Last year, I (via Little Bow Thief) was delighted to be asked to design some party favours for a carnival themed birthday party - I took inspiration from the old fashioned Tin Can Toss arcade game to make these treat-filled tins - so much fun! 

Interested in making these yourself? I'm going to tell you my secret suppliers. I used cardboard tubes with metal pull-out lids that I purchased here. The great thing is that the tins could then be used afterwards as money boxes! If you're planning in advance, you could also find tins in the supermarket to fit the purpose (Cadbury Drinking Chocolate would probably work, and, lifetime at least one month's supply of drinking chocolate). 

I purchased a set of vintage carnival digital papers from Etsy and printed them myself to cover the tins; alternatively, you could collect an assortment of papers in stripes, stars and zigzags from one of those $1 gift wrap stands. 

And to fill the tins? In keeping with the carnival theme, think vintage toys (bouncy balls, pinwheels), ring pops, caramel corn or popcorn-flavoured jelly beans, lollypops, coke bottles.

I was also asked to make some favours for a few children under 12 months. For the little ones, I included some socks (scour Kmart for inexpensive 3-packs), mini rubber duckies (discount shops) and Heinz baby bars (supermarket).

We all know that themed party planning is JUST as much fun for the host as it is the guests. Go nuts, I say!

Looking for some more ideas? Have a look at my Carnival Board on Pinterest for some inspiration x


Fruit dip is the *perfect* way to screw up your healthy dessert.

Not that there's anything wrong with a healthy dessert, but you know when you're at someone's place for a meal, and you're wondering what's for dessert  maybe it'll be a three-layer triple choc Nutella fudge cake, or something  but then they deposit a fruit salad on the table and your internal complaints department goes, "Fru-ewwwwwwwwwt saaaaaaa-laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad" and pulls a face like-a this.

Well, fruit dip might appease the fatties. And by fatty, I mean myself, the individual described above, so don't be alarmed or offended. 

This was my first time making a fruit dip. Not gonna lie, probably chose the most calorific option. It was yummy and decadent, though I'd also like to find a slightly healthier version. Something in between the extremes of natural yoghurt and this dip made from dismembered bodies of white Freddo Frogs would be good.

If you have a fruit dip recipe that you're willing to share, please do!


Adapted from Canadian Living. Yields 1.5 cups.


  • 85g (3oz) white chocolate, chopped
  • 75mL (1/3 cup) cream
  • 250g (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp orange-flavoured liqueur or orange juice (I used juice)
  • Method
  • In a heatproof bowl set over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt white chocolate with cream, stirring gently until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

    In separate bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar until fluffy; beat in orange rind. Stir in chocolate mixture and orange liqueur.

    Tip: The original recipe says that this dip can be refrigerated for two days. Whilst this is true, refrigerating something containing chocolate will make the mixture quite firm, as it did mine, making it difficult to scoop! The consistency of my dip was perfect before refridgeration -- my tip is to prepare right before you need it.


Good morning and happy Monday! I started off my day with an early morning walk down to the beach. I made sure to take off my shoes, roll up my cuffs and sit on the sand for a few minutes, getting grounded and refreshed for the day and week ahead. Being very busy at the moment with a to-do list a mile long, (it's mostly exciting) I need to remind myself to regularly get back to nature and take a few moments to Just. Breathe. It's pretty amazing how restorative that simple action can be.

Before I left the sand I walked down to the shore and let the waves lap over my feet. It was fresh. Not quite ready for a dip. I thieved a stone from the beach - it was calling my name - I think it shall be a paperweight for the daily mail. I also thieved the pink geranium from the rock wall garden. Thank you, North Gong beach.

And then I thieved some azalea and jasmine on the way home. Our little flat is full of flowers and sprigs of this and that at the moment. Maybe I have Floral Kleptomania? I think it runs in the family. My Mum has always kept a beautiful garden and whenever I visit home (when I tell her I'm coming, she asks me if I'd like to make a reservation for a Garden View room at The Inn) she always has a vase of freshly picked flowers on my bedside table.

One of my missions at the moment is to sort through my epic collection of photos on my laptop - they are in dire need of categorising, culling and also printing! Yesterday I found these photos of my Mum and nieces from Summer 2012 when we took a wander through the garden. I am biased, but I'm positive they are crazy cute. <3


Last weekend was my gorgeous four-year-old niece's birthday party. She loves pirates, and her Mum and Dad did an amazing job of putting on a fantastic party for all the little buccaneers! Here's just a few snaps from the day.

If you're after some ideas for a Pirate Party, check out my board on Pinterest. x

I love my nieces to pieces. Miss Charlotte has been practicing her poses.

Settle everyone,  it's not Jack Sparrow, it's just my brother. I know, right?!

She loves her Lindsay.

Slurping up the dregs of my melon ship - if that aint praise, I don't know what is!

Completely crashed out. x


Meet Bunnito Bunny! I came across the pattern for this dashing young fellow back when I was working as an advertising coordinator for a magazine publisher; as soon as I clapped eyes on him in a sewing mag I just knew that I had to bring my own Bunnito to life!

