According to Instagram, my week looked like this:
- I went to the beach – again! That makes it two weekends in a row. Must be a record for me.
- I attended my first ever Kids Business Bloggers Brunch – and found some quick and easy Christmas crafts from Spotlight. (Quick and easy being key words for me.) I’m on my way to Spotlight this afternoon!
- I also met the girls from Brown Sugar at the Bloggers Brunch, who gifted me a beautiful coral striped scarf, which went fabulously with my coral Dinosaur Designs bangle and Tom Ford lipstick in Wild Ginger.
- I’m still loving Sydney’s magnificent show of jacarandas this year. Front lawns and footpaths everywhere are awash with jacaranda confetti. And the sight of backlit jacarandas in the warm glow of the late afternoon sun is one of my favourite Sydney sights. It means summer is just around the corner.
- I went to an excellent Blog Photography Workshop to brush up on my DSLR skills. Hosted by the fabulous Little Paper Trees (check out her blog now) and led by lifestyle photographer Emma Scamell, we covered an incredible amount of skills in just one wee day. The workshop was held in the studios of one of my favourite Sydney shops, Little Paper Lane, so it was a day filled with lots of laughs, creativity and neon. It’s a very neon Christmas this year at Little Paper Lane – check out the riot of colour in their window displays!
- If you’re in Sydney and you need some Christmas present inspiration, make the trip to Little Paper Lane in Mona Vale. Or check out their superb online shop. I dare you to resist pulling out your credit card! I shopped up a storm, and stocked up on Washi tapes, ribbons, an awesome extra-large alphabetical stamp set and neon gift cards. So lovely.
- I also met a very cute duckling (it had just hatched in my friend’s home incubator!)
- I found the sweetest-smelling baby pineapples from the organic grocer in Avalon.
- I stopped by The Boatshed in Palm Beach for some ice-cream. They always have the most magnificent displays of fresh fruit and flowers.
- I took out 10 minutes to watch the Melbourne Cup, and decided to make a last-minute bet. Should have stayed at home.
- I took delivery of a very sweet box filled with Chupa-Chups, and the latest candy-inspired collection of lip gloss, nail polish and eye-shadows from L’Oreal Paris.
- I met the guys from Rust-oleum at the Bloggers Brunch and discovered a brand new world of magic paint and spray paints. I’ve got to get a can of their white matte spraypaint which gives your average jam jar a beautiful white ceramic-like finish. Genius.
Phew, what a week. Did I mention that I also launched a brand new craft tutorials website, Crafttuts+? More on that very soon!
Tell me, what did you get up to? You can follow me on Instagram here. I’d love to see your Instagram pics, too!
p.s. I made 2000 ‘likes’ on Facebook! Hooray! Thanks everyone for following me. X
According to Instagram, this is what the last week or so in my life looked like. We went back to Cockatoo Island in Sydney today to see the rest of the Biennale of Sydney. It finishes next week so make sure you catch it before it goes. It was a glorious day on Sydney Harbour, and I loved wandering around the old industrial buildings exploring the installations.
I really loved Li Hongbo’s extraordinary Ocean of Flowers; a wondrous landscape of multi-coloured honeycomb paper sculptures that upon closer inspection actually folded down into revolvers, arms and bullets. And Phillip Beesley’s incredible Hylozic Series was well worth the half-hour wait, with a delicate and interactive forest of fibre-optic lights that responded to movement and touch. I hate to say it but it reminded me of the fantastical world of Avatar. But don’t let that put you off: it was truly incredible!
And predictably I rather enjoyed Maria Fernanda Cardoso’s Museum of Copulatory Organs, which is entirely dedicated to the genitalia of insects. And it was FANTASTIC; imagine delicate ceramic and resin sculptures of the most extraordinarily complex penises. Who knew the penis of the bean weevil was the “spikiest in the world”? Apparently, it’s not size that matters. It’s shape.
We also headed back to Quay restaurant for our seven-year anniversary and feasted on Peter Gilmore’s seven-layer chocolate cake and jersey cream with “ethereal sheets”. Amazing.
And if you fancy the awesome vintage Mr Men toddler pants, they’re by My Poppet Shop for My Messy Room.
What have you been up to? And if you’re on Instagram, find me @WeeBirdy.
Seven years ago today we got married. Here are some of the details and moments I loved from the day. Happy anniversary, M.
Ceremony: Lion Gate Lodge at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
Reception: Quay restaurant, Sydney
Civil marriage celebrant: Pauline Fawkner
Flowers: Susan Avery
Wedding gown: Steven Khalil
Do you like shopping at the airport? I’ve always enjoyed that sense of freedom after I’ve checked in my luggage and found myself with a spare hour or two to fill. I’ve never been a big spender at airports, apart from the requisite survival items (water, sweets, magazines) for the flight. But at Sydney Airport recently I couldn’t help noticing the dismal offerings of Australian-themed toys for children.
