Friday, June 26, 2009

happy weekend!

This week I've been solo-parenting while Brunnel has been in Sydney. Supposedly he is being 'a busy businessman' and working hard, but each time I've spoken to him he's been on his way out to dinner. Sounds very difficult!
Anyway, the girls and I have had a busy week too, although obviously in a less exciting kind of way. More of a 'hurry up, get out of bed, making school lunches, ballet drop off, choir drop off, ballet pick up, cleaning up after the dog (SO not pleasant), where are your togs, please brush your hair, get off the computer, have you done your homework' kind of way. I confess that I did drag them both down to the store on Tuesday evening, pyjamas and all, as we Acorns girls had a wee farewell for our lovely Vanessa, who is returning to the big smoke of Auckland before heading overseas. We'll miss you Vanessa!
And while last weekend was all rugby and late nights, this weekend promises to be a little more low key.
After a busy week of ugly cushions, I had to finish the week on a softer note, with a lovely image courtesy of Design*Sponge!

I hope you can all find a tranquil spot like this over the weekend.

Amanda Pin It

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ugly cushions & all

Well it seems that now we have named and shamed our worst/best/ugliest cushion entrants, everyone wants in on the voting! We are literally blown away by the enthusiasm for voting this early in the piece. So what if there are a few well-orchestrated campaigns amongst friends. (There are definite advantages to working in a certain government department!) The rest of you know what to do...Click here to see the finalists and vote for your friend!

This has been an amazing competition to run in all sorts of ways, and to all of you who entered, I truly want to say a huge thank you for entering in to the spirit of things and for not taking yourselves, or us, too seriously. You see we're not trying to be style arbiters, nor are we laughing at anyone, and for those who thought we were, or who " would not have an ugly cushion in my house", or who took offence, I'm sorry, but you took us and the competition in totally the wrong way. We just want to give away some beautiful, gorgeous new Designers Guild cushions, and everyone who entered, obviously understands!

I haven't voted yet! Is it OK if I admit that I actually quite like No.2, in a retro, Elle Deco kind of way? Whereas No. 8! I'm sorry, but that never had style - ever! And, in Ruth Chucky the Clown's defence, we understand that she has tried to get rid of this cushion, desperately leaving it behind in South Africa, but lo and behold, it arrived in the mail. They are all deserving winners, and it was hard to narrow it down to just 10, but it's not up to me. Vote for your favourite, and you could win a beautiful new Designers Guild wallet for your trouble. Just reading all the comments is keeping us well entertained!

And finally...

I've never sent virtual flowers before, but Millie, these are for you. Bright, happy, cheerful daisies! Get well! MOTH will be very entertaining, but we want you back soon!

Amanda xx

(daisy image courtesy Fifi Mandirac) Pin It

Monday, June 22, 2009

a sneak peek to start the week

For a Designers Guild stalker like myself, the first glimpses of new season designs is like Christmas and birthday rolled in to one! So when these delicious images arrived in to my inbox they were the perfect antidote to a cold grey wintery day. How gorgeous is this upcoming new season bedlinen? With the popularity of the Manhattan fabric collection, we were hoping for a complementary bedlinen design, and 'Madison' (above) doesn't disappoint, combining our favourite Greenwich Village & Madison patterns for a fabulous contemporary retro feel.
Excuse me while I snuggle up! Crisp graphic black and white. Never fails! Love the size of these rosie blooms.

And now for something completely different...
Wow! You know, after 10 years of working closely with this iconic fabric & lifestyle brand, I especially love the fact that they never fail to surprise. It will be a difficult and impatient wait until these arrive instore. Wish I could tell you it will be next week, or even next month, but this is a wee glimmer of spring, and definitely something to look forward to. Hope you think the same!

Happy week everyone!
Amanda xx Pin It

Monday, June 15, 2009

market day

Wellington has a new weekly food market - as half of Wellington already knows because we were all there today! The City Market will operate every Sunday morning at Chaffers Dock (Herd St). It is the city dwellers version of the farmer's market, and a chance to get up close and personal with many of our local food artisans. A chance to put a face to the name of some of our favourite restaurants & cafes or those that usually supply to them.

