I’m back – and just in time too! Suddenly it’s November 18 and Christmas is scarily just around the corner. This time of the year always snowballs for me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like they can’t keep up.
I feel I need to apologise for being kinda quiet on Wee Birdy this year. We had a few unexpected hurdles and life with my wee toddler man has taken precedence. I’ve also been editing the Craft section for Tuts+, and just a few weeks ago we up and sold our wee flat! And we’ve just bought a house … in the bush!
We move in just before Christmas, and in the meantime I’m a tad frantic with renovation plans and packing and moving.
But I couldn’t miss my favourite part of the Wee Birdy calendar – my annual Christmas present guides. I’ve been cherry-picking my favourite buys for the past few months, and I was super-chuffed when the lovely Etsy folks came a-knocking, asking me to put together my favourite Etsy picks for the brand new Wee Birdy Etsy page.
I can’t wait to share all favourite Etsy discoveries with you over the next week in my annual Christmas present guide.
For starters, I’ve chosen rose-gold as one of this year’s hottest trends for my present guide. Just click on the image above to check out all of my picks on Etsy. Let me know what you think!
Can’t wait to hear your thoughts. X
Disclosure: Wee Birdy is a member of the Etsy affiliate program.
I was recently invited to the pop-up Masterchef Dining and Bar in Sydney to experience ‘High Tea Brewed by Lipton’ with master tea blender, Kurush Bharucha. As a self-appointed aficionado of tea and cake, I was excited to check out the new pop-up and explore the new range of Lipton‘s Pyramid teas. And I was also eager to sample some of the sweet treats that have featured in Australian Masterchef over the past few years. My date for the afternoon was my mum, the original aficionado of all things tea and cake.
First surprise? The magnificent set-up of the Masterchef Dining and Bar, which was a much grander verision of your usual wooden-crates-and-make-do nature of a pop-up. This was pop-up deluxe, with marble benchtops, magnificent lighting installations and Masterchef’s signature mezzanine, where our afternoon tea was taking place.
Our table was set with an intriguing line-up of bell jars housing samples of tea leaves, with another row of glass tea cups and a third row of Lipton Pyramid tea bags. After our glasses were filled with hot water, we were introduced to Lipton master tea blender, Kurush Bharucha, who is a man who knows a wee bit about tea. So much, in fact, at one point in his career he was tasting 1,000 cups of tea a day. Blimey!
Kurush guided us through each tea, explaining the finer points of each blend as we infused our hot water with the new pyramid tea bags. It was an experience for all the senses, and represented a departure from your usual automatic-robot-tea-bag dunking, as we could observe the tiny leaves, flowers and pieces of fruit within each pyramid swirl and burst into colour and fragrance.
Second surprise? The Russian Earl Grey tea pyramid came to life in the hot water. The pretty sky blue cornflower petals swirled amongst pieces of orange and lemon peel and the gentle aroma of bergamot and citrus wafted up from the cup. I’m not generally a fan of Earl Grey but this one had a subtle flavour that was gently warming.
So what’s the big deal about the pyramid shape? Kurush explained that it allows them to use longer tea leaves and bigger pieces of ingredients such as lemon peel, cinnamon bark and jasmine petals – which is responsible for the swirling visual treat in my cup! Also, the roomier teabag means that all the goodness in the tea bag can dance about and release more flavour. It’s a bit like having a mini teapot with loose leaf tea in your tea bag. Nice!
Third surprise? We were also introduced to the new range of the delightful Lipton tisanes, with blends including Forest Fruits, Raspberry Passion and Peach Mango. Most of you will know that I generally like a good old cup of builder’s tea – English Breakfast is my blend of choice, but I really loved exploring the new fruit tisanes. Anything with a flavour punch of passionfruit gets a big tick from me. I usually fill my tea with milk and sugar, but there was no need for anything else with these cupfuls of rich flavour.
We were also introduced to last year’s Masterchef runner-up, the lovely Julia Taylor, who took us through the tasty afternoon tea menu featuring Waldorf finger sandwiches, friands with tea-infused raisons, Zumbarons, Adriano Zumbo passionfruit tart and her signature Vegemite caramel chocolate cups.
