Party planning. I generally love it and always have. I love the concept to design to reality of creating a party. My mum always gave me the best birthday parties so it is something I always wanted to give my boys and will do. I am a creative being so party planning comes natural to me. Hunter and Archie are 18months apart, I feel like we just had a big party for Archie’s baptism and then Hunter’s 1st birthday. So this year we wanted to try something different - a destination first birthday. I wanted a stress free mama for Archie, a relaxed Daddy where he didn’t have to worry about work for a few days and making memories with our little boy away from any drama. We were lucky enough to be invited to stay at Elements of Byron Resort and Spa in Byron Bay. What a magical 4 days we had making memories as a little family of four with our best friends who decided to come along with us. Whilst we made Archie’s actual birthday special, we focused on the whole trip as being his event, creating memories and experiences that we will never forget.
Elements of Byron
We pre organised our shuttle from the airport with Go Byron (it was $20 each way per person, kids are free). It was super easy to organise and to find them! It took 20minutes to get to our hotel. I found this information out via the email Elements sends you a week before your arrival. With wonderful tips and itinerary suggestions. It was a lovely introduction to the resort and made us all so excited for our holiday.
Everyone on the shuttle said oh that is Elements, it looks amazing. And it was! The grand entrance makes you instantly feel on holidays. Resort come at me! Who doesn’t want to instantly feel that luxe vibe on holidays? Check-in is 3pm but we got there around 9:30am, the friendly staff did everything they could to get us in early which they did but we decided to venture straight into town, after a quick look around the resort.
The resort has a beautiful restaurant called Graze, which we had a continental breakfast every morning (I didn’t even want the hot breakfast which I usually do) because the variety of food was ample and so delicious. We also ate at the restaurant twice for dinner. The tagliatelle was amazing as was the steak. We only intended on going there once but loved it so much went back the last night too. 🙊
There are two cafes in the resort, one at the main pool and one at the adults only pool (a delicious taco van).
The resort has something for everyone. The main pool has swing chairs, private cabanas and a heated pool which was heaven. It is big enough that you aren’t all on top of each other too. There is a fire pit and lounge chairs close by. There is an adults only pool which my friend and I got to go to whilst the boys looked after the little boys. There is a swim up bar and swings! Such a great place for a family but also a girls weekend or couples retreat.
Everything is within walking distance in the resort but there are complimentary buggy’s which take you around! Talk about service.
The accommodation is modern and spacious and can easily fit two families with ample space. We both had our own en-suite with a bath and shower. The rooms are large, plus a self contained kitchen and laundry, expresso machine, large outdoor area, lounge plus free latest blockbuster movies.
You have private access to the local beach which also has a coffee and snack van for your convenience. Morning yoga and daily rainforest walks are available free to guests.
We were lucky enough to try out the spa. It was like walking into a beautiful tranquil oasis. I had the 1.5hour aromatherapy massage. One of the best I’ve had. Before your massage you get a beautiful relaxing foot bath, a choice of an affirmation card, essential oil and crystal. It felt so relaxing, welcoming and spiritual but reminded me of the beauty and heart of Byron Bay.
A few minutes walk and there is a solar train which is exclusive to Elements and takes guests to the centre of town. It leaves on the hour and takes 10 minutes and only costs $3 each. It is so convenient and such a fun experience for the kids too. The industrial area is about a 12 minute walk with shops like St Agni and Yoli and Otis - so I was in Heaven.
I highly recommend Elements of Byron for your family and or a girls weekend or couples retreat. It was kid friendly yet also had a luxe vibe. We can’t wait to go back.
