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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

He Popped The Question - Engagement Party Gift Bags

I have a creative project on the blog today on making personalised gift bags, these party bag kits would be great for Birthday parties, Christmas gifts, all kinds of celebrations.

As soon as our engagement invitations and stationary were sorted and I had the number of RSVPs I moved onto the next project which was to make gift bags for all our guests.


Pinterest has so many great ideas for this kind of thing and the He Popped The Question popcorn bags were just too adorable to resist for a pair of popcorn lovers like us! 

Thanks so much to Avery for providing some of their celebrations range products for review including these party bag kits which were perfect for this project!


The party bag kit comes with small clear sealable bags and white adhesive toppers that you personalise online and print out.

For the design of the toppers I followed the same process as I did for the invitations and address labels.

On the Design and Print section of the website I entered the product code and then copied the design of the invitations over to the toppers so they matched. I played around with the font size and style until I was happy with it.

The toppers print both sides so I had Peter popped the question .... Michelle said yes on one side and then Thank you for celebrating with us and the date of our party on the other.


Now to fill the bags with popcorn, I researched some bulk popcorn providers and ended up getting the popcorn from Gourmet Popcorn at the Fremantle Markets after having a taste test of their delicious salted caramel popcorn ..... so tasty!

I worked it out that I would need 80g per bag but this turned out to be way too much. Instead of the 5kg I ordered I really only needed half of that and 2kg would have been plenty to do the 80 bags. The popcorn cost $20 per kilo.

With the leftover popcorn I bagged it up in large snap lock bags and handed it out to friends and family and anyone else that would take it!


I filled each bag with a cup or so of popcorn, pushed all the air out of the bag and removed the adhesive strip to seal the bags. It's really good that the bags are sealable as they kept the popcorn fresh and secure.

Once the bags were sealed the toppers could be attached.


The toppers had a strong adhesive on them and I worked out the best way to attach them was to fold the topper backwards (away from the sticky!) so they would bend on the perforated edge and they would then fold neatly around either side of the bag.

As the adhesive was sticking to plastic if it stuck on a bit crooked it was easy to peel off and re-attach. They were quite forgiving really!


Now for the hole in the topper just to finish them off, for half I tied a piece of ribbon and for the other half I tied a piece of string.

That was all there was too it, they were now all bagged up and ready to go.


I made up the bags the day before the party to make sure the popcorn kept as fresh as possible. The popcorn was also made fresh and collected the same day.

I'm lucky I had some friends to help me with this project, from picking up the popcorn to making up the bags, we had a bit of a production line going to get them bagged quickly to keep them fresh.


I filled baskets with the party bags and had them on the gift table at the engagement party.

I made sure everyone went home with a party bag and by the end of the night the baskets were empty there was not even one popcorn kernel left which is a good sign!


Now tell me honestly did you get it straight away: Popped the question ..... Popcorn?!

There were more than a few "Ooooohhhhhhhh I get it!" on the night but I think some people still didn't really get it!

Maybe they just thought we really like popcorn, which we do!!


Check out my other engagement posts here:
Engagement party planning and inspiration


Disclosure: Thanks very much to Avery Australia (Celebrations With Avery) for providing these party bag kits for review. I have not received any payment or compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.


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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Review: Arkie's Pilgrimage To The Next Big Thing by Lisa Walker

This is a book review of Arkie's Pilgrimage To The Next Big Thing by Lisa Walker recently published on 2 February 2015 by Random House Australia.

Lisa Walker was born in Holland, grew up in Fiji, spent her teenage years in Brisbane, and she now lives in New South Wales with her husband and sons. This is Lisa's third novel.


This is a funny and inspiring story of Arkie a 40 something Australian woman in the midst of a divorce and on a mission to get her mojo and her life back.

Arkie befriends a Japanese girl Haruko and together they go on a modern day pilgrimage around Australia's big things, as a twist to the traditional pilgrimages throughout Japan.

This is an upbeat and interesting read, especially for those interested in travelling Australia and it's big things .... The Big Pineapple, The Big Banana, The Big Prawn, The Big Macadamia, etc.

This story has a lot of hidden meaning and inspiration too and I found the spiritual side of the book interesting and uplifting.

It was a very easy book to read, the writing flowed, and I felt that I was right alongside Arkie and Haruko on their journey.

I recommend this book to anyone who has lost their mojo or is on a search to find yourself, you might just find what you're looking for in this book.

