Archive for December, 2015

An Earthy Christmas at Mine

December 19th, 2015

Well, this is it guys, the last post for the year! It’s been another amazing year filled with travel, family gatherings, incredible friends, exciting work opportunities, milestones and so much more. A whole lot to be grateful for, despite one or two heartaches. This year, we will be spending Christmas together, as a family and with friends. I am not really into Christmas as I find it to be a bit commercial and I am certainly not big on Christmas decorating. I always feels as though my house has been taken over by sparkly things and a giant tree and usually can’t wait to get my home back to normal by the time December 26 hits. Come to think of it, I find the act of cutting a tree down to hang shiny things on it, only to watch it slowly die and then chop it not little pieces so you can fit it in the garden container, to be a very strange pastime. Am I the only one? Nonetheless, we do it every year because try as I might, I can’t shake that tiny but of magic that Christmas time brings with it each year, and in any case, a Christmas tree certainly excuses having the Michael Bublé Christmas album on repeat for four weeks straight. So I thought I’d show you how I’ll be decorating our Christmas table this year – earthy, natural and simple, with pieces brought back from our recent travels to South Africa and a tiny bit of sparkle.

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For Christmas dinner this year, we’ll be doing a roast chicken with an African spice mix I’ve been wanting to try, some steamed baby green beans and asparagus, new potatoes tossed in butter and herbs, and crusty bread with cheeses and chutney. I am doing a simple meal because I plan to relax these holidays and take it very easy. It is nice to make the table look and feel a bit special but I don’t really do cheesy Christmas scenes, so I decided to give our Christmas setup an ethnic twist for something a little different, while keeping everything very simple and natural.  Get the full scoop

The Sweetest Christmas Fudge

December 17th, 2015

Whenever I vist my friend (and amazing food stylist) Ajda Mehmet at her place in Amsterdam, she’s got something amazing going on in the kitchen. Whether it’s an incredible three-tiered cake she’s baking for an event or a delicious dinner she’s preparing for friends, it always smells amazing in her apartment and there’s always something yummy to taste. I actually think about her scrambled eggs every single morning when I wake up after she made me some for breakfast when I stayed at her house a year ago. While I was visiting her this week for a project we’re working on, she showed me the sweetest little edible Christmas gifts she’d been making – tiny tahini, cacao and chestnut fudge stars dabbed with delicate gold glitter. I had my camera in my hand, so without any further persuasion I shot these few images, tasting the fudge between shots and decided that I HAD to share the recipe with you guys because they are sooooo good and surprisngly healthy too!

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Ajda adapted the recipe from one she’d tried by Susan Jane White and loved, so when it came to making Christmas gifts (being a food stylist an edible gift seems only fitting) she thought she’d use ingredients she had on hand to make her own adaption of the recipe, resulting in these beautiful little fudgey stars for her lucky Christmas recipients. Not only are they simple to make but they make a beautiful gift, such a sweet idea! Get the full scoop

Weekend Bedroom Makeover

December 16th, 2015

Hey guys! Dropping in today to share a mini-project I’ve been working on. I was hired to turn a bedroom in a rental house into a calm and inviting space for it’s resident, despite the existing elements that needed to remain in place – outdated wallpaper and bulky furniture that needed to stay in the room. I’m sure there are many of you who read this blog that rent houses and face the same situation, you want a lovely room but can’t do anything too dramatic to the actual space so I thought I’d share with you what we did to this bedroom.
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This space was a little tough form the get go because of the wallpaper, the size of the room and the existing elements that had to stay. Nonetheless, the client wanted a light, bright and calming space she could retreat to at the end of a busy day. I could handle that. I presented her with the below concept to get the project started.

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Creamy Coconut and Cardamom Oats

December 14th, 2015

Breakfast in our home is a bit of a ritual. We are a porridge family, particularly during the winter. My more spontaneous self likes to mix it up a bit in the warmer months with eggs, fruit and cereals but I can’t deny it, a bowl of warm oats is worth waking up for. Which is just as well for my routine-loving husband who is usually on breakfast duty while I make the beds and get Lola ready for school, because it means he doesn’t have to think too hard about what to make each morning. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get bored with the banana or pear porridge varieties we usually eat, so this creamy coconut and cardamom oats recipe created by Ajda Mehmet is a welcome diversion to our standard morning ritual while easy enough to slap up sleepy-eyed first thing in the morning, and is just so delicious!

creamy coconut and cardamom oats | avenue lifestyle & ajda mehmet

If you asked me my favourite flavour I would say it is coconut. No matter how exciting and pretty all the flavours in the ice-cream window look, I always order coconut without fail. Usually combined with something else (I’m a two-scoops girl) but always coconut first. So when Ajda and I were playing around with ways to flavour these oats and she casually dropped coconut into the conversation, I got so excited because I knew this was a porridge I could get behind, and on a daily basis too! Enter sweet stewed apples, roasted sesame seeds and aromatic cardamom and these creamy oats will having you returning to the pan for seconds! Get the full scoop

Create an Eclectic Art Gallery

December 9th, 2015

A few months back, we stepped inside a beautifully eclectic home belonging to a very stylish lady who goes by the name of Guida. Effortlessly blending vintage and design in her home with very charming results, she strikes the balance between old and new, throwing in a bit of kitsch without compromising her sleek sense of style. When I was shooting her home, I couldn’t help but admire a gallery of eclectic artworks adorning one of her walls, but knew that pulling off that much vintage in one collection is no easy feat. I have seen some vintage galleries that look downright kitsch but Guida gets it so right with hers that I thought I’d share with you some tips on achieving this look in your own home and show you why and how this works so well.

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Guida’s gallery is granny but clean, eclectic but calm. There are quirky as well as sophisticated pieces in there but on the whole it doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is why it looks so effortlessly composed and altogether whimsical. So why does this gallery work, and how can you create the same effect at home?

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