July 27, 2014

Afternoon tea - Superhero week fundraiser

 

Yesterday I hosted an afternoon tea to help raise money for Superhero week.

Superhero week is an annual fundraiser which raises much need funds for Bear cottage a children's hospice in Manly.

After a wet, miserable morning the sun came out around lunch time which was perfect as the afternoon tea was to be held outside.

Table setting - Royal Albert tea set courtesy of my mother

Just like a high tea there were three courses, bubbly and tea. There was also a game of trivia which brought out some guests competitive nature. Overall we raised just under $400 for Bear cottage.

Menu

First course:
Cranberry, Swiss cheese, turkey and avocado finger sandwiches
Seeded mustard, roast beef, cucumber and mayonnaise finger sandwiches
Egg and lettuce finger sandwiches
Capsicum pesto, cheese and chicken pinwheels
Pumpkin and mushroom mini quiches

Second course:
Scones with Chantilly cream and strawberry jam

Third course:
Mini panna cotta
Vanilla/choc chip slice
Carrot cake
Viennese biscuits
Chocolate roly poly

Drinks:
Yellowglen sparkling rose
Brown brothers moscato
Earl grey tea
T2 Gorgeous Geisha green tea
Sparkling water


Afternoon tea trivia


  1. Which country did tea originate? China
  2. Name the four varieties of tea? White, green, oolong, black.
  3. How many courses are usually served at high tea? Three
  4. Where is bear cottage located? Manly
  5. Who visited bear cottage earlier this year? Prince William and Princess Catherine.
  6. Name as many brand teas as you can. Lipton, Twinings, Dilmah, T2, Tetley, Bushells, Nerada, Tea Tonic
  7. It has been claimed that green tea can? Aid in weight loss.
  8. When preparing a batch of scones what do you mix the dough with? A knife
  9. Where is most of the worlds tea grown? India
  10. What sort of tea is usually served in Chinese restaurants? Jasmine
 Note: Answers may not be 100% accurate.

July 23, 2014

Sports themed first birthday party




Over the weekend my husband, daughter and I attended a dear friend son's first birthday which was held at The Australian Brewery. The biggest advantage of having a party away from home is that there is no mess and no stress which sounds perfect.

The Brewery offers face painting, a babies and kids play room, balloons and a cake if you book a party.

Below are a few photos showing the sports theme.

July 14, 2014

Yellow, white and grey themed baby shower

With the recent addition of parties/entertaining to my blog I thought I would share some photos from my baby shower which I had in October last year.

Theme

Yellow, white and grey.

Invitation

Hand made invitation.



Decorations

Wreath of baby nappies at the front door, white and yellow tissue paper pom poms hanging from ceiling, yellow plastic cutlery in glass jars.



Food

Salads: Potato salad, vegetable and haloumi pasta salad, green salad.

Hot and cold: Chicken and celery mini rolls, turkey, cranberry and cheese toasted paninni's, egg and lettuce sandwiches, tuna and cucumber sandwiches, ham, cheese and tomato wraps, salmon and cream cheese wraps, chicken sausage rolls.

Dessert: Vanilla cupcakes, caramel slice, mini chocolate mousse, mars bar slice, melting moments, caramel mud cake, cheesecake, fruit salad, lollies.






Games

Guess game - Using a baby bottle filled with milk bottle lollies, upon arrival guests were asked to guess the number of lollies in the milk bottle. The person with the nearest guess wins

Pass the baby - Sitting in a circle guests pass a baby doll around the circle to music, once the music stops the person holding the doll is eliminated from the circle, the last person left is the winner.

String game - Using a ball of string each guest cuts a length of string which they believe will fit around the mum to be's belly. Mum to be also uses the string to measure her belly, the guest with the piece of string closests to the length of mum to be string is the winner.

Baby Trivia - See below questions and answers.

Guess the celebrities children's names - See below questions and answers.

Find the pins in the bowl of rice - This game requires several people, each person is required to pick as many pins of various size out of a bowl of rice blindfolded. The person with the most pins in three minutes wins.

Prizes

Guessing competition - A baby bottle full of coloured milk bottle lollies,
Other games - The option of a bottle of Brown Brothers sparkling moscato or a box of Lindt chocolate.

