Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Cheap & Cheerful Tuesday: Update your Dining Setting for the price of a cheeseburger!!

Hello there!!

I am a tad excited to be starting a new little segment on the Utterly Organised blog called - you guessed it - Cheap & Cheerful Tuesday! When I started out my blog I promised that one of the areas I would cover is my love for shopping, so here it goes.....

Each Tuesday I shall try my very best to bring you an utterly fabulous buy that won't cost you the earth, because let's face it who doesn't love a bargain?!!

If you are on the hunt for a cheap 'something -a- rather' and want my help, please drop me a line at utterlyorganised@gmail.com and I will endeavour to source it for you and it will be featured right here. I do love a mission so please contact me and let me know how I can help you out!

I had a lot of positive comments about my dining setting when I posted a picture of my little afternoon tea yesterday:


So I thought that I would kick off the segment with these gorgeous pieces of dinnerware that cost me less than a McDonalds cheeseburger each - seriously!


So where and how much you ask? These come to you exclusively from your local K-Mart store (in Australia). And the best part is that they are only $2 a piece. For those that also loved the placemats, these are also from K-mart for - yes truly - $2 as well!!

I also have the dining pieces in teal, because a bargain is a bargain right?!


The gorgeous little dinnerware series also has a mug, and all pieces also come in black and red (check availability at your local K-Mart store).


The cute little bowls and mugs also come in a spot design as well.

I road tested these today on my lovely Mum who came to visit for lunch and they were clearly a winner - she was stopping via K-Mart on the way home!

With Spring coming, these are a cheap and easy way to update your dining setting for the warmer 'alfresco dining' weather that will soon be here - big cheer!! I am already imagining a casual BBQ with friends using this set.

So if you are like me, just a tad bored with boring white plates, then get on down to K-Mart and pick up a set. A set of 4 bowls, 4 side plates and 4 big plates will only set you back $24. Pieces are sold separately, so get as much or as little as you like, I promise it won't break the bank.

So what colour are you getting?!

Little Hint: I first purchased this series mid last year and the designs of the bowls have differed over the past 12 months. So if you are planning to get a set, I suggest trying to buy them all at once to avoid missing out on getting everything to match down the track if you need more. I now cannot get matching bowls to the set I bought last year :-(.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Just how easy is it to apply Wallpaper when your Huband is at work?!

Hi, my name is Allison and I am a Wallpaper addict.... Isn't that how it goes when you join one of those addiction anonymous clubs?!

I completely and utterly blame this latest obsession on the DIY and renovation shows on television (you know who you are 'The Block'!). They have provided me with the impulse to wallpaper absolutely everything in my home - baby and dog excluded! But Pinterest isn't really helping the cause either with millions of beautiful, inspiring images of gorgeous rooms (and even furniture) all coated in glorious wallpaper.

Blast you Pinterest and your gorgeous wallpaper images!! Source: http://loft32.blogspot.com.au/
In fact I have even set up a Pinterest board dedicated to all things wallpaper if that is not obsession enough.

Over the weekend I wandered in to my local hardware store to pick up a plant (yes truly!), only to be confronted with rows and rows of wallpaper in various colours and prints - damask, stripe, floral - you name it! The extra kicker was that they also offer free generous sized samples, so needless to say I came home armed with quite a few...


And maybe a few more.....


And a couple more..... That's it!


Okay, I may have abused the free sample idea a wee bit, but there were just too many to choose from. I am sure that the hardware store may now have me up on a 'do not let this lady enter the wallpaper section' poster in their tea room or something - but I did buy a plant too - I promise!

My dear husband has a strong and I mean STRONG adversion to wallpaper. Ideally I would love to wallpaper the wall behind my bed as in the top picture. But I think that my husband would sooner wear a pink tutu to work, rather than let me do it (to clarify, tutus are really not his thing, so I have no hope).

So what am I going to do with all of these gorgeous free samples?! Well I have a few thoughts and little projects up my sleeve up to pretty up a few things in my home - so watch this space!

