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est. 2007
  1. Easy Christmas Entertaining at Home

    Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Welcome to Christmas at my place (aka the Treehouse)! Photography by Lucas Boyd for Wee Birdy. Styling by Diane Birol/Freedom ID. Production by Rebecca Lowrey Boyd/Wee Birdy.

    This is a sponsored post for Freedom. Please see full disclosure at bottom of post.

    Ready or not, Christmas is upon us! I’m sure I’m not the only one trembling ever so slightly as we find ourselves on the eve of December, staring down a month packed with family, friends, parties, presents, decorating, finishing up work, school holidays… and food.

    So when Freedom launched their shiny new Christmas collection for 2014, I was inspired to give our outdoor deck a makeover for the festive season. Up until now, we had a rather clunky picnic table that was really too big for the space. Guests had to duck and weave to find their place, and there was a fair bit of whacking-of-heads on overhead beams. So we moved the table to the back yard, and brought in Freedom’s Genoa lounge set. Add a few plants and decorations and I think – finally – we just might be ready to have people around.

    So come inside, and have a look at what I’ve done with the place…

    Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Easy entertaining with mason jar water dispenser and matching glasses, from Freedom. Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Above: Light-up tree in white, $159; Quintessential bauble set of two in double wall white, $19.95; Quintessential bauble set of four in Mercury, $24.95; Quintessential bauble set of four in ombre, $24.95; Quintessential ornament set of four in star, $9.95; Eucalyptus wreath, $79.95; Mason jar drink dispenser, $49.95; Mason jar tumbler set of four, $19.95; Entertain tray with removable legs, $39.95; and Entertain table runner in gold, $19.95; all from Freedom. My own Christmas crackers and vintage Fler sideboard. Photography by Lucas Boyd for Wee Birdy. Styling by Diane Birol/Freedom ID. Production by Rebecca Lowrey Boyd/Wee Birdy.

    You might remember my vintage sideboard from the dining room makeover? Here, I’ve used it as a cool spot indoors to set up a little drinks station, complete with a water dispenser. This is an incredibly handy addition and is perfect for Australian summer entertaining, as it means guests can help themselves – and you can stop running to the tap to top-up jugs every few minutes. It looks rather impressive filled with a bunch of lemons, limes and mint.

    I also added a touch of Christmas to an otherwise empty corner with Freedom’s very pretty light-up tree, and an assortment of their beautiful glass baubles. Have you seen the full collection of Christmas decorations? I think you’ll really like it.

    Christmas at home (aka 'The Treehouse') with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    The deck makeover, featuring Genoa four-piece sofa package, $799; Lineum cushion in yellow, $39.95; Ronan cushion in mustard, $49.95; Banyan cushion in yellow, $34.95; Charter cushion in antique white, $49.95; Hamilton pot stand in white, $89; Hamilton pot stand in topaz, 69.95; Notches pot hanger in blue, $79.95; Large Leeds planter in white, $79.95, Entertain serving tray with three dishes, $39.95, Frosted Champagne flute set of four, $39.95; and Scribble placemat in gold, $3.95, all from Freedom. Photography by Lucas Boyd for Wee Birdy. Styling by Diane Birol/Freedom ID. Production by Rebecca Lowrey Boyd/Wee Birdy.

    I can’t begin to tell you how much we love having a lounge and coffee table on the deck, instead of an enormous outdoor table. By simply swapping a too-big table for a more relaxed lounge setting, we’ve created a space that’s not only more attractive, but it’s also incredibly user-friendly.

    We can now kick back with friends over a few platters of food and drinks, instead of a complicated formal-style dinner, and we can always add occasional chairs for when extra guests pop in.

    Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Celebrate ‘Eat, Drink & Be Merry’ gold plates; Gold scribble placemats, $3.95 each; Entertain gold charger plate, $5.95; Entertain gold placemats, $5.95 each; Entertain marble serving board, $19.95, and coffee table, part of the Genoa four-piece sofa package, $799; all from Freedom. Photography by Lucas Boyd for Wee Birdy. Styling by Diane Birol/Freedom ID. Production by Rebecca Lowrey Boyd/Wee Birdy.

    Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Frosted Champagne flutes set of four, $39.95; Entertain serving tray with three dishes, $39.95, Entertain gold placemats, $5.95 each; Scribble placemat in gold, $3.95; and Genoa four-piece sofa package, $799; all from Freedom. Photography by Lucas Boyd for Wee Birdy. Styling by Diane Birol/Freedom ID. Production by Rebecca Lowrey Boyd/Wee Birdy.

    Freedom has gone for Christmas gold this year, which is one of this season’s biggest decorating themes. So it was only natural that I would jump on the trend bandwagon for Christmas entertaining.

    I actually don’t have a lot of gold in my kitchen cupboards, and I was quite amazed to see how good it looks, especially when mixed with natural timbers and white. You can see that I didn’t hold back on the gold confetti, either.

    Super-easy Christmas entertaining: pistachio-covered goats cheese balls, on Rustic Serving Board from Freedom. Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Super-easy Christmas entertaining: pistachio-covered goats cheese balls, on Rustic Serving Board from Freedom. Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Pistachio-encrusted goats cheese balls on Rustic serving board, $39.95, from Freedom. Photography by Lucas Boyd for Wee Birdy. Styling by Diane Birol/Freedom ID. Production by Rebecca Lowrey Boyd/Wee Birdy.