As luck would have it, I have a four-year-old niece who happens to love pirates. Just last week she had a pirate party (pics in the next post). I made Bunnito for her birthday. He's completely hand-sewn, and all up I'd say he took me about 25 hours to make. The pattern comes from the talented Jhoanna Monte Aranez. As I Instagrammed my Bunnito progress, it was great to be able to swap messages with Jhoanna and get a couple of tips. I've already had a request to make another!

The original Bunnito. Handsome devil. Photo credit: Express Media Group.

Looking concerned.

Mastering blanket stitch. I searched high and low to find a good tutorial and found it here.

100% worth the effort! Home and loved.


Hi guys! As you can see, the blog (which is now 5 years old!) has had a bit of a freshen up - hope you like it. Today I also managed to attend to a task I've been putting off for ages - transferring the 2000+ photos from my iPhone to my laptop, and cleaning up all my files and folders. I still have roughly nine million seven hundred and thirty four photos to sort through, but that's a task for another day. It felt sooo good to finally cross semi-cross this task off my to-do-list. Funny story... yesterday I found an old old thumbnail of my original blog headers - and some test blog names. I am so very glad this blog isn't called "Head, Heart and Hands"!

After the tidy up I went in search of some pretty new wallpapers (I can't get enough of watercolour at the moment) - while I'm still fixing things up around here, I thought I'd share my finds with you so you can do the same. Here are my favourites. Just click the image to bring up the full size, save the image and then resave as your desktop theme. Enjoy, and be sure to check out the designers who gifted these beauties, listed at the bottom of the post. Love a good freebie!



mama's tulips

underneath the arbour. my uncle built it, I painted it, M & D planted the wisteria, and the sun grew its flowers.

the lavender was all abuzz [spot the bee]

I've spent most of this week at Mum and Dad's place; it's my HQ for jam making [my "jam factory"] because of the kitchen facilities. Yesterday afternoon while I was sitting tying bows I turned on the TV to see Entertainment Tonight interviewing Oprah on her new book, 'What I Know For Sure'. I had to pause and whip out my phone to note down a few "Uh Huh" moments.

"Everything that happens to you, happens for you".

"Nothing that ever happens to you is wasted."

"This, too, shall pass".

"The easiest way to change your vibration when you're down is to be grateful."

"Say thank you."

I've started this sentence about ten times and am really struggling to articulate, but without overthinking for a minute, the point is that when life throws you difficult circumstances, even though it can be hard to see or want to accept at the time, often there's a reason, a lesson, a purpose. I do often feel this way looking back, and even in my current stressful time, where even very recently I was struggling to identify a reason for my unhinged year, I'm beginning to see a purpose [stay tuned]. And it is tough to trust that "this, too, shall pass" and you'll come out the other side, but... maybe that's the miraculous thing. You don't have to trust it. It just is. It will pass.

While you're feeling a bit down and out, be grateful, and say thanks for all the wonderful things in your life. Spin positive. Well Lindsay messaged me before to comment on what a nice day it was, and hoped I could get outside to enjoy it. I said I was inside doing job things, but the view from the window was pretty and peaceful [which it very much is - grateful]. Then I read an excerpt from Oprah's new book [below] and that led me straight outside to set my bare feet on the ground. I noticed what a beautiful garden my Mum has created and I snapped away. Grateful for the blue sky, the miraculous flowers, the cool earth beneath my feet, the sweet birds and the smell of the sun.

Here is my excerpt from the excerpt:

Pay attention. Every choice gives you a chance to pave your own road. Keep moving. Full speed ahead.

Being grateful all the time isn’t easy. But  it’s when you feel least thankful that you are  most in need of what gratitude can give you: perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life – this I know for sure.

Whatever you’re going through, you will do just that: go through it. It will pass. So say thank you now. Because you know the rainbow is coming.

I’m often confronted by things about which I have no certainty at all. But I sure believe in miracles. For me, a miracle is seeing the world with light in your eyes. It’s knowing there’s always hope and possibility where none seems to exist. Many people are so closed to miracles that even when one is boldly staring them in the face, they label it coincidence. I call it like I see it. To me, miracles are confirmation that something larger than us is at work. I believe they happen not just sometimes but every single day, if we are open to seeing them.

In my own life, miracles often involve the simplest things... a miracle is watching a sunset the colour of strained peaches and seeing it turn to raspberries by the end of my evening walk. It’s having pomegranate, kiwi and mango on a pretty tray for breakfast. It’s admiring the pink peonies I cut from my own garden and placed in my bedroom. It’s when a green van pauses on the road and a young woman leans out the window to yell, ‘You’re the best teacher on TV!’ and she is a kindergarten teacher. It’s the sound of the birds and their individual songs and the moment when I wonder, are they singing to each other, to themselves, or just to be heard?

Excerpt from What I Know For Sure, Oprah Winfrey.

What are your little miracles... what are you grateful for?