Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hippity Hop, the Kids are on the hunt

Do you remember the Easter Hot Cross Buns post from last week? Well I didn't mention that there was a part 2 bursting with Easter ideas...

Allison from Cupcake Couture is a very talented mum who happens to be in my mother's group. After putting her 4 boys through all 3 versions of my hot cross bun recipes (they took their taste testing job very seriously!), she was keen to host an Easter celebration for our "cheeky monkey" mother's group.

She certainly has an eye for designing a dessert table and being a very 'hands on' mum meant that there were fun activities for the kids to do as well. She bought these Easter egg hangings from Target - how cute do they look on a tree branch?

Vanilla Cake with white chocolate panels, mini Easter eggs and marshmallows - the kids (and mummies) loved it!

Here's what she said about the day...

"I just love Easter – for us it is a time of thankfulness, family and fun".

Allison's very beautiful Easter table

Vanilla cupcakes from Cupcake Couture

Buckets from Sweet Little Birdy
The gorgeous pink buckets (from Sweet Little Birdy's very popular turntables) were great to hold the Easter egg cake pops and macarons from Cupcake Couture.
"I am also a big believer in creating excitement and making memories for our children through family traditions, and one of our most beloved traditions is our annual Easter Egg Hunt."

"This year I thought I’d share that fun by hosting an Easter Party with my Mother’s Group with an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. Everyone brought something to contribute and together we made a gorgeous table, serving cupcakes, macarons, Hot Cross Buns, fruit, cake pops and popcorn."

The Hot Cross buns from last week's post and fresh fruit in compote bowls from Sweet Little Birdy.

"The kids had such a fun time searching for their chocolate eggs, playing together and enjoying all the wonderful treats. It was such a special time!"

Don't they all look a bit too cheeky! At the end of the morning, I can attest to a group of very happy, sugar high cheeky monkeys who were thrilled that the Easter Bunny had visited and left them some Easter eggs to take home!

Sweet Little Birdy has a lot of the things we used in stock, why not have a browse through the online store and organise an Easter celebration for your mother's group? Dessert tables don't have to be expensive (we all brought something) nor reserved for special occasions. Allison from Cupcake Couture showed us how easy and fun it can be to put together. We think she did a fantastic job!


Pink buckets (Turntable with buckets) and compote bowls: Sweet Little Birdy
Sweets and treats: Cupcake Couture
Platters: Occasions by Design
Free Printables: Catch my Party
Cake Stand: Tracey Lau

Yours in blogging


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sweet Little Party Table Competition

At Sweet Little Birdy we love party set-ups and we want to see yours!!!  We are looking for creative dessert tables, candy tables, savoury tables, cookie bars, ice cream bars, cheese tables, favours bars or whatever table you can imagine!!! Entering is so easy and you have until 31st August 2012 to enter!  With fabulous prizes and your chance to have your entry on our website front page its time to start planning!  The theme and colours and budget and design are all your choice, and our judges will pick a winner based on creativity and originality for the following catergories:

Overall winners x 2 - our judges will select their favorite 2 tables and each winner will receive a prize package. 

Style Me Gorgeous

Encouragement award - a participant who has shown the potential to create stylish tables in the future.

There is also a 'voters choice' prize.  Voting will be done by clicking 'like' on photographs on our Facebook page and the photograph/entry with the most likes on 11th September will be declared the winner. 

So what can you win?

 For the overall winner catergories either:

  • $100 Sweet Little Birdy voucher
  • Cupcake Glass Jar (valued at $49.95)
  • 'Sweet Designs' by Amy Atlas book (valued at $38.95)
  • Donna Hay Macarons mix (valued at $7.95)
  • 2 packets of paper straws in your choice of colour (subject to availability) (valued at $9.00)
  • Your party featured on our website front page
  • A blog post on our Sweet Little Birdy blog all about your party


  • $100 Sweet Little Birdy voucher
  • Cupcake Glass Jar (valued at $49.95)
  • CelebraTORI by Tori Spelling book (Valued at $29.95)
  • 1 x box of Donna Hay Macarons mix (valued at $7.95)
  • 2 packets of paper straws in your choice of colour (subject to availability)  (valued at $9.00)
  • Your party featured on our website front page
  • A blog post on our Sweet Little Birdy blog all about your party

Encouragement prize:  

  • $50 Sweet Little Birdy gift voucher
  • Mystery Pack
  • Your party featured on our website front page
  • A blog post on our Sweet Little Birdy blog all about your party

Voters choice:  

  • $50 Sweet Little Birdy gift voucher 
  • Mystery Pack
  • Your party featured on our website front page
  • A blog post on our Sweet Little Birdy blog all about your party

Your table must feature 3 products from Sweet Little Birdy ~ these can be anything from our store - partyware, favours, decorative elements, gifts, cake stands etc.  Think outside the square!