Steve Logan of Logan Brown, with his rather fine Beetroot Relish, and Angus from Harrington's delicious Small Goods - the only rule for each of the specialist stand holders is that the person selling the goods has to be either the owner of the business, or somebody intimately involved with making or growing the goods.

Silverbeet is so not my favourite vegetable, but even it looks just beautiful here, and I couldn't resist a jar of the far-too-moreish Lavender's Green Lime Curd.

While Mum & I busied ourselves with Le Canard's amazing Duck Mousse, the girls thought a crepe filled with chocolate and caramelised apples was much more their thing!

One friend thought that just to have The French Baker from Greytown on hand was worthwhile in itself, and all those who make the drive over the hill to his boulangerie will agree.

So, Wellington - if you didn't venture there today, make sure you go and support this great new market next Sunday. It's right next door to the weekly Waitangi Park produce market, so you can combine your vegetable shopping with some delicious deli treats.
The little bunch of daphne found its way home in my bag too! Thanks to Daisy-A-Day! Next week I'll be earlier for the Winter Sweet!

Amanda xx Pin It

Friday, June 12, 2009

happy weekend!

I've decided that I must have had my obsession with flowers from quite a young age. And not that gladioli's would be my favourite these days, but I do still think they're quite fun in a Dame Edna way!
Meet my Mum. She still looks like this! My parents are coming to stay tomorrow for a week. They have 4.5 grand daughters, all in Wellington, so will have a fabulous time (I hope) spoiling them all. Lemonade and chippies are on the menu all the time when GrannyNanny & Papa are here. Whatever happened to discipline!
Dad is bringing his tools so that a little DIY can be accomplished. I've given him a wee list. So have my sister & brother. Brunnel's tool kit consists of a baby hammer & a screwdriver, so Dad won't be relying on that for too much help. My father still scratchs his head at my husband's handyman skills (or lack thereof)! We'll be off to Dad's favourite store - Mitre 10 Mega of course.
We'll all be screaming and yelling at the television for the first All Blacks game of the season on Saturday night. Please let them win - I'm not sure I can bear Brunnel to be in mourning again quite so soon.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Amanda xx Pin It

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

talking shop

I know I don't often talk shop on my blog, but the girls and I are so excited about everything going on instore at the moment that I thought I should share!
We've been frantically restyling the store in preparation for our interior 'makeover month' which starts this week.
Can you see this amazingly delicious Designers Guild Tullgarn Noir floor rug in our window image above? Well, the lovely folk at Designers Guild have given us this fabulous rug so that we can give it away to one of our lovely customers! Can you believe it! When it arrived today we couldn't wait to unroll it so that we could see it in the flesh for the first time.
Here it is, as photographed so magically by Designers Guild. Who wouldn't want to win this soft, plush all New Zealand wool rug valued at $3500? I'd love to win it myself, though of course that's not possible!! However, I can't wait to give it to one of our lucky customers. How do you win?

All you have to do is purchase any Designers Guild fabric or wallpaper from Small Acorns during June & July, and we'll enter you in the draw. Couldn't be any easier. Oh, and for our clients who currently have work booked in, we've entered you too. Don't worry!

Can you believe that with a little TLC, the very tired chair in the poster turned into the fabulous club chair in the window above?

I think makeover month is going to be fun! And I hope you'll forgive me for talking just a little shop!!

Amanda xx Pin It

Monday, June 8, 2009

a bird in the hand 1

I love these gorgeous cast-glass birds by Leanne Williams & Jim Dennison, who are also known as 'The Crystal Chain Gang'. And now that our giant cat has realised that the small flock hanging on the wall will never be his lunch, the only danger they are in is of falling off their perch if my handyman skills in getting them up there fail.

