Ring and Cufflink Tray DIY

Ring Tray DIY

Since I got engaged, I’ve been carefully looking after my diamond ring and keeping it safe at all times. When I was searching for some wedding inspiration, I came across this great DIY and decided to give it a go. I made one little tray a couple of weeks ago and showed it to my fiancé. He thought it was a great idea and asked if he could have one for his cufflinks. I now have the trays all around the house: bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. This can also be a nice present, and you can even make it personal by using different stamps or initials. Here is how to make it:

Step1
Items you need: FIMO oven hardening modelling clay, round cookie/scone cutter, stamps and baking paper.
Step1-2
Roll the clay into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll the ball into a flat circle ensuring an even thickness.

Step 4-5
Cut out a circle with the cookie/scone cutter and press down with a stamp in the centre.

Step 6-7
Slightly bend up the sides and place on a backing tray lined with the baking paper.

Following the clay instructions, bake for 30 minutes at 110C. Once cooled, it’s ready to be used.

Shoes and Nail Polish Combinations

Nail Polish Combo

As a young girl, I remember accompanying my mom to a beauty salon which was the equivalent of a modern day spa. It was affordable, with a full head-to-toe beauty service provided in one spot. As any other girl, I was fascinated by the place and would often end up having my nails painted to match my mom’s finger tips. Now, as an adult, I have accumulated a big collection of nail polishes. Whenever I buy open shoes or sandals, one of my first thoughts is about a colour of a nail polish I could wear them with. Here is my take on high heels and flats paired with complementary nail polishes.

Nail Polish Combo flats

Classic Lamingtons

Lamingtons

Happy Australia Day! Despite the recent Christmas break, I’ve been looking forward to a relaxing long weekend at home and this holiday has come at the right time. To feel the essence of this day, I decided to try and make a traditional Australian dessert – Lamingtons. It’s believed that the recipe originates in Queensland and it was named after Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, although it might have been named for his wife, Lady Lamington. It’s an iconic dessert and would be a perfect complement to any backyard barbecue. I hope you have a great holiday!

Ingredients (serves 12):
125g butter, softened, plus 1 tbs extra, melted for icing
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (255g) self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
2 cups (320g) icing sugar
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa
1/3 cup (80ml) boiling water
1 cup (70g) shredded coconut

Method:
Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Grease a 20cm x 30cm lamington pan. Line with baking paper, leaving a 2cm overhang on all sides. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, caster sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in half of flour and half of milk until combined. Stir in remaining flour and milk. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Smooth surface. Bake for 30-35 mins, until skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 mins. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 20 mins.
Meanwhile, sift icing sugar and cocoa into a medium bowl. Add extra melted butter and boiling water. Stir until well combined and smooth.
Cut cake into 12 pieces. Place coconut on a tray. Pierce a cake square with a bamboo skewer, being careful not to pierce all the way through. Dip cake into icing, then toss in coconut, to cover evenly. Place on a wire rack over a baking tray. Repeat with remaining cake. Stand for 1 hr, until set. Serve.

Ice Cream Sandwich

ice cream sandwich

In summer, there is no better treat than ice cream. When it’s too hot to cook in the kitchen, this one-minute dessert is the best solution, plus you get to try out a variety of flavours. All you need is a few ice cream tubs in your freezer and a pack of cookies. I used Arnott’s cookies and filled them with my favourite ice-cream flavours: Sara Lee ‘Strawberry & Cream’, Sara Lee ‘Salted Caramel’ and Bulla Creamy Classics ‘Mint Choc Chip’.

Wedding Inspiration

wedding inspo board
I’ve found that when planning a wedding, things come in three phases. The first few months can get extremely busy with choosing a venue, decor, flowers, making the guest list, deciding on a wedding dress, just to name a few. Once the initial phase is over and everything is pre-booked and ordered, there is a quiet phase which gives you just enough time to recuperate.

Last week, after I received a call to say that my bridal gown had arrived and is ready for fitting, I realised that we are transitioning into the final phase of this journey. While feeling this excited, I decided to create a board which would bring together a few details that inspired us during this process. Just seeing this board makes me wish April wasn’t so far away.

Images via

Bruschetta Alla Contadina

Bruschetta Alla Contadina

I like watching cooking shows and taking notes of recipes that people are so kind to share. I sourced this recipe from a show called Celebrity Come Dine With Me Australia which I have already made for a couple of dinner parties this summer. It’s a great entrée, especially for an Italian-themed menu.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cloves garlic
2 brown onions
150g button mushrooms
Olive oil
Bread, thick cut 4 slices
200g full cream ricotta
100g rocket
1 wedge of parmesan cheese
1 pear
Vincotto or Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Method:
Crush 1 garlic clove. Finely chop onion and mushroom. Put a table spoon of olive oil into a hot pan and add the garlic. When garlic is slightly brown, add mushrooms. Cook mushrooms until browned. Remove and let cool in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to hot pan and add onion, cook until golden brown. Place in a separate bowl to cool. Toast the bread.
Once bread is toasted drizzle olive oil over the bread. Rub 1/2 garlic clove over the toast for flavour. Spread a tablespoon of ricotta over toast. Spread onion and mushroom over the top. Sprinkle the rocket over the mushroom and onions. Shave parmesan over the top as desired. Shave the pear and place over the top for decoration. Drizzle Vincotto for added flavour. Salt and pepper as desired.