I give this book 4 stars out of  5

Jarrah Jungle's Star Rating:
1 Bad - I'd rather eat brussel sprouts topped with anchovies than read this again
2 Not Good - I'd rather watch paint dry than read this again
3 Ok - I'm sitting on the fence - its not great but not terrible either
4 Good - I'd pass up the last tim tam for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read


Arkie's Pilgrimage To The Next Big Thing can be purchased from Amazon


Sharing my book review on Good Reads here and Netgalley

You can find the author's website here


Disclosure:  NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote authors and their books and I was given this eBook published by Random House Australia to review. As always, all opinions are my own.


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[Image via Amazon]

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Recipes: Home Made Burgers

It's a bit of a treat to make burgers at home and much healthier than getting take away which we try to avoid as much as possible. 

Mr P's in his element firing up the BBQ while I busy myself making a salad and it's a quick and easy mid week meal.

These burger recipes from Taste are on my must try list .....













I would be happy to cook up any of these burgers for dinner tonight!

What's your favourite home made burger?


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[Images via Taste 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Avery Product Review - Engagement Stationary

Our engagement party was on the weekend, all the hard work and planning was worthwhile we had a magical night, my friends and family were amazing the support they gave, and Mr P and I are on cloud nine feeling the love from everyone and for each other!

Now I'm going to share some of the DIY projects I did for the party, starting with the Invitations and Address Labels.

Most people know that Avery have a huge range of home products but they also have a range for celebrations and events as well which were perfect for the engagement party. Thanks very much Avery for provided me with these products to review.



What I found really neat about the online designs is the same template design is available for all of their products so you can have a matching set - they have invitations, post cards, place cards, labels, gift tags, party bag kits which could be used for any type of party of even a wedding.

You can copy your design across to the multiple products so you don't need to start the design all over again which is what I did.

Once I'd finalised the invitations I copied the design over to the address labels so they matched with the same colours, font and style. I did the same for the party bag kits which I'll share in a separate blog post.


The Design and Print Online on the Avery website is a really easy system to use.

You enter the product code of the item and it will bring up all the templates available for you to edit, personalise, save and print.

You can save all your designs online and come back to them to edit further or delete the ones that didn't make the cut.

For the engagement invitations I created a few different designs from the templates and once I'd decided on my favourite I opened my design, attaching a mail merge with everyone's names, checked to make sure each would print ok, then put the invites into the printer and printed them out.

I did have some trouble printing both sides of the invitations, but that's because the invites didn't like to go through the printer twice so halfway through I changed my design to just print the front. 





Once the invitations were printed they easily pulled apart without having to cut or trim them for a nice neat clean edge. 

I glued some heart rhinestones to each one for a bit of bling and they were complete and ready to go into the envelopes.



For posting the invites I used the address and return address kit which I didn't realise how fancy it was until I went into the template section and found that it prints both a small label with the from address and a large label with the to address. How adorable is that!

I copied the design from the invitations across to the labels and then inserted a mail merge document with everyone's names and addresses.

These printed out really well and were so easy to use, I'd definitely recommend for that professional finish and it's a nice touch that the labels match the invitations.






I found some pearl envelopes which I chose over the cheaper white envelopes and I'm so glad I did, I think it's worth spending a little more on nice envelopes as they make the invitations look that little bit fancier!

I filled each envelope with some heart confetti and finished with an envelope seal sticker and they were ready to be posted.





I'm so happy with how the invitations turned out and I really liked how I could personalise them and make them all a matching set.

Price wise, they cost a lot less to do myself than I would have paid to get them printed out professionally. They worked out to be approximately 85 cents each for the invitation, labels, envelope, rhinestone and envelope seal.

I think they are really good value and well worth the time to get creative and Do It Yourself!

What do you think of my DIY engagement stationary?

Check out my other engagement posts here:
Engagement party planning and inspiration
DIY Birdcage card holder
Including our furbaby Lexi in our engagement celebrations


Sharing with link parties:

Disclosure: Thanks very much to Avery Australia (Celebrations With Avery) for providing these products for review. I have not received any payment or compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.


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Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Review: King Of The Road By Nigel Bartlett

This is a book review and preview of King of the Road by Nigel Bartlett that was recently published on 2 February 2015.

Nigel Bartlett is an Australian freelance writer and editor and currently lives in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Redfurn. This is Nigel's first novel.


This is an edge of your seat thriller and suspense story about the confronting topic of child abduction.

David is babysitting his 11 year old nephew Andrew when he goes missing. David becomes the main person of interest the Police are investigating, so if the Police are only looking  for him, David decides to hits the streets of Sydney to find his nephew himself and prove his innocent as well.

