Sometimes finding a perfect hostess gift can be challenging. While generally asked not to bring anything, I know that bringing a little gift as a way of showing gratitude is always appreciated. Recently while browsing through Donna Hay’s website, this Chocolate Brownie Mix caught my eye. I liked the idea and that it can be used for different occasions. I used a jar from Typo and followed these instructions:
To assemble, layer the following ingredients:
120g brown sugar
100g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
75g plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
50g dark and white chocolate melts
Tip: when assembling the brownie and cookie mixes, press the ingredients down firmly with the back of a spoon to create tight, even layers in the jar.
To make, write the following on the label:
Preheat oven to 160C. Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add 150g melted unsalted butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 3 lightly beaten eggs and mix well to combine. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 20cm square baking tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until just set. Allow to cool completely in the tin. Cut into squares to serve.
What is your go-to hostess gift?
I get very excited every time I discover a new beauty product. I rounded up three of the products I’m loving as of late: Moroccan Oil Hairspray, Chanel Éclat LUMIÈRE Highlighter Face Pen and Essie all-in-one.
I use hairspray almost on a daily basis, to get extra hold after blowdrying my hair. Moroccan Oil Hairspray has a lightweight finish without being sticky and stiff. It’s infused with argan oil which has a mild nutty aroma.
I now use Chanel Éclat LUMIÈRE Highlighter Face Pen whenever I need to hide some minor flaws like dark circles or to simply brighten up my eye area. Even though I don’t use it on a daily basis, it has become an essential item in my make-up arsenal.
I use Essie all-in-one as a base coat to protect my nails from staining and for a top coat which leaves a great shine and protects the nail polish from chipping. It’s my absolute must-have!
I was (and still am) a big bircher muesli fan (seen here), but whenever I’ve seen people ordering granola for breakfast, it’s made me wonder if I should try make a homemade version. Deliciously Ella has always been my first and best source for healthy recipes. Ella’s recipe of granola is absolutely the best I’ve ever tasted. My now husband says it is the best granola ever. The combination of nuts, fruits and grains gives it that balance of crunch and sweetness. I literally eat it with a spoon when I feel hungry between meals and need a quick fix.
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup almonds
2 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup flax seeds
1 cup pepitas
1 cup sunflower seeds
3 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tsp of cinnamon
1 cup raisins
Place the pecans and almonds in a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds until partially crushed. Add them to a mixing bowl with all the other dry ingredients, except the raisins and cinnamon, and stir together. Melt the coconut oil with the maple syrup and cinnamon on the stove. Once it has dissolved into a liquid add it to the dry bowl and mix well. Place the mixture into a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes at 180C, until crunchy. During this time you’ll need to stir the mixture to ensure that every bit of the granola gets toasted and the top doesn’t burn. Once the granola is cooked perfectly, remove the tray from the oven and allow it to cool, then stir in the raisins. Store the granola in an air-tight container to keep it fresh and crunchy.
Following my post on Top Bars in the Sydney CBD, I decided to create a list of my favourite spots located on the fringes of the city.
Eau De Vie, Darlinghurst
This place has an endless cocktail list and a very extraordinary way to present them. It’s tacked at the back of the Kirketon Hotel and ideal for social gatherings.
The Cotton Thief, Cremorne
This bar celebrates Australian colonial beginnings and those convicts, men and women, who after turning free helped to develop our fine and flourishing country. Apart from the great atmosphere, this place serves light meals and boutique beers. It’s located next to the Orpheum cinema which makes it a perfect spot for pre-movie drinks.
The Winery, Surry Hills
The Winery is a well-known place and popular for friends’ gathering and parties. It’s beautiful at night when fairy lights set the vibe overlooking the city skyline. This place has a great selection of wines, delicious food and is not to be missed during the warmer months.
Shady Pines, Darlinghurst
This bar is hidden away in the backstreets of Darlinghurst and has a fantastic character. Someone said that this place is an American road trip where you’re allowed to drink. They serve high quality crafty beers which adds to a buzzing atmosphere. Great place to listen to good live music.
Earl’s Juke Joint, Newtown
This place is hidden behind the facade of a butcher. Dark wood and moody lighting make you want to settle in here for a few drinks or hours.
SoCal, Neutral Bay
Some people say that SoCal brought a bit of Southern California into Neutral Bay – bright room with an outdoor deck and great music. They serve good cocktails and Mexican/American food, designed to share. The salted caramel espresso martini is a must-try!
