Monday, January 31, 2011

A new school year begins

Today Alex's daughter began prep (she was very brave; no tears from either of them!) and my daughter is back to school for her first day of Grade One. With the school term starting, so returns our crazy schedule of school drop offs, pick ups, work, events and school commitments.

We are both pretty organised girls - it's one of the things that makes us good at our jobs. But we are always open to new ideas and better ways of doing things, so when I came across this fabulous blog by Jade, I knew I was onto something good! This girl is SERIOUSLY organised!

Jade's son is starting kinder this year and she has done a really fabulous run down of her preparation for this. Over the past week or so she has shared some great recipes, all freezable and even better, all easy, that would be perfect for school lunch boxes.

So far we have made the Oat and Chocolate Chunk cookies and the yummy scrolls. In fact, we did a big bake-a-thon today and froze a heap of them in individual serves, which will make preparing school lunches a breeze.

I have included both of these recipes here - but make sure you pop over to Jade's blog to see what else she has to help you get (and keep!!) organised.

Oat & Chocolate Chunk cookies

  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 80g (1/2 cup, lightly packed) brown sugar
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 180g (2 cups) rolled oats
  • 150g milk chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used chocolate chips here and it worked well)
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and combined sugar in a medium bowl until pale and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until well combined.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder over the egg mixture. Add the oats and chocolate, and stir until well combined.
  4. Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls. Place on lined tray. Flatten slightly. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden.
  5. Set aside on the tray for 5 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe for Vegemite and cheese scrolls
(This can be modified to make ham and cheese scrolls, chutney and cheese, or like my daughter tomato sauce and cheese scrolls!)

Ingredients -
  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour + extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g butter, coarsely grated
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
  • Vegemite
  • 3/4 cup (90g) grated cheddar
  1. Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Rub butter in using fingertips. Add milk and mix to a soft dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth. Roll into a 25 x 30cm rectangle.
  2. Spread vegemite over dough and sprinkle with cheese. Roll up starting from a long edge. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut roll into 10 even slices. Place scrolls on trays and bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees.

Big thanks to Jade for letting me share these recipes and images with you. 

And finally, you know we love parties... and earlier this year we featured a fabulous school themed baby shower party - drop by for some school themed loveliness!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Big Give - A Big Thanks

As many of you would be aware, this year we decided to do something a bit different for our Christmas Day's and volunteer our services to help run The Big Give.

As a quick recap, The Big Give is an annual event run on Christmas Day, with the aim of providing a festive meal to around 350 homeless and disadvantaged people in inner city Melbourne. You can read more about it by following these posts.

A formal thank you to all those involved will be issued in mid-Feb after the committee has finished their de-brief. Until then, I wanted to provide you with a quick update on how it all went.

Firstly, most unlike me, I didn't take photos on the day! Anyone who knows me will know how unlike me that is. Well, technically, I did take one, snapped very quickly on my iPhone during a break in the set up, but it really doesn't count!!

While it's not my normal, detailed and focussed shot, it actually captures the day from my perspective pretty well! It was busy, hot, chaotic, busy and exhausting. It was also fun, exciting, loud, festive and strangely fulfilling. 

From this shot you can see that we had lots of volunteers, from very early in the morning. Even though I had left my own family very early in the morning, after rushing through the presents with my daughter; it was fabulous to arrive to a venue full of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers, ready to hang stars, set tables, move chairs, sort presents... the list goes on!

We had over 350 people through the doors for lunch. We were able to feed every one of them a two course meal and give them all a gift. We sang carols, we did trivia, we played games. We smiled and we laughed. We watched the children receive a gift from our fabulous Santa and then watch their little eyes widen with excitement as they realised they got to keep it and take it home. 

So, thanks to EVERYONE who helped us make all this happen. Whether it was crafting paper stars, decorating divine cupcakes, donating Christmas trees, presents and countless other goods (and cash!) from generous personal and corporate sponsorships; or just providing us with a glass of champers at the end of the day; we thank you, the committee thanks you and most importantly, the guests thank you. 