Lipton’s Forest Fruits tea went down a treat with the zumbarons! The stand-out sweet morsels of the afternoon were the incredible friands, the flavour-packed passionfruit tart and the Vegemite caramel chocolate cups, which were the absolute highlight. Sweet and salty and incredibly moreish, we sat in reverent silence as we consumed the heavenly mouthful of the most surprising ganash.
The best surprise of the afternoon? Discovering that Lipton’s pyramid tea is indeed a clever and innovative way to enjoy your favourite brew, and the 16 new flavours provide a real treat for your senses.
Who knew a tea bag could provide so much entertainment?
WIN! Lipton Pyramid Tea
To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling me in 25 words or less which Lipton Pyramid tea flavour would you pair with your favourite sweet treat? The giveaway is open to all Australian residents 14 years and older, and ends at 5pm Friday, 27 September 2013.
The five most creative responses will win a sample pack containing eight different flavours from the Lipton Pyramid range. Click here for the full competition terms and conditions. Please don’t forget to leave your email address in the space provided in the comments section – it will only be visible to me.
This post is sponsored by Nuffnang.
Who knew dreamcatchers could look so fresh and modern – and dreamy! This wee beauty is the work of the very talented Lisa Tilse of The Red Thread, and she’s made an excellent step-by-step tutorial for Crafttuts+.
Lisa holds your hand through every step of the way, showing you how to hand-wrap the rings and attach the beads and feathers. It’s the perfect project for the weekend. Head over to Crafttuts+ now for the full tutorial.
Isn’t this the most adorable knitted kerchief you’ve seen? You can make it yourself with this excellent tutorial by Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots for Tuts+.
The step-by-step tutorial has full photography and is perfect for knitters of all levels. In fact, if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to knit, you might like to follow the series of Knitting Fundamentals tutorials.
I love that Andi shows you how to style the kerchief for two completely different looks. Such a sweet vintage look, don’t you think?
Head over to Tuts+ for the full step-by-step tutorial.
There was a moment back in May when I’m not ashamed to say that I literally squeaked with excitement. I had just discovered that Tony Parker, of Parker Furniture, was relaunching a capsule collection of his iconic ’50s designs in an exclusive collaboration with Surry Hills design store WORKSHOPPED. Anyone who’s a fan of mid-century furniture probably squeaked in unison, creating some kind of modernist-fuelled squeaky, squealy chorus as the Parker name translates to Australian mid-century modern LEGEND.
It was only a few weekends ago when I finally stumbled into WORKSHOPPED that I actually laid my hands on this glorious new furniture. Re-worked in American Oak and American Walnut, the pieces have been gently tweaked and reinvented in that unmistakable Parker style.
I loved the beautiful white oak extension butterfly leaf dining table, but I made a beeline for the iconic coffee table with its organic lips, marvelling at how fresh and well, modern, it looked at once. Funny that.
I couldn’t be more overjoyed by this happy collaboration, breathing new life into one of Australia’s greatest design names while offering brand new pieces that have been reworked by Tony Parker himself. The new range is made by Covermore Designs, a company featuring many of Parker’s original staff and craftspeople, which offers a lovely sense of continuation.
The timing for the new collection couldn’t be better, with mid-century modern a key trend and source of reference in mainstream design and interiors. (That doesn’t stop short-sighted Sydney realtors from flogging incredible examples of mid-century architecture as potential for detonation and new apartments, but that’s another rant.)
Kudos to WORKSHOPPED Director, Raymond Scott, for bringing the Parker name back into currency, and three cheers for Tony Parker, for his undeniable verve in relaunching this collection.
In the meantime, our original teak Parker coffee table is currently in storage, as we have a rather unlovely Thomas the Tank engine train table in its place. Tell me, parents of older children, when do I get my beautiful teak coffee table back, assured that it won’t be used as a racetrack or a surface for pounding neon orange playdough? When? When will the sippy cup ring stains stop?
Tony Parker mid-century furniture is available at WORKSHOPPED
Shop 2 / 8 Hill Street
Surry Hills, NSW 2010 Australia
Tel. + 61 (0) 2 9146 4353
All photography courtesy of Workshopped.
Do you love making things with Hama (or Perler) beads? You might like to try this easy tutorial I created for Crafttuts+.
I was inspired by big, bold vintage florals, the kind you’d find on domestic bed linen from the ’60s and ’70s. What do you think?
Head over to Crafttuts+ for the full step-by-step tutorial.