Baby trivia
  1. Typically how many weeks does pregnancy last? 40 weeks 
  2.  According to an old wives tale if you carry high you are having a? Girl 
  3.  How many babies did octomum carry? Eight 
  4. A baby is born around the world...
    a.     every three seconds
    b.     every twenty seconds
    c.      every minute
  5. When newborn babies cry they produce tears. True or False?
  6. How old was the oldest woman to give birth to a live baby...
    a.     50 years old
    b.      60 years old
    c.      70 years old?
  7. What is the largest number of children born to one woman over the course of her lifetime?
    a.     15 children
    b.     24 children
    c.     69 children
  8. How many children do Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have? Six 
  9. How many hours on average do newborns sleep every day? 15 – 16 hours 
  10. What is a baby moon? A holiday/getaway for parents before the baby arrives. 
  11. What is a baby camel called? Calf 
  12. Morning sickness only occurs in the morning? True or False? 
  13. According to the old wives tale if your feet are colder than they were prior to pregnancy you are having a? Boy 
  14. Babies are born without which body part? Kneecaps 
  15. What do Americans call a dummy? Pacifier
Guess the names of the famous couples children.

  1. Beyonce and Jay-Z – Blue Ivy
  2. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – Zahara, Maddox, Pax, Shiloh, Knox and Vivienne
  3. Victoria and David Beckham – Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper
  4. Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale – Kingston and Zuma
  5. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban – Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret
  6. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes – Suri
  7. Prince William and Princess Catherine – George
  8. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – North
  9. Prince Fredrick and Princess Mary – Christian, Isabella, Vincent and Josephine
  10. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin – Apple and Moses

July 10, 2014

White chocolate and cranberry scones


In the past week I have whipped up two batches of scones, the first was a batch of cranberry scones to accompany a cup of coffee with our new Nespresso machine and the second was a batch with the addition of white chocolate which I took to mothers group.

Ingredients:

3 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
75g butter
1 cup milk
100g chopped white cooking chocolate
100g dried cranberries

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2. Sift flour into a bowl, add sugar and stir.
3. Add the chopped butter, using your fingers rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
4. Add the milk and mix with a knife.
5. Add the chocolate and cranberries.
6. Place the dough onto a floured surface, slightly knead.
7. Using a rolling pin roll the dough till 2cm thick.
8. Use a round cutter to make at least 12 rounds (depending on size of cutter).
9. Place scones on a tray lined with greased baking paper.
10. Brush the scones with a little milk and bake for 18 minutes.
11. Serve with butter or jam and cream.

July 5, 2014

Family holiday to Hawaii - Maui and Honolulu


Aloha, after ten beautiful days of sunshine and cocktails in Hawaii it is back to the reality of cooking, cleaning and cold weather.

Travelling with our six month old daughter we wanted to travel to a family friendly destination. After speaking to several friends with children it didn't take long to decide that Hawaii was the place to go.

Prior to our trip we were advised that Hawaiian airlines do not pre allocate bassinets and our best bet was to arrive prior to check in. We weren't the first to turn up and missed the bassinet, luckily the flight wasn't full so we were offered a row of four seats.

The nine hour flight went better than expected, being a night flight our daughter slept most of the flight. As we took off and landed I breastfed to prevent her ears from getting blocked.

On board we received complimentary movies/tv programs on our individual consoles, beverages, a main meal and a snack.

Our Itinerary

Day one - Maui:
After a nine hour flight to Honolulu, two hour stopover, thirty minute flight to Maui, rental car pick up and installation of the baby car seat we arrived at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa just before 5pm.

After a shower we checked out the resort grounds and watched the sun set along the beach. We had a pre dinner cocktail at Japengo and dinner at Umalu both at the Hyatt before calling an early night.

Beach along the Hyatt Maui

Posing along the walkway at the Hyatt Maui

Sunset

Day two - Maui:
After much needed sleep we woke up refreshed and headed to the breakfast buffet which was included. The buffet was good with an assortment of cereals, bacon, eggs, fruit, pancakes and juices.

The plan for the day was to leave the hotel before 9am and head to Ohe'o Gulch via the Road to Hana, like usual things didn't go to plan and we didn't leave the hotel till 11am.

The drive along the Hana highway was beautiful, one minute we were driving along the coast the next minute we were driving through a rain forest. With 620 curves and 59 bridges most being one lane the 109km trip took a lot longer than expected. There are many beaches, waterfalls, gardens and cafes along the Road to Hana, as we were cramming the trip into one day we only briefly stopped  at Twin Falls where we saw a waterfall, a roadside cafe for a smoothie and milkshake and a beach just outside Hana where we had Huli Huli chicken which was the best chicken I have ever had. At  five pm we arrived at Ohe'o Gulch where we spent an hour before the dreaded drive back, part of it being in the dark.