A mini itinerary for Byron Bay
-9.05am GO BYRON SHUFFLE $80 per couple, return
-10am Arrive hotel + drop bags off
-1030-1130am: some shopping at Spell Byron (11mins drive or 10mins train)
-12pm Lunch at the Mez Club
-3pm check in
-time by the pool
-rainforest trail walk
-530pm Dinner at Graze at Elements
If we didn’t catch the train we called GO BYRON for a maxi taxi (as there was 4 adults and 3 kids) they were super efficient and cost around $20-30 for a 10-15mins
-Breakfast THE FARM (The 3 Blue ducks)
THE FARM 6mins drive opens at 7am
*spend the morning at the farm and have breakfast
-time by the pool and lunch at the pool cafe at Elements
-5-6pm Fire pit live music relax by the pool at hotel
-6pm dinner at Graze hotel restaurant or back to the three blue ducks at the farm
-in-room movie at night
🎈 ARCHIE’s BIRTHDAY
-7am/8am Breakfast at Byron General Store (11min drive)
-have a little shop around
-head back to hotel area, some shops close by (Eg. Yoli and Otis, St Agni)
-10-12 POOL DAY, grab some snacks at the pool
-130-3pm: SPA AFTERNOON FOR GIRLS WHILST BOYS NAP and then swim at adults only pool
-5pm/6pm dinner at Miss Margarita’s (11mins drive)
-7-8am Breakfast at hotel
Dip in the pool or little walk then back to the room to pack and get ready
-930am check out
-945am PICK UP GO BYRON
My travel essential items for the family
Elements of Byron
American Tourister Au
Frankie and Co
Footwear and accessories:
Frankie and Co
Swimwear and accessories:
Coven and Co
Wilson and Frenchy
Oscar for kids loafers
Little Human Home
Bambino mio swim nappies
Monkey n moo Shop
Lots of snacks, colouring books, books and iPad :)
I am so excited to share with you Hunter's 'on the farm' room. If you would like to see what it was like before (click here) to view his room from 12 months ago. So why did we do a new one so soon? Well, when we did the other one, we had just moved into our new house (gulp, it has been 12 months already - time flies). Since then, our darling Archie has come along and so much has changed in the sleep department. Hunter has never been a good sleeper, and was always in the bed with us. He hated the cot. We got him the house bed and he enjoyed it better than his cot. He started out doing all day sleeps in his big boy bed but was still in bed with us each night. But then he turned 2! And what a turn around. He just decided (yep literally over night), he was going to sleep in his own bed, by himself, all night long and we didn't even need to lay with him to fall asleep. So 3 months on, and he is still in there and loving it. As you can imagine, hubby and I were over the moon (and shocked), so we thought we would celebrate and surprise him with a room makeover. We moved him one room closer to us (swapped his and Archie's room, because Archie is still in his cot in our room). We wanted to create a space which was him and something he would love going to. I worked along side my midwife to ensure it was safe, toddler friendly and a place which was calm, yet exciting to go to. Helen (our Fairy Godmother - midwife) gave us wonderful tips to ensure he stays in there which I will share below. Thank you to all the brands who helped this little man's room become a magical space that he loves to sleep and play in with his little brother (all suppliers links below, plus a few discount codes).
Theme: ON THE FARM
Hunter loves animals. He started really young (7months old) doing lion sounds and not long after he knew most of the animal sounds. His love for animals continued and it is a beautiful bond he shares with my Uncle Charlie and my father-in-law (who both have farms and love animals). We moved onto acreage 12 months ago, and even though we don't have any animals, we are surrounded by lots of cows, sheep and horses. My Uncle has a farm (rabbits, chickens, birds, a dog) and my father-in-law has one too (cows, goats, rabbits, birds, dogs). We often go down for weekend aways to the farms and Hunter loves it. He loves the sounds, the smells, the fresh air and running around outside. He loves going in the truck with his daddy, feeding the rabbits with Uncle, and watching his Nunnu herd the cows. It really is his happy place. So we thought lets do an 'on the farm' theme. He loves it and straight away can identify similarities between the real farms and his room (Nunnu cow, Aya birds, wood fire). It was also really easy to incorporate a colour palette - olives, beige, rust with hints of blacks and whites for contrast.
Designing the space:
I started by creating a mood board of everything 'farm'. I used pintrest, google and instagram for inspiration but also the actual farm. I wanted it to look like the farm, and feel like it too. I wanted the room to be warm, moody/dark and have a lot of character and textures.