    When it comes to food and entertaining for Christmas, I’ve found through harsh experience that keeping it simple is really the only way to go. It’s just too darn hot in Australia to be fiddling with hot canapes and complicated recipes.

    So I like to take short-cuts and “cheat’s” methods when it comes to entertaining, which, in other words, is the incredibly easy art of making shop-bought food look sensational.

    OK, so there was a tiny bit of preparation for the goat’s cheese balls. But not much! All you do is roll a bunch of little balls from a packet of soft goat’s cheese, and then roll the balls in chopped pistachios. Arrange some fresh baby spinach leaves on a platter – I love Freedom’s new rustic serving board – and pop a pistachio-encrusted ball on each leaf. You could also try rolling the balls in chopped chives for a different flavour. Easy, right?

    Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Entertain serving tray with three dishes, $39.95, from Freedom. Photography by Lucas Boyd for Wee Birdy. Styling by Diane Birol/Freedom ID. Production by Rebecca Lowrey Boyd/Wee Birdy.

    Ye-olde chip-n-dip is a solid stand-by for easy entertaining, but it looks extra-special (in a homemade kinda way) when you pop a scoop of each dip in a little bowl on Freedom’s new collection of Entertain timber platters.

    Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Time for mince pies! Entertain marble serving board, $34.95 and Scribble placemat in gold, $3.95, both from Freedom. My own air plants and wire faceted decorations. Photography by Lucas Boyd for Wee Birdy. Styling by Diane Birol/Freedom ID. Production by Rebecca Lowrey Boyd/Wee Birdy.

    And making shop-bought mince pies look more homemade and less ‘supermarket’ is also easy: remove from plastic packaging; warm on tray in oven; pile on stylish white marble platter; and dust generously with icing sugar. Perfect! I added a touch of green and gold with air plants and some wire gem decorations from my own collection.

    Entertain marble serving board, $34.95 and Scribble placemat in gold, $3.95, both from Freedom. My own air plants and wire faceted decorations.

    Try hanging a bunch of co-ordinated Christmas decorations from a branch or beam. Photography by Lucas Boyd for Wee Birdy. Styling by Diane Birol/Freedom ID. Production by Rebecca Lowrey Boyd/Wee Birdy.

    I also created an eye-catching centrepiece with an assortment of paper decorations and glittering gold baubles from my own stash of Christmas decorations. If you don’t have exposed beams, you could hang a bunch of paper decorations from a branch.

    This incredible-looking dessert is actually ridiculously easy to make! Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Freedom’s Entertain tasting paddle, $39.95, makes the simplest of desserts look amazing. Photography by Lucas Boyd for Wee Birdy. Styling by Diane Birol/Freedom ID. Production by Rebecca Lowrey Boyd/Wee Birdy.

    I love serving a few different options for dessert, and a cold trifle or layered pudding is perfect for lazy Australian summer entertaining. These individual mini puddings are a variation on my raspberry cream macaroon dessert, which is also ridiculously easy to make. Just layer a bunch of ingredients such as crushed coconut macaroons (or meringue) with raspberries, pomegranate seeds, and freshly whipped cream in each glass. Dust with icing sugar and serve on Freedom’s genius new Entertain tasting paddle. Instantly, this simple summer dessert makes for delicious (eye) candy.

    I also like the idea of using the tasting paddles for various drinks tastings, which can be adapted to whatever tipple takes your fancy. If you want to get your hipster on, how about a craft beer or cider tasting? Or if kale is more your style, you could present a tasting of various ‘green’ drink recipes. Could be fun!

    Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Christmas entertaining at home with Wee Birdy, via WeeBirdy.com.

    Why yes, I would like some figgy pudding. Celebrate ‘Eat, Drink & Be Merry’ gold plate and Entertain gold charger plate, $5.95; both from Freedom. White linen and cotton Willow dress, $149.95, kindly gifted to me from Fabrik. I’m wearing my own Alex Monroe bumble bee necklace and Kate Spade earrings. Buy similar from Shopbop. Photography by Lucas Boyd for Wee Birdy. Styling by Diane Birol/Freedom ID. Production by Rebecca Lowrey Boyd/Wee Birdy.

    And nope, I didn’t make the pudding. But doesn’t it come up a treat and look extra decadent when it’s served on Freedom’s Celebrate gold plates? Layering plates and bowls is actually a good stylist’s trick to pull out when you’re entertaining. Just use an assortment of co-ordinated bowls and plates in different shapes and sizes, and layer no more than three levels on top of each other. It makes a statement and adds depth and interest to any table setting. Or it can make an ordinary shop-bought pudding look very special indeed.

    Tell me: how are you getting ready for Christmas this year? Do you have any easy entertaining tips or tricks that you’d like to share?

    Disclosure: This is a sponsored post paid by Freedom Australia. I only work with brands that I genuinely like, and think you should know about, too. All of the Freedom furniture and homewares were borrowed from Freedom for the purposes of this shoot.

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