Outside the hut that sells Huli Huli chicken
Twin Falls
  
Driving along the road to Hana
Ohe'o Gulch
Banyan tree along path Ohe'o Gulch

On the way back we stopped at a place called Clay oven pizza, this place was quite popular, we ordered a venison and goats cheese pizza and several coffees to keep us awake for the long drive to Lahiana.

Pizza - Clay oven pizza

Day three - Maui:
My birthday! After the road to Hana the last thing we wanted  was to spend another day in the car so we spent the day at the hotel swimming in the pool, walking along the path through the neighboring hotels and swimming at the beach.


For dinner we went to Merriman's at Kapalula. The food was fantastic, to start we shared the Papu Taster which featured lobster, pork, goat's cheese and Ahi poke. For main I ordered half lobster with rice and vegetables and for desert which we had to take away as we were too full we ordered the special a chocolate peanut butter pie.

Day four - Maui:
After an early breakfast we spent an hour at a time share presentation run by the Hyatt, by attending this presentation we received two free tickets to the evening luau. We than headed to Old Lahiana town and had lunch at Bubba Gump (a restaurant chain named after the Forest Gump character).

Outside Bubba Gump
To get into the luau spirit we bought Hawaiian clothes to wear that evening.

With the snorkel gear we hired we went to Black rock which wasn't too far from hotel to snorkel. My husband snorkelled first whilst I feed our daughter, he didn't have to snorkel far to see a large sea turtle. I quickly put my snorkel gear on and snorkelled near the turtle before it disappeared. After an hour and a half we headed back to the hotel to start getting ready for the luau.

The luau was fun, there was plenty of Hawaiian food and alcoholic drinks/cocktails (included). The show was great and we got to meet the performers after the show had finished.

Traditional Hawaiian dishes

Laua at the Hyatt Maui

We than headed to the bar where we meet some fellow Aussies and enjoyed a couple of yummy cocktails.

Day five - Maui/Waikki:
The majority of day five was spent packing, checking out, returning the rental car, flying to Honolulu and checking into the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. Being a Hyatt member the hotel in Waikiki offered several benefits including half priced hotel fee, discounted dining and extra breakfast dishes.

Waikiki Beach (view from the pool at the Hyatt)
After a quick peak of the hotel facilities we headed out to the main street. Amazed at the number of people and designer stores we came upon The Cheesecake Factory, being on our to do list we took a buzzer and killed the one hour wait browsing in Footlocker, Sephora and Victoria's Secret.

The Cheesecake shop was better than expected, the service was great, the menu was one of the largest menus I have ever seen, the food was cheap and plentiful. We ordered prawn wontons to start, a creamy chicken pasta and a chicken dish for main and a slice of snickers cheesecake which was presented on a plate with a happy birthday message on it. Once again we were too full to eat our dessert and asked for it take away.


Snickers cheesecake

Day six - Waikiki:
After waiting six days to shop I finally got to shop and boy did I shop. After hearing good things about the outlet we paid $30 for two return seats on a Robert's coach.  It took approximately 40 minutes to arrive at the outlet, when we arrived we split up, my husband shopped on his own whilst I took our daughter in her stroller. The stroller was great as we used it to transport our shopping bags, my only regret was that I didn't take the Ergo to the shops, it would have been a lot easier to carry my daughter when she was unsettled.

My purchases included a pair of sketchers for myself and my daughter, a bag from Coach, jeans from True Religion, heels from Guess, shorts and a t-shirt from Gap, a hat from Ralph Lauren and some kiddy clothes from Osh Kosh Bgosh and Carter's. My husband went crazy in the Levi's and sporting apparel store.

That night we had a late dinner at a steak restaurant called Wolfgangs. The restaurant was pricey but I must admit the steak for two which was a massive T-bone cooked medium rare was the best steak my husband and I ever had. The service was good too, however I found it a little strange that all the waiters were male.

Steak for two

Day seven - Waikiki
After breakfast (included) we stopped by the hotel pool picked up some beach chairs and towels and headed across the road to the beach. Wanting shade we sat under some palm trees. We spent some time in the water with the lilo we bought from one of the hundred ABC stores in Waikiki.