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pink, Teal and Purple - a girly birthday!

This is a party we styled for a client's daughters first birthday in December. Sorry it's taken so long to get it up, but with Christmas etc... well, you know how it is! So finally, here it is!

(Just a quick note - we have edited some of the photo's and details to remove the clients personal details to preserve privacy... so where you see things like 'baby' - please be assured it originally read the birthday girls name!)

The brief from the client was to create something simple, classic and pink. We added in touches of teal and purple, with a vintage feel, which made for a pretty girly theme!

The invites - designed by us. We tried to incorporate aspects of the invite throughout the party, in the printables, the backdrops and of course the colours. We also used the initial of the birthday girl, along with the number 1 through out to help keep the theme going.

We created a desert table, along with a main table for the children. We also supplied all the children's catering and a number of activities and games for the guests.

On the children's table, we kept to our theme with customised juice poppers, napkin holders and the colour co-ordinated plates and napkins.

And now - the details!

Musk lollies and sherbets - matched our colours perfectly!
Who doesn't love pink donuts?! 
White Chocolate coated Cake pops

Popcorn cones
Vanilla & White Chocolate cupcakes

We also supplied a smash cake for the birthday girl - it was so much fun watching her destroy it! This was the first time we had done one of these and I would highly recommend it!

The highchair is decorated with some ribbon bunting created by Amy of Giggleberry Creations. It was perfect - thanks Amy!

Finally, we also supplied a wishing tree for this party. The tree is from the lovely Amy at Maggie Made. I am not sure that this is what she had in mind for her tree's, but it worked wonderfully and was a great addition to a first birthday party. The guests were all asked to leave their wishes for the birthday girl on little cards that we designed to match the theme. It will be a lovely keepsake for years to come.

The credits!

We had some fabulous people to work with for this party and we would like to thank;

Niki at Candy Soirees for all the candy along with the divine little tote boxes. We have used Niki a number of times now and can't speak highly enough of her services!

Amy at Giggleberry Creations for the lovely bunting on the front of the desert table (which I have to note is actually personalised with the birthday girl's name - removed for privacy reasons) and the super cute ribbon bunting. Thanks Amy!

Amy at Maggie Made for the divine wishing tree. She has some fabulous new tree designs out - so drop by and check them out!

All catering, printables, backdrops, decorations (other than specified above) glassware, tableware by The Inspired Occasion (that's us!!).

And finally - a big thank you to Zoe Twomey-Birks for all the photo's from this party. She really did a fabulous job and I would highly recommend her for all your party/children photography needs!

Hope you enjoyed!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Welcome back for 2011

Welcome back everyone! We have enjoyed a lovely break over the festive season, with both of us heading away for a couple of weeks; Alex to SA and I headed over to Tas. It was fabulous to stop for a bit, relax, spend some quality time with our families and take stock of the year that was 2010 - and we are now super excited to be back and bringing you all things Inspired for the new year.

Over the next week or so, we will share with you how The Big Give went and also share a super event we did in December, but ran out of time to share with you all. We are also busy prepping for my daughters 6th birthday in early Feb, along with some divine client occasions, which we can't wait to share.

But, before we get into all that, we just wanted join everyone in expressing our sadness at the devastation we have seen unfold over the past two weeks in QLD, NSW and even closer to home in parts of Victoria. While the floods and the associated damage (material, human and financial) is horrendous; I am so, so proud to be an Australian when I see how everyone is pulling together, providing support and cleaning up, while these communities tackle the enormous task of rebuilding.

On a personal level, we have contributed both financially and sending up care parcels - and we would encourage you, if you are able, to do the same. There has been a fabulous round up of all the opportunities to bid on charity auctions over here at Bondville - Shop The Flood. We sent our care parcels to Haylie of Little Miss Fascinated, who is running a donation and distribution centre (her facebook page contains all the details).

One that is not included in this list, has been organised by the girls at Fairy Floss Markets - you can check it out here. It's only just opened tonight, so get in quick and grab a bargain for a great cause.


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