I started with the big pieces and worked around them.
Chest of drawers
The bed, the bedding and canopy:
We already had the house bed and Hunter has loved it more than his cot. It fitted in perfectly with theme as it acted as 'the house on the farm'. The gorgeous linen light beige canopy acts as a roof over the house (it is so cosy under there). The lighter colour was important, so it made the room look bigger, especially because of the darker carpet. I also wanted a contrast from the bedding. The bedding is reversible and represents Bambi (my father-in-law had a Bambi on his farm for many years). I love that it is reversible because I change my mind all the time and am always restyling. The olive green blanket and lighter sheets add depth and texture and mostly a contrast to the gorgeous bedding.
I really wanted something light and with texture. The carpet in the room is a dark charcoal/grey and would of made the room too dark with all the other darker features I was going to add. The is rug is so soft and has a beautiful texture. It has a little shine to it, so it picks up the other colours and reflects off it. It is the perfect size and is a real feature of the room. I wanted to ensure, I didn't over clatter the floor, I wanted a big space for Hunter to play, especially if he woke up before 7am. My midwife suggested, you try and keep them in their room till 7am and they can play or read some books if they wake up prior. So the rug is a lovely spot for him to play. The adventure rug adds to the forrest/farm theme, which Hunter loves using his blocks and tractor on.
The chest of drawers:
We already had this and my Uncle painted it black and added the handles. It is super old and we used it in Hunter's other bedroom. I really wanted black to feature in the room and not just all light wooden. It adds depth and so much character. It has an antique vibe and I liked the mis-matched look which is something you get in farm houses. It added to my moody/cosy look I wanted to achieve.
Mini couch / reading corner:
I was originally going to do a book theme, because Hunter loves books and we are always reading to him in here, plus it is part of his sleep routine. He jumps into bed, we read him a book, he has his dummy (only time he can use it, which he leaves in his mini basket), and then he says his prayers. Also as mentioned above, I wanted a place for him to sit and read his books and something he could access his books easily and could also clean them up himself. The mini couch is so comfortable and soft (which was important, I didn't want anything he could use to climb up with as a safety precaution) and it has an 'old man' library/farm vibe to it. My husband and I often sit on it if we are reading to him. The Thumblina book, is a bit of my mum in the room, she used to read it to me as a little girl and we bought it for Hunter's 2nd birthday from her.
Baskets / Jam - Farmer's market:
I really wanted to bring in the idea of a farmer's market, growing your own produce. It is a great way for Hunter to start and learn about sustainability and where things come from (not the supermarket). So this formed as part of the decoration but I used them to store books, shoes and his knits. The gorgeous play dough acted as jam but obviously as a practical use too, as Hunter loves play dough. Furthermore, he puts his dummy inside the basket after his sleep. The midwife said if he has special spot for the dummy that he can put away, he will do this and won't ask for it during the day because he will associate it with sleep. It has worked!
Being a farm theme, animals had to make a feature right? I wanted a big feature animal and Hunter fell in love with this big chocolate bear. It is so soft and a beautiful deep colour which adds another texture. I also think he looks a bit sleepy too. The sheep's head is so cute and stands out on the wall. We always say Bear protects him and sheep (baaa) watches over him. If you know me, you will know I have a bird phobia (mainly magpies), but I am very aware that when I freak out, that I don't want the boys to develop the same fear as me. It helps that my Uncle loves birds and always shows Hunter. He has taught him to shoo them away from Mummy. So I wanted birds in here some way, just so they have a positive connotation for him and also a little piece of my Uncle in there too.
Hunter has so many beautiful clothes and shoes, it is a shame to have them all locked away. So I like to display them when I can. With the farm theme in mind, I was trying to make it look like, something he could just 'hang up' after feeding the chickens or going on the tractor. So overalls were a must, hanging up with his good boots. The gumboots are what he lives in when we are down the farm (a little nod to our weekends away down the farm with my Uncle's vintage suitcase). The warm Ugg boots always stay here especially being winter at the moment, he puts them on and off when getting in and out of bed. The knits and boots are on display in his baskets too, which is easy to access and grab if I need a jumper for him. The hat was my husband's hat when he was a little boy (which I love this personal touch), he used to wear it on the farm as a child and now Hunter does.