January Beauty

January beauty

Since I turned 30, I have started paying more attention to my skin care routine and experimenting with new make-up and other beauty products. This month though I’d like to share a couple of my all-time favourites: a moisturiser, a lip balm, and a push top bottle (my recent discovery).

dior
Hydra Life Pro-youth Sorbet Creme has been with me for almost 10 years. Despite my efforts to find a better and cheaper product, I always end up purchasing it again. I apply it to my face and neck in the morning so my skin is fully hydrated, luminous and incredibly even throughout the day. It was interesting to learn that Dior builds on major scientific and medical research discoveries and applies this knowledge to skincare. One of their discoveries was the subject of the Nobel Prize in 2003, after over 10 years of research. Also, a trilogy of floral extracts (Jisten, Mallow & Centella) contained in Hydra Life are sourced from Dior gardens. One of them, Jisten, was found in Uzbekistan, the country I grew up in, so I have an emotional attachment to it.
balm
Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment made in Australia from pure Australian pawpaws and has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. I’ve always had extremely dry and scaly lips and this oitment revived them in a matter of days. I always have it handy at home or in my handbag and use it for minor burns, sunburn, rash and insect bites.
bottle
This push top bottle has been my recent discovery. I usually polish and paint my nails at home and this bottle makes the experience more salon-like. It can also be used for make-up remover, cleanser / toner and other cosmetic liquids.

Wearing Right Now

5.01.15 Wearing right now
[1. Seed Top; 2. Witchery Skirt; 3. Celine Sunglasses; 4. Essie Nail Polish ‘Tart Deco’; 5. Prada Handbag; 6. Nine West Pumps]

One of the trends that seems to be appearing on everything is stripes. I bought a striped skirt a while back which spent a substantial amount of time lying in my closet. Just recently I’ve started wearing it at least once a week while pairing it with pretty much anything. This outfit is good for work, just throw on a black blazer for a more professional look. Clearly, this trend is here to stay for a while.

My Mom’s Best Crêpes

crepes 1

To me, the idea of making crêpes seems intimidating. Since I can remember, the standard set by my mom has always been extremely high. Accepting the fact that my mom’s crêpes cannot be replicated to the same standard, I decided to give it my first go. I like that certain foods can transport you to a different time and place… being thousand miles away from my family, sometimes I just want to feel a little closer.

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 tbs butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 tbs sugar
salt to taste
1 cup flour

Method:
Melt the butter in a pot, add milk and bring to a warm temperature (do not boil), remove from the heat. Separately, beat the eggs, sugar and salt with a mixer in a bowl until it becomes fluffy. Add half of the milk mixture and half of the flour and continue beating. Add second half of the mixture and flour and beat until everything is mixed. Leave the batter to rest for 20 minutes. On a medium heat, bake crêpes on a crêpe pan flipping over once. Serve with maple syrup, honey or fruits of your choice.

crepes 2

My Beach Essentials

beach essentials
Here, in Australia, we are blessed with sunshine and picturesque beaches. Many people spend their weekends or even summer vacations on the beach which can be a short stroll away from home. Packing a beach bag is an in-built habit and something that everyone does without too much thought. When I came to Australia, it took me some time to figure out the key things I had to have in my beach bag. On a few occasions, I would either forget to take my sunscreen or buy a bottle of water. Now, after nine years, I feel more or less comfortable in packing up for the beach.

1. Sunscreen – There is no better way to protect your skin from sun damage and premature ageing. I normally apply sunscreen beforehand to give it enough time to absorb and to create a protective layer. I try to reapply it every hour or so. As the sun in Australia is extremely strong, the sunscreen I use is at least 30+ and broad-spectrum (UVA+UVB)

2. Beach towel – I found the wider a towel is the cleaner it stays throughout your stay at the beach. Small or narrow towels end up being covered with sand after a short period of time. Also I wouldn’t suggest a thick towel as it doesn’t dry out quickly

3. Hat – I used to underestimate how badly the sun damages hair. These days, when I go to the beach I don’t leave the house without a hat. It also protects my face and eyes

4. Sunglasses – I wear a pair of sunglasses at all times and normally take a relatively inexpensive pair (in case I drop it in the water) but with good UV protection

5. Bottle of water – I constantly feel dehydrated at the beach so a bottle of water is my absolute saviour

6. Light snack / fruits – being next to the water makes me hungry so I always make sure that I have a light snack packed in my bag

7. Headache tablets – lengthy sun exposure and dehydration can cause headaches so I always have some tablets with me in case of emergency

8. Magazine / book – a good read makes my time at the beach more relaxing

9. Face towel – I like to wash my face after a swim so a little towel comes in handy

10. Spare underwear – while it’s almost impossible to forget a bathing suit, a pair of underwear can be difficult to remember. I try to always take it with, in case I need to quickly change from my bathing suit to head out somewhere else after the beach