My family and I have escaped the craziness in the lead up to Christmas this week and have had such a fun time in the US. We took the girls to Disneyland for the first time and they had an absolute ball. They dressed up in their favourite princess looks and got to meet their favourite Disney characters, not to mention check out all the rides (the teacup ride was a fave!). We also headed over to Aspen for a spot of skiing. It was great to introduce Grace to the sport for the first time. She was a natural on skis and was zipping around in no time! It was also a particularly beautiful spot to spend my birthday. I always love a destination birthday
This week I also shared my top tips for buying Christmas presents for the little ones in your life. If you’re still on the look out for the ideal gifts for the kids on your Christmas list, then definitely check this post out — hopefully it’ll help you tick off a few more names!
Not long to Christmas now… I hope you’re all enjoying the most wonderful time of the year.
This week had its ups and downs. We farewelled my beloved grandfather who played such an important role in my life growing up, but also in my kids’ lives. We miss him greatly but we’re comforted by all the wonderful memories we have of him.
I had the opportunity to work with some really great brands this week. I hosted a breakfast for Vida Glow, and got behind the Shop Small campaign that aims to promote local small businesses. I popped into gorgeous Sydney florist Poho Flowers, a favourite haunt of mine as they always have the most insanely beautiful range of blooms.
The one thing I was looking forward to this entire week was heading off on holiday. We’re off to LA, with our first stop most definitely Disneyland. The girls have been counting down the days! I’m looking forward to the breatk and having a lot of fun as a family.
I hope the rest of your week is great — the countdown to Christmas is on!
I support various charities, and this week I attended The Ladies Luncheon 2019 to raise fund for the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation. The event helped raise an incredible $340,000 which will go towards helping the hospital care for premature babies.
But without a doubt the highlight of my week was spending quality time with the girls. It was excitement all round as we visited Santa at Sydney’s QVB. The girls were particularly excited to tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Then we headed off to the spend the night at the Wildlife Retreat at Taronga Zoo where needless to say, Sophia and Grace had an incredible time — so did Luke and I for that matter!
It’s always a great week when I get to play with some fun looks. This week I was able to attend the most gorgeous event hosted by Dior at Swifts, a beautiful mansion located in Sydney’s Darling Point. We were transported to Marrakech, with the grounds making us feel as if we were in Morocco, a world away from Sydney. It was also the perfect opportunity to wear another Maticevski beauty, this time around a monochrome dress with an architectural feature that truly elevated it from just any event look.
A total departure from that particular look, I opted for a vibrant red Rachel Zoe suit to wear whilst on hosting duties for 7 Racing at the Caulfield Cup. I’m usual a neutrals girl but never pass up the opportunity to go bold and bright. And if there’s one thing I’m loving at the moment it’s striking suiting that’s designed to stand out in a crowd.
My job often requires attendance at a lot of different functions – some will be full of people that I know, others I won’t know anyone at all which is why I’ve learnt how to strike up a conversation with just about anyone. And whether it’s a networking event, a dinner party or a wedding where you’re flying solo there are some tricks that I’ve learnt that will have you chatting up a storm with virtually anyone.
Make the first move
It can be daunting walking into a room and realising there are no familiar faces. And whilst it’s tempting to hide away in the corner and scroll through your phone, it does pay to introduce yourself to at least one person. Often this introduction will lead to meeting another person and so forth. Set yourself the challenge of saying hello to at least one person. My general fallback line is to introduce myself then explain my connection to the person or event and ask them in turn about what brings them to the event.
Remember someone’s name
Always make a point of remembering someone’s name and using it in conversation. This is courteous, respectful and is a way of recognising the person you’re talking to and will generally result in someone being more likely to open up to you. If you have trouble with remembering names try and associate their name with someone you already know – this is one of my tricks!
My Date with Kate columns often require me to sit down for a meal with a complete stranger for over two hours and build a rapport. To do this it’s important to genuinely pay attention to what the person is saying (resist the temptation to think of the question you’re going to ask next). By giving them your full attention you’ll often set the person at ease which will make them more comfortable to chat. Plus you’ll be able to pick up on a topic you may have in common and where to steer the conversation.
There’s a fine line between asking questions out of general interest and interrogating someone! Ask questions about their work, what brought them to the event or what they did on the weekend but make sure to steer clear of touchy subjects such as religion or politics.
Watch your body language
Seeming closed off and uninterested in chatting will result in conversation fizzling out. Also actions like folding your arms or looking around as if trying to find someone else to talk to is a guaranteed conversation killer. When I’m talking to someone I try and remain open with my responses, smile a lot, and remain present. Generally these simple things will mean someone will is more likely to want to chat to you in return.
As most parents will attest kids’ birthday parties can sometimes snowball into a big production that can involve a whole lot of stress. From decorations to food to entertainment, the list of things to organise can be quite lengthy and often there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. Having organised parties for both Sophia and Grace I’ve managed to hone down my event planning to a few key things that ensure an enjoyable but more importantly stress-free event. Here are my top tips:
Keep it intimate
I’ve made the mistake of having a really big kids’ parties in the past and based on that I now make a point of trying to keep the numbers small and host a really intimate event. You don’t have to invite everyone under the sun! I think inviting the people that you’re going to enjoy having there the most such as close family and friends help make the day even better. Now that Sophia’s old enough, she can invite her own friends to her parties which often helps shape the guest list and makes it a lot easier.
Grace’s first birthday cake
Catering doesn’t have to resemble an episode of Masterchef
The first kids’ party I ever threw I double catered and had kids’ meals and adults meals and by the end of it I thought this is ridiculous. Now when it comes to catering I serve up things that kids and adults can eat. I do big fruit platters and cheese platters that include carrot sticks and celery sticks so it’s a winner for both the big and little guests. Both are really easy to put together and can feed a lot of people. I find serving a variety of sandwiches is always a winner so I’ll do fillings such as chicken, ham and cheese and Vegemite which I know most kids will eat. As a treat I’ll also do sausage rolls and meat pies. I don’t like serving too many sweets so I keep it limited to the birthday cake and maybe some additional cupcakes and popcorn as a savoury treat.
Do most of your prep in the days before the party
I usually compile a list of everything I will need and do a big grocery shop before an event so I have all the ingredients I’ll need. I’ll aim to have ingredients chopped up ahead of time and if I’m making something like chicken sandwiches I’ll make the filling the night before and just buy bread in the morning so it’s fresh and put it all together on the day of the party. The more that you can do ahead of time the easier it will be on the actual day.
Sophia’s farm themed third birthday party
Have a theme
Having a theme just makes pulling everything together so much easier. Whether it’s a farm themed party or princess inspired having an overarching theme can guide everything from decorations to games and party bags and the birthday cake. One thing I do when I’m decorating a venue is to designate one area for the big photo moment when we’re doing the cake cutting. I’ll have balloons (a number balloon is always a nice touch) and some bunting to make the space fun and festive and this will be the backdrop for most of the photos on the day.
Plan group activities/entertainment
When you have lots of kids running around it’s a good idea to organise activities that they can do together. This helps keep the kids in the one spot and also keeps them all entertained. For Sophia’s last birthday we hired a birthday fairy and she kept the guests occupied which is a must when you’ve got to keep track of a group of three-year-olds who all want to venture off in different directions. If you don’t want to hire someone you can just have a line-up of classic games such as pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs and have all the kids get involved. Having games or entertainment is a must! Most of the time this keeps all the kids happy and at the end of the day isn’t that what it’s all about?
What are some of your tips for throwing a kids’ party?