Mandarin marmalade

My in-laws have a huge mandarin tree that is going bonkers with fruit at the moment. I took some off their hands and gave preserving a go for the first time.

They come from a family of keen jam-makers so there’s a lot to live up to. The consistency was a bit runnier than I would have liked (I’m storing it in the fridge which helps) but the bittersweet marmalade flavour is bang on.

You can find the recipe and free printable tags over on Polka Dot Bride.

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Scarf gift wrapping

I have five (FIVE!) 30th parties to attend this month, along with my Dad and brother’s birthdays both in June, so it’s celebration central around here.

I tried out this fun wrapping technique using an adorable Japanese scarf that was given to me as a gift.

You can find the full how-to over on Polka Dot Bride.

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Port Antonio cocktail

Happy Friday! Please regale me with some of your exciting weekend plans as I will no doubt be spending the majority of mine with brush in hand, craning up to 26 linear metres of cornice. Whatever your plans, there’s always time for a Saturday night cocktail, yes? I’ve shared this sweet/tart one over at Polka Dot Bride today.

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Birthday giveaway winners

Congratulations to readers Harriet, Brittney, Maria, Georgina and Kelly! You have each won an Akimbo stationery mixed bag. I’ll be emailing you to get your delivery details. If you missed out, you can order your lucky dip pack here. Thanks so much for your kind and helpful feedback on the birthday post. You’re keen to see more of:

Most of this is exactly what I love to write about so it’s great to know it’s resonating with you too. The only thing I don’t plan to increase is cross-promoting my stationery business but those interested (thanks!) can follow over on the Akimbo blog.

Thanks again for reading and here’s to another big year ahead!

This post is sponsored by Origin Energy.

Winter Warmers stew

With just a few days til the beginning of winter the days are getting cooler and shorter here. My favourite part of winter has to be cooking (and eating!) all of the hearty food that the season has to offer.

Despite the cooler weather we’ve actually still been cooking outside a fair bit as The Man and I much prefer the results from gas cooking. Not just snags and steaks, mind you, it’s our go-to method for cooking things like stirfries and paella too, which end up a soggy mess on the electric cooktop in the kitchen.

Winter Warmers stew

Winter Warmers stew

Last night I fired up the barbecue and tried my hand at this new recipe for beef & vegetable stew.

I used fresh beans instead of frozen and served it with couscous, sour cream and parsley. It was a hit and will go on our winter meal rotation for sure.

Like all of the best stews, it had a long cooking time, but once it was set up I left it to its own devices for a couple of hours with only the occasional stir. Easy.

The perfect warming and homely finish to a busy weekend.

You can find this and other winter warming recipes for your gas cooker here. I’m trying the choc orange honeycomb mousse next!

Free printable retro menu

I made these cute retro drinks menus for our 30th party a couple of weeks ago. In true Mad Men style we had to include a couple of cocktails. Now I want to make mojito punch for every party.

You can download and customise your own retro drinks menu over on Polka Dot Bride.

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Happy Monday! We had our first weekend of actually feeling like we were living in a proper house for the first time in, oh, four months. It wasn’t packing central, or renovation central, or party central. We’ve had a couple of people over for dinner and finally set up the couch and TV.

That said, I did spend a bit of time up in the attic sorting out my stock. As I mentioned last week, I’m no longer doing any more readymade stationery products for my business Akimbo so I am clearing out all of my existing inventory.

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I packed up a bunch more of these Lucky Dip packs (thanks to everyone who’s ordered one so far!). The piles are shrinking a little every day so I’ll soon be able to start painting the space and making it into an extension of my shiny new office!

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You can pick up a Card Survival Pack or one of the other themed Lucky Dip packs here.

Thanks for your support, everyone!

birthday message wall

The Man and I threw a huge joint 30th slash housewarming on the weekend. In keeping with the era of our new home it was in a mid-century theme so we had some seriously cool Mad Men inspired fashions.

In all the prep/hosting frenzy I didn’t take a single photo (bad blogger) but my brother-in-law took a bunch so hopefully I’ll be able to share some soon because it was a pretty rad party.

We were originally hoping to have the lounge painted in time for the party but with the kitchen makeover, office makeover and our Hawaii trip we realised it was not going to happen. Instead, The Man suggested we embrace our in-progress-ness (totally a word) and use the de-wallpapered but unpainted walls as a message board for the party. We commissioned our very artistic sister-in-law-to-be to draw a giant ’30′ design and we got some lovely/funny messages by the end of the night.

The idea is we’ll paint over it and our well wishes will become part of the house. Elsewhere on the wall someone drew some balls (seriouslyareyoutwelveyearsold) so we’ll have to get onto the painting sooner rather than later. I don’t think ‘Public toilet chic’ is going to take off.

DIY clay ring dish

I don’t know whether my body is just in shock after a week in a tropical paradise, but it is feeling like a very chilly autumn here. Perfect weather for a craft weekend, no?

Here are some cute clay ring dishes that you can whip up between cups of tea this weekend. Find the full tutorial over on Polka Dot Bride.

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Speaking of crafting funky gold things, a little birdie told me that Megan Morton’s The School would love to bring the watercolour and gold foiling class by Peaches & Keen to us here in Adelaide. BUT they need minimum numbers to make it happen, so if it’s something you’d be interested in make sure you let them know!

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Oh joyous day printable sparkler tags

No doubt I’m currently snorkelling with turtles by the time you read this (yes, totally rubbing it in).

Meanwhile, here is a cute free printable to make your 50c packet of sparklers befit your special celebration. It’s over on Polka Dot Bride for you today.

See you when I get back!

Paper rosette buttonhole

Hello, happy Thursday! Here is my latest post for Polka Dot Bride, a lovely paper rosette buttonhole for your man.

For those of us not planning a wedding, you can use the same technique to make adorable party decorations.

Check out the post here.

A collection of pretty meets practical ideas to inspire a happier home

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