These are the most gorgeous and delicate animal prints. The colours match perfectly. Hunter has always loved cows and Hamish the bull was a perfect match. I love the deer and her baby (a little touch of me and Hunter and also my mum and Hunter). I fell in love with this no text print. It is goldilocks and the three bears (isn't it clever?). The colours match perfectly, and I also associate warm porridge with the farm. Plus it is another addition to the book/fairytale aspect that is my sub-theme.
When I think of my Uncle's farm, I instantly think of wood. Branches, trees, wooden stumps, and fire wood. So I really wanted to bring this into the room. The wooden stacker and pencil holder were the perfect addition and so beautifully made. My uncle made some wooden logs (to represent fire wood), and the logs on the truck all add to theme. I love the contrast of the thick branches with the delicate twigs, it really stands out against the light grey wall. This is a really cheap way of adding texture and dimension without costing you a cent.
Shelving, wooden house and decorations:
I love shelves, they are a great way to add decoration, and if you are anything like me and always moving things around and restyling they are a great option (so you don't have to put heaps of holes in the wall). I just played with colours, textures and love the old clock.
It was important to have a night light which stays on all night because we close the door (we have a monitor so we can hear him). This is a safety precaution. If he gets out of bed during the night or in the morning, he can't go wondering around the house. The night light is the 'old owl' which lightly illuminates the room so it isn't so dark. We put it on when we start our night time routine.
The hot air balloon adds the fairytale/exploring/book sub theme. I always want the boy's room to have a sense of wonder and adventure. When we are at the farm, I feel you can see the sky for days, the balloon helps to create the open sky idea.
The house is a great way to add/swap around different decorations and also acts as the farm house.
My Mother - Hunter's late grandmother. I always like to have a piece of Mum in the boys room, so they always are reminded of her and know her presence is near. Her picture hangs in his little house. Mum loved books and she had them pilled next to her bed as she read 3 books at a time. So the books scattered around the room and next to the bed are her. Plus her rosary beads always hanging in the room which Hunter knows are grandmas.
*After every sleep - nap or night time, Hunter gets a stamp on his hand which he loves to show everyone who comes over and is a form of positive reinforcement and further encouragement to stay in his own room.
Rug by @rugsofbeauty SHOP (10% off code: storyandco)
Canopy by @vendable_ SHOP (20% off code: storyandco)
Reversible quilt cover and pillow cases by @babymoomaa SHOP (10% off code: storyandco)
Play dough by @doughmydearplaydough SHOP (10% off code: storyandco)
Bull and Bambi prints by @jo_collier_designs SHOP (20% off code: storyandco)
Wooden truck by @happygoduckytoys SHOP
Children's Midi Mod Couch by @homeday_ SHOP
Wooden stacker and pencil holder by @woodymoodLT SHOP
Hot Air Balloon, Goldilocks Print and Bird Tea Party stickers by @zanui SHOP
Piki basket by @monkeynmoo_shop SHOP (20% off code: storyandco)
Hunter name signs by @arcadia_dreams SHOP (20% off code: storyandco)
Wooden stacker and pencil holder by @woodymoodlt SHOP
Sheep (Animal head) by @harryhartogbookseller
Hats by @fini.thelabel SHOP
Grey overalls by @cocobearonline SHOP (15% off code: storyandco)
Grey shoes by Chuckle and Charm from @one_little_two_little SHOP (20% off code: storyandco20)
Gumboots by @hubbleandduke SHOP
Ugg boots by @pumpkinpatchkids SHOP
Oyoy Adventure rug by OYOY from @minimacko SHOP (20% off code: storyandco)
Trees, chicken, pig, duck by @the.small.folk SHOP
Clock, felt alphabet, wooden blocks by @vinesofthewild SHOP
Mini house, olive blanket, book stand, baskets, night lamp, bear by IKEA
Ottoman by @cushandco
House bed by @fantasticfurniture
Onesie and socks by @jamiekaystore
Romper by @shirleybredal
available from @monkeynmoo_shop SHOP
Boots by @fawnandfinch
Bloomers and jumper from @frankiejonesthelabel
So we have just moved into our forever home on acreage and we are in love with it. The moment we moved, it felt like home, where we were meant to be. Hunter felt completley comfortable + really started to thrive in his new environment. We moved in July 2017 so just before bebe number two comes along in Oct 2017. We are all settled in now, just have to finish off the media room + a few things outside but we have all the heart eyes for our new abode.