Have you recently used wallpaper on a project or in your home? If so, I would love to share your project pictures with my blog. You can email me details and pictures to utterlyorganised@gmail.com and I will feature these early next week when I unveil my little wallpaper sample project ideas.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend.

Friday, 27 July 2012

I am back... and looking better than ever!

I'm back!!!

Firstly a very BIG welcome to all the new followers to the Blog and my Facebook page, I am so thrilled and thankful that you are following Utterly Organised.

As you can see the blog has been revamped, a sincere thank you to Jessica at Lilipop Designs, it is looking fantastic don't you think?

Apologies that things have been a bit quiet from me on the blogging front this week. I wanted to wait until the blog makeover was complete and also my husband has been on holidays this week. Having him home this week has been just wonderful.

Although we didn't go away, we spent time together at home as a little family of three, something that we have not done since Mr B was born back in December (and that wasn't the most relaxing of times!!). We were blessed with a week of beautiful sunny Melbourne weather, definitely out of character for this time of year. We have eaten out, slept in, watched dvd's and taken long walks as a family. I have had a week off housework, the gym and cooking and I feel very recharged.

We have all enjoyed the lazy days at home and enjoying our precious time together with our son before he grows up and doesn't want to spend any time with us at all!! Mr B is now 7 months old and he is just loving sitting up and playing at the moment. As they say, time flies when you are having fun, and my little man is growing up way too quickly for my liking.

7 Months already- getting cuter by the day!
This week has also been productive on the project front. I have managed to get stuck in to quite a few projects that I have had on my 'to do' list for quite some time. I cannot wait to share with you what I have been up to via the Blog shortly....

Hope you all had a wonderful week, it truly is so nice to be back!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

I'm having ‘work’ done….

No, no, no – not ‘that’ sort of work. Although 6 months after having Mr B, probably could do with that sort of ‘work’ done!

No this time the only thing getting a facelift is my little blog!!

The very lovely and talented Jessica from Lilipop Designs is giving the Utterly Organised blog an overhaul in the coming days, so if things are a bit slow on the blogging front it is because we are preparing for the overhaul.

I might be great at organising and prettying up houses, but doing the same on blog is definitely not my forte. I am truly grateful (and oh so excited!) that Lilipop has accepted the challenge of making my blog so much more functional (and lovely looking too!).

If you are a fellow blogger looking to upgrade your blog from the standard (and a little boring) templates to something a bit more wow – then Jessica is definitely the woman for the job! Lilipop can assist with custom or premade blog templates as well as web design and assisting with logos and other brand building needs. There is no end to this talented little ladies' capabilities!!

To learn more about Lilipop, head on over to their Site. 











I cannot wait to share with you the finished result!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Country Road New Season Homewears – Summer is on the Way!!

It is like a breath of fresh air when you clap eyes on your first item of ‘new season’ stock in stores after what seems like the longest Winter – ever! It was to my absolute delight today that I received notification of the new season homewares from Country Road. Not only does it mean that Winter is on the way out, but it also means that all the wintery black in stores will now be replaced with the bright pops of colour that Spring brings....

I adore Country Road homewares and I normally treat myself each year at Christmas/Summer time as I just love the bright summery tones that they use each year. There is something about their collection that always evokes such strong feelings of summertime, beaches, warm weather and lazy, long days – all my favourite things!

When Christmas rolls around, and I am stuck for gift ideas for my dearest girlfriends, I always head for Country Road and can be assured that something from their homewears will fit the Christmas gift list. My girlfriends (4 years on) still rave about the tea towels that I did one year. If you have not experienced a Country Road tea towel – buy one today!! They are such good quality and come in a beautiful array of colous that will really brighten up any kitchen d├ęcor. I have quite a few in my collection at home.

So what do I love from the new collection…..
Niklas Teatowel Pack of 3
Well firstly as I said teatowels are always on my list for summer. These lovelies above come as at set of 3 and work out to be less than $9 each and I know that they will last the test of time! 
Ezra, Jeremiah and Ingred Cushions
How divine are these grey toned cushions?! We have a largely neutral grey/palette so these would work fabulously in our living spaces for the warmer months.
Tyron Cushion, Mila Blanket & Audra Cushion
I would contrast the grey cushions with the pop of yellow in the above. I am loving the grey/yellow/aqua combination for the summer months and this is what I am looking to introduce in my home. I am in love with the Mila yellow and white chevron print blanket.

