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Friday, February 27, 2015

Recipes: Home Made Burgers

It's a bit of a treat to make burgers at home and much healthier than getting take away which we try to avoid as much as possible. 

Mr P's in his element firing up the BBQ while I busy myself making a salad and it's a quick and easy mid week meal.

These burger recipes from Taste are on my must try list .....

I would be happy to cook up any of these burgers for dinner tonight!

What's your favourite home made burger?

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Avery Product Review - Engagement Stationary

Our engagement party was on the weekend, all the hard work and planning was worthwhile we had a magical night, my friends and family were amazing the support they gave, and Mr P and I are on cloud nine feeling the love from everyone and for each other!

Now I'm going to share some of the DIY projects I did for the party, starting with the Invitations and Address Labels.

Most people know that Avery have a huge range of home products but they also have a range for celebrations and events as well which were perfect for the engagement party. Thanks very much Avery for provided me with these products to review.

What I found really neat about the online designs is the same template design is available for all of their products so you can have a matching set - they have invitations, post cards, place cards, labels, gift tags, party bag kits which could be used for any type of party of even a wedding.

You can copy your design across to the multiple products so you don't need to start the design all over again which is what I did.

Once I'd finalised the invitations I copied the design over to the address labels so they matched with the same colours, font and style. I did the same for the party bag kits which I'll share in a separate blog post.

The Design and Print Online on the Avery website is a really easy system to use.

You enter the product code of the item and it will bring up all the templates available for you to edit, personalise, save and print.

You can save all your designs online and come back to them to edit further or delete the ones that didn't make the cut.

For the engagement invitations I created a few different designs from the templates and once I'd decided on my favourite I opened my design, attaching a mail merge with everyone's names, checked to make sure each would print ok, then put the invites into the printer and printed them out.

I did have some trouble printing both sides of the invitations, but that's because the invites didn't like to go through the printer twice so halfway through I changed my design to just print the front. 

Once the invitations were printed they easily pulled apart without having to cut or trim them for a nice neat clean edge. 

I glued some heart rhinestones to each one for a bit of bling and they were complete and ready to go into the envelopes.

For posting the invites I used the address and return address kit which I didn't realise how fancy it was until I went into the template section and found that it prints both a small label with the from address and a large label with the to address. How adorable is that!

I copied the design from the invitations across to the labels and then inserted a mail merge document with everyone's names and addresses.

These printed out really well and were so easy to use, I'd definitely recommend for that professional finish and it's a nice touch that the labels match the invitations.

I found some pearl envelopes which I chose over the cheaper white envelopes and I'm so glad I did, I think it's worth spending a little more on nice envelopes as they make the invitations look that little bit fancier!

I filled each envelope with some heart confetti and finished with an envelope seal sticker and they were ready to be posted.

I'm so happy with how the invitations turned out and I really liked how I could personalise them and make them all a matching set.

Price wise, they cost a lot less to do myself than I would have paid to get them printed out professionally. They worked out to be approximately 85 cents each for the invitation, labels, envelope, rhinestone and envelope seal.

I think they are really good value and well worth the time to get creative and Do It Yourself!

What do you think of my DIY engagement stationary?

Check out my other engagement posts here:
Engagement party planning and inspiration
DIY Birdcage card holder
Including our furbaby Lexi in our engagement celebrations

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Disclosure: Thanks very much to Avery Australia (Celebrations With Avery) for providing these products for review. I have not received any payment or compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Review: King Of The Road By Nigel Bartlett

This is a book review and preview of King of the Road by Nigel Bartlett that was recently published on 2 February 2015.

Nigel Bartlett is an Australian freelance writer and editor and currently lives in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Redfurn. This is Nigel's first novel.

This is an edge of your seat thriller and suspense story about the confronting topic of child abduction.

David is babysitting his 11 year old nephew Andrew when he goes missing. David becomes the main person of interest the Police are investigating, so if the Police are only looking  for him, David decides to hits the streets of Sydney to find his nephew himself and prove his innocent as well.