As my boys will be 18months a part, I didn't want to buy a new cot. Hunter starts out in his cot but comes in with us. So I thought the baby will be in our room for at least 12 months which H will be 2 and half by then and definately ready for a big boy bed. He is probably ready now, because he climbs up and down ours already. We won't put him in his new room just yet, because he isn't walking independently and also we don't want to change too many things with bubba coming along. So I've created a nursery for the new baby using a lot of Hunter's furniture and have given it a reshuffle (pictures to come soon). So H sleeps in the cot but all his things are in his new bedroom.
Choosing a theme: Monochrome
I was going to do a monochrome nursery but it organically worked better for a little boy's room. I wanted to buy/make pieces that I can re-use for any of our children down the track. Hunter is also obsessed with cows so it worked perfectly!
The bed: low house bed
We chose this as it is based on Montessori principles of learning. A floor/low bed is exactly what it sounds like…a bed on the floor or close to the floor. It sounds strange to a lot of people in our (western) culture, but it’s totally normal in other parts of the world. The idea of the floor bed is based on Montessori principles of allowing children to explore and learn through their environment. Everything is safe and at his level for him to access and explore but also minimal so it isn't over stimulating. We decided to have the bed off the floor a little bit (he can still easily get up and down) but just for hygiene/dust/wind/draft reasons we wanted it raised a bit). My uncle was going to make it for us, but I had him doing too many jobs already 🙈 so we found this beautiful one from fantastic furniture. My uncle just painted it white for us. I have also stocked up on a variety of monochrome bed linen (for those accidents) but so H always has a nice room even if he does do an accident, I don't want to draw attention to it by changing the aesthetics of the room. I mainly got all the linen from Target, Adairs kids and Kmart.
Chest of drawers:
I really wanted to have something in here which was used. I wanted to promote to H, sustainability and not just chucking things out if they no longer match, especially big pieces. This was an old wooden chest of drawers, my brother used, then my uncle used (which was painted white) then I got my uncle to paint it black for Hunter's room. It looks so good. I just bought some black + white knobs to replace the hold ones and it looks brand new.
Affirmations / wall art:
Using the alphabet board in Hunter's room is something I love. It is something that we will share milestones on, create affirmations, reinforce values and signify events. As Hunter gets older he will be able to help me choose the quotes or lettering which may be our learning focus for the week or to commentate a special event. At the moment, the focus is definately on his little brother coming. I wanted to bring something in from his nursery too which was his lion. A strong figure always protecting him. I also wanted him surrounded by books. His grandmother was an avid reader and I really want to instil that in my children.
Bookshelf + clothes rack:
This was something I created in my head + got my uncle to put together. So the shelves are $9 from Kmart. They were wooden + green so I got him to paint them black and white. They are really sturdy and the best thing is, they allow me to change around Hunter's room as he grows and develops without having to change pictures and mark the wall. Here I can promote books, his wooden toys, his animals (which at the moment act as a stimulus for animal noises - obsessed!). I also want to teach my children to have pride in their surroundings, to look after their things, and not to take things for granted. I think children can get so much 'stuff' and never actually use them or appreciate them. And also just because they are children doesn't mean that they can't have nice things and be taught to look after them. We always had a beautiful home growing up, mum never changed anything. Mum taught us to clean up after ourselves and everything always looked great. Before I had kids I always got 'your house is so beautiful but just wait till you have kids, it won't stay that way'...then I got 'wait till Hunter is a toddler, it won't stay that way...' now I get 'wait till you have more kids it won't stay that way...' I think I'm proof so far that you can have a nice home, children, play dates and still have everything looking nice, it is how you teach your children to play and look after things. The clothes rack is one of my favourite pieces. It is a stick painted black! A place to showcase some favourite pieces of clothing (all his clothes are so nice, it is a shame to keep them hidden in the cupboard).
