Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#teaoftheday quick cuppa

Keep Calm and Tea Party On

Planning my fiftieth birthday party, I needed a concept that would meet the following crietria:

  • A day-time event, because my health is not really night-friendly
  • Not dependent on a specific time for serving a meal to allow flexibility
  • Able to be mostly prepared before the day so I could enjoy my party!
  • Maximise the number of people I could invite to share my day without a cost blow-out
  • Work around people's family and other commitments on the day
In the end, it was obvious - an All Day Tea Party open house drop-in!

I love everything about tea - except maybe the tea leaves you have to get out of the pot ;) - and I love all the goodies you serve alongside tea, as do both my daughters. So we hit Pinterest with enthusiasm :)

My daughter Melissa has two co-workers who have made cakes for us before and one was happy to create something for me, so to begin with, I was madly pinning birthday and cup cakes. Then we started collecting recipes, decorating ideas and serving ideas.

Eventually, despite all my procrastinating, I had to narrow down the menu, and this was the final selection:

Rather than me cut and paste all these recipes and spend time crediting the sources, you should be able to go to this board and follow the links. Some are recipes I have relied on before, that I found and pinned for convenience (like the No-Fail Sponge and the Tupperware three-ingredient scone recipe) while others were recipes we sourced for things we had decided we wanted (like the lemon tarts and cheesecakes).

We wanted as many single-serve cakes as possible, so we could replenish the table throughout the day, as guests came, ate and moved on! I also wanted it all to be self-serve as much as possible, so none of us were stuck the whole day serving instead of partying. That pretty well went to plan.

As well as two tables of food, a whole table was set up as a Tea Bar (also incorporating a Hot Chocolate Bar) while the kitchen catered for coffee drinkers. A cold drink area was also available, with iced tea, cordials and water.

Raids were conducted on my cupboards and those of my daughters, Ikea and local second-hand stores (most importantly, the one my daughter works at!) to gather everything from serving dishes to table linens and it soon started to look like a tea rooms supply store!

I decided to sew bunting, rather than use streamers and balloons, which always look so sad after the event! Spotlight kindly had a sale on quilting quarters and a set of coordinating fabrics followed me home !) Then I found out why hand-made bunting is the price it is at markets and on Etsy - it is simple but time-consuming. But I love the result so much, I am keeping it up in both the lounge and family/dining rooms! And I couldn't resist creating this for the front door and have now given it pride of place in the kitchen:

My guests took my challenge that if they felt the need to shop (although their presence was their present) their gifts could be tea-themed and rose to the occasion! It was the most glorious day filled with family, friends and fun and is officially the best party of have ever had.

I have declared this next twelve months to be a year of tea-celebrations as I try to catch up with other friends and family who couldn't attend. The kettle is on, the tea is in the pot and there is something sweet to eat.

Toddler tea party #birthdaypressies

#teaoftheday breakfast - I may be some time ;)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

#teaoftheday bedtime

Tea for two #teaoftheday

Candles #birthdaypressies

Candle #birthdaypressies

mmm ... need more caddies from T2 ;) #birthdaypressies

Top shelf all new additions :) #birthdaypressies

Ultimate tea cosy #birthdaypressies

Butterflies #birthdaypressies

Tea glasses #birthdaypressies

Purple pleasure #birthdaypressies

T2 beauties #birthdaypressies

Added to my Brit collection, Keep Calm and Carry On. And a little cross - channel rivalry;) #birthdaypressies

My hearts desire! Royal Albert Country Roses tea set #birthdaypressies

Accidental perfect match! Sugar bowl and milk jug, plus mug, same series as my leaving gift cups and saucers from work! #birthdaypressies

Tea box #birthdaypressies

Herbal goodness #birthdaypressies

Tea etceteras #birthdaypressies

Tea pot money box #birthdaypressies

MSO Fantasia tickets #birthdaypressies

Moccies ;) #birthdaypressies

Wooden box recycled Wagga Wagga River Red Gum #birthdaypressies

Tea tree #birthdaypressies

Magnolia #birthdaypressies

Tulips #birthdaypressies

Rainbow vase #birthdaypressies

Tiny tea set #birthdaypressies

Teaset jewelry and rainbow scarf #birthdaypressies

#teaoftheday breakfast

Monday, July 29, 2013

Now We Are Fifty

So it has come to this. I am two quarter centuries old.

I had the most amazing birthday tea party yesterday and will post all the details shortly. But for now, here's to all the others celebrating 50 this year (and a couple of historic 1963 moment etched in time)



#teaoftheday afternoon

#teaofthe day

Thursday, July 25, 2013

#my world #abaphotoaday @ozbreastfeeding

The Big Latch-On!

I am really excited to be part of an event being held to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.

A Big Latch On is a lot of fun! Groups of breastfeeding women come together at registered locations around the world, at a set time they all latch on their child for one minute while being counted by witnesses. The numbers are added up and see if we beat previous Big Latch On records or maybe even the world record!