Island Beachtowel
My little man will be turning one over summer, and I am super excited to be taking him to the beach for the first time this year. I think to celebrate the occasion a new beach towel is in order.

Sage Serving Spoon, Kiosk Dip Bowl & Isabeli Grid Placemat
And finally I love the placemats above, they would be perfect for summer barbeques and at $12.95, I think that these in a set of 6, would be an affordable item to have on my Christmas ‘wish list’ this year.


Most products are available instore on online now, with the rest of the products due in store in August. For more of their collection, jump online to visit the Country Road site.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the new collection.


Note: Images have been taken from the Country Road website

Friday, 20 July 2012

Back to School Baking: Oat and Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Well it is back to school this week for us here in Victoria, Australia. I am sure that if you are like most Mum’s (or Dad’s) one week in and you are probably struggling for ideas to fill the lunch box. Well don’t despair here is a quick and delicious cookie recipe that should fit the bill for the lunchbox next week. It will only take you 25 minutes to create and taste these delicious cookie delights!

I always feel a little less guilty about eating these versus traditional choc chip cookies as they have the goodness of the oats – plus a little indulgence every now and then doesn’t do us any harm - does it?!

The recipe calls for the inclusion of chopped up milk chocolate, however you can of course use chocolate chips if these are easier – and try with white or dark chips for a variation. I actually noticed the other day at my local Woolies that Nestle have a ‘caramel’ choc chip too!!

This cookie base also works very well with sultanas, cranberries, nuts, apricots or coconut if you would like to pack in a lil’ more goodness.

You’ll Need
  • 150g unsalted butter (at room temperatue)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  •  ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg (at room temperature)
  • ½ Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup plain flour
  • ½ Tsp baking powder
  • 2 Cups of Rolled Oats
  • 150g milk chocolate roughly chopped
Makes:

20-24 cookies – depending on how large you make them!

Method:
1. Line your baking trays (I needed 3) with baking paper and preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Use electric beater to cream the butter and sugars until pale (I use my kitchen aid)
3. Add vanilla and egg and beat until well combined
4. Add sifted flour, baking powder, oats and chocolate (plus anything else you decide to throw in) to the mix and fold until well combined
5. Roll tablespoons of mix in to balls and place on tray, flatten slightly with a fork and place in the oven

6. Bake for approx 12-15 minutes (make sure you set the timer, it goes very quickly!!)
7. Enjoy and try not to eat them all fresh out of the oven, they are delicious when warm!
WARNING: You won't be able to stop at one!
Hope you and your family enjoy the recipe!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Howards Storage World Free $20 Voucher!

For lovers of Howards Storage World – and let’s face it who doesn’t love their ideas and products to be utterly organised – I have great news for you.....

Howards’ have their own loyalty club - Howards Inspirations – that you can join free for a whole swag of benefits. Currently if you sign up to this loyalty program, they are giving you a free $20 – yes $20 - as a welcome gift to spend in one of their amazing stores in Australia!!! Believe it or not I have not been a member until NOW!!

Some of the other benefits of joining are birthday vouchers, free entry to VIP events and organising workshops (yes please!) and member exclusive offers and competitions. More information and their terms and conditions can be found online.

For those not familiar with this store, Howards’ sell a huge array of organisational and space saving products for your home and even office too! With stores right around Australia, there is bound to be one close to you that you can redeem this fabulous offer at.

There are also stores in New Zealand, Ireland, India, Spain, Philippines and Singapore for my lovely readers in these countries (unfortunately the joining offer may not apply to you, please check your local website).

To take advantage of this offer (I am not sure how long it will last), please click here.

Here are just a few of the things that I will be checking out in store this week to spend my $20 on….