This was a fast paced suspense novel about a crime involving young children that just makes your heart ache. But this is such a brilliantly written thriller, I was flicking the e-reader pages so fast it couldn't keep up. There was always something happening to keep your interest and it never stuck on the same topic for too long.

It's quite confrontational some of the parts of the story with crimes against children and I think some readers may find it a difficult subject to read.

I recommend this book to suspense and thriller fans and even to parents with young kids if you live by the words that knowledge is power.

I give this book 5 stars out of  5

Jarrah Jungle's Star Rating:
1 Bad - I'd rather eat brussel sprouts topped with anchovies than read this again
2 Not Good - I'd rather watch paint dry than read this again
3 Ok - I'm sitting on the fence - its not great but not terrible either
4 Good - I'd pass up the last tim tam for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read

King Of The Road can be purchased from Random House Australia

Sharing my book review on Good Reads here and Netgalley

Disclosure:  NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote authors and their books and I was given this eBook published by Random House Australia, Vintage Australia to review. As always, all opinions are my own. 

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Engagement Party Planning

Soon after Mr P slipped a ring on my finger while on our cruise holiday last year I was looking forward to sharing in the celebrations with our friends and family .... including our furbaby Lexi of course!

I just love how it feels to be bringing all our friends and family together to celebrate before the big day - the wedding!

Mr P proposed while we were on holidays (with my parents!) and my Mum and I sat on the beach in New Caledonia coming up with all different ideas for the Engagement Party ..... River cruise, WINE River cruise, Function at a vineyard, Cocktails at a groovy bar, BBQ at the park, Party on my parents farm, so many ways to celebrate!

But the one that feels right to me was a party with cocktail food, lots of drinks, at a venue where I could go to town on the decorations and turn it into a pretty setting with all the styling and party planning ideas that I love!

I wanted to host the party at our Jarrah Jungle home but it's just not big enough to hold 100+ friends and family.

So we found a venue to hire with a stunning view overlooking the Swan River.

The best part is it's all completely BYO so we can do all our own food and drinks to keep the cost down.

My parents have been amazing and are providing most of the food - delicious home made platters of finger food including pinwheel sandwiches, mini meatballs, chirozo and roasted capsicum bites, sausage rolls, spinach and fetta triangles, mini quiches and antipasto platters.

Mum's been baking and freezing the food for a few weeks now getting all the dishes ready. The guests will definitely not go home hungry!

Friends and family have offered to bake something sweet for the dessert table which is going to look so pretty having cake stands with a variety of desserts displayed.

It's been such a lifesaver having others help out with the food and having one less thing to worry about means I can focus on the rest of the party.

The bar will be well stocked with beer, wine, bubbly and a special cocktail for cocktail hour - our Limoncello and Prosecco Cocktails.

We have friends helping to serve behind the bar on the night to keep the drinks flowing and the party going!

I'm also going to set up a drinks table for soft drinks and a tea and coffee station for everyone to help themselves.

As for the decorations for the venue my inspiration came from these beautiful decorators kits that I won from The Kit Source a fabulous online company who sell party kits across Australia.

I picked out 2 kits in the blue/yellow/white theme after seeing the little heart shaped balloons I was smitten!

I've tried to stick to this colour theme throughout the party but have added a bit of mint green and florals to the mix as well, but it all works well together (I hope!) as a vintage romance theme.

I am going to town on the decorations and finally getting to work on all the DIY projects I've been pinning - the aim is to turn a simple venue into something really special and personalise it for Mr P and I. 

I've been DIYing pretty bunting flags, making paper chains, two massive paper lantern chandeliers, balloon garlands, straw flags and making blackboard signs and designing, printing and framing signs for around the venue.

I have friends and family collecting empty jars for me to re-use as vases and candle holders.

I've made a stack of them already decorating them with pretty ribbons, twine and vintage lace. They are going to look great on all the tables and outside I'm going to place them on the steps leading everyone up to the venue entrance.