Another brilliant make from my uncle. I didn't want to overfill it with toys as that is what the playroom is for. But just a few pieces and a spare pillow and blanket so we can snuggle in his teepee + read. I'm sure down the track the pieces in here will change, but the focus will be on minimalism and him only have a few special pieces. Also another area to place 'themed' objects when we are learning about specific things.
Teepee: somewhere to read
It was so important to have a place to read. Whether it was part of Hunter's sleep routine or a place he can sit and read himself as he gets older. The 'world rug' was also specifically chosen to promote adventure + travel. Something that was instilled in me as a young child + something I want for my children.
Links to suppliers we used:
Bed: Fantastic furniture
Bed linen: Kmart Target Adairs Kids
Lights on bed: Kmart
Hunter's name: Arcadia Dreams
Teepee: Mocka Australia
Mobile: Cotton On Kids
Rug: Oyoy via Minimacko
Alphabet Board: Alpha Board Co
Name block - The ginger kids co
Mini rolling pins - Childish Hearts
Stacker - Grimms Design via Minimacko
Cou Cou Tee - One Little Two Little
These cookies are great for the whole family. I use them to help with my milk but all the family can have them. The key ingredient for milk production is debrittered brewer's yeast (so you can delete this) but it will do no harm. I make them in large batches and freeze them. I keep them in the fridge as I find they go soft quicker in the cupboard. I also make them into little balls for Hunter, which he loves as a treat. You can also add some whey protein (1 scoop) to make them a higher protein ball. They are delicious and super healthy. Flaxseeds are the best for inflammation (it pretty much helped me overcome my Lyme disease), it is a miracle seed! Hope you enjoy them!
Vegan Gluten Free Lactation Cookies
I n g r e d i a n t s
2.5 cups oats
4tbls Ground Flaxseeds
1/2 cup water
6tbls coconut oil
1 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup debrittered brewer's yeast
1 tsp vanillas essence
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup cacao chips
M e t h o d
*Preheat oven 180c & line a baking tray
*Blend 2 cups oats in a blender/food processor
*Mix all ingredients in a bowl
*Add 1/2 cup unblended oats and then the blended oats
*Spoon mixture onto trays - makes 18 cookies
*Bake 10 minutes
How I plan a party is very similar to how I plan my hair cut, outfits, home styling, dinner party etc. I am a visual learner + love seeing things (I was a big vision board junkie about 10 years ago - yes I loved 'The Secret' 😳).
4-6months (for a big event)
I like to start planning early (yes I am perfectionist + organisational warrior 💪🏼) but also because I like to support small businesses especially on Instagram so I like to give myself plenty of time if I need personalised pieces made.
How I start all my planning for my events - I head to Instagram and Pinterest. I am loving how Insta now has the save options/create collections. What I usually do is screenshot the images I like (making sure it is highlighting where I can find certain products) and create a folder in my phone called '1st Birthday inspo' that way I can combine my Pinterest and Instagram images together. I usually do this for all my events, fashion, fitness or haircut inspo, especially if I have an event coming up.
After that, I review my folder + see what sort of direction I am going in.
It was clear from the beginning, for Hunter I wanted something different to his nursery design (which is very preppy/hamptons) but still had a touch of his personality. The overall key theme that drove my vision was the image of the 'stag'.
2 weeks - 1 month
Week of party
I know this may seem over the top, but doing it this way, I saved money as I was able to find the cheapest pieces but best quality, I was able to slowly make decorations without rushing and I could think of every detail without being rushed. I also was able to enjoy the process and the week of his actual birthday without doing last minute rush jobs.