9 piece Large Drawer Organiser @ $19.95

Over Cabinet Sponge Caddy @$19.95

Undershelf Baket @ $19.95
Hope you manage to join up and enjoy a freebie. My local store also has 20% off at the moment – so I am going to get a bit more bang for my (free) buck! Doesn’t get much better than that!!

Would love to hear what you buy for your $20….

Note: Please note that I am no way affiliated with (although I’d love to be!) with Howards Storage World nor am I being paid to comment on this promotion. Images have been taken from the Howards Storage World e-store.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

A do it yourself Ikea Shoe Closet for Next to Nix?! Yes please!!

When the universe was creating my ‘genes’ I think that they forgot to include the ‘restraint when buying shoes’ gene in my DNA. I definitely have a real weakness when it comes to beautiful shoes of all shapes and sizes. I estimate that I have in my collection (after a very big recent cull) approx 130 (yes truly!) pairs.

I think it all started for me when I spent a year living and working in London. Everything seemed so expensive except, you guessed it, shoes!! So while I used to dream about spending my money on a Kate Middleton worthy wardrobe, the reality was that all I could afford were shoes. When it came time for me to return home to my roots in Australia, I found myself shipping one extremely large tea carton jam packed full of shoes.

Like most females, I have always longed for one of those giant and uber organised shoe rooms like that owned by pop diva Mariah Carey.

Mariah Carey's Closet - big sigh!
Oh isn’t it fabulous?! Maybe one day!! However our house (and budget) just doesn’t accommodate this and so I came up with my own smaller scale and low cost solution using my favourite Swedish Store – Ikea of course!


You would be forgiven for thinking that from the outside it is just another $89 Ikea Aneboda wardrobe…. But inside….
Scubb Storage hangers house 50 pairs of shoes
It is my very own shoe and accessory heaven! As you can see the Ikea Aneboda wardrobe has been filled with the Ikea Scubb Storage hangers ($7.99 each) to house my shoes (I must add some of them!). At the top of the rail I have attached some hooks and wire that I use to hang my dangly earrings - yes another obsession of mine.

Wire to hang all of my favourite chandellier earrings
The top shelf of the wardrobe has been great to store clutch bags and scarves. At the side of the wardrobe I have attached more wire and have some of my necklaces hanging off the side.


Sure while it will never quite compete with Mariah Carey’s shoe closet, it has been an affordable and fabulous storage addition to my home. I have had this at my place for over 5 years now and still each day I open those doors, I am delighted to be greeted by all of my lovely organised shoes smiling back at me! For those curious folks, the rest of my shoes (my everyday flats, flip flops and runners) are housed at the bottom of my main wardrobe.

How do you like to organise your shoes? Can a girl ever have too many?!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Pantry Organisation & Client Makeover Pictures by Utterly Organised

From candy buffets to pantry makeovers in a week – never a dull moment here at Utterly Organised. I think that is why I love my little business so much, as I get to do a mix of all the things that I love!!

My client this week was a new Mum wanting to organise her pantry to make it easy to see what she has on hand (and to look pretty when she opens the doors!). She felt that her existing pantry was not set up very well and she would often buy multiples of things when at the shops, or realise mid recipe that she was missing an important ingredient as she could not see what she had in the cupboard (haven't we all done this before!). This is anything less than ideal for a new Mum with very little precious time, so I stepped in to change this….

After assessing what she had in the pantry and what her needs were, I suggested that we use a mix of labeled Tupperware Modular mates, Ikea Rationell baskets and implement a better structure of organisation – I have to say that the end results were fabulous and my client was ecstatic!!

 
 

The 'AFTER'

The 'AFTER'
If you are interested to see how we sorted the shelves read on…..