For lunch we headed back to the hotel pool where we ordered drinks, a burger and salad.
Later that afternoon we took the pink line a double decker bus to Ala Moana shopping centre. Ala Moana is huge, if I hadn't spent most of my money at the outlet stores I would have gone back to Ala Moana and spent a full day there. At Ala Moana I stocked up on my favourite cosmetic brands in Sephora, bought a hair straightener from the shopping cart nearby and yoga pants and two bikinis from Victoria's Secret.

My husband surprised me with my choice of Jimmy Choo's and a pair of Hawaiian pearl earrings for my birthday.

We had dinner at the Chinese restaurant in the centre before catching the last bus back to the hotel.
.
Day eight - Waikiki:
Our day started early, with a quick stop at the breakfast buffet to fill our takeaway containers before a short wait for the tour bus that was to take us to Pearl Harbour.

The tour included a visit to the USS Arizona memorial and the USS Missouri . We spent about two and a half hours at Arizona where we were free to explore the grounds before we headed to the cinema to watch a short film and than a short boat ride to the USS Arizona memorial. We spent one and a half hours at USS Missouri before heading back onto the bus. The bus than took us for a ride up to the hills, cemetery and around the town before dropping us back at the hotel just after two pm.

USS Missouri

That evening we dined at Dukes. We spent the one hour wait at the bar were we had a starter and drinks. The salad bar at Dukes was impressive, we left Dukes stuffed and walked it off along the main strip where we enjoyed the entertainment from the Pan Pacific festival. That evening I bought a dress from Forever 21 and a pair of Tiffany sunglasses from Macy's.

Day nine - Waikiki:
At breakfast our waitress reminded us that there would be a street parade along the main strip later that morning. We picked up some  beach chairs and towels and found a spot on the side of the road to watch the parade. Shortly before the parade ended we walked a few meters to the beach were we  swam with the lilo. Just like day seven we went back to the hotel for lunch by the pool before heading back to the room to start packing.


That evening we took advantage of our Hyatt membership where we enjoyed an extended happy hour of cocktails and nibblies by the pool and a 15% discounted meal at Jalpengo which had been recommended by the waitress when we asked for her advice on a good sushi restaurant.


After happy hour we went out for one last shop at Victoria's Secret and H&M where I bought a pair of white skinny jeans for $20.

Arriving a little late at Jalpengo we ordered several plates of sushi which our waitress earlier that evening suggested, all the dishes were amazing however our favourite was the prawns, we both agreed the prawns were the best prawns we have ever had.



Day ten - Waikiki/Flight home:
After ten days in Hawaii it was time to head home, after breakfast we checked out and headed to the airport. This time we were given the option of a bassinet however decided to take the four seats. Being a day flight our daughter didn't sleep much. The flight back took just over ten hours. We didn't sleep much and were only offered a main meal and snack, we were quite hungry and consumed a couple snacks we bought on the plane. We arrived in Sydney on the Monday evening upset our trip was over but happy to be back home.

Overall we had a great family holiday which was relaxing. The hotels were nice, the beaches lovely, the people friendly and the food great! Traveling with our six month old wasn't as hard as we thought it would be. Sure we couldn't snorkel together or go clubbing but we found plenty of other fun things to see and do.

If you are planning on travelling with a baby here are a few tips:
  • If you don't want your pram destroyed or stolen buy a cheap stroller and take it with you, it will be much easier to carry around plus you won't have to worry about the sand it will collect at the beach.
  • Take a baby carrier. This is a must if you plan on visiting Pearl Harbour as no prams/strollers are allowed due to security. Baby carriers are also great when you want to use your stroller to carry all your shopping bags or settle your baby.
  • If breastfeeding take a cover, I didn't see anyone else breastfeed their baby and got a few looks everytime I breastfeed in public regardless of using the cover or not.
  • Pack formula, baby food, nappies, some bottles, spoons and bowls. Sure you can buy this stuff there but do you really want to spend part of your holiday looking for a grocery store? 
  • Don't be surprised if there isn't a cot or kettle in the hotel room. We had to ask at both hotels for the cot and a kettle (to make up formula). The hotels provided a pack of baby shampoo, body wash, powder and lotion which was nice.
  • If hiring a car be prepared to install the baby seat yourself, we were surprised we had to and quickly realised why most people brought their own car seat. 
  • Some tours don't allow babies/children, the food tour I was looking forward to doing didn't allow babies.
  • Don't expect to find any parents rooms, however most female toilets contain a baby change table.
  • People in Hawaii are very friendly and love babies, so expect lots of compliments : )
  • Try to relax and enjoy your holiday.