Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Farewell Summer (An ode to ice-cream)

Today, in our part of the world, we officially kiss summer goodbye. Today, in our part of the world, it is still 35degrees celsius! Yes, it is quite clear that, as we know and love, summer will indeed linger a little longer. Maybe a lot longer.

In our part of the world, it’s pretty much Summer all year `round in fact, which is a good excuse as any for the fact that going out for ice-cream is a firm favourite-thing-to-do in our house, whatever the weather.

When Baskin-Robbins moved in just up the road, a few years ago now, there was much happy dancing going on in our house. If you should ask Mia, our eldest, what one of her most favourite things in the world is, there’s a good chance she’ll tell you `Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough’ – of the aforementioned BR variety.

And so it was that an Ice-cream Parlour party was set for Mia’s 5th Birthday - a simple, fun celebration inspired by her great love for all things cold, melty and delicious.

Now, Mia is soon to turn 7, so forgive us for reminiscing a little here. In the two years since we threw this little backyard shindig, everybody's favourite dessert has trended as a theme for all sorts of celebrations. There have been many gorgeous parties and a whole host of inspiration out there for this theme - like here and here and here and here. See, lots! We hope you don't mind having to look at another, but it seemed a fitting way to say `goodbye' to summer, and well, there can never be too much of a good thing right?

For Mia's party, delightful invitations, favour tags and signage from Imprintables set a soft gelati colour palette which was not overly girlie so could be used if your son is a bit partial to Cookies `n’ Cream too.

I put my very handy and patient parents to work on building our very own parlour, complete with candy stripes and scalloped awning and booked Baskin-Robbins in to cater (who else?). On the Parlour menu: Raspberry and White Choocolate; Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough; Mint Choc Chip; Hokey Pokey; and Rainbow Sherbert (the much parent-friendlier version of that ghastly rainbow ice-cream that just seems to talk only to children!).

The best part – making D-I-Y sundaes from jars filled with mini marshmallows; meringues; M&Ms; Maltesers and smashed chocolate honeycomb; topped off with Flake, Wafers, 100s and 1000s, Choc sprinkles or Rainbow sprinkles and Nana’s Hot Chocolate Fudge or Uncle Luke’s best Butterscotch sauce – or all of the above! Wooden spoons stamped with `yum!' and `cool' were a fun touch.

The rest of the party buffet included ice-cream cupcakes (baked in cones), home-made marshmallow sherbert cones; paper cones filled with trail mix (popcorn, pretzels, m&ms); chocolate brownies; fruit salad (served in vintage ice-cream cups found on etsy); mini hotdogs; mini B-L-Ts and vanilla milkshakes.

I created Mia's birthday cake from a book I’ve had in my collection for many years – Anna Von Marburg’s `Happy Birthday’ – adapting the `flavours’ to suit the colour palette – chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and neapolitan. Many at the party mistook it for real ice-cream and hurried me along to get it served before it melted. The original design actually does use scoops of ice-cream, but I crafted these scoops from cupcakes and so avoided a melting mess!

We decorated an outdoor party tent with bunting sewn from sweet ice-cream themed fabrics and giant ice-cream cones fashioned from paper lanterns and cardboard. I recall having a string of games planned - including a lovingly created felt version of `put the cherry on the ice cream cone' - only to discover that a bunch of five-year old friends, a backyard to run in and the freedom to create an ice-cream sundae of their dreams was about all that was necessary. We did manage a round of pass the parcel, the layers of which revealed a fun button badge for each player.

Personalised favour boxes were filled with old-fashioned sweets including those great chewy ice-creams, milk bottles, and creamy chupa chups, plus kawaii-style ice-cream stickers and erasers and for the girls, button hair ties I made with the cutest Japanese fabric – ice-creams of course!

This photo makes my heart happy everytime I see it and reminds me why it is we do what we do - such joy a birthday party can bring to a child.

Wherever you are in the world - whether you have already bid a fond farewell to summer, are hoping for all its sunshine-y beauty to linger a little longer with you too, or just wishing it would hurry up and hug you with its warmth - we wish you joy and a big bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream! With whipped cream and fudge? You bet. xo

Monday, February 14, 2011

A love note

Hello friends

It's been a little while. OK, it's been a long while. Gulp.

All this time we've been wandering, we knew that one day our heart would lead us back to you. And on this day that celebrates `happy hearts' so it is that it feels right to be here again.

We are well. Thank you for asking after us. And we hope that you are too.

We have been nervous to know if the words would come easily – after all, somewhere in the haze of the summer that will soon pass, our words have been elusive. Clouded. Quiet, but noisy all at once.

For so, so long, if you might ask us how we were, our answer would always be `crazy busy'. Our lists were long. Boring long. Boring answer.

Then busy got tired. And crazy yearned for calm.

And so without intention to be gone so long, we simply unplugged for a little while. We switched off the background noise that was drowning out our voice. If you like, we went in search of the acoustic version of ourselves.

And found it looking up at us. With piggytails and giggles; wisdom and charm.

So we've been working on making busy look different. Good different.

And we are striving to make our list shorter. Simpler. More or Less.

More loving and listening and learning and laughing with our babies –they soon will be grown.

Less `not now's, `in a minute's, `hurry up's, `maybe tomorrow's.

More sleep. Less to eat!

More `love to's. Less `have to's.

And of course, more, more, more of pretty. And party.

So if you open the mailbox today and pick up our little love note, know that we have missed you. We come back here with the happiest of hearts. And we look forward to the times when we can be here to share a little something with you. We just hope you like acappella!

And because a love note is always more wonderful with happy snaps folded within, here's a few of our favourite `happy heart' images from recent weeks – all created by home grown talent and just as sweet on any day of the year.

Image credits: Clockwise from top left - Just call me Martha; Bubble and Sweet; Just call me Martha; PolkaDot Prints; Style Me Gorgeous; Bubble and Sweet; Hello Naomi; Eat Drink Chic; The Paper Tie Affair

Happy Valentine's Day. May your heart be happy today and always. xo