Tag Archives: Australiana

January 24, 2013

Sponsored post: A Very Aussie Arvo Tea

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

You should all know by now that I don’t need much of an excuse for a good old-fashioned tea party, so when Twinings sent me a box of their limited edition Australian Afternoon Tea it didn’t take long before I had (a) cracked open a packet of Iced Vo-Vos; (b) whipped up a batch of wattleseed cupcakes; and (c) dug out some of my choicest vintage Australiana china and linen. Add half a dozen lamingtons, a knitted cockie teapot handle cosy and a pot of Twinings full-bodied Australian Afternoon Tea and I was set: a very Aussie arvo tea. Heaven!

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

I used this recipe for the Wattleseed cupcakes, and I decorated them with handmade sprigs of marzipan wattle.

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

They’re dead-easy to make: just grab a packet of marzipan, dye three-quarters of it yellow with food colouring, and roll tiny balls with your hands (about 7mm wide). Then add some yellow food colouring to a bowl of caster sugar, and roll the balls in the sugar for a fluffy wattle-like coating.

For the leaves, add a drop or two of green food colouring to the rest of your marzipan, and roll it out to 2mm thickness. Use a sharp knife to cut out leaves and use a bread and butter knife to imprint veins. Arrange your little wattles on top of your cupcakes and you have a rather sweet tribute to Australia’s indigenous national flower.

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

As for the tea itself – well, let’s just say it was the little Aussie hero of the party. I like it. I like it a lot – it’s a brisk pick-me-up blend created by Kevin Rudd, of all people, and funnily enough it’s a feisty little character. Kevin won Twinings’ challenge last year to come up with an original brew that best reflected the taste of Australia. The top five blends were put to a public vote and Kevin come up trumps with a blend that stands up against the most languid of Aussie arvos.

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

Twinings has raised over $120,000 to date for the former Prime Minister’s chosen charity, the RSPCA, through on-pack donations. It’s a timely cause as the RSPCA needs extra support at this time of the year with poor wee injured animals from bushfires.

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

Limited edition Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea is available in Coles stores now, while stocks last. So best be quick! You can purchase it in a splendid keepsake tin (as pictured above), or in a twin pack with either English Breakfast or Early Grey. The lovely Twinings people are also increasing donations to the RSPCA, with 50c from every tin and $1 from every twin-pack going to the charity. Tea-riffic! (sorry, couldn’t resist.)

A vintage Aussie afternoon tea via WeeBirdy.com

WIN! Twinings Australian Tea
I have five tins of this lovely limited-edition Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea tins to give away. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling me in 25 words or less what you would serve with a pot of Australian Afternoon Tea. The giveaway is open to all Australian residents 14 years and older, and it ends at 5pm AEDST on Feburary 1, 2013.

Entries will be judged by Nuffnang and the winners will be the ones deemed most creative. There will be five winners, all of whom will receive a limited-edition tin of Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea. 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.


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September 2, 2012

Wee find: Make me Iconic’s Melbourne tram and Sydney ferry toys

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.
www.makemeiconic.com.au

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?


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