[1. Prada handbag; 2. OPI ‘I Love Applause’ nail polish; 3. Zara shoes; 4. Maybelline New York Coral Crush lipstick; 5. Witchery crossbody bag; 6. Windsor Smith heels; 7. SABA dress]
I like buying dresses that can be easily transformed from day to night – this dress is one of them. I often wear it to the office, especially on days when I have something planned after work. By simply adding an accessory or a bold lipstick this dress takes me from work to a night out.
When we are on the go (which is pretty much most of the time) and have no time to even think about a meal for lunch, toast has been the most reliable option. When you are in the city, the variety of toasts or sandwiches you can get is impressive. However, when we need a quick fix at home, our options are normally limited to two – cheese and tomato or honey on toast. I’ve decided to expand on it and add four new varieties.
I am getting married this Saturday, and I’ll be spending these last few days in the company of my dearest family. It feels significant and special and I want to savour this moment with all my heart. While I have felt slightly overwhelmed in the past couple of weeks, I’m now ready to embrace what’s meant to be the biggest day of my life. I am incredibly grateful to be surrounded by so much love and feeling excited about this next stage of my life!
If you live in Australia you quickly realise that there is no such thing as a short flight. Being on a plane for many hours isn’t always fun, so I try to make my flight as comfortable as possible. This takes a bit of planning, but guarantees a worry free ride. Here are my key plane essentials which I always have with me on board.
– I choose to wear:
[1. Dotti white V-neck tee; 2. French Connection cardigan; 3. Uniqlo leggings pants; 4. Tote bag; 5. Essie ‘Spin-the-bottle’ nail polish 6. Nine West slip-ons]
Comfort is key on the plane so I always opt for leggings (not jeans), a loose v-neck tee and a cardigan. Sometimes I also take a soft wide scarf to add that extra layer if I’m cold. However, I often find it unnecessary as you are normally provided with a blanket on board. As far as nail polish goes, I always go with nude nails so they match everything.
- In my tote bag:
[1. Kikki.K carry-on ziplock bag for documents; 2. Charger; 3. Good book; 4. Headphones; 5. Journal; 6. Pen; 7. Nut bar; 8. Travel cosmetic bag; 9. Hand sanitizer; 10. Chewing gum; 11. Paper handkerchiefs; 12. Hairband; 13. Spare underwear; 14. Compression Socks]
I normally stick to one bag so I have to be really organised about what things I take with me. Apart from my wallet and mobile phone, I pack things that will keep me busy and entertained throughout my flight as well as provide comfort. The key items though are compression socks to keep blood circulation going and a journal for when I feel inspired (which can happen at any time during a long flight).
- In my cosmetic bag:
[1. Lucas’ Papaw Ointment; 2. Facial wipes; 3. Eye drops; 4. KORA Organics hand cream; 5. Contact lenses / glasses; 6. Eyelash curler; 7. Liners; 8. Cotton tips; 9. Headache tablets; 10. Tweezers (Optional: silk eye mask & ear plugs)]
I try to take extra care of my skin, lips and eyes on the plane by keeping hydrated at all times. I often get headaches when I feel dehydrated so I make sure I have some tablets with me. As I wear contact lenses, I swap them for my glasses as soon as I board the plane and then put them back in before landing. I don’t normally wear make-up on the plane, so an eyelash curler is always good to have for a quick touch up. As almost every international flight these days provides an eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste, I choose to leave these behind.
Tip: In my carry-on, I take a change of clothes in case my luggage gets lost and I take items that I can’t lose in my carry-on bag.
I always like to bring the spirit of Easter home, whether it’s a simple flower arrangement or a handmade gift for a friend. As we celebrate Easter overseas this year, here’s a collection of my past posts to give you some little ideas.
Entertain with a special table setting for breakfast with your family and friends.
Give a personalised gift jar with favourite Easter treats.
Make Easter Devilled Eggs as an appetiser.
Arrange a floral bouquet to set a festive mood.
I can’t wait for our wedding. Just thinking about celebrating the day with family and friends and leaving as a newly married couple, makes me feel ecstatic. I am also just as excited about our upcoming honeymoon in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Mauritius. We will be exploring these beautiful places over two weeks before heading back to Sydney.
Images via 1 & 2