Terms and Conditions

 Each entry must be entered in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. By entering in this competition, you agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions. Sweet Little Birdy may in its discretion refuse to award any prize to any entrant who fails to comply with these Terms and Conditions

To enter your table must feature 3 products from Sweet Little Birdy.  These are available from or from local markets that Sweet Little Birdy attend.

Your entry is to be emailed to - up to 3 photographs per table can be submitted.  A maximum of 2 table entries per person.

Please include a brief description about the table (occasion, theme, favourite thing etc).
Entry is open to all Australian residents and prizes will include shipping within Australia.  Non-Australian residents are welcome to enter, however any shipping costs will need to be paid for by the entrant.

Any comments, feedback, notes, messages, ideas, suggestions or other communications (collectively "Comments") or material sent to Sweet Little Birdy shall be and remain the exclusive property of Sweet Little Birdy. Sweet Little Birdy will be entitled to use, reproduce, disclose, publish and distribute any material you submit for any purpose whatsoever, without restriction and without compensating you in any way. For this reason, we ask that you not send us any comments or material that you do not wish to assign to us, including any confidential information or any original creative materials such as stories, product ideas, computer code or original artwork.

Entry dates: Entries open on May 1st 2012 and close 31st August 2012.  The winners will be announced on September 12th, 2012.

Judging:  Entries will be judged on originality and creativity by a panel of guest judges in the event industry.

Sweet Little Birdy will not be liable for any injury, damages, expenses, or loss whatsoever to persons or property as a result of any person entering into the Competition or accepting or using any prize.

The judges decisions will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hot cross buns, Hot cross buns, one a penny, two a penny...

Oh how I love the heady smells of yeast and baking bread in my kitchen but what I love more is taking out a batch of warm soft hot cross buns. Brown eyes and I love baking together in the kitchen - when asked what he wants to do while baby blue eyes is asleep (and it's mother-son time) he picks baking every time. We have been busy baking several versions of hot cross buns over the last few weeks in an attempt to bring you the BEST hot cross buns for you to bake in your kitchen for Easter. Without further ado, here is our recipe.

1 1/2 cups of full cream milk
2 tsp of dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
60g butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg lightly whisked
4 1/2 cups of bread/pizza flour (see photo below) plus extra flour for dusting and kneading
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups currants
Here's the flour I used but you can use any flour you like.  However the more refined (ie 00 flour), the softer and bread-like your buns will be. Out of interest, the recipes that used plain flour were nice but a bit firmer in texture - I prefer my hot cross buns similar to the ones you buy from bakeries - soft and yummy!

Flour paste (for crosses)
50g plain flour (just the regular kind)
1/4 cup room temp water

2 TB apricot jam

Add the milk, yeast and sugar in a small bowl.
Heart Measuring Spoons

My son loved his 'pink' measuring spoons from Sweet Little Birdy!

Heart Measuring Cups

Mix and then place in a warm spot for 15 mins until frothy (hope you can see it looking frothy in the photo below)
Mini Mixing Bowl

While you are waiting for this to happen, sift the flour (yes I hate sifting too but if you want soft buns, I recommend this step) in a bowl with the salt and all the spices. I confess, I like to take shortcuts when I can, so as you can see from this pic, I put this step in a Sunbeam mixing bowl (or fancier versions like Kenwood or Kitchen aide if you are so lucky to own one... sigh..).

Mini Sifter
How cute is this sifter from Sweet Little Birdy? My little boy loved using it.

Now check your yeast mixture, if it's frothy, add the melted butter and whisked egg to your mixture.
Brown eyes likes to be involved in every step, let's say breaking eggs (without shells in it) is challenging for my 3 year old so we used a remekin for this stage. And yes, he is dressed up as Captain Featherword!

Then make a well in your flour bowl and pour the smaller bowl (wet ingredients) into it.

Put your dough hooks on and wiz it up in your mixmaster for 2-3 minutes or until combined - this will make a very wet mixture (don't worry, it will come together). If you don't have a mix master with dough hooks, you will need to knead this for about 5 minutes until it comes together.

Then take your very wet mixture and place on a heavily floured bench and add the currants. Knead again until smooth and elastic (usually a few more minutes - but longer if you didn't use a mix master in the previous step).
Vintage Cookie Cutters

That's a camera posed photo - I kneaded it... my son was oh so very gentle when kneading it...bless!

Now place your dough in an oiled bowl (I sprayed our bowls with a vegetable spray). My son thought he was very special because he had his very own Sweet Little Birdy bowl with his dough it in. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave it to rest in a warm spot for about 1-2 hours or until doubled in size. We did this step then headed out for the morning.

And ta-da!

