Fresh flower wreath

One rainy day last week, while Alexander was having a mid day nap, I went around the garden to gather some flowers to make a fresh mini flower wreath. It was a bit trickier that I'd expected, what which the delicate flower heads falling out of their stems but in the end, with a bit a patience and a lot of gentle coaxing, I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. I think it'd look beautiful on the front door to welcome any guests in.
The inspiration for this little craft project came from the beautiful paper flower wreaths that my friend Jen of Papetal fame created for her first solo craft exhibition which launched a couple of months ago. I think it's interesting how her paper creations, inspired by Mother Nature have me creating a (far less elaborate) version made with fresh flowers. It's bit like nature mimicking art, isn't it?
the inspiration: paper flower wreath by papetal
 Here's a little tutorial if you're interested to make one too!

You'l need:

Fresh flowers (pick a variety to add colour, texture and interest)
Embroidery hoop
Scissors
Sticky tape
Method:

1. Trim and remove excess leaves from flower stalks. Position on hoop and secure with sticky tape.

2. Repeat with remaining flowers, making sure to overlap to hide the sticky tape.
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And on a separate note, I'm on Peach Macarons today, answering ten questions about blogging. If you're interested in finding out more about my creative process, as well as some of my blogging tips and advice, head over there now.


Fab five: baby moisturisers

I used to think that moisturisers for babies were totally unnecessary. I mean, what's the point when they already have baby smooth skin? Then I became a mum and saw for myself how quickly Alexander's perfectly soft and smooth skin became dry and spotty, followed by the bout of cradle cap and the recurring eczema patches on his cheeks. Eeks.

As it turns out, baby skin is thinner, more delicate and more sensitive than adult skin so there's all the more reason to moisturise, often more than once a day. I choose to use gentle formulas that re-hydrate and don't irritate. These are my top picks.
GAIA natural baby Baby Moisturiser - GAIA's products are all natural, paraben/SLS free and this lightweight cream was particularly gentle and felt wonderful on Alexander's skin. I've been so impressed with this product I started using GAIA's facial moisturiser myself.

L'Occitane Mom and Baby Cream - A beautifully packaged and delicious smelling cream in a perfect sized tube that is perfect for hydrating dry skin on the go, both his and mine. It's at a higher price point so I use sparingly.

Mustela Stelatopia Moisturising cream - This cream is highly emollient and I use it during the harshest and driest winter months. It has successfully and quickly restored hydration to Alexander's parched skin and even got rid of the nasty eczema patches on his cheeks that recurred when he was a younger baby.

billie baby Moisturiser - I discovered Billie Goat Soap for myself years old and loved it. It is nourishing, hydrating and so mild it suits even the most sensitive of skins so I had no hesitation using their baby moisturiser on Alexander. Love its light milky texture and gentle clean smell.

Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Moisture Cream -Collodial oatmeal makes this cream deeply hydrating so only need a small squeeze of product each time for lasting soft skin. I love its lightweight texture which is absorbed super quickly so less time is needed to massage it on (a big plus with a wriggly baby who does not want to lie still!).

Design in Bloom book giveaway!

Last year, I was asked to contribute to Design in Bloom by Sandu Publishing and the book is finally out! Look!
I was ecstatic to receive my copy in the mail. It is full of gorgeous botanical craft ideas and I just can't believe that my projects (four to be exact) have been featured alongside these amazing artists, designers and other creatives.
I have an extra copy that I would love to share with one of you. For your chance to win, simply leave me a comment in this post and I will randomly draw a winner in a week's time. You get extra entries if you follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook. Just let me know if you've done so in your comment below.

Giveaway ends on Tuesday 3rd March 2015 at 5pm EST and is open to international readers. Good luck!

From garden to kitchen: grilled zucchini and capsicum salad

Another really tasty way to enjoy homegrown zucchinis (and capsicum!).

Stu introduced me to tinned anchovy fillets years ago, when he made a juicy, tender and absolutely tasty lamb roast stuffed with finely chopped anchovies and rosemary. One bite and I was hooked and since then, I have been looking for other ways to use anchovies. This recipe utilises the bold salty taste of tinned anchovies to add a depth of flavour to the vegetables and turned out every bit as delicious as I expected.

*For a vegetarian option, simply substitute anchovies with olives. It tastes really good too.
Grilled zucchini and capsicum salad (serves one)

Ingredients

1 capsicum, deseeded and sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tinned anchovy fillets, roughly chopped (*or olives for a vegetarian option)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Method

1. Heat oil in frying pan, add garlic, capsicum and zucchini and fry over low heat for about 15-20 minutes.

2. Add vinegar and anchovies, season with salt and pepper.

3. Serve with toasted bread.

Printer friendly version here.

Orange picking at Hillsdale orchard

How was your weekend? We spent ours in the beautiful Hunter Valley with my parents and it was lovely. Stu and I even got to enjoy a romantic Valentine's day dinner!

In our carefree pre-baby days, Stu and I used to travel to the region a few times a year for weekends away. We'd indulge in some wine tasting, good cheese and treat ourselves to a few lavish meals. This time though, it was a bit different - we drove further up North and spent one morning picking oranges at Hillsdale Orchard, nestled in valley at the very end of Thompsons Road, Bulga.

We were greeted by a sweet lady by the name of Betty who gave us a couple of buckets and orange picking tips (gently twist and heavy fruits are good) and sent us on our way. We were the only ones around so we had the entire orchard to ourselves. Alexander ran gleefully about and picked fallen fruit from the ground, even the squishy rotten ones!
The best part was of course eating the oranges - so fresh we could simply peel the skin off bite into the sweet juicy flesh inside.
We ended up with a bucketful of oranges which I will juice as well as eat fresh. I also bought a few golden cucumbers that Betty had picked earlier that day. Those will go nicely with the spicy pork noodles I'm making tonight.