush with oil. Add curry paste and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Stir in coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Add beans and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in half the coriander. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Divide beans among plates and top with chicken. Spoon over coconut sauce and sprinkle with remaining coriander to serve.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nursery Spruce Up

Been browsing my inspiration folders for ideas on how to spruce up Grace’s room. Here’s what’s taking my eye so far…

Image source unknown (please let me know if you know)

Image from maliburahcel on Flickr

Image from Helen Rawlinson

I’d love to make some sort of fabric bunting similar to the one in the top photo, perhaps to hang along the bottom of the cot. Shelving to display books and toys like the middle photo has would add some more colour to Grace’s room. Love the alphabet flashcards too. The fabric in the frame above is screen printed by Etsy seller Helen Rawlinson. I’ve ordered some to make a cute cushion for the chair in Grace’s room (or perhaps to stretch over a canvas). Can’t wait for it to arrive in the mail soon…

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Latest Renovation Project

Re-paving our patio has finally started! Our bricks have arrived and work is underway this morning. We are re-paving right up to the windows in the photo below which will stop our dog Asha from lying in the sandy patch and traipsing dirt everywhere. The new bricks are also darker and should flow on from our living area floorboards better. The shrub in the photo is our beautiful star jasmine which is covered in hundreds of little white flowers at present. Once it’s all finished I’m planning on putting a few pot plants next to the house and having some sort of centrepiece on the outdoor table.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Afternoon Tea Scones

Made a batch of lemonade scones for afternoon tea on the weekend. I’m sure you all have the recipe already but for those of you who don’t, I’ve written it below. They are super easy to make. The tablecloth in the photo was passed on to me by my Nanna several years ago. At the time I remember thinking it was ‘old and Grandma-ish’ and that it would probably sit in the linen cupboard. Now, I love nothing more than setting the table with it and have a real appreciation for embroidered linens and all the hard work that has gone into them. Hope you all had a lovely weekend too.

Lemonade Scones

3 cups Self Raising flour (sifted)
250ml lemonade
250ml cream

Mix to a firm dough, 2cm in thickness (the trick is not to overwork the dough – do not knead it, just bring it all together). Use a scone cutter dipped in flour to cut out scones. Brush with milk. Bake in a 200°C oven until light golden.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Morning at the Markets

Aren’t these coral coloured peonies stunning? Saw them today at the Kalamunda Markets and couldn’t resist taking a photo to share with you all. Grace and I had a lovely morning wandering around looking at all the stalls and stopping for a cup of tea at one of our favourite cafes. Came away with a cute little crystal vase, a ceramic Christmas ornament and a pot plant.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Laura Ashley Tray

Saw this lovely scallop edged butterfly tray in Laura Ashley the other day and am still trying to decide whether or not to buy one. It is a buttery cream colour with accents of duck-egg blue. Very pretty! I love the scalloped edge. They also have a matching tiered cake stand.

Image from here

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bare Nursery

Having seen the nurseries of other babies in my Mother’s Group over the past few weeks and having been totally inspired by all of the gorgeous kids’ rooms featured on Amanda’s blog Swish and Swanky, I have decided that poor Grace’s room is in desperate need of completion. Even my husband remarked the other day that her room was looking bare. As we didn’t find out if we were having a boy or a girl when I was pregnant, we went for a fairly neutral coloured room with hits of yellow and green. I also didn’t want to go for anything too baby looking as I am keen for her room to be able to adapt as she gets older. I think I need to sort out some more artwork, add some colour to the cot somehow and perhaps get some shelving. Any more suggestions?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Busy Weekend

Doesn’t the weekend always fly by so quickly? Went to IKEA (again!!), visited a nursery to get some more plants for our garden and made a few batches of vegetable puree for Grace’s second week on solids. Also after months of careful thought, I decided to buy the cute little red teapot I had seen at T2. Now I’m off to sit down with a magazine, a cuppa and some of my new favourite biscuits which I baked this afternoon - a perfect way to spend a Sunday evening. Hope you've all had an enjoyable weekend too.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Calico Bag

The calico shopper I ordered from the Etsy store Little Glowing Lights arrived last week. It was so beautifully wrapped - felt like opening a birthday present! I am very pleased with how the colours turned out. Thanks so much Catherine!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kitchen Cuteness

Currently on my wish list are these gorgeous Bird Measuring Spoons. I can picture them perched on the tiles above my cooktop. Check out Beehive Kitchenware for more kitchen cuteness.

Image from here

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Photo Help!!

It's almost been 2 weeks now since I started up this blog and while I am happy with how things are going, there's one thing bugging me - the quality of my images. I find that when I post photos from my computer, they appear blurry on my blog, despite being crystal clear in the original images. Does anyone have any idea how to fix this? Yesterday, I ordered Blogging For Bliss so I am hoping that when that arrives, it may provide me with the answer... I have tried resizing the original of the photo below to see if that makes a difference at all...

Iceberg roses I picked this morning from our garden

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pink Ribbon Morning Tea

My Pink Ribbon morning tea was a success – we all had a great time and have collected some money to contribute towards a wonderful cause. It was a busy morning preparing things but once everyone arrived it was wonderful to sit down and relax with a cuppa and enjoy some yummy goodies. Thankyou to my wonderful husband for getting the backyard and garden looking so neat and tidy and to everyone who helped me on the day.

The table centrepieces...

Some of the food...

Me and my little pink cherub...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Morning Tea Preparation

Things are coming together nicely for my Pink Ribbon Morning Tea this coming Saturday. I have had a busy morning sewing and baking and finalised the menu:
  • Finger sandwiches (chicken & aioli, curried egg & lettuce, cucumber & cream cheese)
  • Sausage rolls
  • Mini-quiches (thanks Mum for making these)
  • Cupcakes
  • Powder Puffs
  • Mini Raspberry Melting Moments
  • Hazelnut Chocolate Slice (thanks Kylie)
  • Coconut & Cherry Slice (thanks Allison)
  • Jelly Cheesecake
  • Fruit Platter (thanks Julie)
Off to do more cooking...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Apple & Bee

Thought I’d share a recent purchase – I spotted this cute toiletries bag a little while ago and decided to treat myself. It’s made by Apple and Bee, who are 100% Australian owned. They have a huge focus on being eco-friendly and are a carbon-neutral company with a portion of their profits being donated to environmental organizations. Check out their collection here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Citrus Coconut Cake

Made this delicious cake this morning. It's even better with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting on top...

Citrus Coconut Cake

125g softened butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tbsp finely grated lime rind
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup self raising flour, sifted
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add lemon and lime rind. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Fold flour and coconut into the mixture, alternating with milk. Spoon into greased loaf pan and bake for 45 mins. Dust with icing sugar (or add cream cheese frosting as I did).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pink Ribbon Day Fundraiser

Next weekend, I am hosting a Pink Ribbon Day morning tea. I have had so much fun gathering ideas for what to cook and how to decorate things. Here is what I’ve come up with so far…

These are the invites I made in keeping with the pink theme…

I made these Mini Raspberry Melting Moments as a trial for the day. They definitely passed the test and have made it onto my ‘menu’. I love that the icing is naturally coloured by the raspberries!

I am hoping to have a main table decorated mainly in pink and white to display all the food. Amy Atlas’s dessert tables have provided lots of inspiration for this. I’ll post some pictures of what up come up with after next weekend.