How I love baking bread!!

Then punch down your dough and knead again until smooth then divide it into as many pieces as you want and put them in a greased tin. As you can see below, I prefer small kid-size ones for little mouths. This mixture should give you about 15 adult sized hot cross buns. Cover again with a damp tea towel and leave it to rise for about 15-30mins or until they have increased in size. I confess that when I did this step, I was on the phone and forgot to take a photo. Here's what they looked like after resting for 15 mins... the buns weren't originally touching, and now they are.
While you are waiting for your buns to rise a second time, make your flour paste for your crosses and preheat your oven to 200 degrees (fan forced).
Here's my cheat way for making the flour paste... one less bowl I say! mix the flour (50g) and water (1/4 cup) with a spoon in the bag and then snip the corner and pipe away (your crosses on your risen buns I mean!)

Bake in your preheated oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 180 degrees and bake for a further 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of your buns) or until golden.
Turn onto a wire rack and heat your 2 TB of apricot jam in the microwave for 20secs and brush over the tops (most people strain their jams, I don't... but you can if you like).
What a difference a bit of jam makes!

Now for some notes.... if you like a bit of rind in your mix, feel free to add 1/4 cup of orange peel or the rind of 1 orange when you knead in your currants. (My taste testers all balked at version 2 which had orange peel in it). I like my buns with a good amount of spice in it so feel free to increase or decrease the spice mix according to your taste. And yes, if you have a bread maker, throw all the ingredients in and follow your bread maker instructions (in your manual) for a much easier and quicker process. Lastly these buns are best eaten within 2-3 days, I would freeze any that you are not going to finish in that time. We didn't have any left at our place to freeze....

Square Cake Stand

Sweet Little Birdy has the cutest cake stands, this is one of my favourites which I thought looked really pretty with the Easter Buns on it.

Baking is made so much more enjoyable when you watch your loved ones devour what you (and they!) made. I hope you have a very special Easter and if you have time, get out your baking things and make hot cross buns with your kids... we had a ball!

Yours in blogging


PS: This receipe is a combination of receipes that we trialled from, Martha Stewart and Gourmet Food Travellor - I am thankful for their inspiration.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Details from our elopement... (Posted by Tara)

Wow, in less than a month we will have been married for a year already!  And I just realised that I never shared the details on our blog!!!

On April 1st, 2011 we set off on a road trip to Telegraph Retreat at Telegraph Point (near Port Macquarie NSW) to be married the next day, April 2nd, 2011.  Not a single person besides us knew that we were eloping and we couldn't wait to surprise everyone!

Our wedding was a very intimate and relaxed day... and an amazingly perfect day!  

We planned a romantic vintage theme, with a touch of country and little details that meant things to us...

Our cake, made by me the night before

The boys shirts
Me getting ready

The Ceremony sign we made together

We said our vows under a chandelier
 Our ceremony was at 11am and I walked to meet my soon-to-be husband to the song "you had me from hello" by Kenny Chesney

After the ceremony we had a picnic lunch and had some photos taken, then we rang our immediate family to tell them the good news.  We then texted a photo to other family and close friends, then posted on facebook with the status "he liked it so he put a ring on it"... 

A game of croquet...

Our cake table...

My bouquet

In the evening we had an intimate dinner together in a private dining room.

A beautiful day to begin a beautiful marriage...

Photography by Michelle-Leigh Photography

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hippity Hoppity Easter's on the way! (Posted by Tara)

Remember the post on our blog where Val took us behind the scenes at our Easter shoot here?  Well now we want to share the results with you!  An amazing collaboration between lots of talented businesses, all put together to create a stunning Easter table, complete with adorable children participating in an Easter egg hunt!

It all started with an idea by Sweet Little Birdy to put together an Easter shoot, and after a meeting with Leighsa from Michelle-Leigh Photography we had so many ideas and visions!  A call out to businesses resulted in incredible products and services for the shoot and we were ready!

You're invited to our Easter hunt!!!  Seeded invitation by Little Flamingo

Wooden letters by Ryder Loves Miller
Bunting by Ruby May Designs

Pom Poms by Divine Drops

   Flowers by Sapphire Designs and Petite Pedestals available here.  Sign by Little Flamingo

 Felt bunnies by Tied with a Ribbon, turntables with buckets and birdcage from Sweet Little Birdy

This amazing flower 'cake' was created by Sapphire Designs, with bunny cake topper by The Cake Princess... isn't it grand!

Little Flamingo Stationery

Printables by Style Me Gorgeous

Children's clothing by Billynmoo

Clothing by Billynmoo and letters by Ryder Loves Miller


Clothing by Belle White

Such a fun day and lots of thanks to Leighsa and Michelle for your patience and fabulous photography!

Yours in blogging

Tara x