No two feathered friends are alike, and I love the way the artists have captured the light and the colour of the birds at play. Though beautiful individually, these sculptures have a distinct edge, particularly when combined into larger works, which reveal a more considered meaning.
Isn't this birdcage amazing? I saw this piece and stored the memory away until coming across the birds at Avid, many a flutter later.
And this fantastic chandelier hangs in the kitchen of one of our lovely clients, who was kind enough to share it with us. I'm afraid the photo just doesn't do it justice. Thanks Angela! Pin It

Thursday, June 4, 2009

the organised mother

My baby E-M turns 6 tomorrow. She is of course, wildly excited about her birthday, and announced that she was really looking forward to her breakfast in bed (!!*!), and then of course her presents(!!*!). She also thought it might be nice to go out for dinner tomorrow night. It would be a shame that big sister M-A wouldn't be able to come because she has swimming on a Friday night, but that as it was her birthday, it really did have to be this night, and she thought that she would quite like to go to (big announcement) Capitol. (!!!*!!) My gosh - her sights are set a little higher than last year, when it was The Genghis Khan. Absolutely no disrespect intended, but for those of you who appreciate the Wellington dining scene, they are somewhat different to say the least! I have no answer to this one as yet.

Ahh - the presents. Being the fabulously organised, design-store owning and calm mother that I am, I've had them carefully chosen and beautifully wrapped for at least a month now. Likewise, the organisation for the 'Mamma Mia' Abba party (!!*!!) which is on Sunday is also finely tuned and ready to go. I have merely to put on my lipstick and set the table... If only!! Help - I've done next to nothing. The presents I'd decided on, had mysteriously decided to vanish from every store I went to today. By 4pm I had a Felicity Wishes book and a lipgloss. Small Acorns to the rescue. Sometimes there are a few perks that come with the job!!

As for the party, it will be a major panic come Saturday. So much for that designer mother image!! And where is Brunnel while all this bad mothering is going on? He had his hair cut, and now he is out for drinkies with the boys. Need I say more?

Come Sunday though, I'll be exacting my revenge, as he leads 14 little girls on Abba SingStar!!!!! Can't wait!

Amanda xx Pin It

Monday, June 1, 2009

a birthday for the queen

It's Queen's Birthday Weekend this weekend, so a long weekend for most. E-M couldn't understand why we weren't out birthday present shopping, as it is the 'Queen's birthday mummy, and she is a real Queen'. So she is! Later when I mentioned that I had to go in to work for a few hours, E-M thought she was a 'mean queen' for making mummy work! Sometimes it is hard to explain away a 5 year olds reasoning.

A cold weekend here - bitterly so. Most would think of hearty soups & stews. I think of puddings! I absolutely adore a warm pudding! Give me an apple crumble or bread and butter pudding anytime and I'll be very happy. Calorie-wise I'm better off to absorb myself in Tartelette's beautiful blog, which is a visual feast of sweet treats, like this beautiful little Coconut Cherry Petits Gateaux. Just one of my regular blog stops, I am utterly captivated by the photography, and with my dessert sweet-tooth, the recipes have me entranced. The perfect way to while away an afternoon....

It might be a wee hot chocolate pudding for us tonight. This recipe for Gooey Chocolate Puddings is one of my all time favourites, as the chocolatey curled up and gunked together pages of my recipe book will attestify. Fabulously easy & impressive all in one go. My version is adapted from the original domestic goddess, and my kitchen heroine, Nigella Lawson.

Gooey Chocolate Puddings

125g butter
125g dark chocolate
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour

Put the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler above simmering water. Whisk every now and again until melted. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour until just blended. Gradually whisk in the melted chocolate mixture. Pour the mixture into 4 individually greased ramekins. You can prepare the puddings up to here and put them into the fridge until you're ready to cook and serve them.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C about half an hour before you want to eat the puddings. And I'd leave cooking them until you've finished the main course. It doesn't matter if there's no food on the table for 10 minutes; and these do have to be done at the last minute.

Put the ramekins on a baking sheet in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are firm and cracking slightly and the edges set. Serve immediately with a little whipped cream or cream fraiche.


Back to work first though... (sigh) Pin It
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