This was a fast paced suspense novel about a crime involving young children that just makes your heart ache. But this is such a brilliantly written thriller, I was flicking the e-reader pages so fast it couldn't keep up. There was always something happening to keep your interest and it never stuck on the same topic for too long.

It's quite confrontational some of the parts of the story with crimes against children and I think some readers may find it a difficult subject to read.

I recommend this book to suspense and thriller fans and even to parents with young kids if you live by the words that knowledge is power.

I give this book 5 stars out of  5

Jarrah Jungle's Star Rating:
1 Bad - I'd rather eat brussel sprouts topped with anchovies than read this again
2 Not Good - I'd rather watch paint dry than read this again
3 Ok - I'm sitting on the fence - its not great but not terrible either
4 Good - I'd pass up the last tim tam for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read


King Of The Road can be purchased from Random House Australia

Sharing my book review on Good Reads here and Netgalley

Disclosure:  NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote authors and their books and I was given this eBook published by Random House Australia, Vintage Australia to review. As always, all opinions are my own. 


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Monday, February 16, 2015

Engagement Party Planning

Soon after Mr P slipped a ring on my finger while on our cruise holiday last year I was looking forward to sharing in the celebrations with our friends and family .... including our furbaby Lexi of course!

I just love how it feels to be bringing all our friends and family together to celebrate before the big day - the wedding!


Mr P proposed while we were on holidays (with my parents!) and my Mum and I sat on the beach in New Caledonia coming up with all different ideas for the Engagement Party ..... River cruise, WINE River cruise, Function at a vineyard, Cocktails at a groovy bar, BBQ at the park, Party on my parents farm, so many ways to celebrate!

But the one that feels right to me was a party with cocktail food, lots of drinks, at a venue where I could go to town on the decorations and turn it into a pretty setting with all the styling and party planning ideas that I love!


I wanted to host the party at our Jarrah Jungle home but it's just not big enough to hold 100+ friends and family.

So we found a venue to hire with a stunning view overlooking the Swan River.

The best part is it's all completely BYO so we can do all our own food and drinks to keep the cost down.



My parents have been amazing and are providing most of the food - delicious home made platters of finger food including pinwheel sandwiches, mini meatballs, chirozo and roasted capsicum bites, sausage rolls, spinach and fetta triangles, mini quiches, antipasto platters.

Mum's been baking and freezing for a few weeks now getting all the dishes ready. The guests will definitely not go home hungry!

Friends and family have offered to bake something sweet for the dessert table which is going to look so pretty having cake stands with a variety of desserts displayed.

It's been such a lifesaver having others help out with the food and having one less thing to worry about means I can focus on the rest of the party.



The bar will be well stocked with beer, wine, bubbly and a special cocktail for cocktail hour - our Limoncello and Prosecco Cocktails.

We have friends helping to serve behind the bar on the night to keep the drinks flowing and the party going!



I'm also going to set up a drinks table for soft drinks and a tea and coffee station for everyone to help themselves.



As for the decorations for the venue my inspiration came from these beautiful decorators kits that I won from The Kit Source a fabulous online company who sell party kits across Australia.

I picked out 2 kits in the blue/yellow/white theme after seeing the little heart shaped balloons I was smitten!

I've tried to stick to this colour theme throughout the party but have added a bit of mint green and florals to the mix as well, but it all works well together (I hope!) as a vintage romance theme.



I am going to town on the decorations and finally getting to work on all the DIY projects I've been pinning - the aim is to turn a simple venue into something really special and personalise it for Mr P and I. 

I've been DIYing pretty bunting flags, making paper chains, two massive paper lantern chandeliers, balloon garlands, straw flags and making blackboard signs and designing, printing and framing signs for around the venue.



I have friends and family collecting empty jars for me to re-use as vases and candle holders.

I've made a stack of them already decorating them with pretty ribbons, twine and vintage lace. They are going to look great on all the tables and outside I'm going to place them on the steps leading everyone up to the venue entrance.



For the gift table I am going to make gift bags for everyone like these popcorn ones, I'll be sharing these in a separate blog post on using the Avery celebrations range of products - I've used Avery to create my engagement party invitations too.

I have DIYed a birdcage card holder and I'm going to DIY a message in a bottle in lieu of a guest book, but I'm still working on finishing that project.



We have friends and family offering to help in all sorts of ways and it's been half the fun involving everyone.

I can't wait to see how it all comes together I am in my absolute element when party planning and think this is going to be the biggest and best one yet!

What do you think of my engagement party plans so far? 


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[Images - First and Last my own - 
All other images via Pinterest 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17]

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