So I thought a round-up of the best Aussie toys would be a great blog post for Kidspot, but what I didn’t count on was finding it so hard to scrape together a top 10 line-up. Apart from the usual mass-produced plush koala and kangaroo suspects, it seems that very few local designers are keen to fly the Aussie flag when it comes to making quality toys for kids. And I’m not quite sure how this has happened, apart from the cultural cringe that continues to pervade our culture on so many levels.
However I’ve noticed some renewed interest in Australiana, especially in homewares, textiles and design, with a nostalgic trend for retro Australiana alongside new interpretations. Hopefully the trend continues and sparks some fresh and fun ideas for children’s toys. I’d love to see some creative Aussie-themed toy designed and made in Australia. Surely this isn’t too much to ask. Australian up-and-coming designers, are you listening?
Leading the way in innovative and clever Australian-themed toys is Melbourne design studio Make me Iconic. Their beautiful wooden Sydney ferry and Melbourne trams sets are the Australian answer to London’s red double decker bus, and the superb attention to detail and potential for hours of imaginative play make them the kind of keepsake toy you imagine your kids handing down to their children. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re particularly easy on the eye, providing a splendid antidote to all the plastic crap that children seem to naturally attract.
Make me Iconic‘s wooden toy sets are designed in Melbourne by a proper old-school toy maker and are ethically made in China using non-toxic materials. The Sydney ferry is painted with authentic colours based on the First Fleet Sydney Ferry, and comes with eight wooden passengers and two sailors. There are wheels on the bottom for ease of play and the lid comes of the top and second deck, with access to all the passengers and the sailors’ cabins. The tram, meanwhile, is based on the iconic W-class Melbourne tram, and comes with 12 wooden passengers and two conductors. Like the ferry, there are wheels on the bottom and the lid can be removed so children can play with the people in their cabins. The ferry is AU$95 and the tram is AU$90 and both are toys are available from Lark.
They have also produced a ‘munchies’ wooden puzzle, featuring all the great and “unsung” icons of Australian food. From vegemite on toast to fairy bread and pavlova, the puzzle is a playful way to teach your kids about Aussie food. It’s $30 from Lark.
Click here to see what other Aussie-themed toys made my top 10 list on Kidspot.
Have you seen any other cool Aussie-themed toys?
According to Instagram, this is what the last two weeks in my life looked like. What it doesn’t show is one grizzly toddler, numerous piles of dirty laundry, three separate cases of head colds and two unpacked suitcases.
But let’s rewind a little, back to my walk through Camperdown Cemetery, where I found myself recently after another fruitless attempt to find childcare in Sydney’s inner west. It’s astonishingly beautiful for an inner-city cemetery, just metres from the endless traffic of Newtown’s King Street, and many of Australia’s earliest colonial settlers are buried there (including several of my ancestors). I really loved the little cottage with a lovely shingled roof within the cemetery grounds (top right).
I also went to the launch of the new IKEA catalogue and textiles collection in Tempe (hurrah! the new IKEA catalogue is out now!) and I got the most incredible care package from London courtesy of Miss B from A Girl, A Style (Jubilee tea canisters! a Liberty hankie! London souvenirs!), before heading to the airport for a family trip to New Zealand.
At the beginning of last week I found myself in the heart of Christchurch, pottering around the marvellous new shipping container stores which are part of the Re:Start initiative. More on that later. I also punted down the River Avon and admired the early spring blooms before heading to Mt Hutt for a bit of snow action. The scenery was spectacular and I don’t think we even took a particularly iconic ‘scenic’ route. Just before flying back to Sydney, I spotted a few penguins at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch.
Back home, I stumbled across a garden crammed with gnomes, Mr Birdy made me proud with his shiny new trophy for a mobile app he designed, and I bought some strawberries at the Farmers’ Market in Taylor Square.
Busy? Why yes, just a tad.
What have you been up to? And if you’re on Instagram, find me @WeeBirdy.
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This is what my week looked like, according to Instagram. I found the first daffodils of the season; I spotted a London Olympics-themed window at Sydney toy shop, Monkey Puzzle; I found some cool vintage Olympics stamps and a beautiful vintage Melbourne Olympics souvenir scarf; and I had an incredible lunch at Momofuku Seiobo with fellow bloggers and ex-Londoners Gourmet Chick and Vintage Macaroon (the spanner crab and the donut filled with chocolate and pork fat were amazing).
What did you get up to?
Are you on Instagram? Find me @WeeBirdy.