For the gift table I am going to make gift bags for everyone like these popcorn ones, I'll be sharing these in a separate blog post on using the Avery celebrations range of products - I've used Avery to create my engagement party invitations too.

I have DIYed a birdcage card holder and I'm going to DIY a message in a bottle in lieu of a guest book, but I'm still working on finishing that project.

We have friends and family offering to help in all sorts of ways and it's been half the fun involving everyone.

I can't wait to see how it all comes together I am in my absolute element when party planning and think this is going to be the biggest and best one yet!

What do you think of my engagement party plans so far? 

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All other images via Pinterest 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17]

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

International Book Giving Day + My Top 5 Romance Book Reviews For Valentines Day

Did you know 14 February is both Valentines Day AND International Book Giving Day?

The International Book Giving Day on 14th February is about sharing the love of books! 

You can leave books in a waiting room, give to family and friends, donate to a library, hospital, or charity shop. I think it's such a great idea! You can find out more about the International Book Giving Day here.

In light of both Valentines Day and International Book Giving Day I'm sharing my top 5 romantic book reviews - in no particular order because they were all fantastic reads, I loved each and every one of them!

I just adored this memoir written by Samantha who goes back to Paris to meet up with a man she fell for 20 years earlier. It proves that there is always hope - you're never to old to start again and life is too short to stay in a loveless marriage when you could have a happily ever after!

Sisters in love with the wrong men, men in love with the wrong sisters, couples breaking up, and making up, all while planning a beautiful wedding on a stunning winery. This is a modern day romance about love and family, real life love warts and all, not the soft and fluffy kind that only happens in fairytales.

This book is about a young girl who has two different paths in life - one that leads to being with the love of her life, and one that doesn't quite work out that way. It shows how the choices and decisions you make at any time can change your life forever.

This is a fun, sexy, up front tale of a modern day couple who are engaged to be married when they've only known each other a short time. It makes you wonder how well you really know someone, and if that someone finds out who you really are will they still love you anyway.

Based on a true story about a war ship full of Australian brides sailing to England to be with their British servicemen they met during the war. There are many love stories told on board the ship as well as the harsh realities these young brides are about to face as they sail towards a new country to start a new life with their new husbands.

Happy Valentines Day to all my book loving readers!

Tell me, what is your favourite romance book?

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[Images via 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Including Our Furbaby Lexi In The Engagement Celebrations

Mr P and I don't have kids of the human kind but we have a three year old furbaby Lexi - a Rottie X Staffy who we rescued from the RSPCA two years ago and she is like our little girl.

We have taught her commands and manners, we reward her with toys and treats, tell her off when she's naughty, but most of all we give her so much love and attention that I hope one day she will forget the life of mistreatment she had before she met us and all she will know is our home and the love she has in it.

So when it comes to special moments in Mr P and Is life's naturally we want Lexi to be a part of that - like the engagement celebrations. Lexi can't come to the engagement party with us so I came up with a sweet way of having her there not physically but in essence.

I decorated a cute little blackboard sign with pretty paper and a stick on heart and then, well, the sign says it all ...... MY MUM AND DAD ARE GETTING MARRIED!

I took a few photos of Lexi with her sign and I'm going to frame the best one and take it to the party with us.

Lexi started off a little bit unsure as she is at times, but after we played around a bit she put on her happy face and started to enjoy being a dog model!

Keeping Lexi still for the photos was tricky, what do they say kids and pets are the hardest to photograph! 

Now I need to pick just one photo to use which is hard because Lexi's so stinking cute in all of them!

I'm having so much fun with the engagement party planning with the big day less than two weeks away now. I've been working on a few more DIY projects which I'll share with you soon.

Would you include pets in your Engagement (or Wedding!) celebrations?

Sharing with link parties:
The Dedicated House - Make It Pretty Monday
Curly Crafy Mom - Motivational Mondays

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