Shelf 1: Large Rationell basket filled with loose items such as chips and unopened packets such as rice crackers etc. In the Modular Mates (MM) of various sizes were cereals, oats, dried fruits and other non essential everyday items (popcorn kernels, gravy mix etc)


Shelf 2: Small Rationell basket filled with loose spice packets, rice packet mixes etc. Tinned goods and condiments. My client uses these items most often, so they were on the most accessible shelf for her


Shelf 3: Various ‘baking’ type ingredients in different MM sizes including various sugars, flours, salts etc. These were all placed an eye level as they are used more frequently

Shelf 4: In the MM of various sizes were pastas, rice, nuts, seeds, legumes, tea, and coffee items
Shelf 5: Large Veg Out MM with Vegetables and large MM containers with savoury and sweet biscuits, snacks and treats



It is amazing what a little organising and planning can do for the pantry, but often it can be difficult for individuals to do this as it is a time consuming process and many of us have no idea where to start. If you are in Melbourne, Utterly Organised can do an obligation free pantry assessment and quotation if you would like to have your pantry look this beautiful without lifting a finger! I can source and implement pantry solutions to fit in with your budget and that will make your life oh so Utterly Organised!

I have had such a fabulous response to the labels we used for this job that I thought I should mention these on my blog. The labels are made of vinyl and not only look amazing, but are able to be washed with your containers unlike ordinary paper labels. These come in a wide variety of colours and can be customised for you. If you are interested in purchasing these, please email me at utterlyorganised@gmail.com to order or for more information and pricing.

The inspiration for this pantry was taken from my very own, so I will have to share this with you very, very soon.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this pantry makeover.....

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Utterly Organised Candy (Lolly) Buffet: Black/Red/White 30th Birthday

Wow!! What a super busy weekend.

I spent the weekend setting up and styling a Candy Buffet for a 30th birthday.

My client did not have a theme in mind, but loves red – so we went with a classic black and white with a touch of red.
Utterly Organised Candy Buffet
Utterly Organised Candy Buffet
My client picked all of her candy favourites which included chocolate frogs, candy teeth, clinkers, jelly beans, smarties and a few others!

Mmm Candy Teeth & Pineapples
Candy Buffets really are so magnificent; they create such an impact at every type of event. There is truly nothing like seeing the guests’ faces when they clap eyes on your candy buffet, the awe and excitement is just beautiful to watch! I just wish these were in vogue when I was getting married as I am such a sweet tooth.

If you are in Melbourne, Utterly Organised can hire our assortment of jars, vases and bowls to you so that you can create your own candy buffet masterpiece. Or we can work with you to customise a candy buffet to match your event, theme or preferred colours if you prefer to have someone do the hard work for you.

I have more images on my Facebook page.

If you are interested in further information on our Candy Buffet hire, please contact me at:


Hope you liked this event – makes me crave more candy just looking at it!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Dessert for Dummies: Creamy Mango Jelly (Jello) Recipe

Low fat?              Check!
Delicious?           Check!
Super Easy?       Check!

I try and experiment with at least two new recipes each week – some work and many don’t! But I had to share this simple, delicious and low fat recipe that I tried during the week, as it not only worked but it ticked all of the other boxes too.

It really is a dessert for dummies - super easy to make and looks impressive served up to guests or family alike. Who doesn't love a recipe that makes you look like Martha Stewart with zero effort?!

This dessert is light and tangy and would be perfect for summer bbq weather – so my friends in Europe, the US and Canada enjoying summer at the moment – perfect for you!

The recipe has been taken from Taste which has the most fabulous recipes – if you have not discovered it – bookmark the Site as you will love it!

You’ll need
  • 85g packet mango jelly crystals (jello for my American friends)
  • 1 cup boiling water 
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 cup fat-free natural yoghurt
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 2 passionfruit, halved (or passionfruit pulp, it is not passionfruit season here at the moment)
Only a few simple ingredients for this delicious dessert

Method:
  1. Combine jelly crystals and boiling water in bowl (ensure that it is heatproof) and stir until crystals have dissolved
  2. Add 1/2 cup cold water and stir to combine
  3. Refrigerate for approx 30 minutes
  4. Place yoghurt in a separate bowl and stir until smooth
  5. Add yoghurt to jelly mix and whisk together until smooth and no lumps remain
  6. Pour mixture in to preferred serving dish – I used four 1-cup capacity serving glasses
  7. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or until set.
  8. Top with banana and drizzle with passionfruit pulp before serving
  9. Enjoy!!!
    Delicious and Simple Dessert

    Tips:
    • If you are diabetic, you could use diet jelly crystals
    • You could try this with a different flavoured jelly crystals (jello)
    • Try topping with cream, shaved chocolate or berries for a different take on this dessert Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Happy weekend all.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Ikea Blue Limited Edition Collection

Hot off the Press today – Ikea Australia have launched their ‘Blue’ collection which they describe as “an exclusive mix of Swedish design with Indian craft and colour”.