Our event will be held in FRANKSTON and is being hosted by a small group of breastfeeding activists and mothers who live in the area. We hope to attract breastfeeding mums and babies from around Melbourne and beyond and let our community know the importance of supporting breastfeeding.

We all know how important breastfeeding is and this way we can show everyone just how much we all value breastfeeding and support all women as they grow the next generation.
Plus it's a really good way to spend time with other women & families, and have a lot of fun, maybe a coffee and some cake as well!
The event will be held at the Frankston Arts Centre, Davey Street Frankston, August 3rd, from 10am - 11am, with the official count of babies on boobs at 10.30. Mums who are no longer breastfeeding can still come along to show their support and highlight how breastfeeding has been, and will always be, an important part of motherhood for many women.
You can learn more about the event at and even sign up to host your own - it doesn't need to be huge, You can also follow along on Facebook
Kaitlyn breastfeeding Charlie, who is wearing her boobie beanie!

Monday, July 22, 2013


My mothers family were boat people. When they were no longer welcome in their country of birth, they were packed like sardines into unsafe and unsanitary conditions, three young children, unborn child and all. The unscrupulous people who owned the boats and took money for their transport weren't at all interested if they survived the journey, as long as they were well-paid for it.

When they arrived in this country, they depended entirely on the government to feed and house them. In addition to the children they already had, five more babies were born. They brought their culture, their religion and their odd clothes and the locals felt threatened by their strange ways.

My paternal grandfather was an illegal immigrant. He travelled here legally but stayed after he should have left. He lived beneath the radar and soon brought a bride from home to join him. They went on to start a family and expected the government to provide housing, education and medical care. They heard this was the lucky country and they wanted their share.

Are you outraged yet?

Then ponder this and consider again your reaction.

James and Mary Buckley travelled here in 1818 - convicts transported from England. They went on to help populate this land and their descendents became pioneers and settlers in NSW and beyond.

Archer Jenkins jumped ship in Adelaide in 1913. He decided life here was much more prosperous than his home in Liverpool, England. He served our country in both World Wars, in between his family did it hard in the Mallee during the Great Depression and eventually ended up as a market gardener in Noble Park. In the 1970s, Al Grasby gave him pardon for his illegal entry 60 years before.

Does their British origin change your perception? How do you feel about that?

I work in Dandenong, one of the most diverse communities in Australia. The only difference between my heritage and that of the people here around me is time and ethnicity. Each day, I see people who have come here from over 150 countries of origin. Like my family, some had no choice but to leave their home, while others seized an opportunity to make a better life away from abject poverty.

I don't see their circumstances as any different and I welcome them to join them in this wonderful place we call home.

Photo: My Grandfather Archer with his wife Grace, daughter Dot and my father Les, their son.
* Originally published in the Frankston Blogs November 2009
* Published here in July 2010 and republished now in response to recent changes to policy by the Australian Government.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mothers need Mothers

I am a firm believer in the need for women to have community - and that no other time of life is that more important than the early years of motherhood.

So it was interesting to read this:

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time” helps us to create more serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well-being.  Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes.  Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings?  Rarely.
How true is this? Women need to come together to talk about their lives, men talk about their lives when they happen to be together.

I joined NMAA (now ABA) when my first child was 10 weeks old, which I reckon was about 50 weeks too late, but better late than never! I was linked into a new mothers group through the local child health centre a few weeks before that. Through those two groups, I formed many friendships that continue to this day, nearly thirty years later.

So I have strongly encouraged my daughter to connect with her groups now she is a mother. And because she has grown up seeing the need for mothers to meet with mothers, she took little encouragement. She is involved in two ABA groups - mine and hers - plus her new mums group, as well as groups who meet because of shared interests such as baby-wearing or gentle parenting.

Where it gets really magic is that I am also connected with many of these same groups. No longer going to paid work three days a week has allowed me the time to engage in supporting mothers across the community and our shared approach to mothering means we now share many of the same friends. So my role as Granny is extending beyond my one little grandchild and being shared in a wider network.

As a mother who practised many of the techniques these mothers have chosen, it reassures them to know my babies who were breastfed, baby-worn, bed sharers grew beyond all those things. That fussy eaters, poor sleepers and unsettled babies move on. That the parenting choices they make for their families are valid, sustainable and positive!

In a society that not only thrusts new mothers back into the paid work-force too soon but also sees grandmothers, aunts and older sisters there as well, making connections with mothers of all stages can be a challenge. And as much as I am committed to the benefits of social media for connection, there is nothing like face-to-face interaction for mothers AND their children.

Too often these days, society is corralled into segregated spaces - day care followed by school is then followed by the workplace and - eventually - aged care units.Increasingly, each age group is isolated from the life stages that come before and after it, removing the traditional learning and support structure communities depend upon.

I think it is really important that we actively engage all age groups with each other, but especially that the wisdom of motherhood is passed across generations, as it always has, and that mothers have opportunities to come together, as they always should.