This is definitely something bold and beautiful for Ikea, as it is not often that we see them do something a little ‘outside of the box’ – pardon the pun!

The eclectic mix of items in the ‘Blue’ range includes room dividers, side tables, storage cabinet, storage boxes, vases, tableware, soft furnishings and even some hanging decorations. Hmmm I am thinking a blue and silver themed Christmas?!

Source: Ikea Australia

My favourites?

I love the look of the Beslaktad Wire Serving Stand (don’t ask me to pronounce this one!), which retails for $29.99. I think that this would be beautiful for parties and special occasions with an array of sweet treats displayed on its' tiers.

Source: Ikea Australia - Beslaktad Wire Stand
I also adore the Babbla Box Set with lid, which is $9.99 for a set of 4 small boxes, or $24.99 for a set of 4 larger boxes. These would be an elegant way to house your Christmas gifts for friends or family, or for storage around the house (hat box anyone?!).

Source: Ikea Australia - Babbla Box Set

But the item that has really caught my eye is the Bolbro Flatwoven Rug – what a bargain for $29.99! My house has a largely white and neutral palette, so I think that this bold rug would look fabulous in our entrance way. And at this price, if I change my mind after 6 months, I still come out in front!  

Source: Ikea Australia - Bolbro Rug

This limited edition collection is only in Ikea Australia stores for a short time and while stocks last - I know what I will be doing on the weekend....

Would love to hear your thoughts on the new range. Love? Hate? What are your favourites?

Monday, 2 July 2012

Pajamarama: Lazy Winter Day

After a super busy weekend, I decided that I needed a day to catch my breath again and that a lazy day at home today was in order.

I don’t care much for Winter, give me a warm sunny day any time of the year and I am a happy lass. The only thing I do like about the cooler months is being nice and toasty inside the house when it is bucketing down with rain (and utterly grateful that I don’t have to brave the wet roads during peak hour traffic – thank you maternity leave gods!).

Is there anything more indulgent than spending a wet Monday indoors wearing your pajamas?!

I find it quite therapeutic spending a whole day in my pajamas. I know, it is a bit shameful but sometimes when you feel a bit overwhelmed and exhausted, it is the best medicine.
Image: Victoria's Secret
Now if you are in the market for a gorgeous pair of pajamas that will see you through Winter and in to the warmer months, my pick is the gorgeous Mayfair Cotton Pajamas (pictured above). These divine little things come from the amazing Victoria’s Secret label – renown for all things fabulous in the sleepwear and intimates department.

I have several pairs of these pajamas; I originally purchased them back in 2009 when I went to the States on holidays (and just couldn’t get enough of these stores) and have been ordering online every year since! They are super cozy for Winter and because they are made of cotton, they breathe and are lovely to wear the bottoms teamed with a tank in the warmer months (oh how I cannot wait til Winter is over!). They also come in a stunning array of colours and prints, so you are sure to find one style (or more) that you love! 

The exciting news is that you don’t need to go on a holiday to the States to get Victoria’s Secret stuff (yay!) as they deliver to Australia. The delivery fee can be a bit high, so great idea to see if a friend also wants something from the site and you can split post charges. I noticed that some variants of this style are on sale at the moment for USD$28.99 – bargain – I think that with a bit more maternity leave up my sleeve, a few more pairs might be in order…..

For my lucky readers in the States – I guess you can just pop to your local store – super jealous as I just adore this store chain.

Hope you all enjoyed an easy start to the week as